Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Tangents.....

Thanks to Florinda of The 3 Rs blog for hosting this weekly meme, because otherwise I would probably have let another day go by without writing a post.  I am self-guilting on just about any topic, so when I don't write a blog post every day - I begin to feel unworthy of calling myself a blogger.  The truth of the matter is that I have been busy doing other activities that I want to do, and I have not made the time to post an entry.  So....here is a list of the activities that I have been doing instead:
  • Began reading for my summer school course.  While I find the concept of reading 3,300 pages in a little over 3 months somewhat daunting, I have decided that I really only have to read one page at a time (somewhat similar to the proverbial, How Do You Eat an Elephant --- one bite at a time)
    • I managed to read Walden in its entirety and while I found some parts rather dry - I must admit that I really enjoyed this one.  I have no aspirations of building myself a cabin in the woods and living solely on nuts and berries --- but I did learn to appreciate nature more; to enjoy the journey and not focus exclusively on the destination; to realize that the money trap is alive and well and (unfortunately) residing within me.  I do not "need" a lot to survive and the constant dream of wanting more is robbing me of present day happiness.
    • I started reading Frankenstein on Sunday and must admit that I have fallen in love with this story.  Who really is the monster -- the creature or the creator?  We all long for acceptance in this world, and yet I think the ultimate rejection must be when a parent rejects his/her own child. This is in essence how the creature feels when Victor Frankenstein runs away from him.  At one point the creature asks why did Victor make him so hideous?  Did not God make Adam in his own image?  For it is truly the outward appearance that causes the disgust of this creature --- not his inward heart and longing to be loved.
  • I have not done much in the way of personal reading, but I still need to finish Shutter Island and I hope to start one of about 10 library books that will be due shortly.  At the top of list ranks:
    • the Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey
    • The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
    • Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop
    • Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
  • I spent quite a bit of time this weekend researching The Cotswolds in England.  I harbor a true desire to at least go on a short walk along the English countryside while I am in Oxford this summer.  I found a terrific website that includes quite a number of daily walk suggestions, complete with PDF downloads.  In addition there is an interactive map that allows you to hyperlink to local bed and breakfasts along the trail (this particular one sounds delightful to me - I hope they have a vacancy).  The header picture of one of the webpages has the most beautiful photograph of sheep grazing in a pasture (that is the picture above).  I immediately sent an email asking where this picture was taken and would it be possible to take a small walking tour to that location.  Within 24 hours I received a response and was told that the Chipping Campden was the perfect place to start my journey.  Not sure this will be a possibility of not, but I am having a blast dreaming about it.
  • School officially started again yesterday and while I was not looking forward to returning to the routine, I do realize that the faster I get back into school, the sooner summer break will arrive.  There will be quite a bit of grading to accomplish over the next 8 weeks, and that always puts me in a grumpy mood.  How I wish we could teach classes on a pass/fail basis.  
    • This week's grading includes fifteen 7th grade research papers.  
    • We are finishing Tale of Two Cities in British literature (the final exam for this novel will be the first week of April) and the Hobbit in 7th grade.  
    • The middle of next month will begin the mystery unit for these younger students where we read several Sherlock Holmes stories, and the students learn to write their own mystery which will be shared the week of finals.  It is always a fun unit -- minus the grading, of course.  
    • My 8th graders are busily memorizing their lines of A Midsummer Night's Dream - with the projected performance date of May 7.  I am not at all sure how well this will go -- but they have certainly had a glorious time studying Shakespeare, which quite honestly, is reward enough for me.
  • As a final note, I am still trying to hone my writing skills.  I have done a lot of reading on the art of fictional writing and I am anxious to put the theory into practice.  I have also been learning the subtle differences in travel writing and want to start doing some preliminary research on various topics prior to my June departure.  I attribute this new-found interest in writing to the blogging world.  This wonderfully positive experience has cultivated an interest in other forms of writing.  I thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement that have nudged me out of my comfort zone.
Today is a gorgeous day in Kansas (the saying is -- if you don't like the weather in Kansas, just wait 5 minutes) -- and I think I might try to venture to "my island" a bit this morning to do some journal writing.  I hope you all have a glorious Tuesday as well.


  1. Holy cow, lady. You are one busy woman! I am attempting to NOT feel guilty about neglecting my reading, writing and commenting. I know that I will reclaim my life soon (ha!). I also just have to say that when I worked a job in London back about 15 years ago, my colleague and I rented bicycles and rode through the Cotswolds. We stayed in some small village, in a house that had rooms for rent and came with its own cat. We ate at some inn that was the best meal we'd had in England. Some rogue chef living simply out in the country. I wish you the best with your reading goals, but just remember to enjoy the ride!

  2. Molly, I think we are all just happy that you can check in now and then. Goodness, lady, you have a lot on your plate. Don't stress and if we don't hear from you for a bit, that's life. Take care and I think that walking in the Cotswolds sounds lovely.

  3. I think we are all aware of how difficult it is to keep up with blogging, but I have now learnt to accept if I haven't got anything to say and have a day away from the blogging world.

    The English countryside is beautiful to walk through. I do one major walk a week which is normally around 8 to 10 miles and normally along the beach and through the farmers fields. I should take some photos really to share.

    Frankenstein - now there is a book I have been meaning to read for ages.

  4. Thanks for sharing your Tangents this week, Molly! It sounds like you've been pretty well occupied outside the reading/blogging realm, so it was nice to get caught up with you :).

    You've only got 8 weeks of school left? We have 11, not counting spring break, which is Easter week - and then we get to make our big trip to the East Coast!

    Preparing for your summer course sounds like it could be kind of fun. Good luck!

  5. A walk in the English countryside sounds divine - you must find the time to fit one in and take lots of pictures while you're at it.

  6. You have so much going on Molly where to start??? I've thought about reading Frankenstein a few times, and who knows, you may inspire me to do that. I loved reading about your desire to walk along the Cotswolds...I so hope you make it come true!!

  7. We're currently in production to publish an illustrated book of Thoreau's quotes (coming out May 2010). Be sure to get out our site for updates:


  8. Walking through the Cotswolds sounds wonderful! I may have to spend some time daydreaming on that website, too. You sure have a lot going on right now, Molly. Don't let blogging add to the pressure - this is supposed to be fun!

  9. You are one busy lady! I think some time spent daydreaming on the Cotswolds, Oxford & England in general is a must for you! Continue your brilliant teaching and your real writing, and don't worry about blogging. None of us is going anywhere. No worries, eh?

  10. I love the Cotswolds -- there are some lovely private gardens that are sometimes open to the public, wonderful B&Bs, fabulous walks. Jealousy kicking in here....

  11. you will no doubt have some wonderful photos when you get back. Quite the adventure...yes, some envy kicking in.

    You better get reading.

  12. No wonder you might not post daily on a regular basis. My schedule is absolutely nowhere near yours, even with a newborn to take care of and I still don't write daily posts. How do you do it girl?! Good for you though, I always wish I had that much energy.
    As far as reading goes, I have yet to read Frankenstein (*gasp*) and I did read Walden in college once but I wasn't very crazy about it. Maybe if I read it now, 12 years later it would appeal to me more.

  13. Really is there any reason that grade school and middle school kids couldn't have a grading scale that is simply "Mastered," "Acceptable," and "Unable to Reach Desired Goals."

    Please tell me if you go for a walk in the Cotswalds that you'll wear a long gown and a bonnet. But I won't ask that you wear those ridiculous shoes.

  14. Gosh ... don't feel guilty if you don't post every day. That is just silly!!! : )

    And I think blogging is a great way to practice and hone your writing. I know it has been that way for me. (Of course, I'm not writing fiction but still. I find myself writing more fluidly and faster than I ever have before. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you get.)

  15. You are a busy lady and a busy reader. I am just having to force myself to be okay if I don't get a post up every day. I love reading your posts, but everyone understands when our friends don't get a post up every day!
    *smiles and warm spring wishes to you*

  16. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. There are no blogging police out here saying you have to post every day. Just do it when you feel like it. Your posts are QUALITY, not quantity. I enjoy what you write. I bet your travel writing will be superb. I always enjoy when you tell about what's going on in your classes or in your life. I'm really looking forward to hearing about your experiences this summer.

  17. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. There are no blogging police out here saying you have to post every day. Just do it when you feel like it. Your posts are QUALITY, not quantity. I enjoy what you write. I bet your travel writing will be superb. I always enjoy when you tell about what's going on in your classes or in your life. I'm really looking forward to hearing about your experiences this summer.

  18. We're currently in production to publish an illustrated book of Thoreau's quotes (coming out May 2010). Be sure to get out our site for updates:

  19. I'll be interested to hear what you think of Shutter Island. I was really disappointed in the movie, mostly because I wasn't correct in what I thought the movie was about.

    You'll get through the next three months and the required reading with less trouble than you expect, I bet! And then this will all be behind you--and on to the next task.

  20. Hi!
    I have an award for you at my place. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  21. Good luck with all of your classes and grading! I hope you still find some time for fun reading amidst all of the activities! :)


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