SKS Postcard: Jelly Belly

Well, the streak of series postcards all arriving on the same day has been broken. This is postcard 1 of 3. At least I got the first one first.

Sara first marvels that it is June (Agreed!) and tells about the “sweet detour” she and Shawn took on their way back home. Sara says:

“I’ve been wanting to stop a the factory ever since I knew it was a thing. I mean, how can any child of Mr. Rodgers not enjoy a factory tour?!?”

Agreed. Mr. Rodgers really did a lot in opening our eyes to the wonders of factories.

Greg and Renee’s Other Wedding

As has been the case during the pandemic, the wedding we attended was not the actual marriage ceremony. Greg and Renee got married on 12/02/2021, a date which is not only a palindrome but also an ambigram because it reads the same way upside down. (Assuming you choose the right font.)

Here was the script from the ceremony, full of nerdy fun things.

And the wedding party.

Greg and Renee’s Wedding

The night before Greg and Renee’s wedding, Matt was asked to fill in for a reader at the wedding. They had taken sick. Matt was thrilled to read this excerpt.

I really think Renee’s and Greg’s wedding hit it out of the park with the clear expectations. When RSVPing the online form made sure that every guest knew they would (1) be required to show proof of vaccination and (2) wear a mask at the ceremony. If you didn’t say yes to those things, your only choice was to go back and change your RSVP to decline.

That said, not everyone wore their mask at all times, but most people did. And they did check our vaccination status at the door.

The table decorations were very fun. I liked the origami hearts. The wedding also came with a program that had cards for a get-to-know-people card game and a crossword puzzle.

A shot of the ceremony itself. The light was tricky in this room, so I have a lot of blurry photos.

The bridal party.

Our delightful tablemates watching the ceremony.

The person who I assume is the wedding planner. (See! Blurry!)

During the reception, there was a magician! I adore magicians.

That was my card!

The reception had an element I’d not seen before at a wedding. The bride and groom sit back to back holding one of their own shoes and one of their spouse’s shoes.

Then, questions are asked of the couple and they have to raise the shoe of the person they think was the answer. The questions were along the lines of, Who asked whom on the first date? This was a very fun activity. Greg and Renee agreed.

Obligatory self portrait, with Matt looking a little squinty.

This was a very fun wedding. There was even dancing! It’s been a long time since Matt and I shared the dance floor.

Aunt Pat’s Decade Birthday

I’ll leave you to guess which decade birthday it was.

Here is the octogenarian herself, posing with which what I think was a rather marvelous chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

We got Chinese food from Yen’s Chinese Restaurant, a family staple since the 80s, and then the birthday girl opened presents and we ate cake.

Chris and I were reminiscing about our grandfather’s 80th birthday, celebrated in 1988. We both remember exactly where the restaurant was (the Shilo Inn in Beaverton—a place we both think of as “Grandpa’s 80th birthday dinner” every time we drive by). I remember getting to skip school to attend the birthday celebration. Skipping school was a rarity with both parents being teachers.

Chris remembered more than I did. That the family with four children who lived next door to my grandparents were there. And that my grandpa gave a speech that began, “I can’t believe I’m 80. When people ask me, ‘Do you feel 80?’ I say, ‘No, I feel 90.'”

My mother remembered that one of my great aunts felt the chef should have cooked the vegetables more, because older people preferred a softer vegetable.

Neither of my aunts had any memory of this event, probably because they didn’t get to skip school to attend.

Books Read in May 2022

Early Reader

Cornbread and Poppy
Matthew Cordell
Read for Librarian Book Group

A version of the grasshopper and the ant, which is a fable I’m not fond of. I liked the illustrations.

Sir Ladybug
Corey R. Taylor
Read for Librarian Book Group

Who knew the inside of a snail shell was so luxurious?

I had some trouble with this book (and with Cornbread and Poppy) where animals who eat animals say they don’t eat the animals they really do eat. Animals eat animals. Otherwise they starve.

Middle Grade

The Aquanaut
Dan Santat
Read for Librarian Book Group

Key points of the story are told through pictures, which meant I missed them the first time through. (Graphic novel fail!) For the more picture attuned this is a good an interesting story of friendship and loss with fantastical elements.

A Comb of Wishes
Lisa Stringfellow
Read for Librarian Book Group

At the end of page 2 I thought, “Eh, this probably isn’t for me.”

At the end of page 12, I was all in. This is an excellent contemporary fantasy with storytelling, mermaids, a conundrum I couldn’t figure out how was going to be solved and an ending where all the various LEGO blocks of detail Stringfellow has been scattering snap into place.

This was some masterful storytelling! More, please.

Jennifer Chan is not Alone
Tae Keller
Read for Librarian Book Group

Keller has a laser focus on the discomfort and anxiety that comes with middle school. This story’s bullying incident and the pattern of bullying that came before are seen through the perpetrators, which was a smart move. This is also a book where I could see the various parts of the story dropping into place as we reached the climax.

Anne of West Philly
Ivy Noelle Weir and Myisha Haynes

A retelling that captures the Anne essence. Haynes’s illustrations are full of interesting detail.

Young Adult

Ironhead, or Once a Young Lady
Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book is a bit deliberately paced at the beginning, but picks up eventually. There were tons of fun historical fiction details from the height of Napoleon’s reign. This was very much a female character written by a man, though.

The Red Palace
June Hur
Read for Librarian Book Group

Here’s a nice little mystery set in 18th century Korea. I bet you haven’t read one of those lately. Aside for the insight into the Korean palace of bygone days, I also was fascinated at how different the mores were. So much gallivanting around by our unmarried female protagonist.

Anatomy: A Love Story
Dana Schwartz
Read for Librarian Book Group

The dazzling cover art mirrors the novel. It’s very well executed and eye catching, but it doesn’t fully relate to the story.

The novel has all the markers of a tale well told, but when the ending comes, it’s hurried and not well-earned. The line between historical fiction and fantasy needs to be better (and earlier) developed.

Family of Liars
E. Lockheart

This story doesn’t pack nearly the punch that the We Were Liars did, but it’s hard to be that devastating two times in a row. It was good to head back to Sinclair territory and hear about another generation of liars.

Year on Fire
Julie Bauxbaum

This book has four narrators and it’s told in third person. Both of those things are rare for YA, so this was a fun departure. The voices of the four narrators were distinct, which was also a treat.

Aside from that, this is a solid story about appearances not always being what they seem. Plus some fun observations about “yeah, no” and “no, yeah” speech patterns.

Tell Me Three Things
Julie Buxbaum

When her father remarries after meeting a woman in a dead-spouse grief support group, Jesse finds herself living in Los Angeles instead of her home base of Chicago. An anonymous friend offers to show her the ropes—but only via email and chat.

Solid characterization of learning the ropes in a new place.

Gideon Green in Black & White
Katie Henry
Read for Librarian Book Group

Gideon Green has a small life where noir films from the 40s keep him company. He’s a has-been kid detective and his social life has been on a downslide since middle school. But the reappearance of a dame (actually his former friend Lily), a new case, plus a job copy editing his high school paper opens up new worlds.

A very fun mystery that uses noir as a springboard.

Grownup Fiction

The Rose Code
Kate Quinn

At 600+ pages, this appears to be a tome. But Quinn keeps the pace up and her three main characters are engaging. For those interested in Bletchley Park during WWII, this book is tops.

Grownup Nonfiction

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
Seth Godin

Many short bits of writing about developing your creative work.