Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thoughts of Paul Newman

I was so sad to hear of the passing of Paul Newman. He had such an incredible career and an incredible life. I loved his movies. I would be hard pressed to name my favorite. Maybe Butch Cassidy. Maybe Cool Hand Luke. Maybe just about anything he was in! Those blue eyes got to me every time. Even in his last years, his eyes just floored me every time I saw him.

His off screen life was not the usual fodder of the tabloids. He was married to the same woman for over 50 years. He didn't seem to get caught up in the Hollywood stereotype. He fought for the ideals he believed in. He believed in peace and opposed war. He wanted to do go.

I never met him but he touched my life in an amazing way. My son has a bleeding disorder and it would have been hard for him to attend summer camp like most children. But not to worry. Paul Newman started Hole in the Woods camp in upstate New York just for kids like my son. For 11 years, the highlight of my son's summer was his week at Hole in the Woods. The camp was totally free for us and, in the later years, even the transportation from NH was provided. He would talk about his time at camp all year and looked forward to the time he would get on the bus to head off for camp. And I was comfortable knowing there were doctors and nurses who understood his condition and would be with him if anything happened. My son met children with different handicaps and learned how to live life to the fullest. We will never forget the contribution that Paul Newman made to our lives.

Goodbye Paul. Sleep well. And know made a difference in this world.

Cabot, Meg. SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT

How many of us will agree with the sentiments of Cabot's title? This is the first of the Heather Wells mystery series -- Cabot's adult series of books. How does Cabot write so much and have so many different series? I don't really read books for adults but this one struck me because of the title. And the book is fine for YAs. Heather was once a teen singing idol who seemingly had it all. She was famous, had money and her boyfriend was also a pop star. But then things went sour. Her mom ran away with all the money, her boyfriend sold out, and Heather lost her career. She also gained a few pounds. But, as she is quick to mention, size 12 is average -- not fat. But that doesn't stop those who recognize her from commenting on how she let herself go. Now she is putting herself through college working as a residence hall assistant. She is keeping the books for a private investigator in exchange for rent. The investigator happens to be the older brother of her former fiance and Heather happens to be crushing on him big-time. When students in the resident hall start dieing, Heather teams up with Cooper to find out what is happening.

Cabot, Meg. SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT

She looks familiar doesn't she? I know I saw her someplace. Wait a minute. I know -- that's Heather Wells. You remember. She used to be a singer. Boy, she was a lot thinner in those days. She's really let herself go.

Heather is used to hearing things like this. It's true. She was a teen idol when she was younger. OK, and thinner. But size 12 is not fat. It's average. And so is Heather. She's lost all her money -- her mother took off with it. Now she's working as a residence hall director at a small college in New York City. She also does the books for a private investigator in exchange for room and board. It just so happens that the PI is her ex-fiance's brother. And Heather has a bit of a crush on him. When girls at the school start showing up dead, Heather joins with Cooper to find out why.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher

This has been a quiet week. It has been busy but quiet. My daughter, son in law and two grandsons have moved out!! They decided it was time for them to find a place of their own. After almost 5 years, it is nice to have my house to myself. Without the boys, it is quiet. But I am enjoying the quiet. I have gotten a lot of writing done this week.

Today's podcast is for Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. This book really disturbed me. The whole subject of teen suicide disturbs me. I just can't imagine being so lost that there is not a flicker of hope. I wish there were a way we could identify and help these kids. There are just so many reasons why they choose this drastic escape. In Asher's book, Clay has no idea how he contributed to Hannah's suicide. The others probably did not either. But it points out how our actions effect others.

Asher, Jay.
Clay has no idea why he got the tapes. What does this have to do with him? Hannah Baker has committed suicide but Clay had nothing to do with it. But he knows he must listen to the tapes and then pass them along. He listens to the secrets that surround Hannah. The secrets that led to her final, horrible decision to take her own life.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wow. Has it really been almost a month since I've updated my blog? So unlike me. And I haven't posted a podcast in about a week. I have got to get back into a routine.

This school year has started out at a face pace. I hit the ground running and haven't slowed down since. In addition to the expected 6th grade orientation, I was pleasantly surprise to be asked to booktalk to many 7th grade classes. There is a new content literacy class being offered so all teachers must teach literacy. And they are coming to the library. How cool is that? Of course, we just get the kids charged up about books and then close the library for a month for standardize testing. I will be going to the classrooms during that time though. It will be OK.

I had my second f2f class for my doctoral course yesterday. As much as I appreciate the fact that I don't have to drive an hour each way too often, I do love the f2f times when we have them. It is wonderful to be surrounded by like minded people. The passion in the room is palpable. We'll see how it feels a couple of years into the program!

Now that I am spending money on classes, doesn't it just figure that unexpected expenses would pop up?? My computer died a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it is the same computer that I just put lots of money into for repairs in May. I decided that I just couldn't justify putting any more money into it. I ended up buying a low end laptop on clearance. This one will probably last a lot longer than the one I spent so much money on. I just need a reliable laptop to use -- especially for workshops! I also had to spend lots of money to get my car fixed so it would pass inspection. But it is 11 years old and hasn't needed anything major before so I guess it is worth it.

So I've gone from not writing to just rambling. So, today's podcast is for White, Linda Arms. I COULD DO THAT! : ESTHER MORRIS GETS WOMEN TO VOTE. This is a good book to share just in time for the elections. And to talk about women in politics. (I am still a Hilary supporter!)

You have probably never heard of Esther Morris. But she was very important in the history of women's rights. Esther was the type of person who didn't take no for an answer. When she wanted to do something, she would try until she succeeded. In 1869, Esther was living in Wyoming with her husband and children. She decided that she wanted to vote in the upcoming elections. But at that time, women were not allowed to vote. This didn't stop Esther. She talked to politicians and convinced them to introduce a bill to allow women to vote. I Could Do That!, she thought. And she was right.