Birthday Tree 2016

Well the time just keeps zooming down the highway. Two years in Cayucos already! I moved here near my birthday, so that means I'm on my third birthday tree. 

This year, I went for lime so I can make margaritas and tequila-lime chicken burritos with my own produce. Here's the little guy: 

This was the pot that last year's tree, an olive, was living in. Don't worry; I was worried it was having trouble with the wind, so I gave it a new home:

I was pretty happy to find that the olive tree produced fruit in its first year! I didn't do anything with it, but it was still exciting. The avocado is still alive, but the sun and drought have been hard on it. It still hasn't provided any fruit. So we'll just have to wait and see on the lines. 

We are in a quarantine area, so the line tree will never leave. 

First Ride 2016

My last bike ride was at the end of October. I could blame the struggle for today's 14 miles on the wind (which was bad), but honestly. Not riding for a quarter does set me back. 

Cayucos Pier Painting

I forgot to post my painting progress. So far, I've lived in Cayucos two years and I've created on painting each year.

This one started off as a sketch on orange:

This year was the year that the Cayucos Pier was reconstructed. I enjoyed finally getting to walk on it this fall. While the work was going on, somebody kept climbing out to put a pirate flag on the crane.

EOY: Reading

Just a quick wrap-up this year. My blogging is down. My reading is down. I was so crazy busy back in 2015. Here's to this year being about slowing down.

This year, when I did read, I tried to make a conscious effort to lean toward women writers. I only read 27 books this year (down from 56/61 last year). Because I was trying, we'll start with statistics:

Fiction::Non-Fiction - 26::1

Female::Male - 23::3 (1 unknown), count by book

Birth by Country (author count):

XX Canada
X Malaysia

XXX Unknown

Still very US heavy. As an English-speaker, it's hard to get away from. This year, I'm going to try to shift my countries a little, though I'm not sure it'll be as easy to do as shifting to women, just because it's not obvious from the author's name. (It's not always with women authors, either, but it's a little easier.)

Birth by Decade (author count):

  • 1950s XXX
  • 1960s XXX
  • 1970s XXXXXXXX
  • 1980s XXXX

This year has a much smaller range of ages. Twice as many from the 80s as last year but I didn't read anything terribly old or by anyone terribly old.

I don't have a whole lot fascinating to say about my experience switching to women authors. I definitely found authors I'd not heard of and some were great and some were not.

Circus, Circus

Every year seems to bring small collections in my reading. This year, there were a couple of circus-based books. Both The Night Circus and Mechanique: A tale of the Circus Tresaulti were interesting, weird reads. Mechanique was more firmly in the realm of Weird Fiction, with its half-mechanical circus performers and dystopian setting. The Night Circus was more of a fantasy; it reminded me very much of The Prestige.


I always enjoy finding an author who has already started a series and has a few books under her belt. It means that if I really like her writing, I've got more to dig into right away. This year, Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mysteries gave me an opportunity to spend time in a gentle little town in Canada with a quirky accepting community. Karen Miller's Mage books were also fun.

Other Favorites

There are three books that I loved, but I don't think I would have picked them up unless I was challenging myself to read more women. And so I'm excited to have the authors to come back to now.

Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor was really interesting because of the voice of the young emperor. He is unexpectedly tossed into power in a world he doesn't understand -- not a whole 'nother world, just a different kind of political world than he was trained to excel in. He's nervous and young, angry and not at all sure he belongs. Its use of rings reminded me of the 99% invisible episode on Challenge Coins.

Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet gave me that sort of Firefly fix. I love space opera that features entrepreneurs instead of military agents, even when there is military stuff going on.

Naomi Novik's Uprooted is an excellent fairy tale. It doesn't feature some damsel waiting to be saved.


I loved Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown. I think this one is a pretty obvious hit for me. It fits in well with past reads by Susanna Clarke and Neil Williamson.