It's been a grey and rainy January, as January tends to be in this corner of our country. The first few days of 2016 were filled with extended family and belated Christmas celebrations and oh yes, plenty of turkey. Since then, we've been finding our rhythms and routines again, some old, some new, always shifting to fit the needs of the season. This season has been a quieter one, close to home - not quite the hibernation that December was, but slow and homey nonetheless. It's perfect right now, but I'm starting to feel that itch for spring and sunshine; oh, dreary approaching February, we will find joy in you somehow.
On My Nightstand:
I finally read Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, because I simply grew tired of seeing it recommended by everyone. It's certainly well-written but equally heart-rending. It might have been better at a time when I was feeling more emotionally prepared for it, rather than the dead of rainy winter in the post-holiday hibernation stage. Regardless, it lives up to all the recommendations.
I also read through most of Gaiman's Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances - again, simply because I saw it recommended so many times. Not sure this one lives up to its recommendations, but the writing is excellent, anyway. The stories are just a bit too random and strange for my taste.
I finished Rigg's Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, which was not as good as the first one, but still an engaging read and a satisfying conclusion to the story.
I'm currently well into Stephenson's Seveneves. Highly intriguing so far, although a very slight bit on the slow side. On the back burner is Gottman's Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, which was excellent thus far but got set aside in favour of a library hold.
On the Screen:
The husband and I have been spending our evenings watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Make it so! Ah. Picard. I'm a little bummed that I have to sit through Deep Space Nine next, before we finally get to Janeway in Voyager. (Janeway was my childhood hero. My childhood crush was Sully from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I cannot decide whether those two choices are a bit...unusual for a child.)
In My Ears:
I haven't been playing a lot of music around the house lately, so really I've been listening exclusively to my 165-180 BPM playlist while I run. Creating that playlist was one of the best things I did for my running. It takes all the thinking out of it for me; I just run in time with the beat, and my pace stays steady and reasonable. My running pace has improved from 5:56 min/km at the start of January to 5:28 min/km at the end. Nothing fabulous, I know, but the steady personal improvement makes me happy. I'm currently running 5K three times each week.
What We're Learning:
We finished our history book (Hillyer's A Child's History of the World), much to the kids' disappointment. Our next one (Gombrich's A Little History of the World) arrived a few days later, but in the meantime they had been requesting re-reads of the chapters on their favourite people and events.
Kai asked why the moon looks different some nights, prompting an interesting exploration of that question. We made this model of earth's orbit around the sun and the moon's orbit around earth. We used this video and this comparative model to consider the actual scale of the sun/earth/moon. Then we talked about the phases of the moon, went into a dark room with a globe and a flashlight and a ball to get a better visual of it, and finished things off by making this interactive model of the phases of the moon.
Then they asked me to print off more of the orbit models and proceeded to make up their own planets and stars, each one with detailed (and usually quiet dangerous) characteristics. So many scraps of cut paper on the floor. So many.
Organizing My Days:
I am in love with my daily planner this year. I am using the Sacred Ordinary Days planner, a liturgical planner which satisfies my soul's need for rhythm. Each of the changes in the church season is accompanied by a guided reflection. The daily pages have space for three daily projects, journaling, the daily schedule, to-do list, daily office readings, and white space for whatever. It's beautiful. I love it. I use it as my personal planner, with journals and prayers and doodles and reflections and various personal things I want to track, as well as a basic daily outline of our schedule. It has become a lovely way to start and end each day.
What I'm Looking Forward to in February:
February starts off with a celebration of our ninth anniversary. Considering how healing the past year has been, this makes me smile. Lacking a babysitter (seriously, how do we still not have a babysitter?), we'll likely order some pizza for the kids, set them up with a movie in the living room, and enjoy a nice quiet dinner (sort of) on our own.
Well, friends, that is What I've Been Into this past month. What about you?