Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sharing a Link or Two

Happy Day to you! I've been seeing lots of links of late that I find fun and inspiring so I thought I might share a few!

I know many of you enjoy "Call the Midwife" as much as I do. (A new season is returning to PBS in March, I think, or early April.) Did you know you could tour some of the exterior locations on an official "Midwife" tour?

 

Part of the tour includes a costume exhibit, too, which would be great fun. (Alas, the interiors are done in a film studio.)

 

 Find out more about the tour HERE.

 Headed to London? If you love books, you'll want to check out this link for Bookseller's Row.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/London_Cecil_Court.jpg
Photo: Wikipedia

Cecil Court is located in London's West End, linking Charing Cross Road and St. Martin's Lane, two streets that also feature a number of West End theatres. But this is books. All books, just about! You'll find anything you're looking for. And, you may recognize locations from films like "84 Charing Cross Road" and "Miss Potter," among others. I know what's going on my next-time list!

And while we're in London, check out "Hidden Gems in London that Most Tourists Never See." These are going on my list, too!

Gorgeous art and antiquities at Sir John Soane's House!

I was pleased to see a few favorite spots of mine there, too, like Sir John Soane's house!

Some of you have commented that we share an interest in genealogy. "Are You My Cousin" by Lisa Lisson is a wonderful blog I've found helpful in navigating some of that genealogical journey.

My grandmother, Minnie. She died before I was born but from what I know, she and I are much alike!

She includes lots of good tips on finding free information as well as places to try when the trail is running dry. 

I would be remiss not to remind you that there's a lot of playing fast and loose with the facts as the presidential season picks up. Both sides mess up and that's why before you go believing anything, find a reliable fact check site.


So far, I've been pretty happy with factcheck.org. It appears to be unbiased on either side. That's the key. If you only go to your favorite "side" you may or may not be getting accurate info. We have a lot at stake in 2020, so I encourage you to "check" it out!

Don't you love it when someone says, "Oh, you really should read a book by some cool author" and you trot to the bookstore and buy a book by that author -- only to later find out it was fifth in a series of many. I'm a stickler for trying to read books like that in order (especially mysteries, but it really works for other books with recurring characters).

Thanks, Sandra, for sharing this one!

This site will help you get that order straight!

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Life in My Little World

It's amazing what a little sun and feeling a lot better can do for a person! Thanks for all your kind and lovely comments. I hope I'm caught up or close with your blogs!

It will be short-lived, our sun. Clouds and temperature drops. But when it is nice, one takes advantage and I did that by my first visit to the Ditch since fall. To be honest, there wasn't much to see, except for a lot of ducks and geese!


The pond is in varying stages of frozen. It's firm enough to hold a duck or a goose...


...they can even move around on the surface with ease.


But there's plenty of open water, too. And a huge number of waterbirds. Last year there were very few in February, so that was heartening to see.


I have nearly finished another feltie and I'm rather happy with this little guy. He took ages to do, making my hourly akin to sweatshop pay in third world countries. But I'm liking his sweet owlish face! I may have to try another. It needs a little "feather" trim -- too many yarn strands -- but pretty close to done!


And I picked up paint brushes for the first time in months. A few LONG overdue birthday cards (they're on their way, Joan!) and then a birthday card for my favorite almost three-year-old. He was Buzz LIghtyear for Halloween and Buzz was his favorite Christmas toy so I did this one of him in costume. The face is nothing the same, but I don't think he'll notice!


And I did a couple of cat portraits (of the same cat). Bella was my friend Maryanne's sweet love. They're slightly different.  I'll send her both and she can decide.


In backyard bird watching news,  I saw this creature today (horrible photo; my apologies) -- a hawk, I think! It landed on my woodpile for just enough time to grab the camera and not enough to focus before it flew away!


Lizzie, meanwhile, has been enjoying some catnip that hadn't died out completely from underneath Rick's pine tree.


And then, one might expect after a period of debauchery, some cat naps.


It's hard to be a cat.

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Finally. Sun.

Oh, it has been so gloomy this month. But for a few days, at least, we've had sun and somewhat warming temperatures. I'm not looking for blooms yet, but someone on my FB neighborhood page said they saw a robin, so I'll take that as a good sign. I hope he's as attractive as this one from last fall!


I'm rising on the "get better" scale and pushing full power. It has been a great improvement over the past few days. I felt good enough the other night to get out for the first time and see "Into the Woods," one of my favorite Sondheim shows. It was done by our university and boy, those kids were terrific. This production could hold its own with many a professional musical.


Rick had an especially good workday on Friday and surprised me by an invitation to dinner at a lovely restaurant. So, I took a nap and was ready to roll. What a treat! Tannin moved from the suburbs to into the city (OK, the small city) and with it, their prices came down and I swear their food quality went up. I'd been to the old place and didn't like it much at all but this new one -- which took over an old Kentucky Fried Chicken site -- was great! I think we just about closed the place down!


We splurged with wine, appetizer and wonderful entrees, which we could get as small plates, all we needed after the appetizer. I am beginning to feel that I am re-entering the world again.

Rick is heading north over the weekend to go skiing with Greg, the oldest. I thought I'd make up some cookies to send along for the ski -- and for Greg to take with him. Oatmeal with heath bar and salted caramel chips!


This is the recipe I used (below) from the "America's Test Kitchen TV Cookbook." They turned out quite well, I think.


Although, next time I'd cut the baking time down. I don't think it's the oven; things I've done on familiar times in there have been fine but these got a little too crisp! Still, tasty enough to send along with the guys (and some to keep for a snack!)


I finished a mystery called "Desperate" by Patti Battison while sidelined. I debated whether or not I should start the second in the series because in the first I picked out the murderer in the first by page 19. I kept hoping I was wrong because it's so disappointing to feel you figured out something so early and easily without really having to work at it.

