Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Watching, Reading, Doing

Winter is a good time for settling in, with or without popcorn, and enjoying a good series on television, a movie or a book. I've been doing all of the above! Phil the Groundhog says spring is coming early. He's rarely accurate but with such an upbeat forecast, I will not complain!


(I have no idea if this is a groundhog but when I posted the pic on FB, someone said it was and even if it's not, it's the best I can do!)


Lately I've been captured by two PBS drama series, "Howards End" and "Vienna Blood." The first, of course, is from the book and movie of years back, which I didn't see (though I think it's still on Netflix and maybe I'll take a look!) "Vienna Blood" is a series of six two-part mysteries set in early 1900s Vienna where a police detective is paired with a young psychologist who has studied with Freud.

My favorite show on PBS these days is "Finding Your Roots," which is into a new season. Fascinating stories about those I know and don't (which is interesting in itself). Because of my own genealogy journey, I find this program especially intriguing.


When I was digging in my basement I saw this photo just laying there. I must have moved it but I swear I never saw it before. I looked up the name written on the back and did some family tree digging. It appears to be my fourth great grandmother! She doesn't look very cheery, does she? But then I suppose her time period wasn't that jolly (1765-1865). Now to find out more about her! It's a never ending journey, isn't it?


January was a good reading month -- I finished seven books and just a couple of days ago wrapped up the eighth, "The Silent Patient," by Alex Michelides. I didn't realize when I started it was placing on the NYTimes best seller list. I rarely read new books! But a friend passed it on and I was looking for a diversion before starting a non-fiction.


Next up is "Paris When It Sizzled," about the years in Paris when Hemingway, Chanel, Fitzgerald and others were key figures.


And then (or maybe even simultaneously) "Hidden Villages of Great Britain." Isn't the cover splendid? I hope to discover some of these in person this year!


So far, I've especially loved the first two of Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler mysteries. She's a wonderful writer and weaves the story well. They're a little gritty but not too much so. I took the first (a plump 550+ pages) to Dallas with me, taking the biggest book I had -- and whipped through it so quickly that I was in a panic about not having something to read on the flight home! It's that good.

And what else have I been doing? Well, tomorrow my new stove will be installed and I can finally cook again! And once things are in place again -- or maybe even before -- get back to painting. It will be a good month!

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44 comments:

Laurie said...

Great book selections! I know that feeling of panic oh too well, I’m glad I’m not alone on that lol,

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I love the cover on that last book you've shown. It's so cheery.

And I agree about the groundhog prediction. I choose to believe him since I love his message.

Joyful said...

The Silent Patient and When Paris sizzled look appealing. Your relative may not look so cheery but back in those days one was not supposed to smile for the camera so that doesn't help. I see what looks like a very kind face staring out into the camera. I enjoyed seeing your groundhog :-)

Valerie-Jael said...

Good books! Nothing like a good book to while away the time. I spend so much time reading when I should be doing silly things like housew**k, but what the heck? My Kindle goes with me everywhere, and although I prefer paper books, and still have so many in spite of Ms Kondo, it is a great help as I can't see so well anymore. Have fun reading! Hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, Phil, good boy! Though... 2C over here (35F), and I have to do a lot of walking today.
Oh, I agree she does not look happy, it must´ve been hard times. Plus, how long did she have to sit still?
That sounds tempting, Paris in the golden 20s!
To a great, fun month!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

The critter is a Groundhog, or Woodchuck, Jeanie. They are in deep hibernation right now, but the first warmth of spring will bring them out. I think that you are right to point out that winter is a time to hunker down for a day or two and wallow in binge reading or other pleasant activities. I am cursed with a gene that makes me always want to get outside, but I have been known to resist once in a while, and as I get older, if the weather is really foul that's not so hard to do.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

Love the groundhog photo, I am hoping for an early spring. I finished the Silent Patient last week, it was good. I am always adding new authors to my list of books, Susan Hill is new to me. :) A big thanks to you, I will never run out of books to read. Wishing you a great day.

My name is Erika. said...

Yup, that is a groundhog. I hope for once he was right about winter. We have a storm coming in tomorrow-oh my. But I guess we've just been spoiled with this mildish winter so far. ANd I am curious about these books. Please let us know how they are. I'm always on the lookout for some interesting reads. I picked up the Gourmand's Way which you recommended and it is sitting on my nightstand. It is time for a little non-fiction again. Enjoy all your fun tv and reading. Hugs-Erika

Pam Richardson said...

Looks like a groundhog to me. It is pouring rain here and we are under a flood watch until tomorrow night, yikes! I rarely watch TV, but those series sound quite interesting. “When Paris Sizzled” caught my attention, looking forward to what you say. Happy Wednesday!

Lynne said...

Thank you for all the book did bits . . .
Two books from the library, fiction . . . I returned.
Neither seemed to spur me on to continue.
I am in the mood for mystery . . . and easy on the scary.

