Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Jason's Lament or Why We'll Always Have Books

On this past Mother's Day, I was surprised and gratified to receive from my luscious hubby a Kindle.  He had an anxious look in his eye as he handed the package to his bibliophilic wife.  "It's the closest thing to the printed page," he assured me.  "And, now, you can store thousands of books in one place."  Then, wistfully, "I thought you might like it for when we're traveling . . ."  Ah, my poor, sweet spouse.  So many times I had  seen that fleeting grimace cross his face when I filled my tote with tomes for our numerous plane trips.  Usually around four big ones.  Really heavy ones.  Tote-strap-straining, knee-cap-bashing, TSA-suspicion-inducing volumes from whose extravagant bulk I would usually extract two completely devoured books per trip.  But, you always have to pack more reading material than you possibly need.  I mean, the worst thing in the world is to be trapped on a plane with nothing to read

So, in the gift of the Kindle, Jason was hoping not only to give me pleasure, but to make his own life a little easier.  And I like my Kindle.  But, I still love my books.

In fact, it is with dismay that Jason has noted no significant decrease in the incoming stream of books to our home.  True, I've purchased a few items for Kindle; but, those have always been books I may not have otherwise purchased.  That is, for my Kindle, I have only bought the ephemeral and amusing -- books on current events or political memoirs.  Nothing that I would ever care to read again.  It's like an instant, expensive library.

But, books are so much more.  If there is a book by an author I know and love, I purchase the paper and glue version.  If there is a book I may want at some point in the future to use as a reference, I purchase the paper and glue version.  If there is a book about which I am so enthusiastic that I cannot help but scribble notes in the margins of, I am thankful for the availability of those margins and realio-trulio printed words over which I can run a highlighter.

As every voracious reader knows, you get a system with books wherein you can find almost instantly any passage you want by memorizing (without trying) the pinched thickness of pages both before and after your desired passage and the format of the text on the page and the topic sentences of the paragraphs thereon.  It is a skill as surely as a cook's ability to plop in the right amount of spices without thinking or an equestrian's ability to sit on a spooked horse without panic.

"But," my husband pleads, "you can do all those things with your Kindle.  Search through it; make notes; highlight text, take it with you wherever you go . . ."  Unfortunately, though some people may be able to use and appreciate those features, I find them cumbersome and annoying.  Plus, there is something about the feel and smell of a book that Kindle, no matter how slender, readable, or portable, can never duplicate.  Pace, Mr. Bezos.  I'll stick (mostly) with books.

So, I think that, much like the poor, books we'll always have with us.  Or, maybe at least, we'll have them until my generation (or the generation right after mine) dies out and takes with it the old-fashioned notion that ink and pressed wood pulp is the ideal medium on which to enjoy written expression.  But, oh, what a gloomy world that would be -- without reassuring shelves of spined-out volumes reminding us of where we've come from and heartening us with whispered promises about where we could go.  I feel sorry for the future digital people.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Top 25 Reasons I Love Homeschooling

It's recess, so here's a little fun:


Homeschool Funnies

25. Learning Latin is awesome!
24. No carpooling
23. Gas consumption down 50%
22. Hot lunches on cold days
21. PacSci without the crowds
20. No sitter needed for parent-teacher conferences -- heck! no parent-teacher conferences!
19. Latin is really too much fun!
18. Hearing Sadie pronounce German words sehr gut
17. Riding bikes together in the middle of the day
16. Science experiments!
15. School in jammies is a-OK
14. Less $$ spent on nice school clothes = more $$ spent on nice books
13. Have I mentioned Latin?  It rocks!
12. Sadie loves her math curriculum (Teaching Textbooks)
11. No mean girls breaking Sadie's heart; no one telling Sadie that she's not as smart as they are
10. I know everything that's going on at school and will not be surprised by Sadie's saying things like: "Dinosaurs were just giant lizards that kept growing because they lived at the time when everything lived longer before the Flood."  Oy vey.
9. School conforms to our schedule, and not vice versa.
8. Sadie can read ahead anytime she wants.
7. Carpe diem -- carpe Latinam!
6. Working simultaneously through two science curricula is stimulating!
5. No more sitting through those torturous, seemingly interminable Christmas and Spring music concerts
4. Dancing to the Beatles during recess
3. Sadie's illustrated daily journal entries
2. Finding out that Sadie "loves" Squanto -- and knowing that she will never love Justin Bieber
1. Spending tons of time with my precious child who is growing up so quickly and will be out and on her own before I know it.  Why would I want to spend my days in any other way?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Most Affecting Essay I've Read in a Long Time

