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.