Friday, April 30, 2010

When You Reach Me

I am the recent cause of insomnia in Fairfield, Iowa, and it's all because of a book that recently came into my life. This year's Newbery Award winning book, When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, touched me so deeply. I couldn't wait to share it with my students. For the past 3 nights, I've received reports of kids getting in trouble for reading too late, staying up way past their bedtimes, and LOVING this book. It's a quick, engaging read with little complex pieces that all come together in the end. I probably would have never even picked this book up had it not been for the gold Newbery seal on its cover. The title wouldn't have grabbed me either. But, I'm telling you, this book is a gem... an insomnia-inducing precious little gem!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


* It's going to be another rainy weekend. Blerg. But, Aunt Twila & Uncle Ben are going to be in town, so that will make things sunnier.

* Still no morels... grrr...

* I had an actual conversation on the phone with Tracy's Elora who is 2. Her little voice makes me weak. SO CUTE!

* 7th grade GOAL kids are working on stop-motion animated movies, and 8th grade GOAL kids are working on documentary films, so my poor classroom is flooded with cameras, tripods, sets, modeling clay... I'm drowning! In a good way!

* Andrew is kicking Professor Higgins' butt. My Fair Lady is going to be a really good show. The chorus seems really strong too. Come see it Father's Day weekend at the Sondheim Center.

* Hair got extended another weekend. Go see it, people! It's AMAZING!

* I cannot believe April is almost over. Stop the world! It's going too quickly! Wait. I'm ready for summer vacation pretty much right now. OK, world, start back up again.

* I wish I had a maid for just my kitchen. I could handle all the rest. Pretty much. Maybe I just need a maid period. Maybe I need to care more about housework in general. Hmm.

* I'm reading When You Reach Me out loud to Andrew right now. It's the Newbery Medal winner for 2010. This is an amazing book. Whether you're into young adult literature or not, you should read this book. It's put together so beautifully, and there are surprises. It comes together like a present at the end. Read it!

* I'm feeling very bossy. I'm giving a lot of orders in this post. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Walking the Walk

This week something dawned on me, and I'm proud of it. When it comes to my job, I walk the walk. I don't ask things of my students that I'm unprepared to do myself. I had never really thought about it before. I ask them to read. I am a reader as well. I ask them to audition. I put myself before directors too. I ask them to act and sing. I do this in public on a regular basis. I ask them to write. This week I wrote the review for Hair in the Fairfield Ledger. All 9 drafts of it.

This isn't a big thing, but it's a kind of epiphany I had this week.

Also, as soon as I'm not willing to walk that walk, I hope I have the guts to get out of teaching.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I'm feeling sappy.

Uncle Dave & Andi are in Alaska right now. Andi just posted on Facebook about seeing 2 moose. It made me want to go back and look at all my Alaska pictures again from this summer. It also made me miss Grandma. This is the trip she wanted to take with her granddaughters. It just didn't work out. Then, it just didn't work out again for me to go with them. I'm infinitely grateful for my Alaska visit this summer. It was such a gift! Admittedly, I'm selfishly glad that I got my cousins to myself this summer, but I do wish that Andi and I could have spent some time together. I just don't feel like I know her very well. I really miss Grandma today. See? Sappy.

On another sappy note, our dear family friend Helen Knox from Indianola passed away last week. I'd been so terrible about keeping in touch after Grandma died. I didn't even get any Christmas cards sent out this year, so she hadn't heard from me in ages. When Andrew's Churchill play was in Des Moines, I thought that it might be something that Helen would enjoy. I called and left a message on her answering machine about it. Her sister called me back & said that Helen was in the hospital. She'd had colon cancer surgery at the beginning of March, and though the surgery went well, she just hadn't bounced back. She'd been in the hospital for about three weeks. When I was in Des Moines, I went to see her twice. She was so glad to see me, and I was glad to see her too. We didn't talk much because she'd just had her feeding tube out, and her throat was sore, but I just held her hand and spent time with her. Her sister called just a few days later to tell me that she'd passed away. Just like that. I'm so glad I saw her. So so so glad. I'm also pissed because her family didn't even put an obituary into the Fairfield paper. She did live here, and she always said no matter where she lived, Fairfield was her home. Helen never had any kids of her own. She always referred to Fairfield as her home and us as her family. On every card she ever sent, and she always sent Christmas cards and birthday cards, and sometimes, even Valentine's cards, she always told me I was her family. I hope she wasn't alone when she died. That's maybe the scariest part about not having kids... realizing that no one will be there when you're old. Helen seemed so alone to me, those days in the hospital. I know she had her sister and her nieces, but really, she was alone. It makes me so sad. I'm so glad I got to see her. She was such a dear friend to Grandma. She was such a dear friend to me. I'm happy to think of her reunion with my mom and my grandma. There were a lot of tears and hugs when Helen's family welcomed her home. Rest in peace, good soul.

For the Love of Glee

It's true that I was a little late to the party. It took my friend Kevin to suggest that during the week in October when I was home with H1N1, I should watch all the back episodes of Glee.

Well, I was hooked, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought the DVD so I could make sure I hadn't missed a single episode.

I couldn't wait for the new episode Tuesday night. Can you say Idina Menzel? You're not a true diva unless you love yourself a little Idina. And, as if that weren't enough, the night ended with this...

Glee, I seriously love you. You're every former swing choir girl's dream come true.
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