Summer Life Hack

I love a good nap. Summer. winter. Just layer with cats, and let me snooze for an hour. However I need a blanket of some sort on me to really nap well. Summer’s too hot , you say! Who needs a blanket? Let me introduce the “napping sheet.”

I suspect that this is weird, but what’s new.

Birdie is currently in control of the napping sheet because it’s on “her bed” in “her room” when she’s not dominating my bedroom.

Picture this: You’ve been outside half the day being sweaty and fantasizing that the broiling sun works like bacon sizzling in a pan making that fat just drip off of you. You come in for a refreshing shower and the nap vibe kicks in. Maybe get half dressed, maybe don’t. Either way the napping sheet is readily available to lightly encase and protect you as you lose consciousness. (I’m not sure what it’s protecting you from. Ask the people who can’t sleep with any body parts hanging off the bed creating exposure to under the bed monsters to explain the logic.) Napping sheet can also be paired with a book for nodding off while reading.

Basically warm weather hits and I throw a single sheet into the spare bedroom solely for napping purposes. Yes, it gets washed and rotated out with other sheets. I have one sheet that has been washed a billion times and is super soft.

Sometimes Birdie will share the sheet.

You don’t have time for naps, you say? That’s just fuckin’ awful and I feel bad for your situation because a solid nap with a soft sheet and a furry friend is a thing of luxury and beauty at a pretty low price.

Squirrel Trends

The squirrels don’t know it, but they are on trend right now. Or at least it feels like they’re trendy because ads for tiny picnic tables keep popping up in all my social media feeds. Even @chunk_the_groundhog now has a tiny picnic table. (He also has a family of 3 babies!)

Adventure Buddy’s husband decided he could craft tiny picnic tables rather than buy them from Lowes, and was nice enough to gift me with one. It took my squirrelly crew two days to find the table, but they are now nibbling at it one kernel at a time, then freaking out and leaping away.

It reminds me of this video that a friend shared with me. Yes, it’s 21 minutes long; but if you are fascinated by squirrels’ antics and leaping abilities, it’s worth the watch. Clearly this guy used his quarantine time much more productively than I did.

Do You Need New Voices in Your Head?

I’m a late comer to the podcast party. I’ve enjoyed audiobooks since the Bush years when listening to the news while driving to work was a daily exercise in rage at environmental destruction and human rights violations. Thank goodness for audiobooks now!

However I did not invest in a podcast until my team decided to use season one of Serial for a class unit. We used the case of Adnan Syed to discuss research, bias, and who done it! HBO promptly released a documentary allegedly revealing more evidence. This happens every time we try something new. Taught The Help for one year, movie released.

The book to podcast to HBO special and tour was already well established with the first podcast to really draw me in: My Dad Wrote a Porno. Yes, that pretty much lays out the premise. Basically the narrator’s senior citizen father whose nom de plume is Rocky Flintstone wrote and self-published “erotic literature”(say that in your best British accent as all involved are British which makes it even better) called Belinda Blinks. You can absolutely buy it on Amazon, but you’re much better off with the podcast.

Every episode, Jamie, the put-upon son, reads a chapter from his dad’s books (Rocky cranked out 5 very quickly) while pausing for commentary and analysis of Rocky’s sentence structure, plot lines, and sexual prowess from companions James and Alice. It becomes clear from chapter one that Rocky’s grasp of grammar and knowledge of anatomy are highly suspect.

It’s all incredibly inappropriate and hilarious. My cupcake lady’s husband (everyone should have a cupcake lady) recommended the podcast so I would go back to him for discussion. I determined that part of the reason I enjoyed this podcast so much was that everyone on it seemed deliriously happy to be a part of it, constantly joking and giggling. Who knew the cervix was so funny? Unfortunately, I listened to all 5 seasons and the group was on tour with no season 6 in sight. Because cupcake lady’s husband was an avid listener of many podcasts, I walked away one day with cupcakes and a post-it note of recommendations just in time for the world to come to a screeching halt.

This is a lot of text! To break it up, here’s some sourdough bread I made during the stay-at-home most likely while listening to a podcast. Podcasts are great for cooking and also good for putting away folded laundry, and changing sheets on the bed.

During the Stay-At-Home order podcasts became a part of my daily routine more than usual. I started with one of his new recommendations Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet. A brother and sister duo Alex and Christine dramatically read one star reviews of products and places. Each show has a focusing theme like “Dunkin Donuts in Concord, New Hampshire.” Each episode ends with a challenge from one sibling to the other along the lines of things like find a 5 star review of a BBQ restaurant from a vegan. The trend in my listening is still people who seem happy to be broadcasting, and ridiculous but humorous scenarios.

