Friday, January 29, 2010

Kansas - January 29, 1861

Come along girls and listen to my voice,
Don't you never marry no Kansas boys.
If you do your fate will be
Hoe cakes, hominy and sassafrass tea.

I think my first trip to Kansas was brief - just jumping over the border from Kansas City, MO when James and I went out to visit his uncle in 1989. We drove across it once though, I think it must have been when we were moving from Oxford, Ohio to Tucson, Arizona in 1990. We stopped in Liberal, Kansas which has a tribute to the Wizard of Oz. We went to Dorothy's house and followed the yellow brick road. I remember James asked a gas station attendant there "I'm sure you are asked this all the time, but how did Liberal get its name?" The young man scratched his head and allowed as how no, no one had ever asked him that before, and he really had no idea how it came to be so called. This website gives us the scoop. We also stopped in Greensburg, Kansas, which has, well, a big well. I mean really big. Two years ago today it was named one of the 8 wonders of Kansas.

While I was looking for Kansas books, Prarie Poetry: Cowboy Verse of Kansas struck me as a unique title, and one that I wouldn't typically read as I do not read much poetry. I get too distracted anticipating rhyming words. And the non-rhyming poems I find too heavy, even when they're not. The vast majority of the poems in the collection were definitely of the rhyming sort, the ABCB scheme being a favorite. Of the136 poems, almost half follow this patten. Divided into 12 broad themes, the poems weave together an image of cowboy life. Heavy debt, good horses, bad horses, stubborn cattle, lousy weather, tall tales, and lying and cheating are all part of the picture. Dodge City, and other places familiar to even those of us who don't know much about the cowboy life, are a theme in many of the poems. Flint Hills prarie was a a recurring image throughout, which is a place I had not heard of before.

As a Spanish instructor I was especially interested to see one "corrida" in Spanish (with English translation) included in this collection.  One thing I think would have enhanced this work is a glossary. Although I correctly guessed that a "soiled dove" was a prostitute, and that those who complained of "riding drag" were at the rear of the herd there are still a few other terms I am not quite sure of though. What exactly is a "drover" and what does it mean to be "slacked" at a rodeo?

Some other cowboy terms can be found on this page.

My late friend Walt once told me he and his wife "got married in the good old days - back when you got married for sex." Of the movie Splendor in the Grass I have this to say: that's what Bud and Deenie should have done. What a tragedy it must be to settle for a life with someone for whom you have no passion. The first time I saw this movie a woman I was working with at the time said that  she was glad to see that Bud had gotten what he deserved and was living in that filthy house. I don't think though that that is a fair assessment though. Bud was just as much a victim of the society as Deenie was, and although she looked better, I don't think was was doing much better than he was.

Of course Warren Beatty never really looks bad.

By the way - who knew that there was a made for television re-make of this movie in 1981 starring Melissa Gilbert (yes, the one from Little House on the Prarie)? I did. I think I saw it before I ever saw the original.

And one other thing about the movie: Natalie Wood's bra can been seen through the sheer blouse she wears in the final scene - a view of women's undergarments rivaled only by Winona Ryder in How to Make an American Quilt, and my cousin Lori's high school graduation picture.

James and I enjoyed a simple lunch of a Kansas Tomato Sandwich. Although this recipe calls for toasted white bread, we opted for fresh wheat bread, still warm from the bread machine. Wheat: it's what make's Kansas great.

For dessert, in honor of the Sunflower state, I baked Sunflower Pumpkin muffins. Find it and other Kansas recipes at this Kanas Foods website. I spent a lot more time on this recipe than I expected. I pureed my own pumpkin, rather than using canned, which took about 10 minutes. But the true time sink came when I realized the recipe called for "shelled sunflower seeds". I was so happy to finally be using the sunflower seeds that had been in my cupboard since the summer that I didn't realize that I would have to shell them - not exactly an easy task. I'm sure one can buy the seeds without the shells already, but I have a rule of always making due with what I have before going out shopping. So with a fondue fork in my nimble little fingers, I pryed open a bunch of the dastardly little kernels. Suffice it to say that my muffins don't have nearly as many seeds in them as the recipe calls for. Nevertheless, the flavor came through strong and true. They are quite good.

