Category Archives: Diversions

The stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere.

In which Poppy reminds me to keep writing. Also: a menu plan.

I have written exactly one post here at Butterscotch Sundae since inauguration day, which you might through the process of inference take to mean that I am one of those liberal “snowflakes” 1 who is very upset about the state of the world. To which I would say “Congratulations on your powers of deduction,” because that’s exactly why I haven’t been writing.

What I have been doing is reading 2 and cooking a lot of things in the pressure cooker 3 and going to soccer tournaments 4 and watching movies 5 and folding laundry 6. So just like normal.

Except for telephone calls.

I’ve also been calling senators and other governmental offices. I hate talking on the phone, and here I am calling strangers every single day to talk about Cabinet appointees. I don’t know that my phone calls are going to make a difference, but I decided I couldn’t keep doing nothing at all.

Poppy asked me this weekend why I haven’t been writing, and I told her it was because I don’t feel like I have anything important to say. “Well you should do it anyway,” she said, and she’s right. This blog is primarily for her and her brother, and if they want me to keep writing about chicken casseroles and science homework that’s what I’m going to do.

So let’s do this. Let’s talk about something mundane. Like, for example, this week’s menu plan:

Monday: Breakfast for dinner
I made a bunch of hardboiled eggs for deviled eggs in the pressure cooker this weekend, and they were a thing of beauty. Now I’m going to try to figure out the right timing for a perfect soft-boiled egg. (I told you this was going to be mundane.)

Tuesday: Ina’s Lemon Chicken
The hardest thing about this recipe is finding boneless chicken breast with the skin still on. Fortunately, we have a great local butcher who will prep them that way for me. Which reminds me: I need to call them to place my chicken order.

Wednesday: Spaghetti & meatballs

Thursday: ???
It’s Poppy’s choice night, but she hasn’t made a decision yet. Odds are it’ll involve cheese.

Friday: Pizza

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

Notes:

  1. Sidebar: Who in the world would consider “snowflake” an insult? I thought admiration of a beautiful snowy vista was one thing we all actually agreed on.
  2. “The Hobbit” and “Lovecraft Country.” Working on “Born to Run.” May have abandoned “The Romanovs.”
  3. Not an Instant Pot but the same general idea.
  4. They won 1 game and tied 2.
  5. “Moonlight,” “La La Land” and “Arrival” for our annual anniversary film-a-thon.
  6. Always.

What I read in 2016

Today I am grateful that Goodreads is out there on the internet compiling images of and info about all of the books I read in 2016 so I don’t have to do it myself. My goal last year was to read 40 books, and I surpassed that. These graphics say I finished with 41 books, but I’d forgotten to add “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” so it was actually 42.

John Ehle’s “The Land Breakers” was published in 1964, but I’d never heard of it until this year when a local columnist wrote about it. I’ve often thought about what it must’ve been like to live in the Appalachian Mountains in the 17- and 1800s, and this fictionalized account of one settlement paints what I’m guessing is a pretty accurate portrait. I didn’t want to stop reading when I reached the end of the book, so I checked out the sequel. I didn’t love “The Journey of August King” as much, but I’d definitely recommend “The Land Breakers.”

I read a lot more nonfiction in 2016 than I normally do, and several of those titles ended up being in my list of favorites. Helen MacDonald’s grief-laced “H is for Hawk” isn’t a warm and cozy read, but it’s ultimately very moving. “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson is also a tough one to read, but it’s very tense and well written.

I put Beryl Markham’s memoir, “West with the Night,” on my hold list at the library as soon as I finished reading Paula McLain’s fictionalized story about her. I enjoyed McLain’s “Circling the Sun,” but “West with the Night” was my favorite book of 2016. Markham was the first woman to fly non-stop from England to North America, and that isn’t even the most interesting story in the book. She’s a fascinating person and a great writer to boot.

My favorite fiction book of 2016 was Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” It’s about two sisters living in German-occupied France during World War II, which I guess is further proof that I was very into harrowing stories last year.

I’m aiming to read 45 books in 2017, and I’m hoping one of those will be the John Quincy Adams biography that I’ve been struggling to finish. I’d also like to read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “The Romanovs.”

Are we friends on Goodreads? Hop on over there and friend me if we aren’t! I’d love to know what you’re reading these days.