Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June wrap-up

Seems I forgot to post my wrap-up yesterday. Probably subconscious avoidance since it was such a pathetic reading month for me. ;) And compared to how much I created, my reading was stellar. Sheesh. Honestly, it wouldn't bother me so much if I hadn't had such high expectations for the last week.


Adult Fiction:
*The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (homeschool, Countdown Challenge)

Middle Grade Fiction:
*Samuel Blink and Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig (OUaT III, Spring Reading Thing '09)

Graphic Novels/Manga Fiction:
*Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham (Graphic Novels extra, Once Upon a Time III, Countdown Challenge, RYOB)
*Legend of Chun Hyang by CLAMP (Once Upon a Time III, RYOB, 999, Manga Challenge)
*The Sandman: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman (Graphic Novels extra)
*The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Graphic Novels extra, RYOB)

Adult Non-fiction:
*Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee by Dean Cycon (homeschool, World Citizen, 21 Cultures, Support Your Local Library, 999, Countdown, Eco-Reading Challenge)

YA Non-fiction:
*No More Strangers Now: Young Voices from a New South Africa interviews by Tim McKee and photographs by Anne Blackshaw (homeschool, 21 Cultures, 999)

Middle Grade Non-fiction:
*Focus on Afghanistan (World in Focus Series) by Nikki Van Der Gaag (homeschool)
*A History of Us: Reconstruction and Reform, 1865-1896 (Book 7) by Joy Hakim (homeschool)

*"The Perfect Plague" by Jared Diamond and Nathan Wolfe, Discover: November 2008 (homeschool)


On TV:

*Earth 2100 (for fun)
*Harper's Island (for fun)

On DVD/Video:

*Black Gold: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (homeschool)
*Biography "Charles Darwin" (homeschool)
*NOVA "The Secret of Photo 51" (homeschool)
*Cry Freedom (homeschool)
*Biography "Nelson Mandela: Journey to Freedom" (homeschool)
*The Wire (for fun)
--"The Wire"



Monday, June 29, 2009

wrapping up and starting over

I think technically round two of the Blame Game was to end June 30, but I hope no one minds if I make June 27 the official end. It's not like it changes anything, after all...I do think it's safe to say that catching Nymeth falls under the heading "impossibility."

There were a few points to be awarded from the time of my blogging break. Though frankly, I think I kept my accumulating pretty low considering the time span. My new measure is comparing myself to Chris...it's easy to look like one's exhibiting restraint when compared to him. :D (And believe me, Chris, it's just one thing I love about you!)

Okay, here's the acquisitions to round out the last game:

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. I didn't actually buy this book. The very sweet and generous Jean sent this book to us. Buy she's getting a point of blame anyway, because she told me about this book and made it sound so wonderful that I would have gotten around to ordering eventually. I'm not going to let her escape unscathed simply because she gave me a copy. ;)

Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block. Picked this one up from PaperbackSwap after "anyone care to guess who?" mentioned it on her blog. Yep, point for Nymeth.

Carmen Dog by Carol Emshwiller. Another point for the lovely, but soon-to-be-responsible-for-the-collapse-of-our-entire-house-into-the-basement-due-to-the-weight-of-books, Nymeth. Thanks to this review.

Mockingbird: A Novel of Voodoo, Sisters, and Dangerous Gifts by Sean Stewart. Trampoline: An Anthology edited by Kelly Link. Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh. Now I really think I could make a strong argument for placing the blame for all three of these on Nymeth, too. I never would have seen them on sale for $1 each if it wasn't for that Carmen Dog review and the handy-dandy link she provided to Small Beer Press. But I'm trying to be a big girl, trying to take a little responsibility for my own actions.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. The Dark Half by Stephen King. Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint. And speaking of $1 books...these all came from the library sale in a neighboring town. Afraid I'm going to have suck up the blame for these ones myself, too.

And there we come to the end. That's all the books acquired over those last several weeks. (Well, until yesterday, that is...but we'll get to that in a minute.)

Sooooooo...the winner of a heaping pile of blame is...Nymeth!!!! She "made" me bring 28(!!!!) books into this house over the past several months. Are you not the slightest bit ashamed of yourself?!! ;) I'll e-mail you in a bit about your prize, Ana.


Yep. Time to start the Blame Game 3! And yes, there's already blame to be dished. You all have been awful lately, writing such awesome reviews, making a girl crave new books. I can't help it, last night I caved. Someone mentioned hitting the bookstore, and well, there was just no will power to call upon.

