Week/Month Notes

    🗒️ Month Notes: March 2024

    March was a full month!

    Our local historic cinema shows retro films. W & I went to This Is Spinal Tap together. It turns out it’s still hilarious.

    We went as a family to My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro is M’s favorite movie. It was very special to see it on a big screen. I noticed some little things I had never noticed before, like how Mei echoes everything Satsuke says. ♥️ Little Sisters ♥️

    I often focus on the part of a movie that resonates with me, sometimes to the point of having seen a different movie than everyone else. Some time ago I read a blog post or article that I now can’t find about how My Neighbor Totoro can be read as a story about an eldest daughter’s responsibilities. With Satsuke and Mei’s mom being sick and their dad being at work a lot, this really resonated with my experience growing up and now all I see is a movie about a big sister who is parentalized and cares for her little sister. It’s a beautiful movie and if you read it this way, one of the sweetest bits is how Mei shares Totoro’s magic with Satsuke.

    We saw Adam Gidwitz speak at a local indie bookstore. I had a catch up call with a colleague from when I did my postdoc. That was lovely and if I’m smart, I’ll schedule more catch up calls and coffee dates.

    I had a preliminary Zoom interview for the school librarian job at M’s school. I felt good about it and it went well enough that I was invited for an on-campus interview.

    W and I saw Murder on the Orient Express at Playmakers Repertory Company. The set was a gorgeous art deco thing and the way they created the train was with these metal frames on wheels that the cast and crew could move around to indicate individual compartments or larger areas. The play itself was super fun. It’s a Ken Ludwig adaptation of the Agatha Christie story and definitely had a few moments where Ludwig’s voice popped up to remind you that this was by the same guy who wrote Lend Me a Tenor.

    From March 21 to 29, we were traveling. We flew to London, where we stayed in a flat near the Portobello Road Market, ate delicious buns, saw Matilda the Musical in the West End, and played at St. James’s Park. Then we went to Cork, where we saw the beautiful rolling hills of Ireland on our way from the airport to the city center and explored the very cute city center including a toy store, an old-fashioned Irish sweet shop, and the English Market. It wasn’t very long to have gone so far, and because of how we did the travel, four of our nine days were travel days. I did learn a lot about travel, mainly that it’s worth the extra money for direct flights if you have it.

    While we were gone, I developed a nasty productive cough, so when we got home I skipped our usual extended family Easter festivities.

    And that was March!

    🗒️ Month Notes, February 2024

    Lars-Christian noted that month notes work better than week notes for him due to the cadence of his life, and I think this will be true for me, too. So! I’ll be trying month notes for a little while and reevaluate if they start to feel off.

    Early this month was rough, as both M and W had pinkeye. I had respiratory symptoms and felt quite miserable but managed to dodge the accompanying eye infection.

    We booked a beach condo for a week vacation this year. For almost 20 years, W and I, and then M when he came along, have spent a week at a beach condo owned by W’s bonus mom Cindy and her sister. When Cindy died, W’s dad inherited her part of the condo. But he hates the beach and Cindy’s sister didn’t go down there much, and the property taxes, bills, and maintenance for the space were very expensive. So they decided to sell it, which meant we needed to find a new place to stay for our beach week.

    We had hoped to go with another family and get a big house but that didn’t work out, so we found a condo at a beach a little closer to our home than the old one and have a contract to rent it for a week in June. We’ll see how it goes.

    I started doing Leonie Dawson’s 40 Days to a Finished Book course. (If you buy the course through that link, I will receive a commission.) I’m writing a little booklet about how to be a better player in tabletop role-playing games, because there’s a lot of advice out there for game masters but only a little for players. I set a target of 10,000 words total. This means I have a very manageable daily goal of 250 words, which so far I’ve been able to for 20 days. When I hit 5000 words early, I worried I didn’t have anything left to say on the topic. I decided to just freewrite the other 5000 words and try to make it all make sense when I’m done. I can write 250 words in 5 or 10 minutes, so this is a really doable practice that I hope to keep up even after the 40 days are over.

