Finish #45 – Match Me If You Can

P7151784.JPGThe librarians would cringe…I took a library book on vacation! There wasn’t a lot of time to read, as we were either busy doing adventurous things or too tired to even pick up a book. But I still managed to get this one finished.

Finish #45 is Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (Yes, this is the third book of hers that I’ve read in a very short amount of time.) I enjoyed this tale of Matchmaker Annabelle and her client Heath. It was lighthearted and fun, and the secondary story line was intriguing also.

So, about those adventurous things…I thought I’d take the next few posts to share some of our stories and pictures. Once upon a time, many years ago, hubby and I managed to get away from our parenting duties for one singular night to see Les Miserables. On rare occasions, our three kids attended overnights at church which afforded us with a few hours of kid free time, but there was never enough time to actually go somewhere. But this year all three headed out of town on a mission trip, and we were left with several days in a row to do whatever we wanted.

What did we do?

We attacked the Bucket List.

We spent Sunday driving all the way to North Carolina. (It was a crazy long day as we’d had to get the kiddos to church by 4:30 a.m. For me, that’s practically the middle of the night!) We started Monday with a white water rafting trip. That bus in the photo doesn’t move, but it was kind of cool. Let me tell you something about myself. I hate water activities. I think it all goes back to a bad experience at swimming lessons when I was a kid. I don’t like boating. I am terrified of kayaks. But I braved (sort of and very badly) the teeny tiny rapids in a two-person inflatable kayak because hubby wanted to go. I found the whole experience quite terrifying. When hubby had to get out of the kayak and get us unstuck from a rock, I had horrifying visions of him freeing the kayak and the kayak zipping down the river with me in it and him left behind. (Obviously this particular activity was not on my bucket list.)

DSCN1413.JPGThe afternoon was spent horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains, which would tick off “ride a horse” from my Bucket List. Here’s what’s funny about that experience: We ended up wetter after horseback riding than we did rafting. It started to rain (after the photo was taken), and we found it refreshing at first when it was just dripping from the sky. But then it started to pour. The wind started to blow. The water sloshed in our shoes. Our clothes were drenched. The horses were slipping around in the mud. But my horse, Buck, got me back safely, I didn’t end up falling off into a pile of nasty horse stuff, and hubby’s horse-riding Auntie told me “you rock” for making it through that exciting ride when she heard about it later!

DSCN1421.JPGStay tuned for more vacation excitement!

Finish #44 – The Modern Magi

P7061781.JPGFinish #44, The Modern Magi by Carol Lynn Pearson, was a quick, but thought-provoking, read. Seriously quick. I think it took me about 30 minutes to finish. I actually picked this book up to complete a square for our library summer challenge. The challenge was to read a book that you could read in one day. I was so busy reading other things that I missed out on picking this up in June. Then July rolled around and that challenge was not one of the July challenges. I decided to read it anyway. I’m glad I did.

The main character in The Modern Magi is Annabelle Perkins. She wants to go to Bethlehem to give Jesus a gift. That’s all I’ll say. Saying anymore would ruin the story for those who want to read it. With less than 100 pages, you can’t say too much without giving away the plot!

So Luna, the dog who should be an Internet sensation but isn’t, had a bad experience this week. My daughter says, “Some people ride the ‘struggle bus.’ Luna lives on it.” Other daughter says, “Do all dogs have this much trouble?” Having never owned a dog before, I’m clueless how to answer that question.

We returned from our evening walk, and Luna was shaking her head vigorously, rubbing her face on the floor, and panting madly. We took her to the basement to cool her off, and finally the panting subsided. The kids peppered us with pleaIMAG0618.jpgs to call the vet. After paying one “after hours emergency fee” when she tangled with a  porcupine, we weren’t too thrilled at the idea of paying another. So, making our kids think we were horrible pet owners, we decided to just wait and see. Waiting and seeing involved Luna’s head on my lap and a cool rag on her face. Within no time, she was back to her usual self, tail wagging and acting like nothing had happened. This little gal had better stop finding trouble!   IMAG0620.jpg

Finish #43- The Great Escape

P7061780.JPG Finish #43 is The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. After getting through David Copperfield, it was so nice to read something a bit “fluffy.” (I love “fluffy” books. Always have. One of my elementary school teachers complained at a parent/teacher conference to my mom that I read too much “fluff.” I liked that teacher a bit less after that remark! And I didn’t change my reading habits either. Back then it was all about Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High.) I figure I now read enough serious non-fiction and classics to balance out the “fluff.” But really, reading is supposed to be pleasurable, an escape, a way to relax. If all we read are “deep,” serious tomes, then there goes the pleasure, escape, and relaxation. (And I know, after reading 2 books in a row about human trafficking last December, that all that deep stuff can be downright depressing if not balanced out with something enjoyable.)

The Great Escape was the second book I’ve read by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In Call Me Irresistible (Finish #38), we met Lucy Jorik (the main character of The Great Escape) very briefly as she ran away from her looming nuptials. She’s back in this book as the main character. The story was enjoyable, the characters interesting.

I mentioned recently that I was working on sewing up flannel squares into blankets (with the help of my kids who did a great job pressing seams) that we will take to a “baby pantry” or somewhere similar. I’m happy to report that seven blankets have been completed. (See photo below of one of the 5 girlie blankets. I only ended up with 2 boyish ones.) I think I may be able to finish one more with some remaining squares. But there’s a problem: I purchased flannel to back the blankets, and I bought toooo much! The goal was to use up the flannel I had, not get more! I’m thinking there might be some new pajama pants in my future, because I just can’t even think about cutting or sewing one more flannel square right now.

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Finish #42 – David Copperfield

P6281778.JPGFinished. Finally! Insert big sigh of relief here. It’s not that the book was so awful that I’m sighing in relief. It wasn’t. It was just so darned long. That deceptively cute little book, smaller in both width and length than most books, with it’s golden-edged sides packed over 1200 pages. I thought reading it would go quickly, since with its more compact size it should have less words per page, thus meaning those pages would be flipped faster, right? Was I ever wrong.

Nine weeks and a few days. (Those few days over nine weeks being days that I’m now paying a fine to the library for having an overdue book.) That is how long this book has been in my possession. It would have taken me less time to read had I not kept reading other things at the same time. In an effort to get this thing off my “plate,” I’ve spent the last three afternoons lazily languishing on the couch whilst straining my eyeballs as I plowed through the remaining 400 pages.

So, Finish #42 is David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

I don’t really know what possessed me to pick this book up off the library shelf. It may have been its previously mentioned cute small size and gold-edged pages. I’m a sucker for little, cute, shiny things. But I think what made me stick it in my library bag were the names of the characters I caught sight of as I leafed through the pages. Who could resist getting to know characters named Peggotty, Murdstone, Heep, Ham, Traddles, and Trotwood?

There’s one thing you can say about Charles Dickens: he doesn’t skimp on description. As I mentioned to my Facebook friends, the only thing he neglects to tell us is when the main character uses the restroom or takes a breath. I. Am. Not. Kidding. But all this description can be a good thing. Especially in the case of Uriah Heep’s character. If you need a reason to pick up David Copperfield, then Uriah Heep is a good one. I can’t think of one character in any book that has ever inspired such loathing. You just want to stick around to see him get what’s coming to him.

I think that I will read more Dickens in the future…perhaps not the near future, as I’m Dickens-ed out at the moment…simply because he is a master at creating characters that you either love or hate.

Finish #41 – Last Light

P6231774.JPGNo, Finish #41 is not David Copperfield. I’m still plugging away at that one. Only around 500 more pages to go! Finish #41 is Last Light by Terri Blackstock. I listened to this audiobook while working my way through those flannel squares that I mentioned previously. Thankfully, I’ll finish up with those flannel squares about the same time I finish up David Copperfield. (Both have been monumental tasks!)

I’ve never read (or listened to) a book by Terri Blackstock until this one. I picked it up because I liked the sound of the plot. I would have enjoyed it much more with different characters. The story takes place during a time when all power has been knocked out in the United States (and perhaps in the world, but we aren’t told so). It’s a great idea for a story. I just couldn’t stand most of the characters. For example, the main family in the story goes to Walmart to purchase items that they feel are necessary to get through this power outage. The mom put hair dye on her list of necessities. Seriously, you’d think about hair dye?? The daughter, who is SUCH A WHINER, wants make-up. It’s so preposterous that I can’t even wrap my head around it!

The story does make a person think, however, about how we would fair should such an event occur in real life.

Enjoy your weekend! I’m hoping to get in a bike ride if the weather cooperates, some David Copperfield reading, and some more flannel square sewing.