Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Wednesday list...London edition

A week ago today Jeremy and I were enjoying our last day of a week-long trip to London (minus one day in Reims, France), and it just seemed appropriate to savor the experience in this way...

But first -- a HUGE shout-out to my parents and my niece Grace who watched our littles while  we were away and made the trip possible. By all accounts everyone had a fantastic time, and it's such a blessing to know the kids got some quality grandparent and cousin time. I know not everyone has family who can or will do this kind of thing, and I am immensely grateful for mine.

Bonus shout-out to Chad and Christin Paradowski who hosted us in their flat -- staying in a proper neighborhood is the way to go sometimes, especially in a big city like London.

1. Food is a big part of traveling for me -- new foods, unexpected finds, or just relishing delicious favorites in new places. Memorable experiences include steak and ale pie, pints, Indian food, mango lassi, pastries, tea, cappuccinos. The neighborhood pub, London's oldest pub, Dishoom London, Saravaana Bhavan, and the most delightful and delicious French restaurant we could have dreamt up (that creme brulee...).

2. Choral evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral was a highlight of the week for me. Not only was it beautiful, but it was meaningful as well. The priest made a comment that really stood out to me: inviting us into a "river of worship" that has gone on centuries before us, and will continue long after we are gone. What a good reminder of the scope of God's kingdom.

3. The British Museum and British Library are favorites, fascinating and inspiring. One fun thing that stood out at the British Museum was looking at a display of an ancient Greek civilization in an era that inspired one of my favorite book series (The Queen's Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner).

4. The World Cup. Going to a World Cup soccer game has been on my bucket list for several years, and the US women's team is on fire right now, so what a time to get to go!

5. One of my goals on this trip was to visit at least one bookstore, and the internet delivered a fantastic recommendation in the used bookstore Skoob Books, everything you want from a good used bookstore. In a similar vein, a wrong turn led us to Orc's Nest, the most delightful game store, a tiny, one-room-with-a-loft game store crammed with everything from family board games to Dungeons and Dragons books and everything in between.

6. The right pace. I could go on and on, but I'll end it here: this trip reminded me of how much I enjoy a trip when I remember to balance doing things with simply enjoying the place I'm at, realizing that I'm never going to be able to do ALL THE THINGS, so why not take the time to enjoy the things I do get to do. Take the time to linger over a good meal, take a walk along the river, and sit in a park on a sunny day (thank you Greenwhich for being beautiful).

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to travel with Jeremy, and can't wait to dream and plan our next adventure!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Wednesday list...

1. What I'm reading...
It's been a good couple of weeks for reading, both in quality and quantity. The first was Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal, a charming Regency-era novel set in a world of magic (think, Jane Austen with magic). The good news is that it's the first in a series (The Glamorous Histories), and I'm itching to pick up book number two. The second book I absolutely devoured was Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. Station 11 opens on the first day of the apocalypse: the day a super-virus becomes a pandemic that wipes out 99 percent of the world's population. It's a character-driven, atmospheric story about the lives of a handful of loosely connected people, both in the weeks leading up to Day 1, and the years afterward. My favorite part is the time spent with The Traveling Symphony, a troupe of musicians and actors post-apocalypse holding on to art in the middle of a time where art could be scene as unimportant, summed up in the slogan they've adopted from a Star Trek quote: "Survival is insufficient." Next on the docket is more Glamorous Histories and a historical fiction novel I picked up at the local author fair a few weeks ago.

2. What I'm watching...
Sneaky Pete season 3 dropped on Amazon Prime a couple of weeks ago, and Jeremy and I wasted no time in watching it. I love this series so much, and season 3 was just as fantastic as I hoped. I read a review that said each hour long episode feels like 15 minutes, and that is so true. The writing is tight, the acting is superb, and the stories balance the craziness of the con with things like family drama, what it means to love, the fallout from bad choices.

3. What I'm grateful for...
Today, I'm grateful that I got to run outside (as opposed to on the treadmill) this morning, even in the summer-time South Texas humidity. On the other hand, I am so grateful to have a treadmill now, because in the summer it's quite difficult for me to keep to a consistent running schedule and the treadmill makes it possible for me to run more than once or twice a week.

4. A little inspiration...

I discovered this Instagram account @writtentospeak (otherwise known as Tanner Olson) during the writing challenge I participated in a couple of weeks ago, and I love it. Olson's poems are brief, but really thoughtful. You can also check out his work on his web site