10 Books That Have Stayed With Me

This list has been going around Facebook and I knew I wanted to put together my list. However, I also knew I needed a bit more time than a quick status update to put together just ten books!

  1. La casa de los espiritus by Isabel Allende: I read this in English in high school and in Spanish in college. This is book that made me fall in love with Allende and magical realism.
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: My first thick Russian novel, but not my last. What a desperate, passionate love story and a wonderful entry point to Dostoevsky and Pasternak.
  3. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: This is a radical re-telling of part of the book of Genesis, from Dinah’s perspective. I fell so hard for this book I devoted a 1000 word essay to it (no, you may not see it) and have sought out everything else by Diamant.
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: What a beautiful voice. Hurston is incredible at building a real world with her writing.
  5. The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin: While I did read this recently, this non fiction book really challenged me to relish my blessings and make room for more of what makes me happy.
  6. Power and Powerlessness by John Gaventa: This is an academic look at why social movement spring up in some times and places but not other with ‘worse’ oppression. It is also the only time I devolved into a pile of angry tears in class because my rich suburbanite classmates just did not get it. [They still don't]
  7. The Unconquerable World by Jonathan Schell: This exploration of the history and place for non violence to make the will of the people known was essential for shaping some of my most deeply held beliefs. There is a way forward, one that does not include violence to solve all the worlds problems.
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry: This was probably the first ‘sci fi’ book I picked up on my own and I adored the story. Something about ‘watching’ the world turn to color spoke to my pre-teen self.
  9. Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Diary of Hattie Campbell, The Oregon Trail, 1847 (Dear America Series) by Kristiana Gregory: This is the only book I have ever reread over a 100 times. I broke the binding.
  10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: ‘nough said.

Corn Chowder Salad

I came across this when I was looking for ways to eat up some of the delicious corn we’ve been getting! It comes together pretty fast but it does make the counter a mess-you’ve been warned! I love the smokiness from the bacon and the creaminess from the potato of corn chowder-give it a try!

warm corn relish2 warm corn relish1

You’ll Need:
2 tbp olive oil
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 pound red or white boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups fresh corn kernels (5-6 ears)
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp cider vinegar
red pepper flakes

Heat oil over medium low heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel to allow the fat to drain. To the bacon grease, add the potatoes and cook. Toss occasionally but let cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add in bell pepper and season with salt. Cook about 5 minutes more, until both are tender. Add in corn and cook until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with onion, vinegar and bacon. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes. It’s great hot but is also delicious chilled.

Fall ’14 Bucket List

Inspired by my Summer ’14 Bucket List, I thought I’d put together a list of things to do intentionally this fall. Here’s some of those quintessential fall things I want to make time for.

  • go apple picking
  • go to a pumpkin patch
  • fall camping
  • spend a day sewing/crafting before November to get a head start on Christmas
  • memorize my pie crust recipe
  • go to Cincinnati’s Octoberfest
  • take a long motorcycle ride to see the fall colors

And because who doesn’t like to look at at the fall pretty…

fall leaves

Summer ’14 Bucket List~How’d I Do?!

Like everyone else who owns a calendar, I can’t believe it is SEPTEMBER! How did that happen?! I didn’t manage to hit everything on this list and boy-oh-boy do I have a bucket of excuses! M’s schedule changed so he was working more weekends that I anticipated but we still managed to soak up as much summer sun and friend time as we could. I’m marking that down as what matters :-)

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  • Go to a drive in movie (there’s actually one with THREE SCREENS in Columbus! How awesome is THAT?!) –ahhhh we never made it a point to go, maybe this month?
  • Spend a day lounging at a lake
  • Run a race (probably just a 5k this year…my first without a half since 2009) — nope :-( but we’ve scheduled a half in February!
  • Go to the Ohio State Fair (No state so fair, no fair so great!)
  • Spend a day at Zoombezi Bay
  • Take M to Cedar Point (an Ohioan right of passage)–many more summers for this!
  • Eat something I grew (or um…M grew) — yes! our little container garden has been gangbusters!
  • See the sea caves in Lake Superior — this didn’t happen our trip up there this summer :-(
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Go to a soccer game

Some awesome summer things that WEREN’T on the bucket list but were awesome-sauce regardless: a free outdoor bluegrass concert, a banging Fourth of July Party and fireworks, road tripping across the Midwest including stopping in Indy for an afternoon, and one hot A/C-less evening at Arcade Super Awesome.

Ohio History Connection~Cheap Date Idea

Because my mom and I answered three trivia questions correctly at the Ohio State Fair, we each one a free ticket to the Ohio History Connection! Although, at $10 a pop, it is still an incredibly reasonable way to spend an afternoon! M and I went for a lazy Sunday afternoon and we checked out (nearly) the whole thing!

ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.com It was the Vintage Baseball weekend! We watched a few innings in the rain and looked like so much fun! Although, I could not handle playing without a glove!ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.com

The Ohio Village! ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.com ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.comA battle flag from the 45th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This exhibit was incredibly moving – you can see several battle flags from various drafted and volunteer regiments from Ohio.
ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.com ohio history connection~cheap date idea~thecomynspace.comA few gemstones from the collection that caught my eye.

What I Read: August ’14

How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez: Given how much I love Isabel Allende and Christina Garcia, I’m surprised I’ve never picked up anything by Julia Alvarez. Following four sisters from childhood to middle age, Alvarez builds an evocative world for these vibrant characters to inhabit. Definitely something I’d recommend!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: I found the first 50 or so pages of this to be a real slog (really, do we need to harp on childbirth=only reason a woman might feel valid? No, no we don’t) but once the magical realism elements came into the narrative, I feel for it. Ivey makes you feel the hard winter that is the Alaskan frontier, which was just want I needed for a day at the beach. I’m really glad I read this!

Ready for Anything by David Allen: The follow up to his Getting Things Done, this is 52 short essays that tell different stories, tips and offer encouragement for his GTD theory. I blazed thru this and am eager to gradually add some of these techniques into my daily life.

What I Watched: Boyhood, Guardians of the Galaxy, Breathless, The Stepford Wives (1975), The Great Gatsby (2013), Burke and Hare, Girl Most Likely, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Traffic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Rush

Family Vacation 2014!

We just got home from an epic road trip/family vacation! We left here early on a Saturday morning and drove up to Chicago. We hung out with some of our best friends L & B, and played the infamous ‘Train Game’ (actually it’s this one). Another couple, G & R, generously drove in from the city and meet us for drinks, dinner, and dessert. L & B  suggested we go a newer restaurant in Westmont, Neat. They had a fabulous beer selection and the pork belly steamed buns are amazing.family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

my delicious pork bahn mi + fries

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 the only photographic evidence of our awesome evening

Bright and early, we drove to Madison to spend lunch with even more friends! J + P just welcomed a new little one so M and I (v. selfishly) brought Culver’s for lunch, walked their sweet dog and got newborn baby snuggles. We headed back down the road towards the cabin in Northern Wiscosin to meet up with M’s family who were a few hours ahead of us on the road. Sunday night we just cooked dinner and caught up. The next day, we drove into Duluth to walk around and take in the sights (and introduce this Lower Midwesterner to the city haha)

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 lichens in duluth

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the USS Bayfield outside the Lake Superior Marine Musuem


lovely aunt c caught taking pictures

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waiting for the trains

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brothers in law

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driftwood along lake superior

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fitgers brewery in duluth
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campfire + magic

We made Thai Beef for dinner and then we had our first night of s’mores. There was a nesting pair of bald eagles so we also spent a bunch of time watching them and even walked up to check out their nest. The next day, we went into Bayfield and did some shopping and well as checked out their Maritime Museum. There was an epic playground right by the shore. I looked all over for some candles made less than a mile way on Madeline Island but I ended up finding them at a small general store 60 miles away :-)
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uncle time!

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sibling time!

We spent one whole day on the beach but Lake Superior is (always) too cold to really go swimming but somehow I managed a sunburn anyways :-) We left the next morning for the return two day drive with another stop off in Chicago. We had dinner with M’s best man, J, at one of our old favorite haunts in Uptown and brunch with another one of our very good friends.  Knowing we’d need to take a break, we stopped off in Indy for a few hours. There is a cool state park downtown and we walked thru the Indiana State Museum (didn’t pay for the exhibits because we were in a 3 hour parking spot).

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All in all, it was an epically awesome 1800 mile trip filled with so much goodness, friends and family. We’re already talking about next year!