Moments of 2020 – 12

Didn’t do my book this week so here are some glimpses of our life right now.


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 12

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Two Lives of Lydia Bird (3 stars): There’s something about Josie Silver’s characters and writing that doesn’t fully resonate with me. I felt the same way with her previous book. But also, just like the previous one, I loved the poignancy of the ending, what she says about relationships, and the lessons her characters learn/grow into by the end. I love the endings of her books. And this one was no exception. If you liked the previous one, I am confident you will like this one, too.


The Silent Treatment (5 stars): “Because that is what love is, isn’t it? Giving without receiving. Of course, there is always the hope of receiving. Tiny, precious, fragile. You can be batted away a thousand times and still it will be there, too.”

Oh my. I read this book in one sitting and it broke my heart to a million pieces. By the end, I was sobbing. I don’t want to give too much away of the plot. This is basically a story about marriage and parenting. The way I felt about this story was the way I felt as I was reading Normal People. It’s a book I loved unequivocally and a book that I can’t see is not for everyone. There are also deeply sad and triggering subjects in the book.

‘“I like that.” Your voice is barely above a whisper. “The little things that no one sees that could make the biggest change of all.”’

This book is about how relationships are hard and communication is hard, and about the little (or big) secrets to keep from each other. Sometimes to spare the other person’s feelings. But so many times to ensure that the way they feel about us (and the way they see us) doesn’t change. So many times it’s out of fear. Out of love. Out of loneliness. Out of feeling alone and as if we are the only one. It’s about how relationships can go awry and how secrets breed other secrets and how shame loves secrecy.

“If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive,” says Dr. Brene Brown And this book is exactly about that. The secrecy, silence and worry around judgement. And the impact of that on a marriage.

“it’s that try as we might, there would always be some part of Eleanor that resided in the wilds outside our reach.”

It’s also about parenthood. About how hard it is. About how little control we have over who our kids turn out to be, about what happens to them, about our ability to parent them. This book is deeply about the impact a kid can have on his/her parents and on their marriage.

“He is coming to realize that there is a lot about Maggie that he never fully understood, a row of blanks in the crossword of their life together that are still empty.”

The writing in this story is really beautiful. Touching, poignant, heartbreaking, flowing and it grabs you and doesn’t let you go until the end. Much like “Normal People” it’s about how broken we all are, and how when you put two broken people together and have them love each other fiercely, they can still manage to break each other in the process. We are all flawed and we don’t always know how to do the right things.

“Frank, of all people, knows how it feels to be isolated by a secret.”

I loved every bit of this story and may I never get to experience many of the sorrows in the book and may i learn to ask for help, for forgiveness and may i have the courage to douse my shame with empathy when I invariably make mistakes.

Thank you to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Untamed (5 stars): Glennon has a way with words. She can articulate all of the things I’m feeling in just the right way and make me feel less alone and more understood in three pages than anyone ever has. She shares her life’s journey and choices and learnings and lessons with such humor and grace and authenticity that I am ever so grateful for writers like her. Anyone who can make me feel less alone in the world is a gift.


In Five Years (3.5 stars): I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I was worried it would be sappy once I started it and saw where it was going, but it wasn’t melodramatic and had a lot of sweet real moments. It wasn’t perfect and some moments felt sappy. I thought it was going to be more like Sliding Doors than it was but still glad I read it.


And there we go, a little bit of reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2020 – 12

Prompt: Move – 02 | Tell a story of the last time you were really moved by a comment, movie, song, etc.

My husband has been obsessed with rock climbing for the last two years. He spends hours and hours and hours of his week climbing. During this time, he watched tons of movies about climbing and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, I refused to watch them with him.

Finally, a few months ago, I decided I was going to get on board and start watching some of these movies. 

He started with “Dawn Wall” which he said was his favorite of all of them. In the beginning of the movie, I was thinking that I would not end up liking this movie and it was just a favor to my husband. But within 30 minutes I was not only captivated by the climber’s crazy life but also by his determination. As I got more and more involved in his story, what ended up moving me the most was his determination to share this journey with his climbing partner and his unwillingness to leave him behind. It made me cheer both of them on with all my heart.

“Dawn Wall” was my favorite movie of 2019. I loved every minute of it. I am so glad I finally gave up my stubbornness and was open to sharing this amazing movie with my husband


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Living Wild – 12

Weekly Intention: Ok well it’s hard to tell what this week will look like. If things are quieting down a bit then maybe i can have a bit of a personal routine of exercising, journaling, doing art and reading each day. Just 90 minutes a day total should do the trick. We’ll see how much of it I can manage.

This month’s intention is: Wild Air:  Go outside. Smell the spring air. The seasons are shifting again and it’s time to try new things, new  places, take new chances. Pick one thing and go big. Drink the wild air.  Well not sure I can do this anymore. But if next weekend is quiet too maybe we can do a long hike. Cross fingers.

One way I will show up this week:  ready.

I will go into the wild:  for now i will continue my daily walks and sit in the back yard when possible.

This week, I will pay attention to: seeing if i can start some small exercise, continue to eat as healthy as i can, and slowly build little bits of routine.

One new thing I will begin this week: hmm maybe drawing a tiny bit.

One magic I will create: maybe a little bit of noticing/journaling time daily.

One thing I hope to release: just everything honestly each day i will let go of it all and start over.

One thing I will join in on: maybe some puzzle time with kids.

One area I will practice being open: that we will find our new normal and things will be ok again.

I am looking forward to: getting some fresh groceries.

This week’s challenges: being home all the time is definitely challenging.

Top Goals: honestly i am just going to do the next right thing everywhere i can.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): i am getting to lean into all of these right now.

This week, I want to remember: i am so grateful to be together and healthy.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 11

The Wildest Part of this Week was: Ok so I ended up skipping last week because I worked 32 hours last weekend over the course of the two days. When I wasn’t working, I was sleeping. This week was no different. Work work work work, and then sleep. I am not even sure how to say what the wildest part of this week was except to say all of it. When I picked wild for my word this was not at all what I had in mind.

Top Goals Review:  all these went out the door in the wake of covid and all covid related work.

I celebrate: My team at work getting some valuable features out the door, I am so proud to work where I work and be a part of this amazing team.

I am grateful for: my family being safe here, in Boston, in Michigan, and in Istanbul. I am so glad we are all healthy and safe at the moment.

This week, I exercised: I’ve been taking daily walks around the block and that’s been the extent of my exercise lately.

This week, I answered the Call of the WildJust the fresh air I get from being outside.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: no journaling but finally a bit of a quieter weekend so a lot more reading and resting and napping.

This week’s Wildcard was: Coronavirus and Jake win it all handsdown.

I said yes to: doing whatever’s needed at work.

I said no to: doing pretty much anything else to be honest.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: well things are a bit topsy turvy at the moment. I am trying really hard to be soft and to find little ways to help delight. I ordered flowers from our local CSA and bought myself a candle that crackles thanks to a wood wick. I am taking the little moments as they come.

My mood this week was: exhausted and focused.

I am proud of: my kids being patient with all that’s going on. And helping their dad.

I release: all of everything dropping on the floor at the moment. 2020 is apparently going to be a year for the books. May it come and go with all of us staying healthy and may we all slowly recover from this.

Here’s what I learned this week: so much learning about what we’re each capable of. we are capable of doing hard things.

What I love right now: I love that it’s getting warmer. Hopefully rain will come and go quickly and we can enjoy a bit of warm weather.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 10


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 10

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


My Path to Happy (3 stars): I enjoyed my time with this little book that brings to life the author’s journey with her depression. The drawings were cute and slightly juvenile. If you read this as the story of one person and her journey through this really dark time in her life, I think there’s a lot of authenticity and hope in her own journey even though not a lot of depth. However, I would not recommend giving this to anyone currently suffering from depression. The author makes a lot of choices for herself where she experiments with different ideas and ignores doctor recommendations. That might be completely ok for her but not necessarily great as advice to others since it’s important to see a professional and make your own choices around your mental health.

thank you to netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing fr an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review


The Art of Spiral Drawing (4 stars): When I saw the cover of this book, I couldn’t stop staring at the unique and 3-dimensional looking drawings. This book breaks this style into very simple components and shows you how to make some of those much more complicated art pieces on the cover.

I’d never heard of Spiral Drawing but it’s super-cool looking and relatively simple to do. It reminds me of zentangles and once I’ve practiced enough I have no doubt it will be just as calming. If these intrigue you as much as they did me, I am sure you will love this book.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


21 Rituals to Connect with Nature (4 stars): I pick a word of the year each year and my word for 2020 is “wild.” My goal is to connect more with nature and to spend more time outdoors. So when I saw this book, I knew I was going to have to read it.

I knew nothing about the author and didn’t read much of the blurb either, so I had no prejudices going in. This book has 3 sections of 7 rituals each. Each ritual has the science behind it, an anecdotal story, and then the “what to do” as well as some thoughts to journal. All of them are relatively basic and simple but powerful exercises. If you go into this book thinking it will be new, complicated or unusual ideas, you will get disappointed.

Most of the ideas are things that involve your senses or intentionally being aware of the nature around you. Trees, birds, water, sun, etc. They might seem simple, but for me, they were the exact reminder I needed that there are really small things I can do each day that have profound effects in my life. I loved almost all the ideas in here.

Most of the ideas in the book are very tangible but there are a small handful of ideas that may or may not resonate with you depending on how you feel about psychic energy. Those didn’t fully resonate with me but it didn’t deter from the power of the overall book, for me.

I cannot wait to do these rituals again and again.

with gratitude to netgalley and Watkins Publishing for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Meditative Stone Art (4 stars): This book is about creating small pieces of art on top of stones. I have done that in the past and loved it but what really drew me to this book was the mandalas. I’ve been trying to learn how to draw mandalas and I loved the ones that were on the cover of this book. So I was hoping it would help me to learn more about how to draw them.

As the title indicates, this book has step by step of 40+ designs. It also has a template for every single one of them at the back of the book. for me, it was the perfect starting book. Besides the mandalas, it also has wonderful examples of beetles, butterflies, fish and other animals and plants.

If stone painting or mandalas are interesting at all to you, you will enjoy this book!

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Expressive Sketchbooks (4 stars): If you’re a beginner Sketchbooker or are interested in beginning, I think you will really enjoy this delightful book. It has a great collection of the author’s sketchbooks and some really simple ideas to help get you started. And it also has elegant, beautiful, and more sophisticated ideas too. There’s a great mix of ideas with pencil, watercolor, and collage.

This book also talks about the emotional experience of creating, of doubting yourself, of getting stuck and learning to make peace with your art and looking at it as practice and learning. I really enjoyed the author’s kind voice and soft guidance throughout. She was both relatable and knowledgeable.

A great encouragement and idea-filled book for sketchers.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Postscript (3 stars): For reasons I couldn’t understand, I kept resisting reading this book. I barely remember reading the original and wasn’t sure if this would feel like an unnecessary extension of a lovely story that should have been well-enough left alone.

Thankfully, it didn’t feel that way. The story had its own proper plot and also had the benefit of seeing a story over time and reflecting on its lessons slightly differently after so much time had passed. Considering how long it had been since the first book, I though this was a nice juxtaposition between real life and the book.

I really liked it, of course. Ahern can write and knows how to weave a story well with memorable characters. If you liked the first, you will likely like this one, too.


Leave Only Footprints (5 stars): “It occurred to me that part of the reason I’d seen so much debate about the year’s first sunrise, and not its last sunset, was that our beginnings always seem more important than our endings. In life, we can often control how things start. Endings are elusive and amorphous and uncertain.”

I loved this book. My word of the year this year is “wild” which is about being in the wilderness more. In 2002, I did a cross-country trip with my husband where we went to 30+ national parks and promised each other to rent an RV when we retired so we could do more of that. So when I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it immediately. I wanted to revisit the parks I’d seen in person and find out about all the ones I hadn’t.

“I don’t know what, if anything, comes after this life. But I can tell you this: If there is a Heaven, I bet it looks a lot like Yosemite.”

And the book did not disappoint. It is the journey of the author over the course of a year as he visits every National Park in the United States. The book has parts that are informative, parts that are funny, and parts that are poignant. For me, it struck the perfect balance between the three, managing to make it a really enjoyable read.

“In a cave, you are simultaneously outdoors and indoors, protected from the elements and yet exposed to all sorts of new dangers.”

I will admit that more than once, I wished the book came with photos. I wanted to be able to imagine what the parks looked like as he told stories about being in them. Some are very briefly mentioned, while the others are longer. But I wanted to see photos of all of them. I spent time going between my book and internet searches so I could see the photos of the mentioned places.

“When I saw the pile, I couldn’t decide if it was depressing or beautiful. It’s probably a bit of both. It’s a monument to our desire to do the right thing, but it’s also proof that, sometimes, doing the right thing doesn’t matter. Sometimes it can be too little, too late.”

I know the author has live video segments, I haven’t seen any of them, but I will definitely go looking for them so I can enjoy all of this once more.

Thank you to netgalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2020 – 10

Prompt: Listen – 04 | Use “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory.” to tell the story of a specific song that brings back memories for you.

When my husband and I first started dating back in college, I spent a lot of time in his dorm room, hanging out with him and his college roommate, Jason. At the time, they were really into Quentin Tarantino and while I hated the movies, I loved the soundtrack. At some point, we started listening to “Son of a Preacher man” and couldn’t stop.

We put the song on repeat and basically never turned it off. We would lower the volume and just keep it going in the background the whole time. When one of us entered the room, we would yell “Oh it’s my favorite song, turn it up!!” and we would increase the volume and sing it together. 

This kept going for the better part of many, many months. I never got sick of it.

Even now, when I hear the song, it makes me smile and brings back all of the memories of that time of my life. The best memories.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Living Wild – 10

Weekly Intention: This week my intention is to try to go back to a bit of a routine for myself and find ways to ground myself. The coronavirus news is definitely creating a low but persistent level of anxiety in me. Coupled with the inability to go climbing and working late nights due to perf, I am more discombobulated than I’d like to be. My intention this week is to go back to exercising in the mornings on the treadmill and to see if I can make it to two classes at work this week. Coupled with some drawing and some journaling I am hoping that will ground me. I also plan to leave work at a reasonable time every day, even if it delays perf even further.

This month’s intention is: Wild Air:  Go outside. Smell the spring air. The seasons are shifting again and it’s time to try new things, new  places, take new chances. Pick one thing and go big. Drink the wild air.  I did finally make the exercise list from February but I still didn’t make a list of people to reach out to and date nights to do. I did start a hike list but we only managed to do half of one this week. Let’s see how we manage next week. We also have to apply for our Whitney and Half Dome as this is the last week for Whitney.

One way I will show up this week:  calm.

I will go into the wild:  I am hoping that Jake and I can take another hike this weekend and I also want to get out for 20 minutes every day, even if it’s just to sit in the sun.

This week, I will pay attention to: continuing the food plan, getting more exercise, and finishing perf. setting a routine for some of my other work that’s still not settled.

One new thing I will begin this week: back to daily walking.

One magic I will create: I want to have a bit of a time with my kids if I can pull it off this week. Some small magic together as a family.

One thing I hope to release: the guilt i feel over how off this year feels so far. how little i feel like i am honoring my word. also how hard i am being on myself.

One thing I will join in on: work exercise classes!

One area I will practice being open: that everything will be okay.

I am looking forward to: perf being done.

This week’s challenges: just going back into routine, exercising again.

  • Top Goals:
    • Work: finish perf. stay on top of email. spend some time with nbu and tokyo. write down plans.
    • Personal: i still really crave the way figure out a routine that works for me. i still crave journaling. go back to exercising more. continue eating the wild.
    • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake. taxes. whitney and half dome. science fairs. school breakfast.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): i am trying to remember these, keep it all in perspective, and lean into who i am and what I value.

