What I’ve Been Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of books this summer. Many so-so books but I thought I’d share some of the best.

A Yellow Raft in Blue WaterYellow raft cover by Michael Dorris. This was a nice surprise. Different than any other book I’ve read, this story is fresh and fast moving. The characters are three generations of native American women and the land they travel during the experiences.

 

 

quietgirlThe Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg. This was an excellent book that I should read again because I missed a lot of what was going on. It’s set in Denmark and is an adventurous story of nuns, gambling debt, a mysterious girl, intrigue and mysticism. It’s a book that sticks with you. The touch of humor was wonderful and the story rolled out in such an interesting way. Stick with it — it’s worth it.

 

uglyWonderfulAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. I read this for my book club and the reaction was strong on all sides. I loved it and thought the writing was superb. The topic may be upsetting to some because the main character in the book is a girl who has drug addicted dealers in middle America and not all her experiences are pretty.

 

riverDarknessA River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa. This is a free Kindle book and that is why I had this on my list to read. It’s a fast read and an incredible story. I had no idea the history of this area of the world. Well worth your time.
Let me know if you’ve read anything great lately. Happy reading.

— Namaste

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

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Bliss

Fuzz butt loves to de-squeakie any dog toy out there.  I surprise him regularly with another victim. Buddy hunts in our bags from the Dollar Store and once found will carry it until we get home. He likes to be the one to carry it in from the car.

It’s amazing how much happiness a dollar can buy.

— Namaste

Would you rather?

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I have the game, “Would you Rather” but I don’t think any adults have ever played it in my house.

For nearly five years, it’s been me reading the cards to my granddaughter and her telling me her answer. When she was younger, she struggled answering because she knew she didn’t want either. Ha!

[Just like life, little girl. Sometimes you have to choose anyway.]

So — for fun — would you rather . . .

. . . lose your ability speak for one year -OR- your ability to walk for one year?

. . . be the shortest boy in the fourth grade -OR- the tallest girl in the fourth grade?

. . . always be itchy -OR- always feel like you have to pee?

. . . be an only child -OR- have seven siblings?

. . . live forever as a 13-year-old -OR- as a 65-year-old?

Have a GREAT day!

—Namaste

P.S. My box — complete with puppy love on the corners.

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RAGBRAI (130 miles on a bike seat)

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I recently rode more than 130 miles on my bicycle over two days.  It was glorious.

If you are biker in the U.S. Midwest, you may have heard of RAGBRAI. For those of you who haven’t, it is an acronym for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. One July week every year, thousands of bicyclers start on a town on the Missouri River and ride ranging 60-100 miles daily until they reach the Mississippi River. There is a different route every year and host towns vie for the privilege to have an influx of bikers – and their dollars – grace their town limits either for a ride through, or an overnight stay.

Riders camp, sleep on couches (of any acquaintance they can talk into), or hotels. The route is announced at a January release party and hotels are immediately booked up. The tradition is to dip your tire in the Missouri at the beginning and again dip in the Mississippi at the end.

The ride started in 1973 by John Karras and Don Kaul – two newspaper writers at The Des Moines Register. It was little more than a challenge in the beginning by two guys that liked to bike. After 45 years, the official total to week long riders is ~8,500, but there are many more riders that join for a day or two and the throng can swell to an estimated 36,000. (Lance Armstrong has ridden days for several years.)

It’s this last group of riders in which I fall.  I’ve ridden days here and there four different years, but never two in a row.

I held my own both days. I passed a lot of people; I was passed by a lot of people; and I didn’t crash despite all the bikes. I’m proud of myself.

I have a couple of favorite moments. The first was when we were riding up this long-ass, steep hill — long, as in over two miles and a tough grade. By the time I got up that hill, a fellow rider had gotten off her bike, pulled out her small trumpet like horn and was playing the theme from the movie Rocky.  #perfect

Another favorite was on the second day, late afternoon in the hot, relentless sun going up hill after hill and I stop at the first place I see shade. The shadow of a big red barn at the top of a hill.  Three 30 something males had the same idea and were already sprawled out in the grass.  I plop down while we discuss the relentlessness of the sun — did I mention the relentless sun? — and we exchange first names.

Paul has a quart bottle of clear alcohol in one hand and of bottle of pop in the other and he is taking a drink from each before he swallows. One of their friends rides off the road and de-bikes while laying down on his stomach in one motion. He swears he isn’t going to make it unless he naps forever right there.  They have stories to tell from the entire week, partying, sleeping in a cemetery under the stars, losing people, etc. Good connecting in the middle of nowhere America.

It was glorious. The more than 130 miles on my bicycle I rode over two days.  Next year, I might need to do a week.

— Namaste