Friday, July 22, 2016

Postcards Received Friday, July 22, 2016

455.  HAPPY EVERYDAY from Moscow, Russia
Hi from Moscow!  There are a lot of brilliant places there!  Have your ever been in Russia?

456.  Bills and Love Letters;  Dortmund, North Rhine - Westphalia, GERMANY
Hello Chris, greetings from Germany.  My name is Angela and I live in a small town close to the city Dortmund in North-Rhine-Westphalia.  The words on the mailbos:  
Hope you like the card.  
Take care, Angela

Friday, July 1, 2016

2016 Row by Row

This year's Row by Row Experience goes from 6/21/16 to 9/6/16
Number of States:  8
Number of Rows:  30
Number of License Plates: 13

1 - Simply Stashing Fabrics & Quilts, Littlestown, PA (no plate)
Two nine-patches with beehive and embroydery - bought kit

2 - Danner's Bernina Shoppe, Hanover (Pennville), PA
"Home Tweet Home"
Vertical Birdhouse and 2 pieced blocks

3 - The Quilt Shop by Lois, Newtown, CT 
Lighthouse, then three pieced houses/barns

4 - Quilting By The Yard, Vernon, CT 
Four pieced houses

5 -  Quilter's Common, Wakefield, MA
 (did not purchase plate)

6 - Seacoast Sewing & Quilting, Portsmouth, NH 
Six Surfboards on Beach

7 - Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop, Freeport, ME 
Four Red Doors - Four Seasons

8 - Sewing by the Sea, Trenton, ME
Living at the Bottom of the Sea

9 - A Straight Stitch, Orrington, ME
Oh Won't You Be Our Neighbor?

10 - Quilt Divas, Rockland, ME
Cabins Under the Sea

11 -  Maine-Ly Sewing, Nobleboro, ME

12 - Pintuck & Purl; Exeter, NH
Home Sweet Home

13 - Stitched in Stone; Kingston, NH
(AMERICA) - gave to Dede iiu
Stars and Stripes from Home

14 - Bittersweet Fabric Shop; Boscawen, NH
(no plate - last year's)
Home Is New Hampshire
bought kit

15 - Quilted Threads; Henniker, NH
Home Sweet Home USA

16 - The Scarlett Creation: Bennington, VT
Home Sweet Home

17- The Yardstock; Cobleskill, NY
Home Tweet Home

18.  Tiger Lily Quilt Shop; Utica, NY
Swing with doll or stuffed animal

19.  Sew Wilde; New Hartford, NY
"Barns Across America"
(Last year's plate)

20.  Ivy Thimble, Victor, NY
"Home...A Light in the Window"
bought kit

21.  Cafe Sewciety; Webster, NY

22.  Jackie Lynn's Fabrics & Discount Sewing Center; Rochester, NY
Vertical birdhouse with birds on ladder below

23.  Country Treasures - Brockport, NY
"My Favorites of Home"
bought kit

24.  Auntie's Attic Quilt Shop; Niagara Falls, NY
"Attic Treasures"

25.  Sew What? Quilt Shop; Williamsville/Amherst, NY
Solar System row
bought kit

26.  Quilt Barn
no photo - either didn't get plate or there was none

27.The Witch's Stitches; Big Flats, NY
"My Country, My State, My Home"

28.  Patchwork Angels Quilt Shop
Endicott, NY
"There is No Place Like Home"

29.  After I dropped Dede in Peekskill - a NY shop 
no plate

30. Budding Star Quilts;  Lebanon, NJ
"Find Your Way Home"

Thursday, June 30, 2016

38. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell

Audio CD read by Anne Flosnik
2006 Houghton Mifflin
2007 Blackstone Audio
245 pgs.
Contemporary realistic fiction with forays into the 2nd quarter of the 20th century
Finished June 30, 2016 on my second trip this summer north to Maine
Goodreads rating: 3.80 (17,700 ratings)
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary Scotland

First line/s:  "Let us begin with two girls at a dance.  They are at the edge of the room.  One sits on a chair, opening and shutting a dance card with gloved fingers.  The other stands beside her, watching the dance unfold:  the circling couples, the clasped hands, the drumming shoes, the whirling skirts, the bounce of the floor.  It is the last hour of the year and the windows behind them are blank with night.  The seated girls is dressed in something pale, Esme forgets what, the other in a dark red frock that doesn't suit her.  She has lost her gloves.  It begins here."

My comments:  This was a really good story. Well written, well read.  Iris, a 30-something with a complicated love life, discovers she has an unknown great-aunt - Esme - that's been hidden away in an asylum for 61 years - since she was 16.  And there was absolutely no reason for it.  The story unfolds in many ways - in the memories of both Esme and her now-senile sister Kitty and in the current day happenings of Iris and Esme. The reader had a wonderful British/Scottish lilt and the story was quite mesmerizing. (It did leave me with a real sense of anger about mental-health issues and the little regard society had for women just a short time ago in our history.)

