Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Slice of Life: Librarians, Can You Answer my Pressing Question?

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

I wake up early, determined to create the Google Doc that will spring my book club students from class on Thursday for an informal chat with Irene Latham, visiting author to our middle school.

I make the mistake of opening my email.  

I read today's poem for The Writer's Almanac.

I head to the KCLS (King County Library System) page to see if they have the book this poem was selected from (there's that annoying preposition at the end of a sentence).

And this is what pops up when I search by title for Family Resemblances:  
  • Family Resemblance By Barrientos, Tanya Maria
  • Un air de famille
  • Mystical Tradition Judaism, Christianity, and Islam By Johnson, Luke Timothy
  • Lettercarving in Wood A Practical Course By Pye, Chris
  • Family Photo Detective Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries By Taylor, Maureen A.
  • Musical Instruments History, Technology, and Performance of Instruments of Western Music By Campbell, Murray
  • What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic By Ahmed, Shahab
  • Inherited Disorders Stories, Parables & Problems By Sachs, Adam Ehrlich
  • The Bite in the Apple A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs By Brennan, Chrisann
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to English Literature By Stevenson, Jay 
  • New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-2013 Ethics and Philosophy
  • Someday This Will Be Funny By Tillman, Lynne
  • Batman and Philosophy The Dark Knight of the Soul
  • Money, Myths, and Change The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men By Badgett, M. V. Lee
  • Morning Poems By Bly, Robert
  • Born Bad Stories By Vachss, Andrew H.
My library does not have the book.

But I have a pressing question for the librarians in my life:  Why on earth do all these titles pop up when my search was by title, and I entered Family Resemblances?

I can see the connections between some of these titles and Family Resemblances, but Lettercarving in Wood? Musical Instruments?  The Complete Idiot's Guide to English Literature?

This is not a healthy thing for someone as distractible as myself!

I should have just stepped away from the page.  My library does not have the book.

But no, I can't resist a quick scroll through the titles and I even request one of them.  

Look back, and see if you can guess which title I requested.*

I'm waiting for a librarian to answer my pressing question of the day.  

And now, my dear friends, it's time to create that google doc.

*Morning Poems by Robert Bly is the title I requested.  (And why, pray tell, does Morning Poems pop up when one searches for Family Resemblances?)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrate This Week: Poetry, Baby Boys, & Leaves!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres. 
                                                         When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

1.  It's moving day for my daughter!
We've been moving things gradually for two weeks. 
Yesterday we unpacked most of her kitchen,
 but today is the heavy box/ furniture moving day.  
I can't wait to see her new house begin to look more like her home.  

2.  It's only one week until Poetry Camp
and half a week until Irene Latham arrives in Seattle.
I'm excited for Poetry Camp at Western Washington University
and hope it becomes an annual event.  I'm not sure what the poets are doing at Western on Friday, but I hope it's spreading poetry love 
among all those undergrad teacher candidates.  
I met Irene at NCTE 2014 when my new friend
(who I met at the newcomer's breakfast),
Kim Dooele, introduced us.  Irene is 
presenting on Thursday at the school
where I used to teach and where I 
facilitate our after school book club.

3.  My grandson Teddy is 3 months old!

4.  Fall, my favorite season,  officially arrived on Wednesday!  
I captured this pic on a walk with my good friend, Jan.

5.  It's a boy!
Daughter Sara's ultrasound on Tuesday
revealed our new grandchild is a boy.
That evening I found this fantastic "new-to-me" title
in the book sale section of our library.
I am so in love with this book!
With hints of William Carlos Williams' 
poem "The Red Wheelbarrow," Alison
reveals how much depends upon
 a cardboard box in a boy's life.
I am enchanted with this book and
thrilled for our second grandson's arrival in February! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Poetry Friday: Embrace Festive Fall!

Head over to Reading to the Core 
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Catherine, for hosting!

I'm off to help my daughter this morning.  The moving truck arrives tomorrow.  It's a short move from the house they've been renting
(owner moved out of state and sold the house) to a townhouse.
I hadn't planned to post today, but then my favorite season arrived yesterday.

 I can't resist the call of sharing Douglas Florian's book Autumnblings,

one of the many poems I love in this book,
and the news I received this week from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  I won five copies of their newest book,
You Just Wait:  A Poetry Friday Power Book.
I can't wait to share this title with my middle school book club!

And I'm counting down the days until our school visit with 

Irene Latham next week and Poetry Camp
at Western Washington University!  Let me know if you'll be attending.
Maybe we'll meet while standing in line to buy books
or while waiting to get our books autographed.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Slice of Life: When You Meet a New Word . . .

