Getting Back To Business

August 18, 2008

What I did last week: read some books, ate some cake, watched the Olympics, surfed the Internet, did some laundry, Twittered (a lot), did laundry (a lot), contemplated the futility of ever having any real authority in my household, coined the term ‘boobaphobe,’ defended the term ‘boobaphobe,’ read some more books, worried that I should be reading better books given my limited amount of reading time, worried that I might have more in common with ‘Twilight Moms‘ than is strictly comfortable, dismissed idea that I should be reading better books given fact that I’ve read Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita in Latin and liked it, got the song ‘Sherry’ by Journey stuck in my head, ate more cake, watched more Olympics, did more laundry, Twittered some more, read my own blog without ever once having to worry about becoming calcified by narcissism because, hey, it wasn’t me writing the blog last week! and just generally contributed nothing to the betterment of the world other than care for my lovely children, who, as it happened, managed to not kill me. Barely, but still.

All things considered, it was not a bad week. I don’t feel any more rested now than I did last Sunday night, but whatever. I didn’t really expect to. Until someone gives me a few days off from everything, I’m pretty much resigned to existing in a perpetual state of functioning exhaustion.

So I’m ready to commence this week. There’re just a few small matters of business to take care of first:

1) You read my guest posters? You totally should. They were amazing. They talked vaginas, more vaginas, the radicalness of mommyblogging (from a dad’s perspective), the reasons why the road more medicated is sometimes the road best travelled, corpses in bathrooms, team building and swallowing cameras, how to be almost sort-of always sometimes Canadian, and – because it wouldn’t be a well-rounded week of guest posts if it didn’t come full circle back to genitalia – balls and porn. A round of applause, please.

2) So, it came to my attention in a round-about way last week that there are maybe a few people who wouldn’t mind having the opportunity to vent a little bit about persons and things that make them crazy. But on the down-low, right? Because sometimes, you can’t vent openly without risking big trouble. The Basement is always available for that kind of thing, of course, but it occurred to me that sometimes we need to be invited to spill our guts, to be welcomed to vent and rant and get all messy. So, I was wondering, would any of you be interested in a sort of ranty, venty Bitchin’ Bitchfest Blog Exchange? Where we arrange some swapping of blog spaces so that we can all blog openly on a theme that isn’t entirely appropriate for our own blogs? Like, say, ‘Things (Or People) That Make You Go ARGH’? (Not that I would know anything about this, but, say, family members? In-laws? WHOMEVER?) Would you be interested in that? Leave a comment. Maybe I can arrange something.

3) I did a lot of reading last week. I liked it. But I’ve run out of books to read, and have exhausted my list of recommended reads and must-reads and Things To Read Just Because Everyone Else Is Reading Them And One Must Keep Up With The Culture Even If It’s Being Driven By Lovelorn Fifteen Year-Olds With Vampire Fixations. So, um… you got any recommendations? Fiction, please. And note that I’m not – as I discovered this past week – above reading books that are marketed to lovelorn fifteen year-olds with vampire fixations. But I’ll read anything, other than comic books. Unless they’re Archie comics. But I’ve read all of those. ANYWAY. You got any recommendations for end-of-summer book consumption?

4) I missed you.

This? Is my happy place. And also, the place in which I exist in a state of perpetual mental and physical exhaustion, and from which there is no vacation, but also, from which I have no real desire to vacate. Life is beautiful, and complicated. Or something like that.

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    Jen H. August 18, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Have you heard of the Constance blogs? They’re good for that, too.

    Backpacking Dad August 18, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Guy Gavriel Kay.

    No, what am I saying? Of course you’ve read Guy Gavriel Kay.

    Angella August 18, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Sweet MERCY, she is adorable.

    Also. SIGN ME UP FOR THE VENTING. Mu In Laws read my site,so I am a bit bound…

    Angella August 18, 2008 at 12:22 am

    That would be “my” in laws. They get me all worked up that I cannot even spell…

    kirida August 18, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Oh that is an adorable face.

    And I’d recommend Felicia Sullivan’s “The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here.” It’s a memoir and her writing is so vivid and powerful that it will put any bloodsucking teen melodrama to shame. And I read all of the Twilight books within two and a half weeks. I would know.

    manicmanicurist August 18, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Oh I would love a vent place. that would be awesome. count me in!
    that child is a little ray of sunshine. how adorable.

    flutter August 18, 2008 at 12:44 am

    she is a beautiful happy place

    Twenty Four At Heart August 18, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I sense a recurring theme here … in laws! The first thing Briefcase asked me when I told him I had started blogging was, “Have you written about my family yet?” And I haven’t. But I’m dying to. They don’t even know I have a blog, but I’m afraid they’ll find out someday. And oh … the stories I could tell!! You want to come bitch on my site? My readers would love it!!

    Mandy August 18, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Beautiful shot!

    My book club is casting around for an easy, end-of-summer read. These are definitely light, but we’ve narrowed down to “Water for Elephants” and “Sunflower and the Secret Fan”. I haven’t read either, so no idea if they’re actually any good.

    Have you read Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni though? I love her writing. Arranged Marriages is a good place to start. Short stories so you can easily dive in and out.

    bigskygirl August 18, 2008 at 1:06 am

    So I know you specifically said “fiction,” buuuut… have you read “Bitter is the New Black” or the other two in the series by fellow blogger Jen Lancaster? They’re non-fic memoir thingies, but HOLY SHIT IS SHE FUNNY. I highly recommend.

    Forever In School August 18, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Good to have you back.
    I am reading War and Peace right now and loving it.

    Karen (miscellaneous Mum) August 18, 2008 at 1:25 am

    I could list you about 10 books I’ve read lately. Cormac McCarthy’s “Outer Dark” was very dark (shocker, that *sarcasm*).

    I got 1/2 way through “Thank You For Smoking” which I was enjoying for it’s lightness, but sharp observations, but had to return to the library.

    And then Charlotte Bronte’s “Shirley” which I was reading for research into something.

    Lady M August 18, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Missed you too! Although your blogsitters were lovely, of course.

    I’m all for reading stories marketed to tweens. I’ll even admit to reading the Princess Diaries if pressed.

    Momily August 18, 2008 at 2:02 am

    If you like Twilight, you might like Libba Bray’s book which are rollicking victorian, supernatural gothic stories. . . a bit of putting the brain in park, but very entertaining summer reads!

    I also really enjoyed a quick little “teen” read called elsewhere by gabrielle zevin.

    Lara August 18, 2008 at 2:08 am

    thanks for letting me blogsit for you! :)

    still, though, i’m glad you’re back. it’s more fun reading you than reading myself. :-P

    monkey August 18, 2008 at 2:13 am

    i cannot talk more lovingly about the following books:
    ‘the temple of my familiar’ alice walker
    ‘kafka on the shore’ haruki murakami
    ‘a trip to the stars’ nicholas christopher
    ‘the last samurai’ helen dewitt (no, it’s not the tom cruise movie)
    ‘geek love’ katherine dunn

    TxGambit August 18, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I totally have to second the recommendation of “Bitter is the new Black”…. Jen Lancaster is totally funny. You would love.

    Great pic.

    Sam August 18, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Must vent about MIL. ARGH!!!

    Amy August 18, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Haruki Murakami was already mentioned, but def worth reading.
    I recommend The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

    Also recently read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
    Sweet, poignant and a quick read.

    Carmen August 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

    That is perhaps the most perfect picture I’ve seen in a long time. I can only imagine how much more beautiful that picture seems to you–one who knows and loves that little face in the photo.

    And welcome back, too.

    wish I had some book recommendations but I haven’t made time for myself to read…I must start doing that again.

    Bokker August 18, 2008 at 8:30 am

    It’s an oldie and I don’t doubt you’ve read it, but a book that never gets tired for me is Bridget Jones Diary. In my first English Lit seminar at uni, I was proud to say that it was my favourite book (stick that in your pipe, Jane Eyre).

    If you don’t find it hilarious, you’ll at least find some food for thought with your feminist/philosopher hat on. And if you HAVEN’T read it already, please don’t be put off by Zelwegger’s wishy-washy, wet Bridget. The original creation is ten times fiercer.

    Bokker August 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    It’s an oldie and I don’t doubt you’ve read it, but a book that never gets tired for me is Bridget Jones Diary. In my first English Lit seminar at uni, I was proud to say that it was my favourite book (stick that in your pipe, Jane Eyre).

    If you don’t find it hilarious, you’ll at least find some food for thought with your feminist/philosopher hat on. And if you HAVEN’T read it already, please don’t be put off by Zelwegger’s wishy-washy, wet Bridget. The original creation is ten times fiercer.

    shannon August 18, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Some of my favourites are Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (even if Card is kind of an asshole in real life, he’s a tremendous writer), The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (fabulous story about the sisterhood of women in an ancient civilization), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (a story narrated by a young autistic boy – sooo funny!) and The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (very interesting and a compelling story taking place in the ice age, the characters are so interesting). I’ve read all of these books multiple times because I enjoy them so much.

    Veronica @Toddled Dredge August 18, 2008 at 8:48 am

    For a vampire fixation I always recommend Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. She is a fantasy author who wrote the book after a year of sickness in which she couldn’t do much more than lie on the couch and watch Buffy reruns. Not a Buffy book, but an involving addition to vampire fiction. I have read the book six times. Love it.

    Mama Dawg August 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

    The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett. Incredible, incredible books.

    wyliekat August 18, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Also love the Guy Gavriel Kay. Also, Charles De Lint, if I’m to stay with the Canuck fantasy authors. Beautiful writer, is Charles De Lint. Urban mythology, which sounds like it should suck, but really doesn’t.

    And parenthood is a vacation-free zone. Even when you get a few days off, it never feels right.

    whensheworeponytails August 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I love “functional exhaustion”. This is my new adjective for me at all times. Although sometimes the “functional” part is not so much.

