Monday, June 27, 2016

Best : February 2016.

It has been so long since I've done one of these. Do I even know how to do one of these? Can I even remember what I did in February? Trying to catch up on these will be such a shit show but I do like shit shows and I am also a little drunk, so let's try it anyway!

I obvs can't remember what meals I cooked in February, but I DO know that our restaurant of the month was Pip's Original Doughnuts, a PDX food cart/van turned into a SUPER POPULAR AND HIP brick and mortar store on Fremont. Pip's jam is mini donuts and chai. So like, how could you not like that. The donuts are good but what I was really drawn to was the chai--you can get a FLIGHT OF CHAI! Like beer, but CHAI! Not all the chai actually tasted that wonderful to me but STILL! A CHAI FLIGHT! We got there nice and early so we didn't have to wait in line too long, but if you get there after 8:30 on a weekend, good luck to ya. I feel a little jaded about Pip's now because I decided to follow them on Instagram and they post way too much. Like, we get it! People enjoy your mini donuts! I see it every day! Of course I could always make the decision to unfollow them on Instagram but I apparently prefer to keep looking at their photos and complaining about them!

Damn, I read a lot of books in February. Good for me. OK, let's try to run this down real quick!

George by Alex Gino is the cutest and the best book for elementary/middle grade kiddos about being transgender you will ever read, or that at least exists right now, for sure. I am so, so happy it exists. Even though it's really meant for even younger readers, I got it for my middle school and I've seen quite a few kids pick it up and look at it and while only a couple kids have actually checked it out, no one has complained about it yet, so SCORE for me!!

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver is just a really lovely, lovely fairy tale that reminded me why I love upper elementary/middle grade books so much. I truly feel like some of the best writing in the world exists at this age level. Like all fairy tales, this was often incredibly sad but enchanting and beautiful.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, okay, I can't remember exactly what happens in this book other than I liked it. I don't know if any of her books will suck me in like When You Reach Me did, but I remember Goodbye Stranger touching on so many good real life shit themes, and that it was a bit of a slow burn, but Rebecca Stead writes so beautifully that it was all worth it. Man, what a great review. Read her books, okay.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman, awww, I loved this book so much! Which was surprising to me because I despised If I Stay like a lot! But this was the perfect sweeping epic romance. And it takes place in Paris! In guess what, just one day! It was also V. SEXY at points! Just a really fun satisfying read.

So in 2015 I tried to have a Best TV/Movies pick for each month, but in 2016 the reality so far has been that I've listened to and been entertained by way more podcasts than I have TV or movies. So this year I'll still give shout outs to movies/TV that deserve it but also try to remember some of my favorite podcast eps because some of them have been real gems.

I don't know if I would call Anatomy of Doubt a "gem" because "gem" implies happiness and goodness and there is absolutely none of that here! Jesus Christ this episode of This American Life wrecked me to the very bone. This iTunes description says it's a story about doubt but here's the truth, it's about fucking rape and rape culture! And how easy it is for women to be shamed into silence when every single person in their lives doubts their pain, even when they're brave enough to tell it. And how even when it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were telling the truth, people, including the people who are supposed to love you the most, will look for any scrap of guilt they can project back onto you. To still make it your fault somehow. So yeah, this made my brain turn into a fiery ball of rage! But it's important and anything ProPublica touches is pretty fantastic and you should listen to it. But take a deep breath first.

My memory is especially poor when it comes to music so I don't know if it was February exactly when I obnoxiously played this song over and over, but at some point early in this year, I definitely played this song over and over. At this point I've played it so many times that it's lost its magic, sadly, but for a good while it just made me SO HAPPY. 

This song also now reminds me of one day this spring. I was playing a mix of music in my middle school library while preparing for an event and one of my favorite students, a white girl, was helping me, and when "My House" came on she was like "I LOVE this song!" And then told this story about how she was talking about loving this song in class once and a fellow white student said to her, "Oh, I didn't know you were into THAT music," and I said to her, "What does that even mean?" (even though I know what it meant) and she said "I KNOW, right??" So don't worry guys, in 2016 children are still judging even the most banal music made by black people! (I know. I know their brains are tiny and they will learn and grow. They will.)

All right, now on to the best STUFF of February two thousand sixteen! Much of our time was occupied by our brand new PUPPIESSS and while Fury (on the right) is pretty much the same here, omg, Tegan (on the left) looks like such a baby! She was also probably being a massive and exhausting pain in the ass to Manda, but so cuuuuuute.

One of my major goals of the new year was to walk all 30 miles of the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, one because I've always wanted to, and two because I needed to start training in long distance hikes for my PCT backpacking trip this summer, and Wildwood offered a good alternative to tougher, further out hikes that were still packed in with snow. (My PCT adventure is now less than two weeks away as I'm writing this! And in case you are reading this and don't know, I have a PCT blog on Tumblr now!) I actually didn't complete the entire trail until March, BUT I'm pretty sure February included the weekend where I did a 12 mile day on Wildwood, which was tiring but satisfying. Even though it's technically within a city park, Wildwood still feels pretty wild. Manda was essential in me completing the whole thing, as she took time out of many weekends to drop me off and pick me up along the trail this winter, which was pretty great, but that's the kind of friend Manda is.

Every winter around Valentine's Day, our favoritest friends Ashley and Kelly come to Portland from Seattle for an event they have lovingly termed LIVER SHIVER because we drink a lot and it's cold. We are HONORED to be invited to this outstanding tradition, but this year Kathy was sick as a dog. So I left her at home and went out drinking in her honor, because that's just the kind of wife I am! We went to Gigantic Brewing where Fury was petrified to be on one of her first public outings and where we just happened to run into one of my favorite dogs of all time, Taylor (Taylor's owners aren't too bad either!), then to Hopworks, then to Cascade Brewing, then to Gold Dust Meridian where we made a really great choice to get one of those huge bowls of alcohol that you order when you've just turned 21. I should say just Ashley and I made that choice. That one's on us.

In the next couple weeks I'm hoping to get in as much reading and writing and depressing documentary watching as possible--in other words, all of my favorite things--before I leave for the trail. Maybe in that time I'll drink more and be inspired to catch up on the best of March and April and May and June! OR I will write about all those things in six months. Hard to say! I like to keep you on your toes.