Thursday, October 30, 2008


My creative writing class and I are going to be participating in a program called National Novel Writing Month, or fondly referred to as NaNoWriMo.  It is an online program that provides the support and motivation to people like me who keep saying someday to get just in gear and write. My students are participating  in the Young Writer's Program where they get to set their own goals.  I'm challenging them to try at least 10,000 but feel that there are many who can set theirs at 20,000 or more.  I'm also giving extra credit to those who can write more than me.  

How many words did I commit to?  50,000.  That is the number that an adult needs to do to "win".  Here are the series of thoughts I've gone through since I committed to doing this.  

This will be amazing!  I've wanted the chance to write for a while and this is it!

Wait, I have a full time job, three kids, Enoch's birthday, Halloween, football playoffs, when am I going to do this?

I'm a semi-organized person.  I can do this.  It will be good practice for when I start my Master's in January.

What the hell were you thinking?  You can't even get laundry done and now you are going to try to write a book?

What a great example this will be for my students to see me write and struggle along with them.  This is great.

Plot!  Characters!  Setting!  and you wrote your goal in Sharpie!  Sharpie's don't erase!

I still have two days to finalize the ideas before I start to write.  I still have two more days.

I only have TWO MORE DAYS!!!  I AM A MORON!!!

(serenity now, serenity now, serenity now...)

The lovely little calendar in the upper part will show the days that I did really good at writing and the ones I didn't do anywhere near what I wanted.  I'm posting this so others know, will keep me accountable and maybe I can pull this off.  

I now dive head first into my self-created insanity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


(If you have been following this blog at all, you will realize that I just had a five day break from school, therefore I have had lots of time to get lots of reading in... YEAH!!!)

This is the final book by Ally Condie.  I found them to be fun, when I wasn't reading them I was wondering what was going to happen to the characters, who would end up with whom, would Sam really go on his mission, what was going to happen to Cate (incidently I love the girl names starting with a C - reminds me of my Catie), would Addie warm up to people in general and not turn into a hate the world teenager, etc.

I am glad that I bought these books (even though I didn't get them all signed when Ally was here and I saw her at two different points over one weekend - definitely going to have to catch her next time she's down) because I know these are going to be great to go back to and read again sometime in the future, but I also have great confidence that my girls are going to love reading them.  Will may too, but probably not.  They are a little more chick-ish, but then again, so are the Twilight books, and I know men who get into them.  We will have to see on that one.

The characters stay true and are still real.  I do wish that I could have seen more about Mikey and her growth and development because I really like her.  I liked the difficulty the characters went through in making their decisions, and LOVED the last two pages.  That is hands down the best reunion ever.  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

First Day

This is the second book in Condie's trilogy, and it continues to follow Andrea and Ethan Beckett primarily, with the added individuals who impact their lives. It is definitely a romance type book, which isn't what I typically read, but I found myself enjoying my time reading and wondering what was going to happen to the characters.

I liked the coming of age process Ethan went through, not just baptizing millions (I just had an image of that scene in Saturday's Warrior when whoever that character is talks about the way he is going to change the world because he is going to baptize something like a whole new stake's worth of people, but then struggles - similar to Ethan but different struggle...kindof), struggling with the language, wanting to be the best, but just trying to understand the people and how to connect, etc.

I find myself relating in many, many ways to Andrea. Having had the title of Ice Queen among a few people in college, because I didn't take the time to sit and visit - I had things to do. It still comes out in me, and that is probably why I find her so endearing. Things don't work out for her according to her very well considered plans. Some of the changes are natural, a simple part of college and the realization of who and what she is, and others hurt because they are unexpected and impossible to expect.

This book definitely had a more romantic element to it than Yearbook but it was fun to see that Condie is still letting her characters go through the universal experiences, even the ones that aren't always the best, so they can grow up and maintain the realism. Again, they are fun reads and help with some little trips down memory lane.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Happened, What's Coming, How to Prepare

Some of you may or may not know that I am a HUGE fan of Glenn Beck. I like that he doesn't have the arrogance of Rush Limbaugh, who I can only stand to listen to for about 10 minutes at a time and he doesn't end every argument with someone who disagrees by calling him a dope, with the highly intelligent sound bites of Homer Simpson interjected whenever or feel like he knows Americans so well, he can just call everyone "my friend" like Sean Hannity (and incidentally John McCain,). True, he shares the same values and faith that I do, but I find him relatable, intelligent and firmly grounded with a belief of what is wrong and what is right. Period. Regardless of what little letter someone has in parentheses after his/her name, or what color they think their state should be.

He recently wrote three letters to his family members talking about our current state of affairs in this country. He is honest, upfront, informed and caring. I just read these - found them to be just the answers to the questions I had and thought I should share. You can probably read all three in just over ten minutes unless you follow all the links, but I really think you will enjoy them.

