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  1. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
  2. The Buddha in the Attic, Julia Otsuko
  3. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
  4. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor


  1. Argo
  2. Behind the Candleabra
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Books: )


  1. Moneyball
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. The King's Speech
  4. Looper
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Things here are going well!
  1. As many of you have heard on other social media platforms, I'm pregnant! 12 weeks along (due in early November). The queasiness has been manageable (hooray for ginger ale and crackers); the fatigue has not.
  2. Three of my cousins are pregnant right now, too, with due dates in June, August, and September. The family reunion in 2013 is going to be so much fun.
  3. We are going to find out the sex, if only to make it easier to explain to S. But neither E nor I has a preference, and I was kind of delighted that E said it was "trivial". The values we want to instill in our kids are independent of gender. (Also, we are both of the opinion that birth order factors into personality more than gender does.)
  4. I started reading the Norse mythology in Bulfinch's, as preparation for our trip to Norway. My brother had warned me that it was depressing. I'm not sure I'd call it depressing, just . . . does Thor do anything other than go around and bash giants on the head with his hammer? Eh, I'll read some more on the next rainy night.
  5. On a political note, I am delighted that a ballot initiative to overturn the death penalty in California has made it onto the November 2012 ballot. (As California enacted the death penalty by ballot initiative, it can only be overturned by ballot initiative.) But I don't want to get my hopes up and be disappointed if it fails. Sigh.
  6. And back on a happier note, S remains hilarious and delightful. His current obsession is "yardwork", which he defines as hitting plants with a stick. And when he pretends that we're all in a car, he insists that we all put our seatbelts on. Aw!

Hope you're all having a great week!
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  1. The Golden Gate, Vikram Seth
  2. The White Queen, Philippa Gregory
  3. Half a Crown, Jo Walton
  4. The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory
  5. The Last of the Tribe: the Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon, Monte Reel
  6. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  7. At Home, Bill Bryson
  8. The Secret Lives of Dresses, Erin McKean
  9. Packing for Mars, Mary Roach
  10. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
  11. Spoiled, Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan


  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling

Abandoned Books:

  1. Rapture Ready: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture, Daniel Radosh


  1. Inception
  2. Richard III
  3. Toy Story 3
  4. Amadeus
  5. The Adjustment Bureau
  6. The Other Boleyn Girl
  7. Hot Tub Time Machine
  8. The Right Stuff
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  10. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  11. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  12. Bridesmaids
  13. Helvetica
  14. The Muppets
  15. Bill Cunningham New York
  16. Midnight in Paris
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And now it's time to talk about All Clear! It's been all I could think about over the weekend, and I finished it this afternoon. My thoughts on it behind the cut, while it's still fresh in my mind.

Spoilers for All Clear )

I know several of you have read it -- what did you think?
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I just finished Blackout, by Connie Willis, with perfect timing -- All Clear comes out on Tuesday. (If that's not a reason to finally get a library card here, I don't know what is.) And oh boy, I need to talk about Blackout. Surely some of you have read it?

Major Blackout spoilers here! )

I'm sure that, like, half of my questions are answered in the first half of the book. Still, have any of you read it? What do you think?
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Yesterday, Sam turned three months old! He celebrated by having an ear infection, poor guy!

Even with an ear infection, he is the happiest little guy out there. He loves to kick kick kick, and a couple weeks ago he started interacting with toys! I think he's also deliberately reaching for the toys on the playmat, but I'm not sure. Music seems to make him really happy, but honestly, he's just a happy guy.

Breastfeeding is going well -- he's gained two pounds in the last month -- and I'm working on improving my pump output. We're having a bit of trouble getting him to take breastmilk from a bottle, but I think it's because he's sick.

Sleeping is also good -- he will actually fall asleep on his own if he's swaddled! And sleepy, of course. It doesn't work if he's playful. We had a good nap schedule for a while, but again, that has sort of fallen apart with him being sick.

And now for the milestones -- again from What to Expect the First Year, because I'm tired and don't want to look them up in the AAP guide to the first year:
Milestones )

How I'm doing. )

And of course, the gratuitous adorable picture of Sam!

Looking ahead
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We seem to be doing pretty well here! Sam is wonderful and adorable, and eating like a champ! We're only partly sleep-deprived, and we've been eating real food (thanks in part to friends bringing stuff). However, the eeee! goes back to work tomorrow, so we'll see what happens then.

  1. Not that I had any doubt, but the eeee! is such an awesome, affectionate, and patient dad. Plus, he's been changing all the diapers when he's home.

  2. Breastfeeding is going very well. Hooray!

  3. We had our first real family outing yesterday, to the farmer's market. That was lots of fun, because it got us out of the house, and we ran into several friends there, but it wasn't overstimulating for Sam.

  4. Doc seems to be handling things pretty well, considering.

  5. There are still one or two feedings a day that are tough, because Sam is super-fussy, but I have a surprising amount of time to read while I feed him. The caveat is that I can only really read on my iPhone while nursing. I finally installed Stanza, which has a really nice interface, and easily plugs into the entire Project Gutenberg database. I've already read Anne of the Island -- my favorite of the Anne books -- and I've picked up Howard's End again.

  6. That said, any blog recommendations would be welcome.

  7. I will not be reading Parenting magazine. I got a free issue of it in the mail, and made it about ten pages in before chucking it into the recycling bin. I'm not sure if I'm more annoyed that they asked if a vegetarian diet was cruel to kids, or that 65% of the respondents said yes. WTF, people? And in the print edition they had a few responses from people, and they were along the lines of, "Preschoolers need nutrients and protein!" Look, just because no one on Top Chef knows about vegetarian protein sources doesn't mean they don't exist! Aaaargh.

  8. I've been making sure to have a cup of tea every morning, and a glass of wine or a beer every evening (right after a feeding), as a way of keeping my sanity. Maybe sanity isn't the right word, but normalcy. Or just making sure that I take care of myself, in addition to taking care of Sam.

Has it really only been three weeks? We really seem to have settled into a cozy unit -- right now all four of us are on the couch, watching football and enjoying a lazy Sunday morning.
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At some point, I had decided that 36 weeks was a good time to start buying diapers and wipes, packing the hospital bag, etc.

That's in three weeks. Oh my god! And it's a mere five weeks from now until I hit 38 weeks, which begins the "any day now"* stage of pregnancy! Good thing we finally started setting up the nursery and washing baby clothes and such. And suddenly it seems like we have doctor's appointments and meetings with the doula and childbirth and breastfeeding classes all the time.

In other news . . . let's see. I loved Julie & Julia. (It was only the second movie I saw this year that passed the Bechdel test! Sigh.) I love Jane Lynch, but I wasn't sure about the casting of her as Julia's sister. I finally started reading The Other Queen, by Philippa Gregory, but I'm not enjoying it as much as I have some of her others.

And I'm tired. Guess I have to sleep while I can!

* I know that first babies are generally late, but I was born at week 37, which is a stat that people seem to take seriously when considering the odds of when [untitled] will show up. Also, although I'm glad that my doctor is sticking with the October 4 due date, another ultrasound pointed to September 29 as the likely due date. On top of all that, I while I have wacky cycles, a due date of October 4 requires a cycle of unprecedented length -- 40+ days. So I'm taking the under on October 4.


Aug. 4th, 2009 10:10 pm
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I am definitely too tired for transitional sentences, so here's what's been going on lately:

  1. I'm tired. Oh my god, am I tired. And it's not the fatigue of the first trimester, which felt a bit like the fatigue you have with the flu. I feel physically exhausted, like after an intense workout. I guess that walking to work with a bowling ball strapped to my chest could be considered an intense workout, so okay.

  2. That aside, the pregnancy is still going smoothly. People tend to only talk about their pregnancy woes and horror stories -- especially online -- and I guess I'm included in that. Anyway. I'm tired but doing very well.

  3. Of course, I think I'm all tough, but then I was reading this diary from the Oregon Trail, la la la, it sounds pretty arduous, la la la. And I get to the end, and she gave birth five days after they arrived in Oregon. OH MY GOD. I am so not tough.

  4. We've been so busy with traveling and cleaning out the garage and working that I haven't taken any pictures in a MONTH. It is driving me crazy, since I really want to do an alphabet project. Preferably before [untitled] arrives. But at this point I'm so tired that part of me is like, screw it, it can wait until he's old enough to read.

  5. Okay, on a non-pregnancy note, we saw Public Enemies last week. I'd really been looking forward to it, so maybe that's why I was so disappointed in it. I'm glad that it introduced me to the music of Otis Taylor, but other than that, eh.

Right. That's about it here. Oh god, I totally am a boring pregnant woman. Um. I finally upgraded to Leopard? I'm enjoying Howard's End? I'm . . . going to bed soon.
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It's always strange coming back to a place after you've moved away, and this time feels doubly-strange since we're in a hotel instead of crashing at a friend's. But the hotel gives out a complimentary copy of the Sunday NY Times, and has Washtenaw Dairy donuts at breakfast, so I'm pretty happy.

The eeee! and I were up last night for hours (jetlag!) talking about children's books. We don't get jazzed about baby clothes or nursery stuff, and the whole stroller-carseat thing gives me hives. (It doesn't help that our only car is a two-door, so we're reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that we'll have to replace it.) Nerds that we are, though, we are so pumped about children's books. This started because the eeee! found a couple Ant and Bee books at his parents', which he adored but are now out of print. Children's books morphed into older kids' books, which morphed into comparing notes about when our freakish math skills became apparent.

This poor, poor child that we are bringing into the world.

Right, off to meet friends for breakfast! Happy Sunday!


Apr. 15th, 2009 09:45 pm
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My goodness, there's a lot going on here! Let me sum up:

  1. I finished The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, and really enjoyed it. Well, enjoyed might not be quite the right word. It was pretty depressing (tied with Sweetness in the Belly for most depressing read ever). But very engrossing. Now I need to figure out what books to bring to Ann Arbor!

  2. My defense is a week from today, and yes, I've actually started writing the talk.

  3. I've also started seriously job-hunting. Blah.

  4. On the plus side, I've been able to play with my new camera. Yay!

  5. Doc has been having weird stomach problems -- refusing to eat sometimes, even -- and we tried re-jiggering his meal schedule. Finally, we took the next step recommended by the vet: Pepcid AC. Yes, people medicine. And one dose has already made a huge difference. He wolfed down his dinner and is peppier than he's been all week. Hooray!

  6. Pregnancy rambling )

Now, to watch LOST, whee!
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Lately I've only had the patience to re-read books that are in either diary or epistolatory format. This might be partly because I haven't paid my big library fine yet. But apparently I can watch plenty of TV.

  1. I am so into LOST this season. I'm not sure I entirely know what the hell is going on, but I love the time traveling.

  2. I'm getting tired of Chuck. Partly because I think Jeff and Lester are more likable than Chuck and Morgan, and partly because the preview for next week gleefully promised lots of "TORTURE!" If I wanted to watch "TORTURE!", I'd watch 24. But I don't, and I don't.

  3. I must confess to watching The Real Housewives of New York City. In my defense, last year when Doc was very ill and the eeee! was out of town, a marathon of it ended up being a good distraction. So I have a bit of a soft spot for the show, even though I don't particularly like anyone on it.

  4. I think the field pieces on The Daily Show are pretty uneven -- maybe even more than they were ten years ago when no one knew who they were. But the latest one, with Jason Jones and the Antichrist and Hitler, was awesome.
    Jason Jones: Do you think before you speak?
    Pastor: I think very carefully and long about what I'm gong to say. I even thought long about whether I was going to do this interview with you.
    JJ: I don't think you thought long enough.

  5. Top Chef Spoilers )

  6. Edited to note that I'm unsure about the possible return of Futurama. I adore Futurama, but I think the series ended on a high note, and I'd hate for it to come back only to die out slowly. I've been underwhelmed by the two movies since then, mostly because the writers can't seem to put together a 90-minute plot. Maybe they still have some good 22-minute stories in them?

On a non-TV note, I really enjoyed this essay by Zadie Smith on language and Obama and Shakespeare. Obama's family could have stepped right out of a Zadie Smith novel, so I really loved her perspective on him.
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I have high hopes that this will be longer than the 2007 list, if only because maybe I'll finish the half-dozen books that I started in the fall of 2007 and didn't finish.

And I'm watching movies this year!
Books: )

Movies: )
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What non-election things do I have to say?

  1. This article on port-a-potties for the NY Marathon reminds me of how we used to rent a port-a-potty for football parking. It would be in the yard for the whole season -- classy! -- and the company emptied it after every game. Okay, great. But on more than one occasion, we noticed people wandering through our yard late at night, leaving other parties and using our port-a-potty. Hee! Better than peeing on our house, I guess.

  2. I have a great deal of affection for Cryptonomicon, but now is not the time to start reading Anathem -- I'm waiting for it to come out in paperback. So I picked up The Diamond Age for my Neal Stephenson fix, and I'm really not getting into it. I'm not sure why, but I think I'm not sold by the world-building. Have any of you read Anathem yet? Where is it on the Stephenson spectrum?

  3. I have no costume ideas this year! Except maybe Katie Couric. I have seven hours to come up with something from the stuff in my closet. I might go as Carmen Sandiego again, if I can't think of anything else.

  4. This is sort of election-related: I am really concerned about how long the lines will be on Tuesday. Namely, the eeee! and I are going to vote together around 1 p.m. (long story), and I'm worried that we won't be back home by 4 p.m., when people will start coming over to watch results with us.

    I kind of love that I only worry about how long lines will affect my party plans.

