Jun 12, 2017

Book Lists - From Other Places

There are a few great places to find GLBT reading lists this month ...


First, there's Bustle, which shared a list of 12 essential non-fiction books to read. I thought I'd read a bunch of great GLBT non-fiction in my day, but it turns out I've read NONE of these 12!


Same goes, unfortunately, for the Pride Month Reading List 2016 from the National Book Org. Well, not totally true. I've read ONE book from the YA list - Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is one of my favorite books ever.


The ALA has a great resource page, full of posters and flyers you can download, as well as links to lists of great award-winning books!


All in all, I've got a bunch of reading to do - I've already downloaded a few of these books to my Kindle so I have some good reading on my 40th birthday celebration vacation, and will report back with what I read, and what I loved and why!





Jun 11, 2017

Celebrating The Austins






Every few years, someone I love gets married. And because I am ordained (online) to perform ceremonies, every few years I get the honor of bearing legal witness to the marriages of the people I love.


So when Jon met Kyle, and they started to get serious, and all of us friends started talking about "would they or wouldn't they," I started hoping. And when Kyle got down on one knee and asked Jon to marry him, I started putting bugs in the ears of their wedding party.


And when Wendy asked me to meet her for coffee, and these two were there with a sign that said, "Will you marry us?" I cried, said yes, and got down to business.


Friday was wonderful. It was everything a wedding should be ... two people who love each other, nervous and excited that they are making a legal and public commitment to each other, to share forever with one another.


I didn't cry during the ceremony, which was truly a miracle. Every time I practiced it, I sobbed. As they walked down the aisle hand in hand, I had to dig my nails into my skin to keep the tears at bay. When they got to me, and I looked at them and whispered, "Breathe!" it was for me as much as for them.


I cried as they kissed. I cried as I got to announce for the first time Mr. and Mr. Austin. I cried when they had their first dance. I cried over and over. But not while I married them. Not while they said their vows.


It was an honor. I love love, and I will always marry those I love. Always.

Jun 5, 2017

GLBT Books I've Read Recently


Here are five of the books I've read in the last year. One (Requiem), represents the entire series. Which means seven.


I've read seven books in the last year that have GLBT characters in them.


Of these eight, two were written expressly ABOUT GLBT characters and their lives. The other five had GLBT characters in the books, although the books themselves did not follow these characters as main characters.


In total, I wasn't expecting GLBT characters in five of these books. I was super amazingly pleasantly surprised to find these GLBT characters, and their presence made me think.


That YA authors are adding GLBT characters to their books, not as a statement or a main character, but as a friend, someone who we see and we get to know and we fall in love with even as their story arch doesn't make or break the main characters? This feels like progress to me.


Only in the Delirium series (represented here by Requiem) is there a conversation about the character's being GLBT, and what the main character thinks of it. And this is a dystopian series where the main character has been raised in an extremely closed and structured environment, and her commentary on the GLBT characters serves to show how she has realized just how gross and wrong her upbringing truly is.


In Every. Other. Case. the GLBT characters are just ... there. In the same way that every other character is just ... there. No discussion needed. No precursor to meeting the character. No questions about the legitimacy of the character.


This is NOT something I saw growing up. This is not something I saw much of in my 20s. This is something that has begun to occur only in the last few years.


IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY!


And yes, we need more books where the GLBT characters take center stage. Of course we do. My students need to be able to pick up books and have the main characters be GLBT and have there be no questions.


SO much still needs to be done. But these books? And their characters? Feel like victories to me.


Books Featured (affiliate links):


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Delirium Trilogy Collection Lauren Oliver 3 Books Set (Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem) by Lauren Oliver
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Jun 2, 2017

Summers "Off"

Now that I'm a teacher, I get "summers off." Never mind the hours I put in every day during the school year. Never mind the hours my work wife and I are putting in almost every day this summer. Everywhere I go, I see comments about teachers having it so easy in June, July, and August.


