When An Actor Becomes a Role

One of my all-time favorite movies is the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. I love Keira Knightley in the role of Elizabeth Bennett, and Matthew MacFayden’s Darcy rivals the dreaminess of Colin Firth. 

While I’ve seen Colin Firth and Keira Knightley in lots of other roles, I hadn’t ever seen MacFayden before I saw him as Darcy–nor did I see him in anything else after that. 

For me, MacFayden was Darcy, plain and simple, in the same way that Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones and Sean Connery was James Bond. 

So, it came as a surprise when my husband was watching Netflix and I spotted Matthew MacFayden on his screen. I’d ardently ignored his show until that point, but tuned in when I realized that none other than Mr. Darcy was the star of Ripper Street. 

While I haven’t gotten into a new show in quite a while, I started paying attention to this one only because of Darcy, but started to enjoy its similarities to some of my favorite mysteries in book and TV form. 

So, now that baby is in bed, my hubby and I are enjoying a quiet evening of me having my pants scared off by the threat of Jack the Ripper, while simultaneously enjoying seeing Darcy anew…and yes, that is what I call him. I have no idea what his character’s name in this show is. ūüėČ

Books That Take Forever to Read

I love reading, and I love finishing books. I generally read at least a hundred books a year, and generally, I read several books at a time and finish each one within a few days. A week max. 

But this year has been weird–there are several books that have taken me months to read, like Ava Dellaria’s Love Letters to the Dead, which I started at Christmas and just now finished, or Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I started in November and am still working on. 

Normally I abandon books if I don’t finish them quickly, but I really want to read these books and it’s just taking me forever. 

That’s sort of how my whole life has been since having a baby–I have goals and things to do that used to take me a few days but now require weeks or months. I don’t want to abandon things, but they take me forever. Some things I know have a deadline I’ve just had to postpone for a few years–like finishing my PhD. 

I know that the balance of my life will resume when Ruthie gets a little older, but for now it’s strange to reflect and see how much motherhood has impacted lifelong habits like my reading. 

Feeling Pampered

In the past three days, I’ve had a full manicure and pedicure, my hair and makeup both professionally styled, and worn a gown custom fitted just for me.

Tonight, after a seven-hour drive home and over a month of less than five consecutive hours of sleep at a time, my husband is taking care of feeding our daughter, giving her a bath, and putting her to bed.

 

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For some reason, tonight’s lounging in bed, snuggling with my cat, browsing Netflix, and knowing that I’ll get to sleep since my hubby is on vacation and can get up with Ruthie if she wakes, feels so much more indulgent than the past three days I’ve spent in best-friend’s-wedding land.

I don’t know if this is something that happens when you become a parent, or if it’s just a function of aging, but all I know is I am having more fun laying around doing nothing than I did getting primped and pressed with good friends–and I had a considerable amount of fun doing that, so the fact that I’m feeling so happy now is kind of a big deal.

Either way, I hope your Sunday night has been relaxing and indulgent, too.

Wedding Day

Whew. ¬†It’s over.

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My best friend is now a Mrs., my feet now have blisters, and my hair will probably never be the same after all of the bobby pins that have been jammed into it.

Today was a LONG day, but a beautiful one, and I’m so happy that everything went so smoothly.

But boy, I am tired.

My Purse

My purse, on any given day, is quite heavy. Today, as I’ve schlepped various and sundry items to my best friend’s wedding rehearsal and dinner, my purse feels more like luggage. 

The contents vary, but there are always a few items inside no matter what. One is my writer’s notebook, which I take everywhere with me. Another is whatever book I’m currently reading. My wallet, keys, phone, lipsticks, chapsticks, tissues, bobby pins, pens, hand sanitizers, nail files, and smashed receipts are also always crammed inside. 

In addition to the usual contents, tonight I also have several mini bottles of liquor to relax the bride-to-be, band-aids to soothe high-heel-beaten feet, a thermos for much-needed coffee tomorrow morning, extra makeup for touch-ups, nail polish for touch-ups, seating chart cheat sheets for the reception, Advil to soothe, and a big bottle of water to keep us all hydrated. 

I feel like Mary Poppins with my big purse, but that’s fine with me. I just hope my best friend’s big day is practically perfect in every way. 

Decisions I Didn’t Think Through

I realize it’s pretty early in the day, but here are some hastily-made decisions I’m already kicking myself for:

  • Not packing last night for the 4-day trip I’m leaving for at noon
  • Not folding the laundry I washed for said trip
  • Not doing the dishes last night before bed, so that I had to do them first thing this morning before I could make any coffee
  • Bringing my daughter to bed with me last night because I was so tired when she woke up at 2 am
  • Not being able to pack, now, until baby wakes up
  • Not being able to shower until baby wakes up 
  • Settling down in the one spot I know doesn’t get Wifi in our house and getting too comfortable to get up
  • Having my least social cat, Lizzie, get too comfortable on my lap in same spot, thus pinning me to the wifi dead zone 
  • Letting Lizzie snooze instead of dislodging her so I can reach my now-cold coffee
  • Forgetting to turn my 4:45 am alarm off so now I’m stranded, awake, outside any sort of space in which I can be productive, for at LEAST another hour. 

I’m with Rachel–I just shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions. 

Happy Thursday!

Binge Watching Cooking Shows

My friends think I’m weird for many reasons, but one of the major reasons is that I don’t have a television in my home.

I don’t mind being weird–my friend Lisa calls this “adorkable”–but people seem really confused when they come over for the first time, get the grand tour, and see eight bookshelves but no TV.

