Fri-day, Fri-yay: November 30th, 2018

& (1)I made it!  I don’t talk much about work, but I went through a substantial change at work this past week that I was not negative, bus was (as I said) a big change and, subsequently, incredibly stressful.  I’m immensely glad for the weekend, and for celebrating Bear’s 4th birthday tomorrow with some friends and family.

Things carrying me along this week:

I just discovered Sugar Rush on Netflix and I’m so upset that it’s only eight episodes!  It doesn’t have quite the same level of drama as some of the other cooking shows I watch, but I think that’s because unlike some shows (Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped) there’s no “bizarre” ingredients they need to add or outrageous challenges they need to overcome, and unlike others (Worst Cooks in America, Nailed It), the contestants are professionals.  The biggest obstacle is the time limit, but still — the cakes they make!  Ahhh!  I’ve been a Cutthroat and Chopped fan for a while, but I’m seriously grooving hard on baking shows lately.  Well done cakes are just so damn aesthetically pleasing.

Also – speaking of Netflix – if you have kids, you should think about checking out Brain Child and The Who Was? Show Both of them are ostensibly “too old” for my son, but he asked me to put them on,, and he’s watched them both a dozen times now.  He can now talk quite authoritatively about germs, human cells, and the sleep cycle, so that’s cool.  I find them genuinely funny and charming, too, which is again, icing on the cake (I’ll tolerate a lot if my son likes a show and I can see educational value it it, but some of them are grating as hell.  These aren’t (I mean, your mileage may vary, but I sincerely like them)).

Guys, I don’t even like eggnog, but I tried Winterhaven Farms Eggnog at Friendsgiving on Saturday and it is chock full of holiday goodness; “holiday goodness” here meaning rum, whiskey, and brandy.  It legit made my ears burn.  It’s not something I would recommend drinking a lot of, but I could see having a holiday party and pouring out a round or two for friends.  Given the price, I might have to buy some for myself, and I’d wager my father and brother might appreciate it as well.

I’ve got some work to do on this blog this weekend, and I’m happy with what I’ve got to share — I have updated checklists for daily life, holiday checklists and organizers, lists for kids, planner reviews and suggestions, new mail art/exchanges, and a menu options to find and read my creative writing.  I’ll go more into all that later, but I’m happy to make this a more comprehensive compendium of my life and interests.

That’s all for this week.  What’s keeping you motivated?

Friday, Fri-yay: November 23rd, 2018

& (1)I’m trying so, so hard to stay positive about some changes going on right now, guys, I really am.  I never react well to change – I adjust, of course, and I’ve learned to conceal the emotional turmoil, but while there are a few situations in which I enjoy being sort of surprised, I internally freak out and hand-wring bout disruptions in my routines and expectations.  So while I know that I will be fine, I’m a little on edge.

Here are things that are keeping me cheery and distracting me from my anxiety for a while.

I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last weekend, and I loved it.  I know there is a significant disparity between the critic’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes (62%) versus the audience rating (92%), but I just loved seeing my boys up on the big screen.  Queen were an essential, formative part of my life growing up; I can’t explain exactly why I loved them with the intensity that I did, but Freddie and his story were a big, big part.  I could easily have sat in the theatre and nit-picked – besides owning and knowing by heart the entire Queen catalogue (including several solo albums, all the music videos, and numerous officially released and bootleg concerts), I’ve also watched four separate documentaries and read five books written about the band.  The movie is not wholly accurate, but it’s just so, so good to see “Freddie” humanized on screen.  Rami Malek is amazing, and seeing so many new fans flooding the fandom is invigorating and beautiful.  Tomorrow marks twenty-seven years since Freddie died.  If I had the budget to see the movie again tomorrow, I would.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Friendsgiving at our friend Raeanne’s house, followed by game night, which it feels like forever since we’ve done.  It’s been a pretty regular monthly occurrence for – wow – almost four years now, plus we’ve done lots of other parties and celebrations in the intervening weeks, and then more recently we ht a patch where people were busy, I guess, and so it’s been a while since we’ve gone to one.  I’m excited to hang out with Raeanne and company, and have a last culinary hurrah before I start calorie counting again (yes… that’ll be another post, but yes).

