Thursday, April 2, 2020

On the lighter side: My First Venture Using Zoom and Books, Books, Books

Instead of posting about you know what! here are some other words from me.
Zoom and My First Zoom Meeting
First, I am so pleased with myself; a few hours before the meeting happened, I was invited to a Zoom meeting. I've been wanting to try that so I said yes, and it worked for me right away! Amazing but true. I think it is beginner's luck. About 5 households managed to join in, hurray. Several people were frustrated and could not join. I think they will sort it out for the next Zoom meetup next week. What fun to see people's laughing faces, there was a lot of humor as people signed in, tried to sit so the top of their heads showed, we could see them but they couldn't see us, etc. A couple of the ladies joked about how long their hair is getting. The leader asked if we had read any good books and I told them about Falling Forward. See below for more on this wonderful book.
Books, books, books.
If you know me you won't be surprised I am telling you what books I am enjoying.

Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship by Ruth Chou Simons. Ruth is a brilliant watercolor artist and the book is overflowing with her dainty paintings of nature. Plus Ruth has six sons, wow! The first photo is from the book, each page is glorious, and the second photo is of the cover with more of her art. In 850 detailed watercolors the author explains how God demonstrates His love and His faithfulness even in our mundane moments. Her paintings and words remind us that God created all things. Thank you FlowerLady for recommending Beholding and Becoming.

Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled by Dorothy Gilman. This is a great book that will take you to the wild deserts of Syria with the world's most unlikely and very capable spy, Mrs. Pollifax. A senior citizen, she accidentally is recruited by the CIA to become a spy because when you see her, you know she could no way be a spy. The first book in the series is The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax and there are at least 14 books. I am not reading them in order, but must tell you the first book has its special charm as we learn how bored Emily Pollifax is with her routine life of a widow. She sure seized the day when she finagled her way into her first work as a spy.

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor. This is the first and very entertaining book in a series set in the small village of Ballybucklebo. A young doctor finds his first job there assisting the large, kind and gruff village doctor. The villagers are an eccentric lot and very appealing and the book has plenty of humor in it. The series has about 15 books in it. Patrick Taylor retired as a doctor and lives in Canada and Ireland, and was born and raised in Bangor County Down in Northern Ireland.

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. This book is a fabulous find and I am very excited about it, since it applies to me and everyone who is in the second half of life, and anyone who wants ideas about growing closer to God. I guestimate that people who are 45 and up are in the second half of life, so that includes not only us senior citizens. Rohr says that the first half of life may end sooner, sometimes through difficulties at a young age, and this deepening second half could begin even in your twenties. I am just beginning this book and am underlining like crazy (I rarely do that) but so many thoughts of the author's are helpful and wise. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest for the last 40 years and founded The Center for Action and Contemplation, and he explores how our failings in the first half of life can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth.
Happy Trails To You
Who else remembers Roy Rogers and Dale Evans riding their horses and singing Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smiling until then. Dale's horse was a buckskin named Buttermilk and Roy's horse was Trigger. Happy trails for you today, whether still out in the world working at essential jobs, or staying home and reading, knitting, painting, creating, nurturing family and others. Don't forget to nurture yourself. For me I recommend a Lindt chocolate truffle every day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pens and Paper At the Ready

Hi friends, I have pens and paper and I am not afraid to use them.
After one full week of self isolating I am getting Bored and Lonesome and longing to hang out with people.
I have many note cards and postcards and in case you are Bored or Lonesome, I offer to send one to you. I have International stamps so where ever you are, I can send you a card.
The photo shows just a few examples of my big stash of cards.
Let me know in the comments if you would like a card. You can contact me via email or leave your email addy in your comment. Don't leave your postal address in the comment.
Be well and of good cheer my friends.
Update on March 28, 2020. I have sent 14 cards so far, and it is fun sending them out with friendly thoughts for each recipient. One already arrived in Europe, a fast journey. If you want a card and haven't asked, please do,  my cards and pens are at your service. I love sending mail to friends in other countries in addition to the USA.
This reminds me to thank all the postal workers and delivery men (haven't seen any women yet) for being so faithful in their work. So many people are deserving of our thanks aren't they? Health workers, teachers learning online teaching, store clerks, truck drivers, the list is long and each person is doing important work. I have truck drivers in my family and I do love them. Thank you all.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

