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!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

17 July 2012

Yes, I realize it is Tuesday and I have already done the meme for today but I forgot this one yesterday so I am playing catch up -- not an uncommon activity for me.

The questions this week are -- What are you  currently reading?  Is it any good?  Would you recommend it.

I am currently reading "East End Jubilee"  by Carol Rivers.

I am finding it to be one of those books you can't put down.  It  takes place at the time of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.  It is about Rose, her husband, his troubles, their children, her sister -- their lives, everyday and how they cope.  It is a bit like watching a family through their kitchen window or over the back fence.

Yes, I would recommend it.  It is a quiet book but it is compelling and I am quite enjoying it.

17 July 2012

I am still in the middle of East End Jubilee but the next book in my queue is So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore.  I seriously wish I could read multiple books at a time but that concept seems to be beyond me but, since this book is next I will "tease" from it.

"It was a Friday when the girl came into the Archives for the first time, the first Friday after they'd changed the clocks.  Spring ahead, fall back:  Kathleen had once learned some rhyme about that when she was a schoolchild, but she no longer remembered it.  It had been some time since she'd been a schoolchild.  This was early November, the leaves mostly down, lying wet and slick all over Boston."

Page 3

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Snapshot -- July 14, 2012

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books

Soon to be history

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booking Through Thursday -- July 12, 2012

Today's question is what book(s) have you read that you are secretly ashamed to admit.

This is an easy answer.  None.  Zip.  Nada.

I guess I was a little shy about my mother finding out that I read "Gidget" when I was about 13.  She questioned the appropriateness.  I guess she hadn't realized that I had outgrown "The Bobbsey Twins" although I still pick one of those up now and then.  My reading taste runs more along the line of historical fiction, a new interest in mysteries, fun books like the one I am reading now, "East End Jubilee" -- books about the human condition.  I am not a big fan of romance -- especially the stuff with the Fabio lookalike on the cover.  I do not like books that contain violence, especially against women and children, and I am not the sort to read gruesome stuff.  If I want that as entertainment, all I need to do is turn on the television.  I do like biographies as well.

Sex in books doesn't bother me, if  not violent, although I don't seek it out.   However, I had a lovely chat with my dental hygienist yesterday about "The Fifty Shades of Grey".  She was completely embarrassed to admit that she had read the trilogy and didn't really want to admit it.  She even archived it on her Kindle so her kids wouldn't find out she had read it.  I downloaded a free sample of it onto my Nook a few weeks back when everybody was talking about it and, honestly, it just didn't grab me.  After the conversation with the girl yesterday, I will have to give it a second look at some point just out of curiosity.  However, I have, at last count, about fifty to-be-read books on my shelf and those have first priority.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays -- July 10, 2012

In the first place, I am not sure how it has gotten to be July already.  I don't know what happened to June.  Oh well.  My teaser today comes from "East End Jubilee" by Carol Rivers.  It was first published in the UK in 2005 under the title of "Rose of Ruby Street".

My teaser comes from page 60.

"On sudden impulse, Rose stood up and went over.  She leaned her back against the cabinet and pushed. Perhaps a little housework would distract her mind.  But, finally, after lots of pushing and shoving, she gazed down at perfectly clean floorboards.  A moment later she lifted one of the boards.  In the recess below there was a shoebox."

Hmm...what could that mean?  I will review when completed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Feeling a little witchy today but I need to find a recipe for a natural insect repellent.  We are having a bit of a problem  here in North Texas with an outbreak of West Nile virus and since the Hubs is outside in the yard all the time, and #2 granddaughter loves the outdoors we just have to find something that isn't -- well, poison.

We hosted the Bean's b/day party here a week ago and, since it was an indoor/outdoor party, I supplied our guests with two varieties of repellent -- Burts Bees Natural and Off! with DEET.  I think most of the folks opted for the natural variety, if anything, but it was far from pleasant.  So, this morning I am researching homemade, natural options.  I already have several recipes for homemade cleaning products and homemade personal care products so this will just be another facet of my "do it myself and feel better about the whole thing"  approach.

So, as I grocery shop today I will be looking for a little notebook in which to house all my recipes and as I think about it I am reminded of  a book that I completely enjoyed called "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe, a descendant of one of the ladies involved in the Salem witch trials.

It is alarming how my collection of essential oils is growing -- I especially love orange -- but I am so concerned about what is in the products we use on  an every day basis that I really feel that I have no choice but to concoct my own.  Granted, I am not a spring chicken and I have been doing what I do for a long time from using ready made deodorants to drinking the now-declared carcinogenic Coca-Cola and changing things now probably won't make a difference for me.  However, it will for the children and I think it is my duty to try.

So, I will be creating my own little Physick Book of LissieLou -- hopefully I can find a really cute little book!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Books or Nooks -- what is YOUR pleasure?

I am a complete contradiction.  I pride myself on striving to live a "green" lifestyle yet I love technology.  I don't know what to do with it -- can't program it, can't fix it, can only push buttons, not a geek, but I love the concept.

When the first generation Nook came out I really wanted one.  I looked, shopped, thought, rationalized and then I bought it.  I loved it.  I was happy with my little Nook.  I really liked the idea of being able to rack up sizable credit card bills to Barnes and Noble while sitting in my easy chair.  It was easy to read, easy to hold, easy to put in a purse.  It took a load off my bulging bookshelves because it is clearly evident that I will never, ever quit buying books.

Then the Nook color came out.  Yep, I bought one.  It is very nice for Angry Birds but I don't enjoy reading on it as much because it is glarey.  The battery life is pathetic.

Not long after the Nook color came to live in our house, the Nook Simple Touch was born and up for adoption.  Yep, like a stray puppy, I couldn't resist and I brought it home.  It is beyond cute and lives in a hot pink cover with a quote from Hans Christian Anderson embossed on the front cover.  It is easy to read with the e-ink technology (like the original Nook) and has a phenomenal battery life -- about a month.  So small, it fits great in a purse and is light as a feather.

So, why, with all of this reading (and Angry Birds) opportunity around me do I still want to buy physical books? I had this conversation with a sales person at B&N just the other day.  The books are slightly less expensive on the Nook which is a plus but I think the problem is that if you love books -- not just reading but the actual book, when you use an e-reader you don't feel like you are getting anything for your money.  The sales person told me that while they sell lots of e-readers, their actual book sales aren't being affected at all.  She agreed with my idea that when you buy virtual books you don't really feel like you have anything for your money.

So......Nook has come out with two new products -- a tablet and a Simple Touch with a light.  So far I have resisted both but  I am not sure for how long.  The tablet would be nice for the computer capability rather than the  reading capability.  The new Simple Touch is great for people who  read in bed and don't want to disturb another person.  I don't read in bed so I don't see that I need to replace my first little ST.  However, I do have a netbook that I carry around with me sometimes and wonder if I really need another device, like a tablet, to do the same thing.  I think not.

A couple of days ago I wasn't feeling up to par so I just sort of sat around and "surfed" all day.  By the end of the day I was exhausted and I hadn't done anything.  Visiting FB numerous times was tiring -- I don't think I am really FB material because I don't feel the need to share my every thought with the cyber world but it is nice to contact relatives with.  I did some blog reading which I enjoy immensely and spent way too much time on Pinterest.  Oh, the television was going the entire time as well.  I wasn't watching it -- it was just on.  Noise pollution at its best. Even my husband suggested we turn off the tv and read.

 As evening drew in, I turned off all the devices, lowered the lights a bit and grabbed a new read -- a physical book -- curled up and immersed myself in the life of Rose of Ruby Street at the time of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.  It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could relax. It was wonderful and has shifted my attention back to my budding "green" lifestyle which is really where I want to be living.

So, what is it for you -- e-readers or books?  Why? How has technology affected your lifestyle -- better, worse?  I don't think we will ever go back or do without technology but has it taken over too much of our lives?  It is definitely food for thought.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

I have never known much about the gypsy culture except what everybody knows -- colorful caravans, wild ways, untrustworthy, scammers, curses, etc.  There was a gypsy lady who had a fortune telling business in her home at the end of our block.  She walked by our house one day and waved at my mother -- a gesture my  mother chose to ignore -- and the next day our house burned down.  The gypsy didn't have anything to do with it -- a leaky hot water heater was the culprit -- but to my superstitious mother, we had been cursed.  I almost hit the same lady with the car a few years later -- nothing happened.  Maybe she like me?? I don't believe in curses.  In any event, I was surprised when I moved to the Fort Worth area to learn that we have a sizable gypsy (Irish Traveler) community here.  We learned about it when the much publicized story of Madelyn Toogood viciously whipping her child in a parking lot in South Carolina came out. Yep, she is part of Ft. Worth's gypsy community. During that same time period a group of under aged Traveler boys were out joy riding in cars, had a wreck and several were killed.  It was then that I started doing a little reading about Irish Travelers, especially in our area but it was a short lived interest and fell by the way until reality TV gave us Our Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and the American version which isn't nearly as good.

One day, while in my favorite Barnes and Noble, I ran across this book by Mikey Walsh.  I bought it thinking it was going to be the humorous, male version of the tv shows I faithfully DVR so I never miss an episode.  Well, I was wrong.  The book is well written and compelling.  It isn't a long read but it is the most painful book I have ever actually completed.  Most anything I pick up that involves violence toward helpless children either never comes into my possession or is ditched immediately upon discovery of the subject matter.  I had a big problem with VC Andrews books for that same reason.

In any event, I had to finish it to make sure that Mikey came out of it ok.  Spoiler here, he did, but this little boy had such a horrific life that I am completely shocked and baffled as to how he survived, much less flourished.  But, he did.

If you don't get squeamish about pure evil being projected onto small children, then I would recommend this book if you really want to know what life in the Romany world can be like.  It isn't like what is portrayed on tv.  I am not saying that all Romany or Travelers are like this, I am sure they aren't, but one is enough and it is vividly portrayed here.

The book is permanently in my library but I doubt I will be reading it again.  Once is, indeed, enough.