And That's All She Wrote

Back in 2010 I started this blog as a way to distract myself from the infamous teacher pink-slipping that plagued districts far and wide in California. Since then I've had a child, bought a house, traveled, endured a pandemic, had dogs, read so many books, taught about 2000 students, seen dozens of authors speak, and have tried to live the best life I’ve been able to, no matter what the circumstances.

My blogging has dropped off quite a bit over the last few years, due to how busy life has been and the general slide over to different platforms for the bookish community. I’ve always loved keeping this space afloat and have never felt a lot of pressure to post a certain number of times or promote specific books.

Over the last few weeks I've had a change of heart and I’ve decided to say goodbye to this little corner of the internet. There are many reasons, but at the end of the day it’s just… time. I won’t close the site, since I want to keep this snapshot of my life and I’m not discounting the occasional return. I will be keeping my bookstagram account, @bookishlyboisterous , so follow along there!

To those who have read and commented over the years, I appreciate you so much.

Happy reading!

LA Festival of Books!

 It's been a few years since I've been to the LA Times Festival of Books and it was good to be back! I went with two friends we spent the day buying books and attending panels. The highlights:

- The Vroman's tent did not disappoint we each bought a few books
- We stopped by Octavia's, a new black-owned bookstore in Pasadena. The booksellers were delightful and they had some really cool stuff
- We went to a panel with Ottessa Moshfegh and Rachel Kushner
- Another panel featured Gabrielle Zevin (she's just the coolest)
- The last panel had a few guests, but I was there by Andrew Sean Greer and Rebecca Makkai

A few drawbacks
- It was pretty warm
- It was at USC; it used to be at UCLA and that was much better (says the Bruin)
- There isn't a lot of shade or benches
- The food situation is always a pain; they have food trucks, but they're spread out and it's hard to see what all is there before you decide 
- The panels felt a little shorter this year

March Reads Three Weeks Late

Honestly, I think I'd probably blog more if I brought my laptop downstairs more often, but I loathe clutter, so it stays on my desk in my office/gym/whatever I call it on that particular day. Oh well. 

March reads! Over half way through April! It's fine. It really is. If you'd like a more updated account of my reading-life just follow me on Instagram at @bookishlyboisterous

Three fiction and three nonfiction! I eagerly awaited Rebbeca Makkai's book and enjoyed it, although not as much as The Great Believers, which everyone needs to read. I am so happy that she's finding so much success with her newest book- she's so talented and deserves the recognition. I can't wait to see her (again) and the LA Times Book Festival Saturday!

I felt the same way about Maggie O'Farrell's The Marriage Portrait- it was super solid, just not as good as some of her older books. 

I bought two books about overthinking since it's Anxiety Spiral City over here to the absolute max this spring, but, spoiler alert, neither changed my life. It's who I am. I just need to harness the energy for good... like... Spiderman? Or something? 

I appreciated the message behind Mohsin Hamid's book, but the style prevents you from really becoming connected to the characters, which I would have liked to.

The writer's routine book had a lot of potential, but there were too many dead white guys in there for me.

Squeezing in Reading Time During Busy Seasons

Despite this being an incredibly busy year so far, I have still managed to stay on track in terms of meeting my reading goals. Here's a few things that work for me:

1. Always, always, always have a book on you (I don't count audiobooks, or else this would be a no-brainer). I read during Sawyer's swim class, if I get to an appointment early, or when I'm waiting to meet a friend (I am a chronic early-arriver).

2. If I'm on my phone I ask myself if I could be reading instead. I am still a die-hard Forest App user!

3. I read for a few minutes of my lunch period every single day- ten minutes, five days a week adds up! 

4. I read when Sawyer reads for his homework independent reading time, most days, which is a nice way to transition from work to home.

5. I do a lot of what I call "indoor hiking" (aka crank the incline way up on the treadmill), which I can read paperbacks while doing. 

6. I very rarely watch TV- I get it, we all unwind differently, but I would rather read. I have lots of other hobbies, but on weeknights after Sawyer is in bed and my husband is still working, I pick up a book instead of a remote. 

And, the kicker:

7. I read a few books at once now. I got the urge to reread Lonesome Dove, but that book is a beast at almost 900 pages, so carrying it around isn't super practical. I'm also reading an oral biography of Anthony Bourdain, but I'm not always in the mood. That means I need to have a third book to fill in the gaps. I finished the Strayed one in the picture above and just started Curtiss Sittenfeld's new one, which I'm really enjoying. Having a few options makes it even easier to read! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts


In the last two months since I posted on of these I've been busy! Most notable was our trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs for spring break. I'm a forest kind-of-girl, but I loved a new adventure (I've been to Zion one other time, but specifically for the Subway Hike, which is on a different side than where we were this time). The first day we were there we had a lot of rain and snow, which we hiked through, and the other two days were perfection. Typically we go to Yosemite this time of year, but after the insane amount of snow this winter I didn't feel like attempting the water-logged park. I rescheduled for the fall, which will be a perfect break when the time comes. 

Sawyer and I also went up to the Bay Area to visit my sister for a weekend and had a great time. My mom joined us for a few hours, too, which was an added bonus.

That same weekend my other sister had a baby! She was still in the hospital when we were nearby, so I didn't detour to visit (they were only allowed one visitor the whole time!), but, honestly, newborns are a little boring. I rather go this summer when she's smiling and they have their routine a little more worked out. 

I went to an event at LA Public Library recently with Emily St. John Mandel and it was so good. She's so quirky and intelligent, without an ounce of pretention. She mentioned the fact that occasionally people tattoo lines from her book on them and how it was flattering, so I stayed in the signing line for the second time EVER to show her and have a book signed. She took a picture and put it on her social! If it had had my face in it I may have been slightly horrified, but more than anything it was just a testament to Daniel Winter's amazing skills. 

It really is the season for literary events! I am going to see Cheryl Strayed this week and Saturday is the LA Times Festival of Books. I have my panel passes ready to go for a few friends and I- I can't wait. (Sawyer is going to Disneyland with his best friend that day, which will be his first real big outing away from us, so it's good that I have something to distract me... I trust the family COMPLETELY, but what if there is a natural disaster and he gets separated and- you get the gist). 

My students just finished reading Macbeth and it was such a great experience this year. I really worked to vary the different ways we consumed the text (group, independent, audiobook, teacher read-alouds, and film) and the kids seemed to get SO much from it. I have incorporated all those elements before, but most days we were doing ALL forms, so the periods just flew by. I can't believe that we finish this play in the next week or two and then move on to our last work of the semester (which we'll have to hustle through, because....)

... there are only six weeks of school left! I cannot believe it! Except, I kind of can. This summer is packed full of travel and fun. I am so thankful I submitted our passport paperwork back in February (we go to Europe in mid-July), since it sounds like things are getting pretty crazy. I'll be nervous until I have both in my hands, but at least I didn't procrastinate. 

Sawyer's birthday is soon- he's going to be nine already! We have lots of fun things in store for him and the fact that he's not wrapped up in it makes it even more tempting to spoil him. We don't really do parties for him, but an art-lesson company that his school contracts through is going to do a project with his class and we have a special weekend away planned, too. 

February Reads

February reads! Also capturing the sun after a brief period of snow in socal a few hours ago! Hopefully March brings some warmth. Thoughts: 

Grit- some helpful data for helping my students and son. If anything, it really reinforced some of my philosophies as a parent and teacher. She needs a post-pandemic follow-up

All My Rage- I don’t typically read YA but the buzz had me curious. It still has that “teenagers are the audience” feel (which makes sense), but I did appreciate the character development and the timely topics. It would be great for high schoolers!

Orange World- delightfully quirky short stories 

The Rabbit Hutch- As a whole this is a really solid book that raises some important questions about the foster care system, mental health, and urbanization. At times it was maybe a touch overwritten, but still an accomplishment 

Violeta- I loved this Allende novel! It had a meandering plot, which worked with the historical backdrop and setting. The were also some really charming characters you have to love (and some you will love to hate)

Age of Vice- I couldn’t put this down! It’s a total page turner, but not in a cheap kind of checkout-counter-mass-market kind of way. I thought the three main characters were well done and loved the glimpse into their lives. 

