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2011-01-19 - 10:04 p.m.

Darn I hate when in the middle of writing I bump some key randomly and "POOF" the whole entry is GONE

As I was saying before such "POOF"...

Its hard to continue to be in the doledrums when reading RAMONA.

I highly recommend a good dose of Ramona or Pippy to anyone feeling down.

After a few moments I think it impossible to NOT SMILE at their antics.

Ramona in particular is very encouraging to me as reading of her makes me believe for a while that MY CHILDREN ARE NORMAL!

In the few moments of evening bedtime reading, Ramona got lost following the end of a rainbow around town searching for the pot of gold, and then disrupted her sister's art class as she grabbed another kids lollipop then ferociously continued to fight over it because SHE WANTED It and of course upset the paints and made a royal mess mortifying her big sister with her tantrum.

I think that not only I, but also SADIE is very encouraged as I read these Ramona stories at bedtime. SOMEONE FEELS LIKE SHE DOES!

Beezus is definately a soul mate for Sadie.

Tonight was a little later to bed that I hoped. DARN I DID Forget to just boil water and fill the sink and usher them in "Quick before it gets cold!!"

That method worked SO WELL last week that we were actually ON TIME TO SCHOOL as they were in BED EARLY for a change.

But no, I am always honest and of course when asked "Do we have hot water?"

said "YES!" so was patient as a few baths were taken.

For the highlight of the weekend:

YES Soren was just FANTASTIC;


Hey my lovely housemate, Pocohontas' daughter just came home excited that a contestant on American IDOL reminded her and friends of SOREN. YES there is a resembalance and yes he can sing as well as Soren! What is funny is that the boy on Idol sang Jason Maraz'z "I'm Yours" and Soren and friends at school do a kickin scat and jazz version of that same song which I love.

Back to list of great weekend:

Yes it was wonderful to see nanny pridefully apprechiate the young man Soren is growing into;
It was terriffic to visit with my law school friend and celebrate her NEW JOB and her family and lovely partner who is so good to her. They are all happy and healthy and doing well. ;

The weekend at the church was inspiring as usual with wonderful teenagers;

It was nice to meet Soren's lovely girlfriend;

But for me the absolute highlight was when Katerina held a group of twenty teens RAPT with a discussion of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

She started out discussing the book with me knowing I would be interested.
I had told her that I could never get far in Dostoevsky as I couldn't ever KEEP THE CHARACTERS STRAIGHT!

The Russian names confused me and I never knew the referant who was being spoken of or could tie it all together. I re-read the beginning of War and Peace a Number of times, but would forget who is who by the time I have available reading time again and have to start over. I DID make it through Anna Karenina, but never finished any other classic Russian Literature. ( I think Tolstoy is easier to read somehow...)
Nabokov is on my list... but every time I have tried the book is due before I get into his works. ( I am a serial borrower of the complete short stories of Nabokov...)

The funniest moment was when Katerina was explaining to me WHY it is so hard to follow reading Russian literature. She told me that there are Formal Names and Family names and familiar knicknames for many of the characters. So one character may be referred to in two of three different ways.

Additionally, there are apparently three women who all share one particular name as a middle name , lets hypothetically say "Ivanona" ( I don't recall... ) so there may be a Katerina Ivaona, but then also lets say a Marjorita Ivanova and Serafina Ivanova (OK so Italian names came to mind that don't sound at all russion-- but you get the point)

It would be VERY confusing to read each name and with the same middle name possibly think the lady was the same as one mentioned before, OR read of a knickname and think it was a NEW CHARCTER when it was in fact one mentioned earlier.

Now reading in ENGLISH if I read of JONATHAN and later someone said "Jon" I would GET IT that is the SAME character--- but I am SURE I did not get that same convention when reading Crime and Punishment the first few times I tried and was completely lost as to WHO THE HECK ARE ALL THESE CHARACTERS I KEEP GETTING CONFUSED WITH EACH OTHER???

Ah, so the BENEFIT of reading an annotated version and margin notes was established in KATERINA'S RUSSIAN LITERATURE 430 as the Youth Advisor called her class after a little while.

Now the most hilarious part of this wonderful moment was that after about 5 minutes of Katerina getting very excited and explaining of the characters- she just GOT REALLY INTO it and KEPT GOING animatedly . I mean the girl NEVER had that much energy as a cheerleader I am sure! Sports just DID NOT get her adrenaline flowing... but RUSSIAN LITERATURE DID.

So it was intense, and I think almost scary and intimidating to the other teens who were lounging there in the youth group room-- at first.

After 5 minutes of her getting into it, it was hilarious how the teenagers suddenly ALL MIGRATED to the other side of the room. One by one, the would get up and go to the couches on the other side of the room- to get away from this literary outburst they didn't know how to take at firt.

You could physically SEE the fear and feeling of being scared at the absolute new unknown being presented to them. The tension and then moving into their comfort zone of friends at the other side of the room- until soon there was only Katerin on the right side of the room animatedly talking to me who was diagonally to her left a few chairs away.

Katerina was really into it and kept the discourse with me, and I too got excited in listening and asking her questions.

So then it was this amazing moment of a shift of pushing through the fear and pushing through the WEIRDNESS of analyzing an intimidating Russian classic at 6AM after being up almost all night at a church overnight-

when one of the kids asked a question, "What happened next?";

and then another asked a question, "Why did he kill her???"

and Katerina went on to tell the story and the room feel silent

They were rapt.
She went on to tell of the murder with passion,
and there was a GASP.

It was so amazing. There is a girl actually with Turrets in the group who was quiet the whole night except for one other moment. She was gasping in spasms of noises and she reached out and grabbed her friends' hand to hold. Being familiar and comfortable with her noises it was not startling, but at that moment of the drama it was actually this amazing complement of what seemed to me an emotional response to the girl being completely pulled into the story.

Katerina had the attention of twenty teenagers who were previously playing with ipods, talking about music and relaxing dozing in sleepy stupor- and they were all awake and then engaged in discussion.

They became philosophical, they were so engrossed. The reactions and questions continued and they overcame discomfort of the newness of the discourse and relaxed and suddenly the whole room was into it.

Some excitedly said "Lets read it! Katerina do a book club!"

Some scoffed when hearing it is something like 550 pages.

I asked, "Does anyone here run?"

Thankfully there were a few runners in the group.
I commented "Do you remember how when you FIRST started how a 5K sounded like such a challenge? And the first time you ran one hitting that 2 mile mark thinking 'Oh no, another mile to go???" but after time that became easy? Reading is like that. Start with a few pages, and don't be intimidated and think of it like a marathon you can never finish. Then take it a chapter at a time, and soon enough you will be surprised at how far you have come."

The students *yes they were in fact students in that moment- learning from each other on a Sunday morning in a church basement where they wanted to be together, huddled with their friends, cuddled on couches that line the room-
The students were excited at the thought of reading Crime and Punishment to see what happens next.

And I watched as the moderator of this church teen group said "WOW Russian Lit 430 with Professor Katerina! She has a gift"

Indeed she does.

I believe I can FINALLY pick up Crime and Punishment, and this time get through it.

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