I’m missing books

In recent years, I’ve flown through books, but this school year, I feel like I’m trudging through.  It’s not for a lack of amazing books; it’s for a lack of time (I know that sounds like an excuse) or maybe I should say that it’s so that I don’t have a lack of sleep.  In years past, I would read late into the night sacrificing sleep; I just can’t do that anymore.  I’m reading an amazing book right now, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  I need to take my own advice to my students and commit time everyday to finish because it’s taking me too long.  I have three people that I’ve already recommended the book to, so I really need to finish.  I still haven’t started Requiem by Lauren Oliver, and I’ve had that book for two weeks!

I had to chuckle to myself about my title of this post because it has a double meaning.  Any current or former student of mine knows that I’m very protective of my classroom library books.  I love my books, and I want all of my books to come home.  I even have a “curse on book thieves” that I found in Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, which I read ultra-dramatically at the beginning of the school year to get my point across.  Each of my books is lovingly marked and covered in contact paper for protection.  I tell my students that my superpower is being able to point out a book on my shelf from across my classroom or knowing the author of a book if given the title or vice versa.  At the end of each school year, I start to get a little panicky that I’ll lose a lot of books, but I have to keep the faith that my books will come home (or that they’ll find a better home).

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Procrastination

I guess now is a good time to talk about procrastination.

I have a fortune cookie fortune from a recent Chinese meal posted on my computer.  It reads: “Procrastination is the fear of success.”  I wonder if this is true for me.  In some ways it has been.  Putting off different “grown-up” decisions like retirement savings and financial planning have definitely been because of fear, and they definitely lead to success.  Sometimes it’s the size of the task that is so daunting to me that I get afraid like the fact that I still have A LOT of stuff stored at my parents’ house; I can’t even begin to imagine sorting through that.

I like thinking (convincing myself more like it) that I function better under pressure.  Each time I collect a writing assignment from my classes, I tell myself, “Ten a day.” And each and every time, I go for days not looking at a single assignment.  It’s amazing how many papers I can grade in the last three days before midterm grades are due!  I feel like a hypocrite for griping at a student for not finishing an assignment “on time” when I struggle with time management everyday.  I have had some success in making self-improvements, but I get overwhelmed with how many things I could improve.

Fun Story though: Procrastination got me a date in college.  In my nerdy (this is a positive adjective), Latin-loving way, I explained to a guy the Latin background of “procrastination”. He’d just come back from a study abroad in England and shared that he had to define procrastination to his fellow classmates.  Here’s the lesson:  Pro = for and Cras = tomorrow, so procrastination literally means “for tomorrow”.

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Being Creative

I was thinking today about the many ways I enjoy being creative. One area that I am growing in is cooking. I love making something yummy (hopefully) from many ingredients. I’m still a recipe-follower. I’ve trouble not listening out of fear. I’m getting better though. There have been a few times in recent months where I’ve substituted or added to a recipe, and whether successful or not, I like the risk.

A few months ago, my boyfriend asked me to make him a pumpkin bisque (which is true love because I hate bisque – I need something to chew on or I feel like I’m eating baby food). The recipe was a bit daunting to me though because of its huge warning to be cautious when blending the very hot liquid because the pressure could build causing the lid to blow off. I told him that if he came over for dinner that night and I was passed out in a pool of pumpkin bisque, please call an ambulance (and wait to eat the bisque until I was gone). I survived the blender & a bowl of bisque!

Tonight I’ve also been painstakingly working on my sister’s bridal shower decorations and favors. It involves découpage! I love doing it, not just for my sister, but again because I like the challenge and creativity of it. I searched Pinterest and Etsy for ideas and tweaked them to work for my sister. Here’s what I have so far:

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My sister shares my love of literature, so it’s a story theme. Looking forward to Saturday!

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More happy moments!

I can’t believe it!!! I forgot to post yesterday!!! I even knew what I was going to write about; I just completely forgot.

Last night I went to the high school musical in my school district. I’ve been going for the last few years, and I plan to keep doing it. I love seeing how my former students have grown and matured! I love seeing their talents! Each year I get a little teary-eyed; I’m so impressed! I’m so proud of them all, and I’m convinced each year that they will be amazing adults, that they are amazing people!

Not exactly the well-written post that I had imagined writing yesterday, but it still gets my point across.

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Saying goodbye

Tonight was my friend’s going away party. There were no tears tonight because she’s not leaving for 2 more weeks.

The card I bought her says, “There are many ways to say goodbye…” and the inside says, “but they all suck!” It’s true; there really isn’t a good way to say goodbye. I go into a state of denial where I try to trick myself into believing that I won’t have to say goodbye, that things won’t really change. I know better this time because my friend’s moving to the other side of the country (on a positive side, she will return several times a year for her sons to visit their dad), but change is inevitable. My second way of preparing is to pull away, to experience what life will be like after my friend is gone. This is definitely not the best method because it creates confusion in the friendship, but I can’t help it – it’s my defense mechanism. In the next two weeks I’m going to try to be the best friend that I can be – maybe we can fit in one more trip to the antiques mall.

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Surrounding myself

After yesterday’s post, I wanted to make it clear that I work with an amazing group of people, and I don’t want to take credit for something that one of my talented co-workers set up for all of us.

I was thinking about this tonight after re-teaching my students the concept of character foils. We were talking about how, many times, we learn more about ourselves and other people in our differences than in our similarities. I shared with my students one of my personal foils – my college roommate, and now friend, Janet. From our differences, I learned that I had to be more patient with people and that I had to learn to accept other people’s differences. My students had to brainstorm their “foils” and think about what they’ve learned.

This is a lesson that I need to continue learning. Sometimes (okay, most times) I’m easily frustrated by people who challenge me. Collaboration can be tricky but incredibly rewarding when it works. When I really think about it, I’m glad I’m not surrounded by people who are identical to me. I wouldn’t grow professionally, emotionally, or spiritually if I were.

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I hope they remember

Today was one of those days when I got to share an experience with my students that I hope they remember for a long time. Today we skyped with author Marcus Sedgwick. He’s the author of Revolver, a 2012 Printz Honor Book, and a whole-class novel we just finished last week.

My students loved his British accent, and all of the nuances that go with it. They loved having him answer their questions. One of my classes in particular had a question that could have been taken as an insult; together we reworded it, but Sedgwick’s response was still priceless: “Well, I wrote the book, so I could do whatever I wanted!” We all laughed at that!

I loved that he was prepared for us. He shared his brainstorming strategy with us and his beginning character development. He talked to us about his “research” for the novel.

I loved sharing the experience with the entire eighth grade and connecting with someone on the other side of the ocean.

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