If We Were Having Coffee… Friends Time!

Today’s post is a part of the Weekend Coffee Share, graciously hosted by Part Time Monster every weekend. A time for us to come together, share a cup of coffee (or our beverage of choice) to share some of what is going on in our lives.  It’s a lovely check-in!

If We Were Having Coffee I would all sorts of things to tell you!

Last Sunday I went to a Gluten-Free Fest, and got to eat all sorts of yummy food (and got a ridiculous amount of swag!)

IMG_20150927_145630I’ve been lucky, since I had to go Gluten-Free I’ve lived in a number of places where there are good options – and Portland has been amazing for it.  Still, though, it can be hard (especially to find quick-grab options) so it was awesome to get to see some of the products that are out there.  What I’m most excited about is the fact that Cheerio’s is going Gluten-Free for five of their cereals (including Multi-Grain and Honey-Oat which are my two favorites)!

Sunday night I enjoyed the Lunar Eclipse. I love the sky at night, but usually exciting sky events are happening too late for me to be awake.  This time I was able to be awake and could see it without having to leave my neighborhood (light pollution makes it awfully hard to see a lot of the stars, but the moon shone bright enough)!

The work week went fine for me — I’ve been enjoying the Go Play, Go Learn activity that people have been doing for my History Challenge — and am looking forward to more potential collaboration with Nerd In The Brain on Go Play, Go Learn Challenges!

Friday, though, was my grand adventure.  A friend came into town (as she does about once a year) and so Friday night was the start of the Weekend fun.  Usually there’s a “Friendsgiving” when she’s here, but scattered gatherings throughout the weekend is what we’re able to swing this year.  So after work I headed out to our first meeting place — a McMennamin’s I’d never been to before called the White Eagle.


The White Eagle is said to be highly haunted! I got some time to sit and write while I was waiting, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.  Then we all gathered together, enjoyed some drinks, and wandered a bit further up the street to get some food.

I don’t really get out in Portland much at night – public transit for the last leg of my trip home stops running at about 10pm – so it was fun to get to explore and enjoy a little.

We sat outside (with on and off light sprinkles) enjoying drinks and food, surrounded by people (and dogs) having a good time.


Though we were stuffed, we then went to ice cream!  I didn’t get home till about 1 am (super late for me these days) and had a great time.  Today I’ve got a bunch of writing to do – excited about some guest-appearances I’ll be making over at Part-Time Monster this week, and then a Feminist Friday Post here! Tomorrow is Friendsgiving Part Two – some Powell’s time and wandering around Downtown.  I’m looking forward to it!

How are you doing?  Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

Celebrate Blog Awards and The Awesome Fall!

Celebrate the Small Things

Today is Celebrate the Small Things Friday.  Hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner of Writing Off the Edge, and Tonja Drecker of Kidbits, Celebrate the Small Things is a time when we all take a moment to celebrate something good from our week.  It can be small, it can be big, just something to look back on the week and celebrate!

Today I celebrate the beautiful fall weather we’ve been having, and a new blog award!

Raphaela, of HummingBird Redemption nominated me for The Sunshine Award!


Thank you for this award!  As with all blogging awards, this one has some rules.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate a few other bloggers
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated
  5. Notify the bloggers on their blog.
  6. Put the award button on your blog.

I nominate all of my readers – you guys are awesome :)

Here are the questions I was asked:
1) What has blogging given you?
I started blogging to have a venue to write whatever was on my mind, but what I’ve gotten from it is a great community. There are some pretty awesome people out there blogging!

2) What do you do when you are under stress?
It really depends on the kind of stress… but most of the time I write or chat with friends. To de-stress I need a venue to vent the feelings and frustrations or I need the chance to laugh!

3) What music do you love?
I like a lot of kinds of music, but my favorite is probably musicals.

4) What advice would you give new bloggers?
I’d advise new bloggers to have fun! Write what’s important to you and have a good time with it. Also, communicate with others, don’t just hide out in your own blog – there are lots of great people out there.

5) What artist inspires you?
Hmm. This is a tough one – like with music, there are a lot of artists that I like and draw inspiration from.  There is one that I really like… but I can’t remember the name of the artist. So I’ll have to update when I get home and can check the picture I have that I love.

My questions for you!!

  1. What is one holiday celebration that you adore (for ANY holiday)?
  2. Favorite color?
  3. Least favorite food?
  4. Dream vacation?
  5. What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Banned Books Week: Draw Me A Star and In The Night Kitchen

Draw Me A Star

By Eric Carle


For the life of me I could not think of why this book would end up on any banned book list.  So I sat down recently to re-read it, trying to get into the mindset of why it would be considered objectionable.

It’s amazing how quickly one can pick up on things like that pretty quickly when you’re looking for it.  In this case there were two things I spotted.  First (and the one that seemed to raise the most objection) is the illustrations of a naked man and woman.  This is done in Eric Carle’s distinctive style, and hardly could be considered “graphic.”  However, there are those who do find it objectionable, and it has been removed from libraries (or altered to remove the objectionable content) for this.

What it brings to mind, for me, is the another children’s book that was removed for the same reasons.

In The Night Kitchen

by Maurice Sendak


In the Night Kitchen is a sweet story about a boy, Mickey, wandering through his dream-world.  The objections arise primarily because in some of the illustrations the boy is naked. Various locations have gone the tactic of altering the book, adding clothing to Mickey.



Banned Book Week: It’s Perfectly Normal

It’s Perfectly Normal

by Robie Harris



This book notes that is is for ages 10 and up, and does include nudity and sex education – it is, after all, a book explaining how bodies change during puberty, reproduction, contraception, and other sex ed topics.  It is not intended to be handed to children alone — but rather a tool for parents to use with their children, to talk about these important issues.

I’m most familiar with this book as one of the recommended resources to go with the Our Whole Lives curriculum (a Lifespan Sexuality Education curriculum that was developed in a collaboration between the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalists).

It has been challenged a number of times throughout its history (including some fairly recent challenges).  The reasons are pretty predictable: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

One case particularly struck me, in part because it is out of a part of Maine where I know people, and in part because it provides a good illustration of why many books end up challenged.

In 2007 a woman in Lewiston, Maine took the book out of two libraries and refused to return it.  She mailed the library a check to “pay” for the book along with a letter saying “I have been sufficiently horrified of the illustrations and sexually graphic, amoral, abnormal contents. I will not be returning the books.”

The library did not cash the check (of course) and even mailed it back to her with a copy of library procedures.  She mailed it back to them and mounted a protest with the city.  Eventually she was summoned to trial for not returning the book (and refusing to comply with library procedure).  Theoretically she could have faced jail time for this!  This “standoff” lasted upwards of a year.

Because she disagreed with the book she felt it was her right to keep other people from having access to it.  Part of what gets me about it is the fact that she also refused to follow proper procedure – instead of trying to challenge the book (there are proper venues through which individuals can do such a thing) for removal from the library, or relocation of where it was shelved, she physically removed the book.

What I find heartening is the community response.  The library received donations replacing the book (multiple copies!) and the circulation of the title increased.  There was an outcry from the community against the theft of the book and this censorship.

A few articles about this incident:

The Library Journal: Maine Library’s It’s Perfectly Normal Not Obscene, Police Agree

American Libraries Magazine: City Won’t Seek Jail for It’s Perfectly Normal Protester.

ABC News: Grandma Refuses to Return Library Book, Could Face Jail Time

WMTW: Critic of Sex Education Book Refuses to Return Library Copies

Banned Book Week: The House on Mango Street

Each year Banned Book Week adopts a theme to take a closer look at certain banned and challenged books.  This year the theme is “Young Adult Books,” and on the list of Frequently Challenged of Banned YA Fiction for 2014-2015 is The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Ciserno.


The House on Mango Street, is a collection of short stories, beautifully written, about Esparanza, a girl growing up in Chicago, finding her place, learning about herself, and writing about the neighborhood in which she lives.

I originally read this book in a class in college, and then re-read it this year, again amazed by the power of the poetic language.  As is the case with oh-so-many banned and challenged books, I am surprised to find this one on the list.

In 2010 Arizona House Bill 2281 forced the cancellation of a Mexican American studies program in the Tuscon Unified School District. This included the removal of a number of books from the classroom and curriculum, including The House on Mango Street.

Their strength is secret. They send ferocious roots beneath the ground. They grow up and they grown down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger. This is now they keep…. Four who grew despite concrete. Four who reach and do not forget to reach. Four whose only reason is to be and be.

-The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Ciserno. p. 74-75

The information around this entire issue in Arizona is a bit murky for me to go into detail on in a short post, but I’ve included some links to a few articles I’ve found on the matter at the bottom of the post.  What’s most important, to me, is the reminder that Banning Books is something that is happening all the time – for a whole variety of reasons – and it’s important we keep ourselves aware of what is going on around us.  This is not something that happened “a while ago,” attempts to overturn this law were being brought to court in January of this year.

Brought to mind is the We Need Diverse Books campaign – many of those books that are being banned and challenged are books that reflect diverse populations, something there are already precious few books about.

I loved The House On Mango Street – it’s one of the books that survived the “can I replace this with an ebook?” cut when I moved across country.  A book well worth reading for everyone, and definitely a worth addition to a school curriculum.


Write On Sisters speaks about the need for Diverse Books, such as The House on Mango Street.

The House on Mango Street Goes to Trial: #MayaVsAz

Highlighting Censorship: Tucson Unified School District

How One Law Banning Ethnic Studies Led to Its Rise


Banned Book Week: And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three, 

byJustin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Based on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who raise a baby penguin together, And Tango Makes Three is a sweet story.  It’s about family, even if that family looks different than the other penguin families in the zoo.  And it has been challenge and removed from libraries repeatedly over the years.

The reasons for these challenges and removals are largely tied to the fact that it portrays two males who create a family together, who would rather spend time with one another than with female penguins.

I hadn’t read this book before, but had heard plenty about it , and found it to be a sweet story with nice illustrations. I know that I won’t likely ever understand the why behind people’s reasons for challenging this book — but it appears as a top-challenged book year after year.


Banned Book Week: And Tango Makes Three, at Things Matter.

The Telegraph Article about And Tango Makes Three.

New York Public Library article about And Tango Makes Three.

Banned Book Week 2015

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.
Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

Last years banned book week was quite the event – this year I’m going to have to be somewhat more subdued.  I did have plans for many posts, but it hasn’t quite happened, so Banned Book Week 2015 will be a bit more laid back, but I am still going to post about some banned books!

Last year I started going through a list of books that I had drawn from the 2000-2009 Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books list.  This year I’ll continue the process, looking at a few more of the books on the list. (Links to last years posts are still active, and new posts will link back to this page as well).

  1. Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Justic Richardson/Peter Parnell
  3. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  4. His Dark Materials (series), by Phillip Pullman
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  6. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  8. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  9. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  11. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  12. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
  13. Blubber, by Judy Blume
  14. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  15. The Great GIlly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
  16. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
  17. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
  18. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  19. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  20. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
  21. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  22. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
  23. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
  24. A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeline L’Engle
  25. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  26. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  27. Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume.

In addition (and some overlapping) with this list is the Top 10 Frequently Challenged Books of 2014:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
  3. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  9. A Stolen Life, by Jaycee Dugard
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

And the Top 10 Frequently Challenged and Banned YA Books of 2014-2015 (again, see some overlap?)

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday)
  3. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)
  4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)
  6. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
  7. Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
  8. The Giver, by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  9. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday)
  10. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)


Are you doing anything for Banned Book Week this year?  What Banned Books do you enjoy?

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.


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