Monthly Archives: June 2014

Two dashes of poetry

I wrote these two poems in 2005 (seriously?!) about the end of the school year and thought this was an opportune moment to post them. I believe I was reading Poe at the time…


At the end of the year


At the end of the year -

tired and worn

Like the pencil-etched desks -

used and empty.



At the end of the year (part two)


There is a chill of human absence and

a sneaking silence through the cracks of windows


Lockers stand open –

revealing the gnarled book and the disjointed folder.


Spirits flicker across the shaded courtyard

and down the darkened halls,

Hurrying with their heads down

as if to avoid the echoes of their own feet on the tiled floors.


The bell tolls and doors slam.

Engines start and the sun glances off buildings.

A flag snaps and the crows step lightly among the scattered papers.

5 Quarts of Sunscreen

I live in Florida, so during the summer months if I so much as stick my big toe out the door my hair turns into an giant frizz ball and dots of sweat break out on the back of my shirt like hives. In the year 2010 B.C. (Before Children), it was only when I dumped crumbs of cereal into a milkless bowl that I would venture into the swampy air and climb into a car whose internal heat had climbed to 108 degrees. Now, in the year 2014 A.D. (All Done) I’m forced to brave the elements more often, fly the coop, and make the best of the heat.

Rather than sit and bake like a cookie, I suggest two options: get moving or get wet.

If you chose to move, keep in mind that the faster you go, the more wind you generate and the cooler the activity will feel. Also, consider getting out of the house early in the morning or at dusk when the sun doesn’t try to fry you like a slice a bacon. Hop on that bike, lace up those roller skates, or push that neighborhood kid off his Razor and ride into the sunset.

Water activities have a distinct advantage over the moving activities: no one can tell you’re sweating! There are tons of sites out there with ideas for kids. Here are two I found that offer tons of ideas, many including H2O.

But why should those youngins’ get to have all the fun? Water fights are fun for all ages. Invite a bunch of friends over for a watered down version of paintball by using water balloons or water guns. If you’re getting together with family, arrange a bunch of chairs around a kiddie pool. Have side tables or TV trays accessible for people to rest their drinks, ice cream, or watermelon. Put it all under the shade and voila – a homemade watering hole for catching up with everyone.

While you’re sitting in the shade or on the beach, read the “Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen” column from Mary Schmich (,0,4054576.column). If you’re part of Generation X or older, you probably remember reading or hearing the advice, so it’s fun to revisit Schmich’s advice and consider whether it really was wasted on youth.



“Don’t Quit On Brit Lit” article

A few of my (paid) friends asked where they could find a recent article of mine that was published in the Florida English Journal, a peer-edited journal published by the Florida Council of Teachers of English. In the article, I make my case for the continuation (or reassertion) of teaching pre-21st British Literature, and I provide lesson plan ideas for implementation. Here it is: Don’t Quit on Brit Lit Article PDF Enjoy!

Summer Vacattical Recipe

IMG_5191Ah, summer. Even after 8 years, I never got used to waking up at 5:30 a.m. and arriving at the school before the sun got its happy ass above the horizon. In the first week of break, I would burrow into my couch and tear through the stack of books I’d collected since winter, like a bear binge-eating it’s bevvy of food after hibernation. I’d pad around my house in pajamas and not touch a single makeup brush. This sloth-gluttony-booklust would last about a week, and then I’d feel the hard-working girl’s guilt and start making “Productive Things” lists.

Now I have two young kids (3 and 1 years old), so they function as walking-talking, crawling-crying to-do lists. If I was friends with Marty McFly, I’d jump into the Delorian, meet up with my younger self and tell her to cook up the perfect summer by making it part vacation, part sabbatical.

Here’s my recipe for the perfect summer vacattical (yes, I just coined my own term):

- 5 quarts of sunscreen for playing outside with family and friends

- 2 stacks of books to read

- 4  in-house date nights

- 3 trips to local attractions you’ve always wanted to check out

- A sprinkle of summer music

- 1/2 hour every other day to write (journal, social media, letters – the genre doesn’t matter!)

- 1 new professional organization to join

- 2 magazines or books regarding a subject matter other than the one you teach

- A handful of new people to follow on Twitter

- 4 new recipes to try out now and make during the school year

I’ve got ideas to share for each ingredient, so new posts will be coming soon! In the meantime, I hope your vacattical is off to a great start!