OCTOBER IN HINDSIGHT
Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin, is a literary classic about a boy named John in 1930s Harlem and his relationship to both his family and the church. It’s a coming-of-age story, loosely based on Baldwin’s own upbringing. It reminded me of one of those novels we would have definitely read in high school, but we didn’t — which is sort of puzzling to me, as it was a pretty powerful piece. It’s definitely one of those stories that makes you stop and analyze it as you go along. It was a different pick for me, but I’m glad I picked it!
Where The Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, takes place in the marshes of North Carolina. This piece of fiction follows the protagonist, Kya — otherwise known as “The Marsh Girl” as she’s abandoned by all of her family members and raises herself in a small shack in the marsh. Meanwhile, the small-town folk become very intrigued with her. The novel centers around a mysterious murder, and I’ve gotta say … I couldn’t put it down. I got hit with a pretty nasty flu this month, and a tiiinnyyyyy part of me (very tiny!) was glad because it meant I could stay sprawled out on the couch reading this book until I finished it! It’s topped the 2019 Best Sellers list for awhile now!
The Art of Racing in The Rain, by Garth Stein. Honestly, I’m shocked that I hadn’t read this sooner. Because it’s about a dog…told from the perspective of said-dog. And well, that’s just about enough to get me to read it! I read this book in three days … from the moment I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. I found myself in multiple coffee shops with my nose in this book. And then at the end of it, I had to hug my dog and cry for a solid 20 minutes. I loved it. If you have a dog, you need to read this novel.
We saw the new Joker movie in theaters this month! I thought it was very artistically well-done and a cool origin story, although I will be honest and say it was a bit of a downer for like…a really long time. Obviously The Joker had a twisted past in order for him to come out the way he did … but I think I would have liked if the film spent a liiiittttle bit more time on him as the new Joker and a liiiittttle less of the buildup. But that’s just my opinion! I am by no means a movie critic and I generally enjoy whatever we go see… so yeah, it was good! I enjoyed it!
This month I *finally busted out my gigantic weaving loom and strung her up! I’ve started on a huuuuge piece, but unfortunately I haven’t gotten to make too much progress on it as of late … I’m hoping a couple of days off around the Thanksgiving holiday will change that!
This Salmon Chowder from The Modern Proper was to diiiiiiie for! It’s super easy as long as you remember to buy the salmon filet *without* the skin on it 😉 It also makes a ton and I was a little hesitant on how the leftovers would turn out the next two days, but it tasted just as good! Whenever we make soups over here, we also get some fresh bread from the bakery and pop it in the oven for a little while so it gets warm and crispy…perfect for dunking! OR go to Trader Joes in the morning and get their fresh round loafs and carve out your very own bread bowls!! This would be dynamite in a bread bowl.
This Honey Lime Chicken Skillet that Alex picked out was the perfect amount of simple and delicious. We’ve been using our skillet like crazy the last two months … there’s just something about cooking something on the stove but letting it finish in the oven .. I can’t get enough of it!
These Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwiches make the perfect lunch! They’re loaded with delicious greens…and I was lucky enough to come home to Al just finishing them up on the stovetop … we each ate one and a half, and split a can of tomato soup, and we were stuffed! Looks can be deceiving!! Don’t get freaked out by the anchovy paste either … the taste is subtle enough, but it’s still an important part of the recipe!
This Sausage, Potato, & Kale Skillet could probably turn out a number of different ways depending on which type of sausage you got, but we opted for sweet and it was the bomb! It was also super duper quick and easy and cleanup was a breeze. This is the perfect fall-meal! I’d love to pair it with a side of squash!
Local Explorations –
Marty and I explored a new little hike this month, called Sagebrush Trail in Palos Verdes. PV is close enough to get a morning hike in and still make it home long before lunchtime. I liked this trail because its a loop trail with a couple of varying offshoots. One of which leads you down (and then back up again!) a bunch of switchbacks until you hit the ocean. We got there pretty early so the trail wasn’t especially crowded, but everyone that we did see happened to be running the trail, training for various races and events. My very favorite part about this loop trail though, is the spot where you can stop and have breakfast with the very best view of the big blue ocean. There’s a single bench and a single picnic table, right on the cliffs edge. And it’s pretty spectacular. I packed some breakfast snacks for both Martin and myself, and so we posted up at the picnic table and had our breakfast there…I definitely have plans on brewing some coffee up there early some morning! Who’s with me!?
After our hike, we made a pit stop in Lomita to try out their new coffee shop, Corridor Flow Coffee. They’re a no-dogs facility, so I can’t really speak for the inside, but we enjoyed our little table outside, they brought Marty fresh water, and the coffee was good! My go-to at any new coffee shop is always a latte with almond milk … hot or cold depends on the time of year, but this time I went with cold! If we’re in the area, we’ll definitely be back!
And lastly, Julie and I hit the halfway mark on our Six Pack of Peaks Challenge with Mt. Baldy, which you can read all about — here!
I’ve been taking some courses up in Burbank to further my career, and so I made the most out of one Saturday by meeting my friends, Rachael & Virgil, in Highland Park for dinner. They were nice enough to take me out to one of their very favorite restaurants, Hippo, which just so happens to be attached to the cutest little wine shop too! The food was incredible and the wine was fantastic. We sat up at the bar just chatting away … so much so that we didn’t even notice that our entrees hadn’t come out! The servers felt so bad that we ended up getting all three entrees and three glasses of wine, comp’d! It was the best surprise ever. Definitely the icing on top of a very wonderful night spent with friends. I didn’t want it to end!!
Alex and I woke up one weekend afternoon and decided that we wanted to take Marty to one of our favorite little off-leash “secret spots” in El Segundo. Afterwards, we both decided we were hungry and Alex said, “I’ve got an idea!” He drove us to El Segundo Beach Cafe, which is the cutest little outdoor-only cafe in El Segundo that sits right on the strand and overlooks the beach. Seriously, you can’t get any closer than this. I fell instantly in love with this place. There is definitely a wait on the weekends, but the cinnamon buns ALONE are worth the wait. Not to mention the impeccable service … everyone there makes you feel like family. The breakfast servings are freaking huge…we ended up taking boxes home for both! I can’t even tell you the last time that happened!!! Just writing about it right now has me itching to go back. The best part about it being right on the bike path, too, is that you can get up suuuuper early for a long ride, and stop there midway to fuel up and slurp down some coffee. I absolutely adore this place … my only regret is not ever stopping at it sooner !!
Celebrating / Loving / Feeling –
Besides fighting a nasty sickness for the majority of the month, I really enjoyed the month of October. It’s really seemed to kickoff the craziness that always is the end of the year. Where it seems like there are just never enough hours in the day to get everything done … it can get a little overwhelming at times, but then I remember how lucky I am to be busy! I’m happy to be involved in people and things, and I’m lucky to have so many things that fill up my happiness cup to the brim! Now, if only the sun could stay up in the sky for just a liiittttle bit longer, I wouldn’t be mad 😉
We celebrated Halloween at the end of the month … our work always does a big costume contest, and I think this year might have been one of the best turnouts in a long time! I went dressed as one of the main characters in one of the shows we’re producing … and I ended up winning third place! Two years ago, Alex and I walked away with second … so I guess I better go big and try to snag first next year!
Looking Ahead –
Like I mentioned before, this time of year can definitely get crazy … but this upcoming weekend is the last weekend of my classes, and then I think I can get a better handle on everything else going on! I’m looking forward to tackling some new projects this winter … the biggest being a full renovation of our newest family member: Dewey The Dewdrop! Dewey is a 1950s vintage Teardrop Trailer that I found on Craigslist. I instantly fell in love with her dinged up aluminum charm and knew that she was the one for us. Luckily, I’ve got two very legit reno friends — Rachael and Virgil — who made the trek up to Mt. Baldy area to check her out with me and they gave me the all clear that this was a worthwhile and totally possible project! And so we hitched her up and drove her home, and now she’s sitting in our garage until we can get started on her … which we’re hoping will be late November / early December! When we’re done with her, she’ll have a full little camping-kitchen and a bed big enough to hold me, Al, and Marty of course! I can’t wait to make this little Teardrop our weekend home-away-from-home … and I have big dreams of taking her across country someday soon !!! Definitely standby for some Dewey progress in the next couple of months … our goal is to have her complete in February!
And that’s life as of late! For Thanksgiving this year, we’re celebrating with a handful of friends who also don’t have family in the area. I’m very much looking forward to cooking up some delicious recipes and spending the day chatting with friends over wine and football! We’re staying put here in Apartment Fo’ until Christmas rolls around … and that’s A-okay with me, as I’ve got holiday shopping and crafts to keep me busy until then! I’ve also got two crazy pups who also do a great job at keeping me busy … 😉
thanks for stopping by!