When I’m Not Reading – Riders of the North

July 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Riders of the North

Riders of the North is a Social Bike Ride in the northern suburbs of Houston in an attempt to get a Critical Mass going.  Our first run was last night (Thursday) from 7:45 pm until… well… much later.

First Riders of the NorthWe had our first ride last night and at any given point in time had between 15-20 people.  Not bad for a first run.  We met in Old Town Spring and traveled to The Woodlands, hung out in Market Square at Bar Louis, and headed back to OTS again.  Depending on where you were coming from, whether you rode your bike or drove your car to OTS, the ride was between 20-25 miles.  My legs feel AWESOME, aka this is one of the best work outs ever.

We’re going to be doing this weekly until we get enough people interested in doing a formal Critical Mass at the end of every month.  We’d love to have more riders join us, just hit up our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/610444132308669/

We stopped to eat at Bar Louies where I downed a Chicken Caesar Salad, a crap ton of water, and Angry Orchard Beer.  That beer was phenomenal and extremely refreshing after cranking out ten miles on my bike.

So while I’m not reading, come join me for a bike ride.  Even in the Texas heat, after dark with the wind in your face, the world feels great.  There are some great peeps on the ride and despite a few kinks along the way (people riding at WAY different speeds, two flat tires, and a spill), I think we all had a blast.  I certainly did.

If you know of any great bike books, leave me a comment.  I’ll read them.

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When I’m Not Reading… I still hang out in bookstores…

June 3, 2013 at 1:01 am (Events) (, , , , , , , )

And I love hanging out in bookstores with Aoristos, Wine, Cheese, and more Aoristos!

20130601_144839Good Books in the Woods of The Woodlands was kind enough to host a wine and cheese tasting while allowing patrons to look over the shoulders of the artist of Aoristos while he drew FREE custom portraits.  (There’s a map of the store at the entrance because it’s easy to get lost in the wonderful maze of books.)

20130601_144847At events, Aoristos sells prints: one print for $15,  2 for $25, 3 or more for $10 each.

20130601_152437Marilyn, Anakin, and Artisan… What a lovely combination…

20130601_152455Blue Cheese

20130601_152524HEB has a surprisingly awesome wine selection.  Purple Cowboy was the universal favorite of the day by all Good Books in the Woods patrons.

20130601_170001FREE Super Hero Portraits!

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Where Curiosity Comes to Stay

April 18, 2013 at 7:18 am (Events, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , )

One of my favorite shops put out a short film.  The shop is called Good Books in the Woods, I credit them for inspiration in the bio on the back of my first novella which will be coming out soon.  Recently, I planned to write a When We’re Not Reading segment on the release party for the film as well as on Journaling Night for HPB Humble.  The post never occurred as I had so much fun at both events, I forgot to take pictures.

Luckily, I don’t have to spend too much time what an incredible evening it was… coffee, wine, cookies, fruit trays, book browsing, film viewing… all in the cozy living room of Good Books in the Woods, because the film is available for you to see too.


Click the movie poster to view the You Tube video.

I hope you enjoy it!

As for Journaling… the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm, I sit myself at the table in the Metaphysics and Health section at Half Price Books Humble with journals, pens, prisma pencils, clip art, and a whole lot of creative energy.  Inevitably, one or two customers always join me.  It’s really relaxing and offers a chance to really kick all your cares from the day out of your mind.

Needless to say, despite the fact that the segments are called When We’re Not Reading, there’s generally a bookish theme to every aspect of our lives.

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When We’re Not Reading – Critical Mass (1.25.13)

January 27, 2013 at 1:51 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , )


Photo uploaded to Facebook by Jeremy M. Caballero

I finally made it to another one! Critical Mass Houston is amazing and I’m working on making it happen every month.  Having a two year old can put a damper in these kinds of plans, but once it’s worked out, it’s worth it.

Last night was the first time we went without a “chaperone.”  My bestie’s brother, Desmond, is a bicycle extraordinaire and we rode in a little pack with him last time.  This time it was just me and the bestie… and a crowd of cyclists en masse.

