Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - people need some reason to believe, I don't know about anyone but me

1. Wake us for the motherfuckin' weekend. Woof.

2. I am loving our new room in Philly. I got a new ottoman,  finally hung the new art I bought last year from a local Black woman Philly moon piece next to late light. It is calm and lovely and I love that my Mom Mom's chair is in there too. And of course the walls are painted and the floors redone.  I'm not finished with the walls but I am finished with the furniture. These rooms are small so it's packed. People did not have king beds when these houses were built and they certainly did not have the amount of clothes or shoes we have now. I added a raised bed frame for additional storage underneath and that is a game changer. We did it with the shore house beds too.

3. Out back at the Philly house is looking good too, with the final tables coming today. In other outdoor news, we are locked in an epic battle over shed space organization and utilization. I have no doubt I will emerge victorious, but until then mostly happy this week to see the old man dog enjoying himself. Ben has claimed the new ottoman like King Tut.

4. I'm not happy about the blistering sun due to the tornado taking out most of our tree and the tree behind it in our neighbor's yard that also provided shade. MFD has some sail contraption coming. I just wanted a simple umbrella. On the left is last April, right is this week. 

5. Side shoot of pandemic life: drinking less coffee. I have two mugs now and it's like better stop...but that's not even equivalent to one tall DD iced which I got every day of my work life. 

6. Someone better fill Roger commenting over on good ol' Penn Live in on how government has told more than half the population what they can and can't do with their bodies (and I have a sneaking suspicion Roger himself has probably weighed in on that and also voted based on that), and how a private company not allowing you entry if you are not vaccinated is not the same thing in the fucking slightest.

7. Related:

8. For your perusal: anyone experiencing white fatigue please take a few minutes to watch this under 3.5 minute video by Robe Imbriano - it is white fatigue that kills forward motion. Thanks to my friend Lisa for sharing on FB. Please donate and/or share the Gofundme link to get Harriett's a permanent home - over $100k has been donated in less than a week. We can get to $300k. 

9. Reminder: via dbg design

10. E-card: 

Have a good one!

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Running on Empty by Jackson Browne 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The beat goes on

All day yesterday I thought it was Wednesday. Hello, today, on True Wednesday. Coming at you live this morning, without a true point here and on only four hours of sleep due to a combination of up too late reading/almost 16 year old dog gets up at 5, so the grammar and writing will not be tight and we will be okay with it. 

It feels like we're moving back towards...a livable life? I don't want to say "normal," because I think a lot of us realized we didn't exactly flourish in what was passing as normal and you will drag me back there kicking and screaming. But then we didn't flourish in serious nail biting beginning quarantimes, either. And we struggled in the in between periods of the summer and early fall as the federal government left us hanging out to dry and most of us grappled with individual risk/reward scenarios. Now, with smart people who are able to be vaccinated getting vaccinated in the interest of public health and the economy, it feels like we've learned some shit over the past year about ourselves and the society in which we live and we are poised on the precipice of flourishing. And it is a little hard to muster up the energy to do that given the collective heaviness we've been living under. Right?

Who's with me?

In any case it makes me so fucking happy to see people together after being vaccinated. I have girls weekend with my BFFs of 30 years coming up in less than a month and I am looking forward to it in an indescribable way. 

One of the things I've been doing recently is purging, reorganizing, and redecorating. As walls get painted in Philly for the first time in many years, I'm changing up the gallery wall on the staircase. I was going through photos to put on canvas, and as I extended past March 2020, it feels like looking at a different life. 

I used to get up for the sunrise no matter what, and I'd miss most sunsets and be a tired troll by 3 pm. I truly love and prefer to do the sunrises, but the past year has taught me that what I love even more is getting the appropriate amount of sleep and navigating the day from a well rested place, which I can't do if I force myself to get up for every sunrise just because why? It's what I do? Nah. That's not a good reason at all. I still do it (photo above from this morning, an out of necessity rising), but not as often as I used to, and guess what? I haven't withered away from crushing disappointment in life or myself for missing something I love. What I have been able to do is see a lot more sunsets and find a similar solace and peace in them and still get the amount of rest I need.

The cadence of my life feels different coming out of the first year of life in the time of corona, and I imagine yours feels a little different as well. Outside of the personal and professional changes we've had to make too, there have been a lot of societal and cultural line in the sand moments in a little over a year. Circles we traveled in might feel ill fitting if you know people who denied/called it a plandemic virus when it has killed over 570,000 Americans alone in less than a year...we might also be less likely to sit with people who defended the police involved in George Floyd's murder or with people who supported a Capitol insurrection on January 6. We can't really refer to things that kill people as differences of opinion, you know?

Whenever upheaval or change happens in my life, whether it was prompted by something good or something bad, I spend some time behind the scenes tinkering until the balance is where I want it. While I'm anxious to get back to doing things I love, like girls weekends, I am committed to leaving things that no longer serve me in that other life and holding space for other joys.

Monday, April 26, 2021

TWTW - insert title here

Friday I spent the day cleaning up professional and personal shit in Philly with my PB&J lunch, then headed to the shore around 4:30. I was thrilled to see much of the door project done - ordered in September and in since January, I was at the it's about fucking time stage for the installation of those. They grouped them with the second set of windows (just the bathrooms, and two of the windows were probably 30-40 years old). I'm hoping they are fully done by Tuesday of this week. After that excitement it was Wawa for dinner as everything else was closed and I had nothing quick to make. I finished a book, painted my nails, and that's about it. 

Saturday I got 8.5 hours of sleep which was amazing. It's finally porch coffee season. I went to my second favorite indie bookstore - Bookateria Two, the used paperback store a few blocks from my house. I also got a Bungalow Bowl. We did a long beach walk. Boyar's BLT for dinner. I meant to do things but I couldn't put the Laura Dave book that comes out on May 4 down (get it!) then I got caught up in feng shui and looking for door colors. Our apartment door is set, ordered, on its way - it's the green (Fallow & Ball Verdigris) - the main house door is still up in the air. I'm partial to the orange here - salmon in a lot of natural light, which we have. That's Charlotte's Locks from Fallow & Ball. I did just discover there is an archive softer version of this I might be interested in - bisque

Sunday I went through every room in the main house making a list of what needs to be addressed in the next month, catalogued all of the bins under the beds so I know what is where for turnovers, purged what needed to be purged, figured out where new decor is going, and got rid of some trash. I took Bruce and Ben to the beach then headed home. I returned stuff to JoAnn and Target, hit Sam's when I was hangry and bought trash food, and had dinner with my brother & Aubrey and the kids. I caught a great sunset on the way home and chilled out until bedtime. 

It looks like I find myself back on TWTW and Thursday Thoughts posts. Insert shrug shoulders emoji.

If you missed it this weekend - Harriett's Bookshop's lease is up in July. There is a gofundme to get them a permanent space. A lot of true feminist, anti-racist work is shifting resources. If you have funds, please donate. If you do not have the money to donate at this time, please share the link, and also ask companies who pledged a commitment last to be a part of true, radical, substantial change in our  communities to achieve equitable spaces to shift some resources to this Black woman business owner who is a leader in the community. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - for you, the sun will be shining

1. It's finally happening. The doors that I ordered in September and arrived in January are being installed at the shore. We replaced the bathroom windows this time around too. I think the windows in two of the upstairs bathrooms were at least 30 years old, probably more. Originally neither of us were going to be down there. I don't think I did true before photos of most of the doors but I'll surely be taking pics when I get down there tomorrow. I have to spend this weekend walking through the house to see what absolutely must get done before Memorial Day. Trim painting will obviously be on there. 

2. I put something on the calendar for today that was yesterday and missed it. It was an appointment I was supposed to take my dad to. I never miss shit and I’m never late so I get out of the shower at 8:15 and after being out of touch for 20 minutes everyone thinks I am dead. My parents and MFD were hysterical, he dispatched his siblings to look for me on the highway. My brother was almost crying. MFD was like this is what happens when you are the most reliable person we know and you are both late and not answering calls or texts. LOL. I know this happens but never to me. I never recovered so I took the day off. This is your brain overloaded.

3. I did pick up my Dad with my brother in tow to deal with his car, go to Target and Aldi, get my hair done, read a book, took a three hour nap which left me up late last night, finished contact papering my closet, moved all of my clothes back into my closet, got a bunch of door and window installation reports from MFD at the shore, and generally peaced out. Sometimes you just have to put it all down.

4. I also made dinner, including my favorite little potatoes. I rinse and put in the microwave with 1/4 inch of water to steam for eight minutes, drain, then pop them in the oven with whatever is in there fir about 25 min if on 350. I just Add a few pats of butter and sea salt. They are delicious. 

5. While we’re on the subject of food, you cannot heat Aldi for the dried mango and the frozen mixed berries which I eat straight from the freezer. Also the salmon (not frozen).

6. I’ve been to HomeGoods this week, which means Ben gets toys. He loves toys. The top is a new octopus and the bottom is a trusty hippo, his favorite Philly toy. His beloved sheep is his favorite shore toy.

7. My lily of the valley are coming in, which always remind me of my grandmom. We’ve spent a lot of time outside this week. 

8. A guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in a system that was designed to oppress Black people means many miles to go. Many systems. All systems, Actually. Consider this OpEd and the coded language that “nice neighborhood” is - what does that really mean? Also check out and follow integrated schools on Instagram. Also FYI: you are not required to entertain commentary from or spend time arguing with people who throw the white supremacy language at you in the aftermath of murders like Ma’Khia Bryant’s: weapon, compliance, etc. In order to dismantle systemic racism you are required to stand up to white supremacy but that does not require a dissertation - sometimes it is just a no, I will not entertain your tired shit on this. 

9. Reminder: 

10. E-card: this would be perfect if only the maker observed the Oxford comma. Imagine one after cheese and carry on.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is  Songbird by Fleetwood Mac - it is rare for me to pick a Christine over a Stevie

Monday, April 19, 2021

TWTW - the mid Aprilsies

Friday After a meeting I ran to the grocery store and recycling center. We did a walk on the beach, grilled cheese for dinner, painted my nails, donned my new birthday gear from Beth, and I spent the night reading. 

Saturday I did some cleaning of cleaning products, made breakfast burritos to freeze, then filled nail holes and did general clean up up in the house. I also fought with my awning people for much of the afternoon over email, which sucked.

To shake it off, we walked the beach for an hour and a half. It was a good sea glass day. I dried some old paint out with sand, finished my book, and started another. 
Sunday I went through our apartment and packed up all winter stuff to take home, took a 40 minute beach walk, moved stuff away from doors that are getting replaced Tuesday, went up to the boards to see my oldest friend Jen and Neil and their girls, and arrived back in Philly around 5. I did a quick salad dinner for us. We placed furniture in our room and made the bed. MFD left to go to the shore around 9. It’s weird being in that room when we have slept in the other room for over 10 years. 

Lots of shit to do this week personally and professionally, and the energy and drive to do it. What a fucking difference from last April, which was absolutely terrible for me. Let’s get to it. 

Happy happy birthday to Gail today!

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

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