Beach too Sandy led me to the And That’s Why We Drink podcast because Christine kept mentioning her murder podcast and friends Em and Allyson during Beach Too Sandy. During each episode of And That’s Why We Drink, Em who was once a paranormal investigator covers a ghost story or story of a haunted location, followed by Christine telling a true crime story. In between gruesome acts and possessions there’s a lot of interaction with Gio the dog, consuming of wine, and general commentary on their lives. They’re my current favorite possibly because the supernatural and true crime or mysteries are where my reading tastes trend. I’ve tried to like My Favorite Murder another true crime podcast which my seniors recommended one year and which Christine mentions frequently. However I’ve only made it through the first couple of episodes because the narrators sounded like the senior girls who recommended the podcast. At the time, my senior class seemed to be populated by the main cast of Mean Girls and several John Hughes standards. I often described them by saying if anyone needed to cast a teen movie, I had their stereotypes.

Also on the post-it note was How Did This Get Made?. This one sort of analyzes bad movies, sort of makes fun of them in the process, and sort of gives some behind the scenes info. I’ve found that I like it more when it’s discussing a movie that I’m familiar with, but the narrators are prone to getting really loud and screamy really quickly.

You’ve made it this far! Enjoy Sookie’s belly floof! One more to go.

Finally, my absolute enjoyable go-to is The Office Ladies podcast. I was not a fan of The Office when it was out, but have grown to appreciate it much more via Netflix and re-runs. I often find Michael Scott’s behavior to be reprehensible and cringe worthy, but that may be because I feel like I’ve worked for the evil version of him. Additionally, my students think that they have been the first ones to discover the wonders of shows like The Office and Friends via Netflix so best to know what’s going on.

Pam and Angela or Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey host the show. It’s the only podcast on the list that I feel “current” with as they only started broadcasting in October of 2019. Frenemies on TV, friends in real life. Each episode gives a run-down of the plot, commentary from the two actresses about their experiences, the occasional special guest from the cast and crew, and tons of behind the scenes “how’d they do that?” information. For example, I had no idea how many of the cast members were actually also staff writers. Toby (Paul Lieberstein), for example, is strategically kicked out of meetings or forbade to attend events in episodes because he needed to be in the writer’s room. Again, both women seem happy to be talking to each other and reliving their experiences.

You’ve read a lot of paragraphs! Here’s your reward.

In an Office related twist, Some Good News with John Krasinski came out of the quarantine. I might have gotten a little verklempt when I watched an episode that a colleague shared, but I was REALLY on edge with e-learning at the time. Enjoy!

The Most Dangerous Thing You’ll Read Today

My skillet is about 6 inches across.

One of the cooking blogs I follow posted a recipe for one walnut chocolate chip cookie.

One.

As in, you are in quarantine by yourself and you just need one cookie RIGHT NOW!!!!

This could be a slippery slope.

Her recipe uses butter, but my go-to for cookies is Crisco. Mine was crumbly, but delicious. The butter might have held it together better. I will have to experiment with round two.

Your Moment of Chipmunk Zen

MomBert has been out in her studio making stained glass goodness to keep herself busy.

She was FaceTiming with me when she announced that the chipmunk was back and was drinking from a crack in the concrete. I, of course, chided her for such shoddy chipmunk accommodations. My yard wildlife have heated baths and ground level bowls to sip from and quench their tiny thirsts.

The next day, I got a chipmunk update.

That’s pretty cute, but I asked for more: “Can you get the chipmunk a tiny table and table cloth with place setting?”

The next day. Chipmunk Zen.

Catnip Party

The Wigglebothum getting crazy!

Saturday Night Catnip Party! Another indicator that I’ve been training for stay at home isolation for years. Perfectly entertained watching my cats get high. I only had some wine with dinner.

Not to be out-cuted by Olivia, Birdie flopped down by me to show off her standard catnip roll and stretch. Yep, another wild night in my social life.

We’re struggling…I guess

I like writing this blog, but being locked to my computer for school office hours and then additional hours to prep and generally deal with stuff does not make me want to revisit my screen even for enjoyment. I have to make myself walk away from all the to-dos.

I try to escape outside at least once a day. In typical fashion the weather has gone from warm enough to open the windows back to “it might snow.” The social media posts of my friends who have run 5 miles daily then done a lifting workout don’t inspire so much as they shame me for not wanting to do those things.

Maybe if I did those things and escaped the screens sooner, I’d sleep better. However everything from the committee that I don’t want to be on to my online purchase keeps the voices chattering. I awake blearily to the next day.

Nailed It!

I saw that Netflix released season 4 of Nailed It! I am way more happy about that than I am about this Tiger King bullshit.

MomBert likes a good baking show, but she doesn’t have Netflix. So around my sister’s birthday which falls on or close to Thanksgiving, we were trying to explain the show to MomBert. More to the point, I suggested that my sister explain it and then demand some Pinterest monstrosity for her birthday cake.

This was the result:

MomBert thought she had the situation under control. One turkey shaped cake pan plus two turkey cakes should equal one fully rounded turkey not a conjoined twin situation. Nailed it!

The reveal! We’re always ready for the sideshow. My sister is particularly relieved because we made her close her eyes and kept chanting that we were bringing her an opossum.

“One of us! One of us!