Friday, July 21, 2017

Catching Air

Catching Air

Juvenile nonfiction
Trigger warning: creationists might find this review
offensive. Just saying.
"High in a pine tree in Southeast Asia, a Draco lizard searches
for ants to eat. As it swivels its head...
...and stares into the eyes of a deadly paradise tree snake.
The snake lunges!
The Draco leaps out into space. With the ground a hundred feet below,
death seems certain."
But the splat never happens. The creature spreads its ribs and
skin folds into wing like structures and manages to glide away, land
on a safer tree, and resume its task of noshing on ants. It is one of
the fascinating creatures Sneed B. Collard III introduces readers to
in Catching Air: Taking the Leap with Gliding Animals.
(If the author's name seems familiar, we enjoyed his Hopping
Ahead of Climate Change back in May. I was thrilled to see his latest
offering out so soon.)
In addition to the lucky lizzard, you're going to meet a variety
of varmints from all over the world including:
The flying squirrels (I had some as pets once; they are velvet soft)
that can glide 150 feet when a predator is closing in;
The adorable Australian sugar gliders that are actually marsupials,
related to less than cute American possums;
And even gliding frogs, snakes, and fish.
How do they do it? Collard very capably explains the
evolutionary adaptations that endow them with this very useful
talent. Did you know that gliding mammals left fossil remains 125
million years ago? Bet you can't guess what modern day species has
taken up the habit.
Can you believe Collard is the author of over 80 juvenile
science books? I'd say any volume with his name on it would be well
worth reading.
On a personal note, I had the most wonderful night last night!!! The
visiting African scholars are in Maine for six weeks. They are
leaders in their repective countries, very intelligent, thoughtful,
sociable, and great dancers. I was very fortunate to snag an invite
to a dinner and dance in their honor. The meal was delish! Their
company was wonderful. And the hours of dancing were total bliss!!!
I live for nights like that!!!
Cliffhanger: as I post this Joey cat is at Veazie Vet getting his
summer shave and check up. He gets what they call the lion trim.
Everypart of him except head, legs, and stub tail is shaved. He will
be much more comfortable as we move into the humid dog days. He's
still adorable. I'm expecting his check up to go well. But you never
know...
I'll update you in my next post.
A great big shout out goes out to our visiting scholars and all who
host them and coordinate their program and Joey's vet practice.
jules hathaway


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sea Otters

Sea Otters

Juvenile nonfiction
On a very fortunate June day I found not one, but two new books
about sea otters. Both have scads of adorable photographs of these oh
so cute marine mammals. Both also are fonts of intriguing
information. Either or both would make a hit with future scientists
and vetenarians and animal loving kids.
In the wild sea otters have a fairly long period of dependence
on their mothers. If one becomes separated as a helpless baby, he/she
is in trouble deep unless a human rescuer comes along. It takes a
team with a lot of special skills to save a young sea otter's life.
In her Sea Otter Rescue, Suzi Eszterhas takes readers behind the
scenes at the wildlife hospital at the Alaska SeaLife Center for a
look at all that must done to prepare orphaned sea otter pups for
eventual return to the wild (for those who can) or a forever home like
Seattle Aquarium.
Patricia Newman's Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved An
Ecosystem portrays a real life science mystery. Elkhorn Slough, a
California coastal inlet has strong healthy seagrass. This phenomenon
raised the curiosity of Brent Hughes, a marine biologist. Normally
farm fertilizer run off supports the proliferation of algae that kills
off seagrass.
So what was going right?
Seagrass helps local ecosystems and the planet by calming
erosive currents and waves, serving as a nursery for young marine
creatures, keeps toxic contaminants out of the oceans, and removes
carbon from the atmosphere. Perhaps learning the key element that was
protecting Elkhorn Slough seagrass would lead improving other estuaries.
Perhaps some of the youngsters picking up these books will go on
to become wildlife rescuers or marine biologists. You never know.
On a personal note, yesterday I donated blood and hung out at the
canteen talking to other donors to see if any got dizzy and needed
help. Then I did what I could at community garden which was mostly
making people happy to see me. Harvesting made me too dizzy. Being
most social gardener has its perks. Today I am resting and writing at
home because my Thursday will be huge even by my standards.
A great big shout out goes out to my fellow donors and gardeners.
jules hathaway


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Daring Dogs

Daring Dogs

Picture books
"Then, one icy January day, there came an icy knock on Seppala's
door.
'Diptheria,' the man's voice cut through the freezing wind. 'A
young boy...it is so contagious that in two weeks it could wipe out
everyone here in Nome!' He tried to catch his breath. 'Anchorage has
an antitoxin that can stop it, but the train from Anchorage only goes
as far as Nenana.'
Nenana was 600 miles from Nome."
I know we're months from winter snow and sleet. In my mind,
however, there are no often seasons for exciting animal stories. So
when I found three of Robert Blake's Iditarod related stories at the
Orono Public Library, I scooped the up to share with you.
The first Iditarod was a matter of public health life or death.
The year was 1925. The dreaded disease diptheria had arrived in Nome,
Alaska. Anchorage had an antitoxin. Even with a train and a sled dog
team the life saving medicine would still be 300 miles away. A relay
team was needed for the last leg of the trip...under the harshest
weather conditions possible. Togo, from which the lead quote for this
review was excerpted tells that harrowing tale.
Akiak is a story of persistance that would impress even
Elizabeth Warren.
"It was Iditarod Race Day. 1,151 miles of wind, snow, and
rugged trail lay ahead, from Anchorage to Nome. Akiak had led the
team through seven races and knew the trail better than any dog. She
had brought them in fifth, third, and second, but had never won. She
was ten years old now. This was her last chance. Now, they must win."
You know what they say about the best laid plans of men and
mice...and dogs. On the fourth day of the race, with her team in
second place, Akiak had to be pulled because of an injury. She was to
be flown out, but she had other ideas that involved eluding the humans
and getting back on the trail to join them...a lone, injured dog
without the human support system crucial for such a grueling effort.
Painter and Ugly conveys a beautiful lesson on friendship.
Champion sled dogs, Painter and Ugly, are inseperable best friends.
One day, instead of their boy, a man takes the animals from their off
season summer home. Painter is put on a Junior Iditarod team with
strange dogs and no sign of his chum.
But he has no intentions of giving up his search for Ugly.
You know, in the upcoming wiltingly hot and muggy dog days of
August, these fine books may carry a welcome hint of crisp coolness.
On a personal note, I had a wonderful Sunday. Katie and Jacob were up
for a wedding. They, Brian and Amber, Eugene and I had a picnic at
Webster park. The weather was picnic perfect. We spent wonderful
hours together. After Eugene and I went for a drive. At a yard sale
I got 3 hoodies for $1.50 including a vivid tie dye Rainforest Cafe
one. I'll wear it often. Each time it will bring back precious picnic
memories.
A great big shout out goes out to the wonderful family Eugene and I
started almost 28 years ago when we got married.
jules hathaway



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Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Dead Bird

The Dead Bird

Picture book
My children went through a period where they made me the
preacher for a series of funerals that took place on the then empty
(now with a trailor on it--I hope the owners don't dig deeply) lot
next door. We buried everything from a pet clam (yep, clam) to a
snake that was run over (I was tasked with picking that one up). If
you have youngsters you may very well have been asked to help with the
proper disposal of a goldfish and. (Don't even think of the toilet
unless you sneak out and buy an identical replacement.)
It's how kids process concepts. And they will incorporate what
they perceive of their world (even what we try to shield them from)
into their daily life. No one got this better than Margaret Wise
Brown. Luckily for today's parents, her The Dead Bird has been
reissued with lovely illustrations by Christian Robinson.
Some children encounter a dead bird.
"The children were very sorry that the bird was dead. But they were
glad they had found it, because now they could dig a grave in the
woods and bury it. They could even have a funeral and sing to it the
way grown-up people did when someone died."
Everything they do is careful and thoughtful, digging a hole, wrapping
the bird in ferns and flowers, singing, providing a stone, and
planting flowers around it.
If you have young children, they are bound to encounter death
before you are ready for them to, especially if you share your abode
with animal companions. (Hint: goldfish are a very bad choice). The
Dead Bird is a wonderful read aloud for stimulating discussion and
validating feelings. It's a must acquire for public and school
libraries.
Lynn Plourde, author of Maxi's Secrets, made an insightful
observation about reader response to her book. Only adult readers
expressed anger in regard to Maxi's death. (Mea culpa). Child
readers acknowledged the sadness of the event and shared stories of
the pets they had lost.
Kids, it seems, can understand and cope with a lot more than we
give them credit for.
On a personal note, I will be cutting church tomorrow for the most
wonderful reason--a family picnic. Katie is in the neighborhood for a
friend's wedding. So we'll all get together tomorrow in Webster
Park. I didn't know about this til yesterday. You'd better believe
I'm on cloud nine!
A great big shout out goes to my wonderful family!
jules hathaway




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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Village Of Immigrants

