Friday, October 30, 2009

Never Too Busy for Books

Had a wonderful afternoon at the library. Although I recently completed my goal to read 25 library books during this year, this doesn't mean I'm not up for enjoying more as the year winds up in a couple of months.

I walked through the doors and saw the library's new acquisitions sitting on the 'look at me' shelf. One book that caught my eye (even if it is a little early) was The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere. I haven't read anything of hers before. According to the inside cover, this novel that 'reveals how the greatest gifts in our lives are sometimes discovered beneath the biggest boulder in the road.' I'm hoping for something warm and cozy.

Next....I'm hooked and so I went in search of another children's adventure novel by Madeleine L'Engle. Many Waters is a story about 'run-of-the-mill' twins in the extraordinary Murry family. Nothing especially interesting has ever happened to Sandy and Dennys. Nothing, that is, until the bitter cold afternoon when, fooling around in their parents' lab, they type on the new computer: TAKE ME SOMEPLACE WARM, SOMEPLACE WARM AND SPARSELY POPULATED. And tessering across time and space, Sandy and Dennys are suddenly in a harsh desert land where, if they believe in unicorns, they can find unicorns..."

Then I followed my nose up and down a few other aisles and something by Valorie Burton caught my eye. Wait a minute, I recognize that name. I signed up for her informative and motivational e-mails a while ago. She's a personal life coach and I've always enjoyed her timely advice and encouragement. So I added to my growing pile her copy of How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most.

I don't know about you, but I'm often drawn to books by their front covers. So when I found this book with a fifties style dress on the cover that has cut-out tabs for paper dolls, I had to pick it up. (I loved playing with paper dolls when I was a girl!) Author Penelope Lively has written a fiction novel entitled Making It Up. She writes a story about her life as she imagined it might have turned out if she'd made different choices and experienced other circumstances. Mmm ... gotta add that to my growing armload.

And that's my haul for this week. Now comes the hard part -- which one do I start first?

Wishing you a great day,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reading Stories by Madeleine L'Engle

"The most memorable books from our childhood are those that make us feel less alone, convince us that our own foibles and quirks are both as individual as a fingerprint and as universal as an open hand." Anna Quindlen, from A Wrinkle in Time 

As it snows outside today, we're nestled inside where we're engrossed in some fun children's books from the local library. I recently read A Wrinkle In Time, written in the early 1960's by Madeleine L'Engle, which is a fascinating tale of "adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem."

Just in case you're wondering what a tesseract is a wrinkle in time. Can't tell you more.

Now I'm reading the sequel A Wind in the Door. It's a great autumn read for the story takes place in November. "(When) Meg comes home from school, Charles Wallace tells her he saw dragons in the twin's vegetable garden. That night Meg, Calvin and C.W. go to the vegetable garden to meet the Teacher (Blajeny) who explains that what they are seeing isn't a dragon at all, but a cherubim named Proginoskes. It turns out that C.W. is ill and that Blajeny and Proginoskes are there to make him well - by making him well, they will keep the balance of the universe in check and save it from the evil Echthros. Meg, Calvin and Mr. Jenkins (grade school principal) must travel inside C.W. to have this battle and save Charles' life as well as the balance of the universe." excerpt from

As a child I was an avid reader and I loved stories like this where the characters ventured into places and experiences I was far too timid in real life to even dream about.  I loved and admired their boldness and courage, and quite happily lived their adventures from the safety of our cozy living room couch or my little bedroom.

Part of the warmth I feel when I read these stories is because they stoke up memories long forgotten from my elementary school days. Good school days with many happy memories and feelings of being safe and cozy inside a classroom with large, long windows, images of big chalky blackboards with rows of alphabet cards tacked along the top ridge, walls full of colourful artwork or coloured leaves pressed between waxed paper.

And don't forget the important part ... the shelves in the classroom lined with dozens of inviting books, all ready and waiting for free reading time. Not to mention the utter bliss of 'checking' a book out for home time. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy ..............

Funny, I don't recall reading these particular stories when I was a much younger person, but if they were available in our little school library, I probably did. I do know I'm sure enjoying them all these many years later.

It's never too late to catch up on all the reading we missed in our childhood. I'm sure glad of that. These two Wrinkle books are a set of five in the series.

Wishing you some happy free reading time,

Monday, October 26, 2009

We're Back!

Spokane is lovely city to visit. We enjoyed a wonderful few days away -- we had gorgeous weather, got to spend time with a great company of people at a conference, and got to do a wee bit of sight-seeing too.

It seems everyone around here at home missed me ... I missed them too. Miss Kitty was so excited when I plopped my luggage down at the front door that she ran all over the house like an excited puppy. Although Hubby might not have expressed his joy quite in the manner of Kitty, he was glad to see me too!

Now that I'm back, and we're nearing the end of the month, it means I'll be busy over the next few days working away on my clients' newsletters. But I'll be around to visit you dear blogging friends soon.

