Life Plan

nerdlutiont555I’ve been very addicted to Twitter lately — it’s almost all I do except read very important books!! 😉  The other day, I creeped into a conversation where some important people wanted to re-commit to personal goals. There’s a hashtag, round of blog posts, and a picture to make this all “official”! Here is one blog I read that explains #Nerdlution better than I ever could: Sharpread

I’m making a commitment that for the next 50 days, I’ll do a few things I’ve been neglecting. Here’s the short list:

1…blog each day. It can be here or maybe in my daybook, but writing is a must!

2… SOME sort of exercise. The best way to do this is to follow that blasted Fast Metabolism book!! Just do it, please!

3…have Game Night with Lily once a week. Wednesdays sound good (and with Jake when he’s home).


That’s probably all the resolutions I need to make. Hell, I’m already behind on the first day’s…it’s after midnight. Maybe Dec 1 will be the start date…now if I can just do the math to see when the 50 days are up! haha…

Good news is I’ve read 2 1/2 books this week: One Night That Changed Everything; a skeery book from the WL library (that I can’t remember the name of, nor can I find it!); and half finished with The Sea of Tranquility, a creepy book that Donna told me to read.

I also started another website to house my teaching “stuff” — I’m being horrible by keeping resources in a million other places, so today, I tried to put websites and ideas and documents in one spot. We’ll see how long that lasts! For now, though, I have 4 pages…but the Home page is my favorite. I’m really struggling with staying with teaching, so I added a cute WeeMe avatar (where I’m holding my old Blackberryand a Starbucks coffee),3 videos that inspire me, a poem, a quote by Ghandi (for when I’ve feeling really bad) and, a Spotify

Avatar Me2playlist of 13 songs that should definitely inspire me (or, at least, define how I feel about teaching — when I love it, not now when I’m pissed).

    I know…cute, huh??

That about does it for today’s episode!


Today begins Day 1 of Teachers Write with Kate Messner. I’m supposed to make plans — a commitment to writing this summer — something I do with regularity. Well, I make the “plans” — it’s the follow-through I usually have difficulty with (although, who wouldn’t, when a chatty almost-six-year-old WON’T STOP TALKING IN MY EAR!! haha…She’s giving me writing advice at the moment — I didn’t use a period correctly, apparently!).

Anyway, Kate asks teachers to do the following today:

1) What can I cut out of my day in order to make time to write? Definitely some TV viewing — it’s summer, so most of what I watch is in reruns anyway. But I’m bad at recording shows to watch later, and then I just veg out for a whole day. I love TV; and I love to read. So I think I just need to balance those things.

2) When and how long will I write? I’m a night-writer. I get more done after the LilyBelle and Kevo have gone to bed — and the Jakester is staying at his college apartment with an internship most of the summer. So no one will be up to  talk to me or interrupt my thoughts. However, by the time Lily actually stops talking to me and goes to sleep, I’m pretty tired, too. For a while, I’m sure that getting 15 minutes of writing done each day will be the most I will do. For some reason, I write better during the school year with my students, and not so much in the summer when I’m out of work. It’s the schedule that keeps me honest, so this summer, I want to feel as if I have a schedule — and do what I tell my students: increase my writing stamina bit by bit.

3) Where will I write? I don’t have a particular place to write — no personal desk or room of my own. Most of my writing is done on the living room couch, on my bed when the LilyBelle is in the bathtub, or in bed just before I go to sleep. Sometimes I might be able to sneak out to the bookstore I love to go to when I need a break from home.

4) Who did I tell about my writing plans? Umm…no one! I’ll probably tell my teacher-friend, Somer, and make her read my stuff. She thinks I entertain her with some writing I’ve done in the past, and she’s good for my ego. I may tell my sister, but she doesn’t always give me good feedback. I have to tell the LilyBelle, because she’ll want to write with me (I’m going to have her do Jo Knowles’ kitchen prompt tomorrow!).

So, there are my plans and commitments to myself this summer. There will be days I won’t be able to write, especially this month (finishing up breast cancer treatments/surgeries); however, there are several pieces that I want to spend some time on. I need several example texts for my students next year, and this is as good a time as any to get them done. One of my biggest problems, though (especially with fiction), is plot and development; I can get the beginning and maybe even know how the story will/should end, but I can’t get the middle — where all the action happens. I want to work on that this summer so I can feel a sense of completion. I hope that makes sense.

If you read my blog and haven’t joined Teachers Write, just follow the link, sign up, and let’s have some fun!

**The Snoopy picture captures my feelings about writing most of the time (when I’m alone). I found it at this website:

So, I’m checking my email this morning after the Kevman took the LilyBelle to school. I see the daily Diigo Education Group update, and one of the links is to help teachers have a good day. I think, “Okay…let’s see if this link is going to help me have a good day.” I think it might be silly things that kids say, or something sarcastic about “The Educational Establishment” — but I get SOOOOOOO much more! I get a Slice! haha…

13 Ways to Make Today a Good Day

1. Drink a cup of coffee or tea — heaped with all the good things you like in it (or keep it naked, however you like it!)