Goodreads synopsis:  In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital—where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years.
          Iris’s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face. 
          Esme has been labeled harmless—sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?
          A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page.

June Letterboxing

EVENT:  Get Your Kicks on Route 66 - June 4, 2016
I went to a large event just outside Washington, DC at Watkins Regional Park.
Found my 100th Letterbox there!

Found new boxes in Maine AND Pennsylvania.
I love doing this with Brendan and Ella.  And now, Laura's decided to try, and got Tristan a stamp, too.  She says he's most interested in stamping the Power Rangers, though.....

P2 F120 X61

New in June:
Traditional: 21 finds (now 120)
       1 new PLANT (Shel Silverstein Poet Tree at Bosler Library)
HH: none new, still 9F
Postals: 12 new finds (now 110)
        1 new plant (Pick a Few)
        1 new tracker created (Flower Garden)
LTCs: 1 new plant:  ANP on MDI for Hometown Postcards 2
     (now 3P and 28 F)
Personal Travelers:  14 Found at the Rte. 66 Event (now 54 found)
Event Boxes: 14 Found at the Rte 66 Event (now 34 found)

Carves:  1 new - Pick Me a Few for the Flower Garden Tracker
Repurposed:  Shel Silverstein Poetree became a traditional plant
                      Park Loop Road (favorite drives) became Hometown Postcards 2 LTC


Monday, June 27, 2016

Postcards Received Monday, June 27, 2016

411.  Portland, Oregon
This was a card received from the Letterbox Tracker Hometown Postcards 2 from Belless

412.  Colorado Springs: Olympic City USA
This was a card received from the Letterbox Tracker Hometown Postcards 2 from The Woodshed

413.  Delft, Netherlands
Mark van Huystee
Hi Chris,  I picked you a card by a local artist whose work I admire.  This is a city-centre picture and the bide just belongs there.  Of course there's also Delft blue (pottery) and loads of history, too.  I love my city!  Happy Postcrossing

414.  New York City, NY
Helmann:  In His Mysterious Cabinet of Dark Seances
Courtesy of Mike Caveney's Egyptian Hall Museum
Hi Chris,
I have all these cool magic-themed postcards, but I've felt like they're a little too weird for most postcrossers.  I'm glad you mentioned Day of the Dead.  I hope you enjoy whatever Hellman is up to.  I also hope that you're having a fabulous start to your retirement...Congrats!  Happy postcrossing!  Mary in NYC

415.  Vitedsk, Belarus
Hello!  My name is Dasha, I'm 20.  I study at the university in the field of history.  Postcrossing addiction, I enjoy reading, Belarus: an ethnography and medicine, history, traditions, rituals, cuisine.  Oh my country is very interesting and colorful.  My country has passed many tests in the form of wars, conquests, the change of power.  Our architecture is very distinctive and is not inferior to European.  For more information you can get acquainted with my country on this site:  The postcard shows the view of the city of Vitedsk - the northern capital of Belarus.  Regards!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Postcard Received Friday, June 24, 2016

410.  Erie Shop & RR Yards, Susquehanna, PA
This was a card received from the Letterbox Tracker Hometown Postcards 2 from Aunt Cake

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Postcards Received Thursday, June 23, 2016

408.  Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Gijs Gans - uit Mamma Belle en het Dierenspel
Hi Chris,
My name is Erato and I'm Greek, but I live in the Netherlands.  The card falls not in your likes or dislikes and it's quite original, that's why I chose it for you.  Have you ever been to Europe?  I've never been the the USA but my dream is to go to Alaska and stay there for awhile!
Enjoy your retirement and always smile!

409.  Illinois Railway Museum; Union, Illinois
Hi Chris!  I'm a college student in Chicago, majoring in elementary education.  I'll be student teaching starting in January.  I would like tot teach first through fourth grades once I finish school, but I'm flexible!  Take care, Matt

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Postcard Received Wednesday, June 22, 2016

407.  Neva River and the Peter & Paul Fortress from the Palace Embankment; St. Petersburg Russia 
(card sent from Spain)
Hello!  I'm from Spain, but now I'm in the big trip on the gulf of Finland.  And sending you greetings from amazing city - St. Petersburg.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Postcards Received Monday, June 20, 2016

405.  Jarkarta, Indonesia
Hello Chris, I am Sititie. Greetings from equator.
Most people in Indonesia eat rice as a main food, that's why farmers do rice planting to provide enough rice.  Here we do in traditional way as you see in postcard.  When harvesting season comes, they also cut the paddy with manual, not by machine.
Best wishes &Happy Postcrossing.
Regards:  Sititie

