Monday, June 22, 2015

Best: January 2015.

A lot of terror and hurt has been happening in the world lately. I've almost written about it here a hundred times, and I hope I still will, eventually, when I have adequate words, because if there's one thing I know it's that we have to talk about it. We have to talk about a lot of things.

But I still need to call out the good things in life that I like. To be able to do so at a time like this is definitely a privilege I have, but I'm going to push forward anyway at the same time that I own that privilege. And by 'push forward,' I actually mean rewinding to January.

2015 started with a reading bang for me, one of those runs where every book you pick up seems awesome and perfect and written just for you. If only these runs lasted forever! Jacqueline Woodson has always been one of my faves, but brown girl dreaming truly felt like a gift. A memoir told in verse, this is supposedly for middle readers but is really just for humans. Following her childhood from the North to the South and back again, this book aches of family and belonging and identity and longing and all the things Jacqueline Woodson's poetry says that I can't. I was so grateful for it, and it was so deserving of all the awards it racked up.

Ready Player One was the exact opposite, but so damn fun, the most fun I've had reading a book in years and years. I stayed up way past my bed time several times reading it because I was so wrapped up in its world, something my old lady body can hardly do for any book these days! And I don't even care about video games, and video games take up pretty much this whole book! It is spectacular and deserving of exclamation points! Steven Spielberg is slated to make the movie and I know it's Spielberg and all but still, YOU BETTER DO IT REAL GOOD, STEVE.

I made a couple actually decent meals this month, both just served over rice, one easy, one kind of a pain in the ass, but both delish! One was chicken tikka masala, everyone's favorite not-actually-Indian Indian dish. I used a recipe from the sriracha cookbook Manda got me for Christmas, which involved some marinating of the chicken for a while, among other things. Marinating chicken always ends up being worth it but like, you have to plan? And take extra time? Anyway, I also happened to make the basmati rice pretty perfectly, if I do say so myself, and it was a wonderful combo of tangy and creamy and spice.

My other favorite meal of the month was the "Cheater" Korean Beef Bowl from Damn Delicious, and lesbe honest, I think those should actually be triple quotation marks, because I don't think this thing authentically resembles any dish related to Korea. It is basically ground beef with brown sugar and soy sauce. BUT MAN does ground beef with brown sugar and soy sauce taste good! I added peas and potatoes to the mix, so, HEALTHY.

This whole year thus far belongs to T. Swizzle, both on a personal level and in terms of world domination, but winter was really all 1989 all the time for me.

Jill's Top 5 1989 Tracks, A List That She May or May Not Have Spent Several Hours of Commuting Time Contemplating:
  1. How You Get the Girl (I WOULD WAIT FOREVER AND EVER!)
  2. Welcome to New York (BOYS AND BOYS AND GIRLS AND GIRLS!)
  5. Shake It Off (Dwayne The Rock Johnson helped put this one on the list because now I REALLY can't listen to this song without smiling!!!)

We attended the Portland Dog Show at the Expo Center for the first time ever this month and it was...weird. It was so weird. And okay, to be truthful, I got really tired and moody towards the end of it but the weirdness of it all, and the fact that I got to see so many Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs and St. Bernards all at once--all while getting to drink beer and eat salty soft pretzels--definitely marks it as the best thing I did during the inaugural month of 2015.

I went to the movies a few times in January, and saw other really great movies, like The Theory of Everything, but no other thing stuck in my mind and heart this month as much as Selma, a movie that was released at a strangely, heartbreakingly appropriate time. The work of Ava DuVernay and all of the actors in this film is remarkable and important, and I wish every single American watched it, and had conversations with each other about the real messages its stories told, and not about how the President was portrayed, as the President was a relatively minor character in all of it. The fact that LBJ was what America wanted to talk about in relation to a movie about MLK is all too apropos of what we do and do not talk about in America in 2015, what we shine light on and what we hide. It doesn't have to do with truth, but with what we're afraid of.

Watch movies about our history, read things, have conversations, rename that godforsaken bridge, and for the love of all that is good in this world, take down that damn flag.

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