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Bon’s Book Club: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

February 2, 2014

Whaaaattttt????? I’m actually posting something????

It’s time for my first book as a part of Bon’s Book Club! When she posted about the club, I added it immediately to my personal regime as part of my resolutions for this year, and I finished the daggone thing by January 2nd. I’ve been sitting, waiting patiently impatiently to share my thoughts, and while they probably won’t be any deep insights this time around, I’m excited to share my viewpoint, nonetheless. Yes, I’m a week late. Oopsies.

Here we go.

+ The book is told from the viewpoint of three women.  Which women did you like the most and why?  Whom did you dislike the most and why?

I can sympathize with Rachel. She feels like the day Janie died sucked all of the life out of her. I can’t say that I would or would not have chosen her path. Cecilia just pisses me off. She’s definitely my least-liked character, and probably because I can relate to her in many ways, wanting to have the perfect life and such. Her moral choices, her complete trust in her husband and refusal to open the letter – those are the things that aggravate me. I couldn’t for a second make the same choices. I couldn’t sit on something so huge, knowing that someone had been wronged. Maybe it is easy to say that looking through the window into someone else’s life, and maybe I would feel differently had it been my own husband, but then again, my own husband has always been open and forthcoming about everything, so the weird behavior would’ve frustrated me from the beginning. As for Tess, I wish she would’ve just completely left Will and Felicity behind and not taken him back. Sure, her jumping straight into bed with Connor wasn’t the best choice, but at least it was an honest one.

I don’t think I have a least-liked or most-liked character. I need a second read of the book to really delve in and analyze this question, to discover their nuances a bit more.

+ What would you have done if you had found out the secret that Celia did?  Did you agree with the way she handled it?  What is the “right” thing to do in a situation like that?

Hmm…. Again, from the outside looking in, I couldn’t have possibly held in the secret. I would’ve forced John Paul’s hand to come clean, to let go of the burden. Even if he had gone to jail, at least the burden would be released and he could begin to work through the guilt. The honesty he finally shared with her could’ve created a completely different marriage scenario.

+ What was the point of the side story with Tess?  Do you excuse the way she acted during that week because of the uncertainty in her marriage?

I think Liane put those bits in there to give a bit of lightheartedness and hope to a very heavy book. What she did was wrong, and just as wrong as the emotional affair between Will and Felicity, but it was honest and realistic and cathartic for the the character. I honestly wish she would’ve dumped her marriage, which is something I wish I didn’t feel because I don’t generally believe in divorce, but Will most likely will hurt her again and that’s something that she shouldn’t have to bear again. This wasn’t an overnight thing, but a long, repeated history of emotional violation.

+ Do you believe the bike accident was adequate “penance” for what John Paul had done?

Absolutely not. Polly didn’t do anything and now she’s the victim.

+ Did you like the resolution of the book?  Did you feel there was enough closure?

If I remember correctly, I screamed out loud out of frustration, haha. The what-ifs slayed me. SLAYED ME.

Overall, even though this book was frustrating and emotionally upheaving, I loved it. Even though I had figured out the basics of the plot early on, I want to read it again to actually have a chance to analyze it more thoroughly. I also need to not finish the book an entire month before book club so I remember the details in order to have an effective discussion! If you are looking for a good read, this is it.


Resolutions for 2014

January 1, 2014

Sorry, blog that I’ve neglected again. You are going to be the vehicle for this post and then I’m going to leave you alone for awhile. Life is just a bit too full to be able to focus on you right now. We’ll see if you can get come TLC come summer.

Every year, I’m one of those people that bemoans resolutions, and every year, I’m still one of those people who jumps on the bandwagon with two feet. I hate resolutions because I, like so many others with little resolve, don’t stick with them. But upon reflection, I realize that it is because of the tremendous amount of short- and long-term goal setting I do professionally that I don’t necessarily worry about my personal resolutions.

This year is going to be the year of my personal life.

I’m sure I won’t actually stick with my resolutions, but an attempt is still progress from nothing.

  1. Leave work at 5:00 pm every night unless I have a meeting, and reserve lesson planning for Sunday mornings only.
    This is going to be hard for me because lately, it seems like I’ve been leaving three or more hours later and spending my entire weekend working. With my super long commute, this resolution will put me home at 6:30 pm and allow me to have some family time each evening (and avoid burning out). That still puts me at 50 work hours during the week (68 with the commute) but for a teacher, that’s pretty fantastic. I’ve got to really push myself to say, “Does this HAVE to be done?” before continuing to sacrifice my support system.
  2. Eat smaller portions and make smarter choices.
    I’m not going to put the cliché down because it won’t happen. But I do have an accountability buddy and work BFF that will kick my butt if she sees me making poor choices. Sure, I need to lose weight, but realistically I need to be healthier and that takes a lifestyle change, not a diet. One thing this includes (sadly) is the switch from Venti Caffe Mochas to Tall Skinny Caffe Mochas, and another is slowly switching to unsweet (or drastically less sweetened) iced tea.
  3. Up my “me” time.
    Currently, I take “me” time every Saturday morning in the form of a bath and some Pinterest on my iPhone. I want to start building in 10-15 minutes a day of just being alone and doing whatever I want.
  4. Get more spiritual.
    I’ve let my relationship with God wander a bit. Not that my faith is shaken or I am having doubts, but I am just not investing in the relationship like I used to and like all relationships without work, it’s suffering. I want to actively add more prayer (and possibly church) back into my life.
  5. Take more pictures.Of the boys. Of myself. Of stupid things I think looks cool. Of everything and anything. I used to take so many photos all the time, for multiple reasons. I miss that side of my life. My DSLR probably can’t be resurrected, but I do have an iPhone that I don’t use nearly enough.
  6. Read more books.
    Oh, I read plenty. I read scholarly journal articles and books presenting the newest teaching methods and blog posts on a variety of educational, political, and cultural topics, but I rarely read fiction anymore. I’m not up on the latest great published stories, ranging from YA up to my absolute fave, women’s fiction (please don’t confuse with romance novels!) and it flat-out sucks. I miss getting lost in a story and mourning the end of a good book and being thoroughly pissed because something was left unexplained. I’m following Bonnie’s Book Club suggestions and adding others in as I can.
  7. My ONE job-based resolution? Survive this year and prepare for the next.
    This year, I started a program that hasn’t really existed in my district before. There were a lot of variables that neither myself nor my principal could articulate when we created this program without diving in and sorting through as we went. I would still jump in head first to this job if I were being offered the position again knowing what I know now, but I have a ton of work to do to get us even remotely in the ballpark of where we need to be. The problem is that there is no way for me to possibly accomplish this during the school year with my current commute. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Even if there were, however, I would still have no personal life and no family life, so I need to focus on doing the best I can right now and hammering out a few full 60 hour weeks of work on the program during the summer. From then on, it should be revision and resource-finding instead of this craziness I’ve been trying to maintain for the past five months.

I don’t think my resolutions could be more comprehensive. I need to get back to being me and not lose myself in my job. Happiness is an overarching concept, after all :)

Goals Update, Fall Break Style

October 9, 2013

It’s time for a goals update!!!

2. Do an overnight getaway, just me and the Hubs

This past weekend, the Hubs and I went to Nashville by ourselves and left the boys with my parents. We celebrated a friend’s engagement and welcomed an amazing guy into our friends-family. Great food and great times.

9. Pay off non-SL debts

We payed off another debt last week. The list is getting smaller!

32. Sell $100 worth of products on TPT

I’m getting closer! So far, I’m up to $50 in sales and $24 in profits. It might actually be time to buy the big license because I will earn more commission than it costs.

Baby steps…


Comprehensible Input

October 4, 2013

Fall tends to be a time of reflection for me. You would think it would be summer, being a teacher and all, but fall is my favorite season and is when I feel the most “me”, so to speak.

My favorite things about fall:

  1. Cool weather (although this year it is STILL in the 80s everyday – weird, Kentucky!)
  2. Hoodies and sweatshirts and jeans
  3. Leaves and general natural beauty (I drive through several farms on my way to work and it is gorgeous!)
  4. Great food – potato soup, grill outs, etc.
  5. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Mochas without sweating to death
  6. Football!
  7. Lazy Saturday mornings
  8. A renewed sense of enthusiasm
  9. HARRY POTTER WEEKENDS! Although, when DON’T we celebrate Harry Potter?
  10. Anticipation of three major holidays (Okay, so Christmas isn’t a part of fall, but I start anticipating it in the fall and planning/prepping)
  11. The return of the school year and finally starting to feel settled in with my new kiddos
  12. And a NEW favorite this year: a three-week long fall break.

Yep, you read that last one right. My new (old? since I student taught there) school district starts on August 1st and makes up for the early start with three weeks off in October. It’s like the holy grail of school schedules. Just when I’m feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time accomplishing all of my goals (due to lack of time), I get three weeks off. It’s amazing.


This is an awful picture of my classroom (especially since I had everything disorganized from painting) but it shows the fun new colors!

I spent the first week of my break at school, of course, but with MUCH less pressure. I helped some kids get caught up (Total aside: we do this awesome thing called EXCEL, which is like summer school but instead of waiting until the end of the year, we catch our kids up at the end of every quarter and try to give them the tools to succeed in the remaining quarters. Doesn’t this make SO much sense???) and I painted most of my giant classroom. I now have a deep plum front wall and bright, light blue other walls. I also grabbed everything I need to work from home over the next two weeks. Sure, I’ll still go in a few days, but I can sleep in a bit and I’m already feeling much more relaxed.

This year, I’m working my TAIL off. I’m teaching K-12 French, which has been a dream of mine for quite some time. It’s a ton of work, though. To my knowledge, I’m running the only elementary French program in our state (the other one listed is now a Spanish program). That means resource availability is scarce and I don’t really have many people to plan with. I did meet several Spanish elementary teachers at a conference this fall which was awesome and helped me get a better idea of what a good program looks like, but the big issue is this: everything I “knew” about teaching languages has changed. In three short years.

Sure, everything has been changing for awhile, but I wasn’t connected to people who knew and/or cared about the transition. I had no idea how comprehensible input was going to change my teaching. But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. Now that I’ve experienced the research in action, I can’t possibly go back.

Comprehensible input, or TPR/TPRS teaching, is all about natural-style language acquisition, sped up for the classroom. There is so much research to accompany this style of teaching, but the big point is that I’m changing everything about how I teach. And you know what? Before I even fully committed to it, it started working. You see, I kind of made the change at the beginning of this year based on my experience as a third grade teacher last year, which showed me a lot more about how to be an effective teacher. The kids have responded amazingly. I’m continually impressed with how much MORE they can do and produce than my former, traditionally-taught students. And they aren’t even on a full CI program!

The downside is that I have a lot of work to do. But, I had a lot of work to do regardless, so it is really learning more about being a better teacher and doing different work than I had originally imagined.

Still, even with working a ton, I’m sleeping in, seeing my family more, taking naps, drinking wine, hanging out on Facebook and Pinterest, and getting things settled for the rest of the year so I will be less stressed for the rest of the year, and that is completely priceless.




My Biggest Weakness

September 29, 2013

I love my blog, but I often neglect it because I have this vision of being one of the “big” blogs, even if it doesn’t always line up with things I want to post. So I’m getting back to basics. As I have time, I will still post recipes and cheat sheets and home things and invitations, but only when it is really something I want to post.

Today’s topic: My biggest weakness.

Yes, I’m opening up to the interwebs.

My biggest weakness is passion. You didn’t expect that one, did you? Passion can totally be a weakness, and it is frequently mine. I have this strong desire to be passionate about everything in my life, and I feel called to be passionate about a multitude of different things. It makes life difficult because my plate is always overfilled, and something always gets sacrificed. I feel like I can do anything with hard work, and I do try to do everything, but deadlines always seem to fall at the same time.

Sure, there are upsides to passion — taking appropriate risks, getting big payoffs, feeling creatively fulfilled, and having many loyal friends. But it is hard to say that passion is always worth it when I find myself prioritizing a passion at a time when something else needs to be more important, but can’t be due to time constraints. People often talk about the Pinterest syndrome, but I was bitten and smitten by the over-the-top passion bug a long time before Pinterest or even blogs were popular.

I’m crazy because I want to experience it all and learn for myself. And I expect nothing less than everything from myself. I’m hard to live up to. I have to face internal struggles about saying no. I have serious anxiety about failure, but even worse anxiety about missed opportunities.

At the end of the day, passion brings me a lot of trouble. It also brings me a lot of fulfillment and oftentimes, the ability to serve others.

So, getting back to basics: what’s your biggest weakness?


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