Archive | March, 2015

Out of the Frying Pan….#SOL15

31 Mar

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The end of the Slice of Life Challenge means that NaPoWriMo is about to begin.

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NaPoWriMo,National Poetry Writing Month,  is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. My Literacy differentiation group actually started today, since we only meet on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Th kids groaned when I told them about NaPoWriMo. We talked about what poetry is and how you get to bend the rules sometimes. I showed them my previous NaPoWriMo journals, but refused to read anything out of it yet. I gave them their NaPoWriMo journal (just a cover page on a bunch of folded pages) and their first prompt: write a poem with a lie.

They knew they had to take some time to quietly think, then write. It took them a bit to get settled, but I could tell when it happened, when the grumblers had turned into poets.

When they seemed to be getting restless again I announced it was time to share. They knew that sharing would be optional but that I would share my writing. I just wouldn’t share it before they started. I read my poem from today:

I didn’t take your toy.

OK, I touched your toy, but I didn’t take it.

Maybe I took your toy, but I didn’t play with it.

So, I played with it a little, but I didn’t have fun.

It was sort of fun, but I wasn’t rough.

I guess I might have been a bit rough, but I certainly didn’t break your toy.

Honestly!

The kids laughed and a few volunteered. I read my poem form last year, and then almost everyone volunteered.

By the end, I think I had them all convinced it wouldn’t be too bad a month.

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Tundra Reading Club: The Highest Number in the World Reviews

30 Mar

Hey, Look, I’m quoted!!!!

Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Hi everyone!

It’s time to share the Reading Club reviews for The Highest Number in the World!

TundraReadingClubThe Highest Number in the World

The Highest Number in the World
Written by Roy MacGregor | Illustrated by Geneviève Després
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-5753

“MacGregor’s writing packs an emotional punch without relying on sentimentality…Expressive pencil drawings, brightened with color washes, perfectly capture the characters’ feelings…A memorable, intergenerational picture book perfect for sharing.”– Starred Review, Booklist

  • Adrienne at BooksandBassets likes that it’s about “girl power and historical context.”
  • Lee-Ann at Goodreads thinks the book does “a wonderful job at showing how if you look at disappointment a different way it is possible to see it as an opportunity to discover something else and just as thrilling.”
  • Mary-Esther at Sister’s Library calls it a “sweet story that warms the heart.”
  • Stephanie at The Nomadic Reader felt the story “resonated with [her] as a Canadian and of course…

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Connections #SOL15

30 Mar

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Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting via Google Hangouts with 9 people across the US. About 10 minutes after the meeting ended, I Skyped with my sister who lives in Canada.  All month I have been writing, sharing and reading slices with people all over the world.  It is amazing when you think about it.

In 1982, when I was 17, I left home to spend a year in Denmark as an exchange student. It took about a week to 10 days weeks for a letter to arrive. I only called by parents on Christmas because calls were so expensive. My parents saved all the letters I wrote and  still have them.

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In 1991, when I was 26, I moved to Colombia, where I spent 3 years teaching at an American school. Letters took 2 weeks. Since the phone was my responsibility, I called occasionally, but not often. It was still expensive.

When I moved back to North America in 1994, I got my first job that had this thing called e-mail and a connection to the internet.

Now, everyone is on the phone everywhere. I can talk to anyone anywhere, or send them an e-mail.

But I sort of miss letters. The anticipation. The reading and re-reading. The thought that something that touched my hand will soon be touching yours.

We have all the connections.

Some thoughts while listening to Lucia di Lammermoor

29 Mar

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Yesterday I stayed home and listened to the Met broadcast of Lucia di Lammermoor, the opera by Donizetti. It is a ridiculous story, loosely based on Sir Walter Scott’s  The Bride of Lammermoor, but it i was just the right thing for my last free day of Spring Break.

It was just the right thing to do. It gave me an excuse to stay home and begin working on the sweater I will knit for the Oregon Basset Hound Games this summer. I had this idea of putting a basset front view on the front of the sweater and a rear view on the back of the sweater. I discovered a tool that will convert pictures to knitting (and cross stitch) graphics called the KnitPro Chart generator. I played around with that for a bit, while Lucia and Edgardo pledged their undying love for each other.

While Lucia’s brother, Enrico plotted to wed her to Arturo, I got out the yarn and cast on. As I knit, I wondered, what Sir Walter Scott would have thought of this adaptation. That got me thinking about my all time favorite book: Les Miserables. I have never seen the play or the movie. I don’t plan on doing so either. I love the book too much to see it turned into something I might not like. Everyone thinks Les Miserables  is about the love story, but it isn’t. It is about forgiveness and repentance. Maybe that is in the play and movie, but I doubt it so I’m steering clear. I wondered what Victor Hugo would think about the play and movies. How knows, maybe he’d have loved them and I am just being a stick in the mud.

By the time of Lucia’s mad scene, I was madly knitting the ribbing. I may even have shed a few tears as the opera came to its terrible sad ending. But I was ready to begin the color portion of the sweater and the initial rows require a bit more concentration, to get things centered and set up.

I knit into the afternoon and have left things at a place where I can manage it once I go back to school and have less time to knit and read. Good thing the sweater doesn’t have to be finished until July!

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #7

29 Mar

It was a light week for the Hub reading Challenge, mostly because I finished 4 books for the Morris award. But I can’t tell you about those.

The only book I actually finished was The Young Elites  by Marie Lu. The first in a fantasy series.

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I have to be honest, if I weren’t reading it for the Challenge, I probably would have abandoned it. Lu has certainly created a rich fantasy world, and yet, it smacks a lot of the dystopian world she created in The Legend  series, which I liked more, though I didn’t love it.

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Both series have a disease. Both are narrated in alternating voices. Both have a characters on both sides of power and one of these characters goes over to the other side.

As much as I love things foreign and exotic, the names in this book drove me crazy. It is as though Lu sat down and asked her self, “What are the most pretentious sounding names I can think of for the characters in my new book?”

I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See now, a much better book. But more n that next Sunday.

Cooking with bassets #SOL15

28 Mar

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 “It is a truth universally acknowledged,

that a single cook in possession of a good recipe,

must be in want of a basset hound.”

In an effort to pursue my goal of having healthy lunches on hand, I went to the kitchen to make soup. The cook in The Tale of Despereaux  says “And when times are terrible soup is the answer.” She also goes on the say, ” There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it another heart to be warmed by it.” Kate DiCamillo, you are a poet.

And so, I found myself in the kitchen yesterday morning with a helper. Notice the active stance I had to take. There was no moving Fiona, who was hoping for some droppage. Here’s what she wanted.

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Yes, carrots and parsnips. As a kid, parsnips horrified me. As an adult, I find them delectable. I like them roasted and they make fabulous soup. Today’s soup was carrot parsnip. I started with a pot full of vegetable stock.

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Added the chopped carrots and parsnips, along with some salt and pepper.

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Brought it all to a boil, then let it simmer for about half an hour. At they point i took it off the heat and let it cool a bit before using the immersion blender. And voilà!

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Several lunches for the freezer. I did take a little taste and it is quite delicious. Take that high cholesterol and blood sugar!

Sleeping in on Spring Break #SOL15

27 Mar

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I am, by nature, a morning person. I am aware that this can be annoying to night people, so I try not to be too cheery too early around them. In school days, I generally get up around 5 to drink coffee and mess around on the computer, reading or writing, until it is time to get walk the dogs, get ready and go to work.

I had hoped to sleep a little later during Spring Break. Maybe get up around 6:30 or 7. Alas, Fiona did not realize it was Spring Break. Lucy don’t get up until she has to, or until she hears foods sounds emanating from the kitchen. Fiona is like a Swiss train, even during Spring Break.

So, I’ve been getting up a bit after 5 every morning this week. It will mean an easy transition back to work on Monday. And that’s a good thing, right?

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