Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 08

[Source]
Several months ago I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

A Book Everyone Should Read At least Once


Um, I can't just give you one book, so you're getting 15, but, hey, they're in order...mostly...


1. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
2. Love Story by Erich Segal
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. The Stranger by Albert Camus
5. Beloved by Toni Morrison
6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
7. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
11. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
12. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
13. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
14. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
15. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien


Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Naked male insecurity really leaves me cold..." or Welcome to Modern Times Cowboys

The other day I watched (as I'm sure many of you did) as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader (Melissa Kellerman) got pummeled by a football player. I thought it was hilarious, handled well and reminded me of being a cheerleader many years ago getting knocked over by basketballs and players alike. 


I sighed, I laughed, I moved on to more stuffing and pumpkin pie...and, then I saw this:

Click on image to be taken to link
My journalism teacher nose smelled a story and did a little research, in fact the Twitter feed that Chase refers to no longer exist, my blogger brain responded...first I posted this onto my Twitter feed, I did the same for my Facebook account and I emailed it to a couple of friends.


I think that Mr. Chase brings up a couple of points that should definitely be addressed, especially when it comes to the use of social media.

1] Timing is everything.
To get a good news story, you really must be in tune to the way the world works, and that means you must be on Twitter and that means you must use social media sites to your advantage. Minneapolis journalist Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) talked about this in a break-out session I attended at the JEA/NSPA Fall Convention in Minneapolis (#hsjMN) last week. His story was about the fact that WCCO got an exclusive interview with family all from a simple question he tweeted about an unidentified hit and run victim. 


In today's world journalist don't have to do much research to find a story, they just have to be plugged in and willing to communicate. I mean look, somebody took a screenshot of Kellerman's tweets and it just took the proper eye and the proper angle to make this into a story. She still gets her 15 minutes and The Cowboys image takes a beating; I hear it's already taken several and could have used the positive spin.


2] In this day and age you can't really silence anyone.
Jerry Jones and others in charge of The Cowboys. "Welcome to modern times." Forcing someone to delete and/or not be allowed to do [fill in the blank] just makes someone else pick up the torch. It takes something small and innocuous and turns it into a rally cry and a cause that can be seen and heard by millions forever. As Chase says, "This should have been a win-win for everyone involved. Witten looked chivalrous when he helped up Kellerman, she became endearing with her laughter and positive attitude. Both the franchise and the cheerleaders looked good after this. Now, only Kellerman does."

And, just look at what the Twitter collective is saying #MelissaRae or @MelissaRae to read all of them. My favorite being "She did nothing wrong...FREE ", 23 more Tweets about this girl, popped up as I typed this.

3] Today's media frowns upon hypocrisy.
I've been looking all over the Dallas Cowboys and Cheerleader sites trying to find where it says that Cheerleaders can't have social media accounts. I found some interesting rules about how they store our information, a rule about drinking in uniform that I still find amusing, and some interesting facts about Melissa Kellerman, but no rules about social media. Chase points out, "Do the Cowboys believe cheerleaders are only to be seen, not heard? Hardly. The team allows cameras to record cheerleader auditions for a reality show on CMT. It's alright when the team controls the message but not when a cheerleader begins to get a following and has the stage to herself?"



OK, so I'm not sure how Darren Rovell got wind of the account being deleted in the first place, and, even if Kellerman leaked the story herself, I'm not sure I care. It's a story that needs to be heard. I just hope that this four year Cowboy cheerleader stills makes the cut if she tries out for a 5th season.


______________________  


Oh, and the quote in the title of this post comes from "The Cutting Edge", one of my favorite movies of all time. It's the New Year's Eve part where Doug and Hale are subtly fighting over Kate by puffing up, trying to prove who's better at what. Watch that scene closely, while it seems the fiance, Hale, wins, as he's the one who leaves with the girl. It's the guy quietly laughing, who gets her in the end. I think there's a lesson there...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paper Crafts For the Holidays...

In looking for a craft to make for Christmas presents for my department I found these lovely gems...

d.Sharp Journal
*Santa Beard
*Paper Angel
*Snowman Garland
*Paper Bird Ornament

Holiday Paper Star Ornament from It's A Gift
Holiday decorating using left over wrapping paper from Frugal Design Girl
Paper Snowflakes from ellinee
Bird Tree Trimming from Living the Swell Life
Cardboard Star from Sitting At Your Kitchen Table
Framed Ornaments from Country Living

I chose...

[Source]

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five: Leftovers

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 Friday5


From Friday 5...This week’s questions would have been included in past Friday 5s if they had been Friday 6es. 
 Leftovers
  1. Leftover from April 17, 2009:  What’s a creature comfort (practically unnecessary) you must take with you on an overnight trip in the great outdoors?  Please consider a phone something that has practical necessity!
  2. Leftover from August 31, 2007: What did yesterday cost you?  <– Thanksgiving in the U.S., but answer it for wherever you are and whatever you did!
  3. Leftover from January 25, 2008: What was your excuse the last time you were REALLY late for something?
  4. Leftover from February 18, 2011: What was your first online purchase?
  5. Leftover from December 25, 2009: Which of your gifts do you think you do not put to its best, fullest use?


Answers

1. A generator...for a TV...lamp...DVD player...OH WAIT! I never camp outdoors.
2. I'm not really sure. I bought some stuff, but so did my mother and my aunt and my sister...good stuff. I guess it may have cost me my sanity...hehehehe...
3. I am really late all of the time, I do not make excuses...excuses are for babies! *big grin*
4. A book...I know you're shocked...I looked all over for it and found it online at a used bookstore, that was when I knew the internet would be just a bit of all right.
5. My ability to sing, my ability to draw...hmmm, my ability to write...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Cornucopia coloring pages...I used to love coloring these things!!!






Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So Many Actions to be Thankful for..

So, someone on Twitter RT'd this lovely post from The Good Men Project called "'Thanks' Is an Action Word, check it out here.

I thought I'd make own list of thankful moments with family and friends.

***

I enjoy those nights I come home from a long day at work and Christopher is cooking dinner (which means he not only dropped her off, but he also picked her up from daycare) while the kiddo plays with her toys in the dining room floor. I like that at these times I feel that I have a truly Modern Man who understands that I work just as hard as he does.

***

Over the summer my aunt, sister, eldest niece, daughter and I went to the lake for a swim. After the initial detox from the drive, we ate cookies and swam around.

Somebody mentioned that we should take a hike up to this natural spring, so in our wet suits we took off. Chris put Lila on his shoulders and the rest of us just kept pace after them. We helped each other climb over rocks and through crevices to emerge by the spring. There we peacefully talked about the birds and hunted for the turtles swimming in the moss. We probably hiked for about an hour in the heat of July and no one complained about the weather, or being wet, or the walk. It was one of the best times.

***

Listening to my mother singing and talking to the little ones before I really want to get out of bed. Even though she is a yeller, a trait I picked up from her, she has such patience and sings request, tells them stories and pretty much occupies their time in a way that I am only learning. She doesn't mind getting into the play, let's them use her like a large body pillow and doesn't mind watching kid shows 24-7, what more could you ask for in a grandmother or a mother. Oh, and she makes breakfast to boot!

***

When I first started dating Chris, we went to Springfield with some friends. We left a candle going in the living room and we came back to a living room in flames and a house full of smoke. After the fire department left there was quite a mess, I called our friends and within 24 hrs. we had food, cleaning supplies and manual labor to get the house back in order. While the house isn't all the way finished (Chris has done all the remodeling himself and the back workroom still needs work), I don't know what we would have done without the initial work of cleaning walls, dusting and furniture removal from our very good friends.

***

A couple of weeks ago a belt fell off my car, while I was heading home. I got home, told Chris the sounds, from that he was able to tell me what belt, went into town to get said belt and replaced the belt in the dark, so I could have the car the next morning. I didn't even know that he did the last part until the next morning as the tiny tot and I had already gone to bed.

***

My sister, my mother, youngest niece and I traveled around Pennsylvania for a couple of days this summer. One especially great part the this Amish petting zoo, there is nothing cooler than listening to your mother squeal as she and the girls feed animals like llamas and Highland cows.

***

So, I talk a lot with the teenagers in my classes and I do so because I like them so very much and I value their opinions and insights into how to live in this digital age. One day I was talking to a bunch of girls (they've become my favorite type of group to talk to because I understand that in about 12ish years I will have one of these interesting mystical beings in my household), and we were talking about curfews and clothing and time spent with the opposite sex, I didn't realize how serious our conversation was until one girl said to me, "Wow, you're going to be an excellent mother to your teenage daughter. You get what we're talking about." I looked up, humbled and replied, "I hope to goodness I don't forget it." Another one piped up, "We'll come around to remind you." I love my job because of these moments.

***

I love picking up the kidlet from daycare. I love that as I'm walking in and talking to others I can see her ears prick up at the sound of my voice and I love that she can't wait for the little gate door to be opened so she can come out and hug me.



Sometimes we're just thankful for our new Dora kitchens!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Gettysburg Address...148 years later...

I don't know if you all can tell, but I really love myself some United States of America...really. So, when my friend told me it was the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address I had to take some time to write about it.

When I was in 4th grade I had to memorize this speech. I remember sitting in the living room, at the kitchen table, lying in the tub reading the words from our Encyclopedia Britanica over and over and over. At the time I didn't really understand why we had to memorize it, frankly, I didn't really even understand all of the words, but now, as the words echo in my mind, I can't help but think about how important the words of this speech are to all of us.

In this 2 minute speech we begin to see the makings of our modern America. No matter what we say or what we do, we believe and fight for the fact that all men are created equal...and, we do not/cannot forget those that sacrifice their lives to insure this equality.
     Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.   
    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
     But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
~Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Five: Moving

Friday 5 has moved!!! Click on the link for the new site!
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 Friday5

Moving

  1. When did you last move residences?
  2. What song leaves you completely unmoved even though it seems everyone else is moved by it?
  3. On what kinds of mornings is it easiest for you to jump out of bed and get moving?
  4. What object do you get most annoyed about when people move it without letting you know?
  5. In what way are you waiting on someone else to make a move?
Answers

1. When I got married in 2009
2. Anything by Adele...sorry Adele fans, I can't relate to her pain at all...at all.
3. Mornings after I've had a great night's sleep.
4. The scissors, I can never find scissors in this house!!!
5. It seems that at work, I always have to wait for someone else, so I can do something else. And, in marriage I think that you are always waiting...it's good to wait, it teaches patience. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Category)

         From Booking Through Thursday:

[Source]
Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre?
Is this also the category that you actually read the most?

[Source]
     Well, I mostly read fiction and I mostly own fiction. Although, I read more non-fiction now than I ever did, it wasn't as hard for me to complete the non-fiction challenge as I thought it would be.
   Of all the fiction categories, I suppose I could try to separate it into adult and young adult, but then I think we'd be 50/50 in the type of books I read. That is to say I think I read as much adult fiction as I do young adult fiction. So, I can narrow it down to fiction across adult and young adult and from there it gets really blurry. I love science fiction, I love fantasy, I love contemporary teen books...frankly, I just love any story from any genre as long as it's a good one. And, I own books in all of these categories!




Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 07

Several months ago I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

When the main character dies in some sort of freak accident totally unrelated to the rest of the plot of the book. This usually happens in books by Nicholas Sparks or in that stupid book One Day, read all about how I feel about that here.





Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hoorah, another Fins book and more mermaid tales!

I absolutely love whoever is designing the covers to these books by Tera Lynn Childs.

And, if you've forgotten how much I love mermaids...click here.

And, here's a new mermaid adventure I found while on Twitter...

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Website: http://www.byannabanks.blogspot.com
Twitter: @ByAnnaBanks


On Goodreads: Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish. 

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.



And, finally, a delicious list from Goodreads

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"A Way Back When" Saturday...





Gotta raise the kiddo right you know!

What are your favorite shows from way back when?

