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So many people seem relieved that 2011 is over. I’m more surprised. In some ways it was a long year (wedding planning!) and in other ways a short year (wait, we got married? Wasn’t it just the other day we got engaged?) So New Year’s Eve found me thinking fondly of the last year and wondering what new things 2012 will bring.

For starters, I’ll be busy reading Cybils finalists – I’m a round 2 judge for middle grade fiction. Then there are several trips to plan – a road trip to CA, a weekend trip to CA, and a wedding in CO. And if all goes as planned, maybe even a bigger trip! We’ll see. In the meantime, happy new year to all of you!

Okay for NowOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you liked The Wednesday Wars, you must read this. Schmidt hits a lot of the same notes again, but his style – the voice, the characters, the whole thing – is so pitch perfect that I immediately wanted to start it over from the beginning (a rare feeling for me). In fact, I listened to the audio and then read the print version a few months later. The only downside to the audio is that you’ll want to look up the Audubon illustrations in a book or online, because they’re really key to the story. When I reread the print version, I found myself flipping back to that chapter’s illustration anytime the image was discussed.

The book’s only flaw is that it stuffs in a few too many things plot-wise, but for me that never detracted from the story. Not perfect, but pretty close. And I’m not lying.

Source: my public library

View all my reviews

About that whole baby girl vibe.  It’s a nice big boy instead, and apparently they’re having second thoughts about the boy name they’d chosen because I just got an email with pictures & weight stats, nothing else (including the actual birthday…)

In related news, I just found out that another old friend had her third.  Um, I didn’t know she was pregnant.  My mom’s all, “oh, I have pictures of Jen’s baby!”  And I’m all, “what baby?”  His name is Samuel and he was  born a week or two ago.  Poor Jen, she grew up with only little brothers and now she only has sons…But they are unbelieveably cute, so I guess it’s okay.

Today in pictures, idea stolen from blackbird.

While I waited for daylight savings/non-daylight savings (whatever we’re in now) to adjust to what time I thought it should be, I read an old

Then I went to

(minus the snow and the whole being in Ukraine part).  Where I held a squirmy

and her silly goose sister

I had



for brunch, while listening to

After I tore myself away, I went to a couple different

but only for quick visits, to drop off due or overdue books.  Now I’m sitting on my

and thinking about

(minus the dog).

can you tell they’re sisters?

Originally uploaded by jessmonster.

Me and Dad

Originally uploaded by joe.pinsonault.

See my distinguished family? Their stature and intelligence? Actually, both of their t-shirts crack me up. The whole picture cracks me up.

It’s either photos or babbling about school, so take the photos. Please. For your own sanity.

I vote we change it from meme to Mimi, okay?  Okay.

Five Things I Wish Were In My Freezer

Hazelnut gelato from that place down the street in Bologna.  Yogurt container upon yogurt container of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries (I’m a frutti di bosco kind of girl).  Gin.  An unending supply of chocolate chips.  That elusive meal to pack for lunch that’s never around when I need it.

Five Things That Shouldn’t Be In My Wardrobe
Those worn at the knees, too small corduroys.  The shoes a size too big (why?)  The slips that belonged to my great-grandmother.  The over-the-top leather coat that belonged to my grandmother (on the other side) that I never wear but can’t bear to part with.  The not-so-white anymore embroidered sleeveless top.

Five Things I Hate About My Car

The CD player that stopped working.  The twang in the bass when it’s turned up.  The fact that it requires gasoline.  The dust I’m too lazy to get rid of.  The fac that I was nine when it was born.

Five Things I Should Throw Out Of My Handbag/Backpack/Wallet

The phone cards that are probably expired.  My alumni card (will I ever really need it?)  The practically empty chapstick.  The credit card I never ever use.   The receipts (I do this every couple days, but seem to breed during the night).

Five Things I Don’t Want To Admit Are In My Bathroom

I actually just cleaned everything out.  So I guess I’m left with the frighteningly powerful drain unclogger, which is sadly necessary on occasion.  I suppose I do have an unnecessarily large collection of contact lens cases (some with ancient contacts still inside, I’m sure).  Then there’s the mold in the grout, but that’s the landlord’s fault because he did the grout himself and it’s a half-assed job.

serenity now, new blue walls

Originally uploaded by jessmonster.

The payoff for inhaling paint fumes until 11:30 pm.

I have pictures, which I’m currently too lazy to upload, which would show you the fruits of my recent labors and prove to you have I have not been sitting around eating bonbons while I neglect my blog (actually, I have been sitting around eating Moonstruck chocolates (an assortment handpicked by Lis & Toni for my birthday) but that’s beside the point). What have I been doing, you ask?

1. Outfitting & riding my NEW BICYCLE. Yes, I’m a big girl now and get a grown-up bike. My dad and I were unloading it from his van, which was silly because the bike store is mere moments away but I did not own a helmet yet! And I’m damn wobbly and won’t be caught dead without my helmet. Anyway, this small boy rode by on his bike, with training wheels, and was impressed by my bike (because it’s awesome and red) and was even more impressed when I told him it was a birthday present. I like gifts that small children can be impressed by.

Anyway, then I tried riding to the library (for a retirement reception. Which I don’t believe, really, because she’s been there since I started going there as a mere kidling. And hired me) which is apparently a whole two miles away, which is mere piffle on a bike, except on the way home when you realize, oh yes, this is a slight incline and it is kicking my butt. Or rather, my leg muscles.

2. Painting my room a darling shade of light blue known as “fond farewell.” I am exceedingly fond of it and do not wish to bid it farewell any time soon.

3. Working on not going OCD batshit over the rest of the apartment.  Which consists entirely of furniture buried under moving boxes.  On top of a really dirty floor.  Which we were too busy to sweep before, and now there are just tiny exposed patches of filth.

4.  Working.  OF COURSE.

5.  Reading.  Happy All the Time, Defining Dulcie, Gaudy Night (on tape).  Oh how I love Gaudy Night.  Although it is currently in that slightly slow stretch of pure detection and poison pens and no Lord Peter, although he shall presently be called to the scene and the sexual tension will ensue.

Meg Rosoff (author of the I-recommended-it, why-haven’t-you-read-it-yet? How I Live Now) has an interview on in which she reveals her fondness for Kate Seredy’s The Good Master.  Which is a pretty sure-fire way to win me over, although in her case it’s unnecessary – I’m already won over.  And looking forward to the new one, Just In Case, which I have on hold.

The Good Master is one of those books that I haven’t read recently but I recall vividly as being childhood-shaping.  The petticoats, oh the petticoats.  I always wanted to move to Hungary so I could wear so many.  And sleeping on the stove.  Time for a reread, I suspect.  And I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed on my own that Rosoff borrowed a bit of the plot for How I Live Now.  Clever.

August 2022

Flickr Photos