Archive | November, 2019

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

26 Nov

My route was laid out. I had a number of errands to run Saturday morning and a workshop that started at one in the afternoon. Only precise execution of my plan would make the day a success.

As I left the house, I picked up the bag I wanted to add to the boxes I would be dropping off at Goodwill, my first stop, and patted my pockets. House keys? Check. Car keys? Check. I pulled the door shut, ready to face the day.

No one was at the Goodwill when I arrived and I was in and out in less than five minutes, on my way to my second stop, Kinkos. The week before I had drafted, proofread, corrected and printed the end-of-the-year donation letter I was going to copy on behalf of Oregon Basset Hound Rescue. Parking at the nearest Kinkos can be tricky and I cheered as I pulled into the empty four-space lot. I unbuckled my seat belt, grabbed my purse and reached for the folder with the master copy. It wasn’t there.

Crap, I thought, I am an idiot.  I’d set the folder in the Goodwill bag so I wouldn’t leave it The hurrier I go, the behinder I get, reverberated through my head. I rebuckled my seatbelt and drove back to Goodwill.

Did you know Goodwill has a form for things you accidentally donated but want to get back? Fortunately, no one else had come since my drop-off and the folder was easy to find. I was in and out in another five minutes, back on the road to Kinkos.

The rest of the day unfolded without incident. Errands were run. I made it to my class on time. It was a cross-stitch class and I was happy to sit and work peacefully on my Christmas ornament after my busy morning. The instructor told us we wouldn’t have time to finish the project in class. She was correct, but I worked on it that evening and the next day.

All in all, I am happy with how the day – and the ornament – turned out.


And the winner is…

21 Nov


Yes, a nonfiction book, Martin W. Sandler’s book 1919: The Year That Changed America, won the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature!


Here’s what the National Book Award judges had to say:

Martin W. Sandler’s riveting work of nonfiction, 1919 The Year That Changed America, focuses on one year of turbulence and its far-reaching aftermath. Sandler’s evocative language brings 1919 to life for young readers, showing us the impact of that crucial year on major issues like race relations, women’s rights, and climate change. This carefully researched and curated work strikingly demonstrates the interconnected nature of history–as it happens and its rippling consequences for years to come.

I couldn’t agree more. The book opens with the Great Molasses Flood, which might seem a strange place to begin. However, Sandler recreates that event and connects it to the events he discusses in the subsequent chapters. It really is a brilliant piece of nonfiction writing for young people.

Although written for young people, I think  a lot of adults would find this book fascinating as well.


The Appointment

19 Nov

I was caught up on my grading and my students were working quietly, so I decided to check my email. I always feel a little guilty when I do this, worried that it looks as though I am not doing my job. And, like my students, checking my email can sometimes turn into a rabbit-hole of clicking and suddenly you are deep into the warren.

This day seemed no different, and most of the emails were routine, except this one:

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I had filled out the YALSA volunteer form months ago and had stopped thinking about it. YALSA is the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association and the run several book award committees I checked off on the volunteer form, including the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. I tried to calm myself before opening the email. Don’t put the cart before the horse, I cautioned myself, as my heart pounded in anticipation.

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The students were still working quietly. I must have gasped or giggled because one of the students looked up, a quizzical look on her face.

“I just got some really good news,” I simply stated, smiling slightly, though inside I was jumping around and shouting. What I wanted to say was “Holy crap!” but a teacher can’t say that, not even when they are excited and nervous because they never expected to be the Chair of a book award committee.

Without any reservations

12 Nov

Just after 8 on Thursday morning, the phone in my room rang. At that hour, I assumed it was another teacher in my building, but as I picked up the receiver, I did not recognize the name displayed.

“This is Adrienne,” I said, curious about the mystery person on the other end.

“Hi, Adrienne, I’m K, the VP at XXXXX Middle School. So-and-So applied for a job in our library and listed you as a reference. What can you tell me about her?”

I don’t get this sort of call often, but I was more than happy to talk about So-and-So. We had worked together in the library and had just clicked.

The year before had been hard. The library assistant job had been eliminated and I had relied on a small group of volunteers, some more reliable and competent than others. The next year, the position had been restored and I spent part of the week before school started interviewing potential library assistants. When it was all over, So-and-so had been my first choice. It had been a good choice.

When my library position was eliminated, she had been expected to run the library on her own. She ended up resigning a few weeks into the school year. She was being asked to do a job she hadn’t signed up for, or been trained to do.

We kept in touch and now, almost seven years later, I had the opportunity to help her out. I gave her a glowing recommendation – all of it true. I had no reservations, not one single doubt, that she wold be perfect for the job.

I have yet to hear if she got the job or not, but I sure hope she will.


I’m back

11 Nov

It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve lost a bit of my writing mojo, but it seems to be coming back.

Today, I am the guest blogger over at The Hub, where I have written about “What to Read on November 11th”. You can check it out by clicking on the link below.

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