Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Happy new week, friends!  Finally, I had a weekend in which I did NO work – although that doesn’t mean that we relaxed.  (Relax – what’s that?)  Saturday was Nugget’s second birthday, so the day was completely given over to celebrating – with playground fun in the morning, then party prep errands in the afternoon, and finally a pizza dinner in which the birthday boy had Mommy and Daddy all to himself on Saturday night.  Peanut was invited to a movie night and pajama party at a friend’s house, so we packed her off with her little backpack and took the little dude out for an evening of fun all by himself.  He definitely enjoyed having the undivided attention of two parents, but he did ask where Peanut was a few times.  (I don’t think Peanut missed us at all.)  Sunday was Nugget’s birthday party, which we held at a local recreation center’s soft playroom.  It was a blast and Nugget loved running around with his friends.  I think the little guy felt very loved and celebrated all weekend.  We sure are happy we have him!

Reading.  Last week was surprisingly productive on the reading front.  D.C. is in the midst of a looooooooong effort to refurbish the Metro tracks (and hopefully make the trains a lot safer) and this month, as a result, trains are single-tracking in the corridor where I happen to live.  The result has been infrequent and very crowded trains.  I only read if I can get a seat – holding those big library hardcovers in one hand while hanging on for dear life with the other is just not easy.  I can usually get a seat, but last week the trains were so crowded that I found myself standing most days.  Since so much of my reading time is crammed into commutes, I was pretty surprised to see that I actually finished three books and started another even despite the commuting woes.  Hidden Figures was the highlight of the week – now I can’t wait to see the movie.  I also finished The Hopefuls, which I liked pretty well (even if I wanted to smack 75% of the principal cast by the end of the book) and American Born Chinese, which was also good.  Now I’m about a third of the way through Princess Elizabeth’s Spy – such fun.  It’s all about staying on top of the library stack!

Listening.  I have a personal victory to report – I’m down to less than seven hours to go in Middlemarch on audio!  Since the audiobook was over 35 hours long, this is a BIG deal.  Thanks to crowded Metro trains for all the progress – thanks to seats being scarcer, I’ve been reading less and listening more.  I can report that both Rosamund and Mr. Casaubon are just as infuriating and insufferable on audio as they are in print.  I know you were wondering.

Watching.  Other than cartoons, we haven’t watched much of anything.  I’ve embarked on a campaign to convince Steve that we need to watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries.  We’ll see how that goes.  But in the meantime, for next week at least, I’m looking forward to more Rock the Park.

Making.  A birthday party for Nugget!  The theme, naturally, was fire trucks – so I made lots of fire-themed snacks and little placards to go with them.  We had “fruit flames” (pineapple and strawberry kebabs), “veggie flames” (little shots of red, orange and yellow peppers in ranch dressing), “fire hoses” (twizzlers), and “matchsticks” (marshmallow lollies with red sprinkles) – plus sandwich platters and a fire truck cake.  I loved putting together a fire truck party, and the guest of honor had a blast – which is what counts, of course.

Blogging.  It’s all about wrapping up winter (even though we’re supposed to get six inches of snow – what?!?!) so on Wednesday I’ll share the final tally of my winter list, and on Friday we’re moving on to the spring list.

Loving.  Good old Pinterest – I have to give them a shout this week.  I got so many comments and compliments on the fire truck snacks and the punny little chalkboards I made to explain what they were and how they tied into the theme – and while I wish I could take credit for all of that creativity, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.  God bless Pinterest, and God bless all those moms who have thrown “fire truck birthday parties” before me and pinned their visions!

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/making/loving?

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Oof.  Monday is back with a vengeance, huh?  After last weekend’s epic drive-a-thon, I really needed a relaxing weekend at home – and that didn’t quite work out.  Saturday was fun – we spent the morning at Apollo on the Move, a special one-day event at the Udvar-Hazy Center (an outpost of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum) in which the restoration hangar was thrown open to the public and we got to file past the actual Apollo 11 command module being restored.  That was amazing, and the sort of thing that you can often only see if you live here – just one of the many reasons I am grateful to live in the D.C. area.  After seeing Apollo 11 (so cool!) we spent the rest of the morning wandering around the hangar – we’ve been to Udvar-Hazy many times, but it never gets old.  The rest of the weekend was downhill from there.  Steve started to feel under the weather on Saturday afternoon, which meant I was the only whole parent and I juggled both kids the rest of the weekend – a job which included holding Nugget from 3:30 a.m. onwards on Sunday morning (he’s teething, and I didn’t want him to wake Dad).  Needless to say, I was a total zombie – a cranky one – all day on Sunday, and I sort of feel like I missed out on half my weekend.  I wanted to get a presentation written over the weekend, and that didn’t happen because I was so exhausted.  So – not the best, but I suppose it could have been worse.

