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April 3, 2021

A Month in Summary - March 2021

Little Whale Cove
Depoe Bay, Oregon
March 2021


And just like that another month has come and gone and it's spring! The first week of Daylight Saving Time is always tough, but I love the longer days. The rainy season is almost over and it won't be long before our sunsets occur after 9pm. This is my favorite time of year!

I read seven books in March, which is exactly the same number that I read in January and February. I read two mysteries and five novels. Three were audios, one was an older book from my shelves, one was borrowed, but there were no rereads this month. I read about 100 pages of a novel I loved back in 2000, but it wasn't holding my attention, so I called it quits. I also started an ebook that I eventually gave up on as well. All in all, it was a very good month with two 5-star and one 4.5-star ratings; I'd be hard pressed to pick one favorite.




Books Read (click on the title for my review):

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2/5)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (4.5/5)

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (5/5)

A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey (4/5)

Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie (3/5)

Circe by Madeline Miller (5/5)

The Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennett (3/5)

Abandoned:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Remember Me by Laura Hendrie (read in 2000, but couldn't get interested in a rereading after 100 pages)

Movies & TV Series:

Perry Mason - We finished the season and while it took me several episodes to get interested, I wound up loving the show. I hope eventually there will be a second season.

Fortitude - This series was much more suspenseful than we anticipated. A cross between a mystery and a sci-fi/horror show. Stanley Tucci is marvelous!



Terminator: Dark Fate - I was surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did.


Sneaky Pete - We loved this show! We finished Season One and will take a break before watching more. 


The Goldfinch - A long film, but I enjoyed it better than the book (reviewed here), which was a bit of a slog. Great cast!


This Is Us (Season Five) - Yes, I'm still watching this show.


Chance - I'll watch anything with Hugh Laurie! So far, so good.

Puzzlemania:






In the Kitchen:


I've made this Mushroom Lasagna a couple of times and it's soooo good! I like that I can make a big pan of it and freeze some to have later in the month. Serve it with a Caesar salad and garlic bread and you've got a great meal for your family or dinner guests. 

We get our second vaccinations next Friday! We'll continue to mask up and take precautions, but it feels good to know that we're rounding the corner. Stay safe, friends. Let's hope the fourth wave is short-lived.

27 comments:

  1. What a lovely month you had, Les. And your post sounds so hopeful for the future. It's wonderful to think about being fully vaccinated. I feel hopeful, too.

    The books you read in March were all strong. I liked Vanishing Half and Circe both. I'm not sure what I want to read next.

    Stanley Tucci is one of my favorite people, so I shall look for Fortitude. We've been look at David Letterman: My Next Guest and the Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Isn't it nice to feel hopeful rather than full of dread? I do worry about the variants of the virus, but I'm trying not to dwell on that too much.

      I'm looking forward to hearing Madeline Miller speak at our library (virtually) later this month. Circe is such a wonderful novel!

      Tucci has been a favorite of mine since I saw him in Julie and Julia (playing Julia's husband, Paul).

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  2. You find the most beautiful puzzles! I may give Fortitude a try, and yes, anything with Hugh Laurie sounds good. :)

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    1. Jenclair, we've had some dud puzzles that we didn't bother completing, but the line from Pomegranate has been wonderful. I love the colors in Charley Harper's artwork.

      FYI, we gave up on Chance (with Hugh Laurie). The first episode was free, but after that we had to pay. The show was too predictable and I didn't care for Laurie's role.

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  3. Wow the puzzles look really good, I like the stamps particularly. Way to go! I enjoyed the Goldfinch movie & book. I probably need to give Sneaky Pete a go per your enthusiasm. We just started Season 1 of C.B. Strike ... the jury is still out on it since we only watched one episode. I look forward to your RV excursions & reports & photos. Enjoy your April ! & Happy reading.

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    1. Susan, we've worked on some great puzzles this past year. The one with the stamps was challenging, but fun. I love all of Charley Harper's colorful artwork, so that one was a joy to assemble.

      We're now watching season two of Sneaky Pete and it's just as good as the first season. We'll eventually try Strike.

      Take care! Hope you get your vaccinations pretty soon!

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  4. Nice variety in March reading. Those puzzles always amaze me - I'd get frustrated I fear. The Goldfinch movie is one I want to see - not sure my husband would like it (I did like the book but, it was long.) I have the print copy of Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, etc - did you have audio? It's one I've never gotten to yet.

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    1. Diane, I'm trying to mix my reading up a bit more each month. So far, so good. I find the puzzles actually very relaxing; almost Zen. Of course, I'm not doing them by myself (my mom works on them with me) and one may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to complete. I was surprised that my husband sat through all of The Goldfinch. He didn't think he'd like it, but he said it was quite good! I had an ebook of Kingsolver's AVM and after the first few pages, felt it was not for me. Disappointing, as I've always wanted to read it. Oh, well.

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  5. You guys are almost there! Hope the 2nd shot will go well and yes, here's hoping the 4th wave won't be anywhere near as bad as the others. Those are some beautiful puzzles you worked on. And, we watched Fortitude a couple of years ago - if it hadn't been for Stanley Tucci I may have given up! Never got around to the 2nd season but let me know if you guys check it out. Great read month and hope April has lots of great books in store for you too! And, Happy Easter!

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    1. Iliana, I'm so glad we're about to become fully vaccinated. I'm hoping the 4th wave concerns are overblown, but after seeing that huge crowd at the Texas Rangers' game, I'm feeling a bit anxious. I'm glad I don't live in Texas, but I read that a lot of people traveled from out of state just to go to the game. Unbelievable. We continue to enjoy working on puzzles, although our current one is really tough! I don't know when we'll go back to watching more of Fortitude, but it's on our list. Take care and stay safe!!

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  6. I loved the Goldfinch book but it took me until the last 100 pages for it to hit me how much I liked it. I haven't seen the movie yet.

    I am feeling antsy again. I mentioned earthquakes the other day because the weather has been so warm and birds keep doing weird things around my house. Crashing into things, getting stuck in trees, hiding in bushes and sure enough, three small quakes last night. Hope they are not pre-shocks because I am still antsy. Make it hard to read and I must finish Vera today.

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    1. Ti, I think you might like the film version of The Goldfinch. It follows the book pretty well.

      I'm glad those earthquakes were small tremblers and hope you don't have anything bigger in the coming days. Makes me also nervous up here on the Oregon coast!

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  7. I love the later sunsets, too... more time on the beach in the evenings! You read some great books last month. I will give Circe another try at some point since I have the audible audio, but I'll also get a print copy. The Goldfinch is on my kindle, but every time I think about starting it I'm put off by the length. Maybe the movie is the way to go.

    I'm excited about getting my second dose on Thursday and will be thinking of you on Friday. Fingers crossed for minimal side effects! Can't deicide whether I'm more excited about the prospect of a haircut or a pedicure two weeks later!

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    1. JoAnn, we've had some pretty sunsets, but it's still chilly for evening walks. Last night it was only 48 and very windy. Not exactly summer temps yet!

      I hope you do give Circe another try. I'm sitting in on a Zoom discussion with the author (thru my library) at the end of the month, which should be very interesting. As far as The Goldfinch, I'd say just watch the movie. It follows the book so closely and I don't think you'd miss a lot in the way of the writing. The book is good, but it's so long!

      Good luck to you on Thursday! And thanks for the reminder about a haircut. We're going to head to San Diego in June and I need to get mine cut before then.

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  8. I also meant to ask how you make collages... they add a lot to monthly wrap-up posts. The program I was using doesn't seem to work any more.

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    1. JoAnn, I've been using Ribbet for my collages. It took a while to get up to speed on the process (and I had to ask Beth Fish/Candace for some technical help), but I think I've gotten a good handle on it, at this point. It's been fun to create the collages, but I'm still trying to get the sizing right for my Instagram posts. Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

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    2. Thank you! I'll start playing around with it next week.

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  9. I couldn't abide the Kingsolver book, also I didn't know The Goldfinch was movie. The only book I'd read in your collage was Nineteen Minutes but sevearl others are on my list.

