“…how does this not make a child narcissistic?”

And BTW, I cannot spell narcissistic without spell check. Fortunately, there aren’t very many words that are similar so the spell checker has no trouble at all. Love the spellchecker. Nice spellchecker.

On to the point in a roundabout way. I have always loved polar bears. I think they’re awesome. Scary big, scary big teeth, but talk about perseverance. I’m a big fan of bears of all kinds, but the polar bear is just inspiring.

My mom knows this about me. So for my birthday she gave me a polar bear stuffie (almost wrote stuffed polar bear, not quite the same thing). So soft! So white! So pretty! Love it. I gave it a flamingo stuffie with a tutu for a buddy. They’re all set.

There’s a tag on the bear interfering with the the placement of the flamingo’s wings in the perma-hug I’m arranging. (Yep, I’m unable to avoid anthropomorphizing my stuffies, so they all get buddies and hugs.) What’s this tag? Oh, it’s a children’s book? Would it be good for my way-off future grandchildren? Hmmm, let me look that up.

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. Reviews were mixed: some people loved it, others not so much…totally normal responses. But this book seems to inspire strong opposing emotions. It celebrates the birth of the child to whom you are reading. This is good! We want our children to feel loved and supported. But, according to the reviewers, it does so with extreme examples, like, the moon stayed up ’til morning just because of you. Also flowery poetry and very pretty pictures. One reviewer said “I liked the illustrations, but how does it not make a child narcissistic?”

I can see both sides and I’m torn. To buy or not to buy? When your baby is brand new, isn’t that how you feel about them, as if that child has hung the moon all by herself? Every child–every person–should feel they are amazing, unique, wonderful, special. On the other hand, by the time they get to be about seven, if that “you’re the center of the universe” message has stuck, boy howdy are those parents in for a rough ride. Not to mention the kid. Who’s going to tolerate that attitude in a playmate?

So, is this book doing your kid any favors? Yes? No? As I mentioned before, my grandkids are a far-off plan, so I have time for some more research. What say you? Who’s familiar with this book? Would you recommend it? Should I get it and then stop reading it to them at a certain age? Gotta read to kids, for sure, but it’s the better part of wisdom to choose those books with care.

Clip art drawing of a double-crust, red-berry pie. I myself prefer custard pie, but this is a nice little picture.

Oh, and Happy Pi Day! I haven’t been much of a mathematician since before middle school algebra, but I appreciate those who are! Here’s the Wikipedia article on Pi Day. Also, there’s a website called www.PiDay.org. I couldn’t get it to load, but maybe it will be easier later or on another day. The could be overwhelmed with millions of people wanting more information about Pi!

Review of “Wild Country”

Wild Country (The World of the Others, #2; The Others, #7)

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wish I could give 4.9 stars, but I rounded up. This story is ultimately about two diverse groups facing a third in conflict. I have to say I hoped they’d do a bit better in the end than they did. That’s vague, I know, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers. I’ll just say this didn’t have quite the optimism at the end that I’m used to in this world, even with all the craptastic stunts the humans pull. Sigh. But it was still amazingly awesome and wonderful. Just the tiniest fraction disappointing at the very end, which tends to linger in the mind. I’ll still keep and reread it. It’s still one of my all time favorite series. Absolutely worth your time, without even the tiniest fraction of doubt.



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Graduation Quilts of 2018…and 2019?

Blue and white fabrics framing farm animal photos and drawings of farm life

My daughter has Angelman Syndrome, which gives her admittance to that exclusive club known as the Developmental Learning Classroom. In our case, this is a mixed-age group of anywhere from twelve to fifteen kids, and in 2018 five of them were graduating while my daughter was still a sophomore.

Red, black, and white pinwheel quilt made with Portland Trailblazers fabric.
Portland Trailblazers Pinwheel Quilt. While I was designing this, I really, really wished for basketball fabric to complement it.

Now, I’m a life-long fabric addict, especially–but certainly not exclusively–quilting fabric. I have enough of it stacked on shelves in my basement sewing room that my husband has been known to call it insulation. I also have a lot of Un-Finished Objects (UFOs). I’ve even joined a monthly class at a local quilt shop that rewards you for finishing your UFOs.

