Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What do YOU do when your kid has been throwing a tantrum for 20 solid minutes?

Colton is a beautiful, precocious, and tender little three-year-old. He's fascinated with the Christmas tree. And why shouldn't he be. It's really cool-- lots of lights, many cool toy-like things hanging there just begging to be played with, the promise of presents, etc. What's not to love?

The problem of course is that those ornaments aren't REALLY toys. They're decorations. So, the rule is "Look, but don't touch." He has a really hard time with that.

Mom finally gave him an ultimatum after about the millionth approach to the tree with ITT ("intent to touch," for all you who haven't watched the latest Night at the Museum). "Touch it one more time, my darling, precious child," she said through clenched teeth, "and I'll send you to bed." So he sat there for about a minute, with his arms tightly crossed, looking sideways at the tree which was within his reach, but out of his grasp. Then, when he thought we weren't looking--- ITT!!, and he TOUCHED! When I got out of my chair, the look on his face was a combination of terror, consternation, and a strange satisfaction at having touched.

As calmly as I could (which, happily, was pretty calm this time), I frog-marched him off to his toddler bed and firmly laid him out with his blankie. "Stay put," I warned, and left the room. Within a minute the wailing started....

It's been going for 20 minutes (sigh). Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I laughed today

My friend and colleague, David West, gave me a chuckle today. At lunch, several of us were swapping stories about this and that, and one of us paused for lack of a word. In the gap David intoned, "His vocabulary was as bad as... like, whatever."

I'm still kinda goin' on that one.

What made you laugh today?

Monday, December 7, 2009

First fire

We've live in our cute little house for more than five years and today is the first day I made a fire in the fireplace. The desire for a fire is what happens when the temp dips to -5. Okay, that's an exaggeration. The weather page online said it "felt like" -5. I can verify that it did, indeed, feel like -5. COLD!

So, I rounded up a little wood, vacuumed about an inch of dust (no joke) out of the firebox and built a toasty little fire. So far so good. I even remembered to open the flue so we don't fill the house with smoke.

Then I switched on the blower. Talk about ROAR. What noisy fan! I guess we'll be doing without the blower for now.

Now it remains to be seen if this actually reduces the amount of time the furnace is on.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why November was a bad month for blogging....

I totally stole the title of this post from a posting by my friend and mentor, Mark Brown. His reasons for not blogging much in November are excellent. He sat for his qualifying exams for his P. H. D. (and PASSED!!!) , and he wrote a draft of a freakin' novel--- 50,133 words (apparently relying upon EM Forster's definition of how wordy a thing has to be to be a "novel" and not some other freaky (twice I use this work now) literary thing). Good reasons for laying off the blog thing, neh?

Me? I got no such good excuses. I'm just lame.

So... there you have it. Lameness vs. productivity and intellectual rigor.

On the bright side... I didn't kill any of my children this month (nor last), and I got the tree up on Dec 1 (a record at our house).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday chores

Here I sit, on a Saturday, at the office. I'm finishing up a little job... and avoiding several much bigger jobs. You know... "real" work.

Before I left home this morning my boys did their Saturday work. They grumbled, but it's done. I hope they feel as good about getting it done as I do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time for my monthly post?

Hey all. You know, I think, that once school is in session it is a rare day that I actually do anything with the ole bloggerino. I do regret that. Really.

The news of the week is that I'm half-way done with the weekend Wood Badge course in our council. What is Wood Badge, you ask? Hmmm. Good question. The short answer is that it's training for scout leaders. The longer answer is that it's 6 days of hanging out with other folks who care about what happens to youth, learning gobs of stuff about communication, team building, games, and what it means to be a Scout in the 21st century. It's good stuff, to be sure. I'm happy to be doing it. Weekend #2 is Oct 22, 23, 24. More after that.

The pic is of me with the rocket we built on day 3. Our patrol's (EAGLES!) rocket flew the farthest. No need to mention the howling wind that carried it to the record distance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a good time for family portraits

Many of you know that I do a bit of photography on the side. I've had a ton of fun doing family, senior, and wedding portraits in Twin the past couple of years.

If you are thinking of doing family portraits as Christmas gifts (or for Christmas cards), you might like to know that I'm giving 10% off sitting fees and print prices this month. 'Tis a good time to get 'em done because of the cooler evenings, the upcoming fall colors, and the fact that everyone's pretty much done traveling for the summer, etc. Mention this posting to get the 10% off.

The 10% applies to senior portraits too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Harvest time

Our tomatoes FINALLY came on... and boy are they ON! Anyone want tomatoes?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Job security... at least for now

The following is from a press release from CSI today:

"More than 8,300 students are enrolled at the College of Southern Idaho this semester marking the first time the college has ever reached the 8,000 figure and its highest one-year increase ever."

It is something of a maxim in higher education that economic hard times are generally a good thing for enrollment. People out of work tend to want to improve their job skills or change careers entirely. CSI has had continual growth throughout it's 40+ year history and this year, as you saw above, continues the trend-- in a big way.

In practical terms this means that I have full classes and they are staying full. In other, leaner years I often start the semester with full classes, but once they get a gander at my syllabus and/or hear me talk, some certain number of them scamper off to another section (or, perhaps they drop college entirely-- who knows). This year, however, if they want to go for that AA or AS, there is no other section of 101 or 102 for them to go to. EVERY class is full. We even opened a bunch of new sections (once of which is an overload class for me). Hurray for higher education.

The flip side, of course, is that we're being asked to do more for more students with less money. When the economy is in the tank, people come back to college but they don't buy big screen TVs or wave runners (and thus sales tax and other state revenues are down).

You know, though (I hope), that I love what I do. It's work, but I love it. . .

. . . most days.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday is a special day...

... it's the day I harangue lovingly, patiently persuade my children to get them to do their Saturday work.

In addition to inside work, we're mowing, raking, generally cleaning the yard, AND mowing, raking, and generally cleaning the yard at a neighbor's house.

What are you doing today?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm a-learnin'

I'll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go in mastering the real power of PhotoShop. I'm nothing like the master that others in my circle of friends (Sonnet) have shown themselves to be. I have, however, had a bit of fun learning some new things and trying them out on the pics I took of Nick and Lindsay last weekend.

I was so taken by one of these shots, in fact, that I've set it as my profile pic over on facebook (where, in fact, some of you are reading this post, I'm sure).

Do me a favor, will ya'? Tell me which of these you like best. Which ones don't work?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another darling couple

I had some real fun at the temple with Nick and Lindsay. They were married in Ohio (at the Columbus temple), but since Nick is from Twin, they had an open house here. Their open house was at the stake center adjacent to the Twin Falls temple, so we took some pictures there. Here are some o' my favorites....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Great new restaurant in Kimberly

I'm a fan of new things. I like new pencils and notebooks. Newly mown grass makes me feel calm and settled. The breath of a newborn is like aromatic ambrosia. New is, in a word, good.

Keri and I and some friends went out to eat last night (a late birthday celebration). On the recommendation of one of those friends, we tried a new restaurant in Kimberly called the Fire 10 Grill. It's located next to the Kimberly High School on the eastern-most end of that new strip mall (931 Center Street West to be exact). My friend and former neighbor Ben Watson manages. The decor is new, the menu is new, the building is new. Everything is new. It was very, very nice.

I especially like the Chicken Louie I had. It too is something new-- to me anyway. It's grilled or crispy chicken with crab (not krab) and avocado and swiss cheese on a soft bun. I ordered it with onion rings and a coke. It was delicious! Really!

Keri had a chicken, bacon, avocado that she said was very good too, and others in the group raved about their selections, including a burger (the name of which slips my mind) that had all kinds of hot things on it, including jalapeno poppers. If you are into throat scorching, that one sounds rather decadent and delicious.

We finished up the night with some cheesecase, for which we chose a succulent raspberry topping. One piece was big enough to share-- especially after the filling meal that we'd just had.

