I is for Ingalls- Laura Ingalls

laura ingall quote“This is now.” When I finished reading Little House in the Big Woods to five year old, Beej, the ending gave my heart a pang. As I gave this more thought, I realized that there were so many reasons it touched me so deeply.

I grew up reading the Little House books over and over again. It’s one of many things I share with my sisters. We read the books, watched the tv show and played out scenes repeatedly throughout our childhood. I felt so attached to Mary and Laura. Who didn’t love Laura, little half-pint? She was feisty, adventurous, impulsive…. and for me, once again as was in the case with Betsy Ray, she was a writer. But when we played Little House, I was always Mary, my sister was Laura and our youngest sister was Baby Carrie, which is why she didn’t play with us often. Because let’s be honest here, did anyone ever really want to be poor Carrie? We played these parts because of birth order but I believe that if our order had been different, I would still be Mary. I was more like her in personality while my sister was more like Laura.

I couldn’t wait to share my love of these books with Kris, when she was young. I remember purchasing her a hardcover copy of Little House in the Big Woods when she was around seven years old. We settled in for a cozy bonding experience and I began reading it to her….. and she was bored stiff. I had forgotten how descriptive the books were. She couldn’t get into the book and I didn’t push the issue, although I was disappointed. These books had played a big part in my life.

Fast forward 20 years and while looking for short chapter books to read to Beej, I came across a few Little House books that were simpler and revised. Each book had a theme-  Laura and Jack stories, School Days, and Pioneer Sisters. We read the first Laura and Jack story and Beej was hooked!! His thirst for learning new things was being quenched by the same descriptive writing that didn’t keep Kris’s attention. We read at breakfast and having completed Little House in the Big Woods, we are over halfway through Little House on the Prairie. In this book, they have moved to Indian country so this is a strong underlying theme throughout. At times I have to read ahead quickly so I can edit what he hears since the book does hold the long held view on the subject.

As we read and come across parts that my sisters and I loved as children, I’ve been sending my sisters screenshots of those favorite passages. It’s fun to share those memories and reminisce.

And I come back to that simple sentence. “This is now.” It seems so appropriate to be reading about a time long ago when, for very different reasons, life was similar in many ways to the lives some of us are living right now. The majority of my human contact is the people in my house. Although the boys come and go depending on their dad’s work schedule (which does not stop for pandemics or anything else, for the matter). We might not be building our own house, growing or hunting for food and living primitively, but our lives are very different than they were even a month ago. We are doing without things we thought were necessary. And reading about a very different time so many years ago makes me think about how much things have changed, and yet stayed the same.

How very much we are living for today. Now.

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Stay safe!

-Kat

H is for Hermione

“Oh, are you doing magic? Let’s see it, then.”
She sat down. Ron looked taken aback.
“Er — all right.”
He cleared his throat.

“Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,
Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”

He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers stayed gray and fast asleep.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell?” said the girl. “Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

And this was my introduction to Hermione Granger. She was intelligent, read A LOT, could be annoying but was fiercely loyal to those she loved. In the first book alone she grew as a person and by the end of the book, she was off and running. I connected with her because she was prepared for classes (and everything else) and she was always annoyed when others were not as prepared. Boy, is that me! Throughout my education and even in my adult life at meetings… She is also fearless, strong and tough but not afraid to cry. I want to be like her when I grow up!

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Have a nice weekend!

-Kat

G is for Grandma Mazur

If you are familiar with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you need no intro to her Grandma Mazur. If not, here’s a little background. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter. She locates people who have skipped out on their bail. But she’s not the star of the show here.

It’s all about Grandma. To date the series has 26 books, with a few extras here and there. Stephanie’s grandma, who lives with her parents, is like no other grandma I’ve ever known.

