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on the coffeetable this week: “Beastly,” “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I: The Pox Party” and about two thousand books on educational theory

September 30th, 2010

On the coffeetable:

My daughter read “Beastly” and loved it. If I can, I’ll talk her into writing a review and I’ll post it later. Modernized version of “Beauty and the Beast,” sounds great. (Middle school and older.)

“Octavian Nothing” wins the prize of having the best, craziest title of all time. OK, now I will say this: M.T. Anderson’s stuff gets read a lot in middle school, but I’m going conservative on this one and saying high school and older. This book (and “Feed”) are both great. (I’ve heard the sequel to “Octavian Nothing” is not as outstanding as the first book, however.) But they scare me too much and I had to put them down.

The End.

— wm

QOTD: Renard and No One Drowned, It’s OK!

September 27th, 2010

“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.” — Jules Renard, author (1864-1910)

don’t i know it.

so, we attempted to enjoy a day at the beach yesterday. here’s the thing about the Oregon coast — it is what it is. times 100. so even when you know that it’s going to be blustery and cold, it’s still nice to take a not-too-long drive and get there, just for the sake of breathing the salt air. (from our new place, it’s 71.5 miles to the nearest beach — less than 2 hours by car, and I really do wish the trains still ran to the beach. i’ve heard tales and it sounds so good.)

all i wanted to do, with my one little measly day off, was walk on the beach (we brought our boots and raincoats), breathe in the good, wet air, have a bite of lunch somewhere, do a little window shopping at one of the chi-chi overpriced boutiques (seashell assortment, anyway? fudge? ice cream? Christmas ornaments shaped like ugly little elves?) then drive home.

but Hockey God and Hockey God Jr. had a different plan, namely, horse around in the ocean, get run over by a sneaker wave and almost die.

I like my plan better.

Also, this is where I really, really hate the whole “parenting together” thing. So when my son, soaking wet, sandy, exhilarated because they didn’t die, isn’t that great? told me, “Dad said you were going to punch him in the face for this…” well, OK. Let’s slow this down for a minute.

1) I’m glad they didn’t die and wow, that really is great, sweetheart. However…
2) If they hadn’t been reckless in the first place, this wouldn’t have cussin’ been an issue (see: a) don’t turn your back on the ocean b) stay out of the ocean pretty much Oct-April in Oregon and Washington c) why don’t you ever listen to me? You don’t see sneaker waves getting mommy, do you, now? d) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargggggggggh)
3) they now have new sweatpants (thank you, overpriced gift shop!) and really awesome matching bright red sweatshirts and T-shirts. Hockey God’s says:

Cannon Beach
Established 1890
Search & Rescue
Mouth to Mouth Certified

(which is hilarious! because he’s not.)

Jr.’s says:

Cannon Beach Oregon
Beach Patrol
Save Yourself

That is more fitting somehow, no? Anyway, I don’t think I really should have rewarded them with a way to commemorate the whole cussin’ thing, but they were both nearly-drowned rats, I had to get them some warm stuff to wear. And no, I didn’t punch Hockey God in the face. On the one hand, I’m glad that he and the kids take some risks, live a little, blah blah blah. But there’s being adventuresome, and then there’s being unnecessarily reckless. I hugged my son, and told him, “You, I care about. Daddy, I don’t.”

My daughter: “Mom! That is not very nice!”
My husband: “You really are the meanest wife.” (looks worried.) “Are you going to punch me now?” (offers up his arm.) “Here! Punch me here! Just get it over with.”

I cried a little, then I calmed down and told my husband that if one of my kids (mine, not his, just mine. Cuz I’m the one who carried them for nine months, nursed them and kept them alive, they’re my babies til the day I die, mine, mine, mine) ends up harmed or worse because of his recklessness, then he had better go ahead and drown himself before he comes home. Cuz I can’t guarantee his safety.

That’s fair, isn’t it?

OK. Deep breaths.

— wm

“stabby and morose”

September 25th, 2010

In a recent post, Busy Mom described herself as being “a bit stabby and morose” and really, that phrase is going to be my new answer when anyone asks me the following:

1) Why I blog.
2) What I blog about.
3) Why I read other blogs.
4) What is a blog, anyway? (yeah, that’s precious, isn’t it?)

1) “…am a bit stabby and morose.”
2) “…being stabby and morose.”
3) “…enjoy reading about others being stabby and morose.”
4) “…a place to put everything, when you’re feeling stabby and morose.”

off to school now, ta-ta. Yes, I know it’s Saturday. And 7:16 a.m.



writing another paper!

September 23rd, 2010

who knew I had another paper due? uh, I did? way back there in the far recesses of what is left of my brain. so that means music, folks. I could watch and listen to this video 3 or 4 times a day and still not get sick of it. my family would though, so I resist the urge to repeatedly stare at Stewart Copeland’s arms. Sting i can do without, nowadays, but i do love the old, old stuff.

back to writing, and i wish you auf wiedersehen, for now.

— wm

is that my favorite song? no, but this is:

i like it when Josh Turner turns upside down.

really, ttfn, i need to get to sleep soon!

well well well

September 22nd, 2010

It’s midnight and I JUST finished my paper. I hope I did it right. Now… to watch some TV (i’m wired. again) or get some sleep? Sleep? TV? TV? Sleep?

Life: Always with the dilemmas.

Sleep it is.

Talk to ya later.

— wm

QOTD: Muhammad

September 21st, 2010

“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” — Muhammad (570-632)

“there’s a freakshow baby baby on the dance floor there’s a freakshow…”

September 20th, 2010

“Gavel him down!”

Oh. My. Heck.

“…and all that David Copperfield kind of crap…” my LifeMap by me, Wacky Mommy, Grad Student

September 19th, 2010

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.”

— Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger, Little, Brown and Company, Inc., 1951 (although Holden’s character first appeared in Salinger’s short story, “Last Day of the Last Furlough” in a 1944 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.) (just fyi. wm)

Why do I want to teach? Or (better question) why do I want to continue to teach? (Since I’ve already been teaching, just in a classified position, not certified, for almost three years now.) Yeah, good question. In the class I’m taking this semester, we’re exploring that. Because why bother, if you can’t pin down why you’re bothering? Also, if I would have known that graduate school was going to be such a mind-blower, so fun and intriguing and challenging, I would have gone right after I finished my undergrad degree, like I should have.

Not true — I didn’t know what I wanted to get my degree in, back then. Certainly didn’t want to teach. I tried some education classes, as an undergrad and could. not. stay. awake. eyes closing……… zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t drop the class and go out to the clubs with their friends and dance all night. Alternately, they play cards and drink at home ’til all hours.”
— Wacky Mommy

“My girl wants to/
party all the time/
party all the time/
party all the tiiiiiiiime…”

— my friend JoJo, singing Eddie Murphy’s song to her sister and me

Oh, JoJo. Whenever old men would hit on us downtown she’d woof at ’em like a dog. Pretty girl, barking? Pretty funny. Then we’d run off.

So no, I wasn’t ready for this, then. Writing would have been the obvious choice, but why? So I could write? I was already writing. I write every day, even when it rains. Especially when it rains. Always have. So I guess… I wasn’t ready until now?

For my schtick for class, because I am “visuals impaired” (not to be confused with “visually impaired,” although I’m that, too), I decided to illustrate my path in life via books.

Wicked smart, no? I suggest that you share this idea with all your friends and family. Books are highly undervalued as a supporting player when it comes to presentations. PowerPoint gets all the credit.

Here is the list of the books I chose:

a primer from when my dad was a kid

a primer from when I was a kid

“Catcher in the Rye,” by my main man, J.D. Salinger

Santa Biblia/Holy Bible, Edicion Bilingue/Bilingual Edition (a gift from my husband)

the “Nancy Drew” books, by Carolyn Keene

“Little House in the Big Woods,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“The King, the Mice and the Cheese,” by Nancy and Eric Gurney

“Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman

“Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition,” by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight (and a small digression: I am unable to weed the following books from any library in which I work: fairy tales/fables, 398.2; poetry, 811; and anything illustrated by Hilary Knight. Just one of those little “librarian quirks.”)

“Henry Huggins,” by Beverly Cleary

“Home Price,” by Robert McCloskey

“Harriet the Spy”

“From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

“That Crazy April,” by Lila Perl

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith

“The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Song of Solomon,” by Toni Morrison

“The Portland Review”

the “Harry Potter” series, by J.K. Rowling

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick

the “Oryx and Crake” series, by Margaret Atwood

And the piece de resistance… which I had just read to my first- and second-grade students that very day:

“Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss

“Thank you, thank you, Sam I am.”

As for the presentation? It went okay, I think. But I’m not sharing it here — too personal. Besides, you already know it all. hahahahaha. (That’s a little “blogger joke.”) I will tell you something, though — we all wrote out affirmations and feedback for each other. And while I, like Holden, hate all that kind of crap, it was excellent and made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Yes, that’s right. My cohort has broken me. I knew someone would, eventually.

One of them wrote me a note, with my name at the top followed by the words, “My life is an open book.” Underneath was a sketch of “Green Eggs and Ham,” and a C.S. Lewis quote: “We read to know that we are not alone,” followed by, “Great job.” All of the notes were cool like that. It’s enough to make a girl feel like she’s not flying solo through life. Oh, wait, Internets… I already knew that one ;) Thank you.

Even if you’re not “required” to do one of these, a LifeMap is pretty cool. I highly recommend that you do one. Break out the colored pens, the magazines to make a collage, the visuals and the written words. Sketch it, bake it, put it to music, whatever works for you. Tie in the political, the philosophical, the ethical. What about family? Friends? Teachers and others who influenced you?

Ask yourself: What brought me to where I am today? Where am I going from here?

You can swipe my books idea if you’d like. There! I just gave my first assignment.

— wm

“Dead Poets Society”

September 19th, 2010

“I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”

— Walt Whitman, from “Leaves of Grass”

i’m watching only movies with a school theme. so far I’ve watched:

“Over the Edge”
“Dead Poets Society” (half-way through — just finishing it — have mad crush on Josh Charles)
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

next up:
“Good Will Hunting”
“Goodbye, Mister Chips”
“To Sir, With Love”
“The Breakfast Club”

what are your favorites?

what i’m not reading this week… except for “The Hunger Games.” (sorry, “The Summoning” and “Radiant Shadows”)

September 18th, 2010

I’m not reading much for fun and/or book reviews, nowadays, because i’m too busy giving presentations, teaching, studying, and paying attention to Steve & the kids… Argh. Maybe I’ll get a chance over the holiday breaks? (she says, wistfully.)

(i should start a category called, “Not Reviews,” eh?) And of course I almost missed out on posting about the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour (the real reason they sent me the books gratis). (Please see disclaimer, mercy bouquet.)

Ladies, rock on. I will read all of your books, eventually. And, dear readers, you can start with their blog and go from there!

Now. I just finished reading “The Hunger Games” about half an hour ago (the first book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy). It scared me and I loved it. What more can you ask for on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Portland?



Reading (and just looking at longingly):

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