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Archive for the ‘Reading Life’ Category

Happy new week, friends!  According to local friends, we are in the middle of a heat wave here.  Part of me totally believes it – the thermometer in my car registered 111* when I started running my errands, and only got down to 105* by the time I’d finished trundling to the library, gas station, natural foods store and liquor store.  But part of me just feels like this is run-of-the-mill July in Virginia.  I don’t know – either way, it’s hot.  We’ve been beating the heat with plenty of pool time and ice cream, and the kids don’t hate it.

On Saturday morning, we hosted a toddler friend for a play date – mainly so that I could pass off hand-me-downs to her mom (a former work colleague and current fellow steering committee member for our professional community), who is expecting.  It also gave me the chance to mess around in the kitchen and whip up an elaborate brunch, which my kids didn’t appreciate, but my friend’s two-year-old did.  They left when it was time for the wee one’s nap, and we headed to the pool.  Sunday found us at the pool again, and around that, just hanging out at home (in the air conditioning!) and running the aforementioned errands.  Ended the weekend on the couch with Ayesha at Last.  All pretty simple stuff, and refreshing before a busy week.

Reading.  Had a very slow reading week – even slower than usual.  On top of continued commuting woes without public transit, I had to work every night this week – even Friday.  Every day I steamed through my to-do list in the office, determined to come home and enjoy a nice long evening curled up on the couch with Mrs. Dalloway, and every night I found myself hunched over my laptop, churning out more work.  It wasn’t my craziest workweek ever, but it was definitely a big billing week.  I needed it, because this coming week I have three days when I’ll be in a non-billable training program.  But it definitely made for a miserable week last week.  I finally finished Mrs. Dalloway on Friday night, after wrapping up work, and turned to Ayesha at Last, which I have out from the library and which I’m really enjoying.  The library stack more than doubled over the weekend; I’m up to eight books checked out again (will I never learn?) so I have my reading mapped out for the next few weeks… or months.

Watching.  Again, no screens this week, unless you count the screen of my work laptop.  But good watching this weekend – I watched the kids do coordinated jumps and somersaults in the pool.  Man, I love summer.

Listening.  Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts!  You’d think that with driving to work all summer, I’d have made a dent in my podcatcher, but – nope.  I also listened to a little Decemberists, requested by Nugget.  YES!

Making.  Lots of yummy food this week.  I made a huge batch of goulash (my version, with kale, gardein meatless ground instead of ground turkey, and whole wheat pasta, wasn’t quite as popular as Nana’s – but the kids still ate it and we have lots of leftovers for the week) and, more exciting, a fun farmers’ market brunch for our Saturday play date.  I made three-layer vegetable quiche in a homemade sourdough pastry crust, and peach-walnut coffee cake.  The peaches, tomatoes, and eggplants I used were from the farmers’ market; the pastry crust was whipped up with my discard sourdough, and the herbs for the quiche were plucked straight from my container garden.  It was all delicious.

Moving.  Hand-in-hand with a busy workweek goes a slow workout week.  I only managed one run – ugh.  I definitely get a workout tossing the kids around in the pool, but I’m itching for more activity this week.  We’ll see if I actually get it – I’m predicting another hectic week on the work and parenting front.

Blogging.  I know I’ve been flaking a lot on you lately, promising posts and then not delivering.  I’m sorry!  Vacation re-entry has definitely been challenging this time around, as I came back to a mountain of work.  (What I wouldn’t give to still be kayaking…)  With this bizarre summer schedule I’m keeping, I don’t know if it’s going to get any better, but this week – at least – I can promise you that I will deliver.  I’ve got a Classics Club book review on Wednesday – making progress! – and the first PNW recap, for real this time, on Friday.  They’re written and scheduled and they will post, and you can take that to the bank!

Loving.  Probably premature to declare this, but I think I might have a new favorite milk!  I’ve been intrigued by Ripple, which is a high-calcium and high-nutrition dairy alternative made with pea protein.  I picked up some of the unsweetened original flavor at the natural foods store, and it’s really creamy and tastes pretty good.  And then – hashtag shopping while thirsty in the middle of a heat wave – I also tossed a small bottle of the chocolate milk into my cart and chugged it on the way home, and – oh. my. word.  12 grams of protein, and just so yummy and rich.  It’s definitely not an everyday kind of thing, but for an occasional treat, yes please.  (Now, if only Ripple would make a Greek yogurt that tastes as rich as Fage…)

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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It’s about that time, folks – time for a summer reading slump, maybe.  I think I might be that unusual reader who reads less in the summer, in general.  Those long light evenings notwithstanding – they are good for reading, I can’t deny that – I find myself so much on the go during the summer that reading often takes a hit.  I’ve always got a book on the go, but I don’t churn through them the way I do during the colder months, and I am not really a big vacation reader (I told this to a friend recently, and she was shocked – but I’m more interested in taking in beautiful scenery that I don’t see every day, and spending time with family or friends).

This summer, books have taken an even harder hit than usual, because my commute is weird.  Have I complained about this once or twice or a dozen times?

For the past three-plus years, I’ve been commuting on public transit – specifically, the D.C. Metro.  Metro definitely has its detractors, and there have been times when I’ve been frustrated by wait times or crowded trains.  And I don’t even want to talk about the time a man sneezed in my purse – yes, that happened, years ago.  But after driving to work for two years in Buffalo, I was thrilled to get back to public transportation.  No more fighting traffic, it’s better for the environment, and – maybe the best part – I can read on the train!

At least, up until this summer!  Metro is rebuilding a bunch of platforms, including the platform at my home station, and the result is that there’s no service near my house from Memorial Day until Labor Day.  Fortunately, my firm is both flexible and understanding, so I’ve been keeping a weird summer schedule that involves driving to work at the crack of dawn two or three days per week and leaving mid-afternoon to beat traffic, and working from home the rest of the time.  No one at work has minded, but as for me – I am itching to get back to my regular routine.  I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to get out of the house at 6:30 a.m. or earlier with two small children underfoot as I try to speed through my morning routine.  I hate driving the city streets, I haven’t always been able to avoid traffic despite my best efforts and have had a few 90-minute-plus commutes, and – worst of all – I can’t read on my commutes anymore.  (Sure, I could listen to audiobooks, and I intended to do some of that, but I’ve just found myself catching up on podcasts, which is also fine.)  Losing my reading commutes means losing about an hour of reading time each day (30 minutes each way), and I’ve had to work after bedtime many nights this summer in order to compensate for leaving early to beat traffic – with the result being that when I do finally open my book, it’s often after 9:00 and I am both exhausted and short on time before lights-out so I can do it all again the next day.

And it’s a vicious cycle.  The less time I have to read, the less inspired I am to pick up a book.  Even when it’s something I’m really enjoying – like Mrs. Dalloway, right now – it’s hard to get into it because I know I won’t be able to sink in and really immerse myself in the story, and I don’t see the pages ticking away like I do when I have that extra time to read during my commute.  Take tonight, for instance.  I’ve worked at least an hour after bedtime every night this week, and I promised myself that tonight I’d come straight down after putting Nugget to bed and pick up my book – but I think I’m going to have to work again.  Between losing the hour of commute-reading and being on a strange interrupted schedule, I feel like a reader who barely reads.

At least I know this is temporary.  Come Labor Day, the Metro platform will be open and trains will be running again, and I’ll be back to my usual commute-time reading.  And the weather will start getting cooler, and I’ll want to curl up with a book all evening.  I know it’s temporary.  It’s not like those unexpected reading slumps that have no explanation and no expiration date, when you wonder if you’ll ever enjoy reading again.  I want to read, but circumstances keep preventing me from it, and the more circumstances prevent me, the less motivated I am.

I love summer – I really do.  But… is it Labor Day yet?

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Goooooood morning, friends.  How was everyone’s weekend?  Ours was busy – no surprise there, right?  On Saturday, the one thing I really wanted to do was hit the farmers’ market and stock up on fresh food.  Nugget agreed to be my date, but only if he could wear his dinosaur costume.  Some battles are not worth fighting, so off we went to the market, me in shorts and a t-shirt, and Nugget in a plush dino costume with a hood.  Sigh.  He got so much attention on the walk there and at the market itself, that I don’t think he’ll ever wear regular clothes again.  No sooner had we gotten our market haul unpacked than Peanut and I were out the door again for a(nother) Chuck E. Cheese birthday party.  I left Nugget, who was complaining about a tummyache, home on the couch with Dad, but ten minutes after Peanut and I had arrived at the party, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see the boys (and Nugget was still in the dinosaur costume).  It seems Nugget made a miraculous recovery, thanks to the power of Chuck.  We had a pretty nice time at the party; I learned from my past mistakes and brought a book for Rory Peanut to read, and I think knowing she had that option allowed her to play more freely.  All of the kids greeted each other as if it had been years instead of weeks since school ended, and the parents exclaimed over summer haircuts and missing teeth.

The rest of Saturday was spent doing chores around the house and running errands – pretty standard stuff.  We shipped our luggage back from Seattle and were planning to dedicate the weekend to washing our camping clothes and gear repeatedly, but the box hasn’t arrived yet, gulp.  I don’t want to think about what it’s going to smell like when it does show up (hopefully today).

On Sunday morning, Nugget asked to go to the zoo.  He’d just been there the previous week with his grandparents, and we were planning a relaxed, low-key neighborhood day, so we said no – at first.  Then the downward spiral began, and before long I found myself painting Nugget’s face like a triceratops while Steve ran around packing snacks and water for the zoo.  It happens.  (Peanut declined face paint this time, in case you thought I was a meanie who only painted one of my children’s faces.  There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)  After the zoo, we pounded a quick lunch and then hit the neighborhood pool, while the kids showed off their new tricks from summer swim lessons.  (Note to self: check the deadline for registering them for fall swim class.)  After the pool, we stopped at our next-door neighbors’ house to drip all over their furniture and ruin the kids’ dinner appetites with 4:30 p.m. ice cream.  Parents of the year!  I ended the weekend hunched over my laptop, pounding out the work that I didn’t get to earlier in the weekend.  And so begins another week.  I’m exhausted.

Reading.  I think I’m getting back into the groove a little bit, after not reading much on vacation.  (More to come on summer reading/slumping soon.)  Earlier in the week, upon returning from the Pacific Northwest, I finished up The Library Book – I’d left it home, even knowing it was going to be overdue back to the library, because I didn’t want to tote it along in the kayak or risk it getting lost in the adventure company’s van, and that was a good call, since everything in the kayak got at least a little clammy and salty, if not outright wet.  Anyway, The Library Book was wonderful and definitely lived up to the hype; I was sad to finish it.  Since I’d been on vacation, I didn’t have any other books checked out of the library (at the time – I did squeeze a library run into the weekend errands because y’all know I develop a twitch if I don’t have a stack checked out) so I finished off the one book I did read a bit on vacation – In Morocco, by Edith Wharton, via the kindle.  Finally, on Sunday – library stack notwithstanding – I turned to my own shelf (!!!) and grabbed Mrs. Dalloway, which I’ve been meaning to read for years and which is on my Classics Club list.  Since I had to work on Sunday evening, I didn’t get the long lazy few hours curled up with a book and as a result I’m only about 30 pages in, but so far I love it.

Watching.  No TV or movies this week, but lots of watching.  I watched the kiddos run around with their friends at a birthday party and splash in the pool this weekend.  (My mom thinks they’re so good in the water that I could start bringing a book to the pool again – for the first time since having munchkins – but I’m an anxious type who can’t bring myself to look away from them for even a second.  Every time Nugget surfaced after going underwater, I asked him if he was okay and if he had swallowed anything.  I think by the end of the swim session, he was wishing I’d stayed home.)

Listening.  Back to podcasts!  I’m working my way through my backlog of episodes of The Crunchy Cocktail Hour right now.  Steve wishes I wouldn’t, because I came home with natural deodorant for him after my grocery run on Saturday afternoon.

Making.  Not much making, to be honest.  I’m trying to cook with more veggies – one bonus to my weird summer hours is that I’m home early enough to make family dinners.  So there’s been some vegetable stew-making and crudite-slicing.  Other than that, just puttering.  Refilling the bird feeders, tidying up the garden, chipping away at the basement purge – nothing particularly creative, though.

Moving.  A fair amount of moving, at least!  I squeezed in one weekday run after returning from vacation, and the vacation itself was very active with lots of hiking, walking, and paddling (pictures starting on Friday).  Plus the usual chasing the kids around, and Nugget invented a monster chase game in the pool – so I even squeezed in some actual swimming!  Hoping to find time to get back to the gym and do some strength training today.

Blogging.  Musing about reading in the Summer of No Metro on Wednesday, and – hopefully, if I get my pictures uploaded in time – the first vacation recap on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  This is going to sound weird, but go with it.  On vacation, our kayaking guide was putting protein powder in his coffee every morning.  I thought to myself, that’s either disgusting or it’s brilliant, and I resolve to give it a try when I got home.  On Sunday, I dropped about a 3/4 scoop of Whole Foods’ coconut almond plant-based protein into my travel mug and sipped it while I was walking around the zoo, and verdict: it’s brilliant.  It’s like a delicious creamer, but with actual nutrition!  I usually drink my coffee black, and I don’t think I’d do this every day – in fact, I’m sipping black coffee as I write this post – but what an idea, right?!  I’m always looking for way to squeeze extra protein into my day, since I eat very few animal products.  I can’t believe I never thought of protein coffee.  So simple!

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Hi, friends.  I’m staring down the barrel of what is going to be a very busy and stressful week around these parts – three filings due Friday, plus meetings out of the office and finishing up a bunch of things that I have let linger and can’t let linger anymore.  It’s a good thing I have the quintessential summer weekend to look back on!  On Saturday morning, I took Nugget to get his summer haircut, then we stopped by Duck Donuts to surprise Daddy and Peanut.  We barely had time to shovel the donuts down before we were out the door again, headed to Butler’s Orchard in Maryland to meet up with friends for blueberry-picking.  (We’ve picked blueberries and apples with these friends a few times, so we all took a vote and decided we are the official pick-your-own crew.)  On Sunday, we headed into the city around midday for Daddy’s Father’s Day gift – a baseball game at Nationals Park!  I’m on a mission to make the family into Nats fans.  It was a lot of fun!  The kids ate an alarming amount of ballpark food, Teddy Roosevelt won the Presidents’ Race, and we got to clap and cheer for the hometown team, which is always good times.  We didn’t make it through the whole game (and the Nats lost, anyway) but it was a successful outing and we’ll definitely do it again.  The weekend wasn’t all home runs and blueberry pie – there was a lot of bickering, some yelling, and the house is trashed.  Still, I think what I’m going to remember is the smiles on the kids’ faces as they plucked sun-warmed blueberries from the bush and stuffed their faces with ballpark cotton candy.

Reading.  The reading continues to be slow without Metro commutes.  (I’m trying to remember how I kept up my reading pace in Buffalo, where I always drove to work.  I’ve gotten used to my cushy public transportation ride.)  I spent most of the week over Unmarriageable – two P&P adaptations in a month, who dis?  The weekend was devoted to Dear Pen Pal as I continue my re-read of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series.  (So delightful.)  I have a couple of pressing library deadlines this week, so next up will be The Library Book.  Looking forward to seeing what all the hype is about…

Watching.  Well, I watched several innings of the Nationals vs. the Braves this weekend, which was a lot of fun.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy going to the ballpark.  Steve and I agreed that we need to get a babysitter and go back for an evening game one of these days.

Listening.  I’ve made it through all of my back episodes of Speak Up for the Ocean Blue!  I’d downloaded about fifty of them when I first found the podcast, so this is an achievement.  Still on an ocean kick, I’m now working my way through my (much shorter) backlog of A-Pod…Cast for Killer Whales, and after that, will probably move on to Whale Scout.  I’m definitely on a whale jag, but what else is new?

Moving.  Much less movement this past week, unfortunately.  Work was really crazy as I tried to make progress on a few pressing things, and that got in the way of gym time and weekday runs.  I have another busy week coming up, but am hoping to still make time for at least a few workouts.  I did get in some gardening, which is a surprisingly good workout – especially those weeding squats.

Making.  Not much making, either – unsurprising for such a busy week.  I didn’t do any food prep or, really, even any cooking.  I did make herb chains for a garden blessing at sunset on Litha, so that’s something!

Blogging.  Lots of fun stuff coming up for you!  I’ve got a garden update on Wednesday and a fun ballpark recap on Friday.  Next week, since it’s a holiday week, I’m skipping the usual Monday reading post and rounding up my Fourth of July pictures through the years – there has been some growing!  Wonder what kind of picture I’ll get this year?  As for the rest of the week, business as usual – I’ll have my June reading round-up on Wednesday and my garden tasks for July on Friday.

Loving.  One of my favorite Instagram follows is London-based blogger Miranda Mills, who shares beautifully curated posts on her Miranda’s Notebook and Miranda’s Bookcase feeds.  She’s currently on vacation in NYC and has made it her mission to find every charming and/or floral corner of the city.  I love New York City, but I’ve been there so many times that I sometimes forget about its charms.  Seeing it through Miranda’s eyes has been such a treat, and has me craving a weekend trip up to the Big Apple.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Happy new week, and happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandads, pet dads, uncles, father figures, kindly neighbors, and every good guy in our lives (and in your lives)!  I hope all of my friends had a wonderful weekend celebrating the men in their lives.  We did, but it was a busy one – as is usual for us.  Like every Saturday, we were up and out the door early – this time, to a birthday party at a new-to-us park in Arlington, with a splash pad.  There were about seven different parties going on at the same time, so obviously the park thought it would be a good time to turn off the splash pad for maintenance.  #fail.  The kids had fun anyway!  I stuck around for about an hour, had a coffee, and chatted with some of the other kindergarten rising first grade (!!!) moms, then left Steve and the kids at the park and rushed off to my yoga studio for a two hour Ayurveda workshop.  I left with lots of information, some good ideas, and the instructor’s business card.  No sooner had I gotten home, slammed a lunch of green soup and French fries (#balance), than we were off again, this time to summer camp orientation.  The kids met their counselors, checked out their summer classrooms, and made mud pies in the giant sand pit.  It’s going to be a good summer.

On Sunday, we attempted to let Daddy sleep in a little, but he rolled downstairs at about 7:00 – oh, well.  We had strawberry pancake batter all mixed up and ready for the griddle – prepped by the kids and me, with spiritual assistance from Rachael Ray – and we served him up a sweet breakfast.  After that, Daddy wanted a low-key day around the neighborhood and some time to “do man things,” so I ran interference while he went to Home Depot ALL ALONE, which he seemed to enjoy, and then filled up the propane and cleaned the grill.  The rest of the day was devoted to wandering the neighborhood – we hit the playground and the pizza joint, and I took Nugget to the library to get him out of Steve’s hair later in the afternoon – and then we fired up the grill for the first time since moving into this house (embarrassing, I know).  For the first grilling, we went with Beyond burgers on brioche buns – YES.  MOAR THIS.  Happy day, Daddy.  We hope we made you feel as special as you make us feel all year long.

Reading.  Another week with no commutes, but I managed to finish three books and start a fourth – not bad!  I’m prioritizing reading as long as I’m Metro-less, so don’t expect much in the “watching” category.  I wrapped up The River in the Sky early in the week, then spent most of the weekday reading hours over Our Castle by the Sea – not sure why it took me awhile, since it’s a fairly short YA book, but there you have it.  For as long as it took me to get through Our Castle by the Sea, that’s how quickly I slammed through 1939: The Last Season – really enjoyed that one.  Finished it up on Sunday morning and turned to Unmarriageable, which I’ve heard is wonderful.  I’ve just started it; can’t wait to dig in.

Watching.  No screens, other than repeated viewings of my #1SecondEveryday video as it grows longer and longer.  (And I’m clipping my videos to two seconds, not one, so it’s about a minute long already not quite a month into the project.)  Other than that – lots of watching, but not watching on screens.  I watched my littles splash each other in the bathtub, run around the playground, and do a really weird dance outside the fire station.  But that was all Life.

Listening.  As happened the last time Metro was under construction (a few years ago now) while my reading has taken a hit my listening is off the charts.  I finished up my back episodes of Vegetarian Zen (except a couple of holiday back episodes I’m saving) and am now working my way through my backlog of Speak Up for the Ocean Blue episodes.  I’m as far back as January of this year, so chugging along.

Moving.  Lots of movement this week!  A couple of runs, a couple of gym days, and a midweek yoga class with my friend Kim.  (Not planned, but we will be yoga-ing together on Wednesdays intentionally for the rest of the summer, and I couldn’t be happier about that.)

Making.  Strawberry pancakes, grilled veggie burgers, and lots of memories, as usual.

Blogging.  Y’all, I have NO IDEA what I am going to write to you about this week.  I usually have posts planned in advance, even if not written and scheduled, but I have a completely blank week ahead.  I guess we’ll all be surprised…

Loving.  The dads, of course!  This weekend was all about them, and I always enjoy this celebration because I have a good one.  Steve is the best father I’ve ever met.  While I try not to wait all year to tell him that we appreciate everything he does, it’s really fun to make a big deal out of celebrating him.  And my kids are also lucky enough to have the world’s most fun-loving grandad.  Pretty good haul they got in the father department, right?

Asking.  What are you reading this week?  What should I blog about?

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Does it have to be Monday?  I feel like I need an extra day – but I always say that, don’t I?  We had a crazy busy weekend, even busier than usual.  It started early, with a date night on Thursday night – first to our favorite wine bar and French bistro, and then followed up with a gear fitting appointment at REI.  Because that’s how we date night around here.  Friday was the kids’ last day of school for the year; how is it over already?  It was all I could do not to cry – they’ve both had such a wonderful experience this year.  Being a room mom in Peanut’s classroom was an experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world – hope I can do it for Nugget too.  I dropped them off, but I missed out on pickup because they had an early dismissal and I was on the phone literally (paging Chris Traeger) all. freaking. day.  Had a work crisis – not of my own making, at least – and while my office ended up the heroes at the end of the day, it was a stressful few hours.  I really needed to work this weekend, too, since I didn’t actually get done anything I’d planned to work on at the end of the week, thanks to said crisis – but it was not to be.

We were up and out the door early on Saturday.  Having spent the latter part of the week pouring over weather forecasts (as usual) and comparing the radar against our calendars, we figured out that if we wanted to get out on the water, we had to make it happen first thing.  So we trundled over to the Ballpark Boathouse with all of our gear and spent a little under an hour paddling around Nats Park.  You can’t tell from the picture, but it was insanely windy – to the point that, paddling into the wind, we pretty much weren’t going anywhere.  But we got a good workout, so that’s something!  Headed home, slammed some lunch, and got ready for a farewell party for a little girl who has been in Peanut’s class the past few years – her family was here on a temporary work assignment for four years, and they’re headed home to Beijing tomorrow.  They’ve been such a huge part of our kindergarten family and they’re going to be so missed.  Hugs were exchanged, tears were shed, and rash promises to visit them in China were made.  (Actually, I think that would be really cool.)  On Sunday, we did more running around.  Steve needed to work, after losing out on Friday billing in order to shepherd the kids while I sorted out my work crisis (which was much appreciated).  So I took Nugget out to run errands – Target, Whole Foods, and the library – and to a bowling birthday party for one of his preschool pals.  Nugget, it turns out, is something of a bowling prodigy.  This was his second time bowling, and he won the game, beat my high score, and invented a library of stylish dinosaur-themed bowling moves, complete with sound effects.  The boy can bring it, what can I say?

Reading.  For a busy week with no metro commuting, it was a decent reading week.  I finished Eligible juuuuuuust in time to slip it in Peanut’s bag on the last day of school.  (It didn’t come home, so I’m hoping that means that Ms. Shaw got her book back.)  Didn’t love it, but as I told Steve: I had to read it, because a teacher told me to.  Next up was Burnout, which I heard about on the Sorta Awesome podcast, and – wow.  Those ladies weren’t kidding.  I think I need my own copy, because I really wanted to highlight.  I finished it on Sunday morning and picked up The River in the Sky, which I bought a few weeks ago from the new indie bookstore in Old Town (swoon!).  I’ve never read any Clive James, and I’m going to have to seek out more, because The River in the Sky is lovely.

Watching.  The only watching this week was the kindergarten class movie – twice.  I attended the “world premiere” in Ms. Shaw and Ms. Lynch’s classroom on Wednesday afternoon, and then watched it at home with Steve after the link was emailed out to all the parents.  There’s a less-than-flattering picture of me at the class Halloween party, but other than that, it’s adorable.

Listening.  I’m trying to get all caught up on at least one podcast, and I’ve decided to work my way through my backlist of Vegetarian Zen first, so that’s mainly what I’ve been doing.  That, and listening to the song Your Ghost, by the Decemberists, on repeat.  Because Nugget informed me that he wants to “Listen to Oh Your Ghost a hundred times and memorize it.”  Okay, buddy, you got it.

Making.  Lots of food-related items this week.  A fridge full of batch-cooked goodies, including sliced cukes and peppers, roasted asparagus and baby bella mushrooms, chickpea vegetable curry, and a huge batch of jasmine rice and green lentils to serve as the base for a week’s worth of bowl dinners.  And most exciting of all, herbed sourdough crackers, made with some of my discard starter.  They were stupid easy, and came out fabulously.  And yes, I am that lady who makes homemade crackers now.  Come at me, bruh.

Blogging.  Listy McListerson here this week – I have the final accounting from my spring list on Wednesday, and the summer list coming atcha on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  I think I probably use this one at least once a month, but I really love my community here – and I was reminded of that, a little painfully, this weekend when we had to say goodbye to cherished friends as they prepare to return home to China.  One of the reasons we moved home after our three years in Buffalo was that we were having an impossibly hard time finding a community there.  We felt isolated and alone.  When we moved back, I figured we’d fall back into our old social circles – and we did, to a large extent.  The friends we’d left behind welcomed us back with open arms.  But what I wasn’t expecting was this huge network of new friends that we found through the kids’ school.  Being in their company has felt like a big exhale of a breath I didn’t even know I was holding.  And I’m sending lots of love with the T family as they take the next step in their journey.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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Happy Monday, friends!  This is the last week of school for my munchkins – we are limping to the finish line here.  Last week was a busy one, with the preschool class picnic on Tuesday, the kindergarten class picnic on Wednesday, and field day (for kindergarten through fifth grade) on Friday – somehow, in there, I also managed to work.  So I was exhausted by Friday night, and definitely ready for a rejuvenating weekend – which I can’t exactly say that I had, either.  On Saturday, we were out the door early to meet a crew from my office at Huntley Meadows Park for Clean the Bay Day.  We spent two hours tramping up and down a streambed, and I think we pulled several pounds of trash from the park.  A job well done, but exhausting at the same time.  On Saturday afternoon, Nugget and I drove down to our favorite garden center for a new bird feeder – since the birds seem to be singularly unimpressed with our green one, we went back to the red one we had before.  Hoping for better results.  (If we don’t see the birds back at the feeder soon, I’m going to start to think it’s the birdseed instead, but that wouldn’t make sense because I’ve bought the same birdseed that I always get.)  On Sunday, Steve had promised the kids a trip to the zoo, so off we went.  It was mostly uneventful, but I did get a super-cool action shot of a ring-tailed lemur in mid-leap.  Sunday afternoon, Nugget and I had a birthday party to attend at a nearby nature center.  The little dude had a great time going on a nature walk and watching an animal presentation, and I had a great time chatting with the other parents at the party.  Definitely a successful weekend, but not an especially restful one.

Reading.  Somehow, despite a busy week of trying to squeeze a full week’s worth of work into a four-day week with three school events and no metro commutes, I managed to finish three books and start another.  How?  I wrapped up Digital Minimalism on the playground on Memorial Day, then spent most of the week over The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding, which wasn’t earth-shattering but which was solidly enjoyable.  Over Friday and Saturday I blazed through Much Ado About Anne – those Mother-Daughter book club books always go fast for me, and they’re such a sweet escape from the daily grind.  Finally, I turned to Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s retelling of Pride and Prejudice for the Austen Project.  I am decidedly ambivalent about it – I haven’t been a huge fan of any of the prior Austen Project books, and I think I might be the only thirtysomething woman in the world who is kind of meh on Curtis Sittenfeld in general – but Peanut’s teacher pressed her own copy into my hands, and now the clock is ticking.  I have to give it back to her by the last day of school, and that’s Friday.  (She hasn’t asked me for it, but I really don’t want to still have her book come summer.)  I’ve had it for months now, so it’s time to actually read it.  In my defense, she has had my copy of Where’d You Go, Bernadette – with the brilliant short story “Dear Mountain Room Parents” in the appendix – even longer.

Watching.  It’s here!  IT’S HEEEEEEEEERE!  Good Omens has finally dropped on Amazon Prime – I’ve been waiting for more than a year, and I am loving it.  Steve and I are three episodes in – so halfway through – and really enjoying it.  It’s pretty faithful to the books, with a couple of exceptions, and it’s absolutely hilarious.  Steve hasn’t read the book, so he has no idea what’s coming.  It’s almost as much fun watching him experience the story as it is watching the show itself.

Listening.  The usual diet of podcasts – mostly The Mom Hour and Vegetarian Zen – and Nugget and I also listened to some music in the car this week.  It’s definitely summer, because I fired up the Rusted Root CD, which is the quintessential summer music to my mind.  All I need is a couple of chords, and I’m back at Camp Little Notch, standing on the picnic tables at the swimming dock, belting out Send Me On My Way with Heidi, Sarah and Rose, or three Yuenglings in, dancing to Ecstasy live on Libe Slope on a hot May day at Cornell.  For some reason I rarely listen to Rusted Root when it’s cold out, but as soon as the mercury climbs over eighty it’s all I want to hear.  I would like to reach out my hand…

Making.  The usual, good stuff all around.  A cleaned-out fridge, a container full of sliced veg for the week, a pot of soup (pureed kale, chard and sweet potato in my homemade vegetable broth this time), and progress on the 2018 family yearbook.  And memories.  Always memories.

Moving.  Been an active week!  In addition to two hours of hiking through a streambed on Saturday (and hefting a heavy bag full of trash as I did so) and tramping around the zoo on Sunday, I got in one gym day (elliptical and legs) and two runs on my new favorite Braddock-to-King loop.  I’m feeling stronger and more motivated than I have in quite awhile.

Blogging.  May reading recap coming atcha on Wednesday – a good one for a long month – and June’s garden to-do list on Friday.  Check in with me then!

Loving.  My Bushel & Berry raspberries are ripening, a few every day, and man are they delicious!  I have to say – I am still giddy with the excitement of having raspberries in pots on my patio. Growing fruit has been on my garden bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I really didn’t think I’d be able to make that happen until we move, hopefully to a place with a yard, next year.  It’s been so cool to watch the raspberry bush grow and ripen, and I have high hopes for the blueberries.  Definitely bringing plenty of smiles to my patio.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

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