Monday, September 6, 2010

Whining and Winning

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”

- Susan B. Anthony

Friday was odd.

It would be my last day, just my kids and me for the summer. School would begin again on 09/07. I asked if they’d like to eat at The Kebab Factory for lunch, since we love their Indian lunch buffet. They enthusiastically agreed. I posted the plan on Facebook, which I should now realize (after the telephone interview I blabbed about, and then didn’t get the job) means it ain’t. gonna. happen.

My husband called and asked what we were doing. When I told him, there was a pause.

“Want to come with us?” I asked.


Soon after, phone rang again. My son’s friend invited him over. I told my son to make it for after lunch. After he hung up, I realized he had piano in the late afternoon. Then my daughter came over with a piece of paper where she’d written he friend’s phone number, and asked if she could call her friend. Her friend invited her to go swimming. I looked outside at the dreary day courtesy of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Earl somewhere south of us, and said, “Sure.” But I really didn’t mean it. What happened to our plans?

I told my son to call back his friend and change to an earlier time. We couldn’t reach him. I decided to stop by the house, but he wasn’t home. I called my husband to cancel lunch because at this point it would be too late to eat at a decent time. My daughter nibbled on peanut crackers on the way to her friend’s place.

It began to drizzle.

After dropping off my daughter, my son and I returned home to eat a late lunch. Afterwards, I dropped off my son. And I called the piano place to change the lesson to the next day.

It began to rain.

Now I had an hour before I had to pick up my daughter. I decided to go to Porter Square Books . I dodged drops on the way into the store, and then headed straight to the YA section. There was a big display of Suzanne Collins’s books. I took a Mockingjay temporary tattoo for the lucky winner of the book.

The people who work in this store know their books. One man in particular is an expert in the children’s book section. I asked him when Paranormalcy (by Kiersten White) was coming out, thinking maybe I’d preorder it.

He walked to a shelf, pulled an ARC down and said, “Here. You can have it.”

I gushed. “Really? Are you sure? Thank you. I’ve been so excited to read this!”

Did I mention how much I love this store?

Then I asked for a book recommendation. He pulled three for me to consider. I chose The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller, since it reminded me a little of the premise (reincarnation) of Evermore by Alyson Noel, which I had enjoyed. Holly Black’s White Cat: The Curse Workers would wait for a future purchase.

There’s nothing like a bookstore to turn my mood around.

And I needed my mood to turn around. Facing another year of being a daily sub was weighing on me for some strange reason. My stomach kept fluttering and my eye periodically twitched. My mood darkened on Wednesday, when I attended a MANDATORY session on the new on-line sub system. Nearly 50 of us listened as we were told how this new system would benefit classroom teachers, so they could choose the substitutes they wanted and block the one they didn’t, making me feel like krill.

There would be benefits for me too. 6:30 am calls instead of 5:30 am calls. And if I’m a popular sub, most jobs will be booked the day before, if not days before. There’s a handy calendar so I can block out the days I can’t work. And there’s a checklist of the types of jobs I’ll take. I can scroll through the list of available jobs, so maybe I can actually teach Social Studies more often. Imagine that….

But all of that won’t change the fact I want my own classroom, and this new way of obtaining jobs still doesn’t change me having to go from place to place, classroom to classroom. I’ll still need to look up if a school will have street cleaning, limiting parking. I’ll still be known as “Ms. M” because why bother having students know my name?

Besides the bookstore trip, a couple of other hopeful things happened (including our children being invited for a sleepover, so I went out to dinner with my husband), which I won’t talk about yet. I’ve learned my lesson about posting happenings in advance!

On to things I can talk about. Having the Mockingjay contest + Karen Gowen Jones's BBQ (last day) has increased my follower count, so I’m nearly at 300. Thanks, new followers!

And now on to the winner of the contest.

I wish I had a copy for everyone.

Chosen by:

The winner is:

Lenny from Lenny's World !

The boy has good luck today because he only had 3 entries out of over 100.


*** Update 6:40 pm EST *** Lenny just responded to my e-mail. Since he's won two books recently, he's declining the win. So now the randomly chosen winner is Nicole DucLeroir!!! Congratulations, Nicole!

After 244 posts, today begins another year for my blog. Another year of teaching. Another year of writing, editing, editing, editing, editing, editing… and querying. Another year of sharing my world from my perspective. Another year of being a part of your world.

We’ll see what another year brings.


