Yanking on My Pants…

Well – that weekend passed in a blur! I mean… I don’t suppose it passed in a blur but it went by quickly. I’m well aware of how quickly it passed! Friday was a LONG day at the office and when 5:00 finally arrived, I was out the door to meet my parents for dinner – and was glad the work day was over! Friday night was pretty chill – after dinner there was a Target run and then just watching some TV and relaxing – which was nice.
Saturday was a gorgeous day – if a little warm – but it is July, so that’s to be expected. After coffee, a little breakfast and getting in some exercise, I got dressed and had lunch and then it was off to do some things! Which included shopping just a wee bit! I got a red dress from Belk that was originally $99.50 but was on sale for $36 – such a deal and it’s so cute! I also got a strapless bra and let me tell you that with the dressing rooms closed (thanks ‘Rona) my Mom and I were in stitches as she strapped the bra over my clothes in between the racks… what a time to be alive!
We also popped into Hallmark to look at the ornaments for this year – although only three people could look at the ornaments at a time and if you touched one, you had to sanitize your hands before moving on to touching any others. Again – what a time to be alive! After finishing the shopping, it was off to wild, wonderful West Virginia to celebrate my favorite six year old’s birthday with some cupcakes and presents – because you can’t really have a party!
In case you’re reading the title and wondering what in the heck I’m talking about – I wore my beloved teal pants for the first time this Summer and I guess I should have pulled them out before now because I came to the realization that they are now two sizes larger than the size I am currently in (yahoo for weight loss). I still wore them but I spent half the afternoon yanking my pants up, ha-ha! I retired them once the day was done….
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Evie (the three year old) has suddenly become a chatterbox and it was so fun to talk with her about pretty much anything and everything; that girl is non-stop! Mia (the birthday girl) was busy playing with her next door neighbor but had time to snap some pictures, eat a cupcake and come inside to open some gifts – I gave her two books on Amelia Earhart (her favorite) and a game that involves flinging goats – good times! Emily (the teenager) was nice enough to snap a picture with me but she was mostly interested in talking about how she wants to go back to school next month because she misses her friends….
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After all the partying was done, we headed over to Shepherdstown to have dinner at the Bavarian Inn – and it was absolutely delicious! The Bavarian Inn is an award winning restaurant and not only do they have divine dishes, they also have a really glorious view overlooking the Potomac River! I had the Shepherd’s Pie made with lamb, root vegetables and potatoes with a side of green beans and it was all so very tasty! I had a Champagne Cocktail with dinner (champagne, elderflower & limoncello) and split a slice of Black Forest Cake with my Mom. Every bite was excellent! 
After snapping a few pictures, it was back to home sweet home in Virginia and I introduced my parents to the delight that is Somebody Feed Phil – such a funny, entertaining and mouthwatering food and travel show on Netflix! Sunday morning arrived bright and not too early and after coffee, it was off to church and to grab a bite to eat for lunch!
The weather wasn’t too bad on Sunday afternoon, so I attempted to lay on the back deck and get some sun – which was fine until the clouds rolled in and it tried to rain. *sigh* I don’t know how much sun I actually got but I did get some reading done and I smelled like sunscreen all afternoon, which I love! 
The rest of Sunday evening went quick – a quick little dinner, a bubble bath, watching some TV and reading, getting my things organized for another work week and then – just like that the weekend was over! It’s almost the middle of July – I cannot believe it!

Five on Friday

One. Baseball Things – Well… strange though it may seem, Summer Training Camp for the 2020 baseball season started on July 3rd. The teams will train with face masks, social distancing and multiple COVID tests throughout and if all goes well (that seems like a big IF) then the Nationals will open the 2020 season at home on July 23rd playing the New York Yankees. 
Granted… it’s now the 10th and Juan Soto has already had to sit out some practice after potentially being exposed and two Nationals players (no names have been released) have tested positive for the virus. So – who knows if the season will ever actually get off the ground? Who knows if it’s even a good idea? Either way – I’ll be here, watching and waiting to see what unfolds with my Champs!
Two. A Very Fine Meal – Wednesday night my ladies group met at the restaurant near my community; Regions 117, for a group meal and as always the food was absolutely divine! Regions debuted a new extended Summer menu on Wednesday and while the menu had so many mouth-watering options, I decided to start with the Apricot and Mint Soup, the Smoked Turkey & Avocado Wrap with Sweet Potato Wedges and one scoop of Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream!
The Apricot and Mint soup was a chilled soup and was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone – but it was actually pretty tasty! It had a yogurt base with Apricot and springs of mint and while I thought it would be sweet, it was a little more savory! The Turkey Wrap was absolutely tasty and I honestly could have eaten a whole plate of the Sweet Potato Wedges… and the best part of the meal? The Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream was DIVINE – it even had pieces of cheesecake mixed in! Yum!

