• Learning and Exploring

    My (Lack of) Travel Experience

    I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs lately (am I late to this or have they particularly exploded recently?). I’m not well-traveled, but I’d like to improve that. But I will never be a traveler of the sort on these blogs. I’m a homebody, I burn out easily, and I’m not usually ever all that interested in one thing (rather extreme and also, boring, imo), so I’d prefer travel as a part of my life not THE focus. And I’m afraid I would start to quickly not see it as exciting and interesting; I’d rather keep it a bit rare and special (that is a theme with me; if I read or watch something to many times I can almost hate it). Anyway. I thought I’d highlight some of my and my family’s travel experience. I will be in Florida soon!

    My mom’s family took road trips all over the days when she was growing up. My grandparents have taken many trips all over the U.S. in their retirement. They’ve visited Canada and Israel as well, and my grandmother visited Switzerland. My Dad’s family moved from Texas to our current (my and my Mom’s family’s) state, but I don’t know if they ever traveled again. I was born in Michigan as my Dad worked there for several years after college, and then we moved back. Dad’s job has taken him all over the world, but he isn’t adventurous. Even though we were home-schooled, he didn’t take any of us with him overseas. We have, however, traveled with him domestically. Travelgirl has traveled to the Caribbean, Central American, and Oceania (she lived there for several months). I have my passport but haven’t used it yet. I hope to use it within the year at least once.

    We (as a family) stayed in the South and Midwest until the end of 2006. Florida is where everyone goes around here. Or the Smokies. I have visited a few less than half the states, but I haven’t explored all the ones we visited. Sometimes we went with Dad to boring places and stayed in a hotel and swam. I’ll only mention states in which we visited an interesting place.

    Arizona. We visited the Grand Canyon. And driving through the state and seeing the landscape is an experience.

    California. I’ve been twice. We visited San Francisco and Monterey Bay area in January of 2007 with Dad on a work trip. We visited the San Francisco Bay in a boat, the Sourdough Factory, Muir Woods, Point Reyes, Monterey bay aquarium, a winery, and various seashores. Then we visited San Diego in May of 2016 during our epic two-week road trip. We visited the zoo, La Jolla Cove, and the beaches. I think Mission Beach the prettiest I’ve been to.

    Colorado. We drove through here on the way back. Colorado is another one of those states which driving through is an experience.

    Florida. My parents took me to Disney and Sea World as a tiny child. I barely remember it. We’ve visited the Gulf at least three times, once to St. George Island.

    Georgia. Visited Jekyll Island. The Island is gorgeous but the water brackish. We saw two turtles released to the ocean.

    Illinois. Chicago once. Chicago area later to visit friends. We ate Chicago style pizza that time.

    Kentucky. Mammoth Cave.

    Michigan. Holland.

    Missouri. St. Louis twice.

    New Mexico. Beautiful, another of those driving experience states. We visited Albuquerque.

    Tennessee. We visited Chattanooga. We’ve been to the Smokies three times.

    Texas. Dad’s family is from there but we aren’t close to his side, so we’ve only made one family trip to see his grandfather on his ranch. We drove through (another experience) North Texas and visited friends in the Fort Worth area during our grand trip. We also stopped at Palo Duro Canyon.

    Utah. So beautiful. An epic drive, but we also visited Zion and Arches.

    Virginia. Williamsburg twice, and Monticello once.


  • Handicrafts

    Discovering Knitting: How I Became a Knitter

    I don’t remember exactly my age when my grandmothers first introduced me to knitting, but I know I wasn’t near a teen. One grandmother gave me a family knitting basket and needles and also a learn-to-knit set. My other grandmother gave me my first lesson . . . which didn’t stick.

    A lady at my childhood church often brought her knitting when she worked as the church librarian. And once she brought a lace shawl once. Purple and delicate and elegant. I set my heart on lace.
    When I was around 13, this lady invited some ladies and girls to a knitting class at her home. I struggled in the beginning; I ended up knitting back and forth combining left and right-handed methods instead of switching the needles and so instead of garter I had a twisted stockinette! Also, a couple other girls our age attended, and we often spent time talking and running around outside.

    But I was truly interested. I loved seeing everyone’s work, especially our teacher’s. And our teacher gave us knitting catalogs which featured gorgeous yarn and patterns (I especially loved the ethereal lace), and I loved pouring over these. I eventually began to progress, but after awhile the group stopped. As I didn’t have access to many patterns and lacked purpose, style, and resources, I knitted sporadicy at best during much of my teenage years. I continued to look over the catalogs, and my sister and I received an excellent book that I still use as a reference (I got another copy).

    Over recent years a couple things happened which combined to act as a catalyst to my knitting. I got jobs (rather essential to a hobby). A lady at church showed me how to knit Continental style which for me at least is much faster. I looked up the online stores of those old catalogs and learned about Ravelry via a blog. Other bloggers inspired me. So, I began to knit more. I ventured out of my comfort zone to learn lace and fingerless gloves and baby sweaters. We also joined up with the more serious knitters of the older group sporadically.

    And now, I need to start venturing into more difficult territory. I’ve balked at sweaters which I really need to work on that because that is one of the most practical items for me personally.

    If you know how to knit how did you learn? What inspires you/where do you find patterns?

  • Reading

    Learning and Re-Learning to Read

    According to my grandmother, I took forever to learn how to read. And my next siblings. Travelgirl and my brother essentially taught themselves. I don’t remember it quite that way although I don’t remember much about that at all except my brother and I laboring over those obnoxious “Bob” books.

