Another Blog

I am happy to be able to tell you about the new blog I have started, Nancy’s WebQuests.    I have had various homes for my webquests over the years, but it was finally time to move them here to WordPress.

This took quite a bit of work — moving the information, checking links and formatting everything.  I must have spent two hours deciding which template I wanted to use!  But it is up and fairly well ready to go.

I am especially happy because I think this has encouraged me to think about creating some math quests to use next year.

I love WebQuests, in case you didn’t pick up on that yet!

Spring Break

I am on Spring Break.  I know it probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but since this is the first time in three years that I have worked at a “regular” school on a “regular” schedule, it is a very big deal for me!

I have been working as an educational assistant in the math department at a small charter high school this year, and I love it.  I started college with the idea of becoming a math teacher, but I abandoned that goal pretty early on.  I have, however, taught math in a number of different settings over the years.  So while it may seem an unusual job for someone with an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, it isn’t totally crazy.

Next year one of the teachers will be gone for the fall semester and, if everything goes right, I will sub for her during that time.  I am excited about that possibility.

But most of all, right now, I am excited to be on break!

March Reading

Well, it is a little late, but I am finally ready to report on my reading last month.

I read two non-fiction books:

  • The Templars: The History and the Myth by Michael Haag was an interesting book, but it went a little farther back in the history of the Templars than I think it had to.  And perhaps it spent a little more time on the myths than it needed to.  But I would recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
  • 1001 People Who Made America by Alan Axelrod was fascinating as much for the people it didn’t include as for the people it did.  The selection was a bit unexpected, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Because there is only a paragraph about each of the people, the book is a jumping off point for learning about them; further research would be necessary before pretending to know about these figures.

It was a little better month for novels:

  • Calculated in Death by JD Robb kept me guessing.  But somehow it didn’t grab me the way mysteries usually do.  This was the first book I had ever read by JD Robb/Nora Roberts, and it may be the last.  I know I am probably not being fair, but with so many books out there, I can afford to be picky!
  • Murder on the Mind by LL Bartlett was actually pretty good.  the main character, Jeff Resnick, was interesting.  I got the ebook free, but I might actually pay for others in the series.  I liked the family dynamics with the character’s brother, even though parts of it were a little odd.
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins was very different from the other books in the series.  My son gave up in the middle of the book because it was too focused on politics, but that didn’t bother me. I had heard that this book wasn’t as good as the other two even before my son stopped reading it, and I am inclined to agree.  But it was still worth the time it took to read it.  And the money I paid to buy it!

I added a new category this month: short story collections.

  • Selections from The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams was something I downloaded from the Baen Free Library.  This was a great book.  I loved the different takes on the basic Sherlock Holmes story.  This isn’t the complete book, but it contained 8 stories.
  • The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway were a good read.  I am not much of a Hemingway fan, but these stories gave me a little more insight into the man and into his writing.  Most of the stories are not full-blown stories but rather parts of stories.  I appreciated the opportunity to get that glimpse into Hemingway’s process.

And then there were the individual pieces of short fiction:

  •  “Shadows over Innocence” by Lindsay Buroker was a prequel to the Emperor’s Edge series, and I really liked it.  I like the characters and the stories.
  • The Pygmy Planet” by Jack Williamson was another good story.  When you think about when Williamson was writing, his stories are even more impressive.  This one seemed a little more dated than others I have read, but it was still good.
  • A Prize for Edie” by Jesse Franklin Bone is, as the review on Amazon says, a little dated, but it was good.  It focuses on our love.hate relationship with technology.  I enjoyed it a lot.

So it was a good month for reading.  Better than it looks like April will be!




Another month flying by

I am not sure why I am even surprised any more, but here it is almost the end of March, and I am only making my second post for the month.  I used to think this lack of posting was due to me being busy or stressed or something, but I am more inclined now to think it is because I am getting old. That is not a pleasant concept, but – at 63 – I have to at least entertain it. 

February Reading

February was obviously a very bad month for posting — the worst I have had in 8 years of blogging.  That was not because I was spending all my time reading, as this list will demonstrate.

I managed to read the following:


First and Last Things by HG Wells, which was very interesting but very difficult to read.  Part of that was due to the fact that he was writing about philosophy and religion, and I really had to pay attention.  I liked some of the things he said and disliked others.  But it made me think, and that is always good.


Persuader by Lee Child was probably the last Reacher novel I will ever read.  I know I have said before that I was not going to read any more of them, but someone gave me this book and I read it.  And I was disappointed.  I think this is a series that needs to come to an end.

Eve by Iris Johansen is the first of three books written to start finalize a long-running series.  I was a little disappointed, but that could be because I have missed some of the later books in the series.  It was obviously intended to begin to tie up loose ends, and this one does that.  Maybe I will like this one better if I read all three, but I am not sure I am going to do that.


Short Fiction

The Mardi Gras Mystery by Henry Bedford-Jones was an excellent story.  Set in New Orleans during Prohibition, the story kept me guessing until the end.  Bedford-Jones, whom I had never heard of before, was a successful writer of dime novels, and I an see why.  This one is worth a read.

“The Cosmic Express” by Jack Williamson was another excellent story that, while taking place in the future, is about us and the way we live our lives.  I really enjoyed it. 


I am hopeful that March will see me more active here on the blog and with my ereader. 

January Reading

I had hoped to finish three works in each of my three categories last month, but I missed by about 100 pages.  What I got read was the following:

  1. The Loss of the S.S. Titanic:Its Story and Its Lessons, By One of the Survivors by Lawrence Beesley was quite interesting.  Written soon after the disaster took place, it does not romanticize it at all. Beeseley explains how people did or did not get on lifeboats.  He praises those who did their duties to the end.  It was a book worth reading.
  2. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov was inspiring at times and infuriating at others.  It is a little too bean-counter in its approach to some things — like not “wasting” time — for my tastes.  But I also feel like I learned a lot.  I saw some of the things I do in the classroom in a new light.  Overall, I think it was worth my time even as I approach the end of my career as an educator.  I am consciously trying to implement some of his techniques, and I am aware of when I do things that go against them.  My consciousness has been raised, and I think that is about all I want to ask for in a book.  I would like to make a comment, though.  I borrowed this book from a colleague who received it from the school where he used to work.  As I look on Amazon, I see that the Kindle version costs $19.16, as opposed to $ 20.17 for the paperback.  I would NOT buy this book for that reason alone.
  3. Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick was every bit as good as his book about the Essex. I was not aware of my interest in naval history until I started reading Philbrick’s books!


  1. The Grave Maurice by Martha Grimes was, I think, my favorite Grimes book so far.  Granted I have only read three or four, and all of them were from her Richard Jury series, but this one was really good. I liked Jury better in this book than in the others.
  2. Never Buried by Edie Claire was one I got for free from the Kobo bookstore.  It is the first in her Leigh Koslow series.  I will admit to being surprised at the end.  It was a fun, easy read.

Short Fiction

  1. “Dandy Detects” by M. Louisa Locke is a short story based on a series of books the author has written.  This was an easy read and worth my time.
  2. “Salvage in Space” by Jack Williamson was a fun read.  I haven’t read many of Williamson’s work, and this was the first of his short stories I had read.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Williamson is one of the main reasons I decided to “allow” myself to read short fiction this year.
  3. Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker is a novella by the author of the Emperor’s Edge series.  I really enjoyed this a lot.  I haven’t done so yet, but I plan to get and read all of her work.

Farewell to a hero

Pete Seeger died yesterday.  He was 94 years old.  There is nothing I could say that Harry Chapin didn’t say many years ago in his song “Old Folkie”.

You know, it’s always the “Old Folkie”
They say he’s always bleedin’
But whenever somebody’s needing him,
He’s the one who cares.
It’s always the “Old Folkie”
Whenever somethin’s burning,
Or a lesson needs some learning,
Or a tide that needs some turning,
To a better world somewhere,
Yeah, the “Old Folkie’s” there.

Yeah, for forty years now he’s been pushin’ on.
Carrying the dream ’cause Woody’s long gone.
He’s the last voice singing that “Bound for Glory” song.
And if you never seen him you might take a look
He’s the man who put the meaning in the music book.
Yeah, the world may be tired but Pete’s still going strong.

Well, Pete’s gone now, too.  I can only hope that he and Woody and Harry are making sweet music together.

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