Tuesday, December 8, 2015

November 2015

I seem to have a very selective long-term memory (and I don't feel that I'm in control of what I remember), which makes me anal about trying to record things - pictures, moments, funny sentences, feelings, etc. Still, I have not found myself very motivated to do these monthly reviews. I've already modified them to be less rigid, but I hope I can modify them again to make them both interesting to write and properly archival. I've been thinking about my annual year-end post too, which I am looking forward to because I'm sure I'll be reminded of some things I'd already forgotten, but as I was thinking of my dedication to goals over the past few years and my lack-there-of this year, I realized that the more content and fulfilled I feel with where I am right now, the less pressure I put on myself to be doing more or better in my life, and that's a good thing!

Miraculously, I finished a hard-copy book! I've been making a point of reading more articles, but a book is a whole other level of commitment. The book was Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers", about a community of slum dwellers in India. I wish that the afterward had been the forward, because I was very confused by what was happening in the book for almost the entire time I read it. Never the less, it was an interesting, in depth (not pandering) look at extreme poverty. It was startling to read how inconsequential life and death seemed when surroundings were so brutal, but I did appreciate the humanity (both the good and the bad) Boo showed through her reporting (it's non-fiction) on a group of people who are usually just pitied and/or ignored.

I didn't watch or eat anything mind-blowing in November, but there was SO much good music (in the moments between listening to Adele)! New music from Grimes, LP, the Japanese House, Sia and maybe-new-maybe-not stuff from Salt Cathedral, Highasakite, Kurt Vile, Gillian Welch, Vaults, KING, Dawn Golden, Lapsley, Labrinth and Alabama Shakes. Listen to all my favorite picks here.

I finally felt that my bookshop (@retroriotreads) was back in full force in November, after having split it off from my main vintage shop (@retroriot) and having to rebuild my customer base. The shops keep me moderately busy, make a bit of income, and provide me with experience and a sense of "doing something" that I greatly enjoy and need.

I've also been taking my writing a little more seriously and have been pitching essays here and there to different publications and websites. I enjoy it - especially the community of writers that are my support group - but I'm also trying to gain confidence about putting myself out there as any sort of "professional". I'm very nervous about being rejected if I really put a lot of effort in to it. I worry that what I have to say is redundant, and probably not as well worded as people who write for a living.

Since I am taking the boys to Colorado for Christmas with my family, we decided to spend Thanksgiving exclusively with Jonas' side of the family. We enjoyed it a lot, and I cooked the main meat course as well as a soup and a side. I really enjoyed getting to play a larger role in planning and helping, but it wasn't so much responsibility that I was unable to enjoy the holiday (even though I did have a stress dream about it the night before!). We also got to spend a fun meal outside with our church family.

The day after Thanksgiving, I went down to LA with my family and we hit up a bunch of sites (the Griffith Observatory, the Palm Thai restaurant, the MOCA) and we played this horrible game where you have to eat jellybeans with yucky flavors. I almost won the cash jackpot, which may have made it worth it, but never again! I spent an extra day driving around Christmas and inventory shopping and had dinner with some old China friends who I haven't seen in almost a decade! It was a very special evening, and I'm THANKFUL to live near a major international hub-city.

In less exciting news, but a point that feels defining recently, is back pain. I've started doing yoga every other day or so (a specific back routine) and I try and limit how often I carry the boys in my arms while standing, but I dread the thought of this being some kind of new normal or the fact that it is too painful for me to try and reverse years of bad posture.

You probably want to hear about the boys, which is a big reason I try and keep consistent "journaling" going. I failed to take down specific notes during the month, but my general impression of them lately is as such: Ishmael's hair is getting long (hopefully finally past the horrible in-between stage), and his head seems very large to me. He is getting pretty emphatic about choosing his own clothes and he can put full and proper sentences together. He loves to sing and jam on his guitars (including imitations of screeching electric guitars) and is generally doing a much better job of sharing and listening than he has been over the past several months. Ira is as cute as ever, but he is incredibly strong-willed and disobedient. His favorite word is "no", which he says with his lips poked out like a fish. He's getting good at drinking out of a lid-less cup, and generally refuses to eat meat. He "reads" out loud to himself and occasionally babbles a "sentence" and waits for you to respond. He loves to push around a doll stroller and.

In November, a few of my favorite things were drinking martinellis, cooking with cranberries, gawking at vintage jewelry at the Griffith Observatory, and belly laughing with my bff over funny Instagram pictures.

{images 1, 2}

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