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Hey, hey, what’s up? New Book Review, a la Wacky Mommy: “The Bug Girl (A True Story,” by Sophia Spencer, Margaret McNamara & Kerascoet; “Hello, World!” series: “Rainforest Animals” & “Construction Site,” by Jill McDonald; “The Story Pirates Present: Quest for the Crystal Crown,” by Annabeth Bondor-Stone, Connor White & Joe Todd-Stanton

February 16th, 2020

Sky and ocean

(My Favorite Piano, photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

Yay, new books, yay!

* “The Bug Girl (A True Story)” (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020, ages 4 and older, 44 pages, $17.99). This one was written by the “Bug Girl herself,” the cover says, Sophia Spencer, with Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Kerascoet. Wow, that was a mouthful. But not a mouthful of bugs, which, as we all know, is no dang fun.

Being bullied is also no dang fun, and that’s what Sophia faced in real life, just because she loved bugs. But she got through it, with the help of her mom and some cool scientist friends. And now we can all hear her story. Sophia’s story is inspiring and beautiful. She’s a fourth grader now, and lives with her mama in Canada.

* Two new books board books have been released from the “Hello, World!” series. Both were written by Jill McDonald. “Rainforest Animals” and “Construction Site” (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2020, 0-3 years, $7.99 apiece). I do love this series. The candy colors are inviting and sweet, and just like “The Bug Girl,” both books are full of good words and facts.

* Book of the week: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” C.S. Lewis (Scholastic, 1950, 189 pages). I’m re-reading this with the second graders at the school where I’m working this year. Haven’t read it since I was a kid, and it’s neat to see it through their eyes. “Hey, was this a movie?” Yes, and the movie was good, but the book is even better. (Smiles.)

* “Quest for the Crystal Crown,” a new release in the Story Pirates Series, is a lot of fun. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2020, ages 8-12, 288 pages, $13.99.) My students are liking this series, too, with its “Choose Your Own Adventure” spirit.

Bon appetit, babies!

WM

Monday Recipe Club: Lemon Snaps & Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 27th, 2020

Sky and ocean

(Photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

The holidays seem like forever ago now, but we had fun. Hope you did, too.

I did a lot of baking to share with friends, co-workers and us, the cookie monsters. I baked a spiral-cut ham, thank you Winco, homemade mac and cheese, meatballs, more meatballs, and lots and lots of cookies. I was watching the Sopranos (for the dozenth time. My version of the 12 Days of Christmas) and Carmela… with the ziti. With the sweet sausage. With the lasagna with the layer of fresh basil. With the espresso and the Lemon Snaps for the church bake sale. I love that girl, I love that character.

These are my two new/old favorite recipes.

Lemon Snaps

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon zest
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. (Wait. I didn’t have lemons so I used satsumas and oh yes. Great idea.)

Pour in the oil, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir.

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls into the powdered sugar, then transfer to cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 12 mins or until browned.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips (I like a mix of white and milk chocolate)

Cream together butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, adding chocolate chips last. Drop by teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheets, bake about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I prefer these as a bar cookie. Spread the dough into a greased 9×13 pan, bake about 15-20 minutes.

Bon appetit, babes. Happy Year of the Rat.

Saturday Book Review: So Many Summer Titles, Happy! “Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” by Jason Reynolds, cover by Kadir Nelson; “Hilo: Waking the Monsters,” written & illustrated by Judd Winick; “Grow up, Ant-Man!” written by Brandon T. Snider, illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

July 21st, 2018

When someone sends me a case of books… oh, my gosh. The exhilaration, the joy, the goofiness that is involved, daily, with being a book geek… yeah. I loved when those Scholastic Book Club orders would show up, when I was a kid (and later, there were the Scholastic Book Fairs with my own kids, and my own fairs that I ran when I was a librarian). Ah, books. So that’s how I have felt a lot lately, when the mail shows up. :)

All photos by me :) Except I think the butterfly pic is by B, because how could I take my own pic with a butterfly on my arm? Lol.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs πŸ’œ
That’s a blue butterfly on Marys Peak in Corvallis. One of the endangered Fender’s Blues? Or one of the less-endangered ones? Who knows. Pretty, though.

First up: A review I needed to do months ago when this awesome cool book landed in the mailbox. “Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” by Jason Reynolds, cover by Kadir Nelson (Marvel, 2017, 261 pages, $17.99). Great book about a school-age young man who is smart, funny, loves his family, has fun with his best friend, is crushing out on a pretty poet in his class, puts up with school and the drama there and oh, yeah. He’s Spider-Man. Which is kind of a pain.

