TalkThe Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2019 part 3

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The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2019 part 3

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Sep 8, 2019, 11:27am

Welcome any and all who have the patience for piffle in a reading thread.

I have some goals, well guidelines, really, of what I will accomplish in my reading year. I usually begin by selecting the thickest book from each of my TBR shelves and setting them by my reading chair to read during the year. The