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Friday, February 19, 2021

Friday 5ive- February 19, 2021

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week.

1)  Sunday was Valentine's Day, and I saw on CBS Sunday Morning that Martha Stewart had a delicious brunch recipe for Grand Marnier French Toast. It was too late to make it for brunch on Valentine's Day, but I made it the next morning and it was so tasty. Adding milk to the eggs, and using a good brioche bread made the difference. This recipe will be in regular rotation. The video is here if you want to make it.

2)  I received my medal for my 7th virtual bike ride since this summer. I rode the 312.4 mile St. Francis Way from Florence to Rome in Italy. I finished it in 23 days, and I enjoyed getting my "postcards" along the way. You can join virtual walks/rides across the world through The Conqueror Challenge here.

3)  Zibby Owens' essay anthology collection, Moms Don't Have Time To- A Quarantine Anthology published this week and she hosted a Zoom with the 50 authors who each wrote a short essay for the book. It was a fun Zoom, with Zibby asking each author a question that related to their section. The authors of READ shared book recommendations that got them through the pandemic, and there were so many great books there. (My To-Be-Read pile expanded exponentionally.) The authors from EXERCISE shared their pandemic exercise routine, EAT section writers spoke of the food they couldn't live without during pandemic, SEX section writers answered the question "When do you find time for sex?" (mornings were popular), and BREATHE authors shared how they catch their breath during pandemic (everything from yoga to looking into a baby granddaughter's eyes to painting family members' portraits). It was one of the best Zooms I have had the pleasure of joining, and Zibby had it so well organized, it was over in an hour. The proceeds from the book go to COVID research, and the book is great for those of us who have shortened attention spans now.

4)  While looking for a documentary to watch on Netflix, we found Tricky Dick & the Man in Black, about the time when President Nixon asked Johnny Cash to play at the White House. In 1970, Nixon was trying to solidify his Southern base, which up to that point were usually reliably Democrats. Many Southerners were turned off by the protests against the Vietnam War, they saw the protesters as unpatriotic. Nixon's advisers thought that bringing popular country performer Johnny Cash would appeal to the South. Cash was opposed to the war, but he did not want to turn down the President. The archival footage of the White House performance is terrific, and the song choice is pure Johnny Cash. I recommend it for Johnny Cash fans. 

5) I spent a lot of time working on our taxes this week, so I only read 1 1/3 books. I started and finished Mateo Askaripour's hilarious and deep debut novel, Black Buck. Darren lives with his mother and when he is not working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks, he is spending time with his girlfriend. Darren was valedictorian of his competitive high school in New York City, but didn't go to college. His mother wants him to find his niche, and when a start-up CEO offers Darren a position as a salesman at his company, Darren reluctantly accepts. As the only Black man at the startup, Darren has to live with the constant microaggressions (a running gag is everyone at the company telling him he looks like every Black man from Morgan Freeman to Barack Obama) and outright hostile racism. This book is phenomenal, I literally could not put it down, I can see why Jenna Bush Hager chose it as her January book club pick for the Today Show.  I love a book when I don't where it's going, and it suprises me. I give it my highest recommendation. 

I'm one-third through my Book Of the Month Club pick, Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds. Set in 1934 during the Dust Bowl, Elsa and her family live on her husband's family's farm in Texas and things are going well until a severe several year drought and the Great Depression forces them to make a decision- stay in an untenable situation or head to California where so many families are moving hoping for a new start. The characters are relatable, and Hannah brings them and their desperate situation to life. She has a real knack for putting the reader in her characters' shoes, and this book has garnered much praise already.

Stay safe and socially distant, wear a mask, wash your hands, and get the vaccine when it's your turn. And to those of you have already done that, yay for you!


  1. I enjoyed reading your reviews and was intrigued by the zoom call to promote Moms Don't Have Time To

  2. Yay you on your bike ride!!! I'm so tempted to get a bike, but so far we've resisted. I have a copy of Black Buck in audio, looks like I'd better cue it up! AND that french toast: I must try.

  3. That looks like a great book list. "Cycling" through Italy is a great idea -- I wish i could do it IRL.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  4. Thanks for this. I added Tricky Dick to my watch list and Black Buck to my library wish list.

  5. That virtual bike ride sounds like a bit of fun.

  6. You're doing this pandemic thing right! Black Buck is already on my TBR, so glad to hear your high praise for it!

  7. I saved the link for the virtual walks and rides, I am going to have to look into this!