Monday, July 04, 2022

Visit to the Library

My granddaughter Alexia and I paid a visit to the library last week, mainly to pick up the two books she had placed on hold, but I came home with some books too, two that I had already read but didn't remember.  That's not a good recommendation at all.  This is Alexia's last summer visit with us as she moves into her dorm room next month to start her freshman year at the University of Nevada, Reno.

My eye was caught by a book on the "new books" display and it was so good that I read it in three days.  Paradise Falls: the true story of an environmental catastrophe.  Most often the nonfiction books I enjoy fall into the Dewey classification of the 900s, the subject classification for history and geography.  I avoid the 300s which is the social sciences, and especially 364 which is true crime - yuch.  This book was 363.738, almost a sure thing that it would be boring but I liked the cover.  What can I say?  Sometimes I can be very shallow.

I didn't realize until I got home that this was the retelling of the Love Canal and it wasn't boring at all.  Beginning in the 1940s Hooker Chemical began dumping barrels of unwanted chemicals into an old abandoned canal. They made no record of the contents once they were disposed of.  In 1977 residents in the Niagara Falls subdivision, with a playground and affordable homes, began experiencing pungent odors inside their houses.  Lois Gibbs, a housewife with no education past high school, began to organize residents and appeal to the authorities to fix the problem.  I realized as I came to the end of the book that ll homeowners agitating for remediation were women and all the authorities were men who dismissed them as "just" housewives.  Sound familiar?

Dr Beverly Paigen, an outspoken scientist, saw the crisis and led toxic waste studies in spite of clashing with state officials who subjected her to a harassment campaign that drove her and her husband from their major research posts at what was then Roswell Park Memorial Institute.  They relocated to California where they continued their research, and it wasn't until 1992 that she was vindicated.

Not all of the protestors were residents.  Sister Joan Malone was an activist who approached protest a different way, by buying stock in offending corporations so she could vote in the annul meetings.  Keith O'Brien, author of Fly Girls, has written a nail biter - two thumbs up!

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Back to Books

 


I've decided to change the focus of my posts to book reviews only.  All is well in the Campbell household but I was boring myself and suspect you were just as bored.  So books, here we go!

Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book that I literally could not put down. I think the way the story unfolds around six individuals and placed in six-story 100-year-old storage unit would make a great play. A near fatal incident in one of the elevators begs the question - who is at fault and is it an accidental or planned. I couldn’t read fast enough!!

True Biz by Sara Novic

This book is centered around a school for the deaf in Ohio, and even if you know someone who is hearing impaired, I promise you that you’ll see those lives in a different way. The challenge for me was to keep track of the multiple storylines: the head mistress who signs and her wife who does not, a teen whose mother forces her to wear an implant but refuses to learn to sign, the deaf teen whose family has a thread of genetic deafness and what happens when a baby is born hearing.

I came away with some unanswered question. What would it mean if a patrolman shouts at a deaf teen to stop, but they keep running? Of if they do need help but have no way to call the police. Of if a child in Child Protective Services declines to have a cochlear implant installed and the authorities overrule them. I think the movie CODA has given us all a lot to think about. The bottom line is - how can we effectively communicate.

I thank NetGalley, a book clearing house of sorts, for providing both of these books to me as advanced reader copies, so appreciated.  Two thumbs up to both!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

April !!

It seems like months pass before I think of something to blog about.  Once upon a time I was rabidly adding to my blog but it was a period of discovery, dyeing and spinning wool and learning to weave.  I'm past the period of discovery and am more about recollections.  The most recent time of interest was a trip to Reno for Delaney's third birthday party.

I haven't seen Delaney since October.  She and her daddy were watering the flower boxes in the front yard when we arrived.  I was thrilled when she saw me, ran across the front yard and jumped up into my arms.  After six months I was afraid that she wouldn't remember me.  She was transfixed by my sunglasses.  I was tempted to leave them with her.


The party was at her Aunt Katie's house where she played in the same sandbox that her college-age cousin played in.  She had to think about it.
Her mommy and daddy coaxed her on what to expect so she patiently waited for that special moment - opening presents!

