April 21, 2021

What are your superlatives? (a survey of sorts)

(Super coincidentally, we went to BWW last night.) 

I had to fill out a form the other day and it was the typical thing they give teachers...what's your favorite: drink, candy, snack, gum, place to eat, place to shop, etc...etc. etc....

I can't even remember everything on the list. 

And, honestly, when you're confronted with a list like that in real time and asked to fill it out, it's a struggle. It's like suddenly your mind goes blank. 

For example: favorite candy. 

I don't have one. So I look like some sort of weirdo not putting anything down. My favorite candy is candy corn but I'm not admitting that. I did it once on one of these forms and the counselor tracked down Valentine's Day candy corn to thank me for doing her a favor in February. 

Seriously awkward, but still one of the nicest things someone has ever done for me.  

I will eat candy if it's in front of me, but I don't seek it out and can't pick a favorite from the normie candy you see in the checkout line. 


Drink from Sonic (yes, it's the midwest so this was definitely a question): Cherry Limeaide. That's easy.

Favorite Bath and Body Works Scent: WTH? Um...when confronted with this random question, the only words that pop into my head are "warm vanilla sugar" and "plumeria" but those are both scents I hate. How am I supposed to remember the running list of BBW scents? 

I put nothing, so as to also make myself look like a weirdo.

Dream school supply: mmmmmmmhmmmm Well, I don't have my own classroom, so it doesn't matter, but I like colorful Expos and I like colorful post-its. I should've put Mr. Sketch markers, though. Those are expensive. What I want is an Erin Condren teacher planner but that'll have to wait because I have no use for it yet.

Favorite cookie: Again...I don't have one? I like Oreos. But I spend a huge amount of time telling myself not to buy them, so I certainly don't need someone else buying them for me.

Favorite snack: Well. That depends on what I'm in the mood for. How am I supposed to just ...pick?

Favorite cake: Um. I don't know what this means. There's too many options out there. Any cake can be good! I don't have a ride-or-die preference. 

Favorite Starbucks drink: I put iced caramel latte because, yeah, that's a great one to break up a school day if someone is offering. I don't go to SB much anymore though. 

Favorite place to eat: Locally, my favorite is Buffalo Wild Wings because I'm pretty classy. I will always maintain that there's nothing like a plate of spicy boneless wings with a draft Coors Light. But, honestly, are they BUYING me a giftcard to a restaurant? Probably not. I also put "Thai food" because I love Thai food but haven't tried the local places. We've been too busy getting B-dubs takeout on Thursdays, I guess. 

Albuquerque, 2017

I think my issue with questionnaires like this is that I take my superlatives seriously. It's part of a reason why I have a blog. I like knowing what I like and I like talking about it. Specificity and knowing who you are is important. I can't randomly write down "anything chocolate!" (when I don't even like chocolate that much, btw) or something. 

Thoughts? What are your superlatives? 

April 19, 2021

Things that bother me

1. The situation with our former babysitter.  I hatehatehate when people air dirty laundry online. I don't want to be that person. I just feel so let down and disappointed. This is a true Tyra Banks we-were-rooting-for-you situation. Like, why? Why? 

The last I heard, she had a medical emergency and that was over a month ago. I haven't heard from her since. Her husband gave me one update and never got back to me again. One would assume that if you are alive and well, you have your phone. I've heard nothing from her. Nothing. (and yes, I've checked the obits, which seems ridiculously gruesome to have to do)

Insofar as this affects us, we found alternate childcare and it's probably better and cheaper, truth be told. But still. It was a scramble. It was incredibly stressful. I definitely tossed around the idea of quitting my job but I was in the middle of a long-term sub position and that seemed incredibly unfair to many levels of people and the ripples of who would be affected were multiple. 
Luckily, I had a generous friend of a friend who was able to watch him for a few days with the other toddlers she cares for, and then I had spring break, and then I had my mom who was willing to fly out for a week if needed (like, if things got dire). We also had a friend visiting who stayed a whole extra week to take care of Wells for us. Then Wells was able to start at a small school-like daycare where he is learning so much. 

But this this just my point: SO MUCH has happened in the last month+ and still...no news from the old sitter. 

If this all seems vague to you, that's because it is. It's vague to me too. My feelings on it are even vague. The more time passes, the more annoyed I become. That's the only explanation for what I feel. I'm not sad. I'm not mad. I'm annoyed. How do you get over "annoyed"? I wasn't annoyed at first. It grows as time passes and I don't like that. 
(I have always had a very touch and go relationship with the idea of childcare altogether, so that's really a whole other story.)

Moving on...

