I’m indecisive. It’s ridiculous.
And sometimes, it’s hilarious.
Say, when I try to decide on my Word of the Year.
When I first heard of the idea for Word of the Year, I embraced that mofo so hard. I mean, whoever came up with it is a genius!
Now, I might have thought this because I dislike the idea of New Year’s Resolutions to the point, if I had the reserves of negative energy (which I don’t), I’d advocate against them.
I’ll just say this:
Every year isn’t a new start (it is, of course, but it also isn’t the only one).
Every day isn’t a new start.
Every moment is.
This whole setting your year up for you to fuck up from the absolute get-go was not my cup of tea (because, you know, if you start it in the New Year, and don’t keep up, obviously you’ve failed (NOT! seeing as you can start…or restart…anything anytime!)).
But picking some random word that was filled with hope or excitement or peace that you could aspire to throughout the year, I was soooooo down with that.
Being indecisive, however, makes picking one single word impossible for me.
Going back to look, I see that I picked five.
Possibility. Renew. Reflect. Peace. Aware.
All good. All positive. All hopeful and calm.
What’s this year turning out to be?
Now, possibility, renewal, reflection, peace and awareness are all awesome.
But adventure rawks!
Okay, first, I gotta define adventure. Because things are looking up out there in the COVID world. And I’m hip to lean a bit into that upcoming freedom I wish and pray for us all. But I’m not gonna be an idiot about it. As we know, slow and steady wins the race.
Not to mention, freedom is a lot of things, including a state of mind.
So is adventure.
And I killed it with both in February.
Back to the indecisiveness, boiling all this adventure down to Best ofs is nearly impossible. But I’m gonna try.
Here we go…
Getting my ear pierced during my visit with my niece KK in Denver. We decided to commemorate our time with a piercing (and she’s already found the place we’re going to go to when I visit her in Dallas in May – though, I think I might get a tattoo that time, we shall see).
I got my helix pierced. It hurt like a mother. Thank the good Lord above that I sleep with my hands under my cheek because a snag on that is yowza.
But it looks frakking awesome and it will always remind me of that weekend back “home” with my beloved girl, showing her my Denver, and both of us discovering what’s new in one of my favorite cities in the world.
Cooking Club with my niece JJ. We’ve both discovered a great joy for the deep depths of cooking. And as I was reading her Christmas present to me—the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat—I had a lightbulb moment.
One night a month, get together with JJ and her hubster, R, and make a three-course meal from scratch.
How much fun would that be?!
Answer, now that we’ve done it: Serious freaking fun.
We got our COVID tests so we could be around each other unmasked, we went for it and it was a blast!
This month (March) is at theirs and it’s Japanese themed. I’ve never cooked Japanese. They’re obsessed with it. I think I’m gonna learn a lot. I know I’m gonna eat a lot.
I can’t wait!
Best New Ritual
So, you see, as mentioned in the previous month’s blog, I’m a driven person (shocker!). I have always been a driven person. It’s in my bones. My soul. I’m one of those people who actually likes to work. And when that work became all about my books, I descended, and work became my life.
I was way down with that. In seventh heaven.
Until burnout started knocking on my door, and that bitch doesn’t knock, she wants to kick the door down.
When she came a’knockin’, I decided it was time to get my shit sorted.
So…one day in February, I was doing a meditation, and during it, I realized that I never took time off.
As in, never.
No regular vibe out, chill out, rejuve yourself time.
I’ve had two true vacations in maybe twenty years.
I’m being serious!
And this is (obvs) a problem.
I took a minute of stillness and realized, I worked all week, and my workweeks tend to be 6-7 days, though I try to take Sunday “off.”
But since I worked all week, Sundays ended up the day I did all the ironing, grocery shopping, errand running, sheet changing, laundry, etc. Therefore, I’d be putting the groceries away around five or six and then I’d be so tired, I’d flake out in front of the TV.
That’s not rejuvenation.
That’s another workday.
So I decided, nothing on Sunday.
Nothing I didn’t want to do.
I didn’t want to do yoga?
I didn’t want to fold the laundry?
No groceries in the fridge?
Pull up DoorDash.
Nothing but what I wanted to do.
So far I’ve had three Nothing Sundays.
And they’ve changed my freaking life!
They’ve become days where I spend most of it in bed, reading or watching YouTube videos on manifestation journals or in the kitchen making chocolate pudding from scratch (not good, won’t do that again).
It is everything. It helps me face the week with sheer energy. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of it.
And it has become sacrosanct and non-negotiable. I find times to do all the rest during the week (see below) and settle way down deep into Sundays.
Hands down, the dirty chai.
Best New Cocktail
This series taught me so much. I will 100% do it again in order to take a refresher on the crucial lessons I learned. So much has come from this, including Nothing Sundays, that I will be forever grateful to it.
If you’re curious about meditation, the “7 Days of Calm” is my suggestion on where you should start. But try to follow up with the “21 Days…”
You won’t regret it.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat.
Completely changed my way of cooking…in all the best ways. If you love to cook, or never quite wrapped your head around it, check out this book. Samin is also a writer, so as she’s teaching, she’s telling stories. It’s the bomb.
If you haven’t/aren’t reading this series, get to it right now! It’s so, insanely good, I’m ridiculously delighted to have discovered it at the same time jealous of how talented Maas is with storytelling, worldbuilding and characterization. She’s an exceptionally gifted fantasy writer. I cannot say enough about this series [please see January’s blog for more gushing on this] (and the most recent, Court of Silver Flame is what I’m deep into now, and it is NOT disappointing!—more in March about all the feels I feel about Nesta and Cassian’s story).
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Nashville Sound
Country. Rock. Ballads. Depth. Revealing. Love. Pain. Beauty.
I just typed out every word I first thought about listening to this album (repeatedly), bookend to bookend.
I dig Isbell’s sound. One of the best love songs I have ever heard is “If We Were Vampires” (and I gave that song to Rebel and Rush in Free).
But I’d never listened to one of his albums top to bottom.
I’m so glad I did. I loved it so much, honestly, I only listened to this all month. It was that good.
As February was Black History Month, I watched movies with that theme. Including “Judas and the Black Messiah” (HBO Max) and “The United States vs. Billie Holliday” (Hulu).
Although you won’t walk away from either of these films with a pep in your step, both are stories people should know. And both are movies I recommend watching.
And straight up, Andra Day’s performance as Billie Holliday is a fucking miracle. I was mesmerized by her, and my heart was torn apart. This was a ridiculously brave, revealing, soul-destroying performance, it is at once impossible to look away, and impossible to take. She was spectacular.
Of note this month, I rewatched “Waiting to Exhale,” a book I loved, a movie I loved, but I was worried that it would be super 90s dated.
I didn’t care.
There are moments in this film that are truly extraordinary (Bassett and Snipe’s meeting and relationship for one, Houston’s big speech where she takes her power back is another). It made me want to read the book again. Which I just might do. It also made me miss Whitney Houston. A lot.
Honorable Mention: Rewatched “The Will,” and if possible, loved it more than the first two times I watched it. Chris, Megan, Louise (director) and Joanie (scriptwriter) killed it. I’m so looking forward to doing “Three Wishes” with Passionflix!
“Framing of Britney Spears” (Hulu)
I have so much to say about this. If you haven’t watched it, you really must.
The layers in this are extreme.
What the media does to women (and everyone is talking about how this happened to women/especially young women in the 90s, but Taylor Swift recently called out the same shit this week, so let us not mistake…it’s still freaking happening). This mind-boggling conservatorship that I can’t think on too long or my head will explode (and who runs it). The not-truly-touched-on possibility that some of this might have to do with post-partum depression, which should not be swept under the rug (but no one can say this is what was happening to Spears, I just wish that dialogue ran longer). And my despair that I had to do a quick take of how deeply I love Justin Timberlake, because the dude didn’t do right (but I was incredibly pleased to see he held his hand up and apologized).
Spears’s brother, that asshole videographer and the dude from Us magazine all deserve a special place in hell.
I’m thrilled for her that she’s managed to receive some modicum of independent adjudication, at least for her money.
But I hope she finds far more emancipation…and soon.
And I hope we sisters can lead the charge to cut our fellow sisters more slack, doing this ourselves, demanding the same from that other gender and turning our backs on media that feeds into this. Because they’re parasites and we’re the ones who are powering their need to tear apart these talented women.
This is hard. The bacon jam we made during Cooking Club was sooo good. The waffles that just happened because I didn’t have milk, so used cream, were insane.
But I gotta say the best wasn’t anything from that night, as good as all that was.
It was the Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken I made later. The chicken is amazing, but the pickle-caper mayonnaise is LIFE!
Best part, you usually have all of this in your kitchen, ready to rumble.
This will be a staple for me now.
Bacon Maple from Voodoo in Denver. Holy shit. So frakking good!
Mine! Thank you for making Still Standing such a massive success!
I love you guys.
Truly, I do.
And I can’t wait for you to read Wild Wind!
Best New Restaurant
Bastien’s in Denver.
I gave this restaurant to Jagger and Archie in Wild Wind, but I’d never been there. Obviously, when I was in the Mile High City, I had to do the research.
It lives up to being worthy of my beloved Jagger and his Archie. Fantastic service and incredibly yummy food.
And KK and I made our own special memory there.
Honorable Mention That Would 100% Be a Best of if I Didn’t Already Have Kickass Bests for Ritual and Idea
Being a driven person that both runs a business, and is the creative mind behind it, shit can get real in the Rock Chick Lair. There is always a lot to do. The list is never ending (which is a good thing, because that’s life, the only time the To Do’s will end is when you’re dead, so dig in while you can).
But it’s also overwhelming.
I have long (as in long) struggled with my desire to get everything done yesterday and my ridiculous expectations of my own Superwomanhood of what I can get done (I swear, I think I can write a book in an hour, spoiler alert: I can’t).
Last week, I thought, “I’m going to look at what needs to get done, what are priorities for me [blocked time to write, keep my house in order, do yoga] and start each workday by scheduling each day.”
And this is what I did.
Example: 8:00-9:00 email. 9:00-11:00 write. 11:00-12:30 yoga, shower (etc.)
I was absolutely certain I’d screw this pooch, go long, blow some things off, fuck this up a million ways from Sunday.
It grounded me. Centered me. I was tidying my office, which during the pandemic, was off the hook messed up. I gave myself an hour a day to do it, and when that hour was up, I moved along.
My office was tidied by the end of the week. That massive project was done in manageable chunks. And I wrote over 20,000 words, caught up on email, struck another half dozen things off my to do list, and did yoga every freaking day.
The focus is huge with this one, Obi-Wan.
If you only have an hour to do something you want to get done, you’re not off to Twitter, doomscrolling. Or online shopping and spending tons of dosh you’d prefer to use to travel.
You’re getting shit done.
I wish I’d done this ten years ago.
But I’ll take now.
These are the Best of My Adventures for February.
I’m already neck deep in my adventures for March, and we’re only 2 ½ days in!
I hope your February rocked too!