Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Best Book Gift

I saw a question in The New York Times Book Review for Chelsea Clinton: what's the best book you ever received as a gift?

I want to write about my answer.

My favorite book is I Capture the Castle as I discussed here. The book was out-of-print for many years. I lent my copy to my sister Joanna to re-read. I told her to take care of it; she used to dog-ear her books which drove me crazy.

So what happened? Her German Shepard puppy got a hold of the book and chewed it up. Joanna said she sobbed when she found it.

I was bummed, but I didn't blame her.

For my next birthday, Jeff gave me a copy of I Capture the Castle, in perfect condition along with the dust jacket.

I was so happy. I had no idea you could get out-of-print books without hunting through library book sales (which I did before the book was back in print.)

Only Jeff realized how important the book was to me: one more reason why I love him.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Musings

Slowly working my way out of my funk. I can attribute much of this funk to not working. It's been almost three weeks. I feel guilty, especially because Jeff has been working on three projects.

I'm trying to give myself projects and goals to keep busy. One project is to prep the taxes. I'll take another look at the materials tonight and take them to the accountant tomorrow.
Having a warm spell during my funk has definitely helped. So has Lola. I took her for long walks at Cove Island and Cranbury Parks. We also visited Taylor Farm, Oystershell, Winslow and Southbury Dog Parks. It's hard to stay in a funk when you're out with a happy beagle.

Had some family time this weekend. Friday night I had dinner with my mother and brother. Saturday we visited Jeff's parents and watched the UVM game with them. I'll also work in lunch with my mother tomorrow when I go to the accountant's.

Now that all the snow is gone, it looks like rain tomorrow and Wednesday. I'll have to time Lola's park visits around scattered showers. Sigh. Just when the mud has dried up. Well, the weather has been great for February--it feels more like April. No complaining.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Got My Wish

Just looked at my last post. I ended with "Here's hoping for a conference sweep."

Well the Catamounts did it yesterday. 

If only my other wishes were realized. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Catamounts Clinch America East Regular Season Basketball Title

Last night UVM beat UAlbany to extend their winning streak to 17 games (the country's second longest-active streak.) UVM is 15-0 in conference play and 25-5 for the season. The last regular game of the season in Saturday afternoon.

Here's hoping for a conference sweep.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Return to Cove Island Park

Since today was our ten month anniversary, I wanted to take Lola someplace different. We went to Cove Island Park for over an hour; I think it was our third visit.  It was raining lightly when we left home. I was disappointed because I consulted the forecast before we left. Luckily the rain had ended by the time we arrived.

Lola really enjoyed herself. She did some important sniffing (as Jeff would say.) She jumped up on the stone wall that separated a picnic area from some dangerous looking rocks. She looked so happy as she trotted along that wall. It reminded me of Spike: he used to jump up on walls on our neighborhood walks.

A nice outing for a special girl. 

Lola--Ten Months Later

Happy anniversary to Lola.

Here are some pictures of her at home, at Mathews Park and at Taylor Farm. These are cellphone photos. I've printed out the last two and framed them.  But we need to find our real camera and take better photos.

Lola's come a long way from the little girl who hid under our drop-leaf table. She still has a long way to go to be comfortable meeting new people and going out with us. Hopefully this summer she'll be ready. 

In a Funk

It's official--I realized it yesterday. I'm in a funk. There's no other way to describe my lethargy and indolence. I don't have a cold anymore; the snow is (slowly) dissipating. Spring is in the air; I should feel optimistic.

Someone said the first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one.

(Thank you google--I just found the quote; it's from Will Mcavoy. Further googling shows that Will Mcavoy is a character played by Jeff Daniels from The Newsroom.

Okay here's the real person and the real quote: The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.--Zig Ziglar.

Now that I've gotten lost in google, I've lost my train of thought for this post--almost. I need some kind of focus, some kind of goals. I have lots of things I need to do, want to do. Yet I've found it too easy lately to veg, binging on bad television and playing yahtzee. 

No more. I need to make some changes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Reading and Re-reading

I made a goal to read 12 books this year. It's weird for me to have to make reading a goal--I love to read. But at some point I realized that I wasn't reading as many books as I thought I was. I was reading things online and in magazines.

So far this year I've read 3.5 books. The .5 is the Kinsey & Me.  I realized I was back in a reading books mode when I was anxious to select the next book to read. 

I re-read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. This is the third time I've read the book.

I love books and  I re-read books. Living in 1000 square feet, I've decided I need to get rid of books. I've regretted getting rid of some books such as The Women's Room and Rebecca. I wanted to re-read them but they were gone.

For the most part, I now buy books that I plan to recycle. I figure I'm supporting the library sales when I buy the books and then other libraries or Goodwill when I recycle them. Occasionally I'll pick up a hardcover of a paperback book I've kept (Gone With The Wind--which I've read about seven times--Smila's Sense of Snow and Lonesome Dove.)

I know that I need to keep reading and in some cases re-reading. I love it. 

A Taste of Spring

We had a nice, warm weekend with temperatures in the 50's and 60's. Even today, though cooler in the mid-40's, is unseasonably warm. The only downside is that with a foot of snow already on the ground, we had to deal with slush and mud. Luckily the slush and mud at Taylor Farm and Cranbury Parks weren't bad enough to offset the good weather.

Earlier this week Jeff and our friend Debbie were speculating if this was the end of winter or if we'd have another wintry blast. I was reminded of the beginning of my favorite book I Capture the Castle. Cassandra and Stephen discuss the beginning of spring. Later Cassandra tells Topaz her stepmother that it's a whiff of spring, not whole lungs full. But Topaz was still ready to commune with nature.

I skimmed through the first four or five chapters to find the whole lungs full quote. I might re-read the whole book again. For now I picked up a book I've had for years, but I'm not sure I completely read: Women of Wonder The Classic Years--a book of short stories.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Valentine's Dinners

Our non-drinking ended on Valentine's Day, but Jeff's working long hours in the city so we decided to postpone our official Valentine's dinner until the weekend.

We still had a nice dinner on Tuesday. We started with a Vesper martini and an appetizer of cream cheese, chutney and curry with crackers and carrots. Then we had chicken Parmesan and salad plus box red wine. Jeff picked up dessert--berry cakes.

On Saturday we had our official  Valentine's dinner: strip steak, lobster risotto, sauteed spinach, gelato and raspberries. We also had one of our favorite wines.

We didn't slack off today. For brunch, we had scrambled eggs with lobster tail (Jeff got more than we needed for the risotto last night) ham, an English muffin and a fruit cup. Jeff got pork chops on Friday.  I pan seared them with spices and lemon juice, then baked them with a little red wine. We also had stuffing with apple and a salad of avocado, tomatoes and pepper.

Good dinners

Friday, February 10, 2017

Reading Update

Since my last reading post I finished Outlander. I enjoyed it though I preferred some of the changes the television series made: Claire fighting the wolf was a bit much, and so was the way she "cured" Jamie after his attack by Randall. I may read the rest of the series, but I'm in rush to do so.

The next book I read was Sue Grafton's V is for Vengeance, a Kinsey Milhone mystery. It's a good one. At first I didn't care for the shifting points of view, but I got used to that. I have W and X to catch up on.

Next I picked up Kinsey and Me also by Sue Grafton. The first part consists of several Kinsey Milhone stories. They were okay, but I prefer the novels. I read two selections from the second part of the book, but found these stories about a daughter dealing with her alcoholic mother too depressing.

Haven't decided on my next book yet.

Lucky Number 13 and Historical 14

It's been a big week for University of Vermont Catamounts men's basketball team. On Monday they won their 13th consecutive game, beating Binghamton University 71-51. Last night the Catamounts made it 14 in a row against University of New Hampshire 82-74: the best start in program history.

UVM is now 22-5 record for the season and unbeaten at 12-0 in conference play. It's been a great season for our nephew Kurt who's scored 1000 points in his college career. He's also six rebounds short of 500 for his career.

Go Cats!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Monday

Quiet day today. I have a cold--my second in six weeks. The good news is that I don't feel as bad as I did with the last cold, and I got a good night's sleep last night. I'm lucky that I could take it easy and have a quiet day.

Lola still needed a visit to the park. I wrote that sometimes Lola doesn't wanted to go to specific parks. Today she didn't want to get out of the car at Taylor Farm. I admit that I dragged her out. I thought that once she got into the park, she'd happy. That's what usually happens. Today I couldn't even get her to walk across the field. She just wanted to get back in the car.

I remember hearing about a dog that used to run on the beach everyday in Thailand. That is, he did until the day of the tsunami. Now I didn't think a tsunami or any other natural disaster was about to hit Taylor Farm. But I thought it would be wrong to disregard Lola's feelings or fears.

So we went to Cranbury Park--Lola's new favorite spot. This was the first time that just the two of us went. I was conscious of staying on blazed trails. Lola prefers to make her own, but I didn't want to take any chances of getting turned around.

I was tired after 15 minutes and headed toward the parking lot. Lola wasn't happy but we still had another 20 minutes of hiking before we got back to the car.

I stopped to pick up some tissues and came home to veg.