Books

I love books. I had a very hard time learning to read in first grade, so my mother, who was a reading specialist at the time, brought home some things she used with her struggling readers and taught me herself. Once I learned, well, I took off like a rocket. I read stacks and stacks and stacks of books every summer by participating in the summer reading program at our library. I had speed reading instruction in 3rd grade, so I learned how to read really fast. I will read a book I love over and over and over.

Stephanie and I have been talking a lot about books lately. She has a 6th grader, and I like to give her titles that I think he’ll like. I know there are lots of book memes and blogs, but I thought I’d list some of my favorites here. Most of them are kid’s novels–because that’s what I read growing up, and that’s what I read mostly now. I like to have a good batch of books to recommend to my students. Some of these are classics–a lot of these are quick reads–a couple of hours probably even though they are technically novels–and are well worth your time. Enjoy.

The Velvet Room- Zilpha Keatly Snyder

Up a Road Slowly- Irene Hunt

The Cay- Theodore Taylor

Tuck Everlasting- Natalie Babbit

Eyes of the Amaryllis- Natalie Babbit

Save Queen of Sheba- Louise Moeri

The Ordinary Princess- M.M. Kaye

Where the Red Fern Grows- Wilson Rawls

To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

The Mailbox- Audrey Shafer

The Penderwicks- Jeanne Birdsall

A Time for Andrew- Mary Downing Hahn

So B. It- Sarah Weeks

Anne of Green Gables- L. M. Montgomery

Anne’s House of Dreams- L. M. Montgomery (this one is Anne all grown up)

Dealing with Dragons- Patricia C. Wrede

Someone Is Hiding on Alcatraz Island- Eve Bunting

All of the Harry Potter books- J.K. Rowling

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Oops. . .

Well, I had my days mixed up or something. . .Daddy doesn’t go to Lafayette until May 6th.

And look what I found (also added to the last post).

wilma-and-judy.jpg

The Week in Review (Let’s work our way back this time.)

*WARNING* After several weeks of not writing much, and some very busy days, there is a back log of information that must leave my brain. This is long. You might want to pace yourself.

Tony is camping, and I slept until 9:52 this morning. The sleep was not TOTALLY uninterrupted seeing as how there are two children in my house that woke up at 7:00–Thad was first and came and climbed in bed with me and quietly played with his Jeep Transformer. I turned on the t.v. in my room for them, then they laid across the foot of my bed (where my feet belong) , but at least I knew where they were and they were safe and quiet.

They are currently watching a Flintstones meet the Jetsons video. Wilma sees Judy for the first time and says, “Love your dress!” To which Judy replies, “You HAVE to tell me who does your hair!!!!” And Fred says, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING????” And Wilma says, “I’m speaking the universal language.” That cracked me up.

wilma-and-judy.jpg

Thursday morning during my lunch time/Diet Coke run, I was listening to the Christian radio station here in Houston, KSBJ. The d-jays were in Nashville for the Dove awards or something and were interviewing Matthew West, a Christian artist. He was telling them about a billboard he had seen in Nashville for a church that said,

“Take your sin to the altar, and drop it like it’s HOT!!!

There is lots and lots to say about THAT, but right now, I’ll just let you enjoy it. I thought it was a great billboard.

Also on Thursday night my VBS plannin’ co-chair Suzy came over, ’cause we are WOEFULLY behind in our plans this year. Oh. My. Goodness. We have both been a little too busy. Our theme this year is “Living in God’s Wild Kingdom” and here is our mailout flier that our elders are sending to way too many houses. . .It’s in a PDF file, so you’ll have to right click on the link and then click open–and you may have to do it twice–but you should be able to open it and view it in adobe. It’s way cute. There are some typos still and “info” that needs to be changed and/or deleted, but it will be ready to go soon. Take a peek.

vbs-mailer-2007.pdf

ANYWAY. . .Suzy came over to plan even though both of us had lost our notebooks with our scripture references and lesson plans (mine has since been found), so all we could really do was go through all of the stuff from Oriental Trading that I’d earmarked for art projects. As we scrolled through, these finger puppets kept appearing as “another option” on every, single page. The ones that initially disturbed me were these

finger-puppet-horses.jpg

That is just so macabre and so wrong on so many levels. The horses actually appear to be frightened (as would I be if someone had decapitated me and stuck their finger in my neck) and whinying in pain. But they were everywhere these puppets. . .

finger-puppet-birds-huge.jpg

. . .and the more we saw, the more hysterically funny it got. . .and then this was the capper.

finger-puppet-pig-huge.jpg

Seriously, y’all. . .SEER-EE-US-LEE. . .words cannot describe. And this is probably one of those “you had to be there things” but I HAD to share it.

