Thursday, January 31, 2019

One Leaf Too Many by Julie Cosgrove

Today I read a book by a local author, Julie Cosgrove, titled "One Leaf Too Many". 

It is a book about a family with secrets that hails from my home state -- my hometown as well.  There is a mystery, a death, a murder, some genealogical study, a little romance -- something for everybody.

I don't usually sit down and read an entire book in a day but I did with this one.  I couldn't put it down.  Really. 

I recommend this book without reservation. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

I just finished reading "Anne of Green Gables" by L. M. Montgomery.  I don't know how I went so long without reading it -- or why. 

Anne Shirley, the lead character, has red hair, a precocious personality and just manages to vex people while simultaneously wrapping them around her little finger.

I was drawn into this novel from the get go.  So much so, actually, that I did some research on Prince Edward Island so I could have a good picture of the setting although it was well described in the book.

I don't usually cry over books but I did shed a few with this one. 

I believe I will continue with the series.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Hygge, Lagom and Cwtch ---oh my!

For the last two or three years people have been enchanted by the lifestyle concept of Hygge.  It is Danish in origin an embraces a cozy environment using lots of cozy linens and candles to create the correct ambiance.  The look is generally light walls, light wood, uncluttered interiors to ward off the dark of the long winters.  It is almost minimalistic.

I am not minimalistic so while I like the look, it isn't me.

The next new thing is lagom.  It is Swedish in origin an means "not too little, not too much, just enough".  That sounds more like me.  I can't be minimal because I like things around me that have meaning.  I don't like clutter, though, so this sounds like it would be more up my alley.

So, I decided to go to my own ancestral background and discover what sort of lifestyle the folks in my ancestral home (one of them) find to be appealing.

Enter "cwtch" -- rhymes with "butch".  It is Welsh for a hug and also a cubby or cubbyhole -- a cozy place, a safe place if you will.  So, when you apply this word to interior design it means cozy and warm.  There is no direct English translation for this word, by the way.

Apparently there is no one style or color scheme or plan, you simply surround yourself with what makes you feel like you are in a cozy, safe place.  One article said to include lots of family photos.  Another article said to use lots of natural colored linens, different colored woods, create a cozy reading nook, and common family eating area.

And they also said not to forget the Welsh cakes! And a Welsh dresser!

Yes, that sounds more like me -- I think my house is already "cwtch".

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

It is Finished!

I finally finished reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I didn't enjoy it although it got better with the last 125 pages or so. 

It is the story of Elizabeth Keckley, modiste to Mary Todd Lincoln.  It told of her life in and out of the White House, how she was a loyal companion to Mrs. Lincoln and how her life disintegrated after her friendship with Mrs. Lincoln ceased to be.

I think I would have done better to read the book Mrs. Keckley wrote herself.

I am glad I saw it through and finished the book although I will only recommend with reservation.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Channeling Marie

Yesterday was a non-day.  What do I mean?  I mean it was like I was invisible.  I didn't do anything.  Well, I did a bunch of laundry but that is mindless.  I didn't do anything that required much energy or intellect at all.  I didn't feel well, my knees hurt, the weather was icky and my allergies were making their presence known so I sat and watched movies. 

I watched a lovely little anti-drug film made in 1936 by the title "Marahuana".  It was the most dismal thing I have ever seen.  Why did you watch it you ask?  Curiosity.  And you know how they say "curiosity killed the cat"?  Yes.  Yes, it does.

Then I watched "A Kiss Before Dying" with Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward.  It was typical 50's fare with a nice little twist. 

Then I moved on to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" with the ever gorgeous Hugh Grant.  I had to turn it off though because my grandchildren arrived.  With their arrival we went on to finish "Moana" which I really hope to not have to watch again for awhile and when we were done there we started the 1951 version of "Alice in Wonderland". 

After the kids left we were on our own for pizza and more tv.  However, I continued reading on THE book.  It is not uncommon for me to think books start out slowly and then reach a point of not being put down but this was went on almost three quarters of the way before I could say it got interesting.  It is moving along at a better clip now and I am more than ready. 