This week, I want to remember: i am so lucky and blessed.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 09

The Wildest Part of this Week was: Voting wearing plastic gloves. I always prefer to vote in person but this year, I wasn’t sure it was safe. So we decided to go with gloves on just to be safe.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: did not finish perf but pretty close. stayed on top of email. did not spend some time with nbu and tokyo.
  • Personal: did not figure out a routine that works for me. did journal a little. did not get into a groove. did eat the wild.
  • Family: supported nathaniel and david and jake. finished taxes, round one.

I celebrate: Voting.

I am grateful for: my family’s safety and health at these times of uncertainty

This week, I exercised: i’ve been doing a poor job of exercise. i went bouldering on Tuesday night at work and I went on a mini hike with Jake today. I need to go back to the daily walking and maybe take some classes at work since I can’t go to the climbing gym at the moment.

This week, I answered the Call of the WildSome awesome outdoor time in Houston. That will be it this week.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: just a small amount of journaling this week.

This week’s Wildcard was: Well coronovirus definitely is a wildcard. Albeit not a good one.

I said yes to: bouldering at work, a 5am hike right after the time change so it was a 4am hike. working really late every night this week.

I said no to: exercising in the mornings, which i am sad about.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: i haven’t connected to my core desired feelings in so long. I actively work on releasing but nothing else sadly.

My mood this week was: on edge if i am honest.

I am proud of: staying calm throughout all that’s going on

I release: the guilt of not getting it all done, of not being perfect.

Here’s what I learned this week: life is precious. yes, i know this but i seem to also have to relearn it often.

What I love right now: I love that the days will now be even longer, i love that spring is around the corner and i love that I have a desktop at work now.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 09


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 09

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Girl With the Louding Voice (4 stars): I really enjoyed this book of a girl who despite her terrible circumstances is convinced she wants to get an education. Sold to a husband at the age of 14, she doesn’t stop in her quest despite one setback after another. It was hard to remember that despite living a very grown up life, the main character is just 14 as she goes through all these experiences. Sometimes she’s doing naive things and some times she makes mistakes. All in all, I am glad I read it.


Yes No Maybe So (3.5 stars): I enjoyed this sweet novel. The two characters were reasonably developed and had moments of being weak and moments of being strong. I also liked how several things don’t get resolved. There is always a need to tie up loose ends when a novel finishes. If it’s a plot driven story, I can see that might be necessary but in real-life things don’t tie up so easily so having a handful of things unresolved feels more right to me. Like Albertalli’s other books, I thought this was real and sweet and enjoyable to read.


Run Me to Earth (3 stars): Sometimes a book just comes at a wrong time. I could never get into this book or focus fully on it. So I didn’t connect with the characters. I still enjoyed my time with it and will have to go back and read it another time again.


Trick Mirror (4 stars): I picked up and put down this book several times before I finally read the whole thing. I am not sure why I waited so long. It was an excellent collection of essays that were well researched and we’ll written. Highly recommend.


Interior Chinatown (4 stars): I really enjoyed my time with this book. What a smart, funny, poignant and sweet book. Such a unique way to explore Asian-American racism and stereotypes, funny but not dark or ironic and also manages to be sweet and touching at the same time. Highly recommended.


Me and White Supremacy (4 stars): I will have to read and reread this book regularly. When it comes to these topics, I prefer to read wide and regularly. I can never learn enough and I have a long way to go. I listened to this on audio which I would not recommend. It’s a workbook, it’s best in print form.


Moon of the Crusted Snow (3.5 stars): I really liked the time I spent with this quiet, sad, and well written novel. The atmosphere in the novel was a big part of the story for me. The topics explored in the short novel still managed to be complex and the characters were memorable and textured. An unusually well done dystopia.


The Opposite of Fate (4 stars): I postponed reading this book because I thought it would be melodramatic and the reviews said the characters were one dimensional. For me, neither turned out to be true. This was well-narrated so the story seemed quiet and sad which rang true to me, but not melodramatic and over the top. I liked each of the characters and didn’t really think they were one dimensional. The whole story is centered around one event so you only see the characters through that lens for the most part, but I still thought the author did justice to the nuanced decisions throughout the book. At least for me, it was a good read.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.