Thursday, August 31, 2006

Vacation has to end sometime...


I bought more wool today… couldn’t help myself. Aren’t these colors beautiful? There is a chill in the air and I think Punkin is going to need some leggings.

It has rained for a week, every day, and the weather report is calling for heavy rain and flooding this weekend. Buddy is one of those Tigger types that needs to get outside to bounce and roar every day, or he starts climbing the walls and driving me berserk. It has been that kind of week. Today we had planned to met a friend at the park so we took a chance and went under cloudy skies. My friend has four children; the oldest 7 and the youngest the same age as Punkin. Her middle son is the same age as Buddy and also adopted. We had a lovely time chatting while they played. It’s a great playground built by parent volunteers at one of the city elementary schools (the best one in that part of the city). The sun came out after a while and it was so lovely to be there with her and the children.

If you are here because you like to read children’s book reviews, you may be wondering where the book talk has been during the month of August. Never fear, school starts next week and I’ll be back in my library. Books will be in focus again. What a summer it’s been!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Katrina, one year later

I don’t usually watch TV. I love to watch the evening news, but I don’t like the little boys watching it so I try to avoid it. I have knitting to do these days, and since Buster flew to New Orleans, I have been watching. There are a lot of shows about Katrina on in the past few days, with the one year anniversary.

It is just as raw and shocking and heartbreaking, watching it one year later, as it was when it was happening. I just can’t get over that they left thousands of people stuck in the Superdome with no power, no food, no bathrooms, no water, no medicine for five days.

I have to say the same thing everyone else says “How can this be in America”? Even though I think that is a ridiculous statement. Why should America be any different? Poor is poor, and we neglect and mistreat our poorest citizens on a daily basis as a matter of policy. We don’t usually see it on TV, that’s all. Anyone living in poverty knows this. The rest of us are isolated and buffered by the comforting blindness our class status ensures.

It is no coincidence that most of the people left in that mess were black and poor. They are the ones who had no means of evacuation. They couldn’t get out without the government organizing busses. The busses the local leadership left parked in lots below sea level, the busses FEMA didn’t send, the busses no one prepared for a disaster they all knew was coming. The folks left behind didn’t have cars or money for gas and hotel rooms. If they chose to stay, it was because they had family members who were sick, elderly, or unable to leave. Or they felt they had so few possessions they couldn’t afford to leave them and go into the unknown with nothing.

Another rediculous thing I have heard too much of: "We never in our wildest dreams thought the levies would breach. It's just not something we thought could happen." Pah- lee-ze. Just the year before everyone concerned had been through Hurricane Pam, a training program to test what could happen. They knew exactly what would go down. No excuses.

Many people think the levies were purposely blown up to flood the poor neighborhoods in order to protect the rich areas. There is historical precedence for this; in previous floods that actually happened.

There is no question in my mind that the whole catastrophe is one big wake up call to us: Racism is alive and well and living right here with us. The same thing could happen here in my home town, my city, your city. We are all living in the same neighborhood, the neighborhood built of racism.

I haven’t read any other blogs discussing this, and I haven’t heard anyone talking about it except on TV news shows. Have you been thinking about it? Talking about it? What is your take on the situation? Do you see racism in your living, working, shopping life? How do you deal with that? Should we be talking about it more?

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Friday, August 25, 2006

What I want you to know

I once heard a story about a visit to heaven and hell. In both places the visitor saw many people seated at a table on which many delicious foods were laid out. Chopsticks over a meter long were tied to their right hands, while their left hands were tied to their chairs. In hell, however much they stretched out their arms, the chopsticks were too long for them to get food into their mouths. They grew impatient and got their hands and chopsticks tangled with one another's. The delicacies were scattered here and there.
In heaven on the other hand, people happily used the long chopsticks to pick out someone else's favortie food and feed it to him, and in turn they were being fed by others. They all enjoyed their meal in harmony.

-Shundo Aoyama, Zen Seeds

It seems I am living in heaven here. This is my contribution to the Blog carnival .

