Monthly Archives: June 2016

4 days till showtime…my Thoughts as I look to my first half-marathon


So, last November I ran my second 5k at the Dana Point Turkey Trot. I had an enjoyable time..this was the first big official race I had participated in. I have only been running for the past 2-3 years and haven’t really gotten faster. I was just starting to enjoy the 30-40 minute runs as a way to escape into a different mental world. I never have seen myself as a runner and never really intended to do any longer races. BUT in February I committed to join a friend in a half marathon. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking, but I have a few friends that run and I just imagined sharing some of their same experiences

It’s now 4 days before the race and I have to admit that I am “anxiously eager.”  I have received much encouragement, read many blog posts about what to do and not do at this point in training. I have decided that I will take it all in, not try anything much different in these next few days, get rest (which I am unsuccessfully doing at this moment), eat well, get hydrated, and pack my bags. Heading to Santa Barbara.

While I have a time in mind that I would like to make, I realize from my long 9-12 mile runs the past 6 weeks that each run has its own challenges, physical and /or mental. I am hoping the adrenaline will kick in and being around other runners will keep me on track.  I will post again on the other side of things and share my thoughts.

Wish me me luck or share a prayer or just send me good vibes. 😊😃😂😩😎😖 (the many emotions I am sure to feel).


Louisville and 592 essays later….my take on the AP Exam Reading

Louisville night skyline

So here it is….top ten lessons I learned from being a grader at the national Advanced Placement United States History Exam Reading in Louisville, KY

NOTE:  “AP Reading” will be mentioned throughout.  Basically, if you are an AP US History teacher, you can apply to become a reader.  This means that you commit yourself to 7 days of reading through the writing of  over 490,000 students that have spend the past 10 months sitting in what is to be a college level course taught to mostly high school Juniors. While I have taught this class for almost 10 years or so, this is the first time I applied to go to the reading.

  1. The lessons you think you will learn are most likely not the ones you did – I was  hoping to learn some new techniques and possibly even ways to embrace grading essays in my classroom.  Well, after just a couple of days, I realized that I was even less motivated to ever grade another essay again.
  2. Even when you think you have taught your students exactly how to approach test taking and essay writing, most likely they missed one, two, or fifteen of the main ideas you discussed over the past 10 months of class.
  3. Along those same thoughts….I may think that I am teaching all the content and skills my students need to successfully master the history of our great nation.  However, while I am driving along in my dumpster truck of knowledge, masterfully crafting lessons to share all these great nuggets of information, my students are possibly passing by on the other side of the road, catching only every 45th word of what I am sharing.  This may show up in their essays as they make some egregious errors in understanding or discussion of the essay questions.
  4. Factory work is exhausting.  Ok, so I am probably way over-exaggerating here, but honestly…7 days of the same schedule…walking in at 8am, reading an essay, bubbling a score, reading an essay, bubbling a score, after an hour, “Stretch break,” stand, walk around, “stretch break over,” sit down, read an essay, bubble a score, and on and on and on.  When 5pm arrives, you are willing to do just about anything that requires a change of mechanical movements.  By day 6, I left feeling like a zombie just going through the motions.
  5. AP teachers are awesome people.  I actually surprised myself and quickly made friends in a much different way than I think I ever have in any other interaction.  I consider myself a friendly person, but it usually takes me time to find my niche with people. However, I clicked with a group of teachers as if we had known each other already.  This experience (of teaching this course as well as going through the reading) gives you a special bond.  It’s like, they can look at you and know what you are thinking unlike anyone else.
  6. I need to eat more than conference buffet style food for 7 days.  I missed making my own meals.
  7. It only takes 2 miles and 20 minutes to run to the state of Indiana.
  8. You can walk through the city and actually reach 27,000 steps in one day.  We did some marvelous vacation-like stuff once the clock hit 5pm. (Now don’t go too far and think I was actually on vacation.  Trust me…this was much different; but after 8 hours at a table you need a release or you will literally go mad).
  9. The city of Louisville, KY has a fantastic history.  It didn’t take long to walk down the street before you found yourself reading a placard that shared a story from 1850s pre-Civil War slavery or the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
  10. My husband misses me while I am away.  While I tease him about not being able to sleep without me in the bed next to him, I am truly grateful that my spouse doesn’t enjoy life too much while I am away.  I missed him too and can’t wait to take him back to this city and explore the history exhilarates us both.

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So, will I do this again? After day 4 (and even day 7), I may have said NO, NEVER!!! But after some additional reflection, I will most likely say YES.  I hope I get invited back next year.

Five Minute Friday: Lose

I lose things often.  I like to think of it as just misplacing things; however, it doesn’t always end up that easy.  Keys, phone, important papers, um… mind at times.  It never fails that no matter what system I have for placing things in a particular place, once a day, I go searching.  I think this is most frustrating with paperwork.  As a teacher, I copy, hand out and take in papers on an hourly basis.  I try to organize myself and plan ahead and it never fails that one of those pages I copied last week (in order to be ahead of the game) gets placed in a file that I have created and then I just can’t find it.  While I was on the plane to Louisville, I did some reading in Real Simple magazine about organization.  One of the main things is to have a place for things to go…touch it once, and place it in the proper place.

Perhaps my main issue is that I am always re-organizing my organization system.  Let’s just figure out what works and keep it….maybe I will have to remember that one when September starts.  As for now, I don’t want to LOSE any minutes of summer, so I am headed to the beach.  Taking advantage of each moment to enjoy creation, hear the waves, and read a good book from my WANT list in last week’s post.


Five Minute Friday is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. – Link up with Kate Motaung and join the fun

Five Minute Friday: Want

Just finished up a week of grading AP US History exams, final exams for 100 students, and end of year report cards.  It’s officially summer, so I am going to use the prompt today to brainstorm things I WANT and hope to accomplish this summer:

  1. Complete my first half marathon – just get to the finish line
  2. Read some classics
  3. Visit with friends
  4. Write a personal “snail mail” note at least once a week
  5. Visit the beach
  6. Clean out the closet
  7. Go through the boxes in the spare bedroom
  8. Set up my new sewing machine and try out a few projects
  9. Try at least 1 new CLEAN EATS recipe per week
  10. Complete Ted Dekker’s journey The Forgotten Way
  11. Help with Vacation Bible School
  12. Find at least ONE new hiking area to experience
  13. Blog about my experiences, starting with the AP Reading


We will see if I can accomplish them all – I think it’s realistic.



This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. – Link up with Kate Motaung and join the fun