Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2024 Reading Nook - Part 4

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Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2024 Reading Nook - Part 4

Editado: Abr 16, 10:29 am


Ellie, then (8 wks) and now (~6 mos)

Welcome to my thread! I'm Laura, 62, retired and living with my husband Chris in an 18th century farmhouse in northern Virginia with our 9-year-old terrier mix Alys, and puppy Ellie (born Oct 2023). Ellie interrupted our predictable routine of gardening, home projects, reading, and (for me) knitting but she has also brought a lot of joy to our life and we know things will settle down as she grows up.

This thread will be all about books, reading, and day-to-day life. I occasionally post about my knitting here, but if you’re so inclined you can see more on my thread in the Needlearts group.

2024 is my sixteenth year in the 75 Book Challenge Group! I can’t imagine a year without bookish discussion with this wonderful community and others who follow my thread. It’s been quite a while since I actually read 75 books in a year, but this group is such an excellent source of book recommendations that my totals don’t really matter. I read mostly contemporary fiction, with the odd classic or memoir thrown in. Last year I added more nonfiction to my reading diet and enjoyed that immensely, so look for more of the same in 2024.

Books Featured on This Thread
(Go here to see all books read this year)
18. Unraveling
19. The Book of Form and Emptiness
20. The Detective Up Late
21. Day

Editado: Abr 12, 6:14 am

Series Progress

Active series as of April 1 (updated quarterly):

A snapshot of my active series sorted on the "progress" column.

Series completed/current in 2024:
* Sean Duffy

Series started in 2024:
* The Cazalet Chronicles

Series abandoned in 2024:
* tbd

Editado: Abr 16, 10:29 am

Currently Reading & On Deck

Marking Time

Editado: Mar 31, 7:15 am

Gardening Update

I thought I might share a little bit about our garden each month. March was mostly a time of preparation, getting beds ready for planting and starting seeds in the greenhouse. The daffodils brought some much-needed early color, and other plants and shrubs are sending up green shoots. There isn’t much to show right now, so let’s start with an overview of our space. First, an aerial view of our property courtesy of Google Maps:

The red line is the property boundary; the blue pin marks the location of the house. A gravel road runs along the upper boundary line; a busier main road along the left. The first thing you might notice is how close the house is to the gravel road. This was very convenient back in the days of horse-drawn transportation, when the gravel road was the main road. These days it’s subject to a county easement. We’re just happy the gravel road sees very little traffic, and that the house faces the opposite direction with views of open space instead of road. The barn is to the right of the house, some distance away.

Most of our garden spaces are in front of the house and between the house and barn. Since all of that is obscured by trees on the map, I created a diagram.

This diagram corresponds to the part of the aerial view between the main road and the yellow line. A long curved driveway runs from the main road, past the front of the house, and out to the gravel road. We’ve added mature trees to the area between the driveway and the main road, slowly filling in the open space currently devoted to grass. Gardens begin at the house, with the White Garden in back and the Arrival Court in front. On the way from the White Garden to the Beech Walk, you pass walnut trees and hostas on the left, and a 200-year-old Boxwood hedge on the right.

The Entry Garden is on the other side of the Boxwood, with steps leading through the hedge to what we somewhat ironically refer to as the Croquet Lawn (no croquet has been played here). We are just beginning to develop the area beyond the Beech Walk and Croquet Lawn into a woodland with paths. At the far right is a fenced Kitchen Garden, with the barn and raised beds.

Now that you have the lay of the land so to speak, some of my gardening chatter might make more sense.

Editado: Mar 31, 7:33 am

Good morning and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Yesterday's weather was pretty nice, and I finally crossed some gardening tasks off my list. I planted the carrots and beets, and the first row of peas (there will be three rows altogether, planted at 2-week intervals). Ellie seems to enjoy jumping in and out of the raised beds, so we're putting up some chicken wire as we plant We decided to put some chicken wire around the beds for a while, because Ellie seems to enjoy running around jumping in and out of beds. Yesterday we also went to Lowe's. We needed to return some extra materials from a previous project, and pick up some things for the laundry room. One of those things was a scheduled pickup item which was supposed to be available yesterday, but the order tracking said otherwise. And then we also received word from Lowe's that our washer and dryer will not be delivered Monday as originally stated, but Friday instead. Lowe's is on my s**t list now.

We don't have any Easter plans, and I expect I'll spend the day puttering around and reading. I'm really enjoying Unraveling. Orenstein's writing style is very conversational and you don't have to be a knitter to enjoy her journey from sheep to sweater.

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Mar 31, 7:54 am

Happy Sunday, Laura. Happy New Thread. Love the doggy toppers, along with the layout of your property. It looks really nice.

Mar 31, 8:28 am

I really enjoyed seeing your property views! Are you still enjoying your more rural setting over living in Philadelphia during retirement? We have a long way to go (at least 10-15 years) before we are both retired, but I think we will be torn between city living and rural living when we have to decide.

Mar 31, 8:37 am

Happy New Thread Laura!

Mar 31, 8:42 am

Happy new one, Laura! The Usurpers are adorable :)

Mar 31, 10:33 am

Happy new thread, Laura. Unraveling does sound interesting. Happy gardening!

Mar 31, 10:53 am

Happy New Thread, Laura. I love that you'll be sharing about your garden as it progresses through the seasons. And, as always, I love seeing pictures of usurpers Alys and Ellie.

Also, I smiled at your fourth Wordle guess today. :-)

Mar 31, 12:46 pm

Happy New Thread! Ellie is so grown up! Our Mei is mostly calmed from early puppyhood - she'll be two this month.

Mar 31, 12:53 pm

Happy New Thread, Laura! I'm happy to get in early. Thank you for the look at your property and gardens - just lovely!
I also love Ellie! She looks so much like our May that I hope she may be like May in sweetness and doggy love and joy.

Enjoy your Easter Sunday.

Mar 31, 4:42 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the new thread greetings, your kind comments about our property, and the love for our furry usurpers. Ellie is such a sweet dog and Alys really likes having a friend, so we're pretty glad we adopted her.

>7 japaul22: Jennifer, we are indeed enjoying ourselves here. We lived in the greater Philly area for over 30 years, much of that time on a property similar to what we have now (albeit with a modern house). Only the last 3 of those years were in the city. A retired coworker had advised me once not to make any major life decisions in the first 6 months of retirement. We ignored that advice because we'd been talking about city living for a long time and were convinced we knew what we wanted. We should have taken the advice. So just file that nugget away for 10-15 years from now ...

Mar 31, 5:00 pm

Happy new thread!

Mar 31, 5:30 pm

Happy new thread Laura!

It was entertaining trying to match your Google pic to the diagram, and I don't think I passed the test, but I did pass some time! It's good to be settled where you want to be!

Mar 31, 5:56 pm

Happy #4 dear Laura

Mar 31, 6:21 pm

>14 lauralkeet: Advice noted! And it does make sense . . .

Mar 31, 10:48 pm

Love the aerial view and description of your property. It does help with visualisation!

Abr 1, 6:19 am

It's a new month! Welcome, welcome.

I finished my gardening backlog yesterday (basically some weeding), urged on by the likelihood of rain the next few days. It wasn't particularly difficult work, just boring. And of course there will always be more weeding, but anyway this bit is done. I enjoyed some time with Unraveling too. In the evening we finished the first episodes of both The Story of Film and the Steve Martin documentary. Good stuff, although Steve Martin's early comedy is hard to watch. Like most of the American population, I thought he was hilarious at the time. There's nothing offensive in his act, it just doesn't make me laugh like it used to. Still, I really like him as a person and I'm looking forward to the second part of the doc.

