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Autumn officially commenced on Tuesday and brought cooler temperatures with it. While the summer of 2020 was not how I originally envisioned spending my break, thanks to COVID-19, it turned out to be fairly pleasant. Back in June, I created a list of acceptable activities I could participate in while following the constraints mandated as a result of the pandemic. With the exception of planting new flowers in my garden (still weeded and watered existing plants), I participated in all of the activities on my list and added some additional ones. 

Bushwacker

Bushwacker

Social distancing limits socializing with people “in person” which is difficult for me because I greatly enjoy socializing with people in person; however, I did get to spend some “in person” time with my parents and a few friends. My hubby and I had a couple of drink nights with Shelly, her hubby, and additional guests (her mom, Mr. Mike, and our friend Karen). In June, we drank bushwackers (not a new cocktail for me, but new for my hubby) which are super yummy because they contain ice cream.

Jaguar Juice

Jaguar Juice

In August, we had two drink nights which featured two new cocktails, a Strawberry Cream Martini and Jaguar Juice. In addition to in person hangouts, I attended quite a few virtual improv hangouts this summer. And, thanks to my friend Brian, our improv group recently had two celebrity guests attend our hangout for Q and A sessions. One Tuesday night, Greg Proops hung out with us. The next evening, Jonathan Mangum joined us. Both have appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and shared so much terrific information and encouragement with us.  

I scrapbooked a fair amount this summer on Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I have some journaling to complete on a few of his Ireland pages as well as his Wales pages, and then I can move on to his adventures in London.

Rock of Cashel

As I wrote in my last post, I enjoyed my “Summer of Poe.” Even though I didn’t get to read Poe’s entire body of work this summer, I plan to read the remainder of it in the near future. 

Chicken TaquitosChicken QuesidillasI did try my hand at some cooking this summer. I made chicken quesadillas, baked chicken bacon ranch taquitos, cranberry pecan chicken salad, crispy air fryer chicken tenders, and meatloaf with brown gravy. Yes, I know…lots of chicken. The recipes that I tried are basic (not many ingredients) because I don’t really enjoy cooking. Also, whatever I cook needs to also appeal to Andrew’s taste buds. Thankfully, he is not as picky as he used to be as a youngling. Out of everything I tried, he did not like the chicken salad which Barry and I absolutely loved. Since the summer is over, I have no desire to try any new recipes for the remainder of the year. 

Chicken Salad

As for exercising, I stuck with walking all summer. Rain or shine, I have not missed one day since I started back in March and hope to continue my streak. As for my weight loss journey, I wound up not taking it, even after all the preparation to start on June 1st and attempting to recommit in July. I also haven’t done much running. I dropped the ball, and I have had to reconcile myself with the fact that it may not happen this year. I’ve felt fragmented since all this COVID stuff has started, and I haven’t been able to focus on any one area for any length of time. I have too many irons in the fire, and I know I need to schedule my time better in order to get to everything I want to accomplish both personally and professionally. But, we all know, dear reader, that time management is my kryptonite. In fact, instead of taking items off of my plate and putting them on the back burner for a little bit, I have added more items which requires more time.  In addition, I’m not doing so hot on my 20 for 2020 list. Although, I still have a glimmer of hope that I can knock a few items off of my list in the remaining quarter of this year. We’ll see what the next three months have to offer. 

Despite not seeing friends I usually see, not doing activities I normally do, or not meeting goals I generally meet, I am grateful that I still had a summer break. My summer was different, dear reader, but much of it was also restorative, relaxed, and simple. And, sometimes, that is the blessing. Happiness!

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and, like a dream, glides away.”     ~ Sarah Helen Whitman

Kentucky

at my Uncle Manuel’s home in Nicholasville, Kentucky

 

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Banana BreadI spent a great deal of time in the kitchen this morning which is highly unusual for me since I despise cooking. I whipped up some French Toast for Andrew and me for breakfast. This is the first time that I have made French Toast using Brioche bread. The particular Brioche bread that I bought had cinnamon in it, so I did not need to add much cinnamon. I also added some vanilla extract this time. We both thought it tasted delicious. I also had some rather ripe bananas, so I decided to bake some banana bread. I know what you are thinking, dear reader…lots of carbs. Yep, and lots of comfort. Thankfully, I will not be cooking dinner this evening. My hubby plans to grill steaks for the three of us.

I have yet to create any kind of routine while being at home, and I think it is contributing to me being in some kind of funk. I’m not unhappy per se; I guess I feel kind of apathetic. I did NOT meditate once this week. Sadly, I have not made any more progress with Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. On Thursday, I did receive an order from a company that sells grid paper for scrapbooking. The new paper will be a nice addition to my materials, and I’m hoping it will inspire me to get back to scrapbooking. Slowly but surely, I am making progress on the collection of short stories (Full Throttle) that I am reading by Joe Hill. They are terrific stories! Woefully, I am having trouble focusing on much of anything.

Fortunately, I am still walking daily with Levar Burton (skipped Saturday with Levar to finish listening to the latest episode of Office Ladies). It is a highlight of my day. This week I listened to five live episodes and episode #48. I enjoyed all six stories; however, “Driftglass” and “Mono No Aware” were my favorites.

  • LIVE! in Toronto: “Four Stations in His Circle” by Austin Clarke
  • LIVE! in Dallas: “In the City of Martyrs” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
  • Live! in D.C.: “A Dark Night” by Edward P. Jones
  • LIVE! in New Jersey: “Driftglass” by Samuel R. Delany
  • LIVE! in Boston: “Mono No Aware” by Ken Liu
  • #48 “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of the Stars)” by Dean Francis Alfar

I started listening to a new podcast that Laura Vanderkam launched on April 1st. It is called The New Corner Office by Laura Vanderkam. In each weekday morning episode, she offers strategies for working at home. It is a nice addition to her podcast, Before Breakfast with Laura Vanderkam.

White FlowersThis upcoming week is my spring break. It will last until April 13th with on-line school resuming on April 14th. Normally, my spring break begins on Good Friday and extends the week after Easter. However, when the Governor announced our first stay-at-home mandate that was going to end on April 13th, our school along with other schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge decided to move spring break up a week. Now, we are mandated to stay at home until April 30th, but our spring break did not move back to its originally scheduled time. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge issue. However, my hubby took vacation the week we originally planned to be off. And, SLU is off, too. I guess the silver lining is that even though I will be working from home the week Andrew and Barry are off, we will still be home together.

Since I won’t have to focus on anything school-related for the next eight days, I really want to use the time to tackle some projects around the house. My house could thoroughly use some TLC. In truth, there is NO excuse for me not to be productive in the next few days. What have you been doing with your time, dear reader? Are you accomplishing anything, continuing to work, both, or are you also in a funk? Enjoy the remainder of today which also happens to be Palm Sunday. Happiness!

“Lord, we lift up your name. With hearts full of praise; Be exalted, O Lord my God! Hosanna in the highest!” ~ Carl Tuttle

 

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     Hola, my friends! Yesterday, I decided to learn how to make “easy” chicken enchiladas for my family’s dinner. Since I do NOT cook very often, this was going to be a feat of magnificent proportions. Clarification is necessary before I continue with my tale. I am NOT a terrible cook, I just choose NOT to cook. As a child, I spent little time in the kitchen with my mother. I never had a strong desire to learn how to cook. Before marrying Barry, I did forewarn him I would not be cooking on a regular basis. He enjoys cooking, so it has worked out quite nicely. Besides, when I do cook, Barry tends to offer some tidbit of criticism instead of just saying “thanks.” I admit, I take it personally. It irks me. Therefore, he is in charge of the spatula.

     Currently,  I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As part of my happiness project, I want to learn new things. Learning new things helps you to grow. And, growth makes you happy.  Tuesday evening I read her section on marriage. One of her resolutions was “give proofs of love.” My inner lightbulb began glowing with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I could increase my happiness in two ways by completing ONE task. Efficient, right! By making enchiladas, I learn something new, and I give proof of love toward Barry. He had the evening off from kitchen duty.

     The recipe was easy, and did not require many ingredients. The chicken was boiled earlier in the day and shredded. The meal was put together in about 15 minutes, and baked for another 20 minutes. Barry arrived home a few minutes after the chicken enchiladas were removed from the oven. He didn’t say it; however, I think he was impressed. He enjoyed it. He did say he would have added more cheese on top…only because he likes lots of cheese. I smirked knowing he had to add a tidbit, but amazingly, I did not take it personally (trying to practice my Four Agreements). I was happy. I accomplished my task with satisfaction. Now, I confess my meal was not enjoyed by all in the family. Andrew ( aka picky eater) told me the enchiladas were not horrible, but they weren’t great either. He ate half of one, which surpassed my expectations.

     For those of you out there interested in recipes, I’ve included the link below. My tale is done, and I’m going to eat some leftover chicken enchiladas for lunch. Adiós!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/easy-chicken-enchiladas-121713.aspx

 

“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”  ~Henry L. Doherty

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