Friday, November 16, 2012

This is your life and there is stuff in it

When Jessi and I were driving through mountains the other weekend, we did a lot of talking.  This is hardly a big announcement because we normally do a lot of talking when we're together, but since it was just the two of us with hours of time ahead we got to do a lot of talking about a lot of topics we don't normally throw out when we're eating and entertaining Evelyn.

We've both got a lot of changes going on right now, and the upheaval feels good.  As a result, this theme kept cropping up:

Via Holstee.

She's recently moved closer to her family to help her parents with their health issues.  It's difficult, but she feels more at peace because she's not away and worrying about them.  I've been trying new things and it intimidates me way more than I'm comfortable talking about, but I like trusting my abilities and learning new skills.  We like getting invested in things and caring about politics and trying new stuff and watching things constantly change.  We also like figuring out how we'd run everyone else's lives, but hey.

I spent a lot of the weekend thinking about that Calvin and Hobbes strip where they say that tomorrow they'll seize the day--and then throttle it.  I love when that feeling hits.  It doesn't happen very often, but I try to take advantage of it when it does.

The last few months have been awesome.  I'm past the teenage fear and cynicism, the college student fear and exhaustion and cynicism, and--most recently--the soul-crushing exhaustion and paranoia that comes with caring for a little baby.  Evelyn's a lot more chilled out now, and I'm feeling comfortable in my work, and things are just good.  I'm rested and calm enough to where I can step back and say "Look at this great family I have that can help me!  They don't try to take her away if I don't clean the toilet often enough.  This apartment really is pretty comfortable if I don't have magazines around me!  Life is so awesome now that I don't have to wash so many burp rags and bottles!  Let's make some stuff and put the pictures online!"

This is what I'm like when I'm happy and this is what it's like in my head and notebooks.  (Yes, notebooks. Plural.)

Stuff like this inspires me.

And so does this.

And so does this:

And this:

And at least a hundred different things.

I really love finding out what makes people happy.  Cody, quiet man that he is, comes home from cooking all day to cook even more or look up recipes online or read a cookbook all the way through. He reads books and blogs and talks to people so he can be a better dad.  It's awesome to watch people talk about the extra things they make space for in their lives.  Even if they're not exclaiming "I love knitting/cooking/taking on extra reading/my side job!", you can just tell when people have some extra happiness and satisfaction from doing what they love even if they don't get to do it all the time.

I've wanted to write about how I feel for a while, but it's hard to describe.  I'm happy and I want to do stuff. I want you to do stuff.  If you're not happy, you should really do some stuff.  Seriously, this is pretty much how I want to approach life: with an unflagging desire to do stuff.

It's not always how I really do approach life, but it's nice to have goals.  It's how I want Evelyn to see me, so I may as well get a start on faking it in front of her.

I'm about to go back to work full-time.  I've been home with Evelyn on weekdays, in some capacity, since August 2011.  We need the money, and I know Evelyn's in excellent hands, but I'm already counting down the days until I can go back to part-time.  It's a long ways off.  It's going to be much more difficult for me to work on side projects and put on a happy face when I'll be working every day, and most likely staying late.  But it kind of doesn't matter.  Actually, it doesn't matter at all.  This is my life and, more importantly, this is our family's life.  I don't get to take breaks.  For some strange reason, I'm glad about that.  I'm thrilled for the time we've had together.  We'll be just fine in the coming months.  They'll be full of stuff to do.

I'm ready.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book list for September 2012

Adams, Douglas. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Adams, Douglas. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Currently (re)reading: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and Orlando by Virginia Woolf.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book list for July 2012

The Fifth Woman. Henning Mankell*
The Man Who Smiled. Henning Mankell*
Sidetracked. Henning Mankell*

I went to the Masterpiece website and checked the  schedule (.PDF) against the wikipedia page of the novels.  Even though two of the novels aren't featured this fall, and I've read one of the novels adapted into an episode (Dogs of Riga, if you're curious), I still want to finish all 4 of the remaining books before the series starts in September.

It's nice to have goals, I guess.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book list for June

The trend continues....

The Dogs of Riga. Henning Mankell, trans. Laurie Thompson*
The White Lioness. Henning Mankell, trans. Laurie Thompson*
Sidetracked. Henning Mankell, trans. Steven T. Murray*

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book list for May

I never told you what I read in May!  Here it is.  Library books are marked with asterisks.

Faceless Killers. Henning Mankell. Trans. Steven T. Murray.*

The Pyramid: The First Wallander Cases. Henning Mankell. Trans. Ebba Seberberg and Laurie Thomson.*

A Clash of Kings. George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords. George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows. George R. R. Martin

Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972. Adrienne Rich

The Reptile Room: A Series of Unfortunate Events Book #2. Lemony Snicket*

I really raced through the Game of Thrones books, but I've switched to the Kurt Wallander mysteries because that fifth book can just wait a while.

I read the first book this winter after a friend loaned it to Cody and I wound up reading it instead.  It took me a while to feel involved with the story, but once I did I was pretty wrapped up in things.  So much so that I woke up one night and thought Cody had brought Evelyn into bed and smothered her because he wanted a male heir and was trying to make her death look like an accident.  After beating him awake and nearly throwing him out of bed, I realized Evelyn was in her own bed in her own room and Cody's arm had every reason to be underneath his body and wrapped in blankets.

After a minute or two I also realized that we didn't have a need for a male heir because girls can own titles and property now....even though we don't have either of those things, meaning I really, really have nothing to worry about.

Every time I tell this story Cody likes for me to remind people that he likes Evelyn, has always liked Evelyn, and would never do anything to hurt Evelyn.  All things considered, his reaction to me physically lifting him up while trying to hurt him was pretty gentle too and it was really nice of him to give me A Storm of Swords as a Mother's Day present.

So I waited a while before delving back into Martin's Never-Ending Orgy of Sex and Violence and Stilted Dialogue, and then lost giant chunks of my life reading through the books in May.  Until this:

Cody: Did you get to sleep late this morning?
Jen: Somewhat. I had a hard time falling asleep last night.
Cody: Seriously?
Jen: I was completely awake. Like, completely wired.  Then I fell asleep and woke up a few times, but it was okay.  Then I woke up at 7 because I was having a Game of Thrones nightmare. A bunch of us were in this place as captives or guests, and we did something to make somebody mad, so we were going to have to appear before someone in the morning but it just meant we were going to be executed, or tortured and then executed.  Anyway, we were going to try to escape because a wolf showed up.
Cody: Wait.
Jen: It was a really big wolf.  It had something to do with...nevermind.  Anyway, there were people with the wolf and they were going to help us.  So we're trying to get our stuff together and I'm trying to pack enough diapers and wipes for Evelyn and cold weather clothes as I'm changing her and there's not enough time and THEN I find out that the Red Priestess--she's a bad guy and I think she wants to take Evelyn as a sacrifice--has been posing as this nurse type woman the whole time and she's there
Cody: [takes a breath as if to say something. Stops]
Jen: and I'm trying to act like I don't know and I'm having to make that stupid small talk I have with everyone "Yes, ma'am. She's great and we like her a lot!" and I want to run away and then she says "Give me the baby" and I try to run and hang on to the baby and she moves really fast to grab Evelyn and that's when I woke up because I knew she'd take my baby from me.  Most of my nightmares are about failing to protect Evelyn, by the way.  Or just letting her down somehow.
Cody: You know what at least part of this tells me?
Jen: That it's a really good thing I'm taking a break from Game of Thrones?
Cody: Yes!
Jen: I know.  If I saw the fifth book, I don't even think I'd pick it up at this point.  I'm ready to read the Wallander series.
Cody: But that's depressing and it's all about crime.
Jen: I like how it's written.
Cody: It seems like you need to read a comedy or maybe one of those Jan Karon books or something.
Jen: [look of cold, contemptuous rage]
Cody: Do you know of her?
Jen: Do you even know me?!
Cody: [flinches]
Jen: Jan Karon?!??!?!?
Evelyn: Oooh!
Cody: My grandmother likes her. I know you don't read her. But something like--
Jen: I'm reading the Wallander series.
Cody: That's so depressing.
Jen: I like the writing and the characters.
Cody: [laughs at me while sighing]
Jen: Yes, there's violence and sometimes it's a little graphic. But it's not gratuitous and everything's well-paced and I like the structure of things.
Cody: [sighs]
Evelyn: Oooh!

