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!

My New Normal

1. I didn’t post an update last week because I told myself I hadn’t really done anything, which was insane because my friend and I were seatfillers at the Creative Emmys. I mean, that is literally a thing I did, and I was all Kanye shrug about it. I don’t even understand HOW when I sat directly behind Amy Sherman-Palladino (she offered to scrunch down in her seat so her hat wouldn’t block my view), Phylicia Rashad basically walked right by me (okay, okay, she was like three rows away, but OH MY GOD, I almost passed out from the proximity), and Sterling K. Brown came by to say hello to someone in our section. Just, you know, stopped by for a chat.

Also, ASP and her husband brought their Emmys back to their seats, and those things are beautiful and massive and can definitely be used as weapons. So, you know, that is also a thing that I can now say: I saw an Emmy up close and personal. Also, a Wayans brother. (It was Shawn.)

2. I posted a couple of things:

3. My friend and I also went to a taping of Kelly Clarkson’s show, which was quite delightful. I mean, it’s Kelly. She is adorable. It was a lot of fun, though it was FUH-REEZING in the studio. In fact, the set photographer was wearing an actual winter coat, and I may have, very classily, put on my leggings under my dress as soon as we got in the studio.

My friend was all, “Seriously, you couldn’t do that all those times you went to the bathroom?”

To which I could only reply, “It wasn’t cold then!”

So anyway, if you want to see me in the audience of Kelly’s show, it’s the episode with Mike Colter that will be airing this Tuesday, Oct. 1. It’s syndicated! Or you can watch it here.

4. I also went to see a stage production August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, which I was not familiar with at all. It was awesome. I really need to read more of his stuff. More plays in 2020, perhaps?

5. And, of course, I read some books:

EducatedEducated by Tara Westover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very well-written memoir and super engaging. I listened to the audio (my first Julia Whelan, which is surprising because she is pretty prolific, and fantastic), and was immediately hooked.

This is also VERY triggering, which I was not prepared for. I was just so not prepared. But I did feel compelled to finish the whole thing, which just goes back to how engaging the story is. So, there’s also that.

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The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, #1)The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had, surprisingly, never read this book before so was shocked that Bess, George, and Ned weren’t in it. What madness is this???

I liked that, though! I mean, it’s a little slow to start, but Nancy is truly On Her Own, so that is really appealing. I mean, my girl legit saves herself from every single scrape she is in while finessing an entire community including the dad of the girls who hate her, so queens gonna queen, basically.

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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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Continue reading “IMWAYR: Strictly a Reading Update”

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.

Continue reading “I love Dulé Hill. That is all.”

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.

Continue reading “The Teacher Becomes the Student Who Be Clubbin’: January Wrap-Up”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? on an actual Monday! + #AMonthofFaves

Wow, so much happened in the past week that I don’t know where to begin.

1. The big thing is that the semester ended! I gave final exams, I graded graded graded and then graded some more.

end of semester bingo

My friend sent me the end of semester bingo card from social media, and I asked her if every square could be “Grading until you cry” and “more grading.” Because that was my main mood.

Oh, and also this:

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What are you reading? on an actual Monday! + #AMonthofFaves”

Goal: fewer work dates, more play dates

1. A lot has been going on this week. I asked some friends how they were and what was happening, and then I listed two things for myself and thought of a bunch more. But then I remembered I have a blog.

you_have_a_blog
Not really, Willy Wonka, and to be honest, I don’t like your tone. (source)

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Can you show me the way to Santa Fe?

Whew, I have been busy.

1. Last week, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time ever. My friend had a work trip there, so she invited me to crash it, and I did.

It was very brown. And cold. But! I got some culture. I went to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture as well as Meow Wolf and the Loretto Chapel to see the miracle stairs. The museum was great because I had an awesome tour from a delightful docent who kept talking about “fiesty lady archaeologists.” (Also, have you heard of archeaoacoustics? I hadn’t until she told us about them.) Plus, because the museum has been largely curated in cooperation with Native groups and is focused on their history and culture, it is way less rage inducing than going to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Continue reading “Can you show me the way to Santa Fe?”

I forgot to give this post a title, so now it has one

1. In case you missed it, I welcomed the new year by buying a car, establishing some goals, and just generally being awesome:

2. The non-working part of my vacation is officially over since I spent today doing some course prep/lesson planning. My goal for this semester is to bring back fun assignments so that grading isn’t as much of a chore.

The problem, of course, isn’t finding fun assignments, but fitting them all into the course schedule. My ambitions are so grand, but the semester is always too short for me to do everything I want to do.

Continue reading “I forgot to give this post a title, so now it has one”

Make some decisions for me! Also: books & bookish events

1. I already posted this on Twitter and Facebook, so I’m also posting here. But a few years ago, I did a 32 things to do before I turn 33 project, and I’m looking to do something similar for my 40th birthday. I am looking for suggestions of cool things to do by my 40th birthday or before my 40th year is up (this is still very much in the conception stage, obvs.)

I did wind up completing quite a few things on my 32 list, so I need to rebuild. Here are some things I’m already planning to do/considering doing:

  • Go see Hamilton
  • Go to Harry Potter world
  • Do one of those paint class things
  • Take a knife skills class
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • go to a taping of Price Is Right
  • surfing lessons
  • go to Hawaii
  • finish reading the Bible
  • post a YouTube video
  • indoor skydiving

NOTE: I am not jumping off a bridge or out of a plane, so please do not suggest bungee jumping or skydiving. They are both an automatic no. Anything else will be seriously considered! So please post some suggestions in the comments.

I live in the L.A. area if that has any impact on what you might suggest.

Continue reading “Make some decisions for me! Also: books & bookish events”