March 31, 2018

A Month in Summary - March 2018

Depoe Bay, Oregon
March 2018

Other than a couple of duds, I had a very good month of reading. I loved This Is How It Always Is, The Soul of an Octopus, and The Woman in the Window. I can't wait to read more by these great authors! We watched several movies and TV series, but only worked on one puzzle, which we gave up on before finishing - it was terrible because so many of the pieces fit where they didn't belong! The weather is beginning to feel more like spring and we were able to get out for a bike ride at South Beach (south of Newport, OR) and I was also able to meet up with a blogmate (Robin of A Fondness for Reading) for lunch, which was great fun! With all the preparations for our 3-week road trip to Northern California and a few social events (including book club, where we discussed The Soul of an Octopus, which everyone enjoyed), the month flew by far too quickly.

Books read in March:

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

First Lines:

I am death cleaning, or, as we call it in Swedish, döstädning. Dö is "death" and städning is "cleaning." In Swedish it is a term that means that you remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet. (The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning)

But first, Roo was born. Roosevelt Walsh-Adams. They had decided to hyphenate because— and in spite—of all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather's name without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six-pound, two-ounce, brand-new tiny human. (This Is How It Always Is)

On a rare, warm day in mid-March, when the snow was melting into mud in New Hampshire, I traveled to Boston, where everyone was strolling along the harbor or sitting on benches licking ice cream cones. But I quit the blessed sunlight for the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium. I had a date with a giant Pacific octopus. (The Soul of an Octopus)

They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. (On Chesil Beach)

Her husband's almost home. He'll catch her this time. (The Woman in the Window)

Movies & TV Series:

Mark Felt - I wasn't expecting to like this movie, but Liam Neeson was outstanding (he was the "Deep Throat" of the Watergate scandal) and I quickly became engrossed.

Endeavour - Still enjoying this series! I think we have one more episode in season four and then we'll have to wait for the release of season five, which hopefully won't be too much longer.

The Man Who Invented Christmas - Clever, sweet, nice glimpse into Charles Dickens' life as an emerging author. Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer were thoroughly entertaining!

The Bridge - We're trying out a new Scandinavian series, which is gritty yet compelling. The lead characters are both flawed and I'm curious to learn more about their backgrounds. We watched episodes 1-3 of the first season. 

Love and Mercy - I didn't have high hopes for this biographical drama about Brian Wilson, but I grew up on The Beach Boys and loved their music, so I decided to give it a try. It didn't disappoint. John Cusack does a great job of portraying Brian Wilson as an adult.


Robin (of A Fondness for Reading) lives a few hours away from me, so we decided to meet up for lunch in McMinnville. We found a great restaurant (new to both of us) and had a lovely time visiting over our delicious salads.  After lunch, we strolled up and down the main street of McMinville, stopping for a little while in a yarn store and Third Street Books. (Too bad it isn't a little closer to home -- I would love to work there!) The weather couldn't have been any nicer and the spring flowers were gorgeous. We hope to make this a regular outing since we both enjoy each other's company so well. 


I am so happy to have found a place to ride our bikes that is not only close by, but near the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge, Yaquina Bay and the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center. The weather was cool, but sunny and there were a lot of people out crabbing from the docks and digging for clams along the bay. As we rode along the path that took us out to the wetlands, we saw several great blue heron which were probably fishing, as well. We also got to try out our awesome new bike rack (1Up), which came highly recommend by a bunch of Escape owners. I love how easy it is to load and secure the bikes and don't worry about them falling off behind us with every little bump in the road. 

Coming Soon! - I just learned about these new books by the authors of two of my all-time favorite books. I plan to buy these in hardcover. Whoohoo!

We are now four days into our road trip through Northern California, camping at the Benbow KOA for one last night. Tomorrow we head to Santa Rosa, followed by Bodega Bay, Carmichael, Red Bluff, then back up Hwy 101 to Benbow and Brookings. We're having a great time!

Click on images to enlarge them.

March 30, 2018

Looking Back - Their Fathers' God

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Their Father's God by O.E. Rolvaag
1983 Bison Books (first published in 1931)
Finished in September 1997
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

Susie Doheny, an Irish Catholic, and Peder Holm, a Norwegian Lutheran, fall in love and marry in South Dakota in the 1890s. Soon their marriage is tested by drought, depression, and family bickering. Susie believes they are being tested by their fathers' God. Peder blames Susie for the timidity of her beliefs; Susie fears Peder's pride and skepticism. When political antagonism grows between the Norwegian and Irish immigrant communities, it threatens to split their marriage.

Against a backdrop of hard times, crisscrossed by Populists, antimonopolists, and schemers, Rölvaag brings the struggle of immigrants into the twentieth century. In Giants in the Earth the Holm family strained to wrest a homestead from the land. In Peder Victorious the American-born children searched for a new national identity, often defying the traditions their parents fought to uphold. In Their Fathers' God, Rölvaag's most soul-searching novel, the first-generation americans enter a world of ruthless competition in the midst of scarcity.

My Original Notes (1997):

OK, but not as good as Giants in the Earth. Rolvaag spent the entire book showing his readers how the conflict of an interfaith marriage can lead to destruction of that marriage. It was the Irish Catholic vs. Lutherans. Constant problems arose between the couple and they acted so juvenile throughout their marriage. I found the book boring and tiresome.

My Current Thoughts:

I must have been bound and determined to try the third in this series, in spite of not enjoying Peder Victorious (#2) as much as Giants in the Earth (#1).

March 29, 2018

Olympic Peninsula Trip - Day Twelve (Part One)

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Brinnon, Washington
Dosewallips State Park

We awoke fairly early (any time before 7:30 is early for us while camping) and I wonder if it was due to the road noise from Hwy. 101, which picked up with the morning traffic, or if I subconsciously wanted to spot some elk grazing nearby. Sadly, there were none to be seen and there wasn't a view of the sunrise either, so I decided to head across the highway to the day-use parking lot, which has a view of the Hood Canal. 

Still quiet in the campground, so we weren't the only ones to sleep late.

You can see the cabins in our loop, most of which were vacant during the week.

This shot gives you an idea of how much green space we had behind the trailer. It's a great site!

The sun was already up, but it was still very pretty. 

I walked through the dry camp area and down to the river, where I spotted TWO eagles perched in the tree with the nest! Of course, I didn't think to bring my good camera, but got a few shots with my phone.

I also spied a salmon swimming upstream to lay its eggs!

Found this nice site in the dry camp area, which would be great if you didn't need hookups. There were several others that looked like they would be nice, too. The ones along the river would be perfect once the salmon were gone. Pretty smelly while they're spawning.

Fun mural underneath the bridge leading back to the main campground.

Ah, the elk were nearby! After breakfast, we learned from another camper that the herd was back behind the ranger station, so I decided to go check it out (with the good camera in hand!). Sure enough, there were maybe 30 or so bedded down in the shade by the picnic tables. So cool to see them so close! I took a lot of shots and have culled them down to just a few.

At first glance, these guys almost look like large boulders behind the picnic tables.

You can easily see the strength in those legs and body! Roosevelt's cows weigh up to 600 lbs., while the bulls can reach 900 lbs. 

According to the Elk Network, the Roosevelt's Elk is the "largest in body size of all subspecies, but not antler size."
Roosevelt’s elk: Ghosts of the Jungle - Amidst the dark, looming cedars and firs lurks a large shadow of an animal. It’s the Roosevelt’s elk of the Pacific Northwest. These elk hide out in the thick coastal rainforests where they easily eluded early hunters. Roosevelt’s plump up on berry bushes and willows all winter, munching more grasses and small leafy plants in spring and summer giving them the largest bodies of any elk. They also have the darkest coats, which help them blend into their shady environment.

I was definitely being watched and took all of these photos with a zoom lens. 

I decided to head back to the river to see if the eagles were still around, which they weren't, so I headed back to the trailer. 

I took my journal and laptop out to the picnic table to join Rod, who was busy working on an editing project. It was so lovely to sit and relax outside. I even read for a little while (Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck), before fixing lunch. It was a great morning!