Tag Archives: month in review

Month in Review: November 2015

After the massive catch-up at the beginning of the month it’s time to go back to doing these reviews monthly.

November was my first full month at the new job and things started to feel more normal. I have settled into a comfortable routine and I feel like a part of my office rather than just a visiting worker. From both a professional and a personal standpoint I work with a really great group of people. And perhaps most excitingly, I’m no longer the newest person in the office.  I’m technically still the newbie because this person transferred from another site…but it was still nice to be able to let someone else know where the coffee was and which printers are where.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was on the receiving end of such helpful hints.

For the first time in at least 15 years I dined at the Cracker Barrel this month.  We also tried a poutine place (extra delicious late-night food) and a distillery that are walking distance from our apartment.  There is such an amazing food scene here that it’s going to be a real battle to stick to a meal plan regularly.

Thanksgiving happened!  After work Wednesday we headed up to Liam’s hometown to be with his family.  We had a midday meal on Thursday because one of his siblings had to work that morning and I had to work on Friday and we wanted to get an early-ish start back to our place because night driving and moose don’t mix.

To continue with the food theme of the post, we kicked off the week of Thanksgiving with a potluck Friendsgiving celebration hosted by one of Liam’s acquaintances.  I knew no one and Liam only knew a few people, but it was lots of fun.  And the food was amazing.  I had to laugh because we were in charge of making a vegan recipe and the joke was that we were set up to have the least favorite dish of the night.  (Curried pumpkin soup if you’re curious; I happen to think it’s quite good but it didn’t really go with the non-vegan offerings.)

Now that we are settled I feel like I can get back to enjoying hobbies that I had set aside while we were working toward relocating.  I attempt to become a “good” knitter each winter and this year is no exception.  I’ve been re-learning everything that I forgot over the warmer months and I have also picked up a set of crochet hooks although I haven’t touched them yet. I got my new library card and have been enjoying the vast e-lending library that I have access to as a result.  Though I try to avoid going to the library on my lunch hour (it’s amazingly crowded during the workday) I may have to drop by soon and see whether they have a foreign language children’s section.  I’ve been working on a new language – possibly in preparation of a trip next year and kids’ books are a great supplement to my daily practice.

My Christmas shopping is entirely done, although if we’re being totally transparent the last gift is still on its way to me and all of them need to be wrapped.  But as a result I had the time (and desire) to do some selfish shopping this month.  I was crushed to realize that secondhand shopping is terrible here – especially the thrift offerings.  So I wound up coming home completely empty handed.

And finally, can we talk about the weather?  Forgive the shouting but it’s necessary because WE STILL DO NOT HAVE SNOW.  I think that the northernmost part of the state finally has some in the 10-day forecast but we are looking at the mid 40’s for the next several days.  I’m not complaining but it is so, so weird.  Remind me about this when I’m whining my face off in March, okay?  Maybe when I’m complaining about wearing my winter boots to Easter services.

 

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Month in Review: June 2015

 

road trippin'

 

Road trippin’

Alternative title: The color of my legs matches my iPhone cord 😦 😦

June was such a fun month!  Liam was free for most of it and I took a vacation with some of my best friends. We kept things fairly relaxed around the house for the most part.

tomatojune

The apartment gardening project is just okay.  Not much better than that.  I must have been right about the strawberries being diseased because they died almost immediately after planting.  We also think that we got a bad packet of bean seeds because only one spouted and it’s now dying as well.  In happier news, we have had lots of basil and parsley-filled dishes and just harvested our first pepper yesterday.  No tomatoes are ready yet but we added the plants kind of late.  Because the beans were totally unsuccessful we planted radishes the other day and those are just starting to show tiny sprouts.

empanada taco chips

Though we were out and about a ton last month we only had one real date night with just the two of us.  Early in the month we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and had some fabulous tacos.

ice cream pod

There was also one road trip: we headed to my parents’ house for a weekend of celebrating my dad.  Ice cream is our fuel of choice for these drives.  Culvers is a thing we will miss greatly if we leave the midwest.  We celebrated by power washing, sanding, staining, weeding, mulching, tree trimming…all the outdoor -ings, basically.  My dad is of the Puritanical “early to bed, early to rise” mindset and is always, always, always the first one to bed when we’re together.  Slightly embarrassingly all of the children were in bed before him.  We were so tired from the yard work that a few of us even fell asleep before dessert!

Books I read: Primates of Park Avenue; Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  I liked both!

TV shows: None from what I remember.  Hockey, obviously.  We’re both big Blackhawks fans (even though Liam *should* be a Bruins fan he agrees that Chicago sports > Boston sports!) and are very saad about the trade news.

Snippets:  This is the first month where I have waited until the end to draft this post.  Normally I will have it in the draft folder for the entire month and I’ll add little bits as I remember them.  There was so little computer time this month that it didn’t work out that way and I really have nothing else to add.  🙂

Month in Review: May 2015

So I know people say this every month, but I actually cannot believe it’s June. As I’m writing this it is barely 50 outside and feels more like fall than “meteorological summer”. Thanks for the buzzword Tom Skilling!

Our May was a pretty decent month by any metric you can judge that sort of thing by. Liam spent the entire month with either work or school work, and we’re both looking forward to a more exciting and eventful June. Wish him luck on his finals, guys. He’ll be taking them over the next ten days and then he is free for most of this month.

But back to May.

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I started an herb garden this month. (Potted, but such is the apartment life.) I have basil, rosemary and parsley at the moment. I am expecting cilantro from a coworker that I’ll be picking up next time I am in the office. The rosemary isn’t looking very good but this is the most successful basil plant I’ve had yet. Some of the stalks (stalks?) are quite “leggy” but um, it’s alive and growing for now so I am pleased. This week I will be planting a container garden of radishes and possibly getting tomatoes and peppers. We tried to grow squash in containers last year and that went horribly. No squash for me.

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I ate my weight in strawberries this month. Seriously. Right now I am still getting produce from Costco but our local farmers markets are expected to start up in the next few weeks. I cannot wait. We live so close to farmland yet our markets are hard to come by. Go figure.

There was a date night this month! I pulled Liam away from his books for a dinner at Gordon Biersch in Bolingbrook. I believe it’s one of those chains that’s sporadicly placed around the country. The food was pretty good and my favorite part was the fact that the restaurant serves proper pints. I like beer but in smaller doses than most people, apparently.

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I made things! To wear! That pile of fabric is now a skirt and I am just so pleased with myself. Sin of pride? Yep. Moving on. “Me made May” is a yearly push for “makers” to make good use of their homemade items. Most commonly I have seen bloggers promise to wear a me-made item every day for the month of May. I am a baby sewist but endeavored to make five items during May that were wearable. That was ambitious. In the end I made two items – a skirt and a top and I am happily wearing both. The finished products are both at my parents’ house so I’ll have to show you later.

Speaking of my parents’ place, I spent a week there. In a bit of fortuitous timing, Liam’s worst week academically was also a break week for my co-ed sibling. The co-ed slept 70% of the time at home (oh, finals) and I was able to put in a full work week while getting to spend lots of time with long-lost sibling. I brought the dog with me so Liam had the house to himself and was very productive as well.

States I slept in: IL  No traveling this month either.

Books I read: Gone Girl; and I want all of those hours of my life back. I absolutely hated this book. For those of you who have read it, the “middle” was spoiled for me but I had no idea how it was going to end. Didn’t matter; I didn’t like it at all.

TV shows: Mad Men ended and I thought it was perfect.

Snippets: Like last month Liam has been super busy with school and I have been busy entertaining myself on off hours.  Still working with Duolingo, like last month.  Now I’m looking for better books to read this summer.  Go Blackhawks!!

If this recap seems a little bit light on the substance you’re totally right.  Lots of this month was consumed with work-related things that aren’t particularly interesting.  June holds the promise of many more adventures.  We’re spending Father’s Day with my parents and siblings and taking my dad out to a restaurant in town of his choosing.  I have a trip with some girlfriends of mine coming up very soon and I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.

Month in Review: March 2015

As with January and February, here is a summary of what we were up to on March 1.

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By 8:00 am my parents’ house was hopping, probably because one of the boys had the brilliant idea to make a Starbucks run.   All of the siblings and their +1’s had spent the night. My parents headed off to church while the kids sat around the kitchen table chatting and making fun of one another. Have I told you I love spending time with my family? More than anything! (I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here so we don’t seem like a degenerate bunch of siblings – normally when we’re together we’ll worship as a family. But our time was so crunched this weekend that the kids decided to wait and attend Sunday night mass after everyone had gone their separate ways. Sunday evening mass isn’t a thing my dad believes in, so there you go.)

Around midday the college kids headed back to campus and we local siblings went our separate ways as well. L and I planned to get groceries on our way home but my good friend inquired about getting together for a late lunch so we did that instead. We spent several hours together just catching up and talking over plans for a possible summer trip that she and I have been scheming about. It was dark when we left the restaurant and I had to play secretary for L on our ride home because there was a flurry of activity around a group project while we were out.

I dropped Liam at home so he could get to work, went grocery shopping on my own and then came home and enjoyed the Downton Abbey Christmas Special. I am so sad Downton is over for the season!  (ETA – and I’m sad that Downton is ending forever after next season!  That news broke this past week 😦 )

Also really starting to hope that April 1st isn’t a Sunday because they’re quite boring around here.  I am almost tired of writing about them so you must surely be tired of reading about them! 🙂

States I slept in: IL, CO
I traveled for work for the first time this month.  More on that this week.  I so rarely travel alone that it was an odd experience.

Books I read: Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna. On Beauty (a reread). 6/35 for my goal for the year.  I don’t like getting “stuck” in a book but that’s where I am now.  See below.

Book I cannot finish: Kitchen Confidential. It’s rare that I give up on a book but I just can’t get through Bourdain’s writing. Anyone else feel that way?

TV shows: Watched a bit more Parenthood but I must admit that my interest is waning.  So is winter, which is when I watch most of my television anyway.

Snippets: Girl Scout cookies hit our area!  Still dealt with the accident a little bit.  L had a break from classes at the end of the month so we got to do things like go out to dinner and clean the house together.  Saw a relative lot of friends this month.  I feel like the winter hibernation is finally coming to a close!

Month in Review: January 2015

ETA: Mea culpa.  I was a total space case and forgot to give credit where it’s due.  The idea for a monthly review came from Amanda (The Lady Okie) and I’ll be joining in with her link up this year.

One of the things that I appreciate most about maintaining a blog is the ability to record even the seemingly mundane parts of life because these can be my favorite to look back on after the fact.  Special occasions and fun trips are great but those tend to stay at the forefront of my memory anyway.  Lots of blogs do week or weekend in review posts; that’s too much for me.  I loved the idea of a monthly recap, and I’m so glad that Amanda decided to make it a linkup this year.

I think I’m going to include a recap of the first day of each month and then add a few details about the month overall at the very end.  Feel free to skip this post if recaps aren’t your thing.

January 1 2015

Our location: Chicago(ish)

Temp: 29 —–> That’s pretty warm!

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Even with a huge tumbler of coffee I still managed to take a seriously indulgent nap on New Years Day.

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But I also made it to the gym!  (The closest thing to a gym selfie I’ll do.)

We woke up hangover-free on January 1 but had a lazy day nevertheless.  We watched a soul-crushing Chicago Blackhawks loss, saw a good portion of the Rose Bowl Parade and used our favorite Christmas gift (the Starbucks January mugs!) for the first time. We also checked in with both of our families to see how their year started off, hit the gym and made an apple and pork salad for dinner that night.

We discussed our goals for the year and what we hoped to accomplish – it was an exciting conversation, and one that we’ve decided to revisit each month.

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Month in Review: January 2015

Places traveled: New England! Instead of stressing ourselves out with holiday travel and fitting all the things in with both sides, we decided to wait until the first week of January to visit L’s family.

States we slept in: IL, OH, MA, ME, NH —–> next year we’re heading south instead…

Books read: The Hunger Games.  Liked it for the most part but I found the beginning really slow.  Catching Fire.  Ditto my thoughts on the first book.  Mockingjay – because I had to finish the trilogy.

TV shows watched: Downton  Abbey is getting so very soapy but Maggie Smith’s character is brilliant.  At this point I pretty much watch just for her.

Projects completed: I have nothing to show for this but I was able to sell/donate/toss a bunch of random stuff we weren’t using.

Dates: Well, we took a road trip together so that was quite a bit of quality time.  I guess we did have one date night at a nicer restaurant while we were out east.

Snippets: We filed our taxes.  Survived a nasty car accident.  Bought a new car.  Enjoyed a moderately mild month weather-wise.  Liam began another school term.  We both dealt with different work-related stressors.  It was an eventful month.

January 2015; I don’t miss you one bit.