What I’m Into: January 2013

garden gnome winter

Poor Tollers. Winter sucks.

I don’t know if it’s just the weather, or what, but lately my response to everything has been a despondent, “Meh.” Not much has really struck my fancy this past month. I’m just dying for winter to be over, so I can start living again. Going for walks, breathing in fresh air, taking Lydia to the park.

So I apologize in advance if my post is a little unenthusiastic. I’m usually a pretty easily-excited gal. December was way better, but I was too busy to write a What-I’m-Into post in December.

(But do you want to hear one thing I HAVE felt passionate about? MARTIN FREEMAN. You guys. I love this guy. First it was John Watson, then Bilbo Baggins. He’s the BEST. And I don’t mean that in teenage-crush, he’s-so-hot kind of way – I consider him barely handsome. But he’s such a stellar actor, and he acted in my two MOST FAVOURITEST productions of 2012. Two months later, I can’t stop dreaming about Sherlock. Seriously. Sherlock is the best thing I’ve ever seen, smelled, heard, or tasted. COME BACK SHERLOCK, I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU; LIFE IS NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT YOU.)

(See? I can be passionate).


Oh man, you guys. Raising a toddler is just not conducive to reading books. I have read fewer books in the last few months than I have since I first learned how to read, I think. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.

I tried Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, because the Internet seemed unanimous that this was an incredible read. It has sold a bazillion copies.

A little over halfway through, I finally gave up on it.

For the most part, when I concentrate hard, the book sparkles with wisdom. But I just can’t get behind her writing style. I keep thinking how great this book would be if translated into normal language. Reading this book feels like riding a bike where the gears keep slipping: I’m still moving, but I’m distracted by the constant jolts and skips. I’m tripping over all these weird words that pop up unexpectedly in her sentences. I feel like she’s trying to be poetic.

On the very first page, she describes her own birth: “From the diameter of [my mother’s] fullness, I empty her out – and she bleeds.” What the what? From the diameter of her fullness? What the crap does that even mean?

I thought maybe I was just missing something, so I continued on, but kept running into similar nonsense.  “A fly cuts the surface of one full glass. I can see it – the wounding of water” (p. 43). Water gets wounded?

Time is impossible to follow in this book – the verb tenses are all tangled up together. (She writes in the present tense, but occasionally throws in a sentence in past tense.  What’s going on?)

I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but this book just wasn’t working for me.

I also passionately disagree with the theology presented in chapter 5: Voskamp suggests that God causes pain and suffering, and so we must learn to be thankful for them. I could write a whole post on the subject, but I will leave it at this: God absolutely does not orchestrate disease, injury, or the deaths of innocent children. He is deeply opposed to and grieved by our pain, and desires only good things for his children.

I also bought and started reading Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. I was psyched about this one when I purchased it. But I’m struggling to make good use of it. The bulk of the book is focused on morning prayers for each day of the year. But I can’t really do mornings: I’m wired in such a way that I can barely drag myself out of bed after half an hour of being woken. I’m typically woken by Lydia kicking me in the gut or groping around my shirt to find my boob, at which point I need to hurry her downstairs to use the potty. And then begins my brains’ arduous task of becoming fully conscious – a task that generally takes another full thirty minutes (at least). Then it’s breakfast and baby-dressing and more pottying . . .

I’ve tried reading these prayers in the evening, but they’re full of morning imagery: “Oh Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.”

I’m still figuring out how to use this book. I will say that my favourite prayer is the Midday Prayer (p. 542), and find myself flipping to it more often than any other.


Since there’s nothing else to do when the weather is so crappy, we picked up Downton Abbey in addition to our usual weekly shows (Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Office). We’ve just about finished the first season.

I’m trying really hard to love Downton Abbey. All the cool people love Downton Abbey. The truth is, I like it. But I don’t loooooooove it the way I feel like I’m supposed to, the way the rest of the Internet does.

The trouble is, I don’t care for Mary. She gets way more screen time than anyone else, and more than she deserves, in my opinion. She’s not – by far – the most interesting character. She’s not good enough for Matthew and I don’t want them to end up together, even though I sense that’s where the story’s been going from the beginning.

If there’s one type of character I just don’t connect with, it’s the woman who has it all, and who can have any man she chooses.

Mary is beautiful, rich, AND has two loving parents. She spends her days deciding what brooch to wear and her evenings messing with people’s emotions. I know, I know: she’s deep and complex and all that. Her daddy wishes he’d had a son, boo hoo. She’s expected to marry the sweet, adorable young man with a mind of his own who’s going to inherit the estate, and who’s got an enduring crush on her; but gosh darn it, she hates doing what’s expected of her. Poor lass.

If it weren’t for my complete lack of sympathy for Mary, I’d quite like the show. I like everybody else. It’s rich with interesting characters, layered plots, and biting social commentary.

As long as the weather sucks and we’re stuck inside, we’ll probably keep watching.


These months have been rather quiet. I don’t need music in my ears while I go about writing and cooking and menu-planning. Music just isn’t really a big part of this season of life for me.

But if you’re looking for something silly and fun, I just came across this, from Relient K:

(Relient K was my all-time favourite band in high school. I will always have a special place in my heart for Matt Tiessen.)


This has also been a quiet spell in terms of movies. I don’t even know what to watch. Any recommendations? We watched Pitch Perfect yesterday, which was ridiculous and fun, but the two Vomit Scenes were stupid enough to kind of ruin the whole movie for me.