406.  Germany
Hello Chris,
Greeting from Germany!  I wish you all the best, good luck and health.  Happy Postcrossing, Andreas

Sunday, June 19, 2016

PICTURE BOOK - A Year of Borrowed Men by Michelle Barker

Illustrated by Renne Benoit
1st published in Canada in 2015; US publishing in 2016 by PajamaPress (Canada
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.78 (23 ratings)
My rating: 4 
Illustrations: "The illustrations are rendered in watercolour and coloured pencil, with a little pastel, on paper."
1st line/s:  "I was seven when the French prisoners of war arrive at our house.  It was 1944.  Mummy told us the government had sent them because all our men were gone to war, and someone needed to keep the farms running.  She said we were just borrowing the French men.  When the war was over, we would give them back."

My comments:  This WWII picture book for older kids was not told from the "usual" point of view.  How often do we consider what it was like for the average German family during that time?  Based on a true story, Gerta's family take on three French prisoners-of-war to work their large farm while her father is away fighting in the German army.  The Frenchmen must stay in the "pig kitchen" and Greta's mother will be taken to jail if they treat them in any un-prisoner-like way.  However, Greta makes friends with them, finding them kind.   It's a great story to show still another point-of-view during wartime, one not too often told. 

Goodreads: When World War II borrows the men in six-year-old Gerda s family, the German government sends them three new men in return: Gabriel, Fermaine, and Albert, French prisoners of war who must sleep in an outbuilding and work the farm until the war is over. Gerda knows they are supposed to treat the men as enemies, but it doesn t seem fair. Can t they invite them into the warm house for one meal? What harm could it do to be friendly? Writing from her mother s childhood memories of Germany during World War II, Michelle Barker shares the story of one family s daring kindness in a time of widespread anger and suspicion. Renne Benoit s illustrations bring warmth to the era, showing the small ways in which a forbidden friendship bloomed: good food, a much-loved doll, a secret Christmas tree. Family photographs and an Author s Note give further insight into the life of Gerda, the little girl who proved that it isn t so far from Feinde (enemies) to Freunde (friends)."

PICTURE BOOK - Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Illustrated by Dylan Metrano
2016, Orchard (an Imprint of Scholastic!)
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.35 (122 ratings)
My rating: 5, It's a beauty
Endpapers: Orange
Illustrations:  Layers of cut paper.  Bold.  Gorgeous.

My comments:  What a lovely way to illustrate a poem.  The amazing illustrations are layered cut paper.  A perfect picture book!The 4-page Afterward explains a bit about each bird, with a smaller size replica of the illustration.

The poem: 
Every day we watch the birds
weaving through our sky.
We listen to their calls ans songs.
We like to see them fly.
Chickadee wears a wee black c ap.
Jay is loud and bold.
Nuthatch perches upside-down
Finch is clothed in gold.
Hawk hunts every day for prey.
Cardinal flashes fire.
Woodpecker taps hollow trees.
Crow rests on a wire.
Heron fishes with his bill.
Sparrow hops in brown.
Mockingbird has many voices.
Pigeon lives in town.
Eagle soars above the land.
Oriole hangs her nest.
Owl swoops soundlessly late at night.
Robin puffs his chest.
Hummingbird drinks flower nectar.
Goose flies in a V.
Bluebird sleeps at meadow's edge.
Gull states at the sea.
Every day we watch for birds
living right outside our door.
We pay attention to the birds.
Every day we learn some more.

Goodreads:  Young readers are fascinated with birds in their world. Every Day Birds helps children identify and learn about common birds. After reading Every Day Birds, families can look out their windows with curiosity--recognizing birds and nests and celebrating the beauty of these creatures!
          Every Day Birds focuses on twenty North American birds, with a poem and descriptions written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and beautiful paper-cuttings by first-time picture book illustrator Dylan Metrano. Interesting facts about each bird are featured in the back of the book.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

36. Lizzie and the Lost Baby - Cheryl Blackford

Book from Amelia Givin Library
2016 HMH Books for Young Readers
181 pgs.
Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Finished 6/18/16
Goodreads rating: 3.94 (90 ratings)
My rating:1/I had some definite problems with this book, and I can't even say it was okay...
Setting: WWII Yorkshire countryside

First line/s:  "Every window on the train had been painted black, blocking any possible view of the passing scenery."

My comments:  I hate to have to rate a book - any book -  less than a four, it makes me feel really bad. But I try to give my honest opinions in these reviews, even if sometimes I can't put my feelings into understandable words.  But I had some definite problems with this book.  Lots of stereotyping.  Lots of really bad adults.  Immoral, unethical ones.  What are we teaching kids?  I think a story about a brave girl is a great idea -- but even though there may have been huge amounts of unethical people in WWII Britain, I dislike the way the book portrayed the members of this community, including the police, as selfish, hateful idiots.  A whole community came together to house kids from the city, kids they didn't even know, to keep them safe, and then the individuals we come upon in the story itself have low ethics and morals? Kidnappers, liars, bigots...  Ridiculous.  Although this has some great information about WWII, safety issues, gypsies, etc., I won't be sharing it with any of my students or grandkids.

Goodreads synopsis:Cheryl Blackford's debut novel is set in England during World War II and told from the dual perspectives of ten-year-old Lizzie, a homesick girl evacuated from bomb-blitzed Hull to the remote Yorkshire valley, and Elijah, a local gypsy boy. When Lizzie discovers an abandoned baby, her dangerous friendship with Elijah is put to the test. Will Lizzie be able to find the baby's parents? And if she does, can she and Elijah remain friends in a world clouded by prejudice and fear

Postcards Received Saturday, June 18, 2016

403.  "Star of the East with Rising Suns, ca. 1870"
 Card from Easton, Kansas
Greetings fromthe Heartland!
Congratulations on your recent retirement from teaching.  It sounds like you are making the most of it!  We lived in Carlisle, PA from 1997 -1998 and really enjoyed our time there.  I, too, love quilting and I have many projects that I'm working on.  I recently read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  Great book!  Enjoy your summer!  Barbara

404.  Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Malaysia
Completed in late 1917, Perak's royal mosque was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback and ranks high on the lsit of Malaysia's most beautiful mosques.
Hello!  Greetings from Malaysia.  This is one of the beautiful historical mosques in the country. kkkhor

Friday, June 17, 2016

Postcards Received Friday, June 17, 2016

396.  Jiufen, Taipei, Taiwan
Dear Chris,
This is card from Taiwan.  My name is Li Yu Vou.  I am 28 years old.  There are a few sights in Taiwan you probably don't want to miss.  Jiufen is one of them.  If you have the opportunity I hope you can arrive to play.
Have a nice day.

397. Czech Republic
Hello Chris,
My name if Filip.  I live on Browsis.  I go to school Pneamost.  I am 14 years old.  My hobbies are cycling, cooking, sleeping and walking.  I go to seventh class.  My sister's name ua Poja,  My mother's name is Renatra and my father's name is Povel.  My dog's name is Bella.  Bye.

398.  Taiwan is Fun
Dear Chris,
My name is Louis.  I live and work in Taiwan.  I have been to visit USA several years ago.  It's a very beautiful country.  There are some famous landmarks of Taiwan.  I hope you like this postcard.  Best wishes, Louis

399.  Tom Purvis, British "East Coast Resorts"
a MOMA card from Hong Kong
I'm originally from Canada and have lived in Hong Kong over 9 years, teaching English.  It's a crowded, busy place, but interesting.  I've never been to your part of the world - haven't seen a lot of the USA.  Maybe someday I'll get there. 
Louis Porter

400.  Worcestershire Thatch, England
Hi kids,
What a great school project!  these houses date back before 1800 when slate for roofs started to become commercially available.  Today they are expensive to maitain, and difficult to insure because of fire risk.  But they look beautiful and there are still thousands around in the UK, and other parts of Europe.  I live in Droitwick, Worcestershire.
Best Regards, Duncan

401.  Lift Your Eyes!  Latvia
Dear Chris, my name is Ilze and I am 27.  I am writing you from Riga, Latvia.  It is a rural country in the northern Europe between the Baltic Sea and Russia.  Here we are only 2 million people.  We speak Latvian and we like to pick berries and mushrooms in the forest.  We also like the sea and everything about it.  We have cold winters and short summers but the nature id wonderful.  Have a nice summer!

402.  Berlin, Germany
Hello Chris!  I guess I never written to a person living on a "mt." before :)  Although your avatar doesn't look very mountainous :)  Ok, what you see on the front of this card is something famous (but not a building :) and Berlin Unique, a takeaway or sandwich bar called Konnopka's Imbib.  Should you ever visit Berlin don't miss a chance to try this one.  Wish you all the best, Andre
My reply to him:
Thanks so much for your card! I'm not sure why Mt. Holly Springs is named Mount. I lived for 30 years in Maine on Mt. Desert Island (which was an abbreviation for the way the French explorers named the Island of deserted mountains. They have plenty of conifers on them now!) My avatar is actually where I live during the school year, in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is in a valley between FOUR mountain ranges - and there's no Mount in the name. Go figure. I love your handwriting, by the way. Can you tell I'm a school teacher? Best, Chris