Reading: Did you ever find yourself absolutely immersed in a book? I'm talking about a book so good, so rapturously luminous, that you can't eat or drive or go to work or make dinner or do much of anything except think about it. It is your reason for living, this book, with its lush prose and complex characters and sublime setting. The book that recently had such an effect on me is called Someone, by Alice McDermott. In a concise 240 pages, she presents the full and absorbing life of an ordinary woman named Marie. Chapters from childhood, adolescence, marriage, motherhood and old age reveal the abundance of Marie's life and family. In these laconic pages, McDermott allows readers to enter post World War II Brooklyn and experience a depth of emotion and human experience common in the most ordinary lives. Much like McDermott's protagonist, I too lived among Brooklyn's Irish Catholics, and felt that she very accurately captured the feel of that life.
Cooking: Every year, in the fall, I get an urge to cook. Not just cook. Oh no. I want to orchestra five course meals. I want to bake pies and crumble and bars and cookies. I want to fill my house with the intoxicating scent of butter. (Oh butter. How I love you.) I want to plan elaborate dinner parties, with complicated appetizers and candlelight and appropriate wine pairings for each course. I scour Pinterest for recipes. I leaf through back issues of Southern Living. I shop for ingredients like a smart bomb dropped from a F-22. I'm tactical. I have lists. This weekend, I made fried chicken and mashed potatoes and two loaves of apple muffin bread and crockpot cinnamon applesauce, for no real reason at all. It was lovely.
Listening To: Joni Mitchell. John Legend. Ben Howard. Daughter. With a 25 minute commute to work, I've learned that listening to something calming keeps my blood pressure down and hand off the horn when some moron cuts me off. Ben Howard is especially medicinal.
Concerned About: Money. Before my divorce, my ex-husband took 100% control of our finances. He solely supported our family and he largely directed where and how the money was spent. I often had no idea how much we even had in the bank, much less what he was spending it on, and almost no say in our personal finances. It was humiliating and infuriating. One of the best things about being single is that I"m now in charge of my money. I know where every cent is, at all times. It's a learning experience, all this budgeting and accounting and frugality, but it feels pretty great. I'm doing okay for now but I'd really like to be saving more - to finish paying off my credit cards, to start a college fund for my children, and to take a much-needed trip to NYC. A couple of you sent me emails recommending apps for keeping track of my personal finances, and I'm so glad you did! The Mint app is especially good.
Watching: So many shows. Parenthood (the best.) Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown. Modern Family. Scandal. Grey's Anatomy (even though I might be the last person in America who cares about Dr. Bailey and Mer and McDreamy.)
Loving: That autumn is finally here! Honeycrisp apples, thrifting for chunky sweaters, decorating my front porch and walkway for Halloween, preparing fall crafts for my school class, watching my daughter take to the lacrosse fields every weekend (she scored her first goal of the season this Saturday! Proud mama here.) Sipping whiskey and talking late into the night with my boyfriend. Just my boyfriend in general.
So, how about you? What are you up to today? Got any book recommendations?