Podcast Tuesday- May 30, 2017

Podcasts Downloaded:  1117

Today I want to talk about a podcast that I slammed through a couple of weeks ago.  It was my last week of maternity leave and I was interested in making some kind of permanent dent in my podcast collection.  I have a couple that are completed, kind of like Serial.  However, I only had one of those “completed” podcasts completely downloaded.  In the Dark.

True crime stuff is weird for me.  Like, sometimes I really do enjoy it.  Serial was so fascinating that I listened to it twice and I was riveted by Netflix’s Making a Murderer.  When I come across true crime books, I like to look at the pictures on the glossy pages in the middle.  In junior high, I closely followed the O.J. trial.  When I log out of my Yahoo email, I catch myself sucked into the gut wrenching stories of abuse and murder.  I don’t know why.  It’s kind of sick, this rubber necking.  But we all do it.

In the Dark is the story of a boy who went missing in 1989 and how the police department flummoxed the investigation.  While they were working on the story, a man confessed to the murder and led authorities to his body, which added an extra layer to the story and a couple of additional episodes.  It was one of those stories that didn’t seem like it could fill 10 episodes but was riveting the whole time.

I listened to it in two days.  If that is your cup of tea, I’d give it a shot.

Tally Monday- May 29, 2017

Checked Out

Nothing yet!  I’m kind of proud of myself.

Bought

  1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Read

I’m still working on The Stand

Let’s get down to it!  Yesterday afternoon I got out my laptop to write this post and just then my mother showed up to go for ice cream.  When I got back, I played a couple of games with Hubby.  Then I completely forgot that it was Monday.  I seriously was sure it was just a normal Sunday.  When I realized my mistake it was 10 and I was almost through a movie and ready to go to bed.  Things can wait.  It will get easier to stay on track now.

You may notice that my TBR column is gone.  That’s because I am, at present, not keeping one.  My stack of books is still on my desk but that’s mostly because I just haven’t done anything with them.  My current reading scheme is Stephen King, two books I own, and a YA.  But I’m not planning anything but the King, which I am reading through in publication order.  When I finish The Stand, I’ll grab a book out of my office and read it, whatever it may be, and then I’ll do it again.  After that, I’ll go to my new books at work and grab a YA to read.  I can’t promise that this will last long but for now the idea feels freeing.  I also plan on not allowing myself to buy a book until I have read two of my books for a bit.  Things are a little out of control.

I don’t recall if I talked here about my resolutions this year.  I kept them very broad.  I wanted to focus on The Big Three:  healthy body, clear mind, nourished soul.  The first two are easy enough for me.  Eat right, stay active, drink water, get sleep, keep notes, journal, stay organized, meditate.  But I had a hard time figuring out how to have a nourished soul.  I mean, I try to stay grateful and positive.  I try to do things for people I love.  I pray.  I read books about spirituality.  I try to live a good life.  But is my soul really nourished?  What makes me feel like my soul is nourished?

Reading.  Dammit, you guys.  I mean, seriously.  How could I not realize that over all of these months?  When I was stressed out.  When I was unable to sleep.  Even when I was losing my shit in the hospital because I hadn’t slept and couldn’t nurse and just wanted to eat my breakfast instead of trying to force feed a baby for two hours.  I read during those times.  I read and it made me feel calm and refreshed.  I read and it helped me sleep.  I read and felt like myself.  Reading nourishes my soul.

And so it is time to confess.  I have not been able to read much in the past week.  I have not gained traction yet with work and home and baby and husband.  I’m busy and tired and behind and needed.  BUT, I have been bribing myself.  Every day I read for 30 minutes when I get to work.  I put my phone on “do not disturb,” set a timer, and sit at my off desk with my book.  It makes me feel better about leaving Ian.  It makes me feel calm enough to put my day in order.  It makes me feel like myself.

I’m going to keep reading.  It may take me longer.  I may not get through as much.  But it brings me true, pure joy to do so and I must treat myself like a human.

Podcast Tuesday- Edition the First

Podcasts Downloaded: 1123

“Wait… What?” you say.  “Don’t you already have a Monday thing that you do?”

Yeah, I do but since I recently axed my Thursday project and another whole blog about my personal life, I’ve decided that it is time to talk about my other Project Major: my ongoing battle of the podcast buldge.

See, for many years I was working in an itty bitty library that was almost out of the county.  The village it was in came in at just under 450 residents in the last census and it was nestled in a kind of valley somehow.  Really!  It was described to me by a number of people as “being in the valley and too low to get a good internet signal” even though I drove UP a hill to get there and it appeared to have flat farm fields on all sides.  But valley, sure.  I’m sure that’s how internet works too.  (I don’t know.  I like to think that fairies live in my router.)

Anyway, it was such a small library in such a small village and with such a small sign that I spent a lot of time alone there.  No problem for me.  I love being alone.  (See: Maternity Leaver Hermitage.)  I would get to that branch and spend at least a couple of hours each night listening to podcasts and since I’m a little crazy about not going over my data limits, I would download all of my podcasts while I was at home even though the library obviously had wifi.  It saved my bored ass a number of times when the internet was down, which was also the number one way to make sure that I had NO patrons.

Recently, Hubby pointed out to me that it’s kind of stupid to download all of these podcasts when I can, you know, just listen to them on our data.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.  We probably won’t go over now that we have so much more but I can’t take that chance.  And, thus, I am playing catch up because they are taking up 38 gigs on my phone.  If you’re interested in a list of Podcasts I subscribe to (even though I haven’t even sampled most of them), you can check out this post.  I’ve only added a couple since then.

Over the next however long until I get bored, I will be talking to you about my podcast listening life, what I’m loving and what I’m not loving and what you OMG NEED to listen to.

That’s it for today, just a lay of the land, but if you’re looking for something to suck away your time, my suggestion for this week is In the Dark, a true crime podcast covering the story of an 11 year old boy who went missing in 1989.  Looking for something lighter?  Check out 99% Invisible, the endlessly fascinating podcast about design that I didn’t realize was about design until I was about 20 episodes deep.

Tally Monday- May 22, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

None!

Read

Still none!

TBR 14

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official.  I have returned to the real world.  But, you know, reality is kind of funny.  I’ve been calling going back to work “returning to the real world” but for years now I have called my life outside of work “real life.”  I say things like, “In my real life, I swear a lot and wear flip-flops.”  That’s actually like the best example that I can come up with.  Though, in all fairness, in my real life I swear a lot…

So far, I’m holding up.  It was hard leaving LM this morning but he’s with his grandma and she’ll love him so so much in my absence.  I came to work and fell right back in.  I’ve already conquered my e-mail and mail.  Next I have some book reviews to read and a big order to get out and a couple of loose ends here and there.  I actually think that I’ll be back into my regular swing of things by the end of the week.  I AM feeling a bit tired now that it’s the afternoon and I’m used to naps.

Regardless, it sucks.  lol.  I LOVE being home.  I always have and I love it even more with each cat and baby I add.  I miss my couch.  I miss my easy access to coffee and food.  I miss my kitties.  I miss my baby most of all.

Last week I worked away at The Stand some more.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not but I’ve started to dream in King.  It’s actually really disturbing, right?  In this book, people start to dream about Nebraska and they start to dream about the dark man.  Well, imagine that you started dreaming about the dark man and never Nebraska?  It kind of fucks with your head.

Now that I am back in the real world, I anticipate being able to sneak reading into my day again pretty soon.  I’ve also been thinking about blocking off some time after putting LM down at night to just disappear into my office and take some me time.  I doubt that, though, because I love Hubby so much that I want to be around him all of the time.  Shut up, I know I’m gross.  I’ve also been considering how to handle my new reading plan.

Reading plans!  Ah!  I always have them.  Before I went on leave I made the following pattern:  author, big list, little list, nonfiction, book I own, YA, graphic.  I think that for a while I am going to continue to focus on reading books that I own.  My present idea is King, book from my TBR stack, book recently purchased (because these are stacked on my desk as well), and YA (because I am out of the swing of things).  Who knows where my crazy reading life will lead me.

I could use a nap.  Anyone else?

The Steel Flea by Nikolai Leskov

I had one of those interesting experiences where the universe seemed to place things perfectly.  This Little Black Classic happened to fall after my reading of War and Peace.  A number of times I thought about taking a break from the Tolstoy to read the Leskov but I thought that I would end up confused.  I managed to put it off and so my experience was kind of like reading Tales of the Beedle Bard after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

The Steel Flea is kind of like a zany fable and it was vastly enjoyable.  The Russians and the English are always trying to outdo one another and the result is a tiny steel flea with an even tinier wind up key and a simple craftsman on an adventure.

This is one of my favorite Little Black Classics so far.

Tally Monday- Wicked Wednesday Edition!

Checked Out

None

Bought

None!

Read

none

TBR  Wait… I still have one of those?

I promised that I wouldn’t fill the internet with my mothering stories, especially a certain kind, but I feel an explanation is in order here.  I’ll start with this preface.  I had a busy weekend with a visit from friends, a great bachelorette party, and a nice Mother’s Day cook out.  It was loads of fun.  I ignored my to do list and barely read.  Monday, I was prepared to dive back in and really get some stuff done.

This did not happen.

What happened was this:  Saturday night’s party was across the state and Hubby had a concert right around the corner from the hotel that was serving as main base so we opted to go home for the night.  (I regret nothing!  MOL kept the baby overnight and I slept in my bed until I woke up on my own!  Well, except for a surprise trip to town.)  When I got home, a bit cranky and with engorged boobs, I discovered that this idiot left her power cord for her pump across the state.  I did what I could to get through the night then got up in four hours and drove to town to buy a manual pump because that shit hurts.  It hurts.  Luckily, Bestie grabbed the cord for me and was going to be in town and could drop it off Sunday night.  Except that she forgot it in her other car because we’re obviously best friends for a reason.

Monday morning I got up, fed the baby, did what needed to be done to be comfortable, and then loaded us up in the car to meet Bestie and exchange the cord.  It was great to see her and hear about all of the stuff that happened after I left the party and to commiserate about momhood.  (She’s fostering and had her nephews and it was chaos for a few days.)  Then I got in the car and took a couple of back roads home.  The baby didn’t make a peep.  He was sleeping when we got home and I thought that I might get a good pump in before I needed to move him.  I sat the car seat down, made up my corner on the couch, and was about to turn the pump on when he started crying.  So, I went to get him out…

He pooped through a diaper.  Needless to say, dear reader, it was not pretty.  This was our first Poop Incident and while I hate it when other people talk about baby poop on social media, I can’t help but share this one story with you.  I laughed through it because it’s kind of fucking hilarious even if it is gross.  LM pooped through the diaper and onto his hand.  LM is a thumb sucker.  So, when I pulled him out I said, “That’s a strange color for spit up.”  Nope.  Not spit up.  There was poop all in the car seat and all over his hand and face and, by the simple act of picking him up, all over me.  And so it was suddenly bath day for everybody involved and the day I learned how to clean the car seat.

Needless to say, it threw me off my game for the day and by the time everyone was cleaned and fed and comfortable again, most of the day was gone and I needed a nap.  It is what it is.  That’s no excuse for not writing yesterday but whatever.  It should cover two days.

Tally Monday didn’t seem too important this week.  I didn’t buy anything and I didn’t finish reading anything.  I just worked steadily at The Stand.  King is my favorite author but he is a slow read for me.  Today I met a character who was cut completely from the original release.  I’ve spent a disturbing amount of time trying to think of ways to experience a Tigers game this week because of my little reading association.  Then today there were a lot of hamburgers in the book and now I want one of those.

I made time to write this afternoon.  I promised myself that I would and that I would also stop working on stuff at 5 so that I could just read for a bit.  I can’t keep all of my promises to myself.

Every week I think that I can finish this book by the following week and every week I am wrong.  It’s not going to happen, dear readers, but I promise that I will write on time on Monday.  After all, it’s my first day back to work.  Why wouldn’t I have time.  (Oh God.  How will I ever have time for anything again??)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Egads, it’s taken me a long time to get around to writing this review.  So long that I am over 600 pages into the paperback of The Stand already!  Having a baby hasn’t cut into my reading time much but it sure seems to have cut into my review writing.

I started reading War and Peace five years ago when Hubby was moving in with me.  It was the last weekend he had the lease on his apartment.  His brother was already moved out but Hubby still had a lot left to pack up.  (We’re not very good at doing things around here.  In fact, some of that stuff is still packed.)  He insisted that he didn’t need my help packing, only loading and unloading the truck, and I settled down with his copy of the book as a way to kill time.  When the moving was done, I downloaded the free version on my Kindle and said I’d read it someday probably.  One thing was for sure, the Kindle version would be easier to hold and would have bigger print.

Fast forward to earlier this year.  I’ve been working my way through my ebooks by reading on my Kindle at night.  I’ve decided to start with the last book in my library and work my way forward.  That book is War and Peace and it suddenly seems to be the perfect time for it.  People keep telling me how little time I’ll have to read after having the baby and I am feeling ripe for spiteful reading.  I start it and I plug on.

Never in a thousand years did I expect to actually like the book.  I mean, really like it.  Almost love it.   Now, before I dove into this whole thing I did some research online.  I looked at a lot of blogs about reading War and Peace first and I saw all kinds of suggestions, the most frequent being to skip the parts you find boring.  The second most frequent tip seemed to be to keep a list of characters so as not to get confused.  Then I looked for some good chapter by chapter summaries because I was afraid that I would lose track of what was going on with all of these different characters.

When I started reading, I had a hard time figuring out what was happening and who was who.  BUT I seemed to think that I needed to know a lot of information going into this book and I found that I was getting frustrated with myself for not knowing who so-and-so was and how they related to such-and-such.  I was on the first chapter and felt like I should know everything about everything.  I had to tell myself some very important things.

  1. Trust Tolstoy.  It’s true that there are a lot of characters and I felt lost in the plot before there even was a plot to get lost in.  I had to remind myself repeatedly that Tolstoy was going to tell me everything that I needed to know.  And, you know what?  He did.
  2. Sit back and enjoy the ride.  This is not like The Age of Innocence, a book that packed a lot of punch at the end, and I seemed to get that from the start.  Also, it is a BIG book and it was going to take me a while to get through it.  When I caught myself rushing to finish, even though I was only 10% in, I forced myself to slow down and just enjoy the story.

As a woman who loves books and has an English degree and is a librarian, there are a lot of books that I haven’t read that I have a basic idea about.  War and Peace was not one of them.  Going into it, I had no idea what it was about.  War and peace, maybe?  Do you know what it’s about?  It’s about life.  It’s about the mistakes people make and their day to day worlds and the way their paths criss-cross over time and it’s about pride and it’s about, yes, war and peace.

Tolstoy managed to create so many characters that I loved.  I found myself switching favorites constantly.  I even liked the ones who were not meant to be liked.  I got caught up in their stories enough to exclaim things aloud to Hubby, who thinks I’m crazy.

So, totally worth the read.  I’m glad I did it.