So You Want to be a Writer
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Welcome to the Zoo!
Welcome to the Zoo!
 

We're going to the ZOO! ZOO! ZOO!


 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
booksbaby-blah1





Baby, Baby Blah Blah Blah!
Written by Jonathan Shipton
Illustrated by Francesca Chessa

Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
ISBN: 0823422135
Ages: 4 to 8
Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O’Donnell Figurski


When Emily learned that she was no longer going to be the only child, she started making lists. That’s what Emily does. She makes lists for everything … especially when her life turns upside down. I totally understand. I am the queen of list-making. It helps to keep my life in order. I guess it helps Emily too.

Emily’s lists showed the pro and cons of having a baby brother or sister. Babies are soft and “snuffly.” That’s good. You can feed babies mushy foods. Yum! Yum! You can tickle them and swoosh them through puddles. Fun! But what about when they cry? Everyone knows that babies cry for everything. They cry when they are hungry, when they are tired, and when the unthinkable happens … diapers. They really bawl then.  Peeeew!

It wasn’t, though, until Emily thought about the baby taking her place in her family that she got really worried. What would happen to her world when it was baby this and baby that; when everyone went gaga for the new baby? What happened when they forgot about her?  It was bound to happen. She knew it! It would be baby, baby blah, blah, blah -- all the time.

Baby Baby blah, blah, blah! written by Jonathan Shipton and illustrated by Francesca Chessa is a fun book that will help to ease the fears and anxieties of many youngsters who find themselves in Emily’s place. (And many of us did at one time in our lives. It happend to me four times.) It will help reassure children that they will always be special in their parents’ lives, even though there may be new “babies” on the way. No … that was not a slip. Twins! Emily’s worries just doubled.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters.
Read more...
 
My Family Album
My Cousin Eddie
My Cousin Eddie
Ed Pavlik and his wife, Tammy
 
 
LONG LOST COUSINS

You surely have heard the saying" Long Lost Cousins!" Well, here are some of mine. This is Eddie Pavlik and his wife, Tammy. I haven't seen Eddie for almost three decades. He last visited me when I lived in San Diego . . . another life, so, so long ago. We finally met up again this weekend at my cousin, Kathy's house. (That's Kathy and her husband, Sam and their daughter, Kayla just above.) Kathy is Eddie
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENTS FOR THE HUMANITIES
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
David
David
 

SO THERE!


 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Hop In. Here we go. 
From the plains to the rainforest, 
to the jungles and back.
Hop In. Here we go.
From the plains to the rainforest,
to the jungles and back.
 
And that's exactly what we did. We went to the Erie Zoo and here are the pictures to prove it.
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
sand-to-stone-200



Sand to Stone and Back Again
Written by Nancy Bo Flood
Illustrated by Tony Kuyper

Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
ISBN 1555916570
Ages: 4 to 8
Review and Lessons Plans
 by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

Our world is in constant change. Sometimes it is obvious as hurricane winds rip trees from their roots or lava slides down the side of a mountain, or an earthquake sends gigantic tsunami waves to flood and engulf entire villages. But much of the time the earth’s changes are not visible, though we know with the passage of time that they have occurred.

Sand To Stone And Back Again written by Nancy Bo Flood and illustrated by Tony Kuyper shows how the earth is changing and it all starts with a grain of sand. One tiny grain of sand joins with one more and more and yet another and over time a majestic mountain is formed. Minerals in the rocks bring out their stunning colors. Pinks, oranges, and vivid purples drape the rocks in beauty as depicted in Slot Canyons in Page Arizona, the beautifully, photographed book by Andy McDonough.

Weird and, sometimes, eerie rock formations can be formed, too, as the sand crystals join together. The giant mittens in Monument Valley in northern Arizona are one example of this. Wind and water can carve rocks into mesas, buttes, or spires. It was water that formed the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Tony Kuyper’s illustrations are engaging, while Nancy Bo Flood draws readers in with her poetic words. The two mesh together to form this very informative book, which may change your way of looking at sand and stone.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters .
Read more...
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
How elegant!
How elegant!
 
 
The National Endowments for the Humanities (NEH) asked for all participants in the M
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
Dedicated to my husband and best friend, David.
I will always love you.
You are an amazing man!
Thank you for fighting the fight to stay with me.
How could I live without you?

With all my love,

Donna
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
A Harris Hawk
A Harris Hawk
 
Vulture
Vulture
OWLS
All kinds of owls
OWLS
All kinds of owls
 
A little Barn Owl
So cute and cuddly
A little Barn Owl
So cute and cuddly
 
 
My Family Album
MORE LONG LOST COUSINS

I introduced my cousin Eddie and his wife, Tami, above. Linda, Melanie, and Lisa are three of Eddie's sisters. They are long, lost cousins, too. I re-met Linda and Melanie last summer (2006) when they visited in Erie. This summer Cousin Lisa joined the picnic my sister, Judy and her husband, Bob organized at their home. Michelle and her daughter made the trip, too. It was fun to take trips down memory lane -- trying to remember--yes trying to remember.

Kathy Spinelli (also above) is another Pavlik sister. The only missing sister is Diane in Florida. Hopefully, someday, I will re-meet her, too.


 Hi, I'm Linda. cousinlinda-  I'm Melanie.cousinmelanie  Call me, Lisa.cousinlisa

cousinmichelle









    I'm Michelle. Linda is my mom.
PAVLIKS -- one way or another.  cousinjessicaMy name is Jessica. Michelle is my mama and Linda is my grandma.
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
sm-monster2-255x251

I Need My Monster
Written by Amanda Noll
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Publisher: Flashlight Press
ISBN 9780979974625
Ages 4 to 8
                                     


 Review and Lessons Plans
                by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski


Every kid has had a monster under his bed at some time or another, or maybe it was a monster hiding in the closet or stuck in a drawer or trapped under the blankets. But it was there – somewhere – and it was scary. No doubt!

Monsters aren’t real – or are they? In the mind of a small child, monsters can be very real. I remember a long, white, flowing monster in my bedroom when I was about eight. It didn’t help that I lived across the street from a funeral home. I thought a ghost escaped. But it was only my curtains flapping in the night breeze. My mother tried to reassure me. My father said that monsters weren’t real.  But I knew ... it was a monster.

Ethan had a monster too – a long-clawed, ragged-breathing monster that oozed green slime. His monster was perfect. Ethan and his monster lived in harmony, until one day his monster went fishing leaving Ethan all alone. How was Ethan to live without his monster? How was he going to sleep? Ethan did what he had to do. He searched for another monster.

Ethan found monsters with names like Herbert and Ralph. He found a blue monster with a purple tongue. He found monsters with nail polish and pink bows. He even found a yellow-spotted, girl monster. But none of these monsters were Ethan’s monster. He needed his monster! The rest simply were not scary enough.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters.
Read more...
 
My Family Album
Relaxing on the Deck
Relaxing on the Deck
 
 
Hank Figurski
Father-in-Law
Hank Figurski
Father-in-Law
 
I have known Hank almost as long as I have known my husband, David. I joined the Figurski family a very long time ago. He's a cool father-in-law. I'm lucky he's in my life. AND . . . he's a good dancer, too.
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
SPANISH LANGUAGE CLASS
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
NOTES from FAMILY and FRIENDS and all OUR SUPPORTERS
Without all of the support from family and friends, I don't know how David and I would endure this.
Your calls, emails, and genuine concern help to carry us through. 
THANK YOU ALL!
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Meet Giraffe!
Meet Giraffe!
 
Nice Little Kitty!
Nice Little Kitty!
 
How do you like my
How do you like my
Serbian Tiger?
Parrots and Toucans 
Too Cute!
Parrots and Toucans
Too Cute!
 
How Tall Am I!
How Tall Am I!
My Sister, Kaya, 
on a Serbian Tiger
My Sister, Kaya,
on a Zebra
 
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
booksstanley2033_cv2


Stanley’s Beauty Contest
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin

Publisher: Kids Can Press
ISBN-10: 978-1554533183
Ages: 4 to 8



Review and Lessons Plans
                   by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

There’s the Miss America contest and the Miss World contest. There’s even a Mr. Universe contest for all those bodybuilding men out there. There are beauty competitions for children, too, but did you know that there are beauty contests for dogs?  Well, actually there are. In fact, Porterhouse recently won the title in the bulldog contest. The judges weren’t looking for the most beautiful dog. No! They were looking for the dog that drooled the most or had the biggest bowed legs or the most bloodshot eyes. Now that’s something to aspire to! I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are also beauty contests for Chihuahuas . . . dogs with names like CoCo or Kiki or Pepito who, adorned in ribbons and bows, strut down the platform to the delight of their owners. Seems like wearing a pink tutu might be a little embarrassing . . . even for a dog.

In Stanley’s Beauty Contest, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin, Stanley is just an ordinary dog -- a mutt really. But to his owners, he’s special. When Stanley’s people entered him in a beauty contest, Stanley was out of his element. No amount of bubbles or baths or banana shampoo could transform this dog into a beauty queen.

Stanley didn’t place in the other contests either. It’s not because he didn’t try . . . he did. But Stanley was not fast enough. His best tricks weren’t good enough and his puffed-up fur and best doggy grin simply couldn’t win him the prize. But, how could he resist the delicious smell of the dog-bone cookies wafting through the air? He only wanted a nibble. So what was Stanley to do?

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters.
Read more...
 
My Family Album
THE TOM & KATHY FIGURSKI FAMILY
In Order of Appearance
Eric, Kathy, Matt, Caitlin, Tom
THE TOM & KATHY FIGURSKI FAMILY
In Order of Appearance
Eric, Kathy, Matt, Caitlin, Tom
 
Tom and Kathy are not only family, they are friends. Tom is four years younger than David . . . his brother, my husband. The funny part was that everyone always mixed them up when they were younger. Even Tom's, new bride, Kathy thought David was her new husband, Tom, when at her wedding, she came upon David alone in the reception hallway and said, "Kissy! Kissy! Kissy!" You should have seen Kathy's face when David turned around and said, " Well, let me check with Donna first." That has been a family joke ever since.

 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
 
Our Class is a Very, Very, Very, Fine SPANISH Class!
Our Class is a Very, Very, Fine SPANISH Class!

Armando, Angie, laura, Patricia H. Ann B.
Martha, Maryh A., Donna (me)


Ann B., Martha, Laura, Patricia, O, Armando
Ann B., Martha, Laura, Patricia, O, Armando
Dawn, Donna (me), Mary A., Angie
(Photographer, Marilyn)

Hear No Evil! Say No Evil! See No Evil!
(Okay, so I'm peeking.)



Sol, Armando
Sol, Armando
Ann B., Mary A., Donna (me), Patricia H.
Laura, Dawn

Sometimes our class HAD to go shopping!


Patricia H., Donna (me), Dawn
Patricia H., Donna (me), Dawn

The Scavengers
in the Z?calo
 
SPANISH LANGUAGE CLASS

My Spanish language class was so cool. I've taken a lot of Spanish language classes in my time. I even majored in it in high school and in college, (proves my dedication to the language) but the class offered at the Espa
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
HELP!!!!!!
HELP!!!!!!
It's an elephant!
It's a tiger!
It's a Siberian Tiger!
Is that MY Siberian Tiger?
 
A man - his dog -
A man
his dog
a
wondering
little
girl
Oh the thoughts you can think!
The thoughts you can can share!
 
Treska here at the Erie Zoo
Treska here at the Erie Zoo
with Channel ZERO-24 News.
Behind me you can see
my friend, the polar bear.
Did you know that polar bears
live on the shores of the
ARCTIC OCEAN?
Maybe this one is a wee bit confused.
The Erie Zoo is on the shores of
Lake Erie.
Hmmmm!
This critter is so gentle.
 
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
December 2006   Update.

David’s comment, “SO THERE!” tells it all. He will not give up. He will battle this. His persistence is doing him well. It’s slowly doing him well, but at least we are recording improvement. David went back to work full-time in September . . . on a trial basis - his neurologist agreed. Going to lab each day is proving to be the best therapy of all for David. Remember, I said that although David’s cognitive brain is unaltered, his physical disabilities continue to challenge him. He is still not able to move around in the outside world unassisted.

Each day after David returns from Columbia, he spends time on his computer working on lab-related jobs while practicing his keyboarding skills, and another two hours are spent doing therapy exercises. We hope that all of these activities coupled with time will eventually make David better. It takes months to realize even the smallest changes and we measure the change by looking backwards.

David’s posture has become more erect and his shoulders have evened out. He’s not quite so lopsided - well, except for his crooked little grin – that still is, but there is improvement there, too. His continues to make progress with his balance and walking. There has been some improvement in his vision since his eye surgery in May, but unfortunately, the miracle I/we had hoped for did not happen. So we must wait longer for his eyes to repair themselves and hope that they will. David’s neuro-ophthalmologist was so excited on our last visit when David quickly passed the depth perception test, which he was unable to do only three months prior and that gave us our carrot of   hope. The ataxia in his right hand is becoming more controlled as David forces that hand to work. He still isn’t ready to pick up a glass with that hand, but he is getting pretty good at opening doors.

So, all in all, there is progress, though it is progressing at a snail’s pace. And, so we celebrate every step along the way, no matter how small. Since September, David and his students have written an NIH grant and have published two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology. No easy feat! But on December 1st there was a milestone to celebrate. David graduated his seventeenth student from his lab. Brenda Perez, who has been a graduate student in David’s lab for about six years, completed her thesis work. She defended her thesis and received her Ph.D. Brenda continued her work while David was in the hospital. She and David’s other graduate students and postdocs visited him in the hospital to discuss their work with him. After he was released, these lab meetings took place at our home with David trapped on the couch. This makes Brenda’s Ph.D. accomplishment so much sweeter. 

brendathesisseminarposterd
 
brendatadgradposterdec2006

 
 The BEFORE poster!
Still a wee bit nervous.
The AFTER poster.
Conquering the World. 

davidandbrendaperezthesis20
 
CONGRATULATIONS, Brenda!  
CONGRATULATIONS, David!  
 
           
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
517oxasinwl._sl500_aa240_





The Day Leo Said I Hate You!
Written by Robie Harris
Illustrated by Molly Bang

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316065803
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

As a kid I hated when my mom said, “NO!” “Can I go outside to play?” I’d ask. “No!” she’d reply. “Can I stay up to watch King Kong on the late night movie?” Again, “No!” she’d answer.  “Can I have ice cream? Please! Please! Please!”  “No! No! No!” That was always her answer. Why did she always have to say, “NO?”

I remember thinking when I grow up and have a little girl or a little boy, I will never, ever, ever tell them, “NO!” Well, I did have a girl and a boy, too, and . . . it didn’t take long to break that promise. When my daughter wanted to invite every one of her twenty-four classmates to her birthday celebration, I had to say, “NO! Didn’t I?” And when my son wanted to keep the stray field mouse he found, in a five-gallon fish aquarium on the kitchen counter. I had to say, “No!” again. (To tell the truth, though, I did let him keep it for about a week before we transferred it to the other side of the reservoir.) I knew my kids hated when I said, “No!” But what’s a mother to do?

It’s no wonder Leo’s mom said, “No!” She didn’t want him to feed string beans to the goldfish or squeeze toothpaste down the toilet or draw on his bedroom wall. What mom would? She had to say, “NO!” And, of course, I’m not surprised that that made Leo mad. That’s the way kids are.

The Day Leo Said, I HATE YOU! by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang rings true for both kids and their parents . . . who, by the way, were once kids, too. I’m sure memory lane will open, as parents read this book to their children and remember some of their silly requests, which were, of course, denied by their parents.

My little girl has children of her own and now she says, “No!” And I bet that when her daughters have their children, they will, too. It’s a never-ending cycle.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
Read more...
 
My Family Album
Caitlin
my 
Niece & Godchild
Caitlin
my
Niece & Godchild
 
Eric
my 
Nephew
Eric
my
Nephew
 
Matt
my 
Nephew
Matt
my
Nephew
 
Now Tom and Kath have three children, who are all getting pretty old by now. Caitlin just graduated from college and is working on her Masters in Sociology. Matt just began his first year of college. Eric is not far behind. Although they all live in Michigan, which seems like a world away, we are very close in heart.
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
NIGHT CLUBBING in PUEBLA
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Color the World
One Animal at a Time.
Color the World
One Animal at a Time.
 
It's a children's ADVENTURE
It's a children's ADVENTURE
 
 
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
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