The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2024 chapter 1

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The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2024 chapter 1

Dez 31, 2023, 7:03 pm

Where to begin? I suppose the personal, because this is my chain of thoughts reading thread, you never know what may show up or what the topic may be. I don't separate my life into categories very well, I try to deal with things as they come up.

My health last year took a seriou down-turn. I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. Usually at the beginning of the year, my husband and I choose a letter of the alphabet, and make a list of random words which begin with that letter. Then we take turns crossing off words until we are left with a handful that we wish to explore in the coming year. Last year was "G". Our list included things like geography and geology and grandchildren and garden. Fun stuff we managed the grandchildren (Geoffrey and Griffin, no, we were not in charge of naming them, it just happened that both sets of parents liked a G name). We managed the garden to some extent as my son chose to be married in our yard in April, which we found out in January during the coldest and snowiest winter we have had in twenty years. Garden was quite the challenge, as a G word we never wanted on the list shoved its way in, Gynecology. I had to have my first cancer surgery on April 3rd, wedding on April 29th. Thank God for family, friends and neighbors. Enough of 2023.

This year is "H" and although we made an extensive list, neither of us can get past the word "Healing." Since Mark is fully involved in my care and support, it is just as important to him.

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 7:31 pm

As for the reading, last year's 5 big book goal, there were 2 not begun. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville: Bracebridge Hall by Washington Irving, and Paradise Lost and Other Poems by John Milton. This doesn't bother me, because my goals are more like guidelines and I read several other large books not on the list.

Adding to the two above for this year are:
Chinese Technique: an Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Chinese Cooking by Ken Hom and Harvey Steiman. These are very large and annoying me by making my short TBR pile very tippy. I have my short pile between bookends on the you of the tabl by my chair instead of lying down.
The Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi
On the Old West Coast: Being further Reminiscences of a Ranger by Major Horace Bell. Published 1930. Pulled from the TBR bookcase by my reading chair.

I have no other goals, except to read whatever I want whenever I want as often as I am able. Poor health and mortality are a devastating blow to reading momentum I have found. At times my brain cannot concentrate any further than scrolling on FB or watching TV. At others, the ability to read is such a relief and pleasure that it makes the days a joy.

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 7:41 pm

Currently Reading:
Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine S. White. A very enjoyable read that I won't rush through.

Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores by multiple authors, edited by Otto Penzler. Volume Two.

I may start a book on my Kindle to have ready for various waiting rooms, but I don't know what yet.

Dez 31, 2023, 7:25 pm

Let me be the first to wish you a

Dez 31, 2023, 7:43 pm

>3 MrsLee: That is custom made, yes? It fits us so perfectly!

I finally finished filling in the first few fosts/posts. Hard to get off that roll of "f"s.

Dez 31, 2023, 9:01 pm

Praying for Healing, Happiness, Harmony, and Halleluia!

Dez 31, 2023, 9:44 pm

Happy new thread!

Dez 31, 2023, 10:04 pm

>6 fuzzi: Beautiful!

>7 Karlstar: Thanks!

Dez 31, 2023, 10:06 pm

Happy new thread, and seconding what >6 fuzzi: said. Hard to improve on that list.

Dez 31, 2023, 10:29 pm

Happy new year and happy new thread!

Jan 1, 12:40 am

>9 haydninvienna: I agree, and thank you!

>10 foggidawn: Thank you!

Our party is over, my 2 1/2 year old grandson finally called me grandma very sweetly, we had a wonderful dinner, the baby cooperated nicely by sleeping so his mama could enjoy after he was a stinker all afternoon. We watched the ball drop in NYC at 9 o'clock here, had our cocktail and lots of noisemakers and are now settling down to rest. Me with a heating pad on my back and a cup of lavender and camomile tea. Lovely evening.

Tomorrow sounds to be more excitement, then all should be quiet in the afternoon as each return to their homes and we get back to our quiet routine before the next round of company on the 12th of January. Life is good.

Jan 1, 1:50 am

>11 MrsLee:
That sounds like a lovely evening. Your 2 1/2 year old grandson calling you grandma is a milestone. Wishing you a good 2024 with many more lovely grandma moments.

Jan 1, 4:39 am

Aitches: Hartebeest? Hwange?

Jan 1, 9:00 am

With all my heart, dear Lee, I hope the coming year brings you space for joy in both big and small ways. You bring such kindness to this place and you have a remarkable way of expressing gratitude for the world that I hope to learn from.

Jan 1, 9:21 am

There are just too few active members in the Gardens & Books group for a successful piffle party, MrsLee. You need to invite some Green Dragon friends to the garden!

Jan 1, 9:25 am

>5 MrsLee: Yup, I made it in the last week or so and now it lives here. I had fun coming up with the titles and such.

Jan 1, 11:00 am

>12 pgmcc: & >14 jillmwo: Thank you. :)
>13 hfglen: Ha!
>15 2wonderY: Thank you, I will piffle along over there after my company leaves, when I get my laptop set up by my chair, and all my book stats for 2023 are in order. After all, nothing much is going on in my garden (that I am orchestrating) right now.

>16 Bookmarque: I love that it is on my thread. :)

Jan 1, 11:36 am

Happy New Year!! I’m so grateful to have you as a friend. I hope this year brings you lots of joy.

Jan 1, 11:39 am

>18 catzteach: Thank you!

Jan 1, 11:54 am

Sending you virtual hugs and warm wishes. Happy Reading in 2024!

Jan 1, 12:28 pm

>20 Narilka: Thank you!

Jan 1, 1:21 pm

Happy New Year and Happy New Reading Year!

Jan 1, 3:01 pm

Happy New Thread, Lee!

Jan 1, 3:26 pm

>17 MrsLee: Hippos? Hyenas? Honduras? Hungary? (Hungarian cuisine would be very rewarding if it's still in print.)

Jan 1, 4:42 pm

Yes, let HEALING be the key to everything this year and every year.

Happy New Year & Happy New Thread, my friend.

Jan 1, 6:13 pm

>22 Alexandra_book_life: & >23 littlegeek: Thank you!

>24 hfglen: Keep trying!

>25 clamairy: Thank you, my friend. I still go to happy places in my mind when I see your beachwalk photos on Facebook. The closeups of interesting things are my favorite, but each one transports.

Jan 1, 6:32 pm

>26 MrsLee: You are too kind. (But it is my happy place, so I guess that intent shines through despite my amateur abilities.)

Jan 1, 6:40 pm

Healing, Health, Happiness...and hyraxes, Hopi, the Himalayas, and ham in its multinational glory?

Jan 1, 6:42 pm

>24 hfglen: Let me know if you find it. I’ve lost my recipe for Noodles Budapest!

Jan 1, 7:04 pm

Happiness? Healing? Horticulture? History? Hummingbirds, Hawks and Heron?

Jan 1, 7:06 pm

>28 Marissa_Doyle: Ham. Just no. It is my husband's go-to after chicken in his cooking repertoire and I am Heartily tired of it. :P

>29 2wonderY: OK, but I'm not seeking Hungarian food to cook. Be lucky if I can manage more than the dreaded ham. :)

Jan 2, 4:38 am

>29 2wonderY: My copy is next to my bed right this minute. Will look for that or a similar recipe.

Jan 2, 9:38 am

Happy New Thread! I hope that this year brings you good times with family and friends and of course, great books and cheese.

Jan 2, 9:44 am

No one has mentioned Haberdashery as a possibility thus far.

Jan 2, 12:53 pm

>33 Sakerfalcon: Thank you!

>34 jillmwo: That will be a big No. I dress with less style than the people who live in the wilderness area behind my house. Husband is worse than I.

Due to an error in calculations, I am needing to start Swan Song by Edmund Crispin. The Bibliomysteries volume is short stories, which would work well for the location I planned to read it in, except that when I read a book of short stories, I like to keep track of them individually in my notebook in case I run across an excellent author to make note of. This would not be convenient where I had planned to read it. So Crispin's light novel will be perfect there, and the tome has been moved to my reading chair, which means I may not start on it for a few days because I have about 4 chapters left in Onward and Upward in the Garden.

On that note, I will mention that Katharine S. White's book is quite dangerous to read. She shoots book bullets hard and fast the whole way through. Up until last night I had resisted with a stern countenance, but last night I caved badly and bought two from Amazon. They are early edition Sierra Club publications, probably coffee table books, she warned that they were too large to read in bed.
In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World is the first, with writings of Henry David Thoreau. Her description of the photographs and writing together snagged me.
Gentle Wilderness: The Sierra Nevada with an abbreviated text from John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra Nevada as text for the photographs.

I was pleased that I already have a volume of illustrations by Graham Stuart Thomas, an artist and gardener she gives much praise. Of course that will have to be read sooner than later now. She mentions several other plant illustrators she finds remarkable, but I can't buy everything!

Whew! I finished my book stats for last year, posted in my previous thread, and they were not as disastrous as I was afraid they would be. I read more than I thought I had kept track better than any year before so doing the stats was almost a breeze.

