Cerebration: December 1, 2021

December 1, 2021

For the first time since I started book blogging, I took a vacation. We are talking over 20 years! I was just feeling completely burnt out. I’m still reading, of course, but I just needed some time to not do anything else. Well, I cooked for Thanksgiving, but that was it. But I’m back now, and the reviews will follow. Plus my favorite books of the year list are coming soon!

This is it. The end of the year is fast approaching, and all I can do is hope that next year will be better. Safer. Healthier. Less angry. Less violent. More vaccinated. What can I say, I am still an optimist, despite this pandemic and Trump/Trumpism trying to beat it out of me. I am eternally hopeful!

Something to look forward to – there are lots of great books coming out next year! Not that this year is done yet. I always feel bad for authors whose books come out in December. Especially novelists. They tend to get overlooked, especially by list makers and awards. December is a good month to publish cookbooks and coffee table books and other kinds of gift books.

Speaking of which, Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen) has a new cookbook coming out late next year! I love her. Did you know she started a YouTube channel? You should definitely check it out! So far, my favorites are Salty Brown Butter Crispy Treats (these take Rice Krispies Treats to another level!) the “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake, and the best Broccoli Slaw ever! I mean, I never even knew broccoli slaw was a thing, or that I needed it in my life. Thanks, Deb! Her videos are as adorable as she is, they’re pretty short, all are under ten minutes, they come out once a week while she’s filming, so just do yourself a favor and subscribe. You’ll thank me! To me, Deb is the next generation Ina Garten. All her recipes work.

The New York Times Book Review has just turned 125 and they are celebrating! This was posted last month – it’s a sort of history of reading in public in NYC with lots of photos. I am someone who reads all the time, even (or maybe especially) on vacation, and most of my vacation time has been spent in NYC since 9/11/2001, when I became quite homesick. I read on the train, I read while waiting for pretty much anything, so I can relate to a lot of these pictures!

Even amid the clamor of a city of millions, New Yorkers have always been able to escape into a good book…These photos — all drawn from The Times’s vast photo archive — show that, in New York, there’s no place too busy for a book.

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! My house will smell like latkes for a few more days. Then we head into Christmas! Then Kwanzaa! And New Year’s!

I like to take a minute at this time of year to say thank you. I want you all to know how grateful I am to my readers, my subscribers, and especially to those of you who comment or email. I wish you all a joyous holiday season filled with love, laughter, family, and good books!

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

*Thanks to the New York Times for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to this article, a lovely perk for subscribers.


Cerebration: November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

This year is just flying by – maybe because we are not stuck inside anymore??! I’ve been working on campus three days a week and I love seeing the students again!

Today is Founders Day at Lynn University.

Founders Day is the day that the Lynn University community celebrates the founding – and the founders – of the university. The first Founders Day was held on March 29, 2006 to honor Donald and Helen Ross as they retired after 35 years as president and first lady of Lynn University. Every Founders Day since has been held on or around November 1 to mark the date Donald Ross arrived to purchase the library books of the financially troubled Marymount College in 1971.

from Lynn University Archives: https://spiral.lynn.edu/foundersday/

Every year they celebrate with some fun activities – there’s a welcome breakfast, then later in the day a Big Wheels race, food trucks, carnival rides, music, and more. All the students, faculty, and staff get free shirts as well. It’s a lot of fun!

In book-related news, I have slowed down a bit on posting reviews. While I’m still reading a book a day for the most part, I am not always posting a review a day. I try, but sometimes life gets in the way! This week, for instance, I read The first two books in the Bad Bachelors series by Stephanie London. (I had read the third book a while ago, and just stumbled onto the earlier books.) I read The Wedding Crasher and the Cowboy by Robin Bielman; Highland Games by Evie Alexander; Christmas Grace by Mindy Steele; Neanderthal by Avery Flynn; Well Matched by Jen DeLuca.

I’m sorry to say I am struggling through Better Off Dead by Andrew Child & Lee Child, the 26th book in the Jack Reacher series. Reacher is one of my favorite characters, and this is one of my favorite series. But this is the second book by Lee Child’s brother, Andrew Child, AKA Andrew Grant, and I am finding it slow going, to say the least. I read on my Kindle, and I keep checking to see how far along I am, and I’ve been shocked every time to find I’m not nearly as far along as it feels like I should be, if that makes any sense. I’m sure I’ll finish it eventually but I keep putting it down and picking up other books instead. Which makes me sad. Especially since I had a similar issue with the first book authored by Andrew Grant/Child, but I was hopeful he would find his way. Now I’m not so sure he did.

On the other hand, the new TV series, Reacher, is expected to premier on Amazon Prime sometime in the spring of next year. I think the casting looks good – finally! There were two movies made, Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, and while they weren’t terrible, they were completely miscast with the diminutive Tom Cruise playing the 6’5″, 250 lb. Jack Reacher character. Cruise is always good in action films, but there was a real disconnect there. This was one of my favorite headlines: “‘Jack Reacher’ Getting Rebooted as a TV Series; Lee Child Says Tom Cruise Was Too Short.” So the new guy playing Reacher is (drumroll, please!) Alan Ritchson!

At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds (according to Amazon), Ritchson is closer to Child’s description of the physically imposing character (who’s described as standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 250 pounds). Reacher is a military veteran who lives a nomadic life as a freelance investigator and problem solver.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/amazons-jack-reacher-casts-alan-ritchson-in-title-role-4055686/

So, basically he’s a big guy (check!) and not too pretty (check!) The inaugural season is based on the first Reacher book, The Killing Floor, which is excellent, so I’m looking forward to this new series.

Yesterday was Halloween and we had a handful of kids come by. It was my grandson’s first Halloween, and he went out in style! Wish I could have been there, but at least I have pictures!

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!


Cover Reveal! THE HOMEWRECKERS by Mary Kay Andrews

October 14, 2021

PREORDER!

Summer begins with MKA, in this delightful summer read about flipping houses, and finding true love! From the New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads!

Hattie Kavanaugh went to work helping clean up restored homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at eighteen; married the boss’s son at twenty; and was only twenty-five when her husband, Hank, was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Broken hearted, but determined to continue the business of their dreams, she takes the life insurance money, buys a small house in a gentrifying neighborhood, flips it, then puts the money into her next project. But that house is a disaster and a money-loser, which rocks her confidence for years to come. Then, Hattie gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called “The Homewreckers,” cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. It’s a question of who will flip, and who will flop, and will Hattie ever get her happily-ever-after.

Filled with Mary Kay Andrews’s trademark wit, warmth, junking trips, and house porn, The Homewreckers is a summer beach delight.

I can’t wait!

Pre-order the hardcover

Pre-order for Kindle

Pre-order on Audible

Me & MKA circa 2016; it’s been way too long!


Cerebration: October 1, 2021

October 1, 2021

I cannot believe it is October already! Autumn is officially here, even in Florida. A few days ago when I left for work at 6:30 A.M., it was cool out, a nice surprise.

October is prime time for all those Christmas romances I love. And a Hanukkah one! So get ready for lots of holiday book reviews. I also just noticed that Hanukkah comes out early again this year. The first night is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is better than when it fell on Thanksgiving -but barely in time for Black Friday. Not to mention there are all sorts of warnings out there: “Logistical issues, including ongoing manufacturing and supply chain disruptions, may make the hottest toys and most popular gifts sell out fast or go on waiting lists. And they might not be available at all in the typical Thanksgiving-to-Christmas Day holiday shopping window this year.” So this is a good year to start your holiday shopping early.

The Time to Start Your Holiday Shopping Is Right Now

Retailers’ Latest Headache: Shutdowns at Their Vietnamese Suppliers: Factories in the country, a major apparel and footwear supplier to the U.S., have been forced by the pandemic to close or operate at reduced capacity, complicating the all-important holiday season.*

My husband and I flew to Chicago last week for a wedding, which was held in the Newberry Library. It was my first library wedding and it was beautiful! The library is old but renovated, and it is gorgeous. They posted a few pictures of the wedding on their Instagram, which I’m borrowing.

I was thrilled to get to hold my beautiful grandson during the ceremony. But when he started getting restless, I handed him off to my husband who took him for a walk around Washington Square Park, a registered historic landmark that is better known by its nickname, Bughouse Square. It was the most celebrated open air free-speech center in the country, and that was where the ceremony was held.

We made sure to have Chicago deep dish “pizza” at Lou Malnati’s, and my husband enjoyed the Italian Beef sub at Portillo’s. Luckily, both places had nice patios outside where we ate. We also hit the Museum of Contemporary Art, and my son brought the baby along. He seemed to enjoy his first museum visit!

Also have to give a shout-out to United Airlines. We had two completely uneventful flights, there and back. Everyone wore their masks. The planes were clean and they handed out wipes as we boarded. I never was much of a fan of flying and it is especially difficult during a pandemic. But we are all fully vaccinated and careful, and I’d lose my mind if I didn’t get to hold that baby now and then! Plus there’s this: United Airlines to Fire Workers Who Refused to Get a Vaccination. On the other hand, my son & his family had their Delta flight delayed and then cancelled, followed by a flight the next morning from NYC to Washington DC, an 8 hour layover, then off to Chicago. With a baby. Delta has done them dirty twice in the past couple of months. Last time was a trip to California (also with the baby) where they got to spend hours and hours sitting on the runway only to be let off late at night and told to come back the next morning. They are so lucky to have such a resilient baby who just goes with the flow.

Covid still in the news. Guess I changed the name of this journal too soon (it started out as the Coronavirus Diary.) I am feeling somewhat safe these days, even though I live in Florida with an anti-science moron running the state (and that’s the nicest thing I can say about him.) I’m fully vaccinated, as are most of my family and friends. I am working remotely two days a week (when possible) but that means three days of exposure to colleagues and college students who may or may not be vaccinated. I hide in my office 90% of the time. I wear a mask 90% of the time and 100% of the time when I’m not in my office. I don’t eat at work, I wait until I get home. I am saddened and confused by the vast numbers of unvaccinated people dying and taking up every hospital bed around here. I am even more confused about the shortage of ivermectin (horse dewormer) for the horses that need it because ignorant Covid patients are taking it. I don’t understand parents who insist on sending their children to school without masks. And worst of all, the unvaccinated health care workers giving their patients Covid. Check out this opinion piece by Christina Baker Kline (author of The Exiles, The Orphan Train, and many other books.)

Opinion: My father should be in surgery rehab. But with beds full of the unvaccinated, he died in covid quarantine*

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

*Thanks to the New York Times and Washington Post for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to these articles, a lovely perk for subscribers.


Three Months Free of Audible and Amazon Music

September 22, 2021

I am super excited to share a limited-time offer of THREE MONTHS FREE of Audible and Amazon Music—a fantastic deal to kick off the fall entertainment season!

Starting today, free-trial eligible customers can get three months free of Audible Premium Plus (normally $14.95/month), and three months free of Amazon Music Unlimited (normally starts at $7.99/month).

Amazon Music offers unlimited access to 75 million songs | Now in HD + Ultra HD at no extra cost | Podcasts and Livestreams

Audible: Feed a passion for entertainment or new skills with podcasts, audiobooks & Originals, or relax with a mediation or sleep story.

Sign up for both subscriptions: https://www.amazon.com/music/amazon-music-audible-deals.

You can cancel any time; after the three-month free trial periods, you will be billed at full price for each subscription.


Cerebration: September 1, 2021

September 1, 2021

Covid. I thought we were finally beating this thing but nope, that Delta variant is kicking butt. Especially in Florida where our evil Governor DeSatan is working hard to make sure children are hospitalized and uneducated, and that our seniors all die. I am not being hyperbolic here. His largest donor makes tons of money off Regeneron, the monoclonal therapy being used to treat the disease. Then he donates big hunks of it to the governor’s PACs.

DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes

The governor arranged for treatments to be administered in that stronghold of wellness, the Jacksonville Public Library, AKA the Jacksonville Regeneron Clinic.

Viral photo of people on floor at Jacksonville Regeneron clinic ‘doesn’t convey how much pain they were in’

The governor issued an executive order that local school systems are not allowed to mandate masks or vaccines. So when a child gets Covid, his classmates and teacher need to quarantine. The executive order also forbids distance learning, so children don’t even have the Zoom option available. Luckily, some school districts have defied the governor and have mandated masks in school anyway, but the numbers are still bleak. As of 8/26/2021, Palm Beach County School District Reports 2,249 COVID Cases. “Roughly 4000 students are believed to be under a “stay home” order, meaning they are either infected with COVID-19, or may have been exposed.” That’s just one county after 13 days of school, and that’s with a mask mandate.

