Sunday, July 28, 2013

Twelve Years

Holy cow!  Can it be possible. . .

It has been twelve years since my best friend and I "eloped" into the neighboring county.

We  got a license and list of JPs, made a few phone calls--and one appointment--and went off for a huge breakfast at the breakfast bar.  That was followed by a wee bit of shopping, the exchanging of vows, and back home for a nap.

We called our Moms, but had to leave messages on the answering machines ("hey, it's just me; we got married this morning; thought you'd like to know; talk to you later; love you both; bye!").

Twelve years.

Through better or worse.  In sickness and in health.

No arguments, though there have been disagreements and a few pouts.

Hours, days, maybe years worth of laughter.

Countless memories: shared sorrows, shared epiphanies, shared blessings, shared fun, shared joys.

Twelve years!

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Friday Fives




Another week with two sick days, allergies/migraine, plus, a day off spent with Mom (always a pleasure).  As a result, I don't feel like I accomplished much this week at all.  Mom says that sometimes all one does get done is the "dailies", and that's about all it was this week.





  1. Finished week three of the Summer Sampler.
  2. Made homemade cream cheese brownies.
  3. Did much better on taking daily photos.
  4. Washed the hamster house.
  5. Made a loaf of bread.
The Frapaccio is my favorite from this third week.

  1. Mom's homegrown, homemade veggie soup.
  2. New whisk and pint-and-a-half wide mouth mason jars!
  3. Lots of help from the kitties.
  4. Excellent visit with Mom.
  5. Cool fruity freezer pops on hot days.

  1. Wash and store the hamster house.
    Washed, but not packed away yet.  The hard part is done though!
  2. Mop the kitchen floor.
    Not yet!
  3. Take daily photos (I refuse to give up on this!).
    Did well this week!
  4. Prepare the living room for the upcoming massive overhaul (it's going to become the office in a couple of weeks).
    =(  Drat!
  5. Do something with the closet in the spare room (what, I won't know til I see just what can be done).
    Never even thought about it!

My husband is off next week, and we have super big plans!
  1. Move office to living room area.
  2. Move couch to "Florida room".
  3. Move dining table to former office.
If we get that done, I'll be extremely happy!

  1. heirloom tomatoes
  2. a comfortable bed
  3. Celestial Seasonings tea
  4. rain
  5. migraine medicine

In an effort to reflect more positively on what I accomplish and to plan goals more reasonably, I'm going to start writing out My Friday Fives.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Brownies!

With  Mom's help today, I combined some recipes and made Marbled Cream Cheese Brownies.  It was my first time ever making homemade brownies(*see note), and I couldn't believe how easy they are to make.  I'm embarrassed that I ever used a mix!

Another first was that, to keep from heating up the kitchen, I baked them in my toaster oven.  A blogger I follow  had made brownies in her toaster oven once, and I was rather startled.  I thought it was just an appliance for melting cheese on nachos and toasting bread!

(Imagine my surprise when Mom informed me that she has been making her biscuits and cornbread in her toaster oven for quite some time.  Where have I been?!?!)

They turned out perfect in the toaster oven, the kitchen didn't get too hot (except for when Mom insisted on washing the dishes and heating up the kitchen anyway) and my recipe chimera turned out fantastic!

Chimera Brownies


Here is our version of the recipe; I used gluten free flour and added a dash of xantham gum (which I have been reliably informed equals 1/8 teaspoon).
Marbled Cream Cheese Brownies
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla; add eggs.  Mix well with whisk.  Mix dry ingredients; add to wet ingredients.  Put half to three-quarters of the brownie mix in the bottom of a  9 inch greased pan.

1/2 block softened cream cheese (save some just in case)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer until well blended (add more cream cheese if needed to thicken--I needed a bit more to balance off my large egg); pour on top of brownie mixture.  Marble in remaining brownie mixture.

Bake in non-preheated oven on 350 for 20-25 minutes.
----------
*note:
Mom says she remembers me making brownies in my teens, particularly Texas Brownies, the ones that use strong coffee.  I remember baking many things from scratch: bread, cakes, petit fours, pies, cookies; just not brownies.  Mom's memory is to be trusted on this, and I've no doubt that I did make brownies.  In an embarrassing confession, I'll admit that as a result of my current medical difficulty, I experience hulking great chunks of lost memories (past and semi-present).  This happens to be one of them.  So, while I have obviously made brownies from scratch in the past, I have not made brownies from scratch and this was my very first time.  Hopefully that makes sense.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer's Blessings

I gripe a lot about the heat during the summer, because I hate the heat.  And because I hate the heat, I hate the summer.

But then there's this:



I guess if God can put the dratted heat of summer to good use, maybe he does have a plan for me?


The Classics Club: The Thirty-Nine Steps by James Buchan


.
Despite never actually having read Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), I was familiar with it as one of the earliest hero-on-the-run suspense-thriller-mysteries, and one that was influential on the genre as a whole.  I take a historical interest in my favorite genre, and felt I needed to read it.



What a grand adventure!  I had to think that this is the precursor to those heroes so prevalent in today's thrillers (you know, the ones that get out of bed, get beat up, shot, drowned and beat up again all before they take the dame back to bed) but yet it didn't seem hokey.  Hannay was just this side of believable, like a hero should.  He was crush-worthy for the female reader and role model-worthy for the males.

The action of this book takes place just before the Great War starts (but is written after the War started, so it is written with the knowledge that the War will start, if that makes sense) so it also made me think a lot about the War, about patriotism during that War, and about how this book would have been the most excellent sort of propaganda.  It depicts an average man who realizes the fate of Great Britain, if not the world, rests on knowledge he has, so he steps up to the plate and does what he can.  I hate to borrow the overused phrase "stiff upper lip" for Blighty, but that is exactly it. Hannay is willing to die--even as an expatriate Scotsman just over from Rhodesia--to protect home and country.  Just an average guy (okay, maybe a little above average in strength and endurance but we'll not quibble) and he single-handedly beats the Germans at their own game.  Pretty good stuff to be reading in the muddy, infected, hell-on-earth trenches.

So yes, I started thinking about what a fun adventure it was, and ended by mourning the slaughtered Tommys who probably died a little happier for having read this.


 I suffered nostalgia for a time I've never experienced--that time, right before the Great War, when a speeding car went 40 mph and putting on working man's clothing could disguise a gentleman, when airplanes were a novelty and to be hatless was unconscionable.   I felt sad for the innocence that was lost in that War, sad that books like this--new as it was--would only have a few more years to exist, a few more years before violence and sex become the staples of fiction.  (Let me note here that there is no romance in this book--not even one slightly attractive woman.  How refreshing!)

I felt patriotic, too, for a country that isn't mine, for a cause that is hard to remember.

I also felt a longing for Scotland.  Apparently Buchan was Scottish; his descriptions of Scotland are lovely.  I've always wanted to visit and the mental images of Hannay's on-foot adventures to the highlands (or was it the lowlands?) added fuel to that flame.

Most of all, though, I felt satisfied by a good read.  It was a darn good yarn, and I enjoyed every moment of it--and for some reason, especially the ginger biscuits.  I'll never eat gingersnaps without thinking of Hannay hiding in the heather, munching on ginger biscuits.


Patriotism!  This was the subtle undertone and blatant overtone throughout the entire book.  Even an expatriate will answer the call to save Great Britain when it comes, because of natural patriotism.

 It is a level of dedication and love for country that I don't think we, in the U.S., will ever experience again. As such, it was almost a novel idea to me, here in this skeptical, cynical age.



My explanation of the Classics Club can be found here
and the Classics Club itself can be found here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Good Day for Kitchen Stuff

Today was grocery day, an event that can take me to several stores and is an exhausting day-long process (to this non-shopper anyway).  So, it's always a big deal when I find something exciting in the midst of canned goods and dairy products.
image borrowed from Walmart.com

I went looking for a silicone whisk today.  I keep rusting my metal ones.  Said confession will show that I tend to leave dishes in water longer than I should, I guess, but regardless of how it happens, my whisks run to rust.  I recently bought a Faberware silicone spoon and loved it, so I thought I'd give their whisk a try.  I used it tonight and at first I was a little uncertain.  The lack of resistance felt odd at first.  However, by the time my roux was done, I was in love with it.

Of course, now I've run across negative reviews saying that water tends to pool in the handle in the dishwasher. . .   Given my propensity to let dishwater sit. . ..  On the other hand, given how much I paid for it ($7, an unheard of amount for me to fling out on a kitchen utensil), I expect I'll take good care of it.
image borrowed from Sears.com

My other exiting purchase was pint-and-a-half wide mouth mason jars!  Have you ever?!?!  

I can't be the only one who has filled up a pint and needed more or poured into a quart and had too much room left over.  

Furthermore, I'll only use wide mouth jars--can someone tell me why they even still make those tiny mouthed ones?

Anyhow, I am over-the-top excited about these jars--despite the fact that I've got to wash them first.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Friday Fives




This week was a bit odd.  I was sick Monday and Tuesday (why is it that when I worked out of the home sick days were a joy, now they are a guilt?) and that put me off my stride.  Wednesday I had Church in the morning, so I had two and a half days to work on my list (weekends are generally laid back times with my husband).  I did fairly well, considering.  I'm trying to be proud of any accomplishments and not guilt-ridden for not doing as much as I feel I should.  I am my worst critic, my harshest judge and my sometimes my own jailer.




  1. Found a home for the summer coats.
  2. Cleaned out the junk closet.
  3. Cleaned out an old nightstand.
  4. Moved the tools to the basement.
  5. Sorted out the things that had been living in the trunk of my car.

  1. First Frappacino of the summer. :)
  2. Heirloom (Cherokee Purple) tomatoes from Mom's garden.
  3. Active hermit crabs.
  4. Pleasant times cross-stitching on my Summer Sampler.
  5. Sleeping kitties.
St. John streeeeetched out on the couch.
  1. Make a home for the winter coats.
    Accomplished!
  2. Wash and store the hamster house.
    Totally forgot!
  3. Move the tools to the basement, from the spare room.
    Done, with some help from my husband! Huzzah!
  4. Do better taking photos than I did last week.
    :(
  5. Tidy up the breakfast room.
    Began; might even be done this weekend.

  1. Wash and store the hamster house.
  2. Mop the kitchen floor.
  3. Take daily photos (I refuse to give up on this!).
  4. Prepare the living room for the upcoming massive overhaul (it's going to become the office in a couple of weeks).
  5. Do something with the closet in the spare room (what, I won't know til I see just what can be done).

  1. vegetables fresh from the garden
  2. prayer from friends and acquaintances
  3. frozen Yoplait Whips yogurt
  4. time to read
  5. a compassionate husband

In an effort to reflect more positively on what I accomplish and to plan goals more reasonably, I'm going to start writing out My Friday Fives.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Classics Club: Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale


 I first read Sara Teasdale as an immature 11 or 12 year old, and then multiple times in my (still immature)  mid-teens.  It has been many years since I have read any of her poetry, and I was curious as to whether my reaction would be much different than it was all those years ago.  I chose the volume Flame and Shadow (1920), as opposed to her Pulitzer Prize winning 1919 Love Songs, to fit in with a reading challenge.

Sara Teasdale


First off, I was interested in how the title, Flame and Shadow, fit in with the poems.  I noticed several direct references to flame and fire, as well as indirect references to the fires of romantic love.  The "shadow" theme was more subtle, referencing the shadows of pain, loneliness and depression that is evident throughout many of the poems in the volume.

I was still drawn to her poems, but not often  to the same ones that I had loved as a child.  I also saw a depth that I had not seen, recognized (and empathized with) her depression and also understood more of the (now historical) allusions.

I found it surprisingly hard to accustom myself to her more traditional, lyric style, after years of reading modern free verse.  I had to change my mindset, and not think it juvenile (as modern poets often want readers to believe) that her couplets rhymed.

 I was immediately caught up in her word pictures, and could easily visualize the scenes she described.  Teasdale and I share a love for the moon, winter and night, and I felt the feeling I feel when I am walking in the moonlight on a winter's evening.  I also felt the depth of her depression and loneliness in several of the poems.

I wasn't as interested in her love poems, as I have become jaded in my old age and find myself feeling superior to the love poetry.  I don't know why; I'm just explaining the feeling I get, and certainly am not justifying it or even saying I'm right. Despite that, I did feel compassion for her while reading several of them, and even found a connection to some of the more "happy" love poems.  This shows the power of her verse, I think, that it can transcend time and ennui to create a connection.

"There Will Come Soft Rains" was one of my favorites, long before I understood that it referred to the tragedy of the Great War's trenches or to the historically early idea of warfare wiping out man, and decades before I read Bradbury's short story of the same name.  As a result of coming to understand the poem in historical context, and loving the Bradbury story, I have a deeper love for this particular one.


"There Will Come Soft Rains"

Explanation of the Classics Club can be found here
and the Classics Club itself can be found here.
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Friday Fives (on Sunday)




Running a little bit behind this week, and I blame the heat!

We had to say goodbye to our hamster, Vinnie, this week.  He had developed some tumors, so we had him put to sleep Thursday morning.

Good night, sweet Vinnie.



  1. Sorted out a box of things that had been needing sorting.
  2. Sorted and donated winter coats.
  3. Read and reviewed two books for the Amazon vine program. (The Book of Secrets and Becoming Myself.)
  4. Freshened up the hermit crab tank with new sand and stabilized their climbing wall.
  5. Completed week two of The Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler.
My husband thinks the little lantern looks like Tom Servo. :)

The strawberry jam was my favorite from this week.



  1. Ordered and received a complete set of Trixie Belden mysteries!  It's a pleasure to revisit childhood favorites.
  2. Jack Jack did a wonderful job of taking care of Lizzie when I accidentally hurt her.  We have the sweetest cats!
  3. I spent a lot of time reading--always a pleasure!
  4. Was given a book as a reward for one of my reading challenges!
  5. St. John loves his toilet paper!
St. John is ten months now!


  1. Find a home for the things that got stacked up on the chest freezer when the electricity went funky and the freezer was out of service. 
    Mostly accomplished.  It's not perfect, yet, but it will do for now.
  2. Read at least half of one of the ARCs I need to review.
    Accomplished!  Completed and reviewed one both of the books. (second review)  Great accomplishment!
  3. Return to taking my photos every day.  Trying this one again.  Photo-taking brings me joy; I want to reignite that spark.
    I accomplished three days this week, which is much better than last week!
  4. Sort through the box of things that I found in the cupboard above the refrigerator (that belong to my mother-in-law from when she lived in this house a loooong time ago).
    Woot!  Done!
  5. Sort through the coats for keepers and donations.
    Not only done, but took the donations on Thursday.  Still need to make a home for the winter coats, though. . . 


  1. Make a home for the winter coats.
  2. Wash and store the hamster house.
  3. Move the tools to the basement, from the spare room.
  4. Do better taking photos than I did last week.
  5. Tidy up the breakfast room.

  1. a quiet mind
  2. air conditioning
  3. iced tea
  4. good childhood memories
  5. fun toys to photograph 







In an effort to reflect more positively on what I accomplish and to plan goals more reasonably, I'm going to start writing out My Friday Fives.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review of Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You

  • Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge
    Paperback: 256 pages
    Publisher: David C. Cook (August 1, 2013)
    3/5 stars

I received this ARC to review for the Amazon vine program.  My Amazon review:


Becoming Myself is an encouraging book written to help Christian women "lay down their past" and embrace who they are in Christ. Eldredge writes frankly about her feelings of failure and short comings. She directs comments to the reader as if she and the reader were carrying on a conversation, creating a very personal feel to the book.

Eldredge's first chapters deal with finding healing for the emotional wounds that can be caused by one's mother. She is very open about her own experience, and bases her advice and encouragement on those experiences. Happily, this is not a wound I have, so I was not able to connect with this, but it did seem that it would be beneficial for adult women who bear scars from childhood.

She also discusses the importance of female friendships and how best to nurture and keep those friendships. Though this has been presented in other contexts by other writers, Eldredge does a nice job with this and again makes it very personal.

Her main theme throughout the book is to find self-worth through Christ and not through the eyes of how one perceives that OHTERS see her. Despite this, Eldredge still, most likely unintentionally, connects self-worth with beauty, size, weight and even marriage. She frequently mentions her size, how her self-worth was caught up in her larger size but now it's not, all the while mentioning that she has lost quite a bit of weight. As another example, the word "beauty" is used to mean both how God sees us, and the standard the world sets for women. Her good intentions are there, but her actual meaning becomes fuzzy at times; it seems almost as though she, too, is still trying to find self-worth outside of society's view of what a woman should be.

In the final chapters, Eldredge focuses on freeing oneself from fear, becoming a Godly woman like Mary, and seeing the vision that God has of you. She gives lots of Bible verses, personal anecdotes and stories from friends, but I never felt like she actually gave solid information on how this was to be done.

The premise of this book is great, and she does provide good insight in some areas. However, in the end, I came away with a "feel good" message, but no actual working plan of how to achieve the goals she suggests.


On a personal note: for those that have "mother wounds" and that still have any sort of difficulties with or stemming from their relationship with their mother, I recommend borrowing this book from the library when it is released and reading those first chapters.  I was struck by how open Eldredge was with that issue and to me, it seemed that it could be very beneficial.  The rest of the book contained, for me, nothing new or revelation-ary that couldn't be found just as well explained, if not much better, by other Christian writers.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

  • The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold
    Paperback: 464 pages
    Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (July 2, 2013)
    5/5 stars

I received this ARC to review for the Amazon vine program.  My Amazon review:



"The Book of Secrets is a complex novel that tells a story in the present, as it simultaneously recounts the known past and uncovers past secrets. It is narrated by Chloe Sinclair, a bibliophile and bookstore owner. She and Nate have been married over twenty years, and have begun to drift apart. One evening, Nate is gone, leaving only a letter telling her that he has gone back to their childhood home to deal with a family crisis. Chloe is hurt at his departure, at his secretiveness and at his willingness to return to a place that holds emotional scars for them both. She then finds Nate's secret book, a journal he has kept in code. As she begins to decode it, both she and reader return to the past, face the future and find answers to secrets.

Arnold very skillfully allows the reader only glimpses of events that were so pivotal in shaping Nate, Chloe and their relationship. She allows the reader to guess, to anticipate and to be surprised. Her prose is beautiful and descriptive, drawing both people and places in vivid pictures.

In addition, Arnold celebrates words and literature with the Book of Secrets. She weaves various classics as integral parts to the story throughout, and the joy of words, especially the right words, as another recurring theme. With this novel, Arnold gives, not only a love story of people, but of people for books.

The Book of Secrets is an absorbing novel of love, loss, betrayal, deception and books.  It is also one that is certain to appeal to fellow bibliophiles."

On a personal note, despite it's size of over 400 pages, I read this in two nights.  It was quite engrossing and I would certainly recommend it.  Yes, there were bits that I didn't like, but were overshadow by the overall quality of the rest of the book.  



Summer 2013 Book Challenge

30 August 2013--Completed!  

I found yet another appealing book challenge, through Bev at My Reader's Block.


The Summer 2013 Book Challenge from Semi-Charmed Life has caught my fancy.  I don't know if I'll finish all of the challenge, but I always find it enjoyable to stretch myself with reading goals.

Rules:
  • The challenge will run from July 1, 2013, to September 30, 2013. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on September 30 will count.
  • No re-reads (unless specifically stated)! I want you to experience new books with this challenge.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audiobooks are fine, as long as the print versions meet the page requirements.
  • A book can only be used for one category. If you want to switch the category later, that's fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.

The Challenge:

  • 5 points: Freebie! Read any book you'd like, as long as it follows the above rules. :)
    The Barakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield; 336 pages.  (July 2013)
  • 5:  Read a book that is less than 150 pages long.
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan; 148 pages (July 2013/audio)
  • 10: Read a book with a color in the title.
    The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley; 288 pages (July 2013)
  • 10: Read a book that is not the first in its series. (And yes, it must be in a series.
    The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (12th in the series) by Alexander McCall Smith; 240 pages (August 2013)
  • 15: Read a book it seems everyone but you has read! 
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury; 256 pages.  I was late in "discovering" Bradbury--it seems that all my fellow fantasy and sci fi literary nerds had read this long ago! 
    (July 2013)
  • 15: Read a banned book.
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, 267 pages.(August 2013/audio) 
  • 20: Read a book written by a celebrity. 
    If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) by Betty White; 272 pages (July 2013/audio)
  • 20: Read a non-fiction book that is not a memoir.Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldrige; 256 pages; Christian Living nonfiction. (July 2013) My review is posted here.
  • 20: Read a book that takes place in a state you have never been in. 
    The House without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers.  Takes place in Hawaii; 240 pages.  (July 2013)
  • 25: Read a book that is at least 400 pages long.
    The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold; 464 pages.  (July 2013)
  • 25: Read a book with a main character who shares your first name.
    The G-String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee, 209 pages. Main character is Gypsy herself and though we spell it differently, I thought it would be close enough! (August 2013)
  • 30: Read a book written by an author who was born in or died in your birth year.
    The Barn Owl's Wondrous Capers by Sarnath Banerjee; 280 pages; born in 1972. 
    (August 2013)
(I have condensed the challenge descriptions to save space; go to the original challenge page for more details.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Classics Club

Oh my gosh!  I just discovered the Classics Club!

(I hear ya. . . This is supposed to be a blog where I am encouraging myself in my housework, organization and crafts--not an outlet for my book obsession.    Well, I am doing that!  I'm just doing this too!)

Here are the basic rules of The Classics Club:
  • choose 50+ classics
    I have choosen 50; the ones denoted with an asterisk are rereads.
  • list them at your blog
    Tada!
  • choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
    I'm setting the goal to have read my 50 by 6 July 2018, which is less than one classic a month.  The Classics Club stresses that this is a "living list/goal" and as such it the list can grow, the goal date can be extended. . . the point is to read and grow with the classics. 
  • write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list
    The point of this is not to write reviews (which is good, as I got so burnt out reviewing), but to initiate discussion by writing about "your reading thoughts".
They also do an occasional (monthly?) "lucky spin".  Members are invited to make a numbered list of 20 of the books still to be read.  A number is given, and members read the book that corresponds to that number.  I like that idea too.


update: I have begun to add more to the list as I think of them, increasing my list from the original 50.  My goal is still the same, though: to read 50 of these before 6 July 2018.  I am making good progress, but don't want to change my goal date in case I can't keep on at this pace.  


Here's my list of classics that I've somehow missed, planned to read but just never did, or that I am longing to reread:
  1. Flatland by Edwin Abbott
  2. Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott*
  3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  4. Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake*
  5. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury 
  6. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury  (my discussion)
  7. The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan  (my discussion)
  8. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  9. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote*  (my discussion)
  10. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain
  11. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  12. The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
  13. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel deFoe
  14. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  15. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  16. The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot*
  17. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  18. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilmore
  19. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  20. Allan Quartermain by H. Rider Haggard
  21. She by H. Rider Haggard
  22. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  23. Iliad by Homer*
  24. Odyssey by Homer*
  25. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  26. Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu
  27. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  28. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis*
  29. The Monk by Matthew Lewis
  30. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald*
  31. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
  32. The Four Feathers by AEW Mason
  33. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  34. Anne of Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  35. Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  36. Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  37. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell  (my discussion)
  38. Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov
  39. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  40. Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger*
  41. Nine Stories by JD Salinger
  42. "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour: an Introduction" by J.D. Salinger
  43. Flame and Shadow by Sarah Teasdale*  (my discussion)
  44. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien*
  45. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole*
  46. The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  47. Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne
  48. The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
  49. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  50. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  51. The Island of Doctor Moreu by HG Wells
  52. The Time Machine by HG Wells*
  53. East Lynne by Ellen Wood
  54. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  55. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
  56. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
  57. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Friday Fives






In an effort to reflect more positively on what I accomplish and to plan goals more reasonably, I'm going to start writing out My Friday Fives.






Fox and Puffballs--my favorite so far!

  1. Used and reviewed the gluten free sugar cookie mix I got from the Amazon Vine program.  
  2. Cleaned the living room of cobwebs, as well as the living room ceiling fan--and decorated it with Washi Tape.
  3. Reorganized my embroidery floss into my own system.  I'm hopeful this will work better for me! 
  4. Caulked around the backstop of the tub.
    It's not pretty. . . it's not even homely (!) but it will do.  (I hope!)
  5. Completed the July portion of the  The Frosted Pumpkin's Woodland Sampler.


  1. Received many, MANY books in the mail this week!
  2. Received several gifts of home-grown veggies: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peppers.  I am so blessed!
  3.  I got four new, fantastic body sprays from Hip Hop Candy: Unicorn Poo, Angel Bunny, Frosted Cupcake and Sugared Bamboo.  I just adore all their fragrances--I go around spraying myself with different ones all through the day. 
  4.  St. John asked for a belly rub for the first time!
  5. Better electrical wiring, thanks to my husband and his friend!  Now I can use the chest freezer we bought with our income tax return!

Two ARCs from Amazon Vine and
15 vintage mysteries that were pretty much stolen from an ebay seller.
I am the half proud, half embarrassed owner of 36 cheesy romantic suspense novels by Emilie Loring. (Another shamefully cheap deal from ebay.)  Loring was one of my favorites when I was a young teen, and I've been going through a phase of wanting to read the things I enjoyed so much during my young days. Of course, the true mystery of these books will be whether or not I will admit it on here when I read one!


  1. Use and review the gluten free sugar cookie mix I got from the Amazon Vine program.  Accomplished!
  2. Return to taking my photos every day.
    I have really done poorly with my photos over the past few months.  Last year, I achieved nearly one photo a day.  This year, my inspiration has been much lower.  
  3. Caulk around the tub.
    Accomplished! 
  4. Dust away the cobwebs in the living room.
    Accomplished!
  5. Complete the second week of The Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler.
    The July portion of their Woodland Sampler came, and I finished it first.


  1. Find a home for the things that got stacked up on the chest freezer when the electricity went funky and the freezer was out of service. (Isn't it funny how any unused space becomes a place for stacking homeless objects?!?!)
  2. Read at least half of one of the ARCs I need to review.
    Accomplished!  Completed and reviewed one both of the books. (second review
  3. Return to taking my photos every day.  Trying this one again.  Photo-taking brings me joy; I want to reignite that spark.
  4. Sort through the box of things that I found in the cupboard above the refrigerator (that belong to my mother-in-law from when she lived in this house a loooong time ago).
    Woot!  Done!
  5. Sort through the coats for keepers and donations.


  1. books
  2. good doctors
  3. medication that works
  4. rainy days
  5. electricity