musing mondays

Click here to play along.

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• I’m currently reading…
• Up next I think I’ll read…
• I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
• I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
• I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
• I can’t wait to get a copy of…
• I wish I could read ___, but…
• I blogged about ____ this past week…

How do you make time for reading when you are very busy? Or how do you find a better balance between wanting to spend time reading and other commitments?

I've gotten into the habit of turning the tv off after the news and listening to a book and knitting or doing other relaxing activities. It helps me to unplug from the negativity of tv and focus on the moment. Plus, I love audiobooks!


just finished

I can't decide if I liked this book or not. It's a solid coming-of-age story set in turbulent 1969 and loosely based on the female followers of Charles Manson. I am not sure if the present day sections really needed to be there.

From the publisher:
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

sunday stealing

(click the icon to play along)

The Very Forceful Questions

1. Do you have/have you had any pets? I pretend my parents' dog, Maggie, is mine

2. Do you play video games? If so, do you have a favorite video game series? I don't play video games

3. Any unpopular opinions on anything? I have many unpopular opinions

4. Do you have a favorite gem? If yes, has anyone ever bought you jewelry with that gem? I love opals, and I have an opal ring from my sister

5. Favorite story genres? contemporary literature, rom-com, mystery, psychological thriller, and autobiography/memoir

6. What was once a secret that you can now share? (The original question was "What kind of fruit do you hate" which is type of question that I think "who cares?" so I just change them.) totally drawing a blank so I'll go with the original question--I hate bananas

7. Do you like reading? I love it, do it daily

8. What time is it for you now, what are you usually doing at this time of the day? around 10:30 am and this

9. What character on TV or in film is most similar to you? You can go with looks or personality. Or you can make a quip and go to the next question. Chrissy Metz

10. What's something weird you wanna do? It cannot be weirder than Mr. Watermelonhead. I'm struggling to think of something weird I want to do!

11. Have you ever accomplished a New Years Resolution? yes, many times

12. Is there any music artist you look up to? Bono

13. Are you allergic to anything? If yes, what? sulfa drugs

14. When was the last time you took a swim? Who else was with you? I cannot remember--it's been more than 10 years

15. Would you rather have the ability to sleep for as long as you want, or have the ability to never have to sleep? I have such shitty sleep that it would be better to have the ability to never have to sleep

sunday salon

Joining in Sunday Salon.

Time: 10:26 am

Scene: sitting in the sun in the living room

Today's plan: laundry and maybe groceries

Listening to: the clock ticking and cars going by

Reading: the news online

Drinking: nothing now, but I will get an iced coffee soon

Pondering: answering meme questions


PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. I like to post one that speaks to me each week.


still the new year

saturday 9

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

1) This song was inspired by a note WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley left for his parents. He accidentally wrote "go" twice. What was the last handwritten note you left for someone? directions for an assignment a student missed

2) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael was the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind? spanakopita

3) He was a terrible driver and admitted his license was suspended a number of times. Have you ever lost your license? nope, never been stopped and ticketed

4) WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley, on the other hand, is a talented driver who got to live his fantasy by racing Formula Three in Monaco. There are companies that sell racetrack driving experiences that allow you to spin around the track at dizzying speeds. Is this something you like to try? that does not appeal to me at this time

5) In 1990, Frank Sinatra famously gave George Michael advice. Ol' Blue Eyes told the younger man to enjoy his fame, to remember all those lean nights traveling from gig to gig by bus and, now that he's successful, "loosen up and swing, man." Who last gave you advice? Did you take it? my neighbor texted me to warn me the driveway is super icy so I put ice grippers on my shoes

6) Mr. Michael's neighbors have reported since his passing that he seemed to live rather quietly, and that they usually saw him when he was out walking his three dogs. Tell us about the last time you spoke to one of your neighbors. my neighbor texted me

7) Fansites tell us that George Michael's favorite cereal was cornflakes. What breakfast cereals are currently in your kitchen? bite size frosted mini wheats

8) In 1984, when "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was popular, Murder, She Wrote premiered on CBS. Today it's still seen in reruns all over the world. Are you a fan? although I adore Angela Lansbury, I was not a fan--the awful fake "down east Maine" accents were a turn off

9) RANDOM QUESTION: What's your secret to a good night's sleep? comfy, crisp clean sheets



I don't know if I would have finished this if I eyeball read it instead of listening to it. And although there are a few minor complaints about the voice actor, I enjoyed his narration. I liked the humor, although this is not a comedy. I liked the secondary characters. What I didn't like is the frenetic feel--there's so much going on! I wasn't sure where to focus my attention.

