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Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

I could really have used another day this weekend.  It just went way too fast, and Sunday Scaries hit way too hard.  I’m slammed with work for the next couple of months, with some stressful projects and no break in sight, and the weekends just aren’t long enough to compensate.  We did have a nice one.  On Saturday, we were out the door early for a “Fall for Sunflowers” event at Burnside Farms, which is becoming one of our favorite spots.  We missed the summer sunflowers, but this year – for the first time – the farm did a fall sunflower maze, and it was so much fun.  We let Peanut lead us through the maze and – I’m glad to report – we made it out and do not live in a sunflower field now.  We filled up the rest of the morning with fall fun – I picked sunflowers from what was left of the summer crop, and got a good armful of gladiolas too.  (The gladiolas were especially gorgeous.)  The kids enjoyed the play area – they bumped between the playhouse, the miniature tractors, and the jumping pad and inflatable slides.  Nugget and I went down the slides together a few times and it’s quite a rush.  I can see why they like it.  On Sunday, we mostly bummed around the house in the morning, then welcomed our good friends Zandria and Paul for an afternoon of catching up (for the ladies) and watching football (for the men).  Zan and I took the kids over to the fall family social and blessing of the new turf field at the kids’ school, and I am glad to report that the turf has been appropriately imbued with the Holy Spirit and Jesus is smiling upon the soccer.  Ended the weekend with a family movie night – the first half of the first Harry Potter movie.  The kids were duly impressed.  And now I have to perk myself up for a week of fighting for the cause of justice.  Here we go.

Reading.  Had a busy reading week, mostly because I filled my time with short-n-sweet books.  After I finished How to be a Woman – quick read – I breezed through A Poetry Handbook and English Country Houses in one day each, before digging into the doorstopper Katherine of Aragon: the True Queen (first in a series of six enormous novels about the wives of Henry VIII).  I’m about 450 pages in and enjoying it, but also sort of over it at the same time?

Watching.  Family movie nights on Friday and Sunday brought two episodes of the new Netflix Carmen Sandiego series, plus Potter as mentioned above.  Now I finally know Carmen Sandiego’s backstory, you guys!  I know you were concerned.

Listening.  Just the usual – podcasts.  I had one drive last week – up to Annapolis to interview a witness – and I made my way through a few.  I’m in a bookish podcasting mood at the moment, so I’m mostly digging through my back catalog of reading-related podcasts.  (It goes in waves – I’ll be on book podcasts for awhile, then switch to parenting, then back again – and at the moment, it’s all books, all the time.  Not a bad stretch of listening at all.)

Making.  I didn’t set out to do lots of food prep, but I ended up that way.  Made a big batch of veggie pho on Saturday for dinner, and now have plenty of leftovers – yum.  I did a bean soup for Zan and Paul on Sunday and have lots of leftovers of that, too.  And in my spare time (ha!) I simmered a pot of homemade vegetable broth, slapped together some cornbread (from a mix, and Nugget mostly made it, so don’t get too excited) and prepped cut veggies for this week’s lunches.  Not a bad hour or so of kitchen work.

Blogging.  I have to admit that summer’s on its way out (Mabon this coming weekend!), and that means tallying up my summer list.  Spoiler: I didn’t check every item off, but I actually got to most of them.  It was a good summer.  And then on Friday, I’m sharing day four of our kayaking adventure.  Check back then!

Loving.  I have to share two things with you this week, because they are both delighting me.  First, did you see that Reese Witherspoon and Ellen DeGeneres are having a hilarious (fake) feud over which one of them is better friends with Jennifer Aniston?  It seems to be mostly playing out on Reese’s Instagram feed and honestly has given me so much joy over the past several days. Also:

This beer.  Why is it so good?  It tastes like a beer margarita and I love everything about it.  Steve thinks it’s disgusting.  More for me!

Asking.   What are you reading this week?

