Down for the count

Day 3 of the flu. At our house that means PBS kids and an endless supply of Popsicles and OJ for the kids. For me,  it’s chicken enchiladas for lunch and dinner three days in a row (I made a huge batch right before everyone got sick) and pots and pots of black coffee.

It also means naps and cuddles on the couch.

So far I’ve stayed well (vigorously knocking on wood here).

Saturday escape

Paul is sick, as is Anna. We’ve been cooped up in the house and watching way too much TV. Paul thankfully felt well enough to venture out for a while this afternoon. We headed out on one of our favorite excursions–to Millheim for coffee (going the long way there and back). The girls napped in the car, we enjoyed giant mugs of hot coffee, and the girls drank cocoa and played checkers on a chess board.

Slow Saturday

Happy Saturday! Paul went out for a walk in the woods this morning so it was just the kids and me at home.  I had a simple breakfast after the kids. Then we spent all morning playing. We used Duplos to set up a house and garage, the boxcar and waterfall from The Boxcar Children, and Rabbit’s tree from Winnie the Pooh.

We recently discovered the Playmobil figures bin at a magical little toy store nearby.  The little packages don’t say which figure is inside, so part of the fun is the mystery of what you’ll get. So far we have a mermaid, a mad scientist, a cavewoman (with a baby!), a maiden, and a farm girl.  (In the picture above, the cave woman is Violet and the baby is Benny.)

Listening to: Gregory Alan Isakov’s "Big Black Car"

image source

I’ve been in a music rut lately.  I listen to Heather Browne and Ryan Hollingsworth‘s seasonal mixes and various Pandora stations and that’s basically it.  Paul makes fun of me–he (rightly) says I listen to the same kind of music all the time.

This has kind of always been true.  I used to fall in love with an artist and listen to their album on repeat, but now I fall in love with specific songs I hear on various mixes/stations.  Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Big Black Car” is one such song.

Listen to the song and the rest of the album via Spotify here.

Books read in 2013

I haven’t actually kept track of books read perhaps since I participated in middle school reading contests, but now I’m thinking I should!  This morning I sat down to try to remember everything I read this past year (with the aid of library e-mails and Kindle records) and it was really hard!  

Here’s a list of the books I remember reading this year (asterisks by the titles I recommend), in no particular order:
(I didn’t include books I started but don’t intend to ever finish.)

*The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Deborah Moggach
The Messenger – Markus Zusak
*Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
**Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
The Uncoupling – Meg Wolitzer
***The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson (best book I’ve read in a long time)

*Divergent – Veronica Roth
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth
*Ex Libris – Ann Fadiman (reread; an old favorite from college)
The Woman Upstairs – Claire Messud
*Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan (my first McEwan and I really enjoyed this!)

Atonement – Ian McEwan
*Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Super Sad True Love Story – Gary Shteyngart
The Fault in the Stars – John Green
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures – Emma Straub
Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls – Anton Disclafani
*Lean-In – Sheryl Sandburg
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Associate – John Grisham (what can I say?  Airplane reading.)
The Litigators – John Grisham (ditto)
Austenland – Shannon Hale (ditto)

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (reread)
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins (reread)
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (reread)
*Graceling – Kristin Cashore
Fire – Kristin Cashore
Bitterblue – Kristin Cashore
The Engagements – J. Courtney Sullivan
The Cheesemonkeys – Chip Kidd
The Moon and More – Sarah Dessen
Muchacho – LouAnne Johnson
Godmother – Carolyn Turgeon
The Radio Producer’s Handbook  Kaempfer
Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production 

In process:
The Circle – Dave Eggers
The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
Quiet – Susan Cain 
Tinkers – Paul Harding

2014!

Happy New Year!

It’s become almost a tradition for me to dust off my old blog account(s) during the new year and vow to start updating again, so I will skip the self-loathing and (possibly empty) promises and will just pick up where I left off.

I didn’t have high hopes for 2013–maybe simply because “13” isn’t the most appealing number.  But it’s been a crazy eventful year.  We started off the year to amazing views of non-stop fireworks from my parents’ high-rise apartment in Metro Manila.  When we returned, I started a new job as an associate producer for the local NPR station.

So much of the ups and downs to the year have been related to work.  I love my job.  I look forward to going to work everyday.  Doing something I love outside the home (and getting paid to do it) has done wonders in helping me rediscover a part of myself that’s basically been dormant since I got married and put aside intellectual stimulation (apart from copious amounts of reading and, well, grad school) in favor of travel and babies.  But my job is also somewhat terrifying.  So much is still new and I often jump into a project first and then learn how to do it afterward.  I still have butterflies in my stomach every time I start a new story.  Most of the time, the combination of challenge and passion is ideal.  But it’s scary.

I didn’t consciously pick a word of the year or a “theme” for 2013, but in hindsight, I know what’s been driving me since summer of 2012 is the push to be BRAVE.  To take risks.  To put myself out there and dream big.  In so many ways, that’s paid off.  But this year, I think I want to take a step back and take a deep breath.  I want to keep pushing myself at work, of course, but I want to relax and enjoy the ride.  This idea of catching my breath, of surrendering, applies to my personal life, too.

Here’s to 2014.  May it be rejuvenating; full of hope, rest, and the best kind of adventures.