Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The book I'm reading now is told through a variety of genres (diaries, personal and professional emails, journals) and I just find it so interesting how slang words and abbreviations came about. Who was the first person to write "BRB" in, what I'm guessing was, an IM conversation? How long did it take the first person who read LOL to figure out what it meant? And did the first recipient of "b4" think it was some clue to where the treasure trove was hidden on a pirate's map?

And yet, here we are publishing texts with these in them. While it has its time and place (and NOT in an English paper or anything else of any professionalism), I do think it's pretty cool that editors will allow it since it offers a realistic view into how we communicate.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Say It Ain't So!

It started off as an ordinary morning. I got up, ate breakfast, checked my email. And there it was, staring me in the face (imagine an old fashioned western shoot out ready to take place - computer with blue bandana, red bandana for me, guns drawn and ready to fire)...the Staples weekly circular. Okay, no big deal for most people, certainly not worthy of writing about. However, this was THE ad. School supply specials.

Oh dear school supplies, I'm just not ready for you yet. It's still July and it's too hot outside to think about the sweatbox that is my classroom in September (forget what it's like in the summer - talk about a sauna! I should charge a gym fee to enter.) I appreciate the bargain prices at which you're being offered but I'm just not ready to pack up my flip flops and pull out my "professional" clothing. Unless you're planning on joining me at the beach for the next month, kindly wait patiently on the shelves at Staples and I will come to collect you at the end of August, but not a moment before.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Debunking the "5 Second" Rule

I was watching the "Today" show this morning as I was getting ready for work and they were discussing food-borne illnesses. [You're probably thinking "I don't really want to hear about all the nastiness I'm eating without realizing it, so I'll stop reading now." My response, "Keep going, keep going!"] They listed a few different points for the viewers to read as they discussed those yucky germs we all ingest, hoping we ate at least a pound of dirt before we were three so we have some semblance of an immune system to pounce on those germs before they can say "Abracadabra!"

So, just in case you missed those points this morning, here they are (and I must say, it really DOES take a rocket scientist to figure these out):
1. Cook your meat until it's not raw anymore. (Okay, they gave specific temperatures, but I don't remember what they were and I'd hate to lead anyone astray).
2. Don't eat things that have fallen on the floor a la the "5 second" rule. (Forget that!)
...and my personal favorite...
3. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. (This one I learned at the ripe old age of, let's say 5, after hearing dear old Gran say it over and over so we'd never forget it. Turns out grandmas really do know everything.)

So, as you're attending those many barbeques this summer, don't forget your meat thermometer, eat your food burning hot or freezing cold (maybe if you go back and forth between the two extremes quickly enough you won't burn your tongue or get a brain freeze), and pack a really big bib so you don't have to surreptitiously scoop anything off the floor.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Calling All Old and Crabby English Teachers...

Summer is my time to catch up on all the books I wanted to read during the school year but just couldn't find the time. I'm notorious for my "Summer Reading List," which currently sits at around 185 books, though I haven't added new books I want to read, nor read many that happened to be on the list so the actual list is likely much longer. Being so "Type A," everything has to have an order in my life and it seems I read with that in mind. I get hooked on an author and need to read all of his/her work. This summer's author of choice so far: Meg Cabot.

I'm reading The Princess Diaries series and, though it's really teen lit and not "big girl" reading, isn't that what summer's for? I'll admit, I didn't read the first book because I had already seen the movie. I'm on to Book 5 now and have found the recurring theme of "self-actualization." While I'm not sure if this is an actual term or one coined by Meg, I like it. Pull it apart and you find the heart of these books (or at least what I've found to be the heart of them). Finding out who you are and accepting yourself for the wonderfulness you have in you.

I find it interesting how her books can have a "self-actualization" effect on you, the reader, at the same time. And I'll be honest, while the main character's friend is always talking about how Mia needs to "self-actualize," I don't feel that theme pulling me through the book. At least, not Mia's "self-actualization." Sure, she goes through all the typical teenage hooey-ballooey: liking a guy but being too afraid to tell him, not always getting along with relatives, those girls who always think they're so much cooler than you and want to make sure you know it...amidst all that, I find myself "self-actualizing" more than I see it in Mia. I mean, let's take a minute to really dive into this. I'm an adult, well brought up (thanks Mom and Dad!), and can't remember ever going through any major "Who am I?" crises. I'm as normal as can be expected (who isn't quirky in one way or another?) and have a stable personality. And yet, here's a book meant for ages 12 and up (according to Amazon) that's making me look at myself in a whole new light. Who am I and how do I feel about myself? (Pretty good - it's nice to say! I'm finally starting to really see the wonderfulness in me that my mom is always talking about, and truly owning it.)

I suppose that's the purpose of books - to give you something you can take away, changing you ever so slightly that you don't even realize it's happened until after the fact. Take that crabby English teachers who swear by "the classics and only the classics." I read A Tale of Two Cities, The Canterbury Tales, and plenty of Shakespeare in my school career. I had teachers who cared and probably held great discussions about the things we read (if only I could remember them), but the truth is, none of those pieces did it for me. I walked away empty-handed. You don't have to rely on the classics to teach major themes; current books can be meaningful too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

And so it begins...

I suppose it's time I join the rest of the world and start blogging, because I know you've all been holding your breath waiting to hear about the "Not So Interesting Adventures of Lisa B." But, if you're anything like me, you have a love for reading, so I'll try to nurture that love by giving you some new material.