Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 156-183

Wow, it has nearly been a month! I meant to post something after Thanksgiving, but this is a crazy time of year. Admittedly, this year it is significantly less crazy, but I’m still using that as an excuse! I am sharing a couple pictures of the kids from Thanksgiving–one with our feast and one in their Christmas Pajamas:

Our part of Oregon is under a “freeze,” which is basically another lock down. Since we’ve been choosing to live in a safe, socially distant way, this new phase really isn’t a big change for us. And, judging from the parking lots we drive by, it doesn’t seem like many other people are changing either, which is infuriating. The last we heard from the school district is that the kids will start the second semester (early February) online, so we’ll see how long this will go on. Our numbers in our county are not great.

People have asked how Christmas prep is going for me and my answer is, “I’ve done the best that I can with what is in my control.” Our Christmas won’t look that different from any other Christmas, only because we stay home for the holiday. Obviously, we won’t be going to church on Christmas Eve, but we will be zooming in to our church’s online service. Other than that, I don’t see much of a change from last year.

My father is convinced that we will have a white Christmas, but my father is also claiming he’s freezing to death in 65 degree weather of Arizona, so I’ll go by the weather report that is saying rain, rain, rain (although there is a chance for snow a week from Monday, at least as of now). We’ve been battling to limit the kids’ screen time. We’ve had better luck with Chris–he has to earn all his screen time either through reading or getting physical activity. Lillie has been more of a challenge and we realize that part of it is that she’s at that age where she wants more independence but, thanks to the pandemic, she’s stuck at home with her parents and kid brother.

Pat, as usual, is taking the last two weeks of the year off from work, so we’re glad to have him out of the office for the day. He and I do run errands (grocery pick up, library pick up, etc) together which seems to be our only grown up time nowadays! He is also filling our garage with countless bottles of plum and blueberry wine.

I’ve been able to do more reading lately, which has been wonderful. I’ll admit I’ve been hijacking Chris’s “SSR” time to read while he reads (and I’ve extended it from 20 minutes to an hour). One thing I want to do in 2021 is get back into being an active participant in the bookish internet. I have no plans to going back to being a bona fide book blogger, but I have been more active on Instagram with my reading and I’m going to do my darndest to get back in the habit of participating in Kathryn’s It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? hop, which I will start….right….now!

I’m not going to try to catch you all up with what I’ve finished reading since whenever I last participated, but I will give you a rundown of what I’ve got going right now.

The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister
I’m enjoying this one so far, although I question how accurate the courtroom scenes are. Still, there is a lot of suspense and Macallister has paced it well and expertly jumps between the trial and the “crime” that led to the trial. I’m finding a few of the characters rather one-dimensional or cliched, but I’m still early in the book, so that may change.

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
This one has been sitting on my kindle for quite some time. I’ve recently gotten very into mysteries and my friend, who is basically my reading-twin, really enjoys this series. And I’m liking it so far, although there are some things I’m forgiving because it is the first book in a series–such as the mystery here plays second fiddle to defining the characters.

Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney
This is for my postal book group and I have to admit that I’m sort of reading it here and there. The writing is lovely, but the story has yet to pull me in. I’ll most likely be finishing it within the next week or so and I’m hoping that it comes together for me before then.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama
I’m doing double duty with this one. I’m listening to it on audio (at 1.1 speed because that man is a slow talker!) but my brother generously sent me a hardbound copy which I’m referring to now and then and, of course, displaying for all to see! I’m enjoying it, but it is very much a presidential memoir. I don’t think it will change anyone’s opinion about Obama–if you like him, you’ll still like him. If you don’t like him, you still won’t like him. He does have some interesting tidbits about his time woven in among all the policy. I think my favorite so far involves a staff member. In certain parts of the world, he and his staff would just expect that their hotel rooms would be bugged or may even have hidden cameras. When this particular staff member would enter a hotel room and think it might have cameras, the first thing he would do is close the curtains, take off all his clothes, and walk around naked for a while. If they really wanted to watch him, they had to watch ALL of him!

I’m listening to about an hour of this a day and expect to be done within the week and will share more of my thoughts once I’m finished.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
This is what I listen to after my daily Obama listening. The best way I can explain it is that it is sort of a diverse Harry Potter? I’m only about 1/4 of the way through so far so I can’t say more as I don’t quite know what is about to happen, but I’m enjoying it.

Middlemarch by George Eliot
So, I’m reading this on Serial (it’s a free app where it will send you a public-domain novel in “chunks” every day), which is probably the only way I could read it. I’ll be honest, it is my Everest. I’m not really enjoying it but I feel like I NEED TO FINISH THIS! So, I’m plugging through. Provided I can catch up–I’m about 10 issues behind–I should be done in February!

So, there you go. I’ll

do my best to post my reading against next Sunday as well. I wish you all a Blessed and Safe Christmas (although, who knows, I may post again before the big day!)

18 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 156-183

  1. Oh I love that Middlemarch is your Everest because one day I am going to make it mine!! You made me laugh with the tidbit from The Promised Land. That one I hope to listen to. Taking note of the speed! Hope you have a happy family Christmas and stay safe. Even though I live where its summer now I think rain is forecast too for the 25th.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my word I couldn’t cope with having that many different books on the go! Sorcerer to the Crown sounds like my sort of read, and I do want to challenge myself to read more diverse authors and characters, so it would be a great book to do that with.
    Have a peaceful and safe Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really don’t like having this many books going, but I have some library books AND some book club books that I need to get done. Ideally, I have a print book, an eBook, an audiobook, and–maybe–a serial book.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s sensible to be safe given current circumstances, I imagine it’s tough on the kids though, especially Lillie.
    I like the sound of all your current reads, except Middlemarch. I slogged my way through that decades ago and still don’t think it was worth it!

    Wishing you a great reading week and a Merry Christmas 🎄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is nice that you and your family are staying safe. I’m home most of the time. My brother works at Target and does the grocery shopping. So he is still out and about much more often. I do worry that he might bring Covid home despite the mask and gloves he wears. I enjoyed Sorcerer to the Crown and have The Promised Land on Audible. I’m planning to start it in the New Year. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. HAve a safe Christmas. Looks like our province is going into lockdown on Thursday for 4 weeks. We stay safe. I haven’t read any of those books but they do look interesting. I always have several on the go too

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We all have to do what we can to stay safe. It will just be the two of us and the kids this year. Strange, but necessary.

    What fun photos of the kids. Love the pajamas.

    The Arctic Fury and A Study in Scarlet Women both sound great. Hope you enjoy your books.

    Wishing you a blessed Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our Christmas will be much the same- quiet and at home. We usually go to a bog family gathering on 25th but obviously not this year!

    A Study in Scarlet Women looks good.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!


  8. It’s so nice to see you blogging again. I think your idea of popping in for It’s Monday is a good one.

    Middlemarch is a big, big book. Good for you for trying it. I think it’s okay if you step away, though, if you are not enjoying it. I tried War and Peace when I was working, maybe eight years ago, and only got 100 pages in before saying, No more. I read it this year, a chapter a day, and it worked well for me.


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About Melinda