Book-themed Hallways

(high school hallways)

The above linked article shows some amazing artwork in high school hallways.  It is all book related.  Some of the books that decorate the hallways are must-reads.  I hope that the students are inspired to read some of these books, rather than never reading them because they are tired of looking at the same books day after day.  I am just thinking of high school, and how much I avoided anything that reminded me of school when I wasn’t in it.

Forgetting my purse

I got to art class Thursday night and realized that I left my purse at home. I called home and found that I’d left it in the walkway on the way out the door, so I wouldn’t forget it. I stepped right over it, I guess. At least I knew where I’d left it. There wasn’t much I needed in it for class. I might have used my phone charger and I should have had my wallet with me, but there wasn’t anything urgent in it.

I tried to use a new product in class, and I was excited to use it. There weren’t instructions on the package other than look at the website. I went to the website and found that it wasn’t in existence anymore. So I looked up the instructions. Step one: put on your respirator. Ok. End of project. I am not going to mess with that during class. I told my classmate that I might have considered it if I had my wallet with my health insurance card in it. But I didn’t want to expose my classmates to it, either, I suppose.

I have three more classes to finish up my paintings, so I have to figure out what to use instead of the planned product. Or skip it all together. I am definitely not bothering with a respirator.

Fifty books most people start but never finish

(Fifty books most people start but never finish)

I am in a list making mood today, I guess.  Or a list searching/posting/etc mood, anyway.  Many of these I have started.  Many of them I haven’t bothered to start.  A couple of them I have actually finished, but those are in the minority.  I may get to some on this list one of these days.

The Bible


War and Peace


The Canterbury Tales

A Tale of Two Cities

Gone with the Wind

Anna Karenina

Wuthering Heights

The Grapes of Wrath

The Iliad

Les Miserables

The Red Badge of Courage

Atlas Shrugged

Jane Eyre

The Scarlet Letter

Don Quixote

The Good Earth

The Bridges of Madison County

The Last of the Mohicans

Crime and Punishment

In Cold Blood


The Oxford English Dictionary

David Copperfield


Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The Sun Also Rises


The Silmarillion

Lord of the Flies

The Count of Monte Cristo

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Animal Farm


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Paradise Lost

Water for Elephants


Watership Down

Pride and Prejudice

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Three Musketeers


The Lord of the Rings

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Fountainhead

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Pillars of the Earth






Getting an assistant

I was listening to an audiobook and the author was talking about getting an assistant to help with the mundane things in life. She ended up firing the assistant because the assistant wanted to know everything she was doing. Plus, the author wanted to be in charge of her own life. I get it.

It did get me thinking about what I’d do with an assistant. I was thinking about laundry and dishes, but that’s more like maid responsibilities, so maybe I’ll need one of those, while I’m at it.

Today, I would have had my assistant call the pharmacy to find out why they are telling me that they have been waiting for insurance authorization, then received it, and are asking me to pick up a prescription that I don’t take, and I hadn’t asked for.  I had to make this phone call myself.  I found out that my doctor’s office called it in.  Why?  I don’t know.  So, I had to contact my doctor’s office.  I would have had my assistant email my doctor, only to be told that it’s a generic for another medicine that I don’t take.  Then the assistant could have waited on hold for the twenty minutes it took for the front office to find someone to tell me that the person I was emailing isn’t available.  Then the next person told me it was because I called them on Monday and asked for this prescription.  No.  It wasn’t me asking.  The assistant could have gotten the response I did – we must have had the wrong person’s chart open.  Well, someone out there isn’t getting her prescription, since I seem to have gotten it.  No, I didn’t pick it up.  The pharmacy is voiding the prescription.

I could have also had the assistant get gas for me before work this morning.  I had to go a different way to work, in order to stop at the gas station.  This alternate route put me in the path of double parkers on a one lane street, and eventually behind two accidents before I even got to the freeway.  There were two more accidents on the freeway, but I would have been stuck behind them, anyhow.

I wouldn’t have had to stop to take the paint out of my car so that my daughter could use it at class tonight.  When I brought it in, I remembered that I needed to have a hole in a pair of pants sewn.  I went back in and brought it to be repaired.  An assistant could have done that for me.

The assistant could have returned library books for me, so I wouldn’t have had to listen to my car alert me to the fact that my books were not wearing their seat belt in the passenger seat of the car.  Also, I had library books to be picked up.  I wouldn’t have had to have taken the time to get them.

I could have the assistant take my second car in to get its tire repaired.  Also, the car is full of bags of cans for the recycling center and cardboard to be broken down and taken to my friend’s recycling bins.  Then all the cars could be washed and vacuumed without me thinking about it much.

The assistant could have paid my daughter’s parking ticket before the due date, so I wouldn’t have to pay a late fee.  I paid this ticket because it was partially my fault that she got the ticket, and very much my fault that I forgot to pay it.

Other bills that the assistant could have paid would have been my renter’s insurance and the renewal of the dog license for one of the dogs.  Also, the other dog needed a vet appt for her annual shot.  So the assistant could have made the appointment and taken her.  Then paid her license fee.

The other bill the assistant would have to pay would be his or her own paycheck.  I suppose I would have to pay this person to do all my mundane tasks.  Also, I would have many fewer adventures if the assistant was doing my life admin for me.  I guess the idea of the maid would have to go, since the assistant plan is going, too.

Match making at the nail salon

I got a mani pedi with my daughter on Friday afternoon.  It should have been a sanity check because I forgot that it is prom season.  Thankfully, we got in and started before school got out.

We finished our pedicures and were moved into the overflow room for the manicures.  The woman at the table across from us was having a very loud discussion with her technician.  They have obviously known each other a long time.

  • Woman:  So, how is your brother doing?  How’s his wife?  Does he have kids?
  • Technician:  Oh, my brother never married.  He’s single.
  • W: oh?  Is he waiting for me?
  • T:  Maybe?  You always got along so well.  He could be waiting for you.
  • W:  Oh, we haven’t been single at the same time.  It just wasn’t meant to be.
  • T:  Well, you’re single now.  So is he.
  • W:  We couldn’t even cook together.  I cook soul food.  He cooks Vietnamese.
  • T:  So?  You can alternate cooking.  Everyone’s happy.
  • Me:  Oh, come on.  Ask for his number already!
  • My daughter:  Oh my God, Mom.  (as she tries to melt into the floor with embarrassment)


Art class tonight

Art class tonight was very productive. I managed to paint my hand, arm and pants… all different colors. I was aiming for the canvas.

I also got through several hours of my audiobook. I managed to do it without laughing out loud or arguing with the author tonight. My classmates know what a big accomplishment that is.

I didn’t finish a painting, but I’m more than halfway through the current one. I have plans for finishing the one I’m nearly finished with. That must count for something, right?

Reading is good for your brain

(The original article)

We all know that reading is good for us, but this is an interesting article.  It also includes an article on reading every day (here)

Reading isn’t just filling your head—it’s nourishing it. This is the latest science on the magic of books.

Reading is good for your brainMatthew Cohen/, Apple by Aguiardesign

You can take fish oil supplements or eat lots of turmeric. You can invest in a language class, puzzle books, or a few hours of exercise every week. There are countless methods to (allegedly) improve your memory and cognitive functioning—the brain-training and -assessment industry is expected to reach $8 billion by 2022, according to a major market research report. But the cheapest, easiest, and most time-tested way to sharpen your brain is right in front of your face. It’s called reading.

The fact that reading is good for your brain isn’t surprising—there’s a reason moms are always on their kids’ cases to turn off the TV and pick up a good book. But there’s something astounding about how such an ordinary activity can improve your brain in so many ways.

The most basic impact occurs in the area associated with language reception, the left temporal cortex. Processing written material—from the letters to the words to the sentences to the stories themselves—snaps the neurons to attention as they start the work of transmitting all that information. That happens when we process spoken language, too, but the very nature of reading encourages the brain to work harder and better. “Typically, when you read, you have more time to think,” says Maryanne Wolf, EdD, director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. “Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral ­language—when you watch a film or listen to a tape—you don’t press pause.”

And the benefits of reading continue long after you’ve put down that great book. A small study at Emory University found that some of those benefits persisted for five days. “We call that a shadow activity, almost like a muscle memory,” says Gregory Berns, PhD, director of the Center for Neuro­policy at Emory. In fact, this is how reading in a certain font can improve your memory.

The benefits continue long after you've put down that book.

OK, you say, it’s hardly surprising that the language part of the brain would get a workout from reading. But reading also energizes the region responsible for motor activity, the central sulcus. That’s because the brain is a very exuberant play actor. When it is reading about a physical activity, the neurons that control that activity get busy as well. You may not actually be riding a horse when you’re reading Seabiscuit, but your brain acts as if it is. And the more parts of your brain that get a workout, the better it is for your overall cognitive performance.

That said, not all reading is created equal. Preliminary results from a study conducted at Stanford University indicate that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a major workout. MRI scans of people who are deep into a Jane Austen novel showed an increase in blood flowing to areas of the brain that control both cognitive and executive function, as opposed to the more limited effects that come from more leisurely reading.

What if you are (or someone you know is) a poor, or even a dyslexic, reader who feels as if you’ll never be able to read enough to reap these benefits? A book can fix that problem too! Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University studied children ages eight to ten who were below-average readers. One hundred hours of remedial reading classes significantly improved the quality of their brains’ white matter—the tissue that carries signals between areas of gray matter, where information is 
processed. The researchers’ conclusion: The brains of these children had begun to rewire themselves in ways that could benefit the entire brain, not only the reading-centric temporal cortex. Learn more about why your brain needs to read every single day.

Reading is good for your brainMatthew Cohen/, Apple by Aguiardesign

The ability to read closely is something that needs to be nurtured. In her new book, Reader, Come Home, Wolf notes that even she, as someone who reads for a living, has found her ability to concentrate on the written word fading as more of what we read is on a screen. “Unfortunately, this form of reading is rarely continuous, sustained, or concentrated,” she writes. That sets up a vicious cycle: Without the sustained exercise of our reading “muscles,” the brain loses its ability to control the intricate processes that allow us to read deeply.

Of course, there’s an easy solution: Turn off your phone and your computer, set aside a good hour or two—and just read. Not sure where to start? Pick up one of these 100 books everyone should read before they die.