July Reading Goal

So, once upon a time I was determined to read two books each month. And I did it for a few months, but then things went a little crazy and I fell off the wagon. I read in the months of April, May and June but I did not keep track of what I read (and — truth be told —  it wasn’t two books a month). But I’m back with two books I read in July.

Fahrenheit 451

This is another classic I probably should have read in high school but it was never assigned. It was a really interesting read about what could happen if we not only stop reading but consider reading a crime. Weird, huh? It was a short book and I wish I had more background on some of the characters. I could definitely see how this would fit  into a classroom setting with lots of analysis. I read a little analysis after reading the book and it was insightful. I’ll have to read the book again soon!

Room

This was a really heavy book, especially considering some things in the news recently. “Room” is a book told from the perspective of a five-year-old who lives in a one-room shed with his mother. His mother is the victim of a kidnapper/abuser and the boy is the one blessing that comes from that abuse. I won’t go too much into the plot because I don’t want to give anything away, but it is so interesting to imagine how this little boy experiences such a limited life in a garden shed, yet he doesn’t know that it is limited. His mother does everything she can for him — teaches him to read, keeps him active, keeps him fed, protects him from her abuser. It made me upset for him and his mother and I cheered for them in whatever they did.

 

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind. I am hoping to get more regular with my blogging a little later once things settle down. Things may be changing in our lives pretty soon, so with that cliffhanger I’ll sign off!

Feeling pretty rad

goal 4I promise I’m not conceited – just rad! I participated in the Color Me Rad 5K in Little Rock June 15 and it was awesome. It was my first 5K and I had been training off and on for a while. I didn’t run the whole thing, but it was great to participate! It wasn’t timed or anything so there wasn’t a ton of pressure. There were all sorts of runners there – slow, fast, competitive, costumed. It was a lot of fun!

My "after" photo for the Color Me Rad 5K. It was awesome!

My “after” photo for the Color Me Rad 5K. It was awesome!

Here are some observations I tried to take note of while I was running:

  • Some course (like this one) may have hills not accounted for in training. Be prepared.
  • Water. Lots of it.
  • Themed races like this are probably even more fun with a friend! I had a friend signed up with me but she had some family obligations and couldn’t make it.
  • iPhone/iPod protection is important. I didn’t have any problems, but I could see how some people might with this race.
  • I want to run more.
  • Running is actually really fun.

So, yes. I like to run. I made some goals for myself and I’d like to run (like, run the whole thing) a 5K in the late fall. There is also a huge race weekend in Little Rock in March, so maybe I can up my game and participate? We shall see!

Quinoa Caprese Salad

Tomorrow I’m running my first 5K. Eeek!! I’m really nervous even though it is not a timed race. I am not as prepared as I’d like to be, but we’ll see what will happen.

After running a couple miles yesterday in preparation for Saturday, I wanted something healthy, delicious and fresh to munch on. I’ve had a bag of quinoa in the pantry for a while and finally had a chance to use it.

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I promise I’m alive

I’ve been a really horrible blogger lately. So here’s a quick “I’m still alive” post:

  • I love my job. I’m meeting cool people and interacting with a lively community. Also, I took a tour of a landfill today and it didn’t smell bad. Learn something new everyday.
  • TK loves his [new] job. He’s been there about a month and seems to be enjoying it. He works in downtown Little Rock and gets to go to the River Market for lunch sometimes. That makes me a little jealous, although I have some pretty neat food options near my office, too.
  • I’m running my 5K in 11 days. That’s really soon. I’m pretty excited about it. Pics will totally show up on the blog shortly after the race.
  • I just joined Vine. Well, I had a Vine account for a while and never did anything with it until a couple days ago. I also discovered I had several followers already and had no content. My bad. My user name is Angela Spencer [original, eh?] and it’s mostly videos of my sweet Kora Boo for now. Also, she’s getting all grown up. It’s weird.
  • TK and I are figuring out where we want to live. We’re still with family for now but we are anxious to get out on our own. This road has been fraught with learning and disappointment, but I think it’s all for the best. I hope. We’ll be sharing more on that in the next few weeks/months.
  • I haven’t read two books a month. But I have been consistently reading and will have an update on that shortly.
  • I do wish I had taken photos of the cupcakes I made for a Dexter marathon party one of TK’s friends hosted over the weekend. The cupcakes were yellow cake with raspberry filling topped with buttercream frosting and splattered red icing to fit with the Dexter theme. It would have made a great post but I didn’t think about it. Oh well. Next time!
  • I’m doing an online course on how to build a website. We shall see what I learn and if I can apply it.

Certainly that’s not all that’s happened since April 4, but I can’t think of much else to say.

February and March Reading Goal

 

goal 1Busy! That’s my main word right now. But I did want to update you all on my reading goal.

Full disclosure: I only read one book in February instead of two. Combining the move, my long commute, lack of free time and the shorter month that’s just all I could do. And I finished March’s second book yesterday. Oh well.

“The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat”

This was the book I read in February. Incredible! I am a journo-nerd and I love it. If you don’t know the story of Watergate and Deep Throat, check it out. This book was written by Bob Woodward, the journalist who was able to use Deep Throat as a source to lead him to info on the Watergate scandal.

Woodward really opens up in the book about how he met former FBI assistant director W. Mark Felt, his relationship with him even before Woodward turned to journalism and the wonderful and complex way Felt communicated with Woodward through the whole scandal (and how he covered his tracks back at the FBI).

If you like journalism or have seen “All the President’s Men” or have any interest in American history, I highly recommend this book. Very interesting, well written and honest.

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Shrimp + Couscous

shrimp couscous 2TK likes couscous. Kind of random, but we’re going with it!

A few weeks ago at the store I was going to get quinoa and TK asked me to get couscous. It’s good, has a nice texture and is super easy to make!

So I had to find some recipes to make with it. I found this recipe for shrimp and couscous and everyone in the family liked it. I made a few adjustments and will probably change one or two things if when I make it again*

Shrimp and Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined*
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 leek, sliced into 1/2-inch half-moons
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or just water – I wanted the little boost of flavor)
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet.
  2. Toss shrimp with salt and pepper, then saute until cooked thoroughly. Remove from skillet.
  3. Add remaining olive oil to pan. Stir in mustard seeds and cook until the seeds pop.
  4. Add leeks, carrots and garlic. Cook until leeks are tender, stirring often.
  5. Stir in couscous, peas and stock/water. Remove from heat. Cover, let stand 5 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp; stir gently.

*I wish I had taken the tails off the shrimp before I made the dish. It would have made eating it much easier and a little less messy:-)

shrimp couscous 1

New experiences

This weekend was awesome! I had several new experiences and have started on some new goals. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on.

1. I tried yoga for the first time.

And I’m still a little sore. I am not bendy at all. And I’m really not good at relaxing, especially when trying new things. But I found a Groupon for a local yoga studio and decided to try it out Saturday morning. I thought a few times about backing out and just going to Hobby Lobby or something, but I resolved to trying yoga. I enjoyed it and I’m trying to figure out when I can go again. Being a journalist doesn’t provide a regular schedule, so I have to plan week by week.

2. I went to the Arkansas State Capitol.

Arkansas State Capitol 1

After my yoga class TK and I went to  Little Rock. They keep the Capitol building open on Saturdays so you can just wander. It was pretty cool! I love how the different branches of government work, and the building was pretty too. Plus it was a beautiful day outside so we got to wander around the complex a bit. Love it! Continue reading