Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lazy Day Book Review

Today was a nice day at home. I'd like to say it was relaxing, but I haven't relaxed much in the past 16 years. But it was a slow day and I appreciate slow days. We didn't go to Thursday co-op today on account of one of the other kids having recently thrown up. We are planning to have it tomorrow (if nobody else starts throwing up).

So today found me writing by 6:00 am and then having both dogs sitting here staring at me and thumping their tails at 6:10. A quick check in the storeroom confirmed that we were out of dog food. I made them wait a couple of more hours and then had to run to the store. The boys said, "We were gonna tell you we were out of dog food...." At 7:00 am the man who fixed our tractor called to say he was bringing it home. Jasper met him outside, armed with a water gun. So now our tractor is back and we're going to need to haul some hay out to the cows with it, soon. I am so bummed that everything is turning brown! Even though I knew it would. I am still watering the yard, although it will soon become a losing battle if we don't get rain.

We read some books, did some laundry, picked some tomatoes, made some spaghetti sauce for the lasagna I'm making tomorrow...and we dried tons and tons of tomatoes. I am barely staying on top of the tomatoes. Here is a pic of today's pickin's (with a few left from yesterday).

Aren't these pretty? 12 trays and it probably won't fill up a Ziploc bag when they're done.

The boys were my helpers today. They did some grunge work for me - washed down all of my white cabinet doors in the kitchen. This is one of the things that had really been bothering me. Ellie mostly played the piano all day. She is getting ready to go to piano camp and received her trio music yesterday. She says it is really hard. She is all excited. The kid loves anything hard. Someone once asked her what she liked about classical music and she said, "It is hard." She also has band practice tomorrow afternoon. She plays electric guitar but is talking about getting a keyboard so she can play that, too. They already have a bass player and two guitarists, plus the singer plays guitar, too.

As for the books we're reading: I have a deal with the boys where I read to them while they fold clothes (rather poorly, I might add. But I am no longer picky about such silly things.) Jules and I are on the absolute last Gregor the Overlander book. I am so sad! I don't want it to end! Just like with the Harry Potter books..... I LOVE the Gregor books. The messages in them are so beautiful and skillfully delivered. The plot involves an underground society made up of humans, called Underlanders, and giant animals of equal intelligence. They are always fighting over resources and land. War is a way of life. The message isn't cut and dry. While the author obviously favors peace and diplomacy, she tries to show the story of both sides. Those who fight, the ones who are quick to pick up weapons, are not shown as monsters but as people who want to defend their land, protect their families, etc. However, those seeking diplomacy are always pointing out how the fighting perpetuates the problem...the enemy is first shown as hateful monsters, but then it is discovered what has led them to many of their own children died as the result of actions of the allies, how much land they lost and the effect it had on their you can see that things are complicated. Not just good and bad guys, but rather, beings who are trying to do what is best for themselves and who are often unable to see the bigger picture. All of the animals have names in the Underland, given to them by other species. The spiders are called Spinners. The rats are called Gnawers. The cockroaches are Crawlers. The mice are Nibblers....etc. It was just explained in the last book that the humans are called Killers. Gregor was like, "Why? Why are we called that?" And his cockroach friend just casually explained that everyone in the Underland is named according to what they do. And that was a sobering moment for Gregor.

In the last book there is a genocide going on - the rats are killing the mice and doing it in ways that eerily shadow the Holocaust (gas from a volcano - the mice went willingly because they thought they were being relocated and it was best not to put up a resistance). Anyway, our family has been active in the movement to save Darfur from genocide and so Jules picked up on that right away - more so than any references to the Holocaust, although I gently tried to show that, too. He is young to truly understand all of this stuff. I'm not so quick to explain it to him. He knows the world isn't always a great place, he just doesn't need to know the entire extent of it, yet. He is 10 and I truly don't think he would have been ready for the Gregor books before his 10th birthday, which is when he received the first one.

Another thing I love about the Gregor books is that they are very empowering for young people. The queen of the Underlanders is a 12-year-old girl and she kicks a**. The head of the army is a woman who also happens to be a grandmother. Her husband is the head of the council and he is a diplomat. He and his wife are usually at odds over how to handle situations - she favoring force and he favoring words and diplomacy. Gender and age are just minor details - i LOVE that! My favorite character, by far, is a rat named Ripred. He is part Ninja and part Jack Nicholson. Awesome. Well, Jules just asked me to read to him so I think I will close down this blog for the evening and see what Gregor and Ripred are up to.

Oh, first, let me say that Joel and I are almost finished with Pitcairn's Island. Hooray! I can't believe we did it. We got off to a rather slow start with Mutiny on the Bounty, the seafaring lingo was hard to grasp, but we quickly took to it like salty dogs and loved every minute of it. Then we devoured Men Against the Sea and now we're working our way through the last of the trilogy. 690 pages! Let me just say that both boys are voracious readers on their own, but I really like reading out loud to them, too. We always have something we're working through together. Ellie reads to Jules. She used to read to Joel but he is bigger than her now and she just doesn't do it, anymore. She is currently reading the Series of Unfortunate Events books to Jules. She read them at his age and loved them. If you only saw the movie you got ripped. The movie was horrible. The books are hilarious.

Jeff is reading all of the Little House books to Camille. Farmer Boy was his favorite. He was diggin' it. Totally. He has been out of town in the Valley this week and comes home tonight. I need to call him and make sure he's got the music blaring, a cup of coffee in his hand, and is staying awake.

Jules is still waiting on me. With his rubber chicken. He "won" it for probably $20 in tokens at the arcade yesterday. He hasn't been able to put it down since he got it. He becomes obsessed with things - it is highly suspected that he has Asperger's but we haven't decided there is any benefit to a diagnosis (I'm up for listening to opinions on this, by the way). Anyway, so his rubber chicken lays an egg and does so in a fairly disgusting manner. It just aint a pretty sight.

This reminds me. This Saturday we'll be watching a free screening of Rikki Lake's documentary, The Business of Being Born. My friend, Diane, is showing it as a service of Go Baby Go, her store that specializes in cloth diapers and baby carriers. You can check out her website by clicking on the link to the right under "Places to Visit". OK - well, the Rikki Lake and rubber chicken connection is gross and crude. Sorry. But that is truly what it reminded me of :).

OK - did I mention that Jules is patient?

Sardine Mama


  1. Man I wish I knew yesterday that the chicken did that! I so would have had one!

    On another note, we are also reading through Little House on the Prairie with Miss P. We are all hooked. Last week we rented the Disney miniseries and enjoyed that as well. Followed the book pretty closely. Except there was no baby Carrie. Must have been dead weight. . .

  2. There is even a "yolk" in it. We've never seen the Disney miniseries but I grew up watching the television series with Melissa Gilbert. My friends and I used to play Little House on the Prairie all the time...we had a wood-burning stove in our garage and that was the cabin.