Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: weekly wrap-up

Friday Six-Pack: The last of 2016

This is the last recap of 2016 because next week, with the child and the husband both on vacation, I will be spending (even more) time away from my laptop to hang with them. Of course I’ll be around on Tuesday for our second Show Us Your Books this month, recapping our favorites from the year but other than that, I’ll be (even more) absent. I’m looking forward to coming back here in January with renew purpose and presence. Well, that’s the plan anyway. We’ll see what actually happens. 

Reading. Darktown by Thomas Muller. Picked up Hillbilly Elegy and Today Will Be Different. Was strong armed persuaded by my favorite librarian into doing a reading challenge she created. Also created a reading challenge which I’ll share with you guys when it’s all ready to go (it’s for the site I write for rather than this one). 

Listening. No new podcasts to share with you guys this week and as far as music, I’ve been sticking to my standards and my Spotify most played in 2016 with a splash of nontraditional Christmas music thrown in. It’s been an uneventful week.

Watching. Home Alone x45 million. It’s the child’s favorite and she doesn’t have HBO or a DVD player in her room so we all have to suffer. Also Singles. I fucking love that movie.

Giving. Since Giving Tuesday, we’ve also donated to a scholarship established by the husband’s fraternity alumni, BuildOn, and, thanks to Instagram, I learned about a new local charity that gives Christmas gifts to kids in foster care who are too old for Toys for Tots. We picked a 17 year old girl in an out of state placement because those kids have a special place in my heart, and we went all out for her. She deserves it, and I’m grateful we were able to afford it this year. 

Celebrating. Most of y’all know how disappointed and angry and frustrated I am at our government. It’s revolting what’s happening. However, this week, my school district just passed a referendum that will build 3 new schools and do capital improvements on 2 of them. Where I live is exploding, population-wise, and we desperately need the new schools to accommodate all the kids. Overcrowding presents a host of problems, and these kids deserve quality education that overcrowding will prevent. It thrills me to no end that others agree with me and that this passed by a wide margin. It gives me hope that, despite what’s going on at a national level, on a local level, people are practical and invested and make good choices. 


That’s it. I hope you guys have an awesome holiday, whatever you do or don’t celebrate, and that you have a fun (or uneventful and boring) New Year’s, and I’ll see you in January!


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Friday six-pack: revelling in the mundane

What a week. Dr. Seaver died. Aleppo. The uncontained dumpster fire that is our government. Ohio. North Carolina. My daughter turned 10 and got a phone. My grandma turned 90. Emotions are all over the place. Some things I can’t talk about because they’re not for me to discuss but have affected me in all the ways. It seems ridiculous to do a weekly recap of all the mundane amidst all of this but like Alyssa mentioned, there’s grounding in the average. It gives us something to cling to when everything else is spiraling away. So, in that vein, here’s my average:Friday Six Pack

Reading. Finished We’re All Damaged and started Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Nothing added to the library holds list. Thanks to everyone who participated in Show Us  Your Books and I apologize for my lack of participation this time around. I was a shitty host. 

Watching. American Housewife. GUYS. I watched it for the first time this past week and I was all HOW DO THEY KNOW MY LIFE?! Especially when she said this about Santa: “We have the same body type. We both have lists of people who pissed us off.” Seriously. Does not get more accurate. 

Eating. I made bruschetta zoodles for dinner the other night. Well, I mean I made it for me. The husband refuses to eat zoodles (FINE. MORE FOR ME) so he had pasta instead and the child ate pizza because clearly I win at encouraging healthy eating but if you’re so inclined to try this, it’s super easy. Make zoodles using a spiralizer. Then combine either chopped fresh tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes, chopped garlic to your liking (I like a lot of garlic), some salt, pepper, basil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Let that hang out for a bit. Then mix it all together. I heated it but you can probably eat it cold as well. P.S. I also found this article on Lifehacker about expanding your cooking repertoire. It’s way easier than you think!

Listening. There’s a brand new podcast called The Hilarious World of Depression. YES. I also encourage you to check out the website they mention, Make It Ok. It’s about breaking the stigma of mental illness, with resources and stories and action you can take. 

Raging and thinking. I agree 100% with everything Steph mentioned in her post yesterday. I’m appalled and horrified that more people aren’t outraged about Russia’s interference in our election. This is not a fucking joke. It’s fucking serious. And it’s up to people like you and me to rage and discuss it. Because if there’s one thing, ONE THING, I’m optimistic about with this impending administration is that we’re going to see a whole new level of activism. We’re going to see more people speaking up and fighting for what’s right and railing against this oppressive nightmare. We’re going to see our kids taking a more active role in their communities and their country. We’re fostering a greater understanding of what exactly the president can do (and what he can’t). We’re going to see more vigilance in finding truth rather than just accepting whatever information is thrown at us. The next 4 years are pivotal for the future and survival of this country the way we know it and I hope with every fiber of my being that those who voted for him recognize what’s happening and join the fight for what’s right instead of continuing to accept what’s wrong. 


Laughing. My gym posted this picture on IG. Oh, yeah. I go to the gym now. 


We’ll be finishing up celebrating the child’s birthday this weekend, along with our family Christmas prep day. Think cookies, fudge, visiting Santa, decorating a gingerbread house but done lazy style because there are also naps to take and books to read. Hope you all have a great weekend as well!

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Friday six-pack: The week after Thanksgiving

Trying a new format. I might keep playing with it until I figure out one I like. Please bear with me. 

Friday Six Pack

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear window and we’re focusing on the holidays, let’s not also forgot about the mundane parts of life. Like this stuff: 

Reading. Almost finished with Tig Notaro’s book, I’m Just a Person. Then I’ll work on Chuck Klosterman’s new one along with All is Not Forgotten. Picked up Kissing in America and Darktown. Completed my Goodreads goal of 75 books but reading is the one area of my life I’m overly ambitious so we’ll keep going until the year ends. 

Watching. The Affair. I put off watching it until recently because I don’t like infidelity as entertainment but this show is so much more that I can let that part of the premise go. I kind of hate them all but I love the way it all works and I really want to know what the fuck happened. 

Listening. Besides my current obsession with the Volbeat song “Battleship Chains”, I also started a new podcast, Crimetown. It’s a true crime show (clearly) but rather than focused on one specific crime or murder, it focuses on organized crime in Providence, RI. It’s like the show Brotherhood but real life. 

Eating. I had a craving for stuffed peppers this week so I made taco stuffed peppers. It was ridiculously easy and I really like recipes that cook in the oven because not only does it give me time to clean the kitchen while the food cooks, I feel like I get a few extra minutes to read or, in the case of baked potatoes, nap. If you’re interested, here’s what I did:

  • Cooked ground turkey, then added taco seasoning, rice (roughly one cup of leftover rice but you can skip this part if you want), a can of diced tomatoes with chilies, 2 tbsp chili powder, and an 8 oz can of tomato sauce. I let that all simmer and blend together while I cut the tops off the peppers (and cleaned out the seeds and shit). Note: you can also make this vegetarian but using TVP or beans.
  • Spooned taco mixture into the peppers, about halfway full. Then I added 2 cubes of cheese, put more mixture over that, and added one more cube of cheese on the very top. Repeat for as many peppers as you’re cooking. I used 4. 
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes in a Pyrex pan filled with about 1/4 water. 

Giving. I had wanted to rant about Trump but I cannot right now. I’m at an absolute loss for words with what is happening. Please don’t mistake my silence for compliance or acceptance. Far from it. I’m enraged. And when I get my thoughts together, I’ll unleash the fury but for now, I’d rather focus on something positive.  Like the fact that Giving Tuesday raised a record amount of money this year. It warmed my heart that despite the direction this country is probably headed, there are still more people who want to do good. As for me, I gave to Forgotten Cats, which is a local cat rescue and TNR program that helped us with our cat; the Philadelphia chapter of the Hebrew Free Loan Association (we don’t have one in Delaware and thanks to my friend Brynne, I now know this organization exists and I am in love with their mission); and Toys for Tots. 

Laughing. This gave me all the giggles.


Thanks for sticking around this week! My weekend involves a quick trip to Long Island to celebrate my awesome grandma’s 90th birthday and then spending Sunday recovering. Hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!

