Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 in Review

This has been a momentous year for me in a lot of ways. When I look back, I can hardly believe where I was a year ago today. Here are some highlights from my year:

January---I found out I was having a boy. I flew home to Dallas and went on a little baby shopping spree.

February--My husband and I took a babymoon down the California coast from Monterey to San Simeon.

March/April--I was lucky enough to get TWO baby showers. So much fun!

May--I had my baby on May 18 and turned 33 on May 25.

June--Almost lost my mind from lack of sleep and challenges with breastfeeding

July--Celebrated my second wedding anniversary

August--Prepared to go back to work and started my duties as a board member with the Junior League

September--Started life as a full-time working mom

October--Dressed Aidan up as a cowboy for Halloween

November--I watched a candidate I believe in win the election and started feeding baby solids at Thanksgiving

December--Looked back on an amazing year full of great challenges and great joy

Here are a few things I learned:

1) I wasn't sure if I would enjoy being a mom---I love it.

2) I discovered that I am strong enough to give birth to a baby.

3) I had to face the fact that I cannot be all things to all the people in my life and that I don't not have the power to make everyone happy.

4) Being a full-time working mom is harder than I thought it would be. I long to work part-time.

5) I am grateful for health insurance. I am even more grateful for a healthy family.

6) I am truly truly blessed.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!

I will see you in 2009 with my Year in Books recap!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ONE FIFTH AVENUE by Candace Bushnell

Every so often, I need to have the guilty pleasure of reading fashionista/high society lit. (a sub-genre of chick lit, I suppose) Candace Bushnell's books tend to fall in this category. Her latest offering, ONE FIFTH AVENUE, was an amusing quick read. In this novel, Bushnell focuses on the residents of a classic upscale residence in New York City at One Fifth Avenue. These individuals run the gamut from a gossip columnist, award-winning novelist turned scriptwriter, new money hedge-fund math wiz and movie star.

I found this particular book a bit meatier than Bushnell's previous offerings. As Bushnell gets older, her characters have grown more mature and have a greater depth. It felt like being a fly on the wall within the building, watching the loves, successes, downfalls and frustrations of the residents. Even though Bushnell can be almost merciless with some of the characters, she finds sympathy for most residents...even a self-absorbed Sex and the City wannabe. She limits her skewering to the hedge fund guy who is focused on money to the exclusion of everything else. It gives insight into what Bushnell values these days.

ONE FIFTH AVENUE is a quick, entertaining read for those looking for light, uncomplicated fare.

Friday, December 12, 2008

THE SEALED LETTER by Emma Donoghue

I read this book on a recommendation from a fellow reader. I trust her opinion and she didn't steer me wrong. The SEALED LETTER is historical fiction based on a famous divorce case that took place in England in the 1860s. The story is told through several points of view, the main one being real-life early feminist Emily "Fido" Faithfull.

Emily is reunited with an old married friend after a long separation and is drawn into her friend's affair with an officer. Eventually, she is forced to testify in the divorce case surrounding the affair.

The novel is filled with interesting insights about early English feminists and the rights (or lack thereof) of women during this time period. I think I was most surprised by the fact that I was sure the author would be most sympathetic to the women in the story. However, Donoghue often chooses to show how women set themselves back and men are often the victims. It is a very intriguing view of many different sides of the same story and offers a great deal of food for thought.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Book for Bibliophiles?

I am woefully behind on my book reviews. I have three that I need to post. However, I just had to share something with you.

I was in a funk last night and decided to finally pick up my copy of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. I am sixty pages in and I am hooked. I can only hope that this book fulfills its promise.

The book came onto my radar because one of the authors was a bookseller at my favorite local independent bookstore.

For now, I will leave you this passage from the book:

"Booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one--the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it--along with first dibs on the new books."

As a former bookseller, current library worker and freamer of owning her own bookstore...I couldn't agree more!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Grinch or Elf?

I have been really upset ever since reports came in about the poor Walmart employee who was killed last Friday trying to protect a pregnant woman. I do not participate in Black Friday nor will I ever if I can avoid it. There is something really wrong about a country facing an economic recession where people actually kill each other for a flat-screen tv. We are actually sending a message now that material things are more important than human life. It is so awful I can barely think about it.


I picked up my first batch of Santa Letters for the Make-a-Wish Foundation yesterday. For every letter to Santa that Macy's receives, they will donate $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. As I counted the letters, I read a few of them and I could barely stop the tears. Along with the typical requests for toys and bikes, I found messages of love and hope and even a few of desperation. "Please let my Dad find a job." "Please reunite me with my estranged wife." "Please help us find a home so we can leave the shelter." "Nothing for me Santa. Just comfort those in need." It was just the shot in the arm that I needed. It was a reminder that we all need Santa no matter how old we are. That people still want to believe in something pure where a man gives joy and gifts to people expecting nothing in return. So, although I may feel a bit Grinchy at times, I still have hope this holiday season. And I think playing elf with these Santa letters will help me maintain it.

Stay tuned for a review of THE SEALED LETTER.

Monday, December 01, 2008