Five Things I’m Looking Forward To:
Taking Sawyer to see my school's production of The Little Mermaid this weekend
Our upcoming trip to Yosemite (even with the possible snow)
Book club next week
Watching the last three episodes of This is Us this weekend
The Boysenberry Festival at Knott’s Berry Farm

Four Movies I Can’t Wait to See:
Sherlock Gnomes
Pandas (IMAX)
Ready Player One

Three Projects in the Works:
Banister re-painting/staining
New prints purchased for downstairs kitchen
A writing project I’m consisting brainstorming about

Two Magazines I Would Subscribe to If I Had More Time to Read Them*:
The New Yorker
National Geographic
*I might anyway

One Thing I Want Right Now:

Sleep (or coffee)

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

1. Sawyer and I were at Target the other day and all of the sudden he started freaking out over a “baby dog” in a “pirate hat.” His imagination is on overdrive lately, so this wasn’t anything that unusual, but when he started talking about his “cat grandma” (what he calls my mom) and becoming more insistent/borderline teary  I started asking questions. Turns out he saw a card with a puppy wearing a pirate hat and wanted to get it for my mom. Despite it being a birthday card I had to get it and let him decorate it to send to her, since I thought that the whole thing was basically the cutest thing ever. (I fully acknowledge that this is probably one of those instances where the mom thinks this is ten times more amusing and adorable that the rest of the world).

2. I just finished Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala and loved it so very much. I immediately ordered Beasts of No Nation and can’t wait to read that after I reading Homegoing for book club next week.

3. My friend and I went to the Anaheim Packing House for Lunch last weekend and I ordered deep fried cheese curds and can’t stop thinking about them. They were that good (should I mentioned that they came with garlic herb mayo to  just bump up the nutrition level a bit?).

4. My husband and I watched Lady Bird last weekend and I thought it was really good and probably extra amusing since I teach kids that age. I am also from the Central Valley, about an hour and a half south of Sacramento, where the movie is set, so I appreciated the idea of wanting to get the hell out of the region.

5. I wish I had more time in my life to subscribe to National Geographic, but until then I’m going to swing by the bookstore and pick-up their issue on race, where they include an analysis of the magazine’s own flaws.

6. I have been able to finalize some really, really big things at work this week in terms of some assessment submissions to IB, as well as some more standard tasks, and it feels so much better. Because the seniors are “mine,” and I see them every day, I end up being the middle woman for lots of tasks and it’s been a lot to handle on top of everything else. But we’re making our deadline and I’m really relieved that this wave has almost subsided (and then in another week or so another round will start, but it will be much easier).

7. Re: The Tillerson Firing- All the grown-ups have gone home and the kids are running the school.

8. Today our school had an organized walk during school time for students to promote peace, in order to discourage them from having an actual walk out. I feel a little conflicted about this, but signed up to chaperone the event since it was during my prep period. On one hand I think that it’s absolutely awesome- we’re encouraged them to take a stand in a safe way that didn't result in them feeling like they are breaking rules. It seems like a great compromise and I am glad that we have teachers and leaders who are willing to facilitate the event. On the other, I think that it takes away from the student-advocacy part of things and detracts a little from the message of a well-done, successful walk-out. Nonetheless, it’s a step in the right direction and I am more than happy to be a part of it.

All Apologies... No More

[some book I wanted to buy, so I did]

"I had a gift card..."

"I just used Amazon points..."

"I hadn't bought any for a long time..."

"We just got our tax return..."

"I got them for birthday/Christmas/Arbor Day..."

These are all phrases I tend to start any sort of post or conversation in which I am discussing newly acquired books, which sometimes come with a friend... or two... or five. I have this need to excuse both the act of adding to a pile of unread books that is approaching 100 and the act of spending money. I instantly think that people assume I'm being wasteful or am flaunting my ability to afford the expense and instantly become sheepish, whether the interaction is with my husband, friends, colleagues, or the internet. And with the exception of a few people (thankfully not the guy I am married to), I know no one probably cares, and yet I still can't help this defense. 

This extends past books as well, as I feel the need to justify many things I purchase in most conversations. If I'm talking about our annual passes to Knott's Berry Farm or the Zoo I have to include the fact that "it's such a good deal" or that "I can only afford it because I have only one child." If someone asks me where a dress is from I usually include a sale or gift card explanation when I mention it's from Boden, Anthro, of Loft. When I talk about trips I make sure to say that I've been saving for ages or justify the expense with the fact we rarely travel far. It's just so automatic for me at this point I can't help it. 

I'm guessing it, like many things in all of our lives, goes back to my childhood. We didn't have any extra money, at all, so the idea of buying in excess wasn't an option. Books were earned by saving weeks of allowance money or were just borrowed from the library. Shopping at stores other than Wal-Mart, or maybe Mervyn's on a good day, wasn't an option in our home. We never took trips and home improvements were done on the basis of necessity, served with a side of extreme parental stress. There was always a little disdain when people with more than we had were discussed, which I think is really common in our society. 