New mirror, Plum Trees, Coronavirus, and Stone Sculptures

I have been shopping for a large mirror for above my kitchen/dining table and took this photo in a store of a potential mirror. I thought the photo is pretty so here it is.
I wasn't aiming for an artsy photo but it turned out nice, I think. I decided to have a custom made mirror four feet tall and five feet wide and they will make it and install it soon. It is heavy so two men will come over to install it. They brought it over only to find it had a small noticeable chip in it at the edge, so took it away and they are having a new mirror made for me.
Below are some stone sculptures made by setting stones upon stones, near my house and the ocean. The stones look like lonely Japanese warriors to me, looking out to sea.
That is ice plant in the foreground. It has pretty yellow flowers for much of the year, was planted to control erosion and is considered invasive.
Below are plum trees flowering. The first photo is of a plum tree at church.

The plum below is my Santa Rose plum planted 2 years ago, and the flowers hint of potential plums to come. I was pleased to harvest two dozen delicious plums last year that we ate; some other plums were lost to the birds who pecked at them, and some fell to the ground and were mushy.

 My church has many flowering plum trees with pink blossoms, maybe 25 trees.

The plum tree below with its white blossoms looks like a cloud has gently landed on it. No one planted it, it is growing in the alley along my fence. I think a bird planted it. This photo was taken while I was standing on my patio near my kitchen door.

What to say? The surgeon general recently tweeted that there is no need for the public to buy face masks, and that health workers need them. This is a bit contradictory. I understand the face masks help because they prevent us from touching our face, so I ordered some online. I am wondering if they are sold out and whether they will actually arrive. The virus can enter through the nose, mouth and eyes, and of course the masks don't cover the eyes.
I read that the virus remains infectious on surfaces for several days, so you don't need to be in contact with an infected person to become infected.
I bought extra Tylenol, Lysol kitchen wipes and cough syrup, just in case. Hand washing is key to prevention and I have hand sanitizer in my purse. Hand sanitizers are sold out in the city in California where I live. A virus expert said the sanitizer needs to be above 60 per cent alcohol, and he recommends taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of flu or cold symptoms. I don't know the scientist's name, sorry. He also says no to hand shaking, instead use fist bumps or a small bow. I am around a lot of people at church and in the retirement/memory care home where I volunteer.
For me, staying home would be difficult, not to mention boring. I am a senior citizen so I am in one of the groups health officials are concerned about. You youngsters may be less at risk. Are you doing anything to prepare? Just in case. Any good ideas?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Red Magnolia, Whale Pot, Chevre and Fig Jam, and Sleeping Dog

Here's some of this and some of that. Sleeping dog, red magnolia, chevre cheese and fig jam and cyclamen in my whale pot.
Red magnolia in my garden in February 2020.
New info added Feb. 20, 2020: this is a Black Tulip Magnolia, which is described as purple or burgundy. I think of it as red, but now I can see it is burgundy. The flowers are shaped like nice plump tulips.
I planted this tree about a year and a half ago and love this pop of red which sings to me in a winter month that is sometimes cold and  dark. I didn't actually plant it, I hired a landscaper who is a family friend to do the hard work. I think the tree is 8 feet tall! I am an old lady, as you know. Old but often joyful, ha ha.
A white cyclamen in my new pot in the shape of a whale.
This is on my patio outside my kitchen sliding glass doors where I can see it often throughout the day.

