Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Eve! Don't think Steve and I will be partying tonight as we are both sick. I'm sitting at the desktop computer and looking out on Frenchman's Bay - a day sail charter boat is making its way back from Buck Island - a favorite snorkeling site for tourists. I call it the Johnny Depp boat as it looks a bit like a pirate ship with its red sails, etc. Speaking of Johnny Depp - we watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest yesterday. No where near as good as the first one - felt like a segue into the third one. Just didn't have the snort laugh factor that the first one had. And, talk about long - over 2 hours. We watched it in two sittings as I had to take a nap - this cold/flu is taking it out of me. We went into town for lunch at Shipwreck to share a hamburger and fries, which were delicious, and picked up the mail. That wore me out.

We also opened Christmas presents - Steve had to wrap a couple of mine as we picked them up at the mail place. Mail service down here is sloooow and then some. He introduced me to Lawrence Sander's McNally books awhile back, with the playboy amateur detective Archy McNally. They are just fun to read mysteries. My Christmas present is McNally's Files with includes the first three McNally books: McNally's Secret, McNally's Luck, and McNally's Risk. So I will have my mystery reading set for awhile. I think teen age guys would like these as they are fairly mild in the risque factor and it is a guy detective instead of the female ones I so often read about.

Speaking of Christmas books, Mary gave me Kristin Hannah's Christmas romance, Comfort & Joy. Reading this was a joy! I love a sappy romance, especially when I am sick and this has been wonderful reading, with Sophie curled up in my lap purring. And yes, teenage girls would love this novel, even though the characters are middle aged - it is just a fun sappy romance with a touch of "magic". Joy is in a plane accident and while she is in a coma she finds a lodge in Washington State where she spends several days and falls in love with the widowed owner, but she really is the "imaginary" friend of his little boy Bobby. If you believe in magic - you will love the ending. Finished it in bed with Sophie this morning - after breakfast in bed - French toast. Steve is sick too but he is still spoiling me with breakfast in bed. :-) The book is set in the rainy Pacific Northwest - very appropriate as I will be in Seattle for ALA Midwinter later in January. The setting reminded me a lot of Juneau, Alaska with the huge trees and the moss covered rocks, roofs, etc. Walking the trails by the Mendenhall Glacier felt like being in to a primeval forest. I expected Sasquatch to step out from behind a tree, or perhaps a dinosaur. I loved the quiet of that forest and though I fussed about the continuous rain when I lived there, it was a beautiful place.

All for today. I am working on the course documents for the Materials for Early Childhood course I am designing and teaching for the first time at ECU. Found a great new text to use with lots of storytime activities - Saroj Nadharni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz' Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library. It came out in 2006 and should be a staple in every Public Library Children's Room professional collection. The finger plays and rhymes brought back great memories of when I taught Head Start in Galena, an Athabascan Indian village on the banks of the Yukon. What a time that was!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My one day home between trips and I just got back from picking up my new glasses. I am officially old - I now wear bifocals! I am too vain to wear the ones with the lines though. I am adjusting to where I need to have my head so I am looking through the part of the lens that works the best. I probably look like a dork, but that's fine. I was so frustrated with reaching for the reading glasses all the time and then leaving them somewhere. I wore glasses for most of my life before the lasik surgery 5 years ago so I am not having trouble adjusting to the glasses, just were to look through the lens.

The trip to Green Bay was wonderful. Christmas is more fun around little ones. We bundled up and walked through the Holiday light display at the Botanical Garden. I took lots of pictures. We also stopped by a house that has more lights than most neighborhoods. I wonder what the neighbors think of all the cars driving by and stopping. Michael loves the Thomas the Train set he received from his grandparents. Had to let him sleep with Emily, the green engine we gave him, and a piece of track. He liked his Santa gifts, but was so enamored with the train that the trucks and bulldozer were secondary. They won't be as soon as it warms up enough for him to play in the sandbox in their backyard. The chocolate in his stocking was a big hit. For Gramma too - I pigged out on dark chocolate covered almonds that were in my stocking!

I was given one Christmas "present" I am not too keen on - a very bad head cold. Even lost my voice for a couple of days. Three different planes yesterday and the take-offs and landings weren't much fun - ears didn't like it at all. By the time I got home last night and called Mary and Steve to tell them I was home I had only a squeak of a voice. Today I loaded up on cold medicine and cough drops at the drug store as they are so expensive in the islands. I fly out tomorrow, but no 15 minutes drive to the airport this time. I am flying out of RDU so I have to drive over to Raleigh - about an hour and 1/2 away. Good thing the flight doesn't go out until 11:00. But, while at Mary's I woke each morning to "Where's Gramma?" or "Is Gramma up yet?" at 6:00 a.m. so I sort of got used to getting up early. Groan!! I plan on sleeping in while in the islands.

We gave Michael a copy of The Polar Express movie and he loves it. Thought I had already given him the book by Van Allsburg, but we couldn't find it in his bookshelves. Hard to believe that book is over 20 years old now - came out in 1985. He also received Cars and we had fun watching that - I hadn't seen it. Very cute movie. Loved Doc's voice and had to look to see who it was - Paul Newman! Michael's favorite book for me to read to him while I was there is I Stink! by Kate McMullen. I had given it to him quite some time ago so he knew the fun parts. We had a great time using Austin Powers sounding voices to say, "Mount Trash-a-rama, Baby!" Mary and Scott just sat and watched us - Michael brings out my inner child and then some! :-) We also had fun with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, which was published in 1939. Don't think he understood that Mary Anne is powered by coal. He did love the sound of the names of the town's people, especial Mrs. McGillicuddy. My reading so far this Holiday Season has been limited to picture books and that is fine with me for now. I had a delightful Christmas snuggling and reading books with Michael.

Off to St. Thomas tomorrow. Headed out with manuscript pages with tons of corrections and notes on them. I have my work cut out for me!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thought I would put in this picture of the evening cruise we watching go out and come back while we are Mallory Square in Key West. With Steve saying he is going sailing this weekend I am missing the ocean!
We are getting a pouring rain. It started when I left campus at 5:30 and by the time I got settled in at home it was coming down in buckets and hasn't stopped since. Mary said it had been doing the same thing in Green Bay. All I can think about is that we'd be like Denver is this were snow. I am so glad it isn't as I leave for Green Bay on the 7:10 jet out of here tomorrow morning. We barely get in the air before we land in Charlotte. I like flying the jet better than the prop planes. Will get into Green Bay around 2:00 and we are going to see the lights at the botanical gardens in the evening, if the rain stops. Can't wait to see Michael - he has been reminding his mom that the chair next to his at the dining room table is Gramma's. :-)

Talked to Steve tonight and he and his buddy Jeff, who lives on a sailboat, are headed out to the BVI Sunday to spend a couple of days wandering. He doesn't seem the least bit upset that I am not there for Christmas! But, I did get an early Christmas present from him yesterday - a heated keyboard! I haven't set it up yet, but it sounds neat. I am out of plug in spots in my surge protector so I need to get a bigger one so I can plug in the keyboard.

Been working on the manuscript every waking hour I can and am reminding myself of all the great books I have read and want to read. Was looking for a historical fiction title with a witchcraft theme and came across Sherryl Jordan's Raging Quiet, which is one of my all time favorite YA historical fiction titles. A young woman falls in love with the "village idiot" who is actually a deaf young man who is trying to speak. She teaches him a form of sign language to communicate and the villagers think she is a witch because of it. The scene where she must hold red hot iron bars in her hands to prove her innocence is also burned into my memory. So many books, so little time!

All for tonight. Will probably be a bit before I have a chance to write again as I am home for one day next week before leaving for St. Thomas on Friday. Just enough time to get repacked and go through my mail. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Finally - a morning I got to sleep in! I didn't even mind being woke up by the painters' ladder noises outside - just fell back to sleep. So now I am listening to the 24 hour Christmas music station and planning on a quiet work day at home.

Sorry about the heads in the pic - some of the lights at the Kansas City Plaza Christmas lighting ceremony

Enjoyed a bit of magazine reading when I first woke up - Hallmark Magazine, a new publication that I really like. Short articles and lots of cool photographs. Love the January issue full page picture of snow laden trees with the quote" "Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together. " Vesta M. Kelly.
Going to put this one on the wall in my office. I like looking at snow - not being in it! Talked to Mary last night and she said it had been in the 40s in Green Bay and rain was predicted so I doubt I am going to get a snowy White Christmas with them like I did a couple of years ago.

