- Inexpensive Graduation Gifts for Students
It’s the time of year for graduations. Since I teach high school, I have been to more graduations than I care to count. I don’t go every year, but sometimes staff members are assigned to help out with graduation. And, I’m often invited to parties for some of my students. This year I had 30 invitations—and I don’t even teach seniors. My friend who does teach seniors had over 50 parties that she made it to. One huge issue is a gift for all of those students. Many of them say to their teachers that they don’t expect a gift. But it’s hard to go empty handed.
- Terrific Tulips
Short of going to the Netherlands in the spring, I’m not sure where a person could find such incredibly beautiful fields as those of the tulips blooming north of Seattle, Washington. Tulip farmers there have thousands of acres of flowers simultaneously in bloom, a rainbow of living color.
- A Must-See in Seattle
No visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market—a virtual circus of sight and sound. If you want seafood, fruits or vegetables, jams or jellies, tea, or tee-shirts, this farmers' market is the place to go. However, if crowds make you hyperventilate, avoid this popular tourist destination. When I was there in April, I bought four huge bouquets of daffodils, tulips, and other spring flowers for a total of $70—a fraction of what I would have had to pay at a florist.
- Eating in Seattle: Three Great PlacesOn my recent visit to Seattle, I ate in several places I’d like to recommend. First is a small restaurant in the University District called Portage Bay Cafe. This small eatery features food that is both organic and local. We ate breakfast here and enjoyed it immensely. I had the pumpkin pancakes topped with fruit, whipped cream, and syrup from the toppings bar. My husband had a huge cheese omelet with mushrooms and other vegetables, all of which covered a large rectangular plate.
- Stress-Free and Beautiful Wedding
My daughter got married two weeks ago in Seattle. It was a small, simple wedding—and I would recommend that type of celebration as being stress free and very enjoyable. I have had numerous friends whose daughters have been married in lovely ceremonies with great receptions afterward that had been six months to a year in the planning—and everyone was exhausted by the end of the whole affair. Well, deciding a month in advance to get married really limits how much planning can be done—especially when the ceremony is in a place far from home.
- Letter from the Author Elie WieselMost of the literature my students read was written by people long dead—with two notable exceptions, Harper Lee and Elie Wiesel. Several years ago, after my sophomores had finished their study of the Holocaust and Wiesel’s autobiographical work Night, they were filled with questions about what had happened to him after he was rescued from the camps and what answers he had to the causes of the Holocaust. After I found an address for Mr. Wiesel at Boston University, the students wrote him heartfelt letters. Never dreaming we would get a reply, I put them in a large envelope with a cover letter from me.
- John Adams on Television
Who would have thought the life of a monogamous politician/diplomat could make for riveting reading, let alone a miniseries? Well, David McCollough’s biography of John Adams is exactly that. I read the biography several years ago and was quite taken with it, so when I saw that HBO was showing a production of it, I was excited. One drawback: we don’t get HBO. Luckily, our friends Paige and Kevin came to the rescue and invited us to watch with them on Sunday nights.
- Releasing Books—A Fantastic Concept
"Releasing books" is a fun way to share books. One day in March, we released 20 books to be picked up and read by the students, who then got on the school's Web site and blogged about their books. Each student then released his or her book again for someone else to read. I found the idea last spring, when I was in Seattle on the University of Washington campus. A young woman who was walking toward me stopped and laid something down on a bench and walked around. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
- Trip as Follow up to Reading Elie Wiesel's Work
In light of Yam Hashoah and International Holocaust Remembrance Day (May 2nd), some of my students just finished reading Night by Elie Wiesel, so we took a field trip to help them with their understanding of the Holocaust. A Jewish friend of mine came before we started the book and explained many Jewish traditions and answered some of their questions, but they had more after reading the book. So, we went to another city, where there was a synagogue and a Holocaust survivor who could speak to them.
- Four Entertaining Movies
Yeah, I know my blog is supposed to be about books, but every now and then, a person needs a good movie. Well, this weekend I watched four that I found very entertaining: Enchanted, The Darwin Awards, Darjeeling Limited, and Death at a Funeral. Can you tell what section of the video store I was standing in front of?
- Stress-Free and Beautiful Wedding