2. New seasons of Bosch and Better Call Saul have yet to appear on streaming services in 2021 and I am angry about it. All I want is more of these shows. That's it. That's probably the number one thing that's bothering me. 

3. But also...When you have a spray bottle and the nozzle keeps jamming. There are few things more frustrating in day to day life at home, to be honest. 

4. And...Goodreads and their glitches. I don't think it's too much to ask to have a computer system track my books for me correctly. It's 2021. 

5. Plus...I had a 5-pack of masks from Athleta. That's it. I refuse to buy more. I lost one. I have no idea where the maroon mask went. Having only 4 really puts a crimp in a 5-day work week. 

What's something that's been bothering you lately?

April 16, 2021

Multiple Thing Friday.

1. There are six weeks of this school year left. 

2. I have some major trust issues when it comes to childcare at this point. In fact, I could write a series of blog posts or a book. Do I feel it's worth it or necessary to share? Probably not. Do I need to get it off my chest? In a major way. Maybe look for that next week.

3. Does everyone's house look like this on a Sunday night? What an awful way to start the week. I went on a rampage on Wednesday night and put all of his toys in a laundry basket and hid them. I left out a few things, obviously. I have tried the "themes" and the "toy rotations" (all the " " here), but I think "the garbage can" for some of these things might serve us better. 

I can't decide if I'm going to throw the trampoline away, burn it, or sell it. He doesn't jump on it. He uses it as a staging area for his toys. 

4. Does anyone else think they just can't live in a northern-ish climate anymore? I am really starting to see the appeal of living in the south. I don't want to deal with cold and winter. It is starting to bother me in a way that it never did before. Just looking back at January/February/March/April (because it's still generally unpleasant in Kansas for some reason), I have to ask why we put up with it. I want nothing to do with winter anymore. 

5. It seems like we can all agree that Songs About Jane was the GOAT. As long as we see eye to eye on that, other viewpoints don't qualify enough to divide us.

6. ICYMI: Books from the month of March 

Wherever you are, may the weather not be 46 degrees and raining today. 

April 14, 2021

Guilty pleasure song (a Shawn Mendes confession)

I climbed back onto the stationary bike for the first time in like three weeks. I'm really killing it with this Peloton app, guys. 

The only workouts I've done in a week and a half have been Pilates because I'm so tired at the end of the day and so stressed out in general. It's unfortunate. 

But I had all of Saturday to be around the house so I decided that 30 minutes on the bike wouldn't kill me. Normally I have to do this at night after Wells is asleep, so he's not trying to get out onto the sun porch where we keep the bike. But Wells was otherwise occupied with Scott, so I found a Cody Rigsby ride. 

I have exactly one Peloton friend and she's my friend from Colorado. (follow me; I'm obviously super active on there)

We love Cody Rigsby. He is so entertaining and refreshing. I don't mind some of the other instructors but instructor is one thing: I scan all of the music before I start the class. I can't do a spin/cycling class that has bad music. It infuriates me. In the same way, I can't abide by a song I don't like being on the radio. It's one of the odder things about me.

The point is: Cody had a ride that was Guilty Pleasure Songs last week. 

I scanned it and I saw Shawn Mendes and I was like:

Shawn Mendes is my guilty pleasure when it comes to music. 

I remember, like 5 years ago, all the little girls in my class listening to Stitches (radio edit only, please) and me having the song stuck in my head for weeks at a time. This, it must be said, was still 193948303894x better than having Two Princes stuck in my head.

But, truly, my favorite Shawn Mendes song is There's Nothing Holding Me Back. It's, like, my ride-or-die guilty pleasure song if I had to pick one. 


Lately, something about springtime must be doing this to me, I've been listening to music in the car with Wells. The podcasts are just too depressing at 7am right now. 

So...I hope he likes my Pandora channels. 

This has come up many times already this week and it's also a favorite of mine and the video is the most adorable of all time. If it doesn't make you smile, I don't know what to tell you. 

I want to tell Wells that I saw Maroon 5 in concert back in the Songs About Jane days (when tickets were $30 to see Adam Levine in 2005...can you imagine?). But he probably doesn't care yet. I'll tell him in a few years. 

What's your guilty pleasure song? Tell me I'm not alone in the Shawn Mendes thing (please).

April 12, 2021

March Books 2021

The Lovely War by Julie Berry DNF

This was my first did-not-finish of 2021. It made me sad that I couldn't power through. I didn't hate the idea and I was pretty intrigued by the first few chapters. I just couldn't with the YA love story and then the WWI frontline aspect. I was bored and I feel like WW history is just so overdone that I can't do it anymore. Ugh. I probably made it 100 pages? I don't remember. I just know I had other books to read so I stopped. This wasn't a writing issue or a book problem; it just wasn't for me. I think I had just come off a historical fiction book (The Four Winds) and I couldn't stomach another one. I take my HF in very small doses these days. 

