What I Read: May ’19

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo: A heartfelt memoir from Harjo, who’s poetry I enjoy. There were some bleak pieces to her story but I found this to be a worthwhile and fast read.

What No One Tells You: A Guide to Your Emotions from Pregnancy to Motherhood: I hated this book. It was on display at the library and I thought it would be right up my alley. Instead, it was full of platitudes and see-both-sides. The main message continues to be “ask for help, let your standards fall” like anyone actually comes to your house when you have a new baby and cleans a thing for you! Like your boss does not expect you to be back 12 weeks later, without missing a damn beat. Modern motherhood is hard and not worrying about the dusting is not the damn issue.

Sharp Objects by Jillian Flynn: OK – what happened did this woman’s mama do to her to write such incredibly twisted and vile mothers? I did find myself completely sucked into the plot twists and I would be interested in catching the miniseries.

In the Midst of Winter by Isabell Allende: I did not even finish book. It felt like a mishmash of two completely different genres/plots she wanted to explore. I love so much of her other writing, I was really disappointed to not be swept along with this one.



Eating / banana ‘nice’ cream
Drinking / water, so much water
Practicing / Python / API integrations
Mastering /  State Fair Prep
Learning / how much work homeownership really is
Trying / to let go of the long to do list (ha!)
Playing / kitchen with C-man
Finishing / mending some jammies for me and sewing another tablecloth
Reading / Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo and Appalachian Reckoning edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll
Remembering /
Wearing / my favorite Nike quarter zip in pink, from the MRTT yard sale
Cooking / homemade ragu, sautéed zucchinis and cookies
Working / too much
Traveling / to Lake Erie, soon

previous editions here, here and here


What I Read: April ’19

Since I had a concussion – I got a lot of reading done in April!

Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols: This was a recommendation from a good friend and it is honestly life changing. Nichols’ recommendation on diet (before, during and after pregnancy) are founded on science and her tone is approachable and honest. I found it fairly easy to integrate the foods she suggests to add in but have struggled to remove some of the things she recommends removing.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: I listened to this mystery and found it to become more and more engaging as I got further into it! It plays on the murder mystery trope in some really interesting ways and I did not see all the twists coming. 5/5 stars!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I loved the lyricalness of this book but found it’s main premise a bit farfetched. I see way it’s popular right now and am glad I’ve read it.

Shut Up and Run by Robin Arzon: This was for book club! I found this really motivating (which is hard in the back half of pregnancy) and cannot wait to get out and run again. There is not a lot that is new if you are an experienced runner, which having run my first (and so far, only) full marathon 10 years ago…I am now. Yikes!

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk: Another mom from my Internet Group of Moms was reading this and I liked the title. There is a lot that is structurally different in Sweden to enable more time spent outdoors but the spirit of this book is definitely something M and I strive to bring into our home.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar: I have literally no idea how this ended up on my To Read Goodreads list but I am so glad it did! I also listened to the audiobook of this (mostly pre-concussion) and really enjoyed it. The writing is captivating and the way Joukhadar interwove the two main narratives is magnificent. It is a wonderful, if heart-wrenching, epic for our modern refugee crisis.

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger: I asked for this for Christmas and am so glad to have read it. I asked M approximately 100 times if the town in Minnesota is real. I found this tale to be tightly contained, engaged and filled with characters I was rooting for. I would highly recommend this work of modern fiction.

Witches, Witch Hunting and Women by Silvia Federici: Oof da. This book. It is a collection of essays and explores the mechanisms capitalism used/is using to turn women into witches into order to remove barriers to wealth accumulation. It was a frightening and impossible to put down read. My favorite book of the month – I definitely learn the most!

5 Things My Concussion Taught Me

About a week ago, I managed to hit my head quite hard on a corner while doing laundry. Trust me, I know there are approximately one thousand more fun ways to get an injury! After I was still experiencing symptoms 24 hours later, I went and got seen by my primary care physician who ordered at least 4 days off work, 6 days of NO SCREENS and a month (a month!) of ‘unitasking’ [she basically said, try to limit your brain to either one input or one output at a time for at least a month]. It was humbling and taught me some more than someone who’s taken more than her fair share of tumbles for equines in her lifetime would have expected.

  1. Unitasking is actually faster – I finally took time to switch our ‘coat closet’ from winter to summer. While our house lacks a good landing zone (I appreciate the one at my SIL’s each winter SO MUCH), we have a shoe organizer hanging behind a door that holds hats, gloves, C’s shoes, etc. I have been putting off for weeks. Well, without a screen or podcast or music, I got it done in less than 15 minutes. There is something to be said for just jumping into a task rather than hunting for the right song or playlist before diving in.
  2. I have forgotten how to be a self – I have to admit, the first day of ‘no screens at all’ I really struggled with what to do with myself. I ran a virtual 5k I signed up for, I cleaned up the house and then I just kinda…looked around. Chores and exercise aren’t truly, deeply self care – they are a function required of living. We have to live in a clean, safe place and we have move for health!
  3. I don’t let myself get bored anymore – In the haze and daze of Instagram and connecting and sharing, I have obscured that still small voice that says who I am. We know that this digital life that so rarely allows for good, real BOREDOM is so hard for kids – why do we not assume the same for ourselves? I know I will need to make space to be bored more often.
  4. It is really hard to break up with your phone – they are addictive. A few friends have read and really like How to Break Up with Your Phone and I wasn’t convinced but after this forced break (where I totally still checked it and texted resulting in about an hour of screen time a day) – I know I need to do better, model better.
  5. Our human bodies are fragile – Hardest but maybe the truest? One good whack brought me to a week off work, days of walking where I wanted to go and time for a real break – rather than one where I tried to cram in all the projects, budgeting, and to do’s that are still on my list.

What I Read: Feb & Mar ’19

Run Fast. Eat Slow and Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow by Shalene Flanagan: I raced thru these two cookbooks and really enjoyed them. We tried a few recipes and I wish there was a way to own 1 of both together; there is some redundancy.

Home by Toni Morrison: I listened to this as an audiobook read by the author and I really enjoyed it! The subject matter can be heavy but hearing Morrison bring her own words to life was a thrill.

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchin Rubin: I also raced thru this book. If you are a devotee to Rubin, like I am, there is not a lot of new information in this book. So much of it is in her other works or has been discussed on this podcast, I was frankly, disappointed I spent money on it. I will get wait for her next release from the library.

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo: Another book I picked up in person from Louise Erdrich’s bookstore in Minneapolis. (How I wish I could pop into that store more frequently! Although, I suppose it is good for my bank account and groaning bookshelves that I can’t!). There are some beautiful poems in this book and there were some lines that just absolutely punched me in the gut.

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Another audiobook to the rescue! I work with a lot of data on a daily basis (sometimes I’m update millions of records a day) and I really enjoyed this take on big data. Stephens-Davidowitz has some really interesting takes on things that the Internet can tell us (specifically Google searches) – for example, Americans are significantly more racist than they admit, abortion is more common than people believe (with a terrifying increase in DIY methods) and more. If you are interested in Big Data, it is certainly worth checking out.