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Flickr puzzles me

For this week the Learning 2.0 group is exploring Flickr and we are supposed to post about anything technology related, as well as playing with Flickr and sharing photos. I have been using Flickr since mid July with a free account. In July I uploaded 91 photos, mostly of my garden and my kids. I have a Flickr badge on my blog sidebar with garden pictures and I enjoy it a lot. In August I uploaded 23 photos. Last week I got a message that I had exceeded my monthly upload allowance for a free account, and it was suggested that I upgrade for $25 a year. That is not a lot of money, granted, but I don’t particularly want to pay them to hold and share my photos. I am puzzled about why August seemed to fill up so quickly. I used the same camera with the same settings, so how could I have used up so much more bandwidth? I feel like they are scamming me just to get me to upgrade my account. I spent some time studying the Help section of the site, just to understand what a free account was capable of, and I found this:

FAQ says: “How many photos can I upload for free?

When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 20MB worth of photos each calendar month. This is a bandwidth limit, and not an amount of space that you have to play with on Flickr servers.

Your bandwidth allowance is reset to zero at midnight in Pacific Time Zone (Flickr HQ time) on the first of each calendar month.


That just doesn't make sense. Has anyone else run into this situation? I would love to hear of other’s experience and tips. If you have paid for an upgraded account, do you think it is worth it? What are the best features? I haven’t joined any groups but I thought about trying to get all my family members to join and make a family group. Does anyone do that and how is it working for you? I do love to browse the photos of other bloggers. So many of them are fantastic photographers. One of the mashups I could spend hours on is We Map Flickr. A.Maze.Ing. People all over the world posting their photos, and we can all browse them any ol' time. Who'd a thunk it?

I have also been experimenting with another site called BubbleShare. I have a free account with them, and there has been no mention of exceeding my monthly allotment or any of that nonsense. I can blog the photos just as easily, and in fact it is more fun because I can use a flash player to put a slide show right in a blog post. I did it here and here. I haven’t played around with any other features and I don’t know how big the membership is compared to Flickr, so I would love to hear some comments about that if anyone else has experience with it.

In general I have found that sharing photos is one of my favorite features of the Internet and blogging. I just can’t get enough of posting my own photos and seeing everyone else’s. So if you have a Flickr account and like to post photos, give me a holler and I will blogroll you baby!

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

In Real Life

The other day I had my first IRL blogger meet up with Lilian. She and her boys met me and my two little guys at the park and we had a great time. It was like I already knew her, from reading her blog and all her comments here, but it was also like making a new friend. This is the first time I have met another blogger in person and I was a little nervous. I didn’t know if she would like me or if I would be able to talk coherently at all. I am a little shy and not at all good with small talk. I do much better with a keyboard and editing time.

I have been thinking over the last few days how different it feels to make these deep, amazing connections with women online without ever seeing their faces or sometimes even knowing their real names. I am also thinking about how this kind of communication seems completely separate from the connections we make with those close to us in real life. Those whose faces and body language we know, and whose footsteps, laughter, cries and voices are as familiar as breathing.

It strikes me now that I am unused to putting the thoughts and reactions and feelings I have from blogging into sound. It is all inside my head. Putting it into actual spoken words with Lilian was new territory. I felt a little clumsy and stupid and slow. There was so much more I wanted to say to her, and I found myself thinking I wanted to read her post about our day and respond to it with my keyboard. We laughed about how when we are out at a playground or somewhere we often look at other women and wonder if they are bloggers. I think that all the time now, wondering if anyone I am with is thinking of a post inside their heads, like I am.

What I read and write here blogging goes directly to a part of my brain that is in language but not verbal or aural. I never heard Kateri’s name pronounced and didn’t know how to say it. When Lilian started talking about Jo(e)’s blog I was lost for a few seconds because when she said “Jo” I immediately thought of my next door neighbor, not the blogger. It’s just not a context I am used to connecting in conversation. I think in text and links and images and emoticons when I am thinking about online people and relationships. It has grown a new set of synapses connections in my brain that has nothing to do with physically present people and verbal/aural language. Does that make sense to anyone? Does anyone else do that?

