Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Poem to Percocet

I just had a bunionectomy on my right foot on Friday - will probably have my left foot done just before the Christmas break - and that was the inspiration for this lovely little poem.  :)

I first met you through his bad reaction
throwing up just out of knee surgery
such a sound always makes me look for distraction
doctor's comments about your good could be perjury

A little later, still suffering from pain
my fiance took another dose of you
But then he passed out and swore never again
his committment to your help was through

Then it was my turn, I was told it was coming
The time when I too would be hurt
Just one little dose for pain to begin numbing
I believed that through care I'd convert

The first dose went well, kept the pain at bay
any side effects could be cured through sleep
not passed out or dizzy, I went through my day
another dose the next night wasn't too steep

Things started to change the following night
my chance for more sleep was to fade
I woke with great pain just after midnight
and realized a price would be paid

Like a noble knight, to my rescue you came
and I drifted back into my dreams
my alarm said get up and I wanted to exclaim
quick comfort isn't always what it seems. 

You did your job, the pain was gone
but everything in my head was dizzy
I taught my students while feeling withdrawn
I thought it might fade if I kept busy

Three hours after the end of the school
I started to again feel like me
I realize now that I was a fool
thought you'd cure pain but I see

You get joy out of my incoherence
Are thrilled when my sanity you take
I know you've scheduled a reappearance
A repeat performance over Christmas break

In the meantime, we're through
I'm done with you
It's been more than a day and still
You stick around worse than glue
Blur my personal field of view

I'm still trying to climb sanity hill

Is the pain relief worth all this haze
I haven't had a dose in almost two days
Even then I took just one a day
Hoping this effect would stay away.

You are the epitome of a necessary evil
I leave now for a mission of clarity retrieval
Don't hold your breath waiting for my call
But can I get away without using you at all?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Most of you may know that I have known the author of this book for a long time, first grade maybe?  I found out she had this book coming out several months ago and was absolutely delighted.  The advanced anticipation for this book has been growing for several months, people are just clamoring to get their hands on it.  Then, through a series of conversations, Ally asked if I wanted the opportunity to read this book before it was released. 

Um, yes!

This is the story about Cassia, a 17 year old girl who has just attended her matching banquet, a night she has been waiting with for her whole life.  Her best friend,Xander,  shows up on the screen that night, her companion for life and someone she actually knows.  But when she pulls up the file provided to her by the Society, she sees another face, of another boy she knows, Ky. It is a mistake that the Society shouldn't have made.  Now Cassia is faced with an issue - keep doing whatever the Society has told her she must do, or follow her feelings, curiousities and follow her own desires.

What a great book.  There is a reason it is getting the hype - Ally's writing ability to capture the characterization of Cassia is superb.  The Society is captured in a way that makes readers recall the reading experiences of other distopian books, but is absolutely unique in the depiciton.  I felt like I could understand this society very well, how they acted, protocols, etc.  In short, this book is delightful, a great story, fantastic characters who I love and I can't wait for the next one. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Newest Thing in Being Fit...

I go running at between 5:00 and 5:15 most weekday mornings. 

One, it's the only time that I really have that I know I will have every day. 

Two, there are very few people to see me sucking wind and pretending I can run. 

Three, I don't feel quite as much like an idiot.

I have known many people who have a strong aversion to gym type surroundings because of how they look in comparison to how others look, don't like the feeling, whatever, and end up just paying money to work out to not work out because they don't like how they look when they are working out. 

Then today I saw the newest thing on the exercise circuit...

I'm sure that it provides a fantastic workout and could be lots of fun, but I'm also reasonably certain that I would look like an absolute fool.  If you have $2500 you just don't know what to do with and think this is the coolest thing since you in high school, go here.

I'll stick with my $100 Walmart mountain bike for now...

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Trojan War - teen edition

I'm finishing up a unit on Greek mythology and the Trojan war with my classes, and on the test, one of the essay questions was to explain the literary cause of the Trojan war - gods, goddesses, Helen of Troy, etc.

Here is one student's submission.

"Well, they all had this agreement that this princess would be with this one guy.  But then, this other guy makes her fall in love with him, so everyone's like hey give her back, and he's all like no.  The reason she dell in love with him is because if the guy said aprodity was the winner then he could have anybody."

The author?  A seventeen year old boy, who wears army and camo gear every day, wrote his paper about Adolf Hitler being his hero and draws swastikas his arm.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Good Thief

I had this book recommended by a co-worker.  I had seen it around a little bit but didn't know much about it. I didn't know what it was about at all, but found that the story quickly caught my attention. 

This is the story about a boy named Ren who lives at an East coast orphanage in the late 1800's.  He has been there for as long as he can remember, doesn't know anything about anything before he got there.  He is missing part of his hand, but again doesn't know why.  He knows his name is Ren because it was sewn on his clothes when he was put through the hole in the gate at the orphanage.  Frequently there are people who come through to adopt the boys, and one day Ren, inspite of his handicap, gets his chance to leave, although the circumstances are not what he has imagined.  Benjamin, the man who wanted him, lives a life unlike any Ren had expected and there are many harrowing adventures that make Ren question staying with him, except that he seems to know enough information to be able to let Ren know about the past he can't remember.

This book falls in line with the great Gothic tales it is meant to imitate.  I felt like I could be reading Robert Louis Stevenson or Mary Shelley.  The detail is perfectly matched with the pace of the plot and the twists that I just didn't expect.  It is very well written and an enchanting book as well.   The reading level isn't terribly difficult, but it does deal with some issues that probably would suit middle school and up.  I'm not sure if Tinti has written anything else, but I intend to find out.  If you are looking for a good book on topic for Halloween, this would be a great choice.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Golden Spiral

This is the second book by Lisa Mangum in her Hourglass Door series.  It continues the love story between Dante and Abby, the complication that arose at the conclusion of the last book, and gives the reader the opportunity to see that Abby isn't like other girls in other books who adopt the damsel in distress persona and are unable to escape.

Abby is seeing her life torn apart by what Zo is able to do with his new-found power.  What has been her norm through high school graduation is being manipulated, people who were there suddenly aren't, and friendships that had been tested before are again and again in this book.  Abby takes matters into her own hands, gets people involved who don't seem to know why they are and learns that she has many more abilities than she ever thought possible.

Here's my disclaimer - this is total brain candy, but smartly done.  The symbol of the river that is reintroduced in this book, the complexities that it draws, the allusions to other great pieces of literature all make me like this more than I should.  I like that it has those smart elements, but that it isn't necessary to identify all of them to have a really great reading experience.  I feel like her teenaged characters really are the same as the teens I teach, that she walks the line of being too teenish very well, keeps their language appropriate but not too mature, and there are twists that kept me engaged.  I do look forward to the next book (probably a year away...)

Monday, October 11, 2010


I actually finished this about a month ago, but just haven't had a few minutes to sit down and write my review.  As many of you may know, this is the highly anticipated conclusion to the Hunger Games books.  As is often the case with works so anticipated, there are many who love it, some in betweeners and the avid haters.  I fall in the first group.

Again, with these books, they are very difficult to review without being revealing or spilling any spoilers.  Katniss is involved in her continued fight against the Capitol and is joined by characters from previous books, both some that I liked and some that I really did not like.   She again gets to spend some time with her mom and sister and there is a significant opportunity to see how everything she has experienced has impacted her family. Gale is also back in this book, and the complications that were hinted at from before concerning Katniss' feelings toward Peeta and Gale are again addressed.  Finally, there is a situation like those we have come to expect, where wit, intelligence and sheer courage are necessary to come out victorious, but not without some tough decisions and sacrifices.

Much has been said about how this book ended, and I'm sticking to my pledge to not give any spoilers.  Let me say this - one of the things quality writers do is create difficult situations for their characters and make the choices that are necessary in those situations to stay true to the characters - all of them.  The journeys the characters take in this third book force them to truly identify who they are, what they are willing to do to get what they want most, and I greatly appreciate Collins keeping them true to form eventhough the decision had to be difficult.  There is an incredible example of situational irony* that took three books to develop and a commitment to telling the story that makes me really appreciate who Collins is as an author.  I like that people who I cheered for I was forced to pause before praising again, and some who I thought were vile elicited compassionate responses.  Collins was true to her story, created the perfect ending and I admire her very much for making these decisions.

*an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected, the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Creative Kids

I love my kids.  I love their personalities and their creativity and their overall inventiveness.  There have been creatures, inventions and overall hilariousness that I have wanted to preserve.  These are some of the reasons raising kids are so much fun and things I don't want to forget - ever.

However, I don't know about you, but my kids go through paper. 

Lots of paper.

REAMS of paper. 

Will loves to create different creatures, combine different ideas, etc.  Ellie writes books and songs daily.  Catie is currently on a princess kick and is drawing castles frequently.  I have seen several ideas on how to encourage this but not push it to the point where I'm just months away from being featured on a show about hoarders. 

About a year ago, I saw this blog mentioned on Shannon Hale's blog and I knew I had found my answer. 

I have started a blog for my kids to share their work.  I decided that would be a great way for me to share what they have accomplished without it overtaking this blog (which is VERY far behind - I have two new book reviews to add and a big project I've been working on that's getting closer).  As soon as I have the time to figure out how to make a button I'll add it to the upper right hand corner - right now it is just a link...

Please don't feel like you have to visit all the time - or even at all.  It is public but with comment moderation set up, but if you find something in your visits, feel free to leave a comment.  

And please, if you are in the same situation as I am, steal the idea, scan in the lovely pieces and then purge as you please without guilt. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Process

This time last year, I weighed 200 pounds.

That is a little shocking to see, especially because some of the female contestants who are on the Biggest Loser just 20 pounds heavier.  While I'm aware that I never looked like they do when they start the show - being about six feet tall does have it's perks, but there is something demoralizing about stepping on the scale and knowing I wasn't in the ones anymore.  Incredibly demoralizing.  I had flashbacks to high school, the nit-picky self-degradation of my body.  Add to that the fact that Enoch is not only shorter than me, but also has a waist size that I haven't seen since I stopped growing, and I just didn't have much to be happy about.  I finally realized how much this was impacting me when I looked through my clothes closet and found that a majority of my clothing was brown, grey or black.  It was a perfect reflection of my outlook.  When it came to my appearance, my body, my health, I was depressed.

My problem was I had so many plates spinning on high unstable sticks that I knew adding one more would make all the rest come crashing down.  Something had to give and it was my workouts, my time and effort to eat well, my commitment to take care of me.

Last spring I had an incident (no more description...) that dropped me to my lowest low in terms of my self-esteem.  I was crushed.  I cried so hard I couldn't stand up.  It took weeks to even begin to think about myself as I had in the past, but coming out of that depression, I realized that it was the perfect time to address the issue I had kept dismissing. 

I found a website that was compatible to my preferences and very user friendly and I started documenting EVERYTHING I ate.  There was a lot of crap.  I was grabbing what was quick, what was easy, and the calories indicated that.  I saw what I was supposed to eat to get down to where I wanted and was convinced that I wouldn't ever get there without being the most irritable person on the planet because I was hungry.  But then I found out about Bountiful Baskets. And I started changing the way I thought about food.  I found that when I was completely focused on using EVERYTHING in that basket first, I was eating very natural foods, lots of fruits and veggies, and the weight started coming off. 

Then I got invited to play volleyball with some friends, which was a delight, and more weight started coming off.  And I committed myself to my health, focused on being happy FOR ME, setting aside some time for me and working on my overall well-being.  Then I did what I thought I never would and picked up running, with some motivation from here.  I've also tried to use my bike instead of my car whenever possible - including hooking up the bike trailer we have from when the kids were little to pick up my Bountiful Basket.

Thus far, I have lost 22 pounds.  In three more pounds, I will weigh what I did when I graduated high school.  Then I have 15 more to go to weigh what I did when I got married.  Yea, I did the freshman 15 in reverse.

Remember the title of this post?  This is a process.  Just yesterday I lost focus of things and spent some time feeling like all I do is work and never take time for me.  So I went on a walk.  Quickly.  For some reason an increased heart-rate seems to help put things back in perspective for me. 

I have been rehabbing some injuries, so I'm not running faster and some days am even slower than I was two or three days before.  But I no longer downward spiral when I see a picture of myself.  And my complication lately is that I don't have much to wear to work because none of it fits me anymore - the good way. 

This hasn't been a fast process - there have been weeks of plateaus when I wanted to cry over how hard I'd worked, how good I'd been and how the number didn't move - or even worse, went the wrong way. (now should also be the time when I let you know that I don't have a scale at my house - my OCD over weight would drive me insane if I did - I check my weight weekly at one of my parent's/in-law's houses).  This has been a life change, one that I'm really enjoying.  Granted, to some people, the idea of entering all their food everyday seems like quite a burden.  But for me it has been liberating. 

I'm remembering how to be happy with me.