I want to start by saying that this is going to be a long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2021 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2020 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2021 into two posts. This is part I, part II comes next week. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

Before we start unravelling 2021, let’s take a moment to look back over the last twelve months. Maybe there were lots of changes for you in 2021. Maybe it’s been a year of growing or nesting or exploring or letting go. Whatever’s happened this year it’s got you to this point, right now. Exactly where you’re meant to be. Pick up your pen and let’s do some digging.

  1. First of all, did you have a word for 2020? Yes, my word was WILD.
  2. If you did, how did your word help to guide you through the last 12 months? Can you think of any specific examples? Well my goal was to go hiking a lot more and be out in the wilderness more and we did start the year well as we went to Joshua Tree and New Jack City and climbed in the wild. But then the world locked down and wild took on a new meaning altogether. Despite all that happened this year, I was still able to go climbing outdoors a lot of times. We took a trip to Tahoe and a trip to Angel’s Camp. We were in the wild. I also spent a lot of time journaling this year and embracing the silence of the wilderness by grounding myself. And finally I definitely leaned into “embracing the unpredictable nature of life” even if this is not exactly what I had in mind. I learned a lot about how I can embrace the unknown. And as it turns out, this will be a theme for 2021, too. 
  3. What did you embrace in 2020? Unpredictability. Uncertainty. Grief that’s mine and my family’s. Leaning into the new normal. Having all of us at home. I embraced so so much this year, because really I had no choice. I also embraced climbing and running and biking and doing a lot of exercise this year. I’m proud of myself. 
  4. What did you let go of in 2020? So very much. All of our routine. Seeing friends. Going places. Hugging people. 2020 was all about letting go.
  5. What changed for you in 2020? Personally I’ve adjusted and readjusted all year. Learning what the new normal looked like each time. Learning how to hold each of my family members as they went through their own journey of 2020 and going through my own journey. My climbing got so much better. My exercise in general improved. Everything else went up and down throughout the year. 
  6. What did you discover about yourself in 2020? I discovered that I miss people, I miss going to work, and as much as I like being at home, I was definitely taking granted the freedom that comes with being able to go out as much as I want. 
  7. What were you most grateful for in 2020? Being healthy. The fact that we are all healthy and so are my parents and my sister and her family and my husband’s family. Not something I will ever take for granted.
  8. When did fear hold you back in 2020? Well certainly the fear about the pandemic limited a lot of what I did and of course held me back. Most acutely we didn’t see any friends all year except for 2-3 times total. We didn’t go shopping at a grocery store except 5 times all year. We didn’t go into any restaurant, store, or anything indoor. I can go on and on. I felt scared most of 2020.  
  9. Where did you practice courage in 2020? A lot of emotional courage in 2020. Dealing with all that was going on, going for the promotion, speaking my mind, speaking up, advocating for my kids, and for people at work. I had to practice bravery often.
  10. Aside from the pandemic, what surprised you in 2020? My promotion, of course. I was hoping hoping hoping but didn’t think it would really happen. And all the changes at work came out of nowhere too. 
  11. What was the best day in 2020? What happened? Likely new jack city was up there. 
  12. What was the most difficult day in 2020? What happened? The accident. That was most definitely the worst day of this year. A bunch of other tough moments too.
  13. We all live in different parts of the world but the pandemic has been a shared global experience — some lives have been more affected than others, of course, but overall just about everyone has felt the effects of this crisis. Think back to the start, before the lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders — how did you view the coronavirus situation? Did it feel threatening or like something that wouldn’t affect your life? Did you stock up on food? Were you glued to the news? Write down everything you can remember about how you felt, reacted and behaved at the start of the crisis. I have to say that I really didn’t understand what was going on. I was traveling for work at the end of February, in Houston, and I remember watching the news and thinking that the situation was getting bad but never really internalized it. Never really thought it would change our life so fundamentally. I remember the week we left work, I thought i’d be back in a week or two. I remember when I was upset that the kids’ school didn’t close schools yet. I remember buying toilet paper on refresh refresh refresh. Going to TJs and having Jake super mad about how close I got to others. Canceling things one week at a time. Our trip to Vegas, our hopes for summer plans, celebrating birthdays in the pandemic. Ordering with instacart and doing take out for the first time. First time someone came into our house for repair. The fridge dying. Watching news nonstop. Jake watching the numbers climb up. So much of this year was one week, one month at a time. 
  14. We’re not completely out of the woods yet, but we ARE getting through this. How are you currently feeling? Whether it’s December 2020 or you’re writing this sometime in 2021 (hi future traveler!) — how do you feel? What do you need more of? Less of? I am feeling tired and worn out. I feel okay but I am ready for some rejuvenation. Some oxygen. Some source of joy and wonder. I am ready to hug my friends. I am ready for some routine. I am ready to go back to work. Having the kids go to school. I am ready for what normalcy felt like. But alas, I am not optimistic it’s coming soon. I don’t feel all that optimistic yet. There’s no vaccine for the kids. There’s no clarity on when things are coming. I want to be optimistic but I am too tired.
  15. Write down everything that’s HELPED during this year. Consider: new routines, self-imposed boundaries and restrictions (eg only looking at the news once a day), connections with others (who? When? How?), online community, new things you tried (recipes? Fitness apps?), what have you read? Have you been able to work from home, and if so, what’s helped you do that? Homeschool?! Here are some things that helped:
    • The fact that I worked from home before.
    • That big boy is introverted.
    • That hubby had an office to go to.
    • Our backyard and California weather.
    • Weekly chats with Kelly.
    • Zooms with friends for dinner. 
    • Book club zooms.
    • Zooms with highschool friends.
    • The peloton and regular exercise.
    • Climbing outdoors.
    • Puzzles, drawing, journaling. 
    • Touchless grocery delivery and video appointments by doctor.
    • A job that I can do remotely. 
    • Having kids who are older and can take care of themselves.
    • Books, always books.
  1. How have you taken care of yourself physically? I exercised quite a bit this year. I did a lot of climbing all year. I did the couch to 5K during the summer and then have been riding the peloton and doing the classes for months now. I’ve also tried to take care of my skin, my teeth and my hair.
  2. How have you taken care of yourself mentally? I’ve done less well here, took a few classes and did a few puzzles but I thirst for more here. I need to think about this for 2021. 
  3. How have you taken care of yourself emotionally? For a while, I journaled quite a bit. And it was helping a lot. I took time for myself. I did drawing. But then I sort of gave all of it up. I miss it.
  4. What have you missed this year? Friends. Eating out. Seeing my parents and my sister and my nephews. Traveling. Going on adventures. I even missed going to work.
  5. What haven’t you missed? I haven’t missed drop-off and pick-up. I haven’t missed parties. Traffic. That’s about it. 
  6. What new ways of being and doing have you discovered? For a while we were cooking a lot and taking lots of walks. I liked those and they were very peaceful. The zooms and connecting through video while far away has definitely been a blessing.
  7. What will you never forget? The surreal way this whole year passed. The way it feels like we’re on a mission to the Moon or Mars and living in our own bubble.
  8. What have you let go of? All that this year could have been. My wishes and desires for the wilderness. The loss I feel not having seen my family. I am working on letting all that go and being grateful that we hopefully will have more time.
  9. What feels more important than ever to you? Seeing people and hugging people and going on adventures.
  10. What now feels unimportant? Checking off items on my todo list for the sake of it. 
  11. What are you ready to begin? I’m not sure yet. I still feel pretty out of sorts. 2021 doesn’t feel so different so far and I am uncertain what’s to come. I guess what I’m ready to begin is being more okay with the uncertainty. 
  12. How has this year changed your priorities? In the grand scheme, I don’t think it’s changed many of my priorities. I still want to work hard, love my people, do more good than bad, and be the kindest person i can be. 
  13. How has this year changed your home life? Well we’re all at home now all the time. Our house is constantly a mess. None of us have any privacy. But we’re warm, safe and sound.
  14. How has this year changed your relationships? I have gotten closer with some friends, didn’t miss others, just postponed much of everything this year. Closer with my kids and husband, for which I am grateful.
  15. How has this year changed your work life? I like all of us being remote, even as I miss the random work conversations or impromptu late nights. I miss my office mates. I miss the old organizational structure we had. I miss a lot but I am also okay.
  16. What have you been most grateful for during this experience? Big things, little things, the profound and the everyday, what are you grateful for? 
    • All of us have been healthy this whole time.
    • Being able to work from home.
    • The kids being able to attend school from home.
    • Jake having his own space to go to.
    • Being able to climb outdoors.
    • Having a way to exercise indoors.
    • The amazing CA weather.
    • Having a family that I love.
    • The internet, connectivity, and ability to do all this which would never have been possible 20 years ago. 
  17. Gentleness alert! Did anything happen in 2020 that needs to be forgiven? Maybe it was something someone did or said to you. Maybe it was something you did or said to someone else — or to yourself? Maybe you feel you let yourself down in some way. Here’s the thing — we are all beautifully fallible human beings doing the best that we can with the tools that we have, so where can you give the gift of forgiveness to yourself or to another? I forgive and let go of all the tough moments of 2020. I don’t want to remember any of them. I give myself grace for the times when I messed up and hurt anyone. I give myself grace for the times I fell short.
  18. I now invite you to close your eyes for a moment and think about 2020 as a whole. As you cast your mind back over the year, consider the gifts that 2020 offered you on your life’s journey… What stands out the most? What really mattered? Togetherness and health. I am grateful.
    • I helped David with getting his club off the ground. 
    • I helped Nathaniel with his science fair and with getting better at writing and much of his homework. 
    • I traveled to Houston and Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and New Jack City.
    • I managed a small but very distributed team and took over management of another employee.
    • We took weekly/monthly family photos all year.
    • I drew regularly until around October.
    • I read 270+ books. More than 77 from netgalley, on ebook.
    • I told 30+ stories from our lives. 
    • I used both the weekly journal and the OLW journal to document our lives.
    • I worked out at work and rock climbed all year both indoor and outdoor.  I moved from 5.9 to 5.10b,c and even a d.
    • I lead belayed Jake many times.
    • I did weekly calls with Kelly.
    • I took several hikes with Jake.
    • I got promoted to Director.
    • And I sponsored an arm of the diversity council at work.
    • I did over 100 peloton bike rides. And over 50 meditations.
    • David finished 9th grade and started 10th from home. Nathaniel finished 5th and started 6th from home, too.
    • I am still blonde.
    • Jake and I went on several date nights, watched a lot lot lot of TV and movies, ate a lot of zucchini and hotdogs and took lots of walks.
    • I supported Jake in several of his personal dreams around climbing.
    • I mentored several women in my organization.
    • I took several online classes but only really stuck with OLW.
    • I supported my friends and a few others who were going through a tough time this year.
    • I supported several Life Coaching clients this year. Though I’ve wound them down.
  19. Describe 2020 in 3 words: wild, unexpected, unsettling.
  20. If the events of 2020 were made into a film or a book, what would it be called? Meh I think there are already too many pandemic movies. I don’t want to see this year made into anything.
  21. Before we finish with 2020, take a few minutes to write out anything else you need to say to the old year in the box below. You might like to say some goodbyes and thank yous…Thank you Dear 2020, thank you for keeping us safe and healthy. Thank you for all the prosperity and luck we’ve had this year. I am acutely aware that it wasn’t the case for everyone. I’ve learned a lot this year and I don’t plan to take any of it for granted. Thank you for your lessons, now it’s time to say goodbye. I am calling you complete.



In 2020, I read 279 books.

  • My favorite read of the year was: Valentine and The Death of Vivek Oji
  • My favorite YA read of the year was: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
  • My favorite non-fiction read of the year was: Untamed and Know my Name
  • My favorite SciFi (sortof) read of the year was: :The Midnight Library
  • My favorite Fantasy read of the year was: The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • My favorite Historical Fiction read of the year was: This Tender Land
  • My favorite Mystery read of the year was: Magpie Murders
  • Here are all my five star rated books from this year:
    • Noble Heart: A Self-Guided Retreat on Befriending Your Obstacles
    • Echo Mountain
    • Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man
    • The Cold Millions
    • What I Carry
    • We Begin at the End
    • Being You: A Journal
    • Year of Yes
    • Live Your Best Life
    • Moonflower Murders
    • Mediocre
    • Magpie Murders
    • Growth
    • Conscious Creativity
    • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
    • The Midnight Library
    • Miss Benson’s Beetle
    • Ordinary Grace
    • Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan
    • This Tender Land
    • Heart Talk: The Journal
    • The Death of Vivek Oji
    • Transcendent Kingdom
    • Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators
    • The Complete Urban Sketching Companion
    • Know My Name
    • What’s Your Enneatype?
    • The Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
    • The Feel Good Effect
    • The Book of Longings
    • Valentine
    • The House in the Cerulean Sea
    • The Anxiety Skills Workbook
    • An Artful Path to Mindfulness
    • Success in Art
    • Navigate Your Stars
    • Drawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces
    • Untamed
    • The Silent Treatment
    • Leave Only Footprints
    • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
    • The Love Story of Missy Carmichael
    • Radical Compassion
    • Yes and I love you

And here are all my reads from 2020 in reverse order. You can find all the reviews here and my drawings with reviews on instagram here.

  1. In the Quick
  2. Heart Bones
  3. Yes and I love you
  4. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
  5. Piranesi
  6. One Way or Another
  7. Layla
  8. The Future is Yours
  9. The Love Proof
  10. Good Girls Lie
  11. Echo Mountain
  12. We Are All the Same in the Dark
  13. Written in the Stars
  14. Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man
  15. The Cold Millions
  16. A Children’s Bible
  17. Crow Court
  18. How I Learned to Hate in Ohio
  19. Don’t Look for Me
  20. The Beauty in Breaking
  21. All These Beautiful Strangers
  22. What I Carry
  23. This Time Next Year
  24. The Center of Everything
  25. The Chicken Sisters
  26. Snapped (Playbook, #4)
  27. We Begin at the End
  28. The Wife Upstairs
  29. The Searcher
  30. What’s Your Story?: A Journal to Free Your Mind and Rewrite Your Life
  31. Being You: A Journal
  32. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
  33. The Urban Sketching Handbook: Drawing Expressive People: Essential Tips & Techniques for Capturing People on Location
  34. Live Your Best Life: 162 Reasons to Rethink Your Daily Routine
  35. Moonflower Murders (Susan Ryeland #2)
  36. Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)
  37. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
  38. Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland, #1)
  39. The Thirty Names of Night
  40. Why Birds Sing
  41. The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story
  42. Growth
  43. The Divines
  44. Leave the World Behind
  45. Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #3)
  46. The Mirror Man
  47. Agatha Arch Is Afraid of Everything
  48. Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)
  49. The Survivors
  50. Conscious Creativity: The Workbook: experiment, explore, create
  51. Goodnight Beautiful
  52. Breathless
  53. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  54. The Midnight Library
  55. A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)
  56. Miss Benson’s Beetle
  57. Just Like You
  58. Boy
  59. Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)
  60. Ordinary Grace
  61. Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan: A Novel of a Life in Art
  62. All the Way to the Tigers
  63. All Things Left Wild
  64. The White Coat Diaries
  65. This Tender Land
  66. Boop and Eve’s Road Trip: A Novel
  67. Before the Ever After
  68. The Friendship List
  69. Migrations
  70. Musical Chairs
  71. The Book of Personality Tests: 25 Easy to Score Tests that Reveal the Real You
  72. Heart Talk: The Journal: 52 Weeks of Self-Love, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery
  73. One by One
  74. Where the Edge Is: ‘original and Shattering’ Marianne Lee
  75. Sisters
  76. Before You Go
  77. What Are You Going Through
  78. Take Care of Your Type: An Enneagram Guide to Self-Care
  79. The Death of Vivek Oji
  80. Boyfriend Material
  81. A Room Called Earth
  82. Kiss My Cupcake
  83. Transcendent Kingdom
  84. A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom
  85. The Boys’ Club
  86. The Stationery Shop
  87. Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators: Learn How to Paint Landscapes, People, Still Lifes, and More.
  88. Self-Knowledge
  89. The Complete Urban Sketching Companion: Essential Concepts and Techniques from The Urban Sketching Handbooks–Architecture and Cityscapes, Understanding Perspective, People and Motion, Working with Color
  90. The Idea of You
  91. The Night Swim
  92. The Comeback
  93. How Lulu Lost Her Mind
  94. Stranger in the Lake
  95. The Worst Best Man
  96. The Silent Wife (Will Trent, #10)
  97. The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals
  98. In a Holidaze
  99. The End of Her
  100. The House of Deep Water
  101. Bear Necessity
  102. She’s Faking It
  103. Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop
  104. Pretty Things
  105. Once Again
  106. One to Watch
  107. The End of Everything
  108. The Pull of the Stars
  109. The Book of Wild Flowers: Color Plates of 250 Wild Flowers and Grasses
  110. Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)
  111. The Butterfly Lampshade
  112. What You Wish For
  113. The Trouble with Hating You
  114. Full Disclosure
  115. The End of the Day
  116. The Henna Artist
  117. The Girl from Widow Hills
  118. Faking Friends
  119. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
  120. Vesper Flights
  121. The Nothing Man
  122. His & Hers
  123. The Switch
  124. Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
  125. The Book of Hidden Wonders
  126. A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls, #2)
  127. All Things Reconsidered: How Rethinking What We Know Helps Us Know What We Believe
  128. Clap When You Land
  129. Self Care
  130. Know My Name
  131. The Dilemma
  132. What’s Your Enneatype? An Essential Guide to the Enneagram: Understanding the Nine Personality Types for Personal Growth and Strengthened Relationships
  133. Kawaii Doodle World: Sketching Super-Cute Doodle Scenes with Cuddly Characters, Fun Decorations, Whimsical Patterns, and More
  134. Ordinary Hazards
  135. Friends and Strangers
  136. The Other Mrs.
  137. The Swap
  138. I Was Told It Would Get Easier
  139. 142 Ostriches
  140. Happy & You Know It
  141. Follow Me
  142. Party of Two (The Wedding Date, #5)
  143. 500 Miles from You (Scottish Bookshop #3)
  144. This Is How I Lied
  145. The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season
  146. Parakeet
  147. The Motion of the Body Through Space
  148. Exciting Times
  149. With or Without You
  150. Sad Janet
  151. A Burning
  152. The Second Home
  153. Little Eyes
  154. The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library #1)
  155. The Guest List
  156. Stray
  157. Anxious People
  158. The Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: How to Build New Habits to Transform Your Life
  159. Your Year in Art: Watercolor: A project for every week of the year to inspire creative exploration in watercolor painting
  160. The Feel Good Effect: Reclaim Your Wellness by Finding Small Shifts that Create Big Change
  161. Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 More Small Paintings: Pick Up the Skills, Put on the Paint, Hang Up Your Art
  162. Colourful Fun Embroidery: Featuring 24 Modern Projects to Bring Joy and Happiness to Your Life!
  163. The Vanishing Half
  164. Something to Talk About
  165. The Knockout Queen
  166. A Good Marriage
  167. The Kingdom of Back
  168. The Bookshop on the Shore (Scottish Bookshop, #2)
  169. Love Poems for Anxious People
  170. You Deserve Each Other
  171. The Family Next Door
  172. A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)
  173. The Eighth Detective
  174. The Silence
  175. Beach Read
  176. The Secrets of Love Story Bridge
  177. Pew
  178. Big Summer
  179. American Dirt
  180. Writers & Lovers
  181. The Imperfects
  182. All Adults Here
  183. Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything
  184. How to Save a Life
  185. Dear Emmie Blue
  186. Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers, #2)
  187. Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)
  188. The Sight of You (The Sight of You, #1)
  189. If I Had Your Face
  190. The Other People
  191. The Margot Affair
  192. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
  193. The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone, #2)
  194. Sorry for Your Trouble: Stories
  195. Master Class
  196. Latitudes of Longing
  197. Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  198. The Book of Longings
  199. I’d Give Anything
  200. Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers, #1)
  201. Valentine
  202. Days of Distraction: A Novel
  203. The House in the Cerulean Sea
  204. You Are Not Alone
  205. Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)
  206. The Anxiety Skills Workbook: Simple CBT and Mindfulness Strategies for Overcoming Anxiety, Fear, and Worry
  207. An Artful Path to Mindfulness: MBSR-Based Activities for Using Creativity to Reduce Stress and Embrace the Present Moment
  208. If I Never Met You
  209. Providence
  210. Success in Art: Mastering Perspective: Techniques for mastering one-, two-, and three-point perspective
  211. Crochet: Over 130 Techniques and Stitches
  212. Brunch and Other Obligations
  213. Navigate Your Stars
  214. Redhead by the Side of the Road
  215. Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)
  216. The Sun Down Motel
  217. Drawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces: Step-by-Step Techniques for Creating People and Portraits with Personality, Explore Watercolors, Inks, Markers, and More
  218. Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You
  219. Mum & Dad
  220. Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1)
  221. Last Couple Standing
  222. The Glass Hotel
  223. The Sweeney Sisters
  224. Daisy Cooper’s Rules for Living
  225. In Five Years
  226. Untamed
  227. The Silent Treatment
  228. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
  229. Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park
  230. Postscript (P.S. I Love You, #2)
  231. Meditative Stone Art: Create over 40 Mandala and Nature-Inspired Designs
  232. The Art of Spiral Drawing: Learn to create spiral art and geometric drawings using pencil, pen, and more
  233. 21 Rituals to Connect with Nature
  234. Expressive Sketchbooks: Developing Creative Skills, Courage, and Confidence
  235. My Path to Happy: Struggles with my mental health and all the wonderful things that happened after
  236. The Opposite of Fate
  237. Moon of the Crusted Snow
  238. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
  239. Interior Chinatown
  240. Run Me to Earth
  241. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  242. Yes No Maybe So
  243. The Girl with the Louding Voice
  244. The Holdout
  245. Perfect Little Children
  246. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes
  247. Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)
  248. Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World
  249. Weather
  251. The Operator
  252. Things in Jars
  253. Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties
  254. The New Life of Hugo Gardner
  255. The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy
  256. The Wives
  257. Home Making: A Novel
  258. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
  259. The Bookworm Crush
  260. The Better Liar
  261. Say You Still Love Me
  262. The Camera Never Lies
  263. Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2)
  264. Big Lies in a Small Town
  265. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael
  266. Long Bright River
  267. Godshot
  268. The Beekeeper of Aleppo
  269. The Honey-Don’t List
  270. Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)
  271. Lost at Sea
  272. You Were There Too
  273. Dear Edward
  274. The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage
  275. Recipe for a Perfect Wife
  276. Willa’s Grove
  277. Such a Fun Age
  278. You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters
  279. Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN

I am grateful for all the great books I’ve read in 2020. Here’s to another great year of reading in 2021!

100 Days of Noticing

I have done a 100-day project for a few years now. This year’s project was on instagram from April 2 to July 15. Here’s a copy of all my posts.

I went back and forth a lot about what my 100 day project would be this year and decided to do 100 days of noticing inspired by @aliedwards and her work. 100 days is a long time and I am hoping that a lot will change in the world in the next 100 days in positive ways so I think documenting that will be something I cherish.

