Monday, February 21, 2011

Cozy Tips & Reads for Attic Bedrooms

Attic rooms have always been an intriguing setting in literature. What better place is there for a small child to hide from an evil step-father and find a magic portal to another world or to lock-up embarrassing and crazy aunts? Since these draughty spaces tend to be freezing in the winter and broiling hot in the summer, the attic is also a handy place for housing the servants and poor relations.

My bedroom is upstairs in the attic of our old-timer house. In the winter, it does indeed get bloody cold. But we manage because we really pile on the coverings for our bed. We have six blankets, including a down duvet. It also helps to wear fluffy socks to bed. Another great discovery is the ultra-fantastic-auto-shut-off heating pad. Every night, just before my bedtime, I tuck my heating pad into the sheets and turn it on. Heavenly warmth!

Reading in bed used to pose another problem. While I could keep the rest myself warm under the multiple covers, my hands and forearms turned to ice while holding my book. I solved this problem by wearing leg-warmers. On my arms, that is. I got some cozy striped ones from the dollar store. These things are not sexy but they do help!

Here are some book suggestions that feature attic bed/rooms:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The House of Reckoning by John Saul
Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews
What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies

For the young at heart:

Jesse's Star by Ellen Schwartz
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret in the Old Attic a Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keen
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone By JK Rowling
(there's all kinds of rooms in the Potter books, such as closets, attics, chambers, towers, etc.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


A noun. From German Schadenfreude, from Schaden (damage, harm) + Freude (joy)
Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else's misfortune.

Schadenfreude pronounced 'sharden-froid-eh'. I first learned this word from reading Will Ferguson's hilarious book Happiness. It comes to mind again when I think of the now former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. There is no English version of Schadenfreude, so you can go around saying it to your heart's content and not be accused of sounding pretentious (or German).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Teen Trap

Puberty Boo: Hey Mom, I have philosophical question for you.

Mom: {apprehensive} Uh, yes Boo?

Puberty Boo: If you had to choose between the life of a really fat man and the lives of two innocent children which would you choose?

Mom: Can you elaborate, dear?

Puberty Boo: Say the kids are on a railway track and the only way to stop the train from mowing them down is to push the fat man in front in the kids.

Mom: Why not push the kids off the track instead of pushing the fat man on and so no one dies? Besides a fat man would not be enough to stop a train. Both he and the kids would get squished together.

Puberty Boo: Mom! {impatient, now} The kids are trapped on the track! They can't move! Say the fat man is sooo fat that he could indeed stop the train with his fatness annnd there is nothing else around to stop the train.

Mom: {sighs} OK, so I guess I'll have to shove the fat man in front of the train to save the innocent children then.

Puberty Boo: Then you're no better than Hitler, you know.

Mom: Whaaa...?

Puberty Boo: That was how Hitler saw the situation in Germany and how he justified genocide.

Mom: Boo, don't you have homework?

Puberty Boo: {to sister in other room} Hey, Mom is just like Hitler! {leaves room}

End of Scene