Category Archives: Not A Book Review

Hash. Tag. BLESSED!

There are BIG, exciting things coming to my classroom and I am so frackin’ JAZZED!

So, a few weeks ago, my principal forwarded an email from a representative from Donors Choose who encouraged teachers from our school to create a Donors Choose project. Most projects, from what I know, ask for basic supplies, like Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, pencils and such, or larger luxuries, like a class set of iPads or something. I’m eternally lucky in that my school offers me some supplies annually; I have generous family members and student parents who help with tissues and hand sani; my school is one-to-one, so all kids have their own Chromebooks. Thus, I don’t need much.

However, I never stop wanting to be able to offer my students books that appeal to their interests. I’m fortunate in that I have a lot of books, mostly ones that I bought because I wanted to read them, so kids have access to some books, but there isn’t much in terms of diverse topics. I’ve always wanted to be able to offer them easier access to diverse characters with diverse experiences and interests. I’m thrilled when a student shares my interests (I geeked out with a kid recently over the Scythe books!), but I want to be able to booktalk for athletes, hopeless romantics, drama queens, minority group members, the lost and the lonesome, gang affiliates, eccentrics, academics, and everyone else.

On a whim, I created a Donors Choose project, intending to ask for an array of diverse books. They suggested, get this, that projects around $600 (!!!!) get funded most easily. Since I was already on a whim, I just shrugged and went with it. I picked out $597-worth of books from Amazon. My expectations were low but my hopes were high. I posted the project and, again, as suggested, posted it on Facebook, and hoped for the best. Within 24 hours, the project was fully funded. I am eternally thankful to some friends who have loved me since before I was born, some friends who love me in spite of who I was in high school, some friends who love me in spite of who I am now, some new friends from teaching, and some complete strangers. I’m truly beside myself with excitement and I CANNOT WAIT for the kids to be able to get their hands on these books.

John Green Box Set (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars)
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls – Anissa Gray
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Obsidio (The Illuminae Files) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter – Erika L. Sánchez
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) – Tomi Adeyemi
The Sun Is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
Speak: The Graphic Novel – Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll
Dear Martin – Nic Stone
Dry – Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds
Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
Oksana, Behave! – Maria Kuznetsova
On The Come Up – Angie Thomas
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America – Assorted Authors
Damsel – Elana K. Arnold
Winger – Andrew Smith
Soft Science – Franny Choi
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
SHOUT – Laurie Halse Anderson
Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
The Alex Crow – Andrew Smith
The Boy in the Black Suit – Jason Reynolds
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Stand-Off – Andrew Smith
Carry On (Simon Snow Series) – Rainbow Rowell
Dune – Frank Herbert
Fangirl: A Novel – Rainbow Rowell
American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang
You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman
Every Day – David Levithan
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future – A.S. King
Boy21 – Matthew Quick
Going Bovine – Libba Bray
100 Sideways Miles – Andrew Smith

Look forward to the most epic unboxing post and pics! Have you read any of these?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review, Teacher Stuff

Podcasts are not the Enemy; plus my Top 5!

Not in the mood for a rant about our broken society? I feel ya. Skip right on down until you see the pictures.

I remember, back in undergrad and before becoming a teacher, I was a bit of a book snob. Getting an English degree, at least in my experience, focused on reading the classics, the foundational texts that inspired all that came after. None of what I was assigned to read in undergrad was considered “contemporary” literature, so to me, this implied that the classics are worth-while and contemporaries are not; classics are meaningful and contemps are drivel; classics are about important things and contemps are about nonsense. It was only once I got into grad school and was forced to read contemporary works that I found several contemporaries that wholeheartedly debunked this absurd theory.

The point of this reflection is not to fall down the rabbit hole of classics vs. contemps, but rather to ask another question: why is it that forming a passion for one thing also usually means forming an enemy with another, validated or not? It doesn’t have to be one or the other, or else! I was talking to a bookish teacher friend recently who was recounting an argument he had with friends about the pros and cons of e-readers vs. hard copies. We discussed it at length, both being hard copy advocates, and ultimately realized that our preference was largely based purely on that, preference. Nostalgia. Stubbornness. Not logic. That’s okay with me, since being a teacher SHOULD necessitate going with the flow and using the changing of the times to your advantage. We decided that each option, hard copy and e-reader, has its own benefits and drawbacks, so each has its own time and place for being the rational, logical preference.

However, I’ve heard the same arguments being had about books vs. podcasts, as though the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve asked numerous peers about podcasts and regularly get the following responses: 1) That’s really not my thing; 2) I’m way too busy and don’t have time for that; and most commonly, 3) I’d honestly just rather read a book. As snobby stubbornness was once my own language (and sometimes still is, i.e. classic rock is the best music, tea is better than coffee, cake is not that good, etc.), I understand these arguments, but also offer logical responses: it’s essentially the same thing as radio or t.v., except in your phone, and with a lot more options; podcasts are perfect for a busy lifestyle; books are ideal when you have time to sit down and focus, and podcasts are ideal when you can’t. I think it’s silly to make an enemy of podcasts just because you already know you like books. Again, the two are not mutually exclusive. Let’s not be so stubborn! Rant over. For now.

NOW, who’s ready for my top 5??

My Favorite Murder

  • Lifespan: This one has been around 3 years.
  • Hosts: It’s hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.
  • Frequency: They post a “minisode” every Monday, in which they read listener stories. Those are usually short, half-hour episodes. Every Thursday, they post a regular episode, usually over an hour long, in which they each tell the other a true crime story.
  • Topics: You figured it out, right? Murder.
  • Pros:
    • Their conversations sound just like me talking with a friend about the craziest stories we’ve ever heard.
    • It makes me laugh.
    • They talk frankly about their backgrounds, and experiences with mental health and substance abuse issues. They’re real people.
    • They are very thankful for their listeners and are not just distant, unappreciative celebrities.
  • Cons:
    • Some people want their true crime undiluted, or at least not diluted by humor.
    • I know lots of people who find the ladies and their conversations irritating. Sometimes, they get things wrong or just say dumb stuff. Um okay, so do you! Again, they’re real people. I don’t think anyone can just start listening now, without going back to the beginning, without being irritated by their sidebar discussions. Once you “get to know them,” they’re not irritating.
    • Vulgarity. Who cares, though? Not me.
  • Lindsay’s Blurb: When I first got into this podcast, I went all the way back to episode one. It took a few episodes of thinking the ladies were irritating to turn that irritation to endearment. They’re still dumb sometimes, but after listening for 3 years, they feel like friends. When I want pure true crime, I listen to another podcast (later on the list), but somehow, addressing these horrible stories with interjected humor makes death, and all its many methods, less scary. We all worry about it; why not talk about it?

Threedom

  • Lifespan: This one has only been around for 6 months.
  • Hosts: It’s hosted by comedians Scott Aukerman, Lauren Lapkus, and Paul F. Tompkins.
  • Frequency: They post episodes, usually over an hour long, every Thursday.
  • Topics: Literally anything they want. There is no false pretense about it being educational with a hint of humor. It’s just them talking.
  • Pros:
    • They genuinely enjoy each other, so it’s fun to listen in on their conversations. Sadly, that’s kinda it. It’s just an hour of purely enjoyable and funny voyeurism.
  • Cons:
    • Technically, it’s pointless. Again, who cares?
    • Since there are three of them, there’s a chance you won’t like at least one of the hosts. I personally don’t like Scott, but the overall conversation is worth tolerating him.
    • It can be raunchy/vulgar. Again, if you care. I decidedly do not.
  • Lindsay’s Blurb: I used to listen to a podcast called Professor Blastoff that featured three comedian friends talking and it was genuinely one of my favorite entertainment sources. It’s been over for a while and I’ve never found anything that gave me that same feeling of friends talking both about things that matter and things that don’t. Threedom is the closest replacement I’ve found to fill that void. It’s a silly depiction of friendship.

How Did This Get Made?

  • Lifespan: Seriously, like 10 years? My app wants me to pay for early episodes (not gonna happen), but the farthest I can go back is to 2010.
  • Hosts: It’s hosted by comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas.
  • Frequency: They post an hour-and-a-half-ish episode focusing on a different movie every other Friday. On the Friday’s in between, they post a prequel episode, but those aren’t very good.
  • Topics: Movies, usually bad ones.
  • Pros:
    • It taps into your inner movie critic, making fun of all the ridiculous aspects of bad movies.
    • It’s super funny. I laugh out loud, repeatedly, every time.
    • They have guest comedians regularly, but even without celebrity guests, they are are great trio of friends.
  • Cons:
    • Vulgarity; I seem to have a “type”…
    • There’s a lot of overlapping talking and Jason can be a bit of an attention hog, so if you don’t like Jason, you won’t like this pod. Luckily, I think he’s hilarious.
  • Lindsay’s Blurb: You don’t need to have seen the movie of the week in order to enjoy this podcast. In fact, I can’t think of a single movie that they’ve reviewed that I’ve seen. The goal is to listen to funny people talk about funny things. Mission accomplished!

Lore

  • Lifespan: 4 years.
  • Hosts: It’s written, researched, edited, produced, performed and seemingly everything else by Aaron Mahnke.
  • Frequency: He posts a half-hour episode every other Monday.
  • Topics: Folklore tales.
  • Pros:
    • Mahnke does really thorough research. None of the episodes are simply one tall-tale. He brings in so many related stories that it’s impossible not to be impressed.
    • The stories are often nice and spooky. Not scary; let me be clear about that. Just spooky, like the stories your family always told you about the local hook-handed hitchhiker.
    • SHOUT OUT to Episode 2: The Bloody Pit. I said “Say what??” so many times that this ep single-handedly got me hooked.
  • Cons:
    • Mahnke. He is gifted at research, producing, writing, etc. However, his voice grates at me. He includes incredibly pregnant pauses (my hubs made the joke that his pauses are at 44 weeks. Lol!) for dramatic effect. He phrases things as though he’s rocking my world with these details and… he’s just not.
    • If you hear one, you’ve heard them all. In fact, I took a hiatus because Mahnke’s voice temporarily irritated me more than the stories entertained me, and upon returning, it was like I’d never left. It’s nice that you can listen out of order, but they all sort of mesh together after listening to a few. EXCEPT FOR EP 2!!!!!
  • Lindsay’s Blurb: Seriously, episode 2 rocked my world and from there, I love that I can turn to “Lore” for good, old-fashioned spooky entertainment. It has also been turned into an animated series on Amazon Prime, which is charming. If you enjoy small-town stories, from near and far, across centuries of oral traditions, you’ll enjoy the heck out of this podcast.

Casefile True Crime

  • Lifespan: These have been going for like 3 years.
  • Hosts: The host is an anonymous Australian. He sounds hot.
  • Frequency: The posting is pretty sporadic, but he usually posts hour-long eps on Saturdays. Sometimes every week, sometimes with weeks in between. I guess that amps up the mystery.
  • Topics: Duh. True Crime.
  • Pros:
    • The show stays completely serious, none of that MFM friendship nonsense. No personal commentary or anecdotes. If you like your true crime undiluted, this is the pod for you.
    • It seems very well-researched and contains no biases. There aren’t opinions. It’s just a play by play of events, with some well-researched background and contextual information.
    • The Australian accent makes everything better.
    • SHOUT OUT to Case 12: Katherine Knight. This is, bar none, the absolute CRAZIEST story I have ever heard in my entire, true-fiction-obsessed life. It is NOT for the faint of heart, but I just re-downloaded it because I remember screaming “WHAT???” at least a billion times.
  • Cons:
    • It’s heavy. It’s just pure horror from start to finish. There are no humorous sidebars to remind you that life isn’t so bad. It’s dark.
    • I think that’s it. Otherwise, it’s dark, dark perfection.
  • Lindsay’s Blurb: These stories are well-researched and very impressively narrated. It can get quite dark, so be forewarned, but it is also purely informational, without humor or biases.

Honorable Mentions: “Professor Blastoff” (gone but not forgotten; genuine, effortless humor. I talk about it more here); “Ear Hustle” (featuring, hosted, and produced by inmates at San Quentin prison; “Someone Knows Something” (a filmmaker and writer researches cold cases); “Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad” (coming soon! These are the guys who helped finish Michelle McNamara’s book about the Golden State Killer. I’m not sure if they’ll discuss other cases, psychology, or what, but I’m ready for April 1st); and that GORGE one-time podcast about which the fans just cannot stop gabbing, “Drinkin’ and Thinkin'” (a friend and I had to make this for grad school and we got really into it. We planned to keep going, but she moved away. Maybe one day we’ll resurrect it, adoring fans).

Any other podcasters out there? What are your favorites? Does anyone else love any of my favorites?

2 Comments

Filed under Not A Book Review, Podcasts

Tea: My Other Passion.

No. I have not had much time for reading lately. Well, actually, I’m mid-way through Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and it’s making me feel every shade of depressed and stressed. That poor man! What a life!! I’m sorry, but I haven’t the time for my entertainment to be depressing/stressful. Thus, I have set it aside for a new book, Scott Kelly’s Endurance, and since I haven’t yet finish that, I will now post about my other obsession, tea.

Don’t care for tea topics? Bye.

My glorious collection is growing! I have both new pieces and a new display case, about all of which I am thrilled. My cups and saucers used to be displayed on a shelving unit that was installed in the house before we bought it (faintly seen here). I have very little faith in the handyman skills of the former owner, so I worried for so long that I’d hear all my precious heirlooms crash to the floor. Luckily, my dad brought me a mirrored display case of his that he didn’t need anymore, and I now have a beautiful tea cabinet!

