Biography, Comedy

Paddle Your Own Canoe–Nick Offerman

If Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal, Nick Offerman is my disgruntled guardian angel.
He has a special way of speaking and writing that is so inviting I’m looking forward to his other works.

This book is so chock-full of wisdom that you come away a better person. Or at the very least, with some words of wisdom on how to not be a dick.

And a person who feels like they can paddle their own canoe and just “do you”, so to speak.

His stories about person and professional triumphs and failures made me feel like I’m not alone in this world and that here, here is a kindred spirit of wildness and subtleness, someone who while also being quite reserved, has a filthy mind. A kindred spirit who knows that working with your hands is one of the most rewarding things on the planet and that looking at something you made is important (no matter what it is.) especially if you put your heart and soul into it.

He made me realize certain things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise known or recognized if they came along. And not just about “paddling my own canoe”, but what I would want in a relationship, friendships, and dreams I’ve put on the back burner.

This man is a unique and forthright person and I’m so happy for him that he found a person who loves him and supports him and has a filthier mouth and mind than he does.

It’s good to know that Megan Mullally and Nick are together and love as much as they can and are complete goons together. It’s just so nice to read.

Even if he’s talking about a song he wrote where he’s doing her in the ass.

Constant vigilance! …That’s an unfortunate phrase right after that sentence.

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Kids Books

Roald Dahl

The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me—Roald Dahl

This book was short and sweet and so will this review be:

This was about a little boy who was introduced to his new neighbours: a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey. They had just moved in and were renovating a house to be their business. They were opening a window cleaning business and the boy shows them a house that really needs it since there are several hundred windows and they all live happily ever after cleaning these windows.

It was short, which was good since there was zero plot for this kids book, and I liked it. It was cute and Daryl liked the bits about the animals.

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James and the Giant Peach—Roald Dahl

Again, being a kid of the 90s I watched the movie version of this first and I believe I thought it was super creepy.

The book however was quite sweet. The story is, of course, that James’ parents die, he moves in with his terrible aunts, they mistreat him, magic makes a peach grow alongside a bunch of bugs in the area, and adventure begins as the aunts are bowled over by the oversized peach.

I really liked this one, it had funny jokes, wordplay, and I learned some interesting information on bugs.

Definitely a good book for any age child.

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The Witches—Roald Dahl

Hey there, here’s another for the list of things not to read to children.

Firstly, I don’t know why the hell I thought Roald Dahl WASN’T going to be a big creep. The descriptions alone should’ve made me turn away from reading these to a two year old.

I mean, the book is called “The Witches”. I should’ve known.

But hey. Live and learn, right?

Short, creepy, and full of witches, mice, and mayhem, this book is about a kid who discovers real witches and learns from his grandmother how to fight them off.

The problem is: Witches look like any normal person.

In the beginning of the book Dahl goes on to give you a list of people who are likely witches, they are always women and could be anyone from your teacher to your mother to the person reading the book right now. And then goes on to describe how you can tell who is a witch and who isn’t.

The only saving grace I had working with this book was that Daryl would fall asleep pretty easily during it. And that I would use a witch hand to tickle him so that it wasn’t so terrifying.

Good for older kids I suppose.

If you hate them and want to give them nightmares.

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Classic, Kids Books

The BFG–Roald Dahl

The kid and I have moved on from short baby stories for the soul purpose of helping me to not keep reading the same story over and over again at nap time.

Thus taking us over to his sisters collection of Roald Dahl books that I thought would be a safe bet when reading to a child.

I was wrong.
The Big Friendly Giant was pretty interesting… in that it made it sound like kids being snatched from their beds in the middle of the night and gobbled up by monsters was just an ordinary event.

I actually found this one a little scary, especially for the kid. At the time he was just two years old so it was normal for me to keep censoring the scary bits where if a kid sees a shadow outside the window it’s likely to be something coming to eat him.

Definitely for ages 7 and up.

