WEEKLY UPDATES: NOTES FROM ISOLATION…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Good morning!  It is time for more Notes from Isolation.  During this past week, we had scheduled outdoor walks for twenty minutes each day!  Just to mark the occasion, I went to my favorite store (Amazon) and ordered a new denim jacket to wear in celebration.

Shopping, movie bingeing, and a little reading have marked the days.  I spent last Sunday reading a book that I eventually DNFed…sad, but true…and then went on to read and review two books.  Then yesterday, I discovered two Kindle book versions of classic tomes my mother had in her childhood, and which I still have.  I read and reviewed one of them! Cornelli, by Johanna Spyri, the author who gave us Heidi.

I  also wrote eight blog posts!

I am still loving Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, and finally got into Ozark’s Third Season.  I enjoyed a movie with Helen Mirren, The Good Liar, which was based on a book I enjoyed of the same title. I read it in 2016, but only gave it 3.5 stars.  I liked the movie better, probably because of Helen Mirren.

Now I’m loving my second cup of coffee…so grab yours and I’ll take you to details about the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Morning Coffee, Etc.

Bringing Disney Images Back To My Blogs…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Sea Glass Cottage”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Blissful Tuesday…

Goodbye to March!

Coffee Chat:  A Day at a Time…

Six Years Ago…

Bookish Friday:  “Separation Anxiety”

Review:  The Operator, by Gretchen BergReview:  Follow Me, by Kathleen BarberReview:  Cornelli, by Johanna Spyri

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty mailbox!  I did download two e-books, however, and some books I’ve ordered from Amazon are headed my way.

Separation Anxiety, by Laura Zigman

Safe House, by Jo Jakeman

***

CURRENTLY  READING:  The Watergate Girl, by Jill Wine-Banks, my fourth book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge…

It was a time, much like today, when Americans feared for the future of their democracy, and women stood up for equal treatment. At the crossroads of the Watergate scandal and the women’s movement was a young lawyer named Jill Wine Volner (as she was then known), barely thirty years old and the only woman on the team that prosecuted the highest-ranking White House officials. Called “the mini-skirted lawyer” by the press, she fought to receive the respect accorded her male counterparts—and prevailed.

In The Watergate Girl, Jill Wine-Banks opens a window on this troubled time in American history. It is impossible to read about the crimes of Richard Nixon and the people around him without drawing parallels to today’s headlines. The book is also the story of a young woman who sought to make her professional mark while trapped in a failing marriage, buffeted by sexist preconceptions, and harboring secrets of her own. Her house was burgled, her phones were tapped, and even her office garbage was rifled through.

At once a cautionary tale and an inspiration for those who believe in the power of justice and the rule of law, The Watergate Girl is a revelation about our country, our politics, and who we are as a society.

***

That was my week…what did yours look like?  Are you also “sheltering in place”?  How are you doing?  I have no recent treats to share, but just as a reminder of what normal looked like, here is one of my favorites.  I took granddaughter Fiona and her boyfriend Dylan out to celebrate her birthday.  That was in February…such a long time ago!

***

COFFEE CHAT: A DAY AT A TIME…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

We are in Week Three of our Lockdown, but I really want to stop counting the days and weeks.  Instead I want to take it all a day at a time, planning the books and movies I will read and view each day.  And realizing that now I can go outside in the courtyard at scheduled times.  I loved the feel of the spring air when I went out this week!

  • In this photo, below, you can almost see my apartment window on the left, behind the gazebo.  By the end of the month, roses will bloom.  My window view of those roses led to my pick of that specific apartment.  Plus it seemed larger than most studio units.

  • In this photo, we can enjoy the bright red of the spring flowers…

  • I have only finished reading and reviewing one book so far this week; I had wasted most of Sunday reading a book that I finally had to cast aside, frustrated, since I liked the beginning…and then it turned boring.  Sigh.
  • But The Operator, by Gretchen Berg, is a book I ordered in hardcover, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As I finish reading/reviewing, I tuck those books away on my bookshelves. (See The Operator below, next to the decorative “jack”). I love admiring them all lined up, since I moved in here with only about ten books from my previous collection of hundreds.
  • I now have 54 books on this bookshelf…the one below only has 53, since The Operator had not yet been shelved…LOL

  • Here are my TBR books in the print format:  on a shelf in the entry way just for them, left, and on the nightstand, right…

  • As much as I love having some books in hardcover/paperback, just so I can admire them after I’ve read them…I’ve discovered that I read my e-books much faster.  Perhaps holding those hardcovers isn’t that easy these days!
  • Last night I started reading Follow Me, by Kathleen Barber, and so far so good.
  • Yesterday I received a new large bag of coffee grounds from Amazon.  Yay!  Love the smell and taste of new coffee.

***

Now I am ready for breakfast!  I have developed a system for making sure that I get the food I order.  I take a picture of the menu form I fill out, and check what I receive against the photo.  Accountability!  It’s working.

How is your week shaping up?

***

MONDAY MORNING COFFEE, ETC.

Another week, another morning of coffee and books.  I am already enjoying The Operator, but I have learned, sadly, that a book can start out in a promising way and then turn sour.  This one seems really good so far, though, and looks perfect next to my coffee.

I spent hours yesterday reading Been There, Married That, by Gigi Levangie…and it did start out so well!  I was laughing and eagerly turning pages.  And then, at some point, I found myself in that tricky place where I would read a paragraph or a page and get lost in my thoughts, losing my way in the book and in the story.  That kept happening…and I blamed myself.  I was too distracted, etc.

At 60% into the book, however, I realized that, no, the book was no longer holding my interest.  It wasn’t me, it was the BOOK.  In fact, I was bored!  I faced the truth that it would end up in the DNF pile.

I hate when that happens, especially when I’ve spent hours on a book.

Now some may love this book, and when I finally checked out the reviews, I realized that a few did.  But a handful of others had the same reaction that I had.  Plus, it doesn’t even matter that a few loved it if I hated it and couldn’t wait to put it down.  That’s how it goes sometimes.

All of this leads to my conclusions for the day as I start a new week.  Life is too short, especially in Pandemic times, to waste on books that just aren’t doing it for us.

In fact, my biggest frustration besides books I don’t love…is food delivered to my apartment like room service that is not only cold but disgusting. At times.  Sometimes it’s okay.  They do best with the breakfast foods. 

 

I made a decision to lift the lids of those cartons in which the food is brought…and check them out!  What are they hiding in those containers?  LOL.  Well, last night’s soupy chicken dish, for one thing.  I should have photographed it!

Since we can’t even leave our apartments to shop, I have been exploring online grocery deliveries, but I have hit a glitch on those.  I am afraid to try them, since the delivery person would have to leave the groceries at the front door for a staff person.  Nobody can enter this facility.  Although they do let in the mailman.  Hmm.  And Amazon.  Has anyone tried Amazon’s grocery fresh items?  I have ordered coffee and tea from them.

Option Two:  turn in a list to the staff person at the front desk, who then gives it to the person who actually goes to the stores and picks out the items.  I did that last week, and it worked great.

This could be a system that needs to work for a long time.  The more I read about how many weeks/months we will have to “shelter in place,” I get a little stir crazy.  But one who optimistically says “back to business by Easter” is, frankly, full of it.  This was, after all, the same guy who said it would “all disappear in the sunshine.”

“Good morning. This is the White House. Press (1) for disinformation about coronavirus testing; press (2) for disinformation about masks and ventilators; or press (3) for all other corona disinformation.”

***

How are the rest of you hanging?  A day at a time seems the best plan for me, while also having hopes of finding supplies, groceries, etc.  And optimism about finding books and movies that will keep my thoughts away from the disasters around us.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: NOT YET STIFLED BY THE ISOLATION…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

As Week Two of our Lockdown comes to an end, I realize that I am coping better than I could have imagined.  Being an introvert helps.  Plus finding great things to read and watch, along with my urge to rearrange my space.  All good.  My choices of books this week helped, as well, and I ended up reading three.  Which puts me right on target with my Goodreads Challenge.

I am still loving Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, and the fact that new episodes show up regularly (Wednesdays).

Last night I found Season III of Ozark, a show that isn’t quite as fascinating now…but I’ll keep watching for a while.

Let’s grab some more coffee (and thankfully, I still have some!), and take a closer look at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Heaven Adjacent”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Inspiration!

Hump Day Reading:  WWW Post

Coffee Chat:  Week Two in Lockdown…

Bookish Friday:  “Follow Me”

Review:  And They Called It Camelot, by Stephanie Marie ThorntonReview:  Wallis in Love, by Andrew MortonReview:  Heaven Adjacent, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty mailbox!  But I did download two purchased e-books.

The Sea Glass Cottage, by RaeAnne Thayne

Follow Me, by Kathleen Barber

***

CURRENTLY READING:

Been There, Married That, by Gigi Levangie

***

And, since I’m following my whims lately, I think I’ll also pick up a book on my nightstand:   The Operator, by Gretchen Berg

***

That was my week.  I feel very grateful to have all the books I could possibly read…now I just need other things that I can only get in the shops. Someday!  Stay indoors and stay safe!  Here is an apple tart I enjoyed a few weeks ago.

***

COFFEE CHAT: WEEK TWO IN LOCKDOWN…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

Another week has passed, and while I am still enjoying the time for reading, movie watching, etc., I am frustrated by the inability to get my hands on things I need.  Supplies as simple as my Lactaid milk or tea bags.  The staff said they would send someone out to shop, but that was three days ago.  Meanwhile, my daughter brought over a few things.  We can’t see each other, of course; no visitors allowed here!

  • Amazon availability of items is not good right now.  Some things can be had in a few weeks.  I haven’t been able to get bottled water, or even the water purifying pitchers that are sold everywhere…until there is a supply shortage.
  • I am sure that my feeling of panic is connected to the poor management of everything, from the government to the facility where I live.  The meals they bring to the apartment are cold and not at all appetizing, with poor selections.  When I think of how much money I pay them every month, I feel angry.  It was bad enough before…and now it has gone to worse than bad.
  • I am trying to lose myself in my books, and finished And They Called It Camelot, by Stephanie Marie Thornton, which I loved!
  • I just finished a new episode of Little Fires Everywhere.  Apparently Hulu brings a new episode every Wednesday. 
  • A couple of nights ago, I watched a Margaret Atwood documentary on Hulu, which I really enjoyed.

  • I am loving the opportunity to continue rearranging my apartment.  Here is what I have done this week: A view of the desk/computer station on the left, and bookshelves on the right.

  • Another view of the shelves and the TV…

  • Changes in the entry way…

  • My obsessive/compulsive tendencies are out in full force, lol.
  • What to read next?  I am leaning toward Heaven Adjacent, by Catherine Ryan Hyde…
  • And now I am whining…does that make me an “entitled bitch”?  Or just a frustrated one?

***

How are the rest of you handling the pandemic/isolation?  Any special ways of dealing with things?  Hang in there, is what everyone keeps telling me.  That works.  Or maybe it doesn’t.

***

REVIEW: AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT, BY STEPHANIE MARIE THORNTON

An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…

Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.

But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

And They Called It Camelot reads like a memoir, a “fictionalized biography” in the first person voice of Jackie. We are privy to her thoughts, her fears, and her determination to leave her mark on the world.

The story begins in her younger years, and we are shown her life before she met JFK, and then we get to watch their courtship, their early marriage, and the intermittent losses, like Jackie’s miscarriage and stillbirth before she finally gives birth to Caroline, followed by John, Jr.’s birth when JFK is the President-elect in 1960. Then we see her deal with his infidelities, but also see how the strength of their bond grows as they come through the challenges they face, including the loss of little Patrick in early 1963.

Even though I have read several books about the Kennedys and Jackie, before and after her time with JFK, this book filled in more of her thoughts and feelings, giving a conversational feel to the story.

Well researched, this book also shows us what Jackie’s life was like through all of it, down to many of the details. Despite knowing how it would all end, with the sadness and bravery that defined Jackie in the aftermath of the assassination, my favorite part was how she created the context that would become the magical legacy of Camelot. An unforgettable story revealing moments that will always remain a part of my own young life. 5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: REJUVENATION…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

A week of lockdown has had some good moments.  More reading, of course (three books read and reviewed), and some good viewing on Hulu.  I finished the three available episodes of Little Fires Everywhere.  Plus, as with most bookish people, my alone time is rejuvenating.

With meals delivered to my apartment, I am looking around and changing a few things…again. The bookshelves that were in my entry way were problematic when staff kept coming in, sometimes two or three at a time, and some of them bumped into the bookshelves, disrupting my nice arrangement!  So here is what I did today:  I moved the shelves to a corner across the room…completely opposite from the entry way.

I hope to continue enjoying this solitude, with more reading; it helps ward off the anxiety over the virus.  I have also learned to avoid the White House briefings everyday, which do nothing to make me feel better.

Let’s grab some more coffee and take a closer look at the week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Been There, Married That”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books & More Books…

Coffee Chat:  Our “New Normal”

Bookish Friday:  “Cross Her Heart”

Saturday Potpourri:  Coping…

Review:  The Other Mrs., by Mary KubicaReview:  Eight Perfect Murders, by Peter SwansonReview:  The Missing Sister, by Elle Marr

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty physical mailbox!  But I did purchase a download.

Cross Her Heart, by Melinda Leigh ( Bree Taggert -#1)

***

CURRENTLY READING: 

And They Called It Camelot, by Stephanie Marie Thornton

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Check out my Saturday morning breakfast on a tray: Simple, but something I can eat at the computer.

***

COFFEE CHAT: OUR “NEW NORMAL”

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

I feel as though a lifetime has passed since my last Coffee Chat, since every day since has brought so many changes in my life…in all of our lives.  We have gone from a “no visitors” policy here in the residence to total lockdown!  Yes, we can’t leave our apartments at all. 

