And June Begins…

Summer arrived and our rainy season began with a vengeance. In Florida that means extreme heat, frequent thunder storms, and lightening. Just as our stay at home orders are being relaxed, I find myself spending even more time inside. Trips to the beach for photo outings and sunset visits with friends were short-lived, and my scenic daily run has been reduced to the confinement of my treadmill on most days.

The off season, summer, is typically my time to read, catch up on indoor projects and take things a bit slower. Since we have already been doing that for the past two months the transition will hardly be noticed; except for the heat… and the rain…. and the beginning of hurricane season! Oh well, adjusting seems to be the word of the year, (whether we chose it or not) so, it’s best to just roll with it.


Last week I shared a post about my love of books. I was curious to know how your relationship with reading has been affected by the pandemic. The responses were varied, with some folks admitting to attention deficit, while others are finding solace in literature. I have been on both ends of that spectrum during the past two months.

This week I read As Bright As Heaven, by Susan Meissner. The setting of the book is Philadelphia, PA during the 1918 Spanish Flu. It is not a book I would have selected based on the subject matter, but it was recommended by a friend who reads mostly historical fiction, and I trust her judgment.

The story follows the lives and struggles of one family as they adjust to sending their men off to fight the ‘Great War’, the devastating toll of a deadly virus and the difficult choices they are forced to make.

Alternating narrators (mostly the sisters) allow us to view the story from different points of view as it unfolds.

I thought this book might be a bit depressing to read, given our current circumstances, and it did contain a few ‘tearful’ moments, but overall, I enjoyed it. The story opened up slowly, as we were introduced to each character, but beautiful writing kept it moving forward to a satisfying ending.

The second book I read this week was “The Giver of Stars,” by JoJo Moyes. It is 1930 and a naive English girl recently married to a wealthy American struggles to fit in to life in rural Kentucky until she is recruited to work with a group of women who deliver library books on horseback. The terrain is as harsh and rugged as its people in this coal mining county and Alice is forced to either overcome obstacles or surrender to a life of misery. Along the way she finds her voice, and the kind of strength and security that develops within the bonds of true friendship and belonging.

The author is masterful at taking her readers on an emotional roller coaster and there are genuine moments of angst, despair and disgust as she vividly paints a landscape of ignorance, greed and power. I liked the book, and I love this writer, but much of it seemed familiar from other popular books I have read in the past couple of years. Based on a true story and classified as historical fiction.


Home Videos

Malcolm found a bunch of family videos stored at his mom’s house that we had forgotten about. She still has a VHS, so he and I spent an afternoon viewing, sorting and labeling the tapes. We will get together on Sunday for a family viewing, complete with popcorn. Nana will be thrilled and I can’t wait to see her reaction.

The tapes cover about seven years of our lives together, from just before we were engaged until around our daughter’s sixth birthday. We assume the video recorder broke around that time because that is where the tapes end. We believe his parents owned the recorder, since his mom took most of the videos. I filmed a few, but video was never my thing as I thought it got in the way of enjoying the moment. If my thirty-something self could have only known the joy those tapes bring now, I would have had a very different attitude and a lot more videos!

The next step will be to have the tapes edited and recorded on a current device so that we can share copies with our daughter and Malcolm’s mother.

Private Pages

I recently discovered that it is possible to create a Private Page on WordPress, so I spent the better part of two days inputting my community book club reading list onto one of those. Since 2004, we have read and discussed over 150 books. They are neatly categorized by year and each title is linked to Goodreads. I sent the URL for the page to our book club members so that newcomers and us old-timers will have a reference attached to an overview and book reviews of each book. I can update the page at any time and the original URL will link back to the updated version. Now that I know this feature is there, I am sure I will find other uses for it.


Computer Files

I have been in a mood to purge useless stuff lately; not the typical closet or garage cleaning, but the excess stored in my computer. Documents and Photo Files on my laptop are out of control due to neglect. When I need to access something, it is a tedious and time consuming chore to sort through two dozen files labeled Blog Post Ideas, 1,2,3,etc. Hitting the Delete button was easier than expected and now I have one file labeled Blog Post Ideas that contains just the documents I still want to consider. I did the same thing with Charity Events, Recipes, Cocktails, and Travel Plans. Deleting every file that no longer serves a purpose was liberating. Now, when I need something, I can actually find it.

I repeated the process with my Photography files, which was harder. No one wants to delete photographs, but sometimes you just have to be brave and do it. After deleting hundreds of photographs, I then organized the others into Main folders by type; Birds, Landscapes, Flowers, Beach, Family, Christmas, etc.

Pinterest Boards

Continuing with my urge to purge, I tackled my Pinterest Boards. I have been creating the Boards for years, but have rarely reviewed and deleted ones that no longer serve a purpose. I think of my Pinterest Boards as Dream Boards to a large extent, but many of them were created with a specific purpose. For instance, I have a Board titled ‘Nana’s Birthday’ where I collected all the recipes for what we planed to serve. I also have one titled ‘Next Time’ which contains ideas for how I might want to design and decorate my next home. That one is clearly a Dream Board. One titled ‘Wall Paper’ contains a group of witty things that I wish I was clever enough to say. And the Board titled Cocktails is well, just yummy!

All of the Boards needed attention and this project was great for a rainy afternoon diversion. You can see my full collection of Pinerest Boards here.


I used Vista Prints to create a few note cards using some of my favorite photographs. The cards measure 5.5 x 4 inches folded and come in packs of 10 for less than $10, including envelopes. They are easy to create, the quality is very good and they make great gifts.

And Finally….

A quick trip to the beach between the storms!

37 thoughts on “And June Begins…

  1. You have been busy! Thanks for more book recommendations! I just finished “the Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”, another historical novel about a book woman in Kentucky. Purging my computer files and a filing cabinet have kept me busy inside when I can’t go outside.


    1. Busy is good, and it keeps my mind off the things I can’t do. I think Book Woman and the Giver of Stars are about the same historical figure. Not sure if the story lines are similar though. Hoping for more ‘outside’ days for June! Enjoy your week.


  2. Wow, you have accomplished so much! We’re still trying to adjust to our new reality of staying put in Apalachicola for the summer…and perhaps beyond. I haven’t spent a summer in Florida in more than 30 years, and the heat and humidity have been intense this week! It helps, as you said, to make the mental adjustment to summer as the “off-season.” I have plenty of indoor projects (blogging, photography, music, art, reading, cooking) if I can keep myself focused.


    1. Joe, it would take writing to your grands to another level! So many possibilities. I guess you are about to head off on your adventure and will be heading into cooler temperatures. I’m jealous of course, but my time will come. Stay safe.


  3. I’m one of those folks who’s having trouble focusing on books. But I have tackled thirty years of slides. Cleaning closets and making pizza. Such beautiful pictures – even though I do remember summer in Florida …. gotta have AC, that’s for sure.


    1. Wow! Thirty years of slides is good. Closets haven’t been calling out to me just yet, but I do need to reorganize my kitchen, eventually…. Definitely need AC to survive the summer here. The electric bill will double over the next three months, but then, ahhhhh….it will all have been worth it for nine months of wonderful.


  4. You’ve been very productive and creative, Suzanne. Your beautiful photos on the note cards are wonderful personalized gift ideas. Purging digital files is on my to do list. Stay cool and have a great upcoming week!


  5. I’m so impressed with your productivity! I find myself spending way too much time on my computer reading emails and blogs and making comments. I read Giver of Stars and enjoyed it. I’m now reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. There was some controversy regarding JoJo Moyes book about the same subject coming out at the same time but, at least so far, I don’t see evidence of any plagiarism some people alleged.

    Your note cards are lovely. I’m sure anyone who is lucky enough to get one will be thrilled!


