Boston Adventure in Four Parts

Posted July 24, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Laughter, Life

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Last week we were in Boston. We stayed with our daughter and her husband while checking on the progress of the house we’re building. They live downtown on the fifth floor of a quaint 1864 building. They love it. We love it, too, but there are challenges.

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Quaint Building

Early Friday morning, after my husband and son-in-law had left on a man mission, the teeny-tiny elevator in the charming building took a permanent break between the second and third floors. As I comfortably slept, my daughter and grandpuppy were stuck in that elevator. At 8:00 a.m., she burst into the bedroom, looking flushed. “Didn’t you get my call? My voicemail?” I looked at my cell phone. I did get it, but I didn’t hear it because of the noise from the window air conditioner. “I was stuck in the elevator for an hour and a half!” she cried. “The emergency crew put a ladder down to get us out. I’m late for work!” Good mother immediately jumped out of bed and comforted the distressed child. All the while I was thinking I would have died if I had been stuck in that munchkin elevator!

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Infamous Elevator

The adventure didn’t stop there.

That evening my daughter, her husband, and the puppy left for Long Island for a four-day visit with his parents and to attend a wedding. My husband and I kept busy going to and from our new home site. We walked down stairs – five flights of stairs – 87 steps. We walk up stairs – 87 steps – while the elevator was being fixed. We used my daughter’s car. She neglected to inform us the air conditioning was NOT working. Did I mention the weather was extremely hot and humid? We were driving around in a sauna! Was I having fun in the fun city of Boston? NO!

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A Moving Sauna

 There’s more.

Being good parents, we went grocery shopping to restock the refrigerator. We bought wine. Wine was good at that point, but taking groceries, wine, briefcase, and building samples up five flights of stairs was NOT good. My husband double parked in front of the condo. We dumped everything at the bottom of the five flights of stairs. While my husband hunted for a parking place. I brought bags up the stairs. I got three bags up the first 25 steps before my husband joined me. Together we climbed the hot, stuffy stairway to heaven. He took the heavy stuff. I took the light stuff. By floor three, I was breathing hard. I sprawled myself out on the steps and admired the intricate woodwork on the walls while I caught my breath. It’s a beautiful building, but as I prayed for a burst of energy to make it up the last two flights of stairs, I also thanked God I didn’t live there!

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Stairway to Heaven

The Finale.

While putting the ice cream away, I discovered watery ice cubes and a tender pork tenderloin. Freezer on the fritz! Smorgasbord for dinner! After our not-your-ordinary meal, my husband and I topped it off with a bowl of chocolate ice cream soup!

Downtown living may be charming and filled with excitement, but there are unexpected challenges with every step you take. It’s good to be home!

Check this out!

Boston:  A Photographic Portrait by Stan Patey (Twin Lights Publishers, 2004)

Library Love

Posted July 17, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Libraries

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Home away from home!

The Story of Our House

Posted July 10, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

We’re building a house. It’s stressful – especially when it’s in a state halfway across the country. We have chosen a lot, made decisions about flooring, light fixtures, paint, doorknobs, etc., and have revised and tweaked our house plans many times. We’re downsizing, but you’d never know it from the cost of things. Two movies come to mind as my husband and I go through this rollercoaster experience – “The Money Pit,” starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long and a classic old movie, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. We could be the main characters in either of these movies!

When I take a step back and look at our current lives, I see similarities between writing and building a house. A story and a house should have a solid structure. Standout characters and an interesting setting are a must. In the story of our house, we have standout characters (Us!) and a beautiful New England setting.

In a spellbinding story, the plot includes a problem that has roadblocks and conflicts which are overcome or resolved at the end. Building a new home has its share of problems and roadblocks. Start date postponed several times (Just dig the hole!), windows in the wrong places (Oops!), and cost overruns (Yikes!) are just a few of the things that can cause conflict and tension.

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A Hole Is To Dig

In a mesmerizing story, there’s a climax just before the problem is solved and the roadblocks are removed. If all of these elements are well done, readers are left begging for more.

My husband and I are nowhere near the climax or conclusion of our building story. Like a good book, we’d like things to move along at a good pace. Then we’d like to deviate from the other elements of a satisfying story. We don’t want any more roadblocks, tension, or conflicts I’d rather leave those for a good book!

Building a house or building a story involves creativity, hard work, attention to detail, and revising. Whatever you choose to do, give it your best and go for it!

Celebrate Our Country!

Posted July 3, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

— Benjamin Franklin

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Happy Fourth of July!

A Time to Read

Posted June 26, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

The school year is over. Yay! That was the cry heard from both teachers and students at the sound of the last bell.

Ahh, summer! For me, it’s a time to do things I don’t always find time to do when school is in session. The first thing on my list is to read, read, read, and read some more. Right now I’m reading a middle-grade novel by Kathryn Erskine, THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF MIKE. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. There are lots of quirky characters that jump off the page. I like quirky!

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Now please excuse me while this quirky blogger continues reading!

Let’s Talk Birds

Posted June 19, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

Tags: , , , , , , ,

At four o’clock each morning, birds convene outside our bedroom window and hold a tweet fest. I don’t know what they’re chirping about, but they have a lot to say at that hour. Maybe they’re planning their day. Maybe they’re gossiping about the events of the previous evening. Whatever they’re doing, it’s disturbing my beauty rest!

I enjoy watching our fine feathered friends in the bird bath during the day. Some very lovely birds come to our exclusive spa. The way they interact with other birds is very enlightening. But why, oh why, do they have to be so noisy in the morning?

If you’re a bird-lover, here are a few books to tweet about, and they won’t wake you up in the morning.

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Birds, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by his wife, Laura Dronzek, is a very simple story. Using birds as the subject, the story and illustrations combine color and size concepts. The narrative includes elements of imagination and surprise, and it has a very satisfying ending. Dronzek’s illustrations are bright and colorful and will delight young children.

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Feathers, a book written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Lisa McCue, is poetry in flight. Spinelli cleverly introduces readers to a fascinating variety of birds by using different poetic forms. Back matter includes more information about each bird. McCue’s brightly colored illustrations are done in watercolor and acrylic. The birds are shown in their habitats and many pages include borders. This is a perfect book for young bird-lovers.

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How to Heal a Broken Wing, written and illustrated by Bob Graham, is a sweet story of a little boy who rescues a bird with a broken wing. The text is spare, but the message is powerful. With time and hope, the family works together to help heal the bird’s wing. The illustrations, which are subdued at the beginning of the story, are done in pen, watercolor, and chalk. As the story progresses and the bird’s wing heals, the illustrations become more vibrant. This book lends itself to discussions of kindness and caring.

Can you think of any other bird books to share?

Miss Spelling

Posted June 12, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

In my past two blog posts, I was made aware that I had two misspelled words. Mistakes! Arrgh! Embarrassing!

In one post, the word, trees, was spelled t-r-e-s-s. Spell check recognized tress as a word – just not the correct word. In another post, the word, drama, was spelled d-r-a-m. Dram is also a word. (Maybe I need to add a wee dram to my coffee to wake me up in the morning!)

Let it be known, I meticulously review each post before I publish it. I read and reread it, I spell check it. I reread it again, but there are times when things pass under the radar of my abilities to post a mistake-free blog.

Therefore, I’ve decided I need another pair of eyes to see what I don’t see. My husband has graciously agreed to read my blog posts before I publish them. This is a miracle in itself because he has not shown a great amount of interest in my writing. Now he will realize what a creative person I am! Stay tuned in to this blog to see how things go.


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