Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's a new dawn...it's a SNOW DAY...

...and I'm feeeeelin' good!

Snow Day! Snow Day! We're having a snow day!

PLANS: Finish John Flanagan's The Burning Bridge. Sip hot tea. Work on "Immortal Memory" speech & toast for this Saturday night's Burns Supper. Sip hot tea. Play with dogs until fingers are frozen...which will require lashings of hot tea.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

PLAN UPDATE: Share Karen's amazing Apple Bread recipe with the world before we lose the tattered, splattered piece of paper stuck on the refrigerator...

Apple Bread

3 C. (plus 1 tsp.) whole wheat flour (stone ground, preferably)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 C. diced apple
1/2 C. chopped nuts (pecans, preferably)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour (except reserved teaspoon), cinnamon, baking soda, salt, & baking powder together. Set aside. Beat eggs & add sugar & oil. Add vanilla and dry ingredients. Stir in apples. Mix nuts in reserved teaspoon of flour and add to batter. Bake in two greased loaf pans for about an hour at 350.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a new dawn...it's a new day...

...and I'm feeeeeelin' good!!

Today's historic bulletin board!

Before the Inauguration, we were simultaneously connected via Distance Learning to a live correspondent on the Mall in D.C. and to students from Kenya, New York, and Michigan!

And then DURING the Inauguration, we had over 200 people in the library! After the Inauguration, we played the tape each period until the end of the day for various visiting teachers, regardless of class subject. (Kirsten and I watched the swearing-in five times today!)

And then, after school, the good folks at Reynolds delivered our NEW TABLES!!!

Workin' hard.
Lookin' good.

And then, while I was finishing up today's post, BESSIE LOU CALLED. (Could this day get any better?) She was able to watch the Inauguration at work today, even though she took a little heat for being an Obama supporter. We both agreed that Aretha was amazing, and that Joseph Lowery was, too. (Bethany thought it was funny that I was in tears all day because I'm a Huckabee-Girl-For-Cryin'-Out-Loud, but when Mr. Obama stopped and hugged John Lewis, I got chills. When Rick Warren prayed, I was moved. When Aretha sang, my heart rejoiced. When Joseph Lowery prayed, my heart skipped a beat.)

What a day...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Real Men.

Well, it should come as no surprise that Chesley B. Sullenberger III is a TEXAN! The "Hero of the Hudson" used to be Burnett Sullenberger, president of the Latin Club and president of the band council...the band in which he played First Flute, btw.

Click here to see an interview with his sister and his Denison High School yearbook. (Oh, and Denison H.S. has invited him to this year's graduation exercise AND his 40th high school reunion!)

And since we're on the topic of Real Men, here's how they hug.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Merry Sunday!

Did you hear The Writer's Almanac on New Year's Eve? It was a particularly good one; maybe Garrison knew a lot of us would be off work and listening to NPR on December 31st. The best part was the quote by Junot Díaz, who said of writers: "What we do might be done in solitude and with great desperation, but it tends to produce exactly the opposite. It tends to produce community and in many people hope and joy."

YES!! Exactly! Isn't it wonderful to share a great book with friends? Like the old book club we had at Franklin. Like reading the Bible with your brothers and sisters. How my parents are currently halfway through Marley and Me right now, enjoying every page all the more because they have a new yellow Lab puppy cavorting around the house while they read it.

Some of my family's fondest memories are of READING together...or better yet, watching Dad *trying* to read Patrick McManus to us--gasping, wheezing, wiping his eyes--choking out one word at a time through his tears of laughter. (My dad's laugh is infectious, btw. While my red-headed grandmother would crack up everyone else with her shrieks and gales, my dad's laugh is even more potent, but in a different way. When Dad has to hold onto furniture, racked with nearly-silent spasms of jocularity, and all you can hear is wheezing and sputtering and gasping, you can not NOT join in. You may not even know WHY you are laughing so hard, but you have succumbed to Dad's Laugh Virus.)

Ooh, and it hasn't been all fun and games with the reading, either. Mom and Dad had us all in tears when they read that sentimental poem about the bell in the churchyard by John Godfrey Saxe, a favorite still.

Or when Karen and I creeped ourselves out listening to Rosemary's Baby on tape driving home from the Delaware shore, sandy and sunburned and scared of Satan.

Honestly, one of my family's greatest legacies will be the memories of books and reading together, each of us draped over some well-worn piece of furniture around the crackling Franklin stove, book in hand. You know that line "richer than I you can never be...I had a mother who read to me"? Yeah. That's how I feel about my parents.

To be honest, though, when Papa Keillor read the Díaz quote, my first thought wasn't of my family, but of poor Charlie Gibson. When he read an advance copy of The Book Thief, one of the best books ever, he was distressed because no one else he knew had read it...he had no friends with which to share and discuss this amazing work. Mr. Gibson related his quandary to the young author in an interview at:

(Go ahead. Click it. You have fast Internet, and it's an amazing interview. The author made his own dad cry and considered it revenge for all the spankings he'd received as a boy...)


*I walked/ran 2.5 miles in mismatched shoes the other day...and didn't realize it until Karen and I were standing in Office Depot later that night. (She asked me to accompany her to the store and assured me that I "wasn't too stinky.")

The bad news? The people in the park must have felt sorry for the Crazy Dog Lady. The good news? I found out that the New Balance foot felt better than the Nike foot.

*Right now, at this very moment, our three dogs are doing three different things with the warm sweet potatoes I just gave them. Ben has discovered that there's more to the baked sweet potato than just licking the sweet syrup off the jacket and is tucking into the orange yumminess within. May Bee licked hers a few times and is now sitting with her back to it, guarding it. And Dolly? She's burying hers, scooping the dirt back into the hole with her delicate little nose.

I love Sundays. Sunday Baroque is on the radio, hot coffee is in my mug (HEB's Houston blend), towels are agitating in the washer, Houston's giant shoes are banging around in the dryer, I'm getting ready to fill out the church nametags, and all is right with the world.

(This week, Ms. Bradshaw had her kids do research on the Greek gods and their final step was to say which god or goddess they would most like to be. Kids who loved the ocean said Poseidon, kids who loved books said Athena, kids who want to be President someday said Zeus...but it turns out I'm Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home, who just wants to sit by the fire and let the world go by...as long as there's a book and dog nearby.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

You're not a dog person?

Okay, it's no secret that I love Haven Kimmel and believe everyone should read her books (although perhaps Iodine is just for the truly Kimmel-addicted). Here's a quote from Iodine I liked almost as much as the one from She Got Up Off the Couch:

"I'm not a dog person, people say, I hear it all the time. Oh? Oh, you're not a dog person? Are you a zombie, an automaton, a marionette? Is it about your carpet? Your beige carpet? Or is the nuisance, the caretaking, the ritual? Is it about how you'd prefer not to be bothered, or how you find a certain level of sterility necessary in order to support your loveless marriage and your absurd career and your rapid decline and death? The death you will go to without the irritant of dog hair on that black suit, split up the back by the undertaker? Is it because you don't understand that dogs are Other, they are messengers and wild animals--they could survive just fine without us--and they are carnivores, they are dangerous, they could kill us (and do), and yet virtually all of them choose to live in harmony with us for reasons we will never understand? There is no species of mammal on earth with greater diversity: a papillon is a dog, and a Neapolitan mastiff is a dog, and a greyhound is a dog, and a mutt scavenging at the edge of a garbage heap in Calcutta is a dog..."

Going to sleep with my favorite dangerous carnivore beside my bed,

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!


Can you see Dolly's pedicure? We took Taylor's "Pittsburgh Steeler" toenail polish along to the groomer!

Happy New Year, everybody! And thanks to the Parkers and the Bushes for such great New Year's Eve parties last night...even though I didn't see midnight, I heard it was great.