The New Year’s Vacation: Part Now

Lucky for us, our January vacation [see I, II, III, IV and V] didn’t end when we returned to Charlottesville – we still have about 20 more days of vacationing in 2012. How do you spend 20 empty days, you ask? Let me tell you:

Grady-ing: Grady had surgery on Wednesday, and requires ten days of recovery. That’s ten days of no playing, minimal stairs, and only being allowed outside on a leash supervised. They don’t use those cone things anymore, so we constantly have to watch him to make sure he’s not licking his incision. He’s doing alright, other than being sad, dehydrated, and having an upset stomach. So, we’re spending a lot of time at home making sure he’s recovering properly. In other news, he’s now a registered purebred bernese!


We chose “Grady T. Bear” as his “show” or “registered” name – Grady The Bear. We love him. And no, the certificate doesn’t have that funny white spot. That’s our address, silly.

Reading: I’ve already completed three books this break: Mockingjay [the final Hunger Games book, DO NOT RECOMMEND], Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? [Mindy Kaling from The Office] and My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me [Hilary Winston]. I recommend the two by the female comedians, although I liked Winston’s book much better and neither holds a candle to Tina Fey’s. It’s clear, though, that Winston’s book is written out of spite and anger, and a lot of people get the brunt of that anger that probably don’t deserve to. If you like fast, funny, personal books, though, it’s a winner. I’m currently trapped in this baby:

yep, the guy that wrote "freedom."

I say trapped because it was beautiful and engaging for the first 300 pages, but I’m about ready to put it down instead of finish the final 300. Franzen really is a gorgeous writer, but I find I value writers who can be just as descriptive without the extra pages and flowery prose more [think: Vladimir Nabokov – that man could paint a picture]. Since I think it would be a pop culture blind spot for me to not read him, I’ll endure. And then move to THIS:

set 1. set 2 is on another shelf.

A ton of these books were chosen by NPR as some of the best books of the year, others recommended by Amazon, The New York Times, and friends. Plus the final two David Sedaris books I have yet to read, a legacy book from my law firm [“Superconnect”] and another Franzen. I’m pretty excited about the Best Food Writing 2011 and “Out of the Vinyl Deeps,” which is a compilation of Ellen Willis’ music criticism for The New Yorker in the 60s and 70s.

Cooking: Shaun and I are alternating dinners for the next few weeks [so I’ve already got a backlog of recipes to share from Wed., Thurs., and tonight]. Many of mine are coming from the newest issue of this:

[Special thanks to Michelle A. for the tip that Amazon ran a special – a 1-year subscription for $7!]. This issue includes casseroles, italian soups and a section on cooking with pineapple. Tonight = pineapple. Can’t wait.

All the rest: We both have immense to-do lists for the next few weeks, and we’re slowly checking things off:

  • Clean the house [I’m doing this room-by-room]
  • Write our holiday thank-you cards
  • Re-vamp the blog [new layout!]
  • Work on our registry [hooray!]
  • Work on wedding invitations
  • Buy books for school
  • Half-marathon training
  • Re-organize the spice cabinet [I know, lame, but remember, neuroses]
  • SLEEP.

I’m quite excited about the last one. And there you have it, our Asheville/C’Ville vacation in six short [“short”] posts. Hope you enjoyed. I’d love to hear others’ winter plans and winter reading lists, too.


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Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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  1. Pineapple, Part I. | Ryes and 'Shine - January 8, 2012

    […] my mini to-do list? Spice cabinet = done. It’s been gutted, cleaned, and organized, and now looks like this: i […]

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