multi-hyphenated-me

the hyphens that define my life

Bury Me in Books August 28, 2013

My love for reading is beyond books. Subscriptions to newspapers and a ridiculous number of magazines prove this.  I just love stories at any time, any where.  I riddle new poeple I meet with questions so I can understand their story.  If driving in the car, I listen to an audio book or NPR public radio to hear world stories and views.  My mind is stimulated through learning how the threads of the fabric of our lives are woven together.  That is, until I trip on the threads and find myself down the rabbit hole in Wonderland.

Recently, Spokane news reported the tragic story of two teenagers that beat an 88-year-old man to death with a flashlight outside the Eagles Lodge in North Spokane.  I looked up the address of the Eagle’s Lodge when I read this report to see how far away from my door did this horrific tragedy occur.  Thankfully, far enough away for me not to give a second thought.  In the paper this morning, the teenagers claim that the old man shorted them in a crack cocaine deal and they beat him as the result.  The plot thickens.

Today, as I drove north on Division, turned right on Francis and made a left on Lidgerfeld, to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, I found myself on the same street, driving past the Eagles Lodge, where the incident occurred.    Hello.  I’m new to town.  Have I found myself suddenly in a drug zone? Is this a safe area?  Eek.  I pulled into the parking lot, parked the car, and hustled on into the DMV and took care of my business.  I mentioned the incident to the DMV clerk and she was, at first, oblivious to the entire ordeal.  When she came to her senses, she recalled the event and said the teenagers should be hung and quartered.   I told her of the news update of a drug deal gone bad and a switch flipped.  “Oh,” she said “Doesn’t that change your perspective.” Not having formulated an opinion, it was clearly not my perspective that had changed.

Correction.  My perspective has changed.  I am now an official Washingtonian and Spokanite and a card-carrying member of the Spokane Public Library.

Careful folks, I’m armed with books and dangerous.

I have, due to the overwhelmingly enormity of the challenge, given up on the New York/LA Times Best Seller’s lists.  I am exhausted from reading the same formula authors too.  I do love a good book list though, so when I saw “50 Great Books That Will Change Your Life” in Real Simple magazine, I thought this would be a great list to start my personal reading club of one.

Here’s the list:  http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/great-books-00100000101474/page15.html 

At first glance, I appreciated the humor, depth and variety of this list.  I was thrilled to check off The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Little Engine That Could, Of Mice and Men, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (I have this one memorized) as books I have read.  Starting at the top, I read and crossed off About Alice, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in recent weeks.

Then the list starts to agitate me. What the heck?  Book #4 on the list, Apartments for the Affluent:  A Historical Survey of Buildings in New York by Andrew Alpern is available on Amazon.com for $179.66 in used condition and for $895.00 in collectible condition.  My local library doesn’t carry this book nor does my prior library in Southern California.  How then, dear Real Simple, am I supposed to read all the books on this list?  Perhaps requiring that the books recommended be available to share with readers should have been considered prior to publication or please pick another book. Going for the obscure book on your list to recommend is a good joke. Thanks for the laugh Alexa Hampton, who recommended this book.  Real Simple provides a link to Amazon.com stating that the used price is $45.  This book must be a hot commodity because the price has gone through the roof since publication!

Thanks for the challenge, Real Simple, I’ll accept it.  I will be in New York City in October and I will make the excursion to the Mid Manhattan Library on 5th Avenue and read this book.  Maybe this is an east coast thing?  I’ll be in Seattle in September, I’ll see if they have the book too.

The online list (link provided above), specifically if you click [print], the list is much more manageable and provides great information.  I will stick with the list and have already requested several of the books from the library.

What are you reading?  Where do you get your book recommendations?  If you could only pick one book to recommend, what would it be?

