Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Saga of the Missing Bear

Tonight is the Annual teddy bear Costume Party where I work. 16 or 17 years ago, I made HUGE teddy bear - 4 and 1/2 feet tall if the poor thing could stand up. Enormous. I store it in the attic in a small closet with my BIG leopard.
Well, this morning I mentioned the bear to the hubberoo. "I have to dress my bear up," I said. And he said, "The great big bear?" This is a logical question because I own several bears. I still have my first birthday present, a bear I eventually named Scotty, after the first boy I ever thought I loved. (I was 4 and he was 3.) And our son has given me a couple of bears as gifts - because I am a toy type of woman.
So off I went to do this and that and then I headed up to the attic. No bear! What? How could that be? I found myself sliding into a dazed sort of panic. Was it underneath something? Was it hidden somehow? No way! I mean, this is a colossal bear. "My bear!" I shrieked. "My bear is missing!" My chest tightened and tears flouded my eyes. All the while, my adult self was trying to calm me down. "You can dress up another bear," I said to my desperate child self. I looked in the back attic room. We had to have some plaster work done a couple of weeks ago. Maybe my brother - the plasterer - moved the bear out of harm's way. Nope. No bear there. Maybe my brother got plaster all over the bear and took it away to clean it. I had to call him and find out.
I raced downstairs and blurted in a wiggly voice, "My bear's Gooooone!" The tears started in earnest.
Hubberoo jumped up from the computer. "I brought him down for you! Oh dear, I'm so sorry. I thought you saw me."
And, there in the living room was my bear.
I sobbed into my husband's shoulder. "I thought he was gone. I feel so silly."
Hubby laughed a little and hugged me and said, "I ran right up to get him. I don't know how you missed it."
Well, I may have, powdering my nose. Or fussing in the kitchen. Our house is an L so it's possible to be on the same level and not be able to see what is happening somewhere else on that level.
No matter! The bear has been restored. He is in his toga and awaiting a laurel wreath to complete his outfit.
And I am a grown-up once again. I have my teddy bear (and a very nice husband). All is right with the world.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I finished "Cathy's Book: if found call..." by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. The book made a stir in the Young Adult publishing world because it includes pretty blatant product placement. It gave me a headache, librarian-wise, when it arrived because it contains an envelope with about 2 dozen pieces of paper - mock newspaper clippings, birth certificates, a napkin with a lipstick kiss and a phone number. Supposedly, readers can call all the numbers and they all lead to actual businesses and readers can visit the websites as well.
I thought the book was a fun read though certainly not literature with a capital "L". And the idea behind the product placement is sort of clever. Why not? YA advocates call this shamelessly capitalizing on teens and their propensity to buy stuff. Teens are going to buy stuff anyway, I say. And, yes, some teens are more susceptible to advertising than others. Newsflash here! So are some (a whole lot if you ask me) adults. Look at political situations, for instance. A lot of perfectly sane adults are swayed by persistent advertising. If it didn't work - advertising, that is - then it wouldn't be a mega-billion dollar business.
Now here's the secret. You can get through the whole book and fully understand what happened without punching in a single number or clicking on a single website. I pawed through the score of paper addenda and though intriguing in a lot of ways, they were just window dressing. SO, I will catalog said title and put it in the library and hope that everyone carefully puts the papers all back in the envelope.
Oh, you might want to know what the book is about. Well, Cathy wakes up after a date with her much older (she has NO idea how MUCH older) boyfriend to find a bruise inside her elbow - a spider bite, perhaps? Her recently widowed mother (which makes Cathy recently bereaved, too) is a nurse and is sure that the mark is a needle mark which ticks Cathy off. Cathy is a "Say No to Drugs" kind of girl. Then her boyfriend tells her to stay away from him and etc. and Cathy, who is still grieving from her father's sudden death, skips school and ignores the pleas of her best friend/biology partner to find out what happened to said boyfriend. And THEN one of boyfriends's female co-workers ends up murdered. Off we go, all around San Francisco, especially Chinatown, trying to figure out who Boyfriend is and whether he's Evil or merely Misunderstood. It's written as Cathy's journal and IMs and you're supposed to think she's still in danger, which leaves the way open for a sequel.
Stuff happens a little too fast and maybe the addenda does flesh things out. But you can get the picture without it. Logical? No. Fast-paced and fun for people who like this kind of thing? I enjoyed it. It made a couple of lunch breaks fly right by.
I'm reading the "Boy Book" by e. lockhart. (The lower case letters are on purpose.) I didn't read "The Boyfriend List" which precedes this one. You don't need to. lockhart does a good job of hinting at what happened. If you're intrigued, you'll read the first book, but she tells you enough to understand what's going on. Ruby Oliver has been a social outcast since the summer between sophomore and junior year at Tate Prep the expensive private school she attends on a scholarship. This book is how she deals with losing her friends - over a serious but not overwhelming social gaffe - and the love of her life, Jackson. Visits to her therapist are one way the plot moves along. Quotes from Ruby's "Boy Book" a guide to the opposite sex that she and her friends compiled since 8th grade make fun entries to each chapter. I don't know where Ruby will end up - not with Jackson, I hope. He's a shameless flirt. But, it's fun getting there.
Well, it looks like I might actually get to bed before midnight. So off I go.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

So soon? What's going on? Well, I had an interesting day. I attended the monthly meeting of the Pocono Lehigh Romance Writers , a fun group of women who write all kinds of romance, steamy, chaste, sweet, fantasy, historical - you name it - they write it. I'm working on an article for the little weekly I write for - about romance.
I'm not a huge romance reader, though I admit that I've picked up one or two at the urging of a friend. I thoroughly enjoyed Jude Deveraux's Knight in Shining Armor for instance and a young friend at work had me eagerly awaiting the next in a series of Christian romance/mysteries for awhile. I don't mind romance when its an element of a book. What fun would Irene Fowler's books be if Benni and Gabe didn't have their little tiffs and tussles? Well, actually, pretty much fun since her mysteries are well-written. OK! Look at Evanovich. Sometimes the main thing that keeps me going through a Stephanie Plum book is trying to guess which guy she's going to end up with -Morelli or Radar - and just what's going to happen between the two.
So, romance has its place. And a pretty big one if the stats compiled by the Romance Writers of America are true.

Romance aside, PLRW offered its members an excellent workshop by Colleen Warmingham, the founder of Space Inventors and a professional organizer. She led a workshop on inventing the "perfect" work area by asking us to decide what we hated about our work space and what we liked about it. Then she gave us ideas of ways to organize our space so that we can feel at home there, comfortable and capable of being productive. She had some supplies on hand to purchase if we wanted to. But she is one of only three professional organizers in America who can claim to be a Green Business. Check out her website for details. Her newsletter is well-written and has some thought-provoking ideas.
Best thing about the workshop? It was all about us - each individual was urged to find her own manner of organizing. Right now, mine is tossing stuff on the floor because I moved my trash can too far away. Gotta move it back!
Second best thing about the workshop? No insistence on buying a particular brand of organizing supplies. Me - I use old magazine file boxes that are being discarded by the library. Free and recyclable. I love it.

Back to romance. Read My Angelica by Carol Lynch Williams for a great funny teen romance. Sage is going to enter her High School's writing contest with her "romance" novel starring Angelica. George, her lifelong best friend, tries to stop her. He recognizes just how bad Sage's writing actually is. And George would do anything, anything, for Sage because he is in love with her. Sage's writing provides a lot of the humor. The way she misunderstands almost everything that George tells her provides the rest. There is a surprise ending. The book is studded with truly romantic poems by an anonymous poet and of course everyone lives happily ever after. Check it out of your library soon.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Movie Alert

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Klause is now a movie, coming out later this month. The story is about a teen werewolf (she-wolf) who falls in love with a human and has to decide between the human and her own pack. I read it when the book came out - a while back, as in several years - and enjoyed it. Check the book out sometime soon.
Neil Gaiman's book, Coraline, is also being made into a movie. What a creepy little book that is! A bored girl opens a locked door in her new home and enters an alternate universe with creepy fake parents and creepy fake friends and she is trapped there! Nothing overtly gross or awful, just creepy! No news on when the movie will come out. Neil is well known in the graphic novel and adult fantasy communities. Coraline was written for middle grade children, though.

Spiderwicke is for younger readers but there is a really cool website, The International Sprite League, dedicated to the magical creatures from that series. What the heck, something to fool around with.

That's it for now.