Thursday, May 31, 2018

April/May Wrap-Up and Plans for June

Oh my gosh, I completely missed the April wrap-up! A few days into May I realized I didn't do it and at that point it felt too overwhelming to do all at once so suddenly. I usually start it in the middle of the month and work on it a bit here and there until I can finalize it at the end of the month. ANYWAY. Here's two months of my life at one time!


I read some hot new books: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. And in the not-as-popular as it should be category was the new Peter Swanson book All the Beautiful Lies. And a hot-off-the-press nonfiction book that I highly recommend, So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. This is probably why I forgot to do my monthly wrap-up - all these amazing books I was reading!

My April read for my TBR Pile Challenge was The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. It was actually an alternate, but it was what I was in the mood to read. In May, I've tackled A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

I've handed off my Not-So-Young Adult Book Group to our new librarian after the May meeting, so now I'm completely free of assigned reading for the foreseeable future. I'm sure I'll do something silly like sign up for a mid-year reading challenge or start another book group or something, but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy reading whatever I want to read in the moment (aside from my TBR Pile Challenge Books, but I did pick all of those myself.)


Notable audiobooks I listened to were The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, which I bought on sale from Audible and then totally forgot about about for several months, and the new Alissa Nutting novel, Made For Love.

I saw Pink perform in early April, which was amazing, especially since we had crazy good seats like I've never had at this kind of show before. A couple of weeks later I went to see George Ezra. He's always fun to see perform live!

I've also been listening to the new Janelle Monae album, Dirty Computer, and will be seeing her perform in July. I never used to even listen to her and then I saw her open for Prince, and wow, she's an amazing performer. I'm very excited to see her again!


I'm watching the second season of The Handmaid's Tale, which is very good but also traumatic. Honestly, I know they've renewed for season 3 but I hope that's it because I'd like to think this situation comes to a happy end before too long.

Speaking of unhappy stories, I also watched the second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events and enjoyed it a whole lot! There will be another season, I imagine, because there are 4 more books, but I don't know if it will follow the book trajectory and end there, or continue.

The only movie I've gone to see recently is Black Panther, which, if you're only going to see one movie in a stupidly long period of time, this is definitely the one to see. I don't really like superhero movies - they're so samey and cliche and sexist - but this one really knocked it out of the park. Even if you don't compare it to the low bar of superhero movies, but movies in general, it's really good!


I finished a sleeve and started another. I'm so slow! Also, sleeves are boring! At this point I definitely won't be wearing it until fall which makes it even harder to motivate myself. But I'm trying to tell myself that when I finish this I can start on some socks which a) I need, and b) will be a nice summer project to take on the bus with me.


Delicious scones!
I think I've gotten bread out of my system, at least for now. I made Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread from America's Test Kitchen's Bread Illustrated a couple of times in April and by the second time it came out quite well. I made Anadema bread, from the same cookbook, for the second time in May and it came out very well also. So now I think I can move on. Plus, it's hard to use up the fresh bread before it goes stale unless I eat it all right out of the oven, which is tempting but probably not a great idea. Oh! I also made Quick Cheese Bread from Bread Illustrated, which was pretty delicious - I've never made a savory quick bread before. I made that again in late May for a goodbye party for someone at work. So delicious and unhealthy.

All that bread baking meant that I hadn't gotten around to trying to make scones, which I had been wanting to do for a while. In May I finally did so and was very happy with the result. They were the Cream Scones from America's Test Kitchen Cooking school. I had only tried scones once before, years ago, and they didn't turn out well at all so this felt like a huge success.

Chickpea Shwarma Flatbread from
Pretty Simple Cooking
In April I hosted the Cookbook Club and Potluck at my library. We cooked from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi, and I made a simple dessert of pears poached in white wine and cardamom.

I recently checked out a cookbook called Pretty Simple Cooking, about which I was skeptical, but I tried three different recipes and they all turned out well. And they were fairly simple, as promised. I copied those recipes from the book before returning it in case I want to make those dishes again.


In early April I took some days off to go visit my aunt in CT with my niece, and we went into New York for the day, which was fun. Then my niece and I came back to MA and we saw the Pink concert. It was a great trip!

As part of my season tickets to the American Repertory Theater, I saw Jagged Little Pill which is a musical created by Diablo Cody based on the Alanis Morissette album. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was a great show! I can't imagine how difficult it must be to come up with a story to go along with an album of songs that have already been written.

Obligatory dog photo. Action shot!
I've been running more, sometimes with the dog. She does...ok? But the problem really is when we encounter other dogs and she completely loses her shit. And when the weather is nice, ALL the dogs come out to play.

What else? I almost stopped blogging. I felt overwhelmed with keeping up with everything, and also I feel bad that I never change the look of my blog, but I HATE all the technical finagling that's involved and it's always more time-consuming than you think it will be. I didn't post anything for a couple of weeks and it felt very liberating but then I panicked because I really depend on all my blog posts to remind me about books I read and what I thought of them.

Work has been...a lot. A couple of people left so we need to hire replacements, and also I got approved for a new full-time person in my department - a position I've been trying to get back since I lost it in late 2013, so this is a huge success! But it means that I'll be spending most of my summer interviewing, and I used to love hiring people but now it's not as fun anymore. I mean, it turns out well - we've got some great people on our staff - but it's just so hard to tell from resumes and interviews what someone will be like to work with.

Plans for June

I'm throwing myself a birthday party because why not? I haven't done so in ages, and I'm turning 45 which seems kind of numerically significant. We're also going camping later in the month for the first time since we got a dog and we're taking her with us. We bought a larger tent and everything. Worst-case scenario she's horrible and won't stop barking and nobody gets any sleep so we call it quits after one night. We're not going very far away and it's only $17/night so we'd only be out $17 for the second night. It's worth trying!

How was your April and May?

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