Sunday, May 31, 2009

May is Bike Month

Only a few hours left in May so we had to squeeze in a bike ride tonight! Corey aired up the tires and we went around our neighborhood twice. We have good talks while we ride, and on warm nights like tonight we finish our bike rides with a swim in the pool.

This picture of a bike, which is not Shadowfax or Mr. Frodo Baggins, is by elephantdreams.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Looking After Pigeon

I just finished Looking After Pigeon by Maud Carol Markson this morning on the couch. This story is told from Pigeon's point of view, a five year old who deals with her dad abandoning her family, as best as anyone can deal with abandonment. She still has her mom, who sucks at being a human, her big sister Dove, who is the beauty of the family and turns from 15 to 17 years old in the span of 5 months (oopsy daisy), and her brother Robin, a 10 year old who becomes a fortune teller.

The family tries to get it together by moving in with their gay uncle in his beach house in New Jersey. In my mind Uncle Edward was a red-headed Robert Downey Jr. "Home for the Holidays" Robert Downey Jr., not "Tropic Thunder" Robert Downey Jr.

I liked that Pigeon's story was not told in a cutesy, stereotyped 5 year old way. When they flee their apartment, the mom tells the kids to pack only what is essential, and finds Pigeon's suitcase the next day full of rocks, ticket stubs, birthday cards, and other odds and ends instead of clothes and a toothbrush. Later in the story Pigeon, who is always left alone, builds families out of people she cuts out of catalogues. Little details like these made the story ring true to me and reminded me of what I was like at 5. Only my life was happier.

I loved these parts:

It was true; I was a bit of a crybaby. But I had less control over my tears than I did over hunger or thirst or the need to use the toilet. It was a bodily function. Just like when the doctor hit my knee with his hammer, and my leg jerked up in response, crying was a reflex that occurred whether I willed it to or not.


I listened to the Mamas and the Papas singing "California Dreamin" and then the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine."
"We would be warm below the storm in our little hideaway beneath the sea," Ringo sang.
I felt oddly comforted by the words, as if there really were a yellow submarine out there waiting to emerge from the sea, swallowing me up, and then submerging again.

The other cool detail that made this story become authentic is that it is written by grown-up Pigeon in one sitting. It's only 192 pages long so it really seems like she just sat down and out it all came.

The more I read, the more it seemed that the family truly existed. I wanted to kick out the mom and take care of the little birds myself. In their beach house of course.

Also there were several delightful bird puns. puns + me = good times

I got this book from the Early Reviewer program on LibraryThing. I love getting free books, especially when they are as good as this.

I think this picture by Emily Martin is cuter than the cover. It's hanging up in my scrapbook room, a birthday present from The Gillinghams.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I hear references to Uncle Tom's Cabin all the time but had never read it before now. I'm in this group on LibraryThing that read books about slavery in April, so my choice was this classic which is partially based on true stories. It took me over a month to read but it was worth it.

The story follows Tom, a slave in Kentucky who is sold after his kind masters hit some hard times and have to settle a debt. I think this is where the phrase, "sold up the river," comes from because he is sold and moves up the river. I hate giving anything away so I will just say that Harriet Beecher Stowe explores every persons' aspect of slavery through her tale.

It made me cry and consider what it was truly like to live in the south in the 1850s, when her story was written. In fact, the funnest part of reading it for me (if reading about slavery can be considered fun) was knowing that it was written before the Civil War. I learned that some say this book, which was actually not a book but a serial installment released in a magazine of the time, was like a rattling saber, "starting" the Civil War! Abraham Lincoln met her and said, "So this is the little lady who made this big war"!!! Can you imagine?!

The end of the book gets a little too religious for my taste, but I am able to forgive it considering the time period it was written in.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
* "Your heart is better than your head, in this case, John," said the wife, laying her little white hand on his. "Could I ever have loved you, had I not known you better than you know yourself?"

* Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright to us dies to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking, dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading, and all that makes up what is commonly called living, yet to be gone through; and this yet remained to Augustine.

* "Well," said St. Clare, "suppose that something should bring down the price of cotton once and forever, and make the whole slave property a drug in the market, don't you think we should soon have another version of the Scripture doctrine? What a flood of light would pour into the church, all at once, and how immediately it would be discovered that everything in the Bible and reason went the other way!"

This is also my "book with a building in its title" for the What's In a Name Challenge.

P.S. The above photo is not really Uncle Tom's Cabin. I couldn't find a picture that matches the cover of my book, so I chose this cool picture of my dream cabin by Alastair Magnaldo. Although I'd turn the street lamp off.

Monday, May 25, 2009

He asked.

I have this super sweet boy in my class that I will miss so much next year. When we had our holiday party some kids brought snacks but he drew everyone pictures. So sweet. And very sensitive.
He asked me what Memorial Day is. I said, It's a day we remember the soldiers that died for our country.
He immediately covered his face and shouted, "I don't want to remember that! I'm hiding in my face!"

