Sunday, January 28, 2024

Life: It Goes On - January 28

Happy sunny Sunday! After a week of grey skies (although temps above freezing every day), we finally have the sun back this weekend...and the temps are climbing higher. I begin to think that I will survive winter. Although, as I type this, I can see out my window the neighbor girl out building snow men in her front yard and I'm reminded again how your attitude makes all the difference. She is loving winter because she can see the joy in being able to do things she can't do any other season. Children really do have a lot to teach us. 

I'm super excited to see that my blog feed with Bloglovin' is finally working again. I've been struggling with it for months and have missed getting to read so many other people's blogs. It's kind of like telephone numbers - I have no idea what my daughter's telephone number is and wouldn't have a clue how to call her if I lost all the phone numbers in my phone and I can't recall how to find blogs without that feed reminding me where to find them.

Last Week I: 

Listened To: Paulette Jiles' latest, Chenneville, which I am loving. 

Watched: Football, college basketball, Ted Lasso, Daisy Jones and The Six, and Funny Girl (needed something to turn on that I could listen to without necessarily watching while I worked around the house on Friday evening. 

 After Annie by Anna Quindlen. 

Made: Guys, we ate leftovers from last week's cooking almost all week. So I didn't cook again until today, when I made dinner for The Big Guy's birthday: white chicken chili, cornbread cookies (an experiment after having them at dinner last night), and gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting. 

Enjoyed: Dinner with old friends at a new-to-us place last night. Delicious - we will meet there again. Then Mini-him and Miss C joined us for birthday dinner today. 

This Week I’m:  

Planning: It's time to focus on my house and get back to my decluttering. I've just got a little more to do in our bathrooms and I'll be through the Go Simplified's January challenge. Then we move on to what she calls "entertainment spaces." That will be the family room and dining room. Having just hushed my family room (thanks to Myquillen Smith's Cozy Minimalist challenge), that room shouldn't take too long as I was very deliberate about what went back in there. But the dining room? It's time to make some tough choices in there. 

Thinking About: Less than three weeks now until my dad is able to move into his new place and my brain is busy thinking about where to place furniture and where to hang all of his artwork and collectibles. 

Feeling: When the NFL teams I traditionally cheer for are done for the season, I start cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs and I'm excited to see them having just upset the Ravens. Although wouldn't it have been something if one brother one the college championship and the other had won the Super Bowl?

Looking forward to: A quiet week. I don't think there's a single thing scheduled on the calendar...not even books that need to be returned to the library. 

Question of the week: Twice in the last month I've had meals that included cheesy grits and I'm now a big fan. Are you? If so, how to you like them best?

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May

Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age
by Katherine May
Read by Rebecca Lee
5 hours, 8 minutes
Published February 2023 by Penguin Publishing Group 

Publisher's Summary: 
Many of us feel trapped in a grind of constant change: rolling news cycles, the chatter of social media, our families split along partisan lines. We feel fearful and tired, on edge in our bodies, not quite knowing what has us perpetually depleted. For Katherine May, this low hum of fatigue and anxiety made her wonder what she was missing. Could there be a different way to relate to the world, one that would allow her to feel more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet? Might there be a way for all of us to move through life with curiosity and tenderness, sensitized to the subtle magic all around? 

In Enchantment, May invites the reader to come with her on a journey to reawaken our innate sense of wonder and awe. With humor, candor, and warmth, she shares stories of her own struggles with work, family, and the aftereffects of pandemic, particularly feelings of overwhelm as the world rushes to reopen. Craving a different way to live, May begins to explore the restorative properties of the natural world, moving through the elements of earth, water, fire, and air and identifying the quiet traces of magic that can be found only when we look for them. Through deliberate attention and ritual, she unearths the potency and nourishment that come from quiet reconnection with our immediate environment. Blending lyricism and storytelling, sensitivity and empathy, Enchantment invites each of us to open the door to human experience in all its sensual complexity, and to find the beauty waiting for us there.

My Thoughts: 
Three years ago I read Katherine May's Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times and came away understanding better my need, both in general and at a time when we were just coming out of the worst of CoVid, to retreat from the world. I loved both May's personal story and the ideas she shared that could help others get through low times in their lives. So, as a person who deals with anxiety, I was eager to read this one. 

