Sunday, April 14, 2013

Found.

I found this cover of "Baptism" while preparing my primary lesson. I love it. This is one of my favorite primary songs. 
(Skip ahead to 0:29.)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lately I've... (insta-bomb)

...performed in the faculty's lip sync for my school's Spirit Bowl.
It involved public humiliation.
I was cool with it.


...spent a rather large summer of my Christmas fun-money to get started on "smashing".

*I think this crafting style is a good representation of what is happening inside this brain of mine--chaos.*



...been celebrating my birthday week with some good people.

...been snuggling lots with this little girl. 
She got fixed last week. :(

...been tortured with excessive amounts of grading. 
(And surviving all that grading with some fun filmography.)

What have you been up to, blogging world?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Questions I Need Answered

Is it hickey or hickie? Either way, there is nothing more disgusting than seeing the tell-tale signs of adolescent lust and awkwardness on the neck of a 14 year old boy who seems to always be in need of a shower. Hygiene, boys. Hygiene.

Why are we paying a $174,000 annual starting salary to individuals who don't do their job? (That being to actually pass laws that make our country better.) If I taught they way they govern I'd be the worst teacher in all of human history. And I'm including Mary Kay Letourneau in that list.

Why must my birthday be sullied by the beginning of Daylight Saving Time? Every year since they changed it I've spend my birthday week extra tired from waking an hour earlier. Thanks again, government.

Do you understand the zombie thing? Can you explain it to me. I've tried to find the humor in it to no avail. Zombies are generally disappointing.

Why are stripes so appealing to me? I have a stripe problem.

How can a sandwich consisting of a breaded, deep-fried chicken breast and sliced pickles be so delicious? I even pull off the pickles, so basically it is the chicken and the breading and part of the bun. Why are you so good, Chick-fil-A? And why have you not set up shop in my neighborhood? Couldn't we agree to kick Taco Bell out?

Who even goes to Taco Bell anymore?

What book/movie/musician do I not know about right now that you just know would be worth the time/Netflix/iTunes investment? No, really, I want your brilliant suggestions, readers.

What did you think of Seth MacFarlane on the Oscars? Convince me it didn't suck because I thought it was awful. Really awful.

More importantly, why do I continue to watch the Oscars year after year? It is a lackluster event with a few poignant speeches that can be found plastered all over the internet the next day anyway.

Why is it so hard to find a perfect pair of jeans? And why do stores "upgrade" to new cuts and styles once you find your ideal?

Why is it that the older I get, the more I just want to stay at home in yoga pants? Must be the jeans issue.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Reader


I recently found this image on Pinterest. 
I love it entirely.



I recently finished reading this. 
I am in mourning that the sequel 
won't be out until September. 
You should read it as well. 
I forgive you if you want to wait 
until the next installment comes out. 
I promised myself I wouldn't do this 
to myself again after Harry Potter. 
I failed, miserably.




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Randomness

Valentine's Day is even more annoying if you spend your day with the epically hormonal. Let me remind you that it is a badge of honor in the eyes of some of my freshmen girls to carry around every bit of V-day loot they receive. All. Day. Long. That's a lot of bears, balloons, and chocolate.

In honor of my misery, a few Valentinesy items to cheer us all.

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I posted this to fb today. Thank you, Stephanie.

 
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Honestly

My Diet Coke addiction is getting worse. I don't care. I try and drink a lot of water to balance this out. I figure it is a fair trade.

I have to use the restroom a lot. I could hang with the pregnant.

I am having the 7 year itch at school. I don't necessarily want to leave it, by any means, but I certainly feel a bit lackluster as compared to other years. Time for a new unit or 12? Probably.

I can spend more hours of the day sleeping than waking during my period. All I want is sleep. And ibuprofen. And chocolate. And to punch someone in the jugular/junk (depending on their placement on my annoyance spectrum).

I have anxiety. It is almost debilitating, but usually some combination of reasoning and ugly crying into the lap of roomie as she soothes me and my ridiculous woes helps. We also sometimes go for a fro yo run if it isn't, you know, 11:47 at night. Usually anxiety hits around 11:47 at night.

I secretly wish to have a Missed Connection written about me.

Some books need to be stand alone books. Simply one book. Not the first in a series. Just that first book. Only that one book. Sorry, publishers, but you're beating it into the ground for money and we all know it and it is ruining publishing. Authors, shame on you for this!