I wanted to share with whomever stops by this oft-neglected blog a truly heart-wrenching and devastating editorial essay I read in the latest magazine/catalogue from Memoria Press.  I bawled upon finishing it.  I wonder: will it affect you in the same way?

WARNING: THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE MOVIE THE BOOK OF ELI

Letter From the Editor

by Martin Cothran
Classical Teacher, Late Summer 2011

My daughter and I recently went out on a date. After missing the movie we wanted to see, we ended up watching The Book of Eli, a movie I had not heard anything about.

The movie opens in the future, after some sort of apocalypse. There is little vegetation, water is scarce, the roads are littered with abandoned cars, and the sun shines down harshly on a bleak landscape, pocked with craters.

The man named Eli (played by Denzel Washington) is walking West, scavenging on his way, but it is unclear why. He seems to have a clear purpose and one he is determined to follow.

He comes upon a town along the road which is ruled by a man named Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman). Carnegie has sent out his minions on motorcycles to bring him books, which are now scarce and valuable.

He is looking for one in particular.

Eli comes to the notice of Carnegie and Solara (played by Mila Kunis), the daughter of Carnegie's mistress. Eli invites Solara to pray with him—something she has never done. This leads to Carnegie finding out that Eli has the book he is looking for—a King James Bible.

Solara joins Eli on his journey, and they are chased by Carnegie and his men, who think the book is a sort of talisman that will give them political power.

When Solara asks how he knows where he is going, Eli tells her, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” He reveals to her that the book he has is a King James Bible—the only one left.

“Do you read it all the time?” she asks him, as he sits by the fire, running his fingers over the text. “Every day,” he says decisively. He is walking West with this book, he confides to her, because God has told him to.

Carnegie and his men eventually catch up with them, Eli is shot, and his Bible is taken from him. But he somehow manages to survive, and he and Solara finish the journey, ending up on the Golden Gate Bridge, surrounded by the ruins of San Francisco.

"That's it," says Eli, facing into the wind toward Alcatraz.

Back in the town, as Carnegie opens the pages of the book, his face contorts into a look of despair. As the camera pans up, the pages of the book reveal no text.

It is printed in braille.

Eli and Solara row out to Alcatraz, where a group of men have salvaged the books they have retrieved from a ruined civilization and created a vast library—history, literature, science, and religion. But, explains a white-haired man, there is one book they do not have: the Bible.

Eli has the Bible, and yet he has no book. He asks the man to get out paper and write what he says. Eli, mortally wounded, then begins: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth …” As he begins to recite the entire Bible, which he has learned by heart, the camera zooms in on his eyes, and it becomes apparent that Eli is blind.

We the viewers have not seen this, blind as we have been, though, had we paid closer attention, it would have been clear from the beginning.

The movie is the story of a man’s single-minded purpose: the preservation of a book—and of literature in general. The men on the island were doing what monks in monasteries scattered throughout Europe did throughout the Dark Ages—copying and recopying the words of a fallen civilization. And Eli is doing what we once all did—committing those words to memory.

We live in a post-apocalyptic world, although we are often blind to it. The civilization we once called Christendom lies in ruins, and the only hope of saving it is through an act of preservation. Our culture has destroyed itself, in part through a large-scale act of educational self-immolation.

Each of us, on each of our little islands—with the purpose and determination of an Eli—need to be copying and recopying the words that were once taught to every school child. And, like Eli, we need to be committing them to memory so that we—and those who come after us—will not forget them.

And that is one of the many reasons why we have chosen to homeschool Sadie.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Good Morning!

Well, I'm trying out running again.  Ugh.  I hate it so.  And, I just found out by driving the route this morning, my 2-mile circuit is really only 1.7 miles.  So, now I feel a whole heck of a lot less self-righteous.  Boo-hoo!

So, I'm sitting next to a bubbling aquarium with 2 Bullfrog tadpoles this morning.  Well, one's a tadpole, the other a froglet with wee little legs poking out the back.  They're pretty cool.

Got our 2 Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.  They are lovely!  Sadle-the-Ladle had one crawling all over her yesterday, which she said was "tickly, but awesome!"  They have not hissed at us yet; I think they were well-handled by their breeders.  And, if any giant, gruesome-looking tropical insects could ever be called "cute," these are they.

To complete the enumeration of our personal Animal Kingdom: 5 caterpillars in Sadie's room; 8 ladybug larvae; 2 pods of Praying Mantis eggs waiting to hatch with 100-200 mantis nymphs in each; 2 bunnies in the backyard; 1 cat in the basement; 1 horse at the ranch.  What a menagerie!

Underground Chicken Ranching is still on my agenda.  Totally taboo in our uptight neighborhood (boo that HSA); but, our Cambodian neighbors have a stealth chicken, and I want one, too.  Actually, I want three: 1 New Hampshire Red, 1 Australorp; 1 Plymouth Barred Rock.  My poor husband just shakes his head and dreams of the day his trucking career will take him far from home many days of the month.  He is not so much the animal guy.

So, why did I need to sit and write about animals this morning?  I suspect it has something to do with my being laced up in my running shoes and looking for any way to put off the inevitable.  I hate running.  Pbbbbbbllt!  Adieu!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Putting it Out There

You know that intimate impersonality of the blog and social media worlds?  How you can know someone's politics, their religious views, what they ate for dinner last Thursday, but still not have a clue about some of the deeper aspects of their character, behavior, and values?  Well, in an unprecedented move, I am making a bold proclamation to bridge the gap on Trivialities between the known and the unknown.  I am pulling back the curtain a little today, to expose for public approval or censure a crucial component to my philosophical standings.  Yes, I am a cyber-pioneer of sorts.  Thanks for noticing.

So, here it is.  I'm just putting it out there.  Judge me as you will.



Indeed, we are the sort of family who puts our rabbits on leashes and takes them for walkies (hoppies?).

Whew.  I know I feel relieved to get that out there.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I Love About Sadie: Part 3,409,245

8-year-old Sadie kept hounding me for a Praying Mantis habitat and eggs.  How could I refuse?  While I was on Insect Lore, looking to order her request, I saw a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach habitat as well.  "How would you also like a couple of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches?" I asked her when she crawled out of bed this morning looking like hell warmed over (like mother, like daughter, eh?).  Quoth the Sadie: "I would LOVE it!!!!"

It's not for nothing we call her The Bug.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today's Dream

You know how every so often a conversation with a friend will turn all dreamy and abstract and wander into the realm of "supposes"?  Suppose you knew you had only 24 hours left to live; what would you do?  Suppose you were dictator of the world; what would you command?  Suppose you had a hundred million dollars; how would you spend it?  And my favorite: suppose you had the talent and training to do exceptionally well one thing;  what would you do?

Usually, to this latter, I answer, "Oh, I would love to be a singer/songwriter, just like one of my heroes, Carolyn Arends."  Other times, in a more literary frame of mind, I'll say, "I sure would like to write novels as well as Jane Austen or Flicka Spumoni."  Occasionally, my more spiritual side will peek through and I'll muse, "I would love to worship the Lord as wholly and beautifully as Pam Summers." 

But today . . . today I would answer, "I would be a Fosse dancer."     

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breakthrough (and Nigh Immediate Regression)

Tonight, in an unexpected and gratifying turnaround, hubby handed me the remote control and said -- here I quote -- "Pick something."

Joy.  Bliss.  Freedom.