My husband and I celebrated our engagement anniversary (yes, we occassionally celebrate it, still – he calls it “Ring-a-versary”) at a place called Yujo, which is actually a really good sushi joint.  Our first date and his proposal both took place at the same sushi restaurant that has since closed down, and we had yet to really find another one we liked as much.  This one was really good, and had the strongest drinks I’ve ever had in my life.  I had one (I swear!) Long Island Iced Tea, and I was smashed.  You certainly get your money’s worth.

That’s about it for this week.  What’s been making you happy?

Friday, Fri-yay: November 9th, 2018

& (1)Oh guys, this… has been a draining week.  Nothing bad has happened, but everything that’s happened has been emotionally charged and has tested my anxiety to the limit.  With that in mind, I’ve got to stop and reflect on the little positive things that have been keeping me grounded.

First, I have a three day weekend – and a well-deserved one, if I do say so.  Monday is Veteran’s Day, and I legitimately forgot that I had the day off until mid-way through the morning yesterday (at which point I made a triumphant Facebook post because i couldn’t contain my sheer joy).  I plan on playing with Bear, reading, and catching up on NaNoWriMo.  I will also be tearing the house apart and doing a deep-cleaning, because…

…We finally bought a carpet cleaner!  I feel like it’s time for a sequel to my Ways I Know I’m Getting Old post, because I feel like the level of sheer joy and excitement I felt upon purchasing the carpet cleaner makes me officially Old (or puts me at Peak Parent Mode, at least).  But the one thing I’ve hated about this house almost since the moment we moved in is how filthy the carpet got, and how fast (though what did I expect with cafe au lait colored carpets and a toddler?)  We were going to just rent a cleaner, but Amazong was having a sale and the Bissel cleaner we got cost $75, and it would cost us $34 just for a one time rental from Home Depot.  The decision was easy.  I’m so excited.

I’ve also been starting to poke my head around AuthorTube, which is the section of YouTube populated by authors and aspiring authors.  I’ve started doing vlog style videos about my NaNoWriMo experience, and I’m trying to find time to watch and interact with others doing the same thing, hoping to create a habit that will sustain through November and beyond.  It looks like a nice community and I’m hoping to find a groove that allows me to be active in it.

Also – Christmas!  Dollar Tree Haulers are doing holiday hauls and DIYs, the stores are filled to the brim with Christmas stuff, and I’m getting ready to bring up all my holiday decor (and buying a ton of it from Dollar Tree and Target).  I’ve said on an earlier iteration of this blog that I understand why some people are put off by the earlier and earlier onset of the Christmas season — people who don’t celebrate/celebrate different holidays, people who have family issues exacerbated by the holidays, people who just prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time — and those are all valid complaints.  And I do agree that we are hauling out Christmas waaay too early — I saw some on display prior to Halloween — but for my own personal celebration, this is the time of year I start prepping.  Christmas makes me happy, and I’m going to do what makes me happy, okay?

I also just finished the book adaptation of Alice Isn’t Dead, and oh my gosh, I loved it.  It’s so… relevant?  So… visceral?  So refreshing to see a queer female protagonist with anxiety who uses that anxiety as a weapon and it totally works??  It’s such a good story, and I love Keisha’s character so much, and I know I speak only for myself, but this was such a well-written female character written by a male author, and some male authors could take lessons on this from Joseph Fink.

I desperately want to include NaNoWriMo on here, but that’s a little more complicated; I’ll probably have a post about it later, though.

What’s kept you afloat this week?

Friday, Fri-yay: October 19th, 2018

& (1)This has been a hell of a month, creativity-wise; despite occasionally falling behind on my OctPoWriMo or Inktober prompts, I’ve none-the-less been getting them all done (just, you know, occasionally a day or two late).  I’m currently searching for a other creative prompts/marathon/sprints/challenges to complete in the upcoming year (and if I find some good ones, I’ll put up a page/calendar for them to share with you all) because I’ve been so happy with my output this month.

