Recent Reads

My goal is to read at least 52 books this year.  I just made it to 50 last year.  More than the number, I would like to read a little more consistently rather than in huge reading jags every so often.

I’m already on track since I’ve finished two books!  I really like literary fiction.  The last few years, I’ve read a lot of newer books that have won awards so two sub-goals I have for the year are one non-fiction book a month and reading a few classic classics (no set number for this).  The first classic I want to read is Dr. Zhivago.

A Bend in the Stars by [Barenbaum, Rachel]

Ok, so, the first book I read was A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum.  It falls squarely in the WWII fiction canon.  The book is fine but not nearly as good as Fire In the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky or The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  The second half picked up after some clunky writing in the beginning.  The main character (a woman surgeon) had the habit of making incredibly stupid decisions repeatedly in the book. While I can assure you that women surgeons can make stupid decisions multiple times, it seemed more like an awkward plot device and interrupted the flow of the novel.

Wow, I’m really selling this novel.  Look, it’s ok.  Not a waste of time but there are a lot of other, better books to read.  I read it for a book club.  3 stars out of 5.  The end.

But wait!  It’s not the end because I have a second book to discuss!

My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by [Ferrante, Elena]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante should almost count as a classic classic since worldwide, it’s an incredibly successful book.  I have heard this is the slowest of the four books and I certainly hope so.  The book was amazing in writing from the completely believable perspective of a child/pre-teen/teen as the narrator grew up over the time course of several years.   Remember when you were a kid and you understood the world but were ever so vaguely aware that there were a lot of things you weren’t getting but your world was still complete?  This book captures this perfectly.  4 out of 5 stars, but I’m going to keep going with the series.

Feelin’ It Friday

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NYPost

MEGXIT!  I am here for it!  My New Year’s resolution to not read gossip sites stuck for 1 week until Harry and Meghan decided to establish new roles for themselves within the royal family.  #NewYearNewYou  The problem?  Sounds like all involved parties like, I don’t know, the rest of the Royal Family, were told of this plan before us loser plebes and muckraking media were let loose to endlessly think of the idea.  To think!  It even buried the lede on the real Brexit!  TBH, I’m in the anti-Sussex camp in this Royal battle since they live a life of incredible wealth and privilege that they seem to have very little appreciation for.  And if the goldfish bowl is such a problem, just quit completely!

As my brother once said about Hollywood film stars who complain about losing weight, “Give me $1 million dollars.  I’ll lose all the weight they want.”  Note this was in the mid-2000s so please adjust for inflation if any Hollywood producers 1. Read this blog and 2. Want to take my brother up on the offer.

Instagram Finds: Nothing bought this week but I did start to follow a few women entrepreneurs and authors.  It’s cool to gain insight into different professions and broaden my perspective.   For awhile, I only followed people I know but for now, I’m choosing to broaden my follows to get broader subjects on my feed.

New Year’s Resolutions: Going strong on the yoga channel with yogi Tim.  I’m also doing well on the Whole 30.  Had some oatmilk without thinking (clasp pearls) but really, I’m not insane so I’m just going to move on.  And, let’s be real, I’m still avoiding the red wine and that’s the real weight gain culprit.  So, if you’re looking for me, I’m just the very thirsty woman with gleaming white teeth behind the keyboard, typing a blog update.  Sobbing.  Hahaha, I kid.  (Send help.)

 

Mid-week update

This past weekend, I was up in Menlo Park with SMS.  It was a pretty mellow weekend.  We went out to Oren’s Hummus on Friday and made dinner on Saturday.  It was nice to be a little less scheduled after the holidays but we were also low-key because I am on the fun-sucking diet called Whole 30.  I’ve done it in the past and the healthy eating is a good thing, but it definitely puts foodie experiences off-limits for a bit.

I’m currently on Day 8 and while I wonder why I haven’t magically lost 20 pounds in one week (boo!), I am otherwise doing well.  Actually, it’s better not to lose weight overnight because then I would have saggy skin- this is what I tell myself to feel better about the lack of immediate gratification.  And for people who say that Whole 30 is about feeling better and not the weight loss?  Well, to quote Chris Farley, “La-tee-fricking-da!”  Liars.

Over the weekend I did, however, try Rumble boxing, which I loved! It’s a workout with ten 3-minute rounds that takes place over 45 minutes, which includes warm-up, cool-down, and transition times.  It’s addictive.  The two trainers were so high-energy. The music is perfectly synced to the moves and is an awesome selection of songs.  I think it would be impossible to get bored due to the sensory overload or the feeling of exhaustion towards the end.  It’s another expensive boutique exercise class, but I love it! It makes me want to look for boxing or kickboxing classes in San Diego!

I don’t have any pictures from the weekend.  My photos are currently a bunch of screenshots from Instagram stories to remind myself of various recommendations that include writing tips and things to buy.  From a wallet standpoint, maybe I should delete the shopping recs?

 

Feelin’ It Friday

Hey, it’s Feelin’ It Friday!  In an attempt to post more regularly, I’m going to try out regularly scheduled posts so here’s FIF!  What do you think of the name?  Yes?  No?

Books: I have so many books on my to-read list.  And I keep checking out more from the library, putting e-book holds, and buying a few at the bookstore.  Two current releases I would like to read are Timothy Egan’s A Pilgrimage to Eternity and Chanel Miller’s Know My Name.  Two upcoming new releases I’m looking forward to are Suzanne Collins The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a Hunger Games prequel and Kimmery Martin’s The Antidote to Everything.  Martin is an ER doctor turned author and I’m excited to see how to successfully navigate medical fiction.  It gives me ideas!!!  And, in an attempt to sound highbrow, after reading Lara Prescott’s The Secrets We Kept, which was a book, in part, about Boris Pasternak’s writing and publication saga of Doctor Zhivago, I now want to actually read DZ.

