Fall break and books

If I was an overtly emotional person, I’d be squealing like a teenage fangirl right now.

But I’m not, so I’ll post a Gif instead, lol.

via GIPHY

Why the giddiness?

My Fall Break has officially started. I have the next two days off and also the weekend, of course. Four days of relaxation.

Even better, it appears Fall will finally arrive. The temps have been record-high, into the upper 80s and low 90s. Lots of humidity and heat. Ugh. With this terrible hurricane predicted to sweep through, on its backside is the longed-for Fall weather we usually get in mid-September. Highs of upper 70s and lows of mid 5os, and NO humidity. Yay!

I put all my winter lounging clothes in the wash so I’ll have my pile of fleece-y pants and comfy oversized long sleeved tee shirts to wear for the cool weather. Which hopefully will start on Thursday or Friday!

I’ve got plans for my mini-vacay, I tell ya, plans. In addition to reading and napping, I plan to go to my favorite second-hand/vintage store and get another book case. Why? I have more books!

Several friends and online acquaintances had asked me how to balance Bible reading, pleasure reading, and life. There is just not a lot of time for pleasure reading when all is said and done, but our church is a reading community, and we like books. We also know that reading quality literature helps us with Bible reading and vice versa. So to answer that question I turned to books. I bought two books about reading books, lol. I’m incorrigible, I know.

 

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, by Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren is a classic on the subject.

With half a million copies in print, How to Read a Book is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader, completely rewritten and updated with new material. Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.

Yay, sounds promising.

For the unique challenges awaiting the Christan and books. The book by Tony Reinke promises to help here. Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books is

A practical guide built on the gospel, Lit! models the skills needed to build a balanced reading diet of Scripture, theology, and devotional books, but without overlooking important how-to books, great stories, and books meant to be enjoyed for pleasure. Literature scholar Leland Ryken calls it “a triumph of scholarship,” but mostly it’s a non-pretentious book about reading from an average reader who wants to share important convictions and skills you can use for the rest of your luminously literate life.

I plan to (hopefully) arrive home with the bookcase Friday, and then reorganize my books. My commentaries have gotten separated…I want to put all the biographies together, and so on. Should be fun. I like organizing.

When I arrive home from school at the outset of a Break, I am wired and can’t settle. I have a million things to do and I want to do them all at once. It takes a while for me to stop the go-go-go, as I do run up and down the halls at school at a thousand miles per hour. I need to accomplish many things during the day, and getting home on vacation I am still going.

I need to clean, of course, specifically vacuum and Swiffer the floors. Do the book thing I mentioned above, and then actually read some books. Also I need to sort through my Health care options, because Open Enrollment is here. The gas guy is coming to clean the gas heater and turn on the gas. It’s supposed to turn cold so that is good timing. I’ll hopefully do some crafts, needing to make more bookmarks as gifts. Christmas is coming. Maybe a movie, though with my renewed book passion I am trying to stay away from media.

Fall is a beautiful time. I hope you’re enjoying your Fall!

 

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Zucchini patties for supper

By Elizabeth Prata

I’ve mentioned before that the grocery store where I shop has a reduced area where they put produce. The produce is still really good. Whatever is in the bags they place in that area costs only 99 cents.

The other day I scooped up a bag containing two large zucchini. I mean really large zucchini! You know at garden harvest time the overflow of zucchini is almost a flood. I felt that way with these beauties. My motto is, if I feel I will really use/eat the food, I buy it and think of what to do with it later. I can always think up an idea for the item in front of me, but if I don’t have the item, I could have a million ideas but they won’t help me fill an empty plate.

I shredded the two zucchinis and put them into the fridge. Later on I stumbled across a zucchini patty recipe and that is what I made of them! I added some flour and an egg, a bit of cheddar cheese (the recipe called for Parmesan but I didn’t have it), and a bit of salt. Drop by teaspoons until the desired size, flatten, and cook on medium high heat until crispy.

Yum!

zucchini

Amateur pro tip: When cooking, always make a bit more. I’ll have two tonight and two for lunch tomorrow. Not only is lunch made for tomorrow, but it’s packed too.

I had a fried egg and a half potato made into homefries along with the two patties for dinner. The other half of the potato is, you guessed it, for tomorrow.

There are some thunderstorms headed our way. The day has been extremely hot and humid. I have the heating gas guy coming to turn on my heater in 14 days, and yet the air conditioning has been steadily running all day, every day. Sigh. I hope the weather breaks soon, but then again, heavy thunderstorms aren’t fun either. I guess I’m never satisfied, eh?

sky

Learning all the time

blackbird
I like pictures of birds. Here is a random pic of a bird for you.

