Slice of Life #8

“How can the line possibly be this long?  It’s gorgeous out!  Why are all of these people at Sam’s Club?!”  I couldn’t believe how long the lines were this afternoon.  It was 60 degrees out.  Shouldn’t all of those people have been out and enjoying the weather, not crammed into a giant warehouse store?  Of course, I was annoyed because I was only purchasing a package of chicken breasts.  I should have known better.  You can never go into Sam’s Club and buy just one item.  It’s a warehouse store!

As I wavered between lines, trying to choose the one that would move the fastest, I appeased my grumbling stomach by promising myself a huge Sam’s soda.  Of course, I chose the slower line.  Never choose the line that seems the shortest- it always takes the longest! And as I got closer to the checkout, I saw that they were all out of cups.  No soda for me!  And that would be the last time I stood on line at Sam’s Club with just a package of chicken breasts in my hand, surrounded by people pushing two and three carts full of merchandise.

Slice of Life #7

As I opened the front door and braced for the cold weather I was used to,  I was shocked.  The air that met me was warm; even humid.  It had to be 65 degrees!  

I shed the winter coat I have been forced to wear for the past three or four months and grabbed a light cardigan from the closet.  I didn’t really even need  the cardigan, but I wanted to be prepared in case the store was cold.  As I got ready to leave, I realized I could also leave my Ugg boots behind for the first day in months!  Dare I say it?  Could it possibly be flip-flops weather?!

I love flip-flops.  If I could get away with wearing them year-round, I would.  That’s probably why I have enough pairs to wear a different one everyday!  So I quickly ran upstairs and pulled down the bin full of flip-flops.  Back in October I had been forced to put them all away for the winter.  But today was finally warm enough to wear them!  As I slipped into a new pair of silver J. Crew flip-flops, I sighed with contentment.  There may be some cold weather in the days ahead, but today’s weather means the end is in sight.  Or in my eyes- the beginning.  The beginning of summer!

Slice of Life #6

“Do you want to go to TJMaxx and look for shoes after I get home from work tonight?” the text message read.  Hmm, I never like to turn down a shoe-shopping trip.  

“Sure,” I typed back during lunch. “What’s for dinner?”

“I was a Lutheran this morning. I had meat. You still meatless?” was Chris’ response. “Because I want to have Chick-fil-a fir dinner”.

I love Chick-fil-a!  I can’t believe we will be in the same parking lot as our closest store and I won’t even be able to have a chicken sandwich.  Man!  But at least I can shoe shop to my heart’s content.  It may not fill my stomach, but it will make me happy!

I typed back a quick reply. “Sounds good to me. See you after work!”

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Dystopian novels are my weakness.  So when I read a few reviews of Carrie Ryan’s debut novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I was intrigued.  Zombie novels aren’t my usual fare, but neither were vampires at one time, and I loved Stephenie Meyers’ books.  I was thrilled when I received an early review copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth on Monday and immediately set aside the book I was reading.  

Mary is a strong, independent young woman struggling to fulfill her dreams while living in a post-apocalyptic where zombies run rampant.  Everyday, Mary’s mother goes to the fences that surround the village, looking into the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  She spends her days searching for a glimpse of her husband, Mary’s father, who disappeared in the Forest.  Mary and her brother Jed, a Guardian, makes sure their mother never, ever goes to the fences alone.  They fear her reaction should she ever see her husband as one of the unconsecrated. If she sees him, they know she will risk getting infected herself.  But one day, when Jed is guarding the fences and Mary is late, her mother does the unthinkable.  She gets too close to the fence and is bitten by an Unconsecrated.  Infected herself, Mary is forced to make an impossible decision- kill her mother or release her into the forest?

When Mary is left as an orphan, she is forced to live with the Sisters.  The Sisters hold the knowledge of the past and create the rules for the community.  They never marry, but instead devote their lives to the Scriptures. (The Sisters are clearly a future, post-apocalyptic version of nuns).  Mary must despises her new life and longs for the world her mother described- a world that included an ocean and life outside the fences and beyond the forest. Can she give up these dreams to remain in the village? Her decision is made for her when the Unconsecrated manage to breach the fence.  Mary is forced to brave the Forest along with Jed and his wife, her best friend, the man Mary loves, and his brother who loves her.  They are surrounded by the Unconsecrated at all times, risking infection and death.  With no idea where the path they are on will lead, or if it will even lead anywhere.

This is a fantastic book!  Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.  I was sneaking in pages at every possible moment.  I’ve never been a zombie fan, but I definitely am now, thanks to Carrie Ryan!  I’ve already passed my copy on to my biggest Twilight  fan, and I can’t wait to hear her reaction.  The Forest of Hands and Teeth  reminded me of Twilight in some ways, but it is written much better!  Mary is a strong, independent woman who is struggling with her own life decisions in the midst of a love triangle, while being surrounded by zombies.  What more could you ask for?  How about lyrical prose, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a strong female protagonist?   The Forest of Hands and Teeth has all of these in spades!  Get yourself to a bookstore ASAP and pick this one up!

