Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Goodbye to Blogger

I've been having so many problems with this blog lately that I've decided to quit blogging.  I'm not sure I have that much to say anyway.

I'm not the only person with these blog problems.  I'm getting tons of e-mails from the Blogger complaint forum.  Others are just as puzzled and frustrated as I am.  I'm not getting e-mail notifications when people comment on my blog and it appears that commenters must have a Google account to comment.  I want everyone to be welcome and I want to reply to all comments.

My tolerance for technical problems is almost nil, so unless Blogger undoes whatever brilliant changes it's made to itself, I'm outta here!  I don't care to spend time trying to make things like this work.

I'll continue to follow those of you whose blogs I like.  If any of you know me only through my blog, feel free to stay in touch using my e-mail:  Until they make changes to that,  too!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Not Nice, Blogger!

For those of you commenting on my blog, you should be aware that Blogger no longer sends me e-mails when you comment.  I thought it was just a problem with my blog, but at least one other blogger has the same issue.  I've complained to Blogger, but, so far, it hasn't made a difference.  If any of you know how to get around this, please let me know.

I will check the last few blog posts to try to make sure I haven't missed any comments, but if I don't respond to your comments, Bad Blogger is why.  I'm annoyed by bloggers who don't engage with their readers.  It's rude and self-centered, a one-way conversation, and I'm never interested in that.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Books I Finished in May

My husband developed a back problem just as things started to become manageable and I thought I could get back to 'serious' reading, which, for me, means reading a lot of books including some classics.

He's had back problems for several years, but about three weeks ago, something very painful happened, but we don't know what.  Off to the orthopedic surgeon, but we already know that back surgery seldom helps, physical therapy, two other doctors for other issues.  Drugs for the back pain can sometimes make the other issues worse.  It's very hard on him because he's a 'doer' and needs to be doing something  -  or sleeping.

My husband is not typically very descriptive, so we've developed the 'Ache', 'Pain', or 'Excruciating' scale to help.  Today there's too much Excruciating.  A call to the On Call doctor at the orthopedic place wasn't helpful, basically, wait to see how he feels tomorrow (Monday).  I'm playing nurse and I'm not cut out for it.

But waiting for him during his hour long P/T sessions has given me time to read, if I can ignore all the other patients and relatives of patients in the room.  So these are the books I read in May:

The Secret Adversary  -  Agatha Christie

The Brandons  -  Angela Thirkell

The Lark and the Laurel  -  Barbara Willard

The Humane Gardener  -  Nancy Lawson

Calamity at Harwood  -  George Bellairs

The Globe Hollow Mystery  -  Hannah Gartland

I enjoyed The Secret Adversary very much.  I don't think I've read a Christie for quite a while.  Miss Marple is my favorite and this is a Tommy and Tuppence mystery.  Hercule annoys me, but I'll give him another go since I bought several Poirots at the library sale.

I'm developing a fondness for George Bellairs.  I have more than several of his as e-books on my Kindle.  I think this is the third I've read and enjoyed.  A haunted house!  Several murders!  Exciting!

I bought The Globe Hollow Mystery at the library sale.  It caught my eye because of the title and the fact that it was an old hardbound book.  I love old mysteries and this was a corker.  A crotchety old uncle dies in a fire, leaving his estate to a nephew who's returned after having been reported dead in the war (WWI).  He's cut his niece out entirely, very spiteful.  But there's a web of deceit to untangle before the truth is discovered.  It's all very mysterious.  I can't find out anything about the author except that it seems this may be one of her two only books.

Do I need to say anything about The Brandons?  If you're a Thirkell fan, as I am, I don't.  Tony Moreland has grown up but is still a force to be reckoned with.  Meanwhile, it seems all men fall in love with the widow Mrs. Brandon.  She's lovely, she's kind.   There's romance, there's minor conflict, there are gardens, there are books.  Thirkell's novels always make me feel that there's a calm, peaceful world out there somewhere, so maybe there's hope.

I liked The Humane Gardener very much.  In Massachusetts, I was a Conservation Commissioner and I've been an animal welfare advocate for thirty years or so.  Since I moved to Lancaster, I've joined a native plants / wildlife habitat garden group.  You can see why The Humane Gardener was perfect for me.  I truly hope that more people can find and enjoy the peace between species.

I'll not say much at all about The Lark and the Laurel because I just wasn't into it.  Maybe it's me because I know others adore this series.  It just seemed it was written for children, and maybe it was and that's why I didn't like it much.  But it was a short book, so I didn't waste much time on it.

There were at least three books that I started and discarded.  I was feeling impatient and could see no reason to force myself to finish them.  I want to be entertained or I want to read about something or someone interesting.  I was about 100 pages into one of them before I almost threw it across the room.

So, here's hoping that Excruciating and Pain get downgraded to Ache or, better, No Aches or Pains and that we can have our lives back.  My heart goes out to anyone suffering and to those who care for them.  Thank goodness for the sanctuary of books!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day

I didn't do it on purpose, but on this Memorial Day, I'm reading Few Eggs and No Oranges:  The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-1945.  I started reading this last year.

Diaries fascinate me.  I love to read about the details of everyday life.  I've been keeping a diary, off and on, mostly on, since 5th grade (many, many years ago).  I've posted about that before.

I have several books I started to read at least a year ago and which I'm determined to finish this year.  Feel free to query me occasionally about how I'm getting on with Gormenghast, Don Quixote, and Travels of William Bartram.  They're all interesting but not gripping.  Anyway, I picked up where I left off with Hodgson's diaries of World War II.

What people endured in the British Isles, Europe, and, I suppose, in other places during WWII is unfathomable to me.  Waiting night after night for bombs to fall, wondering if it would be your house next and whether you'll survive.  People dying when the bomb shelters collapsed or were flooded.  People trapped under debris.  Little food, disruption of utilites, fires.  We've been spared that in the United States.  Hodgson says she wonders if she'll be like the girl in Liverpool who sat writing in her diary as a bomb fell on her.  Her diary was found but she never was.

Members of my family have fought in every American war including the French and Indian War.  War is awful, war should be avoided, but, on this weekend of remembrance, I thank those who fought, some giving their lives, others wounded mentally and / or physically, hoping that their war would be the last war.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Big Trees

If you're reading this blog post, you probably know that my husband and I finally escaped from Philadelphia to the small city where I was born, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Last fall, an old and very good friend suggested we look at a house two streets over from the house he and his wife live in in an old (1929) residential development.  We fell in love and bought the house.  We're still trying to decide where to hang the pictures and what color to paint the upstairs.  But we're here and we love it.

One of the things we love about the neighborhood is the wealth of mature trees.  The streets are narrow, without sidewalks.  Trees meet overhead to form green tunnels.  I love it.  So I thought I'd show you some of our trees.  In the second to last photo, you'll note a very tall, straight tree.  This is a Dawn Redwood, a prehistoric tree thought to be extinct until it was discovered in China in the 1940s.  We have a seedling of it in a garden behind the house.  I'll have to move it because these trees can grow 2 to 3 feet per year and are enormous, 165 feet or more.  The last photo shows our house, tucked under two huge trees.  In the fall, our front yard is swimming with acorns  -  and squirrels!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Books and Feeling Overwhelmed

This will be a short post.  I only finished four books in April.  I finished another today and can finish one more tomorrow, if I get the time.  But those two are May books.

We're still getting settled in our new house.  We just painted the bedroom closet.  There's a huge walk-in closet upstairs.  I love it and really hate moving my clothes downstairs.  But I get it.  I'll leave the winter clothes and seldom worn shoes in the walk-in and bring lighter clothes and shoes I wear all the time downstairs.

I unwrapped all the artwork yesterday.  There are originals by local artists, there are prints of  paintings I can't afford, and there are original prints, if that makes sense.  I hang the prints in my bathroom and plan to hang the originals in the living room and dining room.  I had been thinking that we had less wall space in this house because it has more windows.  But it also has more rooms, so there is more wall space.  Now it's just deciding which pictures to hang where.

We've been spending a lot of time watching birds at the feeders.  After living in Philly for twelve years and seeing almost exclusively pigeons, English sparrows, starlings, the occasional hawk and cardinal, we're overwhelmed (not what I meant in the title of this post) by birds we haven't seen since Marshfield and a couple of new birds.  We have goldfinches, chipping sparrows, white-throated sparrows, probably more sparrows that I haven't identified yet, blue jays, cardinals, Carolina wrens, cowbirds, catbirds, turkey vultures, and more.  The more unusual birds we've seen are the brown thrasher we saw this morning, the two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeaks, which we've never seen before, and the indigo bunting, which I've only seen once before.  A hummingbird has been checking out the hummingbird feeder but hasn't stopped to drink.  It's like an avian Cirque du Soleil!

So, here's the list of April books:

The Wench is Dead  -  Colin Dexter

Die Trying  -  Lee Child

Free Air  -  Sinclair Lewis

A Darker Domain  -  Val McDermid

I have to say that none of them were really terrific.  Or maybe it's just the mood I've been in.  I keep feeling that when I'm reading, I really should be doing something else.  It makes it hard to 'get lost in a book'.  Don't you always feel a little depressed or disappointed when you spend the time to read a book and it fails you?  I keep hoping that I can find more time to read.  How do you find time to read?  Before bed?  In the morning?  Do you take hours during the day?  And do you ever feel like you're wasting your life if you're not reading?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My Father's Craft

Since I mentioned the chess board and the little bowl my late father made, I thought I'd show them to you.

My father, James Armstrong Hindman, was a skilled craftsman, but he was the kind of person who did not want to do what he did for work in his spare time.  My mother would get so frustrated because just getting him to throw together a simple bookcase for us was almost impossible.  That said, my sister and I each have bookcases he made and we each have tall clocks for which he made the cases.  We treasure them all.

Here are the chess board and the bowl: