Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Goodbye bright little cozy coupe, who once took 3 little Bachsters spinning around the house..........

Goodbye pile of baby blankets, who once kept little Bach babies snug and warm.............

Goodbye baby monitor who was always on call to let Mama know when baby needed something..........

Goodbye little baby shoes, that helped new walkers get around................

Goodbye to all our baby things, mementos of a time not that long ago.

Hello, 3 big Bachsters that have moved on to all things "big kid."

Hello, garage sale later this summer!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Nook - The Awakening

The wonderful thing about great literature is that it gets great conversations started.  And the thing that stirs up that great conversation is perspective.  Different people can look at a book & its characters, plot, etc. in very different ways.  The same person can see a book in very different ways after re-reading it, or experiencing something in their life that may change their views.  Literature is the stuff of life and reflects back on us.

I'm waxing poetic here because I think that The Awakening by Kate Chopin (published in 1899 and shunned by society) is a book that, for me, has changed a great deal with my personal perspective, as well as being a great book to generate discussion.  When I first read it, I was required to do so for an assignment in high school.  I liked it so much, I re-read it again a few times in my teens/early 20s.  Now, I've re-read it years later, and find that because my perspective has changed, I feel a lot differently towards the characters and the story.

Edna Pontellier is a 28 year old mother to two young boys, wife to Leonce Pontellier, a wealthy banker.  She is very wealthy, coming from money and marrying into it.  She summers at Grand Isle, spends the rest of the year at their mansion in New Orleans.  Her days on the island are filled with swimming in the ocean and lounging about.  A "quadroon nurse" takes care of the boys 24/7.  There are servants to cook and clean for the family.  It's the same in New Orleans - Edna's days are filled with social calls and painting, if she feels like it.

From one perspective, Edna has it made.  She has everything handed to her at request, she has no worry of money, no hassles or demands of any kind.  Yet she is unhappy and has recently realized that fact.  The catalyst for this realization is Robert Lebrun, who is like a puppy at her side during the summer at Grand Isle.  He showers her with praise and attention and is always there for her.  Edna starts to see Robert as more than a tag-along, even though she is married.  And then suddenly, Robert announces he is leaving for a business venture in Mexico.  He promises to write but never does.  Interestingly, Edna's close friendship with Robert is never questioned by others as anything more - the reader infers that in this society, this kind of relationship is quite normal and harmless.  After all, Edna is married and that's that!  There is an interesting conversation between Robert and one of their mutual friends (Madame Ratignolle), in which she cautions Robert that while everyone knows not to take his affections seriously, he should be careful because Edna is not a Creole by birth and she might read more into it.

Anyway, I'm digressing here a bit.  The real heart of the story is not the relationship between Edna and Robert, but rather Edna's slow realization that she is unhappy with it all: being in a marriage that is not made of passion, being a mother, being required to receive visitors every Tuesday, the pressures of the society in which she lives, etc.  Edna starts to stray from the path that she is socially obliged to take.  She stops social visits all together.  The only social interactions she makes are the rare visit with Madame Ratignolle and rather frequent visits with a eccentric pianist named Madame Reisz, who is the only person who seems to understand her.  During these visits with Madame Reisz, Edna discovers that Robert has been writing to her (Mme Reisz).  And over time, she learns that Robert loves her and that is the reason he left town....and he's planning on coming back!

OK, I'm still digressing!  Back to my bit about perspective: I guess it depends on your perspective as to how you feel about Edna and her actions.  In the novel, all characters are very sympathetic towards her: Mme Ratignolle, who is very traditional, never looks down at her friend despite her unconventional behavior.  Mme Reisz acts as a good listener always, and plays her piano for Edna to cheer her up.  Even poor Leonce never gets angry with her: when he is away for business and Edna declares that she is going to move into a little house down the street from the mansion, Leonce never tries to make her change her mind.  Instead, he has remodeling work done on the mansion so that the family has a convenient reason for Edna's decision.

Those are some of the character reactions to Edna.  My own perspective, as a wife and mother, is a little less sympathetic.  I really can't believe that Edna can act without thinking of anyone else but herself (one example: she refuses to go to her sister's wedding, simply because she doesn't want to go)!  I know she's in the midst of an "awakening" and all, but I believe that her actions paint her as a rather selfish, ungrateful person.  So, she feels lukewarm towards motherhood......perhaps she should spend more time with her boys and get to know them better.  So, she feels unloving towards her husband.......perhaps she should attempt to make a connection with him (rather than the endless focus on Robert) so that she can remember why she married him in the first place.  So she feels suffocated by societal rules.......perhaps she can find a way to live with them and find happiness rather than throwing it all away. 

But there's always perspective.  When I read this novel as a teenager, I didn't think the way I do now.  I totally rooted for Edna and her one-woman-societal-upheaval.  I sympathized with her realization that she will never be happy.  And isn't that the gift that literature gives?  Something organic, something that changes with us, something that gives us new things to ponder...........and new perspectives.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

An early morning photoshoot

Things don't always go as planned at 6:00am.  I decided that this morning, I would head out on a photoshoot at one of our local Columbus Metro Parks.  Checked the weather last night - it was supposed to rain but not until later in the morning.  Checked the sunrise time.  Checked the camera battery.  All set!

Unfortunately, it started sprinkling just as I left the house.  I saw a gorgeous sunrise just beyond our roofline, but by the time I got to the park, the colors in the sky were quickly fading to a dreary gray.  But, when life gives you a rainy photoshoot, take pictures of raindrops, I say!

Here is my first shot of the morning, not a great one, but you can see the pink glow of the sunrise:

There was milkweed all over the place - under sunnier conditions, I might have seen a monarch butterfly or two....

There was a hardworking dragonfly flying about, leading me down the path.  I was hoping he'd land somewhere and pose patiently for some shots, but no such luck.  He was too busy collecting his breakfast.  But as I followed him down the path, I spotted something that was willing to hold still for a moment - a little family of rabbits.  At one time, I spotted 3 of them together.  As you can see, they were leery of me:

There were wildflowers all over the meadow, but this dead plant (not sure what it is) really caught my attention.  It just goes to show that beauty can be spotted in everything:

I realized it was time to go when I started daydreaming about bagels a bit more than someone on a mission for photography should.  And although it was a rainy morning, and my photos weren't anything like I had envisioned as I prepared last night, it was a nice photoshoot: the sounds of croaking frogs and a hawk in the distance, the smells of wildflowers in the rain and the opportunity to observe nature on a quiet, drizzly morning.

Hope you are having a nice (dry) weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Nook - Cheryl Bach's 20 Questions

With Summer officially starting tomorrow, I thought I'd do something a little different for my Monday Book Nook post, something in celebration of books and Library Summer reading programs!  So, here's a little list of 20 questions, book-related, that I thought might be fun to share.  And if you're inclined, please check out the list in the comments section and put in your own responses for all to see!

Oh, one more thing: if you can't limit your answers to just one, no problem!  On some of the questions, it's too hard to pick just one! 

What is your favorite book?
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.  Favorite book in the series?  Probably #1 or #7.

What is your favorite series?
See above - Harry Potter!

What is a story you've read that is just pure magic (as in, intriguing, beguiling...not a magic book, per se!)?
I can think of a few:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) - I don't see how anyone could put it down after the first chapter.  Also, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - the first part of the story is so magical!  And (I'm cheating here with a third, I know!): The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - I remember reading this in middle school and was completely entranced by it.

What is a favorite book from your childhood?
 I just loved Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel.  Also, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

What book are you reading right now?
Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie and the 3rd Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich.

What book have you always wanted to read, but never done so?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - just to have it under my literary belt, if I'm being honest.  I've also always wanted to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen -  I'm not sure why I've never read it.

What is your favorite bookstore?
The library, of course!  You can get just about everything at the library that you can at a bookstore, with the possible exception of a Grande Caffe Latte, decaf, with caramel syrup (oh, yum)!  A close second is The Book Loft, a charming maze-of-a-bookstore in Columbus Ohio's German Village.

Name a book that kept you up at night.
This seemed like a great question, but I honestly can't think of one........

Name a book-to-movie that you enjoyed (both or either version):
Well, one that comes to mind is a play, actually: Hamlet by Shakespeare.  I think the play is amazing and loved the version starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close.  Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl is another one, I really enjoyed both the book and the movie.

Name a character from a book that you'd love to meet: 
Pi from Life of Pi, an excellent novel I just read this Spring.  He seems so real, I feel like I've already met him, in a way!

Tell about a unique use for a book that you've employed:
Using a little board book to hold up a fan in the windowsill!

Have you ever had an experience where a book found its way to you?
I think you could interpret this question in a couple of different ways.  Once DH and I were at an out-of-town used bookstore and I was perusing the photography books (of course!) and I saw a book with my co-worker's name written on the inside.  I got it just for that reason, and still have it today, years later.

If you start reading a book, but don't like it, do you read all of it anyway, or stop?
Depends on how long the book is and my level of dislike.

What is one of your favorite non-fiction books?
I love, love, love Ursula Goodenough's The Sacred Depths of Nature.  Spirituality and science all discussed in a poetic yet straightforward way.

When you're at a bookstore, what section do you head to first?
Knitting.  If the Bachsters are with me, then the kids section (or the restrooms!).

If you give a book as a gift, do you inscribe your name & a message in it?

What's your favorite way to read a book - paper, Books-on-CD, Kindle, etc.?
I love to knit while I listen to a good book on CD.  That being said, some books I prefer to read the paper version so that I can give my own "voice" to.  Also, I like paper versions for keeping me company when I'm eating and everyone else has run off from the table!

Name an author whose work you love:
Have I gushed enough about JK Rowling?  No?  Then, JK Rowling it is!  I just love her writing style!

What's next on your reading list?
I'm in line at the library for Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, both on CD.  I've also just reserved Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard.  At a different library, I'm in the queue for the Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum.

Name a book that you find yourself reaching for time & time again, for whatever reason:
The dictionary!

Now it's your turn!  Go to the comments section and you'll see the list of questions.  Cut and paste the list into your own comment & put your answers to them - I'd love to see them!

Happy Summer Reading!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A day at Inniswood

In celebration of Father's Day, and our 5-year-old's upcoming birthday, the Bachs spent a wonderful afternoon at our favorite local Metro Park, Inniswood (see link here & if you're in Central Ohio, I highly recommend a visit).  We had a picnic, then took a stroll among all the beautiful gardens.  It sprinkled on us a little, but that's ok because the I think the dreary clouds kept the weekend crowds away and made for better photography, too!

One of our favorite areas of Inniswood is the children's garden area, known as the Sister's Garden.  There are several components of this area, including a tree house and swinging bridge, a little cottage for kids to play in & and a "secret garden."  As we crossed a bridge to enter this area of the park, we saw a handful of damselflies.  We always see ebony jewelwings at Inniswood, and today was no exception.  I think they really like this particular area by the creek because we always see them there:


Now that I think about it, we have lots of areas of the park that are favorites.  Another one is the herb garden, especially this time of year when the lavender is thriving - the fragrance is unbelievably wonderful!  I could spend all day there, just me and the bumblebees!  I didn't catch the name of this interesting flower, but was struck by its beautiful blue/purple color:

I think the next shot is of an allium, although I forgot to look.  They are clustered around the entrance to the park.  Doesn't this crop make it look like a big firework?

It was a beautiful day spent with loved ones at one of my favorite places!  I hope you had a nice weekend, too!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

More pics of Miss Bojangles

Miss Bojangles is a sweet knitted tap dancer doll that I designed, which is part of the Summer 2011 issue of Petite Purls.  If you are a knitter (or into sewing or crochet) you must check out this adorable all-toys issue.  There are loads of cute patterns in it, all available for free!  Here's the link to Petite Purls.

The pictures that appeared in the issue were all taken by Brandy Fortune of Petite Purls.  I love that this makes them all part of a cohesive whole.  But I have lots more pictures of Miss Bojangles that I took before I sent her off for her official photoshoot, and I thought I'd share them here on the blog (my projects page is updated too, on

Here is a shot of her shoes - I think the shoes are one of the most interesting things about her & I think they turned out pretty cute:


Here's a side shot, which shows her ponytail and shirt pretty well:

The next two are on my ravelry projects page - a sitting shot & a close-up of her face:

Here's a standing up shot - she's being held in place with a heavy flashlight, if I remember right.  Don't actually knit the big bulge on to her left side!

Here's another face close-up.  I love how the easy step of pulling a little bit of yarn through the French knot really adds so much twinkle and life to her face!

I love having  lots and lots of pictures of any knitting project I'm working on, so I'm hoping that these additional pictures may be helpful to anyone making Miss Bojangles.  And if you do knit her, please send me pictures - I'd love to see them!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Nook - Fresh Flavor Fast

Lately, I've been feeling the need for some new recipes to shake things up.  Summer, wonderful though it is, is a challenge for me cook-wise because everything I seem to know and enjoy making involves lots of boiling water and 400 degree oven temperatures. 

Fresh Flavor Fast is a cookbook by the folks at Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart magazine.  And while it is not a summer-specific cookbook (I'm sure there are plenty of those out there), it's a great cookbook for all seasons.  And it's by Martha....what could be better?!

My philosophy about cookbooks in the Book Nook (oh, that was fun to write!) is that many of the recipes need to be tested by yours truly to be here.  I'm happy to say that we've tried a bunch of them in the Bach Haus, and many of them have made the grade.  Which ones, you ask?  Well............

I'll start with my favorite recipe from the book, which also happens to be a summer-friendly one: bean, corn and tortilla salad (page 77).  I've had this yummy salad almost every day for the last few weeks, it is so good.  I omit the scallions and add sour cream (it's a must, let's be honest), substitute pinto beans with black beans and sometimes throw in some fresh cilantro.  It's so good, and is a much healthier choice than, say nachos, but still has a Southwestern flair.

Also in the salad section are several yummy salads, all with their own homemade dressing.  While I haven't tried all the salads, the dressing recipes are great, at least the one I tried: red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper & olive oil (page 70).  I've been trying to eat more salads & I like to use homemade dressing when possible - this dressing was really great.

The sweet and spicy almonds (page 48) were divine, I gobbled them up almost single-handedly!  I added only a dash of cayenne pepper, as I didn't think the Bachsters would appreciate the "spicy" part.  These were a big hit.  Since I'm a vegetarian, I didn't actually try the lighter chicken potpie (page 154), but it smelled wonderful & I think it would be easy to just take out the chicken and make it a vegetarian dish.  Potpies can sometimes have too many steps, I think, but this one was quick & easy.

I love cauliflower, so I was excited to see the cauliflower gratin recipe on page 292.  It's really creamy & yummy, a different way for us to eat the veggie, as usually I just steam it.  I used Swiss cheese instead of Gruyere, just because of the cost, but I think either would work nice in the recipe.  We also tried the cherries with cinnamon dumplings (page 322) and one of the Bachsters declared that they liked it so well, they wanted to have it in lieu of cake on their birthday!  What an endorsement!

The book is broken down by course: breakfast, appetizers, soups, main courses, desserts, etc.  Each recipe has a color photo accompanying that!

Now, at this point I have some good news and some bad news to share.  First, the bad news: there were a couple of recipes we tried that just weren't all that great.  The spinach linguine with creamy walnut sauce (page 108) sounds divine, but it just didn't have enough sauce or enough flavor.  However, I think if I were to make it again, I would cut back on the pasta quantity and spring for the good parmesan cheese, not the kind you shake out of the container.  In this recipe, the parmesan is crucial.  Also, we tried the mushroom and pecorino tarts (page 250).  These were ok, but I just didn't care for the texture of puff pastry with a savory topping.  Puff pastry means dessert in my book.  But I think it just came down to a matter of personal taste on this one.

Now for the good news: there are tons of recipes that I'm dying to try, but haven't done so yet.  In fact, the cover of the book says there are 250 recipes - that's a lot!  The walnut & dried fruit granola, the goat cheese speads, the hot spinach dip, the roasted vegetable soup, the vegetable lasagna, the glazed chocolate cake, the strawberry slush..........they all sound and look so yummy!  And that's just a small list of what I'd like to try!  This is a great book for any home cook - tons of great recipes, color pictures to show you what it's going to look like, dishes for everyone's taste, for any season!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

My pattern in Petite Purls, Summer 2011

I have exciting news!

I have a knitted-toy pattern in the new issue of Petite Purls, which is now live!  Here's the link to my pattern, Miss Bojangles, a sweet tap dancer.  If you click on the "contents" tab, that will take you to the main page & you can see all the patterns.  This is a special toys-only issue and I'm so excited that my pattern is part of it!

Photo Copyright Brandy Fortune 2011
Miss Bojangles is knit flat, then the pieces are sewn up.  This is how I prefer to knit & design, as opposed to knitting in the round or on dpns (double pointed needles).  Maybe one day I'll convert over, but I just enjoy working on straight needles more.  Fewer needles to keep track of, I guess.

The good thing about knitting flat is usually the instructions are easier for newbies to understand.  Miss Bojangles is a pretty easy pattern to knit & as long as you know basic increasing & decreasing, you should be set.

Here's a side shot, which is the main picture for the pattern:

 Photo Copyright Brandy Fortune 2011

The shoes are really what makes the pattern, I think...she wouldn't be a tap dancer without her special shoes!  Each shoe gets 2 buttons, sewn on the bottom.  They actually make a little tapping noise when you play with her, too!

Photo Copyright Brandy Fortune 2011

I also really love the hair tie.  Our Bach Girls are always losing hair ties, and knitted hair ties are so easy to make, you can just knit one up in no time.  Knitted hair ties are a great way to use up some stash yarn, too.  Of course, Miss Bojangles sports her very own hair tie, matching her modern hanky-hem tunic.  She's ready to dance, in style!

 Photo Copyright Brandy Fortune 2011

As you can see by the copyright info, I did not take the pictures that were in the issue - Brandy Fortune of Petite Purls took the shots of all the projects for this special issue.  I love the saturated colors and the unified look this gave the projects.  However, I do have some shots that I took earlier in the Spring & I'll try to get them up on the blog in the next few days.  The more shots you have of a knitted project that you are working on, the better, I say!

Needless to say, I'm so excited about my first published pattern!  Please check out the link to Petite Purls and all the adorable toys in this issue.  I'm thrilled to be part of it!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strawberry picking

To kick off our summer break, the Bachsters and I went strawberry picking earlier this week.  It was a nice cool morning when we left for the farm and we were well-equipped for our adventure: sunscreen, water bottle and big appetites.

It amazes me how big the strawberry fields are.  It's like they go on forever (get it.... forever.  Strawberry fields.!?).

Look at all 3 Bachsters, hard at work.  I felt bad because they actually did most of the picking, I took all of the pictures.

After a while, the heat started to rise and it became clear that it was time to go when my oldest exclaimed, "can we go, I'm dying."  Yes, that's the cue to leave.  But it's hard to just walk past all those perfect berries, so on the way out of the fields, my 5-year-old and I couldn't resist getting a handful here and there.

What to do with all those strawberries when we returned home?  Strawberry juice for starters, eating them right out of the box with the little friends from 2 doors down, a perfect topper for Mama's homemade granola, and most definitely strawberry shortcake (recipe from Favorite Comfort Food: Classic Favorites and Great New Recipes):

In fact, it's just like last year.  I think we have a new tradition, here!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ravelry updates

I have several old knitting projects that I never got around to posting onto, so I finally got in gear and updated my project page!  My user name on ravelry is CBach (creative, huh?!).  Only ravelry members can access the site, however, so I thought I'd post pics here as well for those not on ravelry that might be interested in seeing them.

First up is a scarf I made for our oldest Bachster when she was a baby.  This is the very first knitting project I ever did!  It took me several tries, but finally I "got" it and actually made a scarf.  We still use the scarf & it's held up over the years very well.  I love the yarn - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran......soooo soft!

I knit this easy baby blanket for our now-5-year-old when she was born.  I wanted to wait to start the project because we decided to not find out whether we were having a boy or a girl.  I really love this blanket - it's a perfect size and was really easy to knit.  I love that it's 100% wool, too - it kept my little one warm on many cold nights.  Now that she is 5, the blanket spends most of its time folded up in the closet, but it will always be a treasured item that reminds me of her baby days.

When the girls were very little, before Little Dude came on the scene, I knit them these matching rabbits for Easter one year.  I remember there being a little confusion - did the Easter Bunny knit these for us? - but we cleared it all up & they really loved playing with them.  These rabbits have seen some hard times, and needed lots of grooming & repairs before their photoshoot.  I guess that's a good sign, though - they have gotten lots of play and love!

When Little Dude was around age 1, I decided to knit him a hat, as he really needed one.  I found this one in a Harry Potter-themed knitting book called Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter.  I don't remember which size I knit, but I sized it generously, and to this day it's his go-to winter hat.

A couple of weeks ago, I linked to my first blog post, which was about the 2010 Red Heart contest, in which I was a finalist.  I have finally gotten around to posting my globe on ravelry.  I'm not sure why it took me so long!  I've already received a couple of nice comments on ravelry about the globe, which really made my day.

I have some exciting knitting-related news to share later this week!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Nook - 360 Degrees Longitude

360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World by John Higham.  Recently, I re-read one of my favorite travel books, One Year Off, written by David Elliot Cohen (see Book Nook posting here).  I discovered 360 Degrees Longitude when I was puttering around on amazon looking up the One Year Off book.  They are indeed very similar: a family with young children embarks on a journey around the world.  I loved One Year Off, so I thought I might enjoy 360 Degrees, too....and I did!

John Higham is a rocket scientist (for real!).  He and his wife, September, had always been hoping to take an around-the-world trip with their kids, once they had some!  They started saving & planning for the trip and once their kids were big enough (their daughter was 11 at the time and their son was 8), they took off from California to their 1st stop, Iceland, and headed East from there.

