Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book or eReader? What's Your Poison?

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  

"Don't sit too close to the television," our parents warned as if our eyes might fall out or rays might soak into us.  Maybe both things happened, but I seemed to make it through a childhood of mild television watching with few, if any, symptoms as a result.  It's interesting to live on the cusp of new technologies.  What did people think as they watched the first car owners drive past their homes?  Imagine the disgust as televisions began to replace radios.  What were they saying when computers first found their way to our desktops?  What about that hard rock-n-roll music that was sure to doom your soul?

With any new technology or discovery there are gifts and concerns.  The eReader is no exception.  I had to laugh this week as my friend, an avid book holder, sent this link to my Facebook account:

I nearly fell over laughing when I saw it.  As much as my friend enjoys reading books, I enjoy reading on my reader.  The study suggests that people who use readers may have difficulty sequencing events in a story (for the record, I may have had trouble with this before eReaders).  Of course, I think there are a lot of questions to be asked about the study.  What was the sample size?  Were readers experienced with eReaders?  Did readers want to read on an eReader?  These are just a few questions for starters.

No matter what science says, I will continue to read from my reader.  I just prefer it.  There's something about being able to visit the library virtually and fill the shelves with titles.  There's something about being able to read a sample before purchasing a book.  There's something about being able to highlight favorite lines and have them collect in a cloud.  There's something about being able to touch a word for a definition.  It even makes me feel better to not be able to physically see how far I am from the end of the book without touching for a line at the bottom of my screen.  There seems to be less pressure to race to the end of the book.  I love the swipe of a page turn, the gentle adjustment of font size at the end of the day, and the look of a bookshelf with covers facing out.  Not to mention the additional space I now have in my living room, closet, and other spaces around the house.  I can carry my library right in my purse.

As I told my friend, I'm sure when they left clay tablets and moved toward scrolls there were people who missed the feel of those heavy tablets.  All I know is I read more now than I ever did.  The great thing about our world is it is full of options.  If you still love a book, you can still get a book.  I love my friends who still love to hold a book, smell its pages, and turn through a story with the pinch of their fingers instead of a swipe.  The good news for both of us is according to scientific studies, reading for just 6 minutes a day reduces stress by 68%.  You can't make this stuff up.  We also appear to be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's.  (2.5% is huge, right?)  Whether we can sequence effectively or not, there are still benefits to time spent reading no matter how you choose to do it.  For me, it's the opportunity to chat about books with friends and exchange interesting scientific research from the internet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Who Would Have Known?

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  Thanks to Julie Johnson for helping me get my fingers on the keyboard tonight with her post, Nourishing the Teacher Writer.  

Growing up, I was not a sports fan.  Hardly able to dribble a ball and chew gum at the same time, I just never took to sports.  My physical education teachers were patient with my challenges.  I worked hard. I tried.  I listened.  Somehow it just never seemed to work.  My friends were all big athletes so I spent my time keeping statistics for teams so I could hang out with them.  Living in a small football town you can imagine the complications of growing up uninterested in sports.

The challenges didn't end on the field.  I had to learn to handle sports fans in my everyday world as well.  One of my best friends was a sports fanatic both on and off the court.  It seemed at her house there was always a game of one kind or another on the television with family members cheering for their favorite teams.  My grandma listened to baseball religiously.  I'd laugh at her kitchen coaching, but still I just wasn't a fan.

Last fall my son talked me into joining a family fantasy football league.  I laughed at the idea, but I joined in hopes of learning a bit about the sport along the way.  In order to avoid being the laughing stock of the family, I raced out and purchased a fantasy football magazine (those things are ridiculous in price!) and started searching the internet for draft tips.  I thought I had a strategy, but when selections begin to fly all of that goes out the window.

Despite my best efforts, I ended last football season at the bottom of our league.  I blame Ray Rice.  This year, I'm a bit more fantasy savvy.  Case in point, I didn't make the mistake of drafting Ray Rice again.  Experience is a good teacher.  I've had a fantasy basketball and baseball team.  I've managed dig a few fantasy scoops off of Twitter.  Each season I learn a little more about the sport and the fantasy game.

I'm sure my friends wonder about me as I sit watching games, post sports updates, and cheer over favorite players.  Who knew one day I'd stay up late on Monday night to watch my favorite quarterback?  Who knew I'd be cheering from my sofa seat as he completed a 60 years pass to one of his receivers?  Who knew I'd jump up and down as he scored HIS OWN touchdown?  Yep, Matthew Stafford is going to lead my team to victory this year.  I hope the family is ready.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A World Awaits

It's Tuesday.  Two Writing Teachers are hosting Slice of Life today.  Stop by and join the conversation by reading, commenting, or sharing your story.  

"Remember the book we used to read:  Goodnight Moon?  I feel like I need to go around the house and say goodbye to everything this morning before I leave," my daughter said as she got ready to move her carload full of "must haves" to college.

How could I forget?  I'm pretty sure I read that book to her five times each day while she toddled around the house all of those years ago.  I smile to myself at the memory that seems long ago and like yesterday all at the same time.  Where has the time gone?  Bringing myself back to reality I scan the house to see if we have forgotten to load anything.  The day is sure to be a long one full of lifting, putting together, and getting settled.

Though I know I will miss her, I'm also excited for her.  I make a conscious effort to let the excitement win the battle for my attention.  After all, I still remember the first day I drove onto Ohio State University's campus.  It was as if I knew there was a world of possibility right in front of me.  For the first time, I felt as if I were in charge of the direction my life would take.  To this day when I drive on the campus, I am reminded of that feeling.

It isn't long until we are on the road with a van packed full of clothing, bedding, organizers, and essentials (I use that word loosely).  She sits in the back with everything packed tightly around her.  There's no time to waste upon arrival as times to stay parked in front of the dorm are limited.  There's much to be moved and put away to get her settled into her new space.  We arrange furniture, find places for everything she's brought, and put the finishing touches on the room by hanging a few pictures in her space.

Soon she seems satisfied with all we have accomplished.  I remind myself of all the opportunities she will discover here.  For the first time, she's fully in charge of the direction her life will take.  I remind myself of this as I say goodbye to her and head home.  Goodbyes like goodnights are only temporary.  Every goodbye is followed by a hello and goodnights are followed by new mornings.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Poetry Friday: Lost

It's Poetry Friday.  Today's event is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading.  Stop by today's round up for more poetry.  

In a week I begin a new journey as I move from my first grade classroom to a reading intervention position in our building.  It's the first time I've been without a classroom to arrange, a class list to call my own, or a classroom community to begin to build.  It's a little unsettling.  I'm excited about this new opportunity and am beginning to rethink my community --- it's just larger.  Find my class list --- it's the classes I will be working with in the upcoming year.   I stumbled upon this poem this evening that seemed fitting as I find my way in this new place.  

by David Wagoner from Collected Poems 1956-1976 © Indiana University Press.  

Stand still.  The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost.  Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The rest can be found here:  The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Here's to a new journey as I discover my new HERE.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slice of Life: Savor Summer

Today I'm joining a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to this amazing community of writers. 

Recently Jill Fisch posted this on her Facebook page:

Jill Fisch's new blog:  I Notice, I Wonder

For me, summer hasn't been slow.  It's been busy.  Though I've been out of school since the beginning of June, it wasn't until July 16th, that my professional work took a bit of a break.  Every week since school ended I've been involved in meetings, professional development sessions, completing work related to school, and catching up on professional reading.  Now, granted, the schedule has been a bit more slowed, but it's still been full of professional work.  Finally on July 16th, I decided I was able to find the time for a two week break (sort of).  

In one of those paused moments in the last few days, Jill's post caught my attention as I read …. "to recapture that relaxed, slow feeling of summer in the middle of the school year."  On her new blog, she is sharing pictures of little moments in life she is able to enjoy in the summer because she takes the time to slow down to notice and wonder.  Just reading her post made me slow down a bit and take a nice deep breath.  It reminded me to slow down a bit in these next few days to take time to notice and wonder.  

As I looked through my photos, I realized that even in the busyness of obligations, I was able to find little moments to slow down and savor summer.  In the coming days I plan to do much more of this, but I hope to remember that it is possible, even when I'm busy with school, to find moments to slow down to savor.  

I've been wanting to play with Animoto so here are few of the moments I've savored in recent summer days.  Thanks, Jill, for the inspiration - and new lens.  

My Video

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Slice of Life: My Inner Diva

Today I'm joining a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to this amazing community of writers. 

"I'm headed into town," I called to my husband as I opened my car door.  "Do you plan to use the gas points for the truck?  It's the end of the month so we need to use them today or we'll lose them.  If you don't need them, I'll fill up my car."

"The truck doesn't need gas so you can use them," he replied from the garage where he was busily tinkering with the mower, "but you should take a couple of the gas cans."

Somewhere from decades long gone my teenage self resurrected,  "Ugh.  The gas cans.  Do I have to?"  Realizing that sounded a bit ridiculous I added, "I don't want my new car to smell like gas."  So maybe my car is two years old, but it still feels new to me.

"You don't have to," he gently nudged, "but every can is saving $5.00."

It's not fair when he appeals to my common sense side.  In our area we earn points off gas by shopping at the grocery story.  These points can then be used to save on gas purchases.  With gas prices ever-climbing per gallon, this savings can be helpful at the pump.  We had a dollar that had to be used as it was the last day of the month, but I did not want to hassle with the gas cans.

He had me.  I knew he was right, but I didn't like it.  "You are really pushing my OCD side," I moaned as I went to grab the cans.  I decided to go inside to get trash bags to wrap around each in hopes that would decrease the likelihood of spilling gas in my car.

Dramatically placing the gas cans in my trunk wrapped in plastic garbage bags, I headed to the grocery store.  It seemed with the hot temperatures I should fill up my car and the dreaded gas cans before shopping so I could get my cold items home in a timely fashion.  Muttering to myself I popped the trunk and placed the cans on the ground.  I filled the car and then started to fill the cans.  I worked carefully to keep gas from overflowing out the top of the can.

Finally they were filled.  I started to put the caps on and realized I needed to turn the spouts so they wouldn't spill.  Geesh.  This was challenging to do without getting gas on me so the muttering started again.  As I heaved the cans into the trunk one of the cans began to spill pungent liquid out the top.  Though I had wrapped the red plastic container in a green garbage bag, I was still worried about gas getting on anything in my trunk.  I pulled the bag up quickly to keep it from getting on the carpet.  "The sacrifices I make for my family," I grumbled.  Knowing the truth was that I was motivated by saving a buck.  Ok, five bucks.  Two cans, ten bucks.

This really wasn't a big deal but somehow, at this moment, it felt like there was no greater sacrifice than filling the gas cans.  I was taking one for the team.  As I worked to get the cans situated so I could shop, I realized there was nothing OCD about my reasons for not doing this.  Apparently, whatever girlieness I had left in my bones was coming out.  Ewwww, the smell of gas.  Ewwww,  I didn't want to touch any part of those cans.

My grandma would have been proud.  I was her first granddaughter after having three boys and I'm sure she had great hopes of dressing me up and teaching me all I needed to know to be the best girl ever.  Unfortunately, it wasn't an easy task.  For the most part, I gave up dolls by second grade and dresses before fourth grade ended.  The most cooking I could muster back then was a grilled cheese sandwich.  Getting me to brush my hair was a challenge.  In my defense, I could have brushed it and would have looked the same.  An attempt to teach me to sew just didn't work out.

You'll still rarely see me in a dress.  I may never overly think about fashion.  My makeup will likely always fit in a bag smaller than a child's hand.  I don't mind getting dirty pulling weeds in the garden.  I don't over think the decor of my home, but when it is time to load the gas cans in the back of the car the girlieness will rise to the top and this diva has to draw the line.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Poetry Friday: Pitcher

It's Poetry Friday.  Today's link up is hosted at Check It Out.

So I'm a little hooked on fantasy baseball.  One of my pitchers, Mat Latos, is back with the Reds.  Yep, I'm writing this in hopes of sending the power to him to strike out my son's players on the other team.  Oh, fantasy sports.  

The pitcher
touches his hat
looks left
chin touches shoulder.

The ball
goes behind his back
he stares
at the hitter.

He moves
the ball
to his glove
and stares again.

He winds
sends the ball
toward the batter.

The batter
but the ball
smacks the catchers mitt.


© Cathy L. Mere, 2014