Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Book Haul

It had been a while since I last visited Half-Price Books, a wonderful book store with fabulous prices. I popped in today, had a nice nose around and came out with several books to add to my 2019 reading list. It is a popular book store, I am sure the greatly discounted prices help, and there is always a long line at the register. I am happy so many people enjoy reading. It is very family friendly, lots of books for children and all at very good prices.

One of my favorite writers is Kurt Vonnegut, he is so succinct, so honest, so funny, and so good at pointing out the futility and stupidity of many things that go on in the world. He is a Hoosier we can be truly proud of. I look forward to reading God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian.

I visit other blogs, and a recent post was about a trip to the thrift store and some books purchased, one being a Maeve Binchy book. As I perused the Half-Price Books book shelves I saw a Maeve Binchy, one I read and enjoyed many years ago, The Lilac Bus, so I purchased a copy.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith, I am looking forward to this, it may be my next book to read. I watched a dramatization of the book several years ago, I enjoyed the twists and turns and the way the characters connected and interacted. I am assuming the book will be meatier than the televised production.

Then I found a DVD copy of My Dog Skip, a wonderful, gem of movie about a boy and his dog. My grandchildren love the movie, it is funny and at times suspenseful with a couple of sad scenes guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye, and most importantly it is good story. I am glad to own a copy, it is popular and oftentimes when I look for it at our local library branch it is checked out. Obviously we are not the only people who enjoy this family classic.

Last week I was listening to the radio and heard about an author who had lost her battle with cancer and died at the age of sixty-nine, her name was Andrea Levy. There followed a very nice discussion about Andrea Levy and the books she had written. Small Island was her "break through" book and won several awards.  My interest was piqued, and a quick search on my library app and the book was on hold. I picked my copy of Small Island up from our local library branch this morning and look forward to reading it soon. The book was made into a television program, and I hope after I read the book I can find a copy of to watch.

Right now I am reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I purchased this book for a couple of dollars last year at Half Price Books, it sat on my book shelf until last weekend. I am really enjoying it, and highly recommend it to anyone, it a coming of age book, a journey to self-enlightenment book, a very thought provoking book. It is an easy read, yet well written. I had to google a few terms for definition, Atman - Self, Brahman - God?, Brahmin - priest or holy man, this helped me a lot. This book is well worth reading and I totally understand why it is on so many Reading Recommendation lists.

Quick update: I finished Siddhartha this afternoon, what an absolutely beautiful book, a profound message. My initial take away thought, "As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen".

The final book purchased is for grandson Ralph, he is two and in the past week or so has come to realization that colors have names, although in Ralph's world all colors are called yellow. I hope he enjoys his book about colors.

And lastly, something that has nothing to do with reading, I made a homemade solution to clean my yoga mat. The concoction is 3 parts water, 1 part witch hazel, and a few drops of essential oil, I chose lavender. Once I week I can spray down my mat and give it a good rub down, keeping it clean and fresh smelling for a long time. 

I mentioned in a previous post that I was doing yoga with a You Tube Channel, Yoga with Adrienne. I started with a 30 day challenge, Dedicate, and tomorrow I will complete day 30. I have committed my time everyday except once, to the Dedicate journey, and I must say I feel stronger, more flexible, and can balance really well now, and this is only after 29 days. I will finish day 30 in the morning and start a new Adrienne challenge on Monday. I am finding the strength training from yoga and the stretching to be a great accompaniment to running, they go together like a horse and carriage!

But the bigger benefit to me is the way I feel after 20 minutes of yoga, stretched, relaxed, calm, focused, ready to take on the day, HAPPY :) It just builds on from the well being generated from a good run.  I think yoga is going to be a part of my day for many years to come.

We are battening down the hatches as we prepare for very high winds tomorrow, sustained winds of forty-five mph with gusts to sixty, yikes, I really, really dislike this kind of weather, it unsettles me and I find it hard to relax.

Well nothing much else to say today.

Peace be with you,


Friday, February 15, 2019

Currently Reading - Planning To Read....

I am currently reading a collection of short stories written by Diana Athill, the book is called An Unavoidable Delay and Other Stories. The stories are about our human condition, our thoughts, feelings, motivations,they could be set today, they have aged very well.
Diana Athill recently died a the fabulous age of a hundred and one! In 1952 she established a publishing house and worked with authors who are now considered masters of their craft, Margaret Atwood, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, just to name a few, she remained in publishing for fifty years. Diana published her first book, the one I am reading, in 1962.
I had never heard of Diana Athill, until one day I was listening  to a radio program called Last Word on BBC 4. Each week the program focuses on the lives of three or four influential individuals who have very recently died. Diana Athill sounded so interesting, so I used my library APP and found one of her books, put it on hold, and a week or so later am reading and enjoying it much.
I enjoy short story collections, there is something about the format of a short story, it has to be concise, the reader has to meet and understand the characters and whatever dilemma they are experiencing all within a few pages, and most importantly feel fully satisfied at the end. Diana Athill does this expertly.

