March 31, 2018

A Month in Summary - March 2018

Depoe Bay, Oregon
March 2018

Other than a couple of duds, I had a very good month of reading. I loved This Is How It Always Is, The Soul of an Octopus, and The Woman in the Window. I can't wait to read more by these great authors! We watched several movies and TV series, but only worked on one puzzle, which we gave up on before finishing - it was terrible because so many of the pieces fit where they didn't belong! The weather is beginning to feel more like spring and we were able to get out for a bike ride at South Beach (south of Newport, OR) and I was also able to meet up with a blogmate (Robin of A Fondness for Reading) for lunch, which was great fun! With all the preparations for our 3-week road trip to Northern California and a few social events (including book club, where we discussed The Soul of an Octopus, which everyone enjoyed), the month flew by far too quickly.

Books read in March:

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

First Lines:

I am death cleaning, or, as we call it in Swedish, döstädning. Dö is "death" and städning is "cleaning." In Swedish it is a term that means that you remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet. (The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning)

But first, Roo was born. Roosevelt Walsh-Adams. They had decided to hyphenate because— and in spite—of all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather's name without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six-pound, two-ounce, brand-new tiny human. (This Is How It Always Is)

On a rare, warm day in mid-March, when the snow was melting into mud in New Hampshire, I traveled to Boston, where everyone was strolling along the harbor or sitting on benches licking ice cream cones. But I quit the blessed sunlight for the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium. I had a date with a giant Pacific octopus. (The Soul of an Octopus)

They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. (On Chesil Beach)

Her husband's almost home. He'll catch her this time. (The Woman in the Window)

Movies & TV Series:

Mark Felt - I wasn't expecting to like this movie, but Liam Neeson was outstanding (he was the "Deep Throat" of the Watergate scandal) and I quickly became engrossed.

Endeavour - Still enjoying this series! I think we have one more episode in season four and then we'll have to wait for the release of season five, which hopefully won't be too much longer.

The Man Who Invented Christmas - Clever, sweet, nice glimpse into Charles Dickens' life as an emerging author. Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer were thoroughly entertaining!

The Bridge - We're trying out a new Scandinavian series, which is gritty yet compelling. The lead characters are both flawed and I'm curious to learn more about their backgrounds. We watched episodes 1-3 of the first season. 

Love and Mercy - I didn't have high hopes for this biographical drama about Brian Wilson, but I grew up on The Beach Boys and loved their music, so I decided to give it a try. It didn't disappoint. John Cusack does a great job of portraying Brian Wilson as an adult.


Robin (of A Fondness for Reading) lives a few hours away from me, so we decided to meet up for lunch in McMinnville. We found a great restaurant (new to both of us) and had a lovely time visiting over our delicious salads.  After lunch, we strolled up and down the main street of McMinville, stopping for a little while in a yarn store and Third Street Books. (Too bad it isn't a little closer to home -- I would love to work there!) The weather couldn't have been any nicer and the spring flowers were gorgeous. We hope to make this a regular outing since we both enjoy each other's company so well. 


I am so happy to have found a place to ride our bikes that is not only close by, but near the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge, Yaquina Bay and the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center. The weather was cool, but sunny and there were a lot of people out crabbing from the docks and digging for clams along the bay. As we rode along the path that took us out to the wetlands, we saw several great blue heron which were probably fishing, as well. We also got to try out our awesome new bike rack (1Up), which came highly recommend by a bunch of Escape owners. I love how easy it is to load and secure the bikes and don't worry about them falling off behind us with every little bump in the road. 

Coming Soon! - I just learned about these new books by the authors of two of my all-time favorite books. I plan to buy these in hardcover. Whoohoo!

We are now four days into our road trip through Northern California, camping at the Benbow KOA for one last night. Tomorrow we head to Santa Rosa, followed by Bodega Bay, Carmichael, Red Bluff, then back up Hwy 101 to Benbow and Brookings. We're having a great time!

Click on images to enlarge them.


  1. I hope you're having a fabulous trip! The puzzle I'm working on right now is like the one you described and, boy, is it frustrating. Happy Easter!

    1. Kathy, we are have a wonderful trip! The California coastline (north of San Francisco) is breathtaking, as was the Humboldt Redwood Forest. We've only been gone one week, but it's been packed full of great sightseeing and yummy food. Hope your puzzle is getting easier. :)

  2. Enjoy your trip! So glad you guys are getting to do all this travelling and then sharing it with us. Look forward to seeing you and hopefully Robin in the summer.

    1. Kay, we are! We love being on the road, exploring new areas and this is such a pretty time to travel. The hills are so green and the wildflowers are abundant. I'm glad you're enjoying my travel posts. They're a lot of fun to compose - nice way to relive the trips. See you in a few months!!

  3. Sharon12:10 PM

    Enjoy your trip. It looks so wonderful (and warm!) We have the Man Who Invented Christmas for tonight from Netflix. My husband and I both loved Love and Mercy. Save travels!

    1. Sharon, we've having a lovely trip. So wonderful to be able to explore new places with our little house on wheels. Hope you enjoyed The Man Who Invented Christmas!

  4. Happy Easter, Les! I loved reading this post and hearing about your month! Wasn’t that a gorgeous day in McMinnville! It was so nice to spend that time with you and I look forward to our next exploration when we both return from our travels. Enjoy your trip!

    1. Robin, I hope you had a lovely Easter. Thank you for your kind words about this post. I love writing these (more than book reviews!) and it will be fun to look back on them at the end of the year. Looking forward to our next lunch date. I'll be in touch when we get back to Oregon.

  5. You had a busy March, love the pics. I read and enjoyed the last 2 books on your March list. Happy travels.

    1. Diane, March was quite a busy month, to say the least! We're enjoying our travels in Northern California and I'm sure I'll have several posts to share in the coming weeks. Wasn't The Woman in the Window a great book?! I hope he's busy writing another thriller!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful month with friends, road trips and good books. Are you guys still watching The Bridge? I loved it and am eagerly awaiting the last season. I think it's already being broadcast in Sweden/Denmark so I can't wait to get it here.

    1. Iliana, it was a great month! We haven't watched anymore of The Bridge (since we're traveling), but when we get back home, I plan to. I think you were the one who mentioned it to me, so thank you!


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