Thursday, September 30, 2010

Books, books, books

Books have been in my thoughts a lot lately.  I guess they will be since I plan on making the library my future career.  After reading some essays and speeches by a children's librarian, I felt I needed to expand my exposure to children's literature.  Actually, I love children's lit.  I prefer it over adult books.

There are many classical children's literature I've never read, so I decided it was time to start.

This week, I read Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  I loved them all!  OK, City of Ember isn't a "classic", but it was a fun read.  I saw the movie when it came out several years ago and I really liked it. The book, while a little slow in some places, was great.

I see why Heidi is such a loved book.  I had seen parts of one of the movies when I was a kid and I just wasn't interested in the story at all.  The book is lovely.  It just made me want to hop on a plane to Switzerland and go climb the Alps.

The Phantom Tollbooth is fun and interesting.  I was first introduced to The Phantom Tollbooth through the old movie that was made in the 60s.  No, I wasn't alive in the 60s, but it must have come on television at some point and my sister and I loved it.  It's a fun movie and really sticks to the books quite well.  Of course, not everything that our hero, Milo, does in the book is put into the movie, but what is there remains true to the book. You learn a lot and you learn the importance of learning. I never knew what a dodecahedron was until I saw The Phantom Tollbooth

The current children's book I'm reading is Mary Poppins Dr. P.L. Travers and Mary Shepard.  I'm only one chapter in, but it's quite different from the beloved Disney movie.  I look forward to reading it more. 

My son recently found a book called Five Alien Elves by Gregory Maguire.  It is most certainly not a classic, but it looks like very funny reading.  I'll be diving into that book soon, too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random photos: Sept 2010

Once again it's time for random photos!  I know everyone is celebrating at the news.  The title of the photos on display  is "What in the World?"


What in the world is this? It's a drawing by me.  I know, it's pathetic.  I would love to be able to draw, but I just can't.  Zero talent.  At least, you are able (I hope) able to tell what it is.
It's a cottage in a thick forest with a river running along side it.  I don't think you can see the river well in the left corner.  Do you hear the first song when my blog comes up?  If you look at the player at the bottom of the page, the song is called Explore 5.  It's real name in the soundtrack is called "Separation".  It's one of my favorite songs.  It's really quite sad, but this is the image that comes to mind when I hear the song.  At one time, in a life long, long ago, I must have lived in this cottage.  It was small, surrounded by trees, grasses, and flowers and a stream ran close by.  I feel like I've been torn away from that life and am currently in the one I have now.  This image is a part of me and for now I'm separated from it.  I hope heaven looks like this (but better than my silly drawing).

Next picture:  Again you are probably asking, what in the world is this?  They are cookies.  As a younger person, I was able to make the most wonderful cookies.  Now, they are flat, flat, flat.  It's hard to properly bake cookies when they come out flat, because they are usually always too crispy.  Baking friends, what am I doing wrong?  I just can't make cookies anymore.  Other baked goods turn out well, but not cookies.

Last picture:  What in the world?  They are fried pickles.  Yes, I said fried pickles.  It is late September, and the greatest state fair in the USA recently opened: The State Fair of Texas!  Among their culinary delights is this nifty treat, fried pickles.  Oh how I love them.  I pulled out our deep fryer recently.  Every time I've fired up the fryer, I throw in a hand full of flour-battered pickles.  Yummmmmy! 

I hope you enjoyed today's show.

lovely mornings

Sing with me now:

Oh what a beautiful morning!  Oh what a beautiful day!

The day started down right cool today.  It was so wonderful.  I've had the windows open in the living room.  The cat is in heaven when I have the windows open.  He has the funniest way of sitting in front of the window.
You can usually find him in front of the window this way.  It's pretty funny

The sky is clear as a bell (from the front window anyway).  My rock yard glistens in the sun and a light breeze is blowing.  The air is still on the cool side, even though it's noon now.  My thermometer says 79.  I love it!!!  Can it stay like this everyday?  Oh how I wish it could.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Recently a person I know hurt my feeling.  She called me un-virtuous and said I was insulting her.

