This Week – So much sun!

Highlights of the week… The rockets with friends got off to a slow start after getting the first rocket ready and realizing that the batteries in the starter no longer worked. Jason went to the closest drug store. When the rocket went off it went so high that we lost it, most likely across the main road. We had more engines and spent the next hour setting off the smaller ones and managed to keep track of the last rocket. I’m having trouble loading the one video I have so I’ll try again later.

It was Jason’s birthday this week and we made him waffles for breakfast and went to a new metropark in the afternoon with my mom that had a street full of blooming cherry blossom trees. So beautiful.

For the first time in about 35 years I wrote poetry. It was an enjoyable and relaxing way to finish a day and I may have to keep at it.

Our library and 7 others closed for a day this week when someone that goes to all 8 branches (delivery or maintenance most likely) tested positive for Covid. They spent a day doing a deep clean and then opened back up. I’m glad that they are choosing to take precautions in addition to mask mandates. I always feel safe when I visit.

And last but not least, with Gonzaga’s meltdown last Monday, GAGE WINS A YES DAY! He’s been coming up with ideas this week, including a family water gun fight before breakfast to start and spending the night in a tent in our yard to end the day. I’ll keep you posted when this day is officially on the calendar, lol.

Currently reading…

A Burning
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…It Came from Ohio: My Life as a WriterWhite Fragility: Why It's So Hard for W…What Unites Us: Reflections on Patrioti…

Finished this week… (in the order I liked them best linked with my review)

A Girl Returned by Donatello Di Pietrantonio

When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing by Virginia Hamilton

The Affair by Lee Child

The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans

Who Was Annie Oakley? by Stephanie Spinner

Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber

The Power of Being Positive by Joyce Meyer

Time For Kids: Jesse Owens: Running Into History by Elaine Israel

Tecumseh: Get To Know the Shawnee Chief Who Fought to Protect Native Lands by John Mickos

On TV

We’re watching the third season of Schitt’s Creek. Such a fun show that guarantees laughs. Because so many people keep talking about Supernatural (all 15 seasons of it) we gave the first few episodes a try last night.

Movies…

Really enjoyed this one!
Hm. I spent the second half only half watching while working on a puzzle 🙂

Plans for the weekend…

Walks, family games, and soaking up the sunshine.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon

April reading is off to a good start

A week into April and I’m having a nice reading month so far. I’ve read 11 books: 4 picture books (all black folklore), 2 kids biographies, 1 thriller, 1 romantic mystery, 1 fiction, 1 poetry, 1 inspirational.

This is my April TBR, I’ve read 8 so far.

Posted in the order I liked them best. These pics are from my Instagram account, so let’s connect there as well! @stacybuckeye

I love the Myron Bolitar series and everyone who loves Myron, most likely, loves his BFF Windsor Horne Lockwood III. With Myron off living his dream, it was time for Win to get his own book.

Win is rich. No, not just rich but like uber elite, you’ll never know anyone this rich, rich. He’s old money (duh, his name) and has a family legacy to protect and questionable morals when it comes to violence and sex. He’s very open about all of this in this first person thriller. Someone’s been murdered with a priceless piece of art stolen from the Lockwoods and also an old suitcase of Win’s at the crime scene. Win steps in, at the behest of an old FBI buddy, to right some wrongs. But what can he find out 20-30 years later?

Win is a different kind of hero and this book was really good. I loved getting to know more about his background and family. And the mysteries were excellent, as always. Another winner by the master.
My book of the day is a beautiful Italian novel so my guys helped me finish the beautiful panoramic Venice puzzle (1000 pieces) we started last week.

A Girl Returned by Donatello Di Pietrantonio (translated by Ann Goldstein) was a fantastic read. I first saw it reviewed by Diane and I’m so glad our library had a copy.😁

A 13 year old has been raised by two loving parents who one day, inexplicably, ‘return’ her to a family she never knew existed. Once a well taken care of only child, she becomes one of six who all sleep in the same room and receive daily abuse from the parents. Told from the girl’s point of view, you can feel her anger, sadness, and confusion.

