Ha! This is totally what it feels like if you are a dog lover. Meeting new dogs is the best! See also getting jumped on and licked too 🙂 Owners are always so apologetic but inside I’m thinking ” Yes! You’ve chosen me! I love you too!” I would pet every dog I saw if I didn’t think it would bug the crap out of people. I know myself, sometimes you just want to go for a walk and not chit chat with every person you come across!
I still remember one of the greatest days of my life. On a patio at Starbucks, squeeing over a Boxer puppy being walked on the sidewalk toward me. The puppy’s owner PICKS HIM UP AND PLOPS IT ON MY LAP! Seriously! What a gift. It’s be twenty years and I still remember the thrill of that moment. No words were exchanged just love. Sigh … what a day!
I’m delightfully unemployed at the moment but still looking for work because the household needs money to run … and I like to travel! It’s been six months of talking to my pets for 8 hours a day so I relate this one strongly. Meow!
Snicker. Speaking of not working. Oh. EM. GEE! Social skills get lost when you don’t have to practice them every day! I’m such a weirdo these days. Its hilarious. I have to actually remind myself to be mindful of acting ” normal” before I go anywhere! I’m grateful I don’t embarrass easily, heh.
I just adore this. A much better way to measure time. ❤
If there has ever been a month built for reading, it has been this past December.
While weather in Edmonton hasn’t been cold, its been fractious. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and read. Luckily for me, I have eyes that see, legs that walk me to the library down the street and my very own borrowing privileges. Life is good.
A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a fun read! I see that it’s #1 in a series of 3, and that has me all excited because I really liked it. It’s a book about witches and demons and vampires. It’s romantic and fantastical…and problematic at points- my feminist side was cringing at times- but over all it was a quick and engaging read and I didn’t hate the characters by the end for any of the things that made me cringe, ha!
When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a true accounting of a dying man’s life. Dude is a young doctor and he’s diagnosed with cancer. I was excited about this one because a. reading about death is my jam b. it had gotten rave reviews c. it sounded like it would be touching and thoughtful. I mean, just look at that title! Unfortunately for me, while I felt sad at times, this book lacked depth and emotion. Perhaps I should not listen to hype. May he rest well, at any rate.
Now this one, was very different. The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is about the books Will and his Mum read and discuss while going to Mum’s cancer treatment appointments. Its the story of a life, a family. It was thought provoking and tender. Honest and human. I liked it a lot. Twas a good read!
Ugh! Look! A movie scene cover. I hate that! But I read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, anyway! And you know, it was good. At first I really found the odd format tedious but after putting it down for a bit and coming back to it refreshed, I found it easier to get into. After that, I was fine. I don’t want to wreck the story for you so I’ll just say this is in an interesting, quirky read with memorable characters. It made me think and want to delve into the history of certain things more. I love it when books do that!
I know right? Whaaaaat?! The Pornographer’s Daughter by Kristin Battista-Frazee was not nearly as salacious as I’d hoped for. Which I suppose is precisely the author’s point. Its the story of her childhood that wasn’t really all that special except for one thing: her dad distributed the movie Deep Throat, had some legal troubles and then later went on to work further in the industry. This was an alright read. There was some magical thinking at work here that I wasn’t able to connect with but it was written well enough and now I know a thing or two about the movie Deep Throat. Ha.
What To Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapely is a little book, likened to something written by Nicholas Sparks. I didn’t find that all. The first chapter was great but then it just got complicated and hard to follow. I had to set it down *gasp!
I’ve been watching The Crown so when I saw this book – 99 Glimpses Of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown- on a book list somewhere, I quickly added it to my list. It came in and I read it in one day. It.was.good! Not your average biography and what a relief at that! This book is such a breath of fresh air in the genre and I really hope other authors follow suit. The author paints an honest picture of a complex person and makes them seem all too human, the good, the bad and the ugly. It pulled me straight through til the end.
The Wizard And The Witch by John C. Sulak was weird. I guess that’s no real surprise considering the subject matter. More than that, it was boring to read about two assholes who thought most highly of themselves and treated other people like crap.
Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman WAS weird but delightfully so! I enjoyed this book so much, my only complaint being that it was scarce in details I wanted to know more about! A quick and entertaining read.
I had such high hopes for The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. It was a little long and technical for me although it tried not to be. Clearly a ME problem 🙂 It held a lot of vital information within and I’ll probably pick it up again sometime.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is not my usual jam-mystery- but I really liked it. It has a twist that I didn’t see coming at all and deals with a matter that is quite alarming and leads you to think all kinds of things. Love that!
From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein was a fun and entertaining read. I blew through in an evening- New Year’s Eve to be exact-and found it well worth my time. It’s part insight look to a way of life I knew nothing about while being a personal memoir. I liked.
Heart-Breaker by Claudia Dey was a total train wreck of a book. In the best possible way. I don’t know how the author took such a strange and twisted story and made me fall in love with it, but she did. A quick read. A read that will stick with you long after you’re done. Go get it!
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I want to be this woman when I grow up! Do you think she’s really as awesome as she seems to be? I hope so. This was a great read! It was honest and inspiring. She just makes me want to be a better person on the whole. Entertaining and enlightening, this was a great read.
Not too shabby for a month, hey?!
I’ve got one book down for January already and of course, a HUGE pile just waiting in the wings. I’ve signed up for the GoodReads Challenge again but that’s Friday’s post. Until then HAPPY READING!
This is not to say I didn’t have low points . A LOT of people I knew died in 2018 and that is always hard for the living. I quit my beloved job due to stress. Stress caused because I was not able to positively affect change in a hostile environment, even though I tried so hard. So BOO! to that.
I lost some friends and that altered my social scene greatly. All because of a meme, a shitty reaction and my rigid integrity. ( My integrity was also a factor in leaving my job too. I don’t regret either but there is a cost, to be sure. )
Then there is all the family stuff. Not my stories to tell but I can say they involve a major break up and a major break down. All on the mend now, positively. I’m very relieved and happy to say.
Now! On to the spectacular.
In February, the Hubs and I went to Las Vegas, Nevada! Where we took the best selfie in the history of selfies:
Enjoyed the champagne a little TOO much:
That is what I look like after drinking an entire bottle of champagne minus one small glass, ha!
Drove to the Grand Canyon!!!
And took another great selfie. Soon to be the cover of our next sick album:
Our Grandson, OV was born -whilst we were in Vegas! I was supposed to be there! I’ve forgiven him. It just means we got to meet him earlier than expected 🙂 )
I realized a life long dream and went to Tanzania!
Words cannot adequately convey just how grateful I am for this experience. It was like magic. I do promise to complete my travel posts, in good time. I still have so many stories to share.
And in between the lows and the highs I’ve loved the ordinary too. Nothing beats watching the sun come up, even though I’ve seen a thousand different sunrises. And I do so adore sitting on my couch, hot cup of coffee in my hand, surrounded by pets who think I’m the bees knees, enjoying the peace and quiet. I think the ordinary is really where life is at 🙂 Its where we spend most of our time after all. And when you think about this:
The ordinary stops feeling so … ordinary!
So, tell me! What were your lowlights and highlights of 2018? What were your beloved in betweens?
I used to have a cat named December. We found her in December so of course that was her name.
She was a total ass. She regularly terrorized my older cat even though he was 25 lbs of ‘Wegie and she was just this slight, skinny black and white creature.
When you looked into her eyes it was like she had no soul. Seriously. I know that’s a weird thing to say but that’s how we all felt.
I once brought a stray kitten into the house before finding its owner and this kitten read December like a book. It was fine with Corny and Spider. They even trilled at each other a few times. As soon as it saw ‘Cem, it broke out hissing and spitting, fighting in my arms to be let down and out of the house.
