Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Do I Do Now?

I don't normally talk about politics or even current events because everything in our society is so divisive. But tonight my heart is heavy I have to talk about it. The events in Charlottesville this weekend have been heartbreaking to say the least. I keep checking Twitter for the latest updates and in hopes that someone will say something that really makes a difference. I keep hoping for something more than words, some action that we can take to fix these broken hearts and misguided theologies.

But Twitter doesn't have solutions. It is ultimately 140 characters that are now known for their gentility and peacemaking.

I keep checking anyway because I don't know how to fix this. There is a law that we can pass to change people's hearts. There are certainly laws that can protect others better, but how do we get laws that are useful for our whole society passed with our current government atmosphere? And how long will those laws take to pass?

It makes me feel so helpless. I don't want to be accused of doing nothing. I don't want to be silent and assent to the extremist views.

So what do I do now?

I have a few ideas. I don't know if it is enough though. Today I wore this shirt and I mean it. I got a couple compliments.

I make sure to get my daughter books of people that don't look like her. I talk to people around me and I listen. I try to hear them and express what I understand of the other side. I talk about these issues with my students. I listen to both sides. I remember that everyone on both sides of this issue and other issues are human. I try to use my words carefully and wisely. I am trying to be open minded and caring to all.

I'm not sure that it's enough. I don't think that anything I am doing right now will make any immediate differences. And I don't know if anything I am doing will make any long term differences. I know I am a privileged middle class white woman in the United States. I know I have it easy and I know others don't. There are citizens and people here in the United States that don't feel safe and valued. But even more, there were 24 people killed in rioting in Kenya because of the election results. There are 60 dead in India because the hospitals don't have enough oxygen.

I can't fix these things, but I wish I could. I don't know what to do, but I wish I did. I'm just so sorry.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Thrillers Worth Reading

I normally don't read thrillers for a few reasons. I don't feel like I'm reading them fast enough. So sometimes I skip parts or skim sections to read faster. I don't like some of the tropes, like unreliable narrator due to addiction or mental illness. And sometimes the story is just too far fetched. I know it is ironic that someone who LOVES cozies thinks thrillers are too far fetched. I guess I just expect more out of those.

Even though I don't read them very often, I pick one up every so often and I like it! So here are a few thrillers that were worth my time to read them.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell
I Found You A man in London disappears on his way home and his young wife goes looking for him. A man mysteriously shows up on a beach elsewhere in the UK. But it isn't what you think. The multiple points of view worked really well. There were surprises. It was not overly graphic, which I really appreciated.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
A Head Full of Ghosts I think this one is technically termed horror. I would say it is more like supernatural thriller. An adult woman is reliving her traumatic childhood memories of her sister's exorcism through a series of blog posts which review the TV show about the exorcism. There are definitely lots of questions about what was supernatural and what was manipulation.

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barbar
Are You Sleeping This is another family in crisis book similar to A Head Full of Ghosts. The story is interspersed with tweets, message board comments, and transcripts from a podcast. I really liked the exterior people commenting on what is going on as the family is working through what really happened.

In The Shadow of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell
In the Shadow of Lakecrest Kate is trying to hide her less than desirable family from her new wealthy and important in laws. As her family grows, she discovers many secrets that lead to a shocking ending. As you can tell by the cover, this one is not set in modern day. It is actually set in the 1920's, I think.

Do you have any thrillers that you have really enjoyed?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Reasons for Troll Cake

A few months ago I scoured the cabinets and bought a couple things from the grocery store. I threw it all together and was fairly happy with the outcome of my experiment and so was the rest of the family. I have been wanting to revisit that experiment, but haven't had an occasion. Today I found the occasion!

There was a program at the library with a Borzoi therapy dog. We went as a whole family,  but my son was reluctant. We have a dog and he loves our dog,  but he is not so in love with other dogs.  So he went to the program, but didn't get too close to Russ, the dog.  As we were leaving, Lily wanted to give Russ one more pet goodbye. So I bribed Ben into petting him as well.

What did I bribe Ben with? 

My kitchen experiment....... Troll Cake!

Even though it is super hard to make,  I sacrificed to reward him for working on his fears.  I thought you all might like to know how I make Troll Cake. 

1 box funfetti cake mix 
1 jar of colored icing
Colored sugar
Food coloring  (optional)

Last time it was white cake with blue icing and pink sprinkles and pink colored sugar. This time there was no blue,  but orange was on closeout. So today we had DJ Suki cake. Pink cake, orange icing, and sprinkles in the shape of headphones. 

Before baking
After icing

I normally insist on baking from scratch. (My Mamaw trained me well.) But sometimes you use box cake mix and have a party for no particular reason.  

Life is hard. Find something to celebrate!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Multi-cultural kids books

When I get books from the library for Lily, I always make sure to get at least one book with characters that look different than her. These are some of her favorites.

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie LoAuntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic This is a story of a Chinese American family that discovered a farmer near them growing soybeans and that started a huge picnic. Lily calls the book "Mao dou (mao doe)" which is the Chinese word for soybeans.

Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida
Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl This is the story of a girl and a boy working and practicing hard and finding success at their respective schools. Lily calls this one Kunoichi, but she also uses the word shugyo, which I think is the idea of lots of practice to make yourself better.

The Water Princess by Susan Verde, Georgie Badiel, and Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator)
The Water PrincessThis is based on the childhood of Georgie Badiel in Africa. There is an information page in the book with more details. Princess Gie Gie has to walk to get water and that takes most of the day. Lily likes Princess Gie Gie, but doesn't yet understand that this still happens today. It did offer an opportunity for discussion.

Momma, Where Are You From? by Marie Bradby and Chris K. Soentpiet
Momma, Where Are You From?This is Momma's story of her childhood including segregation. Even though there were things she didn't understand, like segregation, there was a lot of love and happiness. So you can have a discussion about segregation and you can see that "they" are a lot like you with family, friends, fun, and love. There are also events like buying blocks of ice and heating irons on the stove. Lily calls this one Momma and says she would like to dance in the shadows like they did.

Gazpacho for Nacho by Tracey C. Kyle
Gazpacho for Nacho Nacho only likes to eat Gazpacho until Mami teaches him how to cook. There are so many Spanish words in this book! And a bit of magical realism when the vegetables they shop for are bigger than the people. The whole thing rhymes in both English and Spanish. Kids not only get to learn Spanish words, but also Spanish dishes like gazpacho and Spanish tortilla. This one is a lot of fun. Lily calls this one Nacho and loves to see the tortilla under the silla.

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ying Hwa Hu (illustrator), Cornelius Van Wright (illustrator)

Jingle DancerJenna wants to dance at the next powwow, but doesn't have enough jingles. She finds jingles and dances for several special women in her life. The book mentions fry bread, Indian tacos, powwows, and a few other things. There is also a note that briefly discusses Jenna's heritage as Muskogee and Ojibwa. It talks a little about jingle dances. Lily likes Jenna's dress and the dance.