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Posts Tagged ‘books’

I am a big fan of murder mysteries, so it stands to reason that I would like Law & Order, and now Criminal Minds.  Sometimes you just have to get away from crime.  CNN is the answer in relation to the world now, but if I hear one more reference to the budget, I may have to shoot my screen.  So, for frivolity and the study of the totally warped human mind, I go for “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress.”  I have no idea why I like it, and I often watch it covertly, so that no one in the house knows I watch it.

In fairness to me, I have been the object of comedy at my endless viewing of the Harry Potter Videos.  I try to turn the sound up and down, as they have a lot of very loud spots and then just talking.  I apologized to the youngest the other night if it woke him up, but he said that no, he liked to hear it as then he could mimic which spot I was currently in with the series.  This goes along with the false voices they ‘do.’  It also made me feel better that I was not irritating the rest of the family, but a source of comedy.  If I watch other movies, I WATCH them.  With Harry Potter, it just lulls me to sleep because, let’s face it, I think I have them memorized.

What would irritate them, besides my bridal gown fetish now, is the two times I have tried to watch things like “Beauty Queen Babies” or “Miniature Dancing Divas.”  I could only take ten and five minutes of each respectively and, OKAY, I cannot remember titles, but you get the picture.  Actually, it should be “Diva who could no more do a dance step than an acrobat one.”  I mean, that woman needs an assistant to demonstrate those moves.

What she also needs is a lesson in positive reinforcement.  She reminds me of one of those coaches who makes football players workout in full uniform in 110 degree weather, until they pass out dead.  These are little kids.  If your kid is that serious about dancing, find a teacher who does not take it into war drills, but who teaches it seriously and in a classy manner.  I applaud those mothers, and I don’t applaud them for much, but I do applaud them for standing up and telling her that those costumes were trashy and the dance was worse.

And, if my kids teacher turned around and said something about children never listening to parents because they don’t know … or whatever it was she said, I would go down to the floor, take my kid by the hand be out of there, and never return.

Which brings me to the wonderful mother on the show about babies in beauty pageants, who did say, at the end of the $10,000 award pageant show, that her daughter was going home and not taking part ever again because she wanted to teach her better values and that she had worth.

Don’t even get me started on “Ice loves Cocoa.”

I really need to go back to reading books.

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This picture is “Waiting for Grandad.”  Left to right we have, EMT, JCountry and Gaffer.  Pardon my over-crowded house.

Four men in the house and anytime that we can get all four in one room, a game happens.  The latest “greatest” game is 1942, Axis and Allies.  The challenge is getting them all in one room.

The first thing that happened was EMT disappeared.  Literally, disappeared.  He left, on Friday night, to go help with Bingo at the fire department and never returned.  He told me he might just sleep at the department, but would be home in the morning. 

EMT has a bad habit of not letting us know what he is doing.  He is twenty, so it is hard to complain; however, I have repeatedly explained to him that it is a matter of courtesy to let the people you live with know when to expect you back.  Heck, it is even a matter of your own safety, as we have a relative who died when his car flipped over and he wasn’t found for three days.  The first two days he lived. 

So, the first day EMT was missing, I grumbled about him all day.  I left the outside light on until 3am and then swore and went to sleep.  The second day, I began to worry a bit.  Late that day we called his friends.  Why is it no one is ever home when you call them for something really important?  Late that day we drove around.  No one was at the fire department.  No one was at his friend’s house. 

At seventy-two hours, we went to the police and filed a report on him, missing, in our car.   He has had a problem with a couple of guys and we were concerned they had cornered him and beaten him to a pulp and left him in the woods.  We drove around staring between trees for our red van.   Our County is wooded.

Two hours later, when we arrived home from the police station and driving around, for the second time, Gaffer decided to make a library run for books, movies and high speed.  Twenty minutes later, Gaffer calls and lets us know that he is parked next to our Red Van at the library, and will call if his brother is in the library.

