The challenges posed by climate change cannot be met without also addressing gender issues. Because their lives are more vulnerable even under stable conditions, women face greater risks when climate-related impacts – droughts, floods, hurricanes – disrupt their communities. Conversely, giving women more power over their lives typically results […]
I hope you will consider how the gifts you choose for grandchildren, nieces, and nephews build relationships and generate storytelling, sharing, and yes, even learning.
- Updated for 2017
- Originally posted October 22nd, 2015
Disclosure: Gabrielle Polt Balkan, author of The 50 States is my step-daughter. Other than parental pride per the atlas, and the Amazon Associates links, I received no compensation for any items in this review. All opinions are my own.
I suggest a set of gifts that include: an atlas, a board game, and a puzzle. Classic gifts. Tactile, interactive gifts are perfect for after meals and afternoons during family visits. And if you are clever about it, no one will ever know that these gifts were all frames for promoting legacy storytelling and sharing family history.
The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps!
I would love this book even if it was not written by a kid whom I first took to many of the spots listed on the Arizona page of the Atlas, such as the Copper Queen in Bisbee, where we made her, as a teenager, stay in a room with her twerpy little sister.
This freshly pressed atlas is so much more than a geography book. It is fun and interesting. Just look what honchos in the publishing industry say about it.
“A stylish atlas that evokes the character and diversity of the country, equally suitable for coffee tables or family vacations.” – Publisher’s Weekly
I totally agree with PW; it is a great edition for a Grandma’s coffee table.
Update: 50 Cities is now also available! As is The Book of Bones. Yes, both by Gabe, step-daughter extraordinaire.
The Book of Bones is not geographic, but you can talk about all the places you can find the bones or the animals that have the bones.
I was lucky enough to discover the the Binkele Family booth at the March 2015 Tucson Festival of Books with their Kickstarter-funded, Mensa award-winning game, Trekking the National Parks.
Trekking the National Parks is for ages 12 and up, but I suspect there are some younger folks who can handle the demands of the game. And of course pairing older and younger participants into two person teams allows younger kids to join in the game playing.
Why this puzzle, because it encourages talking about place. You know, the place where Grandma lives, the place where your mother was born, the places we went to on vacation when your mom was a kid. National parks are also a wonderful tool for learning geography. State capitals are okay, but parks and grizzly bear, geysers, and other park- associated animals and wonders provide memorable links for recalling places.
You may order directly from the family business site too.
Travel is a great subject for story-starting, so if you want a game for another age level or travel subject I recommend starting at this post on the Vamo blog that covers 24 travel-themed games.
Plan on spending an evening browsing the jigsaw puzzles you will find on Amazon. For this trio of gifts, you can find a perfect for family fun for all ages with a puzzle.
The items that caught my eye, and interest, when I researched puzzles for this article were not travel-related as much as place- or time-related. What a great backdrop for discussing life on the farm or a particular city.
Are these not the cutest, retro puzzles for talking to a small child about what life was like when you were their age?
You can do travel-themed, complex, Ravensburger, 1000 piece puzzles or simpler Melissa and Doug puzzles, but if you are going with the suggested geography theme for younger kids, I recommend GeoPuzzles. Why?
- They offer varied world and country specific maps.
- There are maps in multiple languages.
- Most importantly, the puzzle pieces are the shape of the country.
There is no better gift than the gift of conversation, unless of course it is an educational and fun gift given with love.
What we are steaming toward, at the end of more than 12 years of continual hot warfare, is not so much cold warfare or even peace, but rather a kind of high idle, with the expectation of constant overseas military involvement, at some level, somewhere.
If you don’t read the book by Bacevich, read Maddow’s review. It is fitting Autumn reading.
One of the things that most impressed me is that the author, Bacevich is both a professor and a veteran. There are not many of these guys who have served their country by serving and by teaching besides Hubby. I am always impressed when I find Profs who are Veterans. Of course this is a relatively new phenomenon beginning after the draft. Before that it was common.
There are individuals far more appropriate to talk about political science and U.S. Foreign Policy than me, but there are not all that many bloggers, women bloggers, who manage to talk about politics in a way that makes this topic seem relevant to women who are more inclined to read and write about topics other than what sort of seems like a male preoccupation. This is the primary reason I write about politics far more often than 98 per cent of bloggers.
I recommend watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC . I just heard about this book on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC program. Rachel was a guest after Andrea talked to Bacevich.
Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow talking to each other on MSNBC and proposing things akin to “we should just change things” and stating facts about the debt ceiling and the constitution makes so damn much sense. While Andrea Mitchell has always been a bit suspect in my book for being a bit too pro-Israel and because of her being married to Alan Greenspan who was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, she is obviously very informed and intelligent. Rachel Maddow is well, amazing, amazingly smart. She studied at Stanford then at Oxford for graduate work via a Rhodes scholarship. PhD, author, excellent anchor whose research behind the topics of the day make for the most informed, shouldn’t miss it, TV show for the last five years, at least that is the way I see it.
I spent the last couple of days working on Done Nesting. I purchase reliable and flexible themes that I can customize without doing any alterations of code. I buy themes to be certain they work and will continue to do so. It isn’t that there aren’t good free themes out there. There are. Free themes are a great way to assess different designers work. I find the securrity considerations to be more thoroughly addressed in the commercial themes. I use themes on my own blogs that I may also use on client site. Should I have a problem, I like to be able to access support that will respond quickly so that I may respond quickly. My clients deserve that.
I decided to install BuddyPress on my Done Nesting site so that I can have blogging challenges, groups, events, and I will be adding group tweeting capabilities soon.
I did a bit of graphic design for a possible logo, banner, and icon to use for an icon set for the site. This may change. Hubby says the flower looks too mean and pointy. I will probably soften the colors a bit too. Let me know what you think of my design work. I love the process of honing something into a viable, aesthetically pleasing construct.
Most of the day was spent on setting up the theme I finally purchased, after wrapping up the research I had done on themes that integrate with the BuddyPress plugin on the WordPress platform.
I decided to go with the Custom Community theme by ThemeKraft. ThemeKraft provides support at the Pro level, over the free, and there is more flexibility in style and color options. This is the first time I have bought a license to for just one theme. I usually go with packages such as the one offered by Elegant Themes in which I have access to all of the themes offered by them, and there are tons! But not all WordPress themes work with BuddyPress.
Intensive research over the last few days added to the preliminary information gathered on community blogging over the last few months. There was one theme I really liked from Theme Loom, but the company was just too small for me to be comfortable relying on it for software for a group site. Maybe if the company owner had been a woman, then I might have been more disposed to accepting the risk/investment ratio.
Theme Forest had some beautiful themes, but they sell derivative work from individuals and small companies under a standardized umbrella of terms, services, and licenses. One use on one site per purchase. I do a handful of sites for friends and small businesses and sometimes I will want to use the same theme for more than one site. Multiple use licenses at Theme Forest start at well over a $1000.00. It is not clear that I could purchase multiples at the single price for every new site without violating the terms. I steer clear of any gray areas when it comes to business law.
There were also some great individual designers and coders who were very clear and almost threatening in their one use theme terms and who sounded like negotiation would be needed and with an individual who cannot be contacted easilly, that can be risky too.
Themekraft had good reviews, a tiered customer support system, a freebie basic version that can be used as a limited, but non-demo version, and a clearly written, logically structured, helpful, detailed website. I took advantage of playing around with that free version, before I made my final decision to purchase the Pro version this afternoon.
I still have to set up the membership side of the site. I hope to have the unofficial or semi-official site launch on the Solstice later this month.
If you are interested in being a beta tester for Done Nesting let me know and I will contact you and get you set up with a login and the level of access you will need… just as soon as I figure all that out!
My husband and I saw the Rum Diary this past weekend. The critics do not like it, but I do. The movie is based on the first and only Hunter S. Thompson novel, written in the early 1960s, though not published until 1998.
The movie offers a thinly veiled autobiographical peek into the early Thompson’s psyche. To any person seeking to understand a bit more about the not yet gonzo journalist while he was still finding his footing as a writer the film will be intriguing. Of course we will never know for sure what aspects of the novel and now film were and were not based on actual experiences of Thompson, but the feel is right at many levels. I have not spent tons of time in Puerto Rico but I spent a month there, and scenes were reminiscent of things I experienced there living on a regular old street in a beach town and on a nearby island and bombing range, Culebra, where I vacationed for a few days while in the area. The bombing range features prominently in the plot although it is never named in the film.
For later born Baby Boomers, of whom I am one, Hunter S. Thompson was an iconic figure as we came of age. And even though the timeline in this novel takes place before some of us were even born, the life and work of Thompson such as Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail 1972 and his regular articles in Rolling Stone during the 1970s framed many of our views on political events and on popular culture.
Late Boomer Johnny Depp (b. June 9, 1963) isn’t alone in his belief in the importance of Hunter S. Thompson as a writer and cultural icon to those of us who polishing our world views at the height of Thompson’s influence. The proto-gonzo, parts of the male anatomy to the wall, journalist in this film rails against the same nemesis that was enemy to counter culture when Late Boomer political psyches were forming and enemy to the 99% today: greedy and heartless capitalists (not all capitalists fit this description) and complacent media that care more for advertisers and bottom lines than the need to report the truth.
This is not a feel good movie. There is no happy ending. There are cock fights. The pace of the plot mirrors the stifling heavy tropical atmosphere. The film is sooooo Thompson with its short term belief and passion and its long term pessimism. See it. Not a great film but a necessary reminder about a life that shaped a generation.