Taking Stock: May 2020

Making: An effort?  The first couple of weeks of quarantine lock down (and all the video calls that commenced) had me really concerned about the state of my face.  It just looked so old.


And I know intellectually, that growing old is a privelege denied to many.  But still.  So, I started making an effort.  On heavy video conference meeting days, I put makeup on.  And have a more reasonable camera angle.  Spoiler, my external webcam, which I think I have had for 7-8 years?  Not the best camera for accurately representing my face.

Cooking: I didn’t realize it, but Bon Appetit has a new series of recipes, which I think are meant for novice chefs… or those wanting to use simple ingredients.  Whatever the case, I have made their No Knead Foccacia and its wonderful.  Like, so good that even the sprigs of rosemary I pruned off the half dead plant on my deck couldn’t ruin it.

Sipping: So much carbonated water.  I’ve been kind of frustrated with Best Buy and Target with getting my soda stream carbon tanks.  TBH, I don’t believe that I should have to drink still water, like some type peasant.  And since I am home with Dave, we have been going through the Soda Stream tanks pretty fast.  There were three different times I went to Target for a tank and couldn’t get one… once after I called to check that they had them.  Truthfully, if I was a smoker and had a fire source in my pocket, I would have set fire to the store.  So, I found a company that does exchanges through the mail.  The tanks are a little more ($20 as opposed to $15), but they are shipped straight to my door.  And I don’t have to fight the urge to burn Target to the ground.  Apparently, you get your ass called a Karen for that shit.

Listening: I have been listening to all the audiobooks! None of the Mann-Booker books… the one I have going on my phone is the Luminaries, which is absolutely awful.  I feel like I have been listening to it forever.  If someone told me that it was 1000 hours long, that would feel about right to me. For some reason, I am physically incapable of sitting and reading a book these days… but I am whipping through the audiobooks.

Wishing: For travel.  I want to go some place.  I don’t know where.  Somewhere. I am thisclose to packing Dave and Nico into a car and driving to Texas to stay with my sister and her family.  Just to go.  Just for a change of scenery.

Enjoying: Imperfect Produce has started carrying meat and seafood.  I don’t always get my selections, but last night I had scallops that were delicious.  Really like getting a box on Monday knowing that I’ve got a good start on produce for the week, along with some protein.

Loving:  An iPad pro.  I just got a new work laptop (Surface Book), so this was really not necessary to buy.  But, I was honestly fed up with trying to read stuff on my Kindle.  It seems that every time I’d go to read on it, it was dead and the memory was full, despite it having a big ass SD card in it.  I also wanted it because I love digital magazines.  Also, as much as I try, I just get make an “Everything” Notebook happen.  So, I end up with a notebook for every occasion and without fail, I usualy don’t have the notebook I need when I need it… so I’d like to experiment with notetaking with handwritten notes on the iPad.  I’ve even been thinking about making my own digital planner, with all the spare time that I have.  If I figure out how to monetize them, its over for you bitches.   *silly*.  I really hope that I use it a lot.  Like, I kinda wish I could go back and do school so that I could do shit like this:

Watching: All the series!  Seriously, how in the hell am I unable to get a paper’s analyses together, but I have managed to watch all 7 seasons of Brooklyn 99 during the pandemic. I have also watched: the first season of Beforeigners, the first season of LegoMasters, half of the first season of the English Game,  two seasons of Killing Eve, and all of Four Weddings and a Funeral. How? Also, I have watched the first (and only) season of Making the Cut (on Amazon).  We’ve also watched the entire collection of Jeopardy on Netflix, as well as the first parts of Season 2 of Sunderland Till I Die and Take Us Home Leeds United.

Hoping: Really hoping to get more people into the parent group at Nico’s school.  I’d like to be able to do more grant writing and fundraising and not have to do community building events and stuff that I don’t want to do.  I have found my first couple of grants, I just need to get off my ass and do it.

Wearing: Masks these days.  Really glad I was able to pick up some cotton print last year to rep Manchester City and the Cubs.

Following: The Kitchen Committee on Insta (@thekitchencommittee).  Maggie Mason found a box of recipes at flea market and has been posting the recipe cards.  Followers claim them and make them.  Then send a pic of the dish, as well as their impression.  Absolutely genius.  The recipes are what you’d expect.  They look like they were written by someone’s grandma, having lived through the great depression.  And saved.  Lovely.

Noticing: I am notiching the hell out of Carolyn Marten’s wardrobe on Killing Eve.  I love it.  It is definitely my vibe: solids, age appropriate, lots of gray, black, and navy.  cm_tabcollarcoat_whitetop

No so certain about that white top- mostly because white tops are magnent for food for me.  But that gray jacket? WANT! The crazy thing about the way she dresses, is that it’s low-key, but expensive AF.  Really need to get a house, so I can have a sewing corner, so I can have a dress form, so I can sew these clothes, because even I can’t justify an expensive Armani wardobe.

Thinking: I am thinking about doing another Master’s Degree.  DPU offers a self-designed interdisciplinary Masters.  You’re limited to no more than 6 courses in each of the different colleges.  The more I learn about digial humanities, the more I am intrigued by it, its methods, and its tools.  As an employee, I can take up to 8 credit hours per quarter, for free.

Taking Stock: January 2020

Making: I bought some cotton from Joann’s back in December. It was the first trip I had made to Joann’s since Mom died, and I found cotton for the English Football clubs we support in our house.  That is amazing, right?

Cooking: I made a french silk pie for NYE and it was amazing.  I don’t think I remember this, but, french silk pie has raw eggs in it.  Isn’t that nuts?  It was so good.  Also, I decided at Thanksgiving, that I am no longer going to be bullied by recipes calling for garbage pie crust.  Honestly, everyone hates traditional pie crust; no one is brought to the pie plate with traditional pie crust.  It is NO ONE’s favorite part of the pie.  So, I am resolving to make pie crusts that either go with the pie or pie crusts that I like; which is to say, graham cracker pie crusts.  I am all in on this for the rest of my life.  Fight me.

(Turns out that this isn’t all that of an innovative idea, Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) makes hers with a graham cracker crust.  Which means that I am not, in fact, special.)

Sipping: Smoothies.  Like everyone else back on their bullshit in January, I am trying to increase my fruit and veggie intake.  I bought some special smoothie cups for Nico and me, but it turns out he doesn’t like smoothies that don’t taste like milkshakes.  I *kinda* feel bad about blending them up at 630 in the morning, because my blender is hella loud and it takes a long time to get the job done.  But when I let it blend to completion, they aren’t bad.  Also, it lets me be super judgey… like, yeah, ya girl getting her spinach in, before you even woke up.

Reading: Not as many books in 2020. I went hard in the paint with books last year. At the expense of my Pocket App reading. Basically with Pocket, you can save articles on the internet to an app for reading later. Despite having thousands of articles saved, I haven’t done a very good job clearing them. So I need to take it down a notch with the books and kick it up on the articles I’m reading.

Looking: at all the single use plastics I use in my life. I mean, it won’t have THAT much of an impact in the grand scheme of things. The internet is full of think pieces about how we aren’t going to reuse, repurpose, and recycle our way out of our plastic problem. But I’m starting to feel that guilt that comes from purchases that come in plastic. Thinking about what it would take to change the WAY we buy stuff, reminds me how absolutely hopeless this feels. Things like contact solution. Sold in plastic bottles that are NOT refillable. Can you even imagine the kind of consumer model that would make it possible to have refillable contact solution solutions? Like you go to your no packaging store and get contact solution on tap, that you dispense straight into a reusable squeeze bottle? That would be cool. One thing I did find that might be a game changer for travel are these little squeeze bottles from REI:


Maybe that would at least eliminate the small travel bottles of contact solution I buy when I travel and don’t check a bag.  That is probably going to solve the plastic problem, yes?

