Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday Salon: A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That

I am slowly beginning to emerge from the fog that is new parenthood. This past month, I began to take stock of what still needs to be done around the house, which eventually turned into a strong desire to finish the unpacking (still ongoing), and nest. I am starting to pay attention to the news again, although some stories just make me want to bury my head in the sand.

I thought perhaps this new found freedom from the haze meant I could try reading something a little bit more substantial--what better place to start than Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra? I caught a coworker reading the book a couple of weeks ago and mentioned I'd been wanting to read it. This past week I found the book sitting on my desk. I warned her it might be awhile before I finished it and could get it back to her. She doesn't mind.

I can tell Ms. Schiff is a talented writer. Just one chapter in, I am impressed with her writing style and am eager to learn more about Cleopatra. I am even thinking perhaps I may want to purchase my own copy of the book eventually and add it to my personal library. It's the kind of book I wouldn't mind my daughter taking an interest in when she's old enough. And yet, getting through that first chapter was harder than I expected. It was actual work. My concentration is still not completely there. I could feel my brain chugging inside my skull, trying to hold onto the words and make sense of them before they melted away. I have one foot in the outside world and one foot still in that postpartum haze. I can't seem to let go quite yet. Not completely.

I am still making my way through Harley Jane Kozak's Dating Dead Men, a book that I kept leaving behind when I most needed a book with me. Ugh. It's actually quite entertaining and I hope to finish it in the next week or two.

Books I have been reading with a lot more success include bath books--which Mouse would rather stuff in her mouth than actually read--and couple of other children's books. We recently read Water, Water Everywhere, which I just love. And then there's Little Quack's Bath Book, which is cute. The rave reviews of Goodnight, Moon are not exaggerated. It's a sweet story--perfect for bedtime.

I have been unpacking books like crazy. We started out with eight new bookshelves for the library living room, and now we are up to eleven. And that's not counting the bookshelves we have in other parts of the house. I let my husband decide how to shelve the books this time around. He decided to break tradition, and we have divided the books by category/genre. I don't have to tell you how challenging that is proving to be! I like having my books out in the open again. We still have not unpacked them all, but we're getting closer. I will be so glad when that last box is broken down and put in the garage.

I mentioned to my husband the other day that he might want to move or hide any of his books he wants to save from Mouse once she's more mobile. Dare I confess I am looking forward to the day she pulls a book off the shelf and makes it her own? One of my books, of course. Not behavior I want to encourage, I know, but still . . . It's a milestone of sorts!

Speaking of milestones, Mouse will be 5 months old this coming Tuesday. I can hardly believe it. She can eat from a spoon, babble like a pro and is constantly in motion. She can't yet crawl but she sure is trying. She scooches and rolls to get where she wants to go. She refuses to stay on the blanket we lay out on the floor for her during tummy time. She reaches and grabs and gives a big toothless grin when someone says her name. She smiles big when she sees me and lights up when her dad walks into the room. The books call this the golden time and I can see why. Mouse is a happy baby. Except when she's not.

Many thanks to all of you who entered my Anniversary Giveaway and to those who left comments. Your kind words brought tears to my eyes. It's been a great five years. If I could, I'd give you each a big hug right now.

Each entrant was assigned a number which corresponded with the number they appeared on the giveaway spreadsheet. Each number was given its own slip of paper and placed in a bowl. I enlisted the help of Mouse in deciding who the winner would be (she also provided the bowl).

There could only be one winner in my Anniversary Giveaway unfortunately, but I am thrilled to announce that the lucky winner of a $50 gift card to Amazon is . . .

Oh, but wait! This is my 1000th post. I think that calls for another name to be drawn. The lucky winner of a $25 gift card to Book Depository is . . .

Many congratulations to both of you!

Over the next four weeks, I will be re-introducing myself by way of the "100 Things You May or May Not Know About Me" list. I will finally be outing my profession. Just don't expect any big dark secrets. I wouldn't have one to share anyway. Also, be on the look out for my review of L.J. Sellers The Sex Club, more From the Archive posts and maybe a review of Dating Dead Men by Harley Jane Kozak!

I hope the month of August got off to a great start for all of you. Happy Reading!

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I've not read Cleopatra, but based on what I've heard, that might not be the best book to start out with after a break! Haha! Read Bossypants (or better yet listen to it). That one is short and funny as hell. I can't believe Mouse is 5 months old. All that crawling and walking will be here before you know it. They grow up fast.

  2. Look how long your hair is! (It's obviously been a long time since I'v seen you.)

    And I can't believe Mouse is 5 months old already. All the little blogger babies are going to be old enough to blog before we know it!

