Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Whether or not you are an Inkheart fan, this quote from the plaque on Mo's bookbinding workshop strikes a chord for book-lovers....

Some books should be tasted
some devoured,
but only a few
should be chewed and digested thoroughly. - Cornelia Funke

This not only gives readers freedom to put down those books that only need "tasting" but to revel in the books that were worthy of "digesting".
Yummy book-cake

What books can you fit in those categories?
Just waiting for the Mad Hatter....
Friday, December 23, 2011

Anything is possible

.....You can climb that mountain if you want to!
Start climbing......
     When I started my journey back to college in my (very) late thirties I questioned if I could do it. Could I measure up to all those shiny new 19 year old brains who just stepped off the high school education bus? What I learned my second semester was that older brains have more "synapses". It's a fancy word for brain connections - what does that matter? It means we older students have more previous experiences to connect the new knowledge to. It helps us recall new things we are learning. Like, "Oh, that explanation of the Korean War reminds me    of M*A*S*H!" Connect that to actual accurate history and you have a recall reminder vivid enough to pass exams!
     The other factor is dedication. When the instructor says read chapter 10 before Tuesday - you read ALL of it even if you have to read during your lunch and between classes. Why? Why not fake it? Because the class discussion will be about it and you will have zero input and will have a lot less connections going on in your brain. You probably won't remember what a classmate said as an answer to a question but you will remember what you said - and that's how you will pass your final.

That's how THIS happens:

Undergraduate - Semester Course work
Course Title
Final Grade
GPA Hours
Quality Points
Unseen Universe: Microbes
Multicultural Education
Western Civilization II
Technology and Society

.....and take them along on your journey
     The dedication it took made people look at me funny, like I was crazy. During this semester, along with my husband - we parented four children including sports events, concerts and illnesses stretching 10 days. Sadly, we lost two dear pets and my father. I averaged 20 hrs of work - 4:30pm-1am shift. I toted along a 9 year old twice to class - including a 2 hour essay final (which he will probably never want to endure again!). Add the personal control it took NOT to pick up my fav's from my TBR(to be read) pile, ugh! Enduring is possible if you remember your goal - Mine is to have a career in the school system where I can align our schedules and hopefully  help provide for college, real family vacations and not have to live with them when they are adults!

So if you are out there wondering if you could do it - face a huge challenge or go to college, if your teenager doubts his or her ability -  the answer is in the question "Am I dedicated?"

What challenges are you considering?
Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I want for Christmas is.... Amazon Giftcard

I'm so excited!  I just learned about Amazon's Textbook Buyback. What an awesome way to treat yourself after a gruelling semester!  I forgot to bring one of my books back to the college buyback day and would be stuck with it until the end of next semester in hopes of selling it back - that is IF they didn't switch to a newer edition. A friend at work told me that Amazon buyback prices are better than the schools as long as you don't mind receiving an Amazon gift card instead of cash - what? Mind? Bring it!

So this morning I gave it a shot and the online trade in was so simple and had free shipping pick up. I took a minute to check out their other trade in options for regular books, but it looks like unless you have a boxed set most are only worth a dollar or two.(darn) But, if you are a student they even have an app for you to buy, sell and compare prices of textbooks by scanning in the bar code with their phone. No more wondering if you are getting ripped off in the campus book store!

I can't wait for my giftcard to arrive - I feel like Santa's going to pay me a visit this year, too!

What other great ways are there to swap books? Paperback Swap, Goodreads, any others?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tweaking Traditions......

     Traditions are those events that give us stability. If your Christmas isn't getting off to a great start, all you need is one successful tradition to set it right - say, drinking Eggnog while watching Charlie Brown's Christmas. Sometimes we become blinded by the structure, not realizing that something is really in need of change. For us this year there are two - first is, the tree.
      The years of children forcing ornaments by their loops onto its already aged artificial branches have yielded to what look like pipe cleaners sticking out of any branch three feet and lower. The boys are growing up and it was time to start the "go get the tree" tradition. ie:drive forty-five minutes, tromp through knee deep snow and saw down the nearest best looking pine with a straight trunk.
     I am very excited to have this tradition get started with the boys. So much more fulfilling than "get the tree out of the basement and spend three hours straightening it and THEN be jolly while decorating it." After all - we do live in Montana and should take advantage of its bounty.