(I’m not exaggerating on the bookshelves.)

I do enjoy TV to help keep me company when I’m doing some other task, so I subscribe to Netflix and marathon various shows while cooking, doing laundry, or packing for a trip like I am right now.

Because I’m always multitasking while watching TV, I don’t really like shows with plots I have to follow, or dialogue that requires a lot of deep analysis. ¬†So it makes sense that I am drawn to reality TV, but given that I enjoy plots and deep analysis in general, I can’t really handle¬†The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

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Which brings me to cooking shows.

Ina Garten, Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child, Gordon Ramsay, Giada de Laurentiis–oh, how I love you all. ¬†I’ve had several cooking shows I’ve been addicted to over the years, and I can watch them for hours on end. ¬†Whether it’s a how-to-cook style of show or a competition, I am never bored by this genre. ¬†Maybe it’s that I feel like I’m always learning from cooking shows, or maybe it’s that I can immediately apply whatever recipe has been made during the episode.

Either way, my evening of doing laundry and packing for my trip was made much more enjoyable by watching three episodes in a row of¬†The Great British Baking Show (especially Paul Hollywood’s blue eyes, which remind me of Paul Newman’s blue eyes,¬†swoon!).

And now, I will finish watching this thrilling competition centering around baking meat pies, and pray that my daughter sleeps through the night tonight.  Woohoo!

Dear Construction Workers

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Dear Construction Workers,

I really appreciate that you are building a three-story apartment monstrosity that directly blocks my spectacular view of the mountains. ¬†Really, I do. ¬†I appreciate that you arrive at this site every morning at 6:30 am in your loud diesel trucks, ready to yell your morning salutations to¬†one another at top volume. ¬†I really do enjoy this–especially when your hollering wakes my daughter up an hour and a half early.¬† It is so nice to hear her screaming somehow overshadow¬†yours in volume, so that I can hear her piercing shrieks while I’m on another floor attempting to brew a cup of coffee. ¬†Very impressive.

I also appreciate that all of your deliveries, especially the ones that require a truck to drive in reverse with loud beeping sounds, or the ones that require a crane to lift the pallets¬†to the top of the new structure and then deafeningly drop the loads on the roof, seem to occur between the hours of 1 and 3 pm. ¬†I know you are just getting all of your materials in order for the next day before you head home around 3:30, and it is so kind of you to schedule those deliveries smack in the middle of my daughter’s nap time. ¬†This efficient timeline has ensured that her¬†once-lengthy afternoon nap has dwindled to a short bit of shuteye, resulting in a perpetually sleep-deprived, cranky baby.

The only time I don’t hear you guys is in the middle of the night, when my daughter wakes up–every night for two weeks in a row now–to eat, because she hasn’t eaten her bedtime bottle, because she’s too tired, because she can’t get a good nap in unless I put her in her carseat and we drive in circles while I listen to an audiobook on my headphones so she can sleep in peace. ¬†(Not that I’ve done that or anything.) ¬†During those 2 am snuggle sessions, I really notice the absence of clanking and hollering and beeping and smashing and hammering and drilling and stapling. ¬†I definitely miss it.

So, construction workers, thanks for all you do.  Really.  Thanks.

Sincerely,

A Really Tired Mom of a Really Tired Baby

 

Book Clubs

Every month, I go to two or three book club meetings, and almost every month, there are only a few of my book club members who have actually read the book.

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This means that I don’t really know what a “real” book club looks like, unless this is what happens in all book clubs. ¬†Still, I want to have–recreationally–the kind of discussions that my students had during Socratic Seminars in my classroom, but with my friends, and wine.

That has yet to happen, but I’m still holding out hope. ¬†Usually, what happens is that the people who’ve read the book have a furtive discussion on themes, symbols, questions, wonders, thrills, all while the people who haven’t read or haven’t finished are shushing us from the corner since they don’t want the ending spoiled.

Just once, I would love for everyone to read the same book, and super nerdily, at that.  I want to see post-it flags and annotations and index cards with favorite quotes and fanfics and memes and movie adaptation criticisms.

This month, my clubs are reading Hillbilly Elegy, The Underground Railroad, and The Year of Magical Thinking.  Perhaps one of those books will be the one that hooks every reader, spurs amazing discussion, and finally results in the book club meeting of my dreams!

Or, perhaps not.

Grading Papers

Sometimes I really enjoy grading papers, if I can get in the right frame of mind.  I have to be very focused, free of outside distractions that might break that tenuous focus, and in a comfortable place.  I also require the perfect beverage, a just-right snack, and good company in the form of a friend or a cat.

Pens–the pens are important too. ¬†Or a strong wifi connection, if I’m grading an electronic assignment. ¬†Also, some music, or noise of some kind, without words but with just sound.

Does that sound too specific? ¬†Like an impossible situation? ¬†You’re right–it is. ¬†I pretty much hate grading.

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But this weekend, I got about 250 papers graded that I’ve been procrastinating for a little while. ¬†I was feeling the pain of looming grade deadlines, had the weekend totally free, and enjoyed my couch as a good place to grade. ¬†My husband made me a fresh cup of coffee with my favorite hazelnut creamer, got us some chips, and settled down beside me to watch¬†Ripper Street on Netflix. ¬†My PaperMate pens were flowing, the stack of graded papers was piling higher, and Jon made it through half of season two before I finally called it a night.

Am I finished grading?  Of course not.  My alarm is set for 4:45 am tomorrow so I can get back at it.

But at least I enjoyed the progress I managed to make today. ¬†ūüôā