Monthly Coffee Date: The Shortest, Longest Month

Every month, I recap what I learned, loved, read, clicked, listened to, and wrote with my Coffee Date posts. This is what I'd talk to you about if we got coffee this week, and it's how I take a minute to reflect on another month passing. Maybe you'll find your next podcast or book here, or you'll find an interesting article to read. Pour yourself a cup, and let's chat. 


February

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I guess I got a little cocky when January passed quickly and easily—it's usually my least favorite month. This year, February felt like my January, so, in a word: UGH. It's technically the shortest month, but this time around it felt like the longest. The kids were sick for two straight weeks, the kind of scary-sick where we visited the doctor four times total and brought home three prescriptions and checked temperatures all hours of the night. It reminded me of how wearying caregiving is, and why the early stages of parenthood are rough, frankly. Both of my kids were about as needy as newborns while they were sick, and I didn't have time to shower, eat, sleep, read, or take care of myself for awhile—particularly while trying to keep up with work. Parents who take care of high-needs kids—who never get out of this reality—are heroes. 

But enough gloom and complaining! February wasn't all bad. We had several stretches of gorgeous sunshine during the middle of the month, and Jason and I got away to see our first movie in the theater in probably over a year (The Last Jedi, and by the way, haters, I'm not feeling you: it was awesome). My writing group gals and I hosted our first Boise writers meetup, and it went well (check out my Unread Stories Club page if you're local and want to join us next month)! I'm glad the month is over—now on to March, the harbinger of spring!


What I Learned

  • I can take action instead of stewing: The horrific Parkland shooting left me feeling helpless and angry for over a week. I finally decided to write an article for Relevant Magazine, contact my representatives, and in general turn my anger into action. Too often I've given into my feelings of powerlessness, and frankly, even if my own small actions don't make a difference, I know it was vital that I took them. 
  • Turning my phone screen grayscale worksGreat news! I finally found a genuinely easy hack to keep me off my phone more. I change my screen to grayscale 80% of the day and only switch it when I'm ready to intentionally engage in something (like an Instagram discussion or responding to emails). Here's the video I watched quite a while ago that recommends it. 

What I Loved 

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  • These charming watercolor house portraits: I ordered a portrait of our house from Kate Harris Art Studio and I'm in love! Kate's attention to detail makes the portrait feel even more special, and the watercolor gives it a fine-art feel to hang on your wall. I love supporting artists and having meaningful art in my home.
  • This bread recipeI decided if winter is going to stick around, I'm going to keep making fresh bread every week. This recipe is my go-to: it's so easy, fast, and delicious!
  • The Great British Baking Show: I've never watched GBBS until this month, and I'm in love with Mary Barry and all the lovely Brits on the show! Huge bonus: Charlie loves watching it with me and it's become such a fun thing to share "our baking show" together. She genuinely loves baking and it's so cute to see her engage. "Uh oh, his cake is messy!" 

What I Read 

I ended up devouring quite a few books this month, keeping up with my 2018 reading goals. 

     

 

 

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: My Black History Month read did not disappoint. I was disappointed when this book ended (it's surprisingly short, actually), because every page was incredible. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: After being completely blown away by East of Eden, I picked this up from the library on a whim. I guess I'm a Steinbeck groupie now, because this book also rocked my world. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: This book didn't quite live up to the hype for me. It was enjoyable, but I found the message a little heavy-handed and the characters a tad underdeveloped. To be fair, I don't think I'd want anyone reading my book after just finishing a Steinbeck novel, either, so... ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: This book was exactly what I expected, and definitely a fun read. It's chicken soup for the book-lover's soul, honestly. Epicurean, bordering on hedonistic, and full of sensory detail; I had a hard time getting over the love triangle storyline (okay, I didn't get over that part). ⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I Clicked

  • How School Shootings Spread by Malcolm Gladwell: "The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts."
  • Gun Reform: Speaking Truth to Bullshit by Brene Brown: "The ability to think past either/or situations is the foundation of critical thinking, but still, it requires courage. Getting curious and asking questions happens outside our ideological bunkers. It feels easier and safer to pick a side. The argument is set up in a way that there’s only one real option. If we stay quiet we’re automatically demonized as 'the other.'"
  • Who I Could Have Been by Brittany L. Bergman: "The further I get down my own life path, the more I am willing to hold space for what could have been. And the more I hold that space, the less resentful I feel about the moments when I was less than true to myself."

In My Ears

  • Heaven's Gate PodcastThis podcast tells the story of the Heaven's Gate cult through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. It's compelling and well-written, and I love how it poses the question, "Could that have been me?"