Thursday, January 2, 2020


Here we go!

January, February, March
Death of a Gossip. M.C. Beaton
Death of an OutsiderM.C. Beaton
Death of a Perfect WifeM.C. Beaton
Death of a HussyM.C. Beaton
Death of a SnobM.C. Beaton
Death of a PranksterM.C. Beaton
The Skeleton Road. Val McDermid
Out of Bounds. Val McDermid.
Broken Ground. Vale McDermid.

We went into the year exhausted and I didn't realize how long life had been so hectic until the PTO president emailed me and asked me to send her a copy of the minutes and I realized I had not done so.....for the entire fall semester.  Being in the PTO was stressful and there were a lot tense situations at Evelyn's school that didn't make sense until later.  My work was the busiest it had ever been and I worked a lot of weekends and stayed a lot of late nights.  It was hard for us to make plans.  I missed a nephew's birthday party.  

I struggled with trying to keep us in clean clothes, sending in the right amount of money at the right time for school activities, never being able to volunteer, and managing Evelyn's expectations for her birthday because she wanted a big blowout but was born over spring break.  One little girl was able to come.  I struggled with feeling like I couldn't make anything happen for my girl.  It didn't help that she had taken to pointing out how different her life would be if So and So's mom were her mom--like I wasn't already thinking of it every time I saw this person (who is totally nice!  And not my enemy and I like her a lot!).  The child knows my buttons and just held them down for weeks on end.  I almost wrote a birthday post for her at the time and realized I couldn't remember whole months from when she was 7.  

I think we went out for dinner on Cody's birthday, but I couldn't tell you where or if I remembered to buy him a gift.

A nicer thing about that part of the year that I can remember is that Evelyn went on her first sleepover!  She stayed up until 11!  The little girl who invited her over then came to Evelyn's first sleepover/birthday party at our apartment!  Both experiences were Peak Eight-Year-Old, and Cody and I (along with BFF's parents) were tickled with the whole thing.

Also, at some point there was a weekend when I roamed through the woods with Evelyn twice and Dallas once.  I took his senior pictures just like I did with my other siblings.

However, he is the only one I didn't shoot with film.  Which is for the best, since I think he emailed this to the yearbook editor 20 minutes after we uploaded them.

Let Me Lie. Clare Mackintosh

I thought I would try something other than my steady diet of mysteries and didn't care for it.  I went part-time in April.  I tried to catch up on so many things, but it never gave me back the time I'd already lost.  It took me a long time to figure that out.  I did love picking up Evelyn from school at the pick-up line on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I would frantically spend my day doing errands and taking care of long-neglected chores, and then sit outside her school at 2:30.  We would leave the parking lot with the windows rolled down and Nickelback playing at full volume.  She felt very cool.  

I knitted Cody a sweater.  My love obviously knows no bounds, and he knows it.

We went to Mississippi for Easter.  There were 2 puppies!  4 kids!  I think we hid eggs 5 times!  The kids had matching outfits and the adults had a lot of food.  No one had any doubt about the rankings, but I'll go ahead and say it: Sara is still the cool aunt.

M is for Malice. Sue Grafton.
An Event in Autumn. Henning Mankell, translated by Laurie Thompson. 
Wicked Autumn. G.M. Malliet.

On one of my days off, I went to the library by myself and browsed for a solid hour.  It was amazing.  We found out Evelyn's school was closing and I was a wild woman trying to find another one that I could feel good about when I didn't feel good about much at all.  I loved her teachers and the parents at her school and I miss it still.  The evening we found out, I was out to dinner for co-workers.  I wanted to stay home but it was to celebrate someone's January birthday, so I felt obligated to go while Cody texted me updates about how she was taking the news.  I found out she needed glasses and felt like the world's most negligent mother.  She was excited to receive compliments on her bright pink frames. I painted some mineral tubs to brighten up the balcony and planted zinnias and morning glories.  The less said about the zinnias the better, but the morning glories did pretty well.

Dallas graduated from high school!  My nephew Ellis graduated from preK on the same day!  Laine somehow made it to both ceremonies!  

Death of a Nag. M.C. Beaton
N is for Noose. Sue Grafton

Flood, flood, and flood.  Evelyn and I were summery girls.  She took swimming lessons!  

A Fatal Winter. G. M. Malliet.
Death of a Scriptwriter. M. C. Beaton.
Dark Domain.Val McDermid.
Nightblind. Ragnar Jonasson.

It was so hot I wanted to throw up every time I went outside.  But we did try to spend time outside--state parks, the river front, my parents' house, and Dallas's pool were all thoroughly enjoyed.  My favorite summer memory was probably when Evelyn and I floated in a pool in some inner tubes that looked like donuts.  We held hands and drifted around.  I was lightheaded from happiness and from blowing up the inner tubes.  She made me watch her jump off the diving board over and over.  I waited with the inner tube, ready to catch her.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts. Maja Safstrom.
O is for Outlaw. Sue Grafton
Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart with Craft. Susan Lydon.
Death of a Travelling Man. M. C. Beaton.

Evelyn started her new school.  She might have settled into things better than I did.  A knitting friend shared some yarn with the rest of our group and I came home with a Rubbermaid tote's worth.  Whoops.  I knit a bunch of hats.

Pagan Spring. G. M. Malliet.
P is for Peril. Sue Grafton.
Demon Summer. G. M. Malliet.
Beowulf (graphic novel). Santiago Garcia and David Rubin.

Cody and I celebrated out 13th wedding anniversary.  The weather was a little more manageable, so we had some weekend adventures.  We got a better idea of what our evening routine should be, with homework on some nights because that's a thing now.  Evelyn started doing gymnastics one night a week and has done okay with the delayed bedtime.  If you had told me back in 2015 how much she loves early bedtimes and how promptly she gets herself ready most nights, I would have fainted.  I knitted a bunch more hats.  I volunteered one afternoon a week with the school's running club. It was super fun to yell encouraging things at kids while they ran their laps and watch them brighten up and go a little faster.

Haunted Season. G.M. Malliet.
Devil's Breath. G.M. Malliet
Underwater. Casey Barrett

I went back to work full-time in the middle of October.  I spent the last of my free days scouring shops for supplies for Evelyn's costume.  It was another exercise in trying to manage her expectations and feeling like an ill-tempered failure at all things craft- and parenting-related, but I'm glad I had the time for it.  My very last free day was spent chaperoning at the state fair.  Even with the rain and the cold, it was probably one of the best days of the year.  We went back that weekend with Cody, and I ate a Frito chili pie. There were so many fancy chickens, I almost couldn't handle it.

After almost completely abandoning Evelyn's input and spending a few late nights covering the living room with pieces of fabric, I finished her Unbeatable Squirrel Girl costume the day before her first Halloween event.  There were a lot of Halloween events.  She loved wearing her costume and telling people who she was.  I was grateful that my sloppy sewing of fake fur onto her jacket held up.

I donated 18 hats and a bunch of yarn to a group that knits hats for the homeless at our library.  It felt fantastic.

You may not need me to tell you this, but I also went through a big pom pom phase this year.

The Girl Who Lived Twice. David Lagercrantz

I don't enjoy any of the Lisbeth Salander novels, but I am apparently going to read all of them.  I started a lot of books in November, but I guess I didn't finish many.  I took off the week of Thanksgiving because Evelyn was out of school.  I had a cold or two.  Evelyn probably got an ear infection.  I took a trip to the National Quilt Museum with my mom and sisters.  We saw a lot of quilts!  I was in no way inspired to sew more, but I definitely want to go back to Paducah some time when it's warmer and we can explore more.  The windchill was, like, 2!  We got matching sweatshirts.  

Death of a Dentist. M.C. Beaton.
Death of a Macho Man. M.C. Beaton.
Q is for Quarry. Sue Grafton.
Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery. Kenny Greenwood.
Night Shift. Charlene Harris.
Leaflets: Poems 1965-1968. Adrienne Rich.

There were so many holiday things!  I spent the first part of the month shopping and trying to stay on schedule and manage things and mostly succeeded.  I turned 37, which felt nice.  I took the day off to finish some Christmas errands and have lunch with Evelyn at school.  We were basically famous, AND it was pajama day, so she felt like it was the best day ever.  I have to agree! I've gotten to see my family a lot this month, and I'm very grateful.  Our Christmasses weren't quite what we'd planned, but Evelyn had a good time.  We wrapped up the year (and this decade, holy smokes) with friends at a wedding for some loved ones, which seems like a good way to end a year and begin the next one.  

2019 was very, very, very full.  I liked a lot of it.  The worst of it wasn't unbearable.  The best of it was the very best.  I'm hoping for more of the same in 2020.

(Note: I didn't bother marking library books with an asterisk this time because every single book in this post was a library book. !!!)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Book list September 2019

Pagan Spring. G. M. Malliet.
P is for Peril. Sue Grafton.
Demon Summer. G. M. Malliet.
Beowulf (graphic novel). Santiago Garcia and David Rubin.