So, the first points of game 3 go to:

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. Like I had a chance after this review! Point for Chris!

My Invented Country by Isabel Allende. Points for both Nymeth and Eva for this one. Sorry ladies, but you're both going to have take responsibility...first Nymeth writes this incredible review and onto my wish list it goes...and then Eva has to go and really put the pressure on with her fabulous review. Seriously, no one can fault me for this.

Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner. This is a point for the much-loved, much-missed Dewey. I've looked for this book in the book stores probably half a dozen times, but no one's ever had it in stock. Always knew I would eventually order it. But then last night, when it wasn't even on my mind, it popped right up on a special display. :)

Plenty Enough Suck To Go Around: A Memoir of Floods, Fires, Parades, and Plywood by Cheryl Wagner. How is one to resist a title like that?!! Anyway, no one to blame here. Just caught my eye. But I have to admit that I have this overwhelming urge to blame Chris. (Would that be okay with you, Chris? Can I just blame anything connected with New Orleans on you, and help assuage my guilt over my own shameless buying?)

And there we have it...game three is off and running...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For...random thoughts

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.

Seems like it's been forever since I finished a book. I had these grand illusions that once our unofficial summer began, I would just crank out book after book after book. So not happening. Seems like things are just as busy as ever...just a different kind of busy. I am very happy about some of the things I have managed to accomplish during the last few days, even if I have only managed to finish one book. Uh, yeah, Debi, speaking of books, why don't you get on with it already?!!

I love this book! I love this book! I love this book! I love this book!

I fully admit that when I ordered it, I had no real clue what it might be like. It popped up at Amazon as one of those, "if you're ordering this, then you might like this, too" things. I saw it was by Alison Bechdel, and though I haven't yet read Fun Home (bad me!), nearly everyone who has read it has loved it. Plus there's this whole "I can't get enough of comics!" thing I have going this year. Needless to say, it ended up in the cart. And I couldn't be happy that it did!

In case there are others out there like me, who have never heard of Dykes to Watch Out For, it's a comic strip that Alison Bechdel has been writing since the mid-80's. The strip focuses on a wonderful group of counterculture friends, most of whom are lesbians. And this book gathers a rich collection of the strips spanning from 1987 through 2008. This book also contains an introduction, also in comic form, about how Alison Bechdel came to spend her career writing this incredible comic.

Snippets from the intro:

"I saw my cartoons as an antidote to the prevailing image of lesbians as warped, sick, humorless, and undesirable. Or supermodel-like Olympic pentathletes, objective fodder for the male gaze."

"By drawing the everyday lives of women like me, I hoped to make lesbians more visible not just to ourselves but to everyone."

"I had set out to name the unnamed, to depict the undepicted, to make lesbians visible. And I had done it!"

"Have I churned out episodes of this comic strip every two weeks for decades merely to prove that we're the same as everyone else?! Here. You decide. Essentially the same? Or essentially different?"

My answer to that question: these characters are as essentially the same and as essentially different from me in the way that every other human being I've ever encountered is. In fact, the characters in this book are each unique human beings with both similarities and differences between one another. Alison Bechdel did not create a world of "cookie cutter" lesbians. She created a community of wonderful individuals.

Before I go on, I might as well say that this is not a book that everyone will love. A "sort of" subtitle on the cover says, "The Lives, Loves, and Politics of Cult-Fav Characters Mo, Lois, Sydney, Sparrow, Ginger, Stuart, Clarice, and Others." And it's that "Politics" part that I can see some seething over. What can I say...it's an added bonus to this book when you agree with Alison Bechdel's politics. But I'm guessing that if you fall to the right of the political spectrum, you're going to have some issues with this book. It would probably be something like forcing me to read Ann Coulter...a dramatic rise in blood pressure, bouts of nausea...you get the idea. Just to let you know.

But while this book never shies away from political issues, that is definitely not all this book is about. Remember "lives" and "loves" was also mentioned in the subtitle. And wow. I couldn't believe how immersed I became in these characters' lives. It took me almost a week to read this book, but believe me, that was only because I had so much going on. I hated it every time I had to set this book down! I carried it from room to room, just in case I could steal a couple minutes. It was positively addicting! You know that feeling you sometimes get when reading a book, that you just so badly want to be friends with a character in real life? Yeah, these characters are like that. Well, most of them. ;) And I think much of what made this such a rich experience was getting to see them over the course of more than twenty years of their lives. And this wasn't twenty years that Alison Bechdel sat and created all at once...these strips were written over that period of time, so the growth and changes in the characters could not possibly feel any more genuine.

