2023 Reading List

Welcome to the 2023 Reading List!

As always, I’m pulling over the books I didn’t get to last year and I’m full out dropping a couple that I just could not finish. In process or finished reads are in BOLD.

I read 31 (and 3/4) books in 2022, a number I’m very happy with. I hope to meet and/or top that this year.

From 2022:
Fear, Bob Woodward. Yes, THAT Bob Woodward. Nick picked this one, but I’ll read it, it’s about T****.

A Country Road, A Tree, Jo Baker. WWII historical fiction set in Paris.

To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf. I didn’t count this as READ, I’m about 1/4 into it… Probably won’t finish.

Paper Son, S.J. Rozen.

Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee.

The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande.

The Good Demon, Jimmy Cajoleas.

The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls. This is NOT a memoir, unlike the two books of hers I read last year. I like her voice, I hope it carries into fiction.

Books I hoped to acquire in 2022, they are from Obama’s reading list (still around, but mostly dropped for 2023):
Land of Big Numbers, Te-Ping Chen
Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe
Things We Lost to the Water, Eric Nguyen
Intimacies, Katie Kitamura

Started in 2022, ongoing:
The Interior, Lisa See. NOT a Chinese historical fiction, more of a mystery. Just started this one Dec 20, so it won’t be finished this year. So far, it’s pretty good. It’s a mystery within a historical setting.

Christmas Book Hurl!

Xmess 2022 Books

Crying in H Mart, Michelle Zauner. A memoir I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. Finished Jan 2. This is a well written memoir, especially for a first effort. Zauner has a good voice in writing. It was ALL about her mother dying, however. The first 1/3 – 1/2 of the book is intimate details of her mother’s illness and death, so I can’t really recommend this book for everyone. Clearly the author needed to unpack a lot about her mother’s death and her relationship with her mother, so if this is not your bag – IT IS NOT MINE – skip this book. I have zero relationship with my mother and therefore any book about how much you love your mom will not do much for me. I will say it was good enough to finish and it was a fast, easy read.

The Holy Shit Moment, James Fell. Recommended by Nana Visitor – I HIGHLY recommend you follow her IG.
Unwinding Anxiety, Dr Judson Brewer. DITTO.
Preacher, Books 1 & 2, Ennis and Dillon. Graphic novels, since we liked the TV series so much.
Peach Blossom Spring, Melissa Fu.

Dying of Whiteness, Jonathan Metzl. This is a sociology book on how guns, racism and eliminating social programs (education) are destroying America. The 3 focuses of the book are the 3 places he has lived: Missouri (guns), TN (racism) and Kansas (defunding education). Being from TN, I can already confirm his initial assessment of the people who live there and support the refusal to support ACA or any healthcare. This is a research book, not really a fun read, but a very important one.

Raising the Horseman, Serena Valentino. Valentino’s take on the Headless Horseman. She also does a full series of Disney Villains books. They are in YA (young adult), but very readable.

Goodwill and Xmess Set!

More books!
Xmess set and Goodwill


Sabbat Essentials, Llewellyn. Informational books about each sabbat with recipes, rituals, lore, etc. I am trying to get back to my more intuitive self with these and the new Tarot deck I got, which is already reading my beads! LOL

High Fidelity, Nick Hornby. He wrote About a Boy, which was made into the movie of the same name. This book is from 1995.

The Circle, Dave Eggers. This is the guy that founded McSweeney’s! Written in 2013, about computers taking over.

The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd. I liked The Secret Life of Bees, so thought I’d give this a go.

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, Kristin Newman. For obvious reasons… Started this one to interleaf with Dying of Whiteness. I can’t read sociological research EVERY night, yanno? This author is a TV writer, which gives her the money and time off to travel A LOT. This is a collection of tales of her travels and the wild times that come with them.

Eight Hundred Grapes, Laura Dave. Something about vineyards and family.

Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer. We have a collection and this is not in it, soooo…

Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass, Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen). Have not read this, but adore the movie. The second story is under 100 pages.

Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand. I’m glad I picked this up! It has lots of photos of Seabiscuit! Looks like Hillenbrand did a LOT of research! There are extensive notes in the appendix.

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State of the Casa

Time for the January State of the Casa™ post.

Still not great.

We’ve cut down the drinking, which has helped with sleep and overall health. Not doing much for my overall attitude, tho.