  1. Drives me crazy to make plans and then watch them disintegrate before my eyes.

    Hoping you find your dream job soon! You never know when the next subbing job will lead to an offer!

    Oh, and Congrats, Lenny! He's on a winning streak lately!

  2. No no don't tell about your dinner until it happens!! LOL!!! I hope you have a great time!!!

    I do hope that you'd get a full time permanent social studies teaching post soon. I have everything crossed for you - I know this will happen, I just know it!!! :-)

    Is it another (academic) year over and one about to begin already?!?! Oh good grief!!!

    What a brilliant book shop - why can't my waterstones be like this too?? Yay for the fab recommendations for you!

    The Kebab Factory is such a fab name!!!

    Take care

  3. What an awesome book store!!

    Your new sub system sounds like mine. The good thing is that since you subbed last year, more people are likely to ask for you and thus, less early, early mornings.

    The bright side, brought to you by me :)

    I hope you have a good Labor Day and a good start to the week!

  4. That's why I try not to make plans. They almost always fall apart.

    Bookstores always cheer me up. Apparently, I'm going to have to read the Hunger Games series...I feel like I'm under a rock! Super cool that the guy helped you out so well :)

    I believe it takes the most amazingly courageous people to be substitute teachers. I don't know how you can walk into a strange classroom with unfamiliar children and lesson plans...and carry it off. My hat's off to you.

    I wish you all the luck in finding what you hope for.

    Congratulations to Lenny and I hope you have a relaxing/fun holiday!

  5. Well, if your plans have to go to pot, at least you got to go to the bookstore afterward. I hope you get your own classroom soon. *hugs*

  6. I'm with Elana, at least you can make a trip to the bookstore afterward!!!

    Yay to Lenny!!! How exciting!!!

    The BBQ was a ton of fun... well I didn't gain many followers, then again I was late to the party!!

  7. Book stores always make me happy too, no matter how crappy the day may have been. I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of Paranormalcy as well. Enjoy the holiday and the book.

  8. Keep on writing. Other itinerant teachers, hopeful writers, and parents with constantly altering plans (like myself) are with you.

  9. That sounds like a great bookstore - its nice when staff know their books! I wonder will the curse of facebook work in reverse? I might try posting about never ever getting published - and hopfefully be cursed with my first published work?! The very next day! How embarrasing!
    That subbing system sounds like you might know sooner in advance when your working and hope that all goes well this semester!

  10. 'There’s nothing like a bookstore to turn my mood around'.

    They are going to be my final words, seriously!!

    I've had days like that too, by the way I was in Easons in Dublin and Mockingjay had a prime spot and lots of people buying them.

  11. @ Vicki, thank you. I'm glad to hear Lenny is on a winning streak. What else did he win?

    @ Old Kitty, I had the dinner Friday, so I'm safe with those plans!

    Sorry you don't have a fab bookstore too.

    @ Tiffany, it is an awesome bookstore. They get good authors in for talks/signings and the staff knows everything. I support it as much as I can, even though most of the stock is list price.

    I hope I'm one of the popular subs. The teachers should know my name since I always leave a note.

    I hope you're having a good Labor Day too.

    @ The Words Crafter, you do have to read these books. While it's not my favorite series, I really enjoyed it - especially the first book.

    @ Elana, I like that idea. I'll have to visit the bookstore! It's right near my children's school so I have a good excuse to go there.

  12. I can feel your mood Theresa. That up and down rollercoaster of trying to stay positive, be proactive and then .... stuff happens .. or doesn't happen. Gets frustrating.

    Other the other hand .. I♥Arcs ... that's a bonus ☺

    Good luck with your dinner plans.

  13. @ Jen, I'm sorry you didn't get too many followers. I happened to stop there on Friday, but then forgot about it until new followers started commenting on my blog.

    @ Anita, good luck getting ahold of Paranormalcy. I'm about 100 pages in, and enjoying it.

    @ Paul, thanks. I'll keep on writing. And if the beginning of the year is slow with jobs, I plan to write even more.

    @ Words A Day, I like your idea. If you're offered a contract after posting, I'll try it too.

    Knowing more jobs earlier and sleeping in is certainly better!

    @ Brigid, those wouldn't be bad last words.

    Did you get a copy of Mockingjay?

  14. I wish I lived near your bookstore! How awesome : ) It does sound like the perfect remedy to a stressful day!

    and congrats to the winner!

  15. Bookstores can make any day better - especially when they have awesome employees like that one!

    I'm crossing my fingers for you to find a permanent job soon. It's so hard to pop from place to place!

