Reading

Show Us Your Books – April 2022

April 12, 2022
show us your books

Guess who’s back?
Back again?
Kim is back…
tell a friend!

I did a lot of reading in prep for my CAE exam in December and it put me off from pleasure reading for a while. Which is okay! I knew the desire to read would return eventually and in March it quietly knocked on the door and I let it back in. While I didn’t even set a Goodreads goal for 2022 I’m just going to play this by ear. Don’t force yourself to do things you’re not into and call it pleasure, okay?

Goodreads, bless its heart, is still suggesting I set a modest 12-book goal.

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

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I bought this book last year when it was on sale and I knew that if I had to get back into reading, a juicy Taylor Jenkins Reid book was the way to go. This is the story of legendary Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo and Monique Grant, the young woman who Evelyn recruited to write her authorized biography. As in any story that features seven husbands, there are all sorts of scandals and terrible, complicated situations. And as in any Taylor Jenkins Reid book, there’s a “ooooooo” twist toward the end. Even though I knew it was coming, it still knocked me for a loop. Don’t let older people lie to you — all of today’s societal ills existed back in the golden days too. But it was so juicy. Evelyn was a gutsy dame. Content warning for domestic violence, homophobia, and suicide. Four stars.

The Lightmaker’s Manifesto by Karen Walrond – I have been reading Walrond’s blog Chookooloonks for a very long time. She’s one of the OG mom bloggers who managed to springboard herself out of that mom blogger pigeonhole and created another career for herself.

At this point all I look for from these kind of inspirational self-help-but-not-really books are a few gems that I can remember for more than an hour after I finish the book. And that’s what I got. It didn’t knock my socks off like it did for many on Goodreads and I think it’s because of the conversational first-person narration. I don’t need to know if the person she was talking to leaned in and whispered conspiratorially. But this was fine. Three stars.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland – another entry in my favorite genre of “rich, privileged families and all of their trashy secrets.” Two men open a resort hotel in the Catskills which entwines their families for three generations. But like all Catskills resorts of that era, time was not kind to the Golden Hotel and in 2019 their families have to come together to decide on whether to sell to a casino developer.

It was sweet and sentimental and was cruising toward a four-star review but then she wedged in a “babies fix everything” plot device that wasn’t even necessary. It did nothing for the plot except artificially elevating a character to SAGE PARENT which made the family not think of them as so much of a sad sack anymore. It didn’t even do anything for the parents’ relationship. Person just continued making their side piece a main piece and had a bonus baby a few days a week. There were also some unsavory actions revealed that were handwaved away because it was “for a baby” and that didn’t sit right with me. But I understand I can be touchy about that kind of thing.

There were plenty of body-shaming comments too, which I know was meant to show how catty one of the characters was, but there are many other ways to show cattiness. She did this with the Floating Feldmans as well. Three stars.

Currently reading: Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova

It’s good to be back. 🙂

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


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Life

March 2022 Extras

April 4, 2022

Some photos and thoughts from March that were thin for their own blog posts…

This is the phone game of the moment and was my PC game of choice in the early 2000s back when Flash games were a thing. I had to pay $19.99 to shoo the ads away so I can play as much as I want.

Snood

I enjoy hard boiled eggs right at the spot when they are completely firm inside but before they get the green tinge around the yolk. I have legendarily been terrible at boiling eggs which is weird, right? Because it’s supposed to be easy. Two weeks ago I angrily (because we have far too much clutter in this house) bought this uni-tasking appliance and it happily gives me perfect eggs.

Be careful, though, because once it gets going it’s hard to see where the steam pours out of the lid and it’s very hot.

hamilton beach egg cooker
“Your perfect eggs, madam…”

Bridgerton is back and like last year I am watching one episode a week to stretch it out. I’m not a binge watcher. This season focuses on the older son, Anthony, and his quest to find a wife. I’m two episodes in so far and it’s a bit boring. Last year was much more scandalous and in a quest to make Anthony more likeable, they made some strange character changes. Last year Anthony LOVED somebody and this year he’s all “what is love?*” This may be addressed in future episodes.

bridgerton
Call me Lady Kimberly Anne-with-an-E of the Cool Ranch, please.

*baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more

Speaking of 2000s nostalgia, I bought a pair of Clippy earrings.

clippy earrings
You look like you’re an eccentric middle aged woman, would you like some help?”

