1. We had a great time in our road trip to Seattle last weekend. PellMel and her friends were radiantly happy to be done with the classroom. I had a great time with my dear friend Laurel and her partner Kami, and got to spend a wonderful afternoon wandering around Elliott Bay Bookstore. Dean and I went to see the Star Wars costume exhibit at EMP, which made my geeky little heart rejoice. Also had terrific meals at OddFellows for lunch, the Skillet Diner for dinner, and Portage Bay for breakfast. I love going out for breakfast.
2. I listened to hours of great podcasts on the road. Usually I listen to music or audiobooks, but for some reason I ended up mostly listening to podcasts on this trip. I'll tell you about my two favorites. A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment, the podcast of Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter, leans toward the literary and makes me think. They and their guests are funny and honest and interesting. I end up feeling respectful and a little awe-struck (they are two of my favorite writers) but also unworthy. Ohmygosh would I be intimidated to hang out with those two.
On the other end of the spectrum, I love The Big Boo Cast, the podcast of Melanie Shankle (one of my favorite mom bloggers) and Sophie Hudson. It's like eavesdropping on a couple of women chatting at Starbucks. Their accents remind me so much of my Texan and Southern roots that it becomes the podcast equivalent of comfort food. I don't even need to listen to what they're saying, it's soothing just to let the voices wash over me (although they are at times really funny). Their topics range from buying a new coffee table to the changing style of blue jeans to the release of their respective new books. Love.
3. Remember I did a walking challenge last month? This month I'm doing a yoga and meditation challenge. For years I did yoga twice a week, but it was a long time ago--before MadMax was born. I've done the odd twenty minutes of sun salutations over the years since then, but this is the first time I've regularly practiced yoga in a long time and I'm remembering why I used to love it so much. If you approach it gently, with respect for your body, at the end of a workout you just feel good. I've been trying to do 20-30 minutes five days a week. Highly recommended. The challenge group is going on to body weight stuff next month (burpees, pushups, etc), but I think I'm going to do this for another month. It is great.
4. Interesting Things Around the Internet Dept: I found a cool free resource on YouTube, 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. She's really young, which is annoying sometimes when she can do impossible things easily, but she has a calm clearness that I really like, and she has occasional dorky-cute moments so you don't feel like she's some lofty guru. The workouts (which range from 20-40 minutes) are interesting and varied. If you've never done yoga before, it's probably not the place to start--although she does have a Yoga for Beginners video. Anyway, the video for Day 1 of the 30 days is here if you want to check it out.
5. Reading Report: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (fiction, 4 stars out of 5), Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (YA, 5 stars), The Kid by Dan Savage (memoir, 4 stars), Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (memoir, 3 stars, by the woman who played Nellie Olesen on The Little House on the Prairie TV show), Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (fiction, 3 stars), The Commitment by Dan Savage (memoir/essay, 4 stars), Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (fiction, 5 stars).
6. Jon Krakauer's new book about sexual assault on college campuses is set in the town that I usually call UTown--Missoula, Montana. I love Missoula with a fierce love, and I had a terrific experience while I was in grad school there. So I was really sad to see that he titled the book Missoula, since it's unfortunate that such a great town will now be known to many only as the place where all those sexual assaults happened. But the incidents he described are real, and the controversy surrounding them was frequently in the papers while I was there. It is a serious, important issue, not just in Missoula, but on college campuses all over the country. As the young woman who wrote this thoughtful, brave piece pointed out, having the name of Missoula smeared is a small price to pay if it leads to change. (I haven't read the book yet, will get to it eventually.)
7. I've had some great feedback from many of you about what works and what doesn't in this new blog, and also I've been poking around some and looking at other blogs. I've discovered that I'm not alone in being conflicted and frustrated by all the hormonal crap that goes with menopause. No one has had quite the same experience I have, but it makes sense that everyone experiences it a little bit (or a lot) differently. So in spite of the fact that I seem to have upset some of my readers, I'm not going to shy away from being honest about my experience. The good news is that things are already better. I'm still having bad times and even entire bad days, but I've also started having some moments where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel--moments where I feel better than I've felt in years. I'm hanging in. I'll get there.
Also, on a more mundane note, Laurel pointed out that for those who don't have a feed set up, it's nice to have a predictable schedule of when posts will appear. So for the time being, I'm going to try to post on Tuesdays and Fridays. We'll see how it works.