An added bonus for me was the fact that these characters are about the same age as I am, and thus the world events they lived through mirror my own memories of those times of my own life. And it's not just the events in the world at large, but also the everyday events that happen as we continue to grow and age. Unemployment, breast cancer, pregnancy, divorce, relating to one's parents as an adult, cheating, going back to school, parenting, homeschooling...the list of topics this book encompasses is endless. Yep, even the loving relationships we have with our animal friends.

But as much as I can relate to so many of the experiences of the characters, I will never personally go through others. I can hurt, I can empathize, I can become overwhelming angry at the injustice, but I will never personally know what it feels like to be disowned by my parents simply because of my sexual orientation, I will never personally know what it feels like to not be allowed to marry the person I love, I will never personally know what it feels like to have my children bullied at school because they have two moms.

These characters are so easy to love. Not because they're perfect. But because they're not. They are just so essentially human. As the book begins, they are young, strong, idealistic, out to fight the patriarchy. They all age. And while I believe they all remain strong, the idealism of some characters becomes shadowed by reality. I love this richness...as in the real world, even people who agree on the goal don't always agree on the way to get there. And as in the real world, sometimes a person who is discriminated against can fail to see how they are embracing these same kind of prejudices. (When one of these women admits that she is bisexual and begins seeing a man, a few of her friends are aghast and feel that she has somehow let them down.) It felt like such an honest look at how someone might come to terms with their initial feelings of mistrust with bisexuality and with transgenderism. And I couldn't help but feel enormous respect for the way Alison Bechdel let these amazing women be so human, and not feel the need to make them into some kind of perfect ideal.

This book is filled with humor. It is loaded with sarcasm and biting wit. It pulls no punches. And it is overflowing with compassion. I'm not sure if Alison Bechdel set out to create a work of art that touches the soul, but that is truly what she did.

You know, I seriously feel like I could gush about this book forever, but I fear I've talked long enough as it is. Nymeth just wrote a post about her top ten reads of the year thus far. I haven't actually made a list, but I can tell you this book would definitely be on it if I did! And I suspect it will remain there at the end of the year...I'd have to read a lot of incredible books in the next six months to knock this one off the list.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

what I'll be doing this summer

(Okay, that should really read "what I should be doing this summer," but I'm going the "positive-thinking" route instead of the "realistic" route.)

Anyway, our unofficial summer will arrive at approximately 3:17pm, when the bus rolls down the street and disgorges two happy little boys. Never does it feel like summer until the school year has come to an end. And honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever been quite this happy to see it arrive.

Pretty sure it's that anticipatory elation that has me thinking I can conquer the world this summer. Kinda like that feeling I get as each new year begins. Thus my list of summer goals.

*for homeschool:
1. write IHIP (must do)
2. get all plans done for first quarter (really should do)
3. get all plans done for second quarter (would be nice to do)

*around the house:
1. paint, etc. the bathroom (must do)
2. declutter each and every room in this house, including garage (really should do)
3. paint the stairwell (would be nice to do)

1. my family reunion (must do)
2. visit Rich's mom (must do)
3. family vacation to visit old friends (really should do)
4. a few days away for just Rich and I (would be nice to do)

1. each of us set a summer reading goal--mine is 30 books, Rich's is 25, Max's is 20, Gray's is 30, Annie's is 75 (would be nice to do)
2. finish some of my challenges (really should do)

1. update my 50x50 blog, though I've ignored it for so long I'm sure I won't remember everything that could be checked off (really should do)
2. make Christmas cards (really should do)
3. scrapbook 30+ layouts (would be nice to do)


Sunday, June 21, 2009

good thing there's no penalties

Yep, I've blown more challenges during the past few weeks.

First of all, there was Book Awards II that ended at the start of the month. Didn't finish. The good news, however, is that I did do better than last year. ;) Out of the required ten, I managed seven. And even better, I enjoyed every one.

*Fax From Sarajevo by Joe Kubert (Eisner Award: Best Graphic Album 1997)
*The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (Carnegie Medal 2001)
*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Costa/Whitbread 2003 and Alex Award 2004)
*The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Christopher Award 2007)
*American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Printz Award 2007)
*Looking for Alaska by John Green (Printz Award 2006)
*The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Pulitzer Prize 1975)

And yesterday marked the end of Spring Reading Thing '09. Again, failure. At least in the absolute sense. But again, I did better than last year. Eight out of eleven...could have been worse.

My list:
*Fax From Sarajevo by Joe Kubert
*The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
*Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
*Nation by Terry Pratchett
*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
*The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going
*...I never saw another butterfly...: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944
*Step on a Crack by James Patterson

Books to read to boys:
*Looking for Bobowicz by Daniel Pinkwater
*The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
*Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig

Also ending yesterday was Once Upon a Time III. And hooray...this one I actually finished!!! But I gotta say, I'm really sad to see this one coming to an end already. It really seems like it just started.

*The Sandman: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman
*Legend of Chun Hyang by CLAMP
Fairy Tale:
*The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
*The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
*Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
*Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
*Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
*Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig


Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig.

(Not that it matters in the slightest, but I couldn't find a picture of the cover we have.)

I think I've mentioned before how I've really fallen in love with fantasy books aimed at the 9-12 year old set. And while I didn't find this one of the very best of those, I couldn't have enjoyed it more...and that's because the boys couldn't have enjoyed it more. They positively loved this book!!! There wasn't a single night that they weren't begging for more, even on nights when I read an hour or more.

And there really was a lot to love...

"All the creatures!"--Gray

"It was funny and fantastical!"--Max

"It was exciting!"--Gray

"I love scary stories!"--Max

"If it wasn't fiction, it would have been really scary!"--Gray

"The witches could turn into cats!"--Max

And I have to agree that all those things did make this a magical story. And for the most part, I too, loved this book. The creatures were wonderful, from the huldres to the trolls and the Tomtegubbs to the Slemps. And my very favorite of all, the Truth Pixie. For the most part, I was impressed that the author seemed to give kids a lot of credit by not simplifying things or toning down the "scariness." But there were a few lapses. For example, I felt that the story of how the "bad guy" came to be a "bad guy" was a bit too simple. Not that I wanted some in-depth psychological analysis or anything, but it just came off a bit too goofy to fit along with the rest of the book. And can I just be totally petty for a moment? The accent Haig gave Aunt Eda drove me freakin' nuts...not that she wouldn't have that Norwegian accent--"effer" for "ever" and the like--but it seemed to be used very unevenly. Or maybe that was just my imagination. Anyway, I have to admit that after a few chapters with Aunt Eda, I just stopped "reading the accent" aloud altogether.

Sheesh...I didn't really say a darn thing in regards to what the book is actually about, did I? Okay, super short intro here:

The Blink family is on an outing to celebrate Martha's birthday. But tragedy strikes in the form of a careless logging truck driver who losses his load...with one log landing soundly on the Blink parents. So orphans Samuel and Martha are shipped off to reside with their only living relative, Aunt Eda, who lives in Norway. An aunt they don't even know. With the death of the Blink parents, also came the death of Martha's voice, which leaves Samuel feeling even more lonely. Samuel isn't feeling particularly cordial towards his aunt, and he is less than thrilled with this new life that is laid out before him. As if things weren't bad enough, Aunt Eda has no close neighbors. Heck, she doesn't even have a TV. The only thing of interest at all is the forest...and without explanation, Aunt Eda has definitively declared it off-limits. But no silly rule is going to stop Samuel. Luckily, however, something else (I don't want to say what) does. But then when Martha feels herself mysteriously pulled into the forest, Samuel has no choice but to disobey Aunt Eda despite the dangers he now at least somewhat understands...

Okay, my babbling leaves a lot be desired here...even for me. :) Bottom line, I really did like the story, but I absolutely loved the experience of reading this to the boys. Because they gobbled it right up! And yes, we will definitely be on the lookout for the next book in the series.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

catching up with more mini-babble

What I read the past few weeks:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

*As I just read and reviewed this a couple years ago, there's really no need to say much now. But it might be worth mentioning that I loved this book even more this time around. Not sure I would have thought that possible.

Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham.

*Damn. This series just keeps getting better and better!
*These books are making me want to delve deeper into the world of fairy tales and folktales. Occasionally I come across a character that I have no idea who it is. While this doesn't detract from the story, I know that I would likely get even more from the books if I had more background knowledge. And not only that, these characters are just so dang interesting that I want read more, more, more. (And many thanks, Nymeth, for continually answering my questions, and never making me feel like a pest.)
*Misc. thoughts: I would occasionally like to smack Prince Charming across his smug pretty face. I hope we get to see a lot more of Rose Red in the future; I've missed her since she's been more in the periphery. The wooden soldier "assembly line" cracked me up. Frau Totenkinder can kick ass, huh?

