Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Ten: Christmas Songs I Love (Part One)

  1. Mele Kalikimaka
  2. The Nutcracker soundtrack (cheating I know, but really, who can pick just one!)
  3. Here Comes Santa Claus
  4. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  5. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  6. Last Christmas
  7. Have A Holly Jolly Christmas
  8. I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas
  9. The Chipmunk Christmas Song
  10. Wonderful Christmas Time
I love Christmas so much it is hard to pick just ten songs. So, this week I chose secular songs and next week I will feature traditional/religious songs that I love! What are YOUR favorite Christmas songs?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday December 7, 2010

The first Advent Teaser comes from Matchless by Gregory Maguire. It is a retelling of the fairy tale "The Little Match Girl."

"She crouched, half asleep, till a church bell rang. It was a quarter to midnight."  

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Ten: Christmas Movies I Love

One of my favorite things about Christmas is being able to enjoy Christmas movies. Starting in November I will occasionally watch something Christmas related, but once Thanksgiving is over and we are eating our way through leftovers it becomes Official Christmas Season at my house. Christmas movies are played each night, some more than once. Without further ado, here is my Top Ten list of Favorite Christmas Movies

  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  2. White Christmas
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Animated)
  4. Nutcracker
  5. Most any version of A Christmas Carol
  6. Here Comes Santa Claus
  7. I'll Be Home for Christmas
  8. The Santa Clause
  9. The Year Without Christmas
  10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Live Action Version)
What Christmas (or any holiday) movies do YOU love?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blogging The Advent

I haven't blogged in WEEKS! That is truly horrible! I hate when I ignore this blog. It isn't always amazing or anything, but I love sharing things here. Since I love sharing and I love this time of year, I had an idea. I am going to blog the Advent season. One of my favorite things about Christmas when I was younger was my Advent calendar. I loved moving my marker and getting a piece of candy each day. The anticipation and the small treat made the Christmas season even more special. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to give you all a gift this season. That gift is regular blogging! I am going to count down to Christmas HERE with all of you. I will share insane Christmas traditions and memories, my Teasers will be about Christmas related books, I will have Christmas related Top Tens, and so much more. I think that BFF1 is going to guest post a few times throughout the month, to share her own Christmas love with you all. I hope that you all enjoy this small peak into why I love this season so very much. To me there are few things that I love more than my family and the time that I spend with them all. I hope that you all enjoy this holiday season is as enjoyable for you as it is to me.

Happy Holidays!

**Disclaimer: In no way are these blog entries meant to offend if you do not celebrate Christmas for whatever reason. Regardless of your stance on Christmas I hope you enjoy the time you have with your family, whether you are celebrating a religious holiday, Santa, or just time off from work and school.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday November 9, 2010

Remember last week, when I was bemoaning my lack of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares? Not to mention the self-imposed Book Buying Ban. Well, it turns out that I am abysmal at not buying books. I am genuinely BAD at resisting a book store. That being said...I obviously purchased Dash and Lily, and have chosen it for today's teaser! Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is the third book that was co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

"I have never liked Mabel. Aside from her always telling me and my brother to call her Glamma, her list of step grandmother-to-be infractions is long." pg 137 (from a Lily chapter)

"I picked up Franny and Zooey and enjoyed their company again. Then I tangoed with my bookshelf, dipping in and out again, in and out again-a Marie Howe poem, then a John Cheever story." pg 90 (from a Dash chapter)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday November 2, 2010

Today's teaser comes from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I chose this book, not because I am currently reading it, but because I desperately want to read Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's new book Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. I'm terribly afraid that I will be purchasing it today, even with the Book Buying Ban!

"I can feel the humiliation burning my face, branding me, making me hotter than frigid could ever imagine being, hot with hate. I hate the regret, pumping through every artery of my body, carving a cheeseburger right now."~pg 85

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blankets GALORE

I'm not really sure WHEN this became a craft/crochet blog, but apparently that's what it is. The main reason is that the blankets I'm working on right now have most of my attention. Christmas is right around the corner and I'm giving one blanket as a gift. Two of the other blankets are OVERDUE gifts. At this point I have set my Hodgepodge Blanket aside, because for some STUPID reason I decided to start a gift blanket eight weeks before Christmas. In other words: I AM AN IDIOT!!! BUT the person who will receive this blanket will LOVE it, and that is really what matters.

I just started this last weekend, and I'm making really great progress. I'm kind of shocked actually. Although, it's true that the BEGINNING of any project is MUCH easier than the middle. I am now approaching the middle. I realized last night I was finishing up the light blue that I had not bought NEARLY enough yarn, which sucks. So today I laid out all of my yarn, and the blanket and tried to set up a color pattern. I already knew that I planned on alternating blues and naturals, but I needed to decide where my colors were going to work so that I knew how much yarn I need to buy tomorrow. As I laid out my yarn I discovered that I bought way to many colors, but not enough of any of those colors to complete my blanket. Total *head desk* moment. I texted BFF1 and told her it would be LOVELY if she were around to help me sort my colors, then called my cousin Mimi, who came over to help me sort everything out. Long story short we narrowed down my yarn choices and I now have a list of how much more I need of each color. Even though I hated putting down my Hodgepodge Blanket, I am really glad that I decided to do this for my auntie.

All of the crochet I've been doing lately has left me little time to read. And since I have enacted the Book Buying Ban, in which I am not allowing myself to buy a book unless I finish reading a book, I have really wanted to read. I'm currently midway through Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and Frostbite by Richelle Mead. I'm also getting ready to reread Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, because I REALLY want to read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares but can't due to the Book Buying Ban. The worst thing about shopping tomorrow is that I'm going to be right at the bookstore, but will have to ignore all of the pretty shiny books!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday October 26, 2010

I haven't been doing much reading recently, but for some reason I've been blazing through the books this month. I have also stopped making myself finish books that aren't holding my interest. I've learned that this plan helps with the FINISHING of books! This week's Teaser comes from Cassandra Clare's book Clockwork Angel

"At some point she had lost Camille and become herself again. She must have been dazed indeed, she thought, not to have noticed the return of her own heartbeat." ~ page 264

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Day Off Work

Today I didn't go to work. Not in a super exciting way, just in a "I have been having crazy bad migraines and was hoping a day to sit at home and relax would fix all of that" kind of way. I got a lot of stuff done today. I finished reading a book, I caught up some TV shows, I worked on some of my blankets, I folded laundry, I started another book. I also got tagged in a note on Facebook. Usually I ignore those kind of things (even though I have a secret love of memes) but this one was about BOOKS! The prompt was to take fifteen minutes and list fifteen books that will always stick with you. So I posted that on my Facebook page, but I thought that I would post it here too!

  1. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  2. Paper Towns by John Green
  3. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
  4. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
  5. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  6. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
  8. Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
  11. Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd
  12. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  13. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  14. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  15. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I should mention that there are WAY more books I could add to this list. Especially A Midsummer Night's Dream, and most anything written by John Green, Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, E. Lockhart, and sooo many other fabulous books. If there are any books on this list that YOU haven't pick up I highly recommend them all. They may not all be epic works of literature, but each of them has left an imprint on me. I hope they will make a difference in your life as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday October 19, 2010

I am partway through SO MANY books it isn't funny! Today's Teaser is from Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. I'm not very far into this book, but it's been in my TBR pile for quite some time and I thought that it was about time I read it. It also helps that I have promised not to buy any more books until I read through some of the books on my shelves. This is bad news because I am REALLY looking forward to Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. I want it SO BAD!!! I may have to settle for rereading Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in the meantime. 

"The rest of the townspeople flee into the hills, and LeFievre burns the town. He has many ships now, and reports from survivors are that he is growing in his pride and struts about in fine silks and talks of setting up his own kingdom on one of the islands. But he could not grow so foolish as to take on a King's ship, could he?"~ pg 132

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blanket Update!

