Reading

Show Us Your Books June 2022

June 14, 2022

Edited this morning to add: I just found out that today is the last Show Us Your Books. Many thanks to Steph and Jana for an amazing 8 years of one of the last great blog link parties out there. It’s the end of an era and I’m sad to see it go but happy it lasted so long. I’ll keep writing about books but you know how consistent I am when not being held accountable. 😉

Look, Ma! I’m reading! Thanks to the 2022 version of Covid-19 I spent a lot of time in May flattened with no desire to do anything that couldn’t be accomplished from my sofa or hammock. Enter … reading! SIX entire books.

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads rating system, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing
show us your books image

Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett
This is book 14 in the bajillion books of Pratchett’s Discworld series. I started reading the novels in 2016, savoring a few a year so I don’t burn out on them. This is a Witch book and the Witches along with Death are my favorite characters. (I have a soft spot for The Luggage, too.) In this edition, Magrat prepares to give up witchery to marry King Verence II while Elves try to invade Lancre, and Granny Weatherwax saves the day by being herself. I am always impressed when Pratchett manages to bring so many disparate characters from previous books into the same place at the same time. I laughed, I choked up, five stars for a comforting escape read.

Float Plan – Trish Dollar
Crushed by the suicide of her fiancé Ben, Anna decides to solo the sailing trip that they had planned to take together. But she’s not very experienced and after a bad night she hires Keane, a hunky Irish sailor, to help out. This is a very adult book, not for the wink-wink reasons (although there are wink-wink scenes) but because it’s about two imperfect people grieving a previous incarnation of their life. They heal and grow together without many of the childish scenes and misunderstandings we usually see in chick-lit books. It’s a great book to kick off the summer. Content warning for suicide, obviously. Four stars.

Tell Me More: Stories About the Twelve Hardest Things I’m Trying to Say: Kelly Corrigan
This memoir is about loss, life, love, parenting, and how hard it is to keep the plates spinning sometimes. The stories are grouped by phrases like, “I’m sorry” and “No” and “I love you.” For me it was middle-aged-white-lady catnip. Three stars.

Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change – Maggie Smith
Another middle-aged-white-lady memoir, but this is one is centered around the end of Smith’s marriage and the change that came from it.. It’s comprised of stories and inspirational quotes about keeping moving. Ironically, I spent my time reading this book while completely stationary. Three stars – I read this on a Kindle but the layout is probably much better in print.

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village – Maureen Johnson
It’s a cute, humorous, short book about the perils of staying alive in a fictional small English village. I love Maureen Johnson on Twitter, but this book is just ok. It is probably more pleasing in print than on Kindle. The illustrations remind me of Edward Gorey. Two stars. Which mean it’s ok!

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music – Dave Grohl
In his own words, Dave Grohl writes about his journey from a suburban stoner kid to one of rock music’s biggest names. And he does it with a lot of heart and emotion. In a day where you hear a lot of “I deserve this!” it’s refreshing to read about how a famous musician grappled with “why do they want ME for this?” and “holy shit is this really happening?” through his career. It’s not a comprehensive autobiography, because I suspect there are personal things he wants to keep to himself. I never realized how quickly Nirvana came and went. I checked this out simply because it was available from the library, and let this be a lesson to all of us to branch out from the TBR once in a while! Five stars and I’ve started listening to the Foo Fighters.

Currently reading: Grit by Angela Duckworth. I’m 30% in and the loan ends today so I don’t think I’ll have the grit to finish it before then.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Other SUYB posts:

2022:
April | May

2021:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October
2020:
February | March | Spring/Summer | September | October | November | Year-end review
2019
January | February | March |April | June | July | August | December
2018
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!

I love the Internet

Friday 5: Double Stuf

May 27, 2022

Happy Friday! I am off from work today and feeling peppy (for now) so let’s give the Friday 5 a quick whirl, shall we? This week’s theme is Double Stuf. While I enjoy Double Stuf Oreo, my preferred Oreo is the classic Oreo. Oreo Thins are as weak as a strongly worded Democratic Party Tweet. (The Democrats get my money and work for me, so I can complain.)

