Monday, August 27, 2012

Charms for the Easy Life

Charms for the Easy Life
By Kaye Gibbons

"I have read two books a week for thirty years. I am satisfied that I know everything."

So says Charlie Kate Birch, and she's not shy about sharing any of what she  knows!  How she reminded me of a few women I know!!!!
A self-styled doctor, midwife and herbalist, Charlie Kate is a strong matriarch of the family and of her community.  She lives with her daughter, Sophia, and her granddaughter, Margaret in North Carolina in the early 1900's.  These three are smart book-loving women and the author paints a picture of these three who rely on each other rather than on men to rescue or defend. I do love me some strong female characters!!!!
I don't know why it is that I love  southern writing and descriptions so much....oh, I know, I'm from the South!!!! Transplanted for years I still can hear the cadence in the speech and feel the caress in their accents.  However Kaye Gibbons does it she captures the voices of her characters with care. This author had just the voice I wanted to hear. Her descriptions are colorful yet spare. Her metaphors were apt and it seems like I was attached to her words like a moth to a flame. 
This book was so easy to pick up and easy to come back to after a long day teaching. It was the perfect tonic for what ails ya.

Our book group loved this book and found it great fun to talk about....oh, and the charm for the easy life??? 
---If you want your own easy-life charm, you'll need to find the hind foot of a white graveyard rabbit caught at midnight, under the full moon, by a cross-eyed Negro woman who has been married seven times.---

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What I Want to be Doing & What I am Really Doing

Want  versus  Need.

Random Notes from a Nut...
** RAIN! Yep in the desert we celebrate it. AND celebrate we classroom celebrated with a leaking ceiling(imagine a water-feature in the middle of 30 desks and kids...) and then it all collapsed! FUN. not.

** Book Group - Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons. Cool dessert kabobs, good talk, good friends.

** Dinner with 4 that morphed to 8!! Glad we blessed that food AND had extra sauce.

** How 'bout a little Shannon Hale-love and a Stephanie Meyer fly-by? LOVE Shannon. She's da bomb. Funny. Now my new BFF. Ask her about my bra-strap?!?!?! (Cool book too, ask my husband. - I think he's in love with her too.)

** Cafe Zupas has arrived in Arizona. We had to drive a ways but it was so worth it. Yumm.

** Wirk-Werk-WoRk,WOrk,woRK,WoRK,WORK. No matter how I spell it, it's still there and still a lot of _ _ _ _ !!

** Celebrating a 4 year old birthday. Happy Birthday, Hero!

I'm off to Texas this next weekend... Y'all get ready for me!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Sunday Salon - Baby Shower Style

Gigi LOVES parties & she was a terrific helper!

Favorite things from this week.... 

1. The Baby Shower!! Yep, My baby is having a baby in a month and this was the week of the out-of-town baby shower. It was WORK but very fun! Putting on a baby shower while getting through the first weeks of school was crazy for my daughter in law and myself. Who knew?!?!? We did! But we did it and loved it anyway. Thanks to Jenn! It was beautiful, crazy tiring and fun....AND a road trip was a great getaway from it all! 

2. Book Group aka Book-duo. I love talking books, but Mel feels like more than my equal than most. She challenges me, we really TALK books and share. I never want to miss. We read On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith. Enjoyed the writing but felt that some of the language was just not necessary and it put us off. Still, the setting and character development made the book. Great night. A reward in more ways than one. Hope that next time there are more of us but it really was a night not to be missed.

3. Family and friends. I don't want to forget how much I love them and need them. I truly loved a girl-trip with my daughter. Thanks Kyle for sharing her.

Books From the Library this week .....
                           Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama (Thx Mel)
           Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (thank you bloggers)
                          Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (testing it for 4th graders)
                  The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (thank you somebody?!?!)
              The Loners by Lex Thomas
           The Last Van Gogh by Alyson Richman
           The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy (4th grade math)
Cool, huh? I wonder when I'll read them?

Great Quote to Remember... "Failure is not acceptable, it's often essential." Randy Pausch (WOW!)

