Lunaniña


As deep as a puddle after a hard rain



We Are Family

7/13/2024 |0 comments

I’ve always thought about family - what it is, what we learn from it, how we survive it. This hasn’t changed since becoming a parent. Now I think about what kind of family I’m building for my daughter. More than ever I wish we had more extended family in the area because I imagine that only having me for most of the time must be lacking. She’s only five so of course she hasn’t said much about the matter. But she’s a smart, observant kid and occasionally I’ll get questions about why she doesn’t have siblings or father. Somehow in picking a daycare I seem to have chosen one where it seems as if we’re the only single parent household. I could be wrong, obviously, and it’s not as if I can stop each parent I see to ask. But in the 3 years we’ve been there all I seem to see are 2 parent homes (and each traditional in the mom/dad variety).

Family is an interesting thing if you think about it. I made a choice to become a parent but at no point did I poll the other family members to ask if they were interested in becoming an aunt or uncle. That my mother was ready to be a grandparent is such a cliche that it’s not even worth mentioning.

I often wonder if I’d had a more functional upbringing, if these questions would even occur to me. A more stable, happy childhood would maybe have wired my brain to not even question that of course family is always happy and ready to expand. Which isn’t to say, of course, that people in any way resent their new roles. But it is a curious thing, especially in this day and age where we are all learning the importance of consent to say, hey, you had no say in this but now you have to be the best aunt/uncle ever!

I’m told I’m weird to think these things.
But I’ve been told I’m weird all my life so this is nothing new.

I don’t know that this is the most articulate post ever, it may not make any sense at all. It will do for now. From the moment I started blogging 24 years ago, I’ve struggled in deciding what and how much to share. So many years later and that hasn’t changed. And yet, I still have this desire to have this online home. Weird. So we’ll see. At the rate I’m writing, I’m probably on track to post about 3 times a year. Makes you wonder what I get out of this, if anything. Maybe that will be the focus of the third post. I suppose we’ll have to see…


2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

12/30/2023 |0 comments

2022 Year in Books Stats - 24,089 pages read, 62 books
2022 Year in Books Stats - 24,089 pages read, 62 books

I’m working my way through two books right now (L is for Lawless and The Last Action Heroes) but I’m not likely to finish either by tomorrow night so now is as good a time as any to post the results of my 2023 Goodreads Challenge. I set a goal of reading 40 books in 2023 - I read 62 books in total. I had also set a goal of at least half of those books being physical books. This was an attempt at working my way through the 900+ physical books I own. I didn’t do so well with this goal as only one of the books I read this year was a physical book (Lessons in Chemistry). Not only was it a physical book but it was a hardcover at that. I don’t tend to buy/read hardcovers as they are expensive and unwieldy but I’m also not about to say no to gifted books. Oh, there’s also the third, shadow goal that’s been haunting me for ages - which is to finish The Brothers Karamazov. That also didn’t go so well. As we know (or I do but you probably don’t because why would you remember such a thing?) the farthest I’ve ever gotten is about 300 pages but my reading of the book is so sporadic that with the latest attempt, I had to start over and I’ve only gotten to page 116.

Of the 3 goals I crushed 1 so around these parts that’s a win. Why? Because I make the rules and of course the rules are going to fall in my favor.

Now, to the rest of the books, the full list is below.

The highs and lows of my reading year:
Favorite read: Lessons in Chemistry. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book and that the fantasy aspects of the story didn’t throw me. In fact, though many people online seem to find the following annoying, yes, my favorite character in the book was the dog. What can I tell you? A smart puppy is hard to resist. Remarkably Bright Creatures came in a close second. Hmm. Sensing a theme here as this book was about a smart octopus. Maybe I need to look into reading more books about smart animals?

Did Not Finish: But, Patricia, you may say, you put down a lot of books, how can this possible be a sensible category? Well, I’m a moody reader, yes, so I do tend to flit from book to book as the mood hits. But sooner or later I do finish the books. But The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is one I have zero intention of picking back up again. I listened to the review of the movie on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and it piqued my interest enough to borrow the book from the library. I read about 40 pages but I lost interest. It turns out I have little interest in learning how Coriolanus Snow came to be the evil president of Panem. I was interested enough to pull up the Wiki entry and read the summary, however. After reading that, I don’t feel as if I’ve missed out on anything by choosing to not go back to the book.

