#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am a Wee Lazy

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If we were having coffee, I would invite you in and say hello. I’m probably still yawning and stretching, and the coffee might not actually be made. Perhaps we’ll walk just down the street to Congregation, the little coffee place on the corner, or perhaps we’ll just stay in here where it’s cool and I’ll hop up to make some coffee. Today I’m being a wee extraordinarily lazy, because this week has been a doozy. (Does anyone actually say doozy anymore?–Besides me, I mean.)

I would tell you that this week I finished up the summer semester, grading essays and averaging grades and getting everything in juuust before they were due. I generally try to finish things up at least a day or two in advance, but this time I had lots of trouble getting that done. Little Jedi is back from his dad’s house for the last 2 weeks of July, so I’ve been trying to spend time with him. I also had an interview for full-time teaching that took place halfway through the week, and the preparation and nervousness from that took up quite a bit of my time. (Side note: Not sure if I’ll have the job yet, but I do know that I have a second interview!) And there’s been a fair amount of family stuff going on that has made me both anxious and angry…Things that I’m not ready to talk about here (and may or may not ever be) but that have drained me of energy in all kinds of ways.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Little Jedi and I only get this week and next week together out of the whole year. It’s weird, but it’s true. He spends a lot of time with his dad’s family and with my parents–and that’s well and good in the sense that he has lots of people to care about him, but it makes life a little lot more complicated. It’s difficult to plan anything as a family, and it’s frustrating because the other parts of his family don’t really recognize that. During much of the year he is in school, obviously, and during the summer he spends 2 weeks of each month with his dad. Throughout most of the year he’s with his dad every other weekend, and during his Mardi Gras break and spring break he was gone to visit grandparents this year. Sometimes it feels as though he needs his own social calendar, and Sam and I get railroaded into having almost no family time.

So we’ve spent this week mostly hanging out at home, because that’s what he’s wanted to do. We’ve played video games and read and watched YouTube, and he’s had some time to play with his friend and for them to have a sleepover (or two!). On tomorrow, we’re going to the theater to see Kiki’s Delivery Service, and next week I think we’re going to make our way to the aquarium and insectarium and library. In short, we’re going to enjoy our city and one another, because we don’t actually get a lot of free time together to do that.

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If we were having coffee, I would ask what you have going on, what your week has been like. So link up your posts below, and don’t forget to use the #weekendcoffeeshare tag on Facebook, Twitter, and here on WordPress!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am Behind on Literally Everything

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If we were having coffee, I would first apologize for being late…Oops! Generally, I am an on-time sort of person, but today I only had about a million things to do before getting the coffee share going. I definitely meant to work on all of this yesterday, but yesterday turned out to be a Bad Writing Day. I think we all have those days…When the words just won’t show up, no matter how long you look at the blinking cursor or the empty page, and nothing seems to happen quite the way you want it.

Aside from the Bad Writing Day this week, though, the week was a really good one. I finished teaching my summer class, and there are only the final essays to grade in the coming week. Sam was able to work from home this week, so we were able to spend quite a lot of time together, which was far scarcer with his last job.

And on Wednesday night, I was able to attend a book-event for Roxane Gay’s Hunger with my dearest friend, something I’ve been looking forward to for a few months now. She’s one of my favorite current feminist writers, and it was really fantastic to be able to listen to her talk about her writing, pop culture, and her own personal story. She was first interviewed by a local writer on-stage, and afterward the audience was given a chance to ask questions. I had a hundred questions, of course, but I was much too anxious to stand and ask any of them. The questions from other attendees were wonderful though, and led to fun tangents about Lena Dunham, Batman, and avocados (cue collective gasps of horror when Roxane Gay mentioned they were her favorite food, then laughter when the room full of people realized how many other people had the same pearl-clutching reaction to this in a night that included frank conversation about body image, rape, and misogyny.)

I’d read the book before attending, mostly because I saw a copy in the library and couldn’t resist picking it up before attending the event. But now have my own personalized copy of Hunger, and it’s pretty much my favorite possession at this moment.

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If we were having coffee, I would try to fill you in on the months that we haven’t talked as much as we once did. The break from grinding out the coffee share each week was a good one, and it was good for me to step away for a little while. I’ve been able to redirect my attention, which had been waning, and now I feel really great about diving back into the community. But of course lots has happened since February!

I would tell you that I chopped quite a lot of my hair off and re-added my pink streak a few weeks ago. I cut about 8 inches of hair, and it was amazing how much lighter I felt—both literally and metaphorically. I have tended to hide behind my hair for quite a long time, and now it’s far too short to hide me. The pink has faded, and the cut is a bit shaggy (oy, short hair takes so much maintenance), so I need to take myself back to the salon. But I think I’m keeping this cut for a while.

In the months that we haven’t talked regularly, I’ve also been super-delighted to welcome a new wee addition to our family, a new little niece. She’s a beautiful little creature, and we’ve been over a few times to visit since she was born. Little Jedi doesn’t particularly like to hold her (she’s wiggly, mom!), but he loves to sit next to her and chatter and to just watch her. The kiddo hasn’t been around a lot of babies, but he does quite love them. I, of course, find all of this amusing and adorable.

We’ve also taken the kiddos to lots of things–well maybe not Baby Fett yet, though I have high hopes that she and her parents will be joining us for things in the future–but Little Jedi and my dearest friends’ kiddos have spent a lot of time hanging out together. We took them to Star Wars Day at the aquarium and free comic book day at our local shop, and they were together so much during Little Jedi’s part of the summer here that they just “switched” houses from day-to-day at one point. It’s difficult to express just how wonderful it is to live in the same city as my childhood friend, to have our children hang out together the way we once did.

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If we were having coffee, I would ask how your week has been and what you might get up to in the coming week. I’d remind you to add your link below and to use the #weekendcoffeeshare tag on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress so we can all find each other! ❤

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I am Back Again

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If we were having coffee, I would welcome you back.

I would tell you that I’m glad to have the coffee share returning to Part-Time Monster. It was nice to have a break, and Emily at Nerd in the Brain has been a fantastic host for the last few months. I have missed the community, though. It’s been quite a while since we last had coffee together, and only about half a million things have happened since then…And few of them were the writing that I’d intended to do. I’ve been quiet of late, both because I’ve had trouble motivating myself to write and because I’ve just had so many other things going on that it’s been difficult to find the energy to write. But I’m back now, and the coffee share is returning home, and I’m learning to be tougher on myself so that I can meet my writing goals.

I’ve also been trying some new types of writing and new activities–some with more success than others. I recently read Lynda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, and I’ve also got a few other creativity-oriented books on my TBR list. Barry’s book was really fascinating from a visual and a cognitive perspective: her book looks like a composition notebook, and in it she has collected notes, syllabi, lesson plans, and drawings from her classes. I’ve been using some of her exercises to help me begin to journal again, hoping that handwriting and coloring and drawing will facilitate my creativity and put some fun back into the idea of writing every day, which is a habit I am trying desperately to get back to. I’ve also created a FB group of some friends and former classmates who want to work on being more productive, and we have weekly check-ins with one another and often commiserate. It helps, especially now that I’m several years out of grad school, which was a very productive time for me from a writing perspective because I was constantly surrounded by discussions about writing–what it means, how to do it better, how to teach it, etc.

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If we were having coffee, you’d probably hear a fair amount of whinging from me. Life has gotten a bit complicated, what with the kiddo gone quite a bit of the summer and attempting to juggle his schedule and my own schedule plus Sam’s schedule, too. And if that weren’t enough, there’s my ever-present battle with my allergies. Despite taking a nasal spray and an antihistamine daily, I’m *still* sniffling, and the sniffling/sneezing gets my asthma going.  Despite my whinging, though, life is actually pretty swell. It’s looking up, and finally I can start seeing my way through some of the obstacles I’ve encountered over the last few years in my writing and personal lives.

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And if we were having coffee, I’d stop now and listen to you, dear hearts, you who I have missed so much recent. Welcome back–we’ll be here next week. Same Bat-time, same Bat-station.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: It’s Moving!

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If we were having coffee, I’d advise you to sit a little bit away so as not to catch any of my flu germs–because yes, unfortunately, the flu has finally made its way to our house. I’m a bit of a sneezy, coughy, runny-nosed mess right now, so perhaps it’s best that we’re sharing our coffee virtually.

I would also tell you, over our virtual coffee, that you’re about to see some major changes where the weekend coffee share is concerned, because it’s getting a new home. Starting next week, the weekend coffee share will be hosted at Nerd in the Brain, and Emily will be taking over the week-to-week operations of the link-up.

It’s taken me a long time to make this decision and to commit to it. I’ve hung onto the link-up for a while now, though writing each week has taken a great deal of energy. The community is a vibrant and close-knit one, with far more readers and commenters than I imagined would be a part of this when I started the link-up in 2014. So part of me really wanted to hang on to this part of my little corner of the internet, this thing that I’ve built. But another part of me knows that it’s time to make a shift. My posts have become less compelling conversation than chatter about my week, and over the past few months I’ve become more and more lax about doing the things that keep the coffee share community close–answering comments and reading, commenting on, and sharing everyone else’s posts. In large part, this is because when I didn’t calculate how the coffee share would fit in with the content I wanted to run when I switched my blog over, and in large part, this is also because I’ve done this each week for a little more than 2 years now, and the routine has become overwhelming.

Of course, moving the weekend coffee share link up doesn’t mean that I won’t ever be writing coffee share posts anymore…It just means that I’m taking a bit of a backseat and becoming a participant rather than the sole person in charge of making and running the link-up. Emily has agreed to do that, and I think that she will do a fantastic job. Emily currently runs Three Things Thursday, another weekly link-up, and she also runs hosts challenges and give-aways at Nerd in the Brain so the link-up is in safe hands.  And I’ll be popping in and out, adding my own posts to the list on the weeks that I write one and blissfully free to read and share posts that you guys write.

The content here, at Part-Time Monster, is going to get louder and more political. In the face of DT’s presidency and the massive sociocultural and sociopolitical problems that we are facing, I can’t stay silent. Feminist Fridays will resume this week. You’ll also see me talking more about mental health, focusing on my ongoing problems with anxiety and depression. And you’ll also see me talking about books, films, and comics–because not only does art tell us things about our society, but art is good for us in times like these. Art is not just frivolity, though it certainly can be frivolous.

And so…This is goodbye but not goodbye. I’ll be here, talking about all sorts of stuff, and I’ll sometimes jump into the coffee share as a participant, but this is my last week hosting the coffee share. Starting 2/18, look for the weekend coffee share on Nerd in the Brain!  🙂

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I am Cold, and I Talk about Feminism

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If we were having coffee, we would be curled up on the big purple couch today. I’m wearing my Hufflepuff bathrobe backwards and whining about just how cold it is today. Of course, to some of you 47 degrees is not cold at all, so you’ll probably be chuckling. But for here in New Orleans, that’s cold as cold can be. Our houses are mostly not equipped to deal with the cold weather because they’re built to stay cool in the ridiculous summers, so the high ceilings and big windows work against us during the winter. We’ve also moved into a place without central heating–we have a few of the small space heaters around the house, but since there are no doors in the kitchen/living room area, the heaters have to work pretty hard. Anyway, it’s cold. I’m cold.

So while I’m on cup number two of coffee and bitching about being cold, I would tell you that this has been a good week, a week of finishing up the semester and moving forward. At the beginning of the week, Mon/Tues, I had lots of final essays to grade and final grades to input. Then on Wednesday, I got to be a part of something really, really incredible. I wanted to chat about it last week, but I wasn’t sure just how much to say before it all happened. Toward the end of last week, I was contacted to read on-camera for a feminist documentary project called Yours in Sisterhood–the goal of the project is to record people giving readings of letters sent to Ms. magazine in the 1970s in the places where those letters were written and to allow a space to respond to the tone and content of the letters. The project is spear-headed by director Irene Lustzig, who contacted me about reading a letter sent from a mother of an infant son in New Orleans. I readily agreed, of course, and the experience was a profound and moving one. I was surprised at not just the cognitive dissonance between myself and the writer of this letter, but also at our similarities–things we both wanted or things we both worried about. We filmed along the levy of the MS River here, and though it was loud and we had to do several takes, it seemed like just the right spot. Not sure when things will be available, because there are more readings to be recorded and lots to be done, but the project will end up both as an interactive online archive and a feature-length film. Their Facebook page is probably a good place to keep up with them!

After we finished up with filming for the documentary on Wednesday, it was time to say goodbye to Irene and her wonderful assistant Anisa, and then I had to scoot across the river to the community college and hand-in my end-of-the-semester requirements–gradebook and such–and then there was a trip to the library and to pick up Little Jedi from school. And there was also, finally my new phone waiting for me at home. We ordered them at the end of last week, and Sam’s was here Monday, but of course since I chose a rose gold colored phone instead of the traditional grey, it took mine longer to get here! We had to have new phones because our old Blackberrys weren’t working well anymore, and apparently the problem was that they were not compatible with some of the new networks and such. I caved and gave into the iPhone craze, and also into the Instagram (@parttimemonster) and PokemonGo crazes. Oh, and Prisma. Basically, I spent all of Thursday reading and playing on my new phone, because Wednesday was such a good but long day. The most productivity I managed on Thursday was making the bed, and that’s about the most productivity I managed yesterday, too.  But on the bright side, I caught a lot of Pokemon and am almost finished with The Girls, a really fascinating novel about a teenage girl in the late 1960s who is caught up in a Manson-esque murderous cult.

And today, in addition to writing this coffee post, I’m making some behind-the-scenes changes and working on some new ideas for this little blog. For one thing, I’ve decided to bring Feminist Fridays to the blog. A while back, some other bloggers and I ran a series of Feminist Friday discussions on a regular basis, and that was a productive time for me insofar as my own activism and writing. In the wake of working on Yours in Sisterhood this week, I’ve realized I need more of that conversation, and my blog is a good place to start it. So, beginning in January, each Friday will be devoted to a piece of writing about feminism. Sometimes that will mean I share a personal story, and sometimes those posts will be more global. I’ll also have some guest posters here, and if you have an idea I encourage you to chat with me about it by emailing me at ptmonsterblog@gmail.com.

And for now, with this long, long coffee date, I will bid you adieu, and I will see you next week for a coffee-on-a-go-go as we travel to my parents’ house to celebrate Christmas with them. Until then, link up your coffee posts below, and I promise I’ll be answering comments and getting the WCS Twitter going again!

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which There’s a Party!

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If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on my big purple couch for the first time in a while today–or perhaps if it’s not too warm (though if I’m honest, it probably is), we’ll sit out on the back deck. It’s a bit quiet around here for a change, and that feels nice. Little Jedi is gone to visit his dad this weekend, and Sam is out most of the day working on finishing the rough cut of Rolling with Kings and scripting the first issue of The Chronicles of Count Carlos. Meanwhile I’m here, hosting the coffee share—and I’m also doing a few other things too, like co-hosting the Princess Bride Linkup Party with the fabulous women of WriteOnSisters and working on the posting line-up for October.

princess-bride-linkup-partyI’d tell you that I hope you’ll join us for the linkup party at WriteOnSisters and share a post about The Princes Bride, of course! It’s quite possible that you’re here while I’m actually watching the movie, which is definitely on today’s agenda. PB is a movie that I watched growing up, a favorite that I chose again and again on the weekends when we rented movies from our local video store. And it’s one of the few movies that has really stood the test of time for me, only getting better as I grew old enough to understand the nuances of the story. And old enough to read (and to enjoy) the novel, too. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post I wrote about it a few years ago that focuses on the book-to-movie comparison, and all weekend long I’ll be sharing and commenting on posts that are linking up. (Pssstt–If you participate, be sure to use #PrincessBrideParty to share your posts on Twitter and Facebook so we can find each other and share!)

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A Greenland shark faces off against a diver named Jonathan in Little Jedi’s shadow puppet play

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this has been another busy week, and it has also been a rather long one. It hasn’t all been bad, though. The highlight of the week was being able to pay all of the bills on time and then have enough cash left to do something fun for Little Jedi. His school was closed on Wednesday for a teacher workday, and of course Sam and I both had to work. We were going to have him stay with a friend, but the kids’ art center down the street had a day camp going to make a shadow puppet theater and shadow puppets. When I picked him up that afternoon, he and his classmates performed their short plays. Since there were only 4 of them, it seems as though they had a really good day together. This was a pretty big thing, too, because Little Jedi was nervous that he mightn’t be good at making voices for the characters or cutting out things–but what he discovered was that everyone else needed a little help too, and he enjoyed it so much that he wants to go back there again. It’s just down the street from us, and in addition to day camps when the kiddos are out of school, they also have some open studio hours each week and some summer camps. They even did a claymation camp this past summer. Lots of cool stuff happening there.

Anyway, other than that the week was mostly unremarkable–class was much smoother this week, and I don’t have grading to do this weekend, which is nice, as I’ll definitely have some to do next weekend. I had a bit of a difficult Monday, and I felt like a big ol’ mess at the end of it, but mostly that was PMS combined with some work stress, and a wonderful group of friends reminded me that we all fall down, and we get back up again. And I did. The end of the week was still busy, but at least it came to a close peacefully for me…And I know that there were those who weren’t so lucky. The news of another black citizen killed by police, of riots and unrest, are haunting.

I’ve been escaping into fiction a bit this week, finishing up The Red Queen and starting the 2nd book in the series, Glass Sword. And I picked up The Map of Bones at the library, only to realize that it’s the 2nd in a series, so I had to put The Fire Sermon on reserve at the library and go and pick it up–because you guys know how I am about reading things in sequence! Anyway, I picked up the other book, too, and I managed to pick up the last collection of Runaways. I even played a bit on Pottermore, discovering that my patronus is a Siberian cat, my wand is fir wood with a phoenix feather core, 10″ and hard flexibility, and of course I’m still a Hufflepuffin. Ahhh, distraction.

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If we were having coffee, I would say thank you—thank you so much for listening, for showing up to say hi, and to share your own coffee. It’s delightful, this little community. And I’d bid you adieu, for now, with a reminder that next week’s coffee share will be the kick off for a re-launch of this new space, starting with an October full of monstrosities, including the return of Monster Monday and some horror-themed guest posts!

Link up your coffee posts below! Just please follow our few little rules:
1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter!