100 Books in a Year

I read 100 books in 2015. I didn’t plan it. I was originally aiming for 60 books, a few more than I read in 2014. Imagine my surprise when I had reached 50+ by June. I in no way claim that every book I read was quality; many, the majority, were far from it. I think that reading is its own reward, though this is a sentiment I did not have in college (oh callow youth!). Reading is important and no matter what it is, READ!

Here are a few of my favorites from what I read in 2015:

  • Fates and Furies
  • Neurotribes
  • The Girl on the Train
  • This is Where I Leave You
  • Cooked
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn
  • The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
  • The Wars of the Roses (really anything by Dan Jones – student of Starkey, SRB!)
  • On Immunity
  • Still Alice

Seriously, too many books to list them all. You can check out my Goodreads list. I read anything: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/778179-keanne?page=1&shelf=read-2015

I did want to share a bit of the great writing I read in 2015. Even books I didn’t love had great writing.

From Cooked:

If we address frankly what is evoked by cheese, I think it becomes clear why so little is said. So what does cheese evoke? Damp, dark cellars, molds, mildews and mushrooms galore, dirty laundry and high school locker rooms, digestive processes and visceral fermentations, he-goats, which do not remind of Chanel…in sum, cheese reminds of dubious, even unsavory places both in our nature and in our own organisms. And yet we love it.

 

From The Department of Speculation:

He won’t just think about how unbearable it is that things keep breaking, that you can never fucking outrun entropy.

And

For fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, she’d suspend her fierce judgment of the world and fall silent there

From Fates and Furies:

By the time she came back, the boy had calmed. Sweat curled the hair at his temples. She put on the overhead porch fan and set the tray down on the little table, taking a lemon bar for herself. She’d survived on wine and sugar for months because, fuck it, she never really got a childhood, and what was grief but an extended tantrum to be salved by sex and candy?

I know there was more, but I cannot find it! Gah!

Will I read 100 books in 2016? Doubtful. I read what interests me, be it historical fiction or pulp fiction. We shall see!

What are your reading goals for 2016?

 

 

 

2015

Today, J came home mid-day from the last day of work for the year, looking more at peace than in several years. He bounded up the stairs to the porch with our takeout feast, grinning the entire time.

Today wasn’t only his last day of the year; it was his last day of employment period at the company at which he celebrated 14 years earlier in the month.

In October we found out he was being made “redundant,” and though other opportunities with the company were available, we agreed that he should search elsewhere. Mergers, culture, people…it had been a stressful few years and not a good fit.

So now, we greet 2016 with me as the breadwinner we joke. We’re OK. There are irons in the fire and ideally, J will get a few weeks of rest before moving on. Fingers crossed.

That is kind of how 2015 went. Not a bad year exactly but not exactly great. Highs, lows, stress, relief…the year had it all.

We are so fortunate in all we have that it seems churlish to think about the less stellar parts. Yet I’m tired of them. What I am just realizing is that this is what adulthood and adult lives are. Shit happens. Shit happens interspersed with good and great stuff. This is life. This is my life.

So I bid 2015 farewell. We did good stuff, watched good stuff, had fun and cuddles. Beach trips. Legos. Listen to Your Mother. Bad stuff too. Stress. Work. Bad complexions thanks to stress. Anxiety. Weight gain.

But as they say, tomorrow is a new day. Nay, a new year. Welcome, 2016. You arrive full of promise but I also expect the lows.

My collard greens are prepped & I have black eyed peas and pork in the wings. 

Goodbye, 2015. Welcome, 2016.

The Not Pinterest Christmas

It looks like it has stopped raining finally, but the sky is still gray and the ground soggy. That makes two rainy Christmases in a row (et tu, global warming?).  It is also absurdly warm –  gonna be 75 degreees today. Am I in Australia or North Carolina?

We’ve watched few Christmas movies so far. I can’t believe I haven’t watched Christmas Vacation yet.

The lights on the outside bushes look good except for the strand on the last one because that’s when I discovered the plug for the last strand of lights didn’t fit the plug that came before. It fits the first strand, though. I thought about trying to reengineer them all but it feels too late now, so we will go with the two rows of lights on the bush. Oh well.

