Another Treat in the Mail: Myrtle’s Game by Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange

This has been quite a week for receiving packages from afar. On Monday, a box of oranges and lemons came from my blogging friend Betsy. Today, it was a book—Myrtle’s Game by the mother and daughter team Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange. Myrtle’s Game was sent all the way from Canada by the author herself. Oh, the wonderful world of blogging!

Myrtle’s Game, the sequel to Myrtle the Purple Turtle, is a bold, vibrant picture book featuring the irrepressible Myrtle and her friends. The story opens with them playing water soccer. They are, after all, turtles.  But then the turtles notice other woodland animals playing soccer on land.  When they ask to be included, Myrtle and her friends are snubbed. They are told that because they are turtles, they are too slow for playing the game on land.

While their feelings might be hurt, Myrtle and her friends are not discouraged, and they come up with a way to be included in the game. Most young readers will have had experiences similar to Myrtle and her friends. Because of this, children will be able to identify with the turtles and admire their persistence. By the end of the story, a lesson is learned, and it is a good one.

Jo Robinson’s vivid illustrations are both energetic and friendly, exactly right for young readers.

Along with the book, Cynthia sent me a magnet, which is now on my refrigerator.

What better words for these times, when some “shells” are considered better than others?

Vive la différence!

 

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A Dog for All Seasons

Today is the anniversary of the birthday of our beloved dog, Liam. He would have been fourteen years old. As regular readers know, we had to have Liam put down last May, and there is still a lump in my throat whenever I think of him.

How Clif and I loved that dog buddy, and that love stayed constant right to the end, when caring for him was a lot of work. But we never begrudged him any of our time. Love really does make all the difference, whether for an animal or a person.

Here are some pictures of Liam through the seasons. He loved being outdoors, especially in the winter, and truly was a dog of the north. He was also always ready for a lark, and if I had to use one word to describe Liam that word would be “joy.”

A Sunny Gift on a Cold Day

Normally, I don’t post two pieces on my blog in the same day, but I just received a box of these beauties from my blogging friend, Betsy, all the way from sunny California. So today I am making an exception.

Holy cats, this gift of oranges and lemons made my day! Many, many thanks, Betsy, for  your wonderful generosity. Oh, how beautiful they are.

And to think they grew in Betsy’s own backyard. While I love living in Maine, I have to admit that I would be thrilled beyond description to actually be able to pick oranges in my backyard.

Again, Betsy, thanks so much!

A Warm Bear of a Place

Yesterday, we took our books and illustrations to Bear Bones Beer in Lewiston, Maine. It was part of a pop-up event sponsored by the Sunday Indie Market.

While we didn’t sell many books—it was a fairly quiet January Sunday at Bear Bones—we had one heck of a good time. First of all, Bear Bones is such a warm, inviting place to gather, whether you’re a beer drinker or not. There are wooden tables with chairs scattered here and there as well as comfortable chairs in front of a gas fireplace. (Alas, we did not take more pictures of the charming interior. What were we thinking?) In short, Bear Bones has a great vibe, a place to come on a cold day, to meet people and talk.

And talk we did, mostly with the other delightful vendors. We were lucky enough to be next Nate and Megan Chasse of Sweet & Savory Bakehouse. My oh my, what good bakers they are! Nate generously gave us a bag of mixed bagels, which we had with soup when we got home. Their bagels taste tangier than most bagels, and Clif and I had to be firm with ourselves and stop with just one each. We learned that Nate went to culinary school and that he and Megan are able to support themselves with the proceeds from their bakery.  Go team, Chasse!

I also had some time to sit in a comfy chair by the fireplace. I chatted with Sheri Withers Hollenbeck, one of the organizers of the Sunday Indie Market in Lewiston, and her mother, Bonita. So lovely to get to know them.

Food is not served at Bear Bones, but customers are allowed to bring in their own from other places. In a table not from where we were set up, a man brought in a whole cheese cake, which he shared with Nate and Megan and Clif and me. He even provided plates and spoons for us. It’s that kind of place.

When our stint was over, Clif got a baby beer—a $3 hobbit-sized glass of the Bear Bones IPA.  A nice way to end the day.

Readers, if you live in the Lewiston area and want a warm place to go on a cold winter’s day, head to Bear Bones Beer. They also host events such as trivia nights and open mics, so check out their events page before you go.

 

 

My Love of the Little Things in My House

Confession time: I am someone who loves little things—call them knickknacks, tchotchkes, whatever—and my house is filled with them. They make me feel cozy, and not surprisingly I think the sparse, modern style is cold and uncomfortable. Everywhere I look in my house, there is something that makes me smile, and here is a small sample of what’s tucked in various rooms.

There is a lovely blue wall ornament that my blogging friend Shari made and sent to me.

A little wolf given to me by my friend Beth.

A handmade glass ornament given to me by mother, who has been dead for ten years. Whenever I look at it, I think of her.

A glass bluebird, given to me by my son-in-law, Mike, sitting in a woven basket given to me by my friend Judy.

A pottery bowl, with my favorite shape—the spiral—given to me by my daughter Dee.

There is a pattern here, I know. These little things were given to me by other people, and they were chosen thoughtfully.  All of them are handmade by somebody, if not the person giving me the gift, and this is true of many of the little things I have tucked here and there.

Time for some qualifications. I understand a dirty, cluttered home can feel as uncomfortable as a sparse one. I also understand that there can too much of a good thing, and in fact, nowadays, I hardly ever bring in anything to add to my collection of little things. Finally, I  understand that from an environmental point of view, buying too much stuff is not good at all.

But bucking the current trend of decluttering, I will not be getting rid of my little things—which bring me so much pleasure—anytime soon.

 

 

 

A blog about nature, home, community, books, writing, the environment, food, and rural life.