I stayed home from school on Friday, battling a stomach bug. It wasn’t heavy duty, but enough to put me out of commission for a day. When I arrived home on Thursday apparently I had a low-grade fever. Feverish means no-go.

I was alert and energetic on Friday even though my stomach hurt like the dickens, so I got a lot done. My productivity is continuing through to this evening on Saturday. I finished Ligonier’s Pilgrim’s Progress course and signed up for part 2. Did you know that Ligonier COnnect courses accumulate continuing education credits from the Association of Christian Schools International? The courses are not extremely demanding, you can go at your own pace, and the cost is very reasonable. The classes through the Institute for Church Leadership at The Master’s Seminary are also reasonable for the quality of education you receive.

I wrote two demanding and complicated blogs for The End Time. I continued in my Bible reading in John 1, and also the JMac Commentary for John 1.

I printed out all my downloaded free .pdf booklets I’d gotten from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and punched holes and installed them in a 3-ring binder. It’s apparent to me that I do not or will not read on a screen, so I bit the bullet and printed them all out in hard copy. It feels good to organize.

I cleared out my email bins, and made all new headers for my 2 blogs, Twitter, and 2 Facebook pages.

Food prep is done for the week, a day early. Hey, I have learned to capitalize on energy when it comes, because it goes, too. I might not have the oomph to do it on Sunday. I made this week for lunches and dinners:

Red lentil-vegetable soup
Poached salmon
Boiled cauliflower
Boiled Quinoa
Black bean & green pepper salad
Granola

None of the dishes I made had any dressing or sauces on them. I’m not wanting to take any chances after the few days I’ve had with a stomach bug. I like red lentils because unlike brown lentils, they have no aftertaste, and they easily cook into mush, so the soup is thick and has necessary fiber, but it’s easier to digest.

I made a collage of all my teapots. Someone at school asked about them so this was my reply:

teapot collage

I love them and I use them. I don’t enjoy collecting anything for collecting’s sake. I like it better when the things I collect are functional. As for which teapot to use, when I arrive home I decide how much tea I want to drink, (My pots go from personal 1-cup to 16-cup). I decide what kind of mood I’m in and relate that to the teapot. That one I can’t explain, it’s just mood and emotion. I’ve got 3 Japanese, 2 US and 2 English pots. They range in age from nearly 100 years old (the Hall’s) to one I bought on Amazon last year (Tetsubin).

It looks like we will not receive too many effects from Hurricane Florence that is currently ravaging and drenching North and South Carolina. It will be rainy on Sunday but we are predicted to receive only about 2 inches, which we need, so that’s good.

Here are 2 more pics I like:

twitter
Old cameras are incredible machines, and beautiful, too

 

bird
A bird sings at sunset

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone 🙂

Plans for the day

By Elizabeth Prata

Ahhh, it’s the weekend again. For some reason short work weeks seem longer. Maybe it’s the different schedule for the kids, or the fact that they were home a day longer, but short weeks always turn out to feel longer than if we had a five day week in the first place.

Not that I’m complaining. I love three-day weekends. They’re great.

Today I’m contemplating going out. Yes, really. I have two library books that will be due on Tuesday so I have to go to the library soon in any case. The Friends of the Library is having their semi-annual book sale this morning so I might drop off my books and check out the sale. If it’s not too crowded. I loathe running into people.

Also my favorite vintage store, The Special Store, is having a 75% off art sale and $1 clothes sale. Impossible. To. Resist. Art.

I do need to fill one spot over my bed. I’d had a favorite photo enlarged a few years ago and hung it there. It is a scene from Lubec where I used to vacation at Globe Cove in a little cottage. It’s the view from the bay window in the cottage. Lubec is the foggiest place in Maine, the smokey coiled fog bank always hovering just at the horizon, to come in and out like the tide. With the fog and the tide always moving, the scene is dynamic and ever-changing. I snapped this ar full fog and high tide.

I always liked the spot of color from the mooring buoys and the colorful boats popping against the fog and moody pine landscape. However, digital photos, even on archival paper, seem to fade quickly. I’ve only had the photo enlarged for ten years but by now the colors in my enlarged and framed photo have all faded and the scene is just grey drab. I have 35 mm photos that are nearly 100 years old that aren’t as faded.

So…art. 75% off is a good deal, not likely to find anywhere else as good. And it’s framed, too.

I have fun in that store because I can get little things I need there, too. I like magnet pads to put on the fridge to remind myself of appointments or to keep a running record of grocery items. I find neat pads there for fifty cents or a dollar. I sometimes find nice stationery and notecards there too. I like notecards. Books and CDs are also 50 cents or a dollar.

Also, I need a cart or some kind of small storage for my room at school. The rolling cart I’d gotten this summer is too small already! I’ve added notebooks and journals for two book groups, plus ditto sheets, and the books we’re reading themselves, I need more room!

I have not been to the Special Store since April or May. The owners had obtained two estates and the store got crammed. It was too jumbled, for me, to see anything or even move. I like a jumble, but when it’s too crowded to move, and add excessive heat and a laboring lone air conditioner, the browsing experience palls.

They have purged and reorganized and made the place browsable again with some displays, even! See:

So I might be tempted to go out early when it’s still coolish. The weather is supposed to break in mid to late September and I can’t wait for crisp mornings and turning the AC off. But with this heat I’ll go early and scuttle back home quickly before the afternoon heat makes me so tired and grumpy. When I return home, I’ll take a nap. Late afternoon I’ll work on two theology lessons: one from Biblical Doctrine/John MacArthur’s book, a chapter on Pneumatology. And another chapter video lesson in Derek Thomas’s Pilgrim’s Progress through Ligonier.

Tonight I plan to make friends with my couch and read more of Bill Bryson’s book Summer 1927, and start John Grisham short stories from his book Ford County. It’s the plan, anyway.

I hope you have a wonderful fall Saturday.

Spider season

By Elizabeth Prata

You know when you have something you carry or use many times per day, but there’s something about it that irks you a little bit each and every time you use it? A tiny struggle to open, or difficult to extract, or hard to hold…something? My handbags have been like that.

I’ve bought about 5 handbags over the last two years and none of them have suited. I switched from using a backpack to handbags and I’ve never been satisfied, quite. I hate to have cumulative aggravations during the day. I’m aggravated by enough things already (noise, other people, the wrong temperature, clothing, and so on, lol). I don’t need to be aggravated by the thing that I have to carry everywhere with me.

I don’t need a huge bag because I don’t carry that much, but I do have to carry my wallet, checkbook, Kindle, cell phone, glasses repair kit, pens, and cough drops. See? Not so much.

On Vipon (the Amazon.com discount couponing site) I saw Messenger Bags on sale for half off. I LOVE a messenger bag! As with backpacks, kinda mannish, messenger bags are too. (I do not like lady fru-fru stuff). I bought it for $12. The canvas is sturdy but supple. The pressure points like where you grab it or the corners or the zipper, are reinforced with leather. There are several pockets outside and in. I can carry it cross body, which I like to do at the grocery store. Hey,have you ever watched those security camera vids where someone steals a wallet out of your purse, or steals the purse, /snap/ LIKE THAT? Cross body, man, with the pockets and zipper against your hip.

Here is a pic. I personally think messenger bags are stylish and cool.

bag

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I take nice photos of the yard I love so much and post a lot of them everywhere. That’s because it’s a pretty yard, with flowers and birds and trees.

flowers

But the yard holds a deadly secret. Its allure belies a malignancy that is only revealed in certain seasons and at certain times a day. When the sun rises and the rays are low, the interconnecting mesh of Ninja-dance inducing spider webs all across the yard are revealed!

From tree to tree, from branch to ground, at FACE LEVEL, we see the threads of heart-pumping horror glimmer in the rising rays of the sun, only to fade into the background mere moments later. Unsuspecting amblers striding these greenways will soon feel the full horror of the stickily detestable threads as they, too, inevitably begin to Ninja-dance their way back to the safety of the house.

spider 2spider 3

Having walked into one too many webs in my day, I keep a spider web busting stick by my front door. Spiders have dared, yes, dared, to stream their dance of horror webs across the awning in front, so the stick is always at hand’s reach as I cautiously open the door a few inches to grab it first.

