The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James

Idlewild Hall was once a boarding school for wayward girls. Haunted by the ghost of Mary Hand, the school is plagued with troubles and eventually closes for good. Now, however, someone has bought the property with the intent to restore the Hall and reopen the school, and the ghosts begin to reemerge. Fiona Sheridan, whose sister was murdered and left on the grounds of the school two decades back, intends to get to the bottom of the new owner’s intentions. She ends up uncovering 65-year-old murder in the process.

I enjoyed The Sun Down Motel so much that I decided to try out one of the author’s other books. I’ve been told this one was good and also contained the haunted/ghost story elements, so I checked it out from the library’s digital catalog. Let me start by saying that The Broken Girls, while having a paranormal element, is very different from The Sun Down Motel. The latter is faster-paced, with a lot of creeping chills and terrifying moments. It has less character development and more emphasis on atmospheric setting. The Broken Girls is a thicker, deeper, slower book with fewer chills and less emphasis on the ghost aspect. Neither are necessarily better than the other – they are both good, just very different books that use the paranormal in very different ways.

Personally, I preferred The Sun Down Motel simply because that’s the mood I’m currently in. However, I can say that The Broken Girls feels like a better-written novel. The characters are far more fleshed out and believable (except one, whose personality twist seemed to come out of nowhere). Everything except the ghost aspect is richer. It felt more permanent and less transient as a story. Most of the time, I think it would be the story I’d prefer. It was a really great book, beautifully written, with very few flaws (the only one I saw being that the twist relied on that one character with the undeveloped personality). I highly recommend it. Just don’t go into it expecting it to be more like a campfire ghost story. It’s far more literary than that.

Posted in 2020, Adult, Prose | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Sunday Coffee – Adapting to a New World

This week, I looked at the worldwide COVID19 stats for the first time in ages. It’s incredible that some folks think we’re doing okay and that it’s okay to open up the economy right now. The US has a third of the world’s confirmed cases (when we have less than 5% of the world’s population!), and six times the next-highest country’s level of confirmed cases (Spain). If you break those numbers into “per million people,” to take population into account, the worldwide figure is 531, whereas the US’s figure is 4144. Only Spain’s number, 4829, is higher. As for deaths, we have 28% of the world’s deaths as well, and 2.5x higher total deaths than the next in line (UK). This is just plain nuts. The US has done the very worst job in the world at taking care of its populations during this pandemic. How are there some people who don’t see this?

This has all gotten me thinking, particularly because COVID19 isn’t going away any time soon. It’ll be at least 12-18 months until a vaccine can be created, tested, verified, approved, and rolled out, and that’s best-case scenario. We still don’t know if people can catch the disease twice, or how its mutations will thwart vaccine-creation. We have to start thinking of this as a longterm situation and consider how to handle our lives beyond the immediate. Because no, of course we can’t shut down the country for the next year or two. We already know we can’t rely on the federal or state governments to help those in the most need. And we know that the people most affected here are the people we need crucially – essential workers like health care folks. Things can’t stay frozen, but they also aren’t going to go back to the way they were. They need to move forward into a new way of living that takes into account this virus.

That has been my focus this week. I picked up coffee from a coffee shop even though I could have gotten it from home, because I wanted to support that particular business, and they have been doing a good job with social distancing, and it was a fundraiser for the Battered Women’s Shelter. I went to my dad’s house and had an in-person conversation with my extended family for the first time in two months, sitting ten feet apart to stay safe. My husband and kids set up our fire pit on the driveway so we could roast hot dogs and s’mores, and generally hang out outside, saying hello to people who walked by and watching all the other neighbors out in their yards and driveways. I invited my mom and another friend to set up a yard hang-out time as well, which will hopefully happen soon. I began digging up my yard to xeriscape, knowing that I can get curbside pickup at my local nursery. Jason cut his own hair, because this may just be what we have to do to stay safe for the next few years. I donated blood in another community drive yesterday (pic below), and was pleased at how safe everything has been set up.

Jason and I have identified businesses that are doing a really good job to keep people safe, and which are flaunting the rules, and have removed all of our business from the latter. For example, in the past it has been easy for Jason and me to get most of our groceries and household goods from our local grocery store, HEB. Some items, though, weren’t available, and it was easy to pop down to Walmart for them. Walmart, however, has done a HORRIBLE job taking care of its employees. It’s never been good to them, of course, but we never changed our habits before. Now, we’ve removed our business from them altogether and gone to better stores, both local and national. We plan to continue to boycott them even after all this is through, plus any other businesses that are saying f-you to the safety of their employees and customers.

It feels like a good time to be very deliberate in our choices. Not only are we shopping more at local/small businesses and supporting only companies that are taking this seriously, but we’ve been changing our habits. For instance, we’ve been making more vegetarian meals to ease the pressure on the meat industry after they were required to stay open. And we’ve watched other people make similar personal choices as quarantine enters into our third month or longer. Not everyone can be deliberate, I know – unemployment and health and other factors will interfere – but it seems a good time to use whatever privileges we have (be that money, or sewing skills, or time, etc) to reach out and/or help others.

These are the things we can do – adapt to the technology available to us (ebooks, online ordering, curbside pickup, contactless delivery, VPN, Zoom, etc), pick up some new skills like cutting hair or cooking, get better at budgeting and meal planning and consolidating errands and time management. Find ways to socialize and attend to physical/mental health, while continuing to keep the community safe. It can be done. We just have to stop looking backward and start considering the longterm instead.

Some of my favorite new-world innovations:

  • mini greenhouse dining space in Amsterdam
  • Marco Polo, an app for text video chats with people
  • streaming movie releases at home (higher cost for earlier release in lieu of theatres)
  • tele-medicine availability (both Morrigan and Jason have had these over the last two months)
  • adaptations to more work-from-home choices, as a positive impact toward the environment and work/life balance without commutes
  • yard hangouts with family and friends (I know that doesn’t seem like innovation, but it certainly feels like it is!)
  • the Knight Bus feature and spell energy put on the map for Harry Potter Wizards Unite, to make play easier from home
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Quarantine Diaries – Week 9

This week, I began to focus on what life will be like moving forward in a pandemic, which I’ll discuss a bit more on Sunday. It reminds me of when I first began to KonMari my house in 2015 – the first step is to envision what you want life to be like. This quarantine sucks, but it also gives us the opportunity to live life a bit more deliberately, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. We won’t be returning to our normal habits – not soon, because SAFETY, and not ever, because we have the chance to find Better Things right now. The world is a scary place right now, but I can also envision it being more beautiful on the other side as long as we stop pretending things will ever be the same again.

Same as before: If your mental health is at a point where you cannot bear to hear more about quarantine stuff, skip to the bottom of this post for a list of positives and highlights and Nice Things. We all need some of that right now!

Friday, May 8th
Local count: 1835, 56 deaths, 927 recovered. Some interesting data has come out this week about our last few months of quarantine. Apparently, 1 in 5 positive tests have come from health care workers, which just shows how much of the burden is being put on them and why we shouldn’t endanger them further with going out early and without masks! Conversely, so far none of our cases have been from the homeless population despite proactive screening and tests in addition to providing extra resources and housing to as much of the population as we’ve been able to. There’s speculation that their immune systems have become more resistant because of their living conditions. I’m curious what the numbers show in other metropolitan areas with large homeless populations.

Saturday, May 9th
Local count: 1887, 56 deaths, 970 recovered. Jason and I went to the park on Saturday for our early Mother’s Day hike and found so many people there. Jason and I hiked 3.6 miles, and we were almost never alone on the path. We didn’t bring masks because we were out to exercise, but I wished almost at once that we had. Very few people were wearing them – it’s difficult to exercise in them! – but some of those trails were only three feet wide and it’s impossible to maintain 100% social distancing in that situation. I think I’ll avoid that particular park for the rest of this pandemic! Glad the local parks I normally visit aren’t like that.

Sunday, May 10th
Local count: 1901, 56 deaths, 976 recovered. Mother’s Day, including our awesome outing to Mildfire (with masks, social distancing; great business and cause!) and our safe family gathering. Our county judge keeps talking about how it’s great that we’re spending more time with family, out in our yards and neighborhoods, and I agree. Of course, he also keeps saying that we’re spending less time on technology, which is absolutely ridiculous and not in the slightest true…

(hanging out with family outside, and all three are STILL on their phones)

Monday, May 11th
Local count: 1920, 57 deaths, 978 recovered. Asymptomatic tests were finally approved today. Pretty soon our count numbers will skyrocket and I’m not sure how accurate my graphs will be given that a certain percentage of new cases will be symptomless. I’m not even sure how they’ll be counting “recoveries” in asymptomatic cases. We also have caught a few more outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We were already testing everyone in congregate settings – a policy that the state adopted this week based on our success – so we’ve been able to catch these cases early, hopefully preventing too much spread. Lastly, we had several public protests in town today against the hate-speech ordinance the city passed last week. Our mayor calls this “anti-anti-hate speech” which cracked me up. Some people are morons.

Tuesday, May 12th
Local count: 1942, 57 deaths, 1048 recovered. Speaking of morons, our attorney general fired off political letters to San Antonio and several other metropolitan counties, claiming that our local orders are in conflict with the governor’s (they’re not) and citizens’ rights are being violated (also not). He threatened to jail certain local officials, and our county judge lambasted the AG publicly. Go Judge! The politicians (and businesses, to be honest) capitalizing on this pandemic are really pissing me off right now, and I’m sure they’re pissing a lot of you off, too, so here’s a kitty photo to make us all smile just a little.

Wednesday, May 13th
Local count: 1972, 58 deaths, 1050 recovered. We had a bit of mask-related violence in SA today. A man who refused to wear a mask was not allowed onto a city bus, then he got into an argument with a person wearing a mask and shot him. Another man got belligerent when a store refused to let him in without a mask, and assaulted someone. WTF, guys? Stop it!! Also, notice that all the violence is being done by folks who refuse to wear masks? We’re dealing with that population of idiots. // Tough day today at home as Laurence came down with a mild case of food poisoning. Poor kid. I also got a wild itch to start xeriscaping my yard, so Jason and I dug out the first section. I probably went a bit too hard on my body, and additionally ended up covered in mosquito bites. Oy.

Thursday, May 14th
Local count: 2041, 59 deaths, 1051 recovered. A lot of the new cases are coming from even more nursing home outbreaks. // Spent a lot of time in the garden today, digging and churning dirt, lining the border, mixing in manure and moss, and finally, planting the first of the border plants. They’re small now, but within a year these will be large and beautiful! The blisters on my hands are large and awful now, haha!

Totals for the week: 236 cases, 5 deaths. This is down from the giant spike last week, but still higher than it had been prior to the jail outbreak. Again, not sure how helpful these graphs/numbers will be going forward purely because asymptomatic folks are now getting tested.

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
This has probably been my most social week since quarantine began. I was out at quite a number of places I haven’t been in months, and I saw half a dozen friends and family (all from a safe distance, of course!). I always feel so much more energized when I’m engaging with the community, so it was a good week for me. Highlights include:

  • My friend Stephanie needed someone (last minute) to help her out during the inspection of the home she’s trying to buy, so I got to help. Plus see her and hang out for a few hours at a socially-safe distance!
  • Jason, Laurence, and I walked/hiked 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbury
  • woke up to discover Jason had signed me up for the Real Life Ghost Stories Patreon as a Mother’s Day gift!
  • a continued wonderful early Mother’s Day celebration, plus the rest of the fun Mother’s Day weekend
  • lemon mascarpone, mmmmm…
  • my new weighted blanket, which is AMAZING
  • Ambrose finished two of his four AP tests, and Morrigan is nearly done with finals week.
  • Jason finally cut his overgrown hair. (At home. Using our own clippers. Because SAFETY.)
  • first phase of the new yard project started and almost done!

We’re approaching two full months under quarantine conditions now. Oy. How are the rest of you faring?

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WW – For Better Sleep: EverPillow by Infinite Moon

So it’s no secret that I suffer from major insomnia that has been ongoing since the fall of 2011. I’ve done sleep studies, seen every kind of doctor under the moon, and tried all sorts of things to get better sleep. What doesn’t work: lavender (I’m allergic), sleep rituals (my insomnia is can’t-stay-asleep), white noise, tea, meditation/yoga, melatonin or other supplements, nutrition changes…you know what, pretty much “what doesn’t work” equals “everything.” I basically get by using a combination of medications while making sure that outside factors (anxiety, body pain, light, noise, hunger, bladder, interruptions, etc) don’t wake me up more often than I already wake in the night. This is why Jason and I no longer share a bedroom, why I use blackout curtains, why Ash is quarantined in a different room than me, etc. It’s a delicate balance that doesn’t always work, but I do what I can to improve conditions so that the insomnia is the least disruptive it can be.

Enter: pillows. I’m a side-sleeper who had a neck injury at age 20 and was born with crooked feet. Consequently, my neck, upper back, and hips are easily locked up and kinked. I see a chiropractor monthly to help keep me straightened out, in addition to doing lots of yoga, stretching, and massage. Pillows, however, are the worst. It’s been years since I’ve found a comfortable pillow. (Literally, since 2006.) I’ve been getting by with what I can find and just replacing them monthly as they wear out. Yes, MONTHLY. I can easily go through 12 to 20 pillows in a year. I’ve also periodically tried out specialty pillows that are meant to help side-sleepers (pic above): boomerang-shaped, candy-cane shaped, pillows with a hole for your head in the middle, those memory foam ones with the bump for the neck (turns out I’m allergic to memory foam!). Nothing works. Too thick, or the filling becomes less supportive quickly, or it all bunches up on one side, etc.

For the last year or two, I’ve used crap-ass “cooling” pillows from Walmart, which sometimes last eight weeks and sometimes less than one. When Jason recently had to go to Walmart for a new router, he tried to get me a new pillow as mine was old enough to cause severe neck pain. They were all out, though – the entire pillow area was ransacked – so I began a new search for specialty pillows. Ironically, my search turned up no concrete results, but triggered ads on social media, which led me to Infinite Moon and their Everpillow.

The Everpillow comes in several varieties, but I chose the original with mixed latex and silk filling. The pillow is size-customizable by using only the amount of filling that works for you, and comes with an extra bag to hold the filling you don’t need. This extra filling can be added to the pillow over time as the used filling flattens out, and the package includes a coupon for extra filling in the future. I was wary of buying this pillow was it was really expensive ($89 pre-tax), but found out it had a 100-day trial attached and decided to go for it.

The pillow arrived on the 1st. It comes vacuum-sealed and with all the filling inside the pillow. Immediately on pulling it from the packaging, I laid down on the floor with it and felt immediate relief in my whole body. The thickness was perfect, the filling and cover were soft, and there was perfect support. The pillow was much heavier and denser than a normal pillow, while still remaining soft. On moving it to my bed, I found that the thickness was too much (since your body sinks into the bed in a way it doesn’t on the floor!). Over the next week, I stuffed and unstuffed the pillow until I found the perfect size (about half). My neck hasn’t felt this comfortable on a pillow since I was in college!

There’s still a lot of days to go in my 100-day trial, but I’m already considering this pillow to be a success. I can see myself using it for years, replacing filling as needed, rather than cycling through crap-quality $10 pillows every month or so. Definitely worth the cost (and cost-effective in the long run!) and I highly recommend this to folks who suffer from insomnia or neck pain while they sleep!!

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A Wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend

Since Jason and the boys play D&D on Sundays, we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a day early. Normally, we just do dinner out for Mother’s Day, but obviously that wasn’t happening during quarantine. So Jason asked me what I wanted to do, and then he built a day around it. As usual, he did an amazing job putting together an amazing day!

First, I woke up in the morning to the news that he’d signed me up for the RLGS Patreon! Then, after breakfast, the two of us went on a long hike at a local natural-trails park. While we were gone, Laurence cleared off the rest of the demolished deck area, and Ambrose made chocolate chunk cookies for me. We ended the morning with a delicious lunch of pancakes with blueberry compote and lemon mascarpone, modeling it on a meal from a local restaurant I love (but can’t go to right now).

In the afternoon, we watched some Great British Baking Show reruns and a fascinating movie called Wendy. (It was a reimagining of Peter Pan, and was really good until the last quarter, which became simultaneously contrived and inconclusive. But it had a theme of mother’s love, so it was very appropriate for Mother’s Day!) Then we had an amazing dinner of veggie lentil curry over rice noodles, and set up a fire pit on the driveway to roast s’mores. While we were out roasting, our former neighbors (by our old house) walked by and said hello!

On Mother’s Day proper, Jason and Laurence gave me a really awesome gift: Pop dolls of the Griffin brothers from the Seahawks! Then Laurence – who isn’t playing D&D at the moment – and I went down to a local coffee shop called Mildfire. I don’t go there often because they’re a 15-20 mins drive, but they do have amazing coffee. Today, they were participating with seven other cafes in a fundraising drive hosted by Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs. All sales made at the eight total cafes would be matched and doubled by Mills as a donation to the battered women’s shelter. Mildfire has done a really good job to set up safe ordering, and we had to wait in line for a bit, but it was worth it. Plus, we got filmed by a news crew, saw our mayor leave the coffee shop with an order, and stood (six feet) next to Derrick White from the Spurs while we waited on our drinks! (Confession: We didn’t know who he was until after we left the shop. Bad San Antonians!) Afterwards, we drove to my dad’s house (he lives close to the cafe) and hung out with him, my stepmom, and my sister Julia in their front yard for a bit. All from a safe distance, of course. Made for a nice morning!

Most of the rest of Mother’s Day was spent on reading, blogging, and generally relaxing. Got to FaceTime my mom for a bit, and hopefully I’ll get to see her soon. We’re starting to plan a yard hangout like the one with my dad. It’s been too long since we’ve seen my mom! In the evening, Jason set up another fire and we roasted hot dogs and sausages for a silly dinner. Then we all played Telestrations as the fire burned down. Might be the last evening it’s cool enough to do this for six months, so we definitely needed to take advantage!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend celebration despite the oddity of not being able to see my mom or to have a large family gathering. I hope y’all all weathered the weekend okay despite the bizarre current circumstances.

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Sunday Coffee – Release Dates

Last fall, when I sped my way through the first 11 books of the Ruth Galloway mysteries, I was just dying to get to the next release, The Lantern Men. Goodreads said that the book would release in February. The Lantern Men, along with Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War, became my top two most-anticipated releases of the year. Then in February, I discovered that The Lantern Men was only releasing in the UK, and I’d have to wait until June for the US release. Sigh. And just a few days ago, I found that the June release date has been pushed back to July. That got me thinking.

How is our current pandemic circumstances affecting the release dates of books? I don’t know enough about the publishing process to know what can and can’t be done while sheltering at home, or how much of release dates depend on tours/promotion, etc. Should I be looking to see if other books I’d planned to read after their release this year have been pushed back, possibly to next year? Will I get to read my two most anticipated books, or will the November release of Rhythm of War get nudged into the spring? How will audiobook recordings work with social distancing and shelter-at-home orders, especially after we get a second wave of illnesses after opening up the country too soon?

It all feels like stuff we need to address as we work toward the “new normal,” if we can figure out what that new normal will be…

PS – Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Posted in Book Talk | Tagged | 7 Comments

Quarantine Diaries – Week 8

This week, we began to lose our collective heads as our state decided that just about everything in Texas can open again. People have gotten over the initial fear of this disease and decided that it’s not worth being cautious about. Or that it’s all a big conspiracy, but that’s an entirely different kind of crazy.

In any case, my family continues to stay home. We continue to be part of the population that doesn’t succumb to this idiocy.

To repeat: If your mental health is at a point where you cannot bear to hear more about quarantine stuff, skip to the bottom of this post for a list of positives and highlights and Nice Things. We all need some of that right now!

Friday, May 1st
Local count: 1477, 48 deaths, 683 recovered. This is our largest case jump so far – 103 new cases – however, 91 of those are from the jail outbreak and so it’s actually the lowest community bump (12) that we’ve yet had. We also received word that (hopefully soon) Texas will be getting increased numbers of tests/test capacity. In sad family news, my mom informed us that my grandmother is not doing well. She’s having pains like before a previous heart attack (2015), and she feels that her brain is not working well any longer. She’s also finally admitted that taking care of my grandfather, who’s suffered from severe dementia and diminished physical/mental capacity for the last year, is now too tough for her alone. Hopefully soon she’ll be agreeable to getting some help in. In the meantime, she’s spending her energy on putting her affairs in order. We knew this day was coming, and we hope it’ll still be some time before either of them pass away so that we can come out of quarantine to be with family while we grieve.

(2018 at their 65th wedding anniversary party)

Saturday, May 2nd
Local count: 1585, 48 deaths, 725 recovered. Oy. Today’s jump was even bigger than yesterday’s, and 43 of those 108 new cases are in the community rather than the jail outbreak. I can only guess that these are coming from the folks who got sick of quarantine around Easter and began to defy orders. I see sadness in San Antonio’s future. But, as I said last week, I’m just trying to live my best life under these new circumstances, which today included a long run at the park (mask on when near others!), a Harry Potter Wizards Unite community-day-from-home event, a new book (finally found one that’s held my attention!), and lots of hanging out with my kitties.

(Clockwise from top left: Atticus, Ash, Gavroche, Nimi, Jojo)

Sunday, May 3rd
Local count: 1613, 48 deaths, 756 recovered. Not much news today. Still no word on when we’ll get testing for folks without symptoms. I spent the day reading with a break for yoga – a much-needed lazy day.

Monday, May 4th
Local count: 1652, 48 deaths, 756 recovered. Our local health authorities are claiming that all the epidemiological data says that we’ve flattened our curve here and have left our peak behind us, despite the new outbreak at the jail and the low number of tests. I guess we’ll see. Too many folks are out now without masks as a big f-you to the rest of us. My eyes keep rolling out of my head.

Tuesday, May 5th
Local count: 1677, 52 deaths, 802 recovered. Our governor, in his infinite wisdom, bowed to political pressure and is opening up hair salons and other cosmetic businesses on this coming Friday despite it being only a week past the first wave of reopening and the two-to-three-week lag time in virus data from that reopening. This is absolutely insane. Hair cuts. Really, this is the thing people are concerned with. How first-world-spoiled-brat can you get? I guess if you’re going to die, you should have nice hair and nails for the funeral, eh? It was not a good day.

Wednesday, May 6th
Local count: 1761, 53 deaths, 834 recovered. The city is finally opening up walk-up testing sites that don’t require an appointment. It’s unclear whether or not asymptomatic folks can get tested here, and city leader kinda keep dodging the question as if they’re not sure either. // Discovered today that Ambrose isn’t doing the class work for at least three of his classes, one of which (English) he has to pass or he won’t graduate. The kid despises online school and he’s just putting off everything. I hate getting involved and contacting the teachers directly, but that’s the way it’s going to have to be. In better news, I ventured out into the wide world today to see my chiropractor for the first time in two months, and was very pleased at how well they’re keeping people apart, requiring masks, wiping stuff down, etc.

Thursday, May 7th
Local count: 1805, 54 deaths, 867 recovered. It was a big news day locally for COVID19 reports. The city passed a resolution calling slang terms for COVID19 (like “Kung Flu”) hate speech. Ted Cruz, our lovely senator, blasted our city council for doing so. (I despite Cruz with a passion, and this is only another reason to do so!) Our governor, continuing in his infinite wisdom, decided that public pools could open tomorrow at 25% capacity, as if lowered numbers IN WATER would keep this virus from spreading. As if people are going to keep six feet apart at a pool. Thank god the city is choosing not to open city-owned public pools!! Lastly, schools are starting to think about what they’re going to do in the fall given the uncertainty of this pandemic. Rotating schedule for students so it’s partly online and partly in person? Expand and hire more teachers for smaller numbers in class? Continue to do distance-only? Very tough questions.

This is not a good graph. I know that it includes asymptomatic tests from our jail outbreak, but I really feel like it’s premature to open up hair salons, pools, and so many other businesses. We had a total increase of 431 cases this week, by far our largest weekly increase including our previous outbreak at the nursing home. We also had an increase in total weekly deaths this week (6). I don’t know what our local metro health is talking about in saying that we’re on the other side of the curve. It feels a bit like we were actually in a small dip before the larger climb of a mountain.

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
Trying hard to see positives when our state is f-ing crazy and May is my own person relive-trauma-month, oy… So here goes:

  • a new pillow that feels amazing and will hopefully help me improve my insomnia
  • fresh pineapple
  • HPWU community day
  • Jason made the most delicious soup that we dubbed Hipster Soup: vegan, gluten-free, coconut-ginger-lime sweet potato soup with lentils and kale. Ha! Despite the ridiculous name, this was an amazing soup and there were homemade gf crackers to go with it.
  • binge-watching Upload
  • my weighted blanket arrived!
  • enjoying my last run of Week 7 of Couch to 5K
  • finishing a book I enjoyed and moving on to another book by the same author that I’ve also enjoyed so far

So what’s happening in your part of the world? I hope all your states are being smarter than Texas.

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