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Book Review: In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae

Image of a digital book cover. This is a cartoon style drawing Pine trees make up the background. On the left is a blond white woman in a pink coat, torn jeans, and knee high boots with a cowboy hat. On the right is a brunette woman in a red flannel shirt, khakis, and work boots, holding an axe on a stump. There's a Christmas wreath behind her.

Summary:
With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .

Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.

When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?

Review:
This is a thoroughly queer holiday romance for your holiday needs. It has the returning to my small town from the big city to try to save a small business trope. It also has the second chance love trope.

The two main characters in this sapphic romance are BOTH (!) bisexual (and say the word), which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in a romance. There’s a secondary male character who I think is bisexual, although it’s possible he’s gay and has dated women in the past (no one ever says which). There’s another secondary gay character, and a trans woman of color. The owner of the business Morgan works for is a woman of color. A tertiary character is a woman of color married to a Jewish man. Chrismukkah happens briefly. There’s also a pine tree decorated for a mix of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

The sex scenes are steamy and on-screen (all f/f), and there were at least three? Maybe more? I lost count. There’s also one ahem, self-love scene, which I honestly skimmed over because that’s not something I’m personally into reading. I appreciate that it did move the plot forward and wasn’t pointless though. (The character essentially clears her head in this way and then is able to solve a problem she’s been puzzling over).

The one thing I didn’t like was how alcohol is handled in this book. Rachel (the love interest)’s dad has alcoholism. That’s absolutely fine to include. In fact, it’s generally something I’m happy to see. But the representation of this struck false. The main thing that really bothered me is how Rachel interacts with alcohol herself. The book establishes that she’s traumatized by her dad’s alcoholism. It tore the family apart in high school. He’s been in and out of rehab that her and her brother pay for. Her mom left the family after Rachel (the youngest) graduated high school. Rachel routinely drops by her dad’s apartment (that she and her brother pay for) to check for signs of alcohol. YET she STILL drinks regularly. Not occasionally. Regularly. Most people I know who’ve seen this much of the negative impacts of alcohol won’t even allow it in their homes, let alone go out drinking themselves regularly.

Plus, there’s the whole instigation event to Morgan coming back to Fern Falls. (I don’t consider this a spoiler because it happens in chapter one). She gets wasted out at a bar and accidentally kisses the fiancé of someone whose wedding she’s organizing. He’s “in disguise” because he has a hoody on, but we all know she’d have recognized him if she wasn’t drunk. Anyway, everyone knows about this because the news wrote it up. We know Rachel knows about it. She still goes for Morgan. No way. No adult child of an alcoholic would set themselves up like that. I overlooked it because it’s a cheesy romance, but this is not a realistic depiction of an adult child of an alcoholic who’s actively engaged in their recovery. Adult children of alcoholics tend to fall either into the camps of also alcoholics themselves or sober. Rachel falls into neither. I feel weird complaining about realism in a holiday romance novel, but this is real life for a lot of us, and I disliked it being used as a plot device poorly. Alcoholism is serious, and Rachel wouldn’t be casually getting drunk with some love interest who’s only home because she became a hashtag while doing something drunk. In fact, I think this was a missed opportunity for some real bonding. They could have been at a town event and both noticed they were drinking hot chocolate. Rachel reveals the stuff about her dad. Morgan reveals she’s decided to dial it way back with the alcohol after possibly losing her career on that night out. Instant believable bond. But no….they just share spiked drinks.

All of that said, I still gave it four stars because this is a fun holiday romance. It’s not supposed to be that serious! And the bisexual rep is so uncommon and needed. I just wish the alcoholism/adult children of alcoholics rep was just as well done.