That being said, I was always hyper-aware of how much money the families had, or didn't have, around me growing up, and it made me self-conscious as I became older and hung out with some kids that were well-off. As an adult I am by no means wealthy, but my husband and I have good jobs and are fiscally responsible, with little debt (not counting our mortgage), so we are able to maintain some discretionary spending funds. I never want to make anyone feel like I just throw money around, which to me I guess buying boxes of books on occasion would maybe symbolize to some people. Basically, buying books makes me feel guilty. But it also makes me feel incredibly happy, which then makes me feel guilty (my grandmother, a hardcore Catholic before Alzheimer's set in, would probably be very happy with this guilt cycle).  

But you know what? I'm done feeling bad. I am fiscally responsible and have never run out of money because I've ordered too many books. I've never bought books over feeding my child. And I have actually been known to share my books with others (after they've been carefully vetted, of course). I also feel good about supporting authors and their ideas, many of which of late are important socially, politically, or culturally. I have room for my surplus and I have room for growth.

And, more than anything, books are what I collect. They're my thing. The anticipation of a new book, even if I won't read it for a year,  gives me a burst of joy.

So, book-loving friends, stop feeling bad. As long as your spending within your means and have some shelf/floor/table room go for it. Books make us better people, so by fueling your addiction you're really becoming a smarter, more empathetic human being. Books are cathartic, they're a safe escape, and they help us grow. Feel guilty no more.

You really can buy happiness. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I know, it’s Thursday, and these posts usually go up on Wednesdays. This week has been a complete nightmare on all fronts, so I’m taking being one day late as a win.

1. Wednesday was National Cereal Day, my favorite made up holiday, and I made sure to post a list of my top ten to declare my love for sugary cereals with animals and cartoons as mascots. I’m not even going to apologize or make excuses. Golden Grahams bring me joy. Cocoa Puffs make me happy. Ya gotta have  a reason to make it downstairs in the morning.

2. Last weekend my friend and I took Sawyer to one of those ceramics painting places and we had so much fun. I’ve never done it before, but I knew it would be a hit with my son since he is so into coloring and drawing right now. I think we spent over two hours (and too much money) catching up and watching him paint.

3. Still totally loving The Armchair Expert podcast. Dax Sheppard is equal parts charming and egotistical, but he has had a total comfort with his first three guests that makes the overall flow of conversation perfect.

4. Joy the Baker put out a tutorial for Petit Fours, which I love but have always been super scared to make. This is definitely on the short list of baking projects.

5. It has taken me a ridiculously long time to choose a new set of white dishes. White. The absence of color. Why is it so hard?  BECAUSE I AM MAKING IT THAT WAY.

6. I recently received a box full of books that I’ll share soon. My husband and I got our tax return back recently and we always dump some of it into our household account and then split the rest (we both claim single/zero, which I know is not the way to go, but it ends up in a large return that we are 95% responsible with). I save most of it every year, but I always let myself spend $100 or so bucks on some new books. They’re just sitting on a table in my living room right now calling to me. “Christiiiiiiiiiiine stop being responsible and reeeeeeaaaaad ussssss.” 

7. I am reading John August’s middle-grade book, Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire right now, which, honestly, and am having a hard time getting through it. Not because it’s bad or because it’s hard; I can see kids liking it and it’s very easy. I just have a really hard time connecting with YA and kid’s novels, for the most part. August talks in his podcast about not wanting to be compared to Harry Potter, but daaaaaang there are some obvious parallels. This is definitely not “the next” Harry Potter, either. 

8. My students are starting to get college acceptance letters and it’s the best. 

Seattle Recap

[MoPop Museum]

Last weekend my friend and I went to Seattle for an IB training for work. We had three days of training, but we also were able to get out and about some, too. We went to the Museum of Pop Culture, saw the Space Needle, dealt with snow, hit up some of her old favorite restaurants (she's from the area), walked around the Amazon Spheres, walked to Pike's Place Market, and spent some QT in our own hotel rooms hanging out. I also have some good friends from Southern California that relocated to the city a few years ago, so we went out do dinner one night and caught up. It was a great trip! I cannot wait to go back with Sawyer and Scott (if he can make it) sometime time in the next year. The flight is so easy and quick it's definitely something we could do for a long weekend. 

Here are some pictures:





[Space Needle in some flurries]

[gum wall]

[sunshine over the Puget Sound]

[our hotel was right down the street!]

[The Amazon Spheres]

[Loved it. No shame]

[Donuts and reading in bed]

[Ate at Biscuit Bitch on our way out of town]