The bamboo china is a family heirloom, originally bought by my grandfather for my Geegaw while on a tour of duty in Japan in the 50s. The small dragon set is explained a bit later. The jadeite cup/saucer were a gift (but they’re from the 50s), the hobnail ones are from my Pawpaw’s museum, and the white flower ones from my mom’s wedding china. The white teapot was my Grandma’s.
The silver all came from my Geegaw’s wedding to my mom’s dad in the early 50s. All glass pieces are from the museum. The four cup/saucer sets on the edges are all random family sets. The green kettle & octopus cup/saucer are the only non-heirloom items in the case. I bought the kettle at TJ Maxx and the octopus set was a gift from my mom. It holds so much!
The taller pot in a previous pic is a coffee pot and this small one is for tea. Sadly, the handle broke off, so I’m looking for a silversmith to fix it before I can use it. The sugar and creamer sets were also from my Geegaw’s wedding set.
Ignore the cords, bad lighting, and ugly wall mounting from the old shelving unit. Just look at all my pretty pretty things!

Now, to explain the dragon set. When my parents came to town for our family Christmas, my mom brought me the tea set my grandfather bought for his mom while on a tour of duty in Japan around 1951. Legend (my Uncle Don) says that she never used it or let anyone touch it for fear that a piece would break. I totally get that fear. I’m so protective of the items that connect me to the grandfather I never knew that they get cautiously stowed away from dust, sunlight, and my butterfingered husband. On the upside, they’re safe, but the other side of that coin is that I don’t see them daily and have a daily moment where I remember “I’m related to a monument of a human being.” So whether it happened just that once or many many times, one slow, cold day after Christmas, I sipped my English Breakfast from this tea set. And I thought about him.

It’s a demitasse set, so this photo is a trick. That cup is holding two ounces, MAX, of tea. It makes me feel like a giant and I love it.

In other news, we’ve had our third quarterly ladies’ tea! This time, a friend hosted and said she was thrilled to get the chance to use her family china. Apparently, her parents cried when they heard she was using her grandmother’s china! So worth it! Unfortunately, it was right in the thick of flu season, so we were down a couple of fancy ladies, but it was a beautiful spread and an even more beautiful distraction from the Superbowl.

We’ve also decided to fully embrace the ridiculous American stereotypes about “tea time,” as was the custom when Hannah and I took tea as kids in the treasure featured below. Thus, we will wear increasingly ridiculous accessories to upcoming parties, so hats, gaudy costume jewelry, feather boas, and lace gloves are on the horizon.

Just look how time flies! Each time, our spread gets more elaborate and our “hot gos” gets more juicy! I don’t know where I’d be without my teacher friends! As soon as I get a ridiculous hat, I’ll tip it to them.

October 2018
February 2019

Any other tea lovers out there? Collectors of lovely things? Book slumpers? I want to hear from you!

8 Comments

Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review

Holidays: Gimme Dem Books

I remember many many moons ago when my sister (two years my senior) started asking for books for Christmas and I was so disappointed in her. You. So. Boring. And then, as with all the other trends she got into (clothes, cookware, decor, etc.), there I was, her shadow on a two-year-delay, asking for books for Christmas.

Now, I have two literary degrees and teach ELA, so books and book-related things have become a staple in my Christmas list. I always work in a few books I want, but I usually also ask for a few book-related items, especially clothes. I love seeing other people sporting symbols or phrases that reference books we have in common so, understandably, I also get a kick out of wearing my own references, especially when someone gets it and mentions it. 

So, without further ado, here are my Christmas requests:

Out Of Print Clothing has so many things I want. I got a Gatsby sweatshirt for Christmas a few years ago and it is still my favorite thing to wear in the winter. It’s survived many washes and even more wears and is so warm, so now that I know that the quality is top notch, I’m asking for more.

One of the books I want is a journal. I’m not much for journaling and I can’t imagine when or whether I’ll find time for this, but I’ve been feeling strangely negative lately and I’m trying to focus on things that will remind me of all the many reasons I have to be blissfully happy. I’ve been writing down two positive interactions I have with students each day, I’m wanting to re-start doing the “daily thankfulness notes” my husband and I did for while, and I think this journal would help, too. It gives a space for morning gratitude and hopefulness, as well as nightly ruminations and determination.