Yes, perfect shape from a distance, but....

the "getting" of the tree is the important part!

The second - gift placement. Kids can't help it, they want to shake and count every gift and then compare who got more, who is sure they got the remote control Hummer, etc. In an effort to avoid that and to prevent the cat from tearing off all the paper I started "The Shelf"
And of course, they got binoculars to check tags!

This year the kids and cat are old enough (I think) to handle having gifts actually under the tree to be mauled, shaken, counted, etc. Still a little intervention is needed. I have created the....
.....Numbered Gift Tag tradition!  You bet: count and shake away kids. Assigning a number instead of the actual name will ensure no pouting before Christmas or disappointment in not seeing a certain shape of gift under there for them. There will be equality on Christmas morning!

What traditions have you tweaked?
Thursday, December 15, 2011

If you can't hide it, paint it red

Or in my case -  those who can't draw or paint - there's always symbolism......
     This isn't a good picture but here's my Final Project for my Multicultural Education class. We had a student art show Wednesday night for our final and mine is an "interpretive arrangement".We had a week to come up with something we learned from the course.  It makes sense to the people who took the class but for someone who didn't  here's an explanation:

     The watering can, decorated with flags of different countries and gender identities, is showering the two vases with the aspects of different cultures.The flowers represent people in all their variety of shapes, colors and fragrances.  The drops have tags on them that have symbols and flags from different countries, religions, signs for hearing impaired, signs for man/woman, etc).  I also had a soundtrack of rain showers playing.
     The white flowers (representing white people) have a clear umbrella blocking the droplets (because we often fail to see that we sometimes we think and act like everyone should be like us and focus only on our own culture). Do you notice that all by itself, the white flowers are pretty but look like they are missing something? But the big mixed colored bouquet (representing different ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders and ages) is absorbing the shower-being nourished -and all of the flowers together make a gorgeous, fragrant mix. If I had a larger budget I would have given each student a white flower and have them place it where they thought it should go.
So, what should become of the white flower?

T minus four hours......

Four more hours until my last final!!!!!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Early Christmas Gift from Author Lisa Grace

Who doesn't love Angels? Who doesn't love free ebooks?  Who doesn't love to read the book before the movie? 
Lisa Grace is giving away her ebook Angel in the Shadows for the next three days at Amazon to celebrate her movie deal - Congrats Lisa! She is also entering download customers into a drawing to win an Ipad2 as soon as she reaches 10,000 downloads.  If you want to read my review of Angel in the Shadows just click here.

She's already written a sequel

Thanks Lisa ! Loved the book, can't wait for the movie!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm dreaming of a white.....

page of a book!  Like the kids excited for their Christmas gifts, I am giddy with the excitement of winter break! To recover from reading Freud and Karl Marx and devouring the TBR (to be read) pile that's been pouting in the corner . 

....On Dasher, On Dancer, On Donner and Blitzen, On Lore , On Johnson , On Noel, On Quinn...Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Are you treating yourself this winter break or you anxious to get those traditions underway?  Cookie baking perhaps?
Sunday, December 4, 2011

Symbiotic or Symbolic? be the judge

Even though I received high scores on my paper on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, I was disappointed that the teacher's aid edited my paper in a way that changed the entire meaning of a main point. I'm sure that all you authors out there experience this when your editor returns your mark-ups. Even though I met with him on it and he stands by his changes - I still stand by my original wording. I decided I'd just put it out there and let the bloggers decide if he was right.

I was discussing the relationship between a character who violently and ruthlessly acquired ivory and rubber in the Congo in exchange for money from England, but more importantly, he received the status and recognition that fed his ego and healed deep emotional wounds he received by the middle class rejecting him. It was more than just a give and take - it was his sustenance. I described this relationship as "symbiotic". Imagine a clown fish in an anemone. He receives shelter in the anemone and in return he feeds it. It may initially sting him, but he will continue to live in it and eventually become immune to the sting.

My TA said I can't use a scientific term when writing about historical literature. He crossed it out and put "symbolic" in its place. I did not MEAN it was symbolic. I could use the term but would have had to add an explanation as to what it symbolized. Isn't it better to just use the descriptive word "symbiotic" and let the reader make the connection? 

Readers - waddayathink?

Friday, December 2, 2011
We're sorry, we seem to be experiencing technical difficulties.......

Pray for me until finals are over!