Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stack Attack

That stack of books represents my reading list for 2012. A few I received as Christmas presents this year. Some I've had for months. Some I've had for years. Yes, years. Only one will be a reread. I am determined to get through this pile. I am going to try really hard to resist the siren's call of book reviews, book recs, book stores. That said, I already know one book that I must have this spring:  Trail of the Spellmans. It's the fifth book in the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz. Love. That. Series.

Here's the list. Sorry, no links. I'm typing fast and furiously while my vat of Three-Bean Pumpkin Chili with Turkey simmers on the stove (another endeavor: try more new recipes) and while Mr. Mark and the girls are playing some sort of dungeons and dragons game on his phone.

Sanctuary - William Faulkner (saw the B/W movie Temple Drake awhile back. It was made from this book. Love me some Willie F.)
The Scarlet Pimpernel  - Baroness Emmuska Orczy (read a excerpt while I was tutoring 7th graders; up my alley)
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (third book in The Hunger Games series)
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Basic Teachings of the Buddha - Glenn Wallis (I find the basic concepts on Buddhism interesting.)
Selected Letters of Martha Gelhorn - Caroline Morehead (Love me some Martha G.)
The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin (reread)
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
The Wonders of Solitude - Dale Salwak
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (second book in The Hunger Games series; 50 pages left to read)
Hobby Farm: How To Create and Maintain Your Hobby Farm or Great Estate - Kristen Hampshire (gardening is a hobby that I'm going to cultivate this year - pun totally intended)

I am fighting a big SHOULD with this endeavor, as in "I should be reading all sorts of Young Adult literature so I can make great recommendations to my students." But I don't want to. And I'm wondering if that's a sign that teaching is no longer where I'm supposed to be. Or maybe it's just a sign that I am burnt out.

Whatever you do this week, wherever you are, whatever you read - keep it real!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And the Shine Has Worn Off

"The grass is always greener on the other side." Truer words words have never been muttered.

Long story short, it's been a long few months at my not-so-new teaching job. The glitz and glamour that attracted me in August have faded. Actually, they have disappeared completely. Tonight marks the last night of a 18-day (counting weekends) winter break. I head back to the classroom tomorrow, and I'm just not ready.  But, go back I will, in true Trooper Mari style. With a smile on my face and an eye toward the last day of school in May.

I know it's up to me to sink or swim the next few months. I'm going to do everything I can to keep my head above water. I believe attitude is everything. I just have to figure out how to maintain a positive one in an environment that is so overwhelmingly not positive.

What a bummer post for the Happy New Year, huh? Overall, no complaints. My family is healthy, wealthy, and wise. I found a teaching job in a market where teaching jobs are super scarce. My furnace works, and my 'fridge is full. Under the veneer of complaints, I know I'm blessed beyond belief.

I kind of sort of make new-year resolutions. Really, I make resolutions all year long. Ever changing. Ever evolving. Ever tweaking. Here's what I'm thinking right now:

1. My job will not rule my life. That is one thing that will most definitely change, starting tomorrow.
2. Be in one moment at a time.
3. Make time for hobbies. I'm discovering an interest in gardening, and I hope to take some time to read and learn and see where that interest takes me.
4. Be nice.

That's it for now. My hope is to post about once a month. We'll see!

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... keep it real.