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qotd: leonard cohen

August 31st, 2011

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

QOTD: my man Bugs

August 30th, 2011

“Trouble with this world is that everybody’s out to get everybody else. I mean, why can’t people be more like me? I love everybody. Hello, flower!” — Bugs Bunny in “Spaced Out Bunny”

on vacation

August 30th, 2011

Did I forget to mention that we went on vacation? We did. To the shore. It was relaxing. Total, complete re-charge. i love salt air. It was only for a couple of days, but good enough. Lots of seagulls, diving birds, screaming-fussy kids (not mine) and a coyote, skedaddling across the busy road.

He made it to the other side.

thought for the day:

!Libros si! !Bombas no!

Books, yes! Bombs, no!

Happy end of summer. Back to the books soon, kids.

– wm

Recipe Club: Composed Ratatouille & Roasted Beets

August 22nd, 2011

Great dinner on a hot summer night.

reading sprint!

August 21st, 2011

You’ve heard of a reading sprint? I don’t see that I’ve ever written about it here. My daughter invented it, and has perfected it. You make a stack of anywhere from 3-7 books, read a chapter or two from each, and rotate, rotate. Pretty soon you’ve read a stack of (1-2-3-4-5-6 or 7) books! It’s especially perfect for those of us who are (or are just feeling) a little ADD. Also good for people who are voracious readers (like my girl) and for kids who are struggling readers. When I’m helping kids learn to read, we pick out anywhere from 2-5 books. Perhaps a short chapter book; something non-fiction — anything about animals is generally a hit; a picture book — with or without words; a harder book; maybe a dictionary. It makes you feel Smart and Important having a big stack of books next to you.

Next thing you know, reading isn’t so scary.

One of my former students was really into the dictionary — I spent most of the school year procuring and distributing dictionaries and thesauri. By the end of the year, every kid who wanted one had one. Epic success. He was one of the kids who had grabbed a spare dictionary early on. I want to learn every word in here, he told me. I told him, Great, start with A.

So he did.

End of the year, we were tallying up success stories, and he raised his hand.

“I read that whole dictionary you gave me!”

“Fantastic! How many pages?” (I knew that he would know.)

“752!” (It was a dictionary for middle grade students — he was in second grade, if I’m remembering correctly? Wait… I may be getting him confused with his older brother, who was in fifth grade. They were both really motivated kids. And their little sister? Following along in her brothers’ footsteps.)

Spectacular. Moments like that make you know you’re in the right line of work.

Speaking of… yeah. I’ve been home for about six months now, and every six months I need to re-invent myself. Again. So I’m interviewing again for library jobs. (i miss the kids.) Fingers crossed. it-is-what-it-is.

That string of books pictured above? That’s everything I’m reading right now.

* Celebrity Detox I just finished — really moving work by Ms. O’Donnell. Brave woman, writing it, and kudos for putting it out there the way she does. Not everyone in this world is that brave.

* Me & Anna Karenina. I started reading this book in college. Was almost to the end, my then-boyfriend and I were spending winter break with his parents at their stupid Rustic Cabin in Woods, and his mom sez, Oh, in the end when, y’know…!!! blah blah. (I realize that everyone and his great-aunt Smoochy knows the ending to Anna Karenina, but believe it or not, until that moment in Stupid Rustic Cabin with people who thank God did not become my in-laws, I didn’t.) My response: “Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!” Her response, all sweetness and big cow eyes: “Didn’t you watch the PBS mini-series?” Me: “No, I generally read the book first.”

Since that time, lo these 20-plus years ago, I have been trying to finish Anna Karenina. This translation (can’t find the image, but it was done by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) is stellar. The footnotes are great, the translation is quite good. Not that I’ve read it in the original Russian (ha) but you can tell that they retain the flavor and style of the original work. How? How can I tell this? I have no idea. But it’s good, and I’m enjoying it. And trying to forgive the witch who (nearly) ruined the book for me.

* Anne Lamott… Anne Lamott… I have been mean to her in the past, but “Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith” has changed my mind about her. It’s funny and sharp and she really opens up and doesn’t mess around. I appreciate that.

* Walter Deans Myers’s bio, “Bad Boy” is good. Everything the man does is good, so I think it’s sweet he calls his memoir “Bad Boy.” Incredible man — go give him a read if you haven’t already. My students love him, too.

* Another one they love is Sharon Draper (Sharon Draper for the girls, Walter Dean Myers for the guys), and after starting “Romiette & Julio” I can see why. I never had the chance to borrow any of her books from my old libraries, because they were always checked out! So props to her. Oh, I did read “Fire from the Rock” when it came out and loved it. The girls also love Sharon Flake, so check her out, too.

* “The Graveyard Book” is freaking me out. This one is not for the little-littles. Sixth grade and older, I would say. Neil Gaiman (“Coraline”) has a dark and twisted gift.

* Jordan Sonnenblick is another new-to-me author. So far, so good on “Zen and the Art of Faking It.”

Sad thing for my kids, having a book-junkie mother. Because whatever I read has got to be uncool. And all of these books are pretty cool. I’m ready to start covering everything in brown kraft paper.

In other news: It’s finally summer in Oregon, woot. Got to 95 yesterday. This morning Steve and I woke up early, then walked in the nature preserve by our house and picked blackberries. We saw a covey of quail at the pond up the street. It was so cool. I baked a berry crisp and pinned out the laundry; he watered the garden and I watered the front yard. It will be thirteen years of marriage for us in a couple of weeks. It’s good. It’s a good life.

I’m going to remember this day, the simplicity of it, the happiness of it, forever.

Love you, Steve.

xo

me

Dylan and a happy Sunday to you

August 21st, 2011

reading!

August 17th, 2011

OK, these are on the “to reserve” list, but I hope to start reading them soon!

ttfn,

wm

“The Help” — movie is not really “helping”

August 17th, 2011

Here’s another point of view.

Peace.

– wm

it’s gonna be a busy week…

August 14th, 2011

QOTD: in the immortal words of Ryan O’Neal…

August 9th, 2011

…after reading the first page of his daughter Tatum’s second memoir:

“Tatum has this new book, I thought it was very interesting. It started (with) a powerful opening, but dark and sad. I hope it gets a little lighter! I pray. Poor Tatum. Her life seems so disjointed. And lost. I hope it has nothing to do with me. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”

Team Tatum! (i love Tatum.)

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