Showing posts from February, 2012

the worst thing about me

Parks & Rec

a towering history

I promised I would write more about what I am seeing/doing in Cleveland, so...

This weekend I attended volunteer training for the Cleveland International Film Festival at the Tower City Cinema. Aside from housing the 11 screen Tower City Cinema, the Tower City building is also home to a building full of fast food restaurants, as well as various stores/buinesses; all this is just a hop, skip and a jump from the Cleveland Indians, the Hard Rock Cafe Cleveland, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Little bit of history I learned when reading up on the Tower City Building; the building used to house a post office and a parking lot now sits on the site of the former Cleveland Union Terminal. How cool is that! I love when old buildings/spaces get made over. 

 For more information, this site has some fascinating history about the Tower City Cinema, Cleveland. (This awesome link will take you to Encyclopedia Cleveland, a site maintained by Case Western University. FASCINATING STUFF!

the simple joys

I found a French press this summer at the town swap shop, and I've yet to use it. When I make coffee I use the old stove top percolator that my parents used in the early days of their marriage. I like to imagine my Mom getting breakfast ready, her waist long hair swaying behind her as she hummed a tune and cooked, while my Dad got ready for work.

I got busy the other day and burnt my coffee, scalding and scorching the bottom of the percolator and I was afraid I'd lost it. It took two days of scrubbing (and airing out my apartment) before the percolator was up and running, but run it does.

Buzzer just went off, gotta go grab my strong hazelnut coffee; time to enjoy a cup before heading back to work; time to enjoy the warm, rich smell of coffee in my apartment.

my morning inspiration

Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity

R.I.P. Mama Bear


R.I.P. Jan Berenstain, co-creator of the popular kids' books: The Berenstain Bears; Jan Berenstain passed away Friday.

According to Harper Collins' website: "Since their inception, the Berenstain Bears stories have expanded to include picture books, beginning readers, and chapter books—even a hit TV show on PBS. Writing and illustrating the books has become a Berenstain family affair. Mike joined with his parents as a creative team in the late 1980s. The Bear family has expanded over the years as well. Sister Bear arrived in 1974, and baby Honey joined the family in 2000.

Since Stan's death at age eighty-two in 2005, Jan and Mike have continued to write and illustrate wonderful new adventures for Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which looks a lot like Bear Country."  Full info here.

For the full bear experience, go here.

Also, wanted to welcome new follower, 1I1ILUV--stop by often and comment much!

grinning and bearing it

Visited one of the local Catholic schools recently and did a double Kindergarten storytime, the theme was bears. Thought I would share some of my resources
BEARS – Kindergarten Song/Movement: “The Dance Along Gong Song,” #14, Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem

Prop Story: “What can happen if you fall into a hole,”
Drawing Stories from Around the World, Pellowski
*I should do this drawing and take pictures step by step--it's cool. You tell the kids a story, while drawing out what's happening, and keep adding components to it and the end result is a bear.

Book 1:We’re going on a bear hunt, Rosen           
*kids loved that I brought the pop-up version; kids also love repeating the "chorus," "We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we're not scared!" It gets repeated so much that the kids can on to it quickly.

Flannel Board:Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?

Prop Story: “Bear in a Tent,”based very loosely on “Pa…

a promise

I used to write about nature and gardens and cows and poetry, and aside from the poetry post every once in a while, this blog has definitely become more library centric. My bro A3 said I need to write more about what we've seen in the Cleveland area, things we like and would recommend to others. So, I promise to do that more soon. Going to be around Cleveland and Shaker Heights this weekend, so hopefully I come back with a good story or two. I promise.

But, until then, this reminded me of my life a million years ago:

"Dave Lilly"
There's a brook on the side of Greylock that used
to be full of trout,
But there's nothing there now but minnows; they say it is all fished
I fished there many a Summer day some twenty years ago,
And I never quit without getting a mess of a dozen or so.
There was a man, Dave Lilly, who lived on the North
Adams road,
And he spent all his time fishing, while his neighbors reaped and
He was the luckiest fisherman in the Berkshire hills, I …

well beat me over the head with a hickory stick

Finished 1947 Newbery winner, Miss Hickory, (Carolyn Sherwin Bailey) today.

Two words of advice: NEVER READ. I am not sure what bothered me the most: the fact that the main character was a twig doll with an acorn for a head and a huge attitude problem; the fact that the story was boring as hell; or the fact that the main character pisses off a squirrel who then bites her head off.

This book was so terrible that I don't want to review it, but I did find this review which both spoke to what I felt and cracked me up.

Feels like everything will be an improvement on this book. Today I started 1980 Newbery winner, A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32; A Novel,  Joan W. Blos.

cleaning up our act

Here's this weeks storytime: Bath & Bedtime Fun!
Music/Movement: “Shake Your Sillies out,” #13, Raffi’s More Singable Songs
Music/Movement: “(Wash your) Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes,” #5, Joan Bartels’ Bathtime Magic Rhyme: “After a bath” x2 w/ motions After a bath, I try, try, try To wipe myself 'till I'm dry, dry, dry. Hands to wipe, and fingers and toes, And two wet legs and a shiny nose. Just think how much less time I'd take If I were a dog, and could shake, shake, shake!
Book 1:Bubbles, Bubbles, Kathi Appelt w/bubble gun
Flannel Board: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Prop Story: Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones, Claire Freedman, ill. Tina Macnaughton w/puppets
Book 2: The Napping House, Audrey Wood, ill. Don Wood
Music/Movement: “Splish, Splash,” #3, Child’s Celebration of Rock & Roll kids w/shakers
Book 3: Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
Music/Movement: “Silly Lullab…

hating on love, a storytime

Meant to share our resources from the week of Valentines (or as I like to call it, National Singles Awareness Day). My storytime was the night after VD, so we did love. And for the record, this was hands down, WORST storytime I've ever done. Sometimes the parents don't get into it, whatever, but that night even the kids were quiet and I just felt awkward as ass...maybe it's because the kids hate fake, "love based," holidays too?

Shake Your Sillies out: Raffi’s, “More Singable Songs,” #13

Music/Movement: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, #55, Wee Sing

Flannel Board: “Five Little LOVE Birds”
One little LOVE bird with lovely feathers blue.
He sat beside a red LOVE bird.
That made two.
Two little LOVE birds singing in a tree,
A green one came to join them
That made three.
Three little LOVE birds wishing there were more.
Along came an orange LOVE bird
That made four.
Four little LOVE birds, glad to be alive.
Along came a pink LOVE bird.
That made five.

crisp until the last

Remember my goal of reading all the Newbery books? I finished Avi's 2003 Newbery Medal Winner: Crispin: the Cross of Leadand have moved onto my 3rd Newbery book: Carolyn Sherwin Bailey's Miss Hickory.

What Avi accomplishes in Crispin: the Cross of Lead, is no small feat--he simultaneously sucks the reader into a mystery and medieval times from the first chapter. We meet Asta's son, a nameless peasant who has just lost his mother and home, and been falsely proclaimed a "wolf's head," (someone who has commited a crime and may be killed on sight by anyone). Taking bold steps Asta's son--now going by the name Crispin--flees the life he's known and along the way meets the performer Bear, who forces Crispin to examine the world around him with new eyes. As Crispin travels with Bear he is unwilling drawn back towards the things he fears the most, and yet must face, and along the way comes to understand the mystery of his cross of lead.

I loved this book fro…

thinking food post Fat Tuesday

The irony of doing a blog about a book called, Food Rules: an eaters manual (Michael Pollan, illus. by Maira Kalman), after yesterday's over indulgences in paczkis and Girl Scout cookies is not lost on me.

I ordered this book because I read a good review, though honestly, I was a little skeptical. I wasn't skeptical of Pollan; I think he's brilliant and I think his books feature both a lot of common sense and understanding about what western culture has done to food; I was skeptical of getting tired of the book before I finished it. Though I think his books are fascinating and well researched, they sometimes wear me out before I've gotten to the end. So, this was the perfect book for me, well, probably the perfect book for lots of people--both adults and kids. It's a small, fast read with wonderful and witty illustrations by Maira Kalman.

Food Rules: an eaters manual (aside from its introduction) is just that--food rules. A short book which features suggestions on h…

in the ashes

It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent season.  TSO began emailing this story to me year and years ago and did it for a couple of years, I too now pass this on. This story has become an Ash Wednesday tradition of sorts, and something I look forward to. The tradition continues as now I share it with you.

Taken from Jacob the Baker by Noah benShea.
"...It was Mr. Gold who counted time and eventually spoke first.

'Jacob, where do you find the strength to carry on in life?'

'Life is often heavy only because we attempt to carry it,' said Jacob. 

'But, I do find a strength in the ashes.'

'In the ashes?' asked Mr. Gold.

'Yes,' said Jacob, with a confirmation that seemed to have traveled a 

great distance.

'You see, Mr. Gold, each of us is alone.  Each of us is in the great 

darkness of our ignorance.  And each of us is on a journey.

'In the process of our journey, we must bend to build a fire for 

light, and warmth, and food.

'But whe…


<p><p><br><br>Ben Harper & Jack Johnson -  Please Me Like You Want To  <br></p></p>

paczkis and a brief lesson in Lent

Happy Fat Tuesday ya'll!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent--the season leading up to Easter for Christians.

As Catholics we are marked with ashes on Ash Wednesday, as a reminder of our journey toward conversion and renewal. We Catholics abstain from certain things and sometimes give things up as a reminder of conversion, but also to aid us in letting go of things which get in the way of God in our lives. Lent is all about working towards renewing our commitment to our faith and baptism.

I like the idea of Lent, but it always feels like a spiritually fitful time for me, a dark time, made worse by the fact that I am so damn stir crazy for spring...yet, as I get older I am trying to focus on how all of those feelings make Easter day and springtime so much more glorious.

So, today--pre-Lent--we celebrate. Fat Tuesday means paczkis in the MidWest (and other parts of the country). Fat Tuesday means enjoying one last hoorah before the time of moderation and abs…

sick day

April Come She Will--Simon & Garfunkel

Sick days mean rest and good music.

seeing to it

Back in the Mitten for the weekend, I am thinking a lot about the Farm and how I still think of it as home; going back through my old pictures reminded me of what I was doing at the Farm this time last year.  Today marks one year since a tree fell on my little cabin in the woods. A year ago I came home to utter chaos, and yet, I had many reminders that day of the many forms friendship can come in.

Thinking of and missing my Farm and my Farmers today, this little slice of Uncle Walt felt appropriate:
"To a Stranger"Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you, You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,) I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured, You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me, I ate with you and…

a oneness

I am heading back to Michigan tonight with my sister in law Dayna and brother A3, for a weekend full of busy stuff: hanging with my besties and other friends, celebrating my best friends Kim's birthday; Dayna's baby shower (which I am giving with my Mom and sister A1--both of them are in town from SC for the weekend); family bonding time (I haven't seen my Mom or sister in 3 months).  Bestie Lisa and I also have to meet with another friend to finalize plans for another baby shower that we're hosting for College Kim in March. All this going, going in just under 2 days--I will come back tired from my weekend. But, good tired.
Some day soon I should write ablog about Gwen Frostic, Michigan poet and artist, but until I do, I will at least share some poetry:
"A New Beginning" On this earth there is a oneness
A rhythmic flow through everything that lives
The things with roots and stems and leaves
The things with shells and fins and furs
The things with wings with whic…

been down two times

Fleetwood Mac - Never Going Back Again

Heard Fleetwood Mac at lunch today, so it only seemed proper after cooking and cleaning up to sit and listen to "Rumours." A great album. I love this album.

Can we ever really go back again?

an empty house

Thought I'd share this gem:"The House with Nobody in it" Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black. I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it. I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, And somebody ought …

what we really do

I love coming across these little gems. I definitely feel like the shushing librarian after school when the kids of OHCity are losing their damn minds in our library.

ripple in still water

The Grateful Dead - Ripple (Studio Version)

Remember 8 million years ago (ok, in November) when I wrote about the music that reminds me of the Farm? No? Don't worry, the memory is an overrated thing. Anyway, "Ripple," by the Grateful Dead is definitely a song which always reminds me of the Farm. I was thinking about the Farm all day yesterday; my vacation days were approved and I am Farm bound for a week and a half in June! Hooray!

Happy Wednesday everybody, the weekend is in sight.

(barn)hearting this book

"Gary Snyder, one of my heroes, famously said, 'Find your place in the world and dig in.' I thought, 'I'm ready, Gary. Just hand me a friggin' shovel.' " --Jenna Woginrich, Barnheart

After reading Jenna Woginrich's, Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, last year I began to follow her blog: Cold Antler Farm, and I realized that Jenna is the kind of person I envy: a dreamer and a farmer...with a "day job" to boot! So, as you can imagine I was pleased as punch when Jenna's newest book: Barnheart: the Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own, a Memoir arrived.

The book--named for a disease with symptoms that vary from: "calling in 'sick' to work in the garden," to "sitting in your office, classroom, or cafe and your mind wanders to dreams of the farming life," to being someone who'd, "rather be stretched out in the bed of a pickup truck, drinking in the stars on a cr…

let us all be from somewhere

After a great phone call with my dear friend Christy this morning, I am thinking of what used to be home--the Michigan of my childhood--as well as what my home in the future will look like. My dearest B1 gave me this poem and I have it hanging on my fridge, I reread it for the millionth time this morning and thought I would share it:

"A Primer"
I remember Michigan fondly as the place I go

to be in Michigan. The right hand of America
waving from maps or the left
pressing into clay a mold to take home
from kindergarten to Mother. I lived in Michigan
forty-three years. The state bird
is a chained factory gate. The state flower
is Lake Superior, which sounds egotistical
though it is merely cold and deep as truth.
A Midwesterner can use the word “truth,”
can sincerely use the word “sincere.”
In truth the Midwest is not mid or west.
When I go back to Michigan I drive through Ohio.
There is off I-75 in Ohio a mosque, so life
goes corn corn corn mosque, I wave at Islam,
which we’re not getting alon…

sounding off or the beginning of my Newbery challenge

I have decided to read each of the Newbery Medal Winners (1922-Present). I was going to read them in chronological order, but have decided instead to just read them in alphabetical order by author, as that is how we have them on the shelf at our library. I began with William H. Armstrong's 1970 medal winner, Sounder (technically I should have started with Lloyd Alexander's The High King, but I've read it a couple of times).

"As told by William H. Armstrong, the timeless novel of Sounder reads as if it is a parable. The family is held together by its unwavering faith, believing that life will get better no matter how bad things are...Although deceptively simple in its language and brief in its length, Sounder is a powerful parable of poverty, hope, prejudice, inhumanity, and ultimately, survival."
--Harper Collins Instructors Guide

I put that quote up because it sums up the book succinctly without giving away too much of the plot, which is easy to do as this really …

what I really need on Mondays

Image an acorn hat.

Madeleine L’Engle Extended Interview

Madeleine L’Engle Extended Interview

I loved her thoughts. Worth watching.

put the bling away

For those of you who are celebrating National Singles Awareness Day this week, consider purchasing a gift for your loved one--a gift that literally keeps on giving! Heifer rocks!

Also, wanted to welcome new followers: John, over at Lit Criticism and Lev over at The Thoughts Bubble.

it's been a while

Mumford & Sons "To Darkness"

I am sliding back into my Mumford & Sons phase. I need some new music, boys, and I have to wait until May for the new album? You're killing me!

vampire whaaa?

I recently finished Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter--why I ever decided to read it, I'm not sure. Oh, yes, I remember, I thought, hmm, another book which will be in the theater soon, guess I should read that in case anyone asks me about it. (I am beginning to feel that at least one of the books I am reading at any given point is already a movie, coming to theaters shortly, or is being transformed from book to screenplay as you read it.)

I gave Grahame-Smith a try even after not being able to make it through his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (for the record, I cheated, I tried to do the graphic novel).  I thought that I hated P&P&Z so much because it besmirched my beloved Austen, but reading Abraham Lincoln made me realize that I don't like how contrived Grahame-Smith's stories feels...I know, I know. You KNOW that going into it. You know that Abraham Lincoln wasn't REALLY a vampire hunter and that the Bennet sisters (P&P&Z) w…


After reading Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I was looking forward to Wonderstruck, and I was NOT disappointed! If anything I think Wonderstruck was even better than Hugo. Selznick again uses his gift of storytelling through the pictures which don't just enhance the story, but move the story along.  And the stories are what make speed you through this this 450+ page book.

Selznick dances through time, allowing the reader to try and figure out the mystery of Ben’s Dad in the 1970s, juxtaposed against the mysterious girl we meet when the story takes a turn--the readers journey is in following both children on their mysterious quests. 

The drawings are detailed and amazing. The story is interesting. I loved it. I loved it even more than Huge Cabret.

Here's a great review on NPR

headless stories for kids

After reading the review of The Man Who Lost His Head, (Claire H. Bishop, illus. Robert McCloskey) I had to read it. (Of course I had to order it from a bigger library than ours, it’s an old book and one which I can’t imagine many kids read anymore--however my 1962 copy was the 10th reprinting of the book which originally came out in 1942). Reading this book makes you wonder what Americans of the 1940s saw in it--what made it so popular? Is it the ridiculous illustrations? Maybe it's the almost-wasteful usage of food: pumpkins and turnips as heads, this post depression America; this now war-immersed U.S. trying to find something to take their children's minds off troubles in Europe. Who knows?  The story is a little too long, the words a little tough, the pictures creepy, but it made me laugh. Would I ever recommend it? No. Anyway, the creepiness lead me to this. All this lead me to this.

fast reviews

Blackout, (John Rocco) tells the story of a family reconnecting with one another when their apartment/neighborhood loses power: they make shadow puppets; they play games by candle light; they have a street party with their neighbors. It was a simple, sweet story. Ages: Preschool-Kindergarten
Pocketful of Posies: a Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, (Sally Mavor) presents the age old nursery rhymes, handmade collaging the illustrations using: naturally dyed wool, buttons, beads, wire (nearly everything sewn together—though she admits to having to use some glue on un-sew-able things—onto felt backgrounds); photographed and printed for the book.The finished product is stunning. Looking at the pictures may induce a sense of awe over the details Mover put into this book.Ages: Preschool-Up.
My Rhinoceros, (John Agee) is the story of a boy who buys a rhino only to discover that rhinos don’t do anything but “pop balloons” and “poke holes in kites.” I wasn’t really sure where this story was going until…

lovesick for good music

The Little Willies - Lovesick Blues 3-31-11

I have been missing out on all the great music which always seemed to be floating around the Farm--recorded and live. So I parked it with a couple of Rolling Stone mags and ordered more than a few of the rated artists, The Little Willies being one of said artists. Can't wait until my ordered music comes to the library!

the cool kind of walrus

You may remember me mentioning that I hate word-less books, well, I found another exception:I couldn’t help but LOVE Stephen Savage’s Where’s Walrus.

The Walrus runs away from the zoo and hides from the zookeeper by blending in with his surroundings—literally; there are lots of people wearing gray in this book. The scenarios are ridiculous and funny enough that kids would love telling the reader the action of the book!

My favorite page shows the Walrus laying bricks. I also love that the characters look a bit Monopoly guy-ish.

Ages: Toddlers-Up

my favorite band

The Beatles  First Ed Sullivan Show  Appearance (original)

Today marks the anniversary of the Beatles famous visit to NYC on February 7, 1964; they arrived at NYC's Kennedy Airport to a screaming mob of about 3,000 people. Their equally famous first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on happened two days later on February 9, 1964

hungry for a movie

The Hunger Games - Official Trailer [HD]

I just read The Hunger Games and am now waiting for Catching Fire and Mockingjay to arrive. The Hunger Games was exactly the light kind of read I needed; movie looks fun, looking forward to it...haven't seen a good, fun movie in the theater in a while, so I am hoping the movie is as good as it looks.


This is one of a thousand things floating around Facebook today. 
I like this. I do. Even if one side (the snarky side) of me is saying, "Yea, but you can get away with saying those things because you're gorgeous!" If I tried to say it I would sound like the chubby-girl-bashing-Prom, though she secretly wanted a date and the whole Cinderella aspect of it. (This was me as a teenager).  And the other side of me (the Librarian me) is saying, "HELL YES! I know that I don't need to dress in mini skirts for the men to notice me at the library!" 
Somehow this made my mind wander tangentially to what Juno McGruff said,
"Jocks like him always want freaky girls— girls with horn-rimmed glasses, and vegan footwear, and Goth makeup... Girls who, like, play the cello and read McSweeney's and want to be childrens' librarians when they grow up. Oh, yeah, jocks totally eat that shit up."
Ha ha ha...No, seriously though, I thought this was g…

springing toward the earth

"Face to Face"
In February living stood still. The birds flew unwillingly and the soul chafed against the landscape as a boat chafes against the pier it lies moored to. The trees stood with their backs turned towards me. The deep snow was measured with dead straws. The footprints grew old out on the crust. Under a tarpaulin language pined. One day something came to the window. Work was dropped, I looked up. The colors flared. Everything turned round. The earth and I sprang towards each other.
--Tomas Tranströmer
(Translated by Robin Fulton)

February feels like the longest month, though this warm weather we've been getting (if it holds out) will make it go by faster. Just looked up info on the local hiking clubs and hoping to get outside more soon!

P.S. Welcome to new follower, Emily! Visit often, comment much.

but it doesn't feel like winter

This is my lesson plan for this past week's family storytime. Second week of winter theme, this week was winter animals. It definitely felt weird to be reading about cold weather and snow, etc., when it was nearly 60 degrees the day before and in the 50s that day.
Intro myself and themeSong/Movement:
Shake Your Sillies out: More Singable Songs, #13 Rhyme/Movement:
The Owl
There's a wide eyed owl (thumbs and forefingers around eyes)
With a pointed nose, (forefinger makes a v at end of nose)
Two pointed ears, (forefingers extended up from head)
and claws for toes, (fingers and arms bent in front of chest)
When he sits up in the tree, (point to tree)
and he looks at you, (point at a child in the group)
he flaps his wings, (fold arms into arm pits and flap)
And he says 'Whoo Whoo.'
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare Our rhyme was about an owl, do you suppose we’ll see an owl in our first story?
Prop Story/Book 1:Snow, Manya Stojic Flannel Board: “5 Little Peng…

who needs sleep?

I have been struggling with some can't-sleep-ed-ness lately...I don't quite think it's insomnia yet...not sure what else to call it.

When I can't sleep--even though I have on my fluffy sleepy-time-make-me-too-warm-and-comatose socks on, I've fired up iTunes and have my sleepy time jazz play list on, and I've read myself silly--I turn to poetry. I stumbled upon this Yeats poem, which as you can see, has nothing to do with sleeplessness, but was lovely. So I am sharing.

"The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water"
I heard the old, old men say
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'
--W.B. Yeats

Not even Yeats is helping. I am switching to Iron & Wine and hoping for the best...

But before I go, I wave a sleepy hand of hello to new f…

The Voice