Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Gooooooood Monday to you, bookworms!  What’s the weather like where you are?  We’re having a SNOW DAY here – the first of the school year.  It started snowing on Saturday around dinner time, came down all through the night and all day on Sunday, and I don’t know how many inches we ended up with, but suffice to say: it’s a LOT.  Especially for our area, which never handles snow particularly well (even though we usually get one decent-sized snowfall a year, sometimes more).  The kids had a ball playing in it yesterday – we made our rounds of the playgrounds in the morning, where we discovered that Nugget’s new ski jacket is extremely slippery.  He was FLYING off the slides and catching air before landing in the snow piles.  It was pretty hilarious, and as you can imagine, he thought it was awesome.  In the afternoon, Nugget and I went back outside to play with a border collie that our next-door neighbor had borrowed from a friend; we spent a good hour running around our alley, throwing a tennis ball, and chasing after the doggo.  The rest of the weekend was a lot calmer – Nugget and I rode bikes to the library on Saturday afternoon (where we hung out with the children’s librarian, who babysits for us from time to time) and I squeezed in a few hours of work.  Pretty standard stuff – but THEN CAME SNOW.


Reading.  A good reading week!  I finished The Time In Between on Tuesday and enjoyed it, although it was quite long and I did wish the author would’ve gotten to the spy parts a bit more promptly.  Then – library deadlines beckoning – I quickly turned to I’ll Be There For You, the new cultural history of Friends.  It’d been forever since I’d seen the show, but now I’m craving a re-watch.  Back to the library that went, and I returned to The Nine Tailors, which I’d started last weekend – finally finishing it, and turning to another book on a deadline: The Go-Between, a classic I’ve been meaning to check off my list for ages.  Just started it, so we’ll see if it lives up to the hype in my head.

Watching.  Nothing at all, unless you count bits of The Incredibles ii while cuddling Nugget to sleep on the couch on Sunday evening.  I did watch the scene in which Jack-Jack wrestles with a racoon, which is my favorite scene in the entire Incredibles franchise (or possibly my favorite scene of any Disney movie, ever – I always laugh until I cry, especially at the racoon’s face when Jack-Jack bursts into flames).

Listening.  I’ve been on a book podcast bender this week, so mostly catching up on the New Year’s episodes of my favorites – The Book Riot PodcastFrom the Front PorchThe Read-Aloud Revival and more.  Tossed in a little Decemberists here and there, too – just skipping around from album to album and listening to the songs I fancy in the moment.  I got the new Decemberists vinyl, Traveling On, for Christmas and I need to listen to that one of these days.

Making.  What with spending several hours in the snow on Sunday, there was only one thing that sounded good for dinner – chili.  I made a vegan version which was light on calories but heavy on warmth, comfort and vegetables – two kinds of beans, wheat berries, gardein “taco meat” I’d made and frozen a few weeks ago, peppers, tomatoes, and a whole bunch of kale and cilantro.  Served with plain vegan yogurt and a few crumbled tortilla chips – perfect.  I have a big tub full of leftovers and I’ll be packing some good lunches this week.

Moving.  Nothing formal, but Sunday was an active day!  Between walking to multiple playgrounds, running around in the snow, toddler-wrangling and dog-chasing, I was beat by the end of the night.  I also did some sprints on the soccer field, because how often are you all alone on a snow covered soccer field?

Blogging.  It’s a bookish week!  I’m sharing Parts I and II of my three-part reading retrospective on Wednesday and Friday.  I had a great year in books, so do check in with me then.

Loving.  I forgot how much I like Leinenkugel’s grapefruit shandy!  I usually only buy it in the winter, and I grabbed a twelve pack last week at the grocery store.  I’m the only one who drinks it, so it will take me a few weeks to get through it, but I sure am enjoying the journey.  So citrusy and refreshing!

Asking.  What are you reading this week?