This book is a mystery, a story about a superhero, a love story, a family drama, and it’s all about poetry, too. It is poetry. Also? Brooklyn! (I like the Brooklyn/New York kid books. You know.) (And the cover is one beautiful work of art. Love Kadir Nelson, love.) You’ll like it. Reynolds’ other books include “When I Was the Greatest,” “The Boy in the Black Suit,” “All American Boys” and several others.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs πŸ’œ

That’s a lovely sunset at Coronado Shores, Gleneden Beach, Oregon coast. I miss living there, but you can’t have it all, babies. Where would you put it?

“Hilo: Waking the Monsters,” written and illustrated by Judd Winik (Random House Children’s Books, 2018, ages 8-12, 208 pages, $9.99). If you like the “Bone” series (or “Big Nate,” or “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) you are going to love this graphic novel (this is Book 4 in the series). Hilo and his sidekick Gina are going to save the world, so watch out.

Coronado Shores, Corvallis, chickens n dogs πŸ’œ

My old front yard at the beach house, with gunnera plant (elephant ears) on front right.

Marvel’s “Grow Up, Ant-Man!” (written by Brandon T. Snider, illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner, Marvel, 2018, $12.99) is a picture book for the littles. Super fun, bright colors, and will hold the kiddos’ interest. Cassie’s dad, Ant-Man, is a little wild. She’d like him to grow up, but she would also like him to play in her dollhouse and have a tea party with her. So there’s some conflict. Lol.

All for now, babies.

WM

anatomy of my marriage. plus pictures of roses.

May 16th, 2018

me and my first doggie

(Photo by my late father, James David Row, probably. Circa 1966.)

See how happy I am there, age 2, with my dog, Peaches? I’m wearing slippers that my granny knitted for me. Cuz she loved me. The dolly? The doll cradle that we will later sand and paint and turn into a doll cradle for our daughter, and oh, my Lord. The sweetness of our daughter, age 2, climbing into the cradle with her dolly and her blankie and smiling up at us. Best.

Date nite

(Photo by us.)

Steve + Nancy on a date, Los Lobos concert, 8/12/12, Tualatin Valley Parks & Rec summer show, Beaverton, Ore. How do I remember the date and the details? Because we blogged our whole lives. Then it blew up. Then next thing you know…

Yeah. I’ll spare you the gory details.

So what does this tell you, other than dog people should marry dog people and cat people should marry cat people? (“War of the Roses.” War of the Rawleys.)

Don’t marry someone who tells you what you can and cannot plant in your garden.

He doesn’t like roses; I do.

I’m a June baby, they’re my birth month flower, I’m from the City of Roses. But the way he whined about them — the black spot! The aphids! The thorns and the hassle and what is the point of roses, exactly? NO ROSES FOR YOU. (Except a bouquet if you demand them, for Valentine’s Day or your birthday or something.)

My new place? So many roses. (All of these photos by moi, Nancy Ellen Row Rawley.)

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

These are the first ones to bloom. They came out today. They’re hanging over a trellis in my garden. Note the black spot? I do not give care about the black spot. It’s only May, how can there already be black spot, aiiiiiii, etc. Come on. You can cut off those leaves and little branches, try not to water at night (it makes it worse), but end of the day? Who cares? The old lady who lived here before me, Boots, was Welsh, and her whole goal in life was to recreate the Welsh countryside. I’m Irish. I appreciate everything she did around here, it’s gorgeous.

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

(Rhodies galore, mostly light and dark pinks, very girly.)

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

Nice yellow.

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

I can’t tell yet what color these are going to be, but I’ll tell you one thing — they’re already covered with aphids and I do not care. I hosed them off, they’re beautiful. They’re big, and they’re climbing all over the place. Next to them is the big, overgrown forsythia, and I’m not pruning it back much, because the chickens need a place to hide and stay cool this summer.

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

Iris, more iris, and life, always sweeter over the other side of the septic tank. (That’s what you want to plant in your septic field, by the way. Something with low-growing roots, not deep roots, with lots of space to let the clean, run-off water evaporate. (My garden is uphill from the septic tank and field, thank you.)

Lots of big oaks around here. That’s actually a maple, sorry. There are oaks up and down the road, they’re majestic. I kinda love Corvallis, and all the trees. It’s good here.

Spring garden β€” Corvallis

Here’s all I have to say: I loved my old man. I did my best, we have these two great kids, and I finally have my roses. (I’ve counted nine or ten bushes so far, including some wild roses that are going nuts from having a little attention. The garden hadn’t received enough loving the past few years. It happens.)

xoxoxoxox and bon appetit!

WM

hey, what’s happening?

