The January List – 2020


As I finally sit down (I’m actually standing, though) to write this on February 6, and it is finally starting to feel like winter in Michigan. Am I happy? Sure, I love the look of fresh fallen snow, and I love looking out the windows at night when there is a soft glow outside because of all the white. But I still love summer the best. Although I’m happiest to see spring.

1) How have I been doing on my resolutions? Not bad, actually. I’ve stuck to the workout schedule for the most part, skipping a day or two when my body didn’t feel great (something is happening with my knees, but I’m pretending like it’s not).

I did not buy a new lamp for the living room because it fell under the don’t-buy-anything-I-don’t-need resolution, but I did slip to purchase chili seasoning for the rims of my margaritas. Although the actual need for this can almost be justified.

I’m getting a tEEny bit better at drinking more water. And those are the ones I can remember right now, which means after I write this, I need to go revisit that list.

2) My daughter and I have been dying for the pistachio cake at Ochre Bakery. I was there at the beginning of the month to hang with my friend Julia, and was supposed to go back last week to meet her new puppy, but we had to reschedule.

Anyway, we decided to make our own pistachio cake instead of waiting until the next time I could make it down there. The recipe I found called for vegetable oil, so I substituted butter for that and it turned out pretty well. The girls chose glaze over frosting and I skimped on that. Next time I won’t and next time I’m also going to try coconut oil in place of the butter.

3) I made a lot of trips to the library this month and finished a few books. One was my book group book, “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. It was one of those light reads about a heavy topic, which I always tend to like, because I think you have to be somewhat clever to do that. The ending was wrapped up too nicely, but otherwise I recommend it.

I also read “The Last Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine, which is a pen name for two sisters and had I known that before I started, I would have realized the book would be a bit cheesy. It was a fun read, and the plot was decent, but it was much too silly and the writing wasn’t good enough to be recommendable. However… if you’re sitting on a yacht with nothing else to do for a couple hours…sure, go ahead.

Another was “The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton at the recommendation of my friend Ray, who always gives great book recs. I was intrigued by throughout. Great if you like murder mysteries, but this one you can’t zone out on. You have to pay attention.

4) I’ve been super into puzzles lately and after doing all our puzzles for the second and third time, I broke down and bought a bunch of new ones. Okay, fail on the new year’s resolution, but again… I’m gonna justify this purchase as a need. I put in my headphones, listen to my podcast and zone out.

5) I stumbled across this podcast upon doing a search for “investigative journalism.” I hadn’t ever heard of this story and I was so curious about it. I’m fascinated with India as it is, so when I read the synopsis, I was hooked.

“For 40 years, journalists chronicled the eccentric royal family of Oudh, deposed aristocrats who lived in a ruined palace in the Indian capital. It was a tragic, astonishing story. But was it true?”

Right? It was great. I loved it. I could have completely wept at the end, had I been in the mood, but I have not been in the mood for weeping in a long time. Which is not to say I haven’t been incredibly sad in a long time.

6) I watched a documentary on Amazon called “Generation Wealth,” by Lauren Greenfield. Again, fascinating, and I was delighted when I started watching, to learn that the director is also a photographer (which was kind of what the documentary was about also) and her work is SO good, and if anyone wants to buy me the book with the same name or “Girl Culture,” feel free. I’m so drawn to her photos and love her style and perspective, and each shot tells not just a story, but a clear story. I’ve always liked that kind of work. Photos about culture and society, no matter which culture or society.

7) I also watched the new Ted Bundy documentary and I found it very well done in that it was more about the victims than about his crimes. It consists of many interviews, mainly his long-term girlfriend, who was a victim of sorts in her own right.

It also talked a lot about women’s rights and what was going on during that time (’70s) for women. And how women were told not to fight back in certain situations (and surprise, the one 18-year-old who did fight back got away) and how women weren’t taken seriously (not that we are now, but it was worse back then, seemingly), and how women were just starting to be allowed into the police force and crime departments and all of that.

8)  I made spaghetti squash for maybe the third time in my life? I came upon a recipe that said to cut it width wise vs. the more popular lengthwise, like so (above), and that doing it this way makes the “noodles” longer. It’s a pretty decent alternative to actual noodles. Much better than zucchini noodles, which get squishy and taste like well, zucchini.

I ate it with leftover Indian food on top, ate it once with scrambled eggs and another time with lots of butter and salt and Guyere.

9) As I am trying to come up with list ideas, I realize I didn’t do a whole lot this month. I watched more TV than usual, because I’m exercising more, which means a lot of stationary bike riding and show watching. In my downtime, which isn’t much (kid activities, work), I’m puzzling or sitting by the fire.

I feel like I need to ramp up the creativity a bit, whether it be taking more photos or writing or picking up drawing again (in middle school/high school I would sit in my room for hours just drawing), but I’ve been enjoying the nothingness. My mind and soul has needed it.

10) I mean I have literally been staring at the computer screen for over two minutes, wondering what in the heck to talk about in order to get to number 12. Scrolling through the photos on my phone to see if there is anything…

Aaaaand, here we go. I’m the best mom. Now you know.

11) I don’t think I ever shared any photos from the shoot I did at The Detroit Club with this lovely high school senior. When she was 13, she was our babysitter and she was an awesome one. And where did the time go? Everyone 40 and older wants to know.

12) One beautiful thing about Grosse Pointe winters are the sunrises. IF you get up early enough to see them. I would like to say this is the view from the office window, but my actual view is blocked by a fluffy pine tree. Still, what a view.

And just like that, it’s February. Although it’s already been February for several days now. Enjoy the month, and I’ll see you back in March with another list.

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