June 2017: What I’m Into

June. proper noun. The first burst of sweet summertime.

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June and its long, sweet days have slipped away. To where, I don’t know.  Why they had to leave so fast, I’m not sure.

This month has been jammed full of events and errands and emotions. Blogging fell off my radar, for a time, and that’s okay. Ideas are percolating on these slow summer afternoons. I’m learning to wait for them, to listen, and to know when to do the work of drawing them out. We’ll see what they hold.

In the meantime, here’s some of what’s been happening in June.

Reading

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Not mentioned – this very long tome, which has been abandoned for now.

A Man Called Ove – Fredrick Backman. I adored this book. The story of Ove, a widowed curmudgeon, is unexpectedly hilarious and tender and raw. However, do not listen to the last five minutes of the audiobook while running errands. You will be crying too hard to go into Trader Joe’s. Or so a friend tells me.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas. This YA novel tells the story of Starr, an African American girl who is in the car when her childhood friend is shot and killed by a police officer. The book is timely and brings perspective to a situation that’s so often exploded by the media until the people closely linked to the event appear to be public figures giving interviews, rather than real people. It was engrossing. However, I do think that the book tried to do too much. It felt like the author wanted Starr to face every possible hurdle an African American teenager might encounter, which made some of the issues too thinly addressed. I would have preferred deeper insight into just a few issues, but I think it’s still worth reading.

The Cruelest Month – Louise Penny. This is the third mystery in the Inspector Gamache series, a delightful mystery series set in a little Quebec town. The murder in this book was creepier than in the first two, but I enjoyed how the author continued to deepen the bigger mystery that spans across the entire series. I’m excited to dive into the next one.

As You Like It – William Shakespeare. I much prefer Shakespeare’s comedies to his other works, and this one was great fun. There are a number of famous lines (“All the world’s a stage,” for example), and Rosalind is a fantastic character.

Currently reading: A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles. The Weight of Glory – C.S. Lewis.

 

Watching

Wonder Woman. I’m not a big superhero movie person, but I did enjoy this one. It portrayed of a strong woman who is motivated by love and avoided slamming the audience with a feminist agenda. Gal Gadot is a wonder. Bonus: the Amazon general is played by Robin Wright, who is both Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride and Claire Underwood from House of Cards. Who knew?

The Great British Baking Show. I’m nearing the end of season 1. In a particularly tense episode, two bakers help another finish when she’s in a panic, and a shot of two women holding hands in support during the final reveal made me cry. I love this show.

Much Ado About Nothing. This is one of my absolute favorite plays, and Emma Thompson is young and hotblooded in this version.

 

Listening

This podcast explains one expert teacher’s views on how to deal with rude, disrespectful students. It merits a re-listen right before school starts.
Loving

Jockey wicking slipshorts. Perhaps this is too personal. But it’s a great discovery, so I’ll share anyway. Unlike my old volleyball spandex that I usually wear under dresses, these slipshorts don’t ride up and help prevent obnoxious leg sweat. Find ’em at Target.

This post is old, but I laughed out loud multiple times while reading it.

A makeup tutorial from a real person who forgets to wash their makeup brushes? Yes please.

Volstead’s Eporium. Thanks to a teacher friend, we discovered a little-known bar that, like a speakeasy, is completely unmarked, doesn’t have a website, and is hidden in a back alley. Once you’ve been let in and gone down a sketchy stairway, suddenly you enter the 1920s. Everything is decadent, and entire rooms are hidden behind moving bookshelves.

 

Doing

Celebrating Adam’s birthday! We got panekoeken, explored the Minnesota Zoo, and capped it off the day with a fancy dinner at The Lexington. I’m so glad he was born.

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Attending women’s retreat. My brother spends his summers at a Bible camp, and my mom, sister, and some women from my hometown church spent a refreshing weekend there. The weather cooperated enough for us to spend some time on the water and for three of us young, brave souls to attempt to sleep outside in hammocks.

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Watching An American in Paris at the Ordway. The show felt like spring and magic. We also got appetizers at Meritage, a fancy French restaurant. Not despising beef tartare made me feel very French indeed.

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Celebrating a rainy Father’s Day at the lake. It was a quiet, slow weekend, but we at least fit in an inaugural boat ride!

Attending the first of many summer weddings and wedding receptions. The wedding was held outdoors next to a creek, and it was entirely lovely. Congrats to Jack and Kaela!

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Running. Adam and I are still committed to running a half marathon. Despite one 5-mile run that left me convinced my knees would never be the same, things are progressing well. My knees have recovered, and I’m rediscovering that a runner’s high is actually a thing.

The school cycle continues! I finished up school midway through June, praise the Lord. I had one week of freedom (read: one week of catching up on everything I don’t do during the school year, like babysitting and sweeping the kitchen floor) before summer school began. Now I’m teaching summer school for 5 weeks…just not in the capacity I expected. Based on student class sizes, I’ve been moved from teaching ESL to assisting a 7th and 8th grade math class. Yep. Anyone who knew my attitude towards math in 10th grade is laughing right now. I’m getting good classroom management – and fractions – practice.

 

What are you into right now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September

September 2014. proper noun. The beginning of real school and cooler weather. It hath 30 days.

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer and other bloggers to share What I’m Into for September.

Reading:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. The speed with which I finished this book is possibly miraculous, considering its length and the amount of stuff I should have been doing instead of reading fun books. I have now officially read through the entire Harry Potter series twice, which I count as a significant life accomplishment.

Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I got this book as a free trial for Audible, the online audiobook store, so I “read” it on my commute from my placement. Listening to Mindy read is like having a sassy friend sitting in the passenger seat who actually wants you to laugh at her. I happily obliged. If you’re ever in a bookstore and looking for a pick-me-up, skim through the chapter on what the ideal man should be. Or the one on romantic movie heroines who don’t exist in real life.

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson. Though I’m less than 50 pages in, I’m loving this book. It’s a surprising, irreverent look into philosophy and the meaning of this world. Surprising, irreverent, and philosophy don’t normally go together, but it’s absolutely working for me.

A multitude of textbooks. (Though honestly, skimming would be a more accurate description of what I do with these.) The list includes such stimulating titles as The Grammar Book, which is 854 pages on everything you ever wanted to know about the English language. (Or didn’t want to know, which is more likely the case.)

 

Listening to:

An embarrassing amount of Meghan Trainor. I’m obviously into “All About that Bass,” but I also enjoy the rest of the catchy tracks she has on Spotify. They’re all poppy and feel-good. Play them for instant good mood.

Modern remakes of hymns. (In other words, the opposite of Meghan Trainor.) Sarah Bessey recommended Lullaby Hymns by Katy Kinard on her blog a while back, and even though I’m about 18 years older than the intended audience for lullabies, I’ve listened to it a lot this month. I’ve also been revisiting Roots Run Deep by Jadon Lavik.

In October, I am determined to find some new music. I beg for recommendations. Tell me what you’re listening to this month – I’m all ears. (Ha. Ha ha.)

 

Watching:

Not that much. This thing called school is cramping my media viewing.

The only new-to-me thing this month: The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Somehow I missed watching this movie during my childhood. This is possibly okay, since it was surprisingly dark and complex for Disney. I’m curious how similar it is to the book, but not curious enough to actually read it. Also, this poster. Sad but true.

via Google Images

via Google Images

Other notables: Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version) for the 436th time with dear friends, a few reruns of Parks and Rec while awaiting the Netflix release of new episodes (THEY’RE HERE!), and half of Sabrina (the Audrey Hepburn one, obviously) because I fell asleep in the middle. I never fall asleep while watching movies. I am turning into a grandma.

 

Randomly Loving:

City skylines. My favorite part about city life. The Twin Cities area offers two of them, and I got up close and personal with both this month. I’m becoming such a city slicker.

Tea. I have to be awake before 7:00 every weekday this semester. Tea is the only reason this not-so-early-bird is surviving. My current favorite is vanilla caramel chai with a dash of milk and a little sugar. It’s heaven in a travel mug.

Changing leaves. I’m trying real hard to have a good attitude about fall. It’s actually going okay, since we had some gorgeously warm days and since the leaves on campus right now are flamboyant and fabulous.

Photo credit to my sister, who was roped into taking pictures of me for a video I created for teaching prepositions. (This is me IN the leaves, if you were curious.)

Photo credit to my sister, who was roped into taking ridiculous pictures of me for a video I created to teach kids prepositions. (This is me IN the leaves, if you were curious.)

This list gives you suggestions for what you should read now based on what you loved as a kid. What fun.

The James J. Hill mansion. It’s like Downton Abbey, but in real life and fifteen minutes from my school.

 

Keeping Me Busy:

Homework. Imagine that.

My middle school ESL placement. I spend two days a week working with 6th and 7th graders. Despite the early mornings (who on earth decided that middle schools should start before 8?) and a long-ish commute, I’m really enjoying it. I get to work with my favorite age group and an excellent cooperating teacher is excellent, and I’m gaining lots of experience. Working with ESL students is also giving me all kinds of thoughts about language and school culture and societal structures that are still baking, and probably will be for a while.

Officially ending the summer season and packing up the cabin. Sniff, sniff.

Connecting with RAs, both past and current. The RA staff I was on last year got coffee together last weekend, which was beautiful. So many wonderful women in one place. I miss them so. I’m also getting to know my staff this year, and I’m so glad I have the rest of the year to invest in these sweet ladies.

Trying to figure out how to have friends and spend time with them in addition to everything else that’s going on in my life. I’m more balanced than I was last year around this time, but I’m still feeling out how to do this well.

 

What are you into right now?