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1st July 2022

Books for 2022

I’ve had an unofficial goal to read 52 books this year – a book a week. Last year I read 49. For most of the past 20 years, since entering med school, I’ve read at most 5-10 books a year, so it felt like an ambitious goal.

I just hit 45 books so far. Some of them have been shorter books, but still. Reading had always been my escapism – is it a good thing that it’s becoming so again?

January:
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee (hated the first book due to the protagonist but liked the secondary characters and the overall premise. Much much more enjoyable).
A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding, #1) by Freya Marske (reads exactly like a fanfic with lots of longing and emotions. A favorite.)
A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews (for a facebook book club). Victorian woman travels to India along with her not-quite-boyfriend. The descriptions were lovely, even if nothing happened the majority of the book.
Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) Intisar Khanani. A Muslim retelling of The Goose Girl. Really original and well told; the sequels are on my list for the year.

February:
The Last Cuentista by Donna Higuera (my friend recommended the day before the Newberry Medal was announced).
Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justine Ireland (I am such a squeamish person that the fact that I read a zombie book AND it’s sequel says something). The sequel was not as good as the first book, but it ended satisfactorily.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed. I didn’t love it quite as much as everybody else has.

March:
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. A book of prose/almost poetry. Just lovely.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I watched Shadow and Bone on Netflix and really loved it, so I had to find the books. It’s a really enjoyable series, just different enough from the tv series to keep them exciting.
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall (started it in February for Black History Month, finished in March).
A Tale of Magic read by Chris Colfer. A year ago, I started listening to Chris Colfer’s books on the way to and from work. My commute’s only 15 minutes away, so I don’t make a lot of progress. Chris is an excellent voice actor, and while his books aren’t high literature, they are engaging and his characters live.
Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall. I read Boyfriend Material last year which I liked. I didn’t like this one as much, but it ended better than it started.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Sequel to Shadow and Bone. Definitely a middle book.

April:
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Conclusion to Shadow and Bone. I didn’t dislike the ending; I also thought that it was weak.
A Tale of Witchcraft read by Chris Colfer. Another middle book. His descriptions of teenage love are so hilariously earnest.
Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox (again started for Women’s History Month in March…). Rosalind Franklin is a bit of an ideal of mine. This book frustratingly focused on answering whether or not she was pretty.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher. A random find and what a great one. A baker with a little bit of magic has to defend his city. It’s a younger adult book, but it doesn’t shy from hard topics, such a death and poverty.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn (facebook book club). Hunting down Nazis after the war – told both in flashbacks and current time, with the flashbacks getting closer and closer to current time.
So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens. I loved their Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic, so I couldn’t wait to read other books. This one was so delightfully tropey- happily ever afters, soulmates, misunderstandings. Perfect.
Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. After A Wizard’s Guide, I had to read others of her books. This was the first book of a trilogy of related books. One of those where I couldn’t put it down from nearly the first page.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. Another charming story.
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while – an epistolary story where every chapter loses a letter that the townspeople can use. It felt very fitting for this authoritarian world we’re getting into.

May: 
A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow – I love fractured fairytales and this one was a fun novella.
A Tale of Sorcery read by Chris Colfer (audiobook). The last book of his “Tale Of” series and it was a satisfying tie-up to the series.
Hyperbole and A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh. I loved her blog back in the day and her comics would have me gasping for air. They weren’t quite as funny now, and I’m not sure why.
What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon. I still have complex feelings about this book.
Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Kaz my beloved. Inej my beloved. Nina my beloved. Jesper my beloved.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Jaigirdar Adiba. Sweet, if not very deep.
Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher. It took me way too long to figure out the twist. But it was worth it.
Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher. Hot. So hot.

June:
I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson. A great idea (exboyfriends fake-dating) and so poorly executed.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. A direct continuation of Six of Crows – so many twists I did not see coming.
Stranger Than Fanfiction read by Chris Colfer (audiobook). It’s not Shakespeare, but man, do I love hearing him make his characters come to life. I still have thoughts about the ending.
Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher. I love these stories about ordinary people with just a touch of magic.  
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Nina my beloved.
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer. I read this in a day – really absorbing while reading it, falls apart if you spend too long thinking about the premise.
Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher. I love this world. I love these complex, world-weary, broken women and men who come together to try to save their world.
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher. I had to wait for the Wonder Engine to be available from the library. I need the sequels now.
A Mirror Mended by Alix Harrow. A Spindle Splintered didn’t need a sequel and I’m not sure that this was the sequel that should have been written.
The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher. An excellent finish to the series.
Here’s To Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. I really didn’t like What If It’s Us that much – the characters were too young and differentiating between their first person perspectives was iffy. This was much better. I still would have made them a touch older, but it works.
One Last Stop by Casy McQuiston. I liked Red, White, and Royal Blue better and I wasn’t expecting a time-travel story. Still there was a lot of atmosphere and sweetness to the story.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. I really liked this although I still have so many questions. But this captured the feel of the outer Sunset district of San Francisco and made me homesick.

