Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I am spending the next ninety minutes (until I have to go pick up Sawyer from school) writing and scheduling posts- we'll see how many I get done. I know blogging in sort of dead, but I have to keep the one person who hate reads (hey, you! Hope you're well!), the three people who've been consistent through the years, and the two from Russia who spam me happy! What can I say... Google Analytics are cool? Kidding, kidding- I just enjoy rambling about books and life. What can I say?

I read seven books in May! March and April were really hectic at work, so I didn't get much reading done, but I set myself up to finish the school year a little less chaotically, so that was nice. Two short story collections, two memoirs, and three novels. The perfect mix!

This is my first week of summer break and Sawyer's last few days of second grade- I am SO thankful that I have a few days to run errands, see friends, take care of an appointment, and sit in solitude before it's me and my sidekick for two months. I am also super thankful my sister is letting us pay her to come help at the end of the summer when I'm the one going back to work before he has to start up again (we could take him to the place he goes before/after school, but this is better for us). 

If you haven't donated to one of the Uvalde victim's gofundme, supported Everytown's work or written/called your local representative it's not too late. Thoughts, prayers, and tears have statistically proven to do absolutely nothing to lower the rate at which mass shootings have occurred, so while it may make people feel better, please take action as well. 

I've wanted a rower for awhile, but I might have to hold out now that Peloton is coming out with one! I don't really love the idea of another monthly subscription cost, but I could see all those leaderboards and whatnot as being super motivating with this machine.

We had our first in-person English Department Book Club in person yesterday, lunch on a restaurant patio. We met virtually since the pandemic began and while we tried to coordinate in-person meetings the last few times we couldn't get schedules to align. I see these people all the time at work, but it was nice to get together off-site for a different reason. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

My seniors check out today! We still have until next Friday until the year is over, but for me, other than cleaning my classroom, I'm pretty much done. I coincidentally made a few appointments so I can take two days off, so I should ease out of this exhausting school year nicely. Graduation is next Tuesday, so then it will feel official. 

I ordered my annual "box-o-books" for the summer and I can't wait to dive in. I'm waiting for some new releases to arrive over the next few weeks and then I will share. 

I just started the Emma Straub episode of the Bad on Paper Podcast and she's a delight! I cannot wait to visit Books are Magic the next time I'm in New York, and her newest books is part of my summer TBR. 

In preparation for Half Dome this summer I've amped up my workouts a lot, but I'm trying to run less (other than in the morning with the dog). My favorite workout right now is to alternate between step aerobics (hello, yes, this is the 80s, right?), a steep incline on the treadmill, weights, and abs, each at five minutes and repeating however many times I can. 

This weekend I am going away ALL BY MYSELF. I was originally supposed to last March, but things were too stressful at the time (I know, weird, I couldn't go away to relax because I was too stressed, so I rescheduled for when work was easier. I am leaving tomorrow night after my husband is done working and I'll come back Sunday sometime. Two days of not having an alarm, walking around the beach, reading, and not having to do a dang thing. It's going to be magical (and maybe a yearly tradition?). 

Last week's to-dos:

Things I need to do soon:
1. Confirm drywaller (done, and he came and did the job!)
2. Finish book (yup)
3. Get grades in (yup)
4. Glue puzzle (don't ask) (yup)
5. Contact landscaper about sprinkler issue (yup)
6. Buy Hollywood Bowl tickets (yup)

Next week's to-dos:
1. Finish the school year
2. Really and truly try to relax this weekend
3.Gather everything for Sawyer's spirit week (YET ANOTHER)
4. Possibly bathe the dog- if not, a really good brushing 

Five Things About... Five Things About Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood by Christa Parravani

While this is the story of a desperate mother who wanted an abortion, I think either “side” can learn from it. It’s not preachy or insulting, just simply Parravani’s story. 

This was such a good reminder that healthcare is so different in different states. I live in California and, while I’ve had to deal with the bureaucratic nature of a PPO insurance, I’ve never felt like I couldn’t get what I’ve needed or wanted or chosen, if so be. 

I think there’s this romantic notion attached to academia- professors in tweed, bumbling around their Victorians, hobnobbing with intellectuals at dinner parties on the weekends. This is sadly not true and we see how much Parravani struggles to make ends meet.

I am THE LAST person to criticize the complicated nature of a marriage, but she did put certain details of their financial nature out into the public with a published memoir. Her husband seemed to refuse to pull his economic weight in the marriage, intentionally, and I found that really, really  frustrating on her behalf. It’s one thing to be unemployed or whatever, but to be working and not really contributing is something else.

Abortion rights aside, the struggles she experienced with the medical staff at the hospital when her son was born was infuriating. He was severely jaundiced, tongue-tied to the point of practically starving, and had broken his clavicle during delivery (they didn’t even know!). And they sent them home! And then dismissed her concerns multiple times after that! The system that refused to help her terminate the (very, very early) pregnancy then refused the very baby she birthed proper care. Unacceptable.

A Day in the Life... 2021-22 School Year

Early morning run

I like to do these posts every year or when things change so as a way to look back and see how daily life was during certain "seasons" of life. So, really, they're for cataloging purposes, but I also know I love reading these sorts of voyeuristic (with permission) posts, so maybe I'll appease someone else's nosiness.

My schedule is different on some days, but this is a typical Monday!

5:08 AM- my alarm goes off every weekday at this time and I am up leaving the house to run with the dog by 5:18. I have this ten minute stretch planned and autopilot to the second (I have a second alarm that goes off at 5:18 so I know I need to be walking out the door then). There is never any snoozing, ever, ever, ever!

5:45 AM- 6:40- this is my absolute least favorite part of the day! YAY! Once I get back from running I get myself ready, supervise Sawyer's getting ready (no sense of urgency at all, that kid, but I also don't want to make him get up any earlier than he does), breakfast, feed the dog, etc... Oh, and coffee- my first of many caffeinated beverages of the day!

6:40-7:15- drop Sawyer off at his before/after school place and go to work

I immediately change into work-out gear when I get home

7:15-3:40- Work! Today we did an activity with excerpts from The Scarlet Letter, the kids taking turns reading them, annotating them for one device or literary concept, rotating to another student who does the same, and so on and so forth until they've all seen the five passages and read what their group members wrote. They then discuss, choose one, and do a brief explication on it for homework. For the other class I teach, IB Theory or Knowledge, we (I co teach, since it is a weird class that can be potentially large) worked on helping the kids review some sources for a big research project. 

3:45-4:10- It takes me almost a half an hour to go like ten miles, but that's what I get for living in Southern California! Pick Sawyer up.

4:10-4:30 More traffic on the way home. After giving me the low down on his day on the way home, Sawyer does his independent reading out loud to me (it was a book from The Dragon Master's Series) 

4:30-5:30- My husband commutes to LA on Mondays and Wednesday, so I rush to let the dog out and then Sawyer and I tackle his homework, which is generally about thirty to forty minutes if he does his reading in the car. I've complained about how excessive it is for a second grader before, so I'll spare the additional complaining. While he works (he usually just needs help with math), I keep an eye on him while unloading the dishwasher, prepping dinner, answering emails, etc...  

5:30-6:00 Sawyer and I walk Ellie

6:00-6:30 I put dinner in, Sawyer draws, and then I run around to skim the pool, take out the trash, do a load of laundry, and vacuum

6:30-7:15 dinner for the three of us, then I supervise Sawyer's shower. I usually try to lift weights, clean up the shower, work on a blog post, or grade a few papers 9instead of just sit aimlessly on my phone)

7:15-7:45 Sawyer watches Netflix while I grade (sometimes I read, but right now I am trying to push through the papers) and supervise the dog (she is corralled in the kitchen while we are gone all day, which is a pretty large space, and when she can't be watched... she's not quite two and is SO destructive still)

7:45-8:15 My husband calls from the road to say goodnight to Sawyer and then we do the whole bedtime routine, capped off with a chapter or two of whatever I am reading him (right now Katt vs Dogg, which is not my favorite, but I do appreciate the allegorical nature for race in America as a talking point)

This what walking and watching looks like, in case ya didn't know

8:15-8:45 Incline work on the treadmill while watching Cheer, a few half-assed planks at the end

8:45-9:20 shower and read

9:20-9:50 chat for a few minutes with my husband, take out the dog, set the alarm, get ready for bed

9:50-10:10 wait for my melatonin to kick in while stressing about whatever needs to get done the next day. I am not a good sleeper, so I will spare you the details about waking up 2-4 times a night.

My, what an exciting life I live. Ha! Weekends are much better. 

Five Things About... Push: A Climber's Search for the Path by Tommy Caldwell

Yosemite is one of my favorite places (we go once a year), so it gave me the warm fuzzies reading about it for a huge portion of the book.

Speaking of literal forces of nature, Patagonia is definitely on my list of dream destinations, so the fact he details two trips there was also awesome! There were many other destinations too, serving as a good reminder that there are so many beautiful spots to travel to.

I though his handling of his trip to Kyrgyzstan and all that happened there was well-done (his group was kidnapped by rebels and he had to push one off a cliff to save them). Clearly it was an incredibly dark time for him and his ex-wife, but he still discussed this without letting the tragedy overtake the entire text. This is the same in terms of the finger loss he experiences, as well.

I’m always motivated by fitness stories, whether it’s people who go from nothing to something or from something to substantial. Obviously rock climbers have to have a heightened level of fitness, but Caldwell’s journey is next level. If you need some inspiration look here!

Caldwell worked hard to discuss personal situations with care, like his divorce, his current wife’s religious priorities, his relationships with his dad, and the intricacies of his climbing partnership with Kevin. He also injects some subtle humor, my favorite being when he recalls Alex Honnold considering repelling down El Cap with Caldwell’s baby strapped to him. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I am so incredibly tired of my helping my son with his homework. His teacher gives out SO much- they have to silent read for 15-20 minutes, review vocabulary slides, a spelling activity, and a math activity EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. It takes us nearly an hour most days and I am so over it. I get that there is a need to make up for learning loss from last year, but for parents who work it's just insane. And they're moving SO fast in math- in the course of a week is homework went from identifying coins to making change after adding up several coins. Okay, rant over. Can you tell what I've been doing? Ha. 

One of my old students who graduated six years ago sent me a Milkbar cake and the sweetest card for Teacher Appreciation Week. In my opinion TAW is out of control in the elementary schools, but, on the other hand, secondary teachers basically get nothing (I don't want anything- cards at the most). Anyway, it was so generous and much-needed.

Mother's Day was the best yet- Sawyer, Ellie and I went on an early hike, then got donuts, Sawyer and Scott got/made me a few things, I did some things around the house, and then my friend and I went to UCLA to see David Sedaris (post coming soon!). 

My students are taking their IB test tomorrow, the one we've been working towards for two school years and they are so prepared. I have so much faith in them! 

I'm reading Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood by Christa Parravani, about how the West Virginian health care system failed her, and it's so depressing. 

Weekly-ish to-do lists are back!

Things I need to do soon:
1. Confirm drywaller
2. Finish book
3. Get grades in 
4. Glue puzzle (don't ask)
5. Contact landscaper about sprinkler issue
6. Buy Hollywood Bowl tickets

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

April was not super productive in terms of reading, with just three books. It's fine though- I had to grade a TON and there were a lot of things going around the house to handle. I should definitely get more read the next few months, so no worries here. I've also decided that I'm not going to do back-reviews here on my bookstagram account, so at least I don't feel like I have to get to those. Joan is Okay was a delight, Fox and I  I reviewed already, and then everyone knows The Scarlet Letter! 

So many countdowns- 12 days until the IB test, 19 days until senior check out, 26 days until the last day with kids, and 27 days until the last contractual day of the school year! And then after that it's time to start looking forward to summer plans! In the mean time, I've been reading more essays than anything, so I sadly only finished three books this month. Par for the course! I'll coming roaring back next month, not too worry.

We had a leak in our living room ceiling this week, for the second time (a different spot). It's definitely not fun, but our plumber is AMAZING and had it fixed super fast and even called me at 9:30 at night to discuss. The drywall and paint will be fixed in the next few weeks and the area is already almost all the way dry. So, inconvenient, but not a crisis. 

The other day someone I know sorta made some pretty personal observations about me and, while there was definitely some truth to what the person was saying, it was also super unnecessary. So, there are two takeaways here. The first is a reminder for myself. If you engage in social media you have to be ready for the commentary, plain and simple. I've cut ties with people who I didn't want to interact with and I know (lololol) people have done the same to me. If you stay connected you have to be ready for opinions! I feel pretty good about my little virtual social circle, but, nonetheless, there are lots of different personalities (a good thing!). The second is that sometimes if you don't know a person super well you shouldn't vocalize assumptions you've made about them, since you might be off base or offensive. 

Our high school had our first prom since 2019 and my students were so excited! The girls were struggling so hard to type Thursday and Friday with their new long nails, which was more cute than it was annoying. They've sent some pictures and they all look so happy!