What I'm Into {December 2013? What?!}

31 December 2013

Welp, here we go. Last post of 2013. December was fantastic, exhausting, lovely, windy, sunny, beautiful, wet... and filled with friends, family, parties and lie-ins. Let's get right down to business, shall we?


The Wool Series, by Hugh Howey. I started reading Wool right at the end of November (due to the glowing recommendation of my the best friend) and couldn't put it down for three days. It's a hefty read, but thrilling and original, immersing the reader into the distant (?) future of the world; a small, deadly world. I moved swiftly on to the second book in the series, Shift, and while I didn't love it quite as much, I appreciated the quicker pace and introductions to several new, memorable characters amid the backstory (prequel?) of the Silos. While many questions were answered, new ones were asked, keeping the reader invested for the next book. Dust is the final book in the series and will probably be my first read of 2014.

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I highly anticipated reading this book as Matt and I fancy ourselves Frank Lloyd Wright groupies and spent the early years of our marriage less than a mile from his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois. Loving Frank attempts to unfold the often-referred to (but never explained) affair between Wright and the wife of a client, Mamah Cheney. This fictional account is told from Cheney's perspective, with the desire (I think) to instill charity and sympathy in the reader for the repressed, spirited and feminist Cheney. Horan weaves an interesting tale of marital loneliness and artistic brilliance, but I really struggled to appreciate Cheney's motives, as someone who valued her womanhood over motherhood, responsibility or even compassion (must we really be "true to oneself" no matter the cost, hurt, despair?). We may never know the true story behind the novel - why Cheney ran off with Wright in the first place - and it will be forever overshadowed by the real-life tragedy that brought a devastatingly abrupt halt to their relationship (leaving me feeling somewhat uncomfortable reading the book, knowing what lay ahead). But haven't we all been seduced by art, mystery and adventure? I think perhaps that's the hidden heart of this book, maybe something Horan - who used this more as a feminist apologetic - didn't really intend.

Due to my interest in FLW and on the heels of this book, I also picked up Glass (Frank Lloyd Wright at a glance) and Frank Lloyd Wright (Critical Lives).

Current (or continued) nightstand reads: Grace-based Parenting (Kimmel), Mudhouse Sabbath (Winner), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (Held Evans), Bird by Bird (Lamott), Jesus Calling (Young).


Last week I finished up the third season of Homeland. The last episode was brilliant, but the season as a whole? Meh. I'm not sure if I'll keep up with it next season after the - SPOILER ALERT - death of Brody, but my love for Claire Danes may keep me tuned in. We're also quasi-keeping up with New Girl and Grey's Anatomy, were truly brokenhearted to say goodbye to Matt Smith in the Christmas Special episode of Doctor Who, mildly underwhelmed with the Downton Abbey Christmas episode, and excitedly waiting for the premier of Sherlock on New Year's Day.


This year's Christmas soundtrack was brought to you by The Vince Guaraldi Trio (Charlie Brown Christmas), John Denver and the Muppets (Christmas Together), George Winston (December), She & Him (A Very She & Him Christmas) and, of course, Sufjan. Still digging Arcade Fire's Reflektor (they'll be in Dublin in June! Huzzah!).


Of course, Catching Fire, which was a great Debbie Downer of a movie. Meaning: It was great, for a movie/book that is so obviously very sad and disturbing. Jennifer Lawrence wins everything, especially cable-knit one-shouldered shawl scarves. Christmas movies included, but were not limited to Love Actually, The Holiday, The Grinch, Rudolph, Santa Claus 3, Harry Potters 5-8, and a half-dozen viewings of Despicable Me 2.


  • So many Christmas parties! Work parties, friend parties, dinners and coffees and playdate parties.
  • So many school parties/concerts! Asher rocked Rudolph (naturally), Jack rocked the violin, and Ella rocked Inn Guest #2, despite a wicked head cold. 
  • Related: I love our kids' teachers. They are amazing.
  • Family in town for Christmas. 
  • Jack making pie with Great-Grandma.
  • Ella posing with her namesake.
  • A sick Asher sleeping on my mother.
  • Four generations photos.
  • Dancing with my grandma to Asher's fine guitar skillz.
  • Our fake fire, a la Ikea candles.
  • Warm December weather.
  • Windy and wet December weather, viewed from our cozy sitting room.
  • Avoca morning.
  • Long walks with Cocoa in Phoenix Park.
  • Sunny Christmas day.
  • Dublin decorations.
  • Being lazy, lazy, lazy.
  • Happy kids on Christmas morning.
  • Recognizing what emotionally feeds us after guests depart. We happily gave in to some soul care and took the children and dog to the sea, climbing Killiney Hill and enjoying coffee and hot chocolate in Dun Laoghaire. For like a half hour or so, I thought, "I could not be happier." 
  • Neighbours, friends and coworkers we love.

For other things I love, make sure you visit me at Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I never take pictures of food; that's a promise.


Most read this YEAR :: A (discombobulated) day in the life
My favourite, here, this YEAR :: In the garden, where we mine our hearts
Most read this MONTH :: We are barking mad, literally
My favourite, here, this MONTH :: Dear Sister {Christmas can wait till May}


What if we viewed our lives this way, every day? I am overwhelmed with gratitude.


(A song of ascents. Of David.)
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 131

Thank you for joining me here this year.

Linking up with...
What I'm Into


  1. I don't know a lot about FLW, other than having a general idea of what his design looks like. Loving Frank is on my list as soon as I can get a friend's copy. But now I'm going to have to see what it is that you've foreshadowed here before I start reading. I'd rather read with a sense of impending doom than be surprised. I don't like surprises :)

    We watch Love Actually every December and I never get tired of it.

    1. Shana, even though we knew quite a lot about FLW living in Chicago, it wasn't till I saw a play about his life that I discovered this tragedy at Taliesin. I was stunned because simply no one (biographers, critics, Oak Parkians) talked about it! I tried not to spoil it, but I do think it is a good read for the complexity of motherhood, independence, feminism and art in the early 20th century.

  2. Love hearing your thoughts about Loving Frank. I still cannot believe I'd never heard the story before reading that book and I cannot imagine how knowing the ending would affect how I read it. I didn't get to spend any time in Oak Park while I was back in IL for Christmas but I certainly view FLW references in a whole new light. So glad your family was able to come visit for Christmas! That just sounds absolutely lovely.

    1. I think it's just not really discussed and he seemed to rally quite well following it... but I'm still glad I read it. And yes, family was great! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas in Illinois! I know the feeling of going back home... loving it, but "home" really being someplace else now. Still nice to go back, though! :)

  3. Perfect description of Catching Fire. It WAS great...and terrible, too. Such an unusual combination. (At least for me, as I tend to avoid things that will make me cry or think deep whenever possible...since I do both too much anyway!)

    1. Hahaha. I hear you. (though I like my movies dark, with a hint of future redemption) :)