Cars, Books, and Long Walks Not Along the Beach


My last post in February started with a whine about how busy life was in the first two months of the year. I didn’t realize when February started with a bang, that busy wasn’t so bad.

It was as painful as it looks.

It was as painful as it looks.

February ended in a crash complete with blood, broken bones and wrecked cars.

At least the Ides of March brought no new disaster, and St. Patrick’s Day was blissfully boring.

Cars are still on my mind. Well, actually, it’s the drivers of the cars who are on my mind. Both my husband and I were hit.

The bang at the beginning of the month left a lasting imprint of the other driver’s car in the side of mine, but my body and the car still run fine. When the driver explained his visual impairment, I understood why he hit me but not why he was driving.

My husband wasn’t so fortunate. His arm is in a cast, and he has some facial fractures. Apparently, the driver who made an illegal turn into the side of his car was simply paying attention to something besides other moving vehicles.

Spring "snow" San Diego style.

Spring “snow” San Diego style to get the last photo out of mind.

We could probably all share stories of unsafe driving, accidents and near misses we’ve witnessed in just the last few days.

Somehow, I have the feeling the people reading this blog don’t need to be reminded to avoid driving if you are impaired or distracted and to realize that, yes, signs and signals do apply to you and are not like the Pirate Code.

So I guess it’s time to revisit our definitions of defensive driving and beef up the vigilance. Please be safe and watch out for the drivers out there who don’t seem to realize their cars do not yet self-drive.


Here HandsThere are certain perennial topics in picture books. For example, you will always be able to find a new book for young children about family members or the parts of the body.

But some older books are worth looking for. I really like Here Are My Hands by that famous duo Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand, and published by Henry Holt and Company in 1985. It, like many others, teaches parts of the body.

But wait! There’s more! It doesn’t just name parts, it labels functions. And that’s not all! The text rhymes and the illustrations delight.

Once BullfrogOnce There Was a Bull . . . (Frog), written by Rick Walton, illustrated by Greg Hally, and published by Gibbs Smith in 1995, plays with compound words. Kids will have fun guessing the second half of each compound word—even if they’ve heard the book before. The art work suits the humor.
And for writers and illustrators, it’s a clear lesson in the planning of the page turns—crucial here for the book to work.


Think back to your adolescence. Anything cringe-worthy that you’re glad just faded away into the murky past? Think of the world today’s kids inhabit. Our digital world means a young misstep may never transform into only a distant memory.

SextedSexted was written by Karen Mueller Coombs and published by Prairie Wind Press in 2013. If you know a young person you think needs a cautionary tale rather than a lecture, here it is.

Finn, a tenth-grade geek, receives an anonymous racy text with photo. Call him curious, flattered, and aroused. Part of what makes this YA novel stand out is it’s message is written from the point of view of two guys. Where will this first sext lead? And how will the characters change in the course of their search for the sender?

A 2650 Mile Stroll

And he's off . . .

And he’s off . . .

PCT signs

Meanwhile, my son decided to walk the 2650 miles to Canada. The more I think about driving, the more reasonable he seems.






Click on the photo to enlarge and make the stitching visible

Click on the photo to enlarge and make the stitching visible

Coming attractions:  Robin, of Robin’s Quilting Nest in La Mesa, CA, did a beautiful job quilting the top of the quilt I made with the other layers. I am so impressed with her skills. In May, look for the front of the quilt.