Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Currently - July 2017

Greetings! I haven't been around much on the blog lately (more on that below) so I think it's a good time for a "Currently" post. Here's what I've been...

Watching: The new season of Grantchester. This is one of the few shows that Jonathan and I watch together. We're a couple episodes behind but have been trying to watch one together on Sunday nights. It's a murder mystery set in England in the 1950's with very complex and well-developed characters.

Reading: I only have two books left from my summer reading list but neither has come in from the library yet, so I'm going to start Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy today. 

Also - Some books that Swede and I have enjoyed lately are: I Promise, Wolf Camp, Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker, Not Quite Narwhal, Be Quiet!, and Daddy Honk Honk.

Eating: Mostly vegetarian! We decided about a month ago to significantly cut back on eating meat and it's been going well so far. I've been working my way through a new cookbook - Love Real Food from the Cookie & Kate blog and my new favorite recipe is the taco salad on the cover - The quinoa & black bean "meat" is surprisingly, well, meaty! And delicious.

Also: Pie! I made this creamy coconut pie two weeks ago and a peach pie last weekend.

Loving: Running has been going really well! I am halfway through my training plan for the Thirsty 13 Half Marathon in late August. I've been doing the speedwork from Kara Goucher's plan which has been challenging yet awesome and confidence-building.

Also: Playing board games with Swede (and the fact that we can check out board games from the library), internet-free weekends, fresh peaches, and this series of photos of Abel.

Wearing: New glasses! You probably think they look similar to my old glasses but they are just different enough to be fun.

Also: The summer capsule wardrobe is still going strong! I haven't bought any new clothes (except for a new pair of shorts and a tank top for running) since May.

Thinking about: Social media, blogging, and the internet in general. I've mentioned in the past how I've struggled with (and ultimately quit altogether) other social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Blogging has been more personal for me than any other form of social media and I love the connections that I've made with fellow bloggers, but I still find myself getting too caught up in page views and comments and the ridiculous feeling than any given experience needs to be photographed and shared in order to be validated. I've been posting less frequently this month which I think might be a better balance for me.

Looking Forward To: My birthday is coming up on August 2nd!

That's all! What's new with you?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Swedeisms [Vol.3]

I think it's time for another installment of the funny things that Swede has said lately. [See here and here for earlier posts!]

1) A conversation:
Grammy: What are you having for dinner tonight?
Me: Frozen lasagna
Swede: I like my lasagna better warmed up!

2) A story, by Swede: Once upon a time there was a little girl named Swedey. She went into the woods to give the bear a hug. But there was a big monster who wanted to eat her up! So she ran really fast back to the house.

3) Fog = Clouds that came down from the sky to say "Hello Swede!"

4) The first time we read "Jack and the Beanstalk" together she corrected me that it's "Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an English Muffin!"

5) While playing hide-and-seek: "OK Daddy, Don't move. Be as still as a dinosaur!"

6) Walking home from my parents' house one day with Swede and Abel - She's running ahead and I comment that Abel and I are slowpokes. Swede says: "I'm a fast poke!"

7) At bedtime:
Me: Close your eyes and go to sleep now.
Swede: My eyes don't like to be closed. They like to pop open and roll around in my head all night!

8) We are looking for a horseshoe in a "hidden pictures" game and Swede says: Is a horseshoe to shoo away the horses that are mean?

That's all! I'm looking forward to collecting Abel's funny sayings too once he starts talking more. His early words, for the record, are: Mama, Dada, Yes, No, Ball, Book, Bite, Bubbles - He's got the "B" sound figured out! - Up, This, Hello, and Bye-Bye.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Reading Roundup - June 2017

Book Day! As usual I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books. 

Here's what I read in June.

1) As Good As Gone by Larry Watson. 3/5 stars. Set in Montana in the 1960's, aging cowboy Calvin Sidey returns reluctantly to his hometown to look after his grandchildren for a week. This book is about his Wild West "shoot first ask questions later" mentality coming into conflict with the changing and modernizing world. I liked it but didn't love it. The end was a little disappointing.

2) The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church. 3/5 stars. Meridian Wallace abandons her Ph.D program in ornithology to follow her husband to Los Alamos in the last years of WWII as he works with other scientist to develop the atomic bomb. The book follows her through the '50's and '60's as she struggles to come to terms with that decision and to discover and develop herself as a scientist and a woman apart from the expectations of post-war society. It was OK but not great.

3) Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny. 4/5 stars. This is the sixth book in the Chief Inspector Armande Gamache mystery series and one of my favorites so far. I enjoy the character development from one book to the next, especially with Jean-Guy Beauvoir in this one. I loved the setting during Carnaval in Quebec City. It did wrap up some unanswered questions from the fifth book as well.

4) Celine by Peter Heller. 5/5 stars. I think this is my favorite book of the year so far. Celine is a WASP-y private investigator who has made a career of reuniting families in an attempt to made amends for her own personal tragedy in the past, which we glimpse through flashbacks. She takes a case for a woman named Gabriela whose father went missing twenty years ago from Yellowstone National Park. The writing is so beautiful, especially the descriptions of nature as they move from Colorado through Wyoming and Montana. The characters are fascinating and complex, well-developed yet mysterious. 

5) Gracious: A Practical Primer on Charm, Tact, and Unsinkable Strength by Kelly Williams Brown. 4/5 stars. This was my non-fiction pick of the month and I quite enjoyed (most of) it. The writing is very funny and conversational while still imparting plenty of good advice how to "practice the arts of kindness, thoughtfulness, good manners, humanity, and basic decency" no matter what the situation. I did enjoy (and find more practical) some chapters more than others, especially, for example, as pertaining to hosting and attending elegant parties which is pretty infrequent for me lately.

6) The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion. 2/5 stars. I loved The Rosie Project but this one was a miss for me. Adam Sharp and Angelina Brown had a brief and intense relationship in their twenties which Adam was never able to truly leave behind. Now, on the cusp of turning 50, he may have the opportunity to rekindle the spark. The first half of the book was OK although Adam is a fairly lackluster hero. I enjoyed the music playlist tie-in. The second half of the book is a little weird. I didn't really like the characters or understand their motivations and decisions at all.

That's all! What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July Weekend 2017

Hey Friends! This was another long holiday weekend for me. I sure do love summer! 

Here's what we've been up to:

Saturday - As usual I started the day with an eight mile run at the gym. I think I'm the only person in the world who enjoys running on a treadmill. In the afternoon we went to the pool which was somewhat fun but unfortunately a little too crowded - I'm not sure how I expected otherwise on a holiday weekend! We had pizza for dinner, then in the evening my parents came over to play Ticket to Ride and I won!

The fearless explorer has discovered a new land!


Sunday - We went to church and then to the fancy grocery store in the morning. Swede and I baked M&M cookies (at her request). I went on a hike with Gumball during nap time. In the afternoon we ran a couple more errands including picking up some new summertime candles at Bath & Body Works which allowed the kids to play on the coin-operated (without any coins put in) vehicles at at the mall. In the evening Swede and I went for a bike ride on the river trail.

This might be my new favorite photo.

Monday - I woke up not feeling very well and so we had a low-key day with a visit to my parents in the morning and a trip to the library in the afternoon.

Popsicle party!

Tuesday - We went to the park in the morning and then everyone, myself included, took a long nap! We had a nice visit with my parents (the hose + the sandbox = endless entertainment) and then had dinner with Jonathan's parents (hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, ice cream). Swede and I went on a nature walk in the early evening.

Other than not feeling my best on Monday (and a few meltdowns from the kids, obviously, but you just have to shake it off) it was a really nice weekend! Another good thing is that I took a break from the Internet as well. No email. No social media. No blogs. No online shopping. It was refreshing to unplug and helped me to be more present generally. I think I am going to try it more often.