My only reservation-- a tiny one, really-- is that I wish there'd been a few more onion rings to go with my sandwich. The rings were fresh, crispy, and big, but I want maybe one or two more. I think you can always go for one or two more onion rings, though.

If you live in the Magic Valley, stop in and give it a try. I think you'll be satisfied.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Prep week is done

and I'm not nearly ready for the semester to start. Poor me. I did get quite a bit done today though. I have a full Unit One finished for 101 and 102.

In other news, the watermelon I got was delicious. Nothing quite like a crispy cold sweet melon on a hot summer afternoon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cute couple!

I just finished a photo shoot at the Twin Falls temple. Paula Weeks, a friend from church and the neighborhood, invited me to shoot this weddding with her. She's a very talented photographer but hadn't done a wedding before and wanted to do a couple with someone else before tackling one on her own. I haven't seen her shots yet, but she set up some excellent angles, etc. for today, so I'm confident we have a great set of proofs for the bride and groom (and their families).

I really enjoyed taking pictures of this beautiful new family. They looked very happy. It was fun to see how much their parents were enjoying the day too. What a wondeful occasion.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Which knowledge . . .

Of all the things you know, which is (or are) the most valuable?

How do we value knowledge? How do we measure the worth of what we know?

Most of my loyal readers know that I teach literature and writing at the college level. I've been doing that for 10 years now (wow, how the time flies). When I tell people that "I teach writing & literature" (or sometimes I just come right out and say it... "I teach English") I typically get one of two reactions. Either people's eyes glaze over and they mumble something like "I was never good at English" or "I hated my English classes," or they light up and say something about what they've been reading or what they liked about a lit class or writing experience they had.Both are reasonable responses, I suppose (though I have never said to my friends who sell cars or build houses "Oh, I HATE selling cars!" or "I can't stand floor joists!").

Not once have I ever had that respectful silence or awed look that suggests that what I do really matters, however. Not in the way that being a doctor (the medical kind) or a social worker matters. In fact, all in all I suspect that most people put "English teacher" on a par with some kind of circus act or reality TV show. It just doesn't matter.

Knowing about the impetus for Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury isn't crucial knowledge, after all. Differentiating between metaphor and simile (not to mention synecdoche and metonymy) won't save some one's life. Being able to recite a Hopkins poem isn't necessary skill for contemporary survival. Is it?

(Now, lest I get a bunch of outraged replies to this post, I know that I'm being a bit overdramatic. Hang in there. I'm making a point.)

Setting aside for the moment the well-known irony that our society chooses to trust its children to people that it, at the same time, chooses not to pay very well (comparatively speaking), what I'm wondering is how we tend to rank what we know. Of all the things you have learned in life, which are the most important? Why? What makes them important? How do we use them?

How does knowing, for example, how to change a tire compare to knowing when your child is old enough to eat honey? In what ways is knowledge about making a garden thrive different than the ability to keep a computer running efficiently? What about the ability to solve crossword puzzles or complete that d*&# Sudoku game (the former I can do, the latter I cannot)? Where do those skills rank in the grand scheme of things?

Perhaps I'm also asking about why we choose to do the things we do (for a living, I mean). What made me an English teacher instead of a chiropractor or entomologist? What made you do the "thing" you do?

Of course, I'm also asking about other kinds of knowledge-- the spiritual salt that many of us have tasted. What would you say is the relationship between that kind of knowledge and other kinds?

What is one to do when concepts seem to be conflict? What does a Mormon or Catholic geologist do, for example, with the apparent contradiction between contemporary knowledge about the age of the earth (4 billion years old?) and biblical literalness which gives a something different answer (more like 7,000 years)?

I'm just sure that I'm opening a can of worms here, but give me your thoughts. Or, to be briefer, tell me the one bit of knowledge that you can't live without.

Just wondering . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Draney Camp '09

My brothers and sisters (and I) have taken to calling our annual camping-trip reunion "Draney Camp." The concept may sound boring and lacking in imagination to some, but getting together in the same campground on the same week of the year (basically) every year is a wonderful tradition that our family looks forward to every year.

