Sunday, December 29, 2013

season's greetings

Confession: I am a Christmas Eve shopper. I gain no glory or satisfaction from having my holiday shopping done months ahead of time. Because I am on a budget, I don't buy gifts for friends. Immediate family only. And they know by now, since I am hundreds (formerly thousands) of miles away, that they will receive Epiphany presents.

On Christmas Eve this year I headed out into the masses at Green Hills and because I didn't have to search vainly for parking it was a lovely experience. Score yet another for the bus! I made my way to my favorite book store in Nashville - Parnassus Books. That place deserves its own love letter here. I grabbed a few gifts, and then - as is tradition - bought a Christmas present for myself.

Look, a girl on her own has to make sure she gets at least one thing she wants for Christmas!

I settled in at Starbucks with a holiday drink and Franklin and Winston. The three of us had a lovely afternoon.

I hope you had a lovely holiday! I know posting has been sporadic but my "excuse" is that my computer broke six weeks ago and I haven't been able to replace it. I've been putting it off (big, unexpected expense in a time of frugality!), but may bite the bullet in the new year. If you have suggestions on a good deal on a PC laptop (Macs are lovely, but don't suggest them. Even refurbished aren't my price range), let me know. Maybe then you'll see more of me :)

Happy (almost) 2014!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

bold choices

I don't think I've posted the full list here, but back in ninth grade my amazing language arts teacher had us all write bucket lists. I blame her for my lifelong obsession. I've accomplished many items on that list, enough that 15 year old Amanda should be quite pleased.

And Thursday night? I crossed off the second biggest item on that list, and can check off #98 and #99 on my current 101 in 1,001 list twice over: do something spontaneous and out of my comfort zone.

What was it? Oh, you know...just colored my hair for the first time in 5 years.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'll do it myself

I am stubbornly independent. Incredibly so.

In many ways, this is an asset. I do not determine my value based on my relationships with others. That wasn't always the case (hi, high school) but today the benefit is that I'm not too bothered by being single and I don't need a crowd of friends to do everything with me. I have many wonderful friends, don't get me wrong. But if I want to do something, I just do it. Nobody else coming doesn't deter me, so I have no problem eating out alone, going to movies alone, etc.

The downside is that sometimes I do things the "hard" way just to avoid asking for help. My broken ankle really brought that to light for me, and really helped me change my mindset. It is okay to ask for help when you need it, and it is okay to accept help when it is offered. Prime example: I decided to move closer to work because my commute was killing me (one hour, fifteen minutes each way. Every day.). Then every single one of my plans fell apart, and I suddenly had given notice to leave before Thanksgiving but no permanent place to return to. And a friend stepped up and offered me her spare room until I can find the right place. The same day I moved out, my car majorly broke down. So friends helped get me to the airport and move the last of my stuff, and have given me rides when the bus doesn't go where I'm going.

It's not easy for me to allow others to help me, even with small things. But this year as I've learned more about putting down roots, I've discovered that being rooted in a place is also about being rooted in community. Sometimes that's about serious stuff and thankfully, that often includes dinners with chips, salsa, and margaritas.

Today I'm hitting up Nashville's $2 theater with some friends. What are you up to?
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

growing old

I am becoming such an old lady.

I routinely (as in 5/7 nights per week) am asleep before 10pm.

I grumble to myself on the bus when the teenagers have their music on loud in their headphones ("You're going to damage your hearing!").

I have to "warm-up" my muscles before walking like a normal person in the morning. This I blame on my broken ankle's lasting impact.

I eat leftovers willingly. Young(er) me would never do that.

I'm saving for retirement (a little) and more concerned about practicality and value with my purchases now than how cute or trendy something is.

The youngest of the "kids" in my generation just turned 22, so my family is aging along with me. My cousins' kids range in age from 9-21. There aren't any more little ones around and it shows! We were all talking about being old over Thanksgiving this year.

It's on my mind tonight because I've been back in Nashville from Pennsylvania for 2 days and the one-hour time change is killing me. Apparently old-me can't kick jet lag anymore.

I don't mind growing older, though, if I wind up anything like this adorable nearly-94-year-old. She's my favorite :)

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I feel like as long as I manage to post at least once a week, I'm winning this blogging thing. That's what I say to comfort myself. Unfortunately for you, I can't promise what gets posted will be amazing. My life right now is thrilling [insert sarcasm font] and I can tell you agree since not even one of you had anything to say on my "Day in the Life" post :)

I leave you with two pictures that sum up why I haven't blogged much lately. Consider them worth 2,000 words.

Compare to the last time you saw these.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Big Block of Cheese Day

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to try and come up with some kind of calendar to help me post more regularly. Today, my iPhone tells me it is "poli sci nerd at heart day" which lined up quite nicely with a question Anne asked in the comments to my bookshelf post.

So here's a little more about my collection of presidential biographies. It started in college, when I was just a wee Political Science major working on a presidential primary campaign. That was the most fun 18 months. And also very stressful. Around the time that I was meeting and observing most of our political leaders (which made for a nice comparison study, because it's not often you meet a different candidate every day of the week), they published a collection of Ronald Reagan's letters. It's huge, but so intriguing.

I began to see many similarities (more than differences, to tell the truth) between the current candidates I was interacting with and President Reagan. I wondered: what do all these people who decide to run for - and win - the highest office in the land have in common? So I did what any good, studious little nerd does and I started reading. I've read books on Reagan, Obama, Clinton, and Theodore Roosevelt. I branched out to include contemporary "significant" candidates, as well as First Ladies. It is, quite honestly, my biggest little quirk.

Up next on my to-read stack is Andrew Jackson, as told by Jon Meacham. Who, let me tell you, is one of my favorite historians. [Seriously, I have favorites] I also have his book about Thomas Jefferson, and I had the great joy of seeing him interview General Colin Powell last year at an event at Belmont. He lives here in Nashville, and I would love to someday get to pick his brain. My field trip for the end of this book will be to The Hermitage, President Jackson's home that is right outside Nashville as well.

I hope that he at least mentions Big Block of Cheese Day, which I confess is one of my first associations whenever I hear Andrew Jackson's name. Please tell me you know what I'm talking about.


So that's me. Your friendly, local presidential history nerd.

Do you "collect" books along a particular theme?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

on my bookshelf

Anne over at Modern Mrs. Darcy is doing a little blog link-up today asking us all to share what our bookshelves look like.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that about 3 weeks ago we had a little catastrophe over here. I rearranged my room and my bookshelf literally fell over and split in half! The nerve!

I am not in a position to immediately replace it, but needed some kind of storage more than piles on the floor. So I decided to make do with the pieces.

Let's take a look!

Moving from left to right we have:

Top shelf: a stack of all my Bible study workbooks from the last couple of years; all of my journals from 2004-present (I'm re-reading them); some Bibles, The Federalist Papers, and a book of quotations.

Middle shelf back row (not in view): the books I've started but not finished over the past few months (i.e., next up on the to-read list); the only thing I collect - biographies/memoirs of American Presidents & First Ladies; fiction that I've already read.

Middle shelf front row (in view): currently reading or will be reading next (Brene Brown's works, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House); Paris in Color; classics that didn't fit anyplace else & my French Bible.

Bottom shelf: more fiction, mostly series. Anne of Green Gables, some Lori Wick, and the Christy Miller & friends series (a favorite from high school).

The first shelf maintained its structural integrity in the fall. The second did not and is barely hanging on.

Top shelf: these books are stacked two rows deep. These are all the books I haven't read yet, stacked alphabetically by title. I know. It's a problem.

Bottom shelf: law school case books, reference books (French dictionaries); yearbooks from high school & college; and a couple binders of legal research.

I do have to confess that this isn't all. I have four boxes of books still in storage in California because they wouldn't fit in my car when I moved here.

What's on your bookshelf?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a day in the life :: November 11, 2013

I've been seeing these day in the life posts a lot recently and thought I'd join in. I've been at my job less than 2 weeks, so a lot of what I'm doing all day is just reading. I work at a non-profit dealing with higher ed, which is about as specific as I'll get.

5:29am :: alarm goes off and angels cry because this is FAR too early

I have been going to a community group (a Bible study) on Sunday nights for about a month now. These are people I met when I attended/worked at my old church. Even though I don't go there anymore, I like seeing them each week and talking through the book of Acts together. That said, we normally don't get done until 9:30 and when I tack on a 30 minute drive home...I am quite exhausted in the morning.

5:40am :: shower & get ready for the day. Try to find "business casual" wear in my closet after 2 years of freelancing (skinny jeans & chucks) prefaced by 3 years of law school (suits). Regret not picking my outfit out the night before, like my mom did for me in Kindergarten.

6:40am :: realize I need to get gas before heading to work and race out the door. Any later and I'll sit in traffic for an hour to drive 9 miles.

7:10am :: iPhone alarm goes off warning me that if I haven't left yet, I'll be late. Precaution for the mornings I may dawdle leaving the house. I am nearly to the freeway, so all is well.

7:35am :: arrive at work, completely bewildered at how I made it so quickly. [later in the day I'll realize it's Veteran's Day and that's why traffic was so light] Greeted by building security guard who learned my name the first day and always opens the door when he sees me coming and says with great cheer, "Good morning Amanda!" Get off elevator and see that someone has already made coffee. Hallelujah.

7:40am - 9:00am :: settle in at my desk and power through the emails that have accumulated since 12:30 Friday afternoon. This is the first job I've ever had where I am not expected to have my email synced to my phone and check it constantly. That will change later this year, but for now I'm grateful.

9:00am-11:30am :: play phone tag across 2 time zones to get some calls set up with college administrators. Finally get a conference call scheduled I've been trying to coordinate since my first day of work. Learn I will be joining the call (and another) later this week so try to catch myself up on what's on the agenda.

12-12:30pm :: take a shorter lunch than normal to "earn" my Friday early release. For the rest of the month we can leave at 12:30 on Friday if we make up the 3 hours elsewhere in the week. I've dedicated lunch as reading time (when I'm not out of the office) and I'm working on CS Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.

12:30-1pm :: get a call on a general line with a question regarding a program that was moved out of my portfolio before I came on board, so spend some time tracking down an answer that's respectful of Northern Ireland's visa requirements.

1-3:30pm :: in deep, deep spreadsheet tunnel vision. Craft many color-coded beauties to help me make sense of all the areas I'm responsible for. Begin to identify points in the system put in place by my predecessor that don't work with my organizational style.

3:30-4:30 :: work on winding down active projects for the day and look ahead to see what is on my calendar (and my boss's calendar) for tomorrow that needs to be prepped today. Call with staff accountant to go over some procedural things for department expense reports.

4:30pm :: leave "on time" for the first time since starting my job.

4:35-6:30pm :: walk down the block to Starbucks to kill time before Bible study. Work on to-do lists for the rest of this month, prep for Thanksgiving travel plans, draft out my Winter Bravery Bucket List, and start on a new professional 5 year plan. Remember I meant to write this post so snap a photo of my favorite feature of this Starbucks.

7:00-8:15pm :: head over to church for our women's Bible study on Daniel. This is my second week participating and the last official week of the study. Of course.

8:45pm :: home for the night. Visit with roommate and her friend before heading upstairs.

9:10pm :: finish up this post and pop in a Friends DVD while I wind down for the night. Learn my lesson and pick out my clothes for tomorrow.

9:45pm :: bed time for Grandma Amanda.

What did you do yesterday?