Midyear book review:

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15th June 2022

A Fresh Look

10 days later (thanks rain!) my house is almost all painted (there’s a few more finishing touches).

Karin and I argued a lot about the color. She wanted a light blue; I wanted a sunny yellow and we compromised with a green. It’s called peacock plume and it changes hues depending on the sun. Every house around here hasn’t been painted in 20+ years, so it really pops.

I love it with the contrasting white.

As a reminder, this is what it looked like before, a putrid, faded orange-pink brown that might have been rose colored at some point.

I had asked them to paint my garage door purple too, but things got mixed up. It’s fine – it looks great in a solid color too. There’s a small area of siding that I’m a little concerned about, but you know what, I’m giving it more protection than what it had before.

Onward to the next project.

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9th June 2022

Anne-Doll

For my latest knitting project, I have been making a doll. I started knitting it a year ago in February and have been working on it in small bursts before setting it aside again. The instructions have not been the easiest to follow. I actually had to redo the head because the first version was too small and stretched too much with the stuffing. It’s much better, but now my dolly is top heavy and won’t stand.

I still have the face and hair to do. I’m deciding between a rag doll type of yarn or a mohair that would make more realistic looking hair. I’m probably going to make them both up and decide which one I like better. Stay tuned…

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8th May 2022

Better

It’s Day 6 since I was diagnosed/day 7 and a half since I first started getting the first hint of symptoms. I am feeling better, so much better. I started feeling dramatically better on Thursday, after I took the 3rd dose of Paxlovid. Fevers stopped, congestion improved. The sore throat has completely gone this morning and while I still have some congestion/post-nasal drip causing a cough once in a while, it’s also improved. My rapid antigen test is still positive, although less strongly, so I’m still in isolation.

I guess I’m getting used to the taste too, although I’m going to be so so so glad to be done after tonight and I’ve sucked on so many mints and cough drops in these last few days. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the terrible lingering taste, I’d be all taking these for other colds/flus.

I haven’t done anything productive really. I was going to use my time in isolation to write or catch up on books or TV and I’ve barely done any of that. I’ve watched The Big Family Cooking Showdown and Heartstopper, shows that take little mental energy to engage.

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4th May 2022

Day 2

A sore throat kept waking me through the night. Today I’ve been dealing with a sore throat, raspy voice, increasing sinus congestion, cough, and aching ears, but the low grade fever is a little better. I’m just wiped out. The oxygen sats are remaining high, which I’m checking twice a day. Along with getting up every hour or so so I don’t get blood clots.

I started Paxlovid today and as warned, I developed a really terrible metallic taste in my mouth about an hour or two afterwards. Drinking mint and lemon tea helps; the taste just comes back when I’m done. I just had my sister go and get some mints and see if that helps. It’s bearable: hospitalizations are increasing again and I’m not going to be that person who says “I’m going to be fine!” and then find myself in the ED.

I cancelled all of my meetings today that I could have attended since they were virtual and have just been lounging around. I’ve had colds and flus where I’ve felt sicker and dragged my body to work AND I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE SO. It’s 5 days off of work, somebody’s covering my weekend shifts, and I’m going to aggressively rest.

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3rd May 2022

Positively

I had a fabulous weekend at a Mormon feminist women’s retreat, where I was open and vulnerable with women whom I have come to love. I gave a devotional about my faith journey, which I may share here. I sang at karaoke night and again at the devotional and my throat felt just the tiniest bit scratchy. I took a Covid test and it was negative and I just caulked it up to allergies or voice irritation.

Last night, I was kept up all night with low grade fevers.

It was blatantly positive within 5 minutes of adding the drops.

So I’m holed up in my bedroom for the next 5 days. My sister is bringing me food and we’re really hoping that I didn’t exposure her. I’ve got a prescription for Paxlovid that I’ll pick up tomorrow, as hospitalizations are increasing.

I’ve got sinus pressure and low grade headaches and just feel wiped out.

Ugh.

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18th March 2022

Help Julia Paint Her House

Painting the house has been high on my list of must-dos since I bought the house – the wood is starting to warp and really, really needs a protective coating over it, or I’m going to have to replace all of the siding, which I’m not eager to do quite yet.

As a reminder, this is how my house is painted now (minus the replaced siding).

I don’t know what color it has faded to, but muddy pink brown is not my favorite.
And it’s faded unevenly as well.

I finally found a company to paint. They’ll be coming in June, but as there’s all of these world-wide supply issues, I need to be picking out colors soon.

I’m a very indecisive person. After much (so much) hemming and hawing, I finally decided on an ocean blue with white trim and sunny yellow door: something that would remind you of the sea on a perfect day. Something similar to this:

Only with a brighter, sunnier yellow door. Isn’t that cute?

However, when I went to get paint samples, they recommended very strongly not using those brilliant shades of blue on exteriors because they’ll fade within a year wherever there is sunlight and I have very uneven sunlight. Instead, they recommended “historical paint colors” that keep their colors better. Which are duller, at least on the paint chip.

So I got three samples to try out on stock paper and on the side of my house when it stops raining: a light blue, a mediumish fern green (which is lighter than I thought), and a dark purple just to see if I wanted to go dark.

I honestly thought it was going to be a decision between the less vibrant blue and the comfortable green. And then I painted the purple on my sample boards and it’s this vibrant, gorgeous color that made my heart go pitter patter.

Here’s the light blue called Emily, with white trim and a yellow door. Not quite the “sea on a sunny day” but not terrible either.

Basically the original thought, only with a lighter and a little more muted blue. The blue does look more sky blue when dried.
I’m not sure about the white, to be honest. I think it’s all too pale.
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10th February 2022

a little less light (but that’s a good thing)

a little less light (but that's a good thing)

The rotting siding has been removed. The chimney was completely taken apart and cleaned and flashed properly – there were rusted holes where you could see the sun and where it was evident that water was just pouring in. The fresh air vent had a screen on it that had a hole the size of my fist in it – a hole where mice and ants could get directly into the house, and that’s been fixed now.

It was a 8 day process, 3 days longer than what the initial estimate was for (well, the first estimate was for 6-8 hours, but that quickly changed). The weather mostly cooperated (I won’t think about how that’s not a good thing for our climate or summer water supply). It was terribly expensive, but it’s done now and I can breath easier for a little bit.

Next up: getting a landscaper to put in a french drain and paver stones I think. I have an appointment to get the downspouts replaced next month. And I still have to get the house painted – I waffle about getting all of the siding replaced now and painting it afterwards, but I just don’t know. It would make sense from a maintenance perspective but just to have this small portion fixed was so much money that it makes me a little panicky.

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3rd February 2022

Testing crossposting.

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2nd February 2022

housing nightmare update

(This is long)

1) My washer decided that it wanted to be a helicopter this summer and started making “vroom vroom” noises and wasn’t cleaning clothes quite as well and then started leaking in October. Yeah. So I researched and got all kinds of contradictory information from friends about top loaders and front loaders and impellers and agitators. I fretted about it for weeks and visited Home Depot and Lowe’s and Costco to try out different models. I finally ordered a set from Costco that was on backorder. I knew they were bigger than my previous set, but they had the reversible doors that I needed, so at Thanksgiving, my parents came out and we tore down dry wall and moved the water faucet and the light switch so that they would fit.

They were supposed to be delivered the second weekend of December. The delivery truck arrived, some guy got out, ran upstairs to my laundry room and said that I had the wrong outlet for the dryer and that the space was too small and refused to deliver them.

My dad came out the middle of January and we installed a new outlet at the right amps and painted the walls. I ordered a new set, smaller so they’d fit into the space, so they’d be delivered while my dad was there, to ensure that we had everything right. Costco was out of the pedestals, so I picked up a set from Best Buy. Tuesday came. I heard the truck start down my driveway … and 30 seconds later, I heard it backing up. Their truck was too big so they had to postpone for a week.

A week later, they deliver the washer and dryer. It fits! And one of the pedestals was missing the installation screws. They installed the washer on the pedestal, refused to put the dryer on the pedestal, and basically left me a mess.

I nearly started sobbing on them.

I called up my parents and they offered to fly out on points for the weekend to help me get it fixed. We ended up having to get screws mailed from Amazon, because nothing was available at any of the hardware stores, and Dad and I jimmied things around with an appliance truck and got longer hoses so I could switch them around and finally got them in position – did I mention that I was working nights and had a really horrible weekend so was exceedingly sleep-deprived?

Behold:

2) As I mentioned previously, I found rotting siding where the back deck had abutted to the house in the fall. I was hoping to get it replaced in the spring, but we’ve had new ants in the house and it was making me really nervous that I’d be seeing more furry critters soon. So when my dad was here, I found a construction company who came out and basically said that just replacing that part of the siding was too small of a project, but they recommended residing the entire house – well not residing exactly, but replacing the rotting wood and then putting a composite plank siding over it all. I was skeptical and it was expensive for the whole project so I waffled and called a handyman company.

The handyman service took my information and said, yep we can handle this. It sounds like it’ll be a 6-8 hour job, we’ll have a technician out to do the work tomorrow. The handyman arrived the next morning, walked around, took some measurements for 4 hours, and at the end said that it was going to be a 40 hour project with two people.

They started Monday. They don’t think they’ll be done on Friday. There’s no vapor barrier under the siding. The windows and the chimney didn’t have flashing installed. The flashing over the foundation had rusted completely away and half of it was buried by dirt. I’m going to be hitting $15k easily just to fix this.

3) I have ants coming out from the side of my tub at the joints. I’m pretty sure that’s the next thing to fall apart.

I hate it all.

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    • Books for 2022 July 1, 2022
      I’ve had an unofficial goal to read 52 books this year – a book a week. Last year I read 49. For most of the past 20 years, since entering med school, I’ve read at most 5-10 books a year, so it felt like an ambitious goal. I just hit 45 books so far. Some […]