Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Monday afternoon from Kentucky. What a gorgeous day! I have the patio door open and the birds are chirping. I get to hear them between moving trucks and cars bouncing over the speed bumps in front of the apartment. We discovered, much to our dismay, that our neighbor with the garage below us is a night owl. The garage door woke us up, along with him revving his engine, as he came home at 2 a.m. Saturday night.

But, our apartment living should be short term, I hope, as we found a house! Granted, it is not the one I was sure we were going to buy, but we accepted the builder's counter-offer this morning so it looks like we are set to go. And I like this house much better! It has a turret shaped dining area that is so cool! On Saturday we drove up to Georgetown to see the house I fell in love with and another one that had just come on the market. We were about to go back up and look at the other house again yesterday to make a offer, but we decided we wanted to look at a couple more in Lexington before we bought a house out of town. So before the realtor picked us up yesterday afternoon I spent the morning online looking at the Multiple Listings site and found a house in Lexington I hadn't found before. I would have remembered the street name - Flying Ebony. There was an open house so we walked right in and fell in love with it. Steve will be a 10 minute drive from Lexmark and the house is less than a 5 minute drive from the grocery store. Heck, I could walk to the store if I were ambitious. And, the area across the street cannot be developed - it is a city park area and will have a walking trail in soon. The house is a year old so the sod has settled and some landscaping has been done. I can't wait to sit outside on the covered porch and watch Sophie playing outside again. She is going to have a ball in the green space area in the back yard. She'll be queen of the cats in a matter of days. :-)

Read the Lexington Sunday paper finally this a.m. and was intrigued by the Boston Globe article they included on Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. You may recognize this author's name from My Sister's Keeper, which is extremely popular with teens due to the issue addressed - a girl conceived in vitro, specifically so her blood, blood marrow, and potentially her kidney can keep her older sister alive. Is this a form of child abuse? This book certainly raises many issues, as will Nineteen Minutes, which is about a school shooting. Picoult donated advance copies of the book to 3 high schools, including the one her son attends in Hanover, NH. Administrators pulled it from a mandatory reading list due to the controversial nature of the book and the fact that some of the students thought the school in the book might be their's. Timing is everything, as is what is happening locally. A student in a nearby high school had fatally stabbed another student to death in the bathroom. I have not read Nineteen Minutes as I do not have a copy of it yet, but I have read a number of other school shooting books and feel there is no such thing as too many books that address this very serious issue. Bullying in schools and the potential outcome of such bullying should not be hidden from our teens. They are living it every day. Just off the top of my head I can think of four school shooting YA novels. The most recent one I read, Nancy Garden's Endgame, is about a new freshman in HS who becomes the target of the older school jock's. Being harassed in school is nothing new for Gray, but the HS athletes are more vicious with their bullying techniques than the MS bullies had been. Walter Dean Myers' Shooter addresses slightly older teens who have been the target of bullying for years and open fire in the school. This is a raw realistic cautionary tale of what can happen when the victims break under the pressure of harassment and abuse that the adults are not stopping. Todd Strasser's Give a Boy a Gun gets your attention immediately with the title. Two teens, bent on revenge, take the attendees of a high school dance hostage. It isn't a pretty book either. Francine Prose's After addresses the paranoia that can occur after a school shooting, resulting in the school becoming prison-like in relation to security and dress code. None of the books about school violence are happy reads, but the issue is not going to go away. Violence in our schools is something our teens need to be able to read about. A basic keyword search on B&N online for school violence resulted in 1,413 hits, with Nineteen Minutes as the # 1 title under "top match". I am going to read Picoult's newest and take another look again at her other books - she does have a way of tackling social issues that appeals to teens.

That's it for today. :-)