Haven't had much time to curl up with a novel, but while sitting in traffic while doing Christmas shopping I've been listening to New Spring by Robert Jordan. I have not read any of his other books, but I was given this audiobook at a conference. It sat for the longest time with the plastic still on it and I finally decided to go for it. And, I am so glad I did. Granted, I was not crazy about the beginning as I do not care for the male narrator's voice - his sighs and breathing drive me nuts. But, the woman narrator is very good and I find myself in the world of Moiraine and Siuan as they go through the 100 weaves to become Aes Sedai and search for the newborn who is the rebirth of the Dragon. This is one of those situations where an audiobook is a wonderful introduction to a new author as I would have had no idea how to pronounce some of the names. Siuan is Swan - easy enough! So, my time sitting in traffic on Greenville Blvd - the "center of the world" in Greenville - where all the stores are, has not been so bad - I have been in Jordan's fantasy world.

All for today. Need to get back to the manuscript.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A late morning with the newspaper as I was up until 1 a.m. last night. Couldn't sleep so I worked on the manuscript until midnight and then started a new Christmas book - A Covington Christmas by Joan Medlicott. I was surprised to find out she was born and raised on St. Thomas in the VI before moving to Western NC. She started writing the Covington titles at age 64. Covington, of course, is set in Western NC, outside of Asheville, which I am looking forward to visiting someday. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this mountain town. Anyway, the premise of the novel is that the new pastor finds old documents in the church attic to indicate 5 of the long term couples in the area are not married legally or in the eyes of the church. Where it goes from there I am not sure as that is as far as I got before the Sandman finally had time to come visit me. Thank goodness!

So I am most certainly getting a late start on the day and plan on getting a few hours of writing in before I head out to ToysRUs to find Emily - one of the Thomas the Train items that Michael wants. He is carrying the pamphlet with her picture around and says she is pretty, so I am more than happy to buy my macho grandson something he thinks is pretty!

I have the 808 page This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers next to me as I write. My next YA read, though many of the YA book lovers I interact with via listservs are not as willing to call this a YA novel due to the content, etc. I cannot say as I have not begun reading it yet. Some people read children's and YA novels as their "unconscious delight" leisure reading - it requires nothing more out of them than to enjoy the book. I don't read a children's or YA title that way - I am analyzing it as I read. Will I recommend it? Will I use it in a booktalk? What many read for just pleasure, I read professionally. Now my "unconscious delight" reading is wallowing in an adult novel that I know will have no YA or child appeal due to the age of the character and/or the theme/subject. Thank heavens for those - I need a break once in awhile. :-)

All for now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Well, Fall semester 2006 has officially come to an end. The College of Education graduation ceremony was fairly painless as it was a small group this semester. It will be huge in May. Not one pair of flip-flops on the girls. Mostly black dress shoes, some with spike heels so high I have no idea how they even walked in them. A quiet audience compared to the graduations at SHSU years ago. There were a few, "That's my baby!" and one really cute, "That's my baby sister!" from a very proud older brother with a camera. :-)

Several of us went to lunch at Moe's Southwestern Grill and chatted to close out the semester. Already talking about changes we want to make for Spring semester and what classes will be on the schedule for the Fall. Most people live on a January through December calendar. Academics live on an August through May calendar with a gasp before the summer school run of two months with the joy of ALA Annual in June to break it up. And then the regular school year starts again. Holiday break plans of the group included skiing with their kids, visits to family in Ohio, spending the Holidays with friends in Arizona, etc. and for some of us a marathon writing time. I have a whole week, minus a couple of appointments, to get as much of the book done as I can before heading to Mary's on the 23rd.

Carol, Jami, Karen and I found our inner child and went to the Charlotte's Web matinee yesterday. What a cute movie. I detest spiders and was a bit grossed out by Charlotte's initial descent, but had to laugh at the horse fainting when he saw her. I felt itchy when her 514 babies hatched from the egg sack. Julia Roberts did a beautiful job of giving voice and character to Charlotte. I loved Templeton in the animated version and was as taken with the rat in this one. Nasty lovable creature! I had to chuckle over Jami and Karen crying when Charlotte dies, but I had tears in my eyes too - and of all things, over a spider! All in all, it was a delightful movie. We saw the previews for Bridge to Terabitha, very loosely based on Katherine Paterson's beloved children's book. Terabithia is brought to life as a creature inhabited fairyland with trees that have huge human like feet, etc. I will want to see this one for sure. As well as Miss Potter, with Renee Zelweiger playing Beatrix Potter. Lots of children's books and authors being brought to the screen. Let's just hope children watching these movies will ask for the books and/or parents will buy them. I can't wait to read Charlotte's Web to the grandkids. :-)

I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak last night. Oh my - what a beautifully written book. This is one that cries to be read aloud, but I have second thoughts about categorizing this as a YA novel as I am afraid it will not get the readership it deserves. To me this is an adult novel with teen appeal. It will not appeal to all teens as the narrator is death and the main character, Liesel, is a child for a majority of the book, but it certainly is not a book I would give to children to read. It has a dark but nostalgic feel of remembering the horrors of Nazi Germany. Liesel's book thievery and the connection these books give her to both her foster Papa and eventually to the very woman she steals books from is beautifully done. Zusak portrays, through Liesel's love of books and the connections she makes becaue of her stolen books, the power of words in a time when most people felt powerless and without a voice. Add this to the YA collections, but in the PL include a copy in the adult fiction area as well. I wish my mom were still alive so I could give a copy of this book for her - she, like Liesel, loved words.

On a less somber note, I am reading my birthday book from Steve - Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!: A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football by Holly Robinson Peete, wife of a retired football player and an actress. It is hilarious and very informative. Give this one as a Christmas present to the woman out there who have football crazed husbands and/or are football crazy themselves. I love her "10 All-Time Annoying Things We Should Never Say to Our Men During the Game" My favorites:

2. "Remember when your butt used to look like that?"
9. "You've already watched three quarters. Why can't we spend the last one talking about us?"

Peete has a wonderful sense of humor and a superb knowledge of the game as well.

All for this chilly Saturday a.m. Can't believe I have been up since 7 a.m., except for that fact that I crashed last night not too long after watching The Ghost Whisperer, my favorite Friday night show.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I keep waiting to hear the prancing and pawing of painter's boots on the balcony like I did Tuesday morning, but no such luck. They are painting the trim on the condos and early Tuesday a.m. I knew it wasn't Santa's reindeer I heard on the roof. By the time I got out into the livingroom they had already taken down the lights Steve put up. They reassured me they would put them back up when the paint dried. No such luck. So I guess I will be restringing lights when I get back from campus today.

We had our Dept. Holiday Luncheon yesterday and what fun. We gave our secret pals the books we had chosen for them to donate to the Homeless Shelter here in Greenville. I had Barbara's name and she loves her Golden Retriever so I found a really cool book, The Right Dog for the Job: Ira's Path from Service Dog to Guide Dog by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Beautiful color photographs of Ira as a puppy to him as a trained guide dog. The text and the illustrations also showed his trainer brought him to her classroom so he could acclimate to noise and children. A gotta have Nonfiction title for elementary school libraries. I received a copy of Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and we shared memories of particular poems from this book. Along with the secret pal donations, we collected two Zerox paper boxes full of books, from board books to adult novels, for the Homeless Shelter. This is part of our ALA Student Chapter activities so two of our students came to collection and deliver the books. Such a feel good event!

Lots of talk about the new Charlotte's Web movie. Jami and I had made plans to go on Friday, since that is opening day, but it is also our College of Education graduation ceremony day. So a bunch of us from the Dept. are getting together for lunch and then headed to the movies afterward. I have heard both good and bad reviews of the movie, but if it will bring kids to the library asking for E.B. White's wonderful book, which was one of our donations, then I am all for it.

As far as reading goes I finished Fannie Flagg's Redbird Christmas. What a delightful Christmas story of how a small Alabama town can bring an ailing man back to health. Oswald T. Campbell, an orphan with no family and doctor's order to spend what is supposed to be his last year of life in a warmer climate, ends up as a boarder in a private home intiny Lost River, Alabama. The women in town are delighted to have their second available male to pamper and before he knows it Oswald is feeling a lot better and has become fast friends with Patsy, a little abandoned girl, and Jack the Redbird who has free reign of the town's only store. I found myself smiling and sighing at the slow lifestyle of this little town. It is as much Patsy and Jack's story as it is Oswald's as the community adopts Patsy as she finds her voice while playing with Jack. The ending will bring tears to even the most grinchy reader's eyes. No bah humbugs here! :-)

I am also working my way through Zusak's The Book Thief. Although an absolutely stunning book, it is not exactly one to make you feel good. A little girl in Nazi Germany who steals books and finds herself reading them to the Jew they have hidden in the basement as well as in the neighbor's basement (designated the bomb shelter) during raids. Add the narrator, Death, to this scenario and you see why I have to put other "feel good" books into my reading schedule.

