Vladimir Freakin' Nabokov
Pasted in a short story I wrote ... must be ten years ago, now ... to flesh out the background of a garou kin I was playing. Somewhat naughty, too, I must admit.
To quote C. Ferguson: "I -know-!"
It amuses me that the parallel was to the intimidating yet alluring Nabokov. Perhaps he played on GarouMu* in his unsavory and silly past as well. It's a small world.
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northward ... northward ... northward aka A love note to the Pacific NW
The rocking and rhythmic bumping of the train as I'm drawn to the north inexorably, as though Seattle wants me, needs me, misses me ... come here, little girl. There's no turning around. It's inevitable, this reunion. A tingle settles subtlely in the palms of my hands and in my chest.
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It's also an escape from the never-ending conveyor belt of work. Getting away from the Place gets my head out of the Trudgery. Perhaps there are fae in Seattle. The Fireworks store. The chocolate boutique that makes the world's best marzipan and dark chocolate delicacies. Hard coffee. Lunch and a stroll. Breakfast while watching the ferries cross wakes.
It's full of memories, this city. Special reunions with my husband. A fourth row, last minute seat to see Les Miserables by myself while he attended a conference. Times with friends. Times with my parents. The beginning of a journey to Alaska. And the end. The exceptional luxury of the Fairmont. Oh, the Fairmont. Oh.
Would that my grandmother were alive and we could share journies together. I feel so much like the reincarnation of her spirit. Would she feel the tingle, too? I think so.
Writer's Block: It Is What It Is
What oft-repeated quote or common cliché do you find the most annoying when someone says it to you?
"How are you?" as we pass in the hall and they really don't want to know. Simply say hello or nice to see you. Don't ask how I am and not really care what the answer is, darnit.
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So throw me into the pit of mediocrity already!
I recently finished reading Stephenie Meyer's 'The Host'. The first half was quite easy to put down. The end was predictable. But both her world-building and the way she writes relationships (for the most part not necessarily the romantic sorts) is really quite inviting.
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I told a friend that reading an author before she becomes top-of-a-roller-coaster screaming popular and then becomes snubbed by the 'intellectual' community because of the popularity of "pop" fiction reminds me off an episode of Futurama. In said episode, the crew of main characters is going to a nightclub where everyone wears glowing neon rings (some Saturn reference is made). When Fry asks why -- he thought it wasn't cool to wear rings anymore -- he is told that that's why they're wearing them. It's NOT cool to do so. He replies, "Cool." Someone walking by stops, aghast that being cool by being uncool might be described as 'cool'.
That's, strangely enough, how I feel about 'pop' culture I enjoy. In fact, I intentionally tell kids in class I'm going to play dorky/uncool music sometimes in class. If I claim it as uncool, they can enjoy it. I won't apologize for enjoying 'The Host'. It's a 3 out of 5 stars for me: nothing I'd seek people out to convince them to read, but something I'd enjoy discussing with them if they did indeed read it.
Is it wrong to be tired of being embarrassed for liking some things that aren't considered high brow? I think I'm finished hiding my preferences. Hah! (Pynchon is still teasing me from the bookshelf though. Dare I?)
Triumphant: Ferguson won his conformation (AKC) class on Sunday. Then he won Best Dog in his breed. Then he took BEST IN BREED! I'm so proud of my boy. The judge had an excellent sense of humor. Third time in the ring for breed, just me and my mentor, each of us with our own dogs (best dog and best bitch). He looked at us dryly but with a sparkle in his light blue eyes and said, "Three times around, ladies." Questions, almost unanimously from the both of us checking to see if we had heard correctly. Then from him (about a breed that is known for stamina enough to travel half a day to a hunt, hunt down Irish wolves, or what have you, then travel back home, "Can't they make it?" Finally, laughter and a bit of banter about the humans being the ones not to make it three loops around at giant sight-hound pace. My Carroy Doyle Ferguson boy won Best of Breed. And with me on the other and of the lead. Tickled. He's so good. Photo to follow (when Mr. Wheeker returns from his trip and works his photo-posting magic).
