So, You're in a Bad Mood

The other day things did not... go well. At all. Nothing catastrophic but just one thing after another, ranging from irritating to embarrassing to frustrating to hurt-feeling inducing. By, oh, ten in the morning I was in tears in the bathroom. It happens to the best of us, right? Thankfully, my truly bad days are fairly rare, but semi-bad days definitely show up. But life's too short to indulge feeling subpar for prolonged periods of time*, right? So, here's how I make my bad moods better, just in case today is one of those days for you:

1. Make plans (preferably with friends): Social interaction makes us feel warm and fuzzy and having something to look forward to is always nice. On my said bad day I confirmed breakfast plans the following day with a friend, reached out to another friend for lunch next month, and also looked into taking a croissant making class at Sur la Table in September.

2. Bake or cook something unfamiliar with lots of steps: Occupying your mind with something that requires concentration can help distract you from the crap bringing down. I made a pasta dish that night with lots of chopping and prep.

3. Exercise, preferably outside: Endorphins and all that. But really, even if it's just a fifteen minute walk around the block, it'll help. Bonus points if you take your dog. 

4. Drink something caffeinated and take a vitamin or fish oil capsule (unless you already took yours today, in that case good job): I am generally exhausted and something caffeinated can give me a happy jump. And the vitamin? I usually forget to take them, so it makes me feel on-top-of-it and like I'm doing something healthy (I know, I know the jury's still out on whether they truly are).

5. Buy something (within reason): I know this is probably not something the financial experts suggest, but whatever. I discovered the clearance section on the Boden site had some dresses I had wanted months ago and had abstained from. It made me feel DAMN happy to know that in a week or so I'd get a package with some pretty back-to-work clothes in it. 

6. Acknowledge your bad mood: Sometimes the "fake it 'til you make it" thing totally works, but sometimes things are tough to ignore. Admit your shitty attitude and figure out what's causing it. Can these things be fixed? If so, how? If not, how can you work towards accepting them? Don't wallow, but respect yourself to let yourself be less than happy once in awhile. 

7. Don't set yourself up to fail: For me that means don't read the news, attempt to get a few minutes alone (ha), try to not force my kid to do anything that induces whining or crying or irritating noises in general, and to not look at email. 

8. What would you tell someone else?: A friend and I were talking about this the other day and it's a really great exercise in perspective. Another good one that goes along with this is "will it matter in a day? Week? Month?" 

9. Go to bed early: Once in awhile I'll wistfully say to my husband, "Remember that one time, back when we lived in the apartment, and we went to sleep that one night at like 9? That was so amazing." I hate going to bed that early because I feel like I'm screwing myself out of an hour or two of "being off" at night, but I know a lot of times bad moods are induced by a lack of sleep. 

Hope everyone is having a good one. If not, hang in there. We've all been in your shoes.

*Obviously there's a differences between bad moods and something more prolonged and serious, like depression or anxiety. So, if you think it's more than that talk to your doctor or a loved one for guidance! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. Sawyer had his first day of preschool on Monday and we got a good report back. It was just a half day, so he didn't nap there, but they said he just went with the flow and didn't have any accidents, so I'll call it good. He seems excited to go back, so hopefully he keeps up the enthusiasm. He slept for three hours after just a half day, so he better develop some stamina. He goes back tomorrow, so fingers crossed it's another good day. I didn't realize how anxiety-inducing this whole switch would be on me, but it has been. I also know that it will probably be old-hat in a few weeks, but in the meantime I will continue to feel sick on preschool mornings, haha. 

2. I just started The Idiot by Elif Batuman and while it was a little slow to start I am still enjoying it. 

3. It has been a week since my cortisone shot in my hip and it has definitely helped. I rode for forty-five minutes in the car yesterday and it didn't hurt at all when I got out (usually after twenty of minutes I feel like I am being stabbed until I can walk it off). It was sore the other day after running, but today not really at all. Hopefully it lasts! I can't have another for three months, but would like to stretch it even longer since I know prolonged use isn't fabulous for the body.

4. So, if I have my hip under control and have my toe issue resolved with some serious taping work should I run a half marathon again? I swore I was done, but I've got the itch. I hope I don't, but I can see myself after a pain-free five-mile run being over-confident and pulling the trigger.

