Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekend in Pictures

"Yu wont die"
I have no context for this. No wonder the neighborhood loves us. 

Finally saying peace out to the weird paint colors!
First up, yellow family room and teal laundry room! 

I've never loved primer more in my whole life
Thoughts on this color for cabinets? I'm thinking about putting in new counters and just painting my cabinets (since I don't see us having the 70k these a-holes are quoting anytime soon). This isn't my kitchen, BTW. We were selling cookies at a neighbor's house and I noticed that they have the same floors as we do, so I awkwardly asked to see their kitchen.
Averson was the only kid for a few hours and played with this toy I checked out from the library that I was SURE was too young for her. She played with it for a solid hour, reminding me that it's probably hard to keep up with a tween and a teenager all the time. 


C and I were invited to a fancy dinner, like the kind with a menu card,
and had way more fun than we were expecting! Turns out we ARE middle-aged, small talk people now.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Snow Bunnies

Being the California kids that they are, the heathens are OBSESSED with snow. Syd talks at length about the literal three times that she's touched snow, with at least once being the pathetic slush that she played in with her cousins. We don't live far from ski hills, but something about gathering all of the stuff has always inhibited me from making the trek. But after Christmas break some friends of ours invited us to go sledding with them and I didn't have a single good excuse for saying no. So I spent a week tracking down cheap snow boots and snow pants, plus the only sleds in town, and we made a day of it. Even Eli joined us, even though he'd JUST gotten back from snow camping because his troop, unlike his mother, takes advantage of all of the outdoor activities available. 

The girls especially were beyond excited. I think they were more pumped for sledding than for anything we've done in the last couple years. Averson put herself to bed early the night before. I was concerned that it couldn't possibly live up to what they were hoping for. I figured they'd get cold, or bored, or overwhelmed, and it would end up being a long day that we'd look back on more fondly the further we got away from it. But a mom's job is to soldier on so I packed up a bunch of sandwiches and herded everyone out of the house early on a holiday morning. 

Spoiler alert: We had a BLAST

We went to a sledding "park" (something this Colorado girl had never experienced). They had groomed runs and indoor bathrooms and it was basically perfect. We accidentally started on the steepest hill, which meant that all of the other hills later paled in comparison. We took a brief break from sledding to have a snowball fight, then we ate PB&Js out of the trunk of the car before heading back up for the second half of sledding. 

And now! Now we have a full bin of new (to us) snow gear and the knowledge that a day of sledding and snow fun is a mere hour's drive, seven sandwiches, and $35 bucks away! 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

What I Read: 2019

I set a goal of 75 books last year, but then I went and got a real job with a heinous commute, which seriously impacted my reading time. But still, I finished the year at a respectable 51 55 (just checked my library history, turns out I went on a reading spree early in the year and didn't log any?). Once again I had several DNF's, but I didn't keep track of them. I think I need a tracking system for those next year. I also didn't count books I listened to on my commute (though one is described below because it's not worth your time.) This has been an ongoing conversation in my house. Should audiobooks count in the final tally? Maybe for next year I'll keep two lists. We'll see...

Books that everyone else loved so I finished them even though I didn't want to
Women Talking. I felt like the entire book was a lead up to a plot line that never happened. I legit looked to see if I was missing pages. My Sister, the Serial Killer. I don't know why I didn't like this one. The premise was so good but I struggled through it. I think maybe because the main character was kind of annoying. The Mars Room. Okay, so this one probably deserves it's own post. On one hand it was great. However, as someone who has spent 10 years working in California prisons, it was frustratingly obvious that the author's background research was one sided and I had a hard time getting past it. If you read or have read this one, please know that some of her "facts" about prison are either grossly outdated or untrue.

These are books that I read that I wish I hadn't wasted my time on
Firefly Lane. Kristin Hannah was one of my top picks last year so I was bummed that this one was so unremarkable. On the other hand, I really hate a "plain friend/gorgeous friend" trope so...  The Girl Behind the Red Rope. Ugh. Basically it's a remake of an M. Night Shyamalan movie that ends with a big dose of proselytizing. I often enjoy Christian literature but this one read like propaganda. I would've quit but it was near the end of the year and I needed a finish. A Spark of Light. I like Jodi Picoult and typically find her to be a good palate cleanser but this one felt gratuitous. I listened to this on my drive and the repeated, graphic descriptions of various abortions got to be a bit obnoxious. And the end was predictable and kind of dumb.

