Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weekend Writing Workshop

I had the most fun this past weekend:  I spent eight hours writing with Angela Davis-Gardner and six other budding writers at a friend's home.  My friend is sponsoring weekend writing workshops in her home with some of the best North Carolina writers.  The published writers provide writing prompts and exercises, guiding us, the students, in our endeavors.

In this particular workshop, we talked about fairy tales and myths.  Each person was to pick a favorite fairy tale or myth, one that spoke to her, and develop it into either a retelling of the old story or a modernized version of the story.  It was such fun listening to each person talk about their fairy tale and why they had chosen it, and then to see the incredible writing that came out of the exercises that we did.

I chose the story of Snow White for my fairy tale.  I knew that I wanted to set the story in the present, to modernize it, but I had no idea where it would end up.  I like where it's going so far, and I hope to finish it soon and share it in some form.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

100 Books in 2013: Pearls of Wisdumb

Book 5: Pearls of Wisdumb: The Electric Verse and Shocking Scribbles of Mozz

This book of poetry for intermediate grades is very much like Shel Silverstein -- lots of cute, silly, wonderful, obnoxious short and long poems with funny accompanying illustrations.  I enjoyed reading a poetry book for a change.

Friday, February 22, 2013

100 Books in 2013: Grounded

Book 4:  Grounded by Kate Klise

The only reason that Daralyn is still alive is because she was grounded the day her father, brother, and sister went up in their dad's plane and then crashed and died.  Her mother is angry at everyone, her grandmother is reverting to childlike behavior, her aunt continues to be dramatic and showy, and her uncle has moved in next door, eyeing her mother.  But it's the arrival of a stranger in town and his enthusiasm to bring the town new services that brings everyone together, even when Daralyn figures out that something fishy is happening in her town.  I enjoyed this coming of age quick read.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Librarian's Serenity Prayer

From the great Alice Yucht -

"Grant me the serenity to delegate tasks as necessary, the courage to concentrate on what's important, and the wisdom to know when to go home."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

At the Bank

I rarely go into banks these days.  With direct deposit and online banking and ATM machines, it's rare to have to actually visit the bank. But on those few occasions that I need to cash a check or take care of a transaction either inside the bank or at the drive up outside the bank, I want the experience to be fast and efficient.

On a recent visit to my local branch, I only needed to have a check deposited.  I didn't even need any cash back, but I did want my receipt as proof of my deposit.  I pulled up to the outside window, exchanged pleasantries with the inside teller, and put my paperwork into the plastic tube.  I watched it sail up and over and into the bank where the teller deftly handled my transaction. 

As he sent the plastic tube containing my receipt back to me, he thanked me and asked if there was anything else he could do for me.  I politely said no thank you and proceeded to retrieve my receipt.  Well, he started in on the latest bank program, asking me if I had online banking or if I'd like to open up an IRA and telling me about other programs available through the bank.  Was I interested in applying, signing up, filling out the paperwork?

I was a little dumbfounded that the teller was actually soliciting someone in the drive up!  Really?!  Did he expect me to listen to his spiel, agree to whatever the bank was selling, and then complete the paperwork through the plastic tube while sitting in my car?  I just found it extremely odd to be solicited at the drive upand it sort struck a nerve with me.  The whole idea of the drive up is for that fast and efficient experience, not to be hit up about new programs, new products, a sales pitch.

Anybody else find solicitation at the bank drive up window a little much?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

100 Books in 2013: Notes from the Midnight Driver

Book 3:  Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

I really liked the story of Alex who is having to do community service in a nursing home for drinking and driving under age.  His assignment is working with cantankerous old man, who in the end turns out to teach Alex a thing or two about life and relationships.  I really liked Alex's just a friend, Laurie, and loved the fact that Stephen and Annette from Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie show up in this novel.  Nice read!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Get Over It!

My recent revelations and epiphanies:

I'm never going to have a clean house.

I'm never going to get a solid eight hours of sleep.

I'm never going to be model thin.

I'm never going to be filthy rich.

I'm never going to read 100 books in a year.


I am going to have a comfy, livable home.

I am going to rest and relax and enjoy time snuggling with the family.