Monday, November 4, 2013

back to the basics

In the inaugural post on this blog, I said:

The theme of this blog was largely inspired by observations from the initial pages of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
"There was so much to read, for one thing...I was rather literary in college...and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the "well-rounded man.""
 Reading for pleasure took a back seat in graduate school and now, two years post-grad, I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. I moved to Nashville a little over a year ago, so there's a couple of layers to naming this wee blog the Next Page. I'm not interested in writing full-scale book reviews. Instead, I'm hoping to share those snippets that jump off the page, that earn a margin note or find themselves underlined. Good writing should make you think, and want to talk about what you read. I told you I read a million books at once, so I won't be making my way methodically through anything. Instead, you'll get pieces here and there of whatever moves me in the moment.

That quote from Gatsby is now one of my favorites, because it so sums me up. The thing about it, though, is that he starts out with these great intentions and swiftly becomes distracted by all the shenanigans going on in the neighborhood (hey-o Gatsby & Daisy). I certainly don't have distractions on that level, but I'll admit that I definitely did NOT make the most of the summer/fall in terms of reading and working on my goals. I had great intentions, but they didn't come to a lot. I can blame some of that on my broken ankle, but I was off-track before that.

So it's time to get back to basics and re-prioritize. More reading, less TV. I ::gasp:: canceled my Netflix and at the end of this month (because I already paid for it) Hulu+ is going away as well. I'm going to take the rest of the year to get my eyes off the screen (aside from your blogs, obviously) and onto the page, or the things around me that need doing.

Is there anything you need to give more of your attention?

Friday, November 1, 2013

What is a "weekend"?

One of the things I (re)discovered over the past few months as I freelanced, babied my broken ankle, and was just plain not working was that I lost some sense of time. TGIF doesn't mean much when Tuesday could just as well be Friday.

This is my first weekend back on a normal, professional-woman schedule. TGIF indeed :)

PS - I adore my new job so far. Thanks for all the support!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What I'm Into :: October 2013

On the Page
The Storyteller: this was the last book in my broken ankle fiction binge. I put it off until last because I thought it was going to be one that gutted me emotionally since it's about the Holocaust. It's definitely not a beach read, but it was much better than I thought it would be and a completely unique way of writing a Holocaust novel.

Discerning the Voice of God: I said months ago that I picked up this book because I did the DVD study with my small group back in 2011. We only watched the videos without using the workbook, so I didn't have the content written down anywhere. The book was fantastic and one I think I'll keep coming back to in the future. I'll probably have a little deeper post about it in coming weeks. Speaking of Priscilla Shirer, I have a treat coming for you guys next month!

Currently Reading: An Army at Dawn (Rick Atkinson), The Gospel of Yes (Mike Glenn)

On the Small Screen
A friend of mine admitted this weekend that she had never seen any of the Harry Potter movies so I obviously have to remedy that. We just finished The Order of the Phoenix and I'm already a little sad that it's nearly over. Again.

On Netflix: I've been indulging in a full series binge of Law & Order. I watched all the available seasons of SVU between Netflix & Hulu+ so now I'm back to the original. I always get a kick out of when something from my law school criminal procedure classes pops up.

On Hulu+: I'm currently catching up on The Voice and Once Upon a Time and indulging my favorite show of all time by watching old seasons of The Amazing Race. Wanderlust, anyone?

On the Web
I went on a huge blog-subscribing spree last month and now I'm in the process of culling through them. Here are a few of the most recent posts I "saved for later":
- Four Simple Goals (Kristen Schiffman) :: Kristen and I have been friends online for oh...four years? Wow. Anyway, I love this concept and it's one I'm going to think about for the rest of this year, which is flying by. 
- 31 Days of Great Non-Fiction: The Girls of Atomic City (The Deliberate Reader) :: I've loved Sheila's 31 Days series since you all know my feelings about non-fiction! I chose to feature this, because I'm so curious about Oak Ridge and learning more about that chapter of history now that I call Tennessee home. 
- What Keeps Women from Showing Up? (Modern Mrs. Darcy) :: I loved the conversation started by this post from Anne about the lack of female speakers at the Story Conference. Instead of being an issue of being asked to participate, it turns out that the women asked, did not participate. Great thoughts in the comments.
On my iPhone

Has anybody else succumbed to the bane that is Candy Crush? I've been playing for months, but took a break for awhile because I can't pass level 208. I still can't pass it, but I surely never will if I don't play every now and then. Sigh.

I was house/cat-sitting for a friend earlier this month and this is probably my favorite Instagram from that week. Poor kitten clearly didn't want me to leave!

On the "Radio"
I have been loving the Ben Rector Pandora station lately. It just hasn't disappointed yet. I have my eyeballs on the new Dave Barnes Christmas album but I'm not sure how that will correspond with my new commitment to spend nothing in order to aggressively pay off some debt. What music are you loving these days?

On My Calendar
Life without a job/income has led to some very boring months (hopefully that'll be changing soon!) but I did do a couple super fun (free!) things in October. A friend (owner of the cute kitty above) had free tickets to a Nashville Predators game and we watched them win from amazing seats. I never thought I'd move to the South and become a hockey fan, but I have! Welcome to Smashville :)

Another good friend recently bought her first home, so our community group gathered there Sunday night for pumpkin carving and a viewing of the original Ghostbusters. I realized when the pumpkin was put in my lap that I have never carved a pumpkin as an adult. What was an unprepared girl to do? Google a photo for inspiration and rip the guts out with my bare hands of course. I'm obviously a pro. (Owl submitted for proof)

On This Blog
I'm working on coming up with some kind of "editorial calendar" so that long gaps don't happen as often as they have. That makes it sound so much more official than it really is.

Most Viewed Post :: The 25 Greatest Law Novels...Ever?

Most Conversation in the Comments :: Oh hey there

On My Mind
I've been giving a lot of thought to what's to come with my new job since it's entering a new field for me, one I've had a love for for ages, but wasn't sure if it was something I wanted to do for a living. I officially start tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing how I fit into this new role. It's new for all involved so I'm sure there will be a learning curve. Along with the new gig comes a new budget - a very very strict one. I've always been pretty good about sticking to a budget and not overspending, but I was never earning enough money - period. Now that I will be, I'm hoping to be extra vigilant and start working towards some ambitious goals.

What are you into right now?

Linking up for What I'm Into with the lovely Leigh!

Monday, October 28, 2013

hindsight is 20/20

A few years ago I started reading through my old journals and blog posts. I wanted to remember what I used to care about and I think I was secretly hoping that past-Amanda had said something present-Amanda would be able to hold onto. I've been both challenged and embarrassed by these old scribblings.

My oldest journal entry is dated June 24, 2004. That was two days after I graduated from high school. My grandmother gave it to me as a graduation gift, and inside the front cover she wrote:
To keep a journal of your first year of college! I'm very proud of you!
She passed away four months after gifting me that journal and I didn't see her again, so it holds a precious place in my heart for the inscription alone. In that first entry I talked about how important journaling was to me. I have transcribed copies of my great-grandmother's diaries (starting in high school in 1915 and running through college, graduate school, and her early married years) and they are the most amazing thing to me. I can see so much of myself in her, even though she lived 100 years before me. It's her legacy that I'm such an avid journaler. And I'm so grateful! Because I can look at this entry from 2004 and see my gratitude in God's provision for funding for my first year of college, my excitement over the classes I'd be starting in a few months, and a relationship with a friend which was breaking but has since been restored.

I started blogging once I got to that much anticipated college and my very first post published to the world wide web on August 23, 2005 at the very onset of my sophomore year. I admitted I had no idea what I would write about but that I saw blogging as a "complimentary ticket" into the inner workings of my life. In my second entry, I wrote:
 It is already apparent who is a Republican and who is a Democrat. I hoped we could just be a class. I guess I should have anticipated this is "Politics and Public Policy" after all. Oh well. *sigh* I just hope that I don't have to defend myself. I hate doing that. I can. My argument is fully sound. But I still don't like to do it. And that, folks, is why I'll never run for office myself.
I was describing having to post on our class blog (looking back, that was pretty cutting edge) and that I thought everybody's responses (including my own) were already showing their partisan stripes. A political science degree and a law degree under my belt, and I still would rather not have to argue or defend my opinions. I can, rather expertly. I just don't want to.

The realization that fewer things change than we think has been the greatest gift of this experiment so far. Once a month or so I'll give you a glimpse of what I'm seeing in the rearview mirror through these endeavors.

Do you chronicle your life? When was the last time you took a look at things in hindsight?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

hidden lake

One of my new favorite little secrets in Nashville (that's not a secret at all) is Radnor Lake. Just south of the heart of the city is a gorgeous lake with lots of hiking trails of varying difficulty. You can't see any evidence that you're in a city when you're there, making it the perfect escape. Lora and I have been talking about going for a hike there together for literally almost 2 years and a couple weeks ago we finally made it!

My ankle was finally feeling sturdy enough that I thought I could tackle a slow stroll and Lora was so kind to stick to my turtle-like pace. I'm hoping to get back again this season when the leaves are changing more but haven't fallen yet.

I'm doing the opposite of being active outdoors today. I'm spending the afternoon snuggled under blankets watching the Harry Potter movies with a friend who has never seen them before.

What are you up to this weekend?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oh hey there

I wonder if I'll ever be consistent with writing here...I know I'm capable of it, because I have overflowing blog archives from 2008-2010 to prove it. I'm planning to try and sit and come up with some kind of posting schedule and see if that helps.

So, how are things?

October hasn't been the kindest month to me (let's be real, 2013 in general hasn't been kind) but a few majorly good things did happen and you deserve to know about them!


At the end of September, my sports medicine guy (makes me sound so athletic!) told me my bones were beautiful and I am amazing. Fully healed! He said I can run a marathon and while I have no desire to run that far...I can't deny that I almost want to train for a half just out of spite. I haven't tried jogging yet, but have done a few long walks and a hike and I think that in the next few weeks I'll be able to trot a bit!

Two. I GOT A JOB!!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I made the decision to leave my job at the beginning of the summer. That was, quite honestly, the hardest decision I've ever made. It was absolutely the right one, though, and I'm proud I chose to put my own health first. Do you know what is one of the most unpleasant experiences out there? Job searching. I hope I don't have to do it again for years and years. It took 4 (excruciating) months - 2 of those consumed not with cover letters but with babying my broken ankle - but I finally found a great job on all fronts and I start on Halloween. It's a new start that I am very ready for!

So, that's about it. While the next few weeks will still be tough, I'm eagerly anticipating the holidays this year when I'll be settled into my new role and my bank account won't be making me cry.

Tell me something good!

{the day the doc told me I'm healed - pumpkin spice latte to celebrate being boot free!}

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The 25 Greatest Law Novels...Ever?

One of the things that nobody tells you in law school about becoming a lawyer is how much MAIL it generates. Some of it is interesting and some of it goes straight in the trash, but all of it is unsolicited. Every now and then something will catch my eye, like the August magazine cover of the ABA (American Bar Association) Magazine touting "The 25 Greatest Law Novels...Ever!" I linked you to the online article but here's the list:

25. Old Filth & The Ox-Bow Incident
24. The Fountainhead
23. Anatomy of a Murder
22. The Handmaid's Tale
21. The Count of Monte Cristo
20. The Firm
19. QB VII
18. Their Eyes Were Watching God
17. The Caine Mutiny
16. A Time to Kill
15. A Tale of Two Cities
14. The Stranger
13. Native Son
12. Bartleby the Scrivener
11. The Paper Chase
10. An American Tragedy
09. The Bonfire of the Vanities
08. The Scarlet Letter
07. Presumed Innocent
06. Billy Budd
05. Les Miserables
04. The Trial
03. Bleak House
02. Crime and Punishment
01. To Kill a Mockingbird

The bold titles are those I've read. Consider me ashamed. I'm pretty widely and well-read but there are definitely a lot of gaps. I appreciated that there was a mix of classics/popular novels and those that are more obscure.

I would say most if not all of the ones I haven't read are on my to-read list already (or are now). Of those, I'm most looking forward to The Count of Monte Cristo & Les Miserables (en français bien sûr!) and the John Grisham titles (now that I've discovered him!). The Paper Chase is considered a must see film for incoming/first year law students, but I haven't read the book. I'm curious now!

I read 3 of these novels in high school and even 10 years later consider them to be among the best books I've ever read. Confession: I was that kid who loved ALL the books we were assigned to read in school. I was a TA for Advanced American Lit for 2 years so I've read The Scarlet Letter I don't know how many times and I just love it! I know this puts me in the minority, given how many people get the shivers about it and say it was one of their most unpleasant reading experiences. I just don't get that.

I have vivid memories of being assigned Their Eyes Were Watching God as summer reading one year and not being able to put it down. For years whenever I would be asked to name off my favorite books, it made the top 5.

It makes me a huge cliche, but add me to the column of lawyers who think that To Kill a Mockingbird is pretty much the best thing ever written. It is so powerful and challenging and heartbreaking. I read it almost every year.

Have you read (or do you want to read) anything on this list? 
What would you say is a "top book" for your profession?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

sometimes progress happens without you

Earlier this Last week I introduced my 101 in 1,001 project. This year has been far from easy and I found myself completely wrapped up in just making it through, which resulted in 7 months of total neglect to this project.

Even with total neglect, progress is sometimes inevitable. I did manage to accomplish a few things unintentionally.

Last updated: October 2, 2013
Key: In Progress Completed

(07) Every 6 months, donate clothes that haven't been worn {3/5}
This is my way of keeping my closet under control. I'm not a clothes fiend by any means, but doing this seasonally helps me make sure I'm not just holding onto things that have either
a) outlived their usefulness or b) stopped being interesting to me. I'll do this again in January and at the end of the project in June.

(11) Compile a list of my favorite inspiring quotes
I'm always keeping track of quotes I like. I used to have a page of them on my blog, but I don't think I'll do that here. I might share a few from time to time though!

(14) Have a twice-a-month coffee shop date with myself {34/84}
This is an easy one for me, although I'll admit that for the past couple of months my "coffee shop" has been the couch or the kitchen table since I wasn't able to get out and about. This really means that twice a month I need intentional coffee and reading/writing time. Without a friend, because while that's fun - it's not the same.

(19) Attend the theater DONE 09.07.13
I totally think that Shakespeare in the Park counts as the "theater"

(24) Visit 5 museums {1/5}
In April a friend of mine was in town to run the Music City Half Marathon (that I chickened out of training for). One afternoon, our merry band went to the Tennessee State Museum to see the exhibit about the Emancipation Proclamation. We missed the original of that important document but we DID get to see the original copy of the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery). #lawnerd #poliscinerd

(28) Read 75 new-to-me books {17/75}
I went back to the archives in my old blog and my old Goodreads to see if it was really true that I hadn't read any new books in their entirety between November 2012 and May 2013.
Yep. ::hangsheadinshame::

Between May and September, I read 5 new books. All fiction. The only one I haven't mentioned on the blog was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I read for a book club I never actually attended (whoops).

(29) Read the entire Bible {11/66}
My community group read Song of Solomon together and I read 1 John for a new Bible study that I wasn't able to actually attend (sensing a theme?)

(32) Read every book on my bookshelves {15}
So, this goal literally means every: both books I've bought and not read and books I've read and am re-reading. For organizational purposes, I'm counting books I've never read before under #28 and re-reads here.
Between July 2012 and September 2013 I read...2 books on my shelf.

This shot is all of the books I have purchased and never finished (or started). Lofty goal!

(33) Read a book of poems
Still "working" on Emily Dickinson

{on the map}
(42) Meet a blog/twitter friend DONE
Stephanie 9.13.13
I love that this goal has been blown out of the water. Stephanie and I had a mutual friend (Brittany) so when she was in town last month we got together for lunch and coffee. This was one of my first outings without crutches :)

(43) Attend a conference in a different state DONE 01.18.13
I totally forgot that I completed this! For work in January we took a group to a conference in Georgia. It was insane, but a fun time.

(47) Attend a community event every month {33/42}
One of my favorite goals, so much I put it on both lists! Musician's Corner is one of my favorite things about Nashville and I try to go at least once every season.

We went for Matt Wertz. Obviously. 

(48) Participate in ten acts of community service {7/10}
I'm going to be judicious and only count my week long service trip to the LA Dream Center once.

(51) Discover 40 new local restaurants {26/40}
Good grief. I'm pretty sure that the count on this is inaccurate, but since I stopped keeping track carefully I'm going to low ball and say that I went to 4 new places this spring/summer.
Of those, my favorite was Silly Goose.

(57) Catch up with a friend each week {107/143}
I'm really thankful for friends who came to visit me at home over the past two months when it was really difficult to get out and about. Forcing everyone to come to you really does show you who wants to see you and who doesn't!

(67) Complete the Couch-to-5K program
Yeah. I've stopped and started this probably a dozen times in the past year or so. I think the farthest I got was week 5. I'm planning to resume this as soon as I can run again, but I'm still working on not walking like a baby deer at the moment.

