Thursday, June 27, 2013

After sitting in a PD all day on co-teaching, my brain is dead.  My teacher brain and writer brain can't seem to occupy the same space at the same time.  I wonder if that is why I don't incorporate enough creative writing into my lessons?  I usually blame that on Common Core these days, but maybe since I have a difficult time writing creatively during the school year, I don't ask my students to do it enough either.  The last two years on the end-of-year evaluations I gave students to fill out, even some of my reluctant writers made the comment that they wish we had done more creative writing. I need to remember that this year instead of letting myself get bogged down, but it's difficult to squeeze it all in!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sometimes, some things

Sometimes I am too tired to sleep

Too worried about things I've said
or maybe its the things I didn't say
Thoughts bottled up inside my head
Flitter like fireflies in a mason jar

Too anxious about things I haven't done
errands that must be done tomorrow
items to check off my list, maybe some tasks
that aren't intended for me to complete

Too excited about the possibilities
of what more I could become
if I set my doubts free, of the place 
I could go if I let myself explore

Too overwhelmed by 
all of life's uncertainties
of dreams that could become reality
if only I wasn't too tired to sleep.

This is my second installment of today's prompt, written around 1:00 this morning.  Probably should have just put it in my reader's notebook, but that's still on the bookshelf in the cellophane, and my iPad was right next to the bed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


when I yearn for solitude
What I need most
is the laughter of a friend.

when no one is listening
I realize it is because
I haven't spoken.

when I am bored
I'm actually avoiding
what needs to be done.

when it seems no one understands
I find a thousand others
with similar hopes and fears.

when hope's feather
flutters in the breeze
A new adventure
is about to take flight.

I wrote this in response for today's Teachers Write post.  It didn't really follow the prompt, which was to create sensory details about a place, starting with the words "Sometimes".  Well, I got one part of it right.  As teachers we need to remember that just because a student doesn't follow directions exactly doesn't necessarily mean he/she is being defiant...maybe he/she is being creative.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On Writing

Lately I have been writing more, but not necessarily in a writer's notebook. I bought one two years ago and it sits on the bookshelf in my home office still in the cellophane wrapper.  I used to keep journals when I was in school, and I came across several of them the other day when I was cleaning and organizing.  They are books, I wrote in them, but I never really thought of them as writer's notebooks, and I haven't written in one of them for ten years.

I may not keep a writer's notebook per se, but what I do have are over 26,000 words of a middle grades manuscript written and saved to my personal computer.  I have random thoughts for other stories saved in Evernote via my phone and Ipad.  I have old-fashioned paper lists and sticky notes that clutter my desk.   A Facebook timeline and a Twitter feed post my latest thoughts and shenanigans (well, a few of them).  On Goodreads, I keep a running list of books I've read and books I want to read.  And, of course, I started this blog last month.

Sounds like a bunch of random projects I may never finish, huh?  But isn't that what being creative is all about?  Someone else mentioned that they are too much of a perfectionist to keep a writer's notebook.  I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist, but I can move my words around easier when they aren't all bound in a little black book.

Note:  Today is the first day of an online workshop lead by author Kate Messner called Teachers Write.  I am excited to be participating this summer!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stop and Shoot the Roses

Since I don't need to be anywhere this morning, I took some time to stop and smell the roses 
(or, to be literal, photograph the flowers) in my yard this morning.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just a Little Crush

My name is Elizabeth, and I am a Candy Crush addict. When I first saw people's posts about this app on Facebook, I swore I would never play something so silly (I did manage to avoid the Farmville craze after all). But now I am bragging about passed levels and begging for extra lives with the best of them.

I don't know why I'm telling you this, but I guess it's similar to cheating on a diet. For some reason when I confess that I just ate a cupcake I feel like said pastry suddenly lessened in calories. Maybe if I admit my mindless gaming addiction I will suddenly gain back some of the hours of summer vacation this teacher has already lost.

At least playing the game is easier on my waistline than eating cupcakes, but probably not on my eyesight. As it drains my iPad, so goes my mental and physical energy. (At least Words With Friends was somewhat intellectual, right?) However there is just something soothing about swiping those colorful shapes and creating patterns from the chromatic chaos. Plus now that I've gotten to the levels with the multiplying chocolate blocks, this chocoholic is starting to despise the brown stuff just a little. So that's got to be healthy, right?

But the longer I play, the more I start to wonder if this isn't part of some evil scheme to take over the world (or at least American 30-somethings) while we sit moving make-believe candies on our electronic devices. Is there some kind of subliminal message hidden behind those blue circles and green squares? If I wasn't too busy crushing imaginary candy, it would be an interesting story to write. Don't you think?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

How to take a "Daycation" without really trying

How to take a “Daycation” without really trying

Last weekend my husband got a rare day away from work, so he and I decided to take a little road trip.  There wasn't time for a true vacation, and I wasn’t in the mood for a “staycation”, so we compromised with a daycation.  We only drove an hour, and the destination wasn’t a new one -- in fact, it was my hometown of Evansville, Indiana -- but we enjoyed spending time together that was uninterrupted by work.  If you, too, are in need of a little R&R without going too far, here are three suggestions:

1.      Find an event that interests you.  When we go on a “real” vacation, I tend to over plan things.  For a week-long trip, I usually take along a binder full of restaurant menus printed from the Internet, directions to famous sites, museum brochures picked up at rest stops, etc., etc…  (As I write this, I realize this may be one reason why my husband hates vacations).  On the other hand, though, I’ve found that if I plan nothing we end up at the movie theater watching something we could have waited for on Netflix. 

Last Saturday I convinced Lee to go out of town by finding the Collectors Carnival at the Vanderburgh 4H Center just north of Evansville (   My husband is an avid collector (translated hoarder) of war weaponry and regalia and a plethora of miscellany that people no longer want.  While he perused the tables for his next great find, I people-watched and came to the realization that my childhood toys are now considered antiques in some circles.  This is disheartening for a thirty-something, but I digressed…  My point here is, the Internet has endless possibilities for finding something somewhere that interests you, and finding an event is the perfect starting point for planning your day.

2.      Eat local.  For me, one of the best parts of vacation is the food.  Maybe because I let myself splurge on calories (ok…even more than usual), but more than that is while on vacation we tend to break away from the chains and try independently-owned and operated places with a local flare.  On Saturday, we ate lunch at the Hilltop Inn, which has been showcased on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”  We thought it smart to skip the brain sandwich, but Lee and I shared the fried chicken and a patty melt.  Both were delicious, and we agreed that the fried chicken is some of the best around.  Hot, crispy, and juicy, made fresh to order!  (Although first place still goes to The Chicken Place in Ireland, Indiana).  For dinner, we hit a Roadfood recommendation, Mr. D’s in Henderson, Kentucky  I let Lee order another round of fried chicken (he did say something about increasing his life insurance policy recently…).  And although I was too full from lunch to eat much of anything, the burger and fried mushrooms I ordered were pretty tasty nuked in the microwave the next day, so I can only imagine how delicious they could have been fresh from the grease!

3.      Get lost.  This goes hand in hand with the step above, trying new places.  Especially when Lee leaves the navigating up to me and my cell phone’s GPS system.  As many times as I have driven the route from Henderson to Calhoun, I have always gone the same, straightforward way on the Pennyrile Parkway.  Last weekend we ended up taking Highway 41 through Robards and Sebree (I blame the phone, not my directionally-challenged self).  These are places I have heard of many times during the local news, usually during tornado watches and warnings, but never had a reason to visit.  I think we’re going to plan another daycation soon to an antique store we passed by in Sebree, Kentucky. 

This weekend, Lee is working again and I’m enjoying a “staycation” sitting in front of the computer in my pajamas, but hopefully we can venture out on another daycation soon.   If you find any great places to go within a few hours’ drive from Western Kentucky I’d love to hear about them -- – whether you took my advice or not!