Look Around List

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

I know it’s a day late, but here’s my List, which includes why it’s late.

BroadwayCon 2017. From Friday through yesterday, I was in “the greatest city in the world!” attending BroadwayCon. It is an amazing convention to go to if you are a fan of Broadway. I’m still unpacking the weekend, and I’m sure I’ll post about it once I have the chance to. So many amazing panels and experiences and people. I’m still getting overwhelmed when I think about it.

Hamilton: An American Musical. Yes. I finally went! Another amazing part of the weekend that I’m going to be unpacking for a while. And, again, there will be a post, but it’s not going to be too involved because there is so much about it that cannot be described!

Hell’s Kitchen. Yes. It’s geeky, but I am so excited that my hotel was in Hell’s Kitchen!

Brooklyn! I have family in Brooklyn and spent an amazing Saturday evening with them. But, again, geeking out, not because of Captain America, but because of Freestyle Love Supreme (Episode 4: The Great Debate)! But seriously, it’s wonderful there and they do have some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting! And it’s always great seeing family.

My health. Like I mentioned before, I had a cold. I managed to jump up and down on it until it finally went away. It reminded me that we cannot take our health for granted.

My husband. I missed him like crazy, but he’s always so supportive. The only time he questions me is to make sure I’m not doing something that I either can’t afford or would be dangerous.

Quarters. I mean the coin. I know. Boring. But because of the trip I can now do 3 loads of laundry! The little things are just as important.

Broadway Cast Recordings. My playlist to get me to and from NYC was almost nothing but cast recordings. I also had my annotated Hamilton soundtrack and The Hamilton Mixtape. It made the drive so much more fun!

Remember to “look around” and remember and realize “how lucky we are to be alive right now!” It may seem like there’s not a lot, but there is if you look the right way.

Prepping fool!

Tomorrow night begins Silent Weekend #130! That means today is prep day.

This morning I made up another recipe from Choosing Raw, Buckwheaties. I also made up two pint jars of Chai. Then this afternoon I bought a couple more ingredients and made up two batches of Chocolate Raw-Nola (from Choosing Raw) using the Buckwheaties I made this morning. It’s more of a granola since I don’t have a dehydrator and had to use the oven.

Tonight I’m going to chop up a bunch of carrots and broccoli, clean a bunch of green beans, and make up another batch of iced green tea. I’ve got hummus and tahini dip ready and waiting. Yesterday I bought a bag of apple straws and a box of multi-grain pita chips from Trader Joe’s.

Tomorrow I’ll just have to fill up my Klean Kanteens with water, load everything into the cooler and bags, and get ice for the cooler.

Can you tell I’m excited for the weekend?! Aside from a wonderful weekend of ASL and camping, it’s also an opportunity to eat healthy and high raw!

There will be pictures!

Finished! Pint-Sized Ireland

Pint-Sized Ireland by Evan McHughWhat started as a trip to see some friends, became a trip around Ireland to see if the perfect pint of Guinness could be found. The author and his friend Michelle (The Woman I Didn’t Know I Would One Day Marry, aka Twidkiwodm) headed up to Ireland from Australia to meet up with some friends. Their first taste of Guinness, ever, was on the ferry on the way over from England. Talk about bad time, bad place. Their friends soon remedied their opinion of the Moother’s Milk. Slowly, as they checked out the sites and pubs, they started to hear where the ‘perfect pint’ of Guinness is poured. They decided to turn their journey around Ireland into the search for this elusive ‘perfect pint’.

This is such a great book. He does a great job of capturing Ireland. I can see the pubs in my mind and wish I could be there to soak up the craic too. It’s a simple story, but it’s also a lot of fun.

“The best Guinness is in the glass, in your hand, in the pub that you’re in right now. Nothing else, but nothing, compares.”
-p. 275

I couldn’t agree more. This statement shows how far he and Twidkiwodm came from that first horrible taste on the ferry.

Pint-Sized Ireland by Evan McHugh
Rating: 4 stars
WBC: Read a book set in Ireland or about Ireland.

Finished! Every Day in Tuscany

Every Day in Tuscany by Frances MayesThis is Frances Mayes’ latest book about living at Bramasole in Cortona, Italy. It’s been twenty years since she and her husband bought the house and started making it their home.
I always love reading Frances’ books. I usually read at least one per year. And every time, something strikes me differently. Reading this gave me three different ideas/revelations/paradigm shifts. And each one corresponds to one of the major themes of the book.

I always feel jealous when she talks about Bramasole. I want to have a place like that. A place that I can put work into and all my own. Then I finally realized I already have that. While I can’t do anything permanent. I can put in and make the apartment home. I just need to get off my butt and do it.

Growing up we ere always going places. Museums, historical sites, parks. But since going to college, I haven’t done as much. Reading about her travels in Italy makes me long to travel abroad, especially to Italy. Then I realized how much there is to do here in Ohio. The museums, the historical sites, the Native American mounds and artifacts, the parks. There’s so much to do here in the city, let alone the state, that I have been ignoring! So I’ve started a list of places that I would like to go to, again in some cases. It’s going to be so much fun!

I always go a bit Italian when I read her books. But this time the way they gather struck me. How everyone gathers around one table. How courses are brought out, passed around, talked and lingered over, before moving on to the next. And the smaller, more reasonable, portions. It makes me want to have friends over to share a meals. Obviously we can’t have everyone over at once, but a family here and there would work. They could even put the kids down in my room so they can stay longer. Also, the kids would have the same as us, aside from the babies of course.

I love reading her books. They always inspire me to do more and to carpe diem!

Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Rating: 5 stars
WBC: Read a book about food, then prepare a meal based on the book and post about it.

A week of revelations

This week has been full of revelations about myself and how I’m viewing life.

One revelation was that I am only one person and can only get so much done. At work I have many responsibilities, some of which can’t get ignored because they allow others to be done. I finally realized that while it all does need to be done, I can only do so much. So now I simply focus on getting what can be done and what needs immediate attention. It’s allowed me to get things done and be much more relaxed when I go home.
I’m thankful for realizing that I’m only one person.

The next two both came while I was reading Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes. I love reading her books, especially her Tuscany books. She is the author of Under the Tuscany Sun, it’s sequel Bella Tuscany, A Year in the World, and a few others that I haven’t read. Every time I read any of the Tuscany books and how much Bramasole means to her, it makes me long for a house of my own that I can put my own work into. This week I realized that what I really long for is a home, which I already have. While my husband and I can’t do anything permanent to the apartment, we can put our own stamp on it and really make it our own. Our friends have said that it feels like us already, and we don’t have anything up on the walls yet! I think that’s the thing I’m really wanting; to finish making our apartment our home.
The other revelation was when I was reading about her travels around Italy. The places she goes to are just amazing and full of history. Then I realized, I’m not living in some historical wasteland. Ohio is full of rich history. I started to look more seriously into museums and historical sites here in Ohio. So I’m going to start working on going somewhere at least once a month. I’ll probably even start writing about my travels here! 🙂
I’m thankful for Every Day in Tuscany, because it reminded what I already have and inspired me to carpe diem!

My last revelation of the week was in regards to my blogging. I have five different blogs for different aspects of my life. I realized that while I do need to try to write more, I shouldn’t force it. Once I realized that, the words started flowing. I wrote quite the post over at The Green Geek yesterday and got two more ready for the week. It’s amazing how removing pressure increases the flow!
I’m thankful for realizing I don’t have to be writing posts like mad. I just need to write.

Hopefully these revelations will help me to have an increasingly wonderful week! Have a great week!

Finished!: Every Day in Tuscany

Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life by Frances Mayes

Every Day in Tuscany is Frances Mayes’ third book about her life at Bramasole in Cortona, Italy. It has been twenty years since she and her husband Ed first bought Bramasole and began the long process of remodeling it and making into their home.

In the book she talks about life at Bramasole. Now she is no longer works at the university and can spend a lot more time at home in Cortona. There are many long dinners with friends and family. Many friends and family come to visit and stay for days or weeks. They take trips all over Tuscany and Italy. She continues to paint beautiful landscapes and pictures with her words which is why she continues to be my favorite travel writer.

This book is wonderful! It’s different from the previous two because there is no remodeling involved this time around. She left the university back before going on her trip that led to A Year in the World, so she and Ed spend most of the year at home in Bramasole. I love that it’s become home for them and their place in South Carolina is more of the vacation home.

This one was another audiobook. But this time I absolutely loved the narrarator, the author! Yes, Frances Mayes read her own book. It was wonderful listening to her read her own work. You could hear the nostalgia and warmth that comes from remembering wonderful times that you wouldn’t get from someone else. I wish more authors did this. Also the last disc has a .pdf file that is full of recipes that are mentioned throughout the book. I can’t wait to get that file. I do look forward to getting the book, where the recipes are probably in among the stories. But it is possibly my favorite audiobook so far.

Listening to all the wonderful food and the long tables and all the friends over for meals makes me want to do it myself. I want to have a table that’s long enough to fit at least twelve people around it and hold up the food. I want to have a long meal where we take our time eating and enjoy various wines and the converstions right along with the food. I’m already figuring out what I’ll need to serve this amazing meal and what to make. 🙂

It was so much fun listening to her talk about the two weeks her daughter and grandson were there. The way that boy is so adventureous and has such an open mind to food makes me wish more children were raised like that. At one point she talks about the menus and how in Italy there is no children’s menu. She then goes on to say how sad children’s menus are here in the US and how most of them are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken fingers or nuggets, and fries. If I ever have kids, I’ll just make sure they get some of what I’m eating since it’s always too much food. Why confine them to those simple, dull, foods when there is a world of wonderful tastes out there for them to try?

Spring Book Challenge: In honor of spring break, read a book set in a place you would like to visit.

Finished! Under the Tuscan Sun

I love this book! It seems like I leave enough time in between readings that it feels like a different book every time. It always makes me want to work on our own place, but we never can. This time through I have planned out my room. My husband has said when we get our own place I am going to have my own room to do all my crafting in. It seems to be annoying him that I have a knitting basket and knit while I watch TV. But I want to have light linen curtains hanging from an iron curtain rod in the window. I’d have all my books, the movies he never wants to watch, my desk, a table to do all the crafting at, craft supplies, and a corner full of pillows and a blanket where I can curl up and read.

But anyway. She is such a wonderful writer. I can visualize the house and the rooms and Cortona while I’m reading. It’s like taking a trip to Tuscany without leaving the house. So wonderful.

I did watch the movie the other day and noticed little bits of the book in there that I never noticed before. I don’t think I’d ever watched the book so close to or while reading the book before. There are little things, like the string of contrators. That was almost straight from the book. The washer getting electified happened a little early in the movie, but did happen in the book. But sadly I realized that they took this amazing book and turned it into a chick flick that barely resembles the book it’s based on. I’m not sure how much more I’m going to watch the movie after this. I always managed to keep the two separate, but this time I lost a lot of respect for the movie. The book is so much better!

Winter Book Challenge: Read a non-fiction book about travel and either cook a meal based on what you read

Reading right now: Under the Tuscan Sun

I just started Under the Tuscan Sun today for the WBC. Oh how do I love these books! Thanks to Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle, if I ever get the money, I’d love to live in Tuscany or Provence.

It’s like taking a vacation without ever leaving. I’m sitting there reading the book and devouring it with my eyes. Her writing is so descriptive, I can see Bramasole in my mind and the surrounding area.

It makes me wish I had my own place. I’d have a room to myself and make it my Tuscany room. It would be painted a soft terra cotta color, maybe even textured, and have wrought iron curtain rods with thin, flowing, linen curtains hanging from them. I’d have all of my craft supplies, my travel books, maybe a few other books, my comic books, and a table for doing crafts on. I’d have a place for all the pillows I want to make from old sweatshirts and t-shirts and the t-shirt quilt I’m planning to make. These books always put me in a decorating mood. I love them!

When I’m done the hard part isn’t going to be the cooking, it’s going to be figuring what I’m going to cook from what I want to cook!

Finished! The Reluctant Tuscan

My love of travel writing books started with my English 101 class in college. We had to read A Year in Provence. As much as I love to read, I hate to have to read a book. So I’d read enough to get through class, but didn’t really sit and read it. I did like it, so I decided to keep it. When I reread it, it started my love of tavel books about people moving to another country and renovating a home.

I picked up The Reluctant Tuscan because it looked interesting and fit into the travel/renovation style I love. My only regret is not reading it sooner! This book is a big change from Frances Mayes’ and Peter Mayle’s books in one big way. This time the author is “dragged kicking and screaming” into Italy by his wife instead of the both of them wanting the move. But eventually he realizes how much he enjoys living there and gets in touch with his inner Italian.

When I read books about living in Italy, I really wonder if I’ve got some inner Italian that’s trying to break free. Every time I read one I want to start making hearty pasta dishes and plant a garden to have fresh vegetables and herbs at my fingertips. Who knows, one of these days I might have a nice, Italian garden. But that won’t be for a while.

Winter Book Challenge: Read two books set on different sides of the country or the world (2nd book)