Jan 2, 10:35 pm

Hello and Happy new year! Here's a Heap of good wishes for Healing and Health, Happiness, and plenty of Holidays and, uh, Hexagons. And many more.

Jan 3, 10:36 am

>36 Meredy: :) Thank you Meredy!

Jan 5, 6:18 pm

Finished my first book of the year, which I had begun in December; Onward and Upward in the Garden. I wasn't sure how to rate it, I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. It is not a book I will read again, but it is written so well, and brought back so many cozy thoughts to me, that it was more than a 3 star. However, it didn't inspire or move me spiritually, so not 4. It will certainly be staying on my shelves though. I love her style of writing, and I have a little collection of books on nature that it will complement.

I've been reading Swan Song by Edmund Crispin and I'm tempted to simply keep reading it. He is charming in his own way, although at times a bit too arch. Still, it makes for a fast read with little brain involvement necessary.

Jan 6, 10:28 am

>38 MrsLee: Collections of essays like your Upward in the Garden title can be hard to rate. There are always some excellent entries, but there will usually be one or two that just don't work for you as a reader.

And yes, I agree, the problem with Crispin is indeed that sometimes he's just too arch. One's eyes begin to roll.

Jan 6, 10:36 am

I have read a few of Crispin’s novels and share the view that he can be a bit too arch. When I realised he wrote his first novel while at college or just after leaving it I put his archness down to an inflated sense of his own cleverness. He, lije Joyce, was just too eager to show off how clever he was.

Jan 6, 10:49 am

>1 MrsLee: MrsLee, sorry to hear about your stage 4 melanoma. 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastic melanoma and given 3 months to live. I did a clinical trial, a few surgeries, and voila! I'm still going strong. I hope you find the right course of action to get rid of that awful stuff. It is possible! Get in a GOOD clinical trial if you cannot find any other treatment. When they offer interferon, say no. It's at maximum, 20% effective, which means it might let you live a year or two longer before the cancer returns. Go straight into trials if there's no good treatment. Keep going. Keep positive. I used a lot of positive energy, meditation, prayer, whatever works for you. And I mean I even talked to my cancer and told it to die, go away, shrink, disappear, everyday. Everything together works. Good luck! Pat

Jan 6, 12:41 pm

>41 Alleypat: Thank you for the encouragement. I have been quite rude to the cancer cells inside of me. I am at the beginning of my journey. Right now, just trying to survive day to day.

Jan 6, 4:52 pm

Not that I'm trying to keep up with pgmcc or anything, but a new (to me) book came in the mail today. I feel rather silly for buying it. The last thing I need is another coffee table book. However, it is pretty, and has quotes from Thoreau's nature journals to illustrate the photographs.

I smile a wry smile looking at the photos. Our Bookmarque could put them to shame. They were lovely for their time, 1962, color photos were still a dicey thing in printing for books, the colors weren't always true. Anyway, I bought it, I will read it at some point and then probably pass it along. I have a second book like this coming in the mail as well. *shrug*

Editado: Jan 20, 11:55 pm

I think I will use this post for thoughts on the short stories in Bibliomysteries.

An Acceptable Sacrifice by Jeffery Deaver. Not very impressed so far. The Mexican character's accent is condescending and patronizing. The story seems very familiar in some ways, like I've seen it in a movie. This had a good suspense element, kept the reader guessing, but it did seem very familiar. American CIA sent to work with Mexican agent to take down a drug lord. Or is he?

Pronghorns of the Third Reich by C.J. Box. The author made a story from an old photograph. Again with the cheesy Mexican accent. Sheesh. Not much of a mystery here, more of a "Get out alive" story. So far, these stories only have books as a backdrop, not an important part of the story. It feels like name dropping.

The Book of Virtue by Ken Bruen. This is everything I hate about short stories. From the Irish/New York slang to the unfinished quality and extreme ugliness of the tale.

These do not seem to be the type of mysteries I like. I have enjoyed some Noir or hard boiled mysteries, but these are just ugly people doing ugly things. No variety so far. I will try a couple more stories, but I'm ready to move on.

The Book of Ghosts by Reed Farrel Coleman. Ok, this has some redemption value for the book. About Holocaust survivors and stories told, it was interesting with enough "real" to it. A good suspense tale with enough of an ending that I didn't have to say, "What the Hell did they write that for and make me read it?"

The Final Testament by Peter Blauner. Skimmed this. Freud and Nazi crap. Lots of details of the pain from cancer Freud was dying of. NO thanks.

What's in a Name by Thomas H. Cook. Honestly. Is the Nazi conflict all male authors are capable of working into a mystery? I know the answer, just bored. This was, at least, a well told story and somewhat thought provoking.

Book Club by Loren D. Estleman. This story provides the answer to the above posed question. I was predisposed to liking it more than others because I have read a few other Estleman stories and enjoyed them. THIS is what I thought I would be getting in a collection called "Bibliomysteries." An honest to god whodunnit, with an actual mystery, involving books and a used bookstore. Yes.

Death Leaves a Bookmark by William Link. A fairly ho-hum story in spite of the slight twist of Colombo being brought in mid-story.

The Book Thing by Laura Lippman. One of the two female contributors to this compilation, I enjoyed her story very much. Not a murder mystery, but a how and why. It brought up some interesting thoughts about books without telling the reader how to think, and a charming story to boot. Good one.

The Scroll by Anne Perry. Ooooo, supernatural goodness. Well written, reminds me of M.R. James tales.

It's in the Book by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. Good story, good twist.

The Long Sonata of the Dead by Andrew Taylor. I like this title, we shall see how the story plays out. Good story, fits title.

Rides a Stranger by David Bell. Somewhat unrealistic, but fun to read.

The Caxton Library and Book Depository by John Connolly. BEST STORY IN THE BOOK!

The Book Case by Nelson DeMille. This was a fun police procedural, poking a bit of fun at authors who write police procedurals. In spite of the fact that I had written DeMille off of my approved authors list, it made me rethink it. I looked to see if there were any more Detective John Corey stories. Sadly, the series first book has the Detective retired and dealing with terrorism and international politics. Not my cup of tea.
Finished these stories January 20, 2024.

Jan 9, 7:33 pm

In case there is any interest, I piffled my way to 150 posts in my garden thread by filling it with memories of growing up on the ranch and farm. It's a lot of words.

Jan 9, 7:46 pm

>45 MrsLee: Those are wonderful stories that you've shared! I particularly like the story about the two pigs, Englebert and Humperdinck. They obviously trusted you so much!

Jan 10, 12:38 am

>46 jillmwo: Thank you. I started writing them as fillers, then I realized they are exactly what my SIL had asked me to do at Christmas. So I saved them and asked my siblings for their stories too. Hopefully I will have time to figure out how to combine the stories into one book for our children and grandchildren. I have several other large projects to finish first, but at least the memories are there if anyone wants them. There are many others to write though, about mom and dad, so I will keep working on it, only not online.

Editado: Jan 10, 8:05 am

>45 MrsLee: What wonderful memories! I would have been like you, preferring to ride with the cattle than bounce along in a truck, so I'm glad you got to do it once. You have enough material to write a series of books!

Editado: Jan 10, 9:09 am

>45 MrsLee: Wow! Those posts are wonderful. Loved the garden descriptions. Just how big is that property? I was amazed to find out that homeless people were living down by the river even in your grandparents' time.

Jan 10, 10:05 am

>48 Sakerfalcon: Thank you for reading! I will probably never write a series of books. One of my nieces wants to write some children's books from our family history, so I will send her this as a contribution. I don't think I have a voice for fiction, although I haven't tried.

>49 clamairy: Thank you. :) The property we live on is about 3/4 of an acre, with much of it being vertical. My grandmother carved her paths and levels into the hill and reinforced it with railroad ties from the station they took out of our town, rocks and plants. It has held up well.

The "Hobos" weren't the permanent residents we have now. They really did ride the train and were not welcomed by the city to stay long. Almost all men and rough. Personally? I don't remember ever seeing one as a child, but that didn't stop me from being cautious. When my kids were young, it was the 4/20 folks. We told them to keep away from people they didn't know.

Jan 10, 6:38 pm

I finished Swan Song and have no further need for Edmund Crispin in my reading life. In this story, the how of the murder was self-evident to me from the beginning, although the author tried to confuse the who of it, there was really only one person it could be regardless of smoke and mirrors. I gagged my way quickly through the last few chapters and confirmed to myself the ending; feeling justified in my irritation to the end.

Oh for a good book to read. Let's see how this next goes down. It is a book of poetry from Vashel Lindsay. According to Wikipedia, he is the father of modern "singing" poetry in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted. Good to know, wonder how my husband and cats will like that.

"Part of the success and great fame that Lindsay achieved—albeit briefly—was due to the singular manner in which he presented his poetry "fundamentally as a performance, as an aural and temporal be chanted, whispered, belted out, sung, amplified by gesticulation and movement, and punctuated by shouts and whoops." Born in 1879, died in 1931.

