Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 Books

I only read 15 books last year, the lowest amount since I began keeping track of such things.

Every year I aim to read 50 and if I'm being honest, that number is a bit high for my life. But I'm still going to continue to try for it because, even though I doubt I'll hit it, I like to see how close I can get.

Anyway, here's last years list:

1.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2.  Portlandia by Fred Armisen

3.  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

4.  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

5.  The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

6.  Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

7.  Attempting Normal by Marc Maron

8.  Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

9.  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

10.  Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne

11.  The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

12.  Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

13.  Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary

14.  Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

15.  The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Book related notes:

*Early in the year, Peggy sent me Let's Exploring Diabetes with Owls and this was probably my favorite book of the year. I love David. And Peggy. (BTW: I know it's been years, but still when I say Peggy's name, I think of this Peggy.)

*My second favorite book would have to be Attempting Normal by Marc Maron. Whom, I got to see in May. Which made me unspeakably happy since I've loved him for years.

*Seeing Rob Sheffield was another highlight, sadly I have no pictures though Dammit.

*I actually really liked all the books I read this year, I think because I didn't waste a lot of time on books I wasn't into.

*Armistead Maupin is going to be at Powell's this week. I'm itching to go and my usual date for this sort of thing will be away on business. Shall I go alone?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday January 23

Jay emailed me an article the other day and the topic was making friends as an adult. Among other things, the article put friendships into two categories: Optionals and Essentials.

Optional friends are chosen based on commonalities and a shared interest in a particular thing. They give you a false sense of hope and tend to be fleeting because as we grow our interests and likes are constantly changing. The article gave this example to describe optional friends:

Optional people are like your waiter; you think you need them because they are serving you food and it seems like they're important at the time. But in reality, you could replace them in an instant with any other common waiter standing around.

Essential relationships are built around necessities. These are the people who you open up with and who meet your needs. The article states, "When essentials are removed from your life- it hurts. This is the difference between a bond of convenience and a bond of necessity."

Needless to say, I found the entire article fascinating and I keep catching myself thinking of the different people in my life and deciding which category to drop them into. I don't necessarily think that one category is better than the other. In fact, I think that in the last few years I've gotten better at making friends in general and many Optionals have, over time, become Essentials. And even if they aren't Essentials, there is something to be said for having a group of people that you can just occasionally hang with and have fun.

Many of my Essentials are people I've never even met in real life. They said something here, or I said something there and, for whatever reason, they've become people I can count on. People who I think about regularly and 'miss' when I haven't had them in my life for a while.

Other Essentials are more obvious. For instance, I connected with my boss (and friend) almost immediately and it didn't take long for him to become an Essential. Sometimes you just know.

The article ends with this statement, "Forming relationships around necessities [with Essentials] is much harder to do because it requires you to open up, but it's also much simpler once you become skilled at it."

So I guess the moral of the story is, Open Up. It's harder and scarier, but worth it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday January 22

This girl:

*Recently turned nine. I can't believe it's almost a decade.

*No longer needs speech therapy. Today, officially and in writing, the stutter is being managed and is under control. We are immensely proud of her. Her teachers (Kindergarten until now) are impressed with what she's accomplished. Our beloved speech pathologist says it's 'rare.'

*Is lovestruck. She announced today that "David" kissed her on the cheek. She likes David because, in her words, he "doesn't bitch and complain constantly."

*Is a little bit crazy. For instance, on the way to the yogurt place she was sitting in the front seat of the car and Monty was in the back. They were arguing about something when she said, "Monty, I'm going to teach you some sign language." My sweet nine year old girl held up her middle finger until her big brother laughed. That's my girl.

*That yogurt cup? Yeah, it's filled with the weirdest mixture of odd flavored yogurts and Nerds and Brownie pieces, and Gummy Worms. It's disgusting. I tasted it. It was tartness and garbage.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday January 12, 2014

At work all this morning I was thinking about how I wanted to hike with my family. Of course,  I never actually voiced this to them, instead just hoped that when I got home they would magically all be ready to trek through the woods with me.

I got off work fairly early and was home by 1:30. I walked into what I, possibly overreachingly, refer to as 'squalor'. But suffice it to say, the apartment smelled like the cat box, someone was lying in bed watching football, and certain people were still in their footie pajamas.

I cleaned up for about an hour, requested that people put on day clothes, and then, right before I decided to start what Jay refers to as, "passive aggressively vacuum" (translation: vacuum), I thought: I have a choice. I can spend the next hour cleaning and being mad at these fuckers, or I can proceed with my original plan.

So, Jay found us a trail and we headed to a hiking destination we had never been to before. It was wet, and mossy, and beautiful, just the way I like it.

(Can you believe that even after almost four years we still find new hiking places? I'm thinking we haven't even cracked the surface.)

We hiked for about 30 minutes before someone bitched about needing to see "civilization" again. Which is fine. I know my people. I know they need to get back to texting and Tweeting and Instagraming their meals, and I'm ok with that.

All I ask is that they occasionally work in some woodsy nature time with me. And once in a while clean the cat box.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 9, 2014

Every few days I pull up this account and I write. Sentences, maybe a few paragraphs, but they never really amount to much. So, I lay my finger on the delete button and watch the cursor as it speeds back to the top of the page.

Truth be told, I really don't know what I'm doing here. This blog, in its current incarnation, isn't who I am anymore and the things I want to write about just don't seem to fit in this space. The person I am now is very different from the person I was when I started this blog in February of 2008, almost six years ago. I no longer need to document every moment of my, or my family's, life. I don't have the desire to take a photo of each thing I sew, crochet, or bake. (Although maybe I should because I've made some fucking awesome cakes lately.) I don't have the time to devote to reviewing books anymore, although I still read a lot and miss having people with whom to discuss those books. When I'm with the kids, I find myself taking pictures of them less and less. They don't want to be my subjects anymore, and frankly, I'm in a spot in my life where they aren't my sole focus.

So, where does that leave this blog? I'm not sure. I've thought of starting a new blog but I think I'm just too lazy. Do you know how long it took for me to come up with the half assed name for this blog?! I don't know if I can be expected to do that twice in one lifetime. Plus, as disjointed as it feels, I like the fact that this wee corner of the internet chronicles the changes in my life.


For the second year in a row, my family hung out with Visty and her clan on New Year's Eve. We ate fatty foods and drank rum runners before going on our (now annual) late night walk in which we do obnoxious things such as sneaking into people's yards to photograph ourselves amongst their Christmas lights.

But before the walk, Visty snapped this picture of me:
Now, the fact that I look more human than troll-like in this picture has a lot to do with Visty's skill as a photographer. But when my dear friend Dawn saw it, she said, "It's the best picture of you I've ever seen. You look beautiful and happy." This is amazing coming from Dawn because she is one of the few people on the planet who knows of my long history of being the subject of wretched pictures.

But Dawn, in her infinite wisdom, stumbled upon something: I'm happy. I like my life. Right now, is probably the most relaxed I've ever been, and for me, relaxed translates quite quickly to happy.  I like my family and my job. I have the usual hobbies and interests that keep me busy. And the people in my life right now? They all truly make me happy.

I'd like to say with certainty that, starting right now, I'll be blogging here regularly again. But experience has taught me that time and circumstance will get in the way. I'll be tired, or bored, or have writers block.

But this post right here? It's a step.