    Mom read out loud quite a lot during the early years of homeschooling when we used 5-in-a-Row which is a program based on using wonderful children’s books with gorgeous illustrations and charming storytelling. Dad read at least the Kirsten and possibly the Felicity books to me. Mom probably read Little House out loud also, certainly the illustrated ones; I don’t remember ever not knowing about this series.

    Mom read Little Women to us during my preteen years. Dad read Narnia to us twice during my childhood and preteen years, and he made us read Lord of the Rings before we could watch the movies (okay, he let us start the movies before we finished, but we did finish). We had one set, and Travelgirl finished first. I raced my brother since we ended up reading at the same time. I was about 13, he was 9. I guess that says a lot about my reading abilities.

    A year or two later I had a reading melt-down. I suddenly wondered if I was truly reading when I read silently. I basically couldn’t read silently after that. I read. every. single. word. out loud (my siblings said that I thought that I had to read every period). All my school. Reading was no longer fun, so I gave up reading for leisure and took to skimming all the books I found interesting. I think I might have read a few books in total during this period, like Pride and Prejudice, but most of these I read for school (we still used some programs calling for whole books; think Charlotte Mason method). This issue lasted most of my teen years.

    When I was 18 or 19 some young people at our church started a book club, and I joined in although I’m not sure how many (if any) assigned books I read. We had such interesting games and conversation. Most of these people were readers. They introduced us to Goodreads. I began to persevere and truly read books more often. I moved closer and closer to reading in my head like a normal adult. Mouthing the words does still happen though. I got my own library cards, and for the last several years have almost constantly had books checked out.

    Excellent books and serious readers (family, acquaintances, and bloggers) have always surrounded me. I’ve always loved the book world even while I struggled psychologically with reading. Now, I just struggle with discipline!

    How was your progression to bookworm? Were you always one or did you discover the love of reading more recently?

  • Reading

    Childhood Fandoms Part 2


    The Boxcar  Children. Explained in a few words, how fun to live as they did and then be rescued+crush on Henry.

    The Little House series. I was a little pioneer girl. I have my bonnet yet made with the sewing book (not the same as the craft book; I want to find an old copy if I can) from our trusty and beloved old church library. Tied in with the pioneer theme was our Oregon Trail game. I do not think I ever made it to Oregon which could have been due in part to my steadfast refusal to hunt. I remember dressing up and playing pioneers, tramping around our yard.

    The American Girl series. I thought I was about 8, perhaps a bit younger, when my dad started reading the Kirsten books to me, but then I looked up the dates; I remember Josefina being new or fairly new (of course I also thought I remember Kirsten being new but she was one of the first . . . before I was born), so I must have been closer to 6 or 7. Surely it was 7. I got the Felicity, Kirsten, and Molly books for Christmas possibly that same year. I wonder if my parents got me those books to encourage me to read because I was apparently a late reader.

    The stories have sadly degenerated, starting, I think with Julie. A lot of the older dolls have been archived, and the newer ones are just less interesting and lasting, I think. They changed the original artwork in some of the original girls’ books. Ah, me.

    I went to an American girl dolls program at about age 7 or 8; the first activity was a mob cap. We also did a Samantha skit. I do not remember all the activities, but the last was a tea in a restaurant in an historical building, and we received a mini tea set (which I have yet; I was obsessed with those for years, but its seems you can hardly find them now).

    The next Christmas I received Samantha. I got quite a bit of her clothes and things . . . and then made one of my most regretted decisions. I gave. them. all. away. I wish Mom had not allowed it. I gave hundreds of dollars of things away, and NOT to someone in need, but because I was under the impression that that was what I had to do to get another doll, Felicity. I am so mad at myself.

    We also owned some of the cookbooks, theater sets, craft books, and Samantha’s sewing patterns, most of which we still have. My little sisters’ destroyed Felicity’s hair, but I still have her. One sister has her Addy doll. We took part in another program with crafts and activities via a Hallmark store and earned pins and a necklace. I know I gave my necklace away, and I think the pins also. What a careless child.

    When my dad made us throw away our barbies (I was 10, I think) at which we bawled our eyes out, my mom replaced them (we had like 15 or more of them) with the mini American girls dolls. Between us and my younger sisters, those poor things are frightening now, but I have a few of the little miniature books yet in good condition.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Childhood Fandoms Part 1


    Hans Brinker. My grandfather started reading the book to us, and we were supposed to finish it first, but that did not happen. We watched an old 60’s movie. I adored it. And Hans.

    Heidi. I watched the 80’s version over and over. What are known as milkmaid braids were Heidi braids to us. We would re-enact on the slide, sometimes wearing a pair of boots we thought were somewhat similar to Klara’s in the movie, the dramatic scene in which Klara has drag her legs with her hands into place to help Peter rescue Heidi.

    Lion King. I am sitting on my bed typing this with my Simba blanket of nearly two decades. We had Simba and Nala stuffed animals and a puzzle. When I was a wee thing, this was the most watched movie.

    So Dear to My Heart. I checked this movie out so many times from our old church library. All I remember is that is was about a boy and his sheep and they found cow remains in the forest (the explanation for that memory is my extreme phobia of bones) and heard wolves/coyotes howling.

    Pocahontas. I think this and Cinderella are the Disney princess movies I watched the most when I was very small. I had a Pocahontas costume too. I really need to watch this again as I have not seen it in over a decade. I feel like I found this more interesting than Cinderella, but maybe I am wrong.

    I think we watched Jungle Book fairly often too. I remember watching Thumbelina for the first time. And I may have watched Swan Princess when I was little, but I only remember watching it when I was older, like preteen. I know I watched more movies, mainly if not all Disney, but the first four movies listed are with what I obsessed.