What have I been up to the last couple months? Great question, let me see if I can remember that far back.
I recommitted to learning and talking about racism. This is an exciting moment of deeper understanding and focus on a problem that has been swept under the rug by white people for far too long. We are moving forward and I’m committed to being a part of that. In particular, I’ve been really interested in the (new to me) concept of defunding police departments to give a bigger portion of city budgets to more productive areas like housing, schools, mental health, and addiction services can lead to better outcomes and less violence.
I’ve been doing lots of yoga and going on lots of runs. Taking the time to slow down and breathe during my yoga practice or getting my anxious energy out with a run around the neighborhood makes an incredible difference in my mental health. Lately, my brain space has felt pretty scattered, and moving my body every day is one of the best ways to make that space feel a little less chaotic.
I took a walk every day in May and woke up at 7am every day in June. And I liked it. I thought it would be REALLY hard to complete these goals, but it actually wasn’t once I committed to following through with them. I only missed 1 day of walking and 2 days of waking up at 7—not half bad considering how little self control I usually have when I don’t feel like doing something!
I discovered how much I like working in the yard. It’s been clear to me for a long time how good it makes me feel to spend time outside. And for the last few years I’ve enjoyed growing herbs and vegetables in our backyard. But I’ve always thought about putting in the effort to make the plants grow better and the yard look nice as boring, waste-of-time work. Maybe it’s just me getting older, but this year I actually look forward to spending time out in the sun pulling weeds and tending to the plants. I love the feeling of being coated in sun and dirt and sweat mixed with the pride of having an outside space that looks and feels so much more beautiful and inviting.
April was (obviously) a pretty unusual month, but even with all the staying home, I managed to keep myself pretty entertained. Here’s what I got up to:
I’ve been very good about following our new social distancing norms, the only place I really go outside the house anymore is walking around the neighborhood. Even though my walks take basically the same route every time, it always seems like new scenery as spring takes shape with new flowers blooming and trees beginning to green. I’m trying to enjoy the little things and learn names of the plants and animals I see. The flowers above are periwinkle. Cute, huh?
I made the most incredible cinnamon rolls. I’m very suggestible when it comes to food on TV. Whenever I watch Bob’s Burgers I have an instant craving for burgers and watching Home Alone makes me ravenous for a gigantic, messy ice cream sundae. After recently binging all of Schitt’s Creek—in which cinnamon rolls make a regular appearance—I had to make some of my own. Thanks to this recipe from Joy the Baker, they turned out ridiculously delicious. Honestly, writing this is making my hungry right now.
For a time when we’re all probably watching a lot more TV than normal, I’m having trouble finding a TV show I like. I started watching Outlander but kind of lost interest halfway through season 2. I also started watching Community, but it hasn’t fully captured my interest yet. I’m going to keep trying, but the whole overconfident-white-guy-incessantly-chases-hot-but-edgy-white-girl-even-though-she’s-repeatedly-told-him-she’s-not-interested storyline is really getting on my nerves. There is one bright spot in this desert of good television though: Midnight Gospel. I almost lost my shit when I found out that the creator of Adventure Time had a new show coming out that would be fully geared toward adults. It’s so joyfully amazing and dense with meaning and imagery. I’m definitely going to have to watch this six-episode season more than once.
Per my goal for April, I listened to at least one podcast episode each day. These are the ones in my regular rotation right now:
Up First – a roundup of each day’s news in under 15 minutes from NPR.
Call Your Girlfriend – two incredibly smart and funny women talk with each other and/or smart guests about politics, pop culture, and life stuff.
The last two months have been a blur. Let me quickly summarize:
Top three things I read
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. This book made me want to do LSD. And if I do, I’ll now feel totally validated that there is a real, science-backed reason to do so.
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom. Smart, brutally honest, heartbreaking essays that will change your mind in some way or another.
The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. An 8-book fantasy series that I flew through in the span of a month. It’s exciting, romantic, and thoughtful. Exactly what I wanted from a series about magic, evil kings, and epic quests.
Top three things I watched
Aniara. A bleak, all the way human answer to what could go wrong in space travel. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
Into the Inferno. Werner Herzog makes a documentary about volcanos. It’s exactly what you want it to be.
Billy on the Street. It just brings me so much joy.
Top three things I listened to
(Aside from PUP, because we already talked about that).
Alaskalaska – The Dots. So groovy and not like anything else I’ve heard before.
Elbow – Giants of All Sizes. This album transports me away every time I listen to it.
Velvet Negroni – Neon Brown. Chill and moody jams. The best soundtrack for a night alone at home.
Everyone is talking about how damn long January felt, but I think I fell behind somewhere along the way because I’m not quite convinced it’s already February.
Here’s what I got up to in January.
I celebrated my 32nd birthday. As a self-employed individual, I get to choose my own time off, so I took advantage of that and gifted myself a 5-day weekend for my birthday. I ate some really delicious food, wandered around a museum, and shared cocktails out with some friends at my favorite local bar.
I did yoga (almost) every day thanks to Yoga with Adriene. Ok so I skipped 5 days, but caught myself back up each time with a double yoga session the next day. Now I’m still going (no days missed yet this month!) with her perfectly curated monthly calendars. Honestly, her YouTube channel is a lifesaver.
I started a habit of doing some light meal prep on Sundays and made this really delicious cashew turmeric granola a few times as part of my regular rotation. Last time I made it with walnuts and dried cranberries instead of cashews and dehydrated fruit and it was SO GOOD.
I attended DIY Fair and bought some killer candles. Every year my neighborhood hosts a weekend-long event where local artists and crafters set up shop under big white tents that take over two entire parking lots plus main street. I go just about every year and struggle not to spend an entire month’s income on art, candles, jewelry, and food. This year, I maintained my self control and only purchased a giant roasted veggie sandwich covered in hash browns and three candles from this shop I love called Pagan Potions. I bought the Unfuck Yourself candle from them last year and loved it, so I got another one this year plus Money Money Money and Manifestation Muthafucka. They’re all so beautiful and smell amazing. I’ve been burning the Unfuck Yourself one every day the past couple weeks, and I’ve felt so much more motivated and at peace than usual.
I cozied up at home and watched a whole bunch of tv. I started and finished the last season of Jessica Jones which I loved. I’m really bummed the series is over. I’m not generally that into super hero stuff, but the characters and story lines in Jessica Jones made it a great show that would’ve held up without any of the super stuff. My boyfriend and I started and finished the first season of Altered Carbon which was decent. The story was interesting, but it was a little hard to follow at some points. I wasn’t super invested in any of the characters, but the world building was pretty cool. My favorite thing I watched was definitely The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance. I started off by re-watching the original Dark Crystalmovie, which was a huge staple in my childhood, before racing through the new show in the course of one weekend. I was a little nervous about how it would maintain continuity with the original movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that they treated the original with respect and brought in some interesting new pieces that actually fit well with the existing narrative.
I cooked so many stir fries with the spicy sriracha peanut sauce from this list. I’m obsessed with this sauce—it’s mega easy to make, I always keep the ingredients stocked in my pantry, and it’s so good I honestly lick the spoon to get every last drop. I like to pair this sauce with brown rice or buckwheat noodles (these are my go-to) + whatever veggies I have on hand + tempeh or whatever Quorn fake meat product I currently have in my freezer. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it.
I had my regularly scheduled cleaning at the dentist. Keeping up with doctor appointments is a super important part of self care! I don’t particularly like the dentist, but it does feel really good to check it off my list and come home knowing that my mouth is healthy. It keeps those anxious what-if-I-have-a-million-cavities-and-need-ten-root-canals thoughts at bay. At every visit I schedule my next one for six months out since that makes it a WHOLE lot more likely that I’ll remember to go. My dentist even sends me text reminders a few days before my appointment which is super helpful. Consider this your call to GET YOU A DENTIST YOU ACTUALLY LIKE and MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT today.