Most Annoying Books I Still Feel Compelled to Read: For this year this has to go to the Finlay Donovan series. I understand that if characters always made the right and safe choice that there would be no book but the decisions the main characters make in this book are so preposterous it makes you wonder how they manage to get dressed each morning never mind navigate the rest of their lives. That said, I still fully intend on reading the fourth book in the series when it comes out early in 2024.

Books that I Enjoyed in the Past but Have No Memory* of so Am Rereading: I’m working my way through the ABC series by Sue Grafton. Aside from the fat shaming I didn’t remember being so prominent in some of the books, I’m enjoying having Kinsey Milhone in my life again. Still makes me sad she didn’t get to end the series but am happy we got all the way to Y. *Slight exaggeration. I remember the salient points - she’s a detective, etc but actual details of each case escape me. I’m at L right now and the cases still don’t ring many bells. I’m curious to see how far I get into the series before the memory really kicks in. I also re-read the first three of the Children of Earth series because I get the urge to do that every once in a while. In 2022 I also started rereading the Lucas Davenport books by John Sandford. For the same reason as the Grafton books - I really enjoyed this series years ago but it’s been so long since I read the beginning of the series that I don’t remember much of the story details.

For my 2024 goals, I think I’ll up the number of books to 50. I’m going to keep the other two because I’m clearly a hopeless optimist. 2024 is the year I finish The Brothers Karamazov! And if not, then there’s always 2025! 😊

What was your favorite read of the year?

Full Reading List

  1. The Other Family, Loretta Nyhan
  2. Big Chicas Don’t Cry, Annette Chavez Macias
  3. Desert Star (Renée Ballard, #5; Harry Bosch, #24; Harry Bosch Universe, #36), Michael Connelly
  4. Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus
  5. K is for Killer, Sue Grafton
  6. Twice a Quinceañera, Yamile Saied Méndez
  7. L.A. Weather, María Amparo Escandón
  8. J is for Judgement, Sue Grafton
  9. Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan, #3), Elle Cosimano
  10. Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (Finlay Donovan, #2), Elle Cosimano
  11. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1), Elle Cosimano
  12. I is for Innocent, Sue Grafton
  13. H is for Homicide, Sue Grafton
  14. A Very Typical Family, Sierra Godfrey
  15. Girl, Forgotten (Andrea Oliver, #2), Karin Slaughter
  16. The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks, Shauna Robinson
  17. Last Breath (Good Daughter, #0.5), Karin Slaughter
  18. By the Book (Meant to Be, #2), Jasmine Guillory
  19. Pieces of Her, Karin Slaughter
  20. How to Be a Husband, Tim Dowling
  21. Cleaning the Gold (Jack Reacher, #23.6; Will Trent, #8.5), Karin Slaughter
  22. The Good Daughter (The Good Daughter, #1), Karin Slaughter
  23. The Silent Wife (Will Trent, #10), Karin Slaughter
  24. Dark Angel (Letty Davenport, #2), John Sandford
  25. The Last Widow (Will Trent, #9), Karin Slaughter
  26. The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8), Karin Slaughter
  27. Advanced Physical Chemistry (Chemistry Lessons, #3), Susannah Nix
  28. Unseen (Will Trent, #7), Karin Slaughter
  29. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin
  30. Criminal (Will Trent, #6), Karin Slaughter
  31. Fallen (Will Trent, #5), Karin Slaughter
  32. If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be, #1), Julie Murphy
  33. Snatched (Will Trent, #5.5), Karin Slaughter
  34. Romantic Comedy, Curtis Sittenfeld
  35. Part of Your World (Part of Your World, #1), Abby Jimenez
  36. Broken (Will Trent, #4), Karin Slaughter
  37. Undone (Will Trent, #3), Karin Slaughter
  38. Beyond Reach (Grant County, #6), Karin Slaughter
  39. Faithless (Grant County, #5), Karin Slaughter
  40. Remarkably Bright Creatures, Shelby Van Pelt
  41. Intermediate Thermodynamics (Chemistry Lessons, #2), Susannah Nix
  42. Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter
  43. Fractured (Will Trent, #2), Karin Slaughter
  44. Kisscut (Grant County, #2), Karin Slaughter
  45. Blindsighted (Grant County #1), Karin Slaughter
  46. Fleishman Is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  47. Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir, Padma Lakshmi
  48. A Man Called Otto, Fredrik Backman
  49. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
  50. Triptych, Karin Slaughter
  51. Heat 2, Michael Mann
  52. The American Roommate Experiment (Spanish Love Deception, #2), Elena Armas
  53. Ms. Demeanor, Elinor Lipman
  54. The Unhoneymooners (Unhoneymooners, #1), Christina Lauren
  55. The Mammoth Hunters, Jean Auel
  56. The Valley of Horses, Jean Auel
  57. Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean Auel
  58. Dating Dr. Dil, Nisha Sharma
  59. Sudden Prey, John Sandford
  60. Crying in H Mart, Michelle Zauner
  61. Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family, Rabia Chaudry
  62. The Book Haters’ Book Club, Gretchen Anthony

Broken

12/20/2023 |0 comments

As anyone with eyes and interest can see, regular posting isn’t a thing that’s, well, a thing around these parts. Which means that I don’t log in daily or even weekly sometimes so I don’t know exactly when the website got all janked up. While I’m not really very technical, I’ve been maintaining a site (if we use the definition of maintaining very loosely) for 23 years now. I quickly guessed that while I wasn’t paying attention the hosting company upgraded the PHP version and that was causing ExpressionEngine to break. Sure enough, when I logged on I saw that the site is now running on PHP 8; I rolled it back a bit and things looked fine but as I’m posting this I’m seeing error messages. No clue what to do about those right now - which is funny because I logged in yesterday with the express interest of staring at the screen until words magically appeared. Instead I had to pretend to know techy things and that was enough of an obstacle to put off writing for another day. Instead you get this. And by you I mean the general you - the you that probably only exists in my head. Which may be the best you there is, really. Trust me when I tell you that in my pretend universe you are magical, beautiful, and terribly smart. Who wouldn’t love that?

In conclusion, I’ll see about the warnings AND about writing more. After all, we’re coming up on the beginning of a new year when we all make promises we know we have no intention of keeping and who am I to buck tradition??


Embarrassment of Riches

9/6/2023 |0 comments

In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to move in with friends to cut down on costs. This was much needed because the multiple cross country moves, being unemployed for a brief period and, yes, some questionable financial decisions had left me with more debt than I was comfortable carrying. By then I knew I would be trying to grow my family at some point and I couldn’t imagine embarking on that journey with such a financial deficit hanging over my head. Thankfully I had Sam around who didn’t mind taking in a hermit for a roommate.

So that’s the quick background. Let’s fast forward a bit to 2015 and the cancer diagnosis and treatment. As we know, since this isn’t a ghost typing this, the surgery took care of the physical problem. But I was left emotionally, uhm, not well let’s say. So I turned to the time honored therapy known as retail therapy. Which you might think was counter productive given my goal of paying down debt. But my expenses were so minimal (I mean, Sam even let me use his car when I didn’t feel like renting one) that I was able to make significant dents to the debt and still buy an embarrassing amount of clothes. And I do mean embarrassing.

There was a period where I don’t think a day went by when there weren’t multiple packages waiting for me in front of my bedroom door.

And if you’re a woman or a person who is always thinking she needs to lose weight you’ll likely connect with the idea of buying motivational clothing. The thing that’s one or two (or in my brain addled drepessed state, three or four) sizes too small because you’re going to lose the weight and it’s 80% off so practically free so how can you not buy it!?!*

So yeah. This means I have a closet and several storage bins full of really pretty clothes that is essentially my own personal store.

All this rambling brought to you by the fact that some recent weight loss (please don’t mention it. I don’t share that for any acknowledgment.) had me dipping into my clothes stash. I was able to add 8 (!) new skirts and 3 new dresses to my wardrobe. That’s both fun and also a little cringey. I acknowledge that.

And this also means I can go through and see what doesn’t fit and either donate it or put it aside for alterations.

So, yeah. That’s my Friday so far. I took the day off because I’m tired and I could. I may go to the movies later. I don’t know. I gotta check to see what the matinee prices are. Those silly things never go on clearance, huh? 🤪🤪

*Despite the loss of rational thinking, I only purchased things that were final clearance. If it wasn’t at least 75% off I didn’t consider it. That was some of the justification and that I was still on track according to my debt reduction spreadsheet meant at the time I felt okay about it all.  Because, hey, cancer! Whatever, etc etc.


The End of an Era

7/9/2023 |0 comments

Back in the mid-2000s, a favorite nerd hobby of mine (and quite a few other folks, really) was to gobble up domain names. They were cheap enough that it was possible and you just didn’t want some fantastically awesome domain to not be available once you came up with an idea for a site or product or whatever. Hell, sometimes you didn’t even have to have plans for it, even maybe someday plans, it was just fun, funny. Like I said, nerds. Eh.

I settled on lunanina as being my digital home pretty early on and at this point, even though I don’t make use of the domain in any meaningful way, after 23 years, I can’t imagine not having it. Other domains, though, have come and gone, some with very little after thought. Others with a little bit of regret. I’m living in that regret space right now.

I let patricia-elizabeth expire last month. I moved the blog to that ages ago, once more of my “real-life” people had discovered the blog. It wasn’t that the blog was ever that revealing and given that it was public, I certainly wasn’t shy about people reading my thoughts. But it felt different, having strangers that I probably would never interact with read about my childhood and people who I had to sit across from at meetings knowing stuff that I hadn’t already decided to share with them. I think that’s the kind of thing that folks who choose to share online would understand and would confuse others who think all the social networking thing is just a waste of time.

Regardless, in trying to be more fiscally responsible, I looked at the annual cost of the domains I still had and while it wasn’t breaking the bank, it was enough to make me thing, hmm, that’s just silly. So I let 3 domains expire. I was sure that was the right thing to do. It’s still the right thing to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling pangs about the namesake domain being gone. I’m a creature of habit and I like my routines so maybe I can attribute the feelings to that. Or perhaps letting that go means accepting that the period of my life which encompassed the use of that particular domain is long behind me. I don’t know.

I do know that I just looked to see if the domain was available and it is, but through an auction. Which immediately had me thinking, well, no, I don’t miss it that much. It’s nice that the idea of having to spend even more money on it brought along a little clarity. Hey, we take our “wins” aka marginal emotional growth however we can get them around here.


Silver Linings

4/4/2023 |0 comments

I started my first Twitter account back in 2006. And when I tell you that I still kind of regret having crashed and burned that account after a few short months that’s me admitting just how much of a nerd I continue to be. It’s been so long ago that I don’t even remember why I deleted it. I probably didn’t see the point of it. Who knows.

But much like blogging Twitter brought some smart folks into my life who I am happy to call friends. Which is why, even as I came to use the site less and less, I didn’t once consider deleting the second account which I started at some point in 2007. Plus, even if I don’t use it much, it was still fun knowing how old my account was when younger folks excitedly told me about their new Twitter habit. I wasn’t annoying about it, I don’t think. I never once patted them on the head while also saying, “Oh, it’s cute that you think you just discovered this.” Given that in the 16 years I’ve had an account I’ve never gotten more than 300 and some followers I can hardly be too smug about it after all. Popular I never was. In real or my digital life. But that’s neither here nor there.

I got to thinking about Twitter tonight because the slooow demise means folks have started blogging again. Not as many as I would like but enough that skipping down my blogroll is fun again. I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the hey day of blogging but people having the urge to post thoughts in more than 280 characters is still a win in my book.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the trend lasts.


Morbid Math

3/31/2023 |0 comments

I turned 50 this month. I am a parent of a three year old.
These are facts I think about a lot. Well, not the precise age. But definitely the fact that I am an older parent.

I always hoped to be a parent. I can pinpoint that hope back to my early teens. None of my hopes and dreams had me waiting so long to become someone’s mami. I don’t wish for a different path though. How could I? To do so would mean I wouldn’t have been ready to welcome this sweet, obstinate, headstrong girl into my world.

But

Here is the but.

It saddens me that my brain is constantly trying to figure out how much time I will have with her. And here is where some folks always chime in with, no day is promised. You could die tomorrow!

Okay. Fine. They don’t say the last bit but I do hear the first part. It’s strange that this is supposed to ease my dread. People mean well though so bygones.

Still, no matter how sweet people try to be, all things being equal and barring freak accidents, the fact is I am not going to have as much time with her as I would like. Odds are good that I don’t live to see her 100th birthday after all.

I try to stay in the moment and enjoy each day but when your brain has always steered towards the realities of life, it’s hard to not have the dark thoughts.

There are articles about people choosing to have kids later in life and the wonders of modern medicine etc etc etc. On principle I think people having a choice and being able to have the children they want are good things. But it makes me sad for all of us who won’t have 50, 60, 70 years to see our babies out in the world.


Perfect is the enemy of good

2/10/2023 |0 comments

Or as a supervisor ages ago told me, “Sometimes you have be okay with good enough.”

So that’s where we are right now. Does this site look at all like I would hope? Nope.
Does it have all the sections I wish it had? Nope.
Does it have the bare minimum to allow me to actually use it? No- wait. That one is actually a yes.

It can house my blatherings. It has a space to add quick links to articles, videos etc. that I find interesting and it has a spot where I can post links to much much smarter people than me (I? see? Point proven). The archives for the longer posts can be, shockingly enough, found under the Archives section. The quick links won’t be archived because, let’s face it, nobody is gonna go looking for those.

So, at this point, if I’m not writing it’s not because the site can’t handle it.

At some point I would like for it not to look like something a 12 year old did back in the early 2000s using Geocities but eh. One thing, or word, rather, at a time.


Slow Progress

1/22/2023 |0 comments

The downside to neglecting the site, to no longer having as much energy to fiddle around with code and to, well, not really have anyone visiting, is that when something on the back end breaks, it takes me a long time to get around to fixing it. And, if the fix is beyond my basic capabilities, I just hit the reset button. Which blows up the way the site looks but because I have the entries saved in databases I shrug the shoulders and think (and feel) eh. My toxic trait, as the kids say nowadays, is thinking I’ll fix it in a timely manner.

Well, debatable. I’m not sure resetting the site in August of 2022 and finally doing the bare minimum 4 months later qualifies as timely. However, given that in the past going from reset to restart has taken me years - as I said, debatable.

I’m stubbornly holding on to using Expression Engine for the content management which is silly given that it doesn’t come with any preset, easy to add templates. This matters because while I have full entries showing on the main page again, I still have to figure out how to code the pages to allow for the blogroll and any other links I may want to save.

I’ve also pared down the idea of what this space should be. In the past I wanted it to not just be a blog but a place to store my photos, more long-form writing, etc. But, really, given that I can barely sometimes get up the energy to do a quick blog post, and that I have zero interest or intent in having a portfolio of any kind, these grand designs are also quite silly.

The desire to journal is still there though so once again, here we are. We being me and, uhm, probably just me, let’s face it. Having no audience didn’t stop me in the past though so that’s definitely not likely to be an impediment now.

There does seem to be a general feeling of people wanting to get back to some version of blogging so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes for others. As always, we shall see how it all goes.


2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

1/17/2023 |0 comments

My Year in Books graphic from Goodreads
My Year in Books graphic from Goodreads

I set a goal of reading 30 books in 2022. I ended the year with 67 books read. So the question now is, Do I keep the same reading goal for 2023 or bump it up? I used to read a book or two a week but that was so long ago that I can’t easily claim to be much of a reader nowadays. But I miss losing myself in a book, I miss the feeling of wanting to get done with a task because a story was waiting. So for 2022 I stuck to “easy” reads - so, no, I didn’t make any progress on The Brothers Karamazov. That continues to be my white whale.

Among the 67 books read, these are the ones that stood out:

Favorite reads: Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir; Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGhee

Most helpful: oh crap! Potty training: everything modern parents need to know to do it once and do it right, Jamie Glowacki

Weirdest: nothing to see here, Kevin Wilson

The YA that reminded me YA isn’t just for the youngsters: The Lesbianas Guide to Catholic School, Sonora Reyes; Lobizona, Romina Garber

The book that reminded me I really need to read more Latinae writers (and preferably in Spanish): The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez

The book that reminded me romance books can be fun escapes and started me down the contemporary romance rabbit hole that greatly facilitated the increased reading: Seven Days in June, Tia Williams

The book that made me pick up a classic I’ve been meaning to read: Re Jane, Patricia Park

The book that I didn’t realize had pissed me off so much until I picked up the sequel and discovered I hated the premise so much I couldn’t possible read past the first chapter: Dial A for Aunties, Jesse Q. Sutano

For 2023 I’ve decided to set two goals: read 40 books and to have many of those come from my own bookshelves. It would take several years reading at this pace to make a serious dent in my personal library but we have to start somewhere, no?