Slice of Life #5

“I won’t grow up, never grow up, never grow up!”  As all of stood in the center of the stage, listening to the applause, it finally sank in.  This would be our last talent show together!  Only a few of us “talent show teachers” would still be around our school once the restructuring occurs this summer.  For the past three years the teacher act at the end of the talent show has been an opportunity to bond, laugh, and have a great time.  This year’s act was no exception.  But it would be our last one together.

Going out with a bang, we amped up the final performance for tonight’s show.  We were loud, silly, and out of control.  In the last scene, we all hugged and mugged for the cameras, laughing as we threw our arms around each other.  It won’t be the same next year!

Slice of Life #4

The quiet hum of busy students filled the air as I looked around the classroom.  Everyone was busily typing away, perfecting their memoirs.  As I wandered the classroom, conferencing with individuals, I was filled with pride.  These students who rebelled against writing only a few short months ago were reducing me to tears with their heartfelt memoirs.  Digging deeper with each draft, they exposed the soft underbellies of their lives- sick grandparents, best friends, growing up, growing apart, being a good big brother.  Everything is on the table in these memoirs.

Looking ahead, I can’t wait for our publishing party on Friday.  We will be decorating our memoirs, sharing them with the class, and then putting them together into a scrapbook for each class.  The scrapbook will be on display during conferences next week.  Plus, each parent will take home a black-and-white photocopy of the class memoir book to share with family and friends.

Slice of Life #3

Ginger.  Cayenne.  Green onion. Soy sauce.  Vinegar. Sugar.

Mix in a small bowl.

Beef cubes.

Toss in marinade. Refrigerate.

Rice steaming in the steamer.

Broccoli ready to steam next.

1 T oil in the wok.  Add half of the meat, cook to liking.

Rice on plates.  Top with beef and broccoli.  Toss together some homemade ginger sauce.

Healthy, delicious dinner almost ready?  Check!

Picture to include with slice of life?

 

 

Oops.  :)

Along Came Spider by James Preller

Along Came Spider by James Preller is a middle grade novel. Spider and Trey have been best friends since they were born, six weeks apart.  Trey has always been a little weirder than the other kids;  in the neighborhood that’s never been a big deal.  But now that they are in 5th grade, Trey’s oddities and eccentricities are suddenly a bigger deal.  They don’t bother Spider, but the boys he is starting to hang around with, the popular crowd, do not understand him.  When one of the boys tells Spider to leave Trey behind now that they are getting older, he has to decide which is more important: a lifelong friendship or his future place on the social hierarchy?

Spider is a well-realized character who reminds me a lot of the boys in my own classes.  The middle grades are so pivotal for friendships and I am glad to see a book that deals with boys in this area.  And Trey appears to be mildly autistic, though it is never stated explicitly in the text.  It’s delightful to see boys dealing with this, as most books I have read in the past on this topic focus on girls.  

This is a great book and one I can’t wait to share with my students.  I think it will resonate with boys and girls alike.  James Preller has crafted yet another masterpiece for middle grade readers!

Slice of Life #2

As I rolled over in bed this morning, stretching and slowly waking up, I remembered why I felt so well rested.  “Snow day!”  

“I wonder if we actually got all the snow they were calling for?” I thought.  I could check by getting outcimg3426of bed, of course.  But it’s so nice and warm under the covers.  I could just turn on the TV and listen to the news.  I’m sure they’ll mention how much snow fell in the general area.  

As I turned on the TV, I curled up under the covers again.  Ahhh, sleeping late feels wonderful, especially when I’ve been sick for what feels like forever.  I’ll just get up later and check the snow, I thought, as I drifted back to sleep…

Slice of Life #1

As I mixed the water, salt, and baking soda I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I am actually doing this”. Making my own neti-pot? Pouring water through my sinuses? Don’t we spend our entire infancy learning NOT to inhale anything besides air through our nasal passages?

I had a terrible cold a few weeks ago and was just starting to kick it this past week. Then I woke up at 2am on Saturday morning, sick to my stomach. I spent the entirety of yesterday in bed, shivering and weak. Then I woke up this morning to the ugly cold rearing its head again.

By 2pm, I was so congested that I couldn’t even breathe. After doing some internet research, I decided I could make my own neti-pot to flush out my sinuses. After mixing the ingredients, I prepared to inhale. And inhale I did! Needless to say, it was not a pleasant sensation. And the worst part? It didn’t do much! Hours later, I am still congested, coughing, and sick.

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