Pagan Spring was fine, I guess.  P is for Peril was pretty great.  I can't believe I stayed up past midnight on a weeknight to finish Demon Summer because the last few chapters were kind of dumb (I am still working my way through the series, though).  The graphic novel of Beowulf was pretty much what you'd think it would be, which is fine.

Other September things:

Cody and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.  It was pretty understated, but we were happy. 

Us. It's from this weekend, but we were happy then too.

It was so stinking hot, but Cody and Evelyn went bike riding at least once.


We went to some libraries and museums. 

Evelyn and a friend at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library.
Being a ham at the HAM. This exhibit was pretty neat.
Evelyn and I have been braiding each other's hair. 

Her handiwork.
She'll occasionally tolerate other hairstyles as well.

She can also wear my old shirts now!  She's super tall.

We're starting to do a few more activities with Evelyn's school.  Cody went to a PTO meeting, we're both signing up for volunteer activities, and Evelyn is in the Little Rockers running club.  She disliked her first run last week, but I think she'll like it if she sticks with it.  So I'm bribing her with rewards for every 5 miles.  2 miles down, just a few more to go!

This past Saturday we got out of town for a quick trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns.  We made a few stops at the Natural Bridge and a nice little bakery/cafe in a town called Leslie.  I was overjoyed to see big rocks and small towns with odd names.  Evelyn got a little tired and cranky by the end, but took a nap on the way home.  Cody said his favorite part was the 10 hot and grouchy minutes we spent at the actual springs, go figure.

The Natural Bridge. I want to stand on this so badly, but it's not allowed.

So many formations!

The Blanchard Springs.

That's it!  Evelyn has big spooky plans for October, and I'm just going to try to keep up.  I go back to work full time at the end of the month, and we're going to try to go camping and spend more time outdoors in the (please Lord) cooler weather.  It looks like it's going to be full and wonderful time. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book list for August 2019

All library books:

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts. Maja Safstrom.
O is for Outlaw. Sue Grafton
Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart with Craft. Susan Lydon.
Death of a Travelling Man. M. C. Beaton.

My favorite was probably the animal facts books because it had charming pictures. The mysteries were par for the course and the knitting book was not for me.

Evelyn started a new school year at a new school.  Every single day was blazing hot.  I knitted a bunch of hats. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July 2019 book list and a summery update.

All library books. All mysteries.  All from series I've been enjoying already.

A Fatal Winter. G. M. Malliet.
Death of a Scriptwriter. M. C. Beaton.
Dark Domain.Val McDermid.
Nightblind. Ragnar Jonasson.

Other things from July:

Being the fireworks aunt when my nephews were in town for VBS.  (My dad is the tractor driver and my mom is the 'snacks and random firestarter' person, so we're all really cool now.)

I feel like I've eaten out a lot and I don't feel bad about it (I normally worry about the cost and nutritional value, or lack thereof).  It's mostly been chicken strips.  It's been convenient and fun. 

I don't know that my yarn stash is very manageable, but it's fairly organized and I have plans for at least half of it.  Which is good, because I bought some more today.  It was thrilling.

I am mostly caught up on laundry. We are mostly ready for the new school year.  "Mostly" is perfectly good enough for me.

I love life, but my face still looked like it did when I was harried.  So I changed moisturizers and I feel like that helped.

I may or may not be successfully raising succulents.  It's so hard to know with them.  But so far, my nondead ones look okay. 

Morning glories are still my favorite thing to wake up to.

I think Evelyn and I have done maybe half the things we wanted to do this summer.  That's fairly great, but I'd like to do more and I'd like to do everything more often. 

But I'm off work all this week so today we walked part of a trail at Toltec Mounds, ate not-BBQ things at a BBQ place in Scott, checked out a produce stand and bought another succulent in a fun planter (along with some okra to surprise Cody with!), played at a park where we were the only people at the playground, hit up a yarn store, and had ice cream after we picked up Cody from work.

This is in the kitchen windowsill now!  It's so fun!

I'm realizing 1) that should have been a bullet-point list and 2) I left out the part where I bought Evelyn a grab bag at the Toltec Mounds State Park gift shop and she got a geode that she broke herself AND a flute that she is doing her darnedest to learn to play.

Today I climbed a tree with Evelyn at the park.  Cody can't get over this picture of me from today because it's been so long since he's seen me up a tree.  I felt right at home.

Photo credit to Evelyn.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

June 2019 book list

Death of a Nag. M.C. Beaton*
N is for Noose. Sue Grafton*