Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday?

Just a little of this and that going on this week.  Here's what.

Dinner and music - a night out for us to eat dinner and see our favorite band, joined by our neighbors.

A cosplay event at Barnes and Noble for the girl and her friend - she inherited my Fan Girl tendencies.  She's in the middle with the black wig.

Some special flowers at the Farmer's Market - these were my grandmother's favorites.  Her birthday was in July and I used to send them to her every year.  These have been blooming on my table all week.

A little classroom work - You might as well put the whole crew to work when you can.  It's coming together. Some Before, During, and After pics for your perusal.




Still some work to be done, but we'll get there!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Reading Receipt

Much productivity in the "Getting The Books Read" department this month.  Here's what I read in July:

(Also related: I am loving my new letter board and letter kit.)

#1 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
This was a BOTM selection awhile back, but I passed on it for something else even though I thought the synopsis was intriguing.  Parts of a giant robot are found all over the world.  Who buried them there 6000 years ago and why? It was later on Super Sale for Kindle, so I grabbed it then.  I'm not a blanket sci-fi lover, but if there's a good story with likable characters I enjoy it regardless of genre.   This is told in transcripts of interviews and reports.  Strangely, my favorite character was the interviewer who wasn't really a part of the action for most of the story.  I'm pretty sure this is the first in a series.  I'll be reading the next one, so that should tell you something right there.

#2 In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
After finishing The Woman in Cabin 10 ( a BOTM selection I did go for), I realized that I'd had another of her books around for months.  I liked this one even better than Cabin 10.  I'll also be adding Ware's newest book onto my BOTM selection this month.

#3 Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
I went on the waiting list for this at the library before it was even published, so I got it pretty quick when it did finally come out this month.  I've liked all of Kubica's books, but this one is my favorite so far.  I appreciate that she can evoke tension without any fantastical plot twists.  You're on the edge of your seat without feeling like she's trying to pull a fast one on you.  When you find out all the answers in Kubica thriller, the explanations are very human.  I appreciate that more than anything.

#4 Final Girls by Riley Sager
BOTM last month and to wit, I felt like this author (Riley Sager is the pen name of a previously published unnamed author) did pull a fast one on me - a cheap, fast one to be exact. This story had me for a bit, then completely lost me with what I felt was a contrived twist. When it's just for shock value, I feel like I've been conned.

#5 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I will say this deals with the very controversial subject of a racially motivated shooting by the police.  Did it make me uncomfortable? Yes.  Did I agree with everything in it? No.  Did I agree with some of it?  Yes.  Did it I think about it when I wasn't reading it and after I was finished with it?  Oh, hell yes.  And isn't that what great writing is supposed to do?  Subject matter aside for a second, this author brought characters to life who jumped off the page for me in a story that grabs you by the lapels and doesn't let go.  And the dialogue was the best I've read in some time.  She's very talented and has a long promising career ahead of her.  Read it.

One last thing - this month we went on vacation in Wisconsin and made a stop at Boswell Book Company.  They slipped this bookmark in with my purchase. I love it very much.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday?

I skipped a week because there's just a lot of summer stuff going on around here like movies,

 the new season of Game of Thrones,

and lots of Cubs baseball.  There have been a few brief moments when we've led the NL Central in the last couple of weeks.  I'll totally take those.

What else?  Things are getting a little out of hand in the "Back to School" chair.  The girl and I also gave my classroom clipboards a much-needed facelift.



Also, I won a Carly online in a FB Lula Roe group.  I've never bought one before, but of course I've seen countless teachers wearing them.  I didn't get to pick it out, but if I had it probably would have been this purple flowered number.

After getting home from vacation two weeks ago, neither of us felt like cooking.   That meant a lot of last minute pizza, mac and cheese, and Ramen noodles last week.  This week I've been getting back into squirrel mode in preparation of all those crazy back to school nights that are coming up.  A huge batch of spaghetti sauce was made and the extra was frozen into four meals this week along with a couple of lasagnas and meat loaves.  One thing I discovered a few years ago is that it's really not that much more work to make extra when you're cooking and freeze it for later.

My husband really appreciates that lady he calls "Summer Wife" and what she has done for us on those tired, busy, hangry school nights. My husband does at least half of the cooking around here, but he loves Summer Wife because she cooks all these meals for us that just have to be thawed out and served with bread or something equally simple.  I love her too.  She'll be around for a little over two weeks more and then School Year Wife steps in and takes over.  He loves her too, but she's not as much fun.  She does have her moments though.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday?

It's vaaaaaaaacation time this week.  We got home yesterday and my husband is off for the rest of the week!  We are going to spend the rest of the week doing all the decadent and time wasting things, like seeing Wonder Woman, War for the Planet of the Apes, and binge watching the last season of Game of Thrones before the premiere this Sunday.  I'm pretty sure the Universe wants me to be happy this week.

We started our vacation on Sunday by getting up early and heading to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game.

They lost spectacularly, but hey, it was still Wrigley Field.  Somebody posted something on social media the other day that went something like, "Hang in there, Cub Fans," and I told my husband, "Hang in there?  I waited 47 years to see them win the World Series. They are the reigning World Champions. That's something that a lot of Cub Fans didn't get to see in their lifetime, my grandfather among them.  Don't you worry about me.  I'm good for at least another 47." 

From Chicago, we drove to Racine, Wisconsin.  If you've ever been to Racine (or most places in Wisconsin), then you know about Kringle.  If you haven't been there, then you are missing out because my Scandinavian ancestors knew their pastries...pastries and boat building.  We chose Racine for North Beach and its proximity to Milwaukee.  And, of course, the Kringle.

We drove into Milwaukee one night.  Here's the thing I told my husband I remembered about Milwaukee: You can find lots of places to park and walk around.  It really doesn't feel like a "big" city.  I'm pleased to report that 23 years later, that's still what it feels like. We ate at Sobelman's Pub and Grill, hit Boswell Book Company (amazing place I could frequent every day if I still lived there), walked the Riverwalk, ate some rolled ice cream (Have you seen this new thing?), posed with the Fonz, and visited my old apartment building.

This last activity brought on a huge wave of the feels that, quite honestly, smacked me upside the head when I wasn't expecting it.  I moved to Milwaukee when I was 24 to train for a teaching job and get my Master's degree.  Seeing that tiny efficiency apartment building (and the neighborhood around it, which is quite happening now, by the way) really brought back that moment in time for me.  Compared to other years, it wasn't a particularly happy time in my life, but it was something I was determined to do.  I really had to figure out what I wanted that year in some ways.  And I find myself thinking now that you can actually be happy without knowing you are happy if you have a purpose and a challenge to rise to.  Suffice to say, I'm really proud now of that 24 year old kid.  She didn't back down when life sucker punched her.

Moving on.

We also had to get cheese because, Wisconsin. 

And we visited the Jelly Belly Center in Pleasant Prairie on the way home.  I am always amazed by the work and planning and details it takes to make one thing, like the Jelly Belly.  From the thousands of tiny molds they pour those things into to the airbrushing of the logo onto each bean, all the hard work that goes into one tiny bean is pretty astonishing to me.  I start thinking, "All this work...why didn't they just give up?"  But persistence and tenacity are both qualities I respect.  After all, I'm pretty sure that's how that kid made it through that year in Milwaukee.  The almond Kringle also helped.