Monday, October 23, 2006

Tools For Success

This year, I'm teaching a course called High School Transitions, and I'm always on the lookout for articles and strategies to share with my thirteen Transitions kids. I found this one over at Yahoo Finance today:

What It Takes to Be Great

It's an interesting read and very applicable to writers, teachers, and students, although it's targeted to the business individual.

Go check it out. And tell me what you think.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Needing a Little Pre-Halloween Magic Here . . .

I am so incredibly tired tonight. I don't know if it's because this is our first "full" week after fall break, if it's because it's been a jam-packed week already, or if I'm just getting old . . . but I'm bushed.

Tomorrow does not promise to be a restful day. I found out this afternoon that grades are due on report cards (we handwrite those suckers, too . . . sigh) by the end of Thursday. Thursday night is PTO as well. My fear is that tomorrow will be day four that I don't have planning for whatever reason, and then how will I get report cards done?

After school, you say?

Um. Uh-huh.

It's eleven practice days until competition. I can't miss a practice, so my schedule for tomorrow pretty much looks like this:

Period One: 9th Writers Workshop
Period Two: 9th Lit/Comp
Period Three: 11th American Lit
Period Four: Planning. This week, it's been . . . helping with state reporting, an emergency conference, distributing student govt. forms.
Period Five: High School Transitions
Lunch: Hey. I could do them here. That could work. Hmmm, 83 grades X 2 copies, in 30 min.
Period Six: 11th American Lit
Period Seven: High School Study Skills
3:30 until: Play Practice
6:00: Fundraiser supper for the Spanish club
7:00: PTO

I'm doomed. So if anyone has a little magic for adding a twenty-fifth hour to the day, or one of those cool "time warp" watches from the movie Clockstoppers, I need to borrow it!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Keeping Up With the Joneses . . .

One thing I've spent the last year discovering is that the old adage about happiness equals being content with what you have is very true. Oh, sure, I always want another pair of shoes, and I can't wait until we finally finish the house-from-hell renovations . . . but I'm very thankful to have the house from hell, thankful that it's basically paid for, thankful that I can buy groceries and provide a handful of wants as well as the needs for my children.

Along those lines, I found this interesting article today over at Yahoo Finance. Go take a look. Tell me what you think.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Today's Post . . .

Is at Romance Worth Killing For!

In other news, I have tentative release dates for my four books coming out next year . . . looks like I'll have a release every three months or so. I'm excited (and scared to death)! More details as the dates are firmed up.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Point of Saturation

Hello, my name is Linda and I'm a news addict.

Actually, I prefer to think of it as being well-informed. I read the local metropolitan newspaper daily, I subscribe to two weekly news magazines, I read the Yahoo News headlines, and I watch Headline News, MSNBC, etc. pretty religiously. I like to know what's going on in the world.

However, I have no illusions about the media. I'm aware that all too often news coverage is influenced by more than the public's need to know.

This morning, I'm annoyed. There is yet another report of a school-and-gun incident on CNN. Last week, there was a rundown on the daily school-and-gun/bomb threat incidents throughout the United States. I have two issues with this.

1) Weapons at schools and bomb threats at schools are nothing new. They happen daily, weekly, monthly throughout the country. In ten years of teaching, I've been at schools at both ends of the economic spectrum. At those schools, I've helped evacuate students due to a bomb threat. I've witnessed a gun being found in a locker. At one school, a student was expelled for bringing a knife on campus. Another brought a ceramic pot with the intent to hit someone over the head (she knew she couldn't get a knife or gun through the metal detector). Every incident involving a school and a weapon is someone's tragedy. Lives are affected. Sometimes, the scale is so large that it becomes the nation's tragedy. Most incidents, thank God, end without anyone being physically hurt. There is always emotional fallout. But if you've tuned into the media lately, you would think our schools are under siege, that we live in a constant state of fear. Do we? Not really. Am I aware of where my classroom is located, of the routes an intruder might use to get to my room? Sure. I also teach with my door locked, and I mentally run through our GEMA training on safety every day. But once that door closes, it's all about English and all about the kids I teach. It's not about fear.

2) People, especially teens, are impressionable and some are easily influenced. Sure, you have those who are going to come up with the idea to take a gun to school on their own. But do some school-weapon incidents come about because of the increased (and somewhat morbid) media attention? I've taught teenagers too long not to think so.

So, I think today, I'm skipping the daily dose of CNN. Maybe I'll go sit on the porch and drink my coffee instead.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Little of This, A Little of That

Larissa's new website is up and it's gorgeous! Check it out.

I'm cleaning this week while on fall break (I keep typing and saying "spring" break and having to correct myself -- I'm already planning our trip for that week and I'm obsessing a little). There's a lot going on in my life decision-wise, but there are some things I simply haven't been able to make a decision about yet. I don't have all the facts and there are things that are out of my control -- my sister calls this being "Jonah in the whale." I call it a holding pattern. A good friend of mine is in the same "stuck" position, and she doesn't like it any better than I do.

So getting rid of clutter makes me feel like I'm doing something. How weird is that? I guess it's a mind game for coping. The same way coming up with a solution for our study skills debacle at school made me feel accomplished. I'd much rather fix something than whine about it, or have to "live with it." Ugh.

I think I may have found a way to fix the "holding pattern" situation in my life. I think. I hope.

In other news, it's only three weeks until One Act competition. Very freaked about that. Very, very freaked.

I have about four months until my first release -- even more freaked about that. Scared, I think. I've been making a list of updates I need to do on my website and I'm working on a new MS, one I'm going to use as a free online read, giving out a chapter a week for several weeks before the release of WMM. I'm hoping it'll be a way to draw in more readers. What do you think?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Same Old, Same Old . . .

It's fall break, and I so needed this. For the past month, it's felt like I'd never catch my breath at school again -- that's finally started to ease up some. So I'm looking forward to having the next few days to relax a little.

Jaye is blogging about having too much going on, genre-wise, in her WIP. I'm fiddling with the MS that I'm planning to use as a free read for promo, and I feel like I don't have enough going on.

I haven't been very vocal here lately, merely because I've been swamped and I haven't felt like I've had much to say. I'll try to do better, although I still don't have much of anything new to talk about.

Maybe as the release date for WMM draws nearer, that will change . . .