Enjoying the first day of Spring Break

The long awaited Spring Break is here. I went to bed last night after a very busy day at school and after school, and at home…tired, bleary, tapped out and running on vaporous reserves. I woke up this morning after 9 hours’ great sleep to a glowingly gorgeous morning of birdsong, bright sun, and beautiful flowers. Cant be better, right?

It does get even better! Read on for more.

I had to go into Athens Friday late afternoon, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Though in my youth I drove all over the place without being fazed, as I age, my reflexes are slowing and my ‘startle-reaction’ is more sensitive. For example, people changing lanes suddenly in front of me startles me more than is used to, and the momentary fright lasts longer. I’m more skittish about cars around me. Too much sensory input while on the highway at high speed is burdensome to my brain and eyes, where it bothered me much less in my 30s.  After a long week and a very long day with the kids at school, I was exhausted and wanting to go home.

Their weekly sale included a pint of blackberries for $1.88, and tofu., s I scooped both those up.I found some GREAT deals on the markdown tables. There was a packet of two slices of chocolate frosted cake, and on the fish aisle, a little more than half a pound of smoked salmon for $3!!

Frugal shopping on the fly means that when you see tofu for sale, you get veggies for a stir fry. When you see smoked salmon, you get cream cheese.

Well, eventually, of course, I did get home. As I parked in the garage and opened my trunk to extract the groceries, a moving van pulled up. The tenants on the other side of the house had moved out a day or two ago, and it seemed that the landlord had quickly found new people to take their place. We all spoke in the driveway for a while, they are super nice. I know that since the economy had settled down after the crash of 2008, fewer houses are being foreclosed, fewer people are moving and the occupancy rates for various cities and counties are reaching maximum. In other words, people are staying put. So rents are hard to find, or so I’m told.In any case, I’m glad this family found a nice place to live.

Have you ever considered what a service to the community being a landlord is? Providing housing to people, maintaining a nice place for them to raise their kids, dealing with tenants fairly and honestly? It’s a really good thing.

At Kroger it was nuts, so many cars gridlocked getting gas and the grocery store itself, while not overcrowded, was busier that I’d seen it. Must be the Spring Break thing.

I got home, unloaded groceries, fed the cats, straightened up, watched a few videos, and went to sleep. Blessed unconsciousness, no sensory input, and perfect bodily comfort with the bed clothes and covers.

The next morning, I awoke to this. Sun! Birds! Blue Sky! Flowers! Yay!

These baby birdies are in a nest the mama had made in the windowsill of the window that has the air conditioner. Their peeps are so cute!
New neighbor’s cactus

I’ve been wondering where the male cardinals have gone. I know they’re still around, but I used to see them closer to the house, feeding on worms near my front door, even. This guy was about 150 feet away from me, halfway up a tall tree.

Pretty dogwood tree, my favorite in the whole yard. Blooming in the sun on a spring morning. Ahhh

For breakfast, I used some of the smoked salmon to make a pate that included cream cheese (softened), lemon juice and instead of capers, minced olives. I spread the salmon pate on toasted multi-grain artisan bread (another Kroger marked down item). The blackberries went on my plate of course, as did a yellow gold potato I’d roasted in the crock pot a few days ago. It sounds fancy, and it probably is, but it was done on a budget.

Today is supposed to be in the upper 70s and I plan to stand at my potter’s table and clean out my pots and refresh my outside plants that made it through the winter. In another few weeks the threat of frost will have passed and I will get some plants to put in the pots. I sure do love flowers. And birds. And warm sunny mornings. And life!

Milan’s Leonardo statue at the Galleria

I spent a Saturday recently scanning in old travel photos. I found this one and I’d forgotten to write the caption on the back, but I knew it was Italy. After scanning and enlarging it, I saw that the top of the base was labeled Leonardo, so it was an easy matter to Google ‘Leonardo statue Italy’ and discover it’s a famous statue of Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan. Google is amazing.

The statue of Leonardo da Vinci is located in Piazza della Scala, prominently displayed in front of the international temple of bel canto. The monument offers a solemn and austere image of the scientist and at his feet are four of his pupils. The statue is made of white Carrara marble, whilst granite from Baveno was used for the base.

Ah, yes, now I remember. I’d gone to the Galleria and took this photo from the car on the way in. The Galleria is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, built in 1867. Though Providence’s Westminster Arcade was built in 1828 and is Nationally Registered Landmark. I have a photo of that one, too, somewhere…

Notice the photo of the base, the hexagonal shape with each panel artfully carved in bronze in 3-D relief. Amazing work!

I like statues. I like granite and marble, so that stands to reason. I played around with the Leonardo statue on Pixlr-O-Matic. This is an online version of Pixlr, a free photo editing app I’d downloaded to my desktop. There are several versions of Pixlr online for free. The O-Matic automatically places several filters atop your picture. I couldn’t decide which ones I liked most so I saved several. You decide, lol. First is the original untouched, then an original version cropped to highlight just Leonardo. Then all the Pixlr ones.

Pixlr-O-Matic:

The Italians are certainly impressive in their creative statue making. All over Milan, Florence, Rome, and else where are impressive fountains, statues and art of all kinds. There’s an interesting story that combines the Italians’ love of beauty with confidence in their abilities. They began re-building the cathedral in Florence in 1296. The dome that would be built atop the structure was so large, the architect had no idea how t would be built. He designed it,and the powers that be said, well, that’s going to be a few hundred years from now when we get to building the top of it, so let’s just wait a while and worry about that when we get to it.

And they did! I’m drastically collapsing the story but it’s captured both in a National Geographic article and in a good little book called Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King.

I love all the Italian statuary and art. I wonder if they ever imagined that photography would be invented and we’d take photos of their work and then monkey with it by adding filters and gizmos. I wonder if the ancient artists and stonemasons would be impressed and delighted, or offended and angry. Oh well, art marches on.

Ten (15) Books I Can’t Do Without

I follow the New York Times Magazine on Twitter. On their Twitter stream you’ll see links to beautifully photographed articles from their Magazine. I love looking at pretty things, and their articles always feature nice photography, whether it’s about fashion, art, architecture, or any other subject for that matter.

In one particular series, they contact a current celebrity and ask them to list ten books they couldn’t do without. It’s the old question, which books would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island? As an aside, I remember in George W Bush’s Presidential term (#43) he was asked in a different interview that same question. He’d replied “the Bible.” It was 2001, and I was not saved yet, and his answer both confused me and angered me. The Bible?! That boring, dusty thing? I could not for the life of me figure out the attraction.

Now I know. But the question back then as well as this week’s in the NYT to Michelle Dockery is a compelling one. It got me thinking about books that have had an impact on me one way or another. I couldn’t winnow it down to just ten. My list has 15 books, and the era ranges from my high school years through to my fifties (now). They are all old friends, cherished and loved, having transported me to another place or challenging my thinking. If I read some of them now I might have a different reaction. But for who I was at the time of the reading, these books had a great impact on me.

My list will go in chronological order of when I’d read them. Here they are, my top 15 books starting with my faves from High School to now. My faves…apart from the Bible of course.

1970s

The Hobbit

I loved it. I read it. I re-read it. I read it to my little sister. I talked about it incessantly. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when Smaug departed his cavern and breathed fire in attack over Lake-town, it was THAT exciting. I enjoyed it tremendously. So did everyone else: the book has never been out of print since it was published in 1937.

The Once and Future King

Starting in High School, I had a long-lasting love of the medieval era, armor, weaponry, and most of all King Arthur that lasted well into my thirties. This book kicked it off in my sophomore year. It’s one of the books on the syllabus in my English class, where I was first introduced to it. I read it afterwards many times and enjoyed it each time, getting something new from it with each reading. “Might doesn’t make right.”

All Creatures Great and Small

My best friend’s mom gave me Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small when I was a freshman in high school. I did not enjoy animal stories at that time and I shelved the book. A few years later, being without reading material for the moment and desperate to read anything, I picked up and I’m so glad I did. I loved the book and it became a treasured companion while I read it and a cherished memory for years after. When the BBC TV series came out I watched that too.

Hawaii

I had a Michener run for a while in High School. I remember his book Hawaii best. The exotic locale, the interesting characters, the tsunami, and most of all my horror at what I considered evil work of the missionaries. Those bad, bad missionaries, trying to force a new god on those natives! They were just minding their own business! They were there first! Hawaii entranced me as a kid, I look back now and see it as a towering monument to a secular wold view held by a lost person very distant from God. But the writing was good.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Growing up in the 1960s & 1970s meant the cold war, Iron Curtain, and Russia dominated the news, our thinking, and our lives. Unfortunately as a kid of the 1960s, words like Gulag were part of our vocabulary. I tread Ivan in high school and was much impacted by it. I thought the writing was starkly beautiful in a way that even Hemingway would be envious of. Combined with the knowledge that the author, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, had actually served in the camps and that this was the first book the Communists had allowed to be published on the subject, made the impact on me even more deep.

The Stand

I had quite a Stephen King run in the 1970s and early 1980s. He is a Mainer, and he taught as an adjunct at University of Maine at Orono, my alma mater. I saw him frequently on campus and around town. His first book, Carrie, was published just a few years before I got to UMO. By the time The Stand was published in 1978, the year I arrived at the U, the King phenomenon had to taken off just locally in Maine but nationally, too. It was fun to read published books and then spot the actual author, say, at the mall. It was fun to have a writer for a celebrity in our midst. The Stand is considered his greatest work. It IS a great work, just great. It got me thinking about good and evil, what I considered equal forces battling it out. Plus it’s just a gripping yarn.

1980s


Pillars of the Earth

Ken Follett’s amazingly well researched and deftly written tale of the decades of building a massive cathedral in medieval times fed into my love of the era, as mentioned earlier. I also love architecture, great stories, and good writing, so this book had me at hello.

Bonfire of the Vanities

The 1980s was when was 20-30. I was a new married adult who owned a house, eyeing the American landscape of that era though grown up eyes. The excesses, greed, stock market, Reagnomics, money, finance, real estate were all words that populated the news and our lives as much as Soviet, Russia, nuke, and Gulag had when I was growing up in the ’60s. Wikipedia describes Bonfire as a book “about a drama about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City” and so, it is a perfect mirror of the era. I’m not a huge fan of author Tom Wolfe but this book was excellent for the time.

Love in the Time of Cholera

I had a South American author run during my late 20s. I read Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Paul Coelho incessantly. This book of Marquez’ contains my all time favorite opening line of any book (almost tied with Hardy’s in Return of the Native.) “It was inevitable, the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” Who wouldn’t love such an opening sentence full of poetry, foreshadowing, and mystery?!

1990s

Lonesome Dove

Contrasting the magic realism of the South American Authors are the American cowboy writers I was into, Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. I liked the contrast of the lush S. American tropics to the AMerican dusty, tumbleweed west. During the ’90s I traveled widely, including a VW camper van through all the American western states. I fell in love with West Texas. As we traveled through to Big Bend National Park, filming of the epic series based on McMurtry’s book Lonesome Dove had recently just concluded. We stayed a couple of nights at The Gage Hotel, a historic and beautifully appointed hotel filled with furnishings that took you back to the 1830s, and occasionally a real cowboy would stride through and suddenly you were living Lonesome Dove life. As for the book Lonesome Dove, it’s epic. EPIC.

The Shell Seekers

Wikipedia explains, “The Shell Seekers is a 1987 novel by Rosamunde Pilcher. It became one of her most famous best-sellers. It was nominated by the British public in 2003 as one of the top 100 novels in the BBC’s Big Read.” This book isn’t profound or deep. It’s just one of the best reads ever. If you’re looking for a good story and quality writing, this is it.

