Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. I am not naturally patient person, so the fact that basically every arena of my life right now is requiring some degree of patience is incredibly exhausting. When I go to bed there is literally nothing left in me to give.  (Clearly, I thought we'd start off with a dramatic note today). 

2. The Naan bread-mashed avocado-fried-egg-S&P combo is back! I could eat that and scrambled egg sandwiches (with only American cheese on top) every day. 

3. I finally finished S-Town and I wish someone would right a comprehensive biography on John. I think I ended up liking it better than Serial, although Sarah will always be my favorite.

3. Pete Souza, Obama's photographer is coming out with a coffee table book in the fall of my favorite POTUS's time in office. I can't wait.

4. My students are reading Antigone in class right now and I'm so pleased with how well they are doing reading it together, in groups. I actually here them stopping to ask each other questions and to clarify relationships and it makes my English-teacher heart SO happy.

5. I get to see Elizabeth Warren speak this weekend in LA with a friend and I can't wait. I am of course a fan, but I also am looking forward to some adult time, since my weekends have been very kid-heavy lately (not that I am complaining, necessarily, but I need a few hours right now... see #1). 

6. I'm off to watch the first episode of The Handmaid's Tale. Finger's crossed... 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[I made this, not a first grader]

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1. I know parenting is something everyone has an opinion about, but unless you have your own kid that you have had to wake up with in the middle of the night, take to the doctor while sick, or worry about their college fund for, I don't want your opinion. I've been to the zoo lots of times and read books about monkeys, but I'm not going to tell a zookeeper how to take care of his little primate. 

2. I'm going to try the Unicorn Frap from Starbucks tomorrow even though it has no caffeine and will probably taste like a cross between jolly ranchers and skittles (I hate both). It's just so pretty....

3. I finished A Man Called Ove and thought it was sweet without being corny and was a nice break between some of the serious books I've been reading lately.

4. I am now currently reading My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout and really love it so far. 

5. Do yourself a favor and next time you make tomato sauce add 6-8 ounces of mascarpone cheese. 

6. I will never own a yacht, nor do I want to, but I love the articles about the huge ginormous ones that are made. You know, the ones that cost so much they could probably feed a third-world country? Those. 

7. I don't know if I've talked about this here before, but my goal is to live until I am 100 (as long as I am able to basically care for myself). That means I am basically 1/3 of the way through my life right now, since I am 33 and some change. I realized this the other day and I found it to be a sort of comforting thought. I am fairly pleased with the way things have gone so far, so we're one for three in the "life not sucking" category. *gets hit by a car tomorrow*

8. I am trying to cut back a tiny bit on Diet Coke (just maybe one less a day) and I recently found Crystal Lite with caffeine! I know it's not exactly the healthiest, but it is better than soda, so I'll take it.

9. Easter was so much fun (and seems like so long ago, already). We dyed eggs, made a bunny cake, did Easter baskets, had brunch with family, and hung out. 

10. My students are on day six of state testing in my class- I cannot wait for it to be over. CANNOT WAIT. They're going to appreciate Antigone, which we start on Friday, so much more now after sitting in front of laptops answering questions about expository text each day. I actually think they're all handling it better than I am. 

Wish List

I've really been trying to read more of my own books (ya know, since I have 79 unread books right now and all...), but it is fun to add to the wish list. Here are a few I have my eyes on:

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel- Being a hermit in the woods sometimes sounds nice. 

Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk- We are actually read thing next for book club, so I'll be getting it soon.

Waking Lyons by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen- I was immediately drawn to this book after reading the summary; this book is both a thriller and a commentary on social justice. 

A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldmen- Let the record show that I am not considering microdosing, but DAMN do I want to read about someone who does a good job with it. 

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout- I just started My Name is Lucy Barton, so this will be a perfect. 

The Idiot by Elif Batuman- Emails from 1995 and a freshman at Harvard- let's go. 

The Telomere Effect- Live Longer, Live Better

We all want to be healthier and live longer, better lives... right? Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel have written The Telomere Effect to help us head in the right direction, focusing on one of the most smallest and most important parts of our bodies: telomeres. 

I'm not going to give a big long scientific lecture about what telomeres are. I thought the authors did a great job explaining them to the common person, but I have to say I did think they went a little light on their explanation. Anyway, telomeres are basically the caps on the ends of our chromosomes that have shown to be directly related to health: the longer your telomeres, the longer you remain in the "healthy" zone of your life and thrive. Telomeres shorten after every cellular division and help determine how fast our cells age and eventually die- the authors use the analogy of the little plastic caps on the end of our shoe laces. So the more you can do to protect your telomeres, the longer they will remain, and, theoretically, the healthier you will stay (obviously there are a lot of exceptions, but you can read the book for those).

So, how do we keep our telomeres from shortening prematurely, and even lengthen them (they can get longer!  Telomere health can be improved!)? There are many, many things, but here are the major categories:

1. Eat healthily: less processed food and red meat, more omega-3s and plants

2. Sleep: Quality of sleep is incredibly important for our bodies to heal and recharge

3. Exercise: Cardiovascular activity most days for thirty minutes is one of the most important things you can do for your telomeres. A variety of activity helps, as well. 

4. Educate yourself: Those that have gone to college have longer telomeres (as do their children).

5. Manage stress: Ongoing, long-term stress does a ridiculous amount of harm to your telomeres

6. Foster relationships: Having people who you are close to lengthens telomeres. Weekly sex has substantial benefits as well (just saying what the science says).

7. Avoid chemical exposure: Be mindful of where you live and products you use in your home.

The book also spends some time discussing the role childhood trauma can have on telomere length, the genetic aspects of the process (telomere length starts in the womb), and positive thinking.

A lot of what this book discussed was just common sense, in terms of things we should do to live healthy lifestyles. Connecting them down to the chromosomal level and providing evidence to back everything up was really powerful for me, though. There are a lot of things I do well (exercise, relationships, being outside, and have an advanced education), but there are many things I need to work on (better sleep, managing stress, and consistently eating well, as I tend to fluctuate between apples and cupcakes too often). 

I really enjoyed this book, both from the perspective of someone who enjoys life science and from someone who tries to be mindful of her health. It was a quick read and has stayed with me- I have developed this internal monologue that frequently lectures me for doing things that may shorten my telomeres. Annoying, but good. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. It really, really irritates me on the rare occasion I get my son a Happy Meal
they ask for his gender so they can give him the "right" toy. Yup, he loves cars. But you know what? He also loves little dolls. Enough with the labels and stereotypes. 

2. Every morning Sawyer tells me that he's going to drive with my keys, go be a teacher, I'm going to daycare, and then he makes siren noises because he knows this will end in an accident. Ha!

3. I was rejected for the Half Dome lottery this year, which is sad but maybe a blessing in disguise. Logistically, it's always hard to get away alone and it would have cost a bit to stay up there, when I just spent a lot a few weeks ago. But dang. I really thought this was going to be my year to kill it.

4. I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse that I don't know how the pipe system works in my house. I know they make noises, as does the water heater, but I'm always wondering if they're the right noises... at the right time... in the right wall... But, on the bright side, there's no signs of water damage so I probably should just slow my roll. 

5. I just finished The Telomere Effect and it was a good reminder that I have some really great habits and some really bad ones. I am hoping it all balances out (more in-depth review to come soon).

6. I started A Man Called Ove and it's perfect for my busy week and my headspace right now. 

7. It's Easter weekend! Time to play Easter bunny, dye eggs, take some pictures, and make a bunny cake. It's also the start of three busy weekends in a row, which right now sounds great but we'll see how I am feeling in three weeks.

8. I never go to Walgreens but a few years ago I signed up for some sort of reward system tied to my Fitbit that rewards me with dollars for steps. Apparently I have $35 now, just for walking and running. DRUGSTORE SHOPPING SPREE. Ha.