Category Archives: Everyday Stuff

Currently…

currentlyIt’s Sunday night and the week ahead promises to be a busy one, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is the last week of a big project for work and also the last week before my kids’ holiday break from school, so fingers crossed that a week from now we’ll all be heaving a sigh of relief. Santa’s on his way…

Loving: The sunsets as seen from our back yard. They’ve been so beautiful this week.

Thinking about: The upcoming holidays. It will be our first Christmas in France after two years away, so we’ll get a chance to catch up with family we haven’t seen since our return. Also, my oldest will be turning 13. I almost have a teenager! Yikes.

Anticipating: Pulling out our Christmas box and decorating the new house. (Yes, I know we’re late. It’s hard to get motivated because we won’t actually be here for Christmas, but I still want to make the effort). I love this time of year.

Watching: ‘The Good Wife’. I never watched this one while it was on, so I’m catching up on Netflix. I love Alicia but don’t understand the attraction to Will. Really? Peter is much sexier, in my opinion. I also hope she and Cary get to be on the same side again soon.

Listening to: Podcasts while I work. Do you have any favorites that you can recommend? It really helps on days when I’m stuck doing tedious tasks.

Eating: Nothing special. The girls and I were supposed to have a sushi date this week but the restaurant was closed. Boo.

Wishing: That my daughter’s fever would go away. She woke up with one yesterday morning and I’m just praying it doesn’t end up being pneumonia again, as she’s prone to getting it and at this time of year it normally knocks her out for a week or so. Not this week, please.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

The November Wrap-Up

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About a year ago I stopped blogging, and that was absolutely the right thing for me to do. Since then, we found out my husband’s company was closing their Atlanta office, we debated staying in the U.S. or going back to the job that was waiting for him in France, and we ultimately decided to move back.

We returned to France in July, and life since then has been a whirlwind. We looked for a house, lived in a temporary apartment while waiting, then finally closed on a house and moved in early October. The girls started new schools and I adjusted to working from home (temporarily) until I can look for a new job. We started over, again.

Starting over is something we have some practice doing, although it never really gets easier. I tend to go into survival mode until the worst of the stress is behind me, and I think I’m just finally starting to come out of that. I’m feeling more like myself than I have in a while, and I truly think this move will end up being the right thing for us. Transitions are hard, though, especially for an introvert. I turn to reading as an escape, so I’ve been doing a lot of it these past months.

In November, I finished four books:

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

I enjoyed all of these, though the last two were probably the best of the lot. Pretty Girls is a solid Slaughter book–if you’ve read her before, you know what you’re getting. The two Kearsley novels were not bad but not great, either. The Shadowy Horses feels like an early novel, and A Desperate Fortune is better written but really dragged for me, particularly in the sections that were set in 1700’s France.

As I’m slowing starting to feel settled, blogging again feels right. I don’t know if this will be a long-term thing but I’m glad to be writing again, for now.

Wishing you a magical December and a very happy holiday season. Happy reading!

The (October and) November Wrap-Up

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I’m a reading machine! Clearly, posting only once every two months is doing wonders for my reading habits, if not my writing ones.

It’s been a busy couple of months in my non-reading life as well. I started a new job mid-October which is going well so far. My commute is almost an hour long, which means I have plenty of time to listen to audiobooks.

In October and November, I manage to finish eleven books:

  1. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson*
  2. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  3. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
  4. The Accident by Chris Pavone
  5. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (audio)
  6. Lottery by Patricia Wood (audio)
  7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell*
  8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (audio)
  9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  10. The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig
  11. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith*

Three of these were five-star reads for me (signified by *), which isn’t too shocking considering they are some of my favorite authors. I probably enjoyed Carry On the most, however, simply because it completely surprised me. Having read Fangirl and not been crazy about the Simon Snow parts of that book, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a book all about him, but I did. Rowell’s take on the ‘Chosen One’ was hilarious and touching and much more thought-provoking than I expected. So, so good.

My least favorite read this month, hands down, was Gone Girl. I waited a long time to read this much-hyped book, and I wish I had never read it at all. Getting in the car everyday and turning on this audiobook made me a little sick, and I wish I had just stopped listening rather than feeling that I had to finish it. What a depressing read. This may be my least favorite of the year.

I finished an item on my 40×40 list this month as well–I took my girls camping! We had the best time and I hope I won’t have to wait until I’m officially 40 to do it again. So much fun.

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Hope everyone has a great December and end of the reading year!

The (August and) September Wrap-Up

monthly-wrap-upTime flies when you’re having fun, right? I honestly don’t know where the time has gone since school started back in August. With the addition of Girl Scouts and other outside activities, our calendar has been pretty full.

But I’m not complaining. As much as I love having downtime, it’s been nice to get back into a routine and I’ve been having a lot of fun, so the saying must be true. In addition to reading, I finished FIVE things on my 40×40 list (woohoo!) The pictures below sum those up pretty nicely.

In August and September, I read eight books:

  1. Broken Harbor by Tana French
  2. Invisible City by Julia Dahl
  3. An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
  4. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  5. French Milk by Lucy Knisley
  6. Run You Down by Julia Dahl
  7. The Secret Place by Tana French
  8. Last Ragged Breathe by Julia Keller

The one thing I could say overall is that with each of these author’s books I’ve read, they just keep getting better. Both the Dahl, French, and Keller books are in a series, with each book being stronger than the last. Knisley, who writes graphic novels, shows a marked improvement in her later works; French Milk was her first and it definitely showed. The one exception to that is John Darnielle. Wolf in White Van is the only book I’ve read by him so I can’t judge the rest of his writing, but in this case one was enough. I found WIWV (which received a lot of critical attention and praise) to be incredibly depressing. Not recommended.

Coming up in October, I’ve got a pretty blank slate, reading-wise. Plenty of room for surprises. On the 40×40 front, I’m taking my girls camping for the first time towards the end of the month and I’m almost finished making a quilt for my new niece. I’ll leave you with some photos of the things I got to check off recently!

Hope everyone has a great October and happy reading!

Currently…

currently

It’s been a while since I checked in with a ‘Currently’ post, so I thought I would talk a little about what I’ve been up to lately. I haven’t been reading too much this past week but there are plenty of other things taking over my brain…

Loving: That I’ve been sticking with my menu planning for almost a month now. I don’t always follow my plan to the letter but it is definitely cutting down on the number of times we eat out and I’m feeling less stressed about what I’m going to put on the table.

Thinking about: A job offer that I turned down this week. It was a hard decision to make but I weighed the pros and cons, talked to my husband, and decided that it wasn’t the right choice for me.

Anticipating: The Decatur Book Festival. an upcoming weekend away with my husband, and a camping trip with my daughters. So many good things to look forward to.

Watching: ‘Alone’. Did you guys watch this show on the History Channel? It was so good! I won’t spoil it by telling you who wins, but I found it to be such a thought-provoking and inspiring show.

Listening to: Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle on audiobook. I’ve only listened to one cd but I’m finding it intriguing.

Eating: Good things, mostly. This morning I went to buy doughnuts for a Saturday morning breakfast treat, and they were yummy. Tomorrow I’m making a sausage and kale soup in the slow cooker.

Wishing: That the right opportunity would come along and that my path would appear before me, clearly lit and well-blazed. I’m not good with uncertainty.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and enjoying every moment of this last month of summer.

The July Wrap-Up

monthly-wrap-upJuly was a good month, busy but with plenty of time for fun as well. We moved into our new house and have settled in nicely, the girls and I went swimming and to the movies and to an amusement park, and somehow I still found time to read!

In July, I finished four books:

  1. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  2. Bitter River by Julia Keller
  3. Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller
  4. Faithful Place by Tana French

If you’re familiar at all with the authors on this list, you’ll see that these books all fit into the mystery/detective novel genre. Clearly, I’ve been on a kick! My favorite was The Silkworm, which is the second novel that J.K. Rowling has written under the pen name Robert Galbraith. This book did exactly what I was hoping it would do, which was flesh out the characters introduced in the first novel (especially Robin), and now I can’t wait to read the third book (due out this fall).

The girls start back to school next week and I’m hoping to kick my job search up a notch. I would appreciate any good job vibes you could send my way–I’m so ready to be back to work and doing something I enjoy. I’ve applied for a couple of things that look interesting, so fingers crossed…

Other than that, I don’t have any big plans for August. I’m planning to attend the Decatur Book Festival again this year but it’s been moved to the first weekend in September. There are going to be some great authors, though, so if you live anywhere near Atlanta I highly recommend it. Erica Jong and Roxane Gay are going to be giving the keynote, which reminds me that I need to move Roxane Gay up my TBR pile.

Hope everyone enjoys the last month of the summer *sniff* and happy reading!

The June Wrap-Up

monthly-wrap-upIt’s been several months since I did a ‘Wrap-Up’ post, so I’m going to quickly recap what I’ve been reading since February. The stats for March and April should tell you something about what a stress nightmare those two months were for me. When I’m not reading, something is WRONG.

Things have picked up since school let out in May, and I’m back to reading at pre-nightmare levels once more. All is right with the world again.

Sigh of relief.

Books read:

March – The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

April – Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (audio)

May – The Distance by Helen Giltrow
           The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
           The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
           The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (audio)

June – An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
           Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
           The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
           Euphoria by Lily King
A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

I might possibly finish another book before the day is out, but I’m not counting on it so I won’t add it in just yet. The best of the bunch was probably Euphoria by Lily King which I was absolutely fascinated by and devoured in less than a day. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver is also excellent and a must read for anyone interested in America during the 1950’s and McCarthyism. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but it’s a very impressive book.

I hope everyone had a good reading month in June and that your summer is going along swimmingly. 🙂