What I liked: 
  • Once again May is incredibly open and honest about her struggles with mental illness. 
  • I loved the idea of trying to regain the sense of awe of the natural world that she had as a child, as all children tend to have. It's one of the reasons I so enjoy sitting on my patio on a lovely June evening and waiting for the fire flies to appear, reminding me of the neighborhood children capturing them in mason jars. 
  • I appreciated the push to look for the beauty in nature, even where it's not always so obvious. It's easy to be take nature for granted, to be so wrapped up in our own lives that we don't take the time to look around us. I'm always taken by the intricacy of bare tree branches against the blue sky in the winter, for example. 
  • Rebecca Lee does a fine job as the reader. 
What didn't work for me: 
  • This is probably more on me than May, because I was expected to come away with specific ideas I could transfer to my own life, rather than just generalizations which was what I felt like I got. 
  • This book felt much more specific to May and less relatable to other people. Well, at least to this person. It was a disappointment because I had such high hopes for it. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Life: It Goes On - January 21

Happy Sunday from Omaha, where we appear to have survived the worst winter had to offer us. At least for the next week. It's been a rough couple of weeks which have seen us mostly hunkered down, trying to stay off terrible roads and out of the terrible cold. You all know me well enough to know that it was no skin off my nose to not leave the house for a couple of weekends, but The Big Guy can only be cooped up for so long before he has to get out of the house, so last evening we braved the last day temps in the negative numbers to go out to dinner to a new-to-us place. Was it worth it? No, no it was not. Other than BG was content to then come home and just stream some shows. 

Last Week I: 

Listened To: I finished Children of God and started Paulette Jiles' Chenneville

Watched: Football...lots of football. College basketball. Some Daisy Jones and The Six, Ted Lasso, and Slow Horses

Read: Melanie Benjamin's latest, California Golden and The Book of Fire. 

Made: A new recipe for chicken pot pie, a chicken pasta dish, lasagna, and cookie bars. And, once again, we have enough leftovers to last us well into this week. 

Enjoyed: Mini-him and Miss C came to lunch today before the four of us headed over to my dad's apartment to do some sorting and prepping for his move. We always enjoy spending time with the two of them. 

This Week I’m:  

Planning: Finishing up prepping for my dad's move since the movers start packing on Thursday. And then I'm back to the working on decluttering my own home. 

Thinking About: I rather impulsively reorganized and decluttered several kitchen cabinets yesterday and got rid of quite a few things, including 11 wine glasses. I still have more than 20. Why did I have so many wine glasses that it meant other things were housed in very inconvenient places? How many other things am I holding on to that mean other things that I would like to use more aren't easy to get to when I want them? 

Feeling: Productive. 

Looking forward to: Temperatures in the thirties this week with no snow in the forecast. 

Question of the week: Just out of curiousity, how many wine glasses do you have? 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

What About Men? A Feminist Answers The Question by Caitlin Moran

What About Men? A Feminist Answers The Question 
by Caitlin Moran
320 pages
Published September 2023 by HarperCollins Publisher

Publisher's Summary: 
Like anyone who discusses the problems of girls and women in public, Caitlin Moran has often been confronted with the question: “But what about men?” And at first, tbh, she dgaf. Boys, and men, are fine, right? Feminism doesn’t need to worry about them.

However, around the time she heard an angry young man saying he was “boycotting” International Women’ Day because “It's easier to be a woman than a man these days,” she started to wonder: are unhappy boys, and men, also making unhappy women? The statistics on male misery are grim: boys are falling behind in school, are at greater risk of depression, greater risk of suicide, and, most pertinently, are increasingly at risk from online misogynist radicalization. Will the Sixth Wave of feminism need to fix the men, if it wants to fix the women?

Moran began to investigate—talking to her husband, close male friends, and her daughters' friends: bringing up very difficult and candid topics, and receiving vulnerable and honest responses. So: what about men? Why do they only go to the doctor if their partner makes them? Why do they never discuss their penises with each other—but make endless jokes about their balls? What is porn doing for young men? Is sexual strangling a good hobby for young people to have? Are men ever allowed to be sad? Are they ever allowed to lose? Have Men's Rights Activists confused “power” with “empowerment”? Are Mid-Life Crises actually quite cool? And what’s the deal with Jordan Peterson’s lobster?

In this thoughtful, warm, provocative book, Moran opens a genuinely new debate about how to reboot masculinity for the twenty-first century, so that “straight white man” doesn’t automatically mean bad news—but also uses the opportunity to make a lot of jokes about testicles, and trousers. Because if men have neither learned to mine their deepest anxieties about masculinity for comedy, nor answered the question “What About Men?,” then it’s up to a busy woman to do it.

My Thoughts: 
I'm a huge fan of Moran (this is the fourth of her books that I've read). She's funny, smart, does the work to make sure she's getting it right, and is the feminist I wish I were. Which, of course, made me question why a feminist was writing a book about men (and I'm sure a lot of men might be wondering why any woman is writing a book about men). But, again, I know Moran to be someone who will have done the research to make sure she's coming from a point of knowledge, grounded in what she's learned. What she's learned, as it turns out, comes largely from doing the work of asking men the questions. 

I came away feeling like I'd learned an awfully lot from Moran, that I had a better understanding of what it's like to grow up as a man and the challenges that they face. There were parts where I didn't agree with Moran (I have been, after all, married to a man for 42 years and am the mother of two grown men so I have some knowledge on this subject of my own). 

Stuart Jeffries, writing for The Guardian, found a lot to dislike about this one (and he is, after all, actually a man). Moran, for example, writes that you will not find the kinds of self-help books for men, written by men, that you will find in any bookstore anywhere for women. Jeffries, on the other hand, points out what he says are two excellent books for men, written both authors that are both from the same town as Moran. And I have to agree with Jeffries when he writes, in response to Moran positing that the patriarchy is screwing over men as much as it is women: 
"The patriarchy does have its downsides for men, but its most terrible consequences such as raping, underpaying, genitally mutilating, harassing both at work and on the street are overwhelmingly things that men do to women. Or is there a memo I didn’t get?"

I do have to agree that some of what Moran writes is pretty stereotypical - men dress boringly, to some extent to avoid being accused of being gay. All three of my guys do not fit Moran's thesis at all; all three of them care very much about what they wear, how it fits, and spend time considering what they will wear. 

All of that aside, I think this is more of a book for women to read to try to learn more about men than one that men will pick up. That being the case, it may well provide women with the kinds of questions that can ask of their friends, husbands, significant others, and sons, that will open up conversations that certainly need to be had. Take, for example, the chapter about how harmful the ready access to pornography has been for men, particularly young men. It has rewired their brains to the point where a not insignificant percentage of them find actual sex lacking. And there is a chapter about what our young men can find out in the "manosphere," much of which is quite alarming. 

Is this a book without faults? No. Would you be wise to take this as an opportunity to ask your guys some of the same questions? Yes. I wish I had read this book twenty years ago, when my oldest's male friends were in my house constantly. I wish I would have thought to ask the questions and address the issues that Moran raises here. There is no reason that some of the problems that young men (and, consequently, grown men) deal with can't be chipped away at, one person at a time. Take this as a starting point. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hand

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
by Helene Hanff
137 pages 
Published March 1973 by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

Publisher's Summary: 
When devoted Anglophile Helene Hanff is invited to London for the English publication of 84, Charing Cross Road—in which she shares two decades of correspondence with Frank Doel, a British bookseller who became a dear friend—she can hardly believe her luck. Frank is no longer alive, but his widow and daughter, along with enthusiastic British fans from all walks of life, embrace Helene as an honored guest. Eager hosts, including a famous actress and a retired colonel, sweep her up in a whirlwind of plays and dinners, trips to Harrod’s, and wild jaunts to their favorite corners of the countryside. 

A New Yorker who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, Helene Hanff delivers an outsider’s funny yet fabulous portrait of idiosyncratic Britain at its best. And whether she is walking across the Oxford University courtyard where John Donne used to tread, visiting Windsor Castle, or telling a British barman how to make a real American martini, Helene always wears her heart on her sleeve. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is not only a witty account of two different worlds colliding but also a love letter to England and its literary heritage—and a celebration of the written word’s power to sustain us, transport us, and unite us.

