Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend at Vicki's.

Happy weekend! Belle and I are house and dogsitting for my friend Vicki. While they're in Kansas, we're in Del Ray right near Alexandria. It is quiet, peaceful and I'm attempting to get some major grad school work done. That is, when I'm not watching continuing coverage of the Royal Wedding, I'm trying to get stuff done. I'm set up at the kitchen table, and the dogs come in and out of the door onto the balcony because it's so nice here.

For those of you playing along at home, here's an update to the grad school scorecard.
  • Research paper with team (still 42 pages and ALMOST done) Due May 6th
  • Research presentation (May 14)
  • Graduate (May 21)
  • Curriculum Project Paper #1 3-5 pages (June 15) Submitted April 18
  • Curriculum Project Paper #2 3-5 pages (June 15) Submitted April 21
  • Portfolio Chapter #1 4-8 pages (June 26) Submitted April 30
  • Portfolio Chapter #2 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #3 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #4 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #5 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Metaphor 1 page (July 1)
  • Curriculum Project Paper #3 3-5 pages (July 1)
And here are the dogs. I'm a much better cat photographer than dog.

Say a little prayer for my teammate Adrienne. Baby Avery is thinking about making an early arrival into the world, and they put momma on bedrest. Tough to do when you want to finish your masters and prepare 5th graders for the state tests. Our group will be fine - so that is totally not my concern - I just want Adrienne and Avery to be rested and well.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding.

Getty Images
My favorite Royal Wedding memento that I've seen this week was this lovely plate. It said, "It should have been me. Kate & Wills 4.29.11"

But seriously. I am also tall (granted a little taller than Kate). My full name, Victoria Catherine, is quite possibly perfect for a duchess. I am very good at smiling at people, and my 8th graders would not complain if I left them to marry a prince.

She is definitely prettier. Kate looked beautiful this morning, and I loved the whole look. I think Pippa's dress was also perfect and really wish I had a reason to wear a shorter version of it. I think I could (maybe) pull it off because I have hips and a waist. I love it love it love it.

My students watched bits of it too, somehow aware that this is a big deal. People my generation have listened to our parents talk about watching Diana's wedding in the middle of the night, so we knew we didn't want to miss it. I totally cried when she walked down the aisle, but I always cry at weddings. I also loved watching Westminster, especially because we were there the day that Prince William and Princess Kate announced it was the wedding location!

Going to have to turn off the coverage and go back to teaching about the American economy. The Royal Wedding is just so much more fun...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Supper Club at Four Sisters.

Five members of the supper club met last night for dinner at Four Sisters. All of our previous locations have been closer to DC and near where most of the group lives, but Four Sisters is right around corner from my gym. I had been for take-out a few times, but I really wanted to dine-in. With a glass of white wine.

Four Sisters is Vietnamese, a new cuisine to me when I moved to Virginia. It's regularly written up as the best in the DC area, but I don't know. I haven't been to any other Vietnamese restaurants.

Andrea, however, lives in New York City and knows a lot more about food. We've been to Four Sisters twice together, and she says it IS excellent. In fact, she said it was better than any Vietnamese she'd eaten in New York. Thank you very much, Northern Virginia.

On all of my previous visits, I had bun, a delicious noodle dish Andrea recommended. (Seriously, when I want take out, I ask her every time what we had when she was here). This time I let Jill R. order, and I ate whatever she picked. It was fantastic. A big thick crepe, shrimp lettuce wraps, spring rolls and green papaya salad. There were assorted other noodle dishes at our table, and actually, just a ton of food. It could be totally done family style!

I told my mom we had supper club again this week, and she said, "Already?!" The months are going by really quickly here in Virginia! And they pass pretty happily, I should add.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Em's Getting Married.

A lot of my friends in KC (and around the country, really) are from my sorority at Kansas State. Part of the bonding experience was sorority recruitment, which was fun mostly because we were all deliriously tired and things got extra silly.

The high (and low) part of the week was skit day. It was nice because instead of talking to potential new members for 45 minutes, we got to watch a skit. But it was also terrible to watch the same skit over and over again. We were supposed to think it was hilarious.

The first three years, it was supposed to be like TLC's "A Wedding Story." Chees-y. The actresses reflect on college, sorority life, date parties, and flag football. At one point the bride says, "And now you're here on my wedding day." It was the most dramatic moment in the skit.

And chees-y.

