January 19, 2018

The Bachelor is BACK!

(Spoilers ahead...)

Actually, the Bachelor started up two weeks ago so I'm a bit behind in talking about it...

What are your thoughts on Arie? I have none because I never watched Emily's season. He may or may not be as sketchy as the rest of the leads/contestants. Luke Pell was in it for fame, and so was Nick. Those were the options last year. This year, Arie isn't Peter but I don't think that matters. Peter, before he starting IG-whoring himself out, seemed like a good guy. I doubt anyone they choose has the purest of intentions. The funny part to me is that these women all applied when they thought it'd be Peter, and they ended up with Arie. Just like how last year's crop applied when they thought it'd be Luke and ended up with Nick. Too bad, ladies.

But, truth be told, since I read and listen to Reality Steve, I already know who "won" ("won" should always be in quotations when it comes to this show). Do you spoil the show for yourself? I think knowing is half the fun. I will do my best not to give anything away here...

Thoughts so far...

1. I really love Bibiana's hair. And the name Bibiana threw Scott off for a second there but I had a student named Bibiana once so I got it. It means "love". Also, I'm not a nail person, but her nails were great in Monday's episode.

2. Krystal is a character. I feel like they made her into what they needed to move the plotline forward. That being said, she's super annoying and I can't stand her commentary. Honestly, if she wants Arie, she can have Arie. He's not really that much of a prize.

3. When Arie talks to the "girls", he always comes off as a father figure. Like, I can't tell the difference between him and Chris Harrison sometimes. Aren't they, like, the same age? And, ohemgee, that cardigan killed me.

4. I'm a fan of Tia. She's far too interesting for Arie.

5. Do you think Annaliese is afraid of cats too? Or just little dogs you can fit in a purse? And plastic car-like devices that require an electric current leading to the ceiling in order to run?


January 18, 2018

Things that make me ridiculously happy. Vol. 2

Here's the first installment of things that make me ridiculously happy. Maybe I'll make it a monthly post.

+When Jimmy comes back on Season 5 of Shameless and tells Fiona he loves her. They are so dysfunctional that it makes me melt.

+Bachelor recap podcasts. 
I actually subscribed to pay $3 a month to get the deep-dives and weekly Bachelor recaps from The Popcast just because Knox and Jamie are so entertaining. And because I need 6 recaps a week instead of 5, I suppose. I don't know..that might be #7.

+$8 haircuts. 
I love Great Clips so much. I've decided that I would rather pay for pedicures and get cheap haircuts as a compromise. 

+There are very few 5-day school weeks left until the end of February. Next week is one of the few. 

+Coming home on a Tuesday that feels like a Monday but knowing it's definitely Tuesday, thanks to a 3-day weekend.

+Knowing that I have enough sick days/personal days to take multiple 3-day weekends off for the rest of the school year (not that I WOULD). 

+When it actually snows and is cold in January. 

What is making you happy this week?

January 16, 2018

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge 2018 (suggestions welcomed)

This year, I'm going to join in on this challenge. 12 books in 1 year is something I can do. This just takes a little proactive thought on my part. 

1. A classic you've been meaning to read. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I'll call this a classic. It's the most-read mystery of all time. Who decides what "classic" means anyway? 

2. A book recommended by someone(s) with great taste. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. This is recommended by several bloggers so I'll give it a try. 

3. A book in translation. Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederick Backman. I don't have a strong "like" record with his books but I like the title of this one and I'll give him one more chance. 

4. A book nominated for an award in 2018. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Volk. This is a Newbery Honor book and I can't figure why it was nominated in 2017 and isn't being published until this April. I'm calling it as fitting the category though for that discrepancy. I had to pre-order it. It has a long list of awards on the Amazon page so it'll work. 

5. An essay collection. Heating and Cooling by Beth Anne Fennelly

6. A book you can read in a day. Suggestions??? I'm thinking The Lathe of Heaven because Anne Bogel recommends it as a book you can read in a day...but I don't always love her suggestions (and now I know you're wondering why I'm doing this challenge, right?)

7. A book over 500 pages. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This is the most ambitious pick on the list. I'm a fan of Morton but I don't have a great track record with long books these days. Do you have a different one you've loved?

8. A book by a favorite author.  Deadly Summer by Denise Grover Swank. This is her new series, now that Rose Gardner is mostly wrapped up. 

9. Suggestions for something recommended by a librarian or bookseller? I don't know any. 

10. Suggestions for a banned book?

11. A Memoir. What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan. This was recommended by Carly and it seems interesting and meaningful. 

