Monday, April 30, 2018

Made In Savannah Series by Hope Callaghan

I am just beginning the last book in the Made in Savannah Series by Hope Callaghan. I have really enjoyed this series even thought it is very simplistic and predictable.  It is enjoyable to just sit and read and not have to over think the plot.

Do I recommend?  Yep. 

Did it satisfy my desire to go back to Savannah?  Nope. Still want to go.  Right now.

Ok, that's all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I Got a Package!

I got a package today! A complete splurge!  Good thing it was free shipping.

Big Box!

Lots of padding!

Another box inside-- it's heavy!

Like getting into Fort Knox

Voila! My little splurge!
Every year we get a rebate check from our electric company and my husband gives it to me as a little splurge.  So, this year, I decided to spring for these -- got a really good price for them and free shipping!

I thought the packing was a little over the top and  they are heavier than you would think because there are six individual trays of pencils inside.  They are gorgeous.  Not sure I want to use them!  But I will!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Facebook

Do you use Facebook?

I was one of the first to create an account -- back when it showed up and nobody knew what to do with it.  I had a Myspace account and that was icky enough so I was curious about this new thing.

Years later -- well, here we are.  New news about Facebook.  It can't be trusted.  Somehow I don't see any surprise there-- does anybody really trust anything on the internet?  I trust this site right here pretty much -- except I get some really odd visitors.  But the internet?  I have always been careful about what I put out there.

Well, it seems that FB has been doing some nasty things and now it is all coming home to roost.  So.....are you going to delete your account?  It seems that you can't really delete it -- all your information is still out there somewhere.  And photographs?  Better make sure you have them stored elsewhere. 

It will be a pain to get rid of it because that is how I keep up with people.  I recognize that most of the news on there is fake.  I know that most of the articles are just click bait.  I realize that I am becoming more and more bored with the whole thing. 

But....what should I do about it. 

I get up in the morning and the first thing I do is check FB.  Then I check the obits in my hometown newspaper.  Then I check my email and my blog.  Then I spend the rest of the day checking FB and I am noticing that I don't get updates from my friends -- just a select few people.  Not exactly sure why but then I go people's individual pages and they have been posting, I am just not getting the updates. 

I am becoming disenchanted but not sure how to break the addiction. 

Thoughts?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Food Journal Re-deaux

I have had a "weight problem" (real or imagined) all my life.  I had a "weight problem" when I weighed 114 lbs and was pregnant with my first child.  Why did I have this problem?  Two reasons -- an overweight father whose weight was my mother's main focus in life and a mother who was incredibly tiny, could wear anything she wanted and never had a tummy pooch in her life.

I know, I know, don't put the blame on the parents so I won't put all the blame on them -- I was also a teenager in the 60's when the gold standard for girls were people like Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy.


So, I am a grown up now and should have moved on past that, right?  Well, except that I have gone the way of most women my age and the weight has come on, seemingly overnight, and it just won't go away.  Factor in meds that make weight loss difficult and arthritis that makes exercise hard and what do you have -- I know there is a name for it.

For years I kept track of my calories and amount of food I ate.  I can't do that anymore -- just can't do it.  So, I have been practicing a method of eating called moderation -- you eat only when you are hungry, you stop when you are satisfied and you eat what you want.  I have gone a step farther and tried to not eat between meals or after dinner.  In theory this works great -- in reality though, it is easy to lose focus and forget your self imposed rules.

So, I am going to try to keep a food journal.  Not to weigh and measure all I eat and list it on a piece of paper.  More to just keep track of what I am eating and when and how I am feeling when I eat as a tool to keep me on the moderation plan.

I know how to eat healthy.  I know to stop eating when I am feeling satisfied (note: not full like OMgosh I ate the whole turkey).  I know how to make good choices over bad but when I lose focus I fall into the obvious trap of "eat whatever you want until you are satified".  That sounds great until you start talking about chocolate chip cookies.