Rather than take offense, however, I've decided to use my summer "off" for a bunch of things.


There's all the swinging we're doing.



There's tons of playing at our water table, with the plan to get a mini pool in the near future so we can play in there as well.



There's all the books I plan to read this summer. I was lucky enough to get a HUGE book haul right before the end of the school year, a combination of gifts from my mama for my 40th (which is coming up soon ...) and student donations, and I want to read as many of them as I can before summer is up so I have tons of books to talk up to my new crop of sevies.
And then there's all the knitting and crochet.


As I finally take time to organize our life in our new home (something that's been ignored as winter and spring flew past us), I'm learning to let go of everything that doesn't add value or spark joy. That leaves me with a lot of yarn, however - both valuable and joy-sparking. But not if it just sits there, unused.


And so I'm working my way through as much of it as I can, using scraps to make afghans and almost-whole skeins to make hats, getting back to having stacks of knitting and crochet ready to send off to charities in need. I may not find a lot of time for this during the school year, and so I'm taking as much time as possible this summer to get some stuff done.


So far? It's been wonderful!

Jun 1, 2017

GLBT Book Month



I'm super excited to participate in GLBT Book month for the second year in a row! Admittedly, last year I didn't do much participating. I had great intentions, but in the end only shared one book list.


This year, however, I've done some planning - even if it was just a few hours of planning, less than a day before June - and I feel like I'll be able to do much more to celebrate!


First up, I'll share a list of the books I've been reading these past 12 months with GLBT characters.


Second, I'll share some of the lists Bustle, the ALA, and the National Book Org are putting out.


Finally, I want to talk a bit about being GLBT inclusive in my classroom, especially working in public schools where that sort of thing is actually mandated a bit by the district and state.


For now, however, Happy Pride!!!

May 31, 2017

The Last Of August


The Last Of August, by Brittany Cavallaro


After falling in love with the first book in this series, and sharing the love with more than a handful of my sevies, I knew the minute this book came out I'd need to add it to the classroom shelves. I did, and it didn't stay there for long - student after student checked this one out, so fast I didn't get the chance to read it until today!


For those who love Sherlock Holmes, this book (the second in the series) takes a new look at Holmes and Watson, setting them in the present day, and as descendants of the originals rather than the original pair.


I already can't wait for Ms. Cavallaro to write another book in the series ... I want to know what happens to Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson next!



Flawed

Flawed, by Cecelia Ahern


First up on my summer reading challenge was to finish Flawed. I started this right before school ended, but then it got set down as I closed out the room for the summer and got my grades posted and such. I got back to it last night, and finished it up this morning.


A dystopian novel, Flawed follows Celestine, a teen girl trying to navigate a world where perfection isn't just a goal. It's a requirement. One false move and you can be branded Flawed. Literally, and for life. Always a rule-follower, events unfold that leave Celestine questioning everything she believes, and making some out-of-character choices.


I give this book 3/5 lightning bolts. It's a good start to a series, and the characters are mostly believable. Some of the plotlines seemed obvious, but for my classroom shelves, this book is perfect!

May 22, 2017

Eliza And Her Monsters




Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia
Started: May 20, 2017
Finished: May 21, 2017
Book 19/65 for my Goodreads goal


I received this book as part of my monthly OwlCrate subscription (click here to learn more!), and fell instantly in love. I have actually yet to have a book from this service be something I didn't love, so that's saying a lot!


This month's theme was comic books, and Eliza And Her Monsters follows Eliza as she creates a wildly popular web comic, while keeping her identity anonymous and trying to make it through senior year. Everything appears to be going well until she meets Wallace, and falls for him. Hard.


And then finds out he reads her web comic.


Mixed in with first love, there's several stories of anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Zappia doesn't treat these themes lightly, and while she doesn't devalue the importance of these issues in the lives of the characters, this book is about so much more than these themes, which I appreciate.


Perfect for high school students, or 8th graders about to become high school students!

May 21, 2017

Savante Hats, part one (of many)




Pattern: Savante Hat, by DeBrosse
Yarn: Lion's Pride Wool Spun (almost a full skein for each hat)
Needles: size 11 16" circulars


I've been Insta-friends with Teresa for awhile now, and have been bugging her almost since we met to publish the Savante hat pattern. As she had just begun dipping her toes into pattern writing when we met, she kindly declined my offer, but said  maybe someday.


So, I've been stalking her shop and Instagram almost every day since. I've fallen head over heels in love with her mission to help mamas and babies in Haiti with every shop sale, and have bought several of her crochet patterns just so I could help support the cause.


And then.


One day, I hopped over to her shop. And there it was. The Savante pattern, just waiting for me to snap it up!!


Friends, this pattern is everything I could have hoped it would be, and then some!! Bulky yarn, no double points needed, a fast and easy to memorize pattern? Yes to all. These two hats flew off my needles, and I've got a truckload of bulky yarn that's about to become more Savante hats for sure!


And when I run out of bulky yarn? I'll probably just double up my worsted and keep on making!


The double brim makes this hat super warm, so whether you're an acrylic gal or a woolie lover, this is a pattern you can use for charity knitting and know the recipients will be kept super warm through every cold season they encounter.


My current plan is to make 100 of these over the summer, in both wool and acrylic, so that I'm ready for fall and winter donations!

Love People, Use Things. The Opposite Never Works.



It's been a long time since I've written anything for me. First year teacher-dom has meant lots of writing - student comments, curriculum building, note-taking for next year and the like. But no writing for me.


Spare moments are spent figuring out this new home of ours - where things belong, what can be let go, how to best live and love here.


Not much hat making, not much writing. A bit of book reading, but ....


In general, I think, life has felt rushed, and too busy, and too over-ful these last six months. I am ready for summer. For some slow planning for next year, for lots of time at the pool with my two water babies, days spent on the back deck while the kiddos run around all day. More time for books. More time for hats.


More time for less.


I find I have accumulated a lot this year. Part of it is figuring out what we need in this new space. Part of it is being a new teacher, and all that comes with that. Mostly, though, it's my knee-jerk reaction to change and stress and the unknown being to BUY BUY BUY. I shop to de-stress, which is counter-intuitive, but what I have always done.


So this summer will be my summer of less. Less lists, less to do, less owned at the end of it all.

Nov 21, 2016

Boardwalk Infinity Scarf (minus the infinity part)



Pattern: Boardwalk Infinity Scarf, by Danyel Pink
Hook: US I / 5.5 mm
Yarn: Caron Cakes in Gelato


Just before we moved, I finished up a test run on the Boardwalk Infinity Scarf. I'd picked up a Caron Cake, and wanted to try it out on something that had an easy-to-memorize pattern, something I could potentially make on repeat for gifting this holiday season.


I altered this pattern in just one way - I didn't make it into an infinity scarf. Instead, I added fringe on the ends, making it a regular scarf that can be wrapped around your neck at least two times (like I did in the picture).


The yarn cake has 383 yards, and I didn't use all of it. In the end, I had enough yarn left for three baby hats.


After I first finished the scarf, I thought that if/when I made it again I'd make it thicker, maybe actually make it an infinity scarf even. I wasn't sure I liked the long stripes of color this skinny scarf pattern gave me.


Now, however? I love it exactly as it is. I plan to cut the fringe for the first side before I begin crocheting so the fringe matches, and then I'll just go and go and go until the scarf is around 7 feet long. Then I'll cut fringe for the other side, attach it all, and call it good!


I've got three more of these Caron Cakes, and if all goes well I may just pick up a few more even - this is the perfect scarf to give to literally every female on my list! The yarn is 20% wool, so even this skinny it's super warm, and the length is perfection!