Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Resolutions (Mostly Bookish, Because Of Course)

2016 wasn't quite as mind-blowing for me as a reader and book blogger as 2015 was.  In 2015, I started this blog, became a reading teacher, went to NCTE and got to meet/listen to authors and teachers such as Donalyn Miller, Kelly Gallagher, Matt de la Peña, Chris Crutcher, Patrick Ness, A. S. King, Meg Medina, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Sharon Draper, and many more.

But 2016 had some highlights as well.  I was awarded the Book Love Foundation grant and got to add nearly 500 titles to my classroom library.  Because of that, I was emboldened to reach out to Penny Kittle when she was doing a presentation near me, and met her for a chat in our local bookstore.  I started to figure out how to use both Canva and Twitter.  I moved into a classroom with windows and have stuffed it with books.

I went to a motherfucking writing retreat, y'all.  I am so proud of myself for doing that.

So what are my dreams, goals, and yes, resolutions for 2017?

Okay, first, I know it's the most trite resolution of all times.  And I know I am not defined by it. And I know I need to love it the way it is for all the wonderful things it can do.

But I really do want to lose weight in 2017.  Like everyone, I understand in theory how to make this happen, but struggle with the actual execution.  The problem is that today is, to me, a perfect day.  I have been sitting and writing for three hours.  I've been sustaining myself on coffee and cookies.  After I finish this, I will most likely heat up a burrito, then move to the couch with a new book, more coffee, and more cookies.  LIFE IS GOOD, MY FRIENDS.

On the other hand, I have gone from a size 12 to a size 20 in the past two years.  Which is maybe just a teeny bit unhealthy.  But I've felt that the stress levels in my life, combined with the body changes of middle age, have made it not worth my effort to reverse course.  So I have pretty much given myself permission to not worry about it.

But the family is at a less stressed season in our development.  And I actually like my job now that I'm teaching reading.  And I really miss hiking.  So I think it's time.  Wish me luck.


1.  I'm going to be reading a TON of non-fiction in my role as Cybils judge starting Jan. 1.  I am super excited about this.  I actually wind up liking most NF that I read, but I tend to not pick it up as often, because STORIES ARE MORE FUN.  But good NF is story, at least in my book.  (Book!  Ha!)    So:

I hereby resolve to carry out my duties as a Cybils judge and to read all the MG and YA finalists carefully, learning a heck of a lot about all sorts of things along the way.

2.  The main challenge I'm doing this year is the Mt. TBR challenge, as mentioned here.  I am kind of terrible about follow through on most challenges, but I'm excited about this one.

I hereby resolve to read at least 75 books from my classroom library this year, setting myself up to be a more effective source of recommendations for my students.

3.  Because I'm ridiculous, I decided to join the Dumbledore's Army read-a-thon at the exact same time I'm supposed to be judging for Cybils.  I really want to read all of the books I said I would for the different categories, but I know my first responsibility is to the judging.  So:

I hereby resolve to read at least three books that will contribute towards Hufflepuff glory during the Dumbledore's Army Read-a-Thon.  I furthermore commit to reading the rest of the books I'd picked out, both primary and back-up choices, by the end of the year.

4.  I really liked bringing students to meet authors last year.  I never found a suitable author coming to our area this fall, but

I hereby resolve to organize at least one field trip in 2017 to take students to meet authors.

5.  I am kind of not sure where I am with blogging right now.  I've felt this fall like I'm just spinning my wheels.  When I write posts that I'm inspired to write, hardly anyone reads them.  When I sign up with link-ups, I get more visitors and commenters, but I feel like there's often not a whole lot of variety on offer.  I'm constantly behind in visiting and commenting on others' blogs.  I find myself drawn to reading teacher blogs as much or more than I'm reading book blogs.  I know I want to keep blogging, but I feel like it's time to stretch myself somehow.

I really like feeling like part of a community.  Whenever I publish a post on The Nerdy Book Blog, I feel terrific.  Writing a guest post for Shannon's Shattering Stigmas event was thrilling.  I've reached out to a blogger whose blog I love and admire about doing some sort of periodic co-blogging, and she's interested, but we haven't worked it out yet.

I hereby resolve to take more risks and challenge myself to participate more in the blogging community. And maybe in the teaching community too, although that's even scarier for me.  Because I know those people IRL, I guess?  Or because my professional pride is involved?   

Those are the resolutions.  (Well, that last one is kind of wishy-washy.  Not what anyone would recognize as a "SMART goal.")  But we don't only have resolutions this time of year, do we?  No, we also have DREAMS and WISHES.  Here are a few of mine:

1. In 2015 I went to that amazing conference in Minneapolis, and in 2016 I went to an amazing writing retreat at the coast.  My husband has claimed the next "I'm leaving you with the kids for a few days" event as his own, which is only fair.   So I'm going to push him to do so ASAP, because

I hope to attend some inspiring conference or workshop or event again this year.  

While I'm at it, I would love for The Winemaker and I to get out of town together but without the kids for at least one night.  We have not done that once since they came home.  Sheesh.

2.  I have a terrific classroom library.  I spend way too much money constantly adding to it too.  And the kids use it, but I feel like they could use it MORE and BETTER.  

I want to reconfigure the classroom library and the checkout system to make it all more user friendly.  I also want to prioritize my purchases so I'm not constantly spending grocery money on books that I hope someone will want to read.  

I have a lot of other ideas that are too nebulous to nail down.  I'd like to get outdoors more.  I want to solidify a lot of my reading teaching practices.  I want to prioritize some friendships better, including my friendship with my spouse.  Come up with a better system for doing what I want to do online without being constantly distracted, overwhelmed, and obsessive about it.  I'd like to participate in our civil society in a way that makes me feel less hopeless and helpless.  Get enough sleep. Not loose my shit with my kids.  You know, all the usual stuff.

What are you planning, hoping for, and dreaming about as we enter a new year?


  1. Hell yes to your emboldened 2016 achievements! :D
    I highly recommend you read The Metabolic Storm by Dr. Emily Nagowski. The science will surprise you- the "calories in, calories out" mode that all money-making weight loss programs are built on does not work. And it's nothing to do with the person trying to lose weight- it's just the science. That being said, my doc put me on the ketogenic diet this year (it's usually used to treat epilepsy, diabetes, etc.) to boost my energy- I have chronic fatigue, and I can't work out to burn calories. My cousin has been on it for four years (he calls it his religion because it cured all of his biological issues), so I jumped on it. It's low carb (for me, 19 grams a day), medium protein, and high fat.

    It takes adjustment, but everyone who does it loses weight, because it puts your body in ketosis (where the body burns fat for energy) and your intake of carbs is so low, your body isn't packing sugars away (bonus: the lack of sugar and carbs reduces inflammation, too). There are tons of books and resources out there (I started with and got library cookbooks and such). It does require tracking your calories, because every day you're trying to keep within certain macros/percentages of carbs, protein, and fat. But I gotta say, the weight loss and boosted energy alone are great. My cousin also experienced stronger and fast-growing hair and nails, more balanced skin (oil/dry ratio), and other health effects that I haven't experienced...yet. But there's no dangerous side effects, no cost for membership or gym, no need to work out, no pressure or shame, and it's an adventure in learning new recipes and modes of thinking. I could go on- but basically, I highly recommend it if you're looking to drop weight healthfully. :)

    1. (sorry, the book is by Emily Cooper, not Nagowski)

    2. Thank you, Beth, for these suggestions. I will definitely look into it--sounds very interesting.

  2. Good luck with your goals! I need to lose weight too. In the past few years, I’ve gone from a size 4 to a size 8/10. It’s because I’m lazy, love nachos, and take antidepressant pills. Strange things might happen if I stop taking the pills, but I can exercise more and moderate my nacho intake.

    Blogging is tough. I get up every morning and comment on blogs for about an hour. Commenting is the only reliable way I’ve found to build an audience.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Yeah, side effects are a bitch, but if the meds do what they're supposed to, it's hard to complain. 3/4 of my family deals with this quandary in various ways.

  3. Those are so many books! I'm hopefully going to be graduating and get a job as a teacher this year too. You know there is #FitReaders and Hogwarts Running Club which are both online based fitness inspiration and challenges. I'm aonly telling you about Hogwarts Running Club (you don't have to run) on facebook because you are a Hufflepuff. There's also a challenge like Mount TBR but you can win Housepoints and there are scavenger hunts and other things that you might want to do too.

    Good luck with everything! I just hope that student teaching and teaching go off without too many errors.

    1. I love the Hufflepuff loyalty. I was rather chagrined to be sorted there for some reason, but there's really nothing wrong with being kind and enjoying life. Maybe I should combine Beth's eating advice with your exercise advice and be a healthy reader all around.

      Good luck with student teaching and teaching. I've been at it for a long time, and there is always something more to learn.

  4. I love your honesty and self reflection in this post. Thanks for sharing. I am trying to make my health a priority this year (which I think I said last year and didn't have much success with). Blogging has fallen to the side in 2016 as I try to find some balance with all elements of my life. I'm only following blogs and bloggers I love, and I'm focusing on just reading what appeals to me in any given moment and not trying to define all of my reading. Keep on being you and sharing your journey with us! You are one of my favorite blogs to follow!

    1. Aww, thank you! That really means a lot to hear, as I do feel like I'm shouting into the void most of the time.

  5. Here, here. I also resolve to take more risks. And, as of today, I have given up sweets. (Except on the rare, rare day. There is always a rare, rare day.) And I shall write every day. At least one word.

    There. I can do that. Good luck with the getting-healthy thing. Your 60-year-old self will thank you.

  6. I think it makes a lot of sense for you to participate in both teaching and book blogs because yours is sort of a hybrid. I always love reading your teaching stories!! I hope you find your place in 2017. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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