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Watching: Season 3 of “Orphan Black” (Tatiayana Maslany FTW at the Emmy’s by the way … What she does on the show is pretty incredible) and Season 1 of “Madam Secretary” (Their depiction of the King of Swaziland and his wives was SO OFF. The actors and the clothes they were wearing all looked more West African than Southern.)

Anticipating: Being at home for the month of August. I have no trips planned and I’m looking forward to it. Starting in September I have either work or personal trips planned (or both) at least once a month every month to the end of the year. While I can’t imagine my life without travel, it’s nice being home for long stints too.

Reading: “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson. I’ve loved his other books and this is no exception.

Eating: Conference food since I’ve been in meetings every day but 2 since returning from Utah. In Lesotho, at least, conference food usually means traditional food that I don’t normally eat but love to eat at conferences like polony sandwiches, peas, samp and beans, and dessert that usually involves jello and/or custard. This week I was pleasantly surprised to find what I thought was pap was really mashed potatoes!

Working On: Finishing the colouring pages that I’ve started in three separate books, using a combination of markers and pencils but can’t seem to complete.

Loving: The entertainment I’ve been getting by going back through old entries in my “micro-journaling” app from a couple years ago. I’ve gone through a dry spell recently where I haven’t been writing very frequently (or at all). Looking back through my entries I’m reminded that it works best when I write frequent but quick entries.

Playing: Nothing these days but someone advertised that they are looking for people to play nerdy boardgames with in the local expat email newsletter and the first meet up is in the middle of the month.

In 2013 I received two coloring books (this one and this one) and a set of Prismacolor Premier colored pencils from my mom parents for Christmas. I colored a few pages shortly after receiving the books but once my cleaning lady put the books on my shelf they sat there for the next year and a half. About two months ago on a chilly Lesotho winter evening when I was uninterested in scrapbooking and looking for something else to keep me entertained while watching TV (because who just sits and watches TV these days?) I decided to pull the pencils take another stab at coloring in the books. Right after I started coloring again there was an article in Entertainment Weekly on grown-up coloring books then NPR ran a story about the growing popularity of grown up coloring. Who knew my mom was such a trendsetter? According to this article from mid-July, “adult coloring books occupied as many of eight of the top 20 slots in a spot-check of Amazon’s best-seller list this week.” Whoa.

Shortly after the NPR story ran it came up in conversation with a group of lady friends in Maseru, which led to a ladies night gathering where we drank wine and colored together. After that I decided that I needed to get some more books (and a set of markers) during my visit to the U.S. and now, you could say, I’m officially obsessed. I’m finding it a great alternative to scrapbooking that feeds on my love of pattern and color but let’s me take a break from the computer. Of course because I’m obsessed I thought it would be fun to share the latest additions to my coloring book collection and some thoughts on them:

Natural Wonders a Patrick Hruby Coloring Book: This one is a bit different from the others in my collection. The areas to fill in are bigger with less detailed areas. It’s truly a book where you can turn your mind off while coloring as you don’t have to think too much while filling in the areas. It has nice thick paper and perforated pages making it easy to remove them from the book. Plus the pictures are just fun.

Balance by Angie Grace: Unlike the Patrick Hruby coloring book, this one is all about the detail but it’s also proving to be my favorite. Most of the spaces are so small that I have to use only my very fine tipped markers. What I love about the book is looking up color palettes on Pinterest and then finding the right colors to pull it off. The artist has a new release called “Centered” that is on my future wish list.

Mid-Century Modern Animals by Jenn Ski: Let’s just say that the cats on the cover drew me in and when I saw previews of the rest of the pages I couldn’t resist. This has a good mix of detailed and non-detailed work. This book also has really nice thick paper and perforated pages. When I showed it to my mom she said, “I lived through mid-century modern. Are you going to color it in Avocado and Harvest Gold too?” (Challenge accepted.)

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford: One of the most popular grown up coloring books out there, according to what I’ve read. Also lots of small detailed areas, like Balance. The one thing that is keeping this from being a close runner-up to my most favorite book is coloring ALL THE LEAVES. I get so tired of coloring in just shades of green. That said, the artist has a new book coming out later this year with an ocean theme that I am already coveting.

Watching: The Americans. If you’ve seen it I think you’ll understand that my main question about the show is: where do Elizabeth and Phillip (the main characters) keep all their wigs?

Anticipating: Warm weather in Utah later this month. My flight back includes a 12 hour layover in Paris. I’ve always done that in winter, so I’m also looking forward to Paris in summer even if just for 12 hours.

Listening/Reading: I just finished listening to “Thomas Jefferson the Art of Power” as an audiobook. It was 18+ hours long. I have a couple of books I’ve been reading on my Kindle, but very slowly. My next audiobook will be “Queen of the Tearling”- something a little lighter.

Eating: A recipe that I found on Pinterest for “eggless chocolate chip cookie dough for 2” It’s delicious. I kind of wish that I hadn’t found the recipe ;)

Working On: Staying caught up day to day. Then I’ll move on to staying caught up on my life in general.

Loving: That the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere is behind us. Bring on the sun!

Playing: Elevate on my iPhone. Everyday there is a different combination of games that are meant to keep your brain sharp. My best areas are Writing and Reading. My worst area: Listening. Especially the game where you have to learn names.

Watching: My scrapbook pages scroll across the television screen since I use the jpegs as screen savers for my Apple TV. It’s a fun way to “interact” with my photos.

Anticipating: Not much right now. It’s winter and (per the below) I haven’t figure out my travel plans for the next few months.

Listening/Reading: New music I downloaded after the Bushfire music festival in Swaziland last weekend. New favorite group: The Soil.

Eating: Soup. Lots and lots of soup. A clear sign it’s winter here.

Working On: Travel plans. Namely I’m trying to figure out when I’ll go to the U.S. (summer? winter?) and how to split up everything I want to see in India between two trips for weddings later this year.

Loving: All the cool stuff going on at work these days. The number of people on our team has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year and we’re scoping a project that I think is going to be BIG.

Playing: Plants vs Zombies 2.

2015-04-25 17.13.03 I know, I know, it’s been awfully quiet around here. What can I say … LIFE. I have a reminder set to write this in the middle of each month, but given how far off schedule I am considering moving it up to the beginning of the month. If I can be consistent at all. So here we go for May …

Watching: Movies and TV shows on the TV screen I finally broke down and bought in March. Yes, after literally years of watching movies and TV shows on my laptop or iPad I finally bought a TV screen. I also bought an Apple TV. Between that and my external hard drive I am overwhelmed by options.

Anticipating: Another winter in Lesotho by increasing my collection of things to keep me warm. Items recently acquired include new flannel sheets and a flannel duvet cover. The longer I live here the more of a wimp I become.

Listening/Reading: I just finished “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, which I really enjoyed. Very well paced. Starting “Sugar” by Deirdre Riordan Hall that I bought through the Kindle First subscription on a recommendation from a friend.

Eating: Beef stew made in the crock pot. Winter is officially here.

Working On: Lots of exciting stuff at work these days. We just started a new program to increase the number of HIV-infected children who are identified and initiated on treatment. It’s the first big growth the Lesotho office has had basically since I got here. Will hopefully be starting another program in the next couple of months, too. It’s an exciting time to be here.

Loving: Being at home for a solid chunk of time. I spent a good part of February, March and April traveling. As of now my next trip isn’t until the end of the month when I’m planning a trip to Swaziland for the Bushfire music festival.

Playing: Nothing these days.

Screenshot 2015-02-23 14.22.28

Watching: The Fall – from the BBC. I finished the first season before my sisters came and started up the second season last night. I’m enjoying it, but would understand if others found it too intense.

Detoxing (instead of Anticipating, since I’m a week late posting this): From my weeklong vacation for #smithsiswk 2015. As you can see in the image above we covered a lot of ground in just 7 days. My sisters are smart, talented, funny, insightful and just all-around fun to be around. This was the first time we’ve done a trip just the three of us and now we plan to do it every other year, assuming baby-making plans go as anticipated (…my sisters’ plans that is. ;))

Listening/Reading: I’m working on two books right now: The Long Way Home by Louise Penny – another Inspector Gamache book and Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, which I’m listening to on audiobook.

Eating: Cheese and crackers with delicious wine I brought back from Stellenbosch.

Working On: Resolving a crisis at work that popped up while I was away. This year has already been overwhelmingly busy and is going to get even more so when we sign a contract for a new program at the end of the month (finger crossed); I don’t need bureaucratic crises.

Loving: That I’ll be attending my third Clarens Craft Beer Festival this weekend – even if the festival does mark the beginning of the end of summer.

Playing: Duolingo on my phone/iPad to work on my Spanish skills in anticipation of my trip to Mexico next month.

Watching: Two shows from the BBC – Season 5 of Downton Abbey (of course) and “The Game”. The Game reminds me a little of MI-5, which I enjoyed watching a few years ago. I blew through the 6 episodes in one weekend.

Anticipating: My sisters visiting in February! I’ve seen both of them in the last 3 months, but this time it will just be the three of us. Super stoked.

Listening: To the new album by Meghan Trainor “Title”. I’ve loved all her singles to date so went ahead and bought the whole album. Fun, trashy pop music just how I like it.

Eating: Gazpacho, one of my favourite summer recipes.

Working On: Getting into the groove this year. I feel like I’ve been off my game both personally and professionally since I came back from the US and now it’s already the middle of the month!

Loving: Lesotho in summer. I say this every month we have warm weather, but it’s true. This is the best time to be here.

Playing: Elevate, a brain training app that was recommended by iTunes as one of the best apps of 2014. I’m a sucker for “Best of” lists. Three short games each morning to get my brain going.

(PS – I almost titled this Currently – January 2014. To say I’m behind on the year in general is an understatement.)

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