Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: The Year in Books

  1. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  2. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
  3. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  4. When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross
  5. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
  6. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
  7. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
  8. Someone by Alice McDermott
  9. Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd
  10. A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
  11. Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen
  12. The Remedy by Suzanne Young
  13. Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  14. The Epidemic by Suzanne Young
  15. Pure by Julianna Baggott
  16. Fuse by Julianna Baggott
  17. A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle 
  18. Burn by Julianna Baggott

You can check out my lists from previous years here:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lunchtime Reads

I have felt disinclined to blog of late. Not because anything's wrong or because I've been busy doing fabulously exciting things. Rather all my time has been spent online Christmas shopping and addressing Christmas cards and frittering away my (work) days on the interwebs.

But I did start a new book the other day. I was immediately captivated and drawn into the story. That said, it is not the type of book I could read for hours on end. Which is fine since that is not an option in my current life anyway, haha. I likely will not finish it this year since today was my last readable lunch and I spent much of it walking to the post office for stamps (darn Christmas cards).

A rather bizarre and unimportant detail, but the texture of the cover makes my skin crawl. I'm getting used to it, and by that I mean more tolerant of it. The first day it made me almost sick to my stomach to even hold the thing. Book people, no! Just use regular smooth paper. Don't go crazy with velvety textures. Just no.

Aside from that icky feature, I feel confident in recommending the book already even though I'm only maybe a fifth of the way through it. It may be of particular interest to some of my family members (botany, yo).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Fun - Gifts

I work with (for) some very lovely generous people, one of whom brought me these adorable handmade chocolates today. I will not admit to how many I've already consumed, but I did discover that if I pull their ears off first they are even tastier. (The ears are peanuts - yuck.) It does make me feel a tiny bit mean though.

Over the last few weeks the same individual has also gifted me a Jacquie Lawson advent calendar and a blooming paperwhite. She clearly has very well-honed gift giving skills.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Random Bullets

  • I may have a stomach bug. I'll spare you the details, but I'm pretty displeased about the whole situation. As you can imagine.
  • I just reconstructed my reading list for 2016 because for the first time in at least eight years I failed to keep my spreadsheet updated. Thankfully I did add all (most?) of the books to Goodreads. For the sake of the list that I will post on December 31, we will assume it's complete. I shall warn you now, it's disappointingly short.
  • I fried an egg using the one frying pan I kept in the kitchen after the great non-stick purge, and it did not go well. I was close to deciding on the spot that I don't care about the evil non-stick coating. Is there some trick to not having your food stick with uncoated pans? HELP!
  • I forgot (again) to record one of my Christmas movies on Saturday night, It's a Wonderful Life. At this point, I've pretty much thrown in the towel. Obviously, I can't remember to set the DVR.
OK, that's all I got. Because I feel like I'm gonna BARF.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Lunchtime Reads

This week I've been reading book 3 in the YA series on loan from my sister. Last week I took a mini-break from it, so by Monday I was super excited to jump back in.

I haven't been making the effort to leave my desk to read during lunch. It's too cold and windy outside to venture forth and frankly, I'm just too lazy. But I usually manage to read with only minor interruptions. And if I do have to stop to help someone, I will tack on another 5 minutes of reading to make up for it. Ha! We are approaching winter break when the office will be fairly quiet, which means my reading time should be even more secure.

I missed one reading session this week on Wednesday when I was home with my sick boy (double ear infection again/still). These books have been taking me about two weeks to read I think, so I still have plenty of time to plot my next read.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pots & Pans

I took a few minutes to sort the pots and pans this weekend. I pulled all of the nonstick ones out of the cupboard to determine my next move.

The really scary awful one at the top went directly into the trash. (Oh my god, did my husband cook food I ate in that? Best not to think about it.) The others got stacked neatly in the basement. Since I didn't purchase them I don't feel right disposing of them. But I also don't feel like offering them to my husband to take. When he first left (and many times since) I suggested he take his stuff. I figured anything he came into our marriage with he had every right to take with him when he left. He insisted all he wanted were his clothes and laptop (and tools and wine-making paraphernalia). I can only assume he went out and spent thousands of dollars equipping his new house with everything needed to provide for himself and his new family. As such, I don't want him getting grumpy about how he could have saved money on pots and pans. I also don't want to listen to his snarky comments on my alarmist behavior since he doesn't share my concerns for our personal health or the health of our environment.

I am left with a plenitude of Revereware sauce pans and one large Calphalon frying pan. While these may not be the best options available, they are certainly better than what I was using (see above). Bonus: two of the shelves are much more sparsely occupied which appeals to my minimalist side.

Monday, December 05, 2016


Weekends are for unwinding and spending time with my son.

We had a pretty busy weekend. Saturday morning we got our Christmas tree, a balsam fir which smells divine. I picked one of the smaller trees on the lot, but of course it seems quite large in my living room. I'm decorating in stages to see how my toddler reacts. I put the lights and garlands on Saturday night and hung a few ornaments while he napped on Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon we went to the thrift store to buy a dining room chair. Yes, just one. And yes, I already have dining room chairs. However, they are very lightweight and flimsy and I did not feel at all comfortable with my son sitting in them. I knew that one slight push off the table and he would topple over backwards. I had recalled seeing some sturdy looking chairs on a recent (unsuccessful) trip to the thrift store to look for clothes for him, so we went back and fortunately they still had the chairs. I picked the sturdiest of the bunch. I might've bought two for a matching set but decided it was $10 I could spend elsewhere, so he gets a special captain's chair and I'll stick with the old flimsy one.

On Sunday we did our usual grocery shopping and outside playtime (walking around the block). We met my father for dinner at Chipotle, where they were out of sour cream, mild salsa, and medium salsa. How does that even happen? Won't be going back there for a while...

I forgot to record The Holiday (one the movies on my list) on Saturday night, so I'm bummed. It's not listed again and I didn't see it last season either. I'm going to have to do some further research to see if I can find it.

Joining Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Things that I would like to address

I have a tendency to get fixated on topics. Right now I'm obsessing on two separate but somewhat similar areas, neither of which can be addressed while at work. Nor can I really do anything about them in the 4 minutes of free time I have after I put my son to bed and finish my chores.

1. Reducing my clothes. I own an alarming amount of clothes. Truly ALARMING. Many of which I don't wear. Ever. A lot of them have sentimental value, or is it associated guilt (as in so-and-so bought that for me). Many of them are 'what if' articles. When I think of getting rid of them a what if scenario comes to mind and I end up keeping them just in case. Almost daily I wear something I hate, something that is unflattering or uncomfortable. The rule of thumb is to only keep clothes that you LOVE. If I followed this rule I would own maybe two things. Even the clothes I like irritate me on any given day. But I have to figure something out because it's stupid to keep wearing clothes that annoy me all day, every day.

2. The safety of my cookware. I don't do very much cooking. But when I do cook (or, you know, boil water for pasta) I'm using some pretty crappy stuff. Most everything in the kitchen is cheap non-stick stuff that my husband bought. I recently switched back to using a non non-stick pot to boil the pasta, but I think it's probably aluminum, which isn't good for you either. At one point I owned a small glass sauce pan, but I have no idea if it still exists (and if it does it's likely hidden somewhere in the basement). Otherwise my pots and pans all fall in the not healthy category and it kinda freaks me out.

(For more info: listen to this 4 minute long interview.)