Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Did It for ECM

4 lovely ladies including Alissa, Jeni, Melissa and Katie ventured out into the not-euphoric weather to dine at Fire by the Monon and discuss Euphoria.  It was the first book of 2016 we read in our chosen category of award winners. Euphoria has a long list of awards to it's credit - I mainly chose it for winning the relatively new Kirkus Prize (after delving into the wormhole of book awards that LL warned me about).

We were a light group on account of newly minted babies, The Crud continuing to wreak havoc on multiple members/family (aka EVERYONE IS SICK), school orientations, and work travel. 

We did some business which included:
-Reviewing that it looks like all months for 2016 are now assigned/claimed, and we are decent on book picks into about midyear. Hit up Facebook for more info. Good job, team. 
-Melissa has offered to host the kid get-together (quippier name and details to be provided at a later time) and suggested a spring timeline so as to take advantage of the great outdoors.  
-Melissa noted that this year is a 7 year. 7 years and 77 books :)
-We talked a bit about some of the upcoming books. MCF said she is liking the book on North Korea and recommends it in audio format. Some talk of NK Netflix documentaries came up. The ones MCF has seen and recommends are: National Geographic: North Korea and Crossing the Line. 
 -The blog came up. Again. Melissa wondered if we created a Mad Libs-like template would we be more compliant. I did this blog as a test to see how long it took since I am a huge offender on the not blogging front. Roughly 10 minutes. Key seems to be not waiting or else I forget. 

We socialized for awhile including talking about:
-Jeni telling us her crazy-o story of returning to the US after her glorious Mexican vacay and being stranded in of all places Detroit and having to run around outside in clothing not suitable for a Detroit winter with a toddler to find a hotel. Third time was the charm on the hotel apparently and the end game there is what we already know: The Bostrom family is a pretty easygoing lot :)  
-Health insurance is a scam especially if you have lady parts 
-Potty training
-What it's like having 1 kid versus 2 and versus 3 
-Relative benefits of C sections and epidurals
-Breast feeding/pumping challenges
-How boy children are different from girl children  
-How after you give birth everything hurts all the time
-Alissa may or may not provide an alternative start time for bookclub to Professor Schwipps in order to depart the house earlier. 

We talked about the book: 
-Most everyone liked it.  Resident anthropologist/Anthro minor Lil' Boss wanted more from it. 
-Most everyone liked Bankson the most, marveled at Nell, and Fen is an ahole.
-Spoiler alert: We dug into how Nell probably really died.  See above: Fen is an ahole. 
-We dug into why Nell married ahole Fen. Possibly to have more credibility as a female anthropologist in a time when that was uncommon by Western standards Then we reflected on how in many of the tribes being studied in the book women were in the positions of power.  See hot stone massages and being high all the time. 
-Lil Boss wondered about all the miscarriages Nell had along with troubles getting pregnant. MCF thinks that along with Mambanyo tribal infanticide horrors was really all pointing to Nell's internal struggle as to what it meant to be who she was, a woman in her field, and could being a gifted anthropologist also coexist with being a Mom etc.   
-MCF had researched the Margaret Mead connection who Nell's character was loosely based on.

All in all interesting, a rich read thematically and something a little different. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Rosie Project (The Dropbox project)

If Jeni were to write a blog post for April—this is what it might say:

We met at Fire by the Monon to discuss The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

We had pretty good attendance. Everyone was there except for Katie and Alissa. 

We liked the book overall.

It even received a handful of 'two thumbs up' which was quite a relief to me after selecting The Casual Vacancy as my last pick. (but everyone has one, right?...right!?)

We also discussed illegally sharing audio books via Dropbox because the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is up in June and is nearly 800 pages long. I'm not really one for stealing, but I love it and I don't feel bad about it. At. All. 

We also noted what everyone is reading on the side:
Val: Bat Boy
Erin: The Interestings
Lindsay: Fan Girl
Stephanie: The Bridge to Terabithia 
         [pause for fake sobbing] 
Cris: Beautiful Ruins
Loran: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Jeni: Lean In
Jill: Divergent
Melissa: Eric Carle books 

Hot topic discussion involved TV shows about the Amish running away and FLDS (NOT Mormons!) running away. 

'Twas another great meeting.

On deck:
May: Tell The Wolves I'm Home (A.K.A. The Hound) by Carol Rifka Brunt
June: The Goldfinch (A.K.A The Mountain) Donna Tartt
July: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
August: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Also, Bunk Bed Adventure has been scheduled for August 15-17. Start stretching now.

DISCLAIMER: This post does not, in any way, constitute a report of illegal activity, nor is it an admission of guilt by myself or any aforementioned parties or persons in this post.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, Badasses!

This March 2014 meeting was a special one.

Alissa, Cris, Erin, Jeni, Jill, Katie, Lindsay, Melissa, Stephanie, and Val were all present for dinner and discussion at Delicia on College Ave.

The. Whole. Group. (Well, almost, but I’ll get to that in a bit).

We conferred about the Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker. A story of what it means to be human, what it means to be alive, and what it means to be bonded to others.

The story was beautiful; a journey to and through parts of the world we hadn't yet explored. This mystical tale inspired questions about how we truly see the world. We shared thoughts on the supernatural, reincarnation, the evolution of society, and how culture plays such a large role in our identities, the 5th anniversary of the Badass book club was a satisfying one.

BTW: We’ve met 56 times. And for our birthday, the best gift ever: the announcement that our remote member Loren would be returning to Indianapolis.  Hip, Hip, Hooray!

These women, who sat with me around this table, are a family. We share so much more than a love of reading. We share a love of life. The joys, frustrations, heartbreaks, and milestones. It’s a circle of friendship and understanding; built from many personalities and parts, molded, and given life by a magic cultivated over 5 years of fiction, poetry, YA, non-fiction, and memoirs.  Every month we meet, and then we go our separate ways till the next book brings us together again.

It’s a bond like no other.

“All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how many people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.”

Well put, Helene.

Till April, ladies...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

February 2013: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Turns out we bad ass babes were pretty busy this February. After some rescheduling, Chris, Katie, Lindsey, Melissa and I met to discuss whether or not J.K. Rowling had done it again with her first book post Harry Potter, The Casual Vacancy.

Based on our discussion and lack of attendance, I think there was a resounding "no". In fact, from what I can remember there was very little discussion of the book and a lot more focus on green smoothies and using oil to clean your face (which I still struggle to understand).

All the talk of healthfulness transitioned to the suggestion of participating in the Mud Run. Pregnant Melissa couldn't participate and I announced my pregnancy by noting that I couldn't participate either. Which all gives away how incredibly late this post is because Madeline is now 6 weeks old and Ellie is 2 months! Yikes.

Promises for a better book and quicker post next time!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Happiness Project (also the most narcisstic post evah since it's pretty much all about me)

I read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin on my honeymoon.  In Cabo.  With copious amounts of sun, leisure, and adult beverages.  It was hard NOT to be happy.  When we convened in October (was that the month?) at Cancun, even my favorite burrito del mar and a house margarita couldn’t quite get me back to that paradise state of mind.

I’m sad to admit I don’t remember a lot about this discussion. I didn't take good notes.  I have a terrible memory, and yes, fellow Bad Asses, I let you down by waiting a full year to post.  I know that in general we all appreciated the notion that we should consciously make room for happiness in our lives and even actively seek it out.  I think several of us – myself included – struggled with the fact that the author was a wee bit hard to relate to on a personal level given that she came from a life of privilege (Daughter in Law to former Secretary of State Bob Rubin) and had a nanny, a house-keeper, and did not work a full-time 9-5 outside of the home.   I’ll admit it, I scoffed that of COURSE she has time to think about curating a collection of knick knacks for her office. Me?  I’m just trying to make sure everyone in our house has clean underwear.

The griping and jealousy aside, I really did enjoy the book.  I had never deliberately thought about happiness and what actionable steps I could take to bring more happiness into my own life.  I started making happiness lists.  Things as simple as: “Listen to more music” and “Reconnect with X,Y,Z friends” went on a list that I actively worked.

In the year since reading the happiness project, the responsibilities, challenges, and squeeze on my time have only increased, but fortunately, so too has my awareness of the need to actively seek out things that bring pleasure.  I may be crazed, but I’m happy. 

I hope that my fellow Bad Asses gained similar lasting benefits from reading The Happiness Project.  I can say without hesitation, that belonging to BABC and sharing time, laughs, insights, and good food with this group of amazing ladies is on my happiness list.  Rock on BABC.


Bunkbed Adventure 2013: Our 50th book happens to be a 50 Shades rip-off

I'll admit, when I picked this book, I did it at the recommendation of a good-ish friend whom I wholeheartedly trusted in regards to book selections.  She loves Harry Potter.  She suffered through the angst of the Twilight Saga, just like the rest of us.  She pulled out her hair while screaming expletives reading Gone Girl.  Alas, she suggested Bared to You, promising that it was both better written and more scandalous than the epic 50 Shades of Gray.

Well, now we all know that 1) I will no longer trust her recommendations and 2) no one can resist reading a trashy sex novel, no matter how poorly written.

We were introduced to rich hunks, naive [also rich] yuppies, and even an occasional bisexual roommate (who somehow also happens to be a total hunk).  We saw crazy sex scenes, almost a three-some, and an obscene amount of fighting between two *really* messed up people.  What we didn't see?  A book club discussion.  We did, however, learn quite a few new terms thanks to 4 hours of playing Cards Against Humanity, in which *I* had to explain to a group of self-respecting women what pixelated bukakke was (in the event that you forgot, do NOT look it up on your work computer!).

