Summer Books

on August 30, 2017

I’ve had a ton going on the last few months with the kids out of school so I haven’t gotten around to posting much. Besides, I don’t think anyone actually cares about the boring, daily minutiae of my life. Work is busy (as always). Kids are doing well. I cut my hair really short because it’s just too hot in New Orleans.

And because it summer, I’ve been reading much more. I don’t have any one kind of book I prefer but basically pick up what looks interesting. I do like mystery/thrillers. I hate romance books. I hate historical romance even more. Sci-fi or dystopian fiction is fun. Basically I will read anything other than romance.

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

Made for Love… I am not sure what I can say about this one. I was drawn to this book because the cover is an airbrush image of a sunset. It looked like a trashy romance, which I suppose is the point. But it’s not. It’s a hilarious story involving a large computer company named Gogol, mind melding, sex dolls, a trailer park, and dolphins. This is definitely a must read.

Dietland by Sarai Walker

I haven’t read a book in a while that really made me think about things in a different way. Dietland challenged my thoughts on dieting and why being overweight is frowned about by society. While a piece of fiction, there are so many great lessons and thoughts that can get carried over to real life. My favorite part about this book is the Fuckability Theory. There is so much to it. I wish that it was an actual book I could read! The book also features a feminist terrorist organization called Jennifer that fights against the patriarchy. Anyway, if you are a woman and ever considered dieting, read this. Also, it’s being turned into a show. Not sure how I feel about this since it seems parts of the book that are crucial are not really suitable for prime time.

The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

This book was entertaining. I thought it would be funnier though. It’s a family drama about an upcoming wedding. Apparently there is always drama surrounding weddings or large family gatherings. The sister getting married is viewed by her siblings as the favorite. The siblings are each going through a lot of stuff. They all bring their baggage and sort through it in the days leading up to the wedding.

The Child by Fiona Barton

I really enjoyed this book. A house in London is being demolished and during the work, the skeleton of a small child is found. The story is told from a few view points. There is the newspaper reporter, the mom whose baby was kidnapped from the hospital and never found, and the grown woman who used to live at the house. It’s not as much of a thriller as it is a mystery. I did enjoy this one a lot though, especially as all the pieces came together.

Night Film by Marisha Pressl

Although this book isn’t new, I finally got around to picking it up. I really loved Special Topics in Calamity Physics. And just like that book, Night Movie has a level of detail not seen in many works of fiction. The book combines writing along with faux newspaper articles and photos to help tell the story of Ashley Cordova. Ashley is the daughter of mysterious film director, Stan Cordova. Stan Cordova is know for his horror films and the fact that he hasn’t been seen in public for 30 years. When Ashley turns up dead, an investigative journalist starts looking into the story and goes down a dark trail to discover the truth. This book is part horror and part thriller; the type of book that sucks you in until you get to the last page.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

This book was a typical knock off of the Gone Girl style psychological thriller geared towards women. The author also wrote Girl on the Train, which I liked but didn’t love. I found this book to be much more entertaining with less loathsome characters. Plus it only took me like a day or two to read.

What are you reading? I’m always looking for suggestions!

NOLA- A More Modern* Third World…

on August 10, 2017

*as in we have running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity on most days.

Don’t get me wrong. I love New Orleans. I never thought I could actually love a city this much when I moved here 11 years ago. But fuck, this city is lightyears behind so many others. It’s not only the little things (having to pay extra for recycling?!?) but the bigger issues such as crime. I’m not here though to focus on the big picture. I have no solutions for those sorts of things. This rant is about the little things that makes New Orleans super annoying.

Makin’ Groceries

For example, today I thought: “I usually don’t go to Walmart but see they now have a grocery service. Let me see if it’s in New Orleans.” The closest dang pick up place is a half hour away even though Walmart claims it’s in New Orleans. It’s not in New Orleans. The airport is close to New Orleans but last I checked, New Orleans ain’t Kenna-brah. And I’m not driving over a half hour to get groceries from Walmart.

While I am on groceries, why the heck are there no grocery delivery options here? We used to have Good Eggs but like all good things, it closed. Rouses basically would have my business for life if they just delivered. I don’t mind going there but shopping with 3 kids is not pleasant, especially when this happens. Some days, I can make it to the store alone but it’s never a guarantee. Since I’m being 100 right now, if AmazonFresh opened up here, I’d probably never leave my house. That thought makes me so happy. Mainly, because this gif is me.

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Mail

Ya know how mail is supposed to be on time, reliable, etc? The whole, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”? Yeah I don’t. We can go days at a time with no mail even though I see the mail person walking around the neighborhood. Then after say 5 days, I’ll sudden get a backlog of mail delivered. My theory is that the postal worker doesn’t feel the 1 piece of mail they have is worth the trip up my steps to deliver. So they hold onto it for me until they have enough to give me all at once. Beyond annoying. Not that there is anything super important coming in the mail most days; I just like to know it’s working! UPS and FedEx are no issue at all. It’s strictly USPS.

Schools

Private school is the hidden tax in New Orleans. There are pretty much no traditional type daycares in New Orleans that aren’t either in awful neighborhoods or super sketchy. Tulane and Loyola offer daycare for ages 1 and older but they mainly pull from staff. There used to be a place in town that was affordable and offered infant and baby care but it closed when the director was found to be stealing all the money. Classic NOLA. So the alternative we have to traditional day care is private school. Private school is most times not year round, costs more than daycare would, and can require things like uniforms… for toddlers. Not only do you then have to pay for private school, (which has things like holiday break and summers off) you then have to figure out what to do when there is no school. It’s pretty much the worst.

