Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: May 2019

Another glorious month of reading is in the books! (Heh. Pun intended.) These monthly roundup posts are probably my favorite kinds of posts to pull together. Seeing everything I read throughout the past month, reflecting on the things I’ve learned…it feels kind of cool, you know?

This hasn’t been the easiest month. My daughter was sick, AGAIN. Two doctor appointments later, she was finally diagnosed with a sinus infection…and then I got sick (which is what happens when you spend an entire week mopping up your kid’s snot and catching her coughed-so-hard-she-puked vomit in your bare hands). It was a pretty awful three-day weekend over Memorial Day (yes, we have urgent care, but it’s still $100 bucks just to walk in the door, but suffering and misery for three days until you can see the regular doctor means only a $25 copay! Yay, American healthcare…). I was able to get into the doctor Tuesday morning; she peered into my ears and up my nose and threw a crapload of antibiotics at me, because my ears and sinuses are a hot mess. I’m still experiencing some discomfort, but it’s not as fierce as it was in the beginning, thank goodness.

Fortunately, this was a pretty great month for reading, so let’s get down to the business of what I read this month, shall we?

Books I Read in May 2019

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie- Alan Bradley

2. Ramona the Brave- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

3. Sold on a Monday- Kristina McMorris

4. The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster- Sarah Krasnostein

5. Ramona and Her Father- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

6. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Love, Identity & So Much More- Janet Mock

7. Welcome to Temptation- Jennifer Crusie

8. Love and Other Words- Christina Lauren

9. Ramona and Her Mother- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

10. Everything On It- Shel Silverstein (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

11. Yes Please- Amy Poehler

12. Going Doolally: An honest tale of anxiety and motherhood- Katie Pickworth

13. Just the Way You Are- Ann Roth

14. In Other Words- Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Ann Goldstein

15. Landline- Rainbow Rowell

16. All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir- Nicole Chung

17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

18. Voices from Chernobyl: An Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster- Svetlana Alexievich

19. History of Wolves- Emily Fridlund

20. Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1)- Dahlia Adler

21. Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father– Warren Jeffs– Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult- Rachel Jeffs

22. Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels- Sarah Wendell

23. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America- Morgan Jerkins (no review due to illness)

24. What the Witch Left- Ruth Chew (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

25. The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam- G. Willow Wilson (no review due to illness)

26. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic- Alison Bechdel (no review due to illness)

27. The Best We Could Do- Thi Bui (no review due to illness)

Doing nothing but hanging out at home and being sick gives you a lot of time to read…

Book Challenges Update

This is the month I finished both the reading challenges I took up at the beginning of the year! Having never finished a challenge in the past, this feels like a big deal for me. πŸ™‚

First off, I finished up the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge. Here’s my completed task list!

For a book in the backlist of a favorite author, I read Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie; for my third book of the year by the same author, I read Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren; and for a book I chose for the cover, I read Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris. VoilΓ ! First completed challenge. πŸ™‚

And then, because I have to get everything done as fast as possible in order to prevent my anxiety from flaring because there are THINGS LEFT UNDONE, I also completed Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge! Here’s what that list looks like:

Yay me!!! I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to stick with these tasks until completion. I’ve discovered a ton of new authors, learned some fascinating and disturbing things, opened my mind to new ways of thinking, visited far away places in distance and time, read new-to-me formats… I started the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge because I wanted to see if I could even complete a challenge at all, and I picked up the Read Harder Challenge because I felt like it would help me grow as a reader. It definitely did, and I’m planning on taking up this challenge in the future as well.

And now I’m completely challengeless! What’s a girl to do? Well, I’ve got 97 books on my Goodreads TBR (it WAS down to 50, thank you SO much, fellow book bloggers, for constantly posting about interesting books that I just HAVE to read… :D), so I’m going to focus on plowing through that for a bit. I’ve got so many books on there I’m looking forward to!

Books I Acquired in May 2019

There was this book haul:

from that used book sale, which was unbelievably magic because it was the place where I found the book I’d been looking for since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD. I still can’t get over that, and I’m soooooooooo looking forward to reading that book (which I’m entirely sure is going to be all kinds of early 1980’s romance problematic) as soon as I finish with my current stack. This is going to be FUN.

And then I was lucky enough to win The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr from Always With a Book! Kristin always posts such interesting content and hosts fantastic giveaways; Robyn Carr has gotten a lot of mentions on the podcast I’m listening to lately, so I’m really looking forward to reading this. Thanks, Kristin!

Bookish Things I Did in May 2019

The aforementioned book sale was the absolute highlight of my month! I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being happy I found that book and can stop wondering what the heck it is! Once I read down what my library has of my TBR stash, I’ll start reading the books I got from that sale while I wait for interlibrary loans to come in. πŸ™‚

I wasn’t able to make this month’s library book discussion group (my son had a choir concert that night), but I did go in on the first day and sign up for the adult summer reading program! There’s not a ton I want in regards to prizes (I’m putting all my tickets in for the Kindle Fire, but I assume most everyone else will be as well, so I’m not holding my breath), but I’m thrilled just to participate and help bump the library’s numbers up. Each sheet has ten spaces to fill in; after that, you can pick up a new sheet, up to five sheets. I figure I’ll get pretty close, if not finish it; I’ve already turned in two sheets…

My blog got a fantastic shout-out on Twitter and Facebook from Eileen Truax, author of How Does It Feel to Be Unwanted?: Stories of Resistance and Resilience from Mexicans Living in the United States. This was such a powerful book, and I always appreciate having my blog and reviews noticed. Thanks, Ms. Truax! πŸ™‚

Current Podcast Love

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is fabulous!!! I’ve added a buttload of books to my TBR and learned a whole lot from the amazing variety of guests they have on- authors, bloggers (the episode with Kristy, aka Caffeinated Fae, talking about the #copypastecris scandal is so interesting!), podcasters, publishing industry people, there’s really something here for everyone. If you’re a writer (especially of but not limited to romance), there’s also a ton of great advice to be found in this podcast (which I’m mentally squirreling away for when my daughter goes to kindergarten and I have quiet time once again!). I’m SO enjoying every second of listening to this podcast.

Real Life Stuff

Again, not the greatest of months. We *just* had the pukes mid-April, and then my daughter started coughing the day of her birthday party, April 28. The cough lingered for a few weeks…and then came the snot. Rivers and rivers of it, and then a nasty fever that wouldn’t die. We had a few more episodes of puking (snot and coughing, they’re not great together), and finally, on her second doctor trip, they diagnosed a sinus infection. I was already coughing with a sore throat then, but eight days later, I was back in the office, feeling as though someone had kicked me in the face. Antibiotics for everyone! Great googly-moogly, we need a healthier month around here.

My daughter finished preschool!!! I don’t often post photos of her online, but this is too cute not to. First day of preschool:

And the last day (she still had a mega-runny nose here, but had been on meds long enough that I felt okay with her attending the hour-long goodbye party):

She’s changed SO MUCH these past two years! She won the Sweetheart Award, for being sweet and kind and polite to everyone at school (which thrills me and makes me mildly irritated that they’re getting such a different version of my child than the one I get! :D). Onward to kindergarten in August! πŸ™‚

My son finished up his junior year; he’ll be attending some choir-related camps in June, which will include being gone for his birthday, which is a bummer for me, but I understand. He made Madrigals for his choir next year, which is a HUGE deal, and I’m so proud of him (and can’t wait to see him dressed up in Madrigal clothing).

Coming up in June, my son will turn 17 (NOT ACTUALLY POSSIBLE), and he’ll do one and possibly two choir camps. I’ll have another book sale put on by the same people who did the last magical book sale, so who knows what I’ll find there???

My daughter and I are going to be working on her reading this summer. She can read Level 1 books at a slow pace (although she does a lot of guessing. She knows how to sound things out, but she’d rather take what she thinks is the faster route), so my goal is to just keep swimming with her and increase her fluency and fluidity. She’s not a huge fan of the process, but she’s super excited having DONE the reading, and she does enjoy a good story, so hopefully we’ll start her off on the right foot in kindergarten. πŸ™‚

And that’s it! How was your May? Hopefully much healthier than mine!!!

Happy reading in June! πŸ™‚

Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: April 2019

Where did April go? (I feel like I start off every post saying something like that, but seriously, this year feels like it’s flying by.) Last month, I figured I would read fewer books once the weather started warming up, and so far, that’s been true. Of course, I spent a bunch of days being sick this month, and then spent several more cleaning up after being sick (have you ever seen pictures of, say, Buckingham Fountain or Niagara Falls? That’s pretty much what my daughter looked like for four days straight, except with vomit and not water. Picture that and you’ll have an idea of the amount of cleaning and laundry I had to do. Even when she made it to the bucket in time…she usually didn’t make it alllllllllllll the way in the bucket. Laundry, laundry, laundry). I’ve also been spending some time working outside in the yard that’s been badly neglected the past four years (due to my daughter being too young and not a great listener. I couldn’t trust that she wasn’t going to run off into the road while I yanked weeds!). I’ve been ripping out dead and unsightly plants and s.l.o.w.l.y. moving wagonful after wagonful of rocks from in front of my house to behind my yard. When that’s done, the area will look nice, but I’ve got a start on it! However, it does eat up my reading time, so BOO to that.

Let’s start this recap party with a list of all the things I’ve read this month!

Books I read in April 2019

1. Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

2. Flocks by L. Nichols

3. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (no review; I read this out loud to my daughter)

4. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

5. River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

6. To Kiss the Blarney Stone by Kate Curry

7. Accidental Jesus Freak: One Woman’s Journey From Fundamentalism to Freedom by Amber Lea Starfire

8. Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

9. Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

10. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

11. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (no review, I read this out loud to my daughter)

12. The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail

13. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary (no review, I read this out loud to my daughter, who finally understands why I call her Ramona all the time)

14. Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing- A PEN American Center Prize Anthology, edited by Bell Gale Chevigny

15. Chasers of the Light: Poems From the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson

16. The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman

17. They Come At Night by Nick Clausen

18. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

19. Jesse’s Girl by Tara September

20. Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time by Doris Pilkington (review to come)

21. Watched By Ancestors: An Australian Family in Papua New Guinea by Kathy Golski (review to come)

Not too bad! Poetry, fascinating nonfiction, thought-provoking middle grade and adult fiction, plenty of new-to-me authors, and some childhood rereads that I was able to share with my daughter (who both adores Ramona Quimby and is horrified by her behavior…which mirrors my daughter’s behavior SO often!). The numbers are okay, but in this list are two novellas, a bunch of children’s books, a slim volume of poetry…yup, my reading definitely slowed down this month!

Book Challenges Update

I’m closing in on completing Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge! I blasted through a ton of books from that this month, and here’s what my list looks like now.

Three books left! I’m working on the cozy mystery right now, my library has a copy of a novel by a trans author, and then I’ll pick out a humor book and be done!

I completed some tasks from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2019 Reading Challenge this month as well. I finally read Watched by Ancestors: An Australian Family in Papua New Guinea by Kathy Golski (review to come). This came to me via my friend Sandy, who read and recommended it to me (and then sent me her copy! Thank you again, Sandy!), so I’m counting that as task #4, a book recommended by someone with great taste. πŸ™‚ And as for a book published before I was born, I’m counting Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, which I read aloud to my daughter. Bonus points because I never finished this one as a kid (probably because it wasn’t one of Dahl’s best). Here’s what my challenge looks like now:

Three more and I’ll have completed this as well! πŸ™‚ For someone who used to start challenges and then immediately fizzle out, I’m pretty proud of myself. πŸ™‚

Books I Acquired in April 2019

I won the copy of The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage from a giveaway at Always with a Book. Thanks, Kristin! (Okay, technically, I won in March, but the book arrived in April, so I waited to count it for this month.) And I picked up a copy of Purity by Jackson Pearce when I stopped by the thrift store in search of books for my daughter’s birthday. Their children’s’ books, YA included, are ten cents apiece, so I figured for that price, it was worth it!

