Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Germany

Germany all these postcards were sent during the time period from 1992-1998

With a name like Arkebauer, you know we are going to vacation in Germany once or twice or more. In fact, I just spent a fun filled weekend in Bavaria last week!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: North Carolina

These postcards from North Carolina are from the late 1960's. The Biltmore House in Asheville and the USS North Carolina Battleship in Wilmington are represented here. Happy Birthday to my North Carolina Cousin Monika!!

Monday, June 05, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Florida Cypress

These are Florida Postcards from the 1970's and early 1980's

Thursday, June 01, 2017

2017 Reading List May

                                         Henry John Hudson (British)   The Letter, no date

What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (library) I liked the "Hollywood Insider" setting of this Murder Mystery. The main character went to jail for murdering a directer when she was 15. Now she is out and her father-in-law (another Hollywood bigwig) has been murdered and she is the prime suspect. Lots of twists and turns as you read about the original murder and the current one.
The Dry by Jane Harper (library) This is your standard murder mystery and what I liked about this one was the setting in a drought plagued Australian small town. A change of pace for me. I had been reading a lot of British set books and now the previous book in Hollywood and this one in Australia was a nice change of pace.
Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Ella MacNeal (library) Back to my cozy British series! But MacNeal brings her characters to the USA in this installment. So that was a fun change too.
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley (library) The latest Flavia De Luce mystery. Shades of A.A. Milne, when a beloved author, who wrote charming and playful poems about his son is at the center of the mystery. As always, I enjoyed it and cannot wait for more!!
The Secret of the Golden Pavilion by Carolyn Keene A Nancy Drew book set in Hawaii that I am reading because I will be working a trip to Hawaii later this month.
A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn (library) Chet and Bernie doing security on a movie set, so that made this one fun.
By The Shores of Middlesea by Dana Stabenow (library) I am enjoying these, only one more to read. This one actually reminded me of old Black Stallion books, because the female protagonist has a horse that only she can ride and of course it wins races and stomps on the bad guys etc.
Mark Twain in Hawaii by Mark Twain This book combines two pieces that Twain wrote, Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands and Hawaii in the 1860's I am reading it because I will be traveling to Hawaii later this month.
Good Behavior by Blake Crouch (library) I really enjoyed this, it is a set of 3 short stories or novellas about a con-artist/grifter (made into current TV series) Part of the fun is the author has notes about how he got the ideas for the stories and how they adapted them for the TV Series. Also the first story is set at the Grove Park Inn in NC,
White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner (library) Dysfunctional family drama. I enjoyed it and I am trying to read more by Susan Meissner.
The Twin Dilemma by Carolyn Keene I am reading this one to write an article for a Nancy Drew fanzine. It is one of the more modern Nancy Drew books and is set in New York City.
The Clue in Blue by Betsy Allen The first Connie Blair Mystery story, set in Philadelphia at a department store . Originally written in 1948, it is a world that just does not exist anymore.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (library) Just okay, I was not riveted to my seat. Had a hard time finishing it because I just did not care about the characters. I just recently watched the movie version of Girl on the Train and maybe that reminded me of how her characters are not the most sympathetic. And the twist, meh
True Colors by Kristin Hannah (audiobook) This is basically your standard romance novel. It did have some nice Olympic Peninsula location descriptions. There are 3 sisters, but the story really only concerns two of them. I at first thought it was going to be a sort of King Lear story, of the girls saving the family farm, but it became just about two of the sisters and their love lives/relationships.
The Land Beyond by Dana Stabenow (library) The last in this Marco Polo era trilogy by Stabenow. I enjoyed these, they were different than other stuff I have been reading lately. So the setting and characters were fun to get to know.
The October Country by Ray Bradbury (library) short stories by Bradbury, awesome stuff
The Clue of the Broken Blossom by Julie Tatham Set in Hawaii Children's series about a flight attendant. I collect these and really love them!!
The Fisherman by John Langan (library) Spooky Ghost Story book.
His Majesty's Hope by Susan Ella MacNeal (library) Some how I got these out of order. But fans of Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, Bess Crawford by Charles Todd and The Molly Murphy or Royal Spyness books by Rhys Bowen will probably enjoy these as well. This one had a lot of great WWII Germany stuff in it.
The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller (library) what impressed me and what I forget, is that many people do no have the luxury of reading as much as I do. They are required to limit their reading because of work and family restraints. And then you have to narrow down your reading each year to only one book a month or less. I am blessed to have the time to read as much as I want.

To Be Read:

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serrailier
An Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Monday, May 29, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Hawaii

Well, if I have to pick a vacation destination to go back to TODAY....It would definitely be Hawaii. 
I love the history and the flora and fauna. 
There are Islands that I have still not visited and I feel there is always something more I could gain from being in Hawaii. And I am currently working a trip to Honolulu from Phoenix today! So I am very excited to be in Honolulu for Memorial Day Weekend. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: NJ Seaside Park Beach

Seaside Park, NJ Postcards from 1959-1967
In the years before they would make the trek down to Florida...had to make do with the Beaches of New Jersey. Not too shabby though a little cooler at night! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Florida's Beaches

                                             Florida Beach postcards from the early 1980's

I don't want to live there, but I always like to visit Florida! 

Monday, May 08, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Paris

Everyone loves Paris and our family is no exception!  And when you visit the city of light, send home a postcard why don't ya??

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

2017 Reading List April

                               Gustabve Leonard de Jonghe (Belgian)  Idle Moments, no date

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (library)British book about a missing child case. (Fiction)  Good, I recommend
Beyond the Truth by Anne Holt (library) I keep trying these Scandinavian crime novels hoping to come upon some that I really really like. Again, just okay. I wonder if it is the translations or the writing?
Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee (library) Juvenile book about a couple of kids who time travel to 1800's San Francisco and run around with Sam Clemens. (before he becomes Mark Twain) It was fun and I recommend.
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal This is the second in this series. If you like Maisie Dobbs, Maggie Hope is a little more precious, but not as funny as the Royal Spyness series. Somewhere in the middle of those two. but I like them and will read more.
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (library) for fans of the movie Sliding Doors and/or time travel type stuff. What would happen in an alternate universe where you did not go to a party, or you did not go on a date or you did not get in that car that time....Alternating chapters, but I had no problem keeping the two different narratives straight. I recommend.
The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle (library) poetry about Cuba, I recommend
The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin (library) a fictional story of reincarnation. loved it, recommend
Journey for Jennifer by Marjorie Vetter YA Cuba story from the early 1950's. Very interesting
 because it talks about the student riots and some of the class struggles during that time period
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum ( library) YA about a girl adjusting to a new school and new stepfamily and a move across country after her mother has died of cancer loved it highly recommend

The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley (library ebook) Ugh I hate hate hate ebooks, but that was the only way to read this Flavia deLuce story. ICK

The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn I still enjoy these mysteries from the Dog's point of view
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko I have been intrigued by these books for years, every time I visit Alcatraz in San Francisco, I see them for sale. Well, I found them at a Goodwill shop and they are even autographed by the author!! So I thought I would give them a go. Very entertaining and of course they are based on the fact that the families of the guards lived on Alcatraz.
Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee (library) Another California tale by Lewis Buzbee, these are for kids, but I really enjoy them.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (library) NYC in the 1930's. I have this vision of NYC and it always lets me down. I have images from movies and books like this one and then I go visit in person and I have to stay at a crappy hotel or it is crazy hot and it is never as chic as That Touch of Mink, Sex in the City or Desperately Seeking Susan That being said, I loved reading this book. The New York that exists in this book, I wish I could experience. It's not gonna happen, but I can read about it. I recommend.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (library) another Sliding Doors, dual existence tale. I like this, it seems that there is a whole genre of these out there and I never knew. This one has a more sci fi bent to it, the protagonist is a scientist who invents a way to travel across dimensions. I recommend.
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (library) You know when I say that I read everything by an author, I am not kidding you! I really do. This is a very cute little book about the love of books and bookstores.
The Ex by Alafair Burke (library) A lawyer gets involved when her Ex is the suspect when his second wife's murderer is murdered....convoluted, yes...but it kept me reading right up until the end.
Mary Anne Saves the Day by Raina Telgemeier (library) graphic novel in the Babysitters Club series. I have really enjoyed Raina Telgemeier's work and just got this because I loved her other books. Based on the Babysitters Club books by Ann Martin.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (library) Loved this one, although it is a bit sad, it ties together the Triangle Shirt factory fire with 9/11 interweaving the stories. I really liked it a lot and will read more by this author, this is a good one for book clubs too!!
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (library) The author of Room writes this book about a "fasting girl" in the early 1900's Ireland. A Nurse is called in to figure out how the girl is surviving on nothing. I got bad vibes of anorexic stories from this one, but it was interesting.
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (library) Poor Man's Jack Reacher? I kind of like Peter Ash, he is a flawed Iraqi, Afghanistan Vet home and suffering PTSD, He is helping the family of one of his soldiers, who committed suicide after coming  home. There are going to be more with this protagonist and I already have them on my TBR list.
Everything Under the Heavens by Dana Stabenow (library) Miss Stabenow actually had to self publish these books (this is the first of a trilogy. I liked it. It is not her usual Alaska stuff, but a tale of a strong female during the time of Marco Polo etc. The Silk Road setting was fun.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (library) another graphic novel by Telgemeier. This one concerns a girl who has to move to a new town, her sister is sick with Cystic Fibrosis and a Day of the Dead celebration. I really liked it a lot!
Gone by Randy Wayne White (audiobook) This one features a female fishing guide in Florida as the protagonist. Something new for Randy Wayne White. I don't know yet how I think about his female voice. I kept thinking that, yeah this is how a man thinks a woman thinks.....I might have to read another of these to see if I like it or not. Not totally thrilled about this one, but willing to give the character another go

