Sorry for being MIA this week. We were out of town this weekend and I thought I would have some Washington, DC pictures for you today, but I haven’t gotten around to editing any yet (that’s the problem with shooting RAW – every photo needs at least some editing). So here are some more photos from Ben’s parents’ visit last weekend when we went to the beach on a very non-beachy day.
Title: The Dangerous Animals Club
Author: Stephen Tobolowsky
Narrator: Stephen Tobolowsky
Audio: 11.6 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Source: Personal Collection
Book Rating: 4/5
Audio Rating: 5/5
Actor Stephen Tobolowsky shares stories from his childhood, his marriage, and his career.
We started listening to this one on a family road trip. Whenever E was asleep, Ben and I would put it on. E didn’t actually sleep as much as I expected him to, so we each had to finish it on our own. But we were both enjoying it so much that there was doubt that we would.
Stephen Tobolowsky, as he explains it, is that guy you recognize but you’re from where (the store down the street? the laundromat?). You recognize him from television and films. But he’s a solid character actor – not one to stand out or be memorable. But he is in practically everything, from Groundhog Day to Glee. And he has amassed some wonderful stories which he tells masterfully.
The book started with stories from his childhood and those mostly featuring animals (the title story is about a tarantula- and scorpion-catching club he was in as a boy in Texas). The stories then move on to his schooling, his relationships, and his career. He has had an interesting life so far and his tales are well-crafted. If you just want to listen to some good storytelling, this one is for you.
Tobolowsky reads this one himself, as he should. You’ll recognize his voice, even if you don’t recognize his name. He’s a born storyteller.
I’m writing this on the fly from my phone, having forgotten to write anything earlier, so bear with me.
I finally finished – thank god – Dave Egger’s The Circle. I think you can tell how I felt about it from that sentence. I am cleansing my palate with some Maisie Dobbs (Elegy for Eddie) while I await Cress’s publication on Tuesday.
In print, I read nothing this week. I spent the last half of the week at a conference and/or socializing. And I don’t see the reading time increasing anytime soon. I am sitting for the Labor and Employment Law Board Certification in 6 weeks and I need to actually start studying, so I think my reading time might be spent reading about unions, overtime, and discrimination instead. Riveting stuff.
I’m a bit behind on my 8k training, but I’m doing alright. I think my schedule and health may actually allow me to run this week. What a winter this has been.
I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.
Title: Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy Camera Off “Auto” and Photograph Like a Pro
Author: Rachel Devine; Peeta Mazey
Genre: Photography; Nonfiction
Pages: 240 pages
Publisher: Amphoto Books
This is a how-to for photography, offering tips from beginning to end and everything in between. It is written by two photographers and filled with their own photos.
Part One: Getting Off Auto
I have a basic understanding of the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, but reinforcement of the ideas is extremely helpful and hearing different photographers describe it a little differently helps me gain a better understanding. This was my first lesson in light metering. The photoshop section was helpful even before I had photoshop as it talks about what kind of fixes you might want to make post-processing. I think this is a good beginner’s lesson in shooting in manual.
Part Two: Life as a Photo Op
I liked this part less. I thought the tips for certain subject matters and situation were helpful but this section went on too long. I grew bored by the end and only finished to finish. Perhaps it’s a book that isn’t meant to be read cover to cover and that was my mistake.
I was going to write a post about some minor injuries I am dealing with, but then I caught myself having some more positive thoughts this week and decided to share those instead.
On several occasions this week, I have looked in a mirror and been happy with what I see. I still have a little more work to do (my favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans still don’t fit) but I am comfortable with my progress so far.
I had a baby. My body is different now. I can accept that. That doesn’t mean I just want to sit on the couch, 15 pounds heavier than before. I’ve worked to lose almost 10 of those pounds. And now that I am within sight of my “goal,” I’m finding some satisfaction.
I think we all need to remember to put a positive spin on things. If we are working toward change, we should be able to look in the mirror and be happy with our progress.
So cheers to everyone who is making healthy changes. Even if you haven’t achieved your ultimate goal yet.
(The look is because I was about to brave the cold for a run)
As much as I love yearly recaps, I am not usually one for new year’s resolutions. But this year I am going to take advantage of the new year and try a fresh start here.
I recently realized that I may have accidentally quit book blogging. My last real review was nearly two months ago. I can’t even muster up enough blogging mojo to write a mini-review.
But that’s okay. I am a different person than I was when I started this thing. I am a mom and that takes up a tremendous amount of my time. And in whatever free time I have, I have shifted some of the priority from reading to other activities, like photography.
So here is what I am going to do. Because I think having a PLAN will help me.
- I will do my best to resume Sunday Salons where I will discuss what I am currently reading.
- I am going to write one review a week. I will post it on Monday.
- I am committing to Wordless Wednesdays, so expect regular photo posts.
