Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “5 on Friday”

5 on Friday: Random Musings of early October

  • At the end of last winter, I finally got rid of my red winter peacoat. It was long overdue. It was a hand me down that I loved, but I replaced the buttons many times and had sewn so many holes shut in the pockets there wasn’t much fabric left! Now I need a new winter coat and probably new winter shoes as my feet grew a bit from pregnancy. High five to me last March for writing in my planner for this month that I needed the new coat. Otherwise, I likely would have forgotten until it was already cold and I would have missed my window of opportunity to buy one in stores (don’t get me started on how you have to buy something you need months before you’ll need it because of the silly retail cycle).

 

  • Excited for the new season of Peaky Blinders which is available on Netflix today. Also The Good Place started its final season last week so hoping it’s a good one. Some time last year we finally upgraded our cable to get a DVR ( always behind the 8 ball with all things tech!) and now with the baby, it’s our favorite thing because we are usually in bed by 830 or can’t watch a show in one sitting lol.

 

  • I set a very minimal reading goal for this year of only 35 books because I had no idea how much time/mental energy I’d have for reading after Gray arrived. I read A LOT in the first 4 months of the year since we spent a lot of weekends at home enjoying our childless life and being lazy, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much reading I have been able to do on the Kindle while pumping or during naps. I haven’t touched a physical book in awhile ( minus a few books about babies/parenting), but have one out from library at moment (Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner). Hoping the limits of the library loan period will get me reading. I honestly don’t think I’ll tackle more than one or two books from my own bookshelf this year. I think I probably say this every year and never do much to attack it either, probably because I don’t look at it every day since the built-in bookshelves are in the basement. 

 

  • With the fall temps finally arriving, I’m trying out new recipes and bringing the slow cooker down. Looking forward to trying some new recipes for some of our favorite things like beef stew and chili, and a few new ones too. Q is very good at trying new foods (minus shellfish and chicken) and is more on board with more vegetarian stuff so I find I’m actually looking forward more to cooking, even with a crazy work schedule and baby life.

 

  • I got way behind on podcasts over my maternity leave so have been binging a lot of my old favorites, but also adding new ones to the listening queue. I’m only commuting to work three days a week now so trying to fit more listening in as I work from home and do things around the house! Recent new finds I enjoyed: Constitutional from the Washington Post (it’s a few years old) and Moonrise, also from the Post about the 1960s space race to the moon. 

 

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5 on Friday: Summer Favorites

  1. This summer wasn’t filled with just baby doctor appointments and diaper changes! We did manage to enjoy a bit of the summer. We took lots of walks around our neighborhood and by the water. It was great to get some exercise and stroller walks always put the little guy right to sleep.
  2. After we got Gray into a routine and settled at home, my mother and I decided to take a weekly outing with him in search of some of the best lobster rolls in our area. We didn’t have a bad one in all of our trips. I think we both agreed our favorite was a great seafood restaurant in Bristol, RI- Quitos.
  3. I originally thought my maternity leave would be filled with lots of couch cuddling time to catch up on movies and tv shows I hadn’t seen- HAHA. Even if I didn’t have a busy schedule of medical appointments for Gray, I don’t think I would have sat in front of the TV much anyway. Even on the gross, hot, humid days when we didn’t leave the AC much, I didn’t end up having much of an attention span for a lot of new to me entertainment. I did enjoy: The Boys on Amazon, Stranger Things on Netflix, and catching up on movies like A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I did not like the new 90201 reboot.
  4. I actually had time to read! This was probably the most surprising thing of maternity leave but the Kindle made it so easy to read while pumping or when Gray was napping.
  5. Summer veggies are my favorite and I used them in everything: salads, pasta salad, stirfry, and so on. I will be so so sad when I can’t get fresh tomatoes or cucumbers.

