Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Salon

Outside my window... Calm, sunny skies with a dollop of clouds. Lovely and warm.....well you'd say that too if your feet were blocks of ice when you were camping this weekend. I vowed to NOT complain about the heat ever again (gosh, we'll see how long THAT lasts!)

I am listening to .... Pandora and the classics....mmmm

Favorite things from this week ...
  • dinner with the family at Ted's Hot Dogs. What is it about that place that is so darn yummy?!?! We sat around the table and laughed, ate yummy char-grilled New York dogs and shared photos and funny stories. J showed off her new ultrasound of a real little one with a cute nose and sucking fingers. WOW.( Their doc sealed the 'sex' up in an envelope and only curious eyes will open if they can't stand it! Wahoo!) 
  • Walking several nights with my best friend...when I fell once he was right there to grab me up. What a guy!
  • Sharing Fablehaven with my students. Learning about consequences! We've read articles about "Babies and TV", "The Big Oil Spill" and "Rebuilding Iraq." All about consequences and all started with discussion in Fablehaven!! Awesomeness. 
I am thinking ... about next year grade level assignments. Every year at this time the guessing begins!!

I am grateful for ... Graduation from ASU for one son. A Job for another DIL. Electricity. Beds. Indoor Plumbing. Library books.

I am reading ..  I finished Poison Flower by Thomas Perry and Readicide by Kelly Gallagher this week and I am more than half way through Reading in the Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs. Currently reading Breadcrumbs (a middle grade book) by Anne Ursu. What great writing. Next up is Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichel for book group in two weeks. The pile by my bed tempts me as well so I dip and dive into other books on occasion.

I am listing for the  upcoming Trek, house reno plans, budget ideas, school plans, calendar items....I need an administrative assistant. I told my daughter my needs and she asked what the benefits were. When I told her she would get flowers on Administrative Assistant's Day I know she was excited....NOT!

I am creating ... Lesson plans and sub plans.

Plans for the week ...Professional Development class Monday. Dinner guests on Tuesday. #4 son's birthday and college graduation. Field Trip with my 4th graders. AND a Podcasting class for school. It looks busy.....throw in grading and that should wrap the week up with a tight little bow!!

Whoa...It's probably Monday already.....I knew my days were busy. Gotta love it. Have a great week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Finally Finished...

I finally finished...

I didn't even realize that it was about the sinking of the Titanic when I stated it. 
I learned a lot. 
The story is about a young maid, Tess, who wants to be a dressmaker. Having heard about the Titanic's upcoming voyage to America, Tess takes this as a sign that better things are ahead. But first, Tess needs to figure out a way to get on the ship. She accidentally meets Lady Lucille Duff Gordon, a famous British fashion designer, who is traveling on the Titanic to New York. When she overhears a conversation about needing a maid, Tess approaches the designer with an offer to fill the position. She will do anything to get on that ship! But what Tess, of course, doesn't realize when she takes the position, is that she will become involved in tragedy and the aftermath... and her life will never be the same. 

I attended a Young Adult Literature panel at the Tucson Festival of the Book LAST year and heard Aprilynne Pike speak at that time. I received a copy of the book and just never got around to reading it until now, when my Book Group voted it for April's reading! 
It was a fun diversion. 
Clever premise.
Laurel has never really worried about the things that make her different than other people.  Sure, she only eats fruits and vegetables, she never has to wash her hair and she has never had a cut or scrape that she can remember.  But that isn’t so odd, is it?  Then one day Laurel realizes there is something growing on her back.  At first she thinks it’s just a pimple, but when it grows to the size of a football, she knows something is definitely different.  The flowers that bloom from her back are not normal and a trip to the forest where she meets Tamani confirms her theory.  She is faerie - a Fall faerie to be exact. Unlike my notion of faeries as butterflies or little people, Ms. Pike portrays them as flowers. Now the faerie people need Laurel's  help to save the land they live on and protect the gateway from our world to theirs.
Faerie, trolls and some romance.  This was a classic YA paranormal read.  I enjoyed the scientific approach to figuring out what Laurel was with the help of her friend, David.  This was a light, easy read with a simple story line.
I remember Ms. Pike speaking about the book last year and asking us to remind her that next time she starts a series to really ponder whether she wanted to write about something with NO heart. Plants do not have hearts or a circulatory system. Writing about falling in love without a heart was really hard! After I've read the book now it makes much more sense!! 

Yep, two, count 'em, books....I really do read!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Salon

What the heck! This is a whole new format and I think I missed the tutorial on what goes to moderate my comments or edit something!! Yikes. DON'T change things on my without my permission. Get it?? Got it?? Good! Argh...

