Friday, Fri-yay: October 12th, 2018

& (1)Hey yo, it’s Friday!

I’ve been having an uncharacteristically productive week, creatively, and hope to have a good balance of work/pleasure this weekend, the highlight of which will be my cousin’s wedding tomorrow evening.  All in all, things seem to be moving along pretty smoothly, but I’ve gotta say, it’s still pretty great to hit the weekend.  So, Bear is in bed, I’m sitting here, munching on some homemade empanadas, sipping on some Grand Mariner, and enjoying the quiet.

This week:

Last week I mentioned that The Good Place was back, but did I mention Forking Bullshirt was back, and have I ever mentioned the official The Good Place podcast I love Bullshirt because I love the geeky fan discussion (from the perspective of geeky fans!), and I love the official podcast for the behind the scenes insight and how lovely and adorable the cast and crew all are.  If you are at all interested in the show, you might want to check out the podcasts.

NaNoWriMo prep is starting full-force, and I’m so excited to give it a go this year.  I’m trying my hand at… I guess it would be categorized as magical realism, and I’m kind of nervous but also really psyched to try something different from my usual lit!fic attempt.  I’ve been reading the forums the last few nights and need to find time to incorporate NaNo prep work and NaNo socialization into my schedule.

Did anyone else grow up watching a lot of magic on TV?  Because I recently found a few  old David Copperfield specials on YouTube.  Ahhhh, I don’t have a lot to say about this, except, maaaan I remember these so vividly, and I remember those nights those specials aired on TV being like, a big deal in my house, when we all settled in together to watch them.

I got a lovely compliment at work today from one of our SLPs, who had been talking to one of the school psychologists who had done an observation in one of my classrooms, and was apparently very impressed with how good I am with the kids and how well I work with all of them.  I don’t want to sound snotty – I know that I’m good at my job – but it’s so, so nice to hear someone appreciate my efforts.

I think that’s all for this week.  What’s been carrying you all alone lately?

Friday, Fri-yay: October 5th, 2018

& (1)So, I think I’d feel worse about being “behind” on OctPoWriMo if I was actually behind on OctPoWriMo, but I’ve actually been working on some poems — I just haven’t been able to pull them completely together yet.  Tomorrow I’ll probably write up three separate posts for each of the entries (the two backlogged poems, plus tomorrow’s entry proper) but get myself back on track.  Weirdly, Inktober, which I expected to be so much harder, has been going really well.  Maybe because I’ve never, ever identified myself as a visual artist, and my expectations are lower?  Anyway.  This is a Fri-yay post!  Let’s yay!

Number One can be that Inktober is going well!!  I’m not a good artist, but I at least find myself sitting down and working on something everyday, and honestly, I’m discovering I’m actually not as hopelessly terrible as I thought, and maybe — through daily practice, even in short exercises — I can actually get better.

Number Two, The Good Place is back!  This actually should have been posted last week, but uhh, I fell off the bandwagon a little with posting lately (and so much else, but that’s another post).  We just finished episode three, and it is so refreshing to be watching a show where I look forward to speculation, but don’t want concrete, long-range spoilers.  I love that this show can surprise me, and that literally any plot twist feels very genuinely on the table.  Also, this show is a multishipper’s dream come true.

Number Three, I have a three day weekend with no plans!  I will probably clean, catch up on poetry, and online shop, which leads me into Number Four…

…It is the first week in October and I am about halfway done my Christmas shopping!  Which probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I’m so, so sick of agonizing over what to do and what to get, and I always wind up waiting until the last minute, and the holiday devolves into a stress-fest, and no thank you.  I love Christmas, and I have a young son; the holidays should be a fun, festive, relaxing time.  If I can be proactive about making that happen, I will be.

Number Five, I saw Hamilton last week!  I honestly don’t even know what to say.  The whole evening felt like a throwback to my theatre-geek high school days, where my friends and I (we went with my best friend and her boyfriend) get dressed, go to dinner, have a sleepover, go out to brunch — you know, we make the night An Event.  I feel like that doesn’t happen often anymore.  We all took the day following the show off, and went out for brunch at an Irish restaurant near our house, and it was damn near perfect.  The show itself was stunning, and the perfect culmination to a season of theatre.

What’s been keeping you in good spirits this week?

Bear’s Book Haul: Fall Book Sales!

Bear's book haulI feel like it’s been forever since I’ve done a book haul post, but over the last two weeks or so a bunch of local libraries have been having their fall book sales.  While I didn’t get a lot of stuff for myself (except The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook for $2.00, what what), Bear made out like a bandit.  I adore library book sales; books are wonderful, but so damn expensive, and while I adore going to the library, I wish it was more affordable to curate a home library.  At $1 for hardcovers and $.50 for paperbacks, scouting out library sales is something I highly, highly recommend to anyone, but especially if you have young kids (some of Bear’s hardcover books are lovely, but they have like, 400 words, and cost $14.50.  It’s not that I don’t support children’s authors, I just literally can’t afford to buy more than a couple of books at that price.)

It’s going to take a while to work through all the books we got, but I’ll probably drop a note in our regular book hauls about how we’re faring with the book sale books, and which ones have most caught Bear’s fancy (just like we do with the weekly haul posts).

What I thought was the coolest was that there were a few things I found that I remembered fondly from my own childhood, and it’s weird how powerfully nostalgic I felt when I found them, even though I honest to God hadn’t even remembered they’d existed before I saw them on the library table.

Anyway, our haul:

Arthur’s Chicken Pox, by Marc Brown
Arthur’s Valentine, by Marc Brown
Arthur’s Pet Business, by Marc Brown
Arthur’s Teacher Moves In, by Marc Brown
The Goodnight Gecko, by Gil McBarnet
Rainbow Rhino, by Peter Sis
When I’m as Big as Freddie, by Jocelyn Stevenson
Spring Cleaning, by Pat Tornborg
What Do You Do?, by Kingsley Emily
If I Lived Alone, by Michaela Muntean
Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower, by Peggy Parish
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, by Peggy Parrish
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss
Curious George Visits the Zoo, by Margaret Rey
Curious George and the Pizza, by Margaret Rey
Curious George Rides a Bike, by H.A. Rey
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
Sunny Bunny Comes Home, by… Lynx Books? (It was part of the Raggedy Ann Grow-and-Learn Library; maybe it was a collaborative effort?)

Sunny Bunny was the one books I remembered by name having owned – and read, and re-read – as a kid, though several of the Sesame Street ones looked super familiar as well.  And, I just need to note, I’m astounded by how well-kept  these books are. The publication date for the editions of the Sesame Street books we bought was 1980.  I mean.  Those books are older than I am, and in far, far better shape quite frankly.

Anyway, as usual, please let me know if there are any books you’d recommend Bear check out, and I’ll let you know how he enjoyed the haul!

 

 

OctPoWriMo, NaNoWriMo, and Inktober

ReclaimingTomorrow is October 1st – what??  Can you believe it?  After the shortest summer of my life, I feel like the new school year just got underway, and now you’re telling me next week we’re issuing progress reports?  What is even going on?

Anyway, I’m not mad, honestly, because (as we’ve established) fall is one of my favorite times of year, and one of the few times during the year I usually managed to eek out at least a little time to be at least a little creative.  In years past it’s been NaNoWriMo – which I’m doing again this year, though in what capacity (I’m usually a Rebel), I’m not sure – but this year I thought I’d also try my hand at OctPoWriMo, which is October Poetry Writing Month, along with Inktober.*  I know, when I get ambitious I go all out.

Challenges – especially challenges with a set start and end date – tend to work well for me, because they come with an established structure and deadline, and both OctPoWriMo and Inktober have resources that provide you with the opportunities for daily feedback and prompts as well (yet more externally opposed structure and a chance for immediate peer validation?  Yes, please!)

Adding to that, this year my husband expressed interest in participating with OctPoWriMo, which adds an accountability/competitive aspect to it – I don’t want to slack off when I’m up against my husband (yes, I know it’s not actually a competition, but it’s a tiny fire under my ass, so I’ll take it).

I’m excited to start creating, and sharing with you all – I’ll be doing daily updates throughout OctPoWriMo on my side blog, Rarely Tidy Writing, though I’m not sure if/how I’ll share my Inktober progress (I’m still feeling a little self concious about my drawing abilities, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

Who else is participating in any creative challenges this October?



*I’m not an artist – like, I don’t draw, can barely handle stick figures – but I want to.  Inktober will basically be barely decipherable sketches in Sharpie, but I’m hoping it will at least lead to habitual drawing, which might someday lead to me actually getting better.

Keep It Busy

This past month was great, but didn’t really feel like I had any down time, probably because, um, I didn’t.  The last weekend in August hit, and suddenly over Labor Day weekend, we had four non-stop days of parties, festivals, and social gatherings, and from there, we never really lost steam.  We had theatre tickets, apple-picking, bridal showers, game nights, social events, and while it was fun, it was also go, go, go, pretty much non-stop all September.

I find myself — as I’ve gotten older and grown more into my identity as an adult who is actually able to make their own plans — feeling like I need to fill every possible opportunity with activity, and I’ve found that’s become doubly so since having my son.  I can’t tell you exactly why that is – or, I guess, I don’t think I can narrow it down to one thing.  Part of it is that I lived a fairly sheltered and socially deprived life as a child and young adult, and I often feel like I need to “make up” for all the freedom I never got to have during my formative years.  Part of it is, when I have down time, it’s really down time; I wind up being almost entirely sedentary, and my ADHD keeps me from doing anything really constructive (even those things I want to do and enjoy doing).  Having a place to be or an activity to do that is externally scheduled and structured is one of the few ways to guarantee I get out and engage.

But part of it, more and more, is that I feel like I need to be proactive and conscientious about not saddling my son with the stagnant, asocial childhood I had.

I didn’t have anything resembling a social life for, well, most of my life.  There were never any sports teams, never any dance lessons, or swim lessons, or gymnastics.  No Girl Scouts.  A lot of it was because my parent’s didn’t have the money for so much of what makes up a busy, structured youth – our grammar schools were tiny and private (read: where all the money was going), and didn’t offer any extra-curriculars; dance and gymnastics were pricey; and my folks had neither the time, energy, nor inclination to have to put forth the effort for something like Girl Scouts.  Even trips out to eat or to the movies were few and far between.

And I get that.  Bear is an only child and loves to sing and dance, so I’ve sat and priced out a number of music and dance academies, and I can appreciate how my parents – who had three kids and were already also paying tuition for our private schooling – must have felt overwhelmed by the potential cost.

But there were also no bike riding lessons.  There were very few trips to the park, or to the pool.  There weren’t many festivals or fairs, very few events, activities, or parties.  Trips to the library were sporadic at best, and I had only one friend whose house I was allowed to visit.  I didn’t go to a birthday party until I was thirteen, and I had to fight tooth and nail for that, years after most of my classmates had given up inviting me to parties I was never allowed to attend.  Hell, there was barely even any playing outside. We could get hurt on bikes and skateboards and everyone in our neighborhood was looking to do us in, if you were to believe my parents.  Our time even in our own yard was infrequent.

And I don’t want that for my son.  I don’t want my son to be the kid who is never allowed to go out, and never learns age-appropriate social skills; I don’t want to be the parent that turns around and uses the fact of their lack of social skills as reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to go out.  I don’t want my son to grow up and realize at thirty-six he has virtually no memories of his childhood because he basically didn’t have one, because had so few stand-out moments and formative experiences.

I feel like we’re doing an ok job.  My son’s goes to parks and fairs and parties, and at 3, has already been on a plane more times than I had by the time I was 30.  We go to restaurants and the library, and while I hesitate to spend $14 on a movie ticket when I’m sure he’ll spend most of the time climbing on the seats, he’s been to several free outdoor movie nights.  We’re doing ok.

We’ll see what opportunities October brings, and what memories we can make.

Welcome Fall

Welcome Fall 2018.png

Hello, all.  Don’t know where you are, but over the last few days we have finally been catching the first glimpses of what I would consider true “fall weather,” with highs in the 50s and 60s this week (well, until Wednesday, when they’re expecting a high near 80, but that’s just how New England do).

My family and I have been pretty busy this month; September has had the most social commitments we’ve had for most of this year, and those few days that weren’t consumed by social events or work were filled with trying to fit in all the chores and projects pushed to the side in favor of those social events, so I’ve had spare time, sure, but only at the end of long, exhausting days, so I haven’t been on here much at all.  With the month winding down – this week is pretty busy, but we hit a lull in October – the house in order, and the school year finally falling into a routine, I’m looking forward to finally returning to some fun projects, including keeping this blog updated.

And keep an eye on my Pinterest, especially my seasonal boards – I’m trying to compile a “master list” of Fall Bucket Lists, Dollar Tree craft and home decor ideas, and great treats and meals for the fall and beyond!

So It Begins

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I started back up at work on Monday.  This year, I don’t know, felt different – in a good way.  I don’t know if I was just feeling especially good after having finally gotten the house under control, or that I was feeling particularly rejuvenated after actually getting up with my alarm, having a nice shower, and having time to apply makeup and eat a decent breakfast (while listening to one of my favorite podcasts), for once.

But whatever it was, I just felt, I don’t know… on.  Like, on form; sociable, confident, relaxed (or at least as relaxed as I ever get, which, granted, is several notches above baseline for most people).  I felt productive, I felt connected to the students and staff, and conversation was fun and fluid, all of which are often challenges for me.  I don’t know if it was my resolve to start changing these things about myself, or the scaffolding I put in place to make the mornings (and subsequently, rest of the day) run more smoothly, but whatever it was, it apparently worked.  It was a great first few days back.

And I am so, so glad I have a four day weekend, because damned if that shizz didn’t drain all my energy.

But I feel good.  I feel like things on the job front have gotten off to a good, fresh start, and I’m happy to return Tuesday to my new assignment, and to resume my vocational duties (one of my favorite parts of my job) later in September.  And it leaves me free to divert the energy expended on school prep the last few weeks back to things like creating and maintaining a managable schedule for my hobby time, and for my weight management (both of which fell by the wayside – again – in the last few weeks).

To those of you fellow educators recently returned to work, I hope you likewise had a smooth transition back to the daily grind.  To those parents sending their kids back to school after the summer, we are ready for them.

2 down, 178 to go.