Books read in May

Yet another month with not many books read. Thank goodness I am getting a good amount of sleep.

Positive Discipline in the Classroom
Jane Nelsen
This book challenges you to make a better classroom by giving over control of every aspect of it. The school I teach at uses the Positive Discipline philosophy as our discipline policy and I’ve seen how well it works. The book includes many different activities from starting your positive discipline from scratch, and answers the many questions and objections you may have.

Prodigal Summer
Barbara Kingsolver
Because I cannot seem to find good fiction, I have decided to reread some of my favorites. This is my favorite Kingsolver book and probably a top-20 favorite overall. I love this book because the characters are so vivid and likable (especially the crotchity old man), but also because it shows the many ways our lives are woven together without our awareness. I love books that take the time to wonder where a chair on a cabin porch comes from , and later provides you with an answer.

Aside from memorable characters and a wonderful plot, the discriptions of the forest and farm settings make me want to spend more time outside. Kingsolver carefully weaves in a lot of ecology, without making it sound preachy. Nearly a perfect book.

Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon
I’m guessing that in a couple of decades, I will look back and recognize this as a seminal book in my life. I have no plans to offically restrict my diet to within 100 miles of my house, as these authors did (and started a movement), but I’ve begun to look at the landscape with a different eye. This book was also laugh-out-loud funny, which I didn’t expect and was a pleasant surpise. The authors also are about my age, and some of the life questions they wrestle within their chapters are very familiar to me. This book is the opposite of preachy, but its humor and thoughfulness have changed my life and might change yours. It also includes recipies. Mmmmmm.

Started but did not finish
Joe Jones
Anne Lamott
I was seduced by the modern cover of this book, thinking it was new. Ten pages in, I realized I had read it years ago. Tricky republishing industry.

What’s Math Got to Do With it?
Jo Boaler
I was reading this slowly because it was so good, and the only reason I didn’t finish it was because someone else had it on hold and I had to return it. Boaler questions the way we teach math in the United States. When so many Americans proudly proclaim they “can’t do math” and “aren’t good at math” why is there such a push to continue teaching mathematics the way our parents and grandparents learned? Boaler highlights innovative ways teachers, at home and abroad, engage their students in learning and move math from a “drill and kill” experience to one where students become mathematicians, not just rote memorizers.

Did not even start
I started every book I finished this month!

Waiting for the Starlight Parade

I don’t mind being the one to go down to the parade hours before it begins to hold a space for everyone else. I have my book and a comfortable chair and a good amount of people watching. It is a fun way for me to spend my time.

Then when people show up I get to chat with them.
Or take pictures of their very cute baby.

Why are there no pictures of the actual parade? Because right before it began, my camera battery died.


It’s not just the title of a book.
Every once in awhile I realize that I have no fiction to read. How does this happen? I like non-fiction okay, but I need to retreat into made up worlds on a regular basis. If I don’t, I can actually feel it in my body. I’ve also not been reading much in general, what with work and school etc. So I can’t really describe the thrill I had bringing home these five books. I can’t imagine a better Friday night than collapsing on the couch with a heap of new books. Pure joy.


When I was growing up it cost fifty cents to put a hold on a book. Because of this large cost I never did that, not even when the sequel to Gone With the Wind came out. I can remember my dad putting a hold on a book once. Now, thanks to computers, I get 90% of my books from the hold shelf.

Though I enjoy looking up books in the catalog and finding them in the stacks, as well as wandering the fiction stacks to happen upon a new author or series, I have to say I love the hold system more. Sure, it takes the random happenstance out of the library process, but our library has many enthusiastic patrons and also has many branches which means that if you have a certain book in mind it is most likely either 1) checked out or 2) checked out at your branch but available at another branch. Because of this, it is much easier to just find the book online and place a hold. Then the kindly library employees get to to your branch, place it on a shelf for you and send you an email letting you know the book is ready. All this is free! Free!

The central library branch has been my branch since I moved here in 2001. When the new Kenton branch opens I will change branches, but it will be with a heavy heart. I love going weekly into that great structure. When I first started picking up holds at the library, someone named Collins, Melanie Dee also had a lot of holds. I would see her books every time I went in to pick up my holds. I thought one day I would run into her, but she disappeared. Or at least her holds did. She has been replaced by Collins, Callie Jo. Perhaps I will encounter her one day. Or perhaps not. Strangely, I never look to see what either of my hold-mates read. It seems a bit voyeuristic.

