Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tweets about Books

Oh, hello.

Long time no post.

Lately, when people ask me what's been going on in my world, the only response I can come up with is, "Work." In a lot of ways psychotherapy is perfect for me because I'm so curious about people, but it can be pretty stressful and overwhelming too. At times, it feels like my job is a blanket covering all areas of my life (I wonder, do others feel this way about their work?). I sometimes think I'm getting better at balance but "Work." is most definitely the most readily available answer to the "What's going on?" question. I am physically at my job a lot of the time, and when I'm not, I am mentally there. Luckily, the truest truth is that other things have been going on. I've decided to split my Summer update into parts to avoid a mammoth entry. I want you all to keep reading and I recognize that writing a 17,000-word update is not necessarily conducive to that goal. Also, I would like to eat dinner at some point.

For today, here's an update on the books I've been reading (mostly with my Book Club friends). Our Book Club has been so bizarre and joyful for me. Typically we pull book names out of a hat to decide the next month's pick and we've definitely had great variety, although there was a period of time that was accidentally devoted to stories about clones (thanks a lot, Harper). I think the only book we've straight-up vetoed is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (also Harper's pick, lol) and, based on some of the weirdo things we've read since, it's hard to believe we drew that line.

NOTE: I try to get my Twitter followers to read things with me too. Sometimes they do, but mostly they don't. Below are my Tweet-sized book reviews and attempts to engage with Internet friends around literature. I didn't include any replies because I pretty much don't get any. Oh well! 

APRIL: The House of the Scorpion was my least favorite of our clone-themed selections. I don't have much to say about it. After our discussion I gave my copy to my friend Erica's 10 year old son. I actually think Rivven's analysis could make me like this book better.


MAY: I really liked The Sellout (I don't know why I didn't take a photo; it has neat cover art). After our discussion, I loaned it to my coworker Chris. I'm preeeettty sure he'll think it's smart like I do, but I'm also a little nervous because it is absolutely outrageous. As in, I was kind of nervous about leaving it in his mailbox at our place of employment. It should also be noted that Chris never asked to borrow this book. (Hi Chris!) 



JUNE: I really liked our discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It focused on two central issues-- informed consent and compensation-- and it made me think a lot about my experience doing human subjects research at Cincinnati Children's a few years ago (but only in a basic thematic sense...not in a major ethics violation kind of way).  

Special shoutout to my mom who is an occasional long-distance member of our Book Club; she read the HeLa book with us. On too many occasions during childhood, Stephen and I would team up against the parents and exclaim in our whiniest of voices: "I'm boreeeeeeeedddddd," and my mom would always respond in the same way. She'd say (and I can hear it in my head right now): "You can never be bored if you're reading a book." While I don't fully agree (because some books are terrible), I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. Thanks for loving reading, Jules. 

 


JULY: I felt kind of meh about The Girl on the Train. Basically, I liked this story better as Gone Girl. Even so, I am excited about the possibility of a Book Club field trip to see the movie this Fall. A movie adaptation makes a lot of sense to me. 


AUGUST: I really liked Roadside Picnic, our vintage, Russian sci-fi selection. Basically, I will go down an existential rabbit hole any day of the week. I also liked the fact that OG BC member Kevin brought Russian food to our discussion. I hope everyone feels tons of pressure to provide themed snacks from now on. Our September Book Club pick is The Revolt of the Cockroach People by Oscar Zeta Acosta (which Eli is reading next to me right this very minute), so if you guys have any cockroach recipes please forward to my gmail. (Also, I must acknowledge Eli's contribution to this post-- he taught me how to screen shot about an hour ago. Whenever I learn a basic computer trick I feel like the most savvy of tech geniuses.)



At some point I also read Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (per Sittenfeld, it's "Austen fan-fiction"-- a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice). It's set in Cincinnati and I both enjoyed and was distracted by the many Nati references. Have any of my friends who are not familiar with Cincinnati read this book? I wonder if the descriptions translated for folks with #NoNatiKnowledge. 


So, what are you guys reading? Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Any book suggestions for me?

...


Someday soon I want to tell you about a few Summer adventures including a Canadian fishing trip (spoiler alert: I caught zero fish). 

I really hope it doesn't take me three months to write to you again. 

Cheers. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

LA > NYC: what I remember about our vacation in April

Hi friends,

Our vacation at the beginning of April was a total adventure. We started in Los Angeles and finished in New York.

Highlights include:


The iHeartRadio Music Awards. There were hours of excellent celebrity ogling. I was very close to Justin Bieber which excited me more than it really should. 



In & Out. My first time, animal style. Needless to say, I'm forever changed. Funny story about the below picture: I captioned it "Baby's first In & Out" and more than one person (including my mother via her new, blue smart phone) was like WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!?! Relax, Internet. No one is pregnant here. (Except my friend Kendal OMG YAY!)


Palm Springs. After our weekend in LA, we rented a car and drove to the desert where we lounged hard, ate and drank, and took one hot-as-hell hike (you know, for balance). Someone had the nerve to tell me, "It's not even full sun yet," and then I drop kicked him and promptly passed out from heat stroke.  

The below photos: 1) Eli, zen AF post mineral soak and massage. 2) Aforementioned gorgeous (and very hot) hike. 3) Self-guided tour of a Mid Century Modern neighborhood. By self-guided, I mean we creepily took photos of strangers' houses and brainstormed ways to get (at minimum) $1.6 million to buy one. 




HAMILTON. This was E's Christmas gift to me (I basically begged him to try to make it happen because I am shameless). It was the most engaging and creative art experience; we both laughed and we both wept. My dad was like, "Was it really THAT good?" YES. Yes it was. Bonus: the night we saw the show, there were many celebrities in attendance (like E, hehe). I bet Fred Savage, Craig Robinson, and Jon Favreau each expected to be the most famous person in attendance (MFPIA) but then Bernie Sanders was there and people lost their minds. It was pretty magical all around. 



I love New York so much, even though it was cold and rainy this visit. We walked the entire High Line, visited with our friend Mike, and again, ate and drank a bunch of yummy stuff. I'm a pro solo traveler at this point, but I loved traveling with E. This is something we don't get to do all that much anymore, and it was really fun. Here's a shot of E with a de Kooning at MoMA. 


We got home late on a Sunday night and I went to work first thing Monday morning. Note to self: next time, build in at least one day for decompression. 

E has been home more lately, and it's been fun to come home to him and to eat meals at home and have happy hour dance parties in our kitchen. 

Other news: 

The chiropractor cleared me. Actually, he said, "You're no fun anymore," and then told me it would be my last adjustment. I'll be really glad to have all of the insurance crap behind me.

Also, per usual, I've been keeping busy with some freelance writing...mainly events and a couple of wedding write-ups like this one.

Things are generally pretty good. 

I hope things are well in your world, dear reader. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A quick update, Ides of March edition

I've been working a lot lately and haven't felt like doing much else, so I've been staying home reading mindless, silly romance novels with plots that feature pirates, lords and ladies, and most recently, a mongoose. It's been a restful time, but I'm trying to get out more. Part of it is that I hate driving now, and I hate that I hate driving. If everyone could tell their neighbors to maintain a safe distance from the cars around them and to stop being assholes in a hurry, I'd appreciate that. As part of my re-emergence, I've been treating myself to meals and drinks with friends the past couple of weeks which has been lovely. Also, I took a quick trip to DC over the weekend to meet up with friends and shop for bridesmaids dresses for Mon & Matt's wedding in September (which will be super fun).

Book club is tonight. I finished March's pick (All The Light We Cannot See) last night, just in time. In a way, I am sad to be finished because I have been working on this read for so long; E's parents gave it to me for Christmas in 2014...they were way ahead on this one. When I look at my copy, I remember all of the places I have read (and re-read) chapters...Fort Myers Beach, so many planes, inside the tour bus. The story came together beautifully as I knew it would; I was emotional at the end, hating war and loving people, their determination and their dreams. Even the acknowledgements are beautiful. Who knows what we'll choose for April. I think the only suggestion left in the hat is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...so, stay tuned.

Things I am looking forward to:
More of this nice weather we're having.
Our coast-to-coast adventure next month and a WHOLE WEEK off work (...truly all I can see at this point).

That's about it. Get out and vote today, Ohio...and then brace yourself for all the 'Ides of March' political essays that will flood your Internet once the primary results start rolling in. #beware



Thursday, February 18, 2016

February (so far)

First, thanks for being so kind about my last post. It seems like things are pretty much figured out insurance-wise and I'm continuing to see a chiropractor. I think I'm going to get a new car this weekend. Without a doubt, the beginning of February has been much better than the end of January.

Eli came home for a week at the beginning of the month and we celebrated his flirty 30th birthday by throwing a house party. We used to have parties just about every weekend but not much lately, so I was kind of nervous about hosting and I wanted it to be really special. Eli's brother Jesse flew in (in part) for the party, and I was reminded of the summer Jess earned his first graduate degree (at bartending school in our neighborhood) and we saw him all the time. He'd come to our parties, crash on the couch (in the times before Uber), and then we'd have brunch the next morning. I don't know how many times we ACTUALLY did this, but it seems like a lot in my memory, and I was really glad to carry on the tradition for E's 30th. Of course the party was super fun because our friends are so totally awesome. Looking back, I always feel I could've skipped the Nervous Nelly bit.



While E was home, we celebrated Valentine's Day (observed) with dinner at Primavista. We'd both never been there before which is rare; I often feel like Eli's been everywhere and done everything already, so it was nice to share this new experience. I like talking with Eli about a wide range of fascinating topics (like therapeutic modalities, Twitter beefs, and hydration-focused skincare products, just for example) ESPECIALLY over yummy food, so our V-Day date was pretty bomb. Bonus: between the surprise bouquet from my Valentine and the flowers I bought for his party, our house has smelled amazing all month, which has been lovely and important for mood regulation.




For those of you who may be interested (hi Jenn!), we discussed Boy, Snow, Bird in book club this month. I absolutely loved the writing, and Oyeyemi tackled a lot of big and interesting themes. Please let me know if any of you read this one...I'd love to discuss further. Next up: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I have read the first 100 pages of ATLWCS twice because the format (super short chapters) has always felt like a barrier to investment for me, although it's so very beautiful. Third time's a charm.

We're planning an adventure for April, and I'm really looking forward to getting away for a bit...my job has been stressful as of late, although I continue to love working with my clients. Also, I've decided to try my hand at OCCASIONALLY cooking simple dishes, because I'm 28 and maybe I should have a few recipes under my belt? I made up an easy recipe for lemon chicken thighs last night and it didn't suck, so for the moment I am encouraged.




Finally, on the freelance front, I interviewed my pal Jane Decker for Cincinnati Magazine's February Style Counsel. ICYMI, you can read the piece here.

I hope this silly update finds you happy and healthy, friends. Thanks, as always, for reading.