Sunday, October 28, 2007

"The Snow Leopard"

I was searching for new non-fiction books at my school librarian conference this weekend, and I happened upon a new title by Jackie Morris called, "The Snow Leopard." (Great website, BTW, check it out if you have a chance- there are some beautiful pictures of a family of snow leopards.) I can only imagine the enthusiastic squeal I think I let escape when the vendor pulled the book off one of the displays when I queried (for the 20th time) if she had any snow leopard books. This is a fiction book, but with a picture book format. Yes, there is a bit of text, but I've seen some picture books with way more words, and I think this one could easily fit on the picture book shelves. But maybe because it's size is so much larger than the other fiction books on the same shelf, it will stand out and hopefully be checked out more often. (Yes, I did already place it on my order for my library branch.) Of course, I'll also be displaying this book every chance I get, so hopefully it will circulate a lot and at least the local children will be exposed to the snow leopard...

This book shares a more mythical story than presents actual facts about snow leopards. In this allegory, the snow leopard sings a song of protection for her valley in the Himalayan Mountains to hide and secret the people and animals. A sleeping child hears her music and sleeps in peace. But all grow old in time, and the snow leopard changes her song, and the valley is invaded by soldiers looking for gold and slaves. She chases them out by sending nightmares until the soldiers think they are being haunted by demons, and run from the valley. When the sleeping child wakes, the snow leopard teaches her about the lark and the swift, the fox, hare, bharal and all the animals who share the valley, as well as her spirit songs of the earth and of protection. And so the old snow leopard leaps to the stars, and the new snow leopard begins her own song.

In my last snow leopard blog I vowed to help educate, and while I'm not writing my own book, at least I can share this one and still feel like I'm contributing. :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Baker and Taylor, and Band

It has been one busy week for me! I had a 6 day work week instead of 4 like everyone else (nope, I didn't get Nevada Day off) because I went to a conference for school librarians. AASL (American Association of School Librarians) is a nation wide assoc, and this conference was much like the public library conferences I've attended. There were great sessions on the new children's literature that's out (and coming out), a chance to meet a variety of authors, and program ideas. Plus, there are the vendors from all domains- publishing companies supporting their new children's book series or types of binding, new databases to order materials through, and even library furniture. I had a field day in there! Or rather, field weekend- I must have wheedled over $100 in brand new books, posters, stuffed animals and all other manner of handouts, and even a display of a character from a book that was translated from French, named Nicholas. He's about 4 feet tall, and hanging out in the boys' playroom until I decided if I want to take him to the library. I think they boys will think he's pretty cool, since he's taller than they are! I came home with 5 bags splitting at the seams with goodies. It's going to take me all week to get that stuff to my library- hopefully I can add some of those books! And I did get to take a picture with the famous Baker & Taylor cats, a local duo who used to live in the Douglas County Library a few decades ago who managed to get a major book vendor named after them.

Their eyes are a little creepy...

After I got home from the conference, I ate a quick dinner and headed out to Carson City High School where Kevin's band (Galena High School) was competing today, both in a parade this morning and field show at 7:30 this evening. The boys even got to ride on the cart in the parade this morning! I've only gotten to see the band perform a few times, and tonight they looked great- I noticed a lot of little changes and details (horn flash, high stepping) to make them look sharp and clean. It was fun to hang out with the kids until they went on, and my boys loved all the attention they got from the high-schoolers. Here they are, goofing off with one of the props:

Such sillies! :)

Also in the news yesterday, the moon last night and tonight is the closest it gets to Earth, about 30,000 miles closer than it's furthest full moon. The Halloween Moon, it is named, both for it's abnormally large size and for the bright orange color at its rising which fades to a yellow, and then to white as the night wears on. I snapped 5 or 6 photos of it- couldn't stop staring at it, but this is the best one, even if it's not as orange as when it first crested the mountain top.

And this other one I took first, but it isn't as clear because I zoomed in too far- but you can see what a brilliant orange it was. Pretty eerie with the clouds passing in front of it...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meridian Gold Run for Education

Got another race under my belt yesterday (before the pony rides :), the Meridian Gold Run for Education. A 10K run around the Double Diamond area close to my house. Finally a close race I didn't have to travel for! But there were also half mile through mile and a half runs for the kiddies, and all sorts of elementary schools were represented raising money for programs. It was so cute watching those little ones running (some of them sprinting all out right from the start, and a few being carried by their parents). I got stuck in the parking lot after I got done with my race, waiting for them to pass. Good timing for parents who want to run the 10K, and then run a short race with their little kids afterwards.

I met a fellow librarian, although no longer co-worker, at the race- Turi, and this was the fourth run we've done together this season, and three of which just in the last month (Escape from Prison Hill, Reno Journal Jog, and the Tahoe Marathon were the other three). We decided on a 9 minute-mile pace (just over 6.5 mph- maybe 6.7?), and kept it almost exactly at that until the last mile when we picked it up and finished in 54:46 (according to my stopwatch), but the official results said 54:15. That's about 25 seconds off from my 10K time I ran in Grass Valley with another fellow librarian, Chris. (Although I think I went faster on that race because there were a few hills compared to this flat course, and one of them I walked up for about a minute to minute 30.) We also passed Dave, branch-manager of the Verdi Library around mile 3- that was cool- I didn't even know he was running this race. He finished only a few minutes behind Turi and me. WCLS was well represented yesterday. :) It was a good run- a nice jogging pace for the first five miles, slow enough to keep up a running conversation, and I felt great afterwards. Here's a pre-race picture of the two of us in the cold (yes I had to wear a sweatshirt for this race too!).

This race was only $35, which is great for any race these days, and the goodie bag at the end was the best I've gotten yet! They gave us a shopping bag from Wal Mart right after we crossed the finish line, and then we passed through a "market" of sorts: first I got an apple, banana, orange, cinnamon mini-bagel, then a yogurt and a sports drink and a water bottle, then on to Jamba Juice! Yes, I got a small Jamba Juice, which was perfect post-race nourishment. Next came the "real" goodie bag with a water bottle in it, a frisbee, pencils, a ruler with a sharpener on the end of it, a kid Cliff Bar, and all kinds of coupons. Then came the medal and t-shirt. Talk about good prizes! That was almost $35 worth of stuff in itself. Anyway, this will probably be my last race of the season. Starting to get cold now, and there aren't any more races being offered nearby except for a 5K, but I think I'll skip that one. I feel good about this season. I've never run so much in my life! Thanks to Chris and Turi for the motivation!

Boy's First Pony Ride

I took the boys to Suzanne's place yesterday, just past Pleasant Valley, where she keeps several horses and ponies, and trains lots of young riders. She's invited me to bring the boys out on a few occasions, but we've never been able to quite match up times that we both had available at the same time. Finally yesterday the stars were aligned, or something, and it was a beautiful day for a first pony ride! They were SO excited, and Suzanne taught them how to sit, hold the reins and relax their legs; how to say, "Walk on, Scott!" and, "Ho!" to stop. They had the biggest grins on their faces the entire time- they were not afraid, and turned out to be natural riders, at least from my little-experienced perspective. :) We are greatly indebted to you Suzanne! Thanks for the wonderful day, and the yummy chocolate cake!

Check out my new Flickr account for photos of the day!