Quick Takes in the Almost-Spring

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about Snoop Dogg concerts, awesome nuns, and almost having the most epic book tour fail in the history of the world
Spring is on the way! I can tell because the radio meteorologist referred to yesterday’s snow/sleet/high winds as “late-season.”
I recently decided (for at least the fifth time) that I should get around to running a 5K at some point. I’ve got a milestone birthday coming up (okay, just the Car Rental one), and that seemed like as good a deadline as any. My first attempt at going to the college’s gym was somewhat disastrous. The indoor track was, seemingly, less than 1/8th of a mile around, had square corners, and featured a girl running around in the opposite direction. It didn’t help that the gym has no wifi, so no music streaming. It was then that I discovered that there were precisely three songs on my phone, and the most run-appropriate one was Take Me Home, Country Roads. Because who doesn’t love the pumping beats of John Denver?
Then Saturday came, and I not only replaced my high school-era shoes, but also went for an actual run outside! And didn’t die! Since then, I’ve logged a grand total of 13 miles on these shoes (thanks for the painfully specific statistics, Map My Run). For those keeping track, I think this is literally further than I ran in the first 20 years of my life combined.

My running success – if we’re calling it that – is pretty much entirely due to having a really good book to listen to. I can’t remember who recommended Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mary, was it you?), but it’s pretty great so far. I’m not done yet, so I can’t make a wholehearted recommendation, but I can’t help but laugh and agree with such pearls of wisdom as, “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up early for,” or Mindy’s observations about the intersection of frisbee players and Teach for America teachers. So far, it’s hilarious, and I’m not looking forward to finding a worthy successor when it’s done.
So, Lent. Johnny and I jointly gave up flour-based food, and I went a step further by giving up sugar, too (I feel a lot better without it anyway but have no willpower, so I’m hoping that 40 days of discipline will help me out). I’m not being super-strict about my sugar-free life, but all dessert is pretty much out of the question. Johnny, however, is having a hard enough time with no pasta, so when he asked me to come up with a dessert for him, I agreed. It was easier than I thought – the first “gluten-free peanut butter cookie” recipe to come up was a total winner.
Now that I’m actually looking for the recipe, I’m having zero luck finding it again, but here it is, from memory:
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup sugar (our PB was honey flavored, so I reduced this)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
salt to taste
1/4 tsp baking powder (not in the original recipe, but it just seemed right to me)
Mix all ingredients together. Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time and make sure it’s a firm ball (no cracks) before placing on a greased/parchmented cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before removing from sheet.
I didn’t actually try these, obviously, but my culinary critic was a huge fan. When I recommended that he hide them from me, I didn’t mean that he needed to eat the whole batch immediately, but well…you can guess what happened.
The Crescat’s post on basic application smarts really hit home for me this week.  We’re in peak application season at work, and the vast majority of applicants put forth appropriate, well-thought-out files.  The ones who don’t, though, really stick out.  In addition to what Katrina recommends, here are some tips of my own:
  1. No one’s resume needs to be three pages long.  Especially if you’re under 30 and were not a child prodigy.  At some point, it just needs to become a CV.  Which isn’t what we asked for.
  2. Make sure the person recommending you has good things to say.  You’d think this would be obvious, but not so much sometimes.
  3. Make sure that you eliminate all references to the previous place you printed an application for.  The admissions committee at Okie Dokie Community College doesn’t need to read an application that ends with, “…and that’s why I can’t wait to join the student body of East Western University.”  Well, if that’s the way you feel, we hope you’ll be very happy there.


IMG_2150bMy latest sewing project is…getting there.  I’m making this top in the fabric above.  I was humming right along until I got to the part where the two tubes that make up the shoulder magically get attached with no raw edges showing.  It’s a hard problem to google, too – phrasing it the way I just did is the most succinct way I can state it, and that doesn’t get many results.  I actually laid awake in bed last night trying to puzzle through this, because I know it must be so easy, but spacial thinking is not my forte.


It’s only taken me three years of adulthood, but I’ve finally figured out my housecleaning happy place: the floors.  I can’t explain where this came from, but I realized recently that nothing makes me quite so happy as my Friday night ritual of using the Swiffer (for the hair), sweeping (for the debris), and then mopping.

If I was going to get a tattoo...

If I was going to get a tattoo…

It feels wrong somehow to enjoy it as much as I do, but with the recent addition of a vacuum cleaner to our repertoire, I’m one happy girl.  Sure, the counters, tables, and bathroom are neglected, but at least something is getting done.  Feel free to come over here and walk around barefoot…just don’t look up.


Finally, I’m sharing an article I read yesterday that I found noteworthy not just for the content, but also the author and source.  From “Put the Sex Back in Sex Ed”:

The liberal response to conservatives’ demand for abstinence-only sex education has been to condemn the imposition of “fear and shame” on young people. But perhaps a bit more self-preserving fear and shame might be helpful in today’s hedonistic, media-saturated environment.

Do go and read the whole thing, then check out more quick takes at Conversion Diary!


8 thoughts on “Quick Takes in the Almost-Spring

  1. Hannah Gokie says:

    I loved Mindy’s book – I think I laughed out loud the whole time so I’m impressed you can work out at the same time! If you haven’t read it, I recommend Tina Fey’s Bossypants as one equally funny + attention grabbing. (Also, we have the same initials! Yay!)

    • Holly says:

      Yay – I was thinking about Bossypants but hadn’t heard any reviews! I love that they’re both read by the author; so much of the humor only works in their own voices. HGs unite! 😉

  2. kate says:

    I have SO MANY COMMENTS I want to make. First off, I kind of want to go buy new running shoes so I can track how many miles I run or walk in them. I have a pretty good record of the mileage I’ve personally put on our jogging stroller and I find it fascinating. Secondly, your love of cleaning your floor just astounds me. Beware, it may be preparation for messy children. I am continuously amazed at how quickly my floor gets dirty (though winter with all the salt getting tracked in doesn’t help). I’ve also come to the realization that I need a good mop and a good vacuum (I actually want that exact one) and then I maybe won’t hate it so much. Sweeping happens daily and often with my toddler sized broom because its the easiest to access. It happens. Ok also, I hate when that happens with patterns. That’s basically the reason why I stopped trying to make clothes.

    • Holly says:

      Hey, for a mere $45 and the time it takes to meticulously map your runs, that odometer can be yours! 😉

      We just got that vacuum a couple weeks ago, and I really like it. It barely weighs anything, has a fancy Dyson-style ball joint, and does well on the hard floors too. It came with way more attachments and configurations than I know what to do with, but you never know what might come in handy. Plus, it qualified for the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon, so that was a bonus. Our mop is just from Costco ($12 or so), and I really like it.

  3. Katie says:

    I think the top edges of the shoulder tubes should have been left open. then you turn one inside out and pull the other through to sew the edges together and then flip it back right side out. I’m honestly not sure that made any sense, but it did in my head.

    • Holly says:

      Okay, that does kind of make sense. One of them is sewn, but the other is still flat. I’ll play around with it tonight and see if I can make that work.

      On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 8:04 PM, Pilgrims in an Unholy Land wrote:


  4. Martha says:

    I was just on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors but then I have up and moved to the countertops. Clean counters make so so happy!

    • Holly says:

      Good for you! I think I’ve subconsciously learned that if I leave the counters alone for a couple days, Johnny will give up and clean them off really well. 😛

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