Last week was very difficult. I had a bunch of hard stuff I absolutely had to do at work that I absolutely didn't want to do because hard stuff is hard. Plus it was the short week before Christmas and the days were sunny and shiny but short, and by short I mean I watched the sun rise from my office at 10.30a and then watched the sun set from my office at 3.30p.
None of which helps me want to be at work. Actually, all of that made me want to lie down and sleep for the entire three day weekend. But Steve had heard about Marian Call's victorious tour-of-all-50-states concert and since Marian Call is lovely we decided to go. And by decided I mean:
"So did you want to go to that thing tonight?"
"Well, I guess. I mean, it sounds okay, and if you want to go..."
"Sure if you're up for it."
"We could eat at Yak & Yeti!"
It was all quite awesome and I wish you all were there. But it didn't help me get up Christmas Eve morning for the early pilates class, ohhh no. I slept in and Steve made breakfast, which pretty much made up for skipping pilates and gave me the strength I needed to brave last minute Christmas shopping even though I had already done approximately 0% of my required Christmas shopping.
I made it home in one piece and set out to make chocolate cinnamon ice cream by mixing warm cream and cocoa and then steeping cinnamon sticks in cream and sugar for an hour. And in one moment of terrific miscalculation I dumped ice water into the cinnamon-infused custard. I fixed it by first crying and second starting over with the custard and third making pizza.
We ate pizza and watched Muppet Christmas Carol and I sang along with the songs while nibbling on a cinnamon stick. It was probably a good 30 minutes before Steve noticed and acted all disgusted that I would chew on a cinnamon stick like that. I think he was just upset he hadn't thought of it first.
Christmas morning was all about waffles and watching the dog open up her gifts, which is the funniest thing ever:
We got presentable (meaning: put on pants) and went to Steve's brother's for dinner with a quick detour to the dog park to run the poop out of the dog. I wore a black skirt with black sweater tights from Target which are the best thing ever to put on my legs in the winter. Seriously they are fantastic, everyone needs a pair.
We had a lovely time and ate turkey and ham and potatoes and played Zombies!!! and ate ice cream and wore ourselves plumb tuckered out. A very merry Christmas.
All of these books I got at a book swap; I never would have read any of them otherwise. Lesson learned: book swaps are awesome.
The Education of Robert Nifkin reminded me of "Sideways Stories from Wayside School" but geared toward younger teens. Which makes sense because it's a Young Adult book, which I didn't realize until I was almost finished with it. It had a weird premise (a college application essay? really?) and no real story, but enough kooky characters to make it a fun evening read.
Mathilda Savitch focused on coming-of-age teen Mathilda and her family falling apart after her older sister dies. I loved the voice of the main character at the beginning of the book, but it ended up being swallowed up by the story. I did like the twist of Mathilda-as-narrator not telling the truth all of the time, but it left me wondering about the real story of her sister's death and how much of her stories and lies she believed.
I wished the story had dealt more with Mathilda's version of the events and what really happened, instead of right at the end introducing the possibility that Mathilda was more involved with her sister's death than anyone knew. It gets a Meh.
"Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always."
Set in the tumultuous Middle East, A Thousand Splendid Suns follows the lives of two women who are thrust together as wives of the same abusive man. They form a strong bond in a culture where bombs routinely fall from the sky and women are routinely treated and mistreated as property of their fathers and husbands.
I read Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes shortly after my sister died. In my grief I was seeking out everything I could about sisterly connections, and this fit the bill perfectly. I don't remember much of the book, only that I cried most of the way through it. Then I grabbed her Good In Bed based off of some magazine suggestion and found the main character sassy and fun, different that other chick-lit characters I've known.
I found the main characters in Little Earthquakes to be carbon copies of her other characters, all very caricature-ish. Overweight main character with strong opinions and a healthy-to-the-point-of-loving-porn sex life? Perky type-A blonde who has her life planned out in 5-minute increments and won't let her bumbling, no-pants-wearing husband do anything to help? Lonely and misunderstood gorgeous mixed-ethnic wife of a national sports player? Mother figures who are overbearing, uncaring, and misunderstood? This book has it all.
It was a quick read and very predictable, just like her other books.