A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Home Sweet Home

What makes a house a home?

This is the question I've been pondering lately. My family moved a lot when I was a kid, and it really never seemed like we put down roots. The only place that ever really felt like "home" to me is the Stone House, on the farm where my grandmother still lives. Though my family only really lived there 5 years, it still is the place my heart calls home. Now, the family uses the Stone House as a retreat, kind of like our own personal B&B, a place to stay when visiting Grandma.

As an adult, I've moved quite a few times, too. I find it hard to accept any living quarters as a "permanent" home. We've always rented -- why buy a house when you expect to be moving? Though we've lived in our current place for something like 6 years, it's never felt like home.

Well, we are getting ready to move again. This time, it's a welcome change. We have outgrown the house we currently rent. And the house to which we are moving is perfect. Perfect size, perfect location, perfect for us.

So I'm wondering. What makes a house a home? How long must a person live in a house before it starts to feel homey?

A book to read at home: Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Serious Reading Endeavor

I've been reading again.

I didn't really stop reading. But sometimes I just read for fun, just frivolous little fluff bits that entertain me.

Not this time. This time, it started as a serious endeavor.

It began with an assignment for my class. I'm taking my last master's class, Children's Lit. We were assigned to read Lois Lowry's The Giver.

I've read the book before. Apparently, it was so long ago, I'd forgotten most of it. Or maybe reading it again with new eyes caused me to see it differently.

What an amazing book! It is well-written, chock full of foreshadowing, symbolism, and vivid imagery. This imagery despite the fact that no one can see colors or have feelings!

I was so impressed, I had to read the sequels! The only one our school doesn't have is the finale, the fourth book. So I'll have to check it out from the public library.

Our assignment for class was to read The Giver. Next week, we will have a class discussion (via messageboard) about the novel. I can't wait to see what my colleagues think about the book!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Autumn Weather

I love this season! I love fall weather, when the temps start cooling down to livable levels. I love the seasonal rain showers and cloudy mornings. I love the fog just barely lingering when I head out to school in the morning. I love the turning leaves and the leaf piles that spontaneously appear in my yard. I love the way the air smells after a fall shower.

Last week was unbearably warm, even for Oklahoma. It was so nice to wake up to cloudy skies this morning. And then the beautiful rain shower this morning! It's still gently sprinkling outside. I love the high school library's bank of windows that let me watch the rain falling.

Monday, September 10, 2012

More About Grandmas

This morning, my husband's last living grandparent passed away. Grandma had been sick for quite a long time. She had recently been moved to the nursing home, but due to cancer in several areas, she was in a great deal of pain. The past couple of days had been very hard. So, while the call this morning wasn't really a shock, it's still hard to say goodbye. It's hard to imagine life without her.

When I first met her, I thought she was the most genteel Southern lady I had ever met. Her favorite color was dusty rose -- and as a widow with a house all to herself, the entire house was decorated in that color. I had never met anyone who had done that. (I thought she was probably exceedingly rich; she wasn't.)

I never really told anyone that until the past year or so. Everyone got a kick out of it, and once I heard her tell about her life as a child, I understood. Her family was dirt-poor. She told great stories about picking cotton and tending chickens. It was a harsh life, far from anything I can imagine. My favorite story was of the large family (she had 8 siblings) moving to a new house, but not having room for grandma in the truck; she had to ride in the back with the chickens.

To me, though, I will always see her as that proper, stately Southern belle that I met the very first time. I hope the family finds items the proper shade of dusty rose to use at her memorial service.

It also occurs to me that now my children have just one grandmother left = mine. And my grandma is 92. That thought has made me suddenly sad.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And so it goes...

So, my final (I hope) grad class is back in session. It's not a difficult class, but it will involve LOTS of reading and writing.

I started a bit later than the rest of the class, so I've been doing catch-up work this week. I'm all caught up, and I've started to work on my MAJOR project that's due at the end of the semester.

What does this project involve? LOTS of reading and writing! (Surprise.)

The class is Children's Literature, so I'll be reading children's books. Thankfully, that fits in well with what I do every day. It just involves doing MORE.

Which means less time to do the other tasks I have to do at work. It's going to mean more hours at work, and fewer hours with my family.

And so it goes...

Here is one of the children's books I just finished reading and reviewing for my class: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. Great book, fun read, and my son loved it too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Grandma

My grandma, 92, is in the hospital. She had a heart attack on Monday, stints put in yesterday, and is doing better today.

My grandma is my rock. Since I lost my mom, and my mom-in-law, who were huge in my life, I have relied so much on my grandma.

I don't get to see her too often, since she lives so far away.

And it's very difficult to live so far away now, when she is in the hospital. I can't go see her, reassure myself that she's going to be okay. Or reassure her that she's going to be okay.

Grandma lives in Kansas. Kansas is very much a part of who I am!

Books about Kansas? Try Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, or May B by Caroline Starr Rose. Different takes on historical fiction, but both are great reads.

Maybe I'll read a little to take my mind off worrying.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Building Fences

I've been watching a homeowner in a neighboring town building a fence around his yard.

We drive by this particular suburban area every time we go to McDonald's or Sonic. So it's been interesting to watch the fence-building project.

Originally, the home had a typical contractor-constructed wood fence. I assume the homeowner was unsatisfied with the workmanship or the look of the fence. At any rate, soon the fence came down.

Thus began the never-ending fence-building project. Several large brick "posts" were built at intervals all along the yard edge. Then, a brick ledge appeared, followed by wooden fencing.

Still, the homeowner wasn't satisfied. The next time we drove into town, he was demolishing some of the brick pylons. Soon, only the corners of the yard had their brick structures still standing.

Now, the fence is completed (again). It is a wooden fence (much like the original fence) spaced between brick posts anchoring each corner.

Yes, it is a nice fence. Was it worth a year's work? I don't know.

This process got me to thinking about how many things in life that are perfectly fine the way they are. Yet somehow, I feel the need to change them. For change's sake, I suppose.

Guess I will have to keep this in mind next time I'm thinking of changing...