E Is for Everything

Someone I used to work for during my temping day’s say my bookstagram photo of this thanked me for posting. She didn’t know books like this existed.

Millennials are coming to typical adult milestones later in life. The world has changed so that financial and career stability are harder to come by. Some women aren’t ready to sacrifice so much of themselves. Some have kids while still trying to figure out what it means to be an adult. This is a book for those women.

O’Connell is engaged when she becomes pregnant. She wanted kids with her partner but she hadn’t planned on starting just yet. She talks about what keeping and not keeping the baby would mean. She shares her difficult birth story and the unfair expectations thrust on mothers. The intense love and suffocating need of creating a tiny person when you’re still figuring out being a person.

This book is unfailingly honest and I love it for that. Women need more hard truths about breastfeeding and childbirth and what this does to your identity.

My rating for this book is 4/5 stars. There are two things that caused me to deduct a star. Pregnancy is the start of your shift in identity and 9 months long. I was surprised how little O’Connell had to say about that time in her life.

The other complaint I have is a bit bigger. Meaghan O’Connell lives in NYC and has enough money to write for a living. At one point she describes her baby’s funny crawl with a yoga position. While O’Connell wasn’t emotionally ready to be a mom, she had an invested partner, a flexible career, and financial security. Motherhood happens in a lot of places and a lot of situations worse than hers and I disliked her failure to acknowledge that.

I think this is a book that will resonate deeply with a lot of young women. It has a message so many future moms need to hear. It helped give me a more realistic picture of what I’ll be signing up for but I’m still ready to do it. If you’re curious, read it.

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TBR Jar: Inspired by Actual Events

For inspired by actual events, I read This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. It’s the story of a school shooting told from the perspective of four students.

Nijkamp did a phenomenal job in telling a beautiful, brutal, and heartbreaking story. Many shootings such as these take place over a short amount of time. It’s amazing how much can happen and how much can be lost. I am absolutely destroyed.

One of the characters says something that just captures what every American thinks after each mass shooting: “How could it happen here? Why couldn’t we stop it?”

The United States is the only developed nation that looks at tragedies like these and shrugs. There is more that we can do and both sides should read this story to see what the nothing we are doing is costing us. 5/5

Not Ready to Make Nice

This song has been running through my head for the last couple of days. It started when Natalie Maine’s said she was ashamed George W. Bush was a fellow Texan upon hearing he invaded Iraq. The fallout of this one statement created intense backlash, a compelling documentary, and this excellent song.

Not Ready to Make Nice

Forgive? Sounds good. Forget? I’m not sure I could. They say time heals everything but I’m still waiting.

So much of what is said applies to today’s political climate. This should have been an early indication of the shifting attitudes on the far right. The crimes or logic don’t matter; Party before country. It almost reminds of ‘faction before blood.’

This song also chimes on a personal level. I have been No Contact/very limited contact with my mother since last fall. She quickly figured out I wasn’t going to have the wedding she wanted me to have and unleashed an astonishing amount of nastiness and vitriol. I go into more detail on my Insta Mother’s Day post.

In addition to such a rapid and intense betrayal by my only remaining parent, I experienced a similar one by several ‘friends.’ My life was going in a downward spiral and it still amazes how so many people could know this was happening and not care. Their first world problems mattered more than being a friend and support system. I wasn’t the easiest person to deal with during that time but maybe having the support of people who claim to care about me might have changed that. I’ll never know because it was much more convenient to cast me out.

Some took the high road and said little but others went on a smear campaign Trump would have been proud of. Some made an effort to hide my struggles so I could keep being the villain in their story. I feel a mix of pity, disgust, and shame for those people who made an active effort to hurt me after casting me out. I still feel genuinely foolish for ever thinking those people were my friends.

I experienced the worst of so many people so close together, I’ve been keeping a comfortable distance from everyone who isn’t my husband. I hear people talk about their ‘chosen families’ but I don’t see myself ever being able to trust someone that much again.

Forgive? Not sure. Forget? No way. They say time heals everything but I’m still waiting.

H Is for Horror and Historical Fiction

R. L. Stine and Stephen King gave this book rave reviews. I fully understand why. Katsu did a fantastic job of creating a slow building tension and remarkable attention to historic detail.

Most Americans know about the Donner Party but ICYMI, it’s a group of settlers heading out west who got trapped by bad weather and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Katsu takes the historic fact and brings it to terrible life. The struggles, paranoia, and fear. Sordid details of flawed people desperate to start over and faced with greater hardships than anyone can imagine.

Despite focusing on a group that resorted to avoid starving to death, I still had a hard time fully appreciating the desperation of their hunger. This isn’t just a problem for Katsu and she does a better job than most but it was also what her book was mostly about. Maybe it’s my issues but it just didn’t ring as deep as the terror or rage.

