SoCS – that Sam-I-Am!

We sure do love us some Dr. Seuss in this house.  I have a number of favorites.  (Can someone even have “a number” of favorites?)  They’re all books that I would happily read over and over again.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Horton Hatches the Egg, The Sneetches, and The Lorax – all terrific books we read more times than I can count.  But Linda’s prompt can only bring one book to mind – the classic Green Eggs and Ham.

“That Sam-I-Am
That Sam-I-Am!

I do not like
That Sam-I-Am

Do you like
Green eggs and ham?

I do not like them,
I do not like
Green eggs and ham.”

For someone who’s not a fan of tongue twisters, this is probably one of the last books you’d think I’d love.  The rhymes tumble and twist, rumbling around in my mouth like a couple of marbles as the pace picks up, and I couldn’t help but smile as I barreled my way through the bevy of situations in which the character would not like green eggs and ham.

Nothing would move him to try them – not a house or a mouse or a box or a fox.  Not on a train, in the rain, with a goat, or on a boat.  The illustrations became more and more ridiculous, as did the character’s refusal to consider even the possibility that green eggs and ham might be worth trying.

I’m pretty sure this book resonates with all parents of young picky eaters.  Besides that, though, it is just plain fun to read.  The tongue twisters weren’t the hardest part…that was managing not to say I told you so when green eggs and ham turned out to be delicious.

SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “ham.”

gratitude: words of gold

I’m a reader through and through.  My mom and I would check out piles of books from the library, dive in, then exchange them for a new set every two weeks.  It was like going to the toy store and picking out treats all summer long.

That kind of passion never dies.

Sometimes I’ll discover an author or genre and read until I’ve exhausted my options before finding something new.  Right now I’m reading a smattering of youth fiction, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction depending on my mood, but the reality is that I’m never more grateful than when I’ve got a good book in my hands.

Before the kids came along BrightSide and I enjoyed a fixation that spanned John Grisham, the Kellermans (both Jonathan and Faye), Tom Clancy, and Patricia Cornwell.  The list was a bit heavy on murder mystery and intrigue, but they were terrific reads.  We’ve still got most of them on the bookshelves around here, as a matter of fact.

BrightSide has become interested in reading biographies about people like Thomas Jefferson, but I still fall mainly into fiction.  Some of the treasures I’ve discovered along the way:

  • Jodi Picoult.  This author’s work bridges youth and adult fiction.  She’s tackled subjects like suicide, friendship, faith and religion, the media, illness, medical ethics, school shootings, and so much more.  Her latest novel, Small Great Things, is waiting patiently on the bookshelf for me to crack it open.  I can promise you this – her books pull you in, so be prepared to read late into the night.
  • Glennon Doyle Melton.  A woman who’s recently published her second book, Glennon is one of the few nonfiction writers that completely captures my attention.  Both works are about her personal journey; she doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad, or the ugly, so by the time you’ve finished you really know her truth.
  • Harry Potter.  Sorry, but it had to be said.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  Rick Riordan captures a mythological storyline that has a Harry Potter essence with characters you can’t help but lean into, which is saying a lot coming from someone who wasn’t exactly into Greek Gods back in the day. This is a five book series that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you reach the story’s resolution.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy.  I found these books fascinating, although I have to say I was surprised to see them in fourth graders’ desks at school.  That may have more to do with the subject matter and my own child’s sensitivity to difficult themes than anything else, though.  They’re set in a post-apocalyptic nation where districts are required to annually sacrifice two of their youth to a televised blood sport where participants fight to the death.  The trilogy’s arc examines the disparity between rich and poor, suffering as entertainment, and the role appearance plays in society, among other things.
  • The Giver series.  These four young adult novels by Lois Lowry are set in a futuristic era and examine themes such as Utopian societies, sameness versus individuality, euthanasia, the relationship between pain and pleasure, a technology-free state, generosity versus selfishness, and the power of love.  They’re powerfully thought provoking and high on my list of books I want to reread.

What are some of your literary treasures?

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

SoCS – my world of words

I’m at a bit of a loss here.

Despite the thousands of books we read during their childhood…even after watching me pull a book from my bag for years…in spite of the fact that my whole world is made of words…I’ve got a kid who doesn’t like to read.

It’s like an alternate universe where up is down and chocolate tastes like broccoli.

