Portola Redwoods, La Honda, CA
This spring has been full of work, travel, and play, just the way I like it. May was the best of all worlds, in so many ways. Especially because it included an escape to the forest.
Read and Reading
No One Knows (Ellison) is a worthy addition to the unreliable narrator canon. This would be a 5 star book but for the last chapter (not the epilogue), which felt like the author was forcing readers to come to a specific conclusion, one with which I happened to disagree. Even still, I was fascinated by the main character and the depiction of grief. The twists kept the story pulsing forward and even once key pieces were revealed, I knew there was more to come around the corner. What a ride! This was my April pick from the Book Of The Month Club. I am so impressed with them! If you want to join, new members get 50% off a 3 month membership with the code REFER50.
I could not put Red Queen (Aveyard) down! The author made some bold choices that kept me guessing and the plot has very relevant applications to the race and privilege conversation. I'm anxiously awaiting to get off the library wait list for Glass Sword.
The Raven King (Stiefvater) was a very satisfying end to the series with some lovely unexpected developments. I was especially heartened by Ronan and Adam's storyline, as well as the addition of Henry. I'm going to miss these characters.
People may hear what Chase Away Cancer (Ewoldt) is about and think it's not for them or that it will be too hard to read and they will be wrong. This book is full of hope, laughter, and love. It is full of life, in no small part due to Chase's vivacious personality brought to life by his mother Ellie's words. There are no wrapped-up-in-a-bow conclusions. Chase's prognosis is uncertain and yet this is a family who is choosing, moment by moment, to fully live to the best of their abilities. Ellie is a gifted writer and I'm so glad she chose to share her story in this way. (Full review here.)
Currently reading: The Complete Enneagram (Chestnut), The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), Half of a Yellow Sun (Adichie), To Bless The Space Between Us (O'Donohue), How To Be Here (Bell), All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation (Traister), Come As You Are (Nagoski), Ink and Bone (Caine)
(I read 26 books this month.)
Must-see TV: Real Housewives of New York, Real Housewives of Dallas, Southern Charm, Outlander
I'm wishing I had re-read Dragonfly In Amber before the second season of Outlander began. Either there's a lot I don't remember or they are changing so many things. Still, I'm enjoying the ride, especially because Micha and I get to watch together after texting our way through the first season.
Obsessed with: Atomic Number (Neko Case, k.d. lang, Laura Veirs), all things Lana Del Rey (perfect spring music), and Disturbed's cover of The Sound Of Silence- I've loved this band for years and this is an altogether different sound for them.
Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.
Terry Gross gave a great interview on The Longest Shortest Time about her decision not to have children, as well as the way she approached her career and marriage. I loved the way she framed her decision- more people would be wise to heed her advice.
I finally listened to civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander's interview on On Being and her stories and perspective blew me away. I started her book The New Jim Crow several months ago and have been pacing myself slowly, not because it's new information but because of how worked up I become over seeing the school to prison pipeline laid out so plainly. Her conversation with Krista Tippett is a must-listen.
Reply All's 3-part On The Inside was fascinating. I have hazy memories of the news surrounding the crime but I was young and had no idea about what might have happened. The story starts with a blog started in prison...
I was thrilled to go back on Sorta Awesome to talk about the Enneagram! Megan and I had a blast discussing listener questions on everything from wings and arrows to really figuring out your type.
I am a HUGE fan of Glen Hansard so I was geeking out when he appeared on Off Camera with Sam Jones. I'm such a sucker for an Irish accent and his stories are truly a delight.
Padma Lakshmi came on Another Round and the result was fabulous. Listening made me want to rewatch every season of Top Chef. I really cannot wait to read her memoir Love, Loss, and What We Ate!
Things I Love:
- I've gotten in the habit of ordering Chinese food from my favorite place almost every week. It is the best kind of comfort food!
- My old laptop has reached the end of the road so I made the switch to a MacBook. We're still figuring things out but I love how small and light it is. I also love having a laptop that is fast again!
- Work sent me to Phoenix for a conference, which enabled me to hang out with Kelley the night before. It was so fun to see her in her element!
- The Singleness Conference was AMAZING. I'm still processing what it meant to me, not because of the content so much but because it's the first time I felt fully seen and heard as a single person from a Christian stage. Really grateful to Fuller Seminary for putting it on. I hope they'll do it again next year- there's so much we can explore!
- My friend Christena Cleveland was one of the main speakers. She knocked it out of the park! It was great seeing her in action and getting to catch up with her.
- Chris, Micha, and I dined at Chez Panisse and it was the experience of a lifetime. I've wanted to go there for years and it exceeded my expectations. I don't like fish but I'd eat their salmon any day of the week- it turned out to be my favorite course! I'm so glad I got to share such a delightful meal with my housemates and dear friends. I'll never forget it!
- My team had an off-site meeting and it was good to recast the vision and scope of what we do. Plus, I really enjoy my coworkers so it was fun being out of the office together. And getting to eat pastries all morning and eat amazing Thai food for lunch. Plus happy hour.
- I met up with Sandy to talk about the funeral industry and end of life issues as he gets his startup running. It was a fascinating conversation that went down all kinds of bunny trails- my favorite kind. I'm really impressed with Better Place Forests. If you have any interest in cremation, do yourself a favor and look them up.
- Micha and I went shopping at Good Byes, a high end consignment store. We both found fantastic pieces and I can't wait to go there again. Plus, it was fun to see more of the neighborhood.
- We hosted an event with Makoto Fujimura in support of his new book Silence and Beauty, which takes inspiration from one of my favorite novels Silence by Shusaku Endo. Such wonderful insights from an amazing artist.
- I went camping with Christy, Emily (and her son), and Laura in the Portola Redwoods. It was a quick getaway but we fit in a decent hike to the smallest waterfall I've ever seen. It felt good to be surrounded by giant trees and breathe in the fresh air. And of course, eat lots of s'mores at night.
- We hosted a happy hour for our volunteers and it was fun to get them in a room and share about this past year. We couldn't do it without them! (If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend Bi-Rite Catering. Impressive and delicious!)
- My aunt and uncle came to town to visit my cousin. I adore them and hardly ever get to see them so this was a true treat. We started off with a trip to the recently reopened Museum of Modern Art. It is HUGE! We only made it about halfway through before we stopped being able to take in anything more. I definitely want to go back and see the rest. I was truly impressed with their collection and exhibits.
- Next we headed to The Stinking Rose for an early garlicky dinner. It's apparently a North Beach institution and the garlic braid strung across the ceiling proved it.
- We capped it off with a stop at City Lights Bookstore, home of the beat writers. The top floor is devoted to their writing and poetry! It was positively dreamy. I had to buy Angela Davis's new book. Afterward, we walked down Jack Kerouac Alley and I swooned some more.
- My whole office went to a Giants game last week- my first time there! We had lunch at Java House beforehand, then headed off to the stadium which surely has the best view. They beat the Padres. It was nice watching a game where I had no vested interest in the outcome.
- My coworker told me about Holy Gelato, which boasts 12 soy and coconut milk based gelatos. TWELVE! It is so hard to find good dairy-free desserts so this is a treasure trove. My friend Julie and I stopped by and I devoured Mexican Hot Chocolate and The Bomb.
- Book Club was fun as always! I think I'm especially funny when I'm around fellow book nerds.
- My friend Sharone came to town in support of her book (!) so I took her to Devil's Teeth for breakfast and she was sufficiently impressed with the best breakfast sandwich in the land. It was so good to catch up with her over all the things!
- Memorial Day weekend was just the kind of relaxing I needed- lots of time to read, write, and refresh. After lots of weekends away and a big event at work coming up, I've been in need of a good break.
In the Blogosphere:
You can find the best of what I've been reading at Storify.
Micha wrote an absolutely lovely piece about our single person-living-with-a-family experience. Living with them has been one of the best parts of living in SF, hands down. Hoping to write about it myself one of these days.
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
On The Blog:
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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 Friday July 1.
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What have you been into this month?
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