Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Happy new week, and happy birthday (belated – it was yesterday) to my dad!  We had a nice weekend, even if I did get a case of the Sunday Scaries after a few work emails started to trickle in around lunchtime on Sunday.  Backing up a bit, I got an early-ish start to the weekend by working from home on Friday – it was “Grandparents and Special Friends Day” at Peanut’s school.  Aunt Rebecca served as Peanut’s guest this year and Peanut felt so special having her there.  Steve and I crashed the party – actually, there were a lot of parents there, since part of the festivities included the spring concert, which was adorable.  We took Peanut home for the afternoon and I squeezed in a few hours of work and a run to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for raspberry scones to take to our ROYAL WEDDING VIEWING PARTY on Saturday.  (All caps totally required!)  My plan had been to just roll out of bed and watch at home, but late last week the plans changed when Peanut’s BFF’s mom (got all that?) texted to ask if we wanted to have a mother-daughter viewing party.  UM, YES, we are here for that!  The girls actually didn’t watch much, but the moms had the.best.time.ever eating scones and chocolate croissants on the couch, googling wedding guests, and gossiping about the royal family.  There is really nothing like girlfriend time.  The rest of Saturday was fairly quiet – it was rainy and gross for most of the day, and when I took Nugget out to work off his energy after the deluge finally stopped, I immediately regretted my decision because he leapt into a mud puddle and started rolling around like a piglet.  Whoops.  Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and we spent it as we so often do – hiking around Mount Vernon in the morning, and then making the firehouse-library-playground circuit after naps.  I had a million things to do (laundry, work on a personal project I’m trying to wrap up, find a CSA, vacation plan…) but instead I snuggled in Nugget’s rocking chair, read my book and caught up on royal wedding fashion blog posts.  (Best line of the coverage was the Fug Girls’ observation: “Fergie’s gotta Ferg.”)  I’m not even sorry.


Reading.  It was a good reading week.  I finally got to Sing, Unburied, Sing, and I can definitely see what the hype was about.  It was not a comfortable reading experience, but good to push the envelope now and then and I’m very glad I read it.  I was back in my comfort zone with the new Maisie Dobbs, and this was definitely a good installment.  I was reading until late Friday night in order to make the return deadline for the new Maisie, but I made it.  Now with a tiny bit of breathing room, I’ve turned back to my own shelf and am reading Brensham Village, the second book in the Brensham Trilogy – in preparation for my copy of the third and final book’s arrival on my doorstep in the next few weeks.  Can’t wait!  I’m about halfway through Brensham Village and am liking it even more than I liked the first installment, Portrait of Elmbury.

Watching.  The royal wedding, of course!  What else?  It was so much fun to watch with a girlfriend who was just as excited and into it as I was – and we both loved every moment.  Meghan’s dress, Harry’s gazing, the gospel choir, the cellist, the flowers, all the romantic moments, the KISSING!  Poor Kate looked like she was going to fall asleep (by my calculations, she’s now in the stage where newborn adrenaline has worn off and exhaustion is hitting hard…) but William kept his eyes open better than he did on Anzac Day, probably because he got to stand up the whole time.  And oh, my word, little Charlotte and her royal waving!  Eeeeeks, I just loved it all.

Listening.  It seems we are all required to take a stand on this, so: Team Yanny.  (Steve is the lone member of Team Laurel in the house, and he’s taking it really hard.)

Laughing.  So, we have a pretty hotly contested mayoral election coming up in a few weeks, and Washingtonian did a big article on it.  The election itself isn’t particularly funny, but some of the quips in the article were spot-on, particularly: “There’s a part of Fairfax that calls itself Alexandria, and nobody can do anything about it.  The only towns we would plausibly beat in a war are Falls Church and Takoma Park.”  I think I spat coffee across the office when I read that, because it is hilariously true.  Well – actually, I don’t know how much I like ALX’s chances in a war with Falls Church.  I do think we’d beat Takoma, though.  (In all seriousness, for the first time in my voting life I am truly undecided.  I do plan to vote but I have no idea who to vote for.  And it’s not ignorance of the issues – I’m decently informed about local politics and the two candidates have such different, but equally valid, visions for our town; I just can’t decide who should get my vote.)

Moving.  The usual – some hiking, some kid-wrangling, some stairs at work.  Nothing special or fun.  I miss running – life has been so busy and I haven’t been able to squeeze it in.  I know that sounds like an excuse, but it’s not.  I swear it’s not.

Blogging.  I flaked on the promised post about my controversial opinions, so how about this Wednesday instead?  And on Friday, for those of you who don’t become furious and quit my blog forever after reading about how I feel about pie and Independence Day, I will have some Mount Vernon flower pictures to share with you and soothe any ruffled feathers.

Loving.  I have been starry-eyed all weekend over the obvious love and joy that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex have in one another.  From the “You look amazing.  I’m so lucky.” to all the hand-holding and kissing – oh, my word.  In these dark days of one horrific news story after another, it was such a relief to check out of that and just be happy and truly enjoy something for a few hours.  I am still coming down from the royal wedding euphoria and am so excited to see where life takes Harry and Meghan.  (And I hope the royal family is nice to her.)

Asking.  What are you reading this week?


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Hello, and Happy Mother’s Day (belated) to all of my friends!  To those of you who are moms (biological, adoptive, foster, grand, fur, mentoring, expecting and any I’ve missed) I hope you had a lovely day and felt celebrated for all of the hard work you do and the love with which you do it.  I had a lovely weekend and felt very celebrated by my little crew.  On Saturday, we were greeted with bright sunshine, blue skies, and temps that felt like the low 90s – YES.  (I know that’s too hot for some, but not for me.  I have never met a summer day that was too hot, and I live in a swamp.)  We kicked off the weekend of celebration in the best way we know how – with a hike.  As it was Mother’s Day weekend, I got to choose the park (within reason – Joshua Tree National Park was rejected despite requests from both Nugget and me; something about choosing a hike within driving distance?).  Anyway, we went to my favorite Virginia State Park – Mason Neck.  I love that park so much; I could hike there every day and not get tired of it.  Saturday was a particularly busy day; there was some sort of festival going on and there was something for everyone – birds of prey (for Peanut), fire trucks (for Nugget) and an REI tent (for the parents).  We wandered the trails, spotted turtles, I experienced a new mom milestone (the first time I told off a kid that wasn’t mine – he was shooting a nerf gun at the turtles and needed a dressing down) and Peanut learned a bunch of facts about falcons.  Pictures on Wednesday.  On Sunday, I woke up early and squeezed in an hour or so of work before the boys and the girl came downstairs bearing homemade cards and the most beautiful necklace – the very first shell Nugget ever picked up off the beach and gave to me, which Steve had dipped in gold and turned into a gorgeous and meaningful pendant for me.  (Sorry, ladies, he’s taken.)  We spent the morning at the garden center, where the kids stomped in puddles and harassed the koi and I picked out cherry tomato and herb plants, then we went home and planted our summer garden – a bit later than last year, when we jumped the gun and planted in late March.  I took a glorious nap while the kids snoozed the afternoon away, and woke up feeling a bit more human after 70-hour workweek.  We ended the weekend curled up on the couch, re-watching The Crown and eating takeaway from my favorite local seafood joint, Hank’s Oyster Bar.  I felt very loved and celebrated indeed.

Reading.  Surprisingly good reading week, given that I worked 70 hours (no kidding; it was actually probably more, as I had 68 and change entered on my time sheets).  On Monday I finished Second Class Citizen, which was well-written but had a really unsatisfactory ending, and was also suffering from the syndrome of being under a library deadline and therefore not quite what I was most hankering for at the time.  The same day, I finally finished Sailing Alone Around the Room, a collection of poems by Billy Collins.  I didn’t love it.  More when I recap my month’s reading, but suffice it to say – I’m picky abut poetry and I don’t love the quotidian as a topic for single poems, let alone entire anthologies of poems.  Give me Tennyson, please.  The rest of the week, up to Saturday night, I spent with The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, which was as lush and gorgeous and spellbinding as the author’s previous (debut) novel The Oracle of Stamboul.  (I highly recommend them both, but I think The Last Watchman is probably the stronger of the two.)  It was the kind of book that I would open when I got on the train in the morning, sink into, and then not realize where or who I was until I had to bolt out of the train door eight stops later – it’s that engrossing.  Ended the weekend with Sing, Unburied, Sing, but I’ve just started it, so no coherent thoughts yet.  Hoping for a slightly quieter week with more reading time.

Watching.  We’ve fallen back into the first season of The Crown, as noted above, just sort of randomly but we’ve been completely sucked back in.  On Sunday evening we watched the “Act of God” episode, about the great London fog, and were quite literally weeping with laughter when the characters started talking about Churchill’s behavior demonstrating his incapacity to lead.  I said “Incapacity?  Lemme tell y’all how we do incapacity to govern in Murica!” and Steve added “HOLD MY BEER!”  [Insert cry-laugh and sobbing emojis here.]

Listening.  Just random podcasts; nothing is really sticking out as particularly memorable.  In music news, both of my kids are completely obsessed with China Anne McClain’s Calling all the Monsters and I think we listened to it about thirty times this weekend.  It is now in my head forever.  Get your body shakin’, wishing you would just awaken.  Tonight all the monsters gonna dance, comin’ to get ya.  I can’t even sing it out loud to get it out of my head, because they’ll want to watch the video (again) and embed it even deeper into my brain.  (It is catchy.)

Moving.  Hardly at all, because – see above, 70-hour workweek.  I did get in about 13,500 steps on Saturday between hiking and two playgrounds, so that’s something.

Blogging.  May hike coming for you on Wednesday, and breaking ground on the 2018 garden, which has been affectionately nicknamed “Squirrelbait,” on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  I have to apologize, because this might be The Most Southern Lady Thing I’ve Ever Written Here, but I’m sort of obsessed with Princess Eugenie’s Instagram.  (There, I said it.)  It’s half promoting women and great causes, and half pictures of herself and her family dressed in hilariously outlandish outfits in the 1990s.  The York sisters in their Easter bonnets was a particular classic, but Fergie’s fabulously loud blouse and acid-washed jeans at what appears to be the fair, coupled with the Bea and Eugenie’s denim dresses might just take the cake.  I literally cannot get enough.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Ughhhhhhhh I cannot, I just cannot, deal today.  This is going to be one of those kinds of blog posts, because I am in a rotten mood.  I have been dreading this week, because I’m swamped with work and also running around (two speaking engagements and an all-afternoon meeting) the first half of the week, so I have no idea when I am going to get everything else done.  I put in time on both Saturday and Sunday, but I’m still totally behind the curve and just burnt. out.  Plus, it was kind of a dreary weekend, but not actually raining – so the weather was both good and bad, which – pick a lane, weather!  It was supposed to rain all weekend, and I was already mad about that (because of course it’s gorgeous all week long when I’m stuck in an office) but at the same time, I figured the blah weather was going to be good for work, at least.  Well – the rain forecast didn’t materialize, which meant I got less work done (and I was crankier when I was working) but at least we were able to squeeze in a hike on Saturday morning – staying on track in the 52 Hike Challenge, if not chipping away at the backlog.  We hiked Potomac Overlook Regional Park – a new-to-us trail that was a lot tougher than advertised.  There were something like ten slippery stream crossings, logs to climb over and limbs to duck under, lots of elevation change, and we were both schlepping about 40 pounds of child carriers.  Definitely not the “easy to moderate” trail that our local hiking guide promised, but at least it was good preparation for hiking in the Adirondacks this summer.  On Sunday we just wandered around the neighborhood, which was nice – and then it was back to the computer for me.  Wish me luck this week, friends.  I have fun plans for next weekend (weather permitting) but I have to get through the week first.


Reading.  This week has felt like a bit of a rut.  I finished Northanger Abbey on Monday, which is one of my favorite books – so that part was good.  But pressing library deadlines pushed me into the “reading feels like work” territory and as a result, I didn’t have much fun with the rest of the week.  The Untelling was beautifully written but I just couldn’t feel much sympathy for the main character, who made terrible choice after terrible choice.  Second Class Citizen, similarly, is beautifully written – I can tell why it’s a classic – but it’s suffering from not being exactly what I want to read in this moment.  I’m just in a funk, y’all.  I’ll be out of it by next weekend, I’m sure.

Watching.  I don’t think I’ve watched anything this week.  Certainly nothing is sticking in my memory.  Steve has been turning on the TV only for video games, and the kids are on an iPad diet so I’m not even watching Miles From Tomorrowland over their shoulders.  It’s sort of refreshing.

Listening.  All over the place, again.  Some music (Offa Rex, mostly, this week) and some podcasts.  I’m catching up on back episodes of parenting and lifestyle podcasts, mainly because I feel like I should.  I’m usually up-to-date on book podcasts – although I am saving season 2 of Annotated for a rainy day – but I often leave podcasts on other topics languishing.  The highlight of the week was a back episode of Sorta Awesome on celebrating the everyday.  I’ve listened to several people’s fair shares of Sorta Awesome at this point, and I think I can safely say that the episodes in which Kelly Gordon co-hosts are my favorites.

Planning.  I am so overwhelmed with work and life stuff right now that it feels like the only way to escape it is by diving headfirst into summer vacation planning, so that’s what I’m doing.  Lodging is booked, and now it’s time to do my favorite part – plot our activities.  I’m a list-making, canoe-rental-finding, hike-scheming machine.

Blogging.  This should be a fun week.  On Wednesday, I will get controversial with some opinions about things like pie, sidewalks, and vegetables – this is hard-hitting stuff, folks.  (Not really.  Unless you think Christmas is better than the Fourth of July, in which case you are wrong.)  And on Friday I have a fun pre-Mother’s Day post about motherhood in Austen novels, so check in with me then.

Pinning.  Big news!  I’m back on Pinterest after an eleven-month hiatus.  I had to create a new account because Pinterest put my old account in “safe mode” and I couldn’t reset it, since it was associated with an email address I no longer have.  But I’ve moved most of my pins over to my new account, and created a bunch more boards just for fun.  I’ve been having the best time going pin-crazy, so if you’re a pinner, come find me!

Loving.  I am so excited that The Yellow Note recently featured my hometown!  I’m a huge fan of Briana’s photography on Instagram – her feed is such a breath of fresh air.  It was super fun to see my favorite stomping grounds come to life through her gorgeous photos on the blog, and to hear about the delicious food and fun sightseeing she enjoyed during her short stay in town – which included stops at some of my favorite haunts.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Hello, friends, it’s that time again.  To get the preliminaries over with – I am so not ready for Monday.  Am I ever?  We had a nice weekend; we spent much of it outdoors, which always makes for a winner.  On Saturday, we drove out to Great Falls for a hike – not realizing that it was the day of the North Face Challenge and the park was swarming with runners.  I never mind seeing other faces on the trail, though, and we had fun encouraging the runners and shouting things like “Great job!” and “Looking strong!” as they sloshed through the mud puddles.  After Saturday naps, we headed out again – first for an indie bookstore crawl to celebrate #IndependentBookstoreDay.  We are lucky enough to live within a short walk from a used bookstore and a children’s bookstore, and we visited both.  Steve and I left the used bookstore with purchases (Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot for him and The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton for her) and the kids added to the stack at the children’s bookstore.  We finished the day with pizzas at our favorite local wood-fired pizza joint – perfect.  On Sunday we did more hiking, this time in the neighborhood – at Jones Point Park.  (Two days, two smaller NPS sites – look at us go.)  The downsides to the weekend, lest you think it was flawless, were: tantrums by both kids (when does that stop?) and lots of squabbling and fisticuffs (the kids again), and a vicious pollen attack that had me sneezing and rubbing my eyes all of Sunday.


Reading.  I was a bit slower at reading this week than usual – I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t because the books weren’t good – as you can see, they were.  I finished Life in the Garden midweek and then turned my attention to Northanger Abbey, which was my first book club (!!!!!) book.  It was my choice, and I have read it more times than I can count – I just hope the other girls liked it.  When we had our kickoff meeting last month, we talked about what books we most enjoy and I was the only classic lit fan in the group, so I am a little bit nervous about this choice.  (We all agreed that we’re looking forward to reading outside our comfort zones, and Northanger was greeted with general enthusiasm, so here’s hoping.)  Our next meeting is Wednesday, so I’ll find out then if my pick was a success or if they’re kicking me out of the group.

Watching.  Literally the only thing I have watched all week was this Offa Rex video – over and over (and over!) again.  It is so gorgeous, I can’t stop.

Listening.  All over the place.  Some Decemberists, some Offa Rex, some show tunes, some podcasts (The Mom Hour and Tea or Books?, specifically).

Moving.  I broke 15,000 steps on my Fitbit this weekend – between hiking at Great Falls in the morning and walking all over the neighborhood in the afternoon on Saturday – and earned the “Urban boot badge,” whatever that is.  Where my weekend warriors at?

Blogging.  On Wednesday, I’ll have my April booklist for you – lots of reading from my own shelf this month.  And a healthy portion of poetry!  And on Friday, just for fun, one picture from each of the first ten hikes I’ve notched toward the #52HikeChallenge2018.

Loving.  I have gotten into the habit of lighting a candle each evening when I sit down with my book – just one candle.  (Because most of my candles are scented and I don’t need a bunch of different aromas competing with one another when I am trying to concentrate on reading.)  It started as a way to try to make a dent in my candle stash (I’m on a mission to use up as many things as I can before we eventually move out of this house) but it’s turned into a delight that I look forward to all day long.  It’s such a cozy habit and I love that warm flickering light next to me as I turn pages and muse over characters.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Alright, alright, it’s Monday, so fine.  I guess we will do this.  Even though all I really want to do is rewind the clock and go back to Saturday night, which I spent dancing and singing along with my husband in the front row at a Decemberists concert.  And feeling like the luckiest girl alive, even after a rough, rough Saturday full of Peanut tantrums and legal research.  It was all worth it to see my favorite band strumming away at songs I’ve loved since 2005.  And to share it with Steve, who normally doesn’t agree with my taste in music, but who is a newly-minted Decemberists fan after a fabulous night.  I’ll tell you all about it on Wednesday, though, because I just had to relive the whole thing in an epic long blog post (almost as long as one of the Decemberists’ twelve-minute mini rock opera extravaganzas).  Sunday was a fun day, too.  For one thing, I wore my concert t-shirt from the night before.  For another, it was a gorgeous day and we spent the morning at Mount Vernon with my parents and our dear family friends.  Of course there was a steady soundtrack of Decemberists tunes playing in my head all day – but that’s not actually that different from every day.


Reading.  I’m having just the loveliest, most serene reading streak.  Earlier in the week, I blazed through My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues.  I love a good bibliomemoir, and this one was really enjoyable.  Then I picked up another library book, which I was really excited about reading, but put it down after one chapter because it was riddled with expletives and I just wasn’t in the mood.  I turned to Life in the Garden, Penelope Lively’s garden-memoir-slash-history-slash-literary-exploration and am loving it.  (Plus, look at that cover.)  Along with it, I’m almost done with the current Slightly Foxed and have been inspired to pick up Swann’s Way based on one of the articles.  It probably won’t happen anytime soon, but the idea is percolating.

Watching.  Had a fun discovery this week, thanks to a Facebook video share in the Drunk Janeites group I frequent – Cunk on Britain.  For the uninitiated, there are just a few episodes available on this side of the Pond (via YouTube, so free!) but it’s a mockumentary-style progression through the history of the British Isles, starring the hilarious Diane Morgan as historian Philomena Cunk, whose take on history is brilliant and side-splitting.  (A sample: “Henry of Eight was best known for his chronic wife addiction.  He had six wives, all called Catherine.  He was a Catherine-oholic, or Catholic for short.  After he killed all six Catherines, he got bored of killing wives and he had to come up with a new way to get rid of them, so he invented divorce.  The Pope didn’t like that, so Henry divorced him and invented a new religion, which is easier to do than Popes like to pretend.”)  You get the drift.  And she delivers her lines completely deadpan, in the brogue-iest of Yorkshire brogues.  It’s madcap and wonderful.  Go watch it!  Cunk on Britain.

Listening.  Some podcasts, probably, but more to the point, I am listening to The Decemberists.  All the time.  Sometimes (like on Saturday night) I am listening to them LIVE IN CONCERT!  Other times, I am listening on my earbuds, and other times I am just listening to the soundtrack in my head, which is mostly selections from The King is Dead.  I will tell you all about the concert (literally, I am going to tell you all about it) on Wednesday, so get ready.

Moving.  Well, there was a lot of dancing on Saturday.  And a lot of walking on Sunday.  I’m a weekend warrior at the moment, and not even a very enthusiastic warrior.  But if Peanut keeps having tantrums like she did all day (ALL DAY) Saturday, I’ll probably resume my running habit just to get away from the house.

Blogging.  Going to be a fun week.  Gigantic recap of Saturday’s concert coming to you on Wednesday, and on Friday I’ll have one more poem to close out National Poetry Month.  No teasers for you this week, because I haven’t chosen a poem yet.  I was planning to end with Tennyson, but his poems are loooooooong, man.  So we’ll see.

Loving.  I will be a broken record for awhile, but this week I am especially loving The Decemberists, after that incredible concert.  I could barely sleep on Saturday night for being so happy, and on Sunday I promptly downloaded the few items I had on CD only or didn’t have at all, so I could keep binging on their special brand of literary reference-peppered indie folk rock baroque pop.  Man, I just love them so much.

Asking.  How totally right am I that The Decemberists are the best band currently playing?

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Hello, hello, hello.  Hello, new week.  I am not ready for you – am I ever?  I gave myself almost a three-day weekend, taking Friday morning off to hike.  (WHAT?!)  The bluebells on the Bluebell Loop Trail were peaking this weekend, but Sunday’s weather looked gross and we had Saturday plans, and I’ve been working so much lately, so we said “the heck with it!” and took advantage of the stunning weather on Friday morning to go traipsing through the bluebells.  (Pictures on Wednesday.)  I was back at the keyboard on Friday afternoon, but it was such a relaxing way to ease into the weekend.  Saturday was another glorious one, but I spent most of the morning indoors – Peanut and I had tickets to Disney on Ice.  (I hear those thuds of you all falling off your chairs at once.  Be a little subtle, people.)  Peanut had been begging for months, and I finally caved, so on Saturday morning Steve packed Nugget off for a haircut and a trip to the zoo while Peanut and I drove out to Fairfax to see the show.  It was totally overwhelming and I’d be lying if I said it was fun for me, but Peanut loved every second and that’s what counts.  The things we do for the kiddos we love, right?  Sunday was dreary, but we squeezed in another short hike at Mount Vernon in the morning – the animals are out! – sprinting for the car just as the skies opened up.  We spent the afternoon and evening cuddled up at home – reading, napping and baking banana muffins.  Ahhhhh.


Reading.  Such a fun reading week, y’all.  I started the week by finishing up The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (nominally the sequel to 84, Charing Cross Road) and loved it.  Then I tore through It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty: And Other Tragedies of Married Life in one day – funny and heartfelt poems about marriage and motherhood in the 1960s.  On Tuesday, my copy of Space Opera arrived – a publication-day delivery, as Catherynne M. Valente is an automatic pre-order for me.  I’ve been slowly working my way through it, savoring her beautiful writing and wacky imagination, all week.

Watching.  Not very much.  Yesterday Steve lamented that we are not currently in the middle of any shows, and nothing looks particularly likely or appealing right now.  (We could resume Grantchester, but we’d have to dig up the BluRay.)  I’ve been in the mood for light ‘n funny, so when we do curl up with a TV show, it’s old standby Parks and Recreation.  We’re just watching random re-runs.  (Sexy Dexy strikes again!)

Listening.  A smattering of book podcasts (I’m forever catching up) and plenty of Decemberists.  The concert’s next week!

Moving.  Two hikes this week have definitely helped my step totals.  Mount Vernon is surprisingly hilly, too.  Other than that – once again – not enough.  I spend way too much time wishing I had a more flexible schedule or just a little bit of time to myself to run or do yoga, but it’s just not happening.  I’m relying on walking and hiking, and chasing Nugget around various playgrounds, right now.  The good news is my Fitbit thinks I exercise.  So I guess that toddler-chasing must be getting my heart rate up from time to time.

Blogging.  Bluebell pictures on Wednesday, and another poem on Friday.  (It’s a fun poem and a bit silly – I hope you like it.)

Loving.  I have really been enjoying the “Tea Reads” podcast series from Miranda and Sophie of the Tea & Tattle Podcast.  The episodes themselves are bite-sized (ten to twelve minutes each) and each one focuses on a short read – generally an article or poem – that can be completed in the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of tea (hence the name of the series).  I loved Miranda and Sophie’s discussions of a Financial Times article on bibliomemoirs (and was inspired to seek out My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues, one of the titles Miranda mentioned) and their comments on a John Betjeman poem about railway travel (I’ve not read any Betjeman yet, but I have two of his books – Summoned by Bells and Tennis Whites and Teacakes – and both are high on my list).  There’s a new “Tea Reads” up featuring Mary Oliver, and I will definitely be savoring that one this week.

Asking.  What are you reading lately?

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Well, here we go ’round the mulberry bush – again.  Last week was really hectic and kind of ridiculous – I was pinch-hitting for a couple of coworkers who are on vacation, on top of managing my own workload, and I got pulled in on a project that had to be completed as soon and as perfectly as possible (and I’m proud to be a trusted go-to member of the core team, but ouch) and also got some sad but not really surprising news about a colleague.  So I needed a good, solid weekend and I made a point of giving that to myself, even if two days was too short to recover from all the craziness and I’m still tired at the end of it.  On Saturday, Steve and I wanted to get some things done around the house.  He paid bills and did some organizing, while I tackled the pantry, which felt good to get done.  That evening, we drove into the city to have fondue with friends – a tradition we have with one of our social circles here, and it had been awhile since we all gathered around those little pots of bubbling cheese (yum).  Sunday was a busy day.  We’d planned to drive to the Tidal Basin to check out the cherry blossoms, which are at peak bloom, with Rebecca and her dog Brandy, but I realized on Saturday afternoon that the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (which I ran in 2011) was going on the next morning, which meant that the bridges and roads around the route – which goes right through the blossoms – would all be closed.  Some quickly scrambled plans later, we decided to head out for a hike instead, and on Sunday morning that’s just what we did.  We met up with Rebecca and Brandy at Mason Neck State Park and got in a good hour or so on the trails.  The kids had a blast chasing after Brandy, and I was glad to check another hike off the list on my journey to 52.  We headed home around lunchtime and I quickly threw on a nice outfit and headed back out with Rebecca to take in a production of Potted Potter, billed as “all seven Harry Potter novels in seventy minutes!”  They were a little light on the books, and heavy on the slapstick – clearly playing to the twelve-year-olds in the crowd – but we laughed our faces off and drank a cocktail called “Liquid Luck,” so clearly it was time well spent.  And now I am back to panicking about the week ahead.  No rest for the wicked, I guess…

Reading.  Last week may have been a doozy, but at least the reading was good.  I finished A.A. Milne’s memoir-in-poems of the first nine months of World War II on Monday, then spent several days slowly savoring Consider the Years, Virginia Graham’s World War II poetry (I will readily admit that I was on a jag).  Then, after listening to Miranda Mills interview the creators of Slightly Foxed on her “Tea and Tattle” podcast, I was hankering to read one of my Slightly Foxed Editions, and picked up the double of 84, Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.  I read 84 in one sitting, but have been taking my time over Bloomsbury Street and not regretting a minute spent with Helene Hanff.  I am craving classics right now, and all of these have fit the bill very nicely indeed.

Watching.  Some good watching, too.  Steve and I watched two new episodes of Rock the Park last week, and I finally caught Jesus Christ Superstar Live.  Brandon Victor Dixon was phenomenal, as was Sara Bareilles.  I’ve been walking around humming “Can We Start Again, Please?” for days.  I think you’ve made your point now…

Listening.  Lots of music, which is fairly unusual for me.  Aside from the aforementioned episode of “Tea and Tattle,” I’ve been almost exclusively tunes this week.  Plenty of Decemberists, both because I love them in general and because I’m getting hype for their DC concert in a couple of weeks.  And some soundtracks – Jesus Christ Superstar Live, because it was amazing, and Waitress, because it’s coming to the National Theatre and I’m hoping to see it.

Moving.  Well, according to my Fitbit, I am doing a decent job of getting on the move.  On Friday, my friend Susan and I walked down to the Sackler Gallery for a lunchtime excursion to see a temporary exhibit on the ikat fabrics of central Asia (my idea, because I love ikat, and Susan was happy to go along with me, as she has a blog all about her museum-going exploits).  Her review of the exhibit is up on her blog, and yes, I am the friend who wore an ikat shirt in honor of the exhibit.  Anyway, I hit about 13,000 steps on Friday thanks to that, and broke 10,000 on both Saturday and Sunday.  I’d like to add some runs back into this mix, but one thing at a time.

Blogging.  Bookish week (what else is new?) coming up.  I have my monthly reading round-up from March, which I delayed a week in order to give you the musings of Elfine Starkadder (you’re welcome!) on Wednesday.  And I am still playing along with Poetry Friday all April, in honor of National Poetry Month.  Friday’s selection is actually a poem I have posted on here before, but I can’t resist sharing it again, because it is one of my very favorites.

Loving.  Would you all boycott my blog forever if I said I was loving my organized pantry?  It’s just so much easier to get the kids’ meals together (and I do their breakfast and lunch seven days a week, and dinner on the weekends) when I can see where everything is in there.  It’s either that or be a broken record and repeat (again) how much I love time with friends.  This weekend was a particularly heavy friend weekend.  Between lunch and a museum with Susan on Friday, seeing Rebecca briefly on Saturday (she stopped by to give me a sourdough starter and collect two bottles of fruit wine I didn’t want, and joined us at the playground), fondue with beloved friends we don’t see often on Saturday evening, and then Rebecca again for a hike and a play on Sunday – my friend tank is full.  I have never felt like I had a lot of friends, and I was fine with just a few close friends.  But lately I feel like I have friends, old and new, coming out of my ears.  People are running in and out of my house all the time.  And I love it.  I didn’t realize what a big, fun and loving social network I had until I left it for three years, and coming home has been so good in so many ways.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?


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