Currently: December

Currently: December


I feel like this Currently post is a little long-winded, so consider yourselves warned …

Currently living/working in:  Caretaking Fenton Ranch in northern New Mexico. I have to say, while we love epic snowstorms, not having an ounce of snowfall around these parts has made our caretaking job much easier this winter!

Current mood: I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’m slightly afraid what’s coming in 2018 … We always have big adventure dreams, obstacles and uncertainty. But despite those in 2017, we shaped it to be a stellar year. So here’s hoping we can do the same in 2018!

Currently proud of: I won a small writing contest, meaning a reputable agent will edit my first three chapters of my manuscript!! I’m of course nervous about having my writing ripped apart, but I know this will be valuable feedback. And one of my primary goals for 2018 is to give you all a proper book update, so stay tuned.

Currently not excited about: A 10-day forecast in northern New Mexico without any chance of snow. And while I enjoy not having to shovel/snowblow and gorgeous daytime temps to hike everyday, we need at least one massive winter storm to watch from the comfort of our cabin, Mother Nature!

Currently excited about: We have a few friends visiting this month—one couple is coming here to Fenton Ranch (yeah!!), but we are meeting another friend at our SIL Rachel’s cabin in Fairplay! The “Colorado Cabin” (it has its own blog tag!) used to be my favorite place to temporarily homestead—something we did sporadically from 2012-2014—but I haven’t been there in TWO years! I am excited to enjoy it once again and show it off to a friend! I’m sure we’ll find snow in that area.

Currently amazed by: Surviving the ROUNDS of edits for Backpacker’s 2018 Spring Gear Guide. As I said previously, Justin took over knives & multitools, then trekking poles (but actually, I ended up mainly managing that category). In any case, other BP writer friends warned us not to get attached to our blurbs and to try not to cry through the red marks. We are both on our fifth rounds of edits, but I’m hoping the end is near!!! I have an amazing appreciation for the work that goes into being a category manager, and while I know it is easier to be a tester, I am grateful for the chance to grow as a category manager.

Currently thankful for: We get to go to Winter Outdoor Retailer! We’ve been pretty consistently going to Summer Outdoor Retailer on Backpacker’s tags, but it will be fun to experience Winter OR, especially now that the whole show has moved to Denver.

Currently regretting: I think I need to order more holiday cards next year. I’ve gone back & forth about doing cards each year, and typically only order a handful. But I always hem and haw over my list and find that I can always send more than what I do send …

Current guilty pleasure: Sundays in Los Alamos! We used to drive 1.5 hours to Bernalillo to do our grocery shopping, but our neighbor Jeff kept saying, why not go to Los Alamos, which is closer? We finally listened to his advice, and it turns out Los Alamos is pretty dope. We discovered that the brew pub has the NFL ticket (and an awesome menu) and the grocery store has a bar with a TV (so I can food shop & Justin can watch football). It’s a good thing the football season is pretty much over because the 2 times we indulged this month turned into a very expensive Sunday ritual!

Current confession: I LOVE our new website, but I don’t LOVE WordPress, the platform for blogging. Part of it is just getting used to the new methods, as I had been using Blogger since 2008! And I had plenty of complaints about Blogger, but I am finding different gripes about WordPress (why do I have to resize EVERY picture I upload?!). Knowledgeable friends have suggested different plugins to try to fix some of the problems, but I think I need to accept that nothing will ever be perfect!

Currently reading: Kind of on a reading role with more than my typical 1 book/month (I know it’s actually pitiful to some people). I finished the 800-page fiction book, A Little Life by Hanya Nagihara, that I started last month. I hesitate to say if I really liked it. The story was extremely disturbing and sad. I was giving Justin a synopsis one night and he was cringing. “What have you gotten yourself into? Why would you do this to yourself?”

I’m almost finished with The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (oddly enough, Michael Finkel was the subject of a based-on-real-events movie we recently saw, True Story. Completely different subject, but the writer similarly visits an incarcerated criminal and writes his story.). Anyway, the book is about the “hermit” who lived in the Maine woods for 27 years, but pillaged the local summer homes for goods to survive. Kind of an amazing survival story, if you disregard the stealing part.

J received an Audible subscription from his mom for Christmas, so we started listening to Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry. Hermits may be the only ones who haven’t heard about the 2014 Serial podcast about Adnan, who was sentenced to life for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, but still maintains his innocence after 18 years in jail. The podcast ultimately led to a chance for a retrial for Adnan and the book is more about his side of the story and life in jail rather than just the facts of the case. We are loving it so far.

Currently reading: Not much in December because we’ve been traveling and having visitors so much!

7 responses to “Currently: December”

  1. Mary says:

    Hi! I randomly stumbled upon your blog a few years ago and have been reading ever since.

    Out of curiosity, what do you find to be the biggest pros/cons of using WordPress instead of Blogger? I’m considering migrating my blog to WordPress so I’m very interested in hearing from someone who’s taken the leap!

    • plavigne says:

      Hi there!

      My only con about Blogger was using the app. I blog often from the trail using my phone or our iPad, and the app was just terribly difficult for uploading pictures, etc. When we redesigned our site a few months ago, our web designer said we would have to migrate to WP, and I’ve heard others rave about it, so I figured it couldn’t be worse.

      I haven’t tested the WP app as much, but using the site is a little frustrating at times. My biggest gripe is I have to resize all the photos to make them less than 2MB before uploading. I was also getting SO MUCH SPAM. I recently installed the Akismet plugin on a friend’s rec, and that has helped with the spam. But, it’s still not perfect!

      Feel free to e-mail me if you have more questions!!!

      Thanks for following!

  2. Mary says:

    I read that book about the hermit as well. It’s almost too strange to be true. How did he even survive those winters? And not speaking to anyone for so many years! Unbelievable! I almost felt sorry for him to have to return to the real world, minus the stealing.

  3. Jamie La Vigne says:

    I can’t beleive you haven’t been to the cabin in two years! Glad you are enjoying the hermit book; I couldn’t put it down!

  4. misti says:

    I didn’t know someone wrote a book about Adnan!

    I also didn’t know there was a movie about the North Pond Hermit! Interesting

    • plavigne says:

      Ooops … that sentence was wrongly worded. The movie, True Story , was based on a different book by Michael Finkel. Oddly enough, it was about another criminal Michael visited in jail … Sorry for the confusion, but it’s a pretty good story as well as the hermit one!

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