Another thing: I told Buster that we were going to meet a friend of mine from Brazil, but I didn’t tell him that I met her online and she was a blogger I had never before seen in person. I was thinking of a post Jo(e) wrote once about how when she was on vacation and thinking about meeting other bloggers her kids called her on it. “"You’re going to take a trip by yourself and stay with strangers you’ve met on the internet? Aren't you supposed to warn your kids about that kind of a thing?" LOL that is so funny because Buster has said the same exact thing to me. Back when he was 12 I wouldn’t let him go into chat rooms. One day I was chatting with a friend from college. He asked me who I was chatting with and when I told him we were talking about getting together he was horrified. “Mom you told me never to do that! Meet someone you chatted with? Isn’t that dangerous?” I wanted to tell him it’s a woman and we are friends, and that’s completely different from anyone he would meet online. Even though he is almost nineteen and going off to college in a week I didn’t think that would fly with him, so I didn’t tell him she’s a blogging friend, just a friend. Is that sneaking out of the house?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Want more to ponder?

Ungrateful Daughter is one of my new blog reads this week. She is a black woman & transracial adoptee writing about her experiences. She posted a link to the NYTimes article on transracial domestic adoptions and then followed up with this post about a book I have added to my list of must reads: Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption

Another layer deeper, another round digging down in the spiral of my education on how to be a mama.




Thursday, August 17, 2006

Garden Fruit



A few years ago one of my friends from my book club gave me a small fig tree from her yard. She has had a large fig tree producing for years and her whole family enjoys the delicious treats she makes from its fruit. I didn't expect this seedling to live or thrive in my yard, but I put it in the only free sunny spot and gave it a chance. This year is the first good crop we have had. Buddy Boy loves them and plucks one off the small tree every chance he gets, green and hard or red and soft and ripe, he doesn't seem to care. I am going to have to start collecting them and look up some recipes. Any suggestions? I used to love Fig Newtons, back before I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue and learned I can't eat anything with wheat, rye or barley. I am really looking forward to trying to make my own fig bars with rice or bean flours. I think they will taste better mixed with a little honey and baked, rather than fresh off the tree, in spite of what Buddy Boy thinks. It's nice to have something right from the garden, though, isn't it?

Other books currently:

Abandoned-

Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl. After beginning this one I realized I have read it before. I liked it and it is a classic I could re-read. Summer is short however and I have so many new books I haven't gotten to yet.... And I need to spend more time playing with my kids. But you should read it!


Tears of A Tiger by Sharon M. Draper. This book is a Coretta Scott King Award winner. I hated it. I think it is poorly written. It is trite and predictable. It reads like the kind of book a health teacher would write to teach students about the dangers of drinking and driving. It's like a commercial you would be forced to watch on late night TV if you were out of sleeping pills. Gag me.


Naptime reading-

Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr. This is the romantic type of fantasy I used to devour. I am not enjoying it as much as I used to, probably because I am so engrossed in reading blogs. I might get hooked in though, and then I will have to spend the rest of the month reading all the other books in the series. If I don't write any more reviews here for a while, that's where I'll be, with my nose in Kerr.

North by Donna Jo Napoli


Alvin lives in Washington D. C. with his overprotective mother and loving, comforting grandmother. He is feeling strangled by their anxiety, care and protection, and when a school assignment sends him looking for a hero to research he turns to Matthew Henson; African American, Arctic explorer and North Pole discoverer.

After reading all the books he can find on Matthew Henson in the library he is enchanted by Henson's description of the Arctic's "fierce beauty". Drug gangs are recruiting him and the other kids are mocking him as a mamma's boy, so he decides to take off and travel north, following Henson's trail and conducting what his teacher calls "primary research". He is determined to see it for himself and seek out Henson's living descendents.

One of the best parts of this book is that although he makes it to the Arctic circle by miraculous good luck, through a series of mishaps and misfortunes, the story is still believable and feels grounded in real life. He gets hungry, gets stuck locked in a boxcar and nearly freezes to death, is afraid and lonely, but also manages to make friends and find kind and wise companions. I like the way race is a part of this story, both in his quest for identity and his encounters with adults who have learned to survive and thrive in spite of the racism they face. Alvin finds similarity between the stark threats of city life and the harshness of the frozen wasteland in the Arctic. He respects the finely tuned attention needed to survive in landscapes where one small mistake means death. He longs to learn the skills necessary to create beauty and nurture community, and he is willing to put everything into his quest to test his gifts and excel. Two of his greatest tools for the journey are his love of music and his intuition for connection in community. These are great gifts to the reader as well.

