Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

It's Wednesday! Time to link up, link back, and say hey.

1. Yesterday a student gave me an awesome collection of succulents to add to the ones I already had. I decided to transplant the ones I had to some legitimate pots that I actually went to Home Depot for the other day and am pretty proud of my efforts. Day two in their new homes: everyone is still alive. 

2. When I was at Home Depot I wandered around the store for a really long time looking for a lawn gnome. I didn't want to ask someone, which I normally have no problem doing. I just know lawn gnomes are a little... weird and I'd much prefer to maintain the illusion that I'm just some young(ish), average-looking, clueless homeowner who needs something very practical and normal, like light bulbs or picture hanging thingies. So, I'll just have to order one (or fifteen) on Amazon.

3. After the Home Depot I went to the expletive-expletive-expletive podiatrist for my horrible and mysterious toe pain. I guess I have some structural issues, which is a nice way of saying I have a "mallet toe" (anyone who is reading that has never before is probably pretty weirded out by the lawn gnomes and deformed feet at this point). But, the symptoms I'm experiencing are more in line with nerve damage. So, he taped up my foot and told me to leave the tape on for three days without getting it wet (I had scheduled a pedicure for after the appointment, so this was very irritating news) and, the real kicker, I am supposed to stop whatever I am doing as soon as the pain starts and mark on my toe where exactly it bothers me with a Sharpie. Sure. Completely reasonable. And then the tape fell off later that day and I could have gotten my mother-effing pedicure. 

4. Also, while we're on the topic of things pissing me off, the annoying weird water main noise that disappears for months and then comes back has resurfaced. Two of my good friends have had issues with water damage lately and I'm terrified that I'm going to come home from work and my house is going to be flooded. I don't even know how to turn off the water. Or the electricity. Or the gas. I don't know how to do anything. I am useless.

5. Onto happier things. Sawyer's Halloween costume (Max from Where the WIld Things Are) came the other day and he looks ridiculously adorable in it. Like so cute I want to dress him in it every day and just have him live in it, until he grows out of it and I order the next size up for him to continue to wear 24/7. Until kindergarten, at least. 

6. It's basically fall:

7. I've established the fact that I'm basically pretty cheap but occasionally I'll get these ridiculous ideas of things to binge spend on. This time it's matching Star Wars pajamas from Hanna Andersson for Sawyer and I (my husband declined a pair). I haven't ordered them yet, since the price is beyond absurd, but I haven't forgotten about them:

8. I'm currently finishing Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? and while it's funny and entertaining I think I much prefer listening to her books.

9. There's a college fair tonight that all my students are going to tonight and I seriously considered going when I found out there was cake. This desperation stems from the fact that I decided when I went grocery shopping over the weekend to not buy anything sugary to snack on and now want to cry. It has curbed my snacking considerably, so I better lose five pounds by Friday.

10. I went to yoga last week and the teacher is crazier than normal (maybe it was the moon... she kept talking about that). She tried to make the front row turn around to face the back row, where I was, and mimic their dance moves. Come again? I am here for the work out. I want to do reverse the warrior and do pigeon prep. The woman across from me looked at me expectantly and I shook my head. Nope. She started doing this arm-swaying routine that reminded me of this high guy in tie-dye that I saw a concert once. I crossed my arms and glared. I was prepared to tell the instructor, who is also the owner of the studio, that I'd blast her on Yelp if she tried to make me do anything but I think she knew better. It's all in the eyes.

Have a great week!

Mindy Kaling Reading (Speaking... Event... Whatever)

Last night a good friend and I left our little ones with their dad's and drove out to Glendale to listen to Mindy Kaling promote her new book, Why Not Me? at the Alex Theater. I had just finished listening to Kaling's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) a week or so ago, so I felt like I knew more about her and her career than I would have beforehand (I know her from The Office and have yet to watch The Mindy Project). 

Kaling was interviewed by writer Matt Warburton and was as cute, charming, and funny as one would expect. She spent a lot of time talking about her place in the industry, writing process, workaholic tendencies, and gave her take on a hilarious story involving Amy Schumer getting ahold of Katie Couric's cell phone at a Glamour dinner. She answered several pre-selected audience questions that weren't anything groundbreaking, but still interesting to hear the answers to, ranging from who inspires her to who she would invite to a dinner party (she ended up settling on serial killers). 

I was surprised by the fact that she has some serious groupies that loved to shout out things randomly like "I love you Mindy!" (which I sort of hate). Apparently people started lining up five or six hours before the event to score front row tickets. I think she's great and an awesome role model, but had no idea that she had such a following. Good for her. I guess you can't help but to like her! 

More than anything, it was just nice to get back out to an event like I used to do all the time! I'm a little sad about missing so many great authors this fall (although I've seen most of them before), so it was a treat to at least be involved in something for once. Plus, it's always nice to sub the diaper bag for my purse and not have to worry about whether or not I remembered the Cheddar Bunnies. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up, link back say hi.

Disclaimer/1.: I'm feeling pretty uninteresting and underwhelming today, guys. It's been a really long week, I've pulled a muscle in my shoulder that's making breathing painful, and I'm a little distracted in general. Bear with me. I'm sorry. 

2. I'm reading Gilead by Marilyn Robinson and am loving the writing but hating the fact that I just can't quite get into it yet (I'm about thirty pages in). I think it's the type of book that's best read in larger snippets that I'm currently able to commit to right now. 

3. I know how fond I am of a senior class by when I start getting sad about them graduating. It's only September and the idea of June bums be out. Except the idea of getting to go on summer break. That part is fine.

4. The most recent song I'm over-listening to (and I think it's about drugs...? Or sex? Or both? And my son is pretty fond of it, too, so oops):

5. This weekend is shaping up to be pretty great. Saturday I'll hopefully continue my yoga class streak and then my mom will pass through town for a day or so. Sunday night I'm going to LA with a friend to see Mindy Kaling and then I'm taking Monday off because I have a podiatry appointment in the middle of the day. I might have to squeeze in a pedicure and solo-lunch date, since Sawyer will be at daycare. 

6. I had a dream last night that I was at a tattoo parlor trying to get a unicorn inked on my body somewhere and the artist very doubtfully asked, "Are you sure?" And then we took a walk by a stream. I don't understand.

7. I tried an iced Pumpkin Spiced Latte, since I'm not a fan of hot coffee, and it was disgusting.

8. I almost never play games on my phone, minus a few word or trivia ones for short periods of time over the years, but I'm slightly (and I'm sure temporarily) hooked on Two Dots. It's so stupid.

9. Obviously you're all going to go buy these:


10. California passed legislation that starting in 2017 kids have to remain rear-facing in car seats until they're two. This makes sense, since it's easier repair to legs than spines. Sawyer is still rear-facing but I've been really looking forward to turning him around, since I think it will make longer distances easier. He's starting to understand what boredom is, and staring at a car seat isn't the most exciting thing. I give him toys and books, but that only helps for so long. I guess it'll be seven more months of seeing the back of his head, I guess!

Top Ten Tuesday- Fall TBR

[you know what you can do with your Pumpkin Spiced everything?]

How I desperately wish "fall" was happening right now in Southern California. Today it is a bit cooler (like 85 instead of 100), but it's also extremely muggy and the only reason why leaves are green is because the drought. 

Anyway, The Broke and the Bookish want to know what we're going to read this season, so here's what I'm considering:

1. Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje- This is a reread, but I'm going to be teaching it very soon and will need a refresher. 

2. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay- I've been trying to read collections of essays or short stories concurrently with novels lately, so this will be up soon.

3 & 4. Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi- I accepted the second for review without realizing that she had written Reading Lolita first. Being the completionist I am, I'll be going in order. 

5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee- Mother effer. So we're reading this for book club and I'll need a super solid skim before sitting down to discuss. A student is also doing an Extended Essay on it as well, so I should refresh my memory, I suppose. I read it over the summer and wasn't in love, so I'm not thrilled about going backwards.

6. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett- I've never met a Patchett book I didn't like.

7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- I'm going to see her on Sunday night and get a copy of her book with my ticket. I just finished listening to her first book and it was great.

8. Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon- I've been jonesing for some magical realism. 