5 on Friday: Random Thoughts about Pregnancy

  • I’m in the beginning of my third trimester with just about 2 months from my due date in June. So far, so good! Baby boy is healthy and things going along well. It’s still a little strange to think that when the summer comes, there’s a new little human who I’m responsible for and who will rely on me.
  • There are so many things family and friends never told me about being pregnant. I heard about the aches, the heartburn, and pregnancy brain, but no one told me about the weird dreams, the development of carpal tunnel, and honestly, all the gas/burping (sorry if it’s TMI).
  • Shopping for maternity clothes sucks almost as much as shopping for regular clothes does for me. Thank goodness tunics and leggings are acceptable attire because buying maternity pants for work is even more dreadful than buying regular work pants. I’ve scored some great finds secondhand and now that weather has finally change in my neck of the woods, will likely be relying mostly on dresses.
  • There are way too many baby products out there and picking one random car seat from the other really is a crap shoot. Even reading all the various reviews, best product listings, and so on, it’s beyond overwhelming. I don’t know if we chose the right stuff, we just picked stuff based on our gut.
  • I haven’t had any weird cravings. When I was pretty sick during the first trimester, I wanted cold stuff all the time, mostly because it didn’t smell. I did crave pickles a lot but that’s because I had a pretty constant metallic taste in my mouth and the acid of the pickles helped counteract it. Lately, it’s been cold dairy products- cheese, ice cream, and milk. I’ve probably had more glasses of milk in the past few months than I did in the previous 3 years!

5 on Friday: Recent Pop Culture

For the slog that was January, I can’t believe February is halfway over! I’ve been busy at work and a little busy at home, but spending lots of time relaxing and taking in as many quiet nights with Q as we can before our lives change in June.

Here’s 5 recent reads and watches that I definitely recommend;

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Mister Rogers came out in theaters over the summer and I was bummed to miss it with with a local film series in the town where I work. I’d been waiting until it was streaming to watch, but thankfully, it was picked up by HBO so I was able to watch last weekend. I didn’t watch it the night it was first on because I was having a weepy, emotional day and thought watching a documentary about an important figure in my childhood would make things worse, so I saved it for Sunday night when I knew I would need a pick me up before the work week. I’m so glad I did! Not only did I learn more about Mister Rogers, but it brought back great memories for Q and I. There was some part, near to the end of the doc, when Q turned to me and said ” If Mister Rogers isn’t in the The Good Place, I don’t know who would be” ( a reference to our favorite TV show at the moment, though it just ended for season- wah!)

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Since I try very hard to stick to my no-new book buying rule, I’ve been on the library wait list for eons for the memoir by our former First Lady. I was on the wait list for every form of the book possible, and finally my number came up for the audio CD version last week. I’m only 5 discs in out of 16, but I absolutely love it. The book is great, but hearing Michelle Obama in my ears during my commute is pretty fantastic.

First Man

We watch a lot of space, sci-fi, and alien- related movies in our house because that’s one of Q’s interests, but this is actually a film I wanted to watch more than he did! I’m fascinated by the space race of the late 1960s and while this film definitely over dramatizes a lot of Neil Armstrong’s experience, I appreciated the look at his family and personal life during the whole ordeal. It could have been maybe half hour or so shorter ( it was just over 2.5 hours) and there could have been a few less scenes where the camera is spinning like crazy. but overall, it was a great watch.

Project Blue Book

Speaking of aliens, this show over on History Channel follows the experience of the real-life professor (played by Aidan Gillen of Game of Thrones and The Wire fame) who was recruited by the Air Force in the 1950s and 1960s to investigate UFO sightings around the country. Q has read a ton about a lot about the actual incidents so is watching more for the entertainment value, but I’m learning a good amount, plus the sub-story lines of conspiracies and Russians makes for some decent TV watching.

Game of Thrones

I think Q may be more excited about the final season of Game of Thrones starting in April than he is about the baby at the moment! Kidding aside, we’ve started watching the series from the beginning again and it’s not only a great reminder of how things got to the point in the story, but also some of the characters and story lines we enjoyed in the beginning that got us hooked on the show to start!

