Happy Halloween!

As far as I see it, it's just another excuse to torture my dogs.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Leave your link below!

I must preface this post with the fact that it is baby/pregnancy related. If that's not your thing I totally get it and just want to assure you this will not be the norm. I'm getting it out of my system... for now (the thoughts... not the baby). And thank you for the well wishes on my post the other day- yay for babies!

1. Dear world, stop asking childless people if they plan on having kids. If they never want them they don't want to feel obligated to justify themselves. If it's not the right time they don't want to feel pressured. And if they've been trying for months and months they really don't want the reminder. 

[the most serious someecard I've ever seen]
2. We will definitely find out the gender. And if it's a girl there will be absolutely no princess shirts or hair bows larger than say a silver dollar. I'm sure your daughter looks adorable in her "I'm the Princess" t-shirt with her hair bow the size of her face, but that's not my style. And considering I have limited time in which I get to impose my fashion beliefs on her you can bet your ass I'm going to take advantage (overalls 24/7). If it's a boy he can wear princess shirts and huge bows. Whatever.

[the size of the kid's face; source... sorry]
3. I refuse to make any promises about anything. I mean I'm not going to smoke crack or go skydiving, but that's about it. Visitors the first few days after birth? Don't count on it. Breastfeeding? Who knows! Epidural? We'll see! My point is that I've never done any of this before, so I'm basically taking it one thing at a time.

4. I'm not having a large family baby shower, so I guess that is one promise I'm making. I despise baby showers with every ounce of my being and have worked hard to get out of many- subjecting others to the torture just seems wrong (as does having one solely to get free baby gear). I hate being the center of attention, I hate games ("you know what, let's not even wait 'til I say "baby"- just take my fucking clothespin now"), and I hate being at large social events where I can't drink alcohol. I'm not opposed to a small get together with friends, but that's not even something I have my heart set on. 

5. I'm still so relieved about the timing of this whole thing. I'm due the first week in May, meaning I'll get to teach my students all the way up until their IB and AP tests (I'm actually due on the IB test) and then let them go full-blown senioritis on a sub. If things go okay I'll come back in June for senior check out day and graduation (my students are already asking to see the kid, claiming it's "like a sibling to them," but again, no promises), but other than that I'll get to be home for three months before going back to work at the start of the next school year. 

6. Working at the UCLA Medical Center for four years has completely ruined me in terms of my hospital expectations. My area has shitty, shitty, shitty options- it would almost be better to deliver my baby in an alley behind a Chinese restaurant. And no, I'm no switching to Kaiser- UCLA also taught me HMOs are something I'd like to stay very far away from.

[UCLA is only 65 miles away... source]
7. I'm very excited to take up running again postpartum. I gave it up a year and a half or so ago because I was legitimately burnt out, but then never really picked it back up because we were trying to get pregnant. I turned to yoga and did a lot of hiking/incline walking, and then eventually cycling, but I do miss the idea of training for something. I've already got my eye on a comeback half marathon in the future. 

8. My husband and I have had a few conversations about kids and social media these days- we both find it alarming how prevalent young children are on the internet, but understand that it really is a personal decision. I'd never put my kid's face on public domain, meaning the blog or twitter. I'll also work to cull my Facebook friends list between now and then- if I wouldn't talk to you on the street then you're out. We also plan to talk to family and friends about it as well- I hate it when I see people post pictures of other peoples' kids without permission. Not all parents want their kids plastered on the internet for strangers to see. I know it's harmless, but still. I don't know if your friend from biology class back in high school is now a pedophile. Food for thought.

9. I don't want to hear about your labor experience. Maybe eventually, but not yet. I don't want to hear about how you had an epidural... or that you didn't. How you're lady parts were decimated. That you spent twenty-four hours in labor. I just don't. I'm quite aware that it can suck hardcore and really don't need any reminders.

10. I am not concerned whatsoever with how our dogs will do. I know that is a very valid concern in some houses, but I know Cordie and Chomsky will be just fine. We're working on getting the barking under control, but other than that I don't anticipate any baby-mauling.

