Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday?

It's vaaaaaaaacation time this week.  We got home yesterday and my husband is off for the rest of the week!  We are going to spend the rest of the week doing all the decadent and time wasting things, like seeing Wonder Woman, War for the Planet of the Apes, and binge watching the last season of Game of Thrones before the premiere this Sunday.  I'm pretty sure the Universe wants me to be happy this week.

We started our vacation on Sunday by getting up early and heading to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game.

They lost spectacularly, but hey, it was still Wrigley Field.  Somebody posted something on social media the other day that went something like, "Hang in there, Cub Fans," and I told my husband, "Hang in there?  I waited 47 years to see them win the World Series. They are the reigning World Champions. That's something that a lot of Cub Fans didn't get to see in their lifetime, my grandfather among them.  Don't you worry about me.  I'm good for at least another 47." 

From Chicago, we drove to Racine, Wisconsin.  If you've ever been to Racine (or most places in Wisconsin), then you know about Kringle.  If you haven't been there, then you are missing out because my Scandinavian ancestors knew their pastries...pastries and boat building.  We chose Racine for North Beach and its proximity to Milwaukee.  And, of course, the Kringle.

We drove into Milwaukee one night.  Here's the thing I told my husband I remembered about Milwaukee: You can find lots of places to park and walk around.  It really doesn't feel like a "big" city.  I'm pleased to report that 23 years later, that's still what it feels like. We ate at Sobelman's Pub and Grill, hit Boswell Book Company (amazing place I could frequent every day if I still lived there), walked the Riverwalk, ate some rolled ice cream (Have you seen this new thing?), posed with the Fonz, and visited my old apartment building.

This last activity brought on a huge wave of the feels that, quite honestly, smacked me upside the head when I wasn't expecting it.  I moved to Milwaukee when I was 24 to train for a teaching job and get my Master's degree.  Seeing that tiny efficiency apartment building (and the neighborhood around it, which is quite happening now, by the way) really brought back that moment in time for me.  Compared to other years, it wasn't a particularly happy time in my life, but it was something I was determined to do.  I really had to figure out what I wanted that year in some ways.  And I find myself thinking now that you can actually be happy without knowing you are happy if you have a purpose and a challenge to rise to.  Suffice to say, I'm really proud now of that 24 year old kid.  She didn't back down when life sucker punched her.

Moving on.

We also had to get cheese because, Wisconsin. 

And we visited the Jelly Belly Center in Pleasant Prairie on the way home.  I am always amazed by the work and planning and details it takes to make one thing, like the Jelly Belly.  From the thousands of tiny molds they pour those things into to the airbrushing of the logo onto each bean, all the hard work that goes into one tiny bean is pretty astonishing to me.  I start thinking, "All this work...why didn't they just give up?"  But persistence and tenacity are both qualities I respect.  After all, I'm pretty sure that's how that kid made it through that year in Milwaukee.  The almond Kringle also helped.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday?

Earlier in the week on Friday, we went to a new restaurant in the area we've been wanting to try because both of the kids were at sleepovers.  It was a former church that they've remodeled into a brewery.  Dan had the pork chop, and I had a burger and fries.  It is my personal belief you can tell the quality of a restaurant by their burger and fries.  If they can't get that right, it's hard to believe they'll be able to do anything else.  My burger was really good, but those fries were on point.

It's odd when a national holiday falls on a Tuesday.  Several times today, I've thought that today is Monday because my husband had yesterday off for the 4th  and was home.  We had already celebrated the 4th on Sunday because the country club behind our house did their fireworks on Sunday night.  We let my daughter invite her class for a cookout, swimming, and fireworks.  My son also got to have a friend.  I've decided that throwing a party for a bunch of squirrely teenagers is the way to go for the 4th because they truly know how to have fun and enjoy the holiday.  They played pool volleyball, watched the fireworks, and made and ate lot o' s'mores.  It was great.

So on the actual 4th, we just lazed around, watched the Cubs play, and grilled steaks and watched the rest of Stranger Things on Netflix.  That made today feel like Monday after a really short weekend instead of a Wednesday.  I'm just impressed that I remembered to do this post.  I'll get back on track eventually, and if I don't, oh well.  It's summer.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

June Reading Receipt

It's been awhile, but I'm back with my monthly reading receipt.  I read 5 books in June, getting the fifth one in just under the wire on the 30th.  Here's the list:

11/22/63 by Stephen King
It's been a long time since I read an epic tome by King, but I used to read them all the time (just about every time he came out with a new one). But in the last five years I've read Doctor Sleep (which I looooved so much) and a collection of his novellas,  Full Dark, No Stars and that's about it.  I don't feel like either of those was the commitment that 11/22/63 is. We're talking Insomnia length here.  I'm glad I did though.  It was just like old times.  Very few writers have the power to transport me like King.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
After the success of The Girl on the Train, this one got quite a bit of hype before it came out.  I liked the different narratives in this and the way it spanned many stories of the women in the town and the river. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was my selection from Book of the Month.  I didn't love it.  It was an easy enough read, though.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
This I enjoyed very much.  It was a taut mystery that kept me interested.  I was a little disappointed that the big event in the beginning of the book wasn't really linked at all to the mystery at hand.  I was waiting for a big "a-ha" as to how the two were connected.  Never got it.  That may have been my own fault, as I was making a presumption, but I think it was a fairly logical leap to make.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
If you read my blog or belong to my FB book club, you already know that I loved Rebecca by Du Maurier.  So it will be no surprise that I loved this as well.  It made me nervous in the pit of my stomach the entire time I was reading it because I was never really sure what was going to happen or who was lying or wrong.  That's good stuff, as far as I'm concerned.

That's all for June - onto July and more reading!