Weekend Dispatch

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

I've finally managed to get back into the swing of things after our week in Rehoboth Beach. Our vacation certainly was different this way, but it was also different in all the good ways. We spent more time together and less time out. We eat many of our meals together at home rather than either going out or running out in small groups to grab something to eat. These little things added up to more quality time together, and isn't that the goal of any vacation?

Now, it's back to business as usual (or as usual as it can be right now). The girls start school next week, so this is our last summer hurrah before they'll be hitting the computers. Emma is starting her freshman year of college at home studying remotely, and Harper will have a hybrid schedule for her first year of high school where her time will be divided between home and school. It will be interesting to see the outcome. And, of course, we are keeping our fingers crossed that a second COVID wave doesn't hit.

Here's what I've been up to lately.

A few weeks ago, I started Down To Earth with Zac Efron. Honestly wasn't sure what to expect, but I like Zac Efron, and the premise sounded interesting enough so I went for it. I was pleasantly surprised. In the series Efron and wellness expert Darin Olien (whom I had never heard of) travel the world in search of sustainable, healthy ways to live. The first episode, which is my favorite of the eight episodes) take us to Iceland, a truly remarkable country that leads the way in sustainable living. Whether you aim to live a healthier life or you are already living your healthiest life, this show will not disappoint, and it will most likely inspire you to do better.

You know how I love my podcasts, and I'm always looking for another one to add to my rotation. Last week I discovered The 27 Club, an iHeart Radio podcast that digs into the infamous 27 Club, the artists who have passed away at the young age of 27. The first season examines the life and mysterious death of Jimi Hendrix, and season two is dedicated to Jim Morrison of the The Doors. There are currently two seasons, but subsequent seasons will feature artists including Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse.

Last week, Ruston Kelly's latest musical release, Shape & Destroy, dropped. I first discovered Kelly while listening to the Evening Commute playlist on Spotify. I don't recall the exact song of Kelly's that was included on the playlist, but I loved it and knew Kelly would become one of my favorite singer/songwriters. When I saw that there were three new Kelly tracks on Spotify, I nearly jumped for joy. And then to my complete surprise, two weeks later, there was an entire new album full of amazing music. His voice is soulful and soothing. It's hard to resist Kelly's music and the messages he's trying to convey through it. If you've never heard him, he's worth a listen.

As an undergraduate, my minor was French. I learned enough to speak it when I finally went to Paris two years after I graduated. But since then, I've had no use for it and have lost a lot of the knowledge of the language that I once had command of. About a year ago, I downloaded Duolingo, an app that makes learning a new language feel more like a game and less like studying. With interactive and colorful graphics as well as different types of lessons, Duolingo offers 30 different languages where you set your pace and learn on our own timeframe. About 3 months ago, I became serious about Duolingo, and I currently have an 80 day streak. I am committed to continuing my learning and have set reminders on my phone so that I don't miss my daily lessons. You can download the app and/or do lessons online at duolingo.com.

Three weeks ago prior to our vacation in Rehoboth Beach, I ordered a box of frozen chocolate croissants from Williams-Sonoma to be delivered to our vacation rental. We decided that one morning we'd treat ourselves to the croissants. Williams-Sonoma offers two different chocolate croissants. I ordered the Galaxy Chocolate Croissants. They are filled with a fine Belgian chocolate and lots of butter. They are flaky and delicious. They do require nine hours to rise, so you need to take them out the evening before you make them to give them time to rise. After that, you put them in the oven for 15 minutes, and voila!

So, tell me. What do you have planned this weekend?

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