Monday, February 28, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #10 Beastly

          OK, so here's the, last week's book Cinderella Ate My Daughter did not get finished because I started reading Beastly by Alex Flinn. I had to read it because the movie comes out soon and...Lit Muse is reading it for their next meeting and then we're watching the movie.
          Literary Muse (Lit Muse for short) is this group I sponsor at the high school. We meet at the library or a coffee shop or a restaurant and discuss the books we read. I don't lead the discussions, I participate. I don't choose the books, unless someone wants to choose a book in a series (then I make the group either read the whole series, as with Twilight, or pick a different book) nor do I discourage the students from reading books that my high school may not let them read. We read 2-4 books a year and, also, occassionally write and enter contest (depends on the year and the students, after all it is their club, not mine!).
         Over the years we've read (these are the ones I can remember):
Big Fish
Different Seasons
Rules of Attraction
Sense and Sensibility
The Twilight Saga
The Kite Runner
About A Boy
The Godfather
The Road
The Prestige
          I missed the meeting we had at the beginning of this year for The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud (good thing, as I have not read it yet) and promised them I would come to the meeting for Beastly and watch the movie. So, I read Beastly like a mad woman, forsaking all else during the day and read Orenstein at night...I finished Beastly first. It really wasn't a race, Beastly is just an easier read.
         Frankly, I wished I would have gone into the movie a little blind. The book is lovely and I can already tell that the movie will pale in comparison. Kyle Kingsbury is a jerk, and Adrian is the perfect beast. If I met Edward Cullen or Kyle, I'm not sure which I'd chose. Lindy is, hands down, the best YA heroine I've seen in a long time. I'm pretty sure that she does not, not even one time, cry over a boy...over the loss of her freedom and her father, yes there are some tears, but no tears for the loss of a boy. In this book Kyle/Adrian gets to be the crier and he gets to be the one who laments, hoorah! Sensitive guy, strong female (I knew there was a reason that I've always liked the Beauty and the Beast story). There isn't any way that they can possibly have all the wonderfulness that I imagined while reading...I was in it, in it, people...ask anyone who tried to talk to me during my planning period or tried to get me to eat lunch or do hall it.

Unfortunately, Vanessa Hudgens, is not in anyway how I imagined Lindy would be. I'm not going to spend time bashing Ms. Hudgens or her acting or singing ability...I am in no way her target audience, so what I think isn't going to do anybody any good. I just imagined Lindy acting a little less like Gabriella and looking a little more like this (you know a beautiful red head who has the ability to not look so pretty to the shallow of heart) with the acting chops to boot.

          This is the same way I felt about the Twilight movies. When they first came out I thought, OK, these movies may blow chunks...however, I may be able to tolerate them if...they don't screw up the baseball scene (which, with Muse as background music how could they?) and the vampire sparkles (which were done exactly how I imagined them)...first movie was a win, the second movie was so badly a loss that I haven't watched the third.
          Back to Beastly, I like this book because it allowed me to truly imagine the beast from his point of view. I think it's lovely that we don't officially meet the girl who is supposed to save everyone until 100 pages or so in, but we do meet Kyle and we do see him change and we do see how he is that attractive, popular boy that we all dreamed of, but was definitely too shallow and mean for us to like. I think every kid could learn something from his transformation...humility, what it means to be prideful, how and when to be stubborn, why we shouldn't blame our absentee parents for our problems, but rise above them and so on. I suppose that will all play off in the movie even without a redhead as Lindy.
          Hmmm...I guess I'll be OK, as long as they don't screw up that scene with the green dress.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faith Like A Child

You Must Have the Faith of a Child

So, there's this Jars of Clay song from the mid-90s that's been running through my head this morning and I thought I would share it with you. Happy Sunday!

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." ~ Mark 10:15 (New King James Version)

"Like A Child"

Dear God, surround me as I speak,
the bridges that I walk across are weak
Frustrations fill the void that I can't solely bear
Dear God, don't let me fall apart,
you've held me close to you
I have turned away and searched for answers I can't understand


They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Sometimes, when I feel miles away
and my eyes can't see your face
I wonder if I've grown to lose the recklessness
I walked in light of you


[Little girl:]
"I've got joy like a fountain!"
"Be kind one to others"
"In Jesus Christ Your son"

They say that love can heal the broken
They say that hope can make you see
They say that faith can find a Savior
If you would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Black History...

