Saturday, May 27, 2017

One Proud Penny

One Proud Penny

Picture book
Find a penny. Pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck.
That was a saying from my childhood. Of course back then a penny went
a lot further. Five could buy a candy bar, thirteen a comic book,
twenty-five admission to the Saturday matinee double feature with
popcorn for another fifteen. And we had real penny candy.
These days some grinches say we should ban pennies and stop
making them. I don't think that will happen any time soon. Too many
of us really like those coins...and pick them up to get good luck.
Randy Siegel's One Proud Penny narrates the adventures of a
typical zinc and copper coin born in Philadelphia in 1983: traveling
to places as far apart as both Portlands, being used to buy things,
and being lost in places like a sewer drain and the inside of a vacuum
cleaner. There's also plenty of good trivia.
It's a nice little book that encourages kids to contemplate the
concept of coins (the lengths I'll go to for alliteration! Bwa ha
ha!) and maybe start a piggy bank.
On a personal note, yesterday and today were the sales days for clean
sweep. Think very popular indoor yard sale with merchandise taking up
the entire surface of an ice hockey rink. We (crew) mostly engaged in
customer service and keeping everything as neat as possible. But we
also had a lot of fun hanging out together. Lisa, our fearless,
peerless leader, got take out restaurant lunches for us both days.
Mmm mmm good!!!
I know we made an amazing amount of money. I'll let you know how much
when I find out.
A great big shout out goes out to my fellow crew members, Lisa, and
our wonderful customers.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Friday, May 26, 2017

Quilting For Peace

Quilting For Peace

Adult crafts
I am not a quilter. The only quilt I ever made was baby size.
But I really enjoyed reading Katherine Bell's Quilting For Peace:
Make The World A Better Place One Stitch At A Time. It shows so many
ways groups and individuals use crafts talents (and sometimes recycled
or discontinued materials) to make a real difference.
There are not enough shelter beds for 750,000 people who are
homeless on any given night in America. Many end up sleeping in
doorways or under bridges. When Flo Wheatly started thinking on the
problem she asked her kids to give her old clothes and designed a
quilt sleeping bag. The first year she and her family gave away
eight. Then people started donating materials and time. These days
The Sleeping Bag Project distributes 6,000 bags a year along with
donated clothes.
To The Top and Quilts of Valor create quilts for wounded
warriors. The former was started by a bereaved mother who lost her
only son in Afghanistan. Between the two groups over 18,000 quilts to
injured veterans. Volunteers from as far away as Iceland have been
involved in creating them.
Emergency responders encounter children in their most vulnerable
moments at crises such as fires, domestic violence scenes, and
domestic violence calls. Firehouse Quilts makes a special kind of
quilt--large enough to comfort a child but compact enough to fit into
a fire truck cab--to be distributed by these modern day heroes.
Those are just three of the dozens of organizations richly
described in Quilting For Peace. There is even one, Mother's Comfort
Project, that makes cage comforters for animals in shelters that
actually increase adoption and decrease euthenasia rates. Each
chapter gives ways to learn more about and help a specific group.
Many of the patterns are included.
Motivated readers may find groups to link up with in person or
remotely...
...or come up with ideas of their own. That's what happened to
me. When I started reading the book I had just come from a coffee
hour the UMaine International Students Organization puts on Friday
evenings during the school year. Recently, to combat fears of
prospective international students, we made a You Are Welcome Here
video. So those words were on my mind. Suddenly an idea popped into
my head. Maybe hand crafted useful objects could help reassure
international students of their being very much wanted. Some could be
quilts. But some could be other things. I knit and crochet beautiful
scarves. Some people make mittens and socks. And nothing says loving
like something from the oven. You know? This could be a way also to
build more university-community connections. I guess the summer will
be a good time to get things started.
On a personal note, I'm about to take the bus to Orono for the first
day of our fabulous Clean Sweep: the yard sale all the other yard
sales wish they were. I am wondering what effect the pouring rain
will have on attendance.
[Unsolicited advice for anyone who is not exactly up for a day or
night's weather. What you can't change is the precip, lack thereof,
temp etc. What you can change is your attitude. So unless you're in
the middle of something like Hurricane Katrina, be happy and your day
will go better. Trust me on this].
A great big shout out goes out to my clean sweep crew, our fearless
and peerless leader, Lisa, and all who are willing to brave the
elements to glean the treasures we have to offer.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Knit Your Own Cat

