Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Does it have to be Monday?  I need one more weekend day, just for relaxing.  We were super busy this weekend – Saturday, especially, because we were throwing Peanut a sixth birthday party.  But I thought she turned six last month?  If you’re confused, so was Peanut; she thought she was turning seven, and you should have heard the caterwauling when I broke the news to her that: nope, still six.  We like to wait to throw her party until a couple of weeks into the school year, so that more people can make it – someone is always on vacation if we do the party in the summer.  This year, Peanut requested a “cheetah tea party,” so that’s what I delivered (although no one drank the African Autumn iced tea – the best laid plans).  We had originally planned to have a picnic down at one of our favorite waterfront playgrounds, but last week the area flooded due to non-Florence-related rainstorms.  (We had such a wet summer that the Potomac was straining at its banks, and I guess last week’s rain was the final straw.)  So the party moved to our house as the backup location, and it was kind of better, because at least that way I didn’t have to haul all of the food down to the waterfront.  We invited all of the girls in Peanut’s class, plus some non-school friends, and the kids had a great time wearing cheetah ears, watching The Lion King, and tearing apart Peanut and Nugget’s rooms.  After everyone left, Nugget was desperately in need of some running around time, so I took him (and my sore party-throwing feet) to a block party (the fire trucks were there) and then to the playground and to ride his bike around a basketball court for awhile.  On Sunday, we wanted a low-key family day, but we were still on the go – down to Mason Neck, one of our favorite local parks, for a hike and some playground and turtle-watching time.  We made it home in time for lunch, and then the kids and I hung out on the patio – the kids digging in the sandbox and playing with Peanut’s new stamp set (a birthday present) while I made some headway on weeding the patio – it was horribly overgrown – and periodically yelled at them to stop bickering.  Good times.  And now – another week.  I’m already wondering if next weekend is apple-picking weekend.  Maybe?


Reading.  I started off fairly intense this week, reading When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir, which was hard to read but so important.  After finishing that and returning it to the library, I finished up The Modern Guide to Witchcraft and then turned to a book I’d been saving, the meditative and charming The Fortnight in September.  I’m reading it slowly and savoring it – and, to be honest, I was super busy all weekend and didn’t have much spare time for reading – and loving it, as I knew I would.

Watching.  Jumping around here and there.  I only watch TV about every other day at most, and then only one episode at a time.  This week, I think I watched one or two episodes of Parks and Recreation (which can cheer me up when nothing else can) and one episode of The Crown – my favorite, “Hyde Park Corner.”  I told Steve, “I keep forgetting how sad this episode is.”  In my mind, it’s all just Liz and Phil go to Africa and see elephants!  Liz wears jammies and amazing sunglasses! and I somehow forget that this is the episode where King George VI dies.

Listening.  I’m down to two hours left to go in my audiobook of Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe.  I’m still enjoying it, but am kind of getting ready to move on to something else.  And he still hasn’t mentioned Parks and Recreation, except briefly and in passing.  Come on, Nick!  Inquiring minds want to know ALL about that show!

Making.  I made an indoor safari birthday party this weekend, and that sapped pretty much all of my creativity for the week.  But it was a hit!  We had animal print tablecloths, a lion head made out of hummus, cheetah ear headbands and more.  The kids all had a great time, which was the most important thing.

Blogging.  Dishing about starting a book club on Wednesday, and then another vacation recap post on Friday – we climbed a mountain for Peanut’s sixth birthday!  Check in with me then.

Loving.  Okay, this has been public information for ages, but I just found out and it BLEW MY MIND: did you know the actress who plays Caroline “There Is No Enjoyment Like Reading” Bingley in the classic 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth, wet shirt) is DESCENDED FROM JANE AUSTEN?  (Sixth great-niece.)  And also from Mary Boleyn and the first Duke of Marlborough, but focus on the Austen.  HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS FACTOID?!?!  I feel so out of the loop, but also kind of ridiculously (and irrelevantly) excited about this piece of trivia.  As I did whenever I have exciting bookish news to recount, I immediately emailed my fabulous Janeite friend Susan, and she was similarly all-caps SHOCKED and DELIGHTED and ASTONISHED.  So, why am I “loving” this?  Well, Firth of all, I just find this piece of information (which everyone except for Susan and me probably knew already) completely delightful.  Caroline Bingley is my favorite Austen baddie, and Anna Chancellor plays her to perfection, and I can’t love enough the connection she has to Dear Aunt Jane.  You know how sometimes you just learn a little fact that completely delights you?  This completely delights me.  And then there’s the fact that I have a friend who – I knew – would geek out about this too, and everyone needs That Friend Who They Geek Out With.  The best.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?


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All right, here we go again – another trip on the weekly merry-go-round.  This weekend was good, although we didn’t do much.  On Saturday, we had the first in a three-week string of birthday parties to attend – this time, a school friend of Peanut’s.  The party was at a local bounce gym, and man was it loud.  Peanut was a bit overwhelmed to start, but she found her groove soon and enjoyed hanging out with her friends, and especially her BFF, who transferred schools and is no longer a part of our daily orbit (sob).  Dad and Mom had a treat later in the evening – dinner out with an old friend who we don’t see nearly enough.  We went to Virtue Feed & Grain, a favorite neighborhood spot, and enjoyed a delicious dinner and even more delicious laughter with our friend.  The dinner out was made possible by our beloved nanny, who came over to babysit the kiddos, and it was such a joy to see her.  Now that both kids are in school, she’s also not part of their daily orbit – lots of changes this year – and there was much rejoicing at the reunion.  Sunday was kind of a blah day.  Steve was watching the first football games of the season (it begins) all day, and the rest of us bummed around the house and looked out the windows at the rain.  I did some reading and some blogging and a whole lot of playing with the kids, and Nugget and I baked sourdough biscuits; they came out pretty well but I don’t know that they’re going to become a regular rotation item.  And now off to work again – another busy week ahead as I work my way toward the end of the fiscal year.  Is it October yet?


Reading.  All non-fiction this week – unusual for me!  I read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race on my commutes throughout most of last week, and it was an interesting perspective, as it was focused on the experience of being black in England.  Being American, I’m more attuned to what’s going on over here.  So I felt that it was important to broaden my understanding, and it was an excellent book – I learned a lot.  After that, I felt the need for something lighter, so I picked up the sixth issue of Slightly Foxed – I’m still working my way through the back issues.  I’m finishing the weekend with When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir.  I’m only a couple of chapters in, but it’s excellent so far.

Watching.  Nothing really – just glances at whatever happens to be on the screen for someone else.  Sunday, as I mentioned, was all-football, all-day.  I didn’t really watch, but it was impossible to help noticing that the Bills got creamed.  The rest of the week and weekend, I just watched a little here and there as the kids took in The Blue Planet and BBC Earth: Africa.  Unfortunately, they also discovered a super creepy cartoon movie about some undersea creatures who go on a mission to save their colony – sounds cute, but there is some irksome language and really unnerving imagery (we’re talking skeletons, terrifying homicidal fish, a vampire octopus (???) and a submerged New York City, among other weirdnesses).  They can’t stop watching, and it’s really freaky.

Listening.  I’m almost halfway through Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe on Audible.  Definitely not family-friendly or suitable for work!  But it’s really fun to hear Nick describe, in his own words and voice, his salt of the earth upbringing and his escapades early in his theatre career.  I’m hoping for some good Parks and Recreation talk to come…

Making.  Took a break from bread-baking Sundays this week and whipped up some sourdough biscuits instead, as noted above.  They were good, but not spectacular.  It could be that I’m working my way through my white whole wheat flour, and I don’t think it’s especially fresh.  Muffins next weekend, maybe?

Blogging.  I flaked on you for the promised vacation recap last week, huh?  Let’s change that this week.  The first of the Adirondack posts is coming on Friday – for real this time.  On Wednesday, I’ll have the promised book review for you – another Classics Club entry.  Speaking of which, I’ve added a new page tab at the top of the window, where I’m collecting my Classics Club reviews.  So you can check that out and I’ll update it as I work through the list.

Loving.  With the school year swinging into gear, I’m actually really excited about both kids’ classes. Nugget is spending his days with three really sweet and loving ladies, and both of Peanut’s teachers seem super fun and engaged.  I’m one of the room moms in Peanut’s class this year, and I’m also helping out with “green school” initiatives this year (any ideas for us? keep in mind it’s a small school and the building is old) – I’m feeling inspired and hopeful for a great year ahead.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Happy holiday weekend to my American friends, and happy new week to my friends around the world!  Here in the States, it’s Labor Day, which is usually a bittersweet holiday for me, because it marks something of a demarcation between my two favorite seasons – summer and fall.  I love fall with all my heart, but I love summer almost as much and am usually sad to see it go.  (It helps that here in Virginia, we have a couple more months of summer weather headed our way before the jeans, puffy vests, and boots come out to stay.)  But this summer has been so off that I’m kind of ready to bid it goodbye and turn my attention to fall fun – apple, blackberry and pumpkin picking, fall sunflower festival, foliage, cider, hiking, and Hallowe’en, I’m coming for you!  Anyway – this was a pretty low-key Labor Day weekend.  We spent it at home, which was just what I needed after either solo parenting or traveling most weekends in August.  On Saturday, we spent a very relaxed morning at home.  Nugget and I walked out on an errand in the neighborhood – taking my bike for a tune-up at a local cycling shop – and then went to REI to buy him his first two-wheeler (with training wheels).  It cost way too much money for a child’s bike, but he was smiling so big I couldn’t say no.  On Sunday, we spent the morning hiking at Lake Burke, one of my favorite nearby parks, but it was a bit of a dud of a hike.  The kids were just in a really belligerent, uncooperative mood, which makes it hard to relax and soak up the trail.  Peanut also wanted to loudly declaim on all the particulars of a character she had just invented, “Aloha Lahalo,” and while I love her imagination, she scared most of the birds away.  Sunday afternoon meant more errands – Target for dress-code compliant socks and a water bottle for school; Whole Foods for lunch goodies and a kombucha re-stock; and Lowe’s for my annual orange mums and some more birdseed.  We’re spending this morning hiking at Great Falls with some new friends, and I’m sure we will just chill at home – maybe Nugget will ride his new bike – this afternoon as we get ready for a short, but busy week and the first day of school.  How is it upon us already?

Reading.  Pretty fun reading week.  At the beginning of the week, I finished up Canoeing in the Wilderness – read my thoughts here.  For the rest of the workweek, I worked my way through The Woman Next Door, by Yewande Omotoso – after hearing Rebecca of Book Riot describe it as “Golden Girls, but woke and in Africa,” I was sold.  I wouldn’t say it’s destined to become a favorite, but it was good.  This weekend I blazed through one of my favorite books of all time, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I chose for this month’s book club selection (I’m hosting on Wednesday).  Finally – ’tis the season! – I picked up The Modern Guide to Witchcraft.  So don’t make me mad, because soon I will know how to hex you.  Just kidding!  (Or am I?)

Watching.  Kind of all over the place this week.  The latest season of The Great British Baking Show dropped and I am doing my best to reconcile myself to no Mary, Mel or Sue.  The new judge seems like a good not-Mary, but I don’t know what to do with the new hosts.  One looks like a glam rocker, so I’ve decided to call him Decibel Jones.  We’ve been alternating TGBBS with Making It – if you haven’t heard, same concept, but with crafts, hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.  (I saw a thing on Twitter saying, basically, “There should be a category of Netflix recommendations for after you finish The Great British Baking Show and it should basically be, ‘you’re clearly going through some stuff, so here are more shows with people being nice to each other over low stakes things.'”  Making It would definitely fall into that category.)

Listening.  After watching the first episode of Making It, along with an episode of Parks and Recreation, which is almost a nightly occurrence in my house, I decided I needed more Nick Offerman in my life, so I downloaded Paddle Your Own Canoe on Audible, and I’m a little more than an hour into it.  (What is going on with me and canoes lately?)  You know how I loved Nick Offerman before?  You didn’t know?  Well – I did.  And now, multiply that by a thousand.  I don’t mind my commute at all as long as Nick is in my earbuds, talking about fishing and doing his Nick Offerman giggle (Ron Swanson fans, you’ve heard it).  Also, I might be getting old because I find Nick Offerman surprisingly handsome and I especially love his shaggy grey beard.  25-year-old me is shocked.

Moving.  Back to the usual hiking and walking – nothing much to report.  I did take my bike in for a tune-up (see above) this weekend, so once I have it back I’m hoping to get back in the [bike] saddle soon.  I mapped out my route to work and I could do almost the whole thing on car-free bike paths in about the same time it takes me on the commuter rail, so I’m thinking of trying bike commuting once the heat breaks a little bit.

Blogging.  I’ve got an outdoorsy week coming up for you; what with a vacation in Lake Placid to recap, you had to have seen that coming.  On Wednesday, I have another update to share on my 52 Hike Challenge, and on Friday, the first recap from my Adirondack vacation.  Check in with me then, or if you’re all, look, lady, I’m here for the books, I’ll have a book review for you next week.

Loving.  I’ve finally found my perfect kombucha brand!  I’m totally obsessed with Brew Dr. – finally, a kombucha that is tea-forward, not too sugary, readily available near me and doesn’t break the bank!  My favorite flavor so far has been the Strawberry Basil – the summer seasonal – but I’ve also really enjoyed the Clear Mind, and I’m digging the Harvest flavor – the autumn seasonal just released – too.  I got my BFF, Rebecca, to give it a whirl too, and she’s a fan.  It’s the best-tasting, least expensive kombucha I’ve found and I’m starting to get a twitch if I don’t have a week’s worth stocked in the fridge.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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It’s a Monday reading post, post-vacation edition – and I wish I was still on vacation.  We spent last week in Lake Placid, New York, with my parents, doing all the Adirondack things – lots and lots and lots of hiking, swimming, and some (not enough) kayaking.  It was exactly what I have been needing: lots of time outdoors, with trail under my feet and smelling the scents of pine trees and fresh mountain air.  We knocked off another high peak (Big Slide – recap coming soon) and plenty of other ADK trails, although there were quite a few more on my list that we didn’t get to.  Something to save for next time!  I grew up playing in these mountains in every season, and it was so much fun to introduce the kiddos to this special place.  Of course, I ended up having to do a little work most days of the vacation – isn’t that always the way it ends up?  But there was enough down-time and enough family time that I still feel refreshed.  And good thing, too, because I have a loooooong and stressful week ahead of me.  (It’s only Monday and I’m already wishing for Friday.)  I know one thing; I’ll be clinging to memories of mountain vistas and giggling kids splashing in a crystal clear lake to get me through the week.

Reading.  I know that I flaked on you for a Monday reading post last week – sorry about that.  I was in such a rush getting everything ready to go on vacation that I didn’t have time to start a draft, and then, well, I was on vacation and I didn’t get to it.  So let’s blow past that and talk about vacation reading.  The joke was on me for a little bit there, because before the trip I put together a huge stack of books to take along, even throwing a giant doorstopper of a Victorian novel onto the pile at the last minute.  The realistic part of me knew I wasn’t going to get through everything, but even I was surprised that it took me almost the entire week to get through Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life.  It’s no fault of the book, which is completely lovely.  It was just that I found myself squeezing work into the after-bedtime hours that I thought would be my prime reading time.  It happens.  Anyway, I enjoyed every moment I got with Portage and then moved on to The Summer Book on the final day of vacation.  It was lovely, and I finished it up in the car on the way home to D.C., then blew through all of Be Prepared, a lightly fictionalized graphic memoir of summer camp – so fun! – on the same car ride before finally turning to Canoeing in the Wilderness.  (What was it with me and canoes last week?)  Anyway, it was a summery, nature-heavy week of reading as it turned out, and I did enjoy myself rather a lot.

Watching.  I didn’t watch any TV at all last week – I usually don’t watch very much, but none at all is unusual even for me – and it was glorious.  Instead, I watched: birds (chickadees, blue jays, and several gorgeous loons); my boots on the trail (ADK trails are notoriously rocky and rooty); my kids splashing and laughing in Mirror Lake.  And it was all wonderful.

Listening.  As with TV, it was a week of earbud detox, and I can’t even say I missed them.  I listened to the Moana soundtrack a lot, on CD in the car driving to and from hikes.  And I listened to the sounds of nature – birds calling; kayak paddles splashing; twigs snapping under my hiking boots.  I’d like some more of all of those things right now.

Moving.  I’m not really one for sedentary vacations, and this one was no exception.  Lots and lots and lots of hiking – including up a high peak, which was a tough climb – and some water sports, although not as much as I’d have liked.  But we were on our feet every day, and our wanderings ranged from the very easy (a stroll through the Wild Center on our one grey day) to the crazy challenging.

Blogging.  In the spirit of just having gotten back from an Adirondack vacation, I have a tribute to my favorite hiking boots ever on Wednesday.  And for those of you who will groan at the hiking-heavy content that is on the way, I’ll return to the books on Friday, with my August reading recap.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  It was so much fun to be on vacation with the family last week!  We managed to see my Grandma at her assisted living facility on our way up to the lake, and of course the kids ate up every second they got with Nana and Grandad.  I just wish that my brother Dan and sister-in-love Danielle could have been with us, but we were all together in June and that’s good too.  With every year that goes by, family seems to get more and more important.  I’m glad I lucked into such a close one.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Whooooooops.  So my Monday reading post is a Wednesday reading post.  Sorry about that, friends.  Most of you probably didn’t even realize I was gone, so that’s a good thing.  I don’t have a real excuse – more of a shrug.  Things have been a bit rocky around here.  I had a pretty big professional disappointment last week, and I… didn’t handle it well.  The less said about it, the better, so I’m going to stop there and apologies for the vagueness.  (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not exactly an over-sharer.  I have a very defined line that I’m just not willing to cross, and the price of that is sometimes vagueness.  I’m fine with it.)  Anyway, after a rough week last week, I was flying solo with the kids all weekend as Steve was out of town – again.  This time, for a family wedding to which the kids and I were invited, but it just didn’t make sense for us to go.  He had to go, though.  I was all for it, but it did mean a very long, stressful and lonely weekend around here, as I wrangled the kids by myself all weekend.  We spent most of Saturday at a friend’s birthday party and had a wonderful time, but Sunday was… tough.  Steve got home mid-day on Sunday and I just crashed and didn’t do anything the rest of the day.  I mean, I literally didn’t do anything.  I sat down at the kitchen table and stared into space for an hour-and-a-half.  I was just spent.  But let’s end the pity parade, because it’s boring to write and probably boring to read, and talk instead about – books!

Reading.  After a somewhat lackluster start to the month, over the past week and a half I have been tearing through books.  Finished up The Village (for my new Classics Club list – review coming soon) and then turned to a library stack I’d accumulated on a freewheeling trip to the local branch last weekend.  I was in the mood to dive back into the Fables series, so I did that – volumes 8 and 9, specifically – and also polished off The Introvert Advantage, which was fine but nothing earth-shattering; I’d been reading it on my phone sporadically for a couple of months.  Then I moved on to An American Marriage, because it had a hard library deadline (thank you, wait list) and I can definitely see what the hype was about – it was really good.  Next up, another Classics Club list item, Their Eyes Were Watching God – I’ve had it on my list for ages, and will have a review of it for you on Friday.  Bringing us to today, and up-to-date – I’m reading The Intuitionist, mainly because it’s on the PBS Great American Read list, and enjoying it so far.

Watching.  This and that.  Nothing in particular.  A few episodes of The Crown here and there.  My very favorite episode of the entire Gilmore Girls series (if you’re curious, that would be “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” from season 5 – in omnia paratus!) one night when I reeeeeeeally needed a pick-me-up.  And that’s all I can think of, off the top of my head.  Looking forward to the next season of TGBBO dropping on Netflix and pulling me out of my funk.

Listening.  Just finished The English Novel on Audible, from The Great Courses, and I don’t even care if that makes me a nerd.  (Well, maybe I care a little bit – please don’t stop reading.)  I enjoyed it, but like with any list or survey that purports to cover the canon or a big part of it, I felt that there were holes.  I understood why the authors that were chosen for inclusion were in there, even if I don’t care for their work (Joseph Conrad, I’m looking at you).  But there were only passing mentions of Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Trollope, not a peep about my beloved P.G. Wodehouse, and nothing on the middlebrow fiction of the mid-twentieth century, which I think is a really important contribution that too often gets overlooked.  Of course it’s impossible to please everyone, and the two lectures devoted to Jane Austen were very well-received (by me).

Playing.  Steve gave me Illimat, a card game invented by the Decemberists, as an anniversary gift, and we broke it out last night and played a game.  He kicked my butt.  That is one complicated game!  I’m itching to play it again, though.  It’s fun and different, and I need to work on my strategy.

Loving.  On Monday, Steve and I celebrated thirteen years of marriage!  We went out for a delicious dinner in our neighborhood and toasted to the life we’ve built together.  I love the number 13, so I was really looking forward to marking this one, and of course it’s just special to take a moment away from the hustle and reflect.  We’re not perfect people, and life can be hard sometimes, but I couldn’t have chosen a better partner.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Some weekend!  The big news around here is that Peanut lost her first tooth on Saturday.  Yup!  She’s officially a big kid.  She was delighted with her haul from the Tooth Fairy (four quarters! so shiny!) and I now have a tooth in my jewelry box.  (Mom readers: what does one do with baby teeth?  Saving them seems weird.)  The other big news was that Peanut sang a solo – How Far I’ll Go, from Moana – at the camp talent show on Friday.  I worked from home and Steve and I both took the afternoon off to be there.  I was so proud!  Last year she hid in the back row as her group sang “This Land is Your Land” and this year she tore out in front of the audience, grabbed the mic and went to town.  What a difference a year makes, huh?

The rest of the weekend was fairly low-key, which was both bad and good.  Bad because I had a long list of things I really needed to get done – for work and for the personal project I am still plugging away at, which feels like it has no end in sight, ugh – and good because all I want lately is slow weekends.  We hiked both Saturday and Sunday – on Saturday at Turkey Run Park in McLean, and on Sunday at Mason Neck, our favorite Virginia state park, in Lorton.  We’d hoped to get out on the water on Sunday, but with all the rain we’ve had, the Potomac water levels were crazy high and moving fast – not exactly little duffer conditions.  The rest of the weekend, we mostly just drifted around.  I baked bread, Nugget and I walked to the library, and Peanut and I did some grocery shopping.  It would’ve been perfect had I just not felt anxious/guilty about the work and project stuff I wasn’t doing.


Reading.  Fairly slow, but thoroughly enjoyable, reading week around here.  I finished up News from Thrush Green midweek, and there is really nothing like Miss Read to beat the stress of a fast-paced and demanding life.  I love Thrush Green just as much as Fairacre by now, and it’s such a joy to spend more time in Miss Read’s worlds.  Still looking for village calm and peace after finishing News, I turned to Marghanita Laski’s novel of post-war social changes, The Village.  I’m reading it slowly and meditatively, but loving it.

Watching.  Still working our way through the latest season of The Great British Baking Show.  We’re down to the final four contestants now, and I’m in denial that we’re almost done and soon won’t have any more episodes to watch – sob.  At least the first episode of Making It is available, so I’ve got something to look forward to.  Oh, also, I’m pleased to report that the kids discovered SING last week, and I have now seen it eleventy-seven times.

Listening.  Y’all are going to think I’m a huge dork, but I don’t even care.  I have alternated between listening to The Great Courses on The English Novel via Audible and falling down a Fireside Collective rabbit hole, and I’m not even sad about it.  (Please don’t stop reading.)

Making.  More bread!  And lists – lots of lists – of hiking and paddling gear, camera equipment, hikes to do and breweries to check out on our upcoming vacation to Lake Placid.  Not much longer to wait now!

Blogging.  I have a belated list of July’s reads coming on Wednesday, and on Friday I’m getting a bit glum about what a weird summer we’ve been having.  It happens.

Wondering.  Moms, what sorts of things did you do to encourage your kiddos to read?  Peanut has the mechanical skills and is able to read quite a bit through a combination of sight words and phonics, and she’s totally book-crazy and given to carrying her books around the house and cuddling with them.  But these impulses are at war with her inner drive not to do anything an adult appears to want her to do.  I got her some super-cute early readers from the library, but she was all eye-rolly and ugh, Mom about them.  I don’t want to turn her off books, so I’m not pushing them hard, but I’d love for her to actually spend a little time with them.  Any advice?

Loving.  It’s vinho verde season!  I’ll happily drink rosé all year long, but I do think vinho verde is a summer wine.  I love the lightness and the little bit of fizz – yum.  Steve asked me to pick up some wine on Friday, and I tossed two bottles of vinho verde into my cart, and we enjoyed one on Friday evening.  Summer perfection!

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Y’all know the phrase “a Sunday well spent brings a week of content” — right?  I try to live by that and pack my Sundays, or actually my entire weekends, full of goodness to carry me through five long days of work and parenting.  But sometimes I think the phrase should be “a weekend well spent brings a week of wishing it was still the weekend.”  I know I’m going to be wishing for the weekend all week, because it was good (not perfect, but nothing ever is) and I wish it could have gone on forever.  Saturday brought a long-anticipated event – Hamilton at the Kennedy Center!  Steve and I saw the show on Broadway last year, and have been scheming a way to get back in the room where it happens ever since.  We were thrilled when we scored tickets to the touring company’s performance here in D.C. this summer – and while I’d love to make it back to Broadway sooner than later, the quality of the performances was just as good.  We danced in our seats, tried not to sing along (so tempting, though) and I sobbed through the second act.  (Forgiveness – can you imagine? – pass me the tissues.)

Sunday was just a slow, quiet day.  I baked another loaf of sourdough, this time with chopped chives and rosemary from my garden, and got an even better result than last week – wahoo!  I thought about experimenting with a different recipe, but decided there was plenty of time for that once I got the basics down.  But look out, dinner rolls and fougasse – I’m coming for you.  The rest of the day was spent FaceTiming with Grandma in Florida, reading stories on the couch, watching SING, and taking Peanut to the library (the bag of books I returned weighed more than she did – glad those are out of the house).  The only flies in the ointment were that I had to do some work, and that Nugget had a massive tantrum in the morning (and I didn’t handle it well – I haven’t been sleeping very well and I was much too tired to deal with his nonsense).  But all in all, this was a good one, and I wish it didn’t have to end.

Reading.  Busy, but spotty, reading week.  The early part of the week was devoted to Summer, by Edith Wharton, which I loved – of course.  The only way to improve that reading experience would have been to read it in the Berkshires, but one cannot have everything in this life (as Charity Royall learns).  Then I moved on to The Coldest Winter Ever, because I am trying to read more books from the PBS “Great American Read” list.  And, oh my – I can’t recall the last book that I actually finished while hating it so intensely.  I got through the first half trying to convince myself that Winter was a modern, Brooklynite Scarlett O’Hara.  By the time I realized that wasn’t going to work, it was too late to give up on it.  I can’t even tell you how happy I was to finish.  And I had to swing as far in the opposite direction as possible for the next couple of reads, just to shake that one off.  Fortunately, I had a few more delightfully bookish essays to read in the fifth volume of Slightly Foxed, and then, still looking for total comfort, I turned to News from Thrush Green, and sank right back into that lovely, slow-paced world.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Watching.  HAMILTON!  HAMILTON!  HAMILTON!  HAMILTON!  (The code word is Rochambeau, dig me?)  And at home, Steve and I are slowly working our way through the latest season of The Great British Baking Show (or at least, the latest season to drop on us Yanks) and loving every minute.  That is quite possibly the most charming, comforting show ever made.  I’m starting to develop theories for how to succeed in the tent and piling Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood cookbooks into my Amazon wish list.

Listening.  The usual – all the podcasts.  I’m up-to-date on my favorite bookish show, The Book Riot Podcast, and have been dipping into my stash of episodes of Bonnets at Dawn, including listening to a lovely episode about the girls’ week as volunteer docents in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house.  Visitors can TOUCH THE BOOKS and SIT IN THE CHAIRS?  Now I absolutely have to go to Manchester so I can sit at Elizabeth Gaskell’s dining room table in the very spot where she put pen to paper and gave life to the absolutely delightful Margaret Hale and John Thornton.

Making.  Bread, bread, bread!  Not only am I getting over my fear of yeast baking, I am absolutely falling in love with the process.  I am in the phase where I want to learn everything there is to know about bread-baking and I wish I could make a loaf every weekend.  I’m contenting myself with studying the basics and whipping up a loaf of basic sourdough every weekend, but… the artisan bread pot is coming.  It’s only a matter of time.

Blogging.  My top ten favorite books read this year – so far – on Wednesday, and musings about trying to live life at a slower pace on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  I can’t possibly express how lovely it was to be back in the room where it happens, the room where it happens, the room where it happens – Hamilton is like nothing I’ve ever seen (or listened to, and we listen A LOT) and I’m so glad that Steve is as big of a #hamilfan #theatregeek as I am.  Because it’s so much more fun when you have someone to share it with!  (Angelica, tell this man John Adams spends the summer with his family // Angelica, tell my wife John Adams doesn’t have a real job anyway…)

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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