February 25, 2016
The look of surprise when I mentioned my age to a couple co-workers. Lineup announcements for the Newport Folk Festival. Discovering new artists. College basketball games. Playing "robot rummy" with the boys. (It's like regular rummy, but with robot cards!) Downton Abbey - Only one episode left!:-( On-sale avocados. Five-minute meditation. Emails from friends. Reports from Spring Training.
February 24, 2016
Kevin got me a standing mixer for Christmas. I've always wanted one, and I can't wait to try it out for something more complex than chocolate chip cookies (although it's also a dream for chocolate chip cookies!). I went back and forth on what color to get - I'm so indecisive sometimes, it's scary. Part of me wanted to get white or silver, to keep it simple and classic. The other part felt that there's a reason they come in such fun colors, and why not mix it up? So I went for it, choosing this happy light blue. It's another burst of color in my kitchen, and it makes me happy.
I've been feeling very nostalgic lately. This is not altogether unusual, but it's increased recently due to the return of the X-Files, my favorite TV show from the 90s, and the announcements of reunion tours and new music by both Belly and Letters to Cleo, two of my favorite bands from the 90s. I think I will probably have to come to terms with the fact that I will continue to see anniversary announcements that take me back - Throwing Muses' "The Real Ramona" just turned 25, the Challenger exploded 30 years ago...
The boys were on vacation last week. Typically, we'd take the week to head north to go skiing, but we weren't able to take the time this year due to our many other upcoming vacation plans. So we stayed home. Kevin and I worked, and the boys stayed home with a sitter. They enjoyed a break from their usual routines, but I admit it was a little strange to have them home while we left for work. It feels good to get back to the usual school routine this week.
Less than two months to our first actual vacation of the year, and I can't wait! I have our Disneyworld itinerary, including all reservations, all set and ready to go. If it rains...well, we'll just put on our ponchos and go! (But fingers crossed for decent weather, because I need some sunshine!)
We had family visit us last weekend, which is always good and nice to connect, especially those that you don't get to see very often. Life is good. We're working hard, learning, reading, singing, playing... The weather has been dark and cold and wet - mostly a miserable winter this year, and it can be difficult not to get dragged down by it. Things that are helping me lately include good books, card games, college basketball, and family visits. Reminders that it's really all about the little things.
February 12, 2016
For the longest time, I said I liked all kinds of music - except country. Then I listened to Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris and Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson and Nikki Lane and Shovels & Rope and Caitlin Rose and.... I realized that I loved country music. I just don't love the stuff they play on the radio.
I recently checked out Chris Stapleton, who is as country as you can get. And I dig him. I couldn't even decide which song to include here, so I added two - one with a full band, and one acoustic with just him and his wife. Both awesome.
February 11, 2016
I said to myself - over and over again - that when I went back to work, I was not going to fall into the same crazy and over-stressed routine that I had been in before. For the most part, I've been successful. I'm busy, but I've generally felt okay about the balance. Lately I've been taking on more at work, because there's that part of me that wants to achieve and be recognized, and also because the tasks I've been taking on are interesting and important to me. Most importantly, I felt like I had the capacity to do these things.
I was recently asked to take on something else, and I hesitated. It is so difficult to say no, but I felt like I had reached my limit. If I took this on, something else would be sacrificed. It was uncomfortable, but I ultimately said no. I immediately felt guilty about it, and I've felt guilty ever since; but I continue to remind myself that I can't do it all. At least not at the same time. Perhaps the next time this opportunity comes up, I'll be able to step up, but not now.
It can be hard to accept this type of self-imposed limitation, especially in my business. A business full of young, ambitious people. But I think I am (mostly) at peace with it. I have other priorities in my life. I will work hard, but I will also ensure that there is room for everything else. There is so much more to life than work.
February 10, 2016
We finally got a couple great days of skiing in! So far, winter has been pretty mean to the ski resort owners in New England. January was so warm that there hasn't been an opportunity for us to get back out on the slopes. We were invited to spend a weekend with friends who are renting a place in New Hampshire, and we took them up on the offer last weekend.
There was still very little snow in the forecast, but we decided to take the chance anyway. We were pleasantly surprised at the conditions. Most of the trails were open, and the nice weather made it really fun. As an added bonus, nobody was there! There were no lines for the lifts or for food in the lodges. It was great!
Our friends have two boys, similar ages to ours, and we all skied together. This was our first trip where the adults were having a hard time keeping up with the kids!
I hope we're able to get some more skiing in this winter - it makes the whole season so much more enjoyable. I also love the fact that my legs feel tight and strong as a result of the shoop-shoop. Happy February!
February 3, 2016
Don't Suck, Don't Die, by Kristin Hersh.
Kristin Hersh is one of my all-time favorites. I loved Rat Girl, and I will be willing and excited to read anything she writes. I knew Vic Chesnutt's music a little, but I confess that I didn't know that much about him. I knew he was a songwriter, and I knew he was paralyzed. I did not know that he only had limited use of his hands. After reading this book, I almost feel like I knew him personally. Kristin writes with such raw accessibility and honesty - she doesn't hold anything back. The good and the bad are all here. We get to know this beautiful and broken man through his music and through his relationship with one of his best friends. Highly recommend, especially if you have any interest in his music.
Thirteen Ways of Looking, by Colum McCann. This book is a collection of short stories. The writing is very good, and I liked some of the stories better than others. Overall, though, it's quite sad. I love Colum McCann's writing, and I enjoyed other books of his, but I'm not sure I'd recommend this one.
The Nightingale, by Kristen Hannah. I loved this book. It drew me in instantly, and the writing is beautiful - I had a clear picture in my mind of every character, every scene, every conversation... I didn't want to put it down, and I found myself going to bed early in order to read. It's set in World War 2, which means it's tragic and difficult to read at times; but overall, it's a beautiful story, and it's one that will continue to stick with me.
Kristin Hersh and Vic Chesnutt
February 2, 2016
Love Bill Nye.
A few interesting reads for this week...
This fake movie trailer is hilariously perfect.
I very much enjoyed this interview with Lucy Kalanithi in the NY Times. "When Breath Becomes Air" is next up on my to-read stack.
UN Urges Global Move to Meat and Dairy-Free Diet. Interesting to think of the global view. I already eat very little meat, but it would be extremely difficult for me to do without cheese.
Speaking of vegetables, I want to make this stew.
America Dumbs Down. This article makes me sad.
White Privilege is Not Something to Feel Guilty About. Here's What It Does Mean. Important information to know and understand.
How Rich Parents Can Exacerbate School Inequality. Our town falls somewhere in the middle of the extremes discussed here, but it's something that has been on my mind for a long time. I wish there was an easier way for us to support schools in lower-income areas.
An interesting perspective. Makes you think about the things you really want and what you're willing to do to get them.
Newport has started their lineup announcements! Every week or so between now and July, I get to receive a little jolt of excitement from the good people of the Newport Folk Festival. Lucky me!