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.
+ 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?