Monday, February 25, 2013

Neurotic Bloggers

(Via the New Yorker)

*I fought the urge to close comments on this post!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Children's Lit Favorites, and Being a Student Again

1. The Amazing Bone; 2. The Girl Who Spun Gold; 3. Locomotion; 4. Grandfather's Journey; 5. Extra Yarn; 6. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

I mentioned before that I'm taking a course in children's literature at the college where I work. Higher Ed has lots of perks - not lots of money, but time off, a nice pace to the days, and the gift of working in an intellectual environment. Also, free classes!

I haven't been an official student since I graduated from college in 2006. And while I write and edit all the live long day, but that's very different than literary critique. We do things like think about Little Red Riding Hood from a feminist perspective, and examine the use of triangles in picture book illustrations. It's nerve-wracking and exciting to use my brain in this new way.

As an undergraduate, I was always a good student, but I remember it being a bit of game to see how little I could get away with doing and how quickly I could complete a decent assignment. Now I want to swim inside my reading assignments; mull over how to make my transitions strong but compact for my next paper. And I see elements of my class all over the place, like beer bottles or in Talk of the Town.

The class about a third of the way finished now, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite books from our reading list so far. We're doing many of the classics, too, but I skipped those in favor of newer or more obscure books that might be new to you (they all were to me!). Of the ones listed above, Locomotion is my absolute favorite. It is a stunning novel, written in verse, from the perspective of 11 year-old Lonnie. He's a character who stays with you, in the best possible way.

I'll try to remember to check in again at the end of the semester with more recs - we still have historical fiction, fantasy, and YA to cover!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The First Warm Evening of the Year

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

If you're looking for a bit of romantic literary fiction on this lovey holiday, might I recommend this? It's a love-at-first-site story set partially in the Berkshires. And! It takes place at the glorious start of spring. One of the characters is a landscape architect and gardener, and it is such a treat to read about things that grow this dreary time of year. 

P.S. Oprah liked it, too :)

This is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Embroidered Heart

Thanks to lots of time at home this past weekend, I went looking for a little craft to keep my busy. I found this darling embroidery pattern, and decided to give it a go. The fabric is an old Shabby Chic shower curtain from Target (no fabric is safe when there's a driving ban on).

I went the ultimate lazy route by holding the fabric up to the embroidery pattern image on my computer screen and lightly tracing it right from there. I also skipped some of the swirls and squiggles - I only know how to do chain stitches, so I did the whole thing using that, plus a few polka dot clusters.

Even with all these short-cuts, it's still pretty cute -- a perfect pre-Valentine's Day craft!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Menu

Peter's going to be on field trip in New York City Thursday and Friday (it was supposed to be last week, but they re-scheduled because of the storm). So he'll get to spend a very loving Valentine's Day tromping around Times Square with 80 ninth graders.

No matter, though. We're going to make our fun celebration dinner on Wednesday instead! Here's the proposed menu:

Plus, something bubbly. I actually dreamed that I "accidentally" bought a really great bottle of Champagne the other night, and my dream self was like, "Oh well! Perfect for Valentine's Day." So maybe that's my ESP kicking in?!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snowy Walk in the Neighborhood

For the first time since Friday morning, I left the house! It's gorgeous out today - bright blue sky, shining sun. There's still so much snow on the sidewalks that we mostly walked in the streets, ducking into driveways for any stray cars that passed. There's something disconcerting about walking in the middle of road for a rule-follower like myself, but it was so fun. And so nice to leave the apartment! Fingers crossed everything can open up tomorrow with a hitch.

Tonight we're heading out again to go down the street for a burger - I've already roasted a chicken and braised a pork shoulder this weekend, so it feels like a good night to go out. Hope everyone in New England survived Nemo all right! If you're still hunkering down, might I recommend this? It's awesome and intense.

Happy Sunday to all!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When, to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap:
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

P.S. Have I told you guys I'm taking a graduate course in children's literature? (One of the perks of working in higher ed!) This week we're studying poetry :)
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