Strictly based on research, I should already be making daily lists of thankfulness. Grateful people live longer and happier. My book of faith tells me to give thanks in all things. Lizzi at Considerings: Life in Silver Linings is the blogger who created Ten Things of Thankful, which just celebrated its 100th week. Perfect time for me to join!
So here’s my launch:
#1. I’m thankful for a stomach bug which has grounded me and given me time to reconnect with the blogging world. I’ve had worse bugs, which could be #2, but…
#2. I’m thankful for my plans to re-retire in the fall. I have filled up every available space in my life with teaching, which has left my dearest teacher widower even more confused about his longevity as a widower. Will he ever retire from his teaching widower status?
#3. I’m thankful that I bought my husband a huggable bathrobe. He was already cuddly, but now he’s a teddy bear. I love that bathrobe so much that I bought an identical man-robe for myself.
#4. I’m grateful for all the moms and dads of special needs kids who are sharing their stories online. We need a community of support, which leads me to…
#5. I’m grateful for the blogging community which provides voices and listening ears to millions of people around the world. Lizzi is one of those natural people-gatherers whose story gives others hope and whose voice gives others room to be themselves.
#6. I’m grateful for faithful readers who encourage me that I’m not writing into thin air. And that my blogging widower still reads my posts.
#9. I’m thankful for the bird community in our back yard which parades the beauty of their Creator. Did you know they sing before doing anything else in their day?
#10. I’m thankful for the kiddos I love and teach, along with their parents. I know I was created to teach, which will make my re-retirement an interesting season.
Here’s a humorous look at teacher stereotypes. Even from across the pond, there are amazing similarities between US and UK teachers! Enjoy!
For today’s AlphaBooks Blogging, I have chosen an entire series of mysteries by Louise Penny. She’s the brilliant creator of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a most unusually gentle and brilliant detective living in Quebec. He stumbles upon Three Pines, a unique community virtually hidden from the world and populated by a funny, devious, and diverse collection of individuals who come to life under Louise Penny’s marvelous writing. These mysteries often start and end in Three Pines, a place with a remarkably high homicide rate. But it never feels contrived. I would gladly spend a weekend at Three Pines. greeting everyone as old friends but looking over my shoulder.
And then there’s death. Always a murder. Gamache and his assistant, Jean-Gay Beauvoir, along with other remarkable individuals, unravel clues and trace the roots of fear, greed, jealousy, and anger that ultimately lead to a violent end. Penny’s books are not only distinguished by her creation of characters who live and breathe, but for her insights into the roots of murder. Her clever plots make these books impossible to put down (no matter how late it is!).
I highly recommend that you visit Louise Penny’s website because she shares herself as openly as she shares the souls who fill her books. You can listen to her pronounce the French names and phrases, but even better, read about her own life from which she has drawn these books. No, she hasn’t murdered anyone! This is what Louise Penny says about the Gamache series: “My books are about terror. The brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And Kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love. If you only take one thing away from any of my books, I’d like it to be this: Goodness exists.”
Before I had read any of her works, I had the privilege of attending a book signing event for Louise Penny. She was gracious, humble, funny, and clever. Just like her books. I remember the audience asking her questions about favorite characters. It sounded for all the world like people gossiping about mutual friends. I was afraid the books would be a drippy, overly descriptive mash of odd characters with little action, so I didn’t start reading the Gamache series until recently. Boy, was I mistaken in that first impression! Start with “Still Life” (image above from Amazon) and you won’t stop!
If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that Khalil is a kid who struggles with math. He’s terrified of the End of Grade (EOG) tests. When I asked him what most scared him about those tests, he said, “I’m afraid my mind will go blank.” I said, “Oh, that happens to everyone. Just go on to the next problem and come back to that one.” Khalil was horrified. “I can’t skip anything!” I reassured him that he could easily come back to a skipped problem if he marked the test booklet by turning down a corner of the page. He spent a while considering that option as we did some math prep for the EOG.
The next item on our agenda was an EOG-style reading passage about Hollywood. Apparently, Hollywood used to be farmland in the late 1800’s. When he read “1880’s,” Khalil rose from his seat, one arm outstretched with a pointing finger. “That’s when disco was invented!” he cried exuberantly, looking a lot like a very short John Travolta. “Um, disco was the 1980’s,” I amended. He said, “I stink at math.”
As we read that early movies were made in places where the weather was rainy and cold much of the year, the passage read that “people would not want to film there.” Khalil remarked, “I would!” Ever ready to help him face reality, I said, “It would be hard.” Khalil simply replied, “It would be a horror movie!” Good point.
Finally we came to the section that described how the first movies were made without sound. “That was no good!” he exclaimed. The article explained that subtitles would flash on the screen and he added, “I’d be fine with just sound!” Khalil was amazed that actors used hand movements to show emotions. He started wiggling his fingers in front of his face. “That doesn’t sound right! It’s like sticking up your fingers. Like this.” Khalil lifted his thumb, then his index finger, and then shook his middle finger while keeping other fingers nearby. “They might stick up THAT finger!” He also showed me the same issue with his other hand, concluding, “That’s just not right!” Obviously, it would be quite tempting for those early actors to slip the audience a middle finger. Khalil paused, considering their dilemma. “That stinks.” Then his ramblings triggered a recent memory and he added, “I dropped my phone in the toilet and that just stinks, too!” What a life.