OMG!!!! I’m a huge fan of the Dummies books, along with the Complete Idiots Guides. They give great overviews of broad topics, and I always enjoy delving into something new. I found this copy of Opera for Dummies at a church yard sale- it even has the CD!- and I could NOT be more excited about this. I enjoy listening to opera, but I don’t know much about it, so between this and my copy of 100 Great Operas and Their Stories (which has been on my shelf for a while), I’m ready to learn! The copy is pristine and only set me back fifty cents. πŸ™‚

Bookish Things I Did in April 2019

My library takes part in the Reading Without Walls challenge every year. The challenge is to read a book about someone who doesn’t look like you or live like you, read a book about a topic you didn’t know much about, or read a book in a format you don’t normally read. I figured my reading of The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail counted for this, filled out the paper (which looked like a brick), and turned it in to the librarian at Adult Services. I’m eligible to win a raffle prize of some sort, but really, I’m just glad that my brick/paper will be displayed as another sign in the fight against ignorance. πŸ™‚

Book discussion group this month covered Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, and as I predicted, we did have a great discussion. Overall, everyone seemed to like the book. One woman enjoyed the horse racing aspect of it, because it reminded her of visiting the racetracks with her father when she was younger, while others of us were more like, “Wow…that’s a lot of horses in there…” We were all surprised and fascinated to learn how Gatsby-esque colonial Kenyan society was during this era. I’m sad I’ll be missing next month’s meeting (my son has a choir concert scheduled that night); they’ll be reading The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan. Whatever they’re reading in June hasn’t been announced yet, so I’m looking forward to that!

On April 23rd, @the_WriteReads featured my post on books I love about Mister Rogers as their review of the day. I’m really proud of this post and am happy that @the_WriteReads helped me to spread the Mister Rogers love a little. πŸ™‚

I also logged my 2000th book on Goodreads!

Current Podcast Love

I’ve finished up listening to all the back episodes of All the Books! from Book Riot! This is such a great podcast, where Liberty Hardy, super reader extraordinaire, and her rotating cast of fellow Book Rioters choose several of the week’s new releases to gush over. I’ve read a bunch of books I learned about from this podcast and added plenty more to my TBR. If you’re looking for something book-related to listen to, you really can’t go wrong with All the Books!

I floundered for a few days before finally settling on my next bookish listen, and it’s:

I listened to my first episode of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books yesterday, and OMG WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE? *sobs with joy* I LOVE these women. They’re smart, funny, they talk about books in a way that speaks to my soul (swear words! Feminism! Ridiculous euphemisms for genitalia! Picking apart romance novels for the good and the laughable!). I am in LOVE and I totally want to ignore all the rest of my life and binge all 347 episodes that I have left.

Real Life Stuff

We started out the month recovering from my daughter getting a case of the pukes, only to have both of us throwing up mid-month. NOT my favorite thing. Wedged in around both of us looking like the little girl from the Exorcist, we attended my daughter’s kindergarten orientation. She’ll go to full-day kindergarten in the fall and we’re both pretty excited! (I’ll miss her, but she’s a tornado wrapped in a hurricane wrapped in an earthquake, so it’ll be nice to have some time when I’m NOT on damage control.) Her school is within walking distance, so when it’s warm out, we’ll be able to get some exercise, and her classroom is suuuuuuuuuuper cute. They even hatch chicks in the spring, and they have the best little reading corner with a TON of books. I kind of want to go back to kindergarten…

My daughter turned 5! Seems like just yesterday I was throwing up in the bathroom…and the kitchen…and the living room…and dry-heaving in Walmart (pregnancy and I are NOT friends), and now she’s half a decade old. For the third year in a row, her chosen birthday activity was to eat lunch at Ikea (what can I say? She’s both a creature of habit and a weird little kid :D). We got really lucky in regards to her party, because we had a bounce house scheduled for Sunday, but Saturday, it snowed the entire day because apparently we live in Siberia now? Oh, Midwestern spring, what the actual. Sunday turned out to be lovely, in the upper 50’s with full sun, so the snow was mostly melted by party time and all the kids bounced to their hearts’ content.

My son’s school put on stage performances of Romeo and Juliet, and it was incredible. I say this every time, but his school’s Fine Arts Department is phenomenal, and I’m blown away at every musical and stage performance we attend.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand my cat brought me a mouse. A live one, small, only about two inches long. (Which I prefer over the one she killed in the basement and left for me to find via its overpowering odor who-knows-how-many days later.) It lives somewhere outside now, far away from the house. Here’s a picture of the mouse after I caught it in the plastic container that lives next to my chair in the living room. This plastic container is known as ‘the mouse bucket,’ which lets you know that this is not my first mouse gift rodeo. Thanks, cat…

And that was my April! Summer reading starts at my library on May 1st and you know I’ll be there to sign up. πŸ™‚ I’m going to finish off these two challenges in May and I’m looking forward to that. My daughter will finish up preschool, my son will wind up his junior year of high school (NO! GET BACK ON THE COUCH AND WATCH BLUE’S CLUES WITH ME, THIS IS NOT ALLOWED), and I have a book sale to go to this upcoming weekend. And maybe, MAYBE it will finally stop snowing, but who knows around here. πŸ˜€

Happy reading in May! How was your April?


April is the cruelest month: to bloggers who are struggling.

Spring is a terrible time of year.

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, we have this idea in our heads that spring is a time of warmth, of regrowth and beauty and sunlight. Unfortunately, reality refuses to comply with this and often offers us nothing but rain, wind, chilly temperatures, and gray skies that seem to drag on forever. Is it any wonder that so many of us struggle during this time of year?

I’ve seen quite a few bloggers who are having a difficult time right now, and my heart goes out to all of you. Whether it’s because of the weather and seasonal depression, difficulties with some aspect of your life or health, or something you can’t put words to, I see you. I hear you. I hate that you’re hurting. You’re important, I care about you, and I’m glad you’re a part of my world.

There aren’t any axioms or proverbs or clever one-liners I can share to change anything for anyone, but if this is a difficult time of year for you, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, I struggled massively through the spring for years when I was younger, and I understand the awfulness of it. I can’t tell you when it will end, but I can tell you that even when things feel terrible, I still care. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here, always.

If you’re feeling okay right now, check on your friends. It’s hard to ask for help and to admit when things aren’t as you’d like them to be, and sometimes a quick note or a gesture means the world. And for anyone who may need it, resources and help are out there:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

A list of international suicide hotlines.

If you’re struggling, you’re in my thoughts and my heart. Fight on, friends, one breath at a time.


Tag: 30 Interesting Questions

It’s a chilly, breezy Saturday in the neighborhood (as evidenced by the cozy little nap my Reba is taking on MY pillow; don’t you wish you could sleep that soundly?), and I’m not much feeling like venturing out, so today I’m borrowing a tag from Sara over at The Bibliophagist (which is a seriously amazing name for a blog!). Here we go!

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

My husband usually calls me Steph or babe; in my everyday life, I generally prefer Stephanie.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

Hoooooo boy, I have ZERO art skills. I once drew a horse that my husband thought was supposed to be a dog, and now my horsedog is the stuff of family legends. I don’t doodle all that often because my doodles are worse than stick figures.

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’ve spent the better part of my life struggling to fall asleep, but it’s a lot better these days. Listening to podcasts helps put me out (current listen: Book Riot’s All the Books with Liberty and Rebecca). If I truly can’t fall asleep, I get up and read downstairs for a bit.

4. Do people consider you to be talkative or quiet?

Every report card I ever got in school included some version of the phrase, “Stephanie is so quiet!”

5. What makes you cry?

Holy crap, just about everything. My family, books, TV, my cats, stress, frustration, anger, happiness. I’m a crier by nature.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People making more work for other people. Leaving messes, not putting stuff away, asking other people to do things that they could easily do themselves. I worked in retail for years and the people who would treat the employees like their own personal maids and personal shoppers drove. me. NUTS.

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Usually only when I’m getting ready or before I go out.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed for YEARS that there was a bear loose in our house at night, because I could hear it snarling and growling.

Turns it out was just my father snoring.

9. What is the guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Norwegian pop music! I could listen to Bare Min by Morgan Sulele forever- it’s been my ringtone for four years now. His Du Er SΓ₯ Deilig is super happy-sounding as well. Always puts me in a good mood. πŸ™‚ I have some serious Norway-love going on here!

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

That would be my mom. She’s always bringing us things, doing nice things for other people simply because she’s kind. She’s good people.

11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

An actual physical newspaper? Only rarely. My daughter was the kind of toddler who would’ve pulled it apart and eaten the entire thing (I’m not actually joking here…), so we got away from reading newspapers. Occasionally, my mom will bring up a copy of my hometown newspaper for me to read, which I always appreciate.

12. Which animal scares you the most?

I’m like Indiana Jones; I. HATE. SNAKES.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage with it?


14. What is the most recent compliment you’ve received?

My dad told me he was proud of me yesterday for something I’ve done, and that felt pretty good to hear. πŸ™‚

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

In no particular order: “Why?” “What’s for dinner?” “Where’s my/Have you seen my ____?” “Can you drive me to ____?” “Can you get me ____?” The life of a stay-at-home mom!

16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Back in my meat-eating days, my then-boyfriend (now husband!) and I traveled to Paris, where he proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower (swoooooooooon!), and then we took the train to visit his family in Belgium for Christmas. Someone had asked what they were serving for dinner, and one of the items the person responding mentioned was sanglier. I blinked and thought, ‘Wait, isn’t that wild boar?’

It was indeed wild boar, and it was what we had for dinner. πŸ™‚

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

I’m definitely more in the ‘lots of acquaintances’ group these days, and not many close friends either. I don’t get out much, mostly because I’m always ferrying husband and kids where they need to go!

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

It….probably involves a few swearwords, so I’ll just say yes. πŸ˜€

19. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

Hm. I have places I’ve loved being. Paris. Raleigh, NC. Traverse City, MI. Mystic, CT. I don’t know if any of them are an all-time favorite, but I’ve enjoyed them all.

20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Stephanie has always sounded like the name of someone who’s a whole lot more outgoing and extroverted than me! I’ve always figured I should have a quieter name, like Beth. (Of course, she didn’t end up so well in Little Women, soooo…)

21. When was the last time you lied?

I try not to lie, but if I do, it’s usually a lie to mask my anxiety, like, “Oh, that sounds great, I’d love to come!”, when I’d really love to stay home and read and not be around groups of people!

22. What’s something that amazes you?

Honestly? People that live their lives without anxiety. Like, you just wake up every morning and…function? You don’t worry about every little thing? That seriously amazes me, because I have a highlight reel of everything that could possibly go wrong at any given moment running in my head at all times. To not have that must be so fantastic.

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

Space scares the crap out of me (SO much potential for something to go wrong!), so I’d happily stay home and cure something terrible.

24. What is your favourite amateur activity?

I’m not entirely certain what this question means, but I’ll agree with Sara, I enjoy baking, although my creations never look as nice as the ones in the cookbooks or on the blogs. They taste just fine, though, and that’s what counts.

25. What was your first thought when you got up this morning?

It’s usually some form of, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???” Weekday alarm goes off at 5:50 am, and my daughter usually wakes us up around 6:30 am on the weekends. I’m a very tired person.

26. What is your favourite song (at least at the moment)?

Morgan Sulele’s Andre Enn Meg charmed me and made me laugh the other day (it’s one of those songs that when I discovered it, I was cracking up and wanted to share it with everyone I know…but none of my friends or family speak Norwegian, so no one would appreciate it in the same way!).

27. List someone you know and describe them in five words.

My husband is hardworking, intelligent, determined, trustworthy, and awesome. πŸ™‚

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

I would love to sit down with Fred Rogers and listen to how he handled the challenging moments of life. He’s one of my personal heroes and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read about him.

29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

I don’t think I resemble anyone at all (other than my dad!), but I’ve had two people tell me I look like Geena Davis, although I’ve never seen that.

30. What do you want me to know?

Books are amazing and life-altering. The Norwegian language is gorgeous and sometimes makes me cry, I find it so beautiful. Beets are disgusting. I hate putting dishes and laundry away. My deepest wish is that someone invents a self-cleaning kitchen and then gives me one immediately.

And that’s it! I’m not going to tag anyone personally, but feel free to steal this, as I love learning about other bloggers. πŸ™‚