Monthly Archives: October 2006

Books!

My e-Harlequin order came in. Woo Hoo!
I have Baby Jane Doe by Julie Miller, Gladiator’s Honor by Michelle Styles and Where We Born by Margot Early. Unfortunately tomorrow starts NaNo, so I have to wait to read. 😦
Back in the olden days I subscribed to the book club. I used to get three or four series a month. I don’t know how I did it back then! Now I choose from all the series, but I never buy all a month. It’s hard to choose, but it’s too expensive not to.

Computer update:
UGH. I feel confident that I should be able to convince the powers that be that I should get the new computers without losing SEVEN of the olds. The idea that we have the money available, that the computers were already approved by my principal and I have a need but can’t get them because the techs can’t handle it when I don’t need the techs makes no sense to me. Especially when my classes suffer.
Now I just have to articulate this to the people with the power.
And I have to be proactive.
Speaking of proactive, I’m starting a book study at my school. We’re going to study Whatever It Takes, the best education book I have EVER read. It’s changed my life.
See back in the olden days I practiced something called J-Class triage. If a kid didn’t want to do, fine with me. They could go get their schedules changed or sit at a desk and fail. WHAT was I thinking? I would’ve never been okay with that when I taught English. Honestly, I worked hard with kids who struggled, but only if they had the desire to succeed. That’s not enough. I have to find WHATEVER it takes to spark that desire to learn.
You know, there’s not a kid in my school who used to LOVE learning. There’s not a kid who didn’t smile on the way to kindergarten. A few have lost the passion for learning. Some because of life situations. Some because of drugs or other substance abuse. Some because of depression. But these are 14-18 year old kids. It’s not too late for most of them. And if every teacher on campus is trying to help re-engage this kid, maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference in his or her life.
Like I said, Whatever It Takes is the best ed. book I’ve read. It’s changed my life.

Godsmack is coming to Wichita Falls. I love Godsmack, but only when it’s censored or their newest album. I don’t like hearing f-this and f-that.
I don’t know if I should go or not.

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Are you kidding me?!!

So the computer issues continue.
My wonderful principal found money to purchase new computers for my room.
This money was found in JULY.
Friday the computers were ordered.
Today, I find out I can’t have the computers unless I’m willing to give seven of my current computers up.
The reason: The techs can’t handle the work load they have now, so there’s no way they can handle more.
The techs who until this year came into my room to turn on the network switches in the closet. That’s all. I never had to see them other than that. Only this year, they networked me, against my wishes. And since then, this entire year has been hell. Hell that finally got a little better because my principal encouraged them to take me off the network. Hopefully being off the network will create the same worry-free environment I’ve enjoyed the last 12 years in my Mac lab, the only lab on campus that runs smoothly. 12 years I haven’t been on the Novel network that is a disaster.
GRRRRRR.
Needless to say this fight isn’t over.
I have award winning staffs that deserve the computers to do their jobs well. I will fight for them to have that opportunity.
So now I have to calm down enough to write.
UgH.

112880

Fellow SW Julie Cohen http://www.julie-cohen.com/blog has a opening scene challenge up on her blog. In it she asks writers to post an opening with commentary.
This is from The Truth About Heroes. It’s been rejected with the comment that the heroine was too agressive. 😦 I really liked this book, but I’ve moved on.

The bag was packed and perfect. Bright orange with a big yellow sunflower. Completely inconspicuous in the exclusive South American beachside city of Santa Maria.
Inconspicuous on the outside.
Jillian Donnelly tried not to think about what lay inside the purse she’d bought from a roadside vendor in Texas. Or the man she was meeting in less than an hour. The prince she’d been sent to save. (Hmmm. Why is this a secret? Why is she trying to be so inconspicuous?)
She slicked on a coat of red lip-gloss and checked through the hotel room one last time to make sure she’d left no lingering traces of who she was or what she was doing.
Just as she had done countless times, in countless places before.
Before.
She wiped the thought from her mind. Before meant nothing. Now mattered. (Whoa. SO what happened before? And why has she done this so many times?)
Mattered because her brother had no one else to turn to. She was the only one he could trust, and she would not fail. (Brother? This feels out of place)
Failure was not an option. Not if life in Santa Maria was going to continue as it had for centuries. Not if the prince was going to live.
Using a facial cloth from her overnight bag she wiped down the vanity one last time.
She was stalling and she knew it.
No more.
She had a job to do. (Reading this now, I think this is a little on the over-kill side. How many times do I need to say it?)
Sliding brand new designer sunglasses into place, she slung her Louis Vuitton bag over her shoulder, grabbed the beach purse and left the hotel room that had been her sanctuary for the past six hours.
Six hours in which she’d transformed herself into the sundress wearing, wealthy socialite she needed people to see instead of the well-worn jeans and boots kind of gal she was. (Still think this is over-kill)
Now as she walked through the hotel’s wide halls, she wondered if the people strolling by knew Mrs. Sandra Alfonso was a complete fake made up from the depths of her imagination.
She brushed her perfectly manicured hands over her arms as a chill passed over her.
If she’d been followed, people would die.
More than likely she would be one of those people.
She tossed her hair back and let her earring fall.
Stopping, she bent to the floor and pretended to search for the sterling silver hoop while she scouted out the area.
A family of three with a newborn baby followed by a young Nordic-looking nanny. A silver-haired retired couple. A hotel maid.
No bad guys or killer divas as far as she could tell. Most of the hotel guests were out taking in the tropical sights on this beautiful summer day.
She slid the earring up from the ivory and gold tiled floor and stood near an open room door. An escape if she needed it.
As she pushed the earring back in place, a voice at her elbow caused her to jump in surprise. Her heart sped to double time, over-powering the lazy click of the ceiling fans.
“Mrs. Alfonso. I trust all is well.”
Jillian smiled her very best old money smile at the concierge. A smile she’d seen often enough growing up poor in millionaire oil country. (INterseting note about her.)
“All is as expected.” Perfectly noncommittal. Nothing to make her stand out.
Taking one more quick look around the open spaces of the hotel, Jillian felt sure she was safe. The chill earlier was simply a case of nervous jitters.
The concierge wasn’t helping matters. He really needed to get lost. But she didn’t dare say something rude.
She had to make it out the front doors of the hotel without being followed. She’d been warned that there were eyes everywhere and everyone was under suspicion.
“Will you be in need of our automobile service today?”
Jillian wished it could be so easy.
“No. I believe I’ll take in some local sights, maybe spend time by the beach.”
“Yes ma’am.”
She relaxed as the concierge started to walk away, but then the small man turned back around.
Jillian’s heart dropped and her pulse raced as the man’s dark beady eyes narrowed. She started toward the open room door, but something in the man’s eyes stopped her. She’d learned a long time ago to trust her instincts.
In the end, it didn’t matter.
All the man had for her were words. And Jillian was left to wonder if her over-active imagination had insinuated sinister meanings in the man’s gentle warning.
Or if the concierge truly was an enemy to beware.
“Once you leave this building on your own, Mrs. Alfonso, things can be very dangerous. Be careful.”
Jillian tried not to let the man’s words affect her demeanor. Planting an icy look on her face she lifted her chin haughtily. “Of course.”
And then she walked through the lobby of the hotel and out the front doors into the blinding sunlight all the while knowing careful was the last thing on her agenda.
The emerald the size of her palm sitting in the bottom of her purse made it impossible. The loaded handgun strapped to her thigh just added extra inspiration. (I really need to change this. The thigh holster looks cool on Alias, but DANG, every time I read it I think OUCH!)
For two years Jillian had stayed far away from trouble.
Now she and trouble were going to get reacquainted.
And Crown Prince Lucian Valencia was going to get an up close and personal view of the results.
One way or another.
Hopefully they’d both live through the introductions.

The Rest Falls Away

I’m so excited about a book. Colleen Gleason’s The Rest Falls Away is definitely one I’ll be picking up. When I read the tag Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Pride and Prejudice, I knew this was one I couldn’t miss. Then I watched the movie on Gleason’s site. Whoa. January can’t get here soon enough. Definitely go check out Gleason’s site: http://www.colleengleason.com/

Halloween

Last night was our newsroom Halloween party.
I was dead:

One of the kids was a little girl. She brought a kids book, a lot like the ones I read when I was little. Only hers was called Where Do Babies Come From?
It had pictures.
If I had read that when I was a kid, I would’ve been traumatized.

I started my new book. It took a TON of restarts, but I finally like how it begins.
Woo Hoo.

Friday Night Lights

Friday night high school football in Texas is a whole lot like a old time tent revival.
I’m not too into the pep rallies at school these days, but man, I love the games.
Except…
There’s this group of dads.
They stand on the field watching, arms crossed, backs straight. And I don’t know. It’s sad. Used to they weren’t allowed on the field. I don’t know what’s changed. I’m sure they’re proud papa’s and that’s why they’re there, but it looks more like the guy in Glory Days talking about the good old days and how things used to be so great.
I wonder what the coach thinks. I know I love my parents, but if I had a group of them standing outside my room on deadline days, I’d probably go a little nuts.

DD has a photo show today. OMG, she’s going to have to get a job to afford mounting and printing the photos!

Grrrrr

Lost: Are you kidding me?! I’m done with this show. 😦

DH: I’m working 12-hour days and you want me to do the dishes? 😦 In the leaky sink? Without a dishwasher since ours broke in August?

DD: I spend hours helping you learn to drive and then turn off your Saosin and now I’m Satan?!? 😦

The Texas State Legislature: Who are you people? You want all students to have four years of math and science. Cool. I get that. You want the math to have a pre-requisite of Alg. 2? So you’re saying ALL STUDENTS should be able to understand pre-Cal or better to graduate from HIGH SCHOOL??? Are you kidding me? Do you have children? Have you ever actaully been in a public high school or are you spending all your time at private preps? Who are you people? 😦

If Lost would’ve been half-way decent last night, I think the rest of this would probably be fine. But no. Lost sucked. Grrrr.

New book wall

When I start a new book it takes me a few tries to get what I want down on paper. BUT I have to have the first three chapters where I want them before I can move forward, even on BIAW. My new book is killing me. I can see the opening scene so clearly, but I can’t write it. Every time I try it comes across as ridiculous. SO I’m shifting gears. That scene will still take place, but I’m writing it later. And maybe this time my subconscious is trying to tell me it doesn’t work as the opening. Ack.

Neat

I’m working on ways to bring my campus’s teachers together to build a sense of community with the end result hopefully being that ALL students will learn.
Not easy with a faculty of around 150, but absolutely essential in this day and age of No Child Left Behind.
My campus is actually super successful, so making any kind of shift is difficult. There’s a built in resistence to change. Right now we have strong departments and even strong departments within departments. But there’s no real cooperation between the groups. It’s not a negative thing, but things could certainly be better if we were all working together. Kind of like you can get to your destination in a 60s model VW bug but it’ll take a lot longer than if you’ve got a Vette.
The big thing is HOW do you make it happen? My principal is totally, completely, 100% incredible. One of the reasons is because he doesn’t micro-manage. So how can you make something happen without having someone of authority pushing when that push is exactly what people might resent? My thought is get a few people on board and grow the idea from the inside out.
We’ll see. I know working together makes sense, and after reading Whatever It Takes (AN absolute MUST for all educators. It’s totally chnged me.) I know it works!

Motherhood

I guess being a mom is never going to be easy. 😦 Enough said about that.

The computers weren’t working again this morning.This time because the IP addresses changed over the weekend and I didn’t know how to find them since I’m ghosted out of where I found them last year. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. It was easy to fix but took a class period and a half to get everything straightened out. Including half my conference period. 😦
If I make it through this year, I’m confident I can do anything. I would really like the “wonderful new computer system that is going to make everything so much better,” to show up, please.
Fortunately I did not cuss in front of my students. I almost cried, but I kept the language buried deep. It took until lunch for me to feel like I didn’t need to go home.

You know, I think it’s time to start my new book. My killer needs me to get some of the aggression I’m feeling on the page. UGH.