Sunday Bookends: slow summer days, slow reading, slow everything

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to and What I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in review in the comments.

What I’ve Been Up To

I haven’t been up to a ton this week. We did visit my parents a couple of times so we could go swimming since our area was hit with a short heatwave. I think we will also go swimming later today because it is supposed to be in the low 90s (yes, Arizona people.. I know that is not really hot. 😉)

We visited a local farm earlier in the week and ended up with a flat tire but I’m planning a separate post on that for later in the week.

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading very slow these days but am going back and forth between books. I am still reading By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates. I don’t know why I am reading it so slowly other than I’ve been switching between it and A Long Time Comin’ but Robin Pearson the last few days and I also find myself playing with the little one throughout the day and that takes up quite a bit of time. Plus cooking and taking the dog in and out. I’m not cleaning because I’m a huge cleaning failure. My husband is a cleaning success story, however.

What I’m Watching:

I watched a movie called Heritage Falls with David Keith, Coby Ryan McLaughlin, and Keenan Johnson this past week. I was pleasant suprised because it seemed like one of those faith-based independent films and they aren’t always great. This movie, however, was well, written, well-acted, and not predictable or cliche.

It was about a father and son who aren’t having a great relationship and the son is also having a challenging time with his teenage son. To try to mend things between his son and him the grandfather takes them all on a camping trip and during that time all three end up bonding and at least working through some of their issues. It was much more entertaining than I expected and also had me reaching for tissues a couple of times.

I also watched The Fitzgerald Family Christmas which was much different than Heritage Falls in some ways and very similar in others. What was different was the language (much more colorful) and what was similar was it was a movie full of a family talking things out and working through past family hurts involving a father. It isn’t a movie I would normally click on but I needed something different so I tried it out.

Sometimes I find a gem in the list of cruddy movies stream services offer and this week I found two (both on Amazon prime).

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas starred Edward Burns, who also wrote it.

What I’m Listening To:

I’ve been listening to the music my son has been listening to lately and it is interesting to see him developing his own taste in music. It’s nothing like what I expected. On his listening list lately has been John Denver, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Queen, Marvin Gaye, Hozier, AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and the Grateful Dead to name a few. I’m not fans of all of these but I try to listen to a few of them with him. Maybe I can push some Needtobreathe, George Straight, Marc Martel, TobyMac, and early Mumford and Sons on him this week but I doubt it. He’s not interested in much of his “mom’s music” these days. And I thought my music was “hip” and “cool.” Hmmm..oh well.

What I’m Writing:

I’m still working on The Farmer’s Daughter and shared another chapter this week.

I’m also still working on Fully Alive.

I wrote about visiting an old stone railroad bridge in Nicholson, PA.

Photos from the week

The Week in Photos

We didn’t do a ton this past week between homeschooling and my working on the novel and stock images, but last weekend we spent some time with my parents who celebrated 56 years of marriage, visited a re-enactment type event near us, and attended a family reunion. Here are some photos from some of those events at the rest of the week.

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The week(s) in photos

I thought I’d share a few photos from last week and this week. I meant to post this Saturday, but I was behind on editing and didn’t get a chance to catch up until yesterday.

We had a great week of a couple day trips, with my husband being on vacation, and then ended his vacation time with a date to see Avengers Endgame. Of course, my husband and son saw it opening weekend because both are legit comicbook fans (with my husband reading and collecting them almost his entire life) and they wouldn’t have survived waiting to find out how the epic movie series ended. I don’t plan to spoil the movie in case anyone hasn’t seen it yet, but it is well worth the three hours and really did bring the series to a satisfying conclusion, as star Chris Evans (Captain America) said in a recent interview.

Several of this week’s photos will showcase our trip to Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y., which is about an hour and a half from our house. This is a trip we have been taking at least once a year for the last couple of years since April the Giraffe gave birth to her baby Tajiri. My aunt lives less than 30 minutes from the park so we usually stop to see her when we are there.

If you don’t know, the park, because of April, went viral a couple of years ago when everyone and their brother found themselves watching Youtube to see April give birth. Giraffes gestate for 15 months so the wait was a bit long, but finally, the baby was safely born.

It’s a fairly rare thing to see a giraffe have a baby since in the wild they do so in secret to keep predators away. Now that “baby” is about 3 and April has given birth to another baby. Tajiri, the first baby, was set to be moved to another facility this past Fall, but the other facility had not prepared properly and Animal Adventure Park pulled out of the deal and built a new home for Tajiri and a new mate, Jahari.

What is nice about the park is how close you can get to many of the animals, such as the giraffes. You can literally look up and have a giraffe nose right in your face as you feed them carrots from an observation deck. You can also hand feed many of the other animals, include antelope, goats, llamas and turtles.

So there you go – you now know more about the giraffes in this Upstate New York zoo that you probably ever wanted to know.  In case you care, Animal Adventure Park also features 49 mammals, 29 birds and 24 cold-blooded animals. Stats are courtesy of the essay I made my son write on the trip for his English class (he’s homeschooled).

(note: all images are copyrighted by Lisa R. Howeler, 2019. For permission to use or licensing please contact me via this site or at



I have no idea who this lady is but I loved watching her with the giraffes because she just chatted along with them as she fed them. She reminded me of my Aunt Dianne, who I miss very much.