Amazing Five: August Edition

This format comes from Michael Ian Black’s amazing podcast How to Be Amazing. He ends every interview with a rapid-fire round of questions he calls the “Amazing Five” by asking his guest for a recommendation in each of the following five categories.

Food: Fresh garden tomatoes. Thanks to my dad’s garden, we used to eat so many tomatoes in the summer that my mouth would start to hurt. It didn’t stop me from wanting fresh tomatoes, though. My brother used to call (and still does) underripe store-bought tomatoes “cardboard tomatoes.” My mom cans tomato juice and salsa that keeps all of us stocked all winter (and then some). Here is just one day’s harvest.


Music: I’m really into Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 lately. It’s a familiar piece and I’ve been listening to it a lot at work. Specifically, I’ve been listening this recording of Yo Yo Ma playing all six suites at the Royal Albert Hall.

Television/Movie: I have to default to Ripper Street. This season isn’t as good as the previous two, but it’s compelling, that’s for sure. 

Books: I have a hard time getting a lot of reading done over the summer. Besides re-reading Eat, Pray, Love the only other thing I’ve read is Tales from the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell, which I picked up used on store closing sale from Hastings. It’s total chick-lit but manages to avoid the “everyone ends up with their man” trope. Some of the characters do, but others have happy endings that don’t involve a dude. It is also a very quick read; I read it in less than 24 hours.

Miscellaneous: A working dishwasher. My brilliant husband changed the seal on our dishwasher and it works again. Not having piles of dishes to do every evening certainly helps to boost my mood.



Currently I’m…

thinking about my t0-do list for today. It’s a mile long because I have some chores to catch up with from the past two days of being lazy/helping my step-daughter with cheer/visiting with family. I also have some chores to get ahead on because my parents are coming tomorrow for a visit.

feeling like I should’ve made a summer bucket list. We don’t normally get everything crossed off of our seasonal bucket lists, but they make us more aware of the passing time.

watching Ripper Street with my husband. I think we are on season three. It has been so long since we finished season two that both of us were a little confused about what was going on. Then we realized that they had written in a four-year gap between season two and season three.

reading Eat, Pray, Love. I’m a slow summer reader and had taken a reading hiatus before I picked up this book.

excited about all the garden veggies that my parents are bringing tomorrow.

missing summer. It’s not completely over, but my step-daughter goes back to school soon. Summer has flown by.

wondering when my husband is going to get out of bed. We have different chronotypes. While I used to be a night owl as a kid/young adult, now I like to go do bed early. He’s the opposite. It’s not a big deal except for when I know he wants to run an errand or do a chore together. Like today, I want to get out and mow so I can move on to my other chores, but I can’t get the mower started on my own.

working to stay ahead on my blogging. I want to keep up with posting every day. I write my posts a couple weeks in advance so that I don’t have to write every single day and so that I can work on longer posts for a few days. (Hence, by the time I post this, my step-daughter has already been in school for a week.)

stressed about my work schedule for the next few months. Fall is always crazy-busy and there are a lot of family birthdays and anniversaries in the fall. We aren’t the type of people who thrive when our schedules are packed.

proud of my step-daughter for working hard to get her cheers right. She made the varsity cheerleading team as a rising freshman. I know she is stressed about her first game and pep rally, but she’s working hard to get it.

wanting to have more time for an actual vacation, but nobody’s schedules matched up this summer.

wishing for perfect weather for the Perseid meteor shower. It would be a good night to camp out somewhere.

eating cherries. I just ate the last few cherries from a pound I bought a week ago. I love fresh fruit in the summer. Looking forward to fresh blueberries and watermelon next week.

drinking cheap wine that comes in a four-pack of two-glass serving sized containers. So cute! So convenient!

loving our little cheer dynasty. On Thursday, my step-daughter and I were trouble-shooting a stunt she’s supposed to do and texting my niece about how her squad does the stunt. Also, last week my husband was in the basement while I was in the bathroom, washing my face, and my step-daughter was in her room. He ran up the stairs and to the back of the house where we were and yelled from the hallway, “What are you all doing?” (This is something he does rather often and always randomly, unprompted by anything.) Rather than answer, I yelled from the bathroom, “Go blue! Go gold!” and my step-daughter joined in for the last line, “Go blue and gold!” My husband returned to the basement, defeated by our enthusiasm. 😉


The Final Five

This week, I’m:

Obsessed with Jimmy Carter. I suddenly want to read everything he’s written.I have no recollection of his administration, but even if you didn’t agree with his stances, he always seemed measured and thoughtful. Obviously, I’m…

Done with politics. Longest presidential campaign ever.

Stressed about work. Yesterday, I planned out my next few weeks. I don’t think I will even be in the office enough to get all my urgent projects done.

Finding funny–My husband and I played that card game War last night. He had never played before and after a quick run-through of the rules, we started in. It drug on for awhile but his sound effects for winning, losing and tying kept making me giggle.

Oversharing that I’m having a difficult time reconciling the fact that Christian conservatives, especially the ones who raised me, are even considering voting for a man like Trump. It feels very personal to me and I’ve already cried once this year about this issue…long before he had the nomination locked down.

Gold Star / Demerit


Caffeine gets a demerit from me this week. Wednesday we had an all-day meeting at work. Coffee was free and flowing and I ordered a Coke with my box lunch. Before I realized it, I had overdosed on caffeine. I felt disgusting and sick and totally gross. (P.S. The only way I know to slightly straighten out that bad overcaffeinated feeling is to drink some booze. This is typically frowned upon during work hours, but happy hour was a required part of the meeting. Booze was not required, but a glass of wine helped bring me down a little.) The next day, I had my usual size coffee before breakfast and that bad feeling came back. I’ve totally cut back to the small sized coffee mugs in our cabinet.

Gold Star

This week I’m giving a gold star to Elizabeth Gilbert. I recently listened to her interview with Krista Tippett on “On Being.” I recommend both the edited interview and the unedited conversation. So much of what she said resonated with me. In the course of listening to her, I became convinced that I couldn’t read anything else (I’ll admit to being stalled out on my reading list) until I re-read Eat, Pray, Love.

I don’t re-read a lot of things, but I had already read Eat, Pray, Love twice. The first time I loved it and the second time it made me mad. I was so irritated with the book that I sold it at a garage sale. The second time I read it was a particularly dark time of my life. Resentment and depression were often my companions. But, the charm, wisdom and warmth of Gilbert in her interview worked its way into the places of my heart that were recently vacated by resentment and I decided to give the book another go.

I bought the 10th anniversary edition which contains a preface by the author. The preface gave me the permission to bring both my past selves to my third go-round with the book. Both my earnest late-20-something self and my jealous mid-thirty-something self were welcome at the table. My late-30-something self has the perspective to reflect on my own journey as I enjoy Gilbert’s.