Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can't we all just play nice?

I don't usually get too political in my blog posts. Sarcastic? Maybe. But I usually leave the politics to those who are so in the know and passionate about the issues, that they can't help but make their voices known.

Today, however, I just had to say something. President Obama is giving his State of the Union tonight. Nothing unusual. But tonight they're making the Lefties and the Righties sit together...horror upon horrors!

I'm thinking about all of the kids over the years who would have rather sat by their friends in my class, but who were MATURE enough as FIRST GRADERS to sit with someone who was not their closest friend and to--again horror upon horrors--get along quite nicely!

No, they might not like the way the other guy always hoards the cool wheel accessories for the Legos. And they might be disgusted with the way the other girl always picks her nose and wipes it under her desk. But they get along anyway.

Okay, I'm done.

Wait...one more thing...how many of them do you think will show up with notes from their mommies tonight, so they can sit where they want?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Betty Crocker is Politely Making Me Nervous

I inherited my grandma's old Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book circa 1961.
I love this cook book, because it doesn't make me take out the lard or the sugar or any of the white flour in any of my recipes. Go ahead, it
seems to tell me. Deep fat fry away. And while you're at it, double the portions. You need to put some meat on your bones. (Right now I'm picturing Jillian Michaels, outside my door, ready to whack me over the head with some kettle bells and take a torch to my fabulous book.)

I just realized that in the years that I've had this great collection of recipes, I have grossly neglected the section on page 5, "Kitchen Know Hows: Hints for the Homemaker". All of this time, I could have been starting my day off in a calm and organized manner, as outlined in the section, "Refresh your spirits":

"...Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply makeup and a dash of cologne. Does wonders for your morale and your family's, too!"

As I look down at the espresso and and mocha-stained dribble on my bathrobe and my Christmas-themed footies, I realize I could have been looking like this:
When sadly, I have been looking more like:

or this:

I am perking up a bit, because as I read on, I realize there's still time. Betty tells me to "have a hobby. Garden, paint pictures, look through magazines for home planning ideas, read a good book or attend club meetings. Be interested--and you'll be interesting!" But I'm also feeling the anxiety creeping up, because I'm not so sure Betty would approve of what goes on at my book club meetings.

Betty then says, "if you have a spare moment, sit down, close your eyes and just relax." Betty. Really? How can I possibly sit down, when you just told me in the previous section to
"plan ahead". You just told me to "make several cakes, pies, cookies, main dishes or sandwiches at a time and freeze some for future use."

Luckily, I can hear my grandma's voice drowning out Betty. My grandma just hit Betty over the head with one of Jillian's kettle bells. Betty's now knocked out cold next to her deep freeze and my grandma's telling me to put my bathrobe on and get back to my writing. I had always wondered why the spine
was torn off of that cookbook...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

When All Else Fails, Write About Star Wars

I might have to start taking writing tips from my first graders. They have no anxiety at all about the writing process. They're not worried about bad reviews, and their stomachs don't get tied up in gassy knots when they have a plot problem.

First graders merely put their little bottoms in their chairs (or hovering in the vicinity) and apply the pencil to the paper. They're not afraid to take chances with their writing and go beyond their comfort zones, because, quite frankly, as long as Mom or Dad has remembered to drop the good fruit snacks into the lunch bag, nothing ever gets that uncomfortable.

If a six-year-old wants to kill off a main character (or laser them to smithereens), he or she just makes it happen. They never have any trouble with story endings, either. When they decide it's time to end the story, they just have everyone go home.

There's no worry there that they'll repeat the plot of another author, either. In fact, if it's good enough to happen to Sponge Bob, it's good enough to happen to their main character.

First graders also have figured out that no character is ever totally bad, or completely good. There's a very blurry line between the heroic status/behavior of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

I'm going to start the new year off right, and look to my small students for writing advice. I'm going to relax, eat snacks, hover my butt in the vicinity of my chair, and let the words flow. Because if all else fails, I can write literally pages about my Jedi friends.
Karen Haney over at Bookin' With "BINGO" has just posted a review and GIVEAWAY of A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE. Click HERE to enter! Thanks, Karen!