November – finding joy in my second least favorite month

Rabbit rabbit!

If you don’t read Stress and Stars you should, because Katie has a beautiful way with words and a cute baby to boot.

Enough soup to drown my household so that we don't have to put up with the misery that is November.

Enough soup to drown my household so that we don’t have to put up with the misery that is November.

She’s started a project called “Find Joy in November” where every day, she wants to document on Instagram one thing that brings her joy. I’m going to play along as best I can, but I’ll be doing it mostly on my blog, because I am An Old and I want to do something with this blog besides harden it up against the continuing back-end attacks. (why, why?)

I HATE NOVEMBER. It’s second only to January on my hated-months list, and it only edges out January because the only things on sale in January are sheets, towels, and fitness gear. It gets dark early, the trees all die, we get ridiculous cold rain. And Axl Rose’s bride dies in this song. Ugh.

So on today, the first day of November, I made a heaping crockpot full of chicken noodle soup. It’s this recipe without celery (bleah) and without bay leaves (we had none). This is part of our “no spend November” project to batten down the hatches of our bank accounts. We had it for dinner tonight and it was tasty and filling. I’ll be bringing it to work for lunch all week. And that bubbly pot of soup brought me joy, because I made it myself and we enjoyed it in our cozy home. :)


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The Martian book review

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was in the house because it was WM’s school’s “one book one school” choice for last summer.Since the movie is out and doing well, I thought I’d grab it and give it a read.

I enjoyed it this book. There was a fair chunk of pages devoted to chemistry (how to make water, how to pull oxygen out of the atmosphere, etc) but even if you don’t understand it (spoiler: I didn’t) it won’t hamper your progress or leave you out of important plot devices. If you do understand it, you’ll probably have an even better time reading. It’ll be your bonus content.

Looking back, I don’t know why I liked it so much. It wasn’t suspenseful — at no point did I think Watney was going to die. Usually when there is peril in a book, I’ll skip to the end to see who’s still alive. I never felt the desire here. There was no character development — everyone stayed the same. There was no villain. Even when decisions were made that seemed to be purposefully bad ones, you understood why.

Watney’s diaries were great, and even better if you imagine Christian Slater voicing them. The scenes with the crews (both on Hermes and on ground) were good too, although I could have skimmed through the Hermes crew’s calls with loved ones. I know that meant to let us know that they all had something to lose, but again, no suspense. The occasional third-person narratives during pivotal scenes (“The astronaut turned around…”) were distracting.

Overall, a quick and breezy story, where the sum is greater than the parts. It’s a good book for daily commutes or reading-while-watching-TV.

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Throwback Thursday: September 1985

September 1985. The bad hair choices begin…

How was I not the most popular kid in middle school?

How was I not the most popular kid in middle school?

Isn’t this the hair every girl wants on their thirteenth birthday?

Items of note:

  • We are both wearing San Diego tee shirts, although we never visited there as kids. My grandfather lived there for a few years. I wish we could have visited him.
  • Long live Entenmann’s cakes!
  • For my birthday I received a birthstone ring and a phone extension in my room!

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    Throwback Thursday: July 1983

    In this picture, I’m 10 years old and still torturing my family by making them watch me do magic.

    For my next trick, I will make your will to live disappear!!

    For my next trick, I will make your will to live disappear!!

    I was a HORRRRRRRRIIIIIIBLLLLLE magician. My hands were always too small for the tricks. Even the kid sized tricks like what came in this Magic Hat set. And the patter was always written for boys or men. But props to my family – they always watched me, even when I was dropping things left and right.

    I continued to buy magic tricks in high school, but I could never become a master of slight of hand.

    Items of note:

  • The shirt says “Atlantic City, NJ” even though I barely visited Atlantic City as a kid. It may have been a hand-me-down.
  • The button says “I believe in magic.” I still do.
  • I used Johnson’s Baby Powder as Magic dust.

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