Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I also vividly recall standing in line, by class, in a school cafeteria in Omaha with many other kids in the school. We were all there to get a shot for.... something. I don't think it was for polio; this would have been too late for those mass vaccinations, but what was it for???? Now I really want to know because I don't have the faith in the medical community that most people would have had during that time, the 60's, that everything they say you have to do is really the truth. Nor do I trust how those vaccinations were (potentially) made.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Polio: An American Story
Thursday, February 22, 2007
"un-alphabetized" and "un-arranged by subject"
The recent "un-alphabetized" and "un-arranged by subject" -ness of my book cases has me all in a tizzy.
We have 4 large double book cases in our bonus room (or library as we like to call it) and we all love our books. Combining that with a house that is for sale and it's easy to see how this wall of bookcases could look messy. Books were stacked up and spilling out of it. I packed some up, thinking that would help. My daughter had a better idea. She suggested that in order to make our wall of bookcases look less cluttered, it might help to arrange the books by size, rather than my preferred method of organization, alphabetized or by subject.
The book cases look GOOD, which was the point, but now, when I want to find a book quickly, I can't. I'll think "Oh, that's by _______ and it will be there." The problem now is that looking "there" where the book should be no longer helps. The book could be anywhere. Now I have to remember if the book I'm looking for is hardcover or paperback. Is it a large or small paperback/hardcover. Then I need to try to remember the color of the cover, if possible.
It will be wonderful when we finally sell this house, move, and I can put my bookcases back into the order I like. I miss the alphabetization.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm – but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
Sunday, February 18, 2007
The Thirteenth Tale
Friday, February 16, 2007
The Professor and the Madman
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Now my family is treating a favorite TV show like it's time to open the all night buffet full of endless choices. You should understand the problems this can create in my family. Suddenly dinner must be something light because it's 24 night and you know that means it's time to break out the cheese, crackers, ice cream, chips, chicken tenders, and, naturally, wings. This is troubling. It may be time to make some snacking rules before putting into place a ban on all snacking while watching TV.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Neither here Nor there
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Useful Work Phrases
(I found this list originally from 1999 while cleaning out my desk and felt it needed to be shared with others again.)
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
1. ONE HOMESCHOOL BOOK YOU HAVE ENJOYED
The Christian Homeschool by Gregg Harris was the first book on homeschooling I read. A friend loaned it to me to read. I bought my own copy so I could loan it out to other people. It's been a long time since I actually looked at it, though.
2. ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULDN'T BE WITHOUT
The computer (including the connected printer) with internet access has become invaluable in homeschooling.
3. ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT
4. ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST (This) YEAR
5. ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING NEXT YEAR
6. ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY
7. ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED
8. ONE HOMESCHOOLING CATALOG YOU ENJOY READING
9. ONE WEBSITE YOU USE REGULARLY
10. TAG OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls's father always called her "Mountain Goat" and there's perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents--Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets. Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls' removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents' knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them--despite their overwhelming self-absorption--resonates from cover to cover. --Brangien Davis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
Copyright © Reed Business Information,
Monday, February 5, 2007
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Material World and Hungry Planet
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio. Both of these books come highly recommended. I read Material World in January, after my daughter finished it, and, after reading half of it earlier, I finally finished Hungry Planet last night.
Material World was published in 1995, but still has an impact. From the Amazon.com review:
"[A]ward-winning photojournalist Peter Menzel brought together 16 of the world's leading photographers to create a visual portrait of life in 30 nations. Material World tackles its wide subject by zooming in, allowing one household to represent an entire nation. Photographers spent one week living with a "statistically average" family in each country, learning about their work, their attitudes toward their possessions, and their hopes for the future. Then a "big picture" shot of the family was taken outside the dwelling, surrounded by all their (many or few) material goods.
The book provides sidebars offering statistics and a brief history for each country, as well as personal notes from the photographers about their experiences. But it is the "big pictures" that tell most of the story..... Material World is a lesson in economics and geography, reminding us of the world's inequities, but also of humanity's common threads. An engrossing, enlightening book. --Maria Dolan"
Hungry Planet was published in 2005 and was the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the year. This really is not a cookbook, although it does have a recipe in it from each family portrayed. The review, in part, at Amazon.com:
"...Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, [is] a comparative photo-chronicle of their visits to 30 families in 24 countries for 600 meals in all. Their personal-is-political portraits feature pictures of each family with a week's worth of food purchases; weekly food-intake lists with costs noted; typical family recipes; and illuminating essays.... Among the families, we meet the Mellanders, a German household of five who enjoy cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and beef roulades, and whose weekly food expenses amount to $500. We also encounter the Natomos of Mali, a family of one husband, his two wives, and their nine children, whose corn and millet-based diet costs $26.39 weekly.
We soon learn that diet is determined by largely uncontrollable forces like poverty, conflict and globalization, which can bring change with startling speed....
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
On September 8, 1900, a massive hurricane slammed into Galveston, Texas. A tidal surge of some four feet in as many seconds inundated the city, while the wind destroyed thousands of buildings. By the time the water and winds subsided, entire streets had disappeared and as many as 10,000 were dead--making this the worst natural disaster in America's history.
In Isaac's Storm, Erik Larson blends science and history to tell the story of Galveston, its people, and the hurricane that devastated them. Drawing on hundreds of personal reminiscences of the storm, Larson follows individuals through the fateful day and the storm's aftermath. There's Louisa Rollfing, who begged her husband, August, not to go into town the morning of the storm; the Ursuline Sisters at St. Mary's orphanage who tied their charges to lengths of clothesline to keep them together; Judson Palmer, who huddled in his bathroom with his family and neighbors, hoping to ride out the storm. At the center of it all is Isaac Cline, employee of the nascent Weather Bureau, and his younger brother--and rival weatherman--Joseph. Larson does an excellent job of piecing together Isaac's life and reveals that Isaac was not the quick-thinking hero he claimed to be after the storm ended. The storm itself, however, is the book's true protagonist--and Larson describes its nuances in horrific detail.At times the prose is a bit too purple, but Larson is engaging and keeps the book's tempo rising in pace with the wind and waves. Overall, Isaac's Storm recaptures at a time when, standing in the first year of the century, Americans felt like they ruled the world--and that even the weather was no real threat to their supremacy. Nature proved them wrong. --Sunny Delaney --