But otherwise, I really liked the storyline. I liked that it all started out so simply, a little girl sees a giant with a horn blowing something into kids windows. She follows him and it is found out that he was blowing nice dreams into the kids heads while they slept. Meanwhile his fellow giants were stealing kids from their beds all over the world and eating them like jelly beans.

The BFG doesn’t like that so the pair decide to stop them all once and for all.

They end up contacting the Queen of England through a dream and she helps to secure her nation and the world.

The word play in this book was fun, the story was sweet (even if a little too sinister for a toddler), and I’m glad I’m reading up on some kids classics that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to read.

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Keep Moving Forward, True Story

The First Year

Today marks the first anniversary of Doomsday’s death. An anniversary that I actually never thought would come. I figured she would live until I died and then we would enter the ether together. Like a wizard and their Patronus.

Instead she was handed to me by a heartbroken vet into my openly weeping embrace. I cry just thinking about that feeling. Even though ten minutes later the crying vet came back and was like “How are we doing in here?” and then we cracked a sad joke about never knowing when it’s time to hand back “the body” while we both bawled our faces off. I remember saying “I think 10 minutes is good, otherwise it’s starting to get weird that I’m just sitting here with a dead animal.”

Even though I was thinking it wasn’t THAT weird because we had spent years of ours lives together. What was a few moments of her death to say goodbye forever?

Several things have happened this year that were harder without her, but more odd.

It’s strange to lose a pet. She wasn’t a person, a living breathing human that I could hold conversations with, she never gave me advice, or teased me for being silly, or even laughed with me. But she held such a huge part of my heart and soul that it felt weird to not have her around anymore.

Things you would never think about were really hard without her.

Christmas, mainly. I’m usually the first person up on Christmas just because now I’m the first of three early risers awake in my house on a regular basis and I’m not one for sleeping in unless I’m sick or had a hard week. So when I wake up Christmas morning she was the first creature I would celebrate it with. I would take pictures and let her open her new present of a toy. (She was more concerned about the wrapping paper because she loved to chew, so I made sure to always wrap stuff.)

Filling the corner she lived in was hard. I thought (when she was alive) that decorating the room would be a good thing to move forward, something positive, I would have room for other things and a new space to organize and decorate. I put my writing desk there, it felt weird to sit there and still be able to see the marks that were left on the floor from her cage. I moved a bookshelf there, it hurt to put something there that I’m always looking at.

It felt rude to replace her. That was HER space.

Finally I decided that I would put a chair where I could read and sew. A productive corner where her little ghost could come and chew my patterns and perch on the top of the chair. (Something she liked to do when she was alive.) It still felt weird, but it was a positive weird.

The worst was moving her cage out. I had to empty that out, throw away her litter and anything that wouldn’t be helpful to a future pets life. I moved her cage into the garage so I wouldn’t have to look at it empty. For that first week I would go out into the garage and click her water bottle because I couldn’t sleep without that noise. Or I would try to imagine it as I fell asleep. Sometimes I would even think I really heard it. And then I would remember, and the wound was open once again.

Coming home at the end of the day was bizarre. I always kept my light on, especially in the winter months, so that she would have the light in the room and not always be in the dark. So when I would walk up to the house it was a harsh reminder because my brain would immediately think “Who the hell turned that off? She needs that on.” and I would get so mad. Then my heart would plummet with the realization that the light doesn’t need to be on because she’s no longer there.

My nightly schedule is thrown off. I used to do “lights out” between 8 and 9, which was essentially turning off my laptop and whatever I was watching so that I could read and she could come out and hop around the room for an hour and a half before bed. Now I have no schedule. I don’t even sleep on time anymore. I used to get 8 hours of sleep and now I’m lucky if it’s 6.

My insomniac friends/parent friends want to punch me when I say that.

Her birthday was hard too. I used to go out and get her a new toy in February and she would immediately destroy it. I just loved our little celebrations together of life and love because she was the only creature who was fully mine and I was fully hers and while that’s a little Stockholm syndrome-y, it was a beautiful and ridiculous love.

One of the hardest things is that now I have no idea what to do for my Christmas card this year. Which sounds stupid, but that was one of our traditions in the fall. I would figure out something silly or cute and get ready early for Christmas. I even knit her a little scarf one year for our picture. And last years was so sad to me that I made my piano teacher take it down from his cork board after a few months of staring at my “smiling” face. I knew that I had actually been bawling my face off because I knew this was the last of our pictures like that. I didn’t want to look at my sad face or her tired face anymore. (Thankfully, he complied, and now he has a sarcastically made birthday card from me in its place. Which I appreciate more and helps me not completely lose focus. Or cry.)

I miss her all the time.

Today I feel haunted by her ghost. And not just the ghost of her memory, like legitimately her ghost. Strange things have been happening all day that don’t normally go on.

I know that time heals all wounds, and while this wound doesn’t feel as raw and broken and heart wrenching as it was on this day a year ago, I still hurt from missing her.

And all because I fell in love with a bunny in 2009.

How absurd.

Kids Books

Matilda–Roald Dahl

The kid and I, well mostly me, decided to start reading all the Roald Dahl books in his sisters room after I had read the Disney stories until I could barf. (And I love Disney stories.) I basically knew the entire thing cover to cover, and it had pictures, and it was heavy to hold, so I decided to move on to paperbacks.

As a kid who grew up in the 90’s I had watched the movie Matilda and prayed that someday I would get magical powers and be able to move things with my mind.

Reading the book now, as a 29 year old human, I have come to one conclusion:

I want magical powers and to be able to move things with my mind.

This book is (if you haven’t heard about it or read anything) about a little girl whose family is wretched and she ends up getting telepathic powers and decides to exact revenge for them being terrible people on them and anyone else who acts wrongly.

I liked this book, I like his style, I liked the story, I liked Matilda and Ms. Honey, and I loved that Hank loved it. He would get tired and ask for “Batilda” with a sigh like I was the one keeping him awake.

What I didn’t like however, was some of the cursing and the fact that Matilda’s parents were actually just going to leave her behind. And then let Ms Honey adopt her like it was no big deal to just get rid of their kid. Made me mad. But whatever.

Lovely book otherwise.

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Biography, Keep Moving Forward

Very Good Lives–J.K. Rowling

Sometimes I feel the need to curl up in J.K. Rowling’s writing like a security blanket. Harry Potter is obviously my favourite book series, even though I promised not to read it for five years after the movies were over I still broke that promise to myself and snuck them in a few times when I was stuck in a book rut and needed to break out.

I grew up with them and learned how to be a kind and clever person. So it only seems natural that in a transitional phase of my life, where I don’t know where I’m going, what I’m doing, who I want to remain, what I want to do with my life, and generally growing up from my 20s into my 30s, that I need her.

And this time she was making a very valid point:

Failure is good.

Failure IS an option.

 

Failure helps you learn more than success sometimes. And it’s not shameful or something you need to guilt yourself over.

This was a speech she had written for graduates at Harvard, and while it’s short, she makes you feel better if all you’ve ever felt you’ve done is fail. Or at least have a day where you feel like that’s all you’ve done and you are trapped in your own cry factory and BooHoo Festival.

Everyone needs to read this when they are feel stuck or like a failure or like their lives aren’t going anywhere.

She always puts things in perspective in a smart and articulate way that speaks to real people.

Curl up in her words, it’ll make you feel better, I promise.

Jo always has my back.

romance novels

Shadow Spell–Nora Roberts

Shadow Spell is from the perspectives of Meara and Connor, Branna’s childhood friend and brother, as they go through the trials of fighting the ancient evil (still don’t remember his name haha) that has plagued the O’Dwyer family for centuries.

I definitely like this one better, I found this pair more realistic than the forced romance of Iona and Boyle.

Meara is a bit of a wild card and Connor isn’t exactly the worlds most consistent person, I just found their friendship and then romance more interesting than the last books.

And the actual plot was carried along nicely and didn’t feel like she was in a rush to give out all the information. Probably because she was in the last one so she could get to the good stuff.

This series definitely grew on me.

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