Snapshot: January 2021

From one of our nature walks this month.

Here’s what I’m into this month.

New Year’s Resolutions/Goals:

I set two personal goals for the start of the new year. 1) To start a movie discussion group. Check! We had our first meeting (via Zoom) a few weeks ago and we discussed the film Birdman. Birdman made for an interesting discussion but I can’t say I enjoyed watching the movie. It’s too dark, and life is bleak enough as it is right now. So we selected Lady Bird for our next meeting in February, since I’ve seen it before and knew it was funny. Apparently we’re going with a bird theme for the moment. Anyway, I’m trying to maintain sort of connections with friends and the movie group is my organized attempt at this for now.

My second goal is to run a 10K. I’m not planning to register for an actual race, just to train and run that distance on my own. Running has been an important coping mechanism for me throughout this pandemic, and I wanted to challenge myself to build endurance. So this month I started following a training schedule. I run 3 days a week, and do yoga and walk our dog on the other days. It’s going well and I’m hoping to be up to 6 miles by March.

Podcasts:

Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us has been my favorite podcast throughout the pandemic. Recently I’ve also been listening to Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, he has a lot of interesting guests, although he swears too much and goes onto tangents that are sometimes off-color. Today I started The New York Times podcast Nice White Parents, about white parents and their role in shaping the inequities in public schools.

Books:

I just finished reading The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes about packhorse librarians in Appalachia during the 1930s. This book was a fun, lighthearted novel about friendship and romance, with some courtroom drama thrown in. I’ve also been slowly reading Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. This is an important read, but I have to go through it slowly, because the contents is quite intense. Next up may be Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Olympic Team, by Elise Hooper. Someone left it in our little free library and it looks interesting.

TV:

I am on Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek. I appreciate that it’s silly and lighthearted and the episodes are only 20 minutes long. I’ve also watched the first two episodes of The Queen’s Gambit. I don’t know if I’ll keep watching The Queen’s Gambit even though it’s a good show — I just don’t enjoy watching stuff about addiction. And I could not believe that the orphanage was giving tranquilizers to children. So sad.

Cooking:

What better hobby to focus on than cooking during a cold and wet winter in quarantine? I’ve been trying some easy new recipes. Today I made a lentil and chard soup for lunch, and earlier in the week Spencer and I made a yummy leek and potato soup. This week my meal plans include chicken taco soup, lasagna, and perhaps a clam sauce pasta. Last week Paul and I made blueberry banana bread muffins, and I made stovetop popcorn for the first time (easy and nice to be able to control the amount of butter and salt). Thankfully, Spencer is a great cook so he treats us to a lot of good meals.

Nature Explorations:

We went to the beach on a beautiful sunny day last weekend and had a picnic. We’ve also gone for a family bike ride in the west Eugene wetlands where we watched a great blue heron and a golden eagle. And we also enjoy going on walks around the neighborhood.

Prayers:

That the schools would reopen! Pleeeeeaaaaasssse. That our country would experience healing and unity. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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