We have a lovely garden at our house, for which I have James to thank. He has planted perennials so that we have something blooming at our house nine months out of the year. Our meal today, though, honors the two annual plants that I take credit for each year - tomatoes - just about my favorite food; and sunflowers - just about my favorite flower.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michigan January 26, 1837

Okay everybody, get out your map of Michigan! You do have one, don't you? Most of us carry a Michigan map with us at all times. Hold up your right hand, palm toward your face, fingers together with your thumb spread away. Now take your left hand, palm toward you, and place it at a 90 degree angle so that your ring fingers are touching, your three middle fingers are together, pinky and thumb slightly spread, your left hand makes your upper peninsula (u.p. or yoopie). Never leave out the u.p. when considering Michigan.

My trips to Michigan have always been on my to or from visiting my cousins in Wisconsin, but I have driven across it in both the left hand right hands. We stayed several days in Grand Rapids a few years ago while visiting friends who live in the Heritage Hill neighborhood. Heritage Hill was scheduled to be bulldozed in the 1960s. The once lovely Victorian homes had become brothels and drug houses. Instead, of being razed, though, the homes were sold for a penny each and were restored by the new owners. (Baltimore, Maryland would use this same idea in the 1980s to revitalize the downtown row houses.) Among all the Victorian homes, there was also one Frank Lloyd Wright house, the Meyer May house. We toured the Meyer May house when we were there. It was restored by Steelcase in the 1980s and admission is free. To find Grand Rapids on your map - start between your right pinkie and ring finger and come straight down to about halfway between where they web together and your wrist.

At about the time that the Meyer May house was constructed (1908-1909), the entire town town of Metz, Michigan was destroyed. Engulfed in a flames following an extremely dry summer, the entire town was burned down in a day, October 15, 1908. Forty-three people lost their lives. The story of the fire, and its aftermath is told in the book Devil in the North Woods by Walt Sheil. Based on oral histories, family stories and newspaper accounts Sheil tells the story of ten-year old Henry Hardies, whose mother and three sisters were among those killed in the flames. The book includes some photographs of the town, before and after the tragedy. Sheil is an expert storyteller; this book was a true page-turner. Through the stories of the victims the reader gains an understanding of the historic time period, and the lives of the farmers and merchants whose world was transformed following the fire. To find Metz on your map, look just below the spot where the tip of your right index finger meets the middle finger.

The film Roger & Me was Michael Moore's directorial debut. Made in 1990, it tells the story of Flint, Michigan, before and after the GM plant closings. The "Roger" from the title is then GM president, Roger Smith, whom Moore tries to corner throughout the movie in order to ask him about the folks in Flint who have lost their jobs. Along the way he talks to some of those who were put out of work, and others who remain optimistic about Flint's economic prospects even as business after business gets boarded up. He watches as families are evicted and finds out what others are doing in order to stay in their homes. The "pets or meat" lady is a character not to be forgotten. This movie is classic Michael Moore. We drove through Flint on our way to Grand Rapids. It has only gotten worse since the making of the movie. We did stop and buy gas there, figuring it was the least we could do. In fact there were virtually no other places to spend our money there. Our daughter, who must have been about eight at the time, commented that she had never seen a cashier at a gas station who had glass between him and the customer. To find Flint on your map just come straight over from Grand Rapids, to the spot below where your thumb and index finger make a U.

Yippee for the Yoopie!

Our meal today is a favorite of the upper peninsula - the pasty. That's pronounced with a short "a" as in cat, do not confuse it with another edible spelled the same way, but pronounced with a long "a". Pasties are crusts filled with meats and vegetables - sort of an individual pot pie. Those who are familiar with Latin American food might liken them to an empanada. We modified the recipes we found a bit. They are heavy on beef and venison, and we do not each much red meat. Paloma does not eat any meat at all. James and I had ground turkey in ours, and Paloma had a strictly vegetarian version. They were quite tasty. We first learned about pasties when traveling through the U.P. around the turn of the 21st century. We kept seeing signs for them, but didn't try any. When I arrived in Wisconsin I asked my cousin about them. She only knew what they were because her friend Denise had grown up on the U.P. Denise served me the first pasty I ever ate last summer.

We have only been the U.P. once, and it was in the summer. It was quite lovely. I know enough about geography and climate to have talked James out of applying for a job there. I don't think I could handle so much winter.