Knit Your Own Cat

Adult crafts
That title made me do a double take. The charming crafts bag
sized volume was a delight to look through. Highly talented knitters
who are also feline fanciers, say those who can knit socks on tiny
needles without a pattern on a moving bus, will be able to do a lot
more than admire the creatures in Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne's Knit
Your Own Cat: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 16 Frisky Felines.
The cats are distinctive and finely detailed. They're divided
into four groups: long-haired, short-haired, exotic, and street. If
you're ambitious enough to try the patterns, the street cats look to
be the easiest starter felines. On the more complicated side, you
have the Maine Coon with fur tufts between its toes. All the beasts
seem to be between 5" and 10" tall.
This is a great gift for the knitting diva. Maybe if you're
really lucky she or he will show appreciation by knitting you a feline.
On a purrrrrsonal note, one of this year's unusual clean sweep items
was someone's cat figurine collection. She wrote the source and date
of each one on its base. You don't see Palmer (writing style that
came before cursive) much anymore. Also the dates were decades back.
I'm going to guess she died or downsized to a smaller living space
because the collection was obviously special to her and she learned
Palmer back in school which means getting on in years. I took a few
of my favorites including an unusual cat bank and a music box figurine.
As for my own cat companion, Joey, apart from the mats he gets in his
fur as weather warms up, he is the picture of health and loving life.
Right now he's on his patio, watching through the window for birds.
He will celebrate his birthday June 8. I plan to get him new toys,
especially jingle balls which he loves to chase.
A great big shout out goes out to sweet Joey and my clean sweep gang.
We're going to price and make signs today and get ready for chaos
tomorrow.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tiny House Style

Tiny House Style

Adult non fiction
Over much of my life span houses have been growing like the
proverbial weeds. My preteen years were spent in a modest spread:
parents' and children's bedrooms linked by a large closet, living
room, kitchen, playroom, and single bathroom. A lot of people lived
that way and thought nothing of it. But over the years just about
anyone who could afford to do so acquired bigger and bigger digs,
culminating in the coveted and despised McMansion. Some huge edifices
in Veazie are inhabited by a couple. Even Human Services won't place
a kid unless he/she is guaranteed a solo bedroom. There are even
places that require houses to have large square footages.
What the bloody Hell?
These outsize abodes take a toll on the enviromnent. They also
take a toll on many families. One day a friend from a better
neighborhood told me a secret. The struggle to live beyond their
housing means left many "better off" families as economically perilous
as the trailer park crowd. And there are the many who work around the
clock to keep families they are nearly strangers to in homes they
aren't enough in to relax and enjoy.
I am delighted with a new back to basic housing trend that has
people requestioning priorities and replacing conspicuous consumption
with mindful simplicity. First considered an oddity, the new
buildings are going mainstream. Anyone contemplating making such a
lifestyle change would do well to study Steve Weissmann and Jenna
Spesard's Tiny House Style: Ideas To Design And Decorate Your Tiny
House.
This fine book is living proof that a picture is worth a
thousand words. Whether you're looking at adorable exteriors, sun
filled sleeping lofts, or unique, colorful details, the photographs
steal the show. The text supplements the visuals and answers just
about any question one might have about tiny house planning and
living. Will the kitchen meet my needs? Is there enough room to
sleep? How much storage is enough?
My only caveat: if Tiny House Style seems overly evangelistic,
there's a reason. The authors manufacture tiny houses. Have they got
a place for you!
Tiny houses are not for everyone. I have no plans for going
below trailer size even though the kids have moved out. The open plan
with sleeping loft would be a nightmare in my household. I need my
studio to get far enough from the television to write and think and
not be bombarded by artificial noise and to store my writing works in
progress and the whimsical treasures that inspire me.
I would especially advise prospective tiny house dwellers to do
this extreme downsizing during periods of lifestyle stability rather
than in tandem with other changes. Retirement is the one that comes
to mind. Make sure the two of your are comfortable spending extended
periods of time together before you compress the space in which you do
so.
Seriously.
One very positive aspect to tiny houses is that they can give
the chronically homeless housing stability. For a family living out
of a car one would be a palace. Some towns are finding that it's
cheaper to house the homeless than increase municipal services. And
for many long term street and shelter residents that permanent address
may be that tipping stability point enabling them to face and conquer
the other challenges life throws their way.
On a personal note, we had flower communion last Sunday at Universal
Fellowship. It was such a lovely experience. There were scads of
beautiful flowers and we got to bring flowers home. I also got to
bring a birthday bouquet to Amber which she really likes.
A great big shout out goes out to my Universal Fellwship family who
seem not in the least perturbed that I will be joining June 4.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Float

