The August List – 2020

August was a beautiful summer month, as it always is in the Midwest and East Coast (because if you read The July List, you know that yes! we made it to upstate New York).

1) Who doesn’t like donuts? No one. A new donut shop opened in Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, just minutes from Grosse Pointe, back in March.

We tried Yellow Light Donuts for the first time this summer and all the flavors are delicious (and they have coconut!!) and the drive-through service is super convenient, especially during Covid (and yes I know it is all caps, but I don’t like calling that much attention to it. Over it.). Biscuit sandwiches are yummy, too. Only drawback – get there on the early side or they may sell out.

2) I never did tell you that we got rid of our hot tub earlier this summer. I loved that hot tub, but it was time. We bought two used chaise lounge chairs from a local mom swap group to put in its place and we’ve used them more than we used the hot tub, so it was a good decision. And the patio looks much nicer, too.

3) We have cucumbers – woo-hoo! I never know what’s going to grow in our backyard. Sometimes things work, but mostly they don’t, because don’t get a whole lot of sun back there. We have a small patch of space where the sun lingers, and that’s where we planted the cucumbers. We also planted tomatoes and we do have some of those, but the fruit has been on the vine for week and weeks and they are all still green.

4) It is dahlia season and the few plants that I have bring me so much joy. The first is my favorite Cafe au Lait and the second and third is uhhh… I think Carribean Fantasy. Can you believe that the second and third photos are the same flower!?! Dahlias seem to change every day, which is one of the reasons why they are so amazing.

5) I read two good books this month. The first, “Still Life” by Louise Penny, was a recommendation from a college friend. His recommendation was actually for her latest book in the Gamache detective series, based in Quebec (Mom – you might actually like this one, it is a murder mystery, yes, but it is “light” like the PBS Mystery shows you used to watch) and when I looked it up, I saw that the book was part of a prolific series. I just put the second one on hold at the library.

The next title is “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” by Liane Moriarty. I love her writing because it is easy and entertaining like beach read, yet is so much deeper. Featuring a hopelessly romantic hypnotist, a ho-hum boyfriend and an obsessed stalker, this book is a page-turner.

6) I have three Podcast recommendations. The first, Undercover, has seven seasons so far. I’ve listened to three and am halfway through season four. The first season gives an inside look on the cult Nxivm (pronounced Nexium). Intriguing. Season two discusses an unsolved case of an airplane bomb that exploded in 1965. Season three is about a series of murders that rocked Toronto’s gay community in the 1970s, with a bonus episode on The Justice Project here in Detroit, and season four is about a nearly-homeless “cat lady” who mysteriously disappeared.

The second podcast, Nice White Parents, is a series about “building a better school system, and what gets in the way.”

The third is Intrigue, Season One (only because that’s the only season I’ve listened to so far) “Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel,” about “death, sex and elite politics in China.”

7) I completed two puzzles this month. I would have done more if not for our 1.5-week road trip. But they each had one missing piece which is soooooooo unsatisfying! The first was a brand new puzzle and I swear I didn’t lose the piece, it was not in the box and I didn’t vacuum it up! URGH.

The second one I brought back from my Dad’s. It also had a missing piece, which was surprising, because usually he labels the box with “missing piece!” if that’s the case. If you wondered where I got my puzzle penchant from, when we arrived at my Dad’s, he had three large boxes filled with 30+ puzzles, all of which they were going to donate after I looked through and decided which ones I wanted to keep.

I pretended like I didn’t want them all and ended up with eight. Or nine. I have to say that this particular one (second pic) was very challenging, as up to this point, I have been used to puzzle pieces that are relatively similar in that they are straight-ish and feature one of five different kinds of pieces or so. This one had the most random shapes and sizes of pieces and it was hard to get into my auto-pilot puzzle zone.

8) Speaking of puzzles, the window in this second photo reminds me of a puzzle.

A I stated last month, we quarantined for two weeks before our road trip to upstate New York, ensuring we were safe to be around my Dad and his wife, Lyn. It’s a truly magical place. A simple cottage on a simple lake, but a beautiful refuge just the same. I didn’t relax nearly enough as I’d hoped or planned, finally allowing myself to ignore texts and emails on the last three days, but it was still a great time of winding down and letting go.

9) I captured some of my favorite cabin details.

10) The girls swam and played vintage board games (at least for a few minutes before they started making up their own questions and rules) and learned how to shoot a bb gun, and we ate well and fished (although we didn’t eat the fish we caught – the were all too small) and drank wine and tequila (me) and bourbon (him).

11) For the soon-to-be (school in Michigan starts after Labor Day) 6th grader’s summer social studies project, we visited Sackett’s Harbor (Google says Sacket’s, but it also says Sackett’s was a previous spelling and that’s the way I know it), which was part of the War of 1812.

We also visited the military cemetery there and saw that most of the headstones were adorned with a coin or coins. None of us (including my cousin-in-law, Jim, retired US Army Major General, who accompanied us on our battleground tour that day) knew exactly what that meant or stood for and I have yet to look it up. He did tell us that all headstones face East, which we didn’t know.

12) Remember my amazing hair from June? I posted a selfie and everything. Well, the summer sun turned my highlights orange and I bought some semi-permanent color from RiteAid and dyed it black (actually a dark, dark super dark brown, my natural color) and two months later it’s still black, even though the box promised it would only last 28 days. OH WELL. So I guess I have black hair now. 2020 keeps on giving.

I wish I had some revelation to share with you that came to me while I was living in the woods. I worry that my kids have turned into dummies over the summer with so much screen time and very little social time and I worry that one of us or someone we love will get Covid in a really bad way and I worry that I worked way too much this summer and wasn’t there for anyone, including myself.

I’m not in the depths of dispair, as Anne of Green Gables liked to say, but I’m tired – as in literally, physically and mentally tired – of being in a state of limbo always and not only that, a state of uncertain limbo.

But we have at least one more month of beautiful weather to enjoy. We are healthy, the kids seem… normal for the most part at least for now, my friends continue to be there for me, my extended family is safe and really what more can one ask for.

Be well, my friends. Wishing you a wonderful September!

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