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What I'm Into (February 2017 Edition)


When I think of February, I'll remember my niece pushing the pedals while my brother pushed her tricycle on the sidewalk. I'll remember the warm weight of my nephew in my arms as I swayed back and forth. I'll remember how I kept trying, no matter how many false starts and almosts life threw at me. I'll remember the unseasonably warm weather surprising us for a few days before February acted like itself again.


Read and Reading

PicMonkey Collage

I loved Yoon's first book so I could not wait to see where'd she take us in The Sun Is Also A Star. I'm usually skeptical of insta-love stories, especially when they take place over the course of the day, but Yoon made a believer out of me. I loved everything about the flukish way Daniel and Natasha met and the way their relationship grew, with all the ups and downs. I especially liked how the study about the 36 questions that can make people fall in love was incorporated. There are high stakes from the beginning due to Natasha and her family being deported that night and the themes related to immigration were incredibly powerful, particularly because Daniel's parents were immigrants too. We get to see all these different perspectives, making it incredibly relevant these days. I also liked how we got brief insights into the lives of other people Natasha and Daniel encountered. There was one moment toward the end that enraged me- and that's not hyperbole. To see how our actions and inactions dramatically impact the lives of others was in full effect here. This book was clever, funny, angsty, and moving. All of my favorite things in one.


I'm not at all familiar with Russian fairytales so The Bear and the Nightingale (Arden) completely captivated me. While it's about Frost, the winter demon, it turned out to be a larger meditation on faith, superstition, and the line between good and evil. Arden masterfully built the story and the writing was stellar. Vasya was such a wonderful character- fully ordinary in spite of her magical gifts, yet spirited and unique. I loved her compassion for all the spirits/demons and the way she nurtured them and I loved the way she stood up to the priest whose hubris stood in the way of his understanding of God. I hope Arden will write more in this vein.


I wrote a very long gushy review of Kulti (Zapata) on Goodreads (read it here). A few quick takeaways: I wish I could give it 10 stars, Sal Casillas is my kind of heroine, I loved learning more about women's soccer, REINER KULTI IS THE BEST, it's laugh out loud funny, I'd highly recommend listening to it on audio for the way narrator Callie Dalton brought the story- and all of those accents- to life.


Wilder (Yarros) was such a delight to read! Yarros definitely knows how to reel her readers in- I was hooked from the first couple of pages. The plot unspooled quickly but at the same time, it was like following a trail of crumbs the way Yarros finally gave us the reveals and twists behind characters' pasts and motivations. I'd be reading and dying to know what happened to this person or what that person's secret was and we'd only find out at the exact perfect moment. It was truly impressive! There were a couple of twists I never saw coming- and I'm a very, very hard person to surprise. I loved watching Paxton and Leah's relationship develop. There's so much they have to learn from one another and while it might have been more appropriate for their tutor-tutee relationship to stay exactly that, their romance was so swoon-worthy. I loved how Paxton kept pushing Leah out of her comfort zone. He had a lot of great things to say about fear and what lies on the other side of it. I loved how Leah grounded Paxton and forced him to think about more than the next big rush. The Renegades were such a great group, more like a tight-knit family than thrill-seeking friends. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Landon, Penna, and whoever else's books.


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), The Art Of Happiness (Dalai Lama), Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London (Elkin), Mr. Rochester (Shoemaker), Elite (Van Dyken), Girls In The Moon (McNally), Fake Fiancée (Madden-Mills), Wanderlust (Prescott), How The Light Gets In (Penny)

(I read 26 books this month.)



Favorite performances at the Grammys: Bruno Mars (especially his Prince tribute), A Tribe Called Quest, Chance The Rapper, John Legend 

There were some great moments at the Oscars- like when it turned out Moonlight won Best Picture after all!!!!- but Jimmy Kimmel was a terrible host. I didn't watch any of the nominated movies (for shame!) but I was thrilled Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis won. And Viola's speech was incredible! My favorite dresses were Chrissy Teigen, Viola Davis, and Nicole Kidman and I thought Janell Monae's dress was fierce and memorable.