I am grateful for.... safety, good counsel, book talks with my little Emma, hugs, long friendships, book group, phone calls from #1 son, listening ears, my health, a fun new colleague, lunch, & my daughter in law, Jenn.(She is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.)

Song I can't get out of my head....Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye (I adore the Glee version....mmmm.)But how the heck do you say that name??

I leave you with a few more baby shower photos!!

My SIL Dena, my sister Dawn, Mommy-to-be Jennie, and my mom
Grandma Ann and her only granddaughter!!
Sisters of the heart!! My daughter-in-law Jenn & my daughter Jennie! Two incredible women!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Salon - The Back to School Edition

 The Back to School Edition

How Do You Know You're A teacher?
by Jeff Foxworthy
(condensed version)  

You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line. 

You have 25 people who  accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another. 

You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes. 

You’ve trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day, lunch and planning period. 

You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom. 

You want to slap the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off”. 

You believe chocolate is a food group. 

You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside. 

You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids are sure mellow today.” 

You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.

You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children. 

You can’t pass the school supply aisle without getting at least 5 items! 

You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a “good choice” or “bad choice.” 

You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils. 

You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.

You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.

(This cracks me up. 
Jeff Foxworthy's mom or wife MUST be a teacher!
He is almost spot on.) 

 Outside my window...Oddly cloudy and dusty with the remains of the huge dust storm that planted itself on top of the city late yesterday afternoon. We are calling them haboobs now. I just think everyone likes to say the word. (Sorta like saying damn as many times as you can when you drive over a dam when you are a kid!)

I am listening to.. Sunday morning silence. Translated that means; the fan, some soft music, clicks of keys and other assorted living sounds.

Favorite things from this week..Having teaching stories to share again. First day of school stories usually make it into my journal and are typically noteworthy. Fun little sayings. Counting how many times the kids call me mom. After school we only had 3 little 1st grade kiddos try to get on wrong buses (they just forget and fast teachers and bus drivers fix that fast!!)but one major accident did occur when a 6th grader was walking home. Evidently he walked onto a neighbor's landscaping and hurt himself severely. Of course it was not the school's fault but we get to take over. We rushed him back to school to the nurse, got the paramedics, the police and more. Yep, just a typical day. My principal insists that the First-Day-Fairy follows her! This does make my life a little more exciting than the days of summer when my action takes place at a much slower pace. I also loved going out to eat on the first day of school. Wildflower Bread Company and Changing Hands Bookstore are the perfect calm after the 1st day jitters.

I am thinking..I do NOT like the night before school starts. I lay anxiously awake (like all new 4th graders) and think if all will go well. Yep, still! I am NOT worried. I know what to do, yet those niggling thoughts keep creeping back. Did I remember to get "this" out? Is everything in place? Somehow it all dissipates when I get those fresh faced kiddos in front of me. They crack wide smiles and I love what I do again. First days are fun. I love that we start on a Wednesday and have three days to get into some good routines. Now tomorrow the real work starts.

I am grateful for...great teammates. A wise husband with a listening ear, who lets me tell him my stories and who remembers names. Umbrellas. (You see in Arizona we don't so much use them for rain as we use them to keep the scorching sun off!! It was 116 degrees on the first day of school!)

I am reading...
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
 On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith
 and finishing
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons

I am loving all of them!! I am on a roll this summer.

I am listing...Lesson plans, goals, baby shower to-do items, and more!

I am creating ..our library/living room! Finally the books are moving to the shelves. The transition from upstairs to downstairs takes a while. But they shine like jewels. I love them. I am in no hurry. 

Plans for the week.. TEACH like my hair's on fire! Baby shower for my daughter. Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my nephew. You know, the usual.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oh My Golly Gosh..

What a sentence....

"We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath the skin."
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Wow, I can't wait for more.

Curses housework. 
Curses schoolwork.
 Curses big-people responsibilities. 
I just want to sit and read.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mini Book Reviews

Flyte by Angie Sage, Book 2 in the Septimus Heap series.
Audio Book

Septimus Heap is apprentice to the Extra Ordinary Wizard now. He has spent the last year becoming acquainted with his family and feeling a part of the new community at the Wizard's castle. He enjoys learning,conjuring and charms. He's growing into a fine wizard. One day his adopted sister - Jenna - is kidnapped by their older brother,Simon, who desires to serve his dark master, DomDaniel and  to be the Extra Ordinary Wizard's apprentice.  Now Septimus must begin a quest to save his sister and stop the approach of the dark Magyk. 

