Tuesday, January 31, 2006


This semester, as I've mentioned before, I'm taking Storytelling. This is perhaps one of the most fun classes ever. Last night I told for the first time. We have to each tell a story three or four times during the semester - each time for an increasingly more aged audience (in our heads, at least. We only really tell to our professor and the eight other people in the class).

So last night I told to a preschool (3 1/2 - 5) audience, and I told Lon Po Po Lon Po Po A Red Riding Hood story from China by Ed Young. Well, what I told was based on that version, but it was quite a bit different by my own design and also quite a bit different because we told from memory, not with the book in our hands. I got into it. I'm one of those people who will go ahead and make a fool of myself (which is fantastic for being a future children's librarian), but will secretly obsess about acting like an idiot in private. It's a bit of a crazy way of doing things.

ANYWAY! If you can't ramble in your own blog, where can you ramble, eh? Telling was fantastic. I know I messed up once, but everywhere else I just felt like the story was flowing from me. My audience laughed genuine laughter multiple times - and right when I wanted them too! Nonetheless, after I was done, I was terrified that I'd messed everything up, gotten the story a bit wrong, moved waaaay too much, etc. The Professor, though, was abso-freaking-lutely fantastically glowing in telling me how wonderful I'd done, etc. She said (and this amused me) that I had done a great job in differentiating the three sisters in my telling. In my head I had a definite idea of Shin, Tao, and Paotze. I knew them, but in my practicing, and I thought in my telling, I hadn't done anything in voice or body language to show this differentiation. Maybe I just internalized it so much (I over practiced for this) that it came through anyway. One of my classmates commented, "Are you a dancer?" to which I responded, "I used to be." "It shows," she said. "You just have a way of moving that's graceful and beautiful. It was fantastic just watching you tell."

Anyway - I'm happy. I fell all good about a future as a children's librarian. I feel like this is something that I can spend the rest of my life with. That's a great feeling.

Crochet posts to come

When I started this blog I debated discussing my crochet projects, but I did not own a digital camera so I figured "how boring would it be for you to just describe what you've done as opposed to actually doing it?"

Anyway, I got a digital camera from my in-laws for late Christmas, so I've decided to start posting about all the fantastic stuff that I hope to someday create. Being a full time student, a part time retail worker, and a full time newlywed, though, I have found it difficult to actually get some crocheting done.

For Christmas (this time from my husband AND my mother in law) I also got a drop spindle ... so I have even more crafty-related things that I really aught to be doing with my free time and sharing with the world.

I have just discovered project spectrum. This seems as good a reason as ever to kick my butt into gear! Especially since the project I most need to complete (the one that would hopefully get done in March according to the project) is all reds and pinks. It was supposed to be a Christmas present. Don't ask.

Anyway, just wanted you all to know to look forward to actual picture-full posts to come. I'm going to go update some links, then come back and post some more about Storytelling.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Norton Internet Security Silliness

I just upgraded reordered Norton because the stuff on my computer was almost expired and out of date. I ordered it and got it all ready for download, and the old Norton warned me that new Norton was about to begin downloading and warned me that I really should think about it before I did something like that. Apparently it didn't recognize it's own signatures and authorization.

So I get it downloaded and it just told me, "Mozilla Firefox is attempting to access the internet. Block Always? (recommended)"

I just giggled. I'm appreciative of Norton keeping my computer safe, but sometimes it just makes me giggle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Just a quick one

I went to see Narnia tonight with my husband. It was so amazing-tastic-licious! I loved it, even though 15 or so minutes into the film (after the kids were already at the professor's house) a dozen or so high school or college aged people came galumphing in. Normally I don't mind a little bit of noise, but this was loud talking. They all got seated and then the one on the inside wanted to get out, and she tripped twice - falling flat on her face (not exagerating this one!) and scream-laughing as she did it. Really I don't mind noise during a movie. It's my husband's biggest pet peve (now he's claiming it isn't his BIGGEST pet peve and that I should take it away .. and DON'T PUT THAT!!! ARG!) and I always secretly laugh because it isn't that big of a deal! This time, though, I wanted to thwack them all one by one (during a movie about forgiveness and sacrifice nonetheless) ... especially the one who was giving the running commentary to the drunk girl ("the lion is supposed to be JESUS!" - "Oh! Look! It's not the White Witch after all! It's SANTA CLAUSE!" - "You're a dumbass who can't figure out a children's movie so let me explain it to you!").

It is late and I have to sleep watch Superman with my husband, so good night!

