Sunday, July 29, 2007

When I finished sending out the last emails to my students late Friday afternoon Steve was coming in the door. I said I was ready to celebrate the end of a very long and arduous Summer Session of grading, vertigo, grading, oral surgery, grading, a wisdom tooth extraction site infection, grading, more vertigo, grading, a different wisdom tooth extraction site infection, grading, etc. In other words, it wasn't a fun 11 weeks! So, we went right down the street to The Bone Fish Grill. All I can say is, "Yummy!" We started out with crunchy breaded calamari with a delicious tart sweet and sour dipping sauce along with the regular marinara sauce. Then our journalism/psychology major at UK waiter brought us delicious bread - I wouldn't let him take the tangy sauce - I dipped my bread in it while Steve tried the oil and herb dip. I had Atlantic salmon with an Asian sauce - delicious. Along with a couple of glasses of white wine I was so full and satiated that I came home and vegged in front of a really cute 1999 movie with Hume Cronyn (who I adore - when he smiles how can you not? It goes right to his eyes.) called The Sea People. He and his just as elderly wife are sea people (they prefer not to be called mermaids, especially the men!) who are nearing the end of their years and it is time for the old man to return to the sea. Problems are arising because the water near where they are living is not cold enough. Enter a teenage girl, who is missing her father who is away on a job. She discovers their secret, along with a fisherman's teenage grandson - the very ones who can help them. I thought of my yummy salmon dinner as Cronyn comes out of the water with a fish in his mouth and spits it out because it isn't the type he was fishing for. And, heaven forbid, they learned how to eat fish cooked that evening at a beach bonfire with the the teens. I am not a sushi fan so their dislike of cooked fish cracked me up. I made the mistake of ordering my tuna cooked at a restaurant on Tortola and the chef came to our table and gave me heck about it. Was more than a bit embarrassing - not been a tuna fan in restaurants since then.

Yesterday was a truly lazy day. Spent it doing a bit of cleaning and working my way through the piles of "it isn't crucial" paperwork near my favorite chair. Did get the seashell adorned wreath for the master bathroom ordered from LL Bean so I can then match new carpets and a window shade to it. Decided, though I do not want to live in the tropics again until we truly retire, I miss it very much and need a bit of the ocean feel and colors around me. We have a number of tropical looking pictures and Steve gave me gorgeous tiles made from real shells pushed into them to make an imprint. They are going to go around the wreath above the jacuzzi.

Went to bed early and read a bit of Patrick Jones' Chasing Tail Lghts. Christy is a teen living in a Flint, MI home that most of us wouldn't wish on our worst enemy - dysfunctional is too kind of a descriptor! So she goes to the freeway and chases tail lights, the desire to get out of town. Her father once told her if you are lost to follow the tail lights in front of you and in most cases you will get where you want to go. I am only part way into the book, but I do like the way it jumps between Christy's earlier life, to help build foundation knowledge for the life she is living now and why those tail lights look so attractive.

Today has been catching up with emails and finishing up the paperwork for the Tennessee Association of School Librarians presentations in November. I'll be doing back to back booktalking sessions on MS and then HS books. Looking forward to attending this conference as TN is our southern neighbor state. Also read through the North Carolina Library Association Youth Services Section Chapbook which reminded me I am doing a morning preconference workshop on "hot formats"in teen literature on October 16th as well as a session introducing new children's books on Thursday at the North Carolina Library Association Conference in Hickory. The Fall is going to be a busy semester as I am also presenting a 1/2 day preconference and a session at the AASL Conference in Reno.

The 2007 winners of the North Carolina Children's Book Award Program were announced in the Chapbook:
Once Upon a Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley in the picture book category and A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin in the Junior Book category. No wonder so many of my students referred to these two books in their summer school assignments! The 2008 Nominee list is also included. Go to for more information and the lists. My vote for the 2008 award in the picture book category is Wolves by Emily Gravett, which I talked about in an earlier blog entry. My favorite for the Junior Book category is Jennifer Holm's Babymouse 1: Queen of the World. I just finished reading Camp Babymouse and found myself laughing out loud at this precocious mouse's antics at summer camp. She has the most delightful sense of humor! This sister and brother collaboration is a delight. The 8th episode in Babymouse's active life will be published soon. A perfect graphic novel series for elementary school - actually, for any age. I heard these are very popular in dorm rooms. I want a t-shirt with Babymouse on it! :-) Check out the cool website at: There are some great tools on their for teacher - such as actual graphic novel pages students can make up their own stories on as well as posters that can be printed out etc.

Jen used to chat with my UHCL students in my YA literature courses as I am a big fan of her Boston Jane historical fiction series set in the Pacific Northwest. Most of you know her best for her Newbery title, Our Only May Amelia, which holds a special place in my heart as it is based on Jen's Finnish heritage. And, for her second Newbery honor book, Penny from Heaven, based on the other part of her heritage, which is Italian, and on her own mother's life.

A long post today to make up for the days without!