2000’s

Bowling Alone

The first half of the decade I was consumed with launching and running a weekly newspaper in my city of 7000 people. I had been greatly concerned with Robert B. Putnam’s revealing of the decline of civic commitment, loss of political balance, and dearth of wise reporting. So I began a paper, and then along came this book, which mirrored my concerns and had sociological data and a well-researched thesis to support it. This non-fiction book made a tremendous impact nationally, as it did with me.

As for the rest of the first half of the decade, it was spent reading non-fiction about civic endeavors and citizen journalism. As for my private reading not associated with my work, I was being drawn to Jesus and spent any spare moments I had reading material that mirrored that confusing time, such as Buddhist and New Age books that attempted to explain the soul. (Noooo! Anything except Jesus!)  I was also selling my business and moving to GA and re-settling alone down south. Not doing a lot of reading.

2000’s teens

By now I’m saved, and so my reading material changed and the impacts on me changed too. My world-view had completely shifted from seeing the world and seeking answers about it through fiction, which really is what most fiction is about, to seeing the world through the mind of Christ.

Pilgrim’s Progress

This book, written by John Bunyan in the 1600s, is considered one of the greatest books of all time. An allegory of a Christian’s progress through life, with its joys, trials, and final glorified status, is a pleasure to read, even 400 years after its first publication. Edifying in the extreme, many people consider this book second to the Bible in terms of impact. I enjoyed it so much.

Elmer Gantry

The Lord’s Spirit dispensed discernment to me and I have a heightened sensitivity to unorthodox doctrines, falsity, and hypocrisy. This fiction book by Sinclair Lewis is a devastating (and accurate) portrayal of hypocrisy in a pastor, from its first germ to full blown infection. Its insights were illuminating and fascinating to me, as much as they repelled me also. An incredible book for a Christian to read.

The Little Woman

I’d love for all the paper tiger feminists crying about how life just can’t go on in a day without women (wah we’re so persecuted) to take a look at some of these tremendous Christian women who just went out there and did it. The Little Woman is an autobiography by Gladys Aylward of her voyage to become one of the very first first female missionaries to inland China in the early 1930s. Traipsing mountains, facing jail riots, escaping armies (with 100 orphans in tow) … all in a days’ work. This book shows you what the Lord can do with a willing and obedient heart. It’s a joy to read.

Honorable mentions, books that also impacted me and I couldn’t do without, at least as far as my development at the point at which I was reading them:

  • 1984, George Orwell
  • Jude the Obscure, Return of the Native, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • Dune, Frank Herbert
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life, Alain de Botton

How about you? What books can’t you do without?

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Further reading

30 Great Opening Lines in Literature

The Great Books Program and Foundation

Harvard Classics

A few beach photos

I love Georgia, as most readers know. I love the animals and the pastures and the cycle of births and seeing the baby donkeys, foals, goats, birds. I love the birds and their abundant songs. I love the flowers and the early spring and mild winters.

But one thing I miss is the ocean.

I grew up in The Ocean State (RI) where you are never more than 43 miles from it and usually a lot closer. As a kid I used to ride my bike to my grandmother’s beach house in the summer. As a teenager I used to drive with a car full of girls to Scarborough Beach or Olivo’s Beach or Charleston Beach…and lay in the sun slathered in baby oil to get a tan and talk about school with my friends. My family used to take summer vacations by renting a house in The Bay State (Massachusetts) at Cape Cod or Block Island off RI. We took Sunday drives to Newport and had to use the ferry to get there and then went all around Ocean Drive to see the Gilded Age mansions. The ocean was a huge figure and character in my life growing up.

As an adult I lived for the most art in the Lakes Region of Maine, on a lake and only half an hour from the ocean. A Saturday fun day trip was to drive to Portland and get a lunch and then go on to Pemaquid or Cape Elizabeth and clamber around the parks where the lighthouses were. Or to take a ferry ride on the Casco Bay Lines around some of the near islands off Portland, just because.

