Update March 13, 2022

Phew! I haven’t updated you since my Christmas post! So much has happened.

Aaron: Got a new job!

D12: She’s in the school play! She’s a tree in Into the Woods, Jr.

M9: He’s getting his braces off on Thursday!

IL3: He can count to (and backwards from) 10.

Dad: He moved in with us!

I am struggling with long COVID, as well as a very busy schedule. With all the tests they’ve run on me after I had COVID in August and again in December, I discovered that my kidney function is running at about 50%! I am hoping I’m misinterpreting the results, but my doctor has been brushing me off. I decided to get a second opinion, since the person I’m seeing has literally ignored my questions on the topic.

With the fear of dialysis-in-the-future in my mind, I’m going to double-down on losing weight and becoming healthy. I always say I’m working on it, but I fail over and over again…I think because I never had the right incentive.

I have planned out a regular monthly menu to reduce my habit of eating out when I can’t figure out what to cook. I will get a fitness center membership and will start swimming and stationary biking. I hope to be able to do triathlons again by August 2023.

A few pictures over the past few months:

Bout of books 33

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 3rd and runs through Sunday, January 9th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 33 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

My goal is:

  • Finish The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Finish Red Clocks, by Leni Zumas
  • Finish introduction to Mahabharata, translated by Bibek Debroy

Erak’s Ransom, by John Flannagan

Book 1: 2022

Erak’s Ransom is the Seventh novel in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, by John Flannagan. This series is set in a fantasy world much like medieval Earth. In this installment, Will must save his friend Erak, who has been taken hostage by a people based loosely upon the Arabs. Erak’s Ransom is set out of place chronologically from the previous book, which is a decision I don’t understand. Otherwise, I found it quite enjoyable. 4 stars!

New, Improved Classics Club List 2022 – 2027

My Classics Club list got kind of old when I got married and had a kid and couldn’t read as much. Here’s a shiny new one.

  1. Mahabharata, by Anonymous
  2. Darkness Visible, by William Styron
  3. In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust
  4. Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  5. The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy
  6. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  7. The Souls of Black Folk, by W E B Du Bois
  8. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
  9. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  10. Master and Commander (series), by Patrick O’Brien
  11. The Divine Comedy, by Dante
  12. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
  13. Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
  14. The Witches of Eastwick, by John Updike
  15. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  16. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  17. Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
  18. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  19. Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
  20. The Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  21. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
  22. Native Son, by Richard Wright
  23. Seize the Day, by Saul Bellow
  24. The Apocrypha, by Anonymous
  25. The Bible, by Anonymous
  26. The Merry Adventures of Robinhood, by Howard Pyle
  27. Bleak House, by Charles Dickons
  28. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  29. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  30. Middlemarch, by George Elliot
  31. Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  32. Complete works of Edgar Allan Poe
  33. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  34. Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  35. Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger
  36. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  37. Their Eyes were watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  38. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  39. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  40. Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
  41. The Deptford Trilogy, by Robertson Davies
  42. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
  43. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
  44. A bend in the River, by V S Naipaul
  45. War with the Newts, Karel Kapek
  46. Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  47. Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Johnson
  48. The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
  49. The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse
  50. Doctor Faustus, by Thomas Mann

Update Christmas, 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The whole family caught COVID over Thanksgiving, and I’m just getting back on my feet! Here’s to hoping for a better 2022!

There was a big snowstorm – 12 inches. D12 helped shovel and M9 wiped snow off the cars. We also went sledding.

We decorated the Christmas tree.

My friend and IL3’s Godmother came over to visit while the older kids were with their mom.

D12 loves her new bellbottoms.

I finished listening to Last Girl Ghosted, by Lisa Unger. It was my 17th book of 2021. It’s a thriller about a woman that meets a mysterious man online. When she’s ghosted, she goes on a search to find out more about him.

I also finished Moby Dick, by Herman Melville! Despite it being a bit of a slog at times, I really enjoyed it.

Update 12/3/2021

Hi all! It’s been a while again! Everyone in the house has COVID, and I have pneumonia on top. It’s been a mess, but everyone is getting better.

The ER was packed on one of my attempts to go there. About 30 people sitting in the waiting room, some sleeping on the floor. Yikes! I turned around and went back home.

Since last writing, I finished a book that needs no introduction: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

IL2 got to throw some snowballs.

IL2 took a great picture of his dad.

IL2 went to Urgent Care with a fever of 103.3, and got an X-ray for a cough that has been hanging in for its fifth week now.

And D12 had her birthday. She got a 5 pound cookie.

Update November 21, 2021

I finished The German Girl by Lily Graham. It is about a set of Jewish twins from WWII Germany. It was bittersweet, and a nice little story. According to Goodreads, it’s my 15th book this year. I’m going to try for 25 books this year since I am reading more now. Maybe unrealistic. But I’m trying!

The Book Blogger Hop prompt this week is: Do you use Goodreads as the main website to keep track of what you have read? If not, please share what you use. I use both Goodreads and LibraryThing to keep track of books. To be honest, I’ve found that LibraryThing has a social network preferable to GoodReads. I am in the 75 Book Challenge for 2021 group in LibraryThing, and the Radical Reading group in GoodReads.

Well, our tenant Becki was diagnosed with COVID on Tuesday, Aaron on Friday, and myself (again!?) on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling well on Friday, but have been feeling fine since. Aaron is starting to feel sick on Sunday. Becki was pretty sick from the beginning, but has avoided the hospital. M9 was exposed at school 2 times and once at gymnastics in the past month. D11’s school has 27 confirmed cases in one week. I can’t get them vaccinated until they are no longer closely exposed within 14 days…but how is that supposed to happen? Minnesota is a hotspot at the moment. I guess this is going to be a way of life from now on.

After a pause in logging steps for my virtual Ring Road trip, I started up again. Here is my second postcard.

It snowed and IL2 had a fun time throwing snowballs.

Update November 9, 2021

Hi all! I have been so very busy lately. I was sick on and off for a while, but haven’t been sick for weeks. I was working 65 hours a week for a while, but am down to 45. Maybe I should keep it that way. It gives me more time for things like this.

I finished one book since my last post: The Siege of Macindaw, by John Flannagan. It is a book in the middle school series The Ranger’s Apprentice. I highly recommend the series to people who enjoy middle school books. It’s kind of a middle ages type of setting.

Deirdre and her friend got their ears pierced. They were both really brave! It was hard on both because of their anxiety, which makes the fact that they did it a proud moment.

Afterwards, we went axe throwing.

We went apple and pumpkin picking afterwards.

We dyed Deirdre’s hair, and sprayed the boys’ with temporary spray.

We decorated pumpkins.

The kids dressed up for Halloween and trick-or-treated. Deirdre was Marie Antoinette, Malcolm Jason, and Loki a ninja.

And Loki got into my makeup.

Update September 24, 2021

Hi all! Good to “see” you. A lot has happened. IL2 started preschool. D11 and M8 are doing well in school and gymnastics. I have been feeling super duper tired on and off due to the post-COVID. According to the internet (though not to my doctor) I now have long COVID.

I will update in pictures again, this time trying some videos, too.

Aaron started LARPing again, and part of hos costume included handcuffs. He checked that the key worked before-hand, and then he put the cuffs on his wrist, when the key stopped working. I wanted to go to the store and buy some bolt cutters, but he insisted on sawing them off. He only broke the kin a little.

Puck actually sat on someone else’s lap.

We got a family photo for Loki’s preschool.

Loki loves this little old dress of Deirdre’s. We didn’t get a good photo of it, though.

My friend Raj and I went axe-throwing.

I gave up on Walk to Mordor, which was a lot of work, for a virtual tour of Ring Road in Iceland. It’s 828 miles. I want to do the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Virtual trails,

Impossible List

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

The impossible list was invented by Joel Runyon. He wanted not a bucket list of individually easy things to do, but a list of things that felt impossible. My list is probably a little long, but I had Fun with it. I have described my quarterly focus here.

Health & Fitness

  • Try 25 new recipes in one year
  • Go without junk food for a year
  • Switch to “mostly” mediterranean diet
  • Lose 100lbs
  • Maintain weight at 140lbs for 5 years
  • Run a 5k
  • Walk a marathon
  • Run a mud race
  • Do a century ride
  • Think about posture every day for a year
  • Complete Zombies, Run!
  • Virtual Walk Appalachian Trail
  • Walk take 10k steps a day 260 times in a year
  • Switch from soda to tea
  • Go uncaffeinated for one year
  • Drink 1 gallon of water a day 260 times in one year

Travel / Adventure

  • Visit every National Park in the US
  • Go to all these parks in one summer
  • Camp in every State Park in Minnesota


  • Unpack house
  • Paint the inside of the house
  • Paint the outside of house
  • Remove rocks and make beds beautiful
  • Create a pollinator garden
  • Keep up cleaning (car and home) maintenance on a monthly basis for 12 months

Education and Reading


  • Cross-stitch Groot
  • Cross-stitch Loki
  • Cross-stitch Creeper
  • Cross-stitch unicorn
  • Cross-stitch Cthulu
  • Cross-stitch Starry Night With Tardis
  • Cross-stitch The Scream
  • Have a pen pal on all 6 continents
  • Make it through this set of D&D Campaigns
  • Have a lifetime of scrapbooks

For my Soul

Financial Health

  • Pay off Home Equity Loan
  • 6-month “emergency fund”
  • Debt-free for 1 year