holiday spirit

Today I found my holiday spirit. It's been around here somewhere, almost misplaced, but today I found it. I'm not sure if the feeling is connected to Solstice, or watching White Christmas, or Dad's annual holiday concert. But it's filled me up. I'm now excited for the next day and a half of school instead of dreading them. And nobody cares that my packages are going to get there late. Now I've got to dig out my ugly Christmas sweater to wear to school tomorrow and I'm ready to roll.


Today's prompt: Today is the Winter Solstice - the shortest day and the longest night of the year - a day which has been celebrated throughout human history as a time of rebirth and new beginnings. Do you celebrate this day? What has happened during the past year that has felt like a new beginning for you?

Winters in Northern Maine are long. Everybody knows that. Daylight doesn't last terribly long. I often leave for school before the sun has risen and frequently return home at sunset. So Winter Solstice is a big deal to me--the shortest daylight day and the longest night--but, the days will begin to lengthen! It won't seem as dark and gloomy forever.

I don't necessarily celebrate, although I do acknowledge. And this year, getting in touch with a couple of high school friends was a treasure and makes me feel young at heart.

sunday stealing

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Sunday Stealing: The Christmas Meme

1. Do you send Christmas cards? I didn't this year

2. How soon do you start shopping?: oh, whenever I see something cool

3. Who do you shop for?: mostly family but a few friends

4. Do you put up a Christmas tree?: I have a fiber optic tree

5. If so, is it fake or real?: fake

6. Do you like tinsel?: in limited amounts

7. Do you use homemade or store bought ornaments?: store bought

8. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?: no

9. Do you put lights on the tree?: well, it's fiber optic

10. How about popcorn and cranberries?: occasionally I'll put on red beads that look like cranberries

11. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?: no

13. Do you hang up your stocking?: yes

14. Does your family read "Twas the night before Christmas?": occasionally my dad will, and it's wonderful!

15. Christmas Movie?: Elf

16. Character from any Christmas Movie: Buddy the Elf

17. Christmas Song: "Where Are You Christmas" is this year's earworm

18. Christmas Memory: the family sing-a-long

19. Give or Receive?: definitely give

22. Ham or Turkey?: either

24. White Lights or Colored Lights? either

25. Blinking Lights or Still Lights: twinkle, not blinking

26. Were you Naughty or Nice this year?: I think I might have been both :-)

27. What do you want for Christmas this year?: I bought myself a new purse

28. When do you open your gifts?: whenever the family gets together--sometimes Christmas morning

29. What's the best gift you've ever gotten?: all of them

30. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?: none of them

31. Who gives you the most gifts?: myself

32. Have you ever had a secret Santa?: yes--I had an awesome Santa this year

33. Do you like wrapping gifts?: love it!! I even worked part-time at a gift shop wrapping presents one year

34. Do you put change in those red buckets?: I usually put some money in

35. Do you burn a yule log?: no, although I did put a fireplace on last night

36. Can you name all the reindeer?: I can, I have to sing the song but I can do it without assistance

37. Do you bake cookies?: I do not

38. Have you ever seen your mommy kissing Santa Claus?: no

39. Have you ever gotten a kiss under the mistletoe?: I have

41. Do you drive around and look at the Christmas lights?: it's a tradition

42. Have you ever left Santa cookies?: I think so

43. Have you ever sat on Santa's lap?: I don't remember and there are no photos, so probably not

44. Who do you celebrate Christmas with?: my parents and my local sister and her kids

45. Where do you celebrate Christmas?: Dad's

46. Have you ever had a white Christmas?: it's more unusual to have a green Christmas

47. What part of Christmas do you look most forward to?: all of it! I love this time of year!!

48. Have you ever had your picture taken with Santa?: I don't have any photos of me as a kid with Santa


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.

PostSecret, 13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874, USA


perfect winter day...

Today's prompt: Winter is coming!

Tomorrow is the first day of winter. What do you consider the perfect winter day?

Winter's been here for over a month. Blah. I am not a fan of winter in general. However, I do like a day that is in the upper 20s or 30s, not windy, and sunny. Then I don't mind being out and about. Anytime my breath does not freeze in my nostrils is a plus.

saturday 9

Happy Holidays

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas? I don't remember ever talking to Santa

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? I suspect I'm on the naughty list for my spending...

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest? I haven't mailed my packages yet (I know, I know!)

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? I've been buying myself lots of presents (see #2)

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie? Elf

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day? I probably have, it would have been in the 80s when I was collegey

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party? nothing comes to mind... I haven't been to many company parties

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather? Hot Chocolate, preferably minty

9. What will you remember most about 2014? my great-nephew, Jason, was born!



Today's prompt: Random Acts of Kindness - little things done purely to make someone else smile. When is the last time you performed one (or were the recipient of one). See if you can perform at least one today.