5. Yesterday I went shopping with the intention of dropping some cash on some new work clothes and I COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING. Anthropologie was even giving teachers 20% off and still, nothing. But, later last night as I was nursing a cocktail and a bad mood I landed on Boden's clearance page and jackpot! Several of the dresses I was lusting after at the beginning of summer were marked way down. Yay me.

6. I think I am one step closer to getting a ping-pong table in my house eventually. I will crush you all.

7. TV update, for fun: We finished The Handmaid's Tale (good!), are watching about 1.5 episodes of the first season of Fargo each week (good, but bloody), and I am getting in the occasional episode of Grey's Anatomy during Sawyer's nap time, since I am years behind (so bad it's good). 

8. I have been doing a few letters of recommendation each day for my incoming seniors (who I had last year) and it's been a good way to sort of ease my way back into the incoming school year. Reading their info sheets makes me almost miss them. I have a great group of kids and I really do look forward to seeing them (maybe not grading their papers or getting up early, but I do think they're a neat group with lots of potential). 

9. I have started an All-Female Fantasy Football League for this season. Mostly I just want an excuse to get all of my friends together for an end-of-the-season brunch. I think it will be fun. Go football. 

Current Wish List

Time for some book window shopping (mostly me, but a few for Sawyer)! I've done pretty well the last two months not buying many books (less than five for myself and Sawyer combined), but we all know that the most common side effect of refraining is wanting. So, here are some contenders, including upcoming releases:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng- I loved her first book and have been eagerly awaiting her follow-up efforts!

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan- Another fall-release that I have high hopes for.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How They Communicate- Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben- I love trees so  very much, so I am intrigued by this one. 

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Samuel Tinti- Father-daughter relationship with a dark secret.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing- A nonfiction account of a woman who spends a lot of time being by herself. 

Chemistry be Weike Wang- All the cool kids are doing it. 

The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson- A memoir of sorts about how a woman got through some extremely hard life moments with reading (and stuff). 

For Sawyer (age 3):

We're All Wonders by RJ Palacio- The illustrated version of the book that teaches kids empathy.

The Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers- I'm slowly getting all of his books, and this one is set in the mountains. Sold. 

Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin- We love the first one. 

What's on your list?

Natural History Museum of LA County Visit

For some reason, I had never been to the Natural History Museum in LA, even though the NYC version is one of my favorite museums ever. For some reason I thought it was on the smaller side, so I sort of ignored it, until this summer. It's actually pretty bug, and right now they have an Extreme Mammal exhibit, as well as a greenhouse that's pretty packed with butterflies. The museum itself has all the normal things a Natural History Museum does, like dioramas (these were lit extremely well, I noticed, for some reason), a gemstone area (we didn't go there), a local history wing, and dinosaurs, which Sawyer was super excited to see. We spent three hours there, including lunch, and then headed over to the California Science Center to take a look at the space shuttle, since, thanks to Little Einsteins, my child is obsessed with rocket ships. CSC has The Endeavor Shuttle, so for $4 we were able to walk around that for awhile (we were actually just here for the Pixar Exhibit last December, but I guess he didn't remember?). It was a really, really fun day and I can't suggest the NHMLA to local people enough! Their science labs were awesome and the place is just really well maintained and curated (the tech is far, far better then the CSC). 

Some pictures:

If I Could Only... [a survey]

So, I saw this feature in an old issue of In Style I was reading on the treadmill this morning and thought it would be fun to play along, since some of my posts have been a little heavy this week. So, in a (mostly) bookish manner:

If I could only... books by one author Ann Patchett- she publishes every few years and I've liked everything I've read by her

... read in one spot I would say my pool float, but that would eliminate most the year, so I'd have to go with the couch in my living room

... buy books from one place Amazon. I'm sorry, I am, but I have a budget. And then there's Prime. It's bad.

... drink one drink I want to say a gin and tonic, but you can't really sip on those all day long. So, Diet Coke. Shoot me. Take my kidneys. Give me cancer. I love it so. 

... teach one author That's really hard! If newer, maybe TC Boyle? If older, Oscar Wilde. 

... teach one literary element Theme! We talk theme do death in my classroom, but you can bring in so many other aspects of a text with it.

...subscribe to on streaming service Spotify; I can take or leave shows and movies, but I need music to work out and drive to (or entertain my kid).

... read one genre If "contemporary literary fiction" is too broad, I'd say "magical realism." at one restaurant So I sort of snub chain restaurants (but still go, since we have limited options), but I'd have to say The Cheesecake Factory because their menu is a book. There are like 3,452 options, so at least it wouldn't always be the same thing. 

... recommend one book Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle. The social and political messages are so important and he's a fabulous writer (even if he does teach at USC)

... take one book while being stranded on a deserted island Maybe the Oscar Wilde anthology I have, or the Narnia books that compiled into one volume (I've been meaning to reread them for years and years). 

... meet one author Salman Rushdie. 

... visit one more country Switzerland (it just looks so beautiful, in summer and winter) 

... rearead one book right now I've been itching to reread Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics for awhile

...have one reading superpower I'd want to remember everything I read much, much better. Not that I forget, but with how much I read combined with life in general, details slip through the cracks 

... develop one better reading habit It would be to spend more time looking up unfamiliar things when reading them. For example, I read a short story by Richard Russo recently and they were talking about some gallery in Venice that I thought I had visited, but wasn't sure, but didn't take the time to investigate. I need to.

... develop one better life habit Stop over-thinking the future. 

Play along! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. I go back to work in two and a half weeks, so that means mom guilt and time-off remorse are both in full-swing. I sat down the other day and added up how much time Sawyer will be in preschool compared to daycare last year, since my schedule is changing a tiny bit, and it's the same, but I still feel bad (it's always like that at the beginning of the year, and I always feel better after a few days). I also look back at the last two months and wonder if I did enough with him, for the house, with friends, etc... What can I cram into the next eighteen days while still relaxing? I WANT TO DO IT ALL AND I WANT TO DO NOTHING.

2. Speaking of friends, I have been so lucky to spend time with so many of the wonderful people in my life lately, with plans yet to come. It's so nice to catch up.

3. So, Sawyer dropped out of swim lessons. The first day was great, but on the second day they pressured him to put him face in and he was not having it. Then, when he started crying the instructor dunked him. My child literally screamed the whole thirty minutes. I took him out to use the restroom and tried to settle him down, but it didn't work. I tried again the next day after talking to the instructor about letting him keep his head up (it was the first week of level one, come on), which he agreed to, but Sawyer started bawling as soon as he got in. And that was that. I took him and left- he was scared, the other kids were confused, and parents were annoyed. So now I'm trying to work with him more at home and we'll figure something out for next summer. Water safety and learning how to swim is super important to me, though, since we have a pool.

4. More fun times with kid activities: at gymnastics yesterday an ornery little child put his hands around Sawyer's neck to "playfully" choke him. Sawyer ran away to me and looked so, so sad. I told him he did the right thing by leaving and telling a grown up, and that the other kid wasn't being nice, blablabla. The kid's mom was right behind me. Ha! She asked me what happened and immediately removed her child was a stern talking to. Parenting. It's lovely.

5. I finished the cross stitch above in record time (thanks, summer!) and I love how it turned out.

6. I am current reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gaily Honeyman and am enjoying it, although it does remind me at times a little bit of The Rosie Project (not that it's a rip off, just some similarities with the tone/voice). I am also still listening to Beartown, which is definitely entertaining. 

7. So many fun things coming up (see number one... ha)- two days of breakfasts with different friends, a day at some museums with Sawyer Saturday, and then Sawyer starts going to preschool in the morning for two days a week on Monday.

8. Not fun: I just got a cortisone shot in my hip and as soon as I walked out of the office I almost passed out. I went back in the office and called for a ride. Sigh. I can run half marathons, jump out of an airplane, birth a baby, hike Half Dome twice, and get a tattoo but I just suck at needles. In my defense he did it standing up, so that was uncomfortable and weird. 

One and Only- Some Personal Thoughts

Disclaimer: I wish I was the type of person who had the "I don't care what other people think" sort of attitude, but alas I do not. I know that topics regarding things like family size, fertility, etc... are sensitive; it's easy to offend and easy to take offense. But, I'm feeling daring, so let's see if I can be both honest and respectful. If not, know that's my goal. Also know that this is a long, rambling post that is me explaining a part my life when I probably don't need to, but a lot of people have been mentioning baby #2 lately, so I feel a little... defensive? Reflective? Conflicted? I also know that there are a lot of people who want to have just one child but they're almost afraid to admit it, since there are so many stereotypes out there. So, here I am, putting it out there.

