DEAR DIARY DAY

When I turned thirteen, I was given a diary for my birthday. It had a picture of a teenager on a telephone, and came with a lock and key. I kept the diary until I filled all the pages, and when it was full, I destroyed it.

In my adult years, I didn’t keep a diary/journal until recently (maybe starting about three or four years ago). Now, I have a quotes journal, a gratitude journal and miscellaneous other journals. Here are some I have filled

I posed my reading bears on top of my journals last March for my virtual trip to NYC, whose skyline is in the background.
This is the most recent journal I filled as of January 2021.
This art nouveau journal, purchased at Half Price Books is the journal I am now writing in.

Sometimes, I am too lazy to copy something longish into my journal, so I just cut it out and paste it in. I keep blog ideas, “project” ideas, pictures of things from magazines I want to copy, and a myriad of other things.

Keeping a journal or journals is a good way to keep organized as well as a way to “store” ideas and thoughts.

Thank you, Evin for the sign off.
Finally! Fall is here!

Today is the first day of Fall, and here on the Texas Gulf Coast, it is a bit cooler. When I went out to get the paper around 6:30 a.m. it was in the sixties, and it is only supposed to get up into the eighties at the hottest part of the day. We don’t see the colored leaves we grew up with in Virginia, but the trees do turn some a little later in the season.

I wish we had this kind of large, colorful leaves to decorate with.

Last night we had a Zoom book club meeting.

Last night we met via Zoom because there is still a surge of Covid going on, and one of our members was just getting over it, despite having had both shots of the vaccine.

We discussed this month’s selection

We all agreed this was a book everyone would benefit from reading.

We agreed the author had done her research, and George Washington, as a slave owner, was ruthless in the way he pursued his runaway slave. Some interesting opinions and observations came out (such as the financial liability Washington would incur should he not pursue Ona Judge; how he became a slave owner, not by choice, but rather took on Martha Custis’ slaves when he married the wealthy widow; and how he sent the house slaves he owned back to the plantation when they’d lived in the capitol(s) for six months because otherwise, they’d become free people.)

We digressed into those of us raised in the South sharing memories of segregation into the sixties and even the seventies (There are ways to “get around” anything including federal mandates to integrate). The two members who were from New York were shocked and appalled, not having experienced anything similar when they were in school in the fifties and sixties. One of them said the whole revelation from us Southerners was “mind blowing.”

Today, I plan to work in my yard, mainly on my flowerbeds. I have already been weeding and moving plants around while it is cool, and I have just sent My Better Half to get more potting soil and topsoil. I have plenty of composted pine needles to use for mulch. I look forward to the next few days.

RAE

MANIFEST (zine) – A Quarantine Zine: Order Your Copy Today!

Manifest (zine) #5 – Refuge

Thisspecial “quarantine zine” features the words and images and thoughts within which we found REFUGE last year. The literal and figurative reflections, the comforting quotes and laugh-out-loud memes that kept us breathing all those long months, and helped us regain our sea legs when it seemed like the worst was behind us. Includes a full color, 36-page booklet, fun inserts, a curated Spotify playlist, and more! Cost: $6.00.


The Annual Subscription rate of $20 includes four issues of MANIFEST (zine), and starts with the September issue REFUGE: A Quarantine Zine.

MANIFEST (zine) is the creation of writer/poet/artist Jen Payne. It’s part poetry chapbook, part artist book — a hold-in-your-hands art installation featuring writing, mixed-media collage, photos, quotes, and bits & pieces of creative whatnot. PLUS every issue includes a curated Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

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This past weekend brought many books to my TBR shelves.

DONATED TO MY LITTLE FREE LIBRARY

All three are inspirational books. The Good News for Modern Man is a classic. translation I used for teaching Sunday School many years ago. I look forward to seeing just what the other two are.

PICKED UP AT MY LOCAL LIBRARY

I started Professor Chandra already.

ARRIVED IN THE MAIL LAST WEEK

These were “must haves.”

And, I picked up some handmade bookmarks from Deme and Friends, a boutique here in town run by a former student. This friend was my student when she was in seventh grade!

The brown ones are card stock, the white ones wood. I enjoy using these as bookmarks and gift tags as well. They are inexpensive little “nice touches” to add to a gift or card.

One last thing–for a real treat, check out this young friend’s blog:

One of my favorite things she does is she presents a song (usually something by Taylor Swift )then doodles to it. You can listen to the song while you scroll down and look at the song-inspired doodles.

FAMILY LITERACY WEEK

September 19th-25th is National Family Literacy Week

For a long time now, educators have been aware that factors outside the school influence students’ success in learning to read. Home environments prior to attending school and any preschool experiences are influential on students’ success in the school environment. The National Center for Educational Statistics “confirmed that children whose family members read to them three or more times a week were more likely” to come to first grade, knowing their letters, numbers to 20 or higher, being able to write their name, and reading or pretending to read (an important step) than those who were not read to.

John Holloway, in an article explains this pre-preparation for school experiences.

Fathers need to be involved in reading to their preschoolers as well as mothers.

He explains the importance of reading to and sharing a love of books with one’s kids. This coming week is the perfect time to start or continue and emphasize family activities centered around reading.

The perfect time to start or step up family reading activities

An article by Jodene Morrell and Susan Bennett Armistead, points out that “Developing strong relationships between educators, families, and communities is extremely, important for students’ academic and social growth and success.”

Booksource has some simple, effective ways to promote literacy in the home:

Read together or even separately in the same room. If you and other family members are uncomfortable reading aloud, there are many reading programs on the internet where authors or celebrities read aloud books to kids.

Become aware of Literacy Resources. Your local school can help, and just googling “Literacy Resources” should bring up many helpful websites and ideas.

Start a family book club where all family members read the same book, then “meet” and discuss the book; children too young to read will need a family member like an older sibling to read the book to them. Mother and father should NOT dominate the discussions, nor should they be too heavy handed about life lessons learned from the book. Give your kids some credit and assume they “get it.”

Initiate dinner table discussions . Again, give the kids a chance to do more than say, “I liked the book.” Have some thought questions about the book prepared ahead of time. Often the internet will have discussion questions on many books.

Create non-traditional “book reports” as a family. Write a skit and make a video about a book. Create colorful bookmarks featuring the book’s theme to use and distribute to friends who might also enjoy the book. Have a family dress-up night where family members dress as characters from the book and eat food/refreshments centered around some aspect of the book.

)Explore print and language in the real world. When eating out, let the kids read the menu and order for themselves. (They may need some assistance, but stifle the urge to just order for them.) Younger kids can take dictation from Mom or Dad to make a grocery list. Teach children to read cookbooks (time spent in the kitchen cooking is bonding time. ) Play word games like Scrabble.

All of these suggestions can make for a “Happy Literacy Week” at your house.

Time bonding over reading and books will never be forgotten.
Have a Happy week of reading with your family.

IT’S AMAZING WHAT A NEW COAT OF PAINT CAN DO!

MY BETTER HALF RECENTLY REPAINTED MY LITTLE FREE LIBRARY IN OUR SIDE YARD, NEXT TO THE SIDEWALK AND STREET.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

A s you can see, we went from white with orange trim to orange with white trim. I think it stands out much better. This Little Free Library is set in the ground so well (concrete and kitty litter) that it has weathered several hurricanes, one a category four. I always tell the neighbors that our house may blow away, but the LFL will remain standing. HaHa!

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

THANKS, CARLA, FOR THE COOL MEME.

I did not read any children’s books this past two weeks, so here is,

I need to get on the ball and read more kids’ books.

I ordered this book, and it arrived in time for me to send to my great-grand niece for Halloween. She is four, a bit too young to read it herself, but I am sure her parents will read it to her.

tAdorable illustrations throughout

According to the back cover,” Misery Manor is home to the Impalers–the bravest vampire family that ever lived. Except for Vlad–he’s not brave at all. He’s even a bit scared of the dark!” Vlad decides he needs some friends and decides he can find them at school, so off he goes, with his pet bat tagging along. His misadventures provide hilarious moments, and I can’t wait to start this promising book.

I promise to get to bed early tonight, something I did NOT do last night, which caused me to sleep in and not write Saturday Mornings for Kids until four o’clock Saturday afternoon!
Thanks Evin.

MRS. LORIMER’S QUIET SUMMER, A calming, soothing read

When turning on the news became too bad to bear–Covid, Haiti, Afghanistan, hurricane headed our way–I turned to this quiet book on a quiet topic to calm down.

This book helped me through a stressful end of summer.

Molly Clavering writes charming books. This 1953 novel is her most autobiographical of all she has written because it features a middle age writer (based on a friend of hers, Mrs. Lorimer, whom she described once as “that quiet woman”) and her best friend, also a middle age writer (based on herself, Miss Gray Douglas). The characters go about the ” happenings of everyday life…offering one another advice and support in a lively border village in England.”The story opens shortly before “The Show,” a village fair where Mr. Lorimer will exhibit his prize vegetables. Mrs. Lorimer is wrapped up in the lives of her grown children and their “entanglements,” and Miss Douglas is wrapped up in being a good friend and confidant. Clavering’s books were popular in England, where they are set, and in America , especially during the 50s and 60s. The story begins with these words, “It was generally considered that Mrs. Lorimer, that quiet woman, was not a sentimental person.”

This calm, quiet way of writing pervades throughout the novel, and no matter how exciting or alarming the happenings that occur are, they are accepted with calm and serenity. Examples: Guy, Mrs. Lorimer’s son falling for “That Smellie Girl (that is the girl’s last name) or her daughter wrecking her husband’s “other love interest,” his lovingly refurbished antique roadster on purpose–these things are accepted and “righted” with aplomb. It is a family story about family life.

When life became too much for me, I read a chapter or two of Mrs. Lorimer, and immediately felt better and was able to uphold the English tradition to “Carry on…”

Thanks, Evin

THE RULES OF LOVE AND GRAMMAR by Mary Simses: A Review

If there is such a thing as a cozy romance novel, this is one.

In her 2016 publication, Simses has created a Grammar Nazi in her protagonist. Grace Hammond corrects poor grammar usage wherever she encounters it. As the story opens, Grace has lost her job, her boyfriend, her apartment, and is forced to return to her parents’ home in Connecticut. Tragedy took her older sister years ago, and her parents have never gotten over or spoke of it since. It is a romance, one I would christen a “cozy romance,” and three different love interests are present: Peter, a high school boyfriend, now a renowned filmmaker who has returned to town to shoot a movie; Sean, an actor who recently was proclaimed The Sexiest Man Alive, also in town; and Mitch, the bike guy. Cluny, her best friend and sidekick since elementary school rounds out the cast of supporting characters.

Each chapter features a rule of grammar, followed by an example sentence which often foreshadows what will happen in the chapter. Here is an example from the beginning of Chapter 19: “Collective nouns are singular and are typically paired with singular verbs. A film crewe often works very long hours.” In this pleasurable novel, Grace, the main character ” finds love and closure, and rediscovers herself. ” The book is a darned good read.

Cats and books–add people, and you have my three favorite things!