Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - you're still damn good, no one's gotten to you yet

Opting outside whenever I can, including yesterday morning to disrupt MFD's coffee time out back which he was not pleased with when I wanted to talk about home improvement projects  
Getting the floors refinished upstairs. Well, half. Two rooms, the hall, and stairs. The two other rooms will be done when we can stomach the dust and upheaval again. We got rid of a lot of stuff and the two rooms left are the small rooms, so it'll be a lot easier next round. Nothing is back in the rooms yet, we'll do that when I get back from the shore. The coral room is getting repainted, closets contact papered, and new quarter round installed. We'll reconfigure most of the rooms upstairs and our bedroom is moving from the back of the house to the front of the house. I also need to decide what I'm going to do with my gallery wall down the steps. As it happens with home projects, one leads to another because I changed this and now I think I need to change that. And I do, there. It's been a while. 

Stating plainly that not calling for an end to white supremacy in all systems in this country is participating in upholding it. People are dying and they've been dying in situations white people would not find themselves dead and ignoring or not wanting to talk about that is upholding it. Period. If you are someone not fine with Black people dying like this or the bullshit defenses and excuses and fuckery that goes around after, demand an end to white supremacy in all spaces. Push the people in power. And don't let people you know occupy your spaces while they're upholding it. Call it the fuck out. Speak against it. Don't be afraid to say or do the wrong thing. You know systemic racism is fucking wrong. This extends so far beyond the criminal justice system - check out this thread.  I know most of us were raised to not talk about race, and hello that's so white supremacy could be upheld - if we consider it "impolite" to talk about, we can never talk about personal and systemic racism without it blowing up. We cannot solve problems like that, and that's why it's been set up that way.  Talk about it. Silence is far worse than saying the wrong thing. This is life or death. White supremacy continues because we refuse to dismantle it.

Searching for an ottoman (found last night online, successfully purchased the cheaper one and not the $320 one I love but $320 for an ottoman my dogs can use to jump on the bed? GTFO), floor mirror, lanterns (found last night online), and a cool low outdoor table, preferably used but that's been hard to come by. I struck out at Marshalls. 

Catching rays of light in the dining room

Enjoying Dave's White Bread Done Right, which I didn't even know existed until this week. I had some bougie avo toast with the avocados my neighbor Jackie gave me. 

Cleaning the fridge out like out out. I put all the shelves in the dishwasher then remembered they were hand wash only. Whoops. They all survived. I could not get the drawers back in and made MFD do it. Few things frustrate me more than attempting to assemble things. Or re-assemble. Even simple shit. I have zero patience.

Suffering through MFD's programs. This week was the fucking awful Waterworld. We were all crammed in the basement so the dogs wouldn't go near the steps when the floors were being refinished. Every piece of laundry we own was down there with us.
Reading the newest Josie Quinn novel. It came out yesterday. Thanks to all who joined us for Show Us Your Books on Tuesday!

Pushing the limits this week. 

I had more, but my brain is dead. The dregs will be served tomorrow as a Friday Five.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Still the Same by Bob Seger

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Ideal Itinerary for your Colorado Road Trip

With such a diverse landscape encompassing arid desert, river canyons, and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Colorado is the ideal road trip destination. Home to the world's largest natural hot springs swimming pool, the state has many spectacular natural wonders. Plus, the state's capital, Denver, features a vibrant downtown area for you to explore. This itinerary will act as a guide to your travels in Colorado.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Denver to Fort Collins 

After you have explored the culturally rich metropolis of Denver, just an hour's drive away is Fort Collins, where the real road trip will begin.

Fort Collins to Beaver Creek

Explore the Old Town historic district in Fort Collins, home to extraordinary 1800s houses. Once on the road, a scenic three-hour drive to Beaver Creek awaits, with ski resorts for you to stop at dotted along the interstate, like Vail. Beaver Creek is a charming ski town, perfect for hiking and then unwinding in one of the many spa getaways Colorado has to offer.

Beaver Creek to Grand Junction

After hiking, skiing and perhaps a luxurious spa break–it's time to head to wine country. The variety of grapes that grow at this altitude are highly unique. Make sure to stop at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau en route for a guided vineyard tour and wine tasting session. It takes about two hours to reach Grand Junction from Beaver Creek. Once there, you can explore the many rivers, canyons, mesas and mountains.

Grand Junction to Ouray

After a few days of driving, you will probably be desperate for a dip in Colorado's hot springs. The drive is just two hours, and once you have arrived, you are free to explore the small town surrounded by impressive mountains. Hike to your heart's desire before selecting the perfect spot for a dip from a variety of hot springs. The Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings is a hidden gem that houses a magical, underground hot springs steam cave.

Ouray to Durango

This one hour and 45-minute drive may need some getting used to as you cruise along a cliffside. However, if you are brave enough, the views are breathtaking. Named the Million Dollar Highway, it offers beautiful views of the San Juan National Forest. For a historical moment, stop at Silverton, an old mining town lined with Victorian buildings. Once at Durango, the adventurer could choose to paddleboard on Lake Nighthorse or bike the Animas River Trail. Don't forget to visit the Railroad Museum, which houses restored locomotives, aircraft and a baggage car converted into a movie theatre.

