13 years of motherhood, and the books I gave up on this week.

On July 21st, my kiddo turned 13! I try not to think about how close she is to adulthood too often because it makes me sad, but I’m also incredibly proud of the person she has become and I feel so lucky to watch her grow. I was just 22 when she was born, working part-time at a coffee shop in town and taking classes at the community college where I now teach…needless to say, motherhood was not something I had carefully planned out as much as it was a response to circumstances and naivety. I suppose I’m proud of myself, too. We’ve come a long way together.

It’s not often that I see my face in hers, but I do here. Happy 13th birthday, G!
She decorated her own cake and I think it turned out beautifully! We ate this with homemade vanilla ice cream with a custard base. It was so rich.
L’s sister made G a rainbow birthday cake and used some leftover lime-flavored frosting. It was so good.

Our public library opened back up this week, despite increasing COVID cases (we were down to just 100-200 new cases in a day and now we’re at 600+). I’m glad to be able to go in and pick up books – in and out doesn’t bother me so much, but the bars and restaurants here are open and some of their outdoor seating areas are so crowded. Once I finished The Lottery, I read (and loved) Howl’s Moving Castle, and then wanted to try reading Ottessa Moshfegh again; I started My Year of Rest and Relaxation for a book club back in February (also through the library) but it was like reading Lena Dunham’s Girls with the tone of a Bret Easton Ellis novel: the characters were privileged, entitled, narcissistic, and unlikable, and the mood was shit (but, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed Girls, and I didn’t hate BEE’s work either). I think that’s exactly what Moshfegh is aiming for, though, which is intriguing. How do you write successfully write characters that are such annoying people? I typically read nonfiction and memoir, and even when I read fiction I prefer it to have some sense of hope buried within (however deep). I like reflection, I like thoughtfulness, I like writing that engages with social issues, even if it is satirical. Most importantly, I like writing that pulls me in as if I am there, a shadow on the wall, fully immersed (but invisible). I want to taste and touch and hear when I read, and when I don’t, even if the writing is solid, I don’t want to keep going. And so I haven’t been. Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World didn’t do it for me (see Roxane Gay’s review here) and neither did Tiffany Midge’s Bury My Heart at Chuck E Cheese’s. I also tried Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and had a similar experience (though that was less about entitlement and more about disjointedness and difficulty anchoring myself in the story). I do have Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands here and her earlier novel Eileen on hold at the library (see? I really did want to like her work!)…she may be someone whose books I read once just because of her reputation as a writer. I like reading about her, and that’s worth something.

In CSA news, I biked to the market last week and could barely fit everything in my backpack! I actually had to call for a ride halfway home because the seat post on my bike wouldn’t stay up and biking with 20lbs of food on my back with a too-low seat was no good.

From this, we had potato salad, Mexican street corn on pork belly tacos, roasted eggplant, tomato, and chickpea casserole, and I used the beets to dye a shirt (it mostly looks like a white shirt that accidently got washed with red clothes though).
This is the NYTimes seared zucchini with crispy parmesan and black pepper recipe. I used a cast iron skillet, and it was delicious.
This week was almost a two-trips-to-the-car week! L pickled the hot Hungarian peppers, the watermelon was shared with a neighbor friend, and the peaches and tomatoes became part of a tangy, sweet, and creamy salad with whipped goat cheese!
Recipe here. Can’t wait to eat the rest of this today!

Shirley’s seat post did get fixed, and she got some new bar tape too. I’ve set goals of 20 miles biking and 12 miles running each week, at least until it gets too cold. Shirley also got some stickers, and she’s got some water bottle cages and a shorter stem coming in the mail tomorrow. I had a bike fitting with a PT to make sure that my wrist was comfy when riding, and we raised the seat a good inch-and-a-half higher than it is in the picture below. It made a world of difference in my ride! I was sure it would be too high, but it’s just right.

This sloth and coffee is a good reminder for balance. Take it slow, but caffienated?
This evil-Amazon bike bag is solid. It can hold four beers (for a trip to a coworker’s backyard in lieu of a bar) or one pair of Chacos.
I found this green rack on eBay and tried it on Shirley, but Shirley wants to go fast and the rack rattles too much. I’m going to save it for the Motobecane instead, or my n+1…

I’m working on the Motobecane bike still – the flat bar conversion isn’t quite what I had imagined, so I’m planning to put the original drops back on with some new tape and a new saddle. The parts I ordered from Velo Orange are ungodly expensive to return but I think that’s okay because my n+1 bike is brightly colored, steel, and awesome, and someday when I find it, I’ll have those parts waiting to build another everyday ride.

In beer news, here are a few I’ve tried recently:

From Fat Orange Cat Brew Co. in CT, this is Sweet Jane Blues, a blueberry milkshake style IPA.
Patio Cat from Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington, IN. Really liked this one!
In keeping with the beers/bears/cats theme, this banjo bear beer is from Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette, which is at the top of my list of places in MI to visit ASAP. I don’t typically drink lagers, but this one was good.

I’m also a sucker for a good flurry. Here are some from Stuart’s in Novi, a place we stopped at on the way home from picking up my bike and taking some sign photos:

L had some kind of coconut flurry, I liked it better than mine.
I had a salty dog flurry with brownies, pecans, and salted caramel.

What’s left? Houseplants! L asked me the other day to count how many we have, and I came up with 18. It’s 19, now (like the Duggars), because I found a fiddle leaf fig at Meijer yesterday.

Named Figgy Stardust, of course!
This is a split-leaf elephant ear plant, or philodendron, that a coworker gave to me two years ago. She’s the most resilient plant! I realized I was under-watering her, and so got her a new pot and some new soil, too.

Now that it’s August, the school year is approaching quickly, and the to-do list for work is massive and hovering over me like a giant monster shadow. On top of sorting out this Fall’s load and taking the PTTO course prior to teaching online, I’m starting an online Doctor of Education program in Literacy, Language, and Culture through Indiana University – Bloomington. I’m very excited, but also nervous! There’s also G’s schooling that is still up in the air though the district is supposed to release official plans within the next week. My workspace has migrated from the kitchen table to the couch to the bedroom, so buying a small desk is now also on that list.

I’ll leave you with this turtle I saw at Maybury State Park the other day when I went out for a run after it rained. Like the sloth, we move forward slow and steady, right? But with coffee, of course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s