|I think this might be my favorite holiday...and it's right around the corner|
It's been almost a week since I last posted. The beginning of last week was not good. Not good at all. I had a series of personal and professional setbacks. No need going into all of the details, but I have quite a bit to mull over. In the near future I am going to be making a change. Either a change of venue or a change of attitude. I'll find out which in March. However, the week ended on a better note. I spent almost the whole of yesterday reading. I started Les Liaisons Dangereuses and am loving it. I also started reading Frances and Bernard, which is absolutely charming. I even read a bit of The Thorn Birds because it's an enchanting story and one that I would like to finish (it's also my mom and my grandma's favorite book).
First of all...I am writing to you on my new Chromebook! So excited about it. I absolutely love it. I took it to class with me on Thursday and it was great because it didn't completely weight down my bag. Plus it's nice to be able to sit on the couch and type a blog post without feeling trapped by a massive computer (not that my Macbook is really massive, but it feels so in comparison). I have not ventured out to Starbucks or anywhere with my Chromebook yet, but I know I will soon enough. The big challenge right now is telling mine apart from Zach's. I put a pink post-it next to the touch pad on mine. That's working OK so far. I ordered a case for mine that will be in next week, so I'll start keeping mine in the case when not in use. Not that it's a huge issue if we wind up grabbing the other's...but it's just one of those things.
I'm just over a quarter of the way through my fifteen-item wardrobe experiment. It's really been a less-than-ten-item experiment. Two of the pairs of pants I selected haven't really worked out for me. I haven't worn the skirt. I've worn most of the shirts, but not all of them. In short, I think the initially picking fifteen items was more of a psychological thing than an actual need. I have SO MANY clothes that I hate the thought of only wearing a few items. The limiting of the clothes I "can" wear has made it easier to get ready in the morning. I am really liking using all of the various layering pieces, shoes, and jewelry that I have to spice things up. I haven't felt limited in my options either. Granted, I still have a lot of time left on this experiment, but I have really enjoyed it so far. I think I will be able to get rid of a lot of clothes in the near future as a result. I also hope it will change my buying habits. When I find something I like and especially if it's on sale, my inclination is to buy it in all of the colors! But that's really not practical and it creates a lot of clutter in my closet. I don't want to do a major overhaul of my clothes yet because I am in the process of losing weight and I don't know what will soon work and not work, but I feel confident that I can pare down my clothes and donate a ton of things.
I am throwing a Mardi Gras party on Tuesday. It won't really be a party-party, but we're having a couple of people over for Cajun food. I am pretty pleased with the menu--shrimp and sausage jambalaya, spinach balls (a new recipe, but it sounds SO good), salad, king cake, and wine. I'll also have Bloody Mary stuff available because I've decided I want to start drinking them. In the background, we'll have the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and the Midnight in Paris soundtracks to set the mood. It won't be the same, though, because we won't be getting up at the crack of dawn to go to Ash Wednesday Mass, but oh well. We'll get there later in the day.
Speaking of Ash Wednesday and Lent...I've figured out what I am giving up for Lent. In years past, I've made sweeping proclamations that fell flat because I left caveats so that I wouldn't inconvenience people, which wound up leading to my making more and more exceptions. Such as "no eating out...unless the people I'm with are eating out, then I'm not going to demand a homemade meal" which totally left the door open for other reasons to need to grab something. Anyway, this year I am giving up adding on a Coke to my meal when I go out to a restaurant. I can have water. I don't need to spend an extra $2 or more on a Coke. Because I wind up either drinking way too much or I wind up not even finishing it. To be clear, I am not giving up Coke for Lent. I can have them at home or if it comes with my meal (like at McDonalds). But I am not adding it onto my meal. I'm also going to make it a point to eat out less, but that's a secondary thing that I could and should do regardless of what season it is. Lastly, I am going to work on being more patient. I am really bad about showing my impatience or irritation with people and I need to work on that. Like big time.
Reading-wise I had what feels like a major breakthrough. I officially like paperbacks the best. I've decided that I get more out of a book if I am writing in them--underlining, writing thoughts, posing questions. By interacting with the book like that I feel like I am retaining more and am more likely to finish. I know it's an utterly mental thing, but I only like writing in paperbacks. I had a whole long conversation with some people on Twitter yesterday about it, but the consensus was that paperbacks are better for writing in. To me, paperbacks are books you can have a conversation with by writing in them, whereas hardbacks are kind of foreboding and they tell you things, you don't talk back to them.
Now I need to figure out what the deal is with ebooks. I know you can add notes and highlights and everything, but (as so many in the bookish community have said) it's just not the same. Don't get me wrong--two of the books I read a lot of yesterday I was able to read only because I have an ereader. I saw a short review of Frances and Bernard, was totally intrigued, bought it, and read about half of it in the afternoon. I really began wanting to read The Thorn Birds while we were at Starbucks last night, so I opened it on my Nook, assuming I would just pick up my copy when I get back home. I looked and it's not here. I guess it's in Tulsa. I am so happy that I was able to start it though. I suppose I could have just sucked it up and read what I had, but being able to gratify those itches was nice and made for a great reading day.
I read from three books yesterday and that seemed to work out just fine. I would have read from four, but I haven't acquired a paperback copy of Jane Eyre. It appears that I can manage multiple books, but I have to make a point to not forget any of the ones I am reading. To do this, I think writing in the book will help. I don't know why that feels like such a breakthrough for me, but it feels utterly revelatory. I have written in books in the past, such as a copy of Gone With the Wind that has entire pages of favorite scenes dyed with highlighter, but I never saw it as much of a tool to help me read more and better.
There's also an update with my author project. I am going to read the complete works of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. For now, I am dropping Eudora Welty. I think I am going to collect the titles and publication dates for the three authors and make one long list and go through. I also contemplated reading each authors' first work, then second, and so on, like I was dealing cards, but eh. It will be nice to see how Hemingway and Faulkner both influenced Marquez and how they may have influenced each other. Maybe? I am going to be balancing this with my other reading desires. Say, if I am going to read three or four books at once, one of them will be from this list.
That's about the size of it. I am feeling much better about reading, at least for now. Thank you for all of your kind and thoughtful comments. They definitely helped me feel better about things.
Talk to y'all soon!