Friday, July 13, 2012

Remember those summer reading assignments?

Whether you loved or hated them, they were almost always there...a nagging reminder while you were in the pool playing Marco Polo, cracking the bat in a pick up game of baseball, and licking up all the ice cream before it melted that idyllic summer couldn't last forever.

Over the last ten years, my assignments have become that reminder for hundreds of students. There is plenty of controversy, as always, concerning summer reading, because, well, because anything involving education is fraught with contention. Some people say that the reading is a way to stop a malleable mind from regressing over the two month break, it is a necessary benchmark assessment. Other's argue that it is unfair to assess a student on something that lacked direct instruction, that summer is family time, and as I have too often heard, children simply do not have time to read a book over the summer. They were on vacation.

Wherever you stand on the issue, summer reading exists.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Hunger Games' Feast!

Back in February, I stumbled on some "unofficial" cookbooks based on literary series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. I reviewed The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but never got around to the Hunger Games one. Still, it inspired me!

Even then, though, I was eagerly awaiting the release of The Hunger Games film and what I wanted more than anything (at the moment I started flipping through the recipes) was to have a Hunger Games party. We could go see the film,  eat HG inspired foods, and dissect the adaptation to our hearts' content!

Logistically, I didn't think this party was going to happen. I live 20 minutes from the closest movie theater and my friends live at least 20 minutes in the other direction. I also plan lavish festivities and then break down in tears when they aren't as grandiose in execution (Gretchen Rubin talks about this phenomenon in The Happiness Project and says that despite this, it is the process that actually causes happiness, even when we are stressed! Take that, Evan!). So, as the date for the movie release got closer, work got crazier, schedules got tighter, and I began to give up.

I shouldn't have worried though!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Airport Reading

What is it about airports that makes me crave trashy eating and trashy reading?

My husband, once through security, will head towards an airport bar to catch some sports and swallow a Jack and Coke before take off, but me, I'm bee-lining towards the Hudson News to stock up for a banal sensory experience (If an airport has an Auntie Anne's, that's stop number one; most of the time, though, I make due with Chex Mix chased by Sour Patch Kids).

I was flying solo for my latest trip, meeting my husband in Austin. With a two hour flight, an hour layover, and then another two hours in the air, I had plenty of time to indulge. The best of intentions paving my way, The Happiness Project, my journal, and my laptop were all in my carry-on, but as I walked past the Hudson Booksellers, Chex Mix in hand, the sale table stopped me. Here was a plethora of books I would never buy, all $10 or less!

The creepy eye on the cover of The Host by Stephanie Meyers caught my attention. What else could the author of Twilight have to offer, I wondered, now that her vampire-human-wolf trifecta was over? I picked it up, put it down, and then as I was wheeling my luggage away, the eye winked at me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poking Fun and Parodying the Proper Folks of Downton Abbey

A few posts ago, I wrote about how much I loved Downton Abbey. In that post, I promised I would later explain how it was a lot like a novel.

Click here to go to PBS' Downton Abbey page.

Well, before I got around to doing that, a friend showed me this article from The Onion that explains some of the "finer points" I was going to make.

Another friend also sent me a parody from SNL. It's a look at what Downton Abbey would be like if it were on the Spike Network.

Hope these takes on the show bring a little laughter into your day! 

By the way, is anyone as stoked for this week's episode as I am? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

 So there I was, at the main branch of the Orange County Library, in my favorite section the "Teen Center" (there's a note on the door asking people above the age of seventeen to stay out, but I feel that's ageism and I'm not a creeper...I'm sure grabbing a book is fine...right? I always feel a little guilty) when I stumbled on some cookbooks!
Because I was recuperating from a stomach bug, I couldn't peruse them much yesterday, but I'm feeling up to the challenge of perusing today. Still not up to the cooking challenge though, it's been two days of green juice, toast, and tea.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Using The Happiness Project as Career Advice?

"Work can be a source of many elements necessary for a happy life: the atmosphere of growth, social contact, fun, a sense of purpose, self-esteem, recognition", writes Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project (70).

I'm in Rubin's month three of her project to make herself happier. This relates to chapter three of the book - each chapter chronicles another month and another resolution that she measures with a calendar and a series of check marks to hold her accountable. The end goal is that she will have twelve new resolutions she will be a pro at keeping them, making her a happier more fulfilled person.

In January, she boosted energy; February, she remembered love. Now, in March, she is "aim[ing] higher". Previous to this book, she has already made a career shift from law to writing, so she discusses starting a blog, "enjoy[ing] the fun of failure", asking for help, and so on.

It is actually her discourse about leaving law that I find most interesting though, as I've been standing at a similar juncture for several years.

Therefore, I read "March" with interest, trying to apply it to my own life in a quest for answers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kismet (or is it conceit?) and The Happiness Project

Ever have one of those moments where everything you read, watch, or hear seems to relate to you and what you are experiencing at that particular moment?

Some might say this occurs because you've opened your heart up to the universe allowing it to speak to your soul. Others might call it kismet. Some, coincidence. 

I call it conceit.

 In me, at least, because this happens so ridiculously often. 

Admittedly, I don't think this happens because I value myself so highly that I believe I am the target audience for every artist out there, but I must be pretty me-centric to always be thinking about myself and my problems or idiosyncrasies so that they are in the forefront of my mind and instantly relatable to any pop culture I brush by. (The one exception when I wasn't alone in my belief that I was the target audience was when my husband told me I had to listen to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling because he felt like she and I could be bashert - my word, not his...I really only used it to make my aunt proud).

Anyway, this happened last night with The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.