Goodbye 2010

So not too long ago we had a lesson in Young Women on journal keeping. I am a rotten journal keeper--seriously rotten. And while I could have/should have probably made some sort of commitment about doing better, I, instead, decided it was perhaps time to consolidate the 6 started-but-never-finished journals into 1 or 2 (it turned out to be 1 and 1/2--how sad am I?). And so for about a month I diligently copied my thoughts (even the thoroughly embarrassing ones), and consolidated, and really had quite a lot of fun. In doing so, I was reminded how I used to take some time at the end of the year and write down my favorite things (books, movies, music--the New Kids on the Block played an embarrassingly heavy role in my teen life) and I thought maybe I should try my hand at it again this year.

So here goes, my favorites of 2010 (not necessarily published/aired/or whatever in 2010 but just what was enjoyed by me in 2010):

Books (I figured I must start here since books are my favorite):

Adult Fiction:

1. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)
2. Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago
3. Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese
4. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Adult Non Fiction:

1. Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy
2. Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the Making of America by Matthew S. Holland
3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
4. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

Young Adult Fiction:

1. The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine
2. The Brooklyn Nine by Alan M. Gratz
3. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge
4. Flygirl by Sherrie L. Smith

Junior Fiction:

1. Countdown by Deborah Wiles
2. Behemoth (Leviathan, #2) by Scott Westerfeld (Alternate History, Science Fiction)
3. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
4. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Picture Books:

1. Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead
3. City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
4. Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer

TV Shows:

1. Doctor Who (love the new Doctor--but miss the old one as well)
2. Law & Order UK (we get BBC America on demand and that explains nos. 1 & 2)
3. Blue Bloods (love the family relationships--plus I love me a cop/crime drama)
4. MI:5

Movies (of which I didn't watch many):

1. The Young Victoria
2. Les Miserables-The 25th Anniversary Concert
3. How to Train Your Dragon
4. Ramona and Beezus

Music Artists

1. Pink Martini
2. Adele
3. Dean Martin
4. U2 (a constant)


Not Really the Creative One

A not-so-hard lesson to learn, but a lesson I should try to remember:

Shopping at Williams Sonoma, despite all my best intentions and wishes, will not magically turn me into a creative cookie maker.

I got roped (or roped myself--it is all a bit hazy) into making about 20 dozen cookies for my mother to give away to her neighbors for Christmas and am now just a bit tired of baking. Not only that, I am entirely kitchened out. If I never see another kitchen again.... but it is Christmas so I suppose I will just need to develop one of those stiff upper lips and endure.

Being all cookied out, of course, would be a great thing to be right now. Sadly, now that the cookies are all delivered (not a one is left in the house except those ones that fell on the floor that someone has been eating--I haven't the heart to tell them what happened to them--what they don't know won't kill them?) I have a mean cookie craving and have been wandering the house in vain in a desperate search for something sweet. How is it that I have no cookies!!!


Hodgepodge of Movie Stuff

I have just a minute to blog cause I'm rather hungry and no one is willing to cook for me tonight.

When last I left you, my friends, I was very much looking forward to going to that movie Morning Glory. Well, I've been to see it and I must say that, though I am not one to blame others for what I choose to view, someone should have warned me against seeing this mind-numbingly bad movie and I blame you. As small as my readership is, someone out there should have known better than me (and the newspaper reviewer) and warned me off it. For what it is worth, my mother and sister had this to say of the movie: "There were some cute parts." Clearly I would have been better off and entirely happier to have stuck with Joyeux Noel. Or perhaps just stayed home with my Netflix who does know me so much better than that guy who reviews movies for the newspaper

Speaking of Netflix, there is a movie that I recently watched on their recommendation that I found to be simply lovely. It's not likely to win any awards (not much drama), but it kind of makes me sigh in happiness when I think of it: The Young Victoria. This movie's absolute sweetness, brace yourself if you are familiar with London, has convinced me to completely forgive Victoria for that thing that is generally referred to as the Prince Albert Memorial.

Not only that but I'm strongly considering bumping Prince Albert (Rupert Friend--what is it with so many hot British guys being named Rupert?) into my list of 5 crushes and bumping that Hugh guy whose name I can't ever quite recall out (I mean, it must be some kind of a sign that we are not meant to be when I can't even remember the last name--that and his being absolutely gorgeous, famous, and married--it isn't Grant or Laurie...shoot, still can't remember). Anyway, I think he just might make a nice addition to the list.

And now I'm off to cook and eat and read (cause Maze Runner is due tomorrow and I still have 250 pages to read). Happy Weekend!!!


Music and Movies

I am listening to this

and this

(the packaging is just to die for)

and have this to watch

but am going to see this today instead

and as a result am feeling rather happy and full of holiday cheer.



I'm not really a great fan of technology. I hate cell phones. Hate, hate, hate them. I was a happier and more fit person back when I was living in Ireland and didn't have regular access to a car--you know back when I could eat a galaxy chocolate bar (as in the good British stuff) a day and actually loose weight. Now not only do I not often take the time (my fault mostly) to walk and thereby think and clear my head, but I am actually ridiculed (or thought ridiculous) for, you know, presuming that it is a good thing to walk to church--which is exactly five houses away from my house.

That said, I'm beginning to see some real positives about this whole technology thing.

1. I kind of sort of really love to blog and to read blogs.

2. I kind of sort of really love it when I can type sw in the google search bar and it knows that I'm looking for The Sweet Tooth Fairy.

3. I kind of sort of really love the recommendations that Netflix gives me based on the movies I watch via the Wii system thingy. They come with group categories like: Period Pieces, Feel-Good British Dramas, and British Movies based on Literature. Netflix you truly know me--plus you don't forget that I like to watch stuff like Iron Man as well.

But then, just as I'm starting to really love technology, it goes and reminds me in front of my whole family that my 4 year-old niece has better dance moves than I do:

You didn't actually think you were going to get a shot of me doing this, did you? And sorry about the video being on its side--darn technology!


An Alternative to the Insanity of Black Friday:

National Day of Listening

Friday, November 26th take some time to interview a person you know and love.
Record that interview via a recording device or pen and paper.
And enjoy the blessing of stories.

Need some tips?



And There Goes My Diet...

Okay, so I wasn't really on a diet. But, I had some vague ideas about possibly going on one (we've got family photo's next month). Instead I am eating these to-die-for peanut butter dark chocolate chip cookies that I nabbed from Sarah Dessen (Yes, that Sarah Dessen--as in the ever-brillant author Sarah Dessen who has a really fantastic blog that you should really check out even if you don't know anything about her books--but shame on you if you don't know her books).

Diet, shmiet. I'm pretty sure it is my turn to stand behind someone in this family picture.



It is that fantastic week where we get to slow down, enjoy that last remnants of Fall, hang out with our wonderful families, watch some football, and EAT!!! Also, I believe there is supposed to be something in there about gratitude and thanks giving. Here's a short message to remind me about that:


Les Mis in Concert

aka a plethora of YouTube clips

Last night I had the singular opportunity of attending the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert (originally performed in London and broadcast in movie theaters throughout the US last night) and can I just tell you that there are simply no words to express how wonderful, extraordinary, magical, powerful, etc. the performance was. To just give you a hint, I've placed a couple of clips from the show (sadly not official clips so the sound and the camera work is not exactly stellar but just imagine sitting in a theater with surround sound and then triple experience you are imagining and you will just about be there)--both clips are from the encore. You may also notice one Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers performed in the show (and did a really fine job--I am now repenting for questioning his casting), Lea Salonga, and a few other recognizable cast members. However, who I really want to draw your attention to is one Alfie Boe who plays Jean Valjean (the 4th Jean Valjean in the first clip), is a part-time resident of Salt Lake City (his wife is from Salt Lake City and they have a home here), and is now on my Christmas list as well as my list of people to see perform live before I (or they) die--Dame Judi Dench being the only one on my list that I have actually been able to see perform live. The last clip is of him warbling in a friend's kitchen--how cool would that be?

You'll notice in the above clip, the fantastic Frances Ruffelle is only shown from the waist up which is a kind gift from the recorder of the clip as Ms. Ruffelle appears to have forgotten her pants (possibly in both the American and British sense of the word "pants") to say nothing of her choice in shoes!

If you are British or live in Britannia you can purchase the DVD on November 29th. No word yet on when us Yanks get our chance but if you missed this in the theaters then you must, must, must purchase or rent or borrow (I would almost say steal) the DVD, find a large screen with surround sound, and sit back and enjoy! 

In an unrelated note, I saw a local musical production of The Scarlet Pimpernel and for the first time in my entire life (including that one unfortunate time that I endured an entire 30 minutes of the A&E version) I was rooting for Chauvelin--extremely bad casting (the actor who played Chauvelin would have made a charming Scarlet Pimpernel!)


The Winner Is...

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Which was bound to be the result as it was the one book--of the three I thought would/should win--that in the end I ignored in my predictions.


2010 National Book Award

When Janssen mentioned that she was going to read the the five 2010 National Book Award finalists in the category of Young People's Literature I decided to jump on board and do the same--there is nothing like being ahead of the popularity curve (which is just a tad slow around here) and being able to say "oh, yes, I read that last year"--very pompous of me! I thought that I would read the books and then just before the announcement was made do a post of my reviews and predictions. It wasn't until this past weekend, though, that I realized that putting all of my reviews on GoodReads (and then Facebook via GoodReads) kind of defeats that idea as most of you probably have access to me through one--if not both--of these social mediums. On realizing my goof, I did withhold one review and of course I haven't made any predictions whatsoever. So, then, without any further ado, here are my reviews and predictions:

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (6 out of 10 stars)

Summary: In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

A little more swearing than I care for in a teen novel and I didn't care at all for the scene in which teen alcohol use is portrayed as an acceptable means of celebration and escape. In general, though, this is an excellent read that puts climate change at the root of this dystopia. I enjoyed the characters and felt like there was some good development and good dialogue (particularly in the final 2 chapters), though there was a bit of repetitiveness in the use of a few phrases and ideas (blossoms of pain; fear that whoever is dying might not (for different reasons) actually be able to die) that weakened the overall writing. I am, though, looking forward to reading the next installment.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (7 out of 10 stars)

I liked it. I found it a little unexpected and rather interesting, unique, charming, and even informative. That said, it felt a little flat. And while I loved the idea that getting into someone else's head and understanding them can change the world, maybe even lessen the violence we too often witness, I felt the author's note was a little heavy handed and didn't quite connect with the story--It seemed really to be more a story of closure than a story of averting future violence through knowledge and understanding. If I were handing it to a junior or teen reader I think I would also hand them something on Asperger's syndrome as that is a major issue but is not really directly addressed.

Dark Water by Laura McNeal (5 out of 10 stars)

Summary: Living in a cottage on her uncle's Southern California avocado ranch since her parents' messy divorce, fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt meets and falls in love with an illegal migrant worker, and is trapped with him when wild fires approach his makeshift forest home.

There is a sad, depressed quality to the writing that hints of tragedy and had me feeling rather unsure of this book from the beginning. And then there were pieces of writing (such as: "He nodded and watched me with his sepia eyes") that just felt ridiculous. Around page 120 the book started to grow on me with some better writing (such as the paragraph on p. 134 that described a desire to be nine again), but still there was this love story going on between 2 characters who barely speak to each other, barely know each other, and have nothing in common--I couldn't decide if this was unrealistic or typical teenage love/drama. Then the book just sort of dragged on and on always hinting of the tragedy but never getting there (actually it did get there eventual, but it took its own sweet time). By the end the tragedy and the romance all just felt so frustrating, stupid, and pointless that I was really rather glad to close the cover on this book. Also, I think I wanted a bit more social ethics--we should care about illegal migrant workers because they are human too type of a message--something that would really make a teen reader think/reconsider ideas.

Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers (8 out of 10 stars)

Summary: Teenage Reese, serving time at a juvenile detention facility, gets a lesson in making it through hard times from an unlikely friend with a harrowing past.

