Category Archives: Diversions

The stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation 2017, and Also What I Ate After My Summer Vacation

Hey everybody, welcome back to Butterscotch Sundae Dot Com.

Here’s a TLDR of my Summer Vacation: It started with a theft and ended with a shooting.

I used Priceline for the very first time to book a room. I’d never stayed at a La Quinta before, and for some reason my impression of it was that their properties were a bit run-down and sketchy. But the Priceline thing was nonrefundable, so we were going to stay there. They put us in a smoking room first and then moved us to a room with a moldy tub, and then we got to the car the next morning and discovered that someone had stolen my laptop, Rockford’s headphones, Poppy’s headphones and all of our road snacks. We were not blameless in this situation. We shouldn’t have left anything in the car in the first place, and the lack of damage to the car would indicate that someone forgot to lock the car. But it wasn’t a great way to kick off our vacation, and it solidified my belief that La Quintas are a bit run-down and sketchy.

The rest of the week was a maelstrom of swimming and movies, baseball games and family time, and septic failures and driveway replacements. My in-laws had to break the lock on our storm door to get into our house while we were gone, my dad wrapped up the week with a kidney stone, and Rockford heard a shooting near our house about 20 minutes after we got home.

It was a weird vacation.

Monday: Crunchwraps
Rockford loves them, and we haven’t made them in quite a while. I’m hoping they’re just as good without cheese.

Tuesday: Orange chicken meatballs
This Just A Taste recipe is sufficiently tasty, and it’s a hit with most kids.

Wednesday: Shake ‘n’ Bake chicken
I’m endeavoring to teach Poppy how to make a few meals on her own, so she’ll be making dinner on Wednesday.

Thursday: Undecided
Poppy has a dentist appointment, so she’ll be on Soft Foods for the evening. She’ll probably have mac ‘n’ cheese.

Friday: Pizza
We haven’t been doing family pizza night very often since I quit eating dairy. I bought a soy cheese pizza from the Amy’s collection this week, though. Hopefully it’s decent.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

How’s your summer going?

The portrait of a family falling apart

Among the Ten Thousand Things “Among the Ten Thousand Things” is the story of a family falling apart. Julia Pierpont shows the reader in exquisite and funereal detail all the ways in which the Shanley family — Jack the philandering artist, Deb the former dancer, teenage Simon and pre-teen Kay — is uniquely unhappy.

It’s a well-written, sometimes lyrical book, but it isn’t a particularly enjoyable one. I slogged through it, but I didn’t like any of the characters and every chapter left me feeling melancholy. Which I guess is the purpose of the Unhappy Family genre.

Hey Nichole, what’ve you been reading?

Well, friends, I still haven’t finished “John Quincy Adams: An American Visionary,” and Goodreads tells me I’m 8 books behind on my 2017 Reading Challenge. But I have been reading, albeit more slowly and sporadically than usual.

For some reason that I’m certain was just a coincidence and not at all related to politics, I started the year with some bleak stuff. In January and February I read Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and Annie Proulx’s “Barkskins,” and they were both brutal. So much so that I didn’t read anything else for a month, at which time I read Ron Rash’s “The Risen.” It was neither as harsh nor as good as some of his previous work.

And then I skipped yet another full month of reading. That’s very strange for me, and I’m not sure what happened. I think I may have been in a fugue state. Maybe Baron von Strucker has turned me into a Winter Soldier. Who could know?

Anyway, I’ve been back on the reading rainbow since last month. I’ve recently read:

  • Tom Perotta’s “The Leftovers.” It was OK.
  • Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies.” Also OK.
  • Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Wise Man’s Fear.” It’s the second book in a fantasy trilogy, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one. Hopefully the last one will be better — and less focused on our hero’s burgeoning love life.
  • Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime.” This is the best book I’ve read this year. It’s an interesting and surprisingly moving biography.
  • Rebecca Dinerstein’s “The Sunlit Night.” It wasn’t bad, but I had to force myself to finish it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters.

    I have a couple more books waiting on my Kindle, and I just checked out Eowyn Ivey’s new book. June and July are usually heavy reading months for me; maybe I’ll get caught up on my reading challenge before August.

    What’ve you been reading?