Friday, June 21, 2013

roller coaster connections

i don't have to go to disneyland for a wild ride this summer.  i go to camp.  foster sibling's camp, that is.  we have our own roller coaster in that when they come they are not sure what to expect.  by mid-week they are laughing and wrestling around with their sibs and by the end of the week they are having separation anxiety.  it's better to have time with their brothers and sisters than none at all, though.  many of them haven't seen each other for months, even years because of the foster care system.  some are adopted separately; in rare cases together. so i'll see you back here in july.  meanwhile for more information, check out the links at or

Monday, June 17, 2013

to inscribe or not to inscribe?

in my continuous quest of decluttering, i wonder how much to go digital?  not that there will ever truly be an "upgrade-free" day in the world of technology, but if i wait long enough, maybe everything (radio, camera, movies, email, books, phone, kitchen sink...) will be streamed on ONE simple device?  the allure of sleek, slim and trim is before me:  downloading all of my music and books to a memory card or cd?  to kindle or not to kindle? (need i mention that for his birthday, one of my kindergarten students got a kindle!? at that age, my presents were along the lines of fingerpaint, neato soap crayons, and boats for bathtime, but i digress.) at any rate, i ditched my old radio alarm clock today because i like the first thing i hear in the morning to be birds, not bad news or car commercials.  i have an alarm on my cell phone, afterall.  that's where it started.  before i knew it i was tearing through my small space getting rid of items willy nilly.  i've done this several times and am careful about what i take in, so the fact that i could fill my car trunk with unneeded stuff yet again was a bit suprising and yet deeply satisfying.  and then:  the question of books.  that's a tough one.  so yes, i went through my library of books yet again today and pared down.  in other cleaning fits, if i see that someone has written an inscription to me in the book, i've usually kept it, but today i decided, "why not make someone else's life just a wee more interesting when they find it?"   it's fun for me to read the inside covers of books, afterall, 'to dear margaret on her 12th birthday, we hope your batmitzvah brings you happy memories for years to come, your loving mother and father' (favorite latke recipes) or maybe, 'for doris on her 70th birthday, may your garden continue to bloom as lovely as you, fondly, your grandaughter helen' (the joy of peonies), i can't say that i would mind anyone reading the inscriptions to me and it makes me wonder how many books i've written in that ended up in the hands of strangers via the rotary club book sale or local thrift store?  so when you see, 'to little lanettie on her 4th birthday, love auntie and unkie carpenter, 1978' (a children's treasury of verse) you'll know where it came from. inscribe already, it's much more interesting!

gettin' sandy

i must confess i'm at the time of year where my reading means i look at pretty coffee table books--for the pictures.  when i actually read in june, i don't look up new words in the dictionary and my beloved wordfinder collects dust.  while this girl entymologist promises a swift return in this department, i can show you something i did do:  my lastest aspirations in sandcastle building.  mine (with shovel) and a professional (woman dancing) a la cannon beach's 49th annual sandcastle competition.  from masters to the junior sand fleas, these grains were taken quite seriously from morning until late afternoon tide.  by morning, any that survived were mere mounds; a testament to the glories of temporary art. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

indie, library love

one recent thing that made my "30 days of fun" list was simply wandering the aisles of a local bookstore (rather a large chain, i might add, not to be confused with independent booksellers--at which i always try to support them with a purchase). so there i was, copying down interesting titles as i went with a *library trip in mind.  *i have to say the local library has helped curb my desire to own every new book that i see (except at the aforementioned indie bookstores) because of their great inventory and bestseller section (if only we could keep them open on thursdays!)  but i digress.  here are some reads of late:  i was happily surprised with the young adult book, "masterpiece" by elise broach.  the artistic relationship between the boy and his beetle (yes, beetle) contained several deep and quotable sayings on art and friendship that actually quite moved me.  then i discovered "frightful's mountain" by jean craighead george, which comes after her book "my side of the mountain."  if you like alot of falconry, you'll enjoy it; i prefer sam's survival methods in the first novel.  and, on my first day of truly being able to do nothing, i read "the maytrees" by annie dillard.  since she is such the naturalist, i expected it to be somehow about trees. it is, rather, a study in small town character; friendship, loyalty and love with a tinge of philosophy thrown in.  very different from her "pilgrim at tinker creek", a copy of which i keep on my shelf.  i am taking a borrowed copy of laurence cosee's "a novel bookstore" with me to the beach and i have his "bitter almonds" on hold.  what's on your summer reading list?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

il dolce far niente

this entry will be short, because i'm hardly practicing this italian phrase yet, but i will as soon as dolce far niente:  the sweetness of doing nothing!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

in praise of...chickens

we're building a fence at my house for our latest tenants:  chickens!  i'm quite excited about the prospect of the little cluckers, plus it's been fun to learn some new building skills.  i romanticize what it will be like to throw them their food in the morning, name them, and collect the richly-yoked organic eggs to eat and share with friends.  so i got a kick out of this little book, "in praise of chickens:  a compendium of wisdom fair and fowl" by jane s. smith.  on the intelligence of chickens, "can a chicken beat you at checkers?  despite the persistence of insults like 'dumb cluck', there is growing scientific evidence that chickens are hardly inhabitants of a yard seem possessed of such a variety of expression and so copious a language as common poultry."  on hen-hood, "maternal love sublimes the passions, quickens the inventions, and sharpens the sagacity of the brute creation.  thus a hen, just become a mother, is no longer that placid bird she used to be, but with feathers standing on end, wings hovering, and clocking note, she runs about like one possessed."--gilbert white, natural history of selborne, 1789.  and simple wisdom from none other than benjamin franklin, "an egg today is better than a hen tomorrow".  that hardly settles the debate as to which came first, but we will praise them nonetheless. 

30 days of FUN

june is busy!  without boring you with the details, believe me, it's got everything from 4th quarter grades/comments and field day to five weekend graduations and camp.  that's why, miss optimist here (i've already procured my sunblock for the season i might add) decided to keep a journal of 30 days of fun.  mind you, it doesn't have to be a roadtrip or huge adventure to count.  the smallest things are often so joyful.  have only 2 minutes?  stop with your face to the sun and close your eyes.  have 20 minutes?  lay spread eagle in the grass and wiggle your toes.  in two hours, you can quite easily grab a friend and try a new coffee shop.  not sure what to do with those random tidbits of time?  drive a different way to work.  or get out and walk your way to joy in the city by trying a different pathway or store.  errands and chores can actually be fun as well.  try teaming up for yardwork or listening to fun music while cleaning.  we only get one pass at this life and there's always going to be something on our to-do list, so might as well enjoy it, i say!