I am in love with my phone, iPod, and laptop. It borders on unhealthy.

I dig politics. I swing liberal. I love that I have the right to vote. I die a little inside when I hear from people, especially women and individuals of color, who don't vote. So many sacrifices were made so they could vote. I struggle that they fail to understand how many people DIED and were beaten and abused and imprisoned so they could cast a vote. Show some respect. And not just every 4 years. (I say this to my pre-22 year old self.)

I don't get these floral/native/fair isle/legging/pant designs. It is one thing to regret such fashion decisions from your adolescence, it is another to make such choices as a grown woman. Listen, little Trendy-McTrendy-Sauce: You. Will. Regret. It. Mark my words. I had a houndstooth background/floral foreground pair of leggings in 5th grade. Ugly then. Ugly now.

Even so, I'll love you even if you wear hideous pants. I love that you are passionate about fashion to the point of risky. And a little piece of me will always be jealous of how cute your rockin' fanny looks in 'em. But you do realize there's a giant deer on your ass cheek, right?

I believe in cheap shoes. I have a hard time spending more than $30 for a pair of shoes. I covet real leather. I comfort myself at Payless.

My dog. I love her like a newborn baby. I became that person. She is intoxicatingly sweet and every nurturing bit of me expresses itself on my Betsy. It is what it is. But have you seen her?


I know for a fact I could be the person who narrates audio books. I've decided this would be easier than being a voice on NPR. I would just have to read the book in advance, get a sense of the narrator, and record it. I want that job so bad! Anybody know how I get into that?

I am delighted that nerds are taking over the culture. It is about time people realize there's a little nerdy in us all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More on Vulnerability

I'm not certain whether or not I've posted this before, but it needs posting once again. Because it is so insightful, so true. 

Enjoy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Missed Connections

This is one of my favorite little spots on the internets. 
Below is one of my favorites from her loveliness:


Grand Central, You and Me
Friday evening I was racing through the Main Concourse and you were there standing still, staring up at the stars. You had a book in your hand. You were lovely. Time stood still for a second while I fell in love, then I had to catch my train. Then I thought, Damn. Then I thought of a Plan. So here’s my ridiculously romantic plan: Meet me under the stars on Valentine’s Day. 8pm. Bring your book.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Deliciously Good

If you've felt empty since The Hunger Games trilogy ended in disappointment (in my opinion it all ended very badly), you should try this series. You'll have to wait a while for the 3rd, but 1 and 2 are out. I finished 1. It is a deliciously encompassing read. The kind you can't put down. And the love story--delectable.

I'm a sap, right? A complete sucker for a good love story. I'll read almost anything just because I need to know how they fall in love. Embarrassing to admit, but entirely true.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Vulnerability/The Real Confessions

I have been thinking lately of what courage is, what it looks like. My 9th graders recently finished a book clubs unit with that as the guiding theme: "What does courage look like?" So many novels, so many different forms of courage.

I decided that--for me--courage is vulnerability. Being open, exposing even your fragility. We all have those tender spots. We all fear. We all hurt. But so much of our socialization rests on hiding that. Crying in public is poo-pooed. When we ask, "How are you?" we never mean it. All we want to hear is how "fine" everyone is doing. 

But that is weak. That is dishonest. That is the opposite of courage.

I'm terrified of my vulnerability. But I think I've finally found my resolution for 2013: to let my vulnerability manifest itself. To share it more. To be soft and fragile and to see what happens when I expose that. My goal is to trust, or at least trust more. Especially in those arenas of life that are my most vulnerable.

If I am hurt, I will learn something from it. But, honestly, I think there is more I'd miss out on if I don't pull down my defenses and expose myself for who I truly am.

I am a romantic at heart who has never fallen in love. That stings. I am sometimes lazy and sometimes over-worked. I am a stress monster. I haven't figured out how to balance my life the way I thought I might when I was younger. And that is okay. I like to swear and usually feel a bit guilty about it. My body curves as it wants to, but I can make it strong. I can love it even if it looks different than some. I am wild and disorganized and imperfect. Sometimes I am boring. But actually, I am beautiful and interesting and worth loving just as I am.



Monday, January 28, 2013

If, during winter...

To My Nerd in Shining Armor:

Sometimes I wish you were here to shovel the walks, clean off the cars, and deal with any other snow removal. But really, I'd probably say "it can wait." Because if you were here I'd rather just snuggle up inside with cocoa. And a book. And you.