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Happy first-full-week-of-school to us!  (To those of you who have been back at school for several weeks now – I’m jealous.)  Last week my two went back, and not a minute too soon; the end of summer had become a stressed-out whirlwind of cobbled-together childcare.  It seriously felt like angels were singing on Wednesday, when we pulled out the shiny new uniforms and sneakers and shuffled them off to junior kindergarten and first grade, respectively.  So this is the first five-day week of the school year, and the Metro reopens today!  Hallelujah!  The return to regularly scheduled life couldn’t come at a better time, because I have a super-busy week at the office.  Not worrying about where the kids are going to be or how to keep them out of Steve’s hair and somehow also manage to work – it’s such a relief.  Anyway – the weekend!  We had a pretty low-key couple of days.  After the first week of school (well, three days, anyway) the kids were wiped out and mostly wanted to hang around the house and relax, so that’s basically what we did.  Peanut had a birthday party to attend on Saturday at a local rec center (the boys stayed home and played some baseball), and on Sunday we spent an hour hanging out and drinking coffee on the neighbors’ patio, then went for a short walk and longer playground stint at Jones Point.  But that’s about all.  Spent the rest of the weekend chilling, reading, baking, and stressing about the week ahead.  The usual.

Reading.  Pretty productive reading week.  I finally finished Garden Poems on Monday, after picking at it all summer, then spent most of the workweek over Leia, Princess of Alderaan – which was a lot of fun.  Finished that up on Friday evening and – beckoning library stack notwithstanding – the most enticing thing on my shelves was Anne of the Island – a perennial favorite for back-to-school season.  Read through in less than twenty-four hours, then laid Anne aside with a sigh and picked up How to be a Woman, which my book club is reading this month for our first meeting after being on hiatus since May.  I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up on my own, but it’s pretty good.

Watching.  Figured I should be plugged into the candidates’ actual policy positions, not just their polling numbers (hello, my name is Jaclyn and I’m addicted to FiveThirtyEight) so on Tuesday I watched a chunk of the CNN town hall on the climate crisis.  I haven’t decided who I’m supporting in the primary, so I wanted to get a good sense of the different viewpoints on climate policy, which is my top issue.  I really wanted to hear what Biden had to say, but I ended up missing most of his session because my brother called just as Uncle Joe was walking onto the stage.  But I tuned in for Bernie Sanders (please note that by “tuned in for Bernie” I mean “ate popcorn and shouted SIT DOWN! at the screen while texting Minions memes to my BFF”), Elizabeth Warren, and half of Mayor Pete before falling asleep.

Listening.  Lots of podcasts this week.  Highlights were the fall book preview on Book Riot, and the Mom Hour ladies on procrastination.

Making.  What I should have made this weekend: progress on a few work projects that I have due this week.  What I made instead: this spiced tea bread with fresh plums.  YUM.  Light, airy, and not too sweet – with a kick from the ginger, cardamom and allspice and a lovely crunch from the almonds.  10/10 would make again.

Blogging.  Travel-heavy week coming atcha: on Wednesday, I’m recapping our late-summer getaway to the Outer Banks (OMG, take me back right now!) and then the Pacific Northwest kayaking recaps continue on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  Really loved this article – Please Stop Buying Plastic Crap for Kids – when it popped up in my Facebook feed.  I try to either donate the kids’ toys or to gift them to neighbors through BuyNothing, so that they don’t end up in landfills – but it’s a good reminder that if the stuff doesn’t come into the house in the first place, there’s no need to worry about what to do with it when the kids inevitably get bored.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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First things first: happy Labor Day to my American friends!  I hope you all have something great planned to close out summer.  Fun story: as some longtime readers may know, I majored in Industrial and Labor Relations in college.  By Labor Day, we’d already be back on campus and while most of the colleges and major programs at Cornell didn’t do anything to celebrate the day – it was class business as usual – the ILR School would close early and throw a picnic, where there would be hot dogs and hamburgers, a union song singalong (Solidarity Forever was my favorite) and speakers, with the keynote address usually given by someone high in the ranks of international union leadership.  Solidarity forever, the Union marches on!

Anyway, this year – what I really wanted to do was go up to New York to visit my family.  I haven’t been back since last Christmas and it’s really beginning to feel like too much time has gone by between visits to my grandmother.  (I will do a better job with this in 2020.)  But when I looked at the calendar, it just couldn’t be done.  I had a court appearance on Friday, and the kids are expected at school bright and early tomorrow for a “welcome back open house.”  (The official first day is Wednesday.)  So we decided as Plan B to do some local adventuring.  On Saturday morning we drove over to Lake Burke for a hike; it had been awhile since we hit the trails at all, and even longer since we were back at this park, which is a family favorite.  Steve and I used to circumnavigate the lake before the kiddos joined us – it’s about 5.5 miles.  Now we hike segments, and this weekend we did a different one than we usually did.  There were several families out on the lake in kayaks and canoes, and Steve and I both found ourselves eyeing them jealously, so we decided a paddle is definitely in order, and soon.  On Sunday we hung around the neighborhood – rode the trolley to the waterfront, ate lunch at our favorite local pizza joint, and biked to the playground.  The only thing we didn’t manage was the pool.  Today – we’d been hoping to spend the day at Lake Anna, swimming and kayaking, but when Steve googled for directions he discovered that there has just been a harmful algae bloom, and no one is allowed in the water.  Gross!  So we’re planning a paddle in the District instead, at our old favorite spot – Fletcher’s Cove.

Reading.  I had a busy reading week – yay!  Spent the bulk of the week working my way through The Tenth Muse (in print) and Daisy Jones & the Six (on audio – which I definitely recommend).  But at some point midweek, I decided to sit down with one of my favorite art books, Summer Places, featuring Simon Parkes’ paintings of Long Island and New England, and read it cover to cover.  I’d flipped through it before but never read Angus Wilkie’s wonderful essays – about the plein air painting tradition and the summer communities in the Hamptons, Cape Cod, and coastal Maine.  It was a quick read and then I was back to my regularly scheduled reading.  Finished up the two I had on the go, then turned my attention to Louise Penny’s first Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, Still Life, which my aunt had been pressing me to read.  Finished it last night and loved it!  Now I’m trying to finish up a volume of poetry about gardens, which I’ve been picking at all summer, then it will be back to the library pile.

Watching.  I’m pleased to report that Steve and I actually finished Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, last night!  It only took us, what a month?  Steve blames our current state of parenting-induced exhaustion – not the movie itself.  There’s some good watching coming up, too – as new seasons of The Good Place and The Great British Bake-Off are set to drop on Netflix soon (or already have, don’t @ me).

Listening.  Most of my listening last week was done on Audible, as I tried to finish off Daisy Jones before the Metro opens (now they’re saying September 9th – sigh; there’s still a lot of construction around the station, and I check for progress every day).  Once I bid goodbye to Daisy, Billy, Camila, Karen, Graham and the gang, I went back to podcasts – needed something more bite-sized.  My podcatcher is always out of control, and it gets worse when I’m listening to an audiobook, so expect this category to be all podcasts, all the time, while I try to get nominally caught up.

Making.  Since grilling is required over Labor Day weekend, we made a big burger dinner on Saturday evening.  Steve and I have been loving Beyond Burgers lately – Peanut likes them too, but Nugget doesn’t, which is kind of a bummer.  He’ll come around.  I also made a batch of rice and beans, and have more food prep on the agenda for later today, after we get off the water.