YUP!  That’s where we found EMT, after seventy-two hours.  During the time he was missing, he had gone camping, torn apart a car with a friend, and made money scrapping the parts, done Christmas shopping, and gone to the library.  He really does not understand why we were so upset.  In the meantime, my hair is grey!!!

EMT, anticipating leaving for the Army in January, where he will be the problem of the U.S. Government and they can figure out where he is, brought home the Harry Potter Clue game.  He gave it to the family for Christmas and wanted to get a lot of gaming in before he left.  He also figured it was maybe a game I would play.  He was right.

Playing games is akin to having a kidney infection, for me.  I am more a knit and giggle with daughter, while games are going on, preferably with a glass of Bailey’s in hand, kind of gal.  There are now three games I will willingly play: Cribbage, Dominoes and Harry Potter Clue. 

I should be cleaning my piles of projects out of the front room and baking pies or cookies for our Thanksgiving dinner, instead I am blogging and listening to Gaffer speak with a Russian accent as he rolls his dice to defend Russia from Germany.  The are figuratively spitting at each other, I am told.  JCountry is Germany.  Gaffer is Russia.  Granddad is back in from his disappearance to my studio and all is well with our world.

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I am possibly – heck not even probably, we are talking certainly here, the ONLY sixty year old to tell a seven year old, on Christmas day,  

 

“Yeah, but I got a wand and you didn’t!”   

 

In my defense, I will say that I did not stick my tongue out at her and I let her help me open the coolest present I have ever gotten, nay, anyone has ever gotten, in the whole wide world. 

 

Master’s Daughter always gives the most thought out, greatest gifts.  She has reached an all time high this year.  She would have to give me Viggo Mortensen next year to even come close.   

 

The first gift I opened from her would have been noteworthy on its own.  I grew up with a clock that belonged to my Maternal Grandmother.  It was the neatest clock and I just loved it.  I have it, in fact, but it no longer works and when husband tried to get it repaired, he was told that the mechanism was no longer made and could not be fixed. 

 

First, I opened a box with a working clock just like my grandmothers; complete with flickering fireplace, clock and rocking grandmother.  It all works too.  I cried.  I really did.  It was something I never could have expected.  Master’s Daughter suggested that I take the works from the new clock and put them in the old clock, but the gift is just as special as the old clock, so I will put the new clock out in its place.

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 And, as if that wasn’t enough.  I got the best gift in the world next.  Since I had already cried once, I held that in and started laughing so hard, that I had tears in my eyes.  I was overcome with happiness.2-trunk-for-hogwarts1

 It started with an antique trunk/chest. 

  The top tray had a cover on it and a letter lay on top, 

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 from Minerva McGonagall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  And, of course, it included a list of the “necessary books and equipment.” 

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 She had filled the trunk with all sorts of goodies needed to attend Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The tray held supplies for potion making.  I have floo powder, Gillyweed, and Pollyjuice potion.  As Master’s Daughter pointed out, all I need is a few strands of Viggo Mortensen’s hair.

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I have a plant to grow for herbology, a map of Hogsmead, a knitted hat and sock for my own personal elf, and S.P.E.W. badge, of course.

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When I lifted the tray, I had books: The Government Manual for New Wizards, the Tales of Beedle the Bard (which I had put off buying) and the British version of the two book set of Quidditch and Magical Beasts.  I also have the Monster Book of Monsters and when you pull out it’s tongue it shivers, and I have a cauldron.8-trunk-loaded

 

 As if that wasn’t a special enough gift, I also have a wand and a time turner.What more could a woman want?? 

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 How about a partially knitted Griffyndor Scarf?  Is it any wonder she didn’t have time to finish it?  She offered to keep working on it but I will have the pleasure of finishing it myself.10-quidditch-beasts-and-owl

 I must go now.  I am studying for my five book, thirty page, O.W.L. Exams, incuded in my chest.

 

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Mom likes to add her own touch to the world, where there is no villain and the wolf isn’t trying to eat Little Red Riding Hood, he just wants to play a game of cards with her. Mom used to purchase Little Golden books for my girls and edit them before the girls ever read them. Some of those books, came to us looking like the CIA had gotten their hot little markers on them, with black bands where most the words had been. They were so fully edited that they were a new story. 

