Hello there! February was gone before I had a chance to fully relish the brisk days with bright blue skies it brought us this year, but the shortest month of the year held a lot of nice moments. As always – I love logging them here because it creates a wonderful record for myself, and I so appreciate that many of you have said you actually enjoy these monthly posts full of photos of food and friends.
A few of my friends and I have a holiday tradition called “Dipmas” where we get together, catch up, and eat dips. We held it a bit late this year, but it was no less magical.
Graham and I like to stay home and eat chicken wings and watch West Wing on Valentine’s Day, but we shed our hermit ways a few days later by going out for a nice meal at The Ribbon, and then catching a Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls show at the Beacon.
We also celebrated my friend Jon’s birthday at a party at his house. It is always wonderful to attend a party at Jon’s house – he’s a lovely host and has a fantastic home, but this one was extra special because a whole bunch of people I love but don’t often get to see together all in one place were there. Here are Dara and I meeting our dear friend Kristen’s baby, Violet, for the first time (they live in San Francisco):
And I always love all the time we get to spend with Hayden, Dara’s son. Here he is chillaxing with Graham:
The last week of February I was on the road (or rather, up in the air) quite a bit: I combined a business trip to Oregon with a trip to Michigan to see my family. The work trip went well, and I greatly enjoyed the time I got to spend with my Mom, Dad, and Brother – and the family dog Betsy, in my hometown. I did a lot of bird watching while I was there, and managed to get a few good shots:
^ A red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder.
^ This northern cardinal really enjoys the birdbath, and after several visits I finally got an ok photo. (I have to take them from inside the house, he’ll fly away if you walk outside.)
^ Here’s a downy woodpecker who loves this feeder. He visits often.
^ This isn’t a great photo (it was also taken from inside the house), but I’m sharing it anyway because it’s my favorite species of backyard birds: the dark-eyed junco. They visit Graham and me in Brooklyn too, and I love their little white puffy bellies and their fearless personalities.
I also love hanging out with Betsy – taking her on walks and investigating the backyard with her. She doesn’t understand photography, but kindly posed for me anyway.
^ Here’s another woodpecker about a mile from the house. Betsy got a little impatient when I stopped to take photos on our walks, but she tolerated it.
My trip to Michigan was timed wonderfully because I got to meet my friend Emma’s daughter Linnea, who was just 6 days old at the time. She’s incredibly tiny and precious.
I’m currently reading a few Black History Month selections that I didn’t get a chance to finish in February: I’m almost done with We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, and then I’m moving on to The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Here are my 2017 resolutions (in bold) and, in italic, the progress I made – or didn’t make – on them in February:
- Go to the gym (or work out elsewhere) 3 times per week. Graham and I didn’t make much progress with getting back into our gym habit in February, but we’re off to a better start in March.
- Try yoga. Give it a real shot and go several times or try different classes. If that fails, try regular stretching at home. No progress here yet.
- Go to meditation classes at Etsy, regularly (at least once per week). Etsy’s meditation program started up again for the year in February, and I’ve been to every session offered so far (with the exception of the two I missed while traveling).
- Start a writing habit (IE: set amount of time daily for just writing: set a timer, turn internet off). For both blogging and personal writing. Haven’t started yet.
- Eat an apple every day. Still going strong here: I ate 27 apples in February.
- Start cooking healthier meals. More veggies and greens, less carbs. I started tracking this better, but still making progress that can only be described as “ok.” I’m eating more salads with dinner, and have been eating healthier lunches as well, particularly thanks to Westville opening near my work. Luckily my lunches twice a week are always healthy, thanks to Eatsy.
- Make 12 new recipes. I made four new recipes in February: cornbread, sweet potato mash, french onion chip dip, and coconut thumbprint cookies with salted caramel.
- Spend less time on social media at home – especially in the evenings and on weekends. Put phone out of reach. I decided that to make this more tangible I would set a goal of putting my phone in the other room three evenings per week. I started this halfway through the month, and then abandoned it completely while traveling (too much texting with the husband to do this while away), but I’m excited to have a set goal to aim for each week in March.
- Volunteer regularly (at least once per month). I volunteered again at the Arab American Family Support Center in February – this time helping a woman from Yemen practice English conversation.
Etsy spots of the month:
- I immediately grabbed this “Nevertheless, She Persisted” mug, and now happily drink my coffee from it each morning. I might need to get this pin as well. Or this one. And also this one.
- I love our editor’s picks guide to celestial jewelry.
While I was in Michigan I got to eat at a few of my favorite restaurants in Kalamazoo. Here’s my lunch at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe:
My family and I went out to dinner at HopCat, which recently opened a location in Kalamazoo. I could eat pretzel bites dipped in cheese sauce all day long.
And my final restaurant shot of the month – here’s a dinner in Oregon while I was solo dining, with Stephen King for company:
I also made delicious cookies this month and shared the recipe with y’all.
I’m still watching the history course from The Great Courses Plus: History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev. Graham and I are watching Madam Secretary season three, Bob’s Burgers, and have started The West Wing again from season one and we’re not even sorry about it. I watched a few episodes of The Crown while flying. Other than that – not a lot of screen time, which helped me power through 15 books in February.
I’m currently listening to Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin and it’s powerful and challenging. I will need to discuss this once I’m done and so need to push this on as many people as possible.
- The best two podcasts I listened to in February were both episodes of On Being: Krista Tippett’s conversation with Alain de Botton about love and relationships and her conversation with John Lewis about civil rights. I highly recommend both listening to both. [OnBeing]
And that’s the month!