Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Word of the year

I'm behind by a couple of daybooks, because I can't figure out just what to say in my rage over the shutdown.  Husband has worked some absolute miracles on the house, though.

Being pregnant got me to FINALLY remember to bring in an exercise ball to sit on in my office, since it's no longer so comfortable to sit in a chair or stand all day.  Jostling around on the ball just now, I got to thinking:

I can never come up with a Word For The Year in January (nor new year's resolutions either). But maybe for the new fiscal year, my word can be MOVE.

Stiff back? Get up, stretch for 2 seconds, sit down.  Just moving a little helped.

Nodding off? Overwhelmed by a to-do item? Failing to generally be excellent? Just moving a little on these things will, I expect, help just as much.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daybook, 24 September 2013

A little late on this week's daybook, but that may not be so unusual...

Outside my window...
It was COLD this morning, which is lovely.

Breathing deeply...
We're doing much better on the evening walks -- probably at least half the evenings?  Plus a lot of barge-hauling and bale-toting as we rearrange the house for baby.

I am thankful for...
a relatively easy pregnancy.  Everything I want to complain about seems to be a signal to remember that someone I know has the same symptom, only more troublesome, and sometimes for a sadder reason...

I am listening to...
the hum of computers; writing over lunch time at work (with my feet up on a standing desk, which makes leaning up to type rather interesting, given this big belly).

From the kitchen...
Husband made a spectacular chicken-and-bok-choy stir fry on Sunday.  Last night, I made two batches of "pumpkin" chocolate-chip cookie bars, using some CSA squash instead of the pumpkin.  They've got a weird bitter aftertaste, which the internet suggests might be due to slightly rancid (even though fresh-bought) whole wheat flour.  Also made two batches of fudge, which I haven't yet gotten around to picking at...

I am wearing...
"skinny" maternity jeans (the comfy full-panel ones were all skinny jeans when I was buying jeans), a white camisole, and Husband's red sweatshirt. That last item looks particularly weird to me; it sits almost the same way it does when I'm not pregnant, except that it's full of firm round belly instead of air.

I am creating...
Still working on the chemo cap; progress is frustratingly slow.

Bringing beauty to my home...
Same as last week: We're in the middle of an enormous furniture-rearranging project to make room for the new baby, and we also have a new couch! Practicing letting go of all the Stuff I've been holding on to, and hoping the practice builds skills that stick.

I am reading...
Working on reading more actual books; I still read a lot of blogs (well, blog archives, really), but I'm sauntering through What Matters in Jane Austen? (from the library) and Going in Circles (which has been on my to-read shelf forever).  Both fun; the former is a bit dry, but interesting to me, while the latter is mostly silly (in a good way).  Also reading scraps of the Our Bodies, Ourselves pregnancy and childbirth book.

I am hoping...
for a safe and reasonably happy birth for this baby, and for healing and good health all over my family.

I am pondering...
how to present this paper to the reading group on Thursday

Cultivating rhythm...
Our late schedule persists; it still frustrates us a little, and still seems to be working pretty nicely as far as household functioning goes.

Learning lessons in...
compassion; as I mentioned above, all the pregnancy symptoms I want to complain about seem to have become calls to remember others who are suffering more.

One of my favorite things...
anticipating autumn and Thanksgiving and Christmas -- and now, this year, baby too.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
It should be pretty quiet around here; I'm hoping to have the energy for more evenings of rearranging and culling.  Husband is going for a weekend hike. I don't really want to leave the house at all; I want to be at home, making home better.

It does seem that my love of open spaces and my desire to have our baby grow up in a tidy, open house is enough to make me get rid of things I've been holding onto.

A picture thought...


I'm even getting rid of my beloved (though little-used) typewriter.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Daybook, 16 September 2013

As I've been archive-binging some other folks' blogs, it occurred to me that these popular daybook prompts (I based my version heavily on Elizabeth Foss's) might be a good way to get me journaling.

Outside my window...
We've had most of a week of cool-to-warm fall weather already, and it looks like it's going to continue.  We've already had more of this beautiful mildness than we seem to get in some entire seasons, and I haven't spent enough time outside enjoying it yet.

Breathing deeply...
Husband and I did a great job of taking walks during our trips to California this summer -- the last time out, we even walked to work instead of renting a car. We really fell off the wagon when we came home to the heat and humidity. I'd like to get back to taking evening walks, but we've got an awful lot to do around the house, so maybe a lunch time walk would be better...

I am thankful for...
beautiful weather, a flexible job, and my whole family.

I am listening to...
tunes stuck in my head, including the Magnificat from Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer.

From the kitchen...
The CSA peaches got moldy before we used them this week, which is a pity. Dinner tonight is the end of two of Husband's deliciously salty creations: a ham and bean soup, and chicken fried rice.

I am wearing...
straight-leg maternity jeans, a magenta-and-white striped tank top, and a grey snap-up cardigan I've had since at least my freshman year in college.

I am creating...
A soft cap for my mother-in-law, who recently started chemotherapy.  Hoping it will be the right size this time, and that I can get it finished reasonably quickly in spite of my tingly fingers.

Bringing beauty to my home...
We're in the middle of an enormous furniture-rearranging project to make room for the new baby, and we also have a new couch! Practicing letting go of all the Stuff I've been holding on to, and hoping the practice builds skills that stick.

I am reading...
Probably too much internet and too few books. It's easier to read blog archives on my phone or iPad while I'm making breakfast or cleaning or brushing my teeth than to carry a book with me and prop it open.  Younger me might be very disappointed indeed.

I am hoping...
for healing and good health all over my family.

I am pondering...
how to nurture our baby's spirit.  Culturally I'm Catholic, but I really can't find peace with the Church as an institution.  I'd still like Baby to grow up familiar with some of the traditions of our people; I wish there was more of a tradition of cultural Catholicism, the way some of our friends are culturally Jewish.  This wish probably horrifies a lot of people.

I want Baby to feel the rhythm of the year -- seasons and celebrations -- and I want him to know about the examples of good people, and the different ways they were good.

Cultivating rhythm...
We've fallen into a cycle of sleeping and waking and working times that seems to be working OK for now.  Part of me wants it to be more intentional -- and earlier -- but I don't think it's really causing problems, and the energy to change it would be better spent working on our home.

Learning lessons in...
a number of the things I worked on in grad school, which I don't remember in nearly as much detail as I wish I did.

One of my favorite things...
Hitting snooze a few times and easing into the cool autumn day, pleasant parts first.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Husband is cooking mix-and-match pastas for village dinner tomorrow. We've got a lot of cleaning and hauling and especially tossing to do, and it looks like we've got as much time as we ever have to do them in.  Husband is working long days in order to have more time to flex his schedule when Baby comes.

A picture thought...
I've been hauling these two medals around, and I'm not 100% sure what they're FOR. There's a lot like this in the basement -- mixed in, of course, with things I'm still inclined to think are precious.



Husband reminded me that I haven't been food-blogging, and he's made a variety of pretty fantastic things with our CSA vegetables this summer. Here are the only summer meals I seem to have taken a picture of with my cell phone (and thus the only ones I can post about while my code runs at work...)


Zucchini, yellow tomato, and chicken on pasta, with hilariously curled kielbasa segments on the side. A terrible photo, but the meal wasn't nearly as photogenic as it was tasty, anyway.


Stir fry with chicken, yellow bell pepper, and bitter melon. Overall the stir fry was good, but I DO NOT LIKE BITTER MELON, NO SIR, I DO NOT. Husband likes it OK, evidently.


Nachos! With fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Various versions of these nachos are a classic in our household.


Leftover Peruvian chicken with CSA green beans, steamed, and homemade beans&rice. The whole meal was very good, but the green beans were my favorite part.


Utterly spectacular fried-eggplant grinders.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Review: Portuguese Irregular Verbs


Portuguese Irregular Verbs
Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Listened to, and much enjoyed, the audiobook in March 2009; got the print version from the library January 2013. It is rather hard to convince people that a slow-paced book about German academics could be so funny.



View all my reviews

Review: Portuguese Irregular Verbs


Portuguese Irregular Verbs
Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Listened to, and much enjoyed, the audiobook in March 2009; for the print version from the library January 2013. It is rather hard to convince people that a slow-paced book about German academics could be so funny.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Genesis


Genesis
Genesis by Bernard Beckett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



The post apocalyptic society seemed artificial and strange at times, but this book was a total success in that:

- it was engaging and absorbing (and a fairly quick read),

- I didn't even begin to predict the first big plot twist, which I really should have seen coming,

- and I certainly didn't see the last big plot twist, which was a success not only at surprising me but at thoroughly unsettling me.




View all my reviews

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism


Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism
Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



What an odd book. Reading it felt like listening to someone try to tell you about a dream they had: full of powerful images and gripping stories, all of which fail, by just a very little bit, to quite get across or make complete sense.

I'm just the sort of terrible human being who can say, from experience, that there are MUCH better books about eugenics out there.



View all my reviews

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Review: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Earlier this week, a friend at work sent me a link to a blog post whose author was writing about using the ideas from this book when talking to adults as well as to kids. The post included a couple of the book's cartoons, which I liked, so I got it from the library.

This book is JUST what I was looking for to get better at interacting with my friends' kids. I'm quite good with little babies, but I feel like I'm constantly losing arguments with kids as they get older and more verbal. Faber and Mazlish reminded me of some things I already knew, and gave concrete examples of skills I wasn't using. I feel infinitely better prepared now for hanging out with toddlers, preschoolers, and even older kids.



View all my reviews