Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Five - The Big To-Do

From RevGalBlogPals

Greetings from the land of the Big To-Do!

It seems like every year I enter into the summer with a growing list of HUGE projects/events/trips that seem to have a permanent place on the 'to do' list.
This year I have a huge move pending so that takes up an entire list all on its own, but it doesn't take a big event like that for me to make plans bigger than my summer can hold!
How about you?

Is this the third summer in a row you have made a pledge involving your garage and actually getting a car into it?
Did you once again miss the registration deadline for the continuing education event of your dreams ?
Are you starting to think you couldn't even find the tents, let alone get it together to pull off a camping trip?

Here is your chance to get it out into the open and OWN your Big To-Do! Who knows? Maybe making the list will help you move the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-Da!

1) What home fix-it project is on your Big To-Do?
We've actually started: A new roof on our house is the first of several biggies that have been put off way too long. That project is actually almost done. Next up is the repointing and repair of 2 chimneys. Our house is about a year shy of a century so there's always something that needs fixing. We also have some driveway repair on tap. INSIDE projects too -- all 5 bedrooms (did I mention this is a LARGE old house?) need to be redone -- new ceilings, new wallpaper, etc. We've actually got plans to get 2 of the rooms done.

2) What event (fun or work) is on your Big To-Do?

No big events on the horizon that I'm aware of at the moment.

3) What trip is on your Big To-Do?

GREECE!! We're taking a tour of Greece this summer.

4) What do you wish was on someone ELSE's (partner, family member, celebrity, etc...) Big To-Do?

I'd love it if one of sons was getting married. I'd settle for an engagement, though!

5) Getting inspired? What may end this summer having moved from the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-da?

I know that a lot of the home improvement projects will be accomplished.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Catching Up With My Books

Book #49 (I think!)

The Middle Place The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have to admit I didn't realize this was nonfiction til I was about half-way through the book! It's a very authentic memoir. Kelly Corrigan masterfully weaves the past and present as she describes defining moments of her childhood and connects them to her present. Although she is describing her journey through her cancer treatment, she's really sharing with us the undeniably strong bond of family and love that she has been gifted with.

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# 50

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this book and therefore find a new series to read. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed. I don't have any real dislike: I just never really got connected to Sookie, or to the plot. Ho-hum is the best I can muster.

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Thanks for the Memories Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this one, but I found it too sappy and predictable. I thought the plot dragged too much also. Joyce has just had an accident which caused the loss of the baby she was carrying. She receives a blood transfusion. Justin is a guest lecturer in art and architectural history at a Dublin university and he is persuaded to donate blood by a potential girlfriend. Joyce is suddenly possessed by a wealth of architectural history knowledge, and has intense dreams of places and people she doesn't know. Is Joyce experiencing Justin's memories? She tries to find out who donated her transfusion blood, and she and Justin have several casual and accidental meetings. I figured out almost from the first page, boy and girl eventually live happily ever after.

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And #52

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs Novels) Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was really fascinating. It's now 1932 and London is being threatened with terrorist attacks using biological weapons. Maisie is called in by the government to assist. All of her previous experiences as a war nurse, a nurse in the post war wards for the shell-shocked soldiers, and her training as an investigator are called upon. In addition, Maisie uses her connections to help Billy Beale's wife Doreen get the help she needs to fight her depression, and she is called upon to help her friend Priscilla recognize what she needs. This installment ends hopefully, as Maisie recognizes that she has weathered her own depression.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

6, 55, 60, 2, 1

There are exactly SIX more weeks of school left in this very long, very difficult year. That's six weeks for the students, at any rate. We teachers have a couple more days beyond that to make up our contracted time that we lost during the December ice storm. I think this has been the strangest year I've had since I started teaching. We had interruption after interruption --- a lot of scheduled days off in the fall due to conferences, workshops, and holidays, state testing, local district testing, snow days and then all the weather-related interruptions, including the infamous ice storm. We figured out that we had had only one week of uninterrupted teaching before the ice storm hit. That made the stretch between Feb and April breaks feel endless, especially as 30 minutes were added to the school day to make up the lost time. Nowow these last six weeks seem endless also. The kids never really settled into a good learning routine this year, and now that spring fever has hit, whatever concentration was there is gone. It's pretty discouraging. We have district testing coming up the week after next too, and I am not hopeful that we will see a "year's growth" in their reading skills. We had a lot of "not normal" events this year too --- a teacher left mid year, a principal left during third quarter---- which has impacted us all. I have been teaching material way outside my areas of expertise, comfort, and even interest which has consumed a great deal of energy. I have 2 more units to go, and I feel tapped out. Trying to learn new material, figuring out to teach the content in a way that engages students, and having to do that for every single unit has been draining. I think the kids have learned a lot, and I think they've enjoyed it, but I am exhausted!

I recently celebrated what my husband calls the "Speed Limit" birthday although it's been a few years since those double digits were the maximum speed limit on the interstates, and he's celebrating the next decade birthday today. Our birthday celebrations are usually very low-key. A special dinner, either at home or a favorite restaurant, a few cards, and a small gift or 2 are usually it. This year was no exception. I had a quiet celebration, received "exactly-what-I-wanted" gifts (a small teapot, a good book, and lovely bracelet) and for the first time ever --- my husband had a birthday cake for me. Usually I have to make my own! For his day we went out to a Mexican restaurant last night with some good friends, we had breakfast out this morning in honor of his day and Mother's Day, and I have a pie baking in the oven for him. (He's a pie man!)

I have been knitting again --- no pictures available. I have TWO projects that are in the finishing stage - a gray cabled jacket and a blue jacket, and I've got ONE project on the needles, a baby gift. I can't knit as long as I'd like because my shoulder and trigger finger start to react, but at least I can knit again. I'm also getting excited about starting a few more projects . . .. .