How about you? Have you read/watched/heard anything amazing this month?

Linking up with Hopeful Leigh this month!

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  1. Two songs my husband and I just cannot get out of our heads are:

    The Hobbit Song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfLV_N0aUS8 and
    Song for Ulvaak – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnKOvOjKLH0

    (We’re totally not into Dungeons and Dragons, but the Song for Ulvaak is just so interesting….)
    The Hobbit Song is one of Kaylen’s regular lullabies too! I seriously wake up singing these songs…. pretty much everyday!

    Watched Pitch Perfect tonight… you’re right! Too much vomit, but we laughed uncontrollably for a lot of it! We also enjoyed What to Expect When You’re Expecting…. though I think some of it is just too real when you’re actually pregnant! I’ve been loving humor lately!

    I get the whole disliking Mary thing! In fact I’m not sure why anyone (Matthew???) would like her. Urgh, just wait till the end of season three…. oh why oh why oh why?? Sometimes it’s too much drama for me!

    I’m definitely in the market for a new TV show or two to tide me over until Sherlock!

  2. I agree ~ I can only read Ann Voskamp in small doses, and I often find that when I start reading or watching something that people have been raving about my expectations are set too high. I like Downton Abbey but it actually took watching Season 2 and ignoring the mega-fans to start enjoying it.

    Recently watched ‘WarHorse” and enjoyed it ~ if you haven’t already seen, you might consider.

  3. That picture is why I will never, ever, ever live any farther north than I do now. Because while the sixties-and-sunny weather we’ve been having isn’t guaranteed every winter, it’s more common than buried-in-snow-and-grayness you get. :-)

    Ick. Those excerpts of Voskamp’s book guarantee I won’t be picking it up no matter what the internets think of it. I could never make it through reading her blog, either, though she seems a lovely person and clearly a lot of people find value in her words. You were an English major; you know there’s a certain segment of the population who think that writing is good if it’s florid and impenetrable. But I don’t think either of us subscribe to that theory.

    Downton sounds fun. ALL the cool kids love it. But the DDH won’t try it and I do my best not to watch tv without him. So I don’t know if I’ll ever see it. Le sigh. ALL the cool kids love Common Prayer, too, but it’s another I haven’t tried. I can see how it would be hard to fit in if you’re not a morning person.

    The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so perhaps your February will warm up and you’ll have a more enthusiastic month. :-) Oh! And Lent starts the 13; is there some sort of Lenten liturgy in the Common Prayer book? I know you wanted to observe the church year a bit this year, and maybe those prayers wouldn’t be as morning specific.

    • “There’s a certain segment of the population who think that writing is good if it’s florid and impenetrable.” HA!

      I know. I hate this weather. And YES: Common Prayer does have a special Lenten section; I’m looking forward to that.

  4. Agree with you about Martin Freeman! (and Sherlock, so good, so sad there aren’t many episodes). I tried to like Downton Abbey because it seems like the kind of thing I would like, being a historic drama and all. Season One wasn’t bad but Season Two was so soap-opera-ish that I couldn’t stand it and was unable to watch further.

    Have you seen Mad Men? It is my new favorite: complex characters, interesting setting, thought-provoking plots.
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    • We’ve actually gotten halfway through Season 2, and have decided we probably won’t go any further, either. We only saw one episode of Mad Men, but it struck me as kind of gloomy. Am I wrong?

      • Mad Men is depressing. Beautiful, but depressing. We got partway through the second season before my husband decided it was also boring. It’s one of those shows where an entire episode can go by and NOTHING HAPPENS. Everyone is catty and mean and there’s not one character that you really feel like you can root for.

        But it’s so, so pretty, and it presents some interesting social/historical commentary. I want to like it more than I do, and maybe I’ll eventually go back to it.

        Just my two cents! ^_^

  5. Oh Martin Freeman – a British treasure! I kinda feel like a proud mama that he finally got recognised in a big budget movie like The Hobbit :)

    Ann Voskamp is a bit of an effort for me too. Sometimes I love her and sometimes her writing is annoying. I am persevering through a bit at a time when I feel like it. But I agree about the suffering chapter.

    I’ve also officially broken up with Downtown. I loved it at the start (more than “downstairs” plots than the upstairs ones) but now it just got far too sad and I just can’t cope with sad tv these days.

    Do you have any plans or ideas for marking lent this year?

    My newest music discovery is Of Monsters and Men. I’m a little in love.
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    • Yeah, Ben looked ahead at some of the Downton episode recaps, and we determined that it’s not for us. I’m the same: I just can’t handle that much sadness. I don’t watch TV to be SAD.

      I’ve been giving Lent a bit of thought, and I feel kind of stuck because my husband’s family wants to spend a week together in a cabin right in the Middle of Lent (it’s March Break for my sister-in-law). That will make fasting and the like difficult. So, I think I’ve decided to give up sugar (ALL sugar) for Lent. But besides reading from Common Prayer, I’m not sure what else. You? I would love to hear some ideas from a fellow non-Catholic interested in the Liturgical Year!

      Oh, and YES to Of Monsters and Men. I don’t listen to much music these days, but on the rare occasion that I drive, that’s often what I pop in the CD player. (Yes, we still use CD’s).

  6. you might like the tv series “Community” Neil and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 episodes that we’ve watched.

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