I hope you’re in the mood for a Random Thoughts post. Here are some of the things on my mind, including some of the bright spots we’ve experienced over the last couple of months.

-Have you already watched Little Fires Everywhere? I keep thinking about it. It’s a recent show on Hulu. It was being shared one episode each week, but the first season is officially out, so you can binge the whole thing at once if you’d like. The main characters are played by Kerri Washington and Reese Witherspoon and the acting is SO GOOD. The story is compelling and complicated, and I love that they used actual children to play the children. I was so happy every time there was a new episode to watch.

-I’m sick to my stomach about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. It makes me so angry. They hunted him down like he was prey. They killed him because he was black. It happened two months ago and we’re just now hearing about it. It’s horrific. The corruption and injustice are a cancer, and I want to cut them out.

-At the beginning of quarantine, Oscar decided to try making cinnamon rolls, and they were so good we’ve made them 3 more times. I’m not sure why, but cinnamon baked goods aren’t really a thing in France, and there’s nothing similar to a cinnamon roll sold in bakeries here. (There is something that looks a bit similar, called a Pain au Raisin, but don’t be fooled! It’s delicious, but it’s not a cinnamon roll at all.)

It’s been interesting because with the stress, we’ve been craving comfort foods. But we’re far from home and can’t get the ready made versions of what we’re craving, so we’ve needed to make them from scratch. It’s been a good push for us cooking-wise.

-Speaking of which, Betty has been making No Bake Cookies almost weekly. Last time we lived in France, we really had to make an effort to track down peanut butter. But this time around, the organic section of the grocery store always has a couple of options. Hooray!

-Olive talked me into a pair of Levi’s 501 originals and I’ve been wearing them pretty much nonstop for the last two months. They’re the kind with no stretch and they sit at your waistline. I’m quite sure I had a pair in my teens. I remember seeking them out with the original deep blue color, when they hadn’t been pre-washed at all and were totally stiff. And then you would just wear the heck out of them until they faded and became worn in. Anyone else? (This version is on sale for $20).

-Our old congregation in Oakland has been holding online church services sometimes on Zoom. Ben Blair and I joined the call on Easter Sunday and I loved it so much. I miss our California friends and family.

-We bought a puzzle years ago when we lived in France before. It’s a big one — 1500 pieces — and is an image of Mont St. Michel. We started it once or twice but never finished it, and we left it here in storage when we moved away. A week or so into quarantine, we pulled it out again and this time I was determined to finish it.

But oh my it took waaaay too long to finish, and by the end we realized we were missing four pieces (I’m sure they were lost during earlier attempts at putting it together), and had stained a few others (pro-tip: don’t eat chips and puzzle at the same time). There was one broken piece as well. It was such a hot mess! And still, I could not believe how accomplished I felt at the end. Hah!

Then we took a few photos and immediately threw the whole thing away. : )

-I finally tried Rothys shoes, and I think I’ve officially been influenced by a social media ad. I picked a pointy-toed yellow flat that I knew would get dirty, and just like they promised, the flats clean up in the washing machine like new. I admit, I’m impressed. I would normally avoid something like a yellow flat because I know they would look dirty after only a few wears, so this feels like a game changer to me.

Also, I love the look of wearing flats or summer sneakers without socks, but I haven’t had any luck with no-show socks that don’t slip off my heels. And if I don’t wear socks, the shoes get stinky. So I’m doubly happy I can throw these in the wash as needed.

-We’ve had a big unopened box of Magnatiles for a couple of years. They mistakenly got packed away and never used. We found them again during the move and finally opened them during quarantine and they’ve been such a hit. I love building toys.

-It’s a birthday week at our house. Betty Blair turns 14, and Flora June Blair turns 10. Is it really possible our youngest child is officially in the double digits? I’m so grateful for healthy, growing children.

Obviously we’ll be having simple celebrations at home. It’s strange not to celebrate with friends or go out for a family adventure, but Betty & Flora June are both being great sports about it. I suppose it will become another memory in their quarantine experience — something their birthday peers around the world can relate to.

I think that’s it for now. Please feel free to respond to my random thoughts, or you can leave your own random thoughts in the comments. I always love to hear what’s on your mind.

P.S. — More random thoughts.