Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below!

1. Some grammar humor (from the most inappropriate show ever):

2. Confession: I don't say the Pledge of Allegiance, nor do I make my students. I have no problem when people say it, but it's not something I partake in myself. No, I am not joining ISIS.

3.  I made these last weekend and they were delicious (spoiler alert: it involves apples and snickerdoodles).

4. When you complain and someone says "welcome to motherhood" or "welcome to teaching" or "welcome to the jungle" they're basically saying "you're not unique, stop complaining, shut your face."

5. It's expensive and wasteful, but I effing love parchament paper.

6. I hadn't thought about Chicago Hope, the nineties medical drama, in years, but for some reason really wanted to watch it last night. Instead I googled pictures of Christine Lahti, Mark Harmon, and Hector Elizondo.

7.  One of the most important things to learn when teaching high school students is to not take things personally. As I "attach" myself to groups of students this is something I have to remember. Teenagers are emotional, weird, opinionated creatures that don't always consider other perspectives or empathize well (heck there are a lot of adults who fall into the same boat).  But I still love them.

8. There have been a few different blog posts floating lately that run to the tune of "mom, yeah you're tired and put everyone before yourself, but you really should pay more attention to your husband and make him feel like the hot young stud he was when you started dating." Excuse me, but back that 1950s stand-by-your-man train of BS up. Most of them throw in a line at the end that tell men to "not forget your wives," but the sentiment is that we as moms should bend over backwards to make sure our husbands feel loved and special even when they don't. How about this? How about an article that tells husbands to start recognizing that their wives work their butts off all day, many going to work and then coming home and continuing the labor? Of course, not because then we'd be labeled as "feminist bitches" or "needy" or whatever insult whatever enraged man wants to spit out. Okay, I'm done now. I just don't need some stay-at-home mom who runs a blog called something like "Lace and Lollipops" (or whatever) to tell me that I need to rub my husband's feet when I get home, because "golly gee, he is a maaaaaaan." Now I'm really done.
9. My students are working on a batch of IOPs, a formal 10-15 minutes presentation on an element of the text we're working on. Presenting is tough, so I sympathize with them. Some of the most talkative, outgoing kids become the complete opposite- the other day I spotted one kid's hands trembling as he held his cards. Granted, some don't prepare adequately and don't research as well as they should, but I have noticed that public speaking is a skill that we're not teaching well enough in our schools. In the future I need to give a crash course on speech giving- body language, eye contact, etc... 

10. I want to learn how to sew better- I fantasize about making myself cute skirts and vintage- looking dresses. How awesome would that be? A yard or two of fabric plus the various notions runs less than $20. Unfortunately, all I can currently do it a basic straight stitch and buttons. I also want to start making scarves. If I had time I'd try to take a class or something.

Top Ten Tuesday- Halloween Costumes

I seriously can't remember the last time I dressed up for Halloween- probably high school. It's not that I have anything against it- I just haven't had the need. This week The Broke and the Bookish ask us what characters we'd dress up as- I'm going to go ahead and extend that to literary costumes, just to give myself a little more leeway. 

1. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz- This is more of a leftover from childhood, since I remember wanting to be it and not being able to.

2. The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia- I don't do princesses, but her regal attire is something I could get on board with.

3. A publishing exec- I picture them all in Banana Republic. Sign me up.

4. A librarian- While I know librarians come in all shapes and sizes, I'd play up the part with a pencil skirt, buttoned-up shirt, a severe bun and glasses. Yes, this isn't a far cry from what I wear normally.

5. A doctor from a book that is about doctors- Really, I'd just like an excuse to buy a pair of scrubs (aka pajamas you work in).

6. An author- The author costume would really just be me in a new Anthropologie dress. That's what writer me would wear on an imaginary book tour.

7. Lisbeth from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- My wardrobe would typically not be labeled as "bad ass" so this would be fun.

And a few that I would not like to be:

8. Katniss from The Hunger Games- Purely out of protest.

9. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter- Sorry, but those robes aren't even a tiny bit fun.

10. Anyone from Frozen- Just because I'm already anticipating inventing a game on Friday that's called "Every time Elss rings the doorbell take a shot" (or in my case "Every time Else rings the doorbell eat a Kit Kat" since I can't drink and would probably not get completely plastered around tiny little people anyway).

Halloween plans? We're dressing up the baby as Han Solo, and I'm supposedly making the dogs into Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Mostly I'm just hoping that I can find Reeese's Peanut Butter Cups on sale the next day. 