From the publisher:
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, and Abraham replied obediently, 'Here I am'.

This is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. Over the course of three weeks in present-day Washington, DC, three sons watch their parents' marriage falter and their family home fall apart. Meanwhile, a larger catastrophe is engulfing another part of the world: a massive earthquake devastates the Middle East, sparking a pan-Arab invasion of Israel.

With global upheaval in the background and domestic collapse in the foreground, Jonathan Safran Foer asks us: what is the true meaning of home? Can one man ever reconcile the conflicting duties of his many roles - husband, father, son? And how much of life can a person bear?

friday 5

  1. What’s a real-world lesson you learned from your first job?
  2. workers should share holiday hours
  3. What was pleasantly unexpected about your current (or most recent) job?
  4. laughing a lot
  5. What are some identifying tools of your trade?
  6. books, paper, multi-colored pens, and pencils
  7. What’s something a job required that you thought was far outside your skillset?
  8. teaching Advanced Placement courses
  9. Robert Frost wrote, “My object in living is to unite / My avocation and my vocation / as my two eyes make one in sight.”  To what degree have you united your vocation (your job) and your avocation (your hobby)?
  10. I get to talk about my love of learning all the time!


think, write thursday

Click the image to play along!
Plan a dinner party, inviting 3 people, living or dead.

I've got to say this is a surprisingly difficult topic. I keep thinking of people I would love to listen to! And I would love to have family there, but, there's more likelihood that I will actually have a dinner party with family than with three non-related people.

Definitely a casual affair. Not complicated, fussy, messy food. No funky smelling food, either (sorry, garlic).

Ok, ok, ok, a choice...

It would be amazing to get George Mitchell, Bono, and Princess Diana together. We would talk charity and solve all the world's problems.

But, it would also be fun to have George Carlin, Jon Stewart and George Clooney at dinner. I can't even imagine how thought-provoking that would be.

Then there's the pure fun of Ellen, Oprah, and Gayle King.


w.w.w. wednesday

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words.

• What are you currently reading? I'm reading The Girls by Emma Cline and at school: Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War by Charles B. Dew and listening to Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.

• What did you recently finish reading? Nothing this week.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

yarn along

Join in every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting and reading too!

Knitting the Rob Roy hat and listening to Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.


#pussyhat project

I knit a fuschia hat for my oldest Virginia niece to wear at the March on Washington next weekend.

When I heard boys chanting, "Grab her by the pussy!" at a girls' soccer game, I knew I wanted to be involved. I needed to claim the word pussy, even though it makes me uncomfortable. Knitting as part of Pussyhat Project is my way of taking part. Plus I feel like I'm supporting and encouraging my niece.

ten things tuesday

Ten random things:

1) Hygge has been on my mind a lot lately. Kind of like healthy hibernating. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special.

2) It's time for my annual winter blahs. Big time. I think if I wasn't out in the cold every single day it wouldn't be so bad, but I have to concern myself with winter driving, the cold, and dreary skies.

3) I'm knitting a pussyhat for my eldest Virginia niece. She's attending the Washington March. I thought about traveling to my state capitol for Maine's march, but...

4) I had my students analyze George Washington's Cabinet by creating job descriptions for the Cabinet posts. The next step was for them to apply for one of the four posts. What a hoot! They had creative license to come up with reasons they would be good for the post they applied to and some of them were really clever.

5) The department meeting scheduled for after school today has been canceled! Hooray! I have meetings every other night this week, so an afternoon off is awesome!

6) My library book group is meeting tomorrow--postponed from last week--and I hope I can still remember details of the book.

7) My school book group is meeting Friday and I hope I finish the book in time! I have fewer than 4 hours left to listen. But I've got meetings every night, both after school and evening. Big busy week.

8) One of my study hall students just stood up, unbuttoned his trousers and unzipped a little to tuck in his shirt. Right there. In front of me and everyone else. Dear lord. They don't know why I'm freaking out about it.

9) So, now we're expecting an ice and snow storm. 2-4 inches of snow with another inch or so of freezing rain and rain. Why do I live here??