Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Long Time No Log - In

Yep, Long time no log - in!! Or, in other words .... that's what happens when life gets in the way!!

School started again and in first grade the first 2 1/2 months are the hardest!! It's getting back into the mode of teaching , modeling all the procedures for these little ones and coping with little "chicks" who can do so little by themselves - - in the beginning! Now, we are well under way and they are blossoming! I am still dealing with all the hassle of the new ELD program that the state of Arizona demands for English Language Learners but when I put it into perspective it is just another hoop to jump through. Argh!

Life hit me right between the eyes when our youngest went off to college!! Here I thought I would love and couldn't wait for an empty nest....NOT! I was not prepared to deal with all of the emotions and heart ache. I do believe I followed my husband around like a little puppy for the first few weeks. I still do! I couldn't think, concentrate or read! Yes, that's right! For me, reading is my solace and I was unable to even pick up a book. I still struggle with a changing of the job description in my life but I am eternally grateful for an understanding husband, good kiddos, a dog who is excited to see me, and friends that have reached out to lift me up. A dear friend, Mary, was there (unknowingly probably) when I really needed it, phone calls arrived when my heart was saddest, and letters and text messages became life-lines.

Yep, life just got in the way!!

Now our college kid has returned to our roost (but only momentarily!) She is engaged to be married!! Yep, life will get in the way once more - but we are so happy for her! Her fiancee is awesome! He's everything you would want for your precious daughter. Truly a man who treats her like a queen!! She's one very lucky chica! (And she knows it.)

I finally feel ready to blog a bit again and this list of questions was what prompted it! The post has taken me ALL night - I take my book reading seriously!! Completing the post has provided great insight and reminded me what a blessing reading is!!

(I was challenged to complete the post and take the scriptures out of the running!)

1. If you could host a party with 7 literary characters who would they be and why?

First for sheer fun and charm would be two irascible men, Joe Harmon and Gus Mc Crae. Joe's a dedicated worker, fun loving and in love with the land. Gus is a sharpshooter, a card shark, and a charmer! Every lady at the party would thoroughly enjoy themselves with them around. Harry Potter from book #1 would also make an appearance. His thrill and joy of discovering magic and another world would be contagious! I would invite Dashti along as well. She is upbeat, dedicated and loyal. What more could you want in a friend? Her curiosity would make her the perfect conversationalist! A book struck Queen Elizabeth II from The Uncommon Reader should most certainly make an appearance. How I loved her discovery of literature. She and I would/could talk books for hours. I hope the other guests don't mind! Junior (Arnold) Spirit would be a great companion for Harry and fun to just josh with. He is the best kind of nerdy boy; fierce, fearless, funny and dorky all at the same time. He and Dashti and Harry could keep the party young and fun! Last but not least Ani, Princess Anidori Kiladra Taliana Isilee, from The Goose Girl would be on the invite list. She is not afraid to make friends with anyone!!

Joe Harmon from A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute
Gus McCrae from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Dashti from The Book of 1000 Days by Shannon Hale
Queen Elizabeth II from The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Junior (Arnold) Spirit from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Ani from The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

2. Which literary house would you like most to live in?

I do believe that I could be more than comfortable in Anne's home in Green Gables!! My mom actually visited there and said that it looks just like we all imagine it to be!!

3. Which literary couple would you like most for parents?

Please oh please don't let my mother be Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Predjudice!! If I could hand-pick a dad though Jean Valjean personifies devotion and unconditional love. Would he be attracted to my mom? I would pick "Mama" from Mama's Bank Account . She always knew how to solve a problem and what would work out - gosh, just like my mom!!

Elizabeth Bennett’s mother in Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jean Valjean in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Mama in Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes

4. Pick 3 literary characters you would like to have as siblings.

Jenny Weasley, she would always have your back! Jacob in the Twilight series, he would be a great body-guard too! Lastly, Hattie Inez Brooks, from Hattie Big Sky. She would love to have siblings too!!

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings

Twilight (the series) by Stephenie Meyer

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

5. Who is your favorite literary villain?

I do not like bad men; however every story needs one. I guess I would say the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

6. Name a character that most people dislike, but that you do not. Why do you like them?

Javert from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. We can all be misled by misguided intentions. Javert became so wrapped up in doing his job that he missed the mark in seeing the noble man Jean Valjean had become. Javert is me at times! I miss my marks.

7. Name 3 books that you rarely see on people’s favorite book lists that are on your own.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan

A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute

One In Thine Hand by Gerald Lund

8. What is your favorite literary name?

I guess names don't influence me in a book as much as I thought. But I can tell you what NOT to name a baby based on a student I have had! But characters in a book ... now that's hard. I love the character Wyl Thirsk from Myrren's Gift by Fiona McIntosh. Because his character is so cool I guess I love the name.

9. What is a book that changed your life?

I don’t know that I can say one book changed my life, but many have definitely improved it. I often reflect on advice given in Corrie ten Boom’s books - she was so inspiring for me. I also loved the inner journey in The Mutant Message Down Under.

11. What is a book that you’ve read more than once?

I read a few books more than once. Probably the ones I have read the most are childhood books or ones I have read to my kids and then classes of kids.... Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Castaways in Lilliput, and finally one that I have read since I was a preteen, Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow. I think I'll pull it out again! It's been years!

12. What is a book that you’d want on a desert island?

A big, thick, detailed, how-to book on gathering and planting seeds, avoiding wild animals and directions for tying knots, starting a fire by friction and building that Swiss Family Robinson tree house. It better be a Reader's Digest compendium too, the ones with the condensed books in it for long afternoons when I might have some time to read!!

13. What is a book that made you laugh?

The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett - laugh out loud funny!

Prize-Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan: envisioning the mother standing at the ironing board melting her girdle back together with the iron is a hoot!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie!

SkippyJohn Jones by Judy Schachner - grade school hysterical

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems - how can speech bubbles and a one eyed bird be so hysterical?? Gales of laughter peal from 1st graders to adults each time I read it to anyone!

14. What is a book that made you cry?

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Old Dan, Little Ann . . . how can you not cry in that book? Old Yeller by Fred Gibson. Why do dogs have to die!?!?

15. What are you currently reading?

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Just finished The Shack by William Paul Young (for Book Group)

16. What is a book you’ve been meaning to read?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas has been on my list for years!
Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series (Book 1). Finally we have selected it for next year's summer read in Book Group!! Yeah, I will finally read it!

17. What is a non-fiction book that you have enjoyed?

Candy Freak by Steve Almond - funny, irreverent and it makes your mouth water. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand - it reads like fiction!

18. What is a book that you don’t enjoy?

Sheeps_Clothing by Josi S. Kilpack - just not worth my time. Too preachy!

19. What is a book you remember as a real page-turner?

Boy, there have been lots of those!! Tell No One by Harlan Coben was fantastic - it consumed me as many a suspense book will. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos - her prose was like poetry!! I loved reading her words. Austenland by Shannon Hale - fun and funny, pure chick-lit and I don't even "do"that!

20. Who is your literary role model?

With all of his misguided foibles Jean Valjean, of Les Miserables, is still my literary role model. Of course I still want to be as positive as Anne or Green Gables and as enterprising as Nick Allen in Andrew Clement's Frindle, but for pure humanness I still aspire to be Jean Valjean. Boy, did that book have an impact on me!! (I read it only recently and it has flavored every part of me!)