This month I read The Husbands by Chandler Baker. I've heard Baker called the "queen of the feminist thriller", and this novel - an insightful and mysterious take on the Stepford Wives - fits her profile. I could see early on where the overarching story was heading, but I didn't figure out the entirety of the twist ahead of time...nor did I see the Alfred Hitchcock-esque gut punch - delivered in the final paragraph - coming at all.
I watched two excellent movies this month - not too shabby for one of our busiest months of the year!
First, Better Nate than Ever on Disney+, about a 13yo boy who dreams of becoming a Broadway star but is stuck in middle school, where he can't even score a role in his school's play. The actor who plays Nate is a talented actor, singer, and dancer, and had Hallie and I rooting for him within the first few minutes. The actor who plays Nate's best friend is as impressive in completely different ways, and Nate's aunt is brought to life by the amazing Lisa Kudrow, in a role that differs from Phoebe Buffet but is equally endearing. This movie isn't for everyone, but it absolutely, positively IS for theatre kids and their moms.
Second, Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds, about a bank teller who realizes he's a non-playable character (NPC) in a video game and decides to rewrite himself. I had LOW expectations for this movie because it's about video games and I'm not a fan of video games, but I ended up loving it. The actors were well cast and the storylines - those in the video game and those in the real world - were smoothly intertwined and enhanced one another. Additionally, action and drama and humor and romance all had a role in the plot...I laughed, and also shed a few tears. Oh, and it's worth mentioning that this movie went over well with a 15yo boy, 13yo girl, and two adults - this doesn't happen very often!
I also watched The Thing About Pam, which was the perfect dramatic series for this true crime fan. I didn't realize until I was about halfway through the series that it was based on a true story, and once I saw footage of the real Pam...WOW...Renee Zellweger deserves an Emmy for her portrayal of this bizarre and horrible woman.
I have have anything new to report here this month, so I'll share a quick recap of the podcasts I listen to regularly in case you're new here and are in search of options for your podcast library. In the true crime genre, I like Crime Junkie, Criminal, and Dateline. In other categories, I stay caught up with The Simplified Podcast, Under the Influence with Jo Piazza, Young House Love has a podcast, and All Up In Your Business (local). Sometimes I listen to Feeding the Mouth that Bites You, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker, and This is Love. I'm working my way through The MLK Tapes, and might try The RFK Tapes next. Last but not least, I LOVE Serial and Gangster Capitalism and am eagerly awaiting new seasons.
This month I've really enjoyed Sharon McMahon of Sharon Says So (@sharonsaysso). As a government and law teacher, Sharon felt equipped in 2020 to attempt to clarify the political misinformation coming out during the election. She quickly amassed a substantial following, and has now earned the titles of "America's Government Teacher" and "leader of the Governerds" on social media. Sharon is down to earth and likable as she shares politics and history in a clear, concise, fair, and kind (most of the time - she fully admits that Russia doesn't deserve any of her kindness right now) manner, and I find myself watching all of her stories every evening in an attempt to learn more about topics I'd otherwise be avoiding completely.
If you want to feel really badly about the debris, hair, etc. that has accumulated on your carpet, pick up one of these carpet shavers. My mom sent me one of these after she and I both saw it on social media, and WOW, does it work well.
Check out our new kitten corral! When we've needed to contain kittens in the past, we've enclosed them in our guest/kids' bathroom. But the bathroom isn't a great space for them - it's long and narrow, which makes it's difficult to maneuver around all of the kitten paraphernalia, and putting kittens in the bathroom means the kids are displaced. I saw this apparatus online, and decided to give it a try. It was relatively quick and easy to unpack and put together, and because it can be assembled in a variety of shapes (and two different heights), we could use it first to keep kittens in a certain space, and then when they grew a little older/bigger, to keep kittens out of other spaces.
Last but not least, I swapped out my fall/winter Loopy for a spring/summer Loopy. I honestly don't think I'll ever be able to use another kind of case - my Loopy cases have saved my phone time and time again. (I have no affiliation with Loopy. I'm just a huge fan!)
I'll tell you what I'm not wearing - functional dress shoes.
I've had many of my dress shoes for years...and by years, I mean more than a decade and in some cases, longer than I've been a parent (to a child who is almost old enough to drive). I kept all of these dress shoes because 1) I still like them and 2) they still fit, but affection for shoes that fit covered only two of the three shoe-related bases...they still need to function like shoes. Two months ago I wore a pair of my favorites when Hallie and I went to see Rent and they broke midway through the evening - the support completely collapsed and the shoe folded in on itself. Last month I wore another pair of my favorites to dinner with friends and the inside of the shoes crumbled - like they were biodegrading - against the soles of feet all night long. Then last week I wore a third pair of my favorites on a date with Tom and at one point I looked down and noticed that not only was one of the straps hanging on by a thread, one of the heels was wobbly. I guess it's time to get new dress shoes, which means that while I don't have anything new to share in this category this month, hopefully I'll have new shoes to share next month!
There isn't a lot of cooking and baking from scratch going on right now. There never is at this time of year, but I've felt and I continue to feel particularly uninspired in the kitchen these days. I did, however, try one new recipe this month - Parmesan Broiled Tilapia - and it was amazing. I followed the recipe exactly, and it was fast and easy...and it traveled well in a Tupperware to soccer practice, where I ate it in my car. 😉
Feeling Good About
You may have heard about the group of Bay Area students who created a "feel good" hotline, but have you actually called the hotline? (707.998.8410) Because you should - there's no way you won't feel better after listening to those sweet little voices spread kindness, inspiration, and joy.
This one made me smile:
And this one made me laugh:
On to May, my friends. On to May.