"The Negro pigmentizes all American life, literature, music, art, dancing, dolls, dress, oratory, law and love."
~ Alice Dunbar Nelson

          Writing about race is hard (I've been trying to write something all month, but it always seemed to be without feeling or with too much sappiness--I hope the result of this post is neither), but I feel that February (Black History month) needs to get a little black people love from yours truly. I have always had what I like to call 'Subtle Black Pride' know you aren't going to see me at a rally of sorts, but I, in my own way, let you know I love my people. By my people, however, I mean my mixed heritage.
           Although, I have this deep love for my heritage, it has taken awhile for me to feel this power on the inside. In the small town in which I grew up, my sisters and I were the brunt of many racial slurs. Don't get me wrong I love a good joke and we could all learn to laugh at one another a little more often (I do so enjoy that scene in Guess Who where the joking goes a little too far). These were not jokes. The older kids, who only saw our skin color and didn't know us, called us names, kids would play with or would tease me about my hair. Even in high school I had a hard time getting a date for Prom, as the person I wanted to go with couldn't go with me, his best friend said, because his parents wouldn't let him, 'and, you know the reason why, Stephanie', this was 1993, not 1963 just incase you were wondering. And, although my mother is white we were considered black. My mother and my aunts helped us by teaching us to take pride in ourselves and to love ourselves. I spent this time in my life reading all of the books I could get ahold of in search of my elusive black heritage, my favorite, of course, being The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a man who definitely took pride in his black heritage, in being American and in being himself. I took pride in being of mixed heritage and read books like Kim-Kimi, Farewell to Manzanar, Jacob, Have I Loved, The Souls of Black Folk, School Ties, Roots and many other books that talked about identity and heritage.
          It wasn't until I was a sophomore in high school that I even knew that black people would and could even segregate one another based solely on skin tone. This reverse racism or colorism (check out The Color Complex for more information) has roots deep in the African-American community and these roots are as old as slavery. At a summer camp, a handful of black girls told me that they didn't mind if I liked rock music because they could tell that I was of mixed heritage (they said they could tell by the color of my gums, by the way), but they did mind that this lovely (dare I say) darker girl did because "she knew better". In college it got worse, with black guys saying things like you'd be prettier if you 'did your hair' and black girls giving me nasty looks in the cafeteria when I sat with all my friends (some of them Hispanic, but none of them black).  I was too 'white' for the black kids and too 'black' to be white. My sister went to school in New Orleans and there people called her 'high yellow' and berated her boyfriend for dating a white woman. She took it all in stride, although I told her that color terms can be just as racist as the N-word.
         About ten years ago I read an article that originated from The Washington Post by a woman named Lonnae O'Neal Parker. This article incensed me. Parker has a cousin named Kim who lives in some small town in the midwest. She was raised by her black father, but doesn't look or act black (before I read this article I didn't know there were so many things 'black people' did or didn't do) and Parker feels she needs to help Kim, who is staying with her, find her roots by going to 'the race place' and doing such things as pointing out all the 'white' people things she does, watching "Roots", by pointing out that it is her black family that is educated and affluent and, in essence, by trying to change her into something she is not. (You can find this article at The Washington Post if you are willing to pay the archive fee). I wanted to scream at this woman, "You can love yourself and take pride in yourself without yelling it from the roof tops." I felt like O'Neal was not letting her cousin be herself and I was reminded of all those people, who, over the years did not allow me to be me.
          My pride in my race grew stronger, but my love for my black brothers and sisters did not.
          One summer, I was asked by a community member if a girl could room with me while she worked at the Public Defenders office as an intern. I said, "Sure". As soon as I met this girl I understood why. She was black, and in a town that's not so ethnic, I'm sure that the person who asked me thought she would feel more comfortable living with me than with anyone else.
          We had a BLAST! She, too, had problems with colorism, but from the perspective of being a lovely darked skinned African-American. She loved black people, she told me daily, and was sorry that I didn't have any black friends because of my past experiences. She told me she hated race words and didn't like the word 'mulatto' any more than all those other words that divide the African-American into sub groups. We laughed at the same jokes, watched the same movies, but, more importantly, we learned from each other. At the end of the summer I was sorry to see her go, however, the lessons I learned about my race, my own prejudices and myself have stayed with me all these years.
          I have learned that, even if people try to classify me and pigeon-hole me into one category, I am more than that. I am black, I am white, I am a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife, I am an American and I am anything else that shows my inner and outer beauty...I ignore all else.