Music: Shout out to the former President!  His end of the year round-ups for music, books and movies are quite good.  I did like an Instagram meme that parodied him as having a transition to Instagram Influencer: “Hi everyone!  My Hawaii vacation was great.  I know you’re asking about my skincare and music recs!!

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Influencers: Speaking of Instagram, I’ve also started using my Instagram account to follow more commercial/inspo/influencer type content, mostly in the realm of home decorating and some fashion.  For the longest time, I was just following people I know but it really is a good source for hearing about and learning new things!  I haven’t quite figured out how to use it successfully for trip planning but I will try!

 

Reflecting on 2019

Since 2011, I’ve used this list to help reflect back on the year.  I really enjoy looking back while preparing to move forward. So…

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

Successfully completed the Krispy Kreme Challenge!   Guest poster on the blog (SMS)!  Straightened my teeth!  Visited my sister and her family in Japan!  Went to Harry Potter World!  Ate at a restaurant specializing in sardines!  Voted Teacher of the Year!  Promoted to Commander!  Drove cross-country with SMS! SMS and I were YouTube stars (“stars” is used very, very loosely)! Threw a 40th Birthday Party!  I was a Maid of Honor! Went to a State Fair!  Lost a parakeet (sorry to end on a sad note).

2.  Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I was so-so on the resolutions from last year’s list.  I did not do a triathlon, I only made marginal improvements in Spanish, and I was good at wellness habits the first half of the year but not as good after my move.

I do have a lot of resolutions and thoughts about the upcoming year.  I think the combination of 2020, turning 40, and a general feeling that I’m setting up for the second half/stage of my life and career is inspiring these thoughts.  For now, these goals are in my paper planner but maybe they’ll make an appearance in a post. Maybe.  Don’t want to  get too feeling-y on the blog!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.  My good luck continues.

5. What countries did you visit?

Japan

US (Cross Country Road Trip documented on YouTube and (slightly) on the blog!)

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

A completed clinical study.  

7. What dates from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

2/2: Krispy Kreme winner (haha, jk, sort of)

8/9-8/12: Tahoe Vacation for SMS’ birthday

9/1: Sister’s wedding celebration!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I was really, really proud to be voted Teacher of the Year by the residents.  It was also nice to finally promote to Commander.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Still no clinical trial and this Fall, three papers I’m on as an author were rejected.  Ugh.  Time for resubmissions!  Always forward!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

From September on, I’ve had a few mild musculoskeletal issues which just reinforces the fact that yoga is good for me and I need to get back into it.  Nothing major though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets! (repeat)

12. Where did most of your money go?

Rent/Two Households.  Plane Tickets.  Savings account.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I was/am really happy I finally got back to San Diego.  The Tahoe party for Mark was really awesome.

14. What song will always remind you of 2019?

“ME!” by Taylor Swift.  Although I like other songs better from the album, that song was everywhere this past Summer.  The same goes for “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X.  I also really liked his NBD, “thought I made it obvious” coming out over the Summer.

“Good as Hell” by Lizzo.  I’m not a hipster- I didn’t know about Lizzo prior to everyone and their mother this past year.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Same.  Pretty happy.

– thinner or fatter? Fatter, will be thinner by 40!

– richer or poorer? Richer (continuing to save)

16. What’s one thing you wish you had done more of?

Yoga!

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Phone-scrolling.  Gossip site reading during the second half of the year- I was so good the first half!

18. How did you spend Christmas?

SMS and I spent Christmas Eve and Day in Newport Beach with his family.  It was mellow and really enjoyable.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

FLEABAG, far and away.  I also liked Killing Eve (Hulu), Bodyguard (Netflix) and Big Little Lies, Season 2 (HBO). I don’t think I love Schitt’s Creek as much as most people do but it is funny.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Fiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, A Little Life by Hanya Yanahigara

Non-fiction: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

The Highwomen album, Taylor Swift Lover album, Lizzo Cuz I Love You

SMS and I also saw Hamilton in SF and we loved it!  I also liked soundtracks to the Netflix movies I watched (Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great)

I saw some great concerts: Anderson East with Lucy Silvas; Avett Brothers with Lake Street Dive; Lizzo

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The Favourite. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  Always Be My Maybe. Someone GreatThe Biggest Little Farm.  These five are also the only movies I watched during the year.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

39. A long California weekend that was wonderful!  SMS is the best planner.  I also had a memorable Korean spa experience that was my own doing/fault.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It’s been a hard transition between jobs.  Even though I very much wanted to move to San Diego, it was harder than I expected to leave the clinical practice I developed and start from the ground up in a new place.  It’s getting better, but it was definitely a source of mixed feelings and frusteration.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

I am really struggling with the idea of being fashionable in a time where all the worst trends from the 1990s are back in full force- velvet, scrunchies, crop-tops, super-weird and unflattering-on-everyone jean cuts although this time, instead of super low-cut, it’s super high-waisted causing an epidemic of long-butts and poochy bellies.

26. What kept you sane?

SMS and my family!  Definitely not the parakeets.  They are making me talk aloud to myself…wait, wait!  This is not really true.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019

You can tell a lot about a person by his/her reaction to the fact that I ran five miles and ate a dozen donuts in under an hour.