Monthly Archives: January 2019

My Pull List

thepulllistA friend asked me how many books I was reading the other day. I asked if he was talking novels or comic books. He said both, and there were so many on the list, it was hard to give him a good number. I think I said something brilliant like “I dunno…maybe 20?” So…here’s a more concrete list. New things keep getting added, but nothing seems to get taken off. In my New Year’s Resolution post [link to post]. Something I didn’t mention was that I’m reading every evening for at least 30 minutes, and it has to be something that isn’t on a screen. (See…I’m trying to get better at actually sleeping too, but that’s a whole other story). That 30 minutes comes in helpful, because my pull list is massive, and that doesn’t include the to-read stack in my bookshelf. My favorite local comic shop closed, so I found my second favorite…which isn’t local at all, that will ship my books to me. New comic books day isn’t every Wednesday for me anymore, because…mail is slow, but I do get to look forward to a box each week that holds worlds and wonders. Here’s what’s on my list as of today. (These are in no order whatsoever.)

  1. Doomsday Clock
  2. Scarlet
  3. Suicide Squad: Black Files
  4. Coyotes
  5. Gideon Falls
  6. Oblivion Song
  7. Magic Order
  8. Paper Girls
  9. Realm
  10. Redlands
  11. Skyward
  12. Witchblade
  13. Baby Teeth
  14. Beyonders
  15. Sparrowhawk
  16. Vampironica
  17. X-Men Red
  18. Shadowman
Novels…well that’s another post in and of itself.
If you have questions or want me to review a particular book for you, just let me know.
‘Til next time,
Jessica

New Year, New Resolutions?

abstract art blur bokeh

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The last couple of years I’ve made New Years Resolutions. I feel like I’ve done a decent job of keeping most of them. However, that’s not the case for them all. What I like about resolutions is that it pushes boundaries, it helps you learn about yourself, and I’m an advocate for self-exploration and learning.

Sometimes, what you learn is that you’re not cut out for everything, and that’s okay. One goal I’m giving up is the idea of running a 5k. Running is not the thing for me. I keep getting hurt, and I…I hate it. Like really hate it. I don’t see the point in being miserable just to accomplish an arbitrary goal.

Just because I’m giving up on the 5k doesn’t mean there aren’t physical milestones to reach. I just don’t know what they are yet. Maybe it will be riding a bicycle again or actual yoga classes instead of self-instruction, I don’t know yet. My plan is to do a bit of exploring this year and find out what I enjoy.

My other goal is to re-evaluate and create the next steps in my plan. I mentioned in my post Breathe, that I’ve been so diligently pursuing the early steps of my plan that I never figured out what happens now that I’ve accomplished those things. I also want to take more time for me, writing, drawing, reading, spending time with family and friends, getting out into the outdoors…so much of these were things I had to give up to get another degree while I worked full time and then to get my house ready and sell it.

Part of me feels a little lost now that I don’t have a life filled with deadlines and timetables, but…that’s okay. I’m hoping that my life is what’s waiting for me in that space that feels lost. It’s only been two months since I sold my house, but I’m already beginning to feel rejuvenated and renewed. The itch to create is back with a vengeance, and, wow, it feels good.

So…the 2019 list.

  1. Breathe – Take time for me. I’m instituting Pamper Me Sundays filled with bubble baths, pedicures, face masks, and hopefully professional massages.
  2. Think – Life gets so hectic and so filled with television, music, and social media that we forget to take the time to just think. I need to leave more time to think, because the best ideas and plans spring from that time. Saturday mornings spent in the quiet with a cup of tea and maybe a journal will do nicely. Hopefully, once I get in the habit of giving myself time, I won’t need to schedule it anymore.
  3. Get Outside – Walk the dog, go camping, see if it’s true that you never forget how to ride a bike.
  4. Make More Art – Finish at least one story I have outlines for, paint, take photos, draw…whatever…just make more art. Scratch the creative itch.
  5. Read – Read books, comic books, short stories, articles…whatever.
  6. Grow stuff – I have houseplants that have survived the last four months, which is a record for me. Maybe add to that. Kitchen herbs, an outdoor garden in the spring…stuff like that. I like being surrounded by green growing things. Maybe I can  convert my black thumb to a green one…with some help.
  7. Take a class – Art, yoga whatever. Just take a class.
  8. Learn a new coding language – I don’t know which one yet, but I’d like to be able to write the server side code for websites as well as the front end code. This one is a big fat maybe, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. (Suggestions are welcome!)
  9. Make time for what’s important – My family, my friends, the things I love.
  10. Be Spontaneous – Say “yes” more often. Yes to day trips, road trips, outings with friends and family…just say “yes” instead of “no” or “let me see what’s on my schedule”.

As someone who’s done training on goal setting…my list doesn’t begin to meet the requirements. It’s kind of vague and lacks time frames for things, but that’s part of what I  want to learn this year. How to live without a rigid structure, because that was what got me through the last few years. Spontaneity is a good thing, and I could use a bit more of that in my life. So next time a friend asks me to take a day trip, I don’t say “no” because it doesn’t fit in my schedule for the day.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you manage to stick to them? How do you do it?

‘Til next time,

Jess


Riced Cauliflower?

chickenfriedricedcauliflowerI’ll admit. I’m a skeptic. Okay, I was a skeptic. However, there’s a possibility I’ve been converted. Here’s the deal, I had roommate who was doing the whole Keto thing. I’m not discussing the pros or cons of the Keto diet. I’m here to talk about Cauliflower. Not my favorite vegetable. Not my least favorite vegetable either. Cauliflower is the one I’m never excited to see in my steamed veggies at a restaurant, but I don’t not eat it. I can’t say I’ve been on board with this whole riced cauliflower, cauliflower pizza crust, mashed cauliflower craze I’ve seen all over my social media. However, I tried the riced cauliflower, and I…didn’t hate it.  Okay, fine, I went back for seconds.

I made chicken fried rice with frozen riced cauliflower. It tasted like…chicken fried rice, and it was quicker and easier to cook. I’m still unsure about the cauliflower pizza crust or the mashed cauliflower, but I may be less hesitant about trying it.

If you’d like to try chicken friend riced cauliflower, do it! The recipe is below.

Ingredients:

1 package riced cauliflower with peas and carrots (you can get plain and add frozen stir fry vegetables, frozen mixed vegetables…whatever you think would be tasty)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons butter

1 egg

Soy sauce to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt your butter. I like to use real butter, because you can brown it and add a bit of a nutty flavor. Dice chicken and cook in hot buttery skillet until done. While the chicken is cooking, thaw the riced cauliflower and spread on a paper towel to drain. Remove chicken and pat the cauliflower to remove as much moisture as possible. (if you don’t do this, it gets chewy) Gracefully dump the cauliflower in the same skillet you cooked the chicken in. Don’t worry about any butter or pieces of chicken left in the skillet. This is what gives it extra flavor! Add your frozen vegetables and heat the veggies through before adding the chicken back into the skillet. Make a hole in the center of the skillet by pushing the rest of ingredients to the side. Crack an egg in the center of the hole you just made and scramble it. Once the egg is cooked, slowly mix the rest of your ingredients in. Start with the bits nearest to the egg, and work your way to the edge to make sure the egg is evenly distributed. Add a bit of soy sauce to taste, and voila! Chicken Fried Riced Cauliflower!


Enter Sandman

Now that I have a bit more free time on my hands I’ve reinvigorated my interest in reading novels, and I came across a great series by accident. I wandered into a cute independent book store near my office, Magic City Books. Since I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I just picked up random books with interesting covers. sandmanslimI don’t know what about this cover grabbed my attention, but the blurb on the back “Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.” made me want to read more.

I’d never heard of the novel or the author, Richard Kadrey, before, but, man, he’s got a tight story and interesting characters. The main character, James Stark, is a foul-mouthed, irreverent guy who, for all that he spent eleven years in hell, proves relatable. He reminds me a bit of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files, but more hard-boiled and disillusioned. (Did I mention eleven years in hell?) The face-paced story heightens tension with its lack of chapter breaks. In all reality, I was halfway through the book before I really noticed, and I had no intention of putting it down any time soon.

Since I didn’t want to put the book down, I was a little sad when I finished it. I mean, you only get to read a book for the first time once, and now that experience was over. My faith was restored when I discovered it was a series.

I went out the next day to buy the rest of the titles provided by my closest book store. Unfortunately, they only stocked number two and number…I don’t know seven maybe. Now, I’m waiting for number three to come in, because I tore through the second book Kill the Dead even faster than Sandman Slim.

I thought maybe I could read The Kill Society without reading the intervening books. I do not recommend it! Things happen in the intervening books that are alluded to in the first handful of pages, and now I need to know how these things happened! That, my friends, is the hallmark of a good series. When you are angry at the bookstores for stocking the first two titles and the most recent two titles but none of the intervening books.  Have I mentioned that I need to know what happens?

If you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend this series. Also, if there’s anyone who has any pull on what gets stocked in my bookstores….stock the whole freaking series! Please! Now, excuse me while I go outside to wait for the postman to deliver book three.

‘Til next time,

Jess

 


Breathe

The last handful of years have been a roller coaster ride…or maybe a merry-go-round.

abandoned grass light merry go round

Photo by Levi Damasceno on Pexels.com

You know the kind that we used to play on that spins you around in circles so fast you puke…or fly off and possibly sustain an injury worth of a trip to the ER. The ride’s been fun, but now that I’ve hit the most important of  the goals I’d set when I started down this road just over three years ago…I don’t really know what’s next.

So, I’m taking a little time to just breathe and recharge my batteries. Part of that includes giving some TLC to relationships I’ve neglected too long, and allowing myself time for…fun stuff. Reading, writing, cooking, and walking the dog come to mind…and that should give you an idea of what my life has looked like the last few years.

First on my list was sleeping a lot. Turns out, I’m not great at that, so the sleeping all day I imagined didn’t happen. At least I’m getting a regular night’s sleep…most of the time…well, sometimes anyway.

This actually worked out because it gave me a lot of time to read a few novels. I started out with rereading a few books before I moved on to new material, and boy have I found a couple of good ones! I’ll be writing about one of them, Sandman Slim, when I finish this post.

According to my friends and co-workers, there are also a lot of movies and television shows I’ve missed out on, so I’m working to rectify that too. I’m making a list…feel free to add to it in the comments. I’ve knocked out No Country for Old Men, Sideways, and Aquaman…okay, I didn’t miss out on the last one, I saw it opening weekend. I’m also watching Rick & Morty while I write this. A staycation is great for catching up on this like this…and naps. Speaking of naps…

‘Til next time,

Jess