Sunday, September 30, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings

  • Crook :: "I am not a ..."

  • Career :: Education

  • Freckles :: Cute on the nose

  • Scramble :: Way to make eggs

  • Mistake :: A learning opportunity

  • Telephone :: Annoying nuisance at dinnertime

  • Thank you :: Notes - a thing of the past:(

  • Obstruction :: totally blank on this one

  • 24/7 :: 7/11 - who wouldn't want a Slurpee at 2AM?

  • SciFi :: Star Trek, but of course
  • Saturday, September 29, 2007

    25 Comments Day

    Patrick at Patrick's Place has declared that tomorrow - Sunday - is 25 Comments Day. The rules are simple. Visit at least 25 blogs tomorrow and leave comments about a blog entry. Since I'm spending the night camping with a group of 20 girls (that means no sleep for me), I'm going to give this a shot later in the day on Sunday. I think it would be a challenge to leave that many unique comments. If you decide to participate, feel free to leave your first comment here - but wait until tomorrow:)

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Booking Through Thursday - Buy a Friend a Book

    It's still Thursday so I'm not too late on this week's BTT. It's a tough one for me - you'll see why.

    Buy a Friend a Book Week is October 1-7 (as well as the first weeks of January, April, and July). During this week, you’re encouraged to buy a friend a book for no good reason. Not for their birthday, not because it’s a holiday, not to cheer them up–just because it’s a book.

    What book would you choose to give to a friend and why?

    It would really depend on the friend because I've found that buying books for people is like trying to buy clothes. It isn't always the right fit, color, or doesn't suit their taste. I tend to take the easy way out and give gift cards so people can choose the exact right book for them. Actually, I love book shopping so much that gift cards are one of my favorite presents. Maybe I just think everyone else feels the same way.

    I do have some books I tend to give in certain situations. For example, I almost always give new parents a copy of Goodnight Moon and Goodnight Gorilla (in board book, of course) because they were family favorites. I also tend to give kindergartners and first graders a few books from a variety of series like Junie B. Jones or Magic Tree House.

    For adults, I have given my mother-in-law biographies because I know she likes them. I've also given my best friend many mystery novels - normally hand-me-downs - because we have the same taste. She sends me her favorite reads also.

    I guess I don't have one adult book I give to everyone. This is a bit of a cop-out, but I really am back to the good ol' gift card.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    City of Bones by Michael Connelly

    This is the third book for the Book Awards Challenge and won the Anthony Award. It is basically the story of a detective in the LAPD, Harry Bosch, who is investigating a 20 year old murder case based on the discovery of the bones of a twelve year old boy buried in a hillside. There is a subplot involving a romance with a female rookie cop.

    Strengths of City of Bones: I truly enjoyed the mystery element of this book. There were some great plot twists which did keep me guessing throughout the book. Every time I thought I knew who the killer was, there would be something clearing that person and implicating another. I also liked that these clues didn't come out of midair, but they were things that had been mentioned, discussed, or dismissed at an earlier time in the story. I like Bosch's character. Connelly was able to give him some complexity that is not always prevalent in this genre. Many times the detectives are stereotypes, but I didn't feel that way about this one. It was a very nuanced character, involved in a troubling case, who is trying to sort things out along the way. I quite liked the ending. Bosch's decision didn't shock me. I thought it was perfectly in keeping with the character as he was written.

    Weakness of City of Bones: I liked the book quite a lot, but I did have some problems with the romantic subplot. SPOILER ALERT: SKIP THIS REST OF THE PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW A MAJOR PLOT POINT. I found the shooting death of Julia, the female rookie and Bosch's new girlfriend, to be very contrived. It was not clearly explained in the story, and the reader has to assume that she shot herself. There is an unresolved scene with a Police psychiatrist who questions the death but nothing more happens with it. I felt like this subplot was unresolved, and it distracted me from the main story.

    Overall, City of Bones is a fun read. I read it quite quickly and enjoyed it. I'd be curious to hear what anyone else thought. Let me know.

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Unconscious Mutterings

    1. Singles :: Kraft (You know - the sticky cheese in the plastic wrappers - is it really cheese?)

    2. Blaze :: of Glory (It's a holdover from American Idol last season.)

    3. Sandwich :: PB and J (I have the only kid in America who hates them!)

    4. Outside :: Choices (A phrase left over from preschool days)

    5. Gooey :: Sticky

    6. Industry :: "The" as in movies and TV (Can you tell I live in L.A.?)

    7. Exclusive :: I can't really think of anything - I'm stuck!

    8. Warranty :: Extended

    9. Magical :: Mystery Tour (It's a Beatles kind of day)

    10. Heels :: High (They make my feet hurt - I'm not too good with "girl" shoes.)

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    Saturday's Six - Carnivals

    Here is Saturday's Six. It's raining here and has been on and off all day so I feel sorry for anyone at a carnival or the county fair today. It did mean soccer was canceled (YES!) so I guess there is some good out of the rain. Anyway, here are my answers:

    1. What is your favorite carnival ride?

    I actually don't like many carnival rides. My husband had an uncle who worked the carnival circuit, and he told my husband stories about how awfully maintained the rides were. I think I'm getting more cautious in my old age.

    2. What is the biggest prize you ever won at a carnival or fair?

    My husband won my a stuffed octopus in the arcade at Excalibur in Las Vegas. He got it on the second try, and we've never won anything since.

    3. What is the most you ever spent at a single carnival game?

    Maybe $10 - and that was probably with my daughter, and I had a weak moment and gave in.

    4. Take the quiz: What carnival ride are you?

    You Are a Haunted House

    You are a deeply complicated and sometimes deeply disturbed person.
    You can't help but be attracted to the dark side of life - even when it's pretty gruesome.
    In relationships, you are honest and real. So real that it's definitely a little scary.
    You don't fake it or play along just to get along. And people either respect this... or deeply resent it

    Your life is thoughtful, deep, and even philosophical at times.
    You see the world as it is. You don't sugar coat anything.
    Facing and fighting your fears is important to you. You believe that too much of life is whitewashed.
    You're not too morbid... you just believe that you can't enjoy life without exorcising a few demons first!

    At your best, you are brave, intense, and fearless.
    Not only do you face the abyss head on - you challenge your friends to do the same.
    At your worst, you are depressed and morose.
    If you're not careful, your thoughts take over your mind... and they aren't pretty!
    What Carnival Ride Are You?

    This doesn't at all reflect me - at least I don't think so. Maybe I've been kidding myself :)

    5. If you went to a typical carnival and realized you weren’t in the mood to ride the rides, what would you be more likely to want to do to amuse yourself?

    I actually would rather go to the carnival, buy a treat, and watch the people go by. People watching is great fun at these kid of things. I especially enjoyed it at our local Renaissance Faire.

    6. What job would you least like to have at a carnival or fair?

    I think most of the jobs are awful. I wouldn't want to have to clean up the grounds after everyone has been a slob all day. I also think I'd hate having to work in the parking lot - what's the point of that. It might be fun to run a ride or attraction, though.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

    This is my 2nd book for the Reading Awards Challenge. It was also highly recommended by a friend and coworker, who has read it at least four times. I was even able to borrow her treasured copy. That's special.

    The story is told by the four daughters of the Price family and their mother and details their life in the Congo as missionaries. It spans from the time the daughters are young until the oldest turns fifty. It is also told in alternate voices. So the chapters are told by each woman using her point of view.

    Strengths of The Poisonwood Bible:
    There are many strengths in this book. The writing is exquisite - detailed and nuanced. The author also does an excellent job of creating five very different voices throughout the book. Each character's sections are written differently - not just in vocabulary, but the author creates separate tones and images for each one. I also loved the interchange between the chapters where I got the whole story but told through many different voices. Kingsolver also did a fabulous job of writing the father's character who is truly unlikable yet making him seem somewhat more likable through Leah's eyes, at one point in the story. I was also very taken with the chapters told by Ruth May, the youngest daughter. Kingsolver truly communicated the thoughts and feeling of a young girl. Some of Rachel's chapters were laugh out loud funny with her malapropisms. My favorite one was her condemnation of her first husband's cheating ways which didn't coincide with her view of Christian marriage, and it's "monotony." Great stuff!

    I also adored the setting of the novel. The details about the physical life in the Congo as well as its political life were fascinating. There is even a bibliography at the end which I found quite fascinating in a fiction book.