9. Maddadam by Margaret Atwood- It's time to complete the trilogy, which I've adored so far. Her new book is coming out soon, so I'll want to finish off this one first.

10. Light Boxes by Shane Jones- I've had this novella for years and have put it off since I knew the experimental fiction-ness of it would require some serious attention (I think? If I remember right?).

Loud and Proud... English Department T-Shirt Nominees

The math department at our high school has shirts. They're just some nerdy Wordle with math words, but they at least have something that unifies them and shows the world that they're number geeks together (joking, joking). We've thrown around the idea of an English department shirt before, but nothing has come to fruition. I'm pretty sure it's one part lack of someone to take on the job and other part the quiet knowledge that our differing personalities may never arrive at a consensus. Nonetheless, here are a few that I'd nominate (the top two and one about fame and money I may buy for myself anyway):

[the pen is mightier than the sword; source]

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up, link back (please!).

1. Sawyer graduated from PT today! He originally was in for a mild case of torticollis but ended up being a tiny bit delayed on all of his gross-motor milestones, but now that he's walking we're cleared to stop going. I'm mostly glad, since the visits were always hard to make after work and daycare, but it was nice to have a professional sounding board when it came to my kid.

2. Make these, guys:

3. I'm not the only person that is extremely reluctant to throw away earrings that have lost their mate, right? There's always that hope that the other will show up.

4. I consider myself a bit of a Diet Coke drinking expert, so I was very disappointed in myself when I stupidly left a twelve pack in my car, in the heat. Luckily (?) only three exploded (RIP), but I should have known better! They were in the way back by themselves and didn't stain anything, but my car still smells faintly of wet cardboard.

5. I just finished TC Boyle's San Miguel and was a little disappointed in the third and final section of the book. It was still a very good, of course, but I just thought it fell a little short. His picture in the back is amusing:

6. Penguin just sent me their 200th anniversary edition of Emma and I the cover was pretty great. 

7. The weather has been manageable lately so I've been killing it (for me) with exercise. I even got to go to a yoga class last Saturday and have decided to try to go weekly from now on. I know it's going to get hot again, but eventually it will cool down for a few months and I can keep with my daily sessions. 

8. At yoga, the sub (who I like better) for the normal teacher is recovering from colon cancer and it really made me angry. This young woman has taken such great care of herself, inside and out, and she's gifted with cancer? Seriously? She drinks kombucha and eats kale salads. She does yoga daily and says nice things to people. I know we have to file things like this under "life's not fair," but still.

9. I read recently that they're making the movie for The Girl on the Train set in American instead of the UK. I'm trying to decide how I feel about it, but mostly I just think it's another example of how Americans are so egocentric.

10. I have no idea who or what the Coffee Party is, but I saw someone else "like" this on Facebook, so I lifted it because it's pretty great:

Top Ten Tuesday- What Scares Me


This week The Broke and the Bookish are giving us a freebie week, which I sometimes like to go in a different direction for. I've been having a lot of nightmares lately, so I thought I'd dig deep and look at some of the things that scare. me. I also ordered my kid's Halloween costume today, so I have scary things on the brain, I guess!

There are all legitimate fears, but I readily admit that some are more ridiculous than others. My job is to entertain... or something like that.

1. Ferrets- Once I had a dream that my grandparents' house flooded and while I was floating through the hallways on my boat a ferret jumped out of the water and bit my arm and would not let go. Except it was all white and was called an Albino Sea Panda (but it was a ferret). I could not get the effing thing off my arm and am not terrified of ferrets. This is also the most vivid dream I have ever had in my laugh and truly the only one that I can remember clearly (it was was probably ten years ago). Once I was at a fabric store and there was a ferret outside and I could not walk past it.

2. Economic demise- I know this is such a douchebag thing for someone who enjoys fairly stable, comfortable (not luxurious, though, don't misunderstand) lifestyle. That being said, I grew up in a house that suffered from financial instability my entire life. Cars repossessed, bill collectors calling, never having cool clothes like everyone else, and all that jazz. It could have been a million times worse (we were still very fortunate by most of the world's standards), but I was constantly worried that we would be homeless (we never were). Because of this I am extremely financially conservative and basically hoard my money. Once in awhile I do make a crazy purchase (here's looking at you Frye boots), but otherwise I buy generic butter and save my Amazon points for Christmas shopping.