Other significant events in U.S. history for today's date are:
1861 Louisiana left the Union
1870 Virginia rejoined the Union

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Connecticut - January 9, 1788

I've been through Connecticut many times, but don't visit there much. Our family drives to Maryland several times a year and rest stops in Connecticut are well known to us. James works with colleagues at Central Connecticut State University in New Britan on a Brazilan/U.S. student exchange program and I once gave a presentation at the New England Faculty Development Consortium Conference at UCONN in Storrs.We also saw a great Picasso exhibit in Connecticut several years ago. I can't remember which museum it was though.  We will be making a pilgrimage to Bridgewater, Connecticut sometime in the furture though for our Bridgewaters Project blog.

I read a memoir for my Connecticut book, Girls of a Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith. Smith writes of growing up with an austic brother (before there was even a name for autism) in the 1950s in a gritty working class neighborhood in Hartford. Her mother worked in an insurance office long before being a "working mother" was cool. Even when she was very young she was often left in charge of her brother, who was several years older than she. Woven throughout the the book is the story of Robert Malm, who would eventually rape and murder one of Smith's fifth-grade classmates. The description of the class learning that their classmate would not be back to school is haunting. They are told simply not to talk about her, and they all watch as her desk is removed and then rearrange their own desks to fill in the void.

I remember once in high school, in 1980, seeing the name of a student who had been arrested for murdering another student the week before on the list of daily absences, as if he were just out sick for the day. Our principal as well had simply told us he didn't want us talking abou it. The accused never did return to school. I do not know what happened to him. Smith and I both realize that this sort of thing wouldn't happen today. Counselors would be brought in.
The best thing about Smith's book is that it is lousy with library references. There are at least 10, including one on the acknowlegements page, and one analogy in which she mentions her "brain as a card catalog...the old fashioned kind...a mahogony cabinet with twenty-five little drawers." The copy of the book I read was autographed by the author, inscribed "To the Swansea Public Library From a former Peace Corp Volunteer/Librarian."

I had never heard of the game setback before I read the book, but according to Tirone Smith it is  a "native Connecticut" game

Likewise, I had never seen the Yuletide classic Christmas in Connecticut (1945) before. A comedy of errors about a Martha Stewart-equse columnist (Barbara Stanwyck) trying to create the perfect New England holiday. Watching the opening credits I was reminded of the opening of Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life - the fonts and artwork, indeed the feel of reading a Christmas cards, were all the same. Although predictable, I enjoyed watching this. I tend to overanalyze movies, so I had a lot of questions about this one, especially once the police were brought in, too unbelievalble that more questions weren't asked - a fun movie nonetheless. I understand there is a remake with Dyan Cannon made in 1992, and another is in the works for release in 2012.

I supped on classic homemade corn chowder today made with corn I froze over the summer from my CSA farm box. It also had potatoes, onions, garlic, basil, and parsley.Quite delicious. In honor of the "nutmeg state" I drank a bit of hot chocolate sprinkled with nutmeg for dessert.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Mexico - January 6, 1912

New Mexico - "Land of Enchantment"

I don't like to drive very much. I can drive and I will drive, I just don't like it very much. Trips over 2 hours long make me especially nervous if I have to go by myself. My longest drive alone, ever, was to Las Cruces New Mexico - a five hour trip from Tucson, Arizona where I was living at the time. My Wisconsin cousin, Lori, called me to let me know that she would be in Las Cruces visiting a friend for Easter (I think this must have been 1991) and asked if I would  like to come out too. James was going to be away so I knew I would not be able to ask him to drive, something he loves to do (a marriage made in heaven!). So, I psyched myself up, got out my road atlas (even though the entire trip was done on I-10, which I highlighted on my atlas) loaded up my faithful beagle, Pablo into the car, and  headed out. I remember making a very deliberate decision to get off the highway and get something to eat and get back on just so I could prove to myself I could do it. I chose an exit with a McDonald's and a big "E-Z off E-Z on sign on it". I remember going to the Unitarian Universalist Church services there, and White Sands National Monument. James and I visited Las Cruces another time when some friends of ours from Tucson moved there to take a job at the State University of New Mexico.

The book I chose, Heaven's Window: A Journey Through Northern New Mexico; and the movie, Rocks with Wings show different parts of the state than I know. Author Michael Wallis and photograper Jack Parsons created a book that is part memoir, part history and part photo album that tells the story of the Santa Fe/Taos area of the state - located in the top center near the Colorado border. After I read this I felt like I had woken from a dream. I was left with some vague memories and pictures, but recalling it seemed fuzzy. I don't think it is the type of book meant to be read cover to cover, as I did. The photographs are gorgeous. One could almost believe there is never bad weather there with all the fabulous colors, and bright blue skies portrayed.

Rocks with Wings is a documentary about the Shiprock Chieftans Girls Basketball team and its State championship victory in 1988. Coached by an African American man, this team comprised entirely of girls from the Navajo nation was never expected to compete at all. The story is really about the racial dynamic between the girls;  the coach, Jerry Richardson; and the two white male assistant coaches. The victory is bittersweet, following a blow up between the players and their coach the night before.  I ended up liking this more than I expected. I thought it would be more about the town becoming a "basketball town" but it told a much richer story and wove in a lot of information about Navajo history and culture. There was more basketball footage than I care for, but I understand why they had so much of the game. It did seem pretty exciting for those who would have been there. Shiprock is located near the four-corners area of the state. I have not made it to four corners, and still would like to go, even though I've been told there isn't much to it. I also learned recently that somehow it was discovered that the surveyors were off and had to move the marker to the correct spot, so if I had gone before it would have been the wrong place anyway. I can now look forward to visiting it in its correct place.

For dinner Paloma and I had quesadillas and black beans. Not really anything new for us, but a favorite and definitely New Mexican. I also made New Mexico Oatmeal Pie. I left out the walnuts and raisins the recipe called for because I knew Paloma didn't like them, and it turns out she didn't like the pie anyway. She is wrong though, the pie is yummy. Iwas surprised how much I could taste the egg. It really had more flavor than Iexpected. And my homemade pie crust was flaky and devine if I do say so myself.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Utah - January 4, 1896

I guess I don't think of Utah without thinking about Mormons. Before I moved to Arizona in 1990 I had never met a Mormon. I knew little about them, such as they have a really cool temple that looks like Oz that you can see from the Washington, D.C. beltway, and that the Osmonds were Mormon. I had learned a bit more from reading a book in the mid 1980s - a memoir writen by a Mormon woman who discovered that her husband was gay. She divorced him and then he contracted AIDS, and she took care of him until he died. I cannot recall the title or author of the book now. So, anyway, I moved to Arizona and I met a few Mormons and became friends with an ex-Mormon from Salt Lake City who was enrolled in library school with me. She filled me in a bit more on the mysticism of the religion, always with an editorial that it was "dumb" (she especially thought this about the underwear). After we graduated she moved back to SLC and James and I went to visit her there. We wanted to visit Temple Square and she insisted on going with us. As soon as we got there she was ready to go, saying it was "dumb", but we wanted to stay and learn some more about the religion and made her go through the buildings and grounds with us. She grumbled the entire time. I remember being very impressed with the sound demonstration in the Tabernacle. The tour guide tore a piece of paper in half and we could hear it in the back of the room. No microphones were used. Utah also has some great National Parks - Zion, Bryce and Arches are the ones we've been to.

I picked another Mormon memoir - Secret Ceremonies by Deborah Laake-  for my book, and deliberately chose a movie that did not have a Mormon theme  - Utah with Roy Roger and Dale Evans. It was actually my second time reading Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond. James had bought me an autographed copy in 1993 for my birthday. Laake "tells all" in this book. Not just about her own failed marriages (one to a Mormon, and two to "Gentiles"), and struggles with mental health, but also all the sacred rituals of the Mormon Temple. When she took her vows as a bride, she made pledges not just to her husband but to the church as well, to keep all the rituals a secret. What I found most interesting reading the book this time around, that I don't remember noticing the first time, is that first section, in which she describes her life as a student at Brigham Young University, she hardly mentions her classes. The focus is on the boys she dates, and her courtship and eventual engagement to a man she did not love. Like many of her cohorts at BYU she married very young and dropped out of school. This was really only true of the women. The men continued their studies after marriage. I don't know if this is still typical today.