I think both comments are untrue.  What started was this person was complaining about her home-based business (a Pampered Chef like business that requires parties and catalogs to sell) wasn't doing well.  I commented it's a tough economy.  This person went off about how I was just trying to bring them down and insult the business.  I didn't mean to insult them or the business, but no matter, the economy's tough and if I've got a little extra money to spend on something fun, I'm careful about what I choose.

At first I was thoroughly furious.  HOW DARE SHE?  After a while, outside, hanging my laundry on the line, I realized I could not be insulted.  Obviously there is more there than I'm seeing.  She can feel however she wants towards me.

I'm not perfect.  Not by a long shot.  But, I try hard to be a good person.  I try to be virtuous.  I guess I haven't succeeded in that, but I'll keep trying.  So, for any of you out there who might read this, if I have insulted you, I'm sorry.  I hope you will forgive me and in return, I'll work hard to forgive those who have insulted me, directly or indirectly.  I guess that's about all anyone can do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Homeschool Review Week 1

The first week of homeschool went great!  What a smart girl I have.

She has a couple of workbooks that she works in each day.  They have basic grammar, writing, and reading skills.  We are flying through the pages.  It's good as it is giving me an idea of what she knows and what we can work on.  She catches most concepts quickly.  The ones that give her trouble, we will work on those until she gets it.

In math, we've just been doing math worksheets - addition and subtraction.  I've showed her how to add double digit numbers.  One kind of addition graph we tried was very difficult for her.  She never really did catch on.  We'll try that again next week.  We've discussed ordinal numbers and skip counting.

We've started the Cuisenaire Rod lessons.  The first few weeks are just getting acquainted with the rods.  All the kids have really enjoyed this.  They have built 3D shapes and 2D pictures.  She created a robot with the rods and called it Jene (pronounced Jean).  She wrote a long, elaborate story about Jene. 

For science, we started with something fun - the 5 senses!  She spent most of the lessons blindfolded as I held various things under her nose to smell, placed foods and spices on her tongue to taste, put objects in her hands to feel, and made noises with different objects for her to hear.  Today the blindfold was put on her and I told her to go wash her hands in the bathroom.  She had to feel her way there, find the sink, the soap and the towel.  She walked into the living room and sat down in the rocking chair and then she joined me on a walk to the mailbox.  There was a lot of laughing and a lot of bumps into things.

She started learning some cursive writing.  It is something she has been attempting to do for several months.  This week she learned i, t, l and e.  They are the four easiest letters to learn.  She writes them beautifully!  Then I have her write words like, "lite", "ellie", "till" and "elite".  She is doing extremely well. 

We made a trip to the library, went on a number of walks, and made several trips to the new park that just opened in our neighborhood.  It's been a very busy week.

I don't have next week's lessons planned out yet.  I'll work on those later....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Expanding my capabilities

There was a time in my life when my brain didn't function beyond 10 o'clock.  I couldn't think straight any longer and would head to bed.  When Hubby and I married, he was baffled by my early bird rising and I couldn't understand how he could be an night-owl and stay up until midnight every night.  It was a rough thing for me to accept.

I'm still an early riser and he still prefers to stay up late, but after becoming parents, we learned that our schedules were not our kids schedules.  That was really rough to learn.

Now, many years later, I'm finding my best time to get anything done is after the kids are in bed.  That's my best time to write, to do my school work, to bake something special, or to relax.  My brain is able to think beyond the ten o'clock hour and thank goodness for that!  I'd never get anything done!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Updated Weaving Blog

I got a new camera (it's cheap and doesn't take the greatest pictures, but a cheap camera is better than no camera).

I updated my weaving blog with a few pictures:
Inkle and Weave

What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Test of technology

To be able to sign up for my next classes next semester, I'm required to take and pass a computer literacy test.  I downloaded a practice test yesterday and couldn't pass it.  I was shocked by the questions.  I not I'm not the most tech savvy person, but I didn't think I was that illiterate.

What's wrong with me?
I started to think about it and realized there are good reasons for me having a difficult time with this:
- I don't text, I don't have an iPhone or any PDA.  My cell phone is just that - a phone.

- I'm slow to join in many of the latest social networks.  I never MySpaced.  I eventually joined Facebook and last night, I joined Twitter.  I don't know what to do with Twitter, but my second paper due in my library class is about social networks and their relevance to the library.  I can't write about one of the most popular social networks if I've never used it.

-I haven't been in the work force in 13 years!  When I worked last, we were using WordPerfect 6.0!  Most people didn't have cell phone.  There were no PDAs at all!  I had just learned to use the Internet.  Nothing was digital.  The copier I ran simply made copies.  Your options on the copier were lighter/darker, number of copies and start!

I've had no need to learn more technology that I needed at home.  Now I'm expected to take a test about programs I don't know about and try and figure out the purpose of gadgets I've never used.  My husband says not to stress, just study.  I'll study, but I'm still stressed.  I have to pass or I can't continue my program next semester.

No pressure.


I have to say, I'm not feeling all that positive about starting to homeschool my daughter.  I don't like feeling like this.  I 'm just being selfish, that's all.  It's not that having two kids at home means a quiet day.  Those two often fight, but it's really kind of peaceful after the other three kids and Hubby leave.  That quiet won't be the same with my daughter at home.  She's a talker.

I also enjoy a little more personal time during the day that I'll loose with homeschooling.

It was hard to send her to school today, for the last time this year.  As I watched her get on the bus I wondered, again, if I'm doing the right thing.  There are certainly some things about school that I can't offer here.

But I start thinking about the reasons I'm doing this.  It's for her.  I can offer her an education that she can't get in the public schools.  The schools must teach to the lowest denominator.  The slower kids need education too, but it's tough on those who are ready to learn more and can advance more quickly.  There are many reasons I'm doing this.  They are all for her.  That is what is most important.  My two little ones will benefit from her school instruction.

My daughter is excited.  That's reason enough.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've got so much to read!  Some of it in a fun way, some of it in a cumbersome way.

Fun things to read include:
The latest Names journal put out by the American Name Society. (Actually, I don't think I've completely read the last two)
Lord of the Rings and Philosophy - a birthday present.  I just read the Narnia and Philosophy and LOVED it
Summer of My Content - a gem I found in the church library

Some in the middle fun reading:
Social Software in Libraries
The Portable MLIS

Some I really don't want to read, but need to:
Library Ethics - yeah, as boring as it sounds
ABCs for Book Collectors

Toss in some Fairy Tales, Blues Clues books, and first grade level books and that pretty much covers my daily reading.

I think I'll get the kids in bed, turn on some quiet classical music, get comfy on the couch and do some reading.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Library thoughts

Now that classes have started, the library is constantly on my mind.  I might be doing a lot of library blogging over the next few years.  Just warning you now.

Last night I was listening to a few of this weeks lectures and reviewing part of last weeks.  The prof. mentioned how in the olden days of the library, card catalogs were in use.

Remember those things?  Actual card catalogs?  It seems so long ago that computers took over in libraries, but actually, it wasn't that long ago less than 20 years.  When I was in undergrad school, card catalogs were still in use at the university library.  There were some computers, but only a few at that time. 

I like how efficient computers are.  They make searching for books so easy.  But I think back to the elegance in the sight of those card catalogs and it makes me kind of sad.  Those beautiful large wooden bureaus with their many long drawers.  There was a flickering of fingers as one moved through the cards in search of the right one, a motion that has been lost as use of cards to store information has disappeared.  There was a smell about those dusty yellowed cards that was completely unique to a library.  It made the library more peaceful, I believe.  There were rows of books, card catalog bureaus, rows of desks and tables for study, and books were actually checked out with stamps.  An age of elegance was lost when the computer took over.

Now the libraries are filled with bright faced computers and the hundreds of wires that computers require.  More people sit at the computers rather than browsing the physical books.  They are nosier places and the unique smell is gone from the public library.  Last week, I had to go to a university library in search of a unusual title for class, and I was reminded of the smell of old, dusty books.  It was like I remember when I was a kid.

