I spent the week in Chicago, flew home Friday night, finally arrived at my house around 2 a.m. Saturday morning and had to work all day Saturday for our college's Homecoming festivities...on my birthday.
Not exactly what I had in mind, but it is what it is.
I was working in Chicago, and even though I was homesick (bc I'm a big baby), I ended up having the most incredible time due entirely to an exciting small group of women I was fortunate enough to get to know.
Colorado, NY x 2, Florida and me (Mississippi) worked our hineys off during the day reviewing passages for the new assessments being prepared to match the Common Core Standards. But, nighttime was ours :) And, we took full advantage of the opportunities available for professional as well as personal support, cheering on, venting, listening...
as only a group of women can do for one another.
While I cannot tell you specifically about our experiences "on the job" due to confidentiality issues (eyes rolling here), I can tell you that as a small group we read tons of possible texts and discussed whether or not each of these texts was appropriate. We did not always agree. For a variety of reasons. But, we had those discussions with respect, professionalism, and consideration, and there were even times where we agreed to disagree. We said our peace, documented our comments, voted the way we felt was best for the students we represented, and moved on.
Frankly, I don't understand why these kinds of conversations seem to be rocket science these days.
Imagine if politicians practiced this kind of collaboration. I know it's a stretch, but go ahead and imagine it.
Off the clock, we went to a Cubs game...in a limo (it was cheaper than getting a cab...really, it was), shopped, watched the first debates, and shopped some more. Our shopping time was limited due to not getting off the clock until late afternoon, then needing a nap and food before we hit the mall, the richest conversation that carried our dinners on into the evening, and a mall right across from our hotel that closed at 9 pm...which is why we had to go more than once.
As one of my new friends declared, "Shopping is a sport, Ladies...You have to train!"
And, there it is.
(Be sure to say this with the best NY accent you can muster :)
We left Chicago with hugs, a Twitter hashtag just for our little group to keep in contact, and plans for our next meetings in February...as soon as the powers that be decide on the place.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that our Chicago experiences are examples of how women SHOULD interact with one another. I am constantly amazed at how women seem to spend more time cutting each other off at the knees rather than building each other up. Is it any wonder that men still rule the world??
The #fabfive ain't havin' any of that. :)
On the reading front, I am listening to The Chaperone on audio in the car and loving it. I'm a longtime Elizabeth McGovern fan and am savoring her slow, thoughtful narration of this book (which I already know I'll be purchasing in hardback for the keeper shelves).
I don't always have to have a fast paced, heart stopping read...and I love words and accents. I'm savoring this one :)
Gone Girl is on my Nook, and I've been reading a chapter or two each night before bed. I have to say that so far I'm not in love with this one as much as everybody else seems to be :( Don't get me wrong; I still like it. But, I didn't get to read it at all last week while I was out of town, and it didn't bother me a bit. So far, I don't care about any of the characters; as a matter of fact, they all get on my nerves for a variety of reasons...I'm reading to find out the real story...I will NOT look at the end...if I do, I know my only motivation for finishing the book will be gone...and I'll DNF it.
I will not DNF it.
I was finally able to also begin reading The Casual Vacancy on my way home from Chicago. I've purposely not read anyone else's comments about the book bc I want to form my own unbiased opinion. While I enjoyed the Harry Potter series, I did not re-read any of them, so I think it's very possible for me to appreciate Rowling's new novel unbiased. My first impressions are:
(1) This ain't for children; that's pretty obvious pretty quickly, but she also told us that up front. She meant it.
(2) I'm reminded of classic literature as I read Rowling's words, the structure of her sentences, paragraphs, and the connecting lines that run through the characters. I can't tell you how many times I've stopped mid-page and just re-read an entire paragraph...just to appreciate the writing.
Do NOT fly through this one...it's not that kind of book.
I think that's a very good thing.
I did finally watch the first episode of the first season of Downton Abbey and am addicted. I may not be able to marathon it due to the necessity of sleeping...but I'll be pulling this one into my watch schedule little by little :)
The week ahead will be a crazy one after being out all week last week, but hopefully I'll be able to sneak in more blogging and reading time than I've had since school started so far :( We don't seem to be able to get caught up and on a regular schedule at work...and that's driving me crazy.
But, I won't belabor it and won't let it get in my way of enjoying each day...Fall is my favorite time of year, and just the promise of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) is enough to sustain me through the craziness that is my life. :)