A Fine Romance: Falling In Love with the English Countryside

I can’t quite remember what led me to reserve A Fine Romance at the library. I saw it mentioned somewhere… a diary, with watercolors. Right up my alley. Except it wasn’t. Quite.

I enjoyed it. Really. It’s just not quite my style of storytelling/diary writing. I also don’t have that much love for Beatrix Potter. (I do have a lot more love for the Bloomsbury group and the Arts & Crafts Movement, which she learned to love a good bit on her trip.)

The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine

I love me some #1 Ladies Detective Agency (on audio) and really enjoyed The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine except… I was afraid AMS was trying to kill off Mma Ramotswe. TW kept telling me I was dumb but I didn’t believe her til the very, very end, lol. Maybe it’s because we had just listened to the “killing” of Dexter? (Though I absolutely wanted him dead – more dead than he was there at the end, actually. Which is possibly a spoiler. Oops?)

I also did not really find the explanation about why Mma Makutse did what she did with Mr Polopetsi… that just didn’t seem quite right. I dunno.

Reading in January

It wasn’t a great reading month for me. Too many work things to deal with. Too many hours spent staring at Zillow, hah.

Six books. SIX. Lord.

Two were non-fiction (one of those was from my stacks.)
One was audio.
The rest were adult fiction.

Ho hum. February probably won’t be much better.

The Improbability of Love

TW read The Improbability of Love and enjoyed it. When I was looking for a new (and light?) book to read, TW suggested this one so… I gave it ago.

It wasn’t exactly light. Or heavy, either. It was a little dense and a little dark, in places. (Art and Nazis, both dense and dark topics.) I enjoyed it, mostly. I didn’t like the end, not really. We went all through this story, getting to know all of these characters (and the painting) and then BANG –> we’re told in two sentences what happened to everything? Even Annie’s arrest was rushed and, I don’t know. It just felt like the author had written another 100 pages and then been told to cut that down to 20.

Otherwise — I enjoyed it.

Dexter Is Dead

After the last Dexter (the one I scathingly refer to as Dexter Does Hollywood) I swore I’d never read another Dexter novel. I felt pretty good about that decision until I stumbled across Dexter Is Dead in the library.

Hell.

We needed an audiobook and if Lindsay killed Dexter off, maybe I could gloat about it and be more satisfied with the ending?

Well. Yea. No. It wasn’t a bad book but I really would rather have not read it. Or the one before it.

But now DEXTER IS DEAD, (he’d better be, for godsake), and it’s over.

The Wild Girl

It took me awhile to settle into the story about The Wild Girl but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I’m a fan of Grimm’s fairy tales so it was extra interesting to read this.

Peyton Place

It’s pretty interesting to read (or re-read, in my case) Peyton Place now. Such a scandalous book 60 years ago, now … not so much. Even more interesting to re-read it after reading Unbuttoning of America (which is what led me down the Peyton Place path. lol.

I totally enjoyed reading it — probably more this time around than the first time 35ish years ago.

Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man

When I heard Julie Des Jardins was writing a book about Walter Camp, I knew I wanted to read it. Not because I’m a big football fan (#GoTigers) but because I knew Julie would write something interesting, something I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of.

And, that’s exactly what she did.

I’ve never really thought a whole lot about the history of football — why it is what is is today, what it was in the beginning. I mean I knew all about the weird formations and pulling/pushing the ball carrier and the controversy around the throwing game but Walter Camp’s ideas about MEN and what being a MAN should be… that’s not really something I’d thought much about. And, it makes total sense.

Looking at football today (or listening to it, as I am now — to the Clemson/Alabama game, go Tigers) it all makes so much sense. And thinking about injuries — from the 1800s and 1900s and today. It all makes so much sense, in a senseless insane sort of way.

Really fascinating read. I highly recommend you read Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man.

Spark Joy

It seems fitting that the first book I finished in 2016 is Spark Joy, Marie Kondo’s new book.

It’s short, even shorter than the first one, and I didn’t like it nearly as much as I’d hoped. It was fine, a lot of regurgitation of the first book and some clarification of the “rules” that some people might need, but I really didn’t. Not a whole lot more info about storage and organization then there was in the first book. Not really anything new at all, actually.

I’m not sorry to have read it because it was like getting a little Kondo refresh to help push me into the final stretch (and to remind me of things to think about when we buy a new house, pack up all of our stuff and then unpack all of our stuff.)

KonMari Update: Finished. Sort of. Not Really.

I meant to write this update before 2015 ended but I procrastinated badly that last week of December and am just now catching up with everything. What I didn’t procrastinate with was Kondoing the things.

When I last updated you, we had these things left:

– Knick Knacks
– Art (you know, that stuff some people hang on walls but we generally just store in closets. sigh)
– Seasonal decor
– Sentimental things

We also had some things that we needed the children to go through and planned to have them help us out with that during the holidays: the nutcracker collection, the videos and the board games.

Where are we now? Done. Sort of.

We went through all of the knick knacks and art and made some sizable donations to Goodwill right before the kids came for the holidays. We still have a few more things to donate and we have some art and large framed mirrors and such that we’re holding onto until after we choose a new home. It’s possible that even if they bring us joy, they may not fit in our new home… we’ll review right before we move and purge again, if necessary.

We went through the seasonal items and I thought that would be harder than it was. I don’t know if it was TW’s mood or what but she found less joy than I expected her to find and it was a piece of cake to get through that stuff. (We cut down Christmas by 2 rubbermaid tubs and a cardboard box!)

We went through ALL of the sentimental things, once. We did a quick “no joy” pass on all of the things we’ve saved and there are three bins in the office that we need to go through once more to see if everything sparks joy. We also put all of the photos in one big box (except for what’s already in albums) and we need to go through those (and the albums.) Michelle belle helped me go through a shoebox and two small albums while she was here and that was kind of fun to do with her.

As for the things we thought the kids were going to Kondo? We went from four HUGE boxes of nutcrackers to two. I’d like to have gotten down further than that but…whatever. It’s not my stuff, though we’ll probably be storing those boxes for the oldest youngest child until we die.

Four of the five kids went through the games and only a small number sparked joy. I would like the fifth child to weigh in but if she doesn’t make her way over here soon, I’m probably going to just bite the bullet and discard the bulk of this stuff.

The videos that the kids originally struggled to let go of, (while I was trying to Facebook them photos asking “Joy or no joy.”), were suddenly much easier for them to discard and they agreed that I should just let it all go. I’m not sure I can do that, but it makes it easier to discard the bulk of it without worrying that they’ll be unhappy about what didn’t bring me joy. So, I need to go through the cabinet and just get that done. I think I’ll actually do that as soon as I finish typing this post.

I also realized that there are some things in one of the sideboards that we never went through because they were art or sentimental or knick knacks but since they were out of sight, I forgot about them. I’ll convince TW that we should do those tomorrow.

So really, we’re very close to being finished with this (oh, except of course for Elly’s room which we’re still working on, one small batch at a time when she’s here every week or two.) It feels good but TW said the other day that we’ve done so much but it still feels like there’s more to do. I feel that way too, and expected it. It was always sort of my plan to do another pass through all of the things as we pack up to move — and then really think about our possessions again once they’re being unpacked in our new home. I do expect we’ll let more go over the next six months or so. Not a lot, but just looking around while I type, I feel like there are some things here that don’t really bring joy… I like them, but joy… probably not.