I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day

Well, I don't know if that is the greeting for December 26 but had to try it. Yesterday was fun with family. Went to B & E's to watch Liam open presents. At 18 months he doesn't quite have the concept of presents and opening wrapped packages but he loved all the things he got. Then we came to our house and finished getting lunch ready. Joey & Jessie made good time from Memphis and we had lunch and time for presents again. I made Liam a navy corduroy jacket and fleece blanket with trucks all over it. Martin gave me five pairs of cute socks and four pairs of earrings. Be on the lookout for cats on my feet and ears.

Today Martin had to work but Joey, Jessie, and I went to see the Hunger Games movie # 2. It was actually better than the book. Ready to see the next one. Tomorrow the guests will drive home, Martin will be back at work, and I will get some sewing done. I have a zigzag quilt started for Alicia and have several ideas for quilts that I want to start. Then there is the list of unfinished quilts I need to complete.

Oh, and what am I reading these days? I picked up two free paperbacks at the library. They are mysteries written in the 1940's. The detective is a former governess, Miss Silver. Really enjoyed reading the first one and can't wait to read the next one. Hope there are more at the library. Enjoying time at home.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am busy.  Can you tell from the post title? Putting together a reading conference and working full time as a teacher makes me a little crazy, right? The conference is driving me crazy. The number of participants is way down from previous years and I am having to cut items to save money. The last count has only 127 registered. That is impossibly low. Last year we had over 300. Did that many people feel  that meeting at a casino was a vital part of the conference? I hope not. If so, I am very disappointed in the professional quality of my peers.

The conference program book is coming along but I will need help with the layout. Hopefully, hubs will help since that is his daily work. Soon I will finish the preparations and just have to sit back and let things happen as they will. Very hard for a control freak like me.

My book escape has been and continues to be the Stephanie Plum Mysteries. I try to save reading the books as a reward for getting something done on the conference.

My quilt escape actually is two quilts. I started a chevron quilt for a niece and then had a brainstorm to give the conference keynote speaker a quilt. So I will be working on quilts during Thanksgiving break. That should keep my mind off things I can't control.

Breakfast is ready so I will sign off.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Visiting Grandmother in the 1930's

On Tuesdays when I visit mom, I try to get her to remember things from her childhood. This week she remembered visiting her grandparents in Clinton. They lived in Brookhaven and took day trips to Clinton to visit her maternal grandparents. I remember their house because when I was a kid we would visit one of mom's aunts who lived in the old home place.

Mom remembered stopping at the Redwood Inn on Terry Road on the way back to Brookhaven. If they behaved at their grandparent's, they could get a foot long hot dog or a cold soda.

Nowadays there are many ways to go from Clinton to Brookhaven but back in the 1930's the main roads were Clinton Boulevard and Terry Road. Mom said the pavement ended around Terry and was gravel from there to Brookhaven. She said sometimes they would take a back road short cut that went from Terry cross country to Clinton. She didn't think it was Springridge Road or Midway but maybe McRaven or Maddox. She said that it was a narrow, dirt road.

I asked how all seven children fit in the car. She said they sat in the front and back seats and there was a system of taking turns sitting in the front, back, and by the windows. She said she didn't care that much about sitting by the window because her hair was cut in a short bob and the wind would whip her hair into her eyes and mouth.

Corona, mom's mom, was the youngest of a large family. My uncle John said the Smith family first lived in Brownsville which is down Tinnin Road outside of Clinton. There is nothing there now but at one time there was a schoolhouse.

When I was in high school I asked my great-uncle Sam, one of Corona's brothers, about the brick streets in Clinton. I thought the bricks had been there since the Civil War. Uncle Sam said he remembered when the streets were paved with bricks in the 1920's. And he told me about the first time he saw a car. He went to Mississippi College and lived in the dorm. He said the students had to cook their own meals over the fire in their rooms. Uncle Sam was a teacher, principal, and administrator in Louisiana.

This has rambled more than I thought it would but I want to record these memories. Mom is the last of her siblings. I never knew my grandparents. I would like to have these to read over again.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Finally I decided to go to the hair presser that many ladies in choir use. He sings in the choir, too. Let me just say-he is very talented cutting hair. I love the cut and how easy it will be to care for it.
I have read the last of my Mamur Zapt books. Don't want to buy any more and there are no more new titles at the library. Guess I will try the quilting stories that I borrowed from Doreen.
Since my last post I have moved into exile in a portable classroom as far from the office as I could get. The good things are I have my own key and I can park right next to it. Slowly I am getting it arranged so I can find things. I'm getting my 10,000 steps in going back and forth for all my groups. Trying to make lemonade.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Funny mysteries

Just finished reading a Stephanie Plum mystery, Eleven on Top, by Janet Evanovich. I picked up some free paperbacks at the Ridgeland library a few weeks ago. I thought I was getting mysteries but most of the ones I got were romance-ick! I'm going to return those and try to get more mysteries. I had never read any Evanovich and didn't know what was in store. Funny main character.

