Where I’m At: December 2015

I want to try a new thing for me.  I’ve seen these sorts of “what’s up with me right now” posts around and it just seems that that would be an easier way for me to get some thoughts onto a page than anything more coherently organized.

Books:

I’m reading, but I am going through another one of my low points with books (I get these every few months) where I just don’t know what to read, am prioritizing other things over reading, and just kind of slow down in terms of excitement about what I’m reading.  In September and October, I went on a rash of REALLY great books and reading non-stop and man, it is hard to return to the average after all that.

Currently I’m reading Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos and I don’t really know how I feel about it.  It’s a slow read for me, has taken a while to get into, but I’m like 80 pages from the end and actually finally starting to care where things go.  My hold of Cinder came in from the library and I need to get to that soon because I fear it will expire before I can get to it.  I’m in between audiobooks, which is not actually something I want to be, but choosing my next book has been hard lately, so I am trying not to force myself into anything.

I did pick up a couple of Cyber Monday Kindle deals– Kristan Higgins’s If You Only Knew and Jesse Andrews’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  I bought them kind of intending to read them on maternity leave, but we’ll see how that pans out.

Blog:

It’s been really quiet here.  I keep starting posts and then never finishing them and letting them sit in drafts until they go stale.  I haven’t been feeling the urge to write reviews and my inability to finish a post has even extended to posts with prompts (e.g. Top Ten Tuesday, surveys, etc.).  Basically, I’ve hit a bit of a blogging slump that I can’t seem to break out of completely.  I can’t get myself to compose a coherent review.  I try to write about the personal stuff bouncing around in my head, but it never feels right.

I have seen some of the end of year surveys that I LOVE to do come out, so I will maybe, hopefully get some of those drafted.  I love going back and reflecting on my year of reading, so I hope to do at least a couple of these.  They are fun to look back on, to see how my reading has changed over the years.  Also, I am hoping this grab bag sort of post gets me somewhat more motivated.

The Small Child:

Lydia is now on the downhill side of 2.5 years old and so far I’m liking 2.5 better than just plain 2, which means I pretty much always add the half to her age when I talk about her.  She talks constantly and if she’s not talking, she’s probably singing.  It’s kind of interesting when your kid is big enough to have a conversation with.  It’s also kind of boring because our conversations go in circles of her asking me the same questions over and over and me getting flummoxed on how to explain that we might not get to make snow angels like the little kid in her book because it doesn’t snow here every year.  (Her response to that was that it would snow at school and she could make snow angels with her friends.)

While she is mostly delightful to be around, she is testing the limits of my (already pretty short) patience in some respects.  It’s impossible to get her dressed in under 10 20 minutes.  I need to readjust my expectations here and try some new things in the mornings and evenings and find a more positive way to deal with stalling other than just saying the same thing over and over again until I go crazy.  Patience.  Time.  I need more of both.

Baby:

Well, I’m now 32 weeks pregnant and things are going pretty much as one would expect.  The chiropractor has been a miracle worker and my back/hips feel tolerable to good most days.  I sleep erratically.  I’m hot.  I get heartburn.  I’m tired.  But everything seems to be within normal ranges.  There still feels like a ton of prep work to do to be ready for the baby’s arrival, but the husband and I both have time off for the holidays coming up and I’m hoping that actually can be used productively.

Unfortunately, I’ve had some anxieties niggling at me the last couple days.  I went in for my usual OB appointment Tuesday and got scheduled for 4 ultrasounds in the next 6 weeks.  Due to complications in my last pregnancy (IUGR/low birthweight baby/low amniotic fluid), they want to keep a close eye on the end of this pregnancy to make sure the same problems don’t repeat themselves.  That, combined with the fact that I measured “a little small” on fundal height (a measurement the midwife reminded me doesn’t actually mean much), has landed me in a sea of anxieties, anxieties I know won’t be quelled until I have a healthy and growing baby in my arms.  My daughter was born at 37 weeks by induction due to the fact she’d pretty much stopped growing in utero.  I knew that was a possibility this go around, too, but mostly I’ve been finding myself imagining going into labor on my own and having that happen closer to 40 weeks.  I hadn’t realized that those hopes would make me feel disappointed at the idea of having a repeat experience of last time.  I have been trying to put it all in perspective and to remind myself that the worry is unfounded at this point, but that is so hard.  I know if I get news in my ultrasound next week that growth is not on track or amniotic fluid is low, it will just prompt a period of wait-and-see as it will be way too soon to induce.  I also know that if everything looks good next week, I’ll feel some relief, but also be left in a holding pattern because we won’t know we’re in the clear until I go into labor on my own.  They’ll just keep checking until I deliver, making sure no problems present themselves.  I’m trying to be optimistic, but I also need to be realistic.  It just basically hit me this week, I could be having a baby in about a month and I need to get stuff done NOW (buy diapers, wash clothes, set up the crib, etc.) and that I might not have time to do all the stuff I’d hoped (make freezer meals, deep clean the house, be able to work the busy first couple weeks of the semester, etc.).  In any case, I just need to keep up the hope that everything will be okay, if not what I’d expected.

Other Stuff:

I’ve been getting out for walks around campus on my lunch breaks as much as I can and that has become a real highlight of the day for me (it has also reduced my reading time, since that is primarily what I did on my lunch breaks in the past).  I’ve been staying up late talking to the husband about nothing in particular (and also baby names, since little dude is still nameless, oops).  I’ve been trying to watch at least the Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football games on the weekend and keep falling asleep during the former (evening games are hard for me) and don’t know why I even both with the latter.  I am going to see Mockingjay Part 2 this weekend and that should be fun.  It’s also time to get the Christmas tree up this weekend and I’m hoping that Lydia will be able/excited to help me decorate.

 

Anyways, what are you all up to these days?  Hope your Decembers are feeling a little less stressful than mine has so far!

 

Tracking Your Reads

Since I was away all weekend, I didn’t have to time prep a book review, so let’s talk about tracking what we read!

One thing that astonished me whenever I started exploring the book blog world is that people actually had found a way to combine two of my favorite things– books and lists.  Don’t ask me why this had never occurred to me before.  Perhaps I was too busy hoarding my professor’s lists of “suggested” (more like you will read this book eventually if you want to keep in my good graces) history books and articles on random scraps of paper to think that it would be handy to keep a list of books I wanted to read for fun.  You know, in the event that I might spend a whole summer unemployed struggling to find something good to read.

I went through several iterations of my own lists.  I tried using amazon’s wishlists (since amazon’s suggestions were what I was using to find reads this summer and fall) and then I made a google spreadsheet.  Then I came across this beauty of Fyrefly’s and all bets were off.  (If you are a spreadsheet+book nerd, you need to check it out.)  I also downloaded Dropbox so I could keep my records up to date wherever I went.  The only major change I made to that magnificent spreadsheet was to add a sheet to keep track of books I want to read, who recommended them, and where I can find them when I’m ready for them.

I am really enjoying maintaining my spreadsheet, partly because I am a huge organization nerd (I have a notoriously clean desk.  Really.  My co-workers were just teasing me about it.) and partly because I am at the age in which my previously unassailable memory has started to wither (if this is how bad it is at 26, I can’t even imagine what being 60 will be like).  I can barely remember anything I read a few months ago, even though I think I was actually enjoying myself.  It is also amazing to have some clue what I am looking for when I go to the library or the book store.  (I have a tendency to impulse buy/check out the worst books.  And then never read them.  Or I do and wish I didn’t.)  Finally, it is pretty cool to track how quickly I read books, how many I can expect to get to in a month, and what exactly it is that I am reading.

How do you keep track of what you read?  Are you a spreadsheet-keeper or is your blog or even just your mind good enough?  What tips do you have for those of us who are new at keeping track of our reads?  What info is actually worth keeping track of?  Pages?  Dates of publication?  Days-to-read?  Etc?