Spring Break

A week off… I am really happy to be in Deming with my husband for a few days at least.  Pretty soon I will be here full time, but there are still a few more weeks before that can happen.  I am getting impatient.

February Reading

I read a lot last month, but I got busy and haven’t posted about it until now.

The only non-fiction book I read was #Houston70: The Miracle Journey of Apollo 13 by Phillip Gibson.  It is the second book like this by Gibson that I have read.  I really enjoy the format – presenting history in a series of tweets.  It makes the event accessible to almost anyone, I think.

I read a few novels.

Calamity by Bob B. Bernstein was a good detective story.  I enjoyed the fact that the detective was a boat captain, too.  This was, as are most of the books I read anymore, a book I got for free for the Kindle app.  I would have been willing to pay for it, though!

Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs was another free ebook.  It is a romance/mystery and a very light read.  I enjoyed it a lot, though; the story was good.

Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery is the second thing I have read by M. Louisa Locke.  I liked this because the story was good and also because it  gives a pretty good picture of like in San Francisco in the late 1800s.

Double Ugly by Jim Murray was a much better book than I expected it to be.  It took a while to get into it, but once I did, it was really good.  The main character, an Irish policeman, gets a heart transplant that changes his life in many ways.  It is a mystery — a little darker than I usually read, but good.

I read a lot of short stories, old ones but well worth the time.   I recommend them all.

  • “2br02b” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • “The Man with the Twisted Lip” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “The Adventure of the Crooked Man” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “The Mystery of the Solitary Cyclist” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “All Cats Are Gray” by Andre Norton
  • “The Gallery”  by Rog Phillips
  • “Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong” by M. Louisa Locke

Also, I started listening to audiobooks in the car this last month.  I downloaded them from Librivox.org.  I recommend all of them.

  • The Amethyst Box by Anna Katherine Green
  • Boston Blackie by Jack Boyle
  • The Man Who Fell through the Earth by Carolyn Wells

I especially enjoyed The Man Who Fell through the Earth.

The Future

This will be my last year at my present job.  I am currently commuting 35 miles each way every day and 210 miles each way on the weekend to be with my husband.  It’s just too much.  I am exhausted!  But I don’t know what will come next.  I cannot really afford to retire yet — not for another year.  So I am trying to look for work down in Deming, where we live, while living in Belen and working in Albuquerque.  I have seen some jobs with the school district down here that I wouldn’t mind having, or I could probably piece together something with the college in town, but it is too early to really put anything in place.  And I would like to know I have something for the fall before it gets here.  I am trying not to be impatient, but…

Most of all, when I think of the future, I am really looking forward to it.  It will be an adventure.  Let’s see how it plays out!

January Reading

This month I got quite a bit of reading done.  I am pretty happy about that!

Non-fiction

  • Freedom Summer by Bruce W. Watson was an excellent book.  I am too young to have participated — or even really to understand that is was happening — but I have always wished I could have been there.  Reading this book was extremely educational.  I now have a much better understanding of what happened, and I can honestly say that I am not sure I could have done what those people did.  I was especially interested learning about what some of those people did later, how they affected the later ’60s.

Fiction

  • Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Blazon was a quick read — a mystery with some romance thrown in.  It was fun, and I will probably read more by this author.
  • Romance & Revenge by Laina Turner is the ninth book in the series, so there was some history that I didn’t have.  That didn’t make it any less fun to read, though.
  • A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl was excellent.  The plot was very well developed and really interesting.  The book had a depth that some of these others don’t.  I enjoyed reading it.
  • St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth Crabtree was another fun read.  I have to admit it was a little difficult to believe a successful Miami investigative reporter would return home and take a job as a food critic. Once I got past that, though, I enjoyed the story.
  • He Needed Killing Too by Bill Fitts was quite good.  I liked the main character, a former computer science professor turned private eye.  He stumbles along and ends up providing the police with a lot of information leading them to an arrest.  The book was a good one.

Short Fiction

  • “The Variable Man” by Philip K. Dick was wonderful.  It made me appreciate the creativeness of individuals.  I read “Beyond the Door” last year and understood that it maybe wasn’t the best of Dick’s work to start with.  This was much easier to read and I really enjoyed it.
  • “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Holmes story I had never read.  It made me realize how simple these stories are — kind of the way Watson is amazed at how easy Holmes makes his deductions appear.  As a fan of Elementary with Johnny Miller and Lucy Liu, I decided to read some of Doyle’s short stories.  This one included Irene Adler and a good description of Holmes’ feelings for her.
  • “The Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was fun.  I know I had read this one years ago, but I honestly couldn’t remember the ending until I was almost there this time.  I am going to be reading more of these stories as the year progresses.

February is going to be a busy month, but I hope to get a similar amount of reading done.  We’ll have to wait and see how that goes.

PARCC protest

We are struggling with how to help prepare our students for the PARCC math tests.  We have started taking the practice tests and have been stunned by how language-heavy some of the math tests are, how difficult that will make them for English-language learners. We also know that many of our students do not have the necessary math skills to do well on the tests.

While we sit around school and complain about the new test our students have to take this year, a student at another area school has decided to take action.

There is a petition on change.org asking Governor Susana Martinez to Cancel or make all PARCC testing optional for students.   KOB4 in Albuquerque reported on the petition, started by Derrek Sena, and I can only hope that the report will encourage people to sign.

When I did a search for PARCC on change.org, I learned that this is far from the only petition of its kind.  I doubt that anyone in authority anywhere is going to listen, but these petitions are a way to demonstrate that there is a lack of support for this test.  I hope you will sign one!

Happy New Year

I am going to try this year to post more regularly. So, here I am, trying to get off to a good start.  I think this is going to be a much better year for me, blogging-wise, than last year was.  Let’s see if I’m right!