    1. Janis, I sorted the cards into three packs and divided them among some special ladies who admire and appreciate my photography. My gift to them for their continued encouragement. I read about the alleged plagiarism. It is very odd that two authors would write about the same historical figure at the same time. But, honestly, it just made me want to read the other book. Is the story similar and did you choose a favorite?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Although I haven’t finished The Book Woman, I think I will end up enjoying The Giver of Stars more. The Book Woman doesn’t bring as many fully-rounded characters into the story and, because the author wrote the dialog to reflect the dialect of the place and time, it can be hard to read. The main character is a local woman (as opposed to a British woman who came to Kentucky through marriage) who has a genetic condition which makes her ostracized by her community. I thought that was an interesting aspect to the story. Both books are about the pack horse library project, but the story lines are different.


  6. Hi, Suzanne – Great minds think alike! I have also been cleaning up the digital photos on my computer. I have literally deleted thousands of shots. It’s not that I’ve been overzealous, it’s simply that my photography attitude has been ‘why take 1 shot, when you can take 47 shots of the exact same thing?’ My goal for the rest of 2020 (and beyond) is to tone this done somewhat. 😀


    1. Donna, I had a lot of that going on also. In an effort to get the ‘best’ shot I took way too many of the same situation. Those were first to go. Now I am going through the delete process with my SD cards. Why clutter up usable space? All good projects for our ho/hum days.


  7. I was thinking about you a few times this week, Suzanne. Especially the Vancouver travel changes.❤️

    I appreciate you sharing some of the seasonal challenges you are facing. Good point and great word, Suzanne “adjusting.”

    Great book reviews. I am only recently learning how important reviews are.

    You are reminding me how we have VHS of earlier generations, weddings. We should convert these to make the videos accessible. Your description of videos years ago and how I felt I was missing the moment, resonated with me. I was wrong.

    Huge Wow, on the favourite photographs. The concept of note cards is a great idea!

    This post was filled with many gems! Thank you Suzanne!


    1. Erica, my google calendar was a sad reminder these past two weeks of all the places I am not visiting. I am glad June has arrived, even with its characteristically hot/humid weather, and my head is once again focused on activity. I found a place to convert the VHS tapes to USB and after that, I can edit them and create something really special for our family to enjoy. Summer project!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks like you have enough to keep you busy regardless of what the weather brings. I hope the storms are manageable and not destructive. I used Vistaprint for some business cards after I retired. They did a nice job and the price was very reasonable. Good luck with the purging.


  9. Nancy

    Hi Suzanne,
    Love the note card idea…may steal that one…you’ve been busy and productive. I’ve been avoid all things electronic for some reason. We’ve been preoccupied with our annual journey north to NH, and I have to say that I am NOT missing Florida. Enjoying the cool among the tall pines. Finally pulled together a quick post myself. Adjusting to our new normal seemed to take a great deal of my intellectual and emotional energy. You seem to handle it so well…


    1. Hi Nancy, steal away. Your beautiful photos would make great note cards. Nothing to miss about Florida right now. Rained all night and still drizzling. Hot and Humid! Don’t be fooled by my post this week. Look back and you will see the ‘intellectual and emotional energy’ shift that you refer to has gotten its claws into me also. Enjoy your ‘cool among the tall pines’ and stay well.


  10. Hi Suzanne – nice to see that you’ve been keeping busy and doing a bit of Marie Kondo-ing on a virtual level. I’ve just started clearing my Canva pictures and images I’ve created – it’s a free service, but I discovered there’s a limit to storage and after a few years of use, I was getting close to mine.
    Loved the family video night and we’re also guilty of having very little footage of our family from those early days – SOOOO different to all the photos and videos parents take now with their trusty phones (video cameras were so big and bulky back in the good old days).
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊


  11. What a great idea for post cards. I love it. I have never used Vista Print. I have used Shutterfly for making books of my grandkids’ artwork. I wonder if they do post cards too…


  12. Summer has a lot of names here in Florida. I call it my stay inside as much as possible time of the year. 😊 Sounds like you have accomplished so many worthwhile projects, congratulations.


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