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Happy 2019, friends!  It’s been a minute since I did one of these posts, hasn’t it?  The beginning of the year has been beyond hectic.  As you know, we spent Christmas at my parents’ house in upstate New York.  It was a wonderful week, full of family and friends and lots of fun.  We headed back to NoVA on New Year’s Day (with a stop in Baltimore to visit the aquarium – our new strategy for bribing good behavior on long car rides, #winning).  No sooner had the traveling circus rolled back into Old Dominion than I turned around and headed out again – this time, to Miami for a three day business trip.  Before you get jealous, don’t.  I was working in a warehouse in the industrial district, putting in 13-hour days, and the picture above – of a sunrise run on the beach – was literally the only hour of fun I had the entire time I was there.  I got home late on Friday night and have never been so relieved to return to grey skies and bare tree branches.  We spent most of the weekend puttering around at home – I cleaned the kitchen thoroughly on Saturday morning, then took the kids to the library for about four hours while Steve started on a toy-culling project (shhhhh).  On Sunday, we wandered around Mount Vernon and continued straightening up around the house, and Nugget and I made a Wegmans run.  All pretty standard stuff – but it felt good to get back to routines and familiarity after traveling for two weeks straight.


Reading.  It would be too hard – too many pictures to upload at once! – to go back to Christmas week, so let’s just go with this past week, shall we?  I began 2019 in Blackheath, suitably confused as to who killed Evelyn Hardcastle all those times.  It was a totally bonkers book, unlike anything I’d ever read before, and I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it per se, but I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something really off the wall.  From Blackheath I went to Spain and Morocco in the 1930s – a bit of a shift, there.  I’ve been meaning to read The Time In Between for awhile now.  It’s good, but kind of on the long side.  I’ll probably finish it today.  Meanwhile, at the same time, I’ve been dipping a toe into the winter selection for the Tea & Tattle Book Club – Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Nine Tailors.  I love Lord Peter Wimsey, and I haven’t read this one yet – I’m just at the beginning, but can already tell I’m going to adore it.

Watching.  As usual, very little.  On Wednesday night, I did turn on the TV at 10:00 p.m. when I got back to my hotel room and finally was able to order room service – told you not to be jealous; it was not a glamorous trip to Miami.  I was so beat that even a book seemed like too much – and that rarely happens to me.  Anyway, The Office was on Nick @ Nite, so I watched a few episodes.  Side note: when did Nick @ Nite start showing series that I’ve actually seen?  The only time I ever watched regularly was in high school, while babysitting, because I tried never to fall asleep until the parents got home (and let me tell you, that was a challenge when I babysat for the kids of our party animal neighbors who would regularly stay out until 2:00 a.m. or later).  And it was usually I Dream of Jeannie, and I would pop popcorn and LOL at what an OLD show it was, with OLD people, and anyone who watched it must have been OLD too.  And now Nick @ Nite is showing The Office, which I guess makes ME old.

Listening.  A little of this and a little of that.  Some Decemberists – I had a craving to hear Rusalka, Rusalka / Wild Rushes, which is my favorite song from the new album, over and over and over again on the plane back from Miami, so I did that.  Other than that, assorted and sundry podcasts.

Making.  A batch pomodori al forno, thanks very much to my mom’s dear bestie, who served it to us at an appetizer party on the Friday after Christmas and then generously shared the recipe.  I haven’t tasted my own batch, though, because I’m saving it to take to book club on Wednesday (you’re welcome, ladies!).

Blogging.  Still playing catch-up from 2018 – I have my December reading recap coming to you on Wednesday, and then a final accounting of 2018 goals on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  It’s JANUARY!  I suppose that this makes me a grinch, but – anyone else really relieved when the holidays are finally over?  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but it’s a LOT of noise and bustle and activity and rich food.  I enjoy every minute, but this extreme introvert always winds up exhausted, overwrought, and just ready to get back to daily life.  I invariably find myself wildly relieved and really looking forward to giving my house a good sweep-and-dust, get back to healthy eating, organize myself at work, and shuffle the kids back to school.  My relief was a bit delayed this year, since I had to make the aforementioned trip to Miami, but now I’m finally able to breathe, scrub my kitchen sink, and stuff my fridge full of kale salad.  It feels great.

Asking.  How was your New Year’s?  And what are you reading?

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I know, I know, I haven’t recapped the actual holiday yet – next week!  But what I really want to show you is the stack of books I unwrapped on Christmas morning – because, to be honest, that’s always what I want to know about other people’s holidays: what books did you get?  Isn’t that terrible of me?  Oh, well.  Here’s what I received…

From Steve:

  • Drawn From Memory and Drawn From Life, both by E.H. Shepard and Slightly Foxed Editions No. 44 and 45.  I thought I had all the SFEs I wanted, then they rolled out two new releases I simply had to add to my collection, just in time for Santa to swing by Hoxbury Square, London, and toss them in the sleigh.  For those of you scratching your heads over E.H. Shepard’s familiar name – he’s the illustrator behind the classic depictions of Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • The House at Pooh Corner and The Complete Poems for Christopher Robin, both by A. A. Milne, in gorgeous Folio Society editions.  I’ve already got Winnie-the-Pooh in the same edition and these are going to be a beautiful addition to my children’s classics shelf.
  • Hons and Rebels, by Jessica Mitford.  Santa was shopping my Amazon wish list!  It was funny, because I had just discussed Hons and Rebels with my friend Susan over lunch, not two weeks before Christmas, and she was telling me how wonderful it is.  It was probably already winging its way to Steve for wrapping by then!
  • The Common Reader and The Second Common Reader, by Virginia Woolf.  Woolf isn’t normally my cup of tea, try as I do to like her experimental style.  But these books of her essays about authors, reading, and books sound great, and I added them to the Amazon wish list just in time for Santa’s snooping.
  • A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book, by Philip Rhys Evans.  My first reaction to seeing this in the Slightly Foxed catalogue was a decided “meh,” but then I read the delightful and hilarious snippets and snatches that formed the little book’s preview, and I was completely charmed.  I look forward to laughing over this book in the very near future.
  • In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor.  It’s a very Mitford Christmas for me, apparently – I have been reading Nancy’s Christmas Pudding, received Jessica’s memoir (above) and will also get to peek into Debo’s correspondence.  I find the Mitfords absolutely fascinating, and Patrick Leigh Fermor is an illustrious figure in his own right, of course, so I can’t wait to tear through this.
  • A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt.  I’ve got a weakness for diaries and primary source materials that breathe life into different eras – an ongoing obsession since I first pulled L. M. Montgomery’s five volumes of diaries off my grandmother’s bookshelf and curled up with them in her overstuffed armchair, many years ago.  These were another Amazon wish list item, and I’ve been not-so-secretly admiring them over on Jennifer’s blog and Instagram.  I’m excited.
  • Tartine Bread.  I always tease Steve that his cookbook gifts are half self-serving – because while I’ve been wanting Tartine Bread for years, and especially lately since I finally learned how to bake bread somewhat reliably for myself, let’s be honest: he’ll be the one eating most of the results.  But y’all?  I’m going to enjoy this book.

From my mom:

  • Whiskey in a Teacup, by Reese Witherspoon.  I probably wouldn’t have bought this for myself, but I’m sure excited to have it – so thanks, Mom!  My BFF Rebecca really enjoyed it and kept texting me snippets of Lady Reese’s wisdom – especially the part about how children belong at weddings.  (Longtime readers may recall that Peanut was Rebecca’s flower girl last year, and Nugget rocked the cutest gingham bow tie at her wedding.)
  • My Squirrel Days, by Ellie Kemper.  My mom has a tradition of giving me a comedienne’s memoir every Christmas.  I’ve received books by Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, and Lauren Graham – and Ellie is this year’s addition.  I love these smart, hilarious women’s voices and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this.  And when I’m done, Ellie can keep company with her Office co-star Mindy, and the other funny ladies, on my nonfiction shelf.

From my brother:

  • The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, by Kathryn Aalto.  It was a very Hundred Acre Wood Christmas for me, huh?  I actually already owned this one, so I’ll probably exchange it for something I don’t have yet.  But it’s delightful – my brother and sister-in-love clearly know what I like.

There it is – quite a respectable book haul!  Books were really all that I wanted this year, so I was happy to find so many of them under the tree.  And I foresee some really excellent reading this winter…

If you were celebrating a holiday this December, did you receive any books?  Do share!

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Blahhhhh.  It’s Monday and I’m exhausted from the weekend.  There are certain seasons in which I’m happy to just laze around, run errands and straighten up the house on weekends, but the holiday season isn’t one of them.  Steve would tell you I’ve always been a big one for dragging everyone out to make memories and having kids has just exacerbated it.  What can I say?  I want the kids to be able to look back on a childhood full of fun and magic and if that means I have to shout at everybody to put their shoes on, I guess that’s just the price we all have to pay – right?  Anyway.  This weekend was packed full of all the activities we didn’t manage to do last weekend.  On Saturday we pulled out our shiny new National Aquarium membership and spent a few hours with the fish.  My favorite part of the aquarium in Baltimore is the gigantic – multi-story! – indoor reef.  On Sunday, we braved a rainstorm to stand in line for the Christmas trains at the U.S. Botanic Garden.  This was our third year attending (I think? I know we went two years ago, and I’m pretty sure last year, too) and it never disappoints.  My favorite part is always the D.C. monuments and landmarks constructed out of bark and other plant material, but the kids love the trains.  Nugget was delighted to see his friend Thomas chugging along through the exhibit and Peanut thought the North Pole display was magical.  We spent Sunday afternoon working feverishly on a research project for school (due today; we waited until the last minute but we got it done) and I was glad to curl up with Michelle Obama’s memoir and a cold kombucha after tucking the kiddos in for the night.  And now – a new week beckons.


Reading.  Some reading week, all right.  I spent the entire workweek on The House of the Spirits and was about halfway through the 488 pages when I sat down at the computer to renew my library books and discovered there were holds – ouch.  I was sure I’d end up with overdue fines as a result, but somehow I powered through more than 200 pages on Saturday and was able to return it on time.  Yay, me!  Next I checked one off the longtime TBR and read the first volume of Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus.  Finally, after two tough reads, I rewarded myself with a book from my own shelf and one I’ve been looking so forward to – Michelle Obama’s new memoir, Becoming. #myforeverfirstlady

Watching.  Well – I didn’t actually watch anything this week.  I’ve been craving one of my favorite classic 1930s screwball comedies, but I haven’t turned the TV on for myself all week.  (I feel like I get asked all the time how I manage to read as much as I do.  Part of it is being a fast reader, but a lot of it is simply the fact that I don’t really watch much TV at all – I probably average about an hour a week of actual TV watching.  No shade to TV; there’s lots of great material there.  I just mostly don’t gravitate to it.)

Listening.  A hodgepodge, which is pretty usual for me.  Some podcasts – my favorite parenting and home podcasts are putting out their holiday episodes, which I always enjoy – and a little music.  Decemberists, Offa Rex, Christmas carols.  I popped the Shins into the car CD player this week and enjoyed it, but there’s really nothing that comes close to the Decemberists and my beloved R.E.M.

Making.  A menorah and nine glittering “candle fairies” (one shamash fairy and her troupe of eight candles) for Peanut’s school holiday project.  Each kid chose a holiday to research and represent with a paper-based project.  Much to my delight, Peanut picked Hanukkah – although I don’t personally celebrate the holiday, I love absolutely everything about it – and we had fun making a play set with the “candle fairy” paper dolls, a menorah and two dreidels with pockets to house the fairies.  I texted pictures of the project to a good friend who is Jewish, and she adored it.  I’ve also made progress on my own Christmas preparations.  Cards will go out tomorrow (I think) and I’m done with the kids’ shopping.  I have a bit more to get for grandparents and extended family, but I’m getting close.  (Also, why is anything after December 15 considered “last minute” shopping?  Hello, Amazon Prime ships in two days!)

Blogging.  Winter list on Wednesday – gotta keep the momentum going after a great fall.  And I’m recapping our Advent adventures on Friday.  We didn’t do everything I wanted to, but we’ve done a lot.

Loving.  The family-friendly theatre season is on point this year!  Peanut and I are continuing with our tradition of a girls’ date to the theatre in the days leading up to Christmas – we’re seeing Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas this year – but I’m also giving theatre tickets to a few other shows as Christmas gifts.  I don’t know if the kids’ theatre scene in D.C. has always been great and I’m just now figuring it out, but I’m so hype to see some shows this winter.  I’ve loved theatre (both musical and otherwise) since I was in high school, and it’s great fun to share it with Peanut.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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First of all – love and light to my friends who are celebrating Hanukkah this week!  I hope your holiday has been full of joy, family, and miracles both big and small.  Around here, we are deep in preparations for Christmas and the busiest season is busier than ever.  I was out of town for two days last week – in Philadelphia for a client visit with a group of my new coworkers.  The visit went well, we got in some good coworker bonding, and I was even able to squeeze in a quick breakfast with my lovely friend A.M.B.  Also, I have to say – Philly was in the holiday spirit in a big way.  It’s nice to know of an option for a festive seasonal getaway that’s closer than New York.  Anyway – the rest of the weekend was a bit of a dud.  On Saturday we shoved off early and drove to Baltimore to deliver on a promise to take the kids back to the National Aquarium.  When we got there, we discovered it was “dollar days” and admission was $1.00 instead of $40.00 – and the line wound ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BUILDING.  (It’s not a small building.)  I stood in line, huddled in a biting wind, for twenty minutes before we threw in the towel, bought the kids consolation prizes at the giant Barnes & Noble, and drove back home.  Womp, womp.  On Saturday night, Steve and I went out to my firm’s holiday party – which turned out to be a fun night, and it was nice to introduce Steve to my new colleagues.  Our regular babysitter, Bre, was unavailable so we hired the children’s librarian from our local library branch to watch the kids.  She’s sweet and patient and she did a great job, but the kids (Nugget especially) didn’t let her forget that she was NOT BRE, OKAY.  On Sunday, we just bummed around the house.  I worked on some Christmas presents, ran a couple of errands, watched The Incredibles ii with Nugget (who’s fighting off an icky cold) snuggled up on my lap, and did a marathon batch cooking in the afternoon.  Cozy, but I’m looking forward to doing something more festive next weekend.


