Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Books I Read (August)

Total Books Read: 6

The House in the Cerulean Sea 
By T.J. Klune 

Favorite book of 2021. 

It was beautiful. 
It was magical. 
The characters were magnificent. 
The story flowed wonderfully. 
I cried and cried and cried. 
100% favorite book of 2021. 

The Viscount Who Loved Me 
By Julia Quinn
[spoilers ahead]

I love the Bridgerton characters 
and I loved this book like the first 
even though (or perhaps "because"?) it was the
exact the same storyline as the first. 

Anthony didn't want to get married, 
just like the Duke didn't want to get married. 
Kate initially hates Anthony, 
the same way that Daphne is originally repulsed. 
They are both forced into marriage by a scandal. 
Then early marriage is fraught with male withdrawal 
(Duke doesn't want child, Anthony doesn't want to love) 
but surprise surprise, 
they work out in the end!

But I still loved it. 

The Brillant Life of Eudora Honeysett 
By Annie Lyons 

Very much "A Man Called Ove" vibes, 
cranky elderly person with complicated history, 
but without Fredrik Backman's writing style. 

This was a lovely tear-jerker book 
where I adored all the characters 
and was sad when the book ended. 

Carry on, Warrior: 
Thoughts on Life Unarmed 
By Glennon Doyle 

This is the first of Glennon Doyle's books, 
but I didn't read it until after "Love Warrior" and "Untamed." 

On one hand, it was interesting to go back in time with Doyle 
seeing as she often references her past self in future books. 

That said, if I hadn't read the other two books, 
I definitely would not have liked this one. 

This Glennon Doyle is very wrapped up in the neat little bow of Christianity. 
It's a very preachy, God-love-heavy book, 
which explains why her later books 
involve so much explaining of herself and her decisions 
to the Christian community. 

While there were nuggets of life truth sprinkled throughout, 
overall it was a meh book and I wouldn't recommend. 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City 
By Matthew Desmond


I cannot say enough good things about this book. 
I knew it would be difficult to read, full of heavy topics, 
and I expected to slog through it, 
but instead I couldn't put it down. 
The stories were captivating. 

It's very similar to "The Warmth of Other Suns" (review here)
in that it taught me a lot about the subject 
(in this case, household instability at the poorest levels) 
through people's stories 
so I felt like I was reading a book of fiction, 
not being schooled on a topic. 

Highly highly highly recommend. 

An Offer from a Gentleman 
By Julia Quinn

The third book in the Bridgerton series. 
I was not pleased with this book 
because it started EXACTLY as "Ever After." 

"Ever After" (starring Drew Barrymore) 
was my childhood BFF's favorite movie, 
so after watching it dozens of times, 
I have the movie memorized. 

This book kicks off almost identically to Ever After. 
It does, after a few chapters, finally divert from the Ever After storyline, 
but it really left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

The End of Summer

No matter how long a vacation is, 
5 days or 10 days,
and no matter how great the vacation is going, 
on the last day I'm ready to go home. 

That's how I feel about this last week of summer. 
Summer was fantastic. 
Between the pool 
and the lake 
and the beach 
and our friends, 
we packed in so much fun. 

And I am so ready for it to be over. 

I'm done with this season, 
let's move on to fall. 
Let's get back to school 
and back to a school routine 
and weather that isn't deathly hot. 

I don't need to wear my Uggs and a sweatshirt just yet 
but I'd like to wear jean shorts and a t-shirt 
without sweating my balls off. 

I'm ready for screentime to be gone from our daily lives. 
(House rule: no screentime during week during school.) 

I'm ready for my children to GO THE FUCK TO SCHOOL. 
I mean that in the most loving, caring, motherly way possible. 

I have noticed something this summer 
that I think was true in previous summers 
but I never documented it. 

Aaron gets better as summer progresses. 
He starts off with the sass and attitude from school 
but over summer, he turns into the most chill happy kid. 

I think he thrives on the independence and freedom of summer. 
He has all 8 acres of the pool club to roam with his friends
and doesn't have to answer to anyone 
except when it's time to leave. 
During naptime, he can read for hours at home 
or do whatever he wants during the quiet of the house. 

Aaron LOVES travel 
and loves our time at the lake 
and the beach 
and wherever our summer adventures take us. 

Oliver, on the other hand, deteriorates as summer goes on. 

He starts off as a happy bubble of sunshine. 
And then by the end, 
he's annoying and whiny and omg I'm so over it. 
Why?  I don't know. 
The only thing I can think, 
is perhaps he needs more structure 
than our summer routine gives him? 
Who knows. 
Either way, I am SO READY for him to start school. 

I'm also excited to have time just me and Carson. 
Carson has made this summer a bit challenging, 
but we've soldiered through it 
and I'm confident this was the hardest summer 
and next year, at age 2.5, will be much easier? 

While Carson won't be attending any childcare programs this fall, 
my in-laws and my dad have each agreed to take him one day a week 
which I am VERY VERY excited about. 
We'll fill the other 3 days with errands 
and meet-ups with friends at parks and playgrounds.  
I'm confident it'll be a good fall. 

Aaron starts this Monday (August 30th), 
as do all students Grades 1st-12th. 
During this time, the district conducts Kindergarten screening and orientation. 
Thus, Oliver will start kindergarten a week later (after Labor Day). 

It's a weird start to school, 
mostly because of the Jewish holidays. 
Aaron will have 4 days in school , 
then a 5-day weekend from Friday to Tuesday, 
which is Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). 
Then 3 days in school, 
then weekend, 
then 4 days in school (Yom Kippur is 9/16). 
The kids don't have a full 5 days in school until the third week of September! 

The kids will all wear masks in school which (to quote Erika
since we are the "mask-wearing, scientific-advice-following" type,  
we support. 

I hope everyone has a lovely return to school. 
And may the school return bring with it weather 
that is not so blazing hot. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Letting It Go

I wrote this post 4 years ago (in 2017) but never published it. 
It is about me learning to let something go: 
a friendship that had been around for a very long time. 

The end of any very close friendship is very much akin to a breakup, 
including all the ups-and-downs of emotions, 
and at the time I was deeply hurt by it. 
Since then, I'm now at a good place with this person. 
We text maybe once every 6 months 
and see each other once a year, at best. 


Over a decade ago, 
I became really good friends with this girl. 
We'll call her Elizabeth 
(as I call all my hypothetical girls). 

Elizabeth and I lived very near each other, 
and our boyfriends (later turned husbands) got along, 
so we all hung every single weekend.
As expected, we were each other's bridesmaids.

Then we moved away to our separate towns, 
but our friendship stayed strong. 
We used to write each other longgggg emails at work, 
like full on novels, 
usually a couple per week. 
So even though we didn't see each other much, 
we still felt pretty connected to each other's lives. 


This summer [2017], 
I kind of woke up to what our friendship had become. 
We barely talk anymore. 
And getting together takes so much effort. 
In retrospect, 
our friendship had been deteriorating for about the last 1.5 years. 

Upon waking up to this, 
the first big emotion I experienced was Frustration
Elizabeth was the culprit, 
and just wasn't prioritizing our friendship. 

Following that was a period of Paranoid Over-Analyzing

"Why did our friendship deteriorate?

"Is she mad at me?"

"Was it something I said?"
 (as I started over-analyzing our infrequent texts) 

"Is it that we have nothing in common anymore?
(1.5 years ago, I became a SAHM and she's still a Working Mom.) 

And then comes the Accusatory Over-Analyzing, such as:
"Maybe since Elizabeth and her husband are so wealthy and successful, 
they want to surround themselves with only other wealthy, successful friends." 

Given that we used to be so close, 
I thought about approaching Elizabeth with my thoughts/observations. 
A "salvage the friendship" attempt. 
But at the point in our very sporadic communication, 
bringing my concerns to the table 
just felt aggressive and out-of-the-blue crazy. 

that classifies friendship into mountain tiers.

Image from here

Elizabeth had been in the top of my mountain 
but she didn't belong there anymore. 

The article goes on to talk about 10 unhealthy friendships, 
and Elizabeth and I were in #10 the "lopsided friendship" 
where I was making all the effort to keep it going. 
Like that movie "He's Just Not That Into You."  

The very end of the article states: 

"First, think about your friendships, 
figure out which ones aren’t 
[healthy, enjoyable relationships], 
and demote them down the mountain. 
I’m not suggesting you stop being friends with those people 
— you still love them and feel loyal to them, 
and old friends are critical to hold onto — 
but if the friendships aren’t that healthy or enjoyable, 
they don’t really deserve to be in your Tier 1,
 and you probably shouldn’t be in theirs. 

Reading this was a relief. 

Years ago, my friendship with Elizabeth was great, 
and I'm confident that we both got a lot of out of it. 
But it's over 
and it's OKAY. 
It doesn't make our friendship a failure. 
I can be thankful for that time we had together. 
I can still enjoy those memories. 
But it's ok to demote her down the mountain. 


I wanted to share this realization, 
because I think that as humans, 
we cling to friendships (and sometimes relationships) 
much longer than we should. 
Social media helps as we still feel connected to the person, 
but in reality our connectedness is no stronger than a random facebook acquaintance. 

I currently have a handful of very close friends at the top of my mountain. 
Will they be there forever? 
Who knows. 
As we grow older, sometimes our needs change, 
our friendships change, and our mountains shift. 
But in the meantime, the top of my mountain 
is filled with healthy, strong relationships 
and I am very thankful for them.