Today's agenda: jury duty. I had to call last night to confirm I needed to come in, and yes I do. It's a one day or one trial situation: I'll be done today unless I get assigned to a jury. Phones (cameras) are not allowed, nor are needles (knitting or otherwise) so I'm hoping to finish Unraveling and start The Book of Form and Emptiness. I'm also bringing a book of crossword puzzles. Wish me luck.

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Abr 1, 6:25 am

Happy new thread, Laura!

It is hard to tell who is Alys, and who is Ellie on the couch ;-)
Love the pictures of your house and garden.

Abr 1, 7:22 am

Happy new one!

Abr 1, 8:25 am

Happy new thread. I admire the gardening dedication. I'm not terribly good at the maintenance gardening bit, I tend to blitz and then leave it too long!

Abr 1, 12:11 pm

>21 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, we get them mixed up all the time these days. Ellie is still growing, so I think they will look less alike a few months from now. Meanwhile, in that pic Alys is on the left and Ellie on the right.

>22 figsfromthistle: thanks!

>23 Helenliz: I have been guilty of leaving things too long myself, Helen. It comes with the territory, I think.

Well, I'm home from jury duty already. About 50 people reported at 8am. Once everyone had checked in we had to seat ourselves in alphabetical order around the room. We waited a while. Then the jury manager came in and told us what to expect when we were called into the courtroom, which sounded imminent. In the courtroom the judge would tell us a bit about the trial and how long they expected it to last. Then they would ask questions of potential jurors in order to select twelve to sit on the jury. More waiting. Then the judge arrived and told us we were all dismissed. He explained that they were planning for two trials today, hence the large number of us, but one case was resolved with a plea deal and in the other, the alleged victim didn't show up and they were a key witness for the prosecution. It was all over by 10:45. I will receive a check for $50 which is pretty sweet but I am also happy that I finished one book, started another, and solved two crossword puzzles.

Abr 1, 2:27 pm

I hope jury duty goes well, is interesting, doesn't result in your sitting on an 8-week trial.... not sure what the best wish for jury duty actually is, haha.

Good job on today' wordle. I outsmarted myself by checking past solutions, which ruled out both print and front. Kinda dumb because the second one would have been an excellent second guess today.

Oh wait, I just read >24 lauralkeet: and jury duty is all done. And you got time for reading and puzzles. Sweet.

Abr 1, 4:35 pm

Ellen, that’s an interesting comment about outsmarting yourself on Wordle. On the one hand I get checking past solutions, although I’ve never done so. I really like puzzling it out, by eliminating vowels for instance, and learning something on every turn.

Jury duty was better than I expected. I really appreciated the judge coming in to explain what was happening behind the scenes this morning. Interesting insight about the overall process.

Abr 2, 1:37 am

Happy New Thread, Laura. I'm glad your jury duty was short and sweet. Lovely property that you have.

Abr 2, 7:31 am

>27 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah!

Abr 2, 7:38 am

With jury duty taking less time than expected yesterday I had unexpected free time. I didn't do anything notable. I cleaned the kitchen counters and appliances and the cabinet under the sink. After our recent mouse visitor I decided to set a trap. This morning it seems some crafty mouse paid a visit and got away with the bait. Damn.

I started reading The Book of Form and Emptiness yesterday while in the jury waiting area. This is a shared read with Mark and others, and it's off to a good start. Last night's viewing included a superb University Challenge semi-final, and episodes of Deadwood and Drive to Survive.

Today's agenda is completely open. It's supposed to rain lightly most of the day. We have an item to pick up at Lowe's, so we might do that. There's probably other things I could/should do ... we'll see what happens. Hoping to FaceTime with Julia tonight, which I'm looking forward to.

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Abr 2, 7:41 am

>29 lauralkeet: What did you use in the mousetrap? We find peanut butter is tempting, and very hard to remove without getting caught.

Abr 2, 8:05 am

>29 lauralkeet: We use peanut butter! And Wirecutter's highly recommended traps. They usually work very well for us. I must have applied the PB in a way that was easy for them to reach. I dunno ... will try again.

Abr 2, 8:06 am

18. Unraveling ()

Looking for an upbeat pandemic-era memoir? Look no further. Peggy Orenstein usually writes about topics related to teen sexuality and body image. In 2020 her professional engagements were cut short and, searching for a way to occupy her mind and body, she decided to create a knitted sweater from scratch. Orenstein takes readers through each step from shearing a sheep through spinning, dyeing, design, and knitting. In addition to describing the technique she explores history and recent developments in fashion and fabric creation, highlighting the ways in which modern conveniences impact the environment and global climate. It will make you think about where your clothing comes from, and more sustainable ways of managing your wardrobe.

Orenstein also freely shares the creative and emotional journey she experienced during this project. We are the same age, and I found myself nodding along as she processed the decline and loss of her parents, fostered her adolescent daughter’s independence, and planned for the future with her husband. I wish I could have her over for coffee–we’d have a great time.

Abr 2, 8:23 am

ACK! I forgot about UC last night. I'll watch it today, maybe over lunch.

Abr 2, 8:30 am

>31 lauralkeet: I hope they're not using little spoons now to get the PB off the trap!

Abr 2, 10:21 am

>32 lauralkeet: This does sound good, Laura. It might be what pushes me to learn to knit! It sounds like your jury duty was relatively painless. I used to be called every two years, but it has been a long time since I was last called, and I think having a police officer son-in-law will disqualify me any future juries.

Abr 2, 11:27 am

Happy new thread, Laura! Looking forward to the shared read of The Book of Form and Emptiness with you and Mark. I will be starting the book at some point today :)

Abr 2, 12:48 pm

>33 katiekrug: The final is going to be quite a match, that's all I can say.
This morning I got curious and went down a shallow UC rabbit hole. Apparently the episodes are filmed in March & April, which means everything we're watching now happened a year ago and this year's teams are already competing/filming. It made me wonder if the teams have to keep quiet about the results until the match airs, like on GBBO/S.

>34 laytonwoman3rd: LOL that's a great mental picture Linda.

>35 BLBera: You're probably right about your jury service, Beth. If you decide to take up knitting, it's worth getting some instruction, either at a local yarn shop or an online course. Reading Orenstein's book I was reminded how difficult being an adult learner can be, because we don't have patience for the learning curve. Last year a fellow Guild member taught me how to spin but when I got home I was hopeless at it and gave up. The book inspired me to try again, and not expect immediate results.

>36 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia! I read for about an hour before lunch this morning (curled up with Ellie, I might add). It's a chunkster but not difficult reading.

Editado: Abr 3, 8:57 am

Yesterday was a productive day with reading before lunch, a trip to Wegmans & Lowe's in the afternoon, and a FaceTime chat with Julia in the evening. Then we finished watching Nolly, which not amazing but pretty decent especially if you're a fan of Helena Bonham Carter.

Mouse update: the spring mechanism in the trap wasn't working, making it pretty easy for the mouse to have a tasty snack. We use the Tomcat Press-N-Set traps (a Wirecutter rec!) and they have been very effective. Here's what they look like:

This one was just worn out I guess, so we put another one under the kitchen sink. No action last night. However our recent mouse sightings have been in the TV room and we have no idea what is attracting them there, or where to place a trap (especially because we don't want the dogs to discover it).

Today's agenda includes a routine dentist appointment and menu planning/grocery list making. It's very wet and rainy, so no gardening but at least the rain is good for the plants. I'm really enjoying The Book of Form and Emptiness so I'm hoping to carve out some decent reading time too.

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Abr 3, 4:24 pm

Hi Laura my dear, Happy New Thread dear friend.