Last week I ordered a used copy of Thornyhold, written by Mary Stewart. I paid $4.99 for my copy and that included shipping, what a deal. I have read this book several times over the years, it is a well written, entertaining story, and a nice little bit of escapism, something I need once in awhile. Another book I enjoy by Mary Stewart is Wildfire at Midnight, the copy I have is from 1977, I have read it countless times over the years. It is a love story and a murder mystery and takes place in the Isle of Skye. Mary Stewart is so good at setting a scene and describing the landscape that you almost feel as if you too have taken a trip the wilds of Scotland.

 I plan to read Thornyhold in the next few weeks as I am t really ready for some escapism, a bit of a mind vacation for. I think the reason I like this book so much is because the setting seems like a sanctuary, a place I would love to go to, a place to restore and recharge myself. Or maybe it is mid-February and I am impatient for fair weather and more outdoor activities and am suffering from a little cabin fever.

My next book to read is a book of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy, Feminine Gospels, I heard about this book from a radio program where it was spoken highly of and sounded interesting, I have only read the first poem, but will get into the rest of the book once I have finished my current book. Poetry is a genre I have little experience with, but I plan to change this.

Every so often I peruse my bookshelves and decide that a few books have to go. This week I did just that, and selected about a dozen books that I either had no need for, or would not read again. Luckily the handful of people I work with all like to read and I take books that need new homes to the office, put them in the break room with a sign, "Free Books" and wait a few days, most find new homes to go to, and those that remain get donated to the Goodwill. I cleaned out the children's book shelf in my family room this week, putting very damaged, worn out books in the recycling bin, and sorting out age appropriate books to send home with grandchildren. The book shelf now looks tidy and organized again.

Well that is all,


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Keeping Busy

For the past six weeks or so I have been occupied with a knitting project, four sweaters for our youngest four grandsons. Yesterday I finished the final sweater for Peter, he was very pleased with it. What a great smile Sweet Pete has! The other sweaters are pictured in an earlier post.

I enjoy knitting, it is handiwork that is portable, somewhat mindless unless at a tricky bit in a pattern, and satisfying as a project is completed. I think knitting teaches me patience, it is a calming activity.

I am now ready for a new project, one that does not involve knitting. Last April I popped down to Florida for a couple of days to visit my parents. While there my mother, who discovered the joys of quilting several years ago, gave me the quilt top pictured below for me to finish.  I will purchase a light green print fabric for the backing, a yellow fabric, solid or patterned for the binding, and batting for the middle. Once I have put the quilt together I will hand quilt.
Quilt top on the bed in our spare room, my childhood teddy bear Andrew, and Puppy Love keep a loving eye on it.

I find hand quilting to be very relaxing. I can work on the quilt most days, quilt for ten minutes or a few hours. I enjoy seeing my progress. I like to work out the quilting pattern, will I do straight lines, curves, shapes, what will I do in the borders, what color thread will I use, it is a creative process, one I enjoy, and one that I find meditative. Often when I am making a quilt for a specific person, they are in my mind as I hand quilt their quilt and I find myself offering up prayer for them, I like this aspect of quilting.

It is good to have things to do in the winter, and this month our weather has been atrocious, limiting outdoor activities. First we had snow, then extreme sub-zero temperatures, followed by a week of fairly nice weather. Then snow, then an overnight ice-storm, thankfully the ice melted the following day as there was a heavy coating on everything. The ice-storm caused a tree to fall on the power lines leaving our area without power for six or so hours, the house stayed warm enough but was getting quite chilly by the time the power did come on. Then in the evening the wind started, we were under a wind advisory all night, strong winds buffeted our house with gusts to forty-five miles per hour. Thank heavens the ice coating had melted or a lot of trees would have been damaged. It was a noisy night, and this morning it is still very blustery with snow. Oh, how we all are looking forward to spring.

How is it in your corner of the world?



Monday, February 11, 2019

Meal Prep Made Easy

My lunch and dinner each day is a combination of steamed veggies with a legume. To keep meal preparation easy I have all my veggies ready to go in individual containers in the kitchen refrigerator.

I store additional veggies in the refrigerator in the garage and as I empty a pot of veggies I simply grab more from the garage, cut up and refill the pot and put in the kitchen refrigerator. This prevents me from having to cut up tons of veggies all at one time.

A little floral interlude, I couldn't resist this potted tulip when I went grocery shopping on Saturday, it is a cheerful reminder that soon it will be spring.

In my pantry I keep a good supply of Old Fashioned Oats, some veggie broth, an extra container of almond milk, and a lot of canned tomatoes. I keep a variety of canned beans on hand, gabanzo, pinto, and black beans being my favorites. 

I store lentils, quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice in re-purposed peanut butter jars, they make wonderful storage containers. And, I keep a selection of favorite herbal teas in store, ginger, hibiscus, green tea, passion flower, and red raspberry zinger being my go to favorites.

Nutritional yeast is a meal time staple, it adds excellent flavor, and is a good source of B12. I buy it in bulk at the 3 Rivers Food CoOp.

I like to snack on raw veggies and always have a supply of celery and carrots ready to go, I add half a cucumber and a fresh bell pepper, it is such a refreshing, filling snack.

I like to steam my veggies, I keep this large pan on the stove, the steamer basket holds all my veggies and it takes about ten minutes to cook everything. I put the longer to cook veg in first, like brussel sprouts, rutabaga, turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, top with kale or collard greens and purple cabbage, then add sliced mushrooms, and broccoli, cauliflower, spinach. This works really well.

 I cook up a batch of lentils a couple times a week in my rice cooker, I eat a half a cup with a half cup of canned tomatoes at each meal.  I heat the lentils and tomatoes in the microwave while my veg steam, then add a couple heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Once the veg are done I dump them on top and enjoy my amazing bowl of vegan goodness, or as my mom calls it, my bowl of weeds!

These are the veggies I prepared for lunch today, I love the vibrancy of the colors. I about finished off the broccoli, so grabbed another head from the garage and cut it up to replenish my stock.

Now off to eat lunch and enjoy a refreshing mug of ginger tea after.

Enjoy your day,


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Lentils, Sweaters, One-Eyed Cat, Family, and Reading, Oh My!

Do you own a Rice Cooker? Well if you do, don't just limit yourself to only using it for rice. I decided to try cooking lentils in my Rice Cooker, and I am so glad I did, the lentils cooked up perfectly, and I didn't have to worry about them boiling dry and burning in the pan. I am quite sure any grain would be good to cook in the Rice Cooker, Quinoa seems like a perfect grain to try. And, I am thinking about trying a very basic rice pudding with some almond milk and rice, I will give it a whirl and see how it turns out. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

A little pot of lentils

Knitting project continues on, now three sweaters are completed, and I am working hard to finish the final blue sweater for Peter. Pictured are Masen, George, and Ralph modeling their new homemade sweaters - they seemed really pleased with them.

About seven or so years ago we had a one-eyed stray cat show up, she was thin and obviously very hungry,  so we fed her some beaten eggs. Later I ran to the store to purchase cat food and we have fed her ever since. We named her, very originally, (NOT), One-Eye. She is a fixture around our place, hangs out on our deck and front porch most of the day, prowls our field hunting small rodents, she is a very good hunter despite the handicap of a missing eye, and seems to have made her home in our barn. One-Eye is well fed, by us, and other neighbors, and each neighbor has their own name for her. In mid-January we had a heavy snowfall, I saw One-Eye wading through the snow on our deck to eat her food and that was the last time I saw her. After a week or so we assumed the worst, after all she is an older cat, and an outdoor cat, her life is not as cushy as it would be for an indoor cat. I was sad about her possible death and missed her morning visit to the back door. On Saturday morning when I was out on my run I said my final farewells to One-Eye. Later that day I was out and about when I received a text from my husband, One-Eye was back! WOW - how happy the news made me!!!
I am not sure where she was for two weeks, perhaps someone shut her inside for a couple of weeks to shelter her from the weather, if so I am very glad that they did. One-Eye is not a people person cat, she does not like to be petted or picked up, and she is not a fan of the indoors, once in a while she comes in, but she wants back out within a few minutes. 
I am so happy to be back into our normal routine with One-Eye, she appears at the back door every morning, I feed her, then she hangs out on the deck and the front porch most of the day, she likes to sit by the backdoor and look at us. Yesterday it was raining hard so I placed her food dish just inside the back door and after a bit of coaxing she stepped over the threshold to eat her food.  Masen and Ralph were very excited that One-Eye was in the house, I must say I was impressed with her tolerance towards their little boy exuberant expressions of love towards her, and Ralph even tried a little cat food for himself, YUCK! 
I think she is glad to be back :)

Last Saturday, after a week of brutal cold, it was nice to enjoy a very warm February day, it was in the low forties and the sun was shining! I met up at a local Coney Dog cafe with our son Matt, and our son Ben and his wife Taylor, I was watching our daughter Amber's five boys, so we had a total of eight grandchildren to dine with, I think everyone had a good time. I did, although I did not partake of a hot dog, I did enjoy a few french fries.

And, last but not least, this is the book I am currently reading, Death and The Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh, I am enjoying it. A murder mystery, it is fairly obvious who the murderer is from the get go, but that doesn't spoil the story, it enhances it. I liken this story to the came of Clue, just a fun little puzzler.