Click here to find out what happened

Click here to what's coming

And finally, click here to see what I can do to prepare

I think you will find it worth your time and help maintain a little peace of mind (more coming on that in a bit...)


Friday, October 10, 2008


This is the first of five books now published by my friend Ally. I bought a couple of them a few weeks ago when I saw that she had been published during one of my "I'm not going to buy anything in Deseret Book trip" (I'm about 50% by the way) and was both thrilled and a bit envious that she has accomplished this. Then I found out that it was about high school students and figured it would be a fun trip down memory lane. What I ended up finding out though was that this was a really great book to read.

This is the story of a handful of high school students, some of the LDS faith, others not, a couple teachers and a principal and how all their lives tie in together and lessons learned along the way. I found the characters to be very real without being "Molly Mormon" or the obvious lost soul who just needs to be baptized to turn his/her life around. I liked the telling from the different character's points of view. I liked that I saw a few of my friends in the characters - but I think that is part of the appeal because everyone has someone from high school who was just the way that one of these characters is portrayed. I see it in every grade that I teach - the girls who are Mikey's, the boys who are Dave's. They are universal, which is what I think makes the book so much fun to read and the plot so believeable.

I have her next book in the trilogy, First Day, and plan on reading it soon. I may have to drop some not so subtle hints to get Reunion for Christmas or something.

If you are interested in a fun and uplifting book, especially enjoyable after a bad/long day, this is the book for you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Raven

I'm so excited. I just got this tshirt today and yes, I'm fully aware that I'm acknowledging my own nerdiness, but that's okay, I think it's freakin' awesome! If you feel like embracing your inner Poe, you can get this shirt here

I felt that to really share my joy, I'd write a bit of a parody for Poe...(yes, I'm nuts, that's already been established. If you have any doubt, ask Enoch)

And so I sit here typing out, very glad I don't have gout
Watching Will set up a game to make his spelling not so lame
Ellie has a runny nose, mine's coming soon I do suppose
I got a new tshirt today, I feel so glad I've got to say
While I may seem a little weird, it's Poe - not me - who's to be feared
He wrote about a pit, a heart, how those of Usher fell apart
He was crazy in the head, no worries now - he is dead
Writing this shows I'm a nerd; but I know I've never heard
A raven above my entry door, calling out the name Lenore
Reading this may have been a chore, but I shall write it nevermore.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

I found this book, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich: and other stories you’re sure to like, because they’re all about monsters, and some of them are also about food. You like food don’t you? Well, all right then. by Adam Rex. (yup, full title) glanced through the few pages viewable (is that a word?) on Amazon and decided that I just had to have it.

When it arrived, I thought it would be a fun book to sit down with the kids and read, but they saw what was on Frankestein's sandwich and thought it was gross, so at the moment it is in my classroom. I just read several of the stories to my Creative Writing class when we were writing villain character sketches.

I think this is hilarious, and probably not as much a children's children's book as an adult's children's book. For instance, there is the story about the Invisible man needing a hair cut, Dracula getting spinach stuck in his teeth and the Phantom of the Opera gets "It's a Small World" or "Pop Goes the Weasel" or "B-I-N-G-O" stuck in his head.
I highly recommend this book - the illustrations are phenomenal and the idea brilliant.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Taking a break before the busyness

I had a great night last night.   Danna (fellow teacher) and I went to St. George without any kids and just went shopping for a while.  It was so much fun to get away from my busy schedule for just a little while and just walk around some stores.  I found two cute sweaters for a decent price, some jeans for my girls for Christmas and a couple of things from Costco.  Mainly, I just enjoyed the time to spend with a friend without having a gigantic to do list.

Now for the busyness that is heading my way.  This weekend, I plan on getting the rest of my grades caught up, getting my laundry caught up, writing a start draft for the Christmas program so I can get it approved by the bishop, prepping for the next couple of weeks, etc.  

I'm going to a book signing tonight for a great friend from high school (Allyson Condie) who has published four books - the most recent is Freshman for President.  There is another CHS football game tonight, and I'm hoping beyond hope for a win, but Pine View is HUGE.

I have promised the girls that we are going to make cookies and breadsticks soon, so I will probably do that tomorrow - we are supposed to get some cold weather and it sounds really good to eat homemade soup and homemade breadsticks.  And best of all, my girls can help.  

My father-in-law has a bunch of peaches on his tree that I'm going to try my hand at drying - moments of work followed by hours of drying.  I think they will be good.

Finally, I have just finished looking into my status for getting my Master's and have realized that I'm just five classes away from getting my Master's (and subsequent raise) and Enoch and I think now is as good a time as any to get that done.  So I have to round up the letters of recommendation and get things in order to finish these classes and be done.  

Let the busyness begin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will's Scuba Drawing

Will just made this picture tonight and then decided right before bedtime that it needed a scuba diver taking a picture of all the fish. He is very much into science right now and loves to create pictures like this. We go through reams of paper at our house.