Saturday, December 27, 2014

Missing everything....

Note: This post was written in August. As I was at the start of my student teaching, I was even too busy to find a picture and post this. What's missing here (gloss, graphics) says more than even the words I wrote...

I miss reading....for fun - not for information

I miss writing....babbling away with my keys clicking

I miss my brain.  It used to be mine, but I donated it to the education department this year.

I miss sitting out back in the shade watching my boys play.

I miss biking, hiking, and fishing.

So many things I need an entire 'nother summer to catch up on.

Just a few days of summer left and I will be reaching the final hurdle in becoming a teacher - student teaching.  I keep wondering how I will manage. Will I be good? Will I flop and have that big "growing" experience?

I just keep thinking that soon my life will be mine again - all mine.

I will read for fun - out back in the shade while the kids jump on the trampoline.  I will transition from retail supervisor to substitute and tutor until I get that golden contract.

I think I need to make a paper chain and tear off a link each day until graduation. Maybe place a stack of books under it that I'm going to dive into .....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Where she went....

     If you are a long-time follower, you may remember this post : Just Jump . I had decided to take a leap and get a degree. I intended to become a children's librarian.  To my surprise, one does not just become a librarian, one must level-up from a teaching degree.
     Here I am, four and a half years later......
     Even though I needed to take the time to read all those textbooks and write all those papers, I miss, miss, miss my fiction!!!  I am looking forward to reading and writing for fun!  For now, I'm reading some quick, fun YA reads during this busy holiday time:

. January will be all about NOT sleeping.... 
  I've been saving this one. I just read the caption on Goodreads that says it's "The Shining #2". Nope, no sleeping happening during that read!

Merry Christmas everyone!   And GOOOOO BOBCATS!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Still up for a fun/serious mash-up??

     I'm still here!!  I am in the midst of student teaching and up to my earballs  in grading, lesson planning, and data analysis.  It's an incredible time!   I love the students. I love the teachers. And I love the job.
     I'm still reading as many books as I can squeeze in and can't wait to be back on here sharing them and joining in on blog events. For today, I'll leave you with this fantastic selection recommended by one of my most fabulous instructors:

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen
Winner of the  Canadian Governor General's Literary Award

       This book is what I consider a sleeper.  And I don't mean it will put you to sleep! My copy had no jacketflap intro an just starts out with a journal entry.  I started reading this and laughing out loud at the story this pre-teen boy was telling about life in secondary school. Being set in Canada, I'm not sure what grade that is, but he's still pretty young as a character.  He's trying to find his place in his new school and town, but there's the universal of youth - clingy nerds and bullies at school.

     It starts out with Henry's brutally honest descriptions of people he encounters at school and home, but then he starts talking about "IT". IT is something that happened that changed his entire life.  IT is the reason he reluctantly journals his daily life.  He has you questioning, "Will Henry turn out ok? Can he keep it together?"   I'd say you could run out to B&N and grab a copy, but being a Canadian title, this may be one time you need to hit up EBay or Amazon.

I give The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen  Photobucket 5 stars

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I think I got it!

      I found a blogger help forum that said I could give myself permission to contribute and switch from author to administrator. Still it's so weird! It's like my clone is running my blog now!  

     I still can't understand why switching emails in the settings wouldn't provide me with a verification prompt. It kept sending me notifications that it changed - but nothing changed!  I guess I will just have to let it go and blog on.......


Monday, June 2, 2014

Okay, this is getting scary......

I'm just about to be free to blog for the summer and now I'm teetering on the edge of an abyss! Does anyone know why when I change my primary email for my blog I only receive a notification of change in my new email, but no verification of change in my original email?

Any recommendations for backing up the content of my blog while I figure this out?

I'm thinking I may have to move to another blog host if I can't get this figured out, but I really don't want to!

Edit test.....
Sunday, June 1, 2014

Here goes....

      Once again, I'm holding my breath that my blog won't lock me out!  I'm in the process of switching to a different email carrier and the Google sign-in will not let me switch to my new address. I've already confirmed the address in the old email acct, but.....still saying I can't log in with my new one.

It says not to try fixing anything for 30 minutes....let's hope that will do it.   Any tips/suggestions???

Friday, March 7, 2014

On creativity in education

   A funny thing happened after I posted about not having a chance to write creatively under the guidance of our professors. Sure, I know all about the writing process: brainstorming, drafting, editing and rewriting, but what about character development? And plot? How am I supposed to teach students to love writing if all they do is write facts? Sure, I'm well prepared to teach them to really examine other people's work, but that's like expecting them to love vegetables when all I ever serve is cake.  
     So, I found myself face to face with the Dean of Education at an awards ceremony.  After she gave us our pins, she kept asking over and over if we have any burning questions for her. Everyone was so quiet and the conversation was spotty, so the fourth time she brought it up I finally asked her, "Where's the creative writing in our program?" I told her I need something more than just my own experience (which is nil) in writing to teach kids to write well. If they learn to love writing, they will love reading even more.
     As expected, she brought up the new guidelines for education which are heavy on the facts. Then she surprised me by saying she really didn't know why creative writing instruction was skipped over and that she would bring it up to the faculty. So there you have it. I'm not just full of hot air, I actually did something about it. I didn't solve my own problem, but maybe, just maybe, some future students in Bozeman will be taught by experts how it's done.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hello Spring!

 This week we woke up to this

...and yesterday the prairie dogs were sitting on top of the snow saying things like, "What's all this white stuff?"  "I think it's the apocalypse."
bald eagles
 and these bad boys were just chillin'.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why February is an awesome month......(Updated)

I love taking the back roads to campus because they follow the river. These ladies were crossing in front of me....

*For some reason, this picture didn't load on my iPad. Here it is....

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pat, I would like to buy a....prompt!

     The big question is: How does a writer cross over to the creative side?

     I've been "writing" for nearly five years. But writing what? Academic papers.(exciting, no?) I can pound out a persuasive essay or 12 page expository piece on a topic I went into knowing nothing about and get a perfect score. Honestly, I have some papers that have so much collegiate jargon that I think my brain was in another realm when I wrote it and it came back down to reality and I can't even understand it anymore!  The professors eat it up, but really those are just assignments to make me learn about topics, so I guess it's worth it.

     As I'm wrapping up my degree, I noticed a big hole in my education. 
Where's the creativity? 

I had ONE art/music class - ONE. Not once was I asked to write creatively. NEVER? What's going on here?  They tell us that creative thinkers are the ones getting the jobs, but they never foster our creativity.

     So now what? How do I cross that bridge to creative writing? Where do I start?

Workshops? Should I spend the money and take a post-grad class just to flex my wings? Truthfully, I've been thinking about diving into a Master's program for creative writing, but how can I know if I have any talent if I haven't even started writing?

 Prompts anyone??
Friday, February 21, 2014

Plot Twist.....tragic or brilliant?

    So, I noticed a trend lately in authors really hitting you right in the gut with their plot-twists. Wait,  is it a plot-twist if it's at the end? Is there another name for it at that point in the story? Is it just the end? The grande finale?

(Possible spoilers here....)

 Over the winter break, I read a couple of books that just blew me away at the end. I mean major book-SHOCK!  I had to just sit there and think and re-read the final chapter to take in all the detail and fit it in my head. I wasn't sure if I was mad at the author or if she is a genius!

     I noticed a trend lately of authors either killing the main character, or secondary character or even more interesting (spoiler here) messing with their brains. Not in just one book, but a few. At first, I felt cheated. After all that time with the character, she dies.or she's lobotomized. his personality is reprogrammed. And I wondered -  is that really fair to the reader?

     And then I thought about it a little more and realized that I think YA authors are reaching a new level of being true to their characters. They are going one step further to make the reader feel. And isn't that why we read?

     I don't think I can take anymore tragic endings right now. As a reader, a little goes a long way. But call me a little bit twisted, I think I'm ruined for happy endings.