Blogging.  August reading recap coming to you on Wednesday – it’s a long one, thanks to vacation reading – and a PNW lighthouse hike on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  I’m just going to leave this here:

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Mondayyyyyyy.  Guys, it is the Monday-est of Mondays: a post-vacation Monday.  As you already know if we’re friends on Instagram, we spent last week in the Outer Banks – in Duck, NC – and it was a week of soaking up sun (and some rain), jumping in the clean salty Atlantic waves, digging moats and building sand castles, and reading books on our incredible deck overlooking Currituck Sound.  I’ll do a whole post on it – but it was wonderful to get away from it all and spend some time together as a family.  We realized that this trip was actually the first weeklong vacation we’ve done as just the four of us, since either of the kids were born.  We’ve slipped away for the occasional weekend getaway here and there, but anytime we’ve actually gone away for a full-length vacation, it’s been with family, friends – or both.  This was long overdue.  And while Steve had to work every day that we were at the beach, and I worked most nights after bedtime (total bummer) it was still a much-needed escape.  We hit Duck Beach every day from Monday to Friday, and on Saturday – dreary and rainy – we drove to Roanoke Island and visited the North Carolina Aquarium.  Our “turnover day” was Sunday, so we packed up the car and returned the keys to the beach house at zero dark thirty, and were back in northern Virginia by lunchtime.  We dove right back into regular life on Sunday afternoon – I cleaned the kitchen and took the little dude to a friend’s birthday party – and now there’s a loooooong week of patchy childcare looming.  But at least next weekend is Labor Day, and then – back to school!  I love summer, but I’m sort of ready.

Reading.  Finally, a busy reading week to report – thanks, vacation!  With Steve working and the kids just wanting to hang around the beach house and play most mornings, I actually churned through quite a few books this week.  First up, I finished Red, White & Royal Blue, and loved it.  As I wrote last week, the writing was perfectly serviceable, but it was really the story that shone – and it did shine.  I’m still thinking about it nearly a week later.  Next, I powered through the rest of the Katherine Mansfield stories I was reading for The Classics Club; as is the case with short stories – for me at least – some were winners but quite a few were duds.  Next up, a pressing library deadline demanded that I read Whisper Network, which is usually a recipe for not liking a book – but I loved this one.  Spent an inordinate amount of time tapping out text messages to my work friends, insisting they all go get a copy right now.  Finally over the course of Saturday evening and on our drive back from the beach, I tore through the latest Lady Georgianna mystery – always a winner for me – and ended the weekend over the earliest pages of The Tenth Muse – another library deadline, but I am really excited about this one, too.  It was an excellent week of vacation reading, all told.

Watching.  The kids have discovered that there are more Despicable Me movies and they. are. hooked.  We haven’t figured out a way to stream Despicable Me 2 yet, but they are watching the first and third in rotation and they’re OBSESSED.  I can now quote both movies at length and… I’m sort of embarrassed, but I figure I’m among friends here… I have to admit – I really kind of enjoy the Minions.

Listening.  Very little listening, actually.  Because the kids were in the car with me anytime I went anywhere this week, Daisy Jones & the Six was suuuuuuuper not happening.  I’ll get back to it this week – and maybe finish?  Anyway, all we listened to was the Decemberists, because the kids love The Mariner’s Revenge Song (#momoftheyear) and I got through about half of a The Mom Hour “More than Mom” episode on library memories while folding laundry and packing the kids’ clothes on Saturday night.

Moving.  Well, not much official exercise – or any, really.  I packed my running shoes in hopes of banging out a couple of runs in Duck, but it didn’t happen.  I was always either parenting, working, or collapsed with exhaustion.  So hopefully this week.  But it was an active week, with lots of time spent chasing the kids around the surf, pulling the little red wagon loaded with beach gear, digging holes in the sand until my arms were sore, and running up and down the four flights of stairs in our beach house multiple times a day.

Making.  I did some vacation cooking – picked up fresh seafood from Dockside ‘n Duck and made fish tacos one night, and crab and shrimp pasta another night.  The fish tacos were a hit but the pasta, not so much.  (Lots of crab shells.)

Blogging.  Another book review coming atcha on Wednesday – those Katherine Mansfield stories I mentioned above.  And then more Pacific Northwest recaps on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  Can I talk about school supplies for a minute?  We did most of our shopping before leaving for the beach, because I figured if I left it for afterwards, everything would be picked over.  This was the first year I was buying a backpack for one of the kids; their school requires the early childhood classes – preschool through kindergarten – to carry matching tote bags with the school crest.  But as a big first grader, Peanut is backpack eligible, so off we trotted to Pottery Barn Kids.  And man – their selection!  I figured I was going to have a fight on my hands with Peanut wanting one of the backpacks with licensed characters, but she trotted right up to an Outer Space themed backpack and declared that she wanted that one.  It’s a super cute and sturdy backpack and I’m kind of charmed by it, plus my nerd heart is singing to see her with her space theme.  I’ve spent a lot of the summer having anxiety over both kids’ experiences in their next grades, but this little backpack is getting me… dare I say it?… a little bit excited for fall.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

 

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Happy (almost) Peanut’s birthday, friends!  I can’t believe she’s almost seven – where does the time go?  Birthday festivities started early – Saturday was a low-key neighborhood day and we mostly just bummed around the house.  Peanut didn’t get out of jammies all day – that’s the birthday relaxation spirit at work.  Nugget and I did manage to slip out for a library run; the stack is getting out of control again, and he brought home his very first James Patterson novel.  (I’m so… proud?)  It’s a kids’ chapter book about a robot that goes to school and I have no illusions that we are actually going to stick with it long enough to finish it, but I always just go with it when he wants to check a ridiculous book out of the library, because I figure, hey, it helps with the circulation numbers.  Anyway!  When it’s almost your birthday and you love all things ocean, you naturally have to hit the aquarium, so that’s what we did on Sunday.  Sharks were the big hit this time, because of course.  I ended the weekend with some work – blah.  But better to get it over with than to have it hanging over my head as I start a new week.  And now – off we go, y’all.  Hope it’s a great one for you.

Reading.  Very slow reading week around these parts.  The only “book” I finished all week was the summer issue of Slightly Foxed, which I figured I should get through before the fall issue is dispatched.  Otherwise, I spent most of the week not reading Stories by Katherine Mansfield.  It was just one of those weeks.  Mansfield’s writing is extraordinary, but I was bogged down in work almost every evening, or just too mentally exhausted from switching my brain back and forth from parenting to work to parenting to work.  On Saturday I started Red, White & Royal Blue, despite not being done with the Mansfield stories, and got sucked into the story – I guess a light and frothy romance was what the doctor ordered.  (The writing is fine – nothing earth-shattering, but perfectly decent – but even just a few years ago, I can’t see a story like this getting written, so it feels really fresh and I’m delighted to be reading it.)  Hoping that next week I will be able to report to you that I finished the Mansfield.

Watching.  Well, we still haven’t finished Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  So, please, no one tell me what happens.  But the kids recently discovered Despicable Me 3, and I have watched it in snippets so much this week that I think I’ve probably seen the entire movie about three times now.  Please send wine.

Listening.  Not much listening, since I was working remotely most of last week.  I switched back to Daisy Jones and the Six and listened to about an hour of that last week; I’m approximately three hours from the end now.  Not sure when I’m going to finish, but it’s definitely engaging.  The story isn’t captivating me like it has so many others, but the audio production is just wonderful.  I’m definitely glad I chose to do this one on audiobook, even if it is taking longer than it otherwise would.  It’s worth it.

Making.  No making.  Unless you count the nervous breakdown I was working on all last week, between the kids being home and in my grill and being buried under a mountain of work.

Moving.  Hyperventilating is moving, right y’all?

Blogging.  Review of Silas Marner coming atcha on Wednesday, and the Pacific Northwest recaps continue on Friday – finally in the kayaks!  Check in with me then.

Loving.  I know I am always waxing rhapsodic about my neighbors on here.  We have just gotten lucky over and over again, in almost every house we’ve lived in, for years.  And I know I say this with every neighborhood, but I think this neighborhood is the best yet.  The other night, I was sitting in the kitchen, working (what else?) and there was a knock at the door.  I scrambled to answer it and there stood our neighbors, with a watering can full of freshly picked flowers from their garden.  They handed it to me and said, simply, “Thank you for being our neighbors.”  SOB, you guys!  I just love them.  It’s so good to stick my head out of the back window and shout across the fence at people who adore us.  I’ve been starting to get a bit weepy over the fact that this house and this neighborhood are temporary waypoints, and our next-door neighbors will be what I miss the most when we do eventually move on to our forever house.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Sigh.  You know how some weekends are wonderful and some are not?  This weekend was… not.  I don’t know if Mars is in retrograde or it’s a full moon or both or neither, but this was one of those weekends in which the kids were at each other’s throats from sun-up on Saturday to sun-down on Sunday.  We didn’t go more than half an hour of daylight without a tantrum, a screaming fight (or fistfight) or both… all. weekend. long.  Add to that the fact that I had to work both days – I have a boatload of deadlines next week and I’m out of commission at a client site for two days.   And Friday was the last day of camp, and none of our babysitters were available, so Steve and I are staring down the barrel of three weeks with basically no childcare.  Is it time to go back to school yet?  Sorry to be so glum, guys.  It wasn’t all bad – there were a couple of bright spots, including a walk to the waterfront and a stop by Old Town Books; delicious handmade pasta at a new-to-us restaurant; and a cool summer art installation at the Torpedo Factory (pic above) – I love art that incorporates natural elements, so this was very much my jam.  But that’s about all I can say in this weekend’s favor.  It just wasn’t our day(s).

Reading.  It was another slow reading week, despite what it looks like here.  I spent the entire workweek over Silas Marner – like Mrs. Dalloway, I loved it, but between parenting, commuting, and evening work – it took me awhile to get through it.  To Kill a Mockingbird: a Graphic Novel went faster; I found it on an endcap at the library and devoured it in less than twenty-four hours.  I also tore through Mosses and Lichens, a new collection of poetry that I picked up at Old Town Books, in one sitting – that’s probably not the best way to read poetry, but I have tried to slow down my reading speed and I just can’t do it.  Ended the weekend with Stories, by Katherine Mansfield – another one to tally up on the Classics Club Challenge.  With another busy week ahead, I am predicting the same sort of reading pattern next week, too.

Watching.  Instead of working on a brief, like I should have been doing, I had a glass of wine and watched most Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, on Sunday night.  We made it to about 45 minutes from the end, so will probably finish tonight.  I’m sure I’ll regret slacking later, but it’s always nice to spend time in the wizarding world.  (I still wish JKR had told this story via novels, though…)

Listening.  I needed a break from sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, so I put Daisy Jones & the Six on pause and went back to podcasts for the week.  Had a lovely time over quite a few, catching up on One Great Book (the new short-form podcast from Modern Mrs. Darcy – I don’t listen to What Should I Read Next? because I don’t care for long-form interview podcasts, but OGB is just my speed), The Slightly Foxed Podcast (loved the gardening episode!), and The Book Riot Podcast.  Highlight of the week was Jeff and Rebecca geeking out about The Da Vinci Code for over an hour.  It was a gold mine of quotable moments, including “Murderous, but affable!” – “Hey baby, wanna decode my cryptex?” – and “You can extend your life capacity by like nine years by just never going down to the docks.”  They had me laughing for two full commutes.

Moving.  Well, I typed so much that I broke my laptop, so I guess you can say I moved my fingers.  That’s it, though.  I’m craving a run, a good hike, and a sweaty barre class – in that order.

Making.  Work product, work product, work product.  All I did this week was work and parent.  No fun cooking, no crafts, nothing.  Life has been very dull on this front for weeks now.