I am currently reading My Life With Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall.  Spokane Public Schools recommends this book as summer reading for 7th graders, (along with Freak the Mighty, My Side of the Mountain and No More Dead Dogs and others) which is good enough for me.  This year, hardly any of the books I have read rise to the top to really challenges my senses. When all else fails, go for humor, so i recommend A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy (or any of his books) as my favorite.

My next read will be Woody Allen’s Without Feathers, recommended on the Real Simple list by my favorite, A.J. Jacobs.  It’s a give and take world.

Happy Reading!

 

Reduce Your Environmental Impact August 19, 2013

In 2012, my collegiate daughter enrolled in an English class that required her to read No Impact Man by Colin Beavan.  I found the book at the library and read it before handing it over to the actual student.  No Impact Man is chronicles the year-long experiment by Beavan and his family to have zero impact on the planet while living in Manhattan, NY.  This isn’t a story about a homesteader with a bunch of acreage in the middle of nowhere self-sustaining.  The author and his family give up things we take for granted, electricity and travel and only consuming food within a 250 mile radius of your home while living in the largest city in the world.

As a voracious reader, I loved the story for the impact it had on me.  This book made me think about how I can reduce my impact, my carbon footprint on the planet.   Your carbon footprint is the amount of gas emissions created by you and your family through the course of  life.  Of the 100 ways to reduce your carbon footprint on Green Wiki, I’m happy to report we are responsibly taking 50 measures to reduce our carbon footprint.  (This list was obtained from http://green.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_reduce_your_carbon_footprint  check it out)

  1. Buy locally produced goods and services.
  2. Reduce consumption. Reuse items when you can. Recycle your waste.
  3. Make compost.
  4. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
  5. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce energy consumption as well as electrical and environmental costs.
  6. Rake leaves and shovel snow manually instead of using a leafblower or snowblower.
  7. Only use your dryer, dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load; don’t do half loads. This reduces the number of loads and energy consumption.
  8. Use a dishwasher rather than washing by hand as the efficient ones use less water.
  9. Whenever possible, hang laundry outside to dry on a clothes line rather than throwing laundry into a dryer.
  10. When you remodel or paint a room, buy the right amount of paint. This reduces chemicals entering the atmosphere from paint production, energy to make the paint, and saves you money.
  11. Eat one less serving of meat a week. Use a cheese-free alternative each week. Cheese is an animal product and has the same carbon cost as meat. Cattle release a great deal of methane into the atmosphere. Consider unendangered fish, beans, and soy as replacements for beef, dairy, and fowl protein.
  12. Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables even if it’s just a small patch or a windowsill planter.
  13. Create a wormery. This uses worms in a sealed, hygienic, and non-smelling unit to compost your waste, which can then be used to fertilize your garden.
  14. Fit your garden hose with a trigger sprayer, this will reduce your water consumption.
  15. Stop watering your lawn. Grow a garden instead. Lawns require lawnmowers, which require fuel. Gardens allow you to grow veggies which require less trips to the produce section.
  16. Water your garden in the evening as this will save water.
  17. Use cotton towels and fabric napkins rather than paper ones.
  18. When cooking, don’t overfill saucepans and pots.
  19. Use the top shelf (the hottest shelf) of the oven so food cooks quicker and less energy is consumed.
  20. Use a toaster to toast bread instead of toasting bread under the grill.
  21. When cooking put the lids on your pots and pans to reduce heat loss.
  22. Don’t put hot or warm foods and drinks into your refrigerator.
  23. Use a laptop as opposed to a desktop, as laptops use up to 80% less energy.
  24. Unplug your phone charger when not in use.
  25. Buy secondhand household items and save the C cost of the production of new goods.
  26. Adjust your central heating thermostat down by 1°C (2°F) in winter and up in summer.
  27. Use passive solar heating to capture heat in your home by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at dusk. In summer, close your curtains during the heat of the day. You’ll save 25-75% on your heating and gas bill.
  28. Run ceiling fans instead of using air conditioning. Avoid using air conditioning in your home and car whenever possible. If you live in a hot climate, doing this could save more than one ton of CO2.
  29. Get your boiler serviced regularly to ensure it is working properly and not wasting your money.
  30. Switch off lights in rooms at home when leaving the room.
  31. Use “task” lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required.
  32. Take advantage of natural daylight as much as possible.
  33. Install insulated blinds on windows to crease energy escape.
  34. Only heat rooms in your house that are in use.
  35. Donate or recycle your old clothing to a thrift shop rather than throwing them away.
  36. Defrost your refrigerator; this will ensure that it runs efficiently.
  37. Buy uncertified wood to ensure sustainable forest management.
  38. Take a shower instead of a bath; a shower uses approximately one twentieth of the energy that a bath does.
  39. Filter your own water, rather than buying bottled water. Most tap water is safe to drink, and some bottled waters are flown in from the far corners of the earth and the production process of the bottles adds to greenhouse gas release. Additionally, many find that tap water tastes about the same as bottled water because bottled water is derived from tapwater to begin with.
  40. Adjust your water heater temperature downwards.
  41. Insulate your water heater or water tank with an insulation blanket to save on heat loss.
  42. Use cold water to wash and rinse clothes.
  43. Fix dripping faucets.
  44. Insulate your water pipes.
  45. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  46. Space and water heating account for over 70% of energy used in the home, so switching to clean, renewable energy (e.g. wood fuel, solar energy or heat pump systems) makes a big reduction in the environmental impact of your home.
  47. Reduce excess baggage and pack lighter when travelling. Planes flying with extra baggage use more fuel.
  48. Telecommute or arrange with your employer to work one day a week from home.
  49. Drive at or below the speed limit as this reduces your vehicles emissions.
  50. Whenever possible only drive during non peak hours.