how-to-be-a-victorian code-talker the-hopefuls

Reading.  It’s been a pretty good week in books.  Mid-week or so, I finally finished up How to Be a Victorian, which I really enjoyed even though it ended up taking me a week.  I would have liked to jump to some gentle fiction, but library deadlines were breathing down my neck, so I picked up Code Talker, a WWII memoir by one of the original 29 Navajo code talkers.  It was a breathtaking memoir and I learned a ton about a topic in which I’d long been interested.  Next up, still fighting the current of library deadlines, I picked up my current read – The Hopefuls – which I placed on hold months ago after my friend Katie recommended it to me.  I’m not quite halfway through, and really enjoying it.  One of my pet peeves is when people who don’t live in D.C. write “D.C. books” and get the city totally wrong.  The Hopefuls is the perfect antidote to that – you can tell the author lives here (in fact, she teaches writing at the George Washington University, where I went to law school).

Watching.  Still watching Finding Dory every day (and I still haven’t seen the entire movie straight through).  I’m not sick of it yet – making it perhaps the longest-running Disney-thon that hasn’t annoyed me, which I credit to the jokes thoughtfully strewn throughout just for the parents.  (“Guys!  I found help!  Sigourney Weaver’s here and she’s gonna tell us where we are!”)  The other interesting watch of the week was the Minimalism documentary, which I’ve been meaning to check out for awhile and which I really loved.  I’ve been trying to curate my home and life and it was definitely inspiring.

Listening.  Back to Middlemarch after cleaning up my podcatcher again.  I’ve been ruthlessly culling podcasts – unsubscribing to shows that just aren’t doing it for me anymore, and unashamedly deleting single episodes that don’t interest me.  I’m down to 12 hours and change to go in Middlemarch – which sounds like a long time, but considering the book is 35 hours long, it’s real progress.

Making.  Homemade applesauce for the kiddos – one of my favorite ways to use up apples that are just a little long in the tooth.  The whole family loves it – there’s something extra-special about homemade applesauce, easy as it is.

Blogging.  I have a family-centered week coming up for you – a recap of the Apollo on the Move event, since it was so cool, coming on Wednesday, and on Friday, an extra-special post dedicated to someone who is about to turn TWO YEARS OLD.  (Hold me.)

Loving.  This may be old news for some, and it sort of is for me, but I hadn’t really grasped the meaning.  I subscribe to the Slightly Foxed quarterly, and it’s always the BEST day when I come home and see the new issue in my mailbox.  I was vaguely aware that as a print subscriber, I had access to the digital archives, but I hadn’t really made any move to read through.  Last week I decided to check out the archives during a free moment, and I discovered – there’s an APP for that!  Seriously, who knew?  I downloaded the app and now I have twelve years of Slightly Foxed essays right on my phone, waiting for me to read them ALL.  This is a game-changer, people.  I’ve started a new wish list on Amazon, just for book recommendations from the fox.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/making/loving this week?

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Heavy sigh.  Hi, guys.  How was everyone’s weekend?  Ours was… grueling.  We had a family wedding to attend in New England, so we spent most of the weekend in the car – and I do mean most of the weekend.  Eight hours up to my parents’ house on Friday to drop off the kids, who were not invited to the wedding.  Six and a half hours in the car on Saturday (three hours to the wedding, and three-and-a-half back to my parents, thanks to a scary thunderstorm we hit).  And then another six hours home from Albany on Sunday.  So that’s a total of 26.5 hours in the car over the past three days, and we’re all feeling it.  My neck and back are screaming at me, and the kids are nuts.  I felt horrible for them – two extremely long car rides in the span of three days was way too much to ask of them, especially considering they weren’t invited to the wedding.  Peanut was a champ, but Nugget was a basket case in the car, and I couldn’t blame the poor guy.  Still, after hours of listening to him bawling in the back seat, we are all a bit frazzled and on edge.  I’m relieved to have that long trip behind me and glad to be home.

1984 how-to-be-a-victorian

Reading.  With all that trucking to and fro, I didn’t get much reading done over the weekend.  Nor during the week, either – it was another crazy-busy one on the work front.  I’m looking forward to my schedule evening out.  It would be nice to be busier than I was in January, but not quite as busy as I have been in February.  Anyway, I finished 1984 last Monday, and it was eerie and chilling and felt very prescient.  Then I started How to Be a Victorian, which I am really enjoying but which has been slow going.  That’s not the fault of the book, which is fabulous, but just my crazy work schedule last week and then the travel over the weekend.  I’m looking forward to having a bit more downtime in which to finish it up this week – I hope.

Watching.  Two things come to mind from this week – in addition to Rock the Park, of course (we’ve just started season 3, so we’re nearly caught up).  On Sunday night I watched the Oscars, which I really enjoy, but can never make it through.  I got to supporting actress, decided it was time for bed, and then got an email and ended up working into the night – sometimes that’s how it goes.  The other thing I’ve been watching a lot this week is Finding Dory – the kids are obsessed.  I’m not quite to the point of being sick of it yet – the Sigourney Weaver jokes are hilarious – but I’m getting close.

Listening.  Would you all run away and never visit me again if I said I listened to Nugget screaming for hours in his car seat over the weekend?  You would?  Okay, well then I’ll tell you the other things we listened to – Hamilton, disc one, on repeat, because that’s what it took to keep him even remotely happy – especially “Frow My Shot” and “Dayada” (You’ll Be Back).  And we started listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audio during the car ride to and from the wedding, but didn’t get far into it.

Making.  Nothing.  Should I drop this category?  I have been thinking I need to pick up my knitting again.  I’ve been really keyed up over a couple of stressful things, and it would be nice to make some stitches.

Blogging.  I have a bookish week coming up for you –  my February reading round-up on Wednesday, and that list of new favorite comfort reads I promised last week.  Get yourselves some big cups of tea!

Loving.  It was so chill of my parents to watch the babies while we trucked to a wedding.  Thanks, you guys!  Peanut and Nugget loved their “sleepover with Nana and Grandad.”  I’d say let’s do it again soon, but as I’m never getting in the car ever again, that doesn’t seem likely to come to pass.  But seriously, thanks.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/making/loving this week?

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Happy holiday weekend to my American readers, and happy new week to my international friends!  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  We definitely did – it was insanely unseasonably warm in D.C. – temps in the 70s all weekend – and we definitely took advantage of the heat wave.  I felt a bit guilty about being so giddy over the warm weather – that whole climate change business, and all – but if there was ever a weekend that called for nice weather, this was it.  So I tried to push aside my guilt and just enjoy it.  On Saturday, Peanut and I walked out for a play date with her little BFF from school.  Peanut and her friend had fun painting pottery and I had fun chatting with the other mom.  The rest of Saturday was devoted to house projects, since it was “productivity day.”  I’m pleased to report that I finally cleaned the pantry out, and can now find the mac ‘n cheese again.  (#priorities)  On Sunday, the weather was so gorgeous that I spent almost the entire day outside – hiking at Lake Accotink in the morning (recap coming on Friday for the 12 Months’ Hiking Project), relaxing on the porch with the winter issue of Slightly Foxed during naptime, and finally a walk down to a different playground, the waterfront, and around the downtown area after nap.  Glorious!  My office is closed today, so we’ll be enjoying more sunshine (and squeezing in a little remote work) the rest of the day.

emily-of-new-moon frederick-douglass 1984

Reading.  I had a great reading week last week!  Finished up Emily of New Moon, my childhood favorite, for #ReadingEmily – read my thoughts on it here, plus musings on childhood classics here.  After a good dose of comfort reading in the form of a visit with Emily Starr, I turned to two classics, both of which are having a moment and both of which are distressing in their own way.  First, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (I heard he’s being recognized more and more?!?!), which I’d been meaning to read forever and which seemed like a perfect choice for Black History Month.  And then, my current read – 1984, by George Orwell – another that I’d been meaning to read for quite some time.  I read Animal Farm many years ago, but was finally inspired to kick 1984 up to the top of my TBR after it sold out on Amazon (!!!) recently.  It’s due back to the library in a couple of days, and has quite the waiting list, so I’ve got to make haste and finish it up.  Next up, I think, will be How to Be a Victorian – finally.

