This Week – Listening

Fave Pic FOKI7319 On Tuesday, Gage and I visited one of the Cleveland Metroparks that was new to us.  It was much needed to calm the chaos.

Highlights of the Week  We went to the Cruise the Zoo last weekend and had a good time.  It was nice to have someplace safe to go as a family.  The animals were sometimes so far away that you only saw glimpses but driving at 2 mph through the zoo with other family with kids hanging out of windows or popping out of sunroofs was a great thing to see.

Unfortunately, Cleveland, like many other cities, got wrecked last weekend.  It was devastating to see.  I watched the peaceful protest for a bit online and thought everything looked great. Everyone was respectful and there was no need for police presence.  I checked back later in the day to find that after that group had started the walk around downtown, others showed up and started the violence and destruction of property.  Cleveland was on curfew until Wednesday morning.  Jason went into his downtown office for the first time since March on Wednesday and called the place a ghost town.  Thankfully, there have been many smaller protests all over the suburbs here this week and they’ve all been peaceful.   I’m listening and reading and trying to come up with some personal goals to make myself more of an active ally.

Books finished Who Was Davy Crockett? by Gail Herman read with Gage.

Reviewed (I’m so behind on reviews!) A Conspiracy in Belgravia A Conspiracy in Belgravia

Currently reading The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, … loving it.

In the mail The Rose Garden

Movies Ckfilm.jpg Steve McQueen gambling his way through life.  A young girl holds a surfboard at the beach. A section of her board is missing as if been bitten by a shark Watched this true life inspirational movie with Gage.

My 5 word May movie reviews

TV Jason and I watched a few episodes of Poster for Netflix series Space Force.png and liked it for a few laughs.

Plans for the weekend  Although we’ve got a few things happening next week I don’t think we have anything set in stone for the weekend.  How about you?

A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock Series #2), Author: Sherry Thomas A Conspiracy in Belgravia.  Finished 5-23-20, 4/5 stars, historical mystery, pub. 2017

Unabridged audio. 10 hours, 30 minutes.

Book 2 of the Lady Sherlock series (1- A Study in Scarlet Women)

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?    from Goodreads

In the first book of the series, Charlotte was disgraced and in Victorian England this meant society shunned her and her family would try to hide her away.  Charlotte, ever resourceful, found a way to use her smarts to support herself, but not without the aid of Mrs. Watson, a fellow renegade.  Chaorlotte set up shop on Baker Street offering the services of her bedridden brother “Sherlock”.

Sherlock is approached by Lady Ingram to find a lover she had thrown aside to marry a rich man.  That man just happens to be Charlotte’s close friend, Lord Ingram.  Deciding to take the job and keep it from Ash was risky.  Fielding a second marriage proposal from his brother was another tricky thing to maneuver.  He enticed her with dead bodies and secret codes, wooing her for her mind and offering her a chance to enter society once again.  Charlotte managed both with the analytical thinking that had gotten her that far.

I have loved these first two books.  The mysteries have been top notch and the secondary characters well drawn with complex relationships.  I’m looking forward to spending more time with this fine cast of characters.


May’s Movies & Money For Charity

What a sad movie month this was.  We did make it halfway through The Cincinnati Kid (1965) tonight and I already know it’s going to beat all of these movies hands down.

You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $44 right now.  Your charity could be next 

Atomic Blonde poster.jpg Atomic Blonde, 2017 (Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman)    Grade B

Attractive spies betraying each other.

Not a favorite…Charlize = badass   (Michelle)

Brutal fight scenes…no McAvoy   (Heather)

Enemy poster.jpg Enemy, 2013 (Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini)    Grade B-/C+

Messed up and confusing thriller.

 Truly twisted. Loved it!  (Michelle)

 meh?  (Heather)

Evolution movie.jpg Evolution, 2001 (David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, Sean William Scott, Ted Levine)   Grade C

Much needed levity as chaos reigns.

 A favorite. One word – Duchovny  (Michelle)

Classic Meta Duchovny, super cheesy.  (Heather)

The Rocket Poster The Rocket, 2018 (Richard Blake, Brady Tutton)     Grade C-

Cheesy acting was so bad.

This Week – Breathe

Fave pic JHEH5565 Taken from our driveway Memorial Day evening.

Highlights of the week We had my parents over for Memorial Day.  The guys even got in a convertible ride before the rain came.

I’m the current president of our local library Friends group and curbside pickup starts Monday.  That means I started tentatively planning and working on things this week.  Exciting.

I received all of Gage’s end of year and summer stuff on Wednesday, but I’m keeping him in ‘school’.  I spent 30 minutes the last three nights planning a schedule and lesson plans for each day.  Sound mean?  I couldn’t take one more day of hearing “Mom, what can I do now?” “Mom can I have screen time?” “Mom,  mom, mom…”  So he has mom school until the early afternoon.  To entice him he has a list of everything we’re doing that day and a list of required chores.  Once everything is crossed off he gets $1.  I’m considering it a $5 a week allowance 🙂  I’m actually having a good time planning fun things to go along with the hard stuff.  Today he tried oragami for the first time and is so proud of his little fox.

Reviews posted The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern  Megabat by Anna Humphrey

Finished reading Megabat (Megabat #1) A Conspiracy in Belgravialove this series! The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos…fascinating.

Currently reading The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, … Long Time Coming

In the mail A Desperate Fortune

Watching We finished season 2 of Bosch and loved it.

New recipe a day challenge

Plans for the weekend  Our friend had a pass to Cruise through the Zoo that she couldn’t use so we’re taking Gage tomorrow.  The zoo is still closed and we’ll have to stay in our car, but I’m more excited about it than I should be 🙂  It takes so little to entertain these days.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the state of what’s going on in this country right now.  I plan to devote some meditation time this weekend to try and figure out how best to use my voice and my resources.

What’s up in your neck of the woods?

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea, Author: Erin Morgenstern The Starless Sea.  Finished 5-20-20, magical fiction, 4.5/5 stars, 498 pages, pub. 2019

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.    from Goodreads

It’s hard  to know where to start with this book because it was…dreamlike? timeless? mindbending?  a rabbit hole I’d love to fall into even if only for a moment?  It’s all of those, of course, but it’s also a story about stories and if you’re willing to lose yourself in those beautiful fairy tales for a bit you are in for an enchanted ride.  Where does one story end and another begin?

Ezra is a gamer and a graduate student who finds a forgotten book on the library shelves.  He picks it up, curious, but becomes disturbed when he discovers one of the stories is about him.  One clue leads to another until he finds himself at a swanky NYC literary party where he meets Max (Where the Wild Things Are) and later Dorian, a master storyteller.  Then the fun begins.  There are doors, old and new, edible stories, seas made of honey, an underground warren of tunnels and rooms that can confuse time and space, and the place seems to have been forgotten.  But there are still stories to discover and be written, quests to pursue, dangers to be averted, and mysteries to solve.

We read this for my book club and my first words were, “I loved it even if I didn’t completely understand it.”  This was mostly true.  I felt like I understood the book, even if my brain didn’t always keep up.  I’d read the reviews of some who didn’t care for it and I get it.  It took me a little while to sink into it, but once I did I was hooked and really didn’t want it to end.  And it was 500 pages!  If you’re going to give it a try, give it some time and just enjoy the ride.





Megabat by Anna Humphrey

Title: Megabat, Author: Anna Humphrey Megabat.  Finished 5-22-20, kid’s chapter book, 180 pages, pub. 2018

Illustrated by Kass Reich

A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted… or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.

Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute.

Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a light saber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!   from Goodreads

Oh, Megabat, you had me at your first dripping and your unique way of speaking our language.  We’ve had this book out of the library since way before it shut down, but it wasn’t until last week that Gage read it and then wanted me to read it too.  I loved everything about this book and the next two of the series are already here, waiting to be read.

Daniel is lonely at his new house and doesn’t like his attic bedroom, especially since he keeps slipping in puddles.  Then he he meets the maker of those puddles, a very sad bat who is a long way from home.  The the two become secret pals until the neighbor kids find out.  There’s a pigeon, bribery, and injury.  Gage warned me about a sad part later in the book and he was right.  I won’t say more so I don’t spoil it.

A story of friendship and it’s Gage and mom approved.

This Week – School’s Out

Fave pic IMG_4295 The librarian at Gage’s school is retiring (and moving to Hawaii, lucky duck) so Gage had quite a few assignments that were aimed at her retirement.  For his art assignment he made these to book covers.  She always rewarded the kids with parties – but they had to earn them.  She went all out and the kids will definitely miss her in the fall.

Highlights Gage finished all of his 3rd grade schoolwork today so I’m officially calling him a 4th grader.  I can’t believe it.  I have loved being his pseudo teacher these last few months.

We had a drive by birthday party for a classmate of Gage and we even got a little family time at Lake Erie.  Even ordered takeout from Gage’s favorite restaurant, Aladdin’s Eatery.  It almost felt like a normal Sunday.

Some have struggled with the pandemic lock down and I almost feel guilty for enjoying this extra time with my son and husband so much.  Gage is nine and it’s such a wonderful age.  He still loves his parents, listens most of the time, and still loves to cuddle.  I am soaking in every moment.  And Jason and I are still speaking, laughing and cuddling too.  I’m a lucky woman.

On the downside Gage always had lots of time at summer camps.  This year before everything shut down I had only signed him up for two weeks, one of them cancelled but will be doing online stuff with the kids.  The other is still happening but Gage will not be going.  It was chaos every year and there is no way that the Science Center will be able to keep the kids as separated from each other and the public as I would need to feel comfortable.  So, I found some online places that do interactive camps and have signed him up for a few and hope to find more.  We’ll be venturing out into nature this summer and having some outdoor play dates, but we’re keeping this summer low key.  Hopefully, the fall will look better, but given the COVID numbers that have started to climb back up since everything started opening this month, I don’t have a lot of confidence.

Finished reading The Starless Sea read this for book club (we had a fun Zoom meeting on Wednesday) and I’ll have my review posted Monday.  I really liked it. Megabat (Megabat #1) Gage read this and wanted me to read it too.  I loved Megabat! Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse I posted my review of this cool chapbook here.

Currently reading The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos…

Currently listening A Conspiracy in Belgravia

In the mail Carolina Breeze (Bluebell Inn Romance, #2)

Movies Enemy poster.jpg This will mess with your mind.

Watching We’ve watched some of Bosch season 2 and a few episodes of Travelers season 2.

New recipe a day challenge I made my first coffee cake and my first pot roast!

Plans for the weekend Nothing special planned.  Jason is playing tennis for the first time in many months so we’ll see how that goes.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?




Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse by Joshua Gage

Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse Finished 5-17-20, poetry, 36 pages, pub. 2013

“Zombies don’t do five-seven-five (so many fingers missing)! This fun book of masterfully written one-gasp poetry proves that the force and beauty of haiku–even those about a walking dead apocalypse–have nothing to do with syllable counting. Your flesh will crawl–but, hopefully, won’t crawl away!” — David G. Lanoue, President of the Haiku Society of America   from Goodreads

Joshua, who has strong thoughts on the availability of quality coffee at the workplace, proves that you can excite non-poetry reading zombie avoider about the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.  Josh, who I may start calling haiku extraordinaire when I see him at the library, sent me my first chapbook and it was so much fun.  It is a perfect fit for sitting on the deck with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and enjoying the story that unfolds in a series of 91 haiku poems.  It was creative and visceral from beginning to tragic end.  I loved it.



This Week – What Week Is It?

Fave pic IMG_E4182 from Mother’s Day last week.  My mother and the boy who made me a mother.  We have had limited visits with my parents, usually for a few hours once a week.  They are retired and at home and we are at home except for a few necessities like Gage’s school work pick up and drop off, grocery store every 2-3 weeks, and occasionally the post office.  Jason will go back to his office downtown twice a week starting June 1 and we might have to re-evaluate, but by then outside visiting will be easier to do so I think we can still make it work.

Highlights of the week  Mother’s Day was lovely.  I got to sleep in and then coffee, cards, and a few gifts in bed. My mom came over and Jason went and picked up Dewey’s pizza for us.  I love that I can get gluten free crust with the pizza I love, Ryan’s Inferno.

We got the rest of our deck furniture AND had a few nice days this week to enjoy it 🙂

We’ve started using the composter we’ve had for years and Gage likes to be the one to take out our daily scraps.  One household task he doesn’t complain about, yay!

Books finished Not a one 😦  Keeping Gage off the screens has taken more effort lately.  Not to mention my new recipe a day challenge also takes extra time.

In the mail IMG_E4222 I found out that a friend from the library has written books!  He generously sent me these two and I’m excited to take a look at them this week.  And he has the best last name, right?

Currently reading  The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos… (Not what I was expecting, but more of a history of the Bible and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and I’ve learned so much)  The Starless Sea Still in the early chapters but it’s interesting.

Currently listening A Conspiracy in Belgravia I’m finding ways to listen to a little bit of this every day.

My review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Movies The Rocket Poster The soundtrack was great, story good, but the acting outside of two main characters was cringeworthy.

Currently watching We let Gage stay up until 11 this week to watch the finale of Survivor and that was fun for him.  I think the right person won.  We’re still working on season 2 of Bosch.

New Recipe a Day Challenge.  You can follow my other blog that’s full of monthly challenges, but I’m linking to this one post here because I loved these waffles so much 🙂

Plans for the Weekend  Ohio has opened retail and outside seating at restaurants with more to open next week.  As much as I have appreciated our governor’s response so far I feel like he is rushing to reopen everything by June.  We don’t plan on changing anything here for at least a few more weeks and then we can evaluate again.  What about you?



The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book, Author: Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book.  Finished 4-25-20, 4.25/5 stars, older kids tale, 312 pages, pub. 2008

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.      from Goodreads

I’ve talked before about my fascination with cemeteries and their appeal to me in the way they can make you honor history and evaluate life at the same time.  So, why did it take me so long to read this Newbery Medal, Hugo Award, Locus Award and Carnegie Medal winner?  I don’t know, but I’m glad I picked it up for the read-a-thon a few weeks ago.

When a toddler escapes his home as a killer murders his parents and sister, he makes his way to the graveyard.  Once there he is found by Mrs. Owens who is touched by the dead spirit of the child’s mother and she is determined to raise and protect the boy.  There is discussion among the ghosts and she and her husband are allowed to raise the boy as their own.  They must rely on the protection and guardianship of Silas, the caretaker of the graveyard.  Mrs. Owens gives the boy the name of Nobody and he finds a home.

The graveyard and  the spirits that live there are perfection.  Silas?  My favorite vampire ever.  Nobody has the run of the graveyard and does go out into the real world, even attending a real school for a short time.  But the graveyard holds all of the excitement,  vampires, werewolves, witches, ghouls, ghosts, and, best of all, a girl.  There is also, of course, the problem that the murderer is still looking for him.

I loved the spirit of and spirits in this book.  It was a perfect late night read.  It is a children’s book, but I don’t know what age would be appropriate since I think it’s a little dark for the younger set.  Gaiman found The Jungle Book as an early inspiration.  The chapters are set two years apart and there are eight of them.  I was mostly sad at the end, but hopeful that Nobody Owens is out there somewhere living his best life.