I also wanted a bit more at the end. I get why she skimped on that but it’s also what the party is most known for. I wanted just a little bit more. Also, what happened to everybody else? What became of them after the ordeal from Hell?

My complaints are relatively small and this is a quality piece of horror. It won’t answer all your questions but it is absolutely worth the read. 4/5

Sweet Mess

Did you know dogs get motion sick? I didn’t until I learned the hard way. Both my husband and my dog have this problem. Road trips should be fun.

Sugar puked in the car for the first time on her way home. It went a little something like this:

Me: What’s she doing?

Hubs: She’s puking

*I look back*

Me: Oh, she’s eating it!

Both: Sugar, no!

Me: I do not want to be dealing with this at 60 mph

I had cover for the backseat but learned it’s past its prime. I had to clean that and my car seats. Not the grossest dog puke I’ve cleaned up but still not pleasant. I hate vomit.

I realized this wasn’t a one off when Sugar had a repeat performance when I took her to work the first time. Here’s a very cute photo taken before Sugar tossed her kibble.

I had to clean the car cover again but this time I turned to the Internet. Being in multiple dog groups on the Internet proved very useful.

I moved Sugar to the front seat and put her pet bed in the car. Who needs a dedicated bed when you have laps and my work clothes I need to de-fur before throwing in the laundry? I also added a drop of ginger essential oil to her collar. Our organic market let’s you sample before buying, thank Dog.

So far, no more puke. I got her a booster seat she mostly uses now. Hubs and I recently went out and tried to get her to use it in the back. No dice. She wound up riding upfront in his lap. I’m not sure what we’ll do on longer journeys but we’lol chase that ball once it’s throw.

April Wrap-Up and May TBR

It’s that time again. April wasn’t as prolific as I’d have liked but I read some solid winners.

April Wrap Up

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump edited by Bandy Lee

An important collection of essays about 45, mental health, ethical obligations, and so much more. 4/5

The Radical Element exited by Jessica Spotswood

A fantastic collection of women coming of age throughout history. 5/5

The Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

A children’s book with great art but a meh (IMHO) story. 3/5

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

An interesting look at one of TV’s longest running quests for love. 4/5

Big Mushy, Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Another delightful collection of comics about being an introverted woman in our world. 5/5

I’m hoping May is prolific since I’m trying to participate in the Readathin again. After my April buying sprees, I need to clean house.

May TBR

Finish Mine! A Planned Parenthood graphic anthology

This graphic anthology with such a mix of art and story styles is best in small doses. I have been neglecting my recommended daily does.

Hunger by Alma Katsu

A historical horror praised by Stephen King and R. L. Stine. I put in a hold at my library and it came in.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

A very buzzy horror book about a woman buried alive.

Courage Is Contagious edited by Nicholas Haramis

I scored a free ARC that I started but didn’t finish.

Comics You Should Read about Stuff and Things by Ross Nover

A local artist I’m friendly with published another comics collection.

TBR Jar pick: Based on real events

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke NijkampI found a naked copy in a Little Free Library so it feels like it would be a great addition to my TBR.

Sugar’s First Days Home

The rescue says they do not guarantee any dogs are housebroken. That was accurate.

One of the first things Hubs and I got at the store was cleaner for pet messes. That saw quite a bit of use in the beginning. Sugar had several accidents but Hubs and I worked to get her familiar with her surroundings and on a routine.

The was the first clue that Sugar probably started as someone’s pet was that she was basically housebroken in a matter of days.

The second big clue came later. We tried twice to barricade Sugar in the kitchen on her first night and twice she broke out. I collapse on the couch because it’s 1 AM and I’m tired. Sugar immediately makes herself at home in my lap. I decided to stay on the couch because I’d notice if she moved. Sugar held it until I took her out in the morning.

I ended up sleeping with her for the next 2 nights while we waited for her crate to arrive. No accidents, no crying. I expected a repeat of the kitchen barricade with her new crate. Crying, fussing, more nights with too little sleep. Nope.

Crate training Sugar consisted of putting her couch blanket in her crate. Seriously, that was it. She went right in and got comfy.

She tried to jump back into bed or run around during the night but eventually stayed after being out back a few times. She’s been good about spending most of the night in her crate with the door open since.

However, Sugar would occasionally eat plants on walks and has multiple scars on her face and head. A small piece is missing from one of her ears. She is not intimidated by big dogs at all. I’ve watched her put several big dogs in their place.

I did a more thorough read of her paperwork and it looks like Sugar was a surrender. It has a birthday but that could be a best guess from the vet. Our working theory is that Sugar was a pet but the hurricane either put her on the street or somehow screwed up her situation.

Regardless of her past, Team Rocket is very happy to be this sweet girl’s future.