Love,
Me

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Speaking of Girl Power

I think so many women fail to realize the sacrifices that were made so they could cast a vote. I for one am forever indebted to women who went to jail, held hunger strikes, picketed, and engaged in the best kind of civil obedience for their daughters and granddaughters, for girls like me.
Here is to the suffragettes!

This video: kind of fantastic.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sorry. I'm busy.

Especially when I've several seasons
of the "new" Dr. Who to get through.
 
Am I alone in my crushdom for
the ever-so-rogue-ishly-British
Mr. David Tennant?
 
 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Of Feminism and Mormonism

“Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.”
                                                                              ~ President Gordon B. Hinckley

My internet friend posted about this recently, and I'm pilfering her idea. Because all her ideas tend to be quite brilliant. Frankly, you should just skip my ramblings and link over to her blog because her post is about 1,000 times better.

A great brouhaha was recently raised over this issue. Personally, I'm not concerned with what people wear to the worship meetings at my church. I'm concerned that they come. I would hope they come with an eye single to respect. Respect for what is sacred to themselves and God and me or respect for those who worship in that space. As far as I know, this doesn't equate a uniform. As far as I know, dress pants on women haven't been an offensive form of dress for several decades. In truth, I really don't think it matters what you wear to church if your heart and spirit are there to learn and grow to be a better version of yourself. I didn't wear pants on that particular Sunday (skirts, when selected correctly, are far more comfortable in my eyes). I wouldn't think much of any woman who did opt to wear pants that day or any other. Just as I wouldn't really care if a kilt or lavalava was worn by a man.

The issue this was tackling, however, wasn't so much about the subcultural expectations about gender-appropriate apparel as it was about the solidarity of Mormon feminists.  
 
I am a Mormon. I am also a feminist. These two parts of who I am have never gone to battle against one another. I feel passionate about each. I am proud to be in a sisterhood with so many women who came before me: women who fought and sacrificed for my right to cast a vote, women who believed in their right to work for equal pay and similar promotions as the men in their field. Women who said: I can do that job or that task and the fact that I have a vagina has nothing to do with it! I am grateful that the conversation about women in combat has recently been addressed. I take heart that the majority of Americans have responded well to this equalizing plan. I also know the gospel doctrines as I understand them are true. For me, these are as true and real as the keyboard beneath my fingers. 

Here is where I am vehemently feminist: I think the treatment of the women within a community or country directly correlates with the quality of life and well-being for the people of that community or country. (For instance, with 1 in 5 children living below the poverty line in the United States, I think we can begin to see that the treatment of women in the U.S. is sub-par.) I believe we have an international crisis with the objectification of women. This phenomenon destroys not only individuals, but relationships, families, communities and the ripple effect continues. It is also one of the most socially acceptable forms of exploitation. I am incensed that if you are a woman you are 29% more likely to live in poverty. You are 6 times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault. You will earn only 82% of what a man does. You have a 1 in 4 chance of being sexually harrassed at the work place. Your marital status is always noted (is it Miss or Mrs.?) and if you go by Ms. that must define you even further. And don't get me started on the international treatment of women. And don't tell me I should be grateful it isn't "like that over here" or that "at least [I'm] white". I am a woman, therefore I am in this with every other woman. 

But, lest you think I hate or blame men for this, think again. I am equally incensed that men (especially young minorities) are more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to be the victims of a violent crime, and, while not objectified to the extent women are objectified, are held to standards and stereotypings that are unhealthy, false and just as damaging to their mental/emotional/physical well-being.

I am a feminist. I am not a man-hater. I am a feminist. I am not a militant or extreme activist. I am a feminist. I am not going to stand by and let you make congressional decisions about my reproductive system.  I am a feminist. I am not in the business of saying what is or isn't right for the individual lives and situations of other women. I am a feminist. I believe women are of the utmost value. I am a feminist. I think men are also equally of value and worth. I am a feminist. I fight for maintaining a world in which individuals are valued, respected, and necessary no matter their gender, sex, orientation, creed, color, race, hairstyle, toe quantity, etc.

Now, getting back to my pants or the lack thereof (I just really wanted to write that, indulge me): I support women no matter how they want to practice feminism, or if they don't want to claim the title at all. I chose not to wear pants to church that Sunday because, for me, it would have ultimately been  more of a fight against a subcultural set of strange, tacit wardobe norms that I wanted to challenge. I choose to practice my feminism in different ways. 

