Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day 2020

 I have voted in every single election since I turned 18 in March of 1997.  My first Presidential Election was the ill-fated election of 2000 that gave us Bush v. Gore. I was a senior in college and cast my ballot as an absentee ballot.  I don't think that at the time, I thought that casting my vote in that way held as much weight as I gave my ballot today or subsequently.  Today's vote felt much heavier.  I arrived at my polling place fifteen minutes before the polls opened and the line to get into the polling place stretched around the very large building.  The turnout was astronomically large, but people were trying their hardest to socially distance while in line.  People were kind and respectful and said hello to their neighbors, friends and acquaintances.  

I was so happy at how orderly everything went. Once the polls opened, it was clear where I had to go to get my ballot and then cast my vote.  I knew how to fill my ballot out and knew where to place it.  The poll workers were informative, kind and professional.  I wasn't surprised by that. I was surprised by my reaction to actually filling out my ballot. I actually teared up.  I felt like it was momentous.  And like I was making history and an impact all at the same time. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Still Here...

 I've been in a terrible reading slump and it's completely and utterly depressing the living hell out of me.  I've re-started the Outlander books - I'm on Snow and Ashes - and they're helping but it's so hard to just read right now.  

How have you managed?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Seeking Suggestions


So I have a lengthy TBR list - it seems like the moment that one comes off, there are like legit, three or four to take that completed book's spot.  I am, however, terrible at figuring out what books I should get my kids to read and so I'm going to respectfully ask everyone here!  A littel bit about my kids and what they like:

My son is 12 - he'll be 13 in December. He is currently tearing through Harry Potter everything - the movies, books, you name it. He liked The Hunger Games books, the Divergent Books, Ender's Game and the Scythe books.  He enjoys reading but isn't a particularly fast reader.

My daughter is a bit more tricky. She's 9 and it's more of a struggle to get her to read. Where my son will pick up books and read (he was reading in the car on the way to ziplining and camping, and at camping would often prefer to sit at camp and read), it's definitely a battle to get my daughter to read. She loves graphic novels best. She reads at grade level.

Of course I'd love to hear recs for me - but this is about getting suggestions for my son in daughter. That being said, I'm not going to discourage you from leaving three recs in your comments - one for each of us! 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Covid Positivity


In this day and age, it's so easy to think that 2020 has just been a kick in the balls. And in some ways, it absolutely has. We've had the Covid, killer hornets from outer space, asteroids, earthquakes and Joe Exotic (you're either Team Carol or a traitor). But there has honestly been some positivity here right? Right?! Who is with me?!

This weekend was, for me, one of those positive moments.  I took my children tenting for the first time on my own.  A few summers ago, we had rented an RV but this year, tenting seemed the better option for us. We stayed at The KOA Twin Mountain/Mt Washington on a tent site and it was wonderful (although I highly recommend bringing pads to sleep on otherwise you'll be in pain and also good instant coffee!).  While there, we visited below:

I took that picture of Echo Lake Beach in Franconia Notch State Park. The kids and I spent most of the afternoon there.  We love swimming and paddle boating here.  We also managed to visit Littleton, NH
where we visited the candy counter (shoutout to Chutters for keeping everyone safe during the visit!), got some coffee (for mom and blueberry lemonade for the kids) and stopped in the bookstore.  The weather was perfect and my son even taught me how to cook sausage and green peppers in aluminum foil on coals!  Sweet!  We're headed back in September for a weekend and the kids have requested to go back next year for a longer period of time.  I have a KOA membership, and we have talked about RV'ing/camping through the country next summer, so we may end up doing that. 

Another positive thing is that tenting normalizes my weird circadian rhythm of waking up at 5 as the light is starting to get gray and light.  The red squirrels were REALLY loud and chittery too.  We had one that regularly visited us and spent some time by our fire with us on Saturday night.  Also, reading! I finished a book on Ted Bundy (maybe not the best choice for reading on a camping trip but whatever). I will review it shortly.

Anyways, lots of positive things.  I'm looking for suggestions for things to do with the kids this weekend. I already have on the list: hike, beach (Rye or York), blueberry picking, biking.  The things must be outdoors and we must be able to socially distance or safely wear masks.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Defending Jacob by William Landay

This novel by lawyer and novelist William Landay was a re-read for me.  I read it for the first time a few years ago I think.  And I enjoyed it then, but wanted to read it again to see if there was anything new I could learn from it. It's also a series now so if I was ever going to watch it, I should probably re-read it - I'm a purist (or snob?) like that.

In this book, the story is told from Andy Barber's perspective.  He is a First Assistant DA (not the DA, but the one that manages the office) and he is married to Laurie. They have a 14 year old son named Jacob. One day, their son's classmate, Ben Rivkin, is found murdered in the park along a popularly traveled path - one that most of the neighborhood kids take to school. Jacob is arrested for it and goes to trial. 

I loved the issues that were dealt with in this book - everything from love for your child that blinds you, to the stressors that are placed on a marriage and what families do for each other. I still really enjoyed it. And even though I read the book in the past, I honestly didn't remember the last part of the book and I was still shocked and surprised. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

What I've Been Reading Lately

So I haven't been posting a whole lot but I'm reading I promise!!!

I've currently got a couple of books that I'm actively reading:

1. Defending Jacob by William Landay. This is a re-read for me - it's been a few years since I read it but I'm interested in seeing Chris Evans in the series so I wanted to re-read.

2. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I grew to love him after reading The Shadow of the Wind and I'm just continuing on.  Any book that combines mystery with bookstores is all right with me.

3. The Teenage Brain because you know, soon I will have a teenager - what the hell?!

I've also been obsessed with new podcasts and new (to me) shows.  THe positive of Quarantining is that you can totally catch up and get into new things.  Here's what I'm listening to and watching:

1. Schitt's Creek  - this is literally a family affair with Eugene Levy and his two hilarious children getting inovled in this along with an amazing cast.  The episodes are bite sized - twenty minutes - so you can get two in right before bed.

2. Twin Peaks - not to be confused with New Hampshire's Twin Mountain. I'm gearing up to watch the third season on Starz but needed to get reacquainted with everyone.

3. Dirty John - the Betty Broderick story - Amanda Peet and Christian Slater.  Need I say more?!  So good. Amanda Peet nails it.

4. Slow Burn - this podcast season is about David Duke - yes THAT David Duke. The first season was about Watergate. 

5. Women and Crime - combines two of my interests - true crime and how women experience it differently.

What are you listening, reading or watching?!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

So, I've been really making an effort to read novels by or about women of color because I realized that my reading experience has actually been somewhat limited.  And this particular novel seemed really interesting when I read a synopsis of it, so I picked it up.

Ruby King is a young woman of color living in Chicago whose mother is found murdered in their South Side home. While the police just dismiss it as another act of senseless violence, Ruby knows that it will mean she's forced to live now with her violent father. The only one that seems to understand her is her best friend, Layla, who she has been friends with for her entire life. They are more like sisters, than friends.  When Layla;s father, the pastor, tells Layla to stay away, she becomes determined to help her friend no matter what. In the course of helping, she learns about murky loyalties that have run between families between generations and begins to see how trauma can be shared amongst families as well as communities.

I was very surprised to learn that this was West's first novel because it was so magnificently well written and takes on a number of important themes that are particularly relevant to today's world including racism, abuse, love, trust, faith and friendship. West effectively uses shifting first person and shifting time narratives to connect the reader to the characters. I may not have really liked the characters themselves or their choices but I felt like I was connected with them. This is an important book that is timely and relevant to the issues that our country is still experiencing to this date.  Highly recommended.

Election Day 2020

 I have voted in every single election since I turned 18 in March of 1997.  My first Presidential Election was the ill-fated election of 200...