Monday, August 18, 2014

Endearing Quirks

Three poems about Joshua, by Joshua, as dictated to his mother.


Sometimes when mommy bumps my bed, I become
After raising my arms I
Rest quite comfortably.
Though it appears rigid, it feels
Like my arms are resting on a cloud.
Even my
Dreams improve.


For weeks, I have tried to fit both in my mouth
In vain, I struggle day after day.
Someday I will be the master of my jaw.
Today, I will grunt and growl and
Squeal until finally, ten fingers fit inside.


Little tears
Are a sign of my sweetness.
Crying doesn't mean I'm not
Happy.  My eyes are a faucet with a slow leak.
Really I'm fine.
You can save your sympathy.
My mother's traits inherited are an
Even she agrees.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Literary Tourism - Tennessee

I've never been to Tennessee, but I imagine that it is rather muggy with lush, green plumage and very interesting people.  Am I right?

Paperboy - by Vince Vawter

A junior high age boy with a strong stutter takes on his friend's paper route for the month of July 1959.  Along the way his speech impediment and typical young adolescent behavior get him into some pretty big trouble.  He has the help of his African-American housekeeper, a friendly neighbor he meets delivering his papers and his father.

This book creates a great sense of place.  I planned to read this because it won a Newbery Honor this year and it just happened to work for this project as well.  I love when authors use specific street names.  He described the hot Memphis summer so well.  This perfectly matches what I wanted to see for my project.

Overall though, I did not love the book.  I've been debating on whether to give it two or three stars on Goodreads.  I think I have decided on three.  I liked how intelligent and challenging it was.  Some of the dialogue was pure gold.  But overall, I felt like the book was trying to cover too many issues.  The author was writing this largely as a memoir, but tried to include too many things in too short a story.  The book discusses racism, stuttering, deafness, homelessness, alcoholism, domestic violence, murder and mental illness all in less than 300 pages.

As a librarian, I always think about what child I would recommend this to, and I honestly can't think of anyone I would want to connect with this book.  This makes me sad.

This makes me happy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jamaica (The Drink Not The Island)

When I lived in Nicaragua, I discovered the most delicious drink.  It was called jamaica and it was delicious.  Embarrassingly enough it was not until much later that I discovered that the tasty drink was made from the hibiscus flower.

During my three years in California, I discovered that you could order the deep red drink at just about every Mexican restaurant.  At this point, I became a connoisseur.  I knew which eateries added too much sugar, which were too bitter and which were just right.

Outside of California, jamaica is hard to find.  Two years ago, Jerry found some jamaica leaves in the Mexican section of our store here in Utah.  Thinking that it would be hard to make I procrastinated the experiment.  But now we are faced with the prospect of consuming our entire food storage.  I hunkered down and tried it out.  Turns out it's as easy as brewing a giant pot of herbal tea.

I wanted to get the proportions right so I followed this recipe

The hibiscus petals were dry and brittle at first.  I boiled water, turned the heat off, threw the petals in and covered it for about twenty minutes.

The re-hydrated petals expanded and were rubbery after I strained them.

This is where things started to get a little dicey.  I didn't have a pitcher I could strain the drink into and it turns out I didn't have a pitcher large enough for all the juice.  So I improvised and risked permanently staining my clothes.

And yes that is a full cup of sugar.  I never said this was healthy.

After straining I added cold water.  Instead of a pitcher, I used my free mug from my not-so-free hospital stay.  Turns out it still has some use.

After a couple hours of refrigeration, we enjoyed it with our homemade burgers.  Yes, it would have been better with some tacos, but from-scratch hamburgers have been a summer favorite.   You can see that we eat them on only the healthiest and most beautiful whole wheat buns.

And so as I sit here this morning writing and sipping my favorite Mexican drink, I am pleased to report that it was a success.  Only my yellow bowl was permanently stained.  I may add a bit more sugar next time, but otherwise I discovered a new easy way to have what I love.

And because this guy is the real reason anyone reads my blog.  He's really got the hand of lifting his head up lately.