Monday, July 30, 2012

Serendipity at the Mall!

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers
Last Tuesday, I bumped into a friend from school as I left my One to One session at the Apple store.  We promised to get in touch for a longer visit.  As I exited the store, I decided to wait for her since she was scheduled for a ten minute session at the Genius Bar.  I chose to sit on a round bench that encircled a tree.  After a quick text to tell her that I was waiting outside the store, I whipped out my computer to check emails and take care of some items from my "to do" list.  
Mesmerized by technology, I was oblivious to the real world around me.  
Until . . .
I heard a voice coming from the other side of the tree.  
Someone was reading aloud.  
Really?  In this public place?  
I blocked out the sound so that I could concentrate on my tasks at hand. 
It didn't take long for me to realize that this reader was reading for someone besides himself.  I closed my computer, pocketed my phone, and peeked around the tree to check out the reader and his audience.  It was a dad reading to his sons and daughter.  I continued eavesdropping -  listening to the dad's different voices for each character and the giggles of his children in response to the story.  My friend came out to tell me that she would be awhile longer and would call me later.  
I found myself lingering a bit longer, listening, and enjoying the story.  When I walked away, I knew that I wanted to share this accidental discovery as my slice of life story for this week.  
I courageously went back, introduced myself, and asked permission to take a photo with the promise that I would share the link for my slice of life story with the family.  
The book they were enjoying?  Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary!   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Slow Down and Savor

 Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.

 Some of my fellow bloggers have pointed out the importance of living in the moment.  As August looms around the corner, it's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of back-to-school planning.  I intend to continue a favorite practice of reading on the deck as a reminder to slow down and savor the precious days of summer.

When I read book reviews, I immediately request the book from the library.  I collect tall stacks of books for my reading pleasure, and when I finish a book, it's time to determine which book will be chosen next.  One of my saddest tasks is returning unread books to the library.  But since I'm not one of those folks who can read a book a day, I am often required to return unread books (can't renew them when other patrons have placed holds on them).  When discussing books not chosen, I've been known to comment, "I checked out that book once, caressed it and wanted to read it, but had to return it!"

Here are the books that have I've been lucky to slow down and savor on the deck this summer:
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate - Great novel-in-verse
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau - I loved the author's descriptions, especially her emphasis on the sense of smell.
Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani - Letters written between two pen pals
Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder - Can a magic bread box ease Rebecca's pain?
The unBEElievables by Douglas Florian - Fabulous picture book of poetry with snippets of nonfiction
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham - I absolutely loved this one and I'm hopeful for a sequel.  Ludelphia lingers in my heart!
An interesting connection is that the first three books all deal with immigrants to the United States!

And I've finished two adult books:
South of Superior by Ellen Airgood - I love books set in small towns, plus lots of new learning about Lake Superior!
Rin Tin Tin:  The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean  - A book club choice, don't bother

And here's my double wide stack of books I want to read!  Each book screams to me, "Pick me, pick me!"  The last time I shared a stack of books, Elsie and Ruth prodded me to read Because of Mr. Terupt which I loved!  Which book would you move to the top of my pile?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Celebration!

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.  

I wake up too early, but since it’s summer I grab Same Sun Here and read until I’m sleepy again.  I sleep until 7:30, a rare occurrence for me even during the summer.  While I make chocolate chip pancakes, my daughter slices peaches and raspberries, a treat for the palate and the eyes.
We head downtown for a parade complete with hometown heroes, a community band, dogs with proud owners, many children, a few politicians, and the best entry of all, local veterans who receive the loudest and longest applause!
We stroll over to the booths where our purchases range from local (floral greeting cards from a local photographer) to worldwide (son-in law’s hat from a Kurdistan artist). I drop into the bank to view the winners of the art contest.  I tend to scan the names before I look at the art because I love to see former students’ work featured in this local show. 
Now we face the toughest decision of the day – what to purchase for lunch from the many choices available.  Daughter and son-in-law settle on gyro sandwiches, I choose steamed veggies with peanut sauce and chicken satay.   We find a shady spot on the grass to enjoy our lunch, watch the babies, and greet former students.   After some discussion we decide on dessert, a strawberry crepe with forks for three.  We head home filled with sweet memories and sunshine. 
I opt for a nap and more reading.  After this luxurious indulgence, I go downstairs and discover my daughter in the middle of purging some of her boxes from the garage. The troll dolls and pogs are bound for the thrift store, while the flip dolls and beanie babies are bundled back into their boxes awaiting the arrival of future grandchildren. 
With the momentum of this purging, we attack the game closet and hubby brings in a huge box of games from the garage with the goal of corralling all the games in one spot.  We make stacks, negotiate with each other, and phone our son in D.C. to solicit his input.  Does he still want Star Wars Monopoly AND Star Wars Trivial Pursuit?  With the games now stashed in the game closet, daughter and son-in-law head off to the thrift store.  It’s never a good idea to leave me with this task since I’ve been known to retrieve items from the giveaway pile.
When they return, we play a quick round of Trivial Pursuit.  They are at a distinct disadvantage since this is our 80’s version of the game.  Maybe it’s time to purchase a more recent version, but for nostalgia's sake we’ll hang onto this version from our early years of married life. 
Then it’s time for a quick dinner on the deck before we head off to the final event of our fun day.  We snag one of the last parking spots and load up with blanket, chair, and a few snacks.  We spread the blanket, set up my chair, and enjoy fresh cherries with dark chocolate, a visit with friends, and a game of Ticket to Ride while we watch the sunset and wait for darkness to fall.  Finally, at 10:13, it’s dark enough for the fireworks to begin.  A perfect way to end a fun summer day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"I like that library books had secret lives."

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I'm currently reading a great epistolary novel, Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani.    Epistolary is a new term I learned this last year for novels that are written as letters between characters.  Several of my favorite adult books are epistolary novels - 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and A Woman of Independent Means.

I wanted to share these golden lines written by Meena, one of the characters in Same Sun Here:
"I have finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the third time.  It taught me a lot, and I cried all over its pages because it was so real.  When I returned the book to the library, I thought about how maybe someone else will cry over it, too.  I like that library books have secret lives.  All those hands that have held them.  All those eyes that have read them."

I think this might be why I've always loved libraries, library book sales, and used book stores.  It's nice to think that a book has been loved and handled and even cried over by many.

I can quickly recall a few titles that made me cry - Summer of the Monkeys, The Liberation of Gabriel King (I cry every year when I read it to my students), Number the Stars, Out of the Dust, and The Book Thief.  How about it?  What books made you cry?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Capturing a precious family morning!

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from 
Two Writing Teachers.  

I've been out of school a little over two weeks. Grades, a wedding, and a purging party have filled my days.  

Today, I'd like to capture a precious family time we enjoyed before the wedding on June 19, 2012.  After a late flight from Portland on Monday night, my daughter, Sara and her husband, Will grabbed a few hours of sleep at Will's folks' house and then rose early to join us at the hotel in Salt Lake City.  Our morning fun began when Sara and Will arrived with Chocolate Roll, a special family recipe.   A few minutes later Blake joined us.  He was astonished to open the door and see the Chocolate Roll on the stand by the TV.   He knew that this was a labor of love by his sister.  It's easy to help a groom get ready, much easier than helping a bride!  Our next few moments together were filled with fun and giggles. Will isn't in the pictures, but he was there contributing to the light and laughter of our morning.  Before we knew it, it was time for the wedding and the joining of two lives and two families.