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

Very good. I would even classify it as very, very good, but cannot give it 5 stars. I picked up on the twist earlier than I was probably supposed to? 

But the writing was great, it popped from POV to POV just enough to keep you motivated, and it did go a little over-the-top at the end. But still, great thriller/mystery. 

I mentioned that I was on the wait list since November, which is a little ridiculous. I couldn't get it from Net Galley, I couldn't find it at my local library, and I had to wait for the ebook from the Carnegie Library system I'm still registered through in Pittsburgh. I don't know that it was worth that wait, but it was a good book if you have it available. 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I kept thinking of the book Dear Fahrenheit 451 while I was reading F451 and how that author said she didn't like F451. (I *was*, however, reminded of how God-awful Dear Fahrenheit 451 was because I grabbed the ebook this month as a refresher. Oh my gosh. It was terrible. It was like a bad memoir. It had nothing to do with ANYTHING and was just equivalent to a series of blog posts or IG stories. Turns out, she did like F451. She was just being dramatic in her titling and, probably, should have to pay Bradbury royalties.) 


F451 was disturbing to an infinite degree. It's not a long book but it's not an easy read, necessarily. I wanted more of Clarisse. This book was also a lesson in visualization. It was really hard to picture the setting and some of what was happening. 

Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell

I think a close-read of Thomas Sowell is important and I did this one on audio. It's very textbook-like, which is fine, but I listened to it over a period of weeks. 

I will say that it was interesting in that the basic claim Sowell makes is that culture, not ethnicity, influences our behavior. The cultural norms and idiosyncrasies make subgroups what they are. Location plays a huge role in this. The first few chapters, especially, were fascinating. 

Every Last Fear by Alex Finley

I don't get what was so great about this book. It was overdone. The technology piece, the intertwined relationships, too many POVs that didn't quite go together, characters that begged you to root for them (I get it. Maggie was smart and tenacious. Stop.)... I felt like I was being beat over the head with character development tactics. No one was particularly unlikeable but, man, there was a lot going on. The parts that bothered me the most were probably the scenes with Matt's friends. They were just placeholders, caricatures, or...I don't know. Ganesh seemed like a decent person and then he was only used when money was involved or needed? Why did the author turn him into Kumar from Harold and Kumar? It was so unnecessary. 

There was literally more going on in this book than in any other I've ever read. I read a list on Goodreads of all of the topics covered; by the time you get to homophobia, tornado, and dementia, you're like Oh my gosh, all of that IS in the book. It's one giant face-palm moment. 

I'm totally not one to randomly label things as racist, but many Goodreads reviewers had some serious issues with the racism in this book. Just throwing that out there. 

I liked Agent Keller's sections but the way her husband was always her "sounding board" was ...odd. Not to mention illegal and unethical. Idk. I understand I'm in the minority and that's fine. It was just really, really tragic as a story. And the author, at the end, mentions they got the idea sitting on their balcony in NYC, and I thought You mean you got the idea from smashing together Serial and Making a Murderer? It was kind of like 2-3 different books wrapped into one. In other words, I thought it was a mess. (And where does the title come from?)

Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering

This was a thriller, with unreliable narration, packaged into a book that really was character-driven. It had a little bit of everything in a good way, not in a messy way. Multiple timelines in a way that wasn't confusing. It was actually really sad in a few ways so I'd stick a trigger warning on it (I can tell you why if you want). It was just really GOOD. I couldn't put it down. The writing was good. No plot holes. No extremely unnecessary characters. 

It was basically the opposite of Every Last Fear. 

I'm having Goodreads issues lately. It never updates books in a consistent way so I'm constantly cross-referencing what I post on IG with what my goal is currently set at on Goodreads. It's pretty annoying. Has anyone else noticed this? I've found I can't trust GR as a failsafe for recording books. 

I've actually read 19 books up to the end of March and I had to check on IG to make sure they were all in there because GR was telling me I'd only read 15. Honestly, I posted more books on IG that I read over the last week and my numbers still don't match up. Clearly this is why I don't do any kind of accounting work. Counting and recounting books is annoying. It shouldn't be this difficult. 

Linking up with Show Us Your Books!

April 9, 2021

Five Thing Friday.


Wells is very into painting now. He has this little watercolor book with a "paint pen" that just holds water. When I first gave it to him yesterday, he used it, looked at me, and said "How does this work?" I'm not even kidding. You can see his furrowed and confused brow there. 