 This spring, I am ripping up my front lawn and installing our raised bed vegetable garden complete with a worm composting system. Plans are in process and I can hardly wait. Prior to our move (which definitely added to our footprint), I saw a project in Whole Living magazine that creatively used old cotton, collared shirts to make simple fringe-edged napkins. This project gave me the idea to use excess fabric yardage I had stored (every person that sews has a fabric horde somewhere) to make 17″ napkins instead of using paper napkins.  We now have very colorful meals using these napkins. I haven’t bought paper napkins since moving in June.

Being a total paper towel abuser, I decided to take this project a step further and stop buying paper towels.  I went to Ikea and purchased 70 white cotton kitchen towels with red stripe. Seventy is too many I now realize, forty is really the number I use on a weekly rotation.  I have a drawer in my kitchen filled with these towels and use them in place of paper towels.   The excess towels that I purchased are used for cleaning.  I wrote “cleaning” across the bottom of each with a fabric marker. Old habits die-hard, I am still buying paper towels but instead of purchasing the Costco super pack regularly, one roll is lasting weeks. According to the National Resource Defense Council, if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.  The NRDC also states that if every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. Though my cloth napkin and towel project has increased my laundry, my paper goods costs have dropped dramatically and trees are saved in the process.  That’s good, I like trees.

Use less, use better, use smarter is really the message. Kermit the Frog said, “It ain’t easy being green.”  Actually, Kermie, it is easy to be green, just try.  Take a look at the list and see what you currently do and what you could do better. 

 
 

Reading is a Good Thing July 21, 2013

Filed under: Books,Links — multihyphenatedme @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Reading is supposed to be a good thing, right?  Recently in the news, reading is enough of a brain stimulant to defend against Alzheimer’s.  I should be in good shape, right?  Ironically I can’t remember jack crap from one day to the next. How frightening my life would be if I didn’t read!

As you know, I love to read.  Reading is my escape from everything in my life.

When I love the book, really L.O.V.E love the book, then watch out.  I shut down and lose all sense of time, priority and care for life around me.

Moments before leaving for Lake Coeur D’Alene today, I realized that I didn’t have a book to read.  This was a moment of panic because my ALL TIME favorite thing to do is to bake in the sun on the beach with a book. To not have a book, sitting on the beach is great, just not excellent.  As Vince and the boys loaded into the car, I told them I needed two more minutes.  I quickly grabbed my Kindle and downloaded Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s novel, The Bucolic Plague:  How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: A Memoir (P.S).  Thank you high-speed internet!!

Since our last lake trip, we bought a bunch of floats and rafts and spent most of the day lounging in the lake.  Every time I was in my beach chair, I was reading.  I’m only on Chapter 10 but I have laughed out loud several times already and recounted a chapter to Vince that even got him laughing.

Tonight I researched Beekman Farm to learn that The Fabulous Beekman Boys have a TV show! No surprise that I don’t know this, I don’t watch TV, but check this out, the photos are great! http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/the-fabulous-beekman-boys/the-fabulous-beekman-boys.html  They were also on Amazing Race…another show I don’t watch but have you seen either show?

I also found Beekman 1802, their website http://beekman1802.com/.  I am now following them on Facebook and Twitter and just 2,082 miles away from hanging out with them on a daily basis.  I’m a new fan and slightly obsessed.

My heart goes out to the Beekman Boys because they stumbled upon an adventure, trusted their hearts, and each other, to take a leap of faith to follow a plan they made up as they went along.  I can relate.

I’d write more but I have a book to finish reading.

 

 

Bicycle! Bicycle! July 7, 2013

There is a lot going on in Spokane!  We moved here so that is an event with a big star on the calendar in itself.  Spokane Hoopfest was the last weekend in June.  July 4th extravaganzas throughout the country the following week.  This weekend, unbeknownst to us (hey we just got here), we walked right into the midst of the Lilac City Twilight Criterion. At the time of discovery, we did not know what was going on other than an obvious bike race.  Internet powers activated, we learned that the “Crit” is a 0.79 mile race through downtown streets raced counterclockwise with six turns and is sponsored by Spokane Rocket Velo.

The first event is a kids race at 6:45 PM, which we didn’t see but think this could be great for our boys next year.  We did see some moms with kids and bikes spread out on the sidewalk outside of The Pizza Oven restaurant waiting for their pizzas. The kids were decked out in race shirts, riding their BMX bikes.  Perfect.

Men’s and Women’s age groups then follow.  The best event to see would be the Men’s event at 8 PM as it is the fastest race of the night.  With our shopping and movie agenda, we missed this race.  Again, next year.

The night ends with a Citizen’s RagTag Rally, an open event for everyday folks to ride their bikes around downtown Spokane while the streets are blocked off to through traffic.  Both the Kids event and RagTag Rally are free.  Way to give back Spokane Rocket Velo!

I took video of the event but I’m unable to upload the video.  Sure, WordPress’s ad videos can be shown, but not my video. Hmph.

The only casualty I heard about, none witnessed, was told to me by the North Face salesman.  He said, and I repeat, that a woman was oblivious to the race and ignored the caution taped off corners and walked into the race course with oncoming cyclists.  Apparently people were yelling at her but she paid no heed.  A cyclist clipped the jaywalker with his handlebars, did not fall, and continued the race.  The woman’s status is unknown but I’m certain she’s going to have a bruise.  Pay attention people!

From my research I’ve learned that Spokane hosts Spokefest on September 8, 2013.  This piece was copied from the www.spokefest.org website:  in celebrating the joy of cycling, the beauty of Spokane,healthy lifestyles and the environment. Last year over 2,000 cyclists of every age and ability took part in the fifth annual SpokeFest! Help us make this SpokeFest an even bigger celebration, so get out your wheels and join us. This ride has something for every rider, from the racers to the folks dusting off bikes for the first time this year.

The “Crit” is not my style of cycling.  Spokefest has my name all over it.  Spokefest offers four courses.  I have my sights set on a 20-mile ride from Riverfront Park to 9 Mile Falls that is billed as covering some of Spokane’s most beautiful riding.

