Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It is time for another Teaser Tuesday hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.  I have mentioned in past blogs that I am really enjoying the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton.  I discovered this series when I checked out a book on a sale table at B&N and then went home and purchased it for my Nook thinking it would be on sale there as well -- I was wrong.  In any event, it was a thoroughly enjoyable little read but I discovered that it was in the middle of a series and I decided that I needed to start at the beginning.  While it isn't necessary to begin at the beginning because each book appears to be stand alone with enough back history to fill you in so you aren't lost, it is a lot of fun beginning at the beginning.  The book I am going to tease you about today is the second book in the series, Aunt Dimity and the Duke, and my teaser is from page 23.

"I am Queen Eleanor," Nell announced, clutching Bertie with one hand and pinching the hem of her skirt with the other, "and this is Sir Bertram of Harris, and we do not speak with pheasants." "That's peasants, Nell."  Peter had known it would be a mistake for Dad to read the King Arthur stories to her but that was not the immediate problem.

Wouldn't you love to know what the immediate problem was?


Monday, August 29, 2011

Musing Mondays  29 August 2011

Musing Mondays this week is a meme! Here are my answers to this question --

What was the last book you --

1.  borrowed from the library?  "Sleepy Time"

2  bought?  "Return to Sullivan's Island"

3.  cried over?  "The Memory Keepers Daughter"

4  disliked and couldn't finish?  I haven't had one of these in a while.  The last book that I really disliked but did finish was "Bramwell Valley".

5.  read and loved?  This is hard.  I guess it was "In the Company of Others" but I am really enjoying the Aunt Dimity series as well. 

6.  got for a review?  Never had the privilege.

7.  gave to somebody else?  "Aunt Dimity's Death". 

8.  stayed up too late reading?  I never stay up too late reading -- reading makes me sleepy regardless of how fantastic the book is.

There you go -- my Musing Mondays!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Greening of Me --

It has been a long time coming.  I have been thinking a great deal about all things ecological for some time and have been working toward becoming a little more green, a little more frugal and a little more self-sufficient.  I have done a few things, here and there but nothing I could really "see" until now.

I love to read blogs and have really been having a go at reading frugal, simple living blogs.  That is how I discovered two of my favorite blogs -- That British Woman and The Maple Syrup Mob.  These blogs are written by two lovely ladies with lots of interesting posts, great photos and really useful tips.  Their blogs have gone a long way to nudging me into the world of green.

Them and this utterly deplorable weather we have been having.

It is no surprise that Texas summers are hot, miserable and real energy expenders.  So, I decided that my goal this summer was to reduce our electric bill.  I had been mentally working up to this all spring, trying to figure out where I could make changes without turning off the air conditioning which wasn't going to happen.  Since the a/c wasn't an option, I decided to run the fans more and adjust the thermostat which I did.  I have also been making a HUGE concerted effort to turn off lights and unplug unnecessary appliances and chargers and things.  That hasn't been going too badly except that I have learned that my husband has a huge tendency to leave all the lights on in any room that he has even just walked through but that is another post -- the care, feeding and education of newly retired husbands.  Ugh.

I digress.  So I looked at what I do use around here that are major energy suckers and the two elephants in the room are the dryer (electric) and the dishwasher.  So.......I bought this--

and started drying my clothes on a line rather than in the dryer.  My mother-in-law declared me certifiable. Then, one day at Home Depot I discovered a close-out on a dryer like this --

so I bought it.  It was marked down from $30 to $6! My towels fit on it very well because it expands and it fits in the bathtub beautifully.  After drying  several different brands of towels -- seems I have an obsessive thing about buying towels -- I learned that some really soft, organic cotton towels that I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond dry incredibly fast and are really soft when I use some sort of fabric softening agent -- usually vinegar.  I learned something else, as well.  I prefer hanging the clothes to dry.  I suddenly don't feel like a slave to the laundry -- I do some each day, nothing is piling up, it gets dry without me having to stand over it and hang it up.  Yes, I have to iron but I did that anyway so nothing is new there.  I was really surprised to find out that I was actually enjoying myself.

The next thing that I tackled was the dishwasher.  I hate hand washing dishes but decided to give it a go.  I mean, not everything went into the dishwasher anyway, something always had to be handwashed so why not just throw a few more things in the sink and be done.  My technique goes something like this --- scrape the dishes, stack them in the sink, squirt some soap in with them and fill the sink with the hottest water you can get out of the tap, turn off the light and go watch a movie.  When the movie is over, the water has cooled down enough to be manageable, do a quick wash and rinse (sometimes I fill the other side of the sink and sometimes I don't, depends on how much I have to rinse), place in the dishdrainer, cover with the dishtowel, turn off the light and watch Leno.  Much to my surprise, I am actually getting my entire kitchen cleaned each night.  Nothing piling up, nothing soaking over night, no mess to look at in the morning because it didn't all fit in the dishwasher.  Again, and very oddly, I am enjoying it.

I think the reason I am enjoying it is because something is actually getting accomplished that I can actually see.  The laundry gets DONE -- completely! The dishes get DONE -- completely!  It feels good to see, at the end of the day, that something is finished.

There is something else that I can see as well.  Today our electric bill came.  In the hottest part of the summer in what has to be the hottest state in the whole US, my electric bill was $20 less than it was last month! Not much, I realize, but to me it was.  I was validated! All my effort was rewarded with that little $20!  I was so pleased I was doing the happy dance! The Hubs sort of thought I was crazy -- for the dance, not the bill.  Little does he know that all it has done is make me want to do more, save more, be more self-sufficient. 

Thanks Jane and Gill! Now I am off to make more laundry soap! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

Ok, by now I figure my blog friends figure I have "left the building".  Not so -- we have just been unbelievably busy trying to sell an extra house, get all the financial dealing involved with retirement settled and trying to adjust to a new normal.  I will say that retirement is not for the impatient!!! Or inflexible! So, in an effort to get back to MY usual routine, I am going to do a Friday Fill-in!

1.  How in the world did I get this old?

2.  I couldn't find the magazine that was right in front of me.

3.  Life's great!

4.  Let's pack a picnic  lunch and head for the park.

5.  HEB Grocery Store -- that was where we met.

6.  There isn't one place that I think of as "our place".

7.  And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to nothing, tomorrow my plans include housecleaning and on Sunday I want to go to church and just relax.

So, there it is -- this week is going to be a more consistent blog week -- I am not going to play Farmville or Cityville.  I am beginning to realize that I need a course in time management.  Have a wonderful weekend.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't You Just Love Days Like Today?

Don't you just love days like today?  I used to not.  When I was young I always dreaded "perfect days" because I knew that it couldn't last -- it was the calm before the storm, so to speak. I knew the "high" was going to be, inevitably, followed by a low so I would prefer to not have the "high".  As I have gotten older, I have learned to enjoy these sorts of days -- to savor them gives me something to get through the not so perfect days.

It all began this morning.  I have typically always thought of Sunday as the end of the week rather than the beginning.  I have always felt like it was the end of the weekend, which of course it is, but I have always looked at it as the end of something instead of the beginning.  Today was different, though.  As I sat in church listening to an excellent sermon by our senior priest, it occurred to me that I was seeing things all wrong.  Sunday is the beginning of the  week,  a new beginning.  As Sunday goes, so goes the week.  It was an epiphany.  As I listened I looked around and realized how secure I feel in church.  I have always loved church and I have always needed church.   Today as I sat there soaking up all that was  going on around me -- the wiggly kids, the choir singing, the clergy in their robes and berettas -- the one thing that stuck with me was one line out of Father's message -- "nothing is impossible with God".  I needed to hear that.  The last few weeks have been jolting, mind boggling and emotion wrenching.  I needed to hear that sentence.  I am always amazed when the message seems to be intended just for me. 

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Larry the Lion

For those of you who witnessed, in a previous post, the creation of Larry the Lion, you might be wondering what became of the Weeble-like fleece thing.  Well, he hung out in my sewing room for a few days, just chillin' and getting used to life and  then came moving day! He was off to his new home!

Nobody said anything about being wrapped up!

Help! I can't breathe! Oh wait, yes I can!
So, after being wrapped lightly in tissue paper -- you can see the dubious look on his face in the first photo -- he was put into a secure gift bag --- big and roomy -- for his trip to his new home.  He got to ride in the car seat cradle in the back seat with Granny. 

Larry didn't realize that he was going to a party although he sort of got the idea as he listened to all the talking and laughing as he sat patiently waiting to be let out of his bag. 

The moment finally came and this is what he saw when he was introduced to his new home! And his new person!

This is funny!
Now for a big, Beanie kiss -- she loves him!

Larry is quite content in his new digs -- you can find him all over the house -- and he doesn't seem to mind being dragged about by his mane -- he is a happy little lion!