Over a year ago I bought the book One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One by Lauren Sandler and then let it sit in a drawer, out of everyone's sight, until this past week. I had always said that I wasn't going prepared to make any big decisions about having a second child until Sawyer was three, which he turned in April.

The book itself was fine, offering some personal insight from the author (she was trying to figure out if she wanted a second, and also happened to be an only child herself). There's quite a bit of research provided, albeit dry at times. She focuses on economics, parental contentment, child behavior, what it's like to be a grown only child, and some historical perceptions. While it was nothing amazing, or shocking, it was reassuring and very thought-provoking. 

Sandler starts the book off by discussing why her mom only had one child, and what she said echo my growing sentiments. Sandler paraphrased her mother's thoughts that, "To have a happy kid, she figured she needed to be a happy mother, and to be a happy mother, she needed to be a happy person. To do that, she had to preserve her authentic self, which she could not imagine doing with a second child" (Sandler, 1). That, right there, is me in a nutshell. 

I always was pretty sure I wanted to be a mom- to how many kids, that was the question. My husband and I struggled for over a year to conceive, which was very hard, but still so much luckier than many. After an incredibly easy pregnancy and delivery Sawyer was born. He was a happy, healthy baby who didn't really love sleeping in long stretches (still often the case), yet was otherwise flexible, fun, and oh-so-cute. But as a working mom who brings home buckets of work (I am an English teacher, so there are literally hundreds of essays on my plate to grade at a time), an individual with hobbies (reading! running! yoga! writing!), a friend who actually likes to interact in person, and a wife (whose husband worked long hours with a long commute, a fact of life I accept, understand, and am in agreement with), I was falling apart. Every second of every day was accounted for, I was never not exhausted, and I always felt a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from losing my shit (I am fully aware this is normal for a new mom, or even just moms in general). Nonetheless, I was happy. I had a baby, a husband, a core group of loyal friends, and a job I was passionate about. But me? Who I am and what I love, including time to be alone occasionally? I was fighting a losing battle. 

And this is what my life was like for probably two or two-and-a-half years. I always have had very high expectations of myself at work and at home, and I constantly felt like I was failing (and some people purposefully, and accidentally, made me quite aware of my inadequacies). I was constantly sacrificing one thing for the other, and that's not even considering my lack of sleep. Multi-tasking was my norm- that baby on the floor playing with blocks, me on the treadmill walking on an incline reading for work. Or me, in the kitchen uploading pictures, while baking cookies for a work meeting, while playing with my toddler with measuring spoons. I needed more breaks, so much so that two or three or seventeen times I considered how great it would be do have my appendix out so that I would get a few nights in the hospital. 

In the last six or eight months I started feeling more at ease. Sawyer is older and he and my husband have been spending more time together. I got things at work under control with a new organizational system and by being hyper-efficient every second I am there. I purposefully schedule in down-time at home, and I started changing my cleaning/laundry/errand routine. I see friends, I pursue hobbies, I am trying to spend more time with my husband, I am a good mom and interact with my son constantly, I work out, and I've worked hard on making anxiety productive. I am also planning on doing some traveling again soon, hopefully, which is something I have greatly missed. 

But I am still very, very tired. I am happier, but I am so tired. 

I cannot go back. I cannot rewind the clock. I cannot focus more on surviving than thriving. I cannot. 

Let's say it takes me a year to get pregnant again. Then I cook the thing for nine months. Then it takes two and a half more years for me to return to me. That's over four more years. It's easy to say that that's not a long time, but it is. 

And then there's the money. I'll be honest- we paid anywhere from $450-$625 a month for daycare and will be paying $800 for preschool. Times two? Dear God. Then there's college, later. I'd like to help my child get an education but also not go severely into debt (again) myself. 

Some people are good at having multiple kids and looking at life's big picture. Some people are more patient, can survive better on little sleep, and cut themselves more slack. But I know myself, and I know that I just... cannot. And knowing my weaknesses is something I consider a strength. Different people need different things to be happy. 

Am I depriving my son of a sibling? Yes. Saying no would be a lie. It would also be lying if I said that I'm worried what will happen if he needs a kidney later in life. But is that an acceptable reason to bring a kid into the world? 

"Hey kiddo, you're super cool and all, but I was just worried about Sawyer's renal future, so thanks for the potential spare parts that you will hopefully match for, if so needed." 

(Sawyer has no renal issues, I am just being hypothetical). 

So yes, I'm not giving my son a sibling, a live-in playmate, and he might be sentenced to a life on dialysis, but I still feel like I am giving him a lot. I am prepared to spend countless hours with him playing with LEGOs, taking him to parks, visiting museums, and signing him up for summer camps so he can hang out with other kids during weeks off. And I totally volunteer my husband to take him to every single super hero movie that comes out, ever (by the way, my husband is not even close to begging for a second child; if he was then I'd have to do that thing you do in marriage when you consider the other person's desires and opinions). It cracks me up when parents of only-children are accused of being "selfish." There is nothing selfish about having a child, even if it's only one. I spent forty minutes the other  morning involved in a conversation about Mama Batman and Baby Batman going to Target for apple juice, thankyouverymuch. 

Am I 100% sure? No, but closer every day. Could something in me snap in a year and make jump back on the multiple-child train? Maybe! There are plenty of things in life that I said I wouldn't do and then decided otherwise. But sometimes you need a book to help you articulate what's going on in your head and your heart (and your ovaries). So, here we are. 

Families come in all different packages, and at the end of the day, I really truly think that there are so many ways to raise a good little person (or good little people). Maybe you and your partner are lesbians and you have five kids of all different ages and colors you've adopted. Maybe it's you, your husband, and your two dogs (pets are family members too). Maybe it's a husband, wife, a daughter, and  a son. Maybe you live in wealth. Maybe poverty. Rural? Urban? Stay-at-home-mom? Two working parents? Divorced? Remarried? The possibilities are endless. And that's good. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[another from Skylight Bookstore]

Hey! Link up, link back, say hey!

1. Thanks to those who alerted me about the photobucket issue- I think/hope it's resolved for good now!

2. This month, July, is probably the only month I will not have substantial childcare costs until Sawyer is in first grade. Three years down, three years to go... Because he is in between places this summer I lucked out, but tuition goes up next month for preschool and we are back at it. How people can have more than two kids in daycare/preschool at one time is beyond me!

3. The last two nights I have gotten almost seven hours of sleep and I feel so much better about life. Combined with ample caffeination, I am READY TO GO. 

4. I am so thankful for having several other moms that I can use as resources when I am curious/concerned/frustrated about a kid thing! It's come up lately and it's great to know who you can ask what questions, depending on where they're at and where they've been. 

5. I am rereading Fahrenheit 451 for the fourth time right now, so that I can advise a student, and while it's an awesome book, I prefer not to have to reread things. Considering my current backlog, I have more than enough unread books to focus on.

6. I just finished listening to The Nest and while most of the book was fine, I thought the ending was so rushed and so contrived. If I was to rate it (I don't add audiobooks to Goodreads) it would have been downgraded a star then and there. I just started listening to Fredrik Backman's Beartown and so far it's a good listen. I read A Man Called Ove, and enjoyed it, but I think that his books are simple enough fiction for me to listen to while  driving around (I typically don't listen to fiction because the books I tend to read don't permit daydreaming or navigating around unfamiliar areas... you can fill in the gaps with Backman).

7. I think I want these popsicle molds. I hate regular ones, but it would be nice to make some healthy ones for Sawyer (read: yogurt and spinach, haha). 

8. Tomorrow I am going to do P90X yoga with my husband, since he's back on that plan. I can't wait. I'm going to win. 

26 Years in 29 Books

Twenty-six years ago, for my seventh birthday my favorite aunt gifted me my first diary, compete with combination lock. It was pink, had a bear on it, and each page was broken in to two entries. I wrote horrible things about my mom and sister, lamented elementary atrocities, and sometimes included some very terrible sketches of faces crying. While obviously quite melodramatic, even at such a young age I found a great deal of catharsis in writing down my feelings. And so it stuck. 

Over the years, I have been made fun of for writing in a journal, in jest and out of spite. But if people knew how much in therapy these books have saved me over the years, they might be a little quieter. Writing has gotten me through awkward teenage years, insecurities, my parents' troubles, my dad's suicide, issues with siblings, problems with money, job concerns, homesickness, troubled relationships, moments of depressing and anxiety, difficulties conceiving- I could go on and on. My life could be far, far worse, but there have been some sizable bumps in the road. Reflecting through journal writing has helped me organize my thoughts and create plans to move forward (and usually at least three additional contingency ones).

People often ask me if I go back and read them- I don't. For me, keeping a journal is about the immediate expression and the release of emotions, rather than the ability to review the past. The few times I have looked back (minus the first one, it's hilarious, but I was so young) I am absolutely horrified. The only advantage is seeing that most of life's worries are fleeting; something that seemed like the END OF THE WORLD was often resolved six months or a year later. The older I get the more I remember this, but I wish I could have told myself this from the ages of about ten to thirty-one. 

My habits have varied greatly. There are stretches when I am younger that go for weeks and weeks of no writing, while there have been times where I have had to write twice a day. I mostly write about the negatives in life, and I often write lists as opposed to lengthy paragraphs. Currently I try to write for at least five minutes every night, just to stay grounded and reflect on where I'm at on a day-to-day basis (for those who are trying to develop this habit, this is my biggest piece of advice- just set aside a reasonable amount of time for your life every day or two and stick to it for a month).

I joke that I want to be buried with my journals when I die, but I'm guessing by the time I croak I'll have like 90 books and I don't think they'll be room in my coffin (what am I saying? I want to be cremated and have my ashes illegally thrown off Half Dome). I am lucky enough to trust my husband to not read them, so if I go first he will just have to figure out how to dispose of them. I definitely don't want them published (as I will clearly be famous enough for people to care to read them), nor do I want them treated like a family heirloom. I probably should have a real plan at some point. 

So, yes, this is my defense of journaling but also my not-so-humble pat on my own back about sticking to a hobby for so long. I'll end this with a quote someone forwarded to me a long time ago about journaling that I couldn't agree with more:

"[Journaling] is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time"- Mina Murray (Dracula)

Out and About (ALONE)

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day completely alone, something I haven't done in a really long time. I didn't feel guilty, I didn't have reservations, and I didn't look back. I could give you an extremely long inner monologue about parenting, trying (and often failing) to be a good feminist, and use of time, but I will not. Instead, here are some pictures of my day at LA's Metropolitan of Contemporary Art (MOCA), walking around downtown LA, and a visit to Skylight Books up in Los Feliz. 

[the outside of the MOCA]


[found items of NYC streets]


[Spirographs! Part of a larger exhibit]

[outside sculpture]

[eating alone at a place that doesn't
serve chicken strips]


[On of my favorite bookstores]

[a bookstore without fluff]

When I Read- Summer Edition

Every once in awhile I like to keep track of how I spend my time (yes, I have some issues with productivity, and at some point I should probably do a post acknowledging this simultaneously beneficial and detrimental addiction of mine). Sometimes I keep a log of how I spend my days as a whole, others more targeted. A week or two ago I kept track of when I read and when I exercise. Today's post is about the reading, and, for fun, I might do the exercise one next week. The week I kept track was  a pretty typical summer week for us, with errands, some little excursions, and time around the house. 

June 23
8:50-9:20 am On the treadmill, In Style magazine 
1:15-2:15 pm During Sawyer's nap, finished Waking Lions
4:20-4:30 pm While Sawyer painted, started Hunger

Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

June 24
2:30-3:00 pm During Sawyer's nap, Hunger
9:45-10:00 pm Before bed, Hunger

Time: 50 minutes

June 25
2:00-2:20 pm During Sawyer's nap, Hunger
7:30-8:00 pm By the pool, with a glass of wine, alone, Hunger

Time: 50 minutes

June 26
1:00-1:40, 2:50-3:20 pm During Sawyer's nap, Hunger

Time: 1 hour

*also went to Roxane Gay's reading for Hunger that night

June 27
1:00-2:00 pm During Sawyer's nap, pool, Hunger
3:30-3:50 pm Outside while Sawyer played in the water table, finished Hunger and started Persepolis 

Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

June 28
3:00-4:00 pm During Sawyer's nap, Persepolis

Time: 1 hour

June 29
2:30-4:00 During Sawyer's nap, Persepolis

Time: thirty minutes 

Not bad! I read for about an hour, give or take a bit each day, which is decent (I think) for having three-year-old to care for. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I took my son to a local baseball game on the 3rd so that he could see fireworks, which we did last year as well.  I was so impressed with his ability to behave during the nine innings beforehand, though, so much so that at one point I thought "this is why I cannot have another child. This behavior is an anomaly and I am not equipped to handle anything otherwise" (full disclosure: he cried in Target today because I wouldn't let him pay with the money he did not have but insisted he could run and go get). Yesterday we swam all day and I spent some time in the kitchen making....

2. .... the pie pictured above. I have never eaten fresh cherry pie before, just because the ordinary cherry pie you typically get isn't so great, so I've never been compelled (plus, lemon meringue is where it's at). But, Sally's Baking Addiction blog had a homemade cherry pie for this month's challenge and I went for it. Her crust is now my favorite crust- she uses half butter and half shortening, which makes for the perfect flakiness. Pitting 4.5 cups of cherries, and then halving them, was a bit of a pain, but it was definitely worth it. Also, important to note, she uses almond extract in her filling, which I found to be a great addition. It's cherry season, guys! Go make it! 

3. I asked students who may need a letter of rec this fall to sign up for one before the school year ended (I carry my junior students over into senior year), and I received nearly 50 requests. I just did two. Almost there. But honestly, I'm so glad I am able to do it this way, because inevitably there will be a scholarship they all hear about the weekend before it's due and then I'd have to kill myself doing a whole bunch at once. So, a few each day during the month of July makes it so much easier when we return. 

4. I have decided to start saving Sawyer's cuter t-shirts to make a quilt out of in a few years. I fully admit this is me being sentimental, but I have such a hard time getting rid of, say the Batman shirt he loved so much, or the Zootopia he was SO excited to pick out in Target back when he was barely two. I figure in a few years I'll have enough and then he CAN TREASURE IT FOREVER (yeah, I know, this is probably more for me than him). 

5. I have started watching GLOW on Netflix and am really enjoying it. It's only a half hour show, so it's actually manageable to get an episode in during nap time occasionally.  The corresponding Spotify playlist is so great too, if eighties music is your guilty pleasure (raises hand). I've been running to it lately and it helps pass the time.

6. I've actually been putting in some serious quality time on the treadmill this week; Monday and yesterday I ran nearly 4.5 miles each day, and then today I walked three to give my feet a break. I have to do it in the morning, and it's so nice to have my workout done for the day. That's not an option when school starts back up, so I probably shouldn't get too attached, but for now I'll just enjoy it.

7. After taking Sawyer to The Getty last weekend, I've wanted to see some more modern art, BY MYSELF (it's great taking him places, but let's be honest- three-year-olds do not linger). It might work out for me to do just that this Saturday, at the MOCA (Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art) in LA. There's a great little independent bookstore (Skylight) less than a half hour away,  plus a little restaurant at the museum I've been wanting to try. Clearly I have my hopes up about this day all alone working out.

8. I actually really, really wanted to travel alone this summer for a long weekend. I didn't actually include my husband in this sort of plan I was working on making a reality, but I had some pretty realistic fantasies about taking off for three days to go to maybe Washington DC or Boston or Yellowstone or even Nashville to just take some time to myself. For various reasons it's not happening, but I really have been getting a little antsy for some alone time lately. Nothing crazy, and I don't hate my family or anything, I just need time to myself to be a nice person, that's all. I need to collect my thoughts, get some sleep, and try to remember how to relax. It'll happen. It'll happen. 

9. Whelp, I'm off to the orthopedic surgeon in a little while about my hip (this does not count as alone time, thankyouverymuch). I am pretty sure he's going to order x-rays, not give me an idea about what the cause of the pain in, and maybe start me on some preemptive PT. Just my completely professional prediction, of course. I would like to walk out with a clear idea about why I feel like I am 85 when I get up from sitting, but I know that this is probably asking for too much. 

A Trip to The Getty

This past Saturday Sawyer and I made the nearly two-hour drive to West LA to visit The Getty, Southern California's largest art museum. Most of their art focuses on work before the twentieth century and they also have a beautiful garden. The architecture itself is amazing, as most of it is constructed from travertine. Personally, I much, much prefer twentieth and twenty-first century art (I always try to convince my husband that there is more to those huge installations that are only painted, like blue, with one white spot in the middle). But I've never taken Sawyer and it really is an awesome place, so off we went. Here are some pictures from our day: