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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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Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning which means, according to legend, that we will have an early spring. I sure hope that is the case because I am over this funky, cold, and damp weather we have been experiencing in Louisiana as of late. Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us a reprieve today and provided us with a lovely day of sunshine and warmer temps before our next bout of rain comes early this week.

Emma & KatToday, the happy factor is not only limited to the groundhog, but also to the hedgehog. Yes, it is in fact National Hedgehog Day. Those cute, little critters share their special day with Phil. It also happens to be Super Bowl LIV. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs later this evening at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. However, while all these events are wonderful and provide a happiness boost to many, nothing compares to the biggest happiness boost for me on this day. Today is my beautiful niece’s birthday. Emma has officially turned sweet sixteen. She is not only beautiful and sweet, but she is also intelligent, vibrant, compassionate, and cheerful. Happy 16th Birthday Blessings to Emma! My only regret is that I cannot be with her today to celebrate.

Although February is starting off with a bang, I must address January 2020. Where did the first month of this year go? I’m astonished with how the rapidity of time has slipped by me with nothing much to show for it. Yet, I have done more last month than most Januarys of the past. Generally, the winter months with dreary weather and lack of extended sunlight hours often relegates me to hibernation after the workday. I surmise taking a weekly improv class (#7 on 20 for 2020 list) on Tuesday evenings, meeting with my acting coach most weeks, reading daily, and diligently sifting through paperwork to discard has contributed to time passing more quickly. My only regret is that I did not blog more.

Improv 1I thoroughly enjoyed the Level I Improv class, so much so, that I’ve decided to continue with Level II Improv this month. David Hamilton is an awesome teacher who makes the class interesting, challenging, and enjoyable. Every week builds from the previous week. I’m feeling more confident and less fearful when making choices, and I’m hoping to see that carry over in future auditions. My classmates are wonderful actors, and with the exception of one student Michael who will be traveling to Spain, our class will be together again to learn and play for the next session.

I read five books in January: The Institute by Stephen King, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, Count All Her Bones by April Henry, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. I enjoyed all five of them, and I’m one book ahead of schedule for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge.

What are your plans on this gorgeous 02/02/2020, dear reader? I plan to bask in the sunlight and the hopefulness of an early spring, crack open a new novel to wile away a couple of hours, and await joyfully for anything else the day may offer. Happiness!

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

 

 

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