Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[my neglected, but so loved, pups]

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1. I saw someone cleaning the outside of their house with a duster when we were walking earlier and I was like, "WHAT THE HECK I CAN BARELY KEEP THE INSIDE CLEAN!!!!" I hate that person. I don't need the bar set that high. 

2. I am very excited for Halloween next week. Sawyer is going to be Chewbacca and he loves his costume very much. I am a little nervous that he might choke when it comes to seeing other people dressed up, though, since he has completely lost it when he's seen mascots at events. Nonetheless, I already called Reese's PB Cups for the mom trick-or-treating tax.

3. I hate chewy, fruity candy, but I am obsessed with strawberry and cherry Hi-Chews. They're soooooooo gooooooooood. 

4. It's been a rough five or so days and I cannot wait for this week to be over. Actually, last week was sort of crappy too. It's been one little thing after another, which as stand alone issues are pretty manageable, but when they all start piling up things start becoming overwhelming. Compounded with a head cold and the normal bone-tired exhaustion, well, let's just say enough is enough.

5. The book we just read for book club, The Sellout by Paul Beatty, won the Man Booker. An American! Since it's a satire on race it's of course not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it and we had a good conversation. It's not a book for every book club, either, but the six of us are pretty respectful, open-minded people , so it worked for us. 

6. Last week I wrote about how I had no plans for this past weekend and how it was probably good for me. It was not. I need things to look forward to and structure my time around. It's who I am and I own it. Hello, my name is Christine, and thrive on being busy. 

7. Do you need a laugh? I think you do. Take a look at these hilarious tweets about Obama and Biden.

8. I told my son that he was going to try soup for dinner while we were washing his hands. He thought I said "soap" so the next thing I know, he's licking the soap off his hands. I can't get him try real food, but he didn't even think twice about licking soap off his hands. Sigh. Toddlers. 

9. I made Sally's Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars last weekend and they were perfection. There are a million steps, though, so they can't be done on the fly. Still worth it (so is making the salted caramel from scratch).

10. There are so many post ideas swimming around in my head right now, but TIME! If there's a will there's a way... Supposedly. Something like that. [If I type it is real].

Being Honest

1. I am constantly scheming how to get more shut eye- I haven't had a good night sleep in like five or six weeks. "Maybe I could bring my yoga mat in my classroom and nap at lunch?" "If I go to bed right when Sawyer does at 8..." "Maybe I can learn to sleep with my eyes open?"

2. After parent-teacher conferences last night I ate chocolate frosting on graham crackers for dinner and this morning I am having rice krispy squares (it's cereal, yea?) for breakfast. Oh, and yesterday I grabbed Ding Dongs from the gas station. I am horrible. Luckily I have been very active lately, but still. Disastrous. Disgusting. Dastardly. Diabetes. 

3. I have no plans this weekend and while on one level that sounds incredibly exciting and liberating it also bothers me way more than it should. I'll have no excuses for taking care of some things around the house I don't want to do but have been putting off. There won't be anything to get ready for or to schedule the days around. Honestly, I just don't like it. But I know I need it. It will be good once I can mentally wrap myself around this concept. Maybe.  

4. Sawyer's little growing pain related limp came back. He has grown another inch in the last seven or so weeks, so it makes sense, and it doesn't bother him, but it freaks me out. And very few health-related things do.

5. This afternoon we get to leave when the students do and I told the daycare provider that I'd be there about an hour and a half earlier than normal, but now I am regretting this decision and wish I would have booked a pedicure/massage/nap and just pretended I worked until the end of the normal day. #bestmomever

6. I have like eight classes paid for at the yoga studio I go to that I haven't used because I haven't been in so long. I do it at home with the app and it's so much easier, but I've wasted so much money, which is one of my biggest personal pet peeves. Bad Christine, Bad Christine.

7. I bough Cher tickets for my mom's Christmas present- the show is in Vegas in February. But honestly, it's partially for me too. Cher is the shit. I mean, come on. The "Turn Back Time" video? That lady's got it.

8.  I have been incredibly short on patience this week at work and at home but am determined to keep it on the dl (so I will write it on the blog I think more students have discovered... good plan, good plan). So at least 4352938672896724 times a day I have to do this thing where I clench up every single bodily organ for just a second and hold my breath so that I don't explode. Solid, effective plan.

9. I uploaded the picture at the beginning of this post twice, within two minutes, because I really have no idea what I am doing [in life] anymore.

10. I am reading Great Expectations so that I can advise a student with his paper and I cannot get myself to finish it. I've read it before and it's the best of Dicken's work, but I just cannot cross the finish line. I also refuse to Sparks Note it (yes, this is a verb, thanks to millions of teenagers across America), so I'm not really sure what I expect to happen before Monday. 

Happy Friday. We can do this (we have no choice). 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[my quick day trip far away]

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1. Last Saturday I decided to take a super cheap, quick flight up to UC Berkeley to visit a student that I have been very close to for a few years (added bonus: her roommate is also one of my favorites). It would have taken my like seven hours to drive there, but the flight is an hour and the drive to the airport about the same. We walked around campus, went to a Cal art gallery, took the BART into San Francisco and went to the MOMA, and then hit up Fisherman's Wharf before it was fly home. And just like that I was home and in my bed by bedtime. It was easy, affordable, and so fun.