Donna Jo Napoli came to visit our school a few years ago, and we have most of her books for children and young people in our school library. She is charming and did a beautiful job speaking with our students. Her visit inspired a lot of enthusiastic conversations about reading and writing as craft. I found many of her retold fairy tales to be overly sexualized and not appropriate for children under 12, but they are all beautifully written and full of insight. North is one of the best of the bunch.

Quote Meme

Seen at professorial confessions. The task: "Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe."

In order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.
Henry Christopher Bailey
One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Cold Turkey", In These Times, May 10, 2004
US novelist (1922 - )
The pleasures of the world are deceitful; they promise more than they give. They trouble us in seeking them, they do not satisfy us when possessing them and they make us despair in losing them.
Madame de Lambert
Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.
Malayan Proverb
You get fifteen democrats in a room, and you get twenty opinions.
Senator Patrick Leahy, May 1990
US Democratic politician (1940 - )

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Learning 2.0: first assignment

I have signed up to follow along with the program Learning 2.0 run by a library in Charlotte, NC. It is a training experience designed to be a fun, playful and exploratory way to learn all about some of the latest opportunities on the Internet. If you are unsure about how to start blogging; don’t know how to post your pictures and don’t know what Flickr is; have no idea what people mean by “tags”; or would like to be able to listen to music and share home videos with friends and family, this might be something for you too. It looks like a gentle, friendly, fun way to put your toes in the water and you don’t have to be a computer nerd or a librarian to follow along. The staff at the home library is working for prizes and has to submit their assignments, but for the rest of us coming along for the ride it is just pure play and exploration.

The program just started last week and goes until October, so I will be posting about what I am learning each week here. Last week’s assignment was to learn about some Lifelong Learning Habits and talk about which aspect is easiest or hardest for us, so that is what I am posting about today. You see the tutorial here.

After looking over the list I have to say the only hard thing here for me is:
1. Begin with the end in mind

I think I have been taught to incorporate all the other aspects into my psyche and I truly enjoy them, especially the play and being with others who play (kids☺), so they are already habits. But I have stubbornly resisted #1 all my life. I just am not good at visualizing my goals. I prefer to wander through life looking for serendipity. When I first heard that word in college I practically laughed out loud! They have a word for my universe? Cool!

In college I had mentors, advisors and teachers who tried to explain to me the need for goals and plans. I was so puzzled about why they wanted me to know and even write down where I wanted to be in 5 or ten years. I couldn’t make sense of that because the way I saw it I might do anything and be anywhere in 5 years! As it turned out I was right. I went around the world, lived in a foreign guest house in China for two years, had a baby as a single woman, taught adults, teens, and preschoolers in all sorts of environments, lived in a communal house in the inner city, shopped in Hong Kong and swam on beaches in the Philippines. Who could have written that all down in a college notebook?

I have a very distinct memory of my English prof advisor sitting me down and explaining that I had to chose a major in my sophomore year because if I waited to long to make a choice and a clear plan I would actually be narrowing my options by not defining my path. It made no sense at all to me but I knew he was trying to tell me something important that I better figure out. I file that memory with the one of my high school English teacher telling me I better learn to spell correctly or people would think I was stupid. wise words trying to teach me that the world was not all on my terms, as creative and brilliant as I thought I was. *foolish grin*

I ended up choosing English as a college major because I thought that would still give me wiggle room in choosing courses and not tie me down to any particular career. It was years after graduating and working until I realized how that limited me in other ways, by not preparing me for a clearly recognizable career. It wasn’t until I had a baby and needed a job with benefits that it started to sink in.

So Beginning with the End in mind seems impossible for me. I have no idea where I want to go or what I want to do in 6 months, a year, 5 years. I want to walk around with my eyes and ears wide open and discover new things. Of course, as a parent and teacher and librarian I can list a lot of goals and priorities, but in my heart of hearts that is not what comes up when you ask me what end I have in mind. For this particular course the end I have in mind to learn as much as I can from the other participants about new technologies and experiment with cool stuff online.

Oh alright, I guess maybe that’s a pretty clear goal after all.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lifelong Learning, Oh Yeah!