Goat cheese and fig jam
I happened to find this delicious duo at a locally owned natural foods store: goat cheese (chevre) and fig jam. I had not tried this before, it is ultra tasty on crackers. My new food fling.
My Sleeping Bounce
You know the expression, Let sleeping dogs lie? This photo of my dog Bounce reminds me of that saying. It is a very rare photo of him when he remained asleep when I sneaked up to take the photograph. In all other pictures he opens an eye just to peek at me. I think it is so cute, he is deeply asleep.

This is his nest on my new sofa, between the back of the sofa and the nice plump cushion. He is very secure there.
Lunch with friends
What have I been up to recently? I am organizing two groups to go out to lunch and I will tell anyone who will listen, it is like herding cats. Try finding a day and a restaurant everyone likes but I find it well worth my effort as we get to spend time together. One is a group of widows from my church and the other is people I worked with at the university libraries. Fun people and good company.
I am a volunteer visitor
I also am a volunteer visitor to a retirement/memory care home, and have done that once a week for five years. I did the math, that is 250 visits thus far, and it is very rewarding. People there like to see a faithful visitor who likes them and who is not paid to care about them. It makes me happy too.
Quote about Impossible, from Audrey Hepburn
Nothing is impossible. The word itself says "I'm possible." by Audrey Hepburn, the apex of old-Hollywood elegance.  Found in my Wild Words from Wild Women calendar.

Monday, February 3, 2020

My favorite books read in 2019 and Bookmarks

I read a lot of books in 2019 and enjoyed most of them. This is a list of my favorites from that year. I see themes developing in my favorites, many are about senior ladies, being happy, mysteries and dogs!
Still Happy by Elizabeth Berg.
I have read a few of her novels and enjoy them and I took a chance and bought this collection of her short essays, which were originally posted on FaceBook. Wonderful. Humorous. Smart. Berg also includes a memoir about her much loved dog, which makes it special. Yes, the dog dies, in case your heart is too tender to read this at the moment. Below is the cover of another book Berg wrote, which I haven't read yet, but I intend to, and I include it here because the cover is prettier!

Widow's Journey by Gayle Roper. 
 I relate to this author, she writes in a friendly style and has tips on going through the widow's journey and short vignettes about her own story. This is a small short book and easy and helpful to read. My husband died three years ago and this is a good pep talk refresher book. I have many books on grief that are big, helpful and full of sound ideas but rather a handful to read. This one is short and sweet.
Dog Songs: Poems by Mary Oliver.
When I discovered Mary Oliver I thought I must be the last to the party, to discover her. This is a fabulous book of poems about dogs in her life. Easy to read, poignant, humorous, sad, and most of all uplifting to read. I love that when she signed contracts to teach at colleges there was always her own dog clause in the contract, giving her permission to bring her dog to class. She found that the visiting dog loosened up her poet students. 
Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker.
I reviewed this novel in 2019 on my blog. It has an original plot in which a young man and his friend invent an imaginary elderly eccentric lady to explain their presence where they shouldn't be. The book has some hilarious scenes. Imagine his horror when the lady turns up to stay at his parents' home where he lives, with her parrot, harp and bath in tow. She is delightful but soon develops a mind of her own and causes him serious problems. She gets stronger and stronger. Read the book to find out what happens.
Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. These are stories published between 1918 and 1922 and I think they are very funny, and like all his books, his writing is bound to bring me laughter and smiles. If you haven't read Wodehouse before you might start with "The Code of the Woosters" or just jump in anywhere with his books. The Blandings books are fun too, and feature The Empress, a huge prize winning pig doted on by the eccentric Lord Emsworth.
A surprise discovery for me was the ebook Miss Budge in Love by Daphne Simpkins. This book was offered to me by (are you all subscribed to this, free and inexpensive ebooks). Miss Budge is a kind senior Christian lady and the stories are all entertaining and rather upbeat.  I think there are other books about Miss Budge.
I like all the Mrs. Pollifax books and read  A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman in 2019. Mrs. Pollifax is a senior widow who finds herself accidentally becoming a secret agent who is able to not be found out because she definitely does not look like a spy. I think the first in the series is The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, a fun one to start with as you find out how she becomes a spy.

What goes better with books than bookmarks? Here are some newer favorites of mine. The magnetic ones are cute and they do not fall out, so my place is saved.
The yellow one is one I colored from a Womens Bible study group last year. The study mixes creativity and study.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

New Bits and Bobs, Hail, Camel Saddle and More

Hi Friends, my previous post of bits and bobs had lots of readers and comments, so that inspired me to write this post. Your comments mean a lot to me.
When my younger son, Lane, put the Christmas decorations back in the attic he found my old camel saddle up there.
I bought it in the old bazaar in Old Jerusalem about 50 years ago. The seat is made of leather and the stuffing looks like hay. I wonder how to bring it back to a more gorgeous condition. First thing some leather conditioner.
It doesn't snow where we live but Jan. 16 I was very excited to hear a loud noise hitting our sky lights. It was hail. I ran outside and took some photos.
The above is our front yard. Below are two closeups of hail. This is an exciting event for this California girl. I grew up in Wisconsin and still miss snow, and watching the Packers at Lambeau Stadium.
Next is a photo of Bounce's favorite toy, a Christmas gift already in need of sewing repairs. I call this little lamb Baa Baa. I sewed up two holes in its side but Bounce has already made another hole and there is stuffing all over the living room rug. Also one of the squeakers inside the lamb flew out, which is when I knew I needed to sew Baa Baa.

Next is a page from the book we are reading in Bible study, Discovering Joy in Philippians. Did you know that the words joy and rejoice appear 18 times in Philippians? It is amazing that Paul wrote this to encourage Christians while he was imprisoned in Rome, under harsh conditions, and knowing he faced a death penalty. The book we are reading has about 12 book marks to color in it, in separate pages at the back. You can see some coloring I did.

Have a beautiful day friends. I am fasting today all day Sunday in prep for a medical procedure Monday. It is one doctors want oulde people (that is me) to have done every five years. My dad signed his letters to me "ye oulde dad" so I kinda like that spelling.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 is really here! Some Bits and Bobs

  • "All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others. " Quote by Cher, living legend. This is the January 2 page on the daily calendar I bought for myself and also for my niece, and the calendar is titled "Wild Words from Wild Women".
  • My January aim is to buy no books in bookstores or online in January, because I have hundreds of books on my TBR (to be read) shelves, enough to last me for many years. So far I am keeping this resolution.
  • I am reading "Rules of Civility" by Amor Towles and "Miss Budge in Love" by Daphne Simpkins, a Kindle book.
  • In the first week of January I went to a movie theater and saw "Little Women" and enjoyed it immensely. I was very happy to be in a theater and plan to do that many more times in 2020. Number of times I saw a movie in a theater in 2019, Zero. I bought bottled water and buttered popcorn, our local Indie theater uses real butter. I read that theaters make their money not on the movies but on the food. I am picky about what films I watch and will have to keep a look out for good films when they are in town. Give me suggestions!

  • On December 21 a friend and I saw "The Nutcracker Ballet" by our local ballet company. It was accompanied by a 52 piece orchestra. I have seen the production about 15 times. It is always new, colorful and upbeat. In 2017 I bought a sparkly red nutcracker there to add to my collection, which is in the photo above.
  • I am still praying asking God to send rain to put out the raging bush fires in Australia. I am so worried about the people, the trees, and the wildlife. The poor little koalas can't run fast. Also I am praying that rain will end the severe droughts in South Africa, Zimbabwe and other African countries. 
  • Women's Bible studies begins January 16 and the book we will use is "Discovering Joy in Philippians". It has book marks to color in it and suggestions for creativity. We like studies that are fun and not severe sombre activities.  Usually about 30 women show up and we divide into groups of around eight ladies.
These bits and bobs are getting rather extensive. I hope 2020 will be a joyful year for all of us.