Migrations- this is my second book by this author and I appreciate how she writes about people and environmentalism

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

I've had the week off and have been able to read so much- honestly, it's all I want to do right now. I think after months of half marathon training, the holidays, and feeling so tightly wound, my body just craves sweatpants, the couch, and books. In a perfect world it would want some spinach and 80 ounces of water a day, but alas, it does not. I haven't been able to quite succumb to total literary slothdom, but I have been able to finish four books in the last nine days, so I'll take it. 

Other than reading, this week has been pretty great. Sawyer has been in school most of the time, and my husband was on a business trip for a few days, so I was gifted with a lot more alone time than usual. I think I've had seven or eight appointments this week, some fun, like getting a pedicure, and some not so fun, like the dentist and the passport office (but that leads to fun, I guess). I've been able to have a few different friend dates, Sawyer and I went hiking at a spot we haven't been to for awhile, and on Monday we're going to go walk around the beach for a nice change of scenery (and find something fun to eat). I've gotten some annoying house tasks out of the way (here's looking at you, dusty ceiling fans and unorganized pantry), worked on a for-fun embroidery hoop, gotten in a ton of solid work out sessions, and even a few naps. Going back to work is going back to work Tuesday is going to be tough (I know, everyone feels so bad for me). 

One nice thing about going back to work, besides my students, who are at the point where we've really hit our stride as a group, is that we're moving from Sylvia Plath poetry to Shakespeare's Macbeth soon, which is always a fun challenge. I don't have a natural love of The Bard, but I've taught myself how to enjoy and appreciate certain plays and am able to tap in on that sort of literary-manipulation to use with the kids, too. After that we have only one more book for the year! It's Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which elicits some really great discussions.

My husband got me a gift card to the bookstore for V-Day, and I hustled on over the next day to spend that sucker. I picked up Deepti Kapoor's Age of Vice (just started), Mason Currey's Daily Rituals (also just started... I often have a novel and a nonfiction going on at once), SE Boyd's The Lemon and Fiona McFarlane's The Sun Walks Down. I also ordered four other books last week. Plus alllllllll the ones I bought at Vroman's last month. I don't really believe in book-buying bans (unless it's a financial issue, than I totally get the need to budget), since I think they just result in binging, but I need to tap the breaks. I think I have like... 142 unread books. I KNOW. My goals is to have it down to double digits by the end of the year, which means I basically need to read a little over 4 of the books each month that I currently own, leaving space to buy like 2 a month. 

Sometimes I worry about running out of space for my books on the shelves we have, but then I remember all the space in the guest bedroom. I mean, what guest wouldn't want a cozy wall of books next to their bed, right? I joke that someday when Sawyer moves out I'm turning his room into the nonfiction annex. 

We met with our wonderful tax-preparer today, which stresses me the eff out for absolutely no reason since she's incredibly knowledgeable and I'm incredibly organized (plus Scott and I both claim single-zero, which means they take a bajillion dollars out of our checks). We were talking about my regular monthly charitable donations (Doctors Without Borders and Planned Parenthood) and how much you can tell about a person from where/who they give to. It's so interesting! Not only their political ideologies, but social concerns, pet projects, interests, etc... I keep meaning to set up another one for The Sierra Club, which I'm sure would surprise NO ONE.

Reframing My Tiredness

Obligatory preface: this is me and my take on a topic that impacts everyone differently. We all have different ways of living life and handling our bodies. This is what works for me and my life philosophy- you do you! I just wish I had had this insight a long time ago, so if it helps bring someone perspective, cool. 

I think I've been tired for at least nine years- probably since the last trimester of my pregnancy. I was tired before that, too, but I could squeeze in weekend sleep-in sessions pretty easily, so it felt doable. But once I had my son it was all over- he was a horrible sleeper for the first two years of his life (don't come at me with your sleep training lecture, I tried and it didn't work for us) and then was just habitually a super duper early riser. Once we started using one of those color-coded alarm clocks we got the dog who also likes to greet the sun. Pairing the early wake ups with my high activity level during the day (combining my constant need to win the gold medal for productivity and working out) just perpetually zaps my energy. 

