What I Read: June ’19

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll: There were several different academic perspectives in this response to Hillbilly Elegy, which I read previously. There are certainly some parts of his story that did not sit right with me – especially the patronizing tone and this helped give me vocabulary for some of the social, economic and political issues I took with his argument.

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco: I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel! I listened to this as an audio book and was taken away with the setting of 1887 Washington Territory. If a fast moving romp with opium is your speed, this might be worth picking up!

Geneva-on-the-Lake OH

We were able to get away for a few days up to Lake Erie and we stayed in Geneva-on-the-Lake. We spent some time hiking in Geneva State Park and played a bit on the beach. We also headed into Ashtabula to see the bridge go up and then onto Conneaut to visit their Train Museum, which our little trainiac loved! We ate at Eddy’s Grill, which is cash only, and the food was very good. We cooked in quite a bit but did have supper one evening at GOTL Brewing Co. They had lots of good guest taps and the walleye sandwich was very good. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from our trip.

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.