My last post was on Feb. 27 and since then the following has happened:
1. Spring break! I was on spring break from March 5-11, and I spent the week with a friend at a resort on Playa Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic. The weather was perfect, the beach was perfect, the water was perfect, the company was perfect–everything was perfect. It was so good to get away and be warm and near/in beautiful water and to do nothing but sleep, eat, read, and get in the water.
I was going to post while I was there, but I decided to unplug from all social media and just be present. Here’s a pic that encapsulates what my week was like:
2. Then, I had to fly home. On the first flight, there was no wi-fi and no in-flight entertainment, which would have been fine except I finished my book with about an hour or so left in the flight and needed a break before starting my next book. On top of that–and I have no one to blame but myself–I didn’t/forgot to add movies or TV shows to my phone before the trip. I had to just stare into space for a little while because I wasn’t ready to jump into a new book and I, you know, had nothing else to do.
My second flight got delayed by about an hour or so for a mechanical issue (the inside of the plane wasn’t cooling off), which sucked but was also great because that gave me time to add stuff to ye olde cell phone. I mean, I had already added a couple things because of the layover, but the extra time meant extra time. So, of course, I didn’t watch anything at all on that flight.
By the time I landed and got to my ride, it was about 1:45 a.m. and the driver gleefully announced that it would take a half hour to get to my place, which meant I would get home after 3 a.m. because of the time change. I had forgotten about the time change but was glad he told me so I could change the time on my oven when I got home.
I got to bed–finally–at 4 a.m., which would have been fine except the next day…
3. I went to the Oscars party at the Academy Museum. My friend is a member and wanted to go, so go she and I and another friend went.
I was skeptical about going to watch a screening of the Oscars in an auditorium, but it turned out to be really fun, and even though we weren’t at the actual ceremony, it felt like we were very close to being in the actual room. Everyone got all dressed up (the invite said to wear “Hollywood glam”) and there was food and fun. We learned a lot of lessons about what to do if we go again, and we also understood fully why celebs have glam squads. Let’s just say boob tape was involved and never speak of it again.
Also, I got a pedicure before I left on my trip because I wouldn’t have time when I got back, and my nail polish chipped on the LAST DAY when I was packing up to get on the plane. I was bereft, especially since I only had open-toed shoes to wear.
4. The next day was back to work, which wasn’t so bad because (a) my sabbatical officially got approved [expected], and (b) I got nominated for a teaching award by my students [unexpected]. So, that was excellent news all around.
And to top it all off, it was light outside when I left work because of Daylight Saving Time. I have been in the best mood all week because of the time change haha.
5. I am officially back to the grind–especially because I am on the hiring committee for my department and we got over 400 applications to screen. My eyeballs are melting out of my head, but I decided to take a break and post this.
6. Also, you know between the spring break and the last time I posted, I read some books:
In case you missed it, it snowed in California this weekend and, more specifically, it snowed in Southern California. I got several texts asking me if it was snowing where I lived, and my answer to each was no. Because I did not see the snow. I saw the hail, I saw the rain, but I did not see the snow. If it did snow where I lived, it was before I woke up.
My mother called me and asked if I was sure I lived in Southern California because all of her weather sources were telling her snow, but I was not. So, yes, my mother thought I was LYING to her because I wasn’t filming snow from my patio door. (This is mostly a joke.)
The Plastics were all played by members of the global majority, which seemed to work okay for the musical since that was more about fitting in. The movie, however, is very specifically about the ways White girls bully each other and jockey for power. The book (Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman) is also more about the latter but makes the connection to White womanhood as well. That said, it was–dare I say–so fetch and super fun. The woman who played Karen stole the show with Janis right behind her. They were all phenomenal, though. And I may have bought more than a little merch. Ahem.
I give up. This book is too depressing. Not only is the constant talk of racism relentless (and not adding anything new to the conversation), but the main character keeps getting sexually assaulted/threatened with sexual assault. I just can’t. And I tried it in print and audio.
Also, everyone, I promise you that most professors are not that pretentious. Good grief.
Whew, child, this book put me through it all while traversing some tropes of African American lit mixed in with the Arthurian legend stuff. Lots of excellent commentary on generational trauma (also sometimes called generational curses in the Black community) as well as politics. Also, I need someone better versed in Arthurian legend to tell me which story/stories she is mainly drawing from so I can teach this book in my class.
Alice is the real MVP. And I knew it was only a matter of time before (view spoiler)[Morgaine or Mordred (hide spoiler)] would, as the young people say, enter the chat.
Also, it should be noted that there is an extensive and stellar author’s note at the end.
But grief isn’t a competition. It’s not an identical pain that we all meet one day when death finds us. It’s a monster, personalized by our love and memories to devour us just so. Grief is suffering tailored.
Since when has a man’s title prevented his brutality instead of further emboldening it?
Wanting fiction to be fact and having the power to convince other folks of the same…that’s how power stays put.
None of that puritanical judgment. I’m not “good.” I’m fair.
I don’t know what to say about this book. I wanted to like it more than I did, but I think the author did a lot of interesting things in her reimagining of the Grimm Brothers’ Cinderella story. I love the way the three balls are handled, for example, and I liked that magic was a fantasy yet the story kept fantastical elements. And I also really dug the idea of stories being used and manipulated to support the narrative of the ruling class.
I liked the LGBTQ+ elements. However, I didn’t like the instalove plot. Also, as noted in several other reviews, there are a lot of pacing issues.
So, it’s a mixed bag, overall.
I usually use Cinder to teach adaptations, but I am considering using this instead. So I definitely like it enough to teach.
Reread 2/2/23 – I did decide to use this book for my class, so listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Bahni Turpin.