50 Books in a Year: Book #48 Cowboys and Aliens

So, I bought Cowboys and Aliens because I need to read a graphic novel for Geek Girls and didn't want to start the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, they sound more like a summer project to me...

I was not disappointed in this story, but it isn't my favorite one out there....first of all...it's pretty darned short, I mean I read it in about 30 minutes, that short. I'm not sure who the target audience is, but surely graphic novel readers, myself aside, were unhappy that this book didn't take very long to read.

I do like the story though even if it is the usual Us vs. Them with a little romance. I like the melding of 1800s Wild West and the new frontier. When we all band together the United States can kick butt no matter what time period. I'm pretty sure I'll like the movie loads more (if the graphics are as fun as they were in the book), it's gotta be longer than 30 minutes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Five: What to Take

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 Friday5.org


What to Take

  1. What do you usually take to the beach?
  2. What do you find essential for a trip to the mall?
  3. What’s something you take to the ballgame?
  4. What do you take to the movies?
  5. This one may not have broad enough a relevance, but what do you take when you go to the symphony?

Answers
  1. A book and something to block out the sun...I'm not really fond of the beach.
  2. Comfortable shoes and money...a willingness to fight the maddening crowd.
  3. I don't remember taking anything to baseball games...don't want my pockets full of stuff, don't want to be responsible for a purse...I suppose, if we're watching a Cubs game in Chicago, a ticket for the 'L'.
  4. Money for popcorn, a date...
  5. A date, um...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (E-volution)

         From Booking Through Thursday:

E-readers like the Kindle and iPad are sweeping the nation … do you have one? Do you like it? Do you find it changes your reading/buying habits? If you don’t have one, do you plan to?

     As you all know I have had a Nook for a long time. I do enjoy it and it has changed the way I read, of course, blogging has also changed the way and what I read. Together they have ruined/made my reading world better.

Here's what happens:

1] Every once in awhile I type in 0.0 into the BN search all the books that are free pop up and I'll shuffle through those downloading whatever covers and titles tickle my fancy.

2] When a blogger author talks about their books going on sale for 99 cents in the eWorld, I'll find it and download it without thinking...what's 99 cents?

3] I love getting new books on the cheap, I love finding old books to download free or on the cheap...I love finding books, books, books...

I still bring books with me wherever I go, I still buy print books, sometimes I double up and get them in print and for the eReader, I have bought more books...I don't know if this a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm happy.




Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #46 Ishmael

Ok, so when I was in late college early high school teaching (1997-2002 approximately) I really liked New Age Philosophy and Christian Spirituality. I read books like The Celestine Prophecy, a lot of those little books by Og Mandino, Deepak Chopra, lots of Ayn Rand, The Purpose Driven Church and many others. Frankly, I ate them up. I think I was at the right age (still seeking my place in the world), in the right mindset (believing in God, but not in what people do in the name of Christianity) and looking for a way to still believe in God through all of the mess.

Fast forward about 10 years, one adult job, a husband and a kid later and you have me. Sure, I could take time to put my philosophy of life on paper, but I'd rather talk to you about this book, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Ishmael is a gorilla who speaks to this lost soul of a man about man's greatest sin; thinking that we are top dog on the mountain of life and assuming that because of that fact, the world was made for us and only us.

A friend recommended it to me and raved about it so much that I started it that night (God Bless the power of the ereader). After about 40 pages, I definitely got what was going down, after about 70 pages I got bored at the gorilla baiting and debating with the man to give him clues about how to live, after about 90 pages (note how long it took me to read the book--months), I felt that Ishmael was beating, over my head, something I already got.