Laake mentions libraries at least four times in her book. I was especially tickled with the first one : "I looked forward extravagantly to devotionals, which were weekly occasions when the bowling alley and the library and other outposts of idling wer shut down so that students would not be tempted to stay away." Another makes the library almost into a sinister partner in a friend's very bad marriage: "[Hannie] didn't enjoy sex very much, and so Dickie read aloud to her in bed from sex manuals he'd checked out at the university library, as though the key to passion was memorizing the precise names for genitalia. Hannie said that, if she seemed to be dozing, Dickie would...bounce up and down on the mattress...once, when she fell asleep anyway, he took her by the shoulders and pushed her skull sharply into the headboard."

Utah was a musical/comedy/western. I am glad it was only 80 minutes long because I don't know how much longer I could have stood the bad acting and lousy plot. I did enjoy the singing - crooning, really. Dale Evans plays a showgirl who travels to Utah from Chicago to sell a ranch she inherited in order to invest in a show. Roy Rogers, works on the ranch and doesn't want to see it sold, lest it go to sheep herding, rather than the manly art of cattle herding. Evans arrives with an entourage of show girls, it is unclear why they all had to come, but they balanced nicely with all the farm hands. Rogers attempts to trick Evans into thinking the ranch is worthless by having her stay on another property with a run down shack. She somehow believes that a 60 acre ranch is made completely worthless by the building on it. When she sells the ranch for next to nothing Rogers saves the day after all. No matter what the cowboys are doing their clothes are always band box clean and there is nary a smudge on their faces.

What I learned about Utah food is that the official state cooking pot is the Dutch oven (I don't own one, so I did not prepare anything in one) and that the state snack food is green jell-o (yuck). I also learned that dipping sauce for french fries is kind of a big deal there so I tried to make some in the basic 1 part catsup; 2 parts mayo recipe I found. I wasn't sure I would like it, but one of the reasons for the blog is to try new things. I gave it a fair shot, but I was right, I didn't like it. My 12-year-old daughter was even more reluctant to try it and finally took the tiniest taste as a favor to me. She said, and I quote, "I will absatively, posalutely never try even the tiniest bit of that again ever." She further quoted the part in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" about "between you and a seasick crocodile, I'd pick the seasick crocodile." She also mentioned she didn't like the color, which looked like "puke".  I also baked a zucchini/banana/walnut bread with a recipe I found on the Mormon Foodie website. The recipe mentions sugar, but it is not listed in the ingredients. I used 1/2 a cup. My daughter and I both give that one a thumbs up.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alaska January 3, 1959

Alaska is one of the eight states I have not yet visited. I suspect it has a lot more to offer than the book I selected, Williwaw by Tom Bodett; and the movie I watched, Mystery, Alaska. James and I joke that there are really only three basic plots to movies: the first is boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back; the second is cute kid saves the day (think Home Alone); and the third is ending-hinges-on-a-sporting-event. Mystery, Alaska was quite decidedly type 3.

While the U.S. population is slightly over 50% female, in Alaska it is just under 48%. It is a man's state and that is the message I got from this hockey movie. The ficticious town of Mystery loves hockey, and Saturday mornings revolve around hockey games that only about a dozen of the men get to play. These players are chosen by a committee of three other men in town, who deliver news of being cut from the game the same way a judge might deliver a hanging order. Women's roles are to support the men in their hockey pursuits. When the cuckold mayor (Colm Meany) discovers his wife's transgression with one of the players "Shank" (played by Ron Eldard) Shank promises to make it up to him by winning the exhibition game the town has scheduled with the New York Rangers. Hank Azaria plays Charlie Danner, a native son who left Mystery in order to pursue a career in journalism. He is constatntly chided when he returns to town, writing is such a sissy career after all, apparently even if one writes for Sports Illustrated. This point is driven home by the comment "I heard he played hockey like a homosexual" made by Marla Burns (Rachel Wilson) the daughter of the town's local prick (played ably by Burt Reynolds). Of course, just as the credits roll we discover that old Judge Burns has a human side after all. This bad-guy-turns-out-to-be-okay-after-all  theme also plays out at the end in Bodett's predictable book, but I can forgive some of that since it was written for a young audience.