I have to say, I'm grateful for technology and that as a librarian, I won't have to check out books by using cards and stamps, but the old-fashioned romantic in me misses the sophistication and graceful age of the card catalog.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


My last post was my 400th post!  Can you believe it?
It's a great reason to celebrate!

Know a greater reason to celebrate?  It's my birthday!

Yeah! Time to have a fondue!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Southern roots

I was born and raised in the great state of Texas.  Texas is part of the south, but at the same time, isn't part of the south.  I was raised with some southern traditions and without others.

When I was a kid, maybe even a teenager, I don't remember, I tried to wear a white skirt to church in the winter time.  My mother made me change clothes.  I learned the rule "Never where white before Easter or after Labor Day."  The rule stuck with me and I stuck to the rule, except for tennis shoes. (It's hard to find tennis shoes that aren't white, but I don't guess that matters too much.  I can't imagine a Southern Belle ever wearing tennis shoes to start with.)

I could tell the girls who weren't from the south when I was in college.  They would wear white during the time between Labor Day and Easter.  No decent southern girl would ever do that. When we moved to Hawaii, I learned they had never heard that rule before.  I guess when it's summer everyday of the year, you don't need winter clothes or winter colors.  I was part of a program at church one September and was told that we must all wear white dresses or white shirts.  How could I do that?  I would have to break the rule that I had stuck with for so long.  It was hard, but I wore a white shirt that September Sunday.

Since then, I'm a little more lax about the white rule.  While I'm still surprised to see women wearing white dresses in the winter time, it isn't quite as shocking.  As for me, I still avoid wearing white during the winter.

My husband says I'm silly and maybe I am, but there are some childhood lessons with Southern roots that have stuck with me and I will stick with them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Starting school

I'm finally working on a dream I've had since I was in high school.  I dreamt of studying Library Science.  Then, the year before I graduated, the college I planned on attending, got rid of their Library Science program.  I was really upset.  After doing some research, I realized very few schools were offering the degree.  So, I went on to study something else and put the dream of a Master's in Library Science on hold.

Skip ahead a few years, more than a decade, and I'm finally beginning that dream I wanted so long ago.  I'm starting my schooling for a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS).  I applied to the school I wanted and was accepted.  This being my first semester and first time doing an online course, I'm just taking one class.  After this semester, I'll take two until I graduate.

I've been pouring over the syllabus, reading ahead in my textbook and starting my research project that is due at the beginning of October.  Looking forward in the syllabus, I realized that I would need to read an extra book, assigned by the professor.  Our one and only public library in the city doesn't have it.  So, I've put in for an Inter-library loan.  It could take up to six weeks before they get a hold of the book.  This would be very bad since I need to have it read in three weeks. 

It's odd, I live in the second largest city in the entire state, and we have one public library and it's small as public libraries go.  Maybe when I get my degree, if I'm still living here, I should lobby for another library in the fastest growing part of the city.

So, I've been working hard on a class that hasn't started yet.  Next week, after Labor Day, my class officially begins.  I'm excited about all of this and terrified at the thought of what I'm taking on.  It's a lot of work and a lot of money and I've still got two little kids at home. 

If all goes well, I'll be finished in two and a half  to three years.

What to expect?

My daughter is in her third week of 1st grade.  Homework started this week for her.  In Kinder, she was given a packet of 4-6 pages of homework to be turned in on Friday.  Now, she is getting daily work to do and return.

So, what kind of homework does a first grader bring home the first day of school?

Preschool pages!

It's the exact same kind of work in my four year old's preschool book.  Matching shapes, big vs. small, and find what objects on this line start with the letter 'h'.  It's silly, I think.  I know they need to review before starting into the main work for the year, but really, preschool level stuff?

She should be doing things that she was working on at the end of Kinder.  Am I expecting too much for only the third week of school?  I'm really not sure what I was expecting for a first grader's homework, but it wasn't this.