Thursday, May 04, 2006

Another dreary humid day. It got so dark yesterday afternoon I was sure it was going to rain, but no such luck. Just so muggy that the air was heavy with moisture, but that won't fill the cistern. Figured I had better write in the morning as all my good intentions to do so at the end of the day are useless. After grading and other end of the semester projects I am brain dead. I said last night I would work until Steve got home and since he stopped to get pizza I was still grading at 7 p.m. It is so interesting to read the results of the students' evaluations of the different styles of booktalks. I am seeing a trend with the first person booktalks. The upper level HS students aren't as receptive to them as the 7th - 9th graders. They seem to be a real hit with this age group and enjoyed by the older teens only if it is a real intense book, like Graham's Acceleration.

Wish we could take off for another long weekend at Nail Bay on Virgin Gorda, but that won't happen until I can get caught up on some of the work piled on my desk. Steve sent me an email with a digital picture of the towel girl that the maid had created on our bed. I was having a great time checking out her daily creations - bunnies with floppy ears out of the hand towels, turtles on the bed, but my favorite with the doll made from towels, seashells for eyes and mouth and yellow flowers for her hair. I had Steve take pictures of all of them. :-) Thought I would share the cost of the "essentials" we bought at the local grocery store on Virgin Gorda. St. Thomas is expensive, but nothing compared to what we paid over there. And this is the grocery store the local people shop in. How do they afford to live there is beyond me. A 12 pack of Diet Coke was $10, a 10 oz bag of honey wheat pretzels was $4.25, a package of Chips Ahoy cookies was $6.95, and a 6 pack of cans of Amstel Light was $9.00. Next time I am going to take my Diet Coke and pretzels with me!

Speaking of intense books, I stayed up and finished Jack Gantos' The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs last night. It was not the best thing to have in my mind as I was trying to relax and fall asleep. One creepy, get under you skin and won't let your mind rest with wondering about it kind of book. No blood and and guts, but truly one of the most horrific books I have read in a long time. This is the kind of horror that messes with your head! I fell asleep thinking about the nature vs. nurture issue brought to light by this book. Do we truly have free will or it is hogwash as the Twins suggest in this book? The curse of the Rumbaughs is genetic and there is nothing they can do about it. So they had no control over themselves when they matter of factly used their taxidermy skills to stuff and mount their mother after she died of a natural death. She had always controlled their lives and she still did, after death. They were obsessed with mother love. And to think that these Twins seemed common place, though certainly a bit odd, to the inhabitants of the small Pennsylvania town they lived in. No one knew Ab from Dolph, even they thought they were part of one person. And no one knew about their mother except for Lily and her never-been-married mother, who had started working in the Twins' pharmacy when she was a teenager and became as much a part of the Rumbaugh family as if she were a blood relative. After all, she did keep their secrets and even had a plot in the Rumbaugh cemetery. Lily is about to find out about who she is and what role the Twins play in her life when she turns 16. Her mother tells Lily she isn't ready for the whole truth until then. Not sure I was ready for it either and I am a lot older than 16! Older teens will revel in the creepiness of this book and may even learn a bit of history in the process. Gantos includes wonderful thought provoking tidbits about early eugenics research, the Nazi medical experimentation, and research on twins to help you suspend your disbelief that people like Ab and Dolph could exist.

All for today.