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

When you meet a new word, you can be sure that you'll encounter it again soon.  There's something about that new meeting that makes you ripe for more encounters with the word.  I like to call it "the popcorn effect" - meet a new word and it's bound to begin popping up in other places.  I noticed it all the time when I taught sixth grade as we explored our weekly WOW (word of the week).  My students would come in excited to share newfound discoveries of our weekly words in their world.  "I heard arduous on a PBS special on mountain climbing."  "My math teacher said that half the class was stymied by the problem."  Usually we'd had time for three words by the time our parent night was scheduled in the fall.  I challenged the parents to use the words of the week in the note they left for their child.  It was fun to see the creative ways the parents would utilize arduous, perturbed, and plethora in their notes.

I recently met a new word, lagniappe, in Margaret Simon's post.  I had no idea how to pronounce it, so off I went to the computer to hear the pronunciation.  I liked this word so much that I jotted it into my notebook along with Margaret's definition "a little something extra," and the pronunciation (lahn yahp).  Imagine my surprise this past week when my husband showed me the following sentence in the Federal Income Tax textbook for a class he's teaching and asked if I knew the word "lagniappe."  

I grabbed my writer's notebook and told him that thanks to my friend, Margaret, from Louisiana, I had the definition and the pronunciation for this word!  I love how the reader can use the context clues to find the meaning.  There it is, right in the textbook, "something extra thrown in" just as Margaret had defined it for me in her post.  And this convoluted sentence from a law school textbook housed a lagniappe for me - one of our 6th grade words of the week, benevolence.  Even though I've been retired for two years, my heart still leaps when I hear or see one of our words of the week at work in the real world!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Celebrate This Week!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres. 
                                                         When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

1.  Tuesday - a birthday party for Roald Dahl!  
 Our after school book club celebrated by perusing Roald Dahl biographies,
playing Roald Dahl Jeopardy, and enjoying his 100th birthday cake
(picture to come, once I get all the parent permission forms returned).  
Who knew there were so many biographies of Roald Dahl? 
The two books on each end of the top row are newly published in 2016.
D is for Dahl was a classroom favorite until it disappeared one year.  
I want to read Michael Rosen's Fantastic Mr. Dahl.  Don't forget to check out 
BoyMore about Boy, and Going Solo - all penned by Dahl himself.

2.  Wednesday - a blue and yellow day!
The gorgeous blue sky on Wednesday distracted me from my "to do" list and sent me
off to a favorite spot for pics of blue sky and yellow leaves (with a touch of green)!

3.  Friday - sharing Walter Dean Meyers with sixth graders!
I subbed in a sixth grade classroom on Thursday, and we read "Jeremiah's Song" by Walter Dean Meyers.  In Friday's class, I shared my blog post from the 2012 National Book Festival where I was privileged to hear presentations from Walter Dean Meyers, Lois Lowry, and Patricia Polacco.   

4.  Listened to the debut Nerdy Bookcast"Books help teach us how to live!" 
Thanks to Teacher Learning Sessions for alerting me to this opportunity.  
And thank you Nerdy Books for another tool to spread book love!
I finished my second 9/11 book this week, Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Since the copy I read was an ARC, I'm anxious to check out
the book so I can see the artwork.  The other 9/11 book I've read was
Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin.  
Both books are excellent ways to begin a dialogue with 
middle grade readers about the events of 9/11.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Poetry Friday and Slice of Life: Six Hundred Posts!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness.  
Check out Michelle's response to Jane Yolen's 
DMC challenge in "No Words of My Own."
Thanks, Michelle, for hosting!

I responded to this month's ditty challenge from Jane Yolen for Tuesday's Slice of Life and for Poetry Friday with Michelle Heinrich Barnes.

"Write a poem in which reading and or writing is featured in the form of a septercet, a form I invented:

Each verse (as many verses as you want) needs to have three lines, each with seven syllables. It can be rhymed or not."

I quickly scanned my past six years of posts to find a post to write about from each year.  I won't tell you how long it took me to winnow the words and capture a post in 21 syllables, but it was a fun challenge.  You can click on the year if you'd prefer to read the wordier version.

Milestone reached - six hundred posts!
A writer born by blogging
This is where I found my tribe.

Journey launches five years ago
Enticed by Mother Reader's
48 Hour Book Challenge.

Sandra (former resident)
Touches red brick floor of porch
Where 4th grade self read and read.

It skipped a generation
but the sewing gene lives on
in daughter Sara who quilts.

I meander through raindrops
Stacey chooses to share my 
Windshield wiper ponderings

Visit home from east coast kids
A poem stretches to capture
Each hug and happy moment.

As tomatoes flourish I
Inhale essence of summer
and Daddy walks beside me.

A celebration of slices!

My journey continues with
Encouraging writer friends.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Celebrate This Week: A Poet's Birthday and Tree Pics

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres. 
                                                         When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Today is Mary Oliver's birthday.
The Writer's Almanac featured a few words about her life and philosophy.
And then Tara shared a post from
 Brain Pickings on what attention really means
(according to Mary Oliver),
and then I lost myself in Mary Oliver's poems
for far longer than I should have on a busy Saturday.