It’s such an achingly vivid short novel (170 pages) that shouldn’t be missed.
Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Cherrock was a lovely way to start the National Poetry Month. Cherrock shares her experience with skeletal dysplasia, which is why she was called crumb-sized on the playground. She also talks about space and her (our) place in it.

I’m not typically a poetry reader, but I loved this little collection. It was full of hope and pain, you know, life. I read about a life that is different than my own, yet completely recognizable.

I’m positive I’ll be picking this up to read again. I loved the smaller, crumb-sized, size of the book and the way they separated the poems inside, reminding me of a clock and the rings of a tree. It was perfectly done.
Let me tell you about a lady from Ohio, Virginia Hamilton. The young reader’s biography by Rubin came through the library cast offs and I thought I’d take a look. I read the 100+ page book in one sitting and felt true embarrassment that I really hadn’t known anything about this treasure from my state. She won nearly every award in her field and became the most honored author of children’s literature ever. She was a rock star, speaking and accepting awards around the world before her death in 2002.

As soon as I finished the bio I read 3 of the picture books I had checked out. They. Are. Beautiful. The way that Hamilton wrote stories about African American fables and stories that she first heard at her grandpa’s knee was groundbreaking at the time. I adored the stories, the artwork, and most especially the page at the end of each one telling the history of each story.

The People Could Fly was the first tale in her American black folktales book by the same name and was published as a stand-alone picture book after her death.

The Girl Who Spun Gold is a West Indies retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl was another story from Plantation era storytellers and published after her death.
When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing. These stories were first collected by Martha Young who had grown up on plantations where her father kept slaves. After the Civil War they became house servants. Young became Alabama’s most well-known collector of black folktales. Hamilton has taken the tongue-twisting dialect and turned them into a collection of easy-to-read animal stories.

I loved it. Why is the male cardinal red? Why is the bat ugly and why can’t he sing? Why does the swallow look the way she does? Will the buzzard ever get his just desserts? These questions and more are answered! 😆

I love reading Virginia Hamilton’s African American folktales and look forward to more.
Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Mosey) was born and raised in Ohio before marrying Frank Butler at 15. The two sharpshooters then began touring the country in their very own show before eventually joining the biggest traveling show at the time, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, in 1885. She traveled the world and became a household name everywhere she went. A far cry from her humble beginnings when at the age of 9 her mother had to send her to the Darke County Infirmary to work for room and board.

She was a woman ahead of her time to be sure. She was the best at what she did (shooting), knew how to sell herself, and loved her life. I loved learning about her later years, especially her 55 libel cases against newspapers who smeared her good name. She won 54 cases, but collected less than the legal fees. She wasn’t interested in the money, only the truth being told. Loved getting to know her better with Gage and Razzi 🙂
Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber (also known as Heather Blake) is the 4th in the Lucy Valentine series. As much as I love Lucy and her psychic abilities AND her first 3 books, this one just had too many psychics running around. There were 5 Boston psychic in this one competing/helping Lucy and the arsons involving Sean’s past made this one a disappointment. I’m hoping the 5th and final one brings everything to a happy conclusion.
In honor of Easter I read this little gift book by Joyce Meyer, The Power of Being Positive: Enjoying God Forever. Each page had a verse from the Bible and thoughts on how it affects your life. It dressed how important it is to fill your mind and heart with positivity because that’s what God wants. That part of the message worked for me, a few of the other things not so much. It was a quick read.

This Week – April Fool’s Day Snow


Fave pic
Gage spent the night with my parents last weekend and Jason and I went to a park to take a walk and then play a game or two on the picnic table. You, know, dating Covid style, lol. And we followed the moon because it was gorgeous that night. This is the photo I took when we got back home.

Highlights of the Week – Hm. We had nice weather for a minute and then it snowed. All day long. But the day before we had another picnic in the park with some swinging and that was great.

It’s neck and neck in our March Madness contest. Gage is still winning by two points and Jason and I are tied in second place. My fate comes down to Gonzaga. If they win it all I beat both of my guys 🙂 If not I must prepare myself for a Gage Yes Day.

When my dad came back from where I grew up he brought my favorite pizza. The downside is that I already ate my half and now what Jason has left in the fridge taunts me.

This has obviously been a pretty boring week.

