Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Things that have made me happy lately:

MousesHouses Be Safe and...

A Common Sense Camp --"The camp has eight themed weeks that include kitchen confidence, anti-racism, DIY, laundry and cleaning, safety and emergency preparedness, personal finance, city savvy, and social skills."  Now is a good time to teach kids about common place things they need to know.  :)

Mary's Sewing Camp--teach a kid to sew and you may end up with quilts.  

Earth School

The Power of Play by Steve Curry
When we play, we affirm our values and connect with others. When we are absorbed in play, we lose ourselves.” Contemporary American author Diane Ackerman says, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” 


Snail Mail During the Pandemic and Mail Art During Lockdown -- Writing letters and postcards has appealed to many people during this period.

Books/Reading:  All of these were Advanced Reader Copies, and  all were very good.  I was glad to have another Maeve Kerrigan/Josh Derwent by Jane Casey installment (so good!).  The John Connolly Charlie Parker book is different from his previous books (no paranormal events), but excellent as usual.  I love Sherry Thomas' Lady Sherlock series (Charlotte is a delightful detective).  A Dance with Fate is the second in the Warrior Bard series by Marillier  (I only recently read the first one and this one is just as good).


I still have two or three letters to answer and have been making more envelopes and trying to organize my ephemera.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


We needed rain, and last night we got it by the buckets full.   Last night was a spectacular show of lightening amid the accompanying rumbling thunder, but this morning, all clear and a little cooler.  

crepe myrtle confetti in bucket

At certain times there will be a spate of new books in one genre.  Lately, fantasy series have been getting new installments, and I've caught up with The Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest, a spin-off series from Juliet Marillier's Blackthorn and Grim trilogy about the warrior bards of Swan Island, and I am now reading the second book in the Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey.

Of course, I never neglect reading mysteries/thrillers, but I also enjoyed the memoir Becoming Duchess Goldblatt.  Love her twitter feed and her pungent tweets and comments:

"As a fictional utopia, Crooked Path doesn't have any police to defund.  Much like heaven, this town is run by librarians in sensible shoes who make house calls."

"You may think, as I do, often: the world is so big and broken, and I am so small and broken. Duct tape and Elmer’s glue, my friends. Stock up."

Her Grace is a pleasure and an inspiration.

I ordered some new size 10 envelopes which arrived yesterday, and I really like them.  I experimented with a collage on one yesterday and was pleased.  Today I'll write a letter so I can send it out into the world.

Yesterday, the following went out to family.

Outgoing Mail


Max always gets a pun :  

There was a baguette in a cage at the zoo.  The sign read:
Bread in Captivity.

I am really tired of wrestling with Edgrr for room in my chair.  Even worse--when he tramps all over the desk while I'm trying to type and trying to keep him from spilling my coffee at the same time. He's usually such a pleasant fellow and he has lovely purr,  I only need half the chair, but I am rather stringent about messing with my coffee.

I wish the cartoon had Edgrr's face.

Friday, June 19, 2020


I have a lot of catching up to do.  It is hot and humid, and I often choose to ignore garden chores. My housekeeping has deteriorated.  The poetry embroidery piece gets attention only once in a while.  It's time to re-schedule dentist and doctor checkups that were postponed in April and May, but I keep putting them off.    Since I have been reading (a lot), catching up on book reviews for my book blog is another item on the list.  June has been a little lazy so far.

A Garden Carried in the Pocket -- so many reviews to finish writing




Incoming Mail

Outgoing Mail
postcard to Suzi

letter to Connie

Friday, June 05, 2020

"There's something happening here..."

I wrote the following post before the protests.  Then watched, shaken by what has been going on, not in one state, but all over the country.  I admire the protesters, hate the looting and destruction, and am devastated by the police violence.   

Watching the difference between those who respond to peaceful protesters (not the looters or those attacking the police) with violence and those who have a taken a knee or walked with protesters as they marched should be educational--one invites more anger and the second can keep things more peaceful.   

There are criminals on both sides, but the majority of the protesters are justified in their desire for change and there are plenty of police and National Guard who want to avoid aggressive action.  I know which America I hope will prevail.  The difference is often found in the leaders on the local, state, and national level who decide on what rhetoric to take, who in both words and actions guide the response.

---original post

How odd that the days and weeks seem to pass so quickly.  Weeks seem to begin and end almost before I've realized it.  Of course, it is a bit difficult to keep track of days--one being so much like another.  

In a time so divided by politics and forceful opinions, it is also interesting to note the divide in the way quarantine has affected people.  Almost everyone has felt fear and frustration, but after the initial period there have been gradual changes in attitude.  

