Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Showin' My Books: February 2019

It's been a super long time since I've linked up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books, so I'm going to a quick take of some of my favorites from the past month several months ... OK, YEAR.

Life According to Steph

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty - I've read several Moriarty books and, while this wasn't my favorite of hers, it did not disappoint. I do have one nitpick - the "nine perfect strangers" who are all at a health spa are not completely strangers to each other. There's a married couple and a family of three in there. But anyway, I did enjoy it. Holy multiple POVs, Batman!

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union - I used to have an Audible membership. Like most auto-subscribe things, I fell behind and realized I needed to cancel it but I had 6 credits and had to use those before I canceled. I ended up with all memoirs. One was Judy Greer's (I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star) and it was fine but not much stayed with me. Gabrielle Union's memoir felt very open and honest. She talks about some serious shit, including colorism, infertility, and her own sexual assault. There are also absolutely some lighthearted moments and I loved listening to her.

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer - At times a tough read about a woman who has always had to bail out her sister who is a drug addict and now shows up pregnant. I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads because it made me cry and pretty much any book that can do that will get 5 stars from me.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - Fun fact: in the UK this book was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but had to be changed for US distribution to avoid confusion with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (which is also on my TBR). This book is quite a mind fuck, but (and?) I loved it. I can't imagine what it took to write this, and it's the author's debut!

Currently reading: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

What's on your nightstand? (Strictly speaking of books; I don't care what else is there).

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ten Year Challenge

If you're on social media at all, no doubt you've seen the "ten year challenge," in which you post your profile picture from ten years ago and your most recent one. It's also described as "how hard has aging hit you," which ... whatever. We all age. We all age differently. I know for myself, the last ten years have been tougher than any other ten year period in my life.

Over the last few days I've been struck by a different thought regarding the last ten years. Ten years ago this past weekend I was in Baltimore with my friends Steph, Mimi, and Gena. This year I was in Washington, DC with the same friends, plus Debbie and Melissa.

I made sure that the 2009 picture is from the start of the evening, as the later pictures are quite, shall we say, boozy.

In 2009 our routine was heavy drinking and karaoke on Friday night, napping and movie watching on Saturday, and a steak dinner Saturday night. In 2019, we mostly stuck to our Airbnb, binge-watched The Great British Baking Show, did facial sheet masks, and enjoyed catching up in person.

Ten years ago, after a great girls' weekend, I met up with Aaron and our friends Steve and Dwayne to go to the first inauguration of Barack Obama. (We didn't have tickets; we were among the throngs of people watching on jumbotrons from the Washington Memorial.)

This year I went to the Women's March.

It was extremely cold in 2009. In 2019, it was chilly but not bad, and we got lucky because the forecast called for rain and the rain held off until we were snugly back in front of the TV.

This was my first Women's March but I felt pretty strongly about attending this year. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

In 2009 we were excited to be part of history, witnessing the first person of color become President of the United States.

In 2019 I'm angry and I'm tired and I'm frustrated. But being surrounded by people with their kids and their signs and their commitment gave me hope. And being with my girls (old and new friends) filled my soul.

The change in the buttons I wore.

Sometimes a ten year change is more than the grey in your hair or the wrinkles on your face.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Not even sure who I am anymore...

In my last post, I told you that I was planning to ride 45 miles in Pelotonia. If you don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know that indeed I DID IT! It was damn hot, but I did it. I was fortunate to have my sisters-in-law, Stephanie and Cynthia, and my niece Lauren riding with me, plus the best cheering section!

Let me tell you, when riding with thousands of other cyclists, wearing bright orange pants is a great way for your companions to be able to find you!

It's not too late to donate to Pelotonia. If you were thinking "I'm gonna wait and see if this bitch actually finishes," I don't blame you. The link to my fundraising page is here, and fundraising goes until October 5.

One week after Pelotonia Aaron and I rode 30-ish miles, but then I didn't ride again for another two weeks. Between the heat and stuff at work, it just didn't happen. But we had signed up for a ride on September 1 called Bike the CBus Plus, a metric century (62 miles) around Columbus. Not only did we do that, we also rode to and from the start/finish, which was about 8 miles round trip! Again, another hot and humid day, and the last mile or so going home was in pouring rain. But we made it!

When we got home, Aaron said "we should ride again tomorrow," to which I begrudgingly said "yeah, I know." We're planning to do a three day ride around Lexington, KY later this month so I knew he was right. Oof.

The next day we drove about 40 minutes away and rode 20 miles on some HILLS! I have a hard time climbing so it was good practice for me. The picture below shows our route; the squiggly line is some rolling hills on a recently paved road, which was pretty fun.

Riding on country roads, I wanted to make sure I was visible.

Mission Accomplished

This past weekend was a wash out, so no riding, but I'm anxious to get out again. Seriously, sometimes I say to myself "who ARE you?"

Stay tuned,

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion

Say whatever you want about Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," but I like it. You might think it's a cheesy pop song, but it inspires me and gets me fired up. And for those of you (like my husband) who don't know what I'm talking about, here it is:

For those who don't know, this Saturday I'll be riding my bicycle 45 miles in Pelotonia, which is a fundraiser for cancer research. 100% of donations go directly to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (more commonly known as The James).

I first rode in Pelotonia in 2011 after my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I had every intention of riding again, but my own health issues got in the way. This year I decided to get back on the bike. I really enjoy it and I wanted to actively be a part of Pelotonia.

To prepare for this ride, I started cycling to and from work. It's between 5 1/2 and 7 miles one way, depending on which route I take. I don't always do it every day - if I have an outside meeting or something for which I need to be "presentable," I'll drive. Then on the weekends I've gone on longer rides. One Saturday I rode 20 miles and I heard "Fight Song" at about mile 15 and I'm telling you it really pushed me.

Last weekend I rode in a cerebral palsy fundraiser called Pedal with Pete and I went 50 miles! I got a flat tire just a few miles from the finish, but luckily the SAG wagon helped me out and I was able to get that 50. So now I know I'm capable of the 45 miles I've committed to this weekend.

In the last month something in me has changed. I find that if I go more than a couple days without getting on the bike, I miss it. If I'm having a bad day, a bike ride will (most of the time) make me feel better. Who knew?! OK, a lot of people knew, but it's still kind of crazy to realize it for yourself.

Part of what "Fight Song" is about is how one person can have a huge impact. And that's true in so many ways. If you're so inclined, please consider designating some of your charitable dollars toward Pelotonia. My fundraising page is https://pelotonia.org/inittogwenit. No donation is too small. Thank you to those who have already donated - you'll get a more personal thank you after the ride. And thank you in advance for all of your support, monetary or otherwise.

51.22 miles and still smiling!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Showin' My Books - January '18

I'm certain I read more than two books recently but I don't think I've been updating Goodreads. That's OK, because the two I have read were well worth talking about.

Life According to Steph

Final Girls by Riley Sager - I very much enjoyed this book. "Final Girls" refers to the sole survivors of slasher-movie-style massacres, and now someone appears to be targeting the Final Girls. There was something that kept me from giving a 5 star rating, but I can't put my finger on what that was. However, I read it in two sittings, so that says something.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - I read this for my IRL book club, even though I knew I couldn't make the meeting. This novel is based on the true story of children who were kidnapped and sold from the 1920s through the 1940s. It is heartbreaking, devastating, and beautifully written. There's a minor romantic subplot that I thought was unnecessary, but it didn't detract from my love of the book overall.

Currently reading: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

What's on your bookshelf these days?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Showin' My Books - October '17

I mentioned the other day that I'm in the midst of several books at once. I'm having trouble finishing books, not necessarily because I don't like them, but ... I don't know why. But I do have a few books to talk about on the 3rd anniversary of Steph and Jana's Show Us Your Books linkup.

Life According to Steph

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - SO many people raved about this book and I'm thrilled that it lived up to my expectations. My IRL book club read this and it's one that most all of us really enjoyed. I need more Kristin Hannah in my life, but spread out, because there's some heartbreaking stuff in there.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus - I very much enjoyed this book about five high school seniors who wind up in detention but only four make it out alive. There's a lot of Breakfast Club-ness going on here (except for the murder, of course). It's told from the perspectives of the four survivors and I loved the character development, and the need to keep reading at the end of every chapter.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Before I read this for book club, it seemed like everyone adored it. So I felt like a loser because I just wasn't feeling it. After I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads, I felt validated because other people told me they didn't like it either. If you're in the "loved it" camp, that's cool; it just wasn't for me.


What are you reading?

Stay tuned,

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Big Give

I know it seems that everyone has a hand out asking for donations these days. This post isn't seeking specific donations, rather it's alerting Central Ohioans to an opportunity for your charitable dollars to go even further.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years, The Columbus Foundation is hosting The Big Give, which begins Tuesday 10/10 at 10:00 am EDT and ends Wednesday 10/11 at noon EDT. During that time, you can donate to one (or more) of over 900 nonprofit organizations spanning 10 counties around Columbus. You can even donate to a fund for hurricane relief. There is a $1.3 million bonus pool which will be added to donations on a pro-rata basis. So while I can't say your donation will be doubled, every donation will be amplified to some extent. Also, credit card fees during The Big Give will be covered by The Columbus Foundation.


There are SO many options. Whether your passion is supporting the arts, or rescuing animals, or helping the homeless, or cancer research, there's something here for you. And I'll admit that the website can be overwhelming, so if you are interested but having trouble finding just the right nonprofit, let me know and I'll help navigate the system.

Again, here are the bullet point details:

Stay tuned,