It is impossible for one of my sorority sisters to get married without the rest of us saying that line OVER and over again. We said it to Em on Saturday at her wedding shower. It really is fun to be a part of all the preparation, even if we get super cheesy about it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hot Cross Buns.

Spring break in Virginia is also an Easter break. Terrible to travel on Easter, but I love that I haven't missed an Easter with my mom for 27 years. It's not exactly the same tradition ever year, but there's always a noontime meal and candy.

This year we celebrated the resurrection with Mark, Dereck and Tara. Dereck's been coming for four years. That's got be a tradition, right?

We set the table, and I made personalized candy daffodils. (You can see them on yesterday's post.) We had a delicious strata with pancetta and spinach, fresh berries, blood orange salad and hot cross buns. I picked the hot cross buns up from a local bakery, and they were yummy. Made with currants - which are the perfect amount of fruit and not as sweet as raisins.

I was supposed to be writing grad school papers, so we didn't attempt homemade hot cross buns. Maybe next year. I just really want to sing the little song about the buns. "Hot cross buns. Hot cross buns." And then I forget the rest.

Mom made another homemade angel food cake for dessert. Those things are good.

Lunch was yummy, and we lingered at the table for a couple of hours talking and finishing off the wine. Lauren and Mark headed to Ottawa to celebrate more with his family and hunt for eggs. I finished packing and headed to the airport for my Virginia bound flight.

This was by far the best trip home since I moved to Virginia because I didn't panic about doing everything. I worked on grad school, I saw most all of my Kansas City friends, and even cleaned my closets. I didn't have a diet cherry coke from Sonic or eat Mr. Goodcents, but it didn't really mater. I'll be back in June for my high school reunion and for good on July 19th.

I had to get back to Virginia, my bad dog, and my funny 8th graders. I do panic a little about getting everything done in Virginia before that July moving date, but it'll be okay.

And anyways: He is risen. He is risen, indeed.

A Fun New Game.

Let's play a new game. It's called "Monday." Read the clues below and decide if each one is true or false.
  • I didn't fall asleep until at least 12:40 am last night.
  • Belle ran away this morning.
  • Belle rolled in NASTY smelly underbrush and smelled like something terrible when she returned.
  • I had to give Belle a bath before school at 7:20 this morning.
  • Gas costs $4.14 at the Exxon by my house.
  • The PA system in my room is broken and beeps exactly every minute.
  • Because the PA system is broken, and I'm giving a practice state assessment today, my class haphazardly moved to another room.
  • My diet coke tastes flat.
  • Outside of the new room they are replacing the tile on the floor. This requires CHIPPING away at the old tile.
  • The pencil sharpener is broken in my new room.
  • I've got no lunch because there was no food in my house.
Okay. Check your answers. If you identified that all of the statements above are TRUE, then you win the grand prize. Awesome-sauce (to quote my favorite lovable oaf on my favorite show, Parks & Recreation).

I was listing some of the things that have gone wrong to my second period, and one student wisely said, "What did you expect? It's a Monday." I hate when my 8th graders are smarter than I am.

I'm going to run and grab lunch during my plan and a fizzy diet coke. And thankfully my tank was full, so I won't be paying that $4.14 for a while. Back later with more fun posts, I just couldn't wait to share this game with you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter.

Resurrection is always a very good thing. But what moved me during Holy Week was something that Erica and Jon's pastor shared last week at church. The last thing Jesus said was "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46). Which is incredibly humbling because it hadn't been an easy journey.

But you know what's also sweet about this prayer? Jewish mothers taught it to their little boys. It was like the "Now I lay me down to sleep," of Jesus day. Jesus' mama taught it to him.

And, at the end of the story, resurrection. Fantastic. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Blake!

Of all my brothers, Blake getting older makes me feel older the most. See that sweet little guy in the yellow shirt on the left? That's Blakey. Sweet little brother is now TEN. Where did the time go?

Happy Birthday Blake. You were a great youngest brother for all those years before Spencer, and now you are a great big brother to him. Love you mucho from Kansas and Virginia.

PS. Take one more look at the 2006 photo. The baby is Spencer at just less than 8 months old. We're big babies in my family.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moon Over Manifest Book Club.

My mother loves a theme party almost as much as I do. So when I told her that we'd be hosting book club when I was home and the story takes place in Kansas during the Great Depression, we started brainstorming food to serve. We read Moon Over Manifest for our April book (more on that late later), but first the food.

We served all of our food on these crystal trays that my great grandmother Della used for desserts. The little punch glasses were perfect for lemonade (we used real wine glasses for the wine).

