Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes

This book is a sparkling jewel. The narrative voice is funny and distinct, a lot like Lemony Snickett, but less pompous and less grating. The plot is a lot like Roald Dahl, with completely outlandish and impossible events and talking mutant animals and magic elixirs. Yet the narrator and the main character Liberty are both somehow compelling enough that these impossibilities are easy to imagine and believe.

Liberty has two super awful parents and the only way she has managed to cope with their abuse is by reading her way through a library of books that she found hidden in her house. Although he is pure evil, her father is also a "friggin genuis". Liberty manages to escape from her parents by breaking into her father's secret laboratory and drinking some of his potions. She has never been outside of her house and must use her own incredible wits and her new friendships in order to avoid capture.

One of the potions that she steals lets her talk with animals. She befriends a street cat and a pigeon. The other potion makes her float up into the sky. In addition to the animals she also makes a couple of human friends as she searches for a private school that she read about once, where she imagines she will finally be happy. I can think of lots and lots of kids who would enjoy reading this book.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Fun

I'm cooking up a fiesta of Mexican cuisine this evening. There is no occasion. I just love good food and it's a nice way to bring together many of my favorite people. And it's summer! We can eat outside. And, HELL, I've got nothing else going on these days. HA HA HA. Isn't teaching a fabulous profession? Seriously friends, summer vacation is a part of the annual teaching cycle that I'm learning to relish more each year.

Touch Blue is the title of a very lovely little book I just finished. It would be a fast read for lots of sixth graders, but has complex themes about wishing and about what makes people a family, and about luck. The setting was an island up in Maine with a family with a dad who is a lobster fisherman. Cool stuff. I don't think this book is officially published yet, but Lisa, my librarian sister, has come through again with two full boxes of great books that she has bequeathed to me and my classroom. Thanks sis!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Faeries of Dreamdark

I am a hobbit loving fantasy freak. I inhabit a world that my active and powerful imagination is constantly filling with magical creatures and stories. I am currently in the process of writing an alien/sorcery adventure. Yet--I rarely come across new fantasy books that I truly enjoy. Even Harry Potter didn't kindle much of a flame for me.

Lo and behold! I am only on page 99 of the first book in this series, but the hook in my reading mind is already set deep. The tug of being reeled through this world and story is a steady and wonderous pleasure.

A desperate wish: that I can somehow get this book for either a literature group set or even a whole class read-a-loud set. Shush now, I can wish.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tapioca Pudding

I had never cooked this before but it's one of my best mate's favorite desserts. We basically followed the recipe on the back of the Kraft Quick Cooking Minute Tapioca box. We used half whole milk and half skim and quadrupled the recipe. It was a good thing we had a huge stew pot or it would have overflowed. We added a little extra sugar, but not more than a tablespoon. And also an extra tsp of vanilla at the very end. It took about 20 minutes to heat up to a boil, but thickened right up perfect. I'm glad my best mate was there to help me learn this one.

Result: it was delicious hot, maybe would have been a little better hot with all whole milk. And it has been super delicious cold. We cooked it on Saturday and it's already gone.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Shaping My Year

I've never been much of a goal setter, Mormon Taoist that I still am. But last January I set my sights on some reasonable goals and accomplished most of them. It felt pretty darn good to look up the metaphorical mountains and say I am going to climb those. And then proceed to climb them. And so...I'm gonna give goal setting another go.

2010 goals:
*Run that Centerville 4th of July 5K again and beat last year's time.
*Summit 12 mountains, but be safe and sane about it.
*Write two books. My brother getting published has lit a scorching fire under my butt on this lifelong dream.
*Get to where I can do 25 real push-ups
*Get Stabbetha, my World of Warcraft character, to level 80 and beyond!
*raft a river or two
*Read 100 books
*Keep peace, hope, love, and trust in my own heart and life
*Memorize 3 poems
*Write 5 poems
*Try out some new recipes and keep enjoying all the old ones

On a different, but related note--it's somewhat terrifying but also quite wonderful to recognize how far a stable and supportive relationship can go in healing deep wounds and in helping me shape a gentle, happy reality.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

Cooking lots and lots of delicious food is a new passion of mine. My best mate is a super complimentary, honest, and always grateful consumer of my cooking efforts, which continues to fuel this new passion like oil on fire.

I considered starting a new blog or wiki with recipes, but this one will do just fine. If you try out a recipe and would like to leave feedback or suggestions, PLEASE comment.

I've been craving a new pumpkin dessert for a couple weeks. The original recipe for this delicious dessert was from my mom's recipe collection and was called Pumpkin Squares. I renamed the yummy dessert, added a little flour to the topping, but kept everything else in the recipe exactly the same.

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (less 1 cup to use later)
½ cup butter, melted
1 egg

Mix together and press in a 9 X 13 inch cake pan. It will be like a cake batter.

1 large can pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¾ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk

Mix with an egg beater and pour over the bottom layer.


1 cup reserved cake mix
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Blend topping with fork as in a pie crust. Sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

late night trains

thunderous screeching
blue sparks
oil and grit
exhaled crushing

weeds blown wide in the dust
blurred landscapes
parallel rails
constantly coupling
never touching
warehouses and dreams slip by