"No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the
British Special Air Force is: 'Those who risk, win.' "

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Club 2014: Final Update

Did not quite reach my reading goal this year... but life with a 3 yr old doesn't allow a lot of "extra" time... I definitely read some good ones this year! I've enjoyed the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, and look forward to the next book in the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. I'm also hoping Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman was the first in a series-- really enjoyed it as well. And, as always, you can NEVER go wrong with David Sedaris! Highly I recommend!

1. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
4. Speaking From Among the Bones (Flavia DeLeuce #5) by Alan Bradley
5. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
6. Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
7. Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier
8. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
9. The Paris Wife by Paula McClain
10. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal
11. Chasing Darkness by Danielle Girard
12. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
13. The Amersham Rubies by Rhys Bowen
14. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
15. Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen
16. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (for school)
17. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
18. Homicidal by Paul Alexander
19. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
20. Whodunnit? Murder in Mystery Manor by Anthony E. Zuiker
21. Whodunnit? Murder on Mystery Island by Anthony E. Zuiker
22. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
23. Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
24. First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Day to Celebrate Heroes

It seems every year it gets harder to teach about September 11th. The students I have now were not even born in 2001. They seemed so removed, and just not able to fully grasp WHY this was such a monumental event-- even after watching videos & seeing photos. 

The way the world works now is all they have ever known. They don't remember when traveling was easier... When we were more trusting as a country, and even as individuals... They don't remember when two immense buildings protruded from the NY skyline as a symbol of power & wealth. 

This year with my 4th graders I tried to focus on the positives that came from this tragic event. It's always kind of sad that it takes an incident of this overwhelming grief to pull the US (or most countries, for that matter) together. In elementary school we teach patience & cooperation, yet the adults that lead our country can't abide these instructions. But at the end of that tragic Tuesday in 2001, we WERE unified. Everyone wanted to help. Everyone cooperated. 

Today we discussed what it is to be a hero. Who are heroes? How can we as elementary school students be a hero everyday? Each student wrote a sentence detailing how they can be heroes daily. These are written on notecards, illustrated, and we are displaying them in the shape of the former Twin Towers-- in a sense we are rebuilding them in a display. 

Watching the videos and trying to describe these events always leaves me speechless. How do you simplify such horror into words- let alone words that an adolescent can understand? In 2001 I was working at DIYnetwork and teaching HS colorguard. I have the utmost respect for those that were in the place I am now: teaching elementary students. 

As the 12th anniversary arrives tomorrow, I encourage us all to go back to that feeling of cooperation, compassion, and unity that it took a horrific act of terrorism to instill in us. 

May we never forget. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Busy Summer Weekend

Miss Priss' best friend's birthday party

Swimming & helping Miss Jill feed her chickens

Rainy day artwork


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Club 2013 Update

I'm a little behind with my reading & audiobooks of the year-- but summer break is always my time to catch up! Let's see how we're doing so far!

1. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
4. Speaking From Among the Bones (Flavia DeLeuce #5) by Alan Bradley
5. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
6. Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
7. Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier
8. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
9. The Paris Wife by Paula McClain
10. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal

And I am very close to being finished with Chasing Darkness by Danielle Girard. Now to decide what to read next! Suggestions? 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. I celebrated with a student encounter that probably would have led to his suspension at any other school. Add this to the RAGING headache I've had for 2 days and needless to say I was close to tears.

Then at the end of the day kids started bringing me cards and letters. Apparently something they worked on in guidance class. It was just what I needed to remind me why I do what I do every day...

Thanks kids!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Massacre

History has proven Boston to be an influential and strong city. History will repeat, I know.

Sending positive vibes to all involved.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I'm working on my favorite unit in 5th grade social studies right now-- the Civil Rights Movement. Today my students are listening to 3 speeches by MLK... Including this snippet from my favorite of his speeches-- so I felt like sharing:
And they were telling me --. Now, it doesn't matter, now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with on the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sticks & Stones

Never underestimate the power of a few words...

...especially when they are posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kicking it OLD SCHOOL

Saw this on a blog I read sometimes and thought it could be some flashback fun! Remember those blog tags where you had to answer questions and then tag other bloggers? Well, "They're BAAAAAAAAAACK!"

What were you doing 10 yrs ago?

Honestly, I don't really remember. I had just finished my Masters degree... was still working at Scripps Networks with the online crew at DIY (Man, I miss those people!)... Pretty sure I had sold my house and moved in Feb... And I am sure I was working on resumes and applying for teaching jobs... That was a very stressful time so perhaps my brain has blocked it.

5 Things on your to-do list

1. Call and make eye appts for me and the Hubby
2. Take Gma to lunch
3. Get some pictures printed, and others framed
4. Go through Miss Priss' old toys and PURGE/ organize
5. Go to the bank

5 Snacks you enjoy

1. chips & salsa
2. cheese
3. soft pretzels with cheese dip
4. spinach dip
5. salt & vinegar potato chips

Name something you would do if you were a millionaire

Set up a college account for Miss Priss. Pay off any debt. Donate to some charities and local schools that need help. Go to Italy & Spain. And Vegas with my girls.

Name places you have lived

Knoxville, Maryville, Fredericksburg (for 1 month)

Name some bad habits you have

Moi? Bad habits?! Mais non!  Ha! OK, let's see... I talk to much, I know. I snack something fierce. I have a lot of clutter and not a lot of organization. I can lose my temper easily- though this has gotten better.

Name some jobs you have had

Sales associate at Cartoon Classics and the Warner Bros Store. College & Career Counselor for Educational Talent Search. Colorguard Instructor. Project employee at Scripps-- I did several different things there. Substitute Teacher. Elementary School Teacher.

Name those you are tagging

Life in a Small Town you're up!

Monday, March 18, 2013

We're Not Broken Just Bent

I saw P!nk in concert a couple weeks ago and still haven't recovered. It was an AMAZING show! Currently I am TOTALLY obsessed with the song "Just Give Me a Reason"-- found a fantastic live version-

Listen to it-- over and over is my recommendation.

You're welcome :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Club 2013 Update

First one this year!!

1. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
4. Speaking From Among the Bones (Flavia DeLeuce #5) by Alan Bradley

So next I'm thinking will be Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus. Has anyone read it?? Other good mystery suggestions?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sick & Tired of Being SICK!

My poor Miss Priss is sick again. This has been a monthly thing for what seems like a year now. This time we have a fever and nasty, swollen tonsils. Throw in some insurance BS & not being able o get our antibiotic tonight and I am totally frazzled!

I know she has to build her immunity, but this is getting RIDICULOUS!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Miss Priss LOVES the iPad-- and is AMAZING on it. I love finding her self-takes in the photos... Hilarious!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Miss My Mom

12 yrs ago today I lost my hero. It pisses me off that she will never know her granddaughter, and her granddaughter will only know stories (albeit fantastic ones!) of her grandmother. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and wish she was here. (Sigh)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Livin' on a Prayer

Last night I saw Bon Jovi in concert for the 7th or 8th time... I've lost count. As always- a great show... As always, I no longer have a voice. Best part BY FAR though was spending time with two of my bestest good friends-- neither of whom I get to see as often as I would like.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This is MUCH needed!

My MUCH anticipated girls weekend is FINALLY HERE! And not a moment too soon! The last 3 weeks have been SH*T!!

Today El Button arrives and the 3 of us head to downtown Nashy to see P!NK


Saturday, February 16, 2013

One Month Gone: Done & Dusted

I've been a little blog-blocked lately... not by lack of topics-- but by lack of time... and energy.. and motivation to even open the laptop...

The past few weeks at school have been INSANE! So much going on... There have been highs and lows for sure. One high was being named as Teacher of the Year for my school. In many ways this is a pain-- the paperwork you have to fill out for the county "contest" is ridiculous. There was also very little of it that asked about what you do IN the classroom-- which I found odd. I shudder to think what the county winners had to fill out for the state! EEsh!

Miss Priss has been sick off and on for what seems like FOREVER! Lately she has had a nasty cough that just will not go away. I have taken her to the Dr the last 2 weeks... Monday she got 2 antibiotic shots, a prescription for a new, stronger antibiotic, and a prescription for a steroid. HOPE this helps her! She's been so sad!

Sicky-Sick on Monday

My Mini-Me

Lunch Date with her Bestie

Meeting Clifford the Big Red Dog at Mommy's school

(That first one was so sad, I had to add some recent HAPPY shots as well!)

Probably the biggest thing I have done (& CRAZIEST!) in the last couple weeks (well, yesterday actually) was take 85+ 4th and 5th Graders to Nashville to see the Emancipation Proclamation and tour the State Capitol Building. All in all they were very good-- we survived two 3.5 hr bus rides, a crowded museum, the Governor's workplace, and a McDonald's too boot! It was an amazing trip-- a once-in-a-lifetime for many of them... but man I am glad it is done and I can RELAX!

On the Steps of the State Capitol
Proving I was there too!

COLD picnic lunch!

NASHVILLE! State Capitol in the background

In addition to the Emancipation Proclamation, we got to see the final 13th Amendment-- yep! That's Abe Lincoln's signature right there! SO COOL!
Tonight I am looking forward to a gathering at my favorite Beer Dinosaur's abode for some tasty beverages! I'm working on some sweet treats to take as we speak-- Almond Joy Cupcakes and a Red Velvet Cheeseball... Mmmmmmmmm!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head...

Well I am off school for the 2nd day in a row... No, not for the usual January snow reason, but for rain. That's right, RAIN! This may sound crazy to some people-- but check this out:

My friend Lacy took these-- she has a big honkin' truck, thus she was not in danger of washing away... This is the back road into school....

This is Perry's Mill-- right down the hill from where I teach...

See that bridge? I drive over that every day... the water is usually nowhere near that high... Nor does it usually spill out over the bank...

For the moment the rain has stopped, but they have forecasted more for the day... and now they are saying it might snow tomorrow morning. Geesh! "When it rains, it pours" I guess...  I vote we just take the rest of the week off and try again next week!  :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I'm going to do something I rarely, RARELY do-- toot my own horn for a moment.

As an educator, we are constantly being told how bad the school systems are in this country-- this state-- this county. It's like nothing we do is ever good enough. This, ironically, is opposite of how we are taught to teach children. "Focus on positives! Find each student's strengths and expound on those!"

So often I feel that even though my scores are good year after year, and students seem to genuinely enjoy my classes, I am not an effective teacher. Or that no one really notices all the things I am trying to do to improve the system for students and our school.

Friday however I had a feel-good day. For the 2nd year in a row I am one of the teachers nominated (by my peers) for teacher of the year. I always laugh at celebrities that say, "It's an honor just to be nominated." But truly, it is! It's nice to feel like someone, somewhere has taken note of all the butt-busting I feel I do.

My second compliment came from the Director of Schools himself. He was at school Friday for a visit, and before leaving my classroom said to the principal (who is retiring after this year) that he thinks I would be a perfect person to be on the committee to help interview applicants for the position. I find this completely flattering! Not to mention I am eager to see who wants to come to our wonderful little school, what plans they have for it, and I want to make sure that we get the best fit possible.

In other news, I had another wonderful GIRLS DAY with Miss Priss yesterday. We took advantage of the 75 degree weather (yes, it's STILL January!) and went to the zoo. I LOVE having season passes and being able to go whenever we want, and only stay an hour if we so please.

"A BIG Carl cat!"

If I'm ever reincarnated I want to come back as one of these guys

LOVE this face!

She LOVES these bird carvings. We ALWAYS have to come see them.

Zebra time!