If you read last month’s favorites, you’ll know I was having a hard time getting around to working on it, but it feels like less of a drag to do favorites this month. Sometimes you just have to push through when you don’t want to do something in order to make it a habit that you even look forward to.
I don’t have many different kinds of favorites this month, and the ones I do have are new categories, at least I haven’t mentioned these types of favorites (besides books) since I’ve been doing this. It seems a bit weird to me that I haven’t had more book favorites since I’ve been reading like a mad lady these last few months, but anyway, here we go.
I’m not a paid sponsor for any of the items mentioned.
This new category is skin care. The water drop is like, moisturizing . . . you know?
A while back, I saw some aerosol spray lotion. I never even knew this stuff existed, but boy did I want it when I saw it. I’m a lazy person, I’ll be honest about that, and rubbing lotion in after a shower . . . I know, I said I was lazy. So, this aerosol spray makes it so much easier! You still have to rub it in a little bit to get the best moisturizing benefits, you know, but it takes so much less time. I highly recommend the stuff if you are a frequent lotioner, or if you’re like me and you never lotion enough ‘cause you really are just that damn lazy. It’s okay, the world is made for people like us.
My other favorite, which seems kind of odd seeing as how I was just talking about being lazy, ‘cause this skin care product takes some work, but I picked up a Que Bella face mask from my local Target just to try, but then I went back for more. First, I got the lavender aromatherapy one, but I have to tell you, the Tea Tree and Witch Hazel is way more relaxing for me, even though it’s not in the aromatherapy line. There’s something about that Tea Tree scent that just really does it for me.
Speaking of Tea Tree, this isn’t really skin care so much, but I don’t know how else to categorize it, so here it is: I got the Greeench deodorant powder from Lush (first time I’d ever gone INTO a Lush store. It was heaven). This stuff has that awesome Tee Tree scent I love, combined with Thyme and Rosemary, but besides just smelling awesome, it really does seem to be working for my swampy pits. I get sweaty from both anxiety and physical exertion (but mostly from anxiety), so I have some really nasty days, but I’ve been happy with how this powder has been working to keep me from sweating as much, and keep me smelling like a woodland fairy. The other plus is that it doesn’t clump like traditional stick deodorant, so I don’t get those nasty little white lint looking little balls on my pits.
The last skin care item (wow I have so many skin care favorites this month), is a Lil’ scrubbie. It’s a small silicone pad with bristles on it, and I use it to scrub in my face cleanser. It feels really good on my face, and I feel like it’s been keeping away blemishes because I haven’t had any big blemishes since I started using them. Besides the skin care benefits, these scrubbies are great because they’re inexpensive and you get two in one package for only $3. (If you buy them from Amazon – link below).
As I mentioned, I’ve been reading a lot lately because I have to read so many books each semester for my graduate program, but honestly, I haven’t been super invested in much of what I’ve read. But, I have two books that I read this month that really stuck with me.
The first, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, really got me because it’s about a child with ADHD and it is entirely written from little Joey’s perspective. The book doesn't explicitly state that Joey has ADHD, but his behavior and talk about the medicine he takes leads me to believe that's the deal. But regardless, the book gave me a new level of understanding for all the kiddos I’ve ever met who struggle with some form of this diagnosis. I think it's incredible how books can foster empathy, and it makes me proud to be an aspiring writer when I read books like this one.
The other book that really stuck with me this month is Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina. This novel tackles the topic of bullying in high school. It seems to be the realistic novels, rather than the fantasy stuff, that really gets me invested. And at one point when reading this book, I found myself crying, and I haven’t cried at a book in a while. The other thing I like is that this book doesn’t end on some big droll note, but gives the reader hope. I like that for a change.
I’ve never considered this category before, because I don’t do it much, and I don’t know if I would really call driving an hour to get to another city in my own state travel, but you know, I got out of the house and went somewhere different.
