Ladies Rock Camp! Help Me Rock into 40!

More Mandee Monday-Date Night Edition!

More Mandee Monday-Ladies Rock!

I know it isn’t Monday, but I just couldn’t wait to post this! 

I’m going to be 40! WHAT?!

I’m not quite sure how it is possible, because most days I feel about 25, but it is a fact that on January 3, 2014, I will be 40 years old. I have completely and totally decided:

this new decade is going to ROCK! 

To kick-off my new rock star lifestyle (the kind of rock star that goes to bed pretty early, does crafts, and loves to read, of course) I really want to take guitar lessons. I also want go to this awesome Ladies Rock Camp with my super cool friend friend Lava-Girl. I totally have a feeling that I’m getting a sweet, sweet electric guitar for Christmas from Schmoopy, too. No, I didn’t peak, I promise!

girlsrockcamp

Ladies Rock Camp is actually a fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp ATL. This awesome week long summer camp is for girls between the ages of 10 and 16. It’s just so much win! So, please consider helping me out! You can check out my Fundraiser Page here: http://www.crowdrise.com/ladiesrockcamp2014/fundraiser/mandeej

It would be an EPIC birthday gift for me that would also help send some super cool young people to camp! WIN!

 

You’re Killing Me, Smalls! & 2 Thank Yous: AS King & my parents rock!

More Mandee Monday-You’re Killing Me,  Smalls!

So, a normal person would be excited when their favorite author announces a new book. A normal person would just pre-order it and wait excitedly. A normal person would check their blog from time to time and read updates and such.

There hasn’t been any normal in my life since,

well, never. 

I wanted to be a garbage man (yes, MAN) when I was 3. My mom let me get up early and watch the garbage men when they picked up our trash and I still remember peeking out the window and waving to them with a huge smile on my cute little face (I was pretty darn cute, I must say!) I was a puppy for several weeks (again, yes, WEEKS) when I was four. I barked, ate from a bowl, but thankfully used the potty like a person. (WHEW!). There was also a waitress phase. We turned the kitchen into The Hobit Hotel (my Mama started reading me Tolkien when I was 2). I took orders on my little notepad and brought out the food. It was hysterical. My dad, Popi, and I would then sit down and figure out the one thing that wasn’t on the table. We’d then wait until Mama sat down (finally) to eat to ask for it. She’d yell something about our legs being broken or how we’d be sorry when she was gone. Then she’d go get whatever we wanted and kiss us on the head.  I have at least a million more of these stories about my parents and how they totally rocked my little kid world and shaped me into someone who laughs and smiles and cares and really gives a darn about people.

Now back to my point: A normal person would be ecstatic at the news that their ultimate favorite author (YES, YOU, AS KING! YOU!!). And, don’t get me wrong, I totally am. But, I’m also a total brat-face and I can’t wait.

I. CANNOT. WAIT! 

There are so many awesome books out there that I am dying to read. There are new books, series finales (Lauren DeStefano’s SEVER immediately jumps to mind), and a my towering TBR piles.  I should really just hush and read and be happy. But, I can’t do that! I’m an only child. Waiting makes me go all Crazy Town Banana Pants! (Do you watch Community? If not, OMG-Go Freaking Watch It For Real Life!)

So, what’s my point here? Well, I have two. (possibly more, but I’m not a math person).

1. Thank you, AS King,  who I totally freaking love as an awesome author & totally fun person (BTW: not at all in a creepy stalker!) kind of way! You say what needs to be said. You are a survivor and I respect the hell out of you for your awesome stand against bullying. You shove it in the faces of people who need it shoved there (and other places I shall not name here). You find joy in things that matter. You just TOTALLY FREAKING ROCK! Mostly, though, You write these EPIC books that sink into my soul! They sit there and become part of me in a way that makes me stronger & better. You hit home with kids who don’t think anyone gets it. Then they read your books and feel like someone really does know what nobody else understands. Sometimes that is one of my students or a kid who I know really needs you. Sometimes it is someone in a book store or a library that I don’t know. Sometimes it is me. Really, your writing makes me hurl your books into people’s hands and scream, “READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!”  The Dust of 100 Dogs had me shoving the text in people’s hands! Please Ignore Vera Dietz shook my world. Everybody Sees the Ants, wow! Just wow!

I really super totally want to read Ask the Passengers immediately! I cannot wait for Reality Boy!

Simply put:

You’re Killing Me Smalls! 

2. Thank you, Mama & Popi! My parents are awesome. I’m lucky to have been raised by people who loved me & wanted me. I used to think Popi and I were kids together. I used to say, “Popi, remember when we were little and we . . .” My Mama says that we were loved more in one day than most people are loved in their whole lives. It’s true, too.  Maybe the dishes sat in the sink some nights, maybe we didn’t have a whole bunch of money. Who cares! I sure didn’t. They made me KNOW that I could do anything I wanted to do. They showed me what the real deal was, but made it fun, too! They read to me, let me be what & who I needed to be, picked up the shredded bits of my heart a zillion times when things totally sucked,&  they made me proud to be their kid! My Mama showed me what real love means when we cared for Popi as we slowly watched cancer take over his life. We were able to laugh then, too, in between times of nightmares and oceans of loss. They made me realize what I’m worth and taught me what marriage really means. Schmoopy and I can proudly base our marriage on those of our parents. My model for love is the truest example. There aren’t really words in English or any other language to explain these two amazing people.

 These two amazing people raised me with so much love & laughter & hope & peace.
I’m the luckiest kid ever!  

I do realize that to many this post seems to be about two totally different things. But it isn’t. The way I was raised and they way that AS King writes really do belong together. And I don’t really need for anyone but me to get that.

More Mandee Monday-Soft Kitty Edition

More Mandee Monday-Soft Kitty Edition!

It’s that time of year when I’m just plain exhausted! The school year is winding down (I’m an 8th grade teacher) and Spring is starting to spring! We just finished a round of icky standardized testing, which never fails to make me tired!

Yankee Jane my Soft Kitty

And, my dear, sweet, adorable kitty, Yankee Jane, is very sick. Her lungs are shutting down and we’re not sure why. She’s on antibiotics and steroids. If you know cats, you know they HATE taking medicine. She really hates it. I have the scratches and bruises to prove it! Yankee is my baby.  When I moved to Atlanta in 2000, I was terribly lonely. I found Yankee in a McDonald’s parking lot scarfing down a burger. She was tiny, filthy, covered with fleas, and totally wild. It was love at first sight. She attacked everyone who came near her for months. She beat me up while I slept. She terrorized me at every turn. But, when she would go to sleep, she would curl into a tiny ball, grab her little fuzzy tail between her paws and start sucking on it like a pacifier. Heart=Melt. She still does this, even now that she’s 12. She finally started to calm down, after I brought another wild kitty home, Shakespeare, who is huge and lazy and a super snuggler, but mainly when she decided that she was my Mommy and I needed taking care of, too.

Sunshine Kitties-They have such tough lives!

So, last week and this week I’m feeling exhausted. I need someone to come sing Soft Kitty to me and my Yankee Jane! I think I’ll go home, curl up with a good book, and snuggle with my kitty cats!

More Mandee Monday #3 – Picture Pages

In February, I started participating in the Photo-A-Day challenge by FatMumSlim. It is so fun! I’m really enjoying looking at the world in terms of one (or two) words and capturing a quick picture with my iPhone.  I love my iPhone! I really want a new one, but I cannot get Schmoopy to go for it! I’m posting all of the pics on Instagram. I love this new sense of community these pictures provide for me. It has also helped me to start scrapbooking again. I’m doing Project Life this year and loving it.  I’m doing it as I have time and not putting pressure on myself! It serves as  a nice quick distraction from all the work and reading I’m doing as I write my dissertation (which I do not love, but will finish!!).

Here are a few of my favorite Photo-A-Day Pictures.  I’m using TypoInsta, Pixlromatic, PicFrame, & Labelbox on my phone and ordering prints of them from PostalPix, MoPho, and PersnicketyPrints. I haven’t decided which company I like the best yet.  I am using Picnik until they close (boo!).

Photo-A-Day-Collage

April’s Photo-A-Day Challenge has been posted. I’d love for you to join me!

April Photo-A-Day Challenge from FatMumSlim

More Mandee Monday #2: The Story of two girls!

Happy Monday!

Today for MMM! I’m going to tell you two quick stories.

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

The first is about my awesome friend. She put this book in my hands this morning at 6:45 (early book bliss!) as soon as I walked into school. She knew I wanted to read it, so she’s letting me read it before she does. That ROCKS!

The second is about the book Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr. I’ve been dying to read this story of a girl who gets branded as “the school slut” and her journey to escape that awful title. As a middle school teacher, I see these things happen all the time. And my heart breaks for those kids who get slammed with labels that are so cruel and so hard to shake. I cannot wait to dive into this story, even though I know my heart will hurt while I’m reading.

What are you reading this week? 

More Mandee Monday #1…because everyone must be as nosy as I am, right?!

So, as I was reading a few of my favorite blogs and websites the other day, I realized that I was nosy. Really, I’ve always known that I was super nosy, I was just reminded of that fact. I wanted to know all about these people. I follow them, I cyber-care about them,  I’m curious. On the flip side, I don’t feel like I’m all that interesting (well, I am an only child, so that is kind of a lie…). I didn’t intend this blog to be about me. I want it to be about awesome books! I want you to love reading as much as I do. But, I realized, some of you may be curious, too.  That leads me to More Mandee Monday. Just a quick little getting to know me posting to feed your curiosity/nosy side. Enjoy!

I don’t like being in pictures. I like taking them! Here is a rare Mandee Approved picture! My Schmoopy and I were heading to the wedding of dear friends and we snapped this super cute pic on the way. I love it, which isn’t the norm when I’m in pictures! While I do have a healthy level of self-confidence, I just don’t like pictures of me! I’m way more of a behind the camera person! 

Schmoopy!

Schmoopy and I have been together since 2005 and married since 2008. He’s my true love, my one and only special someone, my best friend, my partner in crime, and a total blessing! He gets me and I’m thankful for that every minute of the day. For example, on Sunday, I wanted to get The Hunger Games movie People Magazine. We were grocery shopping and I looked everywhere. I never found it. Schmoopy told me to wait with the cart. He came back (like 2 seconds later!) with both HG People & US! And he didn’t even complain about how expensive they were! He rocks!

The Hunger Games Magazine Bling! or Why Schmoopy Rocks!

Hope you enjoyed More Mandee Monday! See you soon!