Monday, May 31, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why

This is one of those books that I first heard about from a student. And then another. And then another. I bought my copy and sat down to see what the fuss was all about. After all, it's a book about suicide, but was being discussed with enthusiasm and excitement, emotions that are hardly associated with such a sensitive issue. But after hearing the same reviews from colleagues, I knew I didn't want to wait any longer.

This is the story about a boy, Clay, who has a package arrive at his house and opens it to find seven tapes. Upon finding a place to listen to them, he discovers that the voice is recognizable - it is the voice of a classmate, Hannah, who killed herself several weeks earlier. She is explaining that if the tapes arrived at the listener's house, it is because he had something to do with her decision. The rest of the book is a mixture of Hannah's voice on the tapes and Clay's journey with her to the places that were significant. He has his memories mixed with hers, shares many of her opinions and learns things about his classmates that changes his viewpoint of them.

Suicide is undeniably one of the most sensitive issues to base a book on. I really did have many doubts about this book, but after reading, I can say in all honesty that is truly depicts the conflicts in quite possibly one of the most socially challenging times - high school, and helps the readers understand what kind of an impact one person can have on another. Since I got copies of this book in my room, I could not keep them there for long. Some may have hesitations that this would encourage suicide or depict it in a positive light, but that's not it at all. This book would open all kinds of discussion between parents and kids, has depth and is written beautifully.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spelling matters

From a student -

"She was the most beautiful angle I had ever seen."

I'm not a math person but I know some people are. I just didn't know it could be this passionate.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bountiful Peaches and Strawberries

I had plenty of strawberries and peaches left over from last week's Bountiful Basket and we got more today. So I needed a way to get rid of them faster than we had been doing. After a quick google search, I found this...

The recipe can be found here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Summer Reading List

This is a huge list, but I like to aim high - some fluff, some that I need to read before teaching a new class next year and some that I've been meaning to read for at least a year. I'll review them as fast as I can get them read, and chances are decent that there will be other candy books I slip in because I want to and I'm the boss of me and can do things like that. :)

Perks of Being a Wallflower

City of Glass (3)

What I saw and how I lied

Poisonwood Bible

Great and Terrible Beauty (3)

The Red Tent

Harry Potter (7)

Fablehaven (5)

Kite Runner

The Help


Cold Sassy Tree

My Sister’s Keeper

19 Minutes

Bel Canto

Life of Pi

Pride and Prejudice

In the Lake of the Woods

Princess of the Midnight Ball

River Secrets

Forest Born

Love in the Time of Cholera

In the Time of Butterflies

Ethan Frome


The Art of Racing in the Rain

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why I'm Lucky

I suppose these kinds of posts tend to just show up when it is an anniversary or birthday, but today I felt inspired. I am married to my best friend in the whole world. He makes me laugh all the time, but even more than that, he lets me be me, supports me and helps me. He encourages me to keep going, keep achieving, keep discovering what I'm passionate about.

Some of you may not know, but Enoch is in charge at our house in the mornings. I have to be at work just shortly after the kids wake up (if they are awake yet) and Enoch takes on the task of getting them dressed, hair done, breakfast, teeth brushed, backpacks together and out the door. He is a superb listening ear and will let me vent to him even when I've had a bad day, frustrating meeting or teens that have pushed me to the brink of sanity.

His support doesn't just extend to me. Every year he either coaches or takes an active role in assisting coaches with our kids teams. He knows how to motivate and inspire the kids, teach them correct ideas and quality values and have lots of fun doing it.
He is the priesthood holder in our family and I'm constantly amazed at the perspective he has with our kids. He encourages discipline and for the kids to learn individual responsibility, but not only that, he is supportive of me as a parent and requires respect from the kids toward me.

Enoch is hard working (economy aside). He is a perfectionist and will not settle for a product that isn't the quality work he is accustomed to completing. He has great personal skills when interacting with his customers and manages situations that would have my anger level in the red with calm, even if he isn't feeling that calm on the inside. I wish I had his ability to just blow things off, forget them, move on and disregard.

He's not perfect. Neither am I. But I'm really happy that our imperfections seem to work together, that we communicate like we do and can work out our problems. I have had some difficult issues this year due to a number of circumstances, but I know, always, that when I need Enoch to be there, he will be there.

He is absolutely my dream guy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ER with Kids

I have been to the ER a few times. My first was when I was in 7th grade and the front tire of my bike caught the back tire of my friend's bike. I caught air for a while, but what goes up must come down and I did. On a curb. With my right knee.

I sat in the ER for probably three hours before they got to me because they were dealing with a mock disaster and taking care of fake patients. At that point, the numbing effect of the adrenaline was starting to wear off and my knee hurt. I think they waited until it really hurt to bring me in and take care of me, at which point they injected the open knee with six shots of anesthesia. I still remember the moment as the first time I figured out my mind could scream.

I went to the ER as a spouse when Enoch walked into a hurricane strap (big piece of metal that sticks out of the foundation on a house) during a blinding snow storm. With his face. Again, it took a while for them to figure out how to get someone in to fix his face until it was REALLY swollen and much more difficult that a prompt stitching would have been. He wears the scar with pride.

I went to the ER again about six years ago when a pregnancy with a few complications was clearly being terminated by my body but the process was making it impossible for me to maintain consciousness. This was a shorter stint in the ER because of the whole blacking out anytime I wasn't completely horizontal thing. They really paid attention to me then.

I was in the ER again a few years ago with extraordinary abdominal pain. Enoch thought my appendix had ruptured and I had 24 hours before I would be dead. The Dr. thought I was having gall bladder problems, eventhough I told him over and over the pain was not that high. Ruptured ovarian cysts. They suck. Worse than having babies. Trust me.

I had the worst/best experience in the ER two days ago. Will was playing kickball at PE, tried to steal 2nd base but the other team had a player on the baseline - a fact Will discovered after his right temple hit the other kid's head. He was okay, ate lunch, no problems, then had headaches so strong he dropped to his knees and started crying. After some calls, I finally got in touch with Enoch, who went to pick him up. Will started screaming every 15-20 seconds, couldn't remember who he was, didn't know who Enoch was.

To the ER.

I arrived about 10-15 minutes later to a son who kept asking for help, wanted his hand taken off and wondered when we were going to be done. I don't think he knew who I was. He had a CT scan - clear of any bleeding but indicated a bruise. Concussion.

I looked at Enoch and told him I was not leaving my boy until he left. Period. About five hours after he arrived in the ER, after he had been given morphine twice and finally got a good solid sleep, he awoke as my Will again. And I remembered how to breathe.

Why the best? Because everyone was so ready to help get him better. They took him right in, gave him a stuffed squirrel and let me follow him everywhere. I was incredibly impressed and delighted there were people who could help me get my son back, because he was erratic and irrational.

And I'm hoping that I have had my last experience as a mom in the ER. Turned out okay, but that is a life experience I'm really okay with not repeating.