ร€ la Super Eggplant, currently I am…

Watching: The O-G CSI. I started back at the very, very beginning. HA. It’s wild how many episodes I’ve randomly seen surrounded by others I don’t remember at all. The joy of rewatching an old show like this is the constant popping up in the extras–people who are NOW famous who often were no one then. Oh wait–Voodoo Tatum! OMG a young Blake Lively! Oh look it’s the grandpa from Everwood. I mean, you always know that person is going to be either the killer or the victim. Also I am SO EXCITED to be back in movie theaters and last week I saw the quite odd, definitely disturbing, yet oddly compelling The Card Collector.

Reading: I am really burning through books these days now that I’m back on the bus AND modeling 15 minutes of silent reading for my students in three different classes. I’m up to 104 for the year, already past my annual goal. Some recent hits (linking to my Goodreads reviews) are Ladyparts, The Second Rebel and The Women of Troy. I’m also WAY back into poetry right now.

Listening to: I was listening to tunes every morning on the bus, but my latest refurbished iPod decided to die so I’ve been bereft for about a week. However, until that point I was REALLY into the new Big Red Machine, an EP by a band called Pronoun, the latest Liz Phair, lots of singles/EP releases from Yoke Lore, and I am also currently, bizarrely obsessed with the song “If I drink this beer” by Will Chase (as Luke Wheeler on Nashville, which I rewatched all of in July/August).

Writing: Lesson plans. Wasting time spelling out the 97 steps I already know how to do to teach what I need to teach. What a waste of veteran teacher time. I will admit, I think they should be required of new teachers. Lesson plans were very helpful to me the first few years, especially if I needed ideas to fill extra time (paralyzing!), or really know what I was going to teach. And if you had a mentor teacher, they gave you a base to start from. You could use them for reflection: what worked, what didn’t, Now I already know how to do all of that and it’s so stupid to have to write them out, especially when it’s become very clear that NO ONE is actually reading them.etc.

Cooking / Eating: Mid-school year, the cooking gets to be such a drag. I do it every weekend so that I keep adding to the options for my lunches, rotating through the freezer, but it’s so much more drudgery than it feels during the summer! Here’s a couple yummy recipes I added to the rotation in 2021. Also I have become OBSESSED with Magic Spoon cereal. I have all the but the newest flavors. My favorites are: 1) Fruity; 2) Frosty; 3) Cinnamon; 4) a tie between Blueberry and Strawberry; 5) Cookies & Cream. I did not like the peanut butter which kinda bummed me out but OH WELL I will just eat peanut butter on toast. Heh.

Drinking: I’ve gotten really into V-8 over the past week. Huh.

Sewing: New masks. I have a few other things cut out but I haven’t gotten to them.

Quilting: Thinking about it, but not doing it.

Knitting: Ditto.

What’re YOU up to? ๐Ÿ™‚

Favorite Tunes of 2020

Finally! The post you’ve all been waiting for. Obvi.

My Favorite Albums:

