Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Wrap-Up and Plans for March

February is the shortest month, and also the longest.


I finished 10 books in February, which seems like a lot, but a couple of them were poetry and one of those I had been working on for a while. My favorite was Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller which I gave 5 stars on Goodreads. Most disappointing was probably Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, which wasn't bad but also didn't live up to my expectations. Notably, I finished 3 nonfiction books (all memoirs) and two books for my 2019 TBR Pile Challenge.


In addition to two audiobooks (Becoming and Educated) I've started some new podcasts. One is called Pantsuit Politics and is hosted by two women, one from the left and one from the right, with the tagline "No shouting. No insults. Plenty of nuance." It absolutely lives up to that promise and I love it. They talk about current events but they are way above partisan politics, looking at events and issues in a larger context, often discussing how they fit into a Constitutional framework or what certain things mean for democracy. They are both very smart and have constructive, productive conversations.

In a similar vein, I've begun listening to Conversations with People Who Hate Me. The host has a YouTube channel and gets a lot of trolls, so he began inviting some of these people on a show to have conversations about why they said what they said to him. I've only listened to two episodes so far, and it really just highlights how different people are online than in real life and how we are all more similar to each other than we think. Of course these are only the people who agreed to sit down and talk with them but still, it may restore my faith in humanity just a bit.


Jam-Bellied Scones
I watched Russian Doll, which was pretty good although I feel like Natasha Lyonne played the same character that she played in Orange is the New Black. I can't imagine where it will go in the next season, because it feels complete now. I'm not sure if I'll watch more.

I'm still watching The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass, and I've also watched a few episodes from the first season with the new hosts. I really miss Mel and Sue and Mary Berry. Prue is pretty ok and I keep reminding myself that we can't all be Mary Berry. It's just sad that Paul Hollywood is the one retained because he's such a sleaze. Still, I like the contestants and the baking.

Finally, I've started season 3 of One Day at a Time which I've recently heard may not be renewed for a fourth season. That's so disappointing because it's such a great show!


Possibly the most exciting thing I made this month were the Jam-Bellied Scones from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, pictured above. Exciting because they were fairly easy and also delicious. I also made the Sour Cream Coffee Cake from the same book which was pretty heavenly but it's a yeasted cake, which was new for me and fun to try, but of course it took a while. This isn't a coffee cake you get to eat in the morning unless you get up at 3am or so to get it started.

I love you, potatoes
Another baking success was the Cranberry Walnut Bread from Bread Illustrated, and I made some more of the Anadama Bread as well.

I bought a mandolin and so finally made the Cacio e Pepe Potatoes Anna, also from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, which was delicious and now I want to eat some form of scalloped potatoes every day.

My cookbook club at work was meeting at the end of February and cooking dishes from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, so I ended up trying a bunch of recipes from the book. My favorites were a casserole called Rumbledethumps, a mixture of mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cheese, and the Portuguese White Bean and Kale Soup which I thought would be boring, but the inclusion of sundried tomatoes and both fresh fennel and dried fennel seed made it quite delicious. I also made the Vegan Chocolate Cake which was good, but the Six-Minute Chocolate Cake from Moosewood Cooks at Home is just as good and a little quicker to make. The dish I brought to the meeting was Vegan Spinach-Artichoke Heart Dip, which was good but I didn't love it. It was, however, easy to make ahead and transport.


It was a great month for author readings! I saw both Angie Thomas and Elizabeth McCracken which was very exciting (and I read both of their new books, which were great.) Those are two of very few times I left the house except for work...

My Grain Shawl in progress
Speaking of work, this month we held a knit-along which went quite well. We had five drop-in knitting sessions to work on the Grain Shawl (or whatever, we weren't super picky) and got a pretty good turnout. We'll be doing more of these!

I did not, unfortunately, finish physical therapy. It is scheduled at least a week into March. Sometimes I feel like it's helping and sometimes I don't. Going to these appointments twice a week has honestly felt rather exhausting, plus I use a combination of lunch break and sick time which means I haven't had my full lunch break on a lot of days. It has made the month feel very full and like I don't have time for things like meditation or exercise. (Physical therapy is definitely exercise, but it's not cardio.) And now I also have to floss my teeth a second time every day, which somehow also feels like a lot? To be honest, I just don't have a ton of energy this time of year so everything feels more difficult.

Plans for March

Cranberry-walnut bread
I'm hoping to actually get all my tax stuff together before April, and the fact that this is my only plan for the month (and that I will probably fail) is extremely sad.

Again, I am hoping to finish physical therapy. I pretty much have to one way or another because my insurance won't pay beyond the first week of April.

Wow, this is all getting very bleak. I am very much looking forward to spring and I hope it comes soon!

How was your February?

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