Monday, December 31, 2012

Well, Hello 2013, Glad to Meet You!

Happy New Year to all who might happen by here.  I no longer stay up until midnight to see the new year in so I am doing my well-wishing now.  I hope 2013 brings all of you good health and much happiness -- if you have those two things you have everything!

I am not sure why the idea of a new year is so intriguing -- seriously, I don't expect tomorrow to be vastly different than today but the new year is like a new beginning, a chance to start over, to right wrongs, to new towels at the January white sales!

I don't do resolutions anymore.  I never keep them and they usually involve sweets and soda and weight loss and, by now, we know that isn't going to happen.  I am usually breaking the resolution as I write it down!  This year I am just thinking in terms of doing things better, being more focused in the things I do, trying to make my little part of the world a better place.  I am also thinking a good deal about how I spend my time.  Over the last several months I have been thinking about being more discerning about doing things I really want to do and not what the world thinks I should do.  These thoughts have also lead me to think about who I am and how I am and how I am fortunate to have gotten to the point that I can pretty much be comfortable with who I am and not feel like I have to meet some sort of society driven expectation of what I should be.  Isn't it a shame that we have to wait until we are old to be happy in our own skin.  I guess that falls under the heading "20-20 Hindsight".  Ah, well, I look forward to the next year being one of contentment.

I have spent a good deal of time in 2012 researching minimalist living and frugal living.  This all began with our rather abrupt retirement a year and a half ago.  I wasn't prepared emotionally for the changes in our life and, as things like this usually do, I was sent into a tail spin.  We made quite a few changes to our life style -- some good that we retained and some not so good that we discarded.

One of these best things we did this year was change our cell phone plan.  We are not "smart phone" people -- I even went back to a basic flip phone -- so when our children decided to go out on their own we decided to give up our "family plan" and opt for pay as your go plans.  Hubs has 1000 minutes that he can keep for up to a year -- whatever is left over can be rolled over as long as he adds to the plan before the 1000 minutes is used.  He isn't a phone user so it will take him a long time to use that 1000 minutes.  His plan is $100 which isn't bad considering his minutes will last him quite a while.  My plan is $30 a month for 1500 minutes and a small amount of data.  It is more than I need and I have it set up to be renewed each month by credit card.  The minutes don't roll over on this plan, however.  All in all, though, we have saved over $100 a month on our cell phone bill which I thought was pretty good.  My next goal is to dissect the cable bill -- I see a Roku in our future.

I still line dry some of our laundry and I still prefer to make my own laundry soap.  I cut my hair into a minimal care "pixie" because of the health of my hair and, as a result, I find I am saving money on product and time spent on messing with my hair.  My hair is looking much better as well even if a "pixie" isn't the most flattering style on me.  Neither is bald so I needed to pick one -- I think I made the right choice.

I have turned off the tv more which has resulted in less electricity spent, less aggravation over the news and more peace -- I have learned to love, even crave, a home that isn't polluted by sound.  Of course, turning off the tv has aided my ability to read much, much more.  I have also learned to enjoy some programming on my computer on sites like Hulu.  That enables me to really choose what I want to watch, not sit zombie-like at a lineup that somebody  else has decided for me.  My, I am becoming a cantankerous old broad, aren't I?

All in all 2013 was a good year.  No major illnesses, minimal family drama, a good deal of time spent just watching the miracle of a child grow (there is nothing like it), waking up realizing that I had survived the retirement and relishing in the fact that we, in fact,  woke up, we are healthy and we are thankful to God for all the blessings, big and small,  that he has bestowed on us.

My plans for 2013 include much the same with more time spent watching, enjoying, "smelling the roses" so to speak, praying, loving and being grateful.

Happy New Year All!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Booking Through Thursday -- December 27, 2012

What are/were your favorite book(s) of the year?  Bonus points if you know how many books you read.

Well, since I participated in the 2012 Reading Challenge, I know how many books I read.  My goal was 25 books and I completed 22 and am still working on 23.  I may or may not get it finished by the end of the year.  I did  better this year than last year but I don't think I will be participating in any more challenges.  I feel like the goal to finish a certain number of books sort of lessens the enjoyment of reading so my goal for the new year will be to read books I really enjoy, take the time to really enjoy them and write some nice reviews.

As far as my favorite books of the year are concerned, I have to say I enjoyed all the books I read.  I really enjoyed getting into the "Aunt Dimity" series and plan to continue with the series this year.  There are fifteen in the series and I am about half done, taking breaks between books to read other things.

I have to say that "The School of Essential Ingredients" was a favorite contemporary work.  The setting drew me in immediately -- I  love being able to visualize where/when a book is set.  If the setting is well developed, I am caught.

I think my favorite "period" novel was "The Forgotten Garden".   For me it was a page turner that I couldn't put down.  I read it on my Nook and then bought a hard copy for my library.  I had never read any of Kate Morton works but several other titles of hers are on my list for 2013.

I enjoyed "The Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters but it wasn't as scary as I was hoping.  It was more sad than scary and when I read it I was in the mood for scary but it was still really good -- I am a big fan of Sarah Waters and hope to read more of her works in the new year.

So, yeah, that's about it!
Random  Thoughts --- AKA Another Boring, Photo-less, Post

Since I am completely engulfed in a severe case of Cedar Fever, I am doing a lot of sitting which is getting really, really boring.  My cabin fever is centered around my chair in front of the tv -- awful.  Anyway, I am sitting here, not feeling like doing  much, but I am thinking about the year to come.  I am not a good one with resolutions.  I don't like making them because I generally forget about them immediately and they aren't very inspiring anyway.  It isn't like I resolve myself to do some good, charitable work or somehow change mankind.  I usually resolve to lose half my body weight -- right after the current cookie! So, I don't do resolutions.

However,  I am thinking about how to do things better this year.  Not big things, just little things and how to make time for the things I love to do but generally let go because of the things I HAVE to do.  Another thing on my list is how to lighten up my stress level.  I don't have a lot of stress.  We are retired and are reasonably secure in that status.  I don't have a lot of pressing things to worry about but I tend to worry a lot about things that I can do nothing about.  I need to work on that.  Maybe some exercise would help with that.  I have to think about it.

The one thing to change that sticks in my mind is joining reading challenges.  I find them stressful.  Last year I joined a couple and found myself rushing to read a certain number of books -- I didn't enjoy the books, it was just an exercise to see if I could meet my goal and see how fast I could read. This year was a bit better even though I didn't make my goal.  I didn't worry about that so much so I enjoyed my reading experience more which tells me that maybe reading challenges aren't my "thing".

Another thing I am going to try to get involved in again is genealogy with the goal of adding more ancestors to my DAR roll.  I have run across a lady in Del Rio -- a cousin -- who has just had one of our relatives approved for the first time and I am looking forward to working with her to add him to my list of ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.

As far as crafts, sewing, etc. go, I haven't had much time for that plus my hands seem to be giving me arthritis problems so quilting and such isn't much fun.  However, I have three quilts promised that I need to work on and a mound of cross stitch patterns to do.  I don't know that I am going to do the cross stitch with any particular project in mind -- just for the joy in doing it.  I do have a couple of bird charts that I would like to do so that I can frame them -- I have a nice place to put them and think they would look good in my house so that will probably be a goal.

So, like I said, this post is just a bunch of random thoughts.  I am just trying to figure out how to be happy, to do what I enjoy and let go of what I don't without guilt!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas All!

Yes, it is Christmas Day, 2012 and a mighty odd one, I might add.  I am glad I have gotten old enough to just accept that things aren't always going to turn out the way you planned and to just get on with it --  the whole lemons/lemonade thing.

I didn't feel good all last week and, actually several days prior to that but I was busy and didn't pay much attention.  Bad move.  I have lived in Texas (aka Mountain Cedar Hell Hole) all my life and all my life I have been a mess from December to March.  Whatever made me think this year would be different?  I usually start looking at pollen charts around Thanksgiving so I can get a heads up on the progress of the little yellow blooming buggers but I failed to do  that this year until day before yesterday when I was hit like  a ton of brick with raging allergy symptoms.  The mountain cedar count was at the very top of the published chart and there I was outside actually breathing! I started with a cough, day before yesterday, and then yesterday I was a complete disaster but went ahead and attended church and went to my daughters for Christmas Eve dinner which was lovely -- our traditional Tex-Mex fare.  However, I was miserable and couldn't wait to get home to swallow some Benadryl and Mucinex and go to bed.

