changing habits

When I lived alone in my apartment, I almost always had the tv on. Even if I wasn’t watching it, I enjoyed just having the noise in the background. But I did spend a lot of time watching “my shows.” In particular, I had a weakness for the  Real Housewives (some, not all), Top Chef,  and House Hunters. My schedule in the evenings was built around what shows were on. I even had a second tv in my bedroom, so I could watch in bed. So, yes, one person, two tvs.

Once I moved in with mr. strivingcynic, my tv watching declined. We still put it on most evenings, but it’s not a constant.  When I turn it on, I often feel restless. I would never have believed I could reach this point considering where I was before. I think it’s a combo of living with another person (we only have one tv) and finding I’m just not that interested in keeping up with tv shows.

It’s always interesting to realize how something that seemed central to life at one point, can lose its place in the spotlight. I know when I started this blog, it took a central place, and now it’s been more than a month since I posted something (or really read other blogs). I just started to look at it  as another obligation and since my tendency is to all or nothing, I either had to be heavily involved or not at all. Not to mention my rule setting ways (I must post 3 times a week and comment on other blogs all the time). But, if someone were to ask if I’m done with this blog, the answer is no. I just have to come up with a way to ensure I enjoy it. I suspect that means more random posting than scheduling them.

Anyway, I’m happy to be typing again. Today is Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day) and it’s a beautiful day . I’m going to visit my grandmother (my mom’s in California, so I’ll give her a call).  And strivingcynic cat greeted me a little crazily this morning. He got up on the bed and started jumping around…at one point he was by my feet and did a springy jump and landed by my head. Then he jumped off the bed and meowing started. Being a good (and tired) cat mom, I decided to give him his morning Whiskas treat. At 5:40 am! But, I went back to bed and he came up again half an hour later, walked around a bit and then settled in…and I didn’t wake up again till almost 8!

nothing like waking up early to feed your cat and knowing he'll spend the rest of the morning looking like this.

nothing like waking up early to feed your cat and knowing he’ll spend the rest of the morning looking like this

lapses and absences


I’ve felt bad about my lack of posting and commenting. Life seems to be a series of things that are keeping me busy…probably not anymore so than anyone else (gotta do that get organized thing one of these days..), but enough to throw me off my usual patterns and practices. I thought for sure I’d write a book post this week…but the weekend had other priorities and by the time I could get to it Monday evening…the desire had gotten away from me. 

I’ve wondered whether this is all just a sign that maybe I don’t want to blog anymore…but although I know I don’t want to try 3-4 times a week like last year, I definitely enjoy writing and reading what everyone else has to say, but right now, it’s just not happening. 153

But I hope it will soon…

top ten still glad I have it even if I haven’t read it (yet) books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the fine folks at the Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy…But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread.

Now, I actually have done this topic in the not-too-distant past, having chosen it for a “pick whatever you want week.” So, I thought it might be fun to see if I’ve made any progress.

What you see below is from the original post  on October 9, 2012…and almost 6 months later, where am I? [Update in green]

1. American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld. A hardcover acquired for a dollar at a library book sale. I had bought Wife, Prep, and Man of My Dreams at various used bookstores/library sales. I finally read Prep a few months ago, and it will be a while before I get to AW. Nope!

2. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, by Kaavya Viswanathan … Another library book sale acquisition…I definitely want to read it but I had to buy it because it was withdrawn from the market after the author (a 19 year old Harvard freshman) was accused of taking passages from other authors’ books. Nope!

3. The Lemon Jelly Cake, by Madeline Babcock Smith. Guess where I got this one? You got it, library book sale (it’s so easy to buy books when they’re so cheap). Basically, I got it because I liked the cover…and it sounded like a pleasant, gentle read. Nope!

4. Moral Disorder and Other Stories, by Margaret Atwood. “Great!” I said when I saw this at a used book store. “I love Margaret Atwood!” We put it with the other Atwood books and I totally forgot I’d ever bought it…until we bought another Atwood (a decent copy of The Handmaid’s Tale…mine was pretty shredded) and put that on the shelf. Nope!

5. Penguin by Design, by Phil Baines. I asked for this as a Christmas 2010 present since I have a fondness for Penguin paperbacks and thought a book about their covers/designs would be cool. Still haven’t opened that one’s cover though (but I plan to!). Nope!

6. Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, by Jenny Colgan. The cover of this just called to me on a 2011 trip to the U.K. It looks like such fun I keep thinking about picking it up…but then I don’t. Yup!

7. The Devil in Music, by Kate Ross. I mention Ross pretty frequently in these posts. She only wrote four books in her mystery series before passing away…I’ve held off on reading the last one since I know it will be the last one. I own it (again, I think it was bought at a used bookstore), just haven’t read it. Nope!

8. The Joy Diet, by Martha Beck. I am a sucker for a certain brand of self-help…the kind that’s meant to show you how being a better person will make you happier and how being will be a better person…so I picked this up when I spied it in the Barnes and Noble bargain section. It would probably help if I….read a page or two maybe? Nope!

9.  Fashion for Dummies, by Jill Martin and Pierre A. Lehu… I listed this as one of the books I hoped to read in 2012. So far it hasn’t happened..but I thought it would be a fun and interesting book to have when I ordered it from Amazon. Nope!

10. Pretty much the last book in every mystery series I follow. As I indicated in the other week’s“series I haven’t finished” post, I’m just perennially behind on these…because of all these other “I meant to read…” hanging out in my pile. Not really…I may have read a more recent Evanovich between then and now…maybe a Christmas Anne Perry….but that’s it!

So, I’m basically 1 for 10…maybe 2…and I’ve only acquired more books since then!!!

And you?

top ten books I may read this spring

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the fine folks at the Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten to be read books for the spring.  Now, I’ll give the same caveat I give for all these types of posts…I try not to name books ahead of time because I end up being interested in other things but then feel obligated to read the books I said I’d read.

[side note: yes, I’m still being a bit lazy about posting and commenting…thanks for bearing with me…I think this may change now that spring is in the air].

[second side note: w-hoo! how great is it that we’re talking about SPRING!!!]

That being said.

1. Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton. I’m currently reading this, so I certainly hope it will be on the finished pile in the spring (or maybe even before if I pick up the pace a bit).

Now…for books I’m not currently reading but suspect I’ll want to pick up soon.

2. The Next Best Thing, by Jennifer Weiner. This book looks awesome, is based on Weiner’s experiences working on a tv show, and is in my house as I type.

3-4. Some (at least 2) Anne Perry mysteries. Here’s the thing. I have the latest Thomas/Charlotte Pitt and William Monk books…but I don’t seem to have the one before for each. I should…I even asked my mother who gives them to me as presents and she swears she did…so I’d like to find where I put them (Dorchester Terrace and Acceptable Loss) and read them.

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling. Now that I took the plunge and read the first one, I’d like to go ahead and read another.

6. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Same as above. Plus, mr. strivingcynic just read Hunger Games and that reminded me that I want to read CF.

7. Starter for Ten, by David Nicholls. Since I enjoyed One Day, I suspect I’ll enjoy another of Nicholls’ works during spring.

8. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. We got this at a library book sale a few weeks ago. I haven’t read any new Atwood in a while.

9. The Mystery of Mercy Close, by Marian Keyes. Another author who I love catching up with…and this is a new Walsh sister’s book. Can’t wait!

10. Meditation for Dummies, by Stephan Bodian. I bought it…I want to get to it..but I still need to read it to get my sense of inner peace on.

What’s on tap for you this spring (after you enjoy the increased sunlight/pretty flowers)?

top ten “no matter what” authors

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the fine folks at the Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Authors That I’d Put On My Auto-Buy List (I’d buy ’em no matter what it is they’re writing or what sort of reviews they’re getting…):

So, who will I buy no matter what genre/series/review?

1. Jennifer Weiner

2. Margaret Atwood

3. Jane Austen (I know, she’s not having any new books coming out…but if she did..)

4. Sue Grafton

5. Anne Perry

6. Marian Keyes

7. Sophie Kinsella

I find after seven, I’m searching a bit. I have a few newer to me authors that having read one book, I’d definitely read another, but am not at auto-buy yet…these are

8. J. K. Rowling (yes, I finally started Harry Potter)

9. David Nicholls

10. Jenny Colgan

Who are your “no matter what, I’m getting their books” authors?


I feel like I’ve been off in my own little cave for the last few weeks. I haven’t looked at my blog and barely looked at any others. I think the freedom of not having a blog goal for the year has gone to my head a little bit! And, I’ll continue to claim that this time of year, it’s much easier to just give in to “I just want to stay under the covers and not do stuff” tendencies.

But, now it’s almost the end of February, and it’s Oscars night once more (interesting side note, the Today show did a segment on the Oscars yesterday and pointed out that this year it is “The Oscars” rather than “The Academy Awards” because it somehow helps them court the youth demographic by using the former). I’ve only seen two of the real contenders this year (Argo and Lincoln) but will be glued to the tv anyway…for the fashions and to see who wins and what happens (but whether I’ll make it up to the very end is another question). I think that Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones are likely to win in their categories (and Lincoln may win as best picture), so at least I’ll be able to refer to that.

And, what would Oscars night be without watching all the red carpet arrivals (even the super early ones)? The plan is to start watching them while eating a variety of appetizers from Trader Joe’s (fried macaroni and cheese balls are in the house)! There probably will not be a proper “dinner” in the strivingcynic household tonight…but lots of cheese, crackers, artichoke dip, guacamole and chips. Tomorrow I will wake up in a carb haze and make my way to the gym. Time to rediscover the virtues of life outside the cave!

Do you ever feel the urge to hibernate? What are your Oscar night plans?

top memories with books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the fine folks at the Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten bookish memories:

1. The first time mr. strivingcynic asked me out, we met on a weeknight at a coffee place and talked for hours. I was nervous about meeting him, but I had such a good time that I was happy that he asked me out again for the weekend. He said he’d give some thought to what we might do. When we next spoke, his thought was lunch and a visit to nice, local used bookstore. I loved that he suggested a bookstore…and the excursion itself is a very happy memory. We’ve gone back there and to local library book sales a number of times. 

2. Growing up, we had a room in our house we called “the library,” really just a spare bedroom which was used as an office and had lots of bookshelves. I used to love going in there and pulling books off the shelves to read their descriptions.

3. I’ve been to a number of readings, book signings, and author talks. I’ve seen Janet Evanovich several times (I complain about the books, but she is fun and spent hours and hours at the signings). More recently, mr. sc and I went to see Margaret Atwood speak about zombies at Princeton University. Also fun!

4. Before the idea of finding out of print works on the Internet existed, I had some fun hoping to turn up books at used bookstores. One of my happiest finds was a copy of Isak Dinesen’s The Angelic Avengers. I was less happy when the book hit a crucial point (lives in peril) and skipped ahead 20+ pages. Looked like the pages were just missing. I ended up interlibrary loaning it to read the missing chapter.

5. When I was at college, I told my father I wanted a proper dictionary for my birthday. Imagine my surprise when a really heavy Random House dictionary came in the mail. Carrying it back to my dorm was not such a great thing, but the memory makes me smile.

6. Random book conversations. I remember once getting into a conversation about Hemingway with a guy on a train. No idea how it started. I also remember talking to the guy next to me on a flight who was reading Mourning Becomes Electra.

7. Pretty much any time I get a book as a present is a top bookish memory for me.