Loving: Not Afraid Anymore- Halsey, You're The One That I Want- Lo-Fang (I'm obsessed with this cover), Guys My Age- Hey Violet

Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.



If you watched the Gilmore Girls revival, you need to listen to Appointment Television's discussion.

Similarly, if you're a fan of LOST, you absolutely must listen to The Popcast's deep dive on one of my favorite shows. They knocked it out of the park!

It was so fun listening to Megan Tietz's episode on What Should I Read Next? I never tire of Megan's enthusiasm for The Great Gatsby and it was a treat to be a fly on the wall while two friends discuss books. 

Jess Lively continues to give me so much to think about. See: The Lively Show episode #194: Quantum Living: Creating your own reality- Rationally and Trans-Rationally and episode #197: What I'm doing to manifest and prepare for my future partner.

I was not familiar with Sam Richardson before listening to his episode on Off Camera with Sam Jones but I loved learning about his Detroit roots and the way his parents met.

Must-listen: Sorta Awesome episode 87: Real Talk About Refugees. Super impressed with how they tried to address concerns about Trump's executive order from every angle. 



  • Kelly and I had a belated mutual birthday breakfast at Good Earth. Not only was the food fantastic but I learned they make the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy tea I used to be addicted to...and they make a whole bunch of other kinds of tea too! I had Sweet Chai Of Mine and it was amazing. 


  • I went to Virginia to meet my baby nephew. Micah is the light of my life. I had 4 1/2 days to snuggle him and play with his sister and it was heaven. 


  • (It was nice seeing my brother and sister-in-law, too.)


  • I stayed with my friend Kibibi while I visited and it was so much fun to catch up with her. We went to Founding Farmers for brunch and they had this cranberry French toast that changed my life. The mimosa didn't hurt either.


  • Karin had me and her friend Katie over for dinner and then we watched reality tv and I'm not sure there's anything better.


  • Chris Ann and I went to Blackbird for lunch. We got Hopeless Romantics (because ginger syrup) and I had the chicken sausage rice bowl, which sounds so simple on the surface but it was kicked up a notch with nori and kim chee remoulade.


  • I petsit for people with cable so I got to watch a Hallmark movie and it was so cheesy and wonderful. 


  • Annie's dog Foxy is so excited whenever I stop by the house. It completely warms my heart! We are pals.


  • I may have found a new stylist! Amy at Rue 48 Salon did a great job cutting my hair.


  • Annie P. and I went to Glam Doll Donuts, which meant I needed to get a donut with bacon on it and that was the correct choice. 


  • Because it was Valentine's Day and we're single and sassy, we also got Thai takeout and drank red wine and it was glorious.


  • I found the best Little Free Library! I don't know if I could ever narrow down which authors to include but I love their creativity.


  • I got together with the friend of a friend Haley. We drank tea while her kids played around us and we talked about the Enneagram, which is always the way to my heart. Plus, she had pho recommendations. 


  • I moved around a couple of times this month but mid-month saw me moving in with a friend of a friend . I've got my own room and bathroom downstairs and I even have a bookshelf again, which is probably the best part. Annie is great, even if we're mostly ships in the night.


  • All the moving around since October meant it's taken me longer to get set up with the Hennepin County Library. I got my card a couple of months ago but haven't had a chance to take advantage of it until now. I am loving it! The local branch has a really open and airy setup and I'm enjoying being able to request books and have them waiting for me again.


  • Friend of a friend Sarah and I met for coffee at Peace Coffee. Or rather, she had coffee and I had this amazing pot of masala chai. It was so great getting to know her! I'm looking forward to hanging out again soon.


  • Gretchen is an old friend from high school who also lives in the area. She's getting more involved in politics and invited me to come to the town hall meeting. It's not my district but it was fascinating and galvanizing and just plain encouraging to be in that room. A definite highlight of this month. Afterward we had lunch at General Store and then wandered around the shop. I could get into a lot of trouble there.


  • Kelly and I had breakfast at French Meadow Cafe. I love that place. And her.