The family visited 28 countries all together (there is a nice tally at the end of the book - # of countries visited, average length of stay in one place, total cost of the trip, etc.).  For those 28 countries, we are along for the ride with the Highams.

Initially, they started their adventure cycling on tandem bikes.  They biked through England & France, but when they were in Switzerland, their daughter broke her leg while rock climbing and their plans (and budget) suddenly changed: they couldn't cycle and camp in tents to Istanbul as originally planned, so they had to start staying at hostels and taking public transportation.  This must have been a very trying time on the trip, but the family rolled with the punches and managed to have fun and remain on the go.

Katrina breaking her leg was not the only bad situation they encountered.  There were creepy close interactions with some of the locals in Turkey.  The Highams found themselves without access to cash, a place to stay or food to eat in Tanzania.  Their son Jordan got extreme altitude sickness on the Inca trail.  But among all these bad situations was a lot of learning and respect for other cultures.

I must admit, while reading the book, there were a lot of situations the family found themselves in that were not my idea of fun travel.  Not showering for several days at a time, not knowing where you would be sleeping that night, only eating ham and cheese sandwiches in France.  I mean, I love travel for the adventure of it, but I also love my creature comforts!  And if I go to France, I want to do as the French do, and enjoy some authentic French cuisine now and then.  Or if I go on a safari in Africa, I would want to have enough money to pay for a reputable and safe tour - not scratch one up when I got there and hope for the best.  I guess when your family's safety is at stake, you're going to want to spend the money to ensure their safety.  And on a lesser degree, to see the sights that you came so far to see.  If you get to England but can't afford to take the Tower of London tour or pay the admission fee to Westminster Abbey (like the Highams), then you are shortchanging your experiences in that area (by this I mean to say it would be nice to at least have enough money to have the option to see these sites if you wanted to).  Just my $0.02!

I realize all this is easier said than done, especially when you're not in the midst of a 52 week whirlwind tour of the planet!  Some plans must remain open so that you can be flexible.  I suppose that's part of the adventure!

It's funny, after reading Higham's book and Cohen's book just how similar the stories are.  They visited some of the same places: Paris, Venice, Turkey, Istanbul, African safari (in different countries though), Tokyo, Hong King, Cambodia, Thailand & Costa Rica.  In both books, family joins them along the way during different parts of the trip.  In both books, the oldest gets hurt and needs medical attention.  In both books, there is a previous connection to Japan.  I wonder if these families have ever met (they both live in California) and shared stories?

One thing to mention about the book: the author has linked up their trip with Google Earth, so you can log on and get more pictures and stories.  On their website, you can see tons of family pictures through smugmug and learn how to plan your own around-the-world trip, if you're so inclined.  Another thing to mention that I loved about this book is that the author goes into a lot of detail on how the family shipped and read books (and homeschooled the kids on math) during the trip.  As a book-lover, I loved hearing about the logistics of getting books where and when you need them, because that is exactly what I'd be doing on a trip like this.  The family also made sure to read books about the areas they were visiting, and the author gives some great recommendations.

360 Degrees Longitude is a fun read on a subject that many of us just dream about doing.  The Higham family actually does it, and shares their story with us in a humorous & entertaining way.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life at Blacklick

Last weekend, the Bachs all went for a walk at Blacklick Woods metro park, one of our favorite parks in Central Ohio (you can read more about it at the Columbus Metro Parks website, here).  We visited the pond, the Nature Center and took a walk in the woods.  Everywhere we went, there were little critters & signs of life.  The sunny day was such a nice change of pace from all the rain we had been getting up to that point. 

One of my favorite subjects to photograph is dragonflies, so our first stop was Ashton Pond to see if they were out.  We only spotted one dragonfly in the distance, but there were several damselflies.

The Bachsters always love visiting the nature center, as there are turtles and fish and a snake to look at.  They have big viewing windows with lots of feeders, so you'll almost always be able to birdwatch.

Outside of the nature center there is a small butterfly garden.  Even if there are no butterflies in the garden (which there weren't on the day of our visit) there are usually some pretty flowers or a neat insect or a squirrel romping about.

While we didn't see a butterfly at the butterfly garden, we did see a skipper on the trail in the woods:

While we were at the park, we picked up the Summer edition of the park's magazine, ParkScope.  To my surprise, one of my shots was in this issue!  It's a shot of hikers at one of last year's Commit to Be Fit hikes.

Now, my goal is to get one of my nature shots in the magazine!

It was such a lovely day at Blacklick!