Labor Day Weekend 2019 ♥

Can all weekends be three days, please?  I felt like I had enough time to do every thing I wanted, everything I needed, plus extra time leftover to semi-nap on our deck sofa, see a 3 hour movie and like every Telluride Film Fest-related tweet 😛

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Wow, Friday feels SO LONG AGO.  I’d really been wanting to see Where’d You Go, Bernadette since I just read (and loved) the book, but it felt like I kept putting it off, for reasons that are probably Rotten Tomato score-related but also because it kept showing at either 6 PM (so early!) or 9 PM (so late!).  Can’t a girl get a 7:45 PM movie??  Anyway, after Joey told me to stop acting like I’m too old to go to a 9 PM movie, I acquiesced.  Look, the book is obviously better and there were major changes made (especially toward the end) that I felt significantly lessened the impact of the plot, but I still liked it!  Joey and I laughed a lot over the really badly edited photos of younger Bernadette and her husband.  Was it supposed to look so bad and fake??

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Woke up Saturday and made us some banana bread buckwheat pancakes because, as Joey put it, “WE OWN EVERY FLOUR!” and buckwheat was one of them.  Turns out buckwheat not only looks like sand, but tastes like it?  No thank you!  Afterward, we hit the farmers’ market and two different grocery stores!!!  I was very proud of our stamina.  We were hosting a family BBQ on Sunday and weeks ago, when we planned the menu, I was elated over the prospect of buying fresh produce at the farmers’ market.  It was just as exciting as I thought it’d be 🙂

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We spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, which is not exciting, then cleaned ourselves up and headed out for dinner/Rockies, which was exciting (until the game sucked).  We’re nearing the end of Rockies season, so I’m running out of time to try all the Biker Jim’s dogs, eek!  Joey and I traded halves so I could knock out two — Elk Jalapeno Cheddar and Rattlesnake & Pheasant — and both were great.  I fear I’m going to get to the end of this experiment and tell you what you already know — Elk Jalapeno Cheddar with classic topping is the best.

It was a perfect night at Coors Field weather/sunset-wise, but woof, that game!  We left early to go grab ice cream at Smith + Canon, only to find they had sold out and closed early, noooo!  Luckily, Ice Cream Riot is just down the street and though not quite Smith + Canon level, still very very good!

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I remarked on Saturday that I couldn’t remember the last time we’d gone on a weekend run, so we woke up and did just that on Sunday.  My left quad is SO SORE and I have zero clue why, so we maybe walked a little, but “that’s what weekend runs are for” Joey says.  After cooling down for a bit and eating breakfast, we jumped right into BBQ prep.  Joey was outside cleaning up the front and back yard and I was in the kitchen whipping up potato salad and squash and corn salad, then prepping a tomato salad and burgers.  Go figure, I only got a picture of one of those dishes, but that tomato salad sure looks pretty!  Also, while I cooked, I had Titanic on and I’m never not blown away by that film!

This whole BBQ was supposed to function as a “Garage and Deck Christening,” thought up by Joey’s grandma, who wasn’t feeling well and ended up missing the whole thing, bummer!!!  But Joey, my parents, my sister, Wayne, Lori, Adam, Joey’s grandpa, Jory, Betsy, Lorenzo, and Ellie were all there and my heart was so full.  Lori got us the sweetest sign for our deck ♥  I asked my mom to bring a dessert, so naturally, she brought two.  I maybe loaded my plate with peach cobbler (MY FAVORITE!!!) and vanilla ice cream, plus almond cake with whipped cream and strawberries and my mom saw and said “I’m so proud of you!” HA!  Half the party went home around 8, but those that were left, watched A Goofy Movie on the deck and it was the best ending to the best day ♥

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How great it is to host a Sunday BBQ, then get a day of recovery afterward??  Amazing!  We slept in till 8 (when did 8 become sleeping in??), then took ourselves to Weathervane for giant coffees and breakfast on the teensy front patio.  We wrapped our heads around September — we leave for Italy in one month and I do not feel ready, but we’ll get there… I think! — then headed to my parents’ to pick up our pup, who was not invited to the BBQ and it was so good to have him back… and then to leave him at home while we headed to Golden.  A day off, with nothing to do, felt like the right time to visit a brewery and I’d heard good things about New Terrain.  It wasn’t so busy when we first got there, but when we left a couple hours later, it was PACKED.  My Golden Haze was so so good and I only had a headache for a day and half afterward!  (Why???)  Also, what a view!

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It was an actual 100° degrees outside, so we were looking for something cool and dark to do afterward and a movie sounded like just the ticket!  I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but we have the Alamo movie pass, so we pay a monthly fee and then we can see as many movies as we want!  The only thing A) we wanted to see and B) was showing at the right time happened to be Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, which yes, we’ve already seen but it was “free” and can I please endorse the concept of the re-watch?  You catch so much more on a second viewing.  We still really really loved it, but found extra lines to laugh at and maybe clutched each others’ arms when we saw Leo get out of the pool and head to the tool shed.  Also, shout out to Zoë Bell, whose brief but brilliant scene is just so good!

