9/11 Remembrance

The Budweiser Clydesdales  are extremely popular Superbowl ads. But the most moving is the shown-only-once 9/11 tribute. It is available on YouTube. I tear up at the end.



Permanent Remembrance

corgi tattoo

I got my first tattoo several years ago, for my 54th birthday in November–a colorful peacock feather. Then a month after that, a second one for Christmas–a rose and rosebuds. One on each forearm. Then a year or two later a third on my calf, a fancy initial R for my name.  I kept saying I was going to get tattoos for all my beloved Corgis that have passed on, perhaps in a row down my leg — but then realized that if I lived long enough and had all the dogs I want, I could run out of skin.

So I decided on one tattoo to immortalize all my darlings. I used a simplified version of my Chivalry Corgis logo, and added the words “Forever in My Heart”. Of course, it is over my heart.

Backyard Birding

darkeyedjunco               downywoodpecker

I’m not a “birder”—I don’t keep track of what birds I see, and in fact can’t recognize most birds without referring to the reference books with pictures. But I very much enjoy watching, and have a bunch of bird feeders in my backyard, where I can see them from the kitchen.

The finches and starlings stay all year. In winter, they live in the 12-foot-high fir hedges next door, and come to my yard to eat. The finches love laundry days—they gather in the holly bush in front of the dryer vent to enjoy the warm air blowing out.

It’s exciting in the spring when we see what birds come back. We haven’t seen the mourning dove pair in two years, so perhaps they are gone. But the cardinal pair and blue jay pair are both here again. We also get crows and the passing hawks perching on the fence and garage roof, and once a female eagle landed in the grass. And this year two new species at the feeders: a downy woodpecker pair (I could identify the male and female) and dark-eyed junco.

My son swears we have the fattest birds in the neighborhood, that I spend more on bird food than people food. (Well, not really, but close.)

bluejay               cardinal

2016 Challenged Books



The list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 is here. This year’s list explores a range of genres (young adult, fiction, memoir) and formats (novels, graphic novels, picture books), but they have one thing in common: each book was threatened with removal from spaces where diverse ideas and perspectives should be welcomed.

The annual list is compiled by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF); OIF calculates the Top Ten by documenting public media articles of challenges, and censorship reports submitted.

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are

1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.

2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

3. George written by Alex Gino
Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”

4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.

5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”

7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.

8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.

10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.

Adjective Order


I never knew this, but I find it fascinating. I can think of a few more exceptions to the rule, but in general he is correct–we all subconsciously put words in this sequence, I assume because that’s how we heard and learned them when we learned to talk and read.

From The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth  (2013)

Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order:

Opinion–size–age–shape–color–origin–material–purpose Noun

So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife.

But if you mess with that word order in the slightest, you sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And as size comes before color, green great dragons can’t exist.

A beautiful large older yellow chaise lounge, NOT a yellow older beautiful large chaise lounge.

Of course, there are exceptions, phrases that have become standard: Big, bad wolf is size then opinion.


I’m clearing out old files on my laptop, and came across this list from several years ago. The editors I worked with had listed the funniest “that’s not what the author intended” typos they’d seen in books they were editing. Enjoy!

The heroine was a “wonton hussy”. (Ah, yes—a lover of Asian food.)

The hero reaches down to “adjust the bugle in his jeans”. (I’m just imagining his pants busting out with Reveille!)

He shitted in the saddle as he stared down at her. (Eww, I hope there’s some good saddle soap handy.)

We’d run pilot training flights over the dessert. (Mmm….pie…)

She put on her fury robe. (Now you know she’s mad!)

You’ve done an admiral job protecting her reputation. (Naval protection?)

The dress was “complimented” by a bright ribbon. (Picturing the ribbon saying “Hey, nice dress.”)

Going without underwear is NOT “going cammo”. (Green and black face paint?)

The pond was teaming with fish. (Imagining fishy sports.)

The earl stepped into the antichamber. (Regency England meets Star Trek?)

The characters have lunch at the “Diary Queen”.

Rivets of sweat ran down his torso. (Metal items rolling down his chest.)

His thumb pressed gently against her juggler vein. (And was there a clown present too?)

There was someone out there willing to act out even the most bazaar of fantasies.

For the first time since her bazaar journey started, she thought she might be able to adjust. (Visiting markets around the world, is she?)

She shuddered as her organism washed over her. (Don’t wanna know what little critters are involved here.)

National Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, for the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Do you know these ground-breaking women in history? No fair looking at the answers until you’ve tried all 15 clues!

1. First woman to fly the Atlantic as a passenger, 1928.

2. Won gold  medals in javelin and hurdles in the 1932 Olympics, later played basketball, baseball golf, winning three U.S. Women’s Open tournaments.

3. First woman to swim the English Channel, 1926.

4. Won seven U.S. Opens and eight Wimbledons, starting in 1923 at age 18.

5. First female state governor who was not the wife of a prior incumbent, 1974. (Her husband was a school principal.)

6. First woman on the Supreme Court, 1981.

7. First black woman Senator.

8. First female vice-president candidate for a major party.

9. First female cabinet member: Secretary of Labor, 1933.

10. First U.S. congresswoman, 1916.

11. First black U.S. congresswoman, 1968.

12. Opened first U.S. birth control clinic (in Brooklyn).

13. Quit her teaching job because a woman’s pay for the job was 20% of a man’s. Became first U.S.-born woman on an American coin.

14. Fled slavery in 1849, then helped other slaves escape; spied for the Union in the Civil War.

15. Survived polio and an impoverished childhood to become the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympic Games, 1960.


1. Amelia Earhart

2. Babe Didrickson

3. Gertrude Ederle

4. Helen Wills

5. Ella Grasso

6. Sandra Day O’Connor

7. Carol Moseley Braun

8. Geraldine Ferraro

9. Frances Perkins

10. Jeannette Rankin

11. Shirley Chisholm

12. Margaret Sanger

13. Susan B. Anthony

14. Harriet Tubman

15. Wilma Rudolph