"Master Harold"... and the boys Lessons

The past five or so weeks my students have been studying the play "Master Harold"... and the boys (yes, the title is supposed to be written out like that, much to my chagrin) by Athol Fugard. As I did previously with The Catcher in the Rye, here are a few of the more high-interest lessons I did with my students that try to combine some Common Core-ish elements.

Visual Literacy (30 minutes)
To introduce the play and the Apartheid background I collected a dozen or so different pictures into a PowerPoint. For each picture I had the students discuss what was happening and how the picture would relate to the book. We then discussed each as a class and finished the lesson with the students writing a brief reflection in their notebooks. Next time I'll extend the lesson by having the students find their own picture and post it, along with a quick analysis, on the website we use for the class.

Skills: critical analysis, oral production, visual literacy

Understanding Stage Directions (50 minutes)
In order to examine the stage directions, and their importance, I brought in an episode of Friends (the one where Monica where's a turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler). Fun fact: the episode aired the year they were born. Sigh. We watched a three minute clip twice and I had the students write down everything the actors were doing- facial expressions, interactions with props, body language, etc... We discussed their findings and then watched a clip of the movie of the play, doing the same thing. Students were then asked to find stage directions in the text that they thought were critical. 

Skills: Observation/listening, note-taking, reading comprehension, discussion

Scene Presentations
One of our culminating activities were scene presentations. Students had to get into groups and write five-minute scenes that took a contemporary controversial issue and applied it to a friendship, just like race and The Apartheid did for Sam and Hally in the text. They had to use stage direction, props, proper play-writing formats, etc... in order to convey their message. They also had to each find an opinion article on the topic they chose and complete a series of writing activities to analyze it (annotation, SOAPSTone, and a rhetorical precis).

Skills: writing, acting, analysis, research, annotation 

Final Essay- Comparison
Students were tasked with finding another piece of writing, movie, TV show, painting, song, or poem to compare to the play. They had to find a specific thematic element, though, to focus on. They're not due until next week, but so far topics include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a Billy Joel song, Tupac's poetry, and the TV show Blackish. This should be entertaining, at least.

Skills: analytical writing, reading comprehension, compare/contrast

For those that haven't read it, I highly recommend it!


On Deck...

For the first time in a long time I'm feeling pumped about my upcoming reads. Maybe it's the cooler weather, the fact that I'm optimistic about liking what's on deck, or temporarily being almost caught up with grading. Nonetheless, here's what's in the lineup:

1. I am Radar by Reif Larsen

2. 1984 by George Orwell

3. Animal Farm by by George Orwell

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (reread)

6. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion 

7. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

8.The Best American Short Stories of 2014

Say what you will about Amazon, but the last three are from Vine- hooray for free books!

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below! One of these days I'm going to actually like push this on twitter and tweet about it and make it more legit. Mmmmmmhmmmmm.

1. The new Mac OS is called Yosemite. Ew. I like Macs, I like Yosemite, but do they need to be together? It's like combining Diet Coke and chocolate milk.

[Hey! I've hiked that thing! Twice! Source]

2. I finished Tana French's The Secret Place- hallelujah. I'm now reading an ARC of Reif Larsen's I Am Radar and am totally loving it so far.

3. The Giants are in the World Series! We don't have cable or satellite so we sucked it up and spent the $10 dollars so we could stream the World Series games on MLB Live (or something like that) on the PlayStation.


4. You should follow Los Feliz Daycare on Twitter. Ridiculously funny.

5. The Common Core Committee I am on is working on a unit on dystopias and we agreed to suggest Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, 1984, and A Brave New World in our work. I have to confess I've only read the first (I know. I know! Sci-fi-esque books aren't really my bag), so I've got some reading to do before we meet again. I'm a little excited, a little annoyed.

6. Tomorrow night is parent-teacher conferences, a night I tend to dread, and this year more so. It has nothing to do with interacting with the parents- that's usually pleasant and productive. The crappy part is that we're there from 4:30 to 8:00. We get to leave early the next day, but I have a lunch meeting so I'm not going to really reap those rewards. This time will be especially hard since I'll have to pick Sawyer up from daycare, feed him really fast, and then basically go back to work. And by the time I get home it will be time to feed him again and put him to sleep. Wah.

7. This weekend I have to finish/start Halloween projects. We need a pumpkin (really I just want to take pictures of Sawyer at a pumpkin patch) and I need to make the dogs their stupid costumes. Can you sense the enthusiasm?

8. Today the inevitable happened- I was walked in on while pumping at work. Despite the sign on my door. Despite it being my prep period and there not really being a reason to come in. It gets better- the intruders were an assistant principal and one of the big guys from the district office. Even better? I yelled at them. Twice. Luckily I was all covered up, but it was still traumatizing. 

9. This irritates me so much.

10. The UCLA "Friends of English" is starting a virtual book club, but I'm pretty sure you have to be a "friend" as in "I give you money" sort of friend. Until I'm done paying off my student loans I'm not giving that campus a dime.

Take a Walk

PSA for today: take a walk. Put on some shoes, lock up the door, and just go. It will make you feel ten times (or more) better about life. 

And will justify the PopTart you ate when you walked in the door from work. But mostly it will just make you feel happier. 

Good Morning/Sponsored Post

It's not even six-o-clock in the morning on a Monday, yet here I am sitting on the couch, in the dark, blogging. It's a meeting day. I'm usually not a proponent of publicly biting the hand that feeds you, but I'm on a big, "important" committee for work that I'm really struggling with. We're redesigning the curriculum to correlate to Common Core (another blog post, for another time) and it's just really frustrating and stressful (while I'm there, anyway). It's a lot to do and I'm often not sure if I've been equipped properly to do so. I'm not always the best at working with others... but here I am. Anyway, the one good thing (besides an hour lunch instead of the normal thirty minutes) is that I don't have to be there until 8:30, as opposed to our normal seven am contract time. So, here I am blogging in my jammies with a cup of coffee while Sawyer gets to sleep in. Lucky bastard. 

Wow. So that was a little out of context. Anyway. 

I'm really just quickly stopping by to report on Tana French's The Secret Place, which Penguin was generous to send me a copy of. Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan. Always in search of a solid, well-written, high-interest mystery, I had my hopes up, since I know some of her other books did well. This one was quite lengthy, at almost 400 pages, but that was fine. The premise was quite interesting, being about a cold case at a all-girl's school being resurrected by two detectives. The execution- not so much. 

The biggest flaw, for me, was the pacing. The book seriously dragged. The narration was split between the past, in the time leading up to the murder, and the present, during the rekindled investigation. This should have sped things along nicely, but it did not. I think one of the main problems was that the present section took place during one day and was mainly interviews between the detectives and the girls. This of course could have been done well, but was not.

The characters lacked depth. The ending wasn't anything special. The setting, an old all-girls school, could have added to the story, but it merely existed. The writing was generally a step or two above your standard mystery, although I couldn't figure out if she was going over-the-top with the unrealistic teenage dialogue on purpose sometimes or not.

This book had a lot of potential, but for me missed the mark. 

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

[mad food photographer skills]
So, I was thinking that there might not be enough pumpkin recipes in the blog world. You know, a shortage of sorts. Kind of like the drought in California, but with pumpkin. So, in the interest of helping America, I bring you Pumpkin Molasses Cookies.

The molasses is subtle, so I'm sure you could add more if you compensate accordingly with the flour. Also, please note that the color of Nestle's Pumpkin Spice Morsels are absolutely offensive,  and the taste is a fairly strong (but reasonably so). I baked half the batch on one day and half the other; the cookies that had time to set in the fridge had a bit more of a stronger flavor, as to be expected. The end result is soft, pumpkin-y and delicious. 

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen(ish)
Time: 15 minutes to prep

1 tsp molasses
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 bag of Nestle's Pumpkin Spice Morsels
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package of pudding (I used vanilla)
2 eggs
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened 

1. Preheat oven to 350 if you plan on baking immediately 

2. Combine butter, sugars, molasses, and eggs in mixer, combine as you always do when making cookies

3.  Mix in pudding and pumpkin pie spice

4. Slowly add flour and baking soda

5. When everything is all mixed up and ready to go, stir in the morsels 

6. Drop on cookie sheet and bake from 10-12 minutes, depending on your balls size and oven efficiency

Served best with Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbs.

Just kidding. I've never even had one. And did me saying "Starbs" make you cringe? Good. It was supposed to.

Base of recipe is adapted from this cookie recipe, which I adore.