Here are a few Grandma Mazur highlights-

  • Her favorite pastime is attending wakes. She’s likes to arrive early to get a front row seat, especially if the deceased has been shot. She dresses in her finest with her gun carrying handbag on her lap. And if it’s a closed casket, beware, because she will probably try to sneak a peak.
  • Speaking of her gun, she carries it with her everywhere and fancies herself to be another Clint Eastwood.
  • She loves to try out the latest fashion, whether it’s bike shorts or leggings. She’s been known to get herself dolled up and even teeter around on stilettos.
  • She’s not afraid to try new hairstyles….. or colors.
  • Her love life is more active than people half her age.
  • She’s always up for an adventure.
  • She has no filter. Literally no filter. No one ever knows what she’s going to say. All one does know is that it’s probably going to be either shocking, funny, or both.

I can only wish to have a fraction of Grandma’s energy and gumption when I reach that age!

If you like a good laugh, I recommend the Stephanie books. Grandma Mazur is only a small part of a diverse cast of characters.

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Have a good day!

-Kat

F is for Frances

frances booksFrances is the star of my F female fictional character. Things we know about Frances- she is a feisty, headstrong, and funny badger. She has a little sister and she loves to make up songs to express her feelings.

Russell Hoban wrote a total of seven Frances books from 1964-1972. Although I remember being aware of the books, I have no memory of ever having read them or else I would have definitely shared them with my own children. When it became evident that little Beej craved new books regularly, I had to branch out and try books I wasn’t familiar with.

Frances was an immediate hit. What I really like about the books is how timeless they are. Written 50 years ago, they address issues that kids (or should I say parents and grandparents) still face today. Bedtime, friendship, new siblings, food, sharing……

Here is a excerpt from our very first Frances book- Bread and Jam for Frances.  In this story, Frances does not want to eat what she is served and prefers only bread and jam.

Frances did not eat her egg.
She sang a little song to it.
She sang the song very softly:

“I do not like the way you slide,
I do not like your soft inside,
I do not like you lots of ways,
And I could do for many days
Without eggs.”

-Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban

Frances might be the youngest fictional character I feature but she can hold her own among the rest.

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Peace,

-Kat

 

E is for Elphaba

elphaba wicked“However in the world did her skin come green?” Nanny wondered, stupidly, for Melena blanched and Frex reddened, and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all. Nanny had to slap her to make her breath again.”
― Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

And so we meet Elphaba, the baby girl who would grow up to be the Wicked Witch of the West.

Why this quote of all the options I had? It’s simple. It jumped out at me. “-and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all.” To me, it offered a stark contrast to the question “Are people born wicked?” which is a theme throughout the book. From the time she was born, this green skinned girl had to fight for things that were a given for others. I’ve heard the word- misunderstood- used to describe Elphaba and it couldn’t be more accurate. Throughout the book, the reader is shown that she wasn’t truly born wicked. More often than not her actions were misunderstood. But she never gave up- not even when she thought she had given up. This is one of the qualities I like best about Elphaba. Despite her weaknesses, she was stronger than she could ever imagine herself to be. And I believe that her wickedness was born out of necessity to survive in a world that was determined to see her as wicked.

I don’t remember being overly curious about why the Wicked Witch was wicked in the Wizard of Oz. Being one of my favorite movies from childhood, I watched it endless times but accepted that in most stories, there’s a villain and in this one it is the witch.

If you haven’t read the book, have no desire to, and love the musical, it’s all good. If you grew up with the movie and want it to stay sacred, that’s good too. Or if you’re like me and want to turn the movie, book and musical into a joint effort, overview, collection, I’m not sure of a clearer picture of what the whole story could be, that’s an option, too.

I’m terribly behind in the A to Z Challenge- Obviously. When I began this post this morning I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about Elphaba. I had chosen a handful of quotes and my plan was to see if any one quote stood out. I can tell you that it wasn’t until I saw that the SoCS was ‘joint’ that it all seemed to come together….well sort of.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- Joint

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Happy Saturday!

-Kat