    On Valentine’s Day, W and I had an early dinner and coffee together. We began answering The Good Trade’s 99 Questions To Ask Your Partner To Get To Know Them Better. The questions are clearly written for young couples who haven’t been together very long, not couples who have been married for 15 years and together for 25. But they were still fun to answer.

    One of M’s school mates from kindergarten and preschool had a maritime-themed birthday party at a local park and that was super fun as well as being an opportunity to catch up with some of those kids' parents whom I haven’t seen in a while.

    W and I saw Fat Ham at Playmakers Repertory Company. It was super fun with a stellar cast. We also went to Clue the Movie at the [Retro Film Series[(https://carolinatheatre.org/series/retro-film-series/), which is always a delight.

    I had an eye exam. I learned that my eyesight has only gotten a little worse over the past year. I ordered new glasses that look almost exactly like my old ones except they have a narrower frame width so they should fit better, plus some fun prescription sunglasses.

    I played Super Mario Bros 1 through 3 and started Ocarina of Time. W and I have been watching Home Economics and it’s a delight, but it makes me wonder how much TV writers know about how publishing works. I’ve been tearing my way through the Immortals After Dark series at a pace of two books a week and listening to the accompanying episodes of the [Fated Mates[(https://fatedmates.net/) podcast, plus hanging out in the Fated Mates Discord a lot.

    I’m almost done organizing our pantry. I’m planning to eat down what we’ve got in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and then try eating from the Real Easy Weekdays plan.

    I think that’s about it for me for February. What have you been up to?

    🗒️ Week Notes, 2024, Weeks 3 through 5: A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening Are Super Fun

    It’s three weeks’ worth of week notes at once!

    My son M’s school has a “Day On” on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. They choose a theme for the day and hold a celebration where the whole school community, including parents, is welcome, and then spend the second half of the day on service projects. Our family only did the celebration part of the day this year, but next year I plan for us to help with the part of the day where you sort book donations to Book Harvest. I’m also planning to join the celebration for the choir next year.

    The theme for this year was “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” The choir sang 3 songs I love: “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” “Heal the World,” and “Stand By Me.” Middle and high school students read poems they had written. Pauli Murray’s niece and biographer Rosita Stevens-Holsey was the keynote speaker and shared wonderful insight into Rev. Dr. Murray’s life and work. I was so happy to have attended.

    At the end of that week, I took a quick overnight trip to Baltimore to present at the American Library Association LibLearnX conference. In the end, my session was less a presentation or workshop and more a conversation, as we only had about 5 people attending. We were able to really customize the conversation to the participants’ interest. My BFF lives near Baltimore, so I got to have dinner with her the night before the presentation and hang out with her after, when we went to the Edgar Allan Poe house and wandered around a cute shopping area.

    After I got home from that trip, I was exhausted and then a little bit sick, too. So I rested a lot and had a pretty quiet week.

    Then this past week was more quiet time at home and handling administrative stuff like having my car inspected and renewing the registration, rescheduling a dental appointment I canceled due to a migraine, and completing the job application to be the half-time school librarian at M’s school.

    It was a good time for consuming culture. I’ve been reading romance novels, The Age of Cage, and How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. I watched Emily in Paris. I played A Link to the Past, which is phenomenal and deserves its status as a classic, and the Switch remake of Link’s Awakening, which is super fun.

    Saturday M developed a nasty case of pinkeye. He’s on his second day home from school and on antibiotics for it and seems to be improving.

    That’s it for this post!

    🗒️ Week Notes, 2024 Week 2: Zelda II is skippable

    It’s time for another round of Week Notes!

    Monday morning I had my usual coffee work date with my friend C. I worked on my session for LibLearnX, which is the last bit of work related to my postdoc besides reviewing document drafts as my colleagues finish them.

    Tuesday I took M to the dentist for a cleaning. It was a super rainy day, with high winds, so I ended up picking him up early. But we came through the storm okay.

    Wednesday, I planned with my LibLearnX co-presenters and as so often happens, we came up with something way better together than anything I could’ve created on my own.