We hang out, we share meals, we shoot each other with paintballs (some of the guys anyway). We even share a few spiritual thoughts. It's a great thing.

This year I was feeling a bit down because Keri has been mostly out of commission with her back problems. To tell the truth, I was feeling sorry for myself. It was more than a little heartening how my family rallied round to help me feel better. They're a great bunch, those Neola Draneys. Thanks everyone.

We didn't take as many pictures this year, for whatever reason (I think our record was 1,000 + a couple of years ago), but here are a few of the favs that I took. I hope to get some from Dianna soon too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scout Camp pictures

I'm posting this note by remote control. That is to say I wrote it last night and scheduled it to appear this morning.

It's simple, really. I'm just posting the link to the best of the best scout camp pictures. The way they appear here is also a preview of a little slide show that I'll be posting eventually.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Stop gap

I'm stealing time from housework and packing to scribble this little blog note. We're off to "Draney Camp" tomorrow and may or may not be in Internet range in the meantime. So, to keep the grass a little bit green, here's a tiny little posting...

Scout camp was good. Very, very good. By turns it was restful, invigorating, delicious (maple bars on the last day), spiritual, and hilarious. Of course every joke told after midnight around a campfire is the funniest you've ever heard, and scouts add to the hilarity quite innocently when the subject matter is just barely over their heads. Good clean fun all around.

Perhaps the highlight for me was the tenacious way that a couple of our first-year scouts stuck to their tasks and earned some tough merit badges. They got in the cold, cold water of the arctic lake, they slept out without tents, they braved the famed "Yeti hike," and they endured the Environmental Science badge. Well done, scouts!

On the leaders' side, we learned how to splice rope, identify a few plants, and avoid gaining a million pounds while eating 3 carbohydrate-rich meals (with seconds) every day. Official weight gain this year-- a mere 1.7 pounds. A friend even asked me yesterday if I'd lost weight. How nice is that?

So... we're off to the Basin for a few days. I probably won't be able to blog there, so... until next week, enjoy your last weeks of summer.

I know I will.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Back from Cape Horn

Got a bit of laundry done (just enough to get through church etc. tomorrow). Downloaded the over 700 pictures to the computer, but didn't have the chance to do anything with them yet.

I'll post something soon-- both pics and bloggy things.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blogging sabbatical...

Well, folks. Scout camp is nigh. The gear is packed, the arrangements have been made, the alarm clock is set. Come tomorrow 5AM (or as a friend of mine sometimes says, "5AM in the morning"), Jacob, Joshua, and I will be headed for the Stanely Basin area - Cape Horn, specifically. There ain't no computer, internet, or even cell service there, so I'll be incommunicado for a week or so here. See you on the other side.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't do it

Don't check your work email if you're not at work. I made the mistake of looking at mine today and found work I didn't want to know about.

I'm on vacation, don't you know!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scout Camp approacheth

Okay, let's tap the collective wisdom of this social network...

I'm off to scout camp with two boys next week. (Keri will have her niece here to help with the heavy lifting. Thank you Anne.) Last year I made a short list of things I was glad I had at camp and a few things I wish I'd had. Here are my lists:

I'm glad I had:
  1. Shade (awnings, umbrellas, tarps)
  2. A cot
  3. Extra socks and shoes
  4. One rain poncho (for Jacob)
  5. Camera
  6. Scriptures
  7. Word games (for fire side)
  8. Reading material (work and leisure)
I wish I'd had:
  1. Something to repel no-see-ums (they were legion last year!)
  2. Another rain poncho (for me)
  3. A small mirror
  4. LONG, warm socks
  5. Antihistamine lotion (a la Caladryl)
  6. After-bite stick
  7. more than 3 pairs of pants
  8. Short, short haircut
Here's my question for the cloud of human computers out there (all 3 of you who read my posts): What are the essential, but rarely thought of, things one should take to camp? Assume that all the standard stuff like toothbrush, pocket knife, comb, etc. are already packed. What nice little item turns out to be indispensable?

