Archive for ‘favorite things’

May 16, 2012

meet emily

…a gift from my husband for my birthday last month.


if you happened to read my post last year about my smart phone then you know husbie and i are not techies.  this is hard for most people to believe especially since my husband works with computers for a living.

the truth of the matter is though that we are very old fashioned and for a long time i didn’t think i wanted anything to do with a kindle.  i like books.  there is something to be said about the ink, the paper, and the cover art.  i love used books, especially if they have been written in or have a date and a name on the inside cover.  they are just special. and in holding the book and turning the pages you form a relationship with it.   i’ve also been proud to display our books on the shelf in the living room.  the titles have a lot to say about who we are.  i have all my favorites by du maurier, and jane austen.  my husband has his poetry and theology.

then we decided to move.

and one of the first things i began to pack up were our bookshelves.

and i began to think.

how convenient to have all of these items loaded onto a single device that could fit in my purse.



then i realized that once we accomplish this move, i will be about 3o miles away from my favorite library.



i began to sneak a look at kindles.  i looked some more, and announced to my husband that i was looking at kindles.

then i did some comparison shopping, settled on a model, and announced to my husband that i *wanted* a kindle.

don’t get me wrong.  i still love books, and after a general sort through i plan to keep those most special to us, and will still proudly display them on our shelves in our new office.  but i am very happy with the convenience of this little gadget named for, (in case you were wondering) emily dickenson.

~as i said before, it fits nicely in my purse so i can read wherever i go without lugging a book (or books) around.

~when reading in bed, it is much easier to hold on to than a large volume.

~i can stand it up on the coffee table and read while folding the laundry.

~i love being able to hi-light without actually marking up a page.

~i love that i will be able to share those hi-lighted passages with  my husband when he gets his kindle too (he’s sold on them now and wants one himself)

~i love that at the touch of a button, i can own a new book almost instantaneously and begin reading within minutes – not to mention some of the other features i have yet to access such as downloading audio books and music to listen to in the background. (how lovely to read austen while listening to rachel portman)

~i also love the public domain freebees, and the sites like pixel of ink that deliver free titles to my inbox each day.  i’ve gone a little crazy with those as mentioned previously.

some favorites (free and otherwise) that i’ve picked up so far:

*the distant hours by kate morton.  ok. this… really wasn’t free. at all.  but i had started it and wanted to finish it. on my kindle.  what can i say.  i had a new toy and really wanted to play with it.

*because of winn-dixie.  yes. this is a children’s book, but i love dogs and this was a very sweet story.  not free but “used book store price” from kindle’s daily deal.

*weekend homesteader.  this is a monthly series and once a week or so they are offered for free.  each issue contains approximately 4-5 “homestead” projects.  the idea is to choose one and choose a weekend to complete it, hence avoiding burnout.  pretty cool little concept and just glancing through it seems that most projects would work for urban homesteading as well as rural.

*a single thread. a contemporary fiction story about a quilting circle.  i’m currently reading this one.  if it wasn’t free it was pretty close to it.  very light, easy, and enjoyable.

some other freebees i’ve downloaded and am looking forward to: willa cather’s o pioneers! jane’s fame: how jane austen conquered the world, and raising chickens in your backyard a no fluff guide to chicken breeds, coops, runs, tractors, and more. 

do you have a kindle or other similar device/app?  what are you currently reading?

April 23, 2012

with tuppence, for paper, and string…

…you can have your own set of wings

with your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight…

with your fist holding tight…

to the string of your kite.

let’s go fly a kite

up to the highest height

let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear,

oh let’s go fly a kite!

(can we go home already?)

