Friday, December 31, 2010

Where oh where can it be?

'where oh where has this year gone, where oh where can it be?'

I can't believe another year is over. It's flown by so quickly.
I got a lot accomplished, I know I did. But still... soon it will be 2011.

I want to be more focused this year. Pick a few things I want to get done every so many months, and do it. I resolve to do what I resolve to do.

So, for the first semester? The first five or so months?
I want to focus on two main things.
Latin and timelines.
Nerdy? Maybe. Helpful? Why, Yes.

I've started Latin already, and its already helped a ton. Knowing little bits and pieces of it helps a lot with understanding other words. An example? The first 'lesson' I read last week mentioned the Latin word 'pro', and how it means 'for'. And guess what? The word 'Pronoun' suddenly makes sense. Its a word used 'for' nouns. So instead of Mark, House, Fiona, its: he, it, she. Makes so much sense!

I want to make little timelines. History is interesting to me, but it doesn't always make sense. I want little timelines for important sets of 10 or 20 years, and then different lines on this timeline. One will be for world events, one will be for important music and art (and maybe even books??), one will be important people's births and deaths, and another line will have American events. I think everything will make a lot more sense.

And, as a third thing, I would like to add my writing. Yesterday and today I spent a TON of time writing. I added so very much to my novel, and edited a ton. I'm almost done. And that novel that was a few pages short of 40 is now 15 pages short of 100, and I'm not done yet. Word count so far is 40,500!

Did you think this year went quickly? Do you have any specific goals? I guess you could call them resolutions. Have a great year, my dear readers!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager

I didn't know I loved Edward Eager's writing style until recently.

A few years ago, together with sisters and cousins, we attempted a radio drama of 'The Time Garden', but even then I did not know I love the type of writing. I read 'Half Magic' later, and it grew on me. Then this year I read Snyder's 'Any Which Wall', and loved it. And she has the same style as Eager.

And I just read 'Magic by the Lake' today. And it was perfectly lovely. I already have plans for it. The past several years we have stayed at a 'lake house' for a week towards the end of summer, and my aunt and uncle and their three young girls rent a nearby 'lake house' as well. Even in the dead of winter I anticipate sitting out on the dock at night, as the sun sets, or even by moonlight, starlight, and flashlight, reading to my three sisters and my three cousins.

The four siblings in Eager's book wish for magic by the lake. Meaning, in measurements of lake. Not in halves as they had in 'Half Magic', or days like sensible people would have, but by the lake. And at once they see this will be problematic. One lake can hold an awful lot of magic at once. They set up rules, and this helps tame the magic. Over the weeks of their lakeside vacation, they go on many adventures. One rule that the Turtle gives them, though, is that they have to be water adventures. They have a good time and throughly enjoy themselves, even on the non-magic days. But then, they find out that their father's, Mr. Smith's, book store isn't getting a lot of business, and that Mr. Smith himself is troubled over the matter. Can the children use their magic to help? Even if it means no more magic?

As I've said, I love the writing style. The random tidbits of information that make the reader smile, but really do nothing for the actual plot of the story. Actually, it reminds me of one the books I am writing.

One thing I didn't like, and mind you it is a very small thing, is that the children had no sure way to get back from their adventures. They always had to call for the turtle, who either came or sent some other magical being to come rescue them. Or, they had to wait for sunset. It seemed to me that there should have been an easier, more interesting way to end each adventure. I suppose its not that big of a deal, but I would have liked it if the children could end the adventures when they wanted to, and not have to be constantly rescued.

What do you think of the writing style? And the actual book? And other Eager/Eager-like books?

Monday, December 20, 2010

picture perfect

Well, sort of...

(this is of my dear sister Maggie)

(pic of random person)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

fresh snow on bare branches is just another tragically beautiful reminder that I can't draw trees, and I wish I could.

So Many Books

I just received an email from a professor of the Children's Lit. Class I have signed up for next semester. She suggested getting a head start on our required reads over Christmas break- I looked at the list, and there are 26!
I am going to try to avoid reading any books I've already read, and try to find some good 'new' ones. In double parenthesis I've written a book or two I'm thinking I may read. If you've got a better suggestion, though, leave me a comment!

