Thursday, March 31, 2022

Two Months In The Life: February and March 2022


Well, that was an unexpected hiatus. I thought to myself surely that I'd still have the time to work on the blog once the baby was here since so much of my content is pre-written and OF COURSE I'd be able to steal a little bit of time here and there for the rest of it. Ha. Hahaha! My life is lived on whims that are not my own so posting is going to be realllll slow around here for a while.

In Books...

  • Founding Mothers: This account of the Revolutionary War era based on the lives of the women (wives and mothers, usually) of the Founding Fathers was interesting enough but never actually compelling. I did learn more about what a crap husband Ben Franklin was (extremely) and was introduced to Eliza Pinckney, who was genuinely fascinating, but the reality is that there are few enough documents by these women in their own words that the ones for whom the most exist, like Abigail Adams, dominate the narrative.
  • The Inheritance of Loss: I had high hopes for this one, as a Booker Prize winner written by an Indian author (a micro-category that has historically worked well for me!). But it turns out it is mostly one straightforward thesis (more or less that colonialism/imperialism are bad because they teach the oppressed to love their oppressors and hate themselves) turned into a nearly 400-page novel with thin, underdeveloped characters and little in the way of actual plot. There are occasional beautiful turns of phrase, but not enough to salvage it.
  • Luster: This was a book club pick that I missed the discussion for because I was in the hospital! I found it to be more interesting in theory than actuality, if that makes sense. The idea of a story about a young self-destructive and underemployed Black woman who ends up in the middle of a white couple's open marriage feels rich, and while the narrative occasionally lives up to its potential, it also seems to rely a lot on the reader filling in additional context and nuance.
  • Made-Up: I don't know what I was expecting from this book that bills itself as addressing beauty culture in our current era, but it wasn't a collection of very short essays that touch as much on Grimes and the first child she had with Elon Musk as they do on YouTube beauty gurus. The writing quality is high, but the essays are too short to ever really go anywhere and often feel repetitive. 
  • The Duke & I: I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of time for my preferred ponderous bummers, so before I had the baby I downloaded a couple collections of the books that are the basis for the Bridgerton series on Netflix, which I very much enjoyed last year. The first book was honestly much less interesting than the show, which had more nuanced and complex characters. I've heard the second one is much better so I'm going to keep reading the series because my brain needs fun stuff right now.
  • Fire On Ice: This was the autobiography Sasha Cohen, one of my all-time favorite skaters, "wrote" (it seems like probably mostly dictated to a ghostwriter) after her silver medal in Torino. Y'all, it's basically a book-length Wikipedia article. No tea is spilled, no secrets are shared. The most interesting thing in it is that Sasha loves ice cream. 
  • Small Spaces: I loved Katherine Arden's Winternight series, so was curious about her MG/YA series and her writing has lost none of its charm despite the obvious reduction in narrative complexity. It's a kind of horror-lite (like, Goosebumps-level scary) with strong emphasis on family bonds and unexpected friendships. Definitely a book I would recommend for the actual audience that adults can appreciate as well!

In Life...

  • I had a baby: Cal was born on February 15th and he is the cutest and most wonderful and also most time-consuming. He's six weeks old and we are exhausted but happy that he is here with us!
  • Home repair hell: We had an interesting time of it after we got home with Cal! First our dryer went out, and it turned out it was because the heat sensor got tripped because there was a tiny fire in the lint vent! Scary! And then after that, our water heater (which we knew was old but found out was from 1996!) went on the fritz and it took about a week for it to get replaced through our home warranty and do you know how much it turns out you need hot water for when you have a newborn? It turns out a LOT! 

One Thing:

Let's talk about post-partum mood disorders, y'all. I have a long history of depression, and that was a part of what I felt after Cal was born, but more punishing than that was the incredible anxiety I was going through. I was terrified that every decision I made was the wrong one, that I was going to put my baby in danger because I wasn't washing my hands often enough (I was washing them so often I gave myself broken and scaly patches), or wasn't sterilizing bottles after every wash, or wasn't watching him closely enough and he was going to slump wrong and suffocate. I talked to my OB and was put on medication and I don't feel 100% again, but I feel like a person who is anxious rather than a bundle of anxiety with legs. I am a better mom because I'm not crying all the time. If you've had a baby and feel like you're not in a good headspace, there's help. Talk to your OB or pediatrician, or reach out for support. It's hard, but it's the first step down the road to feeling better.

Gratuitous Baby Picture (don't worry, we'll be doing pug pictures again too):