Back at home, we relaxed on the deck, walked the pup, ate BBQ leftovers (from now until forever), dreamt of not drinking beer or overeating and crashed into bed.  I loved every single second of this Labor Day Weekend and fear the post-holiday weekend blues that are sure to follow, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.  I hope yours was just as good!

Recent Reads

You know when you have a blog and an Instagram account and a Twitter account and also, real life conversations with real humans and you can’t actually keep track of who you’ve told what and on which platform?  This is me in 2019.

I do try to give little book updates on the blog though, so even though I had to look back and make sure I hadn’t already talked about all of these, it’s worth it.  Lo and behold, I found five books I had not written about!  Here we go.

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The Kites by Romain Gary

I read this right after finishing a book I loved dearly with all my heart (it’s the last one on this list!) so it had big shoes to fill and it did such a good job!  There is no shortage of books about World War II but I’d never read one from the French perspective and it felt so new and interesting plus you just get so attached to the characters.  I don’t want to spoil anything but the main character’s uncle is a kite maker and though that sounds trivial, those kites come to symbolize so much in the midst of the war.  Also, if you don’t know what Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is, prepare to have all the feels.  My heart!  I was surprised to discover this book was actually published in 1980 but has just been translated into English.  There was a note from translator Miranda Richmond Mouillot at the end and it blew me away!  I had never given much thought to the intimate art of translation and how much you need to understand about language, meaning, intent and the original author to pull it off.  She does so beautifully.

A Curve in the Road by Julianne MacLean

This book was okay.  I will say the events of the very beginning are totally wild and enthralling and I couldn’t put it down but then you get the twist pretty early on and I had this feeling of “so now what?” through the rest of it.  The main character goes through an EXTREMELY TRAUMATIC event and despite that, the book felt a bit too tidy.  She kept TELLING me she was sad or explaining, with perfect clarity, what she was feeling and why.  Maybe I’m off base, but I don’t know that I’d be thinking all that clearly after what she went through.  Still it was an entirely unpleasant read and elicited some interesting talk of narcolepsy at our book club.

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The Dog of the South by Charles Portis

What a book!  Toward the end, I was CONVINCED that the narrator had lost his mind and none of what he was experiencing was actually happening, but I was wrong which made this book all the more amusing.  It’s narrated by Ray Midge as he travels to British Honduras to track down his runaway wife and, more importantly, his Ford Turino, but he meets all sorts of characters on his way and he is a character himself!  I told Joey he came across as a cranky old man, except he’s only 26.  I didn’t love this one but man, did I appreciate it.

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Radium Girls by Kate Moore

What a letdown!  Reading the description, my hype was a ten, but something like 20 pages in, I realized this was going to be a STRUGGLE to get through.  It was billed as the story of all the young girls who worked in the radium factory during the first world war, painting the dials on watches and ultimately dying of radium poisoning but it was SO bogged down by facts and quotations that the author had obviously pulled from her exhaustive research.  It was definitely interesting, but I did not need 400 pages of basically no real character development just to understand the horrific tale of these women.  The Wikipedia page will suffice.  I seriously only made it through 88 pages.  Womp, womp.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I’ve known about this book since it came out, but discounted it because it seemed to be on every “summer beach read” list and that made me think it’d be some silly hollow read.  I was so wrong!  Also, why didn’t anyone tell me the bulk of the story is told by email??  I love a good story told through correspondence.  It gives you such an intimate yet patchy account of the characters that just totally works for me.  I think, if you can get written account of a character’s deepest feelings and see how they speak to others, you don’t really need to know every detail of their actions outside of the correspondence.  It’s one of the few instances where I actually enjoy filling in my own blanks, plus it just feels like the definition of show, don’t tell.  In the end, despite all her flaws, I really loved Bernadette and maybe all the Beatles references too ♥

I’ve saved the best for last!

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Wow, wow, wow, I LOVED this book!  Above is the first page of the book and it gives me chills.  I was hooked from there.  I am a stalwart read-before-bed person, but I was so enthralled in this one that I found myself reading on the couch right after work.  Even Joey noticed how into it I was.  It was dark and mysterious, but also a love story and a story about the power of books and reading.  I felt this writing and this story deep in my heart.  At the end, there was a bittersweet passage that hit me so hard, I had to write it down.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here.

“Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.”

Whew!  It simultaneously scares me and captures exactly what reading means to me.  Do you think it’s too long for a tattoo, though 😛

I just picked up The House of Broken Angels and I’m not sure about it yet, but please share what you’re reading with me!