The List
(not in any way comprehensive)

Books and Plays
Song of Solomon
Annie John
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
How to Make An American Quilt
A Time to Kill
A Raisin in the Sun
Short Stories
"Sister Josepha" Alice Dunbar Nelson
"Sweet Potato Pie" Eugenia Collier (can't find a link)
"The Goophered Grapevine" Charles Waddell Chestnut
"The Man Who Was Almost A Man" Richard Wright

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Coming of Age in Mississippi
The Color Complex
Stolen Childhood
Army Life in a Black Regiment
Days of Rondo
The Souls of Black Folk
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Essays and Speeches
Ain't I A Woman?
White Like Me
Light skin versus dark: A painful topic many blacks would rather not confront
My Turn: I Freed Myself When I Embraced My Locks

Poems and Songs

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who?
Love Song
Jungle Fever
Something New
Corrina, Corrina
Save the Last Dance
Soul Man
A Time to Kill


Friday, February 25, 2011

The Friday Five: Connections

I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from

  1. Nowadays, just about everyone knows a couple who first met online. Among couples you know, who has the best story?
  2. Who among your real-life acquaintances might you never have been friends with if you hadn’t gotten to know each other online first?
  3. Of people you know online only, who would you most like to meet in real life?
  4. In the past 365 days, what’s the longest you’ve gone without connecting in any way to the Internet, including email?
  5. Who is the least-connected person you know in real life?
  1. I only know one couple who met online and their story is very cute.
  2. I have not met any people online and then met them in person...
  3. All the people I know who follow this blog :) and, I've also gotten to know several people better through FB
  4. Well...we only got the internet at the house in November so...the whole month of July
  5. My mother, but she likes it this way...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday (on Thursday) Childhood Books

I missed Sam's first Wonderful Wednesday post, so I'm doing it I couldn't find a new one for this week and I know I can't link it, but I'll put it in the comments on her blog.

From Tiny Library:

The meme is called Wonderful Wednesdays and it's all about spotlighting and recommending some of our most loved books, even if we haven't read them recently.  Each week will have a different theme or genre of book to focus on.

This week's theme: a book you loved as a child.
 We all have a book that we read over and over again as a child and still think of fondly as an adult.
          I don't know if I can pick just one...ummmm...there are three. Yes, three and I think about these books often, really. They are the foundation of my pre-teen years.
          The first is The Purple Pussy Cat, a book about a polka-dotted cat that comes to life at night and visits with all these nocturnal animals like an owl, raccoon, and a family of opossums...the pages are so pretty and full of cool colors and lots and lots of purple. This is a favorite book from my childhood because I taught my sisters how to read using this book. I remember all of us sitting on the bottom bunk as we went over the words...the word purple is hard when you are 5 years old.
           Popcorn is a book about a little bear whose parents go to the opera and while they are out he pops popcorn, literally a whole house full, he then invites his friends over for a Halloween party and ask them to help him eat all the popcorn. It's hilarious to read a book about bears dressed as ballerinas and ghosts et cetera having to eat tons of popcorn. I still have this book and can't wait for the tiny person to read it.
          And, a book that I can read again, again and again is The Phantom Tollbooth this book is all about words. He travels to Dictionopolis, where he eats his own words, rescues princesses Rhyme and Reason and goes through the Doldrums. There are so many play on words and puns that make this book delightful, especially if you have a love of vocabulary,  the English language and fantasy.
          Sigh, childhood.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day Eight

