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Book Review, Out of My Genre, But Great!

 

Nightwalkers by Inion N. Mathair

Nightwalkers: The Secret of Jessup

by Inion N. Mathair (Goodreads Author)

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Patti Hall‘s review

Aug 26, 14  
I bought and read this book in support of the mother-daughter writing team that I met online. Scary YA books are not my normal genre. I mean, I’m a grandma! From now on, I will read anything they write, no matter the genre.
Teenager, Renni, is a fine character who draws you into her life within minutes after meeting her in the first chapter. She interacts with her family and friends with honesty and openness. I love her curiosity and willingness to dig for answers.
All the characters are very well written and the authors are so good at keeping us guessing who is friend and who is foe. I like that.
There’s mystery, intrigue, first love and, yep, some danger. Nothing is black and white, and the truth is hard to come by, but Renni steadily works her way closer to the secrets of the town and her family.


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Book Review

I know, I know, I have a million books to review and I am so very far behind. I hope to get to more while I’m visiting my folks here in Alaska.

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier
The Lost Sisterhood
by Anne Fortier (Goodreads Author)

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Patti Hall‘s review 

Read in August, 2014

 

A hefty read at almost 600 pages, but worth every minute I spent reading it. I enjoy strong, brave, and curious female characters who look for solutions and are not stopped by challenges. And, wow, do they have some challenges!
This book gave me two such main characters, as well as a couple of others I admired. The three male leads were never a sure thing—were they good or evil? worthy of our leading ladies?– until they finally showed their true colors.
Every twist and turn, however dangerous or puzzling, fit into the bigger picture on the trail of the lives of the mysterious Amazons. Geography, history, love, mystery and a bit of magic thrown in made this roller coaster ride of a story great entertainment.
Two quests separated by thousands of years, yet both leading to a surprising conclusion. Fact and fiction are stirred together and the reader comes out wondering…hmmm, maybe a little research will quench my thirst for more information about this amazing sisterhood?


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Alaska: Picture Snippets

Once in awhile the bug hits and I have more than a caption-worth of words for some of my photos. These were taken in the last day or so. Their more like snippets of stories, rather than full blown stories. Hence, the weird title

P1170078I am not a sun worshiper. This umbrella used to block the sun, in addition to the huge one over the table. The chickadees kept flitting past it, so I thought I’d try to snap a photo of their shadows going past. No such luck. However, I did capture a large moth’s shadow.

P1170082 Speaking of moth’s, this one came for a visit at my table. I took some photos, then it simply disappeared! I sat my camera down and as the lens closed the moth jumped off…he had hopped from the table to my camera lens.

P1170089Another visitor, a chickadee, I believe. They come each evening, between 7:30 and 8:00 to gather seeds from the feeder. My folks put all the feeders away when the bears wake up, so as not to attract them to their yard. I risk it all and have one clandestine feeder and one suet tray. Please don’t tell my dad…or the bears.

P1170084When mom and I took Sophie back to my brother’s house, I learned something new. I learned about Larch trees. My brother has a row of them at the front of his property and I went to explore what mushrooms might be growing beneath them (none).  The tree is a deciduous conifer, meaning that it sheds its leaves (needles) in the fall. It has hard, waterproof wood and is often used in building boats. It smells wonderful, but the best thing was the feel of the needles. They are very very soft!

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Here is Sophie…watching the birds, begging me to get off the deck, and trying out all the seats in mom’s car. She really really wanted to come back with us. It took all three of us to get her out and get Cee Cee in.

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On the way home from Michael’s house, I pulled in to take photos of these awesome weeds. That’s when mom told me that her and dad had rented the house we were parked behind, when they moved back to Alaska in the mid-80’s. Weird, I never knew that and we’ve driven by it a million times. Anyway, cool weeds, huh? Fireweed.

P1170109 My parents rented this house in the mid-80's P1170110Last, but not least, a fresh bouquet of mom’s sweet peas for my sister, Michaela (1964-2012). She gets store-bought flowers from dad in the winter and fresh flowers out of the garden from mom in the summer.

P1170092I hope you enjoyed these snippets.

Patti


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Birthdays; Cherished Memories Revisited

Paul swinging in the sunshine. PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul swinging in the sunshine.
PHALL PHOTO 2008

I originally posted this just after I started my blog, and again in 2013, but I wanted re-post it in honor of Paul’s birth date this year. Paul loved celebration, surprises and family. I remember this last birthday before he was diagnosed with leukemia. We lined our merged five grand daughters up on the couch and took pictures. We so loved our little girlies :>)

Paul is/was a Leo and loved being in the lime light on his special day, okay, on any day. He was very quiet about his pride of place, but if you knew him well, loved him, you could see the glow of it in his bright blue eyes and that smile…

I gave him this 3-D NASCAR card that he kept next to his chair for months; he’d never seen anything like it and I think he loved it better than his actual gift. He loved getting gifts, but that was nothing compared to how he loved finding the perfect thing for someone special. He was very into the drama of giving gifts.

We went out to eat with friends 3 times a week and one of the places was at the local casino. While waiting in line, you pass the gift shop. We’d often have our friends hold our place in line, while we looked in the display cases. I’d oooh and ah over the pretty, shiny things, then we’d move back into the line waiting to get in for dinner.

That Christmas, I had a lot of gifts in all sorts of shapes and sizes. By the time all the gifts were opened, I saw what he had done. He used his casino points and bought me every piece of jewelry I had made noise about at the gift shop during the past year! Crazy guy. Thankfully, he also bought me a jewelry armoir to put it all in.

Enjoy…

A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written for his birthday, 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, NASCAR, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,

Patti

Sorry about the quality of this photo. I snapped it on my way out the door. This is Paul’s part of a little alter I have in my beach cave, for all those we’ve lost the last few years.

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Alaska: A Walk With Mom and The Dogs

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Sophie’s legs on the left, Cee Cee on the right, mom in the middle and gaboodles of mushrooms dot the ground.

We took a break from framing and painting. Our mission was to enjoy some time in the woods with Cee Cee, a Brussels Griffon (possibly part Ewok) and Sophie, a Rottweiler /Pit bull (mostly creampuff). Sophie lives with my brother most of the time, so we picked her up from there and went on our merry way.

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Peters Creek in August is a mushroom haven! I found one of my coolest specimens here. I am certainly no expert, but am learning fast! The info I found says this Coral Fungus, Hericium is very edible and tastes like crab, of all things. And no, I don’t eat wild mushrooms…yet!

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Will check in with more Alaska news soon,

Patti, the ‘shroom hunter

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn :)

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn 🙂


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Over My Head Again?

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Alaska Visit: August 7-Sept 29, 2014

The days are slow and easy; no care-giving or worry about the physical or emotional pain of a loved one. Mom, dad and I have had a lot of practice living together in this tiny house over the last several years. We all have our own mini orbit and rotate around each other quite smoothly. That’s the slow and easy part of my story.

The crazy over-my-head part includes this art thing. Like her mother before her, my mother is a prolific visual artist. She dabbles in all sorts of painting media; oil, acrylic and water color. Grandma pushed her art even further and used charcoal and chalk also. She worked leather and embossed copper and had her own ceramics shop.

About 25 of Mom’s paintings will be hanging in a gallery/cafe in Eagle River during the month of September. She is a shy and humble artist and will not let me plan a meet and greet opening event. Meanwhile, guess who is framing these paintings? You got it, me.

I have never framed anything in my life, okay, besides a photo or two in a ready-made frame. I was over my head with the first painting. I’ve learned a lot as I moved on to the next and the next. I think I have about 16 finished. I’ll probably go back to the first few and re-do them.

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Mom continues to paint, so the tiny house is filled with framing materials, a large tote of finished work, mom’s easel and paints and brushes, and paintings leaning every which way, in various stages of completeness. Some are even drying out on the deck. Visitors and the three of us have a choice of one or two places to sit, if we are lucky.

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When will this madness end?! Ten more days, and we will take the whole lot to the gallery. I still have to write ads and make a template to label each painting.

The joy here is watching my mom work her talent. Grandma died in 1977, but she is all around; in the smells of paints, the materials all about, and in the similarity of their (mostly) Alaska painting scenes. I lived with my grandma for a month when I was about 14. Her home was filled with the same smells and art materials and inspiration. I’m as inspired and amazed by mom’s talent as I was of grandma’s.

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I’m still deciding whether I should thank or curse my sister who sent me the ticket to be part of this craziness. Maybe a little of both.

Over My Head In Alaska,

Patti

 


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Funny Things Happened On My Way To Alaska

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I traveled from home (my Maggie cave) in Westport, WA to Centralia, WA on August 6th (Happy Birthday, Gwen!). I had another wonderful sleepover with my 3 little grands and 2 step-grands.They ate dinner on the mini picnic table and splashed in the wading pool. I was a nail polish whiz; everyone got purple toe and fingernails with sparkles on top.

Daughter Sara made hand-picked blackberry pies, so we had pie and ice cream and whipped cream and popcorn…well you get the idea. I sent Sara and Caleb to the movies, while the 5 little ones and I cozied up on the couch and futon in front of the big screen T.V. to watch movies until nearly midnight!

The next afternoon, I picked son Jon (Happy 25th on the 8th!) up from his job and we stopped in the nursing home to see Uncle Smitty. He got a slice of Sara’s pie as a bonus 🙂 We took more pie to Uncle Jim and Pam and had a quick visit and a few hugs. I also had a quick visit with Aunt Judee at her antique shop.

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It was a busy day-and-a-half in Centralia, then I was off to Sea-Tac airport for my late flight to Anchorage on the 7th.

It was incredible watching the last bit of color of the sunset to the north and the moon glow off the tops of the clouds and the water below, to the south (from my window seat in the airplane). Aside from flying over the glaciers on my way to Homer a few years ago, this was the most beautiful flight I’ve been on.

My parents picked me up from the airport and we caught up on the latest news until about 3 in the morning! They are night owls too.

Hope all is well with you and yours. I’ll be back with more soon.

Take Care,

Patti

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