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?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

16 books from library benefit book sale

I came home from the book sale to benefit our public libraries smiling like a satisfied cheshire cat and told my husband "It feels like Christmas". I had a bag of books I bought with me, 16 of them.
One is for my friend who is a life long piano teacher, and it is titled "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank", and two are for a three year old friend of mine, "Jonah" about Jonah in the Bible, and "When We Were Very Young", wonderful poems by A.A. Milne.
Here are the titles of the rest. I am not recommending them because I have not read them yet.
I do like memoirs, especially those of people living in other countries. Humor in memoirs is nice too.
"Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper" by Fuchsia Dunlop. Supposed to be an insightful memoir of living and cooking in China. I hope she does NOT use shark's fin in her cooking; that is a horrible thing to do, as fishermen cut the fin off live sharks, throw them back in the water and the sharks die.
"Paris I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down", memoir by Rosecrans Baldwin.
"Living In a Foreign Language" memoir of living in Italy, by Michael Tucker.
"Travels with Alice" by Calvin Trillin. I like other books by Trillin.
"Solomon Time: An Unlikely Quest in the South Pacific". A young American teacher brings chickens to a Pacific Island to help people there.
"Nomad's Hotel: Travels in Time and Space", the author's collected articles about places including Isfahan, Mali, Australia and Munich.
"Elizabeth and Her German Garden" by Elizabeth von Arnim, a writer new to me that several bloggers recommend.
"Long Way Down", a motorcycle journey. I will offer this book to our younger son.

Next a book about Jesus and then novels that sound grand.
"Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilly.
"The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate" by Nancy Mitford. I read the fascinating biography of the Mitford sisters, called "Sisters" and have been meaning to read these titles, two in one volume.
"Come Rain or Come Shine" by Jan Karon. I love this series and read each one.
"Wit's End" by Karen Joy Fowler.
"Saint Odd" by Dean Koontz. I like this series and this is the final volume.

One thing I do successfully to keep our home in balance is that for each book I bring in to the house, I move one book out of our house. I give the books to friends, to the public library or to the Little Free Libraries all around town. I do the same with clothes, when I buy a top or pair of shorts, I give one away to charity. As of today, 3 weeks after the sale, I have given away 35 books, so I am in good shape on that. That keeps our home's book shelves in balance and not looking like one of those crazed hoarders on a reality tv program. LOL.
I was surprised to learn that our church had a huge book sale the next day!!! So I bought five books there, and that will be in another post. I have to laugh at myself buying these books, but I do love to read good books.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Beginnings: Running in Place: Scenes from the South of France

I almost passed this book up until I read the first sentence. My husband did some clearing out and found a box with 32 books, mostly memoirs, in it. He has read them all and I haven't so this is a treasure trove for me.
Here is the first sentence from "Running in Place: Scenes from the South of France": "A man jumped into my wife's tub while she was taking a bath." Well, that captured my attention. He goes on to write "This happened in Paris, in our hotel, at seven o'clock in the morning."
Now I want to know more and maybe you do too.
I am linking to Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.
On Friday 56 is another to link to at Fredas Voice where we post a sentence or two from page 56. Here is a sentence from page 57, I skipped ahead: "It is a difficult place to describe - a haunted, hard, magical place."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mop refills and 14 billion Keurig K-cups in garbage dumps

Why does it cost almost as much to buy a refill sponge for a mop as to buy the entire mop and handle? This bothers me. 
Today I bought a sponge mop (a major brand) and an extra sponge for when I need a refill. Why did I buy the refill today? Because I have found that in future when I need to buy the refill sponge it will no longer be available and none that will fit will be found. I like to be kind to the earth and to use resources wisely.
The sponge mop was a good deal, $9.99. But the refill sponge was $7.99. This doesn't make sense. Is the entire long handle and holder area for the sponge worth only two dollars?
The companies are pushing us to throw away the entire old sponge mop where it will rest for 100 years in the garbage dump. Sad. It might take hundreds of years to decompose, what a waste.
This is just one example of thousands of wasteful habits we are cajoled to engage in. Those nonrecyclable Keurig coffee maker K-cups are another. I know some K-cups are recyclable and bless the people who buy them. Apparently though even the "green" cups are not very recyclable, since the plastic part is made with type 7 plastic which most recyclers can not use, and the cups need to be taken apart by the coffee drinker if they want to recycle. 14 billion K-cups end up in garbage dumps every year. That would look like a Mount Everest of garbage.
There is an article in Atlantic Monthly on k-cups waste at A Brewing Problem
There is a twitter campaign #killthekcup I know lots of you dear readers love your Keurig coffee makers and I hope you don't get mad at me, I just hope Keurig changes over to all recyclable cups!
Does this waste bother you too?
Do you have any tips to share about reducing waste? 
And thank you friends for your comments, I am learning some new things and tips when reading them. I suggest you all scroll through the comments to see other bloggers' clever ideas.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Forget-me-not

Here is a bouquet I bought at the organic Farmers' Market on Saturday.
I like the shadow under the vase in the first photo. Do you adore that color blue too? When I saw these Forget-me-nots I thought "I want to grow these." But, guess what, I think that whenever I see a flower I like. Photos on some of your blogs inspired me to buy a hydrangea, Green Bombshell, which is a smaller hydrangea. I saw incredible blue delphiniums on blogs and bought "Blue Mirror" delphinium this spring. Now I read on a blog there is a small lilac. There is so much beauty all around us, it is unending. As I grieve for the people in Orlando, I share these pretty photos here to lift spirits.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 15:27
I am linking to Wordless Wednesday