Friday, March 29, 2013

March 29: Friday. . . Easter Approaches!

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
The three people in my house have read this book, and so far we've all laughed and read aloud the same part of the first chapter, so it is clearly, as Nate said, "a good fit for this family." Terry Pratchett continues to entertain, and tying in Charles Dickens and lots of legit historical detail made the book especially intriguing to me. The character of the princess was a disappointment: she is a far cry from Tiffany Aching of the Wee Free Men series, with only good looks to recommend her, really. There seems to be a sense that she will be more developed, but Pratchett never follows through on that promise. Dodger and London, however, are both fully and exuberantly drawn. A little less whipcrack smart writing--in spots feels very young adult novel ish--but still recommended.

It's Friday and I am BEAT--busy day at school (but I did clean my desk (neatened AND wiped it down, both) which will be a nice treat for Monday when I stagger in after a busy Easter weekend. I have gotten most of the supplies for the Easter breakfast, and have decided to simplify the Easter potato bread stollen and instead make pumpkin chocolate chip bread as a complement to the egg casserole. That will be most of tomorrow. We have finally made reservations for dinner for Easter at Galyn's in Bar Harbor, which will be a treat. The Crocker House is apparently not open (yet? at all?), which was a disappointment after our wonderful time there last year, but I love Galyn's. 

I have several books piling up to read, so I want to cut down on my computer time. We'll see how that goes. 

Some Spring promising--lovely morning, succeeded by clouds and 10 minutes of heavy sleet, but that's what Maine is like! Ah well. 

Okay. Off to read! Cheers. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24: Palm Sunday, and Another March Weekend GONE!

Well, somehow Friday afternoon shot away from me too fast for a post, and then Saturday rapidly became A Busy Day as I worked to clean house, shop, and cook for the dinner party we hosted on Saturday night. In February (or possibly January), I resolved to be more social, to spend more time with people I like. We had Norm and Lori over in February, and then I invited my coteacher, her boyfriend, and a young woman Andy teaches with for dinner in March. I made pulled pork from this recipe, classic dinner rolls from this recipe in this book (I think; new cover pic, maybe? I love my edition!), cole slaw from The Joy of Cooking with my own tweaked recipe, cream puffs (aka "Choux,") from the Williams Sonoma book, home-made fudge sauce, and then got sane enough to cancel chocolate pudding and go with ice cream instead.

It was delicious, and we had a lot of fun! As I did the prep, I listened to Pride and Prejudice and then started Beowulf as a refresher, so that allayed some of my "gotta get school done" anxiety, and we had a nice time visiting with Elana, Bruce, and Ellen. My next month's plan is to have Mark, his wife, and Jen over. . . . I am LIKING this social thing!

Palm Sunday today, with a sunny (well, sunny morning at least) warmish day and lots of melting. I have to wrap my brains around prep for the Easter Sunrise breakfast next Sunday! Yikes!

So, all in all, a good weekend. I just scored a bunch of projects from my Honors sophomores, and they're wonderful. One more batch of inclass essays, and I'm done correcting and on to prep. In addition, I'm reading Terry Pratchett's ya novel Dodger, which is a pleasure. Here's a trailer that captures some of its flavor. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Yay! More later, probably. . . . but happy first day of Spring!

What a nice day: some school work, some pleasure reading, a hard swim workout, lunch and errands downtown with my beloved, and now time for some more school stuff! In the meantime, I finished the following:

Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
's review 

Read in March, 2013

A good, powerful, entertaining ya novel that shows the gradual shift in our cultural expectations. The protagonist, Colby, is a 16 year old, and she's a semi-out lesbian--and Bigelow has written a book that makes the challenge of Colby's orientation one of many equal challenges in her life, which is a feat that few GLT novels I've read have managed to carry off. Colby's mom died several years ago, and her dad is a long distance trucker; money is tight, school doesn't seem to mean a lot to Colby any more, and her girlfriend has called it quits, leaving Colby zooming from one distraction to another in an effort to cope. A chance encounter with a stray dog becomes a main focus of the book, adding interest and humor to the essentially difficult situation Colby faces. Ultimately, the story is positive and moving, acknowledging the various kinds of love we all (and teens especially) need to get through our daily lives. High quality writing, and a valuable message that doesn't read like a "message" at all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19: Half Snow Day!

