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happy Sunday!

April 26th, 2015

Always tri

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

(Just a shout-out for my girl Judy Blume.)

letter from my friend/note to a friend

April 16th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Going through old letters and cards — am unable to part with many of them because that’s just how it is around here. Found the best letter from my then-friend, who I am happy to report is also my now-friend, i just had a nice long talk w/ her the other night, well. We’ve been friends for many, many years. Circa 1987, she xeroxed an interesting essay that ran in the New York Times, about a woman who had to go through her aunt’s papers, after she passed. (Only her aunt wasn’t really her aunt, she was her mom’s friend… and she saved everything.) (Sorta like yours truly.) She xeroxed different sections of the article, so it didn’t cut off the edges.

“Hope you can put this together enough to read it,” she wrote. “The last line is, ‘I put it down in ink, all of it.’”

(love.) (love, love, love. and I wish people still wrote letters, sent clippings, poured their hearts out.) (do they? yes or no, you decide.)

also, RIP, dear Tami, 4/6/1964-3/25/2015

Book Review: The Brothers Grimm

April 12th, 2015


(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Sunday Book Review
On My Nightstand

“Grimms’ Fairy Tales,” illustrated by Fritz Kredel

I picked up this copy from the free shelf because I liked the cover (red, cloth, not battered) and I’m always on the lookout for something my students might like. They love old books and anything they consider “primitive.” I did a lesson this week on stamp collecting, with the third graders, and had to dial it way back when I realized how few of them knew what postmarks were. The stamps were from “the olden days” (circa 1980), and once they realized a few of the stamps were dated from the ’40s and ’50s, they were in awe. Old books, coins and stamps are all treasures to them.

So the Grimm collection is a find — pristine condition — but they’re not getting their hands on it, sorry, kiddos. I’ll take it in for them to look at, but I’ll keep it as part of my permanent collection. The translations were done by Mrs. E.V. Lucas, Lucy Crane & Marian Edwards. Fritz Kredel’s illustrations are cool — simple, with some splashes of color. It was published in MCMXLV (for those of you who aren’t up on your Roman numerals, that’s 1945) (according to Google, anyway).

Those Grimms… they were kooky, eh? Here are openings from a few of the stories:

“Fundevogel”
“There was once a forester who went into the woods to hunt, and he heard a cry like that of a little child. He followed the sound and at last came to a big tree where a tiny child was sitting high up on one of the top branches. The mother had gone to sleep under the tree, and a bird of prey, seeing the child on her lap, had flown down and carried it off in its beak to the top of the tree.
The forester climbed the tree and brought down the child, thinking to himself, ‘I will take it home, and bring it up with my own little Lina.”

“Jorinda and Joringel”
“There was once an old castle in the middle of a vast thick wood. In it there lived an old woman quite alone, and she was a witch. By day she made herself into a cat or a screech owl, but regularly at night she became a human being again. In this way she was able to decoy wild beasts and birds, which she would kill and boil or roast.”

“Cinderella”
“The wife of a rich man fell ill, and when she felt that she was nearing her end she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, ‘Dear child, continue devout and good. Then God will always help you, and I will look down upon you from heaven and watch over you.’
Thereupon she closed her eyes and breathed her last.”

“The Wren and the Bear”
“Once upon a time a bear and a wolf were taking a walk in a wood. It was summer, and the bear heard a bird singing most beautifully. He said, ‘Brother Wolf, what kind of bird is that singing so beautifully?”

– 30 –
(which means: The End o Fin)

Buddha

April 9th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

happy April, happy spring, happy, happy (almost) everything

April 4th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Doesn’t Steve take pretty pictures?

My baby is a teenager now. My other teenager came to school with me and volunteered, ohmyGod the babies love her. Love. One of the kinders flung herself, as kinders are wont to do, into Wacky Girl’s arms.

I love you! (hugs one of the other aides, then me, then the other aide again.) I love you! And I love you! I love everyone!

Runs down the hall. Runs into us later, loves on Wacky Girl some more.

She is my friend, she tells two of the other littles. Runs down the hall, yells, Bye, friend!

#bestthingsinlife #free

ps #missingmydadbutsmilinganyway

an all-new book review: “The Bump Book of Baby Lists,” “The Bump Pregnancy Planner,” “Knit Wit: 30 Easy & Hip Projects,” “Tell Me What to Dream About” and “Careers: The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job for You”

March 16th, 2015

What’s On My Nightstand, the March Edition

Ha! Leading off with the baby books is funny, funny, funny, because I am not pregnant (thank you, Jesus) (and science) and I am certainly not knitting any baby booties. (Both of the baby books are cute, by the way, and would be great baby shower/new mom gifts. The knitting book would be a sweet gift, too, for a new mom or anyone who’s wanting to get crafty.)

