Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Reviews

For both of these books I used my Audible subscription to listen to them. I didn't pay very much. In fact, since I have recently signed up for Amazon Prime I got the second book free! I had never heard of either of them. And chose to listen to them for different reasons. The first book Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion, was about California in the 1960's. I finished high school in the late 1960's. 1969 to be exact. And though I lived in Kansas I remember hearing about many of the things she wrote about in her book. 

The book is a collection of essays. I think she writes with much of the feeling of many of those who were living in California at the time felt. There was much to be said about the whole Haight-Ashbury and it's counter culture which was how those times will always be remembered. She didn't spare details about the 'acid-laced' people she was writing about. I loved the essay about John Wayne. And the one about Howard Hughes was interesting. There was a story about her celebrating her daughter's first birthday that was touching. (I later discovered this daughter, her only child, died  young at nearly the same time her husband died of a heart attack.) According to Wikipedia she is known as a literary journalist who explores America's disintegration of morals and cultural chaos. I will admit I had never heard of her. I will give this book *** stars. It was decent.

I didn't know anything at all about this next book. I downloaded it without knowing what it was about. I knew it was free. And Audible books are expensive. This book is about
hoarding. And it is GOOD. And kind of 'cringe-worthy'. The author's parents are hoarders. Most especially her father. But her mother became a compulsive shopper in defense of not being about to change her husband. And the author describes how she grew up. My mom was a hoarder. Not so much do I remember things being horrible growing up but I do remember the house she was living in when she was moved to the nursing home. And it was bad! Really, really bad. I can relate to the parts about the author trying to help clean up. I often went to my mom's house to try to clean up. Only to find it bad again the next time I went. My step-father was a hoarder too. And together they lived in filth. Rest their souls now. I found the show on A & E years ago, Hoarders, and I binge watched until I just couldn't watch anymore. (My son has jokingly (well, I think it's a joke) called me a Hoarder). You can still see all the floors in my home. And there are not piles of junk everywhere. But I have too much stuff. This book might just make me want to start cleaning it out. If you have any interest in hoarding I high recommend this book. I know of other hoarders. It is always a surprise to me when they don't see this in themselves. This book will be given **** stars!  

What are your thoughts?  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday's Wonderings-A Life List

Outside my window...

We have gotten a bit cold here in Kansas. Still sunny and bright but the temperature is only 44* here right now. And will get down to 19* tonight. I guess winter is going to arrive after all.


Oh my gosh what more is there to ponder. Just listened to Trump declare the capital of Israel is Jerusalem. I always thought it was. He is just stirring the flames. How many leaders from other countries told him not to do this? He doesn't listen to anyone. And, in my opinion, he's only trying to deflect attention away from Mueller's investigation. It might be starting to get a little warm for our President.   


All of my favorite shows are getting ready for a winter break. When did that become necessary?? I have not watched anymore episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix either. I guess I needed a winter break. It just seems to be getting "tired" for me at the moment. 


I'm reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It's the January book selection for the book club I participate in online. I finished listening to Twisted River and I am now listening to Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. It is a collection of essays written in the 1960's by reporter Didion. Good, so far.


I am planning to finish decorating for Christmas. The tree is done. I'm working on the mantle. Then the table. Then that's enough!

What's in the kitchen...

Monday...We had ChickFilA
Wednesday...Salisbury steak
Thursday...Chili dogs
Friday...Stuffed Chicken breasts

A quote to share...

A Final thought...

Prayers for this great country of ours! What more is there to say??

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Favorites

As we move into that 'most favorite time of the year' I have to tell you about my favorites from November.

Some of the things that are on my 'favorite things' list for November have actually been around my house for a bit of time. Like, for instance, the telephone receiver that plugs into the headphone connection on my iPhone. I love this thing. I got it last year at Christmas during our Dirty Santa gift exchange. You can get it at Walmart for $9.99. For all of us who still like to TALK on the phone this in a genius invention. No more holding that little flat box to my ear when I want to talk on the phone for an hour or so!

I've talked on here before about how much I like the Mrs. Myer's products for cleaning. I got the Christmas releases this year. I buy my products from Grove Collaborative. Let me tell you washing dishes with Peppermint scented dish soap is the best! And washing your hands and the scent lingers for a bit...to die for. Nothing says Christmas to me like Peppermint!

I have found a new podcast that I am truly enjoying. It's probably because it speaks to me about my grieving process. But there is much more to it than grief. The podcast is called Terrible, Thanks for Asking. The host of the podcast is Nora McInerny. Nora knows grief well. She miscarried her second child, her father died, followed by her husband dying six weeks later.This gal knows what she is talking about. You can visit here to learn more about her.  I like listening to either audiobooks or podcasts before I go to sleep at night. It's like being read to!!

Remember me talking about my favorite cup in a recent post? This is it. Harley got it from Hobby Lobby. It is stainless steel on the inside. I believe it is just painted on the outside. Have you used one of these tumblers? They are amazing. I can put ice water in it before I go to bed and the next morning the ice has not melted. That makes it great in my book of favorites. Works the same for keeping hot liquids hot. I keep a flex straw in mine because I am sloppy at drinking from little holes!!

My newest favorite bullet journal tool is this little beauty. And it was affordable. I can't use a compass to save my life. But this is wonderful.It's called Helix Angle and Circle Maker.  Just put your pencil in one of the little holes, hold down the side, and twirl it around. Perfect circles. I'll show a couple of my creations here.
Mood circle with moon phases

Add caption
I love wasting time on my phone as much as the next guy. My newest addiction is to the game Tens. It's a dice game that you place on a grid to make the number 10 and see how far you can go. I've made it to 445 so far. I'm sure that isn't a great record 
but it's the record I want to beat.
Do you have a favorite game you 
like to play on your phone? Or
on the computer?


Speaking of iPhones....do you change your wallpaper to match the season? This is my favorite Christmas wallpaper. It makes me smile when I open my phone everyday! That does it for November! What are you digging on right now? Share a favorite or two with me!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Lincoln Lawyer-A Book Review and A Lesson Before Dying

I've been spending a bit of time listening to audio-books this week. I get a bit of work done around the house and listening to some good books at the same time. When I try to listen at night I usually fall asleep and loose my place but it is relaxing to go to sleep with some of these readers.

The first book is The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. This is his first legal thriller. I will be back to find more books from this author. I am a huge fan of legal thrillers of this type. The book was narrated by Adam Grupper who did a really good job. The story centers around attorney Mickey Haller who is a cynical defense lawyer who works out of a Lincoln Town car. He mainly defends clients who can't afford to pay him much and have little chance of winning in court. Mickey is not liked by the cops or the prosecutors and sometimes not even by his own clients. And he usually wins his cases. Or gets them the best deal! Then he is hired by a very wealthy family to defend the son who is charged with brutally beating a woman. He feels like he is finally defending a client who is innocent. But he's wrong. And what he uncovers almost gets him killed. It is a fast paced thriller. The ending is satisfying and I wanted more. One of those kinds of books!

Next, a short listen, was A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. This was an adapted version of the novel and put on with a full cast, in front of a live audience. I think that added to my enjoyment of the book. And it was short. So I buzzed through it in just one afternoon. The setting for this story is a small Louisiana town in the 1940's where it still mattered if your skin was black. The main character is Jefferson, a young black man who is falsely convicted of murder. But that didn't matter. He was going to be put to death by electrocution. His godmother gets Grant Wiggins, the plantation schoolteacher to visit Jefferson on a regular basis and help him accept his death "like a man." The two men form a deep connection and in the end Jefferson is put to death. A very compelling story. I may have to search out the full novel to read one day. 

Have you read or listened to either of these? Or anything by these authors?  

Monday, November 27, 2017


Outside my window...

What a beautiful day in November. It is sunny and 66* outside. So far, we are not having much in the way of wind. Although it is predicted for today. This is the craziest weather ever. All of this week we will have temperatures in the upper 50's. I am not complaining! Hopefully it won't mean snow and ice in April!!


Pondering the holiday season. It has begun. We put up and decorated the Christmas tree this past weekend. Every year I forget what a chore this is. There are all the boxes to drag in from the garage. Then the stuggle with getting the tree to light from top to bottom. (That took up the first day). This is the first year I have had a theme for my tree. Usually we just add a jumble of decorations we have collected through the years and call it 'traditional'. Richard always liked that best. This year my them is 'Country Glam with Silver and Red'. And I love it. It's still a work in progress but here are some of the ornaments:

Still decorating

my new deer

Silver snowflakes

At our house we Believe

Angel Wings


night time


I am almost at the end of the current shows of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. And we have been watching some Christmas shows!


I have started reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Have any of you read this book? I am also listening to The Linclon Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Also, this month, we have started a Bible Study online with the Paper and Glam website: God and Glam. We are going to use the book Living The Christian Yearby Bobby Gross as our devotional. I read most of this last year but we will delve deeper into it during 2018, as a group. 


I'm creating a Christmas wonderland inside my home. What are you creating for Christmas?


In the near future our plans include a few days of dog sitting our favorite dog, Allowishus (We call him Ali) His human mama is going to Utah for a marathon. We like it a lot when Ali comes to visit. (Even though it forces me into more exercise than I am used to).

What's in the kitchen...

This will be another week of flying by the seat of my pants in the kitchen. Harley is gone for dinner all week. She is completing her CNA course at the high school with clinicals at the nursing home. She is getting to go to the last nursing home where I worked before Richard got sick. And she is in love with the 'old' folks. 