Flower sale. My last one.

I’m ending my tenure as a Youth Advisor at my church after seven years and this Easter was my last flower sale. I will miss some things about YRUU, but I can’t count the flower sale among them. It is usually wet and cold and in the past few years the youth don’t show up to help. All of those things were true today and I froze, while silently cursing all of the above. We didn’t even make that much money. Another thing done!

Trains on the bus mall, oh my!

Trimet has decided to add Max trains to the Bus Mall mix. I think this is a dumb idea, but they didn’t ask me specifically, and so they just kept keeping on with the idea. Dumb idea or no, I got excited when I saw one today. They don’t officially move there until August/September, but they are training this month. My line is one that is shifting from the original tracks to the “Transit Mall” as it is referred to now. On the one hand, my walking commute to work will be shorter, but on the other, I will have to walk out of my way to go to the library and church. Also, the beginning of the line won’t be as accessable to me. I don’t like that so much.

Bus tips: Tuck in.

This photo was taken (all stealthy like although that guy sitting below noticed me doing it) on the #6 bus. You remember that bus, right? The super crowded one that has all sorts of interesting people? This woman was using her bag as a defensive maneuver to avoid someone sitting next to her. I find this rude, especially on a crowded bus line like this one.

So here’s the deal. When you have a bag (or more than one) it is your job to keep it in your space. Your space is defined by the line separating two seats. If there are other people on the bus, it is your responsibility to stay within the bounds of your seat. This helps not only to pack the bus efficiently, but also to keep people from having to ask if they can sit there.

And men, that line is there for you too. Just because you think you have to sit with your legs spread wide doesn’t mean that you actually get to. Tuck in. Seriously. Also, both men and women: if you bring more than one bag on the bus, it is still your responsibility to keep all your possessions in your space. If you can’t do this, it is your responsibility to send out massive apologetic vibes to everyone who eyes the space you are taking up.

Dead Relative Tour 2009

I love cemeteries. They have so many interesting things to see. Here is a smattering of them:

I plan to be cremated, but if I were buried, the last thing I would want is this heavy slab on top of me.

No, not that Jimi Hendrix

“Is that a…?” “I think it might be….It is a coyote in an urban cemetery!”

The whole road through the cemetery is lined with these highly pruned holly trees. I kind of like their super structure.


I took this picture just to hear Matt say their name with a German accent.
Which he did without prompting.
I know him well.

Either Mrs. or Miss Fenstermacher was a member of the Wahkeena Chapter of the DAR.

Oftentimes it is fun to say the names on the gravestone. Say it with me: “Slack.” I also like Mrs. Slack’s name: Nettie Elnora.

I was surprised by the very Disney looking Bambi carving on this stone, but this must have been before Disney started cracking down on its copyright. Or maybe they had a whole line of Disney themed gravestones? That wouldn’t surprise me.

Poor Leo. It looks like Mrs. Schlesinger found another place to rest her head. Also, I like the simple flower carvings and the font.

The section of the cemetery we visit has more than a few abandoned husbands. Mr. Van Winkle is not going to wake up from this nap.

These are fake flowers, but I did check to see who had this grave. Most of the graves in the section we go to aren’t very decorated.

It turned out to be a baby’s grave. Those are always sad, but someone hasn’t forgotten this child.

I can never resist taking pictures of the mausoleum where my Great Uncle Tom is. Swinging early 70s meets quasi religious touches meets a TON of artificial flowers.

Marble AND a brass chainmail curtain? I love it!

“We’re not religious, but we will throw some stained glass up for those of you who are.”

Different cemetery: The MAunts (looking more and more like my grandparents every day) decorating Grandma and Grandpa’s grave.

My Grandparents’ view.

The only problem with cremation is you don’t get a gravestone. They always look so nice to me.

Their neighbor

I initially stopped because I liked their last name because it reminded me of the nursery rhyme.

But I liked what they had carved on their gravestone. For Jean: wife, mother, teacher.

For George: Father, Musician, Horseman. (I’m trying not to be annoyed that he hasn’t listed “husband” to go with his partners “wife,” because overall, I like the concept.)