A Weekend of Stories

As promised, I have a few movie reviews and two mid-book “talks” to give. The fact that it’s a week “late” shouldn’t matter, right?

I love talking about books and movies! In particular, I love getting books in the hands of my students. It makes me so happy to see a student who probably hasn’t read an entire book for years finish a book I gave him/her. Modeling how adults interact with books (and movies) and each other regarding books is so important. Some of my students come from text deficient environments – their parents don’t read the paper, they don’t keep books in their house, and they don’t share books with each other. It’s sad but when there are more pressing needs (food, job, money, etc.), I get why books take a back seat.

Just like movies, books transport use to new places and new situations. As Kelly Gallagher names it, books provide us with “imaginative rehearsals” for the real world. Of course I will never be like Katniss, living in District 12, and participating in The Hunger Games, but with every book or movie, we can learn a little about ourselves and maybe even become better people.

So as you recall, my sister rounded up some of the most cheesiest movies (besides The Hunger Games) from the last few years: Dolphin’s Tale, Joyful Noise, Big Miracle, and We Bought a Zoo. Keep in mind my sister is 27, I am 29, and my mom is 58. No kids, just adults and hours of feel good Disney.

After raking, we started with The Hunger Games. This was my third time seeing it but my mom’s first. Unfortunately she hasn’t read the books, so she had some questions along the way. I was very happy with this film’s adaptation of the book. Of course the movie is never as good as the book, but this one came pretty close in my opinion.

Post-teenage blood bath, I took a nap. For two hours. Apparently raking for two hours wore me out and I needed to spend equal amount of time sleeping. It was glorious. My mom is super 80’s and uses electric blankets. I was all warm and cozy and slept like a log.

You know that groggy feeling you have after napping? I had major fog brain, but a nice two mile walk with the family and dogs took care of that.

That evening we watched We Bought a Zoo. I was looking forward to this one and had tried multiple times this summer to convince the kids I nanny for to choose it whenever we went to Redbox. Overall I liked it; it was a cute, feel-good movie. However, I did think they overdid the plot line involving the mom who had recently passed away.

When I wasn’t watching movies or napping, I was reading Loving Frank.

This book follows the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress (they were both married). It’s well-written but not a fast moving book. It’s interesting to see how both were breaking all kinds of social codes from that time period. I believe that although it’s fiction, parts of the book are based on Wright’s and his mistress’ actual lives.

And now, a week later, I am watching New Moon as I recoup from a girls’ weekend up in Minocqua. I have some great pictures to share, and hopefully it won’t take me a full week to get my s*** together.

Happy Sunday night!

Cottage Clean-Up

Greetings from northern Wisconsin!

It’s a girls’ weekend at the cottage. Brody caught a flight to DC for some family matters, and the dogs, although male, don’t count because they’re not human and they can’t help with clean-up.

My sister, Laura, and I met in Oshkosh last night to drive the rest of the way together. We stopped at Panera for dinner, and I impressively ate a roasted turkey avocado BLT sandwich while driving without spilling much on me. #unsafedrivingsuccess

Upon arrival at 9pm, Moose hightailed it for the lake. He loves to “fish.” At 5:30am, he was again out there.


For about two hours this morning, the three of us raked, bagged, and dumped leaves. It went by quickly and the dogs kept us entertained. Unfortunately, they were lazy and didn’t feel like helping. Jerks.


The eight bags of leaves took up most of my trunk, but Laura still managed to squeeze in the back.


We worked hard this morning and now we have some movies to watch.

My sister brought these movies. Some I am more excited to watch than others, like Joyful Noise. Ehh…not my thing. I am looking forward to watching The Hunger Games for the third time, though, and We Bought a Zoo. I’ll give a brief movie review of these tomorrow.

Have a nice, relaxing Saturday!

I Ran Ten Miles and Saw The Hunger Games

Note: I realized the morning after I pub
Usher this that a better title would’ve been “Katniss and I Both Ran Ten Miles Yesterday”

Where to start? It was quite the busy day.

One great part of my day was seeing The Hunger Games with some colleagues. I read the books over two years ago and told everyone I could about them, including my friend Bridget. Like the Twilight series, I credit this series with showing students how amazing books can be; many students told me they hadn’t read a book for X years, but they read these three books and actually enjoyed reading. Because it is my goal as an English teacher to help every student fall in love with reading, I often recommend The Hunger Games to reluctant readers.

As for the movie, two of my students saw the midnight premiere (and came to school the next day) and had good things to say. One boy was disappointed, but I said there was no way the movie could ever live up to the books. My opinion? I was very pleased with it. The film didn’t blow me away, but I thought it was a good adaptation. The casting was fantastic (loved Katniss, Effie, and Cinna) and the cinematography was well done. Not knowing what was going on in Katniss’ head left out a lot, and I wonder if they could’ve included her inner thoughts.

Once we got out of the theater, my work friends and I headed to the Culver’s for a late lunch, but since I had a green monster smoothie after my run and some popcorn trail mix (chocolate chips, cranberries, almonds, and sunflower seeds) during the movie, I wasn’t especially hungry. It had been a long time since I had had custard (which is different and a little fattier than ice cream), so I had a small cone with the flavor of the day: chocolate Heath bar. It was creamy with lots of Heath pieces.

Before all of that, I had my run. Ten miles. Mel mapped out a run that started at Bluephie’s on Monroe street. The first two miles were miserable; it was an uphill climb and the humidity was high. Once the ground leveled out and we were in the Arboretum, I felt better. We met up with a bunch of other runners Mel and I know though Dailymile and continued on. Some miles felt good and some felt crappy. I took a Gu, Tri-Berry flavored, around mile six and sipped water most of the time. I altered my training schedule to match Mel’s, so even thought I was supposed to have a fourteen mile run today, I dropped down to a ten. Next weekend I will run fifteen miles instead of the ten or twelve I was supposed to do. Did you follow that?


Napping and eating took up the rest of my Saturday afternoon. It was glorious.

Earlier in the day, Brody went to the store and got chicken to grill out. While the grill heated up, we drank wine (Menage a Trois) and Brody played with the dogs.



Along with the chicken, we had alfredo noodles, and peas.


I had a little, tiny bowl of the Ben & Jerry’s Greek yogurt for something sweet. Now Brody and I are watching a couple episodes of Lost before calling it an early night.

If you saw The Hunger Games, what do you think?
Do you prefer ice cream fro yo, or custard?

Ten Nuggets of Randomness

I have lots of random thoughts I’d like to share with you. In one of the classes I teach, we are reading The Catcher in the Rye which is written and narrated in a stream of consciousness style. I will spare you all of the randomness going on in my brain and limit it to ten nuggets.
*Note: While reviewing this post before publishing, I realized where the word “nugget” came from – the Garlic Gold!

1) I realized yesterday that I have completed half of my training plan. This weekend I will run 14 miles and bypass the halfway mark in terms of distance. Even now, I struggle to understand what 26.2 miles will be (and of course feel) like.

2) Roasting veggies is the easiest way for me to fit in a few servings a day. Tonight I roasted yellow squash, red and orange peppers, and onions. I love how the onions caramelize and become sweet.