Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sunday, September 30, 2012

I wanted to write about Homeland because it is easily some of the best television I have seen in years.  The general story lines are riveting and intense, and the acting is exceptional.  Claire Danes is a tour de force.  There was a moment in the first season where I literally gasped with astonishment at her skill.  I wasn't one of the hardcore initiates into the My So-Called Life fan club, and though what little I saw of her portrayal of Temple Grandin impressed me, I never paid Danes much attention.  I have been very, very wrong.

Thus, if you loved Angela Chase, Homeland is for you.  And also if you were a 24 fanatic.  Or if you would like to see Damian Lewis in a role other than Captain Winters.  Heck, if you appreciate quality television at all, this show is truly a safe bet.

For the uninitiated:

A convenient character-based recap, via

New York Times previews the second season. (SPOILER ALERT!)

My fave tv freak, Michael Ausiello, breaks down what he knows about Season 2.

P.S.  Homeland and its cast swept the Emmys last weekend.  You'll be jumping onto a popular, crowded bandwagon when you tune in!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Every day occurrence

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This is how we start our day.

Books, always books.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, September 7, 2012

what we're reading now...august

Friday, September 7, 2012
August passed us by like a whirlwind.  Our precious few days at home were spent visiting cousin L at her apartment in San Francisco, exploring new (to us) treasures like the local Children's Museum, and of course lots of gallivanting around in the backyard, chasing after balls and climbing up and down the slide.  The rest of the month found us in Texas, first for our annual pilgrimage to Campmeeting and then for the most exciting adventure of shopping for a WEDDING DRESS for my sister!  Baby A has become quite the seasoned traveler.  He cheerfully toddled around various airports, leaving a trail of Cheerios in his wake and charming every soul he passed, and due to my meticulous flight planning, took decent naps on every single flight.  I will say that it is absolutely NO JOKE to travel solo with a toddler, but all in all, we managed fine.  

As is my way, I am just now composing a list of what we read during the month.  It continues to bring such happiness to my heart to see how much A genuinely loves books, and our time spent together reading is truly precious.  

Cowboy Small. We started reading this treasure just in time for our trip to West Texas.  I remember reading Lois Lenski's Strawberry Girl when I was young, but I wasn't aware she composed picture books.  The storyline is very simple, which is perfectly appropriate for A.  It was fun to be able to point out things to him that we would be seeing at home.

Owl Babies. I am sure it is unsurprising that this book is incredibly adorable and sweet.  I love that the eldest owl baby is a girl.  That they are huddled together on one branch when the mama owl swoops home.  That one of the owls is named Percy!

It's Time to Sleep My Love.  I ordered this book for our trip to Texas, thinking I could add it to the collection that will live permanently at my dad's house.  I like to have a few goodnight/bedtime books when we're away because I think it helps with the transition to sleeping in a new place.  Granted, A had never laid eyes on the book-I thought that perhaps his exposure to the illustrations of the so-sweet-I-can't-take-it On the Night You Were Born might attract his attention.  As it turned out, I couldn't bear to part with the book once I read it.  It's a beautiful, rhythmic poem, that seems to get better each time we read.

Ferdinand.  Be still my heart!  Baby A has grown to adore this MOST beloved childhood book!  Even now, I can still hear my mom's voice, telling me about the bull who wanted nothing more than to "sit and smell the flowers."

Frog and Toad are Friends. I will confess that we've been diving into Frog and Toad mostly because of me.  A seemed to really enjoy A Kiss for Little Bear, so I thought he might like the equally simple and straightforward Frog and Toad tales.  There is something to be said for stories that contain such basic plots, particularly for young readers.  A tends to respond to them best when he's feeling a bit sleepy.  Is this a sign?

The Best Nest.  In the last week or so, Baby A has developed the most adorable habit-picking out a specific book and toddling over to us, shoving it towards our faces and then promptly settling down into (or attempting to climb up towards) our laps.  At first there were only one or two books he gravitated towards in this manner, and this was one of them.  His obsession has grown considerably, to the point that I might not ever want to see Leo Lionni's Swimmy ever again in my life, but I think I'll always manage to dredge up some happiness while reading The Best Nest.  A mere glance at the familiar pink cover plunges me straight back into childhood days spent at my beloved grandmother's house.  Always notorious for her frugality, Memaw only kept a few books and toys at the house for the grandchildren, and this was one of them.  It looked exactly the same back then, bright pink cover and all.  We must have read it thousands of times, considering the poor shape it was in the last time I saw it. I'm so glad that A loves it too.

Hattie and the Fox.  We've been reading a LOT of farm animal books, and while I am not enamored of all of them, it's actually been a great thing for A.  The constant exposure to the familiar cast of characters (cow, horse, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, etc.) has definitely made an impression.  He imitates sounds and is probably not far from being able to point out an animal when prompted.  Mem Fox is a literary specialist, and can be counted on for excellent reading options for young children.  Other favorites of mine include Koala Lou and Time for Bed.
The Gingerbread Boy.  When I taught kindergarten in the Bronx (oh, such warm and wonderful memories!), I decided that my unit on fairy tales would be focused on The Gingerbread Boy.  The fact that there is a veritable plethora of adaptations is largely what convinced me.  I thought my little learners might be able to pick up on fairy tale qualities better if wrapped in the comforting familiarity of a common plot.  It is fascinating to glimpse the same understanding (even if only a flicker) with Baby A.  When we embarked on our second trip to Texas, I had a copy of Richard Eglieski's The Gingerbread Boy sent to my sister's house.  I thought it would give me a great opportunity to test my theory that he would gravitate towards it, having read the Paul Galdone version at least 100 times in the week before we left.  It's exactly what happened-he loved it, and it was easily the book he asked to be read the most while we were gone.  For the record, the adaptations pictured are my favorites.  There are many others, including Gingerbread Girl, The Library Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Man Loose in School, and Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends.  Most of these are a bit too complicated given A's age, and while I like Jan Brett, her illustrations are extremely busy.  

Green Eggs and Ham. Ah!  I have been sucked into the vortex of Sam-I-am!  I knew this day would come!  Interesting tidbit: Dr. Seuss reportedly wrote this book in response to a challenge from his editor that he could not compose a book with fifty words or less.  Clearly, he was victorious.
Tikki Tikki Tembo.  Once again, I have to re-list a book, because I must honestly include what we have read during the month.  Like The Best Nest, Tikki Tikki Tembo has become one of A's obsessions.  Let me tell you, it is looooooong.  Despite its charm, and despite our incredibly adorable child, both SH and I probably inwardly groan when we see it clutched in his chubby little hands.  I have already determined that I will not give in to the temptation to skip words, however.  I'll read every single word of that old man's opium-induced haze, darn it!

I can tell that A's reading habits are changing, which means I'll probably move to a monthly post like this one.  No need to write at length when our rotation includes the same favorites from week to week.