The first ride I ever did was the Halloween 2012 ride… see here: https://anakalianwhims.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/when-were-not-reading-critical-mass/. There’s links and info about CM.  After that ride, I purchased lights for my bike, both out of necessity and a reward system for myself.  This time, I only did 15 miles of the ride because we had to go home early, but I think I’ve earned myself a bell.

CriticalMass ArtWhat do I love about CM? Well, what don’t I love? I love the large group of people who seemingly have nothing in common except their desire to be on wheels.  I love when one thing can bring an entire community together like that.  It’s beautiful and exciting.  This will sound cheesy, but I totally love the wind in my hair and against my face.  Even if it’s cold, I think it’s heavenly to have a bit of a breeze that you’re creating yourself through motion.  (But it wasn’t cold last night, last night the weather was perfect.)  I love my sore legs the next day, reminding me that I did something fun, productive, and good for me.  I love my  bike.  I love other peoples’ bikes.  I love the road.  I love the city at night.

DSC02437And despite my efforts last night to find out where we were headed in advance, I usually love the mystery and adventure of it all.  After all, I’m a reader, so mystery and adventure and not knowing what comes next absolutely thrills me.

Last night, though, I had an old school mate trying to meet up with us part way in.  So before the ride began, I was asking people who I thought looked like they might be in the know… “you know where we might end up tonight?” Of course, I got a wide variety of answers:

“Wherever our legs and wheels carry us.”  I know, I know, how very zen of you.  But tonight I’m actually trying to find out a real answer.  Just tonight.  I’ll never ask again, I promise.

“My house!”…. Ok I totally opened myself up for that one, come on man, really?  Really.  It turned out, the guy was supposedly actually planning an after party.  Something I would have gone to in college before I was married and had a baby!

DSC02457Later, at first break when I was trying to determine where exactly Foodarama and Speedee Mart (the buildings I was standing in between) were located, I started asking around.  Sorry, people, it’s not that I’m helpless, it’s just that I don’t have one of those fancy phones with all the map apps.  Frankly, I was too lazy to walk out in the middle of the street and hunt down a street sign.  So I tried to convince my bestie that sometimes it’s ok to talk to strangers.  At which point the guy telling me we were at Ella and West 18th grinned and offered me candy.  He dug out a cough drop from the bottom of his pack.  Funny.  Very funny.  Also, kiddo, when you’re old enough to read, if you stumble across this blog post your mama wrote – DON’T talk to strangers.  Although I thought Candy Man was kinda adorable for being a smart ass.

If you were at CM last night – or any night for that matter – leave me a story in the comment section.  I’d like to compile them sometime.


P.S. Thanks again to everyone who complimented my bike.  It makes my night every time.  See you next month!


Photo by Heather Vidrine


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When We’re Not Reading… We’re Happy in the Heights!

January 7, 2013 at 3:03 am (Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , )

January 2013 011

A short car ride to a friend’s house and the kiddo and I find we have all of the Heights at our fingertips… or our toes, rather, as we don’t walk with our hands.  My favorite part of the drive is passing those town homes pictured above – they remind me of Full House.

January 2013 046I love the Heights.  There’s always something new to discover, and today we stumbled across Sparrow and the Nest, a little art boutique off Studewood.

Undaunted by a two year old waltzing in amongst their treasures, the people (Andrew and Stephanie) are really nice and took the kiddo to the back and let her play with markers while my best friend browsed the shop. I came away with a priceless masterpiece from my offspring, while the bestie picked out a gorgeous bookmark. We were on our way to get coffee at Antidote, so we didn’t stay long.

As their website says, Sparrow and the Nest is really best experienced in person, there’s so much to see that I just couldn’t capture on camera.  Lots of tiny origami in frames and on pins, teensy handcrafted things you won’t find anywhere else, and all of it so beautiful.  Cool pieces of furniture, paintings, quilts… the shop is as good as visiting an art museum, better actually because you can take the stuff home if you’ve got the cash.

I’m not the best photographer, but I took some pictures to share anyway.

January 2013 044January 2013 040January 2013 048January 2013 042January 2013 055

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When We’re Not Reading – Pow Wow Adventures!

November 11, 2012 at 1:13 am (Education, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Today we went to Trader’s Village where we attended the 23rd Annual Texas Championship Native American Pow Wow. Singing, dancing, bright colors, people, and corn in a cup… what more could a girl want?

So many people were gathered to honor Native American Indian culture today, and to dance for a $15,000 prize. The young man featured above picture was dressed to the nines and dancing his heart out when the drums were going. The entire competition was pretty awesome.

There were a few times Kiddo was moving and grooving and clapping to the beat. And every time we took a break from sitting in the stands, we were able to get pictures with some of the friendly competitors.

Books are wonderful sources for information, but when it comes down to it I want Kiddo to go out into the world and experience first hand what she reads about in books. In honor of our adventure today, we’re reading Pocahontas: Princess of the River Tribes.

I definitely plan to take her to this event every year, as it is only $3 to park and free to attend.

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When We’re Not Reading – It’s Texas, It’s Friday, What do you think?

November 10, 2012 at 5:27 am (Education, Events, In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Growing up in Texas, one thing is supposed to be as gold as the Gospel, and that’s what’s happening on Friday Night at high schools all over the state.  I was surrounded by this my whole life, but managed to only attend one game, and pretty much missed the whole extravaganza.  I never participated in the Homecoming business, never went to a dance, got one of those mums the south is famous for from a friend, but was just never into it.  Several times I showed up for a game, sang the national anthem with the choir, and then high tailed it out of there.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to stay – I was just so damn busy.

I don’t want the kiddo to miss it.  Well, she can miss it if she wants, but I want her to at least have a chance to choose to not miss it.  But I also plan to home school.  So where does home school and good old fashion Texas High School Football have a chance to collide? In Andi-land, that’s where.  Also in many school districts where they allow home school students to try out for teams and be a part of the school’s organizations.

So… There’s a high school right down the road from our house, it’s Friday Night, my husband was out for the evening, and I found out there was a home game.  What do you think I decided to do?

General Admission Ticket: $7.00
Chili Cheese Nachos: $3.50
Watching Your 2 Yr. Old at Her First Football Game Ever: Priceless

(Actually, she stood in awe of the cheerleaders and then opted to color princesses while I tried to watch the game.)

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When We’re Not Reading – Critical Mass

October 28, 2012 at 12:54 am (Events) (, , , , , )

As much as I love to read and review books, I’ve really been enjoying finding things to add to my When We’re Not Reading segments.  It has forced me to be bold and adventurous in the Houston area, re-visit my attitude from my college years.  Which went something like this: It could be fun, Its free, Why not?

This month my best friend invited me to a not-so-little shin dig called Critical Mass.  Cyclists all over the world get together in their home cities and take to the streets on the last Friday of the month every month.  Hundreds, easily nearly a thousand, people on bikes trekking through downtown together for 20+ miles.  It was nothing short of amazing.

I’m not the biggest fan of getting info from Wikipedia, but they do have some interesting tidbits on what Critical Mass is all about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass.

For some people this event is an agenda to gain respect on the road for cyclists, make a statement, and more.  From my bike seat, it was a fantastic rolling party.  It was a blast that still managed to create a new appreciation for the world of cyclists, and for my need for headlights, tail-lights, and a helmet.  I would also like a bell and basket.

One of the guys taking lots of pictures got one of me!

Last night’s ride was a Halloween ride.  There were costumes and all sorts of excitement.  In advance, my friend and I had agreed that if we lost each other to simply look for “the hat and the tutu” (two costumed people that were easy to spot and part of our collective mini-group).  This is a good plan.  If you ride a Critical Mass, whatever you do, don’t stop to look for someone… just keep on rolling and catch up to each other when you catch up to each other.

Many motorists cheered, took pictures, and had a general blast right along with us.  However, there were the occasional drivers that got really pissed off that 600 people were holding up traffic as we had to roll through the red lights.  I understand that this is technically illegal, and with an individual or a crowd of 2-30, very ill-advised.  But with 600 riders, stopping at the red light is far more dangerous than holding up traffic.  You wouldn’t ask the Macy’s Day parade to stop at all the red lights, and it is obvious that an event is happening.  So if you happen across this group on a Friday night, please be patient and don’t hate; 99% of the people involved in this ride are trying to be as safe and friendly as possible.

