The Wrap-Up for Spring 2019

Since I haven’t blogged since the first part of April I thought I’d post about what I was busy doing in April, May and June.

Personal life

Spring travels

San Juan Island, WA

My husband and I traveled different places during the spring–mostly in April and May. We took care of our daughter’s dogs in Indianapolis while she was gone on a trip. Then a week after we returned home we flew to Seattle to visit our son plus my husband’s sister and brother-in-law. I love Seattle. It’s such a vibrant city and we did lots of fun stuff while we were there–took a ferry to one of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound; did a food tour in the International District of Seattle; ate lots of amazing food!

After we returned home from Seattle we had a few days of recuperation and then drove to Chicago for our niece’s graduation. She received her PhD in midwifery and we’re so proud of her. The time in Chicago was a whirlwind of celebration and good conversations as much of the family gathered to celebrate Bridget and her accomplishments.

Salisbury House in Des Moines–Where we saw an outdoor production of Macbeth

We also made a quick trip to Omaha to visit a former colleague of my husband. He lives in Washington D.C. and was in Omaha to work on a case. It was great to see him.

We also spent time visiting places in Des Moines we either hadn’t been before or revisiting some of our favorite places. I always feel much more energetic in the spring before the weather gets too hot.

Yard & garden

We had a very wet April and May with flooding of a number of our Iowa rivers. June was drier and much hotter, however!

My daylilies I planted last year started blooming the last part of June and they’re beautiful. Daylilies love the heat and humidity of the Midwest and since they’re one of my favorite plants they’re perfect to plant. One of my sisters-in-law came to visit for a weekend and she and my husband spent lots of time in the yard splitting hostas and transplanting them to other areas of the yard. It was great to see them get so much done. We also bought some new plants and got them planted as well. I used to do quite a bit of gardening, too, but with two knee replacements I have trouble getting up and down so I do the planning and my husband does the work!


I’ve provided moral support for the major work on our driveway!

We have a long, steep cement driveway which also had a cement turnaround when we bought the house. When it rains water rushes down the driveway into the street which isn’t good for the storm drains. However, the water also got under the cement and began eroding the soil underneath the cement which caused cracking and caving in.

Of course, we didn’t notice this when we bought the house three years ago. (There was snow on the driveway.) Last fall we hired a company to begin dismantling the worst of the cement and pumping a substance underneath the cement slabs that were still in fairly good condition to try to save that cement. We had to stop before they’d finished the work because of snow so they came back in the spring to finish the job. They’ve finished and now my husband is building retaining walls to try to save the soil from washing away. He has spent many hours working on this project and still has many hours of work to finish it.

Blog life

Blog updates and no blogging

April was when I finally upgraded my blog to WordPress 5.0. Since I was doing that I did a few other things that needed to be done and some upgrades I wanted to do. It all took longer than planned and I stopped posting for a while.

Books read


The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman (audiobook/library) — B+

*The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (ebook/library) — A-

Death Distilled by Melinda Mullett (ebook) — B+

*Bloodfire by Helen Harper (ebook) — B-

Bloodmagic by Helen Harper (ebook) — B-

Ambush by Barbara Nickless (ebook) — B+

Slouch Witch by Helen Harper (ebook) — B


City of Lies by Victoria Thompson (ebook) — B

*A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A Fletcher (hardcover/library) — A-

Wild Country by Anne Bishop (ebook/library) — A-

All the Different Shades of Blue by W.R. Gingell (ebook/novella) — B

Stars Unchartered by S.K. Dunstall (audiobook) — B

*Cornered Magic by Charissa Dufour (ebook) — B

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs (audiobook/library) — A-

Misguided Allies by Charissa Dufour (ebook) — B

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer (audiobook) — B

Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman (audiobook/library) — B+


Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (audiook/library) — B

Between Floors by W.R. Gingell (ebook) — B+

*Wish by Barbara O’Connor (audiobook) — A-

*Becoming by Michelle Obama (audiobook/library) — A

*Cold Mourning by Brenda Chapman (ebook) — B

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (ebook/library) — B+

*The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair (ebook/library) — B+

*New-to-me author

My Reading Challenges

My reading challenges are mostly going dismally this year, but I’ll continue on with them and see if I improve by the end of the year!

Goodreads Challenge

2019 Goal–95 books read

By the end of June I read 43 books and was 3 books behind.

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read and review 36-55 books mysteries (mysteries must be over 100 pages)

I’ve read 18 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed 2 of those mysteries.

52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge

I’ve read 11 books so far from the 52 subjects in this reading challenge.

The Backlist Reading Challenge

Goal — Read at least 24 books from my TBR list

So far I’ve read 12 books from my TBR list.

Library Love Challenge

Goal — Read at least 25 library books

I’ve read 14 library books so far.

Review Writing Challenge

Goal — Review at least 70 books this year

I’ve only reviewed 5 books from this year so far.


How has your year been going so far? Do you do reading challenges? How are yours progressing?