Gone Girl: My Theory Supported

Last weekend marked my return to the movie theater after many, many months of absence. I say that like I regularly went before baby- truth is that I struggle to sit through movies, even more so when I’m stuck in the confines of one seat for hours at a time. Nonetheless, my husband and I both wanted to see Gone Girl (me because I was curious to see if this would back up my “bad books make good movies” theory, and my husband because he loves the director, David Fincher), so we abandoned the kid and went.
Several months ago I wrote about my lackluster feelings towards the novel by Gillian Flynn. I thought the writing was mediocre, the characters flat, and the entire premise (including the ending) downright ridiculous. Scratch that- not ridiculous, stupid. There were spots that were difficult to get interested in and others that I wished would hurry along- the pacing was poor. And I didn’t have a problem that the characters were despicable, as I don’t need to like the people I’m reading about (I know this is a common complaint in a sea full of accolades).
The movie, though, was great. I was a little apprehensive that it was over two-and-a-half hours (I prefer ninety minutes), but it didn’t feel like it all (until I had to pee, anyway). While the dialogue and plot events were basically identical to the novel, it was in many ways very different. The acting absolutely made the movie- Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were phenomenal, as were supporting actors Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. They absolutely nailed it.
The movie’s tone is vitally different than the novel- it’s far more of a satire than the original. I often felt that it was almost making fun of the book, on some level- Affleck and Pike are deliberately overacting, producing this sort of hyper-aware, tongue-in-cheek, borderline campy feel at times feel (should I start a movie review blog, guys? Ha!).  Fincher is directly critiquing the role of the media in our lives, both their ways of spinning things and the public’s ways of believing them. He’s commenting on marriage and trust (although I will give the book credit for maybe doing this at least slightly). He’s showing us how scary boredom, childhood scars, and money woes are.
I find it fascinating that Flynn wrote the screenplay for this movie- if you look at the script alone you would simply see the book condensed. But yet with the acting and direction something much more emerges, something richer and more cerebral. It’s subtle,  but powerful.
Did you see it? Did you read it? Thoughts?  

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Happy Wednesday! Link up below (and thank you to those who link back).

1. My friend is getting married soon and I got this for her bachelorette brunch (so thankful it wasn't a crazy party- I would have ended up as the DD):

2. I've always been staunchly opposed to ereaders, both for nostalgic and practical reasons. This article continues to support my stance.

3. I'm one of the few who doesn't bend over backwards to kiss some Frozen ass, and am already wrinkling my nose at the reassurance of popularity now that Halloween is coming. Every time I see an Elsa I'm eating a peanut butter cup (if I get trick-or-treaters).

4. I'm a fan of the show Cabaret and would love to get to New York to see Emma Stone perform as Sally.

5. I'm so thankful for friends that you know you can easily pick back up with after an absence- people that understand that life happens. 

6. I've been dying for an ARC of Reif Larsen's I Am Radar, so I finally bit the bullet and emailed Penguin. The next day I received an email asking for my address. I have yet to receive it yet, but am excited that it was so easy! I know, beginner's luck.

7. Leave it to Texas (sorry...) to screw up Ebola containment. And seriously, why wasn't the CDC more involved? Did these people not see the movie Outbreak? Do they not remember that creepy monkey? Come on, now (I must confess that one of the most memorable part of that movie is the divorced couple who split custody of their dogs- my husband I would definitely do that if we ever split up).

8. When life gets tough, get some perspective:


9. Sometimes I crave ice cream, and sometimes I crave going to Yosemite. I know, it sounds lame, but sometimes I get this intense need to just go. The trees, the waterfalls, the smell of campfires at dusk... I'm also a little obsessed with the idea of staying at the $500+ a night Awahnee, but that ain't happening anytime soon. 

10. I'm in love with this blanket (but not the price):


Trunk-or-Treats are Ruining Halloween

As I roamed own the aisles of Target last week I made my way over to the dreaded seasonal area to buy Halloween candy. "How much do you think we should get?" I asked my husband. This, of course, led to an obligatory recount of how much we went through in years past. 

Three years ago: a ton (people were even driving into our area from other areas)
Two years ago: some
One year ago: less than a bag (we still have some)

Background: we live in a nice neighborhood full of families with kids ranging from infants to teenagers. On our street alone there are close to a dozen kids.

So, you ask, what happened last year? Could it have possibly been the weather? The arrival of a religious sect that doesn't partake in such festivities? Did local law enforcement warn of a killer on the loose?

No, no, no. My friends, what happened was something called Trunk-or-Treat

Yes, trunk. As in the one in the rear of your car.