I have a slight problem though.  Remember when we had a huge yard sale and sold all of our stuff?  Vince decided we needed new bikes and pulled all of the bikes out of the garage to sell.  After selling one bike, mine, he changed his mind and put all the bikes back into the garage.  Vince then went out and bought BMX/trick bikes for himself and the boys, adding to our bicycle collection yet still no bike for me.  Clearly, you see where I rate in this house.

Seems that I need to go buy me a bike.

 

Please disregard any advertisements or video’s below this post.  WordPress requires payment to not have ads displayed.  WordPress receives payment from advertisers to promote ads, and payment from subscribers to block ads.  Way to CYA from all directions WordPress.  Boo.

 

Lunchtime Adventures June 27, 2013

Juggling kids and careers during summer is a both rewarding and a challenge.  We balance our lives by waking early while the kids sleep late, handing out their to-do (or not to-do) lists and tag team run interference should play time go awry.  As part of our newly planned Summer Fun and to celebrate our first full week in Spokane, we ventured out to Riverfront Park to see the pre-Hoopfest hype, Spokane Falls and have lunch at Anthony’s Home Port, all in downtown Spokane, a quick 3 miles downhill from our house.Riverfront Park is an awesome stretch of park in downtown Spokane, along the Spokane river, complete with walking paths, “all wheels paths”, amusement rides, Spokane Falls Skyride, Looff Carousel and IMAX, not to mention spectacular views of Spokane falls. Check it out http://spokaneriverfrontpark.com/

I had visited the park in January with Jessica and in May with Trace and still haven’t seen or done all that the park has to offer.  Today was the first visit for Vince, Niko and Andre.  No matter the number of visits, Spokane Falls are an amazing sight.

Riverfront park was alive with Hoopfest event set-up.  Portable basketball hoops in heights for all ages, food vendors, volunteers and news cameras were on the scene to get ready for the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament.  We are looking forward to checking out the action on Saturday.

After a stroll through the park, we headed across bridges spanning the river to arrive at Anthony’s Home Port on the northwest side of the river. Anthony’s is a Pacific Northwest seafood restaurant chain http://www.anthonys.com/.  If you’ve ever flown into Seattle, you’ve walked past or eaten at Anthony’s at SeaTac.  Anthony’s Home Port in Spokane features indoor and patio seating with spectacular views of the falls.  Trace and I had lunch here in May and he was excited to return for their Ponzu Salmon bowl with jasmine rice and salad.  Niko, our adventurous eater, loves mussels and ordered their Mussels and Fries plate.  Vince ordered Cioppino and Ceaser, a delicious twist on a typical soup and salad lunch.  I had the Chop Chop Seafood Salad with shrimp and crab.  Andre, our pickiest eater safely ordered Mac-n-Cheese off the kids menu and requested a caeser salad as well.  Andre’s green foods include avocado, artichokes and green grapes.  That’s it.  I told the waiter no side salad which Andre didn’t hear.  When the food arrived, everyone dug in except Andre who was looking for his caeser salad.  Vince told him they put it on his plate and put half of his salad on a spare bread plate.  Andre said ok and started eating the salad.  I asked him when did he begin liking salad?  He told me “I have my secrets”.  Andre proceeded to eat the entire portion of salad and then ate his Mac-n-Cheese.  Not only did he eat salad, but he ate salad first!  If I hadn’t been there to bear witness, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Since everyone polished their meals, we ordered the three special desserts featuring strawberries – strawberry cheesecake, strawberry shortcake and strawberry sorbet. All delicious and gone in a flash as if we just didn’t eat a full meal!  Our service, from hostess to waiter was excellent.  If you haven’t been to an Anthony’s restaurant, we highly recommend you go.

