Good Parenting

I’ve been mulling over this blog post for a long time, but every time I sat down to write it I’d be overcome with a grand sense of meh and I’d bail out.  Recently some of my ladies on Twitter reminded me that sometimes we write things for ourselves and then they help other people, so while I would not presume anything so grandiose as that about these words, I still thought I’d put it out there on the off chance that someone else needs to read this, today, someday, sometime.

Do you remember when I wrote this post about being a good person, and how I didn’t think I was one?  A lot of you lovely people left comments to the effect of “Well, you’re raising young children, and that’s an important contribution to the world.” There were so many comments along those lines, in fact, that I almost edited the post to add “By the way, in case you weren’t aware, I’m an absolutely TERRIBLE parent, so we can’t be counting that as something that makes me a good person.” but I never got around to it.

The next time I went to therapy, though, I started to bring up that blog post, to tell my therapist about how I had realized that I’m not a good person and about all the things that I thought I would do to improve, about all the ways I had figured out how to be a good person.  It never occurred to me that she wouldn’t nod vigorously, agree with me about how terrible I was, and then be proud of me for working on it.

Instead, she cocked her head, squinted at me, and said “Woah, woah, woah.  You’re not a good person? What on earth are you talking about? You are raising young children! You’re a wonderful mother to a high needs child! Seriously, WHAT are you talking about?!”.

And that is when it all began to unfurl.

When I brought out my dark beliefs about what a bad mother I was, when I spoke them into the light, when a sane and rational and loving person who I trust and respect looked back at me in astonishment, something in me woke up, or broke open, or let go.  I’m not sure.  I only know that all this time, that idea, the idea that I was doing SUCH A BAD JOB at parenting my son, was somehow at the very core of me, and had become intrinsic to who I thought I was.

So this is where it started.  When I first started therapy, I would declare over and over that I had no earthly idea what was making me so anxious.  I honestly could not figure it out.  But the more my therapist heard about my life, and the more I talked, the more she squinted at me and gave me the “huh” face I’ve come to know and love, and eventually the “huh” face morphed into specific questions and eventually we moved into “Ok, dude, seriously, Eli has ADHD. Like not a little ADHD,  Big time ADHD. You need to get that kid evaluated because he’s making you nuts.”

So it turns out that yes, spoiler alert, Eli does have ADHD. Despite the fact that he would never nurse for more than five minutes at a go (MY FAULT BAD MOTHER), that he can’t focus on anything for any amount of time (MY FAULT BAD MOTHER), that we’ve been fighting with him to get dressed for SEVEN LONG YEARS and it never got any better no matter how much we yelled or begged or screamed (MY FAULT BAD MOTHER), despite all those things, we never suspected ADHD.  Part of this is because I’m not a very self aware person and apparently that extends to my children as well.  Part of that is because I’m an asshole and I always assume that common ailments like reflux and celiac disease and ADHD are things other people’s children get, but obviously not MY children, ha ha no of course not.  Part of that is because we’ve never heard so much as a peep from a teacher, a camp counselor, any authority figure ever, which is pretty unusual for kids with ADHD.  When I asked his first grade teacher to fill out the ADHD assessment questionnaire, she asked if he was being used as the normative because he did not, under any circumstances, have ADHD.  (We are still figuring out why this is, but we think it’s a combination of Eli being a smart kiddo, his early diagnosis, and the fact that he’s very compliant with authority figures and a has a little edge of anxiety to his ADHD.)

We are lucky to live within spitting distance of a world renowned center for neurodevelopmental disorders.  Eli was evaluated, and evaluated again, and when we went to talk to the psychologist who did the second test, she said “You know, some kids walk in that door and I’m not sure.  We have to do multiple days of multiple tests and I’m still iffy.  Eli walked in that door, and I knew.  He has ADHD, and not a little bit of ADHD.  Big, huge, MEGA BIG TIME ADHD. And he needs help.” (It should be noted that she also described him as handsome and incredibly charming, so she can stay.)

