Sunday, April 29, 2007


I'm getting ready for an overnight with the class so I'm just posting the titles of my most recent reads and will fill in the details later.

Wonder tales: Six French Tales of Enchantment, ed. Marina Warner
Ironside, Holly Black
Echo, Francesca Lia Block

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Today after practice I entered a discussion in which the phrase "Ladder of abstraction" came up. As I understand it an abstraction is when a person generalizes from a specific experience in such a way that the specific situation no longer has to be dealt with. For example: "Today (x) yelled at me" becomes abstracted to, "Nobody likes me." A ladder is comprised of all the steps one takes from the specifc event to the generalization. The ladder idea is nice because it froms a path that one can follow back to the specific.

In a somewhat related situation I was browsing the local new age/ spiritual shop and as I was perusing the Thich Nach Hahn shelves I came across a slim volume related to Sangha building.

I found both of these situations insightful as in my particular line of work abstractions are continually being formed by the individuals in my care; beings who are not only learning how to become a community among themselves but developing the skills to create community no matter where they go.

(Not to mention the couple who asked one of the shop attendents what Ganesa represented. "Hmmm? Oh, most ommonly he is known as The Remover of Obstacles.) ***CV

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Query

What to say about a person who goes into a shop for one thing:

Wonder Tales: Six French Stories of Enchantment, Marina Warner

walks out with the above, and:

Ironside, a Modern Fairy Tale, Holly Black
Necklace of Kisses, Francesca Lia Block
Echo, Francesca Lia Block
The Light-Bearer's Daughter, O.R.Melling
after putting back:
New Moon: the Special Edition, Stephenie Meyer
Ruby, Francisca Lia Block

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Troll Toll

Harrowing the Dragon, Patricia McKillip (308pp) A collection of short stories some of which have been printed in other anthologies. For the most part I enjoyed these shorts and had a pleasant revist with a variant on the Snow Queen. There is a short based on Romeo and Juliet told from the point of view of an investigating soldier after the suicides have been disovered; there is a Baba Yaga tale which was cute and a few stories such as The Stranger which I found forced but then there was The Witches of Junkett and a Troll and Two Roses (Troll Toll!) which made up for the weak spots. I could see Troll (with a little editing at the end) being performed as a monologue so easily.
Mortal Love, Elizabeth Hand (364pp) If you can imagine Algernon Swineburne as a hero, well, then you are halfway there with this book. Absinthe, crazed artists with a seriously surreal streak, more absinthe, Bloewdd, The Owl Service, lots of green, and why it might be better not to go home with someone you just met 'cause they might, you know, be an immortal primary source or an escapee from he local mad house down the moor are all present. The narrative style reminded me of Possession but more disjointed and less landscape oriented.
Snow-Walker, Catherine Fisher (505pp) I don't know why but I do seem to be reading an awful lot of Snow Queen stories lately. Snow-Walker which for some reason I had thought was set in Russia is in fact set in Norway. The America edition is actually the collected three volume series originally published in England and this explains why there seemed to be an inordinate amount of recapitualtion and a slight disjointedness in the narrative. However that minor hiccup aside each of the tales is a good read and reflects a different source: volume one The Snow Queen, volume two Beowolf, volume three East of the Sun and West of the Moon. They are based lightly on these tales and are definitely evolving quest stories. Snow-walker is the "youngest" feeling tale I have read so far of Ms. Fisher's work and I am curious how The Oracle Betrayed will be. I did like that Raven Wraiths. I wonder what would happen if they and the Crow Girls met?
One of the children learned today why rolling a skein of yarn into a ball is best done after carefully placing the skein around something before winding first. After an hour and a half he still had a tangle to sort out. At least it smelled pleasantly of oranges, as it had been dyed with Koolaid the previous week for our school auction :)
Oh and Angel Sanctuary, GodChild and Cain Saga (all the latest volumes are at the Powell's watrehouse! So I'm going to order them to have something to read on my way to Prom! If you're on the plane I'll be the one reading the book about angels being mean to each other and Gothic Lolitas loose in Victorian England poisoning people***CV

Monday, April 23, 2007

one out of three

After practice this morning I went to Peet's and spent about two hours reading Snow-Walker and working on my amber spider shawl. I almost treated myself to a container of their jasmine fancy tea (how could I forget their jasmine tea?!) before treating myself instead to a new book at Powell's. Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand (pre-raphelite muse madness)

All in all it was a very pleasant birthday, the sun even came out and stayed out. One of the teachers at practice this morning improvised a candle to wish on which was very sweet.

I am now half way through both books :)***CV

Sunday, April 22, 2007

a riddle

A riddle a riddle as I suppose,
what do these three share
(no, it's not clothes!):
William Shakespeare
Vladimir Nabokov


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rag shop

I said I had my dress for the Prom already. And I do. However, a certain shop around the corner and down the street from me happens to have a rack of prom and bridesmaid outfits. I decided to browse through them. Just to look see.

One was a lovely sleeveless one piece, green velvet top and chiffon skirt, that looked good on from the side but not the front. Oh well. I'm just looking.

Another was a deep purple two piece halter top with long gauze ribbons that tie into a draping bow in the back, and fitted full length skirt. I'm talking almost Tyhrrian purple. A third was a dark chocolate brown, composed of a satin so fitted it gave the appearence that Marylin M. had forgotten one of her formals at the cleaners and so it had arrived at the shop. A fourth was a silver grey silk that looks pearl blue in some lights.

All of the dresses were floorlength to the point of having small trains.

I really liked the purple but it was not in my budget. *sigh* As I changed back I noticed that there was a zipper open, one I hadn't remembered using at all. "That's odd" I thought. So I looked closer. It seems the ribbon ties had hidden the side zipper feature. It was open and had no Pull to close it with.

I brought it up to the counter as the price tag had not been marked "as is", and showed it to the sales person so they could change the tag and the next person would know to check for the damage.

"I wanted to show you something I noticed," I said to her.

"Did you want this dress?", she asked as she checked to see if the tag had been marked as damaged goods.

I said I liked it but having to get it repaired didn't make sense to me. Besides there was another dress I was going to try on.

"Well I could discount it." she replied.

"Oh?", I was curious but even with a discount I didn't think it would be reasonable with my budget.

"Yes. Two dollars."

*blink* "Two dollars off of what it is now?"

"No. Two dollars total."

Funny. I now have another dress for the prom. I'm off to search for some hooks and eyes***CV

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Talked with the children today about the changes that are coming. Most of them were very together about it. Apparently yesterday (I was out on a professional day) there was a bit of agitation and a group meeting was held.

Today one child asked if I would be staying when the school moved and I said no. Why not? Because things are changing and one of those things that I will be most likely moving.

"Are you happy where you might move?" asked another child.

I said, "Yes"

"Then that's what's important."

"But I'll miss you", said the first one.

"Yes, but she's happy where she's going", the second child told her.
I guess even when you think what you're saying is not being heard, it is :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

handsome has been....

Frogged. It just wasn't working out. And I kept thinking, "It's going to get longer each successive row. Do I really want to invest the time....." So I spent most of the afternoon trying the Spider shawl instead.

Who knew frogs and spiders got along so well.

Today it started out warm. Poured. Cleared to brightness. Hailed. Stayed overcast. Warmed. Hailed, and then cooled.

Oh Mr. Weatherforecaster: What 'up?!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gabe and the Sibyl

Prom Nights From Hell, Meg Cabot et al (304pp) I finished this last night before going to sleep. I kept wondering if maybe the title should have been Buffy at Prom but I guess not. It's an Ok collection of stories. By which I mean it wasn't bad enough to be offensive but my goodness could it have been fluffier? Yes, I read the Monkey's Paw when I was nine and so the terror supposed to be induced by the Corsage was not going to happen. I suppose what bothered me was that the girls were so unheroine-ish. I did kind of like the Sibyl tale but the Wonder Woman part, egads. And honestly how could Gabe's middle name not be Michael? So if you're looking for a fluff book that is okay to drop in the tub, or leave on a plane, you could do worse than this one. I'd class it with Gothic.
Still trying to assess the interview. The first was "Oh I guess that didn't go so good". Then I got a second call tonight and we're trying to arrange an in person. Still.... I think I'm too honest. Must work on that answering without answering technique.....
56/246 complete****CV

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Just Silver

Dangerous Angels, Francesca Lia Block (478pp) I picked this book based on the prose style alone. Having never read On the Road this book still struck me as a tangerine bubblegum dream of what On the Road could have been, if I had bothered to read it. FLB writes in a fairy tale but modern style and this particular collection has a be-bop fey flavor all its own. I really can't say much about the plot itself without givng it away. If Valley Girl was seen through rose tinted hipster surfer boy silent era lenses, well, it might be like this.
Darkhenge, Catherine Fisher (240pp) This tale combined so many of my interests: celtic mythology, neuroscience, artists discovering themselves, the English-Welsh border, faith both pagan and christian, the unknowable boundaries between dream, reality, self delusion, and awareness. All wrapped up in a somber atmosphere that struck just the right tone of dark for the older reader without tipping into the overly creepy.
I started to read Strange Candy last night. It was all right. Not right enough to keep reading it so I returned it today and checked out Grand Avenues about the architect L'Enfant who was the original designer of Washinton, DC; and Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia McKillip.
50/246 rows completed so far*****CV

Saturday, April 14, 2007

slinkster cool

I am currently reading Dangerous Angels by Lia Block. It is a story told in wonderfully sweet poetical prose. As a girl behind me in line today said, "That is a seriously cool book." I think I will be finished by tomorrow, or not.
After returning the first of what will be several large bags of library books today I checked out two books to bring back:

Snow-walker, Catherine Fisher
Strange Candy, Laurell K. Hamilton
I fell behind on the Handsome Triangle which meant that I needed to do 45 rows today if I was going to be caught up. I've done 17 of them so far. I think I see why Ina said for her it wasn't a challenge. But that doesn't mean it is not challenging for me. I had to cut one of my markers out because I had somehow manged to knit it into the shawl.

Still. Markers are a wonderful thing to have. They are keeping me sane.
After practice today the studio held a workshop on the Art of Communication *cue TZ music*****CV

Friday, April 13, 2007


I had several interesting conversations with parents today. One of the central themes of these discussions was when does writing actually click and become a natural means of communication. Was there a certain age or are there signs of its emergence? Is there some way of teaching this skill so that unlike reading it is actually teachable rather than a realization that only the individual can come to?

I don't know when this moment occurred for me. At some point though I realized that writing is conversation without sound. Perhaps somewhere in my voracious reading this thought was presented to me by an author and I unconsciously accepted it as very sensible and the next time I was asked to write, I did. It must have happened sometime after that Presidential report I was required to do in the fourth grade though.

That was a struggle. I had never written any report until that moment and had no idea how to go about it. Maybe I had done a book report but nothing else I'm sure.

We keep journals and everyday the children record what work they are doing, the times they did it and a sentence or two about the work itself. At least that is the vision; but many, many times I hear:

"What should I write?"

To which I reply by asking:

"What did you do?"

Then they tell me what they have done, so I say:

"Then write that."

Which is followed by a confused look and the query, "Write what?"

"What you just told me."

"What I just told you?"


"What did I say?"

So maybe writing as communication comes only after you can hear yourself speak.***CV

Thursday, April 12, 2007

arboreal masque

The big announcement was made today and one of the parents came in tears to the class. The next few months should be interesting.
If you have not read any of Catherine Fisher's work I suggest you do so now. Of the two I have read Corbenic is dark (but it is Parsifal so how could it not be) and Darkhenge is a combined retelling of Taleisin and the Battle of the Trees with some Persephone thrown into the mix.

I may have to suffer the trade edition of Snow Walker after all.
I have an interview scheduled for next Monday. ****CV

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ding Dong Dell

Darkhenge, Catherine Fisher
Dangerous Angels, Lia Block
Prom Nights From Hell, Meg Cabot and others

I think I may have found a new author to collect: Ms. Fisher. I only wish Snow Walker would come out in a better edition. It's too thick to read comfortably in paperback.

It would seem the intuition I tend to ignore was right again. Big changes are a'coming***CV

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Undine, Penni Russon (325pp) I read a review of this book in a forum I particpate in and was led to believe that this story dealt with birds and their worship. Instead it is a variant of the Tempest. This is not necessarily bad only I did keep waitng for what I thought would be there but clearly was not going to appear at all. it's a cute story if a bit too magical for my tastes. It is also very much set within the author's culture. I'll leave it at that. That bit was charming to me and will probably carry me into the sequal which is titled Breathe.
Thank you to my well wishers. Today was better. Yesterday was just an angry day, and I am not an angry person, so I was not at all prepared for such negative intensity. Ick.

We're doing stuff for National Poetry Month. Basic things like rhyming, creating couplets, figuring out rhyme schemes and measuring poems. Today we combined measuring and schemes through Haiku. I'm planning on some Triolet, Rondels and Villanelles as well.

And we started reading The Phantom Tollbooth today.
I am on row 23 of the HAndsome Triangle. My goal is three repeats a day which (if I can actaully do that) will have me finished in 21days.****CV

Monday, April 09, 2007

Dire-er and Dire-er

Troy: a Novel, Adele Geras (340pp) I purhased a copy of this book about four years ago but never got around to reading it. I think I eventually gave it away, though it may still be lurking in some as yet unlooked in spot. At the time I thought I would really like it but whenever I actually picked it up I couldn't become involved. Some books must wait for the right moment. I read Troy over the weekend and found that I enjoyed it, if enjoy is the correct word for a story about the last days of Troy when Hector is killed and dragged by his heels around the city walls, where Gods and Goddesses appear and warn people only to have those same people forget they've been warned as soon as the deity disappears. The narrative is told from multiple perspectives (servant, soldier, Greek, Trojan, Noble, including three old women who represent a chorus) and the chapters are brief which can be a bit unsettling if the reader is used to spending time in depth time with angsty characters. The author has also written another story called Ithika.
It's been one of those days where one is really glad to be home and say, "Well that's over!" For what ever reason I was not a happy camper and no matter what I did to try and snap out of it I couldn't.

Maybe reading some more of Undine will help.***CV

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Desert Aslan

I have decided to make part of my prom outfit: the wrap portion. Last night Chris was kind enough to send me some links to look through in my quest for the perfect "oh my god it's 98 degrees at 6pm" shawl.

Did I mention the Prom is in AZ? Yeah, and me with that lovely could be whiter than snow white complexion. Plus the notorious habit of hot states overcompensating for the external temps by creating an indoor ice polar twin. A shawl is in order.

I have less than a month. I thought I should be realistic. I've decided on the Handsome Triangle from Victorian Lace Today in Helen's Lace colourway 'Aslan'.

I sense that reality and I may be drifting apart.***CV

Saturday, April 07, 2007

modern times

Practice has been very challenging this week. Not so much the postures as the actual movement -I've felt off center, which in a balance is not such a happy situation. Probably pretty amusung if you're watching though ;)
Seutonius has been my commute reading. Goodness me. Julius was apparently quite the ladies' and gentlemen's man. Also, even though he liked power he had a bit of difficulty getting it. Everytime it seemed it was a ripe time to go in and take control he'd have to high tail it out of Rome. I have such the image of Rome at Night and this toga'd individual creeping in ala a Warner Bros. sneak and then, after peering around a corner, doing a Tex Avery bug eye and skeedaddle: over and over again.

Of course then he got to be Caesar (which is not to say he was King) so it worked out for him. So the difference between King and Caeser? Apparently dictator was more likely to win tpublic acceptance and approval where as calling oneself King was not OK: go figure.

A republican despot? A democratic dictator? Fine.*
A king ruling subjects? Face our mighty wrath!*

I'm now reading about Augustus.

Those wacky Romans and their disagreements. I bet if the air commision had been around back then there would have been far less stabbing of senators with stylus' and the odd dagger or two. Of course I really think that if you're concerned about someone recording your speech that there must be a better way to resolve the issue then having the recorder's throat slit. I really think the latter behaviour draws attention more to the issue then it avoids it.

Hey, but that's only my opinion. Put the stylus away please.
Being on a budget makes one so very appreciative of this institution known as the Public Library. Today I brought home from said lovely invention:

Undine, Penni Russon
I am Morgan le Fay, Nancy Springer
Troy, Adele Geras
*So this analogy of US with Rome gains more and more credence as time goes by. Does this mean Lost, American Idol and Survivor are our Circuses?

Friday, April 06, 2007

rhyme time, metric shmetric

Considering April is national Poetry month I thought I would find out what poetic form the quiz creators decided to assign me.

Oh looky! I could be one of two, this:

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.

Or, this:

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.

For some reason I think of the Caterpillar vs. the Cheshire Cat****CV

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Well I am now all set: I have both sets of tix, I have most of the outfit, I have a place to sleep.

I realise that what I am doing is in a way frivolous. But then I think how often does one get to treat oneself to something so frivolous? When I went to Ottawa, using some inherited money, that might have been considered frivolity, but, it is one of my best memories. How could it not be when I got to see much of what deLint writes about in his novels and the place where he lives?

Funny, but it appears to be authors who inspire me to these types of trips. One day I will make my deQuincey pilgrimmage to the Lake Country.

Too it gives me a story to tell. And what is life if there is no story to be told of it?****CV

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Going to the Prom

I have the dress, now all I need is a plane and and a place to sleep.

I wonder if any of my commenters have read the Stephenie Meyer books yet; Twilight and/or New Moon.
This week I have read:
Hexwood, Diana Wynne Jones (379pp)
Pagan's Vows, Catherine Jinks (381pp)
Corbenic, C. Fisher (281pp)
Today I purchased:
Seutonius, The Twelve Caesars
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnisian War

I almost picked up a copy of Mordred by Vivian Van Velde but I realized that I've seen it at the library. I will be adding Corbenic to my collection. One can always make room for another Parsifal story. ***CV

Sunday, April 01, 2007

As promised...

Coming this fall (according to the publisher). The artwork is by Mike D. He also worked on some of the original Sandman series.
I finished Hexwood but 'll save my comments for later.Today i went to the library and checked out:
Pagan's Exile, Catherine Jinks
the Stolen Child, Keith Donohugh
King of the Middlemarch, Kevin Crossley-Holland