Twitterature - March 2014

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Twitterature! 

Yay books!

Sometimes you get really lucky and find a string of books that keeps your attention... then sometimes you read winner after winner and the birds sing and the sun shines and... well you get the picture.  It was a good book month for me, and I can't wait to share!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - In a near future post-apocalyptic setting, staying alive is the only goal, but the father and son main characters have a relationship that transcends that.  Equally beautiful, touching and disturbing, this book really struck me as one that will stay with me for a long, long time.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - How have I gone all these years without reading this beautiful, wonderful book?  This is one I skipped when it was popular because, well, because I was a snob and didn't want to read what everyone else was reading, but it's been on my to-read list for years.  And it was so wonderful.  This fictional story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob, is one of the most astoundingly beautiful things I've read in a long time.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion -  This story was super cute and held my attention to the last word.  Don is a professor of genetics who is pretty set in his ways.  He decides it's time to find a wife based on a certain set of very specific criteria... then he meets Rosie, who is absolutely none of those things.  What happens next is predictably unpredictable and touching and funny and wonderful.  I picked this one based on MMD's reviews and she was spot on!

The Returned by Jason Mott - This was probably my low reading point for the month.  The tv show based on this book has been ALL OVER THE MEDIA, so I thought I would give the book a try, and it was only ok.  As a matter of fact, it was so meh that I skipped the tv show too.  

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell - This super quick read (it's only about 150ish pages) is about Alma, who is telling the story of a long-ago explosion at a local dance hall to her grandson.  She is the only one who knows what really happened on that long ago day, and by retelling the story she pieces it together for the readers.  

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - I saved the best for last!  This is a fictionalized account of Hadley Hemingway, first wife of Ernest Hemingway, and their early years together.  I've always been a huge fan of Hemingway's work, but to me Hemingway was - in my mind - a fully formed brilliant author.  This background into his early years when he was a struggling writer trying to find his voice was an amazing addition to what I already knew about him.  I can't say enough good things about this book.  After I finished it, I fell down the rabbit hole of research into his life and that of his first wife and what happened to them in later years.  I picked this title based on the recommendation of Moira at Hearth & Homefront from last month's Twitterature, and she loved it so much she started a whole new series called Book Club Bites with this title as the first feature.   It's an amazing concept so be sure to check it out!  

That's what I've been reading for the past month.  Now I'm off to read all your fabulous Twitterature posts to get some ideas of what to read next!  

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I'm so bored.

"Mmooooommmmmm, I'm SO bored."

It's like nails on a chalkboard for me.

Yesterday was day ohmygahIlostcountIhavenoidea off from school due to snow, ice, cold and stupid winter, and we are all pretty over it, as is the rest of America, if my Twitter feed is any indication.  

I can deal with most of it just fine.  I can deal with the little boys with too much pent up energy.  I can deal with the disrupted schedule.  I can deal with the running, the yelling, the fighting, the trapped inside business.  I can deal with the near-constant requests for snacks and drinks.

But "bored" is my Achilles' heel.  I don't do bored. 

See, here's the thing (which may call my parenting abilities into question - don't worry, it won't be the first time).  I will read stories, watch movies, play board games and build things with my kids all day long, but when they start up with the "I'm SOOOOO bored" business, Mama playtime shuts right down.

I think it's good for them to get bored, because I think it's good for them to figure out - on their own - how to get un-bored.

It's a life skill that many adults don't seem to possess - this ability to keep yourself amused, motivated and happy without someone else pulling the strings.

So I think it's good to let my kids get bored sometimes, and I think it's good for them to have to figure a way out of that feeling on their own.  Once they manage to get past the initial shock, there is usually some grumbling, maybe a little bit of whining.  But once they realize Mama means business - "Go find something to do.  I don't want to hear about how bored you are," they wander off.

Sometimes they find a game to play on their own, without me.  Sometimes they ask to watch tv or play a video game, and I let them.  But sometimes, well sometimes something magical happens.  

When they are just so bored they can't stand it and none of the usual distractions will do, they start to use their imaginations.  They begin to create things.  They dress up, play pretend, act out scenes, make art, write words.

They use their own brains and feelings and actions to move themselves from "bored" to "amused."

It's an amazing thing to watch.

And it's a skill they will use the rest of their lives.

So yeah - I don't do bored.  There is too much to see and do and experience in this vast and wonderful world to let "bored" eat away at the finite time I have.  And as this skill and ability grows for them, neither will my kids.  And that is a beautiful thing.


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Someone brought a gun to my kid's school, but I'm not really upset about it.

When Zachary came home from school Friday, we immediately went into "hurry up" mode like we often do in order to make it to his 4pm tae kwon do class, which is several miles away.  I did the hurried "How was your day?" bit in the car, but the rush rush rush of moving from one place to another - always somewhere to go, somewhere to be, it seems, kept me from delving too deeply below the surface of general "What color did you get to? (on the behavior chart)" and "What did you have for lunch?" kinds of questions.

It wasn't until later that night - much later, in fact, that I started digging through his backpack, past all the random scraps of paper, broken pencils and other unidentifiable things to see if there was anything I needed to sign or send back that I saw the letter.

It read:

"We want to make you aware of a situation that occurred today at SCHOOL'S NAME.
A lower primary student brought a small BB gun to school in a backpack.  The BB gun was not functional and there were no pellets/BBs.  A student reported the incident to his/her teacher at the end of the day and in order to control unnecessary rumors we wanted to make parents aware of what happened.
No threats were made and no students or staff were in any danger at any time.  As a precaution, the situation is under investigation by school staff and proper authorities.
As always, our primary concern is the safety of our students and staff. " 

I read it a couple times before it really registered with me what it was saying.

Someone had a gun at my kid's school.

I felt that weird hotness across my face and the heaviness of my legs that accompanies sudden fear, and I had to sit down.

I'm not one to overreact in most situations, but still.  A gun.  My kid's school.

Scary stuff.

I wanted to be angry.  I wanted to lash out.  I wanted to blame someone.  I wanted to call and email and march and demand answers, but I couldn't.  After the initial shock passed, I couldn't really muster up more that a vague feeling of unease.

It had happened.  It had been dealt with.  No real harm was done.

I called Zachary to me and we talked some more about his day at school.  When I asked him if anything out of the ordinary had happened, he talked of a nosebleed a classmate had had on the bus and something new that had been served in the cafeteria.

This thing - this thing that could have been so massive - wasn't even a blip on his screen.

This was last week, and I've thought about it a lot since then, but not with the anger I first imagined I would feel.

Even if I were angry, I didn't really have anyone in particular to be angry at.

I can't be angry at the school or the teachers or the principal.  By all accounts it was handled swiftly and appropriately.

I couldn't really be angry at the kid.  Even though he or she was the one who brought this BB gun to school, I know all too easily how this could happen.  Last year, unknown to me, Zachary sneaked some Pokemon cards into his backpack and took them to school, which he knew wasn't allowed.  They were confiscated by the eagle-eyed bus driver and returned at the end of the week with a note saying next time she would keep them.  Fine by me.  Zack knew he wasn't supposed to take them to school in the first place, but he did anyway and it totally slipped under my radar.  It was easy enough for him to do with Pokemon cards, and a "small BB gun" is probably easy enough to hide in the same way.

I could be angry with the kid's parents, I guess.  I really could.  But I don't know their story.  I don't know what they have going on in their lives.  What I do know is that in the area in which I choose to live, guns of all types and sizes are common.  Very common.  I live five miles from a major military base, which means guns galore.  It's also a rural area, and hunting is just... understood.  Where I live, kids grow up knowing how to handle firearms.  Kids go hunting.  And yes, kids play with BB guns.  Despite any feelings I may or may not have about it, it just IS.  I understand that is not the norm everywhere, but here it is.  Maybe it was lax of the parents to have this BB gun in a place where the kid could get to it without supervision.  Maybe not.  Maybe the kid broke through 15 locks to get it.  I don't know the whole story, and I never will.

Guns are as common as Pokemon cards here.  As much as I WANT to be angry,  I completely understand how it could have happened.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about it since last week, so I think I understand the significance of what did and did not happen, but at the same time, mostly I'm just relieved that it didn't turn out to be a bigger deal than it was.

Everybody is safe.  Nothing terrible happened, except in the overactive imaginations of a few teachers and parents.  Everyone is fine.

And it's hard to be angry about that.


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