(92) Discover 10 new (to me) musicians (4/10)
Okay, I'm sure I've definitely finished this but I didn't track it so I'm going to be fair.
Two "new" artists I'm loving lately are Ben Rector and Green River Ordinance (who I saw perform before Matt Wertz at Musician's Corner, see photo above)

(96) Watch The West Wing from start to finish DONE 7.01.13
I have all the seasons on DVD or iTunes, but thankyouNetflix for making this happen.
If you have never seen The West Wing you need to reevaluate your priorities.

(98) Do something spontaneous DONE 5.30.13
I've gone round and round on how or when or if to say anything about this on the blog but hey.
Why not just rip the bandaid off?
My "spontaneous" act was that I quit my job at the end of May (and left at the end of June). It wasn't spontaneous in the sense I did it on a whim (FAR FAR FROM IT). But it was more that I reached the point of just needing to do it. I didn't have a job lined up (although I thought I had a good lead at the time) and have been freelancing and searching ever since. This is what all the "rough year" stuff is about. I'm still processing it all, it hasn't been easy by any means. There was no joy in leaving, only relief that I knew I was making the right decision for me. I may at some point say more about it, but I haven't figured out how yet.

(101) Document the completion/progress of each goal
Hey. That's what this blog is for!

Completed: 24 (23.76%)
In Progress: 21

Monday, September 30, 2013

What I'm Into :: September 2013

I've been internet friends with Leigh for years now and she was actually one of the first Nashville people I met "in real life" after I moved here in January 2012 (see #42 on my list). She does a fun monthly link-up post called What I'm Into and this month I'm joining in. No promises that I'll be consistent next month but here's what caught my attention in September.

On the Page
September was Month 2 of my broken ankle recovery and I was just beginning to work my way off crutches. That meant plenty of time with my leg up to read. The only books I read were fiction which is a huge departure for me! I read:

At First Sight (Nicholas Sparks), The Confession (John Grisham), and The Broker (John Grisham)

I'm currently reading: Discerning the Voice of God (Priscilla Shirer) and An Army at Dawn (Rick Atkinson)

On the Small Screen
Fall TV hasn't meant much to me in nearly 10 years. I can't remember the last time I intentionally structured my week to sit and watch a show as it aired on television. Much of that stems from not having cable and never, in my life, having a DVR. That said. I love TV shows! I just watch them on Netflix and Hulu+ :)

I'm currently binging on:
Law & Order SVU, Parenthood, Nashville, Once Upon a Time, Master Chef, and the Biggest Loser

On the Web
I have been adding blogs to my Feedly like nobody's business. When Google Reader died (sob) I started with a blank slate. I know that there are still blogs that I used to read devotedly that have fallen through the cracks, but it's been fun to discover new little internet places. Here are the last 3 posts I "saved for later" which I guess is my new version of starring something in GR:
- Want to ROCK your day-to-day? Do what you know. (The Small Change Project)
This is a new (to me) blog and I love the concept and intentionality behind it. I think it's easy to overcomplicate solutions to life's difficult seasons, but I'm going to be doing some analysis to figure out what I know works for me.
- Anything but Not Everything. (Michael Hyatt)
Great quote. Harder to remember every day.
- Stuff I Want to Do While the Air Is Crisp. (Arkansassy)
Ty is a long time blog friend and her fall bucket list reminded me a) to share with you my Summer Bravery Bucket List and b) to write one for fall.

On My iPhone
I have yet to make the switch the marveled and despised iOs7. The reason is simple: there isn't enough room on my phone until I switch over all my photos. Whoops. Because 12,000 pictures of my ankle swelling (to track my healing progress!) need to be saved. This one's worth it though!

On the "Radio"
One of my new daily practices (have I mentioned those? No?) is to listen to music somehow, some way, at least once a day. I live in Music City after all!

Lately I've been "spinning" an awful lot of Sara Bareilles. Old school, though. I don't have the new album yet. If any of you want to give it to me, I will not say no.

On My Calendar
Being homebound for most of this month meant that I didn't have a whole lot of excitement going on. I did however have to delete something off of my calendar and it nearly broke my heart. I had to give up my tickets to see Maroon 5 in Atlanta :(
On This Blog
This post marks my NINTH post this month here at NextPageNash. That's a record since this blog was born, in case you wondered. I'm sure you were. Here's a peek at what went on:

Most Viewed Posts:
Twitterature::September 2013 & navigating my new "normal" - the first two weeks

Most Conversation in the Comments:
on being goal oriented & a legal fiction

On My Mind
I've been thinking a lot about brokenness and healing. For obvious reasons and the not-so-obvious. Being literally knocked down by physical brokenness and watching and waiting for my ankle to heal gave me a lot of time to examine some other areas of my life I didn't realize were broken (or just how broken they were) and think about what the healing process would require. Not quite there yet, or able to put it into concise words, but it's been a huge season of growth. Painful, but worth it.

What do you have to say for your September?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introducing the 101 in 1,001

From this day onward I will no longer be making promises about blog posts appearing on a certain date as I'm clearly incapable of following through on that. That said, it's time to enter the world of the 101 in 1,001 list. This is my second list (as I mentioned). I began it almost two years ago and only have about 9 months left. Yikes!

As you can see, it was last updated in early March and has been completely neglected for nearly 7 months. I'm hoping I can still put forward some solid progress in the months remaining but I realize I'm going to have to start prioritizing this. Just so you can see where I was the last time I worked on this, I'm sharing the March 2013 version. I'll do an update soon about what, if any, inadvertent progress I made this year.

Below is the list, as it stood when the challenge ended on June 28, 2014.

101 Goals :: 1,001 Days - Round Two
{October 01, 2011 - June 28, 2014}

Last updated: June 28, 2014
Key: Completed

(01) Move into a "big girl" house DONE 02.08.13
(02) Menu plan every week
(03) Buy a new cookbook DONE 12.24.13
(04) Try 50 new recipes
(05 ) Craft something for my house
(06) Create a cleaning schedule and stick with it DONE 05.30.12
(07) Every 6 months, donate clothes that haven't been worn DONE 06.14.14
(08) Get all photos into albums
(09) Decorate my own Christmas tree DONE 12.16.12
(10) Can something

(11) Compile a list of my favorite inspiring quotes DONE 06.28.14
(12) Swim with dolphins
(13) Watch the sun rise over the ocean
(14) Have a twice-a-month coffee shop date with myself DONE 06.28.14
(15) Greet every day with a smile: no snooze button for a month DONE 01.31.12
(16) Go to the opera
(17) Listen to the symphony DONE 04.12.12
(18) Watch a ballet
(19) Attend the theater DONE 03.26.14
(20) Go to a comedy club
(21) Ride in a hot air balloon
(22) Watch 15 foreign films 
(23) Watch all the Oscar "Best Picture" films one year
(24) Visit 5 museums 
(25) Go to 3 concerts DONE 05.26.12

(26) Sign up for a refresher French class
(27) Begin formally learning a 3rd language
(28) Read 75 new-to-me books
(29) Read the entire Bible 
(30) Memorize Scripture DONE 06.28.14
(31) Read the Complete Works of Shakespeare
(32) Read every book on my bookshelves
(33) Read a book of poems

{on the map}
(34) Visit 3 states in the US I've never been to before DONE
01.03.12-01.04.12 :: Arizona. New Mexico. Arkansas. Tennessee.
05.03.12 :: Kentucky
08.17.12 :: Georgia
(35) Take a cruise
(36) Get another stamp in my passport
(37) Visit 3 national parks
(38) Go on a roadtrip DONE 01.02.12-01.05.12
(39) Go camping
(40) Climb a mountain
(41) Take a trip by plane DONE 04.26.12
(42) Meet a blog/twitter friend DONE
San (11.11.11)
 Katherine (12.30.11)
 Brittany (01.02.12)
Lora (01.07.12)
 Tracee (01.15.12)
 Katie (01.20.12)
Leigh (01.21.12) 
Alece (02.16.12)
Amanda (01.04.13)
Stephanie (09.13.13)
Linda (12.28.13)
(43) Attend a conference in a different state DONE 01.18.13
(44) Go on vacation by myself
(45) Buy something from the SkyMall
(46) Visit 10 historical markers

(47) Attend a community event every month DONE 06.28.14
(48) Participate in ten acts of community service DONE 06.28.14
(49) Join the Junior League
(50) Join the D.A.R.
(51) Discover 40 new local restaurants DONE
(52) Buy a tourist guidebook for my city and explore DONE 04.02.14
(53) Attend a professional sporting event DONE 08.17.12

(54) College Roommate reunion DONE 12.28.11
(55) Attend my 5 year college reunion
(56) Attend my 10 year high school reunion
(57) Catch up with a friend each week DONE
(58) Send 20 handwritten letters 
(59) Make a list of my friends' birthdays and send each of them a card on time for a year
(60) Give a "just because" gift DONE
(61) Babysit for a friend with kids so they can have the day off DONE 10.04.12

(62) Pass the Bar Exam DONE 11.18.11
(63) Set up budget to pay back student loans DONE 01.16.12
(64) Attend one professional development or networking event each quarter
(65) Read 42 new books or articles in my field 
(66) Volunteer as a mentor for undergraduate or law students DONE 12.18.11

(67) Complete the Couch-to-5K program
(68) Run a 5K
(69) Sign up for yoga classes
(70) Play a game of kickball
(71) Learn a new sport
(72) Set a weight loss goal and meet it DONE 12.30.11
(73) Give up soda for at least one month DONE 02.09.12
(74) Give up sugar for at least one month DONE 02.09.12
(75) Get my wisdom teeth pulled
(76) Get a pedicure
(77) Get a massage
(78) Sign up for a CSA box

(79) Put $5 in Paris account for every goal completed - $210
(80) Put $10 in savings for every goal that goes uncompleted - $580
(81) Be {consumer}debt free
(82) Buy a new (to me) car
(83) Donate money to my college(s) DONE
(84) Sponsor a missionary DONE
(85) Choose 3 organizations to contribute to financially DONE

(86) Play a round of miniature golf DONE 12.20.11
(87) Play bingo
(88) Go to the drive-in
(89) Ride a horse
(90) Pick some fruit
(91) Go on a sailboat
(92) Discover 10 new (to me) musicians (2/10) DONE
(93) Learn to drive a stick shift
(94) Finish Oman study abroad photo book
(95) Buy something at a garage sale DONE 09.01.12
(96) Watch The West Wing from start to finish DONE 07.01.13
(97) Buy 25 things off of Etsy
(98) Do something spontaneous DONE 05.30.13
(99) Do something out of my comfort zone DONE 10.30.12
(100) Complete a goal I didn't even know I had DONE 05.03.12
(101) Document the completion/progress of each goal DONE

Completed: 43 (42.57%)

Two questions for you:

  1. Which goal(s) on this list would you be most interested in hearing about (completed or still in progress)?
  2. What's one item on your list (whatever it's called - bucket list, goals, new year's resolutions, etc.)?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

on being goal oriented

I have been setting goals for myself for as long as I can remember. Whether it was how many boxes of Girl Scout cookies to sell or how many books to read in an elementary school read-a-thon, I've always loved having a measurable goal to reach.

I made my first bucket list (not a term I use - I prefer "life list") when I was in 9th grade. It was a class assignment and I came across it again last year for the first time in over a decade. What a trip to see exactly what 15 year old Amanda hoped and dreamed she would achieve. Some items on there are still dear to my heart, some are completely irrelevant, and a few have been achieved.

In 2008, I came across the concept of The Day Zero Project, also known as 101 in 1,001. I started my first list on January 1st, 2009 and it carried me through my entire law school career. When it ended in the fall of 2011 I had completed about 60% of my goals. I promptly created a second list which "expires" next summer. It has fallen by the wayside during a year which found me with a great deal of tunnel vision, but I'm determined in the 9 months remaining to accomplish as many items as possible.

That's not where my goal setting self let it rest. When I failed to complete my first Day Zero Project, I took a hard look at the items that went untouched. Some I had ceased valuing, but quite a few were things I still hoped - someday - to achieve. So I started on another list: a combination of my high school list, my Day Zero Projects, and some other ideas I had about the life I wanted to look back on. That list is enormous, and equally values "big ticket" items with ordinary, everyday accomplishments. I don't plan on writing out that list for you (it's mine) but I'm sure now and again items on it will be subjects of conversation here.

Tomorrow I'm going to post up my current 101 in 1,001 list. But today I want to know:

What goal are you actively pursuing this fall? Do you have a "life list"?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Twitterature :: September 2013

I've loved Anne @ The Modern Mrs. Darcy for a long time and thought that today I would finally link up with her short-and-sweet book review round-up, Twitterature.

Here's what I've been dabbling in, in 140 characters or less (or close to it).

The Broker by John Grisham

Presidential pardons. CIA intrigue. Witness protection as a love letter to Italy. Not too shabby.

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

Digging into the book version of a study I did in 2011. Couldn't come at a better time. Step 1 to hear from God: learn to stop talking & listen.

The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn

Only one chapter in but already impressed. Challenging the idea that the Christian life requires being miserable. Better to find joy by working out of our unique gifts & calling.

An Army at Dawn by Rich Atkinson

A nearly minute by minute account of WWII as it unfolded in North Africa. Impeccably researched. No wonder he won the Pulitzer. Part of a trilogy, can't wait to get my hands on the others.

Oh, and the August issue of Cooking Light. That counts.

What have you been reading this month?

Friday, September 13, 2013

state of the blog - Y1Q1

I realized this week that it's been about 4 months since I started this blog. Time flies! Almost half of that time I have spent the better portion of my days with my left ankle elevated, wrapped, iced...keeping my eye on swelling and bruising and counting the hours between Motrin doses.

Not exactly how I foresaw Summer 2013 back in May.

I thought I'd take a moment and look at the past season on the blog and perhaps do some thinking about the next quarter (which, by my calculation, will put us into 2014).

This wee blog officially launched on May 10, 2013. F. Scott Fitzgerald's observation that "there is just so much to read, for one thing" resonated with me and gave me a bit of structure for my re-entry into the sphere of blogging. I wanted this to be a place to share what stuck out to me from the pages I was reading. A place to process some bigger questions, and also to rejoin the ranks of a community I was beginning to miss very much. I've been blogging with varying degrees of intensity since 2005. While we've gotten off to a slow start this first quarter (due largely to events in my personal life I have been debating about writing about), I'm still hopeful for this place.

We've talked about quite a few books over the past few months, and you can see a list of anything I discussed in any detail (not simply a link) by visiting the My Bookshelf page above. Not every book mentioned is something I would recommend, but there you go. Check out Goodreads to see my constantly expanding "to-read" list.

The only books I've finished have been novels, which I find completely fascinating given my disinterest in fiction. I can't say any were necessarily "better" than the rest, but if I were going to recommend something it would probably be The American Heiress.

The book I've started, not finished, and am most looking forward to picking back up is Lean In. Quiet is a close second.

I think the big theme from the past few months has been a lack of focus. I've felt scattered and noncommittal on several fronts, which is ironic given my word for the year is Rooted and I'm supposed to be digging deeper. This has manifested in start-stop blogging, or just a total lack of writing at all.

I put Nashville in the name of this blog primarily because it is, itself, a character in this "page" of my life. I love this city more than I've loved any other, save Paris (and really, that's not a fair contest). While Music City hasn't featured incredibly prominently on these pages this summer, the outing to Shakespeare in the Park was a prime example of what I love so much about this place. It definitely inspired me to give you more frequent glimpses into one of America's best towns.

Coming Up for Q2
-You can expect more posting in the next four months, this I feel confident in promising. I imagine that the vision and theme of the blog will take on some more definition as I interact here more regularly.

-In addition to continued musings inspired by what I'm reading, I'm going to be introducing back into the mix my Day Zero Project, goal-orientedness in general, and some focused thought on "next pages" in life, not just in literature.

-Thoughts on the Summer of Brene Brown will continue, but it will likely be the Year of Brene Brown at the rate I am going.

-I want to use this space to document daily life a bit more intentionally, while still leaving some things for life off the screen. I have chosen to keep things simple around here and I don't think that will change.

Thank you for reading (and commenting/emailing) - here's to a new page!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

a legal fiction

I'm not sure how I completed my legal education without ever reading even one John Grisham novel. I didn't read many novels at all in those 3 years, but this seems like a fairly glaring omission given his popularity.

A legal fiction is a court's assumption that a fact exists (when it does not) which enables the court to apply a legal rule or settle a matter before it. That's not the legal fiction we're talking about today, but it's not so far off.

In The Confession, Grisham tackles the topic of the death penalty (in Texas, where else). I thought that for a clearly fictional work he did a fairly even handed job of bringing out most of the legal and ethical conflicts surrounding the issue on both sides.

I've opined more than once that I'm not a big fiction reader in general, but I enjoyed this book. It still felt like it required some brain power to read, which helped me. I will say that it was difficult for me to take off my lawyer glasses and just enjoy the book for what it was. I may not be practicing law right now but it is still my training and it's hard to suspend reality and grant artistic license. My friend lent me this and one other Grisham book to read during my broken ankle recovery and I'll certainly read that. Not sure I will be hitting the bookstore for his latest, but it captured my attention for a few days which is really all I'm asking for, given my lack of focus at the moment.

Do you ever have trouble reading books or watching tv/film about your field?

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