Thursday, April 18, 2024

Photo Every Hour 4/17/2024

I'm back with another exciting edition of me taking a photo every hour of the day. I feel like the last time I did this, it was sort of an exciting day, but  this is a very boring work day, so it's going to be a struggle. Let's see how the working hours between 8am and 4pm shake out.

5:32am - Stumble out of bed, turn off the alarm, turn on my SAD lamp and read for 20 minutes. I'm currently reading Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon and I am enjoying it so far.

6:22am - Had to cut my walk with Hannah short this morning because, while I will walk her in the rain, what was thunder and lightning in the distance when we started our walk started to worry me as we went further on. Hannah, who is a lazy dog and does not like to be on walks anyway, was very much okay with a shorter walk.

7:41am - I did Duolingo in the car on the way to work while Dr. BB drove.

8:04am - On the way to work I realized that my left pinky was bleeding. My eczema is in truly bad shape right now and my skin had just split open. I got to my office and went to the First Aid kit I keep in my desk (look, if you don't have lip balm, dental floss, nail file and clippers, Band-Aids, bacitracin, and spare ponytail holders in a box in your desk, I don't know what to tell you) and went into the bathroom to wash my finger and put a Band-Aid on it. All before I so much as changed my shoes.

9:52am - I'm going to a regional conference, but it's held on our campus, so I just had to troop up the hill to the student union. This log cabin "represents the pioneering experience." It's so weird that it's just plopped down in the middle of campus.

10:06am - At the conference. I sat with some nice folks from a different college and started chatting and then they made us all move to be at the same table with people from our own universities. I was sort of upset by this. I mean, I like my co-workers, but we never really got to meet people from other places. Grrr.

11:49am - We broke for lunch. One of the women that I had met before I was exiled to my university's table had mentioned she wanted to go to the bookstore, so I volunteered to take her over there. While we were over there, I had to take a photo of this gnome in honor of Nicole

12:16pm - I made it back to the student union. They gave us a lunch voucher, but I'm going to be honest with you, the idea of eating in a college cafeteria made me want to curl up in a ball. I took the lunch I packed this morning out to the balcony on the second floor. It was cold and threatening rain and five minutes after I took this photo, I had to go inside because it did start to rain. *sigh*

1:41pm - Friends, this was my entire afternoon.

2:11pm - Break. I just walked around for five minutes. 

3:49pm - We're almost out of here. 

4:58pm - Finally got home. Hannah was excited to see us. You can't tell from this photo, but she's wagging her tail like crazy. We're about to go on our walk. Also, I only took this one photo and the poor thing has her eyes closed in it. LOL. 

5:26pm - Walk with Hannah! Look at the tulips! And daffodils! She's like a dog model for a seed catalog. We took an extra long walk after our aborted walk this morning. It did not rain on us this time.

6:50pm - Dinner is done. I sat on the couch to start this post (you can sort of see my computer on the left) after dinner and Zelda decided I should really be spending time petting her. She was obviously right.

7:38pm - Started my yoga practice for the day. I normally like to get my workout in before dinner, but that wasn't in the cards for today.

8:47pm - Walk with Hannah before bed. It's windy, but otherwise the nicest it's been weatherwise all day.

9:35pm - I said goodnight to the girls, filled out my goal journal for the night, and headed up to bed. Hopefully I'll be asleep before the ten o'clock hour.


Did you do anything unusual yesterday? Or what was the most mundane of mundane things you did?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez came on my radar because of the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge and then Stephany reviewed it and said it was okay. 

Julia is the youngest daughter in a Mexican family living in Chicago. Her parents came over from Mexico under pretty bad circumstances and just as the book is beginning, her older sister dies in a tragic accident. Julia is struggling. She can't wait to move out, away from her stifling family and their expectations that she behave more like Olga, her "perfect" dead sister. She learns that maybe Olga wasn't so perfect, though, and soon Julia is questioning everything in her life.

Look, I'm just the audience for YA anymore. I just kept wanting to shake Julia, tell her that she needed to get her head out of her ass and stop being an insufferable brat, and remind her that having two loving parents is infinitely better than the alternative. Julia does have a lot on her plate and her sister dying is really terrible, but Julia is also an entitled jerk. And she's mean. And maybe she's just a teenager being a teenager, but I did not enjoy the time I spent with her. 

I know I'm old because I honestly wanted the book to be told from her parents' points of view. 

I regret finishing this one. 2/5 stars

Lines of note:
I know I should clean, but whenever I look at the mess, I think, what’s the point? Nothing feels like it has a point anymore. (location 195)
I mean, doesn't everyone think this when they clean? It's a viscious cycle - the cleaning is never done and as soon as you stop, you have to do it all over again.

...skinny, little guy who looked like an aardvark...(location 323)
I like to note animal/human metaphors. To be honest, I don't know what an aardvark looks like, so this meant nothing to me at the time.  Okay, I looked it up. Aardvark below. It's pretty cute, but I can see how this is a mean thing to say about someone. 

Kelly Abram -

I seriously don’t know what she saw in him, because not only was he ugly, he had the personality of a boiled potato. (location 323)
More meanness from our main character.

Everyone is desperately trying to hang on to the sunshine, enjoying the unexpected warmth before winter takes a cold gray crap on the city and makes us all miserable again. (location 552)
I feel this in my very soul. It was lovely for the last two days and today I left the house without a coat and now it's cold and rainy and I regret not having a coat with me. 

If I end up being an office lady who wears slacks and changes into white sneakers to walk home from the train, I’ll just jump off a skyscraper. (location 589)
Were we all this mean and judgmental as teens? (I may feel attacked because I have to switch out shoes to walk the dog.)

There are hundreds of spam emails from many different companies. I guess the spam bots don’t know when someone has died. It seems so disrespectful to advertise to the dead. 50% OFF STOREWIDE!! BUY ONE GET ONE FREE SHOE SALE!!! VITAMINS FOR THE PERFECT BIKINI BODY. (location 2705)
This is an interesting observation. One time Bestest Friend told me that she had put me in charge of her Facebook account in case of her death. Apparently that's a thing you can do. I remember laughing, but it's not really funny, is it? I suppose our electronic estates will need to be settled when we die, just as our physical assets will. (I've written about my angst about the state of my blog when I die. How will my readers find out? Will I just stop updating and no one will ever know what happened?)

“Julia, sometimes in life you don’t get to do what you want to do. Sometimes you have to deal with what’s given to you, shut up, and keep working. That’s it.” (location 3613)
This is from Julia's father. It's no wonder I wanted to read a book centered on him.

Things I looked up:
Cepillín, that scary Mexican clown who looks like a rapist but everyone loves for some reason. (location 125)
Ricardo González Gutiérrez was a Mexican clown as well as a singer, TV host, and actor. He died in 2021. 
Cepillín in 2018

The House of Bernarda Alba (location 355) - A play written by the Spanish dramatist Federico García, completed in 1936, two months before García was assassinated during the Civil War

chambelan (location 1606) - A male member of the court of honor at a quinceañera 

Hat mentions (why hats?): 

...usually walk around the apartment wrapped in a blanket and wearing a hat, looking like a fool. (location 2106)

He’s not even wearing a hat or scarf, so his face is bright red. (location 2129)

His face is flushed from the cold, and he looks cute in his big, puffy jacket and purple stocking hat. (location 2142)

Their husbands, tío Raul and tío Leonel, stand next to them, both wearing cowboy hats. (location 2818)

After Los Tigres score their first goal, a dark guy in a cowboy hat comes toward us with bottles of Coke and plastic bags of pork skins slathered in red salsa.  (location 3046)

“Buenos días,” he says, and tips his hat. (location 3119)

Today Esteban is wearing jeans, a faded Beatles T-shirt, and a straw cowboy hat. (location 3168)

Esteban takes off his cowboy hat and looks toward the mountains. (location 3220)

“Is he wearing a hat?” (location 3401)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Rube Goldberg of Chores

Sunday was a glorious day. The sun was shining, the temperatures were well into the 70s, and we threw open the windows and screen doors and that's when it happened. As I was gathering the towels we use to dry the dog that live in the mudroom to do laundry, I noticed that the floors needed to be swept. So I started a load of laundry and headed to the mudroom to clean the floors.

Well, first I need to clean the winter gear out of the mudroom to be able to properly sweep. I put Hannah's winter coat away for the winter and take all of the shoes/boots I wear all winter to my closet. But the shoes in my closet are disorganized, so I start rearranging them. Then I notice that one of my scarves in on the ground of my closet, so I hang that back up. Change out a load of laundry.

Back to the mudroom. 

I sweep. The baseboards are really dusty though. Put a pin in that. 

I start to vacuum the area rugs. Hmmm... Hannah wasn't feeling well the last couple of days and she smells and so does her bed. Move the bed to the laundry room. Put a pin in the dog's stench level.

The area rugs are vacuumed. Then I get out the feather duster and dust the baseboards and door jambs. Change out a load of laundry.

The kitchen cabinets (painted white) are grimy in heavily touched areas. I am only noticing now because the sun is hitting them just right. Now I am using a Magic Eraser to clean the dingy spots, but when I clean the dingy spots, the rest of the cabinet looks dingy, so I have to clean every speck of every  cabinet. I contemplate removing every item from the cabinets and also washing the inside, but I cheat and just do the outsides. While I'm at it, I might as well clean the countertops and the stove top. 

Change out a load of laundry.

At this point, I rope my husband into the madness and request he take a Swiffer to any horizontal surface that might be dusty. I also ask him to clean the fan in the downstairs bathroom. 

I vacuum the downstairs bathroom. The litter box has not been washed all winter and even when it has fresh litter in it, it reeks. 

Ask my husband to help me trim Hannah's nails with the Dremel. I hold her and keep feeding her chicken while he actually uses the Dremel.

Have my husband turn the outside water on and hook up the hose. While he's out there, I ask him to unwinterize the air conditioner. 

Take the litter box outside and wash it thoroughly and then leave it in the sun to disinfect.

While the hose is out and the water is on, I corral the dog and force her to take a bath. I then walk her around for a mile or so in a vain attempt to dry off a dog whose undercoat is the thickest it will be all year. As she shakes, I see water and fur fly off and know that all the vacuuming I did today will be undone as soon as she is released into the house.

Throw the towels from the dog's bath into the laundry, along with her bed and blanket. The dog is now wandering around the house mournfully because she has no bed.

I take the trash and recycling out and realize that the bird feeders are empty, so then I fill the feeders.

At this point, I am exhausted, but the day is not over. 

I head upstairs to do some yoga. Once there, I notice that there are dust bunnies everywhere.

Finish yoga.

Grab the vacuum. Vacuum the stairs. Swiffer everywhere upstairs. Dust bunnies conquered. 

Get the dog's bed out of the dryer. She is so excited to have someplace to lay. Retrieve the litter box from outside. 

Collapse on the couch and write this post.

All I wanted to do was the laundry. 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Albatross by Terry Fallis

Albatross* by Terry Fallis is another book by a Canadian author that came across my radar because of the podcast Books Unbound. This book also has deckled edges and I also had to order it through fancy interlibrary loan at the university library because it's published by a Canadian press and is sort of hard to find in the United States. 

Adam is a normal senior in high school. He likes to write stories, is obsessed with fountain pens and ink colors, and has a girlfriend named Alli. His new English teacher finds out that Adam is really good at golf, though. Like, REALLY good. It turns out that Adam doesn't care much for golf - he finds it tedious and boring - but soon he's on a path to playing golf at Stanford.

This book was ridiculous. But I loved it. It's a sports book with very little about sports. Also, there was a part that made me tear up and then I laughed at myself for tearing up that way. 

This has a 3.7 on Goodreads, which is an absolute travesty. It's such a fun little book! Sure, the whole thing is preposterous (a Swedish professor figures out what measurements will make an ideal athlete for various sports and Adam's measurements align with making him a perfect specimen for golf), but once you just accept that premise, this book is a true gem. 

I did think the ending dragged a tiny bit, but this a fun read if you can get  your hands on it. 4.5/5 stars

*For those of you not in the know, an albatross is a rare and prestigious score in golf, achieved when a player achieves three strokes under par. In golf and nature, the albatross is a rare bird. 

Hat mention (why hats?):

"Your hat, son," Bobbie said under her breath. (page 192)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Cool Bloggers Walking Club Week 2: April 7 - 13

Elisabeth has called upon her blogging buddies to join the Cool Bloggers Walking Club (CBWC) and walk ten minutes a day in April. Here's how this week worked out. 

Sunday, April 7
35 minute walk with Hannah in the morning
33 minute afternoon walk in the cold rain with Hannah
20 minute walk with Hannah before bed

We 100% ignore this sign multiple times a week.

Monday, April 8
28 minute walk with Hannah in the morning
15 minute walk around campus, back and forth to the student union and the university library
25 minute walk with Hannah after work - this was a PERFECT day - 65 degrees and sunny
10 minute walk back and forth to the public library to pick up some books I had on hold
32 minute walk with Hannah before bed - perfect evening walk

Gorgeous sunrise. This is our regular park and it's completely flooded right now. 

Tuesday, April 9
29 minute walk with Hannah this morning
10 minute walk back and forth to the student union at lunchtime for yoga
28 minute walk with Hannah when I got home from work
32 minute walk with Hannah before bed - it was a gorgeous day

Wednesday, April 10
29 minute morning walk with Hannah - we are both loving this weather
22 minute walk with Hannah after work
29 minute walk with Hannah before bed
Afternoon walk sightings: Daffodils! Magnolia! Periwinkle! Hyacinth! Zelda! We were able to open the windows for a couple of hours after work and Zelda was living her best life.

Thursday, April 11
31 minute verrry pokey walk with Hannah (her sniffing was out of control this morning)
10 minute walk back and forth to the student union at lunchtime for yoga 
38 minute walk with Hannah after work
20 minute walk with Hannah before bed

Friday, April 12
29 minute morning walk with Hannah 
15 minute walk around campus 
18 minute walk with Hannah after work (normally I'd do a longer walk on a lovely Friday afternoon, but H was not feeling great)
13 minute walk with poor Hannah before bed

Saturday, April 13
33 minute walk with Hannah in the morning - poor Hannah still isn't feeling great; had a phone call with the vet to see what the best course of action is for treating her
26 minute walk with Hannah after dinner - Hannah refused an afternoon walk, so we went right after dinner; she's still not feeling great
7 minute walk with Hannah before bed - fingers crossed the meds start to work and H starts to feel better tomorrow

What's the coolest thing you saw on a walk this week?

Friday, April 12, 2024

Eight Questions for Readers

In another ripoff from the podcast Books Unbound, I'm going to ask and answer some questions from their 128th episode. 

1) I love this genre, but I didn't love this book.

    So many romance novels here. Which one do I pick? I'm going to go with Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey. It's like I traveled back in time fifty years reading this book.

2) I rarely read this genre, but I really love this book.

    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty - I don't usually read westerns, but this was great. 

3) I love this trope, but I didn't like this book.

    Trope: Dragons

    Book(s): The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery - I *should* love this series, but the sexual violence and gender relations are too hard to look past when reading it today. 

4) I hate this trope, but I love this book. 

    Trope: Marriage in Peril

    Book: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - Such wonderful observational writing.

5) I love this author, but I didn't love this book.

    The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante - I adore the Neapolitan quartet and The Lost Daughter, but this novel did not have the same magical spark. 

6) Who is an author you previously disliked, but you read another book by the author and enjoyed it?

    Abby Jimenez - Remember how bitter I was about The Friend Zone? That book is deeply upsetting. But I did enjoy Yours Truly. Serious whiplash while reading Jimenez. 

7) I love this cover, but I didn't like this book.

    The Interestings by Meg Wollitzer - What is the book about anyway?  Fun cover, though.

8) I don't love this cover, but I love this book.

    My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - The Europa edition has a particularly terrible cover.


Do you have any hot takes on these questions? Favorite books from genres you don't usually read?

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Goal Tracking, Part II

At some point, Stephany asked me how I track my goals. I have a number of quarterly goals, so how do I even figure out what's what. 

I have written about this a few times before. Here's a post I wrote about it last year when I pestered everyone by writing daily. Here's a post I wrote at the end of the year when I was mulling over how to continue tracking things when my paper planner was out of pages. 

But I hate to disappoint all of you and especially Stephany, but the method has basically remained the same. I have five main areas for goals: Professional, Pets, Health, Reading, and Fun Stuff. I have a paper journal and use it to track most of these goals. 

Current journal

Blank page.

On the first of the month, I lay out a lot of the things I track daily and create a simple chart for checking each day. Let me stress that if I skip even a single day, this whole system goes off rails, so even if I'm exhausted at night, I take a minute or two to fill this out. And it really does only take a minute or two to fill out!

Once I have a calendar, I create a mini-spreadsheet to track the things I track daily, including walks with Hannah, working out, and whether or not I spent 24 minutes outside.

I also have a place to track weekly goals on the next page.

So, as you can see, I track a lot of my professional, pet, and health goals here. There are a handful of fun goals here, too. Last quarter I admitted that I had not even considered the "learning chess" goal at all and that it had slipped my mind. Well, it slipped my mind because I don't have it written down on my tracking sheet! (And, I just noticed that it still isn't there. Hm. This must be my subconscious telling me how I really feel about this goal.)

The last couple of pages of this journal are where I'm tracking all the mail I send. 

I have a separate spreadsheet in Google Drive that tracks my reading goals, so I do not track that by paper. And that's it. It really doesn't take that much time, I promise. Every month I figure out my stats for the month and add it to a draft of a post I keep for my quarterly goals update and then at the end of the quarter, I figure out quarterly stats. Easy peasy!

I would 100% like to find a journal where a lot of this work is already done for me in terms of setting up the pages, but I'm also way too lazy to take the time to go through journals and find one that has all these things already pre-filled, doesn't have inspirational quotes that will make me roll my eyes, and doesn't have extra pages with "homework" (those pages that ask you to write your goals for the day/week/year, etc.). 


Do you have a preferred paper planner? If not, do you just keep everything in an electronic calendar?