    You are a master puzzle worker!

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    1. Tina, I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't care for the Kingsolver book, especially since I've read and loved all of her novels. Maybe it just felt too preachy.

      We have a lot of fun with the puzzles. I find them very relaxing to work on and we always have one going. I should add up how many we've done in the past year...

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  10. I have enjoyed some of the same books as you have. I especially liked Colson Whitehead's other book, and The Underground RR is on my list. You abandoned the Kingsolver book, which I didn't much like either.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Mae, it sounds like we're not the only ones to have abandoned that Kingsolver book.

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  11. I always enjoy your monthly summaries. So glad you liked Sneaky Pete! We really enjoyed it, too. I couldn't get through The Goldfinch, but since you liked the movie, I'll check it out.
    So glad you're getting your second round of vaccinations. We got the J & J yesterday at the little local pharmacy here. It was such a relief (even though I feel AWFUL today). We'll continue to mask in public, but at least in a couple of weeks we'll be able to get together with other friends who are vaccinated and socialize mask free!

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    1. Laurel, I'm glad you enjoy these posts. They're fun to put together, but they're also a good reference for me when I look back at the end of the year.

      Oh, Sneaky Pete is such a character! It's incredible how he manages to get out of whatever pickle he's in. :) There's a lot going on in that show and at times it feels pretty convoluted, but we like it a lot.

      Yep, The Goldfinch was pretty much a slog, but I listened to it, so I was able to stick with it. The movie is so similar to the book, you might do better with it.

      I'm so sorry you had a reaction to your J&J shot. I hope you're feeling better by now. I'm prepared to lay low on Saturday, but feel hopeful that the Moderna shot won't cause any problems. Fingers crossed!

      BTW, I've been busy working on plans for an upcoming road trip. We're heading to San Diego for a small family wedding and we've decided to head back up 395 on our way home. Gotta stop off at June Lake Brewing for Ohana's fried noodles and tacos. :) Unfortunately, we're traveling in June and the campgrounds are already filling up. Won't be quite as peaceful as when we traveled in the fall of 2019, I'm afraid. We'd much rather travel without reservations, but there's always the worry that we won't find a place to stay at the end of the day. But, we're excited to have a trip in the works!!

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    2. Oh, how fun to be planning a road trip! And traveling along 395, as you know, is one of our favorites. We need an Ohana's food truck here in Apalachicola. I still remember those delicious tacos (and beer from the brewery!). :-)

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    3. Laurel, I would love an Ohana's food truck here on the Oregon coast, too! The tacos were very good, but the fried noodles (which my husband ordered and let me steal a few bites) were incredibly delicious, too. Maybe I'll order both and save the noodles for dinner. :)

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  12. You did have a great reading month, with all those 4.5 -5 star reads! I really enjoyed Circe as well.

    I haven't watched any of those shows or movies but we're probably ready for some new additions to our usual lineup. I'll keep your recommendations in mind.

    Kingsolver is very hit or miss for me. I read one collection of her essays and they were okay but as you said in one of your responses above, they were a bit too preachy. I've liked all of her novels that I've read except for The Poisonwood Bible, which is probably her most famous one! I tend to be contrary like that though.

    We arrived in Oregon in late April last year and spring/summer in the state is magical, I have to agree. You're practically there!

    That mushroom lasagna looks fantastic. I made a mushroom stroganoff over the weekend but I'll have to try this recipe out too.

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    1. Jen, it was an unusually good month of reading! I have a feeling April won't be quite the same. We're already into the second week of the month and I'm still reading the same three books I had going at the end of March.

      Of all the shows we watched in March, I would recommend Sneaky Pete. It's very entertaining! We gave up on Chance after two episodes. Too predictable.

      I've read Kingsolver's essay collections, too. Some were good, but I prefer her novels. I keep thinking about Flight Behavior, which I read when it first came out and would like to read it again. I've enjoyed rereading her earlier books and am happy they've stood the test of time.

      Ugh. I hope it starts to warm up. We were in the mid-40s all day yesterday. It never really gets hot here, but I'm looking forward to 60 degree temps and sunshine.

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