Our food, loosely based on depression era food, featured sandwiches on white bread. We had roast beef and homemade egg salad, with canned peaches, tomatoes, and pickles on the side. And wavy lays because chips are awesome and one of the best parts of 2011.

I thought about making a spiked "elixir" like they drink in the story, but I decided everyone would be happier with wine than hard liquor on a Wednesday. It was a very good unoaked Virginia chardonnay, so you know.

In the story, the townspeople eat an angel food cake. I knew my mom would totally love to make one from scratch. When she was a little girl, she would take the eggs from the hen house that were too small to be sold and make angel food cake from scratch. I've heard her tell the story tons of times, but it's been a long time since I've had homemade angel food cake.

It was delicious - spongy but in perfect proportions. Way better than the boxed kind. We served it with chopped strawberries and homemade pineapple whipped cream.

We talked about the book a little - there are plenty of twists that make finishing it redeeming. It's a bit of slow starter. But it won the Newbury this year and is about Kansas, so it felt like a must read to this newly minted reading teacher.

Kate brought baby James, who was darling as ever. It was a nice night with all eight current members of the book club together in one place, sitting and talking about life and books for hours. We oohed over Abbey's new engagement ring, admired Nan's growing baby bump and plotted fourteen more parties we're going to have still this year. And I think I've got them talked in to supper club...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Impromptu Dinner at R Bar.

Late afternoon on Tuesday, Dereck had to cancel our Wednesday lunch plans. Totally fine. Then he suggested a Tuesday night dinner at R Bar to use a groupon. Game on. We quickly checked with Erica and Jon, and we threw ourselves together for an impromptu family dinner (without Kenneth and Melinda - come back soon!) at R Bar.

R Bar
would make an excellent location for a supper club. It has all the makings of a fabulous dinner spot. Good food and excellent cocktails. It was very quiet on a Tuesday night, but they were attentive, and we felt comfortable sitting there for a long time. We chatted about the state of the economy, their upcoming trip to visit me in DC, and our next global adventure (TBD). We also toasted to Erica's birthday on Monday!

Please go to their website. It has a horse on it, in a totally normal and Kansas City way. I love this. R Bar is blocks away from the American Royal, something I'll write a post about someday. I love the American Royal.

All of our food was a little on the salty side, but mostly really delicious. Erica and I split the roasted chicken risotto with spring peas and homemade bison kielbasa. I'm pretty sure there was kale involved in the dish - and I liked it. The brown gravy helped. Jon and Dereck both had deconstructed philly cheese steaks that looked awesome. I forgot to ask for a bite before they finished their plates. Nor did I offer to share my own food. And we really liked the donuts made with ricotta cheese and served with pesto sauce.

Supper club is something I hope to transplant to Kansas City. KC has a great collection of restaurants, and every time I am back, someone asks if I have tried a new one. But I really would like supper club to be a co-ed activity in KC (it's girls night out in Virginia). My girlfriends in KC already have book club and birthday brunches, etc., so I think supper club should be a time we get to see everyone. My girlfriends married good guys.

Maybe I need a ranking system for all the restaurants I try. Number of forks? Number of photos that I would have taken if the lighting wasn't too dim? Number of high fives?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby James at Bedtime.

Welp. If you know one thing about me, you know I love babies. Especially the babies of my friends. Baby James was small. And now he is bigger. We had a girls night on Saturday with a yummy dinner at BRGR and a movie back at Kate's place, timed perfectly so we could see sweet James right before bedtime.

Adam put James in his pjs after his bath. Kate said she would have put him in different pajamas because they had company. I was too busy snuggling that I didn't really notice the pajamas. A-dorable. Totes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home and a Haircut.

That baby above? Yep, Braden again on the Thursday night before I left Virginia for Kansas. I asked Rachel if he was going to get real big while I was home for spring break, and she promised that he would still be small and snuggly. Phew.

Because we're crazy, last Thursday our hairdresser, Dominique, came to our house to cut my hair and Finn's. She's in between salons and I needed a haircut. So we sat on the back deck for hours while she cut mine, our friend Kate's, trimmed Rachel's and even Finley's. But I'll let Rach tell you about that sometime. Sol took some pretty pictures of me and the baby in the setting sun.

I'm home in Kansas for the week. And writing writing writing - not blog posts for a change but grad school papers. I hope to have an update to the grad school scorecard throughout the week. Currently working on the research paper that won't get done while I'm home but will get some improvements. Working on job prospects this week in Kansas City too. Say some prayers for Monday morning, mmkay? Thanks mucho.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On the Day Braden Was Born.