Wishing you a beautiful week,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orange Kitten Peering In My Window

The weather's been warm and autumnal, which means our neighbourly Orange Kitten has been venturing forth to visit again.

The other day, she met us on our morning walk. And, then recently she came into the backyard, where she found a sunny spot on a patio chair. Until she realized that if she jumped up on the BBQ lid, she could peer into our kitchen window, meow pathetically, and look most forlorn. She's a good little actress! It was hard to get a good photo through the window glass, but for those of you who ask about her, here are a few pics.

Our own Miss Kitty was not amused, so there was some general complaining and genteel hissing going on at the time, nothing too serious. Orange Kitten just wants to play ... well, and eat snacks too. She's always up for snacks. But then, aren't we all?

So, here's wishing you a most pleasant day! Naps, snacks, and lots of pets from your favourite caregiver! Sounds purr-fect!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Simply Sunday: Make Us Instruments


LORD, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;

where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'This And That' Kind of Day


Here is my day at a glance:

It's been snowing and blowing. Now I want to dust off Christmas movies and other cozy videos like You've Got Mail, Wind in the Willows, Meet Me In St. Louis with Judy Garland, just to name a few.

Making homemade soup for lunch. I started with my own chicken broth and then added: a can of red kidney beans, kernel corn, some grated zucchini, a chopped fresh tomato, 2-3 cups of Clamato juice, and for seasoning, salt, pepper, and cumin. I let it simmer about 30 minutes. It was very tasty, if I do say so myself!

Visiting with my dear 92-year-old father-in-law, who came yesterday to stay with us until the end of the month. This is the man who still races in World Seniors Games, and just a couple of years ago ran at the World Seniors Games in Italy. I pray my hubby takes after him for longevity and good health!!!

Reading my way through these books: Agatha Christie's A Pocketful of Rye, A Cellist in Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, and The Professor's House by Willa Cather.

I just looked out the window -- it's snowing again, which makes it a perfect evening for sitting by the fireplace later tonight.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Old Novel by Willa Cather

I popped out to do some banking this morning and was pleasantly surprised to find a display of used books on a table at the bank. It was for a charity fundraiser. Of course I had to take a look... for you never know what treasure could be hidden amongst the rest of those dog-eared penny thrillers.

Imagine then how delighted I was to find a old novel by Willa Cather. I first read about Miss Cather in the Victoria magazine years ago. I don't recall ever reading anything by her, but I always wanted to, so for a dollar, here was my chance to add The Professor's House, written in 1925, to my ever-growing pile of books to read.
And, since it's Tuesday, here's a quote from the book to go along with Teaser Tuesdays:
"On this September morning, however, St. Peter knew that he could not evade the unpleasant effects of change by tarrying among his autumn flowers. He must plunge in like a man, and get used to the feeling that under his work-room there was a dead, empty house. He broke off a geranium blossom and with it still in his hand went... ."
Wishing you a beautiful day,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grace Isn't...

"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant
before receiving a meal.
It's a way to live."
~ Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

Today we're enjoying turkey leftovers.
Happy Day to you all!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Three Day Autumn?

Well, I must say that was a short season. Let's see, we had summer weather until the end of September, then a few cooler, more colourful days that felt like autumn last week, and now yesterday, we woke up to wintry conditions, including icy roads, snow blowing everywhere, and winds that bite your nose and cheeks with a vengeance.

So we're hunting up winter coats and gloves, not to mention cozy slippers and long sleeved sweaters. Ah, but that's okay. I like cozy slippers and sweaters. And, it's good weather for hot apple cider, not to mention sitting down to my mom's homemade sauerkraut potato soup for lunch.

BTW, according to Ambrose Bierce, a sweater is a garment a child wears when its mother feels chilly.

On that note, I wish you a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Read Your Own Books

As the year starts to turn the corner on the last season, I'm well aware that I've still got a couple dozen books to finish for the Read Your Own Books Challenge. Thought I'd include a few of my coffee table books in the mix.

Let's see...there's a gorgeous art book by Trisha Romance, a book about Sir Winston Churchill's life as a painter written by his daughter Mary Soames, the English Country Style decorating book by Mary Gilliant, a book of photography with the Hubbles Space Telescope, (snuck that one from Rick's side of the bed), Mary Englebreit's Outdoor Companion, an artsy book about Kitchens, and the sweet Asleep in the Sun book of photos of kitties sleeping in cozy spots in Greece.

If I keep adding to the reading pile that's towering on my side of the bed, soon I'll have to crawl in from the other side. But what pleasure there is to snuggle in with a good book, a warm kitty on my lap, and one dear snoozing hubby on a chilly autumn evening.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More Time Thoughts

I am not sure why time seems to be a theme that comes up in my mind more often these days. Perhaps as I get older, there is that sense of dawning that the number of our days is not a limitless, never ending supply.

