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Friday Fare: 10/23/20

My week can be pretty much summed up in the following Tweet:

I think our family’s experience is probably replicated in other families: One child kicks ass at math and apathetic at reading while the other abhors math and is a reading rock star. So … flashcards. The rest of the Tweet … WIG (Wildly Important Goals), 4DX, etc., well … that’s one of those ferrety wormholes that my brain went down earlier this week. I really love the idea of being an efficient workhorse and a brilliant business mind, but …  yeah. It hasn’t happened in my previous 42 years, I’m not holding my breath for a midlife miracle.  But it’s a hobby: Some people listen to true crime podcasts, I like reading business blogs and am sucked in by productivity articles.  (Wishful thinking, perhaps?)

Anyway, enough about those pipe dreams. My neck of the Minnesota woods got its first dusting of snow. My children have learned how to email me, which is equal parts hilarious and has blown any of my dreams of “inbox zero” to smithereens.  (Trust me, though … it’s worth it.)

On the cooking front, I made this soup from Giada DeLaurentis. It was fantastic and only got better on subsequent days.

Other links I adored:

“I saw this very gazelle-like creature leaping through the traffic in a rather dangerous way,” Cadell told me, “and the next thing I know, she’d leapt over the wall and was sitting beside us. And I was so impressed — with her exuberance and her folly all at once. I thought, ‘This is an interesting woman.’” The New York Times had a fascinating profile on Sigourney Weaver.

I also adored this New Yorker piece about Mandy Patinkin. (It went well with coffee and a lazy Sunday morning.)

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Listening: I still buy my albums on CD, because I have a CD player in my mom-mobile. And this song gets played regularly:

Reading: Remember what I was saying about how I like to read productivity books?  I bought Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” and am achieving productivity nerd nirvana. (And yes, if you’re wondering, the concept of “deep work” right now in the midst of a pandemic with every member of my household present … it’s pretty impossible. But this is my nerdy nirvana.)

Writing: I’m still trying to achieve peak nerd nirvana on my writing goals. I’ll keep you posted on that one, ‘kay?

Email someone you love, but don’t talk to often. Wear a mask. Encourage a friend to vote. And if you’re inclined/able, think about donating to a local food shelf/charitable organization that does good in your community. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 10/16/20

Not much to report this week. Mostly because my kiddos have a long weekend away from school and we’ve been hitting up local apple orchards like they’re my favorite microbreweries.We also took advantage of our time off by getting our flu shots. Woot! And necessary!

I also baked up a storm (because we saw my kids’ former nanny. She’s now a new mom and her husband is a farmer. Ergo, he has a metabolism that I can only dream of and he likes it when I bake.). Applesauce bread and butterscotch pudding cookies.

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Watching: I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies and am usually about a decade behind trends. To wit, I am currently working my way through HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” courtesy of the DVDs from my local library. I am about to start the last season and it’s been a very interesting distraction (albeit violent one) from Covid life.

Reading: This week has been quiet on the reading front, but I did do a couple “bookish” things. One of the most enjoyable ones was a Zoom call with authors Jeffrey D. Briggs and James W. Ziskin.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Vote/make a plan to vote. Wash your darn hands and wear a mask if you’re able. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 10/9/20 (Never been a better time …)

It will come as no surprise to people who know me, but I have a lot of quirks that I’ve developed in adulthood. My least favorite is a constant sense of time. Let me explain … if I’m sitting down with my morning coffee and scrolling through social media, I’ll notice the time. If it’s 8:06, I’ll tell myself that I can scroll until 8:10 and then I need to go about my day. Same thing with writing – I like to start when the clock is showing 0s or 5s, maybe the better for my reptile brain to be able to say “oh, I worked for 30 minutes” or “yeah, I clocked in 55 minutes of activity.” (Because it wouldn’t be as tidy in my mind if I started working at 4:28 … 32 minutes of progress? Shudder.) But because I am me, I just roll with it, because … well. We’re in the midst of a pandemic. There’s only so much self improvement work that I can do when I’m holding a full-time job, doing a full distance learning schedule with my kids, trying to be a good wife and cat mom. (Let’s not talk about the endless dishes because they are … endless.)