Outside my window... HOT. HOT. HOT. 103 degrees today. Holy thermometer, Batman, where did Spring go?? You can no longer carry chocolate with you anywhere. :(

I am listening to .... Little Jase and his daddy fussing at each other. Ahh, the sound of a 5 year old who really wants to play.

Favorite things from this week ....AIMs test is over! Say Hallelujah, brothers and sisters!! My mind is so fried that I can hardly remember much more of the week than that! Now it's the end of the year wind down. Studying Fablehaven with my class is AWESOME. Playing Sorry with 2 granddaughters. A 3 year old beat us all!! Earth Day at the zoo, visiting with my mom, my sister, my BIL, seeing my brother and SIL. It was a good family day. U-Swirl It with all 6 grandkids! YUM. The best deep-dish pizza - along with a great kid's play area - The Loop (go there if you're ever in Tucson like we were.) Traveling with family.

I am thinking ...about Everything!! In fact my mind is racing with so much that I was awakened by it all at 4am. Hmmm. I made a HUGE poster to list all the things I need to do. It seemed to help by writing it all down - for a minute!

I am grateful for ...modern transportation, air conditioning, know, the basics. Oh yeah, pedicures too. They should be considered a basic just as chocolate should be considered one of the basic food groups.

I am reading ...Poison Flower by Thomas Perry. Scary. I finished Wings this week and loved it. Creative. I am also reading Readicide  for my nonfiction mind-booster. I find myself quoting it at every turn.

I am listing ...EVERYTHING. What is not on the list?? That stress level is rising with the heat! Anyone have a pool I can jump into? Seriously, things are really just busy, not bad or yucky, just busy. I forget that it gets this way every year.

I am creating ...more Fablehaven lessons, graduation announcements, lesson plans and Career Ladder write-ups. Wow, I think I ruptured a creative tendon or something!!

Plans for the week ...A Trek campout, Book Group, dinner out and dinner in (dinner guests too!), write a letter or two and get some end of the year project plans doing. I also need to practice with the dutch oven some more....dinner anyone?!?!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Salon

Outside my window... Cool, windy and dark. Spring has taken us from 90 degree days to cool, rainy and windy. Arizona Spring!! So...we pulled out the hoodies again and headed out for a busy day.

I am listening to .... the ticking of the clock, the hum of the dishwasher and the thrill of quiet.

Favorite things from this week .... Meeting more blogger-heroes. Wow! They were funny and sparkly. Loved it. Book group. The lovely mammographer at the Mobile Mammogram clinic- Truly. Hairstylin' with my favorite friend, Nikki. Date night. We took in the play The Odd Couple and stumbled upon a tiny little restaurant for date night. Fantastic. Today we helped out our nephew by working on his Eagle Project. We gleaned fruit for the Food Bank. It felt good to give. Best reward - - taking little Jase with us AND the donuts!!

I am thinking ... about bed and about the book that waits for me on the nightstand.

I am grateful for ... how fast the hard and busy week went. I fell this week - hard. A royal wipe-out. I was being silly and it caught up with me. I am grateful that only my pride was hurt and that my bruise is really cool looking.

I am reading ... Wings by Aprilynne Pike for my other book group and a few more. The pile by my bed is growing exponentially!

I am listing ... Foods to practice cooking over campfires and in dutch ovens for our summer extravaganza. Doesn't cornmeal mush sound appetizing?!?!?! I am also working on Fablehaven lesson plans and writing ideas.

I am creating ... nothing. I think I just want to watch other people be creative. I must be a slug.

Plans for the week ... AIMS testing!!! Ack. Wake me when it's over......

Despite the fact that I sound like a negative-Nelly, life is super-de-duper. I think I am just tired. Either that or I am in a food coma! Could be both. I'll say night-night whole I still have two brain cells to rub together.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Bloggers Unite

(One sassy group of bloggers!!)

Yep, we're locked OUT of the bookstore!! Can you hear us chanting, "Open, Open, Open!" ????
So, what's a blogger to do?
Well, talk and laugh and eat, of course. I mean, can you say, duh???
Now this is one group of cool people. They let me crash their dinner, they made me laugh, they entertained me and welcomed me. Gosh, you think we'd been buds forever.
I love that.
Thanks friends. It was one sweet night.
Even if the bookstore was closed.

(Melissa, Susan, Suey, and moi)

Here's to more reunions in the future.
Let's see, I feel the need for a road trip coming on....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dystopian Time

(Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest 2012)
Impressive, huh??

I have managed to read just a little during this testing review time.
(I think it's my stress relief and my escape!)

Still working on all of these Library Request books that are tumbling in.... Next up - YA Dystopian Drama. (Is there any other kind??)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The interesting thing about Library requests is that they arrive whether you're in the dystopian mood or not. They arrive whether you are up-to-your-eyeballs-busy or not. They arrive, quite often, when others are on to the next good story - or not. When you have two book group books to read and loads of work awaiting. Nonetheless; I am grateful for libraries and the exposure to literature that just makes me turn the page faster and faster. Such was the case when Divergent arrived. I have read scraps and pieces of reviews about this book for sometime so I plugged it into my que (I just wanted to say that! Since I am NOT a Netflix girl I have never had the chance to pony up to that particular phrase. sigh!) Who knew it would take this long to be my turn?? Who knew it would arrive when I had actually forgotten why I had reserved it in the first place?? Who knew it would arrive in time for April Break reading?? (Insert a "good timing" shout here.) So, without further ado, why I haven't read blogs or posted over this April break...

Here is the premise( for those of you as behind as I am in reading) : Picture a broken down and apocalyptic Chicago where society has been broken up into five "factions." Each faction is known by the dominant traits of its' members - honesty, intelligence, peacefulness, courage, and selflessness. Regardless to which faction a child is born into, when they turn 16, they are given an aptitude test to determine which faction they are best suited for. Usually, whether through nature or nurture, these teens stay with their own factions, however; it is their choice. It is up to them to choose to leave their families and everything they know to go to another faction to which they are more suited. Sometimes, in a rare case, there is a 16 year old that has traits in more than one faction - these people are considered DIVERGENT - and dangerous.

Okay. I was invested. It reminded me of The Giver.
There was action, societal questions and talk of free will and agency. Black, white, grey....
I empathized with the main character, Tris, as I made decisions at 16/17 that separated my from my family. I felt her internal struggle and continual questions. I still do, many years later. I also felt the pain and anguish of parents as their child would choose to leave one faction and seek another. I felt their struggle and still do. Isn't fiction amazing?!?!

Divergent caught me up and carried me along on a thrill ride. Although the book seemed a tad long in parts (I wanted a little tighter editing in the middle) I was invested in the story. The ending was a real roller coaster ride, however. It kept me riveted right up to the last page. I realize that all dystopians must opt for a trilogy nowadays but I was happy with stopping there. It didn't tie things up in happy wrapping paper and bows, but I was happy looking to possibilities without the author spelling them out for me. That's the kind of ending I like. I can write my own. But.... I know there are more adventures ahead for Tris. I may want to check in on her again, when the book arrives in my Library que!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Salon - Easter

Outside my window... A bright and sunny Easter. An Easter egg morning...oh yeah, throw in the chocolate bunny ears too!

I am listening to .... My grandson humming and singing. Delightful.

Favorite things from this week ... April Break!!!!! It was a short week, but a hectic one and things look to be even more so this week, nonetheless; having Good Friday off was worth it!! I slept in a bit and read in bed which feels like heaven on earth to me. We also celebrated a 5 year old's birthday, went on a date to the park and rode bikes around the lake, finished our taxes and played games with J&K. Last night we hunted Easter eggs at a church party, jumped in the jumping castle and went out to dinner with J&K. Yep, this has been a great weekend.

I am thinking ... about Science stations for review, math stations and test prep. (The AIMS is next week...say your prayers for my students, please!!) Literacy Night at school and meeting Suey, Susan from Bloggin' 'bout Books, and Melissa from One Librarians' Book Reviews this week!!!! (Can we have a yahoo, please?!?!) There is also Book Group this week and a much needed appointment with my hair-wizard and the dreaded mammogram. Yikes. I could easily feel a bit overwhelmed today - good thing I have some chocolate Easter bunny stuff to help with that!

I am grateful for ... ideas, communication, Easter, relationships, hearing "Daddy!!", bike riding, "plenty", friends - " Friendship is born at the moment that one person says to another, "What, you too? I thought I was the only one!" C.S. Lewis. I am also grateful for Easter baskets that I still get to fill (but without the pressure of years ago....) Oh, and of course I am grateful for chocolate bunny ears and Robin eggs.

I am reading ... The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macklin, The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas (a re-read for Book Group), Annoying; The Science of What Bugs Us, Readacide, and many more!!!!!!

I am listing ... Lesson plans, Review plans for my students for science, weekly agendas, and I'm creating SmartBoard games and stations. Good thing I have more of today.

I am creating ... I wish I could say a sense of calm, but that would be lying. I think I am creating that little thumping in your throat when you know you are a little apprehensive. Too many work worries. Drats. Time to go to my happy place.

Plans for the week ... Enjoy the ride!!! Meeting Book blogging buddies is right up there with meeting Davy Jones and the Monkees!!

Enjoy a wonderful Easter!!