Beating the Summer Heat

Summer has arrived and heat and humidity along with social distancing continue to keep me from my regular summer schedule. In spite of it all, I am finding ways to occupy my time and maintain my energy level. As always, balanced living equals contentment for me, so this was a good week.


This week I read Happy Ever After by Joanne Tracey. I discovered Joanne through my blogging community a couple of years ago. Her highly successful blog, And Always, is witty, entertaining and chock full of my favorite things, including travel posts, recipes and food photos! I don’t know why it took me so long to order one of her books, but now that I have, I’m hooked.

The book is set in Australia and New Zeland and considering Joanne is from Australia, it is a delicious cultural and culinary immersion.

Kate is a fifty-something empty-nester whose thirty-two year marriage has grown stale. She has two beautiful adult children and is married to a good man, but something between them is missing. He feels it too. When her husband sets out to ‘discover himself’ by climbing Mt. Everest, and returns home with ‘I think we need to take some time apart,’ everything changes. This is a story of love, loss, courage and second chances.

Joanne freely admits that she writes stories with happy endings and you will not be disappointed with this one, but be prepared for some twists and turns along the way. The story is relatable on many levels, especially to those of us over fifty, with long-term marriages, disrupted careers and adult children. The author adeptly captures the angst and evolution of a woman struggling to let go, embrace change and become the person she was meant to be.

That should be enough to make you want to read this book, but I feel compelled to mention the food! Kate, like the author, channels her inner Nigella and exposes us to the most delectable feast at every opportunity. You will feel like an invited guest to Ashleigh’s High Tea, Christmas dinner and a host of other family gatherings. Some of the best conversations between the book’s characters happen in the kitchen, over a cup of tea or while sipping a glass of wine. All in all, this book is a thoroughly satisfying read.


Several years ago my book club read The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society and when I saw that it is now a movie on Netflix, of course I had to tune in. If you like historical fiction, set in the WWII era you will love this story.

A few years after the war ends, a journalist visits the Island of Guernsey, with the intention of writing an article about the oddly titled book club that was formed during the German occupation. She is met with reluctance on behalf of some of the members and over time, she discovers why. They have a secret to protect. The unraveling of the secret, is both tragic and heartwarming as the journalist struggles with her own internal dilemma.

The movie is true to the book which makes it hard to choose a favorite, so if you don’t subscribe to Netflix, by all means, check out the book!


Since the beginning of March, my fitness routine has taken as many twists and turns as Joanne’s book. At first I was adapting to Covid restrictions while enjoying spring-like weather, so substituting running, biking and backboard practice for my typical three times per week tennis was easy and enjoyable. As the heat index climbed to over 100 degrees F, that plan fell by the wayside and for a while I walked the treadmill, used the rowing machine and added strength training to my daily indoor routine.

With restrictions easing, our community pool opened and Water Aerobics is now back in session – with a limit on reservations and precautions in place for social distancing. I am enjoying the twice per week workout and will likely keep that up until I can get back to tennis.

Three weeks ago I joined a 9-hole Ladies golf group and have been golfing once per week. We tee-off at 8:30 and finish by 11:00. The heat has been tolerable to this point, especially since we are using golf carts and not walking. I am not burning a lot of calories, but I love challenging myself to score better each week, and the social interaction after golf makes me feel a bit more human. Exercise is as important to mental health as it is to fitness…and what could be better than sunshine!

Sunshine and beautiful scenery do a body good

Social Time

We phone friends and family more often than pre-Covid, and for now that will do. Our outings are limited to trips to the beach for a sunset picnic, which occasionally includes meeting another couple, but mostly it is just the two of us. Our Covid Bubble remains very limited.

Family Time

We continue to host Sunday dinner and game night with Malcolm’s Mom and our adult children, who are still living with us and working from our home. This past week we played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, which is a family favorite. It is a slightly irreverent card game to play with a 91 year old, but it makes us all laugh, so its easy to drop the Puritan pretense.

Meals are mostly from the grille at this point – easy, uneventful, sustenance. It’s summer!


This past week we (low-key) celebrated our daughter’s 30th birthday, even though she refuses to acknowledge it due to her wrecked travel plans. I don’t blame her, who wants to celebrate the ‘I’m a real adult now birthday’ with their parents, when they are supposed to be in the South of France.

Our Independence Day celebration went much the same, low key. There were gatherings, and this year especially, people seem to need to acknowledge and reinforce that ours is a nation of freedom and independence. Unfortunately, freedom always comes with a price and in this case, that means more Covid cases.


Last week I shared that we had booked a short get-a-way to nearby Jekyll Island. The excitement of that plan was short lived, as we have now cancelled. Malcolm has been monitoring new cases versus easing of restrictions very closely and as expected, it has been too much too soon. Several businesses that were previously open are now closed, including the food and beverage services at our hotel in Jekyll.

Considering the circumstances, the hotel offered a full refund and we will try again in a couple of months. Maybe it’s time to buy that RV!

Moving Forward…

The Sahara dust is blowing into our area this week and should produce some interesting sunsets. With any luck, I will capture another photo similar to the one I took last year when the dust arrived.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Stay healthy.

31 thoughts on “Beating the Summer Heat

  1. It sounds like you’ve worked out a daily plan that works for you, and that is definitely a good thing since it seems like there is no end in sight. FL’s numbers do seem to be rising so it’s good you have a handle on what works for you and your family to stay well.


  2. Suzanne, You had a fruitful and well balanced week. Happy birthday to your daughter! 30 is a wonderful milestone. I look forward to your photos. Have a wonderful week ahead.


    1. Natalie, the dust was a bust in our area. There was actually too much of it to create interesting patterns this year and it just sort of blocked the sun out. I did get one pretty photo of a starburst that I will share soon. Have a great week.


  3. I’m glad to know that you continue to be careful. The news out of Florida (and several other states) is frightening. Thank you for the tip on The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society being on Netflix. I really enjoyed the book when I read it years ago so I’m sure I’ll enjoy the movie. So funny that you play Cards Against Humanity with your 91-year-old mother. I think my parents would have enjoyed it too. And, finally, I’ve read about the dust cloud and the amazing sunsets it should produce (I guess there is always a silver lining, right?). I’m looking forward to your photos!


    1. Janis, we have made it this far so why screw it up by losing patience now. With any luck, we will have a vaccine in the new year. Like I said to Natalie, the dust was a bust in our area. We had three days of a heavy haze that literally defused the sun and made people sneeze! I tried on day three but didn’t get much. I’ll probably post it to Instagram in the next day or so. Guernsey was a good surprise to find on Netflix. If you enjoyed the book, you’ll love the movie. Take care and have a great weekend.


  4. Suzanne,
    “Potato Peel” looks like my kind of book–will check it out. Sorry about Jekyll Island, but you probably made the best decision. We’re out west in Montana and Wyoming where COVID cases are low, but the tourists have arrived and nobody, except for Helen and me, wear masks. Having an RV is comforting. I hope you take the plunge. Have a great week. Joe


  5. Hi Suzanne, I wholeheartedly agree with you about Joanne and her books. I enjoyed reading “Happy Ever After.” I also agree with you about Joanne, recipes, and food photos on her blog “And Anyways.” Even my granddaughters have made “Fairy bread.” I first read about it in Joanne’s book and it is a real hit around here.🙂

    Thank you for keeping me in the loop about the ‘Potato Peel’ book now on Netflix. I enjoyed reading it many years ago. Good for you on the exercise. I am usually pretty good, except for totally eliminating my almost daily Bikram Yoga. The word “marshmallow” comes to mind. I am working on it.

    Our Covid bubble is also very limited. My daughters and the grandchildren have become the new highlight and my raison d’être. As you point out, Suzanne, the travel challenges are still challenging.

    Nice to hear from you and thank you for a great update. Take care.xx


    1. Erica, I needed a ‘normal’ upbeat week and this is as close as it gets for me right now. We knew Jekyll would be a long shot, but we tried. We will try again in September or October. I enjoy these ‘catch up’ posts also. I have the best pen pals! Take care and be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness you’ve moved me to tears! Thankyou so much! I loved the Potato Peel movie – I adored the book as well. So glad you got some social family time as well. I can only imagine just how hilarious it would be playing cards against humanity with a 90 year old!


    1. Jo, I liked this book so much I downloaded Baby It’s You and read it right after. I should have known you would be a really good writer – your blog has so much personality, it makes sense that it would translate to your books. Nana is such a good sport when we play CAH. Of course, we tell her we are ‘laughing with her, not at her.’ 🙂 Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you again. I’ve been in one of those self-doubt fugs and seeing this really brightened me when I most needed it.


  7. Hi, Suzanne – I’m so glad that you reviewed Happily Ever After here. I ❤ Jo Tracey and think that she is absolutely amazing!
    Oh, and if you would like to send some summer heat out our way, that would be greatly appreciated. 😀


    1. Donna, you’re killing me with the cool weather! Would love to exchange a few degrees on both sides. I loved Jo’s book and even downloaded another one right after. She definitely lifted my week. Stay safe and keep on walking….


  8. Suzanne, your description of the weather could have been describing the weather here! Even early I. The morning it’s hard to get out and exercise. Water aerobics has been my favorite exercise for years. So sorry you had to cancel your trip.


    1. Hi Beth, I tried to contact you through your blog, but couldn’t find a ‘contact me’ page. Sorry about that. The Westin closed their food and beverage service and said that the Island had new cases, so we bailed. I hope your hotel is still okay. We will try again in a couple of months. Water aerobics has been a lifesaver for me. I’m going three times per week now and loving it. Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice to hear your pool is open and you can get water exercise, Suzanne. Very few pools are open in the Sacramento area and as hot as it is, it’s a shame. If I was still the aquatic director, I would know how to apply social distancing with some common sense. Sorry to hear about your canceled plans. I hope our end of July trip to Mammoth doesn’t get canceled. Totally amazing to read about the Sahara dust. Enjoy those sunsets.


  10. I’ve thought about getting Jo’s book but I usually don’t enjoy reading on Kindle. But now… I’m going to do it. I love happy endings and definitely need some reading like that right now. I thought the dust was a bust also…expected more color but only got a beige-y sky! We have headed north and am kinda-glad we are not in Florida at the moment with the increases…our county down there is now a red-zone. I’m working on getting a bit more routine into place, managing risk. Walked today at a park with a friend and have 2 others scheduled in next 10 days, so I feel like I’m getting a bit back to connecting. That’s been a big miss for me – connecting with others.


  11. It sounds like you have a nice routine going. I can get used to the heat but after all the rain we have been having here in Florida, it is the humidity that is getting to me. Even walking on a shady path in the morning is challenging some days.


  12. Pingback: 5 things – Monday, July 13, 2020 – And Anyways…

  13. Hi Suzanne. I having been thinking of you while watching the Florida COVID-19 stats spiral up and out of control. It must be a very anxious time for you there.

    As for Cards Against Humanity, my daughter has the game but flatly refuses to play it with me and her step-dad — it would be way too embarrassing, she insists. So although we play other board games with them, I’ve never played Cards Against Humanity.



    1. Jude, we are cautious but optimistic that things will begin to settle soon. CAH is a hoot to play, but listen to your daughter. We are all shameless degenerates and don’t get embarrassed! My MIL has a great sense of humor and laughs with us. Truthfully, she doesn’t understand much of what she reads, which makes it all the more fun.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.