3. Earthquakes- You can't predict the stupid bastards and they have the potential to ruin your home, kill your loved ones, and cause chunks of states to go floating off into oceans. 

4. Something bad happening to Sawyer- The thought is so unbearable that I won't even get into it. I'm not the type of mom that freaks out when he bumps his head, but let just say when I discovered enlarged lymph nodes early in the summer I spent many hours freaking out in private  (he's fine now). 

5. Running out of room for my books- I am very particular about furniture and decorating and worry about what I will do when this day comes (not get an ereader, thanks).

6. Home-invasion robberies- One time a few years ago our security alarm went off in the middle of the night and I instantly called the police and tried to convince my husband to barricade our bedroom (a sensor fell off a window). The other night Sawyer's baby monitor got disconnected and I instantly thought, awoken from a deep sleep around one in the morning, that there were intruders in our home that purposefully unplugged it. Only this time I ran around the house and checked for the assholes so I could strangle them with my bare hands for going into my child's room.

7. Losing my pictures- For someone who can feel her heart racing at the thought of losing her memories being gone forever, I should probably back them up more often. My parents' home burned down when my mom was pregnant with me, and I heard way too many stories about losing mementoes. 

8. Having another kid. Or not having another kid- Seriously. What should I do? Have another kid and have to be fat, and then tired, all over again, or let my kid be alone? My thoughts change every single day. 

9. Having my head covered- I am a smidge claustrophobic, so having my head covered with a blanket or anything else freaks me the hell out. Once in Hawaii we were hiking up to a volcano and had to go through these tunnels that became congested because of the crowds. I thought I was going to die. 
10. Losing my Fitbit- A few months ago my Fitbit fell off in a parking lot while I was putting Sawyer in the car. I was very upset once I realized it!  Luckily I had an epiphany and drove back two hours later and it was still there. It tells me when to wake up, when to get it together and lose weight, and how much I've moved my butt. I need it. Neeeeeed it. 

So now most of you know more about me than my mother. Throw me a bone. What scares the crap out of you?

My Favorite Books to Teach

[this cover is perfect! I'd never seen it before]

This my tenth year of teaching, and during that time I've been able to teach some really excellent books to students, even at the primary level when I was there for four years. One major limiting factor has always been the school's inventory, since you have to work with what you have. This was much, much harder at the elementary level, since the assumption is that little people don't read novels, just excerpts. At the high school we have a ton of older classics, but lack contemporary texts.

My curriculum for IB is fairly prescribed, based on what we do have available, but I have had some wiggle room. When I taught English 2 I had a lot of flexibility, as well as when I wanted to add in an easy book for CAHSEE prep (a remedial class taught to those that hadn't passed the high school exit exam). When trying to decide what book to read my first question is simple: do I like it? Teaching something you hate is torture and is resonates in your lessons. The next question is common sense, too: will the kids like it? Trying to pull a group through something they hate it not a good time for any party involved. I also have to consider the level of the group, length of the book, available copies, and how to incorporate it into the curriculum and state standards. 

Here are a few of my favorites from my career so far:

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (fifth grade)
I taught this to a group during a tutoring session between "tracks" when we were year round. I remember immortality being a really interesting thing to talk to ten-year-olds about! 

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (fifth grade)
I have always adored this book, probably because I am such a journaler. I love watching how he changes as he grows up and there are so many fun activities that we did (including a contest to design a lunch box security system)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (regular tenth grade English)
The students always really love this book, which makes teaching it even better. The racial implications, the role of the outsider, and family dynamics are all great things to dive into. I think it would be really fascinating to teach it now, with the current racial tension we unfortunately have going on right now in the United States.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Remarque (regular tenth grade English)
I generally do not like war novels, but I actually enjoy the coming-of-age aspect of this. I also appreciate the fact that it's a novel for the guys- the males of the "regular" classes can often be reluctant readers, so it's nice to have something they can appreciate. 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (AP Language, 10th grade)
First of all, I didn't make the decision for the students to read this, and am not sure it worked in terms of what the hope was, but nonetheless it was a great read and the students found it really interesting. 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (AP Language)
A good old classic! I primarily use this as a way to teach humor, satire and wit. We also take some time to look at dialect and talk about how it impacts the reader. It's a bit lengthy for sophomores, but I love that it's broken into really short chapters that read pretty fast. I do it in the spring of tenth grade, so it sets them up nicely to transition into IB English as juniors, which is literature heavy (as opposed to AP Lang, which is mostly expository texts). 

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol (IB English)
I used this short story once when we finished everything we needed a few weeks ahead of schedule. I love Russian literature and magical realism, so this story is perfect. The main character loses his nose and must find it, only to realize it has taken on a life of it's own. It's a little challenging for some students to suspend belief quite as much as is necessary, but it provokes some great conversations.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (IB English, 11th grade)
Speaking of magical realism, the master himself! This book has some great moments and a lot of things that seem risque to students (sex, murder, alcohol, and even prostitution), so it's usually pretty popular. Plus it's a novella, which they appreciate. God forbid we read long books.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (IB English, 12th grade)
Is Edna a feminist or a spoiled pain in the ass? I love hearing the students go round-and-round on this one. I've read this books several times between high school, college, and my own teaching career and always approach it slightly different, contingent on my own place in life at the time. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (IB English, 11th grade)
If I were to describe this book in just one word it would be "rich." The language, characters, and subject matter are wonderfully dense and there are so many layers. The kids are always fairly split, though, about whether or not they like it (maybe more girls do than boys?).

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (IB English, 11th grade)
This isn't my favorite book and I think it's overrated, but I think it's a great text to start off the IB program with in the fall of junior year. The kids love it because they really like the book or they love it because they enjoy hating Holden. We do a fun activity called "Diagnosing Holden" where they have to psychoanalyze the kid and discuss whether or not they relate. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[do not be fooled; it was 104 earlier and is now a mild 90. Gross]

Link up, link back (please and thank you!), and say hi!

1. There are thunderstorms going through my area of Southern California right now and everyone is going batshit crazy. Traffic is a nightmare, the social media posts are aplenty, and the National Weather Service hit all of my kids' phones during fifth period with flash-flood warnings (precautionary, not likely). The real threat? Fires from lightning strikes.

2. I thought my dream app had finally been invented and emailed to me- something that can run in the background and tell me how much time I spend doing what on my phone. Turns out their privacy agreement gives them carte blanche to basically hack into your phone and take all your info. Thanks, but no thanks.

3. I think someone trying to be sneaky and wheel-and-deal behind the scenes to screw me over an itsy-bitsy tiny bit. I know, oh-so-vague. Two hints: they're not family and they will not win. I hope they're reading and get paranoid. "Is she talking about me? No, she can't be talking about me. How would she know? There's no way!" 

4. I'm obsessed with the Athleta catalog, both because I want to look like the models and because the clothes are super cute.

5. Some of my current seniors that I had back when they were sweet baby sophomores were telling me today how terrified they were of me two years ago. I am of course pleased by this (although it's not really new information), but I don't fully comprehend why. Because I don't hold their hands through assignments? Because I don't put up late work or excuses? Because I've got a pretty mean look I can throw out?

6. I just started TC Boyle's San Miguel and am kicking myself for owning lsome of his other books and letting them sit on the shelf. I've read a few other books by him and have seen him speak twice and am never less than very impressed. Maybe I'll binge read Boyle. Is that a thing? Like how I want to sit my ass on the couch and watch every single episode of Sons but instead reading book after book by an author? Fact: Jax is eighty-seven times more attractive that TC.

7. I tried to subtly hint to my husband last night that I'd like to somehow go see Elton John at Cesar's Palace next month, while he's still alive and performing (Elton, not my husband) and I failed miserably. "You should go with your mom" he replied. Sigh. My mom lives six hours away and has to work. And before you mock my love for Elton, we grew up listening to him, so I'm a big fan of his old stuff. I danced to "Tiny Dancer" with my grandpa at our wedding.

8. I canceled my subscription to The New Yorker. I failed. 

9. This was hilarious, although not advised. Scott and I could have never pulled this off. 

10. The crazy kid and I had a rough (rough --> polite understatement) night last night and I have consumed approximately 1,000 milligrams of caffeine today. I am SO AWAKE and yet SO TIRED. 

Weekend Update

[they said this was the tallest ferris wheel in the state; LIE]

If every weekend were three days my quality of life would go up exponentially. It's a fact. Our Labor Day weekend wasn't anything terribly impressive, but it was downright enjoyable. Here's what we/I did:

We went to the Norco Fair to check out all the animals (Sawyer belly laughed at a goat that jumped up to bleat in his face. This went on for several minutes. If I could relive that moment, somehow, I'd pay some solid cash to do so). We built with LEGOs, played with his new Little People Pirate Ship, and tormented the dogs. I even tried to watch Twenty-Two Jump Street with Scott but fell asleep an hour in. Oops. 

Walked and Walked
Saturday we went to a shopping center nearby that has a large man-made lake that is perfect for early-morning walks. There are lots of ducks and a cool bamboo bridge that we spent a lot of time on. We also spent some time cruising the neighborhood Sunday morning and did some laps up and down the street on Monday. Sawyer is walking more and more now, which is both a sigh of relief and a nightmare.

[what you don't see: lots of ugly stores and restaurants]

[save your correspondence for later, Sawyer]

Did Boring Adult Things
I cleaned a lot and did about ten loads of laundry. I got really, really angry while trying to order birth and marriage certificates online for a stupid insurance audit they gave us little warning for. We shopped for, and bought, a refrigerator. 

[sorry for all the Sawyer fingerprints on your stainless steel, Best Buy]

Spent Time Alone.. and Away
I met up with a friend her her baby for coffee on Saturday morning (I even got to feed him, which was weird, since he just laid there quietly and sucked on his bottle, as opposed to what I have now). I finished Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, read a bit of Macbeth for work, and started San Miguel by TC Boyle Saturday night while my husband was out late at his draft. I floated around the pool by myself on Monday. I went to Starbucks and Target solo.

[No, I did not go to Starbucks three days in a row. Never.]

[view from the pool]

I spent way too much time online deciding what kind of Top Siders and tennis shoes to buy (why do I want Top Siders? Why? I don't own a boat). I rediscovered some great things at Trader Joe's like those stupid hollow apple sticks, and their garlic olive oil and Pasadena Salad. I replaced a fake pearl necklace that Sawyer broke at Charming Charlie's (there's too much stuff in that store to wade through, I've decided). I also picked up Star Wars stuff for the whole family.  Target got me again. 

If you call Rice Krispy Treats with peanut butter and chocolate chips baking. Pretty easy stuff.

Worried About Uncontrollable Things
Just keeping it real. I've always had an issue with this and this weekend required some serious self-monitoring so I didn't lose it. Unfortunately, my lack of sleep exacerbates the situation, and the fact that I haven't gotten more than 6.5 hours of (broken) sleep in weeks isn't helping. Sawer just will not stop teething. One day at a time!

This week should be quick... right?

TED Talks to Watch- Inspiring Women (1)

I'm a huge fan of documentaries (see the above "Document This" tab), but it's hard for me to commit to ninety or more minutes to watch one these days. TED Talks have been the answer, though, since most are between ten and twenty minutes. I watched many over the summer and am going to start trying to show one a week in my AP Language class to compliment whatever we're studying or just as a reason to practice their listening note-taking skills. I love that there's a talk for pretty much anything. The ones I feature today are about things that I'm passionate about or interested in: women's rights, equality, health, literature, and education. I'm going to periodically try to put some of the ones I've found particularly interesting up here to share the wealth. And yes, they're all women today, but I do watch ones by men as well. 

Aspen Baker discusses the need for women who have had abortions, or any sort of difficult experience, to be listened to. She makes an excellent point about the divide between what is happening in politics, which many people get swept away in, and what happens in emotional real life. She created a foundation called Exhale to help provide women with support. Her message and advice at being a better listener was also insightful.

I showed this one to my sophomores last week and received a lot of positive feedback; they really appreciated the message on unintentional bias and seemed to take a lot of away from her talk. Abdel-Magied is an engineer in Australia but is also Muslim and wears a Hijab. She discusses how as a society we are so quick to judge others based on reasons we may not even be aware of. She is incredibly dynamic and powerful; she demands respect for others but does it a in such a way where you aren't feeling lectured. There are many activists that need to take note of her style. 

I appreciated this talk because I too teach at a school that has seen major changes over the last six years in order to follow the Turn Around Model (her's is a similar system, I believe). Granted, her school needed a great deal of more help than ours, I still appreciated the sentiment of a leader that worked on developing sincere relationships with students and a positive working environment. In order to do this she managed the lunchroom herself and got to know the kids and held town halls meetings for input, just to mention a few of the strategies that I most appreciated. Her passion was palpable.

I'm a huge Allende fan (despite not reading near enough of her work!) and have been lucky enough to see her twice in person. This TED Talk doesn't disappoint; she talks about how our passions might change as we age but that we don't have to succumb to being elderly. The best part was when she talked about rolling Antonio Banderas up in a tortilla and eating him. 

There are thirty-five million people globally with some form of dementia, so the chance of ending up with it to some degree are pretty high. Shaikh is confident that she will get it due to genetics- her father has it (there are some types of Alzheimer's, like early onset, that if you test positive for the gene you're pretty much guaranteed to get it). She's hoping for a cure by the time she's older to show symptoms, but in the meantime she talks about how to prepare. She's having as much fun as she can, she's improving her physical strength, and she's trying to be a better person. She says that is "the monster wants to get you, it's going to get you," but she's not going to go down without a fight. 

All images are taken from

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up, link back, say hi.

1. This little person handled his shots like a champ today. No tears! Plus he was nice to the doctor, so that was a welcome change.

2. I CANNOT stop listening to this song. I don't care who thinks it's stupid, it's on repeat constantly. 

3. To help me regain some credibility, it's actually alternating between this song, which makes me wonder why I don't listen to more Beck. Nonetheless, I'm psyched for the album that this will be on:

4. I have the novel Lila by Marilyn Robinson but learned that her books Gilead and Home are actually set in the same city prior to the one I have, so I just ordered the other two. I enjoyed Housekeeping and hope I like these three as much, since I'll have basically committed to the series that's not a series.

5. It's a three-day weekend! Yes! It's actually made this week feel ten times slower, but it'll be worth it. I'm supposed to meet up with a friend or two but other than that nothing too serious. We might head out to a local fair in the town over, since I'm pretty sure it will be a lot more "fair-like" than the OC one (this one is Norco, for local folks. I suspect there will be some legit cowboy boots). I'm also planning to get in some serious pool time, since I'm thinking (probably naively, since it's only September) that my weekends of warmth are limited. 

6. I have had my arm twisted into buying one of Pampered Chef's Deep Covered Baking dishes, under the assumption that it is "magical" and can basically make an awesome dinner for me. It's pretty pricey, so it better be all that and more.

7. The adulting just won't end. In the last three or four months I've done life insurance, college fund set-up, refinancing, solar panels, an HOA and loan application for the panels, and now I have to provide all of these documents that I don't technically have on hand for a health insurance audit at work AND we're buying a new fridge that has to extensively be researched (of course). I know I'm lucky to have access to all of these things, but my god, it's just so boring sometimes.

8. I listed to Lianne Moriarty's Big Little Lies on audiobook over the course of a couple of weeks and it was the perfect listen; it was fun, didn't require my full attention, the lady reading it was absolutely perfect, and it kept me interested. It's not the type of book I'd read, but it was perfect for commuting home. And seriously- I just saw a "blond bob" hustle her kids into a mini-van on my walk around the neighborhood a bit ago.

9. My students are all in a slight tizzy about the new Macbeth movie, which I'm happy doesn't come out until after we're done studying it (we're on Act 2 right now and it isn't released until December). It looks creepy, but good.

10. I've asked before, but I'll try again: does anyone know a legit way to scrub your twitter feed? I'd like to unlock it, but I ultimately know that students will find it and I don't want anything I mentioned years ago public. Not that there's anything bad, I just don't want the past lurking around.