Plays and Marie Kondo

School starts today, and I am about 75% ready. More importantly, though, I’m requiring one of my classes to blog every week, so I figured I better get back into it myself post haste.

Here’s what happened since my last update:

1. I won the lottery to see the touring production of Frozen, which means I got to see it for $29 (once the fees were added in). My seat was to the side of the stage so some of the action was cut off, but for $25, I have so few complaints. It was a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see how they changed the production to make it work on stage (rearranging scenes, adding scenes, more songs, different ways of getting the characters in the same room, etc.). The biggest change was that they made Elsa and Anna’s dad less terrible than he is in the movie, though he’s still not great. Oh, and Elsa’s motivations and fears are just a little bit clearer.

The best part was probably the young woman behind me who LOST HER MIND when “Let It Go” started. The gasp of joy she let out when those first few notes started was just such a highlight. (It also helped me forgive her for singing along with the other songs prior to that–just a little.)

2. I also went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child up in San Francisco. The effects in the play were mind-blowing. The guy in front of me kept losing his mind–like, legit LOSING HIS MIND–every time some bit of magic happened on stage. I could see him trying to figure out just how they did everything, and he would turn to his girlfriend (?) every time like, “Did you SEE THAT???” Hahahaha, it was (sorry, not sorry) magical.

The play itself was really spectacular. My friend asked me who was the cursed child, Harry’s son or Draco’s, and, really, there are, like, six cursed children in the play, if you count the two kids, Harry, Draco, Cedric, and SPOILER. (I know you know that I’m not telling you.)

The guy who played Scorpius was really good, and I thought Harry was also perfectly cast. It’s always wild to me that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are my age, and so, you know, they were actually MY AGE on stage. Wild.

I wish I had re-read the play before I went because I could not remember a lot of the fine details, though none of the big twists or reveals came as a shock, and I would love to compare how I imagined it to how it actually played out on stage. As it is, I will just have to re-read it at some point in the future, I guess.

3. I also finished one book:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is probably the best self-help book I’ve ever read. It’s grounded in spiritual practices like gratitude, and it has clear, actionable steps that can be taken immediately.

I listened to the audio, so A+ on the narration as well. This is a book in translation, so some of the terms were awkward to my American ears, but I got over that pretty quickly.

Also, my favorite part about this book is all of the stories about a tween Marie Kondo trying to tidy her family’s home, so it was like having a bonus middle grade story in the pages of a self-help book. Hot tip: I would 100% read a good middle grade novel about a girl trying to tidy up her family home while realizing that she really needs to deal with her own stuff instead. Come to think of it: that’s probably why I liked this book so much. I saw the adorable middle grade novel within. Also, of course, I can now easily find all my clothes because I use the KonMari folding method.

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4. I am going to have to step up my reading since, again, I’m requiring my students to do so much of it.

Have a great week, everyone!

#AMonthofFaves Jólabókaflóð

Today’s Month of Faves topic is actually favorite books read this year. However, I’m still reading, and one of the two books I’m currently finishing could make that list. So instead, today I’m going to talk about how we celebrated Jólabókaflóð (Yule Book Flood) that I mentioned in my #AMonthofFaves This Is How I Holiday Away From Home post. This can either be categorized as a part two of that post OR as fitting the day/weekend in the life post that I missed because I was grading non-stop.

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Here was the plan for Jólabókaflóð.

Everyone (me, my best friend Fernie, her husband, and the four kids–“kids” even though three of them are grown) are all going to put our names in a hat, draw a name, and then go to the used bookstore and pick a book for that person. Then, we’re going to make hot cocoa and sit around and read on actual Christmas Eve.

Here’s what we actually did based on ideas we all contributed as we tried to work out logistics. As a reminder, there were seven of us in total participating.

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#AMonthofFaves Winter Reading

I was still in the throes of wrapping up my semester Monday and then I spent all day today traveling, so I’m coming to this one a little late. It’s a combo Month of Faves / It’s Monday (Tuesday)! What Are You Reading? post.