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4 out of 5 stars

Length: 320 pages – average but on the longer side

Source: NetGalley

Buy It (Amazon or Bookshop.org)

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10 Last-Minute Ebook Gifts For Under $5

December 11, 2014 2 comments

It’s time for the second gift list here at Opinions of a Wolf (see the first, 10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers here).  I thought with Hanukkah next week and some holiday parties already happening that it would be interesting to provide a list of cheap ebooks.  Ebooks make great last-minute gifts, as you can purchase them literally on your phone on the way to the party and have them arrive in your recipient’s email with them none the wiser that you waited until the last minute.  Since you can schedule when the gift email arrives, no one needs to know that you scheduled it only 5 minutes ago.  Ebooks are also great because you can find them for very cheap but a reader who loves ebooks doesn’t care how much the ebook cost.  A book is a book is a book!  I’m not just going to tell you a list of cheap ebooks though.  I’m also going to give you a little reader’s advisory–tell you who the book would be best for.  Without further ado, here is the list, in order of cost from least to most.

For the lover of YA who enjoys a touch of fantasy:

A bunette wearing a white dress with blue embroidery gazes at a blue pixie. The book's title and author's name are on the cover in blue and white lettering.
Initiate by Tara Maya
$0
Dindi is about to undergo her people’s initiation test and ceremony that not only welcomes her to adulthood but also will determine whether or not she is a member of the Tavaedi.  The Tavaedi are a mix of religious leader, healer, and warrior who cast magic spells by dancing.  Since Dindi can see the pixies and other fae, she thinks she has a chance.  But no one in her clan has ever successfully become a Tavaedi.  Meanwhile, an exiled warrior, Kavio, is attempting to shed his old life and the haunting of his father’s wars and his mother’s powers.  But he slowly discovers a deadly plot that brings him directly to Dindi’s initiation ceremony.
This is a unique piece of YA fantasy set in a tribal world inspired by Polynesia.  The romance is light and slow-building, and the focus is primarily on growing up and becoming an adult.  See my full review here.

For the urban fantasy reader without a lot of time:

Woman with short hair in a red shirt in profile.
Cursed by S. A. Archer
$0
London works for hire doing investigations mostly for parahumans, and her best friend is a vampire who keeps hoping she’ll consent to being turned.  Her life isn’t run-of-the-mill, but it isn’t too bad either, until one day she gets Touched by a Sidhe and finds herself sucked into the Fey world bubbling just beneath the surface of the regular one.
This fast-paced novella is perfect for the reader without a lot of time who still wants to get some urban fantasy into their day.  See my full review here.

For the lover of the style of classic scifi:
A dime sits on a black background between the title and author name, both of which are on a marble background.
The Coin by Glen Cadigan
99 cents
When Richard’s physicist professor uncle dies tragically in a plane crash and leaves him his coin collection, he is shocked to find a brand-new dime from 2012.  The only thing is, it’s 1989.  A note from his uncle states that the coin is important.  Richard thinks the answer to the mystery might be in his uncle’s personal diaries he also left him, but he’s not a physicist and can’t decipher them.  As the year 2012 approaches, Richard increasingly wonders what the coin is all about.
This novella is a fun new take on the storytelling methods of classic scifi.  The science is strong enough to be interesting but not too challenging, and the result of the mystery is surprising.  See my full review here.

For zombie fans who enjoy a touch of romance:

Brain in a bowl.
Hungry For You by A. M. Harte
$2.50
A collection of zombie-themed short stories and poetry with the twist that they all have to do with romantic relationships in some way, shape, or form.
This short story collection is different and fun simultaneously.  It will appeal to zombie pans, particularly women.  See my full review here.

For the reader of lesbian romance who loves fairy tale retellings:

Girl's hair with flowers and ribbons braided into it.
Braided: A Lesbian Rapunzel by Elora Bishop
$2.99
A lesbian retelling of Rapunzel.  Gray, a witch’s daughter, visits Zelda every day.  The witch switched Gray’s fate into Zelda, so now Zelda is the one entwined with the spirit of the tree that the people worship.  She must live on the platform and every day lower her hair for people to tie ribbons and prayers into.  Gray feels horrible guilt over their switched fates, but she’s also falling in love with Zelda.
this is a fun retelling of Rapunzel, particularly if you’re looking for a non-heteronormative slant or enjoy a more magical feel.  Note that this is part of a series entitled Sappho’s Fables, which consists of lesbian retellings of fairy tales.  The novellas may be mixed and matched.  See my full review here.

For the reader of women’s fiction with an interest in Scotland:

cover_emotional geology
Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard
$2.99
Rose is a textile artist with bipolar disorder who for years found her medication dulled her ability to work.  After a stunning betrayal that landed her in a mental hospital, she has moved to a quiet, extraordinarily rural island in Scotland in an attempt to control her illness with as little medication as possible so she may still create her art.  Her life isn’t quite as quiet as she imagined it would be, though, with a warm neighbor, Shona, who introduces her to her brother, a teacher and poet.
This is an emotional, challenging, touching read for fans of contemporary fiction with a heart.  See my full review here.

For the horror fan:

Eyes behind a beaker.Gargoyles by Alan Nayes
$2.99
Amoreena is determined to be a doctor and help people.  She’s a hard-working, scholarship student on the pre-med track in her third year of college.  Unfortunately, her single mother just got diagnosed with metastatic cancer and lost her health insurance.  With no time for a job and no money for the bills, Amoreena is grateful when she is approached by a surrogacy clinic to be a surrogate for $50,000 with payments upon successful insemination and each trimester.  But after she’s successfully inseminated, Amoreena becomes increasingly concerned that something is not quite right with her baby.
If your horror fan loves Rosemary’s Baby and is particularly freaked out by evil pregnancies, they will love this book. See my full review here.

For the lover of noir and urban fantasy:

Man in a hat standing next to a Europeanish buildingOne Death at a Time by Thomas M. Hewlett
$2.99
Jack Strayhorn is a private eye and a member of Alcoholic’s Anonymous.  Only, he’s not an alcoholic, he’s one of the vampires who meet in a secret vampire group that exists under the umbrella of AA to learn how to control their urges and feed on humans without killing them.  He’s just returned to LA, his death site that he hasn’t been back to since he had to run in 1948 after becoming a vampire.  When his current missing person case shows up dead next to a Fae politician, Jack gets dragged into a mixed-up underworld of Faes, werewolves, drugs, and a group of vampires determined to rule the world.
This is a delightful mix of urban fantasy and noir and is a strong first entry for a new series.  See my full review here.

For the reader of thrillers and fans of Gone Girl:

Title against a foggy image of a man walking in the woodsI’ll Sleep When You’re Dead by E. A. Aymar
$3.03
Tom Starks has not been the same since his wife, Renee, was brutally murdered with a baseball bat in a parking lot.  He’s been struggling for the last three years to raise her daughter, who he adopted when he married Renee.  When Renee’s killer is released after a retrial finds insufficient evidence to hold him, Tom becomes obsessed with dealing out justice himself.
This is a unique thriller, with its choice to cast the opposite of a bad-ass in the role of the main character.  This grounds the typical revenge plot into reality, lends itself to more interesting, unique plot twists, and has the interesting aspect of a flawed, nearly anti-hero main character that the reader still roots for.  See my full review here.

For readers of multi-generational family dramas and GLBTQ lit:

Road during a rainstorm.The Value Of Rain by Brandon Shire
$4.99
Charles hasn’t been home since his mother and uncle sent him away to an insane asylum at the age of fourteen after he was found in the embrace of his first love–Robert.  Now, ten years later, his mother, Charlotte, is dying, and he comes back to take his revenge.
This is one of those genre-defying books.  Shire explores the devastating effects of prejudice, hate, secrets, and lies throughout family generations, and that is something that is simultaneously universal and tragic.  See my full review here.

I hope this list helps you find a read for yourself or a gift for another.  Feel free to ask questions about any of these books or ask for recommendations for books for particular recipients in the comments!