  • Perfume Genius “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately” (May) Oh my, this album. Falsetto swoony dramatics can be hit or miss for me, but I absolutely loved this. Favorite songs: “Jason,” “Nothing at All,” and “Some Dream.”
  • William Prince “Reliever” (February) This deep voice of calmness was so soothing. I guess this is labeled as country. If you like Eddie Vedder’s solo stuff, you might like this. Favorite songs: “Always Have What We Had” (with the best line “I can miss you from anywhere” SWOON) and “That’s All I’ll Ever Become.”
  • Ethan Gruska “En Garde” (February) don’t know what made me pick this one up (maybe the collab with Phoebe Bridgers?), but it stuck in my head. It’s certainly got a bit of an Elliott Smith vibe which turns out to be the kind of sound I was seeking all year long. Perfect for a melancholy “OMG it’s the end of the world” year like 2020, am I right? Favorite songs: “On the Outside,” “Enough for Now” (w/ PB), “Teenage Drug” one of my favorite songs of the year for sure.
  • Phoebe Bridgers “Punisher” (July) Speaking of Elliott Smith vibes… I wrote ‘Yup, yup, yup” next to pretty much every song on this album. I know this was Taylor Swift’s year to many people (and I do like both those albums enough to have them on my top 10) but I will maintain that this album and the HAIM release (below) are JUST AS GOOD, if not… better? Heh. Don’t come at me, Swiftees, I’m allowed to have a different opinion than you! Favorite songs: “Moon Song”, “Graceland Too”, “Kyoto”… And all the rest of them. Ha.
  • HAIM “Women In Music Pt III” (July) Do I own or know anything about parts 1 and 2, if those indeed exist? Nope, I don’t, but this album just really dug its way in to my eardrums. There’s all kinds of musical nods happening in the backgrounds, it’s so upbeat and fun in a LOT of ways. There are several songs with just a great! beat! on this album. What fun. Favorite songs: “Los Angeles,” “The Steps”, “I Know Alone”, “Up from a Dream” “Don’t Wanna”, “All That Ever Mattered”, “Now I’m In It.”
  • The Weeknd “After Hours” (April) Cringe. Some of his lyrics are so misogynistic, I don’t think I’d love my teenage daughter getting obsessed with his music. Those are probably all the songs I like the best HAHAHAHA OMG life is frustrating. I just… always love every album he puts out and then one day I find myself analyzing the lyrics I’m singing along to and get annoyed. Oh well. Such is life. Sometimes great songs have shitty messages. Music is complicated like that. Favorite songs: “Hardest to Love”, “Heartless”, “In Your Eyes”.
  • Kesha “High Road” (February) I had never bought a Kesha / Ke$ha album before but this one was totally worth it. TOTALLY. A wild mix of upbeat rock and pop, melancholy country, it’s up, it’s down, it’s all over the place. Favorite songs: “Cowboy Blues” (“Did I fuck my whole life up?”), “High Road,” “Birthday Suit” (so ridic), and “Resentment” (w/ Brian Wilson and Sturgill Simpson, of all people).
  • Waxahatchee “Saint Cloud” (April) Pretty sure Busy Phillips’ instagram stories put this on my radar as I’ve never really been a Waxahatchee fan in the past. This album has what is definitely a contender for song of the year: “Fire”. I take it for granted / If I could love you unconditionally / I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky / For some of us it ain’t enough / It ain’t enough. Cannot stop listening to it, singing it, humming it, getting lost in its chorus. It’s 2020’s Maggie Roger’s “Alaska.” Other favorites: “Lilacs” (so Dylanesque) and “Hell.”
  • Taylor Swift “Folklore” (July) OK are the “Cardigan” commercials not cracking everyone else up at this point? I mean, it seems insane months (and another album) later to suddenly see them a million times every Hulu show I watch. Heh. Favorite songs: “Exile” (feat Bon Iver) duh, “Seven,” “This Is Me Trying,” “Invisible String”, and “Mad Woman.”
  • Taylor Swift “Evermore” (December) Seriously, if this album was just the song “Ivy” in every single position, I would love it just as much. SONG OF THE YEAR, people, song of the whole damn year. Oh, goddamn, my pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand. But, sure, there are others I liked. I guess. Favorite songs: “Willow,” “Champagne Problems,” “No Body, No Crime” (feat HAIM), “Dorothea,” and “Coney Island (feat The National).

Honorable Mentions:

  • Little Big Town “Nightfall” (February) In keeping the favorite list to 10, Waxahatchee knocked this one off. But there are a ton of songs on this album that really *really* stuck with me. Favorite songs: “Questions” and “The Daughters” might be the best back to back on an album all year.
  • BLACKSTARKIDS “Whatever, Man” (November) Oh wow, I dig this one. But.. I got it in November and then didn’t really start listening to it until 2021. Heh. I am always up for trying albums recommended by Hanif Abdurraqibb because his writing about music just sucks me in! But a lot of times it turns out I don’t hear what he heard in it. This one, however, is aces. Favorite song: “Camp Whatever” Haven’t felt alive in a while, but I’m not dead.

