Currently • August 2019

…or “What I Did this Summer”

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August’s Currently post seems like a great opportunity to do a quick Summer of 2019 retrospective.

Here’s what I….


  • a lot of professional development books:

  • not enough books for pleasure:

    • Hemingway on Writing - “An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century.” (What’s a Currently Reading list without at least one Hemingway reference, right?!) (*****)

    • What the Lady Wants - “In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: "Give the lady what she wants." His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.” I loved Marshall Fields and am sad that very few traditional department stores with that level of service and attention to detail still exist. Although the novel features prominent industrialists including Marshall Field, Harry Selfridge, George Pullman, Potter Palmer, and Philip Armour as well as events such as the Great Chicago Fire and the Haymarket Riots, it is much more fiction than historical and a bit too soapy for me. (***)

    • Vintage - “At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.” (***)

    • The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions - The title is intriguing and I loved the pop culture references dating back to the 1970’s, but this book was a little too evangelical for me. (**)

    • A Man Called Ove - I read this summer’s all school read a couple of years ago, but it’s worth a second look. A grumpy yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. This heart-warming book illustrates the power of community. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks with a 2020 release date. (*****)

    • The Friend - Goodreads calls this “A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.” I disagree. (*)


  • movies in the cinema — I had forgotten how much fun it is to see a film on the big screen with popcorn (and now even wine) in big comfy chairs. Here are the movies I saw:

    • Yesterday - The premise of this film seemed really fun — A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember the music of The Beatles) — but I was really disappointed by the lack of plot progression (**)

    • Once Upon a Time in Holiday - Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino, and kitschy Hollywood in the late 1960’s — FUN …the Mason Family murders — not so much (***)

    • Maiden - I had forgotten how much this story of the first all-women crew of the Whitbread Round the World Race impacted me in the late 1980s when I was racing on the Marquette Sailing Team. I was so moved by Tracy Edwards and her crew that I left the movie theatre in tears — happy, nostalgic tears that made me want to reconnect with the hopeful, confident young woman who I was in 1989 and remember what make me feel authentic and invigorated. (*****)

    • The Art of Racing in the Rain - Awesome book, mediocre film. Spoiler alert: Yes, the dog dies. The hardest thing about loving a dog is that you know that day will come. I knew it was going to happen and yet I cried like a baby. In the book, Enzo’s story really isn’t so sad, it is a journey. The film missed out on the light, heart-warming aspects of Garth Stein’s wonderful novel and rather focused on Enzo imminent death — twice. (**)

    • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? The film deviated quite a bit from Maria Semple’s novel, but I found Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Bernadette quirky, humorous, and touching. I was also fascinated by the architecture and the breathtaking icescapes of Antartica. (***)

  • TV specials and “old” movies:

    • Lots of 50th anniversary coverage of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969

    • The 50th Anniversary Woodstock Special on PBS - What amazing footage of this historical and cultural event.

    • Good and not so good films from the 80’s and 90’s including The Firm, Heathers, Now and Then, He Said She Said, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. You decide which are the “good ones” :)

  • Hamilton in Chicago — what a show! I know that I’m really late to the party, but I was awed by the music, the dancing, the history, and the diversity…and King George was hilarious!


  • A few podcasts (see Currently • June 2019) - I tried to listen to podcasts rather than music as I multitasked around the house, but I found them to be distracting. I’m an audio learner and immediately lost my focus on the task at hand. I don’t even know if it would be good for me to listen to podcasts while driving!

  • Paul McCartney in concert at Lambeau Field - The three hour show was an amazing retrospective of the music of the Beatles, Wings, and Sir Paul’s solo work. The graphics were also really well done. My only criticism is that, although Lambeau Field an iconic stadium for football, it isn’t a great concert venue. The seats on the field aren’t tiered which isn’t even an option for the vertically challenged among us and the stands start literally a football field length away.

  • Jimmy Buffett at Alpine Valley - Yes, Jimmy is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I’m a sailor and his music speaks to me. We had so much fun with friends when we went to see Buffett in 2009, so we decided to go again 10 years later. Although, Jimmy Buffett has historically played Alpine Valley every summer for many years, he hadn’t returned since 2016 due to the venue being closed for repairs. Let’s face it, the outdoor theatre has lost some of it’s charm since I attended my first concert there in 1978 (Yep, you guessed it — Shaun Cassidy ♡). This time, the place was teeming with frustrated, over-served Parrotheads who were fed up with the deplorable conditions after the afternoon’s oppressive heat wave and thunderstorms (Don’t even ask about “the facilities!”), the overcrowded lawn, the poor sound quality especially on the hill, and the extremely long lines to enter the venue. I’m sorry, Jimmy, but I think I’m done. I told Eric that if Jimmy Buffett is still touring 10 years from now (at the age of 83), I might consider going again. This concert really took the wind out of my sails.


  • Updating our outdoor space — Eric is refinishing the deck, and we continue to work on our yard. We added more heirloom plants and native Wisconsin wildflowers as well as another lovely white rose bush.

  • Refreshing “Piper’s room” (aka our bedroom) with an adjusted floor plan, fresh paint, new carpet, new lighting, a chair and side table for reading, newly curated accessories. When we moved into this house almost four years ago, somethings were deemed “OK, for now,” but I finally decided that “for now” was long enough. It was time to update things to reflect what we really want. Unfortunately, poor Miss P hasn’t been feeling well for a week or so and has had a few accidents on the brand-new rug. Good thing we sprung for the high quality, “pet-proof” carpeting.


  • Taking a break - I stayed away for school for the final two weeks in June and for a few days each week in July.

  • A slower pace - Lingering in the morning over coffee, taking time to walk with Piper, read, or even nap in the afternoon, not feeling rushed to complete projects…

  • The weather - Although there were are few scorchers, really liked the cooler days this summer with enough rain that I didn’t have to water every morning and evening. I also really appreciated that the mosquito population was much lower than last summer.


  • Time “Up Home” in Sturgeon Bay - we were up in the beginning of June for Aunt Reta’s memorial, but we haven’t been back to hike in the parks, shop and dine, and explore the Door for a while.

  • Sailing and just being on the water - This is such a part of what makes me me.

  • Keeping up with my gardens and lounging on the deck - I never got into a routine this summer due to ongoing projects, but there’s always next summer.

Teachers are back to school this week and students arrive on Monday, so, at least for me, the Summer of 2019 is officially over. This is usually a very bittersweet time of year for educators, but I’m really excited for what the Fall of 2019 has in store.