Friday, May 30, 2014

Monthly Book Roundup: November-April

Clearly, you want to know what I've been reading over the past several months. Don't deny it. Here you go (and buckle up, because there are a lot):


November 2013

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (book club selection)
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel

December 2013
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (book club selection)
Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

January 2014
The Unseen by Katherine Webb
Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (book club selection)
Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexander
The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich
The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

February 2014
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (book club selection)
Daughter of Empire by Lady Pamela Hicks
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

March 2014
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
The Truth About Ever After by Rachel Schurig
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (book club selection)
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

April 2014
The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (book club selection)
Lovestruck in London by Rachel Schurig
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Experiments

The last time I planted a garden was two years ago. Last year, I never got around to it and, if you must know, that makes me feel really silly. Anyway, you may know that I used the Square Foot Gardening method for our first garden and that worked out pretty well.
 
This year, I began thinking about the garden pretty early on. I had read a bit about companion planting online and so checked out a few library books on the subject including Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham. I really liked it, and picked up a copy on Amazon.
 
I decided that I would try a garden that used bits and pieces of both methods. Who knows if this will be a success or not, but I went for it. I got everything planted on Sunday afternoon after sitting down at my picnic table with both books, my notebook, and a crapload of seeds. I mean, a bunch. AND I think I have more seeds somewhere, because I know I didn't use all of them last time so they must exist somewhere in my basement. Someday, I will find them. Anyway, here is what I planted:
 
-cucumbers ("picklebush" variety which means I may not be contending with a ton of vines and the cukes will be small)
-nasturtium
-marigolds
-dill
-roma tomatoes
-sugar snap peas
-Serrano peppers
-sweet banana peppers
-bell peppers
-zinnias
-poppies
-lettuce
-carrots ("little finger" variety, so they'll be pretty small like the cucumbers)
-basil
-oregano
-cilantro
 
I think that's all of it. I'm pretty excited to start seeing things coming up, maybe as soon as next week for some things. I know that peas move along pretty quickly.
 
Are you planting a garden this year? What will you grow?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was a good one. A nice mix of fun, productivity and relaxation. I:

- watched hockey;
- read;
- did laundry;
- ran errands;
- went to a concert;
- did some sewing;
- took a nap;
- planted my garden.

Stay tuned for more about the sewing and the gardening as well as that all important life update I promised. 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Annnnnd... I'm back!

Oh, hello.

It has been a while. I mean, dang. A long time.

I just haven't felt like writing. Do you know what I mean? Occasionally, I'll come up with something I want to write about, but then I just don't feel like actually sitting down at the computer. I can always come up with something better, more productive or more exciting to do. It is springtime, though, so here I am. Perhaps I am coming out of a hibernation state like all of the plants around here. Could be.

I have a LOT to catch you up on, life-wise. I'm not even sure what direction I'll be taking this blog in the future, but I'm hoping to write more frequently.

For now, I will say... Happy Earth Day! Go hug a tree.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monthly Book Roundup: October

Ah, October. It seems like it was so long ago, but it most certainly was not. I read some delightful things in October. They were:

Coastal Summons by Katrina Thomas
The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson & Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon

Not a lot of reading material, I suppose, but I enjoyed everything. Especially The Lost Wife. I'm a sucker for WWII stories. The Gordon book was very interesting, but it took me ages to get through it. That drives me crazy.

What did you read in October?


Friday, November 15, 2013

A Happy Ending

Does it seem like 90% of things that pop up on the news lately are depressing? Senseless violence, natural disasters, etc. You know. It sucks. Today, I got to see something really happy, though, and it kind of redeemed some of the terrible things.

A little bit after I got home, I heard a dog barking outside. I stepped out to see if it was one of my neighbor dogs because I like them and I always try to say hi to them and their human counterparts. The barking was coming from my next door neighbors' house. I started talking to the dog in question, thinking it was their funny old beagle, Cleo. Then I looked over the fence. It was not Cleo, but a little fluffy white creature. Karen, one of the neighbors, came out and explained that Kathy, her housemate, had found the dog (minus a collar, unfortunately) on her way home and brought it to the house until she could find its owner.

I helped Kathy find the non-emergency number for the police station near where she'd found the dog. She called them, but no one had called about a missing dog. I posted a found dog ad on Craigslist, accompanied by a funny little picture of our new friend. After spending a little time with the pup, it seemed to me that he might be blind. I recognized the way he was acting very confused and not coming over to me when I called. His eyes, when I could catch a glimpse of them, were cloudy like my dog Onyx's eyes were when she lost her sight (RIP Onyx. She passed away when I was in high school and I still get emotional thinking about her). 

At first, I thought that the foundling was a girl and decided to try calling her Judy. And then I saw that she was definitely not a girl. Ha! Kathy suggested that we call him Gerald. I agreed that that was good, but I wanted to try some other options. I tried calling him:

-Punchbowls
-Kleenex Box
-Cheez-its

He sort of responded to both Gerald and Punchbowls, soooooo I started calling him Gerald Punchbowls. It killed me.

Anyway, anyway. I went home and only a few minutes later, Kathy came over to tell me that the police dispatcher called her. The owner had made contact!!!! We learned then that our little friend was about 15 years old and known as Peaches. We got the address of his family and were going to head over there when we got a phone call from them. I was hanging out there with Peaches, trying to keep him calm, when someone came to the door. 

I answered it and the woman standing there looked so cautiously hopeful that I just immediately blurted out, "Are you here about the dog?!"

She looked so relieved. "Are you Kathy?"

"I'm not," I said, "but she's inside and so is Peaches."

When Peaches made his way to the foyer to greet her, she just started sobbing. She explained that he'd made a mess in the house while she was at work and, while she cleaned it up, she put him in the yard. He doesn't usually escape, but he did this time, and since he is so old and blind, he got lost and confused. She honestly didn't think that she'd see him again and had called her daughter, the one who named him Peaches at the age of eleven, to tell her that Peaches was gone. Her joy and relief was contagious. 

When I got back to my house, I was just overwhelmed. Isn't it amazing that something so simple as reuniting a dog with his family can be so wonderful and happy? I can't imagine the relief that her daughter must have felt when her mom called to say that Peaches had been found safe and sound. Not all stories have a happy ending like this. I'm glad I got to see this one.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spinach Tortellini Soup

A few weeks ago, I whipped up some spinach tortellini soup for a weekend meal, recipe courtesy of Tracy over at shutterbean.com. It. Was. Awesome. 

It was incredibly easy to make, it tasted like I had spent hours slaving over the stove making it, and (maybe best of all) Boyfriend loved it. He said it tasted almost exactly like the pasta fagioli his grandma would make him when he was small. That, my friends, is a high compliment.

What I'm telling you is that if you make this soup, not only will your stomach thank you, but your family will love it and make you feel like a rock star. PLUS, this has delicious pasta in it. I don't think we have to address why that is amazing.