September 2017 in Review

If I don’t post this now, I’ll never post it. Who cares if it’s past the middle of October?

I finished a book in September but didn’t post about it:

Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, #1)Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so this book is kind of annoying but also compulsively readable. Most annoying: Ella (and her mom!) is referred to as exotic because she is Chilean so has “caramel skin” and blue eyes. 🙄 (Exotic is used THREE TIMES in the book. I mean, seriously. So annoying.) Also, at one point, Ella’s dad tells her that her mom ignored the fact that she was also half-white and has white traditions, which, again MASSIVE EYEROLL 🙄🙄🙄. What is a white tradition? Come on, white people. You can do better than that. [All of these moments happened when I was far along in the book and see above re: compulsively readable for why I didn’t stop reading. However, these are the things that keep a book from getting four or five stars is all I’m saying.]

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Something on a Sunday: TV!

Here is what’s making me happy this week. (For more info, see here.)

There is so much delightful TV on right now. My heart is happy. It’s so fun to watch TV and actually use it as a form of escapism. I mean, sure there is light torture on The Good Place and a murderous crimelord on Jane the Virgin. BUT OVERALL.

So, yes, the three TV shows making me happy this week:

1. Kevin Probably Saves the World

As I said on Facebook, I was hesitant to try this one because Kevin is visited by a messenger from God, which okay. But she is also kind of a magical Negro who is also a sassy best friend to guide him??? 

Anyway, I liked it. It’s sweet and has heart, and it’s all about someone trying to figure out what the right thing is to do and how to do it and helping people. I also really liked the focus on family and that the main love story seems to be between Kevin and his sister (but not in a twincest-y way–oh, internet you have ruined me). So, that is also A+. And the sister is a professor! (Engineering, but we can’t all be perfect.)

2. The Good Place

Chidi continues to be everything good and perfect in this world.

3. Jane the Virgin (slight spoilers for the premiere)

Listen, I miss Michael with the very fabric of my soul, but I also think Adam and Jane are super adorable (he wrote her love cue!!!), and Jane rolling on the floor trying to zip her dress had me rolling. Also, I wasn’t prepared for the dueling narrators, but I enjoyed that Adam’s is a woman and that she is so over Petra’s shenanigans.

And, yes, I know two of these shows are an hour long, but that’s just where I am right now.

Books, Bookish Events, and One Tech Complaint

1. I missed posting last week because I was grading, grading, grading. Now I’m caught up! Except not really because I got a fresh batch of papers at the end of last week. 😅 Ah, professor life.

2. This past week held two (two!) bookish events: (1) Robin Benway in conversation with Brandy Colbert to promote Benway’s new, shortlisted for the National Book Award book Far from the Tree and (2) Gabrielle Zevin, promoting her new book Young Jane Young. I have read neither of these books, but they are both on my TBR.

I took no pictures, but Robin Benway’s dress was super cute and Gabrielle Zevin has so much hair. Also–because I am a wonderful mother–I FaceTimed my daughter in to speak to GZ. Elsewhere is one of her favorites of all time, so it seemed only right.

3. Why is is that every time Apple does a system upgrade, the UI gets worse? Less intuitive, less attractive. Just…a mess. Anyway, this article talks about it, so I’m glad I’m not the only person constantly frustrated by how dumb the updates tend to be. I am seriously considering getting an Android when it’s time for me to upgrade.

4. I volunteered to have my first five pages workshopped in my creative writing class this coming Saturday, so I should probably write them, huh?

5. I read some things:

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)The New Guy by Amy Spalding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jules is a complete whackadoo and I am here for it. I counted not one but three (three!) whackadoo things she says that my daughter has also said, so she felt very realistic for me. High achievers, man. Anyway, this is cute and fun and a delight.

View all my reviews

The Unhappy WifeThe Unhappy Wife by K.E. Garland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this! Garland presents the women’s stories without commentary, which is very effective because she neither passes judgment nor offers advice. There’s also a really good diversity of stories and situations presented, so it’s pretty comprehensive in that way. I also liked the afterword (which, again, doesn’t pass judgment, though it does offer up some commentary about why women sometimes find themselves in these situations). My only complaint is that it’s TOO SHORT. Apparently, I could stand to read more about unhappy women and wives. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Garland also talks a little bit about each woman in a series on her blog, so I guess there is more out there.

View all my reviews

Both of those count for the Clear A Shelf Challenge, btw. #winning

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6. I am still making my way through the audiobook of Bollywood Affair.

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

I am digging it, but I also realize that I probably would have been done reading it with my eyeballs by now. So that’s my way of saying I’m ready to be finished reading it. I am at the point of secrets being revealed now, so I’m almost there. Whew.

7. Okay, it is beyond time for me to go to bed, so I don’t have time to really talk about TV. Let me just end by saying that I am more than ready for the Jane the Virgin season premiere this Friday.

imwayr

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Something on a Sunday: Headache Relief

So, the delightful Jenny from Reading the End has started Something on a Sunday to celebrate wins (no matter how big or small) in an effort to help temper or at least relieve some of the intense anxiety, anger, and/or pain a lot of us have been feeling lately.

Rules, man. Here they are:

The only guidelines are that you write about something that kept you on your feet that week, whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you. If you don’t have enough energy for a post, tweet it at me (you can use the hashtag #SomethingonSunday).

My something for this Sunday is this here acupressure mat.

 

That, and sobriety from ibuprofen. I wish I were joking about the latter thing, but I’m not.

I have been diagnosed with chronic daily headaches, which means (you guessed it!) that I suffer from headaches pretty much every single day.

it's not a tumor

It’s really not a tumor. I’ve had my head scanned. (source)

One of the ways I’ve treated these headaches is by taking ibuprofen. But it got to the point where I was taking ibuprofen pretty much every day. My daughter, in fact, started telling me that ibuprofen was my answer to everything. The problem with taking ibuprofen every day is that it can cause rebound headaches also known as medication overuse headaches.

Now, I knew that rebound headaches were a thing, but I also didn’t think they were *my* thing–even though I was buying ibuprofen in 500-tablet containers and made sure I had ibuprofen on me AT ALL TIMES (I had tiny containers of it in all my bags, so I wouldn’t accidentally leave my ibuprofen at home.)

That all changed when I got a migraine at the beach on Memorial Day this year. (Also, this will tell you about me and headaches: I didn’t even think it was a migraine until a friend pointed out that the fact that I couldn’t see meant that’s what it was. I just thought I had an intense amount of sinus pressure. But neither Sudafed nor ibuprofen were helping. Oh, Akilah.

To be fair, though, a lot of my headaches doesn’t present with actual pain: they’re all about noise sensitivity and, sometimes, sensitivity to light. But I digress.)

So yes, after the great migraine of 2017, I woke up the next day with a headache. Now, the thing about me is I get headaches for many, many reasons. Something I ate perhaps? Repetitive noises? The smell of something? Breathing air and living life? But when I woke up with a headache that day, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there was no reason I should have one. And that’s how I knew I was in rebound headache hell.

Like I said, I was familiar with the concept of the rebound headache and after a cursory Google search, the internet told me what I already knew (one day I’ll tell you about all of the books I’ve read about headaches and/or managing headache symptoms): I had to stop taking ibuprofen. Cold turkey. For 6-8 weeks to get the ibuprofen completely out of my system so I could start using it like a normal person. You know, occasionally.

I went to my doctor the next day, told her what happened, told her about the rebound headaches, and she agreed. She also put me on a daily preventative (it’s blood pressure medicine, tbh, but one of its secondary uses is headache management).

Using a daily preventative doesn’t mean you don’t get headaches, btw. It just means that the severity and frequency could be lessened.

Here’s the thing, though: if you’re used to taking ibuprofen every day, the rebound headaches don’t stop just because you’re on new meds. Oh no. Your body still has to get used to not having ibuprofen in it.

So, yes, I was in detox. And that’s when I got the acupressure mat based on a comment someone left on a friend’s FB post a couple of months before. According to my friend’s friend, she didn’t take headache meds for her migraines/headaches anymore because she used this mat. Obviously, I immediately saved the link for further research. And, finally, I was in detox, and the mat’s day had come.

Did it help much when I was in detox? NOT REALLY. But I was in excruciating pain some days. I mean, my head would be throbbing and I just could not deal. If anything, it helped take my mind off my headache because I was so busy trying to figure out if I were using the mat correctly. And, also, the mat wasn’t that comfortable. So, you know, it was a nice distraction.

However, I have started getting headaches the past few weeks (me: why am I getting headaches again? What has changed? Oh right, I went back to work, sigh) and I have been coming home and getting on my mat, and my headaches have gone away. NO IBUPROFEN, ONLY MAT. I lay the mat on my bed, get on it for 20 minutes (okay, take a nap on it), and when the time is up, my head doesn’t hurt anymore–or, if the headache isn’t gone, the level of pain has significantly decreased. (I will also note that if I fall asleep for longer than 20 minutes, when I wake up, the mat has usually been moved from underneath me so my body knows when I have had enough even if my eyeballs and brain are sleeping.)

But, Akilah, you may be thinking, how do you know it’s not taking the nap that does it?

Sleep has never ever ever EVER not once ever helped my headache pain. If anything, I wake up in more pain after taking a nap or going to sleep. The only thing that has changed is the mat.

So, yes, I still take the daily preventative and I still get headaches. But I have not had a single ibuprofen since May 29 (over four months!)–which is a miracle before God–because I get on that mat instead.

Oh, and this is not a paid advertisement or sponsored post. Just me sharing my experience with that ugly green mat. (It looks so much worse in person.)