Listening: To Post Malone lately.  I’d once heard that he makes music for people who are stressed, tired, hungover, and burned out.  And honestly, I get it.

Wishing: I hadn’t screwed up the Etsy order for a custom cover for my Hobonichi planner. It was from a seller in China and I accidentally included the wrong zip code. Technically, the cover has been in Chicago for two weeks and I’m just hopelessly tracking it around the Chicagoland area’s different mail facilities. To be clear- I think it’s fair to assume that the city and the address are right. I mean, would it not make sense to try my address in Chicago? Getting real sick of your shit, USPS.

I do hope I get it… it’s a cloth cover of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and it has a PVC cover.

Watching: I finished the Anne of Green Gables reboot on Netflix. I was a little skeptical at first- this Anne was a spazz. But I got over that. I kind of thought of it as Anne of Green Gables in an alternate timeline- one where Anne and Gilbert look like kids, Matthew doesn’t die, and there are people of color in Canada.

Hoping: We’re hoping David Ross at the Cubs has a good season.  While I am a huge David Ross fan, I am a little suspicious of the idea of making him manager.  I mean, he has certainly played in enough clubs, with enough managers to have seen some really good management and some really bad management. I think when Joe Maddon was the coach of the Cubs, he benefitted immensely from David Ross; Joe could be the feel good, hippy guy, but David Ross could crack the whip. Rossey could have really high expectations for the guys and want them to do things the right way, so Joe could be chill.   I just really hope that this doesn’t end up being a gimmick- mostly because David Ross is absolutely beloved by Chicago. I mean, he hit a 410 foot bomb to dead center in Game 7 of the World Series… and he is generally a nice guy.  But, I AM spoiled; I want the Cubs in the series this year and every year.

Wearing: Before Thanksgiving, I bought a new pair of warm-up pants.  My go-to pants for coaching and playing outdoor games has been a pair of black Under Armour sweats.  They did, at one point, have elastic in the ankle cuffs, but I cut that out.  They were so comfortable, but had the effect of making me look schlumpy.  If that is even possible (spoiler: it isn’t hard).  I bought a pair of tapered warm-up pants  from Target that are my jam.  I am basically living in these…its great, TBH.

Noticing: my face a lot lately. I can’t describe it- maybe it’s my age (40). Or just how I feel about my life. But I feel like my face makes me look older than I am. Maybe this is just my reality now: dry, pasty skin, dark circles, constantly broken out. In all honesty, all the ads I see on social for Curology, Thrive Cosmetics, etc. are very apropos.

Sorting: One of my goals this year is to go through my craft closet.  Seriously. I need to.  Think Monica’s closet:

TBH, I feel really good about the fact that when we lived in North Park, I had a 10 by 20 foot space that we called “The Girl Cave”, and I have managed to fit all this stuff into essentially a coat closet. But its such a nightmare to get stuff in and out of it, that I don’t. So, I don’t do a lot of crafting anymore, even when I have the time to do it.

Saving: his past holiday season was, in a word, annoying. A combination of stress and work resulted in there being nothing left at the end of the year. I need to do a little better not running out of steam in November. It would be useful to think about Christmas earlier in the year and not be surprised by it, so I have the money, time, energy to do Christmas the way I want to. Also, for all intents and purposes, I should not be leaning into the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That should be wind it down time, not kick this year in the face time.

Coveting: A house.  So badly.  Words cannot describe how ready I am to NOT be renting anymore.  I need more space… I realized this week that when you live in a small space, you absolutely must spend time and energy putting stuff away because if you don’t your space just gets messy and the messiness of a space can be draining.

Feeling: I feel really squirrely on Sunday nights.  This is likely due to the combination of adderall and pre-workout, combined with the adrenaline from playing in games late(ish).  But lately, it seems that I can’t shut it down.  So I come home from my games and am basically up all night.  At some point, I ought to just make hay out of that… and decide that is when I am going to work on papers, read articles, etc.

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.


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.