Monday Minutiae – 01.04.2021

Reflection Journal

I think it goes without saying that 2020 had a lot of tough moments-hours-days-months. My family has been extraordinarily lucky in that we all still have our jobs and have been Covid-free (as far as we know), and that in itself is a huge win. The start of the school year was the roughest one I’ve ever had (and I’m not even a classroom teacher anymore, so go figure THAT) and while I still love my job, it’s more exhausting than usual and harder to step back, even when that is exactly what I need to do sometimes. The plus side, though, is I work with a great team. On occasion I wonder how I would do if I were still teaching vs. doing tech support and I think I’d be okay. I have a wealth of varying educational experiences in my background (including online teaching) which would help ease some of the continual changes and transitions this school year continues to bring.

Personally, I cycle through the pockets of joy and pits of despair a little quicker than I used to, but the key has been to remind myself the cycle will continue. I try to focus on the wins: I finished another manuscript this past year. I have ideas for another. We have new, better leadership ahead. Great books continue to get published and I get to read them. 😀 We have a vaccine.

Learning Objective

My one-word resolution last year was FLOW. On retrospect, what a prescient choice it was! I wrote last year, “I’m leaning into my personal motto of “It’ll all work out” and allowing myself the slower transition to some professional changes and taking deep breaths as I prepare to query my latest novel.” As the year turned into something few of us could have predicted, I know I made conscious choices to truly let myself flow with it all. It’s not like it was always easy, but I think I did well with it. This year I considered “resilience”, but I think a more accurate resolution is ELASTICITY. On the one hand, one definition is the ability to resume an original shape after being stretched, but the second definition given is the one I most want to zero in on: “ability to change and adapt”. Honestly, I pride myself on already being able to do this, but as I look ahead at some personal challenges I have for myself, I foresee needing an elasticity beyond what I’ve had. Bring it, 2021.

Reading Minutes

What would my first post of the calendar year be if I didn’t reflect upon my reading goals? And no, I don’t set a number of books to read as a goal because A) stressful and B) I don’t need a goal to keep me reading. (No criticism of those who have a goal of # of books! It’s just not for me!) Instead, I’ve been continually trying to increase the percentage of books I read to be from #ownvoices – ie: authors from underrepresented populations and writing of their own lived experiences.

2018: 45% of books I read were #ownvoices

2019: 46% of books I read were #ownvoices

2020: 57% of books I read were #ownvoices

I’m really proud of my progress. I don’t really have a goal percentage, but higher is always better! The best part, though, is I read so many truly great books, which is really the whole point, of course.

National Standards

Here are some of my top reads of 2020:


On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong

Loathe at First Sight – Suzanne Park

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

Love Lettering – Kate Clayborn

The Mountains Sing – Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Salvage the Bones – Jesmyn Ward

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

All the Devils Are Here – Louise Penny

You Had Me at Hola – Alexis Daria

Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

The City We Became – N.K. Jemison


Like a Love Story – Abdi Nazemian

Picture Us in the Light – Kelly Loy Gilbert

Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam


A Good Kind of Trouble – Lisa Moore Ramée

Continuing Education

If you are active on Instagram, or would like to be, I have some recommendations!

For racial and social justice, I have found great value in the following accounts. They tell it straight and keep me on top of news and awareness:





I tried to get into yoga, but wasn’t successful. I did, however, hang onto this great account. She posts like crazy, but also, the posts are super body-affirming:


Writers! These particular ones are delving into some great IGTV series about writing, books, and motivation:






Currently Reading (print): A Thousand Questions (MG)– Saadia Faruqi

Currently Reading (audio): When Dimple Met Rishi (YA)– Sandhya Menon

Song of the Week:

It’s a new year, hopefully a better one. Let’s go with “Good Things” by the Bodeans

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Ad Hoc Pandemic Post 22

Number of times a tech support request came in and I just sat and stared at it blankly: 4

Sometimes I’ll get a question like, “My phone sometimes makes a weird sound” or “Why isn’t GridView working?” or “How do I make the Google ‘Message sent’ alerts go away forever?” And I just want to say, “I don’t know” and “Send”. But because I like the “Message sent UNDO X” Google alerts at the bottom of my email screen (seriously, who doesn’t? I don’t get it), I hit “UNDO” and give a different answer. Except for Grid View. Seriously, folks, I have no idea why Grid View doesn’t always work. I didn’t write the script for that nifty little extension.

I felt this tweet especially keenly, as one who hasn’t written in a month and am not sure how to start up again:

But I guess I can always transfer the writing skills to the grocery store adventure (h/t Annee Brizo):

Tell me, how many of you could get a daily blackout on this (h/t Kimberly Morain)?:

And finally, thanks to Jamey Vavra for finding this song for me. You all know I love the pandemic parodies/originals. It’s not a tuba, but still features some low brass and quite catchy. I love it:

Be well. Find joy and laughter when you can.

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Ad Hoc Pandemic Post 21

Number of times I said, “this snow is stupid” in the past three days: 17

I did a thing, and I want to post it, but it will violate copyright and I don’t really want to get a take-down order or have my blog banned or blocked anywhere, so y’all are just going to have to take my word for it that the staff I work with sent in bunches of AWESOME clips to make a lip-sync video of PANIC! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” and it turned out great! Here’s a link to the offical video so you can listen to it in the background while you scan the rest of this post. 🙂

In case you thought I didn’t really follow Nick Heath and his #LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary feed, you are mistaken. He’s posted a few fun ones lately and this one came through today:

He posts them on FB, too, if you aren’t a Twitter user. And probably Instagram.

My friend Sharon posted this fun book-spine-title-story about being in quarantine:

Youngest Child and I decided to make a few mini-stories/poems of our own (it IS National Poetry Month after all). Here’s what we came up with. I’d love to see some of YOURS!

I knew holding on to all of these books would come in handy.

BTW, one good thing that has come from all this mess right now is that people are trying harder to connect in ways they haven’t before. My family near and far met in Zoom tonight for a get-together. Would we have made that extra effort to do this in the past, even though the technology has existed long before now? We hadn’t, so I guess not. Unintended consequences aren’t always bad. It was great to get together with them and laugh.

Be well. And may you find laughter when you can.

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Ad Hoc Pandemic Post 20

Number of times I celebrated today after being done with a big work project: 9

Today was the first day I worked my normal hours in a month, and it felt great to be normal busy instead of non-stop busy.

Have you had one of those days where you thought, “geez, not another thing”?

*Cue Minnesota yelling YES to the past two days of snow*

Here’s your new worry, btw:

Those poor Germans. That’s quite a stretch. God bless unchecked typos.

And speaking of supermarkets (h/t Tasha Seegmiller):

If you ever doubted that marching band skills transferred to other areas (h/t Amy Robrahn):

If your family/roommates are driving you crazy, consider one of the lines in this song: “We can’t get on each other’s nerves if we’re dancing constantly.” I don’t think he’s wrong, what do you think? (h/t Beth Skarupa)

Be well. Find laughter when you can.

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