So You Want to be a Writer
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
Wow! I was just reading your last email thinking of you both...and up popped your message. What a great picture, Donna!! I miss you, too. I wore my frogs yesterday with a big smile. Hope all is well. Love you always,

Terryn D. (David and Donna's friend and occupational therapist from Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, California)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna, you poor kid…but yet, you’re one STRONG SURVIVOR & so is David…..you’ve been through hell…of course, you MUST use that & write about it….it will help others. Just went through your web site…What a job you do on it…AMAZING!!!

How old are your kids now??? AND ARE YOU TEACHING & HAVE AN AID FOR DAVID…or are YOU working with him all day & have given up teaching????????????

Keep up the incredibly good work & spirit…you are to be admired….you are a role model…therefore but for the grace of God go we all…down the same path…for ourselves or our loved ones…keep writing…& your pictures are terrific..you look GREAT!!!

CHRONICLE picked up one of my books, WHEN LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAUGHT ME SCAT…they just signed an artist…& my biog. of him is going the rounds… & just finished another picture book about a witch who gets “broom sick”…
Good luck…love & hugs,

Muriel W. (Donna's writing friend)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Nice tribute, a great story, let's hope it continues to get better.

Saul S. (David's colleague and friend from Columbia University)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna,

I admire your efforts! All the best to you and David.

Saleem Khan (David's colleague and friend from University of Pittsburgh)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dear Donna:

I read the story on your website. Great writing, and very compelling. Your cheerful manner whenever we visit belies the great hardships that you continue to work through. May the situation continue improving, no matter how slowly!

Best regards,
David B. (David's former graduate student -- now an Associate Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna and Dave:

I read through the entire TBI section of your web site. Thanks for the narrative. I'm sure it only scratches the surface of what you've been going through, but I appreciate the glimpse.

Donna, I also read some of the comments from your students. You're obviously having quite a lasting and very positive impact on a lot of people.

Dan K. (David's friend from graduate school)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dearest Donna,

I have always thought you could do anything and now I know I'm right. Your labor of love for your husband has moved me. I believe things happen, even as traumatic as your nightmare, for a reason. It's usually not evident right off why but I feel you and David will produce as much or more good as a result of the bad you've had to endure. Amazing courage is shown by both of you. The fact is you're a team with a hard and rewarding road ahead. You are both in my daily most positive thoughts and prayers. Peace,

sÜe (Donna's writing friend and her co-host of the Children's Writers Workshop on AOL))

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Just wanted to tell you how touched I was by what you wrote. It's hard for me to know whether I feel that way because of my sentiments for Dave or because of the way you put the whole story together. The combination of the photo's and the story make everything come to life. Anyway thanks for forwarding that to me. I was so happy to see you and Dave at Scott's place last week. I think that Dave is continuing to make progress and with his will power who knows where he will be in 6 more months. Donna i also just realized that you sent me an e-mail about Dave's teaching award . . . So thanks for that email, as well.

Dan F. (David's colleague and friend from UMDNJ)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna and Dave,

The TBI website tells an incredible tale. David provided motivation and high standards throughout my graduate career; the two of you continue to do so.

Val T. (David's former graduate student - now an Assistant Professor at Bard College)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna and David,

Hi, I am so moved, from what I just read, it's hard to say what I feel. It seems that so many of our lives, in this family, have been so adversely affected in the past 2 1/2 years and I don't know why. I DO know, after getting together with you both last month, what you are going through and I know it's hard. I have the utmost respect for the both of you for staying "one" in such a hard time. Sometimes, it seems so easy to quit, but let me assure you, the next path you go down is not as easy, as one may think. I wish I knew why life turns out the way it does and not the way one expects. Please give each other a HUG from me.
I Love You Both,

Mark (Donna's brother)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna,

I just finished reading your TBI page. It is a wonderfully detailed account of before, after and the present. David is amazing and so are you. I hope you are finding a little time for yourself this summer...as my mother used to say "You can't run a car on empty"....take care of yourself!

