Category Archives: Blogging

The Month of May

Dear 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.

 

Thank You

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!

 

Blogging, Friends, and Lots of Life

Book blogging buddies

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!

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A Special Visit

A panorama of the view from our hotel…

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!

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!

Painting by Charles James Lewis. “Reading by the Window, Hastings.”

Autumn Reading

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

A Summer of Reading

Woman Reading, by Frederick Childe Hassam

For me, this has been a summer of reading! While my blogging lagged, my reading continued and has been a real pleasure. I often copy down quotes that resonate with me from the books I’m reading, so I thought I’d share with you a few of those summer favorites so you can see where my reading journey has taken me.

“The house was refreshingly peaceful, and I pottered about enjoying my leisure and solitude. It is deeply satisfying to me, after spending so much of my time among a number of energetic young people, to hear the clink of a hot coal and the whisper of flames  in my own chimney, the purring of Tibby delighting in company, and the chiming of the clock on the mantelpiece.”
~ from Storm in the Village, by Miss Read

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“Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
~ from The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

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“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
~ from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

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“At the very beginning, anticipatory obedience means adapting instinctively, without reflecting, to a new situation.”
~ from On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder

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“To those who will decide if he should be tried for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ -the House of Representatives-
And to those who would sit in judgment at such a trial if the House impeaches -the Senate-
And to the man who would preside at such an impeachment trial -the Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger-
And to the nation…
The President said, ‘I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the American people elected me to do for the people of the United States.’
~ from All the President’s Men, by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward”

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“She could teach them to face whatever came with calmness and courage, to love their families and their friends with unswerving loyalty, and to relish the lovely face of the countryside in which they lived.”
~ from Miss Clare Remembers, by Miss Read

What Happened to May?

What happened to May? It just flew by for me in a rush of travel, gardening, visits with family and meeting with old/new friends, 5k races, and unfortunately, spending evenings being completely sucked into the news of the day. It was overall a lovely month and especially nice to have some sunshine and warmth arrive after such a long winter and wet spring!

During May, both my reading and blogging took back seat to all the other activities. However, I did manage to finish reading 4 books, two of them mysteries by Donna Leon, and I’m getting close to the end of my rereading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings.

Welcome June! I’m looking forward to getting back to my books this month and to being able to read them on the front porch!

January Reflections

goodbye-january

My reading January was very enjoyable this year. I started the month with determination to get back to both my reading and my blogging. I’ve let many things interfere with both activities recently so the recommitment was important to me. i figured that if i could post a photo each day on Instagram, that I could certainly put a little more energy and time into reading and reflecting on my reading life. I am delighted to report that I read eight books in January and posted on my blog almost every day.

I didn’t set any specific reading goals at the first of the month, but there are a number of directions I want my reading to take in 2017. I’d like to read some of the books published in my birth year, 1949. I am also starting to read books that I am calling my “resistance reading” — books that help me as I try to understand this current political climate in my country, and books that help me better define my own beliefs. I was pleased to discover that the book I checked out of the library last week, 1984 by George Orwell, fit into both categories! Also, I would like to read, or reread, many of the classics on @roofbeamreader’s Classic Book-a-Month challenge list.

It is lovely to say that I am really enjoying my reading at this time. I loved the books I read in January, and I’m looking forward to seeing where February takes me!

Here are the covers of my January reads: