Currently Reading

Elizabeth I

Have you noticed to the right of my blog there is a sidebar titled “Currently Reading”?  Since I included it in my blog I don’t think I’ve read more than three books.  Most often, I read in my bed just before I go to sleep.  In other words, after about one page, my eyelids glide ever so easily shut and I immediately jerk awake again as my book falls from my hand to the floor.  After a few more futile attempts to stay awake I give it up and turn out the light.  I’m sure Mark is relieved.

So, since July, I think I’ve read three books:  Elizabeth I, Silence on the Mountain, and An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo.  Here are my thoughts on each:

Elizabeth I
by Margaret George

I think I’ve read all Margaret George’s biographies.  Each time I finish one of her books I eagerly await her next project.  Her research is impeccable but her best talent is deciphering why he/she makes the decisions he/she does.  Margaret takes into account the politics of the period as well as the personal emotions of the character.  When it comes to women, Margaret does less “romanticizing” of her characters then most authors I’ve read but she still takes into account that they think like women.  Elizabeth I is a fine example of Margaret’s work.  Elizabeth was a politically cunning ruler who battled not only outside threats from foreign invasions and her own court but her own emotions which often endangered her monarchy.  George does a masterful job of helping the reader get into Elizabeth’s head.  My only disappointment with this book was that it began around the time of the invasion of the Spanish Armada instead of encompassing Elizabeth’s entire life.  But then again, that would have been a thick book and I might still be reading it!

Silence on the Mountain:  Stories of Terror, Betrayal and Forgetting In Guatemala
by Daniel Wilkenson

This book was recommended to me during my adoption process by a student that was interviewing adoptive parents.  I bought it several years ago and made many starts and stops to read it.  I finally picked it up seriously last fall and finished it.  The book is about Guatemala’s recent 36 year civil war which claimed the lives of about 200,000 Guatemalan citizens.  They were murdered or “disappeared” at the hands of the military government.  The war began around 1954 during a land reform act that threatened the origins of Guatemala’s plantation system where Mayans were put to work picking coffee beans for the U.S. and European markets.  The reform was derailed by a United States sponsored military coup.  The atrocities build from there.  The author spent years deciphering the war and trying to get the Guatemalan people to share their stories.  Many were still to0 afraid to speak.  Wilkenson wrote about the war and the politics that drove it with an easy to understand style.   However,  the mass genocide of thousands of innocent people and the United States’ involvement made this book a difficult and depressing read.

An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo
by Jennifer Luitwieler

I struggled through this book even though it was an easy read.  I picked it up because I was hoping it would inspire me to begin running again but it wasn’t about running.  Then it went off on a “faith” tangent so I stuck with it hoping for inspiration again.  But it wasn’t about faith.  The next topic broached was writing and, again, I hung in there.  But, you guessed it, it wasn’t about writing.  It was kind of a mish-mash of all of it with no real grip.  A dog plays a minor role in her life and the author doesn’t even really speak endearingly about him.  Again, that lost me.  I did comprehend the author was trying to compare life messes with poo and how running helped her to get through the “poo”.   But the symbolism, for me, was not stimulating.  The most I felt encouraged to do was clean up the dog pen.

After putting down the last book I craved a good read.  My nightstand is overflowing around my bed with at least 30 books.  I picked up one with a bright red cover and recognized a book Mark gave me for Christmas.  Do you ever feel like some force has stepped in and given you a sweet treat just when you need it?  For me it is this next book and the reason I wanted to write this post:

Half Broke Horses
by Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls writes in the first person through the eyes of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith.  Lily is the best kind of woman to read about.  Brave, strong, adventurous and a survivor.  Laws admits to some creative liberties so instead of a memoir it’s actually a true life novel.  I’m just 50 pages into it but I can already tell it will take me to laughter, tears and adventure.  This book is a sequel to The Glass Castle which is about the author’s wayward mother.  It’s already on my Amazon wish list.  I’m inspired and think I can safely recommend them right now and am excited to do so.

If you do pick up Half Broke Horses and finish it before me, which is a safe bet, let me know your thoughts.  In the meantime, what are you reading right now?  I can always shove some books under the bed to make room for more!

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They Had Me at “Baaaa”

We will soon have two new members of our family.

Introducing Dannon…Dannon Dairy Goat

…and Marigold.

Marigold Dairy Goat

They are two days old in these pictures and the foundation of GGMark’s dairy goat project.  I’m afraid I’ve fallen deeply in love with these kids.  Sadly, we had to leave them on their Ohio farm because they are not old enough yet and because we don’t have anywhere to put them.  So I guess a structure and pen is the first part of the project.

Dannon and Marigold are Oberhasli goats.  Well, Dannon is an Oberhasli.  Marigold is 1/2 Oberhasli and ½ Alpine.  Oberhaslis are a medium size goat and are known for their gentle and affectionate nature.

I have to say I was sold as soon as we walked into the barn at Ober-Ridge farm.  There were approximately ten little kids lined up along the fence furiously wagging their tails.  (I really should have snapped a picture of that!)  They were just like little puppies so how could I EVER have resisited?

Paige, the young lady who has charge of the goats, plucked Dannon and Marigold out of their pen so we could see them in action.

And action is exactly what Dannon gave us…

Dannon Leaping

Dannon leaping

Dannon leaping

Marigold tended to be more on the calmer but curious side.

Marigold Curious

Marigold Curious

Marigold Curious

This is Paige with Marigold and their dog, Stella (don’t you just love that name?).

Paige Stella and Marigold

STELLAAAAAA!  Sorry.  I’ll stop clawing at my tee shirt now.

Paige hovered over her kids and kept an eagle on on them.  She patiently answered all our questions.  If Dannon or Marigold felt Paige wasn’t giving them the proper amount of attention, they let her know.

Paige and Dannon

Paige and Dannon

Goat butt.

Goat butt

Get it?  Goats butt?  Get it now?  I knew that you would.

We were there for about an hour.  We watched the babies drink their milk and, the next time we turned around to look at them, they were gone.  They all disappeared into their teepees for a kid flop.  This is similar to a puppy flop in which they are so tired they need a nap – immediately.  Again, I missed a photo opportunity.

We learned a lot about goats from Paige and her mom, Mollie.  Paige started in goats at age 8 for a 4-H project.  She shows her goats and has been successful in the show ring.  We have a lot more to learn but it was a good start.  I guess experience will be our guide.

So I don’t know…can a poodle exhibitor find happiness in the goat show ring?  Can the poodles find happiness as goat herders?

Stay tuned.