  3. I tried reading Cleopatra after my dad passed away and wasn't able to concentrate on it, so I understand your feelings on it.

    Mouse did a marvelous job picking winners! She's a doll!

  4. Who's a cute baby!?! Happy Sunday to you both.

  5. Congrats to the winners! Fun to get your baby all involved, what a cutie! And stay away from the news! That's my policy! :)

  6. Sounds like you have some good books to read. What great pics! She's a cutie.

    Happy Sunday!

  7. Aw, Mouse is getting so big! What a cutie!

    I picked up a copy of Cleopatra at BEA last year and, like a bonehead, thought it was a novel until I got it home and looked at it more closely. I've been super lazy about my non-fiction reading lately. I am always scared that the extra work I might have to put into it will drive me right into a reading funk even though I actually really *like* non-fiction and keep *buying* it. So I can relate to your situation, I think, except I have nowhere near as good an excuse!! ;-)

  8. I also didn't know that Mouse was 5 months already. Gosh, they do get big so fast, it's amazing! I also have heard that Cleopatra is a hard read, and that's one of the reasons I have sort of shied away from it. I had totally thought that it was a novel, so I was surprised to find out what it actually was! Congratulations to your winners. I hope that you have a really relaxing and fun week ahead!

  9. Oh, she's so wonderful. At five months, my daughter ate her first food- chocolate mousse!

    And the news only gets worse when you have children. Things I ignored when I didn't have kids, now jump right to my heart. I stay away as much as possible.

  10. You've got such an adorable number picker! Love seeing pictures of her!

  11. OMG! She's just perfect! Look at those big eyes! And, she's such a great number picker! Thanks, again! I just love having a balance at Amazon!

  12. I remember reading tons of what I call "brain candy" books when my kids were babies - hard to concentrate when you're sleep-deprived!

    Congratulations to the winners - and I look forward to reading your updated 100 things. :)

  13. I really want to read Cleopatra. I bought it a few months ago but have been waiting for the right time to read it, because I figured it would take some concentration.

  14. How time flies! I didn't realise that Mouse is already 5 months old! :) And I love her eyes! You need to update us and share more pics of Mouse, Wendy!

  15. Congrats to the winners!

    Your little mouse is the cutest! Of course you'll have to post pics of when she pulls out a book and makes it her own. A little bookworm in training :)

    Can't wait to see the 100 Things post!

  16. It's hard for me to believe Mouse is 5 months already! What a cutie!

    I'm impressed you started reading Cleopatra but I think you're awfully hard on yourself. The last year has been kind of crazy and busy for you and, of course your focus has been elsewhere. I say read what you and your brain are up to.

    I love the image of Mouse choosing a book off your many shelves and making it her own!

    I hope you have a good week! I'm looking forward to your future posts :o)

  17. I always knew that Mouse was a smart girl but picking me as one of the winners??? Sealed the deal if you ask me :)

    I got the e-cert. I am so excited about it that I can't narrow it down. I know for sure that I am going to get The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. That I know. It's fun to decide.

    Thanks again!

  18. Sounds like you have settled into mommyhood and into your new home. Glad you are finding time to read! Your daughter is beautiful and it was great to have her "help" you with the drawing!

  19. I have Cleopatra languishing on my Kindle; I meant to read it this winter while I was recovering from shoulder surgery, but didn't really have the concentration for it then myself. But I haven't yet tried it again. However, I was told by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) that while it's quite dense at the beginning, it does become a smoother read further in.

    Mouse is looking very well - good to see you both, and congrats on your 1000th post!

  20. She is getting so big! And she is just gorgeous :) I'm glad that you are able to start getting back in to the swing of things..having a newborn takes a lot out of you!

  21. If you like Good Night Moon, you have to read Mouse Good Night Gorilla. One of our all time favorites. My 12 year old will still pick it up at a bookstore and chuckle.

  22. Mouse is adorable!! I can't believe Gage will be 10 months ild in a few days, so I really can't believe how big yours is getting. The fog will lift, but the free time doesn't come back :)

  23. I read this post a few days ago while I was pumping (read on iphone) and had a comment all thought up but it has escaped me. I'm sure you know how that goes these days. ;) But I HAD to tell you how adorable little mouse is. Her eyes--what a beauty!

  24. Sandy - I've heard great things about Bossypants. I don't normally like reading memoirs by celebrities, but I may have to give that one a try.

    Mouse is already doing the little army crawl--or rather the marine call as my father would say. :-) She's so fast too. You turn around for a second and she's already across the room practically! I'm really enjoying this part of her life.

    Jill (Softdrink) - I haven't worn my hair this long since about the time I met my husband! I keep going back and forth about whether to cut it--Mouse loves running her fingers through it while she's nursing (and sometimes pulling it, but we've been working on discouraging that behavior).

    I brought Mouse to work the other day for a quick visit and one of my coworkers set her in front of her computer. Mouse began tapping away at the keyboard. LOL I blame her father as he sits with her at the computer. :-) So, she just might be blogging sooner than later!

    Kathy - Thanks, Kathy! I think Cleopatra is one of those books best left for when we can give it all of our attention. I'm sorry about your dad.

    C.B. James - Haha! Thanks. :-) I hope you have been enjoying the month.

    Suey - The news can be so depressing, can't it? Ugh.

    Yvonne - Now just to find the time . . . :-) And thanks! Of course, every mother thinks her child is the cutiest. ;-)

    Megan - She's nearly 15 lbs now, which is just so hard for me to believe. She almost weighs as much as my biggest cat!

    I don't think I would have tried to jump into a nonfiction book right now had my coworker not loaned me her book. Now I feel kind of obligated to push through it in a timely manner--which isn't happening. LOL Even before I had such a good excuse, I tended to pick up the fiction book before the nonfiction. So, we aren't so different!

    Heather - And now she'll be six months in just another couple of weeks! I feel like I've run a marathon and am coming in on the home stretch--only I know that's not even close to being true.

    I've been dabbling in fiction again and do need to get back to Cleopatra. Like you, I had initially thought it was fiction.

  25. Nan - Haha! That's quite a treat! We're taking things slowly with Mouse. She still just on cereal, both rice and oatmeal. We hope to start her on green vegetables in another week or two.

    I know just what you mean, Nan, about things you ignored when before you had kids not having an impact--because of my job, I've always taken extra notice of stories involving children, but now, especially when it involves a child my age, it is like a sock in the stomach. I find myself tearing up more when watching television shows involving children and less so in other instances that had me tearing up before that don't involve them.

    Jill (Rhapsody) - Isn't she just? I love her to pieces!

    Diane - Thanks, Diane!

    Linda - Congratulations again! I hope you get good use out of the gift certificate! Mouse had a lot of fun picking the numbers--although she couldn't help but try and put them in her mouth. Haha It was a real fight getting the winners away!

    Carrie - Oh my, yes! It really is hard to concentrate some days. It's getting easier though. Now just to find the time . . .

    Lola - I hope you enjoy Cleopatra when you do read it. I set it aside to read something a little lighter but hope to return to it soon. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, at least!

    Melody - Time sure flies, doesn't it? :-) She has such big eyes! They make this mama's heart melt every time.

    Iliana - She has been playing with a few of my books as I sort and shelve the paperbacks. She grabs hold of them, pushes them around and tries to put them in her mouth. LOL It's so cute.

  26. Amy - I can't believe she's so old already either. It feels like yesterday when we brought her home from the hospital--not that I'd want to relive those early days. They are just a blur really.

    You're right--I'm best sticking to the lighter reading fare for now--although I do want to give Cleopatra one more try.

    Mouse keeps pulling Cinderella off our DVD shelf. I told my husband that I hope that isn't a sign. LOL

    Ti - Haha! Just goes to show she has good taste. But I really wish she didn't have a thing for paper...;-) At least not to eat. To read, I can only hope!

    I hope you enjoy the books you got with the gift certificate!

    Kathleen - I still have trouble thinking of myself as a mom sometimes. Did that little girl really come out of me?! She's such a joy. I can't imagine life without her now.

    Florinda - That's what my coworker said too--that it starts out dense but does get easier to read as it goes. I hope to find that out for myself soon! I'll be eager to hear your thoughts on Cleopatra when you do get to it, Florinda.

    Samantha - Aw, thanks! I think so too--not that I'm biased or anything. ;-) And you are so right, having a baby in the house does take a lot out of a person. More than I imagined! Well worth it though.

    BookGal - I'll have to look for Good Night Gorilla. Any good book recommendations for my Mouse are welcome. :-)

    Stacy - Ten months already?! Impossible! Now closer to 11. I remember when Gage was born. That ol' free time will remain elusive for awhile, won't it? At least I'm getting a little more sleep, right? :-) It's a start.

    Trish - I do know how fleeting those thoughts can be! Oh my gosh, do I! I'm learning that if I have a thought, I either need to do something about it right away or write it down, otherwise it's gone forever. Or at least until I remember it only to forget it again the next second. LOL


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