Wielding my stick like a nutcase, fie, no matter how I appear to others, my stick dances like a crazy divining rod hovering over water. Jerking it to the left and right in front of my face, I crab walk toward the garage where my car hides inside, hunkered safely from its likely use as a web-foundation string for the more daring and skillful spiders attempting to use it as part of their deadly scheme. Indeed, just the other day I opened the door to the car, after having left it out for the night, and a gossamer thread attached to the mirror wafted away. Fortunately the wind was blowing in the other direction and the thread sailed on into the yard and not into my face. That was a close one.

spider stick

They proliferate in September, the time to reproduce and hatch new babies before the frosts get ‘um. The egg sacs overwinter. At the Cooperative Extension at the University of Georgia, we read,

Barn spiders are to blame for creating the webs most often walked into by people. “I would bet that almost every home in Georgia has a barn spider on the porch or somewhere nearby this time of year,” she said. Hinkle has one on her deck, one at her back door, and one at her front door. They’re handy to keep around, she said. Being nocturnal, they construct new webs every evening, where they wait to trap insects. Rusty brown with legs extending 2 inches, they’re noticeable this time of year.

“Their webs trap all sorts of flying pests,” she said. “People get annoyed when they walk into these webs and get silk covering their faces, but I consider that a people problem, not a spider problem.”

NO, IT’S A SPIDER PROBLEM!

The yellow garden spider and the orb-weaver both make large webs, too. Ugh.

OK, so some say that they’re good to have around to trap lots of insects in their massive webs, but either you’ve got lots of insects in your yard, or lots of spiders. Problem, if you ask me.

I wonder if there will be spiders in the new earth? If so, then maybe God will have given me enough grace to, er, love them? For now, I just stay inside until the frost comes and it’s safer to walk around the yard.

Have a good weekend everyone, and watch out for spider webs!

Labor Day Weekend leisure

Once the pressure is off to hurry-hurry and get to work, and if one has no other obligations for a particular Saturday morning, being able to slow down on a holiday weekend is super sweet.

I had my usual cup of coffee. The difference is that I sip instead of gulp. For a treat, I put whipped cream on it. Ahhh. I sink into a slower pace almost right away.

As most people do, I have all the usual chores to do on Saturday. I have laundry plus an extra load because I want to wash the bathroom rugs and the bedspread. I’ve got vacuuming and cleaning. I want to take apart my thermoses and deep clean the gaskets and plastic that tends to accumulate dirt underneath. (Hint: Immerse in white vinegar, this works great also for hand can openers.)

But for now, I’m writing and sipping and listening to a sermon. I walked around the yard at sunrise, something I enjoy. The yard is pretty, it’s quiet, there’s a pasture next door. I love seeing greenery and birds and scenery rather than houses or skyscrapers or traffic. I’m definitely a rural gal. Best of all for me would be to live oceanfront, but that is not in the cards for me. So I enjoy instead the undulating grasses rather than ocean waves.

I’ll get dressed and have breakfast around 10:00-10:30, usually the limit of my patience with sitting and lounging. I’ve got sweet potatoes and russet potatoes in the crockpot. I bought some already cooked shrimp so that will be a nice lunch later, on rice noodles, I think.

Here are some of the pics I took this morning in the yard at first rays of light streaming over the yard and next door pasture:

I will write a blog at The End Time for today but my main goal is to read some novels. I have bought a Grisham, and I was thrilled. I thought I’d read all his books, some several times, but I found one I had not read. It is a book of his short stories called “Ford County” which is the fictional county in which he set many of his books.

I also renewed my library card and got a Jenny Colgan book. I’d read one of hers this summer, “The Bookshop on the Corner”. It was OK. A great first half was diminished by a hurried and scattered second half, but I was intrigued enough to try her again. Not to buy another book, though, so I renewed the Library card. I want to save my pennies for buying theological books.

I borrowed the book “The Cafe By The Sea” which has a sequel called “The Endless Beach”. They sound nice, don’t they? If The Cafe book is good I’ll move on and get the Beach one. That’s the great thing about libraries, no wasted money if the book doesn’t work out.

I also borrowed a James Patterson, called “Worst Case.” He is a crime writer and his stories move fast. That’s a lot of reading, especially considering I am still onto Bill Bryson’s “Summer of 1927” I’d started in June.

Despite Labor Day holiday weekend being an unofficial marker of fall, the actual weather outside this weekend will be hot. And humid. It won’t last a lot longer, but for the next three days I’ll be hunkered down inside enjoying the books and my cooking.

On the menu this weekend,

–Shrimp
–Salads (from ready-made kits)
–Orange and green pepper soup
–Refried beans dip with cheese and salsa…or burrito in a wrap
–Fruit: grapes, bananas, strawberries with cottage cheese or yogurt

I’m going a bit lighter this weekend because I don’t want to cook lots of food when it’s hot. Soon enough I’ll be back to the lentils and beans and chilis and so on. The refrieds will come from a can.

