Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Setting Sail

It's been a summer of travel for us - I've been home a week from a trip to Upper Michigan. (One reason why I didn't post a poem last week - the drive home wore me out!) Now, I'm preparing for the next trip - setting sail on Monday for an Alaskan cruise. We are excited!

Back to the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) - one of the stops we make when we visit Gladstone is to a wonderful little used bookstore called Frigate Books. The owner homeschooled her children, has a wonderful eye for great books, and is always patient with my children's enthusiasm and my lack of attention to details (like having enough cash to pay for our purchases).

This summer, I asked about poems from local poets - looking for poems to share for Poetry Wednesday. As we discussed poems, she shared with me the poem behind the name of her store.

So - as I prepare to set sail, both literally & figuratively (since I'm about to grab a book and head for bed) - here is the inspiration behind Frigate Books. If you're ever in Gladstone, Michigan, be sure to stop in. After lunch, though, because she works at K-Mart in Escanaba until 11 a.m.

There is no frigate like a book
to take us lands away

Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing Poetry -

This Traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of Toll -

how frugal is the Chariot
that bears the Human Soul.
-Emily Dickinson

(by the way - the picture above is an actual frigate, courtesy of flikr)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recovering, Remembering, Preparing

The children and I drove back from upper Michigan nearly a week ago. I have finally downloaded the pictures from our trip - a sure sign that I've recovered from the long drive.

One of our favorite activities in the UP is going on an adventure. My sister started the tradition a couple of years ago with a trip to Fayette, a restored iron smelting town. Now, my children eagerly anticipate each year's adventure.

This year, we went to Marquette, on Lake Superior. We visited the Marquette Maritime Museum & Lighthouse. It was beautiful, interesting and so fun!

Walking to the lighthouse

This was the coolest thing - a real periscope from a US submarine installed in the museum. The views were amazing - and so clear!

A view from the lighthouse of Marquette Harbor.

The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. Still operational, but fully automated.

If Nathaniel does not become a zoologist, he may become a geologist.
He finds the most fascinating rocks. We had to leave this one behind because it was US Government property.

one of the many attempts to get a picture of me and the children.

A great picture of my sister, Carrie, & her boyfriend, Omar.
It helps when there are no children.

The streets were full for the famous Gladstone July 4th parade.

We got there early for front row seats. Don't they look excited?

But by evening, a storm had moved in. Our sparklers were rained out and so were the fireworks.

The next day, we decided to try a mini-adventure - a trip to Sand Point Lighthouse in nearby Escanaba. It's no longer functional, so we could go to the very top.

Beautiful view! (honestly, I was nervous about the laundry I had hung on the line...)

Finally, a picture of me and the children where all cooperated! What? You can't see us? Oh, we're that dark spot to the right of the door to the tower. Don't we look lovely?

Those clouds did hold rain, and fireworks were rained out for the 2nd time. So were our sparklers. We decided to pull the car out of the garage, and celebrate the 4th inside with our sparklers, a day late.

We did have fun - especially with Carrie & Omar. Even without Papa, Nana and Daddy.

Now, it's time to prepare for Alaska, camps, etc. I have a whole lot of laundry to do (hopefully the broken washer will be fixed tonight or tomorrow), then a whole lot of packing.

It's been a crazy busy - but oh-so-much-fun - summer!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Son of Hamas

It is truly amazing that Mosab Hassan Yousef is not dead. By all accounts, he should be - and he explains why in his book Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices, written with Ron Brackin.

Yousef is the son of one of the founders of Hamas, a terrorist organization founded in the West Bank of Israel by Palestinians. He tells of his childhood, teen years, and young adult years living in the West Bank. He tells of his own imprisonment and how Israel's Shin Bet successfully recruited him to gather intelligence on Hamas actions, plans, and leadership.

What really amazes me is how Yousef, as he matures, finds himself diametrically opposed to his father's beliefs, and yet remains so intensely loyal to him. Yousef's father is alive today because of Yousef's involvement with Shin Bet. And Yousef is alive today because his father has refused to disown him, even after his betrayal of his father's work and religion.

Son of Hamas is an amazing story, well worth reading. It's not only a gripping personal story, but also gives great insight into the struggle for peace in the Middle East.