All for today.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Monday to one and all. It was a very productive weekend for me - many hours working on the booktalks, with fun Christmas movies playing in the background. I even listened to the Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Specials on PBS. Did look up long enough to see, remember, and grimace over those awful red or green, right down to the shoes, outfits the Williams brothers used to wear. PBS is having their annual fund raiser and also aired the Tribute to James Taylor special. Now that was worth looking up for. The Dixie Chicks and Allison Krause were wonderful, as was Carole King. I enjoyed every moment of that special.

Being in the Christmas spirit, Karen and I went to the matinee yesterday to see Holiday, with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. I am not a big Jude Law fan but he did a wonderful job of playing a single dad in this delightful Holiday movie. Diaz and Winslet's characters swap houses for the Holidays, both running from relationship break-ups. Winslet's character certainly gets the better setting - a California mansion for her rustic cottage in rural England, where Diaz's character is freezing her bippy off until she gets warmed up by Winslet's brother, played by Jude Law. I laughed and even got a bit teary eyed and overall, it was a wonderful couple hour break from writing.

As far as reading goes, I am currently into Zusak's The Book Thief, which I will wait and write about when I finish it. Not sure this was a good one to pick to read during the Holiday season as it is narrated by Death and set in Germany during WWII.

I did finish Mary Higgins Clark's Santa Cruise. As always, the bad guys are caught, just in the nick of time. You gotta love the two little bratty girls in this novel - the daughters of the mother who won their way on the cruise with her lengthy annual Christmas letter. She loves her daughters so much she hasn't a clue that the other adults on the cruise are not of like mind. You know the kind - the mother that writes about all the glorious things the family did the prior year. I'll keep that in mind as I write the Christmas letter in relation to the grandbabies! But the brats do pull the chair out from under, literally and figuratively, one of the bad guys on board. I liked Deck the Halls better - same set of characters, but they rescue private investigator Regan Reilly's kidnapped father.

Off to campus here in a bit. I have a new faculty gathering to share how our first semester at ECU went. As many years as I have been at this and with 4 different universities, I have to say, even though I have been as busy as a squirrel hiding nuts for the winter, it has been one of the best semesters I have had. What a wonderful group of students I have had in my courses.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Just got off the phone with Steve - our weekly Saturday a.m. call to catch up on what we didn't take care of via email. It appears my darling cat must really miss her Mommy. She is now grabbing Steve's hand and biting him when he works on his crossword puzzle in the morning. She normally only does that to me when I am petting her while reading and stop to turn the page. So I will be bringing her back with me in January. Going to be a busy Holiday for me. I leave for Mary's on the 23rd so I can join in the pleasure of a Christmas with a little one in the house. Then back home on the 27th, with time to wash and switch out winter clothes for island clothes and head to St. Thomas on the 29th. I was going to stay in NC and work on the book manuscript, but Steve suggested I might enjoy it more in the warm weather. I can take the laptop out on the deck and watch the boats go by as I do the final editing.

Attended the College of Education Christmas luncheon yesterday. Good food - bad music! It was karoke and a really bad rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. You'd think we educators could remember all the words to it, but no. Nor could I get the moves right for YMCA. No one has ever disputed my claim that I am clumsy and uncoordinated after they see me trying to do that!

Well, I finally finished listening to the many, many CDs in the audio book version of Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend by Stephen Davis. I have been fascinated with Morrison ever since overhearing my brother's girlfriend talk about how disgusted she was by his performance at a concert. They saw him while in Chicago on the Senior class trip. I wondered what was so disgusting about him and in later years found out about his borderline pornographic acts on stage. And found out a lot more about his really weird personal life in this tell all biography. Davis pulls no punches about Morrison's sex life, even when the listener wishes he would. I wonder what would have happened if he hadn't overdosed and died in a bathtub in Paris. Would he have gotten the distance from The Doors he wanted and become a true poet? His poetry is good enough to be studied in university courses - it certainly is dark and anguished. The Door music - I love some of it and detest a lot of it. Let's just say listening to this biography has closed the door on my fascination with Jim Morrison, but I do understand the fascination with the Lizard King, even with teens today. How he survived his lifestyle as long as he did amazes me!

