Resolutions, 2018

I am a lover of resolutions and I am a lover of fresh starts.  That’s why Mondays are my favorite day of the week and New Years in my second favorite time of the year.

Last year, I didn’t talk about my resolutions.  I don’t know why.  It’s been a source of frustration to me because I have actually tried to look them up a number of times this year and haven’t been able to find them.  So I wanted to make sure to talk about 2018’s resolutions.

First, I chose a word for 2018, which I hear is a trendy thing to do.  My word is “less.”  I toyed with a lot of other ideas but this was the one that stuck out to me because it is simple and perfect.  I was less.  Less clutter.  Less stress.  Less weight.  Less noise.  Less junk.  Less.

When it comes to actual resolutions, I generally make 3 to 5.  One year I made 52 small resolutions (one small change for each week) and it flopped pretty fast.  Generally, I go with three: one for mind, one for body, and one for soul.  But, tbh, 5 is my go to number for things so this year I chose 5.

  1. Get down to 150 lbs.  (Amount to lose: TBD.  I’ll weigh in on Monday.)  I had a baby this year, guys, and honestly pregnancy made me skinnier.  I can tell that I am carrying a lot more weight than I need to and that I basically dump garbage in my mouth.  I am physically weak, too.  I can barely carry LD in the car seat!  So this year I am going to eat better, eat out less, move more, and tone up.  Let’s face it.  I know how to do this.  I just need to do it.
  2. Organize!  Ditch the shit, put the shit away, and finish the home improvement shit.  I have a tendency to hold on to things even though they no longer bring me joy, if we’re being Kondo about it.  I’ve already started purging my bedroom, getting rid of things that will never fit again or are ratty or I just never wear.  I figure that getting rid of stuff is a good way to attract new stuff and also make life easier.  Less shit means it will be easier to put it all somewhere and not be tripping over it constantly.  Also, I have a bunch of little projects to do/complete around the house (like that bathroom that was started a year and a half ago or my sink that’s been leaking for months).  I just want to get my house in order because I know that it will make everything way easier.
  3. Master the monies!  Real talk.  I have been FUCKING TERRIBLE for the past couple of months.  Like, my plastic has been out waaaaay too much.  I budget but then I overspend and then I say, “Oh well!  Capital One’s got this!”  I’m going back on the David Ramsey 9 step plan starting with today’s check.  I topped off my emergency fun and now it’s time to pay off that credit card.  I am going to focus a lot on spending less on food and drink in the next year, as those are my big expenses, and looking into better costing services.
  4. Get out more.  Spend more time with friends and family.  I have been terrible about this too.  Honestly, work is enough time out of the house for me AND it’s much harder with a baby.  But I don’t want to shy away from so much this year.  I want to go to my friends’ houses and I want to hang out with my mom and I also want to take LD places, get him used to going so that he can see amazing things.
  5. Cultivate joy.  I may not know A LOT of new moms but the ones that I DO know seem to suffer from this same problem.  Working and mothering and wifing and housekeeping and all of the million little things that we need to do?  They tend to pile up and before we know it we haven’t had time to fill out cups with joy and, even worse, it’s easy to forget what you actually ENJOY doing.  Even if you do know, it starts to feel like more hassle than it’s worth.  Well, no more for this woman!  I am going to meditate and read and write and make time to create stuff and color and play games and listen to music and alllllllll of that stuff.  I am going to read to my baby and snuggle my cars and probably drive Hubby bonkers.  Because what is the point of all of this living if you just feel like shit all of the time?

So, less.  Less sitting, less junk food, less spending, less procrastinating, less excuses.  A year of less.

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Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee

Published in 2007 and probably added to my To Be Read list when it first came out, I don’t think that I had any idea what I was getting into when I first came across this book.  “I like Edith Wharton,” I can imagine myself thinking.  This is true.  The first “classic” that I ever read for fun was The Age of Innocence, a hardcover edition that my best friend’s mom bought for her and that she eagerly handed off to me.  After that I read The House of Mirth and was so engaged in the story that I read the last 50 pages of it out loud to my mother in the car.  I have a list of authors whose (nearly) complete works I’d like to read and Wharton is on there.  Still, I can’t believe that Past Rachael would put an 800 page biography on her TBR because, well, biographies have never been my cup of tea.

And at first I have to admit that I found this book to be intimidating and dull.  I thought that I would probably not make it through and I have no idea what kept me going except for a stubborn streak.  Then I started loving it.  I started really looking forward to my 10 pages a day.  I read it out loud to my 9 month old and he listened, once for twenty minutes!  This week, jumbled up in my huge stack of books that need to be read, I made the final push and when I closed the book up yesterday I confess that I felt… like I was losing a trusty friend.

Lee’s coverage of Wharton is masterful, mixing biography with deep looks into Wharton’s writing.  There was so much that I didn’t know about Wharton.  I knew that she had lived in France.  I knew that she had been divorced.  There was always some hint of a broken heart in her youth.  I had no idea that she had a deep love of gardening or that she had been awarded for her charity work during WWI.  This was a book that set me off Googling, looking at pictures of Italian villas and Newport mansions, art works and muses.  In the end, I found this to be a very rewarding read.

In which I confess to having a TBR

Basically, it happened.  I got piled up with all of the stuff I have to read for work and all of the stuff that I want to read and I went a little haywire.  There are things that I have to get through and things piling up and my brain made me make a list.  It’s meant to cover everything back to getting on track.  And so….

Main Reading

  • Sleeping Beauties
  • short story
  • Tina’s Mouth
  • short story
  • The Lost Hero
  • short story
  • Flora and Ulysses
  • short stori
  • A Mango Shaped Space
  • short story
  • Homeless Bird
  • short story
  • Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World
  • Road to Riverdale
  • Crooked Spur
  • Riverdale Digest 1
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • Riverdale Digest 2
  • The Reef
  • Riverdale Digest 3
  • Neuromancer
  • Riverdale Digest 4
  • Turtles All the Way Down
  • Riverdale Digest 5

Nonfiction

  • Edith Wharton
  • Writers Gone Wild
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  • A Room of One’s Own
  • The Feminine Mystique
  • Food and Loathing

Poetry

  • Weary Blues
  • The Best Love Poems of the American People
  • Plainwater

Graphic

  • Blankets
  • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
  • Missed Connections

Audiobook Series

  • Gallagher Girls
  • Redwell

Tally Monday- Tuesday Edition!

Checked Out

  1. Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
  2. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
  3. Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  4. A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
  5. Crooked Spur by Jack Hazard

Bought

None!

Read

  1. O, What a Luxury by Garrison Keillor

Reading Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, The Best Loved Poems of the American People

It’s safe to say that I live under a rock.  I am not very good at keeping up with current events because everything kind of seems like a flaming pile of shit at the moment.  I have even cut back on checking into Google News.  So here’s a little story about Garrison Keillor.  I started reading the poetry collection in October and my first impression was, “Oh, what a fluffy read.  Ha, ha, ha!  The title poem is about peeing!”  Then while I was reading the first part of the book, I started to feel… icky.  Like, I started to be pretty sure that Keillor was maybe a creeper.  In early December, I noticed that The Writer’s Almanac wasn’t getting new episodes.  I shrugged it off because it’s not the first time it’s stopped updating and every other time I was slammed with new episodes, 20 all at once.

But then we were watching SNL and saw that he had been accused of sexual harassment.

“I don’t think Garrison Keillor would do that,” Hubby said and then I told him all about how I kind of thought he was a creeper from his poems.

I felt icky finishing the book but, honestly, I was pretty close to finishing and whatever.

December is having an effect on my reading life in a big way.  It’s the time of year when we select our Battle of the Books books and I have to have them all read by mid January.  On top of that, I have the Wharton bio due on Friday and the King ebook due on the 1st.  Can you hear my insides screaming??  Last week I checked out MOST of the BoB books and the last one is waiting for me as we speak.  I had to sit down and write out a very complicated reading plan to get myself back in shape.  VERY complicated.  It includes fiction, short stories, nonfiction, audio, and graphic.  And it already needs to be edited.  The problem is that I am also tired from the holidays, feeling kind of sick, completely unable to concentrate, and I got a new videogame and Hubby got TONS of new board games!  The hours are slipping away from me.  I can only hope for a very quiet work week so that I can read a little there.

At least I only got one book for Christmas, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.  Hubby scored me all of the Archie Riverdale Digests too.  These things are going to get worked into the list later today.

Only 52 pages left of the Wharton biography!  I am getting there and it has been pretty rewarding.  I am finding that big books are very satisfying, that I tend to feel like I’ve really accomplished something when I’ve finished them.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

Always be reading, my friends!

Tally Monday- December 18, 2017

Checked Out

  1. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King
  2. Crooked Spur by Jack Hazard

Bought

  1. Pierre, or the Ambiguities by Herman Melville

Read

  1. Gloriana by Kevin Huizenga
  2. Remember, Body… by C.P. Cavafy
  3. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Reading Sleeping BeautiesEdith WhartonThe Legends of King Arthur and His Knights

I have so much to say today!

First, let’s talk about the Jack Hazard book.  At work there is an employee only door between the adult and teen departments.  I use this door numerous times a day as my office is on the other side of the adult department from my actual department.  This is the most direct route.  Every time I walk through the aisle between shelves, I look at them.  Just glance.  Sometimes I notice something I never saw before.  Mostly I just see the Charlaine Harris and miss Bon Temps some more.

But last week I noticed a book that I had never seen before.  It was called Crooked Spur and something about it just popped out at me.  Later, I looked it up on Goodreads but it didn’t exist there.  I thought maybe I was losing my mind and went back to the shelf to find it.  It took me a long time to spot it again but there it was.  I looked it up again.  I Googled it.  All I got was a list of pseudonyms.  I tried Frantastic Fiction. The only place I found any trace of it was on Amazon where there were two used copies for sale.  So, obviously I had to check it out.

My mom was telling me about a book that she was reading last week and how it had a mystery and an ex-marine and all kinds of other stuff that I don’t associate with my mother.  I was surprised but she said, “I wanted something different.”  I get it.  A couple of years ago, I decided to try a western.  I went right for Louis L’Amour.  It just seemed like the best place to start, something shorter than Lonesome Dove.  I checked out Westward the Tide on audiobook.  I loved it.  I listened to it on hot, dusty afternoons while I drove to my rural library through farm fields and roads billowing with field dust.  It was wonderful but it could just be a summer thing, kind of like Under the Tuscan Sun which I listened two three Junes in a row and was just considering buying with my Audible credit.

I have been very unsettled in my reading lately.  I have to get through the Edith Wharton biography by the 29th and I am just going to make it if I stick to my 10 pages/day.  Then I was waiting for my ebook hold on the King to come in, so I can actually hold the damn book, and I was thinking of trying to hit 100 books this year but I also was feeling like I wanted to actually read things that I’d enjoy reading, that quality was more important that quantity and that I needed to apply that principle to everything in my life just a little more often.  My ebook came in last night and I am so glad because I am ready to get back on reading track…

Only, it’s the time of year when I have some reading to do for work.  5 books for Battle of the Books.  It’s not terrible.  I can handle it.  But I don’t want to!  I want to read my Stephen King and my western! lol.

Anyway, friends, ABR: Always Be Reading!

Tally Monday- December 11, 2017

Checked Out

  1. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
  2. The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life by Laurence Shorter
  3. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
  4. Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap

Bought

  1. Your Heiress Diary by Paris Hilton
  2. The Red Dress by Nicholas Hughes

Read

  1. I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
  2. The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life
  3. Essays- The Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reading I seriously don’t even know.  The Student’s Mythology by Catherine Anne White, Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, Gloriana by Kevin Guizenga, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and something yet to be determined.

I decided to heavily pursue my reading goal for the year.  Currently, I need to read 20 books in 20 days.  Of course, I’m still working on the Daily Stoic, which I will finish at the end of the year, and I should have the Wharton biography done by the end of the year too.  So that leaves 18 books in 20 days.  It seems crazy and it probably is crazy but I can do it except that it kind of depends on when my e-book hold comes in for the new King.  Because I HAVE to stop everything and read that!

In the meantime, I have been piling up little books around myself.  Some graphic novels.  Little Black Classics.  The Old Man and the Sea and A Room of One’s Own.

But if I’m being honest I have to admit that I am kind of tired of the hustle and bustle.  I am tired of the pressure that I put on myself.  I am tired of the lack of help.  I am tired of feeling cast off and undervalued and unappreciated.  I am just fucking tired.  I want to JUST STOP for a bit.  I want someone else to take care of the million things that I take care of.  And I want to sit on the couch and play a fucking video game for hours.  Or I want to lay in bed and watch X-Files on my phone.  I just want out from under the crushing burden I’ve been feeling.

Yes, sometimes the best escape is books.  But you’ll notice that I didn’t just say I want to read more because it makes me feel better.  No, I put a strain on myself, an expectation, a crazy goal.

ABR.  Always be reading…

Graphic Friday- Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

I read Bechdel’s Fun Home a few months after my father passed away and even though her father and her relationship with him was much different from my own, I found it to be very soothing in my grieving process.  I’m sure that I added this book to my TBR soon afterwards but the two books are very different.  Actually, I recall breezing through Fun Home and kind of expected the same of this.  This was a much heavier book, full of quotes and psychology.  I had a completely different reaction to it.

Bechdel tells the story of her relationship to her mother.  She talks about her mother’s reaction to the book about Bechdel’s father and the many ways that Bechdel has been formed by her mother.  There’s a lot here, about her mother’s disapproval of her homosexuality as well as her disapproval of memoir writing.  There is a deep look into why Bechdel feels envy over other’s successes and how her panic attacks possibly stem from her anger with her mother.  What you end up with is a deep look at their relationship that seems fairly told.

Now, I enjoyed this book.  It got me thinking which is something I love a book to do.  Again, it seemed to find me at the right time, when I am considering my own parenting.  Toward the end of the book, Alison’s therapist asks her a question and tells her to answer the one thing that comes to her mind first.  She asks what she most learned from her mother.  And that question alone sent me reeling, the kind of reeling that pulled me right out of the book so I could look around my own life and see the ties.

This was a great read.  I’m not sure if I like this or Fun Home best or even if the two can be compared.