Today I am noticing that, at a moment like this, there are some small things that really have come to matter a lot to me. (Obviously I have the luxury of focusing on these because my family is healthy and safe.) Flowers have been one of the particular joys of my life during these weeks. They make me happy each time I see them on my desk. So grateful to get to still have fresh flowers thanks to local farm delivery especially since ranunculus are my favorite. Grateful for small joys today.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 2

I’m noticing that it’s become really hard for me to go back to “normal” and my usual routine. I’ve been working very long hours lately and feeling pretty spent outside of those hours. My desk is covered with computers and I’ve had no time or space to draw or craft. I’ve started making efforts to go back to some semblance of routine and I’m noticing that it just looks different now and I’m making do with what I can. Slipping my notebook and pens between computers and trying to sneak in minutes of drawing while listening in during meetings. I’m hoping that I can slowly establish a new normal and bring in practices that give me joy.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 3

My family lives really far away. I don’t get to see them except for maybe once a year. We do usually talk often but lately I’ve been working really long days so those talks have been super short. I’m noticing that I miss them even more lately and miss their positive, loving energy. Yesterday we got to do a chat across Istanbul, Boston, Michigan and California. Even though I was also listening to a meeting at the same time and even though it was crazy chaotic, those handful of minutes really made my heart happy. So grateful to live at a time when such technology and connection is possible.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 4

As part of my one little word, my daily goal for March was to “eat the wild” more often. That meant more unprocessed food, more vegetables, more fruit, etc. During all the transitions and changes March came with, I tried hard to maintain this goal to honor my word in this way. As we move on to April and I no longer have to do it as part of my OLW class assignment I am noticing that this plate of vegetables, egg, and fruit is one of the few routines I have at the moment. I make the plate sometime in the day and then munch on it all day long during meetings. It keeps me full, healthy and helps me honor my word in a small way. I am noticing that I am hanging hard on to this small semblance of health and doing something good for myself right now. And feeling grateful that between farm delivery and instacart I am still able to have access to fresh produce. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 5

I’m noticing that we are each finding a workspace that works for us in this new normal. The kids are on videoconferences all day for school and I am in meetings for work and Jake is working with his clients. This means we need lots of quiet corners in the house. I usually don’t let laptops upstairs in the kids’ rooms but for the little one it’s been the only place he can quietly do work. So he has made room for himself where he can come and do work while listening to his own music. I am grateful that the kids have been adapting into the way things are in this new normal and finding ways to make it all work

100 Days of Noticing – Day 6

I’m noticing that while I’m spending part of my time doing things I’ve always done like reading, I’m also doing things I never thought I would be doing like sewing face masks. Jake and I usually take a walk at the end of each work day which is often my only time getting some fresh air in the day. Since masks are recommended now I made the two of us masks. I didn’t have elastic but I do have elastic ribbon. So here we go. Another way we will remember these times. 2020 is turning out to be wild in so many ways. Grateful that we still get to go out and get some fresh air. Grateful that the weather promises to be nicer here this week.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 7

I’m noticing that we are each having to get creative here. My husband is an avid rock climber and before this the longest he’d gone without climbing was two days. He’s been itching to climb and really sad not to be able to go anywhere. So he decided to find solutions that would work in our tiny backyard. I expect this will evolve as the duration of this quarantine expands. We are all making do with what we can. Grateful for the sunny skies and creative attitude.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 8

Jake and I take a walk around the neighborhood at the end of each workday. I’m noticing that these walks are one of the favorite parts on my day. I get to breathe fresh air, I get to chat with him about his day and I get to remember how beautiful nature is. And as he always does, Jake adds sunshine to my day. So grateful for this man who’s shared my life for over 26 years now.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 9

I’m noticing that we each have our own little obsessions / focus areas in this new normal in our household. I spend a lot of my time optimizing on our online food ordering, adding and removing items from my cart and trying to strategize. I’d say it takes up a lot more of my time than ideal.

My older one has been spending his time optimizing his workspace. He dug out the monitors from the garage this weekend and set himself up so he can work more effectively and he has also spent a lot of time optimizing his desktop on his computer. It’s taken up a lot of his free hours in the last few weeks and it’s been a great learning and growing opportunity for him.
I am grateful that my family here appears to be taking most of this in stride so far and grateful that we continue to stay healthy so far.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 10

My kids are lucky enough to go to a school that is on a large piece of land so they spend a lot of their day walking between buildings and across yards as they go from class to class. With all the changes so online classes I’m noticing that there hasn’t been a lot of exercise. Even though they still have PE, all the walking time in the day has disappeared so Jake’s been getting creative in our small backyard. I’m grateful that we live in California and the weather has been getting warmer and more outside friendly so we can still get a little exercise in every day. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 11

During my walk with Jake this week, I noticed that one of the medical buildings near us is starting to get ready to offer testing. My day job in the last few weeks has been thinking a lot about testing centers and putting them on the Map so it was a weird “reality collides with work” moment to see one in person. I’m noticing that I feel like I’m in split realities at the moment. So much of what I do at work is covid related but through the lens of our products, and I work all day so I read almost no news and, with the exception of short walks around the ten-block radius of my house, I don’t go out at all. So it’s work, eat, snuggle, read, and sleep here for me. Which is why I think seeing a live testing center on the same day we launched testing centers felt a bit mind bending. Grateful that we made it through another week.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 12

I’m noticing that even as our lives shift and take shapes they’ve never taken, I am still hanging on to bits of normalcy and routine wherever I can. We’ve been taking weekly family photos for almost ten years now. They are one of my absolute favorite things to do. Despite dreading it, the boys accommodate me week after week. In just a few years, my older one will be in college and the weekly tradition will have to find a new format. For now, even at a time like this, I hold on to these moments with all my heart.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 13

I’m noticing that while the weekdays feel full and busy, the weekends can now have the opposite problem. Wide and expansive, waiting to be filled. Without the ability to leave the house the hours start blending to each other and for me, it gets easy to get lost in the haze of the blurry hours. I know that many of us are numbing in the ways we know best right now and mine is definitely by reading. I fill all of my weekend minutes with books. Today I decided a little puzzle making in the sunshine would be a good change and maybe exactly what might soul needs right now. Or at least a way to add some variety.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 14

It’s my little one’s birthday this week. We haven’t been going grocery shopping for weeks now and have been lucky enough to sustain on instacart and farm CSA delivery. Today instacart delivered him a birthday balloon and cake. I am incredibly grateful that we still have a few options that still allow us to celebrate him. I’m noticing how grateful these small things make me.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 15

I’m noticing that even though I am not usually a candle person, I’ve been lighting candles everyday lately. I’ve been craving the smell, the sound, and the light. Especially the ones that smell of the outdoors. It’s been really interesting to see the things that I cling to these days and the things I’ve let go. Grateful for beautiful flowers and delicious smells and light, always the light.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 16

Last week was Spring Break for us and now we’re back to regular online learning schedule with hiccups and all. I’m noticing that we are all finding our way to work with what’s possible and extending grace to each other, to the administration, and the teachers. On one side I am sad for some of the educational loss my kids are experiencing and on the other hand I am so grateful that our school has gotten creative and my kids are still learning, and even more importantly connecting to others during the day. So grateful for the villages we have as each of us try to navigate all this.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 17

Yesterday as we were walking around the neighborhood I noticed this series of signs outside someone’s yard. They look like a set you can order thanking all of the people still working every day in the world putting themselves at risk or having to go through so many hoops just so the rest of us can continue to have mail and groceries and teachers and food and sanitation and healthcare. I am noticing that the appreciation is strong at the moment and I really hope this is one of the things we retain in the aftermath of all this. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 18

It was this little boy’s 11th birthday today. He got to have his birthday wakeup cupcake right at 6:04am when he was born and then we all got to have cake together and opened presents and the kids headed to class. During break I got to surprise him with all the videos his friends and teachers kindly made for him to wish him a happy birthday. It was so kind and wonderful to get to watch all of them and see how happy he was to be celebrated.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 19

I found myself desperately needing to be near the water. After a lot of research we found a park that was open to the public and went early in the day so we were one of five people there. As we walked around I felt peace and a returning into my soul. There’s a reason I’d picked “wild” as my word this year. I am noticing that I really miss the wild. As if to soothe my soul even more, we stumbled upon this abandoned building that was taken over by hundreds of birds nesting. It was magical and exactly what my soul needed today.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 20

I’m noticing that the weekends can be harder than the weekdays for me. During the week, I’m still working a lot and have a tiny routine. I try to wake up and do 10-15 mins of yoga and then draw a bit if I can. Then it’s pretty much meetings until 4-5pm. Then a little bit with the kids before Jake and I take a long walk. Cooking and tv together caps my day. I do my mini puzzle of the day and read in bed a little before I sleep. I don’t have enough free time for expectations, for news, for thinking, or even for resting. But then the weekend comes and it’s wide open. I have all this pressure to do all the things. Study with the kids, read all the books, draw, exercise, start an art project, scrap, clean up the house, journal. Just all of the things I wish I did more but put off all week. Instead I find myself outside reading nonstop. Avoiding everything even if it might be fun because it all seems too hard right now. Then the day ends and I get sad that I wasted it. Here was my ‘free’ day and I didn’t accomplish anything. Trying to give myself grace that this is my way of numbing right now. Of quieting the world and going within so I can stay peaceful. Books have always been magical for me and they continue to give even through all this. Grateful for the sun and the small yard and the books. Always the books.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 21

My older son is in 9th grade. He is taking Chemistry as one of his sciences and as we transitioned to distance learning one of the casualties has been Chemistry labs. Doing those virtually doesn’t really work well. My son dug out a Chemistry set I bought when Jake and I were dating ( for fun ) and is using the chemicals ( 20+ years old thank you ) as well as household items to learn Chemistry now. I’m noticing that he’s still finding ways to take the learning to the next level as he decided to give himself a statistics challenge with this lab assignment. But alas while I applaud his creativity, I also can’t wait until we can all safely return to school and chemistry labs. I am so grateful that everyone is being creative and resourceful and still aching for all the things we took for granted before. Like Chemistry labs. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 22

On our walk today, Jake and I saw this little reminder. I’ve noticed that I am all over the place when it comes to how optimistic I feel about our future. On some days I am really focused on the gratitude and it fills me up. On other days I feel the dread of never being able to go to a climbing gym again or the kids not going back to school in September and it swallows me up. I know it’s normal to go through phases and I am trying to give myself grace. Seeing this today made me realize how it helps to have a tangible, visual reminder. Maybe I need to make one that lives inside my house, too.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 23

I’m usually good about teaching my boys responsibility. Both my kids prepare their own meals, fill and empty the machine, break down boxes, take the trash out, do laundry and fold sheets, etc. But this week we added some more skills to the list. Cleaning floors and toilets. I’m noticing that the kids are being graceful and helpful without resistance and I am really grateful. The house is definitely much more of a mess that it’s ever been but we are all pitching in and trying to hold things up for each other. I’m also hopeful all this work will make them more aware and appreciative when we are other side of this.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 24

A few weeks ago Jake got this indoor hydroponic garden since he thought it would be fun for the kids to grow things indoors. We gave it to Nathaniel for his birthday. We decided to start with the tomatoes about five days ago and yesterday I came downstairs and noticed that they are starting to grow. I had that wonderful feeling of life blooming. I can see why people are really into gardening even more now. With everything going on the feeling of creating more life and seeing things grow/bloom/flourish is really wonderful. Even in our tiny countertop garden.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 25

I’ve been wanting to put some lights in my backyard for a few years. Each time I read reviews on Amazon I’d find a reason a particular set wouldn’t work and would keep getting decision paralysis and not buying anything. This last week I finally bit the bullet and bought a bunch of things for my yard since it looks like we will be spending a lot of time at home. The first package that showed up was the lights and my little one and I put them up immediately. I cannot tell you how happy they make me. I’m noticing that one of the things I lean on these days is the small tangible things that bring me joy. Candles, flowers and now lights. Oh how love them so.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 26

I noticed this little snail in my backyard today. I am trying to slow down today. Give myself grace and space. To listen to the birds and feel the grass under my feet. I can’t wait to be near the ocean again. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 27

Today was family photo day. In the early years of these, I used to tickle the kids silly to get them to laugh. But now they are too old and too strong. They don’t like the tickling and they can block me pretty easily. So instead I invented this new strategy. We now do a fake laugh where we just fake it for a bunch of photos and the best part is that it invariably gets us laughing for real. Looking at these I’m noticing that I can’t always tell which are the fake laugh photos and which are the real ones. Sometimes faking it is what helps you get to the real thing. It’s not always, of course, but there are times when it works.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 28

I’m noticing that each moment can be wildly different than the moment before here, now. This morning my little one greeted me with this (may the 4th be with you) while I was in a meeting. Moments of joy. Then there were some stressful meetings. Moments of frustration. Then there were some good, bonding meetings. Moments of laughter and connection. Then my older one shared some stress around some school work and I had moments of worry and stress with him. Then there were more meetings and I had moments of momentum and progress. Work ended and little boy and I discussed school work and there were tears. Moments of sadness. While he worked, Jake and I took a walk and I had moments of belonging. Then we came home and I setup our bird feeder and cooked, moments of homeliness and feeling grounded. Big boy felt better about school so I had a big moment of relief. Jake and I watched a bit of tv and I had moments of contentedness. And then I had to work some more and now I am sitting here and feeling moments of deep exhaustion. So many moments in one day. So much shifting and changing in one day. Grateful to get to experience it all and to get to be present to life.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 29

I don’t usually cook or bake. In the last two months, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking so we can continue to eat vegetables and fresh food. But I hadn’t ventured near baking. Last week we finally got flour and and baking powder. So we did our first experiment with banana bread last week and it was so so. This week we did it again and with chocolate chips this time and it was considerably more successful. I’m noticing that as we stay home longer and longer I am feeling the need to try new things. We finally managed to find some yeast today too so I am looking forward to new adventures now.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 30

I’m noticing that I can only take every day as one day at a time now. I am definitely a creature of routine and my life works as well as it usually does because I am married to my routines. As much as I’ve been trying to establish new ones, some days they work and other days not so much. I’ve been eating relatively fresh food and balanced diet during this period. It can always be better but I’m at least working on it. My exercise and strength however, much less so. Before all this, I was going rock climbing 2-3 times a week and doing exercise at work at least 3 times a week. I was also walking uphill on the treadmill daily preparing for what I thought was going to be the year I hiked Whitney. Now I do none of those things. Except for our daily walk, on good days I am doing 10 minutes of yoga. Today thanks to a motivating email from a friend, I did 20 pushups. I really feel the need and strong desire to exercise and yet I haven’t been able to find a new normal that allows me to bake it into my routine. Really wish I could find a way to change this.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 31

I’m noticing that Jake and I have started watching a lot more TV together during this shelter in place time. After dinner each night we watch 1-2 episodes of something. We watched a lot of shows that are based on books including Little Fires Everywhere, State of the Union, Call the Midwife and we are currently watching Normal People and Looking for Alaska. Many of these are some of my favorite books so I am very excited to be experiencing them again right now. I’m so grateful to be in these worlds with these characters I love and reliving these stories I cherish.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 32

My younger son is doing a school project for his science class where they were supposed to pick an environmental topic and do a 5 minute documentary video. He chose to do the effects of covid-19 on the environment. At first we were all excited because all the news was about how emissions have gone down etc. with so many fewer cars and planes etc. Then as he dug in it became clear that it was a bit of a false hope. In that the positive effects here are temporary. When we start driving and flying again, they will be back. It’s not like we’re doing anything permanent to change things during this time. And there are the harmful side effects of the medical waste on the environment in general. I was reading how this March was the first one in over a decade where there hasn’t been a school shooting and this too was so devastating to me because did we really change anything permanently here? No. And the terrible murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The ignorance, the racism, the hatred, the inequality. It’s all still here. When we come back out of this, it will still be here. I’m noticing that today I am feeling sad and lost and a lot of other feelings and I am going to go learn and read and listen and do what I can to take action.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 33

This man is the love of my life. I met him during my third year in college, way back in 1994 and we’ve been together since then. 26 years. In a few weeks it will be our 18th wedding anniversary. Years go by like nothing. But our years have been full of adventures, it’s almost like we’ve lived several lifetimes. Our college days in Pittsburgh, our 20s in NYC with trips back and forth to Pgh when he was still in school and then to Tokyo when I spent 6 months working there. Our daring adventure quitting everything and taking a whole summer to drive across the country and move to San Diego after driving into the city for the first time ever, no job, no home and starting another life. Having our incredible boy. Moving up to the bay area and starting another life. Another incredible boy. So many adventures together and here we are now in the middle of another adventure. This one is not a joyful one but it’s still a piece of life we’re experiencing together. I’m noticing that while it has a lot of hard moments, we are experiencing so much of this together and making memories through it all. I am so grateful to be making life with this man who has been my sunshine since the day I met him and who pours his light into my soul daily. Thank you for being my partner in life for so long.?? ( Should have waited for our anniversary but alas felt like saying all this today. )

100 Days of Noticing – Day 34

I’d love to take credit for my two amazing children. I’d love to say that they are smart, kind and hardworking because of me. Because of what a good mom I am. But honestly there are two important factors in the making of this: my mom and luck. My mom taught me to love unconditionally. She always reminded me that no matter what she was there for me and loved me fully. That’s the feeling I try to give my kids every single day. I might not like all of their choices and there might even be times I won’t like them all that much but I will always, always love them with all my heart. And for that I get to thank my own mother. She who taught me what unconditional love feels like. And the second is luck. My amazing husband and I, we got lucky. We have kids who make us laugh, who have long intellectual conversations with us, who teach us new things, who are never shy to hug us as many times as we want, who are growing up to be good human beings. I’m noticing every single day that I am lucky to go through all this with them in my life. For me, every day feels like mother’s day.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 35

I’m noticing that I’m feeling out of sorts today. Finding myself anxious about all the things: grocery bills, my tree that has no leaves and is likely dead, a new bump on my neck, the fact that I feel so exhausted that I had to put my head down on the table while I was working with Nathaniel, Nathaniel’s tooth that’s about to fall out but hasn’t for weeks, about whether everyone’s flossing properly at home, about what life will look like on the other side of all this. I am tired and anxious today. And deep down I know that these are all fixable. The bills will get paid, the tree will be fixed and if not it will be removed, the thing on my neck is likely nothing. I will get sleep and feel rested again. Nathaniel’s tooth will eventually fall off and the kids are flossing as much as they always have been. And of course none of us know what life will look like on the other side of this. These are all puzzle pieces of life. We have the pieces we’re dealt and we will slowly start putting them together and pictures will emerge. Or we get new pieces, we’ll make new pictures. We will figure it out. Deep down I know this. But today, I am just letting the anxiety take its turn so it can feel heard. Some days are like this and tomorrow is a new day.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 36

Today was farm delivery day. I’m noticing that Mondays and Tuesdays start with a lot of produce washing. I am incredibly grateful for my farm delivery. Fresh vegetables and fruits and even milk and bread all come from the farm. and the flowers. Always the flowers. Still not fully back to myself yet but trying to take it a step at a time. Grateful for the fresh food today. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 37

I’m noticing that things are feeling even harder than usual lately. Today was an adulting day. I started the day with a doctor’s telehealth appointment (all ok thankfully) then I called customer care for my dishwasher (which I think might have fixed it ?) then I tried to move my car so the gutter cleaner who was scheduled to come later could have access and realized my car was 100% dead. ( I like to overachieve so apparently I sheltered too well) so I had to call AAA who said I’d either have to take it to the mechanic for 3-4 hours or they could sell me a new battery. Then another arborist came to look at my dead tree and said he could do it ( cheaper and faster) but it is definitely dead. And then the gutter person came and he was here for 3+ hours cleaning and even very kindly fixed my backyard latch. I noticed my house also has exposed wood in a few sections and likely needs a paint job but I think I’ve done as much adulting as I can take for a while. All of it was mostly fixable with time or money or both. On a regular day this would have been tough enough but right now my tolerance for adulting is quite reduced. I am too tired, too anxious, too overwhelmed. But alas we’re going to put today in the win column despite all that because I am still here and the car’s now running and the dishwasher is cleaning and the thing on my neck is not anything to worry about. And I made it to all my meetings while all this happened. I’ll take the win.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 38

In an effort to continue to honor my word of the year, I decided that if I can’t go into the wild then I am going to make the wild come to me. So I bought a bunch of bird feeders, chimes, birdbaths. For a day or two, nothing happened, but then… Then the birds came, the squirrels came and I am just so happy to be sitting in the yard and watching them all. So grateful for this little bit today. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 39

I’ve been noticing all the chalk writings all over our neighborhood. Uplifting message, poems, celebrations, it’s been really joyful to see the ways in which people are using their creativity, however big or small. I keep having bouts of mental energy where I make plans of what I am going to work on. Some art project or exercise but then I get tired and just choose to rest. I am grateful for the messages from the universe. ( Or the neighborhood children as it might be. )

100 Days of Noticing – Day 40

I found out from friends that some of the hiking trails near us reopened so Jake and I decided to go see if we could venture into the wild a little bit. And it was so magical. I’m noticing that I crave the trees, the fresh air, the details of the unfurling of the tiny leaves on the trunks of the majestic trees. I just miss it all so much. Today was like a salve. It was a short hike that was less that 2 miles. Not arduous but so, so good for my soul.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 41

I’m noticing that I feel anxious knowing something needs to get done and isn’t yet. So as soon as I found the tree is dead, I had to figure out what to do and get it scheduled. If all goes well tomorrow, our dead tree will be cut down to be replaced by another tree. To bid the tree farewell Jake and N both climbed it this weekend. We’ve had this tree for 10 years. Even though we never enjoyed the crazy nuts it shed, it’s been our tree. We are sad to see it go. Here’s to hoping all goes well tomorrow.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 42

I’m noticing that I can’t predict how the days are going to go and what big or small thing will take me over the edge. The tree people had someone call in sick today so they came 7 hours later than planned. To be fair, they came and took care of it all very fast. The new tree wasn’t good, the arborist said, so he is ordering a new one. Task not fully done. The dishwasher went kaput again. Also not done. And I am just tired and unmotivated and worn out of all this stupid stuff. Yes still healthy thankfully but also a bit worn out and on the edge for too many weeks now. Need to find a better way to get grounded so I can remember what matters most and not have these small, insignificant things steal my day.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 43

Sunflowers showed up from the farm today. I am noticing that I don’t have as much to say this week. I’m grateful for the sunshine that still makes it possible for me to take walks. Grateful for the flowers and fresh food and candles and puzzles and books. Grateful for our health. And that’s going to be enough for today.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 44

Nathaniel spent the better part of his Sunday finishing this giant Lego that we’d bought at Christmas. I’m noticing that everyone here has been digging up things we had but hadn’t gotten around to using just yet. Arduino boxes got opened, old monitors got dug up from the garage, I’ve been redoing the puzzles we’ve put together and pulled apart many times before. It’s one way to get creative during these limiting times.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 45

The new tree is here. It’s much smaller than I’d have liked but alas this is what we have. It already went back once so I am too tired to argue more. Still washing dishes by hand. But we are officially into the 4-day weekend thanks to the global day off at work which I really really am grateful for more than anything. I’m planning to spend time journaling, reading, hiking and resting. Here’s to taking some down time. I’m noticing that it’s what I crave most right now. Feeling tired but grateful.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 46

Two years ago my whole family was lucky enough to get together in Italy to celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday. It was magical and sweet and fun and a really wonderful way to celebrate my one of a kind dad. This year, we were planning to meet in Las Vegas to celebrate my mom’s 70th and my nephews’ 21st which are today and tomorrow respectively. And alas we didn’t get to have the celebration we hoped for. But my sister is one of the kindest and most loving people I know so of course she found a way to make it magical for my mom anyway. She bought giant balloons, had two different cakes, one of which had a model of my mom on it and she also arranged all of us to join on a video chat so we could be there when my mom blew her candles. I am so grateful for my special sister. For always creating the best memories for all of us. And I love and adore you so much, Mom, you are the kindest, most loving, most generous person I know. You have the biggest heart in the world and I am so sorry we couldn’t be together on this special day. Here’s to many many many more we get to have in person. Happy happy birthday Mom, I love you with all my heart.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 47

