A Day in the Life... Summer 2016

In a few weeks I will return to work and Sawyer to daycare, so I thought it would be fun to document what a typical day looks right now. I actually really enjoy reading these posts on other blogs, I guess we are all a bit nosey at the end of the day. Plus I really love looking back at the ones that I've done in the past to see how life has changed. Like the first one before I had a kid? Oh my. An hour on the couch reading blogs? Sheesh. 

Typically, Sawyer and I are pretty busy during the week. I try to take one day to stay at home, do one or two "big" (Wild Animal Park, a trip to the science museum, etc...) outings a week, and then a few smaller, more local things, so that we are back for naps and often pool time as well. He does well out and about and I like to stay busy, so this sort of balance works well. 

The other day was really typical for a "fun activity in the morning and get things done around the house day" with a two-year-old, so I thought it would work well for one of these posts. 

6:50 am- Sawyer wakes me up. This is actually a miracle; usually he is up at 6, or earlier. Knock on wood, but he's been sleeping for a solid ten to ten-and-a-half hours for several weeks now and it has been a life-saver for me. I have slept better this summer than I have since he was born.

7:00-8:30 I had a really hard time getting moving today, since I was up sneezing my head off and praying I wasn't getting sick until late the night before. Nonetheless, the show must go on. We have breakfast, I feed the dogs, unload the dishwasher, and I write out my to-do list while drinking coffee. I write a to-do list of some sort every single day, always. 

8:30-9:00 Chores: laundry, vacuuming, tidying up

9:00-9:30 I put the gate up in Sawyer's room so he can play while I get ready for the day. When I'm ready I get him dressed as well. We are usually up and dressed much earlier, but this is just how it worked out today/

9:30-11:15 We drive to an indoor trampoline park called Sky Zone and spend an hour jumping. It's so much fun- for $8 we can both jump and he actually gets the concept now, so it's a blast watching him hop around and fall. I get in a good little work out as well. 

11:15-12:00 We say good bye to the trampolines and head to the grocery store so I can buy the ingredients for some treats to take to a friend's house the next day and and a few things I need for dinner. 

12:00-1:00 Sawyer and I have lunch (lately we've been doing a "snack lunch" sort of hodgepodge for him, since he can be picky. I made him a plate with crackers, blueberries, yogurt, string cheese, and pepperoni and he tried some of everything, which is all I ask). After we eat we make Golden Graham S'mores Bars for tomorrow.

1:00-1:30 Get Sawyer down for a nap (read a few stories and then he insists on holding my hand through his crib until he nods off; I'm sure I'm probably like setting him up for a life of sleeping failures, but it's super cute and he's still falling asleep on his own, quietly, in his bed, SO I'LL TAKE IT) and get ready to work out.

1:30-3:00 Thirty minutes on the treadmill (some jogging, some sprinting, some slow hill walking), twenty-five minutes of restorative yoga, and thirty minutes floating around the pool with my book.

3:00-4:00 Sawyer wakes up, but when I go to get him I can tell he's still sleepy. We sit in his rocker and he falls asleep on me, so I just sit in there and read.

4:00-4:30 The kid is up, so we eat ice cream and play with LEGOS and his magnet board (he has gotten so much use out of this!).

4:30- 5:30 Sawyer keeps playing while I clean the hell out of my kitchen. Every once in awhile I take a break and play with him and every once in awhile he takes a break and grabs a towel to "scrub" something. We have a good thing going.

5:30-6:00 Play around with Sawyer and the dogs, switch laundry over, check the mail.

6:00-7:30 Make Sawyer's dinner (chicken and mashed potatoes) and ours, for when Scott comes home later (Honey Balsamic Peach and Chicken that was delicious, with couscous. This meal had a lot more prep than I might typically choose to do, but it's summer so I have the flexibility at night).

7:30-8:00 Walk dogs while Scott and Sawyer play. It's been way too hot to do this lately, and Scott is usually home a bit later, but tonight it all works. 

8:00-8:30 Bathe Sawyer, clean up toys together, put him to bed.

8:30-10:30 Shower, watch Love with Scott on Netflix, go to bed.

10:30-11:00 Lay in bed and think/worry about things I can't do anything about until tomorrow. Par for the course... 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. I want to see Bad Moms, but I think most of my fellow moms are too busy being good moms (kidding, kidding, good moms can see movies too) to go with me, especially since many of us our teachers and are getting ready to start the school year.

