Taking Stock: June 2019

Making : Nothing much.  Really just wishing I could knit better.  It seems like something that I should be able to do better.  I’m just so low on patience lately.  Maybe when things slow down a bit.  The knits from Highlander are inspirational.

shawl
Cooking : Not much lately.  It seems like the last two months we have just been in survival mode.  Nico’s soccer season is finishing up, and I am hoping to try my hand at making beef wellingtons.  They look amazing.
Drinking : Maybe about 7-8 years ago, I tried bourbon (Maker’s Mark) for the first time. It was mixed with ginger ale and it tasted like burn.  I didn’t like it.  But… back at Christmas time, we were visiting friends and I tried this bourbon, mixed with ginger ale.  And it was not bad… not bad at all.  Apparently, it is very “smooth”, I don’t exactly know what that means.  But I do know that I like drinking this.

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Reading: So, I am ahead of schedule on my 2019 reading challenge (52 for the year).  So far, I have read 25 books!  Great, right?  Yes, I am rather impressed with myself.  I just started Elizabeth Warren’s book from Audible and am reading the ebook version of Theft of a Decade.
Wanting: Still wanting a true travel backpack. Still can’t justify pulling the trigger and getting one.
Waiting: For summer.  So much waiting,f or so many reasons: for summer to be over, to start riding my bike again, to be done teaching the class that I am currently teaching (qualitative methods), to start teaching my favorite class (two sections of statistics for nursing students). Just waiting.
Liking: I like spring so much.  It is, I think one of the best ways to be rewarded for winter here.

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Loving: Ali Wong’s “Always be my Maybe.” It’s brilliant and funny. And it has Mariah Carey on the soundtrack. And while we are on this topic, I love the fact that Netflix releases movies to stream and for theaters at the same time.  Honestly, I would see a lot more new releases if I could stream them at home.
Pondering: I follow Chase Reeves on social.  A couple of years ago, I came across his YouTube channel, where he creates videos reviewing bags.  He is doing a new thing where he is expanding into reviewing every day items (like shirts, etc).   He said something to the effect of “When something that you use or need everyday is disappointing, then, it is disappointing every day.” Which is remarkable.  As someone who thinks about and cares a lot about the experience of using things, this resonates with me, a lot.
Considering: Taking up cross-stitch. Like, a lot. I discovered Subversive Cross Stitch and honestly, it’s my jam. Smaller scale projects. Some with cursing. 🙂
Buying:
Watching: I finally pulled the trigger and started watching Outlander. Basically the level of curiosity has been there for a minute. When I saw it pop up on Netflix, I was like, “Ok. I’ll be the judge of this.” It’s not bad. Questioning: The life choices that have lead to our live situation in the last 2 months. It’s unreal.  And its been a wet spring, so we’ve had a lot of baseball games early in the season get post-poned, which spins them to later in the season.  So, it seems like we have something going on every night of the week.  Or day of the week.  Really looking forward to the end July, which we basically have *mostly* off.
Sorting: Nico’s room.  I basically spent last Friday night cleaning his room.  Honestly, I don’t know why it is already a disaster.  It’s not like he spends copious amounts of time in there. Trying to keep up with all of the equipment and stuff he needs for sports reminded me of a solution that my mom had when we were kids, which was to threaten to throw away a lot of our stuff, so we could find things (like library cards and calculators for school) better.  I kinda see her point.
Getting: I ordered a book about tartans, mostly because I realized I knew absolutely nothing about them.  The tartans that are used in Outlander are kind of cool looking.  So is the one for Dave’s family (the Gordons).  Also, I kind of want to know what tartans from my family might have looked like.  I am not really sure if I even have any Scottish ancestry… I just sort of assumed I did, given how English my ancestry has been.  Also, I really like the idea of different types of tartans, like modern, ancient, dress, etc.  I think it’s very cool.
Bookmarking: I came across paper.li last week.  I am not really sure what it is.  It looks like an easy newsletter/aggregator tool.  According to the “learn more” page, it is “the easiest way to collect, publish, and share content on the web.” When I came across it, it was as a sort of career newsletter.  I am not sure what I would use it for.  Like a curated twitter feed of interesting links?  I don’t know.  But I am, indeed, intrigued.
Coveting: A yard. This time of year is just full of growing things. And I wish I had a big ass yard to grow produce in.
Giggling: at my son’s giggling. His best friend from school has been in town this weekend and they just make each other laugh. And it devolves into giggling about non-sense. It’s awesome.
Feeling: Elizabeth Warren. She has a response to a question about abortion that I thought was really articulate and thoughtful.
Snacking: I went into a grocery yesterday that had cases on cases of beautiful ripe mangos. I cut it up and ate it yesterday and it was honestly, the best mango I’ve ever had.

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Taking Stock: February 2019

Making: I am in the mood to make a mess of bath bombs.  A mess of them.
Cooking: Thinking about Ina Garten’s engagement roast chicken.  Only because I think winter calls for Roasted chicken.
Drinking: I discovered a new type of green tea that also has chai and vanilla in it.  It is not bad.  Actually quite enjoyable.
Reading: So many books.  So far, I have a physical copy of a productivity book going.  Along with that, I have also started to listen to The Prince of Tides, which I don’t love.  Mostly because I am not a fan of the guy who is reading it.  Also, after like 4 months, I finally got a copy of The Chemist audiobook.  I was intrigued by the premise, even if I am slightly underwhelmed by the author. Also listening to The Finkler Question, but I hate it.  It seems like I have been listening to it forever… but here I am, still with 2938473984 hours left to listen.  It is a Booker Man Winner and is just not my speed.  My mother would roll her eyes at me continuing to read a book I hate because it is a Booker prize book.  But I am who I am.
Next read: I don’t know.  So many.  When I finished China Rich Girlfriend last week, GoodReads told me that I was ahead of schedule on my goal to read 52 books this year.  In an effort to read more physical books, I have a stack just waiting for me.  But then my holds for audiobooks come through.  The next book I am going to start though, I think is “Deskbound”.  It is about how bad sitting is.  And strategies to stand up more.
Wanting: To try all the travel friendly backpacks out there. So I clicked on a couple of ads in Instagram featuring the perfect do it all bags. And I keep getting more in my feed. It’s not bad. I just wish that I could buy every one and have them all match up against each other in a fight to the death.
Deciding: I decided to read the works on the Lemonade Syllabus.  Basically it is a syllabus of essential work to understand and ponder the themes of Beyonce’s Lemonade album. So, a lot of works by black feminists.  It is a lot of works (200).  But no one says I have to do it all TODAY.  This is mostly because I have inner monologue/conversations with myself about inter-sectional feminism that just aren’t very productive at this stage.
Enjoying: Despite completing a cider challenge last year (wherein I focused on drinking ciders), I am still choosing interesting ciders when I get the chance.  This past Friday, the craft brew place across the street had Made Marion by 2Towns Cider House  and I gave it a go.  Easily my new favorite cider.


Waiting: For Game of Thrones.  I think its going to be bad, I’m going to experience a lot of hurt over who is going to die.  But I am ready.
Wearing: A chunky cardigan that used to be my mom’s, mostly to bed. It doesn’t smell like her. But it reminds me of her.
Following: Handwriting and calligraphy accounts on Instagram.  So mesmerizing.
Noticing: The continued development of my traps and shoulders.  I attribute it to benching and shoulder pressing regularly.  Yeah, that is like cool, but could my triceps, biceps, and abs stop being so absolutely worthless?
Sorting: My books.  I am completely out of control.  I can’t stop buying them.  And I can’t stop requesting holds from the library.  Just how much time do you think you have m’am?
Coveting: An actual vacation.  On a beach.  With the sea and the sun.  This is how you can tell that we are currently in the season of the Long Winter.
Disliking: A book I am reading right now. It is about productivity.  The author contends that people tend to over estimate how much they actually work and that if you are willing to be flexible with how you arrange it, it is possible to get a lot of work done and spend a lot of time with your family.  She lost me when she mentioned having to make a decision between buckling down for work or drifting around the house aimlessly cleaning and such before the nanny came.  Now everytime I pick up the book, I have to say as I open it, “This bitch…”
Feeling: Not tired. Sometimes it is the case that I have a hard time sleeping on Sunday nights.  Generally, this is not the case throughout the week. But it seems like a combination of adderall+preworkout for my games on Sunday sometimes produces this result.  Like tonight, I was in bed at 915, because I wanted to get up at 445.  I wokeup at 1230 and couldn’t go back to sleep.  So I just got up and am awake now.  I guess I’ll just go to the gym?
Snacking:on Sumo oranges, because it is sumo season, mother fuckers.

Taking Stock: December 2018

I am doing a series of extended list posts à la Pip and Maggie Mason.

Cooking: I am not so much cooking right now, but thinking about what I am going to cook for Christmas.  In our family, we typically have pizza on Christmas eve.  In the past, it has been Dominoes or Papa Johns, but Mom loves the pizza I make, so Dominoes can SUCK it. 

Also hoping for a ham and mashed potatoes.  And gravy.  Basically, Christmas dinner.  

Also, thinking about trying to make my sister make a layered chocolate cake or some of those flower bouquet cupcakes.  Only because she knows how to pipe frosting.  I don’t.  It always looks like trash when I do it.  

Are they cupcakes?  Are they flowers?  Who knows?

Also, no, I don’t know why I have to be so extra about it.  

Drinking: All the green tea!  I read a book called AntiCancer last month that pulled together some of the evidence regarding genes and lifestyle in terms of risk of cancer.  One of the things the book talked about was the protective effects of green tea. This has been somewhat problematic because I never really liked green tea- I thought it was too bitter.  But then I was reminded of when one of my favorite co-workers informed me that letting green tea steep too long can make it bitter. Turns out, when you pull the green tea bag after a few minutes, it really isn’t so bitter. So it is more drinkable… which means, I have been drinking a shit ton of green tea.    

Reading: Right now, I am finishing up “The Hate U Give.”  It’s really good.  I remember the sense that I got from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” that some of the work produced by black writers isn’t for me (a cishet white woman).  I am not sure “The Hate U Give” is for me either, but I think that it would be useful for white people to read it, to confront situations that may be perceived as racist, even if the actor didn’t intend for them to be racist. 

I originally set the goal of reading 25 books this year, and I am at 45 completed.  I think that I can get another 5 by the end of the year, just by finishing several of the ones I started.  Haven’t made much headway on the THREE Man-Booker books I am reading… because they are all so very slow.  

Playing: Coed soccer is back on in the dome.  Love it.  Although my feet were kinda garbage when we played this past Sunday.  Like, what is a goal area even?

Loving: Nico has a band performance next week, so we had to get him the white button down top, the dress pants and dress shoes and the tie.  Might even get a cute family picture of us *crosses fingers*.  

Considering: Taking a pottery class.  The cultural center that Nico goes to for after school has ceramics classes, but there is ALWAYS a waiting list.  And you know my life… with all the things, judo, soccer, work/teaching, etc.  Ain’t nobody got time for a ceramics class.  