We were supposed to get up early this morning and head to daughter's house to watch Bean open her gifts.  However, that didn't happen.  We were awakened in the night by a thunderstorm complete with severe lightening and hail.  Dear daughter phoned me at 5:45 and said not to come, it was pretty treacherous out there which was fine because it took me three hours to get the allergy symptoms under control.  In that three hours we went from thunderstorms to sleet to snow.  It snowed all afternoon and has finally stopped but the temperature is below freezing so it is now an ice rink outside.  I am just thankful that nobody has to go to work tomorrow.  They were reporting that the sanding trucks and snow plows were ready to go but the first thing that happened was one of the sand trucks turned over.  Let it suffice to say that Texans don't do ice and/or snow well.  At all.

We missed out on Christmas dinner with Dear Daughter tonight.  She  and her British hubby had a traditional British dinner complete with Yorkshire pudding, thanks to her mother-in-law who is visiting.  They enjoyed the traditional crackers and, the last I heard, the new stuffed Mickey Mouse doll was wearing a paper hat out of the cracker!

We had a lovely dinner ourselves, though.  We had grilled steak, baked potatoes and sauteed spinach and mushrooms.  We didn't have any dessert because Hubs did a lot of damage to the Welsh cakes that I made and his blood sugar was just a bit elevated -- a big bit.  So, now we are watching "The Bourne Legacy", the new Bourne movie which he received as a gift in his little gift bag.

I don't like being sick and I really don't like having my plans changed but all in all we had a nice holiday.  I guess the snow was a nice touch and, since I don't feel well, I won't be getting out anyway but a little sunshine would have been nice.  Oh well, they say that will be tomorrow so I plan on a nice sleep and hopefully waking to a less allergy-ridden me.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and look forward to a happy New Year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

There are no words.  There is no reasonable explanation.  I don't know how this was allowed to happen.  God help us all because we certainly don't seem to be able to help ourselves.  This makes me physically ill.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Musing Mondays

Today's question is "what is the last book you could not finish and why?".

I don't usually start books that I don't think I can/will finish but that did happen to me with "London" by Edward Rutherford.  It is an outstanding book full of genealogy which is right up my alley but it is long and I got distracted.  I have full intention of finishing it and continue to read it from time to time -- it is sort of a work in progress so to speak.  It is slow going but I will finish it.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

It has been unseasonably warm here in Cowtown, Funkytown, Fot Wuth, whatever you want to call this little burg.  We have been enjoying shorts and t-shirt weather for weeks but later today, according to the meteorology  gods, all of that is going to change.  We are going to have a strong Canadian cold front that promises much colder temperatures and flirts with the promise of a few fluttery flakes.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?  Well, not so much.  

I don't know about anywhere else in the world, but  our news reporting here in North Texas has become quite the media circus with much hype over nothing.  They start reporting these sorts of events several days in advance with the urgency escalating proportionately as the event draws near.  By now we should all be going out and emptying the stores of all manner of foodstuffs and duct tape (duct tape?    whatever for?).  For years, we all did just that and, of course, nothing happened.  After a while nobody paid any attention anymore  -- well, except maybe for the purchase of the occasional extra package of toilet tissue and carton of milk.  I was one of those.  I poo-pooed  all news reports and was pretty much correct most of the time.

However, three years ago I learned my lesson.  It was reported that we would have a few flurries -- I did my regular grocery shopping and figured we would just take some nice photos if anything actually happened.  Well, happened it did and and what a mess.  My daughter was pregnant and teaching school down the road -- they didn't close the school and she couldn't get all the way home to her house so we went to the school to rescue her and bring her to our house.  It was warm, dinner was on the stove, it would be fun.  WRONG! The trip from the school to our house was pretty uncomfortable as we were maneuvering an interstate --- trying to stay "in the grooves' which we have learned to do.  Bear in mind -- north Texas has no snow removal equipment -- and we have much more ice than snow and it usually happens first. So, off we go -- me and the heavily pregnant daughter in her car -- Hubs in ours and we trudge home.  We get here.  We have dinner, we watch movies -- pregnant daughter is missing home - I tuck her in for a long, well deserved sleep.  Then, the unthinkable happens.

We. Lose. Our. Power.

The next morning we packed up freezing, pregnant daughter and manage to get her home.  The snow was melting at a nice pace and she didn't have a lot of trouble.  We headed to Target for battery operated lights, more necessities of life and we came home to huddle in front of our gas powered fireplace for three days of absolute powerless misery.  The power came on momentarily one  of the nights, long enough for the heater to come on and warm the house, but it was gone again for another day.  

One might wonder why our power was off for so long -- so did we.  I can't begin to tell you how livid I was when I found out why.  Seems that ice on trees hanging on the power lines was the culprit -- no surprises there -- but what was surprising was the fact that the fancy schmancy neighbors down the road refused to let the power company trim the trees off the lines so we were left in the cold and dark for three days.  I guess the upscale neighbors found it quaint to be cold or they all took refuge in one of our very nice downtown hotels.

I understand that for a lot of people up north, this doesn't sound major but for people who are used to shorts and t-shirt weather most of the time, it is jolting and, honestly, we aren't usually ready.  However, today I am getting ready.  I don't really think I will need it but I am definitely checking out the batteries and the pantry and the toilet tissue and making a quick run to the grocery store.  I babysit tomorrow and I am taking a change of clothes and some pajamas.  Better safe than sorry, I would say!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Today's question is really three --can you imagine yourself NOT being a reader?  How does it shape your life?  Your perception of it?

The answer to the first question is easy. In a word, no.  When I was small, before I could read, I was fascinated watching my mother read.  When I learned to read, it was my favorite pastime.  I loved to go to the local library, especially in the winter, grab a few books and go home and read.  Of course, there was not much television -- we only had three channels -- no internet  or social media so books were my way to explore the world.  Some of my favorite books were about children in other countries and other cultures.  I managed to work my way through most of our required reading lists all through elementary school.  As I grew, my taste in reading changed and I had to have my share of things like "Gidget" and any number of other romantic sorts of things but even those were "educational" in a sense.  We were required to read for school in addition to our regular texts and I enjoyed it.  After I got out of school, I continued to read for pleasure and, in fact, found my daughter' s name in a book.  There has never been a book far from my hand, or my purse.

How does it shape my life?  Well, I am a strong believer that "knowledge is power" and where better to attain knowledge than from books.  It doesn't matter if you are in a directed classroom or doing independent learning -- if you have a book and the desire to learn something then you can do anything. I also use reading as a stress reliever.  I find nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a good book, a cookie and a cuppa, allowing myself to be transported to wherever the book is set and just get lost.  I find that an hour with a good book is probably as good as any drug.

How does reading shape my perception of life?  In the first place, when I read, I not only see the world as being wide open to me, I realize how small I am and how much there is out there for me to learn.  I also realize, when reading historical things, how far our society has come and how our life is so different than it was  when this country was founded and even beyond that.   The one genre that has made this possible more than any other is blog reading.  I find it fascinating that I can log on to the computer and read blogs from all over the world written by women of all ages and learn their concerns, their likes, their dislikes and what they do.  I find they aren't so different from me.

I feel like my world would be quite narrow if I didn't read -- regardless of what I read or how I get the information.  I can't imagine being in that situation.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge

It is pretty evident that I am not going to be able to finish the 2012 Reading Challenge with the 25 books that I had as my goal.  I came closer this year, and will be able to add a couple of more, but will fall short by a couple.  Next year will be better -- I think.

I just finished the latest book in my queue -- "The Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters.  It was reasonably lengthy -- just shy of 400 pages -- and took me a little longer than I had wanted it to.  I have read two other works of Waters, one of which I enjoyed, so I thought I would give this one a go and I have to say that it did not disappoint although it was a bit draggy in places, I thought.