  • Doctor’s appointments are allowed, but only emergency ones.  My annual physical has been cancelled, and so has my dental hygiene appointment. 
  • The lockdown to our apartments started yesterday, after lunch in the dining room.  We said goodbye to the friends we won’t see for who knows how long. 
  • Fortunately, we bookish people can find numerous things to do in our alone time.  Stacks of books to read, and, of course, there is blogging.
  • Old habits die hard, though, and I’d become so accustomed to coming and going:  calling Lyft, heading to a restaurant, or just enjoying being out and about.  It’s hard to believe that I could do all of that as recently as a week ago.
  • The news is so depressing that I search for it online and scroll through when “enough is enough.”
  • On the positive side, I can sleep later, and I am still in my PJs this morning.  I will change later, but now I am enjoying how I used to do mornings in my former home…ten months ago?  Coffee at the computer, slowly planning out the day.
  • Breakfast (and all our meals) will be brought to our apartments.  We choose what we want from the menu given the day before.  However, judging from last night’s dinner, we are in for a very sub par performance.  I guess they need to adjust, too, but why would they forget the coffee and two items I requested?
  • Luckily, I have my own food in the fridge, but the last time I shopped, shelves were emptying out rapidly.  Even Amazon cannot help with all necessities. 
  • Lest I turn this into a pity party, I did finish reading a book yesterday that kept me totally engrossedThe Other Mrs., by Mary Kubica.
  • The night before, I watched a movie on Prime that I enjoyed:  Bombshell, with Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron, among others.

  • I hope to watch Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. Maybe today!

  • I am reading Eight Perfect Murders, which I’m loving.  Thanks to all the downloads I haven’t yet read, along with the print volumes that came from Amazon over the past few months, there will be no shortage of reading material!
  • And then there is my recent apartment rearrangement.  I am enjoying it, and was it prescient of me to do it before the lockdown? My new desk setup in a corner is by a window that faces lovely gardens which should bloom soon.  (On the right side of the photo you can glimpse the window.  Later I will snap some photos of the outdoors).

***

So our “new normal,” unpleasant and anxiety-producing though it may be, does present opportunities.  For reflection, for reading everything we own, and for learning ways to cope.  How are the rest of you?

***

REVIEW: THE OTHER MRS., BY MARY KUBICA

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

Multiple narrators tell the story of The Other Mrs., and I’m immediately drawn in by them, as it takes a while to realize just who they are and how they fit into Sadie’s life.

Will has a history of infidelity, so his every move sets off alarms for me as I read the story. Sadie has issues, but we don’t discover the extent of them until the very end.

Just as I had decided that I knew who might be the perpetrator, the author twists the tale and shows us another view. But then, another turn takes us to the truth.

I loved this story, unable to stop rapidly turning the pages. A definite 5 star read for me.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: ANOTHER WEEK, MORE CHANGES…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

This week, I was determined to lighten up my reading, hoping to distract myself in a pleasant way.  I knew that I would also want some kind of mystery to read, too.  I succeeded on both counts…but it took all week to read and review two books.  Not that unusual lately, however.

I wrote only four blog posts, a definitely underwhelming event.

Around the residence, there have been daily changes in our routines and limitations, so I holed up part of the time in my apartment rearranging the furniture.  The space is small, but I had been thinking of how I wanted my space to look.  I moved the computer from the back wall next to the TV…to a corner by the window.  And rearranged the other furniture around it.

So while I was rearranging things and reading my books, I could almost forget about how isolated I am feeling right now.  Blogging and reading do help.  Then I watched the new Little Women movie on Amazon Prime.

Amazon packages continue to arrive regularly.  Let’s take a closer look at the week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Eight Perfect Murders”

Tuesday Potpourri:  New Books & a New Look…

A Bookish Hump Day…

Bookish Friday:  “The Sea of Lost Girls”

Review:  Coconut Layer Cake Murder, by Joanne FlukeReview:  Pretty as a Picture, by Elizabeth Little

INCOMING BOOKS:

I received four books in my physical mailbox…and downloaded one purchased e-book.

And They Called It Camelot, by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A Good Neighborhood, by Therese Anne Fowler

My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell

The Operator, by Gretchen Berg

***

Download:

The Sea of Lost Girls, by Carol Goodman

***

CURRENTLY READING:

For a few weeks, I have been reading Wallis in Love, by Andrew Morton.  Since I only pick it up between my other books, I am only about halfway finished.  But I’m enjoying it.

This week I also want to read The Other Mrs., by Mary Kubica.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I have no goodies to share this week, but I think fondly of this pumpkin pie and ice cream treat I had a while ago.

***