Artober

One Adventure Buddy encouraged me to participate in Artober with her which is a list of daily prompts that people respond to with a sketch, painting whatever… Google “Artober” or “inktober” to play. We’re using the this list.

She is far more skilled at artistic endeavors than I. Her work clearly looks like something purposeful and has some perspective and depth to it. She also has a solid grasp of how to work with different mediums. My work kind of looks like something and is pretty flat. However I have fun doing it and that’s kind of the point.

Doodling is a soothing way to end my day. My brain has tapped out by 7:30 or 8 on a week night, but still has enough power to attempt the drawing prompt.

While I am definitely critical of myself, my biggest art critic is Miles. He likes to get right up in there and tear down what little ego I have left.

“This drawing is dumb because it is not of me.”

“Cry” is probably my favorite so far. It made me think of the summer I “battled” a groundhog family over who really owned the backyard. I used Chunk the Groundhog on Instagram as my model.

Day 8: Cry

Day to day challenges and the unending news cycle of hate and stupidity lead to some pretty dark thoughts. However sketching with some light TV (I love you, Schitt’s Creek. How does Dan Levy make his face do those expressions!) surrounded on average by three of four cats really helps ease me into bedtime.

Day 9: Dark

Bed Hog

I am beyond thrilled that The Bird is my bedtime companion and purring nap buddy. She snuggles against me, holds paws with me and generally tolerates my tossing and turning and need to pee at 3 a.m.

However she has demands. She prefers the left side of the bed which works well for me since my reading lamp and table are on the right. I’d hate to have to rearrange the bedroom. She needs the pillows and blankets pulled back to clear space as she wants to sleep on the fitted sheet. NOT the top sheet!

I try my best to appease her. She weighs 8 pounds and owns the shit out of me.

Me in yoga these days

“You want me to bend what way now?”

Sookie and I currently have the same body type. Whole lotta floof.

Incidentally during a power yoga class recently, the proposed pose was so bizarre that I actually whispered (THOUGHT I whispered) to myself “WHAT now?!” from my safe spot in the back of the class The instructor heard it at the front and was like,”Yes, you may be asking yourself ‘what?’”

My brain on Zoom

Me in most Zoom meetings.

“I wonder if I have any snacks?”

“Use the serious, attentive face! Attentive face!”

“What is that person doing?”

“My hair. “ That’s all. It’s a problem.

“Someone should vacuum. “

“I know I muted, but can they hear me peeing?” Might have peed with 500+ attendees.

“I’m going to text half the people in this meeting.”

“CATS!”

“Where should I nap today?”

“Shit! They’re talking to me!”

“I’m gonna do what now?!”

Spending the 4th…with cats

We spent it in the bathroom.

Olivia Wigglebothum hates thunderstorms, fireworks, and sometimes the sound of the UPS truck. My neighborhood started early per usual, so Olivia has been low bellying it around the house for most of the week.

Saturday, I kept her in the bathroom with me while I took a shower. Friday night though I wanted nothing more than to read in the bathtub. I brought Olivia in the bathroom with me because the bathroom is one of her approved “safe spots” and the noise of the exhaust fan helps mask the boom boom pows that were jackin’ our style.

She seemed happy enough to camp out and talk to me from the bath mat. I kept the door cracked so she didn’t feel trapped, but an open door to the bathroom is an invitation to Miles who is the reason I take baths with the door shut. Once he’s in, I spend most of my time deterring him from stepping on me in the tub, and hoping that he doesn’t fall in and panic.

I finally persuaded Miles that Olivia REALLY needed his love more than I did in that moment.

At one point, Birdie was like, “Hey, guys, what’s up in here?” From their reaction, she was a third wheel in the cat universe.

We survived the explosions, but Miles really fucked up Olivia’s hair. Cowlick.

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.