Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sunday Edition

Outside my window... it is a beautiful January morning!! Sun is shining, wispy clouds in the distance and the high should be 77 AGAIN! Yep, it's typical January weather. You know, the days that really make living in Arizona fantastic. It makes up for the summer and as we say, "you can't shovel sunshine!"

I am listening to .... the office clock and the silence. It's peaceful this Sunday morning as the neighborhood awakens. It took me years to appreciate silence. I am glad that we have become friends. I think it takes a modicum of peace within oneself and a confidence to appreciate the silence (the non-cluttering noises.)

Favorite things from this week ... The Invention Convention in class! 33 wacky and wild inventions hand-crafted from a bag of junk and with the specific purpose to alleviate fears!! Hmm. It was a risk worth taking with my students and they really blew me away!! It was fantastic. We invited neighboring 4th grade and 5th grade classes and presented a SmartBoard presentation with it. It was a crowded classroom - 90+ kids but it was all worth it!

for those who are worried about the Safe Play for their siblings

for those who are afraid of the sun

for those who are afraid of Vampires

for those who are afraid of spiders

I also had a blast at "Girl's Night" where we all went to One for the Money (Stephanie Plum - fun! We even ate 'Tasty Cakes' while watching, in true Stephanie Plum-fashion) followed by dinner and still more frivolities at Buca de Beppo ( yum - fun!)

I am thinking ... I need a mental-health day AND a car like this....

L.O.V.E. the license plate AND the hubcaps!

I am grateful for ... a random phone call from # 1 son, a random text from # 3 son, a drive-by afternoon visit from favorite daughter, a cleaning morning with #4 grandkiddo, diet Dr. Pepper, library books, jackets, and custodians who find lost favorite earrings on the floor in messy classrooms!!

I am reading ... My Side of the Mountain with my Walk2Read kids, two Rafe Esquith books (for teaching motivation), One for the Money (to compare and contrast), To Have and to Hold (for kicks), Focus (for work), and Midnight for Charlie Bone (for Literature Circles) ....yep, all at the same time!

I am listing ...
1. work "to-do" lists
A. Social Studies (it is Arizona's 100th birthday in 2 weeks!)
B. Science
C. math
D. writing
E. walk2math ideas
F. word derivatives for walk2read kids
G. MORE...

2. new living room ideas
3. upcoming trek dates, supplies and reasons
why I "should" do it (but I DONT want to)
4. Valentine ideas....
5. I think I need to make a list so I don't forget to follow the lists!

I am creating ... lesson plans, Powerpoint presentations, SmartBoard feels like the only 'creating' I do is for school. Last week I '
created' Genius Kit bags for the Invention Convention - it took ALL day to sort, label and bag up 33 kits of the same junk...but it was well worth it. Tuesday I cut 100's of straws for making triangles to sort by angles and lines, I created math games for Family Math Night, and that, ladies and gentlemen is the extent of my 'creating'! I don't really even create dinner anymore - I would rather 'create' dinner reservations!

Plans for the week ... Clean my classroom and desk (Houston, we have a problem!!!!!!), Hair appointment (yippee - I love an afternoon with Nikki), dinner with J & K, Saturday workshop and hopefully an author presentation (wahoo!)

And that, dear friends, is the Sunday Edition from my corner of the world! WHEW!

Monday, January 16, 2012

29 Years Young!!

Well, although it seems like it, I have not fallen off the face of the earth...
not quite yet anyway.
I spent the long weekend playing - in Las Vegas!
What a fun way to ring in a birthday.
We ate from one end of the strip to the next, went to see The Blue Man Group show and tried our hand at CSI Investigations. It was a blast.

Now I need another weekend ....

Love the Bellagio.....
After Sunday brunch we may appear just a LITTLE wider.
No. It's probably just the wide angle lens!
Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
It's only an illusion if you think I ate those chocolate eclairs....

The Bellagio Gardens were bedecked in Chinese New Year decor.

It will be the Year of the Dragon this Chinese New Year
and many of the fancy Casinos were celebrating.
I think this one wins for the most creative use of CHOCOLATE!!
Yep, every flower, petal, tree, scale, tooth and claw was pure chocolate.....
Oh my golly gosh!

They DO read in Las Vegas...even on the Strip.
What an interesting store for sincere collectors.
Can you spell, "cha-ching"??

My students would have loved this - a first edition, signed copy of
Matilda by Roald Dahl that sold for $4500.
It looks just like the old library copy I have in my classroom!!
(Okay, without the fancy signature and the clear plastic around it.)
I also loved the Beatrix Potter book.
I adored her books as a child and my own children were entranced as well.

My CSI - crime fighting companion!!
I love a man in uniform!!

How I love those mystery stories....
Here is the Crime Scene we got to research.
dry desert....old bones....fibers, seeds, hair....and a wedding ring still intact.
Hmmm.....I wonder who did it???

Gosh, How did Charlie's Angels get in here???
(I'm the short YOUNG one. Jenn's the gorgeous one who looks great in hats!)

The Venetian Italian Renaissance INSISTED on wishing me a Happy Day!!
Gosh, I wish I looked as good as these guys do in tights!

"Forever Young" with a 'Rod Stewart' in Vegas!!

Lest you think I was a total party-animal and not getting anything else done, please be aware that I have finished 2 book group books (Savvy and Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters) as well as attended Book Group and conducted a week of Parent-Teacher conferences!!

I also finished The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

A kick-butt character that frankly scared me with her edginess.
I enjoyed the book, don't get me wrong, but I always felt like it was with a wariness that I typically hold for people I am leery of.
Yes, leery.
Vanessa Michael Munroe scared me.
She was Mission Impossible, girl-style. She's Angelina Jolie-feminine and
Angelina Jolie-take-no-prisoners-tough.
The story was fast-paced; set in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, places I have little knowledge or experience with. I was caught up with the characters and the story in a few pages but I always felt a little off-balance. The plot was not only tight, it was taut. Yet sometimes so convoluted that I felt I needed a tour guide to keep places, directions and political/cultural ties straight!! All in all this book was a great introduction to a character I would pay to defend me but not invite to lunch.
I saw that book #2 is out and #3 is on it's way. Do I smell movie rights???
Angelina, dust off your action-boots!
( Disclaimer: The language and violence may be more than a few want to deal with, but it all felt appropriate for the plot and characters.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Random Sunday Thoughts

Outside my Windows..... "Fall" has come. Finally! While the leaves fall from the trees during October and November elsewhere, it takes til after Christmas for our tree to finally get with the program! It's a tree of GOLD!
( the golden leaves are all gone!)

Around the house...Santa brought me a chair! Not really. Over Christmas break I found this gorgeous gal on Craigslist and brought her home to become a part of our "in-progress" library. Step 1 - accomplished!

I am thinking..... That I need to remember how to set up all my equipment tomorrow at work. It is a whole new set up that we came back to after the Christmas break. To make sure that I don't forget how to plug everything in I took about 6 never know what I'm bound to forget. Just to make myself feel better I am sharing the EASY ones with you!

I am listening to...silence. After the NFL playoff game the silence is almost palpable. WOW!

Family Matters...Rich jumped out of a perfectly good airplane on Saturday. It was on his bucket list. (I don't think I even HAVE a bucket list. If I did it would NOT have jumping out of an airplane on it.) J and I worked on organizing her craft room/office. It was awesome. It was fun to see a project be completed from beginning to end. Now we have a great place to create when I visit.

What I am grateful! A tragedy occurred in our very safe neighborhood this week that shook a lot of us up. A planned home invasion took place about a half a block away and it resulted in the injury of one and the death of another. This was NOT a random occurrence and somehow that made us all feel better. I still ache for the family and those involved. So many are grieving, so many mistakes we can't take back. Today is also the year anniversary of the tragic shooting of Senator Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others in Tucson as well. My mind hearkens back to my feelings that day, when I called my Tucson-based kiddos, my mom and my brother...I checked where they all were and if they were safe. I am so grateful for safety.

Reading Report... I am currently caught up in a story...I am "in" Equatorial Guinea with Vanessa "Michael" Munroe from The Informationist by Tyler Stevens. Wow. If I'm ever in a 'MacGyver- kind- of- jam' I am inviting her along. On the other hand, I never want her mad at me! My library stack is awesome as well. Lots of books all came in on my reserve list. I am making it a priority to set aside report cards and grading every night so I can have more reading time. Here's what I got this week:

Tennyson by Lesley MM Blume
Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams
Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
To Have or To Hold by Josi Kilpack
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Madensky Square by Eva Ibbotson
Arizona; 100 Years Grand by Lisa Schnebly Heidinger

All of these books are either Book Group reads or they are from lists of recommendations I spotted in my tour of the blogosphere. (Thanks to Shannon Hale for a list of books that will hopefully entice some of my students and me at the same time!! I will be in a Young Adult/Middle grade reading phase for a few weeks I think.) I also stumbled onto a few 25 cent books on the Library Cart - yeah for a Jenn McKinley mystery with my name on it!!


What I learned this week...advice to "Look up". Spiritually and physically. I wish I would have remembered it yesterday! I was putting the Christmas stuff away when I walked right into the low hanging ceiling of my downstairs closet and smashed my nose!! Can you spell ouch?!?! My nose is about 3 times as wide as usual and every part of my face hurts. There's a pretty girl. I will do my best to remember such good advice in the future.
"Now remember, it's better to look up!"
(Thomas S. Monson)

Favorite things of the games...overtime (there's something so cool about a game that is so well played that it keeps on going!) sodas for pins....a short school week....emails from new blogging friends....laughing...Bananagrams....great work colleagues....texting....dates with my sweetie....Mexican food...the list goes on....

Hope to accomplish this week....Parent teacher Conferences. Laundry. Planning. Packing. Yes, boys and girls, we leave for my Birthday-Bash in Las Vegas on Saturday morning!! Wahoo!! What books shall I take?!?! (Grins ;))