September 2018 Month in Review — Slacks and Hacks

September is a difficult month in the base case: new routines, new stressors, new activities, meetings, supplies, a sense that we’re still miles away from living the new normal. Big holidays for some of us add to our bloated calendars.  And the shitshow that is the current political situation is like someone it taking a rusty cheese grater to my brain.

My kids had horrible coughs throughout the month which are slowly fading away. They weren’t contagious; they had a lovely combo of allergies and airway irritation. I know this because we went to several doctors as the poor kiddos weren’t sleeping and these gnarly coughs came from somewhere deep, disrupting sleep, disrupting everything, really. “Send ‘em to school, let them do their activities, no threat to anyone else’s health,” and it was just another September delight to navigate.

On another parenting note, I have found that the best way to exact revenge on redirect a child’s behavior is to ask them to try on every pair of pants in their drawer and also in the storage. Call them “slacks” for extra fun.


can’t touch this


I spent much of the month sucking on Atomic Fireballs and trying to plan a book which, as of this writing, has no solid (or even gelatinous) plan for the final third of it.  Still, the plan is to start actually writing the damned thing one week from today. I’m sure I’ll be a glorious mess by the end of it. But there will be a book draft, also a glorious mess. Emphasis on both.

I had the pleasure of attending a private event at Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat restaurant last week. If you are ever anywhere near Chicago, check it out. I strongly recommend the Arctic char, the cauliflower with pickled peppers, pine nuts and mint, the goat empanadas, and the sweet corn pierogi. We used to live about three blocks from where the restaurant is, and quite honestly, I’m kicking myself that we ever left. The West Loop in Chicago is booming!

I took a few hours and walked around my old college campus while my husband was doing business in that neighborhood. It was the best of September – strong sunlight, cool enough that a sweater was needed, a beautiful campus, and the future of this country walking around in a state of forward curiosity. I realized that perhaps I missed my calling and should have been working/living on a college campus my entire life. Alas. It was restorative to walk there and bittersweet, full of review and stock-taking.


  • I finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman. Sweet eye candy and the tunes were solid (although three weeks later I’m not singing or humming any of them). The best part of that movie was watching with my kids and having discussions not only about the themes of the film but also about musical theater. I’m now counting down the minutes until someone brings it to Broadway.
  • Shout out to fake succulents, because I could probably manage to kill the real ones.
  • Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere was an extraordinary read for me. Not sure why I was unable to read this one quickly – perhaps because it was so far afield from my usual genre that I needed to constantly recalibrate, but the prose is brilliant and ridiculous and the characters equally so.
  • I want to make this sometime before the end of October. Who’s with me?

Now is the time to Angela Bassett September 2018 — Throwing a match on the whole month and walking away, but taking the lessons with us. Here’s to October and being able to buy comically large amounts of candy with no one batting an eyelash extension.




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