Friday, June 28, 2013

Taxi Rides and Navy Pier

My co-workers and I arrived in Chicago for the American Library Association conference. We flew in then caught a Go Green van. Our driver, George, a native Chicagoan, entertained us with stories and history about his beloved city. Did you know that Cool Whip, skyscrapers, and the juke box originated in the Windy City and that the nickname doesn’t refer to the wild breeze, but to politicians from the past? All facts, according to George.

Registered for the conference, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, then headed out to explore the city. We learned early that Chicagoans like to honk. The beeps and tweets sounded like a concert. Every taxi we rode in, three in all, honked at least every ten feet. And speaking of taxis, we can say that we experienced a crazy heart-in-your-throat ride, like you see in movies.  Our first driver, a sweet young man named Jose, chatted with us and drove with perfect safety. Driver two made our hearts stutter. He swerved, honked, slammed his breaks, and pretty much made us wonder if we should ever get in a taxi again. Thank goodness, our last driver made a smooth path to our hotel.

If you get to Chicago, go to Navy Pier, walk around, enjoy the people and the beautiful view of Lake Michigan. We hopped on a boat and enjoyed the tour of the shoreline. The boat sailed past the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, the highlight for me, as we listened to the history of this exciting city.

Off to Printer’s Row today and then to ALA.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Born and Raised in a Small Town

As John Cougar Melloncamp sang, I was raised in a small town. People valued Main Street, with Woody’s grocery, Odell’s drugstore, the library, bank, you get the idea. We even had a men’s clothing store and a fabric shop. Mom knew if I walked downtown after school for a scout meeting, my friends and I were safe.

My work in progress is set in the fictional small town of Turtle Creek, Ohio.  The town’s growing in size and acquiring a taste for arts and crafts, college kids and coffee.  I’ve enjoyed researching and visiting small towns as I pieced Turtle Creek together.

One of the villages I considered is on my route to and from work. The street corners host huge planters of pink petunias accented by purple and green. The sidewalks have a terra cotta brick trim. The drug store window invites the shopper in with an eclectic array of gift items. They even have a donut shop, florist and antique store, that make you want to stop and visit. Yet, the sites I enjoy most are not stores or eateries, but murals. This little town boasts a painting that invites the passerby for donuts or pizza. The other rings out the history of the town. If you’re familiar with Williamsburg, Ohio, you know what I’m talking about. A small town treasure.

Do you have a favorite small town? If so, where?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review-The Face of the Earth: A Novel

By Deborah Raney

Mitch’s wife, Jill, calls to say she’ll be home for dinner. Except, she never arrives. It’s as if she’s disappeared into thin air. His neighbor Shelley wants to help find her best friend, but she’s not sure how close she should get to Mitch. Life needs to move forward, but how, when someone you love is missing?

I lost some sleep over this page turner, filled with questions, suspicions and the perfect thread of tension. This story opens the door to speculation and understanding of what it must be like to wait on the missing person to come home. Do they put life on hold for months or years at a time? Or do they move forward as they hold on to hope? Faith is tested and prayers are flung at God as Mitch, Shelley and their teenage children search for Jill.

Deborah penned a beautiful story of characters with real flaws, broken dreams and faith that carries them through.

Do you like characters with 'real' flaws? If so, who's your favorite?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Going to Summerfair

What do the buttery smell of popcorn, fiddles, harmonicas, a women’s barbershop quartet, and row after row of vendor’s booths filled with colorful art have in common? They are all a part of the annual Summerfair in southwest Ohio.

Early Saturday morning, my daughter and I trekked through one of the largest art and craft shows in the country. We enjoyed meeting the artisans and seeing the work of their hands. I appreciated that many of the artist’s found a way to capture God’s creation on canvas or some other creative form. Photographers, painters, jewelry makers, fiber artists found a way to bring the beauty of the world into focus.

Every vendor invited to participate went through a juried system. Of the one hundred plus artists, I’m posting my top ten favorites, so you can have a taste of Summerfair, too.

Top Ten (You’ll want to see them all):

Is there an art and craft show near you, which you enjoy?