So, yeah, super tired. All the time.

But the last few months I've decided to reframe this tiredness (I actually started this post last September and it has been sitting in my drafts since then). Sure, I'm tired of being tired, but more than anything I was tired of being mad about being tired. So, I decided to look at why I'm tired, what I can do about it (if possible... I can't quit working or being a parent!). Based on this I was able to shift my perspective, at least part of the time! 

First, I get up early- 5 during the week, 7ish on the weekends, if we aren't going somewhere (earlier when it's hot out, though, so I can walk the dog before the sun is up). The only thing that can really be done is going to bed earlier than I already do, which would then take away from the very little precious alone time I have at night. Not doing so is a choice I make. 

Secondly, I take care of the kid, dog, and house pretty much all the time. My husband works long hours, some of which are in LA, which means on those days he commutes he's gone well over twelve hours. There are some other things at play here that I won't go into, since they're what our family calls "house business," but at the end of the day having a home, kid, and pet, while knowing my husband's job habits and use of time is a choice I made. 

Next, I work an exhausting job- teaching all day will take it out of anyone! It's also often enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging and I love the schedule and time off. I think I've been burnt out for years, but I refuse to let that interfere with my performance,  what I give to my students, and quality of life outside of work.  No one made me choose this profession, it's a choice I made. 

I am extremely active in terms of exercise- I walk my hilly neighborhood for almost an hour, total, a day and get in some other sort of workout six or so days a week. Sure, it's great for my health and sanity, but it takes away time from my life and also sucks away more energy. And yup,  it's still a choice I make.

Lastly, I like being on the go and partaking in projects and hobbies. It gives me a lot of enjoyment to fill my calendar with social dates, hikes, excursions with my son, and travel. This means when I am home I have to kick it into high gear to take care of my house, do any work I need to do, and be a good mom/pet owner. Being a busy little bee is, again, you guessed it, a choice I make.

So, that's the secret to reframing my tired: I made/make specific choices to have the life I have and it's a life I really truly appreciate and love, most of the time. Am I in love with it when I am spinning like a tornado taking the trash out, helping with math homework, and prying god-knows-what out of my dog's mouth, all at the same time? No. Do I occasionally and silently lament about patriarchy, societal expectations of women, and the state of education in our country? Of course!  But, I check myself often and remind myself that being tired is the price I am willing to pay to be able to have and do what I want. And I do take the occasional Sunday afternoon naps and spend plenty of time parked on the couch reading. Summers are spent afternoons poolside and I have a pedicure schedule tonight. I do pause, on occasion, but this is my one life. We all want to spend it differently, but I know when I am eighty I don't want to look back and realize I spent a lot of time being unhappy and not having anything to show for my time. I want to go and do and experience, and if it requires a baseline level of tired, so be it. I am claiming responsibility.

*I know that everyone tolerates being tired differently, and when I do reach a certain threshold I become really anxious- I'm not a robot that can just go indefinitely. I know when that point is and can feel the warning signs, so I just adjust life as much as I can

**I also know that there is a certain level of privilege that comes with this conversation. There are people who work multiple jobs, are single parents, etc… who don't have the luxury of packing their weekends with fun activities to counteract the fatigue that the every-day brings. I grew up in that household! That is why I definitely acknowledge that I do have some flexibility in how I manage my time and am grateful for the fact I have been able to create the structure to do so.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

My half-marathon is done! It was fine- not my best, not my worst. Considering that I was coming off a week with a pretty bad cold the fact that I retained the same pace for nearly seven miles that I used to run when I was running them all the time was good enough for me. Miles eight through ten were a bit rougher and then eleven through thirteen made me question all of my life choices. I was beyond exhausted more than sore for a few days after, but now I'm just super happy it's done and I can spend less time running (and diversify my exercise routine again). 

