30 June 2008


Whenever the Sita and I are reading a book and we come upon a group of similar objects, like say butterflies or flowers or jelly beans, she immediately starts divvying them up. "Dis one is for Mommy" (pointing to a red one), "Dis one is for the Dude" pointing to a green one, "Dis one is for Dada" pointing to a small blue one, and "Dis one is for [Sita]!" Pointing at the pink one. "AND dis one is for me, too!" pointing to the purple one.

Yep. Her favorite color is pink. I don't know how this tragedy happened. But at least purple is a close second!

28 June 2008

What I've Been Reading.....

I gave up on finding the lost library book and paid the fee, so now we are library regulars again! Mostly driven by a need for new reading material for the Dude (since we have neither money nor space for all the books he could read!) I know this is a rather eclectic mix: I'm trying to find appropriate books for the Dude for which I am very grateful for a new spate of books with lots of illustration (a la Roald Dahl). It's surprising how many books geared towards boys are rude and disgusting - lots of potty jokes and hating of nerds/school and general rudeness. I also picked up some random books in the New Books section that caught my eye.

Young Readers:

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

I'd seen and loved the movie, so when I saw it on the shelf, I dropped it into our basket (causing much spontaneous weeping and wailing from the Dude - still have no idea why). The book's story is simple and charming - the male sheepdog from the movie isn't even there (eliminating a lot of the movie's contention). I like most that the pig succeeds because he is polite and treats everyone (er...animal) with kindness AND that he sets his mind on a goal (being a sheep-pig) and reaches that goal spectacularly. It is next on the Dude's reading list.

Cal and the Amazing Anti-Gravity Machine by Richard Hamilton

With a title like that, how can you resist? Cal and Frankie (his talking dog) befriend a zany inventor neighbor on his latest experiment. Of course things don't quite go as planned, but Cal enjoys the ride! I like that Cal is curious (which gets him into a bit of trouble) and isn't afraid to try new things. The Dude and I are currently reading this book - even though the first page scared him a bit because it has the word "cacophonous" in slightly-more-difficult-to-read font. He's liking it so far!

Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

I chose this book because I had heard of the Humphrey series and wanted to try it out. It won't work for us because it has too much of classroom/school politics and scheduling for the Dude to really understand (the same problem we had with Frindle, only much more so). The idea of a classroom hamster taking care of his friends in his class (and the teacher!) is fun - a nice "how-to-get-along" book, but I didn't feel it had a real quirky spark which I like when reading.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

This is an earlier book by the author of Inkheart and Inkspell (which I really liked). This was purely a for-me read, since the plot and the fact that there are no in-story pictures made it unlikely that I could convince the Dude to read it. I liked the story, but not as much as I liked Inkheart. Plus, I couldn't help but imagine that horrible merry-go-round in the movie Something Wicked This Way Comes which terrified me! I felt that the children's behaviors and dialogue were believable and I adore Victor, the bumbling private detective; Scipio, the arrogant Thief Lord; Prosper and Hornet and Bo. And it has a happy ending. Mostly.

For Adults:

(all grabbed from the New Books Section)

The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King

I admit, I had butterflies on the brain, so I saw this on the shelf and picked it up. That it was set mostly in Brazil was an added bonus! It's a kind of historical fiction, I suppose - set in the early 1900s - and showcasing the excesses of the rubber-making bosses in Brazil. Set up as a mystery - Thomas returns to England from his expedition to Brazil a mute shell of a man with no apparent reason. He had gone to Brazil as part of an expedition looking for new species in the Brazilian jungle - he especially wanted to find a rumored butterfly so that he could name it for his beautiful wife, Sophia. Nasty things happen to the nicest people and even Thomas gets corrupted. BUT he picks himself up when he returns home (with the help of his wife) and faces his fears. A good book - I stayed up super later than late to read it, but not one I will need to reread.

Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy

I really liked the characterization in this book! Sarah is completely believable as a bereaved widow trying to pick up her life after her husband dies. I like her rebellious granddaughter and her struggles with her grown daughter. The people are so human in their interactions. For the first bit. Then the "let's all live together in peace and harmony" hippy-ness really gets to me. And the "oh, let the new generation do whatever feels good and makes them happy." Too obviously preachy. Otherwise, a well written book.

The Other Mother by Gwendolen Gross

Told from the conflicting perspectives of two neighboring mothers that start out friendly, edge into uneasy truce, and then break out in hostilities ending with 9/11 and uneasy truce again, this is a book about mothers. That was why I picked it up. But the one that was staying at home ended up unhappy and the other was unhappy being a working mother. The "perfect" mothers were the despised target. So, a good book, but not what I'm looking for. I know mothering can be hard, but I feel that aspect is overemphasized in media already, so I don't need to be adding more of it to my life.


Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

If you have a boy, I strongly suggest reading this! I am determined to read Dr. Sax's other book Why Gender Matters as soon as possible. Because I've read this book, I am now paranoid of using plastic bottles (so, if we have another baby boy, it's glass all the way!), wary of public schools (well, the next book probably convinced me more), more open to the idea of an all-boys school and determined to strictly limit the type of video games and time played. Dr. Sax points to the changes in school, video games, medications for ADHD, endocrine disruptors, and (tongue in cheek) "the revenge of the forsaken gods" as factors in why boys are losing interest in Growing Up and becoming Productive Members of Society. What I liked most upon reading this was realizing that the Dude is just a normal boy in his NEED TO COMPETE and that (most) boys are just inherently different than (most) girls (which by no means suggests that one in more or less than the other - just that they're (shockingly!) different!). It also gave me pause about sending the Dude to Kindergarten early.

Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind by Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruf's main thesis is that there are many more gifted children than schools are really set up for and that because of this teaching to the lowest common denominator that a lot of gifted children end up hating school and failing to realize their potential. She also pokes holes through the commonly held thought that gifted children should be kept with their age group so that they can be "socially well-balanced." She divides giftedness into 5 different levels and has examples of children in each of the levels and (more importantly for me) suggestions of how to get the appropriate schooling for each of the different levels. It was also nice to know that other parents of gifted children have had similar problems and frustrations in getting people to believe in their children's abilities. A most informative read, although her focus on math/science giftedness was a little frustrating for me at times. Since a lot of the kids I know would fall into her "giftedness" scale somewhere, I would suggest reading this one, too!

22 June 2008

The Ogre!

Today I had the rare chance to be in the car with only the Sita. Most of the time the Dude monopolizes conversation simply because of his need to know and read and comment on everything we drive by. One the way home from church today, the I asked the Sita how she had liked nursery and who was there. She listed a couple of her friends and then said, "The Ogre!"


The Ogre is from a Charlie and Lola (which you should look into if you're looking for a great kids show on positive sibling relationships (or how to deal with them when they're not) and using your imagination) episode that actually terrified the Sita because for most of the episode all you hear about is The Ogre being mean and scary. It turns out all the Ogre wants is for everyone to be quiet while someone sings him a song so he can get to sleep! Now whenever the Sita talks about the Ogre she usually says, "Ogre nice. Sad Ogre. Wants to take nap. Wants a song."

(Back to the car ride home)

I asked her about the Ogre and she said she was going to sing to him so he could get to sleep. I said that would be very nice of her. Then she stated that the Ogre needed lunch before his nap. I asked what the Ogre wanted. "The Ogre wants Macaroni and Cheese." I suggested that she and the Ogre share some macaroni and cheese for lunch and she squealed, "[Sita] and Ogre eat Macaroni and Cheese for lunch!"

As I braced myself for the addition of an imaginary friend to the table, I realized that I don't often get to just talk with the Sita because she is so often overshadowed (or overridden!) by the Dude! And she is such a delight to talk with! I simply must schedule more delightful time into my day.

18 June 2008


A friend and I celebrated her birthday by going to Gregoire (Cedar just east of Shattuck in Berkeley). It was soooooo delicious! I can recommend the potato puffs, but you probably only need one serving for two people.

15 June 2008

The Sita Bonita Turns 2!

The Sita was most pleased at (finally) having her Pink! Butterfly! Cake!

Thanks to the Spozo and Lady Steed for all their help in making it happen! Thanks to friends that came and celebrated with us!

If you want to see pictures with faces (of which Lady Steed did an excellent job of supplying!), leave a comment or email me!

A Testimony Svithe

One of the reasons I most love being a Primary teacher is because I get the chance to testify about some gospel principle every Sunday to a bunch of young women. Sharing your testimony is Super Spiritual Power! You get re-confirmation as you share your testimony and everyone listening can feel the Spirit and get confirmation for themselves that what you're saying is True.

So much about living the Gospel is only what you can do for yourself (or adding oil to your own lamp)- you can't transfer your scripture reading to someone else or your prayers or your church attendance to someone else. You can encourage and suggest without too much success, but sharing your testimony is Powerful because you can invite the Spirit there and both of you can share that Spirit and feeling that Spirit can change hearts and minds.

Or, as Alma said, "...the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just - yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them..." (Alma 31:5)

I have noticed that I can be talking about the story of the scripture lesson of the week and keep the children entertained, but when I really get their attention is when I am testifying. Or reading a scripture like it is my testimony. Sometimes the challenge is simply getting to the testifying part of the lesson!

For me, testifying is also an act of faith in itself. Sharing something so personal to me and so special is hard because there's always that chance of complete rejection. Since my testimony is such a part of me, rejecting my testimony is like rejecting me. So I don't share it much - which is why I like the weekly reinforced stretching of my comfort zone (which is always good for the soul).

08 June 2008

Did I forget to Mention?

Yes! I have my new Nikon D80! It is wonderful! It is amazing! I love it! I am growing new muscles in my arms for carrying it and hefting it and focusing it. When I'm using manual, which isn't often. Yet. It is amazing the quality of photos I get from it. Amazing. Crazy depth of field. Vivid colors. Beautiful even in lower-light situations. And the flash doesn't look so flash-y.

Ahhh. I am sated.

Although I do need a new camera bag. Accessorize! Any suggestions on where to get a cool camera bag?

06 June 2008

My first post from the iPod touch

.....and maybe my last? Although this is really super cool! What's even better is that it was for free! (Well, that's what the Spozo tells me, at least! :)


I just finished one of my favorite breakfasts:

Sliced strawberries with strawberry yogurt (baby yogurt! full fat but small serving) and granola sprinkled on top.