The Wrap-Up for July and August 2019

Personal life

travel

Photos from our trip to Seattle:

July was quiet travel-wise except for a trip to Illinois and Indiana to visit our daughters. Always fun to see them and my husband always likes to help them out in the yard if they’ve been too busy to mow or weed whip.

In August I felt like we spent more time traveling than at home though that wasn’t really the case. The first of the month started out with a trip to northern Wisconsin. However, that got cut short when I fell and hit my head on a concrete wall. We went to the emergency room and I discovered I had a concussion. I’m feeling much better now, but that cut our trip short. We drove home where I spent several days sleeping and resting and trying to stay away from electronic devices!

Later in the month we went to visit family in Washington State. Our son is living in Seattle right now plus my husband’s sister and brother-in-law live there, too. My brother and his family live in Oregon. We spent part of our time in Seattle and part of our time with my brother’s family along the Washington coast. It was a wonderful visit, but I felt like I needed a vacation from all that travel! 

 Yard

My daylilies bloomed all of July and I even still had some blooming in August. We planted a new tree (a river birch) and quite a few new perennials as well as dividing some of the existing perennials in the yard.

By the end of August lots of the plants are winding down, but we have a few still flowering including some of our roses, cone flowers and black-eyed susans. The Autumn Joy sedum is ready to start flowering. Next year I hope to plant more plants that will bloom in the fall.

Driveway

My husband spent lots of hours in July and August working on our driveway and made a lot of progress putting in drainage, moving dirt, building retaining walls, planting grass to hold the soil. Lots of work, but the area that used to be a concrete turnaround is looking lots better and we’re hoping this will keep the remaining driveway from developing cracks and creating tunnels under the driveway.

Blog life

Moved blog

I spent the last couple of weeks moving my blog to WordPress.com. I wrote a post about that yesterday. Also with all my travels I haven’t done very much other than setting up my blog again. I still need to add in some of the pages I had and will do that over the next week or so.

Books read

July

Changes by Jim Butcher (audiobook/library) — B+

Part-Time Gods by Rachel Aaron (ebook/purchased) — B+

*Squared Away by Alicia Dill (ebook/purchased) — B-

Walking Back to Happiness by Lucy Dillon (audiobook/purchased) — B+

August

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (ebook/purchased) — B+

*The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan (audiobook/library) — B

*Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (audiobook/library) — A-

*Ascending by Margaret Pechenick (ebook/purchased) — B+

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (audiobook/purchased) — B+

Cloudy With a Chance of Dropbears by W.R. Gingell (ebook/purchased) — B

*Craks in a Marriage by Barbara Barrett (ebook/purchased) — B

The Bookshop on the the Corner by Jenny Colgan (ebook/library) — A-

Bright Shards by Margaret Pechenick (ebook/purchased) — B+

*The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton (ebook/purchased) — 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  to read

By the end of August I had read 57 books. I’m several books behind where I should be by now if I’m going to read 95 books this year.

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

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

I’ve read 23 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed 2 of those mysteries.

52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge

I’ve read 14 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 14 books from my TBR list.

Library Love Challenge

Goal — Read at least 25 library books

I’ve read 18 library books so far.

Review Writing Challenge

Goal — Review at least 70 books this year

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

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How has your year been going so far? Both with your reading and your personal life?

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!

Driveway

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

April

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

May

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+

June

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.

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