A williwaw is a type of fierce Alaskan storm that those who grow up there can recognize easily. The characters in Bodett's book, Autumn and Ivan, a brother and sister, are left by their fisherman father in their remote cabin with radios as their only a point of contact. When Ivan fries the radios by hot wiring them to his video game he and Autumn come up with a scheme to fix them before their father calls again so he won't find out. They break every rule their father had set down for them, and of course he finds out - parents always do. Plus they are almost killed in a williwaw trying to beat him back to their cabin. I did learn a bit about Alaska from the book, and Bodett (yes the guy from the Motel 6 commercials) is quite a good storyteller. And I learned more than I wanted to know about hockey from watching the movie. I did promise myself when I started this project to pick some things that I would not usually read or watch. I can check sports movie off my list. I was interested in the commentary made on racism in sports mascot the movie made as well. The promoters of the exhibition game wanted to call the Mystery team "The Eskimos". The locals pointed out that none of the players were, in fact, native americans, and that native Alaskans who lived in the area were called Inuits in any case.

We enjoyed wild Alaskan salmon and cod for dinner with a pecan crunch coating. Our friends Anna, Brendan and Amelia joined us for this delicious meal.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Georgia - January 2, 1788

Our first celebration features that classic of classics in movies Gone With the Wind; Carson McCuller's book Clock Without Hands; and a vegetarian Georgian feast including Plantation soup, biscuits, green beans and peach cobbler.

I have visited Georgia several times. We have friends and relatives who live there and occasionally go down for a visit. I like its mild climate and the southern hospitality. I think the most memorable thing from my trips there is Stone Mountain  where we took the sky ride to see the Confederate Memorial Carving. The south has many monuments to its heroes of the Civil War. It has always seemed strange to me that the losing side celebrates so much of that period of history. It is said that history is written by the victors, but this does not seem the case when visiting some areas of the south.

Clock without Hands was first published in 1953. It is a story of racial tensions and civil rights. Segregation was still the law and the story develops around an elderly judge who still thinks he can somehow gain financially from the confederate money he owns; a young black man, Sherman, whom the judge employs as his secretary; and the judge's grandson,  Jester, who questions his grandfather's views on race. Sherman refuses to write some letters that he finds offensive for the judge, and this refusal instills in him a deep desire to "do something" to counter the racial injustices he faces every day. Although the judge claims to be quite fond of Sherman, and recognizes that Sherman had actually saved his life years before, he nevertheless has no qualms about joining a group of his neighbors who feel that violence is justified when Sherman moves into a white neighborhood. The judge also has trouble undertanding that Jester has serious misgivings about the West Point plans his grandfather has made for him. I am always impressed with writers who create the kind of multi-dimensional characters that McCullers did. There is something to like and dislike about each of the main characters of the book. The belief that black people simply don't think is rampant among the white characters in the book, and it was with this in mind that I watched Gone With the Wind, which, of course, is written from a white perspective. We know that the slaves were freed following the civil war, but the characters of Mammy, Prissy and Sammy stay on as servants to Scarlett and her family. Words are thrown around among the whites that their servants are "treated well" but the black characters never get their say. There is no scene in which they talk amongst themselves and perhaps commiserate about having to work for a bunch of spoiled brats. We don't even know if they are paid after the war. Although I had seen the movie before (maybe 30 years ago) I kept waiting for Scarlett to have some sort of epiphany. She wasn't afraid to work the land herself to keep from starving, but was simply working in order to go back to being waited on. The epiphany that she really did love Rhett was disappointing in light of what she might have learned from seeing the horrors of watching amutations without anesthetic, and other diseases associated with war. I've seen students on 10-day study tours come back more enlightened than she was.

I began a tradition with last year's blog (My Year of Reading "Year of" Books) to write about any mention of  libraries in the books I read, and so I continue it here. The Judge tells his grandson that he had the Kinsey Report banned at the public library "because [he is] not only the leading citizen of Milan but the most responsible one. ... responsible that innocent eyes are not offended nor the calm heart troubled by such a book." I do quite a bit of research on censorship and book banning. Some things never change. The same arguments are used today - the book might fall into the "wrong hands". Those who wish to see the books censored of course, are able to handle such things themselves. See my Banned Books Week webpage for more information.

Our meal was shared with our friends the Ziglar's. Since we were kicking off our year long celebration we used our kitchy "America's Vacationland" tablecloth.

Thanks, James for taking the pictures.