Monday, June 28, 2010

The Giving Tree

This blue spruce, who used to stand tall and proud in my yard, have his life Friday night keeping a giant cottonwood from smashing into my house. Here he is, after we've cleaned up most of the cottonwood, nearly crushed and at a 45-degree angle from how he used to stand. I cried while I cut him up.
And yeah, the spot where I'm standing used to be lawn. The house lost only part of a gutter, thanks to the Giving Tree. We'll have some honorary bonfires soon, to let him continue giving and giving...
(Oh, and yeah, power tools are a girl's best friend).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fairy Circles?

Anybody ever heard of Fairy circles before? These mysterious circles of dark, thick grass grow, sometimes containing mushrooms/toadstools, and sometimes not. We've seen them countless times in the horse pasture, and were sort of baffled by this nearly perfectly round growth. Most were about six feet across. THEN, this ring of mushrooms popped up right beside the vegetable garden! You can see how big it is around Freya and me. It's crazy. We still haven't found a scientific reason for the perfectly circular growth pattern.
But almost every country has its own folklore about fairy rings! Come dance within it, and you may dance until you die of exhaustion, unless someone pulls you out by your shirttail. If no one helps you out, you could be stuck there forever! Or--fall in and go directly to the kingdom of the elves. Or--if you step inside and no one knows did, you may become invisible to humans forever!
They say that even if you dig it up and replace the sod, the fairy ring will return. These mushrooms just got mowed down. So....I'll keep you posted. So far, I think Freya and I are still in the human world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The other book

I couldn't remember is Black Box, a YA story from the perspective of a girl whose sister is hospitalized for depression. It's a very interesting look at the guilt, the need to "fix," and the way mental illness can shatter a family. The protaganist, ultimately learns that she herself has to survive and have a life. Good read. Not my fav YA lately, but thought-provoking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why do we love Lisbeth Salander so much?

The Girl Who Played with Fire:
Just finished it tonight. Couldn't put it down.

Why do we fall right into rooting for this quicky, absolutely non-conformist, outside-the law-of society's norms, big-hearted girl? 'Cause she's a grown up Pippi Longstocking, that's why!!

She's got absent parents, been kicked around by the institutions set up to supposedly help those in need, and takes matters into her own hands. She's Pippi, in Sweden, and the book is laced with Astrid Lindgren, and Pippi references. It's like falling into an adult version of loving Pippi books all over again.

Started The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest already.
I started laughing when I realized the Pippi parallels, but lots of people have been talking about that, too:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Great summer reads and summer lists...

What do I love about summer? Let me count the ways....
  • a break from teaching, prepping, and grading
  • traveling with students, seeing amazing European sites with wonderful students
  • sleeping closer to 8 hours a night
  • riding my bike many more miles than during school
  • reading whatever I want and when I want
  • writing, writing, writing, and getting lots done so far
I have read some wonderful books since school got out. Here's my list so far:
  1. Choices by Kate Buckley--super YA novel, right up there with Chris Crutcher for a great job with a YA issue novel: this one deals with date rape, teen pregnancy, and abortion vs. the conservative pro-live mindset. Very well done, and good characterization
  2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo--oh, mygoodness--I think this is the best detective novel I've ever read. Couldn't put it down. Am now deep in the second book of the series. Just sad that Stieg Larsson died shortly after delivering all three manuscripts for publication.
  3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield--This one has been on my nightstand for maybe two years, and I finally grabbed it. LOVED it. It's been called a "love letter to reading." TRUE! More on this book later.
  4. Cemetery Dance--another mystery that was much fun
  5. Glass Castle by Jeanette Wall--one of my favorite memoirs ever since Angela's Ashes.

There is at least one more, but I can't remember it right now. FUN to be reading.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The view from where I sit...

My most frequent view from the car. Freya's nose. Speaking of Freya, she had her first foray into being a real therapy dog today. We visited a preschool/daycare with some other therapy dogs, and I must say, Freya loved it. When the little kids wanted to pet her, she just lay down in her bear rug mode and let them rub her, lean on her, play with her paws and ears, and she loved it. I think she's going to be good at this.