Best 1-2 Punch of the Year:

“WAP” Cardi B. & Megan Thee Stallion to be followed immediately by “Watermelon Sugar” Harry Styles. I know, what are we-teenagers? Just take my word for it.

Favorite Songs Not From Aforementioned Albums:

  • “Conversations in the Dark” John Legend – just all kinds of big swoony love for this tribute to CT.
  • “No Time for Love Like Now” Michael Stipe – definitely my favorite song of those early Pandemic days. Ah, those early Pandemic days.
  • “Hard to Forget” Sam Hunt – yes, I love his cheesy sappy fratboy albums. But never all the way through. This song though…
  • “Another Beginning” Joshua Radin – can he even write a bad song?
  • “Kings & Queens” Ava Max – just put this baby on repeat.
  • “One More Second” and “Take Me Out of Town” Matt Berninger – I was bummed to not really enjoy this album overall but loved these two.
  • “Ridiin’ Solo” Jason DeRulo – I think this may have come out some other year but 2020 is the year I could not stop singing it, like, basically, ever. It’s all about the beat, baby.
  • “Wasted Youth” Diana Gordon – oooooo love this draggy slow swirl.
  • “Almost Home” Moby (feat Damien Jurado – OMG so Bon Iver.
  • “I’m the One” DJ Khaled (feat. Justin Bieber et al) – Good grief, I like a song with Justin Beiber on it? Just bury me in shame.
  • “Spiral” Pinegrove – Another Busy Phillips insta earworm. “Drink water, good morning…”
  • “Video Games” and “Goodbye to All That” Sufjan Stevens – another album I found myself disappointedly uninterested in. Sigh. I love so much of Sufjan’s stuff, but somehow I never found a way in with this one.
  • “Cavalry” Mashrou’ Leila – an album recommended by YA author Abdi Nazemian, thoroughly enjoyed it and this song was the real standout for me.
  • “Beige” and “Goodpain” Yoke Lore – their Goodpain EP was a highlight.
  • “Gone Gone/Thank You” Tyler, the Creator – probably came out in 2019 but I bought the album in January, one of my “everyone had this on last year’s list” purchases, I think.
  • “Pictures” Asgeir – I buy a lot of singles when I hear them in a movie, on a TV show, or on a commercial. Presumably that’s how I found this one.
  • “Lost Here” Fauntella Crow – probably same.

Favorite Covers: (in that rare year where I bought very few!):

  • “Explain It to Me” Squirrel Flower – Liz Phair cover, that frankly sounds very close to the original. Heh.
  • “I’m on Fire” Staves – all slowed down and glorious.
  • “Put Your Records On” Ritt Momney – omg the name of this band. Smacks forehead.

What’d I miss? What song or album could YOU not stop listening to in 2020? I’d love to know…

ร€ la Super Eggplant, currently I am…

Watching: Every old episode of NCIS–ha! I started at season 1 at some point in December and now I’m up to season 11. I’ve got to say the post-Ziva episodes are…not great. But I had forgotten about Ellie Bishop and I really like her, so we’ll see.

Reading: I am in my usual “attempt to read every book that will be in the Tournament of Books in March” flurry of January reading. I had already read “Sharks in the Time of Saviors” by Kawaii Strong Washburn (LOVED IT! Mythic) and “Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi (didn’t love it, recommend her previous book “Homegoing”!). I have now also read “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride (so good! lots of slapstick while still going super deep) and “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (fabulous). I started “We Ride Upon Sticks” by Quan Barry last night. It’s entertaining but a little uneven.

Listening to: I am re-listening to every single piece of music I bought in 2020 because I KNOW you are eagerly anticipating a report back on my favorite albums. I think I’m in March right now because I keep getting distracted. But it’s on my list to finish up this week!

Writing: Lesson plans. 2021 intentions poems. Not much really. ๐Ÿ™‚ Heh.

