Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth - Summer Session swallowed me whole and just spit me out! Grades had to be in by 8 a.m. this morning and I submitted mine before I called it a day last night. The one fun thing I did this summer was go to a concert here in Lexington at the Legends' baseball park. Had really good seats on the field for the LeeAnn Womack and Alan Jackson concert. I was able to get a few good pics of Womack as her pre-show was not lights and big screens and flash. It was just her on the stage with that incredible voice. She was superb. Jackson was fantastic as well but there were so many lights directed at the audience and on the stage that I couldn't get a decent picture of him. He sang all his hits and everyone was on their feet singing along with him. I was surprised he played such a small venue but I was very glad he did as that is the closest I'd get to the stage for one his concerts. I haven't read it yet, but his wife Denise wrote a book called It's All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Its-All-About-Him/Denise-Jackson/e/9780785227762/?itm=2about her faith and dealing with her husband's infidelities and still keeping their family together. Many of the videos playing behind him as he sang were of his wife and girls. I'd like to read this, but like so many non YA or children's titles, I don't get to them.
Made it through another August 4th, Mic's birthday. He would have been 31 yesterday. Very hard to believe he has been gone for 11 years as of April. I can close my eyes and hear his voice and the feel of his hug when he walked through the door after his marathon drives from LaCrosse, WI to Arlington, TX and said, "Hi Mom" like he hadn't been away from me for weeks, if not months. We talked on the phone at all hours of the day and night and he never let me forget how blessed I was, and still am, to have a son like him. Mary called to check on me as she was missing him too. Those two were like two peas in the pod when they were little, but battled like crazy as tweens and drew close again as they entered their late teens. I was glad they were together when my mom died, but devastated they could not be with me at the funeral. She too has been gone for 11 years, a few months before Mic. I am sure they are playing rummy in heaven and mom is still cheating. :-)
Taught two sections of children's lit and one of YA lit this summer and all of the grading and responding to student emails took most of my time. That and dealing with doctor's appointments. I am happy to say I am at a tolerable level of pain and know I can deal with having fibromyalgia. I have my bad days now and then, but if I control myself on the days I am feeling good and don't over do it, I have more of those than bad days. If I could just get a bit more sleep I would be very happy. I have become very intolerant of noise, especially anything high pitched so we are looking to buy a new house out of town on an acre or so if we can so that I don't have to deal with little kids squealing next door, less than 6 feet from my office window, or the sound of the recess bell and kids playing on the playground in the new school that will open up across the green space from us. Hamburg is a wonderful area of the city to live in but not for someone like me who needs quiet and a bit of seclusion. So, my next chore is to find the top of my desk and floor in my office so we can put the house on the market. Never a dull moment in the Clark household!
With all that has been going on this summer I haven't had much time to read but finally read Randa Abdel-Fattah's Does My Head Look Big in This? http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Does-My-Head-Look-Big-in-This/Randa-Abdel-Fattah/e/9780439919470/?itm=1 I found myself laughing out loud at some of things the main character, 16-year-old Amal, comes up with. She is an Australian-Palestinian teen who lives in Melbourne, the daughter of a wealthy family, and attends an exclusive, and very snobbish, prep school. So when she decides to wear the hijab full-time, not just on a bad hair day, she knows she is going to be putting herself in the limelight for taunts of "towel-head" and much worse. Amal is a delight, as she is really a typical teenage girl with the typical teenage girl feeling and fears, such as how will the boy she likes respond to her decision? With her wit, her wicked sense of humor, and her Jewish and Japanese best friends rallying around her, Amal stands up for her beliefs and her right to express her faith as she wishes. This book is a real eye-opener for those of us who have not thought very much about how Muslims are being viewed outside the U.S. after 9/11. Amal states it like this - "It feels like I'm drowning in it all." A must have book for every JH-HS level collection.
On the children's front, I loved Nancy Viau's Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Samantha-Hansen-Has-Rocks-in-Her-Head/Nancy-Viau/e/9780810972995/?itm=1 which is a new Amulet/Abrams title coming out in September. What a fantastic book for the middle grades. Ten-year-old Samantha Hansen is not a girly-girly by any means of the word. She has loved rocks since she was a toddler and as a tween she has taken her scientific mind to new heights. Now if she could just remember to bring her rock collection to school as her example of what she collects. No way is she letting Ling, who had remembered to bring her rock collection on the right day, show her up! Sam also has a very big voice and a bad tendency to lose her temper - when she does the voice gets even bigger. Mom is as understanding as she can be, quietly telling Sam to count to 10 under her breath. I guess that kind of patience is to be expected out of a mom who sings birthday card jingles in the kitchen and serves cake for just about every meal. It is not unheard of for the three Hansen gals to have cake for dinner and meat loaf for dessert. Sam's dad died when she was three, but she still thinks about him and all the things she'd like to talk with him about - like bedtime stories and piggyback rides. When out of the blue Mom decides that it is time for the three of them - Mom, Sam, and teenage sister Jen - to do some bonding on a trip to the Grand Canyon, Sam is in for more than just a visit to one of the best rock formations in the world. A great read aloud in the elementary classroom during science fair time.
Now to find the top of my desk and start packing up some of my books!