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Friday Six Pack: The week before Thanksgiving

Friday Six Pack

    • Currently reading The Mothers and Truly Madly Guilty. DNF The Summer That Melted Everything. Picked up All is Not Forgotten. 
    • After some serious technological fuckery, Steph and I finally made it through a recording of The Armchair Librarians. We discussed The Couple Next Door, and the episode will release next Friday so you have something to listen to while you avoid Black Friday shopping or while you drive from store to store. We’re here for you either way.
    • Also in book news, I have a books column over at my friends’ site, Adulting, and my first post went live this week. It’s a big list of influential books, mostly of the business and personal development variety. I’m planning to do a second one like this but with influential novels. I will be turning to you guys for help. I know you won’t let me down.
    • I will not talk about the post-election bullshit. I will not talk about the post-election bullshit. Oh, fuck that. Yes. I will. Because appointing an anti-Semitic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobe as the chief White House strategist is not something I take lightly. I mean, HOW MUCH BIGGER CAN THIS DUMPSTER FIRE GET? At what point does it stop? I am genuinely fearful for this country, not from external threats but from internal ones. Specifically, the ones with authority. And not only is Steve Bannon (who, to be fair, might not actually be those things but merely associated with them because of Breitbart but let’s be honest, you don’t run a company like that without agreeing with its message on some level) now the co-top level adviser to someone wildly unqualified for the job to which he’s been elected, that kind of appointment speaks to the kind of country this administration is going to create. I tried to be hopeful that it was just blowhard rhetoric to garner support. Clearly I was wrong. And while I am never ashamed of my heritage, I have never been so thankful to have a non-ethnic last name. It shouldn’t be like that. Not here, not anywhere. 
    • Okay. Now we need to lighten things up. Have a funny (I mean, besides all the Biden/Obama memes. That shit is priceless and I cannot pick my favorite because they are all SO GOOD):fullsizerender-45
    • Song of the week. It was hard to pick one. I went back and forth between picking one that makes me genuinely happy and one that’s meaningful and inspirational because, let’s face it, we need both. So I went with a Breaking Benjamin oldie, “I Will Not Bow”, because it does both for me and I think I’m like a month overdue for a BB song anyway. 

Hope you all have a great weekend! I’m going to my very first Coach/Thirty-One Bingo event and I’m quite excited since it’s been on my unofficial 40 by 40 list for a long time. I’ll also be prepping my house for Thanksgiving and visiting with some friends and family. I’ll see you back on Tuesday with my Plum Paper planner review! 

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Friday Six Pack: Now what?

This recap seems unnecessary and irrelevant and unimportant given the week’s events but let’s do it anyway.

Friday Six Pack

    • Picked up Chuck Klosterman’s new book (fun fact: we have the same birthday) and Tig Notaro’s book. Muddled through The Summer That Melted Everything. Thanks to everyone who participated in Show Us Your Books and we have two(!) next month, one on December 13 (the regular monthly one) and the other on December 27 (favorites of the year). 
    • Started Good Girls Revolt. Seems extra apropos now.
    • I didn’t want to give any more attention to the election results but in light of several events, I have to. While I’m trying my hardest to convince my daughter that everything will be okay, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to do so. I have friends–close friends–who are afraid for their safety and the safety of their children. I don’t blame them, not when there are stories of swastikas graffitied on store fronts and Muslim women being assaulted and black baby dolls found hanging from nooses. I don’t even want to discuss the fact that my friend was called a cunt for saying she doesn’t like Trump. This is despicable. It is disgusting. It is everything our country is not supposed to be and my heart is shattered. And as our now leader, he has a responsibility to condemn this behavior. Try to curtail it. But he won’t. He’s proud of it, and he condones it not just with his actions but his refusal to own responsibility for making this shit acceptable again. EXCEPT THAT IT’S NOT. And while some might be running for Canada or other countries, I plan to stay right here and fight in any way I can to make this shit stop. #nastywomanforlife
    • I recently took inventory of all the things I have with polka dots. Official tally: almost everything I own except my clothes save for one polka dot cardigan. I want to say it’s a problem except…no. It’s not. I LOVE POLKA DOTS AND I AM NOT ASHAMED.
    • This made me laugh. We all need to laugh.math-problem
    • Song of the week: “Still Breathing” by Green Day. Here’s the video rather than just audio. It’s pretty powerful. 

And since it’s Veteran’s Day here in the U.S., I want to take a moment to thank anyone who’s served. This week more than any other week in my memory, I appreciate what you’ve done to protect our freedoms, specifically our freedoms to disagree open with our government.

I hope you all have a great weekend and try to take some time to recover. As for me, I’ll be visiting with a friend and recording an episode of my new true crime podcast that I’m hosting with my friend Athena. More info on that when we’re ready to roll!

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