Thursday, February 25, 2016

Introverts, Unite! (At Home, Alone, Through Books)

I am an introvert. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before.

More specifically, I am the socially awkward type of introvert. I STRUGGLE with strangers, large crowds of people I'm unfamiliar with, and small talk.

In the early years of our marriage my husband and I would have long talks about my social awkwardness. We used to go to parties together, mostly involving his friends and extended family, and it took me years to be truly comfortable around these new people. (Frankly, it's a miracle I even got over myself enough to date my husband, he's the only boyfriend I've ever had and I had to marry him because I just couldn't face the prospect of going on another awkward first date again if we ever broke up.) (J/k, but only kind of.)

Anyway, my husband is definitely more of an extrovert, and considering these people were his friends and family, he was extremely comfortable and extremely happy around them. He just could not understand why I was uncomfortable, and he was frustrated with the way I would sit clammed up in the corner with a constipated look on my face. So we would have these "discussions" about how I could be better at small talk, how I could look more interested in other people and less like I just wanted to run away, how I could give off a better vibe that was more welcoming, less cold and intimidating.

Needless to say, these "discussions" were not very healthy for our young marriage, but in my humbler moments I appreciated what my husband was trying to say. The way he phrased it to me once was, "I love you, and I know how awesome you are, and I want these people to love you and know how awesome you are too!"

I mean, how could I argue with that?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Small Living vs. the Benefits of Space: A Debate

Small Spaces, Living Room, Home Decor

One of my husband's favorite pastimes in looking up real estate listings, and I inevitably get sucked in to the day dreaming inherent in this activity. Maybe it makes for a pathetic date night, but we have lots of fun giving our various opinions on curb appeal features, design and layout, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, style and accent details. I'm a fan of tile floors, he favors wood. I like cottage stone, he loves red brick. I want large windows with lots of natural sunlight, he wants big shade trees. Right now, in our city apartment dwelling state, our little disagreements don't matter because they are purely hypothetical. We're not looking to buy (or heck, even rent) a house just yet.

But it's there, that grand American dream of owning a home. It's what normal people do. We're people, normal-ish, married, with kids, and in many ways it feels like we're behind on this game and doing things backwards by having the kids first and buying the house later (most people, I think, recommend a reverse course of action).

So yes, someday we plan to own a home, and some day my husband and I will have to actually sit down and iron out our preference differences, and maybe I'll give in on the wood floors if he gives in on the stone, or whatever. But the one area of conflict I'm already struggling with, already feeling anxiety about, and haven't even worked out in my own head what I prefer, is size.

What size home defines my "dream" home?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursdays at the Library

Shakespeare library books

Today is Thursday.

On Thursdays, the nanny shows up at 1:30, just like the other days of the week when I have class, but on Thursdays I'm not in a rush to get out the door. I said leisurely good-byes, then got in my car and drove to my local public library first to pick up a hold, then back on the freeway to head down to campus. Traffic was worse than usual, but my audio book was fantastic (H is for Hawk, by Helen McDonald) and I didn't mind at all. I found a parking spot quickly, then walked the twenty minutes across campus to the library. I stopped at the front desk to pick up another round of holds (these ones a bit thicker and heavier than from my public library), then staggered upstairs under the load.

The library was busy today. More and more students fill up the carrels and tables each week as the semester gets under swing. I wandered around the floor looking for an available seat when, bingo! I spotted an empty private room on the other side of the stacks and sprinted for it, rushing to secure this prime location before any other student could snap it up.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Quick Notes

Popping in for a quick note here. I've had some good reading lately, and have loads of bookish things to talk about, but no time to sit down and actually write out a thoughtful post. So you get some random notes instead.

1. I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's weekend. Now that my oldest kid is 4, he finally seems to be catching on to this holiday thing, and it was so fun to see him take to Valentine's day. He spontaneously started drawing hearts on paper and passing them out to any visitor we had saying "Happy Valentine's Day!" He was thrilled to hand make the Valentines for his preschool friends, and loved all the heart shaped food that kept popping up all weekend. Holidays with kids are the best.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Book Blab: Reading Goals (Ep. 3 Show Notes)

Hi all! If you missed our episode of The Book Blab last Friday, have no fear, the archive and show notes are below. Amy and I had a fabulous time talking about reading goals (it may be February, but it's not too late to set some reading goals for the year).

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How I Messed Up My Travel Reading (and some Kindle Love)


I was so excited about our trip over the holidays because 1.) no kids and 2.) lots of time on planes and trains and buses is basically the perfect recipe for packing the reading time in. Honestly, I put more prep hours into reading material than I did into actually packing for the trip. Priorities, people.

First, I got a Kindle for my birthday, because I was in serious need of an e-reader upgrade and because I knew we would be back-packing on this trip and space for physical books would be limited. A good e-reader is worth it's weight in gold in this situation.

However, I know that I have a tendency toward motion sickness if I read in moving vehicles (a lingering gift from my two pregnancies, as I never had this problem before), so I also stacked up my audio book downloads as an alternative source of reading material for all that precious time on the bus (we had many, many hours of bus riding on this trip).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Books I Read in January (and December)

Pretty Library Books

So, in all that end-of-year-reflections and new-year-new-goals hubbub, I completely forgot to mention the books I read in December. Except, sadly, it was only two books I read in December. I really thought that with my break from school and all that delicious travel time, I'd get just tons of reading in. But no. I did not. I'll talk about all the reasons my travel reading failed in my next post.

But, I managed to read four books in January, which is not a terrible month for me. It sure helped getting back in my audio-book commute routine once school started up again. In this mix, there were some good ones, and there were some just okay ones. Here we go.