- On Fridays, I am going to talk about something health-related: food, running, dance, yoga etc. I need to be held accountable.
- I will continue to do a monthly recap. Because I like those.
- The remaining days of the week will be free days. I will most likely not post anything. But if I want to, I can blog about anything I feel like blogging about. An extra book review maybe? Some more photos? My current views on parenting?
I am going to try my hardest to stick to this for the first three months of 2014. I want to really give it a try. This blog needs to shift topics a little if it is going to survive and I really would hate to see it go. Honestly. This is the direction I’ve been going so I’m just taking it a little further.
If I do go missing here for some period of time, please look for me on twitter or instagram. I rarely go missing there.
Do you have any blogging plans for 2014?
So here is what I am going to do. Despite the fact that I barely read these days, I am crazy behind on writing reviews. So I am going to do some mini-reviews. I’ll be using publisher’s summaries instead of writing my own and probably keeping my thoughts to a few sentences. But at least I’ll be catching up and you’ll finally get some long overdue reviews.
Author: Polly Shulman
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA
Audio: 6.5 hours
Publisher: Recorded Books
Book Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Rating: 4/5
Best friends Julia and Ashleigh are looking for some romance, but Ashleigh’s ways make Julia a little uncomfortable. While crashing a fall dance, they are befriended by two boys, one of whom being the mysterious male that Julia had seen at the mall. Unfortunately, Ashleigh has laid claim to her mysterious boy first. Julia is totally confused about high school love.
This book was a fun read for any Jane Austen fans out there. It’s light and funny and is really a very sweet story of friendship. It’s not going to change your world. It’s not going to make you think. But it will entertain you. It was just what I needed after a long, less-entertaining audiobook.
When I first started listening, I thought there were some weird pauses but they either went away or I got used to them. Ikeda did a good job capturing the feel of this book.
Generally, when Ben and I aren’t living together, I read more. Not so much this summer. And I can’t even blame Evan. I’ve been able to watch plenty of television. I am still going strong with the audiobooks at least. In July, I read:
- The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
- The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
- Pure by Julianna Baggott (audio)
- Delirium Stories: Hana, Annabel, and Raven by Lauren Oliver
- Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss (audio)
- Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (audio)
- A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (audio)
I also reviewed The Mapping of Love and Death; Among the Mad; Live by Night; and Hand Me Down.
July was my first fully month of Wordless Wednesday. You can see all of my photo posts:
I am still not dancing (though I am happily watching Breaking Pointe, Dance Academy, and So You Think You Can Dance).
I am trying to keep running, but it’s been harder with the heat + single parent thing. It’s just too hot to push that stroller. I am back up to 22 minutes of running without walking. I should probably sign up for a 5k soon…
Evan is 14 months old. I’ve survived my temporary single parenthood (Ben returns on Tuesday!) and I actually enjoyed the Evan and me time. I also finally recapped Evan’s first birthday party.
How was July for you?
After a few twitter conversations this week, I am considering changing my social media profile. I think this accurately sums up my digital (and real life) self:
I hoard emails, open documents, and browser tabs. I use 99% of available disc space. And it’s a good bet that all my electronics need to be charged.
What do you think?
I hope you all enjoyed Audiobook Week. It is one of my favorite blogging events, and I think Jen deserves a big round of applause for hosting it once again.
This morning, I am taking Ben to the airport. So he can go to Vermont. To study. For 6 weeks.
I am feeling a lot of things all at once. Sad because Ben is leaving. Anxious because I have a small person to take care of all by myself. Excited to have some time to myself. Jealous that Ben is going to get to sleep as much as he wants.
This isn’t our first time living apart. In 2007, we spent a year living in three different states, never at the same time. In 2010, Ben went to Asheville for six weeks. In 2011, after our month-long tour of Europe, Ben stayed in England for 5 more weeks while I came home. But now we have Evan, so things are different.
I was never very good at taking care of myself while living on my own. I forget to eat dinner. I never check the mail. The cats are lucky if I remember to feed them. But now I have Evan, who will be completely dependent on me. And it’s freaking me out a little.
Thankfully, I have some family coming to help out. My brother’s girlfriend is coming to stay for 2 weeks (bless her heart). My mom is visiting for a weekend. And Ben’s sister will likely be visiting for a weekend. And hopefully Ben comes back for a visit (I decided against going up to Vermont – I didn’t want to travel with a walking-but-not-yet-understanding-my-directions E by myself). And, of course, I have a full time sitter during the week, so at least he’ll eat at her house.
And there are some things I am actually looking forward to. I usually get a lot of reading done when Ben isn’t around. I can watch all the Dance Academy I want. I can turn the ceiling fans off and the air conditioning up. And I can sleep in the middle of the bed.
So. Deep breath. Smile. Let the mini-adventure in single parenting begin.