Monday, January 23, 2006

The California Pizza Kitchen makes something they like to call the Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza ("Roasted garlic, grilled chicken, Mozzarella cheese, mild onions and Italian parsley with a white wine and garlic-shallot butter sauce."). I like to call it crack. I love it. I keep it in my freezer for whenever I'm not in the mood to cook. It just came out of the oven - I'd covered it with pine nuts, because I wanted to, and now I am eating the entire pizza by myself.

This is a very good thing.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crab Apple part deux

I have had my email beaten down with requests (well ... one, that is) as to the awesomeness of the Crab Apple book I mentioned in my last post. My answer to the question, "Is the book awesome?" is an undeniable yes.

Crab Apple only uses 10 words, but it uses them to their fullest. It is a heartwrenching tale of a crabby crab apple who sits all alone under a tree. A worm comes bump bump bump bumping by and the crab apple, in a fit of nihilistic withdrawal from the world, the crab apple crabs at the worm. The worm, frightened and unsure of this pessimistic world view (being a generally optimistic worm) says "eek!" and squiggles away. Alone again, but not for long, because a beautiful blue bird also comes along to say hi to our hero the crab apple. The crab apple would much rather be left alone, and in a fit of existential disgust the crab apple again crabs at the blue bird. The blue bird, in harmony with the worm who came before also says, "eek!" and flies away.

The crab apple is finally alone, until the worm comes back ...

I don't want to ruin the ending for you, I just want you to know that the ending only uses two of those ten words, but it really is a truly special moment.

And that concludes my first book review on this blog. Do keep an eye out for many more. Probably many more children's books, since that is where my life is this semester!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm a Crab Apple

When my sister Mar-see-ah was learning to read right before and during kindergarten, I was 3 - 3 1/2. I watched over mom's shoulder as she was teaching her and I learned too. One day I picked up a book called Crab Apple from the library that my sister had been learning from, and I read it to my mother. Mom, at first, didn't believe that I had learned to read - she thought I had just memorized it from having heard it over and over again.

I showed her!

But this is not a story about me being a genius (although that is a happy side effect of the story - you all think I'm a genius). This is a story about that book - Crab Apple.

After the week or two was over, Crab Apple had to go back to the library, and I went on my merry way - sometimes reading, sometimes not, for a full year until it was my turn to really learn to read. I went to the library's easy reader section and searched and searched for this book. I never thought to ask a librarian or even my mother for help, I just looked and looked and looked. I never found it, and this has always been a source of much despair and anguish in my life, although again I have never searched a card catalog for this book.

A savvy reader will notice that I have linked multiple times to this book. I have found it! Well, I didn't find it myself, per se. This semester I am taking a class called "Library Materials for Children." The first day of class we were all asked to talk about the first book we can remember loving. I told them the story of Crab Apple, lamented never having found it, and admitted to not really looking the way a library science student should have.

And that was the end of that.

Or was it?

One of my fellow students works in a library. She looked this book up and then posted to blackboard that she thinks she has discovered this book in the card catalog. Her library, in fact, has it - as well as three other libraries in the Chicagoland area, and she has placed it on reserve so that when it comes in to the library she will be able to bring it to class.

A second one of my classmates saw this post, checked the library that she worked at, found it on the shelf, and brought it to class on Thursday night. Everyone clapped and cheered, and they asked me to read Crab Apple aloud. I did, and I felt like a prom queen. It was fantastic.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Back home safely!

Shhh - don't tell, but I've actually been back in Chicago since Wednesday night. My lack of updates can be easily explained, though. I got in late Wednesday. Thursday was the first day of school. Friday I worked all day and just as I sat down to give a real update the power went out! So you all had to wait until today.

The power - that was crazy. Chicago apparently does not know what to do with weather. Near the beginning of winter we had about a week of winter. Snow - negative temperatures - super chilly. Then it started warming up. Today, as an example, I wore a tank top with a light cardigan over it. I had my coat with me, but I didn't wear it. Thursday the high was 56. Madness, I tell you! Madness!

Yesterday, though, the weather briefly remembered that it is January - in Chicago. It snowed like ca-razy. The weather report said the high would be 44 and it would be sunny. By quarter to 7 when I left for work it was raining. By 11 it was snowing. It snowed and it snowed and it was gross wet snow that comes just following a rain when it's barely cold enough to snow. I worked and came home and let myself rest for awhile. I was just sitting down to blog when my computer went out - and my lights - and .. well .. everything. Our circuit breaker is notorious for just randomly going wonky. Part of our apartment is hooked into the neighbor's circuit, half of it with the other neighbor's. I don't understand - it all gets sorted out somewhere. At first I thought that the circuit had just broken somewhere. Then I realized it was both halves of the apartment that had lost electricity.

