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?!