The History of Us: Reconstruction and Reform, 1865-1896 (Book 7) by Joy Hakim.

*I know I don't usually talk about the books we use for homeschooling. (Well, with the exception of the ones we read for "literature" units, that is.) But I just felt the need to mention this series, because it is just so awesome! And I was confident they would be as it was Dewey who recommended them to me. I don't know that anyone who reads this will be in the market for middle grade U.S. history books, but if so, you just can't go wrong with these.
*A few of the things I love: They cover more obscure pieces of history, along with the more well-known events. They look at things from various points of view. They don't try to cover up or put a pretty face on the uglier parts of this country's past.

Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee by Dean Cycon.

*To be honest, when I read the introduction, I worried. Despite the fact that I already fully support Fair Trade, I worried that Dean Cycon was going to come across as "holier than thou." Happily, I was wrong! Is he passionate about making sure farmers get fair prices for their labor? Yes! Is he passionate about preserving indigenous cultures around the world? Yes! Is he passionate about taking care of the Earth? Yes! But he is not in any way condescending or arrogant. In fact, he's really quite a goofball. (And I have a very soft spot for goofballs.)
*This book is full of the stories of unfairness. I won't lie, some of these stories break the heart. But it doesn't stop there...from these heartbreaking stories come stories of hope. Beautiful, touching stories of hope. Does he claim that Fair Trade can solve all the problems of the world? Of course not. But in countries around the globe, we hear stories of creative solutions and of differences made.
*Yes, I did just say that this book is full of heartbreak and hope. But it's also full of humor. Often at the author's expense...he's definitely not afraid to laugh at himself. I found myself smiling often, and one time laughing heartily aloud.
*And on top of all that, this book provides a fascinating look at several cultures around the world. We visit countries as diverse as Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Papua New Guinea (and others, too).
*Though the copy I read was from the library, I'm hoping to have a giveaway later when things settle down around here (please, please, please let that be soon). In the meantime, if you'd like to see what this fellow Dean Cycon and his company Dean's Beans are all about, visit here.

No More Strangers Now: Young Voices from a New South Africa, interviews by Tim McKee, photographs by Anne Blackshaw.

*One thing I love about homeschooling is the amount of wonderful books I read that I otherwise probably wouldn't. (Of course, in a way, it's one of the things I hate, too...as I'm left with so little time for spur of the moment fun reading.) Anyway, this is one of those books that I probably wouldn't have read on my own, and well, that would have been my loss.
*This book features interviews of twelve teenage South Africans, each with a very distinct background. Among others, we meet a teen born in exile as her mother worked for the ANC, a Afrikaner teen living the rural life, a teen living in a small village that is still ruled by a chief.
*These interviews were done just a few years after Nelson Mandela was elected president. The varying viewpoints were fascinating. The one thread that seemed to run through them all was hope. Not naivety. But hope. I would so very much love to see a follow up to this book, to hear what each of these teens thinks now that another decade has passed. How their lives and views have changed since then.
*Oh, and I also wanted to mention that this book is filled with truly lovely black and white photos.

Legend of Chun Hyang by CLAMP.

*To be perfectly honest, the reason I read this book right now was because I still needed a book for the folklore category of the Once Upon a Time challenge, and the cover of the book said, "The Legend of Chun Hyang is one of Korea's most enduring folktales..." I'm not at all familiar with Korean folklore, and I have no idea how much this book reflects the original folktale. But now I am really interested to find out, because I fell in love with the spitfire heroine, Chun Hyang.
*This is the first manga by CLAMP, of whom I've heard such good things. And I did enjoy this book, but I didn't out-and-out love it. Honestly, it could be that I still need more exposure to manga in general, as it at times felt a little disjointed to me.
*The art in this book is beautiful.

The Sandman: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman.