One day my friend wanted to talk to me about the book. I, of course, trashed it. I hated and still hate the rather abrupt ending, I don't see the point of learning from a telepathic gorilla and I get that we are destroying the world...I've stopped some of those rotten things I do, really! I don't really want to stop others, unless forced. I compared this book to other such books talking about how they were better. He listened to my rant and then said, "Well, I read this in college and it changed my whole life, it's one of the reasons I hate Christianity and have turned from religion because all religions are man made and flawed." And, that's when I got it, you see there's this whole part in the book about how in the name of Christianity we aren't doing good works and in the name of Christianity we are destroying ourselves and the world, at least that's how my adult, already formed my spiritual foundation, brain took it; because of this book Christians should be better Christians. He just remembered how this book said that Christians are destroying the world. I asked him to read it again with his adult brain and began to recognize that this book a] is in some way the background of me, if I'd read it in college when I was reading all that other stuff maybe, I too, would have come to the same conclusion and b] this book has way more power than I thought, you just have to be at the place in your life when you are building up or tearing down your foundation. I'm just glad that while I was reading all the books I listed above and more, I was still going to church and able to see how it was what people were doing to and in the name of Christianity not Christianity, itself that was the bad guy.

I'll be sure to never underestimate talking gorillas again.

3 Stars
Photobucket 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday essays


To complete my essay challenge, I'll be writing about five wonderful holiday essays.

(sure I should have written about this last month...but, who has time!? And, I figure if Christmas can encroach on Halloween then...)

From the blurp in front of the essay, "Because he is an acknowledged master of [horror fiction], his thoughts on why people love horror movies offer an unusual insight into this question. King also gives us a unique glimpse into why he himself creates horror."
I think that we're all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better--and maybe not all that much better, after all. We've all known people who talk to themselves, people who sometimes squinch their faces into horrible grimaces when they believe no one is watching, people who have some hysterical fear--of snakes, the dark, the tight place, the long drop...and, of course, those final worms and grubs that are waiting so patiently underground.
Why it's perfect for the holidays?
Um, there's an excellent dead baby joke that you can use to frighten your friends and family. You get to tell people that they're crazy if you catch them picking their noses and, most importantly, you get to feed your inner gator.
How I use it in my classroom?
I have my students do an in-class write using this essay as a prompt. They answer four of the questions at the end of the essay (if you want those questions check out the McGraw-Hill Reader from 2002) while incorporating their view of the horror film genre. I then take this cold read and response and let them flesh out an essay that is to be taken home and typed.

Lost in the Kitchen by Dave Barry

Dave Barry knows he doesn't belong in the kitchen, but he really does want to help, really, well mostly as long as helping doesn't interfere with the game. He also has some great insight into what really happened with the advent of women's lib.
Men are still basically scum when it comes to helping out in the kitchen. This is one of the two insights I had last Thanksgiving, the other one being that Thanksgiving night must be the slowest night of the year in terms of human sexual activity. Nobody wants to engage in human sexual activity with somebody who smells vaguely like yams and is covered with a thin layer of turkey grease, which describes pretty much everybody in the United States on Thanksgiving except the Detroit Lions, who traditionally play football that day and would therefore be too tired.
Why it's perfect for the holidays?
Thanksgiving means giving thanks, but it also means...football, laziness and gluttony. All of these are shared honestly in this essay. And, oh my gosh, if you have a brother/father/male friend/husband/son you can in some way relate, I promise you.
How I use it in my classroom?
I've never used this essay at school, but the lovely teacher who created the document I found is just begging me to do something with it. It's a short little thing that really packs a punch, hits home, makes me laugh and a little perturbed and I would love to hear the discussion on this one! And, yes, if I was going to use this essay I'd either leave the first paragraph intact or I'd only use a couple of paragraphs to set the scene for something else, I would not edit it.
.

From Chris Radant's book, Home for the Holidays and other calamities, 22 stories about real life family and holidays.
It was the night before leaving for Pittsburgh, and Mom called to inform me that it was very cold there. I hid my shock well. After all, I lived in Boston and it was the end of November. I assured her I'd bring a coat. She told me she had called four times before and hung up when she heard 'that answering machine pick up'. In five weeks, it will be 1990 except at Mom and Dad's house, where 1956 will never end. Before she said 'see you tomorrow', Dad interrupted to remind me to get to the airport half an hour before my flight. He said they would be waiting for me 'with painted breath.'
Why it's perfect for the holidays?
Family, nostalgia. It's a perfect time to remember that our parents love us and are well-meaning and that sometimes when visiting family we have to take a deep breath and love them. This essay is also a perfect homage to sibling love and how they sometimes get us better than we get ourselves.
How I use it in my classroom?
I've used this essay in the following ways:
1] as a jumping off place to a holiday essay that the students have to write (I can send you the prompt if you really want it)
2] as an intro to the movie, which we then watch and compare and then write a holiday story (Creative Writing class)
3] I've read this essay out loud and then asked students to respond to it, it's a perfect beginning to a holiday break when you've finished something and don't want to really start something else, but you don't want to let the kids be idle either.
I highly recommend watching the movie is probably one of the first dysfunctional family movies that have been coming out every year since 1990, it stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Anne Bancroft and many more and it is directed by Jody Foster. My college roommates and I watched it in the theatre and it always makes me feel nostalgic for them and for the holidays.

Inside and Out by Lisa Widenhofer

In looking for a picture of her grandparents wedding, Widenhofer finds something much more precious and realizes that she is more like her grandmother than she thought.
It was another gloomy day on my Christmas break. This particular afternoon Mom and I settled down in the sewing room to search through a box of old photographs taken from Grandma's house. So many things had been taken from the house since she had moved into the nursing home that it was hard to get excited about going through yet another box. In previous boxes we had found junk jewelry, outgrown clothes and little baubles purchased on sale for some future Christmas.
Why it's perfect for the holidays?
Family, nostalgia. The holidays are a perfect time of year to remember the past and find a way to bring it to the present.
How I use it in my classroom?
I use this essay to open up the year. I ask the kids if they have something of value that has been passed from generation or given specifically to them to cherish and pass on. This year I received many wonderful answers including WW II survival knives and a rear-view mirror tenderly retrieved from a truck before it was sold. I use these to tie Widenhofer's essay to the lives of both boys and girls and how we all can feel nostalgic. We use our stories as a jumping off place to write our descriptive/narrative essays.

A Winter's Walk by Henry David Thoreau

The beautiful story of waking up to the surprise of a winter snow and then noticing those things around us that make nature beautiful no matter what the season.
The wind has gently murmured through the blinds, or puffed with feathery softness against the windows, and occasionally sighed like a summer zephyr lifting the leaves along, the livelong night. The meadow-mouse has slept in his snug gallery in the sod, the owl has sat in a hollow tree in the depth of the swamp, the rabbit, the squirrel, and the fox have all been housed. The watch-dog has lain quiet on the hearth, and the cattle have stood silent in their stalls. The earth itself has slept, as it were its first, not its last sleep, save when some street-sign or wood-house door has faintly creaked upon its hinge, cheering forlorn nature at her midnight work,--the only sound awake twixt Venus and Mars,--advertising us of a remote inward warmth, a divine cheer and fellowship, where gods are met together, but where it is very bleak for men to stand. But while the earth has slumbered, all the air has been alive with feathery flakes descending, as if some northern Ceres reigned, showering her silvery grain over all the fields.
Why it's perfect for the holidays?
Nothing like talking about Winter to get you in the mood for a delicious change of season. Read this with a cup of hot cocoa, all cozy covered up with blankets on the sofa.
How I use it in my classroom?
I've never used the whole essay, but I have used those two marvelous opening paragraphs as a prompt in getting my students to write about a season of their choosing. We talk about setting the scene with your words.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reading the Chunksters Read-a-Thon

Today is Guy Fawke's Day and The Reading the Chunksters Read-a-Thon on Goodreads. My first read-a-thon!


My goal for today:

Mists of Avalon 
p591-651

The Scarecrow of Oz
Chapters 1-3

A Repair Kit for Grading
finish and mark up, answer questions for faculty meeting

Various Articles and Essays
My Week with Marilyn the True Story
Home for the Holidays: A Survivor's Frightening Account
Why We Crave Horror Movies
Getting Aggressive with the Passive

Various Children's books, all Lila's call
Time for School, Mouse
Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Short Stories and Poems
The Lady of Shalott
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Rapunzel

Twitter: #RCRaT

Friday, November 4, 2011

The 15 Best U2 Songs

I'm sure that you can tell I'm not in the writing about books mood...I don't know where you all find the time to read, write about reading, live, work, Goodreads, FB, twittering...I am envious.

Here's something I am thinking about as I read L. Frank Baum...no, really I'm reading a book for one of my challenges right now, I'm not not reviewing...


The 15 Best U2 Songs posted here.
“With or Without You”
“One”
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
“Pride (In the Name of Love)”
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”
“All I Want Is You”
“Lemon”
“Bad”
“Where the Streets Have No Name”
“I Will Follow”
“The Wanderer”
“New Year’s Day”
“Desire”
“Miss Sarajevo”
“Gloria”

What do I think about this list? You ask, knowing full well, I couldn't leave it alone and have my answers...I'm with him on some, I've highlighted in red in my list below and have added a few others (can't believe there can only be 15!). Now, I'm sure the author picked his songs based on personal history, musicality et cetera in a way that I cannot, but here's my list.

What do you think? I do wonder what my list says about me...in the same way I wonder what his list says about him. I do know that my husband would agree with his list more than mine.

The 15 Best U2 Songs according to Stephanie
“With or Without You”
“One”
“If God Will Send His Angels"
“Love is Blindness"
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”
“All I Want Is You”
“Lemon”
“Bad”
"Where the Streets Have No Name"
“Walk On"
“Dancing Barefoot"
“Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own"
“Original of the Species"
“Miss Sarajevo”
“Acrobat"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Because I love cheesy, Christmas cheer!





It’s that time of the year! I’m hosting the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange once more (see the 2010 post here) and I’m hoping this year will go much more smoothly. Last year was fun but it took me forever to come up with partners; this year I’ve simplified things so hopefully I won’t have people getting more cards than they send out again.

Info

1. Sign up for the exchange by November 30, 2011.
2. Partners go out December 3, 2011.
3. You have until December 13, 2011 to send your card(s).
4. Since it’s a book-lovers card exchange you have to include something book-related in your card. Some ideas:
    a. Write about a book you’ve read recently.
    b. Give a few book recommendations to your partner.
    c. Tell a book-related story.
    d. Something else book-related that you think up yourself.
5. Since this is a book blogger holiday card exchange, you need to be a blogger who blogs at least sometimes about books to participate.
6. The swap is open internationally. Since last year I got a big headache trying to pair up people who did/did not want to send internationally, this year everyone must be willing to send internationally. Okay? Okay.
7. You can exchange up to five cards. You won’t always get a card from the same people you send your cards to. It will nevertheless be an awesome thing.

Some Things to Remember

1. You HAVE to send a card. A card is something like this. You can make it yourself or buy it at the store. Everything you write must be contained in the card itself. Letters are not cards. The card doesn’t have to be book-themed OR holiday themed (but it might be nice if it was). I would personally refrain from sending specifically religious-themed cards, because that sort of thing tends to offend people, even if you didn’t mean to offend them.
2. You HAVE to write something book-related in your card (see above). You can’t just say “happy holidays.” You COULD just write a list of books and that’s all, but I don’t think that’d be a lot of fun, do you?
3. You DON’T have to send anything else but the card, but if you want to stick in something else that’d be fine. A bookmark, for instance, would be really nice. Whatever you send: it has to be flat enough to fit in the envelope– no upgrading into package territory, here.
4. The most you should spend is $5. The point of the exchange is that it’s cheap enough for us money-less people to participate in, so everything should cost $5 and under. I don’t know if you can even buy a card that costs more than $5. Can you?

Quickie Privacy Policy

I’m doing this by myself, so I’m the only one who will see ALL the information. You partner(s) will be the only ones besides me who will see your address/email/etc. After the exchange is over all the info will be deleted.

Questions/Comments

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment here or email me about them! I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.
Also, please do spread around the link for this post! Feel free to take the graphic at the top of the post (if you click it there’s a bigger version) and post it on your blog, etc. The more people know about the BBHCE the more fun it’ll be!

Sign Up

Come join the fun here.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...