Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Sunday Salon: Vaccinations and Visitors


 It's been another beautiful week here in Florida... warmer temperatures, slightly higher humidity, and a gorgeous sea breeze. Our daughter arrived on Monday and worked from our condo all week, but joined us for outdoor dinners at the house. It's so good to spend time with her!

Friday was the BIG DAY. Two weeks after his second shot, my husband reached full immunity! He celebrated by going to the local grocery store midday (rather than our usual 7AM) to purchase fresh seafood for dinner and fresh cut steaks for the weekend. Somehow a bag of potato chips and container of ice cream also found a way into his bag. It's the little things! Two weeks until my second dose...


Finished this week//

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

This was the novel my mother and sister both read last month. The had very different reactions (Mom hated it, but my sister liked it) and they wanted me to weigh in. It was on my wish list anyway, so this seemed like a good time to pick it up.

Bitter Orange  features a woman on her deathbed reflecting back to the summer of 1969, a pivotal time spent in a ruinous English manor house. She is there to compose a report on the grounds and gardens for the absent new owner, while another young couple catalogs the contents of the buildings. The book unfolds very slowly, with long, detailed descriptions, and is quite well-written. It has a Gothic feel and there is a near constant sense of impending doom or tragedy. None of the characters are particularly likable, yet they're all interesting with complicated backstories...and complicated relationships with each other. I think fans of Daphne DuMaurier are particularly likely to enjoy this novel.

I borrowed the ebook from the library, then used an audible credit for the audiobook. It turned out that the audio narrated by Bianca Amato added much to my overall enjoyment, so I recommend going that route if you can. 


Current reading//

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

This book seemed to be on all the lists at the end 2020, but I'm just getting to it now. I'm 40% in and enjoying it even more than expected!


In the kitchen//


This was a very good week in the kitchen! I had three new recipe successes,  two of them from Half Baked Harvest Super Simple.  Thai Basil Beef with Peanut Salsa was a real crowd pleaser, and was actually super simple to prepare. The leftovers were just as tasty. A food blogger included the recipe in her review post here.

The other winner was Walnut Crusted Chicken with Honey and Brie. My daughters especially loved it and I liked that you can prep the chicken ahead, then all you have to do at dinnertime is pop it in the oven. Again, I couldn't find the recipe online, but if you search for it on Pinterest, you will find a photo of the cookbook page.


Finally, these Pecan Carrot Muffins from the Simply Delicious  blog were just amazing! My FIL, who isn't eating much of anything lately, ate two. I'll make them again for Easter brunch.


The week ahead//

Our daughter finishes her quarantine this evening and will move from our condo (affectionately known lately as "the holding tank") to the house. 

My sister and brother-in-law, who are both fully vaccinated, arrive Friday night to spend their spring vacation at our condo. We should be able to spend plenty of time with them outdoors at the beach or on our lanai. I can't wait to see them!


How was your week? What have you been reading?



The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It's Monday... What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date


52 comments:

  1. I think we should celebrate every time someone gets fully vaccinated. It's such a huge weight off to know that another person will not get the terrible version of this virus. Just two more weeks for your second shot. Congratulations to both of you.

    I enjoyed Writers and Lovers. A friend proposed it for our book club though and I'm not sure it would be a book that everyone would like. I'll be curious to see what you think about it.

    Walnut-Crusted Chicken sounds great. I wonder what would happen if I subbed in pecans (we have so many).

    Have a great week, JoAnn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb - I did not expect to be enjoying Writers & Lovers so much... what a treat!

      Delete
  2. I would read Bitter Orange for the cover alone! It is gorgeous. It also sounds interesting - definitely an audio for me. Signing up at my library now.

    Congrats on the full vaccination. We are approaching normalcy!

    Writers and Lovers has a great cover also--I need to learn more about it as it does seem to be on everyone's list.

    Have a good week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JaneGS - The audio of Bitter Orange was so well done! I had to look up the narrator (Bianca Amato) and found that her narration of The Thirteenth Tale was a favorite about a decade ago.

      Delete
  3. I agree ... the potato chips and ice cream are the grown up version of the lollipops we used to get at the doctor's office. I hope you have an equally nice treat of your choice to celebrate your big day. :) One week to my second dose; I'm a little nervous about the side effects (though they seem to vary a lot) but so glad/lucky to be on the road to immunity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey - I'm a little nervous about the second dose, too. Think I mentioned that my younger brother was sick with flu-like symptoms the following day, but was fine after 24 hours. My husband and parents all did fine with the second dose.

      Just realized that I missed your birthday yesterday... sending belated wishes!

      Delete
  4. Yay for more progress on the vaccine! I got my first does yesterday! I dream about the day we can see our families, friends and go traveling again. I definitely want to read Bitter Orange - I've heard some great things about it. Thank you for the recipes I especially want to try out the muffins. Enjoy your week ahead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana - Congratulations on your first dose! It is such a good feeling to finally have the process underway. Bitter Orange was a good read, just a little slow at times. Hope you like the muffins if you try them... it's such a good recipe!

      Delete
  5. Isn't it a great feeling that we seem to making some progress toward normalcy? The hub is fully good to go as is my daughter (in education) and I get #2 on Friday. I am hoping for a Thanksgiving like we were used to pre-COVID. Those muffins look and sound great. I picked up the Super Simple Cookbook from the library, it looks great but haven't tried anything yet. Bitter Orange has been on my list since it released. Glad you thought the audio worked well.

    Enjoy your week and the time spent with family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane - My sister got the Super Simple cookbook from the library last week, too. She called last night and said she's going to buy it! A pre-COVID Thanksgiving sounds like it just might be possible this year... we're hoping for the same. Hope you do well with shot #2 on Friday.

      Delete
  6. Happy to see that things are trending in the right direction for you now. Y'all are on exactly the same timeline when it comes to vaccinations that we are here. I reached "full immunity" on Friday, also, and my wife is about two weeks away from her second dose.

    We will still not be able to gather with the family for Easter because she will still be about two weeks away from her second dose reaching maximum effect, but we're getting there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam - Now that my husband has reached full immunity, it seems like things are slowing down for me... my second dose can't come fast enough! I'm still being very cautious so we don;t ruin things so close to the end.

      Delete
  7. Ooh, another pretty beach photo! That bright sun makes me think it was pretty warm. We're still in the 50s... with rain. Sigh.

    So glad you have one of your daughters there with you now.

    Hooray for your husband!! Yeah, if my husband went grocery shopping, he'd definitely come home with extra "goodies," too. Lol! Did he have any severe reactions to his second shot?

    I have a copy of Writers & Lovers in my stacks and am eager to get to it, but I think I'll pass on Bitter Orange. I'm not a big fan of gothic writing.

    Both dinner recipes sound delicious, so I'll print out the recipes and give them a try in the next week or two. Thank you!

    Enjoy your visitors and beautiful weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les - We're actually getting an early taste of summer this week. I like it, but will be happy to go back to chillier mornings by this weekend.

      I'm about 85% done with Writers & Lovers and am loving it! Makes me thing I should try Euphoria again... was not a huge fan when I listened a few years ago.

      Bitter Orange was a good, slow read. Gothic writing isn't really my thing either, but I did enjoy it... much more than my mother, not as much as my sister.

      Hope you get a little sunshine and a break from the rain soon.

      Delete
  8. That's so great that so many of your family members have been able to get the vaccine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela - More good news yesterday as NY lowered the eligibility to 30, so now my oldest daughter can sign up for an appointment, too!

      Delete
  9. How wonderful that you get to see your family and be in person together! My second shot is this week so I feel like I am counting down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen - It's been wonderful to see people again, even though we are still outside and distant! I hope you do well with your second shot this week.

      Delete
  10. Yay for being fully vaccinated! My father and his wife, who live in Vero Beach, finally got their first doses and they're scheduled to get their second doses shortly before they return to New York for the summer.

    I'm reading Treasured Island by Frank Barrett. He's a travel writer in the UK and this is his account of visiting sites of literary interest all over England.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aileen - Glad your father and his wife were able to get there first shot! Hope they didn't have to drive too far... we had to go 3 hours to Tampa for my husband's, but mine was ONLY a 2 hour drive. Treasured Island sounds like a fun read. I need to look it up...

      Delete
  11. I live for your beach photos (so keep posting!) ... we had a snowstorm overnight, ugh. Now who's side were you on about Bitter Orange? ... it seems you were in the middle between your mom's & sister's reactions to it. I'm glad you are enjoying the Lily King novel. I liked it as well. The holding tank is a good name ... for your condo. Ha makes me laugh, I've often been in the "holding tank" this past year ... or is it the dog house? cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan. I can't even imagine a snowstorm anymore... it's been 18 months since we've seen snow at all. For Bitter Orange, I was closer to my sister's opinion but probably not as enthusiastic as she was.

      Hoping to finish Writers & Lovers tonight... so, so good!

      Delete
  12. I have Bitter Orange hiding out on my Kindle. I read Swimming Lessons by this author, and had mixed feelings. But your take makes me want to pick it up soon.

    Pecan carrot muffins are making me hungry!

    Enjoy your week, and congrats on the vaccines!

    Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Swimming Lessons was actually a favorite the year I read it. It was dark, but BItter Orange has a much more Gothic feel... if that appeals to you. It's generally not my thing, but I did enjoy the descriptions here. The book moves very slowly though.

      Delete
  13. Congratulations on family moving from the holding tank to your home!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Strange how those mystery items seem to fall into grocery carts! I'm waiting now for my two weeks for the second dose to become fully effective. Your recipes are all making me hungry! Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - For some reason, that happens much for frequently when my husband is the one pushing the shopping cart ;-) Hope you're having a good week.

      Delete
  15. We get our second dose in a week and I am excited. I will still wear a mask, for a while, but after several months people will have had the ability to get vaccinated so I won't be masked up anymore.

    I have not started Bitter Orange yet as planned as i had a Netgalley book to attend to. The walnut crusted chicjken looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina - The walnut chicken dish was just delicious. I'm sure I'll make it again soon.

      If you enjoy Gothic novels, you'll probably like Bitter Orange. I liked the ruined English manor setting!

      Delete
  16. Fully vaccinated sounds so wonderful.

    Still waiting for #1 on 4/6. I will probably show up way early in anticipation. Now that they changed the priority groupings my husband can get his and he literally went on the Rite Aid website and booked an appt for 4/1. That's before me! Well, he needs it because he has been a little careless of late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ti - I have a feeling the same thing is going to happen in NY as they expand eligibility. My friend's appointment is at the end of April but, with more doses arriving daily, I'm sure they'll schedule new people rather than move her appointment up.

      Delete
  17. I'm still waiting for the vaccine but my husband has had his first shot. I can't find Bitter Orange on audio through the library. Darn! I also want to read or listen to Writers and Lovers. Euphoria by Lily King was amazing on audio!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie - I just realized that the Bitter Orange audio is an audible exclusive... hate when they do that!

      Have fun reading The Green Mile with Care, et.al.... wish I could join you, but can't fit it in next month.

      Delete
  18. Got my second on Friday. So glad that's done. Now for the kids...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RAnn - Good for you!! Hoping our daughters can get one soon, too. The oldest (in NY) can sign up now that they've expanded eligibility to 30 and over.

      Delete
  19. I’m sure it’s a big relief to have a higher degree of protection

    Wishing you a great reading week, and enjoy your family time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shelleyrae - Just having the first shot has really helped my mood and outlook in general... such a relief. We're still being careful, but know full immunity is coming!

      Delete
  20. It is such a joy to be with people who are also fully vaccinated! Especially loved ones and true friends. I am getting closer to reading Writers and Lovers. Right now I have entered a phase of reading a few Joyce Carol Oates novels in a row. I will call out if I need rescuing-:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy - I'm hoping to finish Writers & Lovers tonight and am surprised by how much I'm enjoying it!

      It's been a few years since I read JCO and had been thinking of trying Them next. After your review (last fall?) I'm leaning toward Bellefleur.

      Delete
  21. Yay for your husband being fully vaccinated! Definitely deserve the ice cream and the chips. I'm hoping my husband and I are both able to get ours in April. It will be such a relief! I'm already planning my first visit to a used bookstore here (masked and distanced still of course!). I'm a little worried about getting sick after because my daughter had a fever and felt awful for a day or two after both doses but it will be worth it. Enjoy your time with your family and the beach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - Most of my friends have scheduled a "day off" after their vaccines, but it seems like only one or two of them have actually needed it. A sore arm was my biggest side effect. Hope you have an easy time, too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the second shot is just as easy.

      Delete
  22. Woohoo - yay on the vaccinations - almost there! I like how your husband celebrated. I wasn't thinking anything major but I may just have to do something special.

    I have heard a little about Writers and Lovers and have been wondering about it - glad to hear that you are enjoying it. I'll bump it up my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athira - Finished Writer & Lovers today... and I loved it!

      Delete
  23. I am so excited for you!!! All those vaccines and full immunity! We get our second doses on April 10 and 12th. We spread them out "just in case" because of the boy but hopefully we are ok. So far I know of only one person who had a reaction more than a day to the shot, otherwise everyone has just been tired and sore. :) I can handle that to combat the virus! :) And it is definitely the little things. I love the idea of a splurge at the grocery store during a busy time. These small things are to be celebrated as we return slowly back to normalcy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin - I'll get my second dose just a couple of days ahead of you guys... and we spread ours out, too, just in case. Can not wait!

      Delete
  24. Great for the vaccinations and I'm happy for you that you are reunited with your daughter :) I love Daphne du Maurier, but even if I didn't, I'm very tempted by the Claire Fuller. Your muffins make my mouth water, time for dessert !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IzaBzh - Bitter Orange is definitely worth a read, but I liked Fuller's Swimming Lessons even more!

      Delete
  25. Congratulations on your vaccinations! I got my first shot this week and the second is already scheduled three weeks from now. Thankfully my husband got his back in January. Just waiting for my two girls to be vaccinated, I'll be so relieved!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen - It is such a relief to finally make progress on this immunity journey. My oldest is now eligible in NY since they dropped the age to 30... keeping my fingers crossed she can book an appointment soon. Hope your girls can get one soon!

      Delete
  26. I love that you were the tie-breaker for your mom and sister :) It seems that you were somewhere between the two. Yay for family get togethers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy - I was... enjoyed reading Bitter Orange, but it will not be a favorite.

      Delete

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Be sure to check back, I always respond. Due to a recent increase in spam, all comments are moderated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails