Books, Wanderlust, Lifelust

A journey to read, laugh, take photos, and just enjoy life.

11 Songs to Listen to While Reading The Raven Cycle Books

Romeo and Juliet.  Peanut Butter and jelly. Batman and Robin.  Books and Music?

Yes!  In my mind, books and music just click.  I am currently reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, and I just keep hearing song after song that reminds me of something that is happening in the book or a character in the book.  So here are my 11 songs to listen to while reading The Raven Cycle Books.  Continue reading “11 Songs to Listen to While Reading The Raven Cycle Books”


Olympics Food Tour: Caribbean

I had really high hopes for Caribbean food because it is generally a food that I like, but our Caribbean meal tonight was just okay.   Continue reading “Olympics Food Tour: Caribbean”

Olympic Food Tour: Canada

Canada was a success!!

Well, to be honest, our Canadian inspired meal wasn’t too much of a stretch for us.  It was very similar to our everyday foods.  This is exactly how I wanted to start this little project because I know my kids, and I know that if I had started with a very unusual meal, then they wouldn’t try it and the rest of the project would go down the drain. So yes, Canada was an easy success.   Continue reading “Olympic Food Tour: Canada”

Olympics 2016: A Tour of Food

There are a few known truths about me:

  1. I don’t generally like sports, but I LOVE the Olympics.
  2. I love food, and I love to cook.
  3. And, I am always looking for a new little project no matter how busy I am.

So all of those things are about to come together, and I can’t tell you how excited I am! Continue reading “Olympics 2016: A Tour of Food”

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This novel has been on my bookshelf for about two years now, and it’s one of those books that I pick up to read every time I am looking for a book, but for one reason or another I always put it back down.  Until now!!  I finally made myself read it, and now I am kicking myself in the butt for not taking the time to read it sooner.  This book is a must read.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 1.37.21 PM

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a lighthearted look at some very serious issues such as discrimination, alcoholism, death, grief, acceptance, determination, and hope.  The book reminded me a lot of Diary of a Wimpy kid, but definitely more serious.  The book is written from the point of view of a dorky teenager, Arnold Spirit “Junior”.  Arnold lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation and does his best to fit in even though he has many health issues, and he tends to be the target of all bullying on the reservation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.15.54 PM

One day after a minor blow-up with a teacher, that teacher sits down with Arnold and tells him that he has a lot of potential, but he needs to leave the reservation to find that potential or he risks being stuck there forever just like everyone else. Arnold takes a chance and enrolls at the public school 20 miles away where everyone is white, and he is the outsider.  By taking this chance, Arnold has completely alienated his few friends, and the whole reservation considers him to be a traitor.

Arnold faces many struggles throughout his first year at the new school.  He has a hard time fitting in with the white kids. He doesn’t always have a ride to or from school.  His parents are alcoholics as well as most everyone else on the reservation.  His older sister runs away, and he has to deal with a very common occurrence on reservations: death.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.17.11 PM

Arnold slowly starts to find his place in the world when he makes the varsity basketball team.  This gives him a chance to find his place and have hope for the future until his new basketball team plays the undefeated reservation team, and everything seems to fall apart again.

This book touched on so many important issues, but because the narrator is a budding cartoonist, there was a playfulness to many of the serious issues that made them not feel as heavy to read.  This book would be such a great book to read as a class to generate valuable conversations about history and about compassion, hope and determination.  This book is full of life lessons that every kids could learn from.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.16.50 PM

One interesting thing about this book is that it was #1 on the 2014 Banned and Challenged Books List!  According to the American Library Association, the book was banned for the following reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence, and additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”  That’s a huge list of “offenses”, but I could truly challenge most of these.  For example, I don’t feel that the novel was overly anti-family.  I feel that it was a true depiction of how life on a reservation really is.  Not every kid has both parents at home to attend every school function and provide them with their every need. Arnold didn’t have the best family, but the family that he did have loved him and did the best that they could with what they had.  The one thing in the book that would keep me from reading this with students in middle school is the sexually explicit scenes where the main character jokes around and talks about things that a teenage boy would talk about.  I think high school students would be ok with reading this book, but I don’t think anyone under that age.  I wish that weren’t the case because the overall themes of the book make it a must read for any student.

Book Review: The Book of Speculation

The Book of Speculation

What a wonderfully surprising novel.  The Book of Speculation revolves around the main character, Simon.  Simon is a researcher in a local library in a small town on the Long Island Sound.  Lack of funding is threatening Simon’s job, and to top off his problems, his old coastal home is in danger of falling into the ocean because of erosion and a lack of upkeep.   Simon is essentially alone.  His mom tragically and intentionally drowned, and his dad later died of a broken heart.  His sister, Enola, is off traveling with a carnival as a tarot card reader and occasional mermaid.  As his world is crumbling, he receives a very old book from an unknown book collector.  The attached note says that the book contains information about Simon’s family. Being a researcher, Simon lets his curiosity take over, even if it means delaying finding a job and fixing his house.  The information in the book has such a pull on him that he can’t resist the challenge of researching his family history.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Book of Speculation”

Book Reviews – A Month of Good Books

I have breezed through three really good books this last month or so. All three books are vastly different from each other which has made it easy to switch from one book to the next.  Sometimes if I read books that are from the same genre it is hard to move from one book to the next because I tend to compare the two.  That has not been the case this month.  Continue reading “Book Reviews – A Month of Good Books”

Photo Hunting in RAW

I have tried to devote a lot of time lately to working on my photography.  My focus for last nights walk was to shoot in RAW.  This has always scared me a little because I didn’t know what that meant.  So I spent a good deal of time during the last week studying up on RAW, and I wanted to try it out.  Let me just say, I LOVE the freedom I get when editing RAW images.  I feel like the colors just pop a little more when shooting in RAW. Continue reading “Photo Hunting in RAW”

Wonderment – State of Mind

Wonderment – a state of awed admiration or respect.

Living in a desert climate, my photo walks tend to all be the same – dry, dusty scenery.  However, on this morning after an unusually wet season, the moisture and dew left me with a sense of wonderment.






“Misty mornin’, don’t see no sun;
I know you’re out there somewhere having fun.” – Bob Marley

State of Mind photo challenge

State of Mind

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