This list is shorter than last year's, because I just couldn't think of a lot of things. That makes me sound ungrateful (or boring), but there weren't as many stand-outs. But here are seven, in no particular order.
1. going out for breakfast on Saturday mornings
I think it started when I went out to a local family-owned restaurant earlier this year with my mother, and then my husband felt bad that I'd gone without him, so I took him there for breakfast, too. And now we go several Saturdays each month--enough so that the owner recognizes us. I usually have the country skillet (hash browns topped with ham, onions, green peppers, and two eggs over-easy. And then I don't eat until nighttime.
2. my Mother's Day card
Mother's Day can be a hard day for stepmoms, let me tell you. But my (step)son actually remembered this year, and the card and message he wrote was a sweet one. I cherish those cards.
6. President George H. W. Bush's funerals
I'm a huge George H. W. Bush fan, and the news of his passing made me so sad. I did a lot of prayerwork this fall to know that the qualities he held in abundance and that I loved so much about him--his integrity, his humor, and his modesty, especially--do not leave the world with his passing. Those qualities of God are ever present. Also, I'd like to have Jon Meacham speak about me and Reba McEntire sing for me some day.
7. jigsaw puzzles
I may have used this one in the past, but I don't remember. I set up the card table in the spare bedroom again this winter, and I've already completed this one and this one. Next up is this one. Sunday afternoon, after all my chores are done, I spend a couple of hours listening to Christmas movies and puzzling.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Friday, December 7, 2018
I made a goal this year of reading 1,000 poems, and I ended the year having read at least double that many. Almost all of them, this year, came from collections and anthologies. I read poetry by Jill Bialosky, Billy Collins, Robert Hass, Bob Hicok, Tony Hoagland, Laura Kasischke, Jane Kenyon (all of Jane Kenyon's work), Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Li-Young Lee, Mary Oliver, Linda Pastan, Pablo Neruda (in fact, all 225 of his odes), Joyce Sutphen, and Kevin Young. I chose my top five (not including re-reads) to share with you here. Only one was published in 2018, but a couple others were from 2017.
Devotions, Mary Oliver
This is a thick book of selected poems of one of the most prolific poets writing today. It's a wonderful collection, most of the poems centering on the natural world.
All the Odes, Pablo Neruda
I complained about the size of this one (800+ pages, if I recall), but the experience was one I'll remember for quite some time. There are many poems in the collection I just loved.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
I always have the hardest time putting together my December reading lists. It's the end of the year, so there are books I feel pressured to read (or to save for the new year); I'm off for half of the month, so I want engaging stories that I can lose myself in for hours at a time; I never know quite how much I'll get read while I'm off work; I don't want to read anything that will alter my carefully created end of year best of lists; and I'm also just kind of tired and want a certain kind of book--probably one that doesn't exist. So, it's hard to choose my books for the month. Taking all that into account, I've put together a list I'm happy with, though I'm leaving one wildcard spot open for an as-the-mood-strikes choice.
A couple of thick memoirs:
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
November seemed to last longer than any month this year, perhaps because winter set in very early here in Wisconsin. It feels like January already, and I'm already layered in flannel, fleece, corduroy, and wool. It's going to be a long winter, but that will make for good reading. This month I read a couple of really good books and a bunch of mediocre ones. I went out on limb on a couple and found my reading sweet spot with others. It was a good month. One-word reviews below are linked to full reviews.