Okay. . .that got us through Thursday. I’ve covered naked boys, Survivor games, cardiovascular procedures, obscene finger puppets, VBS information, billboard slogans. . .yup. . .think that’s about it for now. I think it’s time for a Diet Coke.

Oh, how I miss this.

Well, things have been a little busy ’round here. I miss my daily diatribes and look forward to getting back to them. Tony is going on his camping trip with “the boys” this weekend, so hopefully I will get some cleaning AND writing done.

Until then. . .

Daddy has an appointment at the Cardiovascular Center of the South in Lafayette, Louisiana on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Hopefully the procedure to relieve or bypass the blockage in his leg will be on Tuesday.

Forty-five Females, One Male, and a Dog

Mother Daughter Luncheon 2007 has come and gone. There is much to say, but I’m tired, so I will leave you with just a couple of stories and either now or later the three pictures I managed to take with my video camera. (But I took three rolls with the still camera, so that’s okay.)

Victoria has two teachers. Her homeroom teacher is also her reading/language/social studies teacher. The other teaches her math/science. Mrs. McLellan, the math/science teacher, and her daughter were unable to make the bash due to a sporting event, but Victoria’s homeroom teacher, MR. Johnson, was in attendance. He was late. Because, like a man, he did not call for directions before he left his home, nor did he call for directions when he was 15 minutes late, or 30 minutes late, but waited until he was 45 minutes late to call. By that time I’d drafted my friend Suzy to lead our prayer (he had said he would, and how incredibly neat would that have been. . .to have your public school teacher lead a prayer for your meal), and the Ravishing Hordes (see Forty-Five Females) had descended upon the chicken salad and cheese slices and SunChips with a ravenous vengeance that was something to behold.

When he finally arrived, a little embarassed and a lot apologetic, he sat at one of the tables where there were people he knew. The girls were back to playing in the yard. I gave him his specially made place card (each person had their own paper doll wearing a different color little sundress, but his was a boy doll with custom made jeans and t-shirt) and told him that he needed to know that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in August, when Victoria found out he was to be her teacher, we had the following conversation within the first 1 minute of that revelation.

“Mommy?”

“Yes, honey.”

“I don’t know how to act for a man teacher.”

“Well, honey, DADDY is a man teacher. . .”

The light of realization breaking over her lovely face “Oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Mommy?”

“Yes, honey.”

“What will we do about the Mother/Daughter Luncheon?”

I explained to Mr. Johnson that he needed to understand the extreme bending of the Natural Order of Things to be invited to be in actual attendance at the Mother/Daughter luncheon. Inviting the current year’s teachers to attend is a tradition, so Plans had been underway since last August toward this breech of sanctity. Only one other male had ever been, and he was 3 months old. . .AND NURSING. Therefore it was to be allowed.

Not long after Mr. Johnson’s arrival, my sister-in-law came to me discreetly and said. “Roxanne? Is your neighbor’s dog a nice dog?”

And I said, “Huh?”

And she said, “‘Cause he’s in your yard.” Yeah–with the 45 females and Mr. Johnson.

Our rear neighbors have had various and sundry dogs in their time in that house. All of those dogs would much rather be at our house. Their preferred method of entry is under the fence. I have a husband who HATES dogs, and a daughter who is scared to death of dogs, so this is normally not an occurence that is greeted with smiles and laughter. Especially after the Near Miss of 2004.

Tony was at Arnold getting his room ready, and Victoria’s friend Dezirae was over playing. I heard a dog barking, but all of a sudden Victoria came running into my bedroom screaming that the dog was in our yard. I went to look out of her window, and what I saw was Chucky (the rear neighbor boy) scaling our fence (a frequent occurence with the whole dog/yard issue) and scooting his pooch back under the fence.

Then I looked down.

I did not know that Tony had left the chickens in the yard rather than in their coop, (for the squeamish, remember, this is called The Near Miss of 2005) and what I saw looked like chicken Armaggedon. There was a mountain of feathers blowing forlornly around littering the back yard. Now I am a brave woman. I could regale you with tales of all manner of slaughtered animals I have seen, helped clean, process, package, and freeze. But I could not go down and face what looked to be an all out chicken maylay in our yard.

So I called Tony. And then I hid upstairs and waited for him to get home. AND kept Victoria away from the window.

When he finally arrived and went outside to brave the massacre, there was no blood. Not even a droplet. He found both of the chickens huddled inside the stand of sugar cane, but one was in various states of undress. We haven’t gotten as many eggs since. The dog was playing with her, ’cause if he’d wanted to do some damage, he most certainly could have.