1.     Reread one of your favorite childhood books ((I'm thinking one of the Boxcar Children books, or Too Many Books))
2.     Newbery Award Book ((The Giver))
3.     Caldecott Award Book (( Tuesday ))
4.     Rebecca Caudill book from the most CURRENT reading list (( Frindle))
5.     Book by the Annual Invited Campus Children’s/YA author (2010-2011 – Sharon Draper) (( Out Of My Mind)
6.     Wordless Picture Book (( Home))
7.     Picture Book with Words ((Miss Nelson Is Missing [I'm familiar with the story line, but I've never actually read it] ))
8.     Easy-to-Read Book ((Tarantula Toes))
9.     Mother Goose Book (( My Very First Mother Goose))
10.     Counting Book   (( One Gray Mouse))
11.     Alphabet Book (( The Vegetable Alphabet Book))
12.      Graphic Novels (( Secret Science Alliance and the Copy Cat Crook))
13.     Folktale (( The 'Wasna' (pemmican) Man and the Unktomi (Spider)))
14.     Fairy Tale (( Sinbad the Sailor))
15.     Fable, Legend or Tall Tale (( Trojan Horse, or King Aurthur
16.     High Fantasy Work  (( Need Suggestions for this One!!!)

17.     Realistic Fiction (( The View From Saturday))

18.     Historical Realistic Fiction (( Up a Road Slowly or War Without Friends))
19.     Poetry book (( Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices)) 
20.     Informational Book published in last 5 years (( Suggestions Welcome!!!)
21.     Biography or Autobiography (( Who Was Leonardo da Vinci?))[Unless you have a better suggesion...]
22.     Real-Life – Children with Challenges ((Need Suggestions!)
23.     Multicultural Work (African or African American) ((Othelo, A Novel or With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War))
24.     Multicultural Work (other than African or African American) ((Peacebound Trains, or Finding My Voice)
25.     Digital or online text (( Any Good Ideas??)
26.     Any Touchstone of your choice. A touchstone is a title that has stood the test of time (i.e., it is still in publication), and other books are compared to it (i.e., the story is timeless). ((There Are So Many, I Can't Decide. Suggestions Encouraged!!))

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I read the first book when I was probably about 10 years old. I hadn't known there were more until this semester when my roommate asked me if I'd ever read them. It's taken me all semester to finally read all of them, even though they are pretty quick reads.

And then, last night I started thinking about the third children. What did/do I think of them? Sure, they end up saving everything, but do I think it was right of the population police to make having more than two children illegal?

The country had been going through a famine- they didn't have enough food. That was the reason behind the ban. They were trying to make sure that all the people who were already alive would have enough food to stay that way. And, honestly, I'm not sure what I think. Part of me thinks it's not their place to set a limit on the number of children a couple could have, but if people had followed the law, would they have had less problems? But then again, there were other things the population police could have done. They could have rationed out the food by family, and said 'you can have as many kids as you want, but there is only enough food for you to have X amount'. I don't know. Maybe that wouldn't have worked either.

But I know for sure I don't like how the population police acted. Whenever they found someone who was a third child, they killed them. And they were cruel. And they didn't exactly tell the truth about how much food there was. They took a problem and made it worse. All 'cus they wanted to stay in power.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

On: The Lack of Black Ink

The printer in our room is out of black ink.
To the point where you can't even print in color, and make the printer create black ink. (which I wouldn't suggest doing anyway, 'cus that wastes the color ink).
And of course, its the end of the semester. A little over a week until I travel home again. So it feels pointless to go buy an ink cartage.
But, of course, its the end of the semester. When everything is due. Take home tests that must be typed. Resource files. Papers.
And, of course, all the other random things I print.

But I can't. Because there is no black ink.

Thankfully I still live on inner campus, and the library is about two minutes away, walking. (Through the icy-cold, not-even-20-degrees-out-weather [not including wind chill]). So, I walk. Bundled. Very, very, bundled. Thankful for borrowed gloves from younger sisters. And I manage to find an open computer. Which is quite a feat.

But, the computer wouldn't let me print. I couldn't figure it out. After about ten, fifteen minutes, I left. I gave up. Hopefully, someone on my floor will let me print...

Or, maybe we'll go out and buy some black ink. There's always that possibility.