Netflix has obtained a movie I’ve been wanting to see: “Same Kind of Different Than Me“. It’s supposed to be a Christian-based movie, and family friendly, So I’m excited. Also excited because Netflix has increasingly been disappointing in getting movies I want to see. At last, here is one I’ll watch.

Looks to be a good weekend! I hope your holiday weekend, whether it’s staycation, real vacation, or working weekend, is a good one too.

 

Of rambutan and meal prep

By Elizabeth Prata

Good morning! Did you ever have a long enough’s night sleep and wake up the next morning expecting to be refreshed, but you aren’t? Or you get a good night’s sleep and wake the next morning and leap out of bed with tons of energy? Both happened to me this weekend. Once on Saturday and once on Sunday. Back to back, I’m perplexed. Oh well, I’ll take the good night’s sleep and morning energy bonanza where and when I can, lol.

A while ago I’d discovered that one of my favorite authors, John Grisham, had written a book of short stories. You know the excitement when you think you’ve read all there is from your favorite author but you find one more? Like that. I found a hardcover at Amazon for cheap and combined with my points got the last book the seller had for $3.00. I can’t wait till it arrives! Later Grishams have been disappointing, but this is a very early book and those, by gum, were really good. So anticipating a new book I can dive right into is always fun.

I got up early to do some cooking. I didn’t do any meal prep last weekend and though I had plenty to eat and packing lunches wasn’t a burden, I did have to scramble at night when I got home. I’m tired when I get home, and I want just to open the fridge and grab some dinner without a lot of fuss or standing there to cook it. The items I grabbed for dinner last week were hummus and crackers, rice cakes, seaweed chips… but that’s not enough of a dinner to sustain me.

I need to eat whole food, non-processed, with no preservatives or my stomach will rebel. That means I have to make myself every meal I eat, and think carefully about every snack I ingest. Rice cakes and seaweed chips are on the edge of manageability for my belly since they are processed, but they have barely any ingredients so I can usually eat them in moderation. But I do need to go easy on them and make them an infrequent snack and not a meal substitute. My usual snacks are fruit or homemade granola. Sometimes a few peanuts if I haven’t put them all in the granola.

Anyway, so as not to repeat my mistake from last week, this morning I made:

–Quinoa to have on hand to sprinkle on salads, or to have as warmed over cereal
–Spicy chili. There was a sale on avocados so those will go on top, with sour cream too. 😉
–Baba ganoush, an eggplant dip with tahini and lemon. It’s garden time and a friend gave me three eggplants. So…reduce them down into a dip!!
–Fig preserves. A friend gave me a gallon bag of figs, so I made preserves with them, and kept a few back to have as fresh into cottage cheese etc.
–Granola. I use this as cereal, snacks, or to put in cottage cheese.

I use whatever my friends give me and I do not waste any of it if I can help it.

Last week there was a markdown on some weird looking fruit., It was reddish and hairy like a sea urchin. Since the bag of them was only 99 cents, of course I bought it. 99 cents is a small price to pay for experimenting, and for potentially having a new world of fruit opened up to me. Here is what they looked like

You put a sharp knife into the end of it and slice all around from north pole to south. You don’t press so hard you slice into the fruit, but only through the skin. Inside the fruit’s center is an almond shaped pit. The fruit is about the sizeof a ping pong ball or a bit smaller. It’s juicy.

They are called Rambutan, I discovered, and they look and taste like a lychee fruit. I do not like lychee fruit. I did not like rambutan. I ate one of them and threw out the other 4. So only 79 cents wasted and aside from the reddish one in the picture the others were really over-ripe anyway.

The fruit is from Malaysia and actually rambutan means hair in Malay, an apt name, lol. The fruit contains a high amount of fiber and iron, and is sweet and juicy. If you like lychee you’ll like rambutan. Nevertheless, I think I will skip the rambutan next time. I’ve been there and done that.

I cooked my heart out this morning and my fridge is full. It was a hot and busy two and a half hours but worth it. I’ve already packed my chili serving for lunch tomorrow and I’m looking forward to church at 3:00 later today. But first, a nap.

Have a good week ahead everyone. By the way, I’m really looking forward to this hot weather easing up and getting some fall leaf colors going, pumpkins on the doorstep, wearing long sleeved comfy shirts, and snappy air evenings. Aren’t you? Fall, you’re on your way and I’ll greet you happily when you get here. Fall also means hot tea season!