And I think they’ll go really well with this silver and pearl necklace I bought for myself. It’ll go with anything from tshirts to formal dresses and will hopefully last me forever.

silver necklace with one large pearl
Chonky but delicate, like me!

I realize this is becoming a things I bought in March post, which isn’t the intent. Here are some things that aren’t purchases:

I’m making big salads for lunch lately with a lemon vinaigrette.

salad
This was too many onions for me, though.

I started going back to the office one time a week, which has been a boon to my mental health.

smiling at work
I was the only person on that side of the office, so I didn’t wear a mask.

I don’t know when TNP is bringing us back in officially. I’ve said this before, but I hope all of the people who want to continue to work remotely have the opportunity to do so. The flip side of that is that the people who want to go back in shouldn’t be ridiculed for wanting to do so.

The NYTimes crossword puzzle streak is at 1, DuoLingo is a vague memory, Wordle is fun, Worldle is tortuous.


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Life, Work

Friday 5: Nice

April 1, 2022

Rabbit rabbit! It’s April 1 and with the exception of the author, this post is 100% fool-free.

friday, april 1

I am a last-minute call-up to go work TNP’s annual conference in Nashville next week. This weekend, your girl here needs to buy a pair of black pants and possibly a pair of dark gray pants to tide her over until her current work pants are less snug, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. I’m going to try to plan and pack this weekend so I’m not stressing Tuesday night. I’m also going to attempt to not check a bag. We’ll see how that goes.

This is our first in-person annual conference since 2019 and while the hours will be long (14 hour days woohoo!) I’m excited! Other than video calls, I haven’t seen most of my TNP coworkers in 2 years. I’ll try to post some photos and stories up on Instagram while I’m away.


Here is the Friday 5 – this week’s theme is Nice.

  1. What’s the nicest thing someone said to you this week?
    I was showing a group of coworkers some features of the AMS software we have and I was told that I was a good teacher! While I never wanted to teach children, I think I’d have been a very good software trainer.
  2. What’s the nicest music you heard this week?
    Nonspecific answer, but I’ve been really into listening to lofi music while I work. Here is a proper definition of lofi music but to me, it’s the type of music played in swanky boutique hotel lobbies, elevators, and sometimes their hold music. I discovered Spotify’s The Lofi Garden playlist and have been enjoying it.
  3. What was the nicest surprise this week?
    I said this in yesterday’s post, but my little outdoor seedlings survived a cold snap.
  4. In what way did you make someone’s day nicer this week?
    Person A messed something up but is fixing it. Person A says the mess up was because of Other Thing. Person K knows this isn’t the case, but Person K also knows that blabbing that to everyone will only make Person A look bad and won’t have the issue fixed any quicker. Person A’s day was much nicer because Person K doesn’t engage in character assassination.
  5. Who has a nice smile?
    Google images is not your friend for this, because it’s showing that all of the celebrity smiles I enjoy have been corrected & veneered. I think Queen Elizabeth has a great smile. I think Jason Bateman has a great smile.

Have a lovely weekend!

Gardening

Angry Man Farm 22 – the deep freeze

March 31, 2022

Of course, of course, as soon as I felt cocky and thought “hmmmm….I can plant some cold weather crops like garlic and lettuce outside!” on Sunday we plunged back into temperature lows in 20s and snow squalls. Of course. will I ever learn? WILL I?

Bitmoji of Kim with the words "How about NO"
My Bitmoji.

So on Sunday we scrambled to cover up the lettuce and garlic with a bed of leaves and a plastic cover that we kept down with branches from the yard. Not doing yard work all winter paid off!

plastic and leaves covering part of the garden bed
Primitive, but functional.

It’s not going down past freezing for at least the next week so yesterday we pulled up the protective covering and it worked!

The lettuce

tiny lettuce sprouts
Tiny lettuce sprouts, still alive!

and the garlic

garlic starts

are still alive!

Here is the state of the rest of the seedlings, snug in their garage hideaway and being nurtured with artificial lighting and heating pads.

seedlings in the garage, underneath plant lights and on top of heat pads.