2. I made a version of oven tacos last night and the execution worked. Last time, they didn't stay closed. I didn't add chicken though. I did peppers, onions, corn, and black beans. 

3. Where I found Jett when I tried to go to sleep the other night:

4. Scott has been making dinner a lot lately. He really goes all out, trying new recipes and whatever. I made dinner the other night and all I did was throw a bunch of pizza toppings on Aldi flatbread. It was a weak effort and it was the kind of week around here. 


We got really into making gin rickeys last weekend when we had friends over. I never thought about liquor having calories. Scott assured me I was wrong because alcohol has so much energy because it's combustible. Anyway, one shot of gin is 110 calories. He said he'd rather drink beer if that's the case.
But this meme is so true: I literally only work out to feel good at this point. 

That's literally all I've got today. We're still playing mental gymnastics with life in general. I'm forcing myself to blog instead of puttering around the house this morning because I've written posts in the last few days (that I haven't published yet) and it felt like such a relief to just get things out instead of holding them in my head. We have to make time for creativity, I suppose. 

April 7, 2021

Currently (April)

Wooooooo hooooooo. I told myself I'd sit down and write this out because the usual times I blog include Saturday mornings(?) and then any morning between 5 and 6am. This week, I've just been choosing to not do it. I've been cleaning(?). 

So. Here I am, trying to get some of this down before the nighttime routine begins. 

To start, I recapped a bit of how things are going over the weekend and then just posted a few photos of Easter weekend. It was a quiet one that involved a nice hike, a good walk, warm weather, and decent food. I don't *think* we went anywhere special? I can't even remember. We didn't get to all of our Easter activities that I had planned so we may very well be doing an egg hunt this coming weekend. 

Arranging... all the things. I have tomorrow off so I'll be packing up Easter, putting together some Goodwill boxes, and doing normal day off things. 

Craving... the only thing I ever really crave is ice cream. It's very odd. And sometimes Buffalo Wild Wings. But we've had that about once a month over the last several months so it's not really a craving anymore. I suppose I'm really craving shorts and sandal weather. I ordered these the other night:

Discussing... I've been really tamping it down lately on the religion and politics. I don't know why? I suppose I'm just over-immersed. I know what I believe and I can't do anything about what others believe except immerse myself in logic. That can be overwhelming though. I listened to this episode on Monday night and it was exactly what I needed: 

These were the topics covered:

Enjoying... I finished this book on Monday night. I read it in just a couple of days and I wasn't sold at first. There are NO likable characters. There is NO one to root for. But there was something about it. You will be super annoyed by it but you will keep reading, I’m guessing.

I ended up giving it 4 stars because it was just...good? I don't know. Netgalley emailed it to me. Request it if you can! 

Preparing... not much at all. 

Michelle posted how Easter is not always the photo-friendly holiday so many of us scroll past on Instagram. I can relate to that so hard. 

My confessions of unpreparedness would include: my mom sent most of the things in Wells' Easter basket, my in-laws sent him a giftcard that I was going to use to get a bubble machine and a little kid lawn chair but I haven't made it to Target in a few weeks to get those things, we did not take fancy Easter pictures because Wells' face reacted badly to the sunscreen I put on him, we had chicken marsala for "Easter dinner", we have yet to do the egg hunt I prepared, and we also did not bake the Pillsbury ready-to-bake bunny cookies I thought would be fun for Wells. We definitely didn't color eggs (I never got the appeal of that, tbh).


At least the new sunscreen should be here today.

Linking up with Anne!

April 3, 2021

What's up...Saturday?

I was going to do some weekend photos last Monday and then realized I didn't have many, aside from some poorly-lit food from the weekend. I was far too stressed out for all of that on Sunday night so...I just didn't. 

Last week was a crazy one and it could probably be classified as a "come apart". Jami Golden used to talk about come aparts on the Popcast and I totally fit that category when I have too much going on.

Right now I have too much going on. 

 If I don't update, I'll never update, so here we are. I am in the cycle of "next week, it'll be better. next week, it'll calm down. next week, I can say more." I hate that. It's my coping mechanism though, unfortunately. 

You'll notice that I took liberties with this post :)

What we're eating this week:

Our friend who had been visiting for the last few weeks not only played babysitter, but he cooked. 

This is probably one of my favorite things ever and I've always meant to share with you but never have (seriously since like 2015) because there ain't no way I'm making them myself. 

This is slices of steak marinated in Italian dressing, put in a hollowed out half jalapeno, layered with cream cheese, a slice of onion, and a big sprig of cilantro. Wrapped with a piece of bacon. Then, grilled.