Blogging.  I have a fun week ahead for you – a garden to-do list for August (it’s a looooooong one) on Wednesday, and the first of a couple of PNW hiking recaps on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  If you’re in NoVA, do check out Mia’s Italian Kitchen!  We were wandering around the waterfront area on Saturday afternoon, intending an early dinner at our local pizza joint, when Nugget stopped short in front of Mia’s and said, “I want pasta!”  We thought about it for a hot second and realized we all wanted pasta.  It was delicious!  We’ve walked by Mia’s so many times, always saying “We need to check this place out sometime.”  I’m so glad we finally did.  I had pasta pomodoro with fresh basil, and it was fabulous.  I want another bowl right. now.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Wow – somehow, it’s August already.  Only a month left of summer!  It’s flying by, seriously.  We were looking for a low-key neighborhood weekend, and we mostly had that.  It started a little early – sort of – when Steve and I took an extended lunch break on Friday and snuck off to watch the kids perform in the annual camp talent show.  Peanut told jokes this year, and she was great!  Nugget and his “class” performed an adorable rendition of “Baby Shark” (doo doo doo doo doo doo) – sorry if I’ve now caused that song to be stuck in your head forever, but what can I say?  Misery loves company.  Even though we left the kids at camp for the afternoon and headed home to do some work to close out the week, it felt like an early start to the weekend.  Saturday was a quiet day – we just hung around the house in the morning and hit the pool in the afternoon.  I slipped out for a grocery run, but other than that, we spent the whole day within two blocks of the house, and it was wonderful.  Sunday was mostly more of the same, although Nugget and I did a little running around in the afternoon – a birthday party at Michael’s (the kids did unicorn crafts, and it was both adorable and extremely hard work for the parents) followed by a library run.  Ended the weekend as I always do – curled up on the couch with a book.  I could use one more day, but I’ll take what I had and be happy with it.

Reading.  Pretty good reading week, for once this summer!  It was almost all back-loaded toward the end of the week, but hey – I’ll take it.  I finished up On the Come Up on Wednesday, then read G. Willow Wilson’s memoir of her conversion to Islam and marriage to an Egyptian man, The Butterfly Mosque, from Thursday to Saturday.  Over the course of Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I tore through Pies and Prejudice – still having such a lovely time with my second time through the Mother-Daughter Book Club series.  Finally, I decided to knock another book off my Classics Club list, and picked up Silas Marner.  I’ve read Middlemarch, George Eliot’s door-stopping magnum opus, a few times – but never took on any of her other works.  I’m just a little ways into Silas Marner, but already enjoying it.  Eliot can really set a provincial English scene.

Watching.  Nothing, really – snippets of whatever the kids were watching on their screens, and of course, watching them like a hawk in the pool, as always.  When I’m between shows this tends to be a boring category.  Sorry about that…

Listening.  A little of this, a little of that.  I’m about halfway through Daisy Jones & The Six on audio, listening during my commutes.  Really good!  The full-cast audio production is outstanding and I am loving the story.  The best part is the relationships between the female characters – Daisy and Simone, Daisy and Karen, Karen and Camila…  So that’s in the car, and around the house I’ve been listening to Fireside Collective again – trying to decide if I should snag tickets to see them at Appaloosa Fest later this month.

Making.  Not much.  I’d intended to do a bunch of batch cooking this weekend, but all I ended up getting through was the red lentils that were supposed to be the basis for a taco “meat” experiment I was planning to try.  I had a long list of food prep to do, but didn’t end up getting through any of it.

Moving.  Another week with only one run – gotta do better.  It’s just hard to fit in around work, commuting, parenting – all of that.  I know I deserve the movement, but making it happen is another story.

Blogging.  July in books coming atcha on Wednesday, and the next PNW recap on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  I have spent several summers trying to find the perfect reef-safe, mineral-based, all natural sunscreen that actually works, and I think I may have finally hit on something I like – Goddess Garden mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin.  It’s a lotion – I’m trying to get away from sprays – but it smooths on easily and dries sheer, unlike many other mineral sunscreens.  And best of all, the whole family can use it.  The kids actually don’t mind being slathered with this stuff, where they’ll shout about Alba Botanica or (shudder, but Steve still uses it) Coppertone.  I still want to pick up some Blue Lizard to try with them before we hit the beach later this month, but I’m really glad to have finally found something that seems to work.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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