Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Love Triangle

A three-year-old girl comes up to me and tells me that the afore mentioned girl will not allow her to play with her. This surprises me. Four-year-old girl is usually friendly and plays nicely with everyone. Let me talk to her.

I say, "Is it true you won't allow three-year-old girl to play with you?"

Four-year-old girl says, "That's true."

"But why can't she play with you?"

Four-year-old sighs and says nonchalantly, "Because she's a witch."

"Well that's a pretty strong name to use on somebody, don't you think?"

Three-year-old interrupts tugging my sleeve, "No but I really am a witch."

"Why do you think you're a witch?"

"Just for pretend, I'm a witch. And I have a magic wand. And I'm going to point it at her and say "Ally-ally-o" and poof, she'll disappear."


"Yes, and then he (afore mentioned three-year-old boy) will be all mine."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring is in the Air

If you want to be enlightened, discuss the matters of love with a young child. Their perceptions are original, honest, and untainted by reality. I was talking about love with a four-year-old girl today when she informed me that she was in love.

"In love, really?" I asked her, intrigued. "Who are you in love with?"

"With him." She pointed to the three-year-old sitting next to her. He was a good kid. I had to admit she had good taste.

"And is he in love with you?"

"Yes," she responded very matter-of-fact. "We're going to be married." By now the boy's ears were rising noticeably as his grin widened.

"Oh, you're going to be married."

"Yes, but we're going to break up first."

"What?!" I was surprised. The little boy was looking a little surprised and hurt as well. "Will you get back together?"

"Of course! We're only pretending to break up. And then we'll be married," she said dreamily.

"And when are you getting married?" I asked her.

"When I grow up."

"And you're still going to marry her?" I asked the boy. I wanted to make sure he was on the same page.

"Yes, in the summer." He said with a smile.


Unfinished Books

I'm having trouble finishing books that I've started. I'm not sure why. I think it has something to do with the previous book I read.

Some books I'll finish. I'll finish books that I feel an obligation to. Books that come highly recommended by friends even though I might not understand why. Classics that everyone is supposed to know but that may or may not withstand the test of time for me. Books I read just to say  I read them. And of course I'll finish remarkable books. You know the ones. The books that become your friends. Books that make you smile when you see their spines. Books that soon have rippled pages and cracked binding.

But what about the dozens of books that I hold with such high hopes, but never managed to see past the first few chapters. I blame the good books for my problem, the books that come to the dinner table with you, the flashlight under the covers books, the books that leave their imprint on your face with distinct 90 degree angle.

I finish one of the good ones, close the cover shut, and it's like saying goodbye. And even with the most perfectly plotted conclusion, I want more. I want to find a book with the same tone. I want to see my new friends, my beloved characters reappear on another page, in another story. I know they wont, but until I get caught up in a new story, I can't help looking for a while. When I can't find what I'm looking for in one book, I close it and move on looking somewhere else. I'm probably passing up perfectly good books in an effort to repeat a previous book's charm.

Here is my book breakdown so far.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
(I know I only read one book that month, but I was just coming off of a movie streak, trying to get caught up on some films I've missed)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This is my second time reading the Harry Potter books. I got the set for Christmas. The interesting thing is, by February the rest of the family started reading the same books. Between my sister and I, we have two copies of the books, three of book one. My sister has read the books I don't know how many times. My dad picked them up for the first time. He's on book five now which is saying something as I don't think he's read more that half a dozen books in all the years I've known him. And Mom, who's always been very skeptical of the series has picked it up as well. I'm not really concerned with what the verdict is when she finishes. I'm just proud of her for reading them before forming her opinion. And I started reading the first book to the six-year-old niece. It's fun because it's become a family event, kind of our own family book club.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Tales of Beedle the Bard
I came of the end of the Harry Potter books first, feeling a little depressed, like I'd been kicked out of the book club. I actually think I enjoyed reading them more this time than I did the first time. I was more alert this time to the structure of the books and trying to understand how JK Rowling did what she did.

Next begins my phase of starting and not finishing books. I read the first page of The Chosen. It's good. I want to read it, but not right now. I'm saving that one for later. I tried The Golden Compass. I didn't make it through the first paragraph, an all time record for quitting a book.
The Penderwicks
This book I finished within the day. I really enjoyed it. It was a very gentle story. That's the best word I can think of to describe it. It struck me the same way The View from Saturday and Criss Cross struck me. I didn't keep reading it because I wanted to know what was going to happen next; I read because I liked the language, and I liked the characters. It was charming.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
I needed something that was going to take me a little longer to get through. I intended to read the whole set. I havn't read them since I was a kid. I only made it through the one book. I was ready to move on.

April continued with not finishing what I start. I started The Letter by Richard Paul Evans. I read and enjoyed the first two in his series. Not amazing books, but pleasant enough. This one I felt he was writing just to write one more. I'm not too impressed. I Started The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber. The first few pages were filled with positive reviews. I was sorely disappointed. I read the first few chapters. There were actually a few good lines worth underlining. I read them out loud to my sister. But then I was skimming paragraphs just looking for the author to say something interesting. I was bored. Maybe I'll try again another time, but it's going to require a personal recommendation. I started The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This one's a little better. I might finish it. It's a vampire story. I don't usually read vampire stories. I'm not opposed to them. I've just never found one I really wanted to read. Speaking of vampire books, I started Twilight just to see what the big deal was. I didn't get far in that one either. It on my shelf of disappointments with the others. So I'm not glued to The Historian yet. But I think it might get better. It jumps back in forth between two time periods via one character telling a story to the other. It changes point of view and tenses at the same time which is leaving me just a little confused.

Now I'm reading Crafting Stories for Children. This one I'll finish. The NF is actually helping to break up my reading dilemma I think. I'm also reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I don't think I've read it before. Don't know why I thought to read it now. Maybe inspired by Tim Burton's latest film. I haven't seen it yet by the way. And my reviews were limited to "It was okay," by someone who is not familiar with the story and "It was boring," by someone who slept through it. 

You know how it is when you're in the mood for a perfect book, and none of the 1,300 books already lining your shelves are quite what you're looking for. So let me know if you have any good recommendations, something I'll want to finish.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

That was that

Saw a strange thing on the way home this evening. It was dark, 10:00, and the thunder showers predicted for the afternoon had finally begun, giving my wipers quite a workout. And I was straining to see through the torrents. Just before I pulled into my driveway, I saw a shadowy shape in the road. I slowed to a crawl, trying to make it out. At first I thought it was just another overturned garbage can, but it was two distinct shapes. One black, the other a lighter shade of the same. An animal? I crept closer. Two cats. They were staring at each other, nose to nose for the longest time. They were seemingly oblivious to the downpour. Then their heads came up in unison to look at me, their eyes connecting with my headlights and flashing. They actually looked perturbed that I had interrupted them. But still they just stood there. Finally, one darted to one side and the other off the other side of the road.

And I wondered briefly what they had been talking about.

And now I must go to bed, because such thoughts can only mean I am dreadfully exhausted. And when I wake up people will be people again and cats will be cats and that will be that.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Darkness was over the face of the deep...And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

The first words God uttered brought light into the world,
And darkness was abolished.
From the very first, God called light good,
And He separated it from dark,
And the two would never be mixed.
The light brought clarity to things obscured in the dark.
It brought beginning to each day.
It lit the path of the sojourners steps.
It symbolized a coming Redemption.
It emulated His glory.

And the light was greater then dark.
A light placed in a dark room would always shine through the dark,
But the dark could never overpower the light.

Until God turned His back on His Son
The Son hung from a cross
And for three hours, the light was extinguished.
Darkness hung heavy over the land.

I can only imagine what kind of darkness it was.
More than the opposite of light.
More than the absence of light.
A darkness that went deeper than the blackness
And into the heart and soul of everyone who wittnessed it.
With the first words God spoke, there was light.
With last words the Son of God spoke, the light was extinguished.
It was finished
For three hours, darkness
And in three days,
The Son was risen.
The Light shone.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April 1

April Fools, 
A teachers worst nightmare.
Worse then the day after Easter when the Easter baskets are already mostly empty.
Worse then the morning before before trick-or-treating when the mere anticipation of sweets has been working its toll.
Worse then the last week before Christmas when the kids realize it's already too late to impress Santa, but their parents will cave and buy them presents anyway, or the first week after Christmas when they know they've still got a whole year to be good.

April Fools day outshines them all. Every teacher approaches class with trepidation, knowing they are about to be bombarded by an assault of pranks, thought up according to a child's perception of humor. They have probably been coached by Dad or big brother with all sorts of suggestions on how to aggravate the teacher. These will be misconstrued and come out worse or stupid. I hate April Fools.

Fortunately I work with preschoolers and all I really had to endure were the highly unoriginal There's a spider behind you and Your shoes are untied.

I told them that there was really no such thing as April Fool's Day, that the whole day was set up as a joke to convince people that first of April was a holiday, but it was just a fake, so really the joke's on them. They didn't get it. 

All around it was a pretty mild day. No short-sheeted beds, no stolen cakes, no bunnies painted purple, no pictures turned upside down. no clocks turned back or ahead, no dressers with their drawers turned upside down, no jello in the shower heads, no ice cubes in the teapots, no snowmen on the toilets, no bras in the freezer.

I survived this one just fine, and I've got another year before April strikes again.