Village Of Immigrants

Adult nonfiction
"Greenport is not far from towns where hostility to recent
arrivals is the norm. By contrast, however, it is relatively
peaceful. I decided to channel my general curiosity into a particular
investigation: how twenty-first-century immigrants in this village
were faring in the ambiguous atmosphere of current immigration
policy. What interested me most was the ecology of a small town
undergoing demographic transformation, the interplay of lives and
their surroundings..."
Diana R. Gordon, author of Village Of Immigrants: Latinos In An
Emerging America had taught a PhD level class on American Immigration
Policy twice before she experienced professional discomfort. She felt
that she didn't understand enough about the practical implications of
this policy for either native born or immigrants. "I could not
illuminate for my students the daily details that would have turned
the history and theory of my classes into rich reality."
Gordon moved to Greenport on New York's Long Island. A third of
its 3,000 full time residents (as opposed to second home summer
visitors) were immigrants, mostly from Latin America. Many were
undocumented, unable to obtain more than low income and/or seasonal
work. Although many homeowners and owners of businesses like
restuarants depended on them for cheap labor, there were concerns that
they would make the village a less desirable place in which to live.
Gordon delved into every facet of immigrant life: the schools,
the health care system, places of residence, work opportunities, and
encounters with law enforcement. She found that although her subjects
had better lives than they would have experienced in their countries
of origin, they still faced formidable challenges.
Gordon's format makes for a lively and informative read. Her
first chapters offer up historical bacground to set the scene. The
remainder of her chapters are paired, one on a particular facet of
life followed by a personal narrative, illustrative of the points
covered. For example, the chapter on housing is followed by one on
the struggle of Sofia to keep a roof over her family's head.
Village Of Immigrants beautifully conveys the human dimension
and "rich reality" she had regretted not being able to give her
students. This insightful book is a must read for all wishing to cope
constructively with the changing demographics that are changing
America into a nation where non Hispanic whites will soon be in the
minority.
On a personal note, the community garden is coming along beautifully.
Tuesday was the first day we distributed veggies to our people who
were delighted. We'd worked for weeks to make that possible. This
year we gardeners get live music while we work. The concerts that
used to be over in Webster Park are now in back of the library. Fun
work, friends, refreshments, and live music! Who can ask for more?
I'm scheduled to donate blood next Tuesday. I'm betting all the
organic spinach I'm eating is keeping my blood rich in iron.
A great big shout out goes out to my community garden family and the
musicians who provided us with such fine musical entertainment.
jules hathaway


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How to Be a Grown Up

How to Be a Grown Up

YA/Adult nonfiction
"I remember, as a kid, wanting so badly to be a 'grown up.' I
couldn't wait till I was an adult, because once I was, I was
convinced, I'd be free. I would buy myself any toy I liked on the
spot. No one could tell me what to eat, so I could stuff myself with
junk food. I would decide which tv shows were 'appropriate' for me to
watch. I would do my homework if and when I felt like it, and no one
would ever make me clean up my room. Bottom line: I'd do what I
liked, and I would be happy.
So, here I am, and so are you. We've arrived; we are officially
adults. Chronological adults who are free to live our lives any way we
want to. Right? Well sort of..."
Stacey Kaiser, author of How to Be a Grown Up: The Ten Secret
Skills Everyone Needs to Know discovered it isn't all that easy in
today's world. She also discovered that lots of people are mired in
lives that don't feel right or satisfying but are no more able to make
the changes that would make them happier than they were in their "As
long as you're under my roof, you'll play by my rules." days. So she
decided to help them achieve a more empowering skill set. That's what
the book is about.
The ten areas explore the skills needed to be "fully loaded
grown up". They make a lot of sense: communication, dealing with
circumstances beyond your control, friendships, romance, image,
financial responsibility, work, addiction, time management, and
flexibility. What makes this book one of the better ones on the
topic, however, is that Kaiser, a licensed psychotherapist, realizes
that people must take into account her readers are not tabala rasas.
Baggage, voices in our head, and other complexities color our feelings
and actions in any of the arenas. The first step has to be an
awareness of them and an exorcising of harmful ones.
Let's look at work. My earliest experiences were
entrepreneurial in nature: selling night crawlers, collecting
returnable bottles, running errands, odd jobs, animal and eventually
child sitting. Thanks to my dad, I was also a successful card shark.
A one night take of $75.00, for example, neatly supplemented my 35
cent a week allowance. As an adult my biggest work decision, made as
rationally as possible after 16 hours of labor and an emergency C
section and while under the influence of morphine, was to be a stay at
home mom. The transition back to the work world turned out to be
quite complex due to what I want out of work: meaning, purpose, and
community. I was determined not to settle for retail Hell, the
default option many women take after decades of child raising.
Volunteering gave me the knowledge that working with college students
is what makes my heart sing. So I am applying for the masters program
that will enable me to do that. At the same time I am seeking a part
time day job that will let me earn some money until I get with the
program.
Other steps involve building on and moving beyond this
awareness. There's a lot of good, solid advice. If you're an adult
who has areas of life dissatisfaction or an older teen eager to get to
the next life phase, How to Be a Grown Up can be a very profitable read.
On a personal note, yesterday I took a big step by interviewing for a
cashier job at Hannaford. I am a big fan of their corporate ethics so
I didn't feel like a hypocrite applying there. I think it went well.
We'll have to see.
Interviews don't scare me. That's a gift from my school committee
during crisis times days. After facing packed auditoriums of scared,
angry people with often the rudest waiting for the mic, one person who
hasn't already judged me as scum of the earth (and won't slander me on
the Internet the next day) can't help seeming relatively benign.
A great big shout out goes out to Hannaford and other companies for
whom corporate ethics are fundamental, rather than calculated window
dressing.
jules hathaway


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Go The Fuck To Sleep

Go The Fuck To Sleep
You Have To Fucking Eat

Picture books for parents
"The cats nestle close to their kittens.
The lambs have lain down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep."
I adored each of my children from the first in utero stirrings
of life. I thought they were the most beautiful, smart, totally
delightful infants that had ever graced the Earth with their
presence. I also experienced moments when I wished they'd come with
owners' manuals, particularly in regard to sleeping habits. When I
was up to three kids, with a newborn partying at night and his older
sisters needing my presence during the day, I experienced an
overwhelming fatigue no amount of coffee could remediate. Opening my
eyes, gritty with sleepy dust, became a major achievement.
A lot of you have been there. If the issue was not close to
universal in our society, nearly every issue of parenting magazines
wouldn't have a how to solve piece. Even if your kids are fully
functioning adults you haven't forgotten. That's why Adam Mansbach's
Go The Fuck To Sleep is such a relief. The man expresses and
legitimizes what gazillions of us have experienced.
A child is not complying with a dad's desire to hit the sack.
Every stall in the book is being attempted: another story, a drink of
water followed by a potty trip, a missing stuffed animal... By the
time the child has dozed off (temporarily, it turns out) and the dad
is ready for adult entertainment, mom is out for the count.
The sequel, You Have To Fucking Eat, addresses another very
common perrenial parenting problem. The children pictured in the book
demand food at all hours, but find what'd placed in front of them
unacceptable. They suddenly loathe what they've previously craved.
Carefully packed school lunches come back untouched.
On the last two page spread a father is tucking a lovely little
girl into bed.
"I'm pretty sure that you're malnourished
And scurvied. My failure's complete.
But on the bright side, maybe this is the night
You'll go the fuck to sleep."
The text is sweetly rhyming. The kids and animals pictured are
adorable. But this is NOT, I repeat NOT, a book to read to one's
offspring unless they have grown up and been fruitful and multiplied
and are looking a little bleary eyed and rough around the edges.
Then they very much need the reassuring message: been there,
done that, survived.
On a personal note, without kids to keep me awake, my pet peeve sleep
stealer is heat and humidity. I love cool night breezes and their
soporific properties. I used to sleep in a small tent on muggy
nights. Now if it's too hot in the bedroom I adjourn to my studio
with its perfectly placed windows, sleep like a cat, and wake up
refreshed.
A great big shout out to all struggling with children's sleeping
habits with a reminder that this too shall pass.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Adult nonfiction
These days, whether they post it themselves as in the
prolifically tweeting Trump or have it revealed by someone else,
people are treated to a surfeit of politicians' (I'm not sure if there
is anyone in elected or appointed office today I'd call a public
servant) thoughts, words, deeds, and misdeeds. Before social media,
however, a lot got swept under the rug. Today we are going to look at
a trinity of volumes (one on politicians in general, one on the
foibles of the Supreme Court "justices", and one on oval office
inhabitants) of not so well known info on the politically powerful.
Some of it is just funny. Some of it is alarming. Think Supreme
Court members far enough into dementia to not understand the
arguements on a case, the outcome of which could effect millions of
people, or addicted to hallucination inducing pain killers. But it's
all interesting.
Erin McHughes Political Suicide: Missteps, Peccadilloes, Bad
Calls, Backroom Hijinx, Sordid Pasts, Rotten Breaks, And Just Plain
Dumb Mistakes In The Annals Of American Politics (Is it possible to
pass up a volume with a title like that? McHughes had me hooked at
peccadilloes.) looks at just about every way politicians and wanna bes
shot themselves in the foot. (Some, BTW, do involve guns. For quite
awhile duels were an accepted way of acting on animosity). The sordid
tales are grouped by category. You can look for your favorite type of
misstep, be it finances, conspiracy, or that perrenial favorite, sex.
Or you can read the book cover to cover like I did to catch the whole
messy tableau.
Robert Schnakenberg's Secret Lives Of The Supreme Court: What
Your Teachers Never Told You About America's Legendary Justices gives
us the low down on robe wearers. (No, not the KKK, although at least
one jurist boasted dual membership). Taking a chronological approach,
he introduces readers to the quirks and misdeeds of jurists from John
Jay, the first chief justice who roused enough anger in those pre
Facebook days to unite the states in hanging him in effigy (read the
book to discover why), to people still sitting on the bench.
I wasted no time looking up my most detested (Oliver Wendell
Holmes Jr.) and my favorite (Louis Brandeis, of course). I realize
some of you might not have made such designstiond in regard to
SCOTUS. Then a cover to cover makes for a fascinating
read. Holmes, the social Darwinist who
Wrote in regard to Buck v. Bell (1937): "It is better for all the
world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for
crime, or to let them starve for their imbicility, society can prevent
those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind", would have
been a big fan of President Trump, Governor LePage, and gubenatorial
candidate Mary Mayhew who share a desire to make it more difficult to
the destitute to get help. In his own words, "I have no respect for
the passion for equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy."
Brandeis, in contrast, reasoned, "We can have democracy in this
country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the
few. But we can't have both." His votes in his twenty-three years on
the bench were well aligned with this philisophy. He established the
Brandeis briefs which incorporated sociologic data as well as legal
precedent. He was also a lot less pompous than Holmes. In regard to
his Supreme Court nomination, he wrote, "I am not exactly sure that I
am to be congratulated, but I am glad the president wanted to make the
appointment and I am convinced, all things considered, that I ought to
accept."
I'd just started that book when I had the great good fortune of
discovering a companion volume among the piles of student abandoned
goods we were sorting out for Clean Sweep. Cormac O'Brien's Secret
Lives Of The U.S. Presidents certainly lives up to its subtitle: What
Your Teachers Never Told You About The Men Of The White House. Want
an example? Here's a scoop on the dude they called Old Hickory:
"As a young man, Andrew Jackson "studied law" in Salisbury,
North Carolina, adopting a curriculum of reading, clerking, fighting,
drinking, and vandalism. Stories of his besotted hooliganism abound.
When asked to organize the local dancing school's Christmas ball, he
secretly invited two of the town's most experienced prostitutes,
causing a scandal. On another occasion, he and his fellow miscreants,
in an advanced and increasingly rampageous state of drunkenness,
actually demolished a local tavern, beginning with the glassware,
advancing to the furniture, and concluding by setting the building
ablaze. (Boys will be boys!) Jackson was also known to complete many
of his wild nights with a practical joke or. His favorite: moving
outhouses to where they couldn't be found."
Oh my!
One of Jackson's adult hobbies, combining impulsiveness with
anger management issues (not to mention incredible luck), was dueling
with guns. He engaged in over 100 duels, one of which left him with a
bullet that would remain close to his heart the rest of his life.
Booze, affairs (some of which involve the Secret Services
spiriting in mistresses under the radar of first ladies), vendettas,
vanity--one sees the whole range of human vices and shortcomings
played out on the stage of the White House. This makes for quite
entertaining and enlightening reading. But don't be surprised if it
leaves you approaching the voting box with an attitude of caveat
emptor (Let the buyer beware)!
On a personal note, I am royally ticked off with ticks and the nasty
diseases they spread. Already it's been quite awhile since I've been
to the hubby's camp which I really like. It's in the heart of tick
territory. Any time I spend significant time outdoors (like at the
community garden or Rick Charette's concert) I douse myself in Chanel
number Deep Woods Off and wear uncomfortably warm skin covering
clothes. Then at home I take a hot shower and throw the clothes in
the dryer on high. And they say this year is shaping up to be a bad
one in terms of tick proliferation. Yikes!
Now why were ectoparasites as in pestilence packing blood suckers the
first think that popped into mind while I edited this review?
A great big shout out goes out to the scientists who are hopefully in
their labs and out in the field working on ways to cut down on the
tick population without screwing up the web of nature (recall Rachel
Carson's Silent Spring) and vaccines to protect humans from Lyme and
worse. You're rock stars!
jules hathaway





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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Save Me A Seat

Save Me A Seat

Juvenile fiction
"I want say
1. My English is fine.
2. I don't need Miss Frost
3. I was at the top of my class at Vidya Mandir.
But here is what I do instead:
1. Push up my glasses.
2. Rub my nose.
3. Sit down and fold my hands.
My friends and teachers at Vidya Mandir would have a good laugh
if they could see me now--their star student taken for an idiot. What
a joke!"
Ravi and his family have just moved to New Jersey from India. A
stand out student in his native land, he's not prepared to be
considered in need of resource room in his new country. His teacher
and classmates have a hard time understanding him because of his
accent. Math is done differently. Then there's the culture shock.
And he has parents and grandparents, whom he does not want to shame,
eager for every detail about his educational experience.
"It's Monday, so the cafeteria is serving chicken fingers with
canned peas and apple slices. I had a big breakfast and it's only
11:30, but I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. For real. I go through
the line as fast as I can. Ethan and Evan and I used to eat at the
round table near the milk machine, but things are different now. I
have to lie low..."
Joe, in contrast, has lived in the same town all his life. He's
no big fan of school...with the exception of lunch. Only even that
bright spot in his day is getting sketchy. His only two friends have
moved away. Even worse, after losing her nursing job, his mother has
taken a job as a lunch monitor. The school bullies see a bright
opportunity in that.
Two boys who seemingly have nothing in common are floundering in
fifth grade, each feeling overwhelmed and alone. But sometimes help
can come from the most unlikely ally.
That's the empowering message of Save Me A Seat.
On a personal note, Eugene and I did our traditional 4th of July
festivities. We started off with the Bangor parade. My favorite
parts were the bands (especially the steel drums one) and the vintage
cars. Then we went to his folks for barbeque. We finished off with
the fireworks over to Brewer. I was casting a vote of faith that
America's current course can be changed and we can become a nation
with liberty and justice for all.
A great big shout out goes out to all who could commemorate without
complacency.
jules hathaway





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Monday, July 3, 2017

The Journey

The Journey

Picture book
"The war began. Every day bad things started happening and soon
there was nothing but chaos."
For the narrator of Francesca Sanna's The Journey, as for far
too many children in today's world, war steals happiness and
security. The first theft is her father. Next is the remaining
family members' peace of mind. Then there is home, friends, and a big
eyed dog.
There are endless days of travel. Treasured possessions must be
shed along the way. A border crossing almost turns tragic.
And still they have not reached safety.
The genesis for The Journey happened when Sanna spoke to two
refugee girls. For months she collected more immigrant stories. When
she began a masters program in illustration she decided to turn the
true stories into a children's book.
"...Almost every day on the news we hear the terms 'migrants'
and 'refugees' but we rarely ever speak to or hear the personal
journeys that they have had to take. This book is a collage of all
those personal stories and the incredible strength of the people
within them."
The Journey has earned the endorsement of Amnesty International
UK for its timely and timeless reminder that "we all have the right to
a safe place to live."
On a personal note, tomorrow is July 4th. Many of us won't be in much
of a mood to celebrate, especially with the stepped up persecution of
immigrants and refuge seekers. Celebrate hope that working together
we can bring this land once again the inclusive greatness symbolized
by the statue of liberty and work to make it happen.
Don't drink and drive. Watch out for ticks. Leave pyrotecnics to
professionals.
A great big shout out goes out to immigrants and refugees and those
who guide, shelter, and protect them.
jules hathaway


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Friday, June 30, 2017

How Does Sleep Come?

How Does Sleep Come?

Picture book
"Sleep that knits up the ravvell's sleave of care, the death of
each day's life, sore labour's bath, balm of hurt minds, great
nature's second course, chief nourisher in life's feast."
Mr. William Shakespeare sure knew what he was talking about.
Sleep is a beautiful experience.
Between Jeannie C. Blackmore's text and Elizabeth Sayles'
illustrations, How Does Sleep Come? is one of the sweetest, most
delicate, dearest bedtime read alouds ever.
As his mother tenderly tucks him into bed Jacob asks her this
question. She builds poetic word pictures.
"Sleep comes peacefully.
Like a cat that curls up cozily
in front of a warm fire
and kneads its paws as it purrs."
He snuggles into his blankets, yawns, shuts his eyes, and drifts off
to dreamland.
I think the best feature of this book, though, is the potential
effect on a parent for whom getting a child down is just one on a
labyrinthian lists of tasks. Hopefully it can make the mom or dad
slow down and treasure those precious moments...
...before they're gone forever.
On a personal note, as someone who finds heat and humidity unconducive
to slumber (married to someone with very different temperature
perception) I have been greatly enjoying this week's delightfully
breezy evenings and sound, dream filled, refreshing sleeps.
A great big shout out goes out to all who are wise enough to value
good sleeps.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Boy & The Bindi

The Boy & The Bindi

Picture book
A little boy becomes fascinated with his mother's bindi which
she wears on her forehead. One day he asks her what's so special
about it. When she explains he asks her for one. It makes him feel
calm and peaceful.
It's hard for him to explain to his school friends what is so
special about one small dot. But it makes him feel that, just as it
brings beauty to him, it can help him bring beauty to the world.
The Boy & The Bindi is a good way to open up a discussion of
this cultural tradition for children and teachers who are not familiar
with it.
On a personal note, the Bangor pride parade was awesome. We had a
scare when there was an early downpour. But it cleared up just in
time. It was a very festive event with lots of participants and
spectators. After that there was the festival. People strolled,
checked out tables, chatted with friends, and enjoyed the music. It
was very much of a celebration. The only clouds were a few
conservative religious types with signs that said stuff like
abomination. But we didn't let them rain on our parade.
A great big shout out goes out to participants with the exception of
those trying to shame people.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nope!

