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Home Weekend Coffee

For fun these days

A friend asked me: “What are you doing for fun these days?”. My first thought was: “Nothing? Because of Covid?” But it is not true, I am doing many things just for fun. Here are some of them:

Learning German.

I am halfway towards checkpoint 5 in Duolingo. The last checkpoint is 8. Once I finish the course, I want to try reading a book in German. I have been watching some German series, with subtitles. I liked Dark, not so much Freud, but I still watched it, and a couple of not so good movies I don’t remember.

Keeping a diary.

I started journaling when reading the book The Artist’s Way. I confess I didn’t go past chapter 2 but journaling sticked. You are supposed to write morning pages and that didn’t work for me. My mornings are busy preparing lunches and getting kids ready to school. I don’t want to get up earlier to write. I write at night and I enjoy it very much. I write using a fountain pen that my husband gave me when we were students. It is a Waterman, not an expensive pen because we were on a student budget. I love it. I useWaterman mysterious blue ink with it.

Exercising.

I run 2-3 times per week. 5km each time. Not super fast and that’s fine with me. I like running alone to clear my mind. Now that is is really cold, I don’t enjoy it and I am waiting for the temperature to go over 0C. I am exercising indoors with free YouTube workouts, 2-3 times a week. A friend recommend me a YouTube channel named ‘Sientete Joven’ (feel young). The name is terrible but the workouts are fun.

Watching stuff on streaming platforms.

A couple of movies I liked recently are ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘ and ‘The White Tiger‘. I also liked ‘Arsène Lupin‘ series.

Reading.

I am reading The Journal 1837-1861 from Henry David Thoreau. People are now reading Thoreau because of Covid, isolation, and reconnecting with nature. I am reading this book because this year I want to read journals. After Thoreau I want to read the Diary of Anaïs Nin and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. In between reading Thoreau, I finished a detective novel, not a diary, from Helene Tursten: Detective Inspector Huss. It was ok, entertaining but not enough to read the following books.

Learning ‘computering’ stuff.

I am revising algorithms and data structures. I started with a course from Stanford University . Then I switched to a book that is more fun and approachable: Grokking Algorithms. I switched because I recommended the book to someone, and I didn’t want to recommend something I hadn’t finished. It is a very good book. Now I can go back to the academic course. And I am eternally doing the testing JavaScript course from Kent C. Dods. Eternally because I can’t seem to get into it. In the meantime I write tests and learn on my own. Maybe this course was not for me.

Special drinks.

Mainly wine and the local Wisconsin beers. Sometimes my husband makes mojitos. I make a made-up cocktail of Spanish Vermouth La Cuesta, lime and Gin. All with moderation, of course.

Scrolling on the phone.

I like reading blogs. Some are from random people that I don’t know. Some have a more stablished audience, like Brain Pickings. I also like Instagram. I like seeing pictures from people I know. I also follow artists, museums, musicians and illustrators. Stuart Semple has a fun and engaged account. Feu Chatterton has been presenting their new record. David Lebovitz lives not far from where I used to live in Paris and gives me ideas of things to cook. And I have a subscription to the NYT, even if the news can be not fun to read most of the time.

Painting, cooking, reading and watching movies with the kids.

We have been doing a lot of watercolors. So many possibilities from a tiny box of colors, and they last very long. The paper is expensive though. We have also baked cookies, grilled steaks, made pizzas and ‘bizcochos’ together. I have read books to them. Some are taking very long, like Dune. And we have watched movies that I loved, like Soul and others I liked meh, like some Avengers movies.

So yes, I guess I have been doing many things for fun.

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Books Home Weekend Coffee

46 days

I finished ‘Du côté de chez Swann‘ by Proust. That was my quarantine read. There are 5 more volumes but not yet. I liked it when Swann idealizes Colette through Vermeer portraits. Vermeer portraits are beautiful. Krista Tippet, on the On Being podcast, interviews Stephen Batchelor about ‘Finding Ease in Aloneness’. They talk about Vermeer portraits.

The new album by Fiona Apple reminds me of Frank Zappa. I am no music critic. I just like it. My husband would probably disagree about the ressemblance, he is a big Frank Zappa fan. 24 years ago, when we started dating, he would listen to it all the time. When we lived in Paris, there was a bar in Rue Oberkampf that also played Frank Zappa. We named it ‘El Zappa’. It has probably been gentrified. I started a Tumblr where I put songs I like.

My cat Rasputín has stress. He overgrooms himself. We have hormone diffusers and a cream that he licks from his paws. I thought about giving it to the kids on days where they fight non stop. I haven’t. Yet.

It is 10am Saturday, I am wearing my ugliest pyjama, drinking coffee from a mug painted by my daughter, there is a lonely banana in the fruit bowl. The kids play video games. My neighbor has been cleaning the garden with his kids for an hour. I thought about unfollowing him to avoid the guilt but this is not Instagram. I am going to have a second coffee instead.

Good morning.

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personal growth Weekend Coffee

Coffee Break #9: Dealing with disappointment.

Nothing serious going on but I am waiting to go back to work without a deadline. Some days, it is hard.

These are things that help me deal with disappointment (no magic potion on my side, mostly common sense):

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Gardening Nature Weekend Coffee

Coffee break #8: First days in Brookfield.

Brookfield summer is hot and sunny, we love the house we rented, people are really friendly, Milwaukee is only minutes away and Brookfield library lets you borrow up to 125 books at a time.

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Weekend Coffee

Weekend Coffee #7: Moving to Wisconsin, Python for Kids and a Song

Next Monday the movers are coming, they will empty our house and put our things on their way to Wisconsin. We will fly a few weeks later. We will have spent 3 years in Lamorlaye, France. I wanted to declutter as much as possible but time is ticking, and it is more fun to meet friends, drink wine and eat pains au chocolat, baguettes, fromage … I feel like I have disappointed Marie Kondo.


In the garden we had a rose. Plants that survive me deserve special attention. I am really bad at gardening. My father would have liked it.

Rose in Lamorlaye

I went to Paris, walked for hours around the city, stopped at WMSmith, and had lunch with a friend at Les Tuilleries. It is hard to say goodbye. It was grey, it rained, still beautiful.


I am excited that I am going to start working with a coach. Automattic gives me that chance and I am planning to make the most out of it. Moving to another country is an opportunity to reflect, change and grow.


Summer holidays are here with tons of free time for the kids. I bought Pablo a Python online course in Udemy ( https://www.udemy.com/teach-your-kids-to-code/learn/v4/overview ) and asked him to do one hour per day. He likes it so far and has done 15% of the course. Let’s see if it works because we tried before a book “JavaScript for Kids” and he got bored very quickly.


I have been reading Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I really liked the first 300 pages, learning about the pioneers, the Homestead Act and all the miseries. I am now getting  a bit bored of the mother-daughter relationship and mixing it with Pachinko, that I am loving. I am liking better the Korean family saga than the American one. There is danger in that, we are not in the US yet and I am already thinking about other places… This time I plan to fight the itch. 


And a song from the latest album of Arctic Monkeys:


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