10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers

November 13, 2014 8 comments

With the holiday season almost upon us, I thought it might be fun to put together some helpful gift idea lists for you all.  First up is 10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers.

Maybe you have a reader in your life, but you’ve already picked out a couple of books for them and now are stumped.  Or maybe you just want a stocking stuffer, and your reader loves chunksters that don’t exactly fit in a stocking.  Or maybe your reader loves ebooks, and you want something physical to wrap along with a note about the impending ebooks they’re about to get.  If any of these are you, read on for some gift ideas, in no particular order!

six reading themed magnetsBook Lover Magnets
($5.67 plus shipping)
The perfect decoration for an office, dorm, or kitchen.  And maybe the recipient will even hang up the holiday card from you with one.  This shop also offers a cute bookworm magnet set, for the kawaii readers among your loved ones.

book page iphone casePassage From a Book Phone Case
($19 to $27, depending on type of phone, plus shipping)
The case in the picture features a passage from Frankenstein with the quote “Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful” highlighted.  Empowering and literary!  If Frankenstein isn’t your recipient’s style, there are many other classics to pick from, including Jane Eyre, Little Women, Dracula, and many more.

book locket made out of little womenMini Book Locket
($20.19 plus shipping)
Maybe your book lover also loves jewelery.  This mini replica of a book that doubles as a locket necklace is an adorable piece that will surely brighten up their day.  Other books are also available, including Les Miserables, Harry Potter, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

book quote pillow coversBook Quote Throw Pillow Cover
($16.99 plus shipping)
Give your book lover a book quote themed cover for their favorite snuggly throw pillow.  They’ll think of you every time they curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.  This cover’s quote is from Louisa May Alcott, “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Other literary quotes are available too, however.

Handcrafted statue of JavertHandcrafted Literary Figurine
($48 plus shipping)
If you know a few of your book lover’s favorite books, you could get a handmade figurine of one of the characters.  This is Inspector Javert from Les Miserables.  Isn’t the detailing on him amazing?  This shop has many literary characters available, all in exquisite detail, and at a very reasonable price considering all that work!

Image of a clutchAuthor Names Clutch
($26.99 plus shipping)
For the more femme book lovers on your list, this clutch could be ideal.  It features over 200 author’s names in a beautiful font.  The shop also has clutches for all four Harry Potter houses, as well as clutches themed around individual works of literature.

image of a soy candleBook Themed Candle
($15 plus shipping)
A slightly tongue-in-cheek gift that is sure to make a candle-loving reader smile.  This candle is made of eco-friendly soy and is designed to smell like a bookstore, mixing the scents of timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino, and leather.  Other bookish scents can be found, such as “old book smell” or scents based on literature, such as what the butterbeer from Harry Potter or Sherlock’s study might smell like.

fingerless glovesBook Excerpt Fingerless Gloves
($26.00 plus shipping)
If your reader is from a cold climate and works on computers a lot, some literary-themed fingerless gloves might be just the ticket.  They feature excerpts from well-loved classics, such as Sherlock Holmes, Picture of Dorian Gray, or Wuthering Heights.

image of a blue tshirtEntire Text of a Book Artistic Tshirt
($34.00 plus shipping)
If you know one of your recipient’s favorite books, you could get one of these awesome tshirts featuring the entire text of a book worked into an image that represents the book.  The one in the image above is The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe but many many more are available, and there are many color options as well.

go awayReading Themed Mug
($13 plus shipping)
No reader likes to be bothered when they’re reading.  Many readers sip a hot drink while they’re reading.  This mug both tells folks to leave them alone and gives them a mug to sip from.  It’s the ideal reading accessory.

 

Friday Fun! (November: Maine Holiday and Thanksgiving)

December 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Oceanside coast of the island in Maine we stayed on.

Oceanside coast of the island in Maine we stayed on.

Hello my lovely readers!

Sorry for the delay in November’s post.  I was away for the last week of November on vacation, and I knew it would be the best part of the month to talk about, so I didn’t want to preschedule a post. 🙂

My partner and I both had the last week of November off.  He usually gets the entire week off for the holiday, and I took an extra three days off on top of the normal Thanksgiving days (day of and day after Thanksgiving).  We split our vacation between a trip to Portland, Maine and a trip to vacation to see my dad and brother and his wife and kids.

For those of you who are not from the US and don’t know, November in Maine is *cold*.  It’s officially the off-season.  This meant we got to go on the cheap but it also meant it was cold  We’re both from northern climates though (Vermont and Michigan), so we dealt well.  Portland, Maine is a happening, hip small city.  It holds 1/3 of the entire population of Maine.  We stayed on an island off the coast of Portland, which meant we had to take the ferry in and out of the city each day.  Originally our intention was to rent bicycles and bike around the island one day, but it was too cold one of the days and there was snow the other (and the bike rental place didn’t have snow-friendly bikes), so we went into Portland both days.  The cabin we stayed in had a hot tub, fire place, and one of those showers that takes up the entire bathroom.  So we got to hot tub in the snow, which was an entirely new experience to me, and I clearly loved!

While in Portland, we went to the International Cryptozoology Museum, which is a delightful museum run by the world expert on Bigfoot.  I’m more of a sea monster girl myself, but we still got our picture with Bigfoot.  We also hit up the Shipyard Brewing Company and got lots of free samples and got to see the bottling and brewing process.  I was surprised to learn that Shipyard was started by an immigrant to the US from the UK.  We also went to an official Cabot store.  Cabot is an American cooperative of New York and New England dairy farms.  They have amazing dairy products.

Vegan satay from Green Elephant

Vegan satay from Green Elephant

For food, we visited the original Otto Pizza.  The pizza at the original branch is approximately 100% more delicious than the pizza at the new branches down here in Boston.  They also had Magic Hat on tap, which floored me! We also did something special for each of our dietary preferences (I’m veg and my partner is omni).  We went to Duck Fat for my partner to get poutine made in duck fat.   I couldn’t eat anything at the restaurant because literally everything was friend in duck fat, but I did have a delicious locally brewed beer.  For me, we went to the Green Elephant, a vegetarian Thai restaurant that was positively reviewed in VegNews magazine.  Their bathrooms were literal saunas, and I for once got to have satay for an app! (Made from seitan). But our favorite place in Portland was an Irish pub named Ri Ra on the waterfront.  Their menu catered perfectly to both of our dietary needs, with a house-made white bean veggie burger for me and a perfectly cooked medium burger for my partner.  We liked them so much we went twice.  (The second night I had mac and cheese made with Irish cheddar and my bf had Maine steamers).  Incredibly reasonably priced with fireplaces and a wonderful staff, I wish it was closer to us!

After Maine, we drove up to New Hampshire to visit my family for Thanksgiving.  The day of Thanksgiving was just my dad, his dog, and my partner and I, since my brother and sister-in-law were hosting her parents for the holiday.  My bf made the turkey (under the direction of my dad), my dad made veggie stuffing and gravy, and I made 3 bean chili (for my main course and their sides).  We had untraditional alcoholic smoothies for dessert.  It was delicious!  The next day, we visited my brother and his family and gave my nephews and niece their Christmas presents.  They range in age from 2 to 6, so that was obviously a delight.

The vacation was amazing and just what we needed!  And when we got back, we immediately got our tree and set it up, because in only three weeks we’re off on a cross-country trek to visit my partner’s family for the holidays.

Happy holidays all!

 

Friday Fun! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

November 23, 2011 12 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  For once I’m actually writing this a couple of days ahead of time, because it is American Thanksgiving this weekend, and I’m going to be one busy lady.  My dad is coming down from Vermont to spend a few days with me in my lovely city of Boston.  I’m looking forward to the quality time.  It’s something that’s hard to come by when you live in a different state from your parent.  I’m also excited for him to see me looking far healthier than the last time he was here, which was almost a year ago!

