Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Learning | Happenstance and Q

Happenstance is only about 120 years old or so, which is not terribly old, as English words go.  I don't hear it used very often, but I've always liked the word. 

Happenstance is a portmanteau of the words happen and circumstance.

Recently, I was searching for pictures on, using the search term words. Happenstance brought me to this photograph of a page from a Finnish dictionary, showing all of the words beginning with the letter Q.

All the words beginning with Q in the Finnish dictionary, from hugovk's photostream on Some rights reserved.

I love this picture, because I learned a few things from it:  

  • I'm not familiar with the Finnish language at all, so I was intrigued to see that so few words begin with the letter Q. Q is not a very common letter in English, but we have many more Q words than the Finnish.
  • I nearly knew what all five of those Finnish Q words meant! Three of them were place names, that are spelled the same way as they are in English.  
  • I knew Quisling meant traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their own country, from studying history during the World War II era. 
  • I had an idea what QWERTY-näppäimistö meant, because the letters QWERTY are the first five letters on most computer keyboards.  In fact, we usually call that type of keyboard a QWERTY keyboard.  So I went to Google Translate, and pasted in the word QWERTY-näppäimistö. Just as I suspected, it means qwerty keyboard. If you would like to hear how to pronounce the word, just copy and paste it into the Google Translate window.
  • Looking at this picture made me think about the Finnish language. I'm quite unfamiliar with the language. I never see people asking for, or checking out books about, the Finnish Language.  So I went to our shiny new library catalog and found a few. There are two different Finnish-English,English-Finnish dictionaries at Cesar Chavez Central Library. Chavez also has a Finnish Reader, in the government documents section of the Storage Area downstairs. It's from 1968!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

She's Crafty | Bookmarks

Coming soon to the Chavez Central library slat wall is a book display featuring recommendations by city staff. I'm designing a bookmark that will go into the books on display for two reasons: One, to let people know that, yes! you can check this book out; and two, to give some extra information regarding who recommended the book.

While I was online looking for inspiration to design a basic template, I came across a blog devoted to the art of bookmarks called Mirage Bookmark. If you collect bookmarks or appreciate a well-designed bookmark, you have to check out this blog!

On the Mirage blog I found an especially fun post featuring an ALA bookmark of Barabra Gordon, a superhero librarian in the city of Gotham during the day and the crime-fighting superhero known as Batgirl by night.

Too bad they don't sell these anymore, I would probably buy a stack...or two.

All this bookmark talk got me thinking about all the bookmarks I've collected, made, or received as gifts in the past. I have a pile that goes back a few years tucked away in a basket in my bedside reading table. Bookmarks come in all shapes and sizes and I'm a sucker for anything that keeps my place in a good book with style and innovation, so I have markers that range from small magnetic tabs with cartoon zombies on them and arrow shaped clips that will point to any place on the page for those of us who are always stopping mid-page (me, I am one of those people), to large pieces of photography paper trimmings from a college class and a few of the store-bought and tasseled variety. 

However, nothing beats a good ol' handmade bookmark. Every once in awhile I like to buy a package of pre-cut, ready to decorate bookmarks from the craft store and go to town. They make great, quick gifts too--especially for the bookmark lover. Print out a favorite quote and fill it up with doodles or fill the surface of a bookmark with pictures of ridiculously cute kitten faces that will make you smile every time you pick up your book.

We have the following books about bookmarks. You'll see I padded my list with fictional books since we only have one book specifically about bookmarks. Also, I thought it was cute we had fiction books with references to bookmarks.

Collecting Bookmarkers by A.W. Coysh
Bookmarks Are People Too! by Henry Winkler
Bookmarked to Die by Jo Dereske
Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett

Great advice from
Collecting Bookmarkers
Another tip if you want to find books on crafting your very own bookmarks is to look at the table of contents of most papercrafting books--you'll most likely find at least one project involving a bookmark there.

Link+ Books
The Art of Illumination by Patricia Carter

Of course the bookmark I end up using most often is my due-date receipt from the library.

The best free bookmark EVER!

Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | Strega Nona

I've always been drawn to the Strega Nona stories by Tomie De Paola. But here's how I stumbled upon it today. The weather is changing; it's getting cooler. Cool weather always makes me crave comfort food. My all-time favorite comfort food is pasta. And there you have it!

Tomie De Paola's Strega Nona: An Old Tale is a delightful story to remind young children of the importance of obedience. Strega Nona hires Big Anthony to look after her house and garden, and warns him not to touch her very old pasta pot. Not long after, Big Anthony spies Strega Nona in the kitchen singing to her pasta pot. All of the sudden, the pot bubbled, boiled and was suddenly filled with steaming hot pasta!

Of course Big Anthony wanted the pasta pot to make him some steaming hot pasta, so as soon as Strega Nona left for a while, he sang the same song with almost the same results. You have to read the book to find out what happens!

Tomie De Paola is one of the most popular children's author/illustrators ever. In this book, which received the Caldecott Honor in 1975, De Paola engages the young reader with humor and beautiful illustrations. This is a perfect read-aloud for the whole family or for young independent readers to read on their own. SSJCPL owns lots of books by Tomie De Paola; stop by the library nearest you and check them out!

And to extend the enjoyment of Strega Nona, have a family pasta night! Grab your favorite recipe and get the whole family cooking in the kitchen! Buon Appetito!



Monday, November 3, 2014

Just Life! What a Halloween

I had a very interesting Halloween. Who knew that a few tiny slices of pineapple can create so much chaos.

Ari and Vida in front of a haunted house.

Let me explain:

We just got back from trick-or-treating with our friends Zari and Vida. I put two pizzas in the oven and in the process, a few pineapples rolled from one of the pizzas to the bottom of the oven.

I tried to get them out but, two pineapples were at the very end of the oven so, I ignored them. That was a big mistake.

A few minutes later, grey smoke started oozing out of the oven. Then our smoke detectors started going off. I tried to fan the smoke detectors to no avail.

Then, I ran upstairs assuring my half asleep husband (who was trying to take a few hours of sleep before his midnight shift) that everything was alright. I explained that the house was not really on fire, but my kitchen was being swallowed by smoke. That is all. 

Then, I ran downstairs trying to fan the stupid smoke detectors again with no success. Meanwhile, my friends and my aunt opened all the doors and windows trying to help me out.

My daughter Ari and her friend Sadie were both trying to help me out too by fanning the smoke detectors with Sadie's foam Minecraft sword.

Nothing worked. The alarms were still screeching.

Then...wait for it...wait for it.

Yup, you guessed it...

The Fire department showed up at my door. I had to explain to these fire fighters who were all geared up for action that it was a false alarm. That was so embarrassing.

What a night. I tell you.

Apparently our Alarm company called the Fire department after being unable to reach us.

But, I am so thankful to our alarm company and to the Stockton Fire Department. 

The Fire truck was in front of our house in a matter of minutes. Thank you for such a fast response. I am very grateful.

If you need some excitement in your life, just come to your local library to check out some heart pumping Mysteries.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha