Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Hey, friends.  Happy new week.  How were your weekends?  Mine… SUCKED.  There’s no other word to describe it.  It was just total crap, pretty much from beginning to end.  I have a huge work thing coming up in mid-March, and it is the kind of thing that involves all hands on deck for about a month leading up to it (#vagueblogging) so it’s crunch time.  For the second weekend in a row, I worked until about 11:00 p.m. on Friday – and that was after a week of working looooooong days and not getting home until after everyone in my house was sound asleep already.  Then I worked from 6:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, with just about an hour’s break to put the kids to bed.  I had a brief window of time on Sunday morning in which I didn’t have to work, and I desperately needed to get out on the trail and breathe some fresh woods air, but the rest of my family was not into it and we ended up bumming around the playground instead.  I managed a quick walk to the library to return two books and pick up a hold, seething the entire time.  And then it was back to my computer for Sunday afternoon.  So – yes.  It really, really sucked.

Reading.  ‘Twas a pretty good reading week, even if it was a terrible weekend.  Early in the week I finished The Poisoned Chocolates Case, which was a lot of fun.  Then, in order to knock another off my library stack, I turned to Well-Read Black Girl, a collection of essays by black women writers, activists, playwrights, poets, etc. – about when they first saw themselves in literature.  It was wonderful, and normally the kind of book I would have flown through, but see above re: horrible workweek.  Anyway – over the weekend I started Daniel Deronda.  I am trying this new thing where I read enormous tomes on the weekends and slimmer books on weekdays (while commuting).  I didn’t get very far into Daniel Deronda because, again, see above re: horrible workweek that extended into the weekend, blah.  I’m about 150 pages in as of the writing of this post, and enjoying it.

Watching.  Um, I’m not sure?  I think earlier in the week Steve and I watched a few episodes of Bake-Off, before things got terrible.  And I watched half of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone over the weekend.  Otherwise, I avoided television.  Peanut is back on a Doc McStuffins jag, which I am hoping is short-lived.  On top of the fact that I find Doc’s toys insanely irritating (Doc herself is fine, just her toys make me want to punch the TV) I need Peanut to forget about this jag before she asks for her Doc doll and stuffed toy gang… which I gave away over the summer.

Listening.  Podcasts, here and there.  Since I didn’t get to go hiking over the weekend like I wanted, I listened to a few episodes of The 46 of 46 Podcast to make myself feel better.  It did not work.

Making.  Lots and lots and LOTS of work product, and a clean pantry.  That’s it.  But guys, the clean pantry is so satisfying.

Blogging.  Bookish week coming atcha – what else is new?  I am showing you a new cozy book corner that I set up in my living room on Wednesday, and on Friday, a book review.  (I have two in progress, so we can all be surprised about which one it ends up being!)

Loving.  Um.  I am really, really out of sorts today, so not sure how I can answer this one.  Oh!  Here’s something!  I got a nice new standing desk at work.  My old one was really old, and the hydraulics just stopped working one day.  It was insanely hard to heave it up and down, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much easier my new one is to operate.  I guess because it’s new?  Anyway, I am really enjoying being able to stand up at will.  I kind of hate the way the standing desk is set up in my office – it looks messy – but it’s worth it to be able to stand.  Sitting is worse than smoking, you guys!

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Happy President’s Day, friends.  If you have today off, I hope you’re out enjoying it!  I’m NOT off work, and actually I have a lot to do, so Sunday Scaries hit hard this weekend.  We didn’t actually do too much; it was a pretty low-key weekend.  Valentine’s Day was a bit of a roller-coaster, thanks to work.  The kids were off school (teacher development day) so I worked remotely, but it was a busy day – we had a huge deadline in one case and I was slamming through my to-do list all day long.  There were some good points: Steve and the kids gave me a gift card for a hot air balloon ride (!!!!!) and I took Peanut out for a girls’ date to the American Girl Store for “Hearts and Hugs: Memories with Mom.”  We had a yummy dinner and craft, and she got a book and a picnic set for her Wellie Wishers – but then we had to rush home so I could keep working.  I finally fell into bed at almost midnight; fortunately, I am not a huge Valentine’s Day person, or I’d have been pretty disappointed.

Saturday was a low-key around-the-house kind of day.  I folded epic amounts of laundry and made a library run – nothing too exciting.  (I mean, library runs are always exciting, but you know what I’m saying.)  On Sunday, the kids had earned a trip to the zoo, so we bundled up and made it there in time for a very short window to see the two adorable clouded leopard cubs.  Most of the animals were cuddled up in their dens, but we did see the zebra, the cheetah, the otters, and my favorite – the elephants – among others.  Didn’t see the lions this time, sadly.  The rest of Sunday was just knocking around the house, folding more laundry, restocking the kids’ school uniforms, the usual.  Next weekend I need some trail time.

Reading.  Quite a week in books!  I was churning through them the past few days.  On Monday, I finished up my re-read of Wish You Were Eyre, the penultimate installment in the charming Mother-Daughter Book Club series – always a delight.  With library deadlines looming over me, I turned to A Man Lay Dead – my first Ngaio Marsh, how can that be? – and loved it.  It was as charming as a murder mystery gets and I found myself laughing out loud at Marsh’s wit more than once.  Next up, The Princess of Cleves.  It might have been a case of right-book-wrong-time, but I was a bit underwhelmed.  The chatty and witty introduction – by Nancy Mitford, who translated the book from its original French – was the best part of it for me.  Although there were little moments, like when one of the characters describes Henry VIII to the titular Princess, concluding with “and he finally died after becoming quite enormous.”  But mostly, it wasn’t for me.  Apparently I was on a royalty kick, though, or just under a lot of library deadlines, because I went from The Princess of Cleves to American Royals.  The premise was a lot of fun and I flew through it – sometimes you just need something silly and not at all taxing, right?  Ended the weekend with The Poisoned Chocolates Case, which I’ve been saving to read around Valentine’s Day.  (It’s not related to Valentine’s Day, but – chocolates.)

Watching.  I’ve stopped trying to keep track of the kids’ jags.  They’re back on Zootopia, and I’ve seen it about three times this week.  It’s not my favorite of their obsessions, but they’ll be back on Harry Potter soon enough. Also: Bake-Off.  Sunday night.  Of course.

Listening.  Podcasts, podcasts, all the podcasts.  Bunch of different things.  And I had the inspired idea to fire up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Audible one afternoon on the way home from school, to end an argument.  (Peanut wanted a podcast and Nugget wanted music.  Audiobook = the perfect compromise.)

Making.  Birthday party invitations for a certain fella who is turning FIVE next month.  Where has the time gone?  He asked for a bowling party, so that’s what we’re doing.  And lucky for me, there was only one bowling-themed option on Shutterfly, so no decision necessary.

Blogging.  I have two fun posts for you!  Themed Reads for February on Wednesday – three historical fiction titles about the African-American experience, in honor of Black History Month – and a very belated trail report from our New Year’s Day hike at Wilson Powell Wildlife Sanctuary in Old Chatham, NY, on Friday.

Loving.  Lamest loving ever, guys, so sorry in advance but – I have to tell you that the thing that has given me more joy than anything else is having no baskets of clean laundry in my room right now.  They are ALL folded and ALL put away.  It’s so much nicer to have a tidy space and I just feel less stressed when I’m not surrounded by chaos.  Given what the work landscape looks like for the next few months, I will take those small victories when I can get them.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Gooooooood rainy Monday morning to you, friends.  First things first: Virginians, today is the deadline for registering to vote before the 2020 primary.  Have you checked your status yet?  If not, you can do so here.  (I was pretty sure I was all set, but it never hurts to be absolutely certain, so I re-checked this morning and yup, registration active.  Now I just have to decide which candidate will be getting my vote on Super Tuesday.)

Okay!  That out of the way, how were your weekends?  Mine was pretty good – not much to report.  On Saturday, we knocked around the neighborhood all day.  Walked down to the waterfront, as we do almost every weekend, and then Peanut and I peeled off and stopped by the new Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that recently opened up in our neighborhood.  (We were going to make it a family outing, but Mr. “I Love Salad” Nugget didn’t want ice cream.)  Peanut had “milkiest chocolate” and I had “rainbow buttermilk frozen yogurt” – both delicious – and we brought home a few pints to enjoy with the boys later.  In the evening, Steve wanted to go out to dinner at Vermilion, one of the fanciest restaurants in town.  I laughed for a good three minutes before I realized that he was serious.  He even made reservations – that’s how serious.  Vermilion is so fancy they don’t even have a children’s menu, but the chef delivered with decadent spaghetti with butter and cheese for the kiddos, and Nugget also ate about a third of my kale salad.  (Don’t worry, I also had ravioli with truffles and 24-month aged Parmesan.)

On Sunday, Peanut and I got dressed in our fanciest blue outfits, picked up my pal Vanessa, and drove out to the wilds of suburban Alexandria for a baby shower.  My work wife Connie is expecting a baby boy this spring and her sister threw an epic “Baby Shark” themed shower – it was adorable, and the highlight (other than seeing the mom-to-be glowing and happy) was definitely the Baby Shark macarons.  Can you even???  The best thing about my job is the group of smart, kind, supportive women I work with – there’s no competition and no backstabbing (which has definitely not been the case at every job I’ve had), just a group of women lifting each other up and helping one another every day.  It’s not an easy job but we have a sisterhood that keeps us all going.

Reading.  After getting off to a little bit of a slumpy start in February, I churned through books last week!  Started the week with A Passage to India, but had to set it aside to knock off Life Among the Savages, which had an impending library deadline.  I read it in less than 24 hours, laughing my head off the entire time.  In fact – as I told my friend Susan – it was that rare book that caused “What’s wrong with that woman?” stares on the Metro, as I read about Shirley Jackson’s hilariously hapless parenting attempts with shaking shoulders and tears streaming down my face.  Susan and I agreed: that’s the mark of a really good book.  Anyway!  I bid a reluctant goodbye to Jackson and family, then turned back to A Passage to India, which I finished on Saturday morning.  The rest of the weekend was devoted to Wish You Were Eyre, the sixth book in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series – such fun.  I’ll finish it tonight and then, I think, I’ll turn to A Man Lay Dead, by Ngaio Marsh.

Watching.  Very little.  One or two episodes of The Great British Bake-Off, as usual.  I never have a rooting interest – all of the contestants are sweet and lovely and I’m always happy for the winner – but Steve and I love-love-love Henry this season.  He’s a literature student! and plays the organ at church! and we want to hire him to babysit our kids!  I was sorry to see poor Jamie go after the second episode, too, because Steve had me rolling with his shouted encouragements – “You did a good job, buddy!  That was a good guitar cookie!”

Listening.  Podcasts, here and there.  Mostly catching up on The Slightly Foxed Podcast, now that I’m up-to-date (sniffle) with Shedunnit.

Making.  Nugget and I baked banana tea bread with almonds and apricots on Saturday morning – yum.  I was flipping through Simply Divine, a collection of recipes from members of our local church, looking for cookies to make, and I came across a recipe for “banana tea bread.”  A few updates to add some mix-ins and I might have a new favorite banana bread.

Blogging.  Part II of January’s reading round-up on Wednesday, and a winter to-do list on Friday.  Do check in with me then!

Loving.  Last week, one of my sorority sisters posted on Facebook a link to an article entitled “Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in an English Village.”  Obviously I had to read it, because obviously.  I laughed until I wept, but you know what?  The advice was really good.  For instance, avoid the village fête at all costs.  “If you enter a town while the fête is happening, you are already dead. The tea urn is filled with poison. The sponge cakes are full of glass. There’s an axe in the fortune telling tent. The coconuts are bombs. It’s like the Hunger Games, but dangerous.”  Also avoid the vicar (“If you are not dead yet, the vicar is obliged to kill you.”); the village shop (“They sell cheese, stamps, tea, and death.”); the gardener (“Their roses are perfect because of all the people under them.”) and basically the rest of the town and all of its inhabitants, too.  Pubs are safe, and so are dogs.  That’s it.   You guys.  Aside from this handy travel guide, which I have re-read several times, Crime Reads is fabulous.  How did I not know about a website devoted to featuring articles about mystery novels?  Bye, y’all, I won’t have time to blog anymore because I’ll be reading the entire back archives.  Just kidding.  Maybe.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Okay, here we go, new week.  Imbolc blessings to all of you, and happy day-after-the-Superbowl and day-after-palindrome-day, and Monday.  Go sports team!  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who was playing in the Superbowl this year until the teams ran out on the field.  I’m not a football fan, but I usually at least know who the two teams in the championship are – not this year.  That’s how checked out I’ve been, between traveling for work and then being super tired and also having to watch the country fall apart.  Anyway!  It was a low-key weekend.  Steve and Nugget had plans to go to an auto show on Saturday, and I had intended to take Peanut out for a girls’ day, maybe to tea at Laduree or the American Girl Store, but she was a hot mess at school all last week so we went to the grocery store instead.  I didn’t want to make it a completely miserable day for her, though, so I told her we could bake something in the afternoon.  She asked for apple pie, so I picked up the ingredients and got everything together.  The kids helped me mix up the pate brisee dough, but then they flaked (see what I did there?) as soon as it went into the fridge to chill.  So I ended up making the rest of the pie myself, which was maybe better, because it came out really well.  Sunday was another dialed down day.  I spent the morning going through some old cooking magazines, ripping out the few recipes I actually wanted to try and then recycling the rest, then took the kiddos to the playground to run off some energy in the afternoon.  Nugget has strep throat, poor guy, but still somehow wants to move at a hundred miles an hour all the time.  He sacked out early, though, and Steve and I ended the weekend with both kids in bed and asleep in the first quarter of the Big Game.  I didn’t make it to the end, either – I never do.

Reading.  Pretty decently busy reading week!  I finished Murder in the White House on Monday – so fun, and I will definitely continue with Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series.  Over the rest of the week, I alternated between How to Do Nothing, which President Obama loved but which was mostly over my head, and The Lager Queen of Minnesota.  After loving J. Ryan Stradal’s first book, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, I had high hopes for Lager Queen, but I felt mostly blah about it.  Finally, I spent the weekend with E. M. Forster’s masterpiece, A Passage to India, which I am loving.

Watching.  All the Harry Potter, still.  The kids are on a major jag and I love it.  Except for when they have “wizard duels” with Lincoln Logs and hit each other in the face.  I don’t love that part.  Steve and I also started series seven of The Great British Bake-Off, and I watched a few Superbowl commercials (“ghost cah!”).

Listening.  Working my way through all the back episodes of Shedunnit, still.  I’m down to five episodes to go and then I’ll be caught up.  Don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when I’m current.  I’ll have to listen to one of the other podcasts on my podcatcher.

Making.  Lots of cooking and baking.  In addition to the apple pie (which really was a huge success – the secret was adding more ice water than Martha Stewart thinks I really needed to) I made a super high protein chili (Impossible ground, black beans and quinoa) and a bunch of crudites for snacking this week.  Yum.

Blogging.  January books coming atcha on Wednesday, so clear your schedules because it’s a long post – I read a lot last month, and if I keep up this pace I’m going to have to start splitting my reading recaps into two posts a la Katie.  And on Friday, a belated look at our post-New Year’s visit to ARTECHOUSE for #AURORAinDC.  It’s not showing anymore, so I’m afraid I’ve missed the boat on alerting you all to something fun you can do next weekend, but I still want to share my snaps because it was a beautiful interactive art show.

Loving.  I try not to brag on my kids in this space, especially as they are getting older and I am more protective of their privacy.  But can I tell you how sweet little Nugget is?  This dear little boy, who when he grows up wants to be a scientist or a bunny and who wanted only one thing from Santa last year – a book about birds – had just one request for his birthday: he wants Hogwarts robes in his house colors.  What house?  You can probably guess, but our happy-go-lucky little fella, who plays with everyone and is always the cheeriest face on the playground, self-identifies as a Hufflepuff.  Of course!  I just love that his sweetness is his defining personality trait, and I love how much he embraces it.  (He takes after his dad, also a Hufflepuff.)  While I’d love some company in Ravenclaw, I am proud of my little badger and his lion sister.

Asking. What are you reading this week?


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Gooooooooood morning, friends.  How were your weekends?  Mine was abbreviated – I got home from my weeklong trial advocacy course late on Saturday night.  (On Saturday morning I had to serve as a witness in one of the mock trials – the trials were on Friday and Saturday and everyone took a turn playing a witness on their off day from actually trying the case; my partner and I requested a Friday trial on the theory that it’s better to just rip the band-aid.)  The course was great and I left with a lot of good ideas, new friends and – most importantly – confidence.  But I am so glad to be home.  I landed back in D.C. at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, and we spent Sunday just kicking around the neighborhood.  Had brunch at Virtue Feed & Grain, one of our favorite local spots, then Nugget and I bundled up and headed off on our usual Sunday round – the library (he biked, I walked) and then the playground.  It was a nice day, but I am still pretty burnt out.  Two weekends in a row with only one day off have been exhausting.

Reading.  Not much book time over the course of the week.  Especially as the week ground on closer to Friday, my trial partner and I were working late into the evenings, prepping our opening and closing statements, our direct and cross examination outlines, and our exhibits for the mock trial we had on Friday.  When I had a second to breathe, I mostly just zoned out.  Earlier in the week, I started The Siren Years, but I wasn’t able to pick it up again until Saturday, when I finished it in the airport while waiting for my flight back to D.C.  On the plane, I started Murder in the White House, the first installment in the “Capital Crimes” series by Margaret Truman (daughter of President Harry S. Truman).  I’m enjoying it so much, as I knew I would – I’ll probably finish it today.  When I left for my trip, I left Madensky Square at home (choosing to travel with just my kindle) and I finally finished it on Sunday evening; it was wonderful.  So – actually not a bad reading week at all, even if my book time mostly came in snatches of a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

Watching.  The same as always – just one episode of The Great British Bake-Off – but it was the final!  I actually cried, I was so happy for the winner.  Other than that, I watched lots and lots and lots of trial skills demonstrations.

Listening.  Lectures, mostly, and skills critiques in my trial advocacy course.  All very useful but not really interesting to most of you, so that’s that.  There were a few episodes of Shedunnit in there, too.  Still loving that.

Making.  An opening statement, and direct and cross examination of witnesses in my mock trial, and many notes from lectures and critiques at my week-long trial advocacy course.  And that’s about it.  No cooking, no crafting, no writing other than work…

Blogging.  Bookish week coming atcha!  I have January’s Themed Reads for you on Wednesday (and I promise February’s will not come on the final Wednesday of the month!) and the final installment in my three-part 2019 reading retrospective on Friday.  And with that, I will finally be ready to leave 2019 behind and dive into 2020.

Loving.  As we wind down our time in our current neighborhood, I am soaking up all the good stuff about it.  I’ve lived everywhere from deep in the country to walkable urban neighborhoods, and while there are good and bad things about each extreme, it’s been a lot of fun to be able to stroll out to the library, the independent bookstore, the playground, the wine bar, and more restaurants than I can count these past few years.  It’s not time to go quite yet – we’re getting there – and while we’re still in our current spot I am making a point to enjoy it.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Hello from the Big Easy.  Laissez le bons temps rouler!  I’m here on business all week – so for those of you who are enjoying a holiday Monday off work right now, I salute you and hope you have a wonderful day, but I’m working and what’s more, I was working yesterday, too.  I’m at a week-long trial advocacy training conference that I know is going to be a wonderful and valuable experience, and I get to explore New Orleans a little bit in my very limited free time, so that’s going to be fun.  I got in yesterday morning at 8:30 a.m. local time – yes, that meant a 6:30 a.m. flight out of D.C.  #yawn.  So far the highlight has definitely been flying in over the bayou.  Wish I could get out and explore it, but that’s definitely not going to happen!  So – anyway – it wasn’t much of a weekend.  On Friday night Steve and I were able to escape for a date night, which was fun, but we mostly discussed our ongoing frustrations with our kids’ school situation, which was not fun.  Saturday was just a bumming around the house kind of day.  Steve spent most of the day hauling things out of the basement.  Long story, but our landlords’ aged and decrepit washing machine overflowed and flooded the basement.  Steve thought: no probs, we’ll just use our own washer that we’ve moved from house to house.  Well!  It didn’t survive the last move, and is even deader than the ancient model that came with our rental.  So, not great, but just the kick in the pants we needed to really apply ourselves to cleaning the basement.  While Steve worked on his portion of the job (hauling, moving, etc.) I spent the day breaking up bickering matches between the kids, who seemed determined to make it reeeeeeeally easy for me to leave on a business trip the next day.  And then – leave I did, at zero dark thirty, and have been holed up in a hotel near the New Orleans convention center in lectures and mock trials ever since.

Reading.  Most of the week was devoted to Madensky Square, which is on its final library renewal.  Deadline ahoy!  It’s proving much better than Magic Flutes, but a slower go.  But rather than hauling a library hardcover along with all of the conference materials (two BIG binders) I had to bring on the plane, I decided to leave it home, and as a result, I wasn’t really all that motivated to churn through it over the week.  So little motivated, in fact, that on Saturday I wandered off and read Wonder Woman, Vol. I: The Just War, by G. Willow Wilson (!!!) instead.  I’ve been looking forward to Wilson’s take on Wonder Woman for ages now, and she didn’t disappoint.  But never fear, friends.  The kindle came with me to the conference, so I’m not short of reading material.  Over the course of my plane ride and dinner on Sunday, I read through Whose Body? – trying to catch up on the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries I’ve not yet read, and this was one of them.  It was good, but not as good as any Wimsey novel featuring Harriet Vane.  Finally – I’m all over the place – after taking leave of Lord Peter, I started The Siren Years, a Canadian diplomat’s wartime diary detailing his posting in London in the late 1930s.  Right up my street.

Watching.  The usual: one or maybe two episodes of The Great British Baking Show.  Also!  Very exciting news, you guys!  A new season of PJ Masks dropped on Netflix!  Okay, maybe not all that exciting for you, and – if I’m being honest – not all that exciting for me either, but certain people with whom I live (when I’m not swanning off to legal conferences) are very stoked about this.

Listening.  The Shedunnit obsession continues apace.  I think I’ve listened to about half of the available episodes so far and I cannot! get! enough!  I’m not even sure I can pick a highlight.  The show is such a great mix of history, literary criticism, and true crime.  I love the way the host, Caroline Crampton, tracks the golden age crime writers’ inspirations by profiling notorious real cases of the day, then loops in a discussion of the books in which the actual crimes and trials are mentioned.  It’s such fun, and I am loving every second.

Making.  Nothing, really, at all.  It was a busy week at work, getting ready for my conference, and made more complicated by home excitement (washing machine roulette!) so I didn’t really have time to do anything creative at all.  Plus, why bother to bake bread or make homemade soup when you’re going to be away all week and the other three people in your household never eat what you make?

Blogging.  I have some resolutions and a general theme for the year on Wednesday, and Part II of my annual reading retrospective on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  Since I suppose it would be cheating to say I am loving Shedunnit for a second time in a row, I have to pick something else.  Think, think, think, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say.  You know what I’m really enjoying right now?  Reading my own books.  I know, you just fell over.  Don’t all get up off the floor at once.  I have been trying for more balance in my reading over the past couple of months, so this isn’t exactly new.  But it’s definitely picking up steam.  I love supporting the library and will never stop borrowing books – don’t worry.  We’re not going too crazy here.  But I have a collection of books I’ve curated to exactly my tastes and I’ve started making a real effort to actually enjoy them.  There’s no reason for them to sit unread on my shelves.  In all of January so far, I’ve only read one-and-a-half library books; all the rest have been from either my physical bookshelves or my kindle.  And I am having so much fun; it turns out, I bought these books for a reason!  Look at me go!

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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While you’d never be able to tell from this picture (which looks COLD!) it was seventy degrees in NoVA this weekend.  Seventy! Degrees! In! January!  Totally wild.  And while I usually freak out about climate change anytime it’s unseasonably warm, this time I tried to relax and remind myself that we have always had one or two midwinter thaws for as long as I’ve lived here.  So we got outside a lot this weekend, and enjoyed every second.  On Saturday, we headed to Great Falls Park for a hike – us and what felt like everyone else in the greater D.C. area.  It was a beautiful day and people were definitely enjoying the park.  We saw plenty of wildlife, though – ducks, cardinals, vultures, geese, and the elusive Peanut-In-Jeans.  Still in search of fresh air, after we got home we walked down to the waterfront, meandered around for a bit, and then took the trolley back up the street and had dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar.  (Steve recently remarked that since we’re moving out of the neighborhood this year, we should make it a point to frequent our favorite spots while they’re still walking distance.  Not that we can’t pile into the car and drive over from McLean or Arlington or Fairfax or Oakton or Great Falls or wherever we land, but it won’t be quite as easy.)

Sunday was even hotter than Saturday.  Nugget fancied another walk to the waterfront, so that’s what we did – coupled with brunch at Mia’s Italian Kitchen.  We passed the rest of the day quietly.  I wrote a letter to my grandmother; cooked up a big batch of cabbage soup with Beyond sausage, white beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes; and baked a sourdough boule in my new bread cloche.  It came out decently well, but I have some practicing to do.  The kids dug in the sandbox and Steve watched football.  A good lazy Sunday to set me up for a week in which I have a deposition scheduled, not to mention a Very Important Meeting.  Wish me luck, guys.

Reading.  It’s been a busy reading week; I was flying through books left and right.  On Monday I turned to my first library books of 2020 – two weeks in; are you impressed?  I liked This is Where You Belong, but to be honest, it felt like a lot of common sense.  And I don’t need help feeling rooted or place-attached – maybe in Buffalo this book would have helped me more, but here in Virginia I’m right at home.  Next I turned to More to the Story and polished it off in a day – I loved it.  A modern, Muslim retelling of Little Women by a wonderful middle-grade writer; what’s not to like?  Next up – back to my own shelves for some nature writing, first with The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2020 and next with The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables.  Loved both, and closed Landscapes very reluctantly.  I ended Sunday by raiding my Slightly Foxed shelf and picking up Country Boy, which I’ve been meaning to get to for some time now.  It should stand me in good stead this week, I think.

Watching.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, again.  The kids are obsessed.  I don’t hate this new jag of theirs!  Peanut is worried that Hagrid is going to die, though.  A kid in her class told her that he does.  Steve and I both told her the kid is wrong (she likes spoilers, likes to know what’s going on) but she’s still anxious about him.

Listening.  Podcasts, this week, just a few.  I caught up with The Book Riot Podcast and listened to a couple of episodes of Speak Up for the Ocean Blue.  But for the highlight, you’ll have to scroll down to “loving.”

Moving.  Hike on Saturday, run on Sunday morning, lots of walking all weekend.  Still a weekend warrior; I need to get back in the habit of gymgoing during the week.  My office has a lovely gym facility.  But last week I was out of the office most days, in depositions.  And this coming week I have a very busy Monday, a deposition on Tuesday, and the rest of the week isn’t looking any likelier.  I just have to find the time, and it sounds like excuses, but it really is hard to find an hour during the day (and it does take at least an hour, between going downstairs, changing, working out, showering, changing, and getting back to my desk).

Making.  Well, mostly, I told you up above – I made cabbage soup, sourdough boule, and a letter to my grandmother.  Three very satisfying things to create.

Blogging.  Thoughts about resolutions on Wednesday – spoiler alert, if you don’t make resolutions, you definitely don’t keep them and mostly don’t achieve anything notable at all.  Or at least I don’t.  And on Friday, the first in my three-part reading retrospective, in which I dissect lots of data about my 2019 reading in the most nerdily navel-gazing post of the year.  It’s gonna be lit.

Loving.  I am so excited about a new-to-me podcast I recently stumbled across, friends!  It’s called Shedunnit, and as Steve said, it was basically made for me.  It’s a storytelling-style podcast (my preferred style, which I like much better than long-form interview podcasts) exploring golden age detective fiction with a focus on women – both the authors and the sleuths.  I’m binging it, and so far I’ve listened to the introductory episode and to the first three regular episodes – about the “surplus women” in England after World War I and the Spanish Flu wiped out 700,000 men in a few years; queer stories in golden age crime novels; and a real-life murder case that inspired many of the golden age writers.  The next episode is all about the eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie, and to say I’m giddy about listening to it would be an understatement.  Golden age crime fiction is one of the greatest joys of my reading life, and I can’t wait to devour every episode of Shedunnit.

Asking.  Will you please keep your fingers crossed for me during my Very Important Meeting this week?  And also, what are you reading?

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