Monday, January 28, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Should I start this like they do in AA? 
Hi, my name is Insideabook and I am a Lisa Scottoline newbie...
Well, I was.
Now I want more...and more...and more...

I have only a little time for reading anymore (during the school year) so I mete out my time carefully on book group books and those books that really grab me right away. What a fun surprise then to find this book on my library reserve list....thank you to some bloggers recommendation. The fact that I finished this book so quickly is a tribute to the smart and sassy writing of Lisa Scottoline. 

There were no life lessons to be learned...oh, okay, stand up for yourself is one. But this was not mental-floss. This was mousy girl law professor stands up for herself and saves the day kind of book. 

Nat Greco, daddy's little girl, brothers' little sister, and family's little 'gnat' certainly thinks less of herself than she should, much like many of us do. When asked to attend a prison speaking assignment she reluctantly accepts and is nearly raped during a prison riot that breaks out that day. When she is able to escape she happens upon a Correctional Officer who has been terribly wounded and in his last words says, "Tell my wife it's under the floor." Well Nat is nothing if not a stand-up kinda girl. She takes it upon herself to deliver the message and then all "h-e-double hockey sticks" breaks out!!

For me this was a fun escape from task-reading, from math planning and from the have-to's.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Salon - The Wet Version

 I think I may need an ark soon. It's been raining - pouring mostly - at my house for going on 2 days. That seems like some sort of record for us in the desert. It is cuddle-up-with-a-good-book or watch-a-movie-in-your-jammies kind of weather. It is NOT go-to-the-farmer's-market kind of weather. It is NOT help-move-your-daughter-and-her-family kind of weather. It IS be-glad-it's-raining-on-the-weekend-and-NOT-on-a-school-day-with-no-recess kind of weather!!

Listening: To the drip,drip,drip. LOVE IT! It lulled me to sleep and I truly woke up at 3:30am when it stopped! How wonky is that??? 

Eating:  Today I'm sipping herbal tea for my sore throat and laryngitis....Chicken soup may be next.

Loving: 1. Fun dates with Rich ---here's where we were at 10 am yesterday

Taking photos of each other in an empty theater.....

Why was it empty you ask?

Check out the time....
We laughed and laughed and laughed!! They had sold us tickets to a show that started at 10 pm!! The sign had stated 10 but we all assumed that it meant 10 in the morning. Well I guess you know what assume means, right??? Funny thing, no one had asked or noticed. The ticket meister just sent us to theater 21 and we were on our way. We did get a refund and the staff was so embarrassed that no one had noticed. It would have been a long wait in the theater.

              2. Washing baby clothes and socks! What a hoot. I always forget how small they are. 
              3. Rain

Reading: May B by Caroline Starr Rose (middle grade), Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (for Book Group) and Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors (for Book Group 2)...I really want to read another Lisa Scottoline...

Feeling: Reflective. I tend to be this way when I am under the weather. I guess having to be still will do that to you. 

Thinking: How sad it is that we have to teach our students about lock-downs. We had a lock-down drill this week.  Next week we have a drill where we practice evacuating the campus. The police came and rattled my doors, they pretended that there were people standing outside the door pleading for me to let them in, they set off fire alarms to try to trick us and get us to flee the building. It was hard for ME. The kids were pretty nonplussed. We have had long talks and conversation in class so I do believe that they know that I would do all in my power to protect them. They tell me, "You would go all mama-bear on them, right, Mrs. V?" Yes, I would! I know that drills are important and truly saved lives in Connecticut. I know that when you are prepared you don't have to fear. BUT...I  hate the  fact that we live in a day when we have to have them. It breaks my heart. 

Wanting: 1.My voice back---it's been 4 days!! Even my whisper voice is gone. Truly gone. I am mute. My husband is probably enjoying the quiet, but it sure is hard to teach this way AND it's harder still to get someone's attention in the house. Hint, hint, honey. Just come to me when you're talking to me.
                2. Some encouraging job news for Rich
                3. Something crunchy....without calories...celery??...rats! Not what I had in mind.
                4. Another Lisa Scottoline book. Any suggestions?

This Week: Much calmer! Yippe-ki-yah! Testing for all of the 4th grade kiddos, Tutoring, yoga, and I am excited to be leading our school staff on a Book Study on Wednesday. Yep, that yoga breathing is working this week.....mmmm....

Love that wet stuff...Stay dry!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

The first time to breathe all day.....

So let me set this up... the day has finally begun to wind down.
A full day with students after a holiday.
No breaks.
After-school tutoring is completed.
Now it's time to clean up, polish up plans, grade, attend another meeting 
head off to a team dinner 
a meeting at the district at 7:00pm.
Rats, I missed Book Group.
But after a 14 hour day I was too tired to think straight.
This was hour 10 but I do think it literally was my first time to breathe all day!
(PS - I am not complaining. I am ever so grateful I have a job :)!!!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Salon - January 20th

I can't believe the difference in one week....Last week we were freezing and wearing layers. My students were bundled and wearing mittens.The neighborhood plants really suffered, pipes burst and we all marveled at the cold snap. That was winter! Today it is almost 77 degrees and chamber-of-commerce weather outside. Wow. I'll take it. Anyone wanna visit???

Seriously, it's all to pretty to be inside, but I have the sliding glass door wide open and the cat is enjoying it as much as I am....

Listening: Yep, football again! LOVE it.  Other than that the house is quiet.... that may change next week when J&K and little baby Tinsley move in with us. Yippee-Yeah! Seriously, I can't tell you how 'over the moon' happy Rich and I are that we can be a help to them while they find another home to buy. These kiddos are entering the world of being landlords and they are so excited. We are thrilled to have roommates again!!! Get ready for some serious baby-love posts....grins!

Eating: Cheesecake!! Birthday cheesecake is the best  and I didn't have to share! Thanks babe.

Now I'm back to my salads and veggies but it sure was yummy. How do you celebrate your birthdays?

Loving: 1.Visits and phone calls from my kiddos. I love hearing their voices and hugging on 'em. 
              2. That my students were awesome this week. Best birthday present they could have given me. 
              3. Saturday morning walks and bagels with Rich. I hope it becomes a tradition.

Reading: Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline, Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25  by Richard Paul Evans, and about 20 other books!! Seriously... Can I have book-A.D.D.?!?!

Feeling: So excited to have a day off tomorrow!!! A little baby-tending, a little shopping, maybe a movie, and a little relaxing. How cool!

Wanting: 1.A cool pair of boots to wear with my new boot socks that I got for Christmas. 
                2. Popcorn for dinner.
                3. A new couch. (That would be nice, but won't be happening for a bit, but I am wanting it!)

Thinking: I need a longer lap or a new pair of eyes are changing and actually getting 'better' but it makes for weird positions when using the laptop IN my lap....I guess there are definitely worse things!

This Week: Tutoring starts this week. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can feel on top of my game as I add a few more hours to each day to help these students.  Fun stuff each day...a no-school-holiday, Book Group, Yoga class, dinner with the in-laws and just some general, all around great times!!

Here's hoping your week is filled with fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay
by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough

Light, breezy and uncomplicated
Silly, and carefree

Emily and Cornelia head off to Europe for a girl's trip in the 1920's. These two naive young women contend with bed bugs,brothels, and measles.( And that's just the first third of the book!) I read where a friend called these two gals 'disaster-magnets'!!! What a great description. 

A travel memoir from the 1920's that is innocent and engaging.
I couldn't do a whole diet of this genre, but it was a yummy little appetizer full of remembered memories of two friends whose relationship only deepened over time. 

Look....I finished a book!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Scenes from the Neighborhood

Walking through the neighborhood this weekend made me laugh. It's like taking a peek into everyone's linen closet and seeing what's inside. 

I have got to get me some fancier sheets.....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Salon - Baby, It's Cold Outside.....

(I went to a wedding reception the other night and this sign was next to the hot cocoa bar - Love it.)
Okay, I KNOW I am a wimp, but it's 1:30 pm and it's only 42 degrees outside...and it's sunny!
I don't live in the north. 
I live in southern Arizona! 
(I can handle the heat, I swear... 112? That's a cool breeze!)
It was 21 degrees at our house overnight. 
So...I came home from a very cold morning at church and I am in my jammies, my sweatshirt, my socks and slippers and I'm lunching on hot cocoa and chili.
Is this how you guys stay warm up there???

Okay, whining over... back to our regularly scheduled Sunday Salon....

Listening: To the football game. I can't lose. I like both teams. It's good company as I complete report cards and sit here at the table in the rays of sunshine. 

Eating: Warm stuff!! Anything warm. Seriously though, I have loved a week of salads and veggies. It feels good to have balance. 

Loving: 1.That my kitchen island stayed clear all week. 
              2. That my daughter bought me a Kindle for my classroom - my students will love it. 
              3. Book Group Wednesdays. It was awesome! We laughed and yakked the night away. There were new friends and time just flew by. That's how Book Groups should always be.

Reading: Michael Vey; The Prisoner of Cell 25 for my neighborhood Book Group in 10 days, The False Prince (still) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume with my class. They are loving it. I have made several trips to the library lately and I have MANY more books on the nightstand. Just in case of a reading-emergency.

Feeling: Like I should feel more anxious about things than I am. Wow, that Yoga class is REALLY helping. I just feel okay about it all. I have decided to chunk things up in smaller bites and try not to pre-worry about all the demands ahead. Just one day at a time. Deep Yoga-cleansing breaths.....

Watching: Football!!! Rich also wants to go to the movies this week. I am hoping to see Lincoln, Life of Pi or The Impossible (thank you, Jenners.) They all sound popcorn-worthy!

Wanting: 1.To finally be done with these report cards that I have put off for far too long. 
                2. A trip to the hairdresser.
                3. A class-room cleaning fairy.

Thinking: How kind bloggers are. Thanks for your good wishes for my husband in his job-search. I'm touched when we all reach out and recognize the power of positive comments, phone calls, thoughts, friendship and encouragement. What a great community we can be to help each other. Thanks!!

This Week: Parent-Teacher Conferences, dinner with J&K (which means a Tinsley visit!!!) another bog observation, and a little ol birthday---for me. I wonder if cheesecake is calorie free?

Happy Sunday friends!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

I am ignoring so many of the things I have on my to-do list today (except blog-surf and go out for bagels.) Instead I will post a photo to Alyce's Saturday Snapshot meme and celebrate ignoring the to-do list just a little longer!

Emma turned 10! 
She had a bowling party and we all loved it!
The party was a total hit with all 12 of us and I am proud to say that I came in last. 
(Even the kiddos beat me.)
I know, the reindeer cake was calling my name, that was the problem...

Okay, back to work.
Happy Saturday~!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Currently...T'was the night before School re-starts

It's been GREAT! 
I LOVE Winter Break.
I feel rested, relaxed, refreshed, fat and fluffy.

Listening:  To football! I adore football and basketball season. My U of A Wildcats won yesterday in college basketball and today is football WildCard Weekend....I am in sports heaven. Having the games on in the background was a great accompaniment while I cleaned and sorted yesterday and now today it's fun to blog, email and plan while my football boys duke it out on the field. I am definitely the sports geek in the family and I LOVE the big TV for my games. Bring it on baby.

Eating:  Too much!! I need to go back to work to get my healthy eating habits back. I think I made it a personal commitment to not deny myself anything this Winter Break. Man was that a delicious but bad idea! What did I get for Christmas?!?!
 #@*&%$^# pounds!!! I am relieved to be back in command.'s to my good health! (Walk away from the Cheetos, lady....)

Loving:  A new Yoga class. My new books. My organized work shelf. Tidy files. A clean slate - in more ways than one.

Reading:  The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough for Book Group this week. I was reading another book last night but after some pretty wild nightmares 2 times in the night I have decided to set that one aside for a bit. To be bluntly honest my heart can't handle tragedy and children...

Feeling: Quiet and content. I went to a therapeutic yoga class this last week and just got a different perspective on looking at things. It was awesome. I also just have a sense of still and acceptance that feels nice today. I will most likely feel different when 4:45 am comes tomorrow morning but for a change it feels cool to be ready for a new semester. Maybe having some ideas of changes I want to make in me makes a difference too. Nice.

Watching: Castle,Person of Interest,Jack Reacher,Les Miserables. Wow, oh wow! Jack Reacher was a fun and wild ride. Rich loved it and has been reading book after book since the movie. I laughed when we attended the movie over break as it was a 10:1 ratio of men to women. what a crack up.You had to be between 20-60 years old too. It was so fun to see the author of the series in a cameo role in the movie. I think I was one of the only people who noticed who he was but it sure made me smile. On a very different tone, I was in Les Mis heaven from start to finish at the movies on Friday afternoon. I promised myself I would not sing (too loud!) and I kept that promise. It's a good thing I didn't promise myself that I would not cry. I did. Buckets! Les Miserables has been my favorite of books for several years now. My favorite musical for even longer (okay, Wicked is climbing that ladder too..) but seeing the raw emotion and the stunning effects I truly came away with such a sense of redemption. A sense of awareness of how we can overcome the natural man and become better people. Rich and I have talked about it for days. Was it perfect? There were a few weak roles but it will certainly be MY vote for movie of the decade. (Too weird to read a vehement bashing of it by a good friend on Facebook this weekend. I wondered if she had really been to the same movie. Hmmm) Wow, that was a soapbox.

Wanting: A job for my husband. I haven't written about this hard thing in our lives but I decided to just lay it out there and put it in print. He is so amazingly positive and sees this as an adventure and has just begun to appear to show a little ...dare I say, doubt?!? Being unemployed after a certain age is not nearly as much 'fun'! Being the only 'employed' member of the family feels weird. I am grateful for my job and the security that I have. I am just wanting one for Rich too. That's all.

Thinking: How cool it was to hear from 4 of my 5 kiddos yesterday. I had a great talk with 3 of my boys and Jennie and I had a texting marathon of sorts. Love it. My kiddos are pretty darn incredible. I also feel so blessed to have gotten to watch little Tinsley over the break. Cuddling, cradling and rocking a baby has the best benefits. You get to think and relax too. It was amazing. 

This Week: Report cards, Book Group (Yeah!)Dinner with the in-laws, dinner with J&K, date night, seeing my work friends again,writing my resolutions down (in cement?!) planning a church lesson for next week and writing more thank you notes! The week sounds great. 

Wow, there is nothing like a great Winter Break to have me feel so relaxed and ready. Can we do this again??? 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Take me Away Thursday...

I spent some of my holiday in Key West. 
Kidding...just kidding.
Yet in a way I did! 
This middle-grade Newbery honor book was just the ticket for delivering a sense of time and place.
1930's Key West was good ol' tropical living, albeit depression living. The town of Key West declared bankruptcy and almost the entire town of Key West was on federal assistance for a few years before the grand idea to market their location as a vacation paradise came to being. This slim novel takes us back to those long summer days of barefoot living, alligator pear sandwiches, nicknames, sponge fishing, treasure seeking, and 'little rascal'-like antics.

Turtle has never been to Key West, never lived with crazy boy cousins or lived without her mama. Yet depression days are hard and when her mama gets a new housekeeping job with a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle leaves for Florida to live with family she has never met... for awhile.

Just like that the Key West sand works it's way into everything--Turtle realizes that she has become a part of the keys and the keys have become a part of her. 

This little novel had delicious 'voice' and it would make a great read aloud to middle grade readers so they could hear what great voice 'sounds' like. (I can't wait to share ideas with my class...wait, what am I saying?!?! I am NOT ready to head back to work--yet!)

This book, by Jennifer L. Holm, ran below my radar until a friend recommended it over the Christmas break. Wow, am I glad he did. I got a beach vacation and I didn't even have to pack!!