Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Dance for Three (2000) by Louise Plummer

This was an interesting book and well written from three different perspectives. The girl the story is about, her best friend and the father to her baby's younger brother. That third perspective is a bit weird. I didn't know what to call him. I guess I could have said the unborn babies uncle. Anyway, the main charactor is a girl with a lot of problems, not only family problems but self esteem problems and then her bigger problem is she gets pregnant at age 15. She really thinks she will be living a fairy tale happily ever after life but NOTHING turns out how she thinks it will. She finds strength and comfort from people she never considered her friend before. Her mother has big mental problems since her father died and as she works through this things start fitting back together.

I never had a really good friend get pregnant early. I had a few gals in my high school go through this or get an abortion but I really didn't know them very well and I couldn't really even remember their names now. This book takes a good look at what it is like deciding to have a baby so young or put it up for adoption. How it mentally takes a toll on your whole world.

My favorite part in the book is the rose stealing. The girl never just buys roses or takes them from her own rose bushes, she likes the thrill of sneaking them from the neighborhood rose bushes. One lady is really cranky and has the best roses. She is always trying for those but sometimes she gets caught. Anyway she finds later that the lady is one of her best allies.

The last book I read by this author was disappointing but this one was a good step up. I think it was well done and very true to the feelings and realities of teen pregnancy.

Healing Book

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Madness

I found this mysterious picture on the camera. It seems that the spilled milk on the kitchen table wasn't wasted but turned into alien artwork.

Mike was babysitting the other night while I was playing Basketball at the church. When I got home I noticed this little lump under the kitchen table. Mike said he didn't hear Edmund for a while so he went looking in all the usual places and found him fast asleep in an unusual place.

Activity Girls Mother Daughter event. We learned about manners and how we are all Queens! Real ones not like queen Elizabeth in England but of actual royal birth because we are daughters of God. It was fun and the mothers sang one of my favorites from girls camp, Walk Tall Your A Daughter Of God.

We attended a writing workshop in Sunset, Utah for a whole day! It was so much fun! The kids leaned about creative ways to write. Aunt Danna taught the class in her finished basement and all the cousins that homeschool attended!

Tonight there was a Scout Court of Honor and Eagle recognition night. Here is the Eagles nest renewing their Eagles Oath. There are over 20 Eagles from our ward here in this picture and more being added this month!

He looks like Eagle material. Tonight Peter received the rank of Life Scout. He is only 13 and well on his way to greater things! He also earned his fishing and communications merit badges. He finished the fishing one with a Saturday of Ice Fishing!

March couldn't be complete unless mom makes batch of play-dough and the little ones squish and shape the stuff for hours! Edmund especially likes to chop things with a plastic knife.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Name Is Sus5an Smith: The 5 Is Silent by Louise Plummer

We read another book by this author for a recent book group. I was curious about a few of her other books. This was a very weird book. The girl the story was about makes some very stupid choices. She is an artist and after graduating from high school she goes to her sisters home to stay the summer in Boston. She gets a job at a theater and in her spare time she takes her art around to local galleries to see if they were interested.
She meets an artist but he was leaving the next day for Italy. So they become pen pals for the summer. There is a lonely old lady that lives downstairs and she becomes her friend. Then there is this other part of the story about her Uncle Willy. This is the part that gets a little weird. Everyone has warned her that he is a sneaky good for nothing person but she has a fantasy image of him in her head. The story has a few twists when she runs into him in the city and keeps it a secret. I don't want to give anything else away so I will stop here.
The story is about a girl trying to find herself and decide what she really wants to do with her life. She is forced to make grown up decisions and suffer the consequences. She is so naive as she goes off to the big city for the first time. I think this must have been an earlier book by this author because it wasn't as polished as I thought it would be.

Healing Book

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

I loved this story! A little girl, in a family of boys. She is growing up in Texas on a cotton plantation. She is pretty much bored but then she discovers her grandfather. He is so smart and into nature, science and new things. It is the turn of the century, 1900. Capernia, the little girl, is curious about everything outside. She starts keeping a nature journal. She tries to get a copy of Darwins book but the librarian scares her so she asks her grandfather and he actually has a copy in his personal library. So she starts reading it. Her grandfather even knows Darwin.

Anyway it is a cute book about a girl discovering who she is and the world around her expanding. She gets to look in a microscope for the first time as her grandfather shows her a drop from the pond she swims in. She is floored by all the creatures in there she didn't know about. She wants to see more.
She is expected to sew and cook but she decides she wants to go to college. This is unheard of in her days for a girl. Her grandfather inspires her to reach higher and dream big.

The book was written in a clever way. Kind of like a scientist discovering new things and jotting them down in little notes in his journal, but as a young scientist of the age of 11 would do. I liked the grandfather best. He was the only one that seemed to be real.

Loved the book.

Whole Book

Monday, March 21, 2011

KITE by Bill Shears

This is a Science Fiction/Fantasy book different from all others I have ever read. It takes place in outer space. This book has many unpredictable twists. It is about computers and people that think they understand computers. These computers have feelings and evolve into something else, something intelligent. They not only learn but can change and even reproduce. They even fall in love. They are Computers at speeds faster then we can think and they accomplish huge things that I have a hard time comprehending.

