book review, books, haPPY, library, Uncategorized

what are you reading?

20170327_084223-1_resized7 or 8  years ago, I had somehow managed to work up the courage, thought I could do it, jumped in before I really thought it through, started a book club on-line.

The premise was pretty simple.  I would choose, sift through (everyone offered up suggestions, many genres) a book, once a month.  I would via e-mail, announce the new title to the 25 -30 folks that I arm-twisted to join me.

We all had 4 weeks to get the book from the library, purchase or borrow, read the book and then write a few sentences about our thoughts on the book/author.  I would compile everyone’s thoughts and share them all at once.  For about a week, we would have a “discussion” via email.  Then on to the next book.

Near the end, a very slim, scraggly group of us hung on. The book club lasted about 3 years.

My thought was, folks wanted to read and share thoughts. Many of us did not want to get dressed up, go to book club, bring a snack or mingle at the dreaded potluck, make polite conversation, politely decline yet another glass of white wine, make small talk about some ridiculous hot new movie or hear someone talk poorly about their spouse.

I wanted to talk about books.  That is all.  Just get to the meat of the matter and jump in with a glorious swish to the next new book.

Gosh, everyone had excuses.  More excuses than a 4th grade teacher collects on why homework isn’t done.  My all time favorite excuse of course….” I was too busy”  Which I started to understand as, “I didn’t want to do it and saying I was too busy sounded better”.

News Flash!  Saying I am too busy is just a twisted way of saying,

“I am a poor manager of my time.”

I got plum tuckered out, trying to be a cheerleader and chant….

“oh, this book will enrich your life”

“you’ll love the adventure”

“this book is worth your time”

“I learned so much, you will, too”

book 2Why can children/teens tell us about an entire television show they watched, but are less eager to share about a book they have just finished?

When Mr. Right interviews folks for a new job, one of the questions he asks is, “what book are you reading?”  He is always looking for a new book to read, so I am guessing he just wants to ask something he is interested in hearing about and of course, “what book you are reading” tells a whole lot about a person.

If the average American family who typically spends $125.00 per month on television/cable were to all of a sudden, stop all television for one year……well, you don’t need a book on math to know, that’s a whole lot of moolah to spend on books.

The last mileJust last night, I finished David Baldacci’s book, The Last Mile.  To say, he is an extremely good writer, is to understate his ability.  Like a dog with a new chew toy, he captures your imagination in the first chapter and doesn’t let go. Moments, during the day, while I was folding laundry or rebounding, I found myself wondering what Amos or Melvin were doing.  Yes, the characters are so real, it’s baffling.

I am in the thick of reading, Thomas Keller’s, Bouchon.  The sheer act of turning those overly large pages, somehow, makes me want to take more time and become a better bouchonbaker.  I want to serve Mr. Right, the perfect cookie.  I want to make less and yet at the same time, put more heart and soul into the few loaves of bread I do bake a month.  That man, heard his calling and followed.  Inspirational.

Of course with Spring upon us, I am toying with gardening books, methods, ideas.  Trying to find a book that will inspire me and somehow help me become a more satisfied gardener.

As I do five days a week, I read for one hour this morning.  Learning, researching, trying to educate myself. Today’s topic was Rosemary and how it helps our brains repair and function better.  I also learned more about keeping fluoride as far away from our beings as possible and I did 15 minutes of more essential oil reading.

While I am not persuaded to read a book because the back book jacket says a famous actor enjoyed the book, I am curious to read what my friends and family are reading.  While there are only a couple of genres I make little to no time for, my interest is quite often piqued just enough, that I will most likely give a variety of books a chance.book

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead.  Just think of all the glorious pages we will read?

In this together, friends.

Love to hear what you are reading.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized, haPPY, vacation, goodness, marraige, good marriages, good times

v-a-c-a-tion

I tossed the damp towel on the edge of the bathtub.  A couple of hours later, it was still there.

Must only mean one thing………vacation is over.  Here at home, there are no efficient maids that work behind the scenes. (to be clear, this is a picture of the hotel bathroom, not the master bath in our home )venetian-bath

This year to celebrate 35 years of being married, we chose to do something completely different.  Certainly, different for us.  In a surprising twist, two folks who don’t drink, smoke or gamble decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!

venetian-resort-armillary_2400x1600To spend time, in a glamorous suite, at the Venetian exploring a whole new world was most certainly different and quite an adventure.

8949It was a week of art, beauty, gardens, waterfalls, food, glorious food, treats and sunshine!  We are so used to pouring rain and gray, it took a day or so for us to dry out and revel in the glorious rays of the sun.

Daily breakfast at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant had VACATION written all over it. Seriously folks.  I want live in that restaurant.  I want that floor.  The service was 8958extraordinary. The food was exemplary.  If you order the French Toast it is little pillows of heaven served on the most exquisite marmalade you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The coffee is perfect. Oh, and then as you are just about to leave……….wait for it………they bring you a “to-go” cup of coffee, already with the perfect amount of cream to take with you, to help you ease into the day.  BLESS THEM and what they have created.  Such extravagance.

The gondola ride was anniversary perfect.  The music, the gondolier, the roses, the water, the perfect (faux) sky…… charming, every moment of it was charming and fun (I mean 8945romantic).

venetian11

Having my palm read has been a secret desire.  I don’t know why I have never been brave enough.  Vacation has a way of making you brave enough to try new things.  I did it and it was super fun & silly & wonderful all mixed together.  After she was done, I told her she was spot on and accurate about everything.  (I wanted her to know she did a good job.)  She said,  “I know, it’s my job.”   Really?  How did she know I study one hour each morning?  ummmm….

A daily treat of swimming and lounging by the garden pool, was so nice.  Just hearing the waterfall and lollygagging for hours was dreamy.

We visited some beautiful gardens and wondered around until we found a glorious bakery.  See?  Vacation is DREAMY!!

Vacations allow us glorious time, somehow remind us we have permission to slowly walk through a garden and fill our spirits with saturated color and beauty. We walk slower, we take more time to gather goodness.

This Monday morning, our vacation envelope is empty.

Time to start saving and dreaming about our next adventure. I’ll wait for you to go get an envelope and pen.  Saving and anticipating the next glorious adventure is wonderful. Write on the outside of the envelope where you want to go.  Put a dollar in the envelope. Seriously, one dollar.  Seed money.8956

Vacation fills our pitcher.  We owe it to ourselves to dream and anticipate and plan.  Then once on vacation, the sun feels warmer, the coffee is richer,  the pool more relaxing, the desserts are more decadent (I forgot to tell you all about the glorious, thick, creamy dreamy Tiramisu dessert that we had made right at our table……..ah……)  oh, and did I mention the shared tangy, Lemon Gelato? 8947

Taking the time to plan a 35th  anniversary vacation, reminds us to celebrate what a really good marriage we have. Yes, my friend, celebrating marriage is THAT important.  By making an effort to celebrate anniversary 4 or 17, those celebrations most certainly help you get to number 35.  By celebrating number 35 it helps you get to number 47 and so on……

Here’s to great marriages, amazing experiences and wonderful breakfasts in French restaurants!

vacation quote

gifts, grandchildren, haPPY, sewing, sewing for grandchildren, Uncategorized

fairy magic

All grandgirlies turning five years old, NEED a tooth fairy pillow.

I embroidered this sweet pillow with a fairy and she has a bit of sparkle to her magical wings.  I chose happy fabric to sew with and of course added snazzy buttons and ribbons. 20170308_152704-1_resized_1

20170308_152758_resized_1For the picture, I tucked in some money.  However, I am not the tooth fairy, so it only comes with a lucky penny slipped into the pocket. (side note, Papa Bruce “helps” with the magic by collecting dollar coins and sharing.)

Oh, and one other secret bit of magic.  I sent a little, tiny fairy door to the parents (wrapped in brown paper of course).  One night when the girls are 20170307_120616_resizedfast asleep, the parents will hide and “install” the fairy door and dust the step with glitter to be “discovered” at some time or another.

Grands bring out the magic in all of us.

Hope you choose to be the magician in someone’ s life.

crochet, friends, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

spirit lifting yarn

20170306_133222-1_resized_1While in line, to buy forgotten yellow yarn for a chicken beak, I spoke to the lady behind me.  (Wow, never thought I would type that sentence.  To be clear, the yarn for a chicken beak, not talking to a lady.)

In her arms, she juggled several rose, pale & hot pink skeins of yarn.  Draped over her arm was the beginning of a pink crocheted afghan.  I asked her what she was making.  She said her Great, Granddaughter wanted a pink, pink, pink blanket. So, how could she say no?

Grinning ear to ear, I told her I had two granddaughters & one grandson.  Then I shyly said, I am learning to crochet.  I asked her how long she has been crocheting and she smiled and said, “forever”.  Next, I asked her, who taught you?  She couldn’t remember, however everyone crocheted around her so it was probably lots of people.

Then she asked me, who taught you?  I said, You Tube.  (I had to explain briefly about the computer site You-Tube and taking lessons.)  She said learning the computer is way harder than learning to crochet.  She says she gets messages from her grandchildren on the computer everyday, so it was worth learning to use the darn thing.  haha

She made me feel like I am tied to a really good group.  People who have grands.  People who make things for others.  People who like to keep learning.  She lifted my spirits & offered encouragement.crochet lesson

My daughter in law, asked me to make a couple of hats for her friends’ preemie babies. Wow!  Pretty nice of her to think I could do that.  Did she forget I am a beginner?  I gotta tell ya, having someone think you are capable is pretty spirit lifting & encouraging. Then when you get to see a picture of the little tiny babies actually WEARING the hats I made……..well, that just elevated my spirits into the stratosphere!

A friend shared a picture of a crocheted apron with several pockets.  He thought of me collecting eggs and learning to crochet.  Simultaneously, the gesture made me giggle & happy.  His thinking was, hey, I bet she would get a kick out of this? egg apron (even though I have only collected one egg in ages and I have no idea if I could even crochet an apron)  I adore that he already thinks I can.  Lifted my spirits & offered a pocket full of encouragement.  (get it?  the pockets on an apron )

Never once did You-Tube mention that if you learn to crochet your spirits will be lifted and you find all kinds of encouragement.

20170220_103259-1_resized_1Yesterday, while opening the mail, out fell a card addressed to me.  yippee!  I carefully opened the envelope and what did I find?  The sweetest, photo card.  I had made a crocheted hat for a darling little girl in Pennsylvania.  (Her parents) She sent me the most adorable thank you card with a picture of her wearing the hat I made!!!  Pretty as a shiny new penny!  Gosh, my spirit soared and well, I am still walking on cloud 9.

Who knew learning to tie some yarn into different patterns of knots would encourage my spirit so much?

I guess the folks at You-Tube knew.

In this together friends,

Chat soon.

book review, grandchildren, haPPY, Uncategorized

happiness is what will save us

20170303_165258_resizedI just finished a wonderful book, “the happiness dare”  by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Actually, I worked my way through the book with a friend and we compared our answers/had discussions at the end of each chapter.   It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, underline sentences, draw arrows on the side of the page, dog ear the corners, write out your answers………  you work, you learn so much,  you re-read paragraphs to understand every sentence.  My paperback edition is a bit rough-looking after a few weeks of love/use.

I highly recommend this gem of paper and ink.  Jennifer has common sense, a splash of humor and as a follower of Christ, offers up a perspective that is doable, most helpful and at the same time, she somehow makes you feel like she is talking directly to you.

Working your way through this book is both insightful and encouraging.  I think of myself as a person who seeks the happy.  I look for it.  However, oh yeah, as you can tell by my lack of blog posts, I have stumbled lately with finding that sweet spot of happy.

This thing we call life has a way of tossing in some tricky times, situations and events that are not so happy.

page 259….. Jennifer writes…..” Believe me, I know that there are days  when happiness seems like an awful lot of work………….But those are the days when happiness is absolutely worth the work – even if it’s hard.  Because sometimes happiness is what will save us. ”

Did you catch that?  Let me take a moment and stencil that on my wall.  Oh yeah, you KNOW I am going to paint that somewhere in our house.

Happiness is what will save us. 

Currently our Spring weather is more like a lion than a lamb.  We have pouring rain, dark ominous clouds, 40* and a wind that is blowing plastic sacks around the neighborhood.

20170303_165249_resizedI needed to find some spring.  I went to a local nursery and bought some.  When I paid for my purchase, I said to the cashier, thanks for selling spring.  She laughed.

Then I did something that really made me happy.  I bought a door.

A little, tiny, 4 inch fairy door.  I want to welcome sweet, charming, happy fairies into our home.

When the grands come to visit, I want them to stumble upon a little tiny door that is hidden, just enough to feel special.  I want 20170303_202341-1_resizedthem to find a tiny bit of glitter sprinkled on the miniature stone step.  Makes me happy to think about.

Some how day dreaming about what’s behind that fairy door makes me happy.

20170227_143424-1_resized_2Crocheting a new baby owl hat makes me happy.  Sewing an apron for a birthday girl makes me happy.  Hiding a sweet love card in Mr. Right’s suitcase makes me happy. Buying fluffy, white towels makes me happy.

In this together, friends.

What makes you happy lately?

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

haPPY, Uncategorized

oh say

Odd random memory popped into my head.

One of the beauties of having a blog is that I get to write about random happy thoughts.

Well, maybe not so random.

Favorite son #1,  has embarked on an amazing “find fitness and take care of himself” journey.  He recently asked for some pictures from the photo albums.

(Secret happy moment,  1.  He knew I kept photo albums.  2.  Since moving,  I actually knew where the albums are located.  3.  I knew how to send pictures via my phone.)

Here is my happy, random memory.

Back in the junior high school days………  I remember sitting on those extremely hard bleachers.  Mr. Right and I were waiting for some performance or another.

Que the music. star-spangled2

At the far end of the gymnasium, a student started singing “The Star Spangled Banner”.

He was good, really good.

A few bars in, Mr. Right and I glanced at each other.

Is that…..?

Yeah, it was our kiddo.

He never once mentioned that he was asked to sing, never heard him practice.

Kids are the best.

Kids never cease to amazing me.

Hope some random kiddo amazes you.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

food review, haPPY, health, recipe, Uncategorized

W4D?

The age old question:  What’s for Dinner?

Kids ask, girlfriends ask, spouses casually slip in the question…..This question crosses the lips of all families across our land.

I have an answer for you!  Friday night dinner idea is taken care of.  done.  you’re welcome.

The Lenten season is fast approaching. Lots of folks will be trying to do away with some meat and dairy products. Maybe you just need a fresh new to you idea for dinner tonight?  Maybe you want to know what the heck your vegetarian friends eat for supper?  Maybe one of your resolutions was to eat with a healthier twist?

Giving up familiar items or trying new things can be tricky and frustrating.  Change is hard for everyone.

Adding something new to the dinner line up has to be slipped in carefully for some family members.

What’s For Dinner?  Secret insider information…. when I am plum out of ideas, I send a message to girlfriends…. W4D????  That means I am looking for dinner ideas, please help!

I thought I would share a dinner solution….we enjoyed last night.

falafel-2Vegetarian, quick, delish and you can build your own.  You can cut open a piece of naan, you can build your Falafel sandwich folded between the naan, you can even cut it up and make your own little stacks of goodness.

Tasty, great texture, filling, packed with flavor and pretty darn easy to make.  You can make the mixture early in the day, cover and refrigerate.  When dinner time comes around, you just use a cookie scoop (or spoon) and flatten them onto a pan or put into a black iron skillet.

Did you know there are restaurants in Europe and the only thing on the menu are Falafel???

While the Falafel patties cook, you have plenty of time to set the table, and chop some cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. 20170209_172248-1_resized

I do not own a Tandori oven, I buy Naan Bread (Trader Joe’s has some for $3.69).  Sprinkle with a bit of water, heat in a 400* oven for 3 or 4 minutes, brush with garlic butter.  If you can’t find Naan Bread you can always use pita bread.

Serve with plenty of Tzatziki sauce and a big ol bowl of hummus.

Falafel Patties  http://www.myhdiet.com/Fall-In-Love-With-Food-Again/

1 onion, quartered, 3 garlic cloves, 2 cans of chickpeas, drained (or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas),  2 Tablespoons tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil , 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 to 3 Tablespoons flour, pinch cayenne

Recipe notes:   When did the world started calling Garbanzo beans , Chickpeas?  I sometimes leave out the coriander (because I am too lazy to reach to the top shelf), I always use way more parsley than they suggest, I never use cayenne and I use a gluten-free flour blend.  For just the two of us, I make a half a batch. Sometimes I bake, other times, when I want it fast, I use a little oil and get that outer crust pretty crispy, yum. 

Process the onion and garlic in a food processor until well chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well mixed and fairly well-chopped.  Scoop and pat into patties on a baking sheet, then bake at 400* for 35 minutes (flip over after 20 minutes) or saute in a skillet for about five minutes per side. 

Say grace and dig in.  Use lots of napkins, these beauties can get sloppy and messy and oh so good.  🙂

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.