So what does this mean? Well, it means lots of things. It means, first and foremost, that, maybe, just maybe, I am not a bad mother. I am a mother who is perhaps, yes, easily stressed, but who is also dealing with a kid who has had a 20 minute meltdown over getting dressed every morning of the past eight years.  MAYBE IT IS NOT ALL MY FAULT PRAISE JESUS.

It also means that’s it’s not Eli’s fault.  He’s not doing this on purpose to be a little shit, despite how much it feels like that.  His brain works differently than mine, he learns things so slowly, he is trying his best, the world is a A LOT, he is four years behind a 2nd grade girl when it comes to impulse control, he has no executive function, it’s a different world inside that little head.

It also means we are doing a lot of work, and by we, I mostly mean me.  There are doctors appointments and stacks of books to read.  There are endless behavior modifications and therapies and parents support groups and binders full of notes and education classes and workshops and jars of buttons. There are slow improvements and really bad days mixed into the good days we are finally getting.  There are prescriptions to try and try over again and tweak and worry over.  There’s the hard shell you grow when people tell you that ADHD is caused by food allergies or ADHD is so overdiagnosed these days and we just need to let be kids be kids.  There’s the sinking feeling that if teachers don’t see it and camp counselors shake their heads no to questions that it must just be his awful parents who are unable to deal with normal children. His father is a rock and the best human I know but also very busy at work and not able to go to support groups at 10 am on Tuesdays because someone has to bring home the bacon and perhaps Erik is also not the most skilled at implementing a consistent, reliable behavior modifications plan. So it’s a lot of work for me.  So much work. So very very much hard work.

Most of all, though, it’s a breath out. It’s realizing that after three weeks of Ritalin, my child doesn’t go the bathroom 40 times a day anymore, that maybe his father and I didn’t give him a one two punch of anxiety and ADHD. It’s realizing that finally, finally, finally, I LIKE my wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny, amazing, handsome charming boy.  It’s cuddling up next to him while we both read books.  It’s a kid who can finally sort of almost always get himself dressed, thanks to medication and a reward system and laminated checklists and a visual timer and clothes set out the night before and and and.  Have I mentioned how much work this? It is a lot of work.

Please know, though, that I’d do it all over again for this boy. I’d do four times, ten times, a million times the amount of work. I’ll do whatever it takes.  Eli and I, we’re in this together.  I love both my children with my whole and unfettered heart but sometimes I look down at Katie and think “Woah. Who the heck are you and where did you come from?” When I look at Eli I think “Yep. I know you. I get it. I got it.” From that first moment I saw those two lines to those weeks we waited to find out if his father was also a cystic fibrosis carrier and I talked through those panicky days with the boy in my tummy, to when he wouldn’t grow and I would hold him down and shove yogurt in his mouth, to our days now, our days of visual timers and ritalin and pediatric neurologists, he’s always been my special little guy, together with me against the world, and nothing’s ever gonna change that.  I do not always do the best job, but I am trying really really hard, and while I am absolutely sure I am very far from the best mom the world has ever known, I’m starting to really believe, for the first time, that for this kid, for my boy, I may actually be the best mom there is.

My Top Ten (Ish): Favorite TV Shows of All Time

So SOMEONE has horrendous inexplicable crippling anxiety every day from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. (GUESS WHAT THAT SOMEONE IS ME.) Myy therapist and I are working on it but it suuuuuuucks and it’s getting really super old really super fast and so in thinking of ways to distract myself from the suck I thought maybe I would write.  Please enjoy the yammering.

Talking to people about their favorite tv shows never gets old for me. It’s such an interesting way to figure out so much about a person so quickly. Anyway, here are mine.  I hope you enjoy this trip through every TV show the CW has ever made.

1. Buffy

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This will always always always be my number one favorite tv show of all time.  I watched it as it aired starting with the second episode  (which I was sure I would hate because it sounded TERRIBLE) and Buffy was the first time I really knew what it was to love a tv show with your whole heart, what is was like to live from one Tuesday night to the next, to Google for spoilers (did we have Google? I can’t remember), to be consumed by television.  It was so smart and funny and different and girl kick assy, and I loved every single smart funny girl kick ass minute of it, although anything after the Angel spinoff doesn’t have my heart the way the first five seasons do.  But seriously. I had the cropped t shirt, the yearbook, the bumper sticker, and waaaaaay after I didn’t own a VCR I had VHS tapes of every episode.  Man did I love that show.  I am not ashamed to say because of how and when I watched it, it’s an actual part of who I am, wired into my being. In some weird way Buffy and Xander and Cordelia and Willow and Giles and Angel and Oz were my first family that wasn’t my actual family.

2. The Wire

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I don’t think that this whole series is quite as even as one might wish but I consider Season One and Two of the Wire to be some of the finest television ever made.  It hit right to the core of me.  I can’t think of anything else that has gotten to me quite like this show did, it’s amazing television. Heartbreaking and otherworldly and eye opening and like nothing before or after.

3. Battlestar Galactica

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Erik made me watch this show from the beginning after he’d already seen a few seasons and I was VERY resistant and I wasn’t really feeling the first few episodes and then I fell HARD.  HARD. Even though it seems like spaceships and sci fi and weird future hoo ha, at its heart, BSG is actually a love story, and you’ll never find anyone who falls for epic fantasy love stories the way I do.  Let’s all just be happy I didn’t name my daughter Starbuck because it was a legitimate possibility.

4. Felicity

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There will be never be another TV boyfriend for me quite like my TV boyfriend Ben Covington. To this day I have all the feelings when I watch this clip.

NO ITS A TIME MACHINE. I mean…I could rewatch this series twice a year every year and never grow tired of it. EXCEPT FOR JULIE UGH. Also, my husband refers to Keri Russell as “an american treasure” at least three times a day, and yeah, he’s not wrong.  Her and Ben Covington. America’s Finest.

5. My So Called Life

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The first time this show ran, I didn’t much care for it, not sure why.  Then I watched it a few years later during one of its many airings on MTV and damn. It just gets everything so RIGHT. The mom is so annoying and friends are so difficult and confusing and it’s so hard to do the right thing and boys are completely awful and SO HOT WHEN THEY LEAN and people are flawed and everything is so very well understood and reflected back to us so beautifully. I still consider this to be perhaps the most perfect scene in television history:  Also, Jordan Catalano is my other TV boyfriend, just in case Ben Covington doesn’t work out.  The leaning, people.  The leaning.

6. Dawson’s Creek

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He bought her a wall.  Enough said.

I believe that sometime during the 90′s there was a glorious period when you could watch Buffy, Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and maybe that Roswell show, all in the same week? AND IT WAS THE BEST TIME THAT ANYONE EVER LIVED.

7. The Cosby Show

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This was the first show my mom let us watch after my parents got divorced. Previous to that we didn’t own a television and we ate spelt and did math for entertainment.  It will always be my television comfort food, and I am not ashamed to admit that I consider Cliff and Claire to be my life role models for parents and general married people.  Is there a greater woman than Claire Huxtable? No, no there’s not. There’s just not, and there never has been and never will be.

8. Veronica Mars

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I never grow tired of this show.  Kristen Bell is just utterly wonderful in every way.

9. Girls and Sex and the City

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I am counting this as one number because Girls! Shoes! Clothes! Funny things! Despite the two ragingly bad movies inflicted on us, I loved SATC with every fiber of my being and I would watch Carrie wear Manolos she can’t actually afford any day of the week.  And Lena Dunham is just amazing and I continue to thoroughly enjoy watching girls wear crazy clothes and kiss boys and eat cupcakes, because that’s my favorite thing.

10. The Vampire Diaries

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Somehow I didn’t start watching this show until this summer, when I watched all five seasons in under a month. I thought Erik was going to make me go to Vampire Diaries marriage counseling but seriously I COULD NOT STOP WATCHING. It’s SO good. It’s SO Elizabeth. I have SO many inappropriate feelings about Damon Salvatore.  It’s every thing I love in television.  Bad boys, pretty makeup, funny writers, fog machines, SO MUCH BROODING I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  It’s legitimately my favorite thing in a long long time.  Jennie and I watch the new season “together” while we text back and forth nonsensical things about Steven R. McQueen and his abs and seriously I look forward to Thursday nights all week.  GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW HASHTAG DELENA FOREVER.

11. FNL

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This is why this list is 10 ish, because LOOK AT THAT PICTURE I MEAN JUST LOOK AT IT because COME ON TIM RIGGINS IS THE HOTTEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED.  Also Tami Taylor. Also Tami Taylor’s hair. Also Coach Taylor.  Also Lyla Garrity.  Also Landry and Tyra and the scene where she says that she “had enough hate in her heart to start a car” which is now and always will be my everything.

Ok, so this will seem like one of those rotten questions that people ask at the end of blog posts just to fish for blog comments like “How often do you eat dessert? Do you usually eat it after dinner like I do?” but I promise it’s not, so please ignore me if you want, but now that you know that I have the supreme best taste in television in the history of time the taste of a 12 year old girl, is there something else I should be watching? Please let me know because the jury is still seriously out on “Arrow” and I am still so mad at “The Good Wife” that I can’t talk about it.

What I Wore: It’s Too Hot For This Nonsense

Ugh it’s too hot for me to even be eloquent about how too hot it is. I am so done with 95 degrees. So done!

Whatever. I’m just going to wear the same four dresses until it cools down or we all drown due to the rise in global sea level, whichever is first.

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Oooh, I loved this. Come back to me, 70 something degrees.

Get yourself some gray booties, really.  And a sweatshirt moto jacket. Also you can’t really see it but I am also wearing the J. Crew Factory Claire Cardigan because I had a sudden need to get a green cardigan in my life RIGHT NOW and it’s quite useful for throwing on over things.  Although it is shortish so it may be more of an over dresses cardigan than an over jeans cardigan.

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This is SUCH a good dress.  I adore it.  I needed a dress for a wedding this summer and I finally got smart and decided I’d try to buy one that I could wear more than just one time to a wedding and then never again! I am a genius.  Anyway, this dress is magical and you can totally wedding it up or wear it to preschool drop off. I think next time I might try a belt and a gold necklace. It’s from Anthropologie, but in June, so no longer online, sadness, etc.

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This is your standard “I’m just wearing shorts and some tanks but I threw a scarf over it so now I’m a fancy lady” outfit. Shorts are the J. Crew Factory Bermudas, they’re basically the only shorts I bother with anymore.

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Here is the Claire Cardigan again.  Throw it over your pajama dress, add a tassel necklace, bingo. Done.

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I was hoping this look would convey “Please don’t show up to my ADHD Parent Support Group half an hour late and then tell everyone that ADHD is caused by dairy allergies or I will hunt you down and kill you”, but it didn’t get the job done.  And that’s all I’ll say about that, besides the fact that this dress is from Old Navy and it is EXCELLENT and you should buy one.  Oh, and here is last week’s stripey dress which I incorrectly linked to which you should also buy.  And then you should wear it with your green Claire Cardigan.

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Eli picked this scarf out.  I can only assume he’s the next Gianni Versace.  Hopefully with less murderyness though.  Also I am about to compose a STRONGLY WORDED LETTER regarding summer dresses with sleeves and the lack thereof in many retail establishments. I just have to decide if I should mail it to Michelle or Barack.  Because seriously, this is a problem.

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Despite its lady area bulls-eye flower, this dress has been well worth the $8 I paid for it at Ross.  I always get compliments on it and it’s basically fancy pajamas, so that’s a win.

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The Target cocoon cardigans and I are going to run away to Mexico together.  Also this dress (the Lands’ End Fit & Flare), it’s fine.  You have to really be careful or it’s a fast ticket to Frump City, and nobody wants to get on that train. I mean, not like that. God. Get your mind out of the gutter.  Although it’s true.  Whatever. Move on people!

What I Wore: Back To School

My children finally went back to school! Waa hoo! This meant I was forced to wear clothes instead of just all day pajamas, and by pajamas I obviously mean my husbands mesh basketball shorts and a stretched out Old Navy tank I should have thrown out four years ago. 

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Oh look, my hair is orange! I shall file this under New Life Rule Number Two, after “Never Eat At Arby’s”, which is henceforth known as “Never let someone Groupon your hair two days before you fly across the country for a wedding especially if they use the words ‘ombre balayage’ a lot and then laugh hysterically.”

Also, I bought a gold bag, lest you think nothing of note occurred this summer. I had a Great Existential Bag Crisis after the cashier at Trader Joe’s asked me my purse was for my groceries, and immediately after this traumatizing incident I went out and bought the largest goldest tote bag I could find.  Hardly anyone asks me if it’s for groceries. 

Even better, this dress is awesome and you can still buy it. It should be noted that the dress shrinks after you wash it so if it falls onto your body while you’re at Old Navy returning something you accidentally bought after Maggie tells you yes it sort of does look like cult wear and the dress seems a little big at first, it will shrink.  Be forewarned. It is really cute though and I have received loads of compliments on it. Also I get to wear this sweater with it which is great because it’s such a specific sweater and so the few times I do really need it something make me feel infinitely less stupid for having bought it in the first place.  

 

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Amy found this dress at H&M, it’s was $6.95. However, If I’ve learned one thing from watching 44 episodes of The Vampire Diaries in a row besides the fact that vampires wear a lot of foundation, it’s that NATURE MUST HAVE BALANCE. Apparently nature doesn’t mess around since H&M refused to let me return my online order in the store and then it appears it was stolen off my porch when I tried to mail it back.  THANKS NATURE YOU OWE ME FIFTY TWO DOLLARS AND SEVENTY THREE CENTS PLUS TAX.  

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After years of cowering in terror when faced with an open cardigan, I seem to have become an unlikely devotee.  Mostly I impulse buy them from Groopdealz, but so far it’s worked out for me. I really love this one, although I suspect it may be unflattering? Too bad, don’t care.  

Also I am wearing an Everlane v neck tee, which I like. It’s not a PERFECT white tee but it’s VERY close.  I wear it with a Natori feathers bra in the color “cafe” and then it’s not see through, which is a miracle on par with some large miracle I can’t think of right now, and so that’s fantastic. Full disclosure, though, that bra makes the ladies look weird under anything under than a t shirt, don’t ask me why, but it gives me pointy boobs in a dress.

Also If you want to buy yourself an Everlane tee and you use my referral link, I would be thrilled and I would get a free t shirt, but if you hate my guts or whatever, obviously don’t do that. 

Also I bought the Anthropologie necklace I am wearing in this picture for the aforementioned wedding and then it didn’t go with my dress, so now I have to wear it all the time in order to make it seems as though a crystally flower necklace is a very useful item which one needs practically every day. I do love this whole outfit an awful lot though. 

Happy Friday! See you next week. Be safe, don’t eat at Arby’s.  

I Finally Read Some Things!: During an Ineffable Amount of Time

So I barely read anything for awhile there, which was actually good. I had a big stack of books and I’d start the first chapter and then throw it on the “no thanks!” pile. It was quite refreshing. I also watched a ton of tv. It was highly enjoyable, except for that situation where The Americans ended and I didn’t feel like paying Amazon $21 for Season Two.  