2. I think that a photographer should do a photo series on mom's when they are done getting ready for the morning, when they get home from work, and then when their kids finally go to sleep for the night. I swear, when I leave the house I'm a solid 6.75. By the time my kid goes to bed? A 2

3. The Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart cooking show? It makes me want cable again.

4. Next time you go to Trader Joe's get the chocolate pumpkin cookies with orange vanilla bean frosting. So good.

5. Tomorrow night is conference time. It's a very long day- I anticipate speaking to 100 families in about four hours. It's usually really, really nice too, though to touch bases with the families and to congratulate those doing well and to give those in need of some improvement some individualized tips. I always leave tired, but also pleased. Plus Friday we get to leave when the kids do for a minimum day to make up for the time. 

6. I have to get on the Hogarth train and pick up Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood and the other's they have put out. Being the completionist I am, I think I'd want to reread (or read) the Shakespearean plays first, though.

7. The Milk Bar ships their cakes. THE MILK BAR SHIPS THEIR CAKES. I have wanted to try one for ages! I've thought about trying to make me own, but I know it won't be the same. Unfortunately, said cakes, plus shipping and handling, end up equating to... a lot of money. But, if we ate PB&J for a week the grocery budget would cover it. Hmmm....


8. I am nearly done with The Sellout by Paul Beatty for book club tomorrow and I have to say that it is one of the best satires I have ever read. It's shocking and timely and so well-written. It's most definitely not for everyone, but it's still an important read. 

9. This weekend I have absolutely no plans. Whoa. 

Have a great rest of the week!

Bob Dylan: Nobel Laureate

Finally, a debate of true intellectual merit. Does Bob Dylan deserve the Nobel  Prize of Literature, which he was awarded today? Do lyrics fit in the box that we’ve created to define something that truly is so broad and limitless?

Yes and yes.

When I first saw the headline proclaiming his victory, I raised my eyebrows a millimeter, thought “hey that’s kinda cool,” and carried on with my regular scheduled programming, figuring I’d wait until later to read up on the decision. Sure, I was a smidgen sad that there wasn’t a novel unknown to me that I’d be plopping into my Amazon cart, but that was okay, considering the 80+ unread books of my shelves.

During my lunch break I had some time to jump on the interwebs, and I was a little surprised to see that people are upset with Dylan’s win. Their points are interesting and possibly valid, on some level at least. Many discuss how a huge part of Dylan’s work surpasses the lyrics, lying in the actual melody, the harmonica playing, and his unique voice. I get that. But the words connect to this and as a package they all enhance each other. Stephen Metcalf wrote on Slate’s site that, “the distinctive thing about literature is that it involves reading silently to oneself. Silence and solitude are inextricably a part of reading, and reading is the exclusive vehicle for literature.” He raises an interesting point. But what about poetry reads? Or sitting down with your child and reading aloud something like Charlotte’s Web? If we listen to The Odyssey on audiobook is it no longer literature? I personally like to enjoy texts silently, through reading, but I don’t think it’s the only way to do something (unless I'm reading to my son or students, of course). The experience and community surpasses silence. 

This word that Metcalf uses, “exclusive,” bothers me. By definition, it serves to limit. Since when was that a goal of true literature? Literature should invite, it should innovate, it should elicit emotion and thoughts. Literature in and of itself is evolving, as it always has. Look at what it looked like when  Chaucer wrote, or Shakespeare, or Dickens. We have changed as people, as has the way in which we consume literature.

Anyone want to put $5 on Kanye trying to nominate himself next year?

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. Sloooooowest weeeeeeeek eveeeeeeeeeer. I'm looking forward to the weekend, and it hasn't been a bad week (so far) by any means, I just can't believe that it's only Wednesday. 

2. Roxane Gay is coming to LA in January and my friend and I are already stalking the Skylight site waiting for tickets to go on sale. She's coming out with a collection of stories that she's on tour, so that's exciting news in and of itself. 

3. I just got tickets for the three of us to go to a limited-time-only Pixar Exhibit at the California Science Museum in December (because that month isn't busy enough). It looks super fun and the tickets include entry to the shuttle- if you're local check it out!

4. I made these cookie bars (cream cheese + corn starch= so soft) and they were delicious (I used M&Ms and a cake pan instead, so they were thicker). I also made this gnocchi one-pot sort of deal as well, but subbed sausage for the chicken and it was really easy and good. 

5. I had no idea Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? had a new book out! I had a gift card to Amazon, so I ordered it the other day. It seems like a funny, quick read that will be at least a tiny bit relatable. 

6. I also just downloaded Amy Schumer's audiobook, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo. I had reservations for a few reasons, but the first ten minutes I listened to today on the way to get Sawyer were entertaining.

7. Not only are there SO many books that are coming out of have recently, (I've had a post in my drafts on this for ages), but there are so many new albums coming out in the next few weeks, too! Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, The Naked and Famous, The Weeknd, Beck, and Metallica, just to name a few. Thank goodness for Spotify.

8. The other night I was so exhausted and just done with attempting productivity, that I just climbed into bed with my book and laid there and read for the first time in ages. It seems so simple and common, but it's been ages since I've read in bed and it was so very nice.

9. So, an old colleague that I am friendly with managed to convince me to try Rodan + Fields' eye cream with all of her pictures and posts. I sort of feel like I've joined a cult (but one with people with skin that's continuously improving). I've heard that there are a lot of aggressive R+F saleswomen, but she hasn't been so I decided to go for it. Fingers crossed I have the eyes of twenty-year-old in sixty days.

10. My Giants are out of the playoffs. Womp womp womp. But you know what's most important? That my "team" doesn't lose the presidential race. Speaking of that, a student asked me whom I was voting for the other day and I couldn't answer because of this very specific memo that was sent down to all employees from the district office. Not that I discuss politics often with my students, but the fact that there could be a doubt in their mind where I stand on the issue, and that I can't clarify it, irks me to no end. I'm sure they know, but I want them to know. But they can't.