Nope!

Picture book
We allude to our kids as leaving the nest when they move out to
college or another mode of independent living. Drew Sheneman's Nope!
is about a baby bird who has hit the stage for this venture...
...and is scared out of its wits. The view down seems quite
terrifying, especially when the ground is populated by creatures like
a lip licking cat and snarling dogs. It looks like the mission is
aborted...
...but Mama Bird has a trick or two up her sleeve.
On a personal note, Amber and Brian made Fathers Day special for the
family. They had us all over for a yummy traditional dad's day
burgers and fries supper with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Katie
and Jacob came all the way from Portland. It was so precious to have
the family together with plenty of sharing of memories!!!
A great big shout goes out to my husband, our wonderful children and
their very special significant others.
jules hathaway


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tea With Lady Sapphire

Tea With Lady Sapphire

Picture book
When Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick's Tea with Lady Sapphire
arrived at Orono Public Library, our children's librarian and I let
out a collective groan. It's such a lovely winter book. But back
then the last dingy snow banks were singing the doxology. We knew by
the time it hit the top of my review stack dandelions would be
springing up.
But wait seven months to review it? Not hardly.
Tea with Lady Sapphire provides a delightful alternative to
those dreadful Disney princesses. The guests of honor at this
festivity are feathered friends. They're the kind children in the
northern states and Canada can see out their windows, from woodpecker
and cardinal to seed seeking turkeys.
Rather than a frilly dress, the tea party requires bundling up.
Directions are given for putting up a special snowman capable of
providing nourishment for a wide range of birds and a few sneaky
squirrels. When the guests start to show up human (and feline)
celebrants can observe them through the window while drinking tea and
eating snickerdoodles. They recipe is included. It's really good.
So enjoy your summer. And wait til the flakes start to fall to
enjoy this lovely seasonal volume.
On a personal note, yesterday I had a truly magical summer solstice.
My son stopped by. I finished the most beautiful (and challenging)
counted cross stitch piece (one with a stained glass quality) that
I've ever done. It is a real treasure to put up in my studio. I
finished organizing my poetry into three book length manuscripts. Now
I have to start contacting publishers. I started a free toy "yard
sale" for the neighborhood kids. I had grilled mozerella and fresh
spinach sandwiches for supper and a dark beer before bed.
A great big shout out goes out to all the other people who made the
solstice something special.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Helping Kids Work Things Out

Helping Kids Work Things Out

Picture books
One of the more delicate and often painful developmental tasks
of early childhood is learning how to cope with fights with friends.
Feelings are very intense. Coping strategies are relatively
unformed. And the perspective time brings hasn't had a chance to
develop. Two recent picture books can be very helpful.
Ever play telephone where a line of kids take turns whispering
something into the next person's ear? Chances are the message will
significantly mutate during the retellings. That's the plight of the
feisty protagonist of Liz Rosenberg's What James Said. She's heard by
quite a complex chain that her very best friend--make that her former
best friend--thinks that she thinks she's perfect. Well she's going
to ignore him. But that makes for a very long day.
Jane Yolan's How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends capitalizes on sense
of humor and fascination with prehistoric beasts. Readers are
presented with the dilemma: "How does a dinosaur keep his best friend
when a terrible fight just might signal the end?" In the first pages
the dinos are seen reacting very badly, much to the consternation of
the human children and teacher observing them. The latter ones show
much better solutions, leading up to, "Good hugs and more
keep a friend, dinosaur."
Both these fine books would make useful additions to school and
public libraries and the private collections of parents like me who
had the audacity to give birth to more than one child.
On a personal note, right after the Village Green dedication and Rick
Charette concert we had Artsapalooza. In venues all over downtown
(restaurants, library, churches, outdoor spaces) we had four sets of
acts. I had Harvest Moon (they make the most delicious soups and
sandwiches) from 7:40. I sang my adaptation of the grinch song:
you're a mean one, Mr. Trump and read a bunch of my poetry. I had a
perfect audience, mostly college and high school students. They were
so enthusiastic, reacting to the elements in my pieces and being easy
to engage in conversation between. I was in seventh heaven. After
they gave me super positive feedback. Even the kitchen staff was
impressed. Like my friend Rick, I know how to captivate an audience.
A great big shout out goes out to all who made Artsapalooza a night to
remember, especially the planners whose diligent behind the scenes
work made the event look effortless.
jules hathaway


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Teen Incarceration

Teen Incarceration

YA/adult nonfiction
"Like many youthful offenders, Quantel Lotts grew up fast,
exposed at a young age to drugs, violence, and poverty. When he was
eleven years old, he saw one of his uncles shot to death in a drug
dispute. Drug addiction ran rampant in his family. His mother was a
crack addict who went missing for days in his hometown of Saint Louis,
Missouri. With drugs came violence, and Quantel's family members beat
him regularly. Quantel says, 'I was taught that most problems can be
solved with violence.'"
Not surprisingly, Quantel became enmeshed in the justice system
at a young age. He stabbed a stepbrother to death in a fight.
Despite only being fourteen when he committed the crime, he was tried
as an adult and sentenced to life without possibility of parole. He
tattooed the words "dead man" on his arm.
I imagine we'd all like to think of juvenile justice as fair--a
process by which society is protected from crime and law breakers are
either punished, rehabilitated, or both of the above. Some of us also
want judges to take factors such as the relative immaturity of
judgement of teens and their potential to change for the better.
Patrick Jones' Teen Incarceration: From Cell Bars To Ankle Bracelets
shows us how two major factors have helped determine the fate of
younger law breakers--even whether they lived or died.
The first factor is historical era. Convictions held by the
public effect how issues of crime and punishment are dealt with.
Many of you will recall the superpredator scare of the 1990s in which
we were warned of a generation of remorseless psychopaths menacing us
all. Too many young lives were destroyed by this tough on crime
approach.
The second factor is race. Very few people get through their
teen years and early twenties without at least a status offense (an
act that is criminal because of age). I, for example, consumed
alcohol well before my twenty-first birthday. Blacks are at much
higher risk than white peers for everything from being shunted into
the school-to-prison pipeline to being shot dead by a police officer
for very common misdemeanors or even being the wrong color at the
wrong place.
Jones also describes a continuum of consequences ranging from
non institutional diversion programs such as community service to
capital punishment and life without possibility of parole. He argues
cogently that, based on research, the best policy involves not locking
kids up. This not only allows youth to achieve their potential, but
keeps us all safer and demands far fewer tax dollars.
Teen Incarceration is a very important read for its target
demographic and well beyond. I'd highly recommend the book to parents
of teens and preteens.
On a personal note, the Orono Village Green, the culmination of years
of hard work on the part of people ranging from fund raiders to
construction workers and landscapers, was nicely dedicated. There
were amazingly succinct speeches at a dedication catered tastefully by
Debe Averill. Then the one and only Rick Charette gave the first
concert in the outdoor ampitheater. It was packed. Everyone was
enthusiastically singing along. When Rick asked for three adults to
hold signs for a song you can guess who was the first. Rick is a good
friend and it was wonderful to see him again.
As for Artsapalooza...
...stay tuned.
A great big shout goes out to all who participated in the day's
activities...especially Rick who gets that at heart we all love mud.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Whole Town's Talking

