Friday, February 27, 2009

A Bit Needy...

Christy has a fun Meme on her blog. I had to try it!

What you do, is type {your name} and the word "needs" in your google search engine and then list the first 10 things that it says you need. Here's mine:

Nora needs:
1) attention
2) to work on her act
3) a higher rating
4) a new home
5) to get a life
6) a permanent loving family
7) time to get that perfect wedding dress done for you
8) to grow up
9) the City Council
10) your number!

I know you're not supposed to list number 11, but Nora needs money... (this really is # 11!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert: About Genius

TEDTalks recently posted a speech by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her topic was genius, and what she had to say completely changed the way I think about my writing process, my music performances, and my teaching of the gifted.

If you have time to watch the video, please do. It is WELL worth the time, which is about 19 minutes.

Keep writing.

Just for Fun... Become an M&M

Rena posted this on her blog and I had to try it!

Become an M&M!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Finally... Gymnastics, Resolutions, and Good Reads

Gymnastics competitions are finished! My weekends are mine again. My daughter and I have been in a different city every other week for the last couple of months. This past week, we were in Columbus, Ohio, for The Champion's Cup. Over 2000 girls competed in levels 3-10. Daughter and I watched the level 10s compete Saturday night. Wow! I was amazed at what they could do, but with spectacular tumbling comes spectacular crashes. My goodness! I thought one gymnast had broken her nose. She under-rotated a final back flip in a tumbling run and landed on her face - hard enough that her head bounced up from the mat. She stood right up, finished the routine, saluted the judges, and walked with her head held high to the sidelines. Never lost her game face. Impressive! Another gymnast finished her vault, walked to the sidelines, held up her foot and mouthed to her mother, "I broke my toe." She then proceeded to do her floor routine. Soccer is starting to look pretty good...

I've broken my first New Year's Resolution - to write six days a week, no excuses. It didn't quite work out this past week. I tried to write in the hotel Friday night. My daughter was in the bed and I was in a (comfy) chair with my laptop. The next thing I knew, it was 2:30 a.m. I'd fallen asleep writing. I managed a whole paragraph before nodding off. I'm back on the wagon this week.

I just finished reading The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. What a good read! I'd had it on my list for awhile, but when it won the Newbery, I moved it to the front of the line. Definitely one I recommend!

I'm getting ready to teach a Medieval unit in my TAG class. I've chosen four books: Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray; Catherine Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman; The Midwife's Apprentice, by Karen Cushman; Good Master! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz. I plan on putting students into different novel groups. I've had a blast teaching this in the past. Students build models of a village, an abby, and a castle - depending on their group assignment. They research weaponry, knights, games, etc., and we end it all with a medieval faire and feast. We invite the 4th, 5th and 6th grades to our faire, which is held in the gym. The feast is just for us. I've served turkey legs (KFC chicken legs), wine (grape juice), cheese, crusty bread, and fruit. The novel unit will last through mid-April. The research, model building, and preparations for the faire will be in May - after state testing. It's a great way to end the year!

Okay... I must write. I'm back on the wagon, after all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Traffic NIghtmares

It's Friday the 13th.

My daughter and I had the day off from school today, so we decided to spend the afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. It's a fabulous museum, and now that my daughter is older we don't spend sooooo much time in the Children's museum. Today she asked to visit the Cincinnati History wing - one of my favorite places. We looked at a detailed model of 1940's Cincinnati (really cool!), wandered through WWII era artifacts, a reconstruction of a river boat and river town from the 1800's - complete with shops and hands-on opportunities. The Museum Center also has an Omnimax theater. We saw "Dinosaurs Alive," a film shown on a 5-story, 72-foot diameter, tilted and domed screen. There is a dinosaur exhibit as well, but we didn't have time to see it today. My girl wants to go back on Monday to explore again. We had a great time, until...

... the commute home.

Cincinnati traffic on interstate 75 is notoriously awful. We were traveling along fairly well, and then everything stopped except the car that was three cars behind me. It plowed into the little black car in front of it at full speed, and shoved it under the Jeep behind me that plowed into the rear of my van. My girl seems to be fine, but I'm getting more sore by the minute. The back of my poor van is a mess. It'll need a new bumper, and new hatch, new lights, and possibly a side panel as well. The officers wouldn't share insurance information because their priority (as it should be) was to make sure everyone was okay and clear the highway before rush hour made it to full swing. We got an officer name and a report number, an assurance that all the needed information was in the report, and then we were released.

Traffic on the way home was even worse - bumper to bumper semi-trucks and all sorts of commuters heading home. I thought we were doing okay until I heard a huge clunk from behind the van. My girl looked at me with big eyes and said, "What was that??" I didn't see anything on the road behind me except two SUVs working hard to get into another lane besides mine. There was nowhere to pull over. So I said, "I don't know, but I think we're either going to lose our bumper or our lights are falling apart." It took awhile, but we made it to an exit and to a parking lot where I discovered one light had fallen. It was swinging by its wires. With a little bit of duct tape we were good to go.

I took back roads the rest of the way home, and I will never again travel I 75 during any hour even remotely close to rush hour.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Writer Friends and Reading Buddies

I love my writer friends and reading buddies.

It was a girl's day out today. I had a late lunch (early dinner?) with my critique partner and friend. We met at Applebee's at 2:30 and talked at the restaurant for nearly three hours before heading to her house to talk for another three. We met for fun, not for work, but our passions are books and writing, so of course that's what we talked about. We discussed titles of ARCs she had read/critiqued that she thought were exciting, books we have recently read that we enjoy, the disappointment of manuscript rejection - especially when a contract seems within reach, should we submit to editors or agents, upcoming writer's workshops in Honesdale, the economy and the effect on the publishing industry, and our opinions of our nation's politics. In short, girl talk. : ) It was fun. I definitely need to do that more often.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Alive and Well and on the Planet Earth...

I'm still here!

It's conference time at school, and preparations of WEP's (written education plans) tend to take over my life. Conferences are finished Wednesday, so I'll be back soon.

Keep writing!