So being 4-6 hours from the ocean instead of 4-6 minutes, or 40 minutes, is a hardship. I do miss it. But I have my memories of all the oceans and beaches I visited, from the Bahamas to Labrador, to the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. Here are three favorites in photos.

Venice Florida is on the Gulf Shore of Florida, a state known for holding the southernmost point in the US, Key West (or really Dry Tortugas, even more south than that, another beachy place I visited). But for a long time I enjoyed vacationing in the middle western part of FL at Sarasota-Venice. Here is the Venice Pier, extending out over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, in that special aqua color. The waves are light, the pelicans are lazy and the fishermen are relaxed. It is a soft place.

Venice, FL

On the other side, we have the Atlantic. There is a harsher light, a sharper ocean, but so pretty nonetheless. When you’ve been at the beach all day and you just don’t want to leave, you linger. The sun is fading in brightness and strength. The warmth is leaking out of the day. Even the shrill and restless gulls are stilling. You stay. The sand is cooling and you dig your toes deeper to find that sandy, sun-captured warmth, but can’t. You drape a towel around your shoulders to stave off the coming chill. The waves are now wavelets, and the day is hushing. You know you need to leave. Everyone else has. Yet you stay. This is that moment.

Myrtle Beach SC

Even more craggy are the beaches at Maine and Nova Scotia and Labrador. I’ve visited all of these and the rocks and waves meet in an unending battle for sovereignty. Their voices crash and resound in opposition to the inevitable erosion, carrying the eternal battle to the whales and seals and puffins. These beaches are for the hardy, the capable, the enduring beachgoer. These beaches demand, not relax. They hide in fog and pound through storms. They are starkly beautiful and remain some of my favorite places of all.

Jasper Beach, Machiasport, ME

Ahhh, the beach.

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Further reading:

Dr. Beach, Stephen Leatherman, certified beach expert, lists his top ten US beaches each year

The billion, billion stones of Jasper Beach

Venice Fishing Pier

Myrtle Beach SC Wikipedia

Since 1937, Scarborough/Olivo’s Beach complex

Back in the day, macaroni picnics dusted with beach sand at Olivo’s

Watson Mill Bridge Park, driving in the sunny springtime

Hello again from warm and lovely north Georgia.

In one of the several National Geographic photography contests the organization holds annually, this one really gets to me. These are some talented kids! Take a look at the winners of the NatGeo Contest for Kids. I liked this winner especially, because of his picture’s low perspective. I enjoy taking pics of flowers from underneath too. But he did it so much better than I ever did!

Grand Prize Winner / 1st Place Dare to Explore
Dewi Baggerman, Age 11, Netherlands

I am on a 4-day mini-break from school. They call it Winter Break but since we have hardly had winter this year in Georgia, today’s low temp of 68 will be the lowest we’ll see in a few days. It’s supposed to be sunny and 70s tomorrow and upper 70s after that. I’ll enjoy the outside, as the daffodils, wildflowers, and forsythia are blooming. The birds are back and one is busy building his annual nest in the windowsill under the window air conditioning unit. My cats like/hate that. They hear the activity and little cheep of the bird and rush over to the table in front of the AC but of course can’t get AT the bird. But they run over there every time and stare intently at the spot in which they’d heard the sound.

I’ve been reading a novel the past few days. Maude by Donna Mabry. I like the atmosphere and setting of the book. Set in 1900-onward, a young girl in the south, buggies and dusty roads and hanging linen on the line nad pumping water into a pitcher and life back then. It’s well-written and I like it. This one is on my Kindle.

I recently bought these two- (thanks to a wonderful Amazon gift certificate!!)

The Skye book is the first in a trilogy, something I always like because if it’s good I won’t have to hunt up another good writer with an interesting setting, I can just move on to the next one in her trilogy. It’s coming in hard copy, as is the Women’s Ministry book, one I’ve had on my wish list for a long time. There was a sale on it and combined with the gift certificate, I grabbed it up fast. I am intensely interested in women’s ministry because foremost I want to make sure I’m doing ministry correctly and also because most church women’s ministry is cookie decorating without too much Bible. I won’t go on at length about it, that’s for the other blog. But I’m looking forward to the delivery. I love when I come home from work and there’s a package at the door!

It was a rough week. A 10-year old former student of our school and one who I knew, died suddenly and devastatingly. Tragedies like this truly make one run to the cross, first with the heartbreaking cries of ‘why, why?’ to our compassionate Father, but also to lean into Him so as to trust Him more, for all He does is Good. But it’s hard when it’s the kids.

It was also Valentine’s Day, and in the young grades that means sugar highs and giddy children! Picture the parapros and teachers herding kittens and corralling balloons and you got it. Secondly, it was a week with two early release days. On Thursday and Friday the kids are sent home at noon and the rest of the day the teachers have Parent Conferences. Early Release days seem to send the kids into orbit, the change in routine makes them even more, uh, vivacious. Yeah, that’s it. Vivacious.

Thirdly, my principal pulled me from my regular routine to do a particular task this entire week which was interesting, but new. I had to be trained to do it and then do it. Since I enjoy new challenges and also autonomy within a stable organization, and being with kids, it was fun but also challenging. So now I’m ready for the 4 day weekend!

To that end, I’d ordered on sale two distress inks from Tim Holtz thru Amazon. In doing collage it seems that distress inks are a way to give the finished piece the layered and antiqued look, something I’d been unable to achieve despite years of attempts. So I caved in and bought a gizmo. I’m a believer in streamlined crafting and making do with what you have, but on the other hand, one does need tools and some materials that can’t be scrounged. I’ll post the results when I use the inks.

I read this book yesterday, and one idea in it was to color and distress papers with used tea bags. Goodness knows I have enough used teabags, in all colors too. I think the pomegranate tea I drink would make a lovely color on some ivory handmade paper I’ve got. I’ll try this technique too.

On the way home from school yesterday, after I had installed two new tires, I took a drive. It was nice to drive around without the steering wheel pulling so hard to one side, something my separating tire had been causing. This Friday, as is my wont to take a drive on Friday afternoons when it’s sunny, I headed south, to the State Park at the south end of town. It has an 1800s covered bridge over a waterfall and river. It is a good place to splash and swim in the summer, and the trails for walking, hiking, and horses are gorgeous. It is a scenic picnic spot as well. I brought my lunch and ate a sandwich and then took lots of photos. Here are a few:

Here are a few pics of the scenes to and from the Park:

My principal had told me earlier in the week that one of her goals is to create a safe and supportive school environment where her staff feels like they can come in and do a good day’s work, help children, and go home fulfilled and satisfied. That is how I feel in my job, all the time.  I know I’m blessed to work where I do and to do what I do. I believe that helping children is a great work. Between my good hours at work and my good hours at home, and scenes like those above in between, what else can I ask for? I have good work, peace, love, quietude, beauty, and cats.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs

Photographs and french fries

The weather around here in North Georgia has been unseasonably warm. The temperatures when I leave school have been in the mid 70s, which is delightful especially when there’s no humidity. I have taken to going to Hardees for an order of fries and then driving around the scenic byways of our rural county, snapping photos. With my car windows are open and the music on and with little traffic and the sun beginning to lower, it creates both a relaxing half hour or hour and many great photo ops. Here are a few of the favorite snaps I caught yesterday while driving around:

What a nice way to put a buffer between me and the work week. As I drive around it arouses my gratitude for living in such a quiet, beautiful, restful location. Then when I get home I can brew a cup of tea and play with my photos in Pixlr. More relaxation!

A brown box leaning against my front door with the happy Amazon logo was waiting for me when I arrived home. A kind soul had given me a Christmas-Birthday gift certificate. I’d used it to buy the world’s softest socks, some pants, and two books. Here are the socks:

I had heard a sermon a while back by Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Ministries on Proverbs 26:4-5, titled Answer a Fool, Don’t Answer a Fool. It was an amazing sermon, full of insight and wisdom. I realized how few sermons I’ve ever heard on any Proverb. When I recently saw this Commentary on Proverbs recommended by a credible leader, I bought when the gift certificate came along.

The other book I got was a recommendation from a friend since she knew of my interest in Queen Elizabeth’s life. It’s called, The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen’s Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford. It’s a Kindle book.

I have a lot to do today but it’s all fun and at my own behest. I would like to do another lesson in the Ligonier “Understanding the Tabernacle” class, read more of my current book, Memoirs of a Medieval Woman, write several blog essays for my other blog to have them ready for the week, read my Bible, make yellow squash patties, and do some art journaling with two new rubber stamps I found at the second hand store for 10 cents! All that might not sound like a lot but it will take me the entire day to accomplish. Happily so. This evening I might watch a movie. Maybe there’ll be a nap in there somewhere. I love Saturdays.

As a kid I remember reading a young adult book called The Saturdays (pub 1941) which I really loved. Four children living in a NYC brownstone with their dad and housekeeper, lament the fact that their lack of a healthy allowance prevents them from embarking on really grand adventures on their day off. They come up with an idea to pool their allowances so each child can take off on a Saturday for a really good time. I liked the cooperative element of the premise and of course I loved seeing what each sibling did with his loot on the Saturday of his turn.

Anyway, Saturdays are great! I hope you enjoy yours.

Enjoying the long weekend

Ahhh, the bliss of a Monday off. A three-day weekend is a blessing. Woo-hoo!

I was excited to find red lentils at Kroger. I love soup. I make lots of soups. In Kroger, the produce is the first aisle, and green cabbage was on sale. I got a good sized cabbage for $1. I like to see what’s on sale and make my meal plans from there. Since cabbage turned out to be on sale, I thought I’d make cabbage soup and roast the rest in the oven.

When I got to the organic bulk section and was filling a bag with quinoa, I thought that maybe they would have red lentils, too.

Brown lentil soup is good, but it’s heavy and pungent. I can have it only about once every two months. I stagger that with split pea soup, vegetarian chili with black beans, and vegetable soup with either a broth base or a tomato base. These are my usual winter soups.

I don’t like to have brown lentil soup often. I like it but not every other week. Red lentils are lighter, brighter, and cook faster than brown lentils. They are sweeter and nuttier, and if cooked longer, they turn to mush with makes for either a nice, thick soup or a dip for a flatbread.

Kroger didn’t have bulk red lentils but they did have Kroger label organic that was prepackaged for a good price! Yay! I am really loving the variety at this branch of Kroger. The fruit and veggies, grains and breads, all good and the kind I like.

This recipe adds carrots and onions to make a nice, simple red lentil soup.

I bought a ready made mushroom and green pepper quiche which was reduced in price. The sale price was such that I estimated it’d cost the same if I made it at home from scratch. Also on the docket for meals this week is another Pad Thai with shrimp, and yellow squash patties. The green beans looked fantastic too, and I bought a few of those. I will make a nice side dish. I still have to think up what to do with the cabbage, lol.

I love the availability of the variety of fruit at Kroger too. I got a fresh pineapple, kiwis, blueberries, and pears. The pears were overripe and in the red net bag, which meant they were 99 cents for 8 of them. I think I’ll make pear ‘applesauce’ with ginger.

I did a few chores today, cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed. Tomorrow will be laundry and making soup etc., We’ve been blessed with 70+ degree days and I’m just loving it. It will be no trouble to go outside over to the garage to do several loads of laundry. I feel proud because today I organized a lot of my photos on my laptop. I made new folder and sorted them into grouped themes. Also wrote several essays for my other blog, ahead of time.

My pastor made many good points today at our wonderful service, and I’m looking forward to exploring those further tomorrow. It would not hurt my feelings if we had three day weekends every week, lol! After tomorrow, the work schedule looks like a long stretch with no breaks or holidays. I’m going to enjoy every minute tomorrow, for sure.

Have a nice holiday off, and a good week ahead.