June 10th, 2015

A short, sweet list, just for you:

1) No one else blogs, why should I?
2) Ha! That’ll show ’em ;)
3) Seriously. What day is it?
4) Is the school year over yet?
5) It’s hot here. (Those of you who live in Louisiana: Ha, ha, ha, no it’s not.)
6) We need to upgrade this machine, it’s ancient and slow. Also, I can’t figure out how to insert photos here anymore and that has shut me down.
7) Thus, no art.
8) Thus, boring.
9) I am happy/so are kiddos/so is Stevie
10) Baby the Cat, however, not so happy. Cuz it’s so frickin’ hot in the Portland metro area, that be why. And he is furry boy. It was, like, 90 yesterday? 93 the day before?
11) I’m sunburnt as hell right now, but it’s fading (see: field day at my school; see: overcast day at beach; see: floating in pool for hours and it felt good at the time, but not later, so much)
12) I usually don’t burn but damn, this time I did. Also? Still have my tan lines from last summer, ha. That’s a new one.
13) I love summer, do you?
14) That’s all.
15) ps — have had much success at school this year, teaching kids how to write code, keyboard, write in Google Docs (hello, cloud! say hi to my students!) and READ. Oh, my gosh are they reading.

xo

wm

“let there be spaces in your togetherness…”

August 23rd, 2014

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

My husband and I are coming up on our… 17th anniversary? No, 16th. But we’ve been together for 17-plus years now and sometimes, believe it or not, we get on each other’s nerves. We spend a ton of time together, which is how we both like it. On the other hand, he loves the ocean. I love the ocean, too, but I also love hanging out with a book by the pool, or maybe, I dunno, going shopping. Or for breakfast. But he really, really loves the ocean, as in, being alone at the ocean, riding his bike along the shore, taking loads of photos, hiking for miles, traipsing up winding, crazy lighthouse stairs.

This ocean appreciation came as a surprise to me, because when I married him, he was definitely a mountain man.

This scene, from “The Perfect Storm,” sums it up:

Bobby Shatford: “I got a woman who I can’t stand to be two feet away from.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Congratulations.”
Bobby Shatford: “Then again, I love to fish.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Son, you’ve got a problem.”

We were having coffee, planning out our weekend, and Steve said something about, “What was that you said, about ‘spaces in your togetherness’?” First of all, I was being a smartass when I said that, and second of all, I didn’t say it — Khalil Gibran did, and I’ve heard the lines at approximately 80 percent of all the weddings I’ve been to.

Ever.

The lines have become, OK, I’ll say it… somewhat trite, along with over-used, but so are a lot of other lines. Shakespeare’s, for example. Which kills me a little inside because I’m Shakespeare girl for many years now. But it made me think… You know what would be perfect? Wedding vows that were a mash-up of Polonius’s lines to his son, Laertes, along with the lines from “The Prophet.” Oh, yeah, honey, now that’s the motherlode.

The words from “The Prophet,” I’ll put into italics. Polonius’s quotes I’ll put in bold. Ready?

β€œLet there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

“Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, and you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory see thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel…”

“But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy…”

“Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man, and they in France of the best rank and station are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!”

God, I love the Internet. Adieu! And Stevie, here’s to the rest of our lives. I love you.

xoxoxoxo

wm

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

http://youtu.be/OJJxu16HCCI

“Everyone”

June 17th, 2014

steve sent me roses!

August 19th, 2013

Windsor Castle

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

my birthday flowers and (virgin) drink

June 25th, 2013

Birthday dinner

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Ran away to the beach for a few days with Steve and the kids. This being the Oregon coast, and not somewhere in the Caribbean… it was gray, freezing, storming. We built fires in the (indoor) fireplace not on the (outdoor, soggy) beach. Played games with the kids, read, wrote, ate, went to the Sea Lion Caves, where I haven’t visited since I was a tot. (Go look at the webcam!)

Best weekend ever. My family is too good to me.

Have a great week, everyone, and happy summer!

xo

wm

so close, and yet so far away…

June 1st, 2013

Painted Lady

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

I “won” a gift certificate at a school auction, the masseuse won’t return calls to sked my appointment, and when she does? This is how the computer translates it. kinda funny… But I don’t think i’m going to get that massage any time soon.

— wm

“Hi this is Rosie. so(?) I hung up. We’re disconnected my phone disconnected us or something but I’m hey I was trying to come up with it the day that you could gimme a buzz but I don’t work Saturday. So I’m at work so we can been work Monday through Friday. And for this summer I’m trying to take two days off for the most part I might be able to bring something if I have day care but otherwise I have that deed designated as a mommy day. So just you know I guess I need you to call me back and let me know if you can do it anytime during the day or I have a couple evenings a week I work late. So I’m not to be ugly-to-her-thursday-than(?) Friday. So I do need a call back and we’ll schedule that. Okay thanks bye.”

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