The Week in Review 6/27/2018

Summer Solstice:  We went all out celebrating the Solstice.  First we had a picnic lunch in our yard.  We ate the Peanuts Thanksgiving meal:  popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans and toast. After dinner we took a long swim staying in the pool until dark.  Which is only ~8:15p here.  We got ready for bed and then came outside and looked at the stars and the moon and the creepy shadows until 10:00p.  I laid in the hammock and my son had the swing. I thought about sleeping out all night but as it was still 90° at 9:00p we decided to pass.  Plus there is the whole bobcat, scorpion, rattlesnake fears.  We used the lanterns we made earlier this summer (pictured above).  We decorated jars with glitter glue and put in fairy lights.  In the dark it looks like a jar of fireflies, so cool.

A Mild Annoyance:  I switched to a school year planner a few years ago finding it worked better for me.  This year I ordered a planner on-line and didn’t realize it started in August and my current planner ends in June.  Oops. I don’t think I will be ordering a planner on-line again.  I don’t love the one I got dates aside.  It is a little too busy for me.

Something Worrisome:   The cashier at the commissary had a very odd moment.  In the middle of checking out my groceries she paused.  There were bananas sitting on the scale and I thought she was trying to remember the PLU number.  Then she asked ” did you hand me five-oh-nine or five-eighteen?”  I thought she was asking me what the PLU number was and responded with a “huh”?  There was clearly a sticker with the number right on top of the bananas.  Then she asked if I just handed her some money.  What? She looked blank a moment then rang up something that came to $40.11 which she then voided.  She looked at the bananas again and then said something about taking some allergy medicine which had made her sleepy. She finished ringing up the rest of my groceries and as I was driving home I began to wonder if she had had a small stroke or something.  I felt like I should have said something to the manager who had to come over because of the void.  I have been worried about that poor woman ever since.

Throwback Reading:  I think I may have invented the term but I know I am not the only one re-reading favorite childhood books.  I just indulged myself with the purchase of the whole “Ramona” series by Beverly Cleary.  My son and I have read them together (checked out from the library) over the last few years but I decided I really wanted to read them in order over the summer to myself.  So I splurged on buying a set and am so happy I did.  I got a paperback version in a cardboard case and they have wonderful drawings scattered throughout.  Bonus, my son decided to re-read them also.

CSA:  I have been loving my CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup every Sunday.  One less thing I have to think about and to my surprise I am even enjoying the beets.  I made Harvard Beets with the first batch and roasted the second with olive oil and fresh thyme from my one and only herb plant. And I found the easiest squash recipe ever from Susan Branch:  slice squash very thin (you can do yellow or zucchini), heat up some Italian salad dressing and pour over.  I let it sit on the counter 20 to 30 minutes and then popped it in the fridge.  I took it out about 30 minutes before dinner, it was cool and refreshing.  Very tasty in the hot weather.

Our one day of rain from Hurricane Bud led our cat’s claw to bloom.  So nice to see some color.

How are you enjoying summer?

The Influence of Books

I am a voracious reader. Yup, voracious. I can’t remember the last time a day went by when I didn’t spend some time reading. I have always wondered what people did when they traveled by airplane if they didn’t read.  I think public libraries are the best thing ever.

I read for entertainment.  I read to experience other time periods and other cultures and lifestyles.  Mostly I read mysteries, cozies, some popular fiction and a little chick-lit.  Occasionally I will read a western or a romance or even a cookbook.   A biography gets thrown into the mix once in awhile.  I never read science fiction or fantasy.  Nope, no Harry Potter or J.R. Tolkien for me.

I love to read stories set in England or Europe.  I like the details of house descriptions and knowing what people ate for meals and getting a glimpse of the routine of their life.  And while reading these books sometimes I find myself craving bits of the characters lives.  Okay, mostly craving bits of their meals.  A week ago I was reading “The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss” and found myself wanting chocolate raspberry muffins that Sophia made for breakfast one morning.  So I made chocolate raspberry muffins!




Sometimes the cravings go away when the book ends, but sometimes not and there is nothing to be done but to fulfill it.  It is not always food I crave.  I have been reading a series about quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I love how the books skip around in time and location.  Everytime I read one I have the urge to make a quilt.  Being realistic I am starting with a dresser scarf instead, made out of nine patch squares.  I also like how Mary in the Little House Books was always working on her nine patch quilt insteading of getting into mischief like Laura.

My sewing basket

Books have also made me want to move to various places such as , Virginia (Krista Davis), the lake country in England (The Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert ) and wherever Mitford is (Jan Karon).

Of late I have been fond of reading  books set in WWII Europe.  I read “All the Light We Cannot See” recently.  Wow.  “The Nightingale”  is another good one along with “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society”.  Reading books set during that time period really makes me appreciate all that I have.  If I find myself groaning over preparing dinner I stop and realize how lucky I am to have food and the means to cook it.  How horrible it would be to have a hungry child and no food available.  When I am dusting I wonder what I would take if I could only keep what I could carry.  When I am paring down my wardrobe I wonder what it would be like to not be able to buy anything new for 4 or 5 years.  And back then people had a lot fewer clothes!  I can’t imagine losing all my books and access to a library.

My favorite part of the day is bedtime reading to my son.  Seems I still love young adult fiction too.  We have read (or listened to the audiobooks while traveling) all the “Little House” series by Laura Ingall Wilder and everything by Beverly Cleary.  I am lucky we enjoy some of the same books right now and will be sad when/if that time ends.

For me, books are the best part of life.  So many vicarious experiences.  I am a lucky woman. What am I reading right now?  At bedtime I am reading Agatha Christie.  Currently I am going through the Miss Marple stories in order.  I am up to “A Murder is Announced” leaving me with a desire for scones and tea.  I just started “A Serpent’s Tooth” by Craig Johnson.  I have a hankering for cowboy boots and a crush on Sheriff Longmire.  And for bedtime my son and I are reading “Junonia” by Kevin Henkes.

I hope you find the pure joy of a good book today too!