*I've finally figured out which, The Sandman or Fables, is my favorite. Whichever I'm reading at the time. ;)
*I have really, really loved this series from the beginning, even Preludes and Nocturnes, which I know some people aren't overly fond of. But I think this may be my favorite book so far. I so adored these characters! I liked Barbie far more sans Ken (not that I disliked her previously, but I didn't feel like I knew her all that well before). And Wanda, and Hazel, and Foxglove...how could one not love them?!! And Thessaly...well, she's definitely left me wanting to know more about her, that's for sure.
*It may take some effort not to have nightmares of George's face on the wall...shudder.
*I really wish I could say something about the end, but I don't want to give any spoilers. Let's just say that Death allowed me to end the book with a smile, when I had been seething over ignorance and intolerance.

a glimpse...

at the last six weeks:

Reading outside...one of the nicest things about summer.

A DNA fingerprinting lab.

And isolating DNA from a strawberry.

Cat naps. (Though I didn't get any of those.)

A new soccer season.

What can I say...I just love this sweet face.

Pebble hunting at the lake.

Looking so grown up.

And just looking plain old cute.

Our first garden harvest of the season.

Field day fun.

Snow cones...the favorite part of field day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

out of practice...

Feels like forever since I've done this blogging thing. I'm hoping that I'll finally be able to get back in the swing of things. Not that I care that much about posting myself, but I sure do miss reading all your posts!!!

Summer is finally approaching, and I could not be happier about it!!!! I finally managed to get everything done for Annie's school year. Hopefully she will finish up tomorrow, so I can write up the final quarterly report over the weekend. I tell you, my brain is just drained beyond drained. I am soooooo glad we decided to take the summer off from school this year!

The boys' field days are tomorrow. And then they just have Monday and Tuesday before their school year is over. That is if they don't come down with the swine flu before then. I really wish I was joking about that. But I got a call last night from my neighbor across the street. Her son, who plays with Gray and Max nearly every day after school and who Gray sits with most days on the bus, has it. Actually our health department has declared it's at epidemic levels in the county. Whatever that means. I know, I know, it's just the flu. But Annie and Max both have lung issues so we tend to worry more about them with things like this.

And I got a call from the school today. Seems there was an "incident" on the bus. I was told that Max got a cut under his eye when a 5th-grader stupidly opened an umbrella. I was told that Max's teacher and the assistant principal talked to Max, Gray, and this kid, and all assured them that it was not malicious, just bone-headed. However, when the boys got home, I got a totally different story. The boys both told me that the kid not only definitely aimed the umbrella right at Max's face, but then laughed when the umbrella hit Max and Max started crying. I also found out that this is the kid who has bullied Gray in the past. And the boys both said they told the assistant principal this. Needless to say, the school got a call from one very upset mommy! Max is fine, but this cut is seriously only about 3/4 of an inch from his eye...and I'm just so angry that they're just trying to sweep it under the rug. I was promised that they would speak to this boy again tomorrow and see if they could get him to admit that he did it on purpose. Otherwise, what can they do? Gee, I don't know...I guess wait until he "really" hurts someone. Sorry, I know I don't sound particularly forgiving here. But I wasn't angry when I believed it was just a kid not using his common sense...heck, that can happen to anyone. But when I found out that not only was it deliberate, but that the school lied to me about what my boys told them had happened, well...let's just say I'm not feeling particularly happy right now.

Geez...I'm just a rambling barrel of laughs here, aren't I? Perhaps I should go back into exile...

I promise if my attitude doesn't improve by tomorrow, I'll just extend my "blogging break" and spare you all, okay?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

shhh...I'm not here

I'm really not supposed to be blogging. But I was worried my head might explode if I didn't take a short break from working. And lord knows how long it might take Rich to get around to cleaning up the mess, so I figured it best to try to avoid that whole scenario. Thing is, I don't really have anything to blog about. Out of practice, I guess. Decided to just throw out some of my latest book coveting. As in from the last few days. And this isn't even all of the books I've added to my list. I have another little notebook I use as well, but it's in the other room and I'm too lazy to go get it. Believe me, I've got more than enough coveting right here anyway. All but the last two are graphic novels (I swear I've become such a little addict. Thanks a lot guys...seriously, no sarcasm intended!)

Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller

The Vietnam War: A Graphic History by Dwight Zimmerman

Bob Dylan Revisited by various artists

The Passion of the Hausfrau by Nicole Chaison

AD: New Orleans after the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

The Lords of Misrule by John Tomlinson, Dan Abhett, and Steve White

Bayou by Jeremy Love

Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank (thanks to Nymeth)

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (thanks to Chris)

Pathetic. I know. But hey...wanting is not the same as actually buying, right?