Durango to Mesa Verde National Park

Less than two hours from Durango is the Mesa Verde National Park, home to 5,000 different archaeological sites and 600 preserved cliff dwellings. The National Park interprets and celebrates the Ancestral Pueblo people's archaeological heritage, who made it their home for over 700 years. Make sure to check out the Sun Temple, which according to modern Pueblo Indians, was a classic ceremonial structure.

This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Show Us Your Books: April 2021

Sometimes Show Us Your Books comes up fast, and sometimes it comes up slow, and sometimes you think it's a week before it actually is. The third is true for me this time. I was prepared last week, which is more advanced preparation for this post than I have practiced in a year. 

Anyhoo here's what I've been reading since the last linkup

Engrossing Reads

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (editor) - Invaluable reflections of Black women leaders of organizations that cover not only how organizations like Combahee River Collective or AAWDO came to be, but their own activist journeys which provide history lessons we're not really learning elsewhere. These women are power houses and they are brilliant. I liked how it was laid out, it made it easy to read a section and put down for a few days to digest and ruminate on before moving on to the next. Required reading for all, especially those who are white and consider themselves feminists. Paperback, own, purchased from Harriett's Bookshop 

Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III #1) by Harlan Coben - The #1 in the title has me giddy because it means there will be more. I have long wanted more insight into the mind of Myron Bolitar's best friend, and Harlan Coben is out there granting wishes. I loved the book and consider it a gift to longtime Myron fans. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton - Reminiscent of Daisy Jones but its own animal for sure. Opal is an amazing character. Some of the Nev bits annoyed me, but they were worth it for all the Opalness. This felt very real from the start, like was I reading nonfiction? This was super tight for a debut novel. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth - Happy publication day to this book 4/13/21! I was drawn in immediately, as Sally Hepworth does. A quick read I was glued to and stayed up late to finish. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah - Does she sit and think how can I make this the saddest book ever? Maybe. Serious Kristin Hannah is typically pocked with devastation throughout, but most have some bright spots. This had very few. It was good, but it was sad literally from start to finish. I always read her, but it is beginning to feel like pain is the point. OCNJ library hard cover 

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Dinner Guest by B.P. Walter - This story has good bones. From the perspective of an editor, I would have spread much of the last quarter of the book throughout, which would have made it more delicious, cutting away some other unnecessary stuff. But overall a quick and fun read. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

You Love Me (You#3) by Caroline Kepnes - It was so nice to read in Joe’s voice again. This was a little circular at times and felt a little long and like there were too many people in it, but I truly love Joe as a character and that remains here. I don't know how much further she can go with him though. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky - Today is publication day for this YA novel, a genre I like to dip my toe in from time to time. I requested it because of the title. It turned out to be good! Very quick moving because it didn't go too far below the surface character-wise. A bit of Scream in its attitude. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Margreete's Harbor by Eleanor Morse - If you need a moving plot, this book isn't it. This is character driven literary fiction, you are sitting next to a family for a period of 10ish years in their life. It reminds me of a book that I cannot put my finger on the title of at press time. I liked it a lot, it had a nice cadence. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Not Worth It

A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser -  This book took me almost a week to read, which is quite long for me. Pros-some very interesting what would I do and unexpected elements. I always like that, it keeps me thinking about it after I'm finished. Cons: a bit of overwriting and a little everything including the kitchen sink is in here. It could have been the timing, and I went back and forth about putting it in the category above, but the true test at the end is if I knew my end feeling, would I have read it? The answer on this one is no. Many of you will like it. Thanks to Netgalley for free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford - This was a quick read and I liked the 80s nostalgia and the near normalization of seediness. The seediness also made it feel a little empty and depressing as seediness will do. It read almost more like a YA novel, which sort of makes sense given the age of the characters? Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Lake House by Laura Wolfe - There was a lot of repetition, but also a lot of suspense and I was on the edge trying to figure out what was happening in this horror show. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Did Not Finish
The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone - It pains me to say this about a book written by the author of Jane Doe, but so fucking boring. I could not. Kindle Unlimited copy returned ASAP

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is Tuesday, May 11, 2021
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, April 12, 2021

TWTW - the one that feels like old times

Friday I was up and working early to dip out around 10 and see a chiropractor. Post-appointment was instant euphoria, as very few things feel better about a back that was out being back in place. I should have gone the weekend before and just kept aggravating it. I got OPC at Drip N Scoop & my first Bungalow Bowl of the year on the way back. MFD did a late lunch of crescent rolls made with leftover Easter ham and cooper sharp cheese. Delicious.

After work we watched Thunder Force and ordered pizza and salad from Randazzo's. I started The Four Winds and stayed up until 1 to finish it. 

Saturday Started way too fucking early for having been up past 1. Thanks dogs. We were moving by 6 am. They were back to sleep immediately, but we were not. I showered and walked to my hardware store, then came back and scraped and sanded paint off the metal flashings on the upstairs porch and spray painted them. In previous times, I would really want a mask to wear during the job and not have one. NO WORRIES, I HAVE PLENTY. That is a literal band aid just so the metal can't be seen, they need to be replaced. Salt air destroys everything outdoors. I painted my toes (Essie suits you well, which I think is a great color for toes) and lay with the old dogs while they were drying. I also measured the bathroom floor, cleaned up on the main floor, went to Foglio's and ordered new for the small bathroom, picked up a chair and yard sign for Philly at Hearth & Sole, and replaced my rusted out wind chime that came with the house with a new glass one at Handlaget. It always feels best when I can buy what I need from small businesses.
MFD did a "soft clean" (his term) of the downstairs porch, and I took the best friends to the south end of the island for a long, foggy walk and some shelling for a few hours. I came back to see him set up for a solo driveway party. We sat outside listening to music, Michelle stopped by to pick up chairs, and then MFD went up and got Angelo's steaks as it's their opening weekend and they are a solid favorite - my favorite pizza in Ocean City. We were completely assed out at night. I started and stopped another book and MFD went fishing. That's about it. 

Sunday I was packed up and on the road back to Philly by 10. I even creeped on my own flowers. I have very few spring buds left. Thanks asshole squirrels. Every year I say oh I will remember to replant then I don't. It's fine. I unpacked outdoor cushions, broke down boxes, started laundry, went to pick up a table from FB Marketplace to replace the bathroom one at the shore that I've been looking for a replacement for for a few years, picked up a ceiling fan and storage boxes, got a few groceries, and purged the shit out of the upstairs - two bedrooms and linen closet. I got rid of three bags of trash, set aside three bags of donations, a bookcase, a king box spring, a chest my dad made in senior year woodshop (that's going to my brother), two nightstands, and the king bed frame will go next week. We also got rid of a queen bed and box spring, dresser, and two lamps. The twin mattress and bed frame in the basement are going too. I carried more shit down the stairs too, and took all the photos off the walls. Our floors are getting refinished up there half and half - the steps, two rooms, and hallway first, then the two smaller rooms. This way we don't have to move all the furniture out of the house/downstairs and can just cram shit into two rooms. We planned to do these floors over 10 fucking years ago when we moved in. Getting to it. I also think I'm switching our bedrooms and we'll paint our old bedroom. The coral color I picked in there a few years ago is a fucking disaster, and that ceiling needs to be painted anyway. The trim too as Bruce has destroyed it barking at his backyard friends like a fucking lunatic. 
I made pork tenderloin, quickbread from a Pampered Chef mix, and broccoli for dinner. I pulled frozen veggie meat sauce out of the freezer for tonight. 

A weekend that was solidly in forward motion and leaves me a little tired Monday morning feels like old times. Not totally like old old times, because I absolutely never would have rested until all shit was done. 

Still, it's fitting, as today is two weeks since my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine so I am fully vaccinated. Please remember you are not fully vaccinated in the science sense the day you get your second shot - you are only fully vaccinated in the social media sense. And in all cases, continue to mask up in public as you do not know who is vaccinated or not. Please sign up and get vaccinated when you are eligible. Also why is there such a cross over between people who scream about small businesses being hurt and people who scream they are not getting the vaccine? You're hurting them more now by refusing to vaccinate. 


Show Us Your Books is tomorrow! 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday Five How Tos 4.9.2021

How to get out of a meeting - Have zoom crash your entire computer and get a black screen when you re-boot

How to get an instant mood boost - Paint your nails. We've got Essie Penny Talk, Essie Without Reservations, and Essie Stop, look & glisten

How to make foaming hand soap - Fill your dispenser (I use this glass pump one, the link is an affiliate) 3/4 of the way with water - if you are making in advance and storing, use distilled or boiled water. Otherwise tap is fine. Add two tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's castile soap of your choice. I usually use peppermint or lavender. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil - I use grapeseed, but you can use olive or almond too. Optional, but I am a scent person so mandatory for me: essential oil of your choice. I use 10 drops of rosemary and a few of lemon or eucalyptus. 

How to step into chaos - Bring all of your dogs to the beach and have them all be assholes at once, tangling you up in their leashes in the process. Here they are all off-leash, but as soon as humans come into view, they are leashed. Gus was walking into the water, which he always does, but he wasn't stopping so I had to go in after him lest he be a Virginia Woolf with his stout self as the stones. That required releasing the leashes of the others, and put on the Benny Hill theme music for the ensuing chaos. Bruce was digging up and eating dead crab body parts and refused to come when called because he was so distracted. Ben was barking a weird yodel bark at passerby dogs. Mae was an overzealous, psychotic greeter of all humans. I made MFD walk them back to the car with me and forgot my GD keys and had to walk back. Then I returned, got in the car and took off without saying a damn thing. 

How to feel healthy - Eating salmon and asparagus always makes me feel healthy. Rice does not, but I love it and eat it anyway. Except this rice, which I threw out last night. It was a Spanish rice and it was too smoky for me. 

Do you have any how tos to share with the group?

Happy Friday!

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