Part of my inspiration for this post comes from the most recent issue of Wired in which Scott Adams's spasmodic dysphonia (check it out, cool article) is explored in some depth. The part of that article that relates to this little post is the part about the DUH (Dilbert Ultimate House, or something like that). Adams gathered ideas for his cooler-than-cool house from the human cloud, including a Christmas tree closet, an additional laundry room on the second floor (where all the bedding and clothing is anyway), and cat walkways (and, in fact, a room for the cat).

Anyway, give me your best ideas-- stuff I wouldn't think of on my own.

with bated breath...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A week plus ++++

Yikes! It's been a whole week since I posted a note for the edification and enjoyment of my 3 loyal readers. Sorry, folks. Being chief cook and bottle washer is keeping me plenty distracted, if not plenty busy.

Truth is, doing all the mundane things that gotta be done around here isn't much to blog about. I mean, who really cares about how many loads of laundry I've done or how many times the dishwasher gets loaded and unloaded in a single day? It's important stuff, in its way, but not particularly blog-worthy.

I liked to think that I helped out around here plenty. I mean I'm not adverse to changing nappies or folding socks (actually, I draw the line at socks :) )... I mean ... folding undies, etc. I push the rug rats to clean their rooms and I even pitch in to do the floors (my job since day 1 of our marriage). What I've discovered, of course (like many a Mr. Mom before me), is that there ain't no such thing as a non-working momma. Doin' this work is a full-time gig, for sure. Keri deserves a raise and a cruise to ... wherever she wants to go.

I won't pretend that I haven't kvetched plenty. I'm kind of a complainer by nature (though I'm working on that one). Picking up the same pillows and blankets every morning gets me going a bit, I'm afraid, and having to ask boys more than once to get up and eat breakfast before 2PM makes me a little cranky.

Still, is this the stuff of scintillating blog posts? Nope. Not really.

So what is? What types of stuff bring you, the loyal trio, back here from time to time? What are the things that make us all so interested in the facebook news feed? Why twitter, for crying out loud?

On a slightly different note-- being home all day gives me a chance to take pictures of the funny places the kids fall asleep.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The weekend drama . . .

As most of you will have gathered from various posts and replies, Keri went backpacking while I was in Boston. She went, with a group of young women and leaders from our ward, to the Sawtooths-- 4th of July Creek area. It was a great trip, with one little glitch...

A few years ago, while we lived in Pocatello, Keri hurt her back quite badly and was down in bed for several days recovering. Her back has never been the same since, and she takes quite a bit of care to avoid things that might bring on a recurrence of that pain.

Unfortunately, hiking in the back country, especially over landslides and avalanches, was just the thing she didn't want or need. She came down off the mountain with monstrous pain. She's pretty much flat on her back and trying to figure out a way to recover.

When I say she "came down off the mountain," I don't mean under her own power, unfortunately. In fact, she came down in a helicopter. Life Flight, to be exact. An adventure, to be sure, but one I'd rather she could have avoided.

The bottom line is that we're trying to figure out how to get her better, and I'm pampering and taking care of her. Please think positive thoughts for us. And hope that our insurance will pay for that helicopter ride.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back from Boston

I'd hoped to be able to blog from Boston, but, as I tweeted the other day, that posh hotel where Pearson billeted us charges extra for Internet service. (Have you noticed, by the way, that the budget hotels often include "free Internet access," and the nicer ones have those pesky daily charges?)

It's been a crazy weekend, but I'm finally in a spot where I can post a picture or two from Beantown.

If you follow me on Twitter, you will recall my query about a salmon BLT. Not everyone agreed that such a combination should see the light of day, but I found it excellent!

I guess Mike's Pastry is a rather famous joint in Boston. It's just a few steps off the famed "Freedom Trail," so I stopped in. This picture shows about half the crowd waiting for service. On the wall were pictures of Bill Clinton dining here. The brownie was really good. The eclair was just okay. Maybe this is one of those places that is famous for being famous . . .

Personal indulgence. I like the colors of the buildings here. No other reason for posting this one.