So, I flipped through channels with the carefree insouciance so often experienced by those of the sterner sex.  I alighted upon a real keeper.  So I thought.

The Seattle Channel was hosting "Art Zone with Nancy Guppy." 

Featured tonight were an acoustic guitarist singing a self-penned anthem about Tent Cities, a clown act complete with red noses, a lady who wrote a song about her mother's death and yet mysteriously cannot play said song on guitar, and a band called The Femurs (my favorite bone!).

We got as far as the clowns. 

Really, I think he showed great restraint.  Alas, I was stripped of controller rights, probably forever.  'Twas brief; 'twas shining; 'tis passed.

On a brighter note, I think I have now some new lyrics for my work-in-progress blues song.  Maybe I can play it on the Seattle Channel someday . . .  

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mean Girls

Mean Girls (Special Collector's Edition)
Girls are mean.  Or, at least, too many girls are mean.  Mean in that deceitful, backstabbing, particularly vicious and underhanded way so particular to the so-called fairer sex.  Mean, mean, mean girls.

Girls like Kennama, an especially nasty example from Sadie's school.  What do you think of a girl who spends the entire school year acting as if my beautiful, precious daughter has icky germs?  Who squeals and carries on if Sadie comes too near her or -- heavens forbid! -- touches her desk or chair?  What do you think of a girl who then decides simply for kicks to act last week as though she is my daughter's new best friend?  Who gives her her Webkinz account name and asks that Sadie become her on-line friend?  Who says that she wants to set up playdates with Sadie and then gives Sadie a fake phone number?  And then, the following Monday, de-friends Sadie on Webkinz and tells her that they never really were friends -- that Kennama had only been playing a trick on her?  And then, when Sadie asks another girl to find out if she could still be Kennama's friend receives the cold reply, "Um, not going to happen."  What in the world do you think of a girl like that?  And, more importantly, what do you do about it?

Well, first I cried.  And Sadie cried.  And we had a good howl together in the car on the way home from school.  And then Sadie, being Sadie, seemed to let go of it.  Not so her mother, whose half-Italian status was fully awakened and ready to enact a vendetta.  I wanted simultaneously to yank Sadie out of school and punch Kennama in the nose.  Oh yeah.  In a heartbeat, I had the scenario well-developed in my mind, and I've played it out many times since for sheer amusement.  And then, after I had my fun with that, I called my dad and blubbered on the phone to him.  He said, "You really cannot do anything here, honey.  You just have to let it play itself out, though it breaks your heart."  "I know, I know," I agreed. 

Then, I e-mailed my dear friend, Flicka, and told her I was both bummed and livid over something that had happened to Sadie at school.  Because she is such a good friend, she knew I needed a call back and a hashing out together of this problem.  So, on the phone I spilled the whole stupid, sad, infuriating mess out.  And Flicka suggested that I go to the teacher and let her know about this bullying.  Ah, now that was a word I hadn't thought of:  bullying.  I guess I think of bullying as physical assault, not emotional.  But, this loathsome Kennama had really crossed a line with her devious plotting against my daughter's peace of mind.  It was bullying.

So, Dad is right; and Flicka is right.  I cannot do anything with this girl or her parents directly, but I can, at the very least, make the school aware of the situation and demand that this foul Kennama be allowed nowhere near my sweet girl.

What do you think of mean girls?  I was a mean girl only once, I think.  There was a well-developed (if you know what I mean) girl who was new to our school in seventh grade.  Oh, it must be a torture to look like a woman in a class of girls! What this poor kid went through.  Her name was Desiree, and in the first few weeks of school, we were tight.  But, because she was different, I soon came to understand that the entire cadre of seventh-grade girls was set against her.  And, you know, in that subtle, stealthy way that herd mentality influences without ever really saying anything, I began to realize that by being Desiree's friend, I was setting myself up for a fall.  And so, I dropped her.  I'll never forget the way it felt that night when I sat at the kitchen table, refusing to take her phone call.  My mom kept holding out the phone to me and I just kept shaking my head.  Eventually, my mom just apologized and hung up the phone, and I ran to my room and cried hot tears.  Because I did not want to lose Desiree; and I lost her just the same.  All so I could be "in."  And something changed in me that night -- I guess because it was so against my nature and my own desires -- and I consciously knew that what I had done was so wrong.  I knew I would never behave that way again.  And yet, for some reason -- probably shame -- I could not make it right.  I just could not bring myself to do it.  Desiree changed schools a few weeks after that.  I hope that someday, beyond the veil, I'll meet her again and be able to ask for her forgiveness face-to-face.  I've already asked for His.