Eating: I’m still cooking at TON from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbooks (Cravings and Cravings: Hungry for More). I like the second book better, partly because I got it first, and partly because of the font/layout (HA!, seriously). This weekend I made Jok Moo already and am whipping up some scalloped potatoes in a bit.

Drinking: Lots of bubbly water, which means…at least I am finally drinking water?* I still don’t love it but I probably drank 8x as much liquid in 2020 as in any year previously. Mostly I’m drinking mini-Cokes to help with my tummy which is in a bit of disarray. *For those who are unaware, I detest the taste of water. And yes, it has a taste.

Knitting: I just redove into a sweater that I started in January of 2018 (Lemongrass by Jojo Locatelli) using some Rowan Magpie yarn. Maybe 2021 will be the year I finish it! ๐Ÿ™‚ The back and front are both done and it’s time to start the sleeves.

Quilting: I made a mini quilt for my mom’s bday, and I am finishing the binding on four mini-friendship log-cabin quilts for Secret Club. Feeling kinda productive quilt wise, frankly, since I also made six placemats (very mini quilts) for a friend in December!!

Sewing: I have the fabric ready to be cut out for three more Farrow dresses. But I want to finish up my quilts in progress first!

Focusing on: Trying not to freak out too much about how my job is planning to force us back to F2F teaching before we can get the virus… Trying not to focus on my impending death by coronavirus contraction via public transit as I have a 45-minute bus ride each way… TRYING.

There’s a lot going on around here, despite not leaving the house for 11 months at this point and being very miserably alone for 99.9% of the pandemic. What’s up with you????

ร€ la Super Eggplant, currently, I am…

Watching: I just finished a rewatch/watch of One Tree Hill (I had only seen some of the first few seasons) and now I’m rewatching Firefly, which as you may know will hardly take any time at all. ๐Ÿ™ I can’t figure out what I’ll watch next!

Reading: I’m about a third of the way through “Theft” by Peter Carey, which is definitely fun so far. I read quite a bit of Peter Carey back (BACK) in the day.

Listening to: Completely bingeing on Maggie Rogersย “Heardย Itย inย aย Pastย Life”, but also really obsessed with J.S. Ondara‘s “Tales of America.” It’s so good!

Writing: Sexy daydream poems on the bus, in the duplex form created by Jericho Brown (whose poems I’m obsessed with!).

Eating: Suddenly finding myself in sammy mode, I’ve been making nice big fat ones with ham, turkey, provolone, pickle slabs, roasted red peppers, giardinera, tomato, spinach and a little mayo. Oh yum they’re so good.

Drinking: So much lemonade I think it might be giving me acid reflux. Ha!

Knitting: Ah, nope. ๐Ÿ™

Quilting: Also nope.

Sewing: Just made another tunic! And two more cut out. Let’s keep that momentum going…

Focusing on: Not spending any unnecessary money. Not bringing work home. Not staying at work beyond the hours I get paid for.

What’s up with you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Music I Bought in 2018…

So my $$$ spent on music has greatly decreased both due to lack of time (either to listen OR to even have heard about new tunes) AND lack of $$. But here is a quick review of the albums I bought in 2018 and whether they were worth it or not!

January: no tunes purchased.

February: no tunes purchased.

March:

  • Black Panther (soundtrack) – I adore Kendrick Lamar. His last two albums (ESPECIALLY “Damn”) have just rocked my socks off. But I bought this, forgot to listen, started, forgot, started, forgot. I’m not sure I ever even listened to this all-the-way through. March tends to be a NUTS month at school though so I probably just kept not finding any time to listen. Bygones.

April:

  • Tinashe “Joyride” – OK. didn’t love it.
  • Kylie Minogue “Golden” – LOVE love love love. One of my favorites of the year.
  • Cardi B “Invasion of Privacy” – It’s OK. Most of the songs sound exactly the same to me! /ducks/

May: No tunes purchased.