While listening to the audiobook, I wasn’t bothered by/didn’t notice the pacing issues noted in my initial review. The instalove was also less annoying because it played more like fascination and wonder. Sophia was a *lot* more stressful this time around, though, so there is that. I would give the audio four stars, instead of three, so I’m bumping up my rating based on that.
To wit, this exchange I had with a friend on Friday:
Me: I’m trying to get it together over here
Her: I’ve given up hope of ever getting it together
Me: I need to do this. I was almost to the gym before I realized I left my headphones at home which meant I had to do my workout in silence like some kind of animal–a dolphin perhaps? Or a gym rat Then when I changed out of my swimsuit I discovered I left my bra at home.
text from image
Also, to continue last week’s trend, I got to two places early this past week only to wind up late because of parking. Again. So, yes, I have given up on ever getting ahead this month. You win these first three weeks, January. I’m just keeping my head above water and making a wave when I can here for the rest of the month now.
I’m blaming both the fact that my flight home last Thursday (Jan. 5) was delayed and that my stupid job had our stupid FLEX (professional development) day on January 6. (Can you tell I’m still salty about it?) Ever since I have worked at this school–this is my sixth year–the FLEX day has been in March, after school has already started. March! So when I made my travel plans, it didn’t even register that they had moved it, and I didn’t even realize it was the Friday BEFORE the semester began until the last week of class when they sent out the registration link. I have been teaching a very long time, and I would never (never) book a flight that got in the night before I had to be at work first thing in the morning. UGH.
Anyway, I missed the first session of the day because I was too exhausted to get up, the guy leading the second session went over FIFTEEN MINUTES into LUNCH TIME (like, sir, are you kidding me? I had to raise my hand and let him know because he was gearing up to keep going. I seriously do not believe he would have stopped if I hadn’t called him on it) and then had the absolute audacity to say he was going to start the second session “promptly at 1.” That barely gave us enough time to collect and eat our lunch, so I was late getting back because, of course, I had to use the restroom. Then he went over the end of the session which made me late for the next one. The only reason I didn’t just up and leave both times is that he was doing the EEO (equal employment opportunity) hiring training, so I figured whatever he was saying was important.
I spent all day Sunday rushing to get my classes planned and published (the goal was for the first two weeks for all of them to be up and running in the learning managing system). I was on time to my first class on Monday but the door was locked, and I thought I didn’t have my key (I did) so got started late. The same thing happened on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I got to therapy early but the parking garage was weirdly full so getting parking was a challenge so I wound up being late for that. I then had to rush to get to my class because of the travel time between the therapist’s office and my home and lunch and work. Thursday was fine, but I found out I had to go into work on Saturday (SATURDAY, sigh) for a job fair because I’m on the hiring committee (see above re: EEO training). I was on time to that, but late to church yesterday, so, basically, you know, who has two thumbs and needs a three-day weekend?
Therefore, I have decided to set my Goodreads goal for next year at 52 books. We’ll see how it goes. Also, watch this space for the traditional end of year book survey.
I hope everyone’s new year is off to a stellar start. Mine is not so much because I had an opportunity to swim with the manatees but skipped it because of ~lady problems~ and later had regrets and then I found out that I didn’t get accepted into the Everglades fellowship I wanted, which is a total bummer. Also, I think my daughter is mad at me.
That said, I had a great New Year’s Eve and Day as we took it totally easy. My daughter was able to spend the time with us because she didn’t have to work and because my friend’s mom is here, we partook of some Brazilian NYE traditions like making wishes on grapes, wearing white, and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. We also went and got cookies from Insomnia Cookies (new FL fave? Maybe). And then yesterday we watched My Cousin Vinny, which is always a good time.
So I guess technically my year is off to a good start, but today was a mixed bag.
Here’s my part two to the #AMonthofFaves on your screen post. As a reminder, here’s the prompt:
FRI | Dec. 23 – #AMonthofFaves On the Screen or in Your Ear. What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved? Did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think? Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat.
Uhhh, so I didn’t talk about any movies this year, even though I watched 56 in total as of this posting. (A few were rewatches, and I don’t anticipate watching any movies today.) So here are the new-to-me ones I gave five stars along with the reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I saw the movie in theaters, huzzah.
Today’s A Month of Faves prompt is the year in books, but there are still two whole days left in the year and I may finish another book before then, so I’m catching up on the prompt from Dec. 23:
#AMonthofFaves On the Screen or in Your Ear. What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved? Did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think? Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat.
Just like last year, I’m going to break this up into two posts, one for movies and one for TV. Also just like last year, I’m going to lament the fact that figuring out what new TV I watched this year was hard. However, unlike last year, that one is probably my own fault as I had more than one person recommend a TV tracking app to me that I never used, so, you know. I really had no excuse. Plus, I deleted my Twitter account since the takeover, and it is past the point of recovery so your guess is as good as mine about what I watched prior to June. Anyway, let’s get into it.
MON | Dec. 19 – #AMonthofFaves This is How We Do Christmas. How do you get into the holiday spirit? Are you decorating, cooking, have certain traditions? What are you gifting this year (if anything)? Tell us all about how you plan to enjoy this holiday.
This past week was a whirlwind precisely because the holiday was very different for me and my family this year. I’ve been in Florida for the past two weeks (and will be here an additional week) to be close to my daughter who is completing an internship here and to have a do over visit with my parents since we didn’t get to hang out with them during the summer because we caught Covid. I did a combo Christmas/birthday celebration with my parents and daughter last week (my mom’s birthday is actually today). And because my mom loves me, she brought their tree for the hotel room! There was no oven in the room, so we decorated while eating gingerbread cookies from Insomnia Cookies.