There will probably not be anything particularly traditional about our Thanksgiving, since I’m a vegetarian, and there’s only two of us.  We may go out. We may order in. We may make tacos.  Who knows.  We will, however, definitely be drinking beer and watching the game.  We are traditional Americans in THAT regard. 😉

Once he heads back for home I’ll be doing the laundry, getting in some quality gym time, and finally getting started on editing zombies.  I’m aiming for a release date toward the end of January and am excited about this book.  Whereas the Tova Gallagher series is a just for fun romance novella lite, zombies is all about the feminist scifi and horror writer inside me.  It’s a different kind of excitement.  A more serious one.

I do want to take a moment to ask you all to seriously consider avoiding the crass consumerism that is Black Friday sales this weekend if at all possible.  I understand money is tight, trust me, I do, but all you have to do is youtube some videos of the types of mobs that happen to see how disgusting this obsession with stuff can be.  Spend your long weekend with loved ones, whether related by blood or by choice.  Get outside.  Go for a hike. Read a book. Go to the library!  Just don’t spend your precious hours off obsessed with stuff.  As Tyler Durden says, you don’t own your stuff.  Your stuff owns you.

Happy weekend all!

Friday Fun! (Holiday Book Swap Time!)

November 18, 2011 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving already?  Time flies!  I had a cold this week, so I only was healthy enough to make it to the gym once.  Sadness!  But I did track my calories to make sure this wouldn’t cause a slump, and I’m seeing my trainer tomorrow.

Santas holding boxes.I’m not a huge holiday person, but one of the things that I do enjoy is the various secret santa/book swap events that happen in the month of December for book bloggers.  I had a lovely time participating last year, so I was stoked to see the information go up.  In fact, I’m participating in two different ones this year.

First up is the one I did last year Book Blogger Holiday Swap.  Alas, the deadline for that one was November 11th, so it’s too late for any of you to sign up. But!  I already got my information for my swap partner.  I can’t wait to raid the used book cellar in Harvard and challenge myself to find awesome presents for her.

Santa peeking from behind tree.Next is a swap that Amy let me know about–A Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.  Apparently she participated last year and had a blast.  I visited Broke and Bookish’s blog and enjoyed it, so I signed up!  The deadline to sign up for this one is TODAY, so get on that ya’ll!

You guys don’t even know how excited I am to get not one but TWO packages of books in the mail this year!  There’s just something extra-nice about unwrapping books from a stranger who just so happens to be a fellow book lover.

Happy weekends all!

Friday Fun! (Biking, Lost, Holiday)

Hello my lovely readers!  This week was the first step in hopefully, eventually biking all the way to work every day.  However, an attempt on the weekend showed me that I’m not capable yet of making it the 6 miles (one way, so 12 miles round-trip).  So, to work my way up to it, I’m biking to my bus connection, which is just about half-way there.  It was a bit nerve-wracking being on the road with cars, let me tell you, but today I found myself having a bit more confidence on the road.  Plus, I was able to move up a gear on the bike already!

Sunday was the Lost finale (and if you have yet to see it, you are not a true fan and deserve the spoilers), and of course I watched it, including the two hour re-cap.  I appreciated the action on The Island, but I was disappointed with the spiritual direction the writers went.  I’d been hoping the whole way through the series that we would discover that the mythology being yakked about by the older generation of protectors/evils was just a way to deal with science they had yet to understand.  Instead we get handed a glowy light with no scientific explanation and a happy-go-lucky, feel-good after-life.  Also, I never got to see Kate die, what the fuck is up with that?!   However, I didn’t hate the episode, and I actually found myself almost crying when Vincent came and licked Jack.  So the verdict on my end was meh.  I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t ruin the rest of the series for me.  I’ll definitely be re-watching the seasons.

This weekend is a 3 day weekend here in the US for Memorial Day, which means I have Monday off.  I’m so excited!  I hope at least one day is beautiful out so I can go for a bike ride or a row on the Charles and have a picnic.  Happy weekends everyone!

The Joy of Doing Less During the Holidays

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

No doubt about it, the holidays are a busy time of year.  There’s presents to buy and wrap, parties to go to, people to see, travelling to do, baked goods to make, decorating to do, and more.  If you’re at all like me, it can all add up to stress.

Looking back on last week, I see that I did a lot of things that should have been fun, but I was so stressed out that the stress over-shadowed the parts I should have been enjoying.  I was constantly plotting to make it to everything (not to mention to stay awake) instead of just enjoying the moment.  I realized this yesterday, and worked to make my week this week less stressful, but thinking about it this morning, I remembered a blog post from one of my favorite zen blogs, Zen Habits, entitled The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less. Then, Do Even Less.

The jist of it is that minimalism isn’t just about what stuff you own.  Minimalism is also about doing less and enjoying it more.  I think the benefits of this are easy to see if you just think about the last time you were distracted doing one activity out of a worry to get to the next one on-time.  Now imagine if the first activity was the only one you were doing that day.  See how that works?

If you live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest, you don’t need to hyper-schedule yourself.  Instead of going to every single holiday party, choose two for the month to go to and really go all-out at them.  Don’t be afraid to tell friends or family no, you can’t come, you don’t have time, even if you don’t have time just because you want to spend that evening at home baking cookies and watching Christmas specials.

I really like this idea of doing less, but doing it to your fullest.  I think as Americans we have the tendency to overschedule ourselves for god only knows what reason.  Maybe some lingering Puritan philosophy about idle hands being the devil’s plaything.  Regardless, there is such a thing as doing too much during the holidays, so don’t be afraid to say no and limit just how many festivities you partake in.  Partake in fewer to a more full extent.  I think you might wind up surprised at how truly festive you’ll feel.

Friday Fun! (Merry Chrismukkah!)

December 18, 2009 4 comments

What a busy week it’s been!  Full of good and bad stress.  Thankfully mostly the good kind.  Unfortunately stress of any kind can make me act kinda wonky, so…..sorry about that.

Over the weekend I visited my family in Vermont.  My nephew is 2 and has reached the “why” stage of development.  My brother and sister-in-law have grown a bit tired of it, but I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed answering all of his “why’s” to the fullest extent.  Of course, I only was around him for a portion of 2 days, lol.  My aunt and uncle (who my dad lives with) were very hospitable, and I drank much wine.  My dad gave me housewarming money which was fairly promptly used to buy a toaster and a rice cooker.  They haven’t arrived yet, but they’re bright red and appear to be entirely awesome.

Monday was my presentation of my final team project for this semester of grad school, which means I am officially on winter break! Yayyyyyy!!!  I already got my grades, and they were both just fine and dandy.

This week I hosted a Chrismukkah gathering for my group of lesbian friends (I call them “The Lesbians,” and yes they are just fine with that.  In fact, they kinda love it).  I had my first attempt at making latkes.  I used the vegan sweet potato latke recipe from this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times magazine.  I was doubtful that substituting pureed sweet potato for egg would work, but by golly it did.  The latkes tasted great, although I need to work on figuring out the appropriate cooking time.  There aren’t the helpful bubbles that you get with regular pancakes, so a few got a bit, erm, burnt.  We lit the menorah (and I am proud to say that I can now sing the prayer), and we watched Claymation Christmas.  If you have never seen Claymation Christmas I hereby order you to go find it on Youtube.  It is quite trippy.  The Lesbians surprised me by giving me a crock pot!  This means you may be hearing about my vegetarian crock pot cooking adventures in the future.

You guys were totally going to get an adorable picture of my kitty snuggled up in wrapping paper, but I didn’t get a chance to download them to my computer.  I swear these Friday posts will have pictures eventually.

I hope everyone’s holidays are going well.  Try to enjoy and stay stress-free!