Then I went to Vermont where you have to make your own fun and there was a lot of sitting by a lake and reading because going in lakes is not so much my thing. Lakes are fine I guess but so mucky and full of fish and sticks that could be freshwater eels. Excellent for reading by though. 

Anyway, here’s what I read when I finally around to reading. 

47. The Three

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This was legit terrible. I don’t give a lot of one star ratings on Goodreads but if I could have given this pile of dreck zero stars I would have. Do NOT write an entire book with a bunch of weird woowoo unexplained mysterious happenings and then NEVER EXPLAIN THEM to me or I will be TICKED OFF. 

48. The Truth About Alice

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I liked this book.  It hinged on the overwrought and the plot was a tidge ridiculous but I enjoyed it, for the most part.  It’s YAF/romance/mystery/mean girls type stuff and I liked it.  

49. Saints of the Shadow Bible 

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This is your standard Inspector Rebus mystery. Enjoyable as always. 

50. Off Course

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This is one of those books where the main character just keeps messing up and making these seemingly random bad decisions, but I didn’t hate it as much as I often hate those sorts of books. I actually really liked it.  It was interesting and the main character grew on me. 

51. Open Road Summer

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This was fine, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as I loved How to Love. However I would like to add to the dear Goodread reviewers of the world, that it is possible to write a book with a main character who is a girl/woman/lady, who is kind of unfriendly at times, who maybe isn’t the nicest to other girls/women/ladies, and to not have written a defense of slut shaming.  Some high school girls are bitches, and you are allowed to write books about this without having SLUT SHAMER tattooed on your forehead. Jesus. 

52. Fallout

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This was depressing, but in that good “I want to read a sad-ish book in the bathtub and feel my lady feelings” kind of way. I really really liked it. It reminded me a lot of One Day, so if that wasn’t for you, not gonna recommend this to you. If you loved One Day with all your heart, as I did, then you might like this. 

53. One Plus One

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I liked this. It was no “Me Before You” but it was still highly enjoyable. 

54. Dorothy Must Die

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This was ok. I thought it skewed a little weird/dippy. Also I got to the end and realized it’s part of one of god knows how many, and that just irritates me. NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A TRILOGY. 

55. Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #4)

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I read all three of the Wolves of Mercy Falls books and by the end I was ANNOYED because that book three sucked hard, so lord knows why I read this. Maybe because it was about Isabelle and Cole and they were always intriguing to me? Anyway.  This book is SUPER cheesy and has no real point and goes around in circles and is a giant stall job and I LOVED it. I seriously loved every single cheesy ass goofy fake band name douchey rock star minute of it.  I could not read it fast enough. LOVED LOVED LOVED. But you have been warned, War and Peace it is not. 

56. Lucky Us

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Oh, I liked this. It did get a bit downtrodden after nothing but bad things happened endlessly but the main character is great and over all I really enjoyed it and I liked the ending which is unusual for me.  Four stars. 

57. The Paper Magician

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This was on the goofy side but I was going with it in a “ok fun YAF fantasy magic why not!” kind of way until some kind of weird spell got put on the main character and she ended up walking around INSIDE A HUMAN HEART.  Like, someone shrunk her down or something? And she had to climb through squishy valves and pools of blood? For two thirds of the book? No. Just no. No on prying open squishy valves. 

58. The Secret Place

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I am well aware that I read this 2 and a half months before the rest of the world gets to read it, because Jennie is the most wonderful person and sent the galley to me BEFORE SHE HAD READ IT HERSELF, so for now I will just say that although it was not my favorite Tana French book, personally, it may be the best writing I have read from her so far, and that it’s still by far and away better than almost everything I’ve read this year.Parts of it read like poetry, for goodness sake. Beautiful. 

59. Friendship

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I liked this, in the way that you like “Girls” even though at times the characters are horrible people. Much like that show, it made me laugh, and if you make me laugh I can forgive almost anything. 

60. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

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This was wonderful. I thought it was fantastic. I honestly don’t know anyone that hasn’t liked this book though. It’s really good.  It reminded me a lot of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Read it. 

61. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

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Meh. Sorry, but I just can’t do Veronica with no Logan.  

62. After I’m Gone

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Super cheesy, highly enjoyable.  The mystery is sort of dumb but the family dynamics are really fun. If you like reading about big mob families you’ll probably like this. 

63. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

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God. I should have known when the back blurb mentioned “The Girl Who Played With Fire” which is a book I DID NOT ENJOY. God. This was just so stupid and awful. So awful.  This is the sort of the book where you find out in the last 15 pages that actually, the high school teacher wasn’t really a teacher. And used to be a woman, but was abused by his mother so he killed his mother and all those screaming fights everyone heard between him and his mother was actually his split personality pretending to be his mother, and the reason everyone thought he did it was because he drives a red Corvette and the murderer drove a red Corvette but actually he was just test driving the neighbors secret red Corvette that had been hidden in the ex girlfriends garage for 33 years because the ex girlfriend once accidentally ran over a baby with it and then buried the baby in her parents backyard but they couldn’t hear her burying the baby because they listened to really loud death metal all the time because they were trying to cover up the sounds of their son screaming at night because he accidentally shoved his girlfriend off a cliff so he could steal the movie script she wrote and pass it off as his own and none of those people even murdered the main murdered person to begin with. DEAR GOD JUST STOP. 

This Is the Face of Anxiety

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Now that my therapist and I are past the getting to know you stages, one of the things that we talk pretty regularly about are all of the things I’ve avoided doing for lo these many years.  These are things that normal people do on a regular basis but that I found ways around doing for a very long time, either because no one taught me how to do them, or because they scared me and so not doing them was much easier than doing them.  There’s a long list of these things and you’d be amazed at how normal I managed to make my life seem while I never drove anywhere, never went to the dentist, never pumped my own gas, never got my hair cut.  Life was going along just fine without these things.  Until it wasn’t.

The bitchy thing about anxiety is that running from it never makes it better.  There is literally one cure, and that cure is to face the thing that makes you nervous square in the face and then to do it over and over again until it becomes powerless over you.  Running from these things never ever helps, even as it makes you feel better because yeah! You’re not doing the scary thing.  Unfortunately your life becomes very small when you’re afraid of everything, and you eventually have to fight your way out or pretty soon just waking up in the morning seems like too much to deal with.  But facing and doing really hard things is a really hard thing to do and it’s work and it’s a slog and it’s just not a fast getting better process.

Did I ever tell you about the time that I didn’t go the eye doctor for eight years? Well.  The other thing about people with anxiety is that they think they are extremely good at problem solving, when in fact they are very bad at problem solving.  Instead of finding an eye doctor and figuring out how much it would cost and making an appointment for a time when I would have child care and getting over my fear of being in an enclosed room with a stranger literally in my face, I just wore the same pair of very old, very falling apart and crooked glasses for eight years, and I ordered my contacts from Canada.  What a great solution?! Right? In the US to get contacts regularly you have to have an eye check up once a year, but in Canada, they apparently don’t require that, so you can just order contacts online, pay slightly more than you would if you just bought them at Costco, and everything is great! You never have to see an eye doctor!

Can you see how this is bad problem solving? And how good problem solving would be finding an eye doctor and arranging child care and checking with my insurance and making an eye appointment?  Probably you can see that. I could not.

I thought I was SO smart, you guys, I really did.  I thought I was SUCH a good problem solver.  Turns out, no. Not so much.

However.  Eventually even I had to admit that my glasses were one minute away from falling apart completely and also my eye started to hurt whenever my contacts were in and my therapist started giving me the side eye and telling me we were going to make some appointments together during my therapy session.  So I took a deep breath and I made way too big a deal out of the whole thing and I googled like mad and I asked Erik nine thousand stupid questions about our vision insurance and I googled some more and then I made an appointment at Costco, took a Xanax, did some really questionable deep breathing, and for the love of god went to the  eye doctor and got a glasses prescription and some new contacts and also that’s when I found out that the contacts I have been wearing for the past seven years are NO LONGER MADE THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS AND THEY GAVE ME AN EYE INFECTION.  What a good idea to never go to the eye doctor and order sketchy contacts on the internet from another country, anxious crazy Elizabeth of the past! What a very very good idea that was.

Anyway.  Now I have new glasses and I love them and they are not about to fall apart. I have contacts that are still being produced in America! I have an eye doctor and a place to order new glasses or contacts any time I want (I can’t recommend Costco enough for this) and I do not have an eye infection.

And now I have to go finish learning how to be a grown up and call the gynecologist.  Gulp.

 

Books I Read: May 2014

38.  The Smart One

the smart one

I read this because I really really loved Girls In White Dresses.  I liked this book, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as Girls In White Dresses, and one of the characters was so incredibly annoying that she almost ruined the book for me.

39.  The Museum of Intangible Things

museum of intangible

I liked this.  It was a little weird.  Think “The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake”, lite.  If you hated that book, I don’t think this book is for you.  But this was definitely some of the better YAF I have read in awhile and one of the better books I read this month.

40.  Young God

young god

Well this isn’t light reading, let’s put it that way.  If you liked Salvage the Bones or Winter’s Bone, it reminded me a little of that, although those were better.  I’d say this was uneven.  I am glad I read it, and I made Erik read it, which means I thought it was interesting and I wanted to talk about it with someone, but we both had some issues with it.  And it’s not for the easily upset – the main character is 13 years old and is doing a great deal of things 13 year olds should not be doing.

41.  Since You’ve Been Gone

since you've been gone

So these two girls are best friends and one of them leaves with no explanation except a letter telling the other one to do a list of stuff.  Which is all well and good except that the girl is who left behind is such an incredible dud that this boring list of boring dud type activities throws her into a complete tizzy. I mean, who wouldn’t have their world ROCKED by picking an apple IN AN APPLE ORCHARD?! I know, crazy pants.  The second problem is that the reason that the other girl left is a GIANT SUPER DUPER EXCITING MYSTERY and then turns out to be an extremely stupid reason for anyone to disappear and to never talk to their best friend again.  Not a fan of this dreck.

42.  We Were Liars

we were liars

This was no Frankie Landau-Banks, I’ll tell you that.  I mean, it was fine, but FLB was a MASTERPIECE, and this is two hundred pages of overwrought foreshadowing and super obvious melodrama.

43.  What I Thought Was True

what I thought was true

I read her first book (My Life Next Door) and was underwhelmed.  It was fine, very Sarah Dessen Lite.  But I REALLY liked this book.  Really really a lot.  Like, I’d read it again.  There was a slightly stupid plot point that you have to be able to ignore, but otherwise it really is a great summer YAF romance.  My favorite book of the month.

44.  Boy, Snow, Bird

boy snow bird

Hmmm.  This was interesting, and enjoyably weird in that flowery overwritten sultry style that I always like, but the ending was ROTTEN.  Seriously seriously bizarre and jarring and super creepily written.

45.  City of Heavenly Fire

city of heavenly fire

I mean, I read the first five, I had to read this one, but perhaps it did not need to be 752 pages long.  Everything wrapped up satisfactorily, but I still think there are better books in the series.  It was so drawn out.  Also,

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

 

 

props to Cassandra Clare for promoting safe sex and all that but seriously? Your character brings a condom to a demon realm? Just have some unsafe sex and leave me with my illusions.  YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME ABOUT THE FOIL CRINKLING IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE THAT IS ACTUALLY HELL.

 

 

 

Spoiler Ended.

 

46.  All the Summer Girls

all the summer girls

I wanted to like this but in reality by two thirds of the way through this book all three of these ladies could have drowned in the ocean off the Jersey Shore and I still would have yawned because that’s how boring they were.

 

 

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