Love,
Judy T. (Donna's wonderful friend)

NOTE:
I met Judy at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after her husband, Steve, was admitted for a brain trauma, too - just two weeks after David. Then Judy and Steve came to Kessler, where we firmed up our friendship. Judy is probably the ONLY one who even comes close to knowing what I am going through, since she is going through the very same thing with her best friend, too. I'm holding her hand. She's holding mine.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna,

I knew when I didn't hear back from you months ago that you had to be under the most incredible duress. Oh honey. I am so proud of all you are doing to help heal David. Muriel called me tonight and told me about your site. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I cried and yet, in your Donna way, you made me laugh.

YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU CAN BOTH DO THIS.

Miss you much. All my love to you and please know I am keeping you in my heart. We WILL Kindle again one day. {} Together. {}

Pamela Ross (Donna's writing friend)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hello there Donna,

I read " A Livning Nightmare" last night and began crying. I started emailing you back and accidently deleted it-blurry vision I think. You and David are my hero's. Always have been , always will be. Thank you for sharing your experiences and love for him. Your words touch me deeply.

As for the pictures....hee hee hee. They brought back such great memories. I loved them!!! You words were too kind. I had so much fun!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

It was so funny to get your email at the very same time I was thinking of you and reading your last communication. I keep looking for Jared but I never see him. He is so wonderful. Please give him my number: . . . .

I'm still trying to figure out how to come and visit...one of these days...look out:)

Donna, I miss you and think of you and David in the quiet evenings and early mornings. My heart is with you. Take care.

Love,
Terryn D. (David and Donna's friend and occupational therapist from Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, California)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna,

Thanks for the updates. I can see the loving relatiuonship that you and David share and it sounds as though progress is being made. You are so optimistic about the whole ordeal!!

Regards,
Anne Mueller (Director of the Oregon International Council Seminar for Spanish Teachers)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna-

I had no idea about David's injury. I'm so sorry to hear about the struggles--I can't imagine how hard, scary, and frustrating this has been for you both. Thank you for posting the story--you write with such honesty, inspiration, and hope. You and David seem to be handling this with such grace--how inspiring. I miss our time in Puebla, too, and think of that summer so often. Much peace to you and David. You both will remain in my close thoughts.

Best-
Carmen Brock (Fellow Spanish Teacher who was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to study with the Oregon International Council (OIC) in Puebla, Mexico.)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna,

This is riveting. Man, Donna, that is so moving. Did you publish this elsewhere, too? It reads like something out of Reader's Digest or one of those ladies' magazines with the "How We Survived" kinds of stories. I think it would be a wonderful book.

Roxyanne Young (Editor of SmartWriters Journal at SmartWriters.com)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi, Donna,

Thanks for sending this. It's a great piece and I'm glad to have the update and know you're both on the recovery road, though it's a long one.

I also enjoyed seeing photos of your kids and granddaughters. Gorgeous, all of them!

Much Love,
Marilyn Singer (Donna's writing friend)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna,

I just finished reading about David. I was amazed and touched by your story. You've got to make a book out of it. It will help and inspire so many other people going through the same or similar situations.

I loved the pictures. I hadn't realized I hadn't ever seen any pictures of David before. You two really have a very special connection. It's very obvious in your story and also, I think, a very rare relationship. You're really lucky to have each other.

I know David will continue to improve. I hope you reach the end of your tunnel very soon. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Gayle Williams (Donna's writing friend)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Donna and David,

Your journey--one courageous step at a time--inspires others to find their way to the light. I am honored by your friendship.

Blessings to both of you,
Nancy McDonough (very dear friend - Nancy was my mentor teacher while I was doing my student teaching. We've been friends for a LOT of years.)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dear Donna,

I just visited your website and caught up on your recent challenges. Bravo to you and your family for your approach and sense of humor and your appreciation for the important things. What an admirable lesson for us all.

My very best,
Pam Munoz Ryan (Donna's writing friend and author of one of her favorite books, Esperanza Rising)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

DONNA!

My god here is a huge hug and a tear for both of you. I have missed you both so much and I am overwhelmed by this news. I went to your site and am all caught up with what is happening. My thoughts are with you.

Love,
Suzanne Shelden (Donna's writing friend)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna,

I just read the "nightmare" update and looked at the pictures. An amazing piece - you are courageous to open up like that and give a bigger glimpse of what you and Dave are going through. He is lucky to have you and his great family. The people that surround someone with a TBI make all the difference. I think one of the things that struck me most was the picture of Dave in his running suit at Christmas before the stroke - being active with his big smile. But it seems the spirit from which that activity and energy come from are carrying him through some major obstacles now. I wrote Dave an email the other day, but please give him my best again.

Jim Wilson (David's former graduate student - now an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna,

My prayers are with you and your family as you maneuver through this
obstacle course of life.
Thanks for sharing your story and inspiration via your website. I've thought
of you a million times since our days in Mexico. You are one strong and
vibrant woman and I wish you peace always.

Love to you and yours. Hang in there!!! Keep smiling!
Jennifer Peppe (Fellow Spanish Teacher who was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to study with the Oregon International Council (OIC) in Puebla, Mexico.)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dear Donna,

I was so glad to see your email in my in box and so moved by your account of what you and David have been through. Thank you for sharing this most difficult of experiences in a way that is instructive to all who read it. Your love and determination are simply wonderful. What a pair the two of you are! I'm proud to know you.

You are amazing! Truly a woman of heart. Your website brims with love. Thank you for the gift of it.

I am honored to be your friend, Donna. All the best to you.

Love,
Sarah Lamstein (Donna's writing friend -- author of I Like Your Buttons and Annie's Shabbat)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hello Figurskis,

Just received the note from Bob Freschi and wanted to write you all to check in and say hello. I will write Dave on his e-mail to "catch-up" since our Phi Kap days at PITT.

Godspeed to you all,

John & Linda Lednak (David's Phi Kappa Theta fraternity brother and wife)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brother Dave,

I hope you remember me. I pledged Phi Kappa Theta in my second semester freshman year, as you were a graduating senior. We didn't know each other long, but it was a small house and we knew each other well. That was almost 40 years ago, but my college days seem like yesterday to me. We local Pittsburgh Phi Kaps still get together regularly for lunch, and sit together at Pitt Football games. We tailgate together and pass around the old photo composites, and still embellish stories of our college days way beyond the truth. My prayers are with you and Donna for your full recovery. If anyone can do it, you can. Get well so you can join us at a Pitt game soon.

Fraternally,

Rick Moses (David's Phi Kappa Theta fraternity brother)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Congratulations on your ongoing success and courage as the "comeback kid". I wish you well. Enjoy every minute of everyday with your family, friends and colleagues.You two are a great team!

Fraternally yours,
John F. Shega, MD (David's Phi Kappa Theta fraternity brother)
Phi Kap '74

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi Donna and David,

It's always good to hear from you. I'm glad you are writing about this experience,Donna. I'm sure it helps to get out some of your frustrations. Great job on the web site. Congrats to David on his speech and getting back to work a little.

Please stay in touch. It's always good to know David is progressing.Donna, hang in there. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you two.Writing may be your salvation. Always know we care and are praying for both of you. Continued good luck.

Love you both,

Joyce (David's cousin and a member of our wedding oh so long ago)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dear Donna and Dave,

I am a fraternity brother of Dave's. A fellow "pledge-mate" just sent me a link to your site. . . . When I saw the mention of Dave's trip to Santa Cruz and then a picture of Domincan Hospital ... well, it became a smaller world.

It is good news to learn that Dave's cognitive mind is intact. As for
strength, patience, and persistent, you must certainly match his. We send our support.

Michael Bashista (David's Phi Kappa Theta fraternity brother)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

David,

I have followed your journey through Donna's emails, and am so happy for you
that you are doing so well. Three years ago, no one could have predicted how
far you'd come, and the day you went back to work you had everyone in a
state of suspended belief.  You must have worked extraordinarily hard to get
there, and to continue along this rewarding path.

I hope the rest of the journey finds you healthy, happy, productive and
as forward-looking as ever.

Barbara (Seuling) 
(Donna's colleague in children's books)
(Donna's writing friend and author of How To Write a Children's Book and Get It Published and Whose House . . . and lots more.)
1/14/08




 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life

PIEROGHI-MAKING TIME with GREAT NANA

 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
65808




Smelly Stink Bugs
Written by Meish Goldish

Publisher: Bearport Publishing Company
ISBN-13: 9781597165808
Ages: 5 - 9


Review and lesson plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!  They are just about everywhere. There’s one crawling up my arm. Another just flew by my nose. Some bite. Some sting. Some pinch. Some look downright disgusting. Of course, to be fair, I am not looking at it from a fellow bug’s perspective. One bug may look beautiful to another bug. And . . . some even look beautiful to me.

The delicateness of a praying mantis is exquisite. The colorful, patterned wings on a butterfly look dainty. Ladybugs look like they are ready for a ball dressed in their red, black, or orange shiny, spotted gowns. And the firefly, the light of the night, is enchanting. It’s probably my favorite. I remember trying to count fireflies, as they flickered in the hot summer evenings, when I was just nine. There were tons of them in Erie, Pennsylvania where I grew up. Oh the magic!

They are more than a million species of bugs in the world. Now that is a lot of bugs! Some scientists even think there are a lot more. Take the smelly stink bug for example . . . can you believe there are more than 4,000 kinds of stink bugs? And . . . they all smell bad. But, there’s a very good reason for it. Their bad smell keeps them safe. They not only smell bad, but they taste bad too. Predators stay away from stink bugs.

Meish Goldish, author of Smelly Stink Bugs, shares all kinds of interesting facts about stink bugs with his readers. Did you know that stink bug moms can have five hundred babies at one time? Did you know they use their long beaks to eat? They suck juice from fruits or dead bugs. Yum! I mean . . . Yuck! I think it’s really strange though that stink bugs have no noses. I wonder if that is so they don’t have to smell themselves. Meish signed my book, “Stink bugs stink, but good books . . . don’t!”  So, go ahead. Pick up Smelly Stink Bugs . . . the book, I mean.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
Read more...
 
My Family Album
Pat & Patrice
Pat & Patrice
 
That's Pat and Patrice
with their 
Three Sons
Stefan, Keaton, Ryan
Patrice, Pat
That's Pat and Patrice
with their
Three Sons
Stefan, Keaton, Ryan
Patrice, Pat
 
Pat is David's youngest brother and Patrice is his wife. It's great having them as friends, too. They have three boys but they only had to go through pregnancy twice to get them. Stefan and Ryan are twins and they are getting up there in their high school years. Keaton is the youngest son. They all live in Detroit. Wonder what Detroit has that keeps drawing the Figurskis to it.
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
OAXACA -- Pronounced WaHaKa
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Making PIEROGHIS with Great-Nana is so much fun.
Making PIEROGHIS with Great-Nana is so much fun.
We mix the dough. Roll it out. Fill with cabbage, lekvar,
(that's prune jelly) cottage cheese, or apricot jelly.
Next pinch the edges together and set on a dry cloth.
Then boil the pieroghis, fry in some butter and eat!
YUM!!!!
That's my sister, Kaya, and my Grand-Aunt Judy with me.
 
Roll, roll, roll the dough!
Roll, roll, roll the dough!
Shake that rolling pin.
Shake that rolling pin.
 
Look at these pieroghis.
Look at these pieroghis.
Don't they look great?
Treska with her Great Nana
Treska with her Great Nana
and her sister, Kaya.
Relaxing after a great meal.
 
 
*NEW* TBI Traumatic Brain Injury - A Living Nightmare
   
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
little-by-little-






Little by Little
Written by Amber Stewart
Illustrated by  Layn Marlow

Publisher: Orchard Books
ISBN-10: 0545061636
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and lesson plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

Did you ever want to get something done quickly?

Little by little by little . . . that’s how to accomplish something BIG. Well, that’s a reasonable way to think about it. Of course, I am always too impatient. I want results . . . yesterday. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I want to be fluent in Spanish. I bought the books and listened to the tapes. I practiced for a week or two, so why can’t I understand my neighborhood grocer? I remember when I was about eight years old; my parents gave me a beautiful, blue two-wheeler bike. I also remember my skinned knees, my tears, and wishing I could ride like my best friend. She never got scraped knees. Why does everything take so long to get? Why is it so hard to accomplish? I guess the key is patience and persistence and a lot of hard work . . . one step at a time, or in Otto’s case . . . one stroke at a time.

Otto wanted to swim. That’s what otters do. All his friends were swimming. They were having fun. It looked easy . . . but not for Otto. He tried. He really did! He even pretended to swim by running quickly on the riverbed floor. His mother told him not to worry, he would learn. His sister encouraged him, too. But when his sister told him to start small, that’s when big things happened. Otto hopped. He kicked. He floated. He practiced and practiced and practiced and to his surprise he was able to swim from riverbed to riverbed. Soon Otto was jumping off the highest-ever rock into the deepest-ever pool just like his friends. Hmmm, maybe I need to take a lesson from Otto. I better hit the Spanish books again and take it one chapter at a time. And little by little, with patience and persistence, I just may be able to talk to the grocer on the corner.


This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
Read more...
 
My Family Album
Stefan
Stefan
 
Keaton
Keaton
 
Ryan
Ryan
 
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
Beautiful People!
Women in full dress costume, beautiful flowing and swirling dresses --
reds and blues, pinks, greens, and yellows . . .
Swirling and a-Twirling and Balancing, too
. . . danced and twirled with large baskets of
flowers balanced on their heads.
 
Pretty Smile!
They looked like fairy princesses and
I wanted to be one of them.
Large puppets strolled down the street
with little children following behind.
Even a granny joined the parade
 
Miguel -- taking a break from selling.
My friendly vendor, Miguel, taking a break
from . . . vending - of course.
Oaxaca Restaurant/Cafes
The z?calo was edged with restaurants. On its
perimeter were both indoor and outdoor cafe-style
seating. Karina and I searched for the perfect
restaurant, reading every menu, sometimes twice.
 
OAXACA (pronounced WaHaKa)
The "A"s sound like someone cooing over a newborn baby.

Every weekend we visited another part of Mexico to study its culture. The first weekend we boarded our bus and traveled three hours southeast to the city of Oaxaca. It was a delightful and colorful city. It was much quieter than Puebla, probably because it was smaller and there were fewer cars and taxis. On our first night, Karina (my roommate) and I roamed the streets near the z
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life

CHINATOWN REVISITED

 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
rosie-&-buttercup-1



Rosie and Buttercup
Written by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Publisher: Kids Can Press
ISBN-10: 1553379977
Ages: 3 to 7


Review and lesson plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski


It’s as old as time. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you . . . unless, of course, you are an only child. Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head in almost all families. Oh, Rosie, no doubt, loved her little sister, Buttercup. She couldn’t wait for her to be born. She couldn’t wait to have her as a playmate. She wrote songs for her and played the silly sock game with her. But, as Buttercup grew older, Rosie’s sisterly loved waned. She grew tired of Buttercup’s demands, her noise, her “stuff” strewn all over the room. Sometimes Rosie just wanted to be alone. Rosie was furious when Buttercup almost freed Eenie and Meenie, Rosie’s prize crickets, from their cage. What was Buttercup thinking? So, it was no surprise when Rosie decided to give her little sister, Buttercup away. Wouldn’t you?

But Rosie didn’t expect a funny squeezy feeling to fill her chest as she left Buttercup with Oxford, the babysitter, who lived down the street. And that squeezy feeling just wouldn’t go away . . . no matter how hard Rosie tried to squeeze it out. Rosie didn’t expect to miss Buttercup, but she did! The talcum powder scent reminded her of her pesky little sister. So did the silly socks hanging out of the dresser drawer. Rosie knew what she had to do. She filled her pillowcase with her sun-dried dandelion puffs and set Eeenie and Meenie’s cage on top of Buttercup’s stroller and trudged off to Oxford’s house. She had to get Buttercup back even if it meant giving away her favorite things in the entire world. Rosie hoped that her treasures would be a good trade for her little sister.

Well, I never gave my sisters away, nor my brothers for that matter, but I can relate to how Rosie felt. Little siblings can be pests sometimes. But, if you can wait . . . long enough for them to grow up, you may just have a friend for life . . . and you won’t have to give away your stash of sun-dried dandelion puffs.


This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters



Read more...
 
My Family Album
My
My "impish" Brother John
(aka Jackie)


Carol
Sometimes 
Known as Bertha
Carol
Sometimes
Known as Bertha
 
 
This is my younger brother, Jackie or Jack-o, as I often call him, but, I am the ONLY one who can get away with it anymore.

When Jackie was growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania (four years behind me) everyone called him Jackie, but when he turned eighteen, he decided to use his more formal and grown-up name, John. But, come on . . . look at that impish grin, does he look like he ever grew up? He still has the devil in his eyes and I promise you his sense of humor matches his grin.

Here's Carol . . . my sister-in-law . . . my warm weather sister-in-law. She lives in Phoenix and loves it there. Who can blame her? She used to live in the snow belt . . . Erie, Pennsylvania. That is one cold burg!

Carol and I love to go shopping together -- for nothing. It's just fun to walk and talk, and talk and walk. It's a "girl" thing. We also love to put the top down on her little white Miata and head out to nowhere. Driving in her Miata makes me miss mine. Mine was white, too. Really cool car!

Jackie and his wife, Carol, have become fun friends these past years. We call them our PPPals. That is our code for Puerto Penasco Pals. Once or twice a year we travel with them to Cholla Bay in Mexico, to sip Margaritas at happy hour on the deck of one of the local hotels; to walk on the beach marveling at the gorgeous sunsets; to pore over the silver jewelry so often that we've become fast friends with many of the vendors. Once, I found a frog ring. I tried to barter for it, but the vendor held steady on his price . . . a little too much for the ring, I'd say, but I bought it anyway. I think he knew I would. The glint in my eyes assured him it would be a sure sale. Speaking of "sale," one April for my husband, David's birthday, we all went para-sailing. Now that was a trip . . . literally!

 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
SANTA MARIA del TULE
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Dragon Land Bakery
Dragon Land Bakery
They had so many rolls and doughnuts.
They
ALL
looked
good.

Some were better than others.
 
These are Chinese ornaments with red tassles. They can be hung in your home or in you
These are Chinese ornaments with red tassles. They can be hung in your home or in your car.
People think that it brings good 'chi'. I think that means good luck or good health. Anyway I hope I get a LOT of good luck and good health by standing in front of them.
Some of the ornaments have boats on them or dragons. Some have lanterns and some have fish.
 
Look at these great purses.
I bought 15 of them for all 
of my friends back home.
Look at these great purses.
I bought 15 of them for all
of my friends back home.
I hope they like them. It took me a LONG
time to pick them out. I wanted a different
one for each of my friends.
 We had lunch at the Tasty Dumpling. 
Vegetable Dim Sum with lots of soy sauce. 
AN
We had lunch at the Tasty Dumpling.
Vegetable Dim Sum with lots of soy sauce.
AND
Hot Sesame Noodles
I never used chopsticks before.
That was really tricky -- especially
eating the noodles.
 
I couldn't resist hanging on the 
monkey bars at Columbus Park.
I couldn't resist hanging on the
monkey bars at Columbus Park.
 
We spent another day in Chinatown - a very interesting place. We rode the subway from 168th and Broadway and got off on Canal Street again. We popped into the first jewelry store. They had rings and earrings and necklaces and bracelets. I wanted them all!

Then we went to the Dragon Land Bakery. There were rows and rows of sweat treats. It was so hard to choose. I finally chose a cheese roll.

We poked around in just about every shop on Canal Street and on Mulberry Street and on Doyers Street and Mott Street. The shops were so colorful. They had hand-embroidered hand bags, and Chinese blouses and slippers in every color. They had hairclips and scarves. It was a delight for your eyes.

I wanted to bring my friends souvenirs from Chinatown. It was the perfect place to find something, but I wanted it to be something special. So, I searched and searched until I found perfect little purses. I had to find fifteen different ones for all the girls in my class.

That was HARD work, so we went to find some tasty dumplings at TASTY DUMPLING, of course. Eating those noodles was messy -- noodles dripping down my chin, vegetable dumplings falling off of my chop sticks. SPLAT splashing soy sauce!

Then it was off to the playyard to slip down the slide and hang from the monkey bars.




