Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Posts tagged ‘books’

Reading, Reading, and Goodreads

Since I read so much and have a horrible memory, I have decided to use Goodreads to keep track of what I have read, what I am reading, and what I want to read.

Today I spent about an hour trying to add recent books I have read (just so I don’t forget them), and added the Goodreads widget to my blog.

We’ll see how this works.

Happy reading!



V is for Vicarious Living

This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge.

Thank goodness for well written books with descriptions that paint a picture in my mind. I live vicariously through books.

I have walked along the banks of the Yangtze as it overflowed its banks due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China.

I have fulfilled my inner detective by solving a crime in a small Colorado town — while learning some great recipes.

I have walked a lifetime in the shoes of a young woman who carefully, but oh so bravely, remained in a town and culture that placed little value on her life And she not only survived, but made life better for her family and others.

Thank goodness for vicarious living, otherwise I would be bored spitless!

By the way, yes, I did have lemon meringue pie for my birthday.

Fickle Friday #3

Tis peach and huckleberry season in the Pacific Northwest and I’m here to share. But I don’t plan on splitting the peach/huckleberry pie that’s in the oven; oh, no–go get your own!! But I will share the joy of combining those two flavors. I pick fresh peaches, do a quick blanch to skin them easier, slice them and freeze those nuggets of heaven. But don’t toss them in the freezer yet. Grab a handful of huckleberries and put them in with the peach slices.

Now wistfully think that it is chilly November day. Make peach/huckleberry crisp with your frozen fruits. I make my little freezer packs small enough for 2-3 servings, so it is a quick easy chore to cook them up. Make a cobbler, crumble, crisp, brown betty, or even a pie. And what is the difference, you may ask.  So let me illuminate your mind.

  • Cobbler is a fruit-like stew with biscuit dough dropped on the top. Many think the word cobbler comes from the appearance of the spooned dough looking like cobblestones.
  • Crisp is a baked fruit mixture with a crumb or streusal topping on top. Oats, brown sugar, walnuts, and butter is my favorite topping to use.
  • Crumble is the United Kingdom’s version of a crisp. (But since the UK is older than the USA, wouldn’t you think that crisp is the USA’s version of a crumble?)
  • Brown Betty is a baked concoction of a fruit layered with buttered crumbs. Often made with apples, this dessert goes back to colonial days. Apple brown betty rings a bell, right?

I was reading the news today about the West Memphis 3. Three men were convicted of killing three cub scouts. They have maintained their innocence over the years. Apparently there is new evidence which may exonerate them. But they accepted a plea deal (an Alford plea) where they plead guilty, but their sentence is considered served. And they  cannot sue the state for their unlawful imprisonment in the event they are indeed innocent.

This whole scene reminds me of The Life of David Gale, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. David Gale (played by Kevin Spacey) is against capital punishment, but is accused of murdering a fellow activist and faces death row. Kate Winslet plays a reporter assigned to write a story about Gale. Strange things happen and it isn’t until the end of the movie that you are presented with the shocking ending. A must see!

I’m so depressed; Borders bookstore is closing. I hate it when bookstores close. Apparently, electronic publishing is not helping their business. Although I have a Sony Reader and am into borrowing e-books from the library and purchasing e-books, I can’t pass up print books on sale. I was able to find several books by some of my favorite authors; books I could not find at the library and I could purchase cheaper in print than in electronic format. Was also able to grab some birthday and Xmas presents!

I better end my fickle thoughts because I’m watching The Unsinkable Molly Brown, starring Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell. Wow, they could sure made entertaining movies back then (in 1964)! Harve Presnell is so handsome and Debbie Reynolds is as precious then as she is now (she certainly had a lot of spunk and energy back then). Daughter cannot figure out why I would watch a movie like this. Geez, she doesn’t know what she’s missing. I love this movie and the music in it, such as Belly Up to the Bar, Boys. It’s a classic!

Read ‘Em and Weep, Laugh, or Think

Reading is a huge part of my life. I have noticed in other blogs that many people provide Summer Reading Lists. Hmm… I tried but I just can’t do that; I read on a whim and always stay caught up with my favorite authors.

Genre’s of choice are mystery, true crime, and biographies. And I tend to read by author until I suck the life out of them. So here’s my list:


  • Robert B. Parker!!!  Must admit that I think the Spencer series is my fav; 39 books and luv every one. His last, SixKill, is my next read (when I finish what I am currently reading).  I also enjoy his Sunny Randall series and Jesse Stone series (which has resulted in successful made for TV movies, starring Tom Selleck. What could be better!). The characters grow through each series and characters in each series often appear in the other series. And I know them!
  • Sue Grafton.  Kinsey Millhone is my hero and such a loveable one. Starting with A is for Alibi, and waiting until November for V is for Vengeance; all weave sleuthing with interesting characters. Again, I know Kinsey and  Henry and am always waiting for what’s next.
  • Diane Mott Davidson.  Author of the Goldy Schulz culinary whodunit series (14 tasty books). Not only are the main characters hilarious, but the books contain marvelous recipes; Goldy is a caterer ya know. I just finished her latest, Crunch Time, and can’t wait to try her Crunch Time Cookie recipe.
  • Janet Evanovich.  Creator of the irreverent Stephanie Plum series, from One for the Money, to the upcoming Smokin’ Seventeen–is on my list for actual laugh-out-loud laughs. If I am ever down, I just open an Evanovich book and am immediately uplifted! Besides, I have the hots for Ranger; who doesn’t — if you know what I mean.

