Hello Internet World! I am back! I skipped the May Lookback because, quite honestly, not much has been going on around here as we’re still quarantining to some extent and Alex has undergone now two (!) back surgeries … we are doing a lot of at-home recovery in his nifty hospital recliner! He’s not yet allowed to be walking around a ton and won’t be able to get in the car for a few weeks so any fun stay at home suggestions are welcome! I think he’s about watched his way through every movie ever made 😉 But the good news is that the second surgery seems to have been a lot more successful than the first so we are taking what we can get around here! It’s crazy that this time last year we were recovering from Marty’s bout in the Vet ER … June seems to be our unlucky month, but let’s hope bad luck doesn’t come in threes, as they say! Anyway, I thought I would just combine May and June this time around.
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. I added this one to my list because it was on Obama’s list of recommended novels. But honestly, I found it very dense and too stream-of-consciousness for me. It was hard to get through and I often found myself re-reading pages to better understand what was going on. That being said, however, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finally finished it! ha!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This was a Book Club pick and it was awesome. I couldn’t put it down. It blends two worlds — that of WWI and WWII and a bad ass group of female spies. I’d love to see this adapted for the big screen.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This novel holds the spot for my #1 Pick of 2020 so far (which is saying something cus Quarantine has had me in a reading frenzy!). Follow one small German girl’s journey through Nazi Germany.
The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown. I was really on a war kick this month. This non-fiction read recounts the momentous journey of a couple of boys from Washington as they went for gold in the the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. I loved this one, too. If you play or have ever played a sport, this one is a must.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger. This was our next Book Club read as we wanted an easy “sit by the pool summer read” … this is the second installment to The Devil Wears Prada. It had some serious plot holes but it was fun for what it was! You can finish this bad boy in a day or two.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement occurring in our country, this is a great place to start to understand the many problems within America’s Social Justice System. This man is absolutely incredible. He’s a lawyer fighting for those who have been wrongly accused and placed on Death Row and the big steps forward he has pushed our Justice System to make have been crucial. This is a movie, too, and it’s on our Watch List for July!
My neighbor Laur and I are at that point in Quarantine where we are suddenly watching the cheesiest things we can find on Netflix. I don’t know how we got here, but here we are! Our list includes: Never Have I Ever S1 (if you’re a fan of Mindy Kaling then you’ll love this take on her life growing up) and Sweet Magnolias. The acting is cringe-worthy but if you binge it you might just convince yourself by the fourth episode that the acting has gotten a lot better! (it hasn’t). We moved from Netflix to an Anne Hathaway Weekend Binge — Devil Wears Prada, Princess Diaries 1, and Princess Diaries 2 which flowed effortlessly into a double-feature of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2. Quarantine is weird, ya’ll.
We added a couple movies to our list since Al is recliner-bound, including Road to Perdition, Emma, White Palace, and Phantom Thread. Laur and I finished up the Harry Potter series for good measure!
And finally, Al and I worked our way through The Last Dance docu-series about MJ and the Bulls. It was a great sense of nostalgia although we liked to keep in mind that MJ was the money behind this project so a lot of things were definitely one-sided… it would have been a cool project to work on though!
I kept the embroidery going with this fun monstera pattern (ya’ll know I love my monsteras). I revamped our garden box out back so now I can grow alllllll the veggies. And my neighbor and I have been making some serious progress on my little teardrop trailer…update Post to come!
I learned how to bake bread, ya’ll! I know, I know…I am very late to the game with this Quarantine trend, but it happened! And it was successful! A friend of mine brought over some sourdough starter and provided me with all the links and videos I could possibly need … I ended up baking two loaves using two different methods and they both turned out soooooo good. We’re *just about* through both loaves and then I’ll be ready to try it all again! Honestly, now that I’ve done it I realize it’s not actually that hard to make…you just need to be home for an entire day to do it 😉
Also these braised chickpeas on top of said sourdough bread are one of my new favorite go-to’s. This is one of those stupidly easy / barely any ingredients recipes and I looooove it!
We celebrated my brother, Jim’s, birthday a’la Zoom with the entire family, which was really nice! We even broke out the party hats for the occasion 😉
And then we celebrated Alex’s birthday here in quarantine, too! Since his birthday was post-first surgery, it was pretty low key and involved sandwiches from our new favorite local sandwich shop — Caps N Corks, bundt cake cus duh!, and a small brunch get together with some friends from up north! We’re excited to celebrate FOR REAL once he is all healed up and we can go camping or hang at a brewery or something!
Things finally started to sort of open up around here (although now they’re closing up again but that’s a different story) — Our beaches are open again and I’ve been taking full advantage by going down 2-3 mornings a week before they get busy to walk or run. We’ve been down to the dog beach a couple of times since they’ve reopened too, although I think we’ll stick to heading there on weekday mornings only from now on! Hiking trails have opened back up (!!) and so I’ve done the Switzer Falls trail near Mt. Wilson, as well as some of my more local PV trails. Marty and I found a new one called Rattlesnake Trail which wasn’t crowded at all and sure was beautiful. It’s getting really hot around here now so we have to do our hiking in the super early hours of the day or pretty much not go at all. I snuck out for an afternoon and went kayaking with two friends cus that seemed like a very good way to practice social distancing 😉 and it felt soooo good to get out on the water! The dog park is finally re-open, so we’ve been spending our mornings there again, and Marty has gone back to camp which we’re so happy about and thankful for! He missed his pup friends 😉
Other than the occasional hike or trip to the dog beach — we’re still enjoying our time spent at home. I’m doing a ton of gardening which I’ve really been enjoying, and overall just continuing to live a little more slowly this year. I’m still working from home which has its pros and its cons … What a weird year it’s been, I think we can all agree! That’s not to say I’m not counting down the days til Alex is all better and we can get back out there in our teardrop trailer — it’s all I want!! Until then, though, we’re thankful for the friends that have stopped by to visit with him (and sometimes that means them hanging with him so I can get Marty out for an afternoon, which I am beyond grateful for! Going a little stir crazy here 😉 ) Hope you’re all hanging in there and STAYING HEALTHY !!!
thanks for stopping by!