My other reading obsession is the Mamur Zapt mysteries by Michael Pearce. I actually bought 3 because I read all of the ones in the libraries in Madison County. Really interesting historical mysteries. The author brings in background information about the middle east that helps me understand some of the conflict going on in the area now.

Of course I am reading to avoid sewing and conference stuff I should be doing. My brain needs a rest from my self imposed stress, so I keep on reading.

Got to swim this morning. Wish every morning could start with a swim but I need my sleep. Swimming helped my knee, feet, and back recover a little from all the lifting and toting I've been doing as I moved from the building into a much smaller portable. Hope to finish getting everything into the new room Monday. Then who knows how long it will take to make order out of the chaos. Oh, well, what's a few days missed instruction.

I have been searching for my National Boards certificate off and on all week. I thought I knew right where it was-but it wasn't there.  I know I put it in a good place; I just wish I could remember where.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Too Busy Reading to Write

Okay, where did summer go? I last posted so many weeks ago and didn't realize I had neglected this blog. I have been busy with summer school, travel, quilting, swimming, and of course-reading. In summer school we read the Alex Rider book and watched the DVD. The kids loved it! Best. Book. Evah.
My other reads had to be tracked down at various libraries and the bookstore. I am still reading Michael Pearce's mysteries. I bought one and found some at libraries in the county. I bought two Roal Dahl books just to get the free lunch bag. It is a cute bag. The surprise was his biography Boy. He had a very interesting childhood and I recommend this book for biography genre studies.
School starts tomorrow. Wish I had about 4 more weeks to read and sew and swim. Just waiting for the weekends.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Mystery-A Dead Man in...

Yesterday I went to the Ridgeland library branch and found two more of the talking cats mysteries and happened upon a newish series. There were three titles by the same author and all began with "A Dead Man in ___". I am reading the first one and it is engaging so far. I look forward to reading the others.

Random thoughts on various topics: we started summer school this past week. We had 24 students including two teacher's kids. Since we are sharing two classrooms, I am pleased with the numbers. I expect three more in the older group and two or three more in the younger group. That's pretty good considering there are no buses provided.

The older group read a graphic novel by Herge', Tintin's The Adventure of the Unicorn. We watched the movie that was based on the series. I think more than one book was used for the movie. The kids liked the series. Next week we start the Alex Rider book. I hope the second graders ( going to third) can keep up. Tried to include a photo from London but it wouldn't upload.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Talking Cats?

I finished the medieval mysteries and have started reading 'Joe Grey Mysteries'. Joe is a talking cat who lives in a small town in California.
There are three talking cats in the stories and four humans who know the cats can talk. I like reading these because I can picture the small towns we saw when we traveled from San Fransisco to LA last summer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Computer age quilting

Today I met with Pam who is quilting my blue and yellow 'Summer block party' quilt. She ordered the quilt pattern so she could see all the different blocks. ( I could have given her my pattern.) She has spent some time on her computer deciding which quilting designs will look best on each block. I was amazed. She explained the different designs and I made a few minor suggestions. She is going to do the quilting with white thread. Pam said her husband will upload the design to the quilting machine. Then the quilting will begin. I'm excited. Can't wait to see the finished quilt. Pam deserved equal billing on this one.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Never stop learning

Reflecting on recent events, I've learned some things about myself. I was feeling down as I administered English proficiency tests the whole month of April. I had a presentation to prepare and couldn't get excited about it.

I asked for time off to go to the conference and just put the paperwork in the 'in box'. Should have known better. An explanation always goes down better but I was busy testing and didn't take the time.

Then I got fussed at for being gone too much. Wasn't given a chance to say I was going to present a session at an international conference. The selection process is very exacting and this was the first time that one of my proposals had been accepted by this international professional organization.

During the month I was singled out in staff meetings with the statement that if our enrollment increases I will have to move out of my room. Have you seen my room? Two sofas, five large tables, and thousands of books.

All this to say, I was not feeling very competent as a professional and especially not as a presenter.

I didn't realize how much I need affirmation. I guess everyone does. I don't have to be at the top of the heap but I do like to be given a pat on the back.

So I sent an email to all the bosses letting them know about being asked to present a session at an important conference.

And my friend Vicki took up the trumpet and sweetly announced that I was going to be a presenter at the conference and sent me off with gifts.

I had told myself that this would be my final presentation, that I was getting too old to keep this up.

After the session was over and participants thanked me for an informative and engaging session, I realized that I still have ideas to share.

I love to talk to groups of teachers.

I love to exchange ideas with other professionals.

I'm not done yet.

And I need the affirmation.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Waiting.... it's going to be a late night tonight.

