Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[from the Safari Park]

Happy Wednesday! Link up, link back, tell your friends. 

1. Man, if spring break (in progress now) is any indication of what summer will be like, I am SO EXCITED. We've seen friends, we've done some fun local activities, I've gotten a few things done around the house, I've worked out, and I've gotten a little more sleep than normal. Sawyer is also a much happier little nugget when he's not being shuffled around from daycare to home and waking up before 6 am to do so (we do love our daycare lady, don't get me wrong).

2. I just wish the Man in the Yellow Hat would completely lose his shit with George just once in awhile.

3. This clip from the Obamas reading Where the Wild Things Are at Easter is pretty much the best. I know he does this every year, but I've never actually watched it, so it was basically new to me. No president is perfect, but I will definitely miss his charisma and his easy interactions with people.

4. I have to confess that I have no clue what the new Harry Potter book is going to be about... buuuuuut I did preorder it.

5. File under things I cannot handle: listening to the soaking tub in the master bath upstairs drain while I'm sitting below it in the living room. 

6. I love that little kids don't care at all if they know the words to a song. They just sing anyway. 

7. The HVAC guy is in the attic right now servicing the heater and I'm worried he's going to fine a) something expensive wrong with it b) a leak or mold he'll casually mention on his way out c) some sort of crazy bugs d) the homeless person I think might live up there. I'm so glad I'm never irrational. 

8. Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week for seniors at school and I received unexpected emails from past and present students, little tokens of appreciation, thoughtful gifts, and some tear/laughter-provoking letters. Bottom line? While I can't wait for summer break, I can wait for them to graduate and leave me. Last time I had a group of seniors that had been with me 2-3 years I was out on maternity leave for the last six weeks of school and didn't have to deal with really saying good-bye. This year I'm going to have to face the music and it's getting harder to stay in denial about it. 

9. "I really need to watch what I eat now that Easter is over and warmer weather is coming." Five minutes later... "I should make cake pops with the leftover bunny cake." Goes to the store, buys things for cake pops. 

10. I am reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad for work and have found that ten to twelve pages a day is making the book a lot easier to get through time time around (this is the third time I've had to read it).

Thoughts on Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family

Our English department book club at work decided to read Amy Ellis Nutt's Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family for a variety of reasons. First of all, we like to interject a nonfiction selection every school year. We also thought it would evoke some good conversation and thought it was important to educate ourselves on the issue, since as educators our classrooms are diverse and we have the responsibility to at least attempt to understand our different types of students.

The text is a about a young woman named Nicole Maines, who was born as a baby boy named Wyatt. She was raised alongside her twin brother in Maine by her adoptive parents, two educated, kind people. As young as two-years-old, she started showing signs of not being comfortable in her male body and as she grew older became increasingly unhappy being forced to be a boy. Her mother, Kelly, caught on to her then son's differences and started researching similar cases. She worked diligently throughout Nicole's youth to ensure she was treated fairly, that she received an education, that her emotional state was tended to, and that she felt comfortable being herself. This proved challenging, of course. Meanwhile, Wayne Maines, Nicole's father, struggled to accept that his son was actually a daughter. He persevered and grew, though, eventually working publicly to ensure rights for those who are transgendered or have gender identity issues. 

So many obstacles arose for the Maines family, from people causing trouble over bathroom facilities at school, to finding the best medical team to work with Nichole, to making sure their son Jonas wasn't ignored. The family was forced to move at one point, due to the bigotry in their community and the frustration they faced with working with the school district. There are many moments of heartbreak, although there are many of victory as well. 

Personally, I've been lobbying for gay-rights since I was in middle school, when I remember fighting with a family friend about how ridiculous it was that gay marriage wasn't allowed at the time. Transgender issues, or anything regarding sexual identity or orientation, are no different to me. Love who you want, be who you want- just be true to yourself and kind to others. So the fact that so many people were so angry about Nicole's situation frustrated me. I hear the perspective of those who thought she was too young to determine her gender identity, and that her parents shouldn't encourage it, but it's not like her parents forced her to be a female. In fact, the opposite. They feared for her safety, emotionally and physically. For years she wasn't  even allowed to dress like a girl outside the home. 

The message behind this book is important and I think that everyone, in a sense, should read about Nicole. I don't necessarily think that this is a wonderfully written book, though. There's something about Nutt's tone and level of attachment (or, detachment) that just didn't work for me- perhaps this wasn't the best writer for this story. The flow of text just wasn't always natural, made worse by her sometimes awkward interjections of data, case studies, and other research. I think that sort of context is important to include, but the pieces just weren't fit perfectly together.

More than anything, I think this book is a good reminder to everyone to not discount how kids and teenagers feel just because they're young. So quickly adults forget what it's like to grow up and quickly invalidate feelings of those still maturing. Not to say our youthful counterparts aren't drama-free, but it's important to just remember that if we're supposed to be raising well-adjusted adults we have to make sure that they are just that... well-adjusted. And part of that is feeling respected and heard. 

Top Ten Tuesday- Latest and Greatest

This week The Broke and the Bookish ask us for our top ten most recent top-scoring reads. I'm putting my own little spin on this and am doing five of my most recent top picks and then five that I'm planning to read soon* that I have super high hopes for:

Five-Star(ish) Reads
1. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff- Fine, I still have a hundred pages left, but I'm a complete Groff fan girl after her other two books and 2/3s of this one. Her plot, characters, and writing are the whole damn package. 

2. The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon- Ruth is my hero, what can I say? We jive on a lot of things politically and in terms of feminism, but she's a cool lady as a whole. The book was well-done and was informative without being dry. 

3. The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- I don't read YA, but I like Alexie and I had a hunch that this would tug at the heart strings and tickle the funny bone. I was correct. Also, I read it in an afternoon, so now I understand why those who stick to this genre are able to read like five million books a year. 

4. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff- Well, well, well, here she is again. When I think about contemporary literary fiction, this instantly pops into mind. 

5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin- I love teaching this book, as it incites a great deal of discussion with my students. I also really appreciated reading it as a mom, this time around. While I'm not about to walk into the sea, I do understand Edna's feeling of suffocation at times. 

High Hopes for Five-Stars
6. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri- A memoir by one of the most talented writers of our time.

7. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Mara- Too many bloggers and critics I trust have loved this book for me to think I'd feel any different.

8. Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann- The man is a God.

9. This is the Story of Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett- I love everything I've read by her, and the idea of short stories in her voice seems perfect.

10. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez- I know this will be amazing, since it's effing Marquez, I just haven't gotten to it. 

*soon is completely fluid, when it comes to my reading sequence 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. When the hell did they start putting calories on wine? What? No. I can't not look, so knowing that a glass is like 180 calories (I'm not even going to look what a true serving size is) takes so much fun out of things.

2. I'm curious to read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi but I'm worried that it may be a bit too depressing for me at this moment. I have no problem with depressing fiction, but depressing nonfiction can be a tougher pill to swallow.

3. My hands are currently dyed a hue of various colors, since Sawyer and I tried the shaving cream egg dying technique. Sawyer's are bright blue and my husband said that he "looks like he murdered a handful of smurfs." TBD if it works. 

4. Yesterday Sawyer locked himself in the downstairs bathroom for the first time (I was literally five seconds behind him and he just haaaaaad to do it). The little key-thingy we have wouldn't work and his quick hysteria wasn't really conducive to listening to instructions about unlocking. I didn't panic, but I felt so bad for him. I called the neighbors, since they're pretty handy, but she didn't answer, all the while Sawyer's sobs became louder and louder. I didn't think my husband would answer, but luckily he did and reminded me about the whole credit card in the door jam trick, which worked. My little buddy sobbed and sobbed for a solid five minutes and then he (fine, we) were over it.

5. I'm finishing up Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Emily Ellis Nutt for book club tomorrow and I'll post more thoughts soon, but so far I think that perhaps Nutt didn't quite do the story justice. To be continued.

6. Our trip to Yosemite might be sadly canceled due to weather; the hotel has a strict seven-day cancelation policy so it's sort of a crap shoot with the storm that's headed in that direction next week. I am SO SO SO disappointed, and I hate that I have to practically be psychic, but the place we're staying is not cheap and I don't want to lose that kind of money.

7. Tomorrow are good ol' parent-teacher conferences. I tend to have a good turn out, but something tell me that my seniors aren't exactly going to be lining up tomorrow considering most have been accepted into college already and are eighteen.

8. Every time I read a story about a woman unexpectedly giving birth in a bathroom I'm so utterly and completely baffled. This particular girl was seventeen, but seriously, how do you now know? Is it not weird to you that all the sudden it feels like an alien is trying to rearrange your insides? I get that some people have screwed up periods and don't experience all the typical pregnancy symptoms, but the baby moving part just floors me.

9. I've been reading The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires and it grows on me more and more each time. He's at the age where he gets frustrated easily when things don't go his way, so maybe he'll eventually connect the dots. 

10. I was at a wedding the other day and they kept making comments to the tune of "happy wife, happy life" and I have to say I hate that notion so much. I looked at my husband at one point and told him that he was "lucky he married a feminist." Both people should be happy, equally and together. Relationships aren't about high-maintenance, as the phrase indicates. 

Take 5

Lazy Sundays: pajamas for just a little bit longer than normal, cold cereal, Legos, ignoring the to-do list for just a tiny bit, and blog posts that are a smidge fluffy.

5 Things that I Wish I'd Do But Am Not
Listen to podcasts
Send out cute little notecards to people "just because"
Make healthy smoothies so we'd be consuming more veggies
Play board games with my husband
Do strength training besides a few planks here and there

5 Bad Foods for You that I Not-So-Secretly Love
Stove Top Stuffing
Spaghetti O's
Captain Crunch/Lucky Charms/Cocoa Puffs
Kraft Mac and Cheese
McDonalds Chicken Nuggets

5 Things that Make Me Irrationally Angry
Basketballs bouncing
Wet bathroom counters
People talking on cell phones in quiet public places
Dogs not picked up after on sidewalks
Thrown sippy cups by toddlers (ahem Sawyer, ahem)

5 Splurges I've Made (aka, hello tax return!)
The Traader Joe's $3.99 flower bouquet... every week
A dress from Anthro
Stumptown Cold Brew
A Better Life Bag
Having my wedding and engagement rings re-dipped

5 Things I'm Looking Forward To
Easter festivities (egg dying, bunny cake making, basket assembling)
Spring break in t-minus five days
Getting my hair done after way too long
Our upcoming trip to Yosemite
This Friday's minimum day when teachers leave when students do

5 Things I Need to Do... Like Yesterday
Grade. And then grade some more
Return an Amazon order before it's too late
Take a look at the household budget and do some math
Finish our book club book for Thursday
Get in a work out 

5 Places I Wish I Could Go Right This Damn Second
A hut overlooking the water in Fiji
The train museum in Sacramento with a certain choochoo-obsessed toddler
A cabin in the Adirondacks
The Broad and then lunch somewhere overpriced on the beach in Santa Monica
The Grand Canyon 

Lazy Sunday will turn into productive Sunday in 3....2...

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. The other night I was having a nightmare that my son was being kidnapped and it was one of those instances where I was trying really hard to scream in my dream but couldn't. Turns out I was screaming in real life and scared the crap out of my husband. I used to have nightmares a few times a week, or just really strange dreams, but have been so tired as of late that I am either not dreaming or can't remember. Obviously this one was unsettling because of the context, but I think the feeling that you can't scream in a dream is the very worst. I prefer dreaming that I'm dying, falling, or drowning.

2. My friend is getting married in Fallbrook on Sunday and I'm so excited to go (and for her). My mother-in-law is watching Sawyer, so basically it's a chance for Scott and I to get dressed up and get to have a nice dinner together, since I don't think I'll know anyone except for the bride, and she will probably be a little busy getting married and whatnot. I'm one of those people that actually really enjoys weddings, not because I have these sappy notions about marriage, but more for festive atmosphere, food, drinks, getting fancy, and THE CAKE. 

3. This month has been horrible for reading. We are half way through and I'm still on my first book (and it's a great one, I'm just swamped).

4. So, being swamped. I loosely added up how many essays and large assignments I have to grade and I laughed hysterically, out loud, by myself in my classroom. It was either that or have a nervous breakdown, and I don't have time for that crap.

5. I guess if I spent hours upon hours grading every weekend I'd be in better shape. As it stands, I already spend probably 8 hours or so on work-related tasks each weekend, which I think is a lot, considering I don't get paid overtime or anything magical like that. Take last weekend. My mom came into town on Friday night, Saturday morning we took Sawyer to San Juan Capistrano on the train (probably one of the highlights of his little life... we had so, so, so much fun that day), went to a petting zoo with a million guinea pigs, ate lunch, watched a parade for a few minutes, took the train home, dropped off the sleeping toddler, I went to the tailor for dress alternations, went home and played with the then awake toddler, ordered pizza, ate, gave the kid a bath, ran an errand with my husband, and then went to bed. And that was JUST on Saturday! Sunday was a lot slower paced, but still. My point is... well, my point is that I'm just trying to do what I can, when I can. 

6. This quote is perfect for where I'm at in terms of thinking about what I want to write right now:

7. The LA Times Festival of Books at USC (boo! hiss!) is in a few weeks and I'm getting excited. In the past I've squeezed in as many panels as possible, but this year I'm taking Sawyer and we're just going to wander around the venders and take it all in. I think he'll love it.

8. There is no shortage of people in my life that are ready and willing to make me feel like I'm doing a poor job at whatever it is they need me to do, often unintentionally, to be fair. Generally, I have the maturity and cognitive fortitude to remember that such parties have their own issues to contend with. But sometimes, man, I wish that people would realize just because I seem to have it together most of the time I actually have... feelings.  

9. Ann Patchett's Parnassus books is launching a mobile library in Nashville. So cool. 

10. Confession: I just bought three pairs of shorts at Loft with a gift card I've been hoarding (well, since Christmas) and they are a tiny bit small because I need motivation. They say to never do this. I did. 

Top Ten Tuesday- Comin' Up

This week The Broke and the Bookish ask what we plan on reading this spring. Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe- This is a reread for work (I'm actually reading it right now).

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad- Another one for the IB English course I teach!

3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain- The last one for teaching, I promise.

4. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt- We are reading this in a few week for our English Department book club. I love that we occasionally do some nonfiction and I'm confident this will illicit some great discussion.

5. Euphoria by Lily King: This is our book club selection for the last few months of school.

6. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri- I ordered this as soon as it came out and can't wait to read a piece of nonfiction by her.

7.  Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann- Why I haven't read this yet, considering my absolute love for him, is beyond me.

8. Something by TC Boyle- I have a few of his books on my shelves sitting sadly unread.

9. Something old...- One of my goals for this month is to read a book that I've had on my shelf for at least two years. I'm not sure what one yet, but it'll happen.

10. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Klegg- I saw this novel floating around on a few blogs over the past few months and picked it up a few months ago. I have a feeling it will be good read that I'll get into over spring break. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[I saw this the other day and loved it! So true! source]

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1. Yesterday was a bad day, and I don't say that often. Sure, I'll jokingly roll my eyes or groan about the weekend not coming fast enough, but rarely will I proclaim that a day is full blown crap. I'm a problem solver and I try not to wallow- if something sucks I'm all about fixing it, not fantasizing about laying under my desk and crying. I guess we all have our moments. I'll spare everyone the boring, domestic, professional details (I actually just wrote them out extensively and deleted them... you're welcome), but the gist is that my kid was on day five of a never-ending fever (meaning my nights are never-ending), I haven't been able to exercise (my mental health needs this), I have a ton to do for work, people are not fulfilling their obligations, putting my deadline at risk, our effing garage door broke, etc... I texted my husband from work at seven-thirty and told him that I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the day, let alone the week. I never, ever do that. But I sucked it up. And today was better. 

2. Being both a Top Chef and Salman Rushdie fan, I downloaded Padma Lakshmi's new audiobook Love, Loss and What We Ate. So far it's far more candid then I thought it would be. Maybe too much so, actually, as I don't really need details about her menstrual cycle. Her descriptions of pretty much everything are a bit overdone, as well. But her story is interesting, and it's a pretty mindless listen than I can handle on the way home, so I'll finish it.

3. You now what's well-written, fascinating, and not mindless? Lauren Groff's The Monster's of Templeton. I'm over a hundred pages into it now and am loving it.

4. Over the weekend we watched Wild, which is the movie based on Cheryl Strayed's book. Finally, someone (my husband) agreed with me that she's not very likable! Between reading her book and seeing her speak at an event I was totally rubbed the wrong way, but I know that I'm in the minority. It was still a good movie, though, and I thought that it did well by the memoir itself.

5. Recently I came across someone on Facebook that I went to high school with and was relatively friendly with at the time, despite her being younger than I. Fourteen years later, she's spent time working along Sheryl Sandberg, is drop-dead gorgeous, just started her MBA at Harvard Business School, and is engaged to a guy going to medical school at Duke. And guess what surprised me? I wasn't even a tiny bit jealous. I think she's impressive and I love that someone from our home town has come that far. Plus, while I do have bad days, I enjoy my life and though hers seems awesome, I don't think I have that kind of energy. I can't wait to stalk her again in a few years to see what other cool things she does. 

6. I ordered some prints from Parabro (first set is free), and I have to say that Artifact Uprising is so much better in terms of quality.

7. I've recently discovered Better Life Bags and am seriously considering getting their Alicia bag that you can design yourself, since it's the first cross-body bag that I've seen and liked. The drawback is that they're pretty expensive, buuuuuuut they're handmade by women in Detroit that wouldn't have jobs otherwise. The premise is pretty cool, so I might be able to justify it.

8. While I've got the gimees, I also just ordered two weekly to-do list tablets from Rifle Paper Co. They're so pretty and the size is perfect, plus we all know how much I love my to-do lists. I start every morning at work with a list of tasks and each weekend gets a ginormous one at home. Sometimes I even make one on weekdays. It's a disease, I tell ya. But at least now I can do it in style.

9. My mom is coming in on Friday afternoon and I usually clean the house from top to bottom before she arrives. There are a few people that I don't do this for, like my brother, a few super close friends that I know won't judge me from dishes in the sink, and a few people that I don't care if judge me. My mom falls in some gray area. On one hand, I want to make a good impression and show her how efficient and tidy I can be. On the other, she is my mother and she has to love me no matter what. This is why I need a housekeeper.

10. While I hate losing the hour this weekend, I am so excited for it to stay light longer in the evenings so we can hang out outside. 

Have a great week, all!

What the Hell?

I bought a toaster a few months ago and the center heating element went out recently and now my toast and waffles only toast on one side, meaning I have to flip them over and double the cooking time. It wasn't as if it was expensive, but I've past the return date, and it just irritates me to no end. I should not have to flip my waffles over. 

This quote makes no sense. I cannot walk to Hawaii. I cannot walk to Australia.

My kid has had a fever almost continuously since Thursday. Motrin and Tylenol bring it down some, but not entirely. I stayed home and took him to the doctor on Friday and they said it was a virus. Fair enough. Yesterday we were still fighting the fever and he looked like death warmed over. At one point he got the chills so bad that his lips turned blue while drinking something cold. I took him to urgent care and they said he was getting double ear infections, so we're home again today. I hate missing class again, but I don't want to be away from my sick little guy. So, basically, I feel like an asshole no matter what. Also, I know he could be so much worse, so I'm thankful it's something easily treatable. But it's still crappy for everyone. 

Last Thursday I put together my new, very comfortable chaise lounge for the backyard but haven't been able to use it yet. We were in the 70s-90s, but today it's rainy and the high won't even by 60. 

I ordered an external battery for my phone last week, since one day I freaked out because the original was draining incredibly quickly (turned out it was just a bad reception day and it was looking for a signal too vigorously). The damn thing came and won't work so now I have to return it. 

Obviously, none of these things aren't exactly signs of the apocalypse. And there is plenty of good on the horizon- my mom is coming Friday, we have a fun outing planned to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday (as long as the rain stays away), I'm loving The Monster of Templeton by Lauren Groff, there are two bags of my favorite Easter candy in the pantry, Trader Joe's still had daffodils for less than $2 a bunch when I was there yesterday, and a package from Anthro should be arriving on my doorstep today. But what can I say? It's just...  Monday. 

Seven Things I Learned about RBG

I'll admit that I'm not exactly a Supreme Court expert and have limited knowledge of many of the justices. I have always been familiar with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though, given my attempts to be a god feminist (I'm just going to call her RBG, which I always have to think about what order the initials go in, I think because of the KGB). I recently read Notorious RGB: The Life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik and became even more smitten. Here's a few things that I learned about our leading lady:

1. She can survive off of two or so hours of night a sleep, as long as she gets a few extra on the weekend (not fair!). And she makes no apologies about crashing at the State of the Union- it was the late and the wine with dinner had been good. 

2. Her marriage was admirable; her and Marty really put in a joint effort and resisted societal's expectations of gender roles. While both immersed in their careers in law, they shared the division of labor at home, nursed each other through illness, and seemed genuinely, and realistically, in love. Their unwavering support for each other is something we should all strive for. 

3. RBG suffered from cancer and, at the advice of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, scheduled chemo on Fridays, so that she could be ready for the bench on Mondays. 

4. This woman is a fine physical specimen. At the age of eighty-two  she still has a trainer and can do two sets of ten push ups (and not the "girl" ones, either).

5. Despite their opposing political views, RBG and Justice Antonin Scalia were friends, enjoying New Years Eves together and even shopping trips. 

6. Her jabot collection is extensive. I especially like those designated for dissents, which we all know she's pretty darn famous for. Apparently she found her favorite in a Banana Republic gift bag. 

7. RBG has a quirky sense of humor that allows her to make jabs at other justices for fantasy baseball leagues between clerks, embrace this cult-following that has memed the hell out of her, and wear her scrunchies with pride.  

February, Revisited, Plus March

It's that time again, to check in and publicly declare how much I suck at life. 

Just kidding. 

Anyway, every month I review the month's before goals and make a few new ones. It's working somewhat well, so I'll keep it going.

February was interesting. I was exhausted for most of it, since Sawyer's 12-20 month sleep regression was still going strong (a corner may have been turned this week, but I refuse to say anymore, as his sleep is the only thing I'm superstitious about) and I spent a lot of time on work-related tasks. But I also had ten days off, have managed to get together with a few friends, and have gotten a few nagging things in order. It was definitely not a bad month, but just a little rushed. 


1. Think about daycare for next school year: Yes! And we're in the clear. Our provider can't get enough of Sawyer (the feeling is mutual), so she's keeping him until then end of the 2016-2017 school year. Such a relief.

2. Prepare tax documents: Yes! I made a checklist a week or two before and just put a few things together every day. It was painless and the appointment went well.

3. Cross train more: Yes! I bought a calendar to log steps, exercise, and weight. I've been on the bike more and have gotten in some yoga. Seeing it laid out visually really helps me. 

4. Walk dogs more: Nope. But I have started brushing their teeth again, for what it's worth.

5. Drink less Diet Coke: No way. Who am I kidding? It was unrealistic to consider giving up something I love with every ounce of my being.

6. Schedule at least one or two posts a week: No. And I was doing so well when the list started...  

7. Clean something abnormal: Yup Our garage is pretty neat, but there's some junk in there that has needed to be thrown out. 

8. The Closet Situation: Ongoing I have found a few organizational things that I'm considering, but still need to do some measuring and researching.

9. Research, and book, some short getaways: Yes! We are going to Yosemite soon and then Malibu this summer for a wedding. I may also get to go to Tahoe for a training later, too.

10. Expose my kid to something new: Yes! We went to the zoo and have been doing lots of artsy, messy, things. 

Now, for March

1. Make a tough recipe: There's the churro cake I posted a few weeks ago or something else. The only problem is that if it's a dessert I'm the only one who will eat it, and that will get in the way of my next goal...

2. Weight xxx lbs: Bathing suit is coming up. I've manage to drop a few pounds lately (like three or four, not seventeen) and so far keeping it simple has worked: eat a little less, work out a little more. Dieting just isn't for me, especially with the new Filled Cupcake flavored Oreos. So, instead of having four I have two (except today, I think I had twelve). 

3. Deal with house stuff: With part of our tax return we are having carpets cleaned, getting an estimate on crown molding, having the the air conditioner and heater serviced, and buying a few odds and ends for the house (we are so exciting ohmygod), so I need to make calls and schedule things. 

4. Yoga once a week: Either the Down Dog app or the studio. It's amazing what it can do for soreness; I had some mild IT band pain happening as a residual effect from the half and a night or two of yoga and it was gone.

5. Read a book I've had for at least two years: There are several books on my shelves that have been around, unread, for years. Time to make one of them happy.

6. Watch a documentary: I feel like this is a huge time commitment. 

7. Catch up on my 2016 photo book: And by catch up I mean start.

8. See the butterflies: I love butterflies, for whatever reason, so I'd like to take Sawyer to the butterfly exhibit they have at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park over spring break.

9. Walk the dogs more: I'm not giving up on you, guys. 

10. Plan some fun things for April: March is going to be great (knock on wood...) but April is looking pretty open. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Happy spring (at least in Southern California)! Link up, link back, say hi!

1. There are three books-as-movies that I hope to see this month: Wild, Room, and Macbeth. I've had Wild for a few weeks and it hasn't happened yet, but I really want to. For what it's worth. 

2. I sat down to look at my calendar for this month and I am busy every single weekend day with at least one thing until the second week of April. Whoa. It's all fun stuff (weddings, friend time, family time, hair appointments, etc...), but that's a lot. I genuinely enjoy being busy and social, and tend to get a little down when I am not. But, on the flip side, I'm already behind at life, so we'll see where I'm at come April. This weekend I'm chaperoning a group of students from our school to a class they're taking a UC Santa Barbara (which means that I get to hang out around campus for a few hours, possibly in the rain, but that's okay!) and Sunday I'm meeting up with a friend for awhile in the morning so that we can walk and discuss very important matters. 

3. I went to dinner at a semi-nice place with a few friends last week and brought Sawyer along to see the girls. He was so well-behaved that the couple behind us complimented him on the way out, saying that they didn't even know there was a toddler right by them until they were about to leave. Kids are so unpredictable, but I am lucky that he generally behaves well when we are in restaurants, between the people-watching, eating, and coloring. There were a few bites of my chocolate cake in it for him (local folks, try Brio in Victoria Gardens! It was my first time there and we will be back). 

4. I am in an Audiobook slump. I finished Stephen King's On Writing and have another credit available, but can't decide what to listen to. So many things I'd rather read. I'm also caught up on Serial right now, too, so I need to figure something out (I don't care what anyone says, I'm still enjoying this season). Suggestions are welcome! I prefer nonfiction for listening. 

5. I downloaded the first episode of the Podcast The Worst Idea of All Time after my husband told me about it. Basically, these guys from New Zealand watch Sex and the City 2 once a week for a year and talk about it, each week drinking more and more (or something like that). I loved the show, but the movies were horrid, especially the second one (I'd see a third one, though, admittedly). I listened to the first one today and, even though they were totally sober, it was still entertaining. 

6. Fuller House is basically a disaster. Aaaaaand it's being renewed for a second season. Aaaaaaaaaand I will watch that too (I don't ever turn the TV on when I'm home in the afternoons, but I made an exception, since this isn't really a show that requires full attention).

7. I just started Monsters of Templeton by Laura Groff, since I loved her other two novels. I have high hopes.

8. I am looking for a dress to wear to a wedding and parent teacher conferences (I always buy a new dress, it makes it easier to go and smile and feel put together) and I saw one at Nordstrom that was cute. But then I noticed it was from Ivanka Trump's line and looked away in disgust. It became hideous. No way am I helping that family! Ugh.

9. I've always wanted to make my own granola bars (because buying them is way too easy, apparently) and I think I found the recipe to go with.

10. The state of my kitchen as a I type: a very tired Sawyer (we walked, colored, played kitchen, and blew bubbles in the last three hours) eating dinner, the ingredients for a cilantro rice, chicken, cheese dish for Scott and I in various stages of prep all over the counters, the sink piled with dirty dishes, the dishwasher half unloaded, and two dogs praying someone drops something. So, basically, any typical week night at 6:30. I better go. 

Have a great rest of the week, folks! 

February Reviews

This was quite the month! Not bad, just busy, though. I still managed to squeeze in four books, though, which I'm always happy about during the school year. The damage:

Us by David Nicholls
416 pages
I wrote about this novel here, but just to quickly sum it up, it's about a couple, whose marriage is hanging on by a thread, that decides to embark on a tour of Europe with their young adult son before he heads to college.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book and appreciated all that it made me ponder about being a wife, mother, and individual.

The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
229 pages
Arnold Spirit is a young Native American that is brilliant, but also faces some physical challenges due to complications at birth. He decides that he wants to attend school off reservation for a better education, which produces more obstacles that he already has. Spirit has to deal with quite a lot during the span of this book; death, friendship difficulties, an alcoholic father, and navigating a girlfriend... just to scratch the surface.

Verdict: I don't read YA, but I am a fan of Alexie's The Indian Killer, so I gave this one a chance. It was a quick, fun, emotional read. 

The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
178 pages
We've all read it, yes? Or have at least seen Easy A? Puritan woman branded as an adulteress after producing a love child with *gasp* the minister. 

Verdict: I've read this book four times and liked it the most this time around. Sure, there are parts that are a bit of a slog to get through, but as a whole, I think it's so rich thematically, symbolically, and psychology. 

The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
200 pages 
The whole Notorious RBG thing started as a Tumblr and blew up from there. People love Ruth! And it's no doubt why- she has stood up for women's rights in the workforce, reproductively, and in government. She has been there for minorities, homosexuals, and those that are simply not being treated fairly. She does push-ups, still wears scrunchies, and dissents like no other. 

Verdict: Obviously, I loved this book. A few of the dissenting briefs bored be a little bit, but the annotation was helpful. It's simply a well-done book; it's the perfect balance between visuals, her past, her personal life, and the judicial aspects. 

1,023 pages