Friday, May 27
  1. What do you have two of because while you knew you had one, you couldn’t find it so you bought a new one?
    A push broom for sweeping up grass clippings and other outdoor detritus. I *thought* I had one but couldn’t find it in the garage so I ended up purchasing the exact same one. Turns out the first one had fallen on the ground on its side behind the beach chairs. Oops. Now we can tandem sweep I guess.
  2. What do you own none of because it’s convenient to borrow it from someone else?
    A Cricut machine. My mom has one so I take my ideas over to her place.
  3. What do you own an old version of because it still works fine even though it’s very old?
    I own two Bliss “zero-gravity” chairs. The frames and seats are always fine, it’s just the elastic that gives out. I purchase replacement elastic online and restring them when I need to.
  4. What do you own identical versions of because you like to have one in different places?
    Thanks to Zenni, I now own 3 pair of glasses in my current prescription and 2 pair in my prior one. I have glasses everywhere now and never again will I have to tear through the house looking for my one pair of glasses so I can see the TV or drive somewhere. The frames are different though.
  5. What are you most likely to upgrade when an upgrade is available, even if you’re happy with the one you’ve got?
    I have a Disney MagicBand from January that is perfectly fine and will work for a while to get me into the hotel room, onto rides, into the parks, and charges onto my credit card. It is Disney snack themed. But … but! They are beta-ing a new version that will interact with items in the park (if you’re a longer-term parks person, think about Pal Mickey’s interactivity) and I really want it for our September trip.

Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!

Life

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

May 26, 2022

I have been a grown-ass adult for decades now and I cannot remember a time where so many terrible events were happening in such rapid succession. There is no respite. It’s all so heavy.

Current events are terrible and I am sick about the mass murders of Black shoppers in Buffalo and schoolchildren in Texas. I have no coherent words to share, except for a very insightful idea from a TikTok that instead of using the term “Gun Control” we should be using “Gun Responsibility” and force politicians to come out against responsibility. I’ll find the creator and credit her.

murphy dozing on the sofa
Current mood

And now here’s the part where I whine about still being sick. With everything going on, my issues are trivial, but this is the only diary I have so here we go.

I finally tested negative yesterday and my lizard brain was convinced that a negative test meant I had crossed the finish line. But the fatigue remains. I’ll have a good day and then be wiped out the next day. Today was a wiped out day. I feel like I’m wearing sandbags. I had planned on going into the office but when the alarm went off, the body said NOPE. I dragged downstairs 3 minutes before I was to log in for the day. I shortened my lunchtime walk with Murphy. By 3pm I was on the sofa with my laptop. My day ended at 4:30 and I was asleep by 4:45. I slept until 6:15 and I could have slept all night long.

Here’s a funny story: I do think my sense of smell was mostly gone. A few days ago I was in my hammock out back and was being bothered by a bunch of flies. Where were the flies coming from? A fresh pile of dog poop next to my hammock (thanks, Murphy) which went completely unnoticed by me because I couldn’t smell it.

WM’s recovery is slow. He visited the doctor because his cough won’t quit. He’s on an inhaler now and if the cough doesn’t go away by the weekend, the doc wants to send him for lung x-rays to look for pneumonia. Yay. He was home all last week and most of this week.

My MIL is unscathed. I credit that to her extra booster and our split-level house. While we were sick we stayed downstairs coming down early in the morning and going up to bed after she went to bed. She stayed upstairs.

Nephews A and B have it, too. Keep that household in your thoughts, please. B is too young to be vaccinated. Ugh, my nerves.

Tomorrow is my first Summer Friday. Normally I’d head to the beach or boardwalk but the weather isn’t going to be great and I don’t want to exhaust myself and end up flopped on a bench for the afternoon.

I’m tired of being patient.


Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!

Life

We caught Covid.

May 18, 2022

I didn’t catch it from HersheyPark last August, or the indoor wedding that I was advised to skip in October, or from the Walt Disney World trip in January. Or from going to see a show in February, or going back to the office 1x/week starting in March*, or from going to TNP’s giant conference in mostly-unmasked Tennessee. Not even the baseball game on Mother’s Day. Or from the now-dozens of times I’ve eaten indoors in restaurants.

I didn’t catch it from any of those bad decisions.

positive covid test
Look at that T line, brightly doing its thing.

Instead, I caught it from doing mundane errands on a Tuesday. Tuesday, the dullest day of the week. Tuesday, May 10th. I took BrunhIIlde to a NJ inspection center before work, stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee and muffin on the way home. I worked at home all day and after work ran to Target for some groceries. I masked at Dunkin’ and Target, but not at the inspection station because it’s in a big garage structure with both sides open. But masking doesn’t work when you’re one of a handful in the store with it on, and we’re at a point where the only ones who can be blamed for this mess are the ones spreading harmful misinformation or the government that quit being proactive and forthright about Covid months ago.

Wednesday I was fine. Thursday night I was a little hoarse, but chalked it up to work’s HVAC, which sometimes blows the dust around. Thursday night into Friday morning, I laid awake in bed wondering if I was catching a cold. Friday morning I woke up with a cold. I tested negative, so continued about my day. I felt really run down Friday afternoon so took the afternoon off for a nap.

Saturday I woke up and was definitely unwell. I tested again Saturday morning, and if you’re familiar with an at-home Covid test, you do the snot collection, mix it with fluid, drop some fluid into a test cartridge, and wait for the results. As the fluid absorbs its way up the test strip the control line usually appears first, and if you’re positive, the test line will appear below the control line within 10-15 minutes. I have done this dozens of times. But on that particular Saturday, the test line showed up immediately, even before the control line appeared. I thought the test was bad, but when the fluid hit where the control line was, that line showed up immediately as well.

It was the only two line positive test I’ve ever seen. 😉

I didn’t even have the luxury of the 10 minute wait to worry. Done. Positive. I left a message for my doctor, and when he called back we talked about Paxlovid. He thought I’d get through this fine, so we didn’t go that route.

sofa with tissues, dayquil, snacks, and water in the background
My Covid Corner.

WM tested positive on Sunday, May 15th. His birthday. He didn’t catch it from the thousands of now-unmasked students at his high school. He caught it from me.

My MIL is still fine, and although we’re taking plenty of precautions, this is very contagious. But she has had her 2nd booster and I hope it’s doing its thing.

His and Hers matching positive Covid tests

And here we are, on day 6. To say that this strain of symptomatic Covid is “like” a cold or bronchitis or flu is wrong, because I know how my body works with those illnesses and this one is brand new. I had a high fever, but it didn’t give me chills like a fever does. And it disappeared without breaking. The fever just … left. I had head congestion so severe that my head and eyes throbbed for days. I experienced fatigue that was so deep that I couldn’t really sleep. My taste and smell are dulled but not gone. My appetite is non-existent. That is not me. I never lose my appetite. Bizarre. Like nothing else I’ve had.

I worked this morning and by lunch was pooped, so I took a half sick day to recuperate. Tomorrow I’ll aim for a full day.

My congestion is easing up, but my voice is shaky and I have a dry cough. Today is my last day that I have to remain in the house. Starting tomorrow, I can go out as long as I wear a mask for the next five days. I’ll take a test first.

With every ounce of sincerity, I am so thankful that I had the privilege to stave it off this long. Yes, this 2022 strain is rough, but Alpha and Delta were killers. I am thankful I had the privilege to buy time and get vaccinated and boosted, and I wonder what this would have felt like without.

In a very weird way, I’m glad to just get this over with. I’ve been so frightened for so long and when that second line popped up (first – it was really really fast!) I felt a wave of relief.

Looking forward to getting completely past this and enjoying my immunity bump this summer.

* My choice – TNP is bringing us back 1 day a month starting this summer. But we’re not banned from the office so I’ve been using it as my $7/day coworking space.


Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!

Reading

Show Us Your Books – May 2022

May 11, 2022

I haven’t updated since last book review? And I have how many crummy drafts? Five? Do I even do the April Extras now that we’re 11 days into May? Eh, it’ll all shake out. It’s just a blog, not a job.