There is a realness in the dialogue and reasoning of this book that is intense and feels true--and there wasn't very much swearing which was so refreshing when so many authors think they must load these types of books in order to stay true to reality--a notion proven untrue by this excellent read. The result was a great read that has the potential of changing perspectives of people on the outside looking in and on the inside looking out. This is the book that I wanted Dark Water to be. With the inner thinking that the main character goes through and the examinations of the situations of inner city youths, Myers has created a character that you will sympathize with and root for. And yet, he does all of that without removing the concept of personal responsibility--the character's and ours.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (7 out of 10 stars)

Summary: In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold wwelcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

An excellent introduction, for junior readers, to the 1960s Civil Rights movements, the Black Panthers, etc. Where I wanted more of a social impact drive from books like Dark Water (teen fiction), I felt this was very age appropriate. I did occasionally think that the 3 girls acted above their own ages (particularly Fern who grasps complex scenes and writes poetry about it). And I felt the end wrapped up just a little too neatly (girls understanding mother, mother understanding girls, everyone (nearly) flying off into the sunset). I think I wanted a stronger feeling that not everything was magically fixed--that there was still a lot of work to do and that all involved were committed to doing that work. But maybe this is a point that the girls were truly acting their ages--by needing a mother more than needing to hang on to the bad and being able to forgive in a way only children seem to readily be able to forgive.

So now on to the predictions:

Well, I really just didn't care for Dark Water so if that one wins I will have serious questions about the win. After that, though, I wouldn't be too upset should any of the other books wins. That said, I just don't really see Ship Breaker winning (and really it shouldn't). So, in my mind at least, it is down to Mockingbird, One Crazy Summer, and Lockdown which to me is a contest between 3 potentially powerful books. And while I really would be happy with any one of these books winning, I suppose that the purpose of making a prediction is the actual making of a prediction. So, so, so...really these books are so different, how do I choose? Okay, Lockdown is my pick--but I think it really might be One Crazy Summer (way to hege my bets).

The announcement comes tomorrow!


99 Most Beautiful Names

I went to a fantastic art presentation at my library last week and it has been on my mind ever since--so now I get to get it on your minds as well.

The presentation/display is called 99 names and stems from the artist's, Andrew Kosorok, own interest in the Islamic faith after 9/11. What he found out about the religion was so different from what the television pundits were broadcasting (for example, he talked about attending a sermon by a California Imam who spent the first half of his sermon teaching about the importance of the family unit, that families need to eat dinner together, and that no man can get to heaven without his wife, and then the second half proving the divinity of the US Constitution through the Qur'an) that he felt he needed/wanted to do something to express what he has learned. What he has created are a series of glass sculptures (there will be 99 in total--hopefully by 2012) representing each of the 99 names of God that Muslims are supposed to learn and emulate (a few examples of the names are "The Judge," "The Gentle," "The Merciful") that are gorgeous and inspiring:

I simply love the simplicity and humility in which this author is working to learn about others and pass on that learning in the hope of creating a more understanding and better world. It is an example, I think, that we can all learn from and follow. Nine of these sculptures are on display at my local library until the end of the year and are really worth a short visit if you are in the area.

You can read a few of the many articles being written on this project here, here, and here (I found the first one to be very interesting and worth a read).


Starlet or Streetwalker?

I have a secret (and slightly embarrassing) love of E!'s show Fashion Police--its funny and informative. And they have a short segment called Starlet or Streetwalker during which the co-hosts have to determine whether the girl in the picture (with the blurred-out head) is a starlet or a streetwalker. Recently my thoughts turned to this segment as I was considering the latest sewing project I undertook:

I sewed it and designed those black "trees" myself. But now I find myself asking, do I dare wear a bright pink skirt out in public (it is brighter than the picture here implies)? And if so, can I accomplish said wearing without looking like a streetwalker? I am entirely undecided. But, I am still loving this whole sewing phase I'm going through.



It snowed today

(and by that I mean wee flurries floating around

and thank goodness that was all because I'm not ready for the real stuff!)

and that means hot chocolate and Christmas shopping!

(and by Christmas shopping I mean spending $70 on myself--for Christmas)


Booktalks Round 4 (Again, sort of)

Not that anyone has been beating down my door demanding that I finish off my reviews of the Beehive Book nominees (last updated the end of June), but I thought I would get the final two out of the way because next week I hope to put up my reviews of the National Book Award nominees in the young readers category (right before the announcement on the 17th). So, despite a general lack of interest: here are the final 2 reviews:

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman:

(This is where the sort of that follows Booktalks in the title comes in) Eon's purpose in life has been to train to become a Dragoneye, but Eon holds a terrible, deadly secret that may undo everything. Sadly that terrible, deadly secret bored me to death as did this book. I skimmed the last 100 pages and wouldn't have even finished it but I had committed to reading all 12 nominees.

Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

Theresa's father is found murdered, his violin missing. Her quest to solve this mystery uncovers a plot thick with deceit, betrayal, and intrigue. I liked the setting. I liked the characters. I liked the basic story idea. The execution of the story, though, was rather sloppy.

So, yeah, not so much Booktalks this go around, but at least I finished up the reviews--sort of. You can check out the other Booktalks (some of which can actually be considered Booktalks) here, here, and here.

And now for my thoughts on who should and might win:

My personal favorite was The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz for its combining of Baseball and Genealogy. Sadly, I don't know if that combination is a winning combination among my State's teen voters.

Who will win? I'm not sure that I am very good at making these kind of guesses, but I'm going to say My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison.

Who should win? Despite The Brooklyn Nine being my favorite of the bunch, I am really pulling for Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith to win. But I would be equally happy for Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson or Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen to walk away with the award.

I'll let you know when the winner is announced, but until then are there any that you have loved or hated?



This little beauty walked into my kitchen over the weekend and I think I'm in love.

Now I can finally make all those fabulous soups that everyone keeps telling me about--starting with this Black-Bean Soup provided by Janssen.



Last night

at the end of a 4 1/2 hour City Council Meeting

(that I sat through)

our City Council


(after 4 years of discussion)

voted to approve

the Center for Story and Art!!!

(a 500 or so seat auditorium to host library events)

Now we move into the fundraising and design phase--you know, just in case you know someone with a million dollars just hanging around!


They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There

I was looking for a movie to rent over the weekend when I hit upon the fantastic idea of renting The Scarlet Pimpernel (we are reading this book for book group this month). Sadly the good versions (i.e. the versions with Jane Seymour or Leslie Howard) were all checked out. However, I did notice a version I had never heard of before done by A&E and thought to myself maybe "I'll give that at try--after all it was A&E that gave me Horatio Hornblower." Sadly, this version of The Scarlet Pimpernel was no Horatio Hornblower. I made it through all of 30 minutes before I just couldn't stand it any longer. Fortunately, my good mother owns a copy of the Jane Seymour version so I have nearly driven the horrible images from the A&E version from my mind. Of course this all does leave me with a bit of a problem: I am having a difficult time differentiating between the various movies and the book. At this point I could probably do a better job commenting on the movies than I could on the book--which is not too bad of an idea as this may be the only book in existence that far prefer the movie to the book. And really, can you blame me when the movie gives me about two hours of anthony Andrews?

I did quite valiantly look for a picture of Anthony Andrews (you know, to liven up this post) to insert here but none of them quite do him justice so you'll just need to get your fix by watching the movie. Sorry, but I imagine you'll live--or at least die quite happy.


Pumpkin Patch

I went up the canyon to breath some Fall air and look at some Fall colors (sadly sans camera) which got me thinking about my Fall to-do list which then got me thinking about what I have done and how that could be a post which would be great because I am short on posts lately. So here it is, our short trip to a pumpkin patch that included a hay ride, a pumpkin patch, and cold apple cider (sadly they were out of the donuts):

The hay ride (it took some time for the boys to get used to the idea):

Picking out the right pumpkin: 

Posing in front of the tractor that pulled our hay wagon: 

I Love Fall!


I Am Lame

I've been meaning to blog. I had a blog post all ready to go. All I needed to do was download some pics off my camera. I was too lazy to do that--even though it only takes like 30 seconds. But now I am back:

So, if you will kindly recall, way back at the beginning of the month I spoke briefly about learning how to sew a fab skirt--right? remember that? I don't know if the fantastic Fall air has kicked me into something of a nesting mode, but I have nearly entirely become a crafty person. I am scared! Here are a few of my most recent projects:

A lovely knitted scarf:

Two whole pillows that I sewed entirely by myself: 

One of those head wrap thingys that were so popular last year:

And to top it all off, I have a skirt pattern (with a zipper) that I am going to be attempting very soon. I always used to say that my sisters took all the creative/crafty genes but perhaps I am just a late bloomer--this, however, does not mean that I am going to start quilting. I'm leaving that skill to my mom and my sisters.


Read a Banned Book

I really didn't intend on my Wednesday post of last week being my last post of the week. However, hacking up a lung put a serious damper on my blogging interest. Had I blogged again last week, I would have blogged something about Banned Books Week. It is over now, but I think any week of the year is a great week to read a banned book. You can find information on banned books week and a list of banned books here.

I think I'll read: The Lord of the Rings (cause it has been about 5 years since I last read this series--entirely too long) or Winnie the Pooh.


Today I Am Sad

Despite a surety of its ultimate powerlessness, when death comes and steals away with one of the best of us I can't help but feel a little helpless and very sad. Last night was one of those times.

 Jim Reams

City Manager
and Champion of storytelling in my fine city.


I discovered this soundtrack on my iPod today:

Admit it, I'm the coolest person you know!


I Am One Who Sews

I do not look on "Reality" TV with much fondness. That said, I somehow got sucked in by two (yes, two!) "Reality" shows this summer. The first, Food Network's Great Food Truck Race (or something like that), ended in such a dumb manner as to cure me from ever watching that series again! The second, Lifetime's Project Runway, has taught me that I know absolutely nothing about fashion (and really that is okay judging by what they are calling fashion)--I am now watching the show mostly to see when they finally kick Gretchen off! However, watching Project Runway has sort of brought out a secret inner desire to be able to sew. It is a secret desire that most likely would have gone unrevealed (despite a New Year's resolution to sew a skirt this year--and a pillow) if not for my lovely cousin Jen who after throwing a fantastic baby shower (the homemade soup was amazing) invited me to stay and learn how to sew a skirt. Amazingly, I was actually able to follow her very good instructions and left with this fabulous little number:

Probably should have snapped a picture of just the skirt, but you get the idea. 

Thanks Jen! You are the best!



Dear Readers,

So, I was teaching my Young Women in church on Sunday when I used the phrase "a bucket of fish" (or possibly "a kettle of fish") and was immediately stopped by the Young Women and asked for the definition for this archaic phrase. One of the other women sitting in on my class stepped in to help me by offering up another similar phrase: "a can of worms," but the Young Women still expressed disbelief at the use of such phrases and demanded further explanation. I promised I would do some research and bring them a translation of the phrase in their language on Sunday--only I kind of haven't done the research and really don't know how to go about doing that. So that is were you come in. Help me. Does anyone have any idea how to translate "a kettle of fish" or "a can of worms" into teenagese? Or possibly into text--cause they would think that was so cool--and what is the translation of "so cool" these days?

Hopelessly uncool and out of date,

Yankee Girl


Autumn To-Do List

It is finally my favoritest time of the year! And so it is time to get serious about what I want to accomplish over the next couple of months:

1. Drink apple cider (hot and cold).

2. Eat apple cider donuts (preferably hot).

3. Go on a hay ride.

4. Visit a pumpkin patch.

5. Bake a pie.

6. Breath in some of that gorgeous Fall air.

7. Head up into the mountains for the viewing of the Fall leaves.

8. Knit/crochet some new scarves--cause you can never have enough scarves.

9. Teach my nieces and nephews the joy of the leaf pile.

10. Wear lots and lots of sweaters (starting today even if it is 80 degrees outside because it is Fall!!!)

What is on your Fall to-do list?


These are my People

So I've failed to give a promised recap of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival--cause I'm lame--so in brief:

It was wonderful. Antonio Sacre was brilliant, Bil (yes that is with one l) Lepp was very good, and Kim Weitcamp is a new favorite.

On the last day of the Festival I was looking around at the crowd and noticed that I recognized a few of the people in the audience. I tend to follow around 2 or 3 storytellers at our Festival and so it was kind of a given that the people I recognized were fellow fans of my favorites. At this thought I smiled and said, to myself, "these are my people." Then I got to looking around at my people:

There was the guy in a tank top, shorts, tennis shoes, and athletic socks pulled up nearly to his knees.

There was the girl whose shirt was so low cut in the back that it exposed the entirety of her rather dingy looking white bra.

And there was the guy in shorts taking a nap in the grass with his knees up in the air showing off all kinds of stuff that I am diligently trying to forget.

Yep, these are my people.

I had a similar experience last night as I attended Brandon Sanderson's book talk at my library. I arrived early and so had prime seating for the show that was about to begin--and by show I'm not referring to Sanderson. I don't think I need to go in to any details about exactly what I saw. In fact, I believe I can just remind you that Sanderson writes fantasy and let your imaginations do my work for me (actually I will say just one thing: mothers please, please, please teach your sons to shower and wear deodorant on a daily basis).

As I sat there I once again couldn't help but think, yep, these are my people.

p.s. Please don't let this scare you off from attending a storytelling event as the vast majority of people don't fit into any of the above categorizations. The Goddess Divine mentioned in a story the other day that she believes that the IQ of those who shop at Wal-Mart is significantly lower than the average IQ and then quite nicely categorized her readers as being the outliers who bring said IQ up. You, my lovely readers, I am convinced could be the storytelling outliers who bring up the dressing standards of a few underachievers.

Don't worry too much about the fantasy community as I am pretty sure that is a lost cause.


On the Docket

1. Finish Tales of a Wayside Inn (and pretend that reading 200 pages of poetry in the past 2 days counts toward my goal of reading a piece of poetry every day this year--even if I haven't read any (or much) poetry in the last, oh, 5 months.

2. Continue to send evil vibes toward the 3 people holding on to their copies of Brandon Sanderson's new book even while all 3 are now overdue at the library and I am left sitting in the no. 1 position on the request list).

3. Consider buying candy corn, reject the idea on the premise that I have been doing an excellent job at not eating junk, stay strong for hours and hours, give in.

4. Do laundry.

5. Do something permanent and productive--any ideas?


The Big Read

So every year, about this time, my city takes part in what is called the Big Read. This year, due to lack of funding, we are being encouraged to read or re-read a classic fantasy book (in years previous to the lack of funding we had been given a single book such as To Kill a Mockingbird). Each year, to go along with the reading, my fab library puts on programs galore! This year many of the programs are centered, naturally, around authors of fantasy novels. Here is the list--try not to get too jealous--of authors I get to see (maybe even meet) over the next month:

Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz and Mistborn series)

James Dashner (The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials)

Brandon Mull (Fablehaven)

Berin Stephens (The Dragon War Relic)

Stephen Gashler (The Bent Sword)

Greg Park (The Earthsoul Prophecies)

Dave Wolverton (Runeland series written under the pseudonym David Farland)

Scott Westerfeld (The Uglies)

Okay, so maybe it is your teens who will be jealous. But I am awfully excited--not only for these authors but for all the other experts on C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, le Guin, etc. that are being brought in to enlighten us (I'm such a nerd). I know I've said this before (just a few times), but I love my library.

p.s. give me a call if you are local and want to attend.


Happy Birthday to my Sis

Hope you liked the cupcakes

I'm thinking they were definitely a step up from my
Dora the Explorer Birthday Cake
(picked out especially for me by the 4-year-old niece)


The Mid-September's Eve Miracle

Drugs are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? They took a really horrible night that began with me sitting opened mouth in front of the TV (opened mouth sitting was a further attempt at continued breathing) that had nothing, I repeat nothing, new or interesting on for the entire night and finished it up with me blissfully falling asleep in my very own bed. That most wonderful sleep that ensued was then followed up by me rising from my bed, this morning around 9:30, completely healed. It was the Mid-September's Eve Miracle! Seriously, I've never recovered from anything this fast before. Sadly, as I came out of my drug and cold induced fog I came to the startling realisation that today is, in fact, Friday and not Saturday as I had previously assumed. Oh well, too late to do anything productive now, right? I'm thinking me, my bed, and a book--shhh, don't tell anyone that I'm better.

p.s. on the off chance that any of my Young Women have or ever do stumble across this post, I'm talking about the legal, over-the-counter drugs used only according to the directions on the label for the purposes specified on that same label--I'm watching you (my foolish little friends who friended me on Facebook)!



(I interrupt my reasonably excellent streak of blogging to give you an purely informational post that I can throw together very quickly and then retire to nurse my rather unfortunately timed head cold.)

Have you heard about Ted? I absolutely love Ted. It is my new way of wasting spending time on the Internet. What (yes, what not who 'cause, as we found out in my last post, I am now engaged to Peter Pan) it is is a collection of short (usually around 18 minutes) lectures given by a huge variety of experts. For example there is this rather funny (and yet really rather thought provoking) bit on "creating an education system that nurtures":

Or this fabulous one that comes with this description: Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

If none of these thrill you, you can also watch Malcolm Gladwell wax eloquent on Spaghetti Sauce or the many, many more options that are both informative and entertaining. Visit Ted here.

Now if you will please excuse me, I am going to go lay down whilst attempting to continue breathing.


A Conversation

4 Year Old Niece: Who are you going to marry?

Me: I don't know. Who do you think I should marry?

(Much Thought)

4 Year Old Niece: You can marry Peter Pan.

I was feeling really rather good at the end of this conversation. You see, my 4 year old niece has been in love with Peter Pan for sometime now. In fact, she had staked him out for her own future husband. In that light, her magnanimous offer of him to me was just about the sweetest thing I could imagine. Then (yes, there is a then) I found out yesterday that she was willing to give him up to me only because she has a new boyfriend at preschool who she smiles at when he helps her put away her toys.

So not only am I getting my 4 year old nieces cast offs, but she also has a better love life than me!


Enough Already!

I know that is what you are saying about my recent blog design changes, right? I mean how many blog design changes can one person go through in a year? Apparently, if that person is me, many.

Well, let me explain/defend myself. Yesterday my 4 year old niece gave me a tutorial on how to use my Dad's iPad (she knows it all from the password to how to find her favorite videos on YouTube) and as part of the demonstration we got on the Internet and hit my blog. That is when I noticed that the green on my blog appeared to be a color very similar to a shade I recently wiped off the bottom of one of my nephews. I just couldn't stand the idea of what I had thought of as a very pretty color showing up as something that just doesn't smell right. Something had to be done! Hence the blog design changes.

I promise to not make anymore changes ever again...well, at least not until my sister convinces me it is too dark or my nephew's poop starts showing up as black with pink specks in it.


Hunger Games BK 3

So I'm hearing from many of you that you haven't liked the ending to the third and final installment of the Hunger Games series. Though it has taken me an extraordinary amount of time to recover from the Storytelling Festival (more on that tomorrow--hopefully) and get back to blogging, I just thought I would say a little something about what I didn't like. But I'll say it in the comments so as not to give anything away to those who have not yet read it. If I haven't waited too long and your passion for what you didn't like hasn't fizzled, please fill me in on what you didn't like as well.

And then not one more word! Because the more I think about it the more I don't like it and the more stars I may have to go back and drop from my GoodReads review.


The Reason I'm not Blogging this Week

I've finished Mockingjay (and desperately need someone else to read it so I can talk about stuff) and am now gearing up for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The Festival officially begins Thursday night but there are activities taking place at libraries, schools, and other location beginning today and of course there is a lot of setting up that needs to get finished up in the next few days. As a result I will be spending a great deal of time not blogging. As a little introduction to one of our new tellers, one Mr. Antonio Sacre (I just met him about an hour ago and he is just as nice as he could be), here is a short story he tells called The Barking Mouse (which is also a lovely children's book should you be interested):
The first minute or so is made up of a silly Elementary School style song so just move through that to the story