The Day’s Highlights

newyorker

I want to be in a better mood. I want to have people stop asking me dumb but well meaning questions. I want to hear their dumb but well meaning questions and think of them as only well meaning questions. I want to tell my sweet husband how much I appreciated the homemade fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes he made for dinner tonight. And while I went upstairs to veg in our bedroom playing Words With Friends, I wanted to tell him how awesome he was for cleaning the kitchen, washing the dishes and taking out the trash. I want to stop craving gummy bears and Swedish Fish and be happy that we will be going refined-sugar free in the month of April. I want to believe those people that say after awhile a person will stop craving sugar.

I’ve been reading The Highlights of My Day (via). It reminded me of my tendency to take pictures on my iPod of quotes that strike me. I haven’t looked at these pictures in awhile, but I went back to “Leaving Maverley“, a short story by Alice Munro. I snapped the last part:

He looked at the nurse in wonder. She thought he was asking her what he had to do next and she began to tell him. Filling him in. He understood her fine, but was still preoccupied.

He’d thought that it had happened long before with Isabel, but it hadn’t. Not until now.

She had existed and now she did not. Not at all, as if not ever. And people hurried around, as if this could be overcome by making arrangements. He, too, obeyed the customs, signing where he was told to sign, arranging—as they said—for the remains.

What an excellent word—“remains.” Like something left to dry out in sooty layers in a cupboard.

And before long he found himself outside, pretending that he had as ordinary and good a reason as anybody else to put one foot ahead of the other.

What he carried with him, all he carried with him, was a lack, something like a lack of air, of proper behavior in his lungs, a difficulty that he supposed would go on forever.

The girl he’d been talking to, whom he’d once known—she had spoken of her children. The loss of her children. Getting used to that. A problem at suppertime.

An expert at losing, she might be called—himself a novice by comparison. And now he could not remember her name. Had lost her name, though he’d known it well. Losing, lost. A joke on him, if you wanted one.

He was going up his own steps when it came to him.

Leah.

A relief out of all proportion, to remember her.

Lovely.

Foodie

ChickenPotPie_6

I am notoriously bad at staving off the temptation for eating out, but the husband and I went through an entire credit card cycle with less than $15 in dining out charges. $10 of those dollars weren’t even mine! Shocker. Although I can’t say this will become the average for months to come, it’s encouraging to see the conscious spending paying off.

It’s helped that we’re adding new recipes to our arsenal. The husband is a wonderful cook, but I need no-hassle-tasty recipes to keep interested. Trolling Joy the Baker has helped. Cup of Jo, too. Also, A Cozy Kitchen (pic above).

This article was especially interesting: The Tyranny of the Chicken Finger. The husband always calls me out on refusing to eat something I’ve never eaten before.

Fulfilling Work

I opted for The Mindy Project and ice cream to yoga tonight. I regret nothing. Also, I forgot to secure the top to my water bottle before I put it in my purse and essentially drowned my copy of Neuromancer that I was valiantly trying to tackle yet again.

I could continue with my list of failures (I probably need to wash my hair) or I could remind myself of this video I watched over the weekend.

Trying

Today’s swissmiss quote is so poignant for me right now. Sometimes I am too resigned for my own good. This year will be full of changes and I’d rather take them on bravely than my usual way of caution and worry.

The husband and I have tried to incorporate one new recipe a week into our usual dinner rotation. Yesterday we made Joy the Baker’s Sausage and Mushroom Risotto with the little sis. It turned out really well although spicier than my wimpiness usually takes it. Last week we made Smitten Kitchen’s Chana Masala. The week before we made Creamy Caprese Pasta. The change in routine definitely staves off the temptation I have to eat out. Plus there was this great moment where the husband was sauteing onions, the lil sis was watching the chicken stock simmer and I was pretending I knew how to chop mushrooms that I thought, This is exactly where I want to be.

Matilda

I finished Matilda by Roald Dahl narrated by Kate Winslet (thanks, Mark!). Surprisingly, this was one of those classic books I never read as a kid. It’s too bad. I gravitated towards books about children, especially small girls that were weird or alone or otherwise misunderstood in some way. I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time over a dozen times and admired Meg Murry. Likewise Jonas in Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

I guess I was the weird kid that held onto her ‘smart girl’ badge as tightly as she resented (and secretly disbelieved) it. I’ve been trying to come up with who I want to be in 2015, what I want to do or how I want to succeed. I’m struggling with the details.

Random from swiss miss, this is gorgeous and lovely: 

2015

I’ve been thinking a lot about my 2015 goals, but haven’t committed anything to paper yet. The husband and I will be doing that this coming week, I think. Every year brings a promise of new and exciting things, a chance for improvement. This year will be no different of course. Lots of changes, lots of progressing, lots of regressing, lots of mistakes and messes.

I’ve been slowly going through Joan Didion’s We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live. It’s weirdly perfect for the mood I’ve been in lately. Between that and Anna Kendrick’s first few lines of “Still Hurting” in the trailer of The Last Five Years, I wonder how I can pour more of those feelings into the new year. The quiet moments of truth. The bareness. The feelings that feel so universal it expands from those hidden spaces into something sprawling. Something sweeping and powerful. And sure.

Sharon Van Etten “Are We There”

sharonvanetten

I know it’s been out for a bit, but I’ve been obsessed with Sharon Van Etten’s “Are We There”. Since I’m a stubborn music listener, sometimes I am resistant to new artists based on the effusiveness of the hipster bandwagon or at least the radio (my mainstream loves can not be explained except that I’m a fickle mistress). This is why I have never given a full listen to The Alabama Shakes and Michael Kiwanuka (sorry!). And up until a month ago, Sharon Van Etten.

I have since repented, and been utterly fixated on this album. It’s silly, but it makes me feel porous. Like I’m absorbing all of these wonderful sounds, the ache in her voice, the emotion behind her words. It makes me feel bold and sad and happy. And alive.