It’s been months since Jake and I went rock climbing. Before this, I used to go 2-3 times a week and he went 5-6 times a week. We were both missing it way too much. So, finally, yesterday we took advantage of my day off and went to a reservoir nearby to see if it was empty enough. We got very lucky and managed to get a few climbs in. It was so good for both of our souls. I’m noticing that as this time at home drags on and on, we are starting to have to make choices between mental health and physical health. I am so grateful that we got to spend a little bit of time in the wild, hearing the water gurgle, smelling the fresh air, and climbing that magnificent rock. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 48

I’m noticing that we’ve been having to get quite creative here lately with things we don’t usually tend to do ourselves. Today’s adventure was cutting Dad’s hair. I wish mine was nearly this easy to do. Grateful for all the ways in which we can take care of ourselves and bring semblances of normalcy into our lives. Also really grateful for the long weekend. I wish we had one each month. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 49

18 years ago today, we got married. We’d already been together for almost eight years by then and had been through many of life’s experiences together. I remember reading this article that said here are questions you should ask your partner to be before you get married. And it had all these scenarios and you had to respond to how you’d behave in each of them. I looked at the list and realized we didn’t have to do this test because we’d already lived through so many of the scenarios. We didn’t have to guess how we’d respond, we’d already lived it. The next eighteen years brought so many new scenarios of course. Kids, moves, jobs, job losses, houses, trips, and so much more. Again and again we survived all the hard times and thrived during the good times. There have definitely been some very low moments but tremendously high moments too. I am so grateful to share my moments with him. Happy anniversary, my love. Here’s to many many more moments together.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 50

The dishwasher repairman was scheduled to come this morning. So I moved my entire entourage of machines outside to the backyard. Also my external keyboard (cause my s key is broken) and my vase with flowers, my candle, and the ephemera of my life which usually are the iPad, headphones and my phone. This morning I attempted to start a bit of a routine. Exercise, drawing, journaling and it wasn’t perfect but it felt good. Sitting outside also felt good. I’m noticing that I can’t seem to let go of a low level anxiety the whole time. I am trying to coach myself but it’s a lot of work. This is where routine helps a lot. So I took some baby steps. Let’s see if it sticks. Oh and there was broken glass stuck in the drainpipe for the dishwasher. Knock on wood, it should be all fixed now. Small steps.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 51

I’m noticing that all the days are blending into each other. Usually, this would be the time of year that we plan a vacation. For the last few years, we’ve taken vacation right when the schools closed. This year we’d been hoping to be together as a wider family in Vegas and then to take a vacation just the four of us to Alaska. With all that’s going on, a vacation feels like a joke but along with the travel, a vacation brings a lot of winding down, disconnecting, and refocusing and I think that’s what I am missing the most lately. My brain is on even when it’s not on and the exhaustion is pretty constant. Even without all that’s going on, this might just be when I need a longer break in my year. So maybe it’s just time to pick some days and do some version of a staycation. Or at least some rest.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 52

I’ve been slowly trying to make some progress in creating a routine for my life since it appears I’m working from home for the foreseeable future. When I finally journaled this past weekend, I wrote down the list of things I want to do that would fulfill me (or lower the anxiety.) The list had exercise, drawing, journaling, and connecting. This is the first morning I did all four. The best part of the day was getting to do a video call with my friend Kelly. Getting to chat with her and feel a small amount of normalcy along with a lovely dose of connection was exactly what I needed. So so grateful. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 53

My two kids are 4 years apart and one of them is a teenager. I’m relieved they are not arguing all the time but the reason they are not arguing is really because they are not talking all that much. They are nice to each other but they also mostly leave each other alone. Today at lunch the little one asked the big boy for help with his math homework and they ended up talking about calculus for an hour. It was a magical moment for me and I hope a sneak peak into how much more they will interact over the next few years. I’m noticing how much these moments mean to me. (You’ll have to ignore the kitchen mess, containing messes has been challenging with all of us being at home.)

100 Days of Noticing – Day 54

There is a lot going on and I am noticing that my emotions are all over the place. This morning I watched the space shuttle with the kids and had tears of joy in my eyes. I visited NASA in February as part of a work event and today’s take off brought so many memories. It was a hopeful moment for humanity. And yet I spent most of the rest of my day educating myself on things that are not as inspiring. I did an assignment with my son in the environment and all that we’re doing to destroy it. I spent a long time watching, reading and learning about what to do against the incredible racism the black community is facing. I am so angry and sad. I am trying hard not to numb these emotions. I get the luxury of choosing to feel and I don’t want to take that for granted. Anger leads to action. Sadness leads to action. It’s important to feel my feelings and take action. Grateful for the guidance of those wiser than I am today. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 55

I can’t really talk or think about anything else today. This is all that’s on my mind. Please go follow: @roxanegay74
I am trying to do my work, so we can fix the world together. It’s up to us.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 56

A little over a week ago, I spent some time journaling so I could see myself think and organize my thoughts. I made a list of all the things I wanted to do more of. After that journaling session, I started changing things and making lists. One of the items on my list was to connect with people more. My manager at work said he was having virtual dinners with friends so we decided to give it a shot. We made a date but then had to move it because we forgot about grocery pickup. Tonight we finally had our date. It was really really wonderful to get to talk to friends and laugh and connect and share stories. I am noticing how good these connections are for my soul and I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 57

Years ago, I took this class at work around how you use your energy throughout the day and how you should optimize around not time but things that give you energy. And how if you have the chance to do things that honor your values/wishes that generally gives you energy. If you can find ways to do two in one, all the better. For example, at the time my older son was very young and I liked walking around the neighborhood with him and talking and getting exercise and taking photos. It was a 3 in one for me: connecting with my son, getting some exercise, and fulfilling a bit of my artistic needs. So when my friend @elitagoesglobal shared this link to @girltrek and their Black History Bootcamp, I signed up immediately. I’ve been trying to move more and combining that with learning was a perfect energy alignment for me. The live streams are at 9am PST when I am often in meetings so I listen to them one day delayed. Yesterday’s talk highlighted Audre Lorde whom I had never heard of and whose poems I fell in love with. Tomorrow’s is Ella Baker. I can’t wait to get up and listen to it as I walk. Thank you @elitagoesglobal for posting about it and grateful to Morgan and Vanessa for educating me and being so open and giving me energy this morning. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 58

Today I felt myself hit an emotional max point. I was simultaneously dealing with my kids’ school, taxes, and in a work meeting when what I wanted to do was none of those things. When my mind and heart was still reeling with all that’s going on right now. And I had this moment where I had to say “uncle.” I am done. I need a moment. Things are happening at a faster pace than I can process and I am overflowing. When covid first hit, I had no time to be obsessively checking the news or my social feeds. I was working very long days and I just worked and slept. I didn’t even try to live my life, keep up with things or accomplish anything besides work. But now I have a bit more time and such I am trying to pick up all the pieces, do all the things, read all the news, and it appears I am running out of capacity. Things are happening faster than I can process and I am just trying so hard to keep up with all.the.things. and it’s rendering me useless. I know that getting to take time off is a privilege I have and I also know that this is a marathon and not a sprint. I want to be in this for the long run. My plan tomorrow is to pick a thing and just do it. Maybe if I can get one small thing done each day, I can sustain. @girltrek continues to be one thing, donating money is another, maybe if I can take one new step every day, I can walk in the direction of doing more and bigger things. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 59

I have moved to fully working outside from 5:30am to 3pm which is when it gets too hot to be outside. And now it’s 8:39pm and I am back outside. I’m noticing that I crave the fresh air, the sound of the birds, the squirrels and even the noise other living humans are making. I was watching a very stressful meeting at work today when a squirrel tried to jump to one of my bird feeders and landed right into the tiny birdbath instead and then slipped and bounced back to the ground. It was not hurt at all and it made me laugh out loud at the shenanigans it was pulling just to eat some bird food. It was a solid laugh on an otherwise really challenging day. I am so grateful for the tiny bit of wildlife I have in my backyard. Grateful for the ability to sit outside. Grateful for moments that remind me that I can still laugh. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 60

I’m noticing that as the school year comes to a close, my capacity to keep track of everything I need to do to close out the year is at an all time low. I have 27 emails from the school and there’s a different important piece of information in each. I have meetings to go to that clash with other meetings. And the kids have final projects. Here’s the little one with the dream catcher he had to make. On the one side I want to be like can’t we just be done already and on the other side I really have zero summer plans. So here we are. Just taking a big breath and remembering that I am grateful for all of it. Grateful to be healthy and safe and learning and growing.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 61

I’m noticing that the balance between my wanting to do nothing and my feeling ennui at doing nothing are clashing with each other. I spent today helping Nathaniel, reading and doing a puzzle and by 5pm I was deeply annoyed with myself so I did my running, took a walk with Jake and then we joined a meeting at the kids’ school. The days are passing, even Nathaniel was saying today that he can’t believe it’s June. I am tired. I am even tired of being tired. But I’ve also noticed that I get energy from doing things not from just resting. So I am making lists. Tomorrow’s plan is to make a weekend routine plan and a summer list. Let’s see how far I get. Tomorrow is a new day. We get up and do it all over again. We learn. We know better. We do better.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 62

I’m noticing that as the posts start dwindling and the noise separates from signal, I yearn for my awareness, my thirst for learning more, my desire to contribute to creating a better world to not diminish. I’ve been looking for ways to weave all of this into my life so that it’s a part of my life and doesn’t ever disappear from my attention. I read a lot and this week I went through my digital shelf to see how many of the books I read are by black authors and how many of them are about racism. The list is not as long as I would like. So one of my plans is to look for more authors. This is not the only thing I am doing and yet it’s a way I can make sure that as I read stories all day every day, I remember to include all stories. I believe you are what you do every day and I want paying attention to become part of my every day. Here are some fantastic books I’ve read by black authors. Here’s to the list being much much longer next year. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 63

When I started journaling two weeks ago, I realized that I was craving more connection in my life. So we started weekly dinner with friends. Tonight was week two, our first time doing it with friends on the east coast. So our 5:30pm dinner was their 8:30pm cocktail hour. It was a couple I hadn’t chatted with in years and years. We made some lovely omelet and some lovely conversation and it was magical. I’m noticing that these are one of the wins from this new experience. Before all this, we would not have fathomed videoconferencing with friends. So I would not have talked to these friends unless I happened to be visiting New York. But now we got to connect and enjoy a wonderful conversation. I hope that after we can go out into the world again, I can still keep these crazy new ways of connecting more.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 64

Today was little boy’s last day of classes (the rest of this week is fun, games and ceremonies) and tonight was their culmination. Each kid presented their work for 4 minutes and then has a six-word phrase for us. They had a short musical performance and a slide show of their virtual trip to Crow Canyon since that’s where they were supposed to go on their 5th grade trip. And at the end they all have each other an elbow shake to say goodbye to fifth grade. It was really lovely to see all their progress and how hard the kids and the school worked despite the incredible challenges we all faced this year. I’m noticing all the ways in which the kids and the teachers got creative, developed different skills and learned and grew and adapted. I am so grateful for the gifts of this very tough year. Grateful that despite it all we are finding ways to grow anyway.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 65

I’m noticing that little things are feeling so meaningful to me lately. Today my older son had a 3-minute recap of his year and I missed it because they moved the schedule last minute and it really upset me. I spent too long yelling in frustration. Then a little while later, we opened our front door to find this cup filled with candy and some funfetti with a little congratulations for him for finishing 9th grade. It made me cry. Just a tiny little thing but knowing how incredibly overwhelmed I am feeling and knowing that someone else took the time to organize the parents, drivers and made these little presents and dropped them by our house really made my day. Don’t ever underestimate the power of kindness. It goes a really really long way. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 66

Saw this on our walk today. It’s been long year and we are not even halfway through 2020 yet. I’m noticing that my ability to replenish has been declining so as the days come and go I start a lower place every day. I need time and space to fill my well. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 67

And here we are. Today I made a pizookie to celebrate the last day of school. We now have a 6th grader and a 10th grader. My how time passes… This summer, just like the rest of this year, is going to be unlike any other. We have no plans except for a 2-week class the big boy is signed up for. Nothing. I’m noticing I have no mental strength to plan anything. So we are going to have to what we’ve doing all along in this time: take it one day at a time, establish some semblance of a routine, and give ourselves large doses of grace. Here’s to a fantastic summer.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 68

I’m noticing that the weekends come and I rarely use them efficiently. This morning I woke up at 6:30am and did my running. Then I spent hours finishing my puzzle as I listened to a book and then we took family photos. Then I lay in the hammock and listened to more books. Next thing I knew it was 5pm.The whole day gone. So Jake and I went climbing and it was magnificent. It was the rock, the babbling water, a deer munching on the grass, and us. It made me feel 100% better about the day. So so grateful for a little time out in the “wild.”

