Friday | Will Spring Actually Arrive?

You guys. This week. It’s been difficult to keep my head above water! I started to list all of my little challenges, but then deleted them. That’s not what these Friday posts are about! Instead, won’t you pour a warm drink and pine for spring and talk books with me?

This week has been so.cold. I mean, COLD. So cold that we’re back in our winter jackets and trying to take shelter from the wind. While updating my 5 Year Journal each day, I glance back at last year’s temperature which was, on average, much warmer than this year’s! Alas – Mother Nature has something else planned for us this year. So we do the best we can to bundle up and last as long as we can outside.

We do our daily rounds to check on the progress of the bulbs and shout with delight when a new pocket of stems start to emerge. I’ve mentioned it here before, but we’re making a plan to really bulk up the bulbs on the south side of our house to get the earliest Spring blooms possible. We also do a daily rub of the woolen catkins on the willow tree to enjoy their fuzziness while it lasts. We finally have a few blooming crocuses, which are delightful.

So yes, I suppose spring will actually come. Who’s the goddess of spring? Persephone? What should I do to appeal to her? Bees. I should become a beekeeper! Add it to the list.

Many of my blogging friends are setting long-term reading intentions, such as deciding to become completists of specific authors. A “completist” simply means that you’ve read all of an author’s work. For instance, I am a Claire Fuller completist, which means that I’ve read all of her novels. I’ve taken a few months to decide who else’s backlist I want to tackle and have come up with four more, plus a consideration.

+ Ruth Ozeki – is the most obvious choice for me. I loved A Tale for the Time Being and The Book of Form and Emptiness. I read them both in 2021 and I think they might have tied for my favorite books of the year. I love her Buddhist perspective and her imagination.

+ Louise Erdrich – would be a tall order, but I’m game. And this year’s Erdrich-Along will give me a very good nudge in the right direction.

+ Joanne Harris – is one of my favorite authors, but I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with her work. I have read about a quarter of her novels already, so I think this is an approachable goal for the next few years. Her books always make me want to get in the kitchen, tie a scarf around my hair, and cook, which is a push I desperately need in my life.

+ Kate Atkinson – is another who I discovered years ago, devoured her earliest novels, and then fell out of sync. I think she’s brilliant (especially after reading Life After Life this week – holy mother. It was amazing. More about that next week though.) and I love her style. My favorite books and authors are the ones who make me want to flick on the kettle and settle in with a cup of cocoa after my three children get into bed each evening. Kate Atkinson takes it a step further for me: I nearly always make toast to have with my cocoa. Why? I can’t answer that question. It just happens and it’s when I know I’m being transported into another world. Anyway, I’ve read about half of her books already and she has another being published in September. She’s another obvious choice for me!

And the bonus consideration:

+ Barbara Pym – I devoured my library’s Pym collection when I moved to New Hampshire almost 15 years ago but only just started another of her novels this week. Why did I go so long without a Pym novel? I’m over halfway finished with her completed works so why not keep going? And another tally in her favor: she’s no longer in this world so completing her novels will not be a moving target. Once I read the last one, then I’m really done! (Unless, of course, a relative finds an unpublished manuscript in a chest somewhere. And if so, I’m totally on board with that voyeurism.)

These are very long-term considerations, of course. I don’t expect to run to my library, clean off their shelves, and read everything in the next few weeks. Although — Joanne Harris books are wonderful to read during the Lenten season, so expect to see a few finishes pop up in the near future.

IN MY KITCHEN THIS WEEK:

I’m still struggling with meal planning and execution. So I’ll keep sharing my weekly meals here and will hope that it’s helpful for someone who is also struggling. I am still loving all of your recommendations in the comments – thank you!!

(Saturday and Sunday: I didn’t write down what we ate and I can’t remember. I’m certain that we just used teamwork to throw some things together.)

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie from Sam’s Club. Matthew grabbed this from the ready made display when he picked up a few things we needed on Monday. We always hesitate buying this dish because it’s close to $20, but is so worth it. It’s delicious, makes plenty of leftovers, and is still less than half the cost of getting fast food for everyone, which was the direction we were headed. And did I say delicious? Monday was downright cold here in New Hampshire and this pot pie really hit the spot.

Tuesday: Spaghetti + jarred sauce. Colton came home unexpectedly early on Tuesday so my plans had to be downsized! This was still a crowd pleaser.

Wednesday: Smoked sausage pasta. You might remember that I planned to make this last Friday, but we decided to order pizza instead. I finally made this dish on Wednesday and it was quite tasty.

Thursday: Fish sticks + tater tots + salad. Colton was home sick and I was struggling to stay upright, thanks to a cold. This easy meal was most welcome.

Friday (today!): I’m not sure. I’m still sick so I know that I won’t want to make anything that takes a lot of energy.


And I think that’s all I have on this chilly and rainy Friday morning. But please tell me: how spring-like is it in your neighborhood? And do you have any long-term reading intentions running through the back of your mind? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

I hope you all have a restful and restorative weekend. Please – stay safe and cozy. And, depending on your weather, have an extra glass of iced tea or cup of hot cocoa for me?

17 thoughts on “Friday | Will Spring Actually Arrive?

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  1. Katie, spring is so slow in coming this year. Last week we had a snow storm that dumped at least 20”s of heavy wet snow that is still with us and we received another 4”s this week.
    It isn’t unheard of to get snow in April but I sure hope not, we have enough!!
    I am really busy with customer quilts, and making a baby quilt for the new grand baby who is due to arrive on the 19th along with pulls of family who need me…My grandson asked for an extra sleep over last night so I let myself off the hook for supper and picked up a rotisserie chicken and a pkg of chicken gravy and made mashed potatoes and broccoli oh and coleslaw from the bag. Left over chicken for supper tonight. The guys love that supper!

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  2. I am feeling much like you about spring. Booo! I like those days of gradual. Of in between. And while I like Winter… 17 million months of it even wear on me!

    I loved loved loved Life After Life… but I cannot say the same for all Kate’s other books. Some I have liked, some… not so much. But I truly have enjoyed every Erdrich book I have read. 🙂

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  3. Chilly in central Maine, but the snow is pretty much gone. So to my way of thinking, spring is early this year. 😉 I LOVE Barbara Pym. Such a wise writer. A gem. I’ll be checking out some of the other writers on your list. As for food…sounds good to me!

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  4. First , I hope you are feeling better, if not you allowed to go back to bed and sleep it off. Next you picked three of my favourite authors, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson and Barbara Pym. You mentioned Life after Life , it’s being made into a BBC drama. By coincidence I am reading Kate Atkinson One Good Turn, and it is Good. Hope you have a good weekend.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. Just a warning: my blogging friends had mixed reactions to the ending. It’s kind of dark and disturbing, but I happen to think that Claire Fuller excels at that. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

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  5. It is very spring-like here in the desert. We have already had our first 90 degree day of the year, which was early, but it will be a seasonable 85 today. The warmer it gets, the less interest I have in cooking anything, but tonight will be roasted pork loin with mashed potatoes and whatever odds and ends I dig out of the fridge and cabinets. My long-term reading goal this year is #20BooksByBlackWomen, which I bumped into on instagram? Through MMD? I’m not sure, but it is nice to have a little direction for my giant TBR list. I hope you feel better and get a few more cozy days out of the season!

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  6. What a fun idea, to become a “completist” of a favorite author! I love that. I’d have to mull over that one awhile to see which authors I would consider taking on that challenge for.

    It’s been a slightly later start to spring here for us, too. March was the coldest March I can remember in a really long time, but temperatures are finally starting to normalize a bit. My bulbs are at almost the exact same stage as yours, with the exception of one stand of daffodils planted long before we got here that miraculously already put out the first bloom on Sunday.

    Hope you feel better soon ❤

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    1. Thank you, Torrie. I’m finally feeling a little bit better!! I hope your spring gets here quickly. Waiting for the flowers is agony for me, but I’m sure it’s even worse for you!! I’m not trying to run a business that’s based on Mother Nature!! 😉

      Let me know if you decide to become a completist of an author. I love hearing who people choose!

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  7. oh my friend, what a week! between the cold outside and the (what I hope are only) colds inside … spring and healthy air can’t come soon enough! I’ve never had hot chocolate and toast together, but then I’m not a huge fan of either. Coffee and a cookie is more my speed 🙂 Spring is springing here in all her pollen-y goodness (it almost hurts to be outside because the air is so thick) and I am feeling so much energy from the sunshine anyway. I love all of Kate Atkinson … and her Jackson Brodie books are a special treat if you love mysteries. I’m in awe of how she can be a master of msytery AND literary fiction. So looking forward to her next book!

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  8. Spring has gone in fits and starts here, with more blooms but up and down temps. Which I’ll take over it being too warm!

    I hope you feel better this week.

    I’m a Kate Atkinson completist too. I’m up to date with her so far. Also Emily St. John Mandel. I just have one book left for Pym. Love your plans, happy reading!

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  9. I’m so sorry about the weather, it’s been unseasonably warm at my end but hurray for bulbs peeking out of the ground. Great list of authors, a couple of which I will need to check out.

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  10. I think Spring is here. Though, we did have hail over the weekend. But last night was (heavy) rain and today more (heavy) rain. Streams and creeks have their swollen Spring appearance. Thank you for the reminders of authors I had forgotten about (Barbara Pym, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson). I am easily distracted by shiny objects or the next book review I read. I’ve added those three authors to my TBR list.

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