And so, just as we take more care with our water supply during drought times, counting each drop as dear, so to my hours and days and weeks become more precious as another one slips into history. Which makes me want to live life more abundantly and joyfully and lovingly than ever before.

I just started reading this beautiful copy of Keeper of the Springs, Making Home the Place for Which You're Longing by Ingrid Trobisch (1997).

If you've been wondering sometimes how to shape your life so that what matters to you has a solid and safe place in your world, Ingrid Trobisch shares some beautiful insights about becoming the keeper of the springs of family, heart, and hearth. Here's a peek:

"... The surrounding estate of green fields has been divided now. But each plot of two to three acres is studded by huge ancient trees with sprawling branches. When I purchased the home from Mrs. Crighton, my childhood teacher, she said, "I will sell you my house if you promise to do one thing every morning."
"What's that?" I asked.
"Stop whatever you're doing at ten o'clock....go sit on the front porch or backyard swing and just listen to the birds."

Happy Day!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bright Monday Morning

There are souls in this world
which have the gift of finding joy everywhere
and of leaving it behind them when they go."
~ Frederick Wm. Faber

Although it was a cool and damp weekend -- one perfect for hibernating indoors where all was cozy and comforting smells wafted from the kitchen -- this Monday morning beams bright and beautiful and alive with possibilities.

I didn't get much sleep in the night, but rather than regretting having eyeballs that wouldn't stay closed at two in the morning, I was delighted to see not only night skies bright with moonlight, but to find moonbeams spilling all over our bedroom floor. Very cozy.

Wishing you joy everywhere you go and may its fragrance lift weary hearts wherever you've been. And if you're the one with a weary heart, then I pray someone crosses your path and spills their joy on you!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Simply Sunday: The Prayer

Kathy Hillacre /

Do you ever feel that Someone bigger than yourself sometimes leads you to certain books or sites or places? I felt this way when I 'happened' upon Andrea Ross singing one of my favourite songs on Youtube the other day. She has a lovely voice, and I find it very moving as she sings The Prayer.

Wishing you a peaceful Sunday!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

Have you noticed that days are slipping by like beads off a broken chain? It's Monday and then it's Friday. It's January and then it's December. It's 2000 and then it's 2009.

It seems more is going on than just the clocks changing back and forth each Spring and Fall. Maybe when we mess with daylight savings time, the universe's timekeepers are foolin' with us too.

Years ago a friend of my mother's used to quip... "Well, it's Monday, the week's almost gone". As kids we'd think that was so funny.

More recently my cousin mentioned that she now suspects someone is stealing weeks from each month. We have the first week and the last week, and somehow the middle two have disappeared (maybe they go where dryer socks go).

Perhaps we should ask for discounts on our Daytimers, because we don't need all those pages for the little binder anymore!

Haha, we're just feeling silly today and we're just foolin' around. But do I hope you will make lots of time to drink tea with your friends, snuggle warm kitties and fat puppies, kiss sweet grand-baby cheeks, and other important stuff like that. The rest won't matter so much in 20 years, which is where we're headed towards in an awful big hurry. My advice? Make the most of those 'two' weeks we have this month!

Happy Day!

Friday, October 02, 2009

All Things English

Ever since I can remember, I have been smitten with all things English: English country gardens, rambling old estate homes, afternoon tea, British Royalty, William Wordsworth, Royal Albert china, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, English Country or Victoriana style, James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, to name a just a few.

I think the romance started when, as a young teen, I first read Victoria Holt's Mistress of Mellyn, Wilkie Collin's Woman in White, and Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, not to mention everything Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.

You can imagine then, why I was delighted to learn there is a new movie about Queen Victoria. Here is the link to the trailer for The Young Victoria -- it looks wonderful! Can't wait to watch it.

Ta for now!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Outing To The Children's Library

I ventured into the children's section of the library yesterday afternoon. I wasn't sure what I was looking for --- nothing in particular --- but with the feeling of autumn well upon us, the cool blustery day with leaves a-flyin', it all reminded me of school days as a child.

How exciting it had been to move from grade to grade every September, anticipating not only the exciting new readers and boxes of crayons, but the library books housed at the back of the class. That, truly, was the best part. I couldn't wait for the teacher to say we were allowed to check one out and take it home to read! Oh my, what a joy!

So, wandering the aisles, I felt a little nostalgic as I browsed through books all crinkly in their plastic coverings. I checked out two children's books: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and Babe, The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. I've never read either.

Plus, I bumped into DVD's of the wonderful award-winning series from the legendary Cosgrove Hall Productions of Kenneth Graham's Wind in the Willows. The kid in me loves watching Badger and Mole, Ratty and Toad, not to mention the rascally Weasels (who are always up to no good).

It was a delightful way to spend a little time this week!

Sending you happy thoughts,