Dear Braden Luke,

On the day you were born, Rachel brought me Finley's monitor at 5:45 am. It wasn't exactly as we practiced - it was planned and no emergency. But it was practically the middle of the night, so there was some suspense.

Because I was excited and awake, I logged on to check my Praxis reading test score. I wanted to be a social studies AND reading teacher, Braden, so I needed to pass this test. I did. By kind of a lot. So I called your mom to tell her.

She laughed and said, "I knew you would pass. That's why I thought it was funny watching you freak out the last five weeks." This is just like your mom.

I told her that I was praying for you guys and good luck. We were really anxious for you to get here.

I got ready for school and was about ready to go when my roommate yelled, "COPPER!" Somehow your dog escaped. I'm sure by the time you are old enough to read this, you will have seen Copper go "bye-bye" at least 82 more times. He gets this possessed look in his eye and is really difficult to catch. I jumped in my car and chased after him. Eventually someone caught him when he stopped to smell their golden retriever. Oh Copper.

I taught 8th graders all day, trying to remember that they were babies once too. They kept asking me if you were here yet! Even though your mom was a serious Algebra teacher, they loved her. They were excited for you to arrive too! I checked my phone for updates and made plans to scoot out as soon as I could to come see you.

At 2:25 you arrived! A little while later, your dad sent us all a text message that said, "Baby! 225 today. Definitely a boy! 8lbs 12 oz. 23 inches long. No I am not kidding."

I got your big brother Finn all ready to come visit you at the hospital. We put on his "big brother in charge" t-shirt and picked up Chick-Fil-A for everyone. Your mom and dad were super hungry after waiting all day for you. And a little tired too. But your dad kept telling me how awesome it was and amazing. This is just like your dad.

We hung out with your mom in her little room, eating some dinner and watching you squirm around. I got to hold you, which was awesome. Braden - you were the first baby I ever held on the day they were born!

Finley and I went to the nursery to watch you get your first bath. Your big brother seemed all grown up all of a sudden. Like a little boy springing around the room.

A little while later, Finn and I went home. He took the new toolbox you gave him with us. Bedtime routine went really well except when Copper snuck in his room, and Finley got really upset. That was the second time on your birthday that I was really mad at Copper. Silly dog.

I couldn't wait for you to get home, but I also loved that special time with Finn. We talked about Belle, bubbles, and buses, some of Finn's favorite things right now.

Braden, you're a lucky dude. We were so excited for you to arrive, to love you and to see you grow up. We're praying that you grow up and love the Lord and become a teacher. Or an engineer. You'll probably be good at math. And if you're not, your mom can tutor you and we will still love you so so very much.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chips. And a Grad School Scorecard.

We are nearing the end of grad school. Obviously this means more work, not less. On my way to yesterday's meeting, I stopped at 7-11 for some grad school fuel. We had a chip sampler - Blazin' Buffalo and Ranch (awesome, by the way), kettle chips and old school crunchy Cheetos. You can see Adrienne's belly in the background. Baby Avery (and her mom) love chips these days!

One of my favorite blogs is all about TV. They put together a May sweeps "scorecard" of all the crazy things that will happen in the final episodes of each show. I love it. So I decided that I could keep things exciting with a Grad School scoreboard of my own. You can play along at home.
  • Research paper with team (42 pages and counting) Due May 6th
  • Research presentation (May 14)
  • Graduate (May 21)
  • Curriculum Project Paper #1 3-5 pages (June 15)
  • Curriculum Project Paper #2 3-5 pages (June 15)
  • Portfolio Chapter #1 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #2 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #3 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #4 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Portfolio Chapter #5 4-8 pages (June 26)
  • Metaphor 1 page (July 1)
  • Curriculum Project Paper #3 3-5 pages (July 1)
After July 1st, my to-do list will consist more of this:
  • plan parties
  • become a connoisseur of wines beyond unoaked chardonnay
  • sew a quilt (no, seriously)
  • live with my mom
  • start a new job in Kansas City
  • take a dog training class with belle
  • read all.the.time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Braden.

If you didn't see the post on Rachel's blog yet, baby Braden Luke joined the world today at 2:25. I took Finley over to meet his baby brother tonight and got to hold the perfect little bundle of joy.

And in what is becoming increasingly a normal occurrence, I cried putting Finley to bed tonight. I'm so lucky to share this experience and live with one of my BFFs and her family. I'll be thrilled to be back in Kansas where the number of babies multiplies, but I'll miss this every day action so so much. Actually so so so so much.

More photos and stories from the busy day that was Braden's birthday later. But for now, I'm reminded again of this favorite psalm.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Sunday, April 10, 2011


When your best friend is 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, it makes a lot of sense to spend the afternoon crafting. Round these parts (and on the blog world), we call that a "crafternoon."

Vicki, Emily and I spent all week perusing the internet for crafts. This was the result...

We set up in my kitchen on two tables. Rachel brought down her sewing machine so she could make a bunting for the baby's nursery. Emily and Vicki made beautiful wreaths perfect for Easter and spring.

And because I interpreted crafternoon very loosely, I made 41 sugar cookies and frosted them. Sort of like crafting because I used different frostings and sprinkles. Creative, right?

I also started a couple crafts I hope to finish by Easter. I'll show you them on the Easter table at the Luhrs' Ladies house. Easter crafts are my favorite! (You can see last year's craft here.)

Looks like Rachel's baby will arrive on Tuesday. Read the latest and see adorable pictures I took of the still family of three over on her blog. We cannot wait!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

From the First to the Last.

Here's our first day of school - teaching together - September 2009.

To our last day of teaching together - April 2011.

Rachel wrote a really great post about our last day teaching together because it's also the start of a big adventure for her - staying home with two little boys. We both feel really lucky that we could teach together these last 18 months. There are 82 reasons why it has been awesome. Here are a few of my favorite...
  • Going to lunch during 4th period
  • Co-sponsoring Student Council this year (come back and help me plan the dance...please?)
  • Friday morning breakfast crew
  • Stopping at Dunkin Donuts (did you know you can buy just one munchkin?)
  • Carpooling
  • Wearing matching outfits
  • Having the same students
I already miss driving to and from school with Rachel. Teaching is intense, and our debriefing sessions on the way home saved us from taking all the stress home with us. We could quickly discuss the problems, try to brainstorm solutions, and laugh about the hilariousness that is teaching 8th grade.

Teaching with my BFF from college was the best. She's also going to be a fantastic mom to those two little boys that I love love love. Maybe she'll bake me cookies while I'm teaching. That's what moms do, right?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things I Don't Want to Talk About.

I'd rather not talk about these things:
  • When I move home in July, I will not see Finley every day. He might forget who I am. No more Tori, Tori when I come up the stairs.
  • The number of times I have had Pinkberry since it opened at Fairfax Corner.
  • My online shopping hobby.
  • How much it costs to put gas in my car in Virginia.
  • Grad school. I've got too much to do.
  • That Friday is the last day Rachel and I will teach together. Ever.
I'm getting a little sentimental lately on this blog. I am SUPER excited to move home (see yesterday's post for a reminder of how excited I am). But some days I'm sad to leave this awesome place and all the people I love and that love me. Reality.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Purple Shoes.

In case you didn't believe me when I said we are excited about the upcoming football season, check out this true story from last night.

At 9:39, Anne emailed Erica and me with a link to shoes #1. She wrote, "We should get these for football season!!!" She knows how much I love Sperrys.

I wrote back at 9:44 with a link to shoes #2. I literally had them in a Nordstrom shopping basket earlier in the day before deciding on something else. I replied, "Funny because I'm really considering these."

Erica replied at 10:11. "Funny! I wanted these for fb season!" with a link to shoes #3.

We're really excited about our season tickets together. From our head down to our toes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Library of Congress.

Have you been to the Library of Congress? Saturday's trip was my first time, and I'm so glad that I saw it before I move back to Kansas.

It's a beautiful building full of books. What's not to love?

We had a tour guide, and she was able to point out so many of the details of the building and provide behind-the-scenes information about the collections. I was fascinated to learn that the the Library receives 15,000 objects every day - they have a copy of everything that is copyrighted in the United States.

Can you see the little girl peeking out at the top? I had photos without her, but I liked that you can see her comparative size.

There are exhibits in the Library of Congress you can see, one about our constitutional foundations and the other about the early Americas. I've taught both of those subjects in the classroom, so I loved seeing the objects from their collection.

Our tour was officially part of a field trip for grad school, and we spent the afternoon looking at how we could use the primary source collections in our classroom. It was great for me because I'm always in social studies and English classrooms, and there are great collections. It was a little more of a reach for the math teachers. And even when there are tons of ideas and resources, we all know it is a challenge to incorporate new ideas with the pressure of state testing all.the.time. Stop killing our creativity and our schools. Thanks.

And on a lighter note, here's a funny from my 8th graders. We're giving examples of consumption/production. I said, "I consumed an English muffin this morning for breakfast."

This made everyone giggle. I didn't know why until one of my students said, "I had a Civics burger." Apparently they thought I named my breakfast after the subject in school. Kids are funny.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Good Stuff Eatery.

On Saturday my grad school program went to the Library of Congress (more on that later). We got to go out to lunch in the city - a fantastic break from our weekday lunch routines at school! My team decided to go to Chef Spike's restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery. Back in January, I ate at his other restaurant, We, the Pizza. Adrienne had been to Good Stuff before and couldn't wait to go back.

So we waited in line. It was about forty minutes before we got our burgers, fries, and milkshakes! But you know what I always say about waiting in line - it means the food will totally be worth it!

Adrienne and I both had beef burgers. My grandpa would have loved mine - slathered with "onion marmalade" which was like caramelized onions. There was also fresh cheese and bacon. And horseradish mayo on the side. Susannah and Erin had turkey burgers and loved them. My friend Susannah can't do the gluten, but Chef Spike thinks of everything. She could order it just for her by saying that she wanted to "shun the bun." We loved that. So catchy. And considerate.

This is my grad school team. I think Adri's been on the blog before (she's in the middle), but this is the debut of Erin - left - and Susannah - right. It's not the best picture because Susannah's eyes are closed, but actually it is the best because they look SO happy.

I love my grad school team. We would NOT have made it through without each other. And we still have a lot to do (see previous post), but we are a great team, and it will all get done. I will miss meeting every week with these three women for sure when I'm back in Kansas. Good thing Adri's baby is going to come before I move so I can meet her.

Actually, I'm getting a bit sentimental right now writing about them. The tears are welling in my eyes. They have taught me about elementary school, English language learners, special education students, marriage, patience, love, parenting, and listening. When we did our Myers-Briggs tests, they're all introverts, but they have listened to all of my stories and absorbed my crazy amounts of energy week after week.

Teachers have to work together. We're just so much stronger that way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Four Books of March.

How Did You Get This Number? I read Sloane Crosley's first collection of short stories, "I Was Told There'd be Cake," after a trip to NYC in 2007. I can't decide which one I liked better; I think it is hit and miss with the short stories in each of her books. Some of them are hilarious, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. Others I just zoom through because the stories aren't as interesting. I loved her story about going to Alaska in this collection, but my favorite individual stories about the ponies and being a bridesmaid are both in her first collection.

Silent to the Bone Another "Battle of the Books" choice from school. I love E.L Konigsburg because she wrote "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." Rach and I both picked this book to read at the same time, and while we liked it, we were surprised it's a middle school read. It's smart and well done, but I would read Mixed Up Files first if you aren't familiar with E.L. Kongsburg.

One Day March's book club pick in Kansas City. Throughout the book, we get to meet the same pair of people every year on the same day. Through the stories from that day, we can figure out what's going on their lives. I liked it because it was British, reminded me of a good buddy of mine, and a fast read. Literally read 60% of it the night before I took my exam to be a reading teacher (score pending.) You can read Tara's review here.

Let the Great World Spin
Awesome and Epic. One of my favorites that I've read lately. It took a little while for my friend Kate and I to be sure we got the point and get engaged with the story, but it really is incredibly well done. Throughout the book there are references to the man who walked between the World Trade Center towers on a tightrope in 1974, an actual, real-life event. (The rest is fiction.) Kate and I made plans to watch the movie about the daredevil, Man on Wire, over Spring Break.

The end of grad school is in sight. I need to write 9-15 pages about a curriculum project I just finished. I need to post on discussion boards at least two times a week for five more weeks (including this week that's almost gone. Whoops!). I need to write five reflections that will each be about 3 pages long for my final portfolio. And my grad school group needs to finish our research from the year. Currently aiming for about 40-50 pages of written work on our research. Total: Less than 40 pages of writing between now and the end. Yeah!

All this to say, I can only imagine how much I will get to read when it is done. Grad school (combined with a small TV addiction and my love of all things internet) is keeping me from reading as much as I would like to read. Soon I'll have Saturdays back for relaxing and reading. I won't have to climb in bed to reread our research paper but will be able to pick up a book or my kindle instead. Thank goodness we have silent reading built into the school day or I would never get anything read.