So, when I learned that there were five graduating kids–young, emerging adults who had worked incredibly hard to achieve milestones such as walking and feeding themselves, or learning to write their own names–I thought hey, I can make graduation quilts for these kids. They totally deserve it, and that’ll be five more finished projects!

Big pink heart quilt with multi-colored borders
Angela’s Hearts Quilt

Did I think about the fact that I already had UFOs I could finish and give to them? Well, yes, but these kids deserved their own custom quilts. None of my UFOs had Trailblazers, OSU Beavers, or Star Wars fabric.

Did I think about the fact that I’d have to start these projects from scratch, and I only had two months until graduation? There was no possible way to get them back from a long-arm quilting business in time (there’s always a back-list) so I’d even have to quilt them myself.

Gulp.

Blue and white fabrics framing farm animal photos and drawings of farm life
Animals on the Farm Quilt

I won’t get into the angst- and urgency-filled saga of actually making those quilts, but they did get finished (yay!) even though they were a few days late (boo). I had to deliver them to a classroom empty of kids because school was over for the year by the time they were finished. The teacher assured me she would put them in the office and let the families know they were there.

I still don’t know if they were ever picked up, liked, abandoned, ignored…It’s been eight months and I’ve heard nothing. Crickets.

Chirp, chirp.

For a while I was quite desperate to know how they were received. I kept hoping the teacher would email me to forward a note from one of the families, saying E. really likes his farm animal quilt, or A. loves her hearts and flowers. But as time passed I re-learned the lesson that there’s a certain peace in not knowing what other people think of what you’ve created.

Quilt with images of eight characters and the words "Star Wars The Last Jedi"
Star Wars Panel Quilt

I did the work and I’m proud of the results. I enjoyed the process. I used my training, experience, and creativity to make these soft, pretty things, and then I put them out into the world to warm someone else. I enjoyed them and then I shared them. From earlier experience I can assume that at least some of what I made was well-received and is being used and enjoyed. I don’t have to have the details. Making them brought me joy. So did giving them away.

Orange, black, and white quilt with pinwheels and a black border.
OSU Beavers Pinwheel Quilt. Can’t get it to go right side up.

I’ve already asked the teacher for a list of this year’s graduates. There are three. Two girls who both like music, and a boy who likes blue and green.

What will I come up with this time? I’m excited to dive in and find out.

Review of Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Polaris RisingPolaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! So excited for more from this debut author!

I got this book (galley) free from one of the signings at RWA2018 National Conference because the line was short and it was sci-fi romance, notoriously difficult to find. I had never heard of the author or the book before that. But hey, free, right?

When I got back to my room and read the back cover copy (bits of Jupiter Rising and Riddick with lots of new/original stuff), I was excited about it, and it was the first book I read of the 26 I brought home from the conference. Well done! Love the core story, love the tropes, love the worldbuilding, love the character development. There were a couple of “mistakes” because, hey, galley, and a couple of tiny nits I found about info sharing, but they didn’t detract from the story at all.

When I say I loved it, I mean that. I will keep it. I will read it again. I will look for it in its finished form. I will look for more from this author. So glad to have found this book!

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Review of Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, so even though I love Ilona and Gordon’s writing, I was not going to read this because I honestly couldn’t see how they could make Hugh sympathetic enough to be a hero rather than a ruthless villain. And I’m not just saying ruthless for effect. This man seriously has no ruth.

But I bought the book, and just like all their other books, I read it in every spare moment, to the exclusion of all other voluntary activities, until the end, because it was just that good. What makes this book amazing, besides the story, the characters (Elara rocks, Landon sucks, Rafael gets in some hits, the bad guys are scaaarrrryyyyy), the action, the setting, the magic, the twists and turns and timing, the pacing, the…everything…the best part is that they honestly achieved what I never expected them to. They made Hugh into a hero.

Don’t worry, Hugh is still a villain, depending on where you’re standing, but he…without giving too much away…he done good. And if you have not read anything else in this series, you can still get most of the impact of the character arcs in this book. Read it. The next one is going to be good too.

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