2. Read the first page  of your favorite books — remember what made you love them (Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, here I come!)

3. Talk to a little kid about school (LilyBelle told me this morning that she doesn’t do science or “studies” — she just does work! haha)

4. Text your teenager and wait (4-5 days) for him/her to acknowledge your presence. Remember ways you ignored your own parents periodically and shake your head, smiling with how much your kid is like you.

5. Tweet something nice about one of your UN-favorite students — maybe make a wish for him/her (don’t necessarily have to name names, though!).

6. Go to a wig store and try on a new hairstyle or color.

7. Give your significant other at least one “long, slow, deep, soft, wet kiss” (Sorry…I’m a Bull Durham fan –the kiss doesn’t have to be wet! haha).

8. Read the comics from your newspaper. Cut one out to reread through the day. (The best ones help you get a Slice! haha…)

9. Pet your dog(s) because they always look at you with that pet-me-love-me-really-it’s-okay sort of look! (Uh…they just did it to me, just right then!)

10. Go rollerblading— or, at least close your eyes and imagine you’re the kind of person who rollerblades! (Or paddle boarding, whichever!)

11. Shake your head at the weirdness of the politics in America today — and then go eat some ice cream.

12. Drive to Target/Walmart/the mall with all the windows open (reschedule this if it’s raining).

13. Smile — even if no one’s in the room; maybe even have your own private belly laugh!

**Bonus: Blog and post a Slice of Life! 🙂

Okay….which one do you want to do today? What would you add to my list?

Ya know that feeling when you crave “something different” but find it hard to define? Well, that’s how I find myself lately, not just because medical issues prohibit me from being productive at work for the next several months, but also because I’m less mobile. Gas prices are skyrocketing; I don’t have a coffee shop or bookstore close by; so all the writing I’m doing is at my boring old house.

So one day last week when the LilyBelle made me walk outside, I found a little trail behind my house (something I’m sure has been here all along…but…who actually explores the back yard of their house?? haha). Anyway, the trail led to a small creek that looked perfect for…wait for it…A WRITING NOOK!! It just seems made perfectly for me except for one small problem, immortalized by the character Chunk in the classic movie The Goonies: “I love the dark….but I hate nature!!”

There’s a little spot under one of the trees where I could put a chair…or I can cross the creek and sit in the middle of the moss…or, and this came to me just last night…the Kevman can buy one of those tent thingys that zips up, you know, like for parties? That would take care of my nature (see flying insects) problem.

Anyway, I just need a room of my own — and my house isn’t working for me. My other two options are the newly remodeled library or the lounge at the Starbucks kiosk at the local hospital. I wonder if my stories will be different in the different settings?

Here are my pics…just press play and tell me what you think. Where’s your favorite place to write or be inspired?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Does being almost mid-40s make you automatically think about the road less traveled? I read a writing prompt on Twitter today to choose a career you’ve always wanted and write about a character who’s actually working in that field. Well, it’s late, and I didn’t sleep last night, and as long as I have the computer on, the LilyBelle won’t go to sleep, and I’ll be in here forever….so, I’m just going to write about my dream jobs…

I’m not sure it’s a secret that teaching wasn’t my first career choice. Well, let me think…in high school, I was accepted to UNC-Greensboro in the Teaching Fellows program. I wanted to work with kids who had behavior-emotional problems (I knew I could fix them, you see!). Life happened, and I didn’t go — Oh, stupidity…why do you affect the young so?? Anyway, working with kids seemed to be the best fit for me, so I ended up studying psychology; flirted with chucking it my junior year and getting a teaching degree, but that would require an additional year of school, and at the time, I wasn’t willing to do that.

So…here are some dream jobs I’ve had since I was little — in sort of chronological order as I recall them:

Steph’s 13 Dream Jobs

1) astronaut — life dream since 3rd grade at least. I used to love looking at the sky and wondering about the clouds and what was above them and what space travel was like…and, you get to pee your pants and no one says ANYTHING!!! But about sixth or seventh grade, I figured out that math was involved, and, well, math and me…we’ve never gotten along.

2) lawyer — this may have been like a middle school ideal. I like to argue, but not listen, so I figured out quickly that I would suck at lawyering. (Umm…this could have been because I was way into a tv show at the time called the “Paper Chase” — wasn’t that about law students at Harvard? But I also wanted to right the wrongs of the world (probably for selfish childhood reasons).

3) CIA agent — I still haven’t given this one up. It was definitely high school when this idea came to me. I was into reading about the government and gathering intelligence and being undercover. I seriously want to be Kinsey Bly on NCIS Las Angeles! She is so freaking tough!

4) travel writer/photographer — because every day would be an adventure. I especially wanted to travel to Italy and Greece and follow Odysseus’s trail — I loved mythology.