She was something else…she could be sweet too. To humans. She was tiny but if she lay on you, she had this way of stretching herself out so that she was this long ribbon of cat. She liked to ride on shoulders too…
She died young of kidney failure and hers was the first “pure” animal death I was a part of. There was no guilt or questions. It was all so clear. She was suffering, I couldn’t see her suffer and so she didn’t. I grieved for her but it was a sweet sadness, a balm for my soul. I knew I’d done right by her, in life, illness and death.
Ha! So now that you’ll all been educated about my cat: Are you excited for December?! I am. This is our last month of 2018. I’m excited about the holidays -Solstice and Jolabokaflod in particular- and a fresh new year.
Let’s say goodbye to November 🙂
Best… Holiday Cheer! I’m not a Christmas person but I’ve read so many news articles these days about how people who decorate for the holidays early are happier than those who don’t. I’m all about being happy so:
Miss Sassafras is very adept with technology. When we had her over for a visit the first thing she did was grab my phone and start taking photos. She insisted on this one and I don’t know whether or not to be impressed or horrified about the whole thing.
Best dinner out:
My man and I have taken to going out for appetizers every few weeks. Most places have a “Happy Hour” during the week so it can even be economical if you time it right. Our best time this month? Appy at Brown’s Social House
We had nachos, yam fries and Korean chicken.
The nachos were fairly standard, everything was fresh. There were a ton of toppings and nothing was soggy. That’s a huge win!
The yam fries were perfectly seasoned and came with the most delicious chipotle dipping sauce that was my favourite part of the whole meal!
The chicken was mildly spicy and tasty. Hubs said it was a bit dry and my complaint was that it didn’t hold its crunch the whole way through but to be fair it was drenched in sauce so that’s probably just the way it is. We liked it, at any rate.
They even made me a unique yet recognizable Dark and Stormy even though there was some confusion as to what that was at first. Everything was hot, fresh and tasty. Service was good and I got to enjoy a weeknight out with this guy:
Best Idea I Had This Month:
I love the feel of clean sheets. Is there anyone who doesn’t? I have a friend who changes her sheets every other day and I used to think she was nuts but; the other day I climbed into bed and was so grateful for the fresh bedding that I decided then and there to change the sheets every four days instead of every seven. I feel so self satisfied like I just invented something amazing or finally gave myself permission to really live, ha ha, Its the little things in life!
All in all, November treated me most kindly. I’m still alive and kicking 🙂
How was your month? What are you looking forward to in December?
Have any of you seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet? Its so good! I was engaged and captivated the whole way through. I didn’t want it to end and when it did, not a soul in the theatre left until the final credit rolled past. We all wanted to keep listening to the music!
Do you have a favourite Queen song? Mine is … you guessed it! Another One Bites The Dust.
There’s just something about that bass and its so…funky!
Gah! This one gets me. Right in the feels. I’m not sure I agree with it entirely but it made me gasp out loud so something within me does. I do know it takes bravery to be vulnerable and open in love. I have a hard crunchy shell 🙂 but I do the best I can. How about you? What do you think?
I love memes. I think they are an ingenious way to share a thought, idea , joke or inspiration in a succinct and culturally relevant way.
I find them helpful too. When I need inspiration, courage, validation or just a laugh all I have to do is scroll through my vast collection and, there it is. Something I’ve saved for this exact moment.
Here are two from last week that really stuck with me :
Have any of you read anything by Brene Brown? She’s spent the past two decades studying shame, courage, vulnerability and empathy. The first meme really brings home a lot of what she writes about. I’d much rather engage with curiosity than shame. I like the reminder this meme brings me.
The second meme feels so empowering! Yeah, I might love you but I don’t have to trust or respect you. That’s entirely up to you. Its your job to be trustworthy and worthy of respect through your actions ( never words) and I decide to give or not, depending on my interpretations of your actions. And just because I love you, doesn’t mean I have to put up with the things you do that cause me to not trust you or respect you. Trust and respect are earned based on behavior, not just given as a gift alongside love. Being able to separate these things was HUGE in my personal growth and evolution as a human.
October was a challenging month for me. It was the two-year anniversary of a trauma that re injured my brain AND it was the first whole month in which I was not in Tanzania. Waaa! I had some readjusting to do, under stressful circumstances. BUT it wasn’t horrible. I’m here, alive and kicking in November. I learned some things and made it through. My goal for next October is to thrive rather than survive. But you know that’s my goal every month!
ANYway, I got thinking about it all and the good things that happened and really wanted to showcase that. Do a roundup exercise of all the awesome. Because our brains are wired for the negative, no problem there, ha ha but the positive…that’s a thing that needs cultivating. And that’s a thing that’s really, truly worthy of my attention 🙂
The Best Savoury Thing I Ate In October:
Tanzanian Pepper Beef Stew. I invented it based on my memory of a meal I ate whilst in Tanzania. I’m fine tuning it for my recipe book and will share it eventually, but if you want to make something similar, it’s basically beef and peppers with lots of black pepper and onion. At first bite, I was proud. So proud!
The Best Sweet Thing I Ate In October:
A banana crepe with Nutella at Cora, with two dear friends on a sunny Autumn morning.
I’m not usually a sweets person but there was something about this warm, chocolate fruity glop of deliciousness that really hit the spot. A rare but welcome thing.
The Best Hot Drink I Drank In October: My last attempt at recreating spiced tea. It was almost perfect. Perfect spice, perfect sweet… I just need to tweak the milk – I’m going to try shelf stable milk – and see if that does the trick – but drinking it whilst reading a book in the warm sunlight, knowing I was so close was dreamy. At this point if the milk doesn’t make it so, it’ll be alright because it’s a damn fine cup of tea anyway.
The Best Outing I Had In October: This is a toss-up between two. The first one was a walk in the river valley with two friends. The sun was shining, there was a chill in the air, the leaves were crunchy and we were surrounded by birds and squirrels doing important animal things. I found the BEST sticks to add to my collection and there were lost of laughs and insightful realizations and just good fun.
The second one was a surprise motorcycle ride with my man. He came home early on a sunny afternoon and asked me out. We didn’t go anywhere special, just out and back through an area close to the city but it was fun to be zooming along in the sunny air. There was a slight chill as we sped through traffic, turning into curves with total acceptance of whatever was to be. You can’t resist the turns on a bike, even as a passenger so I really had to surrender to them. Would we crash or remain upright and keep going? Only one way to find out. That was fucking scary and liberating at the same time.
Best Social Interactions In October: My fun and chatty conversation with a lady at the transit station who gave me doughnuts. I’ll detail it fully in another post but here I can tell you that it was really nice to have an honest, kind conversation with another human being, especially as we seemed to just click in seconds. People think it’s all weirdos on transit but that’s not true. I’ve met a lot of lovely humans as well.
Going to a new book club at my local library. Everyone was open and friendly, welcoming and engaging. Their words and their actions matched and it was just a really nice night.
Smartest Thing I Did In October: Get our wills made up! The sense of relief I feel is … well, relieving. I feel just a titch more grown up 🙂 One less thing to feel anxious about.
Coolest Thing I Bought: A Namaste Skeleton!
The dead and dying in me see the dead and dying in you. Its perfect! I buy a lot of my regular home décor during Halloween sales. Ha Ha.
Best Shows I Watched: So yes I’m totally late to this but OH EM GEE …
I’d tried to watch it once before with the Hubs but just couldn’t get into it. I think watching it was my man was the problem because I had no issues revisiting it on my laptop with my headphones in! I’d read the books years ago and really enjoyed them. I’m happy the series is holding my attention the same way.
Is another one I’m liking. It’s on Netflix and its a fancy little cooking show -kind of, sorta – about how if one masters these four elements, Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat, one can transform their meals. I really like the host Samin Nosrat and the whole thing is just really interesting. If you’re passionate about food and people and places, this is a show for you.
What were some of your highlights in October? I’d love to hear all about them!