Thursday, March 21, 2019

March is a Long Month

I'm very behind in my blogging- not for any negative reasons, just business.

I was lucky to attend the New Hampshire School Library Association conference earlier this month. Two days of lectures and workshops and authors and books. I had someone to ride with, met my grad school professor, got books signed by Rob Buyea and Jarret Krocoszka and ate some really good food.

I've also been working on the dollhouses lately, giving particular attention to the large, handmade one that was gifted to me. It's in the process of becoming Orchard House. I finally got some of the wallpapering done.

The wallpaper in the Meg/Amy room has roses on it; it's going to have alot of floral details in it because those two characters are so feminine.

The wallpaper in the other room is blue, because Beth is so virginal and it's on the same floor as the attic, where Jo would write at night.

I've been having alot of fun at work. The 8th graders are wrapping up a unit on Visual Literacy, so I introduced them to the Whole Book Approach and Molly Bang's theories and they're doing a great job. Yesterday I made maple-scented playdough with the 4th graders and we had so much fun with it. One of the 4th grade girls recently told me about a book "Wishing for Tomorrow" which is a sequel to "The Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I had never heard of it before, so I told her I would put it on my To Read list. The very next day, there was a copy of the book on my desk, with a note from her, telling me I can borrow her copy. I love being able to develop relationships like that the students, where we can really talk to each other and trust each other.

And speaking of students, I went to see the spring musical at Dover Highschool last weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a former YMS student was starring in it! She is a great kid, and it's nice to see how successful she is in highschool since I've known her since she was in 5th grade. My husband saw her in school a couple days afterward, and explained to her that his wife is THE Ms. Mawn from YMS, and she was equally excited to know that I got to see her performance.

Today the 4th graders got a mini field trip outside to see a parent volunteer tap a sugar maple tree. I had never seen a tree tapped before or seen the sap running out, and it was cool. It makes me feel like a real New England-er and I like planning different things to do with the kids. One of the students in that class told me this morning how much he was looking forward to it, and he struggles sometimes with behavior in library class, so I was really happy he had such a good time today.

Now that I've written a little update, I'm going to turn my attention back to the 2018 PBS adaptation of Little Women; since I am working on my Orchard House dollhouse, I've been watching different film versions of Little Women obsessively.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Museum of the American Ganster

On our trip to NYC, we stopped to see the Museum of the American Gangster. I learned about it on Atlas Obscura, and then we found a Groupon for 50% discount admission,  so it seemed like a worthwhile stop. The museum itself is tiny, but the guide was so well educated and passionate about the subject matter that our tour lasted about an hour and a half. The exhibits consist mostly of photo reprints of mugshots and newspaper headlines, but there are some noteworthy things to see:

Some bullets that were used in the Valentine's Day Massacre:


My favorite display was the Henry Hill one. Apparently, he came into the museum shortly after he moved back to NYC, following his removal from the witness protection program; he was pretty unhappy to see that the museum didn't mention him at all, she he donated the items himself. He donated a painting he made of the NYC skyline, a page from his yearbook in which his classmates voted him Most Talkative, and one of his suits. He also donated an icepick (his weapon of choice) and autographed it.

The museum is the site of an old speakeasy, and in the 1960's two safes were found in the basement. One is on display in the museum, and the other remains in the basement of the speakeasy, which is now an absinthe bar.


The best part of the museum was getting to go inside the old speakeasy, and picturing what it must have looked like almost 100 years ago. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Polly of the Circus

If I was a little out of sorts at watching Clark Gable play an idealistic doctor, it was like being in an alternate universe watching him portray a reverend. The story itself is a bit strange; a trapeze artist gets injured, and is taken into the home of the local minister, and they fall in love. Apparently, it's a remake of a 1917 picture, and I can't help but wonder who thought this story needed to be made more than once.

I enjoy watching Spencer Tracy and Bing Crosby play parish leaders, but I just couldn't believe Gable as a humble, devout, reverend with aspirations of becoming a bishop.

Of course this courtship is characterized the judgement and criticism of the parishioners and his  bishop uncle.

The movie is only an hour and nine minutes, but since it's not a very exciting story, it seems alot longer.

It's not that I don't enjoy stories of star-crossed lovers or the whole 'opposites attract' theory, but they're usually a little more exciting than this one.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Men in White

I had a pretty busy break, but I still found time to squeeze in a pre-code film and analyze it. I was able to find this one streaming for free, and it has my favorite guy in it!

Technically, this film isn't 'pre-code' because 1934 is when the Hays Code actually started getting enforced, so this film is a product of early code enforcement. It does seem that some dialogue slipped through that wouldn't have been permitted later that same decade.

The age-old story about a man who's torn between the demands of his career and his love. Gable plays Dr. George Ferguson, a young doctor who is in his internship, and planning to travel to Vienna to learn more under his mentor. Myra Loy is his fiancee Laura, who is frequently frustrated with the long hours and hectic schedule his position entails. Elizabeth Allan is Barbara Denham, a young nurse, who looks up to Ferguson because his work ethic and his compassion for his patients. After an argument with Laura, he turns to Nurse Denham for comfort. Dr. Ferguson and Nurse Denham have an affair, which is only really slightly hinted at. 

Aside from the love affair, which is not the most scandalous thing since he's not married yet, there are a few bawdy lines that the young, single, doctors say in the beginning, which are pretty straight forward:

"That's the trouble with being in love- it kills your sex life!"

"I'm gonna eat, drink and mate merry!"

Those lines alone aren't too much, but the meat of the plot is where the pre-code/post-code line is really apparent. Nurse Denham ends up in the operating room, and although the descriptions and dialogue surrounding her condition are very vague and veiled, it's believed that their affair resulted in a pregnancy, which led to her to attempt an abortion.  The play the movie is based on had much more overt discussion of this plot point, and it had to be toned down quite a bit in order to satisfy the new  guidelines.

There were protests against the film by moral reformers and religious groups, and it was one of the first films condemned by the Legion of Decency.

In the end, Dr. Ferguson realizes that he has alot more to learn about doctoring and death, life and love, and decides to go to Vienna for his apprenticeship, accepting that it will be five years of difficult work. He is not engaged to anyone, but Laura tells him that she'd like to keep seeing him while he learns and works. She understands the responsibility and commitment that comes with medicine.

I kind of prefer Gable in his wise-cracking, tough guy with a soft heart type of roles, but I would watch this one again.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Beetle House NYC

On Friday, we headed down to NYC. We started planning this trip a couple months ago, after I heard about a Tim Burton themed bar/restaurant there. Beetlejuice is one of my all-time favorite movies, and they have actors there who portray the most popular characters.

We made sure to make our reservation for a night when Beetlejuice would be in the house, and we had the best time ever. His voice, appearance and mannerisms were truly like those of the Ghost with the Most, and he had us in hysterics.

It was on the early side, so we were the only people eating in there, though the bar started filling up while we were in there.

For $40 you get a starter and an entree. I got the James and the Giant Peach salad, and then the Edward Burgerhands, which comes with a real pair of scissors in it:

The food was fine, but the next time I go, I'll probably just get drinks. The first one I got was called Dead Flowers, and it was a sweet, creamy, blue one with a table of dry ice in it that makes it bubble continuously:

The next time I go, I'll go with a Blood Bag, which the waitress said is like a fruit punch:

I dressed for the occasion in a Beetlejuice shirt that I bought from Hot Topic

And I was pleasantly surprised to see that the wallpaper I chose for the bathroom in the Beetlejuice dollhouse was 100% accurate:


And when I showed him that the background picture on my phone is a Beetlejuice one, he was pretty happy about it:

It was awesome to finally meet the Ghost with the Most, and I'm already planning another trip!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

I hate when school breaks are halfway over already

Just another little update; my February break is halfway over so I'm trying really hard to enjoy it and use it to be creative. I've been working on dollhouses and wind-chimes. Yesterday I was at Salvation Army and I found a little wooden Bambi ornament. I knew immediately I needed it for Pee Wee's house because he has a Bambi rug in his room:

I put the ornament on his wall since I doubt I'll ever find a 1:12 scale Bambi carpet for his room. It's difficult sometimes to make a dollhouse exactly the way we hope, but I'm always satisfied with the accomplishing the same kind of look, or an homage to one.

I also brought in the gigantic, hand-made dolhouse that Judi gifted me, and started looking at he wallpaper patterns I have. I also knocked out the bathroom walls, because Orchard house wouldn't have had a bathroom in the 1860's. I need to figure out how to re-do the floors and cover up the 'tile' but I like how much more open that hallway area is.

I worked some more on my Library Valentine chandelier (not really a windchime, because there are no chimes on it). I added some more ribbons, and I love how colorful it is:

Other than working on dollhouses and windchimes, I've also been working on my final project for my current grad school course. It's a very long, and very detailed Three Year Strategic Plan for Library Advocacy, so it's a big undertaking. I've been carving out a few hours everyday this week, and I think I'll be finishing it today. It HAS to be finished today, because it's due tomorrow, and we're leaving on a little trip tomorrow morning.

I was working on my project just now when Victor the bunny jumped up on the couch next to me. I thought he was coming to snuggle, but he just wanted to eat my book instead. I didn't appreciate that very much, and Bella also did not appreciate him disturbing her nap:

Well, I better get back to work on this project so I can enjoy the rest my day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


I've been meaning to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons for a couple years now. I never really had any friend that were into it, but then I found out my friend Adi is also learning, so she was nice enough to come over last night and get me oriented to the game.

The game is so much more complex than I realized. She explained about the races and classes and alignments, so first we created our characters. I really wanted to buy into the fantasy of the game, and create someone totally unlike myself, but some of the descriptions appealed to me more than others, so my character actually is kind of like me.

His name is Hubert.

He is a half-elf warlock. Warlocks are driven by an "insatiable need for knowledge" (and meanwhile I'm in graduate school for the third time). There was also something about a patron that I work for/with (librarians are used to that). He has a chaotic good alignment, which means he always acts on his conscience, regardless of what other people think (something I strive to do).

So, he's practically my twin:

We skipped over and abbreviated alot of the details because we wanted to get a sense of what a campaign is like to play. So our Dungeon Master concocted a scenario in which Hubert and Wisage (Eric's character) come upon a castle in which demon rats are terrorizing the cook and the lady of the house.

Hubert is definitely NOT a fighter- when he tried to strike or spear the rats, he missed every time. Fortunately, he is able to cast a fireball spell, so he was able to incinerate the rats, one by one.

It was a fun evening, and I can definitely see the appeal of the game. I like the idea of creating a character, and sending him on different adventures and really developing a whole story for him.