Wednesday, February 13, 2019

17 Things About You at Age 17

  1. You have your driver's permit and have been practicing several times a week with Dad, who reports that you are a careful driver.
  2. Kingdom Hearts IV was completed in 30h; Secret playthrough 34h
  3. You also spent quite a bit of time in the midst of those 30 hours trying to teach your brother how to play because you knew he would like all the Disney characters.  You are a really great brother.
  4. You even convinced me to have a go and didn't laugh when I couldn't push all the buttons at the same time.
  5. You will be graduating high school early, in August 2019 if all goes according to plan.
  6. You're taking your time figuring out what is next, wanting to make a good decision and one that is right for you.
  7. Bananas disappear as soon as we bring them home, no matter how many we buy.  
  8. Some days you walk home from school rather than take the bus, even though it takes longer.
  9. You loved seeing Hamilton when it toured here recently (Thank You Dad!).
  10. Your favorite Christmas gift this year was the Nintendo Switch.
  11. Your fashion choices still lean towards shirts with hoods, colored sneakers, anything soft.
  12. Your sweet tooth seems to have disappeared.  Unless tiramisu is on offer.
  13. You still have the BEST laugh.  
  14. You would like to get back into martial arts and are investigating the different types.
  15. You are still a night owl and mornings are hard.
  16. You almost always have your sketchbook with you.  Doodling, working out animations, just thinking through your fingers.
  17. Dad took you and your cousin to Otakon this past summer and it was awesome!  You've already got reservations for this year and another cousin will also be joining in the fun.

  1. You joined the Unified Bowling Team at school and you are really enjoying bowling with your school friends, and taking the bus back and forth to matches.
  2. This brings your activities to: dance, special olympics swim team, special olympics bowling team and now unified bowling team.  
  3. When you bowl well, you have to give EVERYONE a high five.
  4. You really really really want to go to Hawaii.  And while you're there you want to drink a pineapple smoothie while wearing a hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and a straw hat.
  5. You actually passed up a plate of pasta the other day in favor of a salad (I took your temperature!)
  6. Going out to eat is still your favorite thing.  It doesn't matter where.
  7. You really like the Muppet movies lately.  And Incredibles2.
  8. You don't fuss too much when it's time to do homework.
  9. You're still a lark and on the weekends you are the first one up.  You'll make your own breakfast and then settle in with your iPad.
  10. Your fashion choices are still solid colored shirts or ones with funny graphics of your favorite characters.  Hawaiian shirt when you need to be a little more dressed up. And a different hat every day.
  11. You got a fancy hat rack for Christmas which makes it so much easier to pick out the perfect one each morning.
  12. You insisted that we buy a scarf loom and some yarn when we were at the craft store.  But so far you're not that interested in actually doing it.  You picked out some really nice yarn though!
  13. When your brother sings too loud you tell him to be quiet.  Then you get up and give him a hug.
  14. You're already talking about camp even though it is months and months away.
  15. If anyone leaves a drink or snack unattended, you like to finish it off and then you turn yourself in and we have to make a big show of being annoyed.  So funny!
  16. You love jokes now!  Miss M put a whole bunch of corny ones on your iPad and you put a plastic snake in your brother's water bottle.  
  17. You did your first internship at the end of the school year last year, helping out at the food pantry.  You did great and felt really proud of yourself!  This year's rotations will be starting soon so we can't wait to see what you will be doing.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Books of 2018

The final count was 69 books read in 2018 - I am happy with that!  Here are the ones I really loved this year that will be added to the "highly recommended" list (in no particular order):

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.  This is one of those sweeping family sagas that covers several generations. The story begins in Korea, with teenaged Sunja who finds herself pregnant by an (unbeknownst to her) married man.  Refusing to become a kept mistress, she marries a sickly minister on his way to Japan.  The story continues with her new family trying to make their way in Japan against prejudice, war and health crises.  Twists and turns, you never know exactly where things are going to end up for all of them.  The title refers to a mechanical gambling game that figures heavily in several characters lives.  This was a book club selection and I really enjoyed the audio version.  It took a little bit of time to get all the characters straight because of similar names, but after that, I was hooked.
  • Circe by Madeline Miller.  I was enthralled by this book!  It's definitely on my list of "always recommended."  The goddess Circe is a puzzling child to her parents, god of the sun Helios and the nymph Perse.  She is neither powerful nor particularly beautiful and teased unmercifully for her strange voice.  She turns to mortals for companionship and discovers her powers of witchcraft.  Threatened by her power, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island where she spends eternity honing her powers and of course, meeting a who's who of greek mythology: the Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, Medea and of course Odysseus.   In the end, Circe must gather all her power and choose once and for all where she belongs: with the gods she was born to or with the mortals she has come to love.  I didn't know a lot about greek mythology beyond what M and I read in the Percy Jackson series but this swept me into all of it and I wanted to read more.  Again, I listened to the audio book and Perdita Weeks was the perfect reader.  There were many times I sat in the driveway finishing the chapter.
  • The Book of M by Peng Shepherd.  This book is classified as Fantasy, but I think it could also fit under Thriller.  Set sometime in the future, the book begins when a man in India loses his shadow.  It just disappears.  And slowly his memories start to fade too until he doesn't remember anything - not where he is, not who he is, nothing. And since he can't remember his past reality, then he is able to make his own.  And then the Forgetting and its accompanying destructive magic starts to spread like a plague across the world causing havoc, distrust, war and the rise of a cult.  The book follows different people, coming from different parts of the world, heading towards New Orleans as they hear about a prophet who can fix people's memories.  Ory is tracking his wife, Max, who left him when her shadow did in order to protect him.  This book creeped me out but I couldn't put it down either.  
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman.  The sequel to Beartown, we are back in the hockey-mad town, when the townspeople learn that their hockey team will be disbanded and all the best players have been lured to play for rival town Hed.  A surprising newcomer is picked to coach and bond the players left behind into a team.  But old grudges and new whispers escalate the decades-old rivalry.  By the time the final game is played, someone is dead and both towns are wondering if the game they love can ever be just a simple game anymore.  Fredrik Backman has a knack for building suspense and throwing in twists that you never see coming.  
  • Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson.  Marnie MacGraw just wants to marry her fiance, have kids, live in the suburbs, drive a minivan and fit in.  Her fiance's eccentric great-aunt Blix tells her at their engagement party that this is never going to happen.  When her marriage ends after only two weeks, she doesn't know what hit her.  And then she finds out that Blix has passed away and left her the Brooklyn brownstone full of unfinished projects and neighbors who need someone to rely on.  Why would somebody she only met for 10 minutes a year ago, do that?  On the condition that she live there for a year, Blix insists via letter and other posthumous winks that Marnie is the perfect person to carry on her magic and matchmaking.  And it turns out she was right.
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker.    It's no secret that I love Jane Austen.  There have been an abundance of retellings and sequels and prequels.  Some of them are interesting, some are execrable, and very few are good.  Longbourn is a good one.  Here, the servants take center stage and there is as much romance, heartbreak and intrigue as there is upstairs.  And lots of laundering of muddy petticoats.  It's at once familiar and new.  I loved it.
  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan.  Another book club choice, I really liked this one.  Anthony Peardew lost something precious the day his beloved fiance died.  He's since spent his life picking up lost things and cataloging them meticulously.  He writes stories about them.  But now near the end of his life, he worries that the items will never be reunited with their owners.  Recovering after a painful divorce, Laura takes a job as Anthony's assistant, unsuspecting that he is going to leave her his house, all the lost things and his mission.  With the help of the gardener, Freddy and delightful neighbor Sunshine, Laura struggles to do what Anthony wished and find the right home for all involved.  As we find out the stories behind all the lost things and how they became lost, we realize that nothing is ever lost, everything - and everyone - end up exactly where they are meant to be in their own time.