June, you hellion of a month. It’s been a long time since personal, physical, and family stress have matched paces with national catastrophe. These past few weeks have left me feeling pretty ragged around the edges. It doesn’t help that we are in a sort of holding pattern right now. Waiting to pack, waiting for the nursery to be put together, waiting for job hunting news, waiting for the baby to arrive. Some of the waiting is undeniably joyful. But the rest…the rest is a painful exercise in trust.
But, on the bright side, this last week – the start of L’s vacation – has given us some much needed time to rest up and heal. Sleep, first. Deep and calm. I dressed the bed in white and moved it closer to the window corner – one side of it up against the wall, the other side just touching the outside of the west-facing window. “It will give us more room,” I told him. But in reality, I have coveted that spot by the window for it’s reading light. Somehow, I convinced him that, by virtue of the fact that I can only roll my pregnant self out of bed, sleeping on the wall side was absolutely impossible.
Feeling – lots of little kicks, and the ensuing mad scramble for L.’s hand, but the crazy kid stops as soon as I put his hand there. Also feeling quite similar to a manatee, lately, but I’m telling myself to just keep walking, and that eventually I’ll be able to get back to normal exercise.
Watching – L. and I decided on a whim that this summer vacation was the best time to try and marathon watch the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings. We definitely weren’t able to watch all of them in one day, so we’ve split it up into three (which probably makes it a lot less of a marathon, but who cares). Naturally, we planned our snacks in advance, – sliced apples and cheese and little pita chips, and beer (for L), and snuggled on the couch with the AC at comfortably frigid temperatures. Somehow, these movies never get old, and manage to bring back the best kind of nostalgia – memories of a childhood spent, recreating the Fellowship’s wonder and wanderings in our own backyard, and the incredible surety at the sights of Rivendell and Rohan (my favorites) that I’ve actually been there before. And of course, the soundtrack, which I have been humming to myself since we’ve started. I can’t think of a better way to have started off vacation, and I’m hoping that we can, at the very least, make it a bi-annual tradition.
Loving – pour over coffee. For the past 2 years L. and I have been using a faux Keurig to make our morning cup, and recently we’ve switched back to pour over because it is 1) cheaper, 2) less damaging to the environment, and 3) I’m paranoid about plastic chemicals leeching into our coffee. I thought that the switch would be a let down taste-wise, but honestly, it is so much better. It’s much cleaner and faster than a french press (which is ideal in the blurry stupor of the morning), and doesn’t taste as acidic as the coffee brewed in the faux Keurig (or Fauxrig?) (and yes, we use the same brand and style of grounds, so it is definitely the method that is to blame).
Reading – way too much at once. After finding myself in a reading rut (and a sci-fi overload from this book, which was good but massive), I found myself craving lighter reads that still contained some substance.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake – (Finished reading.) I picked this up because I can’t resist anything that is compared to You’ve Got Mail (or Little Shop Around the Corner), and because I needed a fluffy, food related read and this cover called out to me. While it wasn’t something I would reread, it definitely hit the spot. I loved the descriptions of Milwaukee seasons and food scene, which got me in the mood for exploring my own city this summer.
The Star-Touched Queen – (Currently Reading.) I picked this one up at the suggestion of my best friend whose tastes are nearly infallible super close to my own. I’m halfway through, and oh my word. I have nothing but good to say about it so far. Incredibly beautiful prose, magical settings that makes me both terrified and wishful, and main characters that I long to meet. It is unlike anything I have ever read, and Maya and Amar just might be one of my favorite pairings in a long long while.
Vinegar Girl – (Finished reading.) This one was listed in a book haul on booktube by one of my favorites, and the cover caught my eye immediately. It is a Shakespeare retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, and I while I am far from an expert on anything Shakespeare related, I did love the synopsis. What can I say, I’m a sucker for stories about daughters of scientists and couples who are thrown together against their wills, so this ticked off both of those boxes for me. I enjoyed Kate’s character quite a lot, and found myself so empathetic to her worries and embarrassments. I thought her relationship with her difficult father was expertly written, displaying both her love and willingness to understand him and his way of loving her, and her frustration over his inability to step out of his own little world and see her as more than a loyal daughter who did his taxes and made sure the house didn’t fall apart. While the feminist in me really wanted Kate to ditch all of them, I realize that would hardly have been true to the original Taming. I think Tyler handled the entire greencard marriage plot incredibly well. The ending left me with the impression of a marriage of equals, each so alike and so different, and each eager to understand and support the other (Pyotr encouraged Kate’s career from the very beginning, and Kate is clearly Pyotr’s confidant by the end of the book.) Considering the original ending to the play, I am amazed that Tyler was able to convince me that Kate had not been horribly mislead and taken advantage of, while at the same time not deviating too much from the original. This is the first book by Anne Tyler that I have read, and I was so surprised at how well she could get me to visualize and feel family dynamics. I’m definitely going to try and read more from her this year.
Love & Gelato – (Currently Reading.) I picked this up on Overdrive on a complete whim (hilariously I actually started reading it at a Barnes & Noble and was thinking of requesting it at the library only to be notified that I had put a hold on it a while back). The truth of it is that I cannot resist anything with ice cream on the cover and gelato in the title. I’m not usually a fan of YA contemporary fiction, but the first chapter got me interested – how can I not want to know what happens to Lina after her mother dies and sends her off to live with her father in a graveyard in Italy?!
Next week L. and I head down south to visit my family, so hopefully this will actually mean more pictures + (minimal) writing. If the humidity doesn’t kill me first, that is.