I can't even describe how good it is. 
I like it with steak, but they've been known to make it with wild game too. You could omit the meat altogether...but maybe don't skip the bacon? It's a jalapeno popper of sorts. It has no name and I have no idea where this recipe came from. 

What's I'm reminiscing about:

Not this time last year. I wish we'd known then what we know now. It's why rash overreaction isn't a good thing. The disservice we've done to children and the elderly is astronomical.

What I'm loving:

What we've been up to:

What I'm dreading:  

What I'm working on:

What I'm watching/reading:

I just finished this and it was fantastic.

This, also, and it was...something.

At this precise moment, I'm only reading on the weekends....although, I make it a point to read during Wells' bathtime. That's a habit I picked up as soon as he was old enough to amuse himself in the tub. 

I'm in a show rut, when it comes to TV. Any suggestions?

What I'm listening to:

Not a whole heckuva lot. I listen to Ben Shapiro every day. I listen to Allie Stuckey most days, unless I'm so tired of the episode topic being in the news. I'm not in the headspace to listen to a lot right now which is weird for me. 

What I'm wearing:

Ohmygosh, if I could remember to take one (ONE) outfit photo, there would be something in this category. Unfortunately, this is all I've got:

This long zip-up from Target is the best. High-quality for $35. 

What I'm doing this weekend:

Mailing belated birthday presents (um, this is going to get pushed for sure). I'm the worst. It's like, my cousin and my dad have last-week-of-March birthdays and that's literally never changed. I don't know why I can't get it together and get them out earlier. 

We were going to do Easter with some friends but there's some health concerns in relation to Covid and I can't carry the guilt that we would take any germs to their house. We were just sick a week ago with colds and have spent time a lot of time with different friends recently. We're back to regular life, but that doesn't mean we need to transport our germs if someone is immunosuppressed. 

What I'm looking forward to next month: 

I'm finishing up seven weeks in first grade this week (I think. Maybe one more week. It'll be a fun surprise.) Then I get to relax for April, just doing day to day work....before I head back into another first grade class for the entire month of May. I like the stability but it's not my classroom so it gives me this half-and-half version of teaching. As in, all of the work, but none of the fun extras like classroom design. It's been good experience though. 

Warm weather, painting my toenails, and wearing sandals. 

Also, packing up this house and getting on with things. Details, per usual, to follow soon. 

What else is new:

Does "everything" count? I think everything should count. Everything is always new around here. 


If you are reading this on Saturday or Sunday, have a wonderful Easter!

March 26, 2021

Multiple Things Friday 3/26

1. Yep. That's me. Still wearing a winter coat, scarf, and boots. Maybe I expect too much.
I wanted to show you this outfit, but not enough to stand outside in the cold for more than .003 seconds. 

2. Since finishing Dr. Foster last week, I haven't found a single thing that I really want to watch. I did watch The Last Blockbuster over the weekend though. It was interesting enough. Obviously video rentals were part of my culture growing up, but we didn't have a Blockbuster in my town, just a mom and pop rental place. 

My first Blockbuster experience was in 2010(!) when we lived in Alaska. We had one in Eagle River and they were going out of business all of that year, so they were selling their movies. We bought many DVDs of our favorites for $5 a piece. 

Then streaming really came along by the time we got to Missouri (it wasn't a thing in Alaska at that point because internet was crazy expensive there so we got Netflix mailed from 2010-2013) and we lost our DVD players somewhere between Colorado and Pittsburgh in 2018 (seriously, no idea where they are) and we haven't watched a movie via DVD since. 

If you want a shot of nostalgia, watch The Last Blockbuster (Netflix). It seems so archaic now. 

Speaking of archaic...

3. I know this is a tired meme at this point ^^^, but you will have to shave the side part off my head if you want me to get rid of it.  Speaking of...I'm due for highlights and a cut. It's been awhile. 

4. There is a gang of dogs that roams the neighborhood. They literally (LITERALLY) belong to the local animal control guy. His truck sits in their driveway down the road. Wrap your mind around that. 

It is beyond frustrating. Who the *bleep* do you call about this?

We can't let the dogs out when the male St. Bernard is around. The female is the sweetest though. We don't mind when she comes over alone. 

5. I will be making this tweet into a t-shirt. Lemme know if you want one. 

Bethany Mandel is a fantastic follow if you are a mom with young kids, btw. 

6. Sometimes I forget what funny pins I've already shared. It's a problem. 

ICYMI: My state of mind, Beef Barley Vegetable Soup, and the items I've added to my wardrobe so far in 2021.