Some Light Reads

After reading Beartown I decided I was ready for some lighter reads.. 

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Synopsis - The world has changed around Missy Carmichael. At seventy-nine, she's estranged from her daughter, her son and only grandson live across the world in Australia, and her great love is gone. Missy spends her days with a sip of sherry, scrubbing the kitchen in her big empty house and reliving her past--though it's her mistakes, and secrets, that she allows to shine brightest. The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give.

Thoughts - I have read a few books with a similar premise.. a person, alone, closed off to life makes an unlikely friendship and then they learn how much better their life can be by letting people in. It was a sweet book but that was about it. I didn't love the character of Missy herself, I didn't believe that the relationship she had with her husband was really love. He wasn't a great husband, they both weren't great parents.. I just didn't feel this one.

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Synopsis - The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Thoughts - Just like almost every other person, I have watched a bit of gymnastics during the Olympics and that is about it. The book offered a glimpse into a world of gymnastics before the Olympics... kids putting everything on hold to achieve their dream of being an Olympian. The toll their minds and bodies take.. and what if you don't make it? This was a light read.. so all these very serious topics were very breezily touched upon. Doctors taking advantage of these young girls was also brought up and then very quickly pushed aside. And that was my problem. If you are writing a book about the toxic culture of gymnastics then talk about it.. make us uncomfortable enough to care. But Head Over Heels chose to play it safe and focus more on the romance of the two coaches. So while it ticked the light read box it also made very little impact on me. 

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How Do You Do Jewelry?

Being of South Asian decent.. jewelry to us equates to gold. When you are born your family gives you gold. Have a bar mitzvah like welcome to puberty celebration? Gold. It not always jewelry, it can be gold coins as well. Even boys get gold. It is saved and collected for the big day, our weddings. All those gold coins are then used to make jewelry to give both your daughter and daughter in law when she gets married. This is a big deal, it is often displayed during one of our many many wedding events so that guests can ooh and aah over it. Now I know it sounds very over the top but in most South Asian families women didn't work, many still don't. The tradition of giving gold started as a security net for the girls, if faced with hard times, a cruel husband.. death of a husband.. in the end she would at least have this gold to get her out of a difficult situation. Times may have changed but the tradition for giving gold is still prevalent.

All through my youth I hated the idea of wearing gold.. made me feel old. Instead I wore glass bangles and silver anklets and chunky earrings.. It lessened a little after I got married... lessened a bit more after D was born (babies pull on everything.. I thought he was going to rip my ear off). I don't have someplace to be every day.. and I am not really one to dress up to buy groceries and run errands. So my jewelry wearing has really minimized. I haven't bought costume jewelry in forever.. but I have finally embraced wearing some of the gold jewelry I do have.

Currently rings are my favorite.. I would make a horrible hand model..

I love rings with a unique design, a gem stone gives a pop of color which is always a great thing.. Some unique gold rings I found.

Some more incredibly gorgeous rings I found here.

I have never been one for thin delicate rings but these make me want to give them a try.

The detail on this one is incredible.

What kind of jewelry do you wear?
This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.

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20 Questions with D

1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy/game? Roblox
3. What is your favorite fruit? Raspberries
4. What is your favorite food? Pasta
5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Cookies and Cream
7a. What is your favorite tv show? Pokemon
7b.Favorite Movie? Bruce Almighty
8. What is your favorite animal? Gorilla 
9. What is your favorite song? Bad Guy by Billie Eilish 
10. What is your favorite book? The Percy Jackson series
11. Who is your best friend? H.C and AQ
12. What is your favorite city/country? Budapest
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play Cricket and Basketball
14. What do you want to be when you grow up? Dentist
15. What is your favorite thing to do with mummy? Playing board games
16. What is your favorite thing to do with baba? playing cricket and tennis
17. What is your favorite thing to do with Hasan? Watching videos
18. What makes you feel sad? Mummy Baba screaming at me
19. What makes you feel happy? Movie nights and Game Nights
20. What was your favorite thing about your birthday? Hitting the pinata 

To take a look back here are
20 Questions with D at 4
20 Questions with D at 5
20 Questions with D at 6
20 Questions with D at 7
20 Questions with D at 8 

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Time for a Few Celebrations

Friday was the kids last day of school.. hello summer! Now usually I love summer vacation. The kids and I are ready to break out of our routines, we don't do any classes or camps and just try to relax (in a A type personality semi organized manner) lol. But we are in the age of COVID and I have already had three months of way too much kid time.. so let's see how this goes.

Tomorrow is D's 10th birthday.. double digits.. so we threw him a surprise party over the weekend. It was a small close friends and kids outdoor backyard party.. we did our due diligence with social distancing, hand washing etc.. It was wonderful seeing everyone after so long.. Not a lot of pictures.. didn't even get one of the cake.. :(  But we had our first pinata

Sunday was Father's Day.. the kids made a coupon book for M

Our restaurants are open for outdoor eating but with elderly parents in the house we are still not ready to venture out for a meal so we did what we've been doing for the past few month.. Mexican take out and left over ice cream cake.. nom nom. 

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman


Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Synopsis- People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Thoughts- This was probably, emotionally the worst time to be reading this book.. it was gut wrenching, tear inducing and incredibly raw. I loved it more than words can express. It is book like these that should be recommended high school reading. I would wants my boys to read it when they are of high school age. I can't say much without giving it away but it dealt with race, bullying, rape, consent, homosexuality, pressure of sports, fitting in..  It was so beautifully written.. I highly recommend it to everyone.. I stayed up way past my bedtime compulsively reading through it.. 

PS. Upon further investigating it turns out Rockville, North Carolina did add it to there 10th grade Honors class and after parent outrage the book was banned. I guess I am not surprised.. 

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Thank you so much for all your kind words on my last post.. 

We are in June.. can you believe it? 19 more days of school left.. phew. Our summer vacation is going to have to be cancelled.. I am putting off cancelling our flights till we get closer to July.. we were supposed to be visiting family and friends in Pakistan.. M hasn't seen his sister in over four years. 

The kids take a crash course swim class every summer and we were just informed that they will take place as scheduled.. so that's something to look forward to. D is also turning 10 at the end of the month.. we are hoping things will open up a bit more till then and maybe we can have a little picnic with some friends and family to celebrate. 

It has finally warmed up and we had our first barbecue of the season.. 

We live in a semi wooded area so we are no strangers to deer roaming our streets and yards.. but it was our first time spotting a fawn as small as this one laying down as such. We usually see them sprinting around their mothers.. but here a mother was nowhere to be seen and the baby didn't move when we approached.. for a moment there we thought it was injured.. we were reassured by animal control that that was not the case and the mother would be back to collect her probably weak and tired baby in a bit.. and she did.. in a few hours the fawn had disappeared. 

A robin laid eggs in a bush near our front door.. but unfortunately a predator got to the little eggs before they could hatch.. thankfully there is another nest in another bush.. some finch eggs and a cowbird egg. Fingers crossed these hatch. 

M picked up a bird house to make sure our future bird eggs stay more protected.. 

After a month of no reading (was trying to focus on more religious reading for Ramadan).. I finally picked up a book :)

Did you know Daniel Radcliff and many others are reading chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Check it out here. And JK Rowling just released another book online to read for free.. check it out here and she is asking for children who read it to help illustrate it.

I also very recently started binging on Schitt's Creek.. if you like me haven't seen it yet you must.. it is the perfect light hearted show for the pandemic.. I am four seasons in and there is not an episode I didn't like nor a character I am not rooting for.     

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A Month Later

Hello everyone... Ramadan is over and it was an interesting experience.. we missed the hustle and bustle of the masjid, we missed seeing our friends.. but there was also a lot more calm.. there was lot less rushing to get ready, rushing to the masjid.. there was a lot less sleep deprivation.. the no waking up for the school bus really helped things. But there was also the monotony.. that was a little depressing.. So here's to a very uneventful Eid I guess..


Speaking of depressing.. we are into week 12 of quarantine. While some things have opened.. New Jersey has still kept a tight reign over things.. not that I am ready for things to open.. I don't think I am ready to go to a restaurant or the mall. Our school have officially closed for the rest of the school year... which is a good thing..

While our first month or so passed pretty smoothly the last few weeks have been harder on me. I am having more sad days.. we have had a few behavioral issues with the boys pop up.. tears come to my eyes a lot quicker that they would naturally. It's hard.. with sadness also comes anger.. I can not comprehend the stupidity and hatred of some people out there.. the selfishness.. that's when social media turns into a scary place.. But there are also some wonderful people out there going above and beyond.. I stumbled upon Some Good News with John Krasinski which I think is such a great place to get some good news and cry some happy tears. 

Boy has this post been a bumper.. but I know that there are many many people out there feeling just like me.. and well, you are not alone. 

Hope you all are hanging in there.. sending virtual hugs!        
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