Abr 3, 4:34 pm

On the mouse hunt - we had great success last summer at our cottage with the mouse ultra-sonic device. Just plug it in and it sends out a signal that bothers the mice but we don’t hear it. Pretty sure it is also beyond dog’s heating frequencies.

Abr 3, 5:41 pm

>39 johnsimpson: Thanks John!

>40 raidergirl3: Elizabeth, that's definitely worth looking into, thanks! I have seen that mentioned as something to use in a garage to keep mice out of cars. Why didn't I think of using it indoors? I also like that it makes the mice leave, it doesn't kill them.

Abr 4, 7:40 am

All went well at the dentist yesterday, and I enjoyed some reading time as I had hoped. In the evening, we watched the first half of the 1960s Italian film, L'Avventura and then an episode of Drive to Survive to lighten the mood LOL.

I'm about halfway through The Book of Form and Emptiness and while it's quirky, I'm also really enjoying it.

Today is grocery shopping day and, because it's dry and sunny, I hope to transfer tomato and chili pepper seedlings into pots and plant some lettuce. I also *should* vacuum, blerg.

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Abr 4, 8:30 am

Sweet Thursday, Laura. Glad to hear you are buzzing your way through the Ozeki. I am about a day or so behind you. How is L'Avventura? I have not seen it in decades. It is on my rewatch list. I love those foreign films from the 60s.

Abr 4, 11:21 am

>38 lauralkeet: Those are the traps we've been using lately. Very effective, but I suppose after a few "snaps" they can wear out. We woke up this morning to find a dead mouse on the front porch..."slightly chewed up", as my husband put it. I suppose that cat that wanders the neighborhood dispatched it and left it for Molly as a taunt...

Abr 4, 11:56 am

Ozeki's books have never called to me. I'm not great with quirky :)

Hope the shopping went smoothly and the gardening is satisfying!

Abr 4, 12:23 pm

>43 msf59: Hi Mark, we've watched a lot of French films but almost no Italian ones, so we thought we'd start working through some of the classics. We watched a short piece about Italian cinema on Criterion the other day, which added to our watch list. I've found Fellini a little too "out there" for me, although Chris really likes his stuff. L'Avventura has a bit more structure and plot, which is working for me.

>44 laytonwoman3rd: Linda, the trap did its job last night and is ready for action again. I'm glad our neighbors' barn cats have never left us any presents. They hunt around our house (and for all I know, are helping to keep our mouse population at bay), but they're also very social with us.

>45 katiekrug: Quirky doesn't always work for me either, Katie, but this isn't tooo quirky. And I'm pleased to report the shopping and gardening tasks were all done before lunch. Time to read!

Editado: Abr 5, 8:48 am


Yesterday afternoon I made a bit more progress in The Book of Form and Emptiness and roasted a chicken for dinner. In the evening we finished watching L'Avventura and started part 2 of the Steve Martin documentary, which is about his career after stand-up to the present. It's an interesting program.

Today we're expecting a Lowe's delivery between 9am-1pm so that will be "fun". Tonight we're meeting friends for dinner at a casual Lebanese place in Leesburg. One member of this couple is vegan and it can be challenging to find places we will all enjoy. I actually have the impression they don't get out much (to eat, anyway) but they're always up for suggestions. Anyway, we haven't seen them in a while so it will be nice to catch up.

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Abr 6, 8:32 am

The Lowe's delivery went off without a hitch (okay, it was delayed a week but ...) They arrived around 9:30 and the appliances were up and running by 10am. I'll say more about the laundry room in my next post.

Lots of reading time yesterday while I was catching up on laundry, and then we had a nice evening with our friends. The restaurant was nothing fancy in terms of ambience, but the food was tasty It's a good option when you want a meal out but don't want to pony up for "fine dining." Our vegan friend found it to his liking too. The staff also had no problem with us hanging out after we'd finished our meal, which was really nice. When we got home we finished watching the Steve Martin documentary and called it a night.

Today's agenda is pretty light. I have a few admin/household tasks, the high point of which will be organizing the new laundry room storage. Woo hoo!

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Editado: Abr 6, 8:43 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Abr 6, 8:43 am

This is the "before" photo. Since last July we've been living with a laundry room door that would no longer close all the way. We had someone come in to clean the dryer vents and in the course of this learned the dryer wasn't connected properly so it was spewing lint everywhere. The guy tried to resolve this issue but it left one of the appliances jutting way out, so the door would no longer close.

The way the appliances were positioned seemed the opposite of what they should be i.e., the dryer was on the right but the vent/ductwork was on the left. We did a little research and discovered the dryer was fairly new compared to the washer. Our hypothesis is the original dryer needed to be replaced but they didn't measure carefully, and when it was delivered it didn't fit alongside the washer the way the old one did so they rigged things up whatever way they could. Incidentally, the venting issues weren't discovered in the homeowners inspection before sale. The photos in our inspection report show a bunch of stuff stacked on top of the washer & dryer, no doubt in hopes the inspector would just move right along. Which he did. 😠

The laundry room is on the main level of the house and very visible, so a few weeks ago we decided to finally do something about this. We thought we might be able to juggle things around somehow (nope), or replace just the washer (also nope, all standard-sized washers in the universe are the same dimensions). A stackable washer/dryer set seemed like the best option.

Here's the reconfigured laundry room. We had to remove the cabinets which were above the original appliances, but they were pretty crappy and hard to reach, so couldn't be used for anything you needed frequently.

The room is small, maybe 6x6 feet. The curtains were left by the previous owners, and cover some built-in shelves. I wouldn't mind replacing them with something else at some point. The new cabinet adds a lot more storage space and overall I'm really happy with the results.

Abr 6, 8:52 am

The "after" photos look great, Laura. My major annoyance with my laundry space is that when we replaced the W&D after The Flood, we didn't pay attention to which way the doors opened (we had replaced a top-loading washer with a front-loading one), and the dryer has to be on a specific side because of the natural gas hook-up (I think? there is some reason...), so when I'm transferring loads from the washer to the dryer, I can't just scoop them sideways because the two open doors are in the way.

Anyway, probably more than you needed to know :)

Abr 6, 9:16 am

>37 lauralkeet: Curling up with Ellie and reading does not sound bad at all. I love curling up with my cat Chalfont and reading. Mallory, not so much.

>50 lauralkeet: Nice "after" photo!

Abr 6, 11:31 am

I love your new laundry room look, Laura. It seems very convenient, and I love the storage. I will tackle mine one of these days.

Editado: Abr 6, 12:21 pm

>50 lauralkeet: That looks to be a good solution to the laundry room layout issues.I wish I had as much as a 6'x6' laundry area, but it's better than the laundromat!

>51 katiekrug: I share the door direction problem. I pull the wet laundry into the basket, shut the washer door, open the dryer door, push the basket over, load the dryer, put the empty basket on the dryer, close the dryer door. One must adapt.

Abr 6, 12:23 pm

Nice update of your laundry facilities. Seeing it inspires. I'm not about to move the facility from the kitchen-end of the house to the bedroom-end. But I do believe I should replace the open shelf with wall cabinets. Thanks for the inspiration! (Of course, bookshelves is the current priority.)

Abr 6, 1:06 pm

>51 katiekrug: Ugh, I've had that laundry door problem too, Katie. So annoying!

>52 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. I'm about to curl up with a pup for some afternoon reading.

>53 BLBera: Thanks Beth, one can never have too much storage, right? I also enjoyed getting everything organized this morning.

>54 quondame: That's a good solution to the door problem, Susan. Needs must.

>55 weird_O: I do believe I should replace the open shelf with wall cabinets.
Would you build your own, Bill? Chris has the skills but other demands on his time at the moment, so we decided to buy this unit. To be honest, it's not great quality and we wish we'd done more research. But it will get the job done, and we can always replace it with something better down the road.

Editado: Abr 6, 2:44 pm

>56 lauralkeet: Oh, see? Now you're screwing up my agenda. I do have two 30" wide wall-cab boxes that I've been using temporarily as bookshelves in my old (basement) office. But they won't do because the wall-to-wall stretch is 96+" and I'd want 42" cabinets which extend all the way to the ceiling, but I've got to accommodate the standard plumbing connection for the washer. And so it's making cabinets from scratch. But it's—suddenly—a really compelling project. Ooooo, you naughty kitten, you've distracted me!

And speaking of kittens, not to say distractions, I moved chairs around to bring an old wing-chair that I inherited from my mother out into the library. I noticed a kind of shady strip across the back. Mom had a cat. I have a cordless vac (recently acquired) and boy did it suck cat hair out of the upholstery. And that shady strip has vanished.

Abr 6, 5:15 pm

>50 lauralkeet: Excellent solution, Laura. and such luxurious cabinet space!

Abr 6, 6:02 pm

The new laundry set-up looks great. Do you get haul wet laundry up or drop it down?

Editado: Abr 7, 7:40 am

>57 weird_O: With two dogs, I shudder to think about where pet hair has secretly accumulated in our house, Bill.

>58 ffortsa: Thanks Judy.

>59 MickyFine: Micky, the washer is on the bottom and the dryer on top. I guess that means I haul wet laundry up!

And yes, I do need the stepstool to see into the dryer. The appliances and cabinet are on a bit of a "platform" which must have been done during an earlier remodel. We considered removing it but that didn't seem feasible. To be honest, at 5' tall I would probably need a stepstool anyway.

Abr 7, 8:16 am

Good morning!

It was hard to beat the excitement of organizing my laundry room storage yesterday, but the rest of the day was still pretty good. We watched the F1 qualifying round and I finished reading The Book of Form and Emptiness. I really enjoyed it, but overall thoughts are still percolating.

Today has started off sunny and it's supposed to warm up to around 60F. I'd like to plant more arugula (rocket). I'm trying to plant a little bit every two weeks to stagger the harvest. I do the same with lettuce. That's a pretty quick job but when I'm out there I usually find other tasks that need doing.

I will also spend some time working on organizing our digital family photos. A few years ago I began uploading them to Amazon Photos (unlimited storage for Prime members). When we got our new Mac I realized I had never finished that project as there were several folders of photos dating back to the early 2000s when we used a still camera instead of our phones. It's been a fun trip down memory lane so far.

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Since when are French words allowed?!

Abr 7, 8:22 am

Happy Sunday, Laura. Speaking of French films- have you explored François Truffaut? His early run of The 400 Blows, Shoot the Piano Player and Jules & Jim is a cinematic milestone. Many of his later films are very good too.

Congrats on finishing the Ozeki. I should wrap it up tomorrow. Nice having you along on the shared read. I really enjoy these.

Editado: Abr 7, 8:43 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Abr 7, 9:31 am

>61 lauralkeet: - Re: Wordle, I think there are certain foreign words with wide enough usage to qualify. Think of all those people who use ADIEU as their starter!

We are also supposed to have lovely weather today. Hope you enjoy yours!

Abr 7, 10:45 am

Hi- just want to be sure you and Katie see the Sunday NY Times article about UC! It's absolutely riveting. I get the paper copy so can't forward a link, sorry.

Abr 7, 11:35 am

>62 msf59: Hi Mark! We've watched more French films than any other international country, and we've seen The 400 Blows and Jules et Jim but not sure about the other one. So much good stuff out there!

>63 dudes22: Hi Betty *smile*

>64 katiekrug: Good point in your spoilery comment, Katie. Our weather is pretty decent so far too.

>65 vivians: Hi Vivian! I saw that article first thing and thought oh, I need to come back to that but hadn't done so yet. I was a little worried there might be spoilers for the current season but I read the first few paragraphs and it looks safe. I will read it over lunch!

Here's a no-paywall link for Katie and anyone else curious about the show. The finals air tomorrow but a new season will start in August or September.
Q: Who Found a Way to Crack the U.K.’s Premier Quiz Show?

Abr 7, 12:13 pm

>65 vivians: and >66 lauralkeet: - Thanks for the heads-up!

Re: foreign films, one of my favorite Italian ones is Nights of Cabiria, if you haven't seen it already. Well worth a watch. Also, The Children are Watching Us. And my favorite French one (not that I've seen ALL that many...) is Forbidden Games (Jeux Interdits), which I encountered in a World Film class I took in college (one of the best classes *ever*).

Abr 7, 2:09 pm

>65 vivians: Though I can see only the title, it takes me back to the good bad old days at Berkeley and getting tear gassed between classes.

Editado: Abr 7, 2:16 pm

>67 katiekrug: Thanks for the recs, Katie. I've added them to my watch list, although availability on streaming services varies.

>68 quondame: Susan, I'm not sure I see the connection to UC Berkeley (my dad went there too BTW). Are you looking at a different article? See my link in >66 lauralkeet:.

Abr 7, 2:39 pm

>69 lauralkeet: I checked out the "NY Times article on UC" but couldn't read it. UC in my lexicon is University of California and the memories of the 1960s struggles of the Free Speech Movement and other diversions, remains with me.

Abr 7, 3:10 pm

>70 quondame: Got it. Thanks.

Abr 7, 3:14 pm

19. The Book of Form and Emptiness ()

Annabelle and her son Benny are thrown completely off course by the accidental death of husband and father Kenji. Annabelle works from home and Benny is a bit of an outcast at school; without a social support network things begin to fall apart. Annabelle’s grief manifests itself in hoarding behavior. In addition to demonstrating typical early adolescent behaviors like testing boundaries and creating emotional distance from his mom, Benny begins hearing voices from inanimate objects.

Ruth Ozeki introduces a number of colorful supporting characters, including a book that serves as narrator. This provides much-needed objectivity and emotional distance, as well as structure for Annabelle and Benny’s journey through grief and healing, which is anything but linear. I found both Annabelle and Benny annoying at times, but their flaws and idiosyncrasies are essential elements of the story. There were a couple of plot developments that I failed to connect with and didn’t add much to the story, but despite that I found the book hard to put down and zipped through it.

Editado: Abr 7, 4:35 pm

>67 katiekrug: I agree with you on Nights of Cabiria, Katie. A heartbreaker. Before Fellini got weird, he made many fine films in the 50s and early 60s, including
I Vitelloni, La Strada, La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2.

I want to watch Forbidden Games again. It has been many years. I will also seek out The Children are Watching Us, one I have never heard of.

I requested both from the library. 😁

Abr 7, 5:25 pm

We're UC fans too and never miss it. This article by Amol Rajan is on the BBC website at the moment.

Abr 7, 5:47 pm

>73 msf59: We recently watched a couple of those Fellini films, Mark. 8 1/2 was close enough to "getting weird" for me, but there's no doubt he was an artist.

>74 CDVicarage: Oooh thanks for that Kerry! I'm so glad there's someone on the interwebs who makes each episode available on YouTube (and, for some reason, the BBC does not go after them). Amol is an excellent host. He had big shoes to fill and did so quite successfully, while also putting his own stamp on it.

So far Katie and I have been unable to recruit new US viewers. Maybe next season?

Abr 7, 6:17 pm

I finally put my hand on, and started the first book of the Cazalet Chronicles, the series gifted me by a friend years ago, but your enthusiasm this year made me hunt it out of the tbr mountain range Laura. I vaguely know where the rest are, so will have them to hand.

Abr 8, 6:01 am

>76 Caroline_McElwee: *clapping*
I'm so pleased, Caro! I am pretty sure you'll enjoy it. The second book is inching its way up my virtual pile. I had planned to read it in May but I might request it sooner from the library.

Abr 8, 8:29 am

>77 lauralkeet: Was reading til 2am last night, oops. Am at ‘Home Place’ now, reading in café over brunch.

Abr 8, 8:38 am

Abr 8, 8:46 am

Good morning!

We spent a bit of time in the garden yesterday afternoon. Besides planting a bit more arugula, we transplanted some seedlings for various types of flowers into small pots for their next stage of growth. Eventually they will be planted in garden beds.

In reading news, I started The Detective Up Late, the last (for now) Sean Duffy novel. In the evening we caught up on our typical Friday viewing: Have I Got News for You, and Gardeners World.

This morning I'm working a library shift, and then I have a hair appointment in the afternoon. That's just enough to make sure I don't do anything else productive today lol.

Wordle 1,024 3/6


Abr 8, 9:24 am

>72 lauralkeet: I am a little over 300 pages into the book at this point and my feelings on it at the moment are very mixed. I am very curious to see where it is going to end up for me.

Have a marvelous Monday!

Editado: Abr 8, 10:24 am

>78 Caroline_McElwee: And I find I have the late 5th volume too.

Abr 8, 2:17 pm

Hi Laura, all caught up again. Cute pic of Alys and Ellie claiming their space on the sofa. Penny is fond of my reading chair in the library these days.

From your previous thread…I also really liked Chenneville. Jiles is one of those dependable authors for me. So is Ruth Ozeki. I may have liked The Book of Form and Emptiness slightly more than you. Half a star to be exact. ;-)

I look forward to regular gardening reports from you. My plan is to do maintenance and hope for the best. As much as I enjoy being outdoors, these old bones don’t like digging and getting up and down anymore than I have to.

Abr 8, 3:47 pm

Phew! Glad you finally got that laundry room organized!! ; ) And totally agree with your review of The Book of Form and Emptiness -- it was a good read. Happy Monday!

Abr 8, 4:52 pm

When we moved husband & I spent rather longer than it should have swopping the side the tumble dried door opened, such that I can scoop wet washing from one to the other.
It's the little things that just make life a smidge easier. Hope your new laundry room arrangement works out.

Watched the UC final. Our usual routine is to watch until we get one right, then turn off. I got 3, we watched to the end, he got one lucky guess.

Abr 9, 7:28 am

>81 alcottacre: I look forward to further thoughts/reactions, Stasia. I feel like my review didn't really "sell" the book. I always struggle with not giving away too much, and this time that made it hard to describe why the book worked for me.

>82 Caroline_McElwee: Excellent! My library has all five books, and believe it or not they are generally available LOL.

>83 Donna828: Hi Donna! I'm happy you enjoyed the Ozeki as well. I thought her approach was creative and unique. And I'll do my best to keep you all updated on the garden!

>84 Berly: Another Ozeki fan! Hi Kim!

>85 Helenliz: Our arrangement is working out so far, Helen. I agree it's the little things. So far I really like having a bit more storage space. I love your approach to UC. Because we are not watching it live, it's usually the first thing we watch on a Monday evening, like a warm up for some other, longer program to follow.

Editado: Abr 9, 8:01 am

Good morning!

I was on the way home from my hair appointment during the "peak" eclipse time, but there wasn't much to see here. We had less light, but it was more like early evening before sunset, than actual darkness. While I was out, Chris accidentally cut his arm with a garden tool, requiring a trip to urgent care. He's fine but glad he had it looked at rather than just bandaging it up himself (I'm glad too). We celebrated his health with some fro-yo. Then we watched the University Challenge final, which was enjoyable, and started the new Ripley series on Netflix. We really enjoyed the first episode. Reviews have been great; here's one from NPR:
'Ripley' returns in black and white — and is so much better for it

Later this morning I have my knitting group, and then the rest of the day is clear. I have some cleaning to do, and need to buy birthday gifts for a couple of people.

Wordle 1,025 4/6


Abr 10, 8:29 am

Hi all!

We had a great knitting group meeting yesterday. Instead of our usual "knit while discussing a topic" format, we went to the warehouse of Solitude Wool, owned and managed by local women (guild members) who raise rare breed sheep and dye their yarn. We learned about their sheep breeds and the process of creating yarn, which was really interesting. They sell at fiber festivals and farm markets and don’t have a brick & mortar store but we were able to browse their inventory and stock up. Yay!

In the afternoon I did a bit of garden work, trying out our new chipper. We had to go out for some garden supplies and it was such a nice day we stopped at our fave local coffee shop for iced lattes, consumed outdoors. Evening viewing included an episode each of Drive to Survive and Ripley. I didn't get too much reading done yesterday, but I'm enjoying The Detective Up Late.

This morning I have a Guild board meeting over Zoom, and then a clear agenda for the rest of the day although I need to do the grocery list-making and menu planning. It's a bit gray and damp so not sure what we'll get up to.

Wordle 1,026 3/6


Abr 10, 8:51 am

I'm jealous you've gotten to The Detective Up Late before me! I'm waiting for the audio from the library, though I have the e-book sitting on my Kindle.

Abr 10, 9:04 am

>88 lauralkeet: The knitting group outing does sound interesting. There's nothing quite as engaging as listening to someone passionate about their subject.

Abr 11, 7:20 am

>89 katiekrug: I can't believe I got to this one before you did, Katie. I'm enjoying it and am sure you will too.

>90 Helenliz: I was part of a social knitting group for a few years which was a lot of fun. My current knitting group is part of a fiber guild made up of knitters, weavers and spinners and has education as part of its mission. There's still a strong social component, but I've also really enjoyed learning about so many aspects of fiber arts.

Abr 11, 7:30 am

It's Thursday already! This week has gone quickly for me.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. I tackled a small sewing project: shortening a shirt for Chris. It was just a basic T-shirt so all I had to do was cut off a section at the bottom, turn the edge under, and sew all around. But even though I learned to sew when I was young I don't use the sewing machine very often so I always feel a bit apprehensive. But it was fine! Maybe I should sew more? Over the course of the day, the weather improved so I did a bit of late afternoon dabbling in the garden. In the evening we watched an episode each of Deadwood and Happy Valley, both of which were rather intense. I think we'll need to choose something lighter tonight!

This morning I'm going to do the grocery shopping, and then once again my schedule is clear. Yay! I think it might rain in the afternoon which could mean bonus time with The Detective Up Late.

Wordle 1,027 3/6


Abr 12, 8:33 am

Happy Friday!

Yesterday afternoon I finished The Detective Up Late, just as I hoped. I really enjoyed it. Katie insists Adrian McKinty isn't finished with Sean Duffy, although this book ends in a way that could be final if he wanted it to be. My next book will be Michael Cunningham's Day. I read just a few pages last night at bedtime, but was pretty sleepy. Last night's viewing was the Michelangelo Antonioni film, La Notte.

This morning I'm going to a needle felting workshop put on by the Fiber Guild. We're going to learn how to make cute little baby fox. Well, the instructor's photo is cute. No guarantees that mine will be! My afternoon is currently unplanned, except for a bit of laundry. And we need to figure out tonight's dinner, which in Friday fashion hopefully will not involve cooking.

Wordle 1,028 4/6


Abr 12, 12:31 pm

>93 lauralkeet: I hope you enjoy needle-felting! I have a couple of kits laying around but I find it intimidating...too freeform for my skillset!

Abr 12, 2:18 pm

>94 norabelle414: It was a lot of fun, Nora! There were about 10 of us, all inexperienced with needle felting. The instructor did a great job walking us through it. With a bit of experience behind me, I might even try another project on my own one of these days. Here's my little guy (about 6" tall):

Abr 12, 2:18 pm

20. The Detective Up Late ()

Sean Duffy is in his last days of full-time employment with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. After several years as a detective, Duffy plans to work as a reserve 7 days per month until becoming eligible for a full pension. But first, he has one more case to solve: the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl, with evidence that raises the possibility of murder.

Duffy and his team begin in the usual way: interviewing the girl’s family and people who saw her the night she disappeared. Due to a holiday, a few days have passed and the trail is not easy to follow. Lucky for Duffy and team, some critical evidence is discovered by locals and they are soon interviewing suspects. But the path from suspects to arrest is a winding one, as is determining what actually happened to the girl. And as is often the case in these novels, connections emerge which add international intrigue to a “simple” missing persons case.

The novel ends with a tidy conclusion, which would be an acceptable way to wrap up the series. But I’ve heard Adrian McKinty may not be finished with Duffy yet, and that would be perfectly fine with me.

Abr 12, 4:25 pm

>95 lauralkeet: Cute little guy!

Abr 12, 4:30 pm

Love the fox! We have one who seems to live down near the river. Drives Nuala crazy when he emerges while she's in the back yard. She has a "fox" bark, which is different than her "deer" bark :)

Abr 12, 4:30 pm

Cute needle felting! A darling little guy there, Laura.

Abr 12, 6:12 pm

>95 lauralkeet: So cute! Great job!

Abr 13, 6:27 am

>97 quondame:, >98 katiekrug:, >99 vancouverdeb:, >100 norabelle414: Tnanks for all the fox love! It was fun to make. It has a few wonky spots but as a first effort I'm happy with it.

Abr 13, 7:47 am

The White Garden in April

Here's a bit of springtime for you all, taken just yesterday. This is part of the White Garden on the terrace behind our house, although none of the current blooms are truly white. The daffodils are a verrry pale yellow. This week the Viburnum carlesii (Korean Spice) presented us with a burst of pretty pale pink flowers. This bush has been here since we moved in and has such a marvelous scent that last year we added a second one at the other end of this garden.

After yesterday's workshop the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. In the evening we watched Gardeners World and an episode of Ripley, which I highly recommend. It's so creepy and suspenseful, even though I already know the story. I also read a bit more of Day and am starting to get into it now. I haven't mentioned knitting in a while but I'm still working on a summer tee, with most of my knitting done while watching TV.

Today's agenda includes a couple of gardening jobs: planting a row of peas and weeding the strawberry bed. Time and weather permitting I might do a bit more. It's supposed to be pretty windy today so we'll see.

Wordle 1,029 4/6


Abr 13, 8:54 am

That's a lovely garden, Laura. There was a spice bush at a neighbor's house where we used to live, and it smelled wondaful when I walked the dog by it in the spring.

Abr 13, 9:30 am

The White Garden looks lovely!

Abr 13, 12:29 pm

>102 lauralkeet: That is so pretty!

Abr 13, 2:20 pm

>103 dudes22:, >104 katiekrug:, >105 BLBera: Thanks Betty, Katie & Beth.
When we moved here three years ago, besides some azaleas at the front of the house, this was the only garden on the property. It didn't look like much, but it was only March/April so everything was dormant. The Korean Spice was one of the first things to bloom -- a pleasant surprise. When we decided to try for an all-white theme we had to relocate some plants and add others. It's an ongoing process, but that's part of the fun.

Abr 14, 8:19 am

I had to force myself to work in the garden yesterday. The weather was sunny but really windy and not all that warm. Fortunately the two tasks I wanted to get done (planting a row of peas and weeding the strawberry bed) were not very time consuming. And I was done before lunch, which felt like an achievement. I most puttered around in the afternoon. Our neighbor stopped by to talk about greenhouses because they're thinking about getting one. Special bonus: her two sweet little girls (3 yrs and 10 mos old) came with her. After that I settled into some reading time, and the rest of the day/evening passed uneventfully.

Today is supposed to be much warmer, so I'd like to plant the potatoes and do some weeding in the gardens in front of the house. I have a couple of admin-y tasks to take care of too, but nothing pressing so I could also procrastinate. 🤔

Wordle 1,030 4/6


Abr 15, 8:48 am

Happy Monday!

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. In the morning Chris and I tag-teamed on some weeding in the Arrival Court, which had gotten out of hand while our heads were turned. Then in the afternoon we headed out to the Kitchen Garden. He worked on transplanting seedlings into pots and I planted parsnips and potatoes, and then gave all the veg beds a good watering. Ellie and Alys were out there with us and enjoyed a few rounds of chase and then sunned themselves for a while.

Despite all that activity I still snuck in some reading time. Then in the evening we finished the current season of Drive to Survive and watched an ep of The History of Film.

Today's weather is expected to be much like yesterday, but I probably won't take advantage of it. I'm working a library shift this morning, and this afternoon I'm meeting with the Guild member who will take over my Programs Chair role in June. I have a whole list of topics to cover, but no idea how far we'll get today.

Wordle 1,031 5/6


Abr 16, 12:20 am

Laura, I’m starting to read James tonight. I’m happy to send my copy your way when I finish!

Abr 16, 6:57 am

>109 EBT1002: Ellen, that would be amazing! Thank you so much!!

Abr 16, 7:24 am

Yesterday was busy but productive, and my meeting with the future Programs Chair went well. We'll meet a couple more times before she takes the helm in June, but we covered a lot of ground yesterday and I think she'll do well in the role.

I made a pasta dish for dinner that seemed promising: roasted white beans and tomatoes, with garlic and herbs. Unfortunately it didn't turn out well at all. I made this dish before, ages ago, and if it had been horrible I wouldn't have saved it in my Recipe Box. I think the garlic might have been overcooked during the roasting? It just tasted really bitter. It's rare for us to trash a meal but we ended up making sandwiches. Boo.

Last night's viewing included a documentary about the restoration of Knole, Vita Sackville-West's family estate which laws prevented her from inheriting. The house was originally built in the 15th century and significantly remodeled by the Sackvilles in the 17th century. Then, for something completely different, we watched an episode of Deadwood.

Yesterday I also finished reading Day, which needs some reflection before I can review. Then at bedtime I started Marking Time, the second Cazalet novel. It feels like I never left their world ...

Today I have a Zoom meeting in the morning and a medical appointment in the late afternoon. In between we might run over to our local nursery. I've mentioned this place before because not only is it an excellent source for plants, but the owners' labradors were always milling about. However, he sold the business during the off season so the dogs have gone home. That makes me sad, but the previous owner was ready to retire and the new owners have brought the same commitment to the business, but with more energy.

Wordle 1,032 5/6


Abr 16, 7:48 am

Morning, Laura. I love the White Garden. You do such a nice job maintaining it. By the time I finally catch up with you on the Sean Duffy series, he may have another one out.

Abr 16, 10:03 am

>110 lauralkeet: Cool. I’ll keep you posted. I did start it last night.

I got Wordle in 3 today. I’m committing to a week without any referring to the list of already used words (I might cheat if I get to five guesses…).

Editado: Abr 16, 10:20 am

The White Garden is such a lovely idea. I have no idea what the Korean Spice shrub smells like - maybe the Brooklyn Botanical has a sample for me to sniff.

eta: Ah, they have some that bloom in the summer. Good reason for a trip. The website says they are 'clove-like'.

Abr 16, 3:48 pm

>112 msf59: thank you Mark!

>113 EBT1002: Ellen, I really appreciate it.

>114 ffortsa: I hadn’t thought about how to describe the scent Judy, but cloves … yeah I guess so!

Abr 17, 8:58 am

Hiya folks!

We paid a visit to our local nursery yesterday. When we last visited in early March they hadn't really stocked up yet but yesterday it was chock-a-block. We saw a number of things we could use in various spaces, and ultimately decided to focus on a bed that runs right along the front of the house. Last year we removed some azaleas that weren't doing very well there (it's too shady so close to the house), which left us with a bunch of hostas and a lot of empty space. We bought some hellebores, pulmonaria, and bergenia, all perennials with pink or purple blooms. We also want to plant some ferns for height, but they didn't have much in stock but probably will at a later date.

Last night we watched an episode of Ripley. I didn't get much reading done yesterday which kinda bummed me out because I am eager to get fully immersed in Marking Time, the second Cazelets novel.

Today's agenda is wide open. I need to finish up the vacuuming I started yesterday and do the menu planning/grocery list making. We might put the new plants in the ground, but there are some other tasks on our list as well and planting can be put off if need be. And at the moment it's threatening rain. So, who knows.

Wordle 1,033 3/6

I nearly had this in 2, but decided to try another word before using a repeat letter.

Abr 17, 8:59 am

21. Day ()

This novel takes place on three separate days over three years. We meet the characters on April 5, 2019: a couple and their two children, the wife’s brother who lives with them, and the husband’s brother and his partner. None of the adults are living the lives they hoped for; everyone is unhappy to varying degrees. One year later, they are coping with the fear and uncertainty of a global pandemic but the focus is mostly on the characters’ emotional struggles and relationship issues. The virus remains mostly in the background … until it isn’t. By April 5, 2021 their lives have irrevocably changed but the unease and dissatisfaction persists.

Michael Cunningham’s writing is gorgeous, but the characters were shallow. They were unable to empathize with and support one another, and focused more on what they wanted from others than what they were able to give. I never quite understood why this was the case and it left me feeling frustrated.

Abr 17, 9:04 am

>117 lauralkeet: - Sorry you didn't like that one better. I really enjoyed it, no doubt helped by Julianne Moore reading the audio!

Glad you had a good trip to the nursery and found things to keep yourself occupied with in the garden(s) ;-)

Abr 17, 9:37 am

>95 lauralkeet: that's excellent. A couple of my friends do needle felting, I have a flower broach and some penguin christmas decorations. I worry that I'd stab me as well as the felt.

>102 lauralkeet: I like colour themed beds. That's a nice bright one to welcome spring.

>116 lauralkeet: Love hellebores. I have an array in the front garden. they mostly look after themselves., which is good as I'm a rubbish gardener.

Editado: Abr 17, 9:45 am

>118 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. I had high hopes based on your review, and the writing was truly exemplary. It made me feel bad that I didn't like it more. Also, can I just say I'm sick and tired of searching for the correct touchstone?

>119 Helenliz: Re: felting, I absolutely stabbed myself, Helen. More than once! I might have uttered a swear or two. Re: gardening, the white garden is a fun challenge because there are always periods where there isn't a bloom to be found at which point we make a nursery run to see if there's something we could add to fill that gap. And I'm a fan of hellbores for the same reason as you!

Abr 17, 9:46 am

Nice job on today’s Wordle. And gardening! It’s lovely to have spring emerging. Our tulips are about to pop (good for house selling, maybe). The Cazalets series looks interesting. I’m not familiar with it.

Abr 17, 11:08 am

>88 lauralkeet: I am not into knitting at all, but the visit to the women who raise rare breed sheep sounds fascinating to me.

>95 lauralkeet: Aw, he's cute!

>96 lauralkeet: Yeah, one of these days I will get to McKinty's books.

>102 lauralkeet: Love the garden picture! Makes me wish I had something other than black thumbs - I manage to kill even cacti.

>117 lauralkeet: I have that one in the BlackHole, but not very high up there. Sounds like it can wait for a good while longer.

Abr 17, 4:02 pm

>121 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! We're loving the spring weather. I hope the tulips enhance the curb appeal of your place. Cazalet Chronicles is a 5-volume series published in the 1990s and set in England mostly during WW II. Rhian (SandDune) read the first book, The Light Years, a couple months ago and I was interested enough to get my hands on a copy right away. Fortunately my library has all five. Marking Time is the second book. The first two books were adapted for television starring Hugh Bonneville and Leslie Manville among others. We'll probably watch that after I finish Marking Time.

>122 alcottacre: Hi Stasia ... one of the things I've enjoyed about being part of the Fiber Guild is meeting people who do other fibery things besides knitting. Like raising their own sheep. And yes, you must get to McKinty's books! I think you'd enjoy them.

Abr 18, 7:08 am

Confession: I didn't vacuum yesterday. And I'm okay with that!

Instead, we worked on the garden bed in front of the house mentioned in yesterday's post. We placed the hellebores, pulmonaria, and bergenia around the bed (still in their pots) and then realized:
* We had a rogue hellebore in a markedly different shade of pink, a different variety than the others.
* We needed more plants!

We could have just planted what we already had, but because of the rogue hellebore we decided it was worth a return trip to the nursery (it's only 10 minutes away, anyway). The nursery staff allowed us to swap out the hellebore for one of the varieties we'd bought the day before. And then keeping with our pink & purple theme we picked up some brunnera, astilbe, and a couple more hostas. We also bought a few heuchera with deep, almost black purple foliage for some nice contrast. Back home, we placed each pot in the bed and called it a day. Sometime today we'll take a second look and move things around if we want, and then start planting.

After all that we had a cup of tea and I curled up with Marking Time for a satisfying hour of reading. In the evening we started watching the series, Hidden Treasures of the National Trust (on BBC iPlayer if you can access it, and on Daily Motion in the US). The episode followed the restoration of some very old, very significant, works of art and architecture. Just our kind of program.

Ellie had us up verrry early this morning with a bit of an upset tummy. She seems okay now. Today's agenda includes grocery shopping and I have a Guild thing in the afternoon.

Wordle 1,034 6/6

Boo hiss!

Abr 18, 1:37 pm

>95 lauralkeet: Love the new addition to your family Laura.

>102 lauralkeet: That is very pretty.

>117 lauralkeet: We are on the same page re Day Laura, I too was disappointed.

>124 lauralkeet: Glad Ellie has recovered from her tummy upset.

Abr 18, 2:48 pm

Hi Laura, it sounds like you have a wonderful shade garden. i have one too and of course I would much rather be outside digging than inside vacuuming! Have a great day!

Abr 18, 4:35 pm

>125 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caro! I read both your review of Day and Katie's the other day, after I'd finished the book. I knew I'd seen both of them before on your respective threads, but needed to refresh my memory. Both of you made valid points about the novel, but Katie liked it more than you and I did.

Ellie says thanks for the good wishes 😀

>126 mdoris: Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by!! The vacuuming is still not done. I am sure I'll get to it in the next few days, and I'm not even sure why I'm putting it off. Why, for example, am I here on LT instead of vacuuming? It's a mystery ....

Abr 18, 5:25 pm

Hmmm, Laura, I'm afraid I can't solve your vacuuming mystery!

Abr 18, 5:59 pm

Vacuuming must be done on some occasions I suppose - Mike does get that noisy machine out from time to time.

Abr 18, 8:02 pm

>117 lauralkeet: Thanks for your review of Day, Laura. I've read more positive reviews on it, so it's good to get a balance of thoughts on it. I may yet borrow it from the library , but I'm trying to read from the Women's Prize Longlist and am currently reading a book not from the Longlist, so it will be a while until I borrow the book.

I am very excellent at not vacuuming, Laura! Dave usually does it, when he gets around to it.

Abr 18, 11:02 pm

>130 vancouverdeb: "I am very excellent at not vacuuming, Laura! Dave usually does it, when he gets around to it." This describes pretty well how vacuuming gets done at our house too. Craig took it over when I was pregnant, and I never took it back. Our daughter is 43. I do, theoretically, know how to operate the thing, but it hates me.

Abr 19, 5:10 am

We have 2 vacuum cleaners, on upstairs and one downstairs, and my cleaner uses both of them. Me, barely at all. In fact, last time we replaced the downstairs hoover, we asked her which one she'd like - seeing she uses it more than us, we figured it may as well be one she liked!

Abr 19, 6:23 am

>128 mdoris:, >129 quondame:, >130 vancouverdeb:, >131 laytonwoman3rd:, >132 Helenliz: Mary, Susan, Deborah, Linda, and Helen, you guys crack me up. But also, it's wonderful to be in such good company!

There was a time when Chris did the vacuuming, and there have been times when we've had a regular cleaner who took care of it. It's my job now and I don't mind that (he does a lot of other things that I can't or won't do), but I'm also pretty good at overlooking dirt that needs to be dealt with.

Abr 19, 6:36 am

Good morning and happy Friday.

Poor Ellie is still not feeling well. When I posted yesterday morning she seemed okay, but that was short-lived and she still has some sort of gastrointestinal upset this morning. Last night we tried a bland diet of chicken & rice but she didn't keep that down, was up a couple times during the night, and couldn't handle a drink of water this morning. The vet opens at 8am so I'll be calling them.

In the midst of all that I was able to enjoy a bit more of Marking Time, and last night we watched ep 2 of Hidden Treasures of the National Trust, about the homes of Rudyard Kipling and Vita Sackville-West. We visited Vita's Sissinghurst in 2022 and it was interesting to see behind the scenes.

Today's agenda is open, and not sure what the day will bring other than taking care of our sweet pupper.

Wordle 1,035 2/6


Abr 19, 7:55 am

I hope the vet can make Ellie feel better pronto! Poor thing.

Abr 19, 10:07 am

Hi Laura. I hope Ellie feels better soon. "Hidden Treasures of the National Trust" sounds good. I might join you for the final volumes of the Cazalets.

Editado: Abr 19, 11:52 am

Thanks Katie & Beth. We have a vet appointment this afternoon. Ellie has been unusually low-key today, poor girl.

Beth, you are most welcome to join me in reading the Cazalets. I'm loving Marking Time. It opens at the start of WW II and after a chapter that sets the stage for all of the characters, the narrative is taken up by the eldest children from each of the three families -- all teenage daughters. It's an interesting point of view because they are grown up enough to understand some of what's going on both in their family and with the war, but still shielded from most of the serious discussions held by their parents. So they only know what they know, and the reader has to make inferences and see how they play out. Brilliant.

Today's weather has been gray, damp, and cold-ish, so no gardening for me. However ... drum roll ... the vacuuming is done! Woo hoo. 🤣

Abr 19, 6:13 pm

I might go wild this afternoon and get the mini vacuum off the wall and vacuum up some crumbs from underneath a chair this afternoon. I hope Ellie is feeling better after her vet visit.

Abr 19, 6:57 pm

Best wishes for Ellie and getting her back to happy.

Abr 19, 10:48 pm

Hi Laura - I have the last two Cazelets to read, so I will join in when you get to them. It's cold and windy here; I was almost blown off my feet today.

Ontem, 7:26 am

>138 vancouverdeb: I hope you enjoyed your vacuuming, Deborah. LOL.

>139 quondame: Thanks Susan. All is well. Update coming up next.

>140 BLBera: I'll keep you posted on my Cazalet reading plans, Beth. My initial idea was to read one every other month to space them out and savor them. That would mean reading book 3 in June, book 4 in August, and book 5 in October.

Ontem, 7:38 am

Seed starting in the greenhouse

Spring has sprung in the greenhouse. In early March we began starting seeds, mostly in 72-cell trays. By now the seedlings are ready to move to pots where they will grow a bit more before being moved to beds. For the veg garden,, we started tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. Everything else is sown directly into beds. The rest of the greenhouse plants are annuals or perennials, like zinnias, cosmos, salvia, dahlia, etc.

Ellie is doing much better this morning. The vet did some bloodwork and an x-ray. The bloodwork showed the possibility of giardia (a parasite), and fortunately the x-ray showed no signs of blockage. They sent us home with several medications (anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, and antibiotic) to administer over the next few days. We'll also be feeding her a bland diet of chicken & rice, gradually mixing in her kibble. She slept well last night, her first meal this morning and a nice long drink, and is much more herself.

Most of yesterday was spent keeping an eye on Ellie, and by that I mean curling up near her with a book while she snoozed the day away. So on the plus side, I read quit a but of Marking Time. But after feeling stressed about Ellie most of the day, we were happy to spend the evening snuggling with the dogs on the sofa, watching Gardeners World and Ripley.

Today's agenda is pretty open until evening, when we are meeting friends at a restaurant for dinner. The weather isn't great, but it's not raining so we'll probably be outside catching up on some gardening jobs.

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Ontem, 7:55 am

I'm glad Ellie is already feeling better. Is she good about taking pills? Nuala gobbles them right down. Dogs are so much easier than cats!

Ontem, 9:14 am

Thanks Katie. This was our first time giving Ellie a pill and she was a champ. Of course, wrapping it in deli turkey probably helped. She is a very food-motivated dog so I'm not sure that was necessary but I wanted to start off on a positive note. I agree dogs are much easier than cats with pills!

Ontem, 10:20 am

>141 lauralkeet: Well, since I lurk here, I will keep posted about the Cazelets...Also, I want to see what you're doing in the garden.

Ontem, 10:37 am

>123 lauralkeet: Thanks for the info. I like Hugh Bonneville. I’ll see if my library has the first book.

Ontem, 11:46 am

I love everything that's going on here, Laura, especially Ellie's perking up! Good Dog, Ellie!

I read a couple or three of the Cazelets and then got side-tracked. I should start over because I really liked them. I still think I preferred Mary Hocking, but MH doesn't last forever.

Ontem, 1:05 pm

Poor Ellie! Glad she seems to be on the mend. Does she drink from streams or puddles on her walkies? One of our dogs picked up an intestinal parasite that way years ago. One of our favorite strolls was along a little creek, and Callie always wanted to go wading, so naturally there was lapping up as well. Almost impossible to prevent it, unless you stringently avoid outside water sources when walking 'em.

Ontem, 1:40 pm

Glad to hear Ellie's feeling better.

Cat's taking pills is a different thing entirely.

Ontem, 3:23 pm

>145 BLBera: Excellent. And thanks!

>146 EBT1002: I think you'd enjoy the books, Ellen. I hope your library has them.

>147 LizzieD: Thanks for sending good vibes to Ellie, Peggy. And please feel free to join in on Cazalet books 4 & 5. And how is it I've not read Mary Hocking?!

>148 laytonwoman3rd: Hi Linda, we're pretty sure Ellie picked up her bug from something she ingested outdoors. The squeamish may want to avert their eyes at this point ... Recently she became quite skilled at finding poop along the side of the road where we take our walks. We've been trying to manage that but ... it's difficult.

>149 Helenliz: OMG Helen, that's too funny! We don't have cats now but we've had several over the years and I can totally relate.