Currently reading…

A Burning
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…It Came from Ohio: My Life as a WriterWho Was Annie Oakley?

Finished this week…

Win by Harlan Coben – review coming. Loved it.

Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari

Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Always the Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller by Julie Rubini

The People Could Fly (The Picture Book) by Virginia Hamilton

The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl by Virginia Hamilton

Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Cherrock

On TV

We continued Schitt’s Creek, Ginny and Georgia, and the March Madness basketball Games.

Posts this week

March’s Favorites and Stats

Finishing Up March Reading

January, February, and March Movies and Money For Charity – always time to add your two cents!

Plans for the weekend

Celebrating a friend’s 11th birthday by setting off rockets at a local park, lol. I’ll post pics if I can get a good one. The last one we did went 600 feet straight and this one is supposed to go 1000.

March Favorites and Stats

It’s hard to believe we started the month in Tennessee with short trip to Georgia before heading home after a month away. I never did write about it and it’s not going to happen now, although never say never.

My plan for Women’s History Month was to only read books by women I had read before. Due to poor (ie none) planning for the month I was able to accomplish reading a woman everyday, but not always someone I’d read read before.

In March I read 35 books and watched 2 bookish movies. For the year I’ve read 101 books in 90 days and watched 3 bookish movies (picture books are definitely padding this number :))

In March I read 20 physical books, 3 audio books, 3 e-books.

My favorite March reads...

Faithful Place by Tana French, review here.

Dictionary For A Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, review here.
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, review here.
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley, review here.
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (I read the first three of this series and loved them all)

Non-Fiction

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Memoir

A New Kind of Country by Dorothy Gilman

Fiction

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Always the Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Falling From Trees by Mike Fiorito

Me For You by Lolly Winston

Historical Fiction

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Mystery/Thriller

The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, CS Harris, Anna Lee Huber, Christina Trent

Faithful Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad series)

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman (Mrs. Pollifax series)

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone series)

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

High Treason at the Grand Hotel by Kelly Oliver (Fiona Figg series)

Historical Romance

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas (Ravenel series)

Graphic Memoir

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

Humor

Go To Sleep (I Miss You) by Lucy Knisley

Kids Non-Fiction

Dictionary For A Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters.

Ohio by Darlene Stille

Kids Fiction

Double Fudge by Judy Blume

Pinballs by Betsy Byars

Kids Picture Book Non-Fiction

Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard

Remember: The Journey To School Integration by Toni Morrison

Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion by Walter Dean Myers

Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top by Monica Kulling

Daring Amelia by Barbara Lowell

Kids Picture Book Fiction

The Tortoise or the Hare by Toni Morrison

Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison

Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison

Please, Loiuse by Toni Morrison

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee

The Night Gardener by Fan Brothers

Bookish Movies

The Call of the Wild, 2020

Murder on the Orient Express, 2017

Finishing Up March Reading

Since my last book update I’ve finished 5 books. The first three in a romantic mystery series, one fiction, and one kid non-fiction. Obviously, I’m loving the Lucy Valentine series and expect I’ll finish up the last two soon, while I’ve still got my mom’s Kindle.

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

So much fun! The Valentine family has been able to read auras for generations. They turned this secret ability into a very successful Boston matchmaking service. Lucy must take the lead, but her secret ability has nothing to do with auras.

There’s a missing toddler and a skeleton buried in a shallow grave in the woods and Lucy can see them both. Enter a sexy firefighter, a meddling grandmother, two best friends, a three legged cat, and new hamster and you’ve got the makings of a fun mystery.

Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber

I read the second book of the Lucy Valentine series sooner rather than later even if it meant reading on a device – which. I HATE. But, even that couldn’t ruin it. Lucy and her merry group of family, friends, and foes were back and I was happy to spend time with them. Oh, and the sexy firefighter/PI was back too. Certainly can’t forget him!

Lucy now has her own division of her family matchmaking company, finding lost lives. She’s also helping the police on cases if she can using her special ability of being able to shake a person’s hand and locate what they’ve lost. One case from each of these, along with a myriad of other personal issues keep this book hopping. Lucy can accomplish a lot in a day!

There was no let down with this second book. The first few chapters were skimmable because they were full of info from the first book, but maybe only to me since I just read the first book two days ago.