So, today I have tackled the beast known as my closet.  The closet, well, my side of it, looks as though a little hurricane has gone through it.  So, I have decided to fix it.  Now the whole bedroom looks like a hurricane has gone through it.  I have a ton of blouses that I don't wear because they all have to be ironed -- a lot -- with lots of starch to even look like I have touched them.  Marie Kondo says to hold an item in your hand and see if it sparks joy.  Is she kidding?  These blouses don't spark joy! They are just wrinkled!  So, don't know what I am going to do about that -- probably donate.  And then shop.  Fun?  No.  I don't like shopping.

I have a chest in the closet that I am moving upstairs for craft storage.  I need the hanging room it is taking up.  I really prefer to hang things so Marie and I don't really agree on that.  I folded a bunch of stuff her way, once, and promptly forgot I had it.  However, once I opened the drawer I put it in it was like Christmas but, yeah, I have to be able to see my stuff.

So, that is what I am doing today.  Waiting for the warm up they said was coming today but they have now bumped it to Wednesday.  Oh well, it is January.

Guess I will go back to the closet.  Fun!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Been Away

Been away for a few days.  Not really "away" but away from the computer.  I have been trying to un-device myself and spend some time doing other things.  I really love being on the computer but I feel like I need a break sometimes.

I have been making moves to re-do my closet.  I think I am going to have to employ Marie Kondo's approach to tidying up-- holding an item in my hand and if it sparks joy, keep it -- if not, don't.  I have a feeling none of my blouses that need heavy ironing are going to spark any joy for me.  I might have a lot going to the charity shop.

I also spent a little time cleaning up my craft area.  I have a few cards to make and it was to the point, after Christmas, that I couldn't see the table top.  The Hubs has ordered me a new table for crafting and I hope it gets here soon.  I need to do something about storage but I have some ideas.

Still reading THE book -- almost done -- really, I am.  I have been taking a break and reading "Twenty Seven Years on the Texas Frontier" by William Banta.  William Banta is an ancestor of mine -- my great-grandfather's uncle of some number of "greats".  It is an interesting account of his time here and what it was like in the early to mid-1800's.  I love the mention of the areas that I am familiar with as modern sites. 

The weather has turned cold and icky.  It was quite rainy yesterday but it dried up today and we did quite a bit of moving of stuff from our other house.  There is very little stuff left there and we are almost ready to market the house.  It will be the fourth or fifth on the market in the neighborhood.  I don't know if that will be good or not -- it will create more traffic in the area but then there are more to choose from.  Guess we will see what happens.

Not much to speak of -- not much going on.  Girl Scout cookie season has begun and I hope our girls do well.  I think they will.

So, I guess I will go watch this Dallas Cowboy football game -- I really don't like pro football. 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

January 6--Epiphany

It is Epiphany . Christmas is over.  May we all have a wonderful, meaning ful 2019!

Saturday, January 05, 2019

January 5,2019

Today is the last day of Christmas.  Tomorrow is Epiphany.  It was a wonderful season.

However, things are getting back to normal whether we want them to or not.  I didn't post yesterday because I had some errands to run and by the time I was done I was pooped and I crashed.

Today was spent going to our old house and taking things to the donation place.  We didn't get much done but I am hobbling around and not much help.  We are at that point that we sort of need to just throw it all away, all the little stuff that is left.  It is time.

I have spent the day thinking about clothing and how our lives change our needs.  I don't need to remind anybody who has been here for a while, that I am having arthritis issues that now are complicated by ankle issues.  So, I did some looking at shoes-- yes, orthopedic shoes -- it hurts to say that, yes, it really does.  Especially since I have a Tieks mind!  But, I did order a pair of rather homely shoes called Sanibel by Orthofeet.  I would show you a photo but it seems they won't let me copy it.  Anyway, we will see how they work.  I suspect that part of my problem is that I insist upon wearing shoes with absolutely no support.  But, isn't it all about the cuteness factor?  No?  Oh.

