Well, November. It was a hard month, starting with Pops’ funeral on the first day of the month. I never expected to be burying my grandfather this year, definitely not 28 days before my birthday. But November had its bright moments, most especially my dear friend B’s wedding that might have been the highlight of my year. I just had the absolute best time, and I really needed it after many, many weeks of hardship. Here’s my recap of November:
I read nine books in November, bringing my total for the year to 123. Woop! Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping to reach 130, making this year my highest reading total ever. And remember, reading is not a competitive sport! We all read at our own pace and in our own time. I just tend to devote more time to reading than, say, exercise. 😉
You Will Know Me was a thriller that had me on the edge of my seat, and the gymnastics lover in me loved the gymnastics plot. I finished Sometimes I Lie in less than 24 hours and gave it five stars due to how easily it kept my attention. The Fractured Heart was a disappointing romance with lackluster characters. I’m working my way through the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny, and A Rule Against Murder, the fourth book in the series, was absolutely delightful. I love when we get glimpses into Gamache’s marriage. I absolutely adored One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and want everyone I know to read. It was just so fun! I found Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins to have problematic language in regard to fat-shaming, and so because of that, I wouldn’t recommend the novel. No One Tells You This was the memoir that I needed to read, all about living a happily single life in your forties. I listened to The High Season on audio. It was a slow, meandering read, but I enjoyed the exploration of privilege, family, art, and love. And I wrapped up my month with The Road Back to You, which is all about the Enneagram personality framework.
The Baby-Sitter’s Club Club finished reading through the BSC books! The last book, The Fire at Mary Anne’s House, was split into two parts and I was so impressed and delighted by the way they chose to wrap up this series. (Fear not, Jack and Tanner will still be podcasting and are tackling the Sweet Valley books next.)
Unladylike had an incredible episode titled, “How to Get a Rape Kit.” The episode mostly features an interview with a sexual assault nurse examiner, which is a person who is specially trained in how to examine rape victims after they’ve been assaulted. The episode was heartbreaking but hopeful, and my only wish is for every hospital to have these nurses available for rape victims.
Phoebe Judge, host of the podcast Criminal, went on a police ride-along for a day and I found the episode fascinating. We know so little about what police officers do on a day-to-day basis, so it’s worth a listen.
Serial finished up season three with episodes about juvenile detention centers and the kids who are incarcerated there. It was hard to listen to, but necessary. I liked season three of Serial much more than season two, but I don’t think it warranted a two-and-a-half year break in between seasons. I really hope she doesn’t make us wait that long for season four.
Lastly, I want to give another plug for the podcast Believed. It’s incredibly produced and so damn fascinating. It’s giving me the same feels that Serial season one gave me, where I have to listen to each episode the minute it’s downloaded. It’s not for the faint of heart (trigger warnings abound), but goddamn, it’s good.
I memorialized Pops, after losing him unexpectedly on October 28th, and then wrote about the life lessons he taught me over the years. I really never expected to be writing those posts so soon after losing Grandma. Not at all.
In mid-November, I took everyone through an average day in my life, which was really fun to put together. I need to do more posts like those!
I wrote about a fun weekend I spent in Orlando with friends, celebrating the wedding of a dear friend of ours. It’s definitely one of those weekends I’ll look back on fondly as the years pass.
I recapped my Thanksgiving holiday, a day that was hard since it was the first one without Pops (and since the loss still feels so unreal and raw, it was that much more difficult) but still had moments of goodness sprinkled throughout.
I wrote about turning 31, the miserable mess 30 was for me, and what I’m hoping for from this next year.
> After seven weeks of impatient waiting, my couch was finally delivered and it is everything I want. It’s the perfect size for my apartment, and I just love relaxing on it while reading a book. Definitely the best purchase I made this year!
> My mom, stepdad, Chip, and I went to Dogtoberfest in Dunedin, where Chip participated in his first-ever Running of the Wieners. It was harder than I expected to be surrounded by all the dachshunds and not have my beloved with me. But sweet Chip helped me get through it. He wasn’t successful in his race (he didn’t even cross the finish line, ha), but I think he had fun nonetheless!
> I took the whole week of Thanksgiving off, the first time I’ve had that week off since I was in high school. It was so nice to have a little staycation. The first day was spent traveling back from the wedding and recovering from a very stimulating weekend. The rest of the time, I didn’t really do all too much but somehow I managed to fill up my time just right. I think I’m ready for retirement. 😉
> I joined a new gym! It opens in January and it’s super close to where I live. Ever since I canceled my gym membership, I’ve felt a little lost when it comes to my workouts. I just really like the gym atmosphere and having access to classes and such. I locked in a great rate ($20 a month!) and all the signup fees were waived. This gym will have the standard Les Mills classes and while they won’t have spin classes to start off, the manager plans on adding it into the workout schedule within a few months. I joined with one of my good friends, too, so it will be nice to have her as an accountability buddy!
> My mom took me to this adorable place called Robert’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s filled with all kinds of Christmas decorations and has this incredible room full of lit-up Christmas trees. All of the trees are fake and they are expensive. I’m talking $1,200 for a friggin Christmas tree. Nah. I picked up a few ornaments and a fun Christmas countdown for my desk at work, so I was happy!
> I had a wonderful night at a favorite local pizza place with my girlfriends to celebrate my birthday. They showered me with gifts and love. We stuffed ourselves silly with Greek salad, cheesy bread, and pizza. And we reminisced and laughed about the wedding weekend and our antics at the reception. (I don’t think anyone would have guessed that the bride’s book club friends would outlast everyone else on the dance floor!) It was a beautiful night and so good for my soul.
Tell me one of your highlights from November!