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Archive for the ‘What I’m Into’ Category

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When all else fails, raid the recycling bin.

January was intense. A lot has happened in our world and to my friends this month. While I have been active and keeping informed, I’ve also enjoyed some downtime.

Books

This month, I finished up some books I had started and read another book by someone who is becoming one of my favorite authors.

I enjoyed The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Cron and Stabile). That is, I enjoyed it after reading the part about Ones, which I am now 97% certain I am. I can’t really call my experience through that chapter “enjoyment,” but it was helpful.

My favorite book I’ve read this month is Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I have a whole separate post planned about this book, but for now I want to talk about this author. I love his characters and how he develops them. I need to buy all of his books and study them with fervor. I want to write characters that well.

TV

This is Us. I am firmly seated on this bandwagon. Stupid awesome show. It makes me cry and cry. I love  them all, but Randall is my favorite. Also, I am happy to see Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley throwing off shirts again. I support this.

I’ve also been on a superhero kick (I mean…even more than usual). So clearly I am rewatching/binge-watching Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Smallville. For some reason, I see the need for heroes these days. And by heroes, I do mean Cat Grant, Iris West, and Felicity Smoak.

Life

I had…fun? That’s not exactly it. I had moderate anxiety and the tiniest of panic attacks graciously buffered by camaraderie and humor and overwhelming kindness and the joy of seeing both old and new friends at the Women’s Rally/March in Denton. I enjoyed lunch and dinner with friends to talk about it, and my hope was given a little boost by those conversations.

My parents visited last weekend. We ate a lot, and my mom and I watched romantic comedies, and before they went home, my friend Margarett brought them a puppy to take with them. His name is Butch, and he is corgi/shepherd, and he has got that whole puppy eyes thing down. I’m sure there will be pictures aplenty in the months and years to come.

I’ve taken up my seasonal knitting habit again. It’s so calming. This year, I’m obsessed with blankets. If you visit, I might try to pawn one off on you. Many of them will be going to supplement the United Methodist Church’s donations to homeless shelters, because how many blankets do I really need? I am currently working on one in blues and grays that will act as a bedspread:

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Writing

I totally skipped my January newsletter this month, but I had something to share at my Mastermind group, so there’s that. I am working on about four very different projects. I think I can finally admit that having several projects going at once is the key to my sticking with a writing schedule and ever getting anything done. I am exhausted, exhilarated, and happy.

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My week last week. Note how few boxes are there. 

July was many things.

It was moving and setting up the new place and showing it off.

It was snow cones and sun tea and lots of tacos.

It was friends and family and being surrounded by the love of manual labor.

It was not relaxing, and it was very, very hot, but it was good.

Last week was the first full week that I was really in the apartment without having to trip over boxes. All my books are on the shelf, and Margat’s  blue face painting (see above) is up, so that means it’s home.

This will be the first week this summer that my schedule doesn’t revolve around packing or moving or finding a place to move all the things I’ve packed.

We read The Notorious RBG for our church book club. It was a great celebration of her and made us all fall even more in love with her than we already were. It initiated a lively discussion, too, which makes it a fun book club choice.

My favorite thing I read this month was Shrill. I love Lindy West. She’s hilarious and insightful, and everyone should buy and read her book.

 

I missed my writing night last Friday, so I didn’t post a Friday Five, but I loved so many things last week.

1. Michelle Obama’s speech.

2. “You literally said all those things.” Heh. I’m not Hilary’s biggest fan, but that was awesome. Good job, HRC (and by that, I mean probably HRC’s speechwriters/social media folk).

3. I don’t even like this song, but this video made me weepy. Also, I see you T.R.Knight, and I love/miss George. It was an emotional week.

4. Thank you, black women. For all that you do. The world owes you so much. We owe you. So. Much.

5. Bill Clinton’s balloon love made me laugh and laugh.

My very favorite thing from last week was watching all my friends post pictures of their daughters watching Hilary Clinton accept the nomination. Despite all my misgivings, that was moving.

It was a good month and an especially good week.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into. Hop over there and take a look!

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Hello, June. You look pretty. And delicious.

Note that there are no pictures of my move in the collage above. The place I was really excited about fell through, but now I have a place I’m even more excited about and I GET TO PICK UP MY KEY TODAY!! Specifically, I get to pick up my key in two hours. I’m very excited. I don’t have time to actually get any moving done today as I have book club tonight (because please – like I’m going to miss book club for any other reason than being out of town), but I am squeezing in a little bubbly to toast the new place with a couple of friends beforehand.

I feel like I’m mostly into cardboard right now, because that’s what my apartment looks like. Boxes everywhere. I miss my books. Soon, we will be reunited, and how glorious that will be!

I have an idea for my NaNoWriMo project in November, and it requires (REQUIRES) watching and reading a lot of film noir. So I’m going through this list. I look forward to getting higher on the list, because right now these selections are working hard to talk me out of writing in this genre.

After seeing Amy Acker’s Q&A at the Dallas Fan Expo, I needed to see Dollhouse, and I ended up really liking it.

I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do during the summer, but A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was my favorite thing I read last month.

I’ve been eating simple food that does not require me to cook, because 1) Texas heat and 2) moving. I’ve had a lot of nachos and cereal lately. Luckily, I love nachos and cereal. I mean, not together but…you get it.

What are you into this month?

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May has been fun. I’ve gotten to shake the dust off my piano fingers, spend time with friends, and jump into my new job. May has been good.

I feel like I’ve read a lot, but it was mostly lackluster. I read Blue Plate Special and Happier at Home and Son of a Witch, but I didn’t find anything exceptional about any of them. I liked them okay, but not enough to say any more about them.

In writing news, the Epic Meal Planning manuscript is chugging along, but the actual meal planning is not, as most of my time consists of packing for the move this month (two weeks!!! I can start in two weeks!!!). I have been eating mostly salads and sandwiches and relying on the kindness of friends who like to feed me. I bet this finds its way into EPM or Feast or somewhere, though. I can always find a way to blather on about what I’m eating.

I spent most of the month avoiding the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy because I was mad about George and needed to heal. Now I’ve started the sixth season, and the men are on my nerve, particularly the men in Bailey’s and Christina’s lives. In fact, I won’t even refer to them as their own names right now. Right now, they’re Christina’s boyfriend and Father Dr. Bailey. I have taken to yelling ridiculous things at the TV, such as “Don’t make me come in there! I will come through this TV and back through time to throttle you!” It’s possible I am too invested in this show. It’s also possible that I like it and do not care that I’m too invested.

Speaking of shows I’m invested in…Person of Interest. If you are watching, you will understand the temper tantrum I have to periodically break into throughout the day. This last episode? On the one hand, spectacular writing choice. On the other hand, *&$%#&^@#.

Since church choir and most of my other weekend obligations are on hiatus for the summer, I actually had a free weekend. I spent Memorial Day weekend with my parents, and it was awesome. I ate a lot and played with kittens. Bliss.

 

How was your May?

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April was a month of celebrations and change. I typically am opposed to changes,  but I like these ones.

Mom and Dad, my brother-in-law, and several friends all have birthdays in April. I didn’t get to see my parents on their birthdays, but we talked on the phone. I got to go out to dinner with several friends and my brother-in-law on their birthdays, though. I forget how expensive going out to eat is. How did I do that so often when I was in college? Mystery.

I did get to deliver good news on my parents’ birthdays, though. On Mom’s birthday, I got to tell her that I got a new job (which started today!). And on Dad’s birthday, I got to tell him that I found a new place to live (moving in June). I think they’re even more excited than I am. Mom broke out that chipper, squeaky voice that she usually reserves for babies and feral cats she’s trying to woo.

I’ve been binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy. This show has taken over my life. I’m on season five, and I already know the terrible thing that happens toward the end of the season, and my heart is angry already.

Most of my reading has been cookbooks. Simple Food, Big Flavor by Aaron Sanchez makes me want to roast all the things and make them into sauces. I don’t like the way he writes, but the food makes up for it. Simply Done Well Done by Aaron McCargo, Jr. also had some great food ideas. There was a lot of deep-frying and heavy cream involved, though, so they’re going to have to be sometimes-food. My favorite cookbook I read this month was Sunny’s Kitchen by Sunny Anderson. I appreciate her stories about how her travels have affected her cooking. I also appreciate that she cooks exactly the way I do. Usually when I read a cookbook, I find myself saying, “That’s a good idea, but I would change this and substitute that.” Not on hers. I will follow those recipes exactly.

In March, I started a new health plan that basically involves drinking more water, eating better, and exercising regularly. At the beginning of April, I had already lost 6 pounds. Now I’ve lost 3 more pounds, even though I have eaten luxuriously and only completed about half of my exercise days. Yippee!

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over there and tell us what you’re into!

 

 

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March really is the best month of the year in my life. I get at least one week off during Spring Break, it’s Staff Appreciation Month, and it’s my birth month!

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My birthday was relaxing. We had a leisurely brunch at Crickles and Co., shopped in the afternoon for books and shoes (cue My Favorite Things), and had a great dinner at Greenhouse. If you are ever there – Mahi-Mahi tacos with mango relish. Do it.

I spent the first part of Spring Break at my parents’ farm. We mostly ate delicious things, some of which we picked right off the plant. This is the only acceptable reason for spring coming early this year.

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Anyone else think Brussels sprouts look like a sea creature when they’re growing? No? Just me, then.

I also watched from afar while Mom fed the neighbor’s donkeys.

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I tried to watch from a-near, but, well, you see the side-eye I’m getting from that one on the right. They don’t know me. That one still wasn’t too sure I wasn’t going to jump back up there and try to touch it again. That’s fine, donkey. I’ll just keep your treat.

I’ve been slowly watching a few shows. I read Year of Yes earlier this year, so I had to (HAD TO) watch Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t know why I resisted so long. I love this show. I love Christina and Bailey. And George. I love the characters so much that I find myself praying that their patients survive. On reruns of a TV show. This must be how atheists see praying all the time.

I’ve also been watching Alias and The X-Files for the first time. I have to watch them earlier in the evening before the sun goes down, though. I’m apparently easily spooked. Not enough to stop watching, of course.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, but what I’ve been reading is Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking. You can do a lot of reading and still not be done with that book. It’s glorious. I need it for my very own. I’m also currently reading...a lot of things. I have books stashed everywhere.

What did you watch/read/do this month?

 

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – join us!

 

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The thing I’m into the most right now? These boots.

Most of the month has involved making and talking about plans for the year. What I spent most of January doing was talking about what I’m going to be into, so it seems fitting to discuss both here.

I got off to a slow start with my reading this year. I only read four books, but I enjoyed them all. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson were beautifully written. Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s first novel, Steele Secrets, is officially coming out on February 9, but I got a sneak peak, and I loved it. Thursday, I’ll post an interview with Andi in which she talks more about the book and the characters, but you should just go ahead and order your copy now. I also read Jen Lancaster’s The Tao of Martha, and she was hilarious and fantastic as always (except for that part about her dog. That wasn’t funny. I know – spoilers. I just want you to be emotionally prepared, if that’s even possible.).

I enjoyed The Tao of Martha so much that I am reading her My Fair Lazy now with Maggie. We used to read books at the same time, and I’m happy to be doing that again and even happier that it’s a book by someone we both fangirl pretty hard over. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this one before, but it’s been a while. The details are fuzzy in my memory.

 I’ve begun stacking books that are on my next-to-read list on top of my liquor cabinet.

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Making an appearance this month (probably) are Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes, Oriah’s The Invitation, and Kate Bolick’s SpinsterPreston Yancey’s Out of the House of Bread might be the book I’m most excited about right now. I took his Sacramental Baking course one summer, and this is the book that came out of that course. In fact, he’s going to be teaching through the book in late February, and it will be worth every penny.

A lot of my specific goals for the year mostly involve getting up off the couch – you know, going out and talking to people. As humans do. I also got a slow start on that, but I made it to Mallorie’s make-and-take oils party Friday night. I was a little congested on Saturday, but the chest rub we made helped that a lot (and also left my skin super soft, because coconut oil). In February, Michelle and I have a Galentine’s weekend planned, and she and Tammy both have birthdays coming up, so I foresee outings involved there. And at long last, supper club returns the last Sunday of the month!

January was a blur. Maybe I’ll be more present in February. That, too, is something to look forward to.

 I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and tell us what you’re into!

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