To Be Read:
Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King
Burning Bright by Nicholas Petrie
Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books by Nick Hornby
Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith
Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Seiple

Monday, May 01, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Australia

Postcards from Australia!
Thank You Holly for sending me a HUGE box of postcards!
Australia is still on our bucket list...gonna get there one of these days. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Florida Pelicans

Florida Pelicans

If you travel to the Florida coast, you are likely to see some Brown Pelicans. So they are always on postcards....I almost prefer the Pelicans to the Flamingos....the Pelicans are so comical when they dive for fish. And I love to see them fly in formation across the waves. I only ever see Flamingos just standing around looking pretty in pink.

Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Maine

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of “Maine Postcard Day”, Penobscot Marine Museum presents Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine, a hundred years of images which have been used to communicate the unique qualities of Maine to the outside world. With photographic postcards, photography, and contemporary art, this exhibit explores the changes which have taken place in the images which have been used to communicate “Maine”.

 In 1916 Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis proclaimed April 19th “Post Card Day” and issued a proclamation asking all Maine citizens to send a postcard of Maine to friends and family outside the state with the message “Come to Maine.”

These four postcards from Maine are all from the 1980's

Monday, April 03, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: San Francisco

From the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's these San Francisco Postcards are always welcome to see in your mailbox. Since we have Arkebauer cousins who live in the Bay Area...a visit to San Francisco was always going to be part of the Arkebauer and DeVries family travels!!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

2017 Reading List March

                                         Gioacchino Toma (Italian)  The Reader, 1870-1875

Sunset City by Melissa Ginsburg (library) The seedy underbelly of Houston. Lots of graphic, yucky stuff, but this is one that I must have gotten from a list of "if you liked Gone Girl and Girl on the Train etc etc"
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (library) Another from the "if you liked Gone Girl list" about a woman who is on the run after her husband is murdered and she does not have an alibi...Good
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner (library) Good book about a woman who goes missing. I think this may be the beginning of more with the detective DS Manon Bradshaw and I will definitely put Susie Steiner on my list of authors to read more of! 
In Cuba I was a German Shepherd by Ana Menendez  (library)short stories by a Cuban American, reading in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Havana.
Under the Harrow by Lynn Berry. (library) A story about a woman who is obsessed with the murder of her sister and she investigates the murder herself when the cops appear to have given up
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (library) If you liked Where'd You Go Bernadette by the same author, you will like this one. Much of the same type of thing. Urban Mom in Seattle kind of goes off the rails, has a precocious kid and a long suffering husband. This must be Maria Semple's own wacky genre.
Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana by Isadora Tattlin (library)True memoir of the time Ms. Tattlin spent in Havana during the 1990's while her European Husband had a job there (he is/was an Energy Consultant) I really really liked this one! Great look at the expat experience from someone in a place where it is very very challenging!
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah Okay, my friends who are fans...I have given it a go, this is my third Hannah book...and she is not fabulous, a poor man's Jodi Picoult? The only thing that makes me come back is the PNW locales, but I am done with Kristin Hannah I think.
The Deep Six by Randy Wayne White and
The Deadlier Sex by Randy Wayne White both of these books were written by Mr. White when he was a struggling new writer. Under the pen name Randy Striker he wrote six books about an ex Navy Seal living in the Florida Keys and having crazy action adventures. They really are not that bad. Like the Bachman books by Stephen King or the old Harlequin Romances by Janet Evanovich, these are the books that were a training ground for these writers. I find them fascinating. 
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory Henry the VIIIth and the Boleyns, I love getting my English History education from Philippa Gregory. 
Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie I brought a bunch of these paperback books to Cuba with me to read and then leave behind. So old favorites like Randy Wayne White, Ian Fleming, Philippa Gregory and Agatha Christie. I never tire of reading them over and over again and I hope someone in Cuba will enjoy them now. 
Thunderball by Ian Fleming This is the Bond book where he has to go to a Spa to improve his health and it also introduces Blofeld as the mastermind of SPECTRE. Lots of action in the Bahamas, so I thought it a good book to leave behind in Cuba. 
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger  The sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, more drama from Andrea...and it is all blah. I was a fan of the movie and read the original book because of that....this is just awful. Don't bother.
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (library) okay, if anyone reads this, could you please tell me what happened? I am still confused. It is definitely a fever dream. It is supposed to be a sort of ghost story and it is translated from Spanish (so stuff could be lost in translation??) But I really had a hard time keeping track of what was going on and it is not a BIG BOOK, it is very short and concise.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (library) A child is killed in a hit and run and this is the story of the investigation and the trauma surrounding the event. I liked it. It is British, and it is sad.
Celine by Peter Heller (library) This is about a private detective who specializes in missing persons cases. A daughter is trying to find out about her father who may or may not have been mauled by a bear at Yellowstone. So you have the mystery of the bear attack and then you have all this interesting story about the detective, Celine, herself. I recommend
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (library) set in Cuba and I had not read it before, so I remedied that situation.

To Be Read:
Maigret and The Death of a Harbor Master by Georges Simenon
Justine by Lawrence Durrell
Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Stalking the Blue Eyed Scallop by Euell Gibbons

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Monday's Postcard: Holland

More postcards from the 1980's this time from Holland. I always like to visit Amsterdam this time of year, when the crocus and flowers are starting to come up!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

80 years later: Trying to recreate family photos in Havana

Once I heard that we could go to Cuba, that my airline would be flying to Cuba, well of course I wanted to go see it! I have always been fascinated with Cuba. I am one of those people who when you tell me I can't do something, that is exactly what I want to do. There were ways to go to Cuba in the past on Educational trips or with a Church Group, but you had to fly through Mexico or Canada and it just seemed like too much trouble. Even today, you still have to jump through a few hoops, but with direct flights from Miami, FL and Charlotte, NC on American Airlines. It is so easy to just GO.

They have Hop On Hop Off Bus tours!

Transtur is HUGE we saw their buses everywhere full of German, French and Italian Tourists
What we forget in the USA is that everyone else in the world has been able to go to Cuba for the past 50 years when we could not. The rest of the world has had the opportunity and they have gone to Cuba. Tourism is one of the biggest, if not the biggest source of income for the island. Unfortunately, Cuba has had to compete with flashier Caribbean Islands for that tourist dollar. Why go to Cuba where you might not have toilet paper or even a toilet seat, when you can lay on the beach just as easily in Jamaica or Barbados.

In November of 1937, my Grandmother Arkebauer traveled to Cuba with my father who was only 15 months old at the time. I have photos from that trip and I thought it would be fun while we were in Havana to try to find the places where the photos were taken and try to recreate those scenes. Luckily two of the photos had information written on the back about where they were taken. So I knew that I had to go to the Plaza Hotel and El Morro.

The Plaza Hotel became a hotel in 1909. In the 1930's Albert Einstein was there for a banquet! My Grandmother and Father were there in 1937. In the 1950's a casino was put in and in the 1960's the casino was shut down and the hotel became part of the National Tourism Sector after the Triumph of the Revolution. You can still stay there today if you want to pay $100-200 a night for a room.

El Morro is actually Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, it was named after the Three Wise Men or Three Magi. The fortress guards the entrance to Havana Harbor.  Built in 1590, El Morro served as a prison and as a defense protecting the Havana Harbor. To close off the harbor to pirates and invaders, a huge iron chain would be spread across the water to the smaller fort on the Old Havana side of the mouth of the harbor. The lighthouse was built in 1845. We paid 6 CUC to tour the fort. 

We had a lot of fun scrambling around the fort trying to find the locations from these photos. I think we did a pretty good job recreating them. After all, it has been 80 years and there have been some changes to the areas.