Bared to You proved to be "bleh".  But don't fret.  I have something in store for you that will make up for it, ten times over!  While we didn't play a riveting game of "Never Have I Ever" while being told "When you think you have enough lube, just keep going", we did watch an informative video on "how to twerk" followed by a demonstration à la Cris.  While I wasn't able to provide much in the intellectually stimulating book discussion realm, I am able to provide proof that said upside-down twerking did take place (sans candles, catching yourself on fire, and Jimmy Kimmel pulling the wool over our eyes).  Sit back, and enjoy! 

twerking, swooping, and the grundle: bunkbed adventure 2013

August 2013 marked our fourth trip to Lee Cottage on Webster Lake in North Webster, IN.

The recap, mostly in photos:

Friday role call:
Lindsay, Loran and Katie/Shuttle A
Erin, Cris, and Val/Shuttle B

Shuttle A headed up Friday mid-morning, and we got there early enough to hit our favorite salad bar and get provisions at the big Martin's grocery in Warsaw. Shuttle B arrived mid-afternoon, and we didn't waste any time before making our customary house "cocktail" of jell-o shots, AKA "these bitches."

Katie is unofficially in charge of concocting a j-shot that's more exciting than our usual mixology method, which goes like this: "What flavor of vodka should we use with the black cherry jello?"  Because Friday just so happened to be my birthday (!), The Katie Special looked like this. Squee!

We got there early enough Friday to enjoy the beautiful weather and the lake for a while.

We made dinner.

And then hilarity ensued with several hours of Cards Against Humanity.

Saturday was gorgeous. Shuttle A went to hoopty Zumba, or as Loran describes it, "advanced choreography class," while Shuttle B embarked on a swim out to the island and back. Round trip it's a half-mile. Badass = legit.

Following Zumba and the channel swim - crown braids and jet skis!

It should be noted that Cris loves to go fast, fast, fast!

Shuttle P arrived around lunchtime bearing 100% of the badass pregnant population. Organized by descending due dates are Jill (october), Jeni (september), and Melissa (august).

Saturday afternoon included more lake time, plus snacking, napping, and preggo paparazzi. Peeing in the lake, too.

While adrift, we discussed July's pick (because we couldn't find a date that worked in July), Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

Val led our discussion (and she posted separately about this), so I'll just say that I loved this book and Louis Zamperini's story. Here's a pic of Louis and his brother Pete.

CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment on Louis over Memorial Day Weekend 2012.

Louis lives in New York. He is 96.

We did not discuss Bared to You by Sylvia Day.

A) the book being really, really horrible (that is to say I read it in two days, for which I'm ashamed), and
B) there not really being anything else to say on matters of bodice ripping after last year,

I really wanted to talk about this book for two reasons.

1. The scene where he asks her about the timeline of her bikini wax. Not that there's much to say about this other than, "I know, right?!"

2. This was our fiftieth book.


After boating we meandered back to shore and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

We played with A Beautiful Mess. Nice work, Val.

Our neighbors took this lovely group photo. Sorry you couldn't join us this year, Alissa and Stephanie!

While Erin and I went out for a sunset jetski cruise (which was amazing!), during which Erin had a spectacular wipeout and managed to save both her sunglasses and her crown braid, the rest of the group kicked into hyperspeed and decorated the cottage for a surprise birthday party! for me! And what a surprise it was. I spotted the cupcakes in Katie's provisions Friday, but had no idea that they were part of this beautiful surprise!

Following the pizza party, more cards against humanity. We had to google "swooping" and "the grundle," which added to the hilarity. Chainsaws for hands!

Then came twerking. Given the volume of photos that were taken this weekend, I don't know how it's possible that nobody managed to get a picture of Cris demonstrating a perfect handstand twerk. But it's true. Trust me, it happened. And trust me, it was perfect.

As things started to wind down, a handful of us headed outside to catch the Perseid meteor shower. We crashed our neighbor's lawn from 12-1AM and saw some amazing sights. Not enough to stay up til 2AM, but enough to brave the mosquitoes for an hour.

Sunday began with Katie making amazing frittatas for breakfast while Cris and Val, chaperoned by Erin on jetski, had another swoop to the island and back. These girls swam a mile over the weekend! Did I mention they're badass? Check out Val's badass face.

Since we gathered the weekend of August 10th, 2/3 of the badass pregnant population are postpartum. Meet the second generation of BBC. Welcome, Elliette and Madeline! 

It makes my heart happy that we all look forward to this weekend every yea, and that we wanted to photo-document every moment (aside from that handstand twerk, dammit). I like to think we'll last forever, and that these moments are just points along the way.

For another perspective on and recap of the weekend, please head to Cris' blog. More photos, too!

Next up on our reading list is Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. Stephanie will host in September, and in true badass fashion Madeline and Elliette will attend.