True Crime

  • Ann Rule. Is there anyone better than Ann Rule? I have read most everything she has written, starting with the frightening The Stranger Beside Be (about Ted Bundy) and even her only novel, Possession. I guess Stranger was too close to home; one of Bundy’s victims was a high school friend. And I then lived in Florida when he was executed and that brought a sense of relief or safety or something.
  • Dominick Dunne.  His books range from true crime to fiction, though sometimes they are intertwined, such as his novel A Season in Purgatory inspired by the 1975 murder of Martha Moxely by a Kennedy clan member. Dunne’s daughter was murdered and he brings that emotion to his books, fiction or not. Unfortunately, Dunne died in 2009 so no more of his gifted writing.


  • David McCullough.  Wow, can that man bring you into the life of his biographical subject. Who has not enjoyed John AdamsMornings on Horseback, 17 years with Theodore Roosevelt is one of my favs, along with the Harry S Truman biography,  Truman.  And a must-read (especially for Sarah Palin who can’t get her history correct) is 1776.
  • Robert MassieNicholas and Alexandria opened a great chapter of Russian history for me. And it continued with Peter the Great, His Life and World. Massie brings just life to his books, I felt as if I was there (in Russia). Massie’s son, Bob Massie, was born with hemophilia. Massie and his wife, Suzanne Massie, wrote Journey, a heartfelt book about their journey with hemophilia and health care. It was Journey that got me into Massie’s other books. Interesting enough, Bob Massie is campaigning for US Senator from Massachusetts.

So that’s my list of authors for now.  Enjoy their books; I have and still do!

Weekend Plans

It’s the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Here are my plans:

  • Finish planting flowers outside
  • Plant flowers at my moms (it’s her Mother’s Day present)
  • Finish decluttering the kitchen
  • Put away Alia’s (daughter) stuff from college
  • Get caught up on laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Clean bathroom
  • Bring out the lawn furniture

Geez – now that I have written my tasks down, they seem overwhelming. But I have already started the laundry and should get a load or two done tonight.  And I have three days to do everything! Check back over the weekend to see how I”m doing. Wish me luck! Thankfully my sciatica is barely there today. Hoping it will stay away for the weekend as there is a lot of physical stuff to do (planting, furniture, etc.).

So now the rest of the news. I finally sort of connected with a long lost friend in the Joplin area. She answered my Facebook friend request but didn’t provide any info as to whether she and family are OK. Thus I will assume they are until I hear otherwise.

I briefly texted with my daughter today. She’s off on a Saturday/Sunday trip with a bunch of college buddies. Heavy sigh — just another holiday notch in the belt where she’s not home and we are not doing something together. Another heavy sigh.

The weather here is crap! We have had no spring at all. it has been raining, raining, and raining and chilly. Now it’s not the chilly weather, because I like the coolness. But the constant rain is putting a damper on things (ha-pun intended). The cool thing (yup, another pun) is that I have turned the heat off and have not turned on the air conditioning yet. Definately late in the year for AC. And I have not turned on my sprinklers yet either.

Since I don’t have work tomorrow, I plan to sleep in. What I will really do is read late into the night. Then wake up early (about 6:00 a.m.), read a bit more, fall asleep, wake up and read, then sleep again. Sometimes I will do this all day and not even get out of bed at all! But not tomorrow. I vow to be up and working on tasks by 10:00 a.m. Oh and let’s not forget that sleeping in seems to be a quality cat-time session, at least that’s what MeiMei and Sunni think.

I’m off to finish up with today’s laundry and plan to go to bed early so I can read. “Crunch Time” is a fun read and I’ve been a Diane Mott Davidson fan for years. When I finish it (will be done this weekend), I’ll expound on the books.

Enjoy the long weekend and stay safe.

Hijacked by Pain

Ouch, owwie, ohhhhh, scream!!  Am having a sciatica episode this afternoon/evening and can not move or walk without searing pain. HATE IT!  And because I am so committed to my new goals, I tried to do my 15 minutes of clean-up. Owwie, owwie  (is that how you spell it?).  So decided to take a pain pill and not move.

I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis. Have had it for some 30+ years and there are good days and bad days. I have been lucky in that I haven’t had any sciatica episodes for about a year, and now within the last month, I have had several. Makes it tough to do the work that needs to be done (flower planting, house cleaning, walking). But more on all that later as I am PO’d that it is acting up right now so will not give it any more attention.

Now I have to still do something instead of just potatoing in front of the TV. Am adding tags to my posts now and reading more about what I should be doing. Have gotten a few comments from some friends and even an announcement at another friend’s blog.  Thanks Heidi and Karen!

While I’m sitting here (in less pain now), I realize that I have several interests that I have let fall to the wayside because I have been wallowing in depression and lack of focus. And the worst of all, I have let myself down by ignoring activities that give me joy and a sense of accomplishment.


Starry Night (one of my favs)

Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic photo frame (starring my daughter)

And lets not forget the one thing that I still do every single day: read wonderful, wonderful books!! More later on reading! right now I’m reading ” Crunch Time” by Diane Mott Davidson.

OK – am getting loopy so have to sign off and go to bed.