Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Monthly Medley: February 2021

Recently I've learned - or maybe just come to accept - that I can only read books that start off strong. If a story takes more than 25 pages to ramp up, I'm outta there faster than Nike can climb up my leg when she hears her food cans being cracked open. 

At the beginning of the month I tried to read Catherine House, but after realizing that every time I picked it up I'd forgotten what had happened previously, I finally set it aside and picked up Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker instead. I loved this book, and highly recommend it for anyone who likes psychological thrillers that twist and turn from start to finish.

We didn't have a lot of time to watch new television programs or movies this month. We were busy with work, school, and extracurriculars, and then when we actually had a week off, we didn't have power or internet. Hallie and I did manage to fit in a couple of short and sweet movies though... First up, Disney's Secret Society of Second-Born Royals (on Disney +), which is about exactly what the title describes. These second-borns, who are unlikely to ever inherit the throne behind their older siblings, discover they have special super powers and that others like them have for years been (secretly) protecting their kingdoms as members of an elite crime-fighting and peace-keeping force. This movie isn't a Disney blockbuster - it was clearly designed for and works better on a smaller screen - but Hallie LOVED it and I thoroughly enjoyed it myself. Second, Pixar and Disney's Soul (also on Disney +), about a middle school music teacher's journey to reunite his body and soul after they're accidentally separated just before his dream of becoming a jazz musician becomes a reality. Hallie and I adored this film - it was heartwarming and tender, with beautiful characters and a fun soundtrack, and I suspect it could bring in a few awards in the coming months. 

Listening To
Did you know Dateline has a podcast?! I have always enjoyed watching Dateline on television, but the show comes on at weird times and isn't necessarily the kind of program I want to record and watch at a later date. The Dateline podcast, however, is perfect for me, as it covers current and classic episodes featuring true-crime, documentaries, and deep dive investigations. Not to mention Lester Holt's sweet soothing voice, easing me through my day with tales of murder and mayhem...

  • In the same vein as Tank's Good News and Unworthy, Good (@good) is a place to find feel good, uplifting, and inspiring stories. Something we could all use more of right now...
  • For the most bizarre and/or grandiose homes on Zillow, check out Zillow Gone Wild (@zillowgonewild). I especially like #mansionmondays and the homes that look completely normal on the outside but inside have floor to ceiling carpet or have been completely wallpapered with license plates.


Here's the thing... In preparation for round two of Snowpocalyse 2021, my mom bought me a new winter coat and a package of hand/foot warmers and then put them in the mail with a couple of extra pairs of nice mittens she had but wasn't currently using. (Really good winter coats are hard to come by in Texas but easy to find in Wisconsin. Yes, I could shop for a coat online, but I have much better results when my mom - graciously - shops for me in person and then mails me what she finds.) But as bad luck would have it, round two of Snowpocalypse 2021 delayed and then completely shut down our mail for nearly a week, so the package didn't arrive until the temperature outside had climbed back into the 70s. My coat is PERFECT though, so I'll probably crank up the air conditioning and wear it around the house.
I know I look unhappy here...it has nothing
to do with the coat - it's about how I strongly
dislike taking pictures of myself in the mirror.

I bought the game What Do You Meme? Family Edition for my people for Valentine's Day, and we all loved it. I lost track of how many times Hallie exclaimed, "this game is so fun!" during our first round of play, and the game has come out multiple times since that first night. I'll probably add the original version to our game stash within the next couple of years, as I think they'll be ready for it by the time Hallie is Will's age.

I don't have much to show for myself in the Eating/Drinking category this month... We lost a week to snow/no power/ordering out, and most of the new recipes I tried were decidedly average at best. I'm hoping to spend a bit more time in the kitchen - and have a few recipes to show for it - in March!

The one solid recipe we tried was this Lemon Artichoke Fettuccini. I used 12 ounces instead of eight ounces of gluten-free fettuccini (I don't like the idea of putting four ounces of pasta back in the cabinet because it's not enough to use in a future recipe) and dried instead of fresh spices, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. Don't skip the optional toasted pine nuts - they were a delicious addition to the dish!