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This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to schools though. Instead of pretending to know it all, I’ll just leave it to you to Google something like: schools post katrina new orleans. Also, you can hear me talk more about my school grievances here. I am still annoyed with this author who makes me sound like a rich white lady trying to game the system. (Although I do want to grow up to be Lucille Bluth so maybe she knows something I don’t.)

Pot Holes/Endless Street Construction

Do you just love driving through potholes and damaging your car? Do you love the thought of random street closures due to an endless maze of construction? Then NOLA is the place for you! Just take a look at this awesome site! It’s dedicated to the potholes of New Orleans! Since I travel the same streets daily, I know where to swerve but I’ve hit a car killer more than once and drove away hoping my car was ok.
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Regarding the construction, the same dang road has been torn up or under some form of construction since 2013!! And they don’t expect to complete it until maybe summer of 2018. How is that ok? The road is a main traffic road and not a side street. It’s not like 20 miles long. Yet it’s take upwards of 5 years to complete the construction. And this is only one small part of the construction issue. More info about all of that here.

This piece is already 400 words longer than I expected so I’m going to end with this gif about why I love this city.
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**I haven’t even started on the pumps/flooding. Fortunately, we weren’t affected but I know plenty who were.

***Also on my complaint list- crazy ass meter maids and parking enforcement in general. Oh and that time my car was stolen and it took the police 8 hours to respond and included a call back to us asking if the car was still stolen. Oh and slumlords in the University district. I’m looking at you, Craig Tolbert.

38, So Far

on August 7, 2017

About 2 weeks ago, I turned 38. The day came and went without much fanfare, which is how I prefer it. (Side note: unless you are bringing me a Carvel Ice Cream Cake, don’t bother bringing me a cake at all.) Melvin and I managed to go out that Friday but given my new, advanced, age we were home by 9pm. Also, going out when you know you will inevitably be woken up by a child at 6am sort of takes the fun out of it all.

Anyway, 38 has been filled with lots of self reflection. I’ve started using Headspace to clear my mind. I really like it. It has really helped me to be able to take a step back and evaluate my emotions before reacting. Obviously this doesn’t work 100% of the time, as Jasper still has a knack for pushing me just over the edge of sanity. Regardless, it’s a great app and I recommend it.

Other random things going on:

Welcome to Portlandia

on July 24, 2017

I’m currently in Portland for an awesome conference. Everything about the conference will be for a different post but this one is about something that happened today.

While I’ve only been here for a few days, I noticed there is quite a large homeless population here. The homeless population also seems to skew young and male. I don’t claim to understand all the nuances behind homelessness but I do feel like a large part of it is mental illness and drug abuse.

After a great day with my coworkers and then spending a bit of time working alone, I decided to leave the coffee shop I was at and just wander. I wanted to play Pokémon Go and collect extra XP points and try to collect more of the creatures I was missing to be able to evolve what I have.

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I was enjoying my walk. The sun was bright. The weather was not to hot and the breeze was lovely. There was a park with the sound of children playing. And as I walked by I thought how much my children would have had fun at a place like this. And then it happened.

A young, obviously agitated, homeless man asked me for money. I walked by ignoring his request. I don’t actually carry cash and I was really into catching a Hitmonlee. When he didn’t get a response from me, he decided to take it up a notch. Out came the words. The ones that really stuck out were, “Fat Whore.” Yes me. The almost 40 year person with 3 kids in sensible shoes is a whore. Even if I wasn’t dressed “mom casual,” this guy is throwing harsh judgement on me based on my clothes. And it’s not that part that annoyed me most. It was the fat part. Why is it ok for a male (or any other person really) to comment on how much space I decide to take up in this world? Obviously he did it to get a reaction. I didn’t give him one, so his tirade went on more about my hair, my glasses, my backpack, etc.

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Part of me wanted to deck the guy and tell him off. My rational side kicked in, though, and said, “Uh yeah putting yourself in danger over this is just not worth it.” (If you recall, just a few months back in Portland, 2 young men were murdered for intervening in a situation with a hostile homeless person yelling at women.) This happened 4 hours ago and it’s still bugging me. Why is my self worth attached to my physical appearance? Would this homeless man have ranted like this if I was a tall, skinny, 25 year old? Would he have done this to a man? I won’t know the answers to the questions but dammit I am still pissed that I let the ramblings of a mentally ill homeless person get into my head.

This piece by the very talented actress Heather Matarazzo is pretty spot on. I may not be thin or pretty but my talents are in other places. And you know what, screw being fuckable. That is a lot to keep up with and I have better things in my life to focus on- like raising badass daughters and not handing this nonsense down to them.

38 is the new 88- Part 2

on May 25, 2017

Apparently 3 pairs of glasses and back pain isn’t old lady enough for me. This week I decided to top that.*

via GIPHY

It’s only Wednesday but so far this week has consisted of:

    • Me yelling at my phone about setting up Venmo. Why? Why can’t PayPal still be a thing? I already spent the time setting that up! And why does Venmo have a social feed? Why do I need to see that Sally gave money to Julie for a Kale Salad 🥗?
    • Me yelling out my window at the college kids dumping loads of trash in my trash bin.
    • Me falling down while trying to push said garbage can to dump out the trash. Apparently there was even a giphy made of this happening.

I have had some awesome wins this week. They were mostly work related where I don’t have to interact too much with the real world. And honestly, things can only go up from here right?

via GIPHY

*In my early 20s, I had this grand idea of starting a t-shirt company that made shirts with taglines from Teen Witch and BH90210. Apparently I was ahead of my time, because this is a thing now. And I had the idea circa 2003.