Friday, August 19, 2016

Book beginnings: "Merry Hall" by Beverley Nichols

Above is the cover of one of the 4 books I bought at Goodwill today. These covers are enchanting, don't you think?

Above is a photo I took of the gorgeous set of books by Beverley Nichols I bought at Goodwill today.
The first one I will read is "Merry Hall" which is the first in a trilogy, the second book in the trilogy is "Laughter on the Stairs",  followed by "Sunlight on the Lawn". The other book is "A Village in a Valley."
Nichols writes about the elegant but rundown mansion and gardens he fixes up and the wonderful people who live nearby in the small village. On the dust jacket it says Nichols' writing is "high-spirited, riotously funny, and, at times, deliciously malicious." Just my cup of tea in reading.
For Book Beginnings I quote the first two sentences in Merry Hall: "Some fall in love with women; some fall in love with art; some fall in love with death. I fall in love with gardens, which is much the same as falling in love with all three at once."
Friday 56 at  Fredas Voice asks us to share a bit from page 56. Here goes my choice: "But a glass of champagne, for some mystic reason, is different; it is to wine what Shelley was to poetry; it gives wings to the spirit." This led to Nichols setting a hedge on fire, a rather dangerous feat and a decision fueled by enjoying champagne. My kind of guy, ha ha.
I am linking to Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Sun ornament and jasmine in our garden

The sun ornament is a gift from my friend about five years ago, and the jasmine is a volunteer. I watched over the months as it climbed up the fence and reached the sun.
I am linking with Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 1, 2016

Volunteer visitor to senior citizens

Sometimes the above photo shows how I feel when I think of seniors stuck in a nursing or retirement home and who have no visitors.
I am posting this to give other bloggers an idea about a volunteer opportunity.
I am a senior citizen myself and have long heard about people living in retirement homes who have no visitors and are lonely. That sounds SAD beyond reflection to me.

For the year 2016 I decided to find a lonely person in one of those homes who I could visit and bring my version of sparkle and joy to. I have a nice collection of fun socks to wear, and bought these for one of the ladies I visit.

You can find a person to visit through your church, or through a volunteer center in your county or city. I signed up with a county program, was fingerprinted, interviewed, and sent to a retirement/memory care home. I think memory care is a upbeat way of saying Alzheimers or Dementia.
The neatest thing happened. The activities director introduced me to two ladies. One had a stroke and can't talk, and the other lady is active in all ways, and deals with Parkinsons disease successfully.
For the lady who had a stroke I bought some fun children's books and read them to her. Her favorite which she points to is about teddy bears and picnics. Since she visited Africa some years ago I bought a book about animals of Africa and she likes this book too.
The other gal and I do some volunteer work in the home's library, putting the books back on the shelves in the right places, and adding new books. We also sit and chat, I help her with her laptop, and we check on the two tomato and cucumber plants they let her grow. Last week she gave me a hug and said thank you for coming, you are a bright spot in my day. I said that she is a bright spot in my day too. Today I surprised her with the socks, and she said she had been wishing for some like this. She put them on and showed them to two people while I was visiting.
Let's spread the joy around.
"We can not all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love." Mother Theresa.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Favorite Coffee Mugs

Eeyore, Keep Calm and Carry On, and Cats.
The coffee and tea mug I use most often is the Keep Calm and Carry On cup, which I bought on Amazon.
Do you have a favorite coffee / tea mugs?
I am linking to Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Tiger Lilies and Sweet Peas

My mother grew tiger lilies so these are favorites of mine and here are two from my garden. Below are sweet peas, another of my favorites from our garden.
I am linking to Wordless Wednesday

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Beginnings: A Man Called Ove

I am taking part in the Friday book beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader. Here is the link to the Book Beginnings host Rose City Reader  and here is this book's beginning: "Ove is fifty-nine. He drives a Saab. He's the kind of man who points at people he doesn't like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman's flashlight."
Here is a quote from page 56, for Freda's Voice where she hosts Friday 56. Actually page 56 gives away a bit too much so I am using a quote from page 51 which Ove says to a nasty woman neighbor.
"If you throw that stone into my property, I'll throw you into your garden!"

Here is my review of this book, which I give 5 stars.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Translated from Swedish to English.
This book captivated my heart. I cheered for the iceberg of Ove to melt and live again. What an interesting guy, a curmudgeon aged 59, who has a strong code of ethics that he rigidly adheres to. He meets neighbors who need his help, resists giving it, but his private code says he must help them. The men in white shirts are symbols of what is wrong in his society and in ours: unhelpful and sometimes vindictive bureaucrats. Force a man into a nursing home. Allow his home to burn down because it is on a boundary between two agencies. Make life a misery for Ove and his wife. Ove befriends a wonderful varied crew, ranging from a young man Ove calls “bent” who comes out as gay, another young man who wants to fix a bicycle to gain the affection of a girl, an immigrant from Iran who likes the prickly Ove, and more. He meets his match in the feral cantankerous cat and they end up adopting each other. This is one of my top ten books I  read this year thus far and I am sure it will remain in my list of favorite books of 2016.
Good news, there is a movie made of this book in 2015 which is garnering a huge audience in Europe and awards for its star. I would like to see this movie, with English subtitles. The movie is in Swedish, I think. An American company has bought the rights to this movie and I am not sure what this means but it sounds promising. If they film a new version I want Clint Eastwood in the role of Ove; he was brilliant in Gran Torino. I know Clint could play age 59!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Hi Friends. Flower Lady Lorraine at Flower Lady's Musings mentioned breakfasts recently and that got me inspired to write this post.
Here are some of my favorite breakfasts: Shredded wheat, 365 Fruit and Nut Muesli from Whole Foods, oatmeal and  Cheerios. We like to add fruit in season, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas. I buy organic berries when I can, or pick blueberries from our two bushes.
The carbs in these cereals are more healthy than overly processed carbs in most cereals and they have no or little sugar.
I had a couple years having pre-diabetes blood sugar levels, so I cut way back on sugar and overly refined carbs and now I am in the healthy range. I read that white rice, most cereals and white bread are no nos if you have any blood sugar issues. So I eat more whole grains which these cereals are. Plus, remember to exercise most every day, for about 30 minutes. Walking is great, and also using a treadmill.

Above is a photo of muesli. Another favorite for breakfast is Quaker Oats 1 minute oatmeal. I am sure any brand is good. For one person take one half cup oatmeal and one cup milk and microwave for one and a half minutes. Stir and microwave 30 seconds more. Add what you like. I add a bit of whipped cream, a teaspoon of brown sugar and some raisins or dried cranberries. Fresh fruit on top is good. Yum, and healthy too.
What is your favorite breakfast?