Books on Your Back- Yossarian Lives

In honor of book club (I use this term very loosely, since we're just getting off the ground):

[source via Etsy via Shooting Star Designs, $20]

We've decided to read Blindness by Jose Saramago next, which has been on my list forever. Our entire English Department is invited to partake (almost 20 teachers), and we had 5 (womp womp womp) last time. It was still a great group and it's always nice to talk about literature with educated adults. 

Top Ten Tuesday- Halloween

I'm definitely not a Halloween person- in fact I find it a smidge annoying.

[genius! source]

I'm sure next year when I have a tiny human to dress up it might be more fun, but for now I'll just maintain the Halloween equivalent to a "bah humbug" attitude. I did sew my dogs superhero capes, though, so there is a bright spot. Oh, and my pumpkin is pretty cool (we'll see if it rots before Thursday, though). 

Anyway, the Broke and the Bookish are hosting a Halloween top ten this week, and while I don't really read much in terms of scary stories (I don't really get scared by books), I thought I'd weigh in:

1. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson- There's nothing scarier than split personalities.

2. Carrie by Stephen King- Don't kill my Rory, but this is one of the very few (maybe only-?) King books I've ever read. 

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley- Did you know it's not just about a crazy green monster? Sheesh.

4. The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe- Typical, but one of the few I remember off the top of my head.

5. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka- He turns into a giant bug (or does he?), for Christ's sake!

6. Fear Street by RL Stine- Just kiddingl

7. Macbeth by William Shakespeare- There's three witches, therefore it must work with the Halloween theme. Plus people dress up as trees. Well, sort of.

8. Stacey and the Halloween Masquerade by Ann M. Martin- I was always down for a seasonal BSC book back in the third grade.

9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- There's nothing scarier than facing your past, present, and future in one night. 

10. Turn of the Screw by Henry James- Creepy ghosts and kids.

Meme lovers! Check back early Thursday and join in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I Almost Forgot- I'm Pregnant

[And by "bring on" I mean "keep it to yourself']

I guess I should probably take it one step past "Facebook official" and let all you blog readers know that I am, in fact, pregnant. With a baby (my husband was/is hoping for a Muppet, which could happen still, I guess).

I thought you might have some questions.

Do you know who the father is?
We're 99.99% sure it's my husband. I have been watching a lot of Fringe lately, though, so I'm not ruling out something creepy and extra-terrestrial (one of my good friends is calling it the "alien baby," after all).

Are you excited?
I am excited, but in my own way. I've known for nine or ten weeks so the sort of surprise has moved to "okay, this is my life now," while everyone else is just finding out and is all "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!" Plus, I'm sometimes a bit of an emotional rebel, so since everyone is expecting me to be gushing I'm doing the opposite. Sorry. It's who I am. Plus I hate attention.

When are you due?
Cinco de Mayo. I'm hoping we're a day or two late, but who knows what I'll be saying at that point.

Are you throwing up a lot?
Just when I drink too many margaritas! Just kidding. Not at all. I've been lucky in the sense that I've had no morning sickness whatsoever. Instead I've been cursed with indigestion from about 9 am to bedtime, but considering my job it's better than throwing up in front of teenagers. Oh, and I'm tired all the time, but I find that if I resist sitting down and succumbing to laziness I do all right. 

Are you fat yet?
Nope. I've heard if you eat broccoli and bananas while spinning in circles repeating "I will not get fat, I will not get fat" seventeen times every morning you won't start showing until the third trimester. I'm not a thin person by any means, but I've worked hard to stay fit and healthy so I'm still trying to adjust to the impending weight gain. 

Are you finding out the sex?
Abso-fucking-lutely. The ultrasound tech made a prediction but it's way too early, so we're calling it an "it" until we find out for sure (I don't do nicknames, so nothing cute like "bean," "nugget," or "button" happening here. It's a fetus. Barely).

Will the blog change?
Not really. It won't become a baby blog by any means, but I will occasionally post about some of the baby books I read (I'm not planning on reading many, but I'll explain why later), children's books I buy, and anything else I feel like adding. My Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts will probably be about it this week, but other than that it won't be in your face constantly. I know how annoying it is to see blogs you read become mommy blogs when you're nowhere near that stage in your life. And I also know how grating it is when you're trying (and trying) to get pregnant and see the constant reminders that you're not yet on blogs. So I'm trying to be sensitive to everyone, I guess. I will do my best! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Add your link below! A huge thanks to those that have participated, helped spread the word, and coerced others into playing along.

1. I listened to the Daniel Radcliffe Nerdist podcast this week and couldn't believe how damn likeable he is. I had heard he was a nice guy, but he's so funny and down-to-earth. If you're a fan download it and listen.

2. I saw a picture of Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed last weekend and still can't decide how I feel about this. I have a love-hate relationship with the book and thought she was a bit full of herself when I saw her at a reading, but I do like Witherspoon. I just can't decide.


3. Tonight is parent-teacher conferences- yet another thing I have a love-hate relationship with. I hate sitting in the gym behind a table with people lined up in front of me for three hours. And I'm usually across from the windows where the sun is setting, so I have to squint half the night. But I do love the opportunity to communicate with parents (there are translators available too, which makes things easy), especially those that I've known for a few years. Plus there are a few that I've known since their kid was in fifth grade from when I taught elementary school- those are fun. The best part, by far, is the fact that we get to leave work at 11:45 on Friday to make up our time.

[sometimes good, sometimes not so much]

4. Finally done with Catch-22 in time for book club this afternoon! Thoughts to come.

5. I won this awesome teapot (and an adorable notebook) from Julie at Julz Reads:

6. The past few days at work have been crazy. I had a student collapse in my class, resulting in a visit from the paramedics (I was proud of myself for staying calm and remembering what to do, but still scary). Thankfully she was back today and is going to be fine! I had nine students make it to the next round for a prestigious scholarship they applied to. I have no idea if any of them will get it, but, personally, I feel like the 12+ hours I spent writing letters of rec and helping them with their essays was worth it now. And then I also found out that I get to go on a work trip to Seattle this spring for training. And the week isn't even over.


7. I'm pretty much caught up with my grading- a monumental occurrence. I am NEVER ASSIGNING WORK AGAIN!

8. My brother and his girlfriend are coming over to carve pumpkins on Saturday. It's supposed to be 90 degrees out. There's something so, so, so wrong with this.

9. I'm so angry that Kanye proposed to Kim at AT&T park in San Francisco, where my Giants play. Gross. By the way, do people actually truly like them? I get hate watching and all, but are there true, legitimate fans?

10. This article on Jezebel cracked me up. Confession: I'm a level 5 that dabbles in level 4. I'm a firm believer in keeping your bodily functions, and comments about them, to yourself. I mean there are a few exceptions, but seriously. There should be some mysteries! 


Stop Reading and Bake a Pie

I promise, I'm not turning into a food blogger, but once in awhile I like to mix business with pleasure. This weekend I combined a few recipes and made a Caramel Apple Pie, which I made last year for Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I wanted to get a dress rehearsal in before this year, since it's been eleven months since my first, and only, shot. Seriously, who wants to fuck up the Thanksgiving pies? Anyway, I'm not a huge apple pie fan - more of a pumpkin girl - but I actually like this one, so it can't be half bad (I do love making apple pies, though- such a labor of love with all the peeling, chopping, and lattice making). It's the perfect fall dessert. Well, after anything with pumpkin, anyway.

Before the recipe, I have to tout the homemade pie crust. I know everyone thinks it's a pain in the ass to bust one out yourself, but it's not. I promise. Plus you can't say something's truly homemade if one of the main components is store-bought. Bragging rights, bitch! 

Caramel Apple Pie

Carmel and topping inspired by Annie's Eats Caramel Apple Bars
Filling and crust from The Joy of Cooking

As always, I'm not a professional, so excuse the mistakes!

9 ounces of caramel candies, unwrapped (no shit)
2 tbsp. heavy cream

3/4 cup flour
1/6 cup of sugar
1/6 cup brown sugar
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp cold unsalted, butter, cut into chunks
1/2 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla

I know some of these measurements are a bit strange, but I halved the original recipe; don't stress, just eyeball most of them if you don't have a 1/6 cup

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
5 tbsp ice cold water

6 cups of peeled, thinly sliced apples (I used 4 1/2 large Granny Smiths)
1 tbsp of lemon juice 
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 

1. Peel and slice apples- I like mine as thin as possible
2. Sprinkle lemon juice on top, mix up (this is optional, it's just to prevent browning while prepping everything else)
3. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg- evenly coat, set aside

1. Combine dry ingredients
2. With a pastry cutter (if you don't have one a fork works; cutters seem to the do the job faster, but I know they're not necessarily common tools), cut in butter until combined well (small clusters will start forming; main goal is to break up the butter well)
3. Stir in vanilla and egg yolk until topping is moistened (it will still be quite dry, and there will be some chunks- totally fine). Set aside.
1. Combine flour and salt 
2. With a pastry cutter (or fork) slowly cut in shortening, in small spoon-fulls. As you cut in, small pea-like balls (or even a little smaller) will start to form. Don't "smush" everything together- just toss lightly, so that it reminds you almost of wet sand. Or something like that. You don't want chunks of butter.
3. Once little balls (ha. ha. ha.) have started to form, add in the ice water a tablespoon at a time, continuing to toss with your cutter or fork. Continue until the dough is completely moistened and you have one big ball (I usually use my hands to combine everything at the end).
4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle big enough to fit your 9-inch pie pan. Once done, wrap the crust loosely over the rolling pin and eas it into your pan. Adjust as necessary.
5. Trim edges, or make a fancy-schmancy design, if that's your thing. 
6. Set aside.

Caramel Sauce
1. Combine caramels and heaving cream in a small pot over medium heat, stirring very frequently.
2. Remove from heat as soon as all candies are melted.

1. Pour caramel onto pie crust, spreading out with a spoon (I stopped when I had maybe 1/2 cup left)

2. Carefully layer the apples on top of the caramel

3. Thoroughly cover the apples with the crumbled topping- use it all!

1. Here's where it get's tricky- a typical pie would bake for an hour, while the bars with the crumble topping only half as long. I compromised.
2. Bake pie for 25 minutes at 375- check to make sure the top isn't burning
3. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minute, checking frequently to make sure there's no burning happening. I have a pretty decent oven that bakes evenly, so I didn't have any problem, but you never know.
4. Once the top and any visible pie crust is a golden brown remove and let cool for a few hours. 


Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Remember to leave your own link back at the end!

1. This is so true- 


2. Last weekend a friend and I went to True Food Kitchen, a restaurant that serves the healthiest food I've ever had at a "chain" (it doesn't look or feel like one, though). I've been to the one in Phoenix before but have been meaning to go to the one in Orange County. Everything is fresh, as local as possible, and delicious. And then we went to Sprinkles for cupcakes. Oops. 


3. I was listening to an Alton Brown podcast and they started talking about the idea of your "third place," which is a place other than work or home that you feel most comfortable at, or go most frequently. My third place changes, I think, depending on the time of year and what's going on in life. Over the summer it was definitely the Yoga Den where I work out at- I was there three, four days a week. Now, I'm not sure. Maybe this is a wake-up call to get my butt to the studio more often...

4. Eleanor Catton won The Booker Prize for The Luminaries this week at the age of 28! That's incredible! Her book seems really fascinating, but I have to admit to being a little hesitant because of the 800+ pages. I mean look at how long it took me to read Underworld...

5. I'm always so amused and befuddled when I'm placed in positions of leadership at work, most recently as the co-lead of a group of teachers at our site that are doing something really boring that wouldn't make sense to most people  reviewing current practices at our school. I'm horrible in meetings- I have a very hard time focusing and not talking to my friends! I hate talking in front of people! I just don't get it. I guess I'm flattered or have caught on that they realize I don't say no, at work, very well.

6. I just bought the new Bridget Jones book and have started rereading the first one. What the hell. They're fast and I'm seeing her in two weeks, so it'll be a nice refresher. 

7. I wish Modcloth had a store that I could actually physically go to and shop at.

8. I have an ambitious plan for pumpkin carving this year. If all else fails I'm going to go with this one:

[nothing says "trick-or-treat at my house" more than a stripper pumpkin; source]
9. I am temporarily a Cardinals fan. Anything to knock the Dodgers out...

10. While this isn't going to happen for a very, very long time, I really want to go on an Orangutan International Eco Tour in Borneo. It's not exactly cheap, but a seven day trip hanging out with monkeys? Sold. I wonder what shots I need... 


Books on Your Back- Superfudge

You had to have read Superfudge by Judy Blume growing up. And if you didn't? Some parent, teacher, or librarian did you wrong. 

[$27.99 through Modcloth; they'll donate a book with each purchase!]


Top Ten Tuesday- Force is Such a Dirty Word

As a high school English teacher I'm sensitive about the idea of "forcing" someone to read books. The connotation is so negative- you force people to pay their taxes, register their vehicles, and got to jury duty. "Forcing" someone to read something just doesn't work for me. Nonetheless, the Broke and the Bookish ask us for the top ten books we've been "forced" to read:

1. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (high school)

2. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (high school)

3. Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoyevsky (high school)

4. The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larsen (husband "highly suggested it")

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (made myself read it in order teach it)

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (high school)

7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (high school)

8. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Literature of the West course in college)

9. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (some sort of contemporary lit course in college)

10. Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita (Asian Lit course in college)

Shameless self-promotion plug- Stop by on Thursday to participate in Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts, a new meme that provides book bloggers to share their thoughts on both books and anything else they please. 

Audiobooks- Amanda Knox and Sheryl Sandberg

Two quick audiobook reviews on two very different women:

Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox

For those who have been living under a rock, Amanda Knox is a young American woman who was studying abroad in Italy when she was accused of murdering her roommate. She spent a few years in jail and eventually had her case appealed, returning to America (her case is actually back on trial, though she refuses to return to Italy). 

After listening and trying to be objective, I came to a few conclusions. First of all, she's incredibly immature, even now. During the time of the murder she was not only immature but just plain stupid at times, making ridiculous choices in terms of her behavior. Even as she reflects, she's a bit pompous and self-righteous.  Also, this is a prime example of needing to be a critical reader/listener. Knox makes some valid points and does all that she can to prove her innocence. But so what? Maybe she is, maybe she isn't- the book is completely one-sided.  I will say, the evidence is in her favor, and hearing the way that the Italian judicial system works makes me thankful for ours in the US.

Overall, it was an interesting listen and went by incredibly fast. If you have been interested in the case at all it would probably be a fascinating perspective for you.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In by Facebook COO Sheryl is a plea for women to commit themselves to obtaining equal footing in business by asserting themselves strategically. She urges women to not back away from climbing the corporate ladder while still starting families and being mothers, and voices her frustration towards a society that refuses to support women's simultaneous career and familial advancements. 

I downloaded this book several months ago, after I missed out on her reading. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but  didn't think it was going to be quite so "you go girl" as it was. I mean, I'm the girl that didn't change her last name and has been a huge supporter of separate bank accounts, but for me there's a difference between being vocal and being vocal. Women already have a reputation for being nags; bitching constantly about inequality is not necessarily the way to go. And this might be a result of listening as opposed to reading, but I thought it lacked any sort of cohesive structure. Eliza Donovan, from Clueless, read it, which I thought was incredibly strange (her younger, nasaly voice didn't match the content).

While there were definite negatives, I thought that Sandberg's discussion of what it means to be a feminist was interesting and I did appreciate her candor (like when she realized on a Google corporate flight to a conference that that she brought her kids along that her daughter had lice). I do think this would be a great read for both men in managerial positions, and women struggling to balance work and family.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Enter your link back to your Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts post at the bottom! 

1. Last Saturday I saw a camel (in a field by the freeway) and an Oompa Loompa (in a parking lot) on the same day. Can it get any better than that? Should I try?