5) radio announcer — because I was in love with the son of a local radio station owner, and he’d call to flirt with me and put me on the air and make me do stupid voices and then he’d show up unexpectedly at my high school job to do “remote” broadcasts…I figured if I wasn’t shy on the radio, he’d overlook our seven year age difference. Apparently, he was more worried about how it would look for a 23 y/o dude to be “dating” a 16 y/o girl than I was! haha…

6) cemetery historian — I came up with this one a few years ago in a graduate English class when the professor had this as a creepy outside hobby. I haven’t given it up, but I think she’d get pissed if I stole her idea. But it’s sooooo me!!!

7) archeologist — well, this one sort of combines with an underwater treasure hunter because I’d love to be able follow clues and unlock mysteries of different ancient cultures. Or go diving and find some cool undiscovered pirate ship. This one has been a dream job since I was probably twelvish, but got worse when I lived in Vegas and attended a training on The Jason Project. I learned about the age of the mountains out west and that if the earth plates had moved like a quarter inch, Vegas would have been a rainforest rather than a desert. Cool, huh?

8) Greyhound bus researcher — I just found this one out….I saw an interview with a dude a few months back who had literally ridden the bus cross-country several times, interviewed fellow passengers to find out their stories, wrote them down, published it, and now he’s a gazillionaire. Why can’t I think of something stupid like that??

9) Heiress — I just want to learn that my long lost great-grandmama, who had been searching for me since the tragic death of my real parents, had finally found me. The shock was so great that she keeled over dead with a heart attack, but not before leaving me her gazillions and English title of Duchess!! (I’m not giving this one up either; it could happen!)

10) traveling fair/circus performer — Have you read Water for Elephants??? If so, you’d understand; if not, get thee to a bookstore immediately!

11) independent bookstore owner — I tried to get the Kevman to start a bookstore/coffee shop for me a few years back, but he’s not brave enough. He likes that I have a steady paycheck. “YOU’RE HOLDING ME BACK, SUCKA!”

12) Senate aide — I know government jobs probably aren’t very popular, but I’ve always thought that Washington would be a glamourous place to work. And the way the Representatives and Senators are, there could be “perks” — haha….(geez, I’m glad no one’s going to read this post tonight!! haha)

13) investigative reporter — Can I bring down the bad guy? I think this goes back to my wanting to be a CIA agent…I need a world of good guys and bad guys. Who am I supposed to believe? Who’s lying? And, most importantly, WHY???

I like collecting dream jobs…you never know when you might get the opportunity to do something different, so you have to be ready. But now that I’m finished with my list, I think I might really want to write about a character with one of these jobs….I can wonder what it would be like to live that life rather than the one I have. Wonder if I’d miss this one??

What dream jobs do you have?

p.s….I left off Krispy Kreme employee…but that’s probably for the best!

p.s.s Thought, if you’re still reading, you’d like to hear the poem my post reminds me of…


Okay, well, I was all set at 10pm tonight to write about my first day of my life plan, and then the Kevman got woken up by a screaming Lily and went to smoke (I totally need to start smoking. I’m stressed at school, and because Lily is too spoiled….hey, doesn’t smoking make you lose weight, too?? hmmm…). Anyhoo….the Kevman yells at me to “turn on the tv because Obama’s going to make some kind of major announcement.” So, my stomach goes straight to my toes because I’m totally afraid of what horrible thing that has happened in the world…

I find out, when I turn on the tv that at first no one (the talking heads) know what’s going on…then @JohnKing comes on CNN and totally ruins The Prez’s surprise!! It’s been amazing, though, to live through this moment in history in both with my favorite MSNBC and Twitter!! I wish, though, that I could be in one of those flash mobs in Washington…..I think that’s is just the greatest show of unity ….everyone is just happy or relieved or something. And reading my Twitter feed has been nothing less than AMAZING!! I’ve been getting screencasts of some tweets to use in class tomorrow. We can talk about how fast the news broke, flash mobs, social media, should we celebrate a person’s death?, and, I found out on Twitter that today was the annoucement of Hitler’s death–and the 8th anniversary of GWB’s famous “Mission Accomplished” speech — MAN!!! When you combine that with the fact that the Prez broke in on the episode of Celebrity Apprentice, it just sort of feels like, I don’t know… irony!! 😉

So…it’s now 1:15am, and I’m totally exhausted…but I want to stay up and watch this. But, I didn’t get much on my To-Do List completed this weekend, so I suppose I should go to bed. I do want to say that I did exercise for about an hour (Hark! Do you hear my knees creaking?), and I stayed under my calorie count. So…SCORE!!! Yea, me!!

As far as writing goes, I was supposed to write about what happens when I write–what my critic says to me; what makes me stop? Well, I didn’t stop tonight. I wrote. Blogging counts. Plus, I’ve sent six or seven tweets. And checked papers. And an email to a student who’s driving me crazy!!

BTW….does anyone else see Jack Bauer’s hand in this Osama success?? Wouldn’t you LOVE to talk to one of the men involved in that operation? That’s just amazing…USA….USA…USA…USA!!!