Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Lists

As anyone who reads my Blog knows I'm a reader, I read more than 130 books last year.  And like Sue at The Quince Tree I can't resist reading book lists.  You know what I mean "The 1,000 Books You Need to Read Before You Die", "The 100 Greatest Books of All Time",  "Best Loved Books of All Time.
And like Sue I'd have a better time of listing the books I won't read  or read and hated.  The list would go something like this:

Any book by a Russian author except Aleksandr Solzhenitzen (I've read all of his)
Nora Roberts
Jennifer Weiner
Debbie Macomber
Danielle Steele
Or any other who does "Chick Lit"
Catcher in the Rye  (Hate, Hate Hated this book)
George Elliot
Jane Eyre  don't like any of the Brontes
Life if Pi    tried 3 times to read it
Atlas Shrugged
Moby Dick
The Naked and the Dead or anything else by Norman Mailer
Couldn't finish the Lord of the Ring trilogy, book 2 did me in
On the Road
Les Miserable  had to read it and hated it
Kim  same as above
James Patterson novels
Nicholas Sparks novels
James Joyce novels


What do I read?  Lots of science fiction and fantasy (don't think fairies but rather Charles DeLint, Guy Gavriel Key) , anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon,  Peter May novels,  books about books (The Bookman's Tale) , mysteries, books about archeology, biographies, books about the '20s and '30s, humourous novels, think "Ella Minnow Pea", "The Uncommon Reader" and "The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared".

Not many women authors, but 3 guilty pleasures:  Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series
Diane Galbadon's Outlander series and Georgette Heyer, both her Regency and her mysteries.

I usually read 3 books at a time.  Right now I'm reading "The Chronicles of Master Li & The Number 10 Ox " by Barry Hughart,  "The Museum of Innocence" by Orhan Pamuk and "An Omelette and a Glass of Wine" ( it's a cookbook, sort of)  by Elizabeth David.  Three very different books.


What won't you read or read and hated?



Monday, January 27, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

It's 71º here today, worked in the garden for the first time in forever, it felt so good to have the sun on my back.  It'll cool down tonight to about 39ª, but that's ok, that's about normal for this time of year, warm, bright days and cold nights.  What's bad is that our high tomorrow will only be around 38º with snow in the forecast for tomorrow night .  Snow OMG.  It doesn't snow very often here, thank goodness.  Should warm up after that-----please.
It'd be nice to stay home and cuddle up by the fire, sip some Irish Coffee and read a good book, but no, that's not possible because I have 2 appointments tomorrow on the far side of Savannah, the first one at 7:45 am which means we have to hit the road before 7am, my bones are aching in anticipation.
I see an afghan, a heating pad and a fireplace in my near future, and no more doctor appointments for a while.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Besides going around the house muttering like a 2nd rate Richard III (...now is the winter of our discontent) I've been trying to keep busy so I won't think about the weather (the news last night gave us a 50/50 chance of snow Tuesday night, for God's sake we live on the coast of Georgia, not Maine---in fact it's warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska than here---mutter, mutter, mutter) .
I started a new oil painting, started a crocheted potholder from the book my daughter gave me and picked out my next puzzle to work.  To say nothing of cleaning about a dozen bathrooms today and doing aerobics on a day that's supposed to be a day off---it's terrible what you'll do to keep warm.
The fireplace is lit, it's propane and I just heard that the price of propane has doubled because of a shortage of propane, so I may be exercising even more; we've run the heater a bit, but electric heating is very expensive, I guess it's time to drag out my heating pad, we've even given the cat one and when she's not laying on the satellite box (which stays toasty warm) she gives it a try.
Wherever you are stay safe and warm.
My next puzzle, Mac gave it to me for Christmas

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally

Yes finally, the afghan throw that's been hanging over my head like the sword of damocles is finally done.  It'll be a while before I crochet something that big again, my fingers are suffering from repetitive stress syndrome.  Next is going to be pot holders and some Swiffer covers.  That said, I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
I also finished another puzzle, it was a cutey and fairly simple.  I received several puzzles for Christmas so will probably try one of them next.
Just a brief word about the weather-----IT'S COLD!!!!!
Time to play a little piano before I forget what I'm doing, I've skipped playing the last couple of days so I could work on my afghan and I miss playing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Time or Money

In your life which is more important, time or money?  Years ago, when we could finally afford to, we made the decision to take early retirement.  We'd put away every bit of money that the government would let us put away tax free, pay off our bills and work toward that retirement.  We didn't have to retire early, I liked teaching and the 3 months a year it gave us off, we  could have kept working for years and put away an even bigger nest egg to retire on.  Our salaries were increasing every year, our investments were growing well, but we decided that time was more important than the money.
We have a comfortable retirement, we travel, we buy the "toys" we want to have, we don't have to scrimp, and in fact our investments continue to grow.  If we'd kept working we'd have twice as much money as we do have, but that money couldn't buy the happiness that retirement has brought us.  We go to bed as late as we want, sleep as late as we want, Mac's learned to play the guitar, I to play the piano, he paints all the time, we grow a garden every year and travel to see our daughter twice as often as we use to.
We love spending time in each other's company, we always have and that hasn't grown old.  We've had a happy life with many wonderful memories, but, as I told him the other day, I think that I've just had the happiest 10 years of my life.  I'm thankful every day that we took the time and not the money.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Big Stick

Beat mewith a stick, a big one and then tell me I don't ever have to clean the window blinds again.  I hate cleaning them, full of dust that now inhabits my nose and lungs.  It wouldn't be so bad if there were only a couple of them to do, but they're every where: a triple window in the family room (that's the one I did today) plus a single in there, a triple in the kitchen area, 2 singles in the livingroom, a double in the dining room, a single in the computer room, 3 singles in the master bedroom, a single and a double in the master bath, a double in one of the upstairs bedrooms and a single in the tv room upstairs.  It takes forever to clean them all, which is why I only do a room at a time.  By the time I'm done it's time to start over again, but that's not going to happen for a while.
The stick in the picture, by the way, is from Baden Hill  that I picked up when I was searching for King Arthur.  I didn't find Arthur, but I did find a herd of cows that needed shifting.  Brought the stick home, Mac shined it up and put a thong on it for me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Smells So Good

Cold southern weather calls for a warm southern dish, so I went in search of a Gumbo recipe.  I found a fairly simple one and it's now bubbling away on the stove.  The recipe I found was for sausage gumbo and I went and got some turkey sausage and even better I found some Linguica which is a wonderful Portuguese sausage.  At the end I'm also throwing in some shrimp.  It'll all be served over rice, can't wait to eat it, I would say taste, but I've been tasting it at every step of the process and it tastes great.
Official update, rice in bowl, gumbo on top liberally sprinkled with scallions and it was incredible.  We froze half of it to enjoy on another cold day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Staying Busy

Haven't finished the afghan yet, I'm going in to do battle with it in a minute, but I've been busy.  I made us some coasters.  I bought a pack of sandstone tiles at Home Depot, made our daughter a set for Christmas, covered with leopard and zebra print, and now it was a pair for us.  I used Modge Podge and glued map/travel pictures on and then glued on some felt feet.  Turned out pretty good I think.
Our daughter got me a Crochet for the Kitchen book for Christmas and I'm really wanting to make some of the items in it, but I promised myself I wouldn't start any new crochet projects until that darn afghan  is done, so that's where I'm heading next.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Raisins

I like raisins, great healthy snack, full of vitamins and minerals and given my anemia problems anything rich in iron is not a bad idea.   I usually keep carrots and broccoli around to snack on, but from time to time I like something a bit sweeter, thus, raisins.  I love the little 100 calorie boxes, they're perfect.  So explain to me, seeing as how I really like raisins, that it totally grosses me out to find raisins in anything.  Hate them in cookies, muffins, salads, cereal, you name it.  Running across raisins in anything absolutely kills my appetite (hum, have I thought of a new diet?), I don't pick them out, I just stop eating whatever they're in.
Strange, but true.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

After the Puzzle

After the puzzle that turned my hair grayer I of course started another one, a smaller one, a rather silly one, but very colorful.
I also started a new craft project involving antique keys and locks.  I love old keys and always have a supply of them around.  Then for Christmas Mac gave me 3 vintage locks and earlier, for my birthday, he had given me a burlap wrapped (like a canvas, but not) display piece and I'd had it up in my craft room wondering what I was going to do with it, when I remembered the locks and keys, now all I have to do is attach them.
I also finished 2 paintings that have been lingering forever.
Didn't finish the afghan, sigh.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Just Me and My Magnifying Glass

All right, I'll be the first to admit it, I'm blind as a bat, have been for years.  I've kept a magnifying glass on my desk for years to help me read the fine print on things.  Now it appears that I'm going to need another magnifying glass for the kitchen too  so I can read the fine print on food packages.
I was trying to make gravy yesterday and all I could see of the directions were the pictures, to read the print I had to go and get a magnifying glass.  It's sad or wait,  perhaps it's a conspiracy to keep old folks from cooking things from packages.  That's a much better idea.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

With a Little Help From My Friend

I finally finished the puzzle I've been working on FOREVER.  Either it was really hard or I'm really out of practice and I suspect it's a bit of both.  Pieces would fit in multiple places and wouldn't fit where they actually needed to go until pieces around their place had been filled in.
But today Miss Kitty, who has gotten very bored with me working on the puzzle said she'd give me a hand paw and help me finish it.
It was all the help I needed, it's done, now maybe I can finish the afghan I've been working on since last spring.




Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Clean-Out

It's time for my annual purge of closets and drawers.  I started with the drawers in the kitchen.  Where did all that c**p, I mean stuff come from?  Who's hoarding rubber bands, twist ties and dead batteries?  I'll take responsibility for the 11 pairs of glasses and sunglasses in various stages of decrepitude, I'm sending the better ones on to Goodwill, but not that other stuff.
I put the bread flour, regular flour, whole wheat flour, gluten, white sugar, brown sugar and cornstarch into clean containers with labels.
Weird pieces of silverware, garlic crushers, teeny, tiny teaspoons, rusty potato peelers, egg beaters that don't fit my electric mixer (whose do they fit?), and other assorted bits of flotsam (wooden utensils that don't look diseased) and jetsam (wooden utensils Typhoid Mary might use)  have been dealt with. I need some mats to line the drawers with, but they're clean now.
The pantry awaits me, but this year I have help, Mac made me a Minion for Christmas, he even has his own pinny.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oil Change

Years ago when our car needed an oil change Mac would  buy some oil (as cheap as we could get away with), drain the old oil from our car and put in the new.  Fairly cheap, fairly simple to do.  Then car makers got wise to people doing this so they made it almost impossible to get the old oil out of your car unless you were a mechanic.  So we started taking our cars to cheap places to get the oil changed, think Jiffy Lube and similar places.
Then when I got my last car I leased it and 2 years of free maintenance came with it so I haven't worried about oil changes.  Now the 2 years are up and I had to find some place to get my oil changed. The dealership said I could take it anywhere I wanted as long as I made sure that they used synthetic oil.  Why synthetic oil, has real oil gotten too cheap and they can't make enough money out of it?
Who knows, but Mac found a local place to do it, but it sure wasn't what old Jiffy Lube use to charge.
I Googled to find the difference between the two oils, other than price, and found out that synthetic oil is supposed to do better with extreme temperature changes, it doesn't thin out in cold weather,  doesn't break down at hot temperatures and it lasts longer.  Seeing as my lease makes me change the oil every 6 months and that's oftener than I need to,  it isn't lasting one bit longer. So my car has its synthetic oil and   I'm a little bit wiser and bit more poor.

All Wrapped Up

Started early, finished late.  I started wrapping presents way back in November and except for a few small things due in the mail I'm fi...