  16. *tries to control her breathing* pfhewwwww...Okay, think I can talk. Theresa, is this the book I think it is? Did Lenny turn down a signed copy of Mockingjay?? Are you telling me I won the copy of Mockingjay? It just isn't possible I'd be this lucky. Please confirm. Let me know what contest I've won. Pfhewwwww, pfhewwww. Okay, ready. I'm expecting that this is another contest...not the Mockingjay contest...let me know...dying over here....

  17. @ Clutterbug, I put way too much into our last day together, is what I learned. I mean, it's only temporarily our last day.

    We had a nice dinner, thanks.

    @ Kari, that's the nice part of living in Cambridge - we have several great bookstores.

    @ Jemi, I'm am sick of hopping!

    @ Nicole, it is Mockingjay you won. You'd better e-mail me with your address. Lenny felt he'd won too many prizes recently and hoped it wouldn't be a bother for me to find another winner.

    It was good I'd picked a 2nd winner when I did the random generator the first time, so I didn't have to plug all the names in again!

  18. Nothing like a bookstore to cheer the soul. Hope you find a proper classroom soon. Fingers and toes crossed for you.

    Enjoy your meal out too.

    Karen's BBQ was great. I too picked up a few followers, but my you are nearing the 300 mark...Good for you!!

  19. I'm sorry you didn't get the job. That school is missing out, truly. I know what you mean about wanting your own classroom. I've been an adjunct for more than five years now, and I hate not being a permanent employee and not having my own office and having to go back and forth between several schools.
    Bookstores are definitely good for the soul. They're one of the few places where I feel happiest.

  20. @ Ann, thanks. The meal was great.

    I hope to get a job soon.

    @ Neurotic Workaholic, the way they sort adjuncts at your school doesn't seem fair. I don't blame you for feeling frustrated. Hopefully your finish your thesis soon and get a tenure track position.

  21. Hi Theresa .. gosh making plans with family! Such is life I guess .. but dinner with hubby must have been special and a treat.

    Systems .. a pain for you .. but who knows what the future holds - I'm sure a classroom will materialise .. but the benefit from going from school to school is you get to see what's happening behind the scenes .. and learning lots of new things ..

    All the best and be happy - Hilary

  22. I'm always disappointed when plans change like that. But sometimes they change for the better! Sounds like you had fun in the bookstore. :)

    Good luck with your interview!!!! I'm thinking about you.

  23. It used to drive me a little crazy when plans fell apart, but now I'm more relaxed. I've got The Eternal Ones on my to buy list, and I might have to order some books soon. Happy reading.

  24. Man, I wrote a terrific comment...pressed publish...and got an error message. Poof. Gone. I hate when that happens. I'll never be able to duplicate my first comment.

    But, BOOKSTORES= Happy Place! :)
    Yay for bookstores!!

    As for best laid plans...just wait until they're teenagers!

    Here's toasting to your happy 'new year'! *clink*


  25. Congrats to Lenny! What a great contest, Theresa.

    I hope this year starts out on a good note - good luck with the beginning of the school year. Who knows what it mght bring with it?

    BTW, massive thanks for your support and help with my Take on Amazon Blogsplash! Much appreciated! :)

  26. Bookstores seem to make life better dont they? When things go this or that way I always love going to the bookstore and soaking in it's own brand of therapy. I've read two of those, Alyson Noel and Holly Black's. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! I will have to search for the other reccomendation you got from super awesome boookstore helper.
    Congrats to the winner! I hope you had a great weekend despite the plans and Earl creepin along the coast and I really do hope this year starts out on a great note for you :) I know a new school year can be daunting *my moms a teacher and I talk to her everyday and hear the stories*

  27. May there be more books stores like this in the future.

    Happy New Year!!!

  28. @ HIlary, I think the new sub system will be an improvement over the old one. But it would be nice to be done subbing at this point.

    When I dropped off the kids this morning, people asked "So what are you doing?"
    And I had to answer, "Still subbing."

    @ Aubrie, thanks.

    The day certainly turned around. And we all went out as a family and had fun yesterday afternoon.

    @ Simon, let me know how you like The Eternal Ones when you finish it. I plan to read it after Paranormalcy. Maybe. It's hard to know what I'll gravitate to next.

    @ Lola, I hate when I lose my long, witty comments. I try to remember to hit apple C when I"m on a roll, but I usually forget.

    That's why I make a big deal about the last day. They're not sick of/mortified by me yet. But by next year it can all change!

  29. @ Talli, I hope this school year brings something good and different. Soon, I'll be widening my scope of where to look, which means we'll most likely move. : (

    I plan to advertise your splash in an upcoming post. We've gotta make that book make a splash before it comes out!

    @ Erica, we lucked out with Earl. There was drizzle and rain, and then it cleared up for hours. It didn't really come down until we were already in bed. And by the time we woke up, the sun was back.

    @ Bossy Betty, thanks.

    I don't want the ebook revolution to close stores like these!

  30. I could live in a bookstore and be perfectly content. Oh, how I love them.

    Wow. Lenny never ceases to amaze me with the size of his heart! Congrats to Nicole!! :-)

  31. I envy your bookstore encounter! How great to meet people who know the books and really read them.

    Also glad you held on that day and "adjusted" without going sour. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

  32. Congrats on the year! I found you via Karen G's BBQ. I am also a substitute teacher, mainly high school (Reformed accountant/finance underwriter). Look forward to your future posts.

  33. We can't completely control the hands we are dealt...
    But the grace you exhibit as you play those bum hands is all to your credit.

  34. Planning can be such a finicky thing. *sighs*

    Congrats to Nicole for winning an awesome prize.

  35. Lenny is something special isn't he! We all are so lucky to have met this kiddo out here in blogland...

    It sounds like you have a great Indie bookstore...I wish we had one. Sadly we live in an area of about 100,000 people and we only one bookstore. We had three close down last winter.... :(

  36. Oh gosh this happens to me all the time too. I plan something and then somethign else screws it up.

    I've got The Eternal Ones as well. Still waiting, impatiently, for Paranormalcy though. :)

    Yay for Lenny. He's so sweet :)

  37. @ Shannon, I'd love to live in a bookstore too.

    Lenny is a generous, nice kid.

    @ Cleemckenzie, living in Cambridge, I'm privileged to live near a number of great, independent bookstores. But this one is my favorite because the staff really knows their stuff.

    @ J.L. Jackson, thanks for visiting and following. I hope to keep most of my jobs in the HS this year, since now I have more control over my jobs.

    @ Alesa, that is such a nice thing to say. Thank you.

    @ Crimey, I agree, the best laid plans....

    I'm going to mail Nicole's prize soon.

    @ Sharon, Lenny is something special. All my readers should follow him.

    3 closed last winter? Wow. I'm sorry.

    We have one in Central Square, which is used and remainder stuff. It's closing. But all the others seem okay. I hope it stays that way.


  38. This was an interesting post, Theresa! I'm a new follower, but don't mind me, I'm sure I'll fit right in. I can definitely understand a busy schedule like yours and how everyone has plans at the same exact time, but eventually everything works out in the end.

    As for your dream job, continue searching and it'll find you. I have high hopes for you in that department.

    Lastly, I also enjoy trips to the book store. It's always relaxing and the the air is filled with the smell of paper, ink, and fresh coffee.

    Anyway, good luck with everything and write on!

  39. @ Lindsay, did you read The Etermal Ones yet? I"m on page 249 of Paranormalcy - less than 100 pages to go!

    @ Vatche, thanks for becoming a follower. And thank you for the nice comment. You write on too!

    This bookstore has a coffee part as well. Always a nice bonus!

  40. Congrats, Lenny!
    I sub for two districts (by phone the old fashioned way and I personally know the sub finders so that is good for me), but I am thinking of trying another district that has the computerized system. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it!
    I, too, want my own classroom. I taught for six years before having kids and would love to go back full time. Though now is a tough time to go back with the constant budget cuts in education.

  41. Very Interesting!
    Thank You!

  42. @ Kellly, we used to be by phone. I spoke with the gatekeeper, but she didn't let us have any say. And teachers would request me but she wouldn't usually honor their requests. I hope this goes better.

    @ Anonymous, thank you.

  43. As soon as I read about that on-line sub system... yeesh, I get where you're coming from. /:

    But congratulations to Nicole on winning!

  44. Congratulations on your 300 plus followers, you're a popular lady! And also well done on the year and 244 posts, pretty impressive stuff. You're showing the rest of us up, hehe.

  45. @ Amanda, other blogger subs have told me they prefer the online system. We'll see.....

    I never got Nicole's book in the mail yesterday. I'll have to do it today.

    @ Olive, thanks. In all fairness, almost nobody read my posts until this year. My follower count has accelerated since January.