The Whole Town's Talking

Adult fiction
"What can I tell you about the town? I suppose if you had
driven through it back then, it might have looked like just another
ordinary small town...but it wasn't. I was born and raised there, so
I know exactly what I am talking about. It wasn't a wealthy town,
either, but we all stuck together. And when we heard what happened to
Hanna Marie, everybody was upset. We all talked about it. Everybody
vowed to do something about it. But never, in our wildest dreams,
would anybody have guessed who would actually be the one to do it.
Or, more importantly, how they would do it. But to tell you more at
this point might spoil the surprise. And who doesn't like a good
surprise? I know I do."
In this one paragraph prologue to The Whole Town's Talking, fans
of Fannie Flagg will detect her unique literary voice, made famous in
Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe. I have heard the book
alluded to as being in the tradition of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.
Close, but no cigar. I'd say an Our Town/Saturday Night Live hybrid
with touches of Leave It To Beaver and Footloose thrown in for good
measure. It tells the story of a town and its inhabitants--the good,
the bad, and the ugly--over a more than a century time span.
The story starts out with a Swedish immigrant, Lordor Nordstrom,
who settled on a promising piece of land in Missouri and called for
his countrymen to join him. He designed a planned community. One of
his first designations was the carefully chosen spot for a town
cemetary. Between 1890 and 1900 the population more than doubled from
the original 74 inhabitants. The town was named Elmwood Springs.
Merchants and professionals were invited to set up shop.
"All over the West and Midwest, small communities once called
Little Poland or Little Italy or German Town were changing their
names, becoming more American, and hoping to grow. Elmwood Springs
was lucky. Within the year, they had a doctor, a barber who could
pull teeth if necessary, and one Lutheran preacher named Edwin
Wimsbly. Not too fiery, as requested."
Era by era the town evolves as it and its inhabitants respond to
internal events as well at influences of the world at large.
Electricity arrives at the turn of the century. Movies give school
girls new dreams. Downtown grows. Soldiers go off to war.
As in Our Town, the unique and colorful characters of the fine
ensemble cast are born, grow up, and die. But what happens when they
arrive at Still Meadows, the maybe not so final resting place
established by the town founder, is one of the biggest surprises.
The Whole Town's Talking is a must read for Fannie Flag fans and
anyone who enjoys books rich in time and place and sweeping in
historic scope.
On a personal note, tomorrow is going to be a very important day for
Orono, Maine. We're going to dedicate the outdoor extension of the
almost nine year old public library. It took a lot of work and fund
raising to bring this dream to fruition. Then Rick Charette himself
is going to perform in the outdoor ampitheater. As if that wasn't
more than enough the day will be capped off with Artsapalooza.
Downtown venues from restaurants to churches and the firehouse lawn
will be alive with performances. Yours truly will be reading my
poetry for 40 minutes at Harvest Moon. It will be a day and night to
remember!
A great big shout out goes out to all participants.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wait For Me

Wait For Me

YA/adult historical fiction
"Iris smiled at Lorna, as if that should have been obvious, and
Lorna's heart sank. She loved Iris dearly, but the chances of Iris
keeping her mouth shut about this lay somewhere between slim and
none. And once William knew, then his mother would know, and his
father, and on and on how far? Who else would be invited to judge and
condemn?
She and Paul had shared only one kiss, but suddenly Lorna knew
that the whole world--or at least her whole world--would soon be
determined to make sure they would never share another."
I give Caroline Leech's Wait for Me my hybrid readership
category for a special reason. Nothing in language or content pushes
the envelope. This poignant coming of age novel has a lot to offer
not-as-young adults as well as its target demographic. I suspect it is
one of those rare books like To Kill A Mockingbird that holds new
insights each time for those who read it more than once. I certainly
plan to revisit it in the future.
Lorna lives with her father on a farm in Scotland. Her two
older brothers, John Jo and Sandy, are away, fighting in World War
II. Nellie, a member of the Women's Land Army, a group filling in on
farms for absent family members and workers, is taking up some of the
slack, but, with Lorna still in school, more help is needed.
One morning an Army truck pulls into Lorna's yard. A new
worker, a German prisoner of war has arrived. Half his face has been
scarred with burns. Her father has let the enemy onto their farm!
Lorna is sure she'll never be in the least attracted to Paul.
He is a German after all. That is before they begin to talk. They
have each lost a parent. They both worry about loved ones in the
danger zone--his mother and little sister, her brothers.
"...And it was strange, the more they'd talked the evening
before--and his English had improved in the month since he'd arrived--
the less German he became. Or not less German, exactly, but more like
any of the normal boys, the Scottish boys, she knew at school. Lorna
didn't know what to make of that. He was not like she had expected
the enemy to be at all. In fact, she was beginning to realize that he
might not be so very different from her."
[I interrupt this review to bring you an unpaid sociological
message. Recall not so long ago I reviewed Four-Four-Two, a YA novel
set in that same war? The protagonist made this comment after seeing
a dead enemy soldier, "...Nations didn't go to war. Men did. Boys
did. The trouble was, defending his friends meant killing the boys
from some other nation: boys he actually had nothing against..."
Eerily similar?
This is the aspect of drone warfare that scares me the most,
especially at a time when the proportion of civilian "collateral
damage" is increasing rapidly. Drone warfare takes away the
possibility of the discovery of the humanity of the "enemy".]
I now bring you back to your regular scheduled review.
The respectful love that develops between Lorna and Paul is
contrasted with a near rape experience Lorna has at a dance held at a
local Air Force base. Ed, the soldier she is paired up with, becomes
very drunk and laces her lemonade. She has to physically fight him
off to prevent him from sexually abusing her. Later, as her best
friend's boyfriend, William, reveals her relationship and people
react, she muses,
"Would everyone react to her like this from now on? What if she
had drunkenly kissed the American, if she'd allowed Ed to do what he
wanted? Would that have been more palatable for Mrs. Urquhart
[William's despicable mother] than a sober and chaste--almost chaste--
kiss with a kind and caring German? Perhaps it would."
Although the characters are fictitious, the situation isn't.
The humanizing practice of placing prisoners of war on local farms to
many friendships and some love stories did happen in real life. Leech
received the following email:
"My father was a POW in Gosford and worked on a local farm. He
met and married my mum in 1948 while still officially a POW, and they
celebrated their diamond wedding in 2008. Sadly, Mum died in 2013,
but my dad is now ninety and still very much alive.
[Your] story could have been about them, and I just wanted to
let you know that they had a very happy life together."
Now don't you want to get your hands on a copy of Wait For Me?
You'll be very glad if you do so. :)
On a personal note, I won't be starting grad school this September.
It was a glitch, nobody's fault. I'd been told the grad school would
automatically contact my references. By the time I learned this would
only be true if I'd filed electronically and contacted my references I
was too late. On the bright side, they're holding on to my now
complete resume and I've beat the deadline for 2018 by six months.
Plus I have a year to get even more ready.
A great big shout goes out to all who believe in my ability to achieve
my dream and my husband who pays the bills and buys the food even as
he probably privately questions my sanity for wanting to go back to
school.
jules hathaway






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Monday, June 12, 2017

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Juvenile short stories
"But we all have stories like that, right? They might be milk-
snorting-out-of-your-nose funny ones, or listen-to-how-cool-and-
awesome-we-are ones, or come-close-so-we-can-whisper-in-your-ear juicy
ones. They might be old favorites or stories about new experiences.
But no matter what, out stories are unique, just like we are. And that
is what this book is all about--ten diverse stories from ten great
authors. For all of us."
The above quote is the last one in Ellen Oh's foreward to Flying
Lessons & Other Stories. She's the editor of this most excellent
collection. When she says ten great authors she's making an
understatement. It was all I could do not to drool in a public
library when I scanned the contents pages. We're talking book geek's
dream line up. Then after weeks of mostly rain we got a perfect sunny
day where I could read outside near my in-full-bloom daffodils and eat
candy. Life doesn't get much better.
My absolute favorite is Grace Lin's The Difficult Path. Lingsi
is a servant for the Li family. When selling her, her mother had
insisted she be taught to read. She's a much better student than the
family's only son, FuDing, a repulsive boy who prefers pulling wings
off insects to reading. One day the tutoring comes to an end. If a
more suitable bride cannot be found she will have to marry his
disgustingness.
Throw pirates with a fierce woman leader in and you get a truly
satisfying tale.
Very few authors can make free verse as narrative sing like
Kwame Alexander does. His Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents
packs his poetry power into a short story format. Anyone who has ever
had an aggravating teacher will be hooked by the first page.
Monk was a Star Wars addicted geek. He had a crush on a girl
way out of his league status wise. But "That was before." You'll have
to read the book to figure out before what.
During his lifetime Walter Dean Myers won every major award
there is in children's lit. We're talking two Newberys. He ventured
into areas most authors would have stayed clear of. His monster (done
in both all text and graphic novel) brought readers the full
complexity of the judicial system.
His Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push explores the relationship
between an athletic father and his newly disabled son. Chris' dad was
grooming him to follow in his sneaker steps. Then there was a car
accident. Walking would no longer be in Chris' future.
"'Sometimes I think he blames himself,' Mom said. "Whenever he
sees you in the wheelchair he wants to put it out of his mind.'"
And there are seven other equally excellent stories. Flying
Lessons & Other Stories is an excellent summer read for both book
lovers and kids who put literary ventures way low on their lists of
vacation priorities. It's a treasure for diversity loving parents who
can remember juvenile library sections being white as Wonder Bread and
CIS hetero as Westboro Baptist.
On a personal note, I was over the moon to discover not only this most
excellent anthology, but an organization cofounded by Ellen Oh: We
Need Diverse Books. The mission is exactly what you'd think. If you
agree with me that it's crucial in children's lit, check them out on
Google. I was flabbergasted. It will help me find more lovely
diverse books to review on this blog.
I also hope it may help me find a home for a manuscript I'm working
on. It has to do with my minority group: the gender fluid. We need
more books in which kids like the kid I was who are gender
nonconforming today can see themselves.
A great big shout goes out to authors of diverse books, publishers
gutsy enough to put their work out there, and Ellen Oh for her work to
make more diversity in the field actually happen.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hatching Chicks in Room 6

