Friday, January 08, 2010

It is only 11 degrees and we could have below zero temperatures tonight. Interstate 64 was closed down for 5 hours last night when a truck carrying explosives was involved an accident. In other words - stay off the roads! Schools are closed and many businesses as well. Winter weather advisories and 6 below with the windchill - locals news just reported over 100 accidents in our county.

If Steve weren't home from work today with a respiratory flu I would have insisted he dig my Santa Fe out of the white blob in the driveway instead of driving his little car. We went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie the day after Christmas and a guy let fly with a sneeze and Steve felt the spray hit his face. It was a lost cause as Steve is really prone to respiratory/sinus problems. He has sinus damage after a really bad motorcycle accident when he was 19. He has a metal rod in his leg that causes security screening issues. Who knows what that is going to look like in the full body x-ray machines!

Worked on finding the top of my desk yesterday and found the 9/27/09 New York Times article I saved entitled "When the Cool Get Hazed." An example of an article where the author doesn't know the difference between children's/tween books and those for teens. I was surprised to see an American Girl Today series doll that goes with Chrissa by Mary Casanova. I was further disappointed to note that Chrissa is listed as YA on the Barnes and Noble site. No wonder - the cover photograph looks like a young teen but the setting is a 4th grade classroom. The article initially got my attention as the color illustration of the Chrissa doll has a conversation balloon shouting "YOU SAID I SLEEP AROUND!" No wonder upper elementary and middle school youth are so confused as to appropriate behavior for their age. Not that is isn't possible, but a 4th grader sleeping around? The article author, Tina Kelly, adds to the confusing message by using this particular book and doll as the visual for this article on high school level bullying.

If the author, Mary Casanova, sounds familiar, it is no surprise as she is a talented author who also writes super historical fiction for middle grades such as Klipfish Code set in Norway during WWII that addresses the Norwegian resistance, include teachers who were put in concentration camps for refusing to teach the Nazi propaganda. She is also author of the delightful Dog Watch series, starting with Trouble in Pembrook A solid addition for 2-4 grade readers who love animals. A canine neighborhood watch - what fun! Mary is one of the coolest authors I've had the pleasure of meeting. While at an ALA social event my ears perked up when I heard her voice as she sounds like "home" - the distinct Midwest accent. She grew up in Northern Minnesota, the setting for many of her books. I just browsed her web site and saw she has written 19 books from picture books to YA novels.

Isn't it interesting the spaghetti connections our brains make? All of the above because a picture of a doll with a disconcerting conversation bubble caught my attention. But, I am glad it did as I plan on visiting more of Casanova's books. She is a superb author who writes across the entire span of youth literature.

As some of you know, I have an interest in debut youth titles and one of my favorite debut YA novels is Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin When 15-year-old Liz is killed while riding her bike, she finds herself on a boat, journeying to the other side. When she arrives she is met by the grandmother who had died before she was born. In Elsewhere people age in reverse. This is a beautifully written novel that stays with you long after you close the book. So, when Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac arrived in a box of review titles it immediately went in my "gotta read" pile but I kept skipping it as I found the cover so unappealing, illustrated with keys from an old manual typewriter. After reading several essays about it by my YA Lit students I had to give it a chance. Naomi wakes up after being knocked unconscious due to a fall down the steps in front of her high school. Rather than protecting herself as she fell, she saved the yearbook camera. The new "bad boy" in school is there when the ambulance arrives and tells the EMTs that he is her boyfriend. Since Naomi can't remember anything, she initially doesn't question this, but soon discovers her boyfriend is actually a football player, not the moody James who soon does become her boyfriend. She also can't remember her best friend Will or that her parents are divorced and she has a young stepsister. Naomi's journey to rediscover herself and accept the changes in her life is beautifully written. A superb novel but I still adore Elsewhere. I am always fascinated by the uniqueness of each author's web site. Zevin calls her web site Memoir Sofa - quite interesting but I find italics very difficult to read on a computer screen so I didn't do much browsing here:

That's it for this snowy a.m. I feel like the Tinman in the morning until I have my Diet Coke and breakfast in bed. I'm still there - thank goodness for laptops! I am seeing a pinprick of light at the end of the health tunnel. I certainly related to Naomi's fall down the steps. It is almost a year later and I am still dealing with the impact (ha-ha) of the fall down the steps at Midwinter in Denver. I finally have a Worker's Comp. representative here in KY. She know KY docs and made an appointment for me with a different surgeon to do the second knee surgery. I'd been waiting for months to get prompt answers - it took the pics of my swollen head/eye and banged up knee taken the day after the fall to get a local rep. assigned. Didn't help that ECU changed Worker's Comp. companies this summer so it has been like starting over with the process. I am off of both of the fibro meds that help with the pain and fatigue until after the knee surgery. All I can say is - ouch!! Savella is a wonderful fibro med. so if it is indeed what is causing this elevated heart rate that spikes as high as 180 I am going to be very disappointed. Perhaps the neurologist I will be seeing for the ongoing headache since the fall will have some answers. I just keep plugging along and try to keep a smile on my face as I know how easy it would be to let this all get me down. But, I have too much "good stuff" in my life to let that happen. I love teaching, reading, and reviewing youth literature so I couldn't find a better professional position than the one I have. And, I have such a wonderful family. I just wish I could see the grandkids more often. I have pics of them all over my office - not the "real thing" but they help.

Now, I truly am signing off!!