Day Eight: A song that you know all the words to         
          I have a deep, deep love for old 80s crime shows and will at times watch Magnum PI, Riptide, Moonlighting, Simon and Simon, Heart to Heart and Remington Steele just for nostalgia of feeling 8 years old and remembering when I thought these shows were very grown-up and hard to solve.
         One show that we used to watch, as well, that I'd forgotten about until this song challenge was Hardcastle and McCormick. The premise according to Wikipedia (my favorite site for looking up the trivial) "involves the retirement of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle. With file drawers filled with 200 criminals who got off on technicalities, he takes a page from his childhood hero, the Lone Ranger, and makes plans to go after these criminals. Mark McCormick is a smart-mouthed, streetwise car thief who is looking at hard time for his latest theft, a prototype sports car, called the Coyote X, designed by his murdered best friend. Together they strike a deal: Hardcastle helps Mark catch the murderer; Mark agrees to be released as the Judge's right hand man. In addition, Mark is allowed to keep the Coyote, which proves to be an excellent pursuit vehicle for their needs."
         I remember one episode especially called "The Day the Music Died"...not because of the plot, I'm sure it involved a murder followed by a car chase, but because of one scene in it where McCormick is in the Coyote singing "American Pie" by Don McLean and I remember this because both of my sisters were singing along to a song that I'd never even heard...*scouts honor* I'd never heard of "American Pie" until that moment, and there were my younger, not as smart as me sisters singing along...of course they weren't singing all the words, but I vowed then and there that I would learn all the words and when it came time to sing the song again I would wow the world.
         Since then I have been obsessed with that song...I've learned all the words, I've researched the history and the lore. I sing this song without the radio when I'm driving alone. I love, love, love it! :)

Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

The 30 Day Song Challenge
Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07 -- A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 – A song that you can dance to
Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11 – A song from your favorite band
Day 12 – A song from a band you hate
Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15 – A song that describes you
Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 – A song from your favorite album
Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29 – A song from your childhood
Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #9 The Story of Stuff

Full Title
          I am a consumer. As I look around my living room, I see our extra ginormous TV, our DVDs, CDs, stereo equipment, dolls and other toys, and furniture, I wonder when I became such a collector of stuff.
          I decided to read this book (a free book from Free Press Blog Tours) from Simon and Schuster because I wanted to know what effect my consumption had on the world, I was not truly prepared for what I found out.
          This book (like the original video above) comes in five parts or chapters: Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption and Disposal. By the end of the first chapter I was feeling a little guilty about my meager shopping habits, my cheap t-shirts, my part in the oil wars in Nigeria--ie. my Nissan Sentra, miner and worker exploitation in foreign countries, the gold in my PS3 and the diamonds in my wedding ring. By the end of the second chapter I was feeling angry at Annie Leonard for bringing to light what happens because of my consumption...I love my wedding ring and my t-shirts and my computer, TV and electronics and don't even get me started on Disney. By the end of the book I vowed to do what I can to make the linear consumption graphic a closed loop.
          I found myself talking about this book to anyone who would listen. At lunch we talked about what our love of meat does to the environment and I brought up coffee (chapter one of the book) and t-shirts (throughout the book). We talked about it while grocery shopping (alumium cans are everywhere, people, really!). I struck up conversations with the kids who pumped by gas, checked my stuff out at Wal-Mart and came into my classrooms. I learned about the make-up of my make-up...thank goodness I don't wear much. I learned that Big Business and the government would prefer that I just buy, buy, buy without thinking of myself or others. I learned that in the 1950s, when we consumed less and led simplier lives, we were a happier nation...the data does not lie.
          However, there is hope. I like that at the end of every section Leonard takes time to tell each of us what we can do to not only create a greener environment that is sustainable, but to simplify our lives. I took Laclede county's pollution report card here and learned that we are the top 20% dirtiest counties in the US, I'm not surprised, we have a lot of factories. I learned that when buying diamonds (rocks I still love!) I can ask the jeweler questions provided from the diamond buying guide created by Amnesty International and Global Witness to make sure I am not buying blood or conflict diamonds. And, as for my t-shirts...I've learned I'm doing the right thing when I wear t-shirts from high school, wear your t-shirts until they wear down and then when you can't wear them anymore turn them into rags or a quilt. I've learned that I can be a responsible consumer and help write a new story about the history of stuff.
          Simply put, this book, while intense, is good and will change your life if you allow it to.

Oh and I forgot (today is Word of the Week Tuesday), instead of one word I have three:

Grey water: the act of filtering and reusing water to be used again.
Perceived Obsolescence: to 'perceive' an item as broken or obsolete because of taste or fashion manipulated by 'corporate decision makers, industrial designers, economic planners, and advertising men actively, strategically' promoting the next new idea or trend.
Toxics Release Inventory: 'a database of information about toxic chemicals releases, both via air and in waste.'

Have a blessed and lovely day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #8 Cinderella Ate My Daughter

          I can not tell a lie when I found out I was going to have a daughter I was beyond excited. I had and still have no idea how to raise a boy, but I know that girls can be lovey-dovey and witch-tastic all before the age of 5. I knew I could handle teenage girl mood swings (having experienced and been at the end of several myself) and I was worried about boy toys and potty training a little boy...and, girl clothing is so darn cute. Yes, that was my final thought 'girl clothes are so darn cute'.
          And, then I had time to think about being pregnant with a girl. I spent the summer wondering how I was going to nurture a daughter who would be girlie (mayhaps a little girlie than I) while still being a strong, independent woman (who roared...if you will). I want my daughter to be perfect and positive and pretty without all the negative aspects of these concepts. And, I know there are many, I mean I was a cheerleader, I've watched "Mean Girls" I know things...oh boy do I.
          I saw this book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie Girl Culture on display at Barnes and Noble while shopping with my friend Jenn and we both knew (having expressed my concerns to anyone who would listen Jenn definitely knew) that Peggy Orenstein would have the answer to my burning question: How can I have a daughter that's independent, with a positive self-image with Miley Cyrus and the Olsen twins as role models?
          You see, I love that my daughter is a princess who loves pretty, shiny things. Shhh, don't tell anyone as it goes against my Bitch magazine foundation, I love dressing her in pink and ruffles and frills--the irony is not lost on me. I love that my friend Liz spent two Saturdays painting a castle on her bedroom wall. And, I still love, even after reading all about Disney in The Story of Stuff (more on that officially tomorrow) and in part of this book, that she is a Disney princess, I mean come on Princess Tiana is brown and Mulan is Asian and they're all strong-willed and feminine and FEMINIST.
          I'm hoping that after reading this book Peggy Orenstein and I are still the best friends I know that we would be if we lived in the same state and had time to have a cup of coffee.
          Below you will find links to three of my favorite not so feminist (unless you really think about it, I mean really) is a remake by Ani DiFranco made for the soundtrack of "My Bestfriends' Wedding". Enjoy.

Femininity from "Summer Magic"
Spineless Alanis Morissette
Wishing and Hoping Ani DiFranco

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Winter's Snow

A Winter's Snow
End of Winter

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
~ Corinthians II 5:17

          I can feel the end of another season fast approaching and I always feel a little melancholy when a season ends. Frankly, I can't put my finger on exactly why...I get used to the season and whatever joys and pains it brings is part of it I guess. Take winter, for instance, and our last snow storm, I got used to and took pleasure in traipsing about in my big 'for weather not for fashion' Ugg boots and my big coat and navigating out of the drive way. I took pleasure in it being too cold and snowy to do everyday things. But, now the world is back in full swing, calendars have been made and the snow is melted (except for the huge piles the plows make) and I'm a little sad.
          I tend to forget that God has something new planned for us in each season, and I should take joy in that. Taking joy in that means that I should not only love the season I am in (of course, this can be taken literal or metaphorical), but also seasons to come, He has a hand in it all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Proust Questionnaire Part II

Proust Questionnaire at Age 20
Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from Proust.

Your most marked characteristic?
My sarcasm
The quality you most like in a man?
Think I already answered this last time, now if I waited 7 years to answer this maybe my answers would have changed, but well, it's only been 7 days-ish sooo...
The quality you most like in a woman?
Please see above answer...
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty and a willingness to accept me the way that I am
What is your principle defect?
What is your favorite occupation?
Answering this one a little favorite occupation is the job that I do...teaching, I love it really...
Side note: being a mother and a wife are not occupations they are who I am!
What is your dream of happiness?
I am living my dream of happiness...
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Not being able to do what I love
What would you like to be?
I am what I would like to be...oh, wait! I'd like to be a little more patient
In what country would you like to live?
While I love the USA, I would love to live in England
What is your favorite color?
Red...although it seems like brown...and blue...
What is your favorite flower?
What is your favorite bird?
One time when I was a little and staying with my aunt I found a baby robin and fed it and fed it and fed it, but it wouldn't eat and I died anyway...I hate birds! However, my favorite bird is the extinct dodo bird and the archaeopteryx (which is a dinosaur bird I learned about from "Dinosaur Train")
Who are your favorite prose writers?
Ondaatje, Fitzgerald, Fleming, LM Montgomery, Martin Amis, Atwood, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Rand, Morrison, Lewis, James, Tan, Hardy, Hawthorne, Mansfield, Austen, Smiley, L'Engle, Bronte, Woolf, Cunningham, Minot
Who are your favoite poets?
Rich, cummings, Olds, Giovanni, Cullen, Dunbar, Hughes, Poe
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Please see the answer to #2
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Hester Prynne, Emily Webb, Mrs. Dalloway
Who are your favorite composers?
Puccini, Mozart
Who are your favorite painters?
Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock
Who are your heroes in real life?
Please see the answer to #2
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Gloria Steinem, Ruth from the Bible
What are your favorite names?
Lila, Olivia, Libby, Abbie, Tallulah
Braden, Hayden, Shad, Henry
What is it you most dislike?
a person's need to obliterate something from existence just because they don't like it...
What historical figures do you most despise?
Andrew Jackson, Aaron Burr
What event in military history do you most admire?
The Emancipation was military sorta
D-Day :)
What reform do you most admire?
A sincere, thoughtful one...these do not exist!
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Looking organized...I am organized, but I don't look it!
How would you like to die?
Living life to the fullest
What is your present state of mind?
Positive and ready to take on the world
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
My need to be late and sleep
What is your motto?
"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~Agatha Christie

Side Note: Last time I did this I was sick, now the tiny tot is...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Friday Five: Late Nights

I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from

Late Nights
  1. What’s the best thing about being awake when the rest of the world seems to be sleeping?
  2. Where can you go when you get a case of the late-night munchies?
  3. What open-all-night establishment has saved you from catastrophe, and what were the circumstances?
  4. What’s the worst thing about being awake when the rest of the world seems to be sleeping?
  5. When you are up all night at home for whatever reason, what’s most likely to be on the television to keep you company?
  1. Getting to hang out with myself/blog/watch whatever I want to watch/read a book...all of the above...
  2. Well, while we live about 4 miles out of town, there is a gas station right across the highway. It closed for a little bit, but is now back in business...grape soda here I come!
  3. In college, Kinko's was my best friend, I remember going there LATE night to finish up presentations and to print work for my classes
  4. Um, having to watch the TV really low, or watching shows on Hulu with head-phones
  5. Psych, X-Files, PBS

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wonderful Wednesdays (on Thursdays) Class of '88 series

From Tiny Library:

Wonderful Wednesdays is a meme about spotlighting and recommending some of our most loved books, even if we haven't read them recently.  Each week will have a different theme or genre of book to focus on.

This week's theme is guilty pleasures.
          My guilty pleasures are YA novels. I love them!
          They are my guilty pleasure because I will forgo reading a more grown-up/classic book to pick up a YA novel. There is a series that I read for the first time in 6th grade, but have reread often over the years. It's the Class of '88 series by Linda A. Cooney. I bought the first book for $.99 in a Scholastics Reading book club flyer and then bought each subsequent book with every book order. I even bought the Class of '89 series, but it is the Class of '88 that I love best. I remember one Saturday my senior year (when I was feeling especially melancholy about the whole leaving high school ordeal) I read the whole series only coming out of my room to eat lunch and to visit with my mother when she came home from work.
          These books follow the story of  "Five friends. Nick the golden boy, Celia the beautiful, Sean the thinker, Allie the wild, Meg the brave" as they enter brand new Redwood High School. They go through some tough times such as dating college guys, transfering to Art school, first crushes and bullying the nerds, but through it all they do stay true friends. I also like that the book begins in Nick's tree house and ends, 4 years later at the same place.
          And, although these books are a bit contrived, I do think that they hold true to what high school is like, flirty, melodramatic, over the top, but tender and bittersweet and a heck of a good time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day Seven

Day Seven: A song that reminds you of a certain event          
          In 2008 Christopher and I decided that we needed to take a trip to a place that neither of us had been. We found it interesting that neither of us had been to Mt. Rushmore.
          We went on a three day weekend, one of the last in September and left on a Thursday night. We drove all the way to Rapid City, SD  and stayed in a Holiday Inn, near a Wal-Mart. This worked out well as I did not bring a bathing suit. At the Wal-Mart we bought loads of snack foods, magazines and some music for the road.
          I didn't know this at the time, but Chris likes to play games like "Do you think that I can make this[quarter/can/diaper] into the [jar/trash bin]?", "Guess the song I'm playing on the guitar?" and his favorite "Guess what I just did?". He'd been saying, pretty much all the way to Rapid City, that we needed road trip, when we got back to the car, he started the game. "Guess what I just did?"..."What?" I said not understanding that I had to bite and guess, that is, after all, part of the game. "Guess?", "I dunno", "I bought something." "Huh?" and then I got excited and realized it was music for the road, as soon as he popped it in, I knew who and what song it was Road Trippin' by RHCP...impressed with my music knowledge (he didn't know I am a music goddess), he leaned back in the seat of the Camero and drove back to the hotel.
          While seeing Mt. Rushmore (I'll add pics to this post later...they aren't on this computer...frankly, I don't know where the CD is) and Wall Drug, jackalopes, 1880s town and The Corn Palace were fun sights and, flitting about Sioux Falls and Omaha 'home of the black squirrel', where the downtown has a DELICIOUS cupcake bakery, were definitely wonderful parts of our trip--this event that I will always remember, this event that everyone should experience--the night that sticks out is our night at Wal-Mart, listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers getting to know one another through our conversation.

Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

The 30 Day Song Challenge
Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 – A song that you can dance to
Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11 – A song from your favorite band
Day 12 – A song from a band you hate
Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15 – A song that describes you
Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 – A song from your favorite album
Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29 – A song from your childhood
Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Work of the Week: Unctuous

I sincerely hope you did not date this kind of person on Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

50 books in a Year: Book #7 Little Bee

          Last week during our Snow-cation I got a lot of nuthin' accomplished. Frankly, I needed the time to just read and talk and play with the tiny person while watching PBS Kids, it was refreshing. My friend Aimee (who does not have, but should create a blog--hint, oh, hint...) reads my blog and noticed that both my friend Michelle and I are doing the British book challenge and found just the book for us. She said, and I quote, "It's British, it's World, read it and tell me if we should teach it at the Senior level".
         I did not read it right away (you all know how long it takes me to read books that are recommended: see Demian), but told her I would have it done in time enough for her to order it, if it becomes the book they choose...although I didn't buy it, didn't download it and didn't know when I was going to get the time to...lalalala *whistles* and then my husband needed work boots and we had to make a trip to Springfield. He bought boots at Bass Pro and then we went to the used bookstore.
         Now, I want to talk a minute about my delicious obsession/love/amour for used bookstores. I love the smell of used bookstores, the feeling, the old carpeting and rugs and cats (the used bookstore in Mansfield has two) and the fact that the people who work at the store know where books are without looking in a computer and I love that even though you haven't visited a used bookstore in a while those people treat you like you came in yesterday. I especially love Hooked on Books, a bookstore I've been frequenting since I started college in 1994. I no longer had any book credit, but that didn't stop me from letting the tiny tot pick out two books (I put several children's books on the floor and let her choose the ones she wanted), Imogene's Antler's and Circus Counting, and I picked out two books for myself Dr. No and this book Little Bee.
          I started reading it almost immediately (having finished Forgive My Fins rather quickly) and am in love with the main character Little Bee and her story of perseverance and determination. I also like that it is a book set in London and surrounding areas and is about a history of the Nigerian people that I am only beginning to realize. Chris Cleave has also fully developed the psyche of a woman in the other main character (this is one of those books where one voice narrates a chapter and then the other voice narrates a chapter adding to the story) and her struggles in dealing with her family. I don't really want to give too much away, and, frankly, I'm still reading so I'm in the dark about a lot of what is going on...but I am enjoying the suspense and the character development and the language. Cleave really knows how to weave a sentence into telling us the most profound details. And, look at the's so beautiful that when I'm reading I have to hide the cover so Lila doesn't grab the book out of my hand as she is prone to do.
         I can tell this books is going to be one of those that stays with me forever. And, to think, I was apprehensive in reading this book because I thought it was going to be about another spelling bee or bee keeper!

Ps. Yesterday the blog received an award I posted about it last evening, but have added some recipents, I'm now up to 12!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stylish Blog Award...yippie, an award!

This is The Conscientious Reader's first ever reward!

The rules of the award are:

Thank the person who gave the award to you.

I do not know The Owl Bookmark, we have never met, but I love her! I love her book reviews and her honesty and am glad that I am not the only one that struggles with things.  Thank-you for this award and I hope you keep on accepting these awards because you do have much to say!

Post 7 random things about you.
  1. Shhhhh...don't tell anyone, but I have an affinity for pop music, and can even sing parts of that stupid Justin Bieber song that shall remain nameless
  2. I do not like Rap Music...except for Eminem, and the occasional song from others like Master P et cetera
  3. I love making retro 'just bought a jell-o mold from Tupperware so I can make a tomato aspic' retro foods and here's a book that my sister bought me that has recipes and stuff about Mad Men
  4. I miss Michael Jackson 
  5. My mom is white and my father is, well, not... 
  6. I have two sisters, one daughter, one husband, 3 cats, and 13 aunts and uncles (all 13 are on my mom's side, 3 have passed away)
  7. I love teaching...I love my students 
Give the award to 15 other blogs
Either this is going to be really easy or we go:
The Photographic Mind

OK, there's 12 (Not counting the person who sent this to me that would make it 13)...that's pretty close, right?

I've been reading a lot of blogs and these blogs (of course, adding The Owl Bookmark), really have changed my life and I read them religiously! :) Three are either current or former students who have more talent and drive then I did at their age, read them!

Contact the blogger and let them know they have won.
If only this was FB, I'd just tag them in this post! But, it's I'll get on that...tomorrow...after school...hold me to that!

The Great of These is Love...

Frank Allen Ever heard of chaos theory, Ed? It's a science, tries to determine underlying patterns in chaotic systems like weather, ocean currents, blood flow sort of things. But it turns out that are few things more chaotic than the beat of a human heart. Its beating up, slowing down. Pretty face, flirty stares. It's always changing on what's happening to ourselves out there. It's an erratic son of a bitch. But underneath all of that bump-da-bump mess, there is in fact a pattern, the truth, and it's love. Most important thing about love is that we choose to give it, and we choose to receive it. Making it the least random act in the entire universe. It transcends blood, it transcends betrayal and all the dirt and makes us human. ~Chaos Theory

Crash Well, I believe in the soul, the c**k, the p*ssy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”
~Bull Durham

Bob Rueland ...this may sound a bit juvenile but... can I hold your hand? ~Return to Me

Wesley As You Wish. ~The Princess Bride

Lloyd Dobler I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen. ~Say Anything

Superman I'm always around. Good night, Lois. ~Superman Returns

Tom I love how she makes me feel, like anything's possible, or like life is worth it.
~(500) Days of Summer

Iannis Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.
~Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Sean You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you've met, she's not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you're perfect for each other.
~Good Will Hunting

Charles Um, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, um, well, this is a very stupid question and… particularly in view of our recent shopping excursion, but I just wondered, by any chance, um, uh, I mean obviously not because I guess I’ve only slept with 9 people, but-but I-I just wondered… uh. I really feel, uh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, uh, the words of David Cassidy in fact, uh, while he was still with the Partridge family, uh, “I think I love you,” and uh, I… I just wondered by any chance you wouldn’t like to… Uh… Uh… No, no, no of course not… I’m an idiot, he’s not… Excellent, excellent, fantastic, uh, I was gonna say lovely to see you, sorry to disturb… Better get on… ~Four Weddings and a Funeral

Jack Twist I wish I knew how to quit you. ~Brokeback Mountain

Toulous Lautrec The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
~Moulin Rouge

William Parrish Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. If you don't start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I'm not hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you'll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven't tried, you haven't lived.
~Meet Joe Black

Harry I love that you get cold when it is 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
~When Harry Met Sally

Alex Whitman You're everything I never knew I always wanted. ~ Fools Rush In

Noah So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What’s it look like? If it’s with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that’s what you really wanted. But don’t you take the easy way out.”~The Notebook

Johnny Nobody puts Baby in a corner. ~Dirty Dancing

Jack Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me… it brought me to you … You must do me this honor, Rose. Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise. ~Titantic

Almasy Swoon, I'll catch you. ~ The English Patient

All of my ideas of love I've gleened from songs, movies and books. Because of that I have a sickness for which there is no cure, I am a idealistic, romantic realist...sure, all of those things don't seem to work together in one human being, but they exist and grow and are fostered by me and have made me the crazy person I am today. Happy Valentine's Day!!! It's Valentine's Day tomorrow and I can already feel the love! Go watch a romantic movie and have dinner with your schmoopie! J

Love's Mighty Touch

Happy Valentine's Day
Christopher Lee Hasty!!!


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