Float

Wordless picture book
One type of book we need many more of is the wordless picture
book. The prereader can gain book handling skills and exercise
imagination creating the story line. The apparent simplicity of the
format, however, can hide the need for excellence. Illustrations
carry the entire burden of the narrative. They had better be damn
good: complex, evocative, bordering on seductive.
Daniel Miyares' Float is a perfect example of what a wordless
picture book should aspire to. Its protagonist, a boy clad in bright
yellow rain gear makes a boat out of newspaper. (The bright yellow
and pink and blue spots on the boat are the only bits of color against
a monochromatic background, helping the very young child focus) Much
to his delight, it begins to rain. Soon the street is flooded with
puddles and streams perfect for sailing his creation. Sadly the boat
falls into a storm drain and comes out a sodden mess. The boy trudges
home sadly. A hug from a sympathetic mom, a shower, and cocoa with
marshmellows restore him. Before you know it he's folding a new boat
and heading outside.
Endpapers show step by step directions for folding a paper boat
and a paper airplane. So the perfect time to introduce this lovely
book would be a grey rainy day when there seems to be nothing to
dooooooo.
On a personal note, we are in the process of getting Clean Sweep
together in time for the weekend. It's the yard sale we make out of
all the stuff UMaine students leave behind at the end of the school
year. Just imagine a yard sale the size of an ice hockey arena. We
have the stuff all set out. Tomorrow we have the pricing and signs
and odds and ends to do. Oh, my!
A great shout out to the awesome crew who make the project so much fun
and our encouraging and kind boss, Lisa.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Monday, May 22, 2017

Girl Rising

Girl Rising

YA/adult nonfiction
"Most young people in developed nations...get up in the morning
and head off to school without a second thought, because free public
education is available to all. But in more than fifty countries,
school is not free, and often, students and their families cannot pay.
We look at numbers and facts all the time without necessarily
understanding how significant they are. But this number--the 62
million girls who are not in school profoundly affects how our whole
world functions.
Why? Because educating girls literally changes how nations
behave. Educating girls changes how governments function. It changes
economies and jobs. It changes the shape of health care. It changes
how families are raised. It can change entire cultures."
Sixty-two million girls unable to get educations! That is wrong
on so many levels. It's a tragedy for them, their families, their
communities, and their nations. Ultimately it's a tragedy for our
world. In Girl Rising: Changing The World One Girl At A Time Tanya
Lee Stone brings this tragedy up close and personal.
Where are these girls who are not in school? Some are slaves
trafficked for labor or sex to masters who hold absolute power. Some
are lost to child marriage in more ways than one. In developing
nations childbirth is the number one killer of girls age 15 to 19. In
some places the problem is as basic as dire poverty or no school to go
to. And then there are war, natural disasters, and people who assault
girls for just trying to gain functional literacy.
Some girls overcome obstacles we can hardly imagine to go to
school. Readers will meet:
*Ruksana and her family who lived in a tent like structure on the
pavement of Kolkata, India. They had moved from their rural village
so the children could get an education;
*Sokha, a Cambodian orphan who literally lived in a a dangerous,
filthy dump, scavenging to survive, until given thechance to attend
school;
*Melka, an Ethiopian woman who survived a horrific arranged marriage
and went on to become a teacher;
*Rani (India) who was sold by her parents when she was eight and had
to work as a prostitute for five years before a nongovernmental
organization rescued her and enabled her to get an education;
and other beautiful, smart girls.
Fortunately the last part of the book concerns solutions to the
problem of girls missing out on education. Readers are shown ways in
which they can make a difference. Hopefully many will channel the
anger one can't help but feel into action.
As I read this book I was so aware of my great good fortune that
free public education, good preparation for college, was available for
my beautiful, smart daughters. Amber is working on her PhD. Katie
graduated summa and has a professional job. For that matter I was
able to attend college and plan on attending grad school.
On a personal note, yesterday I went to Amber's birthday party. It
was a slumber party themed party. So we got to wear pajamas! There
were very cool party games. My favorite was a nail polish game. (For
some reason Eugene sat that one out.) The homemade pizza and cake were
scrumptious. Brian makes better pizza than many pizza joints. Katie
came up from Portland with her dear friend Shaunna. It was so great
to see them! It was a truly wonderful afternoon, the kind of event
that leaves one feeling overjoyed to be alive.
A great big shout out goes out to Amber, chef extraordinaire Brian,
and all who attended the fête.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Sunday, May 21, 2017

