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What I Was Up to this Month-August Edition

September 7, 2013

By the time this actually gets published, I may have missed the linking up window with Hopeful Leigh’s What I Was Into.  Oh well.  I have to try, now that the words are coming again. (Yep, sure enough, went to Hopeful Leigh’s link up while I was working on this and discovered I missed the link up….one day late….oh well.  This is just for us then.  No sharing with others this time.  Smile.)

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August was a month of transition, disguised as a month of continued fun!  My fabulous cousins came to visit us–one for a week, one for half a week.  I love that they take time out of their busy lives to spend a week in our crazy house.  They’re college aged (19 and almost 22) and I am amazed sometimes that they want to spend their time with on old woman like me and my crazy children.  But they do.  I love their visits and my children love their visits and it is something we talk about all year long.  I love the texts leading up to their visits and the texts and phone calls following their visits.  I am thankful for my cousins.

DSCN1274VBS also happened in August, where once again I was the lead storyteller.  Those four year olds were nuts, as usual, and rightly named the Piñatas (I can say that because my son was among the most nuts in the Piñatas).  I dragged my feet about doing it, it seemed so fast on the heels of our trip and so close to the start of school and I really could have used a week without children….but…..I did it anyway and had a great time.  My husband celebrated a birthday in August and the kids went back to school—3rd grade, 1st grade, and Pre-K (not at public school but at the same preschool he’s always been at).  Then, before August could extinguish itself,  the third grader broke her arm.  Plus, we managed to build a deck in the backyard, my contribution to the “we” being keep the kids somewhat contained.  Phew.

Books:

Three Pines/Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries by Louise Penny.  I read Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, and The Brutal Telling.  It’s kinda an obsession.  In July, I read A Beautiful Mystery and was on the fence about the Chief Inspector Gamache novels.  I am no longer on the fence. A Rule Against Murder was probably my favorite of those five books I read, with A Fatal Grace a close second, if for no other reason, because curling was central to the plot.  Curling!!  So Canadian and I love it!  Plus I am learning how to swear in French Canadian.  I currently have the next two in the series at home and am #56 on the list to read the newest novel.

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  This was our book club pick for the month (of which I missed because I was sitting in a waiting room at the hospital waiting for my sweet girl to come out of surgery).  I had read both of Hosseini’s other books and liked them.  I wasn’t as sold on this book.  The story is told through lots of different peoples eyes and it took a while for the plot to develop.  I felt like I waited a lot.  I loved the ending though and would have preferred this book to be written from one or two point of views instead of so many.

I started Cooked by Michael Pollan, but am still reading it.  More on that later, I am sure.  I love it though.

The Tree of Forgetfulness by Pam Durban .  I found this book on an NPR reading list.  I decided I may be reading too many Louise Penny books, so I thought I’d branch out.  I didn’t mean to branch out into another mystery, but that I did.  This book was also written from a several different perspectives, but unlike Hosseini’s book, it was several characters telling about the same central event.  The Tree of Forgiveness is set in the South before the civil rights movement and is about the lynching of three African Americans.

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Restaurants:

We mostly went to tried and true restaurants.  I introduced Madeleine to Ramen Tatsu-Ya for lunch on our girl’s morning.  She loved it.  I prefer their evening menu to their lunch menu (one kind of ramen, not more than three options versus their evening menu that has a little more variety).  I took my afore mentioned cousins to Hopdoddy, we got cupcakes from Cupprimo (featured on Cupcake Wars), and tacos from Tacodeli (my favorite breakfast tacos in town.  Their  Otto is incredible–black beans, avocado, bacon and a cheese and their portabella fundido–portabellas, roasted poblanos, onions, and peppers is close second).  My girlfriends and I went out to Shabu for dinner and had a fabulous time cooking our meal in a little pot of broth on our table.  Curtis and I had a few dates as well, one of which we ate a place called Bacon, which served lots and lots of….bacon.  We shared a meal, which was about all the bacon and fat we could handle.

Cooking:

Three years ago when my cousins came, we joked about having “adult beverages” after the kids were in bed.  Since, at that time, both my cousins were underage, adult beverages consisted of dessert.  Ever since, they expect a reasonable amount of “adult beverages” while they are here.  Thus, we baked two different kinds of brownies from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking:  From My Home to Yours—Chipster Brownies, which was basically a chocolate chip cookie on top of a brownie, and loaded Blondies.  We tried to take it easy on the Chipster Brownies because we figured out one serving had at least one tablespoon of butter in it.  I also take teachers treats for the first Wednesday of school (because that full week is loooooooong), and made Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, also from Baking.  I checked a couple of cookbooks out from the library, neither of which I felt compelled to add to my wish list.

TV and Movies

I’ll keep this short.  I watched an awful lot of Grey’s Anatomy.  All of season 2 and the first few episodes of season 3.  I’m not proud.  My cousin also tried get me hooked on Psyche, but that didn’t really stick.  I didn’t dislike it, it just wasn’t Grey’s Anatomy.  That’s all I’m saying.  We also rented a few movies off of iTunes, but I can’t remember any decent ones we watched, so there probably wasn’t anything to be proud of there either.

Also Mentionable

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With those cousins I keep talking about, we took the kids to Schlitterbahn for the first time ever.  It was fabulous.  I am looking forward to going again next summer.  Just last night at supper, Isaac said, “Madeleine you remember that water park?”  They’re still talking about it.   Curtis and I also went to an Austin Aztex soccer game.  It was date night (after we ate at Bacon) and we didn’t know what to do, so we went to a game.  It happened to be a semifinal game in the championships.  We loved it.  Two days later, Curtis took Madeleine to the championship game.

And that was August.  We squeezed in every last bit of summer we could into August—peacocks, digging for dinosaur bones…..as much off of our summer to do list we could fit in (or afford).

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