My sister recently moved back to this side of the country, to Boulder, Colorado. I’ve only been there for a few concerts at the Fox Theatre, but have wanted to tour the Celestial Seasonings Factory for a while, which is right there in town. This humble tea company started in Boulder, and they give free tours every day (+ endless free tea samples while you wait). After we drank tons of tea we took the tour, and my sister and I both really enjoyed going into the Mint Room. It’s so minty it makes your eyes sting, and some people even had to step out. In the gift shop (where you are cleverly deposited after the tour), you can buy shirts and mugs that say “I Survived the Mint Room.” I was so tempted to get a mug because I don’t buy touristy stuff like that often (or ever, maybe), but I settled for a post on Instagram about it instead.
(Recently I was posed with the question of whether or not to quit my job as a preschool teacher. There were the usual mental forces at play here: I was hired for this job for a reason, I can’t quit a job I just started, that would be unfair to the organization/coworkers/kids, and I’d be a quitter. These pesky thoughts kept rolling around in my mind as I tried to make the decision, but what it ultimately came down to was the amount of dread and negative anticipation I was feeling about the job and its responsibilities. I could find all kinds of things to blame on the organization, but that doesn’t help anything, it just makes me feel like more of a quitter when I start to go down that path.
No, it wasn’t the organization’s fault. I took the job because I wanted something to make me feel important, and because I was scared that I couldn’t do anything else. My resume has become a landing pad for my experience working with kids in places that sound way more awesome than they actually were, like a mental health clinic and a charter school. In a way, working with kids has been my first career and I felt scared to do anything else. I thought, being a preschool teacher is important work, it has the opportunity to be more professional, and it can become a full-time career (why this mattered to me so much, I don’t really get because I never wanted it to be my career). I guess, what I wanted was a back-up plan. This idea of a “back-up plan” had never occurred to me though, until I told my coworker I was leaving.
When I told her, I was shocked when she told me “Oh, I totally get you, this is my back-up plan.” She seemed so into her job, and before, she had even told me that her heart was in it, and she seemed so disappointed that the organization wasn’t offering her more opportunities to advance. Then, with complete transparency she told me, “I’m just waiting for my boyfriend to propose, then I’m going off my birth control and I’m out of here.”
I was holding onto my back-up plan not because I was waiting to become a wife and mommy, but because I’m getting my Master’s degree in Fine Arts for Creative Writing. (I feel the need to clarify here because "I'm getting my Master's" sounds a bit snooty - I don't see anything wrong with quitting a job to become a wife and mommy, that is a fulfilling prospect as well, that's just not my path right now).
Anyway, an MFA in writing is the type of degree people ask you “What are you going to do with that?” and they don’t ask you with curiosity (usually). They ask with judgement feigned as concern. I have gotten some people who are supportive, I mean when people say to me, “Oh I could know you before you become the next J.K. Rowling,” I consider that the most supportive response, I mean really, thanks for believing in me so much that you think I could be the next young adult novel superstar. But, that’s not as common a response as questions like, “So, you want to teach?” “So, you want to write books?” “So, are you going to write magazine articles?” (add a tone of deep doubt to all of those questions for best effect).
My back-up plan is now out of the way because I ultimately chose to leave it. I feel like a part of me is mourning an identity I thought I had, as silly as that may sound. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t mean I don’t like kids (because I do, I love working with kids!), I just don’t like working in the preschool environment as a teacher.
Another part of me is excited to figure out what else I can do. I found myself another job, although, it’s not leaps and bouds away from what I have been doing, I feel much happier with it. I’m now working as a tutor, mostly with young kids who need help with their reading skills, but the pace of the job matches my temperament much better, and I feel competent at it. More importantly, though, this is just a part-time job. I don’t see this as a career, and I’m not looking to make this my back-up plan. It’s just something that I’m doing right now.
So, am I quitter? Well, when I left the preschool, I was honest with my supervisor about my reasons, and I stuck it out for the full two weeks at the end. Yes, I quit, so on pure technicality I am a quitter, but I think that I put myself in a vulnerable spot to recognize that it really wasn’t working for me. I think it would have made me more of a quitter to have stayed and been miserable until I couldn't stand it anymore. That wouldn't have been good for my coworkers, me, and it wouldn't have been fair to the kids.