Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Books o' the month: The Jedi Academy Series

My computer is acting wonky and not letting me open picture files, grrrr.  Thus, the late posting.  But...better nate than lever!

The Jedi Academy series (image above is from Barnes and Noble) are wonderful and highly entertaining comic-style books for ages 8 and up and up and up.  Everyone in our household has enjoyed them.  Andrew, my eight-year-old son, could be heard laughing from down the hall while reading these books (including The Return of the Padawan and The Phantom Bully).  We can't wait for the next one!

If you haven't been already, stop by Some of a Kind for more super suggestions!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Books o' the Month: Anna Karenina and Go to Sleep, Groundhog!

Did you watch coverage of Punxsutawney Phil on February 2nd, Groundhog Day?  He did not see his shadow, so that means we are in for an early spring...right?  Riiiiiiiight.  Go to Sleep, Groundhog! is a sweet book about Groundhog Day, if you happen to be looking for one for grades Pre-K through 2.  How do I know this?  Because I am back in the classroom...for an average of two days per week.  I began substitute teaching at my son's school in September.  It has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be, which is a relief!  But...more on that subject at a new blog I just got the crazy notion to start up today.  Because I need more work to do.  That, and also, I realized after four months of substitute teaching that reflection is an important part of the job, just like with full-time teaching.  So, I'm going to be doing just that on a separate blog called Substitute Teaching Sundries.

If you are a student in the fifth grade class I subbed in this past January, you might remember to ask me which page I am on in Anna Karenina.  My answer would be an embarrassed "72," the same page I got to during silent reading in class that day.  I haven't even met Miss Karenina yet, for goodness' sake!  But, I will keep at it.  At least I own this copy, so will not have to return it to the library.  Have you read it?  Thoughts?

OK!  Now, please go visit Adrienne, because she always has interesting books to add to  your reading list!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book o' the Month: The Outlandish Companion Vol. 2

Want to find out what makes Outlander tick?  Author Diana Gabaldon has published the second volume of her Outandish Companion.  This book is packed with info and tidbits and highly opinionated essays.  Much fun!

What are you reading?  I'm on page 72 of Anna Karenina.  And I've got Demelza waiting for me.  And, and, and...

For more books to add too your wish list, jump on over to Some of a Kind for Turn the Page ... Tuesday (from three weeks ago, yes, I am posting WAY late this month!).

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Best Day of the Year

Isn't the day after Christmas one of the best days of the year?

If you are like me (lucky you), you spend the bulk of Christmas day in the kitchen.  After having spent several days before Christmas preparing for the show.  It is a show, right?  And moms--mostly--put it on.  We decorate, we shop, we put on classroom parties, we shop, we clean, we shop, we work, we shop, we wrap, we run to the store for one last little thing and return home having forgotten toilet paper.  And during all this we keep on doing all the regular things that take up nearly all our waking hours already.  Yes, I'm complaining a little again.  Or, as a dear, understanding friend told me,"being real."  The same friend who offered me a bottle of homemade Irish cream.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

But, back to the post at hand.

Today is the day after Christmas (which went quite nicely, after all).  The house is pretty clean (since I did the dishes last night--I mean, why leave the kitchen?), the relatives have gone, the kids are occupied.  Can we all just breathe a collective sigh of relief?

With me, now:  inhale, one, two, three, four, exhale.

Hubby and I even got the kids out for a nice little walk.  I don't think I had been outside in two days.  It felt great.

This morning I was thinking, again, that Christmas is for children.  The show is for the children.  As a mom, Christmas is all about giving.  If I think about it that way (and have a glass of wine) I can get through it.  Time spent with Hubby preparing the feast he wants to eat, cooking for my kids and relatives.  Energy spent getting the things in place that need to be there for the show.  Giving (that's what the namesake of Christ-mas was all about, after all).  It's not about me.

But today?  I got a little something.  I watched Holiday Inn--in the living room with the rest of the family!  They even watched it a little, too.  I may make fans of them, yet.

Each year, I focus a little more on Winter Solstice as my own quiet celebration of the season.  It makes sense to me and brings me comfort.  This year I was able to observe and reflect and I spent some time writing down some thoughts and ideas for next year.  It is evolving for me, and that feels nice.  I'll leave you with a photo taken on that day, another one of the best days of the year.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Books o' the Month: Ross Poldark and The Luminaries

Did you watch Poldark last summer?  I loved it, and even got the hubby to watch with me.  Ross Poldark is now one of my favorite literary heroes (also, JAMMF).  Aidan Turner plays his character in the TV series and I have so enjoyed having his image in my mind while reading Winston Graham's novel.  Sure, I know how it's going to turn out (assuming the series follows the book--I haven't actually finished reading it yet...busy, you know!), but the books are always better, right?  Plus, there are twelve more in the series!

I have been reading The Luminaries for a while now.  It is an intricate book, one I would like to sit down with for an hour or more at a time in a comfy spot with a hot beverage.  This is an exceedingly rare scenario for me.  I am going to have to return it to the library in five days, since I have already renewed it twice.  I tried to read it in the Jury Assembly Room that day I killed seven hours waiting to be called, but I only got so far...

I'm thinking about reading A Christmas Carol to my kids this month.  What do you think?

Check out more great reads at TTPT today!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Many Days 'Til Christmas?

Funny Christmas Party Invitations | Retro Woman
I saw the image above on Pinterest just now and was inspired to write a blog post.  So, I Googled "days until Christmas" and got this: http://www.xmasclock.com/.  There are thirty-seven.  

(I also found this, which seems way more exciting to me:  http://www.howmanydaysuntilstarwars.com/.)  

But back to the topic at hand.  

I am kinda sorta getting in the mood this year.  Fall hit about two weeks ago and it has been COLD (which, where I live, means days in the mid-50s to 60s and nights near freezing).  I actually walked into REI and bought myself a down parka right off the rack (I got the Urban Navy Blue and I like it just fine--four stars!).  I still feel guilty that it wasn't on sale.  And I told Hubby he doesn't have to get me a Christmas present because of it (he still will).  But now I am warm at Valerie's swim practice.  From 6-7pm.  In the dark.  Four nights a week.

Yeah, so it's been cold.  And we've had rain, which seems like a good thing, but:  http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/11/16/1450700/-El-Ni-o-Does-Something-It-s-Never-Done-Before-Watch-Out-California?

I'm kinda sorta getting scared and am always checking how many gallon bottles of water we have on hand, and thinking about flashlights and batteries and non-perishable food.  And wishing that we could use the fireplace without it just filling the house with smoke. 

So, I like that Target didn't put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween this year.  I have heard that Nordstrom is doing the same thing.  Also, REI is closing on Black Friday.  I like this let's not diss Turkey Day attitude.

Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday before my grandfather became ill with colon cancer and we stopped having it at his house.  I was twenty when he died, and the holiday has never been the same since.  It became a foster holiday shuttled around to various locations.  Poor Thanksgiving. 

But, Christmas.  What I have liked most about it in the past is giving handmade gifts.  But, I just don't have the time like I used to.  I also like the table linens.  And after, I like finding decorations on sale.  But Christmas morning present opening and disappointment and complaints and ungratefulness?  That just makes me want to stick my head in the oven with the prime rib.  

Except, I'd rather not go into the kitchen at all.  I'm all for going out to eat.  Or...a friend of mine said Whole Foods does a good meal:  https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop/MRY/2721.  Looks good to me!!  Maybe Hubby will go for it this year.  I can hope.  

Whatever happens, I will likely have my first glass of wine at about 12:30p.m.  Thus, the image above.  And, if I can find it, I will totally rock that wig/hairdo.

My Christmas, this year, will come on the day Hubby, the kids, and I go to see...http://www.starwars.com/the-force-awakens/.

(Disclaimer:  I am in kind of a mood today.  Yesterday I spent seven hours waiting around for Jury Duty.  Luckily, when I finally got called, the judge kept our group for a total of ten minutes before excusing all of us.  And today...I had to skip my run because Andrew is home sick.  But, we are learning all about the solar system, so that is a pretty awesome way to spend the day.  So, closing on a happy note, here!)

(Above image is at http://www.retrochristmascardcompany.com/funny-christmas-party-invitations/)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Books o' the Month: So Wide the Sky, The Stranger in Big Sur, Big Sur Women

How did I manage to read three books in one month?  Not sure, but I did.  All three are pioneer-type stories.  So Wide The Sky by Elizabeth Grayson was inspired by the true story of Olive Oatman.

The Stranger in Big Sur, published in 1942 by Lilian Bos Ross, is the fictional tail of a mail order bride who comes to live on a ranch in 19th century Big Sur.  There is a film based on the book called Zandy's Bride, which I am waiting on from the library, so details to come.  

Big Sur Women includes more information about Lilian Ross, who lived there, along with vignettes about other women who made/make that beautiful, rugged place their home.

Now, I'm heading over to Some of a Kind to see what Adrienne's been reading.  Come along!