100 Days of Noticing – Day 69

I’m noticing that the days are passing. When I started the 100-day project, I didn’t imagine that 68 days in we’d still be in quarantine. I don’t know what I imagined or why I was hopeful but maybe it was less hope and more denial. Either way, we’re still here. I am watching all the graduations, online farewells and celebrations now that a school season is ending and I am sad for all the kids who didn’t get to have a typical graduation this year. The hugging, the togetherness, the dancing, and the sharing. At the same time, I am seeing how creative and resilient kids and teachers and parents have been and I am hopeful. I am hopeful that we are adaptable, resourceful, and we are always growing. Constantly finding ways to each other. Ways to connect and share. May that forever be the case. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 70

There are few things that ground and center me as much as water does. I deeply wish I lived by the beach, over a lake, or some body of water. We have this pond near our house, so yesterday, when I was feeling the Sunday malaise, I asked Jake if we could drive there and see if it’s open (last time we tried it was closed) we got lucky this time. I’m noticing that I need more time to center and be with myself lately. The weekdays feel like they are passing too quickly even though I wake up at 5:40. Today is the first official day of summer here. We had parent conferences this morning which means we closed this school year. Nathaniel and I made a little schedule for him and me. Which means I need more time. I want to make sure we make wonderful memories together this summer. And more time centering and more time grounding means that I will create more time for him too. I find that when I am full, I can be a lot more generous with my spirit. And with my time. So here’s to spending time filling my cup so I can fill the cups of those I love.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 71

I’m noticing that waking up early has definitely changed the game for me. On the down side, I’m constantly exhausted and I find that I move very slowly in the mornings. On the up side, I’ve been able to exercise, draw and journal almost every morning before work even starts. Each morning when the alarm goes and I want to just roll over and sleep, I remind myself that the 3 hours has been so good for my soul. So I get up. Day after day. Until it becomes a habit.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 72

Today I’m noticing that I miss living life out there. Hugging people. Going on adventures. Even going to work. I am very grateful to be safe and sound and to have a home I love. But I also miss the world so much.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 73

At the beginning of this year I picked a word of the year (as I’ve done for over ten years.) My biggest goal this year was to go into the wild more so I can be stronger, calmer and have more connection with what matters most. I had planned to hike Mt. Whitney (or at least try), continue to improve my rock climbing adventures and just do more things outside. Alas, 2020 had different plans for me. As part of planning my word, I’d made a long list of all the things I could do (like buying more candles that smell of the wild, connecting with friends, meditating, eating more fresh food and buying more flowers etc.) Many of which I still got to do. But of course many of my plans did not and likely will not happen (like visiting Alaska this summer) so this morning I spent some time thinking and journaling about what wild could mean in this new context. What can I still do and invite into my life around the goals that I had when I picked this word to begin with? I’m noticing that journaling always helps me not just in seeing how I feel ( which it definitely does!) But also in brainstorming potential paths forward. I am hoping that even though I won’t get to go to Alaska or hike Whitney, there is still potential for this year to help me come out of it stronger, calmer and more connected to the things that matter most. Here’s hoping.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 74

We started this morning with Nathaniel doing research on Juneteenth so he could read some and then write a bit about it. He’s doing a little bit of critical reading and writing daily so he can practice over the summer. We had a work event with Alicia Keys which was incredible. Nathaniel had his well appointment scheduled back in April but we had rescheduled it to August. The doctor called last week and encouraged us to come sooner. So today we went. It was a surreal experience and since we haven’t been doing anything involving other humans we were pretty worried. We were in and out of there pretty fast despite him having to get a shot. We then ended our day with some family climbing. It was a long, full day. I’m noticing that everything I do feels harder, more stressful and emotionally draining so they days are both short and really really long lately. Grateful that he is safe and sound. Grateful for the weekend.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 75

I’m noticing that I have been craving baked goods lately. I don’t cook or bake usually but I have been doing quite a bit of it in the last 4 months. Not anything fancy of course. Banana bread for the kids. Zucchini and chicken and tomatoes for us. Simple meals. I branched out with the lemon loaf a tiny bit and it was delicious. Today I found myself surfing recipes mindlessly and then I fell into the black hole that is Pinterest and Instagram. I have a routine during the week now but not for the weekend and I clearly really need one. Just resting doesn’t ever seem to work out for me. I end the day and feel full of sadness for the hours that flew by. So here’s to figuring out some sort of routine and also some sort of peace.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 76

I’m noticing that each day seems to come with its own ups and downs. We started our day with the kids celebrating their wonderful dad. My oldest wrote some assembly code that when you ran it, it spit out a letter he wrote to his dad. My little one made a watercolor card with all the things his dad loves: running, stocks, climbing and more. It was loving and so very uniquely us. A lovely way to start the day.

As I was doing my puzzle later in the day, I got a credit card charge that clearly wasn’t mine. Immediately called the company and canceled my card. And I haven’t felt peaceful since. I hope whoever stole my card receives their healthy dose of karma. Way to ruin my day.

So there we go, ups and downs. Every day seems to contain both. I worked hard all day to try to take it in stride and see it as an opportunity to practice letting go and peace. And now here I am at the very end of my day looking at these photos and feeling deep, deep gratitude for my life. Even with its downs, I am so very lucky to be here and be with these 3 boys that make my life so full. Happy father’s day to the love of my life. So grateful to do life with you and so grateful for our incredible children. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 77

I’m noticing that we are each doing the best we can with where we are. Little boy got creative in his room today and built a giant fort. I took the morning off and didn’t draw or journal. Just needed to do nothing this morning. Some days are super productive and other days super unproductive. Most days we are just doing the best we can to make it through another day in this very weird 2020. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 78

I’m noticing that one of the things that brings me the most joy lately is the tiny amount wildlife that lives in my backyard. I caught this little guy eating the bird food this week. I live watching the squirrels and the birds and even the neighbor’s cat that appears to have taken to my yard. (Likely thanks to a mouse that I am pretty sure has also taken to my yard.) I am so grateful for these small bits of the wilderness in my corner of the world

100 Days of Noticing – Day 79

I’m tired. I’m worn out. I am ready for a break. I’m noticing that I am fragile lately. Smallest random things can sway my day. Today I started getting emotional and tearing up in a meeting and had to turn my video off. There was nothing specific going on in the meeting. I am just feeling this fragility that appears to show up randomly without warning. To me, that’s a sign I need a break. Thankfully I plan to take next week off. Here’s to hoping it helps.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 80

We went to a physical store for the first time since March today. We were in Office Depot so I could personally test out some chairs. I noticed this sign outside and it was my first glimpse at what life is going to look like for the next few years. How very sad that this is our new normal. And also how lucky that masks seem to be a viable enough solution so we don’t have to be locked up inside for another year without being able to do anything. May we get a vaccine quickly enough for this to never become “normal.”

100 Days of Noticing – Day 81

We had our first socially distanced dinner tonight. We sat away from each other the whole night but it was so special to get to have a physical person to chat with and eat with. It was really wonderful and yet another thing we won’t take for granted after all this.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 82

I’m noticing that all the days are blending into each other and I am spending all my time doing the same things: reading, puzzles, playing this highly addictive farm/town building game or candycrush and reading some more. Most days have at best one or two productive/exciting moments.

Each day I try to do some chores. The chores today were: I ordered an office chair and I checked off another day in my couch to 5k run. It’s been a tough slog through the app but I am still showing up and still making an effort.

But today’s highlight was getting to video chat with my friend @evelyn_skye who is such a light and I am so grateful to call her a friend. I spent a lot of time thinking about our chat afterwards and it was one of those chats that made me think about my choices and left me feeling inspired.

Grateful for the moments that break up the sameness of every day and make this day stand out. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 83

My sweet friend Kelly came over today with her two sons and husband so her younger son could play chess with my youngest. They each did a move at a time away from each other while we chatted. It was such a great experience for my son and it was the highlight of my day. I’m noticing that this week we’ve seen some people and it’s made all the difference in the world. Here’s to hoping we get to continue to do that in a safe way for a long time. 

100 Days of Noticing – Day 84

Nathaniel and I took a walk today so I could get some fresh air and more exercise and he could play Pokemon Go. I’m noticing that I have a layer of inertia every day lately. Today I did run and I got a lot of small things done. But when I think about my days, I think about all the things I’m going to get done. All the ways I will work with the kids and all the ways I’ll take classes, etc. So we’re going to call today’s walk a win. It was time with my son, time spent outside doing something he loves and gets joy out of. One for the win column.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 85

Today we got up early and went to the woods. I keep wanting to go on adventures and do things and yet I sit on the couch day after day so this morning we went to Castle Rock State Park and hiked the one-way loop. It was hard ( I am out of shape ) and it was hot. But it felt wonderful to be in the woods. To see the blue sky and the mountains and the birds. I’m noticing that each time I go out I remember why I picked wild as my word this year. Even though I spent the rest of this day on the couch, we get to put this day into the win column, too.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 86

Today we went climbing in the gym for the first time since early March. It was the first day the gym was open with new measures including a reservation system, required mask wearing, etc. It was reasonably empty and I didn’t feel unsafe. But climbing with a mask on was really tough especially as I am out of shape so the routes I could do easily before all felt strenuous this time around. We still did it and enjoyed the two hours we spent there. I really hope it was safe and we can keep going in a safe manner. I’m noticing that I always have to keep balancing between choices where neither feel awesome. Going to the gym this week was really important for our mental well being as this is something both Jake and I need. And yet, it was scary of course. Next week, the kids have a dental appointment. I am scared to let them go, but I am also scared of extended neglect. Especially if things deteriorate more and we have to lock down again. I have some appointments and checkups I haven’t done myself yet because I am trying to balance the risk in either direction. Every thing is a choice point and a complicated decision. As this period extends longer and longer I think the decisions and balancing gets tougher and tougher. The answers aren’t as black and white to me anymore. So I take each decision one at a time, I wear my mask, I stay away from others and I try to make the next choice in the best way I can.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 87

I am seven weeks into the eight-week couch to 5k plan. I’ve also started climbing again and for July I’ve decided to do one Peloton class every day (my bike isn’t coming until the end of the month so this will give me a chance to explore all their other classes.) One of the things I noticed today after the 20-min strength class I did was that right after I exercise I feel very tired. I have this tingly sensation all over my body and I have a heightened ability to feel my body and to feel inside my body. I tend to be in my head quite a lot but when I am feeling this exhaustion, I am too tired to feel anything but this moment. It is the most consistent way for me to feel present in this moment. Right here, right now. I hadn’t noticed this until today but now that I have, I am that much more excited to go exercise more. Grateful for any way I get to drop into the present moment.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 88

As part of the word I pick each year, I also take the One Little Word class by @aliedwards it’s been one of my favorite classes since she’s started offering it. There’s a new prompt each month and July was the month to have some fun with paint and write some mantras. As I made my little cards I noticed that what I needed to do was to take a step back and rethink my word. It’s halfway through this year. That means there are six more months left still. That’s too long to write this year off (even if I might want to some times) and I’ve never changed my word before. As I thought more about my word and how it was going to be tough to “achieve” it while sheltering at home, I decided to take a step back and see what the word was in service of. If I really fully stepped into my word this year, what would be possible for me? I realized that I picked “wild” for two main reasons: to become stronger and to feel more at peace. My goal with Whitney was to get strong and fit enough to do such an extraordinary hike. My goal with being in the wilderness in general is to remember what matters most to me so I can turn off the noise of the insignificant things I tend to worry about and let contentment and peace wash over me. So after yesterday’s art time, I realized that my goals were just a series of things I’d decided would lead me to the feelings I was seeking. They were not the end goal itself. Which means I can reimagine this year and still get what I seek from this word. I can work on my strength in many other ways. And I can ground myself with journaling, meditation, art journaling. I can brainstorm new ideas of activities that get me to the same outcome. I can at least try.

So there we go. A little bit of perspective always helps. Here’s to making my word continue to work for me.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 89

We took a walk down to Palo Alto to see the BLM mural today and then had a long discussion with our teenager starting with the history of 4th of July and then about the American flag and then moving to patriotism vs nationalism. It was long, messy and complicated. It reminded me how much I like having older kids with whom we can have intellectual conversations where we can both expand as people and open our minds more. I’m noticing that in our house we have an eclectic mix with an immigrant mom and an American dad and these kids who are being raised by both of us who are forming their own ideologies along the way.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 90

My kiddos and I took a walk today so the little one could play some Pokemon Go and I could get a few steps in. I convinced the older boy to come too, which is rare for sure. We spent our walk discussing whether it was irresponsible for schools to open while this pandemic is clearly still not contained.

My ten-day vacation is over tonight and if I am honest I am not really ready to go back to work. I need some more down time and unwind time where I have nothing to do. I feel pretty peaceful and grounded right now (albeit sore.) But alas it’s time to go back.

I’m noticing the anxiety rise and trying to focus on being here inside my body and remembering how lucky we are that we are all healthy and safe. I’m acutely aware that this is not the case for everyone and I am grateful for this day and this moment, sitting outside listening to the birds nibble at the food I left out for them and reading a book while the day comes to a close. So very grateful.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 91

As the countdown to 100 gets to be in the single digits, I am wondering if I want to start another project after I wind this one down. Part of me wants to continue noticing. I have this project I like why should I stop just because I reached an arbitrary deadline I set? It’s the same way that some years I don’t want to let go of my word of the year. In 2019, it was incredibly hard for me to pick a word because I walked into the year feeling deeply depressed and I felt like no word was going to matter. As it worked out my word (magic) that year was absolutely perfect. It was so good that as 2019 wound down I didn’t want to give it up. But I’ve also learned that new words give me new perspectives, they stretch me in new ways. They encourage me to grow. So do new projects. So the real question is not whether I want to do more noticing but if I want to another project that I post daily or do I just do a project for myself or do I do nothing and take a break? I’m noticing that having something that helps me pause once a day even if for 5 minutes has been really helpful. So if I can find a way to maintain this level of commitment without a lot of burden, I would like to keep doing a project. Let’s see if an idea comes. I have a seed of an idea now but I have to think on it more.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 92

Our motto during the shelter in place has mostly been live and let live. Each of us has slightly different routines and slightly different setups. We each have our corner of the house and we try to stay out of each other’s spaces with the exception of checking in and giving hugs etc. Each of us have periods where we’re clearly free so if we want to engage we just do it then. With my little one it’s usually in the mornings. He likes to wake up early and is generally in good spirits so he likes to chat then. My older one however tends to prefer evenings. Especially if it’s really late and I am trying to sleep, he’s wide awake and ready to chat. Today, I got lucky and he decided he wanted to chat in the afternoon so we had a long discussion on online classes and deep learning and other subjects I barely understand. I’m noticing that as a deep introvert I really appreciate the live and let live mentality. I understand that there are many people who disagree with it but it works for us, for now. As I get older, I am working hard to quiet the voices in my head about how things ‘should’ be and pay attention to how things work best for me (for us) and try to focus on that instead.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 93

In the first few months of covid, I was working so much that everything else pretty much went into the “later” bucket. I bookmarked thousands of tabs, emails and Todo list items. At the time, I think I was optimistic that there would be an “after” when I was going to be able to catch up and spend time on other things that were important to me. Now that we’re almost 4 months in, I am finally seeing some potential free space in my schedule and life. What I am noticing though is that the work that’s getting my attention is whatever might be time sensitive, loudest, most recent. As opposed to an intentional path forward. In fact, the amount of intentionality in my life is too low in general. I have a lot of frameworks, rituals, regular tasks in my life and to the outside person I might already be very intentional but intentionality and alignment with my priorities/values is the most important thing for me. So I pay extra attention to this area because when I am really leaning into it, I am at my most fulfilled and at my most productive. I’m working on fixing this in my non-work life and today I noticed that I really would like to do this at work, too.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 94

I usually work outside in the backyard. I like sitting there seeing the squirrels and birds and feeling the fresh air. My little one sits inside but faces the back yard. Today I snuck a peek at him and snapped this shot. I always feel so grateful for his cheerful demeanor. It’s one of my favorite things about my husband and now I get to enjoy it in my little one, too. I’ve been in a funk for the last few days where the world is weighing heavily on me and I am feeling sad about all that’s happening in the news. I’m noticing the fragility and trying to figure out how to give it the space it needs. It’s been so many days and there are still more questions than answers and still so much unknown. Grateful for the smiling faces that surround me at a time like this.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 95

I’ve been thinking about what I miss the most about not going to work. I worked from home for 10 years so being at home doesn’t faze me all that much. I can be productive here and I am not lonely. What I miss, I’m noticing, is not the meetings or time at my desk, it’s those in between moments where I was connecting with someone completely unexpectedly. The moments when one of my officemates would come in and we’d make a joke. Little moments between the meetings, inside jokes, sharing of perspective/context for the times when we are in different rooms/discussions around some work event. It’s not exactly the water cooler moments, I don’t miss the social scene in general. Just the tiny moments with a few people. I miss those the most. This work setup doesn’t leave any space for serendipity. Alas I am still grateful that I have the kind of job that allows me to work at all.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 96

Today I played with paint again for the first time in a long while. I struggled as I always do when I go back into things after a long break but it still felt wonderful to get lost in the flow of playing with paint, stitching with my machine, making patterns and not overthinking things. I miss painting and I miss how happy it makes me when I do it regularly. I’m noticing that it always takes me a while to get back into the rhythms after I take a break this long. So I want to give myself grace and I also want to keep going. See if I can find my way back. Slow and steady always wins the race.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 97

Family photo day today. I have three days left and I still haven’t come up with a plan for what comes after. I’m assuming I’ll figure it out when the time comes. I spent the weekend lost in personality tests. Enneagram, Myers Briggs, love languages, strengths finder, you name it, I did it. Not sure what it’s all about but clearly I needed it so I let myself have it. Now I am sitting in the yard closing out the last few hours of this weekend doing my favorite thing: reading. As with the others, the weekend went by too fast. I am so grateful for breezy and warm afternoons of California. Grateful to be safe and sound and at peace today.

100 Days of Noticing – Day 98

I’m noticing that as the days at home continue ad infinitum, we are finding new routines here. Trying new meals, growing food, new exercise routines and finding ways to have things feel “different” and “fresh.” We are each navigating all this in ways that allows us to stay sane, have space, and support each other. Despite how hard it is to get up, I am infinitely grateful for how I start my days and am still craving some evening routine I can maintain. By the time 5pm rolls around I feel wrecked and nothing feels appealing any more. So my quest this and next week is to find an evening routine. For today, it’s 7:46pm and I am already in bed. We have a 5:45am climbing session tomorrow so I am going to read a bit and sleep early. Tomorrow, after the exercise, I will make plans!

100 Days of Noticing – Day 99

I asked the little boy if I could take a photo of us and here’s what I got. I have a lot of strengths but no one would accuse me of being too happy. And I’ve noticed that I am consistently drawn to happy, positive, optimistic people and find ways to bring them into my life. I’ve already mentioned how my husband is a huge sunshine, but I’ve noticed that even at work my manager, the coworker I spend most of my time with and several of my most favorite people are all happy people who bring fun and a positive outlook into my life. The best thing about marrying someone like that has been that it’s a gift that keeps giving. I get to have my incredible husband and this incredible kid. A few years ago, one of his teachers said “if you look up happiness in a dictionary it would have a photo of your son next to it.” I can’t put into words what a joy it is for me to hear this and how deeply grateful I am for this gift in my life ??

100 Days of Noticing – Day 100

And here we are. 100 days. I will say that I likely intellectually understood that we would still be at home and still be dealing with the consequences of covid when I started this journey 100 days ago, but I don’t really think I had internalized this. I think that has in fact been an interesting part of this journey all along: how much of this is staying in the surface vs really sinking in. I’m noticing that there are days when I am grieving deeply and embracing the loss of so much and then days where I just focus on being thankful that we’re healthy and ignoring all the rest and then days where I just want to bury my head in the sand and think of nothing at all. It’s all been a part of my journey and I expect it will continue to be so. I tend to spend a lot of time being introspective so I expect much of this will be processed even if at a later date. And the best part of posting here every day has been that it’s helping me process a little each day.

I still haven’t decided what the next project will be. It likely won’t be another 100 days and it likely will include some introspection. That’s all I know for now.

Grateful to have completed another 100-day project. I never regret doing these.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 36

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.

How Lulu Lost Her Mind (2.5 stars): I started and stopped this book several times. It might be more to do with the audiobook, which I thought wasn’t great. This is the story of a successful woman whose mom is sick and she decides to take her back to her hometown (in the south) to follow her wishes. Not much happens, it’s sweet but not super sweet. I think books like this require you to get invested in the characters and I just couldn’t get there.

The Night Swim (4 stars): I don’t usually write trigger warnings for books but I think this book requires Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault. There is quite a bit of graphic detail and the whole plot revolves around the rape of a young girl (two in fact.)

The book alternates between the main character and a podcast she does. It’s an interesting take on the alternating chapters idea.

There are several twists, some I could tell, some not. The book kept me engaged the whole time though I will say that by the end the subject matter was really getting to me.

The Idea of You (3 stars): Mixed feelings on this book. It is about an older woman dating a younger man (39 vs 20), the younger man is also a part of a famous boy band. There’s a lot of sex in this book and a lot of infatuation. It’s trying to also cover some more serious issues but I still didn’t see the depth I would have expected from a book like that so I felt like it wasn’t as fun as it could have been if it weren’t trying to be serious.

The Complete Urban Sketching Companion (5 stars): I consider the Urban Sketching books to be the best combination of eye candy and fantastically valuable information and this very comprehensive guide is no exception. In fact, if you’ve never read any of them and aren’t sure where to start, I’d say this is the best one to start with.

It’s comprehensive and covers buildings, cityscapes and people. It has color concepts, perspective, motion, depth, and so many other fundamentals of sketching in urban settings. It breaks down the sketch step by step so you know where to start, how to build, and how to put the finishing touches.

It also has all the delicious eye-candy I’ve come to expect from these books. Fantastic sketches, wonderful variety, and it’s sure to make you itch to go out and sketch. If only one could master sketching just by reading books!

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

Self-Knowledge (4 stars): Self-Knowledge is a super-quick read with concepts and exercises to help you think about and be aware of your behavior, choices, and self-regard. These are very simple exercises but of course the simplest exercises are often the most powerful.

Fiona Buckland’s narration was very even, not with a lot of emotion or inflection. I found it distanced me from some of the emotional and personal topics she was discussing. But it was clear and easy to follow.

If you like to work on yourself, increase your self-awareness and have not spent a lot of time asking questions around self-discovery, this short, simple book will be a great way to get started and be introduced to some of these questions to help guide you.

with gratitude to NetGalley and Publisher Spotlight Audio/The School of Life for an advance copy of Self-Knowledge.

Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators (5 stars): If you’ve ever wanted to get into watercolor painting, this is the book for you. It is the most comprehensive and complete book I’ve seen on the subject.

It starts with the basics: the tools, color theory&mixing and how to apply the paint. How to observe your subject. Basics of drawing and perspective and planning.

And then it gets into techniques which have a beginner, intermediate and advanced section. Tons and tons of techniques in this book. You can practice one daily or weekly and won’t run out for a long, long time.

And my favorite section is all the subjects. From people to pets to cityscapes to abstract to everything in between, this book doesn’t spare anything. It has examples, tips, advice and techniques for any subject. It has absolutely beautiful paintings and it makes you want to drop all you’re doing and pull out your watercolors.

I cannot recommend it enough.

With gratitude to netgalley and DK for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

And there we go, grateful to be 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.

Moments of 2020 – 35

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 – 35

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 Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals (4.5 stars): I am not sure why this book didn’t get more coverage. I absolutely loved it from the very beginning. It’s the story of Ariel who goes back home to her mom Mona’s animal sanctuary when she finds out that it is about to be sold.

It’s a coming-back-home story but has the animal sanctuary twist. There are also some political commentary so fair warning.

But what I loved about this book was the characters. There are several really interesting characters and they are so much joy to be around. I could definitely feel the small town feeling and I loved spending time with everyone in this book.

I really wish more people read this one.

with gratitude to edeweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy

In a Holidaze (4 stars): I’m just such a fan of Christina Lauren books. I know what to expect, and they never disappoint me.

Reading a book about Christmas in August was my favorite way to spend a few hours. This is the story of Maelyn who is at a Utah cabin with her family and another few families who’ve spent Christmas together for ever. The book starts off as a Groundhog’s Day trope which really worried me because I’ve read several books this year where the main character gets to re-live the same day and none of them were executed well so I got really worried.

But as it turns out she only gets to re-live a small number of times here and there’s something new and fun in each instance. So it’s not the main focus of the book, which for me, was a good thing.

This is a story about how it pays off to be yourself, to go after the things that make you happy and to take chances each and every time. Life is short and don’t compromise your joy because you’re too scared.

It’s fun, funny, inspiring and sweet. Everything I’ve come to expect from Christina Lauren and they deliver again in this wonderful holiday novel.

With gratitude to netgalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Silent Wife (3 stars): Ok so this was book #10 in a series where I have read none of the book. But it had high ratings and I was craving a mystery so I read it anyway. It was about a serial killer (not the most uplifting topic but mysteries rarely have that.) It was the kind of mystery I like, where you get to know the characters and there’s a lot of room for not just the plot but character development. It’s about 2x longer than the recent usual twisty mystery books and the author uses all that space for her characters. Enjoyed this one.

The Worst Best Man (3.5 stars): Loved this super fast read. It was fun and funny. The hate to love trope isn’t usually my favorite but I just liked these characters and had fun with the story.

Stranger in the Lake (2 stars): Meh, this story was mostly boring. About a woman who marries a man whose ex-wife drowned in their lake and then now they find another body in the same lake and she had seen her husband talk to that woman the day before. Is he the bad guy? I mean if he were, wouldn’t it just be too obvious for a plot?

The Comeback (4 stars): “I’d like to say I didn’t understand what I was agreeing to, but I think it would be a lie– even back then I knew I was giving a part of myself away.”

This is a really well-written story about an actress who achieves early success thanks to a director who takes her under his wing. It’s the story of how he also sexually abused her and used her and took advantage of her.

It’s not as dark as it might sound and it’s really well written. What I liked the most about this book was the tone (which I don’t think I’ve ever written in a review before.) It had this perfect tone the whole way through where you felt the low level discomfort and unease the character had the whole time. Sometimes it escalated and I was on the edge of my seat and other times I could breathe more easily with her.

I was rooting for her 100% of the time. Really well-done.

And there we go, grateful to be 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.

Living Wild – 35

Weekly Intention: This is a quiet week since we have a no-meeting day and a global day off. This means a lot is squished into 3 days and it means I have a whole day of perf. My plan this week is to be slow and steady, let’s see if I can make it happen.

This month’s intention is: September: Embrace the Wild: Time to root and surrender. This is a hard month for you. Transitions are rough. But you also turn 46. It’s magical to get to have another year. Remember the growth mindset. Let go of your preconceived ideas and embrace the wild. Love this little reminder. Let’s see what I can do. Be kind with myself.

One way I will show up this week:  productive.

I will go into the wild:  maybe a little trip to the water would be nice.

This week, I will pay attention to: putting things together.

One new thing I will begin this week: a little present i am making

One magic I will create: some birthday fun for my love.

One thing I hope to release: perf

One thing I will join in on: back to school night this week.

One area I will practice being open: to whatever may come

I am looking forward to: being totally done with perf.

This week’s challenges: finishing off perf and the short week.

Top Goals:

  • Work: finish perf, continue creating space, make a plan, keep email clean.
  • Personal: continue with daily core + biking! + running, meditation and stretching, do better on eating the wild. draw. journal. sleep earlier. continue 100 days of mantras. pick more friends to connect with. cold showers.
  • Family: help nathaniel more. support nathaniel and david and jake. cook. walk. climb together. friday adventures. back to school night.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): I am working on grounding myself. Let’s see if I can keep going.

This week, I want to remember: that this year is flying by.

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

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 34

The Wildest Part of this Week was: This week was quiet. I stayed up until 2am on Saturday which was definitely wild for me.

Top Goals Review:  Didn’t blog last week, so no goals. Here’s the update from the week before.

  • Work: finished and submitted packet, tried to continue creating space, did not make a plan, kept email somewhat clean.
  • Personal: did not continue with daily core + did the biking! + and the running, did not do meditation and stretching, did so so on eating the wild. drew very little. journaled a bit. did not sleep earlier. continued 100 days of mantras. did not pick more friends to connect with. did not do cold showers.
  • Family: supported nathaniel and david and jake. cooked a bit. walked once. climbed together. did not do friday adventures. did school trips to get materials. did the dentist.

I celebrate: our little getaway in Tahoe.

I am grateful for: the kids being back to school

This week, I exercised: i ran 3 times for 20 minutes, I did the peloton bike every day.

This week, I answered the Call of the Wildwe went to Tahoe and climbed and hiked.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: journaling daily still. Doing Cleo Wade’s book now.

This week’s Wildcard was: some crazy times this week.

I said yes to: getting away, giving space.

I said no to: getting caught up in things.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: i am releasing the pressure of spending too much energy on perf still, and being kinder with myself. i am delighting in animal crossing still and leaping into exercising more and more.

My mood this week was: quiet

I am proud of: showing up.

I release: the stress, the hardtime i am giving myself.

Here’s what I learned this week: space is important

What I love right now: sitting outside again thankfully.

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

Moments of 2020 – 34

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 – 34

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.

Bear Necessity (4 stars): Love love loved this quirky book. I am now a bit apprehensive when a blurb says a book is quirky or is compared to Nick Hornby whom I love and adore, but this book mostly lived up to its promise. It’s sweet, touching, and undeniably quirky. I loved the characters and really loved all the layers of emotion without any of the melodrama of losing a mom/wife. It was a really enjoyable read.

with gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

She’s Faking It (3 stars): I wanted something light and fun and this book definitely fit the bill. I felt like it started strong and sort of fizzled a bit toward the end but I enjoyed it all the way through and loved the author’s voice and the fun characters.

The House of Deep Water (4 stars): I am not sure why this novel doesn’t get higher ratings. I really enjoyed this multi-generational saga that shows the complexities of being in a family, going back to your hometown and trying to grow up despite challenges. This is a novel about strong, complex women and the hardships they endure. It has themes around family, racism, abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty, and isolationism. It’s a slow, well-written book that grows on you. I loved the time I spent with it.

with gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The End of Her (3 stars): I have been looking for a good, strong mystery novel to get lost in and I hadn’t heard of this one but it got high ratings so I wanted to try it. It was fast-paced and kept me reading but in the end I didn’t love it. I felt like the character development was weak and the twist wasn’t that twisty and I was like meh.

And there we go, grateful to be 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.

Moments of 2020 – 33

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 – 33

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.

Pull of the Stars (3 stars): So I don’t want to rate this low as it wasn’t in any way a bad book and it has a lot of interesting bits, especially as I read it during a pandemic. However, unlike Donoghue’s other books, i did not get attached to any of the characters while reading this and just didn’t feel any connection to the book as a result.

The End of Everything (4 stars): “At some point, in a cosmic sense, it will not have mattered that we ever lived. The universe will, more likely than not, fade into a cold, dark, empty cosmos, and all that we’ve done will be utterly forgotten.”

It took me forever to get through this book. To be fair, I am not good at physics and even though I’ve read a few Brian Greene books, I am far far away from the amount of knowledge it would help to have before reading this book.

That didn’t stop me from working hard to make my way through it. It’s written in common, easy language and tries to add both some perspective and levity but at the end of the day, this is a book about astrophysics and there’s no way that’s not going to be dense (unless you simplify it so much that it’s pointless.

Katie Mack manages to make it both readable and keeps the physics serious, real, and interesting.

If physics is your thing or you’re just fascinated like I am, this is the book for you.

with gratitude to netgalley and Scribner for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

One to Watch (2 stars): Meh. I know everyone loved this book but I just didn’t connect with it at all. Maybe because I don’t ever watch those shows on TV. I loved the idea of the book much more than the reality of it.

Once Again (3.5 stars): This was a fast-paced story that I couldn’t put down once I started. There are several interesting elements to the story:

Zac – the dad and scientist, who is working in an astrophysics lab and making a huge discovery which results in some sort of time shifting in the universe. His chapters were mostly about science and it was dense/hard to understand what was going on. I didn’t worry too much, just read what I could understand and didn’t stress too much about the details. I did feel like we didn’t get to know Zac as much as I wish I could have but he’s not the focal point. He’s just an instrument that makes the plot possible.

Erin – the mom whose daughter is abducted 500 days ago and she’s really the main character of the story as time shifts she gets another chance at rescuing her daughter and goes to heroic ends to make that possible. As a mom, I could relate the most to her, of course. And she’s the reason I kept reading and reading.

there are a few minor characters: a police officer (whose chapters didn’t really feel like they served a major purpose,) the abductor (did not enjoy reading these of course,) and then a few other scientists, some characters at school etc. but none of them got their own chapter.

The story is go-go-go the whole time (except during the science chapters) and it just didn’t seem possible for me to put it down. I don’t know that I will remember the book forever and I did think it has a lot of flaws. I tend to love character stories and this was decidedly a plot story but i still couldn’t put it down.

with gratitude to netgalley and Alcove Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Pretty Things (4 stars): I always find myself putting off reading the longer books in case they are not good and I am now stuck reading them for a while (yes I know i could put them down but i rarely do) and yet the longer books tend to be my favorites. Maybe it’s because the characters take time and grow and do unexpected things.

I put off reading this book for many, many weeks and when I finally read it, I enjoyed it a lot. The characters in this book grow and end up doing unexpected things. I enjoyed it.

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop (3.5 stars): When I saw the blurb for this book, I loved it and really couldn’t wait to read it. Once I started it, I loved that it takes place right in my neighborhood and really enjoyed the familiar places it mentioned. But, alas, maybe because I had such high expectations, this book was fun but not great. I enjoyed the time I spent with it but I felt like the blurb had so much more potential.

And there we go, grateful to be 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.