Sassymonkey Reads: October 2016

Sassymonkey Reads: October 2016

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a novel as much as I enjoyed this one. I really liked his first novel and this one is really quite different. He went from jazz age NYC in his first novel to post-revolution Russia in this one. It's a slow novel and you have to have patience with it, but that's one of the things I liked about it. Settle in with it on a cold day and with a good drink at your side.  

Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day by Joel Selvin. A really good read about Altamont but perhaps not the best to read right before bed (especially the second half) unless you want to have rather violent dreams. May cause the need to rewatch Gimme Shelter with a new eye.  

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. An interesting look at Seinfeld's place in tv and cultural history. But don't expect a whole of of insider stuff. It was obvious that while the author had access to some of the show writers, she didn't get close to any of the stars. 

Lumberjanes Vol 3: A Terrible Plan. If you haven't picked up this graphic novel series do it! Do it if you were a Girl Guide (or Girl Scout). Do it even if you were a Girl Guide and hated it. You'll wish you were a Lumberjane. I only wish I was able to read all of these volumes closer together. 

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean. Sometimes you just need to read a romance novel and you can't go very wrong with a Sarah MacLean romance novel. (Even if I didn't like that other series about scoundrels she wrote.)  

Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas. Sometimes you just need to read two romance novels in a month and you really can't go wrong with a Lisa Kleypas historical romance. (I'm iffy on her contemporary romances.) 

Ninjas Have Issues by Greg Stones. Not as good as Zombies Hate Stuff. 

Have a Little Pun: An Illustrated Play on Words by Frida Clements. I'd like these as art prints but I don't really like it as a book. 

Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of of the British Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy. Interesting topic but would have been a better book if it had been a bit tighter and shorter. Honestly, it was a bit of a slog to get through. If you pick it up take heart — the last 100 pages or so are made up of references and the index. 

Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette. In theory I got this book from the library so Lee could read it but since he was in the middle of another book I grabbed it first. Not my favourite. When Lee picked it up he returned it to the library without finishing it. Not a winner for either of us. 

Running Man by Charlie Engel. My problems with this memoir is less about this book than about running memoirs in general. I'm a bit weary of reading about people who pick up running and with little training are running (and winning) marathons and ultras. I need a journeyman's running memoir. Please. 

Breaking Vegan: One Woman's Journey from Veganism and Extreme Dieting to a More Balanced Life by Jordan Younger. I read this mostly out of curiosity. Part of that is from wanting to hear about her experience with orthorexia but also because I know that when a vegan blogger steps away from veganism it is a Very Big Deal. A lot of the negative reviews on her book stem from that, but some of the less awful reviews of her book (from people who have actually read it rather than people who are just opposed to her being a former vegan) are justified. This is a case where a successful blog does not translate into a good book. 

Piper 1999-2016

Yesterday, August 16, we said goodbye to Piper, a.k.a. the #fakecat.

Piper 1999-2016

Piper 1999-2016

She was my constant companion for 17 years. I got her as a stupid 20-year-old university student who had no business getting a cat on her tight budget. (People used to joke she ate better food than I did and there were times when that was probably true. Good quality food was cheaper than vet bills.) But someone in my apartment building had a cat who had kittens and two were unclaimed. I fell for the little fluffball at first sight. She was the best free thing I ever got. 

Between my student years and working from home for over a decade, we had a lot of togetherness. I was her person. Lee, who invaded her world and moved in when she was 9, was a close second. (He would say she tolerated him well enough but he didn't see her face when she heard him put his keys in the door when he got home from work.) 

She was cat with strong opinions about everything. She did not like people wearing shoes in her house. She loved cheese and for a long time we though that was the love of her life until she discovered roast chicken. She liked fuzzy blankets and capes and stealing the couch pillows. She occasionally tolerated Kit-Cat's visits but really only after Cat gave "us" that fuzzy cape. 

She was a traveller. We lived in Montreal (she's a Montrealer) and Toronto before settling in Ottawa. She summered in PEI and had long weekends on Lake Champlain in Vermont. (She did not like the lake. The lake was scary.) She travelled by planes (terrifying), trains (tolerated), subways, transit buses, and automobiles. 

The house we bought in Ottawa was her favourite. There were lots of windows to watch birds and heating vents to lie on. We bought her a bed that we were certain she wouldn't use and it and the back of the couch became her two favourite places to watch the world go by. Between naps, of course. 

The last photo

The last photo

Her all-time favourite thing was the heated floor we installed in the master bathroom. Over the last few weeks she spent more time hiding in there, away from us. It was sad, but I'm glad she had a place that made her feel safe and that the heated floor provided comfort. It was where she spent her last hours in the house. 

About 2 seconds after the bathroom was finished, she took up residence. That was her spot. 

About 2 seconds after the bathroom was finished, she took up residence. That was her spot. 

I had no idea what a gift I was getting when I picked up that ball of fluff 17 years ago. 

Piper, thank you for growing up with me. We learned a lot together. Thank you for letting me be your person and for adopting Lee when I decided I wanted to keep him. Thank you for the love, cuddles, and headbutts. 

You were loved. I hope you knew how much. 

Currently, April 19

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Watching: Nothing at all because Lee is on a business trip and I'm having a tv-free night. 

Reading: Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. 

Listening: To The Milk Carton Kids latest album and trying to decide whether or not to but tickets to see them when they come to town this summer. (Probably.) 

Wishing: A thousand and one wishes about all the different things. 

Wearing: Not my summer clothes but soon... 

Dreading: The chaos of having new windows installed later this week. 

Anticipating: Having new windows actually installed. (Hey, home ownership is like that.) 

Thanking: The looming window installation made us clean out the basement. You do not want to know how many empty boxes we were storing for absolutely no reason. As you can see above, Piper was being very helpful by being right in the way. 

Plotting: All of the things, most of which will never come to fruition. 

Pondering: Why is it is so darned hard to remember to do something three times a day than it is to do something twice a day? 

Craving: Reece peanut butter eggs. We're almost out. I'm rationing them. 

Making: Really awful watercolour drawings. 

Eating: Chrissy Teigen's vegetarian tortillas stew from Cravings. Easy and quick pantry meal. (Especially if you are too lazy to fry tortilla strips, though it must be said it's better with them.) 

Loving: Sunshine.