this past week…

September 4-10, 2017

Highlights:

*Annie’s texts about going out for the “woodsmen team”…seriously, I cannot believe she is doing this…and it cracks me up equally as much as it scares me…

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*Back to school day on Tuesday went amazing well for Gray and me. By which I mean, he did little complaining, worked hard, and managed to remain in good spirits. *huge thumbs up*

Lowlights:

*The bathroom sink fiasco of Labor Day 2017. Poor Rich. Woke to find our bathroom sink leaking. Thought it might be as simple as replacing a gasket…wrong.¬†Three faucets later (the first two were defective), five trips to Home Depot, and approximately one million curse words later, not to mention $100 poorer, Rich had us hooked up with a working, non-leaking sink again.

*Oh my goodness. Poor Gray. Yeah, after the great first day he had, school took a decided turn for the worse with the start of the online course he’s taking on American Government. We thought an online class would be a good way to ease him into college classes. Oh how wrong I was! *sigh* Their initial assignment just about killed the poor kid. They had to do an “icebreaker” assignment, where they each had to write a post about themselves and why they were taking this class. And it had to be at least 500 words. In general autistic people do not do well with small talk, and Gray is no exception. He gets to the point. He spent 7 hours trying to get up to 500 words. And he still has to do four required responses of at least 125 words each to other’s posts. *more sighs* I’m hoping it will get easier for him when they’re actually discussing the course topics…

Favorite photos:

IMG_2404This sweet little eastern phoebe.

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Baby cardinal. Aww, what a cute little fluffball.

Reading:

*Finished¬†A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There¬†by Aldo Leopold. *finally* ¬†These were truly some of the loveliest natural history writings I’ve ever read. I can see why this is one of Rich’s all-time favorite books. (Thank you, homeschooling, for finally getting me to read it.)

*Finished¬†Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything¬†About¬†the World¬†by Tim Marshall. Started this one earlier in the summer but then had to return it to the library before I’d finished. Was easy to pick up where I’d left off. (It too is for school.) I guess I would say it’s a book about how geography affects international relations. For the most part I enjoyed it, and I definitely learned a lot. But there were moments when the author made me cringe a bit, and moments when I wondered if he wasn’t overstating things. But international relations is not an area where I know much of anything, so it’s hard to judge.

*Started¬†The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature¬†by David George Haskell. Also for school. (We’re doing ecology this year.) I’m only about a third of the way in. It’s an enjoyable read; there’s loads of interesting natural history info. The writing, while perfectly adequate, doesn’t enchant me the way some natural history writing does though. (And oh my goodness, is the author fond of metaphor. Sometimes very odd metaphor at that.) But like I said, I am enjoying it overall.

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*As far as RIP-reading last week, we finished a reread of¬†Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (It was Rich’s and my read aloud together book.) I believe this is the fourth time I’ve read this one (and it’s at least Rich’s fourth time). And I can honestly say, I enjoyed it more this time than ever. Maybe because we were reading it together? I’m sure we’ll probably start¬†The Prisoner of Azkaban¬†this week.

*Also got a few more chapters read in¬†Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory¬†by Caitlin Doughty. This book is so freakin’ good! It’s funny and sad and incredibly informative all at once. And wow, how it’s reinforced my long-held desire to be cremated without a viewing or funeral service.

Watching:

*The latest episode of¬†Project Runway.¬†I have to agree with who was canned this week–Deyonte’s nightwear was about as frumpy as it could be. As brutal as it must feel to be the one who gets sent home, I’m guessing he must have at least been happy to get to go home in time to see his baby born. I’m so happy that Kenya made it through. She and Samantha are my favorites at this point…though I thoroughly admit that is a likability vote. I don’t feel like I have a good grasp on anyone’s overall talent , so it’s still too early for me to have a true favorite as far as design goes. It’s probably mean for me to say, but omg, do I hope that Claire and Shawn get booted soon…they annoy the bloody crap out of me.

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*And for my RIP-viewing, Max and I started rewatching¬†The Walking¬†Dead in preparation for it’s return next month. What can I say, I’m still pretty much obsessed with this show, with these characters. I admit that last season wasn’t my favorite, but rewatching it (for the fourth? time) has me remembering why I love these characters and remembering just how far they’ve come. Max and I had better pick up the pace though; we still have 6 seasons to rewatch before October’s premiere of season 8.

*Rich and I watched¬†The Raven. I’d never even heard of it, but it caught my attention at the library and I grabbed it on impulse. Glad I did! We both really enjoyed it. I’m actually somewhat surprised, as I tend to be leery of putting real people into fictionalized stories. But what can I say, I got thoroughly engrossed into this serial murder mystery with Edgar Allan Poe at it’s center.

Making:

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*Hexies, hexies, hexies. Still crocheting hexies. While they are the perfect mindless project for tv watching, I will still be happy when I get them all made and can begin the next phase. Hopefully this coming week. Hopefully.

Cooking/baking:

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*Gotta admit that the dinner table lacked excitement during this first week back-to-school. Just simple stuff like grilled cheese and salsa pasta. But Saturday, Rich whipped up his first batch of chili for the season, and I was in heaven!

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*And Sunday afternoon, I finally decided to show the kitchen a little love and tried out a new recipe. Chai-spiced pound cake from the King Arthur Flour website. Easy recipe and delicious results.

 

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RIP-ing…

Seriously life, can we just settle down for a bit. I meant to officially join RIP back on September 1st, but I tell you, the shit just keeps a coming. I’ve never been so glad for it to be back-to-school day. I’ve decided (because simply deciding will make it so, you know), that this back-to-school marks the start of a string of good luck to replace the string of crises we’ve been dealing with–starting with two unexpected major financial hits, moving on to having my beloved mother-in-law admitted to the ICU in the hospital and being diagnosed at the age of 82 with type 1 diabetes, and to end this long weekend of shit, finding our bathroom sink was leaking. But on the bright side: we’ll deal with the financial hits somehow, though it took him much of the day yesterday Rich managed to fix our plumbing problem, and very, very, very best of all, my mother-in-law is home now and is taking the major changes to her life in stride. And we were fortunate enough to have been able to make the 12-hour round trip to see her in the hospital Sat/Sun, which not only made her happy, but made us happy too.

ripxii200Okay, but back to RIP. Year XII! I tell you, few things make me more nostalgic over my early days of blogging than¬†Carl’s RIP and OUAT reading challenges. Thankfully, the lovely Heather and equally lovely Andi, have kept RIP alive again this year. And as usual I have made myself a pile of books far larger than I could read in two months time. Because while there are various Perils (levels) of participation that one can choose from when it comes to RIP, I prefer to go with what Kristen calls the “infinite peril” level, by which she means read as many RIP-appropriate books as possible during September and October.

Now, onto the lovely books:

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*Books that are already underway: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (nonfiction/memoir), My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (fiction), and From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (historical fiction graphic novel).

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*Books I currently have checked out of the library: ¬†The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer¬†by Kate Summerscale (nonfiction impulse grab…was then happy to see it on Kristen’s pile because I love her taste in books!) and¬†Zone One¬†by Colson Whitehead (post-apocalyptic novel I’ve been wanting to read for years).

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*A couple more nonfiction choices: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale (a book I bought long ago thanks to Ana) and Pandemic by Sonia Shah (because I love reading about infectious disease and because I loved her book about malaria titled The Fever).

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*A nice pile of mystery and/or suspense and/or thriller type books:¬†See No Evil¬†and¬†Tell No Tales¬†by Eleanor Taylor Bland (because she is one of my favorite comfort read authors),¬†A.B.C. Murders¬†and¬†Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie (because it’s high time I read more of her work),¬†Wolves of the Crescent Moon¬†by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed,¬†Origin¬†by Diana Abu-Jaber, and¬†Out¬†by Natsuo Kirino¬†(all because they just sound so damn good and have been sitting on my shelves unread for too long), and¬†The Silence of the Lambs¬†by Thomas Harris (because I want to read it before I watch the movie again).

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*Of the more horror/supernatural variety:¬†The House of Dies Drear¬†by Virginia Hamilton,¬†The Little Stranger¬†by Sarah Waters,¬†and¬†The Icarus Girl¬†by Helen Oyeyemi (because they all sound so atmospherically perfect for this time of year),¬†Deathnote by Tsunami Ohba and Takeshi Obata (to have a little more comics choice, especially come Dewey’s Readathon¬†next month),¬†Lagoon¬†by Nnedi Okorafor (which sounds more sci-fi, but I’m hoping it’s dark and scary enough to qualify for RIP),¬†White Tears¬†by Hari Kunzru and¬†The Girl With the Gifts¬†M.R. Carey (because why haven’t I read them yet?!!) and¬†Fledgling¬†by Octavia Butler (because she has become one of my all-time favorite authors with¬†Kindred¬†and the¬†Parable¬†books, and I just *know* I’m going to love it!).

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*And finally, some short stories:¬†The Migration of Ghosts¬†by Pauline Melville (I’ve no idea if this is even RIP-appropriate, but the title has me hoping),¬†Black Juice¬†by Margo Lanagan (because how have I never read any of her short stories), and¬†Mojo: Conjure Stories¬†edited by Nalo Hopkinson (which I read some of last year for RIP).

Well, that ought to keep me busy, huh? Along with all the scary/suspenseful/mysterious viewing I’m hoping to do. And of course, it really goes without saying that I feel no compunction whatsoever to stick to this list…

looking forward to…September…

This summer has been a bit of a struggle. Mentally and physically. I haven’t felt quite myself, and I’ve tried hard to straddle that line between accepting that it’s okay, even necessary, to acknowledge and respect my negative feelings and fighting to not let depression completely take over. Ah, but that’s honestly not what I want to post about…but instead is just the back story as to why I’m here trying this whole blogging thing again.¬†Blogging was something that used to bring me such joy. Partly it was about having a place to just ramble on about whatever, and partly it was about reading other peoples’ blogs and building/maintaining friendships with a bunch of truly special people. Over the past few months I’ve really missed blogging. I’ve missed reading. Honestly, I’ve missed a lot of things that typically make me happy because I just haven’t been able to make myself do them. But here’s to jumping back in.

So here it is, time to say goodbye to August, and get ready to welcome September in. Typically I have very mixed feelings about saying goodbye to summer, but this year I think I’m ready. And these are a few of things I’m looking forward to in September:

  1. RIP XII. You know, just everything about it. RIP brings back overwhelming feelings of nostalgia. And while blogging has vastly expanded my reading horizons, RIP allows me to go wallow in my reading roots. And I’ve got hopes that maybe this is just what I need to bring back that utter joy in opening up a book and climbing in.
  2. Back to school. LOL–I can’t believe I’m even saying that! It’s usually the thing I dread about fall. But depression, fibro, and anemia have really ganged up on me this summer leaving me feeling so utterly exhausted all the time. And exhausted didn’t jibe well with all the things that needed done–moving Annie, painting, gardening/preserving, etc. Getting back to the less physical sorts of work that homeschool planning/prep/execution require actually sounds like a nice change of pace about now. And holy crap, how can it be Gray’s senior year?!! The last year that my life will be pretty much dominated by homeschooling.
  3. The natural beauty of fall. Yes, of course the changing leaves and blooming sedum and all of those stereotypical images of fall. But also the dead flowers. I just can’t explain why the beauty of dead flowers so moves me.
  4. Ushering in the foods of fall. Soups and pumpkin and apples. But most of all, I’m looking forward to Rich’s first bigass pot of chili of the season. Holy yum!
  5. Our library book sale. I got in it my head that I really needed to weed down the number of books I owned this summer, and thus did a huge culling, getting rid of several boxes of books. Somehow it failed to make much of difference in how things looked, however. And well, I can pretty much guarantee that a portion of my hard work will be undone, because I just cannot help but go overboard at our local book sale. *shrugs*

So goodbye August. September, come on in…