Favorite Instagram:


Loving every minute of your life can seem like a tall order at times but most days I am in awe of how far I've come (literally and metaphorically.) Today has been a great day. Tomorrow will be too. #eternalyearofleigh #TheYearOfLeigh

Pouch from @lovefeastshop | Tulips from Trader Joe's  

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I found the start of a draft for what became Smells Like Teen Spirit and thought I'd finish it, a little nothing story about an old high school crush. I was blown away by the feedback and got a kick out of how many friends tried to guess who my crush was. It inspired a lovely meander down memory lane for my classmates and I. 



What I'm Into

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 March 31.  

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.

3. Please include the What I'm Into button or mention you're linking up with What I'm Into at Leigh Kramer.

4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!




What have you been into this month? 

Disclosure: Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click throughany purchase you make supports this site.

Review: The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

The Possessions- Sara Flannery Murphy

The Possessions



In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.


Buy The Book Here:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add To Goodreads


My Review - 4 Stars

From the very first chapter, this book drew me in. I wanted to know what was happening. Murphy spills out the plot sparingly, keeping the reader guessing about everything from Edie's past to what's really happening at the Elysian Society.

There's a haunting, dreamy quality throughout. We see everything from Edie's perspective and it's as if she's under water, viewing life in a muted manner. We know Edie has worked at the Elysian Society for 5 years, she's a rule follower, and she keeps to herself. It's a half life because of something that happened in her past. She'd rather disappear into work as a body.

I still don't know what to make of the Elysian Society. The workers are known as bodies and clients come to speak- literally- to their deceased loved ones. It's similar, I'd guess, to using a medium, except there's more of an inhabitation for the duration of the session. The bodies are simply vessels. They take a pill called a lotus and they recess as the deceased person takes over until the lotus wears off 30 minutes later. They do not know what the deceased person is saying or how the client responds. At least, most of the time, as we learn things can go very wrong. As you might imagine, the work isn't for everyone and Edie is held up as an example, both positive and negative, for lasting this long.

Everything changes when Patrick Braddock comes in as a client. For whatever reason, Edie is captivated by his dead wife Sylvia. There's something about Patrick that affects her differently from other clients and she cannot separate out Sylvia's desires from her own. After so many years of disappearing into her work, Edie's change in behavior raised a lot of questions. Was it simply the end result of denying her past? Was there something more between Edie and Patrick? Would Edie come clean with him about whatever she'd done?

As Edie takes more risks and meets Patrick outside of work, her focus is ever more on what happened to Sylvia.I have a feeling I'll think back on Edie and Patrick for some time to come. Their relationship was not really their own, given the ready presence of Sylvia, and I wonder what might have been had Edie been able to be more fully present in her own life. I guessed correctly about this fairly early on but I enjoyed seeing how the plot came together. Despite her flaws, I felt like Edie was an honest narrator and it was harder to suss out who of the limited people in her life was worthy of being trusted. This made it a hard book to put down.

The book also raises interesting questions about grief. Is it healthy for people to speak with their dead loved one years after they've gone? What affect does this have on the deceased to become aware of inhabiting a body that's not their own? There are a few different plot lines that examine these questions to great affect.

The writing was incredible. There were lines like, "Tissues extend upward like static smoke" and "envelopes flaking onto the floor" that have stuck with me. The plot was original and gripping. I don't know the last time I encountered a novel like this.

The book ends with some hope but it's a larger reflection on what happens when we cannot accept the blows life gives us and when we choose to retreat instead of fully live. And that's worth reflecting on.

(I was happy to see this was one of the February selections for Book Of The Month Club. I think you'll be pleased if you picked it!)


About Sara Flannery Murphy

Sara Flannery Murphy APSara Flannery Murphy grew up in Arkansas, where she divided her time between Little Rock and Eureka Springs, a small artists’ community in the Ozark Mountains. She received her MFA in creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis and studied library science in British Columbia. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and son. The Possessions is her first novel.

Find out more about Sara at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.




Tlc tour host

Disclosure: I received an ARC from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.

Smells Like Teen Spirit


He let me wear his coat during class that day.

It was brown corduroy lined with cream shearling. It was too big even for him but such was fashion in the 90s. Swaths of fabric pooled around my body. I pushed the thick sleeves back whenever I needed to take notes.

Tim* sat in front of me, stoic without his armor. The coat smelled like CK1 and cigarettes. I didn't know for sure he smoked until then. I breathed in his scent, knowing this might be my only chance.

Our school's heating system heated indiscriminately and this wing of the building ran cold. There wasn't always time to grab my winter coat from my locker before class. I couldn't believe he'd offered it to me when he could have offered it to Stacey instead. I could never compete with one of the most popular girls in school. But no, he'd overheard us talking about how cold we were and settled his coat on my shoulders before I even understood what he said. My shoulders. Not hers. 

What was this life?

I barely had a chance to thank him before class began and we took our seats.

Doc Wilder started the lesson as I stared at the back of Tim's head wondering what had just happened. It didn't make any more sense to me but a lick of hope curled through me. Maybe this meant something. Maybe this crush would not end unrequited.

I looked at the way his hair fell and the shape of his ears. I took in his posture and how he always seemed at home in his body, something I appreciate more now as an adult. He was funny and irreverent and smart. He embodied the grunge look so well and God help me but I wanted to be Courtney Love to his Kurt Cobain- if they'd had a healthy relationship. Like a much, much healthier version.

The day he gave me his coat was not the first time we'd talked but it was the first time I wondered if he was paying better attention to our pre-class conversations than I thought. He saw me and nothing makes me fall harder for someone than that. 

Class ended and it was time for lunch. I peeled off his coat and gave it back to him, immediately chilled. We strolled through the hallway, chatting as usual, and then headed in different directions. He gave me his usual smile and my stomach flipped in return. I wondered if anything had changed. If anything would change.

Nothing changed.

A week later, desperation clawed through me. What had his kind gesture meant? I needed a sign.

"Can I borrow your coat again?" The question slipped out as I looked up into his clear blue eyes. I immediately wished I could lasso the words back. My face turned red and electricity snapped through me. I was a live wire of vulnerability. I was asking for his coat but I was asking for so much more.

Annoyance swept over his face. After all, it was freezing. Whatever had motivated his gentlemanly behavior before was no longer in play. But he still shrugged it off and let me borrow it once more. I knew better than to ask again. I tamped my feelings back down. When class ended, I shrugged off the coat and put my crush back on the shelf.

And that was that. 

A year later he started dating one of my friends, a bubbly Pollyanna type. I was mystified how this bad boy could see something in her he didn't see in me. He was a perpetual question mark.

Why had he given me his coat that day? Did he ever think I was attractive? What could I have done differently to call him mine?

Not too long ago I caught a whiff of cK1 and I was transported back to the classroom, his face smiling at me, and the heft of that coat pooled around me. I felt the ache of wanting him. More than 20 years have passed but I still wonder. 


*Names have been changed because you may feel like writing about your high school crush but that doesn't mean you want your crush to Google himself and find out about it.

Review: Almost Perfect: The Heartbreaking Pursuit of Pitching's Holy Grail by Joe Cox

Almost Perfect: The Heartbreaking Pursuit of Pitching's Holy Grail- Joe Cox

Almost Perfect



The rich, poignant tales of major league baseball's most hard-luck fraternity--the pitchers of its Almost-Perfect Games From 1908 to 2015, there have been thirteen pitchers who have begun Major League Baseball games by retiring the first twenty-six opposing batters, but then, one out from completing a perfect game, somehow faltering (or having perfection stolen from them). Three other pitchers did successfully retire twenty-seven batters in a row, but are still not credited with perfect games.

While stories of pitching the perfect game have been told and retold, Almost Perfect looks at how baseball, at its core, is about heartbreak, and these sixteen men are closer to what baseball really is, and why we remain invested in the sport. Author Joe Cox visits this notion through a century of baseball and through these sixteen pitchers--recounting their games in thrilling fashion, telling the personal stories of the fascinating (and very human) baseball figures involved, and exploring the historical American and baseball backdrops of each flawed gem.

From George "Hooks" Wiltse's nearly perfect game in 1908 to "Hard Luck" Harvey Haddix's 12-inning, 36-consecutive-outs performance on May 26, 1959 (the most astounding single-game pitching performance in baseball history) to Max Scherzer's near miss in 2015, Joe Cox's book captures the action, the humanity, and the history of the national pastime's greatest "almosts."


Buy The Book Here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  Add To Goodreads


My Review - 4.5 Stars

"Because perfection can happen at any time, at any place, to any pitcher. Isn't that part of why we keep coming back to the ballpark? And moreover, isn't it why we keep getting up in the morning? Even in the midst of the most humdrum existence, there exists that possibility that maybe the day comes when all of the breaks come our way, when the road bends under our feet, the sun shines at the right angle, and we do something truly memorable." p. 227

I’m a huge Chicago White Sox fan. That should go without saying. However, I still have a lot to learn about baseball. My immediate family never watched the sport and I didn’t take my fandom seriously until college. But I think I’d still have a lot to learn even if it had played a more dominant role in my childhood because so many unexpected things can happen during a game, not to mention the rarely used rules that come out of nowhere. (I’m looking at you, AJ Perzynski running to 1st base after the ball hit the dirt during ALCS Game 2, may you be forever thanked and praised for knowing such a rule existed.)

One of the more interesting baseball phenomenons is the perfect game. A perfect game consists of 27 consecutive outs, no hits, no errors, no walks, no hit batters, and no catcher's interference. Just thinking about Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009 makes me happy all over again. As of Opening Day 2017, there have been only 21 perfect games.

Before this book, I didn’t know much about the pitchers who came *thisclose* to a perfect game and missed it. My heart went out to the 16 pitchers profiled in Almost Perfect.

While we all look forward to the glory days, most of us are more used to the almosts and the what ifs. I’ve never pitched an inning of baseball but I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been let down by others. Joe Cox does a marvelous job of not only taking us through these games but telling us about the players themselves, from their childhoods to their personal lives to their careers. Even though Major League ballplayers are akin to celebrities (at least to me), they’re also a lot like you and me. They have great days at work and they have bad days at work.

Cox seamlessly wove history into the narrative. Whether it was the rise of TV coverage or integration or simply teams changing cities (did you know the Baltimore Orioles were originally the St. Louis Browns?), Cox showed how the sport was changing and changing us as a result.

I also loved going deeper into these almost perfect games, not an easy feat for such an audiovisual game. Cox keeps the details moving and the chapters center more on the players themselves. One of the most unusual games involved Babe Ruth being ejected from a game in the start of the first inning and Ernie Shore taking over as pitcher. Shore got his 27 outs but because Ruth walked a player, it was ruled a no-hitter. Kind of crazy, right?

I was moved by the chapters on Armando Galarraga and Max Scherzer. Galarraga technically did pitch a perfect game. However, the umpire Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe at first base but he messed up the call. At that time, there was no replay for umps and Bud Selig refused to overturn the call. Joyce and Galarraga were a great example of sportsmanship and in 2014, replay was expanded. Scherzer’s  brother Alex committed suicide in 2012; 3 years later Scherzer became the 5th pitcher in MLB history to throw 2 no-hitters in a single season. An amazing accomplishment but bittersweet without his brother there to cheer him on and give him pointers.

This book is perfect for baseball fans and those who want to learn more about the game. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the players, as well as the parallels Cox makes between baseball and us.


Disclosure: I was provided an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.


What I'm Into (January 2017 Edition)


  Sutro Baths, San Francisco

What a mixed bag January has been. I'm trying to focus on the positive: time with good friends, banding together for the Women's March, and getting to go back to San Francisco for a few days. It rained most of my trip but there were a few key moments when the rain held off and I'm taking that metaphor and running with it.


Read and Reading
What an experience Heartless (Meyer) was! I kept wanting to yell, "DON'T DO THAT!" with Catherine's every decision and action. We know this is the Queen Of Heart's origin story but she starts out so hopeful, it was hard to see where the evolution of bad choices took her. I absolutely loved Jest's character and what he brought out in Cath. I also loved the Poe references with Raven's character. I've never read Lewis Carroll's Alice books but this made me want to because I know I was missing out on so many insider references. I was working off of faded memories of the Disney movie but this was still a satisfying, if heartbreaking, read.


Add me to the chorus of people gushing over this The Hating Game (Thorne)! SO. FREAKING. GOOD. The writing is snappy and fresh. The plot is inventive and oh so clever. (The Or Something Game? Be still my heart.) I loved loved loved Lucy and Josh's interactions, seeing how they moved from being work enemies to possibly something more. The way Josh looked out for her, especially when she got sick, was wonderful, even if it took Lucy longer to catch on. And oh my word, I'll never look at a certain shade of blue the same way again. I cannot believe this is the author's debut! Fantastic. Even if you're not much for romance novels, this one is well worth reading.


If you've already read A Court Of Mist And Fury (book 2 in the Court Of Thorns And Roses series), then please go read my spoilery review on Goodreads and let me know your thoughts. Maas blew me away. Seriously.


I'll have a full review up sometime this month but go ahead and get a copy of They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement by journalist Wesley Lowery now. 5 stars.


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), The Art Of Happiness (Dalai Lama), A Mind Of Winter (poetry), Kulti (Zapata), The Sun Is Also A Star (Yoon)

(I read 32 books this month.)



I haven't had access to TV and I've had either no or very limited internet for most of this month so I'm behind on all my shows. It's like the dark ages. But when I'm back in the wired world, I plan on watching the new season of Sherlock and catching up on Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and maybe giving This Is Us one last shot.



The discussion of teen soaps vs. teen dramas on Riverdale and Other Teen Soaps is a perfect example of why I love listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour.

I have truly appreciated, from the bottom of my heart, the way Overdue has not shied away from political talk the past few months. Yes, it’s a podcast about books but of course books are impacted by politics. Episode 220 on the US Constitution made for fascinating listening.

So much single lady solidarity for Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Episode #229: Romance, Dating, and Very Real Expectations: An Interview with Alisha Rai. Rai has been on my To Read list for a while and this made me want to move her books up to the top.

Code Switch’s episodes on Obama’s Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?, Callouts and Fallouts, and Did He Remix Race?

I haven’t stopped thinking about The Law of Attraction on The Lively Show. The origin and application is so different from what I thought (hint: it’s not The Secret.) In fact, I plan on listening to it again and taking notes and then pestering friends into discussing it.

It was so fun listening to Rachel Bloom on Off Camera with Sam Jones! I love her show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

#607: Didn’t We Solve This One? from This American Life is required listening. For real. My grammar school classmate Kirk Johnson is featured in the second half of the show. I’ve written about his book To Be A Friend Is Fatal before and if you haven’t read it, you really should. He just joined Twitter and is a great source of information regarding refugees, specifically those who worked as interpreters or in other roles for the US government.



  • My friend’s husband made me scrambled eggs in the shape of Minnesota. Or as we liked to call it: Minneggsota. It was quite impressive.
  • I cat-sat for Gus again. If it’s going to be negative degrees outside, it’s good to stay inside with a giant cat warming your lap.
  • My friend Micah hosted a gathering and I finally got to meet him and Ben face to face. That’s the wondrous nature of internet friendships.
  • My birthday plans got snowed out and I was pretty bummed. But it was nice to get texts and phone calls all day and I ate chocolate chip cookie dough to celebrate. (If you're dairy-free, track down some Just Cookie Dough and thank me later. You can find it at Target.)


  • A few days later, Annie and I celebrated my birthday at 112 Eatery. I drank an Old Fashioned and ate all kinds of amazing things, like tartalle with foie gras meatballs. The staff wished me a happy birthday the whole night and it felt like a good way to usher in 37.
  • Kim Van Brunt and I figured out a Barnes & Noble that was about halfway between us and met up for coffee. It was so good to catch up! I’m so happy we live in the same state now.
  • One of my goals for this year is to catch up on all my doctor visits because I have been very delinquent. I found a PA and checked my annual off the list. Plus, I really liked her and how often can you say that about a doctor’s visit?
  • My work flew me out to San Francisco to train my replacement. I’m still looking for full-time work in the Twin Cities so it’s a little stressful to lose a source of income. But I was THRILLED to be back! I stayed with Chris and Micha and it was just like old times. When I got to the house, Ezra the Cat looked at me like, “where have you been all this time?! I forgive you, never leave me again.” 
  • Kayla came over and we ordered takeout from my favorite Chinese place and caught up on life and talked about being Fours. It was perfect.


  • I met Rachel for breakfast sandwiches at Devil’s Teeth (be still my heart) and then we walked down to the ocean. It was chilly and the waves were huge from all the rain but the sun came out as we walked back. Also perfect.
  • My friends Christy and Johnny had a baby couple of months ago and I finally got to meet her! She let me hold her for the whole visit, falling asleep off and on in my arms. I wanted to keep her but my friends didn’t agree. Oh well!


  • Laura P. and I headed to the Women’s March together. We were supposed to meet one group of friends but got distracted by the baby. So we found a different group of friends instead. It rained a lot and it was cold but that didn’t diminish the joy or sense of hope in the crowd. I loved looking at all the signs and just the sheer number of people who showed up to say we are not OK with Trump. Beyond encouraging.
  • After the march, Laura, Julie, Daniel, and I had dinner at Yummy Yummy. I had pho and it was the most perfect thing to eat while I drip-dried. Delectable.
  • I loved getting to catch up with my coworkers! It was so nice to see everyone and, of course, to have people excited to see me. Matt didn’t know I was going to be at the staff meeting and afterward he said when he saw me, he thought “this must be how the disciples felt when Jesus was resurrected.” I could not stop laughing. Who can ever top that compliment?! I worked with the best people and it was great to be back at the Russian Center Sunday morning and then in the office for a couple of days. A little bittersweet, too, because I’m going to miss working with everyone but I know they’re in good hands.


  • My cousins Clara and Emily and their families had me over for lunch. It’s been ages since I’ve seen them so it was just plain good to be together and reminisce and rant about politics. Clara’s kids are the cutest and I can’t handle how big they’re getting.
  • My cousin Nick (other side of the family) and I hit up my personal trifecta: Holy Gelato, Green Apple Books, and Sutro Baths. I was bummed his girlfriend was out of town (in Nashville of all places!) but it was also nice to have the 1:1 time. Nick is such a great guy and one of the reasons I was sad about moving away. 
  • Speaking of staying with Chris and Micha, I got all kinds of snuggles with Ace. He is moving around and chattering like a champ. I cannot even believe it! It was also great fun to see the other boys and hear what’s new with them. We had a family dinner my last night in town and all was right with the world again. Love them all so much!


  • I went to my favorite pho place both Monday and Tuesday- first with Lydia and then with my team at work. I probably could have eaten there for every meal while I was in SF. SO GOOD.
  • Laura T. and I had grand plans of roaming the Mission but when push came to shove, we decided on a cozy night in. We had soup and hot toddies and watched a few episodes of The Good Place and it was just what we needed. She’s my favorite. As is her dog.
  • My last morning in town, Micha and I headed down to Devil’s Teeth. Not only did I get one last breakfast sandwich, I got a ginger cookie, raspberry pop tart, and soft pretzel. I’m a long-time ginger cookie fan but was a newcomer to their pop tarts and pretzels and they were amazing. Much better than anything I could have found in the airport.
  • Ben, Dianna, and I met up at Workhorse Coffee. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Dianna so it was fun to see her again. It was good to commiserate and talk about life and worry about our country’s future and then talk about how to stay sane while we worry. 
  • I met up with an old friend from high school for dinner at Good Earth. Karin and I realized we haven’t seen each other since we graduated almost 20 years ago (how???) but it was like that time hadn’t passed at all. We might as well have been sitting in art class again. Except I like the grown up versions of us even better. 



Favorite Instagram:


It'll take more than a little rain to back San Francisco down. I'll never forget marching with this throng of women and men today. It's darkest before dawn but after seeing so many people represent, surely light is on the horizon. The people united will never be defeated.

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I waved my freak flag high and proud and told you how I read 313 books last year. I'm still pretty astonished. 


What I'm Into

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