Mon. | Dec 16 – #AMonthofFaves Winter Reading – Your fave reads from last Winter, or seasonal reads you love, or books on this year’s winter reading list.

I’m going to focus on the books I plan to read over winter break (the next two weeks!). There are three of them, though I may, of course, finish more.

 

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#AMonthofFaves: Books Worth the Hype (including one I’m on the fence about)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right: #AMonthofFaves is back.

True story: I woke up on Sunday worried that it wasn’t happening this year because I am so, so far behind on reading blog posts, but it IS happening, and everything is as it should be.

Many thanks to Tanya Patrice, Kim, and Tamara for hosting yet again.

Today’s prompt is books worth the hype (or not).

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13 Movies, 2 TV shows, and a Book

I read exactly one book in August, which brings my summer break reading total to five. So, there you go.

What I did do, apparently, was spend my time watching TV (I’m all caught up on Netflix with Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience; I also caught up on the last six or so episodes of Jane the Virgin–I’ll miss the show, but I’m glad it ended when it did, on the showrunner’s terms) and I have seen a ton of movies.

But first, the book:

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IMWAYR: Strictly a Reading Update

I’ve finished four books since mid-June. I was going to say that can’t be right, but also the summer slump is real, so.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #1)Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars, rounding up

I really liked the characters in this book, and I think it has a great narrative voice. I just feel like it took me so long t read and finish it, so there was something that kept me from engaging with it completely. Part of it, I think, is that there’s A LOT going on in the book and it’s not always clear how all the threads go together or Hernandez spends a lot of time on one thing and takes too long to get back to the other. So, pacing, basically.

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The past month, in brief

Whew, this past semester has been a bear. Also, it ended last Monday, I turned in my grades that Tuesday, and then the summer semester started that Wednesday. Basically, I was a mess for the past month because not only was I dealing with end of semester stuff, but I also went to a conference and a training and also a friend’s birthday out of town. Yes, that means I make poor choices (just the timing of the travel, not the events [and especially not the birthday trip]), but it also means I will make better choices in the future. Let us hope.

Along with the semester ending and a new semester beginning, I did read some books:

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I love Dulé Hill. That is all.

Hello, I am doing a reading deprivation again. It’s only the first full 24 hours. It sucks. The only reading I am doing is the reading I have to do for my online class. Also, my daughter is applying to study abroad programs, so I am reading her essays. Since classes start next week, I have put very clear boundaries around how long I can work on course prep since, yes, most of what I’m reading for that is my own notes but also some of it is the course texts. I won’t complain (much) since no one is forcing me to do this, but also: boo.

Besides finishing some books, the most important thing that happened this past week is that I went to see Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, which was just…whew.

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The Teacher Becomes the Student Who Be Clubbin’: January Wrap-Up

1. I went to a club with my friend last week because it was 90s’ night. First of all, the start time for the event was 10 p.m. AT NIGHT. And yes, I said that like the old person that I am.

Her: Did you nap?

Me: Of course! I have to take a nap just to make it to bedtime.

Anyway, we had fun, but the music was not great. We found at when we got there that it was a mix of 90s/00s, and at the end of the night, we both thought of songs that should have been played.

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It’s practically Monday, so here’s what I’m reading

This is it! My last weekly roundup of the year because tomorrow will be all about wrapping up the WHOLE YEAR. Whew. 2018, man. I had a lot of personal ups and downs this year, and they were all very keenly felt. Many were good and a lot more than I would have liked were emotionally intense and draining. It will be interesting (in a good way, I hope) to see what 2019 brings.

I have been in super vacation mode for the past week. In fact, I’ve been so in the vacation zone that I only made it to the gym once (on Christmas Eve) for low impact exercise, which was me and a bunch of elderly people. It was a pretty good workout–especially considering I didn’t do any other exercise last week–and I should probably repeat that tomorrow since this upcoming week looks to be more of the same. Except I’ll be taking a short trip to San Diego, so that may include more walking.

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