So there you have it.  George R. R. Martin is out (for the time being), Henning Mankell (and translators) are in, and Jan Karon will probably never ever make it into our home.

And, in case you're wondering, everyone is sleeping peacefully these days.

And safely.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book list for March 2012

Firewall: A Kurt Wallander Mystery. Henning Mankell*
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning. Lemony Snicket.*

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book list for February 2012

Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience, Abe Fortas
A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book list for January 2012

One Thousand Gifts. Anne Voskamp.

Yes, one book.  But it was a good one to finish.  Mom gave it to me for Christmas, along with a notebook.  If you've read the book then you'll understand why.  I liked Voskamp's thoughts on living a more joyful life with gratitude. I'll be starting my own list soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book list for 2011

Evelyn has probably spent more time with these books than I have.  She's a very tactile reader.

I nearly forgot about this!  I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't made a post for December (I re-read Frank Herbert's Dune) and then I realized that I hadn't done my yearly book list.

It's a little short this year.  I've been busy.  But here it is, just in case you were really missing it.

 Lady Oracle. Margaret Atwood.

 The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home. Jane Brocket.

 The Hound of Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet.  Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley.

Dune. Frank Herbert.

The Knitting Circle (CD). Ann Hood. Read by Hillary Huber*

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (CD). Stieg Larsson. Trans. Reg Keeland.  Read by Simon Vance.*

The Girl Who Played With Fire. Stieg Larsson. Trans. Reg Keeland.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Stieg Larrson.  Trans. Reg Keeland.

The Night Bookmobile. Audrey Niffenegger.*

Eats, Poops and Leaves: The Essential Apologies, Rationalizations, and Downright Denials Every New Parent Needs to Know and Other Fundamentals of Baby Etiquette. Adam Wasson*

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Simon Winchester.*

To the Lighthouse. Virginia Woolf.

Knitting Without Tears. Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Some thoughts on this year's selection, in no particular order:

Yes, I did the Larrson trilogy.  I think I liked it.  The books were an easy read, and I was able to get through most of them while nursing.  

Eats, Poops and Leaves made me laugh in a sad and resigned sort of way.  

The Gentle Art of Domesticity introduced me to Jane Brocket and I loved looking at the pretty pictures while--what else?--nursing.  

The Professor and the Madman was sad and interesting, and I love Winchester's work on the OED.  

The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide was a library book that was so helpful that we went out and bought our own copy.  

Lady Oracle was a lot funnier than most Atwood novels.  

Listening to The Knitting Circle made me want to join a group and learn a new stitch or project every month or so, but made Cody sigh and ask "What horrible thing happened to this character?" every time he heard me listening to it.  

The Night Bookmobile was sad and unsettling and beautiful in a lonely sort of way, and it met my apparent 'read a graphic novel every couple of years' quota that I didn't know I had.

The Hound of Baskervilles, Dune, and To the Lighthouse were as great as I remembered them.   Or maybe better.  It was nice to think about these books, know what a good story was waiting for me, and then re-enjoying them even more than I thought I would.

And that's it!  I'm currently reading 3 or 4 books right now, and I'm hoping that 2012 will see a few more completions.   

What does your 2011 book list look like?  I'm assuming you kept one and that you read more than I did.   

She read the ending, told me about it, and ruined the whole book for me.  DO NOT invite this girl to your book club.