Three. My Sweet Pup – I just thought I’d share this picture I took of myself and my pup, out walking earlier this week. He was probably a little frustrated because I made him stop his exploring to snap a picture but you’ve never know…
I think that perhaps he even looks a little bit like he’s smiling – but maybe that’s just me!
Four. Salsa Chicken Bake – I found this recipe on Pinterest and was very interested in this recipe because it has zero Weight Watchers points and so I decided to give it a try on Thursday night. I will say that there were some bumps in the road on this one – but alls well that ends well, right?
  • 1 14 ounce bag frozen corn
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans; drained
  • 1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes; drained
  • 1 cup salsa; divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to Make It
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray a large (9×13 inch) baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In the dish, stir together frozen corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of salsa, garlic and cumin.
  • Place chicken on top of the corn mixture & season the chicken with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Place the additional 1/2 cup of salsa on top of the chicken.
  • Cover tightly with foil and cook for 60 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  • Remove chicken from dish and slice. Return to dish and stir to combine; serve.
*Just note that if your chicken is very large at all, you may need to cook it longer than 60 minutes. I cooked our chicken for 60 minutes with the foil and 25 minutes without – and our chicken breasts were not super large. So fiddle with the cooking time according to the size of your chicken! 

Five. Macarons – My sweet Mom surprised me with a box of macarons from Olivia Macaron, my favorite little spot in Georgetown! Macarons are one of my favorite treats and it’s been ages since we’ve been able to pop over to Georgetown (or DC… or even Tyson’s Corner, where there’s a kiosk) – so I was pretty tickled to get them!
The Lemon Meringue and S’mores flavors are the July limited editions – and they are both fantastic! I can’t wait to have a couple more this evening and I really can’t wait to get a chance to cruise around Georgetown again in the future! 
Y’all have a good weekend and I’ll be trying to do the same! 

Waterfalls, Fireworks & Rabbit Rescues!

It’s Monday and I’m actually typing this from my office – the first time I’ve sat at my desk for a full work day since Monday, March 16th – almost four months! If you’d told me I’d spend almost four months of this year working from my living room… well I think there are a lot of things I’d not have believed about this year if you’d told me prophetically but here we are! 
The past weekend was really lovely – especially because it was a three day weekend! The temperature on Friday (honestly, the entire weekend) was boiling but that didn’t stop the explorations – it was off to West Virginia to check out Blackwater Falls State Park and it did not disappoint! The drive was; for the most part, pretty stunning itself because it wound through mountains and the falls were definitely worth the drive! 
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The falls (and the water) have the look and color of tea – because of tannin found in the water; which is lovely for a cup of tea but makes the water look awfully dirty! Having said that, the falls were still lovely and the 200+ steps to the viewing platform(s) weren’t so bad after all, ha-ha! We decided to pop into the Smokehouse Lodge that is located within the State Park for lunch and the food was quite tasty – it was a nice place to take a break in between waterfall viewings! 
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After lunch we followed a trail leading away from the Lodge to Elakala Falls – the hike (if you could call it that) was only 0.3 of a mile and then you were at the falls! You could climb down the edges of the small gorge to get closer to the falls… and you know that I definitely did that! It wasn’t too bad a climb and I was able to get right up to the falls. If I’d had shoes besides my sneakers, I’d have probably attempted to climb behind the falls but I didn’t want to give my parents a heart attack…
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The Lodge overlooks Blackwater Canyon – the Blackwater River has wound through the canyon and created it over thousands of years; it’s a pretty impressive sight. After a final stop at an overlook of Blackwater Falls from the opposite side of the canyon, it was on the road once more – with stops in Romney for a quick look around a store and some Dairy Queen. Friday night was Hamilton viewing and I am all in on it – it’s one of the most amazing musicals I think I’ve ever seen. I will be anxiously awaiting the reopening of Broadway (not until January 2021) so I can make a weekend trip to NYC and see it live!
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WE5yNmd9PMU5k0a0x2t3XY6QGpmYizLE https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1hWuQ9jUo8KH0VRv07IlYk_TheTh-uoXz
July Fourth as a really laid back sort of day – which is definitely not the norm for that holiday but then again, this year is really so very different. I slept in and after coffee and breakfast headed over to West Oaks Farm Market to grab a few things to go with our lunch cook out – we grabbed a gorgeous little cake, some chips and some fruits and veggies. 
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Later in the evening I joined my family and some family friends to watch the fireworks in nearby Middletown – the family friends had a tent from their daughter’s wedding (which had happened earlier in the day) and there were only about ten people hanging around following the wedding, so it was the perfect way to be socially distant and still see some festive fireworks! The show was excellent and lasted almost twenty minutes – and before the fireworks, all the fireflies put on quite a display in the field that stretched out ahead of us! 
Sunday was a pretty relaxed day – after church, lunch out and popping into a couple shops, the afternoon was wide open and there wasn’t much on the agenda. We ended up going to get ice cream around 4:30 because I feel like it’s not really a July Fourth weekend if you haven’t had ice cream, right? I got a Fruity Pebbles ice cream topped with Birthday Cake shell and it was to die for… my Mom announced it was “too sweet” but nah.
The finale to the weekend was a rabbit rescue – which who’d have thought? I was sitting in my living room watching TV Sunday evening and kept noticing something out of the corner of my eye – and soon discovered a tiny baby bunny had fallen into the escape hatch outside my living room window. I knew if it wasn’t gotten out, it would end up starving or hurting itself – so it was off to rescue the bunny!
I put gloves on and climbed down into the escape hatch and after about 2-3 minutes of trying to gently capture the little fella, I managed to get him and gently lift him out of the hatch. He settled himself and then scampered off to safety – thank goodness! I certainly didn’t think I’d be doing rabbit rescue on a July Sunday evening but – when is life predictable?

America the Beautiful

July 4 fireworks and events across the United States for 2019 ...
Happy Fourth of July!
Our nation is filled with so many beautiful places – our country is blessed with such a magnificent and varied landscape and I’ve been blessed to travel around the country and see so many of the beautiful places. I thought I’d share just a few pictures from my travels across the great United States!
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Washington, DC
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Orlando, FL
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New York, NY
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Stony Man Summit, VA
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Memphis, TN
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Pikes Peak, CO
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Birmingham, AL
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Foothills Parkway, TN
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New Orleans, LA
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Mt. LeConte, TN
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San Antonio, TX
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Hoover Dam, AZ
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Burgess Falls, TN
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Mount Rushmore, SD
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Harper’s Ferry, WV
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The Badlands, SD
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Pensacola, FL
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Seattle, WA
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Colorado Springs, CO
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Portland, OR
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First Beach, WA
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Lompoc, CA
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Astoria, OR
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Washington, DC
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Shenandoah National Park, VA
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Las Vegas, NV
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Montpelier, VA 
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Santa Monica, CA
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Yorktown, VA
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New York, NY
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Mount Mitchell, NC
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Laurel, MS
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Niagara Falls, NY
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Oklahoma City, OK
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Washington, DC (National Park is actually Heaven on Earth)

I know – so many pictures! Y’all… I could have posted so many more! There are so many beautiful places in our country and there are so many I still haven’t seen! I know our nation is a bit of a mess right now – but she’s still a beautiful land that I love!

Five on Friday

Five on Friday: Local Ownership, Lead Magnets and Lessons Learned ...
One. Hamilton – Today’s the day! Hamilton is finally streaming in all it’s glory on Disney+ and I’ve resisted the urge to watch it as soon as I got up (mostly because I was going somewhere) but I’ll be settling onto my couch to sing along to all the songs this evening and I cannot wait! This will be my first time watching Hamilton and I am beyond thrilled.
Hamilton movie streams on Disney Plus July 3. How to watch the hit ...

