Long ago, I was an apartment dweller, and wished I could get a large fish tank. But I did not, as I was afraid something would happen in the apartment and it would break or spill and the people under us would have stuff wrecked, and I don’t know. When we bought our house, I almost immediately got a 20-gallon tank and gradually, a bunch of fish. Samir was about three years old and enjoyed it as well. Actually, you can read all about it in this post.
So, yeah, I no longer had a fish tank. But years ago, before I had bought that 20-gallon tank, I also bought a small, 5-gallon tank, but never used it, because I wanted a bigger tank. That small tank was still in a box in the basement, and I took it out and set it up. Why did I do this? Samir still is upset about the fact that I got rid of the larger tank and had been asking for a Betta fish forever. It is a corner tank, and I realized I have a corner in my kitchen that goes pretty far back, so it’s not like you would use it for preparing a meal anyway. Plus, being the kitchen, it’s right near the sink, so cleaning the tank will be much easier.
The two kids had a great time picking out the gravel and tank decorations, and of course the fish himself. For the first ten minutes or so, they were very excited about having a fish. Then they were way less excited about having a fish. Feeding time came, and they fought over the privilege to feed the fish. Then they fed the fish and soon were no longer excited to feed the fish. Eventually, we decided to name the fish, and Samir suggested Joey Ramone the Second, which was unanimously approved.
We’ve had Joey for about a month now, and the kids are mostly uninterested. Oh well. So much for my rule of, “If it’s your fish, you have to feed it and clean the tank or it will die.” I do enjoy watching him swim around while I cook dinner or do the dishes. And Bettas are pretty smart, so to cut down on debris in the tank, I’ve trained him to take individual pellets of food from my hand. A friend watched Joey swim up on my command, and said, “If you have trained a fish to eat from your hand, then that fish is clearly your fish.”
I am still attempting to slowing swap out environmentally unsustainable habits for more sustainable ones, but as time goes on, this grows more difficult, as I am running out of ideas. Please send me ideas, if you have them!
For this month, I wanted to work on my use (or over-use) of paper towels. I am well aware that I use too many paper towels, and, once again, I think the problem is I was taught to clean using exclusively paper towels. Before this swap, I probably used a roll of paper towels a week!
In my efforts to cut down, I purchased reusable bamboo towels. I bought these over a month ago, and have only used about three each of the smooth and scrubby type. It says they can be washed in a washing machine, but I haven’t done that. I just wash in the kitchen sink until they look really disgusting, and then use for a final gross task and then throw them out. Usually this final gross task is my cat vomiting up a hairball. I imagine these two rolls will last about a year, which is a significant reduction in the amount of single-use paper in my house.
I started my book list for 2019 here, but it was too long to write out all at once, so this is the remainder.
31. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. 5 stars. This is one I thought about a lot afterward and once I started looking at Gregor’s sister as the protagonist, I liked it a lot more.
32. The Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. The second Poirot novel. At this point, they started bleeding into each other a bit, but still fun.
33. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. 4 stars. I wanted to read this especially after reading Kindred, but also because I think everyone should read it. While Kindred was more viscerally upsetting, this book is definitely more emotionally upsetting.
34. Murder in Mesopotamia, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. Another Poirot novel that my library had. By this point, I fully grasped the point and use of the illustrations.
35. In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. 3 stars. I enjoyed this and read it in a day but it was predictable. Still a fun way to spend a day.
36. Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. Yet another Poirot novel.
37. The Woman in Cabin 1o, by Ruth Ware. 4 stars. I read this right after Death on the Nile, so I was confused because this book is actually the exact same. There is no way Ware didn’t just read the Christie book and say, “Hmmmm, I can also write that book.”
38. $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. I liked the topic of this book and it has valuable information, but the way it was presented didn’t grab me.
39. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. 4 stars. I admit that I wanted to watch the show, but I don’t like watching a movie or show before reading a book. I really liked both and I am having trouble telling them apart because I started watching the show the same day I finished the book.
40. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote. 5 stars. I can’t believe I never read this before! The version I had from the library also had a short story called, “A Christmas Memory.” I read this story while on a bus and was sobbing hysterically over how good it was.
41. The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie. 3 stars. The first Miss Marple book.
42. The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware. 3 stars. Probably my least favorite Ruth Ware book but still fun.
43. Rawblood, by Catriona Ward. 5 stars. I don’t read that much horror, much less gothic horror. The end of this was just perfect. I read it very quickly, waited about an hour, and then re-read the last few chapters, just to experience it again.
44. An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore. 4 stars. This is one I read because I can’t believe I’ve not read it before. Probably should read something more current about this topic, however.
45. Ark, by Veronica Roth. 5 stars. This was in a set of novellas I got free from Amazon. Recommended!
46. The Last Conversation, by Paul Tremblay. 5 stars. Same as above but I think this was my favorite in the set.
47. Summer Frost, by Blake Crouch. 4 stars. Same collection as above.
48. Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin. 5 stars. Another good one from the same collection.
49. You Have Arrived at Your Destination, by Amor Towles. 3 stars. The only one from the collection I didn’t care for.
50. The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware. 4 stars. The newest Ware novel is a retelling of the classic Henry James novel. I liked it!
51. In the Woods, by Tana French. 4 stars. This was recommended to me by a ton of people. It was fun!
52. Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo. 1 star. This was a book I read for a book club. I hated it. I can’t even how much I hated it. I am glad most of the reviews I’m seen around are also very negative.
52. Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph. 1 star. Sexist and gendered. I read this because I have two boy children. The advice given in the first chapter was basically to stand back and let the male parent do it. Nothing about gender being a spectrum, or what if the parents are the same sex? bleh.
53. Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeir. 5 stars. This is a young adult graphic novel that my older son read, but it’s so good!
54. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. 4 stars. I was embarrassed that I never read any Bradbury, so I read the most well-known Bradbury novel. The latent sexism bothered me, so I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars.
55. A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. 5 stars. Another book every woman should read!
56. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides. 3 stars. This is another book from a book club. It was fun but predictable.
57. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. 5 stars. Really great book that also was made into a great movie!
58. Lilith’s Brood, by Octavia Butler. 4 stars. This is three books in one. If alien-human threesomes are your thing, then you should absolutely read this book.
59. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. 5 stars. Such a great book! I want to watch the movie, but I can’t find it for free anywhere.
60. Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey. 2 stars. I got this book for a free promotion and read it quickly, but there are a ton of plot holes.
61. What Should I Do with My Life?, by Po Bronson. 2 stars. This book did not help me answer the titular question at all.
62. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future, by Ryder Carroll. 4 stars. For a book that suggests brevity, the title is pretty long. Anyway, I decided to start a bullet journal in 2020, and this book was helpful.
63. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. 4 stars. Part 1 of this book was about the author’s experience in Nazi concentration camps, and was horrifying. Part 2 was about the therapeutic technique of logotherapy, which I’m not sure I fully understand, but I believe is mostly concerned with ascribing meaning to meaningless events to help depressed persons function in the meaningless world. But I could be wrong about this.
64. El Deafo, by Cece Bell. 4 stars. This is a graphic novel that my older son was reading, but was really enjoyable. It’s about a deaf elementary-to-middle school deaf kid.
65. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard H. Thaler. 4 stars. Yes, I really enjoy reading books about behavioral economics, even though I’m not that familiar with the topic yet.
66. The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. 4 stars. As a default, I love any books about Satan, and bonus if another character is a large, talking cat.