20 Jan 2019, 10:45

We Built A Wardrobe

We built a wardrobe together this weekend. And when I say we, I mean the Tinyhuman and I. J was out doing J stuff (Hurrah!) And it was actually really lovely. I say actually because the usual idea of doing stuff like this with toddler/preschoolers/kids in general, at least in more mainstream conversations is one dripping with vague complaints of inconvenience and how hard it is to get anything done with small people around.

And that’s all true. It can be challenging, but we built more than a wardrobe with our work - we connected, we collaborated, we talked, and we played. And now he’s got a new place to climb into. (and I suppose a new place to put his clothes, but we’re not there yet.)

I’m usually the one that builds things. I’m reasonably handy. I have the inclination to it. I like making things. So this isn’t the first time, and wont be the last. but I was astounded by his memory yesterday. He noticed that some of the bracing screws were the same ones that were part of holding his desk together. And he kept holding it in his hand saying “Are these for the desk?” And I kept saying no, we are building a wardrobe, and he would repeat, but are these for the desk? And he was patient with me, but I got on the same page as him eventually.

The pride of it cannot be overstated. When he woke up this morning, the first thing he told his dad was that he built a wardrobe. There is so much to that. I feel good that that is part of his life.

18 Jan 2019, 11:00

Toronto Reading Challenge 2019

The Toronto Public Library is also doing a Reading Challenge this year. i’m still working on my list

** Toronto Reading Challenge 2019 **

  1. A book recommended to you by library staff
    • ✔ Educated by Tara Westover
  2. A graphic novel
    • ✔ Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
    • Nimona
  3. A book from a Canadian award-winning author
    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey
  4. A book set in Toronto
    • Fauna by Alissa York
    • Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
  5. A book by an author in a visible minority
    • ✔ An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
    • ✔ Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey
    • ✔ This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
    • ✔ Naughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
    • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
    • ✔ Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
    • ✔ The Unkindness of Ghosts - by Rivers Solomon
  6. A book by an LGBTQ+ author
    • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • I’ve Got a Time Bomb by Sybil lamb
    • All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders
    • Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
    • A Two-Spirit Journey - Ma-Nee Chacaby
    • ✔ The Unkindness of Ghosts - Rivers Solomon
  7. A book about mental health
    • ✔ Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain by James H. Fallon
    • Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller
    • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (fiction about a neurodiverse character by a neurodiverse woman authour.)
  8. A non-prose book
    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  9. A book in translation
    • ✔ Descent into Darkness by Edem Awumey
  10. A book on a topic you know nothing about
    • ✔ What you are getting wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
    • ✔ Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy
    • We Regret to inform you we will be killed tomorrow with our families
  11. A book you’ve always meant to read
    • ✔ Darkness by Bharati Mukherjee
      • in university my Sanskrit professor recommended I read this book, and I have always meant to.
  12. A book that has been banned or challenged *
  13. A book that has been adapted into a movie or show
    • ✔ Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple
  14. A book by an author with the same initials as you

    • ✔ Feed by Mira Grant ADVANCED
  15. A book by an author with a disability

    • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
  16. A book about being a newcomer, refugee or immigrant

    • ✔ Descent into Darkness by Edem Awumey
  17. A book you should have read in school, but didn’t

    • Another struggle. I read every assigned book or reeeeealllly don’t want to.
  18. A book you previously tried to read and gave up on

    • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip G. Zimbardo
  19. A book set in a country you’d like to visit

    • We regret to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch
  20. Two books with the same/very similar titles

    • Forever, Pete Hamill and Forever, Judy Blume
    • Vox and Vox
  21. A book from our First & Best lists

    • ✔ Counting in Mi’kmaw/Mawkiljemk Mi’kmawiktuk by Loretta Gould
    • ✔ Square by Mac Barnett
  22. A book by an eh List writer

    • The Marrow - Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
    • Drop Dead by Lorna Poplak
    • The Toronto book of the dead by adam bunch
    • Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
  23. A book from Read Indigenous

  24. A book from The List: Great Reads for Youth *

  25. A book that’s related to the Periodic Table of Elements *

03 Jan 2019, 11:14

Reading Women 2019 list

I finished a book in a few hours yesterday, The Windfall. I had started reading Descent into Night, and it’s very interesting and compelling, but has dark themes and my brain needed a break from my usual intense reads.

I’ve decided that to maximize my reading I should always have three books on the go - a fun and light fiction book, a literary fiction, and a non-fiction. That way I won’t get stuck avoiding reading, when the subject matter gets too intense, and instead, and switch back when I’m ready for it.

I also read it with the Reading Women 2019 Challenge in mind.

** Reading Women 2019 **

  1. Mystery or thriller written by a woman of color

    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  2. A book about a woman with a mental illness

    • ✔ Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
  3. A book by an author from Nigeria or New Zealand

    • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
    • Pounamu, Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Maori New Zealand)
    • The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand)
  4. A book about or set in Appalachia

    • ✔ What you’re getting wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
  5. A children’s book

    • ✔ I read so many wonderful children’s books everyday… the benefits of having a toddler. Anything by Monique Gray Smith ranks high for me.
  6. A multigenerational family saga

    • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  7. A book featuring a woman in science

    • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
    • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
    • ✔ Vox by Christina Dalcher
    • ✔ Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  8. A play

    • A very polite genocide or the girl who fell to earth by Melanie J. Murray
    • The Monument by Colleen Wagner
    • Angélique by Lorena Gale (also playing at the Factory Theatre this year
  9. A novella

    • Home by Toni Morrison
  10. A book about a woman athlete

    • The Frailty Myth: Redefining the Physical Potential of Women and Girls’ by Colette Dowling
    • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina’ by Misty Copeland
  11. A book featuring a religion other than your own

    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  12. A Lambda Literary Award winner

    • Hunger by Roxane Gay
    • Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
  13. A myth retelling

    • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
  14. A translated book published before 1945

    • Himself: The Autobiography of a Hindu Lady” , Translated and Adapted by Katherine Van Akin Gates from a book written in the Marathi language by Mrs. Ramabai Ranade
  15. A book written by a South Asian author

    • ✔ The Windfall by Diksha Basu (originally from New Delhi, India)
  16. A book by an Indigenous woman

    • ✔ Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • Pounamu, Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Maori New Zealand)
  17. A book from the 2018 Reading Women Award shortlist

    • ✔ Educated by Tara Westover
    • A Place for Us: A Novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    • ✔ Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
  18. A romance or love story

    • ✔ An Extraordinary Union by Alissa Cole
  19. A book about nature

    • Rural Hours by Susan Fenimore Cooper
    • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
    • (doesn’t count for the challenge because it’s not by a woman, but I want to read this one anyway) The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
    • ✔ Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
    • ✔ Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
  20. A historical fiction book

    • Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, Tiina Nunnally (Translator)
  21. A book you bought or borrowed in 2019

    • Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall
      • A friend lent me this book in exchange for The Hate You Give (also excellent)
  22. A book you picked up because of the cover

    • I will do this, but eventually. It’s worth taking a trip over to my favourite bookstore and perusing the shelves.
  23. Any book from a series

    • ✔ Murder is Binding by Lorna Barret (book 1 of Booktown Mysteries)
    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  24. A young adult book by a woman of color

    • On the Come Up - Angie Thomas
    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

BONUS:

  1. A book by Jesmyn Ward

    • ✔ Men We Reaped
  2. A book by Jhumpa Lahiri

    • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

01 Jan 2019, 11:00

new year, same great us

I’ve changed my blog over to hugo, which was a nice little experiment in static site creation, and also wordpress to static site conversion.

A big step for me was asking for help from JC. I have a technology background, but through that experience have also acquired the biggest fear of not knowing things, and having that lack of knowledge applied either to my gender, or as a result of it.

I haven’t done much of anything from the Terminal in a while, and was out of practice, so his support really got me back to it, and feeling more comfortable again. I’m using Atom

This is my smallest blog, so it had a reasonable number of files to convert, and wouldn’t be too difficult to manually change things as needed, my other blog is over a decade old, and a bit more daunting to switch to a static site.

I followed this handy guide for switching over from Wordpress to Hugo. The Guide is over two years old, but still perfectly relevant.

The only real difference was that I didn’t have comments to export, and I don’t really want comments most of the time anyway (if only because they’re more likely to be people trying to I started by going to wordpress and exporting posts as xml.

I’m using github and netlify to store and deploy my site, and it’s been a lot of fun so far. I’ve been trying to find my passion for tech again and learning something new, based on knowledge I already had kicking around, from someone that 1. I feel safe to be wrong with, and 2. is great at non-judgemental support and advice, has been really exciting and fun.

Yesterday JC and I went out for dinner to celebrate while his mom watched the TinyHuman. We had such a nice time.

This morning I woke up bright and early and jumped in the lake.

19 Dec 2018, 15:37

Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge

I did BookRiot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge, and it got me out of my usual genres and connected me with books I really loved that weren’t ones I would have picked up.

After our Tinyhuman was born, I had a really challenging time focusing on books for the first year or two, but in 2018, I managed to read over 40 books, at least in part as a result of the ReadHarderChallenge, but also just because my focus came back.

I don’t plan on getting too intense about checking off boxes that don’t excite me, but the newest challenge has been released, and I am getting into it again.

To get organized for next year, I’ve to started collecting some suggestions here, if you’ve any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!

You can see the post from bookriot here.

You can see my collection of 2019 ReadHarder books on GoodReads, arranged in no particular order right here.

I am lucky that most of these are available from the Toronto Public Library, and even luckier that many of them are available as e-books which has been my favourite and most effective way to get some read done. (And certainly makes it easier to read anywhere - when a selection of books is available right on my cellphone.)

(p.s. this list is still a work in progress)

Read Harder 2019

  1.  An epistolary novel or collection of letters

    • I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    • Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
    • ✔ Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    • ✔ Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  2. An alternate history novel

    • ✔ Naughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
      • I’ve gotten really excited about this genre and there is not nearly enough out there. Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society. Sephy is a Cross – a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought – a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses.
      • I read this book and have a mixed feeling about it. The story was so interesting and compelling in the beginning, and then it felt like it sort of fizzled out by the end.
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Authour of Colour) that won a literary award in 2018

    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey (Winner of the Governor Generals Literary Award, written in French by a male authour of colour and translated by a woman.)
    • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (winner of the 2018 Giller Prize, Esi is also a woman authour of colour.)
  4. A humour book

    • ✔ This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
      • I laughed a lot reading this book - even when some of her topics weren’t ha ha funny. It’s a fun and interesting read about life as Gabourey Sidibe!
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism

    • ✔ They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Wesley Lowery a journalist with the Washington Post
    • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
    • ✔ We regret to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch
  6. A book by an Authour of Colour set in or about space

    • Dawn by Octavia Butler
      • I’ve been working through the work of Octavia Butler, because it is all excellent, so this one was inevitable, but fits the category.
    • ✔ An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America

    • Umami - Laia Jufresa
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania

    • Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel
    • Pounamu, Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Maori New Zealand)
    • The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand)
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads

    • Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, translated Bernard Saladin d’Anglure
    • Worldwalk by Steven Newman
    • ✔ Darkness by Bharati Mukherjee
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman

    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey (Winner of the Governor Generals Literary Award, written in French and translated by Phyllis Aronoff & Howard Scott.)
    • Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk (written in inuktitut, translated Bernard Saladin d’Anglure)
    • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story. by Marie Kondo and Yuka Uramoto, trans. from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano
    • Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)
  11. A book of manga

    • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story. by Marie Kondo and Yuka Uramoto, trans. from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano
    • Library Wars by Hiro Arikawa
    • ✔ Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character

    • The Overstory by Richard Powers
    • Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse

    • The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain by James H. Fallon
    • Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller
    • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (fiction about a neurodiverse character by a neurodiverse woman authour.)
    • ✔ Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
  14. A cozy mystery

    • ✔ Murder is Binding (Booktown Mystery Series, Book #1) by Lorraine Bartlett
      • really enjoyed this one, super cozy mystery. I was a bit surprised at a few instances of casual ablism. It was written in 2008, and I don’t think the r-word was okay back then either. I’d probably read more from the Booktown series though.
    • Still Life by Louise Penny
    • ✔ Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  15. A book of mythology or folklore

    • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
  16. An historical romance by an AOC

    • ✔ An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
      • this book is something special. I just couldn’t put it down, and it was fun and sexy, while set in civil war times. Really well written and engaging characters I cared about. (and care about, and as a result, I’m interested in reading more of her work)
    • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  17. A business book

    • It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
  18. A novel by a trans or non-binary author

    • I’ve Got a Time Bomb by Sybil lamb
    • All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders
    • Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
    • ✔ An Unkindness of Ghosts -
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime

    • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  20. A book written in prison

    • The House of the Dead by Dostoevsky
    • Life After Death By Damien Echolss
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator

    • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

    • ✔ This category is basically where most of our son’s books fit in.
    •  George by Kate Pavao
  23. A self-published book

    •  The Summer We Got Free
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014

    • Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
    • ✔ Blackbird Song by Randy Lundy
    • ✔ The Sun and Her Flowers | Paperback Rupi Kaur
    • ✔ a place called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom
    • ✔ Good Bones