So, all the shoe shopping let me think about my clothes.  I don't wear heels anymore but I do wear cute flats.  I wear lots of slacks and jeans.  I have a problem with tops because t-shirts aren't my "thing" -- I much prefer shirts or blouses.  So, I follow a blog that will remain nameless and the lady has good advice -- if you are very small and very rich -- which I am neither.  So, I was sort of devising my own take on her advice.

Then, I happened upon another blog giving an idea of what sort of things, in what amount does one need to create a reasonable "wardrobe".   I do know what "works" for me, what I wear repeatedly and what I find comfortable so I think I should start there.

I no longer like prints in tops.  I much prefer solids in whites, blues or grays.  I like things tailored and I like colorful jewelry and accessories.  However, with that said, about the only purse I carry anymore is a Longchamp tote in gray or red.  They are so fantastic -- and they zip! A necessity for people like me who tend to drop things.  Here is one similar

I also did some looking at makeup a few days ago.  I miss mainstream makeup since I have been using "natural" makeup for several years now.  I was drooling over the Clinique website when I noticed that all their products are paraben free now.  I dumped my entire makeup drawer, headed for Ulta and bought all new makeup.  I don't use foundation anymore and I do use Thrivecausmetic mascara so I bought some blush, eye shadow and lip balm all in the chubby stick line.  I love it.  And now my makeup drawer is clean.

So, I am making a move to do the same thing with the closet.  I have a good list of what I need to make a good wardrobe for myself --and I don't really need to buy much except a couple of blouses.   What I need to do is get rid of what I don't wear hanging up.  I have a bunch of shirts that I bought a while back and they are all way, WAY, too big.  I just didn't bother to send them back.  My bad.  But they are all a hopeless wrinkly mess and have to be ironed with lots of steam and lots of spray starch and I just don't think I can continue with them very well.  So, the closet is getting a good clean out.  I wish I could consider it fun but I don't.  Oh well, I will like it better when there is only stuff in there that I will wear. 

So, yeah.  That is how my year is starting out.  Trying to be productive.  Trying to finish that book!  One day I will and you will all be surprised!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

January 3, 2019

Today was quiet day at home because the weather was pretty yucky.  We were supposed to get some snow but we didn't.  I say that like it is a bad thing which is isn't.  I don't care for snow/ice/cold.  Tomorrow is going to be much  better which is good because I have plans.

I have been obsessed with the Paul is Dead conspiracy since it began in 1969.  I bought a book called "The Life and Death of Paul McCartney" by Nicholas Kollerstrom.  It arrived in the mail yesterday.  I read it.  Yesterday.

Did I learn anything new that I hadn't read on the internet?  Well, yes, in a way.  There were lots of references to vague statements and a lot of talking about other people in the lives of the Fab Four.  Did it answer any questions?  No.  But, it was a compelling read.  However, it was a bit dark and eerie.  I think I might be losing interest in the whole thing.

Today was reasonably productive.  I have been very sedentary lately because of my knees and ankles -- mostly ankles -- and it is beginning to wear on me so I decided to just limp my way through today.  As I have discovered before, the more I moved around the less it hurt but it never completely went away.  Never mind, I got a lot done -- several loads of laundry washed, dried and folded.  The guest bedrooms were straightened and things put to right, bits of things that hadn't made it to the trash bin yet were picked up and a few Christmas decorations were put away.  It felt good to get things back to normal a little bit.

Tomorrow is shopping.  I have a few things I need to replenish which I like to do from time to time and then Saturday we will be pulling together some loose ends at the other house getting it ready for the market.  It is going to be a busy weekend but the weather is supposed to be lovely so I am looking forward to get a lot done.

The rest of my Friday is going to involve watching the new episode of "The Black List", a shower and bed!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

January 2, 2019

"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105.4

It is a dreary day here in the Fort.  We were warned of "wintery" weather and, for once, they got it right.  We have been having freezing rain all day.  There have been a few accidents but not nearly as bad as it could be.  However, it isn't over yet.  Still raining ice, it could turn to snow over night -- then again, it may not.  We will have to wait and see.  Here are some photos, though.

The pomegranate fondly dubbed "Ice Bush"

The tree behind our fence

The bird feeder

Because of THAT I have been enjoying a nice quiet day, a fire in the fireplace, and reading THIS -- my all time favorite obsession.

I have read 39 pages and I just got it an hour ago in the mail.  It is definitely going better than my other read.  Do I believe Paul is dead?  I don't know but I do believe the person we see as Paul McCartney today is not the original of the early 60's -- the one with the puppy dog eyes that made girls faint. 

I will see what this book has to say.

And I will watch for snow and let you know -- snow is much more exciting than ice.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

January 1, 2019

"You have said, "Seek my face.  My heart says to you, "Your face, Lord, do I seek." --Psalm 27:8 ESV

Happy New Year!

The day dawned a new year with a promising future ahead.  It is like opening a blank book with 365 clear pages for us to write our own story. 

What will it be?  Epic?  A tragedy? (Hopefully not!) A comedy or romance?  It will be fun to watch the book write itself and revisit this first page on December 31, 2019.

As I have said before, my Advent was superb, my Christmas a blessed time like no other before and here I am headed toward Epiphany with a fresh sense of renewal and purpose looking forward to all the new year has in store for me. 

My thought for the new year?  To let the year be what it is meant to be, look at the new day and know it is a gift and be thankful for it.

I have a few plans for the year.  I mentioned before that I have been doing morning devotionals using a book called "Jesus Calling".  There is an entry for each day of the year and I am beginning at the beginning today.  I like the way it feels to start my day with a devotional reading.  It just sets the day off on the right foot.  This is a lovely little book if you would like to check it out -- I have it on my Kindle.

I am still reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker " and not enjoying it one bit more than I was two days ago.  I am determined to finish it though.  I have a stack of reads piling up on my bedside table though that I am anxious to get to.  I have never been very successful at trying to read more than one book at a time but as slow as this one is going I might have to try.

 I believe that my first book started in 2019 is going to be "Anne of Green Gables".  It is a title I should have read years ago and didn't so I am playing catch-up.  Also, there is a new title out in the Made in Savannah series that I am just itching to start.

The new year is going to find me cooking more.  In our house, everybody seems to want a couple of dishes -- "I don't know" and "I don't care" -- and I can't find recipes for those particular dishes so I am planning to make the decision of what we will be having.  I mean, since I am the one having to cook it, I should be able to decide what I want to spend my time doing --right?  I think so.

I will be continuing to make cards in the upcoming year.  I am on a couple of cardmaking groups on FB and there has been mention of people being concerned about recipients tossing the cards and how that hurts their feelings.  I think differently about it.  In the first place, nobody has room to store everything that comes into their homes and some things have to be thrown or recycled just out of practicality.  I make these cards because I feel the need to be artistic -- seems I inherited my father's drive and inclination toward art but not the talent.  That is a conundrum.  So, making cards is a creative outlet for me.  It is fun for me.  It is thought provoking to design and choose papers and stamps and such and I get a kick out of it.  If the people I send them to like them, that is the cherry on the top, isn't it?  If they decide to dispose of them, well, it is their card once it is in their hands.  My fun has been had.  So, I will continue with the hobby until I tire of it.

Last week was such fun.  I had the privilege of viewing "The Return of Mary Poppins" with my daughter and granddaughter.  I think the Hubs and I should go to the movie more. I miss it.  It used to be our main activity when we were dating and after we married we just became homebodies.  Admittedly, with all the offerings now on TV with streaming and such, there is little need to venture to a theater but once in a while it would be nice.

I don't believe in resolutions.  I see resolutions as something to be broken.  I do believe in seeing better ways to do things and making the effort to embrace new approaches but the idea of feeling like I have "failed" if I slip just doesn't appeal to me -- so there are no resolutions.  However, Advent has taught me a lot -- how to relax, how to be quiet, how to prioritize, how to be happy with "enough", how to weigh needs and wants and how gratitude is the most wonderful feeling.  For some reason, this holiday season has been a real learning curve for me and I am so thankful for whatever it is that has molded my thinking for the last couple of months.  It has been eye opening. 

So, here is to a new, happy, prosperous year to all of you!  I am looking forward to reading about all of your new years as well.