Primarily sponsored by churches and sometimes schools, parents park their decorated vehicles in parking lots and dispense candy to costumed kiddos. Sometimes these aren't on Halloween, but more and more they are, meaning families go there instead of door-to-door. 

And now you're up to speed on the slow death of Halloween as we know/knew it.

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween as an adult (although I am admittedly more excited now that I have a tiny human to dress up), but as a kid I had fun with it. My mom made our costumes for many years- I was a clown, a Native American (oopsies), an angel, cowgirl, and Little Red Riding Hood. We'd eat an early dinner and then eagerly wait for the sun to go down so we could take the neighborhood by storm with all the other kids from the neighborhood. It was fun. It was a tradition

But now, there are less and less kids roaming the neighborhoods on October 31. Parents are concerned with safety, enthusiastic about convenience, or feel pressured by certain organizations (or by their kids, who are in turn pressured by said organizations). says it's what happens when "laziness and paranoia collide in a parking lot" (source). Time reported a few years ago in an article entitled "Grownups in Costumes: Have Adults Ruined Halloween?" that there hasn't been "a single documented case of Halloween candy poisoning" and that "sexual-predation rates are no different on Halloween than any other night of the year" (source). Moms get to obsessively pin trunk-decorating ideas on Pinterest, dads get to shoot the shit with other dads by their cars, and kids get to collect ridiculous amounts of candy. But where's the spirit? Where's that creepy feeling you get when you dare to ring the doorbell of the neighbor who you think might be hiding dead bodies in his attic (or something a kid would think up)? Or the butterflies in your stomach when you go to your crush's house (and then his fat, cranky dad opens the door)? The pride you feel when your parents finally let you go out with just your friends (as long as you stay between this road and that road)? What about getting yelled at repeatedly to "not step on the grass" and to "say thank you!" (just another way to teach manners)? 

The idea of trick-or-treating dying out makes me depressed. I want Sawyer to be able to dress up like some idiotic movie characters (okay, but not that part) and run around our block hyped up on sugar making people go "awww" when they open the door to see him. And to later know that he's sauntering around with his pals probably acting like a hooligan or flirting with girls. It's part of growing up.

Resist the urge, parents. Put down the crepe paper, dry ice, and whatever the hell people use to decorate their cars (that sounds ridiculous, decorating a car). 

And rest assured. As much as I hate buying candy for other peoples' kids, abhor hearing my dogs bark a million times, and detest hearing my doorbell ring, I will always buy candy and keep my light on... until at least nine.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below! 

1. Last week was really shitty (hence the half-assed post). Some things were bad in the "never going to be amusing" way, while some aspects were eventually pretty comical. Take the fact that mornings Tuesday thru Friday were all ridiculous. Tuesday I spilled creamer all over the floor, Sawyer peed on me, and I forgot my pumping supplies after I had gotten two miles away from my house and had to turn around (all before 6:30). Wednesday I fell down the stairs- thankfully I was not holding the baby. I didn't break anything besides ten million blood vessels on my ass- I have never had such angry looking bruises in my life. If it was socially acceptable in my circles I'd post a picture on Instagram. They're that impressive. Thursday Sawyer had a huge blow out as I was driving up to daycare (I refuse to take in a kid with a messy diaper- poor form). Then Friday I woke up feeling like utter shit with a terrible head cold. This week has been better. Thank goodness.

2. I'm pretty much obsessed with checking the 10-day forecast to see if fall has arrived. It has not. Temperature are slowly creeping away from the high-90s, though, and we may even see -gasp- the seventies here in a week and a half.

3. I've really become exceptional at playing out arguments with people in my mind, generally when I drive. There's something cathartic about it. Plus, I believe in being prepared.

4. Is it weird that I kind of want to take the GRE or LSAT, just to see what I'd score? I have no desire in going to graduate or law school, I'm just curious.

5. The next several days are going to be really busy. My mom comes in to town tomorrow (she's staying a half hour or so away, though, at my grandparents') and is stopping by to see us (and by "us" I mean Sawyer) tomorrow night and  Friday my in-laws are coming over after work. Saturday we're going apple picking with my mom and brother, and then that evening my husband and I are going to go see Gone Girl. Sunday morning I'm dropping the baby off with my mom at my grandparents' and am then going to a bachelorette brunch for awhile. I know, all incredibly exciting activities. But for me, who spent so much time in a cave all summer, this is a big deal. I'm tired already.

