Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lil Project for a Lil Old Lady

I turned 42 last week and moved one giant step closer to lil old ladyhood ... at least in terms of my lil projects.

The situation in our kitchen was that every time I needed a pen, I could get my hands on a sharpie, a broken pencil, or a lemon sparkle gel pen.  But a black Bic or blue Papermate?  Keep dreaming, sister.  I was coming up empty-handed even though I had purchased packages of pens in recent memory.  Black hole?  Thievery?  I don't know.  Point is:  no pens when I needed them.

About once a week, I find an excuse to dine at a delightful spot called Egg Harbor.  When you sign your credit card slip at the EH register, you use a pen that is dressed up as a flower.  Cute, but more importantly, not a pen with which you are likely to abscond.

Confident that a pen dressed as a flower would not end up in my sons' pencil bags, I purchased the necessary items at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago.  Then, I thought to myself, "This can be a little birthday gift from me to me."  The cost of materials was minimal, but the time spent making the flower pens (also minimal) was a way of treating myself.  

This bouquet of flower pens is super cute now lives on my kitchen desk.  I'm writing my grocery lists, checks, and lunch box notes like a boss.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

No Stars From Me -- Goodreads Freeloader?

I signed up for Goodreads in 2011 and did nothing with it.  Around 2013, I figured out that there was a Goodreads app for iPhone and became a regular user.

My favorite Goodreads feature is the ability to keep track of the books I want to read.  For a couple years, I tried typing titles into a note on my phone.  Over and over, I'd lose the note (or a child would delete it) and poof would go months of book ideas.  Now, if I hear about a book from a friend, read about a good one in a waiting room People, or see something intriguing in a #bookstagram pic, I can just open up Goodreads and log the title into my app as "To Read."

My least favorite aspect of Goodreads is how difficult it is to "unfriend."  Every once in a while, someone (whom I don't know personally) will friend me.  At first, I would say yes in order to be nice, only to find that this individual seemingly did nothing all day except for comment/like other people's reviews and repeatedly post about books in genres I avoid (fantasy, for example).  Another gem of a Goodreads stranger/friend would review a book and then re-post that same review 10-12 times.  All that was clogging up my feed, but it's NOT EASY to unfollow someone, especially through the app.  (Disclaimer:  If I know you personally or our reading tastes are similar, I'm not looking to shake you.) 

The feature of Goodreads that stresses me out is the rating system.  I don't like giving the books a star rating at the end.  Too much bullshit to work through.  Am I being too kind?  Too harsh?  Am I prejudice against certain genres/types of books?  Am I rating on my experience reading that particular book at that specific moment in my life?  Or, am I supposed to evaluate each book within the context of all the books I've ever read?  I know, I know, don't overthink it, you're not on the Pulitzer selection committee, Megan.

Can I admit that I also get irritated by other people's ratings?  People who say perfectly pleasant things about a book that they finished reading and then give it two stars?!?!  Two stars?!  I guess for me, if I liked a book enough to finish it, then that book is better than two stars?  If it's only a two-star book for you, why are you spending time reading it?!  Some people are consistently stingy in their book ratings, and I admit to thinking, "Well, okay then, book snob."  But then, I'm actually the book snob because what I'm really thinking is:  "Well, okay then, you wanna-be book snob.  Who are you to give out these stingy ratings when I read over a hundred books last year and am much more generous in my ratings?"  But maybe I'm an easy grader.  And, of course, every reader, regardless of number of books read, has the right to rate a book as he/she sees fit so who am I to get all pissy about other people's ratings?!  And who gives a shit about these ratings anyway?!  See, how I can spiral with this Goodreads star system?

I gave myself a gift at the start of 2017:  I'm writing up little blurbs about the books I finish, but I'm not giving them a star rating.  It feels liberating.  But am I freeloading?  Since I often check the average ratings of books when deciding what to read.  Whether or not I'm a freeloader, not rating books has enhanced my Goodreads experience.  How about you?

Author's Note:  You know a post is boring when you start it on 3/8 and don't circle back and force yourself to finish it until 3/14.  Please don't rate this post.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Snackshots -- March 2017

Haven't posted a Snackshot in months.  I found these Fisher Nut Exactly Snack Bites at my local grocery store (Jewel).  My best snacks always combine salty and sweet, and these little bites are tasty.  I joined Weight Watchers in January (I do this every winter -- an ongoing cycle of winter weight loss in preparation for summer weight gain), and I like that two snack bites are 1 Smart Point.  That's not really a bargain as the bites are small, but the Smart Points system is very punitive when it comes to treats (many small treats are 4 points each) and it's nice to have something sweet without breaking the point bank. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Audible Monthly Credit(s) Report

As you know, spending my monthly audiobook credits is a cherished monthly ritual for me. 

This month's choices were easy.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is buzzing all over the place -- especially in the world of audiobookers.  I've had many incredible listening experiences involving a single narrator and am thinking my head might explode when I begin listening Lincoln in the Bardo with its cast of 166 narrators.  Added to all of that, I live in the Land of Lincoln, have/had academic interests in female friendship and democracy in nineteenth-century America (that included Mrs. Lincoln), and welcome the opportunity to immerse myself in a different moment in presidential history.

Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is even more buzzed about than Lincoln in the Bardo.  I finished it this morning.  I loved Frankel's writing and loved being with Claude, Poppy, Rosie, and Penn as they navigated difficult (woefully inadequate adjective) terrain.  No easy answers here but lots of good questions, including one which Penn asks about whether we want things to be easy for our kids (only paraphrasing since I listened and can't easily locate exact quotation).  I'm definitely still processing.  Tons to unpack here in terms of secrets, gender, family, narrative/storytelling, parenting, and the comforts and limits of binaries.  Another friend is poised to finish soon so I'm hoping we can discuss it. 

What's on your March listening list?