Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I am into this month: January

Early morning sun on the bare trees.

On My Nightstand: On Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcey's recommendation, I read A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, which was interesting but not particularly life-changing. I read Sink Reflections and picked up a few good home maintenance/cleaning tips. Meh.

What else, what else? I read a Monk novel (yes, based on the TV show, and the TV show is better) and returned the second one I checked out because the writing style was irritating. I'm working on Grendel, a classic I had never read before.

While looking for a link to Lilith, one of the other books I read this month, I realized that apparently there are many books with that title, all alluding to the mythical figure of Lilith, Adam's supposed first wife who was maybe also the serpent. So, the Lilith I read is a Jean Plaidy historical novel/romance, which, you can't go too wrong with that. I can see those themes in it, but it's also, as I said, a Victorian romance-type novel. I recommend it, but apparently I need to go on a search for one of the actual Lilith tales, which is what I thought I was getting. Oops.

I also read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, which is one of those books everyone always expects me to have read. It amused and informed my grammatical stickler side. One might, however, contrast it with an article from the most recent issue of Wired magazine (which I can't seem to find online), which advocates doing away with standardized spelling and punctuation altogether.

Want to Read: I still have Death Comes to Pemberley on hold, along with a new Orson Scott Card Shadow series novel. The Help finally came in, as well as a book called How the Irish Saved Civilization, which I suppose I'll be reading a month early. ^_^

TV Show Worth Watching: We finished Darker than Black and oh! the best shows always freaking end, man. ;-) But I am also enjoying Once Upon a Time way more than I was before the winter break.

We ran through Netflix's entire supply of Breaking Bad, which was gooooood but not mind blowing the way a friend told me it would be.

Oh yeah. We have Netflix now. We're splitting a subscription with our housemate. So that's nice.

We've also watched two of the three seasons of United States of Tara which is...fascinating. Crude, and definitely not for anyone with delicate sensibilities or children who might be watching. The disassociative identity disorder main plotline is, as I said, fascinating, but the teenage-children-exploring-their-promiscuous-bisexual-sexuality plotlines I could do without. The DDH majored in psychology in college and from that limited expert viewpoint he says the DID stuff seems relatively accurate.

Movies I've Seen (in or out of a theater): I don't think I've watched a single movie this month, in or out of theaters. See above Netflix acquisition.

In My Ears: I guess I'm back to Mumford & Sons, because that's the CD that's still in my car. I tried to make a peppy-but-not-hip-hoppish Pandora station seeded with Foster the People and some other things and it's not bad. Foster the People, Beatles, the Monkees. The DDH doesn't care for it, though. I'd like some suggestions for that, music in the vein of "Pumped Up Kicks." You know, upbeat and cheerful and energizing without being really four-on-the-floor heavy.

What I'm looking forward to next month: Who was it who said February is the worst month? Woody Allen or someone, wasn't it, who made the quip about paying the same bills for fewer days of benefits. But at least we get an extra day this year, as it's a leap year!

Goal Progress: I posted some goals for the new year, and I figured these monthly wrap-up posts would be a good chance to check my progress throughout 2012.
So how am I doing? I slid a bit at the beginning of the year on keeping to the budget, but I did meet my commitments of money toward the cc debt, so that goal is on track. And I've done better sticking to the budget this last time around. I made a shiny new spreadsheet, yay. ^_^ It helps that I've had a few babysitting jobs to kick in some cash.
For the garden, we have treated some ground (mulched, composted, and plasticed) to expand it for this season, and I ordered a big fat envelope of seeds. So that is on track, too!
So far, I've managed to plan and cook at least three dinners a week, too. I've even resurrected my food blog, Reality Chef, to share the recipes with long-distance friends and family (and you, loyal reader). I'm having trouble with the planning part, still, but I am still meeting the commitment to actually cook three dinners, which is the important part.
The craft room goals, though...sigh. I've sorted through half a box of junk while letting the rabbit run around. That's about it. I should have put my other life organization goals on the list so I could show that I was accomplishing something! But yeah. That bugbear remains to be tackled. I'm going to try to get to a chunk of it in February.

The rest of the house, however, is staying much cleaner, partially due to a few FLYLady techniques and partly due to my nice to-do list system and partly due to sitting down with the DDH and making up a chore list of tasks we're each responsible for. He's actually kept his end of the bargain this month, too, and has even made progress on cleaning out the garage (!), which is like the craft room (a pigsty) but with more bugs.
And I can cross the last goal off the list entirely: I cut my hair.

It's cloudy today but warm. It's been a sunny warm January all around.
I'm certainly not complaining.
 How are you doing on your 2012 goals? What are you looking forward to in February?


  1. I love seeing what everyone is into :) Wow, I haven't read (or thought about) Grendel since high school! I recall it being way over my head back then :)

    I have Death Comes to Pemberley on hold, too. I've read several terrible reviews and a handful of great ones, so I'm curious to see what I think. I'm curious to see what YOU think about The Help. I thought it was a fabulous storyline, but the writing? Meh. I'd like to see the movie soon but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Hurray for haircuts!

    1. Anne: Me TOO. Lol. The only problem with reading books on my own instead of at school is that I suspect I don't reflect on them the same way I do when required to study them, and so I know I'm missing something. Grendel so far is good, though.

      My parents are big P.D. James fans, though I think I put DCtP on hold because you mentioned it was on your to-read list (ha).

      I saw the movie on Christmas and it is very good, so I'm intrigued to read the story. I wrote my thoughts on it in my December wrap-up post, I think.

      Mostly I just felt how completely and totally /foreign/ the whole concept is to me--I guess it wasn't that long ago (my step-grandfather-in-law was telling us on Christmas Eve stories about his black nurse who reared him), but it just seems so impossible. Though maybe that's because I'm from the Southwest, where we have all kinds of people but very few black ones.

  2. "which advocates doing away with standardized spelling and punctuation altogether." I'll die first. That is a hill I AM willing to die on, actually.

    Breaking Bad - it was good. Really good. Probably not something I would have watched without Netflix, but we liked it.

    It has been quite the mild January, hasn't it? I am NOT complaining either!

    1. No kidding. While I see the author's point, kind of...no. Just no. What is even the point of ANYTHING anymore, if we give up spelling and punctuation and grammar and all that orders communication's chaos?

      I completely forgot to mention the part about how Breaking Bad is set in Albuquerque which is where I'm from. It made me tremendously homesick, actually, while simultaneously it was thrilling to shout oh! I know where that is! every time I saw a familiar shopping center or what have you.

      My mom even says the house of one of the main characters is actually her friend's house (they used her house for the set), but since she's never watched the show, she doesn't know which one. -_- Thanks, Mom.

      Anyway. It's possible I liked it more because of that than for any other reason.

      YES. Mild January FTW. Though I shudder to think what the bug population is going to be like this summer.

  3. I'm still working on my goals (specifically my newest writing project.) It's going slower than I expect, but it's going, and for now, I think that has to be enough.
    I really enjoy reading about your favorites!

    1. Babysteps, right?

      Sigh. Lately my major problem is having patience. I want things to happen NOW, instead of waiting and wondering.

      Good luck on your writing project. ^_^