The story takes place with a guy named Mason Dash working in space on a garbage moving spacecraft. Kite is the name of this flagship. It takes care of removing all the extra stuff in Earth's orbit that might get in the way of other space vehicles or eventually fall to Earth. The flagship uses lasers to cut things down to size then sweeps up and disposes of them. Dash gets pretty bored after a couple million orbits around the Earth. On Dash’s last orbit on his shift something unusual happens.
Dash has discovered an abandoned space station orbiting Earth that doesn't seem to be abandoned anymore. Could it be space pirates, terrorist, aliens or just punk kids playing around?

Dash is just trying to retire early, he lives for the three months shifts and then the time off to fish down on Earth with his wife Janet Dash. She is a very smart computer programmer or researcher. She happens to find one of Dash’s toys. This would be the virtual personality Sheila. This is a new subject for Janet to try some of her flexible thinking modules on. Dash customized her from a lesser program into his fantasy girl to play with when he is bored. When Sheila starts thinking for herself and adapting, that is when things get tricky.

Kite’s whole computer system is going through a revolt. Of course all the humans including Dash have no idea this is happening or that it is even possible. He_Ra is the leader and he has taken over the world as he knows it. The world is tiny; it is all of Kite's computer system. He falls for Sheila when she comes aboard to visit but she doesn’t have much time for him, she is juggling bigger things, like possibly extra terrestrials visiting Earth, or maybe destroying Earth.

Well, this book is right up there with dry high tech computer language books my husband reads, only this one isn't dry. It has entertaining adventure and romance. I would have been completely lost but the humor and irony kept me reading. In the future world Space is portrayed as some kind of vacation spot, while the people that work in Space can't wait to get back to Earth for a vacation. And Cyber Space is totally a whole new world of its own. I found the love triangles between humans and computers hilarious.

My favorite character was Janet Dash. She had her own style of dance, intelligence and determination. I like the scene near the end when she totally takes out one of the “bad guys” on Earth, complete with fingernails and hair pulling. She will do anything to help her husband save the world. He doesn’t appreciate her enough, he is so clueless.

The politics and work unions in the future seem very familiar to ours today, complete with bureaucrats just getting in the way of progress. There is always paperwork, procedures, and rules that no one really follows anyway. World politics are the same, just more arguing over who has to do what and blaming others. This storyline is so new it just compelled me to want to keep reading. I had to see how it all ended. One of my all time pet peeves is when a book has way too many characters to keep track of and too much character developments taking up too much time. Well, your in luck with this book, the characters are few but they are developed at a reasonable rate so they don’t distract from the stories flow. Love it!

If you like computers and science fiction this is an interesting book. Lately when I sit in front of my computer I wonder what is being plotted inside and if there is a war going on I am unaware of.

Here is the purchase link. Check it out on Amazon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March March March

I think we missed the beautiful big full moon. It was very close to Earth. All we saw was a very small glowing light behind rain clouds. Well, in 2029 we will get another chance!

Jill loves to play with her horse puzzle. Her little brother kept taking the large puzzle pieces and hiding them under the throw rug.

A friends mother taught Susan how to knit. She is just getting started. She made wristbands for St. Patricks day and shared them with her friends in History class because they forgot to wear green.

Dog, I mean Dad pile!

Edmund will not stay out of the laundry soap. When he makes a mess he gets to clean it up. This punishment isn't exactly working because he loves to play with the vacuum.

The girls have been playing with the Barbie's hair but they got bored and finally Lucy's hair is long enough to create beautiful updoos or something! I was getting tired of removing doll hair from the hairbrush everyday. At least we don't have a long haired dog. He would never have any peace.

We went to a rock show put on locally by a Rock Club. We met the cousins there. The most popular part out of all those wonderful rocks was the two bit mining!

For a quarter you could search through a pie plate of saw dust and find hidden rocks. Each child looked until there was absolutely no more rocks to be found. They were quite proud of the little, and I mean little pebbles they found.

The Kids From Nowhere by George Guthridge

I finally got my hands on this book and couldn't put it down. I read it in less then 24 hours. It was so intriguing and unpredictable. I don't know a lot about the people in Alaska. I have never been there and have never met an Eskimo. This is a true story of a teachers experience with the kids in a remote part of Alaska at the end of the world. It takes place in the 1980's. The author takes on the impossible and helps children that have a very small future accomplish national recognition. They already know how to work hard and they already know how to hunt like grown ups in their village so by taking the skills they already have he teaches them to solve problems. Big problems. I think these kids are way smarter then I am and they have much more determination then I ever had. The book is a journey and when you are finished you feel like you understand a part of yourself that you didn't know existed.

Whole and Healing Book

Friday, March 18, 2011

Starclimber by Kenneth Opell (book 3)

This was another great book in the series Airborn. I love books that seem so real even though they are totally made up. This books takes you into outer space and it is full of adventure you would never imagine!

Matt (main character) goes through secret space training to be the first of 4 astronauts to go on a mission to space. Of course Kate gets to go too and she is looking for new creatures to study. They are also caught in a love triangle but it is so innocent you blush when they even mention holding hands.

I really liked this series and wished it had another book.

Whole Book

Saturday, March 12, 2011


This weeks art class was about a guy that invented Cubism with his friend. He was an extraordinary artist. At a young age he was painting stuff other famous artists took their whole lives to perfect. He was born in Spain. As I was studying about his beautiful and some very unique art I got side tracked on all the women that were in his life. No one gave them credit for influencing his art but I bet they held a lot of sway in his colors and his public relations.

Anyway, we tried out a few cubist collages. First finding parts of pictures in a magazine then cutting them out and gluing them back together. Then some of the children drew that weird collage in a sketch. Pablo had a weird way of putting things in his paintings from multiple perspectives so the noses and eyes were not quite from an angle in front of you.

Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel (Book 2)

In this exciting sequel to Airborn, Matt Cruse is finally at the Airship Academy. He accidently is in the right place on a training excersize and gets to see the 40 yr. old ghost ship. He is the only one that remembers the co-ordinates after the navigator passes away. Everyone wants this information because the great airship lost for years, the Hyperion, is thought to have a great amount of wealth aboard.

Matt is being chased by pirates and who knows who else. He and his sweetheart Kate set off on a treasure hunt like I have never imagined! While reading the book I became very cold and had to breath deeply as most of it takes place at an altitude higher then then Mt. Everest.

The imagination really takes you to a new place as sky cities are described and inventions using a gas lighter then helium discovered. There are creatures at high altitudes we never knew existed, like great whales in the ocean feeding on tiy kreel only high above. Some new charactors are intruduced in the book and Matt has to learn to deal with jealousy and suspision. He tries to find a purpose in his life and decide if money is more important then his friends. I can't wait to read the third book!

Whole Book

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Great story from the Vicotian like era, mixed with Fantasy.
Matt is a young airman serving on a huge flying luxury airship that is part dirigible, part passenger cruise ship. It uses a gas lighter then helium and Hydragen to keep it up in the air. Matt is a cabin boy working his way up. He has dreams of owning his own ship someday and being captian. For now he would like to be promoted to the sailmakers department, that was where his father served his whole life. Matt only feels comfortable in the air. He was actually born while his parents were flying from the old country to the new.

While on the ship he spots a drifting balloonist. When they catch up to it they discover a man that is just about to die. He mumbles about something that he saw.
Later, the balloonists grandaughter sails to find what her grandfather was talking about. Matt and Kate start their own adventure as they meet pirates, crash, get attacked by a strange flying creature and start to fall in love.

I love the way Kenneth Oppel can take a fantasy world but give it so much detail that you really believe it is real and then he fits all the pieces together it just feels like history. The Cloud Cats are described like it was a real scientific discovery. The imagination and adventure is quite gripping. I didn't even stop a minute before I picked up the second book and started reading!

Whole Book

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Update: It's Winter still, no spring in sight...

When I wake up in the morning and look outside my window and see icicles longer than saber-tooth tiger teeth I know it is another COLD day!

At least cold comes in beautiful!

Sugar Powder the whole backyard!

The girls love to play in it! Susan spent hours making a horse out of snow. Sculpting and imagining. Then she was done. She was proud of her creation but some said it looked like a Llama. (It did.) Then after playing on it for hours she came out one day and it has evolved into a Loch Ness Monster! It had large spikes and pointy ears. The long tail was anything but a horse. She was mad but everyone laughed and accused dad. Then it melted. No Snow sculpture is safe around here.

We all take turns feeding the pets in the barn. This morning it is Jill's turn. She likes to find eggs under the rabbit cage. We are not sure if the rabbit or the chicken is putting them there.

Chickens do not like snow. They are daring each other to step out of the barn into the snow.

Little boys like to be helpful. Edmund is carrying a water jug all the way out to the barn so the rabbits can have some water.

Our cats think this is the best time of the day, a trip to the barn. They run ahead and underfoot to make sure they aren't missing out on anything.

We had three cats spayed last Saturday. They have to stay in the warm house and not jump high while they recover for one week. They forget the Doctors instructions and are always sitting on computers where it is warm or climbing into the windows. Silly cats. They seem to be just fine. Each day they are more spoiled with attention and warmth. Next week it is back to the elements for them!

I love the snow. It will be sad when it melts and we have mud mud mud.

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl

Funny and creative! The first story is about a pig. He is so smart he figures out that the farmer is going to chop him up and eat him. Before that happens he chops the farmer up and eats the farmer instead. Disgusting, but the kids thought that was fair.
The kids were just grossed out when they found out the French eat slimy frogs and snails even with their shells on! Blah.
Dahl has a way with putting it in a child's perspective and not sugar coating it. Although he does like sweets and always has something about candy in his stories, usually from the local sweet shop. Raspberry cremes this time but DON'T sit on a porcupine!
We laughed and grossed out. The kids said they weren't afraid but we will see if they have nightmares!

Healing Book, Broken Book