12. A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I didn't finish this within my library loan time, so I put myself back on the holds list. I'm currently #48. Then, Kristen generously sent me her copy since she was done with it, so I can read it at my own (snail's) pace!  Thanks Kristen! I'll be happy to pass it on to whoever wants it next and is a victim of a long wait list. Let me know!

Any suggestions? I'm drawing a few blanks. Also, are you doing a book challenge this year? 
I always gravitate toward non-fiction so picking for fiction is so hit and miss for me. I have 4 books on my nightstand (all gifts) and they're all non-fiction.

January 15, 2018

3-day weekend currentlys.

I'm still on a 3-day week (thankgoodness), so here's some current happenings...

Listening to...The Give Grace podcast is a recommendation I plan to give this month because it's so oddly uplifting. They talk about all kinds of issues and only have a backlog to August, so I binged most of it this past week. 

Laughing at....Dogs Being Basic is my new favorite account to follow. 

Taking.... a conceal and carry class. I went with my friend, because she just got herself a pistol for Christmas and wanted to take the class to get a permit. I've had a pistol since 2012, but in Alaska you don't need a permit. It's essentially been useless to me ever since (not that I go many places where I would choose to take it in Colorado). But I figured I could take the class and get it out of the way for $65. I, unfortunately, won't be able to apply for the actual permit in Colorado because I'm not a resident. Our military orders are for Wyoming. Maybe I'll make that a spring break project.

Wearing... my new Kamik boots. I threw the other ones away because they had actual holes in them and are, therefore, useless (which is what I keep telling myself because those boots and I had been through a lot together...so many snakes, so many four-wheeler rides, so many dog walks, etc...).

Irritated at... Direct TV. They call twice a day, every day. Sometimes I answer just for fun. They keep asking me to "come back". It's really, actually, a bit pathetic because if I wanted Direct TV, I would still have Direct TV, which is what I keep telling them. 

Not quite finishing....Murder on the Orient Express. My loan expires tomorrow. I'm at 36%. Sigh.

Organizing...everything. Knowing we've got 5ish months before we move allthethings to Wyoming has made me purge and clean and get rid of the things I know I don't need (i.e. a pair of boots with holes in them).

Watching...Well, I've been watching The Bachelor and Scott (with his time off of school) has been up at night watching TV after I pass out around 9pm. I've caught snippets of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (it gets better after the first episode..I was not a fan initially) and Manhattan. We bought a $25 antenna for local channels and an Amazon Firestick for everything else. This was the best decision I could've made (canceling Direct TV) to start off 2018.



We can't even talk about it. I think this is more me than Scott, though. 

January 12, 2018

5 Birthday Favorites

I actually had a really good birthday. I didn't have any expectations because it was a weekday and it's January, so you never can tell.

1. To start with, I'm really enjoying my new haircut.

I got a haircut the other day and it's much shorter than I expected it to be but I'm kind of glad she stopped me when she did...I was ready to cut another half inch off. Maybe next time.

Every once in a while, I'll get a cut that's pretty short (for me) and the last time was summer of 2015, so it was time to try it again. 

2. We had sushi for dinner and that vegetable tempura roll was amazing. Next time, I'm just getting two of those. Scott told me I could get a Pepsi.  

3. I wasn't about to bake myself a cake or anything so we just stopped at Culver's on the way home. 

4. Scott decided to out-do himself. My iPad died a couple of weeks ago. It was from Christmas 2011, a second generation one. So not the very first iPad Apple made, but the second one. It'd been slowing down for years but couldn't handle the last update and just wouldn't connect to anything or go past the welcome screen after being updated. 
I didn't need a new iPad, but I think Scott did know how much I used it so here we are. 

5. I had a shockingly good birthday at school too. I wanted to take in cupcakes but couldn't because of allergies. However, the kids remembered it was my birthday, and every one of them gave me a hug. I'll take that any day. I do have a really good group of kids (I'm not going to say the kids are why I'm leaving teaching for awhile :), so I'm grateful I chose this to be my last year for now. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this year.

Hopefully you have a 3-day weekend ahead of you as well! Even coming off of 2+ weeks off...I need it!

January 10, 2018

Things about Me. For my birthday.

1. I rarely paint my nails. If I do, it's in the winter. My toenails are always kept up from May to October though #becausesandals.

2. Unless I'm feeling really motivated in the morning, I make the bed at night, before I get back into it.

3. The last two times I've thrown up have been in my own car. Talk about a confession. Three times on the way back from a Mexican restaurant after too much tequila (Scott thought it was hilarious) and then three times on the way home from surgery I had last spring, because anesthesia always makes me throw up. Again, talk about a confession...and there's some vast difference in circumstances as well.

4. I don't watch The Walking Dead anymore because it's dumb now, but my favorite character will always be Shane. He was the best.

5. I don't see myself ever getting a tattoo.

6. I don't own an ironing board. I put a thick towel on a counter if I need to iron something (which is like 3 times a year).

7. I usually have to be forced to watch an animated movie. I find so little about them appealing.

8. It took me almost 32 years but I managed to watch (and enjoy!) every Star Wars movie in the past year.

9. When I return home from a trip, whether it is midnight, 2am, or 2pm, I must unpack because I can do anything else. I realized this about myself when we lived in Alaska. I would stay up all night putting things back where they belonged before I could go to sleep. The time difference helped with that as well.

10. Today is the first day back for students after winter break.
I decided, many months ago actually, that this will be my last year in the classroom for the foreseeable future. I'll be done after this spring, as of now. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to a break to just live for a little bit without this outside focus on school. Being a teacher is not a job; it's a lifestyle.  I've taught for 8 solid years, in 3 states, and in 4 schools. It's been an interesting career so far and I have no idea where I'll go from here or what I'll do next. The reasons for me taking a break are many but the long and short of it is that we are relocating in early 2019 and me being tied down to a teaching job for only half a year next year isn't ideal.

I don't have big plans for today...it's a Wednesday, after all...but I have a 3-day weekend ahead and I might experiment with a cake and we'll go out to eat. I haven't even bought myself a present yet...I'm still trying to decide what I want. I bought Uggs for Christmas (though, ironically, it's too warm to wear them in Colorado..maybe next year in Wyoming) so I was thinking of investing in a Pilates program.

Anyway. Here's to 32.

January 9, 2018

December Books 2017

Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan B-
I wanted a Christmas book and this was a Kindle Daily Deal so I tried it for a few dollars. I wasn't overly impressed and didn't think it was as great as Sophie Kinsella claimed it to be on the cover. Kinsella knows how to write compelling English characters and this wasn't quite that. Kerensa's storyline and Polly's mother's storyline were the most interesting parts and I did care enough to finish and figure out how it ended, but I wouldn't say it's a must-read.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan DNF
I really tried with this book. I liked parts of the beginning and thought it would get better but I didn't actually care about any of the characters so I just stopped halfway. At least with Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery, I cared about the characters.

The Cornerstone by Angela Watson B
I picked this up (bought on Kindle) because I wanted to read her entire catalog of books just to make sure I didn't miss something. I digested it in small chunks over the last few months. I would highly recommend this to a new teacher. Once you're a teacher who is already set in your ways or you have multiple systems in place, you likely don't need this. It was, for me, a "fun" read, though. If you've been a teacher for awhile, I'd recommend Unshakeable. This book was also written quite a years ago, so some of it (the technology talk) is a little dated, but the message is still there.
Allll that being said, this will be the last teaching book I read for awhile. I need to start picking up some more fiction.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond B-
This was fine. It wasn't amazing but it was good. I liked the character of Jake and Alice was okay. Very unlike me, so I didn't relate or identify (or even sympathize).
I will say I cruised through the first 50% of this book and couldn't put it down. The back half got a little repetitive and I didn't love it. It could've been shorter, maybe.

That rounds out my 2017 books. As I said before, I didn't really impress myself, but 60ish isn't too bad either (it may have been 61...I'm not going back to count..again). 

Have I read anything yet in 2018? No. I have not. 

What was the first book you chose to read in 2018?

Linking up with Jana and Steph!

January 8, 2018

A quick recap

I hear it snowed on the east coast. Not here. ^Dogs with their kill. 

We got back to Colorado at 11:30pm on Wednesday night. This was because we left Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning, drove only to Richmond, Indiana because Scott was coming down with something (The flu? A chest cold? We still don't know.), and spent the night. The next morning, we left there at 7:30am and it was a pleasant 6 degrees out. I told him I was going to drive us home that day because I refused (refused) to unpack the dogs at a hotel for another night. He was skeptical, but he had to let me drive because he couldn't. He slept almost all day while I drove 14 hours straight. I listened to every downloaded episode of The Popcast that I had. We stopped for coffee, for gas, for lunch, for gas, for coffee, for gas...and then he drove the last two hours home. It was a good 16 hour day. I will say that the stretch between Colorado Springs and Topeka, Kansas is hellish. It's boring and it lasts forever and if you live there, I apologize for saying that. The only thing worse than western Kansas is probably eastern Colorado (they are exactly the same thing). And we actually gained time, driving west, so technically it was an 18 hour day.

I think I went to bed at 2am because I was unpacking and then couldn't sleep.

