Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

I have two photos to show you and I took both of them yesterday.

First up, this big bowl of produce from our raised bed garden.


We had a freeze warning for last night so I picked everything that was left late in the afternoon yesterday. Lots of green tomatoes and some red ones. Basil. Jalapenos. I never would have expected to still be picking vegetables on October 25th and I honestly can’t be happier with the results of our first ever raised bed.

Next, this photo of our first wood stove fire of the season.


The irony is not lost on me that while I was in the kitchen taking a picture of garden tomatoes, Dale was in the living room lighting this fire.

As the title of this post says, goodbye summer, hello fall.


Tuesdays Are For Reading?


Since dropping Ten On Tuesday I’ve been struggling with a weekly topic for Tuesdays. I mean, I don’t have to have the same thing every week but sometimes it’s nice to have a plan. You know?


This week Tuesdays are for talking about the books I’ve been reading. It’s been almost a month since I updated you on the books I’ve finished and it seems like as good a time as any to do it again.

  1. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. 4 stars. Another wonderful Inspector Gamache story. Beautifully written, it makes me just want to go and live in Three Pines with these fantastic characters.
  2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. 4 stars. Very entertaining and with quality writing, I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s long but the pace never lags and the ramifications of time travel are certainly interesting to contemplate. If you think Stephen King is all blood, gore and scary stuff, think again and read this one.
  3. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. 4 stars. Another winner from Louise Penny. Gamache is retired and finding joy in Three Pines but he’s still an investigator at heart and can’t turn Clara away when she needs his help. The writing is beautiful, the setting is vivid, and the characters feel like old friends. Highly recommended.
  4. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. 3 stars. Bleak, depressing and cheerless, this book is full of words like greasy, grisly, bloody and dirty. I did not enjoy the story but did appreciate the excellent writing.
  5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 4 stars. I want to give this 5 stars, I really do, because part of it deserve the highest rating. The blog excerpts on race and white privilege, the portrayal of life in Nigeria and life as an immigrant in America are all fantastic. But part of this felt a bit tedious and dull and that is what made me pause and only give it 4 stars. And really, 4 stars is an excellent rating and this is an excellent book that I know will stick with me for a long time.
  6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. 3 stars. Fast paced and entertaining, I read this book in practically one sitting. The writing isn’t elegant and the story is far-fetched but it kept me interested right up until the end. As I was reading I kept thinking this would make a great movie and it turns out that’s the plan. Recommended for those who enjoy suspense, science fiction and thriller stories.
  7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. 4 stars. This is a delightful and endearing story. While an epistolary novel can sometimes feel contrived this one manages to stay fresh and utterly charming. I’ve meant to read it for ages and I’m glad I finally did. Definitely recommended.
  8. Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  3 stars. Excellent advice on creating and keeping habits. Tedious at times and perhaps a little bogged down in minutiae but recommended for fans of Rubin’s writing.
  9. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. 2 stars. Ho hum. Think Fargo meets Gone Girl meets Truly Madly Guilty. In other words – it’s been done before and with better writing. It started off well enough but the story got so convoluted (and yet not surprising, which is odd) and the characters all felt flat to me.



This weekend was good. Different. But still good. And as I sit here and type that it was a good weekend, well, it feels strange, because the better part of this weekend was spent with my dear friend Doreen as she and her family mourned the death of her brother Todd.

But, you know, this is what we (as good humans) do. When we have a friend who is grieving, when we have a friend who is hurting, when we have a friend that we can help – we show up. We suspend our plans and schedules. We go to wakes and funerals. We send flowers and help with tributes and set aside everything because it is in these small moments – the moments when we hold hands and shed tears and sing hymns and pray – these are the moments when we know what it is to be alive.

I believe that it is a sacred privilege to be a part of this process and I am so grateful that I could be there with Doreen. It was an incredible honor to help her put her memories in words and then to read those words aloud for her at the gathering after Todd’s funeral. It wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t something I planned, but when my friend of 32 years looked at me and said, “I can’t do this. Will you do this for me?,” I swallowed hard and said, “Yes. Of course. It will be my honor.”

So, while some parts of the weekend were spent reading and knitting, watching football and drinking beer, taking photos and prepping for our Halloween party, the most important parts – the parts that will stay with Dale and I – are the parts where we were privileged to mourn with our friends.

It’s the price of love. It’s what we do. And it’s so so worth it.

Eye Candy Friday


Last week, when the work stress was peaking (it’s much better now, thanks) Dale brought home this beautiful bouquet from a local farmstand. Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers and this just touched my heart. It also really illustrated that even when things are icky there are still good people doing good things. I’m lucky as can be to be married to one of those good people. I’m also very lucky to work with good people who stepped up and helped out just when I needed them.

I hope your weekend is full of good people! And maybe some pretty flowers, too.

Think Write Thursday: The Best Breakfast I Ever Had

I’ve had a lot of good breakfasts in my life. Some of the great ones I’ve cooked and some I’ve eaten with friends in their homes and some I’ve eaten in restaurants. But today’s topic isn’t about good breakfasts. Today’s topic is about the best breakfast I’ve ever had.

And the best breakfast I’ve ever had isn’t so much about what I ate as it is about where I ate it.

Right here. On the porch of the Los Lirios Hotel in Tulum, Mexico.


Just looking at this photo brings it all back. The morning light. The warm breeze blowing and lifting my hair. The rustle of the palm trees. The warm sand under my feet as I walked the path to the restaurant – no shoes required, my friends. The smiles of the restaurant staff as they greeted us with buenos dias. It’s a perfectly lovely spot and each morning we would sit at our table and relax and look out towards the ocean.


Our routine was coffee first and then food. Usually a made-to-order omelet, Dale’s loaded with everything under the sun, mine usually with vegetables and cheese. And then a few things from the buffet. The fried plantains were golden and sweet and delicious and I often took a few and put them on my plate. The fresh fruit was beautifully sliced and presented, gorgeous shades of pinks and oranges and yellows. Maybe a small dish of their homemade yogurt with a spoonful of granola. It was all fresh and delicious and plentiful.

But still. As good as the food was, the setting was better. Breakfast was slow paced, the entire day spread out before us, full of possibilities, places to visit, new things to see, new experiences to share. Some days we would get right up and go out and do something – snorkely, visit the ruins, take a drive through the biosphere or head in town to shop. Other days we would linger over coffee, chatting and reading and sighing with contentedness – ultimately reading on the beach, swimming in the waves, walking in the sand, drinking cold cerveza and just reveling in our surroundings. Every day started with that awesome breakfast. Every day unfolded beautifully. Every day was magical.

Those breakfasts – a total of 3 weeks of them now – were the best I’ve ever had.

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