All of that to say, that Chucky is no stranger to our backyard, and he has made scaling our fence a science. And he is now 14 and huge.

I walked toward the dog (really a big puppy–it’s a lab though, so by big puppy I mean the size of an average dog)to try to get him to go back under the fence. He tried, poor thing, but couldn’t and was stressed out by the gaggle of 25 little girls all crouching at my heels. He ended up under one of the rainbow draped tables cowering and growling and snapping when someone heard Chucky hollering for the dog. So I hollered for Chucky and met him at the fence. He scaled it easily apologizing profusely all the while. “I am sorry. I am so sorry.” Then he noticed the 46 other people in my yard and the apologies grew to a fevered pitch. I assured him all was well–to just get the dog and go back over/under the fence from whence they’d come. He had to wade amongst all of the pastel females to get the poor puppy and in an effort to explain said, “He just had surgery and is taking medicine and is a little whacked out. I am soooooo sorry.”

I walked with him back over to the fence to see if he needed help. He said no, then, with all 92 eyes on him, he raised the dog up to the top of the 8′ privacy fence and threw him over–just pitched him over with flourish as though he were an errant soccer ball or frisbee.

There was a collective gasp from the porch as though all the oxygen in the back yard, low, the universe, was being sucked through the mouth of one gigantic, righteously indignant, 90 eyed female. (I don’t know if Mr. Johnson and his 2 eyes were part of the gasp or not.) When I turned and saw their horror stricken faces I began to laugh, because I knew something the appalled female population of my back yard did not know.

Through tears of laughter I said, “There is a trampoline.”

At which point everyone exhaled and then we all laughed and laughed and laughed. . .except Chucky, ’cause he was having to haul himself up to the top of my fence to get over without the aid of his trampoline.

Each year I invite my mother-in-law to attend the luncheon, and each year she declines. Her EXACT WORDS, “Things like that are boring. They are too fussy and there’s nothing interesting to talk about.”

Yeah. Right. Recently Neutered Pooch Pitching is so yesterday.

So really today we had 45 females and 3 males. . .Mr. Johnson, Chucky, and Chucky’s dog, but the earth is still spinning on it’s axis. God is in his Heaven. And all is right with the world.

AND, the carrot cake was delish.

Updates

I just lost an ENTIRE post, and I’m ticked. Here is the annotated version.

1. Daddy’s procedure is Wednesday. They are to arrive at 7:30 but who knows when it will be.

2. A friend found out TODAY that she is unexpectedly expecting. Her son turns 4 on Saturday. Her daughter turns 1 next Tuesday. Her husband is having some major lying and addiction problems. She was NOT looking to bring another baby into the mix. She is in shock but already planning. God knows her name, so please pray for her.

3. I did not make it to bed by 9:00 last night. It was 10:30. It’s already 8:38, so things aren’t looking so good for tonight either, BUT I have had my shower and the house is CUH-LEEN thanks to Alma’s visit today. So I can get into bed happy and in fresh sheets whenever I DO get there

4. I get to wear jeans and leave at 2:45 everyday that I’m at school this week. YEA!!!!!

5. We are doing rainbow/Japanese lanterns/bamboo parasols theme for Mother/Daughter this year. It sounds a little whacko–and it is–but the 3rd grade girls will LOVE IT. PLUS, since it’s not so frilly this year, I get to use plastic table clothes rather than the Battenburg Lace. It will be a nice break from the laundering.

6. We are gonna have so much fun on Saturday. I wish you could ALL be here.

Goals

So, on this, the first day of the week, I am setting some goals for the other 6 days to follow.

1. Do NOT take a nap this afternoon. (There is a reason for this.)
2. Be in bed by 9:00 atleast 4 nights this week. (The reason.)
3. Be diligent about procrastination.
4. Have fun.

You can see these are lofty, lofty goals, but if my nightmare is to stay just a dream, then I must work, work, work. And also rest. I have a tendency to stay up late to get things done. I am, by nature, a night owl. I LOVE staying up late. The later I’m up, the more creative I get. This worked well in college and the early years of marriage, but that was also when I could pretty much nap as needed. And I did. And I napped well. I was a napping champion. I would come home from my last college class at 2:00. Climb into bed and sleep until 4:30. Eat dinner, and be ready to go until 2:00 a.m.

Alas, those days are no more.

So. Four simple goals. I know the preferred number these days is three, but goal number 1 is for today (Sunday) only. Then there will just be three for the rest of the week.

Wish me luck. I’m off to not procrastinate.