The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

I cannot lie.  I am completely in for Hygge now.  I don’t know what possessed me to check this book out months ago, in the blazing summer heat that I love, but I did.  Now that it’s fall and I finally got around to it, I’m in.  I listened to the audiobook, which was a super short 3.5 hours, and so I got the pronunciation down (I think) and now I pretty much walk around my house chanting, “Hygge!  Hygge!”

Basically, Hygge seems to me to be a lot about making things nice.  Just nice.  Cozy.  Good smelling.  Friendly.  Nice.  And, to be honest, I think that I could really use some nice right now.

While I checked this book out, I have put it on “to be purchased” list.  It includes lists, recipes, ideas, the sort of thing that I can see myself referring back to now and then.  The basic concept is simple enough.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that you’ll see a number of reviews that talk about candles.  There is a lot of talk about candles.  I’m not currently in a position to light many candles, as I have a toddler who likes anything he’s not supposed to have, but I don’t feel put off by that.  Hygge socks?  That’s a thing.  I HATE socks but I don’t feel put off by that.  Instead I feel inspired to make these coming winter months and every day before them a little more homey and nice.

I liked this one a lot.

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Planning My Winter Reading (a Little Early)

My stack of fall books is sitting on the corner of my desk.  I have only completed 2 out of 26 of those fall books.  I may have *accidentally* ordered some books through the library again.  Look, accidents happen, okay?

But today I started thinking about what I want to read this winter.

The idea just kind of struck me today.  I feel like there are a handful of books that I haven’t read but have always wanted to.  These are the books that I have to explain “I’ve been meaning to get around to” whenever someone asks me about them but also books that I’ve just been wanting to read.  I made a list of 10 that I will base my winter reading off of.

  1. The Hobbit
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. The Two Towers
  4. The Return of the King- Why is it that suddenly EVERYONE loves The Lord of the Rings?  I mean, I know that Tolkien has been a thing for a long time but I feel like I am surrounded by hard core fans lately.  I will indulge them.  Or try to.  Again.
  5. Little Women– The only reread on this list!  Woot!  I’ve been thinking a lot about this book lately and a friend said she would like to read it too if I could hold off a bit.  No problems there!
  6. Rebecca– I think that I have spent two years picking this book up and putting down with a dramatic, “I have too many books to read!”
  7. The Group– Honestly, I just want a big, fat book and this one keeps popping up.
  8. The Valley of the Dolls– I started this one years ago and put it aside because of college.  It’s been that long.
  9. Wuthering Heights– At this point, I should know the story well enough that I don’t need to read it.  This is one of those books that everyone just assumes that I’ve read.  I’d like to, you know, actually read it.
  10. The Count of Monte Cristo– Real talk.  A while ago Hubby and I were at a party and a friend of a friend kept making very snooty proclamations.  I like to put on a fake accent as I recount it.  “Merlot is simply the only wine I’ll buy.”  “I HATE ales and simply refuse to drink them.”  “Dumas is simply the BEST author.  If you haven’t read The Count of Monte Cristo I don’t believe that you can even call yourself a reader.”  Seriously.  When it was suggested to me as a great follow-up to War and Peace, I decided to give it another shot… and haven’t.

For now, I am working on my self-help book, chipping away at my e-book, and killing it with the Hygge book.

Tally Monday- October 15, 2018

Checked Out

  1. 1 Year, 100 Pounds by Whitney Halcombe

Bought

  1. Dark Corners collection
  2. Be the Parent by Kendra Smiley

Read

  1. Giant Days, vol 8 by John Allison

Reading What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter (print), The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (audio), Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr (ebook), Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (nonfiction), Bee and Puppycat by Natasha Allegri (comic), Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Last week I started listening to the Awesome with Alison (and Eric Too!) podcast and I have since been through 15 episodes.  I am LOVING it.  I’ve been feeling kind of down for a while now.  I would say that I have actually been depressed probably since about May.  Of course, I’ve had my up spikes (like when I read The Secret) but when I look back over the summer it feels like a big, dark fog.  I don’t remember a lot of it.  I don’t know what happened to it.  I spent most of it feeling like I needed to change.  I needed to stop smoking and stop drinking and stop eating so much and stop being so stressed out and stop being nasty to people and because I wasn’t stopping any of those things I was feeling completely worthless.  “What the fuck is wrong with me?” I would lament, only to feel so defeated that I would repeat these behaviors over and over again.

Awesome with Alison really did set a kind of fire under my ass, though.  She’s so positive and happy and bubbly that I started feeling positive and happy and bubbly.  Each episode is like a little self-help nugget and a little boost of vitamin c to my attitude.  Thursday I listened to her episode about losing weight and I have tracked my calories and stayed in range every day since.  I know how to lose weight.  I didn’t need the help.  But she suggested something that made everything click.  Why do I overeat?  Easy, I overeat because I feel like I deserve to for working so hard and trying so hard all of the time, but I don’t feel like I deserve the things that I actually need to feel better: a break and some quiet and some time.

I have promised to give myself some time.  This week is about books and people, people and books.  This week I make time to sit quietly by myself if I need it.  This week I give myself permission to go to another room if I need to, even if that means locking myself in the bathroom for a few minutes.  This week I am going to read to relax.  This week I am going to do my best and then let it go instead of being a crazy woman.  This week I live MY life by MY expectations and MY way.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading, even if I am reading it at a snail’s pace.  I’m really enjoying my e-book.  I just started listening to the Hygge book this morning and I am currently seeking a nice warm sweater and am completely in for cozy.  I’m in a good spot and hopefully I’ll finish like 5 books this week!  (No expectations, though, k?)

Tally Monday- October 8, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  3. Giant Days vol 8 by John Allison

Bought

  1. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
  2. The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
  3. Alfred Hitchcock’s Daring Detectives

Read

  1. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. “A Box of Hope” by Brian Panowich

Last week I spent a lot of time reading.  I read way more than I have been.  I read on the couch.  I read in bed.  I read at work.  I read because what I was reading, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, made me feel wonderfully nostalgic, made me laugh, made me cry.  It was a wonderful experience and i am glad that I had it.

I’ve had the feeling lately like nothing is fun and I don’t get joy out of anything but that isn’t true at all.  It’s just that right now I am living a life that forces me to MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS I LOVE instead of just scraping by.  The problem with that is that I am usually just scraping by.  I get my work done.  I spend time with my family.  I’m exhausted.

Last Monday I talked about how I was going to try to live without expectations for the month of October and I have to confess that I failed miserably at that.  Last week was pretty great Monday through Wednesday.  I had a good time.  I took it easy on myself.  I read and I ate food I liked and I hung out with Hubby and Little Dude and it was all very nice.  Then the expectations crept back in and Thursday morning was miserable and Thursday evening was miserable because I couldn’t shake it and that bled into Friday and then Hubby went to bed super early on Friday and I had been expecting to have a good time and then Saturday I worked really hard and got a lot done but at the end of it was exhausted for the get together I went to.

But Saturday night I had fun and Sunday was okay until I had expectations.  I think that I’m really seeing the devil in this whole thing.

Basically, I know that reading is something that brings me joy and balance and those are two things that I really need to be investing in right now.

An update on my audiobook hiatus:  I’m really enjoying the break!  I’ve listened to music that I forgot I loved and discovered a new podcast that has me thinking thinks!  I’m glad I lowered my expectations of myself and opened up to doing something different!

(OMG, guys.  I’m so tired.  I’m pretty sure this was a shit Tally Monday but I’m too tired to even re-read it.)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I don’t remember what made this book pop in my head way back in July.  All I know is that I was sitting at my desk one day and I thought about it and I could see that green spine on the shelf and I decided that I wanted to re-read it.  I’ve been kind of in the mood for re-reading lately and it seemed like the kind of thing that I could get through quickly.

Now, when I first read this book seven years ago, I thought it was okay.  It was one of those books that had a cult following and I liked my favorite book with a cult following better and that was that.  Though, I apparently liked it enough to give it four stars.

This book was so much better than I remember.

I mean, it’s serious and it deals with really serious issues but it does so with a lot of heart and humor.  I laughed.  I cried.  I gasped at one point and said, “Charlie!  No!”  I read some of it out loud to Hubby, much to his dismay.  I really enjoyed it and it was the kind of book that I found myself wanting to read every chance I got.  It was a great experience.

This is the story of Charlie, who is writing letters to someone who he heard didn’t sleep with that person at that one party.  Charlie is about to start high school and he is nervous.  His only friend, Michael, committed suicide and Charlie is just kind of alone in the world.  Not long after he starts school, he goes to a football game and sits with Patrick, who he knows from shop class, and Sam.  They are seniors and they take him to Big Boy and take him under their wing.  Meanwhile, Charlie’s English teacher is giving him special reading and has told him to participate in the world.  Charlie writes letters through the year as he falls in love, dates, notices things about his family, deals with some heavy stuff, and experiments with illicit substances.  Charlie is mostly clueless which is kind of endearing, even when he does blatantly stupid stuff.  Charlie is also dealing with his mental health and always gives off a feeling of fragility that isn’t explained until later in the book.

This was excellent.  I’m so glad that I reread it!

Self Care and Stopping

Today I returned both of my audiobooks.

Why?

For the past couple of days, I have been trying to listen to myself and do what I actually want to do.  Monday I just wanted to get stuff done and that was fine.  I wanted a beer while dinner cooked and that was fine.  I wanted to make my mom’s pork chops and I did.  Tuesday I wanted to take my time and do some thinking.  I wanted to drink some wine and read.  Sometimes I get so caught up in what NEEDS to be done that I forget to experience joy and I forget to ask myself what I want.

I want a break from audiobooks.  I want to listen to some podcasts and music.  For the month of October, I’m going to do that.

Sometimes the best form of self care that I can do is just stopping.  Stopping the madness.  Stopping the running.  Stopping the relentless chipping away at lists.  When I stop, I have a second to think and breath and consider.  When I stop, I become human instead of machine.

Because I have been stopping, I have been reading.  It’s been wonderful.

I once read something that said, “To have more time, lose track of it.”  This has proven to be true over and over again.

More Hours in My Day by Emilie Barnes

This book was on my Amazon wish list for so long that I don’t even remember why I wanted it or when I wanted it.  It didn’t seem like a bad idea to read it, though.  Presently, I am working full time, writing in my spare time, raising a toddler, and managing my home.  Tantrums, laundry, cleaning, looking for lost items (that usually have been stolen by a cat or a toddler), making sure everyone (including cats) is fed, and trying to be a human being is, like, more than enough for anybody.  We also have a small house and a lot of hobbies which means a lot of stuff.  I wasn’t really expecting to take much from this book but I decided to give it a try anyway.

I was right.  I didn’t take much from this book and what I DID get from it wasn’t what I was expecting.  Barnes has some unrealistic expectations, in my opinion, and we have different ways of doing things.  I have never been a fan of that “I have five minutes before I have to run out the door, so I’ll just scrub this toilet” mentality.  I don’t need to schedule vacuuming in and if a friend invites me to lunch when I’m supposed to vacuum, I’m definitely going to lunch.  The system seems too complicated.  I don’t want to store things and keep a list of where everything is stored.  And I was really annoyed by how often they talked about picnics.

Well, until the chapter about picnics and then I decided that I really need to have one and that it’s the kind of memory that I want to make for my family.  In the end, what I took from this book was more human.  It encouraged me to change the way I was prioritizing my life and helped me to change the way I was treating my husband, who is a saint for living with a crazy woman.

While I don’t agree with Barnes and I lead a much different life than her, there are a lot of useful things in this book and there are a ton of checklists so it might be perfect for you even if it wasn’t for me.