Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into this month!

March is probably my favorite month now that I live in Virginia. It was definitely my most despised when I lived in New England because it’s then that winter drags on and on. I used to start to feel slightly crazy around the third week of March when daily highs were still in the 40s and sleet was still in the forecast. Here, though, the weather agrees with the calendar: it’s spring.

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It was actually a visit to Virginia in mid-March eleven years ago (!!) that convinced me to move here. I haven’t regretted it!

Anyway, here’s what’s happened around here this month.

Books:

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte): I hadn’t read this in several years, and this was only the second time I had read it, so I hadn’t remembered many of the small details. I loved it. I especially loved the few scenes where the narrative would shift from past tense to present tense, in order to make the reader feel even more like a part of the action. I also really enjoyed the narrative technique that allowed Jane to speak directly to her reader; I found myself forgetting that I was reading a work of fiction. It’s beautifully written, also, which I don’t think I appreciated last time I read it. He made me love him without looking at me. At the end of a lengthy paragraph in which Jane describes falling for Mr. Rochester, this line gave me chills. Perfection.

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The Creative Habit (Twyla Tharp): I got this because I feel like I need successful, disciplined artists (and their bossy books) to help me in my quest to become, if not successful, at least a more disciplined writer. Like Stephen King’s On Writing (only more generalized) this book is a great resource if you need to kick yourself back into gear or rethink your approach to a creative life. I appreciate books that take creativity seriously and serve to remind me that just because it’s fun, that doesn’t mean it isn’t also work.

Gilead (Marilynne Robinson): I kind of can’t handle this book. I first read it two years ago and really haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I know it sounds like hyperbole to say that I think it’s the best book I’ve ever read, but … I think it’s the best book I’ve ever read. It’s just incredible. I read it for my book club and we’re meeting tomorrow to discuss it. I hope they all liked it as much as I do.

Free Range Learning (Laura Grace Weldon): I’m not that far into this book and I think it’s going to take me a while. I appreciate its thesis (it’s about unschooling) but its execution is rather dry. But I’ll stick with it. I have a long list of kindle books to read when this one is through, though, so I need to get going on it.

I also abandoned Lizzy and Jane (Katherine Reay). It just didn’t grab my attention. Life’s too short. Maybe I’ll come back to it at the beach this summer. Coming up next: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte)! I haven’t read this one yet and I can’t wait. This is the next selection in my friend Maggie‘s and my Bronte Book Club. After that I’ll be consulting my very long to-read list.

On my mind

I’ve gone through probably 1,000+ tissues this month between allergies and a bad cold. I can’t wait to feel what it’s like to not be congested. Despite all my gushing about March in Virginia, spring is actually pretty late this year and our daffodils are just blooming, so my allergies (which normally last about a week) are lingering. No fun.

In terms of writing, I’ve been struggling some with knowing how to get started on my current project, which I think is going to be a novel. I’ve created some mysteries for myself that I haven’t solved yet, in terms of plot and character, so I’m starting with world-building and hoping that will allow me to glean some wisdom. I am still working on making writing a daily practice but I am getting somewhere.

I’m also thinking a lot about habits, as I mentioned last week. I’m taking small steps toward cementing better habits in my daily life, and those small steps are adding up. We’ve started to settle into a new, manageable rhythm (that I am sure will change before I know it!) and that feels really good. I keep reminding myself, though, to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Forward momentum, not arriving in one leap at a permanent destination.

Other stuff

Here’s something exciting: Will graduated from speech therapy! He aged out of early intervention (he’ll be three next Saturday) and so we took him to be tested by a speech therapist through the public school system, to see whether he’d qualify for ongoing services. They did a screening, but no test was necessary. He’s caught up!

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Celebrating with donuts!

And speaking of donuts, I’m also working on eating less sugar. It’s actually been easier than I expected it to be, simply because I stopped stocking Dove chocolates and the Trader Joe’s schoolhouse cookies, and because I’m still allowing myself some kind of small dessert at night. I was starting to feel like sugar had a hold on me that I didn’t like, and it feels good to get it under control.

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This girl’s going to be six months old on Thursday. I adjusted the rise on her diapers for the first time yesterday, and she’s starting to practice sitting up on her own. She smiles and laughs at her brother all the time and wants to imitate him when he blows raspberries at her. I’m glad to have reached the six-month mark. This is all starting to feel a little less unfamiliar to me now.

As far as house projects go (I figure I will share our fixer-upper updates here too, partly for my own future reading pleasure), this month Steve is working on building a sandbox for Will. We also wired the living room for cable and got a TV stand at Ikea (and special ordered some midcentury-style legs from Etsy) in addition to a new bookcase and hutch. Once we special order a curtain rod for our insanely large picture window, things will really start to look put together. We made a big Ikea trip last weekend and came home with curtains for the living room and our bedroom, so perhaps by the one-year mark we’ll actually look like we live here. I can’t wait.

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Onward to April!

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