Robert McCloskey's 1941 children's book Make Way for Ducklings is set in Boston's Public Garden which happens to be across the street from the hotel where I stayed. This bronze statue was erected in 1987 in honor of the famous story. It's just about impossible to take a picture of this statue without a child or children in the shot (and a parent or parents standing by with camera in hand).

Above is the Granary Burying Grounds were many patriots, including Paul Revere, and early New England leaders, the first mayor of Boston, for example, are buried. Phyllis Wheatley's owner, Samuel Sewall (a Salem witch trials judge), John Hancock, and Mother Goose (probably not the original Mother Goose, but a woman named Mary Goose who had many children and was well-known at the time for her knowledge of nursery rhymes) are also buried here.

It was a fun, if brief, trip. The food was wonderful and the publisher's presentations were bearable. I made a couple of new friends, and I got some ideas for fall classes. All in all, a pretty productive and enjoyable three days. (Oh, and the woman in charge of our trip said I look like Kevin Spacey. What do you think?)

The picture I didn't get (my camera was already "stowed" for landing in SLC) was of the Oquirrh Mountain temple. We flew right over it in our approach and the afternoon light was wonderful. Ah well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Off to Boston

I hope I'll be able to get some fun pictures of Boston. I'm going there for a couple of days to learn about Pearson's MyCompLab-- an online writing space.

Today I've got to get a couple of lawns mowed, some clothes washed, a few technical things sent to Pearson in advance of the conference, and figure out if I need to take a computer. If I take a computer, I can blog from the road. If I don't, I have less to schlep on the plane. What to do?

More soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quarterback Cate

Your team stands the best chance of victory if this little captain calls the plays.

Saturday was the Peck Familiy reunion and Cate had to be involved with everything. She went from one group to the next-- sometimes quarterbacking, sometimes dancing to the ukelele, sometimes snitching an extra bite of brownie. I think she had a good time.

That was, as I said, Saturday. Today, Keri and I (and Josh) walked the canyon. Keri is helping to take a bunch of girls on an three day backpacking trip this week, so we were testing out the shoes and the pack. The following was part of the view from the mid-point in our walk.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


About 30 minutes after we got back to Twin today it started raining buckets. There was some wonderful lightning and thunder too.

I wonder what kind of record rainfall we've had this year so far. It's got to be a lot. All the rain makes me happy because then I don't have to pay for as much water. Nice.

We haven't had to pay for as much AC either, so I can sink all my money into blogging and making videos.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's Good to Be a Peck

If I felt more energetic and/or creative, I'd post something witty about the relationship between family and the 4th of July... about how the one is the meaning of the other and that freedom to worship as we please, and to raise our families how we please, is an essential and important right. I'm sure those things are true, but I don't have pithy or eloquent words for the idea tonight.

Instead, I'll just post the pics...

For those who may not know, Peck is Keri's maiden name. I asked Dad Peck if I'm a "Peck" and he said I'd been adopted into the family. Of course.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mustangs and Legends...

... is the name of an airshow someplace (I'm so lazy I didn't even look where it is). They had the following as the opener to their show. Pretty cool for this holiday weekend. Whitney Houston's "Star Spangled Banner" is one of the all-time greats. Do you remember when and where it was recorded?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Frog hunting

When we were at the falls the other evening, the boys found a pond and creek that had lots of frogs. They were dying to go back to see if they could catch any, so we went there again today. The water was too slimey and deep in get into really, so we ended up taking a bunch of pictures. That's just as well because I know Keri would not be interested in having a bunch of frogs around the house. ;-)

I also took some video of the falls and made a little movie.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shoshone Falls - June 09

Three years ago Shoshone Falls ran at a record rate of nearly 18,000 cubic feet per second. The park at the falls set a record for attendance as people flocked from all over the West to see this historic site. We regretted that no one in our immediate family was close enough to see it.

This year's incredibly wet spring has contributed to another banner year for runoff in the Snake River aquifer. Even though officials had already emptied Palisades more than half way to make room for increased runoff, they had to make more room. As a result, the falls are running very high again this year. They're running even higher than 3 years ago, some 20,000 cubic feet per second, the highest flow since the '80s (I think). Happily, Mom is here to see it. We went to the falls last night for family night.

