I…have a lot of things on my Christmas list. I blame all the Buzzfeed shopping guides that kept showing up in my Facebook feed (and then started showing up in my Instagram feed because the algorithm figured out I will click on any and all Buzzfeed shopping guides, sigh), even though maybe only three things come from said guides. I think I just had fun window shopping this year, so. Yes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Window shopping. Yes.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right: A Month of Faves is back, hosted by Tanya and Kim over at Girlxoxo. As of this writing, the official post isn’t up on the website yet, but the prompts are posted on Kim’s Instagram.
I mean, seriously, where? I ended my last post by saying I hoped to update more often and then somehow did not. I guess I just got in the weeds at work and busy re-acclimating to being back home and then just wound up not posting. I also hate starting posts by talking about how I meant to post but dropped the ball, but I really did keep meaning to post and somehow…didn’t.
Anyway, so here we are. A list to catch up (sort of):
1. I do have a voting story, which I plan to share one day. The short of it is “do not forward your mail if you leave town in the month before an election.” The long of it is a blog post I hope to write someday. I hope I can remember all the details.
2. So, yeah, how about that election, huh? Whew.
3. Also, as mentioned in my previous post, my daughter’s friend is staying with us now and will probably be doing so at least through the new year. My daughter is thrilled because she has always wanted a sibling and now the house isn’t so lonely during the pandemic. I affectionately refer to both of them as “The Twins” since they’re the same age (e.g., The twins went to the boba shop or The twins are watching a movie).
I grew up watching soap operas, and one of the biggest tropes in soaps (yes, I see what I did there) is that Character A sees Character B in a compromising–or shall we even say, less than flattering–position/situation. This typically leads to lots of misunderstandings and, of course, amps up the drama. One of my mom’s favorite refrains when we would watch these shows was always “Believe half of what you see.” She would say it almost every time. Because the truth in those situations was almost always somewhere in the middle as we viewers knew. Half of what Character A saw was true; the other half was usually filled in by what they thought they knew.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot during COVID-19, especially in this age of social media where people often post pictures or videos online. I have Very Strong Opinions about what is and is not acceptable behavior, especially as the number of COVID cases keep rising and more and more people keep dying. I protest what I believe is inappropriate behavior mostly by not liking posts/pictures that make me uncomfortable and by making snide comments to my phone or computer in the privacy of my own home.
I’m finally home after my five-week (!) Eastern time zone adventures. There may be a lot to say about that some other day, but I have read some books and watched some TV & movies, so let’s get into that first. Also, if anyone is on Letterboxd, give me a shout so we can follow each other. (Or, you know, sign up and then we can follow each other. Either works for me.) My username over there is englishist.
On Saturday, I was slated to leave Tennessee at around 1 p.m. to drive to Florida so I can visit my parents before I head back to California. The plan was to go to the airport, pick up the rental car, drive the car to Florida, and then return the rental car to the airport in Florida the next day.
Reader, that is not what happened.
First, we were a little late to the airport because my friend had to pick up the grocery order. That part was fine except that she forgot some of the groceries in the car, which meant my daughter and I were out of some of our road snacks. This was not entirely my friend’s fault because it wasn’t until we were almost to the airport that I realized I had forgotten the fruit. So that was sad, but you know. Easy enough to deal with.
Then, once I got to the airport I discovered that they wouldn’t rent me the car.
As I have mentioned before, I am committed to getting out of debt. Part of that commitment means that I cut up my credit card over a year ago and have gone cash/debit only. Now, on the rental car company’s website it says that they take debit cards. The website even says to double check that the location you are using takes debit cards. So I double checked, and the location does indeed take debit cards. Yet, NOWHERE on the ENTIRE SITE does it say that you cannot use a debit card for the security hold thing if you’re going airport to airport UNLESS you are scheduled on a flight FROM the airport you are returning the car to. And I know it doesn’t because I read through the fine print AND double checked the debit card policy.
So obviously I didn’t find that out until I got to the actual counter of the rental car company.
Okay, I’m going to get into the ashy eye story in a minute, but also I just want you to know that I got a COVID test after flying across the country, and it is negative. So…whew.
But, yes, I have an ashy eye.
So I discovered this ashy eye issue the day I was packing/prepping to fly across the country. My eye had been bothering me since Thursday. It kept watering for no reason, which honestly happens to me quite a bit, but I thought it was just allergies. You know, a fire was raging, and debris was flying through the air, so it seemed logical. But that night I couldn’t sleep with my eye mask on because it felt like something was stabbing me in the eye.
Then, on Friday, my eye was still bothering me. It was still with the leaking and all, but I could smell smoke in my house, so, again, I just banked on allergies. Also, my daughter told me I looked like I had gotten punched in the eye because my eye was swollen. “Yes,” I told her. “It’s the allergies.”
If you’ve been following the news, you know the wildfires are very intense there, and the air quality is terrible. The one closest to me–the Bobcat Fire–caused smoke bad enough that several friends of mine in a neighboring city were put under an evacuation warning last Wednesday night, and my job closed the campus last Thursday. Because I am an idiot (no, really this time), even after getting the alert that my job (which is down the street from my house) was closed because of extremely poor air quality, I still attempted to go to the pool. I wound up lasting all of ten minutes before I started coughing because, you know, the smoke was so bad. Oh, and Thursday night, my city was also put under an evacuation warning, though it was for the northern part of the city closer to the mountains.
On Thursday night, I finally packed my evacuation bag.
On Friday morning, I could smell the smoke in my apartment, so immediately ordered an air purifier on Amazon to be delivered the next day (they were sold out locally).
By Friday afternoon, I had booked a plane ticket for Sunday to Tennessee with plans to stay there for two weeks and then to drive to Florida and stay for two to three more weeks. My return flight is currently booked for five weeks from now.
So my book club is doing middle grade mysteries for October, and unfortunately, I can only nominate one book. One! This is sad for me because I have a lot of books that I could recommend because I want the people in my book club to read and/or talk about them. Just for context (do I need more context?), after I taught the detective literature course at my school last fall, I said my dream would be to teach the class again and focus solely on middle grade capers or puzzle books. (I was sick of all the murdering and violence in the adult literature.) The point is that this topic lives close to my heart.
So, anyway, here are all the books I wanted to nominate for my book club to read and the one I did wind up nominating in the end.