I love all of the characters, and there are plenty, and how much each one is integral to her daily life. I don’t think Lucy would have done so well in Covid lockdown. Maybe that’s why it’s extra fun to read about her now.

Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber

The third of the Lucy Valentine series didn’t disappoint. I love the kind-hearted, special powers to save the world, Lucy. Her family, friends, and various cohorts are always a hoot. This time she’s helping the police find a missing man who may have committed suicide and also trying to find a lost love for a client that puts her in the crosshairs of the FBI. Oh, and there’s a Lone Ranger who comes along every few days to shower the city of Boston with thousands in $20 bills.

The sexy boyfriend has a heart condition that keeps the story grounded, but even that storyline pulls at the heartstrings instead of bringing you down.

Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari

This came up in a search for another book at the library and I was intrigued enough to check it out. I love the included backstory of how this book project began. Her son was interested in the presidents, so she began researching and drawing their portraits for him. She became frustrated and galvanized after drawing 44 portraits of men. Hence this book.

I loved this book! There’s a quote for each woman and a portrait full of information. There is also a follow up at the end listing all of the women, when they lived, and a powerful moment. This is inspired art and I only wish it had been longer!

The first portrait she did was the one on the cover, Carrie Fisher. Some others included are Yuri Kochiyama, Dian Fossey, Shirley Muldowney, Betsey Johnson, and Abby Wambach. I learned about some new women and spent time on Google finding out more.

Always the Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

I love Kristan Higgins. I’ve read about half of her books and am always entertained with laughs and heart. She has a light touch, wicked sense of humor and great characters. Unfortunately, for the first time, I found it hard to generate any excitement for this one. The only reason I buckled down and finished listening last night was because it was Higgins.

The Frost family is in turmoil. The head of the family has had a stroke, something his wife finds out on the day she plans to divorce him. As he lies in the hospital, she discovers he’s been having an affair. Their oldest, perfect daughter is going through a midlife crisis professionally and personally and their youngest daughter just got down in one knee to propose to her boyfriend of two years. He said no.

I couldn’t have cared less about them, even actively disliking most of them at any given time. I’m hoping this was just a one time thing from this reliable author. And, hey, I’m sure some people loved it 😁. I did love the multi person audio performance.

January, February March Movies and Money For Charity

I’m so behind with this but unwilling to let a decade long tradition go by the wayside. I hope you’ll participate!

You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time. Click here to see past movie posts.

We’re at $72 right now.  Your charity could be next 

BlacKkKlansman.png
The Black Klansman, 2018 (John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace) Grade B+

Klu Kluz Klan Undercover Infiltration

Denzel’s son + True Story = Magnificent (Michelle)

Funny, serious, a timely movie. (Heather)


Mudbound (film).png
Mudbound, 2017 (Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedland, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks) Grade B+

Sharecropping, Racism, Service, Friendship, Revenge.

Too many white people, OK (I really wanted the story focused elsewhere) (Heather)


Yesterday Poster
Yesterday, 2019 (Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon) Grade B

All You Need Is Love.


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day poster.jpg
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day!, 2014 (Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Bella Thorne) Grade B

Fun Family Flick For All.


The Call of The Wild, 2020 (Harrison Ford, Omar Cy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens) Grade B

Classic Book Comes To Life


I Care a Lot Poster
I Care A Lot, 2020 (Rosamund Pike, Dianne Wiest, Peter Dinklage, Eliza Gonzalez, Chris Messina, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alicia Witt, Damien Young, Chris Messina, Macon Blair) Grade B

Fear Inducing Horror and Hate.


Yes Day, 2021 (Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez, Jenna Ortega, Julian Lerner, Everly Carganilla)

Parents Don’t Get To Say No.


The Ritual Poster
The Ritual, 2017 (Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Same Troughton) Grade C

So much potential, fizzled out.

Awesome folk horror; book (is) better. (Michelle)

Book was terrifying! Movie OK. (Heather)


Murder on the Orient Express teaser poster.jpg
Murder on the Orient Express, 2017 (Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, William Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley) Grade C-

Hercules Poirot Rides a Train

Christie great with star power. (Michelle)

Branagh, don’t pretend hablar French. (Heather)


The Midnight Sky poster.png
The Midnight Sky, 2020 (George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Damian Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Caoillin Springall) Grade C

End of Earth from space.

Slow burner; much to contemplate. (Michelle)

Great ideas, but poor execution. (Heather)


This Week – Out of Hibernation

Fave Pic – Gage and his friend using the prehistoric paint they made to paint the rock in our front yard.

Highlights of the week – We had a friend over to play this week (and his mama too). I’m so thankful for the warm weather so that we can do more of this.

I mentioned last week that Gage filled out a March Madness bracket this year for the first time and if he wins he gets a Yes Day. Well after the first two rounds he’s winning, lol. So, we took a look and it all comes down to Gonzaga. If Gonzaga wins the whole thing, I win. If Gonzaga loses any of these last 3 games, Gage wins. Jason is completely out of it. I’m getting nervous about what a Gage Yes Day would entail.

Spent some time at the library doing displays for the Friends ongoing book sale. Always my happy place 🙂

Currently reading

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…
Always the Last to KnowA BurningIt Came from Ohio: My Life as a Writer

Books finished – You can read my thoughts on all of these books here. So much good reading this week.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie BenedictTruly, Madly by Heather WebberRemember by Toni MorrisonMrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy GilmanThe Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal HubbardOhio by Darlene R. StillePeeny Butter Fudge by Toni MorrisonLittle Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni MorrisonThe Tortoise or the Hare by Toni MorrisonPlease, Louise by Toni Morrison

Movies

I Care a Lot Poster
Frightening and good.
Yesterday Poster
Can’t beat the Beatles.
The Ritual Poster
Meh.

Plans for the weekend – Enjoying time outside. Reading. Cleaning.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon

Reading Great Books

It was a fantastic reading week! 6 kids picture books (4 fiction, 2 non-fiction), 2 kids non-fiction, 1 non-fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 fiction, 1 mystery,

I loved the Dictionary for a Better World so much I bought a copy for us to keep. We Should All Be Feminists was a great book AND TED Talk. I loved learning about Hedy Lamarr and I loved catching up with series favorite Mrs. Pollifax. I loved reading about a wintery and it’s soap opera like plots. I’ve loved starting our Ohio history unit with Gage. I’m on a reading roll and I like it!

Dictionary For a Better World
I love this book so much! Gage and I have been reading one letter every day, some letters have a few words, some only one. There’s a poem, an explanation of what type of poem it is, a quote, a paragraph about the word written by Charles or Irene, and then an action.

This is the beautiful way we’ve started our learning everyday. We read, we discussed, and used the poems as cursive practice. The book and pages are gorgeous and I’ve already ordered our own copy, since this is a library book. We finished up with Zest and pages of further reading recommendations which I plan on using! This the second collaboration between these authors and I definitely need to get their first book.

.
We Should All Be Feminists

This is an adaptation from Adiche’s Nigerian TED talk and it breathed new life into the word feminist. When people who are against something try to make the word or anyone who associated with it a slur it always leads to small minded thinking and division.

Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

This was the definition she grew up with and included. And she’s right, we should all be feminists. Everyone has time to read this one or watch the TED Talk on YouTube.

The Only Woman in the Room

Hedwig Keisler, an Austrian stage actress, caught the eye of a powerful ammunition manufacturer when she was just 19. Marrying him was one way to keep her Jewish family safe since Hitler was starting Jewish eradication in Germany. The marriage was not a good one.

A daring escape led her to Hollywood where she earned a living the only way she knew how and became the legendary Hedy Lamarr. She also invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum with the help of composer George Antheil. While the Navy didn’t use it for the war, it was used later by the military.

A fascinating woman who has me wanting to know more. Well done!

Eight Hundred Grapes

A fun, quick, soapy read that I devoured in no time. And I drank wine while doing it. 🍇🍷
Georgia shows up at her family’s Sonoma County vineyard in her wedding dress, having abandoned LA in the middle of her dress fitting. In short order she finds out her parents are taking time apart, her brothers are fighting, and her father’s selling the family business. Oh, and she’s not talking to her fiancé who she is marrying in a week. So much drama and I was there for it all.

Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station

This is my 11th Mrs. Pollifax (only 3 left!) and, except for the first one, it’s probably my favorite. Emily Pollifax happened into her top secret life as a CIA spy when she was older, widowed, and with two grown children. She lives her life as a quiet garden enthusiast but sometimes gets a call for a mission that needs her aged wisdom.

In this book she’s taxed with getting into China and ferreting out information from an unsuspecting dissident and then getting that info to her partner in crime who remains a mystery. Then the struggle to get out of China with a person of interest under the watchful eye of the police.

Of course trouble ensues and therein lies the fun. Emily takes no prisoners and gains admirers everywhere she goes. She’s a grandma with a plan, hope, and a twinkle in her eye.

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby: The Story of Jimmy Winkfield

As someone who knew nothing about horse racing and the role of slavery at its inception, I learned so much (and so did Razzi). The very first Kentucky Derby in 1875 had 14 black jockeys to just one white. This would reverse itself in the early 1900s.

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby is the story of Jimmy ‘Wink’ Winkfield. The 17th child of sharecroppers in Kentucky he went on to become one of the premier jockeys, narrowly losing what would have been his 3rd Kentucky Derby win in a row in 1903.

Kids will love the illustrations and descriptions of the races and the older folks will love the extra historical information before and after the story. Loved it.

Ohio

Ohio is sometimes called the Mother of Presidents because 7 of them were born here. Neil Armstrong and John Glenn too. The Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk but made it here. Doris Day, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Halle Berry, and Steven Spielberg are all Buckeyes. Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Edison all born here too.

We’re the 7th largest state by population, but 34th by total area, so we’re not all flat farmland. The 3 C’s (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati) have much Midwest goodness to share.

I remember doing an Ohio history unit in the 4th grade and look forward to sharing some home state pride with Gage.

Remember: The Journey to School Integration. The Tortoise or the Hare. Little Cloud and Lady Wind. Peeny Butter Fudge. Please Louise.

Toni Morrison is from Lorain, Ohio so we learned a little bit more about her yesterday and spent some time at the end of our school day reading some of the picture books she’d written with her son Slade. (except for the first, Remember)

Remember: The Journey to School Integration has historical photos and text written by Morrison to tell the story of that time in the south. Swipe through to see a few of the pages. It’s just the right length to share with older elementary kids. The actual photos make it more real for Gage.

Gage’s favorite picture book was a the Tortoise or the Hare, a retelling of the classic fable. My favorite was Please, Louise where she shares the magic of libraries. Morrison’s bio in the back even mentions he high school job as a page in the Lorain Library.

This Week – Spring Has Arrived

Fave pic – It was the 25th anniversary of our first date this week. Jason always remembers and I always forget. He gave me some beautiful Swarovski earrings. This photo was taken that first year (my turtleneck looks like Christmas morning, ha!).

Highlights of the Week – Beautiful weather has arrived just in time for the weekend and the official beginning of spring. We had a picnic in the park today which was so nice.

We had our book group via Zoom and while I didn’t love the book (Hamnet) it’s always good to see the ladies. Two of the ten are recovering from Covid since last month. It’s still here and we are being as careful as we have been this last year. I don’t see our lives changing too much until fall at the earliest when we have a better idea what the virus and vaccinations are going to do. I look forward time outside with friends now that the weather is changing.

Gage filled out a March Madness bracket for the first time. If he beats both of his parents he wins a Yes Day 🙂

Could’ve been better – It’s March Madness and after an impressive showing in the Big 10 Championship my #2 Buckeyes totally choked against 15 seed Oral Roberts. And Jason’s Michigan State lost too. We’re still watching, but it’s not as fun.

Currently reading

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…
Always the Last to KnowThe Only Woman in the RoomOhio

Finished this week – You can see my thoughts on most of them here.

Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham
Faithful Place by Tana FrenchEight Hundred Grapes by Laura DaveHamnet by Maggie O'FarrellMuhammad Ali by Walter Dean MyersThe Pinballs by Betsy ByarsGo to Sleep (I Miss You) by Lucy Knisley

Movies

TV – Still watching Schitt’s Creek and we’re a few episodes into Ginny and Georgia and liking it so far.

Plans for the weekend – I’m not sure what tomorrow brings, some time outside in nature I’d expect. Gage has his first outside time with a friend planned this week now that the weather is changing and he is so ready for it.

Is your team still going in the tournament?

I’m linking up with Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz

Thursday’s Bookish Thoughts – Tana for the win!

Thursday I have more time to post so here I am! We’ll see if the day sticks. Since last update I’ve read 5 books and watched one bookish movie. I’m at 84 books and 3 bookish movies for the year. Honestly, not the best reading week so far. I’d only recommend the first two!

The images and thoughts (added to or sliced up) are from my daily Instagram (follow me there @stacybuckeye)

Faithful Place. Mystery, 400 pages.

This was the third book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but I’d only read the first and didn’t feel like I missed anything, even though the main character, Frank, first appeared in #2. The complex characters, historic Dublin setting, and slow build mystery, all made this a page-turner.

Frank, an undercover cop from a neighborhood who viewed him as a turncoat because of it, had never come to grips with the disappearance of his first love. He viewed his family as poison and went on to marry and have a daughter and kept them as far away from the madness as possible. But when his first love’s old suitcase is found, he must head back home and face the music.

So, so good. I loved Frank for all his flaws and getting to understand him in relation to where he grew up, which felt like a character of its own. The resolution was both real and heartbreaking. I love gritty thrillers like this. Highly recommend!

The Call of the Wild, 2020 film starring Harrison Ford

Chipotle and movie night, the one night a month Gage gets to stay up as late as he wants watching movies with us.

My one request was The Call of the Wild with Harrison Ford so that it would count for my bookish movie of the day. I haven’t read the Jack London classic in a few years, but I still consider it a favorite. The computer generated Buck gave him (and the other dogs) a more human feel, which is opposite of Buck’s story, but I see why they did it 🤷🏻‍♀️ I really liked the movie and had no problem falling in love with the fake Buck, maybe because I already knew his journey. I may have also been the only one who shed tears at the end, even though I knew what was coming!

Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion. Picture book biography, 40 pages.

Known for his boxing skills, his colorful personality, his conversion to Islam and his new name, his objection to being drafted that ended his career for a time, his activism for civil rights and the Rumble in the Jungle, this book did an excellent job of including it all. This book was written before his death, but it does include his thoughts on having Parkinson’s disease.

Gage had never heard of Muhammad Ali 😮 so this was fun for him. He wanted to know more about the Sportsman of the Century. It was also fun reading some of his more famous quotes as poetry.

Hamnet. Fiction, 308 pages.

Our book club pick this month was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. There were nine of us Zooming last night and I was in the minority on this one. It’s ultimately the story of of Anne ‘Agnes’ Hathaway from the time she met and married William Shakespeare through her grief of losing their son.

Little is known of Shakespeare’s life, but he did marry a woman older than him and they did have three children. We know that the son Hamnet died when he was 11. Shakespeare wrote the play Hamlet four years later.

This is a quiet, thoughtful book about the time (late 1500s) and of grief. While I did like parts of it, shedding tears when Agnes prepared her son for burial and appreciating the concluding last scene, I didn’t really care for the book. Much of it felt like a slog. But 6 of the 9 loved it and it’s gotten rave reviews everywhere.

The Pinballs. Kids fiction, 144 pages.

The Pinballs by Betsy Byars was first published in 1977 and it shows, especially in the first third of the book. Three kids show up at the Mason home as first time foster kids. Carlie, the TV obsessed tough girl, Harvey, the boy with two broken legs thanks to his father, and Thomas J, raised by 82 year twins after he was abandoned by his parents.

Gage was curious about foster homes and this helped explain how some kids ended up in the system. The kids are sad, but the Masons were loving and patient. I loved how the kids came to support each other.

Go To Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons From the Fog of New Parenthood. 178 pages

Unfortunately, this one was a little bit of a letdown after my love for Knisley’s graphic memoir about pregnancy. This is different because it’s a collection of comics from her first year of having a baby. It actually felt like the first year of motherhood with its random, but honestly funny, observations. It was short and didn’t take long to read, but I missed the story aspect of her other books.