Where did 2015 go? I swear it just started. Then again, I've managed to cram a ton of earth-shattering change into this year so maybe I can believe the end of December draws near. 2016 is bound to be filled with more change and I can say with great confidence: I'm ready.
Read and Reading
Neverwhere (Gaiman) was a thoroughly enjoyable journey start to finish. I would love to understand how Gaiman came up with the story and created such a fascinating world. The character development is top notch and I was sad when the book ended.
Cutting For Stone (Verghese) is an epic story of two brothers and their unusual entry into the world kept me captivated. I loved learning more about Ethiopia and the healthcare developments that came about in the 60s up to the present. Verghese's characters offer unusual insights about faith, family, community, and fate. There were a few aspects that were very "this was written by a male author" but I forgave him for those because of the beautiful plot and moving resolution. (I may or may not have been crying on the plane.)
Understanding the Enneagram (Riso and Hudson) is such a good resource for those wanting to delve deeper into the Enneagram and how it works. The chapters on type misidentifications and practical tips for each type are outstanding. I wouldn't recommend this as the first people read on the Enneagram but it's a great next step after reading The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
Currently reading: Embracing the Body (Owen), The Complete Enneagram (Chestnut), The Art of Memoir (Karr), The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices For Personal Renewal (Yamasaki), Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) In Song (Bareilles), Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas (editor Leach), Winter (Meyer)
(I read 9 books this month. I read 141 books this year.)
Must-see TV: Real Housewives of Orange County, Once Upon A Time, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Top Chef
I did some more housesitting this month, which meant I got to watch more Hallmark Christmas movies! They may be cheesy but they make me happy. (Check out Addie's Hallmark Christmas Bingo printables so you can play along. Because those movies are still on!)
I made it to season 7 of West Wing. I've lost steam but it's still such a good show.
Anyone else excited for the return of Downton Abbey and the Sherlock special?
Listen to the What I'm Into 2015 playlist.
I am in love with Off Camera with Sam Jones. He has such an impressive guest list but the conversations are what set it apart. I could listen to him talk to Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Connie Britton all day.
The new season of Start Up has been SO GOOD. Diversity Report was ballsy.
Who's listening to the new season of Serial? When I heard Bowe Bergdahl was going to be the subject, I was ambivalent. But now that I see how Sarah Koenig is going about it, I am all in. She's taking on the US military, a sprawling mess of a system, and interviewing members of the Taliban. Holy buckets.
I loved hearing Martin Sheen opine on faith and activism on On Being with Krista Tippett.
Things I Love:
- I went to Baker Beach with Micha, Brooksie, and Ace to admire the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and take my Christmas card photo. The beach is gorgeous!
- Lunch with Micha and Laura at Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company- be sure to try the Autumn Bier!
- I had a great time catching up with my friend Julie on the phone. Do you have friends who affirm qualities you didn't even know you possessed? Julie is one of those for me. What a gift.
- We had an amazing staff Christmas party! I got all gussied up in a new dress. The food was beyond amazing, as was the wine. It was fun to hang out with everyone in a place other than where we work!
- My cousin Nick, his girlfriend Erin, and I had a lovely morning exploring one of my favorite places: Sutro Baths. The ocean was especially angry that day and I could not stop watching the waves. We did a short hike and then walked through part of the Golden Gate Park, before eating lunch at Beach Chalet. It was just nice enough to sit on the patio. I really love getting to hang out with Nick! It's such a treat to live near each other.
- I had dinner at Nopalito with two friends from high school who live in SF. It took a few months for our schedules to finally behave but it was so fun catching up with them and talking about where life has taken us since we cheered for the Falcons. It's hard to believe our 20 year reunion is only a couple years away.
- We had our last 1-4-2 Enneagram group. I loved getting to know the people in my group and learning more about our types and how they intersect. It even led to a breakthrough! Highly recommended.
- The place I housesat at this month had so many cute details, including diner-style seating in the kitchen and turquoise subway tile in the bathroom. Swoon!
- Compass Books in SFO. If your flight is delayed by a few hours, you might as well browse at a fantastic independent bookstore that's filled with staff recommendations.
- Seeing the Hancock Building and Sears Tower as the plane circled Chicago and brought me home for Christmas.
- My parents took me to lunch at Portillo's the first day so I could get a hot dog and fries. I dream about those fries, I tell you. It was nice getting to spend part of the day with them. I've missed them so much.
- My best friend Erin and I went to Little Goat for our annual Christmas dinner. We sat at the counter this time, which was a fun change. I devoured the Korean Burger, which had kimchi, bacon, and a fried egg on it. We were stuffed afterward but the real highlight was the conversation. Laughter, tears, shoulder jabs, and all.
- The next day Erin, her kids, and I went to Prairie Path Books, a darling newish bookstore in my hometown. I could not stop exploring their selection. And because it's important to support your local bookstore, I bought Trigger Warning. I'm going to be on a Neil Gaiman kick for a while.
- Next we got tea at SereneTeaz and then we headed to her house for lunch. We watched the new season of Top Chef and then we all opened Christmas presents. My gifts were a big hit! My niece-in-love and nephew-in-love asked me to read the books I gave them. Victory!
- My old roomie Donna and I closed out Starbucks and then she kept an eye on traffic while I stood in traffic to capture the perfect Christmas lights. (Picture at the top of this post.) That's friendship.
- My friend Jill and I gabbed away at a different Starbucks the next morning. The new Joy tea is amazing- so much better than the one Starbucks used to offer.
- My mom and I got a quick thrift store jaunt in and I hit the jackpot. I found a Christian Dior blazer and a Tory Burch coat, in addition to a cute blouse, sweater, and pair of jeans. I mean.
- My brother, sister-in-law, and most importantly, my niece came home for Christmas. She let me hold her right away, even though it was past her bedtime. She is the best and I loved every second together, especially the way she "communicates." The cutest "oohs" and "dadas" you've ever heard.
- We hosted my dad's side of the family Christmas Eve. My second cousin Lewellyn brought Christmas poppers with her that had wind-up reindeer we could race and different whistles which could be conducted into playing Christmas carols. It was hilarious!
- Alli didn't quite know what to make of her first Christmas but we sure got a kick out of her. My brother would start opening the present for her and then she might rip a piece or get the present out or she might play with a hanger instead.
- We spent the rest of Christmas day with my mom's side of the family. It was so good being with everyone. We ate a ton and mostly talked the day away. One of my cousin's daughters wanted to snuggle with me, which is quite the accomplishment because she's definitely not a toddler anymore.
- The day after Christmas I met up with my pal Annie at Blackberry Market. I adore their tea selection. Annie and I have known each other since freshman year of high school and there's such comfort in talking things through with her because of the shorthand we've developed and all that we still have in common. She's a good egg.
- On the way out of Blackberry Market, I got to say hi to my friends Karin and Kim who were both in town. It was so fun to see them and get quick updates!
- My friend Megan drove all the way out from Huntley to pick me up. I took her to lunch at Egglectic, then introduced her to the marvels of SereneTeaz, before we headed back to her house. I love hanging out with her family. Plus, her house is the coziest. We enjoyed cocktails by the fire, cuddled with her cat Leo, and had a kitchen dance party. The next day was low-key hang out time, including waffles her daughter made with her new waffle maker. They spoil me!
- My friend Laura and I went to Graham's 318 in Geneva, which has changed a bit since my last time there but is still as great as always. Our time together goes way too fast but we still did our best to solve the world's problems. I am always amazed by Laura's memory and her ability to quote people, books, and lyrics verbatim. It's a true skill.
- Mom made me a few comfort food dinners while I was in town: Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Beef Stew, and Steak and Mashed Potatoes. She also made a nut-free coffee cake just for me. She loves me so well. (Dad does too- he manned the grill.)
- My flight made it out of Chicago in the knick of time! The winter weather advisory was no joke but I made it back to San Francisco safe and sound.
- Micha picked me up from the airport and the boys gave me a warm welcome home. Baby Ace and I had a lot of catching up to do and he was happy to show me his newest tricks.
- My coworker Katie and I had breakfast at Jane, where I ordered $4 toast. Proof I really do live in SF. (In my defense, it was slathered in peanut butter, honey, banana, and chia seeds.)
- Today I'm headed to the LA area to see my friend JJ and then I'll meet up with my friend Sharone to go to the Rose Parade. I'm so excited! Happy New Year, everyone!
In the Blogosphere:
Here are the weekly-ish posts of this month's favorite Internet finds but you can find even more of what I've been reading at Storify.
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
On The Blog:
I worked long and hard on Tired Of Waiting and it proved cathartic. I'm so moved hearing from people with whom it resonated.
(The best way to see updates in your newsfeed is by liking and commenting on my posts regularly.)
What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:
1. Today’s link-up will stay open for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Monday February 1.
2. Link the unique URL of your post, not your blog's home page. Readers peruse link ups months after the fact and you want to make it easy for them to find your What I'm Into post.
4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!
What have you been into this month?
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