"Are you still blogging?"
A friend or two or ten have asked me this recently, usually followed by a long pause (mine) and a sigh. "I don't know," I say. "I was working for awhile, but..."
But but but.
I mean, yes, it's all true. I don't know. I was working for awhile. But the regular work turned out to be not so regular (may it rest in peace), so here I am back to occasional freelancing, interspersed with dog-walking and children-collecting, culture-surfing and normal stay-at-home-mum-life-ing. And maybe blogging. I don't know. Maybe.
How's that for a here + now?
Now, on to the rest.
I'm a bit of a spy-nerd (um, hello, Alias? Spooks? Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?), so give me a good whodunit with just enough international intrigue to keep me from running splash-dash to the airport for another stamp in the passport and I'm a happy glamper.
Chris Pavone's books do that for me, but with a hefty dose of caveats. After enjoying his debut, The Expats, I devoured The Accident and his most recent, The Travelers, all in one week. They're hefty books, but the are-they-or-aren't-they-CIA plot(s) kept me glued to the pages.
The Accident was a good 24-hour thriller that one could read in real-time and feel just as breathless as the protagonist by the last page (even if its "twist" didn't feel all that twisty.) Similarly, I really liked The Travelers, even if one has to hold one's nose at the unseemly sexual escapades (which turned off many of my reader friends early on in the novel). Soldiering on in an attempt to ignore the aforementioned, as well as skimming several 100-word-plus run-on sentences/paragraphs, I found it to be a pretty great spy, double/counter-double, international travel journal thriller. I thought I knew exactly who was doing what about halfway through, but remained pleasantly surprised when Pavone turned my assumptions of who's who on its head. So yeah, ignore the lustiness (the term "love scene" simply does not apply), but keep reading for the espionage.
Also, Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling's latest in the Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil, was an icky-obsessive-page-turner, but I just love him and his sparring partner/apprentice(/true love?) Robin so so much. Apparently I will overlook a lot of unsavory aspects of modern fiction for the sake of (attempting to redeem) a good mystery. But now I need compelling fiction that doesn't make me want to hide from the world. Any suggestions?
Currently reading to my kids: The Secret Garden and Hamish and the Worldstoppers; and on my nightstand: Out of Sorts (Sarah Bessey), All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr) and Eligible (Sittenfield). Let's be friends on goodreads.
Have you seen The Night Manager? A made-for-BBC adaptation of John LeCarre's novel of the same name and it is so good. Spain! Tom Hiddleston! Spies! House! The creepy guy (and that other creepy guy) from every British movie! Olivia Colman! Six episodes packed with so much dramatic nuance and fingernail biting, it's crazy. Find it on BBC iplayer or AMC (USA).
Matt and I FINALLY sat down and watched Spotlight. Oh my word. This movie is quiet, dogged-determination and underlying tension personified. I loved every single thing about it - except for the tragically true reasons behind it. Which led Matt and I to ponder: what are the best films depicting journalism? Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Veronica Guerin? All The King's Men? Anchorman? Let me know what you think makes the list in the comments.
Also watching: convinced Matt to go all-in on Peaky Blinders (series three now on BBC2 or coming soon to US Netflix), Jungle Book in the cinema with Ella (so good!) and this fascinating documentary on Guerin (timely and sobering as Dublin is re-immersed into what appears to be a gang turf war).
Instead of listing all the podcasts I'm listening to again, here's a few specific episodes I've loved as of late: The Popcast's JJ Abrams' Deep-Dive (I especially resonated with Jamie when she said, "He's like my brother; I feel so proud of him!" Yes. Way to go, JJ). Fresh Air's interview with Tom Hanks, Longform with Kelly McEvers and Sorta Awesome's "ten friends every woman needs" episode.
I haven't written as much in the last quarter as I spent more time assigning and editing features for Vital (which I loved!), but here are a few of the noteworthy ones:
Taking a wee family holiday to County Kerry (which was two months ago, but whatever)! We went back to sleepy Portmagee, just in sight of the skelligs, and in search of Luke Skywalker... actually, in search of just a quiet week together. The weather was beautiful and our little Airbnb farmhouse was perfection.
Hiking in the mountains. In the last year, we've reached three summits! Pretty good for a tribe of homebodies.
Finally turning the heat OFF (in May!).
Great House Therapy (Apartment Therapy for Sense & Sensibility's Barton Cottage)
Eurovision. Oh my dear North American friends, Eurovision is something I can't even describe. Just imagine moving to another planet, populated with extras from the Original Star Trek, in a song a competition. Except BETTER.
Warm, sunny, nearly summer-like days.
Just the loveliest, 20 minute thunderstorms Dublin ever did see.
On New Paths. Speaking of which...
Running. I'm a new, reluctant, slow runner. But darn it, I'm doing it (using the Couch25K app whilst usually listening to Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me). I am surprised at how much I don't hate it.
Jack getting an award, From Each His Best, for making the school a better place. Of all the awards in all the land, the one I'd most like my child to get is an award for kindness.
Playing hooky with a friend.
Two calm, quiet weeks with the big two whilst Matt and Asher were in the US for a family wedding. Also? Seeing how wonderfully loved Asher was by his extended (and apparently new-to-him!) family.
Feeling healthy... for the first time in months. (also, new Cubs hat!)
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