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.

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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)

Update December 26, 2019

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. My two weeks since my last update have gone well. My family is currently in Oregon celebrating Christmas / Hanukkah with my in-laws. It has been a wonderful holiday season for us.

We had a scare two days before we flew out, when IL spiked a temp of 103. We took him into Urgent Care, and found that he had tonsillitis, though we got the ok to fly. He was a bit grumpy for the first few days of of his trip, and so was I, as I have had a nasty virus as well. Luckily, I’m feeling better, though not 100%.

The kids had a sneaky way of providing evidence of whether Santa existed or not. They put out both cookies and milk AND pizza and cider. They put out a coded note saying that Santa could only choose one snack. The code was the numerical alphabet backwards. Santa ate whatever he wanted, and left a coded message saying “I eat what I choose, young mortals.” It’s still up in the air whether Santa exists.

Here’s a few pictures:





Despite my goal to put a table saying my eating habits last week, I was unable to make a post due to our unexpected trip to Urgent Care. But the basic idea is that I binged more than I realized I do. That’s discouraging, but the information will help me be more conscious of my bad eating habits.

I am working on reading Maelstrom, by D. J. Schuette right now. But will soon move on to one of the books that Mark from LibraryThing sent me for a Christmas Swap.




Reading in the New Year 2020

close up of two flute glasses filled with sparkling wine wuth ribbons and christmas decor
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

End of Year News

Happy New Year to everyone! This has been a fantastic year for all of us here in the Wershow family.

D, who had been having trouble writing in school, is no longer having difficulty and is invited to be tested for the gifted and talented program at her school! She is progressing in her swim lessons, and has passed two levels this year. I don’t know if she’s still wanting to swim the English Channel, but she’s working hard nevertheless. She is also in the Twin Cities Girls’ Choir this year, and is enjoying it, despite all the hard work. She may try a less intensive singing program next year. 😊 D had her first slumber party this year, and was so excited for her 10th birthday.

M is also doing much better this year. Despite his ADHD, he is doing well in school and is the most self-aware 7 year old I’ve ever met. Like his sister, he is quite bright. He was in soccer over the summer, and did a fantastic job. He is also progressing in his swim lessons.

IL just had his first birthday on the 7th of December, and really enjoyed his cake, though he luckily didn’t eat enough to give himself a stomach ache like he did at D’s birthday party. He is walking and says “mama,” “dada,” “yeah,” “all done,” and I’m pretty darn sure he’s saying “thank you.” The doctor said that most 15 month olds don’t have that much of a vocabulary, so he’s progressing quite well.

Aaron is still enjoying his “new” job, and is working hard. He’s enjoying having a baby around the house immensely, as well as enjoying his older children as well. He likes playing video games, and listening to me ramble on while hypomanic.

I have finished 46 books this year despite the baby (mostly audiobooks while cleaning). My goal was 75. I have also learned to eat Brussels sprouts, which I’m eating as I type this letter. I have joined a fitness club and will start swimming as an exercise to help with the bursitis in my hip. The sauna is also a great help to the hip.

My parents are doing well, despite mom’s progressing Alzheimer’s. Dad is in physical therapy to help him walk better, and it’s helping a lot.

action backboard ball basketball
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

New Year Goals

📖 >50% of books I read are nonfiction

📖 <25% of books I read are purchased in 2020

📖 75 books total (this is always my goal, reasonable or not)

🏃‍♀️Lose >40 pounds

🏃‍♀️Reduce to 1 can diet soda a day

🏃‍♀️ Drink 80oz water per day

🏃‍♀️ Have an average zero net calorie deficit (consumed – burned) weekly

🏃‍♀️Exercise >4 times per week

I’m going to use the blogging community to hold me accountable for my health program, so beginning next Friday, I will present a weekly table showing my progress. I know it’ll be a bit sketchy at first – lifestyle changes take a lot of work. But I figure accountability is the best way to deal with this. I already saw a dietitian to help me with my meal plans. 🙂 The table will hopefully look like this by the end of the year:

Calorie Deficit Steps Exercise Weight
12/25/2020 0 6000 swim 500 meters, walk 2 miles 180
12/26/2020 0 6000 bike 5 miles, walk 2 miles 180
12/27/2020 0 6000 swim 500 meters, walk 2 miles 180
12/28/2020 0 4000 180
12/29/2020 0 6000 bike 5 miles, walk 2 miles 180
12/30/2020 0 6000 swim 500 meters, walk 2 miles 180
12/31/2020 0 6000 bike 5 miles, walk 2 miles 179

 This assumes that my bursitis is not in the middle of a flare-up on those days, of course. 🙂

Update December 11, 2019

Hi all! I didn’t update you last Friday because I just didn’t feel like it. 🙂 But now I feel like it. It’s been a good week. D had her first big concert of the season (they have two big ones and several minor ones in which they’re singing with the women’s choir). Here she is:


IL had his first birthday, and we have a lovely video of him NOT smashing his smash cake. 🙂

I’ve been using my new membership at a gym once per day to go swimming and sit in the sauna as a way to heat my painful hip. Either it’s helping, or the hip was just meant to feel better, because it’s not as bad as it was. I might even cancel the physical therapy (which doesn’t start till December 30th) if it continues to improve.

Both kids and I are now in three separate book clubs that meet every other month starting in January. M is reading BFG, by Roald Dahl, and enjoying it immensely. D finished The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate in two days. I am reading Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. I’m hoping the kids will enjoy the book clubs. It took a bit of setting up to do for me.

I’ve gotten back into my reading groove, but have not finished any books this week. Currently working on:

Currently Reading

Listening to The Age of Henry VIII as preparation for my read of the Wolf Hall trilogy next year. Buddy reading The New Jim Crow with a friend on LibraryThing. Wives and Daughters is my Serial Reader book. The Unspeakable Mind was an Edelweiss book a while back that I STILL haven’t finished (though I plan on catching up on my Netgalley and Edelweiss books next year).Maelstrom is a book by a friend of mine.

Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado Perez


Invisible Women is about how women are missing from data collected and used to, say, create crash test dummies for cars, plan bus routes, design cell phones, etc. She points out that disparity in collecting data about women leads to dangerous situations for women. For instance, women are more likely to die in a car accident because seat-belts are designed to safely hold a man in place, and does not account for the difference in body composition and fat / lean mass location. The bus routes are planned around where men go to work, and not so much around shopping trips, which are more often performed by women. This creates very inconvenient travel for women.

The thoughts in this book were well-expressed, and interesting. I did feel at times that she was over-stating her case, but that is often true of books with a strong bias (in this case feminism). Not that I’m saying feminism is a bad bias, only that it IS a direction that can be leaned too heavily upon at times (like every other social issue). Overall, a highly suggested book for those interested in feminism.

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