Reading this month has been pretty great. I NEVER read YA, but after all the buzz over All My Rage I decided to give it a try. The writing still felt like it was meant for teenagers (although smart ones), but the content and characters were super solid. I also finished Allende's newest, Violeta, which I enjoyed (although I do like her older books more, especially since they're more magical realism heavy), and just started The Rabbit Hutch, which I have a feeling will break my heart.

I was an idiot and let my passport full-on expire and then Sawyer's is expiring year too, since kid ones are only good for five years. So Saturday we have to go take our pictures and have the paperwork notarized that will let me apply for his without his dad present (this is after I realized I misplaced Sawyer's birth certificate and had to go to the County Clerk's office when feeling like junk last week). And THEN I have to actually fill out ALL the paperwork and go to the passport office next week for our appointment to apply. I fully understand that this is all part of the process and people do it everyday, but this is the part of adulting I hate. Fortunately, it means I get to leave the country in July, so I guess it's worth it (we are going to London!). 

For the first time since we bought our house eleven or twelve years ago our mortgage company over-estimated our escrow account deductions and issues us a check and decreased out payment. I am guessing some mello-roos expired, but the fact that it happened the SAME day as the dog racked up $700 in vet bills seemed like the universe actually wanted to do us a favor. 

Sawyer's school participates in Accelerated Reading (AR), which I have mixed feelings about, but I am definitely amused by the fact that he has 400% of the goal his teacher set for him this trimester met. Clearly she needs to reassess for the next one… I am really proud of his reading, though, since not only is he challenging himself with above-grade-level texts, but also has really strong comprehension skills, too. If only this translated into memorizing his 8 and 12 multiplication facts, haha.

I know it's hard to plan for these things, but if you ever get in an accident and it's the other person's fault, try to make sure they have adequate coverage. HA. The woman who hit me last November only had the state minimum, which was nowhere near the damage she caused to my car or the out-of-pocket rental expenses I accrued. I think things are going to get messy, which is not really my problem, since my insurance handles it, but still a pain.

My students are selecting their outside reading books for the semester right now and it is so fun talking to them about what they want to read and giving out recommendations. I have had a few tell me that they're blowing way too much money at the bookstore on books and one told me she can't wait to get her driver's license so she can go to Barnes and Noble whenever she wants. And these are kids who don't identify as readers! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

My friends and I spent a few hours at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena this weekend and did some serious damage (especially me). It was so nice wandering around and not feeling rushed like I do sometimes (which meant carrying my max amount of books and then buying them). We had lunch at a fancy Italian place after and then visited a new little pie shop- it was the best kind of indulgent day. Extra friend time, extra books, extra food. 

Sawyer's friend is over right now and the two of them are happily playing upstairs and there's no threat of tears, tattling, or breaking things. Those really are the best kinds of playdates, am I right, moms? 

The weather in Southern California has been incredibly rainy lately, which we can't complain about because of the drought. But... it's a lot of water. A LOT. And, actually, I will complain for a second, because too much of the deluge will be wasted because we don't have the infrastructure to catch the extra and save it for the summer. 

I'm running a half marathon in a few weeks and am at my peak mileage right now- I am so tired and hungry. I am zero expectations besides finishing, since my runs just have not been amazing these past few months. I knew this going into it- I just needed something.  I work out almost daily without a big race or hike on the horizon, but I guess I just needed some additional accountability and structure. And there's just this little itch I get occasionally to torture myself, I guess. 

Check out yesterday's post on Demon Copperhead. That book just killed me in the best possible way. 

No pun intended, but I just finished We All Want Impossible Things yesterday, about a woman who is dying in hospice and her friend who is there with her until the end. It was funny, heartbreaking, and just really well-done. It wasn't overly sappy or morbid, just the right amount emotion to make you so thankful for friendships and life. 

I was SO OVER THE MOON EXCITED about the newest season of Yellowstone and even watched the season premier without Scott while he was in Korea, but have failed watch an more episodes since. I am so invested in the show (the only show... really) that I don't want to do anything else while it's on, which means I can't embroider, grade, or run on the treadmill, which also means that I'm having some serious trouble carving out time to devote to it. My dentist, who I see in less than a month, is going to be seriously disappointed in me if I don't catch up, so I need to make it happen. He gave me constant shit for year about never seeing the movie Coming to America and I finally redeemed myself with the cowboys and now I'm destroying all cred I had acquired. 

