Half Moon Bay
September became my month of saying goodbye. In 3 days I'll load up my car and start a very leisurely drive northeast until I land in Minneapolis. I'm excited about what's to come but I am beyond sad to leave the darling community I've found here. Yes, I'll be back for visits but there's nothing like being a resident in this strange, beautiful city. San Francisco, you've been good for me.
Read and Reading
This freaking book! I cannot tell you how much I loved It Ends With Us (Hoover) or how sure I am it will be on my favorite fiction of 2016 list. I haven't read Hoover before but she's been on my radar for a while (thanks, Elora!) She blew me away with her depictions of Lily, Ryle, and Atlas. The character growth was incredible but I was especially impressed with how she handled a very serious issue (some think this is best kept under wraps but if you are careful about what you read, I put a trigger warning here) and somehow managed to avoid all the cliches. Whatever you thought about this matter before reading, I guarantee she'll leave you thinking about it in a much more nuanced, informed light. I do not often copy down passages from novels but the writing was absolutely gorgeous and worth referring back to. I admired Lily so much and by the end of the novel, I wanted to be her best friend, give her a hug, and then arrange eternal applause. I also loved her friendship with Allysa and what that relationship comes to mean to both of them. Plus, there were clever quirks like old journal entries addressed to Ellen DeGeneres and unusual flower arrangements. In short: I LOVED IT!
The Wonder (full review here, along with other September new releases) raises excellent questions of faith, doubt, and miracles. The story is densely layered, with facts and clues doled out to us in a perfectly paced manner, not only about Anna and her family but Lib herself. I raced through the last 80 pages wanting to know whether Anna would die, if Lib would ignore the rules of the watch, and just whether a miracle had occurred after all. The way Donoghue (author of Room) brought it all together at the end blew me away. Masterfully done. (Disclosure: I was provided an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.)
In Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson's prose weaves an evocative and meandering story of a woman making sense of how moving to Brooklyn as a young girl changed her and her sense of family. It went in such interesting directions and while it's a slim volume, it's an effective one.
Can I please be like Phryne Fisher when I grow up? Cocaine Blues was such a fun mystery to read. I'm so curious if we'll learn more of her backstory as the series progresses. How did she become so confident and clever and self-possessed? I haven't watched the TV show based on the books but after reading this one, I'm going to.
I am full on obsessed with my new discovery Penny Reid. She writes nerdy, quirky romance and I have laughed out loud with every book. I read the first two books in her Winston Brothers series: Truth Or Beard and Grin and Beard It. I am full on swooning over the brothers Winston and cannot wait to read Cletus's book Beard Science when it comes out October 18. Can we take a minute to marvel over those cross-stitch covers? The best!
I've also read the first three books in her Knitting In The City series. They are pure fun, while also being educational (random trivia! boy bands! bitcoins!) and I have not been able to stop myself from guessing the main characters' Enneagram types.(One of my quirks.) Start with Neanderthal Seeks Human (free on Kindle and Nook!) I don't know if I've ever encountered a character like Janie before. She was incredibly endearing, even if she was a walking Jeopardy contestant. She is quirky as all get out and incredibly brilliant. She struck me as a classic Five (the need to perceive, all logic all the time), though Nine was an initial guess. She was incredibly stuck in her head and unaware of her emotions and completely oblivious to glaringly obvious things...and I loved it! The way her relationship with Quinn unfolded was so fun to watch, especially seeing what they had to teach one another. Quinn was incredibly dreamy and mysterious and so much more of a good guy than he believed he was. I loved the build up to their relationship and then seeing how they navigated dating.
Currently reading: The Complete Enneagram (Chestnut), The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), Too Heavy A Yoke (Walker-Barnes), From A Paris Balcony (Carey)
(I read 25 books this month.)
I watched the first episode of This Is Us and I am allllll in. I've missed Milo Ventimiglia.
I have an alarming amount of opinions about Luann's behavior on Real Housewives of New York. She was quadrupling down on the reunion episodes and I cannot understand what Tom has over her.
Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.
Every episode of Smartest Person in the Room's Hollywood Series has blown me away. If you're not listening, you'd best get caught up.
Things I Love:
- The staff off-site was at the Marconi Center and the grounds were incredible. I sat on a bench for a while and just stared out at the water and listened to the birds. It was so peaceful and centering.
- At Book Club we had a rousing discussion about Assata. I'm so glad I could go one last time before moving. It's one of the best book clubs I've ever been a part of and I wish there was a way I could magically appear when they meet in the future.
- Cara and I went to an A's game. It was CRAZY HOT but I love me some baseball, even when I don't have a vested interest in the outcome. It was great to eat a hotdog, catch up with Cara, and then leave after the 7th inning stretch because we'd sweat enough.
- Laura and I went to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay for drinks and the view. What a life! Some day I'm going to splurge and treat myself to a room there.
- Julie and I ate dessert first at Holy Gelato and then followed it up with burritos from Gordo Taqueria. We barely stopped talking to eat. I'm going to miss our wide-ranging conversations!
- I got together with my cousin Nick and his girlfriend Erin in Berkeley. We had brunch at Cafe M, then headed over to their place and basked in the sun in their backyard. They let me help them figure out their Enneagram types (glorious!) and then sent me home with lemons from their tree. I have loved getting to spend time with them this past year and a silver lining is that Erin's family is in Minneapolis so I'll get to see them when they visit.
- Chris, Micha, and I went out for a special roommate dinner at Bistro Central Parc. We had an heirloom tomato salad, escargot (my first!), and a heavenly charcuterie that included foie gras, rabbet rillette, and chicken pate. If that wasn't enough, my steak frites was perfection. Definitely the second best dinner I've had here! More than that, it was lovely to spend time reflecting on what SF has taught me and what this past year of living together has meant for all of us.
- Johnny and Christy had me over for Johnny's infamous pizza and it was absolutely incredible. He has special bricks for his oven and a very specific recipe. I'm so glad I got to experience it! Within a week of meeting Johnny and Christy, they invited me out for a spontaneous dinner after work one night and I have loved getting to know them ever since. They are a delight!
- Laura P. indulged my need to eat at Holy Gelato as much as possible before leaving. This time around I had The Bomb and Irish Morning. I'm so glad we got to have one last get together before she went on vacation!
- While I still had a couple of weeks left in town, the time came for me to leave Chris and Micha's house as their roommate. Micha created a shrine for me, including my name spelled out in Oreos. B made me a drawing and A made me a special paper airplane. Baby Ace gave me lots of snuggles. After the boys were in bed, we ordered Nan King and watched The Great British Bake Off. It was a perfectly ordinary night and it was everything.
- I stayed at Zack and Laura's for two nights, which involved watching Real Housewives of Orange County with Laura, snuggling their dog Artie, and lots of R&R.
- My last night with Laura, we got giant margaritas at Latin American Club, which was probably the best margarita I've ever had, went on a few field trips in the Mission, then ordered amazing Mexican food and watched Austenland. I knew Laura before I moved here and getting to live in the same town was such a gift. I'm going to miss seeing her face every week.
- I went to B's soccer game at the Marina Green. Kindergarteners playing soccer is the best! Plus, that view.
- Micha and I have matching Outlander shirts! Aren't they the best?! I got them from Jordandené. (It was the September shirt so act fast if you want one!)
- Then I headed to Katie and Brian's house to stay in their spacious guest room for the week. Their boys crack me up! It was fun joining them for a Rabbit Feast, the presidential debate, and dinner.
- About a month after I started working, my coworker Lydia took me to a pho restaurant a few blocks from the office. I have been obsessed ever since. I have easily eaten there the most and I'm glad she and I could go one more time together. It was good to catch up and indulge in comfort food.
- I got one last haircut from Gaby. I hope I can find a Hair Whisperer in MSP!
- Barbara and I got crazy good salads at Spinnerie. I'm going to miss working with her every day! I seriously work with the best team.
- My friend Kristal had never been to Nopalito and I am so glad I could introduce her to it before I go. Such a good meal as always!
In the Blogosphere:
You can find the best 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 announced my move to Minneapolis and how I made the decision, including a metaphor about tuning forks.
On the Leigh Kramer FB page, I took the rare occasion to wade into political waters and geeked out over this Anne of Green Gables movie (look who's playing Matthew!) I also asked for audiobook recommendations and boy did you all deliver! Well worth perusing if you're in need of recs.
(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 Tuesday November 1.
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What have you been into this month?
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