Tag Archives: 31 before 31

Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri (2008)

26 Jan

UnaccustomedEarth Unaccustomed Earth is such a lovely little book. It’s a collection of 8 short stories, each of them a glimpse into someone’s life. Lahiri stays within her comfort zone– most of the stories concern an adult child of Bengali parents, living in (or with connections to) Massachusetts, who is involved in a relationship with a non-Bengali. The stories are heavy with the themes of culture, family, guilt, trust, and independence, but balance those broader themes with an incredibly personal focus on the stories.

Although Lahiri’s characters have very specific characteristics, their decisions and struggles have many universal qualities. There was one story in particular that rang incredibly true to me. Without getting into the details (the story hit home on an incredibly personal and painful issue), reading that story provided me with kinship, feeling like there was someone else who has really been there and really knows how I felt.

This was my first Lahiri book, but I did see the movie based on her novel The Namesake. I’m typically not much of a crier with movies. OH BOY DID I CRY. Did I EVER cry. That movie will make turnips cry. They aren’t tears of sadness, it’s not an incredibly sad story. The struggles were just so personal and intricate and there was not one clear answer on how to sort through them and make everything better. And I cried and I cried and I cried.

Unaccustomed Earth is a perfect book for curling up in the cold winter, drinking tea, and feeling a little sad. Pick this one up for sure, just don’t take it to the beach with you. I’m really glad that my book club picked this book for January. It’s a book I ordinarily would not have chosen on my own, and I really loved it.

31 before 31: A New Workout Experience

24 Jan

aerobicsI finally ended the hemming and hawwing and excuses and I did it.  I had a lunchtime workout.  Well not exactly lunchtime, it was closer to 2pm. But it was still during the workday.

I know tons of people who swear by working out during lunchtime, and swear it’s the only time they can fit in a good workout, and they report it gets them energized for the second half of the workday.

Until now, I’ve used the following excuses to avoid working out during lunchtime:  I don’t want to get sweaty.  I don’t have time.  I like to eat.  It’s too disruptive in my day.  My gym is too far away.

But this week I bit the bullet and had a lunchtime workout.  It was a very light workout, I walked slowly for 30 minutes on the treadmill.  It wasn’t even really a “workout” but it did get me up and moving and was better than what I would have otherwise been doing when the 2pm snoozies hit:  drinking coffee, eating cookies, and struggling to keep my eyes open.

garfield and scaleWell, now I switched to a gym that’s closer to my office, I realized that I can do a light workout that doesn’t get me all gross, I can keep the workout short to minimize disruption, and yes it did help me feel energized throughout the afternoon.  It’s shocking to take a chunk of personal time in the middle of the day when I usually don’t even take a break for lunch, but I do think I had a more effective afternoon, and in the evening I was able to make up that billable time.

I really liked that the gym was quiet by the time I got there.  I do hope to get myself to the gym for an afternoon workout at least once per week.  It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, I’d be perfectly happy just cruising along on the treadmill.  I need to get over the guilt of feeling like I’m playing hooky by being out of the office during the workday.  Even though it is perfectly acceptable to go work out or run a personal errand during the workday as long as you get your work done and you can be reached, I always feel like I’m breaking some rule by going “off campus.”

Do you work out during lunchtime?

31 before 31

2 Jan

I like lists. I liked 30 before 30. Why the heck should I stop just because I hit the big 3-0? Here’s a list of 31 things I hope to accomplish by my next big day!

  1. Make HAITIAN FAMILIES FIRST BACK TO SCHOOL PARTY a giant success! I’m super excited that The Standard Band will be there to rock out with us!  Accomplished January 31, 2013
  2. Learn to use Siri on my darn phone
  3. Have a movie marathon with Mr. Beez (I’m up for watching ALL the Harry Potters back to back, but sci fi is more his style)
  4. Take a cooking class
  5. Read 40 “fun” books
  6. Potty train Baby Beez
  7. Learn to use the pasta maker attachment for my KitchenAid that I begged Mr. Beez for (but has sat in a box for 2+ years)
  8. Get new portraits of Baby Beez
  9. Keep working hard on Weight Watchers, and drop 25 lbs by my birthday next year (that’s about 0.5 lbs a week)
  10. Go to a Pittsburgh Passion game
  11. Go to a wine tasting event with Palate Partners
  12. Get this blog redesigned/rebranded
  13. Learn at least 3 new things at BlogHer Food
  14. Brew some beer at Copper Kettle
  15. Have a quiet evening of ceramics painting
  16. Write out a marketing plan
  17. Speak at a conference/CLE/seminar regarding legal issues in social media
  18. Attend PodCamp Pittsburgh
  19. Have at least 3 new exercise experiences (new class, new perspective, new outfit, etc)  New Experience 1: Lunchtime Workout (1/23/13)
  20. Try a new food
  21. Go on a family vacation, and be nice. The whole time.
  22. Clean my car. Like for real clean. All the cheerio crumbs GONE.
  23. Tweet it Up at Pittsburgh Tweetup events (and not be terrified that I don’t know many people there)
  24. Increase my reader engagement. Maybe a series where I interview bloggers I admire?
  25. Have a date night with Mr. Beez at a comedy show
  26. Go to a Moth StorySlam
  27. Get some for-real church basement pierogies (preferably from the Epiphany Church fish fry)
  28. Attend a Propelle Happy Hour  Attended January 14, 2013.
  29. Have a visit to Mansions on Fifth
  30. Go to a trivia night with friends
  31. Go roller skating

so who’s with me?!


OMIGAWD! I am so excited for a new list!