Monday, June 20, 2016

Productivity, Projects, Produce, & Pretzels

When you've been blogging for over five years, it becomes hard to think of a title you haven't yet used! It was a perfect weekend, but I'm sure I've already used that title before, so I had to think specifically about what made it perfect.

First of all, I was productive. I've finally had time this summer to revise some stories, and I made time to submit work this weekend. The process, as all my writer friends know, is time consuming. It requires time to read work from each journal to decide if your work would fit there and what piece you should submit. Then, there is cover letter writing and making sure the document is formatted according to the journal's specifications. I managed to get submissions out to ten publications, and I was pleased with that progress.

On Saturday morning, we went to the farmer's market to load up on fresh produce: tons of tomatoes, cucumber, corn, peppers, beets, rainbow chard, yellow squash, and onions. The selection is still not at its peak, but it's getting better every week. After picking up breakfast at Neme's food truck down the street from our house, we went to HEB to knock out our regular shopping.

Saturday afternoon, I hosted a first book club for a group of work friends. We read The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. For reasons I won't go into (for fear of plot spoiling), this book could not have been more timely. It gave us a lot to talk about, and while not everyone in the group loved the book, I certainly thought it was worth my time. It was an interesting blend between genre (think Girl on the Train or Gone Girl) and literary fiction. The main character, Ani, is easy to hate, and her perceptions had a truly negative impact on my psyche. Still, at the end of the novel, I did have empathy for her despite her abundant flaws. This was a fast and interesting read. It will make a plane ride go by quickly. Anyone have recommendations for other books that will do that? I could use some gripping reads for the summer!

For hosting book club, I kept things simple. I made a big pitcher of Sangria using this recipe. I served fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and blueberries), nuts (cashews, peanuts, and almonds), chips & salsa, pita chips & hummus, and veggies (carrots and broccoli) with ranch dressing. I made a cheese dip to serve with crackers by covering light cream cheese with a pear sauce purchased at HEB. It was simple to set up, and everyone seemed to enjoy. 

We decided we'll continue the project and someone else will host another book club in August. 

Sunday morning, we called the dads to say Happy Father's Day, and we called my brother to wish him a happy birthday. They're the best, and we look forward to seeing both our dads soon to celebrate (unfortunately, I don't know when I'll see Graham next, but luckily my mom got to see him on his birthday since she has a work trip in California). 

I finished the latest book I've been reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. My friend Emily recommend it, and it was a great read. Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher with interesting ideas about her responsibilities in "shaping" her pupils. The book is fascinating and realism at its best. Now, I desperately want to watch the movie with Maggie Smith. 

Also on Sunday, Brendan and I put our pretzel making talents to use. Making pretzels is a project, and we enjoyed turning our kitchen into a factory. I was shaping the dough, and Brendan was dipping it in the beer bath and putting pretzels into the oven. On the stove, I was making sure to frequently whisk the homemade mustard dip. It was all worth it when we got to bring our creations to Dagan & Steph's for Game of Thrones night. Their son LOVES pretzels and has been requesting them since we first brought them to the Superbowl party in February.  

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend, and I've taken time this morning to think about the week ahead. I want to get some stuff done for work (I've taken on an extra project online), return to my workouts, start packing, and make sure to use everything in the pantry! 

Hope your week is off to a great start. 

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