Continue reading

summer’s delight


You're like a little wild thing
that was never sent to school.
Sit, I say, and you jump up.
Come, I say, and you go galloping down the sand
to the nearest dead fish
with which you perfume your sweet neck.
It is summer.
How many summers does a little dog have?

Run, run, Percy.
This is our school.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver ©2013

Mondays now bring you SoCS

I’ve stumbled across a delightful blog event called Stream of Consciousness Saturdays.  Linda G. Hill hosts this, posting a prompt on Fridays for your Saturday post.

The rules are pretty straightforward:  the post must be stream of consciousness writing with no editing and minimal planning, plus it can be any length or genre.  (You can read the complete list of rules including ping backs and blogger good will here.)

So why, you might be asking, am I posting this on Monday afternoons?  I guess we can sum that one up in a single word.  Life.  Life is pushing this post to Mondays because I know with complete certainty that I won’t reliably publish on Saturday, but since I think it’s a neat writing exercise I totally want to do it anyway.

Call me a rebel.  (Snort.)

I guess this means the following badge will be a permanent reminder of being a day (or two) late and a dollar short…

SoCS badge

The prompt for June 4th is “book.”

It’s a little crazy that book is this week’s SoCS prompt.  I was just telling BrightSide at lunch that my summer goal is to catch up on some reading, and the fact that I even said that sentence aloud speaks volumes about how much my life has changed.

I remember going to the library when I was young – starting in late elementary school, I guess – where my mom and I would spend an hour picking out books.  We’d leave with stacks (stacks!) of them.  She’d have four or five novels, enormously thick books that were mind boggling to a 9 year old.  I’d have eight to ten books of my own, all fiction, from the youth section.  We’d stagger up to the counter and plunk them all down, ready to check out our treasure.

There were few things I loved as much as reading.  Reading by the pool, reading in my bed, taking a book along for any time I got bored, really.  Back in those days I could even read in the car which was a fabulous help for passing seven hour car rides.  The day I realized it was making me nauseated was a sad day indeed…but I digress.

Mom and I would devour books over the summer.  We’d fly through our stacks of reading material, heading back to the library every two weeks or so to gather some more.  Walking into the library was like walking into a candy store – row after row of books to browse, pulling anything that caught my eye, jittery to get home and start a new one.  And I never once lost a library book; it was inconceivable that I might lose track of something so precious.

I carried this habit through my teen years and into adulthood, patronizing libraries in every town I moved to.  There were years when my rate of book consumption slowed, years when my course load was too heavy for pleasure reading or when I was buried in the all-encompassing job of being a new teacher with too much to do and not enough time.  But the summers were always mine.

Walking through those doors into an air conditioned library each June was just…ahhh…like coming home.

While my time available to read might vary, my desire to read does not, so I have a quirky habit of collecting books even when my “to read” stack is already seven or eight books deep.  I’ve got quite a back log right now – everything from youth fiction I’m screening for Bear to books on adoption to (I hate this phrase) self-help books.  I think there are even a few adult fiction books floating around here that have been waiting patiently for my attention.

We’re just a couple of days away from the official start of school vacation so (conceptually) I should be gaining some time here.  Sort of like my own personal Daylight Savings Time.  Now if only I can allot some of that found time to reading.

Maybe we’ll even make a few trips to my old stomping ground.  I hear the library’s got great air conditioning, even when the temps top out in the 90s.

Sunday Snapshot: steadfast and sure


We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
then we think about money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
   in our busyness.
We're, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver ©2013

“channel your inner captain of woo-woo bullsh*t”

I’d never even heard of the life changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.  Probably because no one in my life thought for a single second that this book would be an appropriate gift for me.  But reading this woman’s post detailing its insanity methodology had me rolling on the floor, so I thought I’d share.

“When I picked up Marie Kondo’s book, it was mostly out of curiosity.  What was this magic?  Did it involve an army of tiny elves who might follow my children around putting away discarded toys and nagging them about grinding bits of snack into the carpet?…

At first Kondo made some kind of sense.  According to the KonMari Method, everything in your house should have a place.  We all need less stuff.  Throw shit away.  Yep.  Got it.  I started dreaming of garbage bags full of old birthday party favors and stuffed animals, parading to the curb.  But then it got weird, like that one relative who believes in the sanctity of crystals and just won’t shut the hell up about it.”

The Terrible Tyranny of Tidying Up – Scary Mommy