A Blog I Love – Meet Me At Mike’s

Meet Me At Mikes

I have a confession to make: though I like writing a blog, I am not great about reading other people’s blogs. It’s embarrassing, it’s probably blasphemous, and it feels selfish. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it right now, because I want to share with you one blog that I follow religiously. It’s wonderful and inspiring, and I don’t remember how or where I found it, but the Australia-based Pip Lincolne writes a blog called Meet Me at Mike’s that is definitely among my favorites.

Pip mostly focuses on crafting and visually appealing things, which I love. She so obviously takes such great joy in beauty, writing, creating, and in life in general that I always feel somewhat giddy and inspired after reading one of her posts. It’s a bit of positivity in my inbox every now and then, and adds a tiny punctuation mark to my week at a tedious office job. I don’t know Pip and she doesn’t know me, but in case you couldn’t tell, I adore her. After reading her blog, I feel more creative, I have more appreciation for my crafty side, and I look at the the things around me a little bit differently. I encourage you to take a (visual) stroll around Pip’s blog, especially if you’re a crafty-type person.

Pip does this thing once a month called “Taking Stock” where she makes a list of things that she’s currently doing, seeing, feeling, etc. It seems like a good way to slow down and take a few minutes to practice some self-awareness and to acknowledge and appreciate the things you’re thinking, feeling, and enjoying about life.

I’ve always been fascinated by time capsules and things like that, so I may start doing a Taking Stock list every now and again, if only to look back at a log of the things I’m interested in at a particular moment. I’ve created my first list below, and in the spirit of Pip, I’ll leave a little list below for you to fill in if you’d like. I’d love to know if you’ve checked out Pip’s blog, and if you decide to “take stock” too.

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Making: A Majora’s Mask cross stitch that I got at Classic Game Fest last year. It will be amazing when I actually finish it.

Cooking: Some quinoa lately. I LOVE QUINOA.

Drinking: Lots of water. I used to have this Plant Nanny app that tracks water consumption by having you grow plants. I loved it, but they haven’t updated it in almost a year, so I grew all the plants and then begrudgingly deleted it.

Reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m trying to read more YA, and I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. It reminds me what I was like when I was a little younger – full of vim and vigor and imagination and tummy-butterflies and crushes.

Trawling: Other people’s blogs for similar ones I can follow.

Wanting: A newer laptop so that I can type away on my lunch breaks instead of stealing illicit moments and hoping nobody looks at my computer at work….

Looking: Out the windows at a grey sky and wishing I was at home.

Deciding: That I need to buckle down and start writing more. I love it, and I sometimes I really abuse my free time by watching YouTube and not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Wishing: That my mom was here. I’ve been missing and needing her a lot lately.

Enjoying: Sitting outside on my lunch breaks and reading my book. I love the freedom of being outside and basking in the sun.

Waiting: For 5pm so I can go home and start my weekend!

Liking: These macrobiotic bars called . . . MacroBars. In “Protein Pleasure” particularly – peanut butter and chocolate chip. I’ve convinced myself that they’re a healthy breakfast even though they’re full of chocolate chips.

Wondering: If I should brave the city streets for food. I live in a festival city and work downtown, and there is a festival going on right now. Hipsters and pretentious DJs and rich girls with expensive bohemian clothes are swarming the sidewalks and roads and annoying the bejesus out of me.

Loving: My kitty Samadhi. She’s getting older and has some kidney issues, and I’m trying to lavish all the love I can on her while she’s still around, even if it means letting her crawl under the covers at night to administer sharp little love bites to my bare arms and legs, but also to spoon with me.

Pondering: What book I’m going to read once I finish this one. It’s easier than thinking about what’s going on in the world. Books are always the best thing to ponder.

Listening: To the “Feminist Friday” station on Spotify. It’s a Lilith Fair throwback this week, y’all! I LOVE that time in music. Ugh, it was the best.

Considering: Buying a Nintendo Switch. Whenever they’re available next. I must play Breath of the Wild.

Buying: Far too much makeup and makeup-related items lately. I’ve sadly realized that no matter how hard I try to find a cheap, good-quality drugstore setting spray, nothing comes close to Urban Decay’s All Nighter. Damn them. It’s so expensive.

Watching: “Chewing Gum” on Netflix. Michaela Coel has created an amazing show, and she’s a great actor! I relate to her character Tracey in so many ways; she’s such an awkward, weird creation.

Hoping: That I can stick with the promises I’ve made to myself regarding more writing and less consumption of sugar and fried foods….

Marvelling: At people’s capacity for hatred, meanness, and cruelty. I can’t relate in the least, or even understand what leads people to their heinous beliefs and behavior.

Cringing: Because I missed a beloved family member’s birthday last Sunday and only realized it this morning.

Needing: To stop clenching my teeth out of stress, but old habits die hard.

Questioning: Where I am in my life, work-wise, and why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Smelling: The perfume my dad bought me for Christmas.

Wearing: Very black pointy shoes. And nothing else. Kidding, kidding.

Following: The news. Reluctantly. But I do stay away from the news and social media on the weekends, because I would be clenching my teeth and pulling my hair out even more if I didn’t take a break.

Noticing: The new buds and leaves on trees, and how pretty and bright green they are.

Knowing: The lyrics to lots of songs from the ‘90s, apparently.

Thinking: About seeing my beau this evening.

Admiring: People who write full-time. Admiring/envying, potato/potahto.

Getting: A treat for myself today for making it through the week.

Bookmarking: Embroidery and cross stitch patterns I like on Etsy.

Disliking: The current state of the American government.

Opening: My mouth. The teeth-clenching! *eye roll*

Giggling: About some Harry Potter memes and tumblr posts and illustrations I saw yesterday. They had me laughing out loud, inappropriately.

Feeling: A little cold and headache-y from today’s chilly weather and my allergies.

Helping: A coworker with the grammar on some of his school assignments.

Hearing: People chatting in the hallway.

Celebrating: The end of the work week. And St. Patrick’s Day this evening, with my sister and a pint.

Pretending: That I don’t have work things I could be doing.

Embracing:  The fact that I’m not perfect, and that I don’t have to be. The idea that being my flawed self is okay and good and genuine.

And a blank list for your own sort-of time capsule:

Making:

Cooking:

Drinking:

Reading:

Trawling:

Wanting:

Looking:

Deciding:

Wishing:

Enjoying:

Waiting:

Liking:

Wondering:

Loving:

Pondering:

Listening:

Considering:

Buying:

Watching:

Hoping:

Marvelling:

Cringing:

Needing:

Questioning:

Smelling:

Wearing:

Following:

Noticing:

Knowing:

Thinking:

Admiring:

Getting:

Bookmarking:

Disliking:

Opening:

Giggling:

Feeling:

Helping:

Hearing:

Celebrating:

Pretending:

Embracing:

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Book Review – “Delicate Edible Birds” by Lauren Groff

Delicate Edible BirdsI originally bought this book of short stories for my sister, but the description on the book jacket sounded so intriguing, I decided to get a copy for myself.  Full disclosure, it’s been a while since I’ve read this book, so I’m writing with a few notes by my side. However, I think my distance from the book has been beneficial, as I remember with greater clarity the stories in this collection that really stood out to and stuck with me.

One of my standouts was “Blythe”, narrated by a bored stay-at-home mom who was previously a busy attorney. Boredom leads this woman to join a poetry class, where she unexpectedly meets and befriends a glamorous, commanding fellow mother – the eponymous Blythe. A suicidal, dramatic poet and artist, Blythe rips the narrator out of the dullness of her everyday existence and draws her into a wild, lifelong friendship that ends up warping both of their lives. Over the years, the narrator’s life follows a more traditional trajectory, while Blythe becomes a well-known and provocative artist. Their friendship is at turns exhilarating and draining, but it’s overarching characteristic is its toxicity. The narrator comes to feel beholden to Blythe, catering to her every whim and playing stand-in mother to her neglected young sons. With time, Blythe becomes more and more volatile, growing in popularity, size, ego, and personality, and her very being seems to threaten to consume those around her, the narrator in particular. To me, the story felt very true to life; as someone who has experienced my share of toxic friendships, this story depicted all too well how easy it is to get dragged around and bled dry by the domineering Blythes of the world.

Another story I enjoyed was “Sir Fleeting”, recounted by an old woman looking back on her life after being visited by an old lover. As a very young woman on her honeymoon, the narrator falls in love and lust with a wealthy, wandering French traveler she meets in Argentina. As this man drifts in and out of her life over the years, she seems to want to hold on to him, but also enjoys the fleeting nature of their trysts, knowing that she can never have a true relationship with him. No matter where they are in their lives and personal relationships, the two always happen to bump into each other and rekindle the common spark that attracted them in the first place. But this playboy is slippery, and usually disappears before she can fully understand what she is to him, or what she even really wants from him. However, upon their final meeting as old friends and lovers, things take an interesting and rather melancholy turn as the veil of infatuation is lifted and truth finally begins to break the spell he has on her.

Two of the most heartbreaking stories in the collection were “Watershed” and “L. Debard and Aliette”. The former revolves around a woman who falls in love with, marries, and then loses a man in a tragic accident following a newlywed marital tiff. Again told by a woman recounting her past, this story is arguably the saddest of them all. I will not do it the injustice of trying to relate all of the particulars – you just need to read it. The latter follows the lives of a young poetry-loving girl with polio and the much older, very accomplished Olympic swimmer and poet she falls in love with. Set in the early 1900s, the two eventually begin an illicit affair that challenges the mores of the day, and when they are finally found out, their lives are violently and irrevocably changed. The story manages to be dark, romantic, weird, and somehow sadly uplifting. Wikipedia tells me that this is a more modern depiction of the story of Abelard and Heloise. I’m no expert on that story, but I did enjoy this one.

Overall, I found this short story collection to be odd, gloomy, and therefore satisfying. Each story has dark undercurrents flowing beneath the surface, and nothing is tied up quite neatly in the end. I like that women are centrally featured in these stories, and there is an intense examination of women’s expected roles in society, and of the consequences of breaking from convention. Maybe it’s because of the reference to the grossly inhumane “delicacy” ortolan in the book’s title, but when I think of this collection, I imagine each of the stories as a tiny little bird, beautiful and ostensibly fragile, but full of crunchy, sharp little bones that are revealed upon delving in. The bones of these stories definitely stick in the mind for quite a while.

 

Recommended For:

Those who like reading about the nuances in the female experience from different perspectives. Also for those who enjoy stories that end up being much darker than they first appear.