This is another great book on audio. The narrator is fantastic. What a fun book this was to have in the car whenever I ran errands this summer. I must admit that many a time I just sat in the garage and listened once my errands were done. I have truly enjoyed this series so far, and even though it has strong parallels to Harry Potter that is just fine by me. 

The Case of the Missing Servant
by Tarquin Hall

Vish Puri, a Punjabi private investigator, is “India’s Most Private Investigator”, and as the most accomplished investigator in India he runs a detective agency known as Most Private Investigators, Ltd. in New Dehli.

The Case of the Missing Servant shows Puri (“Chubby” to his friends) and his cleverly nicknamed employees ( Handbrake, Flush, Tubelight and Handcream) hired for two investigations.

The first in a series, The Case of the Missing Servant offers a delicious combination of stories, apt writing, old fashioned PI skills, and a vivid picture of current-day India. I loved the affectionate humor that Puri has for his family, his Mummy and his employees. I loved the foods and the culture. Team this book with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I feel like I've been to India.

The Dollhouse Murders
by Betty Ren Wright
Audio Book

Middle Grade read. So-so. Can you spell , meh? I don't think many of my students would be intrigued, but just in case, I listened to the very end.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The End of Summer

I am drowning my sorrows in Goldfish crackers and Diet Pepsi.
How can the summer be over?!?! 
It is still 112 degrees outside.


I thought MY week was busy/crazy/jet-packed, but my friend is getting married on Friday along with 4 of her brothers and sisters. Yep, 5 siblings are getting married on the same day at the same time. They have rented a local airplane hangar for the reception! It's made all the news stations around here and we laugh that she is late to our faculty meetings because she is always being interviewed by some station or another. 
 OR try this one to see Sydney and her brothers and sisters.
My week now pales in comparison...still I don't want to forget...
**16+ hours in the car on Monday returning from vacay.
**the library/living room is almost finished!! Furniture has moved in, books are about to jump onto shelves and curtains are practically hanging themselves - NOT! But we are this close!! 
**Lunches with friends. Yum.
**Return to work. Sigh. My classsroom always looks worse before it looks better, but thanks to my DIL (who is a rockstar of a teacher herself) and my oldest grandkiddo, we now have bulletin boards, bookshelves and folders ready to go. How I love them.
**Love those visits with family. I want to remember them all. Thank you.
Wow, this all happened in one week.

Utah and Idaho were lovely (but hot!)We LOVE Salt Lake City. I would move to the Avenues in a heart-beat. Yes, I would move into a house one block from The King's English bookstore, thank you very much! I would go everyday. Rich says I could only go there if #1 I worked there or #2 if I rode my bike there. After seeing some of those hills I know that my bike rides would take me forever. That would certainly limit my trips!!  

The food on vacay was fabulous. Yeah to the Training Table and their fry-sauce and my new food-love---wait for it, Cafe Zupas!! Yum. Rich says ya gotta love a sandwich spot that gives you a chocolate covered strawberry with every meal. Bear Lake has fantabulous raspberry shakes too. I came home a more well-rounded person. (Insert sad face here.)

It's just a tad hot here. It should be 113 degrees on the first day of school. That just doesn't seem right.

We went to see a great movie in SLC. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. See it. Now.

I finished The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall. A modern day Hercule Poirot. Enjoyed it! I am really loving the writing in Charms for the Easy Life by Kay Gibbons (Book Group read.) Next up, On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith for other Book Group. Do you think I can fit in the books that all came in off my book reserve list at the library?!?!? This happens at the beginning of every school year....all the good books come in at the same time.  

After 6 days of being pretty much unplugged from video and TV I am now an Olympics-junkie. It's great to keep me company in my classroom. Who knew that rowing could be so engaging?!?! 

Now, walk away from the goldfish crackers...