Tag Archives: summer

Day 61 – And my summer is done

24 Aug

wpid-20140713_085103.jpgSixty-one days is a long time to not be working. I don’t say vacation because my job is such that I get paid for the work I do ten months a year and that pay gets spread over twelve months. When I’m not working in the summer, I’m actually not paid for that time, but it sure feels like vacation and I love it. I consider it one of the many perks of my job. To anyone who begrudges me that summer ‘vacation’, you too could have been a teacher. I don’t apologize one bit for enjoying every bit of that time. Tomorrow I officially go back to work for the 2014-15 school year.

When I started my daily blogging on day one, I mused about how blogging every day might affect my enjoyment of the summer. In fact, I was pretty certain that 2011, the last summer I blogged every day, was an excellent summer in part because of the blogging. Now I know that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad summer, but I don’t think blogging made it what it was. I usually enjoyed the time spent writing. I’m proud of myself for posting every single day and I’m a bit tired of posting every single day. This summer was good. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t call it fantastic, as I did in 2011.

I had big plans to read lots this summer! On day two (no I won’t recap every day) I shared my summer reading list. I read five of the eleven books on my list, well I’m almost finished number five. Of the five, I recommend three booksof them. The first book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It was okay,  lagged in the middle and was a long story, long enough to be epic, but fell short. It was far less interesting than its title suggests. Then I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This was a great YA read that I’d recommend to most of my female friends and my students. It deals with poverty, abuse, bullying and young love. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness was my favourite read of the summer. It was the third in her Discovery of Witches trilogy and I almost never read sequels. This was a most excellent exception. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this trilogy is for you. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a light and easy read and it was downright funny. Glenn’s reading it now. I’d recommend this one to anyone who reads; its appeal and target audience is that wide. Right now, I’ve been reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for a few weeks because I had a difficult time getting into it and I had to slug through the second part of it. With about 60 pages left to read I finally want to know how it ends. What drew me to this book was the premise: four strangers meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intention of jumping to their deaths. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they navigate through life and their newfound unlikely and unofficial support group. It’s less interesting than it sounds. I’ll see it through.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer this summer. While I won’t delve into that too much I’d like to recap my top five posts ICYMI.

  1. Day 14 – Letting Go I wrote about my daughter’s daring summer adventureswpid-img_0301.png
  2. Day 20 – Ten ideas for stories exactly what the title suggests
  3. Day 28 – Namaste was about my path to yoga and what makes it right for me
  4. Day 29 – The end of an era was about the new subdivision being built behind my home
  5. Day 42 – BBQ Meatballs is a family favourite recipe

Each of these have been viewed by over a hundred different readers, so clearly these have proven to be the most interesting posts. Even though each post is dramatically different from the others, they have one thing in common. None of them are about my day, nor are they poetry. Those type of posts got the least traffic. I enjoy writing poetry and will keep doing so. In fact, if you didn’t see my blackout poetry, check it out. I really had fun with it and can’t wait to try it with my students. I always felt like writing about my day was  a bit narcissistic and definitely a cop-out when I wasn’t sure what else to write about, especially when the day wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my 61 days are over, I plan to continue blogging from time-to-time. Now that the summer is over, I’m looking forward to going back to work. I might as well look forward to it and go in with a positive outlook because it’s going to happen either way. It’ll certainly make it more enjoyable.

And thus, without a wing,
or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape,
Into the beautiful.
                       ~ Emily Dickinson


Day 51 – Just a few more days

14 Aug

Here I am, three weeks before classes start, struggling to find a topic for my blog. How am I going to inspire students to write, write, write when I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel myself? Sometimes it feels SO narcissistic to constantly write about myself and on days like today it would just seem pathetic, not because I didn’t do anything, I did. It’s just the mundane stuff of my day isn’t worth writing about.

I briefly thought about writing about the shale gas debate and Premier David Alward’s The Speech video, but oy vey. Besides, a topic like that takes more energy and enthusiasm than I have right now.

I think, seeing as it has taken me almost 90 minutes to write just over a hundred words, it’s time for a nap. Maybe you could give me some good ideas for writing topics in the comments so we can avoid this Seinfeldish blog post about nothing in the future.

tenThere are only 10 more days left of my blogging challenge. I’m looking forward to the end because I feel like I’m running out of ideas. I do love to write and will endeavor to continue to post to my blog more regularly than I did in the past. However, the 10 days I have left in my self-induced blogging challenge also represents the last 10 days of my summer. While I am looking forward to getting back into my classroom, I wish that summer was just a little bit longer. I’m sure it could be weeks or months longer than it is and I’d still wish for just a few more days.


Day 39 – Voldemort uses margarine

2 Aug

wpid-20140802_113755.jpgToday was too cool and cloudy for the beach. Instead we went to the market in York. This is where we saw this awesome sign. I thought my Harry Potter loving friends and family might appreciate it. Certainly it is a good reason to buy butter!

The market was next to the campus of Stonewall Kitchen headquarters. What a huge store. We got some white fig spread, a beef and barley soup mix and a few stickers for my filing cabinet. Then we went to a craft fair that was part of York Days. After a late lunch we had a glorious nap. Later, we strolled around town, poking in and out of shops, then had a late candlelight dinner in the garden at Gypsy Sweethearts. This is the glorious stuff of summer!

Day 25 – Boyce Farmers Market

19 Jul

wpid-20140719_075833.jpgWe go to the market almost every Saturday morning, but before today we hadn’t been there since before graduation. It was so good to go this morning, nice and early. We left the house at 7:25AM. An hour later and we would have been terribly dogged with company. The market is so nice this time of year. During late spring, summer and early fall the vendors almost double with many vendors outside. We buy more in the fall when there are lots of local vegetables, but don’t think we are fair-weather marketers. We love going, even in February!

Today we scored some yellow cherry tomatoes, then a strawberry lime scone from Gagetown Fruit Farm. Everything they make is good! We also got some purple beans from Jemseg River Farm that we’ll use to make a summer bean and tomato salad later this week. We buy local and organic where we can, but going to the market is so much more. It’s our regular weekend date. We go to the market, then either Second Cup or to The Cabin for breakfast.

Today, Sadie came with us then she took us out for breakfast. It was a perfect start to a great summer Saturday. Glenn spent most of the day in the garden once we got home. Seldon and I helped him put my clothesline back up because it fell down during the storm. While we were at it we trimmed a few branches away from it so my laundry  doesn’t get pitch on it while drying. While Glenn finished in the garden, I watered our pots and made muffins. Then we went out for supper on the rooftop at Snooty Fox. This is what summer Saturdays are made of!

Day 5 – Empanadas, Kohl’s and Big Brother 16

29 Jun


Today was ordinary, but full of life’s little pleasures. This morning we went to the Denville Market. Glenn got fresh pickles and I got my Lakeside Maple trail mix. Then we picked up some Empanadas for lunch: beef and potato, spinach and feta, and chipotle bbq chicken. Yummy! This afternoon we went to Kohl’s and Glenn got some really nice dressy sandals and I went bargain hunting. The only kind of hunting I do. My time spent searching through the sale racks item by item was well rewarded. I got two pair of jeans, one sweater and one blouse for $23.00. It makes me wonder if the store even makes money when they’re able to discount clothes 90% off. My best bargain was a beautiful pair of jeans that were regularly $48.0wpid-20140629_211554.jpg0 for $3.36. How is that even possible? (I don’t really want to know; I’m just glad that it is.) Now that you know far more than you need to about my day, I’m going to watch Big Brother, my biggest guilty pleasure of the summer.

Day 4 – A month sometimes feels like a year

28 Jun

To use a cliché, it’s hard to believe how much water under the bridge can pass in one month. One month ago today we were still looking forward to our daughter’s grad party, prom and graduation. In the last month there were projects to be graded and exams to be administered and marked. There were two rooms full of furniture at home to be moved and one room to be painted and too many other tasks to list them all. There was still so much to be done before we could relax, that time seemed to drag on. Not that we didn’t enjoy every crazy minute of it all, but to say it was a busy month would be a great understatement. So, for interest sake, I went back through my photos to see what we were up to one month ago today and found the wpid-20140528_192647.jpgphotos of our son’s year end band concert. After four years of playing the trumpet, he’s finally getting good. Every year the concerts get better and better. We were enjoying an evening of stellar musical performance; that was before all of the madness.

Today was a well-earned lazy day for me. I drank coffee, played a game on my phone, took an afternoon nap and spent a whole lot of time reading, finally! I’ve been on vacation for four days now, but today felt like day one. My wish for this next month, June 28-July28, is for this month to seem equally as long as the last and be full with many lazy days like today. I briefly saw something posted on Facebook today that made perfect sense to me. It said ‘teachers are solar powered’. Makes better sense now when I say that I need the summer to recharge my batteries. Yay for summer!


Day Two – Summer is meant for reading!

26 Jun

Every June I always post a photo of my summer book pile. I never read every book in my stack and every year the stack gets bigger. So, I went back through my lists from the last three years and made a master list of the books that I didn’t get to. None of these books made my 2014 list. I’m hoping if you’ve read some of these you might convince me to, or not to, read these:

  1. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  3. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  7. One Summer by David Baldacci
  8. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  9. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  11. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  12. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson by Susin Nielsen
  13. Every Last One by Anna Quindlan
  14. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  15. Gifted by Marilyn Kay

This year, I’ve got BIG plans. But before I get to those, why don’t I give you a few recommendations. Let me tell you about my favourite summer read from each of the last three years.

Last summer I read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. This was a gift from Savanna last year for my birthday. I have the whole box set, but I only read the first book. I have a tendency to do that, only read the first in a series. I also did that with Outlander, The Hunger Games and Divergent. Although I enjoyed these novels, I just never seemed too interested in what happened once the book finished. I love A Game of Thrones and now Glenn and I are watching the first season of the HBO show. I am very much enjoying the TV adaptation of this novel, so much so that I may even tackle the second book. I wonder if each season covers one book.

My favourite 2012 summer read was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. It was a psychological thriller with a fantastic twist that you’d never guess. I love a book that can surprise me, but I guess I love the predictable and sappy too!

In 2011 my favourtie summer read was The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. This is one of those epic historical fiction novels that I would recommend to any adult reader 16 and over. I’m not a big history buff, but I love, love, love most historical fiction and this one is one of my top five favourite historicbooksl fiction novels.

Here’s the 2014 list:

  1. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  3. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (on pre-order, not in the photo)
  4. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
  5. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
  6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  7. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  8. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
  9. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
  10. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
  11. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

I’ve started reading The Interestings already and I’m really liking it, and I already know that The Rosie Project will be next because it’s this month’s book club pick. After that it won’t matter what I’m reading, I’ll definitely put it aside for The Book of Life as soon as it arrives. It’s the third in a trilogy, and although I haven’t had much luck with sticking with series lately, there’s no way I’m not reading this one! If you haven’t read the first, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I highly recommend it!

I do have other goals for this summer, but reading and writing are at the top of my priorities, so expect to hear more about books.

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