Feeling Good About

On to March, friends. May the odds be ever in our favor.

Friday, February 26, 2021

High Five for Friday (2.26.21)

First, before I catch up on a couple of weeks' worth of high fives after taking last week "off" due to unprecedented weather and a lack of electricity and internet, a bonus high five.

My girl ACED her sports medicine appointment earlier this week. The doctor was so pleased - unexpectedly so - with how her bone had healed that he kicked the boot to the curb. The road back to dancing full out will be slow and intentional, but we took a huge step forward physically, mentally, and emotionally when we heard that news. And the joy she felt when we walked out of the office that day...wow.

And now, on with the show!

Two Fridays back we returned to Instaland for our second selfie photo shoot. (Check out the photos from our first visit to Instaland here.) Instaland is open through THIS Sunday, so if you live in the BCS area, I encourage you to support this local business by visiting their incredibly fun and reasonably priced pop-up shop in Century Square!

I forgot to take a single picture of the three of us together,
so when we got home we grabbed a (shirtless for Will) selfie.

Will's 8th grade basketball season came to an end last night with a single playoff game. All of the teams play only one playoff game, regardless of whether they win or lose, so even though the Knights didn't come out on top of the scoreboard, they fought the good fight and can - and should - feel good about how hard they worked. (I kind of wish we could have ended the season two weeks ago, when they wrapped their regular games with a solid victory.)  

We're so grateful our school district came up with ways for kids (including virtual learners) to play sports - and for adults to watch their kids play sports - in a year when absolutely none of this was guaranteed. While everything looked and felt different, Will managed full cross country and basketball seasons, and we track tryouts begin bright and early next Monday morning.  

The end of this basketball season - and Will's middle school basketball "career" - feels bittersweet because it was likely Will's last basketball season ever. In Texas, high school basketball and soccer overlap, making it virtually impossible for an athlete to compete in both sports. Next year Will will choose soccer, which means his days on the basketball court - at least officially - have come to an end. We loved watching him play.

This kid just registered for high school, planned out his classes for the next four years, and started making a list of colleges and universities he would like to attend. I JUST dropped him off for his first day of kindergarten like two or three weeks ago, so I'm not exactly sure what happened here...

All jokes aside, I simply could not be prouder of him, especially how hard he's worked and given how well he's handled everything that's been thrown at him - and everything he's missed - this past year. 

These four babies have been on quite an adventure with us since they first arrived two weeks ago! And while they're a fair amount of work (there are four of them, after all, and they eat wet food - very messily, both in terms of the space in which they eat and the amount of food that ends up on them - three times a day, are still learning how to eat dry food, have some GI issues, and are on two different medications for these issues), they are so worth our time and worthy of our love.

Productivity is poor at best when
I try to work from my desk at home.

These four are half of their litter. They were found outside a fire station, all eight tucked inside a single shoebox. They were named, fittingly, after athletic shoes: we have Nike (calico), Reebok (grayish black w/ one orange shoe and a tiny orange spot on her chin), Crocs (all black), and Birkenstock (gray). We refer to Birkenstock as Birks or Crazy Pants - more on that nickname to come...

Happiness Highlights
I needed a headshot for an organization with which I work,
and because I didn't have time to have one professionally
taken, I had Hallie snap a few for me. We eventually landed
on this one. I discovered I could edit out the circles under my
eyes and the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes and mouth...but
they I went back and removed all of the edits because I've earned
each and every one of these life lines. (And I probably have a few
more since this was taken, thanks to Snowpocalypse 2021 #2.)

I assume everyone saw the video of the lawyer who
showed up to Zoom meeting "dressed as" a cat? I love it.

Performing Philip's death scene in Hamilton. 

The snap dragons didn't make it, but
they looked stunning covered in ice.

And I was fascinated to discover that tiny little
bulbs of ice formed around each one of them. 

This girl is our builder. She was thrilled to have
successfully assembled this cat tree all by herself.

Happy weekend, friends!