Friday, June 15, 2012

Knitting again

I go through times when I don't knit at all and then all of the sudden I pick it up again.

My mom and a few other ladies at church have been getting together once a week to knit.  I've been going and I love having a time set aside to knit. It inspires me to try new patterns/techniques that I've been too intimidated to attempt.

Each time I stop knitting I forget how much I love it until I start knitting again.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Can you love a publishing company? I might.

As I read Columbine, I made sure to check out every part of the book because there was so much added information.  I flipped to the last page and found this description of Twelve the company that published Columbine.

Mission Statement

Twelve was established in August 2005 with the objective of publishing no more than twelve books each year. We strive to publish the singular book, by authors who have a unique perspective and compelling authority. Works that explain our culture; that illuminate, inspire, provoke, and entertain. We seek to establish communities of conversation surrounding our books. Talented authors deserve attention not only from publishers, but from readers as well. To sell the book is only the beginning of our mission. To build avid audiences of readers who are enriched by these works–that is our ultimate purpose.

12 Things To Remember about TWELVE

  1. Each book will enliven the national conversation.
  2. Each book will be singular in voice, authority, or subject matter.
  3. Each book will be carefully edited, designed, and produced.
  4. Each book will have a month-long launch in which it is the imprint’s sole focus.
  5. Each book will be nationally advertised.
  6. Each book will have a national publicity campaign.
  7. Each book will have a digital strategy.
  8. Each book will be worthy of the attention of discerning book reviewers.
  9. Each book will have the potential to sell at least 50,000 copies in its lifetime.
  10. Each book will be marketed and distributed by the Hachette Book Group, the company with the best hit ratio in the American publishing business.
  11. Each book will be promoted well into its paperback life.
  12. Each book will matter.

In a world where there is always more of everything, I am extremely intrigued by their idea of focusing on quality over quantity.  You can bet that I'll be reading more of their books.  (Check out a complete list here.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book review: Columbine

I wasn't sure that I actually wanted to read the book Columbine by Dave Cullen.  Obviously it covers a difficult topic and I knew that it would be difficult to read.  But as much as some parts of it were hard to get through, there were others that were strangely comforting, such as the description of SWAT team members who were patting down the students  as they were coming out the school to make sure they weren't armed and then hugging them.  It's amazing how much this book expands your thinking of the Columbine shooting and the people involved.  It really explains the difficulty that everyone involved (the survivors, the killer's parents, the local churches, the police, the SWAT teams) had with how to handle the shooting and the aftermath.

Before reading this book, I didn't realize how much of what people think they know about the Columbine shooting is wrong.  The killers were not involved in the Trench Coat Mafia. They were not targeting specific groups of students. They were not planning on shooting in the school at all, instead they planned on blowing it up using homemade bombs, shooting students as they ran from the school, and then driving their cars (which had more homemade bombs in them) into the groups gathered around the school trying to assist the injured and survivors.

I am completely in awe of Dave Cullen and the research he did for this book.  He spent ten years of his life researching and interviewing people involved with the shooting.  Reading the book was difficult enough for me and that only took me a week and a half.

For me, I think the book was summed up in two quotes.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
- Earnest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

"You can't really teach a kid anything: you can only show his the way and motivate him to learn it himself."
 -Frank DeAngelis, principal of Columbine High School

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Recipe: Carmelized Onion, Gruyere, and Spinach Crustless Quiche

I got this recipe out of the local newspaper that comes out once a week, which apparently got it from  I've been looking at the picture and wanting to make it for a few months now, and Andrew and I actually made it last night.  It turned out really well and we'll definitely make it again with a few changes.  I would definitely add a crust and possibly use a different cheese so that the flavor stands out a little more because the onions kind of overpowered the rest of the flavors.


  • 1-2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup gruyere, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  With a little oil in a frying pan over medium high heat, carmelize onions.  Squeeze the moisture out of the thawed spinach.  Beat eggs.  Add milk and whisk well.  Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and fresh nutmeg.  Oil a deep pie dish.  Place onions evenly over bottom of pie dish.  Evenly spread the spinach over the onions and follow up with the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top.  Bake until firm in the middle, about 40-45 minutes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Starting the summer with school frustration

Today is officially my first day of summer vacation and, while I'm having a great time, I have to vent about two things that are carrying over from school.

The first is the yearbook.  I have been doing the school yearbook for the past four (possibly five I'm not exactly sure) years.  I receive a stipend for doing it and it really doesn't take that much time so I usually don't mind.  Unless there are problems with the yearbook.  Last year I had a student helping me with it as part of her senior project.  She did a great job of taking pictures at events throughout the year, but then didn't manage to get them to me until the last day of school after I had already finished and submitted the yearbook.  Whoops.

This year, the problem is not with the students, but with the company that takes our school pictures and makes our yearbooks.  I had great students helping me this year who took pictures throughout the year and got them to me so I had plenty of time to finish the yearbook.  I have everything finished and submitted to the company, except the portrait pages.  I haven't been able to finish the portrait pages because the company managed to mix up the portraits from the Carmel and Noblesville schools.  I don't know if Noblesville has our pictures, but we have theirs.

Normally I love the company we work with.  They do a great job of making the yearbook easy to put together and of answering my questions.  I usually call them at least once a year to ask for a reminder on how to do something I should already know how to do and they're always really nice about it.  So I contacted them last week about the mix up with the portraits.  They said they would get their lab working on it.  Now it's a week later and I still haven't heard back from them, which means I'm waiting on them to fix the mix up so I can finish the yearbook.  Frustrating!

The second is a parent who emailed the entire staff today.  I won't go into too much detail here, but her daughter was going to our school for a little less than three weeks before she got into trouble and was sent to the juvenile detention center.  She has been there for the remainder of the school year.  I have been providing her daughter with work so she can earn her English credit, which she didn't because she didn't return enough work to us.  Today, the mom emailed the entire staff to say that we were:

  1.     doing a horrible job as a school
  2.     had not positively impacted her daughter in any way or given her the opportunity to earn credit
  3.     have no idea what goes on with any of our students, especially during lunch when they're allowed to go off campus, and that she had seen Facebook and text messages talking about illegal activities between students during lunch.

The school principal and the social worker both responded really well and basically pointed out that:

  1. If she was that concerned about the school then she should have contacted us at some point between when her daughter started going to our school (months and months ago) and the end of school.
  2. That we didn't have much time to positively impact her daughter since she was with us for less than three weeks and that we aren't miracle workers.  It's not our fault that her daughter did something stupid and ended up in juvy.  I also know for a fact that we did positively influence her daughter because she would write me notes about how much she liked our school and our staff on the work she sent me from juvy.
  3. That we are a charter school that doesn't receive any funding to provide lunch for our students, which means they have to be allowed to go off campus for lunch.  And that if this parent had proof that there were illegal activities going on between students during lunch and knew about them that she should have either informed us or the authorities so that we could deal with it.  Duh!

I know that this parent is simply venting, but how ridiculous to contact us the day after school gets out with accusations about our school and our ability to do our jobs.  We have had several emails going around between staff members venting our frustration with this because these are the worst accusations we've heard from a parent all year and we're all upset about it.  Now I'm going to ignore this for the rest of the day and get back to enjoying my summer vacation.