Summer Reading – The Space Between Before and After

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 14, 2008 in Books I'm Reading

I just finished another summer read – The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page.


This book followed the life of Holli (formerly known as Hollyanne) from her childhood days to her current life as a divorced mother of a college-dropout son. When she was a child, Hollyanne’s mother died in an accident while pregnant with a nearly-full term baby. The accident took place minutes after it was revealed that Hollyanne’s father had been having an affair with a neighbor, Georgia, and that Georgia was also pregnant with her father’s child.

After her mother’s death, Hollyanne is sent to live with her grandmother and is not allowed to be involved in the life of her new baby half-sister. She is not able to forgive her father until just before his death, and still struggles with forgiving her stepmother for excluding her from their life.

These events are described intermittently with Holli’s present life – her son has dropped out of school to live with his terminally ill girlfriend – who also reveals that she is pregnant (lots of pregnant women in this book!).

This is a complex tale of mistakes people make and the prices they pay for those mistakes. I wish the author would have worked a little bit more on developing the supporting characters – we have a good idea of who Holli is, but there are so many other characters and small plot-lines that remain hanging. For instance, Holli’s son Conner has a night of drunken intimacy with a girl on campus – totally out of character with everything we know about him. Afterward, he runs away thinking that the girl is going to claim that she was raped – which she never does.

Throw the terminally ill girlfriend’s aunt into the mix (her parents died on a water-rafting trip when she was a teenager); Holli’s half-sister, Tina, who works on a dude-ranch in Texas; Holli’s ex-husband, Harrison – the nerdy professor who lives in his own little technical world; the grandmother, Raine, who hears voices from beyond…it’s a lot of characters and a lot of story – I feel like only the surface was skimmed on most of these.

But this was a pretty good summer read overall – not exactly the next modern classic novel, but a nice book with which to curl up in the sand…


What Did They Do to My Dogs?!?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 12, 2008 in Our Goldendoodle Puppies

I took the two dogs to PetSmart to be groomed yesterday – after all their camping trips and illnesses, they were pretty scruffy.

When I got there, they said that because the had some mats and their hair was so knotted, they both needed to be completely shaved down.  I was so sad!

We really try to keep up with their curly goldendoodle fur.  We brush them daily – even more so after they get wet.  I guess we need to be a bit more diligent and brush them a few times a day – or take them in for grooming more than every two months…I don’t know.

Anyway, I knew that the dogs were going to look different with no hair, but I wasn’t prepared for how little dog was under all of Geddy’s fur…here’s Geddy last week on our camping trip…


And here he is this morning:



I’m sure he feels better without all those knots and this is great for the hot summer weather, but I had no idea how SKINNY he was!  He looks like some sort of hound dog – or neglected puppy (and believe me, he is NOT neglected!).

Daisy was also shaved, but she’s been shaved before, so it’s not as big of a shock.

Here she is on our trip last week:


And this morning:


This is going to take some getting used to…


Emily’s SpongeBob Card

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 12, 2008 in Cards, Crafts

My six-year-old daughter Emily made the BEST SpongeBob Squarepants birthday card for Matt….I just had to share!

Emily's SpongeBob

I helped her cut the cardstock and punch the holes…but other than that, Emily made one this all by herself.

Looks like we have another paper crafter in our family!


Birthday Postcard Gift

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 11, 2008 in Crafts, Soldered Art

I made another birthday gift using a vintage postcard the other day for Andrew’s step-mom Clare:


I liked the colors in this card – the cool blues and greens…I also added a green crystal drop on the bottom for even a little more color.

I used the silver scallop-edge tape with some copper patina – there’s a little bit of copper in the postcard image and I wanted to pick that up.

I wish I would have added some glitter to the image before I put it under the beveled glass…oh well.  It’s pretty anyway, don’t you think?


Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 11, 2008 in Family Stuff

My little boy is NINE years old today – I can’t believe it!

Nine year old boys are so goofy – I tried to take a nice picture of him this morning to put on my blog…this is what I got:





Not exactly portrait-quality!  Oh well…I tried – I love you, Matt!


Board Shorts Invitations

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 8, 2008 in Cards, Crafts

There’s nothing like procrastination when it comes to kids’ birthday parties and this year is no different.  Matt’s birthday is this Friday and I still hadn’t planned anything.

I decided to just make some sort of a decision and throw a small party this Sunday afternoon at Lake Kandle. 

Of course, I had no invitations since I waited so long to make a decision, so I needed something quick and easy.  I did a quick search on SplitcoastStampers and was inspired by these cute board shorts by TxCardMaker.  Here’s my version:


I started with a piece of cardstock in the standard 5 1/2 X 4 1/4 folded size.  Then I marked about 1 inch from the edge of each top fold and cut a diagonal line with my paper cutter. 

Then I adhered some patterned paper from Basic Grey on the front of the card and trimmed it from behind with my paper trimmer.  I cut out the middle of the shorts with a pair of scissors and added some eyelets and twine for the tie.  I also ran the top piece of cardstock through a crimper for an “elastic” look.

Not bad for last minute…


More Summer Reading – Life of Pi

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 7, 2008 in Books I'm Reading

While I was stuck at the campsite this weekend, I finished another summer book – Life of Pi by Yann Martel.


This is my second attempt to read this book – I actually purchased this book a few years ago and started to read it, but never got through more than the first few chapters.

Now that I have finished it, I think the book was fantastic. But I must say that I thought the beginning of the story was just a bit slow. The author spends the first few chapters focusing on the life of the main character, Pi, a teenage boy growing up with parents that own a zoo in a small town in India. I think that’s where I lost interest the first time I tried to read this book. I love animals, but the amount of detail that is spent describing them and their habits just didn’t hold my attention, I’m afraid.

Eventually, Pi’s parents decide to sell the zoo animals and move to Canada. Pi, his family and many of the animals are loaded onto a Japanese cargo ship headed for North America when the ship suddenly sinks. This is where the story picks up and becomes an enthralling read.

Pi manages to get on board a lifeboat along with an orangutan, an injured zebra, a hyena and a 450-lb Bengal tiger as shipmates.

The rest of the book follows Pi through his treacherous journey through the Pacific. Not only does he have to deal with the loss of his family and the challenge of surviving on a lifeboat in the vast Pacific Ocean, he also has to avoid being eaten by his OWN shipmates!

In the end, Pi survives his almost 7-month-long journey and we are challenged to wonder whether Pi’s story is indeed true as told – or if each of the characters represents something else in his actual, even more harrowing real experience.

If you decide to read this book (and I would highly recommend doing so), hang in there through the first few chapters – your patience will be rewarded with a wonderful tale.


Camping Here In Allentown

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 7, 2008 in Family Stuff

We just returned from a short weekend camping trip at the KOA in Allentown, PA (actually, New Tripoli, to be exact). 

The trip started out kind of rough – we got a frantic phone call from Andrew on our way home from work on Thursday that one of the dogs had gotten sick in their crate.  Not exactly what we hoped to come home to.

So instead of running all of our pre-trip errands, doing loads of laundry and packing, we spent the evening cleaning up after the dogs.  Which meant that I had to spend Friday morning running all of our pre-trip errands, doing loads of laundry and packing. 

And on top of that…it started to rain.  By the time we got to the campground, everything at the campsite was a soggy, muddy mess.

I can handle rain on a camping trip.  And I can handle sick dogs on a camping trip.  But rain AND sick dogs…that’s a bit much.

Geddy continued to get sick the first night and poor Mike had to sleep outside on a chair in the rain with the dog while I cleaned up the damage he did inside.  This was from about 1:00am – 5:00am…then the kids were up early demanding breakfast.  I’m afraid I had a mommy-meltdown after the following exchange with Matt at about 6:30am:

Matt:  I want cereal!

Me:  There’s cereal in the cabinet.

Matt:  But I want YOU to get me cereal!

Me:  I was up all night cleaning up after the dogs, Matt.  You’re almost nine years old – you can get your own cereal.

Matt:  I can’t reach the bowls.

Me: There are disposable bowls in the cabinet you can reach.

Matt:  But I want YOU to get me cereal!

Me: Then you’ll have to wait until I get up…

(There’s some rustling around in the cabinet.)

Matt:  I can’t find the bowls!

(I stomp into the kitchen, open the cabinet and the disposable plastic bowls are so close to the front, they almost fall out on me.  I pick one of the bowls up and fling it to Matt like a frisbee.)


I’m sure all parents have been there once or twice…

Fortunately, the weekend did improve from there.  The skies started to clear a bit and the rain slowed to a drizzle here and there – not exactly a sunny weekend, but the clouds did keep it from getting too hot.

And once it stopped raining, we saw that the campground was actually very pretty – it was tucked away in the woods and our campsite even backed to a cute little babbling brook.  I took the kids in their PJs to check it out (once I woke up):


There were little tiny fish swimming in the stream that were fun to watch.  Daisy liked the stream too – unlike the ocean, she was very willing to play in the water in the stream.  Maybe she’s a “freshwater dog”?

I was elected to stay at the campsite with the dogs (we didn’t trust leaving them alone in the camper for any length of time – or at all) while Mike took the kids to Crystal Cave in Kutztownon Saturday:


We figured that even if it rained, they could still enjoy the cave since it was indoors.  And they did enjoy it – even if Emily was a bit afraid to go in at first.

We had also purchased tickets to see the minor league baseball team, The Iron Pigs, at their new stadium in Allentown on Sunday.  Again, I had to stay back at the camper with the dogs, but Mike and the kids had a great time.


At least while everyone was gone, I had some quiet time to myself.  Well…time to myself with two sick dogs, anyway…

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