Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Wrap-Up and Plans For April

Oh spring, it feels like you might finally be arriving!

Reading and Listening

This month I finished two books for my TBR Pile Challenge, Prairie Fires and Pachinko.

Handsome gent I got to meet
I also finished three sequels, which I didn't realize until browsing through my Goodreads just now. They were Leah on the Offbeat, The Everlasting Rose, and Puddin'. All teen books, and all excellent! I read The Everlasting Rose in print, but listened to the audio of the other two. I'm trying not to blow through my year's worth of Audible credits too quickly, so I took a look at what was available through my library via Libby, and now I'm listening to The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

I'm still really into the Pantsuit Politics podcast, though I'm hardly listening to any others at this point. I don't know if it's because I'm listening to so many audiobooks or if I'm listening to all these audiobooks because I'm not listening to so many podcasts. I've also started reading the book by the hosts of Pantsuit Politics, which is called I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) and it's all about having difficult political conversations with people who identify with a different party or ideology. It's really excellent, and that's saying a lot from someone who usually can't read nonfiction that isn't telling a story. By the way, most libraries have classified this book in the religion section, but it's not a book about religion so don't be deterred by that if you even happen to notice. Both of these women are of the Christian faith and so it comes up on occasion but not in an annoying way.


I finished watching One Day At a Time which was so good, but unfortunately isn't going to be renewed for another season. It's a shame because it's so smart and funny and I love all the characters. It tackles a lot of social issues, but not in a preachy or over-educational way.

I also watched Shrill, which was great! It was based on Lindy West's book of the same title, which was excellent and which I highly recommend. I hope this show will continue.


Coffee and cardamom cake

I did so much baking this month! We're cooking from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi for April's Cookbook Club and I've tried out three recipes so far. First was the Coffee and Cardamom Pound Cake, which I'll be making again for the meeting. It was amazing and I can't stop thinking about how delicious it was. I was surprised because I'm not usually into coffee-flavored things that aren't actually coffee. I also made Tessa's Spice Cake and White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote, which were also quite good. Those ones both just seemed a bit more work than was worth it, though I'd make the cheesecake again with a different base. The crust was a combination of graham cracker and almonds (which, inexplicably, you buy raw and then roast. WHY.) but I'd really prefer just a regular graham cracker crust. The compote was also a pain, but I bet there's an easy alternative to that.

And I promised to bring dessert to a friend's house one evening and took that opportunity to bake two kinds of cookies from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, some strawberry meringues and coconut meltaways. They were pretty delicious. I also made some food that wasn't dessert, I guess. Oat bread and a couple of different pasta dishes. Honestly, the desserts were really the exciting parts of this month. For a couple of weeks there I didn't cook very much, but we had leftover stuff in the freezer that needed to be used up so that worked out ok.

One of my goals this year was to come up with a good list of things to make for dinner on weeknights so I really want to get going on that. It's got to encompass things for all seasons though, so it's more of a challenge. It seems like most of the quick things I know of are either tacos or pasta and I don't want to be eating those same things all the time or I'll get tired of them. Apparently Jamie Oliver has a new cookbook of 5-ingredient recipes and many of those are pretty quick so I'll be checking that out sometime soon.


We got our tax stuff submitted on time this year, which honestly feels like a huge win right now. Seriously, this winter has been so bleak - despite not having very much snow - that getting anything at all accomplished felt insurmountable.

This month I also started running again by which I mean that I went running twice, and late in the month, but that's something.

Unfortunately I am still in physical therapy and will be into April. But only about two weeks of April because after that my insurance cuts me off. Also unfortunate is that my physical therapist has introduced planks to my sessions. (Are you trying to kill me, Francesca?)

I finished the shawl I was knitting! And impulsively ordered yarn for a very ambitious sweater which I've already swatched for and started. It's an Alice Starmore sweater and I ordered the exact yarn (from her line) that was used in the photo in the book. In the same colorway. What can I say? I like how that sweater looks.

Oh and I went to a catwarming, which is exactly what it sounds like and you should be jealous. Why aren't catwarmings a thing? I hope this is the beginning of a trend. Also, I miss having a cat.

Plans for April

Someone at work just left to start a new job in April so I'm hiring again, but this is an intern position for a library school student so that's just the nature of it. Still, it means being short-staffed for a bit and then training a new person, which is always a decent amount of work.

We're doing another knit-along, though it's for this headband thingy which will be a much quicker project than the last one, and easily made with yarn from my stash.

I'm hoping to start running more regularly again and maybe also going to Zumba class more. I want to plan a camping trip for the end of May/beginning of June too. It's nice to finally be able to start planning warm-weather activities!

How was your March?

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