It’s MLK Day – and Inauguration Week! What Are You Reading? (January 18, 2021)

Morning, friends! It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S. (how are you honoring MLK’s legacy today?) and the start of the long-awaited Inauguration Week. I am staying home all week – no desire to repeat my experience of driving white-knuckled over the Key Bridge on January 6, and I couldn’t get to my office if I tried, since it’s in the “red zone” where all traffic other than official vehicles is banned, anyway. I plan to watch Joe Biden and Kamala Harris be sworn in from the comfort of my couch on Wednesday.

So, how were your weekends? Coming off of two weeks of nonstop work and nonstop stress, I was ready to turn my brain off for a while. I finally finished my gauntlet of depositions, filings, discovery and sundry other stressful matters at 9:30 on Friday evening, flopped down on the couch and declared myself burnt out. Two weeks into the year! I think that’s a new record. Steve and I declared Saturday “chores day.” With me being completely unavailable for two weeks, Steve was in survival mode trying to juggle work and the kids’ virtual school by himself. (It’s unmanageable with two parents. With one – yikes.) The result was that he heroically made it to the end of the gauntlet with neither kid expelled from school and the house still standing, a major achievement – but the place was trashed. We spent the day with sleeves rolled up, tackling everything that got back-burnered while I was working 65 hour weeks. Steve did another massive clean-out of the playroom, some light plumbing, a bunch of laundry, a kitchen deep clean, etc. I went from room to room in the common spaces, clearing out debris from a two week long kid tornado. We had help from one kid and active resistance from the other (names withheld to protect the guilty and the brown-nosing). By the end of the day the house was looking fantastic, and it was so satisfying. Sunday, we reserved for hiking and we drove down to Huntley Meadows, one of our favorite parks for spotting wetland birds. Unfortunately, when we got there we found it overrun with people – parking lot completely full and cars spilling into the access road – so we quickly pivoted to Plan B: Mount Vernon. We hadn’t been in months, and it turned out to be just what we all wanted. We walked the grounds, so familiar to us, checked out the animals, gazed at the river, and Peanut chattered on about Felicity Merriman from the American Girl collection. Rest of the day – simple. I ran a couple of errands, Peanut watched Felicity, an American Girl Adventure; Nugget watched Dinosaur King; Steve watched football; I read and cleaned up the woodpile. So yes, a simple weekend, but just what I was craving.

Reading. Amazingly, despite all the work last week, it was a good reading week! I finished up The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and really enjoyed it. (Hard to believe that this 850+ page volume only represented about 5% of their correspondence!) But man alive, were they catty towards one another – I’m glad I have a brother. My sole criterion for my next read was: it had to be short. The Provincial Lady in London (American title; the original UK title was The Provincial Lady Goes Further – which does make sense, as the PL spends time in Brittany and Devonshire as well and is only in London for half the book, approx.) was a hoot. I didn’t love it quite as much as the first in the series, but I still loved it A. LOT. Finally, ended the week with Word from Wormingford – slow, seasonal, and comforting, just what I wanted. I’m a little less than halfway through as of press time, so I’ll finish tonight or tomorrow and then turn to my Inauguration reading – The Truths We Hold, by our soon-to-be Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Watching. We are still loving Big Crazy Family Adventure. The Kirkby family has just crossed the border into India on the final leg of their trip, and it has been such fun – and so fascinating – to follow along with them. We all love this show, which is really saying something; usually there is at least one family member who is just tolerating it. I’m not sure how many episodes we have left but I think we’re getting near the end; I am going to miss it when we’re done.

Listening. Bunch of podcasts, as usual. Highlights were a few episodes of Shedunnit (of course!) and The Mom Hour on storage solutions for all the STUFF that comes into our houses at the holidays. The Lego struggle is real.

Making. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of work product (hopefully some of it was good/competent). More happily, a clean house and a tidy woodpile, and a few rows on a seed stitch cowl I’m knitting, while watching hockey. (Will someone please alert the Sabres to the fact that it’s regular season hockey now, not an exhibition game? The Caps got the memo. Sheesh.)

Moving. Oooooooof. Not. moving. Multiple entire days spent on Zoom are not conducive to movement. The epic day of cleaning on Saturday was kind of a workout, though. And Sunday’s walk, and dragging tree limbs all over the yard – same. Running shoes WILL be back this week, though.

Blogging. More New Year’s content! Recap (and lament) of 2020 goals on Wednesday, and Part III of my annual reading retrospective on Friday. The ever-silly Book Superlatives! Check in with me then.

Loving. Look what I got! A Bonsai tree! One of my errands yesterday was a stop by the garden center, for a decent-looking tray to catch drips from my lemon tree, which I have moved inside for the winter. (It’s already perking up, which is good news – it was looking quite peaky out in the sunroom.) It happened that my local nursery had just gotten in a new stash of Bonsai – well, I couldn’t resist. I remember when I was a kid, my mom took in a Bonsai temporarily while her BFF was on a lengthy family vacation in Europe, and I was fascinated by the perfect little miniature tree. In my recollection, my mom’s friend’s Bonsai was like a very demanding little pet, but when I read the instructions on this one, it seemed surprisingly low maintenance. Here’s hoping I don’t kill it. Peanut has named it “Bonnie” so we’re clearly already getting attached.

Asking. What are you reading this week?

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