A quote to share...


Paige with her mom on Snapchat
Our Thanksgiving Snapchat

Found on my phone

found photos

found photos

We did Face masks on Wednesday night
Paige and Harley

tree at the curve of our street

November Sunset

A final thought...

We had a last minute change up in our Thanksgiving plans here. Justin and a friend of his came over for dinner on Thanksgiving day. So Harley and I put together Thanksgiving of ham, potatoes and all the fixings. It was nice to have them over. Paige came and spent the night on Wednesday. She worked for Black Friday (which for her started at 11 p.m. on Thursday evening and ended at 9 a.m. on Friday) so she went home early on Thanksgiving. We also Facetimed with Darian. So it was a good Thanksgiving this year. How was yours?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Reviews

Two book reviews at once!! Yes, that is what I'm talking about today.

The first book, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson was a tedious 'listen' on Audible. It was an okay story but I often got lost along the way. I kept falling asleep while listening and then had to go back and refresh my memory. It's a fairy tale of sorts. A 100 year old man climbed out the window of the nursing home where he lives and goes on a pretty unbelievable adventure. The story is funny at times and at other times it is just hard to get through! The book switches back and forth from his past to the present day! It will give you a few chuckles so give it a spinif you decide to jump in. 

The next book I listened to was Jack of Spades by James Hankins. James has become one of my favorite authors. (He also wrote st The Prettiest One, Drawn, and Brothers and Bones which I have reviewed). This one didn't disappoint! I love a good suspense story. This one involves a police detective trying to capture a twisted serial killer who is torturing his victims all the while wearing a 'voice'changing cartoon mask'. (If you don't like thinking of these types of crimes this book won't be for you. It is graphic.) I enjoyed listening to it because of the voice changes. The ending is satisfying to those of us who like to see offenders get what is coming to them. I can't wait to read more from James Hankins. 

I'm off to start my next book. I have both an Audible pick and one for the January book club to start. I think I'm going to put the Viet Nam book on the shelf for a bit! 


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Currently This Thanksgiving Week

Outside my window...

Today it is sunny and bright. And a wonderful 57*. They keep saying winter is coming. But so far we haven't seen anything of it. However there has been some dipping into the 20's at night!


Today I am pondering about Thanksgiving. It isn't what it used to be around here. At my house, that is! When Richard was alive, celebrating the holidays was a BIG DEAL! Not so much anymore. I am just not in the mood and don't really care. My big extended family stopped getting together a number of years ago, which took all the big time planning out of it. Then my family shrunk to just one son (who still came around) and his daughter. Plus those of us who lived in the home. Then he started a career where the day off isn't always promised. And this year there is just Harley and me. So I think we might just skip it. And save the big celebration for Christmas. We have our fingers crossed that Darian is coming home for Christmas. Thinking back on the holidays made me think of a poem I wrote after Richard died. You can read it here if you'd like. 


Harley and Isaiah are watching Madagascar Escape 2 Africa. So I guess, in a way, so am I. For all of you who are wondering about their 'make-up' date they had it yesterday. Isaiah works the evening shift. He picked her up for brunch. After they ate they came home, tuned their phone to music, and danced on the patio. Cute! Both wore their formal clothes which were worn on the night she got sick and missed Winter Formal. I was smiling! And I'm sure the neighbors were too!


I'm still reading Matterhorn. Although in all honesty I haven't been reading it much. Maybe a page or two a day. I am currently listening to Jack of Spades by James Hankins, on Audible. Right up my alley. But I do admit it is a bit chilling!


In my mind I am creating Christmas! It always comes out better in my mind!



I like to begin my Christmas decorating on the day after Thanksgiving. Since Harley and I don't have much in the way of Thanksgiving plans this year I think we will spend the day putting up the tree. We will drink hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. We both like to sing. And then maybe we'll head down to Spangles for a hamburger!! (I haven't found many other places to be open for fast food).


I am growing older. I see it everyday when I look in the mirror. The hair is getting whiter and I see more lines on my face. More age spots too. It's a melancholy time of the year!


I'm sipping water from my favorite stainless steel tumbler. I'll tell you more about it in my November Favorites. Have you tried these kinds of vessels?

What's in the kitchen...

There is not going to be a menu this week. I am going to fly by the seat of my pants. Me thinks! Harley will not be home a few evenings and I will just go with what strikes my fancy at the moment. And fix what's in the freezer on the other days. 

A quote to share...

A final thought...

I want to take this time to tell all who visited my blog this past week, Thank You for reading and being respectful. It shows there are still people who can share their thoughts, on a controversial subject, and not resort to name calling. Or telling others their opinion isn't important. I read all of your comments with interest. And I learned a thing or two. And, even though I didn't change my mind on the subject, I did learn that I could see others points of view. Hope all of you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!