August Favourites

Yay, September, my favourite month. There was a lot of stuff on Twitter yesterday about it being ‘the last day of summer’ – well, not here! Although Autumn doesn’t really hit the Bay Area until November so I always feel slightly cheated! Anyway, August was lovely. Lingering and sunny. Ten days of summer laziness and then 20 days of reality with school, college and volunteering kicking off again. This was what I loved in August.

Studying

I started my next course in August. I have the minimum credits to officially be a pre-school teacher but I am working towards the California certificate which requires more. I’m at a different campus this semester but I LOVE my course so far!! Talking of studying, the Dude started Kindergarten and he adores it, he’s just thriving. It’s kind of incredible to see his daily progress. So all in all, Autumn School is GOOD!

The view from my college, more or less. Not bad, eh?

The view from my college, more or less. Not bad, eh?

Reading

I read four books in August and they were all good.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was something I’d meant to read for years. It was a good, solid, thick novel which I love and the writing was spectacular. The plot was good, but I let that it could have finished about 2/3 of the way through and been much better. It did teach me a lot about the fairly shameful history of the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Thought provoking and well worth the read…at least until ‘it happens’, because after ‘it happens’, it gets a bit drawn out!

I found Case Histories by Kate Atkinson in a secondhand book shop. I’d read one of her novels before and liked it and I knew my very literary friend liked this writer, so I gave it a go. It started REALLY well (‘one more chapter’ at 11.45pm) but the co-incidences involved in the plot line got a bit too far-fetched. An easy read with some dark episodes.

Women of the Word  by Jen Wilkin was my christian book of the month. Despite the very cheesy title, I really liked it as it encouraged women (and men, seriously!) to study the Bible with all of their brains as well as their hearts. I really enjoyed this book.

People I want to punch in the throat by Jen Mann was not the kind of thing I’d buy for myself but it was a present from a friend and I thought I’d give it a try. It’s about ‘the Mommy wars’ which I have never actually experienced, but it still made me giggle. Very light and quick.

Listening

I got into Podcasts a LOT this month, and it was good! I tried a few new ones that I absolutely hated – Jillian Michaels (even though I’m a big fan of hers) and Call Your Girlfriend! Shudder. Tough Girl Podcast is a UK podcast full of interviews with cool, outdoorsy driven women – I only listened to one but will try a second. But there were a few really good ones I’d recommend.

Marathon Talk’s interview with Lauren Fleshman is excellent. I like LF, despite the Oiselle thing, and I REALLY liked her by the end of it.

Marathon Talk’s two-part interview with Mark Daly who did the BBC documentary about the Salazar doping allegations is really good. The second one was totally gripping as he discussed his experiment of taking EPO and seeing how it changed him and if he could evade the drug testers. I don’t actually remember my run listening to that podcast, I was so involved with it! HUGELY recommended.

I tried No Meat Athlete which I wanted to like but didn’t love. There’s a fine balance between trying hard to eat healthily and getting obsessive and I found it a little on the wrong side of that balance. I shall keep trying a few more though as I do want to learn more about this kind of thing.

This American Life’s episode on education was deeply moving and challenging. If you live in the US and haven’t heard it, I’d recommend it enormously.

Watching

Wet hot American summer‘ was the big thing on Netflix this month. We started watching it and were a bit bemused by it. Was it funny or just weird? Once we discovered that it was the prequel of a cult cheesy movie, we watched that movie and it all fell into place, although we still can’t decide if it was funny or just weird.

I watched Rocky for the first time this month. The Husband kept saying each scene was a masterpiece. I thought it had some good stuff in it, but apart from the big fight and the super-cool training scene, it left me a little cold.

We also watched Soul Surfer, the movie about the surfer Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark as a kid. The movie is clearly intended for teenagers, but it was actually pretty good and I may or may not have been crying a bit at the end.

Dodging the sharks in Hawaii

Dodging the sharks in Hawaii

 

Cooking

I’m not particularly inspired to cook much at the moment but this energy balls from the Runner Beans have worked REALLY well as long ride fuel – to the point that I didn’t need my cake stop. I’m going to make more for my century ride and keep using them for long runs in the future.

Other fun stuff

We got to spend some time this month with some friends we made on our trip to Japan, nearly two years ago. We’ve maintained our friendship via Facebook and when they came to SF, we had three playdates and it was wonderful!! The little girl and I had an really cool moment singing ‘Let it go’ together loudly in my car, so I’ve been learning the words in Japanese. No idea really why, but it’s a good brain challenge and it’s been very impressive when I sing it for the other Japanese people I know!

The Husband is learning the guitar so we’ve been singing a lot and I love it. I’m going to borrow a small guitar this month (my hands are too small for the chords) and I can’t wait.

Looking forward to

My century ride on September 20th. I cannot wait to have this beast done.

Running!!!! Every run I do now just makes me SO happy. There’s nothing like a break from running to make you love it harder.

Teaching. I’m going to be volunteering full time at the Dude’s old preschool, getting some valuable experience in my new career. The kids come back after labor day and I’m seriously excited about it. I won’t talk much about it here for obvious reasons, but I am EXCITED!

Watching the Trails in Motion Film festival in Burlingame! If you’re local, join us!

 

Phew…that was it! Ready September?? Me and my bike are ready for you!

About Cathryn

I'm from Wiltshire, a beautiful rural county in the south of England. My husband, son and I moved to California in August 2010 with my husband's job, whilst I stay at home with The Dude, our gorgeous five year old son. I love running and cycling. I'm a Christian. I am finally learning to cook (about time too). I'm loving exploring this new part of the world and meeting its wonderful people.
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4 Responses to August Favourites

  1. Erin says:

    I’m a big fan of NMA and have actually met Matt before, but true story — every time I listen to his podcast, I fall asleep. I think it’s something about his voice. He does have some good episodes out there though! & I just watched WHAS for the first time. The movie is fun and silly, and I thought the same of the Netflix mini series episodes I saw. Glad you’re getting excited to return to mostly running 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    I also thought Poisonwood Bible was too long. I think that Barbara Kingsolver is a good writer, but a bit long-winded. And I LOVED that episode of Marathon Talk with Lauren Fleshman. Total girl crush after that (even more than before). I just finished reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which was SO good (one of the best books I’ve read in a long time), but super depressing. Be prepared if you decide to tackle it. The subject matter is very intense.

    I really hope I get to hear you sing Frozen in Japanese the next time I see you!!

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