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.

Taking Stock-Volume 1

Both Pip and Maggie are taking stock this month.  I thought I would get in on the action.

Taking Stock Volume 1

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Making : I made bread for the first time in the bread maker this month.  I used an old bread mix, which had old yeast.  Because I had some new yeast, I just subbed that in for the old.  Of course, Genius McDumbass here didn’t bother to check if it was the right amount.  Guess what happened to my dough?  Overproofed itself out of the bread bin and burned on the bottom of the maker.

Also, it would be great if we could get a GBBO episode that had a challenge using bread makers.

Drinking : Strawberry Limeade from Sonic.  One of my favorite drinks.  Of all time.

Reading : OffShore by Penelope Fitzgerald.  It is slow.  It is a short book, but damn, it is slow.  I am hoping that all the Booker prize books are not this slow.  I hope that I didn’t make a bad decision to read them all.

Trawling : Next month we are going to drive to Texas for my family’s winter holiday trip.  I have been trying surprise Dave by having a couple of good books to listen to in the car. We might even have enough time for two.  After listening to NPR segments on it last year, we seemed to agree that The Emperor of All Maladies  might be a good place to start.  But then, I see that Audible has The Boys in the Boat and The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945both of which look like his speed.

Wanting : This planner/workbook: Your Best Year 2017: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner by Lisa Jacobs.  Normally, the imposed structure of a workbook grates me the wrong way- like, don’t tell me how much space I need to write my goals and dreams!!  But then I started thinking about getting the digital file and basically just using it as prompts to write into a fancy notebook, which would allow me to practice hand lettering and penmanship.  Also, this would give me permission to buy a new fancy notebook.

Looking : At dress patterns.  I think I have decided to make a dress or two during winter break.  See, I appreciate and understand the usefulness of dresses (only one piece of clothing to concern oneself with for work), but my body is just too weird.  My arms are too long, by boobs are too big, my tummy isn’t all that flat, which wouldn’t be a problem, except I got that powerlifter booty (#teamsquatsfordays!).  So all clothing is hard to fit.  I had a really nice dark navy LL Bean shirtdress that I loved, but it faded under the arms (I guess from my super powerful and potent sweat?)  I am just nervous that I am going to spend a lot of time making a dress that I am going to hate because I am just a baby ninja sewer.

Deciding : A couple of weeks ago, the temperature gauge in my car spiked and the engine started steaming.  I thought I might need some new coolant, but didn’t fix the problem.  I know it sounds ridiculous to be thinking about junking an 11 year old vehicle.  But it is a beat to shit Kia.  It has been really good to me.  I have had,virtually no problems with it.  At 150K+ miles, it still has its original transmission.  Can you even believe that?  It is just that it feels unnecessary for Dave and me to both have cars, when we live across the street from a CTA station serviced by a train that drops me off next to my work.  So I have to decide what to do with my car.  Let it go to the junk yard in the sky or try to keep it going?

Waiting :  I am waiting (so patiently) for the notebook that I ordered from Cognitive Surplus to get here.  My current planner, an XL hardcover with gridded pages from Moleskine is almost full- which is a massive accomplishment.  Normally, I stick with a planner and a system for 4-5 months, tops, before flipping the script and going with a new planner/system.  In any case, we are headed to Miami to see my in-laws later this month, and I wanted to have my new planner to work on, because it is apparently frowned upon to sleep for 14 hours a night when you are not a toddler.

I am so nervous about this new notebook.  The pages are blank, which makes me skittish.  I have a hard time writing in a straight line.  But I am hoping that the freedom of not having lines will be enough for me to not worry about lines.

Liking : Since my trip to Paris in September, I have been slightly obsessed with Chocolate Croissants.  I have had several from Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Le Pain Quotidien.  The ones from Starbucks are the worst of the bunch, which is surprising, because generally, I like most of their food.  I wish I knew more about baking so I could put my finger on what it is that is different.  Maybe theirs are not made with real butter?

Wondering : If I can watch previous seasons of GBBO on the PBS Passport thing they have going on now.  Dave and I tried to watch an episode of Finding Your Routes a couple of weeks ago, but needed access to the Passport in order to do so.  I signed us up, but haven’t had a chance to see if back episodes of GBBO are on it.

Pondering : Watching the Great Gatsby.  I just finished listening to the audiobook (narrated by Jake Gyllenhal).  It was okay.  I can kinda see how the literary tools in the story made it stand apart from much of what had come before.  There was some elegance to the story- how a lie caused the death of a person who had built his life on a set of lies and misconceptions.  And the ironic sadness in amassing a fortune for one’s self, but dying alone, without the one thing that you wanted.  Like, yeah, I get it.  I just am not sure I would put it up there with the greatest books/stories I’ve ever experienced.

Regardless, the version that is on Netflix has Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.  Or I go to Amazon and watch the Leo DiCaprio one.  I don’t see me watching this movie twice, so I am going to have to pick one.  I am not saying that I think DiCaprio is a bad actor, but I feel about him like I feel about The Great Gatsby.  Like, it works, sometimes.  But he’s not my favorite.  But compared to a young Robert Redford?

Listening : I took off a couple of days in the middle of this week.  I wanted to use the days to recharge and refuel.  I know it’s awful to say this because, its not like I work in a factory on a line or in a mine or something.  I go to my office and sit on my ass for 7+ hours a day.  So it’s not hard work-but this is the second quarter since January that I have taught two classes on top of my usual work obligations, so I have been feeling run down.

Anyhoo, being “off” at home has meant that I am doing work stuff, but I am doing it in my pjs and listening to music I own on my laptop (rather than pandora at work).  Right now, I am listening to old Counting Crows (August and Everything After).

Considering : Voting early.  Basically if I am going to vote early, it has to happen today.  Tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday isn’t going to work as well.  But it would mean I might not get a nap today.

Buying : All the Christmas presents!!  I think I pretty much narrowed down for gifts for my nieces and nephews.  It’s tough, because with four kids, they have, at some point, had ALL THE TOYS.   It’s ridic.  I have settled on gifts for three of the 4. But damn, I don’t have the mental bandwidth.  Could I just do Cubs shirts?  Doesn’t EVERYONE want a Cubs shirt?

Marvelling : Grace Bonney of Design Sponge recently published a lovely looking new book called “In the Company of Women“.  All reports point to be it being beautiful.

Needing : This lovely cake slicer.  I need it.  So much.  I have always wanted to make a layer cake.  I have never done it because I felt like it wouldn’t be very stable.  I like my odds with this guy.

Questioning : Why people are theorizing and questioning everything about Westworld.   Dudes, I am part of the GOT and TWD fandom.  I ugly-cried when Opie died in Sons of Anarchy.  I know only one thing when it comes to dramatic television: DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO ANYONE.  It will end in heartbreak.

Wearing : Wearing sweatpants.  It’s sweatpants weather and I am so glad its back.  Don’t judge me.

Noticing : Fall is happening.  The leaves are turning and falling.  It is my favorite time of the year.  My absolute favorite.img_9790

Admiring : Nate Silver.  I don’t know how he does what he does.  I kinda feel like the man deserves a vacation.

Bookmarking : StumbleUpon.  I am learning more about it.  Decided that until I can start blogging more the way I want to (when I have more time over Christmas and in the Spring), that I can at least figure out how promotion and influencing works on StumbleUpon.  This works out well for someone like me, how has a hard time staying focused on the task at hand.  I definitely needed another distraction in my life.  🙂

Disliking : Trump.  Always Trump.  Gotta say it now.  If he wins, I will get tossed in an internment camp for my hippie, liberal, socialist, pinko ways.

Feeling : Excited about going to Miami later this month for Thanksgiving.  I am hoping (desperately) to see a good friend from grad school who lives down there.  Aside from that, looking forward to slowing down a bit and doing some reading.

Helping : My son’s AYSO soccer season just wrapped up the fall session.  I volunteered by refereeing.  I hate it.  I absolutely hate refereeing.  There is so much to hate about it.  But it is one of those things that needs to be done.  Was thinking about whether or not I want to do it next year.  The organization always needs coaches and referees.  I am wondering, given my experience as a coach, if it would be better to coach.  Like, how much fun would it be to coach a bunch of little girls?

Hearing : Fireworks last night after the Cubs won.  Dave and I were super irresponsible and woke our seven year old up when they won.  The fireworks being set off across the street from our place definitely did not help us go to sleep.  

Celebrating : The Cubs won last night.  I cannot even. It is rare that things in real life work out the way they would if it was a movie.  Last night was an exception.  That was a movie ending for the Cubs, for David Ross.  It was just lovely.

Embracing : An awful haircut I got.  I probably shouldn’t be too pissed about it, because my original plan in being there was for her to fix my color (I may or may not have used a different dye that made me look more like Ryan Lochte than I would have preferred).  She did a brilliant job on my color.  But the cut has layers on top, instead of under.  The result is that my haircut is dangerously reminiscent of Michelle Akers’ from the early 90s.  Which would be okay if I were as badass as she was.  But I am not.