Tuesday, January 14, 2020

first books of 2020

Last year, I documented all my books on Instagram, and while I liked that, my effort to keep it short meant that I didn't fully capture my thoughts, though I did like doing it as a method of sharing. And since not everyone can add a swipe-up (a swipe-up to goodreads would be super handy!), I wondered if sharing a book in that way even made sense. Bre is keeping a paper book journal and that also sounds like a thing I would like but I haven't made time for it yet. So, that said, I have a few minutes on a call to write some book thoughts so I don't totally forget what I have read this month, so far.

The Chelsea Girls - I started this in December and pushed through it for whatever reason. I think by the time I realized I didn't care about it much, I had invested too much time. There was one aspect that I was really interested in, but for whatever reason, it felt like the characters were always at arm's length and I just never got into it. Two stars.

Things You Save in a Fire - Brene Brown recommended this in her old newsletter and the author has Texas connections so I added it to my list. If you like TJR, you may like Katherine Center. Both of her books I've read have a woman dealing with a major life event and seeming fairly human through it all. By human, I mean that I don't think a ton is romanticized and there is an element of realness to their actions, thoughts, and problems. I liked this, despite being over the trope of closed-off female character whose life would be easier if she just talked to someone, so I added another of the author's books to my hold list at the library right away. Four stars.

Before We Were Strangers - This cover was really appealing and I've read some YA books that the author had written, so I was interested in a more adult story. This book went back and forth between the character's present selves (mid-30s) and college selves which worked for the story. It still had a bit of YA-perfect man syndrome (you know what I mean? Where the male love interest is so dreamy and the only one who really SEES her...) and was highly improbable in my opinion, but it did keep me interested. Three stars.

How to Walk Away - My second Katherine Center book. Her books are easy romances but when the mood strikes and the library delivers, I go for it. There was a lot of conflict in this book (at least one plotline that I maybe could have lived without), but I always love when a book that has a solid epilogue that tells you fairly far into the future. Four more stars.

I'm currently reading the biography of Mr. Rogers since I loved the doc about his life, but it is s-u-p-e-r slow and keeps putting me to sleep, so it may become a DNF. How do you log your reading? Is that important to you? I rarely, if ever, remember a book beyond a few weeks, so I need a little something to jog my memory.

Linking up with Steph and Jana for the first time in forever!

Friday, December 13, 2019

the story of pippi

This is mostly pulled from an email to Bre which is why it is especially rambly but it's been almost two weeks and I haven't devoted a post to our newest family member yet!

So after losing Duncan, Andrew and I decided we wanted another dog. One that was ours from the beginning and that we chose. I wanted an older dog. He wanted a puppy and would not budge. I finally caved after he made many, many promises to be the best dog dad ever, even though we both knew that my work from home schedule meant that I would have the most time with it and have to do a lot more work, considering.

So we looked all over the place and really liked several dogs with Operation Pets Alive, which pulls dogs from the Montgomery Co. Animal Shelters - often puppies or pregnant moms - and then gets dogs ready for homes, of course. We felt super strongly about adopting a rescue and really wanted a puppy smaller than Bauer (who is currently 15 lbs). Andrew preferred a dog that would get to 30-40 lbs, but for me, the smaller, the better.

So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Andrew was in Austin, but I decided to take a drive to all four adoption events that rescue had that day. I saw some dogs that were cute, but I didn't want to make a decision on my own without him getting to meet it since this was going to be our family member for the next decade or more. Then the two I liked most were adopted. Sad for me. So we got back on the website and there was a litter of four cute puppies and nothing was known about them but they were small and adorable. We put in an application for one because she seemed like the smallest, but she had already been adopted. I put in our email that we were interested in any from the litter and then I stalked the website every day to see if the other three pups were still listed (and therefore, eligible for adoption). There was lots of waiting and follow up (it was Thanksgiving week and our application was somehow "lost" so I'm glad I did!) and when I was finally able to talk to their foster mom, I told her we wanted Pippi (FKA Freckle Nose) as our first choice but were still pretty open to the others. Andrew especially liked the only boy puppy. The foster mom told us she would be at an adoption event on Saturday and we should come meet her and the whole litter. So we planned to do so.

I was so ready to have a dog. We went out on Black Friday and got all the things we thought we would need or want for a puppy to bring home the next day. There were good sales and I like to be prepared!

We got to the event before the time we were asked to arrive and there were tons of people around the crate with that litter. The boy dog was already out of the crate and snuggling someone else, and then he peed on them and I was able to quickly say "nope, not the one for us." We took Pippi out of her crate and snuggled her and she was very cozy and licked Andrew's nose and was a good size and just overall, very puppy cute. I introduced myself to the foster mom and she told us and some others that there were a lot of applications for that litter and after that day and seeing who came and reviewing when applications came in, she would determine who could get each dog. And i was SO sad. I was ready to go home with a dog that day and I wanted to used car salesman her and be like, "what do we have to do to bring this puppy home today?" She just felt like she should be ours.