I am going to be healthy and happy and a role model for my daughter.

I am going to be frugal and thrifty and provide for our basic needs.

I am going to keep reading and reading and reading so that I can share all the great stories out there with my family, friends and students.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

100 Books in 2013: The Second Life of Abigail Walker

Book 2:  The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell

The beginning of this book just really didn't hook me, but I was determined to stick with it because I have enjoyed all of Frances O'Roark Dowell's books that I have read.  So it took me three or four chapters before I really got into the story of Abby, who tries to stay out of the popular girls' line of fire and her parents' constant nagging about her weight.  Only when she discovers the family on the other side of the creek does she realize what makes life important and she accepts herself and gains confidence.

Another good one by Dowell, if you can get past the first few chapters to eventually understand the whole thing with the fox.

Friday, February 15, 2013

100 Books in 2013: The One and Only Ivan

Book 1: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This book got a lot of hype through the year, so I had it pulled pretty early on to read.  But for some reason, it just kept staring at me from the pile and I never really made my way into it.  When it was named the 2013 Newbery winner, I knew that I definitely had to read it now.  So two nights after the recognition was bestowed upon Ivan, I read his story.  It was a nice, heartwarming story of a gorilla, Ivan, in a mall zoo and his companions - both animals and humans - and where he ends up.  It was a story about stories, perseverance, heart, caring, love.  It was a nice story.

But I still think Wonder by R.J. Palacio should have won the Newbery.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas Vacation

At some point, I realized that I had twelve days of vacation (that was including weekends) and I had been posting my activities as my Facebook status.

I always have high hopes for breaks: books to read, closets to clean, shopping to do, folks to visit. But my husband reminds me to relax, no need to plan. (How we are both Capricorns is beyond me?!) Doesn't he know that the need to feel productive outweighs the need to relax?

So during my twelve days of Christmas vacation, here's what I accomplished, (and much of it was relaxing, dear):
  • Gingerbread houses - both edible and non-edible - with my daughter.
  • Lunch with a friend. It was so nice to catch up with folks we hadn't seen in awhile and to enjoy yummy southwestern food.
  • Last minute stocking stuffer shopping - The Dollar Store rocks!
  • Laundry! So I did have to catch up on the dirty clothes that were piling up.
  • Traveling to his side of the family which involved lunch at the cafeteria (a favorite spot for Grandma Sarah) and watching the delight on our daughter's face as she opened her Barbie Dream House (thank you, Nana and Gaga)
  • Visiting with my family at our home, so they could see all that Santa brought
  • Celebrating our birthdays (mine and hubby's)
  • Attending Christmas eve services, reminding me of my childhood church
  • Enjoying girls' night out at a favorite restaurant, Gravy - yummy!
  • Organizing my clothes closet
  • Playing board games with the neighbors to ring in the new year
  • Eating black eyed peas with ham for good luck
Overall, a wonderful twelve days!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Answering Your Texts: Minding Your Manners

Recently I've been struggling with the idea that an answered text is just like a non-returned phone call.  If I text you a question, then I expect a response. Is that too much to ask?

I certainly don't expect it right away, but within twenty fours I hope you have returned my communication, be that by text, voice, email, whatever.

A few weeks ago I texted three friends about getting together.  No answer.  After two days, I decided to Facebook message them and added this note:  Since I didn't hear from you via text, I'll assume that you are either 1) way too busy to respond, 2) just plain unresponsive, or 3) ignoring me.

While it mind sound as if my feelings were hurt, they really weren't.  I'm much more concerned with manners than feelings at this point, and it's just plain good manners to return your communications, isn't it?

Monday, February 11, 2013

100 Books in 2013

A new year means a new pile of books to read.  For the past few years, I've attempted to read 100 books in a year. That's only two books a week, a very attainable goal for a woman who used to be a voracious reader. 

So many things seem to be time suckers for me now, but I'm still committed to attempting to read 100 books in a year!  Last year I managed to record 31 books that I read.  I'm sure that I read a few others that just didn't make it to the blog or on the Goodreads list.

So happy new year and happy reading!  Send recommendations!