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"racantwell" (Eastsound, WA)

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Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2004: Expert Advice From the Inside Source
Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2004: Expert Advice From the Inside Source
by Disney Book Group
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Birnbaum's Saves Time and Money!, May 30 2004
Planning for a family vacation to Disney World can be as complex as launching an expedition to Anarctica -- and nearly as expensive if you aren't careful! If you've made the decision to take the plunge and head for the most popular family vacation spot in America spend that first few dollars on the most current edition of Birnbaum's book. This book will help you save both time and money.
Birnbaum's guide was a great choice for me -- I'm a "gotta have everything organized in advance" kind of person and the detailed, accurate information in this guide helped me do everything from pick out a hotel and book a ride from the airport to organize a packing list and rough-in plans for daily itineraries. Although the guide was absolutely jammed with information it was in a very readable format with lots of color, charts and sidebars. Birnbaum's also helped walk us through a lot of the decisions -- for example we decided to splurge on a nice on-resort hotel with access to the monorail knowing we would want to spend the middle part of most days relaxing at the pool with the kids. To balance that expense, we took Birnbaum's tip and had lunches at the nicer restaraunts instead of the more expensive (and more crowded) dinners.
My husband also found Birnbaum's guide very helpful and he is more of a "let's just wing-it" sort of vacation planner. On the days he was in charge of activities he carried the Birnbaum's book with him and used it to pick restaraunts, find less crowded rides and choose activities near wherever we happened to be walking. The color-coding on the sides of the pages helped him quickly find the section of the book he wanted just as soon as he pulled it out of the bag.
By far the best feature were the sample schedules -- these helped us avoid the crowds during our vacation (Christmas week one of the most crowded times of the year). In fact, using Birnbaum's advice we got to the parks early and walked onto many rides without waiting at all. Once the parks started getting crowded we used the tips on fast passes to cut our waiting time significantly on the more popular rides.
There's lots and lots of information out there on how to plan and enjoy your Disney Vacation -- I highly recommend checking out the Disney web site (booking online can save more $$$) and buying this guide. Maybe you won't have to spend an entire semester's worth of college savings after all!

Children Discover the Mass: Lessons, Crafts, Cutouts, and More!
Children Discover the Mass: Lessons, Crafts, Cutouts, and More!
by Mary Doerfler Dall
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.58

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource For Elementary Level RE Teachers, April 3 2004
Children who understand what's happening in Mass find the liturgy more meaningful and are happier to participate in worship. If you are looking for ways to connect elementary-age kids with the beauty of the Mass this is a fantastic resource. I'm the director of a small (35 students) RE program and we used this book for the first time in our program this year.
You can use the book as written for pre-schoolers or cover more lessons per class with older students. We combined the Kindergarten through third grade classes and covered the material in five sessions: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, Concluding Rites and a lesson we added at the beginning where we showed the children around the church, the sacristy, sacramentary, etc.
The book is laid out in a very understandable way and includes lesson plans with dialogue so even your novice teachers should feel comfortable. Great craft projects that can be run on the copier and don't need much supplies beyond crayons and scissors.
A great value -- we will use it every year!

Tricky Business
Tricky Business
by Dave Barry
Edition: Hardcover
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.39

5.0 out of 5 stars I Laughed and Laughed, April 12 2003
This review is from: Tricky Business (Hardcover)
In Tricky Business author Dave Barry treats readers to a rocking good time with the looney cast and crew aboard the good (?) ship "Extravaganza of the Seas" a South Florida Casino Ship with a Drug Smuggling/money laundering sideline about to go horribly (and hilariously) awry. Cautions about the content should be heeded: if you are offended by violent, scatalogical or just plain gross content this book is not for you -- they say you should write what you know and clearly Dave Barry knows a LOT about vomit. But he also knows what's funny -- from the octogenarian nursing home escapees to the mobster wannabe in his clam suit costume to the aging potheads in the band and the flatulent waitress (okay another thing he knows WAY too much about)Dave Barry loves the inane and the absurd among us. In Tricky Business, the ridiculous meets the criminal and the result is the most fun since Gilligan set sail.

When the Emperor Was Divine
When the Emperor Was Divine
by Julie Otsuka
Edition: Hardcover
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, Lyrical, Haunting, April 12 2003
I plucked this book off the shelf at the library yesterday, flipped it open to see if I liked the writing style and almost forgot to pick the kids up at school half an hour later because I had completely fallen into the world of this novella and lost track of time.
When the Emperor was Divine is the literary equivallent of ikebana -- elegant in its spareness and revealing great beauty beneath the simple balance of form and substance. Author Julie Otsuka doesn't miss a step in this compelling, disturbing story of a Japanese American family torn apart, interred in separate camps; mother, daughter and son in one, father in another.
Confused, helpless, longing for each other, yearning for the comforts of home, hearth, and happier days, the family spends three and a half years waiting. Waiting for release, waiting to be reunited, waiting for a tulip to grow in an old tin can. Ms. Otsuka doesn't give us the details -- she walks us right into the bodies, hearts and minds of each of her characters and makes us live with them. And in the end of the endless waiting we return with them to the scattered remains of a life that is less than what is normal, necessary or desirable. My heart broke a hundred times in the few short hours it took to read this slim book.
It is particularly compelling to think of the men interred in Cuba right now and wonder if a future generation will tell their story as poignantly. I recommend this book for the quality of the writing and the timliness of the story.

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman
by Elizabeth Buchan
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet and Satisfying Read, March 29 2003
I loved this book! In Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman author Elizabeth Buchan has given us a new heroine to love; confident, comfortable, charming and successful forty-eight year old Rose. Although we meet her on the eve of her undoing (at the hands of her convincingly conniving husband- and job-stealing assistant), Rose is no hand-wringing cliche of the wife-done-wrong. Instead our Rose navigates her new, and painful world with the grace, dignity and class we all wish we could muster when things come undone in our lives. Rose is not destroyed by her suffering, she is transformed in a deeply satisying and understandable way. I especially recommend this book for the quality of the writing which was consistently exquisite from page one through the final chapter.

The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart
The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart
by Deline Bruser
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.16
46 used & new from CDN$ 2.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Zen of Practicing!, Feb. 24 2003
This book relieved me of so much anxiety and negativity! Though I spent years studying the piano, I always viewed practicing as a chore and would drive myself into a nervous, sleepless, frenzy of practicing before every recital. My final recital was twelve years ago -- I had worked myself into a horrible state, had come to despise the piece I was preparing (Beethovan's Six Variations), gave a lousy performance, quit my lessons and got rid of my piano. When a friend asked me to store his piano in our home I started playing again and was amazed to find that I still felt anxious although I was not preparing for any performance.
My son's violin teacher loaned me this book and I must say if I'd read it twelve years ago I never would have given up the piano. Using this book I analyzed my physical approach to playing for the first time and realized my posture was horrible and I was actually clenching my teeth when I played! Now I am enjoying myself so much more and I feel so comfortable that I have started playing as an accompanist.
There's much that's useful in this book though you may (like me) skip a lot of the technical information or parts that seem geared more toward professional musicians. I especially recommend this book for anyone with performance anxiety.

Twelve Months of Monastery Soups
Twelve Months of Monastery Soups
by Victor D'Avila-Latourrette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.26
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soup is Good Food, Feb. 20 2003
Nothing warms the spirit like a bowl of soup and this book is a special joy -- filled with simple and delicious recipes for the ultimate comfort food. The recipes are organized by the months of the year to emphasize seasonal preferences and produce availability. Turn to January for great hot soups and stews in the cold months, look for lighter choices and some wonderful cold soups in the summer chapters. There are 175 (!) soup recipes in this book, all simple enough to prepare every day for your family and many elegant (yet still easy to prepare) for entertaining. The Vegetable stock in this cook book is the best and most flavorful I've ever tried and I freeze tons of it in four-cup ziplock freezer bags to use in vegetarian dishes.
The recipes are meant to be experimented with and the author gives great advice for substitutions and seasoning in the preface. Because of the special emphasis on seasonal availability of produce this cook book is the perfect choice for the kitchen gardener.

When Character Was King
When Character Was King
by Peggy Noonan
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Warm and Fuzzy, Feb. 19 2003
How you view this book will be determined mostly by how you already feel about Ronald Reagan when you begin reading. I found "When Character was King" to be well written with an enjoyable, engaging tone, however, I am bothered that the author spins a relentlessly positive picture of a complex presidency that deserves a more balanced analysis. For example, President Reagan certainly earned his spurs and deserves his legacy as the man who faced down the Soviets and this is well documented here. But the author glosses over the fact that the largest peacetime military buildup in history (one of the key factors in forcing the Soviets to the table) cost a lot of money that had to come from somewhere and certainly contained broad social and economic consequences. It's as if the money was pulled out of a hat. Also, the not-so-subtle jabs at Presidents Clinton and Carter were annoying as were the frequent comparisons to JFK and the puffing up of President Bush Junior. Although I prefer a more balanced view, I recommend "When Character was King" as a good read about a fine American.

A Short Life on a Sunny Isle: Featuring Alphonse Dantan of the Paris Police Judi
A Short Life on a Sunny Isle: Featuring Alphonse Dantan of the Paris Police Judi
by Hannah I. Blank
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 3.83

2.0 out of 5 stars Had to Put it Down, Feb. 12 2003
It's rare when I don't read a book straight through but I had to let this one go. I found the writing stilted (especially the dialogue) with too much exposition. A lot more heavy lifting is required to move this plot forward, especially with the ambitious number of characters involved. Barely two hundred (widely spaced) pages wasn't enough to develop the story line or the characters.

Life's Work
Life's Work
by Lisa Belkin
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody's Perfect, Feb. 11 2003
This review is from: Life's Work (Hardcover)
Lisa Belkin's reflections on life and work are a joy to read for any veteran of the family/work balancing act. Her strong message resonates equally well for those in the corporate world to those working at home or the full-time stay at home parent -- trying to balance the demands of our lives can trap us in the unreasonable expectation we can please everybody all the time.
Life's Work is about the emotional conflict we all feel whether we have to work at a despised job for the paycheck or need to work in a beloved field for personal fulfillment. We know that family and friends matter most in life but the devil is in the details -- juggling the mechanics of getting through each day when there is more than one person (or even two) can reasonably accomplish, coping when the unexpected overwhelms the system, deciding how best to care and provide for those we love who depend on us.
The essays are short enough to read in five-minute bites (great to tuck in your bag for that wait in the doctor's office or the long line at the bank) and is also fun to read straight through. It's an especially great book for any parent (Mom or Dad) trying to write professionally at home. Lisa Belkin's take on combining a writing life with a family life had me laughing out loud.

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