My Thoughts: 
I knew I was forgetting a book when I did my mini-reviews the last week of December, trying to finish reviewing all of the books that I had read in 2023. Maybe this one just demanded to have its own review. 

It took me fifty years to finally read Helene Hanff's most famous work, 84, Charing Cross Road. I was charmed, as millions of others have been; but it didn't occur to me to find anything else Hanff had written.  Last year, when this book was brought to my attention, I was delighted to discover it and get a chance to read more of Hanff's work. 

Whilst 84, Charing Cross Road is entirely an epistolary work, composed of letters primarily between Hanff and London bookseller Frank Dole, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is Hanff's memoir of fulfilling her dream to travel to London, a diary she was encouraged to write by a friend. 

Although Frank died three years before Hanff was finally able to make the trip (and Marks and Co was no longer in business), her correspondence with Frank had led her to correspond with his wife, his daughter, and other employees of Marks & Co. Not only that, but the success of 84, Charing Cross Road and led Hanff to "meet" many other people in England who wanted the chance to meet her and show her the country. So, when she finally arrived, she was flooded with people who wanted to take her to dinner, to show her the sites, to ensure that she saw all that she longed to see, not necessarily just the touristy things. Their generosity allowed Hanff to stay in England longer than she had thought her money would last. 

Hanff was an interesting lady; she was a bit of a recluse who also seemed to attract people to her. More than one of the people she met in England arranged to meet up with her again and to take her on outings outside of London. She was unfashionable when it came to her clothes, but liked to make sure her hair was just so. She was witty, intelligent and had strong and often unusual opinions.
"I despair of ever getting it through anybody's head I am not interested in bookshops, I am interested in what's written in the books. I don't want to browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it."

 Once again I come away from Hanff's book thinking that she was a woman I would very much have enjoyed getting to know. This one will make you long to do a better job of chronicling your own travels; London comes alive in Hanff's capable hands, as do the people she met. When I finished 84, Charing Cross Road, I suggested that it was a book I would definitely read again. When I do, I'll reread this one as well.  


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Life: It Goes On - January 14

Happy Sunday from arctic Nebraska! I know the Rodger's and Hammerstein song says that the wind goes sweeping down the plain in Oklahoma; but let me tell you, it's been sweeping through all of the plains the past couple of days, making already frigid temps that much worse. We'd had almost no winter weather at all until Christmas Day, but it's definitely here now. We've had about 14" of snow this week. Fortunately, it was warm enough last Monday that the snow was melting as fast as it fell so what's left is not 14" deep...except where the wind has created giant snowdrifts, some several feet tall.  I haven't left the house since Thursday; I'm not looking forward to going outside in a couple of hours! 

Last Week I: 

Listened To: I'm back to Mary Doria Russell's Children of God. I had such high hopes for it, having loved The Sparrow, but this one bounces around all over the place, making it hard for me to settle into it. 

 Football, college football, the first episode of season 6 of The Crown, and the first episode of Northern Exposure (a show, set in Alaska, that we loved when it first aired in the 1990's). Of course it comes out on Amazon Prime now...we just bought the DVD set for our Alaskan kids. 

Read: Caitlin Moran's latest, What About Men (Moran always makes me laugh AND gives me a lot to think about) and I started Melanie Benjamin's latest, California Golden, this month's book club book. I think I've read all of Benjamin's books and I'm always impressed by the variety of stories she finds to tell. Have you seen the trailer for Feud: Capote vs. the Swans? It's based on a different book but I'm looking forward to seeing it, having read Benjamin's The Swans of Fifth Avenue

Made: Apparently all it took to get me cooking again was a good cold snap. Friday I made two soups: ham and potato (possibly the best potato soup I've ever made) and turkey and noodle (which we will have today for the first time). Yesterday I used up a couple of sweet potatoes to try a recipe I found on Instagram; it's definitely one we'll do again, although it's a little tedious to make. While that was cooking, we tossed in a couple more sweet potatoes and those will get turned into sweet potato soup today, something we've never tried before. 