I mention my weird penchant for time, because in a perfect world, I was going to kick my blog off again on October 1st. You know … new month, new blog post. (Symmetry!) But October 1st came and went and I hadn’t wrote that first of month, “hey, I’m back!” post. Hmm … did I want to wait until November 1st? That, at least, is a Sunday. First of the month, beginning of the week. (Moar symmetry!) But no, I remembered a Post-It I kept on the edge of my computer monitor when I was a rookie reporter at my first job. The lyrics of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song where the lead singer says “Never been a better time, than right now!” That was a weird little mantra I’d chant to myself when I had to make those awkward phone calls that were constant as a cops and courts reporter. (Let me tell you how fun it is to call the county sheriff at home right after supper. Same goes for grieving parents or “important” folks who are going to get their names splashed on the front page for being baaaaaad.) The mantra worked and as I was procrastinating … erm, plotting … my latest blog post, I realized that there’s never a perfect time to restart something that you abandoned, so … I’m back.  Kinda. I love to blog, but I love my sanity even more, so if life gets busy (which it’s gonna!), this baby falls to the back burner.

But hey, let’s get this train back on tracks and you know … do this blog thing.

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Listening: I love sad 80s country songs. Sue me.

Reading: I crushed my Goodreads challenge during the first quarter of this year.  Everything else has been garnish. 😉 But just recently I finished a pair of damn fine books. Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” and Megan Campisi’s “The Sin Eater.”  As a mystery writer, I should be embarrassed that it’s taken me so long to read Chandler, but man – that was just something I think I appreciate more that I’m older.

Writing Life: Well, I started querying in September and that’s been a slow process. Slow because I need to finish writing my synopsis for my book. But … it begins!

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Vote/make a plan to vote. Wash your darn hands and wear a mask if you’re able. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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On an extended coffee break …

Oooof … I go back and read my recent (ha!) Friday Fare posts and wow … who is that person?  Did I really write those posts? Can I go back to February and hang out with my dear friend Anderson and re-watch John Waters at The Parkway Theatre?  I remember talking vaguely about COVID-19 with her, but yeah … anyway.

So, briefly … my family has been blessed with our health. We’ve been spared the impact of job loss (so far). All of this togetherness is taking a bit of a toll (more on the kids than the parents at this point), but we are luckier than most and we try to be mindful of that.  (Even as my kids are in the next room fighting over the remote. Oh children, you are lucky you didn’t grow up during the 80s. You’d be SOL with commercials, limited to three channels on a good day, and you’d have to WALK to change the channel.)

But, as COVID continues to spread and as we await to see what the State of Minnesota recommends for the next school year and with everything else that’s going on, the space and time for creative thought is a rare unicorn in my household. So I’m going to take an extended coffee break from the blog until I have the capacity to keep that plate spinning up in the air with everything else that’s going on.

If you’re reading this, I hope that you are healthy and in decent spirits. Until the next time, wash your damn hands, wear a damn mask (if you are able), be kind to your grocery clerk, and just be kind in general.

– Shelley

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Friday Fare: 4/3/20

 

My gratitude list (in no particular order):

1) Springtime sunshine to help dissipate cabin fever.

2) Ina Garten.  She’s a gem.

3) Dolly Parton … and seriously – there are so many artists and creators who are donating their time and talents to help comfort people during this time.

4) Text check-ins with friends.

5) Coffee.

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Link Love:

I feel exceedingly fortunate that I grew up with a mom who insisted on teaching me how to cook, even when it involved the detonation of kitchen cleanliness. This bread recipe from King Arthur Flour is a real MVP and absolutely delicious.

This was a fascinating article about a photographer who was in the South Atlantic when the COVID-19 pandemic started to hit America and his very lonely and surreal journey home.

Cowboy Tim is the social media expert we all need right now.

Listening: A friend of mine tagged me in a social media challenge the other day – listing 10 favorite albums in 10 days.  The album that he mentioned when he tagged me was from none other than Tom Waits.

Reading: I have a ton of books on Kindle and on my shelves right now, but I haven’t read much this week.

Writing Life: I don’t know if I’ve mentally hit a wall or what, but this week has been more about sleeping and treading water than reading and writing. I need to give some serious thought about what I *can* accomplish when it comes to the various tracks I need to tend now … work, distance learning for my shiznits, trying to maintain sanity, etc. I wonder if I may need to table writing during the week and catch up on weekends.
Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Wash your darn hands. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/27/20

 

My gratitude list (in no particular order):

1) Grateful for the fact I’ve worked from home for the past 9 years and don’t have as steep of a learning curve as others who are getting used to a new normal.

2) Fantastic co-workers – I’m on a text string with two people I work with directly and I’m grateful to be part of a trio of working moms who are KILLING IT when it comes to our work life. Also, I unexpectedly got an email from a co-worker the other day that had some resources for keeping my kids occupied. It was so unexpected and so kind that I nearly cried.

3) My immediate family. My husband started working from home this week and took over my home office. So he helped me set up a new one in our spare bedroom. Our kids are also taking all of this isolation like little champs. I literally couldn’t do this without the three guys in my life.

4) The real MVPs of our world right now – emergency workers, medical personnel/scientists, and (yes) grocery store workers.  (I know that I’m probably missing people, but those are the three that come to mind.)

5) Technology … so far I’ve had a happy hour via Google Hangouts and attended my son’s piano lesson via Zoom.  It’s been a great tool in these weird times.

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Link Love:

Great writers on the power of music … I believe this, absolutely.

The deep metaphorical power of a good cup of coffee … and this is gospel, too.

Daniel Craig in GQ … read for the article, stay for the photos.

The amazing Cheryl Head wrote a fantastic piece about the evolution and the future of the private investigator in fiction. She even mentions my favorite PI Cass Raines.

And something I made last weekend – Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.  I’ve really appreciated how cooks/chefs have been devoting social media posts, etc., to foods that use everyday pantry items.  I made this and it was delicious. (+ it is by my queen Ina Garten.)

Listening: This song always reminds me of Iowa gravel roads. Specifically driven in a pickup truck.

Reading: I keep harping on shopping local.  I try to practice what I preach:

Writing Life: I got some FANTASTIC news this week that the Peter Lovesey contest was extended to June 1st.  I was ready to hit the April 1st deadline, but man – this was welcome in my new world.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Wash your darn hands. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/20/20

Holy shit … what a week. My life is turned on its ear right now, so I can only imagine what it’s like for everyone else. My husband and I are lucky … both of us have jobs that are fairly flexible and we have steady paychecks. We are continuing to count our blessings and are trying to help out our friends who run small businesses.  Now’s a good time to throw this out there … SHOP LOCAL.  The big box stores and the Internet retail giants will survive this, if you’re looking for a good book to read – most indie bookstores are online and ship. A lot of restaurants are adapting by going exclusively to delivery or pick-up, drive-through options.  Not really feeling like getting out? Buy gift cards.

Rosanne Cash Tweeted the following ^^ over the weekend. And while I’d love to tell you that I’m up to my ears in books and ideas during this time of “social distancing,” that’s not true.  At this point, I can probably sing the “My Little Pony” theme song in my sleep and I think I’m going to re-read some of my most favorite smutty paranormal romances, but something on par with King Lear?  Likely not. In fact, a lot of my creative friends are struggling right now and it reminded me of this article I found last fall and bookmarked to share here.  It’s about “writing under duress” and persevering creatively while under pressure.

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Listening: This song always brings me peace and joy.

Reading: I read “The Impossible First” by Colin O’Brady, a non-fiction about a man’s solo attempt across Antarctica.  It was a really good read.

Writing Life: I’ve flirted with getting up early and writing at 5 AM a couple of times. But those were times when I didn’t need to be up so early or when I wasn’t on an ambitious deadline. Considering that I’m working, basically homeschooling my children, AND have an April 1st deadline, I have my electric kettle in the downstairs bathroom to make a cup of tea (or instant coffee) and am trying to get an hour of editing in before my hellions get up and my husband leaves for work.

 

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/13/20

I survived a time change and a full moon this week – bring it, Friday the 13th!

I saw this post on Instagram the other day and given the chaos in the world, it spoke to me … words to live by:

This book by Dennis Staples looks fascinating – already on hold at my local library!

I admire anyone who can do this kind of work … it would not be for me.

It pays to be grumpy … well, if that’s the case, I am going to be rich and immortal.

And as someone who freaking adores soup, this article spoke to me.

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Listening: I heard this over breakfast the other morning and immediately wondered why I haven’t listened to more Warren Zevon.

 

Reading: Re-reading Sandra Brown’s “Friction.” It’s a good romantic suspense and I’m reading it to remind myself how Brown gets. it. done.  A friend of mine frequently says that the best MFA programs can be found on our bookshelves. (And since I sucked so badly at college, I’m fine with this notion.) I am also reading the latest Pendergast novel by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. Awesome as always.

Writing Life: Keeping steady with my deadlines!

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/6/20

I’ve had a big week:

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I'm having a great leap year. How about you? #johnwaters

A post shared by michelle kubitz (@michellekubitzwrite) on

Watching John Waters up at the Parkway Theater was sublime.  I got spend time with a friend of mine that I’ve known for 20+ years and to quote her, our cheeks hurt so much from laughing and smiling. Waters, filmmaker and author, is not everyone’s cup of coffee, but I’m so glad I got to be in the audience.

^^ Volunteering as an election judge was an absolute honor. I’m looking forward to volunteering again in the upcoming mid-term elections and during November’s general election.

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Listening: Is there such thing as a perfect song? I don’t know if there’s a modern equivalent, but there are certain songs that I hear and will absolutely NOT switch the station. Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is one of them. This song came on the radio the other day when I was dropping off my kidlets. That song was released in 1986. I would have been eight years old, one year older than my eldest son.

It’s still a keeper.

Reading: I am re-reading Sherry Thomas’s “A Conspiracy in Belgravia,” book two of her Lady Sherlock Series. I read book four earlier this year and it seemed like a good time to just re-read all of them in general. As one does, right?

Writing Life: A couple random thoughts here … my mind is like a crowded library that is full of arcane information that I can access at the snap of my fingers. BUT, if it’s something like the capitol of Rhode Island or whether my anniversary is on the 18th or the 19th, I’m the first passenger on the struggle bus. (FYI – it’s the 18th … that just took me 10 years of marriage.) If I’m talking about my “process” I like to demure and say that I’m not an organized person, but to be honest? I’m actually equal parts organized and expert-level when it comes to procrastination.

March is a GIANT month for me with the April 1st deadline for the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel contest. *whispers* But I’m doing OK with the edits that I’ve identified to get this into fighting shape for the contest. And man – this is one of those times where I’m so darn grateful for my children. Who needs highlighters when you can use Mr. Sketch scented markers and a writing instrument that’s hybrid marker and watercolor?

And because I’m not content to keep things simple, I realize that I’ve been remiss in talking to a few of my best-est friends, so I have a couple phone and beer dates scheduled.  Oh, and my kids’ spring break starts the same week that the Lovesey contest is due. BUT … I am good. I am (gasp!) organized. And I’m crushing it.

That’s it for me! Weekends are spent catching up on my ridiculous deadlines and I’m looking forward to getting some kid snuggles this weekend and enjoying spring-like temperatures on Sunday! Keep washing your hands and a respectable distance away from people if you are able.

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 2/28/20

Somehow my mind refuses to accept that Maxwell House is the end-all, be-all for coffee, but I loved this story about Tom Petty and brewing the perfect cup.

This story is about a granddaughter uncovering her Jewish grandmother’s past is haunting.  (And was compelling enough that I put in a request at my library to order the author’s book when it comes out.)

I actually have my rubber ducky from childhood (and live in constant threat that my younger cousin is going to break into my house and liberate it.)  Funny to think that Ernie’s iconic song about his bathtime buddy is 50 years old.

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Listening: Tom Petty left us too soon:

Reading: Thirteen books later, I’ve finished Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series.  And it was goooooooood.

Writing Life: I’m gonna use this GIF again! As I mentioned before, I’m working towards an April 1st deadline.  And as prepared as I feel that my Work-In-Progress (WIP) is, I’m still doing some last minute tinkering.  I’ve established a reasonable (tho admittedly aggressive) schedule to get me to my deadline and I’m crushing it. 🙂

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.