Buying: I may have mentioned it before, but I am part of a group of people on FB that is made up of a bunch of degenerate gamblers.  Periodically, the group will do raffles for things.  Like, you pay $10 and purchase one of 30 tickets for a raffle of a tent.  Or credit from an outdoor outfitter.  The thing is, that I have won a couple of times. The last time resulted in some gear from Moosejaw, including the jacket of my dreams (Hint: it is the Carhartt Men’s Quick Duck Jefferson Traditional Jacket).  Yes, I am on the Carhart bandwagon.  No, I do not currently live or work on a farm.  Don’t judge.  

Smelling: cold.  I love the smell of cold.  

Admiring: my hair.  It has been a minute since I straightened it.  Mostly because I don’t like to wear it straight when the roots are coming in.  But I got on my old bullshit this weekend and touched up the roots myself.  It still has the greenish kind of tint that happens right after I do this.  But I straightened it, despite the fact that it needs a trim real bad, it looks nice.  

Snacking: One of the things that the AntiCancer book reported was that among women with the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes, that women who consumed up to 27 different types of produce per week had 73% lower risk of developing breast cancer.  Do you have any idea how hard that is?  To eat 27 different types of produce?  I like my stand-bys.  I am always up for a salad at lunch (lettuce/spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, *maybe* cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower).  But this means having to go outside my comfort zone to eat fruits and vegetables that I am unfamiliar with.  Two weeks ago, I tried a persimmon.  And last week?  Golden beets!  All I am saying is that there is a reason why people don’t like fruits and vegetables.   

So, I am trying to replace some of my usual “snacks” with fruits and vegetables.  I don’t know for certain whether or not I have the BCRA1 or 2 gene.  But when I think about my risk for breast cancer, I think about this scene from West Wing: 

Not that I am necessarily going to get cancer, but I might be walking along the cancer path.  

(And you thought you were going to get out of a blog post without a West Wing reference).  

Thinking: I have been thinking ALOT about my 2019 planner.  I am using one of the notebooks I got from Cognitive Surplus.  It’s a plain gridded notebook with sea life on the front of it.

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I am *thinking* about going back to a daily planner set up. Of course, I am really nervous about it.  Right now, I have weekly spreads and monthly layouts in my current planner, a teal Leuchtturm1917 softcover notebook.  But I only got 4 months out of it.  I don’t expect to get much more out of this one (especially since I am doing daily pages).  In January, I am going to play a bit with time blocking, which is better facilitated in a daily page set up.  

Wearing: I got a buff a couple of months ago.  A buff is a thing that hikers wear, that has multiple uses.  Slide it down around your neck, so it covers your neck when your jacket doesn’t.  Slide it up around your head like a hat.  Roll it like a head band.  Super versetile.  But I admit it looks weird under a lower cut top under a jacket.  I feel like Cousin Eddie with his dickey from Christmas Vacation.  

Failing: This past weekend, I was all in on doing an advent calendar for Nico (no, we aren’t catholic- is that a thing?  Are you supposed to be catholic to do an advent calendar?).  Regardless, we don’t actually have a thing for advent… like a thing with doors or whatever.  So, I had the *brilliant* idea to print and color little house-shaped boxes (you print them on cardstock and tape them together).  I was going to write a different Christmas activity on the inside of each box.  It WAS going to be adorable. 

Buuuuuuut, when we sat down to do some coloring and Nico quickly ran out of steam.  I powered through, getting maybe 8 done.  All told, we managed to get about 10 done… which was a problem because the activity on the first day of the advent calendar?  Make advent calendar boxes.  So, already failing on Day 1.  Abandoned by Day 2.  

Crafting: I am working on an elaborate cross-stitch project as a Christmas gift.  I have not, historically, been into cross-stitch.  But I may be changing my opinion of it.  

Watching: I actually sat down and watched “Its a Wonderful Life”.  I think it was the first time I had ever watched it, all the way through.  Which is weird because, for me, its the background soundtrack to every Christmas vacation of my life.  I’ve seen parts of it, but never the whole thing all together.  Plus, Amazon has the color-restored version, which is kind of cool to look at.  An unpopular opinion of mine: We don’t talk enough about how useless Uncle Billy is, nor how awful Mr. Potter is.     

Marveling: I love December, because I am not teaching.  See, the thing about teaching, is the feeling that there is always something I am SUPPOSED to be doing.  Discussion boards to grade, modules to open, etc.  I am three days into December and I love this feeling.  

Worrying: I am taking my orange belt test later this week.  I am nervous about it because that is what I do, worry about things that I have no business worrying about.  There are a couple of new throws that I have been working on learning.  But, also, we are supposed to know how to count to 20 in japanese, and I can’t.  So… there is that.  

Listening: Holiday Pandora/Sirius stations. 

Listen, I know I am basic as hell.  Like, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” and Wham!’s “Last Christmas” are my jam.  But I cannot with Bing.  Fight me.  

Resisting: The urge to introduce Nico to the Bishop family Christmas movie catalog, which includes Lethal Weapon and Die Hard.  He is kind of literal though, so I am actually kinda afraid that he is going to judge the shit out of me for believing that Lethal Weapon and Die Hard are Christmas movies.  

Waiting: For Christmas.  With my mom getting sick, my sister is bringing her family to Florida for Christmas, which is fine by me, because I love seeing her and Nico loves running amok with his cousins.  The house we are staying in has a pool.  So, that is nice.  

 

Taking Stock: November 2018

I am doing a series of extended list posts à la Pip and Maggie Mason.

Cooking: I made a pot of corn chowder last week. Nutritionally, corn chowder is tricky- because it’s high carb and high in fat. No bueno if you’re on low carb or low fat. But I managed NOT to butcher the potatoes and burn the sausage- so it was quite tasty. Definitely something that got better as the week went on.

Drinking: Tea, a lot recently. I bought a package of “Lady Grey” which I did not realize was a thing. It’s quite nice. So much so I don’t even add lemon to it. I’ve also been drinking matcha green tea at work. It’s been chilly here- so it’s been nice to wrap my hands around a hot cup when I first arrive to the office in the morning.

Reading: The American Plate: A Culinary History In 100 Bites by Libby O’Connell. I picked it up on our trip to New England this year. It’s a fascinating tour of food in America. Something I did not know: the town I was born in (Kalamazoo, Michigan) is known as the celery capital of the world. And it used to be considered bougie- which is interesting because I think it is a trash vegetable.

Playing: Futsal. The league I play women’s soccer in has moved from outdoor to indoor at a futsal place, which is nice. I got megged about 35317 times on Wednesday night- so that’s not great. It’s fast paced and fun. It’s nice when it’s cold out- to go to an indoor place and be able to play. Even better I have a great team- the girls are all very nice and good players. It’s a fun team to play on.

Loving: the Devon Market. It’s this little neighborhood market in Rogers Park. Sometimes they have these pizza rolls- that are absolutely divine. Picture a cinnamon roll, only instead of sweet and cinnamon, think savory and cheese. They have a ton of European candy and snacks- which is definitely my jam.

Considering: switching up my planner game. Again. I know- you’re not surprised. I’ve seen the Dapper Desk planner by Simplified Life and honestly, it looks perfect. Stylistically, totally my jam.

But it’s $60 and it’s sold out. So I got to thinking about what I like about it (the fonts and the daily layout for times and a todo list). So I am thinking of what it would take to make my own. The Dapper Desk planner doesn’t have blank pages through out- for list making and such. So it’s probably better that I come up with my own. Really, I ought to get a large custom stamp made that would help with setting up the planner. That would be huge.

But still- it’s taken me about a year and a half to perfect my current system. I wish I had a lot of spare time and “design experience” because then, I would be in the planner business. I mean, I’m even using a monthly tracker.

Buying: Christmas presents now. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love thinking about and pondering what a person would actually like, what they would find useful, what they would love.

Smelling: fall. I love the smell of crisp air.

Admiring: People who get their shit together to vote early. Right now I am 75th in line to vote early in my neighborhood. Honestly, I didn’t think the line would be this long- in the middle of the day, in the hood. But here I am. I came with about 30% battery charge, like some kind of amateur.

Disliking: Still kinda annoyed that new movies aren’t released for home viewing around the same time as theater release. Like, I get it: popcorn sales. But honestly, I would pay extra to be able to watch new releases in my home.

Snacking: on maduros. Last month, my Whole Foods featured maduros on the hot bar- honestly it was nice. I’ve bought 4 plantains to make my own at home that are taking their sweet ass time to ripen.

Thinking: ahead to Christmas. This year we’re “off” from Texas. So we’re gearing up for a drive to South Florida. Road trips are my absolute favorite. Of course- it’s hard not to like sitting in a car for 18 hours, not doing chores and eating garbage snacks.

Watching: The West Wing. Again. I listened to Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump White House. And you could say I am horrified. West Wing is my comfort blanket.

I know its wrong.  I have confessed previously my shame and compulsion.  But it is slow and there isn’t any sex or violence- so its not the end of the world if Nico passes by the TV while I am watching.

Here is the thing: I don’t know many things. But I do know that the world is a complicated place. I know things aren’t always what they seem and that rarely is one thing ever 100% good or 100% bad. Take for example, Rob Porter. His official position was White House Staff Secretary. Yes, he abused two former wives. But he also worked as part of a coalition within the Trump White House to inhibit some of Trump’s worst instincts.

Trump doesn’t seem to understand the complexity of anything. And he doesn’t seem to be capable of learning, which is troubling. And I wonder if he is actually as dumb as he sounds in Woodward’s book.

Honestly, that was nothing that you could ever say about Obama.

Marveling: last month I listened to a WWII book with Nico that described a German war vehicle: Kampf Wagen, which is probably supposed to mean something like “battle car”. But I interpret kampf as “struggle” and “wagen” as wagon. So some days, I drive the struggle wagon, and it makes me happy to think about.

Worrying: About my kid in school. Always worrying about him in school. Maybe his struggles with focus and attention are evidence of a superior intellect. Maybe his mind rails against the institutionalization of schools and he’s gonna come up with the cure for AIDS or poverty or something. I have a hard time understanding his struggle because I loved school- loved completing worksheets- showing how smart I was.

What does that say about me??

Listening: Queen. I’ve been looking forward to the Queen Biopic. Mostly because I think Remi Malek is brilliant and I am intrigued about the band because I don’t know much about it- other than that Bohemian Rhapsody was part of the soundtrack of my teen years- because of Wayne’s World. And radio stations didn’t play them a lot when they started out.

Resisting: the urge to start new knitting projects. I do not need another cowl or scarf. What I need to knit? A hat that fits my giant ass cabeza. Or socks. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I just am not a good enough knitter for either. That does not change my desire for sumptuous, beautifully colored yarn in my hands.

Waiting: I saw an ad about a month ago for a movie about Marie Colvin, a foreign correspondent who was killed in the Siege of Homs in Syria. Then, this weekend, I heard a NPR story with a colleague who has written a biography about her, which is coming out this week. An audible credit purchase later and now I’m just waiting for it to be released.

Also, Netflix (!) is releasing Springsteen on Broadway in December.  December 15.  Not like I am waiting for that day.  Or weighing the possibility of shutting down all commitments in order to watch.

Taking Stock: September 2018

I am doing a series of extended list posts à la Pip and Maggie Mason.

Cooking : Not much these days.  The days are long, but the weeks are short.  Tuesdays and Thursdays we have soccer practice, I have games on Wednesday, and we’re doing judo on Mondays and/or Fridays.  But it’s fall, so it feels like I should be on the job with a pot of corn chowder or beef stew in the slow cooker.

Drinking: All the ciders!!  My year of no limited beer is going swell. I have tried close to 50 ciders- from all over the midwest.  Frankly, I was not aware that there were so many ciders.  SO-SO many.  Some pleasant surprises include the Farmhouse Cucumber Cider I had in Ann Arbor (I was a hater before I tried it- I thought: honestly, hipsters… cucumbers in cider?  What IS wrong with you?)  Some others were better on paper- including the Blake’s El Chavo- which includes habanero. Okay- so maybe that was always a bad idea.  But I like that I have been able to try so many!!  It has definitely been a fun experiment.

Reading: I just finished “Where’d You Go Bernadette” and “The Last Black Unicorn”.  “Where Did you go Bernadette?” was okay…  I am a little incredulous with the timeline.  6 weeks after disappearing, the protagonist’s husband and daughter are talking about “closure”.  Bitch- let me tell you this- if I ever go missing, no one gets any closure for at least a year.  AT LEAST A YEAR.  I carried Nico inside of my body for 9 months.  The very least he can do is be emotionally ruined for the same amount of time.

I SAID WHAT I SAID.

I thought the Last Black Unicorn was going to be all shits and giggles.  Like, Tiffany Haddish is a comedian, this is just going to be funny.

FALSE.

I mean, it was funny.  But there was so heavy heavy heavy stuff in it.  Something I didn’t know was that she got accepted into NYU, but gave up going because she didn’t want to leave her siblings alone with their grandmother- in case anything happened to her grandmother (her parents were out of the picture at that time).  Truly remarkable.

Playing: In the North High Alumni game this year.  Again.  Mixed feelings on it though.  Its on Thanksgiving weekend- which *should* be good for turn out.  But it is so expensive to fly into SW Florida that weekend.  Of course, I am spoiled.  I live in Chicago, a city with two huge airports- how in the hell do I have pay an arm and a leg to fly any where?

But, I guess in the spirit of THANKSGIVING, I should be thankful that I am still healthy enough to play, have the time off of work, etc. But still.

Loving: Chicago Public Library’s “Libby” app- for digital content.  I am running almost concurrently with my audible subscription, so it is nice to get access to audiobooks and e-books that I want.  You can place holds on content from your device- and when its your turn, it just automatically downloads to your phone.  Its amazing.

Pondering: Speaking of reading… I have a problem.  There is an app that you can use to save stories for later.  So, you came across an article that looks interesting and you want to save it for a time when you can actually do the reading.  I have a little button in my browser for Pocket, where I click it and I save to the app.  This allows me to read this story later on my phone or kindle, sitting on a train or putting Nico to bed or whatever. At the end of the year, the app sends you a little data visualization on how much you’ve read:

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Because you can’t see in real time where you stack up against others, I had to resort to using a third party plug in to see how many stories I had saved.  It was all fun and games, until this summer when I realized that I have over 3,000 stories saved on this app.

It didn’t really start getting out of hand until I changed my google homepage on my computers so it shows recent links (like Twitter, Amazon and Youtube, but also trending stories on Pocket- back in 2016.  When I did so, I was prepping for my trip to Paris.  The graphic I get from this third party app, shows “added stories” in blue and “read stories” in red.  I have a visualization for a month by month breakdown of of what I have added and read, I also have the giant mountain of accumulated readings.

When I open a new tab, I have it set to show content from Pocket.  There are three choices, displayed with a Thumbnail and the source.  Today, it is “Redirecting” at the New York Times, “Russia Made the King of Chess.  The U.S. Dethroned Him” at fivethirtyeight, and “I found Trump’s Biggest Fan” at Politico.  There is even a “more stories” page and “popular topics” page.  Clicking on either will bring you to other pages, with the same layout, which is kind of like a very neat, very appetizing page, that has large thumbnails laid out in columns of 3.  Each has a “save” button on it.

For some reason, this bothers me.  A lot. I guess, maybe I feel like these are things I should read.  And rather than read them, I am getting wrapped up in Instagram and I think of this as some type of moral/intellectual weakness?

All I know is that now I’m up to 3,079 readings saved.  I am literally going in the opposite direction of what I want.  The problem is, that if I make a concerted effort to stay off of Pocket’s homepage for a couple of days, when I finally get on it, I have almost a binge reaction to all the new content I haven’t seen.  And I have to then save ALL of the things.  It is a vicious cycle!

Considering: On a whim last month, I started thinking about the racial, ethnic, and gender representation of the authors that I read.  So, I made a graph and charted these out for the books I had read in 2018.  Surprisingly, I read a lot of white male authors- of the 35 books I have consumed this year, 71% were by white authors and 74% were by male authors.  For someone who describes herself as Progressive and Liberal AF- that can’t be good, right?  So I am re-considering the process I go through on how I decide to read a book.

Buying: I bought an antique type writer because I thought I was a person that would be all like, “Let me type a note to so and so…”  Something I did not adequately consider is how much hand strength you have to have to type on a hand writer.  Also, it is not very forgiving.  You mis-hit a key and it totally jacks the whole word up! But, it’s cool for Nico-because one of his homework things is to type his spelling words.  And this works nice for that- especially since we don’t have a printer.  BOOM!!

Marveling: I just played my first season in a women’s soccer league- which I haven’t done since 2006 or 2007- when Warner Super 6 had a women’s league.  It’s funny because I have been playing at the Fire Pitch for so long, I just assumed that all the women players who could play played in their coed leagues.

FALSE.

There are a shit ton of women playing in this league… I think it total, like 12-16 teams, with two leagues (intermediate and advanced) of just women players.  The soccer is 1000% better than coed.  See,  in coed- there is, despite the fact that it is 2018, a surprising number of guys who have a hard time passing to women and not being dickwads on the field.  Even on teams where the girls can play- it’s rare to see women playing as equals. Often, they are relegated to inconsequential positions up front, where they are not relied on.

It’s sad and gross, but it is a fact.  That’s why, women are the game changers in coed.  Think about… in seven a side, there are usually two women on the field.  If you have a girl gk, that gives you an extra dude on the field.  If your women are not good (or if you play like they aren’t) then you are essentially playing with 5 men.  If you come up against a team with women who can play, who are utilized and are playmakers? You’re essentially playing down 1-2 players.

Buckle up butter cup, you’re about to take a loss.

Smelling: Kate Spade’s New York.  I belong to ScentBird- the online subscription fragrance service.  Honestly- it is kind of genius.  For $15 bucks a month, you get a small vial of perfume It is larger than a sample, but smaller than a full-sized bottle.  I got Kate Spade’s New York last month and have been loving it.  It’s weird because you choose different scents to go in your que- but, you’re choosing them on a computer, with only a pic of the bottle and description of scent.  Like this- a description of a scent I have coming in November: Selva do Brazil is a green citrus-based scent, featuring a watery Paraguayan petitgrain note at the top. You can feel the moisture slowly falling from the high branches overhead as you walk further into the canopy of a fantasy Brazilian forest. Smoky tonka and rich, deep guaiac wood rise like burnt ceremonial offerings sent up on the altar in the village you arrive in at the forest’s edge.  Like, is this a scent or am I in a forest?  Do I need better shoes?

Admiring: The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 tent.  I am part of a group of people on FB who all have seemingly serious gambling problems- and they hold raffles fairly regularly.  Recently, I participated in a raffle.  I purchased two spots at $10 each, and won.  I ended up getting my choice of a Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 or some credits to an outdoor gear retailer.  Little known fact about me: I have serious aspirations to hike all the hikes.  So I ended up with the Big Agnes… its so very lightweight- 2 lbs, 8 ounces! So excited!! Am hoping to hike the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail in Florida at Christmas- 63 miles running from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic, near Hobe Sound.

Disliking: The absolute dumpsterfireshitshowcircus that is the Kavanaugh hearing.  I try not to be too political on this blog… but honestly, he has such a punchable face.  And he is such a crybaby.

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on 27 September 2018 in Washington, D.C.Image: Andrew Harnik – Pool/Getty Images

The thing that just grinds my gears so much about him is that it’s not like he is special.  There is a whole list of judges generated by the a conservative thinktank that most conservatives would love.  Likely men and (maybe) women who are more judicial, have a better temperament, who would probably do a better job on the Supreme Court than this cry baby.  Trump nominating him and Republicans’ willingness to die on the hill of his nomination seems like nothing more than a GIANT FU*K YOU to democrats, progressives, liberals, and women.

Ok fine.  I think most of us aren’t surprised that this is the new normal.  Great.  But honestly…

We can have a conversation about whether or not something that you did as a teenager should disqualify you for the Supreme Court (of course, that conversation would be ironic AF because it is also conservatives and republicans who tend to take hardline stances on minors in the justice system).  This ass-clown should be disqualified from the supreme court because he is an ass-clown.

Snacking: This stuff is so good… It has the slightest, tiniest hint of sweetness.  You can put this on anything.  It is also $13 a jar at Whole Foods.  Can you believe that?  I first discovered it several years ago during a Whole30 challenge at my gym.  I was like, “Evaporated Cane Juice” doesn’t count as sugar.”

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That is not how this works.  That is not how any of this works.

But its good.

Taking Stock: December 2017

I am doing a series of extended list posts à la Pip and Maggie Mason.

CookingPeach and Bourbon Handpies from Smitten Kitchen.  That is a lie.  I WANT to make the Peach and Bourbon Handpies, but it’s winter and ripe peaches in winter isn’t a thing.  We’re going to a New Year’s party and I would like to take something new.  But…  I envision a struggle getting my ass to the grocery tomorrow.  Plus, it’s single digit temps right now, which makes me feel like I want to swan dive into a lake of Warm Beef Stew or New England Clam Chowder, but the party is an appetizer party.  So, you see my dilemma, right?

Drinking: Deep Eddy’s Ruby Red Vodka.  It is a grapefruit flavored vodka.  And it’s not bad, not bad at all. In fact, I used the occasion to kick off my first of 100 Cocktails: Grapefruit Vodka and Soda (Item #37).

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Reading: Right now, I am trying to finish several books: A Brief History of Seven Killings, the 2017 O. Henry Prize Collection of Short Stories, and Hamilton.  I recently finished the Life of Pi (which is part of Item #28 the Booker Man Prize Challenge).  Weeks later and it continues to blow my mind.

Playing: My sister got Dave an Amazon Echo Dot.  We are having a lot of fun playing with it.  I didn’t know this, but Alexa can rap.

Loving: Not working right now.  Of course, it is nice for an introvert such as myself, to have an excuse to go to an office and close the door and avoid human contact.  That’s great, don’t get me wrong.  But right now, my soul has the ethereal lightness which only comes when the day to day responsibilities of work life are not there.

Pondering: a yoga class app.  There was a stretch of my life in Tallahassee, where I did Yin Yoga fairly often.  In Yin Yoga, there is a lot of focus on the lower body- hip openers and such.  It is done in a cool room and each pose is held for several minutes, which is how yoga should be, in my opinion.  Like, don’t ask me to do hot yoga or anything where I am going to have to do Warrior pose or Sun Salutations.  NO.  Give me sleeping pigeon and happy baby and I am quite happy.   I found a class on Yoga Studio (an iOS app) that looks pretty much perfect.  And only 22 minutes: SCOREBOARD. Also thinking about getting a membership to 24 hour gym.  I would *really* like to be able to workout early in the morning, make it back to the house to take Nico to school and head to work, so that I can leave at a reasonable hour.  The problem with my gym set up (at work) is that I feel like if I go for a 2 hour workout, I can’t justify leaving at 4 pm- which is what I prefer to do when I am taking public transit, because being on an overcrowded, warm train makes me want to VOMIT (because motion sick).   I know, it IS complicated.

Considering: So, I think that 2018 might be the year for me to do a Craft Bazaar (item #25).  I thought I had stumbled upon a fantastic venue for it, and thus spent 6 hours last night trawling Pinterest for ideas.  The downside to the venue is that it would require a great deal of organizational work and talking with people.  But, it could be really sweet.  But on the other hand: Organizing people.  More on this later.

Buying: All the succulents!!  My aunt gifted me a great distressed organizer from a cool boutique in Rockwall, Texas (Website: Mint Julep Rockwall Instagram: mintjuleprockwall).  I think I would like to make it a combination desk organizer and succulent planter.

Marvelling: My mom made a whole passel of these cute little zipper pouches for stocking stuffers for Christmas.  I think she may have meant for each of us to have two or three.  Good thing I do what I want.

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Isn’t that a really great design?  Each is lined with a matching fabric and she also moved the tabs around too, to color coordinate.

Smelling: Dave got me a big bottle of Bath and Body Works’ Cotton Blossom as a stocking stuffer.  To this day, even though its been YEARS since I did college preseason, I can’t smell this scent without thinking about three-a-days.  It was tough at the time, but I would give just about anything to go back to then and have one more season, knowing what I know now.  I wish I had more appreciation for life as a college soccer player.

Wearing: I got a bunch of good, thick socks for Christmas.  They are perfect. Reason #45 I love winter: thick socks.

Admiring: My sister.  She has four kids, I am not sure how she does it- they all play sports and get good grades and her house is cute.  She has her shit together on a level that I aspire to.  I have one kid, a small house apartment and it’s a disaster.

Disliking: Several of the books I am currently reading are just annoying me.  Like, I get annoyed with one and I put it down, but then I pick up another book that just annoys me.  Next thing you know, I have ten books I am currently “reading” on GoodReads- but I am so annoyed at all of them, I am just procrastinating with dealing with them.

Snacking: I discovered Takis, y’all.  Only like 10 years after they became a thing, I actually tried them.  My tastebuds aren’t legit enough for the whole shebang (the hot ones), but they dealt with these guys just fine.  Delicious with Shiner Bock.

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Happy New Year!!

 

Taking Stock Volume 2

Pip and Maggie started me on the idea of taking stock.  Periodically, when I get a minute, its nice to think about the things that are happening.

Taking Stock Volume 2

Making : Nico’s baby book.  That is not true- I started the thing like 5 years ago.  Almost seven years after the fact, it’s still not done.  I know.  I am a bad mom.

Drinking : an Old Style.  I have convinced myself that my beer tastes are too fancy for Natty Light or Budweiser.  But my undying love for Old Style suggests otherwise.

Reading : I just finished The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, which I absolutely love.  It’s brilliant and beautiful and essential reading for anyone who has an itch to start a farm.  The thing that I was most suprised about it is that I am still the same as a 37 year old mom as I was a 12 year old girl in that horses dying had me ugly cry  blubbering.  I also started reading the English Patient (as part of my Booker Man reading challenge).  I am also listening to White Trash by Nancy Eisenberg.Something that I didn’t know, mostly because I didn’t know much about him, but Andrew Jackson was kind of a son of a bitch.  Think Trump before Trump.

Wanting : I wish there was a book or a blog devoted entirely to city gardening.  It would explore the different ways people grow stuff in their homes in big cities, in garden plots, on balconies, on decks and rooftops.  Seriously.  If you guys don’t watch yourselves, I am going write one.

Looking : At farm Instagrams (would that be Farmstagrams?)  This is always a bad idea and makes me question most of my life choices.  Some of my favorites: Modern Farmer, Dishing Up Dirt, and Kreeky Tree Farm.  I am trying to remember that I have made some choices in order to maximize occupational stability and that at the end of the day, farming is probably not as stable as I think it is (based on my cursory reads of a few farm blogs and instagram).  It doesn’t stop me from wanting 20 acres in the upper midwest.

Waiting : I ordered a camp stove.  A CAMP STOVE.  I have been wanting one for a while, and had convinced myself that I needed a JetBoil, because I am fancy AF.  But I realized that the huge sell for a JetBoil is if you are into coffee, which I am not.  So, if you wanted to have hot food and having coffee isn’t a requirement, than you don’t necessarily have to have a JetBoil.

Wondering : So, one of the reasons why I want land for a farm is that I want rows on rows on rows of produce *I* want: strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale, zuchinni, potatoes.  I want to walk outside and pull strawberries off a plant and be able to taste the sunshine on them.  In any case, I remember thinking last year that I ought to just get some strawberry plants and shut up about it and if I did that, I would have strawberry plants before I knew it.  Well I didn’t. So here we are, a year later, no legitimate strawberry plants.  This year, I went ahead and bought some strawberry root plants.  It took me a couple of weeks to get them into the ground- and when I did, they were very dry.  I am not sure they are going to root- but thought I would give it a try.  I salvaged a large tupper ware container from the recycle bin and put some of the baby mostly dead rootballs in there.  I also put some greens seeds in too- thinking that by the time the strawberry plants needed the space, the salad greens would be done.  I am also planning to put the rest of the strawberries in the garden plot I have.  The only problem with that, is that you’re not supposed to grow strawberries in places where tomatoes have been grown a lot (due to a the risk of fungal infections in the soil that kill strawberry plants).  But I do what I want, so they are going in the ground.  Still, I am wondering how this strawberry experiment will work.

Listening : Springsteen’s Live from Dublin album.  When it first came out, I wasn’t really a fan- mostly because I have a taste in music that ranges from poor to plebian (much like my taste in beer- I acknowledge).  In any case, I stumbled on “When the Saints Go Marching In,” which is so lovely and mellow:

Buying : I gave up my garden plot in our old neighborhood.  It was just too hard to get over there after we moved to Rogers Park last year.  In the year we’ve been here, I had gotten a little discouraged because it didn’t look like I would get to the one closest to our place.  The other close place (walkable from our place) had a fee that was very high.  I was so discouraged, I tossed $60+ in leftover seeds from last year’s Territorial order into the garbage.  So, in a one off shot in the dark, I sent a note to the organizer for the closer garden to see if there was any movement on the waitlist.  BAZINGA!!  When she told me I was in, I put my foot on the pedal.  The plot is small (4′ by 8′)- but I am so stoked about it.  I placed a Territorial order and got supplied for up for gardening.  The news has also encouraged me to redouble my efforts at deck container gardening, which have been dismal in the past.

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Questioning : my love of the West Wing.  I am on my third watch.  I like it because it isn’t violent (for the most part) and the language isn’t bad, so I can have it on on the background when I am grading or cleaning or whatever, and I don’t have to worry about what Nico might see or hear.  Also, I am a liberal- and West Wing makes us liberals feel a certain kind of way.  Before it was a thing to pile onto Aaron Sorkin for being somewhat obtuse, I sorta had a problem with the way his women characters are written. As others have said, they are so one-dimensional.  I think that thing that bothers me most about them, is that when they make mistakes, the mistakes are the result of poor judgement or being emotional (anything CJ or the First Lady does), but when men (read: Sam, Charlie, or Josh) make mistakes they are the result of miscalculation or over confidence.  So I have been rewatching the West Wing and thinking about what would the same kind of show look like that did a decent job of character development of women?  What would that show look like if it wasn’t centered around a group of white, heteronormative dudes working out their father issues against the backdrop of national policy and legislative stuff?  In fact- wouldn’t it be great to have a show that was about the presidency of 45 where the staff are all women and POC?  You have a couple of token white guys, but the rest are LGBT loving women and POC, who have to deal with a complete imbecile as their boss?  It would be sorta like a mash up of West Wing, Scandal, Veep, and the Office, minus the endearing aspects of Michael Scott boss.

Wearing : a three-quarter sleeve ringer softball-style shirt with Cubbies on the chest.  Its really comfortable.  Somehow the sleeves are the perfect length.  I don’t understand why work clothes can’t be this comfortable.

Noticing : that  I seem to have positional vertigo.  A new occurrence, it is mostly just when I go to lay down (on a bed to sleep or on a bench to bench).  I went to the doctor and she didn’t seem too concerned.  She did refer me to a “neuro-oto” specialist, which I expected her to do.  But then she threw in, “We can also get a brain MRI, just to be safe.” A brain MRI.  A brain MRI.  Simultaneously intrigued and horrified.

Admiring : A couple of new additions to my gallery wall.  It is remarkable how much better hanging stuff on walls is with Command strips.  In the good old days, it always seemed like I lost interest and patience before getting picture frames “secured” to walls with nails in something resembling a gallery wall.

Feeling : Good about this quarter.  I am teaching one class (an Intro class).  This is a new experience for me, since I have never taught it.  I am stretching my legs and putting my back into this class, because it is SO FUN.  Seriously, if you can’t find something to like in Introduction to Sociology, we should talk about why your life is so sad.  Also, I am just really excited about being able to do lots of different kinds of activities.  In my stats classes, we mostly just do lecture, exercises, and big course projects.  But Intro?  Videos!!  Response papers!! Discussions!!  Games!!  According to a post at IHE, the quality of Intro professor is incredibly important for undergraduates deciding to major.  Challenge accepted.

Helping : Ahead of my in-laws visiting this week, Dave and I have been in uber power cleaning mode.  I had some teeth pulled on Tuesday and had *geniusly* requested the following couple of days off (assuming tooth extraction was going to be a total shitshow).  I lost track of what week it was, so I ended up being home recovering from the oral surgery and cleaning the house.  Luckily, Nico has started stepping up his helping game.  It’s not bad.  Not bad at all.

Starting : I have started in on item #36: Training as a judoka for one year.  Nico is pretty excited about it.  I think he really likes being in a position to explain things and be a leader/coach.  My father-in-law (also a judoka) has informed me that he will show me a power taotoshi that will crush any opponent’s will to live.

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So far, its really fun.  I hadn’t appreciated how hard of a workout it can be.  I mean, I have done some pretty tough Starting Strength volume workouts that made me hate my life.  But judo is pretty sneaky.

Embracing : Running. Meh.  The idea was to transition my training into something that would support quickness and cardio needs a little better than weightlifting. So I thought, “Oh, I should start running again.”  I am working through a C25K cycle (can you call them cycles?).  It’s not awful.  I did 1.5 weeks before the teeth debacle, so I will be back on it this week. I like the format of C25K largely because it is similar to judo, where you have balls out activity for 4 minutes, and then recover for a bit, and then back on it.  So we will see.