It is the story of Caroline Ayers and Dr. Faraday with subplots concerning Caroline's mother and brother, Roderick.  It is a tragic story of a tragic family and it all started with the death of the eldest Ayers child -- Susan.  It is clearly a ghost story but it is only implied who the ghost is and the involvement of the ghost is vague -- not to be believed by most of the characters involved with the family.  I would like to say it ends well and, in regards to the parlor maid, Betty, it does but the ending is bittersweet and leaves the reader wondering about the stability of Dr. Faraday in regards to his attachment  to the house -- The Hundreds.

It is a good read -- I was able to stay with it and, at the end, couldn't put it down but that is usually my reading style.  It was "scary" enough to be a ghost story but much more psychological and frightening in a whole other way.  I will say, it makes me very glad that I am not privileged to own an old -- really old -- English manor house.  I think I would move after reading this.

I recommend this book but maybe on a sunny day.  If you are affected by SAD, the gloominess of the setting in this book might be just a bit much.
All Too Familiar --

It is post-Thanksgiving -- that time that we all sit and commiserate over what we have done (eaten).  We are loping toward another holiday that pretty much centers around all things excessive -- food, alcohol, shopping -- not  necessarily in that order.  We are all looking toward the New Year, as well, replete with it's resolutions.  I am not good at any of this.  I don't overeat on Thanksgiving because I cook it and once the marathon cooking has taken place, I can't be bothered to eat it.  I don't drink and I don't like shopping so all the "fun" stuff of the season is wasted on me.  Resolutions?  Eh, just something to be broken as soon as they are written.  Again -- not my gig.

However, there is one thing I need to do.  I need to lose weight.  Between my weight and the hard flooring I live with, my feet and knees are aging at an alarming rate and something must be done.  Would I like to wear smaller clothes with a better variety?  Of course.  Would I like to think I had never let myself get to this point?  Uh, yes -- it is a bit embarrassing.  Can I blame it all on heredity?  Well, that is a question, now, isn't it?  I come from a family of short  people.  For the longest time I was the tallest child, measuring 5'5.5" in my prime.  I kept that honor until my youngest cousin was born and she grew to an adult height of about 5'8".  I have now  lost about  1.25" inches which only makes the weight issue more of an -- well -- issue.  My father claimed to be 5'10" -- he was really 5'8" and my mother was 5'1".  So, we are a bit vertically challenged.  My weight would be perfect if I were, say, 6'8".  If you look at body shape -- well, I look just like my father who tended to be a bit Alfred Hitchcock--ish -- as did his father and my son has followed suit.  Overweight? Yes but the body type is there regardless of weight.  Not much to be done about that. But, working within the parameters of things I cannot change -- I still have to solve the weight issue.

I have successfully lost weight twice in my life -- rather large quantities of weight --so you can see this has been an ongoing issue for me since my early 20's.  Each time I have lost weight I have done it by calorie counting.  Yes, a calorie counter (small, grocery store checkout line sort of book) and a spiral notebook were my weapons of choice the first time.

The second time was similar only with a bigger calorie counter and the added assistance of informative labels and the internet.  I have been trying to just "watch" what I eat which I do quite well -- it just doesn't limit me.  I have tried Weight Watchers online but can't do it because I resent having to pay to use the system plus I think the system just encourages diet foods full of junk we don't need.  I don't eat artificial sweeteners because they make my heart do disturbing flippity flops.

So, I will be starting calorie counting again.  I won't use a spiral notebook this time but rather the Lose It! app for my Nook.  It is easy and I usually always have my Nook with me so it is a good way to log what I eat when I am out.  Calorie counts for fast food are readily available now so there is no excuse for not being able to do it.  I won't be waiting until the New Year -- my New Year starts today.

Exercise -- yeah, well, that is an issue as well.  Arthritis limits what I can do but I think I will go back and do things old school -- sit ups, toe touching, that sort of thing.  I have a Tony Little Gazelle and a tv in my room which is ok but my knees can only take so much however, they can take the 30 minutes a day that is recommended so we will see.

I will let you know how it goes.  Maybe I will add a sidebar to show my calorie counts.  You won't find my weight up there, no sir, but maybe I will post the weight loss.  Maybe that is just too boring.

However, I am now off to eat my cup of raisin bran and half cup of milk.  I have already put it in the calorie counter so I guess that means I have officially started my new project.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Let the Decorating Commence!

It is Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.  The food is gone, the moment passed, it is now time to move forward, head on, into Christmas!  I am a bit more organized this year.  I have completed the shopping for my grandchildren.  My own children are all grown up and really prefer money so that is easy.  The Hubs usually gives me a list -- mostly mail-order things so that is good.  All in all, I think I am doing ok.

I was a bit annoyed yesterday, however.  I allowed myself to go to Target and Michael's late yesterday afternoon -- something I never do on the day after Thanksgiving and for a brief moment I thought I was   "late" with the holiday.  Naturally things were in a horrible disarray but that isn't what was so perplexing.  The problem that I was having was the complete lack of Christmas-y things to begin with.  Usually Target has an abundance of wrapping and decorations and this year there were only two aisles dedicated to the holiday.  Maybe the company should re-evaluate their huge remodel and go back to the days of less glitz and more merchandise.

I was also annoyed at Michael's.  I went looking for small beads for a cross stitch project and their needlework department in this particular store is appalling -- I could practically hold all the products in my arms! So, off  to Joann's I went and I realized that I really need to visit my cute little local needlework store which isn't so local.  It is The Stitch Niche in Arlington -- not far but not around the corner, either. Going there takes up a morning by the time you figure the drive back and forth with the traffic and then the time spent in the store which is never really short.  It is one of those stores that you can't walk into, pick up what you want and leave.  It lures you in.  It is one of those charming, magical places that is small, packed full of merchandise and, while it it is well organized, you still have to look through things to find what you what you want and that is like opening Pandora's box!
Anyway, I digress.  

Today will be spent decorating the house.  We put up the Christmas Village which has now become the Hubs project -- thank goodness -- he is much better at it than I am.  All that is left to do on that is the accessorizing and decorating the tree that is in the middle of the "village".  For the last couple of years I have been putting up a "big" tree in addition to the tree in the village but since we will not be home for Christmas this year I decided to dispense with that tree and just add a few little decorations around the house -- a few candles, some decorative hand towels in the guest bath -- that sort of thing.  I usually hang stockings -- a couple of generic, monogrammed ones made from blue velvet for Hubs and me and then I hang two handmade (from a kit) stockings that my grandmother made for my children on their first Christmas.  My son was only 20 days old when he first used his -- my daughter was three months old so these have been around for a while, used each year and are showing their age but each year when I hang them I remember my grandmother and smile and that is what it is all about.

So, now that the morning tea has been consumed, it is time to get busy.  I will be done with my part long before the Hubs is done with his -- he definitely has the more labor intensive job.  Perhaps photos will follow.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

First Movie of the Christmas Season

After a perfectly wonderful Thanksgiving meal with family, after everybody departed for their own homes, after the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher and the remains of the meal properly put away, the Hubs and  sat down to enjoy the first movie of the holiday season.  I had originally decided to watch my favorite, all-time movie "The Bell's of St. Mary's" with the iconic Bing Crosby but, as we scrolled through the guide on the TV I discovered "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story".  I own the DVD but we decided to DVR it and watch it later.   However, when "later" got here I was so sleepy I only got halfway through it and had to retire. any dedicated Christmas  movie watchers would do -- we finished it this morning!

This was a made for TV movie and was, I suppose, the pilot for the series "The Waltons".  Most of the cast was the same as the TV show, save the character Olivia Walton who was portrayed by the great actress Patricia Neal.  John Walton was played by Andrew Duggan and Grandpa was played by Edgar Bergen.

I enjoyed this movie much more than "Spencer's Mountain" which was also based on the life of Earl Hamner, Jr.  It was set in the same time period as the TV series and I have always been a big fan of Richard Thomas so I thought it more realistic.

So, that is the start of my Christmas movie watching.  I don't know what will be next -- stay tuned to find out!

As far as today is going - I am stitching! All day! Leftover for dinner, Hubs is putting up the Christmas village and I am just allowing myself to sit and enjoy a hobby that I usually do in snatches.  This is the project -- and I am zipping right along with it and having a wonderful time!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I am not going to lie, Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday.  It is a ton of work for so little reward.  We have had some pretty miserable Thanksgivings in the past and that always seems to be in the forefront of my mind each year as I boil mounds of potatoes for salad and stand on my feet for hours chopping and compiling and trying to please everybody.  However, with that said, I love the smell of the house after all that effort, I love the gathering of the family under my roof -- a couple of hours with my family together at home is worth all the effort and, of course, it is the kick-off to the best season of the year -- Christmastide!

So, after we gather together this evening, say our prayers for all the blessings we have been granted this year (and there have been many) and try not to eat ourselves into oblivion, the Christmas movie watching will ensue.  I have a rather sizable stack of Christmas-y DVD's and I love to go through them each year and enjoy a few to get me into the spirit.  I am not sure what I will start with, maybe my favorite "The Bell's of St. Mary's" with it's infamous Nativity play scene.  I will see what the Hubs would like to see and go from there.

Then tomorrow -- yes, it is Christmas full steam ahead.  Hubs is already working on the Christmas village set up -- improving it and making it easier to do -- pics will follow.  I think by Sunday all will be set up and ready to go.  This year I am determined to get everything set  up early enough so that I can actually enjoy it, not be in such a rush and not be so late so that I feel like I have to take it right back down!

Now, I just have to find Tuppy -- my elf on the shelf -- I know he is here somewhere -- Tuppy, where are you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

And the Oscar Goes To----

I love movies.  I have always loved movies.  My family loved movies.  As I child, I spent many hours at one of our neighborhood theaters -- the Olmos -- watching movies with either my parents or my cousin, JLSHall.  There were many Saturday evenings that we walked to El Rancho Mexican Restaurant, across the street from the theater, had dinner and then went to the movies.  It was all so exciting but what was even more exciting was having my mom pick me up from school and, instead of going home, we went to the movie where they had been for the afternoon and were finishing up the film.  I saw "Porgy and Bess" one of those particular times.  I have to say that all of my dates with my husband were to movies with the occasional exception of a school dance.  So, without a doubt, movies have been a huge part of my life.

It is rare that I actually go to a movie theater these days.  They are too expensive and, quite honestly, I have never liked crowds so I prefer to watch my movies via Netflix or cable stations.  I do enjoy on-demand viewing as well and that is how I saw a movie reviewed  by my friend Gill at That British Woman.  

The movie, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", was one that I had been wanting to see anyway but after Gill had reviewed it she  asked her American followers what they thought about the all- British cast and whether we appreciated the typical British humor and I felt compelled to watch the movie and let her know my opinions.  Actually, it was a great excuse to watch something besides sports!

I enjoyed the movie completely but then it was a showcase for many of my favorite actors.  I love Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.  I loved Celie Imrie in that comedy she used to play in -- can't remember the title -- and she was just as enjoyable in this film.  Maggie Smith -- what can I say -- she is in a class of actresses that I fear is never to be repeated -- well, except for possibly Meryl Streep.  

The humor didn't escape me but then I have watched enough  British television and movies in my life -- not to mention talking with my son-in-law -- that I have a good working knowledge of the language differences, the dry sense of humor, the sarcastic nuances.  

It was a great movie and I will watch it again which brings me to the subject of "watching it again".  Joy and I used to watch movies, in a theater, over and over.  Sometimes we would sit through them twice, sometimes we would make it another Saturday outing but I can't remember the number of times we viewed "West Side Story" or "The Longest Day".  My favorites were the musicals and my poor husband had to endure "Funny Girl" about three times -- and now I have it on DVD and he retreats.

Recently I have been  watching a lot of movies and, when I get "down" or nostalgic or don't feel well,
 I tend to revisit the movies of my youth.  The changing seasons make me a bit sentimental so, it comes as no surprise to me that my recent viewings were older choices. 

The Hubs and I enjoyed watching "Spencer's Mountain"  (1963) with Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara.  It was based on the writings of Earl Hamner and was the movie that the television series "The Waltons" was based on.  However, it was more modern day than the television series and I have to say I much preferred "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" (1971) with Patricia Neal and Richard Thomas.  It took place in the depression era, as the television series did, and I just preferred it.  "The Homecoming" is in  my queue of Christmas movies that I watch each year.

Another movie that we watched was a favorite when I was a young teenager -- "The World of Suzie Wong" with William Holden and Nancy Kwan.  It is the story of a beautiful Chinese prostitute working in Hong Kong.  Her path crosses that of William Holden, an relationship ensues, a tragedy occurs and there is still a happy ending as only could be found in a 1963 movie.  One might ask why I, as a thirteen year old, was watching a movie about a prostitute -- well, trust me -- it was completely benign and not at all unsuitable for a 13 year old -- by today's standards, it was absolutely Disney.  I have seen this movie any number of times and it is still a tear jerker for me and I enjoy it every time I see it.

I really enjoy watching vintage movies -- especially when the weather changes.  The only thing better than curling up to watch an old movie is curling up with a good book! I will talk about that next time.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Promises, Promises...

Yes, there will be a new blog entry this weekend.  During my blogging hiatus, I have been doing some moving watching, some book reading, some cross stitching and lots of baby sitting.  I was running out of things to talk about so I sort of had to actually DO something so I would have something to blog about!

So, I now have a few things to talk about so I will be reporting before the end of the weekend!

Yay!  Miss me?  I missed you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ah, The Best Laid Plans.....

OK, a little more than a year ago I decided to change things up in life.  One of my goals was to lessen our expenditures of money and be a little more eco-friendly.  I started line drying clothes, I unplugged everything, I turned off lights -- my husband laughed at me.  I didn't care.  I also tried to develop a new outlook on life in general -- again, more green -- more natural -- more vegetarian.  I went about it as I usually do when I start something new -- I jump in with both feet.  As usual, some things don't stick, I can't keep up with it all or I lose interest.  Now is the time to take inventory of how I am doing.

I am still line drying clothes -- to a certain extent.  After Hubs complained about crunchy towels I started drying them again but I still line dry my personal things, most of my shirts and slacks and I absolutely refuse to spend energy drying kitchen towels!  I am still making my own laundry detergent -- I really do prefer it -- and I am still using vinegar for softener.  I have also fallen hopelessly in love with Bon Ami and buy it by the multiples.

I have reached a happy medium with the dishwasher.  I try to wash up whatever I have used immediately but use the dishwasher when I have a large load -- I have even managed to teach Hubs to not run the d/w with four cups, a couple of glasses and three cereal bowls.  He has learned -- I guess he got tired of hearing me yell.

I have managed to curb my magazine addiction.  I am gradually getting rid of subscriptions and the mags I really like, I am subscribing to on my Nook.  They are just as easy to read and look at but not so much clutter.  I have also quit buying books for the moment.  I have enough that I haven't read to last quite a while so I am making a point of avoiding the bookstores and, instead of buying everything that strikes my fancy, I make a wish list and then find a way to get them at a better price.  It has come to my attention, however, that my latest Nook purchase -- the 16 GB tablet, was probably not the best.  After doing a little research today, I think I should have taken a closer look at Kindle Fire.  I was very surprised to learn that the books for Kindle are quite a bit less expensive than for Nook.  However, when our neighborhood library's renovations are complete, I will probably be visiting there first before I acquire any books -- physical or virtual.  

I have gotten rid of most of the plastic in the house and what I have purchased is BPA free.  I have bought a number of the Ball freezer jars because I have trained myself to store leftovers for immediate use or freeze for later use.  Hubs won't eat leftovers, but, hey, I am not proud.  I love leftovers and will eat them, even prefer them, most any day.

We are never going to quit eating out.  It is just part of our routine now.  With just two of us, with completely different preference in food, it is just easier sometimes.  However, we are learning how to cut those bills as well and it is working well.  We have figured out that, if we are going to eat out, eat out at lunch.  The lunch menus are cheaper and have smaller portions which is great for us.  That way we don't over-indulge or end up carrying half our dinner home with us.  We have also found that many times, the food tastes better and fresher at lunch.  It is also a lot quieter.  I have become very sensitive to noisy restaurants -- can't stand them -- so lunch seems to work for us as well.  Also, when we agree on what to have, we share.

Now, my downfall -- the plant based diet.  I have completely abandoned it and I don't feel so good for it.  However, when we do eat at home, Hubs is doing a lot of the cooking since I am babysitting these days, and he is just not a vegetable person whereas I am.  So, I am going to have to figure out how to incorporate more veggies and not hurt his feelings.  I am not opposed to frozen vegetables and actually like to stock up on them so I am just going to have to make a point of steaming them for myself if he doesn't want them.  

I have a new mid-year resolution in regards to expenditure of money.  I would like to keep a record of what I spend and what I save and try to not buy anything without a coupon or a store reward card or something.  When my children were little I made a game of couponing -- I tried to have a coupon for everything on my list and I saved gobs of money.  Now, it isn't so easy because I don't shop the same way I used to.  We use a lot more natural products and fresh produce and there are never coupons for those things but I am still going to make an effort to do as much saving as possible on everything I buy and I would like to keep a record of it so I can see that I really am saving money.  

I still haven't bought a new toaster oven.  I know what I want but I am waiting for the old toaster to pass on.  It seems to be trucking right along, however, so who knows but I am not keen to replace it when I have one that is working.  I know that a toaster oven would be cheaper to run and will replace the pop-up but not until it need be.

So, I don't know, how am I doing?  I am trying to find a happy medium between being over indulgent and too frugal.  It requires analyzing every move I make and I am not used to that -- I, like most, am a creature of habit and sometimes I find myself doing things the old way and then realize I could have done something better.  Old dog/new tricks?  I don't think I am that old, just a bit set in my ways and I need to focus!!! Honestly, I don't think I am doing too bad -- just need to get the eating under control -- more plants, less sugar, NO soda (that is the hardest) and not be so hard on myself.

Last but not least -- time.  I need to make better use of my time.  Less television, definitely less facebook, more books, more music, more genealogy, more exercise, more creativity.  Again -- focus.  

So, that is my report card --- now to start keeping track of things.

Monday, September 17, 2012

17 September 2012

Today's Musing Monday question is -- "What is your least favorite book?  And why?"

My answer,  without doubt, would have to be "Bramwell Valley".  It is the first book I put on my Nook and it will be deleted at some point to be lost forever in cyberspace.  Why was it my least favorite book?  Well, it was silly.  It was about a group of witch sisters who managed to drum the devil out of hell and he was loosed on the world, took on earthly appearance and drove an SUV to Vegas.  The door to hell was left open and all the demons got out.  The witch sisters had a really hard time trying to get Satan back where he belonged, break up the romance he was actively engaged in and round up all those demons.  It was a comedy.  It was ridiculous.  I was determined to finish reading it although I have no clue why.  I don't recommend it and I really am not to eager to say I read it.  My apologies to the author, I don't mean to be cruel but not my cuppa.  Really.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hello, Blog,

I guess by now you figure I have deserted you for bigger and better things -- emails, social media, heck, maybe even the newspaper but alas, that is not true.  I have been spending a lot of time thinking lately and organizing everything in my life, or trying to.  Quite a challenge, I have to admit -- especially when talking about magazines, but I digress.

One of the  things I have been thinking about is you.  I bet you don't know you have a name, do you?  Oh, I know, the top of the page reads "Boyett-Brinkley" but that is MY name.  Your name has always been a secret because it sounds a bit eccentric to actually "name" something like you but you do have one.  It is a special name, suggested to me by my father for a business I wanted to start.  I guess that is another reason why I have never published it -- it was sort of a poignant moment between me and my father in his later days and I guess I wanted to keep it that way.  However, I guess it is time to share your name.  You would be Tinklepaw.  Tinklepaw Boyett-Brinkley.

So, Tinklepaw, one of the things I have been thinking about in regards to you is what your purpose is.  Did I create you for my own purpose --  a diary so to speak -- or did I create you for the entertainment of others?  Are you here to showcase things I do or see, to be a venue to share thoughts to be read by others or  are you here to be a place for me to share private thoughts?  I have never been one to share private thoughts much -- they wouldn't be private then, would they -- so I doubt that is your purpose.  I know, for sure, one of the reasons you were created -- maybe the primary reason -- is to give me a place to write.

I have always been a reader and, as so many readers do, I have always wanted to write.  I did a lot of creative writing in school -- high school and college -- and many times my work was confiscated to be used as examples which was always a great feeling.  When I was a young mom with a toddler at my feet and a baby on my lap, I took a creative writing course with the idea of actually writing for profit.  About a dozen works later and many times that the number of rejection letters I sort of put the dream on the back burner -- I still have the work, however.  Who knows -- maybe one day I will self publish.

I did try my hand a poetry once.  It wasn't a concerted effort; it wasn't that I sat down one day and said "today I will try my hand at poetry" -- it was more that the words struck and I had to write them down.  I HAD to write them down, in the night, or I couldn't sleep.  One was about my son, a newborn at the time.  It was about the awesome wonder I felt at his very existence, the ethereal quality of the softness of his skin, the strawberry blond "duck down" he had for hair -- I still remember the overwhelming feeling of love that had overcome me when I wrote it.  The other was about the tragic life of a little boy who lived down the street from us.  He was about nine, we were helpless.  He is still living, in his forties, still tragic and most likely helpless.  Over the course of a number of moves, the poems have been lost.  They can't be reproduced because they were done "in the moment".  Were they great poetry?  No.  However, they were my feelings at the time and I wish I still had them.

So, I guess in regards to your purpose, you are all of the above -- a well rounded blog, which I think you are, would have elements of all the things I mentioned -- maybe even some private thoughts although I am pretty protective of those.  However, I think you should be more for me than for others pleasure.  Taking this viewpoint would help with the guilt I feel if I don't write, or post, for a while.  I feel like I am letting people down if I don't post something with gorgeous photos, or in depth book reviews or witty observations of things on a daily basis.  I need to take the approach of quality over quantity.  Yet, with that said, I need to be more organized and not let you be on your own for unreasonably long periods of time -- who know was a bored blog might do, after all.

So, since I have been negligent about writing for the last few weeks, I guess I should bring you up to speed on the things of life around here.  Our brother-in-law had a heart attack about six weeks ago.  He is fine, it was a very near miss and he is fortunate that he works in a hospital and has an observant secretary.  He is doing well and apparently sustained very minor heart damage and was cleared to go back to work after a week.  He didn't but he could and he is very lucky.  My aunt had a heart procedure done, an ablation, to help correct the atrial fibrillation she has had for years.  It was a success and she is enjoying a regular heart beat for the first time in a long time and she is even being taken off some of her meds.  However, she discovered a lump and has been diagnosed with a rare form a breast cancer.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that it seems to be a slow growing, non-metastatic form that attacks older women.  We are waiting to learn the treatment plan but I have a feeling she is going to be fine.  About a month ago B had a really bad allergic reaction to something she had touched, not eaten.  Her little face swelled up and she was put on prednisone to get the allergy under control -- nobody knows what created the problem but her parents think it was a down comforter she was playing on.  Two weeks later she had another allergy attack resulting in bronchiolitis -- and more prednisone.  She seems to be fine now but apparently our allergy season is getting started early -- as my aunt used to say -- "if it's not one &*#% thing, it's another".  I miss my aunt.

For some ridiculous reason, I have been obsessing over purses.  I have been looking for the perfect purse -- large enough to hold everything I need but not bulky, not leather because that is too heavy and not Vera Bradley because, being a child of the 50's I feel like I have to "match" and find myself changing my purse all the time when I carry Vera because one print does not fit all and, when I have to change purses, I invariably leave something essential behind.  Yes, that was an unnecessarily long sentence.  So, I purchased this at JCP --

No, I didn't buy green but it was a lovely green.  There was also a butter yellow and a British Tan color but I opted for the black.  Yes, blah black.  Black goes with everything.  I would have preferred it without the tacky metal logo thingy but what can you do.  It fits everything and doesn't have magnetic snaps which I was afraid would affect my tablet.  There is room to spare and a big pocket on the back that I can put my keys and phone in and not lose them in the bottom of the bag.  I have carried it for two days now and it seems to be ok.

I have been trying to get in more reading time -- another priority.  I am working on two books right now -- something I rarely do -- it gets too confusing.  The first book is The Little Stranger   by Sarah Waters.  I am really "into" this book but it is a slow go.  The second title I am reading is on my Nook and it is An Irish Country Doctor.  I have just started this one but I think it will hook me as well -- I have never tried to read  two very compelling books at once -- it will be an experience.

I have some cross stitch projects that I am itching to get into but the weather change and the rain have left my hands aching.  It isn't like my joints get red and swell, although they do that sometimes, but more of an ache in the palm of my hand and if I twist my hand a certain way it is very painful.  When this happens I am very clumsy so the idea of holding a needle is not very appealing.  The same thing is happening to my feet, as well.  I am sort of a crippy mess, actually.  I am very thankful that I have my little Nook Simple Touch -- it is much easier to hold than a big 400-500 page hardback book.  I never though I would opt for an e-reader over books because, to me, books are treasures but the NST is quite a blessing on some days.

I guess the whole idea of the e-reader is just another facet of my thought process lately -- how to do things in the most efficient way for me and the Hubs.  The funny part about it is that, in order to effect more efficiency, I have had to revert back to some of the things we used to do "old school".  Hanging a calendar on the wall is one thing ---  Hubs missed a dental appointment because, being retired, he doesn't have a calendar on the home computer to alert him to things like that.  I have a calendar on my tablet and have it filled  but it is a pain to mess with it.  I have a notebook planner that I have everything written down on but sometimes it is with me and not there for him to look at.  So -- I bought one of those nifty "Mom" calendars  to put on the pantry door.  I have color coordinated the entries and it even has a tablet of paper for lists and menus and such.  I am using a "command hook" to hang it up with and now we have no excuses for missing appointments or not knowing what is for dinner!  I never thought that, in my old age, I would have to keep learning new ways to do things more efficiently.  I guess it makes sense though, because as we age and little challenges crop up -- like sore hands, we have to find ways to adapt.

Another thing that I have done recently is something I have wanted to do for a long time and never had the courage to do and then regretted not doing it.  Hmmm....that was a little vague, wasn't it.  Ok, I have taken the initiative to get in touch with people that I have lost touch with.  Last year, when a classmate passed away, I spoke to his ex-wife, who I also went to school with, and mentioned that I had a special photo of this man and she said she would like to have a copy for his brother.  As I was making the copy I got to thinking about my very best friend in kindergarten who was also in the photo (it was a group, class photo).  She passed away in around 1991 so I found her daughter and sent her a copy.  I also reached out and wrote a letter to my second grade teacher.  She is the only teacher I had in elementary school that is still living and she was my favorite teacher.  I felt compelled to write her and she remembered me.  I also sent a birthday card to my algebra teacher on her 93rd birthday.  These are the types of things I have always wanted to do but was never bold enough to do it.  Now I have and I enjoyed it.  Now I won't regret not having done it.

Well, Tinklepaw, it is time to close.  Never fear, little blog, you have not been replaced by Facebook or Google +.  Those things are fine, for what they are, instant gratification.  You have more meaning, though, more substance and I want you to represent the deeper thinking me, the me that actually has something to say worth listening to.  So, again, quality over quantity -- that is our goal.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bloggy Blahs

I have the bloggy blahs.  Well, maybe I just have the blahs, period.  I think the weather has something to do with it.  Last week we had some really autumn like days-- especially in the mornings.

 They were great.  The rain was nice but now we have the molds growing and my allergies are feeling it.  I couldn't hear on Friday which I am sort of used to -- the first thing to go during allergy season is my hearing but it sounded like a freight train was running through my head and the pressure was really bad.  I finally took enough Mucinex to make it stop.

We had a lovely dinner out with Hubs brother and his wife, and my mother in law last night.  We went to Edohana and had a hibachi dinner.  It was exceptionally good and I definitely recommend eating with chopsticks -- you are forced to eat slower and you really enjoy the food.  It wasn't overly crowded for  a Saturday night.

On the way home, Hubs mentioned he had a scratchy throat so, of course, my this morning, he is full blown sick with allergies.  Suddenly my stopped up ears don't seem so bad.

I have been in the mood to cook but haven't done much about it.  I did put some pinto beans in the crock pot this afternoon.  Those will be put in the freezer for future use and maybe eat some tomorrow night.  It sounds like I am in the mood for  fall.  I had intended to put some bread to cook and might still and I had great plans for muffins and cookies but that hasn't happened, either! It seems all I want to do is read.

I did manage to do a couple of loads of laundry -- I didn't have much so I feel accomplished in that regard.  Other than that -- I have just sat here with no energy and no drive to do much of anything.

I hope these doldrums leave soon because I have a lot of things to get busy with -- I have a "to - do" list a mile long and just sitting here with a stuffy head and stuffy ears and itchy eyes isn't go to help me much.

So, hopefully, after a good nights sleep my energy will come back and I will be back to my perky self.  In the meantime, I think I will have some Tylenol with my scrambled eggs and biscuits.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

22 August 2012

For today my answers are --

What are you currently reading?  I am currently reading "Aunt Dimity: Detective" by Nancy Atherton. I am reading the Aunt Dimity series in order of publication so I am about seven down the list.

What did you recently finish?  I just finished "So Far Away" by Meg Mitchell Moore.  I would definitely recommend.

What do you think you will read next?  I have no idea.  I am thinking about something non-fiction.  Perhaps the Coco Chanel bio in my library or maybe the book about the real Downton Abbey.  I am not sure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

20 August 2012

Today's question is --

Have you ever re-read a book and found your opinion changed?

Not so much since I tend not to re-read books --- except children's books, of course, which tend to get very repetitive and committed to memory.  I have changed my opinion of some of those, however, and have gotten bored with them.  Some stay as exciting as they first were -- a good example is almost everything in "The Bumper Book".  I have to say that, when I was a child, my favorite book was "The Bumper Book" -- a collection of stories and poems -- but some of the stories I didn't care for.  Now, as I am reading them to a grandchild, I have come to enjoy some of the stories, as an adult, that I didn't  like as a child.  So, in that respect, I would have to say "yes" to the question.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

19 August 2012

I can't remember if this meme is done once a week or once a month! I used to do it once a week -- on Mondays, if I remember correctly.  However, it is Sunday and here I am -- a rare moment when my netbook is working so here I go!

For Today --

Outside my window I see a garden badly in need of tending to but, with the West Nile epidemic raging in North Texas, neither of us are going out there to do anything about it.  I guess the prolific vine has won.  I also see a clear blue sky, a not so hot sun and a I detect a bit of "autumn in the air".

I am thinking that I am tired of not feeling up to par.  Nothing terribly major, just lots of little things that add up.  At least my shoulders have quit hurting with the purchase of new pillows.

I am thankful for today.  Simple.

In the kitchen I have a load of meat that needs dividing, I had great plans to bake  and so far -- in the kitchen -- absolutely nothing is happening except the kettle is boiling for another cuppa.

I am wearing shorts and a top.

I am creating a bit of cross stitch.   No purpose, really, just something to keep the hands busy.

I am going crazy -- possibly.  No, not really.  Well, maybe, of boredom.

I am wondering if I could possibly sleep until after the election.  So far, I am disappointed in everybody, everything  and, after watching a PBS show on the Royal Family, I was struck by the difference in the patriotism of the British people and the American people.  We used to be such a strong, patriotic people and now everyone and everything seems divisive.  I am old enough to see a huge change in things and I wonder if we could have a "do-over" of the American Revolution.  Very "bah-humbuggy" of me, I know, but it is all just so sad.

I am reading another "Aunt Dimity" mystery.  It would be "Aunt Dimity: Detective".  Predictable, yes. Great fun? Absolutely.

I am hoping that my new ring comes this week.  I was looking at a silver wedding ring and while I was in Austin two weeks ago I went into a place called "Things Celtic" and ordered a new Claddagh ring.  I have a traditional one but the one I ordered is a band with the Claddagh embossed on it.  It is my 40th wedding anniversary gift from the Hubs.

I am looking forward to dinner tonight at a restaurant called Mi Chula.  New to me -- hope it is good.

I am learning that sometimes things just don't work out.  Sometimes situations can't be rectified.  Sometimes you lose.  Sometimes some days are just sad. Sometimes you try to take a situation full of lemons and make lemonade but there isn't a pitcher in sight.  Sometimes you can't do anything but give up.

Around the house I am cleaning, organizing and trying to keep things up -- getting easier as  I change my vision.

I am pondering how to organize old photos.  The new photos are digital and on the computer, the old photos are in boxes.  I have tried albums -- not enough room for them.  I have tried boxes -- they don't match and that annoys me.  I bought a nifty thing at the Container Store but took it back because the boxes seem better. still in boxes and I am still pondering.

A favorite quote for the day: "you are kind, you are smart, you are important"  from "The Help".  This should be everybody's goal and mantra.  Especially the "kind" part.

One of my favorite things is curling up on a Sunday evening to watch "Masterpiece Theater" which, by the way, isn't on tonight.

A few plans for the week include babysitting, laundry, and reading.

A peek into my day  --

Thursday, August 16, 2012

16 August 2012

Today's question at Booking Through Thursday is "what is the most emotional read you have ever had?"  

I would have to say that "Sophie's Choice" would be at the top of the list.  "The Diary of Anne Frank" would be a close second.  

I tend to read emotional books but I do try to keep it reasonable.  A little emotion goes a long way for me and I don't enjoy reading something that is going to leave me in the depths of depression for days.

16 August 2012

Good morning! For those who read my blog, I am not gone -- I am babysitting.  School has started and my daughter is back to work and I am babysitting Bean.  I thoroughly intend to take my netbook as soon as I figure out why in the world it doesn't want to connect to the wifi.  When I do, I won't be away from the blog nearly as much.

However, for today, in the spirit of my friend Gill, I would like to share a link.  I read my hometown newspaper (that would be San Antonio, Texas) every morning and I noticed this house in their real estate section.  There are things about it I like -- the kitchen for instance -- and things I don't.  Who in the world needs a dozen bathrooms to clean up?  Goodness, hubs and I would never see each other in this house!  The land it is on is lovely, however.  Perhaps I could lease out the big house and build a little house in the back!

Moving on, I am currently reading "So Far Away" by Meg Mitchell Moore.  It is a very captivating story about three women whose lives intersect in a very unusual way and yet each one learns from the other.  It isn't a particularly long book and I am half done.  One of the perks of babysitting is that I have at least a two hour stretch of reading time every afternoon.  Of course, I fall sound asleep for about a half hour (getting up at 5:30 a.m. finds me ready for a nap at noon, for sure).  However, I am getting lots of reading accomplished and enjoying the time guilt free.

So, it is time for me to hit the road -- just about.  I have about a 45 minute drive but, fortunately, the rest of the city must be slow risers because the traffic isn't too bad.  As soon as I get the computer figured out it will be joining me so I won't be so far away from the blogsphere.

Toodles (as Bean says, thanks to Minnie Mouse) and I will be back soon!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

9 Aug 2012

Today's questions on Booking Through Thursday are:  Name a book in a genre you normally don't care for.  What made you decide to read it?  Did it make you want to try more in that genre?  What genre do you avoid reading and why?

"Aunt Dimity: Snowbound"

I am not sure why I decided to read it , probably the cover, but it is the first book that I read on my e-reader.  I was never a strong mystery reader but, yes, it did make me want to read more mystery and it certainly made me want to read more "Aunt Dimity" -- I think I have finished my 7th or 8th book in the series.  

I avoid Sci-fy and things with vampires and such.  I just never liked science fiction anything and I am not fond of vampires.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

2 August 2012

Recently, Booking Through Thursday asked readers to suggestions questions they would like to see asked.   Two of the questions submitted were asked this week.

From Pooch -- "Overall, what factor influences your choice of your next read?"

If I have read a book that I especially enjoyed, I might immediately seek out another by the same author just because I was not ready for the initial book to end.  If I am reading a series, for the most part, I will move right on to the next in the series.  With that said, I have not read the "Aunt Dimity" books without a break in between.  I have tried to read them straight through but found that I enjoyed them more if I broke it up because there are so many.  Even though  I have a list of "to be read" books I find that many times something else catches my eye and I am totally distracted.  So, I guess my answer would have to be -- whatever seems like a good thing to read at the time -- I don't know that there is any set formula.

from Sefcug -- "What is it that makes you want to read a book by an author you have never read before?"

While I have authors that I enjoy time and again, I choose books that seem interesting to me regardless of who wrote them.  I am not as "into" the author as much as I am "into" the story.  I do have my favorites, however, and whenever I am at a loss for something to read there are certain authors that I go back to over again because I know I won't be disappointed.

With that said, I would be remiss in not expressing my sadness over the passing of Maeve Binchy.  She is one of my favorites that never disappoints and the literary world has lost one of its best.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook  - July 30, 2012

I used to do this meme every Monday but somehow got away from it.  I thought I would revisit it today as I am up early, alone with my tea and this exercise tends to be lengthy.  So, here goes --

For today --

outside my window -- I see the sun rising in the sky yet the patio is still shady.  I see a slight breeze rustling the leaves on the holly trees and I see a peaceful garden that belies the soaring temperature.

I am thinking -- about grocery shopping, unfortunately.

I am thankful --  for my good night's sleep.

In the kitchen --  absolutely nothing is going on.  I really need to start meal planning but it is the most difficult thing for me.

I am wearing -- gray shorts and a white t-shirt

I am creating -- some cross stitch.  I am not quilting at the moment, more interested in small projects that I can do while watching televsion in the evening.  It is too hot to quilt right now.

I am going --  to Austin soon, to a birthday party for a cute little 1 year old and her baptism as well.

I am wondering --  what gift to give this baby and what to wear to all these events!

I am reading -- Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil by Nancy Atherton.  It is the next in my queue in this series.  I have just finished "East End Jubilee" by Carol Rivers which was an excellent read -- definite recommend.

I am hoping --  to not be so sleepy today -- I just couldn't wake up yesterday -- blamed it on the three day headache.

I am looking forward to -- more Olympics watching tonight along with another Inspector Lewis mystery DVR'd from yesterday.

I am learning --  to stand up for myself without losing myself in anger.

Around the house --  I am trying to figure out ways to deal with photos and magazines and such that you don't want to get rid of but that are difficult to store away.  So, should I put photos back in albums or keep them sorted in the photo boxes?  Can't make up my mind.

I am pondering -- I don't know, I don't think I ponder, I think I obsess.

A favorite quote for today--  is the one on my Nook Simple Touch cover, which is hot pink, by the way.  It reads "Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale" by Hans Christian Andersen.  I would have to agree.

One of my favorite things is -- spending way too much time in bookstores!

A few plans for this week -- shopping.  Groceries, gifts, cards, clothes (maybe).  Too bad I don't really enjoy shopping anymore.

A peek into my day --  I intend to finish my cuppa, finish this post, read a chapter in my book and then fly by the seat of my pants through the rest of the day.

I really think these are cool and would really like to have one -- I think.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rev. with Tom Hollander

I was doing a little research on, never having paid much attention to it I wasn't really sure of what was available for my viewing pleasure.  I am pretty particular about what movies and television shows I watch so I didn't want to subscribe to a service that is not going to give me enough bang for my buck -- I already have cable that does THAT!  As it turns out, Hulu can be viewed over my little netbook for free or for an added fee, I can watch it on the television -- even though I can't.  In order to watch it on the television I would need a streaming device -- a video game player or something like Roku.  Well, I own a Wii but Hulu doesn't use Wii so that led me to look at the Roku which is again, another added fee.  I didn't want an added fee so, even though I would like the Hubs to watch with me, for now I am opting to just watch alone on my netbook.

While I was doing all this "research" and looking around, I discovered a new British comedy entitled "Rev." with Tom Hollander.  It is the story of a small village Church of England priest finding himself the rector of a large, run down, inner - city church in London.  It is comedic, but not in the "Vicar of Dibley" way, perhaps running more to the "Soul Man" (US tv, late 1990's, Dan Akyroyd) format.  In any event, I watched two episodes with netbook on lap and headphones in ears and after about a few minutes, didn't even realize I was watching a computer so I think this can work for me without any other fees or equipment.  The only annoying thing was the commercials but I would have those on regular television, now, wouldn't I, so not a real problem.

I think Tom Hollander is one of my favorite contemporary British actors.  I have seen him in more things than I can remember, the first being "The Very Thought of You" with Joseph Fiennes, Monica Potter and Rufus Sewell.  He is so  versatile in his roles as is evidenced by the contrast of his character, Daniel, in "The Very Thought of You" and his performance as the affable priest, Adam, in "Rev.".  If I wasn't old enough to be his mother I might actually swoon a bit.

So, if you are in the mood for something of this nature I would recommend "Rev.".  It is funny, it is serious, it is timely (especially for those of us of the Anglican persuasion), the scenery is interesting and the cast top notch.  There  are only six episodes in the first season with the second season to be available in November.  It is only available on Hulu, in the US.  It can't be purchased on DVD in the US or viewed in any other venue.  I watched two episodes last night and I am sure I will probably watch the rest tonight.

So, there you go -- something new and different and completely enjoyable!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

24 July 2012

My teaser today comes from "East End Jubilee" by Carol Rivers, page 289.

Rose looked at Bobby apologetically and noticed how his eyes had followed Em's retreat.  It was then she'd guessed it wasn't financial profit on his mind, but another sort of interest altogether.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Week of the Blah's

Have you ever had one of those?  Nothing is wrong but nothing is right, either.  I had so many things to do -- ironing comes to mind (and goes right back out again) as does meal planning.  However, I spent the entire week doing nothing -- and I mean nothing -- but surfing the internet and checking in on Facebook.  How pathetic is that.

I am blaming it on the heat.

It is unbearably hot here and, even though the air conditioning is keeping the house comfortable, if you have to get out for anything it is really bad and saps the very life out of you -- you can almost hear a big sucking noise as every ounce of moisture leaves your body!

We went to a family reunion on Saturday in the miniscule town (is it even a town?) -- community- of Elk, Texas.  There isn't much in Elk, Texas but it's claim to fame is that it is the home of the whole David Koresh and Branch Davidian saga of 1991.  The church, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where we have this biennial reunion, was the parking spot for all the military equipment brought in to deal with the "situation".  There is a plaque.  The reunion is always nice -- my husband's family was, at one time, quite large -- a grandma and grandpa and twelve children who married and had their own children and so on and so forth.  The family didn't start hosting these get togethers until after Grandma's death -- I think this was the twelfth one.  So, we have seen huge groups of  my mother-in-law's sisters and brothers, all of their children (and there are many) and THEIR children.  In the 90's there were so many kids you couldn't keep up with who was who.  Then something happened.  As my mother-in-law's generation just kept on going, we were losing their children and even two of the little children.   Once this was a large Czech family living in a large Czech farming community but, as the years have gone on the younger generation has married outside the community and moved to the cities -- given up farming and taking jobs in science, accounting and education.  Their children have grown up never knowing much about this little town with the one Catholic church which was the center of all activity -- along with the SPJST dance hall!  It was such a contrast this year -- three sisters -- Marguerite, Olene, and Dorothy -- two sisters-in-law -- Rosalie and Rose all sitting in a little huddle talking about old times.  Rose, age 98 had driven herself which was probably not a good idea.  Olene, 93, has really rebounded from several years of being "under the weather" and was more robust than I had seen her in years.  Dorothy hasn't changed much over the years, her childhood polio coming back on her as time goes on.  Rosalie is recovering from a limb loss due to some inherited illness -- don't know what it is.  There they sat -- all these women, much shorter than they used to be, all sporting walkers of various colors -- except for Rose who stood straight and tall.  One brother remains -- Theodore, who stood tall and thin and could remember everything about the dances and barbecues at the SPJST lodge -- they were all tripping down memory lane over photos that Carolyn had had copied for everyone of the old "homeplace" as they are fond of calling the family farm.  They are lucky -- yes, they are old but they are here and sharp enough to be  able to look at those  photos and remember -- not everybody's family is that lucky.  Now, their stories don't always match up, mind you, but then there is the good natured arguing over who is right! Great fun to watch and in doing so you realize how blessed this family has been.  It was a sparse gathering, however, not many of our generation were there and the only little children were my three grandchildren -- Nathan, Kathryn and Caroline and my great-nephew, Dante.

Dante and the Bean aka Caroline

This book must have been really good!

Dante, Bean and Mommy Bean

Dante and mom Jill, Bean and mom Bri -- Jill and Bri, first cousins are one month apart in age as are the babes!
There are photos of my other two grandchildren but their parents prefer that their photos are not published on the internet.

So, after we made it there and back in one piece, I spent yesterday in an exhausted heap in my chair surfing the net.  I was looking at these --

I think these are so cool and would look great in my house.  I have very high ceilings and this would take  up no floor space and my clothes would dry really quickly in my warm laundry room close to the ceiling.  I even saw, on one website, one of these installed over the bathtub.  Very nice! I think I might be getting one of these --- maybe.

Then, I was looking around at Hulu and discovered a new Britcom with Tom Hollander called "Rev".  I would love to see this show but it is only available on Hulu and I am not one to watch tv on the computer.  I was looking to see if I could buy the DVD's -- yes, but they are only in the British format.  Well, darn.  So, I went looking to see if I could access Hulu through my Wii.  No, only through Playstation.  Well, darn.  So, I found that I could get the show through Amazon instant video -- I could buy the whole series! Could I get that through my Wii?  No, only through Roku and Playstation.  Well, darn.  So, I started researching these --

They are affordable and small and you can get a lot of stuff by using this but...wouldn't it just be easier to watch the show on the computer?  I am beginning to think so.

It was a good weekend for mail order, as well.  I had ordered these two sampler patterns from The Sampler Girl and they arrived.  My original order was the Diamond Jubilee sampler but there was a mix up in the order and the lovely lady at The Sampler Girl told me to choose an additional pattern for all my trouble.  I assured her that it was no trouble, "stuff" happens and that she didn't need to make it up to me but she did and I received the Kate and William sampler as well.  This is why I love dealing with my small business contacts and bloggy friends businesses -- they are just wonderful people.  So, now I am the proud owner of ---

I also have this one to work on which I bought in honor of my family -- being a Davis and Welsh and all.  I would love  to change the colors as I am not a pink/green sort of person but I will see.

As I am  "off" quilting at the moment and the baby doesn't need any new clothes right yet, I am going to really enjoy stitching these little lovelies and I am going to use my new Carolina linen aida for them.  Hopefully I will remember to take photos of my progress.

I have also been reading "East End Jubilee" which I am enjoying a LOT.  It is a real guilty pleasure.  I also have been reading "Anthem" by Ayn Rand which my daughter is going to read as I believe it is taught in the English classes that she will be teaching this year.  It is a bit depressing and a little like "A Handmaid's Tale".  It is short and a quick read but more than a little creepy.  If I was reading this as a high school freshman, I would be very depressed!  But, hey, I have  never read any of Rand's work so it is enlightening.

So, that is what I have been up to here at Chateau Brinkley.  Not a lot but not totally tragic either.   So, now I am off to see The Bean and do a bit of meal planning. Ta!