If you’re unfamiliar, a reading deprivation occurs in week four of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. During a reading deprivation, you give up reading for a week. I started mine on January 1 so that means I’m currently on day four. Just like last time, I have basically given up all media that uses words, including social media. I also gave up Bejeweled (except–TMI alert–when I’m in the bathroom) because I definitely use it as a form of distraction and admit that about myself. Unlike last time, I am a little less crazed–probably because I knew what to expect this time and also, maybe, because I have grown as a person in the last four and a half years.
As a result of the no words thing, I am VERY into the Pop Goes Classical playlist/station on Spotify. It is getting me through. Current faves include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Queenz of Piano and “Lose Yourself” by David Garrett.
The holidays were nice and low-key. Jólabókaflóð (Yule Book Flood) was a success this year. I received The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (reviewed below) and milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (started but, obviously, on hold until the end of the week). I gave The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas to my daughter’s friend who said she wanted to read more classics, and I gave my daughter The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because she said she wanted to read more about minimalism. We exchanged books, drank hot cocoa, and read together for about an hour or so. It was a delight. Christmas was also a lot of fun with us hanging out, opening presents, watching movies, and eating some food.
I did make a post last week, and I did read some books and watch some movies that I didn’t post about here before the end of the new year.
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).
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.”
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.
No joke. I submitted grades on Saturday for the end of our spring semester. I was doing prep for my summer class that starts Wednesday, and I could not figure out what I had done in the class before. Or what I was planning to do. What are assignments? How does one organize a class? Part of it is that I’m teaching the class online for the first time. But the other part was that my brain was seriously just like, “I don’t know, man. You tell me.”
I said to my daughter OUT LOUD, “I am a terrible teacher who doesn’t know how to teach.”
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.
Whew, this past week has been a bear. I’ve had a headache of varying intensity for the past week. Both (last) Monday and (this past) Saturday’s headaches migraines were so bad that I basically stayed in bed all day. I had stopped tracking my headaches (I tend to get them in clusters twice a month) so I wasn’t surprised I had headaches this week. I was just put out by the intensity of them.
Anyway, Saturday was pretty bad and then it rained, and it’s supposed to keep raining so I think at least part of it was due to the pressure change. At any rate, I’ve had a mild headache on and off today, so I hope/think I’m at the end.
My last post about prepping for courses to start in mid-February is like a time capsule into another world. Live theater? Flights? I mean, one of those things is still happening but the other most certainly isn’t–at least not where I live. Although I am course-prepping again because our school switched to remote instruction a week and a half ago, so I guess some things don’t change.
I am going to ease back into blogging by doing a reading update because I have a lot to say but am not quite sure where to start. So I’m going to start where I always start: books. I mean, I have two stacks of library books that will go back to the library…someday? I’m not even sure when because all of our local libraries are closed. On the plus side, I definitely checked out some books I have been meaning to read–a couple of them graphic novels–so I am going to make those my priority after I finish the book I’m currently reading (and that I assigned to my children’s literature class): Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.
This was so fun. A plagiarism plot, a mean professor, Susan being a stalker, Esther dabbling in pens, Daisy being the all-around best, and a trip to Ikea. Did I mention Daisy is the best? I love her. I mean, they’re all pretty great IN GENERAL, but specifically in this volume Daisy is the best.
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.