Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Blog.

I'm posting to share the link to my new blog. I'm still uncertain about what to do with this space! Anyway, here you go: http://definingmymoment.wordpress.com/

Friday, May 30, 2014

In the last 3 months...

So, I didn't intend for my month break to last as long, but basically, life happened and I had to step away to deal with a pile of problems that continued to compound. I'm finally starting to resurface and have room to breathe (and I've finally come to term with some of these things) and I miss blogging. I've actually decided that I'm going to shut this blog down. I feel confined and restrained here, bound by what I've done here in the past. I'll be starting over on Wordpress and I will share that information when it happens.

We left off with me taking a break at the beginning of March to take 2 classes 4 days/week to renew my teaching certificate. It was the perfect opportunity to get all my needed hours for renewal, and I really thought it was good timing. It was only a month, my co-teacher was there to help with the AP class stress, and it would all be over in a month. Then, essentially, the shit hit the fan.

My co-teacher was placed on bed-rest almost immediately after I last posted. While we had a long-term sub already picked out, she ended up taking over much earlier than we had planned. We were still plowing through content and it got very overwhelming, very fast. With 8 snow days this year, we lost a lot of valuable class time and I was rearranging things non-stop to guarantee we got through everything in time for the kids' test on May 14. And while my co-teacher's long term sub has been wonderful to work with, a lot of extra work fell on me, which created a lot of unneeded stress, drama, and bouts of crying. There were many days that I was completely miserable-I would go to school early, work all day, stay after until 5 or 6 helping kids and prepping, come home to grade and prep more, go to my class, come home and sob in bed exhausted. It was miserable.

But to make it even better, my husband lost his job in the same time period. It came out of nowhere and has obviously flipped our financial security on its head. We were comfortable with both our salaries, but now it is TIGHT. There have been more than a few scares and freak-outs about finances.

And, in the midst of all that, I had a small falling out with my co-teacher over some drama that was created not by me. It's smoothed over now, but I'm still feeling incredibly insecure about my place at school and with her. I've withdrawn a lot from people I used to talk to, more so to protect my own feelings than anything else.

In many ways, I've felt in limbo that last few months. I have very much been living in a fog of my own making. I had a few weeks where my only concern and passion was for teaching and my kids...because quite frankly, they were all I could count on.

It's bee a rough few months and there are still many changes coming my way. Matt and I decided that now is the time for him to return to school and finish his degree. I'm in the process of applying to go back for my Master's Degree, launching my own small business (more on that in the future), and finishing my novel (that has become a release the last few weeks). I also learned (yesterday) that due to our district expanding class sizes (up to 38 kids) and shifting, I'm bumped out of our history department next year and I'm only teaching English. I used to think that's what I wanted, but it's not. I'm quite frankly, heartbroken over APUSH being taken away from me. In many ways, I'm hurt....even though I know my administration had little control over the situation. It's hard to pour your heart into something and have it snatched away from you.

However, I am gaining more sophomore English-American Lit, as well as a senior composition class. THAT I am excited for! It will be a new challenge, and if you know anything about me, it's this: I love a challenge.

More than anything else, I've learned over the last few months that I do well under pressure. I've also learned to speak my mind when I need to. And that sometimes you just can't trust other people. I've also learned that what really matters to me most are my husband, family, good friends, and students. People who fall outside that realm can let you down. Maybe that's cynical, but with everything I've gone through, that's how I feel.

But in the course of all the chaos, some good things have happened. My SIL is pregnant again and due in October-I'm excited for my 8th niece or nephew to make their debut. :) Matt and I have also been spending more time together, which has been great for our relationship. He's been incredibly supportive of everything I've gone through at work and has picked up a lot of my slack here at home. Also, thanks to my parents' generosity, we got to spend a week out in Los Angeles visiting my sister, Torrie, who is out there working for Disney. I've grown closer to my friend Colleen and I finally feel like I have a close girl friend that lives by. It's been awhile since I've had that kind of friendship. I'm also close to achieving some personal goals and working towards living a healthier lifestyle. During all the chaos, I actually felt pretty good except for a couple of bad days, so my Lupus finally feels under control.