I downloaded the soundtrack last week and I have been listening to the music almost Non-Stop (show reference) so I know most of the words and cannot wait to see it performed live! It’s likely the closest I’ll get to the show for a while too – the tour that was meant to be at the Kennedy Center has been cancelled and Broadway is closed through January 2021 – thanks so much COVID.
Anyone else thrilled to watch Hamilton (for the first time) this weekend? Something tells me I’ll watch it more than once…
Two. Three Day Weekend – I think this one is pretty self-explanatory… who among us doesn’t feel like Maria and want to run through a field singing when you get an extra day added to your weekend?

Hello THREE DAY WEEKEND meme - Sound of Music (59273) • MemesHappen

I think that I won’t be resting on my laurels this three day weekend though – I know I’ve got plans for Friday (waterfalls & Hamilton) and there will no doubt be some kind of plan for Saturday since it’s actually July 4th… not sure how that will work with the ‘Rona… and Sunday along with church I’ll be packing up all the supplies I’ve had here at home to return to the office on Monday!
Three. Waterfalls – Just up the Interstate about 2 hours (a little less) is Blackwater Falls State Park and there are TWO waterfalls to take in, as well as some beautiful West Virginia countryside and so I’ll be setting out on Friday morning to take in the sights of the State Park!

Blackwater Falls - A Deep Creek Day Trip
The park also has a full service dining room and so I think we (my family) will probably grab our lunch there in between or before taking in the gorgeous waterfalls and scenery! 

Four. My Dog is Cute – I couldn’t resist sharing these two pictures I took of Watson on Wednesday night! The little old man has been having some tough times the last few weeks…being on antibiotics for a bladder infection and sometimes the medicine makes him sick to his stomach. I know I’ll be glad when he’s done with it!

Ever the champ, he just takes it in stride and continues to be the happiest little guy there ever was – just pleased to get to take naps in the sunshine, go on long walks around the neighborhood and get treats at the end of the day! 

Five. Hamilton as a Thin Place – I wanted to share this article that Erin Moon wrote about her experience seeing Hamilton live and how deeply the music touched her… as well as how she saw the gospel throughout the songs. I will confess I’m not always listening to as much contemporary christian/worship music as I am other things – don’t get me wrong, I have songs that I love – but it’s just not at the top of my playlist…

Rambles of an Impatient Girl: #MusicMonday: Wait For It - Hamilton ...
I fully believe the Lord can speak through whatever medium He chooses – and I’ve been hearing His voice through the song Wait for It – and maybe I’ll share more about that at another time. I’m still listening, thinking and praying on that… *smiles* but please click on the link below and read Erin’s post! 

Alright friends (or maybe just my family… I’m still convinced they’re the only people that read my ramblings…) I’m enjoying my three day weekend and I hope you are too! Be safe – wear your mask – and have a good Fourth of July!

June Things

June – Sixth Month of the Year

Back to Work – That’s right… after SIXTEEN weeks of working from home, I am returning to work at my office on July 6th and I find myself looking forward to it SO much. Mostly because it will mean getting out of the house and seeing some other people from day to day!

How not to bring Covid-19 when we return to work - Times of India

There will of course be masks worn throughout the day and an abundance of hand washing and hand sanitizer and social distancing… but at least I can do so while interacting with a couple of my friends!
Baseball – I don’t know how I feel about it but baseball will (supposedly) be back starting July 23rd with the Nationals facing off against the Yankees at Nationals Park. The players are supposed to report on July 3rd for Summer Training but already a couple players have opted out of not playing – which I totally understand!
Yankees-Nationals, Gerrit Cole's debut to highlight MLB opening day
Just today the Scherzers posted that they’ve arrived back in DC – so things are about to get rolling! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to seeing some games but above all, I want everyone to stay healthy! 

Books I Read

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight – This book was a murder mystery thriller and it kept me guessing right up to the very last pages! It was my first book of the month and I am so glad I chose it; it hooked me from the start and I ended up reading it in about three days! So very good!

The Library of Legends by Janie Chang – A book I chose as an add on to my June box; it’s set in China during the mid-1930’s and follows college students as they escape from university and make their way across war-torn China. The book was slow to get started and I struggled a bit to get through it but finally finished it over the last weekend and thought it was a good little story.

Stand All the Way Up by Sophie Hudson – I love all of Sophie’s book and I especially love how she offers guidance and spiritual wisdom with a good dose of hilarity! I’ve joked before that’s she my “spirit animal” and I couldn’t agree more after reading this book! It was so delightful that I devoured it in 48 hours! 

Books on the Shelf

I have several options on the shelf to read but the most pressing are the Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa – they are at the top of the list. I also chose the book Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia as my July Book of the Month – so I have plenty to take off the shelf and explore!

Must See TV

Space Force – I confess that I don’t know if this is “must see TV” but I did watch all ten episodes when it premiered in early June (I actually think it premiered in late May but I didn’t get to it until June). It made me laugh… for the most part. Some of the episodes were just a little bit too silly but I love Steve Carrell and I enjoyed the laughter and lightness the show provided!

Space Force Review | TV Show - Empire

Movies of the Month

Well – I didn’t see any new movies this month but hopefully that will change as the second half of the year unfolds! I did get to attend a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Alamo that was put together by a friend in the neighborhood. I’ve seen Raiders a hundred times but I’ve certainly never gotten to see it on the big screen – so that was a fun experience! 

Tasty Treats

Oh man, what a month it was! I tried out a recipe for a Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Grilled Sandwich that was to die for… *sigh* and we had a salad night one evening for dinner that was just so very delicious! We had dinner out at Griffin Tavern and my burger; topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, chipotle mayo and onions, was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. That’s all.

We had brunch at Regions and their French Toast with Berry Coulee never fails to impress! We also had some delicious meals while in Gatlingburg; I especially enjoyed my drinks and food at Best Italian and the Orange Walnut Pancakes at Pancake Pantry were divine! 
Tunes & Talks 

I suppose I’ll share it down here because I didn’t read it, I listened to it… Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid; which took me a little bit to get into but once I did, it was all I listened to until I finished it! So good and especially interesting given all the things going on in the world right now. I also listened to The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah on Audible and absolutely enjoyed it – she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! The characters were incredibly fleshed out and the story line was captivating and heart-wrenching!

I continued to listen to The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, Crime Junkies and The Big Boo Cast. I’ve been listening to playlists on Apple Music that are filled with a variety of songs – some instrumental, some pop/rock, some show tunes – all right up my alley and I’m still listening to the soundtrack from the fifth season of Outlander – I love those Scottish-inspired tunes!

I have also spent the last week listening to the Hamilton soundtrack pretty much… Non-Stop (that’s a Hamilton reference, if you weren’t aware). I am in some serious anticipation for Friday the 3rd when I can watch the show on Disney+ and enjoy every minute of it!

And just like that – we are at the halfway point of 2020. What a year it’s been so far!?! I’m sure that this year hasn’t gone the way that anyone predicted and who knows what the back half of the year has in store? 

I’ve Got Next to Nothing

True Story – I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend and I have very little to show for all the nothing I did! I ended up going to out have Mexican food on Friday night and then watched a movie on Netflix… it was a very chill Friday night!
Saturday morning I ended up doing another three mile walk all the way to the clubhouse and back home – it wasn’t too warm but man the humidity came to visit this weekend and it was like walking through muck! After that, I went by the vet to grab some more antibiotics for my pup and popped into a Farmer’s Market with my Mom to get a couple things – that’s where I came upon the little raccoons in face masks! Safety first! 

The rest of Saturday was spent doing a lot of nothing: having lunch, reading, taking a bubble bath, watching some TV and going out to get dinner. I said I didn’t do a lot this weekend and I am not exaggerating on that even a bit. After dinner I popped into a couple shops, sat out on the deck a bit and then binged some episodes of Reign.
Sunday after church – it was off to the movie theater! It was the first time I’d been to the movies since March 6th and man what a treat it was… seriously! A neighbor pulled together a private showing of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark for the community and it was so fun to be able to watch a movie at the theater again! 
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The rest of Sunday was a whole lot more doing nothing – I read, watched TV, walked around the neighborhood with my dog while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, having dinner and sitting on the deck a bit. As I said – a whole lot of nothing!
This is the last week I’ll be working from home, so I’m trying to enjoy sleeping in just a little bit later, not having to put on fancy clothes and not having to drive anywhere. Things are going to go back to a bit of normal next week – although face masks will be involved – and plenty of hand sanitizer. Until tomorrow – that’s all I’ve got!