I was really bummed so I put her back in her crate and since there were a ton of people around talking to the foster mom and wanting to check out "our" pup, I told Andrew we should go inside the mall (the adoption was right outside) and run a few errands and maybe when we came out, we could chat with the foster mom some more. About 15 minutes later, the foster mom texted me saying she had wanted to chat with me more and I immediately texted back that we were still there, just running an errand inside, and could be right back. So we came back out and she said "You are first on the list for her, she is yours today if you want her!" So yes duh, we did. We had a long list of girl names in case we took the other girl in her litter, a few boy names in case we took the one Andrew wanted, and I had said from the beginning that if we took Freckle Nose, her name had to be Pippi and Andrew agreed, so that was easy enough.

Pippi and her siblings were found - no idea about the parents. They were bottle fed and had hookworm and all kinds of crazy ailments and she almost died. The tip of her tail fell off! But you wouldn't know it now, other than her size! She was 8.5 weeks and 5.5 lbs when we got her and we are guessing her birthday to be around October 1st.

I have no idea how to have a puppy. The first two nights, she cried in her pen next to our bed, but she is doing a lot better now. I was also waking up at 2am to take her out to the bathroom but that is no longer really necessary (yay!). We are working on house training (not TOO bad, honestly. most of her accidents are our fault). However, since I am always home, she does NOT like to be left alone. She will climb out of her puppy pen and chew cords (RIP Apple Watch charger) and make messes, so I am working to get her more comfortable there and leaving her in her pen, even if I'm home. She likes to chew which i know is a puppy thing and has a bit of a witching hour from 8pm - 10pm where she wants to nip, bark, growl, and act more aggressive than usual. Bauer can barely stand be in the same room as her unless he chooses to do so, and then he stares at her to rile her up. I miss him because he won't snuggle with us. I did have a bit of a meltdown over the weekend because between Christmas prep and having a puppy, my brain was just... tired. If I wasn't taking care of the dog, I was researching what to do to stop a certain behavior or reading about training or food and if I wasn't doing THAT, I was stressing about Christmas. It is hard and if it's 1/100th of what having a baby is like... man moms, y'all are fantastic. Pip is a total lap dog and more often than not, lays in my lap when I get down to play with her. She eats all things fuzzy and enjoys acorn tops and rocks as well as her numerous chew toys. She has learned to sit really, really well, so now we have to master some new tricks. It has been a tiring two weeks, I can't believe how much she has grown, and I still need to read all the training books but I'm excited to have her in the family!

(And yes, she has taken over my instagram account if you need more puppies in your life!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

political thoughts

I feel like five people read my blog but twitter is owned by bots and trolls so this feels like a safer space to say all the political things I want to tweet.

- George Zimmerman needs to take a seat.

- Mayor Pete, also, please stop. I am very sad about Kamala Harris. I hadn't looked into her TOO much (I haven't looked into anyone too much, the pool is too deep) but I much prefer her to Ben Wyatt.

- How is 45 still in office and is this hellscape presidency over yet? I heard family members supporting him over the holiday and really all they could say is he has done good things for their retirement accounts. I wanted to "OK Boomer" them but I may be too old for that?

- I didn't understand a single word of the impeachment hearings. I need a version of The Skimm that tries less hard. Does this exist?

- RBG, please make it at least til January 2021. AT LEAST. I know that date assumes a lot of things that are up in the air but it seems like an optimistic and realistic ask.

- NBC seems to have a huge HR problem among its ranks (see: Gabrielle Union, Matt Lauer, Ronan Farrow's entire book). You're a huge company. You can hire top talent to manage your "top talent" (in quotes because I watch none of their shows and am 100% an ABC watcher). Be better.

- I recently and with a bit of skepticism read Sisters First by Jenna and Barbara Bush. I wanted nonfiction that wasn't full of sadness but I was ready to DNF if it didn't grab my attention. I honestly, truly enjoyed it which I do feel conflicted about in some ways. But, they told really good stories and highlighted that they are not the same as their family members and they can love someone while disagreeing with them, even when what that person wants impacts the WHOLE country. It was very humanizing on what it must be like to play this weird part in history when you had no say in it at all (they even told their dad NOT to run!)

Surely I have more thoughts, but this works for now. I did terribly on blogging every weekday in November but hey, I think I posted more that  month than the rest of 2019 combined so I'll call it a win!

Friday, November 22, 2019

at present

How did I used to write five blog posts per week? Inspiration is tough and I get caught in trap A, of "have I already shared enough of that on Instagram?" or trap B, "who cares?" I was ready to be amazing this week, but I won the Dear Evan Hansen ticket lottery for Tuesday, needed to go to the gym Wednesday night, and then took Bauer to the vet and went to the gym again Thursday. No excuse, really, but going to the show messed with my plans.

I do like to steal from my friends' ideas so Bre's At Present is today's inspiration. We both have October birthdays but are different signs which if you know us, makes perfect sense. I'm not super into astrology, but trust me here.

So I turned 35 last month. It feels bigger than 34 since I am now firmly mid-30s and as close to my 20s as to my 40s. I also try to stop myself and think that aging is a privilege many don't get so while I am thinking about wrinkles and retirement savings, I do understand that I am fortunate to be able to do so. For some reason, it's a little easier when your spouse is a solid 3.5 years older than you are. I mean, I don't look at him and think he is old, which must mean I'm not old.

At Present, goals are working for me and motivating me to go to the gym and write blog posts and that's something.

At Present, I think more about what I need, what I can say no to, and think more on the Why of things. Why do I feel this way, how come I think I need to do that, what would make me feel better in this moment?

At Present, I strongly believe in the power of medication and therapy, and therapy check-ins, even if you think things are all good.

At Present, I live in athleisure. Bless whoever made it a thing. If I have to get out of sweatpants, leggings, and cozy, oversized sweaters to do a thing...I may not do it.

At Present, I want to push myself just a little. I joined a volunteer group with strangers and it isn't that bad. I may want to foster a dog in the new year. Maybe I'll set a fitness goal? Probably not, but I'll at least keep watching Veronica Mars on the treadmill.

At Present, I still love the idea of my bullet journal but rarely use it like I should.

At Present, I think working from home is the greatest but also wonder what career opportunities are out there and what it would take to make me commute, wear real clothes, and interact with humans again.

At Present, I am listening to the new Coldplay and wondering when they will tour again as they are one of the few bands still on my must-see live concert list.

Looking forward, I hope 35 is a year of appreciating what I have, trying new things, keeping up with things that serve me, more books, and a renewed ability in expressing myself clearly and in a way that I feel is interesting.

Monday, November 18, 2019

wrong to right

I think there is something to be said for knowing that something is "wrong" with you and also knowing how to fix it.

After a not-so-wonderful work trip last week and a plane ride back in which every tiny annoyance that could have happened actually happened, I was in A MOOD Friday. I had a doctor's appointment that morning that I was actually looking forward to - I was going to use half a sick day and ease myself back into things. But, as I was about to leave, the office called me and said the doctor was sick. So, I needed to work a full day.

So I worked on things that made me the least crabby. It didn't help. I was supposed to go to dinner with Andrew and his friend who was in town visiting that night and realized around 3ish that I didn't have it in me to listen to guys talk about BBQ and be "on" anymore. It just sounded exhausting. I bowed out, took a nap, watched some TV, went to the gym, and ate mac and cheese for dinner. And then some frozen custard. It was super simple but just what I NEEDED.

The next day, I pretty much felt like myself! I spent the morning being pretty lazy and listing things on Poshmark and then I met Sarah for three hours at Dirt Cheap. Dirt Cheap is a store in the south that gets a ton of Target merchandise - clearance, returns, damaged boxes, etc. - and sells it for, well, dirt cheap. It's like a garage sale or thrift store of new stuff. You have to dig. We did, and had good finds (I always post my shopping finds on IG stories if that is your thing). And then we grabbed dinner. Sarah is just such a positive person, and last week when I knew my week sucked but that we were going to hang out on Saturday, I texted her that I was looking forward to seeing her. Like, I knew she was the kind of person whose energy I needed which sounds kind of hokey but some people help you feel your most snarky and some people make you feel your happiest and she is definitely the latter. Which is ironic because she gave me a sweater that says "Don't" on it inspired by David on Schitt's Creek. It is SO soft and I wore it to buy a bottle of wine that night and I feel like people stayed out of my way.

On Sunday, between Bauer and Andrew forgetting his wallet and coming back home thirty minutes after leaving, I was up at 7:30 and decided to do things! This never happens. I spent about an hour in a brand new HEB, dropped off a meal at my friend's house who just had a baby, did some straightening in the house, and then ventured to the mall right at noon (when it opens on Sundays in Texas) to buy two get two free on Bath and Body Works candles and do some Christmas shopping. I can't believe there is only one more weekend before malls get fully unbearable and all shopping has to be done online. I went to my regular 4pm yoga class and almost lost it on two women who wanted to have a whispered conversation and all the people who come in late - especially 15 minutes after it starts. Who does that? This is a very quiet, chill class so people setting up is so distracting. Peak first world problems, for sure, but it happens every week. I came home and made roasted veggie grain bowls (a recipe I pinned after Kristen talked about it forever ago) for lunches this week and set up my bujo and talked to Andrew and his friend about their day.

Since I love when Steph does this, breakfasts for the week are Veggies Made Great apple cinnamon muffins, Kind bars, oatmeal, or a smoothie. Lunches are the aforementioned grain bowls, Thai salad, or leftovers. Andrew and his friend ate a lot of BBQ and bought/were given more than they could eat (including a ton of osso bucco?!?) so dinners are osso bucco with green beans and couscous, chili with leftover brisket, veggie quesadillas, and my attempt at chicken tikka masala in the crockpot with rice and peas (I just bought some sauce and I'm gonna throw it in with the chicken and then put some peas in at the end to defrost - not sure how this will work but seems easy?).

I am 99% sure I am going to add Monday and Tuesday to my time off request for next week so that means a week of work and then a week off and Christmas craziness is upon us. Let's go.