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May has flown by in a blur of flowers and spring showers.

Josh and I spent about a week at the beginning of the month house-sitting at his sister’s place just off Disney property. I wish I could say that means we got to spend all our time at the parks while we were there, but unfortunately, we both came down with the flu that week and didn’t recover fully until our final day!

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The rest of the month was packed with as many Disney trips as we could fit in, though! I’ve been having a good time taking flower photos around the parks (especially at Epcot, where the Flower and Garden Festival just ended this week), and I was excited to see all the changes at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) now that they’ve opened up the huge area that’s been under construction for as long as I’ve lived in Florida.

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The school year is ending, and my middle schoolers are being more mischievous than ever. I’ve had my hands full at work, so I’ve been getting home in the afternoons with only enough energy to binge-watch something on Netflix. (Remember that time I ran a half marathon last month?! My shriveled up muscles certainly don’t!)

I’m very excited at the prospect of spending more time out of the house in June. As of today, there is just a week of school left! Even more exciting is the fact that my wonderful friend, Molly, will be arriving tonight from England for her first visit to the US. We have a lot of exciting plans for the summer!

What I’ve Been Reading

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: This has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for months, and I finally read it at the recommendation of a student. It was a fast read about two teenagers who both are marginalized by their peers but are brought together by their love of music. It was a little heartbreaking at times but still a sweet story. Much love for Rainbow Rowell.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: For a book about a teenager with leukemia, this book was surprisingly hilarious. It was nowhere near as emotional as The Fault in Our Stars, which a lot of people compared this book to, and in fact sometimes felt lacking because of how unemotional it felt. The characterization was absolutely fantastic, and the second I finished the book, I went and found the movie because I wanted more of a fix of all the funny people the book introduced me to.

What I’ve Been Watching

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: The book felt emotionally flat at times, but the movie did not suffer from this problem. They did cut out a lot of funny parts from the book, so the film wasn’t quite as a hilarious as the book. The book and the movie each made up for what the other lacked, so I was glad to have experienced both of them.

Grace and Frankie: This show is about two older women who are total opposites but find themselves in the same boat after both their husbands come out and reveal that the two men have been having an affair for decades. The characters are far from perfect, but the show deals with gay rights, family ties, growing older, and all sorts of other topics in extremely funny ways. I absolutely loved the second season that came out on Netflix this month, and I can’t get enough of Martin Sheen and Lily Tomlin now that I’ve grown so attached to them in The West Wing.

Captain America: Civil War: It was even better than I anticipated! Cap is my favorite superhero, and I went into the movie thinking that I would side with him and be totally opposed to whatever Iron Man was doing, but I found that I agreed with both sides of the argument. There was definitely more complexity to the movie than I expected, and since I haven’t read the comics, almost everything was a surprise. I especially loved the introduction of Black Panther, and I’m really looking forward to seeing his movie.

Dance Academy: This Australian show has a ton of cringe-worthy teenage drama, but I’m very invested in the ballet careers of the show’s characters.

What I’ve Been Listening To

A New Look At China’s Cultural Revolution” on the Fresh Air podcast: I’ve read extensively about the cultural revolution, so I knew a lot of the information already, but I still enjoyed the refresher and a few new details. It was such a fascinating time in history.

April Calahan on France’s Fashionable Resistance” on the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast: Though I’ve read a lot about WWII, it wasn’t until really recently that I started to delve into how France was affected. I was astounded by Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, which I read last year and still think about a lot, and this podcast was a nice follow-up. The episode discusses how some of today’s fashion arose from the rations that the French were subjected to under German occupation, and she talks about how fashion was used as subtle resistance, such as patterned belts that contained music notes to French songs or hidden Vs for victory.

Episode 32: The Scientific Process” on the Hidden Brain podcast: I was glad to see this podcast reporting on the replication crisis in the scientific field; sensational studies (link to a video about how studies can so often be misreported) are much more interesting than follow-up studies to confirm those findings, but what happens when researchers attempt to replicate those results in subsequent studies and can’t seem to get it right? In an age where so many people have the ability to find information on almost any topic, I think it’s so important to know more about how research is done and how studies can easily be taken out of context to misconstrue the actual findings.

On the Blog

Love, Elizabeth