This one’s making the meme rounds, but we can’t risk having you miss it.
Enjoy your weekend…and keep your alibis handy.
Every year, I lug out a festive holiday container filled with Christmas books I have collected over the years. I bought the container when my daughter was small, and each year I added a Christmas book or two to the collection. Of course, I am past the capacity of the festive holiday container, so a rather plain paper box contains the rest of my collection. Each year, long after my daughter is young enough to really want to do so, I read aloud from that stash of books. When I read aloud one of the books, I feel all her childhood Christmases rush back at me. The one book that says Christmas to me is The Mouse’s Christmas. I am afraid an English professor might not consider it a classic, but it withstands time for me.
The story is simple, a Mother Mouse is trying to make Christmas for her children. Of course, being children, they want the impossible….a Christmas tree of their very own in their small mouse house. The Mother, after hearing a lot of gloomy lamenting, promises to do her best to find her children a Christmas tree. The mother tries to come up with something that kind of looks like a tree, a small leafless branch that she decorates. Of course, it does not look like a real Christmas tree, so her children are disappointed. Then a wonderful series of events happens, the tree a farmer has chosen is too big, so he trims it. A fox came along and takes part of the trimmings, but it is too big, so she drops a part, a rabbit comes along and takes part, and then a bird comes along, and takes a part, until all is left is just one tiny little part that looks like a small Christmas tree. Ah, now we all know what happens. Mother Mouse takes this small part home and decorates it, and her children have a much wanted and much loved Christmas tree.
I read this book aloud to my daughter over and over again. I related to that poor Mother who was trying to make Christmas special. I felt I was wholly responsible for my child having a wonderful Christmas with fond childhood memories. My daughter just liked the story, but I felt a connection to Mother Mouse. So every Christmas, whether my daughter wants to hear the story or not, I bring out a much battered copy of Mouse Christmas.
My collection of Christmas books are a testimony to all the holidays of her childhood. My Christmas really begins with the tradition of bringing those books out of storage. This year, our Christmas books have a new home, as we begin a new set of Christmas memories. All the characters in all the books will once again come to life in the glow of a decorated Christmas tree. I will continue to feel blessed as we share a collection of much loved and much read Christmas books.
This post is a belated thanks to the Hospitality Committee here at our college. These dear folks recently pulled off The Best Holiday Luncheon Ever. This is high praise from a no-thanks-on-the-parties girl. (One of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs is 1981’s “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. The opening lines are: “Bah, humbug, no that’s too strong. ‘Cause it is my favorite holiday…” My students hadn’t heard it but asked for a replay. The link includes the lyrics, since the pace is brisk.)
Do you suppose Derek and the Elves have been taking notes from our blog? They seem to have hit every last one of our pleasures:
Anne garnered second place. We might have grumbled, but the winner was our IT Superhero Chris.
If Derek and the Elves can do it for a party, we can do it in our classes. Thanks again, Friends, for a great time.
Each Tuesday, pleasureinlearning brings you Tech Tuesday. Come back each week for more ways to become efficient and effective in your use of technology.
This is the last week of our review of teen apps/websites. This week I’ll talk about Kik and apps that allow anonymous sharing with people who are nearby. I’ll also point out the teen underground of Reddit.
Rape Me – Ok, that’s not the name of an app (that I know of!), but there is concern over an entire category of apps where users share text and images with people nearby. You can imagine the negative implications.
Last week, I promised you (all 2 of you) some big news. This is the last Tech Tuesday post because I’m going to be expanding my family from 2 to 5 over Christmas vacation. We’re not having triplets, we’re adopting! Needless to say, we’ll have some adjusting to do, so I’m paring back my commitments. Hopefully I’ll be able to pop in for a guest post every now and then. It’s been a pleasure facilitating some technology learning amongst you.
Stay tuned for some new and exciting content changes here at pleasureinlearning.
Santa is problematic in some ways. His lack of adaptation to the modern era is of concern, so in my last letter to him, I asked why he uses a sleigh and reindeer instead of updating to at least a helicopter. His tart reply suggested that I think in terms of tradition and colorful imagery in this case more than flight technology. “Besides,” he said, “the secret has always been magic anyway. What sleigh flies, even with eight reindeer?” He had me on that one.
At least writing him is easier than ever since he emails, and our exchange is rapid fire and not dependent upon the postal system. So I asked him why he goes down chimneys when there might be a fire going. After all, most of history wasn’t blessed with the heating systems in houses now that make fireplaces mostly for ambience. Here again, though scientific facts defy someone entering a house down a chimney while a fire is going, his answer was simple: “I have a 60 second spray that makes me temporarily immune to flames and heat, and always have.” What could I say?
Then too, though Santa is corpulent to a diabetes-threatening degree, he survives every era and almost flaunts the advice of every health tip column ever written. I asked how he can keep his weight under 400 pounds with the decadent amount of cookies he eats. He had an answer for that too: “I only eat cookies in that amount one day a year. It’s a free day, you know. Everybody gets a free day, right?”
I only had the energy for one more question. How is it that the sleigh and also those reindeer feet can make landings soft enough to avoid waking the children? Santa doesn’t miss a trick. “The North Pole has an RD department which long ago developed a hover technology,” he said. I wondered if this too is magic. “Of course it’s all magic, Brian, you seem a bit slow catching onto that. Merry Christmas!”
In Dr. Howard’s delightful debut post yesterday, she confessed her compulsion to give books as gifts. This reminded me of a poem that my children and I enjoyed reading together when they were small. I headed to the family library this morning and found the book, The Family Read Aloud Christmas Treasury, stashed way up high on the children’s holiday shelf, where it awaits another generation of young Dougherty readers. (Fingers crossed on that one!)
A longer read, we know, than our usual Friday post, but I think it’s worth it. You may recognize your younger self in these lines. And I love the presumption that thank-you notes will, of course, be written.
pleasureteam note: We are delighted to reprise last year’s popular “R²: Reading on Thursday” feature. Dr. YeVette Howard, director of our college’s Quality Enhancement Plan, gets us back on track today with the first in a series of tips to help us maximize our students’ reading skills and enjoyment.
During a recent faculty professional development event, I talked about how much I truly believed the “Right Book in the Right Hand at the Right Time” made the difference in helping someone become a reader. As I prepared my remarks, I noticed my reading success was largely due to someone pointing out a “good book.” I think a lot about getting the right book into the right hand at the right time.
As a teacher and a reader, I continue to look for ways to entice readers; thus, the right book is always on my mind. Although I no longer work with children and young adolescents, I continue to read reviews and peruse book store for books I think they might like. I still go into the Children’s section of libraries and in bookstores; instantly drawn to their energy and proclamations of good books. I am currently thinking about the books for community college students who either need to be drawn back to reading or who need to become a reader. I want to be ready if someone asks me about a good book.
I find I am compelled to give books for gifts; one again, hoping to give just the “right book.” On my daughter’s Christmas list, she indicated I could give her ONE book of my choice because she knew I had to give “a book to be a happy person.” She is on target, I want her to have the right book, I want my cousins to have the right book, I want my friends to have the right book, and let’s be truthful, I want everyone to have the right book.
I also want to know what might be my next right book, so I am always looking and listening when I am at the library, at the bookstore, and at the Goodwill. I listen to students, I listen to children, I listen to friends, and I listen to folks I don’t know very well as we bond quickly over books. While reading may be a quiet isolated activity, the “talking about books” is often lively. Books make unlikely conversations possible. I also strive to be in the right place when the talk turns to books.
All this talk of books is giving me the urge to go to the library….just to see what “right books” might be waiting.