Watching.  We’re back to Rock the Park and watching about one episode a night.  The last few episodes haven’t been my favorite – they’re all good, of course, and beautifully shot, but I’m more interested in the episodes in which Jack and Colton visit a park that’s high on my list, or undertake an adventure that I’d like to try.  So, less scuba diving – which is something I’ve no desire to do – and more rock-climbing, please!

Listening.  Still on a podcast jag – I needed a break from long audiobooks (although I’ll get back to Middlemarch soon).  I’ve been enjoying catching back up on The Book Riot podcast, and I’m jealously hoarding three episodes of Tea or Books? that accrued while I was listening to the investment course.

Making.  Lots of productive things.  I made a clean pantry over the weekend – that was no small feat.  Other than that, really all I’ve been making has been lots and lots of work product.  I had a 50+ hour week last week – several days in a row of getting up at 4:30 and putting in two hours before the kids woke up, working nonstop all day, and then putting in more time at night.  The rest of February is looking almost as hectic.  I’d envisioned this “making” prompt as a way to tell you about great meals I’ve cooked, or knitting or photography projects I’m working on, but there’s been precious little of that.  Well, all things in their season.

Blogging.  This week, I’m planning to re-post an older post I wrote about comfort reading on Wednesday, since that seemed like something that might be sort of timely for many of my friends.  And on Friday, I’ll have a recap of our February hike at Lake Accotink in Springfield, Virginia.  Can’t wait to show you all the pictures!

Loving.  This post (“3 ways to listen to Audible audiobooks without a membership”) from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Anne has some of the best tricks for saving on ebooks and audiobooks – I get her daily list of kindle deals in my email and have bought several of the books that she’s featured – and no one does a better job of navigating the sometimes confusing world of Amazon and Audible to find the best deals.  All of her audiobook posts are worth reading – I went back through them when I was deciding whether to get an Audible membership – but this post is the best, because Anne lets you in on the secret (or at least, it was a secret to me) that several of the companion audiobooks to classic novels are read by some of the best Audible narrators, including some celebs.  As a result of reading the post, I rushed to Amazon and snatched up the kindle version of Anne of Green Gables, all so that I could add the audio version narrated by Rachel McAdams for $1.99 – much less than even the Audible member price.  It had been on my wish list for months; thanks to Anne, I saved a bundle on an audiobook I would have bought eventually, but for much more money, and snatched up several Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell titles as well just because the companion audiobook was narrated by Juliet Stevenson, whom I adore.  If you’re even considering an Audible membership, be sure to read this and Anne’s other audiobook posts.  I have no intention of getting rid of my Audible membership at present, but I’m still getting a ton out of this post, and scoring some major deals on Audible books that I would otherwise have spent valuable credits on.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/listening to/loving this week?

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I was always a bookish kid.  Much like Peanut today, I loved books even before I could read – although I only have very foggy memories of a time before reading.  My mom, an elementary school teacher, taught me to read before kindergarten, so it’s hard for me to remember lacking at least rudimentary reading skills.  As I grew older, I devoured pretty much anything and everything printed.  My tastes were pretty indiscriminate – obviously, the back of a cereal box wasn’t as great as, say, a Baby-Sitters Club book, but if it had words, I was here for it.

Despite my own tendency to read anything that crossed my path, my mom and grandmothers tried to steer me toward the better children’s literature.  Think more “Lake of Shining Waters” and less “Claudia Kishi’s room” – although I definitely still read the prevalent middle grade fiction of the day, too – a.k.a. Sweet Valley Twins and later Sweet Valley High in addition to The Baby-Sitters Club.  But my best reading memories from childhood are the books that have endured.  I have fond recollections of curling up in my grandmother’s armchair, in a sunny spot right in the window, and not looking up from Anne of Green Gables for several hours.  (She had a blue and white hardcover edition with a picture of Anne, braids blazing, sitting on the bench at White Sands Station waiting for Matthew Cuthbert to pick her up.  That was my first encounter with L.M. Montgomery, who would become the best-loved and most-read author of my growing-up years.)

The Anne books.  Later, the Emily trilogy, which was the defining reading experience of my childhood – maybe of my life.  (Wondering about my daughter’s name?  It’s not a coincidence.)  Jane of Lantern Hill, which I read so many times that my paperback copy – I still have it – is almost as tattered as my Emily books.  And the lesser-known Montgomery works – The Story Girl, The Golden Road, Kilmeny of the Orchard, The Chronicles of Avonlea, and so many more.

From time to time, I ventured off of Prince Edward Island and read other children’s and youth classics.  I spent nearly as much time in a covered wagon with Laura Ingalls as I did roaming the shores of PEI with Anne and Emily.  Little Women was a favorite, as was The Secret Garden – which was, perhaps, the only book that captured my imagination as much as the L.M. Montgomery books.  (I liked A Little Princess, as well, and read it many times.  But it couldn’t compete with The Secret Garden.)  Of course, I was a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle and read both the Time books and the Austin Family series over and over.  And The Chronicles of Narnia until I had it practically memorized.  And of course, Winnie-the-Pooh.   Less frequent re-reads included RedwallHeidi and Hans Brinker.  But looming over all others were Anne Shirley, Emily Starr, Jane Stuart and Sara Stanley.


I always felt good about my childhood reading.  My mom made sure that I had plenty of books at my disposal – both through birthday and Christmas gifts and through regular trips to the library.  As I got older, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frances Hodgson Burnett gave way to Jane Austen, Eudora Welty and Agatha Christie.  I think I’ve read lots of good books in my time here (and hopefully, I’ll have time for lots more).  Yet as an adult, thinking down the road to my own daughter’s middle school library, I am realizing that there were thousands of pages of children’s and youth classics that I somehow missed as I was gobbling up every Avonlea story I could get my hands on.  Most of them, I still have not read.

  • The Betsy-Tacy books, by Maud Hart Lovelace.  Somehow, as I devoured one Maud (Montgomery), I missed another (Lovelace).  I had no idea these books existed until my friend Katie mentioned them on her blog.  Since then, I’ve read the entire Betsy-Tacy series – all ten – and my only regret is that I never knew about the books as a child.  They would have been a perfect place to jump after exhausting Avonlea.
  • The Shoe books, by Noel Streatfield.  Although I loved the movie “You’ve Got Mail,” and must have watched it dozens of times (it’s still a favorite) for some reason I never picked up on Kathleen Kelly’s recommendation of “the Shoe books,” and particularly Ballet Shoes.  I still haven’t read them – must fix that.
  • I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.  I so regret missing out on I Capture the Castle in high school; I’d have loved it.  I first read it as an adult, after a work friend urged her copy into my tote bag.  What a delight.  It’s a favorite now, although I’ve yet to read anything else by Dodie Smith.  I hope to correct that omission in 2017.
  • The Swallows and Amazons books, by Arthur Ransome.  I have absolutely no excuse for missing out on Swallows and Amazons and its progeny, since my camp BFF, Sarah, loved them.  (We went to a sailing program at our camp, and these are books in which the characters have adventures on their sailboats.  How on earth did I not read them?)  They’re very high on my list for 2017.
  • The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge.  I never even heard of Elizabeth Goudge until I grew up.  My first awareness of her came after reading that The Little White Horse was one of J.K. Rowling’s favorite books.  (I’ve acquired a gorgeous edition from The Folio Society, and read it last month – what a joy.)  I’ve since discovered that Goudge also wrote books for adults, that have been described as an ideal next step after finishing all of L.M. Montgomery.  Again – how did I miss that?
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  How many bookish kids count The Hobbit as one of their childhood reading influences?  Lots, but not me.  This is another one I never read until adulthood.  Although I loved the Narnia books, I never touched Tolkien until my thirties.  I was really missing out, wasn’t I?  (I’ve since read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, once each, and I really need to re-read them and delve further into Tolkien’s worlds.)
  • The Railway Children and Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit.  I didn’t read E. Nesbit until adulthood.  Even now, I’ve read The Railway Children (and I would have loved that book as a kid) but have yet to pick up Five Children and It, or anything else, by E. Nesbit.  I know she’s beloved by many – must get to her soon.

I’m sure there are more.  It constantly amazes me that – even as a bookish kid who constantly had my nose stuck between the covers of a book, and whose mom made a point of putting good books in my path – I somehow missed so many classics.

What childhood classics did you discover as an adult?

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WOW.  I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of January.  How is 2017 already 1/12 over?  How can that be?  And yet it feels like we’ve lived several lifetimes in the last week alone.  But – I try hard to keep this a politics-free space, as challenging as that is becoming, so no more about You Know Who.  For now.  How were your weekends?  Mine was… okay.  Saturday started off dicey, when Nugget woke up at 4:45 with absolutely no intention of going back to sleep.  I tried bringing him into bed with us, despite having a 0% success rating on that tactic in the past – hope springs eternal.  We ended up dozing together in his rocking chair for about 90 minutes until sunrise.  Not a great start for Productivity Day, but I did my best.  We ran some errands in the morning – a haircut for Nugget, then the grocery store – and then I came home with the beginnings of a sore throat.  I worked (paying work, not house chores) while the kids napped, squeezed in a bit of a nap of my own, and then rallied for a family walk after they woke up, even though by then I felt horrible.  Swallowing was excruciating and I had a pounding headache on top of it.  I pushed through to their bedtimes and crashed on the couch at 8:00 – Saturday night and I know how to party.  I still felt kind of crummy on Sunday, but we saddled up and headed off to meet my friend Carly and her family at the zoo.  I figured my throat would hurt the same no matter where I was, so why ruin everyone else’s good time?  I started feeling a little better as the morning went on, and we got to see most of the coolest exhibits – the cheetahs were closed and we ran out of time to see my favorites, the lions, but we got in quality time with the sea lions, the bald eagle, the elephants, the pandas, the great apes (baby orangutan for the win!) the reptiles (Peanut’s on a snake kick, don’t ask me) and more.

notwithstanding the-little-white-horse the-making-of-a-marchioness

Reading.  I have gone full-steam into comfort reads this week.  They were the only thing I could bring myself to pick up.  Finished Notwithstanding: Stories of an English Village by the author of Corelli’s Mandolin on Wednesday (okay, but not great) and then – I couldn’t wait any longer – picked up my GORGEOUS Folio Society edition of The Little White Horse, a children’s classic I’d never read before.  (The picture above is of the edition I have.  It’s even more stunning in person.)  I devoured it and seriously considered flipping right back to the beginning and starting again, but chose instead to pick up another classic that was calling to me – The Making of a Marchioness, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  FHB wrote one of my childhood favorites – The Secret Garden – but I’d never read any of her adult fiction.  How can that be?  Loving it so far.  The comfort reads are exactly what the doctor ordered – expect to see more of them, although I’ll have to turn back to my library stack soon.

Watching.  Not much of anything this week.  A few episodes of Rock the Park here and there, and some National Geographic animal videos with the kiddos after the zoo yesterday.  But I’ve been more inclined to my comfort reads.  Oh, and I can’t get enough of two videos I saw on Facebook – the Dutch “welcome” to Trump (I was weeping, it was so funny – “We built a whole ocean; nobody builds better oceans than we do”) and the Thug Notes discussion of Pride and Prejudice (hilarious and smart).

Listening.  Most of the week was devoted to Middlemarch on Audible.  (I’m down to a little over 16 hours of listening time left. Considering the book is over 35 hours, that means I’m past halfway – holla!)  Over the weekend I took a little break from Eliot and listened to part of The Great Courses: Money Management Skills, which I picked up for $2.95 after Anne Bogel featured it in her Great Kindle Deals email.  I’m about an hour in and finding it very interesting and informative.

Making.  A completed 2016 family yearbook – just finished yesterday!  Ordered and everything, thanks to a 50% off deal on Shutterfly.  The books are a big investment of time and money but, I think, totally worth it.  I love flipping through books from previous years, remembering all of our family adventures.

Blogging.  This week, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to answer the question of what’s saving my life lately on Wednesday, and sharing my winter list (only halfway through the winter!) on Friday.  Should be a fun week around these parts.

Loving.  I’ve been loving watching my social media feed explode with examples of people banding together to stand up and #RESIST the forces of hatred and bigotry.  Of course, I wish more than anything else that it wasn’t necessary – and I’ve been beyond ashamed of the government this past week; every act more disgusting and outrageous than the last – but I’m proud of everyone who has been protesting and speaking out.  These people work for US and we’re the boss, and I hope folks remember that at the polls.  I’m still looking for the best way to get involved myself – so far it’s taken the form mostly of donations to causes I believe in, and additional pro bono work – but I’d like to get more involved on the ground, so I’m working on that.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/making/loving this week?

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Well, here we go again – another new week.  How was everyone’s weekend?  Decently productive over here.  It was the second weekend of our “one day for family fun, one day for chores” scheme, and we ended up flipping the days because Saturday’s weather (even though grey and misting) was better than Sunday’s.  I’d been seriously considering going to the Women’s March on Washington – I was thinking I might push Peanut in the stroller – but decided against attending, mainly because I was a little anxious about the event.  To quote a work friend who also opted out, “It only takes one crazy with a gun.”  I also have another state Bar application in progress and I didn’t want to jeopardize that with any police entanglements.  So I reminded myself that I was there on Election Day and I did my part in pulling the lever for Hillary.  Of course, with 20-20 hindsight – knowing that the protests were peaceful, no violence and no police clashes – I wish I’d gone.  But instead, I took on a new pro bono case, made a statement of support for the National Park Service after they were banned from Twitter by the Trump Administration (I just threw up a little) (and so it begins) and lived to fight another day.  We spent Saturday at Great Falls, hiking the North River Trail into Riverbend Park, talking about how much we love our National Parks and how horrified we are about the news that they’ve been banned from Twitter.  (And I waved the Adirondack flag over the Falls, just for good measure – we love state parks, too!)  Sunday was devoted to grocery shopping, food prep, and completing our unpacking in the dining room – a productive day.


Reading.  Decently productive reading week, too – helped out by the fact that I left my phone in Nugget’s room overnight on Saturday, and so could not be distracted from my book (The Fate of the Tearling).  But that’s jumping ahead.  I finished March: Book 3 last Monday (astonishing and necessary), then read Becoming Nicole in less than 24 hours – I couldn’t put it down.  Finally, after avoiding it for two weeks, I then picked up The Fate of the Tearling.  I know that the Queen of the Tearling trilogy has tons of fans, and I don’t dislike it, per se, but I just don’t see what the fuss is about.  The third book, like the first two, was fine – although the ending was a massive WTF for me.  (Sorry if that’s a spoiler – it’s not meant as such.)  Now I’m just a few stories into Notwithstanding, a book of linked short stories from the author of Corelli’s Mandolin – so far, I’m enjoying it.  Next up, I think I’m finally going to tackle the new Jonathan Safran Foer – wish me luck.

Watching.  I might have to go back to my old format if I can’t mix it up more, but I can’t help it – I get on jags.  Steve and I are still working our way through Season 2 of Rock the Park.  We have decided that we are going to Denali to pet sled dog puppies, because CUTE!  I think we may have to stop watching, though.  Sunday night’s two episodes were so epic and amazing that there’s probably nowhere to go but down.  First, Jack and Colton hiked in Mt. Rainier National Park with then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.  And then, they CLIMBED. THE. GRAND TETON.  THE GRAND TETON.  Yup, we’re not watching anymore – that was the limit.  Just kidding.  We’re totally addicted.

Listening.  Still going strong with Middlemarch on Audible, even though my podcatcher is starting to fill up again.  Since I know you’re all wondering – Mr. Casaubon is every bit as infuriating on audio as he is in print!  He is. The actual. Worst.  Amirite?

Making.  A fully unpacked and cleaned out dining room (this is exciting stuff, guys) and an empty upstairs hallway – again!  Not to mention a fridge full of sliced veggies and hard-boiled eggs, because I am starting a modified Whole 30 today (wish me luck).  I wish I had something more fun to report to you.  Oh – here’s something fun.  I’m nearly done with my 2016 family yearbook!  Layout, backgrounds and embellishments are done.  I just have to finish the captions and proofread it, and then I’ll be ready to press the “order” button the next time there’s a 50% off sale (those books aren’t cheap).

Blogging.  Coming up this week, I have good stuff!  Book superlatives on Wednesday, and a recap of Saturday’s hike at Riverbend Park (the first in my rekindled Twelve Months Hiking Project series – hurray!) on Friday.  Check back!

Loving.  Even though I didn’t go myself, I loved all the pictures in my social media feed from the women’s marches around the country and the world.  We are a pretty amazing community of women (and men!) and I just hope that this energy continues.  If you were marching on Saturday, I also love you.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/loving this week?


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