    These are SUPER old but for light reading the Stephanie Plum series. Those are kind of old but if you haven’t read those that’s something. Again, pretty light not too terribly serious.

    I’d love to complain and vent but I fear I’m not very eloquent and would just come off like a pissy drunk.

    ML August 18, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Did you say Bitchfest?? I’m so in!!

    Meg August 18, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Missed you too! I’m so glad you’re back, even though your guest posters were great.

    Sorry that your break wasn’t completely refreshing, but I’m glad you were able to indulge in a few luxuries!

    Bitchfest? I’m SO in!

    Don Mills Diva August 18, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Welcome back.

    Not sure if it’s out yet (Julia sent me an advance copy) but I am absolutely enthralled by The Gargoyle…

    Tracey August 18, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Nice to have you back. Hope you have more and more lovely days and less of the days where you feel like pulling the covers over your head.

    What a gorgeous girl!

    Mimi August 18, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I’d love to have a new place to vent, and meet others with similar vents! Sometimes you just have to get it all out! August 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I loved ‘Freddy and Frederika’ by Mark Helprin…pretty much anything by him is great in my book.

    I also loved ‘Soul’ and the ‘Witch of Cologne’ by Tobsha Learner.

    And ‘The Mercy of Thin Air’ by Ronlyn Domingue…

    ComfyMom~Stacey August 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Welcome back!

    I’d get in on the bitchfest, though I have no in-laws, I think I can come up with 500 less than joyful words about my kids’ school.

    If you haven’t already read them, Lauren Willig has a fun series out about female spies during the Napoleonic wars. Iknow that doesn’t sound like a fun topic but her books are very entertaining romances. The first is The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and there are 3 more so far.

    Hawkeyegirl August 18, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Coming out of lurk-dom purely because you asked about books. I am nothing if not a rampant screeching book suggester!

    My all-time favorite book (well, series) is Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey- its half porn half political adventure. With a kick-ass female lead in a pseudo-France like place. I think you’d love it.

    THopgood August 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Oh my….a site where I can vent about my inlaws? DUDE! Sign me up! My inbreeding MIL married her 1st cousin and my FIL is a raging bisexual alcoholic….no I’m not making this up….

    Vicki August 18, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Read anything by Dean Koontz. And Nicholas Sparks. Sorry, my reading doesn’t run into the deep and theoretical (sp?). I have to keep it simple. The babies zap what is left of my thought processes.

    And who doesn’t love a guilt-free bitch fest?

    Mom to the Girls August 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Hunger’s Brides by Paul Anderson
    Almanac of The Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
    Fall on Your Knees or The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald

    Loved your guest bloggers! You know some seriously cool people, makes sense…

    Would love a home for venting… like right now would be good… lol

    Deb August 18, 2008 at 10:49 am

    The Birth HOuse, kinda goes with your present post partum stage. Kris Radish is a wonderful writer, or maybe try the Memory Keepers Daughter.

    7aki Fadi August 18, 2008 at 10:54 am


    Well, I have a list of books you might find interesting:

    click here

    Or visit

    Check them out. Especially my top 10(ish) books.

    I love to read and I read a lot.

    And thanks for having those guest posters. My favorite was Lara :) .

    Sparkliesunshine August 18, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Just discovered your blog so I’m glad to see your back. :)

    Issas Crazy World August 18, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Oh hellz yea. Sign me up.

    Welcome back. Love that tiny girl of yours. Book recommendation: Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen, not too deep, but not complete fluff, a great end of summer read.

    ps. I gave you an award today.

    The Coffee Lady August 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

    why would bitching ever be not appropriate?

    this is a world that I do not understand

    lavandula August 18, 2008 at 11:47 am

    what a sweet pic of wonderbaby. welcome back catherine. and your guest bloggers did a phenomenal job for you. sorry you didn’t have a more restful break.

    Her Bad Mother August 18, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Bitching is never not appropriate… it’s just that it’s sometimes not appropriate to bitch too *publicly*…

    TSM-Oregon August 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Oooo! I want the key to the basement!! I’m happy to trade space!

    As for books, I have only recently rekindled my love for reading. The Summerhouse and it’s sequel, Return to Summerhouse (by Jude Devareaux) are excellent. If you could go back in time and change things, would you? Also by Jude, “Someone to Love” which was NOT just a sappy romance. It had some great mystery and really surprised me. Anyhoo..she’s my go-to author right now.

    ChurchPunkMom August 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    You don’t like comic books?? You suck.

    That’s ok, you’re good at it.

    Bitchfest?? I may have to consider that…

    emily August 18, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    To have a place to vent about family, etc… in “private” would be awesome! Sign me up.

    Jessica August 18, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Seconding the recommendation for ‘Water for Elephants’.

    I just read and loved ‘The Sugar Queen’ by Sarah Addison Allen.

    Domestic Extraordinaire August 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    #2….so count me in.

    Glad you are back, sorry not more rested.

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