The thing is, when I was growing up my pediatrician told my mother that all foods should be introduced and, if well tolerated, should be offered on a regular basis.  Nothing was off limits.  Not even desserts but people, use some sense, if the kid won't eat the squash, don't try to fill her up with ice cream!  Fortunately my mother employed the pedi's method and I have always eaten a wide variety of food and yes, I love ice cream!

So, the reason I want to start the food journal is to make sure I am making good choices and staying balanced.  It will also help to pull out the journal when the doctor's say "you need to try to lose some weight".  I can show them what I eat and they can figure out if maybe it is something out of my control -- like their meds!  Plus, my memory isn't so good anymore and I will be able to get a good picture of how I am taking care of myself for my own information.

And it gives me a reason to peruse pinterest for some cute journal ideas.

Do you food journal?  Does it work for you?  Is it useful or just another aggravating thing to add to the day?



April 22, 2018

On this day, in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated.

I do my best to reduce my carbon footprint and be ecologically aware.  However, as I am getting older, I am finding it harder to do a lot of the stuff I used to do.  It would be easier if my knees would cooperate but, so far, they aren't. 

So, Happy Earth Day -- be sure to recycle and be aware of how your habits affect the earth, the people on it and, no small thing, your pocketbook.  Have a wonderful day -- go plant a tree or a geranium!  Personally I am really digging all the bright red geraniums I am seeing around town.


On the reading front I am reading the series "Made in Savannah" by Hope Callaghan.  I am on book 8 of 9.  This cozy mystery series has sucked me in since my visit to Savannah and, because it is easy read, I have just flown through the books.  These books aren't complicated or sophisticated but they are fun to read.

After visiting the area and reading about the history and some of the curiosities of the city, I have enjoyed reading these books because, even though the names of places and events have been changed, it is very transparent and I know what they are talking about.  By reading these books it has sort of extended my visit.

I have been researching more books set in Savannah that AREN'T a series and I have a list that I am going to read when I am done with this.  The first one is obviously "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".  I watched the movie but I understand the book is so much better.  There are a couple by Mary Kay Andrews as well that are set in Savannah.  I love lowcountry settings as I have never lived near a beach and I really enjoy the reading atmosphere.

So, today is our congregational picnic at church.  It is always a lively affair with all the kids running all over the playground and good food.  I am not there, however, as my knee has me sidelined.  My husband, daughter and granddaughter are there though and I hope they are having a wonderful time!

The rest of the day is going to find me trying to do some laundry and picking up and just putting things to right for the upcoming week.  I am hobbling pretty well though so not sure how much I will get done but we will see.  I see a crock pot dinner in my future!

Have a wonderful Sunday! Hopefully all that advil I am taking will help the knee soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19,2018

On this date, in 1775, the American Revolution began.

I hope nothing so monumental happens today.

Actually, today I am sitting her thinking about the blogs I read and how much information I derive from them.

I love blog reading and have made some good friends from reading those blogs.  As well, they are chock full of useful information, funny stories, sad times illustrating the human condition and lots of ideas for our own lives.
 .
One blog I read is about fashion -- it is titled susanafter60.com.  It is written by Susan who decided her life needed a change and she set about reinventing herself.  Her original blog was called fiftynotfrumpy and has now evolved into the current incarnation.  I am not a fashionista although I used to be much more interested in clothes than I am now.  Now my focus in on shoes that don't make my feet hurt but that is another whole post.  While the things that Susan wears would not suit my body type her approach to clothes buying and fashion is very helpful and I have taken her points to heart.  It makes sense to me.  As she is aging (aren't we all?) she is discussing ways to embrace that age and continue forward in a way to feel good about yourself.  One of her key words is "soft".  I am learning a lot from Susan and I would suggest that anybody visit her blog at least once.

Another blog that I read is g.donna.com.  For some reason it won't let me link but you should seek it out anyway.  It is written by Donna who, along with her husband, has created an experience of living in different time periods by adjusting her home and activities to reflect a certain decade.  Right now they are living in the mid-1940's.  They research the time period they are interested in and outfit their home to give them an idea of what it is to live in that period and they stay there for a year.  I believe that the year they are in now, 1944, is where they would like to stay permanently.  Now, her way of life is a bit too labor intensive for me -- I would probably be healthier if I could live like that but I don't think this old girl has it in her.  Plus, 1944 was before my time so many of the things I hear her talk about is reminiscent of things my parents spoke of.  However, her home is delightful, her gardens heavenly, and reading her blog does take me back to a simpler time and it is like a great big "sigh" to just look at her photos.

On a daily basis I read "Frugally Challenged" and "Trundling Through Life" written by my penpal, Mary.  I just delight in her posts -- we are approximately the same age which means we have memories of the same time periods and it is so interesting to see her talk about her life in the UK and I can compare my life in the US.  She has guest posts -- most notably from her caretaker Jack.  Jack is a character of the highest order and I have developed a great liking of Jack and his posts -- such fun! So sorry about your knees Jack but glad you are on the mend. 

Tracing Rainbows is another along with Jenny of Elefantz.  I love the needlework ideas, the gardens, the cooking -- it is just like I have good neighbors who like to get together for a chat over a cuppa.

Joysweb and A Little Reading are also regular reading for me.  Of course, Joy is my cousin so Joysweb keeps me up on what she is doing.  A Little Reading, also by Joy, is a good source for reading material as she is an avid reader/reviewer.  We all know, however, that I do judge my books by their covers!


I read many others as well, equally as charming and informative (they are all listed on my blog sidebar) and I look forward to seeing what is going on with my bloggy friends.  It has become a highlight of my day to check in on these folks and see what is going on in their worlds.

So, do you read blogs regularly?  If you are reading this, then you must.  What do you look for in a good blog?  Are you looking for an escape?  Information?  Or just a nice place to spend a few minutes out of your busy day?  I would like to know.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Doodling

I am finding that I am having great fun with doodling.  I decided to sit and doodle some more last night and this is what I came up with after my cousin said I should draw some fruit.





So, here is some fruit.

Garden Chaos

Our new house has a large yard.  In fact, the whole lot is about a half acre and the house sits to the front of that so the back yard is large -- wider than deep.  The previous owner had done a lot of landscaping according to the neighbor but not much of it remains -- seems the things she did really weren't good for the house, like piling dirt in flower beds above the foundation line.  So, basically, the yard is a blank canvas and will stay that way, I think.  I rather like the serenity of a large, sprawling lawn.





 


Our neighbor's yard has been designated as an Audubon Society site for songbirds and we do have a lot of birds around.  On Friday I counted five robins in the yard.  I have never seen so many at one time!   I tried to get a photo but I wasn't quick enough.

So, to do our part with the birds, we moved our birdbath and birdfeeders and put them outside the breakfast nook window where we could enjoy watching the little sparrows.  They aren't going to be little for long because they have emptied those feeders twice and they have only been out there for a few days.



We haven't done anything with that flower bed yet because it has been too chilly but it will be cleaned out, the soil lowered away from the house and mulched.  If I put in flowers they will be in pots.  I can handle that.

I have rambled away from the point of the post here -- the crisis.

Well, it seems the former owner had hung a live wreath on the wall that had dried up and was needing to be discarded but we hadn't gotten to it yet.  The other day, while mowing, Hubs discovered a dove sitting on the dried up wreath -- clearly on eggs.  It was a great place for a nest -- under an eave, up high, well hidden. After watching her a couple of days we realized the eggs had hatched and there were two little hatchlings in the nest. 

However, yesterday, Hubs came in said he thought maybe something happened to Mommy Dove as there were feathers all over the ground below the wreath/nest and no bird in sight.  I went out and searched the whole yard -- the babies were screaming their heads off -- and no mommy to be found.

I panicked.  I Googled how to care for baby birds and the best advice was to get in touch with a "bird re-habber" or rescue.  So, I located one or two in the area and went back out to look.  There was Mommy Dove behind the shrubs on the ground.  She didn't appear to be hurt so we left her alone.  She moved all over the ground but didn't get back up in the nest.  We felt sure she was ok so we went on about our business but kept an eye out because we do have a very large, ginger cat that makes it's way through our yard.  As we retired for the night, she still wasn't on the nest but we felt confident that she was close-by.

When I got up this morning I checked and she was back up on the nest with everybody tucked in nice and snug.  I went out to take these photos and I checked -- Mommy is gone again but I did capture a baby sticking it's head out of the nest.  It seems to be the same color as the wreath so see if you can see the babe!

Crisis over!

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Spring Break -- Installment Four

We decided to extend our stay in Savannah an extra day because there is just so much to see.  An extra day could have turned into a week for me but we did need to move on since we only had a week.

The second day was full of shopping and food and looking at all the gorgeous architecture.

There are no tall buildings in Savannah, no skyscrapers -- I think the tallest building is four stories.  The tallest thing you will find in the city are church steeples -- this being one of the best examples. This is the Independent Presbyterian Church.  It has a rich history and you can read about it on the website at http://ipcsav.org/

Another  outstanding example of Savannah churches is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

The exterior of this church is breathtaking but the inside is even more so.  You can visit their website as well at http://savannahcathedral.org/

This is just a drop in the bucket in regards to the architecture. The mansions and row houses around the squares are gorgeous and the ironwork is so beautiful.  There is a lot of iron work on the homes and the story is that the wealthier you were the more iron you had on your house so there you go.

the famous Mercer House -- owned by the singer John Mercer at one time


We ate at two places while there -- The Cafe at City Market and The Six Pence Pub.  The Cafe at City Market was a very popular place, rustic in style and the food was great.  The Six Pence Pub, however, was fabulous.

It is authenic, the food was wonderful -- I had the shepherd's pie and salad -- and if you want to see it in action it is one of the locations in "Something to Talk About" with Julia Roberts.  I would go back -- right now -- I wonder when the next flight is?

And, then, of course, you have to do a little shopping.  There were great shopping places -- one called Silver Silk and Beads had gorgeous silver pendants that were designed reminiscent of the elaborate iron work you see around the city.  Gorgeous but I decided to go to Twinkle  and buy a cute little turquoise cross body bag with matching bi-fold wallet (tiny but it works!) and pom pom key chain which I really needed -- I really did!





It was a wonderful day -- the weather was gorgeous -- the citizens were excited about the upcoming St. Patrick's Day festival and everybody was decorating and feeling the festive atmosphere.  Personally, though, I am glad that we were gone before St. Patrick's Day because apparently it gets really rowdy -- people actually travel to attend so it isn't a totally local 'thing'.

The first day we used the trolley and my knees were thankful -- sort of -- climbing on and off those buses wasn't easy -- but the second day we walked everywhere and decided to take a Ghost Tour that evening.

It was a grand tour that included dinner at The Pirate House -- a restaurant housed in a building that was built in 1734 making it the oldest building in Georgia.  The meal was lovely -- although a LOT of food --my meal alone could have fed all four of us -- and it was ended with  a tour of the basement -- the very haunted basement.  Do I believe in ghosts?  Yes.  Did I see or feel any?  No.  With that said, the entire atmosphere of the city seems charged with excitement.  Does that have anything to do with the paranormal activity that is supposedly strong or was it just St. Patrick's Day?  I don't know but next time I go I definitely want to go to the CVS that is built on the site of the original jail -- seems that the spirits like to turn over shelving on the customers. Sounds like fun!

The next day saw us sadly heading out of Savannah toward Birmingham Alabama.  While there we visited the  16th Street Baptist Church which was the site of the 1963 bombing that killed four little girls.  We learned that two of these girls were Girl Scouts which made it even sadder -- these girls were apparently strong examples of what we all want our daughters to be -- smart, leaders, caring -- what a shame.  The whole area was sad -- the park across the street that was dedicated to these girls with statues and plaques was just so sad. I remember the events at that church but it seems much more recent than 1963.

Leaving there we headed to our hotel where we discovered that we were just too tired to go eat.  So, the Hubs and the Daughter walked across the street to a Publix and bought the makins for a picnic in our hotel room.  It was a great change from restaurant food -- even as lovely as it had been.

Finally, the morning found us rising and shining and heading out for the 12 hour drive back to Fort Worth.  It was a long, hard drive (it rained the entire way across Mississippi) and I was so glad to see a Whataburger!  Exhaustion set in, and we were glad to see our own bed.  It took me about three days to recover.

Would I do it again?  You bet -- with some changes -- I would choose to go to Savannah -- on an airplane -- and stay in downtown where I could walk to everything.  But yes -- and I probably will!






What Does One Do When Restless? Art!

Last night I was restless. I think I was tired and my knees were hurting and I wanted to do something but not too much of something.  All my sewing was upstairs and I just couldn't be bothered to climb the stairs so....

I decided to draw.  Now, you must understand that while my father was a very good artist and made a living at it, I didn't inherit the gene.  I knew this so I never even tried.  However, as many people do as they age, I have a new appreciation of art and enjoy a number of aspects of it.

Obviously fine art, painting, sculpture, etc is all art but I look at quilting, cross stitch, and paper crafts (i.e. cardmaking) as art as well.  I love the complexity of mixed media projects and have worked on a couple of those as well.  I was right on board with the new adult color book craze and love it -- I am going to indulge myself in a full set of prismacolor pencils as soon as I can find a full set someplace!

But, what I would really like to do is be able to draw.  I used to marvel at my father's ability to just sit and draw effortlessly.  The detail in his work was amazing (he was a cartoonist) and I would just shake my head not really knowing how he did it and being a bit resentful that I couldn't.

I will never be an artist but I have discovered that is ok.  Art is in the eye of the beholder and while I will never have the talent that my father did I can still play with it.

So, last night that is what I did.  I opened the internet and searched for sketching ideas and found a couple of things and gave it a go.  I was surprised to find that it was actually relaxing and not stressful because, after all, art is in the eye of the beholder, right?

So, here you go--Art -- MY way!

this is a vase in my kitchen -- this was done a few weeks ago
again with the vase

just the posy

a duck I copied off the internet

A penguin I copied off the internet

a fantasy flower and a magical bee from my imagination

more of the same
So, that is what I did last night -- huge waste of time but it was very relaxing -- I  might do it again tonight!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Made in Savannah Series 1-3

I think by now everybody has figured out that I was completely smitten with Savannah, Georgia.  I was.  I am not ashamed to say so.  I would love to go back.

But, I can't right now so....

I have watched "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" so I could at least look at parts of it again.  I did some research on books set in Savannah and have read the first three books in a series called "Made in Savannah" by Hope Callaghan.



I obtained the first three books as a boxed set for my Kindle -- for $.99.  How could I lose with three books for less than a dollar. I didn't know what to expect but I was anxious to read them.

I have finished all three and have purchased #4.  These are clean, cozy mysteries about Carlita Garlucci, her husband Vinnie, a crime boss, and their four children.  As the series begins, Vinnie has died and left Carlita with more than a few things to figure out, including an envelope, a key and a deed to some property in historic downtown Savannah.

All of this leads to a new life for Carlita and her family -- one away from organized crime but chock full of mystery everywhere she turns.

These books are quick reads, not terribly complex but great fun.  I recommend them and will continue to enjoy the series.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

You Are What You Eat? I Don't Think So

While I am working on my next Spring Break installment I decided to post a small little snippit here about food.

You are what you eat?

I don't think so.

After the Girl Scout cookies were gone I decided to break myself from the cookie habit. It is the last bad eating habit I have.  I don't generally eat cake or pie and never bake them and with a diabetic hubby, I don't buy candy, so my bad eating habit is cookies and they needed to go. 

I didn't eat a cookie for a full month.  I felt so much better -- noticeably so.  Then I fell off the wagon.  I have eaten cookies again -- not in the same amount and not as often but I have eaten them in the past and I could feel a huge difference in how I felt.

So.......back on the wagon.

And you know, with all those cookies you would think I would feel all sweet and nice but no, I felt all grumbly and cross and bogged down. 

Therefore, no more cookies.

Back to Spring Break and the new book series I am reading!