5 Things I Loved About Last Week 11/29/14 #celebratelu

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.


1. Conversations at NCTE. This was my third year attending NCTE, and each year the experience has been very different. This year, I was much more relaxed than I usually am, spent less time planning what sessions I would attend, and tried to go with the flow (my November theme). I didn’t take as many notes as I usually do either, which unfortunately means that I’m not entirely sure what I learned because if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t go into my brain. I’ll do a learning reflection post next week (by which time I will surely have forgotten everything!). But today, I’m celebrating the theme of this year’s NCTE for me, which was conversation. I am an introvert, but I challenged myself to have lots of conversations–with online friends and with perfect strangers. Whenever I was waiting in line–which was often–I tried to strike up conversations. More than once, I was talking to someone I thought was a stranger only to discover that they’re actually in my PLN. And meeting the teachers whose blogs I read, whom I follow on Twitter, was a special treat. I even did something I never would have done before–joined the Slicers for dinner on Saturday night. I got to sit between two of my favorite teacher-bloggers, Julianne Harmatz and Tara Smith, and they are every bit as delightful, gracious, and thoughtful in person as they are on their blogs. This is also the first time I’ve ever had the experience of having strangers come up to me and introduce themselves, saying they read my blog. I write for the handful of readers who comment regularly on my blog. I always forget that there are many other people reading my words!


2. Coming home. As much as I love traveling, I really, really love coming home. I was so happy when we walked out of the airport in Denver and I felt that cold, sharp Rocky Mountain air and I knew I was almost home. (Well, almost home after a six-hour drive.) There were warm snuggly kitties waiting (and Frances met me at the door) and an angry boy (who was warm and snuggly for a few minutes at least!) and a relieved husband and an overjoyed pit bull. (Is any dog ever as happy as a pit bull? I don’t think so.)


3. I conquered my fear of pie! It might be homely, but it was delicious. And thank goodness, because it was REALLY a production. I made a double-crust apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie. AND IT TOOK ALL DAY. The rolling-out part was the hardest. I was very frustrated with the first one I did, but I did get better, and by crust #4, I felt like I was beginning to get the hang of it and figuring out what mistakes I’d made rolling out crust #1. I read Joy the Baker’s 5 Tips for the Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch and With Love, Apple Pie about 600 times. Seriously. She’s going to see this crazy spike in her stats and it’s all me and my pie fear. Which I tried to control, because Joy says that butter can feel your fear, and I believe it. I had to step away from pie crust #1 and take some deep breaths.

4. Thanksgiving. Holidays have not always been easy at our house: traumatized kids + holidays = extreme stress and meltdowns. But we had a terrific day. I wasn’t thrilled about coming home from NCTE and having hours upon hours of cooking to do, but it was all worth it in the end. The meal was so good, and I really enjoyed spending time with my mom and in-laws. It’s rare that we have everyone together even though we all live near each other. And then for everything to go so smoothly, for my older son to enjoy himself so much, be so relaxed, and have so many real smiles and laughter. A good, good day.

5. Words. Protest. I have been very angry this week. I am often very angry about race and poverty in America, but I’ve been extra angry this week. I have spent a lot of time on Twitter this week, following events in Ferguson and protests around the country, and retweeting voices that need to be heard and amplified. I am so grateful for all of the teachers in my PLN who have been tweeting, retweeting, writing, listening, and learning–and hopefully also teaching or planning to teach. I am so grateful to my students who have tweeted about Ferguson and injustice. I am so grateful to the protesters who are working tirelessly for change, sharing their stories and documenting what’s happening through social media. Roxanne Gay is right: words are not enough. But this week, the words of others are what I’ve had.





14 responses to “5 Things I Loved About Last Week 11/29/14 #celebratelu”

  1. Tara Smith Avatar

    Meeting you was an NCTE highlight, Elisabeth! I’m an introvert, too, and things like NCTE are very stressful – but this year was somehow different. I took fewer notes, as well, but I was able to experience it all so much better. That’s what counts, after all, right?!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you, Tara! Small talk is especially exhausting when you’re an introvert, I think, but I find the more intense and deep conversations invigorating. You’re right: less note-taking meant more experiencing in the moment! But now I’m struggling to remember just which sessions I attended and what I wanted to take away!

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    Hurray for pie. Loved this celebration post! The conversations. The questions. The connections. It must have been really wonderful to meet some bloggers you know and some readers you didn’t. Can’t wait to actually meet you in person at the Western Washington Children’s Literature conference. When I talk about you to my husband, I always call you my good friend I’ve never actually met. That will change in a few months!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am so looking forward to meeting you in February! We are going to have so much to talk about! NCTE is always such a wonderful experience. Have you ever been? Wondering when it will be on the West Coast. It is a difficult time of year for travel, which is why I never went when I was a high school teacher. But I wish I had just sucked it up and gone!

  3. Gigi McAllister Avatar

    Traveling is great, but coming home is nice too. Now that I am thinking about it, we met last year at NCTE didn’t we? Maybe at a Nerdy Book Club session? How cool you met a groupie! You can count me among your fans, I love reading your blog!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      You’re right! And it was the Nerdy Book Club session. I was looking at your name tag and realizing that I read your blog! Thanks for the kind words about my blog!

  4. Carol Avatar

    Sounds like you had a fabulous time at NCTE, followed by a fabulous holiday at home. I made a pumpkin pie this year, but still didn’t do the crust myself. Maybe I will try it at Christmas. Glad the holiday went well, my boys are not that good at holidays. This year it was just the three of us, we ate and watched football and it was actually a really nice, peaceful day.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Holidays are usually a VERY mixed bag around here too. But they’re getting better, and this was the best we’ve had. We’ll see how Xmas goes–that’s usually more challenging since there are presents. I have an appreciation for those “really nice, peaceful” days that I never had before. I could definitely tell that pie crust is something that will get easier the more I do it. Of course most things are like that, so that shouldn’t be a revelation, LOL. I am going to make another apple pie next week so I can get more practice in! Somehow I don’t think my kids will mind pie practice!

  5. Ramona Avatar

    I’m so impressed with the pie. My daughter, her husband, and my husband love pie. Me not so much. With daughter and husband on the east coast, maybe I’ll try to make a pie for Christmas this year. Love the pic of the kitties. It was fun to meet you and chat a little. I also took fewer notes than I usually do, but had a wonderful experience at my first NCTE! Glad things went well at your house for Thanksgiving!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I never liked it as a child, Ramona, but I have started to like it quite a bit. And it really is better with the homemade all-butter crust–but then what isn’t better with butter? That could be my life’s motto, LOL. So glad we had a chance to meet at NCTE–though I wish dinner had been quieter so we could have talked more. I hardly tried to talk to people across the table because I couldn’t hear anything! Hope to see you next year in Minneapolis!

  6. Linda Baie Avatar

    I love that your cookbook said “butter can feel your fear”-so funny. And I admire you for sticking to it through all the pies. You pic looks good to me! I’m sorry I didn’t get to NCTE this year-just could not do it, but so glad your time was wonderful. It also sounds like your Thanksgiving was nice, too, despite the Ferguson stuff. The challenges facing us are daunting since I seem to have been thinking about all this for a lot of years, & it feels terrible that so little has changed. My family talked a lot about what we can do, and part of it (I wrote my slice last week about the classroom) is to help our own children (now my grandchildren) learn the importance of becoming allies, up standers! Best wishes to you Elisabeth and your family.

  7. Crystal Avatar

    I’m so glad that you had conversation at NCTE. From all I’ve heard from others, it was a fantastic conference and many people connected with each other in positive ways. I used to be afraid of pie crusts, but I make a simple one and use a lot of butter. I never worry about making it pretty. It just has to be flaky and tasty to please me. I got rid of a lot of frustration when I decided it didn’t have to look like a Martha Stewart pie every time. 🙂

  8. Michael Hall Avatar

    I’m going to have to get my pie crust recipe from home and bring it in for you. It’s all about the crust! 🙂

  9. […] celebration of pie, conversations, coming home, and a most excellent […]

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