And, finally, while some Mormon feminists question it, I, personally, don't believe women need the Priesthood. Personally, I don't see a need to participate in certain decisions made in my church. When used properly and as intended, women are blessed by this faculty held by men. What I said might make some angry or frustrated, it may even make them question my "Feminist" title, it may seem confusing that I would support women's rights so fully, but not that one. Here's the deal: this is my very hashed-over opinion. I feel that I have every right to the blessings of the Priesthood as men. I feel I get those blessings equally. Do I think that, at times, the premise of this power is used improperly? Absolutely. But that is the fault of individuals and an imperfect society, not doctrine, structure or the organization of the Priesthood itself. For me, the perspective my Father in Heaven has of me and my church has of me, the feeling I've experienced in my most spiritual experiencies (whether public or private), can be found embodied in the quote at the top of this blog post. Ultimately, I'm grateful for the blessings of a Priesthood that touches my life just as much as any man's.

Thank you for indulging my need to put this down in writing. It is mostly for the daughters and sons I hope to have one day. I think I'll go take off my bra now. (Because I'm totally pro bra-removal at the end of a long day. I don't thinkt his adds to my feminist ways. I do think it adds to the quality of my evening.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Little Letters

Dear Naps,
Aside from the drool, we're cooler than Cool Whip together. Wouldn't you agree?
Love,
Sleepy McSleeperstein

Dear Reluctant Readers,
You're missing out on worlds and worlds and worlds. You're missing out on dear friends. You're missing out on discovering who you are and the kind of person you want to be and taking risks without significant consequence to get there. Oh, darlings, you are missing out.
Love,
Your book-lovin' teacher

Dear KFC,
Your biscuits (w/honey--oh my!) and mashed potatoes are the only reason I'll ever really eat you. Your chicken...not so much. I mean, what happened there?
Signed,
The Carbivore

Dear Instagram,
You're kind of my favorite app. I want more friends and folks to follow/be followed by with your li'l piece of smart phone joy. It feels like a really important goal for the new year. (Is it desperate and pitiful if I ask my blogging pals to find me or join just so we can instagram together? I don't care.)
Love,
afterword

Dear Facebook,
I feel like breaking up 75% of the time. But then I remember all the good things that have come of you and I realize I just need to train this tick of mine that makes me check you regularly into ignoring you more often. FOMO my eye!
Signed,
Enough with the political tomfoolery

Dear Puppy,
I'm sorry about the crap weather. I'm a little stir crazy too.
Love,
Your ever-smitten mama

Dear "Nubbins" the Toy Moose,
Sorry Puppy "The Teeth" Betsy has completely removed your plastic limb via a slow and gnawing torture. Your sacrifice is appreciated around here. 
Signed,
Better you than me

Dear Inversion,
I'm sick of writing to you. Go. Away. Forever.
Signed,
Dizzy and depressed from your funk

Dear Books,
What a sweet gift you are to my life. I gush about you. Did you know that? I do. I gush. I get excited when I start a good one. I feel lost and forlorn when I finish a great one (hello, reading the final word of Harry Potter 7 left me depressed for days). Going to a place filled with your spines, a library, a bookstore. These are my own little pieces of heaven. Who or what would I be without the companion you've been to me throughout my life. Methinks this little letter warrants an entire post. Wouldn't you say? So would I.
Love,
A bona fide book lover


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Perspective

After a recent class discussion, a student brought the following to me:
 
"Summary of the World"

If we could shrink the Earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people,
with all existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:
 
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans,
14 from North and South America, and 8 Africans.
 
41 would be female and 49 would be male.
 
70 would be nonwhite while 30 would be white.
 
30 would be Christians and 70 would be of other religions.
 
80 would be in substandard housing.
 
70 would be unable to read.
 
Half would suffer from malnutrition.
 
One would be near death and one would be near birth.
 
Only one would have a college education.
 
No one would own a computer.
 
Over half the entire village's wealth would be in the hands of six people,
and all six would be citizens of the United States.
 
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective,
the need for both acceptance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent. 
 
 
This is why I love teaching. Because conversations in class strike up connections and ideas and links to other learning for students. In turn, they are constantly teaching me.
 
I make a lot of jokes about "first world problems"--and the truth is that some first world problems are real and painful and every bit as difficult as anyone else's. But I appreciate moments when my spoiled American self takes a step back and realizes how very blessed and lucky I am. How rare my life of comfort is. How much my education is actually worth. I must stop and express gratitude because my life is enlightened. Full of ease. Beautiful.
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Loving the Lumineers, Outgrowing, and Other Thoughts

I'm loving the band featured above. They are right up my music-lovin' alley.

A host for a local morning radio show on the (quickly growing outdated) alternative station I once loved in my early 20's mentioned something about this lovely band the other morning on my way to work. It was a negative little quip, but it said so much to me. They were to appear on SNL that coming Saturday, and he said: "They're probably just another one of those groups with a banjo." 

I found myself bothered. I'm usually an NPR or audio-book kind of girl,but I'd forgotten my iPod and I felt like frolicking through the local stations, taking a trip to the morning show I found hilarious and enjoyable in my early college years.

And it hit me so entirely. I've grown up, grown out of a phase where I appreciate such shallow commentary on the world. I find the antics of these individuals juvenile. I've aged and matured 10 years since loving this station. Sadly, the hosts have aged as well, but not matured.


And so, a little letter announcing a permanent parting of ways:

Dear Radio from Hell

I'm sorry, but I can't visit you again. Not only is your commentary on so much of what is happening in the world misogynistic, juvenile, and misunderstood, you've also shown your true ignorance of the evolving world. Your thoughts so frequently demonstrate that you've failed to understand craft versus image, art versus spectacle, lyricism versus the cliche. Honestly, Kerry, Bill, and Gina, I find you painfully immature. I'm sticking with NPR.

Signed, 
A former listener

P.S. It bugged me then, and it bugs me now.  Gina, stand up for yourself. Own up to your own intelligence and power as a woman and thinker. You allow those two men to bully you. You remind me of Bella Swan. It is a tragic example for your female listeners. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Every Cloud...



Silver Linings Playbook

I loved everything about this movie. Everything. Sorry if you don't like F-words. (Perhaps it is teaching in a public high school that's desensitized me? Perhaps it is all those pins I've stumbled upon on Pinterest?)

I cannot say enough about how delightfully hilarious and witty I found this film. The "Hemingway" scene alone needs to be seen in its entirety. And the anti-depressant/anti-psychotic meds conversation--have mercy! If you don't "do" R-rated films, I get it. But this was one that I'm glad I watched. I wasn't offended by this one as I am by so many PG-13 movies out there that are crass, hyper-sexual, and just plain stupid. This was none of these. This is cinema well-done.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Miserably Cold


After several weeks of highs around 20, 
I'm missing summer desperately. What about you?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Nerdfighter. Me.


I may have posted my love of John Green's books, but I also dig vlogbrothers: a youtube channel started by Green and his brother, Hank. It is a world of nerdery (mostly for the young, but I'm nerdy and young at heart, right?). Even cooler for my educator self is their Crash Course series--I'm totally using the analysis of Romeo & Juliet with my 9th graders. We'll see how they fare.

DFTBA, my friends.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Just Pin It

Pinterest. Either you "get it" or you don't. I totally get it. Even still, I have some thoughts, ruminations, and questions about this addictive vortex that consumes free time I don't actually have.

1. Why would I ever, in the name of all that is good and holy, make my own cheese? I am neither dairy farmer nor cheese monger. I am a cheese buyer, a cheese consumer. I feel okay about that. The convenience of buying pre-packaged cheese that goes in the cart with the rest of my grocery items feels well worth the money. I feel my free time is valuable. I prefer not to spend my Saturday in pursuit of mozzarella.

2. To the person who pins "Fudgie-Caramel-Gooey-Delicious-Nutella-Cupcake-Snickers-Cheesecake from scratch with only 3 ingredients" next to "6 simple steps to flat abs": I hate you. Your first pin makes my mouth water for something I will never actually make or taste in this lifetime. It drives me to the kitchen where I usually settle for eating Nutella straight out of the jar with my finger. Your second pin makes me feel like a guilty, gluttonous pig-beast with the Nutella stains to prove it.

3. I have enough trouble painting my nails without looking like I stuck my fingers in the garbage disposal. I will never put that much effort into my nails. Ever. They'll chip 2 hours after the fact. I think everyone knows deep down that those insanely intricate manicures are photoshopped.

4. That awkward moment when you come across a really funny pin, but its creator misuses there/they're/their or some other spelling/grammatical debacle--like, I dunno, a poorly constructed sentence fragment filled with dependent clauses. (See previous sentence.) My heart breaks just a little. I cannot, in good conscience, re-pin it.

5. I'm not putting my salad in a jar. 
A. Most of the jars I own are the remnants of gifts from crafty people who do things like canning their own small and delicate jars of jam--jars that are far too small for a salad.
B. This seems like the worst way to ensure the salad dressing doesn't get on the majority of the salad. Furthermore, how do you get your fork down into the bottom of the jar without making a hot mess out of your hand?
C.I get it, mason jars are cute and hip and humble. But I draw the line at salad.

6. Sometimes I have an inappropriate sense of humor. Sometimes I come across a pin that connects with that inappropriate sense of humor on a "soul mates" kind of level. There are only about 3 people in this world that wouldn't judge me a heathen if I pinned these. Usually I end up emailing it to them. Or taking a picture and texting it. Because sometimes the F-word makes me laugh. Cat's outta the bag.

7. Really? Are you sure Shakespeare said that? I think you might want to at least check on the iambic pentameter. 

8. I blame Pinterest for the fact that my bed has been peed on in the night 5 times since December and for the two destroyed kitchen rugs. Pins of cute animals lead to bringing one into your home. You've been warned.

9. Let's be honest. I'm going to pin this genius idea/beauty tip/craft/home improvement idea. And then, instead of spending time actually doing it, I'm just going to get on Pinterest and pin more pins. That is the rule, right?
 
10. I have a dream wedding board. You have a dream wedding board. We all have a dream wedding board. Get over it. Most women like weddings. Whether single, actually planning a wedding, or regretting the hideous glamourous 80's spectacle of their blessed nuptials so many years ago. Yay weddings!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rookie Reviews

I've been wildly busy with books, lately. Mostly audio books. Mostly YA novels (I'm trying to beef up my recommendation abilities for my students at school). 
Here are some of note from the past few months:


Read this one for school (YA Lit is my middle name these days). It was enjoyable and contained thematic material ranging from race relations to homosexuality. Still, a lovely little book.
Review: Read it.


Do you know what I love more than this book? The audio version of this book. Seriously, if you haven't taken the time yet to read it--no matter your age, make time. If it is easier to listen than to read, I think that is an even better idea! It is one of the loveliest little books in my entire reading history. 
Review: Read it, read, it, read it!


Well written. Tragic. A dynamic and varied set of characters. Lots of F words. Even still, it tackles the socioeconomic ladder in a quaint British parish. And it dives into our own biases toward poverty. The teacher of impoverished children in me LOVED this book. The reader in me was glad I was listening instead of reading. (Bonus: Tom Hollander narrates.)
Review: Read it (with caution).


I'm a fan of Kaling's new show on Fox--The Mindy Project. So I decided to take this one for a whirl when it showed up as a sale item on my Audibles home page. I was not amused by this book. It was trite, not-so-funny, and read like your average shallow fashion magazine with attempted humor. Kaling is funny and endearing for the 30 minutes of her show interrupted by commercials. But several hours listening to her voice made me hate her. This is my least favorite on the list by far.
I still watch her show religiously.
Review: Skip it. You're welcome.


This one was several months ago, so I'm struggling to remember anything beyond the fact that I liked it. 
It was a little gem of a find on my Kindle. I hope there is a sequel out soon.
Review: Read it!


Every nerd should read this book. Every computer nerd. Every book nerd. Every puzzle nerd. I listened to it thanks to Audibles, but rumor has it the book cover glows in the dark. Glows in the dark, people! Delightful little "mystery" read. I totally give it 2 thumbs up.
Review: Read it!


My favorite read of 2012. If you haven't read it, do. Don't let the YA label deter you. It is such a beautiful, beautiful novel. I have recommended to everyone I know. I have given it as a gift to several people. I love John Green as it is, and I've loved several of his other novels. But this one. Oh. This book. Read it. 
Review: I demand you read it. Or else.


After my TFIOS high, I wanted more John Green and this was his only novel I hadn't read. I listened to it thanks to my lovely Audibles. Truth: it was hilarious. Truth: it was a bit raunchy. Truth: I'd hesitate recommending it to the vast majority of my students. Truth: I hated David Levithan's Will Grayson (the character, not so much the writing). I mean, I pitied him, yes, but I mostly hated him. Tiny is the gay bestie I've always wanted. Listening to the novel is the way to go. A great audio book. Not, at all, as gush-worthy as The Fault in Our Stars, however.
Review: Read it (with caution).


Want to know which audio narration beat out Tina Fey, John Lithgow, Rob Lowe, and Ellen DeGeneres for an Audie? Libba Bray's own rendition of her novel, Beauty Queens
It was funny. It was quirky. It was creative and delightfully surprising and snarky. 
It was filled with girl power (which I always love). 
Listening to it made the commute to and from work my favorite part of the day. I met Libba Bray while listening, which only sealed the deal. She was so gracious and kind, she signed the books for my students, and then gushed on and on about how great English teachers are and that her mother was one. 
It was kind of fantastic to get back in my car and turn her voice back on as I finished the novel.
Review: Read it! (Better yet, listen.)

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Away from Home


I spend a lot of time in the room pictured above.

It is my home away from home. I've made it my own space with a lot of dedication and TLC and a highly flammable amount of paper (there are trees upon trees upon trees in this room). The western wall is a bank of windows looking down on the valley and city below. Shakespeare looks down on us from his large and stately frame on the wall. My little office is covered in art and color and things that I love. There are quotes and thoughts posted throughout the room.

"You miss all the shots you don't take."
"We read to know we are not alone."
"A word / after a word / after a word / is power."
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams."
"Embrace confusion. Confusion is where learning happens."
"Learning is hard. Embrace the suck." (A class motto I say a lot to the kids.)

 The outside of the door is posted with large stickers from the dollar store: "Come in. Learn."

I hope that is what my students feel upon entering. That this is a space of learning. Not to merely earn grades or complain or suffer from boredom or bully one another out of our own insecurities. I wanted to create my own dream room for learning and creativity and a celebration of knowledge and literature and writing and reading.

I love this room. For me, it is a place where I get to witness the everyday magic of learning.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Five Funny Femmes

Let's just celebrate some kick-A$$ women of comedy for a moment, shall we?


Rebel Wilson. Lesbe-honest: I love you so hard. The end.


Amy & Tina rocked the Globes, first off. But after splitting with Will Arnett recently, can we just say how smokin' Ms. Poehler was last night! Furthermore, what newly single gal wouldn't canoodle with Clooney if given the opportunity? Atta girl, Amy. Atta-freakin-girl!


And speaking of Tina...


Dear Melissa McCarthy, can we hang out? Please?

This woman. Kristen Wiig. Is. A. Genius.
When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do is watch this:



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Letters

Dear Snow,
Enough already. We get it. You're really good at transforming from water into intricate patterns of delight and ice that fall from the sky. Blah, blah, blah. I can touch my toes and write a mean literary analysis essay. But I know when to say "when".

Dear Puppy,
Socks and slippers are not toys. Nor are my toes. And rugs are definitely off the play-time table. Also, your obsession with my unmentionables in the laundry basket is downright disgusting. Good thing you're stinkin' adorable. Stinkin'.

Dear Bestie,
Remember how you brought me my favorite kind of muffin home from the grocery store in the middle of a snow storm without me even asking? I always will because you are rad beyond measure and truly value my deep appreciation for pastries. This is one of the many things that has kept us friends for-evah.

Dear Audibles,
You complete me. Since joining I've "read" more books so far this school year than in all my past 6 years of teaching combined. I only regret not joining years ago.

Dear Music,
Sorry you've been neglected of late. Audiobooks have taken over the space you once filled.

Dear Readers of this Blog,
I am so very sorry for sucking. Please come back. Occasionally.

Dear Occasionally, 
Your correct spelling perpetually evades me. And I'm the kind of girl who knows how to correctly spell diarrhea, pneumonia, mnemonic, and definitely without assistance. What gives, occasion, occasionally, and occasional? What gives?

Dear Facebook,
Mostly, I find you painfully dull. But it is an obsessive sort of dull. You're like a bad boyfriend who gives me the occasional thrill and so I keep coming back for more. Only to be reminded how very dull the relationship is.

Dear Instagram,
I like you so much more than Facebook. Wanna grab lunch sometime?

Dear Primary Kids,
Thank you for making the first two hours of church fly by. You are funny and delightful. I also enjoy the many conversations about owies and favorite colors. Colors and owies are important stuff.

Dear Nap Time,
2 Legit 2 Quit. That's you. Through and through. Except when you come late in the afternoon thereby encouraging my night owl-ery. Legit not-so-much at 7 pm, nap time.