 

5 on Friday: Podcasts #2

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared podcasts that I’m loving and there have been some good ones in the past few months!

The Dream

I binged this one in about 2 weeks worth of commute time. It’s about multi-level marketing (MLM) and the huge business it is, the wackiness behind it, and the question about whether it’s a scam or not. I know a lot of people who are into MLMs and have been to my fair share of in-person and online ‘parties’ for friends/acquaintances who sell products from MLMs so this one was equally fascinating/informative/mind-boggling to me.

Kind World

A podcast dedicated to compassion and kindness, in all its small and big forms. In a world where it seems like everyday is filled with more sadness and bad news, I look forward to these tiny episodes that remind me of the good in the world. The episodes aren’t long and the backlist of episodes is definitely worth going through. One of my favorite more recent episodes is from December 2018- A Priceless Collection. Word of warning– some of these have definitely made me tear up a bit listening to so maybe don’t listen to it while sitting at work!

This is Love

Done by the same folks as Criminal (another podcast I subscribe to, but may have already written about?), This is Love is exactly what the title suggests- love stories. But these aren’t always romantic, lovey-dovey relationship stories, but about the vast meaning of that word. For example, an episode from late November “One in a Million” is about a rare snail and the attempts to find him a mate. It’s wacky and fantastic, plus you’ll learn some really interesting facts about snail anatomy and mating habits to share at parties.

The Kitchen Sisters Present

Truth be told, I don’t always love the hosts voices (something about the softness and echo of their audio), but I love the stories they present. Their recent ‘keeper series’ is dear to my heart as they interview curators, archivists, and librarians who are in charge of everything from Emily Dickinson’s letters and recipes to oral histories of freed slaves in the late 19th century.

Pop Culture Happy Hour

It wouldn’t be a podcast list without at least one from NPR! I feel like I’ve mentioned this podcast before, but it’s one of my favorite things of the week. They do two episodes a week on any and all pop culture, though it does rely heavily on movies and TV. It keeps me up to date on what’s coming out in theaters and on TV, but I especially appreciate the music-related topics because that’s a huge area I feel I never have a handle on who’s who. I appreciate the smart combination of criticism and comedy/sarcasm, especially from regular Glen Weldon. On Fridays, the 3 regular hosts and the guest host also tell what’s making them happy that week. I’ve gotten some great book/tv/movie recommendations from that segment in particular.

 

5 on Friday: TGIF!

Image from here

  • I’ve never needed a weekend as badly as I need it today! This week was jampacked with meetings, random tours, and odd happenings. My work tasks feel like they’re piling up and all I see are calendar days filled with lots of things and not a lot of desk time to get things done. I’m looking forward to relatively low-key weekend with just a few things I want to get done.
  • The worst thing of this week: I lost my glasses on Wednesday. After a frantic day of searching high and low at work and in my car, Q had the super smart idea for me to check the security camera footage at the museum to see if I could pinpoint when my glasses decided to part ways with me. I had them when I walked into the building, but by the time I got to my office, they were gone! 48 hours later and they still haven’t turned up. Ordered a brand new pair, so I’m sure I’ll find the old ones as soon as I pay the ridiculous price for the new ones. In the meantime, I’m wearing my prescription sunglasses almost every where which was interesting to drive in a torrential downpour in them yesterday morning. Note to self: find a new, less expensive eyeglasses provider!
  • With work being crazy and a rough day yesterday with glasses drama and weird tech happenings with my phone, I was beyond elated to come home to find Q had already decided on dinner and procured all the fixings. It really is the little things that make me love that man more every day.
  • My new found love of the Kindle and the Overdrive lending system with my library is wonderful. Despite all my efforts and trying to time out books with long wait lists and suspending some holds, I still ended up with 3 books at the same time– will try to get at least 2 read this weekend (Exit West by Mohsin Hamed [relatively short] and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.) Beartown by Frederic Bachman just arrived on the Kindle this morning and I have 21 days with it, so I’m sure I’ll get it done in the next week or so, despite a busy schedule during the work week.

Five on Friday: Hey August!

Hey it’s August! The dog days of summer have arrived (and endless humidity it seems in Southern New England).

  • Bookworm problems: Anyone who has ever spoken with me for more than 30 minutes knows my love of books and the library. A few years ago, my library supplemented their use of Overdrive ( the industry favorite for ebooks and digital audiobooks) with Hoopla, which in addition to those two mediums also had TV and movies. I liked Hoopla for a bunch of reasons, mostly because even though there wasn’t as many titles as there were on Overdrive, there were no holds or waiting periods for the titles. I spent a good chunk of time going through my humongous Goodreads to-read list   deleting books off of that list that I wanted to listen on audio and saving them as ‘favorites’ on Hoopla. Long story short, I discovered this week that my library no longer supports Hoopla and is back to strictly Overdrive. While this isn’t a complete travesty, I had to re-add all those titles from Hoopla into Goodreads, making my to-read list much too large again, meaning a big edit is going to need to happen in the near future.

 

  • The month started off perfectly on Wednesday by visiting with one of my closet college friends who I haven’t seen in far too long because, life.

 

  • Goals for this month include knocking a few things off the house to-do list. Honestly, it’s been so hot and humid the past few weekends, we haven’t done much with house projects. Lots of movie and AC indoor time recently (it’s funny how summer weekends can look like winter weekends in regards to time spent indoors!)

 

  • I’ve written before about my love for ThredUp, the online consignment site. I’m not completely breaking up with them, but they’ve recently started charging a restocking fee for returns which is likely because of the site’s popularity I’d guess. Over the past couple of years, they are one of my primary destinations for online shopping and some of my favorite items of clothing in my closet are from there, but the trying on at home and returning without fee ( if you chose store credit, not complete refund) was one of the advantages of the site for me. Since I also really need to stop online shopping as a tool to overcome boredom, I don’t see me using them as much.

 

  • Things I’m looking forward to in August: a couple of long weekends, including an extra long one for Labor Day as we’re going up to NH Seacoast for a few days to relax and explore a little.

5 on Friday: Podcasts

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the podcasts I’m listening to these days. My podcast subscriptions was once up to something like 25 (though all not in active seasons at one time), so I recently pared down quite a bit. Here are 5 new-ish finds to me that I really enjoy.

 

Annotated 

 

This podcast from Book Riot is now in its second season and I’m enjoying it as much as the first. The stories are all related to books, language, and reading but is not book recommedations or just talking about authors or titles. Favorite episode of Season 1 was about the oxford comma.

Making Obama

This comes from the same folks who did the Making Oprah podcast, which I HIGHLY recommend if you have ever wondered how Oprah became a household name and bizillionaire. These episodes are about Obama’s rise in the political world starting with his community organizing days in Chicago. While I read Obama’s memoir Dreams of My Father, I didn’t know much about the political climate he was in prior to hitting the national stage as a senator. Not too much political junk, and lots of back story I didn’t know.

Planet Money

Being an NPR geek, I subscribe to a lot of NPR supported/hosted podcasts. I often heard ads promoting this one on some of my other must-listens, and was never super intrigued. What made me change? There was a promo spot on Pop Culture Happy Hour for an episode about China and money that sounded interesting, and since I knew Q and I were going to be in the car a lot for our Utah vacation, I downloaded it since I thought he’d be interested in it too. And I was right! That one episode made me download a bunch of others and subscribe. I like that it explains complex current affairs related to economy and trade in normal, non-jargon ways, as well as puts them in context with real-life people, events, and issues instead of just a bunch of talking heads/experts who make my head hurt.

Retropod

I know many people who say they can’t get into podcasts because they don’t have a place to fit them into their lives because they don’t commute or have dedicated time to listen. The episodes of Retropod are only about 3-4 minutes long, making them ideal for quick snippets of history and facts that are often related to current events, holidays, or other cultural milestones. I especially like it for the days when a podcast doesn’t entirely fill my commute and I can listen to a few of them in the last 10 minutes or so of my drive.

Sidedoor

I can’t remember quite how I happened across this podcast from the Smithsonian ( probably facebook), but it’s quickly become a favorite. It covers a wide variety of topics from the Smithsonian’s collections and interviews with experts, but in a totally fun and dynamic way that hasn’t been boring yet. The episode about the artist and process for the National Portrait Gallery’s commission of First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait was a favorite.

5 on Friday- April Updates

I’m back from the most stressful month of March I think I’ve ever had!

  • My exhibit at work opened on Wednesday night, and while my actual exhibit was done 2 weeks ago, the historic house I work in was in a state of chaos right up until midday on Wednesday. I do not like working under these types of conditions, but because of people, scheduling, and other circumstances out of my control, I had to deal. There were more than a few late evenings.
  • Now that the busiest months of my work have passed, I am so ready for vacation in 2 weeks. Pumped to go see family and spend some time in nature, but honestly just happy to not go to work for 10 days.
  • Spring has decidedly not sprung in my corner of the world. In my excitement for the turn of the season, and some prep for my vacation, I put away all my wool sweaters and heavy clothes, hoping that would tempt the weather gods to smile favorably on us, but nope. Lots of layering for the next week or so when I think the highest temperature we’ll see is about 45.
  • Since we’re still in hibernation mode, we’ve been watching a lot of TV and movies. Happy that The Americans is back on (last season!), intrigued by Homeland— though between that, The Americans, and our actual news, it’s a lot of conversations about Russia. Side note: Russia is not a country on my travel list. Highly recommend the movie I, Tonya too. Even if you have no interest in figure skating or Tonya Harding, it’s an interesting look at class/culture of domestic violence that even Q enjoyed.
  • I now own an actual Kindle! When I quit playing Farm Heroes Saga at the beginning of 2018. I was still looking for some passive entertainment that wasn’t social media that I could watch on nights when I want to relax with Q but have no interest in his show/movie. I sometimes read a physical book with the book light (I tend to shut my main reading lamp off when we’re watching TV). I do crossword puzzles on the iPad, but after a few a night, I needed something more. I downloaded the Kindle app for iOS, but felt like the iPad was getting too heavy and hot, so after polling my Twitter reader buds, I settled on the Kindle Paperwhite. Q also really wanted to get me something for my birthday related to technology because I never get stuff for myself in that category, so this was the perfect compromise. I don’t know what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon!

(not me but I hope this is me in a few weeks lounging and reading outside!)

5 on Friday: A Brief Life Update

  • My work life over the past few weeks has been TOUGH. My “work wife,” who really is one of my closest friends, left at the end of December to follow her dream of becoming a nurse and start nursing school full-time. I’m overjoyed for her, but sad for me. That, combined with the entire workplace being in transition as we await a new executive director and some other lingering issues, have made for a few stressful weeks.
  • If work stress wasn’t enough, we’re still enduring some hard stuff with personal family issues, so Q and I are really in turtle mode where we’re hibernating and hunkering down to try to maintain some sanity with ourselves.
  • How have I been handling stress and trying to find relaxation? The British Baking Show. Seriously, every night when it’s Q’s turn in the basement “gym” (a bunch of weights, a treadmill, and some yoga mats), I plop down on the couch to my new zen place- watching British people make desserts I’ve never heard of, would never eat (why is there so much cooked fruit- gross!), and could never even attempt to make. I find it mesmerizing, but most importantly, relaxing.
  • I’m reaching peak old lady- I’m supplementing my crossword puzzling, coloring, and reading with Fill-In puzzles. I think I need a hobby or some other creative pursuit.
  • Weekend plans are much of the same- some housework, some errands, lots of reading.

 

 

 

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