This is why I was desperate to clean up that garden table. This morning I moved the tomatoes in the yogurt containers out into the greenhouse for a few days to take advantage of the mild weather.

tomatoes in the greenhouse

ST = SuperTasty hybrid, and BOD = Bodacious variety. Eating yogurt pays off. Just drill some holes in the bottom of the pots first before you plant in them.

This weekend I think I’m going to put the rest of the tomatoes into the larger pots and start flowers inside.


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Life, Work

Friday 5: Twenty-four months

March 25, 2022

Hello and happy Friday. Wanna know what I did yesterday? I WENT TO THE OFFICE for the first time since my laptop was acting up in October! I took the train and sat in the mostly empty office and had a frigging blast away from construction noises and lawnmowers and barking dog and delivery drivers and my monotonous, depressing, and isolating work from home life. We’re still wearing masks at work, but at this point you could tie a smelly gym sock around my face and I’d still goofily grin at getting away from this adorable little workspace that I once loved but now despise and work from home ‘breaks’ that are really just opportunities for me to clean something.

empty office
Paradise!

I am not in commuting shape. There are many staircases associated with a public transit commute to work. I used to fly through the stations and streets. Not yesterday. I’m making strides to be better though. I’m walking almost every day again and doing exercises meant for sedentary people who don’t move. If the slipper fits…

On Wednesday, Mom & I went to dinner at the place we ate at right before everything shut down. It was a nice little homecoming.

This week’s Friday 5 theme is Twenty-four months, which roughly refers to when this worldwide pandemic started. I was pretty angry in last year’s Twelve months post. A year later, I’m sad.

Pandemically, my life is so much better than it was this time last year. Everyone I care about is fully vaxxed and boosted. The mask mandate here in NJ was lifted months ago and my county is at a low community level of infection. (according to measurements that may have been jiggered to lull us all into feeling more comfortable). I’m going out to restaurants again, going to the beach, went to WDW, going into stores. Taking the mask off where I feel comfortable and putting it back on where I’m not or where I’m told to wear it. I’m giving blood again. I’m going to conferences again. Planning travel.

So why don’t I feel proportionally happier? I don’t know.

  1. In what way have these past two years made you better?
    You know how people can take a quick nap? I have mastered the quick and quiet cry session. I can still wail for days if I want, but I can also stifle my sobs and eyedrop my way back to normalcy in minutes. Not the positive answer people were likely looking for but here we are.
  2. In what way have these past two years made you worse?
    I am a much sadder, angrier version of me and after all this time of people continuously gaining clout and power by showing their asses, I don’t think I can ever go back to believing the best of people ever again. I believe everybody deserves to be safe, loved, and warm but some of these anti-science, anti-compassion troglodytes are seriously testing that belief.

    I’m afraid, really afraid, that this all happened at a pivotal age for me, where I was at the crossroads of either being a happy older person or a sad and angry older person who ends up turning water hoses on children and swerving to hit squirrels. I’m afraid that the last 24 months of pestilence, famine, and now war shoved me down the path I didn’t want and that it’s too late for me to go back. (I have not yet doused a child or skooshed a squirrel.)
  3. In the first six months of the pandemic, what was your most effective form of escapism?
    Watching Instagram reels of happy people rollerskating. Videos of vacations. Stardew Valley, where I sat my little farmer at the town’s bar every Friday night and people watched until every happy little person went home.
  4. What remains part of your life from those first six months?
    Working from home, sadly. Yeah, I’m the person who wants to go back. I’m the one roundly being made fun of for not having friends outside of work or wanting to be the office Karen or forcing people to celebrate coworkers’ birthdays. Fun fact: I am (was?) part of the committee that set up events for our coworkers to have fun at. But my real life friends are geographically or situationally far away so, yes, I did get a daily dose of social satisfaction from going to work every day. I really enjoyed the company of many of the people I worked with, and now we’re a bunch of bored faces with pained smiles in Zoom video call squares.

    Our return to work date is TBA, but it will never be the same. If you want to work from home forever, I hope you get to do just that. But the flip side of that is maybe we can stop mocking people who want to go back in some capacity. Our reasons are sometimes pretty good.

    On a better note, we’re still doing movie night on Fridays. I don’t hit every week anymore (sad & tired sometimes) but I try to show as often as I can.
  5. What do you envision for yourself in the next year, and how are you feeling about it?
    Faking a smile with my coffee to go.

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