And that's all I got that's not about the election. And even so, I only get a C on my attempt to not talk about the election! Aaaaah four more days! :D
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I finished Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, and although I mostly enjoyed it, I'm not interested in reading the rest of the series. I was fascinated by the way the religion was set up, as a way to keep some scientific knowledge alive after the fall of the Empire. Other than that . . . eh, I suppose.

I know that it's Classic Science Fiction, and that it heavily influenced all sci-fi since then. I just stopped caring about the Foundation about two-thirds of the way through the book.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons' suggestion of football pregame Hollywood Squares (see second question in column) is the funniest thing I've read all week.

And that's about it here. My new tactic is folding origami cranes when I'm frustrated or stuck with work. We'll see how that goes.
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I suppose a side benefit to all the traveling I've done recently is that I've gotten a bit of reading done on the planes. Although that doesn't explain how I've found time to watch television.

  1. I just finished Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon, and it was okay. The eeee! had told me it was a quick read, but I don't think it ever held my attention for more than 40 minutes at a time. I wasn't a huge fan of Wonder Boys, either -- I guess Chabon doesn't do it for me.

  2. Who does do it for me is Zadie Smith. I really enjoyed White Teeth, and the way the families in it kept colliding with each other.

  3. And speaking of Zadie Smith, On Beauty is still the best thing I've read this year, by a mile. I can't say anything coherent about it, really, so I will have to be content with describing it as breathtaking. I know, I'm like five years behind the times.

  4. I read a large chunk of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs, but have no desire to pick it up again. I enjoyed it, but I am apparently not up for non-fiction this year.

  5. Unless it is a cooking memoir, because I've been inhaling those. And reading My Life in France, by Julia Child, also has the side effect of making me want to go to France again!

  6. I just picked up Foundation, by Asimov, and so far I am hooked on that. Whee!

  7. The eeee! and I got sucked into watching When Harry Met Sally last night. Other than Meg Ryan's hair, I think that movie has held up well. I hadn't watched it in years, and I'd forgotten how great some of the dialogue is.

    Also, it was on Oxygen, and because we have satellite we get the East Coast feeds for all the cable channels. So at 11:30 p.m. we see all the ads that are aired at 2:30 a.m., which meant that at one point we saw an ad for a personal "fingertip massager" followed by an ad for Wonder Pets: Save the Bengal Tiger. Awesome.

  8. My current justification for watching The Hills is that I will watch anything with good production values. Hello, Mad Men! Okay, that one needs no justification. And none of that explains why I still watch the insanely low-budget America's Next Top Model.

  9. And thank god for The Daily Show, because without them I would not have survived the conventions.

Ooof, reading back over that list, it sounds like a lot. But I swear, it's spread out over the last six weeks or so.
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Last night at dinner, a friend revealed that he'd been creeped out by an episode of Little House on the Prairie when he was little, and had never been able to watch the show again. However, somehow he had no idea that there was a series of books! He'd never heard of them! This is the guy who's been lending me all the Sandman volumes, so he's not culturally illiterate. Maybe he doesn't have any sisters.

Another friend and I were discussing all the different incarnations of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys (and the Bobbsey Twins!). I claimed that the original, old school Nancy Drew were the best Nancy Drew, because the Casefiles were really poorly written mysteries. (Also, they maybe threw too much romance into it? At this point I don't remember why I got so annoyed.) However, the Casefiles version of the Hardy Boys* were the best Hardy Boys, because in the original series they were insufferable do-gooders. Anyone see what I'm saying? Or is this just a function of when I read the various series? (I read the original ND in 4th or 5th grade, but not the original HB until a bit later.)

I also claimed that I have this history of trying to watch a show, and sitting down to what is later considered to be one of the worst episodes ever. The one episode of Star Trek (TNG) that I saw was one where they couldn't control the temperature in the spaceship -- it would get really hot, and then really cold, and then back to hot again. It was really stupid! The first X-Files episode I saw was a really stupid and boring monster of the week, although I did try that show again. The first Doctor Who I saw was the one in London in 2012, with the crayon monster who's taking people, or something like that. And the first Veronica Mars I saw was the one with the school election, and maybe that's not considered one of the worst episodes of the first season, but I decided I could not handle the high school setting.

(I tried watching the Shakespeare episode of Dr. Who, because I heard really good things about it, but couldn't get into it, either. Doctor Who and Veronica Mars are two shows that on paper, seem like they'd be right up my alley. I have no idea why I don't really like them in practice.)

* We were reminiscing about how unexpectedly intense they were. "The girlfriend was killed in a bomb! And the terrorist fell to his death!" "Right! Because the hand was bloody and he slipped out of his grasp!" The eeee! was totally baffled by this, because he's just old enough for those to be after his time.

March 2013



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