So much depends on circumstances:  out of work or work from home (a paycheck coming in is crucial); alone or with a partner and/or family-how much harder for those who have gone through this alone; like to read or have hobbies and are those hobbies the kind suitable for home or those that require being out and about like golf.  City, suburban, or rural.  (We live in the suburbs, and I have access to my small garden which has allowed me to be out whenever I want,  but what if I didn't have that?  Those in apartments would have had a much more difficult situation.)  

 Rainy day last week

Introvert or extrovert.  Both introverts and extroverts have difficulties, but those who have large social commitments and activities that are curtailed or canceled can suffer greater anxiety.  

I can't imagine a job as a key worker who must go to work even if he or she were fearful of contracting the virus and then taking it home to family.
I've been surprised, however, at how well some of my family and friends have adjusted.  After the first phase (for me, that was wandering around the house unable to to do what I normally do), some have appreciated the change from their pre-pandemic schedules.  Not that they aren't still frustrated, anxious, and fearful at times, but they have begun to set a different rhythm to their lives that has its own perks.  The problem for many of us is wondering how long the virus will be a threat, especially if there is a second wave.  And will the changes put in effect (masks, social distancing) be the way of the future.  

 Even as things open up, we won't see the end of the problems Covid 19 created and revealed for quite some time to come. 

---------- I intensely dislike the New Blogger.  

Monday, May 18, 2020

May Is Flying By

 Sunday morning, a nice spring rain, not too hard.  

Books/Reading.  Finished the latest Michael Robotham book last night, and I like his new protagonist, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven.  When I realized it was the second book in the series, I ordered the first book.  (I'd rather read books in order--but it doesn't always work that way.) 

Still reading Sanjay Gupta's Stay Sharp. I only read it in small increments, giving it time and attention. An excellent book for my brain book collection--informative, readable and positive.

 Birds. Flocks of doves have been chasing away the smaller birds, frustrating me.  My husband thinks it is amusing that I'll sit outside, waiting for the doves, then jump up and frighten them away, but the cardinals like it and come back quickly after the doves leaves. I googled the dove problem and discovered that many others have an ongoing battle with bully birds like doves and had several suggestions. Hoping to stymie the bullies, I've  ordered a new feeder and some No Waste feed that doves don't care for.  Fee said he thought he could rig something for the two flat feeders that might help as well. 

Outgoing Mail over the last couple of weeks.
There were a couple of postcards I forgot to scan. :(

postcard to a little "Mouse"

The sun came out and dried up all the rain in the afternoon.

Monday-- Caught up on the chores I didn't do yesterday, including mopping the floors.  I've worked on drafts of book reviews for my book blog, done some laundry, and read.

Hope this week goes well for you. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Tlhis and That

There are blogs I visit simply because they make me smile.  Odile Baillouel's blog is one of those.  I love seeing what her mice are getting up to.  

British Library Asks Nation's Children to Write Miniature Books in Lockdown

The Bronte's miniature books have always fascinated me, as does anything miniature (like the mice and their activities above).  Many kids would enjoy creating their own books,  then writing and illustrating them.   
"The library is asking children to share their homemade miniature books with its Twitter account @BL_Learning using the hashtag #DiscoveringChildrensBooks, or send them by email to learning@bl.uk. It will commission an illustrator to create a virtual bookshelf to display the work."
 This link has several tips on planning and creating a book for the project.  

Not that kids are the only ones making books.  :)  There are plenty of tutorials on youtube.
Mail:  two letters I've sent haven't arrived weeks after I sent them.  I know a couple have, but I don't know about at least six more sent since mid-April.   An email from Connie mentioned that she didn't get her letter.  Bryce Eleanor didn't get hers.  

Reading:  These are my favorite reads from NetGalley recently.  Since they are ARCs, they haven't been published yet, but I enjoyed them tremendously.

Pandemic Activity

Embroidery.  When I get a little antsy about the news, I pick up the needle and work on the poetry quotes.

Garden.  I spend some time each day watching birds or weeding.  Overcast this morning, but blooms are cheerful.

Mother's Day.  Face time with Erin and Mila; Amelia, Chris, and Bryce Eleanor drove by with a gift and a Happy Mother's Day poster.   Fee made Eggs Benedict for brunch, accompanied by Mimosas.  I just miss hugging my daughters and grands.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Monday, I think...

 Bryce Eleanor had a school assignment that required an "older relative," so she emailed me for three pics and three childhood memories.  I'm certainly the oldest grandmother.

(Amelia says B.E. is keeping up with her online assignments.  That is something else that interests me--how teachers are doing with lesson plans and grading and other elements of online learning.  I like this assignment from one of her teachers.)

This is one of the pics I sent her.

People thought we were twins!