    As you can probably tell, I really loved the book so this review is coming off as a pure rave. It's hard to find weaknesses in this one, but I'll try for the sake of balance.

    Weaknesses of The Poisonwood Bible: SPOILER ALERT - SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK. The only weakness in the book for me was an entirely personal one. I don't deal well when young girls die in books, and I was quite shaken (almost to tears) when Ruth May died. I identified with the mother and her grief. Even though I'm calling this a weakness, it was one of the most well-written grief sequences I've ever read. Her silent purposeful actions as she washed her daughter's body were exquisite.

    Overall, I loved this book. It was epic and personal at the same time. It was also extremely well-written. I'd highly recommend this one! If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Booking Through Thursday - A Really Good Day

    Here's this week's Booking Through Thursday question. This one is actually a bit more difficult for me than last week, but here it goes:

    Imagine that everything is going just swimmingly. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. You’re practically bouncing from health and have money in your pocket. The kids are playing and laughing, the puppy is chewing in the cutest possible manner on an officially-sanctioned chew toy, and in between moments of laughter for pure joy, you pick up a book to read . . .

    What is it?

    Wow ... this sounds like a lovely day. I'm finding this question much harder than last week's. Those answers really jumped out at me right away. I really do love books so I guess I would be reading just about anything. The key here is probably having money in my pocket. I'd be heading to the bookstore to browse the new release section. Maybe I'd luck into a new book in a series by one of my favorite writers, or I'd browse the mystery section and look for the Book Sense recommendations. (I really do love my independent book store - there's a new one in walking distance - HURRAY!) I don't think I can come up with the name of one book because it would be an adventure to discover something new I haven't read or thought about reading.

    The last time I was able to do this I bought The Freedom Writers Diary (a bit of a let down as you all know by now) and The Devil Wears Prada (which I quite liked.) Obviously, I could go to the library, but the thrill of the really good day would be to buy something new. That would actually make a lovely day perfect.

    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Reading Habits Meme

    I found this meme at Bibliotica, and the first five readers were tagged. I'm not sure if I was one of the first five, but I decided to play along. So here it is:

    My Reading

    I read all the time and just about anything. I tend to prefer fiction to nonfiction, and I have a special fondness for mystery series books. I will try just about any book - I don't always finish everything, but I'll, at least, try. Lately, I've gotten hooked on blogging challenges which have expanded my reading habits. I'm currently in three challenges and enjoying them all for difference reasons. I also, recently, signed up with Bookmooch so check me out. I'm BookGal there as well.

    Total Number of Books Owned

    I really don't know. It's actually surprisingly few books at home, maybe two shelves of favorites. Otherwise, I give books away or donate them to my local library. Bookmooch has been a great addition.

    Last Book Bought

    I just bought Life of Pi for the Reading Awards Challenge. I've also just mooched three more books on my Awards Challenge list.

    Last Book Read
    I’m currently reading The Poisonwood Bible and just finished The Freedom Writers Diary and Middlesex. I've reviewed the last two in recent blog entries.

    Five Meaningful Books

    I actually blogged about this earlier when I was thinking about joining the All About Me Challenge. The link is here.

    I am tagging:

    I don't want to tag anyone specifically, but if you do join in, leave me a comment and a link. I promise to visit and see what you wrote.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Unconscious Mutterings

    1. Rita :: Rudner (I've never seen her but heard she's very funny in her Vegas Show)

    2. Comedy :: of Errors

    3. Polar :: Bear

    4. Idiots :: Dorks (straight from the mouth of Surfergirl!)

    5. Perception :: Depth (dealing with a student who doesn't have any)

    6. Infected :: Toe (that really hurts!)

    7. Fake :: Eyelashes (had a friend who spent hours on her make up and when she passed away someone actually bought her fake eyelash collection YUCK!)

    8. Relating :: Reunite (again a Surfergirl contribution)

    9. Distraction :: TV

    10. Gamble :: House (a great landmark in the Pasadena, CA area)

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Saturday's Six - Restaurants

    1. As a general rule, how much of a tip do you leave on a normal night of satisfactory service at a restaurant?

    I tend to leave 20%. I feel sorry for most servers, who I think have a completely difficult and demanding job. Actually, I have added to other people's tips if I feel they are too low. I've become very good at being the last person away from the table, if I need to be.

