November Break

I’m taking a blogging break this last week in November to catch up on– hopefully– some of the writing, reading, critiquing, and cleaning I let go while I was sick.  I’m way healthier than I was last year, which means I now expect a lot more from myself.  Interesting how that works.  I’ll post again on December 2.  Happy Thanksgiving!

November Question


1.      What are your favorite new TV shows this season?

2.      What returning shows are you enjoying the most this season?



My Answers:


1.      My favorite new show is Skins. (It’s a British Teen Primetime Soap Opera that’s new to the US, though not new to Britain.)


2.      There are several returning shows I enjoy watching the most this season: Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, and Pushing Daisies



And you? What are your current favorites?


(PS: It’s possible I’ve been subbing in second grade too much lately.  Notice how I answered all my questions in complete sentences.)

Staying Connected To Your Teenager

Author: Michael Riera, PH.D.

Publisher: Da Capo Press Books, 2003

Pages: 275

Rating: ****

Subject: Parenting, Teens



Staying Connected to Your Teenager is a unique parenting book because it doesn’t deal directly with discipline or with a teenager’s changing body; instead it focuses on a parent’s relationship with their teenager and how to strengthen that bond. Riera, a former guidance counselor, educates parents on how to use the changes in a teenager’s life to stay connected. He explains why teenagers stay up later at night, why they are more narcissistic, and why lectures and advice aren’t as effective with teens. 


Building on that knowledge, Riera shows parents how they can use late night hours and car travel to build a closer relationship with their teen. He also explains how to use indirect communication and joint adventures to strengthen the parent-teen connection, and teaches parents how to ease heated conflicts by having the parent be more honest about their own concerns with their child, and then putting the burden of proof and decision-making on the teen. 


 I thought this book had excellent insight into the parent-teen experience and gave solid, fresh advice to parents on guiding their child into adulthood while maintaining a healthy relationship.


Two caveats: 1) The chapter on how the sexes are different, while less stereotypical than many books, still stereotypes females and males. 


2) Two examples Riera uses from real life anecdotes describe parents lying to or misleading their teen. While Riera doesn’t approve or disapprove of this behavior, I feel like adults model to their teens acceptable behavior and was horrified that a parent would consider lying to or misleading acceptable. But this otherwise excellent book has only maybe 2 questionable examples out of dozens of real life parenting anecdotes.

October 2008: In Brief

Quote of the month: 
“This is our moment. This is our time.” Barack Obama




1.       SCBWI Conference in Arlington, VA– Another useful conference with fun writer friends. The magazine panel was my favorite as I’m excited about writing short stories these days.


2.       Halloween– What could be better than a holiday where you dress up in costumes and eat candy? I didn’t dress up this year—too busy reading about the election—but I enjoyed passing out candy and looking at everyone else’s costumes. 


3.       The Election– Politics is my favorite sport. I love watching the big picture historical trends and the small details of human nature play out before my eyes.   Elections are my Superbowl and this was the best Superbowl of my life. The brilliant son and grandson of regular folks beat the mediocre son and grandson of Admirals. Merit won out over nepotism this time! That’s a story I enjoyed watching.


Fiction Books Finished:

*** ½ Kiki Strike: The Empress’s Tomb, by Kirsten Miller


Non-Fiction Books Finished:

**** Staying Connected to Your Teenager, by Michael Riera, PH.D.


** Golden Compass– on DVD


TV- Top 5 Favorites of the Month (In A, B, C Order)

1.       Friday Night Lights– Wow! The best drama about mentoring teens I’ve seen.

2.       Mad Men– The Cuban Crisis finale was excellent. And now the wait begins. *Sigh*

3.      Pushing Daisies– Still the most original show currently on TV.

4.       Skins– A bus accident has never done better things for a character or a show.

5.       Supernatural– I enjoyed the monster movie ep and the silly, Dean’s-got-fraidy-cat fever ep.


Sub Jobs:

2 days- 2nd grade class for Ms. W.

2 days- 2nd grade class for Ms. K.

½ day- 2nd grade class for Ms. K

½ day- Reading Initiative Teacher