Reading.  I spent this reading week in South America, as it turns out.  Most of the week was devoted to The Lost City of Z, which was my book club book for December.  Of course, I got halfway through the book before I realized that I was going to be in Philadelphia on book club night.  But as it turned out, everybody cancelled, so the host called off the meeting and we’ll be discussing The Lost City of Z in January instead.  I’m glad not to miss the discussion, because I really enjoyed the book.  I finished it on the train on the way home from Philly and then turned to The House of the Spirits, which I’ve been meaning to read for ages.  It’s slow going, but I’m really liking it – and I think I may have finally found a magical realism novel I can get behind.

Watching.  With the exception of The Incredibles ii a few times, I haven’t watched any TV this week.  I do really enjoy The Incredibles ii, though – especially the scene in which Jack-Jack wrestles the raccoon.  That slays me every time.

Listening.  This and that – lots of podcasts.  The metro work went on all of last week, so I spent quite a few metro rides squished between people and unable to reach my book – bad for my well-being, but good for listening time.  I went through both of the holiday recommendation shows from The Book Riot Podcast, and a bunch of back episodes of other podcasts too.

Moving.  Sadly, not as much as I wanted to.  I was hoping to squeeze in a sightseeing run to the Liberty Bell while I was in Philly, but it didn’t work out.  I did take two walks around the neighborhood of my hotel, though.  Hoping to fit in more fitness this coming week.

Making.  FOOD!  Lots and lots of food.  Sunday afternoon’s batch cooking includes: pasta e fagioli; red lentil dal; sliced snack veggies; gardein taco “meat”; diced fresh mango; steamed tricolor cauliflower and broccoli; roasted tempeh; roasted tofu; plain chickpeas; steamed einkorn; dry-roasted mushrooms; white bean and sundried tomato dip; raw grain-free granola; and cornmeal breakfast cake with chocolate chips (a concession to the kids).  All in all, less than three hours of work, and this will probably get me through two weeks of lunches and dinners.

No one is allowed to complain that there’s nothing to eat.

Blogging.  I have some fun stuff to share with you this week!  My fall list, recapped, on Wednesday – spoiler alert: it was a busy season – and a tour of my Christmas tree, since it’s been awhile, on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  The gift guides on treehugger.com are great this year!  I’ve been perusing this year’s selections – gifts for your favorite zero-waster and vegan (those cross-body bags! gorgeous) – and past years’ offerings as well, like 2017’s gift guide for the outdoorsy type and 2015’s green gifts for kids and gifts that give back to wildlife.  I paid extra-close attention to the vegan gift guide, because about a year ago, I quit purchasing any non-vegan fashion or beauty products.  I’m phasing out the leather accessories and non-vegan beauty products I own now – using them until they wear out or run out – and when it’s time to replace items, I’ve been buying cruelty-free products exclusively.  Several of the items from the vegan gift guide might just make it onto my wish list this season!  Do go check all of the gift guides out, and while you’re there, take a look at this article about seven problems facing the ocean and what we can do about them.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  We had a low-key one, for the most part.  Saturday was the big festive day in our neighborhood – the annual Scottish Christmas parade was in the morning and the holiday boat parade of lights took place after sunset.  We attended… neither of them.  Whoops!  Next year, maybe.  On Saturday morning, I took Nugget to a friend’s house for a play date.  He and his buddy had the best time careening around the house playing Ghostbusters while his buddy’s mom and I drank coffee and traded childbirth and NICU war stories, like ya do.  On Sunday morning, we loaded up the ol’ four-wheel drive sleigh (with apologies to the Griswolds) and drove out to Middleburg to cut down our own Christmas tree.  I’ve had artificial trees practically since I can remember (and even wrote this post about them) so this was A Very Big Deal.  We hiked through misty fields, the kids asked to take every.single.tree home, and when Steve found the one we ended up with, obviously I said “She’s a beaut, Clark!”  I felt like a murderer while Steve was chopping it down and I can neither confirm nor deny the rumors of second-guessing and guilty tears, but eventually I got over it and we drove home very gingerly with our family’s first “real” tree tied on top of the car.  We had friends over in the afternoon – a law school friend of mine and a law school friend of Steve’s, who are now married to one another, long and lovely story – and then rolled up our sleeves and decorated the tree (which is substantially bigger than we realized at the farm, oops).  I spent Saturday evening curled up on the couch enjoying the soft white lights and all of our special, meaningful ornaments – not a bad way to wrap up the weekend.


Reading.  Bit of a slow reading week, although you wouldn’t know it from the three covers above.  I finished The Nature Fix early in the week and spent most of the rest of the week, up until yesterday morning, on Alif the Unseen.  It was good, and a quick read, but so much of my reading time is tied to getting a seat on the Metro and the commuting this past week has been miserable.  (There’s work being done on the yellow line, which is good and necessary, but it’s ruining the blue line.  I hope they finish soon.)  I’ve been generally able to read on the train in the mornings, but in the evenings I’m lucky if I get six inches of space to call my own, let alone a seat.  Anyway, I finally finished Alif on Sunday morning and am now reading my book club book for the month, The Lost City of Z.  The meeting’s Wednesday, so I’m cutting it fine – good thing it’s such a good, exciting book.

Watching.  Steve has standing plans with the guys on Tuesdays, so that’s become my night to watch whatever I want.  Since I don’t know how to get to saved shows on the digital guide (go ahead and laugh) I couldn’t watch The Great American Read this week.  So I took the opportunity to watch the new adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.  It was definitely different from the book, which I mostly didn’t mind (Aunt Beast gets to stay as I’ve imagined her) but I didn’t love the way Mrs. Whatsit was written.  Reese Witherspoon gave a fabulous performance, but the character was written with a mean streak that just wasn’t at all true to the book, and not a good change.  The book version of Mrs. Whatsit is such a loving, constant presence for Meg, cherishing her for who she is and gently guiding her to self-acceptance; the movie version just seemed irritated by Meg the whole time – it made me sad.  Other than that, I really liked it.

Listening.  A slow reading week makes for a full listening week.  I blew through podcast after podcast while I was scrunched up against the door of the Metro train on my way home every night.  The highlight was the Sorta Awesome ladies discussing A Wrinkle in Time, which was a back episode I’d been saving until I finally saw the movie.

Moving.  Not much – I had my first busy week at my new job and everything else took a backseat to juggling a few longer assignments.  I have some travel coming up this week, so I’ll try to find a way to be active on my trip.  Is it weird that I rather enjoy a hotel gym?

Making.  Lists, and checking them twice.  Everyone wants to know what to get Steve and the kids for Christmas.  Steve is no help – he straight-up refuses to make a wish list for himself, so it’s left to me to shop around and think of suggestions to offer people.  I’ve been spending most evenings after the kids go to bed, working on his wish list.  (I’m easy: here’s my Amazon wish list with 200 books on it, and also camping gear.)

Blogging.  November reading recap on Wednesday – another busy month of books! – and a fun ocean-friendly shopping guide I enjoyed putting together on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  Sometimes it seems that every weekend I have a play date or a birthday party for one of the kids.  Their social calendars are so full it would take a four-star general to manage them competently, but I’m doing my best.  I’ve joked that Peanut has a knack for finding the kids with the coolest moms, and it seems Nugget has the same gift.  His friend D’s parents are so cool that I barely noticed three hours pass on Saturday morning.  D’s mom said that her mother-in-law made the point that kids probably gravitate to other kids who have been raised the same way or who come from families with similar philosophies, and that may be why they seem to choose friends with whose parents we get along so well.  I don’t know, but I hope to see a lot more of D’s family, and I sure am glad he and Nugget found each other.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Is it me, or are Mondays after an extra-long holiday weekend just the worst?  You’re getting this post on Monday evening – sorry about that, friends.  I was very slow to get going this morning and just not hype at all about a full adulting day of going to the dentist and then tackling a calendar with multiple meetings and conference calls.  But I got through it and here I sit on the other end, with only four days to go until the weekend instead of five, and I feel like reminiscing.  This past long weekend was a good one indeed.  My parents arrived on Tuesday afternoon after a week in Florida, during which time I sat at my desk and scowled at their pictures on Facebook.  I worked Wednesday, but after that, Thanksgiving was in full swing and we enjoyed every second.  I spent Thanksgiving day cooking – no Turkey Trot for me this year – and I pulled together a feast.  We enjoyed dinner at home and then went to our next-door neighbors’ house for a delicious dessert.  On Friday, we worked off the Thanksgiving calories with a frigid hike at Great Falls – brrrr.  The rest of the weekend was low-key.  Nana and Grandad left on Saturday and we filled our time with the usual – farmers’ market, library, playground and soccer field – and squeezed in another hike on Sunday, after the weather warmed up a bit.  All in all, it was lovely and restful and I feel ready to tackle a busy holiday season now.  And we’re off to the races.

Reading.  In addition to working, cooking, entertaining and hiking, it was a busy reading week.  I finished Angle of Repose in time to send my dad back to the library to return it while I worked on Wednesday (thanks, Dad!).  Still in an effort to stay on top of my teetering library stack, I turned next to Autumn, by Ali Smith – which I liked, but didn’t love.  Around the same time, I finished off the last few articles in the autumn 2018 issue of Slightly Foxed – just in time for the special 60th issue to arrive on my doorstep!  But that will have to wait as I continue to do battle with my library stack.  Next up was Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home, which I absolutely loved – I think it’s going to be one of my highlights of the year.  And now, still in library mode, I’m reading The Nature Fix, which has been on my TBR for awhile now – it’s good, but a bit more sciency than I was expecting or can focus on at the moment.

Watching.  As you can probably guess from the above list of books and other pursuits, not to mention my history – I’m not watching much.  Steve and I did finish off the latest season of The Great British Bake-Off and have decided that we love it just as much, even with the new team running things.  Other than that, nada.

Listening.  Just the odd podcast here and there – an episode or two of Vegetarian Zen and quite a few back episodes of Speak Up for Blue, which is quickly becoming a favorite.  I devoured the interviews with Asha de Vos and Naomi Rose – no surprise there, as both study whales – my absolute favorite animals.

Making.  Lots of making this past week!  The main thing I made was a gigantic Thanksgiving feast, which I will show you on Wednesday.  Everything from “three generations of appetizers” – I made dishes to represent my grandmother, my mother and myself – to a cranberry-apple spice cake with maple cinnamon buttercream and candied cranberries.  I even baked sourdough dinner rolls from scratch (and learned that The Decemberists, in addition to being the greatest band ever, make excellent kneading music).  But the other thing I made this week is even better: I made reservations for a summer vacation adventure that I am beyond excited about.  Steve and I will be escaping for a week without the kids, doing something cold, damp, and possibly a little bit dangerous, and as our friends know, we love things that are cold, damp and slightly dangerous.  So we’re extremely hype for summer 2019.  (We will almost certainly do another vacation with the kids, but one thing at a time.)

Moving.  I had a pretty good week!  On Tuesday morning, I ran the DC Wonder Woman Run virtual 5K (holla, Katie!) – it was tough, as I am seriously out of running shape after not doing much of any running over the last few seasons.  But I knocked it out!  The rest of the week was the usual – hiking and toddler-wrangling.  That is a workout, let me tell you – on Sunday, Nugget and I went to the soccer field and playground, and we ran soccer drills for an hour and then climbed a gigantic rope pyramid.

Blogging.  I will do my best not to flake on you this week.  On Wednesday, I’ve got Thanksgiving pictures coming your way – just a few, as I was busy in the kitchen and using my phone as a Decemberists album-player, not a camera, all day.  And on Friday, either my November reading recap or my November hiking recap – I haven’t decided yet.  Check in with me to see!

Loving.  The kids are at a stage where they both really enjoyed Thanksgiving.  Of course now that it’s over, it’s chopped liver and they’re on to Christmas, but I’m still basking in the glow of the gratitude they expressed over Thanksgiving week.  Their school makes a pretty big deal out of Thanksgiving, especially for the younger kids, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.  My heart was bursting to listen to their little voices talking about being grateful for their family and friends.  Seriously?  I love Thanksgiving.

Asking.  How was your Thanksgiving?  And what are you reading this week?

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