Daniel broke one of the lights in the window when he was waving to me when I went to the grocery store the other day. No worries – it isn’t like the front windows can be seen because of the large bushes in front of them. I alone will notice the asymmetry of two windows and one light .

I baked a lot of holiday goodies yesterday. My knees hurt. But it was  a good thing to do because the one staple I didn’t check before heading to the store was our brown sugar supply.  We now have 10 pounds of it

I mailed photo cards on Monday and Tuesday. They were hastily designed and printed on glossy photo paper at Walgreens. No matte cards from Tiny Print, Shutterfly, Zazzle etcetera. I’ve been meaning to book a family portrait for a long time, but it did not happen this year. That is why our glossy card features photos of only Daniel. That and the fact we took no decent pics with us in them. There was one possibility but it made my double chins front and center.

I didn’t go to my 20th high school reunion because see sentence above about double chins.

I had to ask my mom to help me figure out how to hang garland on our stairs and she made me 4 beautiful bows in 15 minutes.

I fail at the decorative parts of Christmas. My windows are not decorated; we don’t have a wreath (still in a garbage bag in the garage). Our elf lives with us year round.

I did buy pink poinsettias for the front porch because it is a billion degrees this year.

Maybe I don’t have it together decoratively but that’s OK.

I have a 9-ft tree whose lights seem to work this year (knocks on wood). I got out the ladder to decorate it despite my fear of heights. It is beautiful.

There are sugar cookies “expertly” decorated by an eager 6-year-old for Santa.

We’re making reindeer food today.

There are gifts under the tree and surprises hidden everywhere.

We have a Lego Christmas book to read tonight.

We get to play Santa.

And I still have 10 pounds of brown sugar 

  

14 Years of Wedded Bliss

Yes, let’s all have a good laugh now because no marriage has constant bliss. 

But. Today, December 1, Jimmy and I celebrate our 14th anniversary. 

It hasn’t been perfect. It hasn’t been all rainbows and roses – that’s for damn sure!

But it has been good. Very good. The years of infertility acted as a crucible and fortunately, we came out stronger on the other side. Don’t get me wrong: we aren’t perfect. We argue. We disagree. Vehemently at times. But we are closer in ways hard to describe.

And currently we face chaos from work, Legos proliferating madly and constantly underfoot, the homework grind and a thousand other daily dramas.

It’s not perfect, but it’s good. Very good. Happy Anniversary, J. 

Thanksgiving: the Aftermath

  
And then after a delightful dinner, you are left with the detritus.

I was surprised how exhausted I felt by 8PM last night, considering that our day was low key and we were cooking for only the 3 of us. However, a friend reminded me that whether we are cooking for 3 or 30 (heaven forbid), the amount of work is the same. True that.

At least we have a refrigerator full of yummy leftovers.

Thanksgiving 2015

Today should be the type of holiday I hate: 

  • It’s only the three of us
  • It’s 70 degrees
  • My house is a wreck

But I don’t. Instead, I love it. I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner in my PJs. Actually, we are all still in our PJs.  I typically love chilly weather for Thanksgiving, but Jimmy and I cannot stop telling each other how much we love the bright blue sky and warm day. It’s beautiful.

I love that we are keeping Thanksgiving simple and just cooking for the three of us this year. Ordinarily, I love having a crowd around to celebrate, but not this year.

We will eat when the food is ready. We will likely still be in our PJs and will eat around Legos at the kitchen table instead of a beautifully-decorated dining room table. The house will still be a wreck, but that’s OK because the Christmas decorations come out tomorrow.

Sometimes it is good to be low key.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Trigger Happy Jack

I cleaned the baseboards in most of my house today. If that doesn’t scream “adulthood”, I don’t know what does.  As I moved from room to room, I turned on the music on my phone. Duran Duran, The Cranberries, Jay-Z jostled for space among the occasional Christmas song.

“Trigger Happy Jack” by Poe came on and I listened to it twice.

I’m trying to be more careful with my language and not use words like “crazy” indiscriminately. 

However, I must say that “Trigger Happy Jack’s” chorus of “can’t talk to a psycho like a normal human being” rings very true for me.