Saturday, November 14, 2015

Best: September 2015.

On this day when the world seems scary and awful (which is the way the world looks most days depending on who you are), I am going to selfishly focus on the good stuff. Good stuff from September, which already seems ages ago. I've been labeling the date as "2016" for like a month. As far as I'm concerned, after Daylight Savings hits, the world has shifted and we are MOVING ON, FOLKS. But September was really good so I'm happy to make this slight timey wimey exception and go back to it.

This lemon pepper chicken orzo from my fave, BB, just SLAYED it for me this month. Instead of using whole chicken thighs as Beth did, I just used biggish chunks of chicken breast because HELL-O that is my white girl initiative. I also was able to use up the last of my fancy lemon pepper blend that my mom sent me for Christmas a long time ago, and I used a LOT of it, and I used a LOT of feta, DUH. My orzo turned out PERFECTLY which soothed my Orzo Anxiety, born after making a recipe earlier in the summer with Fancy Organic Orzo From the Organic Bins Aisle, which turned out slimy and mushy and gross. But this recipe proved that it wasn't me! Just get the mass produced shit in the box and everything will be fine!

Seriously, I could eat this recipe forever.

Oh my god, I'll Give You the Sun. This book gut punched me and I loved every second of it. Actually, this isn't true. For the first chapter or two, the artsy fartsy hyperbole of Noah's mind caused lots of eye rolling on my part. But when it drew me in, it drew. me. in. The writing, the structure, the yearning romance, it all held me in its rapture. It deserved every ounce of that Printz Medal. One of my favorites of the year thus far.

Anna and the French Kiss, on the other hand, was pure romantic fun, but such a GOOD romantic fun! Not as artsy fartsy as Jandy Nelson but I loved every second of this, too. St. Clair is the swooniest of all the swoony YA male romantic leads, but Anna is great, too--relatable and funny and interesting. I read Lola and the Boy Next Door after this, which, I should note, is the one book I received multiple complaints about last year at my library, and it was okay but just not as good as Anna. (Was it worthy of the complaints, though? My personal opinion: nah.)

September brought the return of new TV (THANK GOD) and the best season premiere of them all was Black-ish. Kathy and I started watching this at the tail end of its first season at the beginning of 2015, and quickly fell in love with it. I think I fell in love with the kids first, but now I am fully OBSESSED with the mom, played by the incandescent Tracee Ellis Ross. The first episode of this season WENT THERE by being all about the n-word, and without drawing any concrete or preachy conclusions at the end, was full of discussion that was poignant at the same time as it was HEE-LAR-IOUS. I have learned that teens at my high school have VERY strong opinions about the n-word; several classes have held Socratic Seminars about it. I can only cringe when I imagine the things that are said by all of our white students. I almost wish that instead of having to hear their peers' uneducated teen brain opinions about the word, they were just required to watch this episode in class, instead.

But really, this show is the best.

Manda's birthday is in September, and in celebration this year she wanted to go to the coast and blow some glass. Blowing glass is something I've never had a huge desire to do myself, but I was pumped about a road trip--which we spent almost the entirety of blaring P!nk and it was perfect. When we got there, though, and I watched Manda and Kathy mold their molten globs of beautiful, fiery glass [I was the documenter], I was FASCINATED and taken over by the uninhibited glee of being really awed by something you weren't expecting. It was the coolest thing ever, you guys. THE COOLEST. EVER.

Plus, we went to a burger place that wrote your name in ketchup in your fry sauce, and visited this weird geology store that had a huge animatronic dinosaur that roared and flailed its tiny T-rex arms at you. In short, it was THE PERFECT DAY.

While we missed the tulip festival this year for the first time in many, many years, we did make it to the dahlia festival in September. And while the pure scope of the tulip festival is the most impressive, the actual badassery of dahlias is far superior, and hence my favorite festival. What, you don't think flowers can be badass? I suggest you look at the fine specimens in these here photographs and think about how dumb you are.

These two lovely souls visited from SoCal this month for a friend's wedding, and it felt like we hadn't seen their faces in SO LONG. It happened to be a cold and wet weekend they were here, which was somewhat shocking to their SoCal-adjusted systems, but we went on a lovely hike anyway, because that's what Pacific Northwesterners do! Ellie and Matt are as thoughtful and genuine and kind and funny as ever and I am very glad to know them.

Brandi Carlile. ~hearts for eyes emoji~
Edgefield. ~hearts for eyes emoji~
Kathy. ~hearts for eyes emoji~

My second year at work swung into full swing in September and while it's somewhat hard for me to talk about school here because I'm trying really hard to maintain a school / personal life divide, it'd be wrong for me to summarize my September without mentioning it. The start of my second year was so much better in many ways than my first because I already knew so many of the students, and it was so lovely to see them again, and staff already trusted me. At the same time, I feel more pressure than ever because staff and students do trust me, and I know there's so much more to be done to really advance student learning via the library. I also feel a lot more exhausted working at two buildings than I did last year. Last year I was probably just running on the fumes of the excitement of having a full time library job; this year, I'm feeling more and more that to really accomplish things at both schools, I need more time than a couple days a week at each one.

I also started GSAs this year, and while at this point, I don't think the middle school one will really get off the ground, the high school one has been completely awesome and gratifying thus far.

We also started a comfy reading corner at the middle school, and I'm making progress in making the high school library my own, and I have a decent budget, and my staffs like me, and I have an awesome new principal at the middle school who really supports us and what we do, so I should just shut my trap about any complaints. 

My life is good, and I'm very happy to be alive. I'm not going to pretend to say anything in French, because I have always sucked at French and always will, but I am very, very happy to be alive.

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