Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. My classes are still processing and mourning the tragic bus crash that happened last Thursday night. It's been a challenge to keep pushing them academically, with the IB test being in just a few short weeks. It makes me feel so guilty to talk about the Scarlet Letter when their friend just died a horrible death. But if we don't move forward they won't be prepared and dwelling isn't necessarily the healthiest thing for them. It's just a tough, tough situation.

2. Our school was in the media once again for a bogus bomb threat this morning- we had to wait outside the campus for over an hour to be let back in. Seriously, universe, just leave us alone.

3. Time to get a little less serious:



4. My husband and I went to the hospital orientation meeting tonight (I figured at 37.5 weeks it was probably time, I suppose) and while the hospital is a little more progressive than I thought, it's still dumpy. I went to give birth somewhere fresh and shiny and new.

5. I wish I went to Coachella a couple of years ago, back when I wasn't pregnant and it hadn't sold out yet.

6. Have you heard of oil pulling? I don't get it.



7. I started Lolita over the weekend and I must confess to having trouble getting into it. Granted I am a bit busy right now and have yet to sit down for a substantial block of time, so hopefully I can commit some time this weekend to it.

8. One of my friends and I are going to a restaurant dedicated to funnel cake this weekend. I can't believe I've gone so long not knowing it existed. The horror that would have been if I had never gotten that Groupon (that I didn't even buy). The best part if that I'm going after I FINALLY DYE MY HAIR AGAIN! God, I've been waiting for like 26 weeks to do this.

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9. Poor Andre Johnson. Poor Andre Johnson's penis. Poor guy thought he wasn't going to need it in the place he was going next, but now, well, now he's in a bit of a conundrum. 

10. Those bastards at Target finally got me with their stupid Red Card ATM. I started doing the math on diapers and figured it was smart. Unless I buy them at Costco. Then I just caved in for no reason.

Simply, and Seriously, Horrible

Today I had a post scheduled about my favorite cookie recipes scheduled to go up, but given the events of the last two days I just didn't feel it was appropriate. I've debated about mentioning anything, since this event really is not about me, and I hate it when people take tragic events and weave themselves into the mix. But these people could desperately use any positive vibes put out into the atmosphere on their behalf, so I'm going for it.

Thursday morning a few buses full of high school seniors drove up from Southern California for a sort of preview weekend at CSU Humboldt (in Northern California, so quite the drive). Early evening a FedEx truck crossed the center divider and hit one of the buses head on, leading to an instant fire. Three of my IB English students were on the trip. Friday morning when I woke up there was an email about an emergency pre-work staff meeting and there was a news van parked outside our office. I didn't put two and two together until colleagues in the parking lot gave me the update. Of the three students on the trip one student wasn't on the bus that crashed, but her twin sister was, as was another girl. The twin sister was unaccounted for and the other girl was in stable condition  (this is an article that probably explains things better than I). I had all three of the kids last year and this current year- while I wasn't extremely close to them I knew them quite well. Nice, sweet, good kids who were on the college track. They were low-income and would be first-generation college students.

As the day went on (a minimum one, thank goodness, since last night was prom... I know) I watched my three classes of IB seniors fall apart. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen, but I was also beyond touched with the sympathy and compassion they showed one another. The program is very tight-knit and these kids have grown incredibly close over the years. Our district and site, as always, followed protocol and did a great job providing grief counselors for staff members and students. Our principal canceled our planned meetings and allowed people to go home early.

Throughout the day various bits of misinformation spread like wildfire, both between good-intentioned kids and the media. It was frustrating. But without out any legitimate updates as the day went on many began to fear the worst for the twin that was missing. It was a good lesson on being cautious about believing news updates. The rush "to be first" leads to so much unreliability.

Last night, while chaperoning prom I arrived to see two or three news vans in front of the venue, there to get any snippet they could from our poor kids and staff members. It was despicable. Our administrators did their best to keep them away from the kids, but their presence was infuriating. My students were so conflicted about going anyway, but the counselors and teachers told them that they should, if they were up to it. The media had no business being there. During the dance confirmation was given via staff email that the unaccounted for student was confirmed dead- luckily most of the kids didn't hear.

This is not about me, this is about my poor students who lost a friend, parents who lost a child, and a twin who lost someone she shared a bond with that most of us can't even imagine. This is about the fact that sometimes horrific things happen to great people and that we never know when disaster will strike. This is about the sad truth that as teachers, working with as many kids as we do, probability mandates that at some point we're going to face student death. It's a horribly realistic fact.

It's all just really terrible. I know the family and community would appreciate any prayers/warm thoughts/positive vibes you can send out there, on the chance that sort of thing does work. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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1. Prom is Friday night! Part of me is excited (I get to dress up, see my kids in a different setting, it's a minimum day), part of me is not at all looking forward to driving 45 miles to Orange County, and back, alone on a Friday night. I plan on using the tips from this article.

2. Reading a pastiche of your writing would be downright horrible. Sort of like watching or listening to yourself, but worse.

3. I kinda sorta fell down the stairs on Sunday (like maybe five or six steps). I'm fine, the baby's fine, but holy crap falling with that additional weight is no joke. I don't think I've ever made the sound that came out of my mouth before.

4. I'm really trying to enjoy the time left that I have with my students (hopefully 17 days of work, but two are training days and one is senior ditch day), but all the pressure to have them ready for the IB test on May 5 sort of puts a damper on things. 

