Happy Thanksgiving.

Here are some pictures from our week so far. Hope you are finding some things to love on this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my readers faithful. 🙂

There are three people in this picture, because Aunt Annette is holding Brooke’s new baby!! 🙂
Where I first learned to boogie board. The waves can get a little bigger than this haha.
The fresh vegetable cart is by the Carpinteria beach every year.

Good luck in your travels, stick with your family, and mask up!!

A Toy and a Game

Toy: Mario Kart Live Home Circuit

I’m not a gamer, but the new Mario Kart Live Home Circuit Set looks like the funnest thing ever. Each car has a camera on it (so this is $$), so while you’re in physical control of the kart, you race through the surroundings in your house on a Nintendo switch. Driving through boosts gives you extra speed, and slamming into things puts your kart on its brakes.

I want to have a party to play this.

Game: Secret Hitler

The first time my family played this, we were yelling and screaming and no one would speak to each other afterwards. The lying got OUT OF HAND and everyone who played honestly and naïvely lost and got really bitter, hahaha. It is a really fun party game, especially if you play with loud extroverts, who are also good liars. It is madly addicting. If you’re a liberal, you try to find out who the liberals and fascists are. You give power to the liberals. If you’re a fascist, you’re trying to pretend to be a liberal and give power to Hitler. It sounds repulsive and you’re free to change the names.

One boring game I would skip is called Pricetitution. It is basically a boxed version of Would You Rather, but only super boring options. It got lame so fast!

Other covid friendly games include Kick the Can, 6′ apart Hide and Seek outside, and a Tag-version of sardines.

Hope you are finding fun things to do this break!

Pictures in this post are from gameinformer.com and Walmart.

Santa Barbara

I am in Santa Barbara, and truly relishing a vacation that requires everyone in my family to stay six feet away from me 🙃. We haven’t done too much, but it’s a perfect place to do nothing. This vacation, I think I am going to start keeping a tally sheet for every time someone in the family talks or makes any noise and then convert the data into a pie chart, bar graph, and PowerPoint presentation 🙃 (joking).

I started watching Schitt’s Creek last night and it is SO worth the hype. What an incredible tv show. My favorite line so far is from Eric. David specifically requests that Stevie bring someone who ‘gets it’ to the party, and instead she brings Eric who does not, in actuality, know how to play charades. Eric asks: “How are we supposed to know what to write if you don’t tell us?” 😂😂

A close second is when Moira confuses the word interest and idea when they are trying to get to know their children better: “We have no interest in what you do all day.” Johnny corrects her: “She means idea. We have no idea what you do all day and we’d like to get to know you better.” 😂

Another great scene is when Moira asks Alexis to finish the paperwork because she obviously can’t remember Alexis’s middle name. Then when Moira is drugged and crying under the clothes in the armoire and voluntarily declines to pay her husband ‘gratuity’ when she asks him to close the closet doors. 😂

Apart from Santa Barbara and Schitt’s Creek, here are a few more very important things:

– I recently read about a study that gets rid of senescent cells and lengthens telomeres to help people live longer. This clearly needs significantly more research, but I hope it works and I hope everyone gets to try it because we’ve all basically been robbed of a year of fun this year and everyone deserves a refund.

-We are prepping for Christmas. One of my English classes will be writing short stories about the magic of the holiday season and I am excited for all the beauty and random acts of love that will be Christmas this year. I’m sure it will look different, but I hope it will still be magical in unusual ways. I hope the vaccine comes soon.

For Christmas I want an electric toothbrush and maybe a book or game that involves creative writing (so I can learn to write short stories better). We did our Christmas draw and my little sister drew me. She keeps implying that she would like to buy me something related to Harry Potter (and then borrow it), even though I’ve made it clear that I only want a nice electric toothbrush. It’s ok though because I will proudly wear a Hufflepuff sweatshirt (I’m a Hufflepuff) or whatever else she wants to get me. She is the only person in our family who even cares about Christmas presents 🎁 – she told Paul that she wants eighty presents and offered him a hilariously repetitive Christmas list: “Gryffindor socks, a drawer full of Gryffindor socks, Hufflepuff socks, a Hufflepuff keychain, a Griffyndor wallet, a Gryffindor pendant, the Gryffindor house flag, Gryffindor scarf, Gryffindor sweatpants…” 😂 She cracks me up.

-the #givethanks social media thing is perhaps tone-deaf, saccharine, and self-congratulating, but I am actually loving reading everyone’s posts, especially the unique ones. Someone posted pictures and examples of humanity that they’re thankful for. Someone shared their gratitude for color, and then their gratitude for lumpy old furniture that their family has. Someone else shared their gratitude for humor, with various videos of themself tripping and falling. 😂

I hope you are feeling grateful, breathing clean air, and enjoying a refreshing weekend.

History

From Thaves

Today was stellar. My life is so rich and full right now (in some moments – also so empty in others!), mostly because of my job. Today, in US History, we reviewed the Declaration of Independence, tied up loose ends on the Revolutionary War (spoiler – America wins!), and learned a bit about the Articles of Confederation and Shay’s rebellion. Soon we’ll discuss Federalists versus Anti-Federalists, and learn the skeleton of the Constitution before we play Race to Ratify, Braches of Power, and Bill of Rights BINGO. Should I give them a quiz? Or should we just play? Playing is more fun.

And that’s just one unit in one of my four curriculums. See how interesting my life is?

I also have to grade papers, though…

Hope you’re getting excited for Thanksgiving. 🦃

Simulation!

Congressional Recess for the Provincial Congress of New York, 1775.

We had a two-week Loyalists versus Patriots simulation in US history. I can’t say enough good things.

Here are some highlights:

-booing the request not to boo

-making fun of old-fashioned language

-cracking jokes about the redcoats eating too much

-Parents bringing flags for Great Britain- cheering, booing

-the crowd getting out of hand

-a very stirring speech about losing one’s job in Boston

-ALL of the speeches- the material we are learning is very challenging. We’re reading John Locke and basically every other word is in antiquated, college-level language. They made so much sense of it!! And tried so hard. And it totally paid off.

-The mob was a failure, but looking for tea was not.

-The ‘tarring and feathering’. When you get tarred and feathered, you have to wear a really heinous pink and yellow wig and oversized party sunglasses and walk around the block, while Congress members yell old-fashioned insults at you. It was the day after Halloween. Our ‘victim’ (who was a great sport by the way) basically sprinted around the block, but everyone in the neighborhood and at the park gawked at us and it was hilarious.

-the unanimous roar when it was suggested that women and laborers should get the right to vote. Seriously, parents jumping and dancing

-the costumes!

-the wigs!

-the alliances!

-the complaining!

-In a surprising turn of events, the Loyalists won and New York voted against independence from Britain. It was a huge victory for the Loyalists because there were only two of them against three Patriots in our version. Historical simulations are full of surprises.

Hope you’re well.

Quotes

Here are a few quotes I have loved as of recently:

“‎I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” 😂 (No truer words!)

–E. B. White

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

–Mark Twain

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

–Mark Twain

“What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.”

–Jeanette Winterson

“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.”

–Goi Nasu

“Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”

–Chris Brogan (took the words right out of my mouth)

“People will disappoint you and wrong you, but they will also defend you and fight for you and bowl you over with kindness. We are all such radiant (screw)ups — we have to remember this and love one another for it. And even when it seems impossible, we have to be good to one another, to extend an open hand, to try to bring the light back in to illuminate the darkness.”

–Cody Gohl

 “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

–Pablo Picasso

I have been reading a lot about Myers-Briggs recently and I am such an ENFP. Compassionate, creative, and drawn to a challenge. I like to improve at things I’m already good at, but I prefer to learn new things, even if they are not my natural strengths. I’m in good company. I like most people on the ENFP list. We are currently reading Anne Frank in school, and I knew she was an ENFP without even looking it up. She is perfect.

Also, someone please tell me if I should let my students read Frankenstein. For some reason, everyone thinks it is a horror story – it is not a horror story, it is an extremely depressing story🙄. The boys in class want to read it and I think they hope it will be exciting and graphic. It is not exciting and graphic. It’s slow and cruel. I’ll probably let them read it because I said I would, but it’s the sort of book that makes you happy to come back to your life. You realize that in comparison, your problems aren’t that bad! Like, Phew! That miserable book is over and now I can get back to doing the dishes!

On that note 😂 – I hope you are enjoying the outdoors and having a lovely weekend. 😊

Keep Laugh on Your To-Do List 🙃

How are you? Today I grocery shopped and introduced my students to the Onion, so I am doing well.

Here are some pictures from my past year!

This is the new student union building at Michigan. I have deferred this year- in my opinion the it’s not worth $48k+, as long as it’s online.

Thankfully, I found friends in Ann Arbor who like to try out new recipes from the Great British Bakeoff recipe book every week. Phew!

Midland, Michigan flooded this past May and we went to gut out a basement. It was so gross and sad. The family’s piano was waterlogged, the mom’s wedding dress and family jewelry was ruined.

/\Does anyone else’s Zoom calendar go super wonk sometimes?

/\Angell Hall, University of Michigan.

/\Celebrating the end of finals with food.

This was the initial layout for graphic assets I worked on.

/\ Idea: Touch the book, say a word, and the book cover says the number of times a word is in that book.

Outside Hatcher library. Don’t step on the gold ‘M’.

Hope you’re well.

I dissent.

This week was one of many weeks that I wished I was at home in Virginia, to go say thank you to Ruth. I loved many things about her: her jabot, her brilliance, her defiance, her kindness. She was relentlessly devoted to human dignity.

Here is a post my friend Carlo wrote about bias, that I thought was objective and productive. It reminded me of RBG and her fight for the underdog; I wish RBG could read and elaborate on his opinion. In his thoughts below, Carlo says we all have bias; it’s only when we treat people worse because of our biases that we create problems.

“Being afraid of people we don’t identify as our group (foreigners, people with different skin color than yours, people with different sexual orientation, people with another gender identification, people with different habits, people with different religion ,…) it’s an instinct, a bias.

Bias are not a fault, they are instinctive reactions, like feeling appetite when you see food or disgust when you smell an unpleasant smell. These are reactions that our brain has developed in millions of years to keep us safe, to maximize our probability of survival.

There’s nothing wrong with this, because it’s not a reaction we can control.

When a bias leads us to carry out discriminatory actions, not based on actual data, then that bias becomes a problem (misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, religious hatred). Coming for example extreme, having a sexual attraction to a person is a natural instinct, reacting to this instinct by raping them is a horrible act and not justified under any circumstances.

The first step is to figure out which bias we have. First of all I found many of them in myself.

The second step is to accept them, since they are instinctive reactions, and consider them when making a decision.I’m saying this because I think it makes sense? Or is it just that that person has a certain sexual orientation?

I’m doing this because I think it’s correct? Or is it just because I’m talking to a woman.

Am I keeping someone at a distance because I have a sensible reason to be afraid of them? Or is it just because it has a different skin color than mine?

This is what makes us human beings.

Questioning is very important. Try rethinking something you said or did and understand why you said it or did it.

Is it hard? Yes, yes. Is it worth it and can change our lives and others lives? Yes, yes.

Thanks Carlo! You are right.

The line to see Ruth.
The flags around the Washington Memorial at half-mast.
The good-bye presents for Ruth. Thanks to my family for these pictures.

We will miss you, Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.