Books & Brews: Triple Love Score / Sweet Potato Sage Ale

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

Brandi Megan Granett had me at poetry professor and anonymous online Scrabble poet. I’m a sucker for a story with some sort of university connection. Throw in some unexpected online fame and I’m totally intrigued. Granett’s, Triple Love Score, tells the story of Miranda, who teaches poetry at a small upstate New York college and for fun starts making small poems of words related to a theme on a Scrabble board and posting them to social media as Blocked Poet. Her posts start to gather a huge following, and when she signs on with a high-powered brand manager her popularity soars and suddenly there are book deals and merchandise and cross-country book tours in support of her brand. All good and well, except her old-friend Scott has reappeared after a six-year, unexplained absence. (By old-friend, I mean man with whom she was in love and waited for, before giving up and allowing her love to morph into anger.) And he’s brought his daughter with him. All this happens at the same time Miranda is in the midst of a fun, no-strings-attached, fling with Ronan— who’s headed home to Ireland in a few weeks. Which means it’s all very deliciously complicated.

Here’s what I loved about Triple Love Score: Continue reading

Run Your Race

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Last Sunday my husband and I ran a 15K (9.3 miles, but 15K sounds much cooler, right?). It was called the Frostbite 15K and this year the race name could not have been more accurate– it snowed all morning.

There were parts of the race where the beginning of the course and the end of the course ran the same road. Meaning as you went out others were coming in and vice versa. We were at about mile 7 when the last runner came through (she was probably about 3 miles in). I know she was the last runner because there was a police car behind her, signaling the end of the race. Everyone on our side cheered for her as we ran by. She seemed to know one of the men behind me and made a comment about her slow progress, to which he replied “Just run your race. You’ve got this.” Continue reading

Spectacular. Messy. Lessons in Both.

Spectacular. Messy.Lessons in both.

A friend of mine posted this challenge on Facebook on New Years Eve: describe 2015 in three to five words. Five words? A whole year to summarize. I write 65,000 word novels and struggle to keep my weekly blog posts at around 300 words (this one is way over, folks). Despite the difficulty, I loved her idea of summarizing all those year-end thoughts in this really concise way. I chose these five words: Continue reading

Resolve To . . .

Resolve to

Resolve to occasionally eat chocolate for breakfast if you want to.  Or bacon.  Or chocolate covered bacon.

Resolve to do that thing you’ve been thinking about but just aren’t sure what everyone would think.  You know the one: that haircut with the choppy bangs, that guy (or gal) who’s not like anyone you’ve ever dated, that story in your head about the unicorn and the wily goat you want to write.

Resolve to be who you are, not some version of yourself you believe you need to be.

Continue reading

The Journey to What Was Always There

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In the fall semester of my senior year in college I was sitting in the office for the peer education group that I was a member of.  I was making phone calls about an upcoming retreat and adding items to an already lengthy to do list for the day.  I felt completely overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility that came with the leadership role I had taken on.  In that moment, balancing this with my academics felt impossible.  It was the same moment that I had the fleeting thought, If I was planning this activity because it was my job, I think I might actually like it. Continue reading

This is Me at 18

me at 18

I ran across this photo recently. It was taken the summer before I went to college, which was exactly *gasp* 18 years ago. It came to mind when I was thinking about what to write here this week. I thought about composing a list of tips for students headed off to college for the first time in a few weeks. What 36 year old me would tell 18 year old me to get out of the experience. I thought about writing a letter to my old self; warning of the pitfalls, encouraging the chances worth taking and nudging towards things left undone.

There were plenty of ideas and much to say but as I looked at the girl in the picture, her eyes full of hope, I decided I wouldn’t actually want to say any of it. Continue reading

Friends Through the Years & Across the Miles

This week is the second of a  two week period  that my friend Karen and I are the same age.  Our birthdays are two weeks apart, making me exactly fifty weeks younger than her.  I was fascinated by this as a child, and loved being her age for those two weeks.

Our friendship is an interesting one, in that we have never lived particularly near each other.  Growing up, she lived four hours away in Maryland.  I stayed in Virginia for college and she headed to Chicago.  In a brief time when were were both out of college, we were geographically closer than we have ever been.  She was living in Maryland, I was in the northern part of Virginia and we could easily meet in Washington, DC.  However, before long she was accepted into graduate school school in Glasgow, Scotland, and we haven’t lived in the same country now, for more than ten years.

Despite the distance, she is still one of my closest friends. Continue reading

To My Feet, With Love

Yesterday, I found myself walking around the city alone in the middle of the day.  It reminded me of a time, nearly eleven years ago, when I first moved here.  I was working retail and found myself home during the day more than I do now.  Since it wasn’t prudent to add a gym membership to my already just barely keeping it together budget, I would go on long walks.  The memory of these walks opened the floodgates.  Turns out I’ve taken a lot of beautiful walks in my life. It seems only appropriate to give credit where credit’s due. Thus . . .  Continue reading

Trending Up

In a class I am teaching this semester we are using selections from the book (and television series) Roadtrip Nation.  The series revolves around interviews conducted by a group recent college grads who set out on a cross-country trip interviewing folks about their career paths along the way.

One particular concept sticks out for me each time I watch the pilot episode (though I can never remember the name of the person who offers it).  The question that sparks the comment has something to do with job satisfaction and “right fit” within a chosen profession.  The executive being interviewed acknowledges that one isn’t always going to love every single task in their chosen vocation.  Every day isn’t going to be the best day.  Every project isn’t going to fall together like choirs of angels singing.  There will be undesirable tasks, unpleasant days and unorganized projects.  He stresses the importance of watching the trends and acknowledging the inevitable “dips” but determining if the overall arc is up or down. If it’s trending up, all is well. If the trend is sloped more downward, it’s probably time for a change.

I love this concept because it gives permission for the little dips.  Those not as great days when you feel a bit itchy in your own skin.  I love it because it acknowledges that movement in a positive direction isn’t always in a straight line, but it’s all good just the same.

So here’s hoping that things are trending up in your life today.  Not perfect, just in the direction of.

 

(Not So) Unexpected Awesome-ness

Yesterday a friend casually mentioned getting  “rush” tickets for a Virginia Rep show.  Did you all know about this?  How did I not? (Maybe it was on facebook.)  Just in case you’re in the dark too, Virginia Rep is now selling tickets for same day shows, 2 hours before the show for a (significantly) reduced price!  Here are the details.

So last evening we went to see Night Blooms, for nearly half price on a random Thursday night.  While I love a planned evening at the theatre, there’s something equally sweet about a seeing a show I hadn’t even thought about over breakfast that morning.  The show itself was well-written and well-acted.  The relationships between characters were grey and complicated; the ending hopeful while resisting tying the whole thing up in big fluffy bow.

Today I was getting ready to sit down and write something about how awesome this one little unexpected surprise was, when I realized I’ve had a week full of them.  From the big (seeing elk at the end of a long hike in Rocky Mountain National Park last Thursday) to the small (that delicious bowl of carrot, coconut, curry soup on Monday).  I suppose it’s actually not so much about the awesome things, as it is the open-ness to seeing the awesome.