Do you read a book without knowing if it's a tragedy? Do you just jump in blindly? Would you read a series knowing a main character is killed?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A very UN-Valentine's Day....pledge for change

...I bet you are thinking, "Here come's the whining...." 

  The funny thing is, I have very mixed-feelings about Valentine's day.  I LOVE everything with hearts. I love pink and red - especially when they are hearts with swirls. I'm a sucker for everything in the holiday aisle at work - glasses with hearts and red stems, pillows with sweet messages on them, and even those chalky-message heart candies. I tell you, when I'm a teacher, we are going to Par-Tay on Feb 14th every year.
     But, when it comes to the "holiday", I don't see it like many of the people around me. I work in retail, so yesterday was like the Superbowl nacho/wings fest. I heard men and women were lined up when we opened at 5am. It was a madhouse and the shelves were picked clean. Men were everywhere wishing they'd come in earlier before all the bouquets in their budgets were gone. It's all good. It's really touching to see all these people trying to find something to express how they feel on a special day, knowing in the back of their minds others will be waiting to hear how it went.
    Of course, with my work schedule I will only be seeing my Valentine for one cup of coffee and some very sweet cards and treats in the morning, and briefly for a take-out lunch break. Out of my two evenings that I don't work, one is on a Monday and the other I have a night class. So, how does this epic day of expressing your love play out in busy people's lives? It becomes a part of life
 as it should be.

      It is not just one day of flowers and candy, but a nice lunch delivered, a breakfast cooked the next day without being asked, a steak and seafood dinner planned and waiting to be cooked at our convenience the day after and the best of all - those times set aside to just be together for 5 minutes or so. No pressure - and it feels great! It affirms what I really believe about Valentine's day - I should be EVERY day. I'm not talking breaking-the-bank every day, but just thinking of Valentine's day as a reminder for taking those moments every day and planning the next ones.

What do you think?   Do you prefer to just get it over with? Or is it too much pressure for one day? Do you appreciate that stores help you step up your game with their creative floral arrangements and balloons? Would you rather we had a section in the front of the store every day to help you express how you feel?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Olympic musings from the public library.....

     Why, oh why, did I forget my phone today!  I only wish I could attach a video clip of the view from the library window. If you've ever heard of Heather McPhee (google Sochi Olympics), you would know that Olympians come from Bozeman, MT sometimes. And quite possibly, I am watching an Olympic hopeful right now. There's a guy within view of the library window skiing UPHILL at a break-neck speed and doing jumps off of a hill in the park. How is he going so fast uphill?  I wonder if there's a downhill slope where he's starting out? Anyhow - awesome!

     And speaking of the Olympics - If anyone cares for the opinion of an average person in this valley - No, Bozeman does NOT want to host the Winter Olympics in 12 years so hopefully they will forgive the citizens of our little city at the base of Big Sky Resort for not being good hosts.

     And I really miss laughing-guy. I wish he was here today, because this warmer weather has brought in a whole slough of 420's and I couldn't even take the elevator for fear of suffocating from toxic air. I hauled my  heavy ol' backpack, stack of books in my arm and extra bag with laptop up two flights of stairs tripping on my skirt all the way. Once I got situated up there, I was surrounded.  It's all for the better though, now that I moved back downstairs I can see the uphill skier out the window.  

Is there an Olympic category for freestyle uphill skiing?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Big Payoff - fresh powder

It's warming up! And I have some happy sons up on the mountain today.

Have fun boys!!!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Okay, Jack you brought it, but guess what.....

.....many of us wore SKIRTS with leggings yesterday. Take that Jack Frost!

And so we woke up to this.....

Actually, my phone said -30 when I woke up. Let this day begin!!