I performed a RAOK just today! Without knowing this was the prompt, even. Of course, it's easy to perform these at school because there's always someone who needs cheering up.

friday 5

  1. When has something miraculous or seemingly miraculous happened to you or someone you know?
  2. I witness these types of things regularly--at school we refer to them as God winks.
  3. When were you last part of an amazing coincidence?
  4. yesterday!
  5. What have you recently accomplished against magnificent odds?
  6. at school, I taught my restless, foolish students even though they would rather play reindeer games
  7. In what way this week has luck been in your favor?
  8. the weather has been rough but I haven't had any accidents or gone off the road (it was treacherous yesterday morning)
  9. What was the last outcome you consciously decided to leave up to chance?
  10. a decision I had to make regarding a conference/class--in the end, I will be taking it


games people play

Today's prompt: Let's talk about games (console games, board games, role-playing games, live action, any sort). Do you play any? Do you have any family favorites? Are there any you just can't stand?

I love playing games! I love card games and have had a 30-year grudge match with my Virginia sister in the game Spite & Malice. Now I've got her daughters playing with me. I grew up playing board games, too, a family favorite is Payday. I don't enjoy Monopoly. I've never enjoyed it. And I've never played console games, rpgs, or live action games.

booking through thursday

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Do you read books written for children or teens? Or do you stick to books for adults?

I read a fair amount of YA (young adult)--mostly so I can share books with my students. But the genre has grown so much in the past few years that there is truly something for everyone. Some of my favorite books of 2014 are YA. I don't read as many children's books, but I love browsing through them.



Today's prompt: To commemorate the first day of Hanukkah, let's talk about miracles. What do you think constitutes a miracle? Have you ever experienced one?

noun: miracle; plural noun: miracles
  • a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.
  • a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

I've been aware of a few miracles in my life. If I'm open to the possibilities, they are all around.

w.w.w. wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? I'm reading There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron and listening to The Xmas Factor by Annie Saunders.

• What did you recently finish reading? I finished What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I might re-read a holiday favorite.

finished reading

I didn't know what to expect, although the premise was appealing. Historical holiday romance. It was funny and the plot twists were convoluted enough to keep me reading. There was a terribly cliched intimate moment that detracted, but overall this was a very fun holiday read.

From the publisher:
Camille, Lady Lydingham, requests the pleasure of your company at a festive house party, as she endeavors to coax a marriage proposal from Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of Greater Avalonia.

The hostess's relatives will be in attendance—in this case, a troupe of actors hired to impersonate a proper English family in order to fool the Prince.

Gate-crashing, distractingly handsome first loves like Grayson Elliott are most unwelcome.

Games will be played.

Motives will be revealed.

Mayhem may ensue.

And hearts will be won—and lost—in the most romantic, magical season of all.



Today's prompt: Today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. What's the very best chocolate-covered thing you've ever had (or alternatively, what's the worst)?

Anything covered in chocolate is my favorite.

ten things tuesday

Linking up with Ten On Tuesday this week.

This week's topic is 10 Things You Would Write in a Christmas Letter.

Let me just say I've never considered writing one of these letters and this was quite a stretch!

1) I joined the smartphone world with an iPhone.

2) Found out that a dear friend had breast cancer and would lose her hair due to treatments, so I knit her a winter wardrobe of hats (later, I knit her a summer wardrobe).

3) I was nominated for County Teacher of the Year, which is a precursor to the Maine Teacher of the Year.

4) My great-nephew Jason joined the family. His parents are overjoyed, doting parents. He's a big boy!

5) Reconnected with some dear high school friends on a whirlwind road trip to Southern Maine, the same weekend as our high school class reunion. I decided I had more fun in Portland than I would have had at the reunion.

6) Took the Bingo Reading Challenge and got blackout bingo! (meaning all squares are covered)

7) A distant cousin got in touch with me to help update the family tree. It was fun to dig around for photos and information.

8) My car hit 100,000 miles.

9) At my annual physical, I got a clean bill of health--blood pressure down, weight down, all systems go!

10) Everyone on my holiday gift list received something knitted.


musing mondays

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• Question: Do you ever crave reading crappy books? {source}

Sometimes I need a lighthearted, romantic comedy book. Sometimes I need a cozy mystery. Not every book can be Crime & Punishment! And sometimes the crappy books are the popular books and I want to know what everyone's fussing about (like Fifty Shades of Grey or the Twilight series).

But I don't necessarily think ChickLit or cozy mysteries are crappy, most of what I read is well-written and has clever plots and charming characters.

high school shenanigans...

Today's prompt: Today is Cat Herder's Day, a day to celebrate the times when things are overwhelming, and you feel as if you are trying to 'herd cats'. What in your life feels like herding cats, and how do you handle it?

I teach high school. This is a constant. One of my senior psychology classes hounds me every day, asking, "Are we watching a movie today?" To have five or six, or ten or twelve, students ask this daily gets to be annoying. And I feel like I'm herding cats. I just remind them that I have consistently said NO! Although I do have an activity they will do with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But they don't need to know that.

It never ceases to amaze me that high schoolers expect us to party or play games before holidays or vacations. I wonder what's going on in my colleagues' classrooms that the kids have that expectation. I work up to the very end. I sometimes try to make the work fun, but we work!