I’ve read all of Dan Brown’s books. I don’t know why, but for some reason, to admit that I enjoy Dan Brown feels a bit cheap, like when someone says their favorite books are the mass-produced, non-imaginative, “change a few details and crank out another sub-par thriller novel” books that fly off the shelves at libraries. Yes, Brown’s books have similar vibes, but that’s because they focus on the same protagonist. Yes, they have been turned into blockbuster films with my main man, Tom Hanks, which means they’re mainstream. Yes, some “facts” are fudged or completely fake. SO WHAT?? Every time I read a Brown novel , you can just color me entertained.

I want these for obvious reasons. One awesome thing we did last year was finish the school year with a research unit where students present on a hero of their choosing. I am so blessed to have some beautiful, brilliant independent young women in my classes and I think these would be a delight for me to read, but even more of a delight to pass along to the right young reader (male or female).

So, what did you ask for for this holiday season? Any other book-related requests out there? I love seeing what others ask for, especially since I’ll probably add them all to my wish list for future years!

1 Comment

Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review, Teacher Stuff

Me, Myself, and I: DIY

I’m getting ready to embark on a HUGE project. As I mentioned in a recent post about my distracted mindset, my hubby and I bought a house in October. She’s a beaut and I adore her in every way, but let me be quite clear that she’s a work in progress. Since we moved in over my school’s Thanksgiving Break with Winter Break quickly to follow, there was a lot of time at the onset for our amateur renovations. We managed to sand, paint, screw, and redecorate our way through renovations of the kitchen and hallway bathroom. We LOVE these renovations and, while our style choices may not appeal to everyone, we can’t be bothered to care, because they appeal greatly to us!

kitchenreno

Wood on wood on wood.

bathroomreno

Can you tell that gray + white is our jam?

Anyway, like I said, all our improvements happened right after move in and for the last few months, we’ve made additional plans for other aspirations. The one we’ve decided to try to tackle over Spring Break is updating the exterior of our home. Red Brick is the style for most people on our street, but I cannot claim to like red brick. I know the value of it and I appreciate the low-maintenance upkeep and durability, but I just don’t like red. I reached out to my aunt for help with the landscaping plans, so before I pay trillions and break my back planting beautiful, green things, we’re giving the red brick a makeover via German Smear.

front2

 

Now, first things first, I know this has nothing to do with books. So what? My blog.

I looked up a lot of websites about the process and most of them seemed helpful but I’m worried my experience will reveal some hidden truths. So, in the interest of authenticity, I decided that I will relate my thoughts on this endeavor by doing multiple installments of my thoughts and experiences: pre-, mid-, and post-project.

PRE-EFFORT AMBITIONS:

The original plan was to Limewash, not German Smear. However, despite how many true crime podcasts I listen to, I didn’t know that the purchase of lime is strictly monitored due to its common use in quick decomposition, so it turns out that lime is relatively inaccessible and expensive (compared to the $30 cost we expected based on the LIES Pinterest tells me). So, the plan has changed to German Smear, largely supported by some promising how-to blogs and the all-knowing Bob Vila.

I have no delusions about what a large endeavor this will be for the hubby and me to do ourselves. However, we are die-hard DIY-ers and we’re painfully cheap, so we’ve committed our last 3 days of Spring Break to completing this project. Let the fun begin!


MID-PROCESS LESSONS/IMPRESSIONS:

Future Lindsay, here. I’ve now spent several hours over the last few days working on our Smearing. My back is killing me and my right arm is full-on throbbing. Oh well.

Because I didn’t want to dive in and do my “learning” on the house exterior itself, I started in our sunken sun-room. This room was added onto the house and is home to a brick-encased gas fireplace. I used this as my trial space, as well as the brick wall that used to be the exterior wall but now is the adjoining wall. Since this was my first attempt at it, it was slow-going. I was hopeful that the process would quicken once I got outside and was able to be less cautious about floors/trims.

smear1

den

Formerly black brick now white

Upon finishing the fireplace and interior wall on Friday, I spent Saturday starting on the exterior of our home. We’re starting in the back so that we can work as slowly as our schedules allow without having a partially complete look visible to the road.

We have the most delightful covered porch, which was where I started. Once I was past that porch, I needed help from the brave, ladder-ready, high-reaching hubby. I left that last corner to him. This seemingly small section of brick took 3 hours of solo effort (while listening to back-to-back episodes of “My Favorite Murder,” so it was a pleasure). Sunday was spent similarly, working on the other side of the sun-room. Again, hours of work spent on precious little space.

smear5

smear6

All of the brick on the back of the house is done!

Lessons Learned and Henceforth Shared:

  1. There’s no way in the fiery depths of Hell we’ll be done this weekend. Or next. Maybe even the next. The hubs has been navigating his own stuff lately, what with his own school and a night job, so I did all the work this weekend by myself. I spent several hours each day and feel like I made NO PROGRESS, but that’s just because I’m dramatic. I made plenty of progress and will make more when one becomes two.
  2. Go into it knowing what look you want. I know most people associate German Smear with that one episode of “Fixer Upper,” but that is NOT the look we want. We want almost full coverage with lots of texture; we’re lucky we have a variety of brick colors already, since we LOVE GRAY and the gray bricks add variety. We have no plans to scrub off or expose any of the brick after smearing.
  3. Only make as much mortar wash as you can use in one “session.” Nobody on any of the how-to sites mentioned that this stuff is technically cement. I should have put this together, no doubt, but I did not. I almost lost my bucket and stirrer thing to hardened smear I hoped to be able to use the next day. Alas, it was wasted. Now we make less at a time or just work until we finish the bucket.
  4. Add the mortar to the water. I tried it the other way around and it was just like clumpy cake mix that never fully integrates.
  5. A natural bristle broom head is my weapon of choice. Others use a mortar brush or a mortar sponge, or even just their gloved hands. We have brick that is more porous and textured than usual, so I’ve found that my hands are taking quite the beating; I reserve my gloved hands for small spaces, edges, and corners. Otherwise, I use the broom head. Works like a charm. Also durable elbow-length gloves are my VIP. Honorable Mention goes out to the mixer/stirrer attachment for my drill. Without you, I’d be lost.
  6. A “honey” texture is too high maintenance. That’s what I used on the fireplace in the above pictures, and you can see how thick the coverage is. As I’m working, I’ve decided that “batter” is better. This all depends on the finish you want, of course, but the thicker the mixture, the less it spreads, so not only does it take twice as long to apply, but it also uses twice as much smear and is twice as thick in terms of coverage. We want light coverage, meaning we can still see the variance in brick colors but without any shades of red, so “batter” is better for us.
  7. It may be too early to say, but pressure-washing and wetting the brick before smearing isn’t, like, THE most important thing. The hubs pressure-washed the back wall and it hasn’t really done much to help. Similarly, I saw a lot of people say you *MUST* wet the brick before applying the mortar wash. I’ve forgotten over big swaths of wall and see literally no difference, as of yet.

So, I’m going to get back to work and Future Lindsay will update you soon with the end results!


POST-LABOR REFLECTIONS:

Way Future Lindsay, here and HOLY. GUAC. AMOLE.

That took forever, y’all. This is not hyperbole, but I literally spent HOURS on this *ish* and I’m so over it! In fact, there is still one small, unfinished side of the house that isn’t visible to anyone other than one neighbor and I’m in no rush to finish it because it looks finished from where I’m standing, ifyaknowwhatImean?!?!?

In all honesty, I’ve spent over 22 collective hours (plus 3 to 5 expected on that DARNED unfinished portion) German Smearing my home and don’t forget to add more hours for painting trim, shutters, doors, et al. I mentioned earlier that I started over Spring Break, which was in early March, and it is now the end of May, so take that as you will. All of the lessons I mentioned above are important, no doubt, but I think the most important lesson is LOOK AT YOUR BRICK! NOT ALL BRICK IS CREATED EQUALLY! Okay, I knew the brick on my home was fugly, but its true uniqueness didn’t really hit home until it was way too late to turn back. Our brick is not only ugly because of the wild variations in color, but also because of the wild texture. This is not smooth brick; this brick has many a nook and cranny, which made each smear a genuine arm workout.

mid3

My bis and tris are truly gettin’ at it these days. I also got a friction blister on the tip of my thumb and let this be a PSA that you need to appreciate the tip of your thumb before you lose it, okay?!

We wore down (to little stumps) three natural-bristle brushes (again, the texture of our brick is unparalleled) and went through at least 4 or 5 bags of mortar. This means that everything Pinterest says is a lie and you can’t trust anyone, including me! What do I know?!? Anyway, our property and belongings are spattered with drops of cement, meaning that our stepladder has barnacle-like permanent accumulations on the steps and handle and we’re thankful that we’re re-doing our landscaping because our shrubs are lazy with cement droplets.

Now, what we’ve all been waiting for, AFTER PICTURES!!

compare

None of the pictures I take give enough credit to how bright the front door is. Our visitors have commented on the awesome door color, and I have to give that credit to Brice.

after2

The shutters and trim are a nice Olive Green and all rust-colored trim is now dark gray. Thus, unintentionally, the gray/white obsession evident in our kitchen and bathroom continues! A few neighbors have stopped by while we’re outside working to tell us how good it looks and I must say that I agree. We still need to paint the rust-colored addition and porch in the back, but the front looks done enough for me to be happy and proud of us!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review

Why So Sour?

I recently read a book and hated it. I’ve been sour ever since. For weeks now, I’ve been miffed, not only because I didn’t like it, but more so because I expected not only to like it, but to LOVE it (based on my obsession with the other books in the series). Of course, as is my nature, I’m mad at the author, as though he let me down by writing the book against my wishes. That’s absurd, since I’m sure we can all agree that it’s 100% MY FAULT that I went into reading it with certain expectations.

Oh, did I mention that the book is Pierce Brown’s fourth installment in the Red Rising Saga, Iron Gold? Truth be told, I’m still not ready to do a review, mostly because I still don’t know how I feel about it. A play-by-play of my feelings are as follows:

Image result for iron gold


While reading: “Oh my gosh, this is so depressing. Maybe it will get better.” 

Still reading: “Please just let this be over. Must suffer through.”

Upon finishing: “(*throws book across the room*) FINALLY! Get outta muh life!!”

Following day: (*texts disappointments to a fellow-sufferer*)

Days later: (*still thinking about that darned book*)

Still days later: (*typing this*)


 

Usually, when I really hate a book, I put it down and walk away, never wasting another minute’s time thinking about it. However, I clearly can’t shake Iron Gold. I feel like I need to know why I didn’t like it. I can’t even pinpoint whether I owe it to myself, Pierce Brown, or the series as a whole to figure out exactly why I disliked this book.

Even now, I hesitate to say that I “hated” it. The feelings while reading were undoubtedly hatred, though. I genuinely didn’t enjoy a single page, but to say that I hated it feels too strong, too personal, especially considering my utter adoration of Brown’s three other novels. So here I sit, racking my brain in the sake of fairness, trying to isolate the reason why this novel missed the mark, so to speak.

What makes a person hate a book?

  1. Simple Preferences: This can encompass things like genre, POV, format, etc. This is the most frequent reason for me to abandon a text due to dislike. Although I do my best to try various genres (especially ones that might help me recommend books for students with varying interests and preferences), I have very clear preferences of my own. I tend to lean towards Mystery/Horror, Historical Fiction, True Crime, and Sci-Fi, especially “Space Operas.” I do not like romance and I often find realistic fiction and non-fiction to be boring, too much like real life and too little of an escape. If a book falls outside of my standard genre, it is that much more likely to be abandoned due to dislike. Similarly, a lot of people are turned off by a format other than prose. Remember how many people freaked the eff out about Cursed Child being in a screenplay format? If readers get too stuck in our ways, we can easily find anything “abnormal” to be unlikable.
  2. Writing Style: Somewhat less common of a cause for abandonment is a dislike for the author’s “voice,” or writing style. As with the others, this is entirely subjective. I recently read a memoir and simply hated the author’s voice, feeling that the whole memoir was a humble brag. While I found it off-putting, my students related to it and thought it was honest and exciting. Similarly, while students are often overwhelmed by Shakespearean language, I find it to be refreshing, challenging, and illuminating. What causes some great pleasure causes others to run and hide.
  3. Life: Now that I’ve had some time to think back and really force myself to separate my feelings from what I had expected from this novel, I’m realizing that I just was not in the right frame of mind for this novel. As I recently explained in a recent post, I’m navigating some new and uncomfortable life circumstances right now, and my quick solution is to avoid anything that increases my stress. Undoubtedly, this novel added to my stress. I’m far too invested in these characters and this series to not take these changes personally. It’s entirely possible that this novel would be more welcome during a less stressful time in my life. Therefore, I plan to re-read Iron Gold this summer, when I’ll be more removed from the everyday stress of teaching and I can afford to take on the struggles of fictional characters.

In addition to re-reading this summer, I also hope to meet up with my like-minded pal Bekah and record another 5-star episode of SPACE BOOKS! There will be plenty of time to mull over my feelings from this first reading (don’t worry, I’ve recorded them so I don’t forget my initial reactions) and potentially adjust them based on research, discussions, and re-reading.

What I can say, though, is that I also finished reading the Sons of Ares comics. I highly enjoyed them, although I must say that I hate being done with the experience in 5 minutes flat and feeling like the comics left me with more questions than answers. All the same, I’d highly recommend them.

2 Comments

Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review

Emotional Expatriate – Tea

Let’s don’t get political. I know, I used the term “expatriate” in my title and, believe me, it’s sounding pretty good right now, but the fact that America is a mess right now is all too known to we, the people. So, instead, let’s talk about how obsessed Americans are with coffee and how I ally myself with the tea-minded masses.

Anyone who is not from the U.S. may find it hard to believe that very few Americans drink tea. I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of tea-drinkers somewhere out there, but as with the metric system, America wanted to do its own thing and set out to be purposefully difficult… I mean different.

I, personally, don’t remember the last time I had coffee. I always found the smell to be utterly enticing, but the flavor has never appealed to me. So, when I was introduced to black tea some years ago, it was an epiphany that shifted into a complete lifestyle change.

I will go ahead and tell you that it is not easy to be a tea-drinker in the U.S., or at least in the South. As mentioned earlier and according to some very brief and only mildly emotionally invested research that I just did, over $40 billion is spent on coffee annually in the U.S. Americans lurv that java juice. I’m reminded of that scene in the world’s best movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” when Tom Hanks’ character is musing about how the act of ordering coffee makes people feel like they’re in charge of something. “Tall. Decaf. Capp-u-cci-no.” As Joe Fox so wisely stated, people like to take charge by making all the tiny decisions that lead to their perfect concoction. The same can be said about tea, though, so I apologize for the digression.

Anyway, the U.S. has almost collectively decided that we will drink coffee, so those of us who drink tea are metaphorically left out in the rain on many occasions. For instance, when I went to Ohio for Christmas this year, we went to IHOP (I know, I know) and, since this isn’t my first rodeo, I brought tea bags from home and had a few stuffed in my purse in case they didn’t have my preferred type. Well, when I asked if they had hot tea, she said, “yes I can bring you some Lipton” and I just asked her to bring me hot water. Of course, the water wasn’t the proper temp, but I just chose to pick my battles. Such is the eternal plight of the tea-drinking American who travels within the continental U.S. I recently lead a field trip to South Carolina and, again, sacrificed needed suitcase space so I wouldn’t find myself tea-less all weekend. I must give a shout out, though, to Marriott Hotels for including English Breakfast bags with the coffee pods in each room. I was so pleased to be proven wrong.

I’m lucky that I live in a hipster-ish town; it’s my experience that hipsters encourage any high-maintenance eating/drinking habits, so I can count on access to English Breakfast tea bags pretty much anywhere I go in town, except the lame chain restaurants, which we don’t patronize anyway. Remember eons ago when I wrote about being happy in my “vanilla-ness”? Well, I still “yam what I yam,” so it is to be expected that my bachelorette party was a tea party. We all felt classy af. That tea parlor has recently quit doing afternoon tea and only caters to groups over 20 (good luck with that), so I’m glad we had our party before they became “too good for us.”

image000000 (1)

I’m almost certainly over-extending my right to assume things, but I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that most, if not all, tea-drinking nations treat afternoon tea like a regular, everyday occasion that isn’t ridiculous even in the slightest. I feel like it reveals something about how American society perceives “tea parties” that part of the experience is that all members roam the establishment in order to find absurd accessories with which they adorn themselves while they sip tea with their pinkies as “out” as is physically possible. In fact, in the above pic, the owner came to take a picture of our table and insisted that we all “pinky out.” Check dem pinks for proof.

 

 

I’m not complaining since, as you can see, I’ve been tearing up the tea party game since birth. In the days of yore, though, we’d put on our Sunday best and survey a multitude of bougie accessory options, like faux furs, parasols, lace gloves, obscene costume jewelry, and all the many many hats. This is how Americans think foreigners live daily life. The local shop closed within the past few years; it’s, honest to god, a miracle that it even existed so close to our little Podunk town. When it closed, I remember being so regretful that I didn’t know sooner so I could try to buy out all the absurd accessories. Maybe I should task my mother with finding the owner, still. As far as tea goes, I’m in it to win it for life, so my nephew and my future child will have to suffer through some tea parties, whether they like it or not. Shout out to Hannah and my sister for being my forever tea companions.

Today, I continue the obsession with less accessorizing. I have loose leaf tea at work every day and I remain surprised every time a kid is unaware that tea is a thing. On weekends, I make a whole pot and sit it on my candle warmer so I can slowly sip it and enjoy a calm, casual morning. It has even permeated my birthdays and Christmases, since I get nice teas and useful tools regularly. Hannah gets me a box of Harrods English Breakfast every time she goes international, for which I am eternally and energetically thankful. Additionally, my mother recently organized all our family sets of china and brought me a cup and saucer from each of our sets. I also got some glass hobnail sets  from my family museum, so I’m accumulating quite the collection of assorted sets.

image000000 (2)

I know this is a book blog, so here is how I validate ranting about tea: IT’S MY BLOG! If you are upset, go do literally any other thing besides judge MY blog. Also, tea and books are like pb&j, so there.

Come have tea with me!!

5 Comments

Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review