I certainly can’t complain about the sunshine this week.
Helps me FEEL like spring!

What are you baking first???

Victoria Zigler said...

That book panic is why I'm glad for the Kindle. Plenty to read if I finish my book before I expected to. ;)

Glad you've been finding great things to watch and read. Also, that's a great reading month... Eight books is fantastic! :)

I hope, for the sake of those who have had way too much snow, that the groundhog is right this time around. On the other hand, I hope not - unless his prediction only applies to the US - because otherwise it means I won't be getting any snow this year, which wouldn't be very nice for me.

shoreacres said...

In the early days of photography, people had to sit still for quite a long time for the exposure to be made. I can't remember how long, but it was long enough that they had to hold an expression, and apparently that's why so many look serious. You can't smile for as long as they had to sit there.

I can't imagine reading eight books in a month. I sometimes forget how different life is for you retired sorts! Of course, if I devoted the hours I'm out in the field with my camera to reading, I might get up to eight read more easily, too!

Sami said...

How amazing to find such an old photo of your 4th grandmother! I still met my maternal great-grandmother, but I don't think there are photos of her in the family.
The tv series and books you read sound great, love the cover of Hidden villages of Britain.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Don't trust the Groundhog! Candlemas indicated we're done with the winter, but winter storms will be here with vengeance this weekend!
Good luck with the new stove, it's always an interesting time of adjustment to the quirks of a new appliance.

~~~Deb in Wales

La Table De Nana said...

Looks like a groundhog!
I love this hibernating time too..although we are expecting a storm tomorrow AM and I hate the maintenance for J..he's such a diligigent groundskeeper in winter..little paths..pretty pretty..shovels..checks everything.
Love seeing what you are reading and watching too..

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, your photo of the little groundhog is definitely a groundhog. In West Virginia, they are everywhere. Your comment about the photo of your grandmother not looking very happy seems to be common in many old photos. They all seemed to have such a somber look.

I enjoy "Finding Your Roots," also. It is so interesting to me all the history they uncover.

Enjoy your reading, I am cleaning closets. Ugh!

DUTA said...

"...something to read on the flight home...". Unfortunately, I can't concentrate on reading/writing while on a plane, train, bus, metro. or appointment room.
Have to do it at home.

NanaDiana said...

I always love to read what others have already read and enjoyed. I hope you have a wonderful week--happy reading. xo Diana

The French Hutch said...

Like you, I'll take the spring forecast from the groundhog! We haven't had a lot of cold weather but a lot of rainy days, I mean cats and dogs rain! So, a lot of slow cooking and my favorite series on these days has been The Crown. So interesting. My daffodils are in full bloom so spring can't be that far off.........I'm happy your range in getting installed so you can cook! Those books look delightful!!! Got to get Paris Sizzled, I know I will love that........Happy week.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

January is a good month for reading and tv watching - especially in the frozen north! January is usually the month when I read the most books. We will see if that is the case this year. I read 9 last month and really enjoyed most of what I read. We watched The Crown and are making our way through a show called "The Americans" on Amazon prime. I think it was an FX show? I hadn't heard of it until a friend recommended it to me. It's about a Russian couple living in the US in the 80s. They are spies. We are on season 4 and it gets better every season!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I haven't seen either of the PBS series you mentioned. I'd LOVE to see the Vienna Blood series. I bet I can find it on my passport. I have a real love of PBS and support them whenever I can.

You have chosen some amazing books to read this month. Gosh, you must be a fast reader to whip through 550 pages so quickly. Looks like wonderful choices, too.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

cute groundhogs!

bobbie said...

That "Hidden Villages" book is right up my alley ~ off to look for it!!

Deb said...

Oh my goodness, Jeanie, what a fabulous find. Just imagine life back then. I'd be a wreck. lol But to see her face like that, very precious. I have never even seen photos of my great grandparents. And I love that show, too, along with Howard's End. Both very entertaining. Have fun with the new stove.:-)

BeachGypsy said...

Wow, that is a great picture of your great great great great Grandma!! what a treasure. That book about the British villages looks really interesting and that find your roots tv show sounds like something I would love too. How is the kitchen coming and the new stove?? I just know you're going to love it.

Marilyn Miller said...

Hope you are cooking on your new stove tonight.
That is an impressive amount of books in one month.
Love the picture of a distant grandmother found in your basement. I thought maybe she was haunting your basement and you didn't know who she was. Glad you figured it out.
Though I love early spring I always feel slightly guilty for hoping for that, as I know how important winter is to our climate and spider collection. If we don't have a good freezing winter we have lots of bugs in the summer. Ick!

Sandra Cox said...

Your great grand was a hundred? Wow.
My tulips are in agreement with Phil, since they've all popped up. Sigh. I wish they weren't so eager.

Jennifer Richardson said...

I hope you're happily cooking away on your new stove and staying cozy and warm with another good book already underway. Nice way to February on.
Your photo is a treasure - that weathered face tells such a story.
Very little of the sparkle that shines through your smile. Those were hard times.
Reading chair hugs to you,
Jennifer

Pam said...

Oh my....I was so excited to see what Phil thought about spring, but the today the temps start dropping and tomorrow night will be 30 degrees. Just a couple days ago it was 70. WOW, my body hates these changes. I have a book I started reading a month ago and I have gotten NO WHERE with it...just can't seem to tame my mind long enough to read. I have even tried reading a page or two before bedtime, but I end up playing around on blogger, FB and Pinterest....haha

Thelma said...

You have a great selection of books Jeanie. I love books also. I haven't been reading a lot lately because I'm waiting for cataract surgery. I am scheduled for my second eye on the 25th of this month.
Cute groundhog. We are expecting a large snow storm this week. Take care Thelma xo

Kitty said...

I love your groundhog! And all the books you are reading! I have only gotten thru about 1/3 of one since the first. I will have to get the Susan Hill books at the library. Have fun with your new stove. Will you be sharing it with Rick or is it "to each his own?" Love to you both.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I have been so out of touch with what's happening on PBS lately that I wasn't even aware of the Howards End series. Must check that out! I've been doing genealogy since I was a teenager, so I'm very excited you're on the hunt for your fourth great grandmother! You are going to have fun with that. Can't wait to see the new stove. I would have great difficulty cooking on an electric, but it's whatever one is used to, I suppose. And you DID have time to get used to it! :D

Mae Travels said...

Remarkable to have a photo that old! Portrait photography was just becoming affordable for ordinary people at the end of her life.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

handmade by amalia said...

I haven't heard of Finding Your Roots, sounds good. I did see Vienna Blood and liked it very well. My favorite show these days is Call the Midwife, I love it, and their Christmas special was especially endearing. Did you like The Silent Patient? I have it on my TBR pile, patiently waiting its turn.
Amalia
xo

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I will check out that first book as currently I have been reading historical fiction and need a change.

Prims By The Water said...

Hope you let us know more about your grandmother if you find out. That is a groundhog. We have had a few in our backyard recently. Janice

Pom Pom said...

Hi Jeanie! I did love the Anthony Hopkins Howard's End.
January is always a good month for reading.
I hope the groundhog is right. We have heaps of snow today.

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jeanie. How great is it that you found your #4 greatgrandmother's photo. I don't think she looks grouchy, but proud. For some reason that I never knew they all look so stern in their photos and portraits. I love the cover on that last book about the villages of Britain. Anything with pretty little cottages always intrigues me..Hope you are looking forward to a fun weekend..xxoJudy

Red Rose Alley said...

Yes, January and February seems to be "watching good movies" months. Oh, look at that delightful groundhog, so cute. I have not seen Finding Your Roots - sounds like a good one. I have always been curious about my ancestors as well, Jeanie. It's important and wonderful to know who and where we came from. The girls would love that book, When Paris Sizzled. They love the 20's era so much. Sounds like you've been reading a lot of good books lately. It's always a pleasure to see what's happening around your neck of the woods, Jeanie.

~Sheri

Nikki-ann said...

I'm guessing Finding Your Roots is similar to Who Do You Think You Are? I love shows like that as I'm very interested in family history (my own and that of others).

That Hidden Villages of Britain looks like an interesting book. The cover certainly stands out!

Sally Wessely said...

What did you think of The Silent Patient? I’m intrigued by it. I don’t know you read so many books. I think I am just a very slow reader, and I also tend to not read at all until I go to bed. I don’t know why. When my kids were little, I managed to read more than I do now. That is a mystery to me.

By the way, I am currently reading Howard’s End. I too recently watched the series on PBS and so loved it. I couldn’t remember if I had ever actually read the book, so I went to a second hand bookstore and bought it. I find I have a harder time reading the literature from early in last century these days because I am keenly aware that I don’t do as “long form” reading as I once did and that I rarely read the classics at all. This all makes me quite sad, so I am going to read a classic once a month for 2020. Anyway, that is my plan. It took me a bit to get used to Forster’s style, but now I am loving analyzing character development, setting, themes and such. About ten years ago, I read his “Passage to India” and loved it. Have you ever read it?

Sketchbook Wandering said...

I love winter for being able to hunker down with indoor time and projects...I don't read mysteries but I loved seeing what you've been reading.
Your 4th great grandmother: Times must have been very hard for women back then.
I have a friend who is exploring her geneology and will tell her about the PBS series...
Warmly, rita

William Kendall said...

Six more weeks of winter are to be expected in my part of the world.

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like the groundhog photograph, and that is a very special photograph of your 4th great-grandmother.

Great books, that last one has such an inviting cover doesn't it.

All the best Jan

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