Recently Read…April & May

Since I last shared a reading round-up, I have had several work trips (& associated airplane time) and other opportunities to just sit and read.

Plane Reading

Looking at Goodreads, these are the books that I read throughout April & May.

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – A wonderful WWII story that deserves the accolades it has received. A richly woven tale that had me longing for an evening with my Chicago book club to discuss the story and life in the way that this sort of story would spark.
  • The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – After wanting to read this for so long, it was a good April read this spring. Filled with wit and charm and the lush Italian countryside, I greatly enjoyed this tale.
  • The Travelers by Chris Pavone – The latest thriller from this author – a so-so read for me. I think I need to realize that this author isn’t one I need to prioritize in my unending list of books to read.
  • The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood – A new release getting a lot of buzz. A thoughtful story of “those left behind” when a young boy suddenly dies – his absent father, his struggling mother, the elderly lady whose yard he was working in for a series of Saturdays.
  • Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung – Indeed, a short and quick read on the busyness that consumes us all. It paired well with the next read from the Kindle…
  • The Sound of Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey – An interesting reflection on nature, sparked by the authors confinement to bed with a health issue and the world she discovered when a friend brought her a wild violet plant which housed a common woodland snail. As the snail explores her confined room, she becomes wrapped up in the observation of the snail and his world. This book is a tale of resilience & survival wrapped up in a treaty on the common snail that we all have seen (& probably ignored) many a time.
  • Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home by Charles Martin – Another good Martin story of self discovery and family secrets and redemption set in a vibrantly described Southern landscape.
  • The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee – A cute story in the vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club set in small town Illinois. Scrap booking is “the thing” that anchors these stories of women. In a similar vein to “The Friday Night Knitting Club,” it was a charming escape into the world of these women. My scrap booking activity is non existent these days & the book had me fondly remembering scrapbook times with friends in Chicago.
  • Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter – A crime thriller set in a small Georgia town where the coroner is also the local pediatrician. It was an ok read – nothing compelling enough to make me seek out the rest of this series.
  • Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave – A quick chick-lit of a young woman on the verge of a wedding and moving halfway around the world who flees home to the family winery when she discovers her fiances “betrayal.” Once home, her world continues to be turned upside down by her parents and their decision to sell the winery after the harvest. It read like a movie – a fluffy diversion.

So far, June has yielded 4 complete reads & 1 should be finished this evening. As the summer reading season kicks into gear, I’ve challenged myself to read 15 books – and I want to focus on books I already have on my shelves, including several “heftier” reads.

Linking up with QuickLit hosted by Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

What are you reading these days? 

A Bucketful of Summer…2016

As Summer gets into full swing, it’s time once again to share 10 items on my summer bucket list for 2016.

Clouds

In no particular order, these are some of the activities and happenings I look forward to summer arrives.

  • Attend an Iron Pigs baseball game – Summer and baseball is a natural combination. While I’ve already seen 2 MLB games this season, I look forward to another fun time cheering on the pigs.
  • Return to Konmari – The spare room is calling out to clear out the “no joy” things that have accumulated.
  • Take in some NYC sites – The WI-fam is coming for vacation in August & we are making some NYC tourist plans.
  • Refresh my patio – Replace my current chair with an Adirondack chair; get a color pot or 2; spend more time out there reading.
  • Read 15 books – While not signed up for any formal summer reading challenges, I have a goal. With an overloaded Kindle and overflowing bookshelves, I want to focus on books I own.
  • Can Jam – As produce explodes at the farm stands, I look forward to filling my shelves with some jars of summertime. Even better will be to do some canning with friends!
  • Restage the mantel – Since I took down the nativity, my mantel has just been “meh” with a hodge podge of items on it. In the last week, several ideas have been floating around about how pull it all together once again.
  • Welcome my Texas girlies to PA – Later this summer, their family is saying farewell to Texas and relocating to about 3 hours away from me. Plans are already being made for first visits.
  • Blog Italy – This July will mark 5 years since my sister & I had a fabulous Italian vacation. It’s never too late pull the highlights into several posts.
  • Christmas Knit – There were a lot of Amy knits under the tree last Christmas and I have similar goals for this year. It’s time to get a jump start on projects.

Last summer, I managed to accomplish many of the items on my list. I look forward to seeing how this summer unfolds and what adventures will be had.

Linking up with Carole for 10 Things on This Summer’s Bucket List.

What is on your bucket list for these summer months? 

Recently…May 2016

Ah MAY…a month of…the continued explosion of springtime blooms and pollen and green…a focus on Dad’s recovery from back surgery…long work days as a new project ramps up…more work travel…the anticipation of summer…

Sunrise
A few minutes of sunrise along the lakefront on a Friday morning

In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my May days…

Plane Reading
Airplane Reading

Reading…lots! 8 flights plus some downtime while home in the ‘Ville yielded a lot of completed reads…Goodreads tells me that I finished 8 books during the month – an assortment of fiction and non-fiction: The Travelers by Chris Pavone; The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood; Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung; The Sound of Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey; Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home by Charles Walker; The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee; Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter; Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave – a mid-June round-up of reviews on these (& more) is planned…

Watching…the season (& series) wrap for some of my favorites, including Castle, Mr. Selfridge, Wallander…

Streaming…when “The Republic of Doyle” popped up as a suggestion in Netflix I started on it and am hooked – I’m thoroughly enjoying this fun crime serial set in New Foundland – likable cast of characters surrounding a father/son PI business – beautiful scenery – great soundtrack (including a longtime fave, Great Big Sea)…

Listening…to the Beach Boys – while enjoying their performance on the National Memorial Day concert, I immediately snagged one of their albums on iTunes & have been listening to a favorite sound…

SpinachEggs
Comfort meal = Spinach + Eggs

Cooking…keeping it simple while home to balance all the eating out while on the road…a recent Sunday dinner routine has been a pan seared steak plus roasted green beans and a bit of blue cheese dressing – the leftovers pair with spinach and fruits for salads…keeping spinach & eggs in the fridge ensures a simple supper option on many a week night…

Airport
Early morning at the airport

Traveling…on the road 14 days in May…every other week in Milwaukee for some meetings – one of the May evenings included a return to another favorite restaurant from my time there in 2001…with both trips, I managed to grab a few moments of the sun rising over the lakefront before beginning my day…

Brewers
The 5th Annual Brewers game with this crew!

Relaxing…with WI-fam at the end of my first Milwaukee trip – when I saw that I couldn’t fly out till Saturday due to the meeting schedule, I quickly reached out to see if they were available to come down for a bit of fun. As the work day ended on Friday, we met up and managed to cram a lot of fun into a short amount of time. Friday evening was a Brewers game – our 5th “annual” time at the park. W was thrilled to meet his favorite racing sausage – I was thrilled to get a picture with Hank! The game was fun, the beer & hot dog delicious, the time with Wi-fam a treat! On Saturday morning, the boys were waterbugs in the hotel pool for close to 3 hours as the adults caught up on life over breakfast treats on the pool deck.

Phillies
Play Ball!

Cheering…2 major league baseball games in 2 different stadiums within a span of 4 days…after a Friday night Brewers game, the following Monday my team from work used our company tickets for a fun evening of connecting away from the busy that we all are experiencing these days – it was a perfect spring evening for a Phillies game…

Rainbow
A rainbow spotted after a busy day of meetings in Milwaukee

Texting…it’s a good thing we have unlimited texting on our family mobile plan…there’s no telling how much texting was going on between Mom, Rebecca & me as we focused on Dad’s surgery and recovery…the emoji game has been strong among us – auto correct has provided some good laughs…

Surprising…Dad by “detouring” to the ‘Ville for Memorial Day weekend! This was a much needed trip for all of us!

Looking ahead…more Milwaukee travel on the calendar…wondering if I’ll get any patio planting in this summer with my schedule…Dad’s continued rehab from back surgery…ready for the return of Saturday farm stand runs…finalizing summer plans with friends…

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly What I’m Into round-up. What are you into these days?

Wonderful Weekend

On this Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday weekend…joining in on the Ten on Tuesday Weekending edition to recap a great extended weekend in the ‘Ville with the family – earlier this month, Dad had emergency back surgery and the days and weeks since then have been filled with rehab and recovery. As the month progressed – and Dad progressed – I started formulating a plan for a visit…we decided it would be best for me to just “show up” and not tell Dad I was coming. Last week started with a work trip and when my meetings were done, it was time to detour to Georgia for family time.