I love picture books and I love reading them to children. I am a huge fan of Audrey and Don Woods and think that books like King Bidgood’s in the BathtubMatthew’s Dragonby Susan Cooper and Jos. A. Smith, The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smolin , and Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney are loved by kids, and adults, everywhere.

What is not so loved, is a book like Barbie’s Picnic, when it has to be read and reread by an adult twelve times. So, when you go to buy a Picture book, read it through at the store and then ask yourself, “Can I enjoy reading this over and over and over.” Because if they like it, they will ask you to.

Oldest boy fell in love with Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber and we read that book to death. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that, “The house on East 88th Street…” was where “Mr. and Mrs. Primm and their son Joshua live…”. Oldest boy’s name is Joshua. It wasn’t as rhythmic as some of the books that are easy to re-read, but it was a good read, even the third time in afternoon.

Which brings me, albiet through a long round-a-bout way, to http://boondockramblings.com/ Blog about a Curious George book she picked up for her son, that had a man smoking a cigarette in it. Mom would have simply drawn over that cigarette so he has actually holding a sucker or something in his hand and she would have colored all the monkeys, so monkeys were not imprisoned just because of their color.

I am more of the mind that children cannot be protected from smokers any more than they can be protected from evil. They are going to run into it and our job, as parents, is to give them the tools to make an informed decision so they know right from wrong.

I do believe it was thoroughly irresponsible of the publisher to republish this type of propaganda that pervaded books such as Little Black Sambo, in the 60s, but there it is and, if you find yourself reading a book with things in it that are wrong, I would suggest using it as an opportunity to talk about how unfair it is that the blue monkeys have to be in a cage, when the brown monkey, Curious George, gets to roam free. 

It’s better than him wondering what all those black marks are covering up in his book.

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I was in Bloomington yesterday, with some time to kill, so I stopped at Barnes & Noble. A bookstore is one of my favorite places. Whether it is for killing time or because I have a definite purchase in mind, I love bookstores. Its quiet atmosphere and the candy counter of book jackets is a promise of adventure.  In these days of ‘Do we buy groceries or gasoline?’, the books on sale are a bonus. 

 

I did find a Christmas gift for our oldest boy, actually grandson, yesterday. He is definitely a ‘book’ person. He lived with us from birth until he was around eight years old, and then came back to us when he was fifteen. During those years and the years in between, he saw us read and we read to him; constantly.  He loves philosophy and vampires.  I am not sure how you reconcile those two, but he does.

 

The middle boy was around six when his mom married his stepdad and he moved out of our home. He came back to us at sixteen. He’s in love with his ‘normal teenage life’ now, after years of being isolated, home schooled (or as he thinks of it ‘home failed’) and beaten. His reading ranges from the DaVinci Code to Louis Lamoure.  There he sprawls, in baggy pants and occasional dyed, spiked hair reading old westerns. He has a 3.4 GPA, his EMT license and plans on being an RN.

 

The youngest of these three is not a reader. It is heart breaking for me that he isn’t a reader, when at three, his favorite t-shirt read “If you love me, read me a book.” He would go pull that shirt out of his drawer, put it on and come out with a book. We would sit for hours, reading books. Every week, we had an arm full, from the library to read to the boys.

 

He came back to us at thirteen. His reading was at a 3rd grade level. He was definitly not schooled. I thought the hours of reading Harry Potter, which he dearly loved, would bring back some of the wonder of books. He did have an adventure book, he enjoyed. But has not regained his appreciation of books.

 

I love technology and will someday probably buy an electronic book. I’m not saying technology is bad. I love trees. I do not like the waste of a tree to send out junk mail. I truly think we could use more recycling in the making of books. I just think there is to be a loss for the next generation, when they cannot delight in seeing a dust jacket, smelling a twenty year old book, holding an adventure directly in their hand and not as a distant world seen through a screen.

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