Monday, January 14, 2019

The Books of 2018!

I consumed a total of 45 books in one year!!!
One of those books was unfinished because I really didn't love it. Twenty-seven of those books were audiobooks. A year or two ago, I would have considered audiobooks as some sort of "cheating" and not real reading at all, but my outlook has changed. I love a good audiobook!

In the order that I finished reading them, here are the books of 2018:

  • Dust (Silo #3) by Hugh Howey
  • Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich (unfinished)
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Audio)
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... by William H. McRaven (Audio)
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream & Untold Story... by Margot Lee Sheerly (Audio)
  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom (Audio)
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children by Carla Naumburg
  • The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Audio)
  • Gregor the Overland (Underland Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Collins (Audio)
  • A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
  • Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Underland Chronicles #2) by Suzanne Collins (Audio)
  • Gregor and the Curse of the Warm Bloods (Underland Chronicles #3) by Suzanne Collins (Audio)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
  • The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  • Gregor and the Mark of the Secret (Underland Chronicles #4) by Suzanne Collins (Audio)
  • The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  • Gregor and the Code of Claw (Underland Chronicles #5) by Suzanne Collins (Audio)
  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finked (Audio)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Audio)
  • The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
  • The Boys In The Boat: The True Story of An American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold... by Daniel James Brown (Audio)
  • The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  • The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson (Audio) 
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  • The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth
  • Educated by Tara Westover (Audio)
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  • Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Audio)
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education... by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb (Audio)
  • The BFG by Roald Dahl  (Audio)
  • Persuasion by Jane Austin  (Audio)
  • A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) by Kevin Hearne (Audio)
  • The Girl On The Cliff by Lucinda Riley
  • The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  • The Way Of Kings (Stormlight Archives #1) by Brandon Sanderson  (Audio)
In case you didn't notice... 2018 was the year I became hooked on Brandon Sanderson audiobooks. I highly recommend his books. I thoroughly loved Ready Player One. Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide had me sucked in immediately. I couldn't put down Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances. 

I keep track of my reading on Goodreads, so you are welcome to be friends with me there and see what I'm reading. 
Happy reading in 2019! Do you have any books you're excited to read?!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Money, Health Care, and Freckles.

Guys! I don't write in here often enough. This is such a great outlet for me. Have I told you that I compose the beginnings of blog posts often in my head, but then never actually get to type them here? Well, I do.

This is not one of those pre-composed-in-my-head posts, though. This is straight off the cuff. As a result, it's bound to be rambling and off-topic. Forgive me, or just skip this one.

I have so many things I could write about, so many things I want to write about. Did you know that I spent four solid days in Ohio a few weeks ago and that it was splendid? I want to write about my visit there, but not tonight.

Tonight, I am going to write about my children. Shocking, I know. (I always write about my children because my children are my life, because I am a woman of privilege in America and we're all destined to be mothers who give up our everything for our children, and it is exhausting. But that is for another post.)

Something new came to us in the mail this week. It was a statement from our health insurance company telling us that Emma, my beautiful, small child, has REACHED HER OUT OF POCKET MAXIMUM for the year. That has never happened before. This year, since the insurance coverage changed to make her speciality medication copay $150 each month, and we had our usual number of rheumatology appointments, PLUS a special visit to the podiatrist and the multiple X-ray views he wanted of her ankles prior to her appointment, well... I guess that all adds up.

I never expected that my child's medical bills would be more than mine in the course of the year. *sigh*

The good news is that she is doing well. The pain she had in her heal and ankle for the past several months seems to be due to tight tendons as a result of growth spurts, and not due to her arthritis at all. Regular stretching, new shoe inserts, and more supportive shoes seems to have greatly improved that situation. She has had intermittent pain in her jaw that I can't explain. Is it arthritis in her jaw, or just some fun TMJ type of thing? Great question. Who knows?

She sure knows how to read, though, and I sure do love that.

My boy child, Liam, is a splendid little creature. His medical out of pocket total for the year has been $0 because his annual "well check" was covered by insurance and I don't recall him needing medical care at any other time in 2018. Yet. (Somebody, please knock on wood.)

Liam makes me crazy in the way that a small child is bound to make a mother crazy. He has a few "character" sweatshirts that he really likes. One is Yoda with a hood that pulls over his face, complete with eye-holes and Yoda ears on top. The newest is a bright yellow Pikachu sweatshirt with cute little ears on the hood. He wears his yellow Pikachu sweatshirt most days, ALL DAY, at school. I have to force him out of it at the end of the school day, when we are about to walk home in 80ºF weather. The thing is filthy after 2 days, but I'm only going to wash it once a week, so there.

It's a good thing the kid is adorable and fond of solving math problems.

I'm tired and I'm not exactly sure I'm making sense, so I'm going to go now... Almost...

Just remember that adorable children (and adorable adults) might have "invisible" illnesses that cause them to reach their out of pocket maximum for the year at the beginning of October, and you have no idea what their struggles in life might be, so please, be kind.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Truth Telling/Telling My Truth

I have something to tell you. I am an atheist, and I am an atheist because I am agnostic. I guess you could call me an agnostic atheist

a·the·ist  noun  a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. (Google Dictionary)

ag·nos·tic noun  a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. (Google Dictionary)

Agnostic Atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. (Wikipedia)

Now you know that you know an atheist and that she is a normal, kind, friendly person.

I have nothing against holding a belief in a god. I was a believer in God and Christ for a solid twelve years of my life. I know first-hand the great comfort, peace, and joy that comes with having faith in a higher being and worshipping in a community of fellow believers. I get it. Religions, faiths, and myths have been a central piece of human communities since human communities began. We are knowledge-seeking creatures and it only makes sense that humans, as a species, have been looking for and suggesting explanations for the world around us, the life inside us, and the beauty, magnitude, suffering, connection, and mystery of it all.

People have believed in fairies, gods of thunder, fertility goddesses, gods of the seas, spirits, shape-shifting animals, giants, gods of the sky, and many other deities to explain it all. I'm cool with that, I just wish we could realize that each person's god is no greater than the god of his neighbor, the gods of her ancestors, or the inexplicable mysteries of the mystic down the street. (Also, I'm cool with your beliefs as long as they don't turn you into terrible people who harm yourselves or others. Then I have a problem with your beliefs.)

If you don't know much about religions outside from the ones you were raised with or regularly exposed to in your community, I challenge you to learn about other people's beliefs. Read a lot of books about religions past and present. If you're the extroverted type, go to church with a neighbor, drop in at your local Hindu/Jewish/Sikh temple for a visit, ask that Wiccan coworker what she believes. There is something beautiful and terrifying about the ways that religions and beliefs both unite us and divide us. It paints a vivid portrait of what it means to be human.

So yeah, I don't believe in god because I'm seeking after truth and facts and right now, as far as I can tell, no one knows and no one can prove the existence of a god. At the same time, I know that my agnostic atheism is no greater than your belief in a higher being.

I see your humanity, and I think it is beautiful.

Happy Passover, Vernal Equinox, Full Moon, and Easter. May your Spring holiday of choice bring you happiness as you focus on the rebirth of the planet, the fresh chance to start each day anew, and the hope and joy that comes with this season.