2. Today kicks off several busy days. We are going to a friend's house to swim for the afternoon, tomorrow we are going up to UCLA to walk around and have lunch with an old friend from where I worked, Friday we are going to the OC Fair, and Saturday I have a hair appointment that generally lasts for hours. But it's all good stuff, some I'm not complaining (except about the heat; I might complain about that).

3. I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about discovering Boden. I bought a dress shirt covered in trees to wear under blazers this fall and am refusing to let myself look anymore until I get paid in a few days. 

4. Last Saturday Scott and I had plans to go to lunch and then to The Broad in Downtown LA, but as the morning drug on the traffic got worse and the weather hotter. Eventually, I pulled the plug and just knew driving out there would be more stressful than fun, so I suggested driving to Newport Beach for lunch and to hang out instead. It ended up being relaxing and fun with less time in the car.

5. Sunday we took Sawyer to see The Secret Life of Pets, since we abandoned him for awhile on Saturday. I packed a huge bag of Honey Nut Cheerios with some mini M&Ms on the bottom and the kid sat still for the entire movie. I was really surprised, but he loves dogs and he loves candy, so I guess for him it was a win-win.

6. I have done yoga every single day for eight days with the DownDog Ap and I feel so much better. I have some residual pain from an accident years and years ago, that has been flaring up lately so it's been good to loosen everything up and keep working on my flexibility. I know I won't be able to sustain this commitment to practice when school begins, and that makes me a little sad.

7. Sawyer always blows on his food when it's hot and he's started doing that outside, too, since it's been in the upper 90s for awhile now. I told him we weren't going to walk around at the shopping center we go to because it was hot out and he began walking up to everything and blowing on it, trying to cool the world down. Spoiler alert: it didn't work. But it was cute. 

8. I have decided to get a tree tattoo on my neck, so I can cover it when I need to but also so that it's visible as well, unlike my other one. I just can't decide what kind of tree. I'm in no rush and have to find someone to do it, as well, but I do sort of wish I had made this decision a few months ago so I could have had it done this summer.

9. My friend does a 50-mile walk for MS every year and I think I'm going to join her in 2017. I thought about doing it this November, but I need to fundraise and have my toe fixed first. 

10. I'm reading The Prisoners of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I had forgotten how much fun he is. Sixty pages in and such an enjoyable read so far. 

Hostess Cupcake Ice Cream Recipe

You guys know the story- I love to cook but could never have an actual cooking blog, so sometimes the baker/cook in me hijacks a post or two with a recipe. 

Today is a good one. I promise. 

There was once this recipe of Full House where Michelle is trying to cook and is putting different combinations of food together, all of them bad (up until the end where she probably makes something the whole family loves and the studio audience goes "awww" together). Anyway, you get the gist; there are a lot of good foods that should never be paired together. But  vanilla ice cream and Hostess Cupcakes? This is a combination you should most definitely try. My husband had some last night and said it was good as anything you'd buy from a store. Sawyer also gave rave reviews. 

First of all, there are lots of different ice cream makers out there, but I have found that the attachment for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer is by far the best. I also have some ice cream containers from Sur la Table that have nice silicone tops that are airtight and easy to clean. I keep the attachment bowl in the freezer at all times so that it stays as cold as it possibly can be and that I'm ready to go if the ice-cream making mood strikes me. It is definitely not cheap, but you get what you pay for, as with many things in life. 

This is a no-cook recipe, so if raw eggs bother you... don't make it. Or I guess you could go the more custard-y route, but this is the best recipe I've used and have never gotten sick.  


3 Hostess Cupcakes, frozen for at least a few hours
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup 2% milk 
1 3/4 tsp vanilla extract 

1. Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl for two minutes

2. Add in half the sugar, whisk a few seconds, add in the rest. Continue to whisk  for another minute until blended.

3. Whisk in vanilla, cream, and milk, adding a little at a time and then whisking as you go

4. Add the mixture to the ice cream maker. If you are using the same as I am, I pull it out of the freezer at this point so that it doesn't increase in temperature at all. Turn on and let stir for fifteen minutes.

5. While the ice cream is freezing, chop the Hostess Cupcakes into small pieces. Honestly, it doesn't really matter because they'll fall apart anyway, but mine were maybe 1/3 inch cubes. No need to be exact, at all.

6. After at least fifteen minutes of churning, your ice cream should be the consistency of a thick shake. Don't turn off the mixer! Add the cupcake chunks in slowly, giving the mixer time to stir in a handful at a time. 

7. After all the pieces have been added, let the mixer incorporate for a minute or so and then turn the machine off. Pour the ice cream with the help of a spatula into your ice cream container. Make sure it is sealed tightly! 

8. Freeze for eight hours and then enjoy! Homemade ice cream doesn't typically have the same longevity as your store-bought brands, so eat it within a few days. 

This recipe has been adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (1987)

What Did I Do? A Writing Challenge.

Last night as I was doing my usual "dick around on my phone for fifteen minutes while in bed but not asleep" routine (that I need to stop), an ad for something called the "Flash Fiction Challenge" popped up. Since I was obviously in the mood to waste time and not sleep, I clicked on the link. Basically, for a fee, you are entered in this contest that requires you to write 1,000 word stories over the course of a few days that are then judged and awarded points (everyone is on a team of fifteen people). Before the round starts, you are given three words: a genre, a location, and an object, which then must be involved in the story. You submit what you have written, are given your points and actual feedback, and after the first two rounds if you score enough points you get to move on. 

Why this is bad:
- The first round is this weekend and I'm fairly busy
- I have a feeling paying for this sort of stuff is stupid, but I have never even looked at a writing competition before, so I have no clue
- I am incredibly rusty; the most writing I do right now is for social media posts and this blog
- 1,000 words is... nothing. I tend to lean on the wordy side, so trimming the fat will be hard (but probably good) 

Why this is good: 
- It will force me to write at least two short stories over the next few months, which I could maybe turn into something else at some point
- It will be interesting to get feedback on my writing, which is something I haven't really experienced in a long time
- I have done these sorts of creative writing assignments with my students and they are actually a lot of fun
- While it may have been a rookie mistake to pay, this will actually motivate me to follow through (it's how I've forced myself to run so much over the years)

Wish me luck! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. My mom and sister came down last weekend to watch Sawyer so we could go to a wedding and it was pretty great. It was fun to get dressed up, the venue was beautiful, the bar was open, the cupcakes were delicious, the (temporary) lack of 5:30 tiny wake-up call amazing, and it was nice to spend some time with my husband that didn't require me simultaneously doing ten other things while trying to have a conversation with him. The only sad part was the ferris wheel wasn't on, but still. 

2. I actually get to hang out with just my husband again on Saturday- we are going to The Broad and are going to try Perch for lunch. Once school starts it makes getting away for longer chunks more difficult, so I'm thankful we've had the childcare to do so.

3. I am almost scared to confess this, but I just can't get into Hamilton. If I was going to see a show, it wouldn't be that, and I tried listening to a few of the songs on iTunes and was compelled to download zero. I know, I'm sorry. 

4. I hear that to actually grow an avocado might take a decade, but the gimmicky nature behind the Avoseeder is sort of right up my alley. 


5. I need these booties from Nordstroms, but they are already backordered and they haven't opened the semi-annual sale up to non-cardholders like myself, so who knows if it will happen. I'm actually sort of pissed they're being so stingy with how long the early access is and will never get a store-card because of this. 

6. Gwen Stefani's new album was only $7.99 so I downloaded it and I almost feel uncomfortable listening to it, since it's obviously one long middle-finger-in-the-air sort message to Gavin Rossdale. I hugely believe that private matters should remain private and this is anything but. 

7. I finally downloaded the app for the bank I have my savings account at and have made myself swear to deposit $5 every time I get a drink at Starbucks. 

8. & 9. I feel like it's my responsibility to report my findings on junk food you should buy, so, without further ado:

10. Tomorrow I am giving up real Sawyer-free day to hang out at home and wait for the plumber to unclog a partially clogged drain that is only diverting our AC condensation to the secondary drip line some of the time. As the kids would say, "FML."

Three Recipes to Try

I like to read, but I also like to cook. And weekends mean meal planning and grocery shopping for the days to come, so food is one the brain. 

PSA: here are three recipes that I've tried over the past few weeks that were so good I had to share:

Berries 'n' Cream Icebox Cake- I ate 3/4 of this on my own it was so good (I'm not exaggerating). Honestly, the whole concept is magical; a cake that you don't have to cook. Don't skip the homemade whipped cream part- the almond extract sets it over the top. I think when I make it again I might try chocolate graham crackers and just strawberries, since I like chocolate and blueberries are just okay in my book. Whatever you do, though, it'll be great- it's pretty hard to screw up.

