Archive for May, 2007

I am forcing myself to get my grading done, so until my stack dwindles significantly, I won’t be writing another entry.

Don’t worry, this won’t last long, for several reasons:

1. I only have 2 1/2 weeks of school left, so it has to be done by then. We’re down to the do or die time.
2. I know I can’t hold out for very long without writing a blog entry. This has become so much a part of my (almost) daily routine that I don’t think I’ll feel like myself if I don’t write soon.
3. I have a couple of fun things planned for this weekend that I will have to fill you in on. Yes, believe it or not, I am going to get outside the house this weekend, even though I have lots of aforementioned grading to do. You only live once, right?

So, forgive me if you don’t see a new blog entry for a few days or so. To keep yourself occupied, why not re-read some of the older posts? j/k. I have tons of great blogs on my blogroll — go check them out if you need some escapist reading for the next few days.



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A must-read

Being an English major and an English teacher, I’m never without a book to read. Besides the books I read and re-read to prepare for the classes I teach and the books I’ve been assigned to read for my grad school program, I always have another book lined up to read for pleasure.

Reading is more than a hobby with me — it’s part of what makes me tick. If for some odd reason I’m without a book, I feel an overwhelming need to head to a bookstore and pick a few new titles up. I simply don’t feel myself if there’s not something to engage my mind before bedtime. Magazines just don’t cut it, although I love reading those too. No, for my “soul nourishment” I need to have a book that I’ve carefully selected and plan to relish.

At times it’s difficult to find a book that meets my requirements: a book with some literary merit, engaging characters and plot, and the ability to teach me something about life, in one way or another. Most of the time I choose fiction, for that is my greatest love, but once in a while a memoir or non-fiction title works out better than expected.

I recently joined a book club started by a group of friends I’ve known since high school. (Actually, all of the girls were in my sister’s class, but we ended up staying in touch and getting together much more than I have with anyone I graduated with). I’ve tried to join book clubs in the past, but without success. While everyone else was content to get together under the premise of “talking about the book,” the real reason they were there was to share an evening of wine and food. Not that I have anything against a night of wine and food, mind you, but being the English teacher that I am, I really love discussing books. One book club I joined was filled with too many trite titles that I hated reading, and it takes a lot for me to say I hate a book.

I went into this book club with the hopes that we’d actually discuss the books in between sips and bites. And we did! I actually missed our first meeting because the plumber was installing my new, beautiful bathroom sink. I hadn’t actually finished that book anyway, so it was just as well that I didn’t attend. The second selection for the club was a book that I’d heard very little about, but was intrigued by, just from the blurb on amazon.com.

eatpraylove.jpg The book is called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it is one of the best books I have read in years. Gilbert’s writing style allows you to become a part of the journey that she’s describing. She’s down-to-earth, self-deprecating, open-minded, and above all, funny. Plus, her journey of self re-discovery really struck a cord with me. I love the way she has structured the book into 3 sections, with 39 parts in each, using Indian prayer beads as her model.

Reading this book, I could relate to so much of her struggle with not feeling as if she was living her authentic life. Sure, she was married to a great man, owned a beautiful house, and had an enviable job. But her life didn’t feel like it “fit” for her. She embarks on a journey through 3 countries: Italy, where she experiences pleasure; India, where she gets more in tune with her spiritual side; and Indonesia (Bali), where she tries to find a balance of the two. (I won’t give away any of the plot, because I want you to read this book).

Besides being a really fast read, this book made me look at my life more closely. For a while now, I’ve been feeling as if I need to get become more spiritual. I’ve never been an overly religious person, even though I went through 12 years of Catholic school, but lately I have been feeling like I should try to connect with that side of myself. Not that I want to attend mass, necessarily.

Ever since high school when I took Comparitive Religions, I’ve been really interested in eastern philosophy/religion. I visited a Buddhist temple for extra credit in the class, and came away feeling really calm. I remember telling my mom that I wish I could be Buddhist. I liked the idea of each person reaching their personal Nirvana, without the guilt and rules and dogma that is found in the Catholic church. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the Catholic religion. Sure, there are a lot of outdated ideas and practices, and I haven’t been to mass in years (Christmas Eve doesn’t count), but if anyone were to ask me what my religion is, I’d say Catholic out of habit.

I was drawn to Gilbert’s descriptions of her time at an ashram in India following her guru. Some of it sounded a bit too “new age” for me, but there was a serenity in her descriptions of meditation.

As it turns out, one of the girls at the book club brought up the fact that her husband leads group meditation at a place right outside of my neighborhood. Her husband has studied with Deepak Chopra and has been to India several times. She said that he leads a group meditation every Thursday night at 6:30, and that it’s free. He also teaches classes every so often on the philosophy behind meditation, which I find fascinating. So, I think I may just drop in on one of these group meditations. I think it might be very interesting to see what happens and if I connect with it or not. If anything, it will be a new experience.

Oh, and this book club was everything I hoped it would be. Sure, we sipped and nibbled, but we also discussed the book at length. I got a deeper understanding of certain parts after hearing what other people had to say about it. Exactly what should happen at a book club, don’t you think?

Another benefit of this book club: I got to create a new Evite, feeding my addiction. You see, I chose our next book and I’ll be hosting the next meeting.

The new book is definitely in the Chick Lit/Beach Book genre. It’s light reading for summer. It’s called The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski. The thing I like about this book is that the protagonist decides to complete a “life list” started by an acquaintance of hers who died unexpectedly due to a car accident they were involved in. The character who died had a list of 20 things she wanted to complete before she turned 25, and since she died before she could do most of them, the main character decides to complete the list for her.

Ever English teacher, the “assignment” I gave the book club was to bring their own list of 10-20 things they want to do before they die. It should be really interesting to hear what everyone comes up with.

I know that one of the items on my list is going to be “attend group meditation.” What would be on your list?

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Today was a great day. I had gotten quite a bit of grading done and had papers to pass back to the kids. I had some fun activities planned for my classes. Plus, I was wearing a really cute outfit (if I do say so myself). My lunch was even delicious. You know, one of those days when everything is going your way.

That is, until I was walking to my car after school and I FELL on the asphalt.

Ouch-this-fucking-hurts hard.

The strangest thing about it is that I had just sort of tripped as I was coming down from the curb outside my room and I thought to myself, “wow, it’s a good thing I didn’t fall. I’m wearing a skirt and that would’ve been –” I hadn’t even completed my thought and I was already on the ground.  Go ahead, laugh.  I would too if I were you.

Luckily, there were very few kids around, and none of them laughed. One girl even came over to see if I was ok, which I said I was. I thought that the only thing hurt was my pride, but I was wrong.

As I was driving home, my right leg started really throbbing. Almost like it was on fire. When I finally got home and looked at it, it was pretty badly scratched up. Nothing that I won’t get over, but still, at 35 you feel pretty silly when you fall.

I used to trip and fall all the time a few years ago. I thought that maybe it could be attributed to a lot on my mind or wearing bad shoes. Then I didn’t fall for quite a while, and I thought that maybe it had something to do with being in better shape or having lost some weight. Now that I fell again today (and actually, almost fell on Friday, but I caught myself mid-trip), I’m thinking that maybe it does have something to do with being overweight and out of shape. I’m hoping that once I start kicking my workout program into high gear I’ll be in much better shape, I’ll lose weight, and maybe I won’t be so klutzy. Or, it really could be the shoes, because I did have on sandals both days.

Who knows. My leg aches, but I’ll live. At least I got a blog entry out of it, right.

Here’s the “owie” to see the damage yourself:


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Now this is one patron saint I should’ve been praying to for a while!! I just found out about the quirkiest website, and I thought I’d share it for those of you who (like me) are trying to lose weight for good.

It’s called Our Lady of Weight Loss, and it’s just plain fun.

I signed up for the weekly newsletter, The Kick in the Tush Club to remind me to stay on track with my weight loss.

The woman behind the site has lost 50 pounds and kept it off for 5 years, so some of her kitsch must be sound advice.  Either way, it’s a fun site that reminds, ” All is Forgiven, Move On.”

If only all things in life were so simple.

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This is going to be a quick one because I’ve wasted enough time today on everything but what I should be doing — grading essays that I’ve had for more than a month.  In fact, I have a moving box filled with work to grade before the end of the school year, and I’m running out of time to get it all done.

So, now you see why I’m having terrible tension headaches, right?  But does this get me to do anything besides feel guilty?  Not really.  I seem to find a million and one other things to do besides just sitting my butt down and going through the papers.  It’s like I have ADHD or something.  I can’t sit still, I can’t focus, I get up and down every 10 minutes.  My avoidance and procrastination are getting to be an art form.  But, I keep telling myself, when I’m on my death bed at 90 years old, am I really going to say that I wish I would’ve graded those papers a bit quicker?  No, I’m going to wish I had more fun times with friends and family.  This type of thinking is the slippery slope I’ve been on that has allowed me to leave the essays “until later.”  Well later is now, my friends.

As for the Evite mania, I just love making Evites.  I made two today, and I’m actually trying to think up reasons to make some more.  I love  figuring out the event, choosing a cool design, making the guest list — the whole thing.  I should really give up this teaching gig and just become the party/event planner I was born to be.  But then I guess getting this masters would be sort of a waste, right?  Hmmm…maybe after a few more years.

Ok, enough wasted time.  I hear 87 research papers calling my name.  Knew I shoulda kept it unlisted!!!

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