ERTR’s Summer Reading List

With longer days, vacations and travel booked, and the sunny outdoors calling, up here in the Northern Hemisphere there are an increasing amount of opportunities for a good summer read. I cruised through my Goodreads list, and here are a few page-turners I have gone through lately.

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline


Geeks, unite! This is an entertaining and nostalgic romp through 80’s pop culture as seen from a gamer in the future. Adventurous, mysterious, and a little teen romance because why the heck not?

“Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David

If you are looking for something a bit more self-helpy, this is a good find as it is both informative and entertaining. According to the book, emotional agility is being able to detach, acknowledge, and move through uncomfortable feelings without having them consume your life. After reading this book, I was very much more at peace with routine negative emotions I encountered (Awkward situations! Disagreements with family an friends!) and better able to work through them rather than ignore them or drown them in cupcakes and mindless Facebook scrolling.

“The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier

This one is a good poolside or beach read. I’m a huge Tracy Chevalier fan; I love the language she uses and how she pieces together a historical story in a personable way that makes me understand and appreciate the character’s environment. This is a sweet, quick read of a young Quaker woman who immigrates to America in the mid 19th century with her sister, who is to be married. After her sister dies during the long voyage, the protagonist relies on the kindness of strangers and her new American Quaker community to make a new home in the new world, while becoming an advocate and support to the Underground Railroad. It’s a story of courage in unexpected circumstances, and how to follow your intuition despite outside pressures.

His Dark Materials trilogy (“The Golden Compass,” “The Subtle Knife,” “The Amber Spyglass”) by Philip Pullman

I would say this series ranks up there with Harry Potter and the Narnia series if you’re looking for YA fantasy. I wish I had the opportunity to read this as a youngster, but I read it the first time a couple years ago and it absolutely haunted me, in a good way. It was one of those stories that I just absolutely curled up into and consumed. You know that feeling with a truly good book that speaks to you. The characters, the language, even the characters’ names and how the author used unfamiliar words as if in another language to convey you were in a world similar yet separate from your own. It’s a story of a prophesies, strange magical creatures, and parallel universes, and a young girl finding her destiny. Block out a good chunk of time for this one, because you won’t want to put it down.

“The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith” by Gabrielle Bernstein

I had no idea who Gabrielle Bernstein was when this book popped up on my Audible suggestions list last fall. Apparently she’s a big deal. But I was going through a tough time, and the title of the book seemed to tell me what I needed to hear. I mentioned back in last year’s New Years Resolution post that I was seeking a new method of spirituality, and this was the book that finally opened the door for me. Full disclosure: this book is a bit high on the “woo-scale” for me. It’s a collection of guiding principles to help you reengage and stay aligned with the power of God/the Universe/the loving and creative energy force/whatever you want to call your higher power and potential. Maybe it isn’t quite what you’re looking for, but if you’re on the lookout for something else to spark up in your personal spiritual realm, this might be helpful. Since then, I’ve read this book and listened to the audiobook maybe 20 times. It’s full of encouraging reminders to keep me centered and on my own personal track. I’ll be honest, some of the stories and examples she gives are a bit first-world-y, but so are most of my problems so there you go. I do think that you can apply the general concepts of choosing love over fear to many situations.

“Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food” by Melissa Hartwig

And I have to put a plug in for my girl-crush Melissa. The Whole30 program has helped me so much in my health and wellness journey, and this was the book that finally put the last of the pieces back together – it’s not as much as about the program as it is what you choose to do with it. It’s the answer to the question, “Ok, so I did a Whole30. Now what?” Hartwig walks you through the whole process, from deciding to do a dietary reset to executing the 30 day protocol you choose to how to reintroduce the eliminated foods to how to use your experience to build a custom way of eating that works with you, putting you in the driver’s seat for your own food choices. Spoiler alert: sometimes a cupcake is a perfectly good dietary decision, but only if it’s worth it, and only if you own that choice.

What are you reading poolside?

Go make it a great day!

This Week’s Workouts and Hold My Calls

I almost missed posting today. For a good reason.


It’s here! My “Food Freedom Forever” book arrived yesterday, and I’ve been curled up with a mug of tea devouring – nay, savoring – it the moment I had all of the Life Responsibility stuff tucked away. Which means I blasted home from work, threw pizza at the kids, told Hulk to pretend I’m not home, and locked myself in my room. Obviously.

Last week I was feeling run down, so I took it easy, sleeping in a little and going a little lighter on workouts. I had anticipated to hit it hard this week, but what is it with me and taking a week off where I have the hardest time firing up the motivation engine again? I know I love to go to CrossFit, I feel fabulous when I’m there, but getting the shoes on and getting out the door. I’d rather stay home and read in bed. So this week has seen more general lifting and hiking and less CrossFit.

Friday – rest day, I think. I can’t remember

Saturday – Saturday WOD:

  • Partner WOD for time,
    • Complete 300 double-unders,
    • THEN:
  • Complete the following in sets of 21 – 15 – 9 -15 – 21:
    • Pull-ups (I did ring rows)
    • Dumbbell Squat Cleans (I used 20# dumbbells)

Hulk and I took the kids to the gym together, so we partnered up for the WOD, which was great for me because I love double under practice and he’s really been nailing the kipping pull-ups lately. We cranked through the full workout in about 20 minutes, but I was getting a bit … “wifey” with Hulk. I was trying to be all focused and super serious, while he was just there to get a sweat on and have a good time. He would be, “what rep are we on?” and I would scold him back, “We’re on 8 of 15! You need to keep track on this!” What didn’t help is Buttercup’s cries from the kids’ area, where I could only see from my vantage point that she wasn’t wearing pants. I couldn’t tell if the diaper was off as well or not, so my only focus was to get the workout done so I could run over there and check to make sure she didn’t discard a poopy diaper in the play area (as she sometimes does if we don’t catch a dirty diaper fast enough for her comfort). Note to self: next time, put Buttercup in a dress. There are no pants to take off when you’re wearing a dress.

Sunday – home gym workout:

  • “Death by weight” back squats at 5 reps per set:
    • Start with the bar and increase 10 lbs per set

I made it to 125 lbs and only squeaked out 3 reps, so that was 10 sets total. And now the garage is clean enough to work out in again!

Monday – Strength class:

  • Anderson back squats, 5×3 at 60-70% max (I used 35kg)
  • Russian kettlebell swings, 5×8 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Weighted belt squats, 4×15 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Farmers’ carry, 5×200 yd resting every 1 min between sets (I used 53 lb kettlebells)

I’ve been wanting to try some of the strength and oly lifting classes at the gym, and Monday was a good opportunity for me to finally get to one. Hulk wanted to do the WOD at the same time, so we packed up the kiddos, he did the CrossFit class and I took the strength class. Mostly I wanted to check out the class format so I can do more stuff at home.

The Anderson back squats were a trip. They’re designed to help you work out of “the hole”, so you rack the bar at the bottom of your squat, using arms or other props. Then you get under the bar, position yourself in your squat, then stand up and bring it back down, sort of the reverse of a standing squat where you go down and come back up. I thought they were really fun, and can’t wait to try this at home.

The weighted belts were fun too, I’ve never used one before. It’s a weightlifting belt with a long chain in the front so you can clip weights (we used kettlebells) to it to add bodyweight. We then stood on boxes to provide clearance for the weight when we squatted, and cranked them out. It’s supposed to work your core and stability, because as you move the kettlebell starts to swing and you have to keep yourself tight to not fall over. I’m filing this one in “stupid human tricks.”

Tuesday – hike with Olive

Olive and I set out on the ridge trail at like 5:30 in the morning, so it was dark the whole time. I forgot my headlamp, but the trail is on an open ridge, and there was plenty ambient city lights to see. Olive loved it.

Wednesday – hike with Squish

I started to get ready to go to CrossFit when I went to pick up Squish from preschool, but on my way there I felt like I’d rather be out in nature with trees instead of the gym. So I asked Squish if he would prefer going to the gym with me or going on the ridge trail for a hike. He choose hike, and I was glad. When we got there, they had a huge herd of goats grazing the dry grass.


I’d seen them from afar working on the other hills, but this time they were right over the trail. I delighted in being so close to them, watching them munch the grass and casually saunter away from us. Squish wanted to pet them (of course) but I told them that the goats were working and couldn’t be disturbed. So he settled on talking to them. It was a delightful walk to remember. Oh, and he also found a stick.


It’s his “special stick”. I’m sure Olive will find it special to chew on at some point.

That’s all from me for now. How did you move this week?

Go make it a great day!