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Trudging: I'm tired of my chronic fatigue. I'd just about given up even trying when things reached a boiling point and I had to make an effort in spite of myself. Now the house is getting to a place that is at least 50% livable. I'm accomplishing small tasks each day with the promise to myself that if I get "on a roll", I can continue. But it's like pushing a boulder up a hill every day just to watch it roll back down when I stop to rest. Blah.
Enjoyable: So during the school year (especially with new curriculum) I promise myself to get to all the pleasure reading that is challenging. I find myself still only able to consume "fluff" more than halfway through July. However, I'm enjoying the ability to have guiltless time for fluff.
Pending: Speaking of school, I promised myself I'd work on this next year's curriculum over the summer. Have I done this? Aside from a day or two of review, I have not. However, I am meeting with a colleague tomorrow to organize a summer mailing to some of our more at-risk kids. Some hand-written notes to let them know someone is thinking of them. Do you remember how exciting it was when you were young to get mail?
Inspiring: Icecreamemperor's graduation poem.
Discouraging: A friend who takes and takes and takes, but never shows gratitude.
Mouthwatering: Photographs of fresh-picked garden vegetables (green beans and cucumbers) on marstokyo's LJ.
Ear-tingling: Song by Regina Spektor (whose name my dad aptly describes as sounding like it should belong to a Bond Girl) on NPR called 'Eet'. Most excellent.
Empty: The house without Mr. Wheeker.
Amusing: The greyhound we're dogsitting and our puppy, Eleanor, playing and leaping around the house like a canine version of a Cirque du Soleil act.
Patriotic: Obama in tonight's press conference. It's so refreshing to hear something other than spin, and lots of words that say nothing. He truly shows his pedagogical colors when giving John Q. Public a conceptual framework, using analogies to make complicated points, having a sense of humor on the fly, giving specific examples, and restating all the parts of the questions asked of him with a clarity that inspires confidence that he knows what he's talking about. Firm, demanding respect he is due, yet everyman. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a press conference, learned something from it, even. Felt even a minute amount of optimism. Saw the big picture.
Time to go read some fluff.
Meme, aka attempt to post again #18d
FOR TODAY Saturday, July 4th, 2009
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Outside my window... The day is quite warm but lovely. I can see the sun filtering through the Japanese Maple outside the front, bay window. The neighborhood is surprisingly still. Is it bad of me to be pleased that the neighborhood kids aren’t trampling my landscaped yard and leaving their toys underfoot?
I am thinking... about missing my mother; about wanting some structure for the coming week; about wishing I could go on Mr. Wheeker’s trip this week with him; about when I can take the dogs on a hike again soon.
I am thankful for... a husband who understands my quirks and loves me in spite of them; … dogs who give me perspective; … a break from the intense marathon of the school year; … friends who allow me to have my need for hibernation time, yet are willing to accept me back into their company when I emerge, rubbing my eyes at the brightness of the sunlight; a beautiful backyard sanctuary.
From the kitchen... Mr. Wheeker is prepping the meat for our BBQ this afternoon. I just got home from the grocery and put away the last of the groceries. And I had an exciting bowl of raisin bran for lunch. Eleanor (puppy) is teething hard this weekend, so two soak-up-water-and-freeze teethers are in the freezer getting cold for her poor gums and mouth.
I am wearing... very casual grey shorts and my WDW tshirt.
I am creating... curriculum for next year, at my own pace; … a playlist to give family members as a gift.
I am going... to try my Wii Fit for the first time this week; … to try to learn the scoring system for AKC dog shows; … to try an obedience class with Ferguson from a woman I’m not sure I like.
I am reading... and not finishing too many books at once. Most recently: The Blind Assassin, The Terror, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, The True Meaning of Smekday, The Historian, Body Double, Poison Study
I am hoping... that I don’t wish July away; … that I can structure myself well enough to enjoy the freedom of vacation; … that I do a good job showing Ferguson at the dog show on the 19th.
I am hearing... an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ in the other room that skyschemer is watching in which Homer and Marge find out they’re pregnant with Maggie.
Around the house... we have happy sighthounds. Charlie (greyhound) is sunning himself outside on the deck. Ferguson (Irish Wolfhound) is kicked back on the chaise portion of the sofa. Eleanor (puppy IW) is lying on the cool laminate floor in the kitchen. Our two (whippet) guests are enjoying themselves. The elder, Oberon, is curled in a green microsuede wingback (?) chair behind me in the library. The younger, Icarus, is wandering the downstairs wondering why the puppy isn’t still playing with him. Skyschemer (human), is eating leftover pizza and watching television.
One of my favorite things... is watching my dogs do happy-dog things and seeing Mr. Wheeker relax into a much-deserved vacation.
A few plans for the weekend:
• hike in Forest Park
• take dogs to Marine Drive dog run
• help Mr. Wheeker pack
• get my work area organized so that there is more table space
• pick up my anniversary ring from the jeweler
• play some sort of game (Loaded Questions, You Don’t Know Jack, Cosmic Wimp Out, etc.)
• clean the bedroom
• plan what to do on curriculum this week while Mr. Wheeker is gone
• make gazpacho
• do puppy homework with Eleanor
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Emerging from the fading school year
A book challenge meme I've seen in several friends' posts: off the top of your head, list 15 books in no longer than 15 minutes that you've read & will always remember some part of.
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In no particular order:
World War Z
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
House of Leaves
100 Love Sonnets (Neruda)
The Thirteenth Tale
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
The Blind Assassin
The Book of Jhereg
My caveat: I have not finished all of these.
Saw a movie this weekend called "The Black Book" or perhaps simply "Black Book". It was subtitled in English. I think I liked it. Have any of you seen it? What did you think? I'm not sure if it was a bit over the top with the "twists" or not. Setting: Dutch (?) resistance during WWII.
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|Mood:||for Alois' pumpkins|
The Cabinet of Wonders, Marie Rutkoski
If the name 'Sloane' (or, previous to that, 'Knot') is known to you in relation to the author of this journal, then you will probably understand why this YA novel nearly made me squeal in front of my entire 2nd period class in the library when I recently discovered it.
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Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it's never been ordinary. She has a tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her snarled hair. Her best friend can trap lightning inside a glass sphere. Petra also has a father in faraway Prague who is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world's finest astronomical clock. Petra's life is forever changed when, one day, her father returns home -- blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and wears them. But why?
Petra doesn't know, but she knows this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander Castle, and steal her father's eyes back. Joining forces with Neel, whose fingers extend into invisible ghosts that pick locks and pockets, Petra finds that many people in the castle are not what they seem, and that her father's clock has powers capable of destroying their world.
If Beatrix Potter were to drop acid, Sloane would be her heroine. The orange, Peruvian poncho she wears as an armor against an ambiguous chill shrouds most of the upper portion of her too-thin form, neither short nor tall. But beneath, an eccentric style comes to the fore. She wears a drab olive, moth-eaten V-necked sweater over a black T-shirt with white lettering, the only letters of which are visible are 'WAN' at the gap of the neckline. Sliding closely down her slight frame to brush against the tops of her shoes is a black, woolen, straight skirt. Her canvas hightops are tied with nightmare knots that leave the long laces to drag as she walks. No less than a dozen rubberbands hang loosely around her bony wrists; and wound like a choker around her throat is a thick, larger sized rubberband that constricts the skin in a manner that can’t be altogether pleasant. The woman's hair is a mass of unkempt braids nearly as dark as her bruised-looking eyes. Some long-formed habit sketches her words in hushed, broken tone that can be contagious.
Dive beneath a pile autumn leaves on a chilly October morning; this is the distinctively loamy scent of Halloween and hayrides, of Jack-O-Lanterns and burning leaves that intimates Sloane's proximity. With a tangle of hair that most certainly contains a nest or three, and unblinking, bruised-dark eyes seemingly lacking of iris, Sloane regards the world with an expression that is a constant collision of aloof fascination and involved mistrust. Beneath a poncho that seems to swallow her up, the Sluagh wears a dress of autumn leaves, woven together by a half dozen silkworms who continuously repair and weave the garment. Her shoes are the same in this seeming and just as incongruous. There is no questioning her kith after first glance at her gaunt cheeks or upon hearing the hoarse rasp of her voice when she speaks. Despite her race, however, she most often takes the garish sights and sounds of the world with stoic aplomb.
**Let's not forget her familiar (I don't remember all the vernacular), M'nemnii, the chimerical spider who lives in her hair. It was my idea first!
Spring Break is broken
As the workload shadow darkens my view of the sunshine and increases the pull of gravity, I recline here drinking juice and suspecting that the mild sore throat and fever are simply psycho-somatic. I also am going to list a few great things that remind me not to mope away my last few hours.
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1) New puppy! I believe we are getting a new IW puppy (girl) for Ferguson. IW's need IW companions. And though our greyhound plays now and again with Ferguson, his heart just isn't in it. We're leaning toward the name 'Eleanor' -- I'll have to look up different spellings to see if I can't find one that leans toward the Irish/Scottish/Gaelic side. If this pans out, we will be getting her near the beginning of May.
2) The tiny hand-cranked music box I gave the-best-Jane-in-the-world as a thank you gift for letting me crash in her penthouse room with a panoramic view of Seattle and the Sound. It plays .... La Vie en Rose.
3) No matter what the workload, I do love my kids and I'm looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow. The rest will come on its own.
No negatives tonight. Juice and relaxation. Maybe a book. Then back to my chosen profession tomorrow. And we'll have fun!
Gaiman FT early highlights
She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before, and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious, and she was called Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name.
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And if my heart would run from her or
flee from her, be gone from her,
She'd wrap it in a nest of stars and then
she'd take it on with her
"Lay off her," said May. Her dark hair was cropped short against her skull, and she wore sensible boots. She smoked a small brown cigarillo that smelled heavily of cloves. "She's sensitive."
The raven looked unimpressed. "Before you start cursing, and probably dragging peacefully dead and respectable ancestors back from their well-earned graves, just answer me one question." The voice of the bird was like stone striking against stone.
TPQ, still not reading what I'm supposed to be reading
No. I wasn't that naughty in Seattle. But I'm currently snaking my way toward Tacoma with a lovely picture window seat and a broadband thingy from my sexy geek-in-residence who is not currently residing beside me. (tears and gnashing of something).
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Seattle did not disappoint. I grabbed my point-and-shoot camera and shot pics of just about everything, quashing down the desire NOT to look like a tourist. If they turned out, you -- my little bush babies -- will get an illustrated post about my 18 hours of carefree-itude.
A few palette teasers:
-tiny, hand-cranked music box that plays La Vie en Rose
-- Lingcod braised with tomatoes, peppers, onions and saffron
---45th floor of the Westin Towers with giant window facing a view of the city from Space Needle, across the Sound and its constant ebb and flow of ferries
----why did I buy 2 more books?!
-----Seattle flirted with me, those teasing, barely-there raindrops
Enough for now. I've read a seriously inadequate amount of "school" reading; I dance now in celebration of this fact.
Feast or Famine. Deal with it.
.... my mind is clearer now.
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At last all too well I can see where we all soon will be ....
Ah, random iPod music. You are my friend.
TPQ, passing through Tacoma
But every word you say today, gets twisted 'round some other way. And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied.
Why I married Mr. Wheeker, Reason #238
Mobile Broadband on Amtrak. So sexy.
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If I lived a life of leisure with unending funds, I'd spend a significant portion of my time on trains measuring time by the world speeding past, reading novels, people-watching, and making sure that my food wasn't "train-food". Give me good cheese, fruit, crusty bread and something to drink and I'll be very, very happy.
Right now we are traveling slowly past a small creek, happy cows, the lightest of raindrops sliding enviously along my overlarge picture window, caressing my thoughts and my tired soul. I've seen a field of a dozen or so egrets, spaced out in the verdant mossy wetness and a bizarre, completely out of the way (and next to the RR tracks) half dozen, funky, small and mildly dilapidated houseboats (that make me wish I had one somewhere as a secret hide-out for my alter-ego/inner spy). Riding on the train, you get to see some places that offer a glimpse of the Pacific NW before people ground it to civilization under their thoughtless boot heels. It makes the constant sadness for the unraveling natural world slow, and it transports me to a place of peace and reflection.
What is it about train travel that comforts to such depths of my soul? Why spend immoral amounts of money on anti-depressants, anti-uplifters, anti-anxieties and anti-levelheaders? Just let me do this twice a week each month. Have I mentioned that the Portland train station is transporting in and of itself? Arched, cathedral like ceiling with wooden, double sided "pews" shiny and smooth from travelers coming and going, sleeping, waiting. The place evokes a reverence that I think others would mock if they knew that I'd like to install an old pipe organ and sing 'A Mighty Fortress'. Everyone turn to page 49 of your hymnals.
Last night, I delved into the beginning of a pile of books I'd narrowed my Spring Break reading down to, planning to give each 10 or so pages to tell me if they were next or not. I stayed awake for the first chapter of 'The Terror'. SO much better than I expected. Next, I nearly made it through the first short story in 'Fragile Things'. Yummmmm.
I spent the first 30 minutes of this train ride (mostly) reading a bit more of the last of the four YA novels I was assigned to read for our teacher version of the school's Battle of the Books (Minerva Clark Gets a Clue). On the train I enjoyed it more: I've been putting off finishing it for some time. If you're an adult reader of YA fiction, I give better than average rating to 'Alphabet of Dreams' and 'The Eyes of the Emperor'. Not the best ever, but solidly good. I'm putting off reading the pedagogical text I'm supposed to report back on after break. Don't wanna right now.
I feel like Seattle is holding its breath, or maybe that's me as I hurtle and rumble toward it at varying speeds. We're old friends. I'll get an embrace of gentle rain and visit a smattering of spots that I jealously claim belong to me.
Now if I can only get Mr. Wheeker to take this trip with me (how can he not appreciate the magic of train travel?!), life will be complete.
Oh. Did I mention that after dropping me off, he came back 15 minutes later, parked and rushed in to deliver my iPod just as I was getting ready to board? His sexy, thoughtful, intelligent perfection is almost too much to bear. I'll carry the burden. Poor me.
Secret Smile, Semisonic
Release the Hounds! Spring '09
Nearly every weekend we take our sighthounds, Charlie (Greyhound) and Ferguson (Irish Wolfhound), out to a fully enclosed multi-soccer field so they can sprint and play to their hound-hearts' content. If you are not aware, sighthounds aren't the best off-lead in an urban environment. When they see something they want to chase, their other senses (like hearing) become selective at best. A huge field is the best, closest simulation to, say, Ireland a millennium ago, give or take. Today we went with two other Greyhound friends and their human pet. They had a lovely time.
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( Photos behind the cut.Collapse )
And so did we.
But what should I read? aka List-making party!
Some options of many:
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Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology ...
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Clarke
The Host, Meyer
Between the Bridge and the River, Ferguson
As She Climbed Across the Table, Lethem
Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris
The View from Saturday (you know who you are), Konigsburg
Arrows of the Queen, Lackey
Poison Study, Snyder
Body Double, Gerritsen
The Ghost Writer, Harwood
Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities ..., Rakoff
World War Z, Brooks
Jamie and Other Stories, Zimmer Bradley
The History of Love, Kraus
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life ..., Reichl
The Secret Scripture, Barry
The Collector of Hearts: New Tales ..., Oates
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love ..., Eugenides
Only Revolutions, Danielewski
The Terror, Simmons
The Thirteen Clocks, Thurber
The Time Traveler's Wife, Niffenegger
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, Martin
The Samurai's Garden, Tsukiyama
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl
Good Omens, Pratchett, Gaiman
Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain
American Gods, Gaiman
Icy Sparks, Rubio
Storm Front, Butcher
The Smoke Thief, Abe
Moon Passage, Lecompte
The Know-It-All: One Man's ..., Jacobs
Endurance: Shackleton's ..., Lansing
Turning the Tables: The Insider's ..., Shaw
Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters, Nelson
The Red Tent, Diamant
Those in bold I have started and stopped at some point but want to finish. Bearing in mind that my goal for reading is pleasure and relaxation over break (as opposed to the challenge of something like Gravity's Rainbow), which do you suggest? Feel free to name more than one if you care to give input.
Spring break! Woo?
My emotional-mental health needs it. Yet ... unstructured time and I do not get along well.
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Experiment: Spring Break '09
I've scheduled my days so that I get out of the house to exercise the dogs in the mornings and to do something "away" in the afternoons. I've scheduled in time to read whatever I feel like reading, time to exercise, time to nap, time to do house projects and unit planning to prepare for the return from break. Hopefully the schedule is just open enough to make me feel "free" and sufficiently scaffolded that I don't free-fall and spend the whole break in bed overwhelmed by a list of "shoulds" and unable to think of anything pleasant enough to get me going.
We'll see. And maybe (bounce) I can take AMTRAK up to Seattle to visit the best Jane in the world and have a personal outing. I love that trip on the train. Therapy will happen. And hair will be cut and arranged with much artistry. Toes must be painted and shorts will be worn. School will ... inevitably be visited; but only because and when I choose to do so.
What's Your Personality Type?
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|You Are An INFJ|
You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener with almost infinite patience.
You have complex feelings, and you take great care to express them.
In love, you see relationships as an opportunity to connect and grow.
You enjoy relationships when they are improving and changing. You can't stand stagnation.
At work, you stay motivated and happy... as long as you are working toward a dream you support.
You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.
How you see yourself: Hardworking, ethical, and helpful
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Manipulative, weak, and unstable
Random fluff and an observation
Weather in Oregon: I love spring in Oregon. Wind and rain. Yummy.
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Awkward moment: Running into your (most excellent) therapist in the grocery store is far too much of a meta-moment. My brain still hurts.
Banal, yet still helpful epiphany: No need to be embarassed that books I read to escape the intensity of my "new" job -- which is trying to consume me in a disturbingly Danielewskian manner -- are not "classics". A pleasureful, pulp novel is a good escape. Most recently finished: Bone-Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Great series b/c of her fascinating, secondary characters and the multiple supers.
Wistful for: MUSHing (speaking of supers). Not for the time and silly rules. But for the people and the stories we created together.
Food worth trying: Starbucks' Artisan Breakfast Sandwich
Obscure Movie Recc: The Secret of Roan Inish
Educator Note: Barry Lane is my hero. Learning to teach writing. No. Not that, simply. Learning to teach writing WELL has been a huge undertaking this year.
OBSERVATION: I've noticed recently, and struggled with, different folks' purposes for LJ. And while I respect the choices people make, I have found that posting my own (note I'm referring to myself and not you -- if you're on my friends list, there is a reason why) daily ... how do you say? ... crap, will only contribute to the general crappiness of my day. Oh, don't you worry, my little dandelions. There WILL still be crap. It simply won't be the majority of my (admittedly sporadic) posts.
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On the twelfth day of Christmas, wheeker
sent to me...
Twelve puzzles drumming
Eleven canadians piping
Ten chickens a-leaping
Nine archetypes changeling
Eight saltines a-geo-caching
Seven blues a-napping
Six felts a-cooking
Five astro-o-o-onautical engineers
Four wonder falls
Three brandenburg concertos
Two game shows
...and a wilcox in a richard scarry.