[the goldfinch.]

The Goldfinch

rating5 of 5 stars
statusRead from January 14 to March 28, 2014
formatHardcover (edit)
reviewI really, really enjoyed this book. I think The Little Friend was such a huge disappointment to me after The Secret History that this came as a huge relief. The story may have been slow at times, but there was something about it that kept me intrigued. Also, Tartt's writing is captivating. She really knows how to craft sentences and string them together in just the best kind of way. I highlighted so many entries and went back and read them all when I had finished the book.

I don't want to build it up too much- it was no Secret History. I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to stick with the story, but it was what I needed to read right now, at this moment in time, and I'm so glad that I did. 


[i'm a pepper.]

welp.. i guess this is growing up.

for (at least) the last ten years, the first thing i do in the morning is crack open a diet dr. pepper. i know they're bad for me, i know people say drinking diet soda makes you fat, i know all of the reasons why i shouldn't have been drinking them all these years, but those reasons never mattered to me. it was just my thing. even while i was pregnant i drank them. i never drank a whole one, of course. just a few sips to get me through the morning. don't judge me.

well, last week, i ran out of DP. i was bummed but decided to just make coffee instead. i'm a passive iced coffee drinker and usually have a cup in the early afternoon for that sailor-won't-take-a-nap-so-i-need-caffeine-please-help boost. making the switch wasn't a big deal...and it was kind of a big deal that it wasn't a big deal.

fast forward a few days to when i finally got around to going to the grocery store. i got to the coke aisle (it's all coke in texas.. old habits die hard) and lifted my big 24 pack of DP into the cart, but as i started to move onto the next thing on my grocery list i realized that the DP didn't even sound good anymore. i backward-rolled my way back to the DP section and put the pack back on the shelf.

i don't even know who i am anymore.

apparently a coffee drinker.

where do i get my bifocals.



every year, i plant a garden. not a huge one.. just a tiny two-person-family sized garden. and i usually just plant things that i know we'll eat. it's kind of been a type of therapy for me... just getting outside and putting my hands in the dirt (and hoping not to find any worms in there) always does something to lift my spirits if i'm in a funk.

this year, though, is the first year in a long time that i didn't have plans for my garden. sailor was brand new and i just didn't have the time or the energy to put into planting and weeding and watering and harvesting, so i had decided to skip a year and see how i felt next spring.

luckily, mike came to the rescue. he decided to take it upon himself to clear everything out and plant the garden himself this year... and he did such a great job! these are the fruits (and veggies) of his labor and they're so delicious.

we noticed there were some things ready to harvest yesterday so we took sailor down and showed her how to pick things from the garden, and we told her where food comes from. it was so fun, we sat down there and ate some plums and she was covered in plum juice from head to toe.

mike even planted a tiny pumpkin patch for sailor and there are already five or six good-sized pumpkins. can't wait to carve them with her at halloween!

this year's garden is such a success that i kind of hope mike takes over again next year. : )


[skillz to pay the billz.]

I got so irritated as I was paying bills today... not that paying bills usually puts me in the best mood, but I got even more irritated than usual. Our Comcast bill continually goes up and our service has been the same for the last two years. We have a "bundle" that gets us phone, internet, and cable. When we first moved into this house, that bundle cost us about $150. That's a LOT of money to pay every month. At that point, though, we watched a lot of tv and needed the internet. The home phone was only $7 of the bundle so we kept it to keep the price as "low" as possible. Canceling the home phone would end up making everything more expensive.

Now, two years and many small increases in our bill later, I opened up the mail today to see my balance  due was $197!! WHAT.

I'm so irritated with the whole thing that I'm determined to cancel our cable tv. We have to keep the internet because most of the work Mike and I both do for our jobs is done online from home. So how do I cancel cable and still get the few tv shows that we still watch? And is there any other internet service that's as fast as Comcast that could save us money?

Help, internet. Comcast doesn't seem to mind jacking up their prices every month and I'm sick of giving them so much money for crappy service. 


[baby love.]

before i considered having a baby, i recall hearing women talk about their "birth story" and not giving a flying fart about how many hours they were in labor or how bad their contractions were or whether or not they had an epidural or home birth, blah, blah, blah.. amazing how things can change.

so here it is. sailor's birth story.

because i'm from texas and all of my family still lives there, it was very important to me to plan the birth as well as i could. after a lot of thought, we decided to pick a date as close to my due date as possible and induce labor on that date so that my mom and sister could book their flights and be with us for the delivery. of course, we all know how well planning usually works when it comes to having a baby.

my mom and sister arrived on schedule and the day of our induction rolled around. as luck would have it, a ton of women went into labor that day and we were bumped from the list. they wished me luck and told me to call back the following monday to see if they could get me in then. well, my mom and sis were flying back to texas on tuesday and calling in on monday didn't leave a lot of time for things to go the way i wanted them to. again, i really shouldn't have tried so hard to plan everything because the whole ordeal left me in tears that saturday morning, feeling like i was letting everyone down.

after feeling sorry for myself for a few minutes, i decided to make the best of it and take my family to poulsbo to do a little shopping. we might as well have some fun since they came all the way from texas for me, right?

before we left the house, mike asked me if i was going to take the day bag i'd been carrying around in the car with me for weeks. it had a change of clothes in it, a towel, etc, just in case my water was to break while i was out and about. i told him, no, i was leaving it behind and hoping that being unprepared would bring labor on. maybe that  was what did the trick!

in poulsbo, when we walked into our second consignment shop and started browsing around \, the strangest sensation came over me. i thought i needed to go to the bathroom but didn't really feel like i could walk so i found the closest chair, sat down, and called out for my mom. she came over and i think she took one look at my face and suspected what might be happening. the feeling passed, though, and we kept on shopping. the next shop we went in was just down the street but the feeling that came over me that  time brought me to my knees. there was no doubt i was having major contractions-- my sister ran to get the car and picked my mom and me up in front of the shop. this was all around 1pm.

we made it home and the contractions were clocking in closer and closer together. i'd texted mike to let him know what was happening, but i wasn't feeling urgent about anything... i'd heard so many stories of women going into labor and being in labor for hours and hours before they even went to the hospital. i told mike to keep working at the studio, and to go work out afterward, just like he'd planned. i thought we had all day and my mom and sister could help me get ready. i was wrong. the gap between my contractions was getting smaller and smaller, and without my knowing, my sister texted mike and told him to come home right away. it was time to go to the hospital.

mike showed up just as we were getting me into the car. the poor guy ran around the house grabbing things to bring with us, trying desperately to get everything off the list i'd made for him, and as soon as he was done, we took off to the hospital, arriving around 3pm. things were happening fast.

when we got there, the same nurse who'd bumped me from the induction list checked us in and she was definitely skeptical that i was really in labor. i think she thought i was faking it hoping they'd just keep me and let me be induced after all. once she checked me, however, she didn't waste any time getting me checked into a room-- "you're having a baby!" she said. my heart panicked, but i was thrilled. sailor was doing me a solid and coming just in time.

she did me another solid and came so fast, i hardly had time to push. my sister brought some dirt with her from texas and sprinkled it under my hospital bed so that sailor could be born on texas soil. it was a genius idea, and i love that sailor has a little part of our history as part of hers now. something only my sister would think of and i love her for it. i'm sure the nurses were confused when they found dirt under my bed, but that's okay.

there was just enough time for an epidural, which caused sailor's heart to slow a bit. we all had a moment of panic when they couldn't get the heartbeat regulated. the doctor came in to let us know what was going on-- she said there was a possibility we'd have to go the c-section route if they couldn't get it to speed back up, but sailor was just fine in a few minutes, heart rate back up and steady. the nurse came back in and said it was time to start practice-pushing. she led me through three or four pushes and then told me to stop because she said she didn't want to catch my baby-- she said we needed the doctor for that. sailor was ready to come out and wasn't wasting any time. the doctor came back in, i pushed for less than half an hour, and before i knew it sailor was in my arms, eyes wide open and taking us all in.

mike stepped up to the plate and cut her umbilical cord like a champ. he was next to me the whole time, cheering me on, and so excited to meet our little girl. the whole experience couldn't have gone any better and it's definitely topped the charts as the most important day of my life. what a dream.


[best time of day.]

Just a slice of life at home. A gift from Mike, dedicated to our sweet Alli Girl. She brought so much love to our life, and we'll miss her forever.


[alli girl.]

I fell in love eleven years ago. She was white with "buff" spots and had the sweetest smelling frito feet you've ever seen. Alli Girl stole my heart and I took her home with me while Mike was on tour. As soon as he saw her, he saw what I saw in her. She was meant to be ours all along. She's stayed by my side, rarely letting me out of her sight, ever since.

Every pet has quirks. We get to know them and we love our furry kids even more because of them. Alli had plenty of quirks. She was afraid of stairs, for instance. She was happy to sit at the top and look down on the world, just as long as she didn't have to walk down those scary death traps. Mike carried that sweet girl down more stairs than we could ever count.

She was afraid of water bowls... wouldn't dare stick her face in one and taught us to serve her water to her in a red Solo cup. In our house, you'll see a food dish, a regular water dish for Hank and Josie, and a red Solo cup. It's just the way our girl wanted it.

She was afraid of welcome mats and car rides, and a thousand other things, but she was brave, too.

A little over a year ago I was sunbathing on a float out on the water, and I think she thought I was in trouble. She was scared of the water, but she was even more afraid of me being out there alone so she started to wade in after me. She wasn't happy until I was out of the water and back on solid ground with her.

More recently, on a day when she wasn't feeling up to going for a walk, I took Hank out alone. After we left, Alli somehow escaped out the front door of the house. As I walked along with Hank, I heard something behind me and turned to see her running as hard as she could up the road toward us, her ears flapping in the breeze. She didn't feel like walking, but she didn't want us to go too far without her either.

She was a bone-aholic. She slept on our heads at night and stole our pillows. She loved opening presents and, at Christmas, she tore the wrapping paper off of the boxes for us. She didn't have a dog bed because she preferred lying on the hardwood floor or cement in her signature frog stance. She had the cutest little nub of a tail that started a frenzy of wagging anytime you even cast a glance in her direction. She sounded like a moose when she jumped down off the bed because her legs were so short and her belly so big. And speaking of bellies... she sure did like belly rubs. I could go on and on... she was everything.

Alli won't go on any more walks with us. She won't be watching from the top of the stairs or from the beach in case we get too far away. She won't be waiting at the door when we come home. She was the most loyal and loving member of our family for almost eleven years, and now she's gone. We weren't ready... we never would have been ready, and now we're left with this gaping hole where our "pooks" should be. Life is cruel in that way. But what Alli gave us and what we'll always have are memories of so much love, so much comfort, so much time... walking together, napping together, cuddling, sitting in silence. She was a friend, a kid, a sister, a mom, to all of us and gave us more than we could have ever given her.

She can't be replaced. She'll never be forgotten... and she'll always be missed.

Our girl.

All About Me.

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holli. hollipop. hollitamali. hollihatcherbuttscratcher. hooligan. holls. hol. take your pick.

i was born and raised in texas, and lived there until i got hitched and moved to the pacific northwest. all these years later, i'm a part-time teacher, part-time tour widow, and now a full-time mom. i hold down the fort with our girl sailor while my guy is on the road.

this is my blog.


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