Read it Again, Ma’am

I read all the time. If I could no longer read for some reason I’m sure I’d wither away and die. Oh sure, I could listen to books on tape, and I suppose I could make do, but there’s something magical about the way a reader interacts with a book that a recording can’t replicate.

My taste these days runs to science fiction/fantasy, but I’m always looking for some new delicacy regardless of genre. And then there are my favorites. These are books I’ve read more than once, and for someone like me who’s always looking for the next literary thrill this repeat reading is the highest compliment I can pay a book.

So what select books are among my repeats?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is number one. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve delved into the world of Scout Finch, and I read it at least once a year in the fall.

2) Stephen King’s, The Stand, is a close second. The epic tale of good versus evil still gives me chills, and I become suspicious of any sniffle or cough, certain that Captain Trips is about to wipe out most of humanity.

3) A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, comes in third, and I can’t really say why. There’s something about this coming of age story that draws me in. My heart aches for these boys on the brink of manhood and all of the pitfalls awaiting them. If I pick up my well worn copy when I’m dusting or otherwise moving stuff around I can’t help but begin reading it again.

4) I’ve read all but one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series multiple times, having read the series from the beginning every time a new book in the series was released. So I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seven times, while I’ve only read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows once.

I’ve recently added a new book to those deemed worthy of a rereading. This book, The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig, is the first book that comes to mind when a friend asks for a recommendation. So when I didn’t have a new book in the queue, I thought it might be time to remember why I recommend it so often.

The Whistling Season is set in Montana in 1909. A widower with three sons takes on a housekeeper whose ad, “Can’t cook, but doesn’t bite” intrigues him. The widower and his sons get much more than they bargained for when Rose and her brother, Morrie come into their lives.

This book is an homage to education and the one room school house, and to a time when life was a bit slower, but no less complicated than it is today. The language is incredible and the story so compelling I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reread it.

Those are mine. What books have you read repeatedly? I’m always looking for my next favorite. Looking forward to suggestions.

Peace, people!

Not So Over It

I loved this piece by wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com

Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

The other day I hijacked responded to a comment on someone else’s blog- because I don’t only give my opinion on my blog, but on other blogs as well.  The post was about how we should choose to be happy, and work towards that- a sentiment I highly endorse.  A reader commented “How do I get over my ex boyfriend” (which really didn’t correspond to the blog, but I felt compelled to butt in)  I responded, “You may never get over your ex.”

You may never get over an ex.

Now- what does this mean?

Some people enter your life, your brain, your soul.  They become a piece of you- their essence is tattooed onto your heart.

Now this is something coming from a non-romantic curmudgeon like me.  First, you find out I believe in love at first sight.   Now I think you might not get over an ex. …

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Newlywed Sandwich

My husband, Studly Doright, enjoys recalling our early days of matrimony when his young bride (me) tried to settle into the life of a domestic goddess. Studly was a hard working young man, in a blue collar job with a natural gas company, and I was clueless.

On Studly’s first day back to work after our honeymoon, I arose early to prepare his lunch. I’d never prepared a lunch for anyone other than myself, but how hard could it be? I spread two slices of white bread with a smear of mayonnaise, a piece of bologna, a bright yellow square of American cheese, and added a baggie filled with Studly’s favorite Cheetos. I was pleased with the way his lunch looked as I loaded his manly lunch pail and sent him to work with a smile and a kiss.

When my husband came home from work that afternoon he politely told me that his lunch wasn’t quite big enough. So, on day two of making his lunch I put not one, but two pieces of bologna on his bread and added a few more Cheetos to the baggie. Again, I admired the way his lunch looked and sent him on his way with a sweet smile and a kiss.

Studly came home from work that afternoon, took me by the hand, looked me in the eye and said, “Honey, I’m going to make my own lunches from now on.”

Apparently I was starving him to death. Even forty-one years after those first days of marriage Studly remembers how he almost cried upon seeing how paltry his lunch looked. I’d like to think I’d do better now, but he’s not taking any chances.

Thanks to https://nonsmokingladybug.wordpress.com/ for the inspiration for this post.

Not Going to Complain

Driving home to Doright Manor from a shopping expedition to nearby Tallahassee my car began to be pelted by a storm of love bugs. Within just a couple of miles of home I experienced limited visibility due to the amount of bug guts on my windshield. I began mumbling all sorts of nasty aspersions on these bugs, their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring. My rant became pretty colorful.

Then I realized that I was driving on dry pavement and that I’d have electricity and air conditioning and hot water waiting for me at home. I was pretty certain my roof would be intact and my floors uncluttered by flood debris, so I shut my mouth. Many of my friends and family members in the Houston, Texas, area are dealing with what’s being called the biggest weather catastrophe in Texas’ history, and they have none of the amenities I take for granted.

Studly Doright and I have firsthand experience with hurricanes and their aftermath. We know how it feels to be without power for days, how isolating and scary it can be, but we have never experienced what these folks in Houston are dealing with. So if I have to deal with a few love bugs, so be it. I won’t be complaining.

If you’d like to help those in Houston, here’s a link to the Red Cross. https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey?scode=RSG00000E017&utm_campaign=Harvey&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_o7NBRDgARIsAKvAgt3pGGD9qntAtz_SL6RdN7hu8F4u44fn3xna5pet211SoX2c6zS0-uwaAl9mEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CJOSm8vo-tUCFSZmwQodlYgKkw

Prayers are appreciated, as well. Peace, people.

Gathering Storm

We watched clouds gather

Towering over us all

Menacing columns

Shelter from chaos

Hold tightly to those you love

As the storm rages

Tides will rise and fall

Through every challenge, seek light

Never doubt your strength

We had quite a few family members and friends in the path of Hurricane Harvey this weekend. I’ve sent up countless prayers and will continue doing so, but know that prayers aren’t enough unless we help out in material ways. I hate the feeling of helplessness such storms bring.

http://m.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricaneharvey/article/Hurricane-Harvey-How-to-help-victims-of-the-12003372.php

Succulent Succulents

I had a wonderful time hanging out at Tallahassee Nursery yesterday. I’d signed up for a workshop on the planting and care of succulents, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I might’ve even learned a thing or two.

Here was the first container I selected, but it didn’t have a hole in the bottom to facilitate drainage, so I had to find a hole-y one.

The event was well attended with long tables holding all the requisite supplies set up under sprawling oak trees:

After selecting my plants I arranged them in my hole-y planter and looked around the delightful grounds of Tallahassee Nursery with friends. That’s Julie admiring a gazing ball.

We went for lunch afterwards and then I headed home to Doright Manor. Here is the end product of my workshop experience. It wasn’t the prettiest arrangement created, but it’s mine. Now all I have to do is keep the plants alive.

Peace, people!

Succulents

On the spur of the moment I registered to attend a workshop offered by Tallahassee Nursery on planting and caring for succulents. My understanding is that for a small fee ($5.00) participants will come away with a planter and a few choice plants. Today (Saturday) is the big day. I’ll take some photos of my finished project and publish them tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m savoring the way the word “succulent” rolls off the tongue in a most satisfying manner. I do not have a green thumb, but I’m hoping my succulents will have

a forgiving nature if I croon to them:

“Succulents, oh succulents, your leaves aren’t all that opulent.

At least you are not truculent, and to me you’re almost heaven sent.”

Hope the plants appreciate how difficult that was to rhyme.

Peace, people!

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

By Leslie Noyes

We serve as witness

No more, no less, bearing weight

Of life’s existence

That’s why we remain

When those we love cease to be

We serve as witness

When my time here ends

Serve as my witness; I lived

I can ask no more