Happy (or sad) Memorial Day.

P.S. Skull and Swords is by Mike Giant.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I like robots.

Tonight we are going to go see Terminator Salvation. I hope they don't give robots a bad name.

Also my class is robot obsessed. Two boys in particular enjoy making robots in their spare time with the scraps of paper in the art center. The robots are always enormous and always cute.

P.S. The top painting was found on Graphic Exchange by frohatstudios.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

college is a crazy time in a kid's life

I couldn't decide on what to scrapbook tonight, so I went to Scrapping the Music for some help. Their challenge was to use Phil Collin's song "Son of Man" as inspiration. The part of the song that caught my attention was,
"On this journey that you're making
There'll be answers that you'll seek
And it's you who'll climb the mountain
It's you who'll reach the peak"

Reaching the peak brought to mind these pictures from when I went with some friends to Sedona and climbed Bell Rock over 12 years ago. As I got out the pictures and reflected on the lyrics I thought about how college really is a time when we figure out who we are, and try to get the answers that we seek.

Also I love owls and I thought the colors from this paper went well with the pictures, so I got to add an owl pun to my title. I am a sucker for puns.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Jersey enjoys fine art and long naps on the beach.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This time last week...

I was having a happy time with my friends watching Dave Matthews Band on the lawn at Desert Sky Pavilion! (I am boldly not calling it by its commercial name)

They have a strict No Camera policy, which I feel I should be excused from since I'm a scrapbooker and a pirate. But I can see now why they have this rule: the photographs could potentially be sold for thousands. Here's my best photo of DMB taken that night --->

Inquire within.

All week I've been listening to DMB on my ipod, reliving the good times. I'm convinced each song I hear was played at the concert.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The most recent challenge at The Art is Found is to use petals as your inspiration. Having just blogged my student's cute quote, "I like flowers. They make me comfortable," I decided to use that as a starting point for my page. I then scrap lifted from Anne-Julie Aubry's painting "My Herborarium."

For the first time I hand-dyed some rick rack since I ran out of green rick rack. Although picking out all the flowers and gluing all the rick rack on was time-consuming, I had a lot of fun putting this together. On the real scrapbook page she doesn't have a flower over her head; I put that there to protect her identity on the internet.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2 t.v. intros that crack me up

One of my favorite things about America's Next Top Model is mocking in my mind the weirdness that is Tyra Banks. Her advice to the contestants is to smile with your eyes, which she can't resist demonstrating by closing her eyes slightly or sitting up taller. And she has the same spiel to deliver every episode which she cannot do without singing part of it or breaking into a fake British accent. My favorite though is in the intro when for no apparent reason (other than it looks modely?) she claps her hands in a guy's face and makes a square with her fingers. Behold, about 8 seconds in:

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Duel 2 intro. Um, I am still speechless. When it comes on I sort of sit there in awe until the ex-Raiders cheerleader gets her close-up and is walking like a zombie. That part makes me laugh every time. She's about 26 seconds in:

I would just like to also add that The Fashion Show is a good Project Runway replacement, but it just isn't the same without Tim Gunn. I love Tim Gunn.

Carry on! Make it work!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yesterday was a holiday just for me.

Yesterday was National Scrapbooking Day, and with my new found mojo jojo I went right to my scrapbook room when I woke up and went to work. First I finished this page which I've been working on a bit at a time all week:

When I blogged about paying off my student loan, it got me thinking about what's happened in the last 11 years. I decided to say it with pictures, and it gave me an excuse to scrap these pictures of my cute nieces and nephew. Here's a closer view:

I leave my Christmas card pictures up on the wall in my scrap room all year and then I scrap them. Good incentive to send me pictures, hint, hint. Usually I sort them by friends and family, but this time I sorted them by kids and no kids. It was a fun study in contrast.

Then I put away my scissors to go with Corey to a friend's and watch the Pacquiao/Hatton fight. I've been looking forward to it for forever it feels like and I knew Manny Pacquiao would win! What I did not know was that he would do it with a knock out in 2 rounds!!! I like Ricky Hatton, so since then I've been worried about how he's doing today. Is he crying? I would be. Can he even remember the fight? I barely can myself.
Next I would like Pacquiao to fight Floyd Mayweather. I can't stand Floyd and I know Manny would annihilate him.

Friday, May 1, 2009

quote of the week

There are 2 large, circle planters outside my classroom that my kids planted a wide variety of seeds in. We have sunflowers, wheat, and some kind of melons growing. During recess yesterday 2 students ran back into class because our first sunflower is starting to bloom. A small group of us went outside to see it. Then one of the girls said, "I like flowers. They make me feel comfortable."

P.S. "My Herborarium" is by Anne-Julie Aubry and is hanging in my dining room.