That's it for today. It is a cold and sunny day out and I plan on spending it with the laptop, writing booktalks.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I think I am finally finished with grading for this semester. What a long process it has been, but the booktalking sessions my students presented in the high schools were so well received. Many of them were asked to return to present more books. I always find it interesting that so many of my students are elementary teachers or school librarians and they panic over the idea of having to present booktalks to teens. But, once they have done so they love it and want to do more.

I was in my office yesterday when a beautiful vase of roses arrived. The florist had called to find out if I would be in the office and said she had a delivery. I couldn't figure out why I would be getting flowers as my birthday was last Friday. They are from Annika and Niclas in Finland. Such a thoughtful gesture - and there was no snow on them either!

One of the other faculty members I work with at ECU, Jami Jones, has her first YA nonfiction title out with Scholastic. It is part of the Scholastic Choices series and is entitled Dealing With the Stuff Life Throws at You and Bouncing Back. A very visually appealing book with lots of photographs of teens and quizzes for young teen readers to fill out as they read about how to become resilient individuals in the face of stressful situations. Good lists of Web site resources. I especially like the coping strategies Jami suggests. A super addition to any MS/JH collection as well as public library collections.

All for now - I need to do some online shopping for my granddaughter - the important things in life - little girls who love Little Mermaids. :-)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I am missing Steve already! My wonderful husband gave me the most fantastic 50th birthday present - him! I received an email on Thursday telling me he was on the way to the airport and would I pick him up at 8:00 that evening. He said he couldn't have me celebrating my 50th alone. It was a heavenly couple of days of sleeping in, checking out all the Christmas stuff in the stores, afternoon naps, evening movies, and dinners out. I brought him to the airport here in Greenville early this a.m. and then came home and wrote a final exam for my YA literature course so I wouldn't feel sorry for myself.

Along with us just spending time together (the best present), Steve did a few things on my "honey do" list - he put the gorgeous shell plaques he gave me up above the jacuzzi in the master bathroom. They look great and give it a bit of an islandy feel. And, he put up icicle lights on the balcony top and wrapped color lighted garland around the rail. It looks so Christmasy! And, I now have a porch rocker out there so I can sit and enjoy the lights at night - that is if it warms up enough. It was in the 70s when he got here but it cooled off yesterday and was down right chilly at 6:00 a.m. when we headed out to the airport.

He only brought his carry on for clothes so he could bring two of my big Christmas boxes instead of luggage. So now I can put up my Nativity scene and start setting up my Christmas village in the nook in the dining room. I'll listen to/watch the Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve DVD that Steve gave me for my birthday while I decorate. They played in Green Bay last year and Mary was able to go see them - I am so jealous!

Poor Steve - he ended up watching Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas with me for my birthday. Really poor guy - I was "singing" along to some of the songs - not a pretty sound at all! He got me back last night with Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Majorly weird movie set on the Texas/Mexico border with a young hot-shot border guard shooting Tommy Lee Jones' character's Mexican friend and ranch hand. Pete, Jones' character, goes off the deep end in his grief and promise to return Mel to his small hometown in Mexico. He kidnaps the border patrol guy and makes him dig up Mel's body and forces him to join his horseback journey to take the body back home, into desolate Mexico. I thought for sure I was going to have nightmares about corpses - each night Pete props Me'l's corpse up next to the border guard. Steve does have a tendency to pick really strange movies. I don't even want to go into the weirdness of Bubba Ho-tep, other than to say Elvis is alive in a nursing home and Pres. Johnson is really black (played by Ozzie Davis). Oh yeah - the Egyptian mummy wears cowboy boots!

Didn't have much time to read the last few days. Still reading Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter Carol. A light Christmas mystery about a corrupt nephew taking advantage of his cruise ship owning uncle by smuggling aboard two fugitives who are dressed in Santa suits to disguise themselves. Let's just say his plan isn't working too well! :-) I had a few minutes to read in the mornings as Steve brought me breakfast in bed both mornings he was here. I love how he spoils me. Back to Luna bars now that he is gone back to the islands. :-) And back to grading for me right now.