We’ve got a list of inexpensive places to visit here in town that we never have, or like and want to revisit. Since we are still digging out of $20k of CC debt (thanks a ton, MinuteMan), we can’t afford to have an actual vacay. But it’s been so long since we’ve had one, I guess it doesn’t matter any more, right? Sure. Sigh. Here’s our list of ATL attractions:

Carter Center (never been!)
Cyclorama/Atlanta History Center (never been! it is in a new location in Buckhead)
Atlanta Zoo (haven’t been in decades)
Polaris (restaurant atop downtown Hyatt, never been!)
Sundial at Weston, IF they ever turn on the rotation again (thanks, tourists, for fucking this up for all of us)
Botanical Garden (haven’t been in a decade)
Fernbank Science Center (haven’t been in over a decade, this is the small original one with the planetarium and observatory)
Fernbank Museum (never been! I still call it “the new Fernbank” LOL)
Delta Flight Museum (just found out about it!)
Millennium Gate Museum at Atlantic Station (went a few yrs back for a Japanese exhibit, going to see the Bruno Zupan show coming up!)
MODA (Museum of Design Atlanta in Colony Square) waiting for the next exhibit

It’s another year of staycation for us and that makes me sad. I’m just in a constant state of sadness and defeat these days. As I posted a while back, I’m just TIRED of everything.

Nick’s new job is coming along. He’ll be getting a raise in a few weeks. My prep job is fine, but I’ve blown out my right ring finger (trigger finger), so we’ll see how long I can continue – that is my knife grip hand. OF COURSE something happens to ruin it. OF COURSE. We’re slowly, every so slowly, getting ahead of bills. We had $400 extra after rent this month, which hasn’t happened in YEARS. As long as I can limp along at the prep job, my income will continue to beat down the CC debt.

We need so see the dentist (4 yrs), I need to see the gyno (3+ yrs), Shasti needs her check up (she’s on schedule), but as always, we have to pick and choose due to money concerns. Dentist is about $400 for both of us, gyno is about $200 and Shasti will run me about $150 for whatever she needs – thankfully her gums are OK. Oh, and I also desperately need a haircut, which is $80. I am tired just thinking about all this. Sigh.

I’m just existing. I am depressed. I’m going to see if I can find a yoga class we can take, maybe that will help at least get our bodies unwound a bit. I have been thinking about some creative artsy things to do, but my depression is keeping me from even bothering. I’ve had some level of depression since the Pub Debacle™, it is sometimes worse than others. We are in a worse phase, which is typical for this time of year. I have begun doing a one card tarot pull every day. So far, not much in the way of help from that. I’m probably too unfocused to get anything from it, but I’m trying to set a habit. Got a new deck for xmess, so why not? I also got some books about the sabbats, in an effort to reignite my witchy side.

I’ve been trying to cook more as well. I’ve got less free time now, so I try to cook early in the week, like today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday). Cooking is still a salve to my raggedy soul. Guess I should see what I can cook this week. Ciao.

Roasted Cauliflower and Golden Beet Curry Soup

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Roasted Cauliflower and Golden Beet Curry Soup

I had cauliflower and golden beets without a plan, so when you've got extra veg: make soup! Roasting the veg really brings out the flavor and keeps a good texture. This is a very easy recipe. See notes for variations!
Course Soup
Cuisine American, Indian
Keyword cauliflower, Curry, golden beets
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • Immersion blender or counter blender

Ingredients

  • 1 head Cauliflower, cut into 1" florets about 3 cups
  • 4 small Golden Beets, 1" dice or two large ones
  • EVOO and S/P
  • 1 small Onion, diced about 2/3 cup
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced about 2 tsp
  • 1 Tbl butter I use salted
  • 1 Tbl Chicken bouillon skip if using chicken stock, add more salt
  • 2 tsp Curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Flour to thicken; optional, but it does add body, too
  • zest of one lemon optional
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock, +/- to your desired consistency
  • 2 tsp sugar optional, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425ºF.
  • Put cauliflower and beets on a sheet pan, drizzle with EVOO and season with S/P. Put in oven for about 45 minutes, until the veg is cooked through and has a little browning. Cauliflower may get done before beets, depending on how you cut them, if that happens, just pull off the cauliflower and cook beets until soft.
  • While the veg cooks, put the butter, onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. Sweat until soft, then add bouillon (if using), curry, and turmeric to veg and cook a couple of minutes. Then add flour and cook that for 3-4 more minutes.
  • Add a cup of water (or stock) and the lemon zest (if using) and bring to boil. Turn off heat. Let this stand while the veg finishes cooking.
  • Once the veg is done, add to saucepan with 2 more cups of water (or stock), then blend to desired consistency with immersion blender. Add water to get the consistency you like.
  • Check seasoning and add sugar if you want to bring out the sweetness of the beets a bit more. Serve!

Notes

To make vegan,  simply drop the butter and bouillon. Adjust the seasonings. 
To make gluten free, drop the flour and use another thickener if desired, or reduce liquids. 
I used bouillon because I didn't have any stock thawed. Bouillon is a real flavor booster as long as you monitor your salt levels. I think this recipe benefits from using bouillon rather than stock. 

Changing The Dynamic

2023 came in with lots of stress and anxiety for me.

We’ve been using QuickBooks 2019 Mac since, well, 2019 and the file was getting wonky – it was not saving all our work. This file is over a decade old and very large (over 100mb). SO, we got nervous and decided we’d go to the fucking subscription shit, since we had been told there is no more desktop software support for Mac. LIES. So we tried the online crap and it sucked. Not only would the file not import correctly, the whole online interface sucks balls. In our wisdom of trying this over the holidays, Intuit had the file for weeks and we got very behind. I was having anxiety attacks over this. FINALLY, I got a great tech, who told me there are, indeed, versions of QB for Mac available (20, 21, 22!!) and we absolutely do NOT have to go online. The exact opposite of what the sales weasel said. SO. I canceled the online, we got our fixed file back and we’re rocking on. WHEW.

It has become very apparent that Nick can not handle the POAS load that we’ve been trying to carry. So, we have pretty much shut that shit down and will concentrate on MPB, conventions and the MANY project cabinets we need to get done. Between his fibro and new job, he is just not able to do all these things. It was making me very stressed out, too. Our long distance client in Buford has finally found a specialty support company for all the redemption games, so that is off our plate now, too, which is AWESOME. We were SO relieved when the owner said she found a new support company! Redemption games (Claw, Skee Ball, etc.) were never in our wheelhouse to begin with. Now we can concentrate on fixing her logo and doing some graphics for her – IN OUR WHEELHOUSE!

I’m not impressed with the beginnings of 2023 – the Mercury Retrograde has pretty much fucked all that up, but hey, the bar is now low!

I am pretty much caught up with TEV as of today, which eases my anxiety quite a lot. I need to get the anxiety under control, it is disrupting sleep and causing Lil Tummy™ to be so restrictive I can barely eat. Oh, but no weight has been lost because my Irish peasant genes say:

“Dunna ya worry, lass, we’ll keep ya plump as a partridge to outrun those murderous English bastards!!”

Fucking genes. Sigh.

Today I’m feeling pretty much in control and the anxiety is down by, oh, 80%. But did I sleep well last night? Of course not! And I’ll bet that will continue all week. What I really love is sleeping fine the week I was off from the Prep job, and the night before my 8am shift last week, I get zero sleep. AWESOME. My body is a fucking ASSHOLE.

Today I’ll finish striking the xmess tree and packing all that away. I’ll be thinking about what else I want to change about this year while I do it. There are THINGS. Wish me luck!

It’s Autumn! Misanthropy is in the Air!

This is a whiny post, feel free to skip. I always get this way this time of year. My birthday has become tiresome (old age suxxx). I still feel like THIS POST, even though some things have gotten better. But being tired of hoomans is not one of them.

Nick got a new, better job that is 15 mins from here. It will be similar to NuVision in that he’ll be doing the prepress thing AND IT for the neglected Macs and network there. It is a good fit for him and I think it will be just fine. The money will come. He is happy with it and there are no obvious problems.

I got a p/t job doing prep that I really enjoy. BUT me being me, OF COURSE it has turned sour. The restaurant steals time from employees, which I cannot abide. I have to leave there and I’ll have to report the wage theft, too. I can’t win for losing. First I get a job with EVIL management that accuses me of riding the clock, then wants to discuss how I pee and poo – and now THIS MESS.

SO, I’m foul.

I need to gtfo of here for a couple of days. Gotta get through my fucking birthday first. I foolishly got tickets to the fucking OPERA at COBB ENERGY CENTER ON A FRIDAY. WTF was I thinking? So now it’s going to be a nerve wracking who the fuck knows how long of a drive and it’s going to suck. I’m already over it. I am refusing to drive, that much I’m sure of. I’ve ruined my birthday all by myself, now at least I shouldn’t have to fucking drive to fucking Cobb county. UGH.

Shun (knives) is having a warehouse sale Wednesday, and it starts at 9am PST, which is JUST GREAT. I’ll be at fucking work. I originally thought that was good, because I ALWAYS forget that PST is BEHIND us. I was thinking, YAY, I’ll get up early and get a deal!! But no. Oh, hey, I’ll just take that break they are docking me for and shop then. Have to use the phone, which will SUCK, but I’ll try. I doubt I’ll find what I want, tho. That would require GOOD luck, of which I have NONE.

I just have to get through this week. After that, perhaps I can get out of here BY MYSELF for an overnight somewhere. I just have to keep my shit together. Which is becoming very difficult indeed. GDI And, like Hulk, I’m always like this; sometimes I get tired of pretending I’m not.