I woke up early this morning to try and catch up on reading blogs. It seems not too many others post early on Sunday morning, so I quickly got caught up and went looking for new blogs. Following links I found one that reviewed new features on Library Thing. I had looked at LT a few months ago but didn’t follow up because it looked like too much work for me to catalog all the books in my house. I like to browse around when I am looking for something, and find it by location memory so I didn’t think I needed an online catalog. Today I realized me finding my own books is not the point. You get to meet and talk with other people about your books. LIGHTBULB!! Why did it take me so long to figure that out? Just too egocentric I guess. Anyway LT is getting better by the minute and I am loving it.

I signed up just to take the tour. I added two books so I would have a library there, and THREE hours later I am still finding features to love. It is so easy to add books I can’t stop myself! The kids’ breakfast is stretching way too long just to keep me on the keyboard. LOL It is incredibly easy to add your books. Just type in a few keywords or authors name and a list comes up. Click on the book you have, add tags or rating, and it is in your library list. For a librarian with ADHD and dyslexia, making it this easy closes the deal. I decided to only add the books I currently have that I want to discuss with someone else that has read them.

Once you have books in your library you can look at lists of all the other members who have the same books as you, or what they have that you don’t have. If you see a book you actually do have, one click and it is in your list. You can look at a word cloud of tags or authors for your own library or the library of other members. You can join a group of other folks interested in the same themes as you. There are discussion boards there so you can see what everyone is saying about what you are thinking. There are lots of bloggers there! I am telling you this is my new favorite place.

One of the members who has a blog posted about Learning 2.0, an online learning experience run by a library in Charlotte NC. Anyone can join in and I have signed up. Through a guided series of experiences you can explore 23 developments in technology. We are encouraged to blog about what we are learning, so I will be posting on my experimentation in the next few months. I am also looking at the 43 things website, which looks very exciting. This is helping me to see how much I have already learned this summer, just by playing around with blogging. They didn’t need to sell me on lifelong learning, this stuff always gives me a rush. How about you?

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Tree Design


by Arna Bontemps

A tree is more than a shadow
blurred against the sky,
more than ink spilled on the fringe
of white clouds floating by.
A tree is more than an April design
or a blighted winter bough
where love and music used to be.
A tree is something in me,
very still and lonely now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Book Meme

Repressed Librarian tagged me for this popular meme a few days ago. It is very difficult to narrow it down to just one book for each question. If I did it again tomorrow I would probably chose different books, but here it is. I notice most of these are written by women. About 20 years ago I decided to try to focus on reading mostly women writers for the next 25 years, since I had spent the first 25 years of my life reading mostly men. It's given me some balance.

1. One book that changed your life?

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. I read this at about 12 years old and it changed my world completely.

2. One book you have read more than once?

The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien. Can’t help myself, I’ve read it a million times. There are a lot of books I could mention here; I like to re-read favorites.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

The Bible. Everything is in there: poetry, myth, history, wisdom, story, song, prayer, life & hope.

4. One book that made you laugh?

Traveling Mercies Anne Lamott. Especially the “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” chapter, which I heard her read on NPR. It kills me every time.

5. One book that made you cry?

The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

6. One book you wish had been written?

Green Baby Butts: Cloth Diapering for the 21st Century

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Fast Track Adoption by Susan Burns This book is evil and has caused a lot of damage.

8. One book you are currently reading?

In their Own Words; Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda. I have been in the middle of this one for a long time. I have to take it slow to absorb as much as possible.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

The Secret Life of Bees Sue Kid Monk. I know, I should have read that years ago. I can’t keep up!

10. Now tag five people:

Kohana Amy Kim.Kim Lilian Joshua (Welcome aboard Joshua! I can't wait to hear what you have to say!) I hope you all can participate in this. I know it's hard to find the time to blog in August but I'd love to see what you come up with! Anyone else I didn't link, jump right in!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Last Child in the Woods


When I was a child my dad had a job that required him to spend a month or two at a camp on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with college students, leading Bible study workshops and training them in student leadership. He was encouraged to bring his family, so I and my two sisters and two brothers had what I consider to be perfect childhood vacations. The camp was isolated, rustic, and pretty wild, but not at all dangerous. Poison Ivy doesn’t grow there (too far north they told us), there were no large predators, and no poisonous snakes. We did run into bees a few times, which was educational in a painful way. My brothers and I roamed the entire woods. In spite of our tendency to fall in the lake we were given free reign. The rules as I remember them were to stick together (buddy system at all times), get to the dining hall in time for meals and have dry shoes at dinner. We climbed huge glacial boulders as big as two story houses. We explored paths and created new ones. We fished off the dock, caught snakes and salamanders and turtles, and built dams in the spring-fed streams that emptied into the cove. We tried to start fires by tearing down the NO Hunting signs, but it was always too damp. We spent our allowances on chocolate bars and soda once a week. We had no TV, but we sat in front of a lot of fires watching our shoes dry. We had no iPods, but went to cook outs on the beach and listened to the guitar players singing “It Only Takes A Spark” a million times. We fought over who’s turn it was to run up and ring the dinner bell. We swam in the freezing cold lake, pulled leaches off our legs, and tried to pass the swimming test so we would be allowed to take out a row boat or canoe and fish the better spots. We found an abandoned cabin in the woods away from camp and climbed over the fence to the strawberry patch and feasted till we had to lay back in the weeds and let our bulging bellies bake in the sun. We learned wildflower names, bug's habits, bird song, bark and leaf identification. We slept deep and woke early to watch the dawn over the bay. Every year I collected moss and tiny woodland plants to take back for a terrarium which never thrived in my suburban Cleveland bedroom. We collected fossils and learned to name those ancient shell and leaf patterns in the beach rocks. We hung out around the college kids and learned their music, their jokes, their intensity and passion for choosing a good life. We ate in the family-style dining hall, always sitting at a different table, singing Kumbaya before we ate and sharing the clean up chores. Sometimes we came racing back from the point too late for the meal and needed to be taken back in the kitchen for bread and butter while the dishes were being cleaned up. The camp director’s family, who lived there year-round, had a sheep in their yard that we would feed clover. We played ping-pong and foosball in the rec room on rainy days. Once in a while we went on family days to the tiny town where we joked they rolled the sidewalks up at night but secretly we loved the soda fountain where we could get funny sounding drinks like Polar Bears, Teddy Bears, and Pine Tree Floats. These are the best memories of my life and if I close my eyes I can still imagine being there running down the path. I remember the exact shape of those rocks, the color of the lake, the sound of the waves and wind. This place shaped me. Chai There! Reminded me of it last week in her blog.

There is an article in the May/June issue of National Wildlife, excerpted from a book I read last year that again made me so grateful for those childhood experiences. It is called Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. I got it from the library but I immediately ordered a copy to be sent to my oldest friend Josh, because I knew it would inspire him as much as it did me. Josh has run nature camps and science programs for schools for many years and we hung out a lot as children in the scruffy woods behind his house in our suburb of Cleveland. It wasn’t as wild as Michigan, but it was wild enough. We swung on grapevines and built forts out of discarded boards. He was my little brother’s friend first, but by high school he was my friend too and I miss him. We used to go on walks and look at the stars together.

It’s different for kids today. Louv says “a child today can likely tell you abut the Amazon rain forest but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.” Studies say a lot of kids have more electronic media exposure time each day than their parents spend at work, but they rarely spend time outside just mucking around in natural wild life. Even a patch of weeds and dirt with a few worms qualifies as natural wild life. There is something fundamental we learn from connecting with other forms of life, which kids are missing out on if they don’t get that kind of free exploration. Time spent outdoors with out a coach or a game plan. Louv calls it “nature-deficit disorder; the human costs of alienation from nature. Among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” I highly recommend you get this book and read it, and then find a patch of dirt and set your kid down. Let them find some sticks and stones and a puddle and set them free an hour a day at least. If you don’t have a kid, do it for yourself. Take a walk, look for bugs or birds or wildflowers. Just hum and stare at the sky. If we all did this every day it just might make us all happier and healthier!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Butterfly poetry

The Caterpillar
by Christina Rossetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or whatnot,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.


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It being August (already!) I can actually feel the days getting shorter. I start to remember all the plans and goals I had for the long summer days, and realize they are slipping away. I have a lot of sewing projects to work on, and knitting, and garden work... I am not reading as much. I confess I need a break from the young adult books. Too many 12 year olds in a row perhaps. So for the next few weeks I may be blogging a little less, and a little more tangentially. Not so many books to review this week, although I just finished a good one I want to write about soon.