Check out this awesome crowd:

Photo taken by of one of the members of the Facebook group for Houston’s Critical Mass during the October 2012 ride as well.

Initially, I was under the impression that it was a 10 mile ride. My husband was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do it, as owning a bike is something that has only been a part of my recent adult life. I’d never taken the thing farther than around the block a few times (most likely about a mile, 3 miles at best but that could be stretching the truth of reality). Come to find out, it is actually about a 20 mile ride. Someone gps-ed it as we went and came up with this map after the fact: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/149370997. Include our ride to the event and back to the house when we were done and I can safely say without exaggeration that I rode 22 miles.

Needless to say, I’m quite proud of myself. Here we are at the first break… 10.2 miles into the evening:

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When Readers Watch TV

September 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm (Reviews, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I read incessantly.  When I’m not reading I go on literary-like adventures.  And when I’m doing neither of those things, like a sack of potatoes I will sit and watch a whole season of a TV show in one sitting.  It is my favorite not feeling well activity.  Why? Because I am obsessed with stories.

My most recent TV binge was the first season of Revenge, available on Hulu.

Remember that sweet girl from that show Everwood? Well, she’s all grown up playing a devious and manipulative woman who was severely wronged by a powerful group of people.  Moral of the story so far, don’t conspire to put a girl’s dad in prison and then have him killed – she’ll get pissed and make you suffer.

When I saw the ads for the show, I thought they looked cheesy and I wasn’t all that interested.  There comes a time in every person’s life, though, when they feel lothargic and just want to sit in front of the boob tube.  Hulu paraded Revenge in front of me, and I said “Why not?”

While watching it, I discovered that the writer’s have done an excellent job lacing several time frames, a huge conspiracy, and a huge cast of characters together into the perfect onion.  It reminded me of reading a Kate Morton novel without the pitter patter of a swoony and inevitable love story, like reading Elizabeth George’s Believing the Lie but with a more cohesive and linear tale.  I am shockingly riveted with the characters, and most of them are awful people, but they are believeable in their awfulness.

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When We’re Not Reading – Fall Begins

September 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm (Education, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Thursdays at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is free. I love taking the kiddo to see the ever-changing exhibits there, and this time we spent a lot of time watching the six-minute long digitally animated Tree changing through the seasons and blowing in the imaginary wind.  The exhibit is called “Mike Kelley” and was made by artist Jennifer Steinkamp. It is absolutely lovely, and I highly recommend taking time out of your busy schedule to go sit and experience its luminous, fake leaves.

Another fantastic and *free* thing to do in Houston when the weather is nice is to visit Sam Houston Park/ Heritage Square.  The real life trees you can see are simple amazing, fun to romp and climb, and just a wonderful place to have an outdoor picnic.  You can also go visit the Heritage Society Museum for no charge, the entrance is in the courtyard.  We didn’t stay long, however, because kiddo nearly killed a display and cost the city some priceless treasures.  We’ll try that museum when she’s a bit older.

I grew up visiting Sam Houston Park during the Christmas season, when the Heritage Society houses are lit and apple cider, coffee, and hot cocoa is served in the courtyard.  Choirs sing in gazebos, courtyards, along the paths, and on balconies (I participated every year until I graduated), and it’s just a pleasant way to spent a cold evening.  So I can’t wait to take kiddo to experience a park she already enjoys in its most festive capacity.

The same day we had our freebie adventures downtown, I finished up my day at Half Price Books in Humble at the first ever Poetry Night.  There were only three of us present, but we had a wonderful time eating chocolate chip cookies and discussing the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sylvia Plath, and Emily Dickinson.  It sounds melancholy and macabre, but I assure you it was quite pleasant.  I spent Friday afternoon talking the program up to teachers at Humble High School, so hopefully we’ll have a bit of a crowd next time.  Keep in mind, it’s the first Thursday of the month all semester, and its a great (and totally free) way to spend an evening.

Now its Saturday and we’ve got Corn Chowder cooking in the crock pot, in anticipation of a cold front, and home-made whip cream (flavored with Amarula) cooling in the fridge waiting for an Almond Cake with a Peach-Berry topping.  Kiddo is playing dress up in the library as I type this post.  I love my life.

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