    2. What happens when the service and/or the food is completely unacceptable: how much of an impact does that have on your tip?

    I will probably drop the tip to 10%. I do have a friend, who at times, tips in quarters. He puts the quarters, in a stack, on the table at the start of the meal. He tells the server that this is there tip. He will take quarters off the pile if the service is slow or mistakes are made. That's way too severe for me.

    3. What was the last food you picked up from a restaurant and ate at home?

    If fast food counts, it was probably Jack in the Box after a late night. If it's a "real" restaurant, I think we ordered Chinese a few weeks ago.

    4. Take the quiz: What’s your pizza personality?

    Meatball Pizza

    Unusual and uncompromising.
    You're usually the first to discover a new trend.
    You appreciate a good meal and good company.
    You're an interesting blend of traditional and modern.

    This is horribly ironic because I don't eat red meat and have never had a meatball pizza in my life.

    5. What was the last dish you tried to cook yourself based on a dish you sampled at a restaurant?

    I don't know if cookies count by I've tried to duplicate the chocolate chip cookies from Mrs. Fields.

    6. How close to the original recipe did yours get?

    I've been told the cookies are very good and quite close to the original. The recipe is a pain in the neck, with a lot of ingredients including hand grated chocolate. I only try this once a year.

    2nds Challenge

    I can't resist a good challenge so here's another one I'm doing. It's the 2nds Challenge hosted by Thoughts of Joy. I've read a number of books by authors and wonder how I'd like a second book by them, so I thought I really wanted to give this one a try.

    Here's my list:

    Saturday by Ian McEwan

    This has been on my TBR list for awhile so I thought I'd put it in a challenge to see if that would motivate me to read it.

    The Magician's Assistant
    The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

    I loved Bel Canto and found this one in a bookstore recently. I hope I like it just as much.

    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

    I really enjoyed The Kite Runner when I read it for a One Book One City event. I've read some very good things about this one so I thought I'd try it.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Booking Through Thursday - A Really Bad Day

    Here's this week's Booking Through Thursday. I want to add the first week of school to the worst-case list.

    Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.

    What do you read?

    (Any bets on how quickly somebody says the Bible or some other religious text? A good choice, to be sure, but to be honest, I was thinking more along the lines of fiction…. Unless I laid it on a little strong in the string of catastrophes? Maybe I should have just stuck to catching a cold on a rainy day….)

    I can't say I'd read the Bible or anything else of any substance. On a really bad day, I need comfort reading just like some people need comfort food. You know how comfort food is not always the best for you, has too many calories, but feels you up and makes everything feel better. That's the kind of book I'd choose to read. So, I guess I need to be specific. If there were a new book by Janet Evanovich, Marcia Muller, or Sue Grafton, I'd probably be right at the bookstore to pick it up. If there wasn't anything new by one of them, I'd probably reread a "Cat Who" mystery, or I might even regress and read a Nancy Drew book. I guess the short answer would be a fluffy mystery, and it wouldn't matter if I had read it before.

    I'm very curious what other people would read. Great question this week.

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers

    This is the second of three books I'm reading for the Books to Movie Challenge. I chose this one because I live in Southern California and remember following the news stories on this group of young people. I'm also a teacher (elementary now but have taught middle and high school during my career) and wondered how Ms. Gruwell accomplished all the things she did with her students. Also, my husband has many ties in the Long Beach community where the book and movie are set.

    The Book:

    I read the book before I watched the movie. The book is a series of unrelated diary entries from the 150 students who came to call themselves Freedom Writers. The entries represent their four years of high school and are prefaced each semester by a diary entry from Ms. Gruwell. To protect the students' privacy, the entries are numbered and no names are attached to them.

    I found the format of the book quite difficult. I kept getting pieces of information about a student but never felt like I got the whole picture. There were times when I wanted to know more about a student or wondered how a situation had resolved itself, but the next diary entry was unrelated. The entries were arranged chronologically so it was clear what the students were doing in class and how that was affecting their writing. This, unfortunately, gave some of the entries the feel of a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" school essay. When they retold events, like meeting Holocaust survivors or visiting the Museum of Tolerance, I wasn't always drawn into their emotions. Some of the entries felt a little too "schooly." I realize that the goal was to give everyone a voice, but I do wonder if the quality of the book was sacrificed. It might have been a better book if it told a few students' stories well.