    M had musical theater dance class on Thursday and I went to a nearby cafe and puttered in Scrivener with a romance novel spark sheet. Just sitting down and typing really moved me forward, so now I have two characters, each with their own self-doubt, to put in a situation where they can fall in love, build each other up, and help each other grow.

    Friday and Saturday we’re very chill days at home, and on Sunday W and I went for lunch at an old favorite diner and ambled around one of our many local independent bookstores before picking up a cookbook I’d ordered online and returning home.

    I read two forthcoming releases last week, The Frame-Up by Gwenda Bond and Love Requires Chocolate by Ravynn K. Stringfield. I actually Internet-know both of these authors, Gwenda Bond from way back in our kidlitosphere days circa 2007 and Ravynn because she taught a workshop I took on creative nonfiction for academics. Both books made me happy and I’m reading at a pace of 2 books a week, which is twice as fast as a typical fast reading pace for me. We’ll see how my reading pace changes throughout the year.

    By myself I watched It’s Complicated, The Intern, and Heartburn. This is because the main character in Timothy Janovsky’s Never Been Kissed is a film guy who wore a G is for Gerwig shirt from Super Yaki. I decided I wanted to know film better and that just going through the oeuvres of auteurs featured on Super Yaki would be a great way to do it, so I’m starting with Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron.

    W and I have been watching Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty together. It’s his third time watching and my first. It’s a lot of fun. John C. Reilly is incredibly winning.

    I tried playing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link but I didn’t find it fun. After reading this article in Escapist Magazine, which said

    If you’re anything like me, you’re going to die in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. A lot. And chances are you won’t have a great time doing it.


    If you’re intent on trying it out in 2023, I recommend either playing the SP version on Nintendo Switch that starts you off fully powered up, watching a playthrough on YouTube, or just skipping it…

    I decided first to try the SP version, then when that still wasn’t fun, to watch someone else play on YouTube. Even that wasn’t fun, so I skipped ahead and just watched the last couple of fights.

    Having done that, I started playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and I’m having a blast with that.

    That’s it for this Week Note!

    🗒️ Week Notes, 2024 Week 1: Beautiful dragons in crystal forests

    I do so like when other people, like @cygnoir, write week notes, so I thought I’d give it a try.

    On New Year’s Day, my little household made our way over to my parents' house for chili and board games. We played Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, a cute party game. We also played Chutes & Ladders: Marvel Super Hero Squad, because that is the one game M will play by the actual rules.

    We watched Beware the Groove, a documentary my brother made about the making of The Emperor’s New Groove. It’s super cool and I’m proud of him. If you like The Emperor’s New Groove, animation, or movies in general, you should try it out.

    M was back on campus Tuesday for a day camp before school officially started on Wednesday. Tuesday evening, I attended a webinar about Quaker education. M attends a Quaker school and I really hope to work there, so this was a very valuable session for me to attend.

    Wednesday, I had the last team meeting for my postdoc. The report we’ve been working on for a long time is still in progress. My colleagues will be finishing it. (This is a useful example of the impact of funding: the people who wrote the grant had originally written my postdoc as a 3 year postdoc, but when the program officer told them they needed to cut costs in their proposal, they cut the third year. And now there’s no one whose job it is to work on the project full-time anymore, so it has to take a back seat to other projects.)

    I’ll be first author on the report whenever it’s actually published, so that’s nice.

    Thursday was a quiet day. M resumed his musical theater dance class, which he started only because a friend was doing it but now says he really enjoys.

    Friday was another quiet day. Which is good, because Saturday was a big day!

    We went to the NC Chinese Lantern Festival. It’s always beautiful, but this year was extra magical because in honor of the Year of the Dragon, there were many beautiful dragons hanging out in crystal forests.

    Large Chinese lanterns: a dragon and a crystal forest

    There were also a lot of Monkey King-themed lanterns.

    To get a sense of the whole experience, take a look at the online program.

    Sunday was another quiet day which was literally sorely needed, as my body didn’t like me asking it to do so much walking around at the festival, so Sunday was a high pain day. (It’s also possible there was some unexpected corn flour in something I ate.)

    And that’s week 1 of 2024!