Agatha Christie believed that the clues should be available for the reader to find along with Miss Marple but she does it so masterfully it still is hard for me to detect the villain -- even when I've read the book before! But this writer dropped way too many clues. At least, too many for me. I believe it's a self-published book and part of me would really like to write to her and say "if you hadn't done this, then I probably wouldn't have figured it out." (If she just dropped the first three pages, I might never have guessed).


I figured I should give her another chance so just finished the second in the series, "Obsessed."  It was much better, good twists, some decent character development from the recurring characters in book one. I have a third and will most likely do it next while I'm on a roll. Then it will be time for another biography or memoir, I think.

My absentee ballot for the primary arrived. As I type this, at least seven of the candidates listed have dropped out. I'm not sending it in till after Super Tuesday because who knows who will dump by then.


Pet peeve: Putting ballot tax/millage issues on non-major-election ballots. They always bury them, either in August when no one is in town or in the primary. These might get a little more traction, given that the primary is so lively this year. But otherwise, major taxing decisions tend to be voted on by a startlingly small group of people. It should have at least 50 percent of registered voters voting to pass something like this.


And I finished another felted ornament for next year's sale, along with a couple of special orders. This star makes me happy!


That's a good way to describe me. Happy again!


And the sun is still out!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

On the Couch and All Over the Map

Sometimes it's just an effort to keep going forward! The past week wasn't the best. We were both sick; Rick got better faster than I did. I somehow ended up on antibiotics again because they know that if I get infection and it goes in the lungs, that's a serious issue. So I've been spending time on the couch, trying to kick the fever, drinking tea and reading when I could.


I did enjoy the Washington series on History channel, though. I know shockingly little about the Revolutionary War. I know more now!


I finished "When Paris Sizzled." Not bad if you are interested in the decadent lives of people like Cocteau, Ravel, Le Courbousier, Chanel, Josephine Baker and others. I was glad to get it done though and start something a little more fun.

I've been felting too. Earlier this month I finished another Santa. I should have angled him a little more for the photo so you could see his red cap!


This is my first angel. To be honest, I don't think she's that good but a good prototype to refine in future needle pokings! Faces are hard for me!


I've  also been working on some future ornaments -- all still in what I call "undercoating," making the body all white before I start messing with the color. I've stacked up a few. And I finished these two little robins that went off to Rita of Panoply. Thank you, Rita!


It has been cold and wintry here but I find it hard to complain too much. It's so much better than last year, though I confess, I'm very tired of it all and looking forward to walks in the spring.

I've also had some fun genealogy discoveries which I want to write about a bit more. But remember when I showed this photo that just turned up in my basement?


Well, this book was down there too!


It's a year book with loads of photos, including this one -- she is the daughter of the woman above and my third great grandmother! (This is not a good resting face!)


I'd found this book before but after discovering that framed photo, went in search of it. As I was went splunking online to see if I could find out a little bit more on Hannah, I I hit the motherlode!


Part of the online search brought the text of an accompanying book that explains much about the photos which are about people and places in Cleveland, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Oberlin College and so much more. There were even little notes written by someone -- not sure who -- and asterisks on the index pages, so I know I have more looking up to do!


 A note to genealogy seekers -- if you are in Family Search, check the "books" section with the names you're looking for. You'll be surprised what you might find!  I was!


Speaking of books, this is my newest treasure. I swear this book weighs more than Lizzie. Well, not quite, but on the way!


I found it at my favorite market (yes, market -- but they have a book sale section) for -- $4.99! Do I already have lots of books on London? Did I snatch it up faster than you can say $4.99? You bet!


The sections are divided by categories like historic homes, food and drink, places of entertainment, shops, places of worship, Inns of the Court, unusual museums and science and education.


I don't know how I missed this art store when we were in London. It went to the top of the next time list!


The text is good and the photos are so well done, I'd like to frame every one for my walls.


Lucky day!


The therapy cat has been holding her own these days. Acting sweet and not too yappy.


I like that in a cat! I'm sure we'll be back to normal soon.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Valentine's Day - Better Late than Never!

We were ready to celebrate Valentine's Day. We were just a little short on the willing and able!


Cards and present made? Check.


Valentine gifts wrapped? Check.


Dessert cookie baked? Check. (Never mind that I couldn't find my heart-shaped springform pan. I free-formed it pretty well!)


No one told us about the possibility of nasty colds that made the whole prospect of spending a lovely evening together, complete with Rick's wonderful cooking and bread, a less than appetizing prospect! True, we enjoyed some bread and cheese, then said goodbye. Rescheduling a must!

I did get his gift finished. Those of you who have been reading awhile know that each year I make him a book that summarizes our year, complete with bad poetry! This was no exception.


The cover was a collage using dictionary pages, acrylics, leather die cuts and stamps. Inside, a look at our year.


No subject  was off limits, whether in a photo collection...


.... or poem.


Or both.


And of course, the Toddler Twosome made up more than a few pages!


I didn't get a lot of painted Valentines done but here is one...


...and another. I later painted the address of the recipient on the mailbox.


We figured we would try again on Sunday. After a day with minimal sleep the night before and a dishwasher problem at my house (it was overflowing and then dripping into the basement. I think my basement just wants to be wet), I was looking forward to being pampered!

And I was. Only, Rick's sink was having water issues too and not draining. So, he brought over dinner and cooked it here! My favorite, shrimp and grits! (Dishes by hand.)


I came up with a very impromptu table!


It was all delicious -- even the Valentine cookie. (Monique, thanks for idea and the link to the recipe HERE)


After dinner, we enjoyed "Midnight in Paris" before retiring to our respective corners and trying hard not to contaminate the other. We'll see if it worked!


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