Hatching Chicks in Room 6

Picture book
What is more adorable: a puffball baby chick or a fully
engrossed kindergartener? You don't have to choose. Caroline
Arnold's Hatching Chicks in Room 6 brings you both.
Teacher Jennifer Best has backyard chickens that provide not
only eggs for her family, but part of her curriculum. The newly laid
eggs she brings to her classroom take 21 days to hatch. During those
weeks the students learn a lot about their inhabitants. After the
magic moment of hatching the children get to tend to the birds for
about a month,
This lively volume with its captivating read for kids, teachers,
and home schooling or unschooling parents.
On a personal note, Joey cat got an unusual 14th birthday gift: his
own little rocking chair. He loves napping on it. Meanwhile Effie
Mae, our new community garden puppy mascot has made herself adored by
the whole garden crew.
A great big shout out goes out to Joey, Effie Mae, and the other
critters great and small who add so much joy to our lives.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Untamed

Untamed

Juvenile biography
"Chimpanzees are more like humans than any other living animal.
They have personalities--each one is as different from every other.
They have minds that can solve simple problems. They have emotions
like happiness and sadness, anger and frustration, and grief..."
Sheroes are an important element in getting more girls and women
into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers. Anita
Silvey's Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall can make an important
contribution to this. Published by National Geographic for Kids, it
lives up to their high standards of excellence and has knock out
photographs.
Goodall is one of those rare individuals with a passion and
focus spanning over 75 years. When she was five she could stay still
for hours to observe an animal. She found formal education boring.
She much preferred being in the natural world. In her twenties she
was able to fulfill her childhood dream of going to Africa to study
chimpanzees. It required time and patience to gain the trust of the
elusive animals. But when she was able to she made an earth shaking
observation. She saw one using a piece of grass to "fish" for
termites. People had thought humans were the only tool users walking
the face of the Earth.
In 1986 at a conference Goodall learned about the horrendous
conditions under which medical research chimps were kept. Her focus
shifted from field research and advocacy. Today, in her eighties, she
travels around the world conducting this crucial work,
Untamed is a great read for budding naturalists and anyone else
with an inquiring mind.
On a personal note, my own little wild at heart beast is celebrating
his 14th birthday. He is a for sure miracle cat. Born with urinary
tract problems, he almost died at 3 and 11. It makes my heart sing
that he is healthy and happy with the energy of a kitten. He is
already getting lots of attention and he will get a new catnip toy
this afternoon. Prayers of any faith for his continued well being
would be greatly appreciated. It is truly a joyous day for the
Hathaway family.
A great big shout out goes out to Joey and the Veazie Vet crew who
enable him to stay in the game, the many companion animals who add so
much to our lives, and those special professionals who treat all
creatures great and small.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Juvenile biography
"In 1955, my junior year, Miss Nesbitt and Miss Lawrence team
taught Negro History Week. We really got into it. We spent that
whole February talking about the injustices we black people suffered
every day in Montgomery--it was total immersion...I was done talking
about 'good hair' and 'good skin' but not addressing our grievances.
I was tired of adults complaining about how badly they were treated
and not doing anything about it. I'd had enough of just feeling angry
about Jeremiah Reeves. I was tired of hoping for justice.
When my moment came, I was ready."
You almost surely know about Rosa Parks and her role in the
Civil Rights movement. You must recognize her refusal to give her bus
seat up to a white passenger and arrest as the motive for the
ridership strike that led up the desegregation of public transport.
What you may not know is that months before her public stand a 15-year-
old high school student had taken exactly the same action with
drastically different results. If this is news to you, be sure to
read Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.
Colvin's moment came that March. She and three schoolmates
boarded a bus. The white seats at the front filled up quickly. A
white woman wanted a seat. The three other blacks in the row got up.
That wasn't good enough for her.
Colvin wasn't going to take it anymore. She'd been studying her
constitutional rights. She'd paid her fare. There was a rule that a
rider didn't have to surrender a seat unless another was available...
...all of which meant nothing to the motorman and driver who
ordered her to stand and the police officers who dragged her off the
bus and threw her in jail.
Colvin was tried, found guilty on three charges, and placed on
probation. A lot of black people were angry. But it was decided not
to protest her mistreatment with a bus boycott. She was young and
considered emotional and possibly uncontrollable. The great aunt and
uncle who were raising her were a maid and a yard "boy" worker. The
family lived in a poor part of town. She was not considered a
guaranteed win.
Colvin now had a police record. Many of her high school
classmates ostracized her. An older married Korean War veteran took
advantage of her, leaving her pregnant. A good student with college
dreams, she was forced to drop out of school.
During the second month of the bus boycott called because of
Rosa Park's arrest Colvin was asked to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit
that would be tried in federal court. White people would retaliate
against her and her family with threats and violence...
...so read the book to see what happened.
On a personal note, I am proud to say I am now on the steering
committee of the Peace and Justice Center. I was picked for my
creativity and commitment. My first meeting was last Friday. After a
wonderful vegetarian pot luck feast we had speeches about departing
members and introductions of new members. Students gave a
presentation on their visions for hope. I read a poem I had written
for the occasion. We had a large group discussion on hope. At one
point someone wished for us to sing a song and I jumped right up and
led This Little Light Of Mine. :-) I think I am going to enjoy this
new commitment.
A great big shout out goes out to my Peace and Justice Center Community.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Warden's Daughter

The Warden's Daughter

Juvenile fiction
"How do you be a child to a mother you never knew?
For twelve years my father had been enough. Family photos and a
yellowing newspaper story had been enough.
Sure, from the time I'd first heard the story, I'd thought about
my mother. Anne O'Reilly. The lady who saved me from the milk
truck. I cried for her. For myself. Sometimes. And that was it.
That's how the world was. Other kids had mothers. Cammie O'Reilly
didn't. End of story."
Only you know it isn't end of story. Cammie, protagonist of
Jerry Spinelli's The Warden's Daughter is about to turn thirteen.
That Mothers' Day she and her father have placed flowers on her
mother's grave and gone to a ball game. She's caught a glimpse of
what she was missing.
"...Dormant feelings stirred by a smile at a ballpark moved and
shifted until they shaped a thought. I was sick and tired of being
motherless. I wanted one. And a second thought: If I couldn't have
my first-string mother, I'd bring one in off the bench,
But who?"
Cammie comes up with a not so promising candidate. She and her
warden dad live in an apartment in the prison he runs. Eloda Pupco is
the trustee (inmate) who cleans the apartment and watches out over
Cammie. Now Cammie is going to do whatever is takes to turn Eloda
into her adopted mom.
It's a hot, humid, strange summer for Cammie. The prison has a
new infamous inmate: Marvin Edward Baker, the alleged killer of a
teenage girl. Best Friend (Reggie) is pursuing fame via an appearance
on American Bandstand and trying to get Cammie to take more of an
interest in her appearance. After all they're about to start junior
high. Cammie is experiencing confusing, intense emotions. Her
usually effective ways of riding out anger suddenly don't work.
The Warden's Daughter is a vivid, poignant coming of age story.
I highly reccomend it to readers, including those well beyond the
target demographic.
On a personal note, I can strongly relate to Cammie's need to recruit
a family member. In my case it was a sibling. Although Harriet did
not die, he [transgender] incurred very severe brain damage when he
had spinal meningitis. Dad tried to get Harriet put away as a ward of
the state and emotionally checked out. Mom had far more than she
could handle and an aversion to sharing problems with outsiders (non
family members). I was constantly reminded that Harriet was fragile
and that I was to take over his custody when Mom passed on...
...not exactly what a preteen wants to hear.
For decades I yearned for a sibling I could actually be an equal
with (and sometimes even protected by) as opposed to a prospective
caretaker for. I'd just about given up...
...when Silvestre entered the picture. Suddenly he seemed to be
everywhere I was, getting up in my business, intuiting more about me
than most people who'd known me much longer. It wasn't just my
imagination. Dean Robert Q. Dana assigned him to be my mentor.
With Silvestre in my life in a year I've survived the summer I
lost my school committee seat and my last child to home moved out,
gained the self confidence to apply for a highly competitive grad
school program, was able to get beyond anorexia after decades, and
come out about having petit mal epilepsy and gain a lot more control
over it.
A great big shout out goes out to Silvestre, my brother from
another mother.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Friday, June 2, 2017

Four-Four-Two

Four-Four-Two

YA historical fiction
"They didn't have to tell each other why. They knew what a
friend Billy Yamada had been to Oki. But Yuki also thought of what
Billy had lost. The war had taken away his chance to go to college,
to be a star football player. Yuki had heard people use the phrase
'lost his life' but he had never thought what it meant. Billy
wouldn't have a chance to be the man he was going to be.
Don't think about it, Yuki told himself. You can't think about
it."
Yuki, protagonist of Dean Hughes, Four-Four-Two, can't afford to
let himself think about his friend who was killed in battle. Fighting
in the Europeon Theater of World War II, he and his fellow soldiers
are engaged in the grim task of running through barrages of enemy fire
to capture hills that are German strongholds. And he's taking this
huge risk for a nation that sees him as an alien threat, knowing that
no matter how hard and loyally he and his fellow Japanese Americans
fight, those who survive will return to second class status in their
native land.
Before reading Four-Four-Two I had no idea that during World War
II there was an all Nisei (Japanese-American) unit that was the most
decorated unit in this nation's history. About half of them received
Purple Hearts. They also has a disproportionately high mortality rate.
America entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
We were at war with the Axis powers: Japan, Germany, and Italy.
While German and Italian Americans suspected of treason were dealt
with on a case by case basis, over 110,000 Japanese and Japanese
Americans, never accused of or tried for any crime, were removed en
masse from their homes and incarcerated in camps surrounded by barbed-
wire fences, shot by guards if they attempted to escape or got too
near the fence. For many draft age sons in the camps, serving in the
military seemed to be a way to show their loyalty to their country.
Narrator Yukus and his best friend, Shigeo, are fictional characters
created to represent these men.
Although the racism of the time is a crucial element of the
story, one of the themes of this coming of age narrative goes beyond
race, nationality, and era.
"Yuki tried to think what the word meant. Honor. He had
thought he'd known when he had joined the army. Now he only knew that
he couldn't let his friends down. He had to fight for them, and he
expected them to fight for him. Nations didn't go to war. Men did.
Boys did. The trouble was, defending his friends meant killing the
boys from some other nation: boys he actually had nothing against..."
Four-Four-Two should be required reading for all people
contemplating military enlistments.
On a personal note, writing class is going along swimmingly. I
presented a future op ed piece on ageism and a set of poems. Both
were received enthusiastically. Sadly there is only one more class
for this session.
A great big shout out goes out to all who who participate in this
group, especially the refreshment bringers.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Some Writer

Some Writer

Juvenile biography
"Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time.
You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the
most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and
generally congenial readers on earth...Children are game for anything.
I throw them hard words and they backhand them over the net."
Sometimes I open a book and fall head over heels in awe with
it. Such was the case with Melissa Sweet's Some Writer! The Story Of
E. B. White.
All too often biographies are dreadfully formulaic, no matter
how fascinating the person written about, especially those meant for
adult readers. You get page upon page of words enlivened only by the
occasional photograph. There is a snobby misconception that pictures
are a mere scaffolding for those still mastering literacy. Therefore
proficiency involves being able to do without. What rubbish! Our
brains process words and images in different and complimentary ways.
When well coupled they allow even the most sophisticated of readers to
grasp much more than text alone.
Some Writer!, in contrast, is a total immersion experience! It
gives a visceral sense of whom E. B. White was. To begin with, the
verbal and visual elements are intimately intertwined. Photographs,
sketches, handwritten letters, and other treasures enliven the text.
Rather than just reading about it, you actually enter into White's
world from his early childhood through the years in which he claimed
that, "Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been
able to shed the mental image I have of myself--a lad of about
nineteen."
Also you get a lot of White's own reflections in his distinct
voice. A prize example involves a coast to coast post (college)
excursion he took with a close friend:
"The Model T was not a fussy car. It sprang cheerfully toward
any stretch of wasteland whether there was a noticeable road under
foot or not...the course of my life was changed by it, and it is in a
class by itself. It was cheap enough so I could afford to buy one; it
was capable enough so it gave me courage to start."
A half century later (1973) White penned a pensive reflection
that rings even more true today;
"...It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer
mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds
of goodness that have lain for a long time, waiting to sprout when the
conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his
inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can
only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out."
Some Writer! is a must read for fans of E. B. White's children's
books and anyone who aspires to write for juvenile readers. I know I
plan to reread his children's classics and get my hands on his volumes
by adults.
I have decided if I ever get famous enough as a writer anyone
would want to write my biography (A girl can dream) it will be done in
a blended text picture format even if it's for adults. Page upon page
of black and white paragraphs would never do justice to my vibrant,
flamboyant self. ;-)
On a personal note, White and I are kindred spirits. We both had
adventures in our pre marriage years. Once, coming back to Maine from
a wedding, a friend and I slept on the bank of the Hudson River. It
was just us when we spread out sleeping bags. When we woke up we were
surrounded by scads of other free spirits who followed our example.
Someone even bought doughnuts and coffee for the entire group. :-)
I had tears in my eyes when I read this quote. "All that I hope to
say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.
I guess you can find that in there, if you dig around." I feel the
same way. You may have to dig around with my more critical poetry and
opinion pieces. But if I did not love the world so deeply, and
sometimes desperately, I would not set pen to paper or thumb to iPod.
A great big shout out goes out to all of us who express our love for
the world through writing and art.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Love Letter To Adam

A Love Letter To Adam

We tend to associate full life with longevity. The relationship
is a lot more complex. So many people get into their seventies and
eighties without experiencing more than tepid existence. And then
there are people who pack much more zest and make more of an
impression in a fraction of that time. When a chum of mine died
unexpectedly at 20 a whole college was devastated. My children lost a
beloved neighbor at 13. Born with spina bifida, Chy did not let
disability break her spirit or slow her down. Sometimes her
wheelchair seemed more like a motorcycle.
I really wish I could have met Adam Hodge in his brief time on
this earth. Fortunately his mother, Maureen, has seen fit to share
his story with us in A Love Letter To Adam: Our Family's Journey
through Childhood Cancer.
Adam was one of the children born with old souls and very
advanced social skills and empathy. Before he was born people on his
family's street stayed pretty much to themselves. When he came into
the picture a real neighborhood began to form around him. A little
boy, Andrew, born a year and a half after him, became his best friend.
As the son of two physical education teachers, Adam became
introduced to sports at an early age. The whole family enjoyed Bangor
High basketball games. One day when his mom had to step away for a
moment Adam joined the cheerleaders down on the court and imitated
their moves. The coach was delighted and invited him to join the
team. He was a cheerleader for the Bangor Rams and earned a varsity
letter before he even entered kindergarten.
Sadly Adam's exceptionality was soon put to a grueling test.
When he was four, red flag symptoms--bruising, pallor, lethargy--had
his mother taking him to the doctor for an exam and blood test. Her
worst fears were confirmed. The diagnosis was leukemia. In the few
years left to him, Adam had to undergo more painful procedures than
most of us have to face through adulthood. He did so with courage and
dignity, able to reach beyond himself to help others who were suffering.
Maureen had to live with a lot of uncertainty in a cycle of
remission, relapse, and desperate measures. She never forgot that
Adam was a little boy who deserved to enjoy his childhood as much as
possible. Her decisions were based on quality as well as length of
life. She would like readers to see that even in his worst times he
was able to experience happiness and convey it to others.
When I read the book I was moved to tears at some points and was
filled with joy at others. When I came to the final page I had more
of a sense of the transcendence of the human soul that I could glean
from all Pastor Steve and Pastor Lorna's sermons put together.
If you are in possession of a loving heart and a caring soul, A
Love Letter To Adam is simply a must read.
On a personal note, Adam Hodge reminds me so much of my Adam. Once
when my little guy was in elementary school he read about a UMaine
fraternity sleep out to raise awareness and money for a cause. He
decided he wanted to stay the night. I think the hubby thought I was
a few fries short of a happy meal to take him. It was February in
Maine. (I was there the night too. And I had privately made sure
he'd be welcome and there'd be no alcohol.). But he and the college
guys had a great time sledding, making a cardboard and odds and ends
clubhouse, and building and maintaining a bonfire. I have a feeling
Adam Hodge would have joined in and Maureen would have let him.
A great big shout out goes out to Maureen for sharing her experiences
and feelings so openly and both our Adams for bringing joy to our lives.
I'd also like to thank my author friend, Lynn Plourde. We had quite
an econversation while I was reviewing her Maxi's Secrets. Two points
she made especially stirred me to think in a new way that helped me do
justice to A Love Letter To Adam. One was that relationships live on
even after a person dies. The other concerned how honestly
acknowledging the loss of a loved one honors the bigness of that loved
one in our lives. Maureen surely accomplished that!
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

