Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday High Five

Every other Friday, I post a short list of five things currently making me smile. This is the latest installment. For past High Fives, click here

I made a killer chili last night that turned out to be deadly spicy. While dinner was disappointing, the pained look on Nathan's face made me laugh. Next time, less jalapeno. 

1. New books by ridiculously talented friends. 
This past week, books by two recent UNCW MFA graduates were published. Affairs with Men in Suits, a poetry collection by Eric Tran, is "a sustained and meticulously researched meditation on love and lust and shame and grace" that imagines and dramatizes encounters with conservative Republicans caught in gay sex scandals. SMALL CREATURES / WIDE FIELD, by John Mortara, is a choose-your-own adventure e-book that walks the line between completely irreverent and shockingly profound. It's also really funny. Eric and John are both amazing writers as well as lovely people, and you should buy their books immediately.

2. Organizing our finances. 
Until last week, Nathan and I each had multiple accounts spread across three different banks. Joint checking and savings, personal checking and savings, and IRAs. This made paying bills hard - transferring money into the joint account took 3 to 4 days, late fees abounded, and the whole process was just really ineffectual. So, we decided to choose one bank, move everything there, and streamline the process. Now we each have a personal checking account, and we share one checking and one savings account. We're going to send our direct deposits directly into the joint checking account, and then each withdraw a modest monthly allowance, with which we can do as we wish, no questions asked. Already, I feel more in control of our financial future. I think 2014 will be the year we finally become adults, at least as far as our bills are concerned.

3. Teaching! 
I already waxed poetic on the new semester, but it needs to be said again: I like my students! Between the later start time and the bigger classes (19 in one class, 15 in the other) I'm looking forward to animated discussions and workshops.

4. Snapea Crisps (or, at Trader Joe's, Inner Peas)
Why are they so good? Why must I always finish the whole bag in one sitting? Why do I want a bag right now? I don't know. I don't care. Best snack ever.

5. Feedback from good friends. 
Over the break, I gave my friend Erica the rough draft of my book. She read all 230 pages and this week, we sat down to talk about it. While most of the issues she brought up were ones I was already aware of, she gave me some great suggestions for fixing those issues. It was also a huge relief to hear that my book is not terrible, or boring, or worthless - fears that I have on a fairly regular basis. I'm grateful for smart, honest friends who are willing to give me so much of their time and energy. I can't wait to return the favor.

That's it for me. What good things have been going on in your life?