It’s early November, and I feel like I’m finally getting to the other side of a string of deadlines, so I’m taking a break (let’s call it the extra hour I’m getting tonight) to link up with Leigh Kramer as usual and share some of what I’ve been into in October.
I read my 100th book of 2017 this month! I picked NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and it definitely lived up to the hype. It’s unsettling and not particularly feel-good, but haunting, and I was proud of myself for figuring out a few things before they were officially revealed in the book. Into the Bright Unknown, book 3 of Rae Carson’s Gold Rush trilogy, was also really satisfying. It’s a minor touch, but I’ve enjoyed how she got the title of each book from a different hymn that she incorporated into the plot. Joining a Mennonite Church has turned me into a bit of a hymn nerd. Melissa Pimentel’s The One That Got Away was a fun take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, though I think there was one plot point near the end that could have been handled with a bit more sensitivity. My absolute favourite read of the month, though, was Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. I read it in one sitting on the plane from Kitchener to Calgary, and then I sat and pondered it for the rest of the flight. It was even better than her debut, Everything I Never Told You. So many complicated characters who make choices that sometimes cause others pain, and yet you empathize with every one of them. You can keep track of the books I’ve read so far this year here.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin are back! I love both shows, and I’m excited to follow the heroines’ adventures again. I may or may not have been humming Let’s Generalize About Men to myself off and on all month. I’ve been following all my usual shows and also tried a few more. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World has been offbeat but fun, and I found the exploration of blended family dynamics in Me Myself and I really touching. In the theatre, Aaron and I saw productions of the Canadian classic Saltwater Moon and Rock of Ages, one of those plots designed to fit an 80s rock soundtrack. It was really interesting to see the band actually onstage instead of hidden away the way they usually are.
I was reminded at the beginning of the month how much I love Joel Plaskett’s Nowhere With You, so naturally I listened to it on repeat for days before I finally took pity on my poor husband.
John Mark McMillan’s Mercury & Lightning was another album I played a lot this month, and after we went to see Rock of Ages 80s rock compilations were in pretty heavy rotation as well.
I also started listening to the Good Christian Fun podcast, which reviews Christian pop culture from the 90s and early 2000s, and it has been a nostalgic delight. I devoured every back episode in only a few days, and I’ve also been nostalgically listening to the music they reviewed: Jars of Clay, dc Talk, even Jump5. I aspire to be a guest on the show one day. I’m not famous or anything, but I could for sure draw on my four years of Christian retail expertise.
Aaron and I got to travel twice this month: to Saskatoon for a wedding and to Milwaukee for a conference. I’ve decided that my favourite part of travel is rating every city’s ice cream offerings, and I loved what I found in both Saskatoon and Milwaukee. Saskatoon’s Homestead Ice Cream featured an amazing Chocolate Chai flavour, and Kopp’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee absolutely lived up to the hype.
The rest of our culinary travel adventures were also delightful–Mader’s German Restaurant had good food and, at least at lunchtime, wasn’t ridiculously expensive or busy, and the Konga Cafe in Saskatoon had really good Jamaican food.
In my own kitchen I also had the chance to try a few new things this month. I was pleased with the results of my first attempts at challah rolls and macarons
Since I’m a sucket for themed food I cut a sheet cake into a onesie for a friend’s baby shower and made some spider cookies and pumpkin patch brownies for our Halloween board game party.
And, since my class had a test on October 31st, I couldn’t resist the urge to bring in some themed baking for them as well. I made Halloween and Reformation-themed cookies, and also threw in these amazing sea salt and olive oil brownies for students with gluten and dairy allergies.
As usual, you can see all of my favourite recipes of the month on my monthly What I’m Into Pinterest board.
At the beginning of the month, Aaron and I travelled to Saskatoon to celebrate the wedding of one of our dear friends from our college days (whose new wife turned out to be the daughter of one of my mom’s college friends, so it’s a small world). We had such a great time celebrating with them!
We travelled again to Milwaukee at the end of the month and managed to combine business and pleasure–I had my annual Reformation history conference (where I managed to pick up a new pile of sale academic books–a rare find) and we were able to visit Aaron’s brother and his wife, who live nearby.
Since I spent so much time in transit, I also had the chance to finish up some cross stitch projects, including my sister’s wedding present (a bit late, but in my defense she had a very short engagement). I splurged to get it professionally framed, and I’m so pleased with the end result. The picture doesn’t quite do the green in the inner frame justice. If you need something custom-framed in the K-W area, definitely check out the Framing + Art Centre.
I also finally finished up the last part of this three-part project, which I started about a year ago.
Then, feeling uninspired by the next cross-stitch project in my queue, I picked up some friendship bracelets instead. The heart one I used to incorporate a favour I received at a friend’s wedding last month (purple and yellow were the wedding colours).
I also did a bit of bargello and made myself a new earbud case for my purse.
Finally, we hosted a Halloween board game party and I got to realize a costume idea I had back in June–turns out Weird Al Yankovic and I have very similar hair. We also got to try out Magic Maze, a new cooperative game and one of the Spiel des Jahres nominees for 2017 (Kingdomino ultimately won out, but Magic Maze is also a lot of fun.)
That’s it for me for the month. Be sure to head over to Leigh’s blog and check out all the other submissions.