Monthly Archives: June 2020

Unsalted Nuts

The secretary of the board showed up yesterday to the board meeting hungry. As I was running around all day preparing for the meeting and didn’t get a chance to eat my lunch, I offered him my halved walnuts.

Raw, no shell English Walnut Halves - Nuts - Nuts.com

He politely accepted but after a moment complained, “Really? Raw and unsalted walnut halves? You’ve been talking to my wife. She is always trying to get me to cut down on sodium.”

My boss heard the comment from across the room and spun around. “Unsalted nuts…again? She always brings unsalted peanuts. It is disgusting.”

Unsalted peanuts are a long-standing feud in our office. (I’ve taken to buying salted peanuts and unsalted—the unsalted for me and the salted for whoever wanders into my office while I’m eating.)

The chairman of the board decided to weigh in: “My wife is also against salt.” He decided to sample the walnuts too.

“Hmm.”

By this point I had half the board standing around my walnuts, eyeing them suspiciously. But still sampling them because…well, it was the only food in the office.

I don’t even know if salted walnuts are a thing? Looks like the next board meeting is going to have to include snacks.


Nylons for the Board Meeting

Today I had my first board meeting at the Foundation. It went pretty well. I took special care of my outfit for the day–which included nylons with my business dress.

Bethany could not understand the nylons. I tried to explain that it was a way of being professional. She was not convinced.

Which led to an interesting conversation but I’m tired tonight so I’ll let Phineas and Ferb say it for me 😉


Gravity Is The Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

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3/5 stars

I saw a post on Instagram from @thedtrblog the other day that I feel sums this book up perfectly:

Boss: What are your goals while you work here?
Me: Thriving not surviving
Boss: And how exactly do you plan on doing that?
Me: Live Laugh Love
Boss: Can you give me specifics?
Me: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain
Boss: Are you done?
Me: *whispering* Footprints in the sand.
Boss: *walks out* 

I keep telling myself I do not like these types of books, and yet here I am, reading yet another one.

It is a fun plot. 20 years ago, at age 16, Abigail Sorenson started receiving mysterious chapters from a self-help book in the mail. Through loss of family, college years, marriage, divorce, motherhood, business-ownership, and all the ups and downs of life, the chapters keep coming. The story starts when she gets invited to an all-expense-paid retreat where she is told she will finally learn “the truth” about the chapters and why she has been sent them all these years.

I guess the synopsis made me think more And Then There Were None than Tuesdays with Morrie which maybe explains why I struggled to get into it. The story is much more interested in exploring the meaning of life than keeping things exciting. Which is fine. But it took me a while to find the rhythm.

If you like quirky, loner-female-main-characters novels like Where’d You Go, Bernadette or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, this is the book for you. It leaves you with a warm glow, spouts some heart-warming language, and yet contains little more by way of substance than Live. Laugh. Love.

At the same time…it is Jaclyn Moriarty. She is one of my favorite YA authors for a reason. And while her first foray into adult novels didn’t exactly win my heart, there were still many moments that conveyed her genius with human emotion.

But I still prefer her books Feeling Sorry For Celia and The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.


9 Years Blogging

WordPress informs me today marks 9 years of blogging. Crazy thought–it feels both longer and shorter.

My first blog wasn’t Fernweh’s Call, but actually Out of the Air, a blog in conjunction with two good friends in high school. (Our last post was in 2013…). A quick review shows that I wrote most of the posts. (No surprise there.)

Those were heady times. I wanted to be a columnist for Townhall so I mostly wrote about politics. They were pretty good. Actually, looking back, I can’t think of any posts on this blog I connect with as much as those did those. From ‘Associating with Cheeseheads’ to ‘What Uganda Warlord?’ I remember feeling on fire with each of my posts.

And I remember my Dad telling me maybe I should think about shortening them 😉

In the spirit of that advice, I shall leave my reminiscences here.


A Slightly Less Dumb Smartphone

A year ago I went to Wal Mart and bought a $35 smartphone. I was broke after returning from abroad and figured it would get me through the next two months before my student loans kicked in.

It lasted me a year.

And for almost every day of that year, I promised myself next time I would buy a real smart phone. A not-dumb-smart phone. One with an actual, decent camera.

Alas, today my dumb smart phone slipped dramatically from my hands and smashed quite dramatically right before I walked into work. I thought maybe I could keep using it anyway but turns out a cracked screen hurts your fingers when you try and use it. I still thought I could shoulder on, but then I tried reading an ebook and my fingers pricked every time I turned a page.

Nope, needed a new phone. Not a dumb smart phone. A real one.

I marched confidently into Wal Mart. And then nearly turned around and marched out. Do you know how expensive phones are?!

So I spent $100. I officially have a slightly-less-but-still-dumb smart phone. With an OtterBox. Because apparently I’m prone to dramatic slips that send my phone flying.

In other news, I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to transition phones. Gets easier each time.


Graduation Congratulations!

Happy graduation day to my brother Elijah and cousin Ella! So proud of both of you.

And congratulations to my Mom for FINALLY BEING DONE HOMESCHOOLING. That’s a lot of years hard work. You should be proud of what you accomplished. (And I hope you know your kids are grateful for the sacrifices you and Dad made to make it happen.)


Publishers & False Pretenses (But Reverse)

In my last post I mentioned seemingly innocent looking covers that hid rather explicit content. Today I think it worth mentioning that the problem goes two ways: dreadful covers often make relatively innocent looking books appear terribly inappropriate.

This is particularly true with paranormal/urban fantasy.

Besides recently popular and universally disappointing romance novels, I have recently plunged into the urban fantasy world of Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Anne Bishiop. And their covers are just awful!

I mean, really, what is with her hair?

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More seriously, they often look like this:

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)

Or this

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)

(These being the more modest covers because minors read this blog) And I feel horrendously embarrassed admitting to reading any of them!

But 9 times out of 10, the novels never deliver on their covers. They’re often dark, potentially edgy, and don’t shy away from serious themes. But they’re not the trashy romance novels they appear to be.

In fact, most of the time, these books have incredible world-building, strong characters not in a romantic relationship, and wonderfully loyal fan bases that make reading the books feel like joining a tight-knit community.

But I would never recommend them because of those dang covers!

Do you have a favorite series you can’t admit to reading?


Publishers & False Pretenses

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Besides adorable covers, charming premises, and a recent explosion of popularity, what do each of these novels have in common? They’re explicit romance novels packaged to look like fluffy chick-flicks. And I fell for every one of them.

I don’t know when romance publishers stopped advertising the content of their novels with heaving bosoms and shirtless men, but I find the change most frustrating.

How am I to know to avoid a book when its cover looks like this?

To Have and to Hoax
Well Met (Well Met, #1)
The Flatshare
Waiting for Tom Hanks

I was lured under false pretenses. They look so innocent. So fun. So not like books that make you want to wash your brain out with bleach.*

I never thought I’d say this but…BRING BACK TRASHY ROMANCE COVERS. Highlanders. Fabio. Conveniently placed bushes. Anything to let you know what you are getting yourself into!

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*Okay, The Flatshare was pretty decent. 4 stars.


On Unlearning Old Dogmas

My friend Tori wrote some thoughts about coming of age in the “purity” movement and as I have been part of many of these conversations (and life experiences!) she mentions, I thought I’d share her thoughts instead of a post from me today. I always love her blog posts! ❤ I might try and sketch out some of my own thoughts one of these days.

I Say It Better In Writing

I needed a little black dress for a bachelorette party I’m attending (In Montana in less than a week! YAY). It was sheer luck that I actually found one that fit me right away. The following conversation about took place between me and Alex:

Me: It shows my cleavage a bit though.
Alex: So?
Me: That doesn’t bother you?
Alex: Does it bother you?
Me: Nooo… I just want to make sure you’re okay with me wearing it. You’re sure?
Alex: Of course, I trust you, it’s not like you’re going to go try and get a bunch of random dudes’ attention with it while you’re out partying. If you’re comfortable with it I am.

It was a weird feeling. Because while I knew I didn’t think it was wrong, and obviously Alex didn’t care, I still felt a little guilty buying it, like I was doing something wrong.

I…

View original post 1,365 more words


Goodwill Books

Peopled asked me frequently what I intended to do once social distancing lifted. Only one thing ever came to mind: visit Goodwill. I missed Goodwill so much during quarantine! I’ve taken advantage of it being open now by visiting at least 5 different Goodwill stores during the last few weeks.

But today probably wins for Goodwill stories.

I was taking my time, leisurely shopping in the afternoon and going through each aisle, saving the best for last (aka the books), when over the loudspeakers someone announced:

“It is 4:30. Goodwill closes at 5. Please proceed to the check out.”

Panic! I had not looked at books yet!

I hurried over to the well-stocked shelves. Books, books, books. So much stress. I’m a rule follower generally, and the voice over the intercom did say to check out. And here I was…not checking out!

An employee walked over. I braced to be politely told the store was closing and politely bum rushed out the door.

Instead, the employee pointed to one of the books in front of me, “That’s my favorite. I’ve read it three times.”

“Oh,” I responded in surprise. “Okay, I’ll buy it.” (It was 99 cents.)

The employee looked shocked. “Really???”

“Yes,” I said, tossing it into my cart. The employee wandered off.

“It is 4:40,” said the voice over the intecom. “Goodwill is closing. Please check out.”

I could picture my retail working sisters—not present—glaring at me for my tardiness. I hurriedly tossed more books in my cart, desperately trying to glance over everything in the limited amount of time left.

The employee returned. I once again braced.

“I hope you like the book.”

“Oh, I’m looking forward to it!” I assured her.

She looked stunned again. “Really?!

“I like book recommendations!” I said. But the guilt of not checking out ate me inside. Sure, there were still people around. But the store was closing. I needed to check out. I couldn’t be that customer. And also I didn’t think I could stand to shock the Goodwill employee any longer with my willingness to read the book she likes.

Goodwill—quite thoughtfully—has another bookshelf right outside the check out. So I grabbed a few more while waiting for the long line. Probably more than I normally would if I stopped to think about it. But…the store was closing in ten minutes. No time to think!

I left with ten books. I don’t know if that is a success story or a failure. But at least I wasn’t the last person out the door.

(Switching gears, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dads who read this blog, particularly my own! <3)