Good Stuff: End Of School Year Edition

Friends, I am toast.

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Not the good kind with avocado on it, but the bad kind. The burnt kind. The kind that sets off the smoke detector and leaves a permanent singe on your palate. The garbage you made when you were first learning how to make toast and didn't want to admit that you'd screwed it up so you scraped off as much of the burnt parts as you could and then (probably with the same black-crumbed knife, you novice) heavily buttered to attempt to hide the carbon smoke tang. You know, burnt spite toast. I am burnt spite toast.

Why, you ask? It's June, and that means THE CULMINATION OF EVERYTHING. Everything that my kids are involved in is winding up NOW and demands celebrating! It is a relay of forced merriment that lasts from the beginning of the month until the last day of school. And, in the spirit of Evelyn Mulwray revealing the tangled branches of her family tree, I love it! I hate it! I love it! I hate it!

Brutal, right? But man I love this movie. Poor Evelyn. She haunts me.

(But nice career for James Hong, right? Chinatown and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise? Well played, sir!)

Now, for reals I love it. It's all good stuff: Girl Scout party, class parties, Pre-K graduation, end-of-year carnival, welcoming incoming kindergarten families, planning for our epic international family vacation, birthday parties, Solidarity Sundays meetings, PTA meetings, block parties, award assemblies, etc. You get it. All good stuff. All good entries in the ol' calendar.

But, for reals, I'm tired. It's a lot - A LOT - in a short amount of time. And I can't pick and choose between the events, so we attend them all. THEM ALL. And, even though these are all great events, I'm wearing out.

See, Kimberley Harrington gets it. Her piece for McSweeney's, "Are You Sure There Isn't Something Else I Can Do Before The End Of The School Year" nails this onslaught of merriment precisely. Read it. Read it now. Here, I'll link to it again in case you missed it.

Anyway, I'm bitching about blessings (such poor form) but bringing you a list of random Good Stuff as an apology and a parting gift. I'm taking a 3 week leave from Smarty Mommies to recharge. Consider it my gift to you. Sleep securely in the knowledge that I love you, dear readers, like sisters (Daughters! Sisters! Daughters!), and I'll see you again in 21 days. Until then, listers before misters:

1. Weren't you just telling me that you were looking for some good summertime music? Say, a dystopian Afrofuturist science fiction concept album that is cinematic in aural scope and challenging as fuck to keep up with? Well, look no further than Splendor & Misery by clipping.

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Full disclosure: I first stumbled upon clipping. because it features Hamilton original Broadway cast alum, Tony Award winner, and total dreamboat Daveed Diggs. So, yes, this makes me a little ridiculous. But, truthfully, I don't care which road led me to this album as long as I got here. It is amazing. As in, I was amazed listening to it. Slack-jawed, wide-eyed, in awe of what I was hearing. I'm looking forward to future long drives and flights so I have an excuse to just sit down, dive in, and stay in this world, painful as it is, from start to finish. (Also, it is the reason that this chubby, upper-class, white housewife had the phrase "All Black everything" rhythmically pounding through my head during my younger Smartling's Pre-K graduation today, so revel in that image.)

2. So, did you all know about how fantastic the podcast How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black is and you didn't tell me? Because, if so, we need to really work on our openness and communication.

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This show is a treat, people, and I'm so happy to have discovered it deep into its existence so there are plenty of old episodes for me to revel in all summer long. Each episode is an hour(ish)-long interview with a luminary in their field, and the star of my favorite sex scene ever, comedian Michael Ian Black. Friendly, interesting, smart, warm, and deep: words that best describe Black's interview style and the aforementioned sex scene. Enjoy both! I will!

3. We all love ModCloth, right? Purveyor of fine and cheeky fashions for modern, chic ladies? But we don't love that ModCloth has been purchased by Walmart, that bloated behemoth of ethical nightmares. So, what's our play here, fashionable friends? Resign ourselves to pouring money into Walmart or to wearing sackcloth? NEITHER! Stylewise: Ethical Fashion + Living has a list of 12 Ethical Alternatives to ModCloth for us all to enjoy!

Including this cheeky little frock from Mata Traders that I think we can all agree I would rock the bejeezus and bust line out of. (Image Source)

4. Finally, but relatedly, my feet are fully ready for summer in my new Dansko Vera sandals. Yes, they're comfort shoes, but hear me out. We all know that I have the giddy heart of a middle-aged lady, but, sadly, I have the broken down old hooves of a broken old lady. So, what's a person who wants to look passably OK but needs to be able to walk on her own two feet do?

That person buys Danskos. These Danskos.

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They're comfortable enough to wear all day and while walking all around town, and they're cute enough that strangers have complimented me on them. As those are my two top criteria for buying shoes, I consider these a wonderful purchase.

And with these recommendations of things to put into your ears and on your bodies, I leave you for the next 3 weeks. Be good, mind Shannon, eat your vegetables, and don't forget to floss.


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