Two Books Worth Reading

Summertime is a great time to visit the local public library and bring home a stack of new books to read. Grab a big stack, so if one does not catch your fancy, it is easy to put it aside and grab the next book! If it is more interesting when you come back to it later, great. If not, that was why you grabbed a big stack of books in the first place.

Two winners I will recommend:

Shepherd’s Crook by Sheila Webster Boneham and An Amish Year by Beth Wiseman

Very different books indeed, but I loved them both.

An Amish Year by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Year is a collection of four stories – they call them novellas. I am pretty sure that the publishing world has a great long list of rules for each of their categories, but here in redneckville, they are all called stories. There is one story for each of the four seasons of the year, different characters in each one, but a similar locale.

I was surprised? shocked? amazed? to discover that the Amish teens are really no different than my own kids. In my brain, I always picture the Amish teens as being part of the same Walton’s Mountain Norman Rockwell picture perfect world my mom grew up in, where never is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.

Not a bit. These kids (and the adults) are real and honest and human — and it was very hard to put this book down.

Shepherd’s Crook by Sheila Webster Boneham

Shepherd’s Crook is a mystery. It seems to be the second book in a series, so now I will need to hunt down the first book. It is set in a world filled with dog training competitions and agility trials, sophisticated adults, protesters, questionable politicians and messy puppy antics  — aside from the hilarious displays of brattiness on the part of the puppy, the world shown in this book is just as foreign to my life as the Amish culture in the first book. Bratty puppies that  destroy a full week’s work, however — **THAT** is something that I have experienced.

Two thumbs up.


travel notes – Iowa state capitol

_MG_4041 _MG_4028 _MG_4027  _MG_4019   _MG_4011    _MG_3991








While we were in Des Moines for the 65th National Square Dance Convention, we visited the Iowa State Capitol. Iowa has the most beautiful capitol building!




The library is clearly an occasion of sin, because it certainly made me covet!

I think that Belle and the Beast just might sneak in here to visit after hours…

The spiral staircases leading up to the bookshelves are incredibly tempting. Even a firmly-professed “non-reader” would have their mind changed about loving books, if they could use such a wonderful library!








_MG_4053     _MG_4054


_MG_4050      _MG_4048





I spent half of the tour looking up, as the ceilings in here are amazing, but even the floors in the capitol building have intricate detailing.


_MG_4020   _MG_4016

_MG_4038   _MG_4015



The walls that appear to be wallpapered are actually stenciled with paint, our tour guide explained. They just renovated the Supreme Court room, and put everything back to the way it looked originally. It is no longer actually used for Supreme Court proceedings — they do that someplace else now. While I did not see the “someplace else” the Supreme Court meets now, I am positive it is not nearly as pretty!

The woodwork is hand carved – she said one single carver had made all of those carvings on the front of the Supreme Court bench.









As a doll collector, the display of the Iowa first ladies dressed in their inaugural ball gowns captured my eye.

I had to keep my hands pushed firmly into my pockets to resist the urge to touch!

_MG_3994   _MG_3992


I was greatly amused by the idea that all of the dolls were made with the same face mold — modeled after the first lady who had commissioned the original project.




The picture of the “doggy bags” on the sidewalk post was because I have never seen such a thing before, and I found it to be a wonderful idea. While I was not personally walking a dog, I did see others walking along with puppydogs on a leash, and having those bags and trash cans readily available is a brilliant idea!



crown molding

We did a cool trick on the crown molding in the dining room.


I painted the rounded strip to look like turquoise stone.

Then when we put it up on the ceiling, it draws the eye to the molding.



I am really happy with the way it came out!

It did make it take far longer to get the painting done than just painting it a solid color, but I think it was worth the extra time. I did hear a rumor most that sane people do not paint their dining room trim in four inch sections with an art brush, but that might only be a rumor…



escape artist — caught in the act!


The cable is my friend.

Not sure **he** agrees with that assessment!

Before I can even think about getting a new puppy, he is carefully checking out all the escape routes so I can re-seal them. Thirteen years ago, this yard was well sealed against a tiny puppy, but wind and rain have moved the soil in places. Personally, I suspect there was some “paw power” involved in moving the dirt here as well…



This is this point where I ought to have my weekly update ready to go, but as it is not ready, there will be a tasty tidbit of silly stuff to fill in here instead.

I am trying to figure out how to add a photo…


Why “#Make Minot” is wrong and why I am voting “no” on their plan on June 14th

Minot currently has a city council, made up of two representatives from each of the seven wards. The original intent of the Make Minot proposal, as **I** was given to understand it, was to “bring more people and interest into the Minot city government.”

Yes, I agree that more voices need to be heard, but I think their plan is totally backwards. Instead of bringing in new voices, cutting the size of the city council guarantees that they are limiting new voices from having any say in how the city is run.

Instead of limiting the size of the city council, we need to expand it. The original seven wards need to be redrawn into fifteen new wards, because the city of Minot has grown and spread out. If they do not want to increase the size of the council, they can elect only one representative from each new ward. In order to get some “new blood” into city government, electing two from each new ward would be a better choice, but then the city council would lose the ability to look down on the plebian crowd from the raised dais in that fancy council chamber.

Arguments that we need a smaller city council “because Fargo has a smaller one” are ludicrous. There is no reason why Minot needs to do anything to “be like Fargo.” Yes, this is a common argument in almost every topic of daily life in Minot, but it makes no sense whatsoever. If one feels “Fargo is better” for whatever reason, then one should really consider moving to Fargo. This is Minot. We need to involve the people of Minot in making the decisions of our city government, not look to Fargo for their answers.