Thursday, April 24, 2008

Reading at St Jude's

It is official. I am a REAL author. I have now taken my book and read it live in front of a group of squirmy kids. About 150 squirmy kids. Spanish speaking squirmy kids. And they seemed to really enjoy it.

This is a horrible video. Everything happened so fast, that it is shot from our handheld camera. It is about five minutes long, only small sections of the reading, interspersed with some still shots - but it is proof.

How did this happen? First, I have received the first two books. This showed up at my house on Wednesday (you can see why I have been a little busy). These were sent as confirmation of the print run so that I could verify all was correct. There was one unexpected thing which I was a little unsure of. Bell's had a play date at one of her classmates homes (all the girls of the class AND their Moms were invited). It was lovely. So while I had seven captive Mothers of 6-year old daughter divas, I asked their opinion. My friend read aloud (instantaneous translation into Spanish) for the Moms. They really liked it. They didn't notice the issue. They didn't mind the issue when it was pointed out. They asked me to read it to the girls.

I was flustered. I was red in the face with pride and embarrassment. I was unprepared. I did an awful job of reading it to seven little girls sitting cross-legged on the floor. They like it. I learned I MUST PRACTICE before anything like this might happen again.

The Moms immediately commenced discussing when I should read it to the whole school. They considered women's day, but then they realized that next WEDNESDAY was BOOK DAY. A perfect opportunity. So Monday I trucked myself in to see the pre-school director. She loved the book and thought I should read to the whole school during the presentation for Book Day during assembly.

Not only that, they sent home a flier with details about book day. Something along the lines of "Wednesday is Book Day, kids should bring one book for book swap, there will be a presentation, by the way, Jennifer Fosberry, mother of Isabella of red squirrel class and Gustavo of blue butterfly class will be reading the book she wrote, entitled My Name is Not Isabella." Or something like that, it was all in Spanish.

So there I was, at 8:00 am, ready to read. It went well. I had practiced. I am getting better. And kids love being read to. I am not saying I don't have a good book, but they like just about anything. There was a little shuffling toward the end (Spanish speaking two-year olds were ready for the next thing), but all in all I will call it a success.

Now we just need to get those books sitting in China to the US.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Photoshop play around

I have been playing with photoshop. Trying to use other blogs as tutorials. In reality, I have no idea what I am doing. But I can make alot of different stuff. Not sure if any of it is good, or pretty or proffesional.
This is the side window of our garage as seen from inside our yard. I played with levels, curves, layers, saturation, hues. Here are a few results. I think they all look good. Well mostly...

Monday, April 21, 2008

truthiness in self potrait - part two

The other day I posted what I looked like first thing in the morning. Perhaps I should explain why I jumped on the bandwagon of grotesqueness. There were some other Moms that thought it was a good idea to do so. Here's one now to explain it. So I played along. And I decided to do it right, I mean right out of bed. So here it is.

Here's the good:

The bad and the ugly (also scary):

But I think I would look really hot (probably you would too) with Madonna's hair:

Probably look pretty good with her body too.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

truthiness in self potrait

Me first thing in the morning, as seen by my 6-year old daughter:
And a self portrait: Okay, so I may have brushed my hair and threw on some clothes. But I also:
  • put away last nights dishes
  • washed the few stray dishes
  • packed away the two older kids lunches
  • made breakfast for the kids
  • fed Sera her yogurt
  • dressed Sera
  • Woke the kids
  • Got the kids dressed for school
  • put the birds outside, changed the bird paper, water and food
  • fed the fish
  • fed the puppy
Oh, and I did something for myself, I went to the bathroom.
No shower, no food, does this count?
The sad part is, I am not sure that it gets much better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Straight from God or the camera

This shot is straight from the camera. No photoshopping. No nothing.
Bells was in the car and said it was from God.
Maybe she's right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teaching Language in Schools

This is a cool thing I stumbled on.

From time to time, I look at the news in my home area of upstate New York. There is not usually a headline to do with the Lake Luzerne area, but this Schenectady topic caught my eye.

It seems that the school district is starting to teach Arabic language classes. All I can say is WOW! How forward thinking. If things go well and peaceful relations abound, there will be tremendous business opportunities in the Middle East. If things continue to escalate, there will most likely be job opportunities as we continue to eavesdrop on everything. But let's not go there, my political, philosophical, rose-colored, hopeful, petticoat is showing. Let's stay focused on the pleasant side.

It seems that the schools are already experimenting with Chinese class. Again, let's focus on the positive. I tend to believe that business opportunities, exposure to other lifestyles, and openness is what will heal us all. But perhaps again, those rose-colored glasses are welded to my head a little too tightly.

This is part of what we like about where we are. Because our kids attend a bi-lingual school, they are taught the primary classes (math, language, science) in English, extra classes (art, music, religion, etc.) and playground are in Spanish, they have French class once a week, and Bells gets Mandarin once a week. We also found a private tutor for Chinese classes twice a week outside of school. And her father spoke Tagalog to her when she was a baby (we weren't so good with the other two babies).

As parents, we feel that the ability to communicate is so important and as the world becomes more global and at the same time more small, it is so important to know more languages. I am old and have a goal to speak Spanish as well as a third-grade native speaker. This is probably a lofty goal for me. But the kids are so flexible to learn these things now. Besides being able to communicate with more people on this earth, there are good reasons for learning languages. Besides having a greater appreciation of other cultures and peoples, it seems that learning languages (or music, for that matter, another language of sorts) help your brain to make connections it would not otherwise make. So speaking and understanding more languages may not make you smarter, but it should make you a more nimble thinker. That has got to be good.

And all I can say is Bravo! Yippee! Congratulations! to the Schenectady school district.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

God's Chairs

Let me just start be saying, we are not an overly religious family. I think we are spiritual, but not very practicing.
Two out of three kids are baptized (Catholic) - (I know, I know).
Our kids go to a Catholic school.
Our kids LOVE and watch a lot of Veggie Tales.
Our kids ask God/Jesus/Faith/Church questions and we try to answer them.
We have visited the with family members for their Christian services (the kids are typically in age appropriate rooms with care-takers and activities).
But we have not taken them to Mass.

On Good Friday we went and saw a procession in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. You can read all about it here. After the procession started walking through the town, we went an visited the church. It is big and simple at the same time.

It made me feel grateful. And hopeful. And Happy. All the things I think it is supposed to make you feel.

Except the BIG ONE.

The kids were a little loud at first, we explained that they had to be quiet and respectful because this was God's House. I wanted to say a little prayer. I was working through an Our Father and powering through to a Hail Mary, when Googs leaned over and whispered,

"Why are God's Chairs so slippery?"

And there you have it folks! Maybe we should take them to Church.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Mike and Ike Flowers

Monday, April 7, 2008

My New Love

I have a new love. My husband doesn't mind, he actually hooked us up. Now before you think ANYTHING dirty, let's head to the shower. That's right. A brand new showerhead. (I still don't want you to think anything dirty!).

Let me 'splain. The showerhead in this rental was, um crappy. It was wall mounted for a really tall person. It was clogged so the spray were tiny little pins that hit me at a very sensitive part. A could only get about two sprays to hit my head at a time. And since it was wall mounted, to clean certain areas was a gymnastic challenge. Water don't go against gravity unless you force it.

Now I have this guy.
Now I just have to fix those other issues that prevent momma from peace and tranquility - everyone barging into the bathroom during my shower. And flushing the other toilet. Then life would be perfect, at least 5 minutes per day.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Haiku Friday - Puppy Love

Haiku Friday

This pup is so cute.
Favorite topic this week.
Can't buy puppy love.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Publish a Children's Book - Copyediting, why it is important

Have the book copyedited. I hired someone to do the text, the backmatter, the lead-in on the dust jacket front flap, the about the author, about the illustrator, the acknowledgements, the dedication. It cost me about ~$150. The biggest change was to the main text. To use a Tim Gunn/Project Runway statement, I had been in the monkey house too long. I was unable to make simple changes. The main text is only ~350 words. The changes my copyediter made took the whole book to a higher level of professionalism. The changes to the backmatter and other aspects was not as dramatic, but it is nice to know I'm covered.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Hound Dog (crosspost)

We caved (or I finally got Ibarra to cave) and got a dog. This is Willa who was named by Bells after a fairy in some Barbie movie. I think it is fitting, as in Willa Dog Last at our house? Time will tell.

For now, she is sweet. We got her in Atenas at an adoption fair but on by a local organization. She was living at a home with her mother/father and a brother. A couple of other pups supposedly had already been hit by cars. She is about 3 months old. She is supposedly part border collie, part bloodhound. Not sure if I see that, but she definitely has some hound. When we got her, fleas, ticks and worms, oh my. But that has been taken care of. And she hasn't been in the house. She lives out on our nice covered porch (where we spend a lot of time) and has run of the nice sized yard. We'll see how that changes in time.

Here is one of Snoopy's Willa's favorite spots to hang out:

Tell me there isn't hound in her.

Spelling error tells another story

I love spell checker. I am not the world's best speller. In fact, in some ways I think it is more creative to spell a word differently. But the scientist in me disagrees. Any hoo....

I recently realized that the words I most frequently misspell:

success and beautiful

Wonder what that means?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Beautiful Filipino Dance

I saw this and thought I would share. For my Filipino family members, you already know what this is. For those unfamiliar, this is a form of dance in the Philippines. I was first introduced to this art form in 5th grade gym class (the same place that later enforced co-ed square dancing). Except we didn't wear anything so beautiful and exotic, there were no umbrellas, the wood sticks were neon yellow plastic and it was all girls. This is far better.

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