Well, I finished preparing my presentation for IRA with 30 minutes to spare. Got myself to the right room early and found two Mississippi friends waiting there. The room held 280 and I made handouts for that many. My lovely assistant (Jo Prather) introduced me and gave out my one page handouts. The participants were attentive and no one left in the middle. Always a good sign, I think. I finished my prepared one-hour session in about 35 minutes, then asked for questions. There were many thoughtful ones, some clarifying ones, then we wrapped it up about 5 minutes early. I don't like to go over into someone else's time. A couple of people came up and asked more questions and one person wanted me to mentor her-long distance. That will be interesting.

Some other highlights of the conference were Debbie Silver-funny mom of five boys who has written a book called Fall down 7 times get up 8. I've got to get that book. Levar Burton was okay. Richard Allington was slow to warm up but fabulous once he got going. I'm on his team if there is a reading debate. I talked to him briefly about coming to MRA. Hope that works out. Today I heard the mayor of San Antonio-he has a bright political future. I would vote for him. His wife is a teacher. Then Mo Willem was HILARIOUS! Wish all my friends could have heard him. I learned to draw a character from his books and will share with students ASAP.

I went to several sessions that were really good. Got lots of ideas for apps to use with the ipads in summer school. Talked to the Lego rep and got a catalogue to order the robot kits for summer school.

My suitcase is full of books. And it wasn't over the weigh limit. I got one author's signature and was able to get another of her books for free by standing in a long line for a long time. I didn't get the office staff little goodies this time since it wasn't an official 'school' trip. I am going to donate some of my swag to the teacher/staff appreciation box, so some may get a free bag, book, or t-shirt.

Now I am waiting at the San Antonio airport. I have received four texts telling me the Houston to Jackson leg of the trip has changed. I may have a two hour layover or longer in Houston. Just hope I get home tonight and not in the morning. By the way this airport has free wi-fi. Great idea. Wish all airports had it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Medieval Mysteries

It has been almost a month since I've posted. Sorry to my huge numbers of fans who have missed reading these pearls of insight. (Ha!)

I accidentally ran across four medieval mysteries at the library while looking for something else. The Queen's Man by Penway was the first book. I couldn't put them down. But there were only four of them. I haven't been able to find any others by that author.

Then I found or re-discovered the Owen Archer Mysteries by Candace Robb. I am fairly certain that I have read some of her earlier works. They are set in England in the 1300's and are similar to the mysteries of Ellis Peters who wrote Cadfael. I like learning some history and imagining what life was like before the discovery of the new world. The solution rests on the reasoning skills of the main character, not fingerprints and DNA.

Just got back from TESOL. Now it is just four days until Easter. I have several quilts that I want to begin but I really need to work on my presentation for IRA, get MRA speakers lined up, and send out a call for EEIS articles. WIDA testing begins in a week and two schools have surprisingly found students who might be ELLs, now that 3/4 of the year is over.

Also, can't wait to meet Molly (Guo Yong) as soon as she gets here to her new home.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Back to Kids' Books

I finished the Alex Rider kid spy series and then got busy reading Unglued for the women's book group at church. The Reading Teacher came and I got distracted by some interesting articles in it. Oh, yeah, somewhere in there I worked on the EEIS Newsletter which will be finished and emailed in the next week, I think.

Anyway, I needed an easy read to pass some time and found a kids book that had been sitting on the shelf for a while. Just finished reading it last night. Masterpiece was a clever story about a boy and a tiny beetle. I recommend it to kids who like fantasy with a little mystery.

Now I have started a kids book by John Grisham. Didn't know he was writing kids' books. So far I'm liking the book. It is about a small town thirteen year old who wants to be a lawyer, imagine that from John Grisham.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ladies Book Group

I joined the Thursday night ladies book group at church. New activity for me. As much as I love to read, I have never been in a ladies book group. There were only five women including me last night. I didn't know what to expect and would have liked a few more details, like in which room they were meeting. Fortunately the building is small and I found them right away.

I bought the book, Unglued, and read the first two chapters. Turns out there was a workbook to go along with the video. The first two chapters were interesting. I hope it will be beneficial and help me with this season of life.

What may be the most beneficial is getting to know some women around my age at church. We have been going to the 'newcomer' Sunday school class and most of the members are at least twenty years younger. I like the class and it's good to have friends all different ages but sometimes it makes me feel ancient.

So, here's to trying something new in the new year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finished the year with a quilt finished

Finally finished the second t-shirt quilt. I worked on it off and on for a couple of years, I think. I decided on the sashing, border, and backing fabric and sewed the five rows. Then life, work, and I don't know what came along and I put it on hold. When I got back to it I couldn't remember in what order I was going to put the rows. So that caused 'quilters block', like writers block, I was frozen with indecision.

After finishing several small quilts I was determined to get this quilt done. I promised myself I would not start another small project until the t-shirt quilt was finished.

Yea! It is finished. Now I am going to put the borders on the summer block party quilt and pay someone else to quilt it. A little paralyzed trying to decide where to take it for finishing. Do I see a pattern in my problem with big projects? Hoping for some help or an intervention...