Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

wednesday morning

October 12th, 2011

i’ve been in better moods. my friend is gone — he was killed in a house fire on Sunday. his wife and their dog made it out okay. i am relieved for this, but still so messed up.

i don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but that just seems to be the way it goes.

miss you, Frank Morgan. you were a loyal friend and a gentleman, and you and your wife stood by me when I most needed a friend. thank you for that. i won’t say goodbye but I will say, I’ll see you, okay? OK.

– nancy

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

praying for Troy Davis

September 21st, 2011

“But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.” — Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960)

He is gone now. — wm

9.11

September 5th, 2011

This Sunday it will be ten years since 9/11 happened. I wrote this on 9/11/2006. It’s worth a re-run. Cuz things are worse in this country now not better.

Tears.

Tears and anger. I’ll say it because a lot of people aren’t: Right now America is at war with Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. By “at war” I mean, “our country is bombing the shit out of these countries, just for the hell of it.” (video babies go boom boom boom, it’s not real, right? It’s real.) Writer and peace activist Grace Paley called it, “wars that men plan for their sons, our sons.”

We need to pull out, we need to end the wars and the bombings, and we need to work for peace. They need to stop planning wars for my children, our children.

Maybe we would have money for jobs, to build up the economy, to pay for schools, to help subsidize health care, if we weren’t spending money on a bunch of war toys, bombs and planes. Then the vets come home and they have post-traumatic stress, their health problems are out of control, and they’re committing suicide at record rates. Then the U.S. government says, PS that was a pre-existing condition, we’re not gonna pay your health insurance anymore. PS there is no GI Bill and we’re not going to help you put a down payment on a house or pay tuition for school (that is, if you’re healthy enough to be in a position to buy a house or go back to school).

PS thanks for the help, U.S. Government. Thanks for a whole fat lot of nothing. PS Wacky Mommy loves and supports our soldiers; i want them to all come back home right now. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to say right fucking now.

If, after 9/11, we had all, as Americans, collectively grieved, buried the dead, given aid and love and support to the survivors and families, imagine (john lennon imagine, remember?) (do you remember that at all? i do), imagine that we had all said:

Enough deaths. Enough.

Imagine we had learned from the bombings and the deaths. Imagine we had never retaliated. Imagine it had all been taken to the Hague, instead, and dealt with by international authorities.

The way it stands, I feel that everyone died in vain. eyeforaneyeeyeforaneye.

And now? I can’t talk about it anymore. Cuz it takes me down, it brings on my fierce anger and my tears and I, I want to lash out, too. I can’t. I have work to do.

Peace work.

Amen.

– wm

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

love + love + love + love

July 29th, 2011

Big smiles…

HP 7 Pt 2

July 15th, 2011

Mischief managed.

this one is for all the little kids

June 29th, 2011

happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there

June 15th, 2011

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” — Clarence Budington Kelland

Subject: A Hockey Story

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and a man makes his way to his seat right at center ice. He sits down, noticing that the seat next to him is empty.

He leans over and asks his neighbour if someone will be sitting there.

“No,” says the neighbour. “The seat is empty.”

“This is incredible,” said the man. “Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs and not use it?”

The neighbour says, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Stanley Cup we haven’t been to together since we got married in 1967.”

“Oh … I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. But couldn’t you find someone else, a friend or relative, or even a neighbour to take the seat?”

The man shakes his head “No. They’re all at her funeral.”

it’s all okay

October 27th, 2010

that’s it.

xo

wm

happy anniversary, Hockey God

September 5th, 2010

« Previous PageNext Page »