Thursday and Friday blended together, but I went through the car wash twice to get all of the east-coast salt and grime off of it (they don't use salt to combat snow/ice in this part of the country). Also, I cleaned out the inside and then went to the grocery store. Scott spent Thursday on the couch but, on Friday, he decided that he was going to use the weekend to replace the flooring in the guest room. I wasn't holding up my hands in protest as I'd been asking him to do this for almost 4 years but I thought it was an odd choice of timing, what with the fever and congestion.

But he ripped out the carpet and the padding and threw it in the landfill pile where it belongs. He bought this laminate, which is actually made of vinyl and finished most of the floor this weekend. We also plan to put it in the bathrooms. Hopefully I can post a finished picture soon. I think Scott was legitimately just looking for anything else, aside from carpet, to put on that floor. He really doesn't like installing carpet. That's 4 years of avoidance.

I took down Christmas decorations and did a dozen loads of laundry.

We watched a few episodes of Black Mirror and some of them are fascinating.

Sunday was hunting day for the dogs and I went to Target, got a haircut, and then made a quick run to the grocery store to prep for the week (sigh).

If anyone else feels like this ^ about Monday, it's okay. Jett does too. He refused to retrieve and hold the bird that he flushed out so Scott helped him get the feel for it. He was not happy. But I think that's the perfect Monday face.

Linking up with Biana!

January 5, 2018

5 for Friday. 1/5/18

1. Yesterday, I posted a few goals I have for this year. Words of the year. Did you pick one? If I had to pick, it'd be faith for 2018. Why faith? I literally couldn't think of another word that would better define how I need to shift my attitude and focus my thoughts. Faith is what I need to rely on and what I need to believe in. As with most years lately (uh, most years ever), we have BIG decisions to make and changes to embark on. Faith is a good place to start.

2. Onto a different topic, my first act of 2018 (actually at 8pm on New Year's Eve) was that I canceled DirecTV. I had our bill whittled down to $60 total (with fees and all) and they slowly started adding onto it and it was $130 last month. No. Not acceptable. I called and was like I'm done and I already feel so much more free. 
Then, I woke up in the middle of the night and wondered how I'm going to watch the NFL playoffs. 
Who has the Amazon Fire Stick? Does it do local channels?

3. My sister-in-law took these pictures of the dogs. She has a phone with a 3D-ish portrait feature.

4. We made it back to Colorado late Wednesday night and this was my traveling attire for most of the journey. 

If you want to get some glares, you walk into a Columbus, Ohio Panera wearing a Penn State sweatshirt (me), Penn State hat (Scott), and Steelers sweatshirt (also Scott).


We figured out on the ride home that, although the dogs are in the back when we're driving, Jett jumps up into the front seat when we stop and get out. When we get back in the car, he will NOT get in the back...it was determined that this was because Scout likes to overlord over the back and does not want him back there and he snips at him and growls. Poor Jett.

I'd be lying if I said that I could easily remember what day it is these days...with Christmas and traveling and not working, I've lost track. Monday is back to work and I'd also be lying if I said I was looking forward to it. 
Hopefully the weekend goes by reallllllllly s.l.o.w.l.y.

January 4, 2018

Goals for 2018

I like the term 'goal' more than I like 'resolution'.

1. See one new movie each month. I don't know if this will actually happen, given that I don't generally seek out movie theaters. But I figure I can also watch ones on Netflix that I've never seen. The idea is that I never watch movies anymore and always feel behind in a pop culture sense because of it. I would like to see Oscar and Golden Globe nominees because I do like award shows. I figure winter will be an easy time to start strong because it seems easier to sit on the couch and watch movies in the winter. We've also found a close, small, very nice theater in Laramie. I'm excited to try out those reclining leather seats. We can even walk there in the summer.

2. Write one in-depth book review each month.
I like writing about books in the sense that I want to tell you what I thought of the book and why you should read it. This will encourage me to find books worth reading AND to tell people why they should read it. It would be in addition to the usual SUYB posts on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. I don't know where in the month I'll put it though.

3. Really dig in to writing about teaching.
I need to do this. I have so many word documents and google docs and notes and blog posts about teaching; they need to be compiled and finalized into something I can self-publish or at least share with others. The issue is that after teaching all day and grading papers/planning at home, I rarely feel like writing about teaching. This might have to happen once school is out. But it will definitely happen. I heard a quote on a podcast that said "It's not a question of IF you will write the book, it's a question of WHEN you will write the book" (paraphrased and I don't remember the podcast). That is a true statement in this case.

4. Try making macarons.
I had to look for a few recipes to see what I'd be getting myself into with this, but it seems SO simple when they do it on The Great British Bake-Off. I need to try it. This is probably the recipe I'll try. 

So, what about you? Lofty goals for the year? Or are you coming up with something manageable and attainable?

Linking up!

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