“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortably tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, or imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” – Anne Lamott
If you're ever driving from Arizona to Austin, stop at Chopes Bar & Cafe in Las Cruses for the best chile rellenos you've ever had. It's off the freeway a bit, but totally worth it. And don't let the exterior fool you - it's a biker bar - the food is excellent.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - I went through a faze of reading too many WWII books recently, so I was trying to avoid them for a while, but this book was a great way to break my fast. French sisters Vianne and Isabelle fight the enemy in their own ways, and the story explores the overlooked and under-appreciated efforts of women in wartime and lasting impact it has on them. The story is beautiful and I stayed up too late several nights because I didn't want to put it down. I also straight up sobbed several times while reading.
Quote: “I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there’s a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.”
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - I liked this book much more than I was expecting to, mostly due to the richness of the characters. It is character portrait, a family drama with a focus on the everyday. The story explores how this seemingly normal family deals with tragedy, but it also explores race and gender identity issues in the 1970's.
Quote: “Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi - The autobiography of a brain surgeon who is diagnosed with terminal lunger cancer is beautifully written and heart-wrenching, especially the chapter by his wife. Again, broke down sobbing multiple times throughout.
Quote: “I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely."
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain - An overall enjoyable read, this is a story about uncovering family secrets. However, I sometimes felt that plot and "secrets" were being over-explained, not giving the reader enough credit that we could figure out the twists and details.
Quote: “No matter how many people care about you, she thought, if you can't be open with them about who you truly are, you're still alone.”
“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually’, just do it and correct the course along the way.” - Tim Ferriss
One of our favorite things to do in Austin is go paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake). It's a popular tourist activity, but I think it is a great weekend activity for locals too! Especially because we're extremely lucky and can walk out the back door of our building right onto the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, which takes us to at least three paddle board (and kayak and canoe) rental places.
I'd highly recommend Texas Rowing Center, which is on the North side of the lake near Austin High School. Since we live here, we bought a 20 rental all-day pass and we also get to take our friends out when they come visit. Paddle boarding is pretty easy, even for newbies, especially on a lake.
We also like to bring a bag that we don't mind getting soaking wet with lake water with beers so we can take breaks, chill and layout.
“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.” - Mandy Hal
Sometimes I do fun things where I leave my apartment and get outside, which I will write about. But the truth is, I usually just want to curl up with a thick book (often on my Kindle), a big glass of wine and lots of cheese (or chocolate-covered things), which I will also write about.
I also like using parentheses. Get ready.