As this phenomena of a pseudo-ice age is affecting us, funny things happen and are said:

As I was wrapping my son's face in a new, black fleece scarf, he tells me,
      "I'm a ninja!"
       "A guy threw a class of cold water and a glass of hot water in the air and the hot froze first!"
       "When I go outside and my nose-hairs freeze, that's when it's the best!"
and I respond, "I love the way the cold air feels in my lungs while I'm getting over a cold. I feel like I can breathe."
and dropping off my other son at school
      "Doesn't your heater work?"
                               I reply, "Um, well not until I get to campus - or we replace the water pump....."

Okay, so I get to class and here's what I hear:

"The temperature is -30 with a -47 wind chill"

     "My hair turned white from my breath freezing on it."

          "I live in a place where the air hurts my face!"

               "Half of my ear has frostbite - there's a line where my hat wasn't covering it"

And as I'm getting into the car for my mid-day break.......
I have to defrost the ice from my lenses. I pretty much have to choose from covering my face with a scarf and fogging up my glasses, or go without one or the other.
(Oh, and I just have to share that there's a guy sitting across the library from me with earphones plugged into his laptop and he's busting a gut laughing!!!!!! Man, I love this library!)
And my son calls me at work to see when I'm coming home. He wants to show me a trick. (I'm thinking - great, he's going to make me stand out here all night while he does donuts on the dirt bike in the snow)

.....Instead, he comes running out in shorts to throw a cup of hot water in the air for me!  It was amazing!! It came down as really heavy snow.

I love this place. 

sources: college students at MSU

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bring it on Jack Frost!

I love the way the light goes
through the panes.

So, it's a little "nippy" this week. Who would have thought it would make the city even more beautiful?

Just look at the sculpture walk at the library.......breathtaking!

 Speaking of breathtaking -.................

For some reason, the cool, crisp air makes everyone a little hyper. What do all those Bozemanites do on days like today?

I kid you not, they are out walking their dogs, wearing shorts to campus, and taking their kids and senior citizens to the library.
Ultimate chill-spot
And now that I have good traction with my new tires, it's a      
great day to chill in Bozeman.    

Friday, January 24, 2014

I must have reached 88 MPH....

...and generated enough thrust to pass through the time-space continuum because:

     Today my 4x4 driving-gas money needing- teenager went to MY work...I mean OUR work....

.......and I stayed HOME!!!!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm still here! What have I been up to???

Well, so much of this........
Or in my case, cooking and helping with their homework....

This would be a welcome from
Phi Kappa Phi Honor society
for  making the top
10%  of MSU Seniors!
That this happened.......

That would be a congrats from the Pres
for a 4.0 semester

                   And this...........

     And a nomination for an award for Excellence in the Dept. of Education at the college.

     Half of my boys are nearly men and I am savoring the two younger boys' elementary years. We are all about snowboarding, Duck Dynasty, 4X4's and Minecraft now.

What does all this mean??  My life is FULL, FULL, FULL!  But it's all good!

    And the blog? In case you are wondering if I went by the wayside....I have not.  Just this morning I was having my coffee and "a Stumble" ( and read this amazing article written by John Scalzi, a seasoned writer, to teenager/future published writers (I sat that because all people can be writers- just some get paid!). He was giving advice about all the things he did when he was young that helped him even though at the time they seemed lame.  It was like a letter to himself as a teen. It made me really miss my blogging time. 

     So, what do I do with my one class-free/homework-infused day while my kids are away? I work on my blog layout.....ALL....DAY..... It was not funny - I've been through two internet providers and any blogger knows you have to use your PAID internet email to log into Blogger (or so it has been this way and I was mid-change). What happens? I get nuttin'. I mean no blog, just my sign in on Google. I panicked! All those years of blogging and I get BLANK?  I kept trying combinations of sign-ins while my heart was pounding thinking all was lost.

     And then it happened!  My temporary layout popped up and I got in.  Do you think I was productive after that?  Well, nope! I spent the next few hours trying to find a good, free layout. I'm still looking so feel free to suggest. I even started looking at some that come with a price because I just really need this to fit me like my best pair of flats. 

So, pop by and drop my a comment - I miss everyone and I need something to get me through my last semester of classes!