The US part of the pandemic is almost three years old (happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!) and I am just now starting to have covid dreams. I haven't had it (yet), but I've had two dreams in 2023 where I have come down with it in weird scenarios (last night's fun included me getting arrested by district police because I was in my classroom trying to put together plans for the sub and forgot to wear a mask). Fun. 

Demon Copperhead- 2023 Top Ten Contender

It’s not often I am confident in January that a book will make my top ten of the year list, but my intense love for Demon Copperfield by Barbara Kingsolver has pretty much all but secured it a spot. Demon, the narrator, is subjected to a life in poverty, foster care, and chaos, all worsened by the lurking impact of the opioid crisis in Appalachia. My heart constantly ached for him while still cheering him on towards the small successes he was granted, albeit most temporary. The supporting characters are mostly endearing, and the ones who are not just give you more of a reason to offer your undying support for Demon. Kingsolver’s writing is unsurprisingly brilliant and you won’t want the book to end (even at nearly 600 pages). Just go buy it and bump it up your TBR.

2023 Goals and 2022 Revisited

I love pushing myself to take on new goals, whether it's on the yearly or monthly level. Last year I had an extensive list of things I wanted to accomplish and printed out a google doc for each month for tracking progress (I posted it in my office/treadmill room and the visual was really helpful). Here's how I did:

1. Read 75 books- check!
2. Non-stretching yoga once a week- nope! I did more yoga this year, but because of the hiking and running I needed session focused more on stretching
3. One home-related project a month- Yup! 
4. Pay off car- Yup! 
5. Hike once a month- Yup!
6. Donate to a cause once a month- Yup (set up 2 monthly contributions)
7. Stay on top of reviews/blogs- Not really... I did okay on bookstagram, but not great here
8. Organize something once a month- yup!
9. Send mail to someone once a month- yup!
10. 120 hours a month on the Forest app- yup!

All in all, I am really pleased with how I did. This year will have some of the same and some new ones. I am also using a habit tracker chart I bought recently, which will help. A lot of things from last year are just habitual now, like hiking and donating money (reading is, but I just like to include it). Some things I'm not interested in pushing myself on, like staying up on blogging or bookstagram- I will do what I have time for and what feels interesting! 

1. 150 hours a month on the Forest app (average of 5ish hours a day)
2. One 32 oz water bottle a day (I am the worst at drinking water when I am not actively running, so this is a start).
3. 76 books for the year
4. Deep clean something once a month (my house is clean, but I want to really get in there)
5. Send actual birthday cards to friends and family (I need to make a list!) 
6. Some sort of strength training at least five days a week (arms, abs, legs)
7. Do my year-in-review book by month; finish the previous month within the first week of the next month
8. Keep $xx,xxx in my savings, even after travel plans 
9. Make an average five times the amount of the required HELOC monthly payment (this sounds crazy, but it's not)
10. Any kind of yoga twice a week 

2022: The Best Year... Ever?

I feel almost guilty admitting this, but 2022 has been once of the best years, if not the best, of my life. People don't want to hear this, whether it's because misery loves company, they think it's bragging, or whatever the deal it is (their deal...). And I get it, if you've had a shitty year the last thing you want to hear about is someone raving about why they're so happy. So, that's why I do it here, since basically no one reads (blogs are dead, it's cool) and if they are we're either strangers, they're hate reading to begin with, or they're a genuine friend that like to catch up on my ramblings. 

So, here are my top ten reasons why 2022 was great (we have to keep with the obligatory top-ten year-end lists, right?):

1. Travel! I could really put a hundred exclamation points behind it, but finally, I got on a plane again! We did a lot in the state, as well. Here were our various destinations:
    - Yosemite 
    - La Jolla (just me, on my solo weekend trip)
    - Modesto (my sister's wedding)
    - Bay Area (including San Francisco)
    - Sequoia National Park
    - The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks 

We have some very exciting places on the docket for this year (writes reminder note to deal with passports)

2. Hiking I made it my goal to hike an average of once a month ago and definitely exceeded it. Here are some of my favorites:
    - Yosemite
    - Sequoias
    - Tetons/Yellowstone
    - Big Bear
    - Idyllwild
    - Peter's Canyon
    - Claremont Nature Loop
    - Skyline Trail (it's actually not a great trail, but the beauty comes from it being       so close)
    - Santa Rosa Plateau 
    - Joshua Tree 

3. Happy family My marriage is really good and my son is thriving (swim, art, friends, reading). We found a babysitter who is amazing, which has allowed us to go out much more often, which is super nice. 

4. The best friends I remember when I moved out to the area I live in now and I had no friends or family. I had my husband, my then boyfriend, but I was never close to his family, so I was starting from scratch. Which has turned out amazing! Seventeen years later I have the best friends, and I work hard to maintain my relationships with them. Even if it's just a quick cup of coffee, a walk, or a drink for an hour on a Friday, we make it work. Obviously I love the readings in LA, the lengthy brunches, or afternoon pool dates, but we get what we can take. 

5. Financial goals Oh! The F word! I paid off my car after only one year, hit a savings goal, and set up monthly contributions to two charities I feel strongly about. 

6. Family Time Besides time with Scott and Sawyer (we definitely did more together as the three of us than ever before), I also went to Modesto for my sister's wedding, visited my other sister in the Bay Area, got together with my brother, his baby, and some other family in San Luis Obispo, and hosted some people down here (including for Thanksgiving). 

7. Reading Goal Hit I already published a post on my reading goals, but books are a huge source of happiness for me, so the fact I had such a good reading year was a huge positive

8. Small Home Improvements One of my goals this year was to either coordinate or do some sort of home project each month, as simple as installing solar walkway lights or logistically annoying as  hiring someone to paint our kitchen and living room. By necessity we had to have a tree cut down out back, replace a huge pool part, get a new washer and dryer, and have a leak in our downstairs living room fixed. I also painted a bathroom, did some work in the yard, and had someone finally come and clean out the dryer (PSA- if you don't do this or have someone, put that on your calendar ASAP; that is the leading cause of dryer fires and is an easy fix). This is a boring, adulty positive to have on the list, but it felt good to fulfill. 

9. Fun Stuff  We do a lot, it's how I want to spend my time and money, what can I say? Museums, amusement parks, trails, restaurants, whatever sounds good. I like having a life that is full of variety and movement. I know that's not for everyone, and I do like the occasional weekend where we don't have plans, but this year I took advantage of life basically being back to "normal" and enjoyed it extensively.

10. Small Joys A new tattoo, becoming unapologetically obsessed with the show Yellowstone, discovering one of my new favorite bands Lord Huron, figuring out that doing my nails during my runs (well I hop off to paint really fast) is super efficient, walking down the hill to Starbucks (and back up), and lots of other microjoys that help me get through the daily. 

2022 Top Ten Books Read

I made my goodreads goal of 75 books read with a day or two to spare this year! A miracle, indeed. I had a really, really good year of reading and it was tough to pick my favorites- I need to come up with some sort of elaborate scoring rubric to make this process more scientific and easier (really, I might). Here are some stats, taken off a very fancy note I wrote in my phone to post on social media:

I know it's controversial, but I do not count audiobooks as reading. It's listening. The two are different. Sure, you're consuming a text, still, but it's a much more passive experience and you lose so much when trying to analyze the language (believe me, I can tell the kids who listen as opposed to read their assigned texts for work). I can listen to a book while I drive, walk, or clean- it's constantly something done when multitasking, which detracts from the attention needed to really fully comprehend a text. I listen to audiobooks and it's a totally different experience. 

Okay, stepping off the soapbox, removing chip from shoulder. Moving on. 

Next year my goal is 76 books, since I just move up one a year, but hopefully I'll squeeze in a few more, since my TBR is, shall we say, exceptional.