2. I think BBQ places should offer some sort of option to build your entree full of just sides. I still don't eat read meat and sometimes chicken is just so boring. But mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and baked beans? Let's do it.

3. I bought tickets to see Helen Fielding talk to Princess Mother Effing Leia November 1st through Writer's Block. I pretty much hate chic lit, but I see Fielding as the mother of the modern genre, so I give her props. Plus I read the first Bridget Jones when I was in eleventh of twelfth grade, so I feel a definite nostalgic pull.

[Wear the buns! Source]
4. I think all employers should have suggestion boxes.

5. Why are we not hearing more about the boat that crashed outside of Lampedusa? Hundreds of people have died and those that were rescued are sitting in a facility meant to house half as many people as are there. Augh! If these were rich white people, rather than African refugees, we'd be freaking having telethons in support. Lampedusa in general is a place that warrants more attention.

6. John Boehner is such an asshole. Right now everyone in Washington are assholes, but he's King Asshole in my book.

 7. New guilty pleasure: Scandal. I'm working on this ridiculously time-consuming Christmas wreath and decided to give it a try last weekend and was slightly sucked in. We're also watching season two of Fringe, so I think the two balance each other out. 

8. I saw someone post on Twitter today that they saw on someone's email signature a "currently reading" line. How fantastic is that? I'm seriously tempted but am worried people will either be confused, or no one will ever notice and it'll be sort of lame (but do I care?).

9. My husband is obsessed with the new Grand Theft Auto and has had to train his fake dog Chop on a phone app (think Tamagotchi style). When he plays with it on the actual videogame Chomsky goes ape-shit. Whining, barking, running toward the screen. It's the most entertaining part of the game, in my opinion.

10. By the time this posts, the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature will have been announced. Very exciting. I'm hoping for Murakami. 

Reading, Listening, Buying, Coveting

Just a friendly reminder that Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts will be up super early tomorrow morning with the option to link in! Come play! And thanks to those that did last week- I had five more than I expected. 

What I Had Before I Had You- Sarah Cromwell

The Omnivore's Dilemma- Michael Pollan

Catch-22- Joseph Heller 


Lean in- Sheryl Sandberg


Bridget Jones- The Edge of Reasoning- Helen Fielding

Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn*

The Astronaut Wives Club- Lily Koppel*

Jim Henson: The Biography-  Brian Jay Jones*

*All audiobooks that I "bought" with old points


Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy- Helen Fielding

The Circle- Dave Eggars

The Secret History- Donna Tartt

The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook- Lindsay Landis

Anything by Mary Roach


Nonfiction Nagging- Running in the Family (and I Don't Care About My Ancestors)

I recently finished Michael Ondaatje's memoir Running in the Family for work (some days I still get excited over the fact that I "read books for work," while others I want to slam my head against the wall after looking at the stack of papers to be graded) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read Divisadero a few years back and was mesmerized by his prose, which carries over into his nonfiction work as well. 

The memoir centers around Ondaatje's desire to learn about his past, which resides in Sri Lanka, or what was called Ceylon during colonial times. Ondaatje left Canada and went home to hear stories, visit places he had lived, and track down rumors. He captures the heat and humidity, the force gossip can have, and the nature of oral tradition. He includes poems and photographs to supplement his text, as well as the occasional quote from discovered sources. He focuses longer chapters on his maternal grandmother Lalla, a really hoot, and his alcoholic father, whose addiction prevented him from being a successful father, husband, or employee. Ondaatje works to put back the pieces of his past while integrating himself into a culture that he had long been absent from. And all of this is done through absolutely beautiful writing.

This memoir is definitely not for everyone- just ask my students. Some don't love stream of consciousness, nor are some fans of the intermixed poems. I think the biggest complain I have heard so far is that it's "confusing." The text jumps around between different places in the past and the present quite often, without a lot of warning. It's imperative that it's read closely and that verb tenses are noted. I think during a few parts too, when it's unclear who exactly is telling a story, that the reader just has to accept that they're being kept in the dark a tad.

Guiltily, I have to admit that while reading this I felt absolutely no compulsion to research my family whatsoever. Genealogy has never really been of any interest to me (except the fact that we have some Italian Mafia members on my dad's side- that's pretty intersting), dare I say because I'm too young? My maternal grandmother has spent a lot of time over the years collecting information and putting together books, yet I've never been compelled to even look at them. I know there is something in knowing "where you came from," but I guess I'm too concerned with where I am and where I'm going right now. Maybe in twenty, thirty, forty years I'll feel a need to know what the lives of my ancestors were like, but for now I'll just admit to being apathetic. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Remember, if you'd like to play along leave your link at the bottom!

1. A few weeks ago I was in the totally awesome/totally overpriced Anthropologie and fell in love with one of their headboards:

2. I am so very, very glad that social media wasn't really a "thing" when I was in high school and even college. Yeah, there was email and AIM (remember AIM? Ha! Away messages!), but nothing like today. I can't imagine juggling the whole popularity circus with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat (oh God), Tumblr, and texting. As a grown-ass adult it seems a bit too much at times, I just can't imagine it as a hormonal, sensitive teenager.

3. I really hate the phrase "date night" when describing going out with your husband or wife. It's not a date. Dating was what you did when you weren't married. Once you're hitched it's called Friday. Or Saturday. Or Tuesday. Just like when you take care of your own kid it isn't called "babysitting."

4. Thank you Mother Nature for the weather. Sweaters in the morning? Open windows when I get home from work? It's been swell.

5. My youngest younger sister is coming this weekend! I'm excited- I used to see her all the time when she was local for a year of college, but since she moved back home I only see her a few times a year. Good times will be had.

6. I've been reading Michael Ondaatje's memoir Running in the Family for work and am really, really enjoying it. My students are thankful for a reprieve from Shakespeare, so I'm hoping the book will be well-received. I read Divisadero by him several years ago and really liked it, so I'll probably by picking up some more of his books soon.

7. Unless you're my mom or husband please don't call me. Texts are awesome. Facebook messages will do. Emails will suffice. But unless someone is dying or you've broken every single finger on both hands, please just don't. I hate talking on the phone- the awkward pauses, the accidental interruptions, gently trying to end the conversation, listening to background noise... It's just all bad. Plus it's harder to multi-task.

8. I hate how you can't complain about passive aggressive people without being passive aggressive yourself. See what I did there?

9. People, going to work or school sick does not earn you any points! If you are sick DON'T TELL ME! You don't get some sort of badge of honor for toughing out the day. There is no prize. I'm not going to congratulate you. I know we can't stay home every time we have the sniffles, but if there's a fever involved STAY THE FUCK HOME. If there's excessive about of bodily fluids coming out of your various bodily holes STAY THE FUCK HOME. We're entering cold and flu season and I cannot get sick, thankyouverymuch.

10. I have this thing about needing the last book I've read before book club to be the book club book. Our work book club as been "reading" Catch-22 for months and we pushed back the next meeting a few weeks (which is fine, since I'm busy), but that means I have to keep dragging out finishing it.


September Reviews

September was a little lackluster in the reading department, since I was/am still getting back into the swing of the school year. Speaking of which, I have a ton to do, so let's make this snappy.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce
384 pages
I probably enjoyed this book the most, this month. Harold Frye is a newly retired Englishman who learns that an old colleague is dying of cancer. Unsatisfied and bored with his current life, he decides to walk across England to visit her, leaving his wife, home, and the haunting memories of his son. Along the way he meets a variety of people and must learn to handle the fame that comes along with his pilgrimage. It's a coming-of-age story geriatric style.

Verdict: Yes! It was a fun read with decent writing and character development.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
152 pages
I'll spare everyone the details, since I'm sure most of you have read it. I read it in high school (and college?) and actually really enjoyed teaching it. The students had some great discussions and it was interesting to watch their opinions change as we moved through the play. 

Verdict: It's required reading, folks.

Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain
480 pages
I wrote a post on this novel already and really don't care to revisit it...

Verdict: Pass!