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Make some decisions for me! Also: books & bookish events

1. I already posted this on Twitter and Facebook, so I’m also posting here. But a few years ago, I did a 32 things to do before I turn 33 project, and I’m looking to do something similar for my 40th birthday. I am looking for suggestions of cool things to do by my 40th birthday or before my 40th year is up (this is still very much in the conception stage, obvs.)

I did wind up completing quite a few things on my 32 list, so I need to rebuild. Here are some things I’m already planning to do/considering doing:

  • Go see Hamilton
  • Go to Harry Potter world
  • Do one of those paint class things
  • Take a knife skills class
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • go to a taping of Price Is Right
  • surfing lessons
  • go to Hawaii
  • finish reading the Bible
  • post a YouTube video
  • indoor skydiving

NOTE: I am not jumping off a bridge or out of a plane, so please do not suggest bungee jumping or skydiving. They are both an automatic no. Anything else will be seriously considered! So please post some suggestions in the comments.

I live in the L.A. area if that has any impact on what you might suggest.

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Yeah, so last week got away from me…

Which is why, after saying I was back to my regular blogging schedule I…didn’t post anything last week. And this post is a day late. Oops? NO EXCUSE, amirite? Especially since my students had their second blog posts due then. Oh well. I’m here now and that’s all that matters. (Also, to be fair, I did post twice that other week.)

So, a lot has happened since my last post:

1. I actually finished two books!

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, the darkest timeline is SUPER dark, which I wasn’t really prepared for.

The best part of this book is the development of the relationships of the characters we know in the movie, especially connecting Cassiem (the first thief Jafar takes to the Cave of Wonders) to Aladdin (even if it does completely blow the canon from the third movie. And yes that is an actual thought I had. I know the straight-to-video sequels suck, but are they not Disney canon? Ahem. I digress.)

All in all, a fairly fast read. I would recommend it to any fan of the movie just because it’s a Disney sanctioned AU fanfic, and it’s an interesting take on the story.

View all my reviews

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#MustReadin2017 Fall Check-In

Since my last check-in, I attempted five of the books on my list and finished two. So that means I have completed four of the twenty-four books on my list but can cross off seven since, you know, I gave the others a fair shot.

As a reminder, these are the books on my list:

My 2017 Must List

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And now…back to our regularly scheduled programming

School started last week, and my students are blogging this semester. You know what that means! Back to a regular posting schedule. So let’s do this.

1. Since I am in what I’m going to call the hazing period at my new job, my earlier class starts at 7 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday/Thursday. This is…not ideal to say the last. I am a night owl, so acclimating to this new schedule is something that’s going to take some time. For now, I’m forcing myself to go to bed early, so I can figure out what will work. This has so far included getting up early on today (my day off) as well.

I’d say it’s going pretty well considering I went to bed too early so woke up an hour before my alarm went off, and I just woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago. I am making this deep sacrifice because I was absolutely horrendous (okay, crabbier than I wanted to be) to my class on Wednesday because I was so exhausted, and I do not want to be that person. It’s a challenge.

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11 Random Things (July 2017 Wrap Up)

Well, it’s August 1. Current mood:

And also:

So you know. Yay. Anyway, a lot has happened this past July! Let’s dive in.

1. Yesterday, I officially moved out of my house. Yes, my first house. Yes, the house I just bought last year. It was definitely bittersweet. I am obviously excited about the next phase of my life (moving to California!) but also, you know, I’m going to miss this place and the people, etc. Standing in that empty living room just really solidified that it’s all happening RIGHT NOW.

2. I meant to post about this when it happened but I was too busy (a) prepping for my move, (b) procrastinating prepping for my move, and (c) convincing myself that procrastinating for my move was actually prepping for my move.

On July 4th, I went to a new beach. I did not love this beach. In fact, I would probably not go back to this beach. (In actual fact, if it were up to me, I would NEVER go back to this beach.)

For one thing, the beach is super rocky, which you can’t tell during high tide so I cut my foot on a rock and almost fell/twisted my ankle every time I went in the water. Once low tide happened, we were astounded to see just how rocky the actual beach was. I mean, it was bad. (Sorry, no pics. I didn’t think to take any.)

Second of all, I totally got jacked by seagulls.

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It’s time to talk TV

Specifically, Still Star-Crossed, Jane the Virgin, and The Good Place.

So, the thing about Still Star-Crossed is that it’s kind of dumb, but the characters are pretty. Which…TV, am I right? Anyway, the biggest thing that makes it dumb is that it is still taking itself a little too seriously. And there is so much murdering. (And, yes, I know Romeo & Juliet is at its core about petty street gangs, but still.) Also, and I hate to be a purist, but are we really just going to ignore the fact that Rosaline and Romeo totally had a thing in the play? She dumped him because he kept pressuring her to put out, and in the show, she’s all, “I HATE MONTAGUES FOREVER.” I mean, sure, that’s valid (they killed her dad on the show, and then Romeo did turn around and marry her cousin), but, you know: canon.

(Yes, I am that person.)

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