Maxi's Secrets

Maxi's Secrets

Juvenile fiction
"Let's get this part over with--it's no secret.
My dog, Maxi, dies.
Just like Old Yeller, Sounder, Old Dan, and Little Ann all
died. Except those dogs were fictional. You cried, I cried when fake
dogs died. Maxi was real."
Lynn Plourde is one of America's most prolific providers of
picture book content. (I can envision her wincing at the gratuitous
alliteration). Really excellent picture books. Some, like Pigs In
The Mud, are riotously funny. Others, like The Dump Man's Treasure,
are poignant and tender. And who can forget her four volume
personification of the seasons as children? I mean she has all the
bases covered.
When I saw that Lynn was moving on up to chapter books I wasn't
sure I was ready for that. With Maxi's Secrets (Or, What You Can
Learn From A Dog), Lynn proves that she was more than ready.
Timminy, like so many other kids, has to move to accomodate
parental career advancement. His teacher father is moving on up to
become a middle school assistant principal. He is, shall we say, less
than enthusiastic. He's way short for boys and girls--in the 0.001
percntile as in way out on the tail of the old bell curve. Being
runty, having a unique name, and being the only child of the assistant
principal...no way is he going to fly under the bullies' radar in his
new school.
And the family is moving from Portland, the cultural center of
Maine, to the boonies, a town that makes Bangor look big time.
Yikes! Timminy's parents spin that into a selling point. They're far
enough out in the country that he can have a dog and not just any dog...
...Maxi (short for Maxine) is a white Great Pyreneese (as in
really big canine). She's a frolicking, energetic, affectionate,
playful beast. But there are gradual intimations that all is not
right. Maxi doesn't even startle at the noise a giant ATV makes. A
trip to the vet confirms the family's fears. Maxi is deaf.
And, as you already know from the quote at the top, the first
paragraphs of chapter 1, that's not the worst challenge dog
companionship will throw at Timminy. But when he hits that point he
has some unexpected allies to help him cope.
If my kids were still in the target age range I'd leave Maxi's
Secrets out (my stealth way of recommending) and probably never get it
back. It's a very engaging read for intermediate grade kids--
especially those who have had to cope with major life changes or the
loss of a beloved companion animal.
In writing Maxi's Secrets, Lynn was honoring a beloved dog,
Maggie, whom she had lost and expounding on the idea that death does
not end a relationship even though it ends a life. In an email
prompted by my bitchy "Why the hell did you kill the dog?" she
explained that people too often do their best to be in denial about a
normal part of life.
"My experience is that if, instead, we lean into our grief--
truly acknowledge it, feel it in our hearts and with our tears how
much our loved one meant to us, we are honoring our feelings in a
healthy way as well as honoring the BIGNESS of that loved one in our
lives."
So, Lynn, write more treasures for the intermediate grades
crowd. You've earned the right. Heck, venture into YA territory if
your heart desires. Just be aware that if you stop creating picture
book magic I'll thumb down to Southern Maine with a brontosaurus size
bone to pick.
On a very personal note, yeah, cats die too. With my precious Joey,
who will turn 14 June 8, we've had two scary close calls. He was born
with urinary tract problems that have necessitated two serious
surgeries. The most recent one, two years ago, lasted 4 1/2 hours and
required the head of the vet practice to come in and assist. I have
to carefully monitor stuff most people don't. This could make me sad
if I let it. What Joey and I do is live every day of his life to its
fullest. In a way I am probably luckier than people who have the
luxury of taking their companion animals for granted.
Someday when the inevitable happens Joseph Jacob Hathaway is
going to have an outsize legacy for a ten pound long haired tuxedo
cat. I'm going to start a foundation to raise money for life saving
vetinary operations for animals whose people don't have enough money.
It will be called Joy. That's how I will cope and honor the BIGNESS
of Joey in my life.
I hope that is FAR in the future. Til then I am treasuring and
celebrating my very good boy.
A great big shout out goes out to the beloved animals who add so much
joy and unconditional love to our lives and teach us lessons beyond
what our two footed peers can convey.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

Juvenile humor
Well if you're a regular reader of this blog, you knew it was
only a matter of time...
...before I got my hands on another Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.
That's the beauty (some would say curse) of being a reviewer with a
catholic (note small c which means eclectic as opposed to capital C
which signifies answering to the Pope) taste in literature. I am
easily entertained.
I enjoyed my latest visit with the ensemble cast of Jeff
Kinney's creation: Greg Heffly, his maddening brothers and parents,
his eccentric extended family, and the random kids and clueless adults
who populate his middle school. In fact The Ugly Truth is my favorite
volume in the series.
Greg is in for two big changes. He hits the stage where his
school tackles puberty education in their typically inept way. The
low point of it is the assignment to carry an egg around until the
next day to learn how hard caring for a baby is. (You'll never guess
what circumvents his best intentions.). Also his mother goes back to
school. Charged with picking up the slack around the house, the
remaining all male father-sons quartet is not quite up to the task.
Even hiring a maid does not help much.
Don't forget summer vacation is right around the corner. The
Ugly Truth or any of the Wimpy Kid books could make reading a little
more palatable for kids whose summer vaca plans include everything but.
On a personal note, back in April I made up a little counting rhyme,
Five Little Butterflies, to publicize the HOPE Festival. I put it on
a 3" X 5" card and added it to the story time collection at Orono
Public Library. The kids and parents really seem to like it.
A great big shout out goes out to parents who understand the
importance of introducing books early in life and interacting
mindfully with their precious kids with their electronic devices put
away or turned off.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Saturday, May 27, 2017

One Proud Penny

One Proud Penny

Picture book
Find a penny. Pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck.
That was a saying from my childhood. Of course back then a penny went
a lot further. Five could buy a candy bar, thirteen a comic book,
twenty-five admission to the Saturday matinee double feature with
popcorn for another fifteen. And we had real penny candy.
These days some grinches say we should ban pennies and stop
making them. I don't think that will happen any time soon. Too many
of us really like those coins...and pick them up to get good luck.
Randy Siegel's One Proud Penny narrates the adventures of a
typical zinc and copper coin born in Philadelphia in 1983: traveling
to places as far apart as both Portlands, being used to buy things,
and being lost in places like a sewer drain and the inside of a vacuum
cleaner. There's also plenty of good trivia.
It's a nice little book that encourages kids to contemplate the
concept of coins (the lengths I'll go to for alliteration! Bwa ha
ha!) and maybe start a piggy bank.
On a personal note, yesterday and today were the sales days for clean
sweep. Think very popular indoor yard sale with merchandise taking up
the entire surface of an ice hockey rink. We (crew) mostly engaged in
customer service and keeping everything as neat as possible. But we
also had a lot of fun hanging out together. Lisa, our fearless,
peerless leader, got take out restaurant lunches for us both days.
Mmm mmm good!!!
I know we made an amazing amount of money. I'll let you know how much
when I find out.
A great big shout out goes out to my fellow crew members, Lisa, and
our wonderful customers.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Friday, May 26, 2017

Quilting For Peace

Quilting For Peace

Adult crafts
I am not a quilter. The only quilt I ever made was baby size.
But I really enjoyed reading Katherine Bell's Quilting For Peace:
Make The World A Better Place One Stitch At A Time. It shows so many
ways groups and individuals use crafts talents (and sometimes recycled
or discontinued materials) to make a real difference.
There are not enough shelter beds for 750,000 people who are
homeless on any given night in America. Many end up sleeping in
doorways or under bridges. When Flo Wheatly started thinking on the
problem she asked her kids to give her old clothes and designed a
quilt sleeping bag. The first year she and her family gave away
eight. Then people started donating materials and time. These days
The Sleeping Bag Project distributes 6,000 bags a year along with
donated clothes.
To The Top and Quilts of Valor create quilts for wounded
warriors. The former was started by a bereaved mother who lost her
only son in Afghanistan. Between the two groups over 18,000 quilts to
injured veterans. Volunteers from as far away as Iceland have been
involved in creating them.
Emergency responders encounter children in their most vulnerable
moments at crises such as fires, domestic violence scenes, and
domestic violence calls. Firehouse Quilts makes a special kind of
quilt--large enough to comfort a child but compact enough to fit into
a fire truck cab--to be distributed by these modern day heroes.
Those are just three of the dozens of organizations richly
described in Quilting For Peace. There is even one, Mother's Comfort
Project, that makes cage comforters for animals in shelters that
actually increase adoption and decrease euthenasia rates. Each
chapter gives ways to learn more about and help a specific group.
Many of the patterns are included.
Motivated readers may find groups to link up with in person or
remotely...
...or come up with ideas of their own. That's what happened to
me. When I started reading the book I had just come from a coffee
hour the UMaine International Students Organization puts on Friday
evenings during the school year. Recently, to combat fears of
prospective international students, we made a You Are Welcome Here
video. So those words were on my mind. Suddenly an idea popped into
my head. Maybe hand crafted useful objects could help reassure
international students of their being very much wanted. Some could be
quilts. But some could be other things. I knit and crochet beautiful
scarves. Some people make mittens and socks. And nothing says loving
like something from the oven. You know? This could be a way also to
build more university-community connections. I guess the summer will
be a good time to get things started.
On a personal note, I'm about to take the bus to Orono for the first
day of our fabulous Clean Sweep: the yard sale all the other yard
sales wish they were. I am wondering what effect the pouring rain
will have on attendance.
[Unsolicited advice for anyone who is not exactly up for a day or
night's weather. What you can't change is the precip, lack thereof,
temp etc. What you can change is your attitude. So unless you're in
the middle of something like Hurricane Katrina, be happy and your day
will go better. Trust me on this].
A great big shout out goes out to my clean sweep crew, our fearless
and peerless leader, Lisa, and all who are willing to brave the
elements to glean the treasures we have to offer.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod