When I taught Sixth Grade, there were times in the afternoon that I would occasionally bag the lessons I had planned and call for a catch-up time, which my students affectionately named “Ketchup time.” Life and responsibilities gets overwhelming sometimes and it’s good to remember to give yourself a break from what you think you should be doing and just give yourself (or your students, in that case) a gift of time to catch up with yourself. The students would cheer when Ketchup time was called, and would finish assignments, read a good book, draw, create art projects, or watch what was happening out the window. Those were many of the happiest times in my classroom over the years, for the teacher and for the students!
I am so far behind on my reviews of books I’ve been reading! So I’m going to give myself some “Ketchup time.” I’ll write reviews, or make a list of books I’ve read during the pandemic (without the pressure to review them), or just spend some time looking out the window. So please bear with me as I Ketchup with myself and my blog. Reviews will be coming.
Book blogs have changed a lot in thirteen years, but the love of reading and sharing with fellow readers hasn’t changed. You have all expanded my world exponentially!
I am grateful for all of you, my blogging/reading friends.
I must start this post with an apology for disappearing into silence on this blog. April and May have been a particularly busy time for me as well as an emotional time. (We call May our “tender-hearted month” in my family.) Unfortunately, once I get off track with my posting, I find it hard to get “back in the groove” again. But I have continued with my reading, even being able to read on the porch again when time has allowed, and I am here now to say HI and to reflect on my May reading.
May has been a completely enjoyable reading month. I’ve squeezed in as much reading as I can in between multiple trips to Washington State helping our daughter move and get settled into her new home; helping my husband with his shed building project in our backyard (I’ve always been his construction assistant); trips to the State Legislature with my Moms Demand Action group; and my continuing efforts to get the yard and garden in shape (it still feels like a wilderness area!). I’ve read mostly mysteries, and all have been very enjoyable. I am also half-way through the audiobook of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and am almost finished reading Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October which I wanted to read before Hubby and I watch the movie again (one of our favorites). I also downloaded the audiobook version (free) of the Mueller Report and am very slowly making my way through it. I feel it is a very important work to read, no matter how long it takes me.
Busy, busy time…and as my friend, Les (Coastal Horizons) said, “Who knew retirement would be so busy!”
Here are the covers of my completed May reads.
Today this blog turns twelve! Thank you, dear friends and followers, for visiting and reading my varied thoughts about books and the importance of reading in my life. Thank you for your thoughtful responses and caring support. And thank you for sharing your book love with me!
I appreciate each one of you!
There has been a lot of LIFE happening in the last few months, some of it difficult and some of it absolutely lovely but also time-consuming. As a result I have gone missing from my blog once again! But I have continued with my reading, just not with writing about it, and have quietly visited many of your blogs when time allowed. But after meeting two lovely blogging friends for lunch yesterday, Les @Coastal Horizons, and Kay @Kay’s Reading LIfe, I am inspired again to return to my writing and sharing about books and life. Thank you, Les and Kay! But before I tell you what books I’ve been enjoying (I promise another post devoted to the books I’ve read since April), I must tell you what LIFE has been like around here recently.
The major focus for me in the last few months has been my mother’s health. Those of you who have followed me over the years, know that my mother is a great reader, my mentor and best friend, and my reading buddy. Since we live in different states, this blog was started as another way to communicate with her and share what we are reading. My amazing and resilient mother is turning 99 years old in August! And she continues to be an avid reader. We always talk about books during our daily phone conversations, but recently she has begun to have some more serious health problems, so we fully realize that these days and our daily conversations are precious.
In the last six months, I have made a number of special trips to see her. On one trip, I took my daughter, and then a few months later, I took my son and grandson to see her. Each trip was wonderful and full of special memories. My husband and I visited her in May, and we are heading out next week for another, longer, visit with her. My brothers and their wives will all be there as well, so it will truly be a celebration of family and an early birthday celebration for her. She and I will definitely be talking about books during that visit and I will treasure those moments.
The other focus in the last few months has been on my garden! Yes, gardening is definitely therapy for anxiety and anticipated loss, but it is also my new passion. My husband, my daughter, and I all share in the work on these garden projects, and it’s been a delightful way to spend our time!
The garden project we’ve been working on (started last Fall) is my “Butterfly Garden,” a project inspired by the butterfly garden built by the 2nd graders in my school before I retired. We have turned a narrow piece of our property, on the south side of the garage and along the alley way, into a beautiful garden! We can’t see it from the house, so we’ve put chairs out there so we can sit and watch the flowers grow, the bees do their thing, and a few butterflies that are finding their way to a place designed specifically for them. I hope you enjoy this slideshow of the butterfly garden as it has progressed!
This week, Hubby and I are vacationing on the Oregon coast to celebrate my upcoming birthday. It’s been a nice trip although January weather on the coast has been gray, rainy and windy. That’s okay with us, though, because it is just so beautiful here!
But the best thing about this trip happened this morning when we visited my long-time blogging friend, Les (@Coastal Horizons) and her husband, Rod, and her mother, Andrea. It’s an amazing experience to finally meet in person someone you’ve gotten to know quite well online over a 10-year period of time! It was a very special visit for me!
A wonderful dream: I would just love to travel the world to meet all of my book blogging friends!
Happy New Year, dear friends! I am so happy to leave 2017 behind and make the great leap into 2018! I am looking forward to my 2018 reading, and am planning on taking on some longer books that have been waiting on my bookshelves forever.
There are a few reading “resolutions” I’m going to make for 2018. One is to read at least 10 of the classics on my Classics Club list of 50 books to read in 5 years. I’m also going to focus on my TBR pile of already owned books. To help with motivation and accountability, I’ve decided to join Adam’s (@roofbeamreader) TBR Pile Challenge. I will post about it shortly.
I plan to blog as often as I can, knowing that when the weather warms up and I can get out into the garden or work on my training for 5k races, I won’t have as much time to sit in front of the computer. It’s funny how at this stage of life (retirement), I absolutely love being outdoors and am spending much more time out there than I have since I was a child! It feels like a really healthy thing to do…and it’s fun!
I’m also looking forward to seeing what your 2018 plans are and what books you choose for your first reads of this new year.
Happy reading, dear friends!
My blogging dropped off the radar again during September and October, but my reading continued! Life was rich during those months with family and many outdoor activities. Our Grandson and his mother were able to resume normal life again after the awful fire in the Columbia River Gorge was *mostly* contained. My daughter and I traveled to Utah to visit my 98-year-old mother. I spent a lot of time outdoors in our beautiful autumn weather either walking or gardening! I participated in three 5k races (walking, not running since my knee injury last year). Our gardening project of preparing and planting a Butterfly Garden took a tremendous amount of time and energy. So when coming inside from all my outside activities, it just felt good to sit in the recliner with my feet up and read a good book. My blog posts are long overdue, but I’m here to catch up a bit and share with you my reading enjoyment of the last few months.
Books read in September and October:
My Favorite Autumn Read:
I really enjoy reading each of these books, but I particularly enjoyed the little book, A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr. It was short, beautifully written, and very moving!
My Least Favorite Autumn Read:
Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for this one, but my least favorite Autumn read was Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey! This is the only Jane Austen I haven’t loved, and I’m not sure exactly why! I’ll have try it again, perhaps in the wintertime, so that I can figure out what it is that bothers me about it and why I don’t love it like her other works.
Rereading the Harry Potter Series:
I am loving this re-read of the entire Harry Potter series!! It will take me a long time to complete this project because I’m just reading a little bit each day, enjoying immersing myself in that magical world, not hurrying through it at all.
Favorite Quotes from my Autumn Reading:
“But why’s she got to go to the library?” “Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”
~from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling
I leaned back on my elbows and basked in the warming spring sun. There was a curious peace in this day, a sense of things working quietly in their proper courses, nothing minding the upsets and turmoils of human concerns. Perhaps it was the peace that one always finds outdoors, far enough away from buildings and clatter. Maybe it was the result of gardening, that quiet sense of pleasure in touching growing things, the satisfaction of helping them thrive.
~from Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon