Happy Holidays to all! However you celebrate the season I wish you much happiness, peace and good health now and in the new year! Thank you for the comments, reading suggestions and kind words that have been shared over the course of the year. For me they are daily presents for which I am always very appreciative.
Going to my local Botanical Gardens seems to have become a new tradition, one which I greatly enjoy. They put on an amazing poinsettia display.
I think they must have every variety of poinsettia. The centerpiece is a twenty-foot tall poinsettia tree.
The tree is made up of roughly 720 potted poinsettia plants which are replaced halfway through the season so the plants remain fresh and vibrant.
The decorations this year followed a Victorian theme--from ornaments on the trees down to an actual Victorian-era sleigh.
I especially love the ornamental pond complete with fish. Aren't they considered good luck? Or is that just my imagination?
Even a few of the trees in the garden outside were decorated--mostly with edible ornaments.
The treats come in very handy for the garden residents! (This photo is for you Stefanie! He told me he'd be happy to come visit your garden next summer! . . . But don't worry, I didn't give him your address).
He apparently wanted to eat in peace and didn't like me gawping at him. I guess this is what's meant when you say 'high-tailin' it out of there'. By the way--the first of these last three photos was taken outside (brr--it was COLD), but the latter two were taken from the warmth of indoors.
Here's to happy celebrations filled with laughter and good cheer, something warm to drink (or cold if it's your summertime!) and a book-shaped present under your tree! (Oh, and many hours filled with reading, too).
I'll be back later this week in the hopes I can catch up with a few book posts and then it'll be time to wrap things up for 2013. My how the year has flown by!
This was a completely unplanned post, but I couldn't help myself. It's amazing how much time you can waste spend messing about with a new digital toy. In this case I was trying to familiarize myself with my new digital camera last weekend, so I took a few photos that I thought I might share here. I am always talking about the books on my nightstand. So here it is--or I should say--here they are. The books and my nightstand. So here is a little tour.
Can you tell I love bookmarks? I collect them and have so many these days and a variety of different styles and designs that I can almost match the bookmark with the book!
I also love scissors. I have more, but I tend to drop them in the bags that hold my current needlework projects and forget about them, so I am always finding them later in places I don't expect them. I do try and keep them in my trusty To Kill a Mockingbird mug (which I received one year from participating in my public library's winter reading program). I do a lot of needlework in my bedroom watching TV so these come in very handy.
These are some of my favorite needlework accessories--scissor fobs and pincushions. I made all of them myself save for the fob on the far left, which a friend made for me.
There is a very handy little shelf below the top of my nightstand, where I keep books that I am only dipping into occasionally or books that have been 'set aside temporarily'. You might (ahem) recognize a few of them... I do really mean to finish them sometime. Below are bagged needlework projects that I am working on.
And last but not least . . . I debated sharing this one, as I don't want to appear an awful packrat. If I had the space for proper bookshelves I would have them, but these piles are now three deep of new books that I want to read eventually. The closest is made up of mysteries and crime novels, and the other two regular fiction. The books are constantly being shifted about as I pull out titles I want to read and add new books to them. Truly a mount TBR pile!
So, that's my nightstand! What's on your bedside table?
To those dropping by today, I wish you a lovely day whether you'll be celebrating Thanksgiving or not. I suspect more than a few of you might not be celebrating this holiday (one of my favorites, too), but I think many of you might appreciate it anyway, and might even try and get into the spirit of the holiday with your own version. The nice thing is having your own tradition, whether it is turkey with all the fixings, or something more unique. It's not what you eat that is important, but what the daystands for and spending it with people you love. So, have a wonderful day everyone, however you spend it! As for me, I have many things to be thankful for--family, friends (real time and virtual!), health, a good job, having a roof over my head and many others. So that's as gushing as I'm going to get. For those not having any pumpkin pie today, I'll make sure I have an extra piece for you. And yes, lots of whip topping, too.
My weekend has turned out a little different than planned. I've not been able to putter around as much as I would have liked to. If you recall this very destructive event, this weekend has turned out to be the perfect time to replace our roof. I'm lucky as I have family members who used to work in roofing or currently work for roofing companies, so once we got the materials it was just a matter of getting everyone together to get the work done. I'm a proud owner of a brand new roof and am pleased with how it turned out.
I'd share a photo, but 1, I'm way too tired and lazy to take one and 2, surely this can only be an exciting event for me, so I won't bore you. I don't know how people can get up on roofs and ours is pretty tall. The most I could manage was climbing the ladder to see the porch roof when the old layers were coming off (my house is more than 100 years old and the shingles were original, so I wanted to see what they looked like). To see someone standing up there on the slope like it was no problem made me just a little dizzy! I did help, though. I consider cooking for all those people (twice yesterday) work, particularly since cooking is one of my least favorite chores. I also helped clean up the trash--all those old shingles that didn't make the dumpster on the first throw. To say nothing of little scraps of black paper and many, many nails! We have now replaced our broken windows, replaced dented screens, and now pretty much repaired the roof. There are a few more things we need to fix, but then the house will finally be set to rights.
So, all this to say I have no short story to share with you today. Perhaps tomorrow or later in the week. I'd still like to give one of the collections I brought home from the library a try. I did finish reading Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone on Friday (much puttering was accomplished that day at least). I've started reading Beth Gutcheon's Good-Bye Amen, but I'm not sure I am going to click with it. I really enjoyed Leeway Cottage, which was a "sprawling family epic". Good-Bye Amen takes up at the death of Sydney and Laurus Moss, the main characters in her last novel. The story begins with the children and grandchildren coming together to divide up the spoils after the funeral. It seems to be told from multiple vantage points, moving from character to character, each getting a short passage to share his or her part of the story. The book is also unusual in that there are actual family photos (I'm curious who these people really are) in the middle of the book. I've seen this done before, but this is the first time I've read a novel with this sort of set up. I'll give it a little more time and see how it goes.
I am getting on well with the R.I.P. book I finally choose, Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree. I'm having a little deja vu, though. I'm sure I've not read it before, but it seems oddly familiar. I'm about two chapters in. The story is about a young Canadian woman who travels to England, to Northumberland, where she believes her family is from some generations back. As it turns out she is a doppelganger, or she has a twin, whichever way you want to look at it. She's told by more than one person she looks exactly like a woman who left the village years back and then died. Can you see where this is leading? It reminds me of Brat Farrar, which has a similar storyline (no doubt where my deja vu is coming from). In any case, it is definitely the right book at the right time as I am having a hard time putting it aside!
Today's short story post has been pre-empted by Friday's bad weather. This is the after photo. All this translates into one big heap of debris. And I have to say those stumps weigh a lot! I couldn't even pick them up--I had to roll them over to the pile. Some of this has already been carted away. It just feels wrong to be raking leaves in June! Green healthy leaves at that! There's one tiny ecosystem disrupted.
Although I had hoped to spend the afternoon reading Mr. Kipling, I'm afraid I'm going to have to put him off until later in the week. I thought I would have time to finish reading Edith Wharton's Glimpses of the Moon this weekend, which I have been really enjoying. I'm still at the halfway mark, however, so I will be tardy to the Slaves' discussion, which begins tomorrow. I've got a crushing headache (the sort that throbs behind your eyeballs), so I am not really even in the mood to read. And my very.very. very. slow.computer is doing nothing to make me feel better. I think I may have to just spend a few mindless hours in front of the TV instead. I have The Other Boleyn Girl (not expecting a history lesson here, but the entertainment factor should be high), and Catherine Cookson's The Tide of Life (never read a Cookson novel, but the film adaptations are generally enjoyable to watch) from Netflix.
Regular book chatter should resume tomorrow. I've finished two really good books that I hope to post on soon. And two of my library books look very interesting! I can't wait to get back to normal and just lose myself in a book again!
Five minutes of bad weather composed of rain, hail, and high winds (about 80-90 mph) can cause a lot of damage I found out early last night. This is my backyard, and no I don't live in a jungle. Notice the mini grill survived unscathed? I'm sorry I can't say the same for my husband's truck (hail damage and severely dented hood). I also can't say the same for about six storm windows that broke thanks to the hail, or the screens on those storm windows that now have holes in them.
I have two trees and one is nearly denuded of leaves. It looks like someone dropped branches in a blender and dumped them out. And that is a pile of hailstones. My back porch was already unattractive, and this new look does nothing for it.
I thought I would have a nice, leisurely evening looking at my new library books and reading, but no. As I was walking home from the library I knew it was getting ready to dump rain. The sirens had been going off, and I was walking as fast as I could to get home before it started. Luckily I arrived home about five minutes before the excitement began. I thought the worst of it was the rain leaking (pouring actually) in by our bay windows until the worst of the storm passed and we looked outside. At least we didn't lose electricity like 100,000 other residents did.
And how pathetic is this? I didn't have time to move my flowers. Remember what my flowers looked like before? They didn't stand a chance! Actually other people have it far worse than we do. This storm was terrible and lots of Omahans sustained damage to their property (loads of uprooted trees). We have lots to clean up still, a huge tree limb to dispose of, and an insurance company to deal with. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be around for a few days. I do promise to draw names sometime today, however. Please check back later. And fingers crossed for no more nasty weather. It seems like it's been raining here every other day for months!
"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!" ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836
This exercise ball is a recent acquisition. I used to go three times a week to a little gym close to my house and use their weight machines (actually the machines used hydraulic resistance, they didn't use actual weights), but they closed last spring. Although I walk daily I really miss using some sort of weight machine and have been considering other options for working out (in addition to my daily treadmill walk). I don't know where I came across these exercise balls. I erroneously thought this had something to do with pilates, but pilates is actually an entirely different concept (though it can be incorporated into workouts with the ball). So now I am trying to figure out how to use it effectively (not just bounce around on it). Most of the books and all of the videos I requested from the library are just pilates. I have found this lone book, 101 Ways to Work Out on the Ball by Elizabeth Gillies to use, but I would like to find a video as well. I am a very visual learner, I have to see something demonstrated and then do it myself. Does anyone use one of these balls? Can you make a recommendation for book or video that is easy to follow and effective? And most importantly, do these sorts of things work?
Not a great view, but a view nonetheless! I can think of other things I would like to look at outside my window (the French or Italian countryside maybe?), but alas, this is what I have ended up with thus far in life. Although I am not an author, this is the window near my desk where I create my posts (the closest I will ever come to writing)--one little swivel of the chair and this is what I see. Simon shared his view, so here is mine. I live in an older part of town. My house was built sometime in the 1870s. The house where my grandparents lived is only a block away. Sadly the neighborhood has gone downhill a bit. While there are many very nice families who live in the neighborhood, there are also rental houses, with all the problems rental housing can bring. Sorry to say that--I used to rent, too, but in my experience rentals can ruin a neighborhood if not kept up (and most in my neighborhood are not--a pity!). I could share a story of a house (now condemned--you can't see it--careful cropping by me) that was a flop house. Nothing like living across the street from prostitutes (no worries--they're gone now, to greener pastures no doubt). Perhaps I will save that story for a day I am feeling uninspired.
This is my desk (the window is just to the right). The photo is old as the I took it when I had cleaned up the area and hung some of my needlework. It looked quite nice. I have let things get a bit sloppy, so I decided not to scare you with a newer photo. It's not really what I would want my space to look like--but again--you work with what you have and make the best of it. Oh to have the Martha Stewart knack! The room also houses my treadmill, so I do a lot of reading as well as writing here. I also have bins full of needlework and quilting supplies. It is amazing how much can be stored in a really small space!I'm not entirely sure this really reflects my personality--there isn't a single book in the photo. But I assure you there is a stack sitting on the floor by my chair even as I type!
Sorry, I couldn't resist. One more. I am sure I must have posted this photo here before, but it seemed to match the other photos, so here is Dulce practicing one of her favorite hobbies--basking in the sunshine. I concur, only I would want to have a book in my hand as well.