April 2, 2012

my travel diary

as i have said before my husband travels extensively with his job.  i knew this when i married him.  it was part of the deal.  normally though he would just travel once or twice a month, so the time away was manageable especially since he offices from our home; so when he is home, he’s home.  lately though,  his time away has increased to every single week.  this isn’t as doable for us so every so often i  tag along in order to spend more time together.   i love tagging along.  it gives me the chance to see where he stays, where he works, and the restaurants he frequents so that when he comes home and talks about these things,  i can better visualize where he has been.

last week i tagged along.   i had the wonderful privilege of spending five days in hurst, tx with my sweetie.  hurst, in case you didn’t know (i didn’t), is a suburb of dallas. now, i’ve already done the dallas thing the last time i tagged along: neiman marcus, sixth floor museum, and all that.  so this week was a bit more, how can i say, low key.  which was lovely because, truth be told: i’m not really into shopping and sight seeing.  i hate to shop unless it is for groceries or plants; and my idea of sight-seeing is to look at restored older homes.

so without further ado: these are the hilights of my trip; i present to you my humble  travel diary:

day 1:  arrived at hotel.  i then ummmm….took a bubble bath and finished my book.   had dinner at my husband’s monday night haunt.




day 2:  ran moday night’s dinner (veal parmesan) off while on the treadmill.  decided i love the convenience of a treadmill.  began figuring out how we can have a treadmill on our farm…battled the dallas traffic to get to central market where i had lunch outside while reading up on keeping chickens.  shopped.  bought, mushroom flavored finishing salt and tea biscuits, among many other fabulous foodie things.  battled the traffic to get home, and was nearly caught in a wreck.  was so traumatized i spent the afternoon at the hotel watching tv.  we don’t own a tv, so we don’t obviously watch much.  it was the first time i’ve ever seen paula deen in action.  i was mesmerized by this woman with big eyes and a molasses thick southern accent, using prolific amounts of butter.  i still……can’t get over it.   had an absolutely beautiful candlelit dinner with my sweetie at a french bistro: complete with escargot and floating island for dessert.

day 3: ran tuesday  night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  still want a treadmill.  still traumatized by dallas traffic.  so much so that i seriously considered skipping the dallas arboretum.  gathered my courage, and my gps, and mapquest directions, prayed hard, and went to the arboretum.  i. was. floored.  it was amazing.  took dozens of photos and decided that we will not keep chickens and plant vegetables, we will have ten acres of amazing gardens instead.  now to figure out how to assemble a staff….. purchased some texas wildflower seeds to see how they will do here in oklahoma.  had barbeque for dinner at another one of husbie’s weekly haunts.

day 4: ran wednesday night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  come hell or high water we are getting a treadmill.  and a tv. and cable.  so i can watch the food network while burning calories.  spent the entire day “off” working on my cross stitch while watching (you guessed it) paula deen.  and occasionally ina garten whom i am coming to admire almost as much as julia child.  made a brief excursion out to a cupcake bar where i ordered nothing more than one chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream and one vanilla with chocolate buttercream.  my only adventurous ingredient was reeces pieces sprinkled on top which i regretted.  what can i say?  i’m a purist.  had a lovely dinner sitting outside where i discovered blackberry mojitos. omg ya’ll (said with a southern crack like paula deen).  i now have a new favorite cocktail.  move over pomegranate martinis….

day 5: ran thursday night’s dinner and mojitos off while on the treadmill.  contemplated where to shop for our new treadmill and where to put it in my tiny barn-cottage.   showered, packed, crammed my central market groceries into my suitcase.  decided on one final fling: lunch at the new in and out burger across the street.  in and out was closed: not to open for another eight days, so i spent an hour trying to find something else, getting lost, panicking, battling traffic, and getting lost again.  ended up very frazzled at starbucks where i settled for a “bistro box”.   met up with husbie and made our way to the airport for home.  uneventful flight where i caught up on my chicken garden book.  spent the evening on the back porch, looking at our overgrown yard,  and planning the upcoming week.

March 27, 2012

a few more little treasures i found on netflix…

island at war: if you enjoyed reading the guernsey literary and potato peel society you will enjoy this mini series.  set on the fictitious island of st. gregory this tells the story of four families at the beginning of wwII.  although the island itself does not exist,  the series is drawn from events that actually happened on the channel islands during the german occupation.   i was particularly pleased to discover that it featured joanne frogatt.  downton fans will recognize anna (one of my favorites) ~ it was fun to see her in a different role. unfortunately only one season is offered and apparently that is all that was written.  while the series stands well on its own it does end rather abruptly and one wonders what would have happened in a second season.

housewife, 49: an absolutely beautiful piece brilliantly acted.  another period flick set in england at the time of wwII, the story is drawn from the diaries of nella last; a housewife who volunteered for the mass observation archive.  the archive was set up in 1937 in an effort to record the views of everyday, ordinary british people.  nella was as ordinary as they come.  her narrative forms the backbone of the story of a lonely woman, her family, and her marriage during the war.     it is poignantly sweet, tragic, funny, and devastating.  if you are an ordinary person who has struggled to find your voice,  at times felt inadequate, or even served on a committee under a chairperson who has allowed their power to go completely to their head – you will relate.

please note that both of the above are (in my opinion at least) for adult viewing only.  some scenes, and some of the subject matter would be a bit too strong for a little mind to digest.

March 23, 2012

my prize


i waited six weeks.  i was #40 of i don’t know how many holds and now –

i finally have it.

eighty-two  card holders are waiting for me to finish this book.

eighty-two  people  behind me…all of them..waiting….waiting….waiting…with bated breath.

i could be kind and return it as soon as i am finished.

or not.

i could hold it for the full two weeks allowed me;

or not.

i could renew it for an additional two weeks keeping it for an entire month


i could be exceptionally cruel  and hold it. overdue.  indefinitely.

i could even try to determine who is next in line and offer it as a bribe for say…

a dozen chocolate cupcakes from merritt’s?

come weed my lawn and i’ll let you take a peek?

oh the power of obtaining a coveted library book!

March 20, 2012

10 ways to welcome spring…

in my part of the world it has gone from winter cold to very warm, very fast.  we almost seem to have bypassed spring and gone straight into early summer.  nevertheless these are some things i’m looking forward to doing this spring when we aren’t busy planning the building of and move to our farm:

  1. opening all the windows and airing out the house
  2. while the windows are open, giving the house a good clean from top to bottom
  3. washing, starching, and ironing the curtains so they look pretty when they catch the breeze from the open windows
  4. (so as not to focus completely on housekeeping) getting a pedicure and having my toes painted pink
  5. making deviled eggs
  6. going for long walks and taking in the blooming daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, and redbud trees
  7. planting a vegetable garden
  8. making a pretty spring wreath for the front door
  9. mowing the lawn, then sitting out on the back porch and enjoying the smell of the cut grass
  10. flying a kite

happy first day of spring!  what are your plans from now until summer?

February 10, 2012

the start of a new chapter

marco’s and my new year’s gift to each other; a bit belated due to one false start but arriving just in time for valentine’s day:

as of 11:00 am this morning, she’s ours.

all ours.

all ten acres and the pond.

>cue theme from little house on the prairie<

we’re gonna homestead folks (although i prefer to say we’re going to build a “farmette”).

come this summer or thereabouts, should all go well and  go as planned, a small farm town in ok. will increase its population from 1,788 to 1,790.

surprised?  so are we.

thought we were settled into our little house never, ever to move again? so did we.

struggling to see us as bona fide country folk? ummm….think a little harder..we do have a garden and i’ve been yakking on and on about chickens and such for the past several years.

there is a story behind it all and one that will eventually be told;  a method to my madness as well as a vision for this beautiful spot we plan to call home,  but for now let me just say…

we’re absolutely ecstatic.

January 20, 2012

four and twenty blackbirds

this little vignette keeps me company while i do the dishes:

the little scene as a whole, is comprised of three components that were collected over time.

it all started with the pie bird, who, having been through at least four moves, is a little worse for wear.

rather than get him repaired, i’ve decided to just leave him be.  each chip tells a story and adds to his overall character.

i don’t recall which came next, the little book, or the birds baked in a pie; nor do i recall where either of them came from.

there are not quite twenty-four black birds in this little pie, but when the pie is opened….

it’s the little things that make the nitty gritty stuff (like washing the dishes) worthwhile.

January 18, 2012

random thoughts about downton abbey

we do not own a tv so i happened upon downton abbey a year ago,  quite by accident, while browsing the masterpiece theater website.  being an avid fan of period flicks from any time period i eagerly devoured all four episodes.  i wouldn’t call myself a huge fan as there are some things i really don’t care for as you will see in the following list,  but i do enjoy watching and plan to add the series to my library.

i recently saw a piece on the news speculating as to why we americans are so taken with a british series and what it is that makes us want to watch:  supposedly the riveting drama and romance of the time period. from my perspective,  i couldn’t disagree more; but then i watch for very different reasons.

~ i have to check in with my favorite character.

it is not lady mary.

it is not cora, or anna, or even mr. bates.

it is the house.

the opening credits with the dog on the lawn and the maids opening the raised panel shutters give me goosebumps.  i lose a lot of important dialogue because i am busy looking at the interiors: linen fold panels in the library, the open shelves and copper pans in the kitchen.

~ i love the lifestyle that goes along with the house.  ring a bell for a tea tray to be brought to your room first thing in the morning.  a walk in the garden, change for lunch. change for tea in the afternoon, change again for a formal dinner in the evening.  while the director’s slant (in my opinion) is to make such a life seem dull and meaningless, don’t tell me you haven’t watched and for just one second thought how lovely it would be to have a day whose primary duties were nothing more than growing roses and pouring tea from a pot worth millions.

that being said:

~ the life of a domestic looks very gratifiying to me as well.  yes, it was hard work, no, they weren’t well paid but everyone (thomas excluded) seemed to be somewhat contented  in their position and there is something appealing about the role and skill  of the housekeeper  meticulously running the household like a very well oiled machine.  i also think it would be great fun to wear a uniform.  a black dress with a lace apron is much more pretty for housework  than yoga pants and a hoodie.

i do not care for:

~ isobel.  ::ducks to avoid flying objects::  i’m sorry.  i think she is a goody two shoes.  i think she has far too lofty an opinion of herself and her ideas and since they are (in her opinion) right, it gives her license to traipse all over other people’s boundaries like  clumsy goat in a rose bed.   i guess i have known far too many people like her.  i *do* however, love the work of penelope wilton, and i think it cool that she took the role of isobel  to fulfill a  long time dream of working with maggie smith.

~ i don’t like all the cliches and cheesy catch phrases.  by the end of season 2 episode 1 i was ready to propose a drinking game.  bottoms up every time one hears the words “the times are changing…”

~the writer and director have in my opinion taken too many liberties and the piece has lost a certain amount of authenticity.  i’m too much of a stickler for realism.  try as i might, i just can’t visualize a lady’s maid and her mistress confiding in each other about their respective romantic issues, or for that matter,  a lady ducking into the butler’s personal quarters for a bit of a friendly chat.

~it has become very predictable.  we all know what will happen.  anna and mr. bates will find a way, and the butler will pass on.   the earl of grantham will pitch a fit when sybil marries the chauffer (until he remembers  that “the times are changing “), edith will be hurt enough times to soften her nastiness, and mary and matthew crawley will get together in the end possibly producing an heir so we can have a season 4 (season 3 is being filmed as we speak…).

what do you want to bet?

September 12, 2011

it’s the little things

in spite of having to drop off the love of my life at the airport for week one of a two week business trip (having been told he’d only be making one trip this month)…

in spite of having to take a hurt doggie into the vet this afternoon to have his toenail removed (having carefully planned and choreographed my day in order to deal with the love of my life being gone this week)…

in spite of sitting in the middle of a very dirty house (hence the carefully planned day to whip this place back into shape)…

in spite of being in the middle of a raging fiery trial (thereby facing all sorts of unknowns)…

in spite of having to eat my hard boiled eggs this morning without any butter, toast, or jam (nothing like a fiery trial i’ll admit, but it comes pretty close)…

it’s the little things that make this monday morning in september worthwhile.

little things like:

powering through what started out as a very difficult run, turning down my favorite stretch of old houses and sidewalk, finding a second wind, and discovering what a gorgeous morning it really is…

happy lyrics in my earbuds telling me to go make an earthquake…

the buds on fall blooming irises that i didn’t even know i had planted…

beet sprouts…

the first tiny green tomato in our fall tomato patch…

discovering that the african violet i propagated “took” and  is putting out tiny new leaves…

being able to resume my morning ritual of opening the interior shutters to let in the sunlight because the horrible summer  heat has finally broken…

a cup of black current tea in my flowerdy tea cup…

the anticipation of a new sewing project…

remembering the numerous times the love of my life has reminded me this past week that everything is going to be all right…

happy monday ya’ll!