Friday, December 30, 2011
Without further adieu, the paltry list:
1. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
2. Bright Sided: How the Relentless Pursuit of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich
3. What It Is by Lynda Barry
4. Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler
5. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
6. Whiter Shades of Pale: Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander
7. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
8. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
9. The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro
10. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
11. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
12. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
13. A Short Guide to A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
14. Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
15. Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
16. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris
17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
18. Just Kids by Patti Smith
19. The Anti Romantic Child by Priscilla Gilman
20. The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
21. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
22. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
23. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
24. Bossypants by Tina Fey
25. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
26. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
27. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
28. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
* Best Book: Definitely, hands down, no doubt in my mind, We Need to Talk About Kevin. (Review here.) I still find myself thinking about this book. At my work we sell something called a Faux bow that is a Nerf-type bow and arrow, I cannot even look at this product without thinking about Kevin. I wish I had never read this book just so that I could read it again for the first time. Really, if you haven't read it yet, DO SO!
* Worst Book: Icy Sparks. (Review here.) Just bad. But honestly, I get a certain amount of joy from those awful books. In fact, in the new year I may purposely work in a few awful books just for fun.
*I read a lot of really good non fiction this year: The Anti-Romantic Child, Just Kids, Love Is a Mix Tape, and Last Child in the Woods. It was a good year for non fiction.
*On the flip side, a lot of the fiction that I read was quite dull. The few stand outs (aside from Kevin): Winter's Bone, Empire Falls, and Never Let Me Go. I find myself thinking about those books quite often, especially Never Let Me Go, which was about a group of young people who were born for the sole purpose of being forced to donate their organs. They donate as much as possible until they can no longer survive. I know, it sounds totally gruesome, but the book was more about the friendships between the donors. It was fascinating and has stuck with me.
*Biggest Disappointment: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Even though this is a Young Adult book, I expected it to blow me away because I know a lot of really smart gals who love it. But instead I got poor character development and a story that I couldn't care less about. I haven't bothered to read the rest of the books in the series.
Despite the fact that I got off to a great start by reading seven books in January alone, I'm definitely disappointed by books this year. Not only was most of what I read completely forgettable, but a lot of those books made me not want to read for a while. They turned my favorite past time into a chore.
Reading Goals for 2012:
*Definitely read more than 28 books. I really like to keep a loose goal of fifty books.
*Devote just a bit more time to researching books and hunting down ones I'll love, so I don't waste time reading clunkers.
Now I need some suggestions. What are you reading right now? What was your favorite book of the year?
Saturday, December 17, 2011
*Went to Michael's and stood in a very, very long line to pay for the last (hopefully) of this years Christmas packaging ( to package said rum balls).
*Finished reading a book, The Monsters of Templeton. It was okay but not great. I wanted to like it more but it was kinda pretentious. I wouldn't recommend it.
*Started reading a new book, Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts. I've never actually read any of her books, but this trilogy was recommended to me by a couple of gals, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Have any of you read it? (Hmmmm.....I see that Amazon has given it a "Sensuality Rating" of 6. What does that mean?)
*Played some of my son's video games. Because sometimes I just want to shoot something.
*Mailed out most of our holiday cards.
*Was annoyed by the laughter of children. (I know, I'm a monster.) My downstairs neighbors are moving out and I've had to listen to the gleeful squealing of their two pre school age daughters all day long as they clanged around on the metal ramp of the moving truck. They're a nice enough family but there is just something about all of them that kinda bugs me. I'm glad they're moving, now I don't have to pretend to like them anymore.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
*I'm drinking wine at 10:00 AM. It's a glass I didn't finish last night. It's my morning wine.
*Truth be told, I'm feeling a bit over extended lately. Work has been insane (as a toy store should be this time of year) and I've had a lot of social type things to do. A homebody such as myself doesn't quite know how to handle it. Plus, there are all the things I haven't done that I've wanted to do like the Ikea trip or the fact that Visty and I have been trying to get together for about two weeks now and despite the fact that we live mere miles from one another, we just can't seem to make it work. At this rate the Christmas gift I have for her may end up being a Valentines Day gift. Also, I think I've forgotten what my husband looks like. As busy as I've been though, it's a good busy.
*I work this afternoon (which means that my morning wine is also my pre-work wine!) and then I'm off for the next two days. I may spend Saturday in my jammies watching cartoons.
*Daphne is coming over the day after Christmas. Gosh, I love her. It will be a short visit but we have a lot to chat about. Fondue has been bought.
*The girl's birthday is coming up right after Christmas. I'm trying to find a way to keep the whole thing very low key yet still make her birthday wishes come true. She's requested a Sonic the Hedgehog cake. Tomorrow I'm going to see about enlisting the help of the professionals on this one.
Off to go finish my pre-work wine.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
No worries though, as Jay says he can get me the original AM/FM/Cassette Player for about $30.
Now if I could only find my box of cassette tapes.
Monday, December 12, 2011
But those frowns were turned upside down when we stopped at a few of the Portland Food Carts. Poutine from Potato ChampionSavory Mac and Cheese pie (shown half eaten 'cause it was so damn yummy) from Whiffies. I also had a sweet peanut butter and chocolate chip pie but there are no pictures of it because, again, damn yummy. Pizza from Pyro PizzaShrimp Po' Boy and Blue Cheese Cole Slaw from Bubba Bernie's. Why has no one ever offered me blue cheese covered cole slaw before in my life? It was amazing.
Since the day ended with everyone smiling, I'm considering it a success. Plus, since the girl is now in her room singing songs from the Tuba Christmas song book, I'm thinking she may have enjoyed it more than she'll admit. Sometimes they just need convincing.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I have some thoughts on this.
*First off, people are really into this. We sell the kit, which includes The Elf and the book, for $30 and have a hard time keeping them in stock. I'm amazed that people are that committed to this idea and can keep it going all the way until Christmas. My motivation for such a project would definitely fizzle out after a few days and I would have to tell my kids that our Elf is so good at his job that he could tell after only a short time how they were behaving and he decided to take the rest of the month off.
*My pal, Dawn, has the Elf. She named him Jimmy after a character on Boardwalk Empire. (Things like that make me love her even more.) But she just told me that on the show Jimmy recently had sex with his mom and now she's having a hard time looking at her Elf.
*The Elf has a song. "The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, what you say and what you do." Creepy. Really, really creepy.
*At work we have a store Elf. Every night we have to hide him and the first kid to find him the next day gets a candy cane. The problem is, that at the end of the night we're all ready to skedaddle out of there with the quickness so we usually forget The Elf. Then one of us will get a late night text saying something to the effect of, "Shit! I forgot to move The Elf! Will you do it for me in the morning?" Because we have had kids who come in and say, "Hey! The Elf was in the same place yesterday!" (It should say something about the community I work in that kids are actually in a toy store two days in a row.)
*When I'm in charge of hiding The Elf, I carry him around the store swinging him by his scrawny Elf legs until I find the best possible place to hide him. Kinda ruins some of the Christmas Magic, doesn't it? Confession: I don't want kids to find him. I want kids to get agitated and frustrated when looking for him. I don't want them to cry, I just want them to learn the hard lesson that not everything in life is going to come to them so easily.
*If I know that adults are looking for The Elf, I like to give them vague, cryptic, and mostly unhelpful hints such as "The Elf is by a box." I also like to tell them if they're Hot or Cold. Especially if they are Cold. Last week I said to a Grandpa, "Wow! You are freezing cold. You're never gonna find The Elf over here. Come on, you can do better. A toddler found him earlier." (Note: This type of talk only works on men, who think that I'm being playful and possibly slightly flirty. Women think I'm being a bitch. They may be right.)
Friday, December 2, 2011
These dog portraits were purchased at Goodwill but I think they originally came from Target.Jay was pulled towards these because of the Ryan Berkley feel they have, since Berkley is an artist we both love. Plus, we thought they would go nicely with our dog balls (see post). They are totally corny and totally us. We've actually amassed quite a few dog related ornaments. I was thinking that maybe next year we'd have a smaller table top tree. Possibly it could be dog themed? (If so I may need to purchase these dog ornaments as well.)
These wooden Russian doll-type ornaments were bought after the holidays last year.The girl loves Russian Dolls so these ornaments are her favorites.
1. Place block on floor.
One more way in which I've decided to decorate for the holidays is with deer. I have some deer ornaments and I've picked up some figurines at thrift stores, Etsy, and various other places. I'd like to say that I have them tastefully set up around the apartment but the mischievous elves who live with me have taken to rearranging them:
Monday, November 28, 2011
All those fuzzy friends tend to hide my handiwork though, so today while she was at school I climbed aboard the top bunk, pitched her pals to the floor, and proceeded to cram myself into some uncomfortably tight corners in order to take the following pictures:This is my first crocheted blanket and it only took me about 8 months to complete. Although in my defense, there were a few months where I didn't work on it at all. It's done in a double crochet stitch which I learned via a YouTube video.
Like all my work, this blanket isn't perfect, but I'm okay with that. I've long since learned that if I waited for my work to be perfect, I'd get nothing done. The gauge is off, especially towards the bottom so the blanket isn't exactly square and the edges are not as straight as I'd like them to be. (How to make perfectly straight edges was in the second part of the YouTube video and I only felt the need to watch the first half.)
But you know, every problem has a solution and if I tuck the sides under like so...........
My shoddy work is hidden and no one is the wiser!
I also made the girl this pillowcase:
Initially the plan was to have the blanket and the pillowcase done at the same time, but the blanket took a bit longer than I expected so she's been using the pillow for months now.
Now, minus the sheets, the girl's bed stuffs are almost all handmade. Well, except for the fuzzy friends.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
She always seems to take nice pictures, without putting much thought at all into it. Maybe the secret to good photography really is just to point and shoot.
Later that night, when the whole family was back together, we were able to decorate the tree. Everyone was in a good mood and it felt like the perfect beginning to the holiday season.
Jay's pal, Jesus, even made an appearance:
Yes, Jesus, indeed it is.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
On our way out the door I caught a glimpse of our own candy bowl:
Anyway, Lucy and I hit a few places in our neighborhood before making our way back to Kim's house to meet up with her family:Even though we live in a rental community, so many of our neighbors treat their homes as if they own them, doing things like maintaining gardens and going all out to decorate for the holidays.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
* A new-to-me duvet cover from Goodwill. Originally from Crate and Barrel, it's in excellent condition and I only paid $6.99 for it. Score.
*Board games.Of course we've always been big on them around here, but now that I sell them on a daily basis, there has been a steady stream of new ones coming home with me. In the above picture, the girl and I were playing Magic Labyrinth. A few other favorites: Bananagrams, Consensus, Fastrack, and Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a bit too complex for the children but Jay and I like it and are trying to find more folks to play with. It's a good thing Portland has one of the largest Settlers of Catan Meetup groups in the country. (Does the fact that we are actually considering contacting one of these groups mean that we're officially geeks? I think it may. So yeah, if any of my local people play Catan, you know how to reach us.)
*Our Salt and Pepper shakers:Bought by Jay with the girl (who loves all things robot related) in mind.
*Lately The Sundays album Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic has been on constant replay in my bedroom. I listened to this tape in the nineties when it first came out. ( I didn't trust my math and I actually had to get my calculator out and check that it was indeed 21 years ago. Eeek.) I was a sheltered, lonely teenager holed up in my room, wishing I could be anywhere other than where I was and anyone other than who I was at the time. I listen to it now and although I still feel somewhat melancholy, it's cheery knowing I have more control over my own life and the moody music seems almost upbeat to me.
(As a side note: I have to go on an old person's rant here for a moment. My son has never sat and listened to an entire album by one artist. If he likes a song, he downloads that one song. I have to think that he's missing out on something by doing it this way. He doesn't understand how an entire album can help you get through some really shitty times and how you almost form relationships with the people making the music, and that makes me sad. Of course I try to explain this to him but I'm just an old mom talking gibberish. I only hope that one day my nonsense will all start making sense to him.)All in all I'm just really in a happy place right now which is a good feeling because I was pretty bummed over the summer when it was hot and sunny day after day. But now, grey skies are back, sweater weather is here, and I just couldn't be happier.
What are you into right now?