The review books have been arriving and I need to start keeping track, y’all. So here we go.

“Tell Me What to Dream About,” by Giselle Potter (“The Boy Who Loved Words,” “Kate and the Beanstalk”) is a whimsical new picture book about two sisters, and the littlest one just cannot fall asleep. But she doesn’t like any of the dreams her big sister comes up with. (Ages 3-7, Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015, $17.99, 40 pages.)

Amy R. Singer (Knitty.com) put together 30 pretty cool projects that even beginning knitters (such as moi) can tackle in “Knit Wit” (Harper Resource/Harper Collins, 2004, 127 pages). Wait. Is there some way to describe a knitter who is “almost” a beginning knitter? Because that would be me. I have fun with it, anyway, and over the years have taught tons of students at various schools how to knit. Seriously. Not exaggerating. Supplies, donated by the lovely ladies and customers of the Naked Sheep Knit Shop helped us on our way.

And, as is so often the case when you teach, they were showing me up within a matter of minutes. We knitted on chopsticks, donated needles, our fingers — astounding work. Beautiful work. I got them started, but I cannot take credit. It was them. One of my best, happiest memories from that time were the teenage boys who wanted me to teach them to knit.

“My granny won’t teach me.” (lol.) Followed by… “It’s a craze around here!” I did what I could and sent them on their way.

So imagine my delight once I finally learned how to purl (thank you, Ms. Singer!). That little “missing link,” so to speak, has not stopped me from knitting the ugliest scarves you’ve ever seen in your life, though. I’ve been doing that for years now.

Going into it, I make sure to tell my students exactly what I’m capable of: “I knit really, really ugly scarves,” are my exact words. So, hello, they’re not expecting much. But you know what I’m wicked good at? Casting on and teaching how to cast on. Seriously. Once you have that, you’re gold.

Steve bought me this book several years back, and I tucked it into my knitting basket so’s I’d look like I knew what I was doing. The other day I finally opened it up and lo and behold — it props itself up! Hands free! Next thing you know, I’m knitting one, purling two, like a hipster fiend.

It may be awhile before I make a pixie hat, though, or a birdless boa.

I’m also reading an interesting book called “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World” (Penguin Press, 2015, $26.95, 276 pages). It’s a new release by Leigh Ann Henion.

Steve and I are both reading “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War,” by Lynsey Addario (Penguin Press). Intense book, beautifully photographed and well-written.

And an intriguing little how-to book, “Careers: The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job for You” (how did they know?) also arrived. (DK US/Penguin Random House, 2015, $19.99, 320 pages.) Love this one — I’m taking it to school tomorrow and sharing with the 5th grade teachers, who are working on a college unit with the students. Most any career you can think of (teacher!, product designer, social worker, vet, lawyer, makeup artist, etc.) are all listed, along with pertinent details:

* How much $$$ you can make
* How much schooling/training is required
* What the job entails
* Skills guide
* Related careers

The format is easy to use, and the book is woven together well. I would recommend this one for school and public libraries, teachers, parents, and of course college counselors.

All good reading. See you soon…

wm

Happy birthday, blog.

February 25th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Yeah, you’re neglected, dear blog. Your 10th birthday was Valentine’s Day, and did I even remember? Nope.

Well, it’s still February, so happy (belated) birthday, baby. I promise I’ll start writing again, soon.

xo

wm

Sunday book review, movie round-up & anything else i can throw in here. Happy 2015!

January 11th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.”

– Rumi

“Bottom line is we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect,” film director Richard Linklater, accepting his Golden Globe award for directing, “I want to dedicate this to parents that are evolving everywhere and families that are just passing through this world and doing their best.”

I’ll see how many categories I can hit here… Ready? Ready-steady-go!

* Pacific Ocean: It’s beautiful. It makes me happy, i love my negative ions i get from the ocean, and the wildlife is so fun to watch. The sea lions in that picture are making what’s called a “raft.” They all hold onto each other and float around. Hippies :)

* Book review? Here’s what on my nightstand (and on the Kindle): Re-read “Wild,” re-reading “Torch,” re-reading Carol Shields magnum opus, “Unless,” reading “Quiet” and learning all kinds of stuff about introverts, extroverts, high reactives and the modern age, just finishing Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” genius, and… that’s all I can think of.

* Recipes:

Oven-Fried Spuds (excellent, best potato recipe ever)
Soup! (Steve’s recipe. This one clears up your head, fast)

1 onion, sliced thin
1 bulb garlic
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
6 cups water

Saute onion and garlic (I like whole cloves, but you can chop or press) on low until soft. Add bouillon cubes and squish. Add water and bring to boil. Can be garnished with fresh slices of jalapeno for an extra sinus kick. Wasabi would be good, too.

Reduce water and bouillon by half to thicken.

* Work… is going well. Super well. I love working at a school (computer lab again this year), I’m with the best staff and boss in the universe (no I’m not saying that because they might read this — they really are gifted, funny, smart, wonderful with the students and everything else I was hoping for) and I love that my students are willing to work on my Spanish with me. #yohabloespanolmasomenos

* My own kids… are great. Whoever said, “Eh, you think that when they’re little they really need you, but when they’re teenagers? That’s when they really need you,” that person was so smart. (Seriously, probably 20 people said that to me when the kids were toddlers, and I thought they were joking.)

* Nekkid Neighborsremember them?

* Sex? Not at work, people, keep that in mind, always. Or with the Nekkid Neighbors. Just a bad idea, aight? Lol. We’ve been watching Californication on Netflix, and swear to God, every time I watch it, I feel like I’ve been in an orgy, and it was kind of great, but equally horrible. Yeah.

* Speaking of pop culturemovies. We saw “Wild,” loved it, “Nebraska,” also great, “Boyhood,” one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously.

* Holidays: How can 2015 be a real year? It’s so space-age sounding.

* And in the category of Pets, Stupid… Our sweet, loving, funny Wacky Cat 2 passed away last month. I keep looking for him, thinking I see him, missing him. It just sucks.

* Houses & Homes: We’re cleaning & rearranging & opposite-of-hoarding like mad right now because we’re moving again.

In five years.

But, as one of my 80-something-year-old neighbors told me after New Year’s, “Every year, I don’t know what it is. The days go slower and the years go faster.” Then he gave me a big smile, I smiled back, and he pedaled off on his bike. I know just what he means.

All for now, xo,

wm

Here’s a happy story… and a Tuesday Recipe Club

December 16th, 2014

Once upon a time, I was a little girl, and I loved to eat cookies.

Some things never change.

Over the years, I’ve craved my Mom’s soft, crispy, crumbly and rich Chocolate Crinkles, her mom’s chewy-addictive chocolate chip-banana cookies, and the reindeer sugar cookies (secret ingredient: almond extract) the sweet neighbor across the street used to bake for us every year. Thin, crispy, and perfect. But the cookies I have craved the most are my grandma’s butter cookies. My dad’s mom was from North Dakota, no-nonsense, and knew just how to keep me happy: Books to read, apricots to nibble on, a Kentucky Fried Chicken picnic in the park with the entire family, and a Tupperware container full of the best cookies in the world.

And I had no recipe for them.

I’ve searched through my mom’s files, my own files, my grandma’s cookbooks (inherited *all* of the cookbooks from both grandmas #blessed) and no luck. Tears. Sadness. And a yearning for “how did she make those, exactly?” I’ve guessed, experimented, no luck. Was thumbing through her copy (which looks like it was her mommy’s copy, it’s vintage and gorgeous and about 100+ years old) of “Pantry Secrets,” compiled by St. Aldolphus Altar Society, Langdon, North Dakota (produced in the plant of the Cavalier County Republican, Langdon, N.D.).

Yes, that’s right. Suddenly, there it was. The clouds parted, the sun came out, and there was much rejoicing.

They’re that good. Hallelujah and Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

My Grandma’s Delicious Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 well-beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in one tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 1/2 cups flour

(notes say: roll with date filling — no recipe for that — and “make in roll in icebox or add chocolate drops)

We made drop cookies with one batch of dough, and used the second batch as cut-out cookies. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

We did a basic powdered sugar frosting, dyed green and red, to ice them. (I also have a great recipe for “10 Minute Justrite Fudge” and some quite fantastic recipes to share from the Jiffy Cookbook, but those will have to wait for another time.)

Bon appetit!

– wm

Here, kitty, kitty!

November 12th, 2014

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Wacky Cat 2′s blindness is presenting some challenges. For us more than him.

“You’re working out? Here, I’ll walk under the elliptical.”

“The fan is turned on? I’ll stick my nose into it. And lick it. Now, where’s a wall?”

I love him so much. He had some kind of virus a few weeks ago, we thought he was a goner…

“But the cat came back/
the very next day/
thought he was a goner/
but the cat came back/
no he couldn’t stay away…”

17 years old now, skinny, sack of bones, but happy, eating & drinking OK, loves to sleep on me, interested in life, and there you have it. Also loves to purr in my ear and snuggle in on my shoulder, when I’m kicked back.

Best kitty in the world.

Enjoy your week, y’all.

xo

wm

Dec. 3, 2014: RIP, dear, dear Woogie, 1997-2014. You were a joy and my best friend. love you, cat. xoxoxoxo

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