Thanks to the boy’s satellite radio, I can actually instantly know the band for a song that catches my attention while we’re driving somewhere. This happened with Home by Dotan the other week, and I promptly bought the album it came from on iTunes when we got home. And it’s been on repeat since then. Here’s a few of my favorites from the album 7 Layers:
I checked out his previous album, too, but I think 7 Layers is better.
This was recommended to me by a friend back in August, and I finally got around to reading it. It tells the story, mainly, of one Dan Sylveste, an interstellar scientist bent on figuring out what happened to the long-dead Amarantin alien race. Something destroyed them almost a million years ago, and Sylveste has the more-than-nagging suspicion humanity is in danger of the same. He’s up against not just the clock, but also a scientific community that has lost faith in him, a less-than-human starship crew that has its own agenda, an assassin sent through the lightyears, and the AI ghost of his own father. Very little is as it first seems, and the truth of Amarantin history is something nobody ever could’ve imagined.
This got off to a slow start for me, but once I got about 75-100 pages in it picked up and I was hooked. That’s also, coincidentally, about where all the disparate characters and plot lines start converging. The book is all in 3rd person, but the narration jumps around pretty frequently to follow different characters’ thoughts and actions- mainly Sylveste, a starship crew member, and the assassin. The characters were at least interesting, even if they weren’t all that complex or layered. Sylveste was probably the most interesting, as he’s a genius and a bit of a bastard but also generally right. The overall mystery was well paced and intriguing, and not (like some ‘mysteries’) completely obvious.
My main issue with this book was that it got very bogged down in technical science stuff that a) wasn’t necessary for the story and b) wasn’t interesting in its own right (at least to me). Yes, I realize it’s science fiction, but I’ve read good science fiction where that aspect is handled much better. The other issue was the ending. I’m not really sure how to describe what my issue was with it. It made sense, I guess, but I also feel like the author kind of threw science out the window at that point, because it felt a lot more like a magic save ending than a realistic one for that universe. It didn’t seem to fit the established structure. It is only book #1 in the series, so I don’t know if threads of it will be picked up and refined in book #2, but we’ll see.
Sending Love from a Lifeboat. One author’s love letter to the book that changed her life. “It matters to see yourself in a book. It matters to be told, either by the author in person or through a character, that you are okay. That not having a label doesn’t make you less worthy of love or a community. That you are defined more by what you love than what you hate.”
Virtual violence: it’s not just for internet celebrities. “This isn’t something that’s limited to a subculture of gaming or tech or startups. This is a widespread phenomenon that’s simply the most apparent in those places right now. And until people understand that, we’re not going to move past it.”
No. No, we are not excused. “You don’t get a free pass just because you alert your partner to your emotional baggage and bad behavioral patterns. It doesn’t make you a better partner and grant you a pardon from the negative things that you do. In fact, it makes you a worse partner because you are aware that your issues negatively effect those around you and, yet, you fail (or refuse, take your pick) to do anything about it.” Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Agreed.
Why You Should Hang Out With + Date People You Admire. “There were people whose names required the unspoken asterisks “You’ve just got to get to know him” and “She’s an acquired taste” and “She’s a lot better when she’s sober.” … I liked them! They had redeeming qualities – they were funny or interesting or smart – but they also pretty regularly engaged in choices and behavior that made me want to cross the room and pretend I didn’t know them.”
Well, birthday celebrations are officially over. I stretched it out as long as I could, and there may be one or two presents still on their way to me in the mail, but all of the event-type happenings are done. Game night this past weekend was fun, as was book club the next day. And I’ve been making progress on shop stuff- finally had the photo shoot for the S and some XS shirts, so there are more on-model photos for shop listings. And I’ve been printing up an xmas-themed storm. I even bought xmas-y props for when I do the photo shoot for those, which (ideally) would be Thursday this week.
And all today I’m busy with the Freelance Conference. It’s my first professional conference (i.e. not a blogging conference) so we’ll see how it goes.
I was telling my mom about this recipe, and she was like polenta-what? It’s an ingredient that isn’t super widely known unless you’re Italian, but is becoming more popular. Polenta is a cornmeal based substitute for pasta, rice or potatoes. It’s got a mild corn flavor, and is much more palatable than grits. This recipe is one of the most fail-proof ways to ease yourself in to using polenta in your cooking. It’s a simple chop-toss-and-bake, but is super tasty. The sausage and apples make it perfect for autumn, too.
Easy Autumn Polenta Bake
1 large honeycrisp apple
1 yellow onion
1 package chicken apple sausage
1 18oz. tube of prepared polenta (original or flavored – we used sundried tomato garlic)
Salt & pepper to taste
Cut up everything into bite size chunks.
Toss together in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
If you want to mix it up, add your own preferred herbs/spices over top. If you want something a little more moist, add just a dash of white wine to the bottom of the baking dish, and cover top with foil before cooking.
What’s your favorite throw-together autumn meal? Have you ever cooked with polenta before?
Make all of the hand-me-down recipes (from my mom and grandma) in my recipe box that I’ve never tried.
Specific, hopefully manageable. We shall see.
My birthday itself was low-key – just wine, pasta and the Project Runway finale. Our getaway to San Antonio this past weekend was my big celebration, and we’ll be having friends over this coming weekend for game night party. So birthday celebrations have been had and will be had. I told you I was milking this birthday for all it’s worth.
What do you think? Good mix of personal and business goals? Did I bite off more than I can handle?
Well, as of around 5:30am this morning, Mississippi time*, I am officially 30 years old. Yup. The big 3-0. Three whole decades of life. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like that long, or that big of a deal (though that won’t stop me from milking this milestone birthday for all that it’s worth – hence 2-week staycation ). A birthday means lots of things, but here on the blog it means looking over the goals I set last year for things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30. So here we go:
Host 6 brunch gatherings. I hosted 5 of these, which is pretty good. I also hosted some movie nights, so I’m going to count this as complete.
Make jam and/or flavored butter and/or applesauce from scratch. Yes! This happened, too. I made strawberry jam with Ian’s mom, and crockpot applesauce from scratch on my own. The jam was better.
Pay off debt! I have made progress on this, but it isn’t complete. Still work to do.
Paint at least 2 rooms in the house. Yes! I did 3, technically – master bedroom, master bathroom, and the loft. Still have to paint my office.
Reach 100 sales in my shop. Nope. Still inching up there. I’m VERY close, if you count in-person/show sales.
Be completely moved to made-to-order items in the shop, rather than one-offs. Nope, still working on this, too. I’m hoping to move some of my OOAK shirts at November’s craft shows.
Start saving for a deposit on a new car. I have a savings account, and there is an amount in it. But it’s already earmarked for something else, not a car, so nope on that.
Take a garment sewing class. I took several, in fact!
Complete alterations on 12 items of clothing. Yeha, nope. I did make a few pieces of completely new clothing (2 skirts and a pair of leggings) and hemmed a pair of jeans. So sort of?
Do a photo shoot with models for shop items. Partially done. My model for the small sizes had to reschedule to next Monday, so that didn’t happen yet. But the mediums are all done!
Launch a digital prints section in my shop. Yes, I did this in the digital shop.
Launch a blog templates section in my shop. Nope. This got put on hold once I decided to embark on craft show madness.
Open a retirement account. I did start an investment account, though it’s not specifically a retirement one.
Learn to drive stick shift. Nope. The boy still needs to teach me.
Create 1 new screen design per month. I got 4 completed, and have two more sketched out but not finalized/made into screens.
Try out other methods of screen-making. Yes! I did this. I’ve been doing photo emulsion and stencils.
Get 5 new freelance clients on retainer. Nope.
Design a freebie to go out with shop orders. Yes! Did this. All orders from the screen printing shop now ship with a free bookmark.
Do a cool mailer promo for my freelance business. Nope. But I did just revive my business blog, so… ?
Go to 6 networking events. Yes. More than 6, even. This introvert has been stretching her networking muscles, you guys.
Visit a foreign country. Nope, didn’t happen this year.
Volunteer at the library. Yup! Still doing it, in fact, every Monday.
Figure out how to do hair stuff (braid my own hair, curl my own hair). Braids are still a no-go (my fingers just canNOT figure that out when it’s my own head) but I can sorta do flat iron curls successfully.
Find & learn some contemporary classical piano music. I found some and played some, but it’s not really memorized. But I know it well enough to play easily with the sheet music, so I’m counting that.
That’s 13 completed, 6 partially completed, and 11 incomplete. That’s success or at least progress on two thirds of the goals list, which is not too shabby, and better than last year’s results. Being more specific in my goal setting definitely helped. Stay tuned tomorrow for my new list of goals
Do you do an annual goals list? What’s something you want to accomplish before your next birthday?