Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


Finished Since Last Time…

We’ve finished three books in the last two weeks and are very close to finishing a fourth. Books #8, 9, and 10 were “Stuart Little” by EB White, “Bartleby of the Mighty Mississippi” by Phyllis Shalan,t and “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning” by Lemony Snicket. Book #10 is E.L. Konigsburg’s “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” which has been equally as delicious to read as #s 9 and 10.

From there, we’ll be on to #12, “The Son of Neptune” by Rick Riordan.

Another thing that I have settled on declaring finished lately is this here blog. I’m not done writing (seeing as writing is a lifelong process), but my writing ambitions are definitely finished. My apologies to those who have commented within the last month or so. I really did mean to get back to you, but the reality is that I won’t. I do feel the tiniest bit sorry about that. Only the tiniest bit, though. Much as I meant to get back to writing here, as time went on I found that what seemed so urgent or necessary before didn’t any longer.

The short version? I still have plenty to say, but I have no desire to say it here.

So, dear reader, my deepest appreciation to all of you for reading along with me. You are certainly welcome to continue, but know that I’m going to be shifting focus and what will follow in this space will primarily be a personal record of next year’s homeschooling. In other words, less blog, more record keeping. Read alouds, units I have created myself, resource lists, etc.

I won’t begrudge you if a litany of lists and records does not thrill you. :0) You have my permission to go therefore and read someone else.

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Book #7 is Finished!

lostheroIn what feels a bit like a whirlwind of reading, tonight we finished book #7 for the year, Rick Riordan’s “The Lost Hero.”  The kids loved this book to pieces and can’t wait for the next one in the series.  We’d actually start the next one right away…except that I discovered that we don’t actually own it.  Oops!

So…rather than try and wait for it to arrive from inter-library loan or buy it at Target for full price (perish the thought!), the kids are just going to have to wait.  In the meantime, book #8 is E.B. White’s “Stuart Little.”

A quick read with a movie on the other side?  Yup, they’ll get over it.

David Berliner on “A Nation at Risk”: Three Decades of Lies

Diane Ravitch's blog

Three Decades of Lies

We have endured 30 years of lies, half-truths, and myths. Bruce Biddle and I debunked many of these untruths in our book, The Manufactured Crisis, in 1995. But more falsehoods continue to surface all the time. The most recent nonsense was “U. S. Education Reform and National Security,” a report presented to us last year by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice. A Nation at Riskhad us losing the political and economic races to the Soviet Union and Japan. Did we? No. Our economy took off, the Soviet political system collapsed, and Japan’s economy has retreated for two decades. So much for the predictions of A Nation at Risk.
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David C. Berliner

The newest version of this genre by Klein/Rice has us losing the military and economic races to China and others. But this odd couple seems to forget that militarily we spend…

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Five-tenths is the same as one-half

So, the kid is in second grade. Yesterday he was working on a practice math test and turned it in today. When I asked him about it this afternoon he said he got six wrong because he has a hard time with fractions.

I asked him to give me an example. He said one problem had two rows of five for a total of ten. Five of them were shaded in. He wrote 1/2 as the answer and it was marked wrong.

Reader, they wanted him to write 5/10.

Say it with me now, “5/10 is the same as 1/2.”


The kid is not having problems with fractions.

Rep. Ellison Introduces Robin Hood Tax–Supporters Will Rally on Saturday

Talking Union

by Kenneth Quinnell

On Wednesday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) introduced the Inclusive Prosperity Act (H.R. 1579), which would create a financial transaction tax that would raise billions of dollars in new revenue. The tax is similar to one that existed in the United States until 1966 and that is levied in 40 countries around the world. Another 11 countries are currently considering joining them.

‘This is a huge day,’ Rep. Ellison announced at a press conference within view of the Capitol. ‘This is a small tax on Wall Street transactions to meet the needs of our nation. Didn’t America step up to the plate when Wall Street needed help? It will reduce harmful market speculation. Gambling on Wall Street does not benefit our society.’

Supporters of the bill will rally on April 20 in Washington, D.C.

[To get directions. RSVP and share with others on the Robin Hood Tax USA Facebook…

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Book #6 is Finished!

trumpetoftheswanA couple of days ago we finished book number six, “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White.  Groceries has already added this to his “books I’m going to read after I finish the Harry Potter series” list – a sure sign of a winner around here.  We found it a fairly easy read with wonderful illustrations and an entertaining story.

I rearranged the list a bit again after enduring constant reminders from the husband and the children about the Rick Riordan books they don’t think we have and by the way, when are we going to start the new series?

So much for my short book hiatus.

You have to give the people what they want even if it’s over 500 pages.  Book #7 for the year is Rick Riordan’s “The Lost Hero.”  We started it on the same day we finished “The Trumpet of the Swan” and if the “please read another chapter” pleas win out, we’re in for some long reading sessions!


In Which I Stop Reading Big Name Quilting Blogs

So, certain persons online host contests. Do this, follow that, comment, make, and otherwise jump through hoops for this chance and that chance. Let’s be honest, most of them have sponsorships of some sort that provide the prizes. At least that’s the case for the big name bloggers. You can bet your rotary cutter that they aren’t out any money for the giveaway (or a great portion of the fabric they use to make their quilts). They’re selling something just like Target, WalMart, and Kraft. It’s every bit a business, except instead of selling a product or service, they are selling themselves. The blogger is the brand.

I find it just the tiny bit ironic then, when the folks selling their brand and hosting contests, declare some grand community purpose or some other such nonsense. As if somehow contests and giveaways aren’t that important. Chastise is probably the better word for it, and yes big blogger, I am aware that your comment was directed at me. Sometimes reading your blog or participating in your contest (and driving traffic to your blog) is just a means to an end. And really, can’t we be honest, since this is your business, isn’t that really the point? And, no I didn’t let your comment through on the original post because it seemed to me more the quilty equivalent of “well, bless your heart.”

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but when I enter a contest I kind of want to win otherwise I wouldn’t enter. I guess in this case I did sort of win. Sadly it was insight rather than fabric which would have been nice since we don’t all have access to the same fountain of free stuff (like sewing machines and fabric).

And that, big blogger, is the point at which I stopped reading big name quilting blogs just as sure as I stopped reading the pioneer gal. That sort of “community” isn’t for me. Too bad it cost me money to find out.

In which I take a break

Yesterday morning I got an email that there was a comment waiting for my approval that was thanking me for “joining in” and I knew then that I was out. Being internet-ly savvy, I’m confident that you can find your way on over to see the results of the contest if you’re so inclined seeing as I’ve given up on driving traffic for someone else today.

So, dear reader, before I become any more cynical, I’m going to go do all the things I could have been doing last week, but didn’t because I was making a quilt that now sits folded on a shelf as a reminder of a powerful lesson learned about the need for whatever I make to be useful to me first and foremost.


Shelburne Falling Star

A few weeks ago I saw an announcement on Stitched in Color for a Shelburne Falls contest. I wasn’t going to participate, but then, while shopping for fabric to finish the picnic blanket, a couple of half yards of fabric found their way into my basket.

Buying fabric? Easy.

Figuring out what to make with the fabric? That’s an entirely different puzzle altogether. My mom asked me how I came up with the idea. Honestly? I have no idea. I read quite a few blogs (by which I mean I skim through them while focusing on the ones that most catch my eye) so it’s more than likely that someone made something with stars. From there it’s a Google image search for quilted stars, barn stars, free stars, paper pieced stars. I looked at patterns (free, Etsy, Craftsy), but none of them really seemed like the thing.

Carol Doak’s “50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars” made its way home from the library, mostly for the Colorado star, but when it arrived I fell in love with her Wisconsin star. Heh, I live in Wisconsin, is that too kitschy?

A week ago today we had our local quilt guild’s sew day and seeing as the husband was off, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on this quilt. While brushing my teeth it dawned on me – stars…falling stars….Shelburne Falls….Shelburne Falling Star. This, dear reader, is how inspiration is born.

I could have done the traditional thing. Four stars matched up with a neat little square of HSTs in the middle. Yeah. I never follow a recipe as written and likely couldn’t even if I tried, why would I follow a pattern as written?

One week, two Shelburne Falls fabrics, four Kona solids, a full Saturday, some Diet Coke, just about the entire third season of NCIS, and countless hours later my kitchen is a mess, the children have had pizza for dinner more than once. Oh, and the quilt is finished.

It’s perfect, yes? I can’t say that it’s exactly how I thought it would turn out because to be honest my vision before beginning was fuzzy. I love the way things evolve. Mistakes become focal points. Pieces are shuffled. While I enjoy the finished project, I think I prefer the process a great deal more than the finishing. Wrestling this quilt through my domestic machine was no picnic not to mention how I feel about hand stitching binding, but there is a certain satisfaction with having arrived even if it’s a little bittersweet.

Speaking of binding…I will now bind all of my quilts in stripes. I just love the way the stripes look marching all in a row down the edge of the quilt. Perfect.


I’m off to link up with Stitched in Color. Fingers crossed, dear reader. We’ll know on Monday (I think) whether or not I made it to the next round.