Sunday, August 31, 2008

Newest Family Members

Yes. These are living in my backyard. The goats are my contribution to the green movement. They're suppose to replace the fossil fuel burning lawn mower. (They've been neutered, so they don't stink. In case, you're interested.)

The little heifer calf's mother died, so I'm going to bottle feed her until about February. She's about a month old now.

Some people call orphan calves "bums", but I prefer the term "bottle babies".

These guys aren't mine, but they live next door.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer and Teaching

I found the perfect quote in the book I'm reading that describes what summer meant to me as a teacher. "Summer was the advantage to teaching: your life was always a cycle, you always had closure, rest, and a new beginning to look forward to. Always starting over, you never had time to grow old." Taken from Southern Exposure by Linda Lightsey Rice.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Southern Fiction Novel

Donna Tartt tells the story of how a family tragedy can have a far reaching effect on the remaining family members. The main character is Harriet, a young girl whose brother was found murdered in her backyard when she is only a baby. To make matters worse, the killer was never found. Harriet's mother never fully recovers from the loss and spends most of her time in a drug-induced sleep. Harriet's father separates from the mother and has little influence in Harriet's life. Most of Harriet's upbringing is the responsibility of the family's maid, her grandmother, and her great-aunts.
As Harriet becomes older she becomes more and more obsessed with her brother's murder. A chance remark by the maid convinces Harriet that she knows who the killer is, and she intends to make him pay.
Even though the novel is over six hundred pages long, I never got bored with it. It kept me reading right up to the end.
Four of Five Stars

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today Show Book Club List

I love lists, and I especially love lists of books. This is my most recent addition of books I must read sometime in the future. I believe the numbers represent the order in which the appeared on the Today Show. (I copied this from a public libray site.)

So many books; so little time.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (#33)

More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (#32)

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (#31)

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini (#27)

The Breathtaker by Alice Blanchard (#19)

Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (#28)

Bury the Lead by David Rosenfelt (#24)

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (#9)

'The Clothes They Stood Up In' and 'The Lady in the Van' by Alan Bennett (#5)

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer (#22)

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (#7)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (#13)

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (#23)

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst (#12)

Drinking Coffe Elsewhere by ZZ Packer (#11)

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter (#1)

Fluke, or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore (#25)

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel (#3)

Graceland by Chris Abani (#29)

The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard (#16)

Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick (#30)

The Known World by Edward P. Jones (#17)

Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins (#10)

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (#8)

Paradise Alley by Kevin Baker (#6)

The Photograph by Penelope Lively (#21)

Raising Fences: A Black Man's Love Story by Michael Datcher (#4)

Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee (#14)

The Sleeping Father by Matthew Sharpe (#20)

The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (#15)

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (#18)

A Window Across the River by Brian Morton (#26)

You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett (#2)

I've read The Time-Traveler's Wife, and I have a copy of Fluke that I haven't read yet. I'll search the library for the some others that sound interesting.

I have a new job at the newspaper office in Snyder. It's just a weekly paper, so as long as I spell people's names correctly I think it will be a piece of cake. It will certainly be less stressful than the other job.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

Ellen represents all of the children who are abused and neglected in the world. She is somehow able to withstand all her dysfunctional family has to throw at her and triumph in the end.
The story is told in Ellen's voice, and this girl is all things Southern. It can make it a little difficult to read at first, but the story is well worth the effort.
I found this one at the library last night while I was working and started reading it on the spot. What I didn't realize was I had found another Oprah Book Club selection. I'm drawn to Oprah's choices for some reason. I guess she and I have the same taste in books.
Rating: Four out of five stars

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

Three Bags Full
by Leonie Swann

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I purchased this book some time ago to read as part of the Ravelry Book Club, but I just couldn't get into it at the time. I picked it up again this weekend, and this time I couldn't put it down. I think I finally stopped trying to think like a sheep, and just let the story flow. Even though I'm not usually a fan of mysteries, the sheep's point-of-view made this a very fun read. I'm so glad I went back and gave it another chance.
I've had two visits to the rheumatologist this summer. This first time was for tests, and the second visit she went over the results with me. The tests indicate that I have lupus arthritis, and the doctor has started me on hydroxychioroquine sulfate (Plaquenil) which seems to be helping. It has to be taken with meals, and my stomach seems to require a LOT of food before it can handle the pill. The first couple of weeks it made me terribly sick to my stomach, but it seems to have leveled out now. Anyway I'm beginning to feel like a human being again.
I've begun doing a little crochet work again, but nothing on a major scale. Maybe this winter when there's more to watch on TV I'll be able to get interested in it again.
I quit my job at the City Hall. I couldn't take the people any longer. I will probably go to work at the newspaper office in a couple of weeks, but right now I'm enjoying my first vacation in a year.