Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And then there were none....

Busy busy busy but I did want to ask: What happened to Knit the Classics? It done disappeared.

Do you think the Count got 'em?***CV

Saturday, January 26, 2008

There and Back

The trip was amazing. Death Valley is a place every one should visit at least once.

It was about nine hours to get there and that was after changing buses because the first bus developed engine problems before we had left the city (better then though than on the way). During the ride down the children kept htemselves occupied taking pictures, reading, following the trip on a map, and doing activity books. (No movies were shown, no music was played. Yes it is possible to do). As we entered the park a full moon was rising and so we only had the barest sense of what the landscape would be like.

On Wednesday we visited Salt Creek where some of the chldren managed to see a kit fox up close and personal, which the rangers said had not happened for fifteeen years. The rest of the time was spent studying animal tracks, learning about the plant life and water quality that made salt creek what it is. No one tried the pickleweed but apparently desert holly is edible. Aferwards we went to Salt flats which is 282feet below sea level. The location is also known as Bad Water, so named by a prospector who found the water but when he brought his mule to drink it it refused to do so . (Bad Water is actually a habitat for a rare mollusk). Because of the anount of salts that have been deposited there it is possible to walk out onto a sheet of salt which resembles a marble mosaic tile floor. The sheet curves in varying directions so if one imagines the yellow brick road only instead of bricks it is irregular polygons of salt then you have a good image of it.

The following day we visited Scotty's Castle and went back in time to take a tour. The castle is a living history museum so all the tour guides are dressed in period clothing (ours had seamed stockings, a fabulous cinch waist flared skirt coat and a snood) and speak in the present tense of 1939. While there we alos saw two young coyotes who do not know how to hunt. They are very cute and therefore are fed by the tourists despite Rangers' requests not to do so. During the summer the pups will be captured and released into an area where they will be able to hunt or if they cannot provede food for themselves they will be recaptured and put down. While this affected many of the children they (I think ) understood that it was far kinder to do this then to have the coyotes starve to death during the non tourist season.

From there we went to Ubehebe Crater which is also called Coyote's Burden basket and is where the Shoshone believe they first emerged. Then we went to one of the original borax mines and that children were confused by the treatment of the laborers of the time.

I should mention that it snowed early Thursday morning so we got to see a white Death Valley. And on the trip back we stopped and the children built a snowman.
No reading done on the trio but I have started Northanger Abby today (and Carrie I am loving it). Instead I started a lace stole in the Old Shale pattern and I have 2/3's of it done.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Donner vs. 49er

Number 9 Dream, David Mitchell (400pp) Set in the Japan of Now, though it may be parallel, Eiji Miyake is on a quest to find his father. Feeling guilty over the death of his twin sister nine years previously there are flashbacks to his life then and projections on his future. Yet nothing can really compare to what happens to him on the way towards his goal. Killer lady attorneys, drugged out delivery boys who can't tell a live parakeet magic trick from a fake parakeet one (euwww), thunder gods who keep their promises all too well, hackers in the underground, life and death bowling: I suspect Mitchell has a fondness for Murakami.
I Coriander, Sally Gardner (275pp) The story takes place during Cromwell's reign. Coriander is a young girl who inherits more from her mother than anyone suspects. A sweet fairy tale that favors royalists over round heads.
I have three books for the bus to Death Valley: Northanger Abbey, Queen of the Desert and Women's Work, the first 20,000 Years. Having never read Austin but loving gothic horror I figure Northanger is a safe introduction.

Along with two in progress sock projects and some material to practice blackwork on. I hope that the children are similarly prepared *g* ***CV

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ivy laced windows

The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly (342pp) I've read other John Connolly books and enjoyed them but for some reason when this book came out in hardcover last year I never picked it up. I honestly can't say why. It might have had something to do with the premise of a child who loses his mother and then literally loses himself in his books. However, I did pick up a copy last weekend and after starting one chapter late Saturday night, spent all day Sunday finishing it. How could I not when it is retellings through personal experience of classic fairytales? The last hundred pages or so are the author's discussions of why he chose which tales as well the originals from which he drew.
Ghost Written, David Mitchell (426pp) I am almost done with this book having picked it up yesterday. Being home sick from work will allow for that to happen. It is a tale told in ten chapters. Each chapter is an individual viewpoint located in a differnet part of the world and yet all the stories are connected in one way or another. The first chapter reminded me of Murakami's book about the Tokyo subway attacks and it is rather an interesting way in which to start off a novel. There are retellings of folktales here and there but they are not necessarily essential to the plot as they were in the above book. Two sweet stories so far and Iam now on the chapter located in Ireland.
We finished reading On the Banks of Plum Creek yesterday. Well, one of co-teachers did as I have laryngitis. I think I'll bring in Speedwell's Tale from Tales of Watership Down tomorrow (presuming my voice is back from vacation) as I don't think we should start another chapter book before our big trip next week. It will also allow me to get a sense of possible reactions to Watership Down.***CV

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

toasty toes

Oh my goodness! Warm warm wooly red socks. Yummmy!

I have been kniting socks, lots o socks the past year or so but not necessarily wearing said socks. I wore my tall tall red pippi knee highs today and was not cold at all. I could get use to this. Whilst wearing said comfiness I also realised what will help make my knee highs stay high ( as one was knit a little taller than the other) and now I am wondering whether I should order that Kilt Hose book I saw at Schoolhouse last night or wait?

Decisions decisions. I do want to start the bog jacket.
No reading as I have been busy the past two days laying down the law. Perhaps I can read this weekend***CV

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Zooks! Egad! and Demme

The Scarlet Pimpernel****(264pp) Well now, I think I know one of Barbara Cartland's sources of inspiration *g* It's a cute story even if the heroine (who is supposed to have one of the keenest wits in Europe) acts like a space cadet a lot of the time. Good guys rescuing aristos from the clutches of madame guillotine; unscrupulous republicans doing their best to keep royalists from winning; pride getting in the way of true love; thugs at the inn; black pepper in the snuff box; really creative explicatives; etc.

What can I say? It's of it's authoress' time.

Not sure what I will read next. I SHOULD be readng about Death Valley but maybe I'll start the Count of Monte Cristo early instead.
Went to the LYS again in spite of the lghtning and thunder that was occurring. Picked up some more Noro sock yarn as well as a copy of Selbuvotter by Terri Shea. (Thanks to teabird's squirrel mittens :) **CV

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the bell is striking twelve

Today is the last day of winter break. Tomorrow begins child care and then come Monday School begins. Heh. Yeah so I made the most of today. Went to practice and there were only ten of us! Compared to the thirty or so in a cozy 18 person sized space it was positively cavernous (or is that Jules V. speaking to me?).

Afterwards I went to the yarn shop which was: OPEN!

So I got me some Noro Sock in Go Green and I doubt they will be sox, but whatever, and I got me some BONE needles. This is for the go green goth in me (silliness now bodes ill for the kiddies tomorrow ). Also, I now have a copy of Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Then I went into work to just make sure that things were okay. Well, and to enjoy the calm that is an empty classroom.
Finished Journey to the Center of the Earth last night and started the Scarlet Pimpernel today. Since I actually own a copy of the Count of Monte Cristo I may join up again with Knit the Classics. Still thinking.
I'm considering a classics book group for the class as well. Two actually: one monthly and one bimonthly. Again, still thinking.****CV

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Look it's a mammalian tortoise!

I am almost done with Journey to the Center of the Earth (Jules Verne, 239pp). It is quite different from the movie I remember seeing many, may years ago. I do not want to hear of any remakes thank you, shudder, Dr. Dolittle comes creeping to mind. For one thing there are no competitors trying to get there first, which I recall as being a rather big plot device in the film. Alos I think there was woman on the expedition in the movie.

What I like about it is that it seems wonderful chapter book for the class at the beginning of the year. I would love for the children to hear certain parts and be able to say "Wait a minute, he went where? Because he thought the earth is hollow?? That can't be right!" "They ran into a what? Were they even alive at the same time?" And there is much mention of the diferent geologic eras of the evolving earth which I think would be great as well.
I found a copy of Women's Work, the First 20,ooo Years (Elizabeth Wayland Barber) today while milling amongst the blob like mass which was "50% off all calendars today" at Pendragon books. One would have thought it was the ONLY place open today, yikes!

I also got:

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The Greek Myths, Robert Graves
Irish Folktales, ed. Henry Glassie

Because, you know, I will have SO much time to read once the school year begins again***CV