Books that messed with my head
You know I love a good, weird book. These were my favorite "WTF is going on?" books.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I liked this book as much for an appreciation of how hard it must have been to write as for the story itself. If you're reading it and want to give up, I encourage you to stick with it. It stays weird clear through the end. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna. The characters in this one will break your heart. I read these two nearly back-to-back so the differences were striking. Also a bit confusing because the titles were so similar. And finally, A Guide for Murdered Children. Goodreads tells me that less than 700 people read this one last year. If you're looking to break out a bit I really recommend it. It's weird and sweet at the same time.

Definitely read these
Becoming. Seriously, I don't need to say anything more. If you haven't read it yet you should make that the first book of 2020.And then if you're lucky you should go see her speak with a really amazing friend. Just sayin'. City of Girls. OMG. I loved this book so much. It's an awesome book about sisterhood and feminism without being preachy or ignoring the humanity of the characters. I gave this one to my sister for Christmas even though it's still in hardcover. I loved it that much.

Books I read and then recommended to my kids
Short. So, so sweet. Syd loved this one more than I did but it was fun to hear her thoughts. On The Come Up. Eli liked this one better than The Hate U Give.

And finally, these are the books I recommend to everyone. They're basically the scented candles and fuzzy blankets of my book stash. Nine Perfect Strangers. Such a fun premise. I run a bit hot/cold with this author but I really liked this one. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Sweet and fun. Not a ton of controversy.

I've set a goal of 60 for next year. That seemed just ambitious enough when I thought I'd read 51, but now that I know there were more it feels like maybe it might be a gimmee. We'll see though. Two weeks in I've only finished one book. I find that I am much quicker to put a boring book down lately. I also have been on a spree of hitting the library buffet-style and ending up with more books than I could feasibly finish. So we'll see. After reviewing my library history I think I'm going to try to track how much I spend in fines this year. That might be a fun stat to look at year-end too.

If you're interested in my previous wrap-ups you can find them here, here

I'm still building my list for 2020. What were your favorite books of the year? What are your thoughts on audio books? And should we do an over/under for how much I spend in fines?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

This is 2020

In contrast with our huge party last year, this year we stayed close to home and low-key for New Year's. In part because C is ringing in the new year with shingles. His doctor was "astounded" by how text book his case was, except "we usually see this in much older people." So 40 is treating him well so far.

So in light of our plan for a "quiet" New Year's, I put together my first charcuterie board. And promptly spent about $100 on cheese I had to Google and forgot to take a picture of. But trust me that it was gorgeous AND delicious.

My mom had bought each set of cousins a HUGE set of scented (SCENTED!) slime, play dough, and kinetic sand. Like nearly 100 tubs of the stuff. She intended for my nieces to take them home, but my sister, who is usually the fun one, immediately vetoed the slime-o-rama. Seeing my chance, I offered to let everyone bust out their slime etc. on NYE. It was just as chaotic and messy as you'd expect. Lucky for me our housekeeper came that same day so I basically lit that money on fire. But the girls had so much fun! And my house smells like saccharine fake fruit.

And speaking of saccharine fake fruit, to accompany my fancy and ridiculous charcuterie tray we dropped a whopping $12 on our signature cocktail, Mad Dog 20/20.

A million years ago, we used to pass a bottle of Mad Dog at family dinners. It was a bit of a "thing." Then we all turned into rational human beings and the tradition slowed down. But thanks to the interwebs and some meme, it was decided that we HAD to have it for New Year's Eve.

Mad Dog should always be drunk straight from the bottle

She sat like this for a very long time. 

Maybe the most unflattering picture ever which feels like an appropriate penance. Also the Habanero Lime-arita flavor is definitely the best flavor

"Banana Red" is disgusting and the manufacturers should be ashamed of themselves

I have plans for an actual New Year post to include my word of the year (that I haven't decided on yet) and my goals (that include a vacation that involves plane tickets and a true crime book.) But I helped drink 4 bottles of Mad Dog and ate about 7 pounds of sausage and cheese yesterday, so I think it'll have to wait. In the meantime, I hope you all had a wonderful NYE and that 2020 is starting out wonderfully! Hopefully without an age inappropriate blistery rash but maybe with the house full of errant glitter.