It’s been a while since I have posted anything here – in large part because it’s been a really awful couple of weeks. I’ve been sick. It was the end of the marking period. I actually was hoping/praying for snow days on more than one occasion. (Don’t judge, colleagues. You’ve been there, too.) I felt ridiculously overwhelmed by all of it and blogging felt like the last thing I needed to do even though my husband noted that it probably would have given me some kind of peace to sit down and write.
As is often the case, he was probably right because the very idea of blogging about the joys of the last week is enough to put a smile on my face.
So here goes:
- Last Saturday at this hour I was packing up the car and attempting to get the Jr. Librarian moving so that we could go to Philadelphia for ALA Mid-Winter. It would ordinarily have been more difficult to get him in the car fully dressed by 6:30 on a Saturday morning, but he knew that he was definitely going to meet Alyson Beecher in person – and at least one of his buddies from her Biblionasium group - in person. (Maria, I am soooooo glad you brought J with you!) There was a good chance we’d get to meet some authors he loves (and he did get to see Matt Phelan again as well as meet Tom Angleberger, Jonathan Auxier, Cece Bell, and David Lubar – it was a pretty big weekend) AND maybe run into some others of his rock star librarian world (he did get to meet Mr. Schu…I wish you could’ve seen his face when he realized who was in front of him – thanks, John, for talking to him!). He was surprised and delighted when we got to see Jen and Noah again and more than a little overwhelmed by the whole concept of the exhibit hall. “Wait…so you can see all these books on display. Most of them are not out yet. And they will tell you about them and let you look at them and they actually give some away? Whaaaa…?” I was beyond impressed with his manners, more than a little surprised at his affinity for swag, proud when he was talking books with professionals (and delighted with the way that they would listen to him), and in love with the way he couldn’t resist the chance to sit down on the floor when he found something he really needed to look at more closely (read). I was delighted to see my friends for another time this year – and I was thrilled to have my son along for them to meet him. Especially when he did super cool things like figuring out that he could keep up with us AND read the sampler for the next book in the Origami Yoda series by hanging onto my backpack loop. Actually, I whined that it was hurting my back when he did that, but I had to concede that it was really rather brilliant when Kathy Burnette pointed out what he was doing. I think then I was just jealous that I hadn’t thought of it first.
- We got to spend some time with my aunt and uncle and cousins last Saturday evening and Sunday morning. My son pointed out that we don’t live that far away from each other (about a two hour drive) and that we should go visit more often. I agree. We do have relatives who live much closer than the drive we usually take to see them all a couple of times a year at my grandmother’s house in Ohio. Shame on us for waiting until then to get together. Life gets busy, but there was something so relaxing about getting to sit and talk with just them instead of being with them and several other families all at once. The kids played Wii and talked books. My uncle and I talked about teaching. My aunt and I got caught up on all sorts of things.
- Monday was the big announcement with the winners of the ALA Youth Media Awards. I spent the weekend with friends who are on awards committees and I did my best not to ask them anything that would be inappropriate. I participated in #titletalk on Sunday night where there were predictions and discussions about the awards and who might win. I didn’t get the opportunity to watch the streaming event in my jammies with my son like I did on the snow day we had last year (I admit – I kind of did pray for a snow day to repeat that…no luck). In fact, I had to settle for Twitter feed announcements because the video wouldn’t stream right at school. I called my dad to squee about the winners during my prep. Like every year, I haven’t read all the winners, but I do delight in the opportunity to read the ones I have missed and I’m grateful to the committees and their wide reading for pointing out titles I might have otherwise never read. I won’t lie: I was all choked up about the Newbery again this year but I think I probably would have been no matter who won. There were so many amazing books out this year that could have been awarded the medal that I can’t imagine I could have gotten through that announcement without feeling like I did. Part of the reason why I felt like that was because my son and I are HUGE Kate DiCamillo fans. When we heard that she had a new book coming out, I remember writing to a friend at Candlewick to find out if it would be on NetGalley. I remember getting an ARC in the mail and devouring it immediately. (I stayed up late that night and read it alone. THEN I shared with the boy.) I remember telling B that it was magical, but that it felt different from her other books. He laughed and said it was actually a lot like Despereaux – but it was a modern day princess being saved by a different kind of rodent. Well, when you put it like that, young’un, you make a lot of sense. I think getting to MEET Kate DiCamillo at BEA in June to tell her that story and to hear her beautiful laugh – and to thank her for writing such incredible books – may be what did it for me. There’s a reason why she’s the new Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
- I am always grateful for new beginnings, but I think the beginning of a new marking period was really a blessing for me right now. The past couple of months have been tough for a bunch of reasons and I know I haven’t been the teacher I wanted to be. (It happens. We’re human – a great relief from what I dreamt as a kid that my teachers actually all got plugged in and recharged in their closets each night.) So we’ll start fresh and do better from here on out.
- You wouldn’t think that the tough things would bring any amount of joy – but I cannot say enough wonderful things about my family and friends this week. I have been having all kinds of pain and misery and it finally came to a head this Wednesday when I finally made my way up to the office during my prep to inform them that I needed to leave and go to the emergency room. The principal told me to just go (though I did go down to my room and wrote up a quick plan for anyone who would be covering my classes), the secretaries took care of the paperwork, the guidance counselor offered to cover my classes until they could find a sub, the sub who came in on such short notice, and my teacher’s aide took care of a few other things that I was actually worrying about that probably could have waited until the next day. I had tossed and turned through another night in enough pain that I finally decided that sitting in an ER waiting room for hours might actually make some degree of sense. There was no way to distract myself from the pain – even when we were talking about song lyrics and sound devices in first period and reading Beowulf – the Chuck Norris of Anglo-Saxon literature – in second or looking for the book trailer for TFioS during clubs. My teeth hurt from gritting them and I couldn’t even tell until hours later when I could actually let my jaw relax. My mom came and picked me up at home to take me to the ER and sat with me for hours. Jason sent me text messages to check on me and then joined us. My dad got B off the bus and took him to piano lessons – and then did his homework with him and made him dinner. Jason not only held my hand and rubbed my hair and covered my head with my sweater when I asked, but he agreed to take me to get something to eat on the way home even though I probably could have gotten sick in his car. (I didn’t, thankfully). My students were concerned when I got back and I had a really excellent day on Thursday. I had appointments yesterday and more scheduled for next week, but it seems like we’re getting closer to figuring out what’s going on. New prescriptions seem to be helping and I have started to get my appetite back more reliably for the first time in almost three weeks. I still feel sick when I eat, but actually feeling hungry is a blessing I never thought I would have to consider one.
I’m looking at what’s coming in the next couple of days and already starting to think about what I’ll be celebrating next Saturday.