The photos and memories were from Beeville, TX and Casper, Wyoming,
and it was fun to think about memories from so long ago.

back of the envelope--with image from 
the sheet of dragon stamps.

postcard to Suzie

Connie sent me a bundle of old envelopes!  Some are making their way into collage, some will be going out to other snail mailers.  If you are interested in some old envelopes with interesting addresses and old stamps, let me know.  :)

I started this post a couple of days ago, and this morning, I saw a post on Margarete Miller's blog:  Inspirational Glue Book Artist:  Connie Rose.  Connie is, indeed, an inspirational collage artist and fortunately, a friend and correspondent!   Connie's Instagram.

This morning--watching the squirrel move straight down the fence!  This is the second time I've watched this and didn't have my phone to take a pic.  

I was reminded of images of Dracula climbing down the castle wall--but the squirrel has none of Dracula's sinister traits, just makes me grin at his antics.  Head first and very carefully, legs spread, he descends straight down.  (No, I've no idea whether the squirrel is male or female, but refuse to use the plural "they.") I wonder why the change from coming down the crab apple tree in the corner, which is much easier.   

So far this morining, I've finished one letter and started another.  I'm enclosing some of Connie's gifted envies for recipients.   Hope to get both in today's mail.

New stamp arrived; the others were pre-ordered but should be arriving soon.  The image doesn't have the metallic element that makes these so pretty.
And last, but not least, Teresa posted on her blog Views From My Highland Cottage.   I've posted about her library before--yes, I know it is house envy, but I can't help it.

Now back to finishing the letter.  Later, laundry.  And Snickers--bite size. :)

Friday, April 24, 2020

This and That

After weeks of little traffic, things are picking up, which is a little worrisome.  We went to pick up some groceries; it didn't take long before they were brought out and put in the trunk.  I like the convenience of ordering online and picking up what we need, saves time and exposure.  Plenty of fresh vegetables was the big hit.  :)

Perennials are coming back, slowly.  Most of the garden looks pretty bare.  Except for weeds, which I work on a little each day.

Incoming Mail

This beautiful postcard from Patty & Dave


I still have some letters to answer, but I'm catching up.

The Post Office is an essential service.     

And from another source:
"...when the electricity goes out, the cell tower is down or the internet isn’t working (all of which could easily happen during a natural disaster or enemy attack), the Postal Service and its employees are the nation’s vital link, as befits a publicly held resource. One emergency plan not (yet) in use is to have postal workers quickly deliver to each American an antidote like Cipro in the event of a wide-scale biological attack. Who else would be able to do that? As a recent Wired article notes, the plan could quickly and easily be retooled for a pandemic.
The agency plays an essential role in urban and suburban areas, where postal workers are the ones who bring many of those Amazon packages to the front door. And in rural and hard-to-reach areas, postal workers are the only ones who provide regular delivery service because there’s not enough money in it for private courier businesses. Postal delivery is the only way many Americans can get their essential medications or pension checks — and yes, ballots...." Source

Contact your elected representatives, buy some stamps, write some letters, send some postcards.  Write me, I'll write back!  Some places asking for mail for those in hospitals or nursing homes:   

Cheer Cards to Kids in Hospital

Brightview Arlington Senior Living Center

This Massachusetts center for seniors and memory care has 100 residents and would love any kind of card or drawing — "Any kind of message that will brighten their day," said a Brightview representative. Send envelopes to Paula Feldman, Vibrant Living Director, at 1 Symmes Road, Arlington, Massachusetts, 02474.

The Jewish Pavilion of Central Florida

This organization provides community connection to elder care residents of all faiths and religious beliefs. They are seeking Easter, Passover, or general "Thinking of You" cards for their residents as well as any kind of general letter, drawing, or even craft project like blankets or pillows, which they will distribute to their residents in the Central Florida community. Send to The Jewish Pavilion, 421 Montgomery Road, Suite 131 Altamonte Springs, Florida, 32714.

Country Meadows Senior Care of Bethlehem

The senior living and retirement community would like letters for their residents, who cannot have visitors at this time. Send to Country Meadows of Bethlehem, Attention: Lynn Somers, 4011 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18020.

Home Again Assisted Living Facility

"Shower our residents with love!" wrote the Home Again Assisted Living Facility on their website. They are asking for cards, drawings, or inspirational sayings for residents and ask letter writers to sign their first names and where they are from "to show how far love can travel." Send cards to Shyla Reigstad: Cards for Residents at one of these addresses: 308 England Street, Cambridge, Wisconsin, 53523; 110 Stuart Street, Columbus, Wisconsin, 53925; or 1120 Connery Cove, Waunakee, Wisconsin, 53597.

Heartis Senior Living (Clear Lake)

The center is looking for "pen pals" for their residents. Send cards and letters to Heartis Clear Lake, 14520 Highway 3, Webster, Texas, 77598.

I'll be sending postcards to some of these when I'm caught up.

Hope you are all doing well and keeping safe!