So many times, when, in a pensive mood, I dwell on regrets (you know you do it, too), that is one of the first that comes to mind.  Mean, mean, mean Justine.  After that, I started hanging out with boys more.  Boys aren't mean like that.  "And if they are," my dad pointed out, "they turn out to be gay."  Boys are too busy trying to figure out how to get into your pants to play games with your mind.  And, somehow, that's a lot easier to deal with.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inevitable

This poor guy knows my shame.
I guess that, in my heart, I knew it would happen to me someday.  And, now it has.

Mismatched shoes.  Unintentionally mismatched.  That I did not notice were mismatched until I'd been wearing them more than five hours.

So they were boots.  Both brown.  And that's where the similarities end.  Different heel heights.  Different leg lengths.  Different toe shapes.  Different shades of brown.

I blame the "spring forward," which got me out of bed at a truly ungodly hour to make 9:00 AM (read: 8:00 AM, bio-rhythmically speaking) service before teaching 11:00 AM Sunday School.  I felt ill-used, indeed.  And foolish.  Definitely foolish, because it wasn't until we were at lunch after church that I noticed the discrepancy.

At least no one else seemed to notice.  Or, if they did, they were kind enough not to say anything.

How did I walk around with two lengths of heel without limping?  Amazing.

UPDATE:

I was too lazy (and embarrassed) to take pics yesterday; but, today, by popular demand (from my pal Kadie), I am posting pics of the two unrelated boots that I wore yesterday in blissful ignorance.  Yes, it is nigh incredible that I did not notice the heel difference.  I will say that, once I noticed that they were mismatched, all of a sudden I realized that my right leg (the one wearing the lower heel) ached a bit.  I limped until we made it home -- much to the amusement of my husband. 
Little marching (but not "matching") boots.

The view from the top.  Silly, silly me.

Toe-to-toe -- something's not adding up!


Friday, March 04, 2011

Where's MY Support Group?

Women Who Love Honey Nut Cheerios Too Much.


Best. Cereal. Ever. 
(I could eat a box a day, and I only refrain from doing so because I live with other human beings who might look on in horror.)

I'm sick.  I need help.

Words Wanted!

Are you any good at coining pseudo-scientific, Latinish-based words?  Or, maybe you know of ones already in existence that can describe two physical and psychological reactions I frequently experience?

The first is that head-rushing, heart-racing euphoria that comes when I have one or more new books to read.  Also can apply to the general feeling of walking into a bookstore.

The second is that heart-sinking, anxious tinge of depression that I get when I count out the presumed number of my remaining days (which, really, I am probably too optimistic in calculating, because God only knows how much time I have left) and realize how many books I will have left unread at the end of this earthly time.  Also can apply to the general feeling of walking into a bookstore.

A cure for the former condition is not desired.  A cure for the latter is found in my confidence that Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton are all currently working on new novels and essays just on the other side of the veil (and who knows how many they've already completed?), and that enjoying books is not a pleasure for this world only.  All good things shall come through His grace in His kingdom, and few things are better than really good books. 

Read on, my friends!

Books are hindrances to persisting stupidity. ~Spanish proverb

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tiger Mom and the Math Olympics

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherAccommodating and nurturing Dad this morning to his daughter who will be participating in the Math Olympics today:  "Remember, no matter how you do, you're a winner just for getting into the Math Olympics."

Oh gag me.

Italian-Welsh, and newly-baptized "Chinese" Mom (inspired by Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua) to same:  "But, you'll really be a winner if you bring home a medal."

