Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
The days are really starting to run together but this is our fourth week of learning (and surviving) at home.
The Same But Different…
My last “currently loving” post was in mid-February which seems like it was years ago at this point. It does make me laugh how many things in it are applicable to “quarantine life” now…I talked about my favorite cozy must-haves, my love of athleisure wear and winter blues and anxiety. Some things never change!
Learning at Home
We are slowly getting into the swing of things but it’s been a bit tricky because every week things change. This is new and unknown for everyone so I am trying to be flexible and know that while it doesn’t feel like it right now, this really is temporary.
I also feel extra grateful that we live somewhere where we have access to the outdoors and that each day, the weather is getting nicer and nicer (let’s not talk bout the snow that is coming at the end of this week okay?)
One of the benefits of living in the “country” is that there is plenty of space to roam. We have been taking advantage of the quiet roads and have been exploring all around our “neighborhood”. We have been going for multiple walks and bike rides a day and it has saved us!
While we are heading into a month of being home together, we are definitely still working on finding the right balance during our weekdays. We have a 1st grader and a 4th grader at our house and while the kids are doing some school work, we have mostly been doing it to keep some sense of normalcy and routine.
A New Routine:
We are still in “maintenance mode” through this school week and then introducing new material will start next week.
I am trying to take things week by week and not get ahead of myself. I know that their teachers and administration are doing the very best they can to meet the needs of all families and that this is new for everyone.
They have been missing their friends and teachers SO much and while connecting over the computer isn’t quite the same, I am so happy they have the option!
Our first grader’s teacher recorded her reading the rest of the book they were reading together as a class at the beginning of March and he was just enthralled.
These kinds of things seem like such small things but it was such a huge source of connection and comfort amidst so much change.
I am thankful for it too. And I am happy that FaceTimeing has become popular once again. We loved it even before this whole “social distancing” became a thing…OG FaceTimers over here! 😉
Dogs During Quarantine…
We have been laughing about how much dogs just must love this whole quarantine situation. Buzz could not be more delighted with us being home every single day!
Home Ec 101
While I am not doing the most amazing job with the whole “school at home” thing, I am pleased with my instructional household house maintenance classes we have implemented, LOL.
We have even been cooking together. We tried out making homemade pasta which consisted of a lot of trial and error but it ended up being delicious! (we need to use even more flour next time during the rolls and cutting phase). We have also had many important discussions about rationing fresh produce and learning how to make your own (balanced) lunch…kids eat SO much food!
While I have lost my temper many times, we have also made some really special memories. This has not been easy and we also are so privileged to be able to stay safe at home.
I struggle a bit when I see comments like “embrace this time!!!” because some of it is just really hard, but there are parts of it that have been great… it’s both.
My friend Julia shared this article with me and while I am not involved in higher education, I found it relatable just on a personal level.
I also got SO much from this article where a trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of ‘motivational’ pressure during quarantine. Maybe you have seen this floating around the internet…
A trauma psychologist from Beirut weighed in on this idea that we should be extra productive right now, and she didn’t mince words. Alaa Hijazi’s Facebook post has been shared 19,000 times, so people are clearly appreciating her wisdom. She wrote:
“I thought I was spared the horrid ‘motivational’ phrase going around now—’If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’—until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.
As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly utterly horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.
We are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People’s nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety, or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.
People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!
This cultural obsession with [capitalistic] ‘productivity’ and always spending time in a ‘productive,’ ‘fruitful’ way is absolutely maddening.
What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us, not a whipping by some random fucker making us feel worse about ourselves in the name of ‘motivation.'”
It is okay to worry, it is okay if you are just doing the very minimum to get through your day, it is okay to wish we had more answers and it is okay to grieve what we have lost, even if we are grateful for what we have.
Alright, because I can’t do this post without doing a “currently loving section” I am doing an abbreviated format…
I finally gave in and watched Tiger King. I was told I would be missing out on important Corona19 Pop Culture if I didn’t. I am glad I did! It was quite the wild ride but it was definitely entertaining…and the perfect distraction from our current events.
Currently Participating In:
I have been trying to be consistent with my Pure Barre classes even though we can’t go to classes in the studio anymore. I am a social exerciser so this has been more challenging than I expected. I haven’t been able to attend the live ones very easily because of being home alone with the kids during those times so I have been doing Pure Barre On Demand.
I have access as a member at our local studio but you can also subscribe just online, they have a free trial right now to try it out. (I am not affiliated with this, just wanted to share!) I have been alternating these classes with long walks and it has been a good balance so far.
Currently Spending My Time:
When a lot of things feel out of control, I like to clean. I remember as a little kid I would rearrange my room when I felt anxious and I always found it very soothing! So I have been vacuuming and mopping and I am just loving my spin mop! There is something so satisfying about these kinds of chores and they are perfect for getting some audiobook listening in.
SO much coffee…and water!
I am working my way through a few titles on my Kindle..last weekend I started Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld which is one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one and so far I am really enjoying it.
All my clothes are basically quarantine clothes anyway, but I have been embracing air drying my hair! I have wavy hair that can either look quite curly or a frizzy mess. I tend to blow dry it so I don’t have head out into my workday with dripping wet hair, but currently, that is a non-issue! It has been nice to skip the blow dryer and embrace the natural look.
Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve…Are your hands getting dry from all that hand washing too? I included in it my holiday bookworm gift guide back in November but it seems like the perfect time to share about it again. It’s the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy!
Currently Looking Forward To:
Our Better Together Book Club is going virtual tonight! Like many book groups, this will be our first time having our book club over Zoom. I am excited to see some friendly faces and see how everyone is doing. We decided to skip the book chat and do a “how are you managing and coping” check-in tonight. I am so looking forward to it!
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy and I will be back soon with some more book and reading updates. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.
Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.
February 18th, 2020
Purchase Your Copy:
The Sun Down Motel is my kind of mystery. I struggle with super graphic books in this genre and I appreciated that this was the perfect creepy reading ride while also not being gory.
The suspense factor came from the simple chilling details and I loved that The Sun Down Motel was not just the scene for the novel but also one of the main characters of this novel.
This book starts off slowly and builds up with both suspense and intrigue. The dual timelines worked well for me and helped flush out all the details that made me feel invested and drawn in.
While I am not normally interested in books regarding the paranormal, the balance was perfect here and this element was not offputting as I worried about when I heard there was a “ghost” aspect of this book. There was just as much of a murder mystery which is definitely more my style so if that is one of your hold-ups, don’t fear! This was my first book by Simone St. James and it won’t be my last.
Thank you to Berkley Publishing for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!