Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I wish there were a mute button for cats! Sophie is in one of her whiny, talkative moods, especially in the morning. Thank goodness down pillows fold over your head easily and block out the worst of it. I really didn't mind getting up at 3:30 this morning to put her out, but being woke up a second time, out of a dead sleep, to insistent, angry meowing is not cool. I staggered/fell (easy to do with a four poster bed that requires a step for me to get into) out of bed and opened both the bedroom and bathroom doors. I figured Steve had either locked her in the bathroom by mistake, or out of the bedroom. Not the case - the fool was perched on the outside window sill of the bedroom window giving me the evil eye and meowing. If I weren't still half asleep I would have laughed myself silly as Sophie is no dainty kitty - she is a full bodied CAT!! How she could keep herself on that little window ledge is beyond me - maybe that is why she looked so pissed off. Now she is is curled up sleeping by my feet - the constant meowing is only for between 3 and 8 a.m.

I did a session at NCLA on new children's books and loved Isabel and the Miracle Baby by Emily Smith Pearce. The opening scene, with Isabel pulling the baby's hair because she is so upset and jealous about the addition to the family and to her room, stinky diapers and all, is very telling of Isabel's emotional state. This 8-year-old has been through a roller coaster of emotions as her mother has just completed chemotherapy for cancer and then has a baby. Mom still hasn't gotten her entire strength back and is still wandering around in the same bathroom and slippers she did when she was sick and this disturbs Isa terribly. Isabel's mother has the cancer ladies group at her house and Isa hears things that scare her as she hands out cookies and lemonade. As many children do, she starts acting out and rebelling as a way to deal with her fears and emotions. A beautifully written upper elementary novel. A must have in a 3rd-6th collection.

Happy Halloween! I have a bright orange shirt on to celebrate the occasion. Went for a short walk in the neighborhood yesterday and many of the houses are decorated. We had a headstone in the front but it disappeared - either the wind or someone who thought it was for the taking! We have a huge bag of candy in the kitchen so I sure hope we get lots of trick-or-treaters tonight so it is gone. We went on the Nutrisystem diet on Monday. Hmmm - I have put on 1/2 a lb.!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wow! I didn't realize my last posting was so long ago - October 11th. This month has flown by with NCLA and AASL back to back. October is gone. Not surprising as I can barely see any white space on my October calendar.

NCLA was wonderful. Our department had a booth in the exhibits area and we had lots of prior, current, and future students stopping by to talk and hang out. The preconference I presented went well. I normally speak to a mix of youth librarians from public and schools, or just schools, but this was all YA youth services librarians in public libraries. The discussion we had about adding urban literature to the YA collection was the most lively. I booktalked a whole bunch of new YA novels, mostly in the urban lit, urban fantasy, graphic novel, and chick lit genres. As always Meyer's Twilight series came up as extremely popular. I have the third one, Eclipse, next to the bed but need to finish a review book before I can dive into it. We were talking, at the AASL preconference I did the week after NCLA, about what fun it would be to develop playlists of songs the characters in the books would have on their Ipods. One of the participants said Meyer was one step ahead of us - there is a list of songs or what she calls a "soundtrack" for Twilight, are on her web site:
How cool is that? I love the idea of teens creating playlists for characters in the books they read as they really need to have "bonded" with the character to do this well. Use the technology and music they love to draw them further into the book. Share the playlists on the library web site.

One of the graphic novels I highlighted in my sessions is Train + Train. Original story by Hideyuki Kurata and art by Tomomasa Takuma. This is a go!comic title and you can check out the other cool titles they have at This manga title reads from back to front, right to left so I had a couple of stop/starts as I was reading. I am still not quite comfortable with this format - after all, I am old!! But, the story held me as I really wanted, and still want, to know what occurs on the Special Train, "an advanced education system". Set on another planet, rebellious Arena is set on getting onto the Special Train and shy Reiichi just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - near her! They are hand cuffed together and end up on the Special Train. Can't wait for the next volume! I also really like the section at the beginning of the book that explains what honorifics, such as chan, san, onii, etc. mean. For this novice manga reader, having this information really helped.

That's it for today - a gorgeous, though chilly, autumn day in Kentucky.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am absolutely awful about getting on this blog as of late. Between doctors, physical therapists, and other appointments to figure out what is wrong with my neck and arm, as well as work commitments, there are not enough hours in the day. I cannot wait for the end of the month and NCLA and AASL to have come and gone. I always have fun presenting and attending sessions, but two conferences back to back right now is just too much for me. By the time I get back I won't need to wear a Halloween costume - I will look like an old crone!!

But, I am so excited I had to blog. IT'S A GIRL!!!
Mary just called me right after they got out of the ultrasound and told me the good news. Not until she had to give me a rough time by sadly saying, "Guess we will have to try again." I cried, "No!" in dismay and then she started laughing. So I knew she was kidding, but she had to reaffirm to me at least twice that my next grandchild is a girl!! I shrieked so loud in delight I think the guys working out on the street heard me. I know my son in law did as I could hear Scott laughing in the background too. All I wanted to do is call Mom to tell her but then I realized that she knew from conception that it was a girl - great-grammas know these things from heaven, I am sure of it. :-) We grammas on earth have to wait until the doctor tells the mommy. And to think that I had to wait for the full 9 months to find out what both of mine were. So, I can start little girl clothes shopping already. :-)

In anticipation I set aside I'm Going to Grandma's by Mary Ann Hoberman for the first time my new granddaughter comes to stay with us by herself. What a lovely book about the little girl who is excited about spending the night with her grandparents, until it is bedtime. She fears the bathwater might be too hot, but it's not. Even though she has her most favorite pair of pjs on she still feels funny and so does her bear. So her grandmother tells her about the first time she spent the night with her own grandmother and how the very quilt the little girl is laying under has a square of cloth from the very first dress her grandmother made for her when she stayed with her so many years ago. And, there would be more stories for her to tell each time she came to stay, one for each square in the quilt. I almost cried when I read this book as Mary has the quilt I made for her brother Mic when he was moving from the crib to make room for the new baby and into his own bed. He helped me pick out the squares from the leftover fabric from his clothes and from my maternity tops that I had made. I can touch each square in that quilt and a memory comes to mind and Mic does not seem so far away. As he would tell me, "Touch your heart Mom, I'm right there."

And, on that bittersweet note, I shall end this posting.