That’s right: It’s a hybrid post. What I thought was motion sickness today was really just a migraine set up, so I don’t have it in me to write two separate posts. If you’re just here for the A to Z stuff, it’s at the end, so you can scroll scroll scroll.
Last week was spring break, praise the Lord. I took the entire week off from work: no grading, no emails, no course prep, nothing. It was nice. I spent two days doing some deep reading–in part because I had to limit my screen time, but also because I just wanted to read. The motion sickness/migraine madness meant I unfortunately couldn’t catch up on blogs like I wanted to. However, I did manage to watch Parasite, which broke my brain, and I also started a rewatch of The Bernie Mac Show (both are on Hulu), which is bringing me so much joy. I mean, honestly, there are not enough BMS gifs out there and my heart, it weeps.
So, anyway, I’m doing the A to Z Challenge, so posted some stuff since my last check-in:
- F is for Flexible #AtoZChallenge
- G is for Group Text #AtoZChallenge
- H is for Hygiene #AtoZChallenge
- I is for Instagram #AtoZChallenge
- J is for Jeopardy! #AtoZChallenge
- K is for Knowing My Limits #AtoZChallenge
- L is for Letting Go of Perfectionism #AtoZChallenge
- M is for Meal Planning Service #AtoZChallenge
- N is for Naps #AtoZChallenge
- O is for Obligations #AtoZChallenge
And I read some books:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up because I wanted a fun and light read, and I have no idea what I was thinking picking up a book about FRIENDSHIP between ELEVEN YEAR OLDS thinking it would be FUN and LIGHT.
I mean, my god. What was I thinking?
I liked the book and loved the illustrations, but it was by no means fun and light. Did you see the part where it’s about middle grade friendships and navigating that minefield? So yeah.
My only quibble with this book is one I have with other books that employ this trope: I don’t like reading stories that the characters write. If I wanted to read that story, that’s the story I would pick up. There is a point where the story within a story serves a function for the character of Shannon and overlaps with the actual story being told, but in general, I don’t care for it and found myself skipping/skimming it. I mean, it’s enough for me to know that the character is a writer who loves writing.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
THAT CLASS COMMENTARY, THOUGH.
Listen, the best thing about this book is just how hard Moriarty goes in on class warfare and how children can be taught from a very young age (a) not to care about poor people or (b) that they’re somehow better than poor people based on nothing else but the accidental circumstances of their birth. It starts in the first chapter and goes all the way until the end. It is so well-handled, and I can imagine any number of children going “But that’s not fair!” as they read, which is A+++.
As for the story itself, I liked it fine, but I felt like it was slow to start.
This is also a story for our COVID-19 times as there is a nasty (novel) flu ravaging the populace and there is a war and life is strange and weird and not like it usually is, and there’s this great bit that just encapsulates all of it:
Also, it might seem dreadful that Finlay’s important thing was a rugby game, but that is part of the strangeness of war. Ordinary life keeps…happening. […] Actually, in some ways, these small things are more important because they remind you that ordinary life is real, and that hopefully it will return one day. You need glimpses of happiness and light.
This is a companion book to The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone that functions as a bit of a prequel, but you need not have read that one to understand this one.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is what I love about YA fiction: just regular teens doing regular teen things, which in this case means Kyle dealing with the fact that his parents are people who make terrible decisions which turns him into a people who makes terrible decisions. It’s great! (That is not sarcasm, btw.)
Great characters, beautiful writing as always, and a nice, complex cast of family characters. I would read a whole book about Megan or Emily. And what was going on with Martie? Also, I was actually intrigued by the grown-ups’ drama. I don’t know if I’d care to read a book from their perspectives (the whole time I would be like, “yes, yes, but what about the TEENS?”), but I think I might and that is honestly high praise.
As for the A to Z Challenge, today’s letter is P for psychotherapy.
My therapist is, thankfully, doing telehealth services so I am still meeting with her once a week for my sessions via video. As you may have guessed, we have spent the bulk of almost every session talking about the pandemic and coping strategies for the various things that pop up like the stress of going to the store, managing my time, and how to resolve disputes over chores–even if they are minor. (Fun fact: because I haven’t lived with my daughter for longer than two-month stretches over the past two years, the way we communicate has to change.)
Therapists have really stepped up to the plate, in general, some even posting weekly blogs with tips for getting through. A friend of mine is doing a series on her Instagram where she posts poetry, podcast, and book recommendations each week. Also, most practices are still accepting new patients to work with remotely AND insurance companies have relaxed some of their weird must be in-person rules, which makes it easier to set up telehealth appointments.
I know it can be very tricky to manage the privacy aspect of therapy appointments when sharing space with other people, but therapy sessions have also been very helpful for me during this time even more than ever. If you’ve been thinking about starting therapy, now is a really good time. So many coping strategies! Someone to listen to what you think may be petty annoyances! And then coping strategies for those! It’s great.
For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I have decided that I’m going to focus on my survival/coping strategies while practicing social distancing. What are the things that make it bearable? What helps alleviate my stress and fear–or at least what distracts me from both? Tune in tomorrow to see what I choose for Q!