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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