(Of course, were I really gung-ho Chinese, I might have said, "And don't even think of coming home without one."  But, I'm not that Chinese.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Bug! Part 2

Well, we got about 3" of snow last night, so you know what that means in Western Washington . . . SNOW DAY!!  Jason's parents (visiting from South Dakota) have been making fun of us all morning.

(We're only so wussy up here because of all the icy hills.  Really.)

Sadie has been having a blast this morning with the snow saucer we got her on clearance at Lowe's in January.  How cool that she's actually getting a chance to use it this winter!

video
And some still pics:




I hope you all are continuing to have a safe and happy winter!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yessir, That's My New Baby!

It's only because I have one of the ten great husbands on earth, you know.  I mean, how great of a guy do you have to be to indulge your wife's equine proclivities with such equanimity?  Pretty darn great, in my opinion.

So, to the above left is my new baby.  His registered name is UDidWhaaat (Jockey Club # J28162), but the folks at the ranch call him Wayne.  I call him Big Red; and, boy, is he a hubba-hubba honey, or what?

I rode from the age of nine, until I left for college at eighteen.  It was the biggest part of my life.  The day I sold my last horse was one of the saddest in my life.  I've had horrible nightmares about him for the past eighteen years -- usually involving his sitting neglected in his stall with no one to care for him.  But, I had thought that I was over horses.  Until Sadie began to take lessons at the Pony Tail Ranch in Renton.

As I watched her learning the ins and outs of horsemanship, it all came flooding back to me -- coupled with an incredible yearning.  A few weeks ago, the owner of the ranch introduced me to Big Red.  Yowser!  He's an off the track Thoroughbred who was never raced.  You might think that's a lot of horse for an almost-eight-year-old and her eighteen-year-horse-hiatus mama to handle.  And, you'd be right.  But, it's not like this is uncharted territory.  My last horse, Spirit, was also OTTB.  I have a bond of natural sympathy with this noble breed.

So we're taking it slowly and having a blast.  He's a good boy -- very affectionate and willing.  I have every confidence that we'll get along swimmingly.  I cannot help but think that this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  And I am so blessed to be able to share it with my daughter.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beatles, Bieber and the Bug

All things considered, the Beatles are pretty cool.

"Well, duh," you say.  "We've had more than 40 years of knowing the Beatles are 'pretty cool.'"

But, you see, maybe your parents liked the Beatles and listened to them and exposed you early and often to their general "pretty coolness."  Mine did not.  I grew up hearing a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan, a lot of Mozart and Handel, and more folk and Celtic music than you can shake a lemon zester at; but, no Beatles.  Any knowledge I had was what I could glean from what little I knew of popular culture at large.  So, when Jason wanted to get The Beatles Rockband for Wii, I was indulgent and, yet, skeptical.  I mean, these Beatles -- they had one or two good pop songs, right?  Then they went all psychedelic and crazy.  Goo-goo-ga-joob.

Well, now it's Beatles in the morning, Beatles in the evening, Beatles at supper time in my home.  And, though I've learned to have a grudging admiration for their inventiveness and sheer prolificity, it is not I who is driving this latest local incarnation of Beatlemania.  It is my nigh-eight-year-old daughter.  Sadie has set her pre-tween sights on four mop-tops-come-hippies of my parents' generation.  And, I could not be more pleased.

Because, it could surely be worse.  It could be Bieber.

Here is how Justin Bieber first made his obnoxious presence felt in my life:  Sadie came home from a birthday party last October, shaking her booty and singing some song whose one lyric seemed to be an endless repetition of "baby."

"Oh gawd," I moaned.  "What's that wretched song you're singing?"

"Oh, Mom!  It's Justin Bieber.  He's so cool!"  Sadie returned to waggling her rear-end and singing the mono-lyrical anthem.

"Oy."  Sadie laughed at me and ran off to her room.

I turned to Jason, who was standing right there observing this atrocity in silence.  "How," I queried, "Could a girl raised on wonderful, meaningful lyrics and complex melodies ever indulge in such drivel?  I mean, Carolyn Arends, Bob Bennett, the Clumsy Lovers . . . and that's just the pop music!  How about Machaut and Josquin and Mozart and Handel and Tchaikovsky?  How about Gilbert & Sullivan, forsooth?"  Apples don't fall far from trees.

"Well," said my more temperate mate, "I guess that's what the kids are listening to."

"Not under my watch," I vowed.  And I kept close watch on my Sadie-Bug.  Was she really interested in this Bieber fellow?  I truly did not know much about him, other than this "baby" nonsense and that when I saw his face for the first time, it looked like a lovely one to punch.  And then give a haircut to.  Sheesh.  In the meantime, Sadie took every opportunity to rub salt in my wounded sensibilities by praising Old Biebhead each time she saw his pouting mug on a publication.

I suspected, though, that Sadie was just pulling my leg.  Getting a rise out of me.  Taking me for a ride.  And, my suspicions were confirmed when we went to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Shown in the previews was a trailer for a bio-pic that someone apparently felt was crying out to be made about this adolescent hack.  I sat there, just dreading that Sadie would turn to me in the dark and insist on going to see it on opening weekend.  I dug my fingernails into the arms of the theater seat and prepared myself for the brief whispered argument that was about to happen.  I glanced sideways at her.  She popped a Milk Dud in her mouth and chewed complacently.  She said nothing. 

Sadie is never one to be quiet when an idea or plan is brewing in her head.  Every movie night out begins with Sadie poking me in the dark and demanding to be taken eventually to the movies that excite her in the previews.  So, my suspicions blossomed into hope.  "This," I thought to myself, "Is not a Bieber fan.  Hurrah!"  And it made watching The Voyage of the Dawn Treader even more of a treat.

After the show, I turned casually to Sadie and said, "Hey, how about we go to that Bieber movie when it comes out?  That would be fun, huh?"

Before she could stop herself, she screwed up her face in disgust.  "Oh no, Mom!  Not that!"  Then, she remembered what her official position was (it was really her eternal "default" position which is, on every subject, What Will Annoy Mom the Most?).  "I mean, yes.  OK, let's go." 

"All right!" I beamed.  "I'll be sure to pre-order tickets for opening weekend!  I can hardly wait to see it with you!"

Sadie looked crestfallen.  She muttered something and stalked off, toward the theater exit.  I turned in triumph to Jason.  "Victory is mine!" I whispered excitedly.  He chuckled.

Over the next few weeks, whenever Sadie was being naughty, I would threaten to take her to see the Justin Bieber movie.  It never failed to get her back on track.  I finally got her to admit that she did not really like his songs and had only been acting like she did to get on my nerves.  Antagonistic child!  We've had a few nice months of Bieber-free-ness, now that Sadie has dropped the charade.

Anyway, she has the Beatles now, whom she really does like.  And with some reason, too.  She's decided to sing a Beatles song in her school's talent show tomorrow.  So, we've been rehearsing "Here Comes the Sun" every day.  And it is a really, really lovely song.  And I'm so glad -- and I'm so glad -- and I'm SO GLAD -- it's the Beatles and not Bieber.  I'll even let her put up a poster in her bedroom of the Lads from Liverpool.  That's a grateful mom!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Space

As someone who scored seven new books for Christmas and has since purchased six more, and as someone who bought four bookshelves in the month of January alone, I could not resist getting this button from Cafe Press:

And since I've been obnoxiously and obsessively seeking out potential homes for my BFF in a desperate campaign to move her and her delightful family out west for waffles and bacon and general gemütlichkeit, I have been peeking at the interiors of many for-sale houses on-line.  And they all seem so bare and strange.  Then, I realized that nary a one I had viewed contained shelf after shelf after shelf of books.  Weird, huh?  Do people simply pack away their books when they place their houses on the market?  Is it because books are so personal and revelatory that they cannot bear to parade them before the eyes of strangers?  I'd like to think so; because, the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

May your 2011 be filled with good books!