5. I hate teenagers that aren't "my own." I was out the other day and overheard a group of them talking and they were so effing annoying. I actually sort of feel that way about random kids I don't know in general. Dogs, not at all. I'll pet anyone's dog.

6. After ordering the Fitbit Force forever ago, and then somehow missing the email that they were discontinuing them, my Flex arrived the other day and I'm obsessed. I'm totally a stats/numbers person, so the fact that I can now monitor my steps, sleep, and calories from one app is just too much. 

7. I started reading The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne the other day and am really enjoying it so far, granted I'm only twenty pages in. His humor, honesty, and love of books have won me over. I haven't gotten to the point were he's been diagnosed with Tourrette's quite yet, but I'm sure that will be fascinating as well.

8. Back in the day I really loved No Doubt (well, Tragic Kingdom, at least). Now, as an adult I can't stand them. I literally shutter when "I'm Just a Girl" comes on the radio. 

9. Let me get political for just a second. Today I saw an article on Facebook from Thought Catalog called "18 Things White People Seem to Not Understand (Because, White Privilege)" and was a little irritated after reading it. In fact, I hate the term "white privilege" in general. Sorry for having two parents that were white? Sorry because, history? Sure, I've never felt prejudice, but I've felt other negative emotions. My life has not been all rainbows and butterflies- my "white privilege" has not created a bubble that I get to reside it.  I get it, there are things I don't understand because I'm not of color, but it's not my fault. Isn't there something slightly hypocritical about demeaning one color (and being condescending) because the other colors have been demeaned? What else should I feel guilty about that I can't control? And in the area of Southern California where I live I am the minority, for the record. I understand that this may not exactly jive with my typical liberal-minded ways, but don't give me shit for something that I can't control.

10. I haven't colored my hair since a week before I got pregnant and am finally letting myself in a week. I may be slightly more excited about that then actually having my baby. Is that bad? My roots are ridiculous. 



A Bookish (Surprise) Baby Shower

I've always been pretty vocal about not wanting a baby shower- I've turned down family and well-intentioned friends over the last few months. Two of my very good friends decided they had other ideas, though, and threw me a surprise book-themed one over the weekend. It was incredibly thoughtful and they took great care to make it something that I would like (and I did)- there weren't any games, they tracked down friends they didn't know well, scouted out my Pinterest boards to see what foods I'd like, and consulted my husband on the logistics (it was a coed shower, but really just felt like a lot of great people hanging out with good food and baby gifts). And it was bookish! They had everyone sign a copy of Where the Wild Things Are and bring a book. There were book quotes printed and framed throughout the house and even the invitation and favors were book-related.





Admittedly, I go through great lengths to not let people do things for me. I decline help, I refuse to ask for things, and I hate feeling like an imposition. The fact that these girls, and everyone else who took time out of their busy lives to attend, were willing to go through such trouble for me (I guess the planning started a few months ago!) meant so, so, so much. It was one of those days that I needed someone to do something nice for me... and boy did I get hit the jackpot! I had absolutely no idea that they had planned it, and the little comments they had made over the last few weeks totally threw my off course. I'm so incredibly lucky to have these people in my life! 

The snarky sarcasm will be back soon, I promise.  

Top Ten Tuesday- So Unique

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This week The Broke and the Bookish ask us what the most unique books are that we've read. Here's my top ten, with a few bonus ones that I thought were just the opposite: 

1. The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larsen- I love the sketches in the marginalia and TS's character. In fact, I'm such a fan I pushed it on our work book club this month. I'm legitimately scared they won't love it.

2. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn- As letters drop off a sacred statue in this fictional island town the inhabitants are forbidden to use them in speech or writing. The ending chapters are quite interesting to decipher!

3. Composition No. 1 by Mark Saporta- Confession: I haven't read this yet. I ordered it from the amazing Visual Editions a year or three ago and have yet to devote the time it deserves. Basically, it's a box full of pages that can be read in any order- it's like a pseudo choose-your-own-adventure story. 

4. Building Stories by Chris Ware- Speaking of things I haven't read and books that come in boxes is this graphic novel of sorts that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, telling the story of those that live in an apartment complex.

5. Night Film by Marisha Pessl- I loved that this mystery was not only smartly written, but also included a ton of media in forms of articles, pictures, emails, etc...

6. Family Fang by Kevin Wilson- I know, like many of the others, that I've touted this before, but the family of performance artists that he creates is just so different!

7. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka- I suppose it's the existentialism, family dynamics, or the fact that he for some reason turns into an EFFING bug (or does he?) that makes this book so dang strange.

8. Habibi by Craig Thompson- While I know Thompson is impressive in his own right, I know part of my awe is the fact that I'm so poorly versed in graphic novels. Nonetheless, I found the story and illustrations fascinating.

9. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs- I honestly hate this book (like hate, hate), but it was definitely different from anything I have ever read before. 

10. Open Me by Sunshine O'Donnell- I will forever be intrigued by the idea of professional mourners because of this book (outlawed, by the way, but still happening here and abroad).

Fine to Be Inspired, but Still Not So Unique... (aka Sorry for Pissing You Off)

1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling- I love this series, I do, and I feel that there are components that are incredibly unique (like Hogwarts), but she did borrow heavily from other works of literature (like Lord of the Rings).

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky- Helllllllllllo Catcher in the Rye.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- Ever watched Survivor? Read the short story "The Lottery?" How about Lord of the Flies?

What made your list?
 
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