  • Caught the 5:55 Thursday morning flight from Milwaukee to Atlanta. The early departure time didn’t dampen my excitement to be going home.

Surprise

  • Walked into Dad’s rehab room at lunchtime on Thursday and rendered him speechless with my surprise visit for the weekend.
  • Hung out with Dad each afternoon and balanced rest time for him with plenty of activities. While I spent a bit of time with him each morning and evening, the afternoons were “my” time to provide Mom with some respite for her nonstop presence by his side.

Meal Prep

  • Made yummy meals for us to enjoy as a family sitting together in Dad’s rehab room: Roma Italian Pie (with extra veggies) and Shepherd’s Pie. We have all decided that Dad needs “tastes of home” for each meal instead of the tray from the rehab dining room.
  • Sat in salt…on Saturday morning, Rebecca & I tried out the halotherapy/salt room at a local med spa and thoroughly enjoyed it. We see future sessions for us.

Color

  • Colored pictures with Dad on a Friday afternoon. I pulled out my “travel” coloring book from my work bag and Dad worked on a coloring book that was under the Christmas tree for him.

Stroll

  • Strolled the halls each afternoon with Dad – our laps through the building provided more opportunity for him to strengthen his legs by powering his wheelchair with his feet.

Knit

  • Knit on a new shawlette – digging into the stash from 2006 for this version.
  • Read several books in my down time – when Dad was resting in the afternoons; while easing into the days after seeing Mom off to the rehab center; while waiting up for Mom to return in the evenings.

Merry Mom

  • Celebrated “Merry Mom Day” – finally spoiling Mom with gifts for Mother’s Day and her May birthday. The quick way to get everything wrapped was to use our Christmas fabric bags – which provided plenty of giggles for all when I carried in the bag of bags.
  • Split a yummy Cheesy Chicken Sausage & Spinach omelette with my sister when we met “Uncle Mike” for breakfast on Monday morning.

Farewell

Much too soon, the weekend was over and it was time to head to the airport and wing my way back to PA. Thankfully I managed to get through the security line at the ATL airport in under 10 minutes in spite of all the recent security line troubles. As I settled into the backseat of my ride home from the airport, I was so thankful for the ability to be home with the family for these 5 days.

What did you do over the holiday weekend?

Recently…April 2016

Ah APRIL…a month of…spring showers…spring snow(!)…spring blooms…primary voting and the associated ads and calls…longer and longer days…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my April days…

Vote

Reading…snowy days…rainy days…travel days…a decent amount of reading time…since the last reading round-up, several more books are complete (All the Light We Cannot SeeEnchanted AprilThe Travelers) and will be shared in a future QuickLit…

Joy Mail

Opening…joy filled mail from my TX cuties on a Friday afternoon…the plate that we painted when I visited in March a new picture for “their” frame on the mantel…

Coloring…continuing to spend moments with coloring books and markers to provide some calm in the midst of crazy

April Eats

Cooking…doing my best to stay focused on healthy eating in the midst of busy work times…weekend food prep is still the best bet; however, on several occasions, a quick supper of a skillet of crispy spinach and soft eggs at the end of a long workday was such a satisfying meal…other good cooking: Egg & Bacon Salad with Homemade Herb Mayo for breakfasts; Pan Grilled Steaks with Roasted Asparagus; Savory Oatmeal Muffins; Pizza Egg Bowl; Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast Pie; Cocoa Coconut Pecan Tea Cookies;

Panda

Sipping…lots of iced tea…in rotation is Tangerine Zinger…Spicy Oolong…Mint…and using a cute new panda for the tea accouterments…

Flats

Wearing…my new ballet flats are a perfect addition to my wardrobe and a 2nd pair has been added to the mix…work…errands…travel…these are becoming a staple…

April Travel

Traveling…a new project at work has me gearing up for more travel in the coming months…in April was a trip to Milwaukee and dinner one night was at a cafe that I enjoyed 15 years ago when I had project work it in the city – it was as enjoyable this time…

Looking ahead…May days are filling up with work and fun…at least 2 work trips on the calendar…weekends filled with seeing some of my favorite people…contemplating a new chair for the patio for reading…summer vacation planning continues…

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly What I’m Into round-up. What are you into these days?