6. This small study from UCLA (go Bruins!) may change Alzheimer's treatments someday. My grandmother was unfortunately diagnosed several months ago, so this is definitely a topic that sparks my interest. I think more than anything, the take away here is that there's a lot we can do to proactively to try to stay healthy. Sleep more, eat better, and move! All common sense stuff.

[this might be a problem | source]

7. Check out Mark Bustos on Instagram- he's a hair stylist that cuts the hair of homeless people.

8. I'm running a half marathon in about four months- shall we all laugh together? This is part of the reason why I'm obsessing over the weather. My treadmill is in an extra room upstairs, which is usually at least 88 degrees by the time I get home (we don't run the air upstairs; by the time we go to bed we turn on our whole house fan with the open windows and we're good to go). 

9. The Giants won last round of the playoffs and area headed off to play the Cardinals starting Saturday. I won't lie- the fact that both Southern California teams, the Angels and the Dodgers, were knocked off in the first round was pretty effing awesome. If the Giants make it to the World Series my husband and I joked about trying to get tickets and just going. And then I decided maybe we should just do it. Yes, it will be expensive (it could be our anniversary, birthday, and Christmas presents!), and a little challenging with a baby, but who knows when this will happen again? Sure, if they make it would be the third time in five years, but it could never happen again! So maybe. Probably not, but maybe.

10. I'm loving this article on why taking your kid to Disneyland can suck. I get that it has a happy ending, but it's nice to see the negatives. We're not taking Sawyer until he's 4-5- old enough to remember it, not need a stroller, and able to forgo a nap. I just posted it on Facebook- I'm sure all the Disney freaks are gearing up to lynch me any second. Five... four... three... two...

Sawyer at 5 Months (and Some Change)

The Not-a-Preface Preface: I always feel like I should have to justify writing about Sawyer, since this is a book blog and this isn't really bookish. But then I get all defensive and say, snottily, in my head, "This is my blog and I'll write about my baby if I want to!" But then I feel bad about being bitchy and am right back where I started. So, this is me prefacing this post by saying I'm not going to preface baby posts anymore.

So Fun
Five-months is such a fun age. Sawyer thinks most things are hilarious, so he's a constant source of entertainment. He's learned how to blow raspberries (which I think is why I got his cold... either that or him sneezing in my face), loves Cordie, and got to swing at the park for the first time recently. He's grabbing for toys, can sit in his exersaucer, and loves listening to his dad play the guitar. He can lay on the ground and entertain himself for like 20-30 minutes a time, which is awesome. He'll also pay attention if I lay next to him and read, with the book in the air. He gets so excited when it's bath time and he hears the water start running- he laughs hysterically and kicks his fat little legs as hard as possible. He's starting to really like being thrown around in the air and is still very partial to seeing himself in the mirror (narcissist).

Sawyer is rolling from belly to back and from back to side. He's starting to sit "tripod" style, and is getting the inkling that he might be able to move his legs and arms at the same time to get around (I think we have awhile before crawling, though). He usually wakes up turned 180 degrees in his Pack'n'Play and has started sleeping on his side to at least begin the night.

I haven't really addressed his torticollis much, since it has caused me a bit of stress (like I needed more in my life). Torticollis is a condition some babies are born with, and is more common than I thought (I've since met two other mom's with babies who have it). Basically, one side of their neck has a tighter, shorter muscle, causing them to favor one side. When I first spotted it when he was two months old he wasn't able to fully rotate his head from side to side, let alone hold it up straight. I made an appointment with the pediatrician (after Google helped me diagnose it at home) and he referred us to a physical therapist (who I love), which we started when he was about three months old. We were given exercises to do at home and told to encourage lots of tummy time and give him opportunities to rotate his neck. Luckily there wasn't a flat spot, or facial deformities, so there wasn't a need to discuss helmets or collars. We were assured he had a mild case, but it was still worrisome. After two months (and seven sessions of PT) he's doing so much better- it's often undetectable (people that don't know he has it probably wouldn't notice). He does regress when he hits a milestone, is sick, or super tired. I think we'll be in PT for awhile, but I feel much better about it. I know it could be much, much worse, but it was still bothersome and I felt like I should constantly be doing things to help him.

Since going to daycare his daytime napping is a bit wonky- during the summer he'd fall asleep for naps on his own, but now not so much. The kid loves to sleep on me! And honestly, I sort of love it to. He's only going to be a cuddly, chubby little baby for so long! Unfortunately, it does cut into my weekend productivity (and afternoons after work, since he conks out for an hour or so after we get home before dinner). I was finding it very frustrating, but I'm trying to be more flexible. I'll let him fall asleep on my and then after fifteen minutes or so I'll try to put him down, and if he stays asleep great, if not, we try again. I'm not structured in the sense that "it's 10:30, it's time to nap for an hour." We practice intuitive napping, I guess. The most important thing is that he's still doing awesome at night. He sleeps for a seven-hour stretch and puts himself to sleep. We are going to transition him from the PnP in our room to the crib in his bedroom sometime in the next few months, when it cools down at night, so I'm not really looking forward to a possible sleep regression from that.

At our pediatrician's advise, we started on "solids" (I use that term loosely, since there isn't that much "solid" happening in a mushy container of baby food). I was hesitant to start quite as early as we did, but he got the hang of it quickly, and new research has shown introducing foods around five months can help prevent diabetes. Supposedly. Anyway, we've done rice cereal (which I sort of hate, since there's isn't that much nutritional value, but it was a good starter), sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and peas. It's a lot of fun seeing his reaction to new tastes. It also helps him stay full longer, since he's still being breastfed (pumping is pretty much my least favorite thing ever). 

Things I'm Think About...
- The whole second baby option is on my mind frequently. We're not deciding now, since a second is at least four years in the future, but as I pack up outgrown clothes and think about storing larger items, like the swing, I do wonder... 
- I think I'm opposed to making kids give hugs and kisses to people if they don't want to. I am definitely not a hugger and I hate being in situations where I feel obligated to be affectionate. My husband is known for giving high-fives, which is genius (that was the joke at our wedding- that instead of kissing we should high-five).
- After all the preliminary equipment is bought, babies cost about $100 a month, plus daycare. It's not as bad as I thought (this of course varies, and is based on a breastfed baby who goes through about 6-7 diapers a day and doesn't eat organic baby food).
- There is absolutely no point in comparing his development to other babies- he's going to go at his own pace and his torticollis might slow him down a bit. 

Good Morning. Let's Talk About Celebrities.

Let's talk about celebrities. A totally un-bookish topic, but let's go with it. It is Sunday, after all. The New York Times has their crossword puzzle and their book section, today we'll do the opposite. Stick that on your bagel and toast it.

I want to be  Braverman. We're speeding through the last previous season of Parenthood on Netflix so that we can catch up with the current season on Hulu. I love that show so very, very much, despite how depressing it is. My husband and I even made up a drinking game- take a shot every time someone cries. You'll be totally gone by the twenty-minute mark on most episodes.

I've never really had a thing for Adam Levine. In fact, I've always found him sort of... gross. Like dirty. Not Johnny Depp as a pirate hot-dirty, though. Then, the other day I read the perfect descriptor of the man- he's skeezy. Yes. That is is it. Adam Levine is skeezy.

I'm contemplating packing up Sawyer today and going to Barnes and Noble so that I can look at the twenty-whatever pages of Clooney's wedding. His new wife is just so darn pretty. And smart. And it was In Italy. 

I can't decide if I like Lauren Conrad. Does she deserve to be famous? Is she doing anything different? Is she really an up-and-coming Martha? I just don't know.

I'm sincerely happy for Princess Kate's baby news. Mostly because I seriously love her hair. If you have good hair you should have a good life. The end.


I want to go to Giada's restaurant in Vegas so badly, but until we make it out there I just ogle her Instagram photos. I want to recreate this.

I was seriously disappointed to hear that Cher had a concert in our area a few weeks ago and I missed it. How fun would that have been? Plus my brother, who is up for anything, said he would have gone with me. I'll probably never have another chance, since she's probably going to retire soon. Or die.

I've always been a fan of Chelsea Clinton, ever since she had to go through her extremely gawky teenage years in the White House. And now she made my favorite president a grandfather. Good job, guys. 

A Bookish Q & A

I don't normally do these sorts of things, but I'm home with a bad head cold, so I figured why the heck not? Fifty-five ways to interject my opinion into the world- I saw win. I saw the questions on Lianne's blog, who got it from Chrissy's, who got it from the Literary Lollipop, who got it from her cousin's gardener's sister's hairdresser. Or something like that.

1. Favorite childhood book:
Charlotte's Web by EB White- oh, Wilbur.

2. What are you reading right now?
The Secret Place by Tana French- it's a review copy and I cannot get into it. And because I can't get into it I'm not reading often. And because I'm not reading often I feel like an illiterate poser.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
If I used the library how could I continue to grow my personal collection? Some people collect coffee mugs, some people collect chicken figurines, I collect books.

4. Bad book habit: 
Forcing myself to finish books I start, even if I don't enjoy them.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
See above (number 3)

6. Do you have an e-reader?
As if. The horror.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I've tried reading more than one at once, and I always end up sticking with one until I see it through. Now, I don't even try. I'm a monogomist.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really, I'm far too lazy. If anything, I think about how I could incorporate something into a post or how I'll review it.

9. Least favorite book you read this year:
Either Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (ummm Team Epidural) or The House at the End of Hope Street.

10. Favorite book you've read this year:
How about my favorite three: The Goldfinch, Oryx and Crake, and The Snow Child.

11. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone?
A lot of what falls outside of my comfort zone are books I simply don't like- YA, historical fiction, fantasy, etc... Books that I think have potential for me to enjoy, but are outside of my comfort zone, include classics, travelogues, and graphic novels. I maybe read one of these a few times a year.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Literary fiction. And lately, high quality kid's books, haha.

13. Can you read on the bus?
If I were to take the bus I probably could, unless someone was talking really loud, the scenery was interesting, or I had my baby with me.

14. Favorite place to read:
By the pool, at a coffee shop, the UCLA campus.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I avoid it. There are maybe three people I can trust.

16. Do you dog-ear your books?
Nope! They feel pain!

17. Do you write notes on the margins of your books?
I only did when I was a student, now I use post-its (that's generally just for books I read for book club or ones that I'm about to teach).

18. Do you break/crack the spines?
Not on purpose.

19. What is your favorite language to read?
The only one I can: English.

20. What makes you love a book?
The Literary Trifecta: good writing, interesting plot, characters with depth.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I have to think that it's great, but also that it's a good fit for the person I'm talking to.

22. Favorite genre:
Literary fiction.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did):
Graphic novels or memoirs.

24. Favorite biography:
I've read part of Che Guevera's, which I thought was really intriguing. I also read Cher's when I was in middle school (yup, as in "Turn Back Time" Cher) and I remember being really fascinated with her life. I'm serious.

25. Have you read a self-help book (and was it helpful)? 
I read The Happiness Project (actually listened to) and thought that as a whole it wasn't anything groundbreaking. There were a few parts that I did take to heart, though, like not "saving things for a special occasion," like perfume or good jewelry. 

26. Favorite cook book:
The tried and true Better Homes and Gardens one.

27. The most inspirational book you've read this year:
The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got There

28. Favorite reading snack:
Wine. Baked goods.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience:
I'm not sure if that has ever truly happened, but I've disagreed with a lot of the hype before. For example, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about a book?
Honestly, I'm not sure. Depends on the critics.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I feel passionately about giving honest reviews.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which would it be?

33. Most intimidating book I've ever read:
Don Delillo's Underworld. We have quite the history.

34. Most intimidating book I'm to nervous to begin:

35. Favorite Poet:
Ugh. I'm not a reader of poetry, but I've probably read Plath the most, since I teach it.

36. How many books do you generally have checked out of the library at a given time?

37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
Never, because I don't go.

38. Favorite fictional character:
Maybe TS Spivet, from The Selected Work of TS Spivet. We're kindred spirits.

39. Favorite fictional villain:
Not sure

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation:
Paperbacks- they weigh less.

41. The longest I've gone without reading:
No idea! Probably no more than a week.

42. What distracts you easily when you're reading?
Sawyer, housework, my phone

43. Name a book you could not finish:
I try to finish them all. It's a blessing and a curse.

44. Favorite film adaption of a novel:
The Harry Potter books

45. The most disappointing film adaptation:
The Great Gatsby (Baz' version)

46. Most money I've ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
Probable close to $150 on Amazon (not counting text books for college)

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through it?
Death or the promise of money for doing so.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? 
I like to keep my life organized.

50. Do you prefer to keep your books when done, or give them away?
Call me selfish, but I would never give a book away.

51. Are there any books that you've been avoiding?
I don't think so!

52. Name a book that made you angry:
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

53. A book I didn't expect to like but did:
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (not a fan of her others, though)

54. A book I expected to like but didn't:
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth- a bit too contrived for me.

55. Favorite guilt-free guilty-pleasure reading: or

Your turn!