After all that food, we walked back to Riverfront Park and decided to take the Spokane Falls SkyRide for a view of the falls from the bottom. We scored a $2 discount with our AAA card and also picked up movie information at the IMAX.  Again, the views were beautiful.

Spokane Falls SkyRide

Vince captured the adventure today best by saying, “This is awesome!  We are so lucky to live here!” We all had to agree.

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To quickly touch on my image issue of looking like a dependent housewife highlighted in yesterday’s post, I am happy to report that I (1) found an awesome salon and fantastic stylist, Taylor, on my first try, hallelujah; (2) Taylor thinks my gray is elegant and he said I have great bone structure for short hair (flattery will get you a big tip…but…); (3) the salon is a non-tipping salon as in no cash tips allowed.  WTH?  Fine by me AND I feel human again with a super short cut.  Refreshing on many levels. Thanks Tay-Tay for the cut and all the great insight on neighborhoods, great pizza, restaurants and outdoors adventures.

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Thanks Spokane!  Our first week has been great and we are all happy to be here.

 

My Daily Blog T-10 Rest and Relaxation June 9, 2013

la quintaBoxes, packing tape, packing paper is in every room of our house.  Our furniture has been sold (we’re starting fresh and will buy new furniture to suit our mid-century house once we get to Spokane ). The kids are sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor. Clothes are strewn around the bedrooms in some sense of chaotic order, yes the dressers went too.  With just the essentials left unpacked for our remaining 10 days, the house is beginning to not be a home but an open storage facility.

We need a break from our reality.  Weeks ago, we made reservations at La Quinta Resort (www.laquintaresort.com), one of our favorite Palm Springs area resort destination with the kids. After the going away party, with emotions high, the kids need a break from the in-your-face reminder that we’re moving.  We love La Quinta for the 1926 Spanish ranch style, built against the mountains you don’t feel like you’re in another hotel, large rooms to accommodate our brood, multiple pools and restaurants and beautifully groomed 45 acres.

Yesterday morning we headed to La Quinta for our final hurrah in the desert.  We arrived in the area just in time for streets to be shut down for President Obama and Chinese President Xi and their multiple vehicle entourage to pass as they travelled to The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage.  The kids were excited as the cars passed.  My husband not so much.

Once the hoopla passed, we made a beeline for the resort.  We brought our bicycles so the boys started riding around as soon as we arrived.  Within moments we were poolside.  Let the rest and relaxation begin.

If you have never been to Palm Springs, you really have no choice but to relax in 105+ degree temperatures.  You instantly melt into your lounge chair then pour yourself into the pool to refresh, then back to the chaise rotating like a rotisserie chicken to get a perfect golden tan.  That’s just the first 10 minutes.  Some of you reading this post will instantly dismiss desert heat by saying you don’t like heat.  I hear you.  I don’t like heat either.  My family will confirm that when the temperature climbs about 80 degrees I am not happy (read: I will bite your head off) unless I’m at the beach, a pool or the AC is cooling me down.  That’s why you must be still in Palm Springs.  The heat is relaxing and tolerable if you just stay mellow.  Do not follow my husband and children around as they bicycle miles, play tennis or this wacky version of baseball using palm tree bark/frond for a bat and a tennis ball in the Palm Tree Garden, unless you are this immune-to-heat type.  The added bonus for me is that while the boys are out doing their thing in the heat, I am left in peace, which for any mother, is golden.

Thanks La Quinta for the memories.  You have been good to us over the years, providing this momma much-needed rest and relaxation.

 

Goodbye 2012 December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012.

It has been a good year overall.

I started a blog, this blog, multi-hyphenated-me.  Though only 8 posts this year, I love it and have big plans for the future.  I lived up to, or tried to live up to, my hyphens, every day.

My 7 month foot saga put me back in touch with my old friend Reading. Perhaps due to many Ohio winters with not much else to do or maybe it is the escape from reality that is reading’s gift, in either case, I have always been a reader.  Being a project person and needing a project that would keep me down and resting while my foot recovered, I turned to reading.  I decided to read all of the New York and Los Angeles Best Sellers , fiction, non fiction, children’s, hardback and paperback.  It was mid-January when I started this project and it was sometime in February that I realized I had to scale back the lists in order to be somewhat manageable.  The LA Times fiction nonfiction hardcover and paperback lists were my source of material.  The Public Library was my resource.  I’m happy to report that I have read 134 books in eleven and half months, roughly 12 books a month.  I have so many favorites.  I learned so much and was reminded of things I have known and lived and seen. There were a few books that were wasteful of my time spent reading them but I learned from them too. I travelled from Machu Picchu to Africa to Paris to India and points in between.  I cried.  Sobbed.  I laughed and laughed.  The library staff knows me by name. The intelligent, literary conversations I had with so many in discussing books was truly one of the highlights of this journey.  On Facebook I “liked” “The Book Isn’t Dead” Community and have been inspired by discussions and quotes and moments. This journey inspired me to be the Book Fair Chairperson with the elementary school PTA where we had our most profitable sale to date.  From my Book Fair experience and my frequent trips to the library, I learned about Battle of the Books and rallied 5 twelve year olds to form a team and read.  I was asked months ago if I would keep up the reading pace, off the same reading list in 2013.  My answer then and remains, no.  Will I continue to read?  Of course! To focus on the best-selling Pattersons, Silvas, Picoults, et al is a huge oversight to the countless great writers out there with books that deserve to be read. The best part is to say, because of this project, I have grown.

My foot finally healed and I embraced the ability to move.  I ran three 5 ks and one 8k.  My friend and I walked/ran 95+ miles in the month of August, in the wee hours of the morning before we had to go to work.

We, as a family, spent great time together.  Camping trips in the Santa Ynez mountains and at the Kern River.  An awesome house rental in Palm Springs, and resort living in San Diego.  Summer was filled with trips to the beach, the water slide park, movies and parks. We experienced the multi-facets of Southern California.

Successfully raising a child is one of life’s greatest rewards.  To bear witness to my daughter graduating high school is a huge milestone for me.  I am so proud of her.  It wasn’t until she finished her first 16 collegiate units that I realized how quickly the next phase of her life, the college years, would pass.  My work here is not complete, nor will it ever be.  Our boys are quickly aging up too and their perspectives and antics are heartwarming and hand wringing, usually at the same time.

This was my year of fundraising.  Or was it my year of baking?  A fantastic combination of both.  What I learned most, or what was reinforced most  from these efforts was the incredible group of friends and coworkers that support me and have major sugar addictions.  Thank you. I will keep you supplied.

This year, as a recruiter, I regained footing lost on the slippery slope of the recession. It feels great to have traction, being back in the groove, doing what I love.  The icing is that I get to work with awesome people at an amazing company too.  The chapter “How to Get a Job” in Augusten Burroughs book, This is How.  Any recruiting advice that starts with a dual personality reference to the movie Sybil  and the person we become when interviewing is terrific.   “The truth is:  You are only the person you actually are; you may not may not be the person they actually want.” This is How is one of my favorites and a book everyone should read.

As my boss tells me, with all on my plate, something has to give.  He’s right, just don’t tell him I said so. As much as I feel I accomplished this year, the counterbalance is that I didn’t stay on diets I self prescribed, or lose the weight I wanted to lose (with all that mileage you would think…). I didn’t travel to all the places I wanted to go.  I could have been a better wife, mother, friend, person, employee, better in all of my roles.  My garden could have been better.  I still can’t hula hoop. Something does have to give.  Figuring out that something every day is the challenge.

Two Thousand Twelve was good to me and my family and we lived life well. For this I am thankful and know we are blessed. Thank you for sharing this year with me.

2012 Reading List

*books I enjoyed

Fiction

  1. The Book Thief*
  2. Extremely Loud Incredibly Close*
  3. The Marriage Plot
  4. The Art of Fielding*
  5. 1Q84*
  6. The Goon Squad
  7. Tinker Tailor Sodier Spy
  8. The Paris Wife*
  9. Against All Enemies
  10. Bonnie
  11. Then Again
  12. The Drop
  13. The Sense of An Ending
  14. Private #1 Suspect
  15. Breakdown
  16. Believing the Lie
  17. Raylan
  18. Death Comes to Pemberly
  19. Defending Jacob
  20. Homefront*
  21. The Summer Garden
  22. Kill Shot
  23. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
  24. Dreams of Joy*
  25. 44 Charles Street
  26. The 9th Judgment
  27. Celebrity in Death
  28. War Horse*
  29. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children*
  30. Night Road*
  31. Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
  32. The Starboard Sea*
  33. Sacre Bleu*
  34. Fifty Shades of Grey
  35. Fifty Shades Darker
  36. Fifty Shades Freed
  37. The Fault In Our Stars*
  38. The Lucky One*
  39. Calico Joe*
  40. All There Is*
  41. State of Wonder*
  42. Istanbul Passage *
  43. The Kings of Cool
  44. Beautiful Ruins*
  45. Private Games*
  46. Guilty Wives*
  47. Bones are Forever*
  48. The Beautiful Mystery*
  49. The Night Circus*
  50. The Next Best Thing*
  51. The Prisoner of Heaven*
  52. A Hologram fro the King
  53. Mission to Paris*
  54. The Age of Miracles*
  55. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?*
  56. Creole Bell*
  57. The Fallen Angel*
  58. Shadow of Night*
  59. The Life of Pi*
  60. Broken Harbor*
  61. 3rd Wheel Diary of a Whimpy Kid
  62. Invention of Hugo Cabret*
  63. The Timekeeper*
  64. Zoo
  65. Notorious Nineteen
  66. In One Person*
  67. The Perks of Being a Wallflower*
  68. Gone Girl*

Non Fiction

  1. Bossypants*
  2. Outliers: the story of success*
  3. Unbroken*
  4. Heaven is For Real
  5. Steve Jobs
  6. Elizabeth the Queen
  7. The Obamas
  8. Ameritopia
  9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts
  10. The Power of Habit*
  11. Wild*
  12. Bringing Up Bebe
  13. Killing Lincoln*
  14. Blue Nights
  15. Full Service
  16. Take the Stairs*
  17. Great by Choice*
  18. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks*
  19. Thinking Fast and Slow*
  20. The 17 Day Diet
  21. Taking People With You
  22. Abundance*
  23. Moneyball
  24. The Big Short
  25. Tipping Point*
  26. I Am A Pole*
  27. Turn Right at Machu Pichu*
  28. Pioneer Woman Cooks
  29. Behind the Beautiful Forevers*
  30. The 5 Love Languages*
  31. The Happiness Project*
  32. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt*
  33. I Remember Nothing
  34. The Vow
  35. Paris versus New York*
  36. The Irish Americans
  37. It Worked for Me
  38. Cronkite
  39. Mortality*
  40.  How to Be a Woman
  41. I Hate Everything Starting with Me
  42. Yes Chef
  43. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness*
  44. Not Taco Bell Material
  45. Farther Away*
  46. A Natural Woman*
  47. Go the F*** to Sleep*
  48. American Grown*
  49. Boomerang
  50. Blood Bones and Butter*
  51. The Mobile Wave
  52. The Amateur
  53. My Berlin Kitchen*
  54. Sh*itty Mom
  55. Moonwalking with Einstein*
  56. Drift
  57. Help Thanks Wow*
  58. America Again
  59. Along the Way*
  60. The Grand Design
  61. Joseph Anton
  62. F in Exams
  63. Dearie
  64. Strength Finders 2.0
  65. This is How*
  66. Darth Vader & Son