June: No tunes purchased.

July:

  • Maluma “FAME” – Yes, I started buying Spanish-language rap and R&B a few years ago due to my primarily Hispanic students and some of their recommendations. No, I don’t speak it even close to well enough–I either look up translations of the lyrics OR I just enjoy it for the sounds and don’t worry about its most likely inappropriate lyrics (it is AMAZING what students will recommend to you sometimes without considering their audience). This is, to my very-inexperienced-with-it ears, definitely in the “reggaeton” tradition, like Nikki Jam, another student-inspired purchase of mine.
  • Meg Myers “Take Me to the Disco” – Love love love love. Definitely one of my favorite purchases of the year.

August: No tunes purchased.

September:

  • Troye Sivan “Bloom” – It’s OK. But I had too much built-up anticipation because I looooove his first album so much. This falls short for me.
  • ARM & TEPR “Psaumes” – this is an older release that I just got turned on to. I have in the past bought a lot of French rap/R&B but I’ve fallen off recently. It’s OK–I think a certain song or two convinced me to buy it but then I didn’t love the album as a whole.
  • Also bought two singles from Odessa “I will be there” (love) and “Hummed low” (OK), and “Black Beatles” from Mayrie, which I like.

October:

  • Cat Power “Wanderer” – I like it. It’s very mellow. The Rihanna cover is what grabbed me. But I’ve been more into previous albums of hers.
  • Matt Nathanson “Sings His Sad Heart” – SO good! Best album of his, in my view. He’s awesome in concert, has such SUCH good stage banter, and his albums before this have never lived up to his live performances for me–they’ve always been a little cheesy. A little white frat boy “college-ing it out” (a term I use a lot and frankly think it’s self explanatory so maybe you understand it and maybe you don’t). Anyway, I love this album.

November: No tunes purchased.

December: I spend the most $$ on tunes in December every year, where I start rabidly buying things I see on best of lists!

  • Boygenius EP – It’s SO good, I can’t stop listening to it.
  • Kacey Musgraves “Golden Hour” – I like it but it’s a little light. There’s one song I just can’t stand to listen to. There’s two I love. But I don’t really think it earned the hype for me.
  • Janelle Monae “Dirty Computer” – this is basically a Prince album to me. So I like it. But it doesn’t necessarily make me feel like seeking out all her stuff.
  • Mitski “Be the Cowboy” – definitely like a few songs from it. Haven’t listened to it enough yet though. My bad.
  • Rosalia “El Mal Querer” – I love this. So operatic and drama mama. Her videos are all Queen of Wands sass, vim and vigor. LOVE. Even though I don’t understand the lyrics. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • NoName “Room 25” – bought based on best of lists. Hasn’t really pulled me in. But need to give it a few more tries.
  • Lucy Dacus “Historian” – it’s good but I like the Boygenius (which she’s part of) a LOT more.
  • and I bought a single of Brandi Carlile’s song “Mother” which is stunning. She’s an artist I really only buy singles by though, her full albums never grab me.

ร€ la Super Eggplant, currently, I am…

Watching: All I’ve watched in the past week or so are the latest episodes of Blackish and New Amsterdam, and some NUMB3RS episodes from beloved season 1. Oh, and Yoga with Adrienne, as I’m doing her annual January challenge. I’ve only missed 3 days!

Reading: I finished another Rooster book and a YA sci fi novel (scroll back to previous posts or click on the “reading” category to see some comments) and tomorrow I get to start a new book, woo hoo. I believe it will be “The Italian Teacher” by Tom Rachmann which was the next thing on the Rooster list that I could grab at my library branch this weekend.

Listening to: hmmmm, I really haven’t done that much listening over the past couple of weeks. But I am obsessed with Rosalia and her videos. A mix of hip-hop sensibility and operatic emotion–so intriguing!

Eating: I made an old-favorite chicken tikka masala in the slow cooker (added in okra that had been cooked with onions and some spices) and a caufilower-sausage casserole in the oven (a new recipe), and sour cream chili bake from Cinnamon’s cookbook, so basically anything hot and heavy with tomatoes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Drinking: So! Much! Water! Yup, I still hate it.

Knitting: Haven’t done any in at least a week. Boo, hiss.

Quilting: Still nothing.

Sewing: Keep meaning to cut out a few things. Keep not doing it. At least with the Monday holiday, I’ll actually have a two-day weekend. Big plans, people, big plans!!

Focusing on: Not spending any money (I’m seriously tracking my no-spend days!), coming home from work RIGHT AWAY, and doing actual random adult things when I get home. No schoolwork on unpaid hours in 2019! Of course that’ll never happen–even our weekly lesson planning is on unpaid hours since we do it after school–but I’m trying to come out a bit better on my life-work balance this year as us old ladies just can’t hang with the insane work weeks.

What’s up with you? ๐Ÿ™‚

ร€ la Super Eggplant, currently, I am…

Watching: Right around Christmas, I saw someone post a list of all The Office (US) Christmas episodes and needed to watch them. But watching one of them made me want to watch the next (in that season) episode so eventually I just went back to the beginning and started an entire rewatch. But I got to mid-season 6 and all of a sudden there are a million things I’m not loving in this season. So I think I may be done with that. I did borrow the first two seasons of Game of Thrones from my dad so I’m going to start that tomorrow probably. (I watched some of the first season when it first happened. I had (ages ago) read the first four books.)

Reading: I’m reading A Terrible Country, by Keith Gessen (as I told you about in Rooster update #1) and tonight I started All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders for bookclub. It’s pretty charming so far! I’ve missed the last two meetings of the club, which sucks because it is one of the few things that consistently brought me joy in 2018, so I have GOT to get back there!!

Listening to: all the new albums I bought myself for Christmas! Loving the latest albums from Janelle Monae (it’s basically a Prince album), Kasey Musgraves (I didn’t like it for the first two listens, but then it stuck its little cheery claws in me), and boygenius which is just an EP so you can listen to it a million times in a row over and over and still only use up like an hour of your time! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am also listening to a lot of podcasts since apparently me being home a lot = me doing the dishes a lot. I am still loving West Wing Weekly the most, with Armchair Expert probably a close second (although I like it a lot better when Dax isn’t super friends with the guest, those episodes aren’t as good). I tried Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend this week, but I don’t love it.

Eating: I am currently obsessed with this roasted carrot salad from the Chrissy Teigen Cravings 2: Hungry for More cookbook I can’t stop talking about. I used baby spinach instead of baby lettuce and left out the lime zest (but included the juice–because I never have limes although my fridge is never without RealLime, and RealLemon for that matter). It’s got avocado and sunflowers seeds and it’s just really, really good.

Drinking: my weight in hot drinks. Oregon Chai, hot chocolate, apple cider… I feel like I’m putting the teapot on every seven seconds trying to keep myself warmly hydrated over here. I am going to be one dehydrated mess when school starts again next week and I can’t drink anything because I have numerous hours between bathroom breaks.

Knitting: I started a Winston sweater, Jane Richmond’s latest, in on-50%-off-sale Wool-Ease thick and quick. I’m hoping that will be a zip zip quickity finish and then I can get back to the sweater I’ve been knitting, or rather thinking about knitting and mostly ignoring, for most of 2018.

Quilting: Nothing as of right now.

Sewing: I am planning to make another sweatshirt-y version of the Lou Box Dress 1 this weekend out of this awesome bubblegum fleece that Silvia bought me for my birthday last year. I need to make at least three or four more winter-specific dresses (I have plenty of fabric in the closet that should work for this!) as wearing the sleeve-less dresses I made for this summer with a cardigan over them isn’t really winter-level warmth!

Focusing on: Letting myself soak up this rest time (only three days left and I work on Saturday so really only two!). I have slept 11-12 hours multiple times over this break. I can tell I really needed it!

What’s up with you? ๐Ÿ™‚