This is our second half snow day (early release due to snow), and I have to tell everyone, that doesn't equal a full snow day. Still. I'm correcting at home, and that's pretty good.

If I could warp time, I would:

  • correct all 4 of my remaining poetry papers
  • correct all my Much Ado tests
  • correct all the lingering make up work I have
  • plan!
  • knit both on the sock and on the swatch for my J Crew knockoff sweater
  • take a hefty nap
  • make cinnamon sugar pull apart bread
  • take care of a few other school tasks
  • watch "Pride and Prejudice," the 6 hour version!
  • tidy up my bedroom, and
  • I'm sure I could think of more stuff!
However, I will instead persevere through my last of three poetry papers for this afternoon, admire the snow, do one "other school task," and then MAYBE take a nap. It *is* a snow day afternoon, after all!

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15: Friday! Half Professional day!

Well, though I still get a charge when I type "March" because this month is whipping by me, this has been quite a week: my cold got worse and worse, and I actually left school early on Tuesday, had a blissful three hour nap, and then stayed home on Wednesday to rest my self and my vocal chords, but Parent Conferences (18 of them--count 'em!) Thursday were pretty brutal. Still: we've had rain to take away most of our snow, we had a few sunny days, Lyle has been home and a huge pleasure (huge and muscular pleasure!), and things have just been nice, despite this endless stuffy, snuffy, annoying cough and nose.

BUT especially, today I was asked to take an important leadership position at school by someone I really admire, which felt terrific. I turned it down, as I don't think I would be good at it and I don't think I am the right person for the job due to my position at the school itself, but it felt wonderful to be asked. I *think* it also felt right to decline: this wasn't about change, this was about my own ability to see, to reason, and to explain, to pay attention to tiny details. Yikes. Change is a good thing, but this would not have been a good one for me. Still: big vote of confidence to be asked.

Now: this weekend is popovers for Lyle, a small experimental run to see if my hip is better, pj pants for another b'day present, and AP poetry papers (four done today). Lyle and Andy will leave at 4:45 am on Sunday to get Lyle to Portland and the bus station to return to Skidmore. . . . I'll cover the nursery. . . . and so it goes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13: Sick Day

Faking It by Jennifer Crusie

I've read Faking It probably four times, and it's a title I often send to friends who are under the weather. Sprightly, interesting, nicely characterized, and ultimately heartwarming, it's a fun novel that shows Crusie at her fluffy but well-written best. Some "R" passages, but overall a pleasant, entertaining read. Great for my latest rereading session, battling a mid-March cold during grey, rainy weather!


Well, I'm home for a sort-of preemptive sick day, since Parent Conferences happen tomorrow, and I have a chesty cough and not much of a voice. I plan a lot of liquids, a hefty nap, some school work, and some knitting. Booyah! 

It's been raining and warmish, so the snow has been vanishing--a good day to stay curled up inside and watch Spring try to appear!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9: Saturday, Pre-Lyle Arrival!

Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town

I read the unabridged version of this book several summers ago, and we'd hoped to use it for our 9th grade class, but it was a long and challenging read (I confess that I thought it could've benefited from a hard edit to cut it down by maybe 50 pages), so I seized on this abridged-by-author version, and I am really happy with it. The book profiles a lot of issues: immigration, the decay of the inner city, ethnic tension, the role of sport in young people's lives (young men's lives, especially), and it ties those stories into a pretty fast-paced sports story about a group of scrappy underdogs! The abridgement is good, tho it could use pictures and an updated epilogue. However, I'm hoping it's out in paperback, as it would be a terrific starter book for our class next year!


Whew. Week 1 of March is done: late start meetings/Learning Area Leader meetings on Monday; Incoming Frosh and Parents' Night on Tuesday; AIDS Day assembly on Wed.; fighting a cold the whole week (again?); Friday, a great knitting session and the drama festival arrived at MDIHS; all the while, I was teaching my usual load of three preps, three classes and learning area leader. . . However, kept things cheery throughout, I am proud to say!

This weekend features, unexpectedly, Lyle arriving home for Spring break! I am doing laundry for his bed as I write, and plan some big food shopping to prep. I also hope to whip through some HSE thesis papers (first batch. Lengthy and mixed!) so I have more time to visit with the son when he is awake and I am home!

I am planning to make, possibly, a Sorbetto top (maybe with sleeves), so I might like a trip to Jo-Ann's or Sewing by the Sea. . .  and N and I had potentially planned a Bangor trip even without the need to meet L at the bus station, so, we'll see how that works. Andy and I went to see "Jack The Giant Slayer" yesterday, which was fun but did have the whole princess in distress theme (sheesh. When can we get away from that?), so maybe tonight I'll stay home, even if the guys go to see Oz, tho I'd like to see it, too! So many options.

The time changes tonight (!!) and I have been feeling springy lifts in my spirits, despite all that is out there to do. These are good things! Spring just may be coming.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2: Here We Go!

Coronation Summer by Angela Thirkell
's review
3 of 5 stars false
Read in March, 2013

Well, Nadia May and Angela T. are a great combo, so I had high expectations for this unusual piece of Thirkell's work. CS is not about Barsetshire per se (I haven't had a chance to dig back and see what links exist), but the usual chatty voice and "much ado about nothing" approach are present. The social information is fascinating, but there are big plot gaps: the Ingoldsby Legends idea, with a long poem in Irish (?) dialect supposedly written by the Ingoldsby's groom. . . . What was that all about? Some of the more entertaining pieces are the sisterly exchanges and infighting between Fanny and Emily, and Thirkell's gleeful presentation of a biased narrator. All in all, not what I expected, but a pleasant outing.
Well, to no great surprise, some weird compatibility issue has arisen between the various faces of Google and Goodreads and, therefore, my reviews end up in html. . . . unless I cut and paste as I have done for the last few. Oh well.

So Mar. 1 was Friday, and it was a nice little breather, with my students working hard on various assignments that didn't need me at center stage, so I had time to wander and enjoy them a bit. It snowed pretty much all day, and we were all pretty tired after the first week back, so there was that cozy sort of haven feeling that schools have on their best days (or one variety of their best days). Our evening featured a Downton Abbey, my starting a new sock pattern for Andy's green Christmas sock yarn, a walk in the snow with the whole family and Zeus, and then, this morning, a long phone conversation with Julie!

The knitting excitement is as follows: I am going to swatch for this sweater with my lovely sorbet Quince yarn in osprey weight, with a possible eye to simply adopting that pattern (thank you Lion Brand patterns!) and modifying it to make my lovely JCrew knockoff.

We shall see. If I *do* decide to go with this pattern in Quince osprey, my next crisis will be deciding on the color. My fantasy has been to make it in a lovely bright red/crimson/scarlet/ fuschia, but the reality is that the reason that my beloved brown sweater has endured so well is that it hides tea and coffee stains! So. . . I am not going with classic cream, but I also not going with a dark gray. We'll see what else unfolds.

And, my socks for Andy. At the moment, these are supposed to be "palate cleansers" after the Moth cardi, and therefore plain ol' Yankee Workshop straight up socks, perfect meeting knitting. But then I had the Interweave Knits favorite sock patterns book stuck in my bag to check numbers of stitches for my cast on, and before I went to bed I started looking through it just for fun, and before I knew it, I was thinking how cool the (somewhat boring) yarn AWS had picked out would look in a broken rib pattern, and then. . . . I spent Downton Abbey's Season 2, epi 4 working out this pattern:

Evelyn Clark's Retro Rib socks. In a sort of murky green overdye. We'll see. 

Good news is that I don't have a ton of correcting (tho I do have plenty!) and Lori and Norm are coming for dinner and I have the menu planned already and it's pretty easy. . . . so seeing as the snow is picking up again, I think I have a nice Saturday planned, with exercise, knitting, a few easy errands, baking and cooking, and time with friends all planned out! 


And, I just finished listening to this book  as an audio: 

The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith
Fun to hear Mma Ramotswe presented for a young audience and as a youngster! Nothing spectacularly unexpected in this outing, but we do get to see Obed, hear a lion story, and have the voices of Botswana come to life in skilled narration. Adjoa Andoh did a great job with the various voices!