And I found this quote of hers that I love at Goodreads:
“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold,
ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11th, I can't help but think of the poems that serve as "..fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost..." for all who suffer.   I celebrate the poets I've met and the poems they send out into the world as a "life-cherishing force."  I celebrate my Poetry Friday friends who bring poems into my life each week.

And I celebrate trees.
I snapped this pic on our Labor Day hike.
And this pic was captured this afternoon
with the magnificent blue sky and a touch of fall. 
And so I'll close this celebration post with twelve 
wise words from the birthday girl, Mary Oliver:
"Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."
("Sometimes", § 4)

And gratitude to Ruth who created this space
for us to show up and share our weekly noticings,
astonishments, and celebrations.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poetry Friday: A Marriage of Poets

Head over to The Poem Farm for this week's round-up of poetic goodness!
Amy shares her poem "First Practice" which is featured in
Janet Wong's and Sylvia Vardell's new book, You Just Wait
Thanks, Amy, for hosting this week.

I loved the poem "Book-Heart" by Grace Nichols that I discovered in Book by John Agard.  Since I was not familiar with this poet, I requested Under the Moon and Over the Sea, a collection of Caribbean poems that I discovered when I searched for books by her.  It turns out that this collection was edited by John Agard and Grace Nichols.  It didn't take me long to discover that these two poets are married.  This anthology is a colorful collection of poems by more than fifty poets.  The poems beg to be read aloud with pages filled with wordplay, repetition, and  the musical Caribbean dialect.  The poems are divided into five sections, each illustrated by a different artist.  

I immediately recognized the work of a favorite illustrator, Jane Ray, in the section See Full Moon, Hear Jumbie Story.  That section included one of my favorite poems "I Like to Stay Up" by Grace Nichols.  The young girl in the poem loves staying up and listening "when big people talking jumbie (Guyanese word for 'ghost') stories..."  The stories leave her feeling tingly and excited.  But when it's time to go to bed and she feels a dread, 
"...Then is when I does wish I did read 
me book instead."  

"The Fringe of the Sea" by A. L. Hendriks speaks of those who 
"...hear it's calls and murmurs wherever we may be..."  Alan Smith's "Emily Hurricane" invites a child to join the hurricane with this song of invitation:
"...Wouldn't you like to swim in the sky, 
sail with the trees as they go whizzing by, 
dance with the rooftops as they go bubbling?
Wouldn't you like to swim in the sky?..."

John Agard's poem "Windrush Child" speaks of a child leaving his grandmother behind as he emigrates from the Caribbean to England with 
"...Grandmother's words your shining beacon 
learning how to fly 
the kite of your dreams 
in an English sky..."  
I think of grandmothers of so many nationalities who have kissed grandchildren goodbye and sent them off with one last hug to a new future with promises to write.  "Goodbye Granny" by Pauline Stewart also addresses this same theme.

The section Come Taste and Buy is filled with foods and fruits we know and many to discover.  Agnes Maxwell-Hall's "Jamaica Market" begs to be read aloud, "Dumplins" is a delightful traditional poem, and "Pineapple" by Vyanne Samuels nails this delectable fruit.
"...Yellow rings 
On my finger,
Chunks of yellow,
Drips of sun..."

I hope I've convinced you to take a look at Under the Moon and Over the Sea:  A Collection of Caribbean Poems.  You won't be disappointed, and you're sure to discover a poem or two that belongs in your pile of favorites.  And I simply must add a link to John Agard's performance of "Put the Kettle On" that I discovered on YouTube.  You'll love his invite to the audience to join him line by line. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Slice of Life: A Walk in the Woods

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Labor Day never felt like a holiday when I was growing up.  Even though we usually started school before Labor Day in Oklahoma, it was always the time that my mom decided that we would "turn over a new leaf" as a family.  Something about the beginning of a new school year always sent her into this fall frenzy.   She usually had some housecleaning/organization project ready and lined up before we could "play."  We would protest that we shouldn't have to work on a holiday, but our protests were in vain.  Fast forward to my years as a young mother . . .  I don't remember any special celebrations on Labor Day, but I did make a special effort to NOT make it a work day.  And then when I returned to teaching, it was always a work day for me - either finishing up final preparation for the beginning of school or reflecting on my plans for a new group of students.

But now that I'm retired, I can celebrate Labor Day in a much more leisurely fashion.  We went on a hike with Ryan, traveling north about 45 minutes from our area to Ryan's neck of the woods.  In our walking trio, I take the rear position.  And then I stop to take pictures which puts me even farther behind.  Every once in awhile, my husband would call out, "Ramona, where are you?"  It was near the end of our hike that I stopped to read a trail map which listed the wildlife in the region.  Bobcats were on the list.   If I had known that earlier, I might not have stopped so often!
Join me for a quick stroll through some of the photos I took yesterday.  

A mushroom plate
Artistic wooden walkway and my hiking companions
Lovely green and beautiful curves
Colorful caterpillar spotted by Ryan
A graceful arch

Pond on the loop trail

A touch of fall and looking up in praise to the Creator of all this beauty