I opened the door to the hallway and discovered pitch blackness. Working at a store that sells tons of candles, I just so happen to have tons of candles. I lit some then made sure everyone in the building had them. On a random note - if you are making an "in case of emergency" tub that has candles in it? Get pillar candles or jar candles or anything but tapers! Don't get me wrong - I love tapers as much as the next taper lover, but you have to find a candle holder for them and they don't last as long. Pillars really aught to have a holder just to be sure, but they don't NEED one to stand up and not catch everything on fire.

Since I have so many candles I started putting them all in the bathroom to create for myself a cozy well lit reading place. I was thinking of how I'd take a picture with my new digital camera (!!!) of my beautiful candle lit reading space/bathroom and blog about said space and how the lights going out really made my night so homey and cozy and made me a better person. Unfortunately, just as I was finishing getting the space ready (an hour and a half after the lights went out), the lights came back on, so I did what anyone else would do and played EQOA all night.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quick and dirty before work

The husband and I are going home to visit family tomorrow morning, super early. I will probably post once or twice while home, but I shall probably be more sporadic than usual. We'll see.

I just dropped the kitten off at my neighbor's house to be taken care of for a week. I miss her like crazy!

Monday, January 02, 2006

It's funny - I have all sorts of posts in my head that are waiting to be typed, but when I get online to blog I rarely type up my old posts - instead I type about what I want to type right now.

Today is no exception.

I am a tea addict - absolutely and completely obsessed with tea. When I was in college, my friends and I would hurry to Dobra Tea multiple times a week. I always got the Yogi. The two friends I went with most often got the Memories of Prague (over which she would always share her memories of Prague. She's gotten herself quite a few more since we last went. Next time there will be tons to talk about), and the Rooibos. Other friends I went with were a bit more varied - There was often a Rize Cay at our table, sometimes a Boston Tea Party, or a Mate Rancho. It was great times that will be revisited soon.

Being winter, my tea addiction has thrown itself into the ring with full force once again. During the summer I let it wane, trying a couple new varieties of iced tea, but not being nearly as obsessive as I usually am. I spent a fabulous evening last week with my husband's best friend's parents, aunt, and uncle. Sounds crazy, but it was great. My husband has always been close with his best friend's parents, and they were in town visiting family and invited us along. It seems that my friend's aunt is also a tea drinker and it was great being able to sit and talk and have fun over a cup of tea. It always seems to slow everything down when tea is involved - to bring everything more sharply into focus.

The main point of this post was to share some great tea links I have found. After posting this I'll probably add them to my sidebar just in case I attract tea addicted readers in the future.

Adagio Tea is great fun. Someday I plan on investing in their Concert Tea Pot. I think it would be great fun to sit that on top of my desk at a library and just sip tea all day while sorting through books and ephemera, living the romanticised idea of what a librarian does. I know it wouldn't really work like that, but let me have my dreams, ok? Adagio has a huge selection of tea, great tea pots, and if you have a tea lover in your life but don't know what to get him/her, they also have gift certificates! (Why didn't I discover them before Christmas? Oh the tragedy! (: )

Numi Tea is also fun. They seem to have a huge collection of "display teas," which seem like way too much fun. I'm especially excited to try their Dragon Lily, but that might just be the name. All their teas are organic and packaged in sustainable materials to appease the inner environmentalist, and someday when I'm not a poor grad student I plan on spending way too much money there.

Rishi Teas are also all organic, and they're completely fair trade. They seem (from my limited view of them) to have a Japanese bent to their tea-stock, with more oolongs than anywhere else I've noticed. This is a great site for someone who doesn't know much about tea, because they explain all the different types really well at the top of each page.

Argo Tea is really not the best tea house and a pretty crappy website. They make concentrated tea every morning then dilute it and heat it when it is ordered. That said, the loose leaf tea that they sell is absolutely fabulous if you buy it and make it themselves. Around where I am it is sold at Whole Foods Market, so it's one of my staples and I heartily recommend the tea. Just stay away from the tea house! (:

Tea Map is good for when you want to find a tea place near you. I've found a bunch more tea rooms near me that I am going to drag my fellow tea addicts to when they come to visit me.

I'll stop there, for now. Perhaps soon I'll find more and be forced to let you all know! For now, though, I just want to let you all know about these great tea sites.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

There are reasons I love Neil Gaiman.

May your [2006] be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't to forget make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in [2006], you surprise yourself.