I have a few things I want to say to April in the Chicagoland area: seriously? Wintry mix that is actually huge fluffy snowflakes all afternoon? Highs in the 30s? Where is my spring? I DEMAND SPRING. I’ve grown accustomed to the south and I want to wear my Tevas, not my parka.
Ahem. Some thoughts and updates to start off the month:
We bought a new house (yay!) and after assembling countless Ikea bookshelves I am ready to start unpacking my books. The vast majority of them have been boxed up for the last year, and I can’t wait to get them out. We won’t move all the way in for a few weeks yet, which gives us some time to paint and do cosmetic work on the house and, most importantly, set up the bookshelves.
(Also, I’m pleased to report that my marriage survived both a trip to Ikea and assembling Ikea furniture. Life achievement unlocked.)
March was also my Whole30 month. It ended up being more like a Whole24, and I added legumes back in about halfway through. I decided when I began that I wasn’t going to stress about “compliance,” making sure that no forbidden food passed my lips. So I definitely ate some dairy (blue cheese crumbles on my Chick-fil-A salad) and sugar (in my Panera salad dressing), but for the most part I avoided dairy, sugar and grains.
The Whole30 program hits my perfectionist buttons with its philosophy that you have to do it perfectly or start the whole program over, but I gave myself permission from the beginning to not be perfect. I tend to strive for perfection then give up in frustration when I’m not perfect, so I knew that if I wanted to actually reset my eating habits I needed to give myself some room to fail.
And I’m pleased to say that Whole30 (err, Whole24) was overall a good experience. I don’t intend to keep up with the restrictions, or move towards a paleo diet, but it was good to remind myself that I can survive without sugary carbs. I found a fantastic new pork roast recipe, I reincorporated more veggies in my diet, and I discovered that cashew butter is really good. So I’m counting it as a success (and very much enjoying my hot cross buns and chocolate Easter cake this week).
I finished Trouble I’ve Seen (Drew G.I. Hart), and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in racism in the church. It wasn’t an easy read, but it is an important one. I also finished Opting Out: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home (Pamela Stone). Stone examines the reasons why high-achieving women quit prestigious careers when they have children, and while her research certainly lined up with my own experience it made me angry all over again that even supposedly family-friendly workplaces do so little to support women (or men) to balance the demands of family and job, which pushes families into traditional gender roles even when that’s not really what they want.
In fiction, I just finished Marie Lu’s Warcross. One of the blurbs compared it to Neuromancer, and I don’t think that’s quite right; Lu crafts a compelling story, but her writing isn’t quite on the level of Gibson. But I do think it’s fair to compare it, and compare it favorably, to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Both feature a young protagonist unexpectedly caught up in a computer game with far-reaching global consequences, but I found Lu’s world and characters more vivid than Cline’s.
I’m also slowly making my way through Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson; I’ve been putting of her novels for inscrutable reasons, but I am enjoying slowly taking in her gorgeous prose. And I’m still working on Jürgen Moltmann’s The Spirit of Life, and it is still rocking my world. I’ve never had a good understanding of the Holy Spirit, and Moltmann is giving me so many new ways to think about this third person of the Trinity.
I’m planning a post on Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz for my women in Christianity series, and one on Tamar for stories of subversion in scripture. Also, this is April, both national poetry month and the month when medievalists celebrate ancient languages — so expect something on medieval poetry.
On Monday next week, I’ll be at Erin Wasinger’s blog with a piece for her “Passing Notes” series on choosing public schools — come for my piece and stay for the rest of series, which is great! And if you missed it, I wrote about six influential medieval women for the CBE blog Arise.