    I also had difficulties with Ms. Gruwell's sections of the book. Being a teacher, I was wondering about her methodology and how the writing was produced and edited. How authentic were the voices, and how edited were the entries? She didn't provide much insight into the teaching process, as her entries tended to secure the chronological timeline.

    The Movie:

    The movie was a whole different matter. I absolutely HATED it! The movie didn't know if it wanted to tell the story of a teacher fighting the system, or the story of a number of young people, as seen through their diary entries. I normally like Hilary Swank, but she was wasted in this movie. She seemed to have two expressions - overly earnest or overly chipper. Patrick Dempsey, of Grey's Anatomy, was her husband. I didn't really care about him or their relationship. (This part was totally added to the movie and isn't in the book.) The book's major strength for me was the focus on the students and their stories. The movie diluted this focus, which was not a good choice.

    My Verdict:

    Overall, do I admire Ms. Gruwell for her work with these students? I'm not sure. She took one group of 150 students and stayed for four years. She left the high school when they did, instead of taking on a new batch of students. I've read a number of statistics about teachers leaving the profession in the first five years. While she remained teaching in higher ed, I wonder if her success could have been repeated.

    I don't think I can recommend either the movie or the book. Both are unsatisfying for different reasons. The movie is too unfocused, and the book leaves out too much to be a satisfying read. Was the book better than the movie? Slightly - because I liked the book's focus more than the movies. But that's not saying much.

    As always, I'm open to hearing what other people thought of either the book or the movie.

    Sunday, September 9, 2007

    Unconscious Mutterings

    1. Dork :: nerd (These put downs are coming back in style.)

    2. Refurbished :: Refrigerator (I've never bought one this way but I think it's possible.)

    3. Basket :: A tisket a tasket (and it's green and yellow)

    4. Mousse :: Chocolate

    5. Studio :: Art

    6. 8 ball :: Magic (remember those from when you were a kid - they're back!)

    7. Masking tape :: A Painter's best friend

    8. Love :: My husband (sappy, but true)

    9. Wilder :: Laura Ingalls (I loved those books as a kid!)

    10. Lindsey :: Wagner (I'm not sure about the new version of The Bionic Woman - I liked the older campy one!)

    Saturday, September 8, 2007

    Saturday's Six - Grammar

    1. How different is your speech pattern among your friends versus a stranger you’d meet on the street?

    I've never really thought about it. I think I tend to speak the same to strangers as I do to my friends. I'm sure there are "lingo" words that I use with friends that I wouldn't use with strangers because they are unique to the background I have with people I know well. I'd hope I speak politely to everyone. I guess I'll be much more away of how I speak to people.

    2. How often do you get asked where you’re from based on your accent?

    I'm almost never asked because I was born and raised in California and still live in California so I guess I sound like everyone else. The last time I was asked where I was from from was in New York a number of years ago. Everyone I encountered didn't bother to ask they just knew I was from California so I guess I do have some type of accent or speech pattern. (I really want to add dude here!)

    3. What word or phrase said by newscasters is your biggest pet peeve?

    I hate how "slangy" the news has become. I can't think of an example right now because I tend to read my news since I find most newscasts very hard to listen to. I do feel the newscasters have become much too informal in their use of language.

    4. Take the quiz: How good at grammar are you?

    You Scored an A

    You got 10/10 questions correct.

    It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
    If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
    As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
    And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.
    The It's Its There Their They're Quiz

    5. How often do you look up a word in a dictionary, either online or print?

    I tend to look up words quite frequently. Since I teach first grade, I see so many words so dramatically misspelled that I start to doubt myself when I'm writing or editing student work and have to use a dictionary to confirm how things are spelled. My students think it is hysterical that I can't always spell simple words. I hope it teaches them, by example, that it's okay to look up words and that nobody can spell anything. Maybe I'm just kidding myself. I do use spell check whenever I can, even if I think I got it all right, but it doesn't catch everything. You really do need to read things through as well.

    6. How many books or guides on grammar do you currently own?

    I think I have one very dusty grammar guide on a shelf somewhere. I don't tend to use them. I rely on my husband, who has a very good sense of grammar, and I also tend to go with what looks right to me. Now I do have books of very basic grammar in my classroom all the time. Luckily, I don't tend to need these - I do remember how to start and stop a sentence.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    This is my first book in the Reading Awards Challenge and is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Just a note at the start of this review, this book is definitely NOT for everyone since the main character is a hermaphrodite. I'm not giving away anything because the main character is also the narrator and reveals this in the first paragraph of the book. There have been discussions on this blog
    about reading award winning books because they win awards. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I do like to challenge myself to read books that are outside my normal comfort zone. That's why I joined the Book Awards Challenge.

    Strengths of Middlesex: I truly enjoyed the epic sweep of the novel. The main character, Cal or Callie, relates the story of his immigrant family for two generations. I was very enthralled with the grandparents' story and their recreation of themselves in America. It was interesting to think about their version of the "American Dream." I thought Eugenides did an excellent job with his main character. The point of view is very clear in the story, and I found myself drawn into Cal's internal struggle as he came to terms with his identity.

    Weaknesses of Middlesex: I did not like the abruptness of the ending. The story is told in flashback with some hints to Cal's current life. After spending so much time with his thoughts and family background, I wanted to know a bit more about his current life. I need to preface this part of the review by saying I am by no means prudish and quite enjoy well-written sexual scenes; however, I found some of the descriptions of Cal's life in San Francisco to be a bit over the top. I understood the author's point, but felt the writing could have been more subtle and achieve the same goal.

    Overall, I have mixed feelings about the book. It is not for everyone, and I don't think I would ever read it again. Would I read another book about the same character? Probably not. I'm curious to hear other people's reactions to this book. Let me know what you thought.

    Thursday, September 6, 2007

    Booking Through Thursday - Goldilocks

    Here's today's BTT. Today was the first day of school so my answers, hopefully, will make sense when you remember that fact.

    Okay, so the other day, a friend was commenting on my monthly reading list and asked when I found the time to read. In the ensuing discussion, she described herself as a “goldilocks” when it comes to reading–she needs to have everything juuuuuust right to be able to focus. This caught my attention because, first, I thought that was a charming way of describing the condition, but, two, while we’ve talked about our reading habits, this is an interesting wrinkle. I’d never really thought about it that way.

    So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

    No, I am definitely not a Goldilocks reader. I love the analogy of everything needed to be just right. In my job, you have to be able to listen to many people at once while reading a teacher's manual and listening to a child read. You also have to watch for frantic bathroom needs etc. etc. I can read just about anywhere - noisy waiting rooms, in bars with loud TVs blaring, during a coffee house concert.

    Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

    The light doesn't have to be just right, but it does need to be fairly bright - my eyes aren't getting any younger. Noise is never an issue for me. It can be very loud and I'll still be fine. I do have a favorite reading chair when I'm at home but it isn't necessary. I can read sitting cross-legged on the hard ground.

    Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?

    I'm happy to read anywhere, anytime. I can read for one minute or hours. I'll use whatever time I have.

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    Monday, September 3, 2007

    Socks - Reviewed by SurferGirl

    Socks is a very good book.

    It all starts when two kids are doing a kitten sale for 20 cents and the girl of those two people that were selling the kittens loved this cat named Socks. She didn't want anyone to buy him so she hid him behind her back and in the mailbox. And then a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Bricker saw Socks in the mailbox, and they wanted to buy him. They adopted him for 50 cents!

    Socks is in paradise. He gets scratched and rubbed by Mrs. Bricker, but then one day, Mrs. Bricker's lap starts to shrink (P.S. That's what Socks thinks). The next day, they came home holding a bundle in a blanket, and Socks saw it was a baby. In the next few weeks, the baby was getting all of the attention and not Socks. One day a sitter came. Her name was Mrs. Risely. She loved Socks, and the baby, Charles William, not so much. The next morning Socks was mad that Mrs. Risely was gone.

    The next week, Charles William's cousin, uncle, and aunt came to visit. The aunt said that Socks was looking a little fat, and so Mrs. Bricker put him on a diet. That meant four slices of kidney not eight.

    Two weeks later, Charles William's Nana came to visit. She hated Socks. So Socks began to think that everything he did was wrong to Nana. Then one day Socks began to get so mad at Nana and Mrs. Bricker that he bit Mrs. Bricker's ankle. About five minutes after that, he got thrown out of the house into the backyard. A couple of hours later, when it was pouring, a mean cat from next door named Old Taylor attacked Socks. After the attack, Socks was bitten up, wet, cold, and scratched. So Mr. and Mrs. Bricker let Socks in the house so they can dry him off. And then they decided he could live in the house again.

    After that, Charles William and Socks became best friends! One day Charles William was taking his afternoon nap. Socks was annoyed that Charles William had dropped his bottle out of his crib and it made a big splatter noise. Charles William pushed his crib to block his door. Right before it shut all the way, Socks came in. They were throwing cotton at each other and playing with brown bear together. Mrs. Bricker had to use a stepladder to get into the room to stop that.

    I thought it was funny, loving, a little mean and I think other kids would really like it. My favorite part was when Charles William and Socks were throwing cotton at each other because it was funny.

    Sunday, September 2, 2007

    Unconscious Mutterings

    1. Scrabble :: fun game to play with SurferGirl

    2. NyQuil :: a good night's sleep

    3. Roadtrip :: Harry Potter (we listened to book one and most of two on our last one)

    4. Idiot :: Village

    5. Bandages :: Star Wars (the only ones allowed in our house)

    6. Series :: Nancy Drew (my favorite book series growing up)

    7. Summer :: ending (school starts soon)

    8. Prompt :: writing (I use them with my students all the time)

    9. September :: hot (always at the start of school)

    10. Chicken :: nice, chewy, and greasy (from SurferGirl)

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Saturday's Six - Power of Ten

    1. Twelve percent of Americans say they have never had someone of a different race in their home. Have you had someone of a different race in your home? Have you been in the home of someone of a different race?

    Absolutely, I have had people of many ethnicities in my home. I have also been in their homes. It would never occur to me to issue, or accept, invitations based on race.

    2. When asked if they think gay people are actually born gay (as opposed to “choosing” to be gay, 51% say that homosexuality is something one is born with. Do you agree?

    I do not want to speak for anyone else, or for anyone else's experiences, so I really don't know the answer to this one. I have some friends who have told me that they knew from very early that they were attracted to the same sex, and others who were equally attracted to both sexes and made a choice to stick with one person because they had found their soul mate. So I do think there is a genetic component.

    3. Given our society’s obsession with the “perfect body,” the number might be expected to be higher, but 33% of Americans say they’d leave their partner if he or she gained 100 pounds. Would you?

    No, I would not. I love my husband. The only thing I would do is encourage him to see a doctor to make sure his health was not at risk.

    4. This question was originally asked only of women, and 54% said they’d prefer to watch the Super Bowl over the Academy Awards. Which would you pick and why?

    Absolutely the Academy Awards, but not for the awards themselves. The best part is watching the awful dresses many actresses select. I have never liked football, but if it were the Stanley Cup Finals - that's different story. I would find a sports bar to watch the Cup, if I couldn't get it on my cable system. That wouldn't happen with the Academy Awards.

    5. We hear a lot these days about protecting the institution of marriage. Oddly enough, that phrase is generally used in efforts to prevent people who love each other and want a committed relationship from actually getting married. Fifty percent of Americans say that it would be a good idea to require couples eligible for marriage to undergo marriage counseling before they can walk down the aisle. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

    My husband and I were required to attend a day of counseling before getting married, and it was a joke. It was a group setting, and the couple presenting the information were very uncomfortable. The husband took the lead, and they had a great deal of trouble with the sexual part of the presentation. If someone could do it well, it would be a good thing. I think mandating marriage counseling would put a whole lot of bad programs out there that would do more harm than good.

    6. A popular potato chip’s ad slogan says, “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” But 39% of Americans claim that they can stop at just one chip. Are you one of them?

    If it's a chip I like, then no I can't stop. But there are some chips I don't like, like Fritos, so one is definitely enough.