My excuse is just being consumed by a major case of purging, going through our house and possessions with a fine-toothed comb.
Also, we are trying to figure out our next move as our June 29th closing date on our house approaches. We’ve had some really great interviews for lodge management positions. J is flying out next week for an interview for a great opportunity in the recreation field just for him. We’ve also tossed around the idea of buying an RV and traveling the states. Doing another long-distance hike has certainly come up. Then there is the option of doing none of these options. You just never know with us, but I suppose we will figure it out soonish.
With summer upon us in less than 10 days (summer #2 for us since we “wintered” in New Zealand), I thought I’d offer a few book, podcast, movie and recipe suggestions.
I read these last summer, but maybe what’s old to me is new to you! These were good books. They will flirt with you by page 10, I promise. I am still on the hunt for a quick and easy read. Right now, I am reading my 5 old diaries I found in storage. They are quite entertaining, actually. It’s the story of a boy-crazy adolescent girl who mistakenly got a perm in the 8th grade (matched the braces nicely), aspires to be a writer when she grows up and quit writing letters while away at college when she got her first e-mail address in September 1996 thus making communication “so easy.” But really, I am determined to read at least one REAL book this summer.
The Martian by Andy Weir
My dad recommended this book to me and I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. He loves science fiction and UFO crap and I do not. J read it first and loved it. Then our RimRock cook read it and loved it. Then J’s mom read it and loved it. So I caved. It was not at all what I expected. It has an extremely enticing plot (an astronaut gets left behind on Mars) and it was so realistic. Being Weir’s only novel, I was also surprised at how impeccably written The Martian is. This book is being released as a movie come fall, so get your hands on it now!
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Once again, this suggestion came from my dad and once again, I was skeptical. My dad has read numerous King novels and I have read none. But, this King novel is unlike his others and focuses on time travel, particularly on the JFK assassination. J &I opted to go the audiobook route on this one (took us 1.5 cross-country trips) and were not sorry. If you are an audiobook fan, this had a fantastic reader with so many voices/accents. The book was enthralling. We literally couldn’t wait to get in the car each morning to drive. On our Te Araroa hike, we suggested the book to our hiking partner, Kevin, and he finished it in 4 days (sacrificing some sleep in the process). If you can commit to its 800+ pages or 17+ hours of listening, do it. I also heard it is becoming a TV mini series.
Recently, we’ve been turned on to podcasts (Thanks MIL and Misti!). We are always late to jump on the bandwagon and what I know about podcasts could fit into a fortune cookie, but here are a few we’ve found and liked.
Serial – This is a spin-off of “This American Life” and tells the true story of a young man (Adnan) jailed for a murder in 1999, when he was in high school. He claims he is innocent, but couldn’t prove an alibi and was convicted. Sarah Koenig is the host and she did an incredible job walking listeners through the facts, which don’t really add up. By the end, you will be scratching your head just as much as she is. The podcast generated so much buzz that Adnan’s case is being reopened.
***I heard that a group of lawyers produced a follow-up podcast, Undisclosed. I have it downloaded, but we didn’t listen yet.
Trailside Radio – This is by a guy currently thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which is really a genius idea. The first 7 episodes have been pre-trail prep info, mostly in the form of interviews with veteran hikers. We thoroughly enjoyed them and look forward to following his hike via the podcasts. I am really curious if he can keep it up. I know how hard it is to merely keep up a blog while hiking and I am sure podcasts add a whole new level. (If you are wondering, the PCT is very high on our list. But, it is a 2,600-mile summer hike, so a hefty commitment. We even toyed going to do it southbound this summer …)
The Trail Show – This was one of the many suggested by Misti, but we’re still not sure how we feel about it. I do like it better than a few other trail podcasts we’ve tried, but there is a lot of senseless banter to get through. The hosts (4 of them, I think) are funny, but we are not LOLing. The one thing we really like about this show, though, is they feature a different trail each episode. So it’s a good way to dream and plan.
J & I do not frequent the movies, but when we go, we enjoy. Oddly enough, there has been a steady stream of movies this past year that we wanted to see in the theaters because it’s just better that way (Wild, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1). And there are more to come, mostly in the fall though. I mentioned The Martian. But there’s also Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part II, A Walk in the Woods and Everest. Hopefully wherever we are, we can catch a movie or 4. I just realized these are all based on books I’ve read. Huh.
RECIPES (correction, RECIPE)
I have a lot of winter recipes, but not many summer ones. One of my favorite summer recipes is my homemade salsa. It is easy, always a big hit and I had a proud moment when it debuted on RimRock’s appetizer menu last summer!! The credit for the recipe, though, goes to my old Phoenix roommate, Michelle. I still have and use her hand-written version. It is endearing to me when recipes are hand-written from the original source. I do make slight variations, like using fresh tomatoes instead of canned and spicing it up a bit more to taste.