Time just keeps slipping away from me, but better late than never! Linking up with Leigh Kramer for a belated October round-up.
Oh, October, what a roller coaster you were! October is usually one of my favorite months of the year, but this particular October has been a strange one. At the beginning of this month my town was hit with a flood of epic proportions and while we were relatively unaffected, everything in our lives turned topsy-turvy for a while. All of our normal activities were cancelled and we were holed up in our condo for about a week waiting for the water to recede and the roads to be safe again.
On top of all of the flooding craziness we signed a lease on a new place and are moved into it last Sunday. Yet again, my whole life is piled up in boxes all around me and this time I lack the excitement over being back in America that got me through the last move. I am hopeful (oh so hopeful) that this new place will be semi-permanent for the rest of our three years in Columbia, but I’m learning not to hold onto anything too tightly.
What I’ve Been Reading:
I finally finished State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, a book that had been on my “to-read” list for years. It’s a beautiful book, though I understand criticisms of it trying to do too much. There’s a lot going on there. Dr. Marina travels to the Amazon to investigate the death of a colleague who passed away under mysterious circumstances while researching an indigenous tribe whose women have the unique ability to continue reproducing up until they die.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematorium by Caitlin Doughty. This book of essays about Doughty’s experience as a young woman working in a crematorium was fascinating. In spite of some frank descriptions, she manages to avoid sensationalism and instead brings up questions about the way we as a society treat death and whether there might be a better way. It’s an interesting read, though if you are sensitive to blunt medical-type descriptions it may not be for you.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I believe Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal. I think she is smart, fun, and funny and I would love to be her friend. Therefore, I loved this book which I read with her voice in my head.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I had to read this because so many people were losing their minds over it. I have to say, I was not impressed. I did pick up a few helpful tips, but overall I found the book to be incredibly repetitive and also pretty weird. While I like to personify my possessions and talk to inanimate objects as much as the next girl, Kondo takes it to another level. She suggests thanking your belongings before getting rid of them and goes so far as to give this advice about storing your out-of-season clothes, “Let them know you care and look forward to wearing them when they are next in season. This kind of ‘communication’ helps your clothes stay vibrant and keeps your relationship with them alive longer.” Too much, Marie. A little too much.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. I like listening to books of personal essays as audiobooks because they are usually read by the author so you get a better sense of their tone and personality. I think Sedaris can be very funny, though he is also sometimes pretty strange. I liked some of the later essays, the ones that talked about his life in France and struggle to learn French (hence the title), the most.
Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome by Reba Riley. I had such mixed feelings about this. I wish the author had gone into more detail about what her negative church experience. She talks about being raised in the church and her parents’ divorce when she was 19 devastating her, but I didn’t totally understand her own faith crisis. Since I wasn’t sure what had happened or why she felt so negatively towards church and Christianity it was hard for me to interpret her explorations. She also seems to end up with the belief that all religions and beliefs are equal paths to God, which I’m not sure I’m on board with. At the same time, I appreciated her open-hearted exploration of different religions and religious traditions and willingness to learn from each of them.
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. I also audiobooked this one. Although I love Amy Poehler, I didn’t like this one as much as I’ve loved other similar books. There were parts of it I really liked, but there were also parts I found boring, unnecessarily vulgar, or just not very entertaining. Sorry, Amy. I still really like you, but this one was only a 3 out of 5 for me.
I have read 53 books so far this year which puts me ahead of pace for my goal of 60.
What I’ve Been Watching:
We went to see The Martian and Steve Jobs in theaters this month. I loved The Martian though it continues to confirm all of my fears about space. (You could not pay me enough to go to space. So stop asking). I thought Steve Jobs was an interesting and well-made movie, but it made me hate actual Steve Jobs the person which was unfortunate. To be honest, it felt like a bit of a one-dimensional portrayal of him. But I’ve never met him so who knows, maybe that’s accurate.
On TV (well, Netflix) we discovered and watched the first season of How to Get Away With Murder which I like a lot in spite of what feels to me like an exceptional amount of weird sexual relationships. We’ve only watched the first two episodes of the current season though so no spoilers, please! We’re also watching the current seasons of Brooklyn Nine Nine and Fresh Off the Boat, both of which I’m enjoying, and trying to find places to stream The Mindy Project since we don’t have HuluPlus (I know, I know, first world problems).
What I’ve Been Eating:
Way too much. Like, it’s a problem. Officially going on a diet for the next couple of weeks to detox myself before the holidays. One thing that has been absolutely lovely has been women from my Bible study bringing meals for us while we’ve been working on moving in. That has been a huge blessing and also delicious. 🙂
What I’ve Been Writing:
We made it through week 43 of my 52 Weeks of Adventure which means there are less than ten left to go. I wrote about this month’s adventures here, here, here and here. I also wrote about What’s Saving My Life Right Now which includes fall candles and IKEA cinnamon rolls. My favorite piece this month was the guest post I wrote for Lindsay Smallwood at Songbird and a Nerd about my experience singing karaoke with my Korean coworkers.
I also wrote several articles for Modernize, a website with all kinds of information on renovations, decor, and other great info for homeowners. If you have a minute to click over to my articles, I’d really appreciate the support! They want me to share everything on my social media when it gets published, but it’s not the kind of thing I normally write and share so most of my regular readers don’t really care. 😉 My contract for Modernize runs out in two weeks and I’m not sure if they will be keeping me on or not.
Nanowrimo started this week and I still have too much unpacking to do to be able to fully commit. Any of you doing it?
What I’ve Been Up To:
It rained a lot this month, but in between there were a couple gorgeous fall days. Unfortunately we couldn’t get out as much as I would’ve liked due to roads and businesses still being closed for some time after the storm. I was able to substitute teach for six days in the past few weeks, something I enjoy and that certainly helps with the finances. I’ve also got a new student that I tutor who has recently moved here from China and realized that his English isn’t quite where it needs to be for him to perform at grade level. I work with him three days/week now.
In spite of the flooding and the moving, we did have some fun outings as well. We went to the state fair with friends and I had the chance to go to New York with my sister, basically for free since my parents generously gave us their rewards miles and hotel points. It was awesome.
And then, of course, we moved.
We’re planning to see my in-laws for Thanksgiving, which is amazingly only three weeks away! I’m hopeful I’ll be able to do some more writing here this month. I have a whole list of posts I want to write, but blogging always seems to take a back burner to everything else going on. Thanks to everyone who has stuck around through all of the transitions!
What have you been into?