I spent most of my weekend working through my "To Do" list, and amazingly was able to get through most of it. One item I did not have on my list was to work on my "Hodgepodge Blanket," but since I was able to get everything else done, I devoted a lot of time to my blanket. I was able to finish working the rainbow yarn into my blanket and five new colors into it too. I now have a grey, a jewel tones variegated, a steel blue, a brown, a hunter green, a light grey, a blue variegated, all worked into the blanket and have started working a small amount of cream yarn into it as well. In all honesty this blanket should be horribly ugly, what with all of the random bits of yarn and no color pattern. To tell you the truth, I'm surprised that I am able to just let this go and not worry about the pattern at all. Last Christmas I made my mom a blanket to give to one of my aunties, and my mom now has about ten skeins of yarn that I refused to use because I didn't think they worked with my pattern. The saddest part is that none of the skeins are the same, so my mother basically has useless yarn. I'm sure at some point we will find a use for that yarn, we are always doing projects. The point is that I tend to be OCD about my yarn projects. I've even been known to carry a project into a store in order to compare how I think the yarn I am buying will work with the rest of my project.

Moving on! I am really proud of myself for just letting this blanket go. It has turned into a great stress outlet for me. I sit and watch TV or listen to music and lose myself in the yarn. When I run out of a color I grab a random ball of yarn out of my "leftovers" bag and keep working. So, without further ado....HERE it is!

I have completed nineteen rounds on this blanket and am just now starting on the twentieth round. I'm not sure how large this blanket will end up being. I may make it large enough to cover my bed, which is a full sized bed. Everything depends on how much yarn I have and when I feel like stopping. It is both strange and liberating to have no plan for this. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but I can truly relax when I work on this project because I have nothing to worry about. It is LOVELY! 

Here is a close up of the blanket where you can see the stitches and the colors that I am using. The only one missing is the cream colored yarn I am currently using. Most of the yarn is chunky or worsted weight yarn. I don't imagine that I will use anything smaller than worsted weight yarn in this project, simply because I'm using a larger needle and even if I'm not super concerned with how the pattern goes, I do prefer a certain look to my work. I prefer tight stitches, which usually causes problems for my mum (who almost breaks down when she looks at anything I've done) but that's what I like. I usually use the smallest needle available for the yarn I am working with. I'm currently using a "K" needle and I can only think of one project that I've ever used a needle that large on, and it was a scarf made of a very chunky yarn.

Now that I have spotlighted my work, I should probably do paperwork and read some more from Zombies vs. Unicorn. What I'll most likely do it make random updates on Twitter and talk to BFF1 on IM. I have no attention span OR dedication! Happy Monday folks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday October 12, 2010

Another Tuesday, Another Teaser! I finished Vampire Academy last week and so I am getting ready to start the second book in that series Frostbite by Richelle Mead.

"I wanted to walk away, but there was something eerily compelling about this guy. Like a trainwreck." ~pg. 136

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  If these teaser's don't impress you, there are plenty more to be found here!

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Project

Something I haven't really talked about on here very much is my penchant for crocheting. Yarn work is really in right now! I knit some too, but not as much. I generally have a difficult time completing projects and knitting just takes WAY too long. So, I currently am working on a baby blanket for Baby Neville and a blanket that I gave my mother for Christmas last year. Yes, I did in fact give her an unfinished blanket, which remains unfinished almost a year later. With two projects underway and my annual winter scarf looming on the horizon, I did the thing any sane human would do...started a new project.

While putting two new bookshelves in my room and sorting through all my books (more on that later) I found THIS giant bunch of yarn. The giant bag o' yarn reminded me that I have REALLY wanted to make a "hodgepodge blanket" for myself. Quick the almost ten years since I started crocheting I have only ever made myself scarves. All of my other projects have been given away. There have even been times I have given someone a project that I originally intended to keep for myself. Not that I mind that, homemade projects are fabulous and they mean a lot to the person who receives least they mean a lot to the people who have received them from me. But at some point there has to be something you do for yourself. And this messed up hodgepodge blanket is going to be mine!

Since there hasn't been a lot of reading going on recently I thought I would update with something else! My new blanket. I think that on each Monday I am going to update with this blanket. And if I haven't worked on it because I have been working on other stuff, then I may post pictures of THOSE projects as well! So here is Picture Number One!

This was taken with my phone in low light, so the color isn't great. The idea is to expand on a simple "granny square" and keep going until you have a blanket the size you want. I am using up all of my scrap yarn, with no real color pattern or concerns. I'm just working yarn into a pattern. That is my aim, and you can all see the progress as I go along. Next week I'll get my actual camera out and take a GOOD picture for your enjoyment!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesday October 5, 2010

A quick, last minute teaser. Since I haven't done a teaser in awhile, I thought I'd do TWO! I hope you enjoy!

The first one is from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead!

"All of a sudden, it occurred to me that he was still holding me down.  The skin on his fingers warm as he clutched my wrists." ~page 141

My second teaser is from Sarah Ockler's book Twenty Boy Summer.

"An undisturbed layer of dust on one particular shelf makes me think that Matt may have touched the same books the last time he was here. I crouch down to read some of the titles on the faded spines, remembering a description of this exact scene from one of Matt's postcards."~page 168

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  If these teaser's don't impress you, there are plenty more to be found here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SPEAK Loudly

I woke up this morning to my phone buzzing because Maureen Johnson had tweeted. Not a bad way to wake up, until I read the text and saw WHY she was tweeting. Apparently a man in Republic, MO wrote a letter to the editor calling Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson "soft pornography," and "immoral." Now, I've read Speak, and personally I don't know what kind of sick person equates rape with pornography. Especially the rape of a 15 year old virgin. I am so torn. I don't want to give this man attention. He doesn't deserve it. But Speak DOES deserve it.

I can't call Speak a fantastic book, because of the subject. However, Melinda is amazing. Her experiences and how she manages to survive is an inspiration. I am SO INCREDIBLY fortunate that I have NEVER been a victim of any kind of inappropriate sexual contact. I thank God EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. that I have always had a choice. However, I know that not everyone has that option. You can see some HORRIFYING statistics here. I work with kids every day who are victims. Who are afraid to talk to me or my coworkers. And they aren't just victims of sexual assault.Some of them are victims of physical abuse. Some of them have been given drugs or alcohol by their PARENTS. Some of them have been abandoned. Some of them are just lost. Do you think that Melinda's story would inspire them? I do. I think that books have the power to HEAL. And NO ONE has the right to stop that healing process, even if they think the message of a book is inappropriate.

If you haven't read Speak, I hope that you will pick it up. I hope that it will inspire you. I hope that you will understand why I am SO VERY ANGRY right now. I don't believe in censorship to begin with. Telling me that a BOOK will cause me to become an immoral person irks me to no end. The first amendment gives you the right to say you think a book is a piece of trash. Having a child gives you the right to decide what is appropriate for YOUR child to be exposed to. NOTHING gives you the right to say NO ONE should be exposed to a certain book/movie/song/picture/etc. You can state your opinion all day long, but book burning went out of style AGES ago.

Here are some things that inspired me to SPEAK up today:
Laurie Halse Anderson's Blog
Saundra Mitchell's Blog
THIS amazing blog entry, which made me cry
The Twitter tag #SpeakLoudly
My friend Bailey
And so many other amazingly brave blogger/tweeters/PEOPLE who shared their stories and how Speak changed their lives.

*I would like to point out that this article also discusses Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty Boy Summer, but I've never read them so I can't really talk about those books. My stance on book banning is the same for all books though...I support your right to decide if YOUR child should read a book or not, but you DO NOT have the right to choose for ALL children.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's been quite some time since I last blogged. I always WANT to blog, but life tends to get in the way. Not exciting things by any means, just mundane normal things. Things like work, books, my family, etc. I did lose internet service for several days at the beginning of the week, and THAT was pretty stressful. It has also taken a lot of time to get caught up on all of the things that I do on the internet. I had to forgo catching up on most of the blogs I read, just because there is so little time. I also had to play catch up at work because I submit all of my paperwork online.

Moving right along! Let's get back to my desire to blog. Here is the problem I have. I never know WHAT to write about. I mean I can ramble incoherently for HOURS if need be, but I feel like that's what Twitter is for. I sometimes touch on movies, TV shows, and books that I have loved; but I'm not always awesome at reviewing things. When it comes to review I do one of two things. I either retell the story in so much detail that you don't need to read the book or watch the show/movie.or I can't find words to describe how the book/movie/show affected me. I get kind of lost in translation. Not that I won't review things, I certainly will. But when I do it's more of a "hey friend, let me tell you about this awesome/awful thing I read/saw." I have an entire blog with BFF1 that is devoted to fashion and beauty, so I try to save those posts so that I have subject matter for that blog.

The biggest problem I think is that I want to be amazing and interesting and compelling, and a lot of times I don't feel any of those things. There are times when I am on top of the world, but a vast majority of the time I just feel ordinary. I don't want this to be boring. No "I did this, and then I went there, and I met her." I don't want this to be a bitch session, although there are times that I need to vent my frustrations to the world at large. I don't know what I want this to BE. An expression of who I am, all of the good and the bad. The eloquent and the ZOMG SQUEE!!! I am complex and far from ordinary, even if I feel ordinary a lot of the time. Mainly I don't want you to be bored! I am relatively entertaining, but it doesn't always translate into text.

In other less "woe is me" news, I have realized in the past week what an impact I have on the youth in my area, and it TERRIFIES me. I am surrounded by a hundred seventh graders every day and the more time that passes the more I understand how much the look to me for an example. In the last week I have expressed my views on labels for individuals, standing against society's norms, and being yourself. I have discussed why you should be a patriot and celebrate our country every day as opposed to on one day that is widely observed. I have discussed books that I love with kids who are just now falling in love with books and reading. I have to remind myself each day that just because I only work with a few kids in that school, my presence affects each tween/teen I come in contact with. It is a huge responsibility, but it is a huge honor to know I make them think about the beliefs that they are just now starting to form. They look at the world through fresh eyes, but so many of them will be tainted by how others see the world that they will have trouble forming their own views. I'm glad I get the chance to broaden their horizons. That is my Silver Lining for this day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


In NO way am I actually a poet. I know this about myself. As much as I love books, poems, stories, and just the written word in general I cannot create it. It is just something I am unable to master. And that's okay. John Green once said "There cannot be books without readers."* This is a pretty accurate statement. Without people who love books and poems and stories, there wouldn't really be a point in authors creating them. So I'm totally down with NOT being a writer. I am a READER and that's okay.

However, today in English the teacher taught the class all about "biopoems" which I had never heard of, and since my client was relatively good today I thought I'd take a stab at it. Apparently there is a structure to biopoems, which I was also unaware of, but I think mine turned out pretty well. Without further ado, HERE is the Rochelle Shanlea Biopoem

Intelligent, Sarcastic, Nerdy
Member of The Younger Gang.
Lover of reading, Harry Potter, and her family.
Who has been to the Smithsonian, New York City, and the Bahamas.
Who needs her family, to own books, and love.
Who fears being alone, Brown Recluse Spiders, conformity.
Resident of Nerdfighteria/The Clump

Ta-Da! There it is! Rochelle Shanlea in nine simple lines. I am excited to see what the seventh graders put down for their answers. It is always interesting to look back and see how you define yourself at different points in your life and to watch how that changes as time passes. I mean, once upon a time I went with the flow and was afraid to be different. This was before I realized how dangerous it is to change yourself to fit society's perception of what is okay. Perhaps that is why conformity is one of my biggest fears now.

Anyway. Short blog. BEDA is over, and I obviously failed at it. I am going to try to be better about regular updates on here, even if I have to spend my weekend writing multiple posts in order to have a few updates a week!

*This paraphrased and I'm not sure which video/blogTV show/interview he said it in. BUT I wrote it down and it has stuck with me ever sense.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

Hey! Remember that time I had a blog, and I was doing BEDA? Yeah, that was nice. Should have known that August was a terrible time for blogging every day! I should do that next summer when I mentor and only have to work for five hours a week. I digress! I started normal in the classroom work on Wednesday after all of the work related drama that occurred on Tuesday. I was a little freaked out but I knew my client a little bit, and one of my aunties teaches a class that my client is in, so I was confident that I would be okay. If there is one thing that always centers me it is my family, and it is nice to have that link this year.

Another thing that excites me about being with a client who is in seventh grade is that it gives me the opportunity to LEARN! That's right, I am a HUGE nerd and can't wait to actually start learning things. Most of the teachers are nice, but we're still trying to figure out classroom logistics. I'm simultaneously lucky and unlucky that my client is EXTREMELY quiet. It's nice because I don't have to interrupt class to redirect his behavior, but it is difficult to get him to actually talk to me. Honestly, this week he told me that he has trouble maintaining control of his temper and I almost passed out due to the fact that he ACTUALLY spoke!

So, like I more work freak outs! However, I do have a funny work story. Last week I worked three days. On each of those days I was mistaken for a seventh grader. This is particularly funny to me because lately BFF1 and I have been struggling to adjust to the fact that we are getting older. Not like we're ancient or anything, but sometimes it's easy to forget that I'm a grown-up. So, it's nice to look young...but I don't think I want to be mistaken for a student much longer. I can handle college student, but not a middle school student! Blasted genetics for making me SO SHORT!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Long Days, Short Nights, and Unsettling Work Situations

Today has been the LONGEST day! I was up a little after six, when I could have slept until seven. I'm sure that tomorrow when I have to wake up early I will be sleeping like crazy. Then I went to our office to get files and to my new school to have a tour and meet the teachers that I will be working with during the school year. While I was at the school I found out that I basically have no clients. Which is an issue because with no clients I don't get paid. I called my boss to tell her what was going on and SHE freaked out. Let me tell you, if there is one thing that can make you feel completely terrified  it is your boss freaking out over your work situation. In the course of this day I have been moved all over our county, between multiple age groups, and with various numbers of clients. It wasn't until almost 4pm today that I even knew what school I would be going to in the morning. I have spent most of this day on the verge of a panic attack, reciting prime numbers and various lines from poems I love trying to calm down.

I know that I have freaked out about work a LOT on here recently, but it is REALLY scary to have no idea where you are going to be working. The kids we work with need stability, because most of them have never had it, and that makes me worry even more. However, I am in a set location now (one of the middle schools in our county) and even though I only have one client right now more will come in the next few weeks. Which more freaking out on here! I hope. I really do love my job, it's just that there have been SO many uncertainties about this upcoming school year that it has been easy to forget that.

Everyone cross your fingers for me. I am a firm member of Team Hate Wednesday, and starting school on Wednesday just seems like bad news. But I will see one of my aunties tomorrow and I know the kid I am working with right now. Both of those are AWESOME for me. So I am looking forward to the day and being SUPER positive about everything!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Principal Is Your PAL

First of all, I don't know who came up with that saying, but let me tell you, none of my principals were my "pal." Maybe that's just me though. Today I went to my new school to meet the principal I will work with this year and it was an odd experience to say the least. First of all, the principal's office is a scary place. Today I knew I wasn't in trouble, but just asking to speak to the principal was enough to put butterflies in my stomach. Best of all, she was at lunch so I didn't even get to meet her.

I did have the chance to meet the guidance counselor. If there is one place that is more unnerving than the principal's office it HAS to be the guidance counselors office. Today I sat in the guidance counselor's office with BFF1 and it was completely creepy. From the poster that assures people "everyone dies, even you" to the multitude of ponies that I (thankfully) didn't notice, the place was odd. The entire school was super quiet and that was unnerving in and of itself. Personally, I hate going to schools when kids aren't there. I always feel like I'm on the set of a horror film!

The absolute worst part of the day was that EVERYONE wanted to know who my clients were going to be, and I had to come up with a professional way to tell them that I don't HAVE clients yet. Because that isn't terrifying AT ALL! Knowing that on Wednesday I will walk into that building and have two to five client and I have NO IDEA who they even are. That isn't stressful IN THE LEAST!

Luckily school starts on Wednesday and once it does I will calm down immensely, until then I am still in full on panic mode!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Netflix and Fangirling

Haven't we already discussed my fangirling issues? I thought so. Therefore, can ANY of you tell me WHY I thought it would be a good idea for me to 1) subscribe to Netflix and then 2) start watching Merlin. I mean, I am well aware of my love of all things Arthurian...remember that tangent I had a few posts back about how Le Morte D'Arthur>A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court? Yeah, I'm an Arthur nerd. Is that a real thing? If not I'm making it a real thing.

So anyway, five episodes in and I can already tell that I am going to L-O-V-E LOVE Merlin. My friend Forest assures me that Robin Hood is even BETTER than Merlin. Which is just WONDERFUL because I am also a huge Robin Hood fangirl dating back to my Disney cartoon days. Yes, I realize that I STILL watch Disney cartoons, that is beside the point. Actually my massive love for these two stories was probably heavily influenced by Disney. Although, my dad is an Arthur fan so I would have been introduced to these stories regardless. So far I am pretty impressed with Merlin, although I am a little confused about where they are going in regards to staying true to the original story, but I'm not really opposed to straying from cannon.

Another reason I'm digging Netflix is because Erin is loving it. She spent close to an hour going through titles on the "watch instantly" tab on Friday before narrowing her choices down to five. Finally she decided to watch and Olsen Twins movie, because she has watched all of the ones I own many, many times. She really enjoys coming over and hanging out with me, watching movies or TV. It makes her feel special and we really have so much fun. So now we have an even larger selection of movies to watch during Girl Nights.

So, if it is possible to fangirl a corporation that I pay money to enjoy, then we are totally fangirling Netflix right now!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Super Saturday

Last night was the last Friday before school starts, and I spent it with three of my cousins. We hung out, ate junk food, went night time swimming, and enjoyed one last night of freedom! It will be awhile (probably Thanksgiving) before they all stay here again, and I'll miss them when they're gone.

During the school year I stay busy with work stuff, but I also still spend plenty of time running around after kids. I frequently have random children in the afternoon or evening, and I usually end up helping with homework. Which is always hilarious when I have to do math...because as much as I love pi, prime numbers, and long division...I pretty much suck at math. Then Doda, Jerry, and The Clone all play sports, so my auntie and I are always going to games. My auntie's youngest daughter coaches volleyball so we go to most of those games as well. Needless to say I stay pretty busy during the school year.

But it's lonely. Over the summer my house is full of noise and kids and laughing. Once school starts my family is dispersed and we don't really see each other unless it is at Family Dinner Night or at Saturday Morning Breakfast. Which, I know some people don't see their family often. Heck, some of you probably think I'm insane because I miss the all consuming noise that comes with an extra large family* like mine. And honestly, more often than not I have moments when I am just thinking "For the love of all that is good and holy, PLEASE just be quiet!" But a lot of times I just sit around and bask in the wonderful insanity that surrounds me most of the time.

So next week we all go back to school. We are excited and nervous and unsure of where we will stand. I will read through Doda and The Clone's reading lists with them. I will proof read multiple papers. I will read aloud with Erin. I will struggle through math homework. I will make T-Shirts that say embarrassing things like "Chelle Loves #42" and go to games and scream at the top of my lungs. Most importantly, I will enter a school building and introduce myself to four tweens/teens that I have never set eyes on before and convince them that I am on their side, that I will help them get through the school year, and that they can trust me with their most terrifying secrets as well as their hopes for a brighter future. The first few weeks I can promise you I will be longing for math homework.

*There are thirty members in what we consider our immediate family. This is my grandmother, her five children and their spouses, her grandchildren and their spouses, and her four great-grandchildren.

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Which Chelle Fails BEDA

So, I didn't blog yesterday. I really meant to, but then I had to work. And honestly work, it was pretty stressful. I guess I should start with Wednesday and what happened then. After two days off everyone went back to work. BFF1 and I had spent Tuesday evening IMing and discussing the staff changes that had occurred over the summer. She revealed that one of our co-workers had gotten a new job, I told her that one of our high school classmates had been hired. So Wednesday (which we ALL know are generally sucktastic) was not really a day that I was looking forward to. Our bosses had labeled the day "Counselor Appreciation Day" and asked us to come in on Wednesday instead of giving us that day off, which was the original plan. BFF1 had an orthodontist appointment scheduled on Wednesday and had asked me to come with her so that I could drive back after they gave her drugs to adjust her retainer. So, here we were going in for two hours and then having to use our sick time on counselor appreciation day.*

I get to work at 8:30, a little tired and stuffy because my allergies were INSANE on Wednesday. Three of my co-workers were standing outside chatting when I got there, but as I walked up an eerie silence reigned. This should have been my first indication that something had gone down. I nervously said hello and waited with bated breath for the response. "Have you talked to Boss Lady?" asked one of my co-workers. I replied that I hadn't, at which point my co-worker replied "your name is on The Board** now." Immediately I was filled with dread. I knew my name would eventually be on The Board, but the tone of voice my co-worker used let me know that there was a pretty significant change in my work assignment. I walked inside our office to see BFF1 sitting at one of the tables and Boss Lady walking down the hall. Before I have a chance to look at The Board Boss Lady asks me if I'll come to her office to talk. I was thinking "crap, crap, crappity, crap, crap."

Once we get to Boss Lady's office she says "you may want to sit down for this." At this point*** my stomach dropped to about my ankles and I thought I was going to pass out. My boss quickly explained that one of my coworkers had accepted a new job and that another coworker was moving to a different school. This resulted in one of the middle schools in our area being left with no counselors. Therefore, I was going to be working with seventh grade boys. "Is that okay" she asks. Now I don't know about you guys, but there is no part of me that feels comfortable being like "actually, I don't know that I want to work with middle schoolers, I like the little kids, they don't call me a bitch, and if one of them hits me it isn't really going to hurt THAT much." I'm generally the kind of person who does what needs to be done. So I smiled, told my boss that I was looking forward to a new challenge, and that I was glad they had confidence in my ability to handle this age group. Which is true. To an extent.

Now, for the more truthful reaction. I was sad, I loved the school I was at last year, I liked the teachers, and I was pretty good friends with one of my co-workers at that school. I like middle schoolers, and honestly I feel like a lot of times they get labeled as "problem kids" or "troublemakers" and just shuffled aside, so I am happy to try to make their experiences better in any way that I can. However, I am still terrified. I mean honestly, I'm all of five feet tall! Last year I got lost in a crowd of fifth graders at the elementary school I worked at. Some of these kids are physically violent, and I worry about having to wade into the middle of a fist fight. I really am looking forward to having a new experience. I really enjoyed working with the middle school age group over the summer and I think that I made some headway with several of them. I am pleased that my boss thinks I am good enough at what I do to send me to a school where I will essentially be alone**** with kids that no one in our program has ever seen. In some ways it is nice to work with clients who have never had services, but in others it is hard because they don't really know what to expect.

So, in a nutshell...I am going into a new school, I have new kids, I have new a co-worker, and I have to get used to a new system. I'm much more settled today than I was Wednesday though. On Wednesday I thought I was going to have a panic attack or curl up in a ball and cry. Today I am genuinely looking forward to a new challenge. I'm excited, but still a little freaked out. I'm sure that in the new few weeks there will be plenty of freak out moments, because if we're honest, change isn't always fun.

*Luckily my boss told us yesterday that we didn't have to use sick time and that we could count ourselves present for the entire day! Now, THAT is counselor appreciation!
**The Board is like a matrix with all of our schools listed on it, which counselor is at which school, how many clients each counselor has, and how many referrals are at each school. The Board also has due dates for various reports, meetings, training days, etc.
***Let me just say, for all you corporate executives who read this blog...never preface a non-firing session with "you may want to sit down."
****There will be another counselor at the school with me, but she has never worked in a middle school either. Also, there is no one working at that school who was previously there from our corporation. We are pretty much starting over from scratch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Literary Tattoos and Book Covers

So about once I week I scour the internet for pictures of literary tattoos. I've wanted a tattoo for a while now, but I'm always unsure of what I want to get. I mean, this is something that will be on my body FOREVER...and I'm pretty sure having a needle jabbed into your skin repeatedly does NOT feel great. The next question of course is WHERE do I get a tattoo? I mean, I work with small kids all day in a school. It's not like I can get a sleeve. Plus, I enjoy being unique and I want a tattoo that represents ME. Who I am, what I believe in, something that just SCREAMS "Chelle." And yeah, I need it to say Chelle, because that is who I have been. I'm not even really sure why my parents bothered to give me my full name...I mean, the only time they use it is when I am in trouble or if I have to fill out some sort of legal document. Which really, makes me wonder about nicknames and identity, but that's a whole other blog post.

Getting back on track, the question always comes down to WHAT to get permanently inked onto my body. What means enough to stay there forever. A peace sign/dove to remind myself that I should always stand against injustice? A word that represents who I think I am? A quote I love? There are so many options! So I ask myself...WHAT do I love? The answer is family (which I have no why to represent graphically) and books. But this still presents a problem. I mean, I'm a relatively small human and there have been SO MANY BOOKS that have impacted me in some way. So what do I have tattooed? A line from The Little Prince? But this raises the question of WHICH quote and even better, in English or French? So that is put on the back burner. Harry THERE is where my heart lies. But again I am faced with questions...a quote or a symbol? Which quote? Which symbol? I find that when it comes to HP I am not really worried about originality, my love for Harry Potter isn't really that unique. I find that most people love Harry for the same reasons I do. Finally, BFF2 and I decided that we would get HP tattoos together. Not the same thing, not the same place, but she and I would be getting Harry Potter tattoos. I really want a lightning bolt on my foot, and possibly the stars that adorn the corners of the pages in the US versions of the books.

So there we go, problem solved, right? Well, not really. The problem I am faced with is this. As much as Harry has impacted my life, other books have as well, and in different ways. Maybe not as much as Harry has, but they have made an impact. The Little Prince? I don't even know how many times I have read that book. To me it says everything that needs to be said about love-not just romantic love, but every kind of love. There are so many quotes from that book that I love, beginning with the dedication and ending when I close the book. Then there is John Green. I love his books so much that I have two copies of each of them. One that I can lend out and one that is my personal copy with notes, underlined quotes and passages, and just how certain parts of the book made me feel. So, before I even have my first tattoo I am already considering another one. Crazy right? Perhaps, but I'm pretty content with that.

Obviously there is a demand for literary tattoos. There is a facebook page, a plethora of images in Google, and my personal favorite Contrariwise. But the absolute coolest thing that I found in my searching today is Penguin Ink. To celebrate their 75th anniversary, Penguin re-released six of titles and the covers were done by tattoo artists. Personally I think this is awesome, and even though I don't think I would read all of the books, I am tempted to buy them just for the awesome covers! I particularly enjoy Waiting for the Barbarians and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Okay, enough babbling. I'm off to take allergy medicine and face the day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesday August 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesday? I haven't done one of these in FOREVER! Of course my teaser comes from Sea by Heidi R. Kling, because I can't seem to finish a book to save my LIFE! Anyway...on to the teasing!

"I heard terrified shrieks coming from a stocky building with a flapping blue door. Shadowy figures were scurrying in and out of the flap." ~page 124

I hope you enjoyed today's Teaser, and if not more can be found every week right here

Monday, August 9, 2010


So, I have to blog...cause ya know...that's what BEDA is about. The only problem is, I don't really have anything to blog about? I mean I can list my day's activities: Up before 8 to take The Clone to volley ball practice, grocery store with my Maw-Maw and The Cousins, pick up The Clone, home for lunch, watch The Cousins all afternoon, go to a jewelry party which one of my other cousins sell. Not so exciting really.

I could talk about how I really, really, REALLY want my Hunger Games boxed set like NOW!!! Or about how once I get the boxed set I am going to have to re-read the series, because it has been a YEAR since I read the books and I need a refresher to enjoy Mockingjay. Or how I am going to have to avoid the internet/TV/newspapers/Twitter/blogs until I finish all the books. My only salvation will be that I will have to work for most of the days, so I am hoping that I will miss most of the hoopla. Also, I am pretty confident in most of the HUGE Hunger Games fans NOT spoiling Mockingjay without posting "Spoiler Alert" warnings. Not that this will really help me. I have an unhealthy habit of being drawn in by the "Spoiler Alert" warning. It's like I can't resist the forbidden fruit. The only reason I even read Hunger Games was because I read a newspaper article that spoiled the ending without warning the reader beforehand. It turned out to be a FANTASTIC decision for me, because I fell in love with Katniss Everdeen and her world. I mean come on! What girl doesn't want to to be Katniss when they grow up? Ya know, minus all that crazy totalitarian government and The Games and the constant state of fear and the having the weight of the world (literally) on your shoulders...Okay, maybe no one wants to grow up to have to deal with the situations Katniss has to deal with, but I think we would all like to have her strength. She is easily one of my favorite literary heroines, just like The Hunger Games is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. For some odd reason I am obsessed with dystopian societies. Especially in YA literature. I love the idea of a society that is supposed to be just the absolute best thing ever, but that is actually horrid. I know that The Hunger Games isn't really set up like that, and that many characters have issues with The Capitol, but it is a similar concept.

Now that I have just babbled endlessly, I will end this. Tell me, are there any upcoming releases you are excited about? Do you love Katniss, District 12, and The Games like I do? Let me know!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lit2Go and Booknerdiness

Last week as I was perusing iTunes for awesome free stuff, I stumbled upon Lit2Go, which is basically a ton of classic literature in audiobook form. I was immediately hooked. I love the classics in audio format because the books are usually so wordy that it is hard for me to stay focused on what is happening. Also helpful is the fact that the people doing these readings are really good. My normal commute this summer was close to 45 minutes alone, and then 45 minutes with kids.* So I was excited to find these books because honestly my clients were getting more than a little tired of my musical tastes.** It was really nice to spend the last week of our program listening the Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories with my client and to Vanity Fair when I was alone in the car. He loved listening to the stories, and they distracted him enough that I didn't have to listen to him talk about video games for an hour and a half each day.***

So what is the point of this blog entry? Just a ramble about how audio books are the bees knees? No, not really. It has more to do with the fact that when I found this beautiful wonderful FREE selection of audiobooks I immediately contacted both BFF1 and BFF2. My conversation with BFF1 was pretty normal. It went pretty much like this:
Me: Hey, remember that time you paid a bunch of money for audiobook versions of classic literature?
BFF1: Yeah...
Me: Well, I just found a TON of them on iTunesU for FREE!!!
BFF1: Sh!t...good ones?
Me: Yeah -insert LONG list of titles here-
BFF1: Crap...remind me when I get on AIM tonight to look at them.****
Me: 'Kay

My conversation with BFF2 was slightly more maniacal.
BFF2: Hey, what are you doing? I miss you...I feel like we haven't spent time together since Baby Neville was born.
Me: Not too much, hanging out...the usual ya know.
BFF2: Anything else exciting happen at work?*****
Me: No, not really. Client1 had a breakdown and literally beat his head against a wall today. Which is new...turns out mom and dad knew this was going on and "didn't think it was that important" so didn't tell me.
BFF2: What? Did something happen?
Me: Yeah, something AWESOME!
Me: I just found this really cool thing online where they have free downloads of CLASSIC LITERATURE. Like TONS of stuff
BFF2: OH MY GOSH! Like what? What are you downloading?
Me: -insert LONG list of titles here-
BFF2: I am so jealous right now!
Me: Ya know, it kind of bothers me that they have A Connecticut Yankee In Kind Arthur's Court and not Le Morte D'Arthur.
BFF2: Only YOU would be bothered by that.
Me: Well, Twain is a sexist bastard. They have Ethan Frome...are you my EF person?
BFF2: I LOVE ETHAN FROME! It's my favorite thing we read in HS! Even though it may be THE most depressing book ever.
Me: HOLY CRAP! They have Emily Dickinson! EMILY DICKINSON!
BFF2: *dead silence*
Me: Really? No comments?
BFF2: Uh, not really. You know she makes me want to die.
Me: I like her...
-twenty minutes later-
Me: I find myself want to read/listen to Leaves of Grass? Who AM I?
BFF2: A freak...
BFF2: You hate transcendentalist poets****** and the only good thing about Whitman is the "O Captain, My Captain" scene from Dead Poet's Society
Me: Touche, mon amie
BFF2: But I love you regardless.
Me: Ditto.
-End of Conversation-

Now, what is the point of sharing this? Other than to display that my best friends and I are easily amused and huge nerds, and that iTunesU has a GREAT selection of free audio? Basically to show how grateful I am to know like minded people. Not many people want to spend a car ride listening to Around the World in Eighty Days, but my two best friends (while not as enthusiastic as I was) totally dug it. I guess the main point is, sometimes it is so easy to forget to appreciate the little things. Things like talented people reading (and creating) great works of literature, friends who love you even if they hate Emily Dickinson's poetry and don't understand your desire to read transcendentalist poetry, and friends who get just as excited as you over little tiny things. With all the crap I wade through everyday, I find myself forgetting to be thankful for these little things, because in the long run, they are HUGE things.

Sorry that this blog post is LONG. Tomorrow's will probably be EXTREMELY short, because I have The Fantastic Four tonight and most of tomorrow, so I will be BUSY! Maybe sometime this month I should let The Clone guest would help me get over my BEDA-Block.

*During the school year it was 20 minutes each way. I'm not even sure where I'll be next year, but chances are I'll have a commute that is at least that long, possibly longer.
**Although, how ANYONE gets sick of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Queen I will NEVER understand.
***Seriously, there is only so much video game talk one girl can take.
****I know what you're thinking. I do in fact work with BFF1 for 5 hours everyday and then go home and spend hours talking to her online each night. We are dreadfully codependent.
*****Yep, BFF2 works for the same company as BFF1 and I, she's just on maternity leave right now.
******We realize that Whitman isn't technically a transcendentalist poet, but he is close enough for us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Which Chelle Finds Yet ANOTHER Obsession

Because, really, I don't have enough of those right? Let's just have a quick refresher course on my obsessions, shall we? Harry Potter, YA Lit, Maureen Johnson, Vlogbrothers, YouTubers/DFTBA artists, too many classic rock bands to list, books, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, nail polish, Twitter, Food Network, movie dates with the cousins, the list goes on and on. So, with all that you would think I would have no time to be obsessed with anything else, right? Apparently not. Today I watched my first ever Doctor Who episode. Actually, I watched a few. Now, I know I came into this a little late to the game, but I'm glad I finally showed up!

My dad, who has greatly influenced both my musical tastes and my love for science fiction/fantasy books and movies, has been a Doctor Who fan from WAY back in the day. He watched the older episodes when they originally aired and then a few years ago when we got BBC America he quickly became hooked again. However, due to my insane work schedule at a previous job and the fact that I moved in with my grandmother when I left The Job From Hell, I had never watched a show with him. Currently my grandmother governs a lot of what I watch on TV, and I spend a lot of time watching shows on my computer, because she doesn't really enjoy aliens or medical dramas. So Doctor Who has continued to take a backseat to things like Andy Griffith and Hallmark movies. Which is cool, I love the time I spend with my grandmother just hanging out and watching cheesy movies and shows.

So for the past year or so my dad has been trying to convince me to watch Doctor Who. The only problem is that I am slightly crazy and I have to know EVERYTHING that is going on, so I was worried about just picking up mid-series. My dad continuously told me that there was no need to go back to the episodes that aired in the early 1960s, but I remained unconvinced. I continuously assured him that ONE DAY I would get around to watching the show, but that I wasn't really in a hurry. After all I had eleven Doctors worth of episodes to watch.

THEN it turns out that like EVERYONE I follow on Twitter is a Doctor Who fan, and I'm just like "seriously?" So, today while I am recuperating from my Summer of INSANITY, I decided to just man up and watch the first episode. And well, we know how that turned out, don't we? I cannot believe that I waited SO long to start watching! Complete insanity. Actually, I can believe it. I also didn't watch LOST, House, or Bones when they first came out and eventually I ended up being completely addicted to them as well.

My main conclusions from the first two and a half episodes that I watched today is that Amy Pond is CRAZY pretty, and that Matt Smith is SLIGHTLY insane, and by slightly I mean COMPLETELY bonkers. Now, my dad assures me that the crazy is caused by the fact that Matt Smith's Doctor isn't completely formed, so that is good, I guess. I kind of like his marginally insane gaze! I am still trying to work out everything and am wondering just how important everything that came before really is. However my dad hasn't misled me in the past, so I am trusting in his assurances for now.

If any of you are HUGE Doctor Who fans, please feel free to tell me how silly I am for not watching before now. No spoilers PLEASE though! Right now I am on the "Victory of the Daleks" episode.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Today was the LAST day of summer program! I am so thankful/relieved/ready to pass out from exhaustion. The main reason I'm relieved it's over is that I feel like all I have done is complain and it seems like I hate my job. And I really don't. I love what I do. But this summer has been ROUGH! And now we are just hanging out for a few days and we have to go back on Wednesday, and then school will start a week after that. I am ready for school to start.

So in the next few days I am just chilling out, hanging with the cousins, maybe having a movie date with them. I really want to watch LOTR before school starts, but that is a lot of movie time to fit in. I hope to finish Sea by Heidi R. Kling, re-read Shiver, and then read Linger. So far I am about halfway through with Sea and I am LOVING it so far. Also, there is talk of buying a bookshelf before I go back to school, which will be LOVELY since I don't currently have one and instead just have books stacked on every available surface in my room! This is especially bad because I just ordered MORE books (damn you Barnes and Noble) and have NO MORE ROOM IN THE INN!!!

I realize that this has been a short entry where I have rambled about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! However, I am going to my uncle's house to play board games, so I must go! Hopefully tomorrow I will have a blog post with CONTENT!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Christmas Shopping

Obviously I'm getting desperate for blogging ideas*. Maybe the reason I am so bad at updating this blog is because I run out of ideas about what to blog about**. Anyway, tomorrow is the last day of summer program and I have a few child-free days before school starts. Maybe I can finish a few books in that time. It would be nice since I just bought MORE books! I honestly have a problem! I have ordered more books in the past few months than I have read this year! I blame Barnes and Noble for their bargain sales and also for the save ____% on your next order coupons they send me. Also, I blame authors for being fabulous and writing wonderful books that I read over and over again!

Anyway, on to the Christmas portion of the blog! So, I love Christmas like a lot. I don't usually buy a ton of gifts, mainly because a few years ago my family decided that adults should draw names, because it is difficult to buy gifts for 30+ people. I love this, and my only complaint is that we don't draw names until later in the year. I honestly do not know how many times I have found great gifts for one of my relatives and just walked away because I'm not sure if they would actually like it or not. So the people I always buy for are BFF1, BFF2, my parents, my brother, my Maw-Maw, my cousin's fiancée, and BFF1's little sister.

The problem I run in to is that I always wait until the last minute to buy gifts! Every year. So, this year my quasi-New-Year's-Resolution was to buy stuff a little at a time so that I don't end up spending hundreds of dollars in December. So far that has not been working! However, since I have discovered things have become so much easier. My town is TINY and there are NO unique stores around here to shop at. BFF1 and I usually end up going to the mall in NC to shop for gifts, but it is really hard to buy gifts for someone who is glued to your hip. For the last few weeks I have been scouring the various categories of gifts on Etsy and making note of various gift ideas. I'm so excited because I feel like for the first time in a while that I will actually get my shopping done early, I will be able to get unique gifts, and I don't have to worry about my friends or family already having the gifts that I purchase for them!

*If anyone has a topic they would like to hear me ramble on about, feel free to leave it in the comments! I am always looking for suggestions!
**Tomorrow we are taking small children to a horse farm, so I feel confident that I will have some quality thoughts and feelings to share with you all =)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure

BEDA Day 4, so far I'm doing pretty well. Of course, I wrote three blog posts this weekend and scheduled them to post, but that's beside the point. I'm not really sure what to blog about today...honestly, I feel like this summer has resulted in my IQ dropping several points, my brain melting and running out of my ears, and my stress level to skyrocket. I hate it, mainly because i don't want to whine and moan all the time. I mean, I have a great job, I get to work in my chosen field, I never work weekends, and I get to improve the lives of children. Those are all fantastic things! All those things make me INSANELY happy. So why do I feel like doing nothing but whine and complain? I'm just tired and in desperate need of a break, which I won't get until CHRISTMAS! So, instead of dwelling on all of the things that make me want to curl up in a ball and cry, I'm going to take a page out of my therapeutic manual and focus on things that make me HAPPY instead.

So what exactly makes me happy? Well, there are things I've talked about on here before. Generally my job makes me happy. Not this summer, but during the school year I absolutely love what I do. My family also makes me immensely happy. Whether it is watching Jeopardy with my grandmother, walking with my aunt, or hanging out with my cousins, I always enjoy the time I spend with my family. I went on vacation with my auntie, The Clone*, and Jerry this year. We went to Nashville, and the trip consisted of a seven hour road trip. We sang High School Musical songs, we played car games, did a scavenger hunt, and played a version of "Name That Tune" with the radio's scan button. It was one of the best things that happened this summer.

Other things I enjoy, things that can make me happy regardless of what is going on in my hectic crazy life? There are several things. Never fear faithful readers, I will list them for you!

  1.  Harry Potter. Oh, Harry. You are always there for me. When I feel down-trodden or lonely or I need someone to share my joy, I can ALWAYS count on you. Need to be reminded why friendship is worth it in the end? Harry has the answer, be it trolls, merfolk, or Dumbledore's Army. Wonder if the fall into love is worth the pain that may follow it? Harry can answer that too**. Need to know what the ultimate weapon is? Clearly, Harry has taught us that the weapon is LOVE, whether it is familial, friendly, or makes the world go 'round.
  2. Books. I have a sick obsession with books. I love holding them and owning them and going to a bookstore and just looking at them. They fascinate me. I love the way the smell, the way I can loose myself in a story, the way my heart races when I read a book description that I just KNOW I will love. I just LOVE books.
  3. Reading to Doodle, reading with Erin, and sharing books with The Clone. All female cousins ages 2, 8, and 13 respectively. I share my absolute love of reading with these girls. To see them pick up books, to hear them ask me to read to them is a wonderful feeling. With The Clone it is a whole other story. With her it is the "OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!! WHEN DOES THE NEXT BOOK COME OUT??? ARGH!!! I NEED IT NOW!!!!!!" phone calls that really make my day. Talking about books we love, or even just books she is required to read for school is so awesome. Watching her blossom into a critical reader, who will say "this book was great, even if it was just fluff, it made me feel good" is so fantastic. After all, we don't have to just read Hemingway now do we?
  4. Baby Neville. This is BFF2's new baby. He's all tiny and sweet. I am his godmother, which is a scary amount of responsibility, but Auntie Chelle is so ready for it. Just seeing him makes me all tingly and gooey inside, so he is definitely on my "happy list."
  5. My pals. BFF1 and BFF2 make my day. Whether it is discussing Harry Potter*** or trying on nail polish. Watching Disney movies or riding around town. Talking about serious world issues like poverty and war or trying to figure out if pink eye shadow makes you look diseased. No matter what we do spending time with one or both of them is relief for my soul. We can have total snark sessions or laugh until we cry. BFF1 and I are in almost constant communication with each other. We have worked together for the last four years, and it has been great, even if the last year we have been in different buildings. This summer has been so much fun, and I will really miss her when school starts again. Which is silly because she is the first and last person I talk to each day. We have an almost unhealthy attachment. =) 
  6. Anything John Green has written. Alaska when I need strength and renewal, Paper Towns when I need to remember it is okay to be different, Let It Snow when I need to remember not to let the asshats get us down, and Katherines and WG/WG when I need a lighter reminder that things turn out okay. John Green's books are similar to HP in that they teach me, renew my spirit, and make me a better person for having read them.
There are so many other things I could add to this list. The bottom line is, the good always outweighs the bad. Even when it seems like all I get are lemons, I just have to remind myself how good lemonade really is! I know that things suck sometimes, but honestly, dwelling on the bad just makes it worse. Some days I can't help but get bogged down, but I am trying my very best to stay on top of my game and remember all of the good things I have to look forward to. Such as Jeopardy with my Maw-Maw!

*As usual all nicknames in this blog are a direct result of Twitter. Feel free to follow for bursts of randomness in 140 characters or less!
**I'm not going to lie...even Harry isn't enough to make me risk heartbreak like I dealt with after the Big, Bad Breakup...but it does give me hope. Which is almost as important as love.
***All roads lead to Potter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Harry Potter Meme

I found this at Bart's Bookshelf and I can't resist a meme or Harry Potter, so here goes!

What house do you claim to?

Because I am a hardcore nerd! Also, because this really complicated quiz said so!

Who are your favorite characters?
Neville Longbottom (BAMF) is my favorite, along with Luna, the Weasleys, Remus Lupin, and the Golden Trio of course! Hermione is my favorite of the Trio.

Which characters do you think you would befriend?
Hopefully Hermione, Luna, Harry, Ron, and the rest of the Weasleys.

Who are your least favorite characters?
Umbridge and Lucius Malfoy

What would your patronus be?
An otter or a giraffe.

What would your favourite class be?
I have to pick one? Can't I go all Hermione and pick them all? Herbology, Runes, and Transfiguration would all be fun I think.

What would your least favorite class be?
Flying or Divination

Who would be your favorite teacher?

Least favorite teacher?

What wizarding career would you choose for yourself?
Maybe working in a shop in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. Florish and Bots or the apothecary.

What kind of wand do you have?
Hmmm, no Unicorn hair core, that's for sure! Maybe holly with dragon heartstring and relatively short, maybe 9-10 inches?

Any pets (owls, cats, toads)?
An owl for sure.

Favourite magical item?
A pensive, it would be awesome to preserve your memories and go back to look at them later.

Favourite magical candy?
Sugar Quills and Chocolate Frogs

Magical drink of choice?

Favourite store in Hogsmeade?

Favourite magical creature?

Scariest magical creature?
Acromantula...GIANT spiders? Thanks, but really, NO THANK YOU!

Who would you ask to the Yule Ball?
A Weasley Twin! Preferably Fred!

Favourite magical location?
The Three Boomsticks


How long have you been a fan?

How did you first become introduced to Harry Potter?
I don't really remember. I know that I read the first book when it came out, but I don't know if my parents just got it for me or if it was a birthday gift. All I remember is that I fell in love with everything Harry Potter.

How do the movies compare to the books for you?
They are okay...they could be better of course, I hate wimpy Hermione in HBP, but over all I have to keep all book/movie pairs separate in my mind in order to enjoy the movies.

Do you play any of the video games?

Favourite book and why?
I love them all, and it is hard to pick just one. Sorcerer's Stone always holds a special place in my heart because that is where it all began, Prisoner of Azkaban is nice because that's where we meet Lupin, but I really like Goblet of Fire is my favorite. That's where all of the action really starts, and we see how our characters are going to respond.

Least favourite book and why?
The Order of the Phoenix. I was so disappointed to see Harry suffer even more. Sirius, Dumbledore becoming distant, seeing the few memories Harry had of his parents become smeared, Umbridge. I knew it would be darker than the previous books, but I didn't expect it to not have some lightness.

Favourite film and why?
I love Goblet of Fire, just because I love the way that the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton students are portrayed, how the challenges are shown, and the feel of the film itself.

Least favourite film and why?
Order of the Phoenix. I hate, hate, HATE it. I feel like they change so much, and they never explain so much of the important things that did happen in that book. While I don't enjoy the book, I do feel like important information was revealed in the book that was ignored in the film.

Listen to the audiobooks?
I listened to the first one and have plans to listen to them all sometime soon.

Listen to any podcasts?
Pottercast sometimes

Favourite aspect of the Harry Potter community?
That it is a community. That no matter where in the world I am, I know I will have a friend if only I can find another HP fan. I'm never alone in this epic love affair I have with Harry Potter.

Favourite ship(s)?
Changes all the time, but I have ALWAYS been Team Luna Longbottom! In fanfiction I don't like to read any cannon ships, which I admit may be odd.

Do you do any Potter related art/music/writing, etc?

Ever cosplayed or dressed up as a character?
No, but I really want a Ravenclaw scarf and tie that match the books' version of the house colors.

How many midnight releases have you made it to?

List some favorite Potter-related memories?
There are too many to list.
*The fact that BFF2 and I frequently have conversations that revolve around nothing but HP, including "is Draco really evil," "Why we love Snape," "Was Ron REALLY the best choice for Hermione?" and so on.
*Going to see HBP and running out of gas with BFF1 and calling my dad saying "Don't worry, someone is coming to get me so I won't be late to see HARRY! I just need you to bring some gas and then take my car to the theater. PLEASE DADDY! I can't miss HARRY!!!" And that is what happened. BFF2 came and got us, my dad brought me gas and drove my car to the theater, and we watched HBP and loved it.
Giving the first book The Clone this summer and watching her fall completely in love with the Weasley's, the Wizarding World, and all things Harry.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ramona and Beezus

For the past week three of my cousins- The Clone, Doda, and Jerry- have been in Alaska. They went on a missions trip and arrived home Wednesday just in time for Family Dinner Night. Needless to say, Erin (the forth member of our quintet) and I have been REALLY lonely. Since I work all the time poor Erin has really been left alone a lot. I love to do things with my cousins, either in a group or individually, so I decided that Erin and I should have a Girl's Night Out and go to the movies. She has been really looking forward to the Ramona movie, she's a HUGE Selena Gomez fan and I have recently introduced her to the books. So off we went on our epic adventure*!

I have to say, I am cheap (especially when I am playing for multiple movie tickets) so I love going to the movies on Tuesdays in town, because it is "Family Fun Night," and all tickets are matinée priced. However, Ramona was good enough that I would have paid full price to see it on opening night.** On top of a wonderful movie (my Top Ten to follow) there were a lot of really good previews. I was nervous at first, because I am doing everything I have to avoid the HP7 trailer, but luckily it wasn't included. There are so many great movies coming out and I am really looking forward to seeing them with The Fantastic Four in the fall and winter. Movies are usually a guaranteed option for quality time for us once school and sports start. Erin was captivated by Ramona, and I remained teary-eyed throughout the entire film. Overall I say that it is a great family option. It is funny enough that boys will like it, there is enough sugary sweet romance to appeal to teen and tween girls, and the warmth of the family bond between the Quimbys translates well during the movie. So! Without further ado, here is my (and Erin's) Ramona Top Ten!

Top Ten Reasons YOU Should See Ramona and Beezus
1) Joey King aka Ramona. I cannot wait to see her in more films in the future. We thought she was so funny and believable. I wanted to cry when she cried, I laughed when she laughed, my heart broke for her when she tried hard to make something work but it just failed. She brought Ramona to life for me.
2) Selena Gomez is amazing. I love that she is young and plays a teenager. I am consistently surrounded by younger kids, and I cringe when I hear them talk about their role models in Hollywood. Selena Gomez acts her age, isn't trampy, and sets a good example. She also did a really great job as Beezus.
3) Mr. and Mrs. Quimby. Best parents ever? Probably not, but the sure do try hard and it is obvious that they love each other and their family. Even when things were bad for them (no job for dad, the possibility of moving away, Aunt B's love-life stress) they were still aware of what was going on in their life. I thought that the Quimby's were a realistic representation of a family-not everything is always perfect, but when your family loves each other then you will be okay.
4) Aunt B. She is the perfect auntie who is always fun to be around. Not to mention Ginnifer Goodwin is adorable.
5) The scenes where Ramona is imagining herself in different situations are INCREDIBLE. The audience is transported into her imagination and it is really lovely. She is navigating a canyon when she is on the jungle gym, when jumping on her bed she goes to Outer Space, and the film makers do a great job of showing the imagination of a nine year old girl.
6) I loved that even though it is really hard for Beezus and Ramona to get along, they will band together when times get tough. Pretty accurate for siblings of those ages, but it is still heartwarming to see.
7) Joey King's facial expressions!***
8) Josh Duhamel is REALLY dreamy...*sigh*...and so is John Corbett, even if he is playing a dad. Erin was a big fan of Henry (Hutch Dano), she thought that HE was dreamy...*baby sigh*...
9) The entire film seemed really natural. I honestly felt like a guest in the Quimby home. The cast did an excellent job of portraying the situations that they encountered.
10) It was really funny. I thought that the comedic timing was spot on, and it didn't seem like the cast was TRYING to make the funny parts funny.

So there ya go. A few reasons why we loved Ramona and Beezus. If you have seen it feel free to let me know!

*Okay, not that epic, the movie theater is only 12 miles away.
**My hindsight has ALWAYS been 20/20
***YES! This does need it's own number! If you have seen the film then you will understand, that girl is HILARIOUS!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

BEDA=Blog Every Day in August

BEDA! Will I manage to blog every day in August? I hope so, but who knows. I should have a lot of subject matter, what with school starting and a few days off work which will be spent with The Fantastic Four. Hopefully I will be able to read a book for a change and then I can post a review or two. I'm glad that I didn't set this up to be a book review blog...because that would be a massive fail. It's more like my personal blog, where I talk about a lot of random things. And I do mean a lot of randomness! As I type this Erin is hanging over my shoulder, reading everything, as we watch Olivia on Nick Jr. Here's the thing about Olivia the TV show...I really love that they take great children's books and make them into TV shows, but I am afraid that in the long run kids forget about the books. I just asked Erin if she had ever read the Olivia books and she looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted wings. Oh well, I guess it's the former children's librarian (and full time book lover) in me. However, short as this post is...I will hopefully be around for you to stalk throughout August. And since it only takes 21 days to form a habit, maybe I can get back in the habit of blogging more frequently.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Which Chelle Procrastinates (and Babbles Quite a Bit)

Hello friends! It is a Sunday night, and I have reams of paperwork to in true Maureen Johnson fashion, I am procrastinating. In all honesty between the heat and crazy kids, I feel like my brain is FRIED. I find myself gazing off into space, practically drooling, trying to come up with words like "client," "prompted," and "unresponsive." Not really difficult words, and they are part of my every day vocabulary, but I have found myself struggling to complete my work more and more frequently as summer progresses. Not that I am ungrateful about my job, I'm not. I love what I do, but dealing with children who have severe behavioral issues is challenging at the best of times and horrific at the worst. However, I do feel gratified knowing that I am working in my degree field since I fought HARD to pay for college and graduate in great academic standing, and knowing that I am positively influencing the lives of these children.

My job has also made me crazy thankful for my own family. I'm not talking about my mom, dad, and brother. I'm talking grandmother, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, the whole shebang. At times they seem so overwhelming. If something is wrong they all know about it. If I am in a bad mood, I can't get away from them. I can never be alone. I can't have a phone conversation without someone asking me about it. There is no privacy. And it is wonderful. I know that seems super insane, and really I can't explain it. I always have a champion, there is always someone on my side, someone is always willing to listen. They cheer me up, they keep me level-headed, they tell me if I'm out of line. They encourage me, they shelter me, they support me, they fight with me and for me. They have given me a sense of self, a sense of loyalty, and family, and what is right and wrong. They taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and to never back down if I am fighting for what is right. They teach me every single day that it is okay to be different. I am definitely the odd man out in my family. I am the bookworm, the non-athletic one, the crazy kid who thinks that more money should be given to academics and the arts and that sports teams should have to raise their own money. Essentially, I am Hermione Granger.* They are not. Not that they are Malfoys or anything, they just don't see the world they way I do. They don't understand why I cry when I read about genocide in Africa, or give money to Uncultured Project. But they are still incredible people, and every day that I work with kids who don't have parents who are emotionally available, much less an extended family who wants to interact with them, I give thanks for my own crazy family. Because they love me, even when they don't understand me. They embrace my oddities and encourage me to stand out.

Speaking of bookworms, I got a TON of books this week. Barnes and Noble had a HUGE sale and I had like three coupons for there, on top of my regular discount, so I kind of went overboard. I'm really excited though! I'm not sure why, it's not like I've really been reading recently, but I still love books. I have no attention span, and I find it difficult to stay focused when I'm reading. HOWEVER, I started reading "Sea" by Heidi R. Kling today, and it is fantastic! I had to force myself to put it down so that I could work on paperwork a little bit.** I'm really excited because I got other great books, like Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and the 4th Gallagher Girl book by Ally Carter. Of course, since I am slightly insane I have to read all of the books that proceed these books. It's okay though, those books were AMAZING!

Now I'm off to finish my paperwork!*** If you guys have books that you are currently loving, leave it in the comments! If YOU have a crazy family, feel free to share some of the craziness with me, I'd love to compare insanity =)

*Also, I can't get through a day without making a Harry Potter reference.
**See how well that worked? I just found a NEW distraction!
***No, really! I am going to finish it... *looks around* *procrastinates*