One Last Word

One Last Word

YA/adult poetry
I'd never heard of the golden shovel form of poetry. Basically
it pays tribute to another poet's work while adding a fresh and
personal spin. You take a short poem or a line from a longer poem and
use its words as the last words for each line of your new poem.
Here's an example from Nikki Grimes' One Last Poem. The original is
the first stanza of Clara Ann Thompson's Life And Death:

We live, and how intense is life!
So full of stress, so full of strife.
So full of hopes, so full of fears,
OF JOY AND SORROW, SMILES AND TEARS
And oh how fruitless is the quest
Unless we're striving for the best.

Grimes takes each stanza from this decades old poem to create the
portrait of a contemporary teen and the challenges he/she/they faces.
My favorite is Damien. (I'm capitalizing the words taken from the
original poem in both works).

No one cuts you any slack if you're a boy, especially OF
a particular hue, and you decide to find your JOY
in ballet. Never mind that it's tough as any sport, AND
gives you a perfect place to pack whatever SORROW
shadows you. Flex, point, leap, and you're all SMILES
before you know it! Dancing is demanding, too, AND
the strength it takes would leave most jocks in TEARS.

You see what Grimes has done there. This art form is the essence of
her book. Her originals are from the famous poets of the Harlem
Renaissance. Both they and her interpretations are well worth reading.
The illustrations add a further dimension of amazingness to the
anthology. Langston Hughes' Mother To Son (one of the most meaningful
poems ever written) and Nikki Grimes' Lessons are on the need to keep
striving even though life "ain't been no crystal stair." Christopher
Myers' interpretation shows a mother hugging her son in front of a
statue of Abraham Lincoln. Grimes' A Dark Date For Josh concerns the
difficult conversation a high school boy has with his parents when he
tells them he's taking a black girl to the prom. Jan Spivey
Gilchrist's tender interpretation shows the boy deep in thought and
the girl he obviously cares about.
My favorite picture is the one for A Safe Place. A girl walks
down a dreary city street past grim, grafiti covered walls. Under a
puffy coat, she is wearing bright red tights and tutu. She is
intently writing in a book. You get the feeling she is not only
staying safe from the ugliness all around her, but charting a brighter
future for herself. Her bold stride lets you know that nothing better
get in her way!
Readers who find a poet or illustrator to be of particular
interest are in luck. Biographies at the back include lists of
contributors' work.
On a personal note, last Thursday I was very glad I was packing a
camera. I was crossing a bridge when I saw a beetle unlike any I'd
ever seen before, a good size insect with a shell that looked like
tweed cloth or maize corn. Fortunately it wasn't in any hurry and
posed nicely. I relocated it to less dangerous turf. Now I have
evidence in case someone, say that husband of mine, thinks it was the
product of my admittedly vivid imagination. (It was much too early in
the day for beer to be involved!)
A great big shout out goes out to entomologists who study the insects
who greatly outnumber us and their many mysteries.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod