Category Archives: Me

Goodbye, Sweet Kitty

Our sweet kitty left our lives Wednesday morning.  After about 19 years of life (he was an adult when we met him, we don’t know precisely how old he was), his body was done, and it was time for him to rest.

There's nothing like a bedtime story for a good night's sleep.

Did I mention he liked books?

Curled up with a good book

Now that's just greedy. And it can't be comfortable.

Don't worry, you are cuter than that dog (to me, at least).

Well, I was reading that.

It took me awhile to find my book!

E-readers count as books, too.

Just can't resist!

Of course, sometimes I'd have the book. He'd make do.

After his summer lion cut

Enjoying the summer sun. He's so small with no fur!

The best present, year after year.

Under the tree a little too long?

Look at all that fur!

Clean laundry, being folded = cat bait

9 years ago, he looked bigger. Or maybe we were smaller.


Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Book Shot, Me


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Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger HopI’m participating in this week’s Book Blogger Hop!

This week’s question is
“If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?”

My answer–

This is a tough one!  I’m tempted to say Jasper Fforde’s Thurdsay Next books, because Thursday has the ability to jump into a book :-).

Beyond that, I don’t really know.  Every Utopia has its dark side, every friendly community has its outcasts. I might enjoy the world of a book from the view of its characters, but where I live now is the life I’ve chosen in the location I’ve chosen.

Here’s what the Book Blogger Hop is:

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list!!

Drop a comment and say hello! Point me to your post and check out the other blogs on the hop.


Posted by on March 25, 2011 in blogging, books, Me, meme



Make some YA book suggestions!

Can you suggest some books?

Nerds Heart YA

My first request isn’t for me. It’s for nominations for Nerds Heart YA.

Nerds Heart YA is an annual tournament of books.   Right now, nominations are open for Young Adult books published in 2010, depicting or written by someone in a group identified by the organizers as being underrepresented in YA fiction.

If you know of a good book that meets that description, and has not been heavily reviewed in the blogosphere, please nominate it!

Geography tie-in

This set of suggestions is for me, or rather for my daughter’s class.  When they return from their next 4 day field trip (the one I was reading Measure for Measure to discuss with them in preparation for), they will dive into their geography unit.  I’d like to come up with a set of Lit books for them to read and discuss in small groups.

  • The class in made up of 7th & 8th graders at very wide reading levels, so suggestions from slightly lower to much higher difficulty are welcome, as long as they are interesting to 12-14 year olds.
  • The class is about 2/3 boys, so I particularly need books that will appeal to them.
  • Classics, historical or contemporary fiction are good.  They’ve already done a round of science fiction and of (Greek Mythology linked) fantasy this year, so I’d avoid those genres.
  • I don’t really know what I mean by a geography tie in.
    • Maybe something they could track on a map?
    • Something with travel and adventure?
    • A book featuring maps?
    • A book where the terrain and physical features of an area plays a major role?
  • Well written and good fodder for discussion would be very helpful too :-)

Leave suggestions in the comments here, e-mail me, Tweet me, send me a Facebook message.  I wouldn’t suggest carrier pigeons (I have a cat) or smoke signals (too cloudy), but however is easiest for you to get a message to me.

Thank you!


Posted by on February 20, 2011 in books, Me


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What I’m doing when I’m not doing bookish stuff

In general, I talk about the bookish side of my life here.  As with everyone else, I do have other things that keep me from reading and blogging all of the time.  Some of them are important– the time I spend with my daughter and at her school.  Some of them are not– anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows I like Farmville and other such games.

Starting in early November, my time is sucked into one of my husband’s hobbies:

I’ve set up a blog with some information on the lights.  I help out, I try to keep things from getting too out of control, and I try to program the musical sequences.  I did the Muppet one last year, with some help from my daughter.

I’m working on another one this year, and I find this extremely time consuming.  Since I’m trying to work with the music I’m choreographing to, I can’t even listen to an audio book while I’m doing it.

Together with the general craziness of the season, that’s where a lot of my book time has been going!


Posted by on December 5, 2010 in Me


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What do you let your child read?

Natasha at Maw Books posed a very interesting question on her blog. I’d strongly suggest you head over there and read her post and the discussion there. The question concerns whether you’d let your child read a book by an author convicted of possession of child pornography.

I answered there, but the question started me thinking, and I wanted to get some of those thoughts down in a lengthier fashion here.

What do I let my daughter read?

My general philosophy regarding my daughter’s reading (and movie and TV viewing, which I’m stricter with than I am with books) is that my job is to give her the tools she needs to make her own decisions, and the skills to deal with it when she doesn’t make the right ones.

I’m lucky in that my daughter (now 12 years old) isn’t a boundary pusher.   If I tell her that I don’t think something is a good choice for her, that’s usually the end of it.  She’s now interested in my reasons, which I think is a good thing.

When has this come up? The younger years.

When my daughter was young, this rarely came up– Her friends at school had similar taste in books, so she didn’t ask about many books that caused any hesitation on my part.  I can think of two examples of when we went beyond an initial discussion.  They both were books that dealt with difficult subjects, rather than inappropriate ones.

The first time was when she was in second grade, and was reading through the American Girl books.  I hadn’t yet bought her the Addy books, which deal with slavery, but I hadn’t told her why I was holding off.  When I asked her if she wanted to get them, she said yes, but she’d already read them at school.  I asked her what she thought, and we talked a little about slavery, which she pronounced “weird”.

(Two follow-ups on this:  We let her pick whichever historical American Girl she wanted for her birthday later that year.  She picked Addy, because she had the most interesting character and best story, even though some of the other dolls had prettier clothes.  Also, about a year after reading the Addy books she read something dealing with more modern racism.  She was far angrier than she’d been over the Addy books– they had happened in the past, she didn’t think that people would still behave like that NOW).

The second was a similar situation, with Number the Stars.  She was in third grade, and the middle school put on a play based on the book, which deals with children escaping from Nazi Germany.  For her age group, the parents and the kids both had the opportunity to opt out of watching it, so we talked about it, comparing it to Addy’s escape from slavery.  She watched it and was so impressed she wanted to read the book.

I bought it, telling her that I thought it would be a good one for us to read together (I was as concerned with reading level as content).  She immediately picked it up and read it herself, and again, we had a good discussion afterward.  I’m glad we talked about it, and she proved more ready to deal with the issues than I gave her credit for.

What about now?

The issues are much different now.  She has a great group of friends, many of whom also really enjoy reading, and some of them are moving on to books with older themes.  She’s starting to enjoy a romantic aspect of books.   She now sees my books around the house, and asks about them (I remember that 7th grade was when I transitioned to reading adult books).

I tell her what I think she might/might not like about the book in question (if I need to look it up, I will).  In many cases, saying I think it’s too grownup for her is enough.  If she wants more information, I’ll oblige– I think in some cases, she’s interested in a conversation rather than a book, so turning the discussion to other books suits her even better, but if she’s legitimately interested, we get into whatever detail she wants.

I have discovered there is a difference between the content I will recommend for her, and what I will approve for her.    This seems obvious to me in retrospect, but I hadn’t really expected it.  In general, I’m not going to introduce a difficult subject unless she’s shown interest or I think she’s going to need to deal with it for some reason (like giving her Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret a few years ago.  She didn’t have any interest in talking about those particular aspects of growing up, so I thought giving it a fictional face would help.)

You can read on my blog about when someone gave her a copy of Twilight for her 11th birthday.  The conclusion was that I told her I thought she’d like it better in a year or so– it was very focused on romance, which she wasn’t particularly interested in yet.  She elected to wait.  She asked me about it this summer, but hasn’t gotten around to getting out her copy to read.

I’m not sure how I’d handle it if I had a child that (for instance) sought out violence in his/her books.  I do know that once my daughter leaves her elementary/middle school, with its safe library, I’ll lose control of what she reads.  I’m much better off instilling skills rather than compelling obedience.

But what about Natasha’s Question?

Yes, I know this is far afield from the original question Natasha asked.

I do know I wouldn’t want to buy books by a convicted pedophile, simply because I wouldn’t want to support him.

If my daughter wanted to read books by such a person, what would I say?  Could she read them from the library or borrowed from a friend who bought before the news broke?

Unless my daughter had reason to think the subject matter was iffy, it wouldn’t even occur to her to ask me, so it might be a moot point.  If she did ask, I’d tell her why I objected, but if she still wanted to, I’d probably let her, although I might want to read the book myself first.

After I picked my daughter up from her morning at photography camp, we had lunch, and she asked what I did today.  We got to talking about this blog post.  It turns out she has very strong opinions about separating the book from the author.  We had a good discussion, but I don’t think I changed her mind.

What do you think?  Where are your boundaries?  What do you think your primary mission is with regards to your children and what they read?  How does it change as they age?


Posted by on July 12, 2010 in books, Me


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How I write audiobook reviews

I’m participating in Audiobook Week at Devourer of Books, in honor of Audiobook Month.  Today’s topic is How to Write an Audiobook Review.

I first need to admit that at this time, an audiobook I read has a much smaller chance of being reviewed  than a paper book (nook books don’t have a track record yet).

There are several reasons for this:

  • An audiobook isn’t likely to be a book I recieved for review (although I hope this changes), and review books have priority for getting reviews written.
  • An audiobook is more likely to be a just for fun read, due to the way I end up picking them out, and I’m less likely to have something to say about it.
  • Not having an easy way to go back and check on details and not knowing the spelling of names (and honestly, often not remembering the characters names) discourages me and sends me on to other reviews.

Still, I do write audiobook reviews, and hope to start writing more.

In general, I review audiobooks the same way I review other books.  I’m primarily reviewing them as books, rather than as audiobooks.

In the past, I might not have referred to the audio aspects except in passing, unless there was something noteworthy about the narrator or the production.  Even before this week, I’d been debating changing that.

Some books work better than others as audiobooks.  I still hope to get to another post this week on why this is true– sometimes it is the book itself; sometimes it is the production.

I’m thinking of adding a section at the end of each audiobook review, with a short comment on

Narrator: I’m not overly judgmental, but sometimes one contributes to a story by use of accents or voices, and sometimes a narrator just doesn’t quite sound right to me.

Better in audio?: For the most part, I think books work equally well for me as audiobooks or as traditional reads.  This would call out those where I’m glad or sorry I listened.

Is it worth adding these each time, even if they’re usually just “I liked the narrator” and “Either audio or paper would be fine for this book”?

Any ideas for catchy tags for each of them?

I’m looking forward to reading about how everyone else writes reviews of audiobooks.


Posted by on June 22, 2010 in blogging, books, Me


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Why audiobooks?

I’m participating in Audiobook Week at Devourer of Books, in honor of Audiobook Month.

In general, I listen to a little more than one audiobook a week (6 last month, 62 last year).

The primary reason I listen to audiobooks is because I can read at times when reading a book the traditional way isn’t possible. Driving the car, shopping for groceries, washing dishes, watching gymnastics practice are all fair game for reading now.

Really, I like to multitask. I get itchy doing only one thing at a time. So now, I listen to books while playing games on my computer, skimming e-mail (I do have to pause the book when I want to really pay attention to something involving words), I even have one going (albeit one I’ve listened to before) while I’m typing this post, although I can’t write a review while listening to a book.

There’s one other reason I like being plugged into my MP3 player most of the time– I suffer from tinnitus (ringing of the ears). My ears are a noisy place, with a constant high pitched ringing. If I’m listening to something else, it is much less annoying. Music works for this as well, but overall, I’m more of a book person than a music person!

In general, listening vs. reading doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a book– I hope to talk about the cases when it does (for better or worse) later this week.

What about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Why? (If you have a post up on the subject, feel free to leave a link).


Posted by on June 21, 2010 in books, Me


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Imaginary Friends

After reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and then discussing it with my book club, I started remembering my daughter’s imaginary friends. I dug out the notes I made when she was about 5, nearing the end of her constant talk of “The Imaginaries“.

This is long, but I think it’s funny.

Amelia had her first imaginary friend before she turned two. The friend’s name was “Miss Blue“. Sometimes she’d want me to play the part of Miss Blue, sometimes she would be Miss Blue, and sometimes Miss Blue was there, playing with us. Miss Blue had been in our lives for a month or more when we went to Target one day. As we were going down the aisles, Amelia’s eyes got big, and she pointed and shouted “Look! Miss Blue!”. She was pointing to a Blue’s Clues bath mitt– one that was like a puppet. She had seen other Blue’s Clues toys– I think she may even have had some already (she loved the show), but none of them were “Miss Blue”. I bought Miss Blue for her, and Miss Blue was only present in the bathtub from that day on.

When Amelia was 1 1/2, she got her first doll for Christmas . It cried, and she was terrified of it. We took the sound box out, but she still wanted nothing to do with it.  Just before her second birthday, she found the doll and started playing with it. Amelia named her “WisWis” and started calling her Baby WisWis. Since she was interested, I gave Amelia an old doll of mine, and she named this one “CeCe” (called Baby CeCe).

After a little while, she’d play with Baby CeCe and Baby WisWis even if the dolls weren’t there.  Soon “Big CeCe” and “Big WisWis” joined the crowd– they seemed to be older versions of Baby CeCe and Baby WisWis. Amelia would be sitting in her carseat while we were driving somewhere. Suddenly, she would start waving and yelling “Big WisWis! Over here! I’m here! I’m here!” and a conversation would commence.

Her relationship with the four of them came to a tragic end sometime when she was 3.

Amelia had taken Baby WisWis and Baby CeCe (the dolls) into the bathtub with her. Baby WisWis had a cloth body. I squeezed her out as best I could, and hung her up on the towel rack to dry. Amelia was amused by this. Baby CeCe had a hollow body, and water leaked inside. I got out what I could, but some water remained. Amelia pointed this out the next day. I performed CPR on Baby CeCe, and water came out of her mouth. Amelia did NOT like this.

The next day I was informed that Baby CeCe and Big CeCe were taking naps, and couldn’t be woken up. After they failed to wake up for several days, I grew concerned, and checked on Baby CeCe, who appeared to have developed pneumonia– she still had water in her chest. I took her to the baby hospital (out of Amelia’s sight) and cleared up the congestion.

Amelia was still somewhat suspicious of both real and imaginary CeCes. Unfortunately, Baby CeCe lost her leg in a tragic accident shortly afterward. That was all Amelia could handle.  CeCe and WisWis had to be kept out of site, and all four imaginary friends were at home taking naps any time I asked about them.

She never again wanted anything to do with the doll CeCe, but the doll WisWis eventually returned to play. The imaginary friends have not been seen since.

I don’t remember when generation 3 of imaginary friends started– I do remember Amelia playing school with them the summer before she started preschool, so I’d guess it was just after she turned 3.

First was LaLa, followed by Emily and then Lau.  These were more run of the mill imaginary friends, at least to start with.  They were joined by a secondary cast that would come and go– many I only heard about a couple of times.  A few (like Doot Doo and Imaginary, among others) made repeated appearances.

Then, they (the imaginary friends) developed friends that were not Amelia’s friends.   She was quite clear on this, and would tell us about them.  The didn’t seem to be troublemakers, and I often wondered whose choice it was not to be friends:  Amelia’s, her imaginary friends’ or the other friends’.

Next, the imaginary friends started having imaginary friends (which were different from the friends they had that weren’t Amelia’s friends. That’s right.  In the world of the imaginary friends, there were real friends and imaginary friends).

We were at Costco for a BIG shopping trip, and Amelia asked if I knew why the cart was so heavy.  I listed some of the heavy things in the cart (including her) and she said that was part of it. It was REALLY heavy because I was pushing the cart with her in it, and she was pushing another heavy cart with Lau in it, and Lau was pushing a heavy cart with one of her imaginary friends in it, and Lau’s imaginary friend was pushing a cart, too.

There was also a period where I would need to babysit Emily any time Amelia left the room.  I’d need to give a full report when Amelia returned.  This is the only time Amelia has wanted me to acknowledge the imaginary friends– I never needed to set a place for them, or keep from sitting/stepping on them.

There were several months where Lau would have at least one birthday a week. Lau’s age at the party varied widely, however.

The change from generation 3 to generation 4 was very subtle, and I’m not entirely sure I should call it a new generation. LaLa hadn’t been around for at about a year, and Emily for at least 6 months.

At this time, Lau only appeared in one context. If I said we were going somewhere, and Amelia wasn’t sure she liked the idea, she’d tell me she needed to pick Lau up somewhere at that time, so she wasn’t sure she could go.  If she thought about it and decided it was OK, then she’d tell me Lau could stay all day at gymnastics camp, at extended care at preschool, or something similar.

I stopped detected new recurring characters.  She’d spend a huge amount of time playing with her imaginary friends, but it was different– she would tell a long, drawn out story and interact with them.  She’d use different voices for different friends, or she’d say “Musashi says….” and then “something something says Aubrey”.  She was much less likely to make up names, they’d often belong to classmates.

She told me she had “a thousand hundred” imaginary friends. She dubbed the whole troupe of them “The Imaginaries”.  She’d say things like “we have a really big family if you count The Imaginaries”.

Once she started elementary school, The Imaginaries disappeared, or at least went undercover (After reading this,  she says they all went to their own big house).  Her voice would be much softer when playing, so I didn’t get as much of the story and of the characters.  I miss The Imaginaries!


Posted by on November 15, 2009 in Me



Bloggiesta checkpoint #1

It’s been almost 6.5 hours since I started, and I’ve been working on Bloggiesta for about 3 of those. I was dealing with mom/kid stuff for the other 3, although I was able to listen to an audiobook for about 30 minutes.

I need some help

My check-in is under this section.

I’d been planning on updating my icons/avatars/favicons, although I forgot to add that to my Bloggiesta post.

Please help me pick the best one!

1. a cropped picture of me

L book icon 1

2. A filtered picture of me

L book icon 2

3. Filtered book 1

L book icon 34. Filtered book 2

L book icon 45. Filtered book 3

L book icon 5Please leave me a comment, e-mail me, or contact me on Twitter and let me know which one you think works well at the full range of sizes.

What else have I done.

1 hour on basic setup, initial post and this one, checking out challenges, and keeping up on blog related mail/twitter.

I’ve spent about 1.5 hours on the avatar/icon thing.

30 minutes on the mini-challenge from Emily’s Reading Room.  I already had a Google Alert for my URL, and I’ve now set one up for my blog name, with a comprehensive search.  I also added my full name, but only searching blogs– there are too many people that share it for me to want to know every time it comes up. I’ve asked questions if there is anything else I should do.

30 minutes on the mini-challenge from Lynn from Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile.  I submitted a request to the BBAW directory and verified I have a request pending for Fyrefly’s Book Blogs Search Engine.  I joined Blog Catalog and Blog Search Engine. I looked into several others on the Essential Blog Directories list. Several are fee based, at least one requires a 6 month history (I just hit 2 months).

And I REALIZED– If my I meet my primary Bloggiesta goal, and migrate my blog to self hosted soon, I get to do all of this again! Sigh.


Interestingly, choices differed by contact method, but they ended up being relatively evenly split between 1,2 & 5.

I think this means that the pictures with my face do work, so I’ll go with one of them, and looking at them today, I think I prefer 2.

And I can always change later :-).


Posted by on June 19, 2009 in blogging, Me


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Book Shot– my TBRs

Book I'll be reading soon?

Books I'll be reading soon?

My To Be Read pile was falling over, so I cleaned off my side of the headboard and sorted the books into it.  Note that this is only books acquired since Book Group Expo last year.  Anything older than that is pretty much inaccessible at the moment.  I’d like to think I’ll get those sorted someday as well.

This isn’t as fun as my previous Book Shot.  Check it out if you haven’t already!

On an unrelated note:  This marks my two month blogiversary!


Posted by on June 17, 2009 in Book Shot, Me


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