What I love about Nashville in March is there might be a few cold days but it's mostly weather in the 60s and 70s and you can sit on your front porch after work and soak up all the sunshine. And sometimes when you walk out to your car, you find blooming hyacinths planted by previous tenants.
Read and Reading
Beautiful, haunting prose made me read the novel All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr) slower than usual. I wanted to savor each page and soak up the character and plot development. I've read my fair share of books about WWII and still Doerr managed to take some complex and nuanced directions. One of the best books I've read in a while.
I adored Kathleen Flinn's approach to all things cooking, food consumption, and kitchen in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. It's relatable and inspiring. I found my knife skills improving as I read and it also gave me more ideas for what and how to cook- and I'm already someone who likes to cook. This should be a must-read for people who never darken their oven doors and for the rest of us as well.
Secrets of a Charmed Life featured the kind of writing that made me first fall in love with Meissner's work. Thoroughly enjoyable and quite moving.
I didn't know it was possible to be even more of a fan of Misty Copeland and then I read her memoir Life in Motion. If you have any interest in ballet or the dance world, you absolutely must read her story. I hope she'll be a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance again!
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (Perelman) is as wonderful as I imagined it would be. I've been a fan of her blog for ages so I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally get her cookbook.
I first heard about Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe from the author herself while hanging out at the Festival of Faith and Writing last year and immediately knew I needed to read it. I was right. Lessons in Belonging deeply resonated with me as I continue to sift through my relationship with faith, doubt, and all things church. Erin's honesty is compelling and while I didn't agree with all of her conclusions, she gave me good food for thought at every turn. Her thoughts on community and belonging were especially insightful. Recommended for anyone with a complicated church history or who is looking for a place to belong. (Full disclosure: I was given an advance copy of Lessons in Belonging from the publisher.)
You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads.
Currently reading: We Make the Road By Walking (McLaren), Amazing Grace (Norris), De Niro (Levy), Strong Inside: Perry Wallace the Collision of Race and Sports in the South (Maraniss), Are You My Type? Am I Yours?: Relationships Made Easy Through the Enneagram (Baron and Wagele), Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Cannon, Harper, Jackson, Rah), Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (Evans), A Door in the Hive (Levertov), The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood (Coates)
(I read 19 books this month. This is what happens when I travel on an airplane, devour a YA trilogy, endure another Ice Day, and practice self-care like it's my job.)
Must-see TV: Madam Secretary, Jane the Virgin, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Fresh Off the Boat, Being Mary Jane, Hindsight, Southern Charm
The Downton Abbey finale (spoiler alert) included something I've been waiting forever for: Carson and Mrs. Hughes finally admit their affections for one another! I also rather enjoyed hearing from the older women in the cast reflect on still having "it" and attracting male suitors.
I didn't see the How to Get Away with Murder finale ending coming. AT ALL. I have no idea what it will mean for season 2. Viola Davis is amazing and the reason why I keep watching but it's definitely a show I stress watch.
New discovery: Leon Bridges
Loving the new Sufjan Stevens album Carrie & Lowell.
My friend Jen and I saw Hozier at the Ryman and he was phenomenal. He played unexpected covers (it might be the only way I can listen to an Ariana Grande song) and had such a gleeful smile on his face in between songs, like he was pinching himself for being there. Plus, it must be said: Hozier can rock a man-bun.
By far, the best thing I listened to this month was You Made It Weird's interview with Richard Rohr. The interview is almost 2 hours long but so worth listening to. I am an admitted Rohr fangirl but it's only because his insights regularly blow my mind. His was the first book I read about the Enneagram (there's a brief discussion toward the end). He's just the best.
Also worth listening to: Three Miles on This American Life about the effect of programs where kids from poor school districts visit schools from wealthy districts. Good food for thought.
A couple of friends told me Dear Sugar started a podcast and I was instantly hooked.
Things I Love:
- My sweet niece! She is the most beautiful, sweetest, smartest baby ever and I am certainly not saying that as her biased aunt. I soaked up every minute of my visit, snuggling her, swaying around the apartment to keep her happy, telling her how much I love her, and taking copious amounts of pictures. I hated, hated, hated saying goodbye.
- It was also nice spending time with my brother and sister-in-law. I still can't believe my brother is a dad!
- While I was there, I stayed with my good friend Kibibi. It was so great catching up, having Living Room Dance Parties, and watching TV together. Just like old times.
- I also got to see my dearest Ashleigh and her boys. There was an ice storm, which canceled school the day we were to get together, so we switched to Plan B and called it good. Love whenever we get to spend time together.
- I added two more VA jobs to my docket this month. Maybe I'm on the right track.
- Like any good book nerd, I transferred the contents of my To Read list to Goodreads. Now I'm working my way through my book log and adding 7 years' worth of books read before I started keeping track on Goodreads too. It's weird seeing how my tastes have changed but I'm proud to say I remember most of what I read.
- Tea with Sarah, who I hadn't seen in ages. We met up at Thistle Stop Cafe shortly before it closed and the weather was nice enough, we just moved our conversation to the patio tables and kept on going.
- I met up with my old coworker Lesley Ann at Biscuit Love, which was amazing. Do try the East Nasty (fried chicken + sausage gravy + biscuit) and thank me later.
- Auntie-Anna Mulan birthday date
- Hanging out with the family I nannied. I can't go too long without seeing my sweet buddy.
- Heart-to-hearts with Amanda- so grateful for a friend who lets me let it all out
- The Red Couch hosted its first live Facebook chat with my pal Micha Boyett, as we discussed her fantastic book Found this month. It was so fun reading through the discussion and seeing the Red Couch community come together. We'll definitely do that again!
- Great lunch at Thai Esane with Alece. We've been needing to catch up for a while and this lunch was just what we needed. It sounds strange but everyone told me to try the sausage and they were right so I pass that recommendation on to you.
- Ruth was in town for work and we grabbed coffee before she headed back. We've known each other almost 30 years and I'm always struck by how well we know each other even though we haven't lived in the same state in over a decade. We don't just catch up on each other's lives; we talk about our respective families and all the ways we've changed since grammar school. Such a treat to spend time with her.
- I got to see my friend Heather while she was in town for a visit. I love how we can both gut laugh and talk serious. She is one of the good ones!
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
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What have you been into this month?
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