thursday stew—a random collection of unrelated miscellany

vacation master list

Last year, I shared my use of a vacation master list with you. But it is so stellar in its thoroughness and organization that it deserves annual attention. And as such it shall receive it.

The master list contains several sublists including: shopping—groceries, shopping—other, to-pack, to-do, meal plans for both weeks, art/crafts projects and activities. (If all this bores you like crazy, I’m sorry. If you are really stimulated right now, you totally get me!) I know what you’re thinking: relax. RELAX. But the thing is, I am relaxed because of my thoroughly organized, exhaustive list. Will we forget the Qtips? Check the list. Will we forget the extra bedding? The AAA batteries? The board games? Check the list. Extra bathing suits? What do you think—check the list. What will we eat on the second Tuesday? Check the list. When I get there, I don’t have to think at all for 2 whole weeks. No thinking for 2 entire weeks. No thinking Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or any of the other days. And then again no thinking the week after. NO THINKING. If I gotta be crazy for the 3 weeks prior to the 2 vacation weeks of no thinking, so be it. I’m also crazy ALL the weeks preceding vacation, but that has nothing to do with my stellar vacation master list which is spectacular.

new roof, new chimney and new trim

Boring, boring and boring. Nothing like dropping a crap-ton of money on boring house renovations. A new chimney?!? Nope—it’s not exciting even when you use multiple forms of punctuation. Was this work necessary? Yes. And, yes, no more leaks in the bedroom from the faulty roof. Yes, the chimney won’t topple into the driveway. Yes, no more lead paint flaking off every edge of this old house. Not interesting at all. Could it save a life? Perhaps. I should be grateful this work is being done. I am. Also still bored. And broke.

I don’t claim to be photographer, but even if I were, I doubt there can be any way to take a stimulating photo of a chimney.

I don’t claim to be photographer, but even if I were, I doubt there can be any way to take a stimulating photo of a chimney.

farm box

It’s farm box season! I love the farm box. Have you participated in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program? It’s wonderful! You buy in during early spring and once the farm begins harvesting, you get a box full of fresh local produce every week. So healthy and delectable, and you’re supporting your local farmer. If you’re like me and neglect and kill houseplants and regularly forget to water living things (kids excluded) and cannot be bothered with plants that need deadheading or anything more complicated than forgetting about them for weeks on end, then you NEED to make friends with your local farmer.

And look! You get weird stuff like garlic scapes with which you have no idea what to do! Then you figure it out and make a fabulous bean dip with them in it and you’re like, I learned something—thanks, farm box!

And look! You get weird stuff like garlic scapes with which you have no idea what to do! Then you figure it out and make a fabulous bean dip with them in it and you’re like, I learned something—thanks, farm box!

exercising and overnight oats

Does anyone call it that anymore? “Exercising?” I guess everyone “works out” now but I still exercise. Not willingly. Well, willingly but not ungrudgingly. I pretty much hate it, but I do it to stay healthy and strong. I’m no spring chicken and I don’t want to lose any flexibility and strength I’ve managed to accumulate thus far. At this point, I can only slide backwards. It’s not going to get better, so it’s all about maintenance. I’ve been doing some cardio (oh, I hate it) and weight-training (like it okay) and I’ve amped-up my yoga practice again (love it). I started this fitness program that advocates I eat 4 cups of veggies everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I love veggies, but 4 cups is a lot. One way I’ve been adding some in is with overnight oats. Have you ever done overnight oats? Just google it—there are approximately a million recipes. I devised one I call Carrot Cake Overnight Oats. Does it taste like carrot cake? What do you think? But the power of suggestion helps a little. Okay, take a cup of shredded carrots, 1/2 cup of rolled oats, half a smooshed banana, a tablespoon each of chia seeds, raisins and chopped almonds, some maple syrup to taste, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and mix it all up. Now loosen it up with a little milk (of choice) and a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. Spoon it into a jar and toss it in the fridge. It will be all soft and yummy in the morning. (You’re welcome.) Pretend it’s cake. Hell, pretend anything you like. It’s your morning.


Do you have a thing you love that you do every day just for you? If not, get something. Preferably something healthy. My thing is my daily walk. I have been doing daily walks for a long, long time. It started when my son was a baby and wouldn’t nap unless he was in motion. I grew to love my walks and continued when my girls were born. Once all the napping came to an end, I’d take my kids out every afternoon to stroll the neighborhood. We had many great adventures. Watched a worm for 20 minutes once. It pooped 4 times. Phenomenal day. Now I walk after supper on my own. You can’t imagine what you notice when you slow down to a walking pace. The scents (there is a tree in front of a neighbor’s house that blooms in spring for about 1 week and the perfume is sublime), the sights (if you stand beneath a grove of trees with the setting sunlight resting atop the leaves, the shades of green become multitudinous), the sounds (your suburban neighborhood is full of a myriad of birds—just stop and listen)—you cannot experience any of this with the speed a car imposes. You need to slow down.

One thing I really like to do when I walk—besides look around and listen and smell—is read. I read almost all of Alice Munro’s books while my kids were napping. People think it’s weird or amazing or possibly stupid (I do get a lot of remarks and funny looks), but it’s much easier than you might think. And aside from the occasional sidewalk trip, it’s really quite safe.



There is still time to take advantage of my Talking Underwater summer book sale! For the whopping deal of $9.99 (+$3.00 s&h, media mail), I will send a signed copy directly to your mailbox! Simply visit my order page and we can make this happen. And all new subscribers to my newsletter will be entered to WIN a signed copy chosen by a handy randomizer! All new subscribers who sign up between June 29 and July 15 will be eligible! And I won’t even ask you for the shipping costs! What?! I know. Awesome.


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