Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Favorite reads of 2022

Annual favorite reads post - recall that a) favorite read does not equal best or highest rated b) I would rather die with books unread than be scrounging for things to read so please let me know what made your list this year.

Jana and I cut Show Us Your Books in June, and it was a good long run but after all these years, there is much freedom in not working around the second Tuesday of every month. Yet here I am on the last Tuesday of the year with the favorite reads just like I've been for the past eight years. Hard habits to break sometimes.

As of today I've read 139 books this year from what I can tell - sometimes I forget to add to GoodReads or I add it after reading and the dates fuck up or short stories are included and they shouldn't be IMO but I have not shelved them otherwise. Alas the world is an imperfect place and I am an imperfect person and who really cares the particulars of how many books I've read? You can always see what I'm reading in real time by following me on Goodreads. I think this link takes you to my year in books which I always like to look over. All of my book posts live here. All book title links below take you to Goodreads.

Here are my favorite reads of 2022, all book title links below take you to Goodreads:

Perennial favorite list makers are my dependable series books, the below had new releases this year:
- The Josie Quinn series by Lisa Regan who I was thrilled to meet at a local bookstore this year
- Two new Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman, the second of which I finished last night
-The Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo
-The Tracy Crosswhite Series by Robert Dugoni

What books made your favorite reads list this year?

Monday, December 26, 2022

snippets of the weekend 12.26.2022

Festivus for the Rest of Us Friday, along with my last workday of 2022. My niece was over for a while in the morning. Chicken caesars for dinner, avoiding outside due to deep freeze (ice inside the window panes next to our door above), doing prep work for Mimi's bacon breakfast muffins, and asking the universe for no burst pipes at the shore, and Christmas Vacation. 

Christmas Eve we had Mimi's muffins for breakfast, and I did the prep work for Italian Wedding Soup and fresh bread for Christmas Day - spoiler alert, the fresh bread was glop. I think my flour was old. Try again on New Year's, maybe. Kitchen fails are normal! 

We did our annual rounds to Sandy's, cousin Colleen & John's, Uncle Billy/Aunt Sue's, and added a stop to cousin Jamie & Cindy's this year to see the Caldwells. We also did our annual drive through the well decorated neighborhood cul-de-sac. 

Christmas morning gifts with Dad & Carol. They have continued the tradition of getting me an Eagles item since I am the number one fan in the category of does not like football but likes football food and it is a running joke. My dad also picked this mug out for me, it appears that he knows me LOL. It was a fun morning watching MFD with his survivalist shit. We went to Stephen & Aubrey's to see the kids and have breakfast. We're all already thinking about summer. 

Back at home Dad & Carol left and we couched it all day. We watched both Knives Out movies, and when MFD went to do a shift for Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need I watched Do Revenge and made Italian wedding soup. MFD made separate chocolate and vanilla pudding and that was that for us on Christmas. I love doing nothing the majority of Christmas day.
Today I purged my top two drawers, jewelry, nail polish, and linen closet and made avocado dip. I assembled some goat cheese and prosciutto crostini at Mom's for Christmas Day 3. We had another fun time

Cheers to everyone who is feeling some sort of way about something that is decidedly not holiday-ish, to those missing someone or something, and to all of us out here finding joy amidst the complications of life, growing around our grief when we are grieving anyone/old ways/anything, coexisting as imperfectly perfect humans, and grappling with general societal expectations. I'd send the entire world a hug if I could and encourage us all to keep showing up, talking and laughing, sticking with each other through the hard stuff, and just to keep going.

This week I hope to keep going on purging, sorting, and getting rid of a bunch of shit. Whatever you're doing, enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2022

For the rest of us

Happy Festivus, my friends! A Festivus for the rest of us!

I'm not going even listing any of the serious grievances I'm avoiding here, which I listed in the 2021 or 2020 Festivus posts because again, say it with me, so many are the goddamn fucking same. 

So the Airing of the Grievances below are petty. The Grievances List can not be exhaustive since time is short and there are so many petty annoyances. 

- iPhone created typos. Why does it capitalize shit all the time?
- dogs can’t tell you what’s wrong with them
- pet hair
- having to clean the base of the toilet near the floor
- cracked lips
- buying something I already had
- forgetting shit at the grocery store
- drool
- dirty stovetops
- I can’t get the hang of replacing the bag in the litter genie shitbox 
- having to think of what to cook all the time
- lack of international airfare deals 
- crumbs on the counter
- the construction on Rte 1 near Neshaminy 
- 95 through Philly period
- needing reading glasses and not having reading glasses with me
- having reading glasses stashed in multiple places 
- commercials being so fucking loud
- early dark
- contractors you have to take to small claims court in order for them to finish the job 
- taters instead of potatoes
- maters for tomatoes 
- parking at large events like concerts and games

Now you go. 

Then Feats of Strength. Until you pin me, Festivus is not over. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thursday Thoughts - So happy Christmas

The publishing houses were giving this week. I got surprise packages from St. Martins Press - Maame by Jessica George, publishing February 7, 2023 (according to this copy, I have January 31, 2023 marked on Netgalley?) - and from Macmillan Red Queen (Antonia Scott #1) by Juan Gomez-Jurado with a bonus puzzle. This was originally published in 2018 and is the basis for an Amazon streaming series that's coming in 2023. I had Maame from Netgalley already, but prefer the physical book any day so will happily add both to my winter store of books I always start amassing in December. 
I'm also going to share books on Instagram that I'll mail for the cost of postage or a donation to Mighty Writers (which has pivoted to ALSO provide food donation in the face of food insecurity beginning in Covid and beyond in our communities as well as encouraging kids to be writers) or Room to Read. So keep an eye out for that, probably will do that next week in stories? I'm not sure yet. 

Jim has been the anchor of Action News since I was just over two months old. I cried a little on his last broadcast last night. I hope he has a terrific retirement.

Zelinskyy was amazing in front of Congress. 

All the motherfucking windows at the shore house save one have finally been replaced. It just took a little small claims court prodding for the last four. 

Billy Hicks has taken the guest room over as his room. There's a double bed and a single in the room, and they're pushed together so it's like an extra large bed. He sleeps on every part of it, under the comforter and under the sheets. Over the last week Ben has been joining him. They are sun animals. Yesterday they got evicted because humans need to use the room and we had to wash all the bedding. Billy lay outside and bitch meowed all day
I swear Shit MFD Says is coming back one day. Until then the fucking toenail clippers again.

Fantastic energy around the Winter Solstice last night. I was happy and clear setting my intentions for this new season. I hope you are at peace and ready for winter. 

Speaking of, the forecasted temperatures this weekend are rude. Really very rude. 

Mom dropped our Christmas Cookies off this week! I was very happy. As was Bruce.
Billy sat with me this week, which is not a thing. And other pet things.

Big love and hugs to anyone having a hard time with anything right now, big or small. This season is shiny and bright but it's also hard as fuck for a lot of people, sometimes for reasons they can't put into words. 

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

snippets of the weekend 12.19.2022

Friday we were supposed to have a festive night in Cape May but MFD got in an accident on the way to an appointment in the morning and best laid plans and all. He's got some neck issues but in the grand scheme of life is fine, no one else involved but a few kind motorists who stopped to help. The car is another story, so we're in one car right now which is interesting for a person who does not share (me). Friday afternoon I took B&B to the beach to check out the surge from the storm that finally left the area, and we took a long walk at night. Saturday I took care of some stuff we were going to be doing at the shore on the weekend - moving furniture and shit around for the final four windows to be installed this week and headed back to Philly Saturday around noon. Everyone pray for no damage from anything frozen this week down there!

I unloaded all stuff and immediately the Philly house looked like a bomb went off. I visited my nephew for his birthday, then we went to Georgine's where we haven't been in years. It was good. We picked up groceries for the zillionth time. 