Three books read this month! Goodreads is still asking me to set a goal. Not this year.

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads rating system, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing
show us your books title graphic

Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid– Okay, listen. I’m far past caring about any individual brother in this series. I am instead completely fascinated by the little town of Green Valley, Tennessee and how it’s just the epicenter of any drama you can think of. Shit goes DOWN in Green Valley. With this book’s Winston brother (Beau) finding his soulmate girl, it becomes FOUR Winston brothers finding twoo wuv in exactly one year. I figure this because their mother was already dead in book 1, and this book has the 1 year anniversary of her passing. So in this book, Cletus (book 3, hooked up with banana cake girl) hires Shelley to work at the Winston auto shop because Beau’s twin Duane (book 1) and Jessica are going to Spain. And in the background plans are being made for Jethro (book 2) and Sienna’s wedding.

Shelley has OCD and came to Green Valley to pull herself together and seek help from a local therapist. Shelley has actual, real, OCD and not the “tee hee I have to make sure the curling iron is unplugged 3 times before I leave tee hee” kind of OCD. Shelly has ugly, compulsive OCD and I’d imagine if you weren’t familiar with OCD it could be very tough to read. Meanwhile, Beau is having troubles reconciling that the Pain named Duane is traveling shortly into Spain. (I tried.) While Beau certainly supports Shelley’s efforts to cope with her illness, he does not rescue her from it. The progress she makes belong to her, and I appreciate that. There is also not a “I’m healed and all of my loose ends are tied up!” moment, which is also appreciated.

And of course the Iron Wraiths, the most evil Biker Club in the world is about to drop a family secret on Beau that will tear the Winston family asunder. Spoiler: it won’t. You know from the minute the secret is hinted (there is one moment early on in the book that jumps out and gives you a huge hint of what’s coming) at that it won’t.

My recommendation is to read the books in this series pretty close together because I haven’t and for me, the brothers all seem to blend together. Unless the passage mentions the girl they’re with, I confuse them. Also, this book runs concurrently with the Cletus/banana cake girl book.

Content warnings for domestic violence, self harm, and a very real and gritty look at OCD that may upset people. Three stars and I hope in book 5 the town of Green Valley hosts the Olympics.

Recursion by Blake Crouch – Holy wow. What if there was an invention that sent people back into a past memory and allowed them to change a decision? Terribad, right? RIGHT. This book was freaking amazing and I hated to put it down. Sci-fi thriller isn’t my genre of choice but once I told myself that I didn’t have to pass a written exam demonstrating 100% reading comprehension of the more neurosciencey parts, I was able to let go and allow the plot to swallow me whole. If you do not “get” some of the deep memory theories, you’re still going to enjoy the book.

She is forty-nine, and she wonders if this is what feeling old really means—not just a physical deterioration, but an interpersonal. A growing silence caused by the people you most love, who have shaped you and defined your world, going on ahead into whatever comes after.

Blake Crouch, Recursion.

This quote made me feel very seen and I do not like it.

Five stars and a standing ovation. Am I sci-fi thriller fan now? Content warning for suicide, murder, nuclear destruction, “I’m the government and I’m here to help,” and science.

Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova – I knew that I’d enjoy this book because it’s the type of conversational non-fiction book that scratches my non-fiction itch. In a very accessible way, Genova teaches the reader the different types of memory, how memories are stored, and a few tips on improving your memory that are proven by science . I really enjoyed it, but the anecdotes did become repetitive. Yes, okay, Yo-Yo Ma forgot his cello in a taxi trunk. Got it.

Takeaways: it’s absolutely fine to ‘offload’ memory tasks as calendar reminders, shopping lists, and other documentation. Sleep more. It’s perfectly natural to walk into a room and forget why you walked into that room.

Four stars! If you’re a little worried about your flaky memory, this book helps.

Currently reading: The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl. I’m really enjoying this memoir so far.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

Other SUYB posts:

2022:
April | May

2021:
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October
2020:
February | March | Spring/Summer | September | October | November | Year-end review
2019
January | February | March |April | June | July | August | December
2018
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!