Enjoyed: Because of the weather, I opted to work from home on Friday. Except that the internet was hit and miss. So I only ended up working a couple of hours and got most of the day as an unexpected day off. I love days like those. I decided to take full advantage of the time to get a lot of little things done. 

This Week I’m:  

Planning: We have pretty well locked down plans for my dad's move to his new place. Now it'a a matter of sorting through his things to decide what's going to make the move so I'll be going over to his current apartment a couple of times this week to get those decisions made. 

Thinking About: Remember last week, when I hushed my family room? I'll be honest, the emptiness of the room made me a little twitchy. But it was a great chance to really rethink what was in there (although it took me a stupid amount of time to get it put back together again!). Now I'm thinking about what room to do next, which room I'd most like to refresh. 

Feeling: Much more relaxed, now that we have a plan in place for my dad. 

Looking forward to: Book club on Tuesday. And also April, because I'm already over winter. 

Question of the week: If you found yourself with an unexpected day off, how would you choose to use it? Would you take advantage of it to knock off chores you haven't had time for or would you use it as a day to just relax, to read a book, watch a Netflix series, paint a watercolor? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

The Measure
by Nikki Erlick 
Read by Julia Whelan
10 hours, 57 minutes
Published June 2022 by HarperCollins Publishers

Publisher's Summary: 
Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.

But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?

As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they'll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn't have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

My Thoughts: 
The Measure was recommended to me by my aunt (and another aunt and two uncles!). I originally started it in 2023 but didn't get it finished so restarted it when it became available, making it the first book I read in 2024. Let's start with what didn't work so we can finish with the good stuff, shall we? 

What Didn't Work for Me:
  • I'm sorry to say that I didn't really find myself emotionally attached to any of the characters, possibly due to the relatively large number of them (there are far more than eight, as the summary would suggest). 
  • I felt like Erlick worked too hard to make her cast of characters diverse. Black character? Check. Gay couple? Check. Evil politician to contrast to empathetic characters? Check. 
  • The ending felt rushed to me, even though I understood why Erlick skipped big periods of time at the end. 
What I Worked for Me: 
  • This book is genre defying. Is it science fiction? Not really. Is it dystopian? No. Is it magical realism? I wouldn't say so. I like a book that can't be pigeonholed. 
  • Why can't it be genre defined? Because it's a unique way to write about ideas that we think about all of the time. 
  • This one would make a great book club selection and I'm pondering whether or not to move it into my club's 2024 line up. There is so much to discuss! How would you live your life if you knew you had decades ahead of you? Would you take risks, knowing that you couldn't be killed? Would you take better care of your body, knowing it needed to take you into your 80's? Would you commit to someone who had a short-string? And what if you were a short-stringer? Would you quit your job and do all of the things you thought you had a long life to do? Would you have children, knowing you wouldn't be there for them for very long? Do you end your own life to avoid a potentially painful end? And what of society? How would people treat each other if they knew? And would you want to know?
  • At first I was annoyed that we were never going to find out where the strings came from. But I realized that where they came from was not the point. How they impacted lives was. 
  • Clearly, this book made me think and you know that I'm always going to like a book that does that. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Life: It Goes On - January 7

Happy Sunday! How are you all doing as you try to return to life as normal, post holidays? I've been struggling this week but I'm hoping to get back on track this coming week. After three weeks with holiday time off, I'm, at least a little bit, looking forward to getting back to normal. Well, at least as much as I can. 

There will probably be some changes around here that make it easier for me. After almost 15 years of blogging, I'm burned out on writing full reviews (and I've clearly been struggling to get them written). Shorter, more succinct reviews are coming. But I'm also hoping to get back to doing more of the fun stuff. And really hoping I can figure out why my blog feed isn't working so that I can get back to reading other people's reviews.

Last Week I: 

Listened To: Nikki Erlick's The Measure, which I finished, and Katherine May's Enchantment: Awakening Wonder In An Anxious Age, which I'm about half way through. 

Watched: Football, college basketball, Ted Lasso, Daisy Jones and The Six, and the first episode of Archie, which is about Cary Grant. 

Read: I started Jesmyn Ward's latest, Let Us Descend; but after reading the synopsis, decided I wasn't in the right frame of mind for that right now. So I picked up Caitlin Moran's latest, What About Men

Made: If it isn't easy, we haven't been making it (think nachos, salads, fish sticks). I suggested to BG that we haven't really cooked since before I got sick at Christmas. It might be time to fire up soups this week, as we're supposed to get our decent real snowfall tomorrow and temps are going to plummet. Winter has finally arrived. 

Enjoyed: Being mostly lazy this week. 

This Week I’m:  

I've long ago given up on New Year resolutions; but The Big Guy and I have made a commitment reducing the amount of "stuff" we have in the house. Both of us are too prone to accept anything that anyone wants to give us and too prone to hang on to things that we might use one day. And this girl is far too prone to hang on to anything with a sentimental attachment. So plans are in place to help us stay on track, including 40 Bags In 40 Days, calendared plans of attack from Go Simplified, and my membership in The Nester's Cozy Minimalist Community. To that end, I "hushed" my family room yesterday. Today I will begin, very deliberately, adding things back in, really considering what we need, use, and like. 

Thinking About: We're getting ready to move my dad to his new apartment and I'm busy thinking about what will move with him and what needs to find new homes. 

Feeling: Yesterday I was exhausted. I got quite a lot done, but also took several naps. Today I'm feeling more energetic. Looking out the window and seeing sunshine is helping tremendously!

Looking forward to: Getting my hair done! My stylist has been on maternity leave for 3 months and I am tired of looking like an old lady! 

Question of the week: Do you still do resolutions or are you more likely to just look at the new year as a chance to get back on track with the things you've been doing? 

Monday, January 1, 2024

Life: It Goes On - January 1

Happy New Year! In the past couple of days I've been seeing a lot of memes that talked about what a dumpster fire 2023 was; I found myself nodding in agreement. Yes, yes, I thought, 2023 has been terrible. And then I looked back at pictures from this year and was reminded of all the wonderful things we did in 2023 and all of the fun we had. Was it the best year of my life? No. But it wasn't the worst year by any stretch of the imagination. It's so easy to get caught up in the mood of social media. Instead, I'd like to focus on the good things from 2023 so I can go into a new year feeling blessed and happy. 

Best Books of the Year: 
My reading slump continues (although I recognize that what I call a slump is still quite a few books by most people's standards); I only finished 56 books in 2023. Here are some real standouts.
  • The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
  • Tom Lake by Ann Patchette
  • Crook Manifesto by Colton Whitehead 
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  • The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Growl
  • A Fever In The Heartland by Timothy Egan
  • All The Beauty In The World by Patrick Bringley

Best Movies: 
We didn't get to the theater too many times in 2023 but I'm certain that these two movies would have stood out even in a crowd.
  • Barbie
  • Oppenheimer

Best Television: 
As you know, a lot of our television viewing is sports related but we also really enjoyed some series in 2023, as well. I finished Grace and Frankie, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Queen Charlotte this year. 
  • The Nebraska volleyball match that set a world record for attendance of a women's sporting event. Until that very last match, the entire season was a joy to watch, but that match in the football stadium gave me goosebumps. 
  • Ted Lasso - we are parsing out the final five episodes of the series to make it last longer
  • Shrinking with Jason Segel and Harrison Ford is so funny but also deals with heavier themes
  • Wednesday

  • Our trip in June to Alaska. I'm already planning a return trip, hopefully timed to see the aurora borealis. 
  • A trip to Duluth/Superior to visit my sister and her family
  • Helping Miss H move into her first place of her own. I had so much fun flipping furniture so that it would work for her and making sure she had everything she needed to make the place comfortable and very much a reflection of her. 
  • Live Broadway touring shows: Six, To Kill A Mockingbird, Tina, and Les Miserable
  • Two new tattoos, one symbolizing hope and the other family. 
Looking back over all the big things (to say nothing of all of the little things that brought joy to my life in 2023), helps me going into the coming year. Here's to a year filled with even more great books, great movies, great television, and life highlights!