Sunday was cooking and prepping for MFD's siblings and fams to come over. We had a nice fun day with everyone, only missing Ali who was working. 
Dinner was spiral ham, spinach casserole, Hungarian mushroom soup (need to do a blog post for this recipe), and indulgent mac & cheese by dwardcooks - really happy with this recipe for a gathering. I channeled Gamma and had some candy trays out for dessert and a modified version of a dip Aubrey made for Thanksgiving - need to do a recipe for that too. We cleaned up and hit the couch by 9. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Friday Friday Friday

Suicide is front and center this week and it's a little raw out there. I'm not going to ask you to check on your friends or any iteration of that because most of us do not have the skills or personal capacity to support someone who is anywhere near the brink of suicide. It also implies that we can have some sort of influence, power, or implied responsibility to keep people alive that much of the time we simply do not have no matter how much we want to think we have it. It also says we should see signs that people who struggle are so adept at hiding because they don't want us to see them or because they know we can't handle them and friends, we are mostly just not going to see signs as life goes on around us. It leaves us with pain and guilt that are hard to move on from. What I am going to ask you to consider doing:
- Approach the world with understanding
- Be continually conscious that we do not know what is going on inside anyone's head, heart, or spirit, no matter how close we are to them
- Have grace and allow space for people and for yourself
- Drop the illusion of perfection from your life: from the background of your photos, from your presence on the Internet, from your performance at your job, from your abilities as parent, from your roles as spouse/friend/daughter/son/etc. This helps signal to other people that you are okay with them dropping the illusion of perfection/all good nothing to see here from their lives
- Inwardly and outwardly value redemption and recovery from mistakes, addictions, errors, accidents, etc. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. People are going to fuck up. We cannot live in a world that tells them they can't come back from that. The pressure of that is too great a burden for anyone to bear. This does not mean drop your boundaries, but you see what I'm saying I hope. Are we all alive? Good. We'll figure the rest out later
- Stop calling for punishments that do not fit the crime both systemically and interpersonally
- Free yourself and other people from unrealistic expectations. Life is not always happy. We cannot always be positive. Things aren't always going to go according to plan or be as fun as we think. We can try our best and not succeed. We do stupid shit on purpose and inadvertently. We don't always win. We can't fix things all the time. Etc etc
- Learn to sit beside each other in pain, trauma, grief, rage, healing, ugliness, whatever. It is not comfortable and happy but sometimes we just need to be there for each other like that. Just present, not fixing.
- Know people are more than their struggles and weaknesses just as you know they are more than their achievements or successes 
- Recognize and press for systemic change to the affordability and accessibility of healthcare on the whole and mental health in particular. Affordability and accessibility for ALL people no matter where they live in this country. 
- Talk about suicide without shame or stigma. It has touched so many families, mine included.
- Talk about mental health without shame or stigma for the same reasons
- Don't be an asshole who makes fun of people needing safe spaces and instead be a fucking safe space
- Do not make it harder for people to live in this world. The world is hard enough
- Know what resources DO exist for people and help them access them when you can
Beach scenes this week.
Dogs and coats and dogs in coats rage. Coworker dogs. I have been at the shore since Monday and MFD was supposed to arrive with Mae and Billy today and we were going to Congress Hall tonight for festive fun but a series of unfortunate events prevented that from happening.
Fellow Tuesday haters, does this opener to a short story by Alice Hoffman ring your bell or what? I laughed out loud.

The fusion breakthrough this week. What a time to be alive, said in a good way for once. You never know over the past few years.

Nails! A muted holiday version? Two of my favorites: China Glaze Planted & Enchanted and OPI This Shade is Ornamental

There is nothing to even say. I howled with laughter.

This has been...not the best week. Lots of balls in the air personally and professionally and lots of shit to deal with. I'm happy it's Friday. My weekend does not look like it did when I started the week, but it will be a welcome respite just the same. I hope yours is too!

Monday, December 12, 2022

snippets of the weekend 12.12.2022

This weekend was errands and reading and cooking and organizing and lounging.

I went to HomeGoods twice - different stores - and Nordstrom Rack twice - different stores due to snafus from the first transactions. Drove to pick up a gift card in the rain Sunday as I was directed to when I ordered online to arrive and be told they do not have physical gift cards. Multiple grocery trips because I forgot things. Long lines. I was in a mall! People use the Willow Grove mall like it is 1989 and that is strangely comforting.