Then this happened: A Florida dad tried to enter a school maskless. When a student confronted him, he assaulted her, police said. “Tensions are particularly high in Florida, where more than half the state’s students are enrolled in school districts that have defied Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ban on mask requirements, despite threats of funding cuts. Coronavirus cases continue to surge in Florida as the highly contagious delta variant rapidly spreads. The positivity rate among reported tests is nearly 20 percent, according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker. In the past week, new daily reported deaths rose over 612 percent.”

The New York Times ran this headline: In Florida, the pandemic is worse now than it has ever been before.

This is all stressing me out. Thank goodness I can escape into books! Plus I have my beautiful grandson’s pictures to make me happy.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

Thanks to the New York Times and the Washington Post for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to these articles, a lovely perk for subscribers.


Paul Lane

August 27, 2021

I was saddened to learn that my friend, Paul Lane, passed away.

I met Paul when he started working at the library with me. It was his second career; he had retired from a job in international sales and was bored. He was fluent in Spanish as his sales job took him to Latin America, and his wife was from Mexico. He worked full time at the library for many years, and finally retired for the second time a few years ago. But never one to sit around and do nothing, he volunteered with the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s department and wrote book reviews for my website.

Paul was an avid reader. We talked books for hours and hours (while working!) For many years, he refused to read any books in a series, but eventually he caved. Some of his favorite authors were Daniel Silva, David Rosenfelt, Steve Berry, Vince Flynn, Jeff Lindsay, Ben Coes, and so many more. He loved mysteries and thrillers and historical fiction, and when those were combined into one book, he was so happy!

Paul loved his wife and his family. While his life was cut short, his memory will live on.

Rest in peace, my friend. And thanks for all the reviews.


Cerebration: August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

Made it through July! The heat is kicking butt all over the country. You know things are screwy when New York is hotter than south Florida and new heat records are being set in the Pacific northwest. That’s just wrong. My daughter will be visiting Seattle this month and I am hoping the weather cools off. In August. Is that even possible at this point? South Florida meteorologists are busy watching all the tropical storms and Floridians are hoping they pass us by. So far, so good but it is early times so we are ever vigilant. But interestingly, heat isn’t the big problem in south Florida because everything is air conditioned. It’s the places in this country (and the world) that aren’t used to the heat and don’t have the infrastructure in place where people are dying. The NYT had this scary yet fascinating piece: America in 2090: The Impact of Extreme Heat, in Maps

Can you believe summer is half over already? The days are flying by, probably because I’m not stuck at home 24/7. I’m still careful going out but I go to the supermarket and Costco and Target and just wear my mask. Yes, I’m vaccinated, but a lot of people in my area are not. As the pandemic and the Delta variant heat up, there has been about 10% breakthrough for vaccinated people ending up with Covid. Luckily, the vast majority are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, mild enough to keep out of the hospital. Something like 97% of hospitalized Covid patients have not been vaccinated. Not surprised here. It’s just mindboggling to me that people all over the world are literally dying because they can’t get the vaccine, and people here won’t walk down the street to the CVS or whatever and get a free shot, no waiting. Ignorance is not always bliss. Nowadays, it’s downright dangerous.

College classes start up later this month and I can’t wait to see all the students again! Lynn University is going back to full time on campus, and hopefully, it works. They are not requiring vaccines but cannot even if they wanted to because our idiot governor keeps passing laws making sure people are going to die here. So schools who did institute a vaccine mandate (like Nova Southeastern University) had to rescind it. I worry because college students are in the age group least likely to get vaccinated, and Lynn has a large (20%) international student population, some of whom didn’t have access to vaccines in their home countries. They have kept pretty good control of the situation over the past year, and I sincerely hope they continue to do so.

Just recently, the ladies room in the library where I work lost its paper towel dispenser. In its place? A high speed hand dryer. Those things are known to spread disease so it really seems like a horrible idea, especially during a pandemic. To be honest, I was really shocked at this decision. I have felt pretty safe at work. They installed plexiglass shields at the public desks, a huge air purifier on each floor of the library, and hired a special cleaning service to come through several times a day. But I haven’t seen the cleaners for weeks and now this germ machine. Guess I’ll drip dry on my way back to my office!

The Dirty Truth About Hand Dryers

Cleveland clinic

The Bacterial Horror of Hot-Air Hand Dryers

Harvard health

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Lines is suing Florida after the state banned vaccine passports, saying it cannot safely resume sailings without ensuring its passengers and crew are vaccinated against COVID-19. They are even considering pulling ships out of Florida. So far they are losing the battle, but hopefully if they get to the Supreme Court, they will win. The court, despite the Trump appointees, recently ruled that Indiana University can require vaccines so maybe the same will hold true for the cruise industry. They had horrific problems during the beginning of the pandemic. “Roughly one year ago, thousands of people were trapped on cruise ships just waiting to go home. They would spend weeks, some months, in tiny rooms with the world watching as the coronavirus became all too real.” https://fox40.com/news/local-news/a-look-back-stuck-on-cruise-ships-local-couples-relied-on-wavering-hope-as-covid-19-became-a-shocking-reality/

The CDC revised its evaluation of the mask situation in light of the ever-rising number of Covid cases and hospitalizations. They are now recommending even vaccinated people where masks indoors, and that all students wear masks when school starts. Here in Florida, that is right around the corner. Palm Beach County goes back August 10, they only gave those kids a 6 week summer vacation, which is probably for the best considering that the latest report shows kids lost at least 6-8 months of school last year and minorities are particularly hard hit. So masks, again. The CDC says it’s not necessary in areas where more people are vaccinated, so if you’re not sure, here’s a map:


My beautiful grandson is growing like crazy and is still the happiest baby ever! I miss him so much. Please indulge me…

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!


Cerebration: July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Saw a story about this in the Washington Post and it made me cringe so hard! I did a little Googling and came across this on Yahoo Sports (seriously?) and just had to share:

A Pride & Prejudice -Themed Dating Show Is Coming to Peacock

Elizabeth Logan

July 7, 2021

This is hardly what Jane Austen had in mind when she wrote Pride & Prejudice! An overly formal, superficial, elaborately constructed, very public series of courtship rituals designed to create an advantageous match that will please an audience? Okay, actually, a dating reality show is exactly what Austen had in mind; this makes perfect sense.

Peacock is making Austen lovers’ dreams come true with its upcoming Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance, a new dating series that basically sounds like The Bachelorette with corsets.

Here is Peacock’s official description of the show:

“A heroine looking for her duke will sign up for the ultimate social experiment in romance. Transported to a Regency-style England, a group of eligible hopeful suitors will have to win the heart of our heroine, and her court. Housed in a castle on the countryside, set on a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills, the heroine and suitors will experience that with which dreams are made of. From carriage rides and boat rides on the lake to archery and handwritten letters to communicate, they will be immersed in a time-traveling quest for love. In the end, our heroine and her suitors will discover if the ultimate romantic experience will find them true love.”

If you’re interested in participating, the application is right here. It asks tantalizing questions like “Is modern dating life failing you? Do you long for a night of romance, chariot rides, and balls? Want to pursue love in a whimsical, international location?” and promises the selected contestants will be “fully immersed in a time-traveling quest for love!”

One of the fields to fill out asks, “Do you consider yourself a romantic at heart? Do you like romance novels? Rom-coms? Big romantic gestures? Explain,” but nowhere on the application, we should note, is Jane Austen actually mentioned. Probably for legal reasons, but come on. Not to be a snob, but don’t apply if you haven’t read the book.

There’s no premiere date set for the show, which is being developed and produced by Endemol Shine with Shine TV, but shooting is “tentatively scheduled for August 23–October 8.” If that’s not enough Regency cosplay for you, remember that there’s also an interactive Bridgerton ball happening this November. Basically, once Hot Girl Summer wraps, we’re doing Regency Autumn ’til the holidays. Perfect!

Originally Appeared on Glamour

You’re welcome.


Cerebration: July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

Summertime and the living is easy…

…especially compared to last summer! Life is getting back to normal. I’ve dined out a few times inside a restaurant and it was wonderful. I have standing appointments again for my nails and my hair. No more masks outside and inside, it’s often optional. If only I could lose the quarantine weight…I’m working on it but it ain’t easy.

Things are changing at work, too. Masks are no longer required and the campus will be opening up to visitors shortly. I’m an academic librarian at Lynn University. Summer is super slow, there are no students living on campus because Pine Tree Camp takes over the campus every summer. I actually worked for Pine Tree 25 years ago. It was my first job after staying home with my kids for twelve years. They got to go to camp for half price, and I got paid. I was the preschool computer instructor for two summers. The first year was great. It was an easy way for me to go back to work, having my kids nearby, and they had a blast. After that first summer, my baby started kindergarten and I got a part time job at Borders Books. I worked while my kids were in school. But the next summer, I had already committed to Pine Tree so I worked there full time, and at Borders part time. It just about killed me.

Closing time at Borders

Along with taking care of my family, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. And my manager at Borders kept asking me to move to full time, and at the end of that summer, I did. They were open enough hours that I could still work around my kids’ schedules. I would drop them off at school, go to work, leave in the early afternoon to pick up my kids, do homework, dinner, baths, put them to bed and go back to work. I worked these crazy split shifts for a long time but it worked for me and my family and the store.

All I can tell you is that working one full time job is way easier than working two jobs, as so many people already know. Sometimes people don’t have a choice, they need the money so they do what they have to do. My husband worked two jobs for years so I could stay home with the kids, then for the extra money for things like vacations and extracurricular activities for the kids, so I get it.

It was while I was working at Borders that I created a website as a way to keep track of the books I’d read and the books I wanted to read. This was 20+ years ago, when the web was just a baby. We’ve come a long way since then! Amazon was just a startup and in fact, Borders contracted with them to handle the Borders website. Yep, Borders paid Amazon to sell books online for them. This was not the brightest idea, and was probably the beginning of the end for Borders. The partnership only lasted a year but by then Amazon was on its way to becoming the behemoth it is, and Borders never really caught up with its online presence.

My website has gone through several changes. When I started, I had a free website hosted by Geocities. The Internet Archive has several screenshots of my website over the years. It is fun for me to look back, and if you’re at all curious, take a look!

Earliest screenshot from Feb, 2001: https://web.archive.org/web/20010220175319/http://www.bookbitch.com/https://web.archive.org/web/20010220175319/http://www.bookbitch.com/

BookBitch archives: https://web.archive.org/web/20210101000000*/bookbitch.com

When blogs became a thing, I started one up so I had the website and the blog. I wanted to combine them so I only had to update one thing. I also wanted to change my homepage to stacyalesi.com instead of bookbitch.com. I bought the domain name in 2011So several years ago, I changed the name of the website from BookBitch.com to Stacy Alesi’s BookBitch.com. You can still go to http://www.bookbitch.com, it redirects to the current blog. And I had a really talented web designer, xuni, give me a whole new look. They specialize in author websites, but did me a favor and I loved the results.


We took our first plane trip in almost two years to New York to see my grandson. I’m going back again soon with my daughter, but then probably won’t get to see my little angel again until September. Babies change so much that first year. I am thrilled that my son and daughter-in-law send us pictures every day, it helps ease the pain of separation. Now I understand how my mom felt when Daniel was born, we were living in Texas and she was in Florida. We moved back to Florida when he was 13 months old, but that first year was tough.

Nana with Daniel & my niece, Blaire

Everyone keeps asking what we are going to be called. Grandma and Grandpa? We started there and I was feeling like whatever he wanted to call us when he started talking would be fine with us. Then on our last trip to NY, we took the baby on his first road trip to see my brother and his family. Their grandchildren call them Nana and Papa, which is what all our kids called my mom and stepfather. When my son heard that, I saw something in his face, I can’t really explain it. But when we got home, I told him we wanted to be called Nana & Papa. It feels right. I know we have big, enormous shoes to fill, and we will try our hardest to be the kind of grandparents my son associates with those names.

It is so amazing that we can make plans again. Meet up with friends. Fly. Travel safely. Sadly, the crime rate is up, too, which sucks. But all in all, it feels like we have come through the pandemic to the other side. I know there are people still getting sick, and more deaths. But there is a vaccine available. It’s free. It’s easy to get. Yes, a small percentage of people get Covid after being vaccinated, but they are generally symptom free or have very mild symptoms. They are not dying, and that is a huge change. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, and don’t want to, I wish you luck. But I can’t help thinking of Darwin.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!