Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Orlando (photo with "film" filter)
I find the Animal Kingdom Park in WDW to be one of the most visually appealing of the parks. The authenticity of the buildings and costumes sometimes makes you feel as though you are actually in another country...one invaded by little people in strollers, but another land, none the less.
Tom and I were able to escape the mounds of never-ending snow last week for warmer temperatures and barrels of fun. We visited most of the 4 parks twice and always begin and end our trip with the Magic Kingdom. This gives me the chance to see my favorite attraction, Philharmagic, more than once.
I often think that there are other less congested and more culturally rich places to visit. However, the moment I see those big round ears I'm immediately under the Disney magical spell.
The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. As I highlighted the books I've read I realized that my high school faired pretty well in the "Required Reading" department. Although I read every flipping word of Moby Dick more as a personal challenge than as a literary adventure, I'm proud to have read it.
I think that I will try to add a few of these to my growing list of books I'd like to read this coming year. (Those book are marked with an asterisk.)
The Big Read website is a wonderful resource for discovering "new" books that have become classics. On the homepage, you can browse through an extensive list of books to get a taste of what the book is all about. Many of the books include a radio show that's a half hour book discussion. I listened to the radio show for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and am drawn to read the book.
Although I was familiar with the Big Read website, it had been some time since I visited it. I want to thank the author of Drawn to Scrapping for reacquainting me with this wonderful resource.
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (tried them...just don't interest me)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott * (chances are I read this as a child but don't remember doing so)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (read MANY of these in college, as I was an English major)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks*
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (yeah, right!)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (started it, abandoned it)
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (a longtime favorite)
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon (wonderfully written and haunting)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (also haunting)
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (my all-time favorite children's novel)
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (have reread several times)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom*
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (started it, abandoned it)
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare- question- why is this on here if the complete works of shakespeare was earlier in the list? Why don't they just list them all separately?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
I finally took down the last of the lingering garland and Christmas decorations today. I've almost finished scrapbooking all of the photos too. Usually this is the time of year I begin to look forward to the possibility of a few snow days. However, we've already used all three days and the thoughts of extending the school year are not pleasant.
So basically, I'm looking forward to Spring. I get the feeling it's going to be a long wait. Longer even than next Christmas :)
Sigh. Tomorrow I return to work after two full weeks of Winter Break. The week was a leisurely one but not altogether unproductive. I relished the time I spent playing with my paper, scissors and glue. There is something distinctly therapeutic and relaxing about using these simple materials and tools to form a creation that is so different from its beginnings.
When I began my teaching career, lo those many years ago, I taught preschool and early elementary students. One of most important skills students needed to master was to develop the hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to cut along dotted line and then glue their masterpiece into a designated area on the paper. Most four and five year olds could spend an hour just happily cutting away until they were left with a glorious pile of construction paper confetti. I think they must have felt a bit empowered to change the shape of something into whatever form they desired. The process was as important, if not more important than the product.
There's a lot to be said for process. I think that the love of process is what motivates us to learn, to create, to eventually produce something of intrinsic value. But too often people, and students in particular, are acknowledged only for what they produce; they are rarely, if ever, acknowledged for their process, or their love for it, after those golden early elementary years.
To instill a love of process is to foster a love of learning. To cut, to glue, to write, to read, to create, to discover, to explore....these are the processes that create life-long learners. Maybe this is my educational philosophy; cut paper as though there were no dotted lines...and love it for a life-time.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
Explore. Dream. Discover.. I believe that Twain has given me a mantra for the New Year. Mantras seem more powerful and sustainable than resolutions in my book. Speaking of books, I don't have one. Perhaps I never will. But I have noticed that in neglecting this blog, I've neglected my writing, hence, my voice.
Facebook offers snippets to keep in touch with both long-lost and long-time friends, but writing an "update" offers little in the realm of real attempts at gazing at the world and your views through the eyes of your words. Therefore, I shall with renewed resolution (did I really just use that word?!):
Explore my thoughts through my photographs, poetry and prose....
Dream of creative ways to get off my arse to
Discover (or perhaps, re-discover) the creativity and voice that lies within.
Phew, that was exhausting...think I'm ready for a nap :)
It was the first day of the new year and I was hungry. The breakfast options were....well, there weren't any. The days of Winter Break leisure were dwindling fast and I wasn't about to shower just to go out for breakfast food. So I stared blankly into the dismal pantry. The pantry yielded left-over dried cranberries, and flour. In the kitchen the Clementines were plentiful so muffins seemed to be the most promising prospect.
How did people bake before Google? Yes, I have many beloved cookbooks but time was of the essence; I had to strike before the enthusiasm subsided. I discovered a glorious recipe for Christmas Morning Muffins. And GET THIS...the recipe includes chocolate chips.
Chocolate chips for breakfast on New Year's Day...some good-intentioned folks might consider this a Bad Sign in the realm of New Year's resolutions. But I disagree...heartily. I think of it this way: if I start off the New Year eating chocolate, things can only get better. In my humble (and perhaps somewhat warped) opinion, I'd rather improve myself as the year progresses rather than fail at promises I know I won't keep anyway.
So back to the muffins...as I gathered the ingredients, I realized that I had thrown away my expired baking soda in the Pantry Purge of December 2009. Darn. What to do? Yes, of course I googled a substitute. It might be common knowledge that baking powder (of which I plenty) can be a substitute for baking powder. Who knew? You simply double the amount and Voila! The muffins did rise! And they are scrumptious and so far I'm really liking the new year!