I finished a book, read another, started a third. Caught up on White Lotus Saturday night and Sunday morning so we could watch the finale Sunday night. 

I made tacos Friday night, the best part of which is taco salad, obviously. Sunday I made breakfast burritos to freeze and veggie beef barley soup for the week. 

Happy happy birthday to Meem yesterday! 

Remembering Gamma today on her birthday. I shared this on our shore house Instagram last year and wanted to share it here along with her library card that I have on my desk. She was the first person to take me to the library, and we went all the time, sometimes multiple times in a week. 

Happy Monday folks! We're in that holiday slide now.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saying hello on Saturday

The draft of this post was set up last Friday, and that was a carryover from the week before. Too far gone so starting fresh with a 20 timer on Saturday morning and what we do we do. Let us begin.

We’re all spending $61 or more every time we open our mouths, right? Jesus take the wheel. For those who think Joe Biden is responsible for global inflation…bless your heart, to borrow a phrase from my southern brethren 

Thrifted wall decor:

My resin replacement for a fist full of keys from South Street Art Mart - support your local creators! 

We tried Liquid Death Mango Chainsaw. LOL at the name, like the flavor.
I had to buy the stupid Christmas brownie cakes. I will make a foray into the Christmas Tree cakes then I will turn my back on both for this season.
Have you all heard of the retired spy with the daughter who does the reels? Agent Buttercup? The hold these people have on me. I can never find them when I go to look for them but I know I follow on Insta so they pop up for me. Here's an article

The amount of Foreign Policy Experts With Experience Negotiating Political Prisoners With Psychos With Nukes who have shown their face over the last week, mylanta. Welcome home Brittney Griner, even if a bunch of people have made sure to get on the Internet and say your freedom is worthless

The office in the PNC Building in the Market West neighborhood a block from City Hall where I have worked since August 2008 has officially moved to Old City. I'm pumped to explore down there and might actually try to make it into the office twice a month! I was going to come out of the gate with three times and I don't want to overshoot my shot. Cheers to new beginnings and good change.

Nails. The blue is OPI LED Marquee and the pink is OPI Pixel Dust

Wednesday night MFD and I went to the Turn PA Blue celebration in Conshohocken to congratulate the folks who worked so hard to secure and flip seats in our area. It was nice to see people but for me even nicer to be out of any active work in political races and just writing checks in support of candidates or writing postcards to voters. It is dirty AF, damaging to your spirit, and at times dangerous. I was reminded how you truly don't know until you've run or a candidate lives in your house. I'm  happy that's in the rearview and all the support to people out there deciding to do it anyway and applause for people who work hard to get them into office.
We walked to Pepperoncini where I haven't been for YEARS to have a fat ass Italian meal after that, then walked back. Those Conshohocken hills, man. The meal was good and we stood outside in no coats on an evening in December talking to people leaving the Turn PA Blue party for a bit longer. Out past 10:30 on a schoolnight!
This is what we were doing at 6 pm that night...the event started at 6 a half hour away LOL


Painting happened at the shore this week. The interior and exterior of the new porch door (SW 6766 Mariner, same as exterior of main house porch door), two tiny walls that are accent walls near the bathroom (SW 6716 Dancing Green), and the inside of the main apartment door (SW 6564 Red Clover, same as its exterior that was painted in May 2021).
A few books from last week - not a romance reader but I flew through Lily B. The Stacy W book comes out in January and if you like that sort of thing, you should look into it.
The bowl I painted over Thanksgiving weekend when Carol, Aubrey, Lola and I did the Glazed Over Pottery outing
It is hard to beat the solitude and beauty of the beach in the late fall into winter season when you can be out for well over an hour and not worry about shivery dogs or fingers that feel like they may fall off. My plan is the entirety of January there, with a pop up to Philly to see Jagged Little Pill and do my monthly hair appt and massage. December I am up not there a lot so I'm glad the temps have not dipped too much into a freeze. 
End on pets, yes? 

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