So, that's my life at the moment. I hope you have all been well. I miss the days when blogging was my main focus, but so much has changed in the almost 5 years since I started here. I'm ready for a fresh start.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Head's Up.

I wanted to pop in an write a quick post to say that it will probably be quiet on here for the rest of the month. Not only am I slammed with grading (lots of essays last week and I'm collecting more this week), but I also started 2 classes so I can renew my certificate. The classes are only 4 weeks long, but I'm going 3 nights during the week for 4 hours each session, and an 8-hour session every Saturday. It's not the best, but I'll get all the hours I need to renew. Needless to say, my "free" time will be limited and blogging will have to take a back-seat (not that I've read much recently). I'm sure I'll still pop in, but it will definitely be quiet. :)

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Classics Club March Meme.

Every month, The Classics Club hosts a monthly meme with a question for members to respond to. This month, the question is:

"What is your favorite “classic” literary period and why?"

 I'm going to cheat and narrow it down to 2 periods.

The first period is the Victorian Era. I used to hate the Victorians because of a bad experience with Great Expectations in high school, but I have since matured in my reading tastes and have come to realize that I love this era! So many of my favorites are here-Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, the Brontes...and the list goes on. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, a Victorian novel will usually fit the bill.

Beyond the Victorian era, my other favorite era is that of American realism. Writers like Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Mark Twain, and Theodore Drieser come to mind. I love how these writers capture the American spirit in their own diverse ways! I'm also a fan of how these writers also influenced some of my other favorites (realism blends into a few other American periods) like Henry James and John Steinbeck.

However, I should really be honest and admit that I really love all periods. It's hard to distinguish writers between movements at times, since they blend together and writers tend to experiment with style. So if you're looking to dive in, start anywhere. :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster.”

I fell in love with Eleanor and Park when I read it last summer, so I've been eager to read more by Rowell (I just realized I never reviewed E and P...I might need to do so!).

Fangirl is the perfect book for anyone who has been obsessed with a certain franchise of books (Harry Potter definitely came to mind when I read this). Cather is obsessed with a series about a character named Simon Snow, and with her sister, Wren, has built a huge fanbase online writing fanfiction. Now that she is older and in college, awaiting the release of the eighth and final book, the pressure is on to finish her own novel for her own adoring fans.

The only problem is that she's starting her freshman year of college, dealing with a difficult roommate, her roommate's odd boyfriend, trying to understand why her sister is pulling away, avoiding reconnecting her her estranged mother, and worrying about her father who now all alone at home and definitely empty-nesting. 

In one word, I would classify this book as adorable. Because while there are certainly enough negative things going on in Cather's life, the story is heart-warming. Cather undergoes a big transformation from the beginning of the novel to the end. She enters college unsure and scared-afraid to even venture into the cafeteria for fear of being alone or not knowing what to do. Eventually, she finds her place among all the craziness around her and we see real growth in who she is and what she wants.

 “In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)”

Some of what I enjoyed most about this book were Cather's little quirks-many of which I have myself. I've also felt a bit of fear about going into a new situation and not knowing what to do. Her fear of being alone and uncertain in the cafeteria is a fear I've felt many times-going to conferences, etc. She is also a bit of a recluse, choosing to stay in and write or read than go to a party. She's also a person who cares for people who ask her for help. First, the boy from her fiction writing class. Then, her roommate's odd duck of a boyfriend.

I was also fascinated by Cather's writing and her devotion to her craft-and props to Rowell for using fanfiction in such a positive light! While I've never written fanfiction (I know I couldn't do justice to someone else's characters), my younger sister did for quite some time. There are so many big communities out there, and for many, it's a great way to extend the life of a well-loved series. In Cather's case, it was also a way for her to play with her words, and push her to trying something else.

However, the thing that I most loved about this was Cather's love interest. Can I say a huge thank you to Rowell for showing a male love interest who is actually a really good guy? Who doesn't do creepy/stalkerish things that are "romantic?" THANK YOU.

In all, this was a sweet book that left me with lots of warm fuzzies and a desire to read more by Rowell in the future.

"Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”