Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ahhh, Vacation

We're on vacation with almost all of our very large extended family (we miss you, Bethy)

We've got Big Kids --

We've got the Great Aunt Ann, who will soon be 90 --

And my sister, Annie Boo --

And little children hard at work --

More later, when I get back to the real world --

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Looking for Suggestions

We're headed to Rehoboth Beach on Friday for a week of vacation. Yay!! Among our party are seven children between the ages of three and nine. (Yes, you read that right, seven children under nine! As you might guess, we never travel in a small group.)

Our night-time routine at home includes reading a chapter (or two or three) to our eight-year-old, but the current book, Watership Down, is too long and too difficult for us to read with the above group of children, so I want to bring some books to read at bedtime that other kids can enjoy.

Any suggestions for books for ages 4-8 that can be read in a sitting (or two or three)?

Thanks, everyone.....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Disparate Houseguests

So the blog's been a little quiet, eh? That doesn't mean that the Old Stone House Gang has been lolling around. We've had Houseguests.

First, we welcomed our old friend Mary Muffin, her husband John, and their adorable baby boy, JackJack. Sorry, no pictures, but take my word for it. That is

Then Grendel arrived. He's a really big Bearded Dragon lizard, who eats lots of crickets every day. (Garden Girl calls the cricket cage "Village of the Damned.") He'll be with us until the end of the summer. We're watching him while friends move to a new house.

Then came the puppies! One plaintive phone call to my office was all it took for Garden Girl to persuade me that we could foster seven three-week old puppies and their mom. In no time, Lily and her puppies, Raven, Winston, Ringo, Gracie, Peach, Echo, and Bernie arrived to spend a few weeks with us until they're ready to be weaned and sent on to permanent homes. And no, we didn't have the heart to let them all go -- Lily will stay with us. And we found homes for a few more. Ringo will go with a cousin. One will go to Nashy's beau, and our neighbors are looking them over every day, so we hope one will go to them. One of them will stay with us, though we're not sure which. Which means we'll go from two dogs to four, but it won't feel like a big change, since we passed through being a ten dog house first.

Hendrik Hertzberg on the Death of Jesse Helms

Hendrick Hertzberg said it better than anyone --

Dropping the Helmsman

Far too late for it to do anybody any good, Jesse Helms has died. He has done so on Independence Day, which, since he was born too late to own slaves and in too liberal an age to allow him to outlaw sedition, will forever be his only resemblance to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Five -- Fireworks Edition

From Sally over at the RevGals ---
I have to admit that I am chuckling to myself a little; how strange it seems for me a Brit to be posting the Friday Five on 4th July! I realise that most of our revgals will be celebrating in some way today, but I hope that you can make a little room for Friday Five! From my short stay in Texas my memories of the celebrations are of fireworks and picnics, one year we went in to central Houston to watch the fireworks and hear the Symphony Orchestra play, we were welcomed and included, and that meant a lot!

So lets have a bit of fun:

1. Barbeques or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?)
Not the same at all.
Picnic -- lunch, sandwiches, lots to carry, bugs, and possibly sand from the beach in the potato chips
Barbecue -- dinner, grilled yummy things, cocktails, and lawn chairs -- and for the most deluxe barbecue of all, pit barbecue with vinegary Tidewater barbecue sauce, piled on soft rolls with cole slaw.
(Can you tell I have a preference?)

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being?
Home or the beach

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em?
LOVE the fireworks. I'm a little spoiled, because I grew up in a house perched at the edge of a busy harbor where the 4th of July fireworks are fired from a barge in the middle of the harbor. We have the best seats in town to see fireworks reflected on the water.
I still get excited about fireworks, and last week, we went to a baseball game where we saw one of the best fireworks shows ever.
The first time my sister and her husband kissed, fireworks, real ones, went off nearby. They weren't expecting them. How cute is that??

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory...
I've never been in a parade, and only rarely attended them. You'll know for sure that I grew up in the south when I tell you that the parades in our little town featured a replica of the Merrimack, an ironclad Civil War ship that battled the Monitor. It fired a thundering cannon that made my chest thump as it rolled past.

5. Time for a musical interlude- if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be?
It's a tie -- Pete Seeger singing This Land is Your Land, or Ray Charles singing American the Beautiful.

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Reading

The Little Blue State Legislature concluded its two year legislative session last night, or more accurately, at 5 o'clock this morning. Once the session ends, my work returns to a more normal schedule: no driving to Capital City several days a week; no checking the state website to see what mischief those crazy senators are cooking up for the defenders of liberty; no sitting outside representatives' offices hoping for an opportunity to clue them in on the (often unintended) damage they are about to inflict on the constitution. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do, and some of the finest people I know are politicians. No really, I mean it, but that's a blog post for another day.

The good news is that there's a four-day weekend coming up, and starting the following Friday, a week at the beach. I've been accumulating books at an alarming rate, and the tower of reading matter next to my bed is both enticing and daunting. So here goes --

Cost Roxana Robinson
The People of the Book Geraldine Brooks
Nudge Cass Sunstein and Richard Tholer
Certain Girls Jennifer Weiner
Here if You Need Me Kate Braestrup
March Geraldine Brooks
Influence Robert Cialdini
Digging to America Anne Tyler
Secrets in the Dark Frederick Buechner
Property Valerie Martin
Writing Tools Roy Peter Clark
Within These Walls Carroll Pickett
Keys to Drawing Bert Dodson
Fabriano sketchbook

I'll be posting reviews as I work down the pile.