Update Jan 24, 2020

Hi All! Another good week here. On Friday night Aaron and I had a “date night” during which we relaxed and watched iZombie. Saturday, I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting, only to discover it was canceled due to weather. That night Aaron and I watched Supernatural. Sunday, Malcolm had his first swim lesson at level 2. Yay!

My dad got Deirdre a mani pedi on Monday, after which she went to choir rehearsal. It was a hard rehearsal for her, and the whole week seems to have been upsetting, but we don’t know why. Maybe it’s the beginning of pubescent years. 🤷‍♀️ She did have her first book club, discussing The One and Only Ivan, on Tuesday. It went splendidly. The kids had a good time discussing the book, and then a good time playing afterwards.

Wednesday, I was supposed to have my first book club, but it was canceled due to weather. As you can see from my data table, I ate a lot for dinner. Oops. Those $5 margaritas were good.

Overall, though, I did a good job this week, and hope to do better next week.

Still reading the same old books – I am moving slowly on that goal right now.

Update January 17, 2020

(He’s so happy because his beet is now on the floor instead of his tray.)

This was a good week. On Saturday, I proved to D that eating ice cream straight out of the carton tastes better than in a bowl. The whole family, plus my friend Liz, ate Ben and Jerry’s while watching Sara Jane Adventures and Star Trek. We also played D&D. M (our 7 year old Wizard) decided to start using his short sword instead of his spells (which is a poor choice usually), but he rolled a 20 and lopped off the head of a goblin. We’ll never convince him to use a spell again.

Sunday, we did a great job of cleaning the house: the Christmas Tree is down, the kids’ rooms are clean, and I did a number on our own bedroom – clearing out even the pile of stuff on Aaron’s dresser which had been accumulating since 2017.

Monday, we had an appointment with mom’s neurologist, where we discussed her seizure on Christmas. We also did a memory test, which turned out better than the one from last year. Yay!

Also, D came home on Monday all excited to join band next year. We had to give her the choice between joining band or swim team. After much deliberation, I finally explained to her what a swim meet would be like (go to a pool that she is likely unfamiliar with and try to swim faster than other people). She decided that band was what she wanted to do. But she wants to stay in swim lessons so that she can become a life guard someday. 🙂

Tuesday, I burnt some pepperoni on the bottom of the stove while preheating for dinner. The house filled with smoke, but the fire alarms didn’t go off. We decided to open a window and go to Olive Garden.

Wednesday, I decided to join Weight Watchers, as I’ve been counting calories for months now with no noteworthy change in weight. Figured I’d compare the WW point system to calorie counting. In theory, Weight Watchers lets you eat all the fruits and veggies you want as “zero point” foods, but it counts for a lot of points if you eat something fatty or sugary. I get 30 points…which apparently is the most points I can possibly get. Not sure why they’re so generous, but I’m thankful. lol. I will compare points to caloric intake on a daily basis to make sure I’m not dropping below 1,500 calories (since that was the minimum my nutritionist suggested). Here’s this week’s partial data:

Wednesday is totally messed up WW point-wise, since I had eaten most of my points before I joined. I think it’s notable that I ate more calories on Thursday (16th) than on Wednesday, but stayed within point range. This will definitely be a different experience!

Thursday I went on a mall walk with my dad at the Mall of America.

He bought IL a really soft Snuffy. He bought D and M a gigantic stuffed toy each:



Season 0 Sara Jane Adventures – Complete

The Good Place – Progress

Star Trek: The Original Series – Progress


Becoming Ms. Burton, by Susan Burton

In Becoming Ms. Burton, Ms. Burton describes her difficulties of being young in a poor black neighborhood. There was the ever-constant worry of someone being shot or addicted to drugs. Of children being killed by police (as hers was). Of the trials of being addicted to drugs and being in and out of prison. Then she had a turn-around. She went to rehab and AA, and got a wonderful sponsor. She learned how to live sober – away from the family and neighborhood where she had always lived. She then realized how hard it is to become a functional member of society while an ex-felon. It’s hard to find a home, a job, to be treated like a human being. So she started a home for people just coming out of prison. Despite her lack of education on the topic of business, her home thrived and she helped many people to reintegrate into society. It’s a sad story as well as an uplifting one. I really loved hearing about her story, and think everyone should read books like this to help them understand that felons aren’t inherently evil – people just view them that way.


5 snowflakes

Update Jan 10, 2020

Hi all! This was a good week. I got two books read:


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for my book club and BFG for M’s book club. I’ve now read all of January’s book club books!

I’m currently reading:

Currently Reading

Aaron and I hung out with my friend Liz on Saturday, and we were able to get through episode 2 of Earth Break, which is an internet-ordered escape-room-like scenario. Episode 2 was a bit more difficult than the first, especially since I think we may have been missing a piece??? (We decided we must be after reading the hint…That was a bit disappointing.) Sunday, the family played Pandemic and Clue, and watched some Star Trek (Original Series, Season 1).

Tuesday was M’s last occupational therapy. The therapist came out and said that his poor eating choices are psychological, rather than sensory. She said eating habits are a common way to control his environment when he feels things are out of control, and that it has now simply formed into a solid bad habit. 😦 We are going to back off of trying to get him to eat more variety, and focus on getting him to eat enough calories, which is hard enough. So, instead of saying he can only eat at specific given times (as the feeding psychologist suggested last year) we will let him eat whenever he pleases (within reason), but it has to be something healthier than goldfish or granola bars or Froot Loops.

Thursday, M got 3 cavities filled, and I get the impression he thinks it was rather fun. Which is frustrating, because we don’t have enough money to go filling 3 cavities every 6 months. It sounds awful, but Aaron and I were hoping he would have a less-than-enjoyable experience with the fillings and it would make him see reason in respect to dental care. Oh well. We’ll just continue to have to watch him brush his teeth twice a day to make sure he actually does it.

D is doing well. It is cookie season, and she’s thrilled to get out there and sell them. She’s still enjoying choir practice, though it’s quite exhausting for her. She will be happy to move on to other activities at the end of the season, I think.

I could have done a better job of exercising and dieting this week, but I didn’t gain any weight, which is nice.

Have a nice week!

Update January 3, 2020

Well, the holidays are over and it’s time to start afresh! I’ve already finished one book! It was Becoming Ms. Burton, about a woman who, after recovering from addiction and the stigma of being a felon, started a home for women returning to society after prison. It was quite good.

I’m currently listening to Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda. I cheated and watched the movie before finishing the book, because I thought it would be good for the kids to watch a story about how difficult it is to be gay in high school. They had a lot of questions, partly because it was a PG-13 movie (“what’s sex again?”), and partly because of the topic. I was proud of M, who usually covers his eyes at kissing scenes, cheered at the romantic moment. (Sorry if that’s a spoiler.)

I’m reading Five Midnights, by Ann Davila Cardinal, and Unspeakable Mind, Shaili Jain.

D & M both surprised their mom with new hair colors – pink for D and red for M. (That’s apparently D’s “cute” face and not her “annoyed” face. You can see how I was confused.)

I got over my cold, but then came down with a sinus infection. It’s not a bad one, so it’s all cool. Oh, and my hip has stopped hurting, so I can start training for a sprint triathlon in my efforts to lose weight. I’m typing on my phone, so I can’t put my data table up, but I lost a few pounds over the past few weeks. Hopefully I can keep it off.

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow
By Michelle Alexander

2019 Book 47: The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

In The New Jim Crow, Alexander wrote a study of mass incarceration in the US, including a history of its forerunners slavery and Jim Crow laws. She makes the point that the war on drugs is inherently racist in that in an age of colorblindness people claim they have to racial biases, but they also associate crime with poor black people despite the fact that drug crime is just as likely to be a white person crime (even a middle class white person crime) just as much as a black person crime. Black and brown people are disproportionately incarcerated. This leads to the percentage of black people who are felons his huge. Felons have great difficulty finding a job or home, are “hated” freely by white people across political lines, and are often unable to vote – just like old times when open prejudice was rampant. Because of the high incarceration rate, black and brown mothers are often single, often have to use state and federal help to survive, and are torn between embracing their men and boys as they are, and trying to protect them from mistakes. But there’s one huge difference: in the age of colorblindness, people don’t consider this racism. She suggests that racism won’t be obliterated until colorblindness no longer exists. We should embrace all races with equality.

5 snowflakes



Social Justice Nonfiction Challenge January Linkup

Social Justice Challenge

This is January’s linkup for Social Justice Book Reviews for the 2020 Social Justice Nonfiction Challenge, hosted by yours truly. Please put reviews in the comments section. As they arrive in the comments section, I will read them and then move them to the main text so that everyone can read them more easily.

Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado Perez – @Hibernator’s Library (Feminism)

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander – @Hibernator’s Library (Racism)