Fresh Peach and Gin Tonic- I hate making my own cocktails because so often you need many different ingredients, and not much of each, creating waste. I had these on hand (minus the tonic water) for something else (the next recipe, actually), so this was perfect. Make sure to eat the peaches- they absorb the carbonation of the tonic water and are delicious. And, because I'm a teacher and feel obligated, this is obviously only if you're 21.

Crispy Bacon Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs- I made this as a meal, served cold, with garlic bread and I loved it. I did make some changes, though. First of all, I despise bacon buuuuuuuuuut I am okay with pancetta. I know, hardly a difference. But, pancetta is thinner, saltier, and so much less to cook. You really do need to have some fat to cook everything in though, or you won't have the same flavor, so skipping it wasn't an option. I also forgot to buy feta, so I used shredded mozzarella and I if I were to make it again I'd purposefully do the same thing. I know there are a ton of ingredients, but it's worth it. I promise. And it's one of those recipes that don't require precision, so if that's more your thing this is one to try (as opposed to baking). 

And a few to try soon:

Imagine Me Gone- An Accurate Portrayal of a Grieving Family

If I had to sum up Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett in one word it would be "personal." And since I'm already in an unexplained, uncharacteristic (at least for the summer version of me) less than stellar night I figured I'd go there, at least for a few minutes.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it's basically about a family who must deal with the aftermath of their father's suicide, a result of suffering from depression. The novel examines the lead up to the death and then how it impacts the lives of his widow and three younger children as they become adults. 

For those unfamiliar with my life, congratulations. Just kidding. I've wrote about it a few times here and there before on this blog, but for those who haven't read, when I was in ninth grade my father, who was truly biploar (not just moody), took his own life. He left behind my mom, who he was sort of separated from (long, story that is not my own to tell), myself, my two younger sisters, and my younger brother (and bills, a mortgage, a messy garage, itty-bitty life insurance policy, etc...). 

But really got me about this book was how well Haslett did when showing how mental illness sort of interweaves itself into the fibers of the family, so well that you're not sure what would have been there if things hadn't gone they way they had or not. As an adult, is a person the way they are because their parent died or would they have been that way anyway? What exactly does living with someone with a mental illness catalyze, biologically and environmentally? It's complicated and I think his treatment of the three siblings was very well-done. And I can seen this within my own family; we've all dealt with things differently. Personally, I can see my desire for financial stability, clarity regarding the future, and emotional transparency in others as a result of my upbringing. While I am fortunate to not have inherited my dad's bipolar disease, I am prone to touches of anxiety and depression that I've worked hard to control through strategies like exercise and keeping busy (but who's to say that this has anything to do with my dad? Millions of people with no family illness deal with anxiety and depression... classic nature vs nurture situation).  It's so different when your parent dies from suicide, than say, cancer. You can get a bumper sticker for cancer and participate in a charity walk; but when you live with someone who is afflicted with mental illness and is very... difficult... to be around, the situation is possibly more complex.

Haslett's representation of the wife also pleased me. I think when you hear the word "widow" you assume that the person is overcome with grief and walks around in black for several months. And while this is true, sometimes, I think women who are left with struggling households and multiple children have to put this grief aside and focus on survival. Plus, let's not forget the anger- when someone succumbs to a more physical illness it's easier to forgive, but when someone takes their own life I think things become a little more complex. 

The degrees of coping that the family does as time passes also stood out to me. Some people move on quickly, some not so much. And, like with everything else in this story, none of it shown as the wrong was to handle such an event; their actions are conveyed honestly, but there doesn't seem to be any condescension on the author's part.

While it did take me a few pages longer than I would have liked to get into the book, once things started rolling I really sort of bonded with it. It's an important read; it can give insight to those with little experience and be a sort of comfort for those who do.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[we were right on the other side of the glass from this baby tiger]

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1. So, the #blacklivesmatter movement is interesting to me on so different levels, but I think on a sort of linguistic, semantic, rhetorical level it has me baffled. This is where emotion peaks; I've been trying to think of a way to explain it to people that seem to think we have to go the #alllivesmatter route, and this is what I've come up with: say you're driving down the street and you see one of the famous "Save the Tatas" bumper stickers. 95% of people are going to say "Yes! Breast cancer sucks! Let's cure this disease! Save the boobies!" They are far less likely going to say "Everyone can get sick! There are other illnesses like colds and ear infections that should get equal attention too!" Ya get me? The equity and equality discussion are relevant. 

2. Today Sawyer and I met up with a friend from my softball and early high school days to go the Safari Park near San Diego and he got his face painted for the first time. He sat very patiently and then seemed pretty nonplussed once he saw the monkey on the side of his face. But once he took a bath tonight and I washed it off he was so confused and sad about where it went. He just walked around and pointed to his face and made monkey noises.

3. I've held out on Snapchat, but I gave into Pokemon Go in like a day. Everyone was doing it and in my mind it's something that sort of coincides with my Fitbit obsession and desire to be competitive. I don't really get it. I don't understand what these little creature are really for and why I'm sending them to a professor and why I'd want to fight them. They look so sweet, why am I training them to fight? Is that what I am supposed to do? But it's still fun and some of them are cute.

4. I got a book in the mail today from the publisher that sends me stuff that I didn't ask for. It's never happened before and I felt sort of conflicted. I was sent the email about it and ignored it, but now that I have the book I almost feel obligated to read it. 

5. Somehow I forgot to mention that I purchased tickets to see Jonathan Safran Foer in September. I am SO EXCITED. He is one of my favorites and when he was in my area last I had a tiny little newborn and had to skip it. The man is a God. 

6. I am currently reading The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth Church and am really liking it so far (I'm about 50 pages in). This is my fifth book of July and I am starting to get a bruise on my back from all the patting I've been doing... I've been trying to read about 100 pages a day, which leads to a book about every three days. 

7. You know how some women really like shoes? And buying more? I have a wedding to go to this weekend to go to and need some to go with my new favorite dress and the thought of wandering through the mall fills me with so much rage.

8. I took Sawyer to the dentist the other day and he didn't cry. I had really prepared myself for the worst, so I was pleasantly surprised.

9. Another Prime Day, another bust. I did get a toaster for $20 and Sawyer a cheap pair of tennis shoes, but I really thought books should have been half off or something like that.

10. I have high hopes for the weekend; Saturday I get to catch up with a friend in the morning, go to my friend's daughter's first birthday with Scott and Sawyer (they are having a churro man, so, seriously, this is already awesome), and then my mom, sister, and brother come in that night from up north. Sunday Scott and I are driving to Malibu for a wedding and staying the night while Sawyer is back home in good hands. Then, on Monday we're coming home and taking my family to dinner. Busy, but good. 

We Should All Be Feminists (Really, We Should)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of those writers and social theorists that will most definitely serve to represent this period of time (if you haven't read Americanah you should immediately). I finally got around to reading her essay that expanded the TED Talk she gave on feminism. As you can see by the stick notes in the picture above, there were so many sections that made me nod my head and give an emphatic "yes! Exactly!" 

It is important to note that Adichie grew up in Africa, and speaks from that perspective in a majority of this piece. While gender equality is undoubtedly a global issue, the severity of the issue differs from place to place. Her experience comes from the perspective of seeing women not being allowed into night clubs without male chaperones, women turning down jobs to please their husbands, women being expected to take on all domestic responsibilities, and women being told they simply cannot hold positions of power. Granted these things happen in the United States, but the widespread acceptance of the gender gap in Africa is a bit more commonplace than what we are accustomed to. Anyway, context can be necessary, although this does not negate the fact that feminism is essential. 

"...but what it shows is how that word feminist is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage: you hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don't wear make-up..." (11)

I have also been called a feminist with a tone of disdain (once by a student! Ha!). The problem here is a classic connotation vs. denotation issue. By dictionary definition, a feminist is someone who simply wants equality. Unfortunately, culturally this word has become emotionally charged in a negative manner, as Adichie addresses above. She points out later, though, that culture is something that is created by the people, it is not the people; therefore we have the power to change things.

"What struck me- with her and with many other female American friends I have- is how invested they are in being 'liked.' How they have been raised to believe that their being likable is very important and that this 'likable' trait is a specific thing" (24).

This is something that I grapple with often and did more than ever when I first started teaching and had an old-school, professional male boss. Even when I first started teaching high school I wanted the kids to like me, but I also struggled with the idea of them liking me and respecting me. Male teachers don't seem to deal with this as much; they go in and get the job done and anyone who has a problem with that can screw off. I have made a lot of progress in this area in frequent years, at work and personally. I try to treat people with respect, but I stick to my guns on things I feel strongly about.

"The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn't have the weight of gender expectations" (34).

God, I am so sick of gender stereotypes. That whole Target not labeling their bedding and toys as girls/boys causing such an uproar was ridiculous. Why does a pink bedspread need to be labeled as "girl"? Why send a message to a little guy that because he wants a pink blanket he's not really a "boy"? My son had a frilly apron on this afternoon to help me make pizza and he loved it. My husband? Didn't care. Me? Thought it was great. Let's just let people be themselves and chill out with the labels. 

"We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage" (26).

As the mother of a little boy this really hit home. I don't want anyone to tell my son that he needs to "man up" or "crying is for girls." I loathe the fact that some people still turn their noses up at men staying at home to take care of children while the women are the breadwinners- such a horrible example has been set for young men as they grow up. 

We spend a lot of time talking about how women have the short end of the stick, and yes, we do, but we cannot fail to acknowledge the fact that society puts a great deal of pressure on males to fit int a certain box as well, both physically, emotionally, and economically. 

"I know a woman who has the same degree and same job as her husband. When they get back from work, she does most of the housework, which is true for many marriages, but what struck me was that whenever he changed the baby's nappy, she said thank you to him. What if she saw it as something normal and natural, that he should help care for his child?" (37)

Ugh. This is something I have allowed to happen in my house- this is me claiming a great deal of responsibility for it. My assumption of the household tasks and child care comes from three main places. One: it was how it went in my own house growing up. Two: I get home four hours before my husband, so I really do have to care for Sawyer and getting housework out of the way is logical. And three: I have a "need to do it all" mentality that I've taken to the extreme. My husband would be willing to do more if I told him what to do, but I have fallen into this 1950s housewife (that works full time and has hobbies and friends) routine that makes the feminist in me scream (and I also tell people what to do at work all day, and am tired of it by the time I get home). It's a tough situation and I take a lot of the blame. Adichie makes a wonderful point, but I'd like to add to it that thanking your spouse for their efforts isn't a bad thing... as long as it's done mutually. 

"And that is part of the problem. That many men to not actively think about gender or notice gender. That many men say... that things might have been bad in the past but everything is fine now" (42).

I think this is unfortunately something that can be compared to the idea of white privilege and race right now; so many white people don't think about racial injustice because they, incorrectly, don't think that it impacts them. So many men don't think about issues regarding feminism because they, incorrectly, don't think that it impacts them. We need a collective change of perspective in both regards.

I read it in less than an hour, on the treadmill. It's not hard, but it is important. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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ETA: I'm using this for The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday on 7/12; it's a "ten fact about yourself" sort of deal, so I thought my weekly post (with Linky! Play along on Wednesdays!) would work. Thanks for stopping by! 

1. Our Fourth of July weekend was pretty great. There were walks, a lot of pool time, a minor league baseball game with fireworks, and so much food. 

2. I finished two books today- Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett and and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists. Both hit home in different ways and I'll hopefully get some posts up on both soon before all the thoughts and opinions and emotions I have swirling around in my brain are gone. 

3. If I am being completely honest, I have to admit that I am surprised I have not given into Snapchat yet, since I was staunchly against MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogging, and Instagram, yet found my way to all of those. 

4. I love my tailor. She's this older Polish lady that is incredibly reassuring and fixes everything I take to her brilliantly. I wonder if she'll be my therapist too. Strangely I feel the same way about the plumber and the pool guy. 

5. So I wrote about a pedicure-related incident awhile ago, and today it was surprisingly made right (basically, about two months ago I went in and the pedicurist accidentally took a chunk out of my toe that ended up taking about six weeks to heal). I mentioned it in passing when I went back today (it was a different technician), just so she wouldn't do anything to that toe. She asked for details and I brushed it off, glossing over what had happened but that it had finally gotten back to normal and that I know accidents happen. When I went to pay they didn't let me! I was so surprised (and tipped accordingly). I guess so often I'm used to having low expectations when it comes to these sorts of things that it was just a nice little treat (Orchard Nails in Corona, for any local people). 

6. While I was in Tahoe a few weeks ago I was sitting on the patio waiting for my colleagues to join me for dinner reading The Girls when a fairly graphic sex scene came up. Here I was, surrounded by teachers drinking the free wine and beer at cocktail hour discussing test scores, curriculum, and innovative educational practices and I'm reading about a fourteen-year old being taken advantage by a cult leader. Then, today, I was reading Imagine Me Gone at the nail salon and the scene where Alex has his first very passionate, intimate sexual encounter with his soon-to-be-boyfriend came up. The juxtaposition between what we are reading and our own personal setting is so interesting, when looked at, and isn't just isolated to sex.  Nonetheless, reading sexual material in nonsexual environment is both sort of awkward and fun, in a rebellious sort of way.

7. My students are receiving their AP and IB test scores this week and the "thank you for helping me pass" emails are always nice to read. My AP Language scores for my sophomores were a tad higher than I thought they'd be and the IB ones are still trickling in, but so far so good. I hate that I feel  at all validated by test scores, and I am lucky to work at a site that neither penalizes or congratulates teachers based on them, but it's nice to see the kids be successful and to know that I'm at least headed in the right direction with my teaching. Plus, the kids get college credit and when universities are so impacted and tuition so costly, every little bit helps.

8. On the audiobook front, I just finished The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (co-authoring seems hard for fiction, by the way) and began AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller today. The Royal We was light, fluffy, and entertaining- perfect for driving. 

9. Since coming back from Tahoe I really want to plan a longer, bigger trip for the three of us, or even just Sawyer and I if Scott doesn't want to go, or can't (he hates flying very much and his job can be demanding). I've been fantasizing about a long weekend in Portland or even somewhere like Denver. I just want to go. Plus I think Sawyer could handle two or so hours in a plane at this point, provided there were plenty of snacks and Zootopia on the iPad. This summer is probably too close to ending to make it possible now, but maybe later in the fall.

10. Hey, how about that Gilmore Girls subscription box? I must admit to setting an alert on my phone to sign up for the September one. $30 is a bit much to commit to the whole year, but I think one would be fun. 

July is Sacred (With a Capital S)

For me, July is Sacred, with a capital S. This is the only month of the school year with nothing work related; June starts off with work days and we go back to work the second week in August. So, July is sort of my favorite (minus inevitable 100+ degree temps). I actually get a little sad when it begins, though, because it's beginning marks the start of the march to it's end. So instead of lamenting this fact, I decided to make a list of thirty-one ways, for thirty-one days, to make it great.* Who know if they will all happen, but I sure can try.

1. The Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach (fine, I'm cheating, we went yesterday)
2. Bake something new (maybe an icebox cake for The Fourth?)
3. Go to a museum or two (LACMA? Science Museum?)
4. Make some homemade ice cream (it is National Ice Cream Month, after all)
5. Take Sawyer to a free movie at the local theater 
6. Do a 6k on the treadmill with the AC blasting
7. Clean something out (garage? Work out room?)
8. Donate money or items to charity
9. Spend the day at the beach
10. Do something substantial for work (I know this is counterproductive, but it will make me feel more prepared to return)
11. Write a short story or plan more for the novel churning around in my head
12. Get a pedicure
13. Go to a wedding and take full advantage of being child-free for the night (thanks mom!)
14. & 15. Celebrate birthdays for two different special one-year-olds (it's great that two of my favorite friends have kids and it's so fun to watch Sawyer go to things like this. Plus... cake)
16. Read a book I've had sitting around for at least a year
17. Go to an Orange Theory class (finally)
18. Finish this craft project thing I've had going for awhile
19. & 20. Go to both the San Diego Zoo and Wildlife Park with friends
21. Walk the Back Bay Trail... and then go get Sprinkles Cupcakes after
22. Have my in-laws over for dinner to thank my mother-in-law for helping with Sawyer when I was gone
23. Yoga three days in a row
24. See all my friends before we're all re-immersed in work
25. Make a fancy cocktail recipe (How Sweet Eats just posted a peach gin and tonic that looks pretty good)
26. Buy tickets for a Giants game when they play in San Diego against the Padres
27. Make pizza on the grill
28. Find some new sunglasses (especially since Sawyer accidentally broke my cheap back up pair yesterday)
29. Have a picnic
30. Try to get down to The Broad with Scott (and maybe try out The Commissary)
31. Do something messy and artsy/craftsy with Sawyer 

*I know that many call this a "bucket list," but the original "I'm approaching death" connotation to a bucket list sort of kills my buzz.