Tag Archives: random thoughts

The Year That Got Away

Hi there.

So it’s been a while; I’m sorry. Last year went by in a blur of nonstop travel and work that just wouldn’t let up. Here are just a few updates on the whirlwind that was 2014.

I read 27 books, not 40 as resolved at the beginning of the year. I just edged number 27 in on New Year’s Eve because my family was kind enough to indulge me and let me read (mostly) uninterrupted for a while, and since I’d started the book in January I thought it was about time for me to finish it. I’ll try this goal again in 2015 — but 40 is a lot of books. Also not achieved? Reading a straight-up non-memoir nonfiction book. I did start one…but it is very long. Do stay tuned for my standout reads of the year: there were a few that were worth talking about, and the talking didn’t happen like it should have.

I became an auntie this summer! Because this is a public blog, I won’t be putting up any photos of my sweet and entirely adorable nephew, but rest assured he gives Prince George a run for his money with the CHEEKS and the CUTENESS.

I ran a half-marathon! I managed to injure myself early in training so I was very happy and thankful just to finish. I know some people talk about crying when they finish a full marathon, but it only took 13.1 miles for me cross the finish line (to Pink Martini’s “Hang On Little Tomato“) taking these shuddery sob-breaths (it would have taken more energy than I had left to actually cry). Then endorphins and the post-run-reward runner’s brunch happened:

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I don’t know what the year ahead holds — wouldn’t it be nice to know? — but like Anne of Green Gables, “I’m going to believe that the best does.

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Things Have Been Weird

It’s been a weird couple of months. I blame turning thirty back in July. Just, since then…it’s been weird. There were some great things and some other not so great things, and mostly I just didn’t feel one hundred percent like me one hundred percent of the time.

026Some examples: My birthday falls on the last day of a month, the same day my rent is due. In July, and for the first time ever in my life, I forgot to pay my rent. That’s the level of crazy-not-myself I’m talking about. Then, in August, I had to leave town on business and was completely incapable of getting myself organized for the trip, to the extent that I took a cab from the airport to the wrong hotel, got lost trying to find the right hotel, and ended up hailing a rescue cab somewhere toward the end of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Not quite the auspicious start to this brand-new-to-me decade that I’d hoped for.

020And then! Just this month, the power cord to my computer died a mysterious, untimely death! Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever even heard of anything like this happening before? I hadn’t! I thought those things just worked indefinitely world-without-end-amen! And I didn’t realize the power cord wasn’t working until my computer battery was failing fast and I was afraid of Losing Everything so I shut down and my computer has been sitting cold and silent for a full two weeks while I waited for a new one. Two weeks! Two is too many.

Well, we’re back in business now, ladies and gentlemen. I had so many things to say to you when my computer was dead, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m pressing restart on this whole thirty thing.

I Should Have Been A Journalist

I should have been a journalist. Because after watching this weekend’s football (and the U.S. premiere of season three of Downton Abbey), there is one interview I’d very much like to conduct.

“Who might that be? And why are you talking about football, a subject about which you know so little and so far afield from the purported purpose of your blog?” you might be thinking. And these are all good questions. While I confess to knowing only a little about the game of football, I’ve kind of learned to enjoy watching it. It’s given me something to talk about at work, where few and far between are the people who have any interest whatsoever in books and reading.

The number one person I would like to interview in the world of football? Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He comes across as being very humble, which I really appreciate in any person, and we’re roughly the same age. And then he sometimes wears what looks like a turtleneck under his jersey when he’s playing in the cold, and I think it’s kind of adorable.

So without further ado, and entirely the product of this weekend’s television consumption and of conversations with my sister (I did read a book, too – stayed up far too late finishing it in the wee small hours of Sunday morning), my three questions for Aaron Rodgers:

  • Are you familiar with the public television phenomenon Downton Abbey?
  • Has anyone ever told you that there is a striking resemblance between yourself and Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey? Because it’s almost like he could play you in the movie version of your life.
Kind courtesy E. Buchanan

Kind courtesy E. Buchanan

  • Is that really a turtleneck you wear under your jersey when it’s cold outside? Maybe more of a mock-turtleneck?

And then, because I’m not actually a journalist, and because I probably couldn’t speak to anyone famous without blushing, and because I would never presume to talk about football like I actually know about football with a professional like Aaron Rodgers, I would want to hand the interview over to a real sports journalist, like Bob Costas, before I could really embarrass myself. If I hadn’t already.

November, or Where I’ve Been

November. It has not been a good month for blogging.

I wish I could tell you that instead of blogging, I was embracing NaNoWriMo, and started writing a novel at last, but this would be untrue.

What’s true is that November kind of gets me down. The beginning of November marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, and as ready as I felt myself to be for the “brighter” mornings, the early darkness of the evenings has sapped my energy far more than I ever expect it to or remember it will. Between that, a whirlwind weekend trip to visit my newly-married friend in her new far-Canadian home, looking for and applying to library jobs, and the Thanksgiving holiday, I fear I have sadly neglected my little blog.

Maybe one reason November is so disheartening is that it’s basically the beginning of winter, here in the Pacific Northwest, anyway. The chill of mountain snow touches the wind, and what with the limited daylight and the dropping temperatures, it seems like the only thing left in life is to break out the fleeces, burrow under blankets, read a pile of books, and eat. Which is largely what I’ve done this month.

Perhaps the biggest news around here is that due to some surgery my mother is having in December, my sister and I will be cooking Christmas dinner. Together.

My sister doesn’t hold much stock in my culinary ability. When she got married, she did a dessert bar instead of a wedding cake, and my contribution to the dessert bar was my grandmother’s famous cookies, which are on the fussier end of the cookie-baking spectrum. Discussing this beforehand, her comment to me was, “Are you sure you don’t want someone else to maybe do them for you?” (And this was before I wrote the recipe down wrong and completely botched the first batch.) Some might call her lack of faith in me justified by my failure to make cooking a priority throughout the majority of my 20s. I’m really trying to be better about cooking, but in the dark that has been November, the ease of tomato soup and cheese sandwiches often won the battle.

However, which I feel to some extent cancels the lack of imagination in my November dinners, I did use “artisan” bread* for the cheese sandwiches. I’m a big fan of artisan bread (because if you’re going to eat bread, it might as well be good bread, right)? The only drawback to artisan bread is that mostly you have to slice it yourself, and sometimes, when you’re very hungry and having a clumsy day, you find yourself accidentally slicing your fingers along with the bread. Although this is certainly not the first time I’ve cut myself with my very sharp bread knife, this is the worst so far.

(Since I cut my left thumb, which isn’t even the thumb I use to hit space bar, the cut can’t really even contribute to my failure to blog for the most of the month, sadly. Somehow the lack of blog posts would feel more legitimate with an excuse like “I cut off the top of my thumb! But not all the way!”)

Further cancelling the tomato-soup-cheese-sandwich-extravaganza-also-known-as-November, I bought two cookbooks this month, both of them by food bloggers. However much I may lose heart when I catch sight of a long list of complicated instructions, I really do enjoy reading about cooking and food. Hopes are high, in any case, that these will inspire some culinary creativity in the face of early dark and cold. Personally I think we really need to try out a Smitten Kitchen recipe for Christmas, like the apple cider caramels.

* Technically, the artisan bread was store-bought. Which may negate its cancelling effect, in the end.