Julaugust 2020

Months are running together, but not because they’ve been boring. COVID-19 has changed my routines, but mostly how I spend my spare time since I’ve been working from home since October. Speaking of spare time, in the last two months I’ve quietly (to most of you) packed all of my things into boxes (again) and moved back to Georgia.

#12 Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex
My friend, Laura, sent this to me well over a year ago and it sat on my shelf until another friend said they were starting it. I didn’t read much about this book before starting it, but really enjoyed it. Eugenides describes Detroit in such detail that I actually want to visit to see the city. It wasn’t the typical “Detroit, city of crime” view, which was nice. The plot as a whole centers around an immigrant family from Greece whose family choices drastically influence future generations. A post-modern read worth picking up!

Notes on “Vacation”
At the end of July, much to my delight, I spent a week tucked away in one of my most favorite Georgia places filling up hummingbird feeders, talking to a horse, swimming every afternoon, and eating as many homegrown tomatoes as I could stand. Donna and Bill’s house is an oasis. It always feels like home and the routines, even with hours spent working at the kitchen table, feel like a deep breath, free of obligations to be anywhere (or anyone) but just right there. As much as I love cities and change and new things, a deep part of me doesn’t rest until I’m tucked away surrounded by Loblolly pines.

#13 Diana Gabaldon’s A Fugitive Green
Don’t mind me over here waiting on Bees impatiently. This is another one of the Lord John Grey novellas in which we learn a smidge more about the supporting characters in the Big Books. Here we learn how Harold meets/marries Minnie, which (per usual) is a fascinating story.

Notes on Desserts
I bought a Kitchenaid mixer (previously discussed) and made a ton of desserts in July and August – stress baking? Maybe. Caramel sauce (ok, that didn’t need the kitchenaid), different kinds of icebox cookies, thumbprint cookies, cheesecake, and bread (because I now have a sourdough starter named Valerie)!

#14 Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John & the Private Matter
I picked this one up at Donna’s (she has the treasure trove of Outlander books) and read it in the pool (carefully, without dropping it in the water). Per usual, Lord John gets himself into the midst of a mystery he has to solve. There are spies that die, adultery (and STDs!), and a look at the darker side of London in the 1750s.

Notes on Franklin
I manage anxiety and stress much better when I’m active, even if it’s just walking, so that’s what I did in August. Franklin has beautiful flowers, like Surprise Lilies and Black-eyed Susans. The sidewalks are kind of small in some places, which means dodging other people by walking in the street, and the crossfit gym downtown is particularly active on Thursday mornings. Read: avoid at all costs. It was oddly refreshing to wake up at 6:00 AM and walk a mile or two into the sunrise before work.

#15 Diana Gabaldon’s Besieged
Last one for this month, I promise. This is another Lord John novella centered around his time in Jamaica (and Cuba). There’s a little more insight into his relationship with his mother here, which was interesting to learn, plus slave rebellions, some mention of zombies (again), and British invasions.

Notes on Georgia
Now to the good part: Franklin was great, but always a temporary solution due to work. With a pandemic and several other changes in the last six months, I have a little bit more job stability and the freedom to move back to this home state. Choosing a location wasn’t too hard – close to the airport, close to people I love, some level of community, room to grow. Just a few days in, it already feels good to be home.

What’s saving my life right now:
1. Archive Atlanta – I listened to this podcast all over Franklin, TN while I walked and learned so many incredible details about Atlanta and Georgia that I didn’t know. History is fascinating.
2. Big windows in my office/guest room (I watched the most beautiful hawk fly in a few minutes ago)
3. Somebody Feed Phil – this show is a delight all on its own and satiates my itch to travel (while also adding a dozen places to my bucket list)

Notes on where we go from here:
Well, I’m still in the midst of unpacking boxes and hanging up curtains. Organizing and nesting in this new space will take the better part of a season, I’m sure. But in addition to that, here’s to “I’m in the neighborhood – mind if I stop by?” texts and mid-week get-togethers because everyone is close by.

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