Also carrying me along this week:

First, some of my favorite vloggers have started uploading Christmas haul and Christmas decor DIYs.  I’m super happy, because Christmas is by and far my favorite holiday, and the one I try to go all out for, so I’m psyched to get some early decor ideas to plan for and start in on.  Bargain Bethany, unsurprisingly, has one of my early faves in this Dollar Tree Christmas DIY video.

My brother had more beer than he needed, I guess?  So he gave me some?  Free beer, hey, I’m not going to complain.  Beer is not at the top of my list of preferred alcohols, but my brother and I at least drink the same kinds (mostly Sam Adams and Blue Moon), so if he’s giving it away, it’s worth it to take a few.  I grabbed four bottles, and enjoyed one with my dinner of homemade chili tonight.

Dependent on how we feel, but Lesley University is hosting MICE, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo tomorrow and Sunday, and it’s family-friendly, free, and Abby Howard is going to be there, so that might be a pretty cool thing to do if we have nothing else going on (or you, if you are in the Cambridge/Boston area).

Also, I’m going to recommend the British-Canadian Netflix original Hilda to you all, because it is super cute and quirky and as much as I love/as nostalgic as I am for the cartoons of my childhood, I am getting positively sick of the way people insist on how much “better” cartoons used to be.  There are so, so, so many amazing animated shows on the air/available, people!  Just, go friggin’ watch some!

Anyway, that’s it for me.  I’ behind again on OctPoWriMo (surprise, surprise) and am going to trying to bang out a few words before bed.  At least there’s the weekend, right?

How have things been going for you all?

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?

Friday, Fri-yay: August 24th, 2018

& (1)It’s my last Friday before they, like, actually start meaning something again.  Honestly.  I meet the end and the beginning of the school year with equally mixed feelings – on the one hand, I feel better with a schedule and a routine, and I kinda sorta have to have one foisted on to me, because I suck at self-regulating.  But at the same time, I miss late nights to myself, staying up late reading fanfic, or doodling, or Facebook messaging stupid memes to my sister.  I miss pool parties and beach days and not having to cart a 30lb. coat everywhere, and not taking an hour to get all Bear’s snow gear on in the morning.

But – fall is pumpkin spice and apple-picking and cinnamon scented candles and taking Bear trick-or-treating and having weekend crafternoons where I serve finger foods and hot apple cider, you know?  And on top of that, I get a routine.  So, yeah.  Sad to see summer go, but I am pretty ready for fall.

And so much is happening!  I literally already have myself booked through September, and we still have a week of August left.  No clue how that happened.

Anyway, this week:

I guess the first big “yay” is just having such a busy schedule the next few weeks – getting back into the routine and the daily grind is always easier when I know I have non-work fun stuff to look forward too.  This includes a festival and a party tomorrow, a local feast/street festival next Friday, a trip to Connecticut next Sat., a pool party next Sunday, and a birthday party on Labor Day proper.  Throw a few more events in there throughout the month, and then cap the month off with both Welcome to Night Vale Live and Hamilton.  September will be busy.

Second, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back on August 28th.  Yeah, roll your eyes ;it’s over-hyped, it’s so cliche, yada yada yada.  I’m too old to either feign ironic interest in things I genuinely enjoy or pretend to be somehow “above” stuff that I like.  I love lattes, and I love pumpkin spice.  Call me basic.  I’ll be over here sipping my delicious damn drink (also, for further exploration into how you’re not better than me – and almost certainly have your own PSL – see Jim Gaffigan’s McDonalds bit).

Third, Barefoot wine has a sweet red blend that has been the jewel of my evenings this past week.  It’s been a while since I branched out from reisling or moscato, and it was worth it.

Anyway, it’s later on Friday than I’d wanted to get this out, but I got it out – ha ha ha!  Take that, crappy executive functioning!  What’s been good in your week?