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
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