Friday, May 29, 2015

The Last Ride - Hiatus #8

Here we are at Friday again.  I'm not limping anymore.  I'm solidifying relationships, celebrating accomplishments, hugging (which I don't enjoy that much, to tell the truth), and planning for next year.  Yesterday, I gave an impassioned speech to my D period class about how we should have year-round school.  Some of them stopped giving me the stink eye when I mentioned a month-long break in June.  

"Hmmm," said Dane.

"No summer back-slide!" I said, flailing my arms.

"I'm not sure," said Dane.

"Look," I said.  "Can you promise me you'll read a book per week this summer?  If you can promise that, we don't have to have year-round school."

For two seconds, I think poor little Dane might have imagined that I actually have the power to make him sit in Room 111 on June 4th.  I don't, Dane.  I don't.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Status Report - Hiatus #7

Narrative Comments: I've started.  That's good right?  Some is better than none?  I even have a system where I printed out my Semester 1 comments and read them before I write Semester 2.

Violin: Lesson tonight.  Vivaldi G Minor.  Not so easy for adult beginner violinists, IMO. Quite difficult.  Slow going.

Coffee: Never enough coffee.  Never enough.  Never.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#TwinTuesday - Hiatus #6

Today it's Spiral + Star Wars character.  Lee has Chewie.  I have R2-D2.  And there you have it.

Here's something else: It's possible to underestimate the difficulty of learning a Vivaldi concerto as an adult beginner violinist.  The whole family requested extra doors today.  To insulate themselves from the noise of my practice.

Still, I soldiered on.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blog Pals - Hiatus Post #5

Went out last night with blog sisters mm and Slapdash.  It's loads of fun to gather together with others of my kind and discuss the ins and outs of publishing our work on the internet.  Of course, I'm currently on the OUTS of that cycle, but after thinking and discussing my predicament with many amenable peeps, including the sisters, I've decided to put the blog back online when school gets out.  Everyone thinks this is a good idea.

In the meantime, I'm finishing out the school year.  It's a time of emotional ups and downs.  Every year, I think I would do better in a year-round school with more steady demands.  But, I'd never leave my school, which is the greatest school in the world, pretty much.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Status Report - Hiatus Post #4

Hair: It's totally not cooperating these days.  First, I got it colored, and it turned out too blonde.  Second, the texture seems weird.  Third, I have psoriasis of the scalp.

School: I'm obsessed with readers' workshop.  I've fiddled with independent reading forever as a teacher.  The best I ever did it was in 2001, when I had this amazing librarian and block scheduling.  I'd give an entire hour, sometimes more, to independent reading every week in class.  The librarian, Mary Jo, would help me make personalized recommendations.  She ordered mini-books for me to use with kids who were reading way below grade level.  I kept a whole carton of them in my classroom.  High interest stuff appropriate for 8th graders, but written at the 3rd and 4th grade reading level.  They were like gateway drugs - read the mini-book successfully, and you want more books.  I knew everyone was reading.  Since then, it's been harder with high school kids and then a middle school schedule that only allows for 200 minutes of literacy instruction per week.  But, now I'm back on the "can do" train and reading tons of books about how other cool teachers make this possible.  It's happening, people.  We're reading a bazillion books in 2015-16.

Lacrosse: The kids play it, I enjoy watching.  It's quite violent.  I find myself on the sidelines yelling, "Whack him!"  Is that healthy?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hiatus Post #3

I've made a firm decision to put the blog back when school gets out.  So, that feels good. The hiatus will only be about 3 weeks long.  Like Mac in his boot!  He's back to running free now.  I'll be back to writing free in no time flat.

In the meantime, I am LIMPING! Limping! To the finish line. Remember when I said I was trucking?  I was doing super well until Monday, and then I was like... doing a slow motion collapse.  I was pretty hard on myself about my demise until I realized that the quarter actually ends on Friday, and we have a total of about 3-4 hours left with each class.  We're really at the end, so I might as well limp.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#TwinTuesday - Hiatus Style

Here we have a sponge and some beans.  Or rather, it's a canned vegetable.  And, of course, that matches Lee's pic at A Little Leeway.  Is it odd to be writing Hiatus Twin Tuesday?  Yes it is. If you take a #TwinTuesday and only half is, like, published, is that really a #TwinTuesday?

In other news, Robin pointed out the problem yesterday.  It was one of those days where I looked in the mirror, and I was like, Wow.  This is really the best I could do today.  So, I wasn't looking great.  And, there we are in team meeting seriously discussing a cumulative project for our Peace and Security unit, and suddenly, she was like, "Team, we have six full days left."  Here we are acting like we have a month.  

It's true.  We're just trucking along with high expectations for ourselves and others when we should be limping along.  Okay, so I am limping along on the inside.  And maybe the outside.  But, I'm acting like I'm trucking.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hiatus Post 1

Although the blog is on hiatus, I decided that I'm just going to continue writing posts.  Why not?  I'm imagining all (five) of my faithful readers enjoying this post some months in the future, and I'm feeling really glad about that.

Are you enjoying it?

Okay, so, I'm reading a book that I think I might not be smart enough to understand.  The book's called Boy, Snow, Bird.  It's super confusing with little seeming dream sequences that might or not supposed to be real.

In order to figure some things out, I just googled the book.  Turns out it's supposed to be a riff on Snow White.  So, immediately, the book starts to make a little more sense.  I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't figure this out, as a key character is actually NAMED Snow.

I might be losing my English-teacher touch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Today is a dream come true.  I've been dying to feature a shoe on #TwinTuesday, and today is finally the day.  Shoe and CHARGER, as it turns out.  I like how the charger looks a bit like the laces.  I especially like how Lee's charger is dropping in from outer space.  Basically, I'm thrilled with this pairing.

Go, #TwinTuesday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Middle of a Dream

I'm heading in for a May Monday, and I'm sure it will be fine once I get there.

In the meantime, Sunday was nice, what with the Mother's Day festivities my family planned and a nice call with my own mother, who seems to be on her way home from Arizona.

Last night, it occurred to me that I'd be a lot more psyched for this Monday if it were the premiere of the worst show on television, The Bachelorette.  Unfortunately, that's NEXT Monday.  Better late than never, I guess.

In the meantime, I'm posing a little blog challenge for myself to power through the end of the school year.  It's called Teacher Secrets.  Anything "behind the scenesy" from school.  Three entries per week until we no longer have to report. Who's in?

Sunday, May 10, 2015


"You're all so crabby," Dan announced earlier this week.  It's true: school is winding down, and it's time for summer.  In the meantime, it's time for a little #NovelSnip, a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  I have to get serious pretty soon about making some more progress.  Until then, here's this:

Later that evening, the phone rang.  Susan answered it.  “May I ask who’s calling?”  Norah heard her say, from where she was working a jigsaw puzzle with Maggie on the metallic coffee table.  “Just a moment,” Susan said, her voice low.  She peered around the wall.  “It’s for you,” she said to Norah, a trace of a smile flitting in her right cheek.  Norah raised her eyebrows.  

“Who is it?” she asked, not daring to hope.

“Someone named Peter,” Susan said meaningfully.  “From Appleton.”

Norah couldn’t help herself.  She grinned.  “Hang on, Maggie,” she said, pushing herself to standing.  She brushed past Susan and into the kitchen, feverishly picking up the handset.  “Peter?” she said, the excitement plain in her voice.  “Hang on,” she continued.  “I’m going to run upstairs.”  She put the phone down and spun to face Susan.  “Hang this up for me in a minute, Mom?” she asked.  

“Sure,” Susan said, and she would, after surreptitiously listening to the first few seconds of their fluttery call, thrill trailing from both of their voices.

Done.  Phew.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Status Report

Reading: I'm on a roll. Another A+ came in El Deafo. It's a perfect graphic memoir for kids about the author's experiences of being deaf in elementary and middle school.  I couldn't put it down, and then I gave it right to Shef.  He finished it in two days.  You should probably get it.

School: It's fine and all, but the magic number is currently 18.  I hate to tell you what it means.  I think you probably know.

Okay, 18 is the number of days left until Summer Break.  Teachers count down, too.  AND, guess what?

4 of those are half-days.

Fashion: I'm wearing a jumpsuit today.  You know those are in, right? I'm only slightly worried that mine looks like pajamas.  We'll see what Dan says when he comes down.  Not that I take total stock in his fashion opinions.  Jumpsuits forever!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


#TwinTuesday!  Fork and Dropper!  It's unexpected to the max.  When were were planning the post and I sent a test shot to Lee, she was like, "What the hell is that?"  I was supposed to be photographing a FORK, after all, next to the eye dropper.  

"It's a cheese fork," I explained.  "Duh."

And so it is.

In other news, Mac has a broken foot.  I lose Mother of the Year because I made him walk around on it for two days instead of taking him to see a medical professional.  In my defense, it's hard to tell with that kid what's real and what's drama.  But, I do regret my course of action at this juncture.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  I thought about not posting anything this week.  A lot of the speed writing from my April push (I did well - doubled the length of the project - even though I didn't come close to the goal of writing 500 words per day), needs a serious once over before posting here.  But, that's not the spirit of #NovelSnip.  #NovelSnip is about process, not product.  It's about progress, not perfection.  So, here's a little scene where Norah chats with Peter, who will become a long-term boyfriend, at the music festival Ellen convinces her to attend:

An hour later, the girls of 3MM had furtively passed around a hastily-rolled joint.  When it was her turn, Norah took it from Ellen, trying to appear nonchalant.  She had, after all, smoked several cigarettes with Tom, her senior year boyfriend, sitting on various parking lot curbs in the dark after the Tigers’ football and basketball games.  How different could it be?

The smoke burned her throat.  She held it in and tried not to cough.  Ellen giggled.  “Looking good, kiddo,” she said.

After she’d passed the joint to Julie, she lay back on the grass and reached her hand out for Ellen’s, squeezing it.  “You were right,” she said.  “This is fun.”  She closed her eyes and stretched her arms on either side.  When she opened them, Peter from the track was standing over her, his feet directly behind her head.  It took Norah a moment to orient herself to his upside-down face.  

He smiled at her.  “Hi,” he said.

“Hello,” she said, her voice low and slightly thick.

“This is my friend, Jim.”  Norah rolled her eyes toward a second upside-down face.  

“Hello,” she repeated.  

“Join us,” Ellen suddenly called.  Norah pushed herself to sitting.  She tousled the back of her hair and made space between herself and Ellen for the boys.

“Here,” she said, patting the ground between them.  “You can sit right here.”  Peter sat down close enough that his left hip brushed against Norah’s when he gestured toward the band, his arm sometimes bumping hers.  Norah felt a blush stirring in her chest and traveling up her neck.
So, that's a little bit!  Keeping things going.  Trying my best.

Friday, May 1, 2015

All that Cake

It occurred to me yesterday as Paula and I were traversing a quick, 25-minute loop at a good clip, that perhaps I should run a fall marathon next year.

Just like that, I think, "Hey, maybe I should run a fall marathon," and all of a sudden I'm googling options and planning the training.  And why not make it a trail marathon?  Yeah, how about a fall trail marathon in Minnesota or Wisconsin?  With beautiful fall colors?

Never mind that I haven't run more than 7 miles at once since, like, last fall.  Whatever.  Maybe I should start training for a marathon right away!  Let's do this!  Or not.  I'm not sure.