Friday, June 25, 2010 12 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Home...

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Sorry I'm late today everyone! I had a meeting this morning that I just found out about at 9pm last night. I was up late preparing and up early getting ready and then suddenly, I've got comments on last week's post! OOPS! Well, funny enough, the closest book to me right now is a song book I use with my elderly clients called Old Fashioned Songs. It was on the desk because I needed inspiration for my handout. It doesn't have a page 56 but I'll give you the 5th sentence from the last page...

We will dance the hoo-chee-koo-chee;
I will be your toot-see-woot-see.

Bonus points to anyone that can tell me which song this comes from! (NO GOOGLING! That's cheating!)

Friday, June 18, 2010 19 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Drawing Down the Moon

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler is another that I've had in my library FOREVER and never actually read more than skimming through. I've become bored with Crowley's biography, ironically enough. So this has taken it's place as my bedtime reading.

It is clear that many of the revivers of Witchcraft, such as Gerald Gardner, came into contact with various books promoting  the idea of goddess worship including, at the very least, Lucius Apuleius' classical witchcraft romance, The Golden Ass (in which Apuleius becomes a priest of Isis after the goddess appears in a beautiful vision), and Charles G. Leland's Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, published in 1899.
Friday, June 11, 2010 2 comments By: Suzanne

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is the story of Bod, short for Nobody Owens, who grows up in the graveyard near his home after the murder of his family. His best friends are ghosts and his guardian is neither living nor dead and he can never leave the graveyard or "the man called Jack" will come for him.

I have been wanting to read this for awhile now since I have loved all of Gaiman's other novels, but it seems that some other book always got in the way of this one. Finally, last night I finished The Path of Daggers and decided today would be the day I would sit down with this book. I started a little after 9 this morning and finished at 5:30 this evening. This includes, of course, my many trips to the computer to play games on Pogo or write emails or check Facebook (which for some reason can take a surprising amount of time). Even at 305 pages it is a very quick read, since it is written for middle schoolers. I loved that, in spite of writing for a specific audience, Gaiman does not talk down to the reader. At no point did I get that sense of "irritating teacher talk." This is what I call the way some adults talk to children when they don't really know how to talk to children. And the only point when I felt Gaiman was over explaining things was when Bod's friend Scarlett talks about deja vu, but then when I reminded myself that the intended audience for this book might not really know deja vu, then it didn't feel over explained at all.

What really grabbed me in this book was Bod. He's an amazing character and I really want to see more of him. I am hoping Gaiman writes a sequel to this. There are a couple things that feel not very well explained and have that sense of "you'll find out later" as if there are supposed to be more books. I also very much loved the relationship between Silas and Bod. I want to read more of it! In fact, I was so sure, based on the way the book ended and the details that were not completely explained, that there must be a sequel planned. I was so sure that I searched for it and low and behold I found this on an FAQ page on Gaiman's Mouse Circus  site:

Q: Could you write a sequel to THE GRAVEYARD BOOK? I just finished it and I want more!
A: I will, yes, but it will go to very different places—and it may not get back to the Graveyard.

YAYYYY! I don't when but some day I will again get to read about Bod, and maybe find out if my suspicions on Silas are correct.
Near the beginning of the book one passage made me just giggle out loud, in spite of the terrible things happening in the scene. Bod is just a baby, a little more than a year old and the man Jack is in the house killing his family. Bod, unaware of this, wakes to a noise and is bored in his crib so he decides to climb out:
He landed with a muffled thump on a small mound of furry, fuzzy toys, some of them presents from relations from his first birthday, not six months gone, some of them inherited from his older sister. He was surprised when he hit the floor, but he did not cry out: if you cried they came and put you back in your crib.
Why was this funny to me? Because it is exactly what my sister's son did either about this age or a little younger. I actually think he might have been a little younger. Except there was nothing to soften his fall. And he landed on his head. And he seemed very proud of himself. 

Another thing that got me was how unimportant life must seem to someone who grows up in a cemetery surrounded by people who have already died and are happy as ghosts. Why would he care if the man called Jack killed him? And in fact, Gaiman addresses this:

Bod shrugged. "So?" he said. "It's only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead." 

I won't ruin it and give Silas' response to this but it's good. Read this book. You will love it, no matter your age.
Thursday, June 10, 2010 13 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Alex and Me

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week's selection is from the book Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg. This is the true account of Irene's research with her friend of 30 years, Alex the African Grey Parrot. If you have never heard of Alex, you are missing out on a wonderful story and a truly amazing mind. Alex "could add, sound out words, understand concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none, and he disproved the widely accepted idea that birds possess no potential for language or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence." Living with birds all my life I could also add that they can love. Take some time to look through the pics in the slideshow at the top to see my wonderful feathered kid, Lucina.

