Monday, May 25, 2015

Just Life| Charles are you listening?

So here I was in the Children Room at the Cesar Chavez Library last Monday.

The room was unusually quiet and there was a lady sitting on a chair reading quietly to this little boy. He was about two-years-old.

The little boy was just walking around and exploring his surroundings but he was actively listening to the story that his caregiver was reading to him.

Every once in a while, the lady would look up and asked the little boy-I am going to call him Charles,: " Charles are you listening?"

And Charles would answer back every time with his cute baby talk as if he was saying: " Yes, I am listening. Please keep on reading."

And this interaction went on and on for a good ten minutes.

She was actively making this little boy smarter by just reading to him.

We all have to join forces to increase the literacy rate in the San Joaquin county.

Please read to your child as often as possible. 

Here are some famous quotes on  this topic from

  • Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller

  • I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

  • Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss

And if you ever doubt the true power of reading, I dare you to read this book:

Reading magic : why reading aloud to our children will change their lives forever 

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Thursday, May 21, 2015

She's Crafty | Needle felting

The last few days I've been taking a sharp, barbed needle and poking it into fluffs of unspun wool. I'm trying my hardest not to poke myself more than once, since it has already happened, but not exactly confident that it won't since the tip of the needle I'm using is so dang sneaky.

I got a needle felting kit as a gift and it will be my first time felting anything with a needle. I've wet-felted knit projects before with soap, water, and my own two mitts, but this will be the first time I poke wool with a sharp instrument to attach wool blobs together. When I'm done I hope to have what resembles a fox and not a unidentifiable mound of tri-color wool. Crossing fingers!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Just Life| Lafayette statue

It was a cold December afternoon in Paris. It was getting dark and I couldn't find a taxi for us to get to the hotel so we were walking briskly along the Seine River hoping to get to our hotel before dark.

As we were walking, we noticed a monument right next to the sidewalk. It was the statue of a man on a horse. There was a plaque and it said that the statue was a gift from the American school children to France. The statue was depicting Lafayette.

Picture from

Since it was getting dark, we didn't linger too long. I told myself that I should look up the history behind it. Three years later, I am still trying to find out some more info about that statue.

Picture from

I came across a New York Times article dating back to July 5, 1900 that was referring to the unveiling of this statue in Paris on July 4th, 1900 in Paris.

The ceremony was attended by the French President and the American Ambassador. 2000 people attended this event.

"The monument was unveiled by two boys representing school children of France and America." One of the children was no other than Lafayette's great grandson.

I also came across this article from the Chicago Tribune dating January 20, 1954 referring to this statue saying that it was purchased by collecting pennies and small changes from the American School children. 

According to this article, the statue was " a gesture of gratitude to France for her gift of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor."

Five million American school children donated to this cause. The statue was the work of the American sculptor Paul Wayland Bartlett.

Ari in front the statue of Lafayette.
This statue is located on the right bank of the Seine, between Bridge Alexander III and the Bridge Des Invalids.

I still don't know who started this idea but that was for sure a great gesture.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Thursday, May 14, 2015

She's Crafty | The Steampunk User's Manual

Steampunk is a topic I can endlessly spend time thinking about...

Steampunk Time Contraption by Don Urban. Some rights reserved.
Pulled Crystal by Tracy B. Some rights reserved.
Steampunk novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack
(Available through Link+) by Mark Hodder.

Can you really blame me? Even when I just get a glimpse of something remotely steampunk I start dreaming about fantastical gadgets, wondrous accessories, and mysterious characters who jump through time and invent the perfect tool for every job.

Imagine my delight when I came across The Steampunk User's Manual: An Illustrated Practical and Whimsical Guide to Creating Retro-Futurist Dreams by Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich! This beautiful tome is a comprehensive guide to the w-o-r-l-d of Steampunk, the whole shebang.

From steampunk two-dimensional art and jewelry accessories to chai cycles and robo-penguins; storytelling, music, and stage performance to large scale installations, architecture, and interior design. This book is an absolute feast for the eyes and mind. Not only does Steampunk User's Manual showcase magnificent work that will inspire and delight--you get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes of some of the featured pieces as artist's talk about creating their signature projects.

Though you do not need to be a DIYer to appreciate this book, those who are willing to push their craft to the next level or have a heavy DIY background can take inspiration from the User's Manual to help them create their own work.

More steampunk craft and art books:

Steampunk as a genre of fiction can be found in all age groups. What follows is merely a taste of what we have available for checkout and is by no means a complete bibliography of all our steampunk titles...

Picture books for children:
"P is for Periscope."

  Chapter books for children:

Teen fiction is bursting with steampunk titles and series:

Don't even get me started on what's available for adults!

Okay, maybe just a few:


Monday, May 11, 2015

Just Life| The Nightingale

I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that is what attracted me to this new book called The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 

The Nightingale is the tale of two sisters set in World War II during the Nazi invasion of France.

Viann is the older sister who lives a quiet life in the French countryside with her husband and her daughter until the Nazis takes over her hometown.

Isabelle is the younger sister. She is beautiful and rebellious who craves for her father's affection. She ends up joining the French resistance.

This book is the story of their survival, their tragedies, and their triumphs during World War II.

The Nightingale so far has been my favorite book this year.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, May 4, 2015

Just Life| I Went Walking..

It is Sunday morning and we are going for a walk. My daughter is taking her iPod with her. The iPod apparently has a pedometer. So my daughter keeps giving me updates of how many steps we are taking. 

One, two, 100, 250..... 1,000

At one point, she turns to me and says " it says that we burned 16 calories. Is that a lot mom." I told her that unfortunately it is very little.

So we walked for an hour or so, the pedometer recorded 6900 steps. 
I think by the end of our walk, we burned a little over 200 calories. 

A Hershey's milk chocolate bar has 210 calories.

Darn it. 

I don't even want to know how many calories were in that delicious doughnut that I ate before going to that walk . Lets' just not think about it. 


I love walking. It clears my mind and walking with my daughter gives me some needed one on one time with her.

So, if you are feeling blue, just put on some comfy shoes and go for a walk. 

Here are a few books on  this topic:

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Books on Film | Age of Ultron & Far From The Madding Crowd


The Age of Ultron is upon us! Avengers: Age of Ultron will be released this weekend. It's based on the 2013 limited crossover Age of Ultron. Of course, don't go expecting any of the X-Men (except Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) or Fantastic Four to show up in the movie they way they do in the book. The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Marvel Comics are two different beasts due to rights issues. 
The artificial intelligence known as Ultron as fought for years to eradicate mankind- and now, it has all but succeeded. The few remaining heroes are battered, broken, almost beat and left considering desperate measures- some more desperate than others. but when Wolverine breaks ranks and pursues his own plan to defeat Ultron, will his drastic action cause more problems than it solves?

If you are interest in English period dramas instead of superheroes, then you may want to check out the adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel Far From The Madding Crowd which will also be released this weekend.
When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors: the seemingly commonplace man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the center of this novel.