Books I have started in 2019:

My goal this year is to ready 40 books (I’m on goodreads, hi! you can search for me as sharah, with my blog email).  That’s the same as last year, but last year I fell into A03 around July and my actual “book” reading got fucked.  I haven’t finished anything yet this year, but since the beginning of the year, I have started:

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (audiobook)
  • Heartland by Sarah Smarsh (audiobook)
  • Vampires by John Steakley
  • L.A. Son by Roy Choi
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

Also, I have Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker that I started back around Thanksgiving but still haven’t finished.

My daughter also brought home Narwhal (Peanut Butter) and Jelly for me from the library, so I HAVE to read that.

One of my goals this year is to read more about Southern food and culture.  It seems strange, since I’ve lived here all my life, but sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point out things you have never actively noticed.  I also want to read through my physical TBR pile; mostly things I’ve bought from the library bookstore for 50¢ after I recognized them from Book Riot or the Bitter Southerner reviews.  To support that, I’ve committed (to myself at least) to write at least 10 reviews of the books I read.  So keep an eye out — hopefully, I’ll finish one of these at some point in the near future and start that series!

 

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Tooth … Fae?

Growing up, I always envisioned the Tooth Fairy as this nebulous cutesy sweet fairy, kind of like Tinkerbell but with a bag of teeth instead of flying powder.

Then I had my own kids.

I decided early on that we were not dealing with that put-your-tooth-under-the-pillow nonsense, oh no.  We were getting a fairy door — ours looks like this, but kelly green.  I think it was Dresden who first posted about having one?  Anyway, it has been a FANTASTIC improvement over my childhood, or so I thought.

Until my child asked me what the Tooth Fairy does with the teeth she takes.  “Ummm, I don’t know?  Never thought about it.”  (Mother of the YEAR material here, folks.)

“Well,” says child, “I think she takes them and carves keys out of them to unlock the fairy doors that she travels through.”

I think I just stared at child, mouth agape at the thought.  “I think,” I said, “that that’s a terrifying idea.”  Child just looked at me, shrugged, and went back to whatever they were doing before dropping that bit of horror into my life.

Then last night, the subject came up again.  “The Tooth Fairy is kind of like Santa, she knows when you’re sleeping.  She watches you all the time.”

Other child disagreed — “She does not know when you’re sleeping, she’s not a POSSUM.” I’m assuming that this has to do with some other ongoing argument between them, because I don’t have any clue why possums came into the conversation otherwise.

Y’all, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.  I am no where near as creative as these fantastic little minds that I live with.

Recounting this to a guy at work who plays D&D, he looked at me and commented, “I don’t think you have a fairy; I’m pretty sure you have a fae.”

So the moral of the story is: stick with putting teeth under your pillows, cause you never know who’s going to come through your fairy door.  You might get Tinkerbell, or you might get the tooth-carving winged opossum that has claimed our house.  *shudder*

January 5

I still don’t have my Christmas decorations down.  My husband is unconcerned about this; he comes from a household where the accepted “end-of-Christmas” date is Martin Luther King day.  In my mother’s house, Christmas was put away by January 1.  In the past I’ve followed my mother’s lead because we’ve always had real Christmas trees, and by January 1 they’ve turned into brittle green explosions of pine needles.  But this year, we bought our first artificial tree, so there’s not a pressing fire hazard sitting in my dining room forcing me to act.

In fact, every time I think about putting away Christmas, my eyes go to the, um, let’s call it a “poor decision” that I made regarding new garland for my china cabinet this year.  It’s a lovely artificial garland with gold glittered pinecones and poinsettia flowers.  Emphasis on the “gold glitter” portion of that sentence.  Do you know how much gold glitter a single pinecone will hold?  Now think about a 12′ garland covered in them.  When I put it up, it was like someone was standing over me with a sugar shaker filled with glitter, just pouring it down over me.  I had to go outside and fluff my shirt clean and then vacuum my trail from the door back through the house.  I stare at the garland, and the garland stares back at me, plastic greenery twitching every so slightly in the breeze, waiting.  Waiting for me to gather my courage and my ladder and to attempt the de-glitterfication of the dining room.

I’m wondering whether it’s worth it, or whether I should just come up with a justification of why gold glitter garland is a year-round decorative item.

Like riding a bike?*

It’s been a while.  I feel rusty, putting anything out into the world, like who’s going to even read this?  I’ve been reading, and reading, and reading — books, and magazines, and fanfiction — and listening to podcasts and music and watching movies and I feel like all of that is just sitting in my brain.  Like I’m stuffed too full of other people’s thoughts.  Like I’ve taken a great big breath in and my body is all full of air and waiting for a matching exhale.  So this might be (probably will be) not that great for a while while I let the muscle memory kick in and remember what my writing voice sounds like.

I feel like going back to my roots, back when publishing a blog was just a daily recap of what was going on in my life, back when livejournal was a thing (side note, I asked google — it turns out that livejournal is actually still around!  the next question is do I even remember what name I used on that site?) (side-side note, does myspace still exist?).  How we spend our moments is how we spend our days, and how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.  I feel like it’s time to go back to those moments, to those days, and get some perspective on what they mean for my life.  Who am I?  What do I like?  What do I dream about?  Who do I want to be? These are the things that I want to know.  And where better to navel-gaze about that level of meta life-questions than out in public, on the internet, where anyone could surf by and see?

 

* I am apparently very consistent or very, very non-creative.  I just noticed that this was the same post title I used like 5 entries ago.

Right now, I’m Reading:

I am an eclectic reader.  I read all kinds of different genres, pretty much all at the same time.  I started Annihilation last night, after reading over and over that it was similar to, or even better than, my favorite podcast (TanisPNWS, whoot!)  The first 10 or so pages have me wanting to book-glutton it, but I’m resisting.  But just for fun, here’s everything else I’m reading right now:

I also have a few started that I had to return to the library before I finished, but that I want to check out again and finish:

Sitting in my house, just waiting for me to open them up:

If you want to know what I’ve read this year (41 books finished!) or what I have in my virtual TBR pile, or if you want to share what you’re reading (please do!), you’re welcome to hit me up on goodreads — I’m sharah there too.  You can find me by the blog email – sharahblog AT gmail.  Or if you want to comment, or leave me an email, I’m all about those book recs!

 

Digital Distance

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether or not to ditch my smartphone.

Yeah, yeah, me and every other internet-addicted suburban hipster trying to reclaim authenticity or whatever, I know.  The thing is, I don’t want to give up facebook.  I don’t want to give up instagram, or goodreads, or my podcasts or feedly.  I like surfing pinterest and etsy and seeing all the pretties — it makes my life better knowing that they are there.  I like the convenience of email and cloud storage, and I live off of GPS navigation. I want to keep all those things.

But I want to give up scrolling as a transitional activity.  I need to have the lure of distracting myself with the vast ocean of the internet at a distance, confined to my home office, not in my pocket.  I want to be able to text and call and take pictures and listen to music, but I can do all those things with something other than a smartphone.  I don’t want a digital sabbatical, I just need some digital distance and good boundaries.

Susannah posted this in her last weekend roundup: “Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore.” — Aziz Ansari quit the internet

That’s how I feel right now — that it’s just *a new thing* not necessarily *something.*

So how often do I need to check the internet, to dip my toes in the electronic ocean?  I don’t know.  Today I listened to music and part of a podcast I had downloaded at home.  I did a quick internet search for a thing on my work computer.  I scanned through my feedly here at the house.  It feels strange and unsettling to not pick up my phone when I’m in between tasks, or when I want to escape for a moment, but it’s not unpleasant.  It’s decidedly less unpleasant than the feeling of getting sucked into a hundred facebook links and realizing I’ve lost an hour of my day.  I’m going to have to find out what the balance is — do I only need the pocket computer on the weekends? When I travel? Or do I just need to start researching apps that lock me out of the phone when I need to concentrate?  There’s an answer here; I just have to find it.

Anatomy of a night.

It’s 8:30 pm. You press publish on a blog entry fretting about your children’s athletic prowess (or lack thereof) in between kid baths. After pulling the second one out of the tub, wrapping them in a towel, and calling the third, there’s a giant crash in the hallway where child threw a ball into a picture frame. You quickly survey the damage and call spouse for backup with broken glass while you shepherd children through bedtime routine.  You ponder the irony of child being unable to catch a ball they threw to themself.

It’s 9:00 pm. You console the child feeling the pressure of school recital, ballet recital, martial arts belt test, and general angst of having 23 days left in school. After child is calmed and in bed, you (against your plan for an early bedtime) channel your inner Pinterest mom and make a paper chain counting down the days of school left and hang it in the dining room.  You decide a real Pinterest mom would have had pretty scrapbook paper and fancy scissors to execute that project, but whatever, your kids will think you’re cool anyway.

It’s 9:30 pm. You solve spouse’s computer “I uploaded them but where did they go?” image issue with their hosting site.

It’s 10:00 pm. You manage to get in your 10-minute meditation session while *in* bed. You pensively look at the Hugo-nominee library book that you couldn’t finish before it has to be returned tomorrow. Smartly, you choose not to try to binge read the remaining 310 pages.

It’s 3:27 am. You wake up to a child standing by your bed and the dreaded words, “Mom, I need help. I thought I had to fart but it was poop. And then I threw up in the bathroom.” The bathroom is the scene of an apparent poop-splosion. You get child washed off in tub and in clean clothes, nasty undies rinsed out, toilet and sink cleaned and bleached, poopy sheets pulled off bed. You make the bed with the first set of sheets you find (you are convinced they are the wrong size, but fuck it, they’re sheets. The light of day says they are the right size. You are still uncertain how that miracle happened). During the bed-making process you manage to give yourself a giant bruise on your leg from the pointy corner of footboard. Of course it was the child who shares a bedroom who is sick, so this all must be done in the dark, silently, lest you have two children awake at 4:00 am. You go downstairs to bring the child gatorade. In the 30 seconds you were gone, they have another accident. Another bath, another set of clean clothes. You decide to layer the bed with a leftover crib protector. You put the sheets in the wash, assure the dog it’s not time to go out yet, wash your own hands, check on the child one last time, and they puke again (but in the bucket this time, yay!). You get them back up, have them brush their teeth again, decide against a second attempt at fluids since that ended so badly, and tuck them back in.

It’s 4:35 am. Your alarm will go off in 25 minutes. You consider whether it’s better to go back to bed to try to fall asleep for a few blessed extra minutes or to turn off the alarm and just get up now. You choose bed. You lay there, listening to child’s music and the washing machine and spouse’s even breathing and other child talking in their sleep. You pray that talking child is just dreaming, and is not going to wake themself up. Slowly, you relax as you gain confidence that sick child is not going to suddenly puke again and talking child returns to deeper sleep. Your alarm goes off and you get up.

It’s 6:00 am. You leave a note for spouse on child’s bedroom door and a text message for spouse on their phone indicating that in no uncertain terms should that child attend school today. You walk out the door, thankful that the poop and puke are now spouse’s problem. You decide that you earned a treat and stop for a latte on the way to work. It’s been a long day already.