Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gearing up for a blogging challenge

I am gearing up for the A to Z blog challenge, which starts on Sunday April 1st.  I have my 26 topics chosen, including topics from all my favorite things: reading, eating, weeding and creating.  It will be a mix of books/authors, recipes, flowers/plants and creative pursuits.  I hope you will check back frequently during my month of near-daily posts.  That will be the biggest challenge for me - posting so frequently!

Since last post, I have been reading like a fiend, scrapbooking for an entire long weekend, cooking very little and watching flowers sprout and trees and shrubs bud and blossom.  A beautiful early spring has already begun here in the northern state of MN.

Reading: I read 5 books this month.  The first 3 I already wrote about.  Then I re-read a childhood favorite, a book that I believe is probably long out of print.  My copy of The Doll of Lilac Valley by Cora Cheney is a discard from my elementary school library and was printed in the early 60's.  It has that great old book smell.  It was written in the '50s and is about a young girl who goes to spend the summer with a couple in Vermont who she doesn't know, so that her single mother has time to finish college.  Laurie sets off on a bus accompanied my her treasured doll Kathleen who has outfits made to match Laurie's. Kathleen is accidentally left behind in a bus station, and greatly missed, though when Laurie buys what she thinks is bundle of rags at the estate sale of a doll collector, she gets much more than she expected!  This is still a charming book of a simpler time when children played with dolls that didn't "do" anything.  I loved it now as much as I did 30+ years ago.

And in the "Now, for something completely different" category: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage was a book I expected to be just like every other Oprah book, but turned out to be enjoyable read.  I am not fan of Oprah, or many of her book club picks, so I started this one with skepticism.  The story centers on Ava, a black woman who has discovered she is HIV positive and moves back with her sister in a small town in Michigan for what she anticipates being a short time.  I expected hardship (Oprah seems to thrive on books about people suffering) and there was indeed difficult times for Ava.  The small town was no longer the sleepy (boring) place she had escaped from when she was younger.  It was no longer sheltered from the problems of the bigger cities.  But with her strong sister and an old friend by her side, she discovers love, peace and happiness.  Likable characters, good writing, overall good book.  My only complaint is the ending wrapped up too quickly. 

Creating: I went on my annual scrapbooking retreat, and worked for 2 and a half days on my Hawaii album. I completed 25 pages in that time, some of them simple, some more elaborate.  It is so nice to have focused time for scrapping with friends!  I need to take some pictures of some of the cooler layouts so you can see them...  I really need more pictures in general.  I am planning more of that during the challenge.

That's all for now.  Be sure to check back regularly starting on Sunday to see what the alphabet brings and to keep me on task! 
Until then, keep reading and eating!
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