All posts in Random

  • A Cover for Three Days of Night

    No time like the present, I suppose. I’ve been sitting on this for quite awhile now, and I’m not really sure why.

    I think it’s about time I share this with everyone. It’s here! My cover for Three Days of Night is at long last here! And yes, that means the book itself is almost here, too. We’re talking February. And that’s real. The proof is back, the back matter is written, the appropriate paperwork is complete. All I need is to find the courage to kick the book out of the nest and hope it flies.

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  • Ripping the Bandaid Off

    Oh dear. I’ve done it again. I’ve become neglectful of ye olde blog. When that happens, I sometimes have trouble getting back into it because the guilt and fear are just overwhelming. Well, suck it up, Buttercup. Time to get over yourself and rip that bandaid off.

    So here we are. I’ve been doing lots of things to avoid writing here, and sometimes to avoid writing. But, not all the time. Did I mention I have +16,000 new words since I fell off the wagon? I didn’t? Oh, well I do. I’ve instituted a few changes in how I keep track of writing, but I’ll write about that some other time. But they’re working. And I’m happy.

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  • Welcome to the New Blog

    Hooray! We’re finally live! This is the brand new website! I’m pretty excited, though also entirely underwhelmed. It’s a strange feeling. On the one hand, I’m really thrilled that I’ve finally graduated into adulthood by claiming my name-sake domain. On the other hand, I’m a little sad to be leaving my former internet-home.

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  • Pardon the Dust

    We’re working on getting up and running. Settle down.

  • And We're Back

    Wow, a whole new year is upon us. And, as usual, I’m late. Everyone who was on top of things posted about the wonder of a new calendar number last week. Or yesterday. Or whenever. Basically just before I did. Because I don’t run on time with these things.

    2012 was a pretty decent year. We bought a house. We got three cats. Just about all of our coupled friends got engaged. And then we collectively gave them the middle finger when they all looked at us sideways and cleared their throats.

    I vowed to reinvent myself as a writer with some degree of success. I made it clear to everyone that summer 2013 was mine, and mine alone. I began working on my novel again. And I started submitting to literary magazines after a 3 year hiatus. Which also went well, thankyouverymuch.

    Which brings us to the obligatory portion of what’s in store for this year. Like everyone under the sun, the plan is ambitious and I’m probably doomed to accomplish none of it. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

    First off, I’m going to continue developing this blog. I’ve been better about posting more consistently, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ve got a relaunch plan in the works and am hoping everything will be ready by March or April.

    I want to start using twitter like an adult, not like a technologically backward grandma. I don’t know how I, an early adopter, managed to get so out of the, ew, twittersphere.

    I am going to finish the first draft of my novel. This WILL happen, even if I have to sell my soul to get there. Luckily, I just got a mini ipad which seems to have done wonders for my productivity. That’s right…I’m turning into one of those people.

    I am going to travel to Kenya. This is a no brainer and been a long time coming. My sister lives there, and it’s been a place I’ve wanted to go since about the time I turned 18. This one probably counts as my big Bucket List item for the year. That and the novel.

    And lastly, I’m going to knit a sweater that I love and fits really well. The fits part is the important part. It’s embarrassing how much time I’ve spent on knitted items I adore but seem a wee bit too tight. Wren, you gotta start knitting to the 36” directions, girl.

  • The Trouble with Words

    It would be a gross understatement to say that I love the Utne Reader. You never know what you’re going to get each issue, but it’s guaranteed to be interesting, thought provoking, and likely to change your mind at least a little about something. But also confirm a lot of what you expected. At least if you’re me. Also, it’s a magazine that was a feed reader before everyone used Google Reader and BoingBoing to keep them up on everything. I have a soft spot for slightly out-dated literary things. Sue me.

    In their latest issue, they featured a blurb from the Harvard Business Review: The Trouble with Bright Kids. Never mind how hilarious it is that this article comes from the Harvard Business Review.

    Ironically, writes the Review, “gifted children grow up to be more vulnerable, and less confident, even when they should be the most confident people in the room.”

    Read more:

    Yes, I did just quote something quoting something else. Not a ‘best practice’ of, well, anything, but I’d rather encourage people to check out Utne than HBR. Harvard Business Review tends to be stuffy and boring and really involved with itself, whereas Utne is interesting and only a little involved with itself. But I digress!

    I was really happy to find this and not entirely because it confirmed something that I have long known. It’s not really a secret that I have a thing for writing, or that it’s something at which I’m usually pretty good. And yet, there have been plenty of times I have been paralyzed with the inability to actually write. Plebes might call it writer’s block, but it’s not. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, which is truly what writer’s block is about. It’s this odd fear of doing writing it wrong.

    And I think it stems from years and years and years of being told how good I am at it. Also the years and years and years of personal and educational evidence with little-to-no professional validation. Even though I know there’s nothing wrong with my writing, there is always a small piece of me that is going to think that I must be doing it wrong if there are no fruits to my labor.

    I wish this was the sort of thing we talked more about it education. We’re overly concerned with making the data work, getting our students to be successful, and being good cheerleaders for the good work and effort we see that we completely and totally forget that words matter. I’m guilty of this myself.

    Reflecting on how I talk to the group of the first graders I work with who are struggling with math, I wonder how much damage I have done that counter-acts the good.. They do not struggle with math because they are unintelligent, or are bad at math. They struggle because the way they think about math is not the way it is being taught.

    A lot of what I do is reassuring these 6- and 7-year-olds that they don’t have to do math the way their teacher does. If that method doesn’t work for them, it is okay to do something else that does work for them. The kids that are terrible with numbers? I show them how to see patterns on a modified number grid. (Side Note: whoever decided the first row of a standard number grid should be 1-10 and not 0-9 really doesn’t understand the way some kids think.) I show them different ways to manipulate number sentences to make them make more sense to the kid. I identify misconceptions they have and correct them, because the misconceptions they have were taken for-granted by adults that they were obvious.

    But the thing I do a lot is say things like “you’re really good at math” when something clicks for them. I’m trying to build their confidence as mathematicians, but what if that’s not what I’m really doing? What if I’m setting them up for that sense of fear I feel when it comes to doing math in the classroom? I do know that a teacher has said about a particular student “He does so well with you, but when he’s with me, it falls apart.”

    I’m going to really have to think about the words I say. Perhaps “You are working so hard” is something I should say more often.

  • Happiness

    This picture just makes me so happy. Every time I see it, I can’t help but feel a little giddy.

  • Certs


    I got my teaching certificate today. K-9, elementary and middle school certified. Also, they seem to think I’m qualified to teach Language Arts and Social Sciences. That’s pretty neat.

    I nearly freaked out when I saw that I wasn’t endorsed for Drama.  I mean, if there’s anything I’m qualified to teach it’s Drama.  But then I realised my university wasn’t qualified to endorse me in that. Time to figure out who is qualified to do that endorsement.

    But squee! I’m a real, certified teacher now. There’s no possibility of something going horrifically wrong and getting denied for some reason. I’ve got it!

    In other news…anyone aware of open teaching positions?

  • Just wanted to share…

    My boyfriend took this picture of me a few weeks ago in Indiana. I believe it is the perfect photo to sum me up as a human being.

  • Birthday Rides

    I’ve been a little mean lately. I’ve been really relishing calling Daniil an old man ever since he turned 28 on Wednesday. But in my defense, he is an old man.

    He didn’t actually want anything for the occasion, and I had class on the actual day, so I had the genius idea to go on a bike ride. It’d been awhile since our last ride, so it seemed like a great idea. I made sandwiches and everything. Sandwiches full of tomatoes. The sandwiches themselves were delicious, and the ride was really fun.

    It was also really cold.

    We rode through Fermilab, which is always beautiful this time of year. Past the bison, past the seed harvest, through the village… We made it to Blackwell Forest Preserve in no time and had our freezing, freezing picnic. Technically we were in an area that was closed since we were near the campgrounds, but we missed the sign entirely.

    It started to rain on our way back, which just added to the hilarity of this misguided ride. Cloudy, cold, miserable, and raining. But it was incredibly fun. It was the thought, anyways.

    Rockin Out

    Of course the sun came out as soon as we got home.