She had also been coached in how to blow out her candle and she didn't want to share one second of it with anyone else, not even her uncle.
We were only in Reno for four days so ate out every night.  This meal was at the Golden Flower, our longtime favorite.  Alexia will be spending July with us again this year, her last summer before going to college in the fall.
The weather forecast was dire so we left a day early.  I was driving on this stretch and at the Summer Lake rest stop, two travel trailers pulled back onto the road into increasingly buffeting wind.  That's dirt, not snow that I'm navigating.  He put on blinkers and we limped along until the western edge of Silver Lake.  The dusty wind was blinding, a first for me.
We got home on Monday and on Friday I went with my friend Kathi to pick up her new loom from the Eugene Textile Center.  We shopped at Cosy, an aptly named yarn store, and ate at a nearby Chinese restaurant.  The weather was starting to turn so we called it a day and not a minute too soon.  A new front was creeping over the Cascades.
Kathi is a new weaver and her enthusiasm is catching.  It's been a while since I've put a project on my eight-shaft loom and I find my back tiring and needing frequent rests.  I've started using the elliptical trainer at the nearby rec center and boy do I need it.

I've started a second project on my four-shaft loom using silk that I bought from Little Knits out of Seattle.  Again, my back tires quickly so I'm inching along until my back gets stronger.

Then on Saturday we got this photo of Alexia and her band director acknowledging her as first-chair flute in the all-state band.  I wish we could have stayed the extra five days to see this but once again, the weather was calling the shots.
The next day we got this photo of Alexia and her prom dress.  They have been shopping for a while now and came up with this gown from Junkee's, a vintage shop.  It's the prettiest and cheapest - $24.95.  She doesn't have a prom date but is going with several friends.  









Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Books, Books, Books

 The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka

I struggled in the beginning to engage with this book. Otsuka narrated in the third person plural as she had in her first two books so it seemed kind of formulaic. I swam a mile before work for years and never connected with any of the other swimmers, so I didn’t get it and I just about gave up, until I realized this was Alice’s book, her story, and then I couldn’t read fast enough. I’m of an age where mothers are requiring memory care units and I have never read such a personal description of what one of those facilities is like, for the resident, for the family. Deeply moving.

Love and Saffron:  a novel of love, food and friedship.  Kim Fay

This slight volume is a tale of friendship told in alternating voices by the exchange of letters, beginning October 1962. Mrs. Imogen Fortier has written a monthly column for ten years about life in the Pacific Northwest which appears in the Northwest Home & Life magazine

Joan Bergstrom writes from her home in Los Angeles to congratulate her on her 10th year anniversary of the column and to let her know what an avid reader she is. Though she is 27 years old and Immy is 59, they become fast friends as the miles and the years between them evaporate. They challenge each other to explore foreign cuisines, share their feelings and recommend books.

Set in Seattle and Los Angeles in the early 1960s, the story unfolds against the backdrop of current events. They experience life in a slower pace, one we forget about, like driving into the city to see if the favorite bookstore has a book and then order it - no online, no Amazon! To say more would spoil the way the author slowly reels us in. I read it in one sitting, which the author had wanted readers to do. It’s like a satisfying meal.
 

With Love from London:  Sarah Jio
I loved this book from the very beginning and was delighted to enjoy it all the way through to the end. I found myself reflecting on Laila Lailani’s book, Conditional Citizens where she talks about groups whose rights are not guaranteed, one of those groups being women. Frank was powerful and wealthy and against him, Eloise was powerless to defend herself or her rights.

The story is a result of Frank’s actions told in alternating voices of Eloise and Valentina, with some romance here and there. Eloise willed her interest in her book store to Valentina and prepared a treasure hunt to help her daughter get to know her. I just finished reading on this snowy day, perfect reading weather. Valentina would approve.

What the Fireflies Knew.  Kai Harris
This is a coming-of-age story about a ten-year-old Black girl named Kenyatta Bernice or KB for short. She has lived all her life in Detroit with her mother, father and 14-year-old sister named Nia. Life has been good until shortly before her 11th birthday KB’s father dies, they lose the house and have to move into a rundown motel. In a desperate move, Mama takes the girls to live with her father, Granddaddy, in Lansing, Michigan, two hours from her home. KB and Nia are constantly at each other’s throats and when KB tries to make friends with the two White kids who live across the street encounters racism for the first time in her life.

Granddaddy doesn’t appear to want the girls and seems ill equipped to take care of them, yet he grows to the task and he grew on me. KB struggles to negotiate the difficult and awkward situations that keep popping up, and she meets family that she never knew she had who are indifferent to her. She remembered what her Momma told her, “In life, we’re going to get hurt. If we stay focused on that hurt, and nothing else, then we won’t ever be able to heal. But if we focus on the healing, well, then we’ll start to notice that hurt disappear.”

I appreciate the author’s sympathetic portrayal of these lives in such a way that I am invested and care deeply what happens to this family. I couldn’t stop reading and because I was on my Kindle, couldn’t fall asleep until after 2:00. It’s that kind of book.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Beach in February

We left Yachats and headed toward Netarts Bay for a few days.  Since we weren't in a hurry we left Hwy 101 and drove to the coast to have lunch at one of my favorite brew pubs, Pelican Brewery. 

As soon as we had ordered Ian went to find the restroom.  He said it was the most unusual one he'd every come across in a public setting.  He didn't notice the "All Gender" sign so was taken unawares that there are a dozen private stalls and a long trough for handwashing.  Later I took my turn and was pretty tickled that the men seemed to have such a difficult time understanding the facilities.  I hope we see more of this in time to come so men can stand in line for their turn, just like we women have done all our lives.
We took a drive up the coast to see the Cape Meares lighthouse, the only one we haven't seen yet.  In spite of the pouring rain, there was no shortage of tourists, ehecking it out.
It's a stubby lighthouse and was working until 1962, then when decommissioned, the first order Fresnel lenses were left in place for people like us to enjoy.
Well worth the trip!
We were staying at Netarts on the three-day holiday of Presidents Day.  There was no shortage of clammers during low tide.  I'd like to try it myself another time but we were just sightseeing.  I'm still laughing at this, the Tsunami Evacuation Shuttle.  There are warning signs everywhere so this little bit of levity was most welcome.
Part of the reason for this trip was for my cousin and I to get together for the first time in 52 years.  I last saw her at her father's funeral.  Christina had just been born and a few months after that, she and I flew to the Philippines where we lived for the next two years.  Our mothers weren't friends and none of us saw each other again until this trip.  The man who is researching our grandfather's history is the one who put us in touch.  She and her husband have run the Wheeler Marina for 42 years.  We had a great visit and there will be more.
The marina is breathtakingly beautiful.

Do you see the Wheeler alligator?
The plan was to drive back to Bend after we left Wheeler but that didn't happen. We stopped off at Newport for lunch at the Clear Water restaurant on our way back to Yachats and our B&B.  We ended up staying two extra days because a sneaker snow storm made the Cascades almost impassible.  After a month of near spring conditions we got caught by freak weather.  The drive home was miserable.  There's no place like home, there's no place like home!!
Newport Harbor Seals.







 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Yachats (pronounced YawHots)


We are at the beach!  Some days it's stormy and somedays it's not.  Some days we eat seafood and somedays we don't.

This is the mouth of the Yachats River on an almost sunny afternoon.
Just one of many seagulls.
We walked down last evening to say goodnight to the ocean.
We also said goodnight to an awful lot of seagulls.

We came across a guy serenading the ocean on our walk this morning.


Good night from Yachats.









Sunday, February 13, 2022

Time Flies

This is the best washing machine I have ever had.  The drum is huge so I'm able to do the laundry in fewer loads.  And the dingy sheets are bright white again.  I was feeling sorry for myself because the choices were limited to what would fit in this little laundry closet under the stairs, but no more.


One of my recent hikes was high above the Deschutes River.  It's beautiful in its own craggy way. 

I met these ladies through the community garden at our church and last week we decided to form a small hiking group.  Our first outting was on the Juniper Forest trails in the Badlands, east of Bend.  It's hard to believe that it's February when you look at this photo.
My weaving has taken a back seat to everything else but I finally finished a set of towels, a variation of Turned Taquete.  
I've wanted to participate in the guild's color challenge and this is the inspiration image I was given.
These are the colors I've chosen.

I've wound three quarters of the warp and this is how it's shaping up.  I'd like to finish winding and beam the warp tomorrow.  My weaving has been infrequent and the downside of that is my back gets tired quickly.  Usually winter is when I get the most weaving done.  If there's one thing I've learned through the pandemic, it's that there is no "usually" anymore.  And on that note I'm going to read on the patio since it's a sunny 63 degrees this afternoon.