It was a bit warm for the first little while, but as the sun set the temps dipped and got very comfortable. We enjoyed strolling around, looking at birds and insects, and snapping pics of the kids here and there.

All three of these pics were taken this year.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 26, 2009

What'd ya' read?

What did you read when you were in elementary school or jr. high?

Of the 7 days I spent in Daytona Beach, Sunday, June 14th, was the "night out." In other words, ETS gave the caterers the night off and gave each reader a $25 allowance for dinner. The idea, of course, is that folks could congregate with friends and splurge a bit on a nice meal. By Sunday I had made a few friends, but I was not really in the mood to go to one of the many crowded restaurants near the hotel. So, I just wandered around along Atlantic Blvd (aka Highway A1A).

Eventually I came across a small Domino's pizza place that had two tiny tables. There was hardly anyone there, so I ordered a small "extravaganza" (which has peppers, olives, sausage, onions, and a bunch of other stuff that no one in my family will eat). While they were baking my pizza, a fellow reader stopped in with the same idea. After she placed her order, she looked around for a place to sit. The other table was in use, so I offered her a seat at my table. And that, as they say, was the start of something wonderful.

My new friend is Linda Winrow. She teaches high school English. We spent more than an hour talking about books, reading, students, writing, and travel. It was a delightful way to spend the evening. One of the things we talked about was what we read, and what our children/grandchildren read, during those formative years-- say 8 to 18.

My facebook friends may have seen a note from Linda about a book series I recommended for her grandson. It's the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Our 11 year old, Josh, has been devouring them.

I posted a reply to Linda about a series I read in jr high-- the John Carter of Mars books (by Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame). I loved them when I first read them. Later, something like 10 years ago, I reread them and found them quite hokey-- amateurish and contrived.

Then, while looking around at what Pixar has been up to, I read that Andrew Stanton, of Pixar fame, is working on a movie version of parts of this story and of course I had to pull them off the shelf and give them another go. I guess the knowledge that Pixar is tackling this story, and that their past efforts have been quite good, is coloring my reading. I'm finding them interesting and fun all over again. I guess I still see the contrived parts and some things about it are still a bit hokey, but read through the lens of the age in which they were written, they're not too stinkin' bad*. Kinda good, in fact.

So, what did you read in your formative years? Besides Nancy Drew and/or Hardy Boys? Or Harry Potter? Let's give Linda some good reading ideas for her grandson. And me some good ideas for boys who are on the verge of saying "I'm bored. There's nothing to do."

*Hawkeye would say, "If you bring that sentence in to the shop, we can have it shortened for you by Tuesday."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lazy Summer Morning

Keri got up a while ago to take Cameron to Day Camp. I didn't get up, but I was pretty much awake, so I grabbed a book and read for a while. Then, when the book got boring, I switched over to TV. Spongebob isn't too bad in the morning when your mind is mush anyway.

Eventually, Colton came along and crawled into bed with me and we snuggled for a few minutes.

I finally got up about an hour ago and had my bowl of raisin bran (trying be healthy for once--especially after the wonderful Father's Day meal and leftovers), and read email and facebooked for a few minutes.

Cate and Cole are now sitting in front of the fan, listening to their voices waver. Josh got a couple of chores done without being asked, so when he asked if he could play Wii, I said yes. Jake is actually up before noon today, so we'll count that as a good harbinger.

I think I might go to the library later and pay that fine. That'll clear the day for some real work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Both books found

What a relief. When I checked our library account online I discovered that the other book has been returned. Miracle of miracles, eh?

I think that one of the boys may have let a friend borrow the book and the friend returned it. Or, one of them left it at school or returned it to the school library by mistake and it eventually made its way to the public library.

Either way, it's a relief that the books are both found and returned.

What was I going to do next?

One book found . . .

. . . one to go.

We looked and looked for this book, including several times in the very spot in which we found it. Suddenly today, however, there it is. Too bad we owe almost the value of the book in fines now.