 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
seeing red 9781404839533





Seeing Red: The Planet Mars
Written by Nancy Loewen
Illustrated by Jeff Yesh

Publisher: Picture Window Books
ISBN: 978-1-4048-3953-3
Ages: 7-12


Seeing red, makes me think of strawberry licorice, a fire engine racing down the street, a ladybug, a plump, juicy tomato, and, of course, Mars. Mars the fourth planet from the sun is called the “red” planet.  And there’s a good reason for that. Its soil contains the reddish metal called iron. Mars can be seen in the night sky from Earth with the naked eye. It’s our neighbor.

Mar’s landscape is similar to that of Earth. It has rolling hills, canyons, and mountains. It has north and south poles and they are cold, really cold. But, then most of the planet, Mars, is cold. It is pretty far from the sun, you know. Its temperature can be as cold as minus eighty degrees. Brrr! I’m not packing my swimsuit for a vacation there anytime soon. And even if I did, it would be a pretty lonely time. Scientists believe there is no life on Mars—at least they haven’t found any yet. So, all those stories you might have heard about aliens or Martians . . . well don’t believe them.

But, you can believe the cold, hard facts that you read in Seeing Red The Planet Mars written by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Jeff Yesh. You can believe that Mars has many dust storms and that it is a very bright light in the night sky. You can believe that two moons, called Deimos and Phobos orbit Mars. You can believe that a Martian day is just thirty-seven minutes longer than an Earth day, but a Martian year is nearly twice as long as an Earth year. Go ahead believe!

And if you ever hear about Marslings or Earthtians . . . well, that’s a different story. Keep an open mind and ask any of Mrs. Figurski’s Kiddles.

This review can also be seen on: Smartwriters .

Read more...
 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
TULE TREE
TULE TREE - Arbol del Tule
 
TULE TREE

Arbol del Tule is Mexico's largest tree. It is more than 2,000 years old and has a circumference of 164 feet. They say that it would take 70 people, with arms out-stretched, to encircle the tree. It is located just outside of Oaxaca in the town of Santa Maria del Tule.
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life

MEET MY NEW FRIEND, MATTHEW

 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
41tyoc0cvel._aa240_





A Day With No Crayons
Written by Elizabeth Rusch,
Illustrated by Chad Cameron

Publisher: Rising Moon
ISBN: 0873589106
Ages: 4-8


What do wild watermelon, tropical rain forest, dandelion, and neon carrot have in common?

Think pink . . . and green and yellow and orange. Think colors! When I think of colors, I think of fruit and vegetables. I think of the hundreds of color strips in the paint store. I think of bundles of yarn balls nestled on craft store shelves. And . . . I think of crayons.

The thought of crayons hurtles me back to memories of being six again. I think of the little yellow box filled with eight crayon colors, standing so tall. I remember their warm, waxy smell, and the soft and shiny feel of those slender sticks of magic. And, when I tug at the edges of my mind, I can uncover the utter disbelief of a day with no crayons. Truly unbearable! So, it’s not hard to understand Liza’s despair when her mother takes away her bucket of crayons . . . all because she drew a beautiful mural on her bedroom wall. Imagine!

But, Liza was not thwarted for long. Color was the essence of her being, and she soon realized that her world was as colorful as her crayons.

As Liza wandered through her neighborhood, she discovered the hues of brilliant orange tiger lilies, deep purple blackberries, laser-yellow dandelions, jungle-green blades of grass. Somehow each color smears itself on her pant legs, making them a rainbow delight. Hmmm!

Liza also discovered that a muddy, brown stick and an old, red brick could color her world, too. She used gray-green pebbles to make an ocean and pink rhododendron petals to create a glowing sunset.

As Liza crawled into bed that night, she surrounded herself with even more color . . . outrageous orchid and magic maize pillows. Her pink and blue blanket on her purple bed, her red skis and striped scarf and black and white soccer ball all flooded Liza’s world with color. What a world of color Liza discovered the day her mother took her crayons away!

Look for a complete review of this book at SmartWriters .
Read more...
 
My Family Album
Meet my sister, Judy,  and her husband, Bob.
January 2009judy-&-bob-2009
 
My Family Album
 
John O'Donnell IV
One COOL Dude!
John O'Donnell IV
One COOL Dude!
 
Now here's one really cool dude! This is my nephew, John. Everyone always called him "Little John", in fact, they still do, but . . . there's nothing small about him. The greatest thing about John is the twinkle in his eyes and his great sense of humor. His sense of humor and his new found sense of determination is what is getting him through one of the most trying times of his life.

In December of 2004, at 24 years of age, John suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It almost took his life and literally took him back to zero. John had to learn to walk and talk all over again. One year later, he is making good progress, and though he still has a long road to travel to get back to good health again, I know he will make it. With his perserverence and positive attitude, someday this will be a fading memory. I am right behind you, John . . . cheering you all the way.

 
?OLE! Mexico ?OLE!
TO MARKET, TO MARKET in SANTA MARIA del TULE
 
*NEW* Treska Trivia - A Slice of Life
Life is good!
Except when it isn't.
It's good now!
 
This is my friend, Matthew.
This is my friend, Matthew.
 
Treska and Matt met at the pool
Treska and Matt met at the pool
only two days after she arrived.
They have been great friends ever since.
 
One of the fun things about going to new places is meeting new friends.
 
Teacher/Book Reviewer
farmer cap 9781404831391





Farmer Cap
Written by Jill Kalz
Illustrated by Sahin Erkocak

Publisher: Picture Window Books
ISBN: -13: 9781404831391
Ages: 5 to 7


Farmer Cap . . . to say he is a little strange, a little off-center, and a lot eccentric is being kind. He is like no farmer I have ever met. Of course, you can count on half a hand the number of farmers I know. But, I’ve read the Farmer in the Dell and he seemed kind of normal, except, of course, for letting the cheese stand alone, but that is a whole other issue.

Actually, Farmer Cap’s weirdness is what makes him stand out among farmers. It’s what makes him so funny and so interesting and so, so lovable. While other farmers plant corn and tomatoes, green beans and potatoes, or pumpkins and watermelon, Farmer Cap plants Popsicles and spaghetti. Now if he could only grow chocolate chip cookie-dough ice cream or malted-crunch chocolate bars . . . YUM!

What I love about Farmer Cap is not his green flip-flops or the funny feather poking out of his cap, his knobby knees, or his silly grin, but his innovative, curious, quirky mind . . . and his strength. I love his strength and his confidence--his belief in himself. When all his farmer friends looked on with skepticism and doubt, Farmer Cap stood his ground! He didn’t let his fellow farmers dissuade him. He didn’t let his fellow farmers discourage him or stand in his way. Farmer Cap had conviction! Farmer Cap reminds me of two other characters, named Suki and Monique, whose books are also reviewed in my column called, Teacher’s Pets. (See below) Farmer Cap also reminds me of a character named, Kanona Prattsby, (my book, not yet published) who with her gumption, strength, and determination changes a whole town to make it a brighter and more fun place to live. She and Farmer Cap would make a great couple. Put their minds together and who knows what to expect. They just could make the world a nicer place.

Farmer Cap, Suki, and Monique (and hopefully someday Kanona) are gifts to young readers. They shout be yourself. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to think for yourself. Be strong!

And so, hats off to you--I mean . . . Caps off to you, Farmer Cap! And if you ever feel like growing jelly beans or chocolate mint cookies or sour cream/onion potato chips or grape soda pop, or piping hot buttered popcorn, or . . . well, you get the message . . . call me!

Look for a complete review of this book at SmartWriters .


Read more...
 
My Family Album
 
My Brother, Mark
My Brother, Mark
 
MY BROTHER, MARK

Okay, so I have another younger brother. Actually, everyone in my family is younger than me, except my parents, who, of course, are not and never were younger than me. But, I guess that is no different than any other parent/child situation.

This is my brother, Mark. I call him Mark-o. See a pattern here? I call my other brother Jack-o. Don't even ask me why. I couldn't tell you -- not because I don't want to . . . I just really don't know.

He used to be this little twerp that would run around the golf course when we were little. He still does, but he's not a little twerp anymore. He's kind of a nice guy.
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 233 - 261 of 316
All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
No content may be copied or reproduced in any way without the express permission of the creator.
Clip Art courtesy of GraphicGarden.com

Powered by 2-Tier Software, Inc.