Monday, January 9, 2012

The Headmaster & Fearless Fourteen

     I read a short biography this week about Frank L. Boyden. He was the headmaster at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts. I have been obsessed with private schools for awhile now and Deerfield is one of the schools I have always felt a very strange attachment to. After reading the book I see what it was that drew me to it in the first place.
     Frank Boyden was, by no means, a perfect headmaster. Several times throught the book John McPhee (author) stated that Boyden was a fantastic politican: able to pass the blame when the fault fell on his shoulders in the name of keeping the peace and always able to raise the funds necessary to make things fit his desires for the school perfectly, even if it meant through deciet. However, he also had a few desireable qualities. He cared a great deal for both the students and faculty of the school. He gave everything he had to constantly improve on the school, making it a better place for students to come learn. He was a mentor to virtually everyone he came in contact with, including colleagues, other headmasters, high ranking politicians, he even counted presidents as personal friends. He just had a way about him that made people listen. Made people respect him and want to please him. Because of this he was very effective as a leader.
     One of the things they book also says about Frank Boyden is that he was an interloper, an outsider who inserted himself into the Deerfield community from the outside. Even though he was an outsider from the beginning, he always made a point to see that the school and community were working together harmoniously. It reminds me so much of my alma mater, Bethany Public Schools, and the emphasis on community interaction that is encouraged there. It is one of the things I love most about Bethany. It doesn't just feel like another day in the classroom, but rather it feels like you are doing something worthwhile.
     The book was a bit difficult to read. Though only 109 pages, it used phrases like "a skein of magnanimous despots." I had to use a dictionary on more than one occasion. It was hard for me to focus and took me awhile to get into the book. I wouldn't encourage everyone to read it, not because it wasn't good, but because I think it is subject matter you really have to be interested in to get the full benefit. If you are interested in becoming a better, more effective leader go ahead. Read on my friends, read on.

Fearless Fourteen is another book I read this week. Well, let me clarify, I kind of read this week. I read most of it a couple of years ago and completely forgot, so I picked up where I left off and finished it from there. You really can't go wrong with a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. For those of you who haven't read these books, Stephanie Plum is a bountry hunter from New Jersey who sometimes...needs a little help. She's got a hot-headed Italian cop for a boyfriend and sometimes a little something extra from a colleague Bounty Hunter by the name of Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger. She and ho-turned-filing clerk friend, Lula are always getting into trouble but almost always get their guy. :) One for the Money is the first book in the series and the movie (Starring Katherine Heigl) hits theaters on January 27. Check it out. This is a book series I recommend. It is hilarious!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

This book wasn't what I was expecting at all but I ended up falling in love with it. Some books I love because they take me away (Stephenie Meyer's Twilight), some books I love because they are possible, but highly improbable (Kate Brian's Private). Then there are books that I love because I was able to learn from. JK Rowling's Harry Potter Series, Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, and now Deb Caletti's The Secret Life of Prince Charming.

The back of the book summary reads:
         Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts brokem. She tries to be an optimist, but when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, she starts to think maybe there really are no good guys out there.
         It doesn't help that Quinn's father is back in her life. She's always tried to see the best in him, despite his selfish and eccentric tendencies. But when Quinn discovers he has stolen more than just the hearts of the many women in his life, she joins forces with the half sister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect, and sets out to right her father's wrongs. In doing so, Quinn begins to uncover what she's really looking for: the truth.

I read this and thought so this girl finds out she has a half sister and they go on some quest to find out more about their dad. Which is what kind of happens, but it is so much more than that. There are so many good quotes from the book that I wrote down. Quotes that have influenced how I imagine true and real love is, it has changed how I think about family. It has altered how I look at just about every relationship I have. Because of this I've spent the last couple of days thinking about New Years and resolutions, relationships, and how in the past I've burned others and been burned in return. I've severed ties with people I shouldn't have based on the limited knowledge I had at the time. I was blinded by emotions and I've come to the conclusion that my one resolution this year is to be better. Be a better person for my own sake. Do what I feel is right, instead of what I feel is expected of me.

I will leave you with just a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

"It's not a matter of being stupid. You can be smart and not know. And you can know and not care."   -pg. 39 by Mary Louise

"He was one of those guys you feel like you have to try hard to be equal to--- as in shape as he is, as intelligent, as whatever. The kind you're slightly uneasy around because you know that deep down, he feels you don't measure up."  -pg. 59 Francis Lee

"We have to be careful to not create a person in our imagination."   pg. 68 Joelle

"It starts so young, and I'm angry about that. The garbage we're taught. About love, about what's 'romantic.' Look at so many of the so-called romantic figures in books and movies. Do we ever stop and thing how many of them would cause serious and drastic unhappiness after The End."     pg. 128 Elizabeth

"Love isn't drama. Real love is there, not something out of reach."   pg 173 Joelle

"So: Love is ease, love is comfort, love is support and respect. Love is not punishing or controlling. Love lets you grow and breathe. Love's passion is only good passion---swirling-leaves-on-a-fall-day passion, a-sky-full-of-magnificent-stars passion---not angst and anxiety. Love is not hurt or harm. Love is never unsafe. Love is sleeping like puzzle pieces. It's your own garden you protect; its a field of wildflowers you move about in both freely and together."     pg. 176 Joelle

"Love is a decision that should be made for the right reasons and kept for the right reasons."   pg 220  Brie

"An umbrella is an umbrella, except when the man you love stood under it during a hailstorm when he asked you to marry him."    pg 231    Olivia

"Insecurity is not a good enough excuse for bad behavior."   pg 285 Abigail

"The truest thing about truth was that it needed to be seen no matter what it was and no matter how it came to you."    pg 287   Quinn

"A squirt of perfume is a shot of manufactured confidence, which is probably why it's so expensive and the bottles so fancy."    pg 299   Quinn

"Family was even bigger a word that I imagined before, wide and without limitations, if you allowed it, defying easy definition. You had family that was supposed to be family and wasn't, family that wasn't family but was, halves becoming whole, wholes splitting in two."    pg. 303   Quinn   (something I have thought a great deal about since my mom got sick.)

"I'm not the most, the best, the fastest, the greatest, but I am enough."    pg. 321   Quinn

"And real love---it's less shiny than solid and simple."     pg. 322     Quinn

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Tradition.

Last year I did a little bit of research on what foods "bring good luck" and what they stand for and the history and all that and I planned a full New Years meal for my family. Obviously, we didn't have our greatest year yet so this year I decided to do something completely different. Something I hope to make a tradition for years to come. This year I lit 8 candles each representing different things: for friendship, for family, for happiness, for health, for love, for passion, for wisdom, and for wealth.

The first one for friendship- old and new ones to come.
The second for family- may we never stay mum.
The third one for happiness- a promise this new year will fill.
The fourth one for health- may we not become ill.
The fifth is for love-and a hope for tomorrow.
The sixth one for passion- without it we will know sorrow.
The seventh for wisdom- the most elusive of all.
and the eighth one for wealth- may God continue to bless us all.

and they after I lit the candles, I said a prayer for the year to come.

I hope everyone has a great New Years Day and may 2012 be the best year so far!