I finished my theoretical chemistry doctorate in May 1976, and David accepted a post in the biological sciences department at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, beginning January 1, 1977. I hoped to find a way of starting my own avian research there.

The Path of Daggers

On with my re-read of WOT. I have finally finished book 8. It's only taken me 6 months to get here! I've noticed since I started this re-read that I am reading a little slower than normal. Not sure what that means. Either I am not motivated or I don't want it to end!

I am constantly being surprised by how much I am still in love with the characters of this series. I remember being really irritated by the time I got to this book before. I originally started reading this in the summer of 2000, right before Winter's Heart was published. I know that I consumed the first 5 or so books as if they were chocolate and then I started to slow down. By the time I actually got to The Path of Daggers, I was already starting to become disillusioned and cursing the guy in my British Lit class who turned me on to the series. Now though, I'm finding that I really love this series right up to this point. I figured out what was irritating for me before. I don't like Rand anymore and I don't really care about his storyline anymore. But maybe that's the point. He's not the same wide-eye innocent he was in The Eye of the World but if he was would be able to do what needs to be done? Of course not! I am loving Egwene's story and feeling a little frustrated that there isn't more of it in each section she's in. I'm loving Elayne's story and feeling a little frustrated that there isn't more of her too! I also remember waiting for Moiraine to come back, although I knew she probably wouldn't. Now I'm not waiting for storylines to take the turn I want them to. I find myself having forgot so much (the reason I decided to re-read them in the first place!) but reading it again brings it all back and I am anticipating future stories that I only remember parts of with glee. The end of this book was so exciting that I stayed up real late last night finishing, something I haven't done in a while. I can't wait to get to the next book and see what has happened at the Black Tower with the Aes Sedai who were captured. I KNOW what happens but still feel this sense of, "oooohhhhh, what happens?"

Here's the lesson for me: Don't assume you know where things are going, because you'll be disappointed in the end. Read with an open heart and things will surprise you, maybe in a happy way.

I also wanted to share the cover of the ebook version of this book because it so very beautiful. Elayne, Aviendha, and Nynaeve here are working the Bowl of Winds. This is not how I pictured the scene in MY head, but it's still very beautiful.

Edit: I just found out the next book (13), Towers of Midnight, will be released on Oct 26, 2010. I should be ready for it then!
Saturday, June 5, 2010 0 comments By: Suzanne

Memorial Weekend

This past weekend I spent a couple days at my mother's house. The plan was only to spend Sunday night with her and then go to work from there and then stay Monday night too. However, I found out ELVIS COSTELLO was going to be in Dallas playing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Now I understand that not everyone in the world is as much of a FREAK for ELVIS COSTELLO as I am but you would think if I offer to pay for the tickets, people would want to go. No one. Seriously people? Free concert (to you anyway!). I finally convinced my mother to go by promising to come Saturday afternoon and staying the weekend. It turned out to be a wonderful plan!

I wish, wish, wish I had at least one picture of the concert but, alas, I do not. My mom was freak out about someone seeing me and us getting kicked out. Then, at the end she said, "You should have taken a picture at the very end like those other people did."
"But, mom, when I said I was going to, you about tackled me in order to make sure I didn't."

I paid $200 for the tickets. That is the price I didn't pay last time he came, because he came with the Police and I swore I was not going to pay those outrageous prices just because some 80s band got back together. Yes, I like their music too, but COME ON people. I guess things are different when I'm thinking about where I'm going to sit and the fact that my entire two hours will be staring at ELVIS COSTELLO! I love him.

I could have paid for a seat in the chorus loft. If you've never been to the Symphony, then you should know that is the place behind the orchestra. If I was going to the listen to a symphony that'd be great. Cheap seats right behind the orchestra are pretty good, even if you can hear too much of the percussion. Besides, I've always liked the drummers (hehehe). But for the guy I love more than all other singers in the world's not good enough. I want to be looking in his face. I couldn't get seats on the floor at all but I could get box seats practically over top his head. So I did, and stared at ELVIS COSTELLO all night! It was grand. My mom was a little unnerved by the fact that we could drop to our deaths if we moved wrong, but I figure it's all in the price of seeing ELVIS COSTELLO.

Now before my grand adventure seeing my music idol, I had to bring all the animals to my mom's house. Poor Lucina. I knew she wouldn't be getting much out time there since my mom also has two dogs and they're not used to being around a bird, so I made sure she got to spend the whole morning having momma time without the dogs. They got to be locked up for awhile.

She loves to cuddle up to my chin while I scratch her neck. One of these days I'm going to get video of her bumping my chin with her beak. This is how she asks for me to scratch her neck. BTW, she doesn't have "red eye" from the flash, she really does have red eyes. The flash freaked her out and she flew away before the next shot:

A few years ago I bought her a wonderful cage, which you can partly see in these pictures. All the bird experts say you have to get your bird acclimated to the new cage, that they'll freak out if you just stick them in before the used to it. So I brought it home and placed it beside the old and let her out to explore on her own just as they say. She went right to it and sat on top and never went back to the old one. So much for experts. To be fair, the old one was TINY. When I saw them side by side, I felt so bad for making her stay in there for so long!

Poor Lucina! Her old cage is at my mom's house so I don't have to lug that huge thing around when we go to visit. This is right after we got there on Saturday afternoon.

She looks so sad!

"Won't you let me out?"

Later the dogs got to go out. If you missed the story I told about Loki and the mouse in the house (my old house, thank goodness), then you just won't get how crazy he is for other other creatures. I'm not sure if the breed or simply because he practically lived on his own for the first two years of his life. Aurora's not like that. In any case, my mom's neighbor is the cat lady. Not only does she have an absurd number of cats, but none of them are fixed so of course she gets a new one every day. Loki HATES cats. He spends the entire day staring at the breaks in the fence waiting for a cat to bark at.

At some point on Sunday afternoon, everyone was outside and a squirrel was in the yard. All the other dogs went nuts barking at the squirrel, trying to get it. Loki was doing this:

And he stayed there.
Friday, June 4, 2010 0 comments By: Suzanne

Picture My Day

Before I get into this one, does anyone know how to post MP3 to blogger? Is it possible? 
This is the first post in my story telling through pictures. I'm calling it picture my day. I've been trying to take at least one picture everyday to document even the mundane in my life. I decided to do this when I took my wonderful nephew, Sage, to the Ft Worth Science and History Museum a couple weeks ago. We both had a blast and there were so many things I would have loved to have a picture of, if only I had brought my camera. So, now my camera is in my purse in order to capture even the mundane, so when the extraordinary happens I will have that too! I have seen several other people who do projects like this, so I can't claim it as my own but it will be in my own style. Each picture will have a story.

I started this last Thursday and already I haven't lived up to my promise of at least one picture everyday but I've been pretty good most days.

This picture is through the windshield of my car and I could not fix the colors afterward because of that. It will forever be blue or more blue. This was taken at 5:30 on a Thursday afternoon. On Mondays and Thursday I work at the James L. West Alzheimer's Center in Ft Worth. For those of you that don't know (since I haven't written much on here lately that's probably everyone!) I am a music therapist. My preferred population is children with developmental disabilities (autism, CP, Down's, etc) but I also have experience in other fields. When I first got the call a few months ago from the Program Director at JLW asking if I would be interested in filling the spot that was being vacated by their current MT, I turned it down. The pay was less per hour than I was making seeing private clients and I didn't think it would be worth giving up those private clients to work with old people. I've done that before, no thank you. But then I thought about it a little more. I would be going to one place and staying there all day. Yes, I would have to drive 45 minutes to get there but I was already doing that and then driving around town to see each kid. When I stopped to figure it up, I would actually be saving money in the long run! So I gave up most of my private clients, some of them I was sad to leave and some....not so much. I started working at JLW on my birthday (happy Bday to me...go to work) and had a wonderful time. In fact, I have really enjoyed working there the last couple of months. I will never enjoy it as much as I do working with children but it's been fun! Later that I night I went out for a birthday dinner with my boyfriend, at which we had a huge fight and he asked me to pay for my half (supposedly not related instances). Well, JLW worked out and the boyfriend didn't. That sounds terrible but there were just a lot of little things that didn't feel right. The birthday dinner actually had no effect on my decision. I completely forgot it until telling this story! Amazing what comes back to you.

So are you wondering just yet WTF this story has to do with this picture? Getting there, I promise. When I tell a story, I tell it right!

Every Monday and Thursday I have a TWO HOUR lunch break. I know lots of people would jump for joy over something like this but it's really not that wonderful, especially when you only get paid for the actual hours you work. No breaks, no holidays, no sick leave. Oh, and no insurance. That's another story. It breaks up the day and you just spend two hours in the middle of the day doing nothing. THEN you have to go back to work! It kind of sucks. I'd rather do it all in one large chunk.
This particular day I decided to go have my car cleaned. I will not show you those pictures. Let's just say the car needed it and any one who's been in it will attest to that. I did vacuum the previous Saturday before picking up Sage. It was getting pretty gross and I didn't want anyone else to be subjected to that. So really all they had to do was clean the outside. The guy took one look at my car and said, "This is going to take a little extra work. I might be able to get that stuff off but it's going need a special solvent which will cost extra." Ok, whatever. I came it get it clean so I'll pay the little bit extra. Apparently I had a chip in the windshield too and with one quick call to my insurance (to make sure I really wouldn't be charged for it) they fixed that! About 1:45 I start to get nervous. The outside's been done awhile but the guy cleaning the inside is taking his sweet time. Walking ever so slowly around the car wiping here, scrubbing there, "Oh I guess I vacuum a little now too." COME ON! Just because you're here all day doesn't mean I want to be and I have another group in 15 minutes! Finally at 1:58, he's finished. Yeah, thanks. No way can I be there in 2 minutes grab my guitar and other instruments and be in Bluebonnet (one of the suites) in time to start. So I was late, which means I gave them their full time, making my next group late and I got no break for the next 3 hours. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad after having a two hour lunch break but I can't just sing for 3 hours straight and not be affected by it. I was not a happy camper at the end of the day.

As I'm leaving that day I notice the chip in the windshield is still there! I'm pissed. They made me late and didn't even do everything they were supposed to do??!! So I drive back over there before heading home (this is getting closer to the picture, btw) but the windshield people have already left. So glad they got to have a normal day! The guy that cleaned my car says he thinks the clue just needs to be scrapped a little more, that's what I'm feeling. He swears it's been fixed even though I can see and it will not make a huge crack down the front of my windshield. He better be right or they're paying for it. Promise.

Now, on a normal day I cut through downtown and hit the I-35E about a mile north of I-30. This is a big deal. The I-30 to I-35E interchange is a major cluster fuck. That mile will add at least 20 minutes to your drive, if your lucky. I was not lucky this day. I considered going through downtown from where I was anyway, but when I got to the entrance ramp to I-30 and saw in front of me downtown University was just as packed, I decided to take my chances. They were not good. Just as I'm coming over the bridge to get onto I-35 the truck in front of my slows. See picture above.

I look to my left and I see this:

That little arrow is pointing out the clear space just before where I would normally be getting on the interstate. Yeah, not going to be a good evening. Just so you can understand, here's a close up on where I should be.

Do you see the clear space? Should give hope that maybe the traffic's not so bad right? You would be wrong to hope. Because of the wonderful people at the car wash, I will now sit in traffic for over an hour. It will take me 1 hour and 30 minutes to get home: exactly twice as long as normal.

To make up for it, I treated myself by completely ruining my voice! I decided to go out and sing at the open mic at Banter, one of our local coffee shops. I had a wonderful time in spite of the ex showing up. Not so bad actually, I stuck around and sang with him too. It was one of the songs I had added harmony to awhile ago. It's a beautiful song. I also got a chance to try out my new Ukulele song. I'm so excited about this new song! As soon as I have a half-way decent recording of it, I'll post for everyone to hear.

Short Story Challenge - May Recap


If you missed signing up for the Short Story Challenge, it's not too late.  Each month I will post a recap to discuss what everyone has read for the challenge. Everyone who still wants to sign up, go back to original post (to which I will leave a link in every current post). Then leave comments in the current post.

Summer's almost here! Can you believe it!

Well short stories this month were few and far between. I downloaded through Audible two collections of short stories in order to listen in the car but they were so very long and I am not driving as much with the school year having ended (three days a week I drive over an hour one way to work in another school district) so I only listened to one. It is Favorite Sci-Fi Stories Vol 2 and includes authors Frederic Brown, Ben Bova, Frank Herbert, and Kurt Vonnegut. This is a wonderful collection from the granddaddies of Sci-Fi just recently published (May 20th), though many of their stories we written years ago and part of much older collections. I got a late start on the Short Stories this month also, which is another reason I only "read" the one!
I'm enjoying this though, getting in the short stories written by some of my favorite authors. I wish I had done it years ago!
Looking forward to seeing what everyone else read!

Friday 56: New Format

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Today I don't have a book for the F56, but please everyone else play! Today I want your opinions. I'm not feeling very motivated by the books lately. I am still reading but I don't feel motivated by any of them to talk about it. Maybe it's simply because I've been so busy for so many months and am simply not in the swing anymore but I'm thinking maybe I need to change the format of the blog a little. I would still include the books but also most of the stories on "Storytime" would be my own. I have an idea (that of course is not my original idea, I saw it somewhere else) to take at least one picture every day. It will be called "Picture My Day." I may not necessarily talk about every picture I take but at least it will get me looking at the world in a fresh light. I'm feeling a little stagnant. And we all know what happens to stagnant water! Yuck!

If I do this, it may mean the format I currently have won't work. I know one of my other blogger friends (and a friend from high school), Ruthann at Eclectic Whatnot not only changed her entire format but also her site's location in order to accommodate the pictures she takes. I don't think I would need to do that, but if I did I guess I'm curious how many of my readers (and F56 players) would follow me.

I had thought that maybe I would start a new blog. But I've done that before and it didn't get too far. I had fun with it for a few months and then it just sat there, looking sad. Storytime is my platform and I want to stay, but I want to expand it a little. So what does everyone think?