Title of the book is The Chinese Nightingale and Other Poems. The contents page tells me that I may be in for a lot of Jingoistic stuff. We shall see.

Jan 10, 7:08 pm

Oh, I received my second book purchase of the year in the mail today and was pleasantly surprised. Gentle Wilderness; The Sierra Nevada with excerpts from John Muir's journals was to be another great coffee table tome, but it is only about 8"x6" which is a relief. The only drawback is the print is teeny tiny, and of course the photographs are small.

I would like to know why Muir called the Sierra Nevada a gentle wilderness. I think the Donner party would disagree. If I find the answer, I will say so. I also didn't realize that the Sierra Club was founded in the 1800s by John Muir. As an admirer of him and his mountains, I feel this is something I should have known.

Jan 10, 8:11 pm

>52 MrsLee:
I would like to know why Muir called the Sierra Nevada a gentle wilderness. I think the Donner party would disagree.

Bwahaha!!! I guffawed reading that. I also did not know he was the founder. I have only recently (the last few years) joined that organization myself.

Jan 10, 8:33 pm

>53 clamairy: I cannot take full credit for that association. When Katherine S. White mentioned the book in her garden book, the title gave me pause because I know of an earthquake (which Muir witnessed) which killed every citizen in a town in the Sierras, and of course the Donner party, and I've read many other not-so-gentle things about those mountains, so that when she mentioned the Donner party, I was in high-five mode with her. I also know, from reading what I have by Muir, that he was a bit of a romantic about his nature. :)

Editado: Jan 11, 1:14 am

>51 MrsLee: "Congo" by Vachel Lindsay was in one of our high school poetry books. I doubt that it would be included in any such anthology now.

Jan 11, 9:49 am

I suspect that the National Park Service would prefer that you not connect the historical events of the Donner Party with John Muir. As a tourist, you're supposed to admire Nature, not be reminded you're just another biological organism fighting to survive.

And now both you and haydninvienna have caused me to go look up Vachel Lindsay in Wikipedia because the name only just barely rang a bell in the back of my mind.

Jan 11, 2:40 pm

>55 haydninvienna: I read about the racial controversy in his poems. It sounds as if he was trying in an uninformed and ignorant way to be a friend to the races, but mostly just offended them.

Editado: Jan 13, 2:43 pm

Some thoughts on The Chinese Nightingale and Other Poems, because I'm not sure I will read all the poems. I'm already skimming them.

Please understand that I am in no way qualified to evaluate poetry from an educated viewpoint. Like wine, I know what I like, but can't tell you why.

Some poetry sinks slowly in, gradually giving understanding. Some has a gentle rhythm and is almost like music for the soul. Other poetry has a meaning that surprises the reader with a twist of humor or meaning. This is not any of that poetry. To read it is to feel beat about the head by a stick. He pounds the words in; making you hear his message.

His message seems to be the Pacifist/Christian view of the early 1900s. Nature is idyll, war is unspeakably bad. Primitive peoples were part of nature and so also idyll. It isn't quite the sentimental Victorian poetry, and it isn't quite the Beat poetry. It wears on you.

Jan 14, 7:58 am

Ugh, I'm with you. Especially when it comes to stripping humanity and nuance from anyone other than a white man. If you're a "primitive" you of course are either a savage or nature's perfect being, incapable of lying, cheating, scheming, altruism, philanthropy or philosophizing. I know that's kind of all over the place, but it makes me nuts. The same has been done with women for literally thousands of years and still goes on today, but even more strict. We can't have Tomboys anymore, no, you must be a man trapped in a woman's body. To be a true woman you have to fit into this tiny box of femininity. Ugh. I'll stop. But I can see why poems with messages like that can break down your psyche.

Editado: Jan 14, 9:56 am

>59 Bookmarque: LOL, yes. It isn't just the message that beats on one though, it is the actual rhythm and meter, if that is what they are called. You can't read these poems softly.

Jan 16, 6:11 pm

I skim-read the poetry book. At the end he gives directions for chanting, dancing and music to go with poetry. He says music can be too distracting. All I could think of while reading it was the scene from The Music Man with the ladies doing the dance of the Grecian Urn. The time-line would be right. Not keeping this book in spite of it lovely cover. It was a library copy from the library my grandmother worked at. I bought it at one of their purging of inventory sales.

Jan 16, 6:16 pm

>61 MrsLee: If "Congo" is in it, you can probably see why I didn't post it. I didn't like it in 1962 or whenever it was, and I don't like it now.

Jan 16, 6:16 pm

I took My Tank is Fight, deranged inventions of WWII, by Zack Parsons with me to my Dr. appointment today. It racked up three strikes before I even got to page 2. Two of them were in the introduction when the author made a joke in poor taste, then felt the need to explain how funny he was. He is not. Another was when he mentioned that the book was fiction and nonfiction. Who needs to sort through that? Another was a tasteless joke about the Holocaust. Not even in the mood.

I don't usually rate books I haven't read, but I might give this one star because I want to.

Jan 16, 6:18 pm

>62 haydninvienna: "Congo" was not in it, but enough were to give me the general idea. Yuck. Patronizing.

Jan 16, 9:38 pm

>63 MrsLee: Thanks for saving us from that one.

Jan 17, 6:29 am

>63 MrsLee: Ugh. Thanks for the anti-book-bullet on that one.

Jan 18, 8:58 pm

My best birthday gift this year so far has been from my doctor. No immunotherapy infusion. Instead I had what is called a "Happy Hour" IV drip of saline solution. I was dehydrated, low on sodium, calcium, kidneys and liver functions way down, and needed thyroid replacement therapy. So, IV to kickstart, back on Prednisone, new prescription of synthroid. I felt good enough to drag my sister around Costco for 2 hours looking for healthy and easy food. They are also going to schedule a PET scan to see if treatment is helpful or not, because if not, no reason to continue killing me with it. There are still some other options.

I also received a huge bouquet of flowers, an orchid which is yellow and purple, and a digital frame which my family can send me photos on when we aren't able to visit. Such fun! It plays a little tune when someone sends a photo, so my DIL said, "I'll be sure to send you one photo every minute." LOL

Oh, and I bought a traveling Scrabble game for my husband and me. H- for Hobby, Health & Healing. Hobby for hubby, Health for our brains, and Healing because we will play it during my 3 hour infusions. My sister and I are playing a version on our phones.

Jan 19, 5:39 am

Those are all great gifts, especially feeling well enough to enjoy the day with your sister! Long may it continue!

Jan 19, 8:58 am

>67 MrsLee: Happy birthday!

Jan 19, 8:59 am

>67 MrsLee: Oh, I'm happy to hear this. Sounds like it was a much better day than the one you were expecting. The synthroid should give you a nice lift, too. (I've been taking it for almost two decades for thyroid issues.)

Travel Scrabble! Is it magnetic?

Jan 19, 9:44 am

>67 MrsLee: Such warmth and loving forethought put into the gifts! (((Hugs)))

Editado: Jan 19, 11:55 am

>67 MrsLee: I am glad your birthday was enjoyable and positive.

Jan 19, 11:16 am

>72 pgmcc: "I am glad your birth was enjoyable and positive."

I think you would have had to have discussed this with her mother...

Jan 19, 11:21 am

A belated Happy Birthday to you!

Jan 19, 11:36 am

>68 Sakerfalcon: through >74 hfglen: Thank you all! My phone has decided to make things tiny on LT, so I did a mass thank you.

>70 clamairy: Good to know. :) The travel Scrabble isn't magnetic, but has raised edges for the tiles to fit into. The racks that hold the player's letters close into boxes and fit in the case. It might not work for my infusion time for my husband. Unfortunately his fingers don't work so well anymore and he's afraid he will drop pieces all over the floor, but somehow we found ourselves without a Scrabble game at home and that is just wrong.

>73 clamairy: Maybe he did? *side eye to Peter*

Jan 19, 11:49 am

>67 MrsLee: Sounds like a great set of gifts, glad you had a good day.

Jan 19, 11:56 am

>73 clamairy:
LOL! Well caught.

Jan 19, 11:57 am

>75 MrsLee:
Maybe he did? *side eye to Peter*

I admit nothing.

Jan 19, 3:05 pm

>67 MrsLee: Belated happy birthday! Looks like a much better birthday than you might have been expecting.

Jan 19, 3:45 pm

>76 Karlstar: & >79 haydninvienna: Thank you. :)

>78 pgmcc: You never do. Except elephants. You seem to admit them everywhere.

I began Little Alters Everywhere a few days ago. These are somewhat amusing memories the author has of her childhood in the southern states of the USA. Since I am not from there, and I didn't have the eccentric (abusive/mean) sort of mother she had, I can only relate to some of it. The rest is pretty unsettling to me. I didn't like the mean girls in school, and I find it a bit interesting to read her version of trying to be popular with them. I can't say I'm particularly enjoying this though.

Jan 19, 6:15 pm

Happy birthday!

Jan 19, 6:32 pm

>81 fuzzi: Thaks :)

>70 clamairy: This travel Scrabble has tiny tiles. The board doesn't lie flat because it is in a case; I must investigate closer to see if it might come out of the case easily. The tiny boxes that hold a player's tiles are difficult to open without the tiles flying out, then after you place them on the board, they are difficult to get off the board because they are snapped in. In other words, it is not a convenient game for people with large hands or fingers, or hands that shake (mine, meds), or hands whose fingers are hard to bend (husband's) it is a young person game set. We will make it a prize for the next cousin's game night because by then we will have found a Scrabble for mature heads and hands to play at home.

Husband still wants to try it, so we will. I suspect that the fact that he scored 68 points for his first word played, doesn't hurt. Of course he used all seven letters, and I had picked out what I thought were useless letters for him. We were not actually playing a game, just testing the dynamics of this one. I am not a Scrabble player. I like to dink around and fill the board with words, no strategy, no points.

Jan 19, 8:40 pm

>82 MrsLee: we purchased the turntable Scrabble set years ago. I like the ridges that help hold the tiles in place.

Jan 19, 9:38 pm

>82 MrsLee: Oh no. Someone must make a magnetic one... Although it might not be a licensed version. Maybe it's called Scramble™ or Crabble™ instead. :o)

I did find one on Amazon, it's not cheap, but I don't think it's too heavy either.
Scrabble 6525 Memo Board, Green

Jan 19, 10:10 pm

>67 MrsLee: you’ll love the frame. I bought one a few weeks ago. I can have people email pics to it, which is a cool feature I will probably never use; the cats don’t know how to email. :)

Jan 20, 1:11 am

>83 fuzzi: We had one of those! What went through our heads that we gave away ALL our Scrabble games? I think we had 3 at one time.

>84 clamairy: Problem is, I used up all my points to buy this one. I kind of want a very basic one and forget taking it to the treatments.

>85 catzteach: LOL, my nieces and nephews are all sending me photos of their kids. I have been sorting a little into folders, but I loaded so many today I'm a little lost. I have it sleeping between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Jan 20, 9:45 am

>85 catzteach:. The cats just want you to think they don't understand email. They're lulling you into a false sense of job security. Feline overlords do just about anything they think worth their while.

Editado: Jan 20, 6:08 pm

>87 jillmwo: I’m reading Starter Villain today and am learning about several species of intelligence. Cats do know how to email, and dolphins are obscenely scatalogical. And you thought those clicks were cute and friendly.

Jan 20, 1:08 pm

Belated Happy Birthday!

Jan 20, 6:12 pm

>89 Narilka: Thank you! Ate my last piece of birthday cake today. Shared with others as well, so you don't think I ate a whole cake my myself in 5 days.

Jan 21, 12:07 am

I finished Bibliomysteries today. Anyone interested in my personal impressions of the stories, see post >44 MrsLee:. Best story by John Connolly, The Caxton Library and Book Depository. Find it if you can, it's delightful. I enjoyed 10 out of the 15 stories. Almost quit reading it because I really disliked the first 3 or 4 stories. Glad I continued, all the good ones were towards the end.

Next read is In Wildness is the Preservation of the World. The Book is too big. Must be read and shelved.

Jan 21, 2:31 am

>91 MrsLee: The Caxton Library and Book Depository is an absolutely delightful story, I agree with you. I read it a couple of years ago and thinking about it makes me smile.

Editado: Jan 21, 9:21 pm

I don't know if it is the thyroid replacement, or if I even dare hope (maybe I should whisper); but I seem to be able to read a bit more.

I found that the nature book, while lovely and contemplative, isn't something one wants to read straight through. A bit like poetry, it is best to read a little and let the brain simmer on it. So, in the interest of making the TBR books beside my chair more manageable and less topsey-turvey, I am reading another large book. A cookbook. Chinese Technique: an illustrated guide to the fundamental techniques of Chinese cooking by Ken Hom.

Jan 21, 10:20 pm

>93 MrsLee:
I always enjoyed Ken Hom’s TV appearances.

Jan 21, 11:35 pm

>94 pgmcc: I am not familiar with him. The show I watched was "Yan Can Cook" which was fun, but a little manic. So far I am enjoying this book. Very careful instructions telling why, not just how, and lots of photos. The photos are black and white, but that doesn't change their effectiveness.

Jan 22, 3:10 am

>95 MrsLee: He is not on TV as much now as he was a decade or so ago. He still makes the occasional guest appearance on cookery shows. I have seen him on British cookery shows and he used to have his own show for a while. It appears he is regarded as one of the elder-statesmen of cooking at this stage. He had a line of cooking bots and woks using his name as the brand.

Editado: Jan 24, 5:35 pm

>96 pgmcc: I caved and ordered his brand name 7" cleaver last night. That's $70 I've spent reading this cookbook so far. $40 on various dried mushrooms and fermented black beans and $30 on a cleaver. Haven't even cooked anything out of the book yet, but I will be prepared when I'm ready!

On a sadder note. I'm afraid I'm going to have to rehome or make Gràr an outside cat. Today he had diarrhea all over my bedding, the bathroom my chair and the litter box. Out of the litter box was not intended but it is that kind of goop. I don't think he's sick, this has happened before and he acts as lively as ever. He is either getting into a plant I am unaware, or eating too much. We haven't changed his food in two weeks. Anyway, that kind of maintenance is more than my energy levels can handle. When I got him, I thought things were looking up and I wouldn't be this sick for a while yet. Hard decisions. The niece who gave him to me said she would take him back if I need to, but I think trying him outside first is the way we will go. He is such a nice and fun cat, I hate having to make this decision.

Editado: Jan 24, 5:51 pm

>97 MrsLee: Oh no! My daughter has to frequently give her cat kitty probiotics, because he has similar issues. And he also tends to miss the box when he's having those issues. They definitely help. (They have them at PetCo, PetSmart and online.)

Jan 24, 6:40 pm

>98 clamairy: Thank you, I will try that!

Jan 24, 7:31 pm

>98 clamairy: to we have a similar situation here - Phinneas has the feline equivalent of IBD. Probiotics help, we tried a few before settling on Proviable which we get from Chewys. It's a powder measured in capsules and I open the capsules to mix the dose into a small amount of that squashy sort of cat treat that comes in a tube. The powder doesn't seem to have much smell or taste and he doesn't notice it.

We have also had good luck with Hills brand Sensitive Stomach food. I hear you about it being a lot of work tho, but fortunately I haven't had to deal with a big mess in quite awhile. I hope you can find a way to minimize the problem in some way.

Jan 24, 10:18 pm

>97 MrsLee: I hope the probiotics help. Our older cat, Luna, used to go outside and chew the arborvitae, even though she knew it would make her sick to her stomach. She did that once or twice a year, then she'd remember to not do it. It might the plants, does Grar go outside?

Jan 24, 10:43 pm

>97 MrsLee: oh no! I hope probiotics do the trick. He may need a different type of food. Cleaning up those messes is never fun.

Jan 25, 12:10 am

>101 Karlstar: He is an inside cat. He does love to chew plants, but I think I have removed the most tempting ones. I haven't seen him chewing or evidence on the remaining few.

Jan 25, 6:40 am

>103 MrsLee: even if it means returning him I would keep your kitty inside, due to the increasing population of coyotes. We even have them here, and over the years almost all my ferals have disappeared due to predators.

Jan 25, 8:59 am

>97 MrsLee: Oh no, I hope you can find a solution. Poor little kitty, and poor you.

Jan 25, 9:25 am

>97 MrsLee:
I hope you find a suitable solution to the Gràr situation. That is distressing.

Jan 25, 1:23 pm

Scheduled a vet visit for tomorrow for Grár. Even though he doesn't have other symptoms, I thought it best to be on the safe side. He is worse today. Poop butt everywhere. He is trying to keep it clean, poor guy. He even let me clean him in the sink. At least my energy level is a bit better today. At least so far. I have had to mop the bathroom floors and everywhere else he goes three times so far today. Have kept him off the beds, furniture is covered with rugs and sheets. Plumber was here for a bit, so I had to give Grár access to my bedroom where the third litter box is. I haven't checked my bed yet. Sigh.

Jan 25, 2:00 pm

>107 MrsLee: aww poor lil guy. Cats get so distressed when stuff like this happens.

The sudden onset seems more like an exposure thing than a systemic thing; maybe he is eating something he shouldn't be, or has a food allergy. Hopefully the vet will have some insight. Then you can decide what is best to do, once you know what you are dealing with.

Jan 25, 2:14 pm

>107 MrsLee:
You do not need me to tell you this is very distressing. I hope the vet helps you sort it out. Is he having issues with the other cats? Could it be stress related?

Good luck with sorting it out.

Jan 25, 5:53 pm

>107 MrsLee: Oh, one of mine ate too much of a hanging plant I had ( a philodendron perhaps?) and she was sick for weeks. This was over 30 years ago, and I was yelled at for letting my cat eat the plant. I don't remember what she was given, but it worked. It did take a while though. I'm sure they'll get him sorted out. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Editado: Jan 25, 11:56 pm

I finished Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells. I don't read the back covers of books until I've read the book. It might have saved me some pain if I had in this instance. This is a sad book about dysfunctional, abusive, alcoholic families. And yet. The author is able to let the humanity of even the most selfish character come through. When I was in school (late 60s to early 80s), no one talked about this. I was blithely unaware of the pain many of my classmates were suffering. Looking back now, I can almost tell you which ones they were, but I was oblivious then.

I'm glad I finished this book, if only for the insight it offers. I have great admiration for the author and how she handled the subject.

Next up for reading in the special room: The Understudy by Elia Kazan. I have no commitment to this book, but it seems to have possibilities.

I have to finish one of my Very Large Books I am reading in my reading chair before I can dive in to Relight My Fire by C. K. McDonnell.

Jan 26, 8:31 am

>111 MrsLee: Yes, I agree 100%. I read this 25 years (or so) ago. I found it funny and depressing simultaneously. I never did read the 3rd book in the series.

Jan 26, 9:39 am

>107 MrsLee: I hope the vet visit goes well and they can figure out what's wrong. Strength to you all.

>111 MrsLee: I read Little altars everywhere as it is related to Divine secrets of the Ya Ya sisterhood which was THE hot book one summer. LAE was much darker, as I recall, and took a lot of fans of DS by surprise.

Jan 26, 10:12 am

>113 Sakerfalcon: I read DS not too long ago, and it surprised me with its darkness. I heard so many people raving about it, I thought it would be lighthearted, but there was an underbelly of pain all through it.

A phrase that has stuck with me from Little Altars; "Don't hurt the baby." This is what the adult Siddah tells herself to remind her that the little one inside of her has been hurt enough and doesn't need her to berate, belittle or criticize that little one any more. I think it is a good phrase for all of us to remember, but perhaps especially those who have been traumatized in their early years by a parent or loved one who was alternatively loving and angry each day. How does a little child figure that out? About the best they can do is to hide themselves away, but then that angry critical voice follows them and often becomes their own towards themselves. Please, don't hurt the baby.

Jan 26, 3:07 pm

How did the vet visit go?

Jan 26, 3:51 pm

>111 MrsLee: I'm looking forward to Relight My Fire as well, but still happily involved with Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands.

Jan 26, 7:52 pm

>115 fuzzi: About like I expected. Gràr heard me make an appointment with the vet today, so of course the diarrhea cleared up.

Vet couldn't find anything wrong with him, except he is a chubby bubby and is now on a diet. No more unrestricted food for him. She liked that I had started the probiotics and I found out some valuable information about cancer treatments and cats. Will be more careful next infusion and when I have to use topical steroid cream in future. That wasn't the problem this time though because it has been almost 2 months since I've had either of those treatments.

Jan 26, 9:23 pm

>117 MrsLee: It’s just like a car, it stops making the noise when taken in. Glad the diarrhea has stopped. Hopefully it was just a temporary problem with him.

Jan 26, 9:38 pm

>117 MrsLee: Oh, that is good news. Hope he stays healthy!

Jan 27, 4:40 am

>117 MrsLee: Cats' command of human language has long been known to be deep, if selective!

Strength to you and Gràr!

Jan 27, 11:41 am

>117 MrsLee: Glad to hear he is doing better and you don't have to deal with it at the moment.

Jan 27, 7:56 pm

So glad kitty is better.

Jan 28, 6:57 pm

Finished Chinese Techniques. Now I want to cook ALL the food. I wish my daughter or daughter-in-law lived closer so they could be my cooking buddies. I don't ever want to do wontons, dumplings or any of the other fussy things by myself again, but I want to eat them!

Next book up is Relight my Fire, but I probably won't start it until tomorrow or Tuesday. Busy times with grandson and garden today and tomorrow. Plus some bonus impulse cooking projects; chili Colorado and spicy beans with ham. You can tell how I feel by how much I cook. Also baked my best yet loaf of sourdough today.

Editado: Jan 28, 7:58 pm

>123 MrsLee: Ahh, sourdough! Did your loaf have a face, or just ears? :o) I'm so glad you're feeling a bit better. (And I agree about the fussy food stuffs. I also want someone else to make them.)

Jan 28, 7:59 pm

I used to love Chinese food. However, my second pregnancy completely eradicated my tolerance for it.

OTOH, the spicy beans with ham sounds interesting. How does that get pulled together?

Jan 28, 9:36 pm

>123 MrsLee:
Have you ever watched the Chinese film, “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman”? It is about a banqueting hall chef and his three daughters. All the action takes place around eating occasions. The opening credits scroll over scenes of the man at home preparing a range of different Chinese dishes for the Sunday family lunch; a meal all the daughters are expected to be home for. It is set in Taipei.

Jan 28, 11:58 pm

>124 clamairy: No face, no ears. Looked like a leaf, a stylistic leaf. :D

>125 jillmwo: This is how most of my cooking happens, sort of like the story If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

I have some leftover Velveeta cheese from the macaroni and cheese dinner for my birthday. Velveeta is something I've not had in my house for 30 years or more. Not my go to cheese. Not really cheese IMO. Anyway, the Mac n cheese was delicious, but there are two casseroles of it in the freezer. What to do? The only thing I could think of was nachos with chilies in it.

There is a Mexican restaurant in town that makes a loaded nachos dish which is excellent (and I am a person who as a rule does not like their food touching, so I don't usually like loaded anything). My only complaint is that all the tortilla chips get soggy. Yuck. So I've been wondering if I could order their loaded nachos with the chips on the side. Then I had this Velveeta. So why not make my own loaded nacho dip? I think it will be along the lines of a very popular layered dip people take to potlucks here.

Ok. I have the cheese and chili. I have the sour cream. Husband on a whim bought 2 cans of fire roasted salsa (this is not something I would normally encourage since I don't eat tomatoes and I don't eat processed foods if I can avoid them, but whatever). Shredded meat. In the freezer is the last brisket from my niece's beef which I bought last summer. Defrost. It was ready to cook today. I look in my Elena's Famous Mexican and Spanish Recipes book under beef and there is a recipe for Chili Colorado. Easy peasy. At 5 this morning, I couldn't get back to sleep so I started the beef.

First instruction is to soak dry chilies in boiling water for 20 minutes. Use 1/2 c. of that water and a cup of the meat broth to make the puree of chilies. Done. But there was still about a cup and a half of chili water left. I didn't want to waste it, so when the meat was finished and out of the pot I poured in the chili water, put the bones of the meat back in the pot and grabbed a bag of ham bits and bone out of my freezer to put in the pot.

That is another objective I have, using things out of my freezer so I can get a better idea of what is there and organize it. I want all the ready to heat and eat food (leftovers I've been freezing for the bad times I can't cook) in one freezer, and ingredients for cooking like broth, meat, nuts, butter, vegetables and smoothie ingredients in the other freezer.

Where was I? Oh right. So the beans are soaking, the broth is simmering. After the beans soaked 6 hours, I cooked them in as little water as I could get away with, then poured it all into the broth (removing bones first), and simmered until the liquid was evaporated to the consistency I wanted. At about 5 p.m. they were ready. I didn't add salt or any seasoning. Between the chili water and the salty-sweet ham, they are delicious! A sort of cross between chili beans and cooked pinto beans.

We will have our nachos later this week.

Jan 29, 12:01 am

>126 pgmcc: I loved that movie! I think you or someone here in the pub recommended it to me a few years ago. I watched it with my friend who also loved to cook Chinese food; in fact this cookbook belonged to her and her children gave it to me after she died in 2020.

Editado: Jan 29, 6:53 am

>127 MrsLee: I don't/can't eat spicy foods but that sounded delicious. Much of the nutrients are lost when we toss the cooking water down the sink, so I use leftover cooking water to cook other foods. I put mine in little screwtop plastic containers, label the contents using Scotch tape and a Sharpie marker, and place in the freezer next to my bone broth. I think about half of the main refrigerator's freezer is taken up with those.

Jan 29, 9:15 am

>127 MrsLee: You are an amazing and creative cook!!! Thank you for sharing the story.

Jan 30, 3:31 am

>129 fuzzi: Sometimes I do a marathon of blanched vegetables. Well, cooked in boiling water for about 5 minutes, they are still fresh and have their color, but a little cooked. When I do that, if I'm not making soup, I save the water in a bottle and my husband drinks it like fruit juice.

I finished In Wildness is the Preservation of the World. There were some lovely and thought provoking sentiments in this, along with pretty photos. Some of the photos suffer from the age they were taken in, printed color photographs (which had true colors), in books was just becoming feasible in the 1960s. The photographer has an artist's eye, and he tried to keep them thematic and complementary to Thoreau's writings. I would still like to see a version of this illustrated with Bookmarque's photographs. I didn't plan to keep this book, but there are a few journal entries which make me not want to send it on its way immediately. I have room on the shelf, so it stays for now.

I began reading Relight my Fire by C.K. McDonnell today. Enjoying it.

Jan 30, 10:29 am

>131 MrsLee:. Henry David Thoreau was far better suited to being a naturalist rather than a schoolmaster or whatever. The best parts of his writing (in my view) are when he is observing and describing the natural world around him. Otherwise none of us might know what the real 19th century American landscape actually LOOKED like in terms of plant life, shorelines, etc.! Walden has many good bits to recommend it, but his other writings sometimes make more obvious what his passions really were.

Jill steps down from soapbox and puts down the bull horn.

Jan 30, 11:00 am

>123 MrsLee: >127 MrsLee: I was curious about those, thanks for the explanation! I'm never quite sure what to do with the leftover liquid from reconstituting chiles, it can be a bit bitter.

Jan 30, 11:38 am

>131 MrsLee: “I have room on the shelf“

You’ve obviously gone too far at some point. We expect corrections!

Jan 30, 1:57 pm

>131 MrsLee: my mother used to keep the "vegetable water" in glass peanut butter jars in the refrigerator, then make soup with it.

I try to do the same, but sans glass jars. The plastic containers can be tossed in the freezer more easily.

Jan 30, 2:51 pm

>132 jillmwo: I think at some point in my life I tried to read "Walden" but gave up. Or I may be confusing him with another writer of that era. I love me a good nature writer, but they walk a fine line between sentimentality and good writing about the natural world. Veer to far into what I consider sentimentality and I'm outa there.

>133 Karlstar: Yes, it can be bitter. The chili Colorado sauce only used half a cup of the chili water. I think the beans could handle more because of the salty/sweet ham bone I added. Salt is a good balance for bitter, and sweet a good balance for salt. :)

Jan 30, 2:53 pm

>134 2wonderY: Haha, I said that, then I tried to put it on the two shelves in my house that have room. Too tall. It is a very big book. It is now resting with some of the other very big/tall books on a shelf with children's books.

>135 fuzzi: That is a good solution, if only I had freezer space! :)

Jan 30, 5:16 pm

>136 MrsLee: Despite my misgivings, I end up adding a tiny bit of brown sugar and a bit more of honey to my mole to counter the bitterness. I try to avoid the sugar, but it just doesn't come out as well without it. I hadn't thought about an extra touch of salt, I try to avoid that too.

Fev 1, 11:54 am

>138 Karlstar: Remember that anything you make yourself will have far less sugar and salt than processed food, so a teaspoon of sugar spread through the whole dish is not that much.

I am enjoying the C.K. McDonnell book, but find that I cannot read much at a time. I think it is my brain and not the book. I also have a hard time with bad guys these days. I don't like reading the chapters featuring them. I do think I have an idea where it is all going, I'm about half finished, and perfectly willing to be proved wrong.

Fev 1, 1:00 pm

>139 MrsLee:
I am on page 466, 91% through, and am enjoying it. I am in the “do not want to put it down until I get to the end” stage which is unfortunate as I have to prepare dinner and people are asking me to hurry up because they are hungry.

Fev 1, 1:13 pm

>139 MrsLee: He's good at creating villains that make your skin crawl, isn't he?

>140 pgmcc: I'm at the two-thirds point, and also enjoying it very much.

Fev 1, 2:15 pm

>141 Marissa_Doyle:
Let me tell you what happens next…


Fev 1, 2:49 pm

Editado: Fev 1, 3:57 pm

>142 pgmcc: & >143 Marissa_Doyle: Bwahaha!

>139 MrsLee: It might be the book, it might be your state of mind. It doesn't matter, just don't push yourself. Take a break and eat some cheese, my friend.

Fev 1, 4:16 pm

>139 MrsLee: What >145 clamairy: said. No need to push yourself unduly. It's okay to put the book down. Lean back and see if there's any sunlight that finds you.

Fev 1, 8:29 pm

>140 pgmcc: I see that you finished in spite of having to cook for those needy, demanding people. :)

>141 Marissa_Doyle: Yes! I'm not much into villains right now, either.

>145 clamairy: Ah yes, cheeeeeese.

>146 jillmwo: No worries about that. I slept much of the day, until I was able to continue working on the layout of the cookbook I'm working on. We actually did have a bit of sun break through the clouds today. Refreshing. I am reading one or two chapters a go and that pace seems to be all the excitement I can handle.

Editado: Fev 2, 5:14 pm

Finished Relight my Fire. It was the same good company and humor of the first three books, but it somehow left me a bit unsatisfied. Possibly this is because I am not one who enjoys a long story arc with shadowy villains in the background messing with the main characters. It was quite obvious in the last third (half) of the book that this story is a set up story for the next book. This should make me happy, but in my current mood it doesn't. That all being said, I enjoyed the story and love Brian. Hope he gets to stay in the stories.

Now I'm going to focus on The Understudy. I haven't read enough to decide if I like it or not. Reading fiction seems harder to me than it used to do.

Fev 2, 5:20 pm

>148 MrsLee:
I also like Brian, and am hoping he becomes a regular part of the team. The only drawback to that is that he has an ongoing obligation to watch over the cemeteries and this may not leave him sufficient time to contribute to other Stranger Times investigations and adventures. Still, here's hoping.

Fev 2, 5:22 pm

>149 pgmcc: Yes, I thought of that, and I'm afraid it might mean he doesn't become a regular. Guess we will have to wait and see!

Fev 2, 5:28 pm

>150 MrsLee:
His obvious recognition of and devotion to Manny might be the factor that keeps him at the Stranger Times offices.

Fev 2, 11:20 pm

Bailed on The Understudy. I read 50 pages and it was going nowhere slowly, so I skipped to the end of the 400 some odd pages and read the last 12. Guess what? The story was still where it was at 50 pages. Very depressing subject matter on top of that.

Now I'm reading On the Old West Coast by Major Horace Bell. This is about the early days of California. The author is an amusing fellow. Written in about 1916, he left his papers (memoirs) to his daughter and they were edited by Lanier Bartlett in 1930 and published. The history is from about the 1850s on. There are some no longer acceptable terms in the book, but the author himself seems to have been for the underdog, standing up for the rights of the Californios, black men and Mexicans. He has no time for money lenders though and uses all the ugly racist terms for them. He has already talked about the mining days in Trinity County, where two of my grandmother's uncles were judges in the 1850s. Uncles weren't mentioned though.

Fev 3, 9:39 am

>152 MrsLee: I'm always fascinated by people who were ahead of their time when it comes to one issue, and woefully blind in another area. A creature of his times, no doubt. Enjoy the book!

Fev 3, 9:58 am

>152 MrsLee: I am sorry The Understudy didn't work for you. Whoever did the marketing blurb does make it seem as if it would be a lively read. If I'd been aware of it before today, I might well have picked it up for my husband as he loves books about the theater. Now I have to hesitate.

The Old West history of California sounds intriguing. But I did have a question -- you use the word Californios and I've never heard that term. Is it vocabulary that is used only during the period prior to California statehood?

Fev 3, 1:17 pm

>153 clamairy: Me too! People are interesting critters.

>154 jillmwo: The book is about a star on Broadway who was very famous before WWII, and his protégé, a young actor who comes to prominence in the 40s, 50s and 60s, while the old star languishes and declines. It is about the twisted relationship of the two, all the undercurrents of jealousy, gratitude, being beholden to another and so forth. Made me think of the Betty Davis movie, The Star. The book is well written, and it may be that your husband would enjoy/get more out of it than I did.

Californios is the term that the Mexican population called themselves before Mexico ceded California to the American government. They did not consider themselves Mexicans or Americans.

Fev 3, 11:46 pm

Major Horace Bell not only tells the history as he saw it in early California, but he also is a storyteller! We have ghost stories and hidden treasure stories too.

At 25 years old, he was fighting in Nicaragua with a 23 year old leader to overthrow the government. He fought in the Civil War on the Union side, then tells how he had to keep fighting for about 2 years when he returned to Los Angeles because the population there was almost all Secessionist and constantly challenged him to fights for his Union service. I didn't realize that Los Angeles was so sympathetic to the Confederate cause.

Editado: Fev 8, 10:57 am

I finished On the Old West Coast by Major Horace Bell. It was a very amusing and informative book. The history I learned about Los Angeles was that it was a sleepy and insignificant pueblo until Hollywood moved in. That is not true at all! Whether it was significant or not, I can't say. I suppose that depends on who is making that judgement and what their criteria is, but sleepy? No. It was a hotbed of intrigue, chicanery, violence and greed! From the time the American government took over, it was all about who could amass the most money by stealing/cheating others out of it, and then blowing it on schemes to get even richer by scamming others coming to the area.

Things I did not know.
The original Californios (Mexican citizens who had lived in California all their lives when it was under Mexican/Spanish rule) lost most of their holdings to moneylenders through dishonest interest rates which they had never dealt with before. It is a longer story than that, but you will have to read the book if you want to know more.

There was a Chinese massacre in 1871 when rabble-rousers raised a mob (much of which was police or city officials) to go through town and kill all the Chinese, men, women and children. They said it was because a Chinese man shot a policeman in the line of duty, but that wasn't true. Before the night was over, there were officially 20 dead Chinese men, but no one knows the exact count because rather than come forward with accusations, the Chinese population hid themselves. The people in that mob were never brought to justice, though it was proven they were false and guilty. This was probably the most horrifying chapter in the book. The day after the hysteria, citizens who were more level headed from the outskirts of town, and those in town who had feared to get involved (who can blame them when the officials of the town were participating), rose up and condemned what had happened. It is terrifying to see how fast a population can be moved to such horrors, yet we have seen it even in this past decade. Will we ever change? At least there were citizens who protected as many Chinese folks as they could. I guess this event was used to then pass the legislation to prevent Chinese immigration. The more things change the more they stay the same.

There was a hilarious and fun chapter on the "monster" of Elizabeth Lake. Look it up! You can find it on the internet by typing; monster, Elizabeth Lake, L.A. Dragons and dinosaurs, oh my! The author's last word on the subject was; "Thus runs the legend of Elizabeth Lake and I beg the reader to believe every line of this chapter because it is founded on the word of an Embustero Y Mentiroso, hidalgo of the old blood, and others of equal credibility."

This author was fun. He does tell of real events, but he was a journalist, a lawyer, a soldier and a Marshal, along with who knows what else. He was certainly a storyteller and knew how to tell a good tale. I put him in the camp with Mark Twain with perhaps a little less bitterness to his humor.

Now I am reading Canyon Country Geology by F. A. Barnes. A book which was my mother's or grandmother's. It was small to fit in my purse for taking to the hospital yesterday. Interesting, not absorbing and I will probably end up skimming much of it. A primer for those interested in the geology of the Canyon Country of southeastern Utah primarily.

Fev 8, 11:00 am

>157 MrsLee: Thank you for that. I had a lot of fun googling for images of the Monster of Elizabeth Lake.

That massacre story is awful, though. I'm not sure we've come very far since then.

Fev 8, 11:10 am

>158 clamairy: Me either. But always we hope!

Fev 9, 2:39 pm

Finished Canyon Country Geology, for the Layman and Rockhound by F. A. Barnes. I skimmed some. It was interesting though and would be more so if I had actually been to some of these areas like my parents have.

For some reason I cannot wrap my head around wanting to read fiction at the moment. It leaves me cold. Or perhaps my head doesn't want to spend the energy to enter into a different world. Anyway, guess I will continue with the nonfiction and read another cookbook that is bigger than I want the books on my reading table to be. Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi will be my next read.

Fev 9, 3:19 pm

>160 MrsLee: I can relate to your feeling on reading fiction as I have been having a similar reaction to watching films or series. I have scanned Netflix and Prime looking for something to watch. Some things have interested me enough to start watching only to turn them off after five or ten minutes, or, in some cases, after one minute. Nothing seems to be grabbing me.

Fev 9, 7:53 pm

>161 pgmcc: Same for me about the films and series. My female cat is peeved because that was our cuddle time together. I would close the door in the TV room and not let the male cats in. So difficult to please everyone.

Fev 9, 9:32 pm

>157 MrsLee: There was a massacre of Chinese people in Oregon, too. Not many people know about it. I read a book about it quite a few years ago.

Fev 9, 10:48 pm

>163 catzteach: I didn't know that.

Fev 13, 12:21 am

Not getting a lot of reading done, although I am dipping in and out of the curry cookbook, but I have proof-read, finished the layout, and completed adding page numbers to the contents and index of the Family Recipes Cookbook I am making. 239 pages. Now I will send it to my daughter to proof-read.

I'm trying to find a photo for the cover. There just are not that many photos of my grandmothers in their kitchens. My sister says she has the perfect one, but doesn't know where it is. Thanks, sis. My daughter suggested making a collage of photos of the women and the food they cooked (which I could do from the photos of the food I cooked for the book). I kind of like that idea, I'm just not sure how to do it. Maybe I'll send her the photos and let her do it. :) I would love to have this thing ready to publish before the end of the month.

Fev 13, 3:21 am

>165 MrsLee:
That sounds fantastic.

Fev 13, 8:12 am

>165 MrsLee: As always I am very impressed with this project of yours, and amazed at your stick-to-itiveness! I hope you end up with a cover image you love.

Fev 13, 8:22 am

>165 MrsLee: You're making great progress! It will be a wonderful gift to your family to have all those recipes collected for posterity.

Fev 13, 8:23 am

>165 MrsLee: What a wonderful project! I'm very impressed.

Fev 13, 3:29 pm

Thanks all! This is the cover image I came up with using Canva. Now if only I can get it to work uploading it to Lulu press!

Fev 13, 3:44 pm

>170 MrsLee: That's a splendid cover! You did well.

Fev 13, 3:44 pm

>170 MrsLee:
Fantastic. Is that you at the bottom left?

Fev 13, 3:52 pm

>170 MrsLee: This looks so cozy! I wish that I had all of my mother's recipes in one place like this. This is such a beautiful gift for your family for generations to come!

Fev 13, 4:14 pm

>170 MrsLee: This looks great!

Fev 13, 5:05 pm

>172 pgmcc: Yes. Me, sister, mother, niece. Top photos are two of my grandmothers and one of Mark's. The food photos are some of their best dishes. Mine is the lamb stew in the pumpkin.

>173 NotYourDad: Thank you, this started out to be a simple scanned cookbook of my two grandmother's hamdwritten cookbooks from their early years of marriage. Then the project grew.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

Fev 13, 5:33 pm

Wow! That's fantastic. Nice job.

Fev 13, 6:35 pm

Love the cookbook project! I would like to collect my mom's recipes, but she's one of those instinctive cooks who doesn't always use a recipe.

Fev 13, 6:39 pm

>176 Bookmarque: Thanks!

>177 foggidawn: So was my grandma, mom and dad. Over the years I've watched them make the traditional dishes, written down what I saw, then made it in my own kitchen. I usually don't use recipes either, at least not amounts, because that always depends on how many you are cooking for, but for the book I tried to measure things. Most of the recipes say to taste and adjust the amount of flavoring. :)

Fev 13, 6:42 pm

>170 MrsLee: That's lovely! Well done!
How many copies are you planning to print for your family?

Fev 13, 6:47 pm

Usually I send out notices and see how many want them. I may do a couple of styles for this one. I was thinking a spiral binding might be easier in the kitchen, but I think I will do a regular version as well. I suspect it will be less costly. I also send the PDF to any family members who prefer it. Everyone pays their own cost (except I usually give a book as a gift to each of my children), so I'm not out any money. Or much money.

I wish I didn't have to order for everyone, but the only way for them to do it is to go through my account. Since I don't copyright them they aren't available to the public.

Fev 13, 8:21 pm

Wow, that is so cool! Well done, Lee!

Fev 13, 9:58 pm

>170 MrsLee: That is an amazing cover! And 239 pages?!? Wow!

Editado: Fev 14, 5:32 am

>170 MrsLee: That looks great! Well done!

Fev 14, 5:34 am

>170 MrsLee: That is an amazing cover! Any chance of making a pdf available to fellow-Dragoneers?

Fev 14, 11:50 am

>182 ScoLgo: Lots of photos and scans of the original hand written recipes.

>181 littlegeek: & >183 Sakerfalcon: Thanks!

>184 hfglen: Well, I think I have converted it to a pdf, so now I need to know how to make that available! Not until it is proofread though. :) There is a lot of jibber jabber about family memories in it, but if you don't mind, I don't mind.

Fev 14, 12:05 pm

>180 MrsLee: You automatically have copyright as soon as you set the words down--it's just that you haven't registered the copyright. You could make it publicly available if you wanted, but that takes a little more preparation. If you'd like, message me--I design book interiors for my publisher and would be happy to help you.

Fev 14, 12:26 pm

>170 MrsLee: Looks great!

Fev 14, 4:46 pm

>196 MrsLee: Thank you, I didn't go through all the proper channels to get permission to use some of the materials in here, certain photos and recipes from a couple of books, although I did try to give full recognition and credit to original authors. For that reason, and because it is focused on my family, I never intend to sell it for profit. Only the printing costs will be charged to those wanting a copy. I guess if anyone wants to rip off my family memories for a profit they can do so. There are no celebrities or wonderful stories, and most of the recipes were originally from someone else. I think I am the only one in my family who creates and writes down her own recipes.

>187 Karlstar: Thanks!

Fev 14, 10:01 pm

As others, I’m super impressed by your project! That you have the recipes and are preserving them is amazing. What a heritage you have!

Fev 14, 11:05 pm

>165 MrsLee: Congrats! And the cover in >170 MrsLee: is impressive, too!

Fev 15, 1:53 pm

>189 catzteach: & >190 libraryperilous: Thank you. :)

A bit of an update on my reading. I finished The Great Curries of India. A beautiful, informative and thorough look at curries of India, showing the many variations from region to region. Apart from some unicorn ingredients, the recipes seem very doable in the home kitchen. I look forward to feeling better and trying some of them. Right now, curry is the last thing I want to make or eat. This book was eye candy though. Not only did it have lovely photographs of the food, each page was edged with reproductions of fabric from India.

I've begun reading with no commitment whatsoever, Yanomamo by Napoleon A. Chagnon. This was a textbook, and although I have interest in the subject, I am not prepared to wade through a dry textbook. So far I am on the fence. I will try to give it the 50 page rule, unless his writing picks up. To be fair, I've only got through all his explanations, forwards, etc., which is why I haven't decided yet.

I am also reading Hot Type & Pony Wire: My Life as a California reporter from Prohibition to Pearl Harbor, by John V. Young. He was a newspaperman and editor in Santa Clara County, from about 1930 through WWII. At least, that is the time of this book. These are his memoirs of that time. Not exactly memoirs, more like memories of certain events. It is interesting because it covers places like Santa Cruz, San Jose, Pittsburg and other places we used to go when we lived in the Bay Area. Also, the times are when my grandparents were starting their married life together. He describes the days of journalism when they used "hot type" and what the "pony wire" was, also other tricks and methods they had to get the paper out before the competition.

Fev 15, 7:54 pm

>170 MrsLee: That looks great!

Fev 16, 6:02 pm

Finished Hot Type & Pony Wire. It was interesting, while not compelling, short enough that it didn't matter. I think my husband will enjoy it though, since he grew up in that general area, but mostly to the north of it.

Going to focus on Yanomamo now and find out if I will be reading all of it or skimming and reading photo captions.

Fev 19, 9:29 pm

While in the hospital yesterday, I began a book, light paperback, Silver Spires, by Robert Goldsborough. He is continuing the Nero Wolfe series, and while I feel these books are missing that little sumpin sumpin that makes Nero Wolfe so special, they are not bad.

I could have taken my kindle, but wasn't sure if it had a charge, and didn't remember what I had downloaded on it. Anyway, I'm trying to clear my physical shelves.

Fev 20, 10:37 am

>194 MrsLee: our cancer center of the hospital has a basket where people can leave books for others to read while waiting, and doing treatment. They are instructed to not return the books so I've dropped off some of my discards, including Louis L'Amours that I don't plan to reread.

Fev 20, 5:31 pm

>195 fuzzi: That's a good idea. Ours has a lage round table on a turntable that always has a puzzle going and several in boxes on a side table. I've seen people come in and trade puzzles, too. No books though.

Fev 22, 1:41 pm

Finished Silver Spires. Liked it about as much as I thought I would which is middlin' to good.

Yesterday I began Mastering Fermentation by Mary Karlin, a gift from my daughter a couple of years ago. Time flies.

I also began The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, Bracebridge Hall by Washington Irving. This is volume 11 in The Works of Washington Irving. Not sure where the book came from, but it has been by my reading chair as one of the large books to get read, and so far (very early in the volume) is interesting. I thought it was a fiction, but apparently it is a biography based on Bonneville's journals.

In other news. Home repairs just keep getting better. Because the kitchen and living area are all one space in the apartment and there is no threshold, and there was water damage in the entry area of the living room, the insurance company is paying to replace the flooring in the living area and kitchen. They tore out the old floor yesterday. Discovered mold in the kitchen by the sink area where there has apparently been a slow leak from the copper pipes under the sink. Husband and I were not aware of this. I rarely look under that sink because it is what I refer to as the "Black Hole of Calcutta." A place where the weirdest bugs hang out to die. Yuck. It has been like that since day one, so the bugs are not there because of the leak.

Anyway, now we are faced with a much bigger cost than we thought. Also longer time to get things done because they first have to mitigate the mold issue before going any further. Not sure whether this means tearing out the cabinets or what, but it certainly means getting the sink fixed. We are tempted to cap the water lines under there and forget about the sink, but I'm not sure whether that will save any money or not. I kind of hate to make an area less useful than it is, although I have no need for two sinks and two kitchens. I like the storage space though. Home ownership is a joy. I am very grateful that I do have a fully functioning kitchen through all of this.

Healthwise the verdict is still out. Let's just say I'm on the right side of the grass.

Fev 22, 1:45 pm

Good luck with the house repairs. I hope you manage to sort them out without too much disruption. As you say, it is good that you have a functioning kitchen.

Glad to hear you are on the right side of the grass.

Fev 22, 2:47 pm

>197 MrsLee: Oh boy. I do not envy you all that disruption even if you have another intact kitchen. I don't enjoy people wandering around my house. Best of luck getting it all sorted out.

Fev 22, 4:12 pm

>197 MrsLee: Oh, the things that accompany water damage in a house! Just what one does not need. I'm familiar with the fears (both real and imaginary) regarding a Black Hole of Calcutta under the kitchen sink. (((Hugs)))

Fev 22, 8:20 pm

>197 MrsLee: we've had the floor under the kitchen sink replaced because of a slow leak, it wasn't a fun situation. I recently purchased a few moisture alarms and am going to put one under the sink.

I don't go under there, either.

Fev 23, 3:17 pm

For those of you following the tense action adventure of me cleaning out my jewelry drawer on the weekend thread; I can finally present to you the ending of the tale.

It is finished. I have a clear drawer in my dresser, enabling me to free up some space in my closet (because really all of life is a Chinese puzzle). I have 2 shoeboxes of jewelry to give away and another (if I had another shoebox, but I've used several smaller receptacles) of suitable jewelry to craft a dragon (if I ever get the courage). I also have enough jewelry I'm keeping to prevent me from getting bored. All of it labeled with value (if any) and provenance (if known).

Next adventure will be cleaning out my closet and getting rid of lost hopes and useless dreams. I have pants lurking in there that I wouldn't wear again even if they fit, and at least two blouses which are 40 years old. *Wake up, Lee!* Shoes. I don't think I can get rid of my shoes. Those heels should never be worn again, but there may be that ONE event which requires heels, and how will I know which color when I don't even know the event? My rule is; if it fits without stacking or hiding, it is ok. So far my shoes do.

Fev 23, 3:29 pm

>202 MrsLee:
When I read our first sentence I thought you were going to tell us he dragon was complete and that we should anticipate the arrival of a dragon image. We wait with eager anticipation.

Editado: Fev 24, 8:01 am

>202 MrsLee: Good for you with the jewelry! I can't wait to see what you come up with for the dragon.

There's no shame in keeping old clothes. I have several silk blouses that are at least 35, and have held up well. (I haven't worn them in decades, but they are there if I need them. LOL) I don't have any old shoes... Wait, I have one pair of medium-heeled black pumps that might be 20-25 years old. My feet grew a whole size while I was pregnant with my kids, so all of my stylish pumps got donated a long time ago. I tend to wear boots with heels if I have to dress up when it's cold now, and sandals with heels when it's warm. I have gotten away with that so far.

Fev 23, 10:54 pm

>203 pgmcc: & >204 clamairy: Please do not hold your breath for the dragon, you are both too valuable to the pub for us to lose you.

>204 clamairy: I suppose I am thinking along the lines of will I actually wear that again. Considering style and my personal style which has changed a lot in the last ten years. I've still got a few pairs of knee highs and pantyhose just in case I ever have to wear my pumps again. The pumps themselves only have a 1" heel, but even that is too much now for my feet. My boots have 2" heels. I always wanted boots with heels, and wasn't able to get any until I went to work at the hotel. I love them, even if I only get to look at them!

Fev 24, 8:15 am

>205 MrsLee: I also can't wear anything too high. My highest boots heels are less than 2". Anything higher and my back hurts. I'm short, so an extra inch and a half makes me feel giant. LOL I also saved some ratty hose and knee highs, but I really hope I never need them.

Fev 24, 12:03 pm

Heels? What is that??

Oh no!! Hope you are offering the jewels to your grands. I’ve got a drawer-full of sparklies too.

Actually, I’m collecting garments this week to pass on to my classmates. They like my style!
And I did throw a couple of earrings in the bag too.
Hey, I have clothes from the 70s that I still wear. I like classics.

Fev 24, 12:19 pm

>202 MrsLee: >204 clamairy: I was just thinking yesterday that it might be time for my 25+ and 20+ year old tshirts to go. Unfortunately, most of the material they make them out of now aren't suitable for rags.

Fev 24, 1:35 pm

>207 2wonderY: I am giving my grandmother's costume jewelry (most, not all) to my cousin who never had a chance to get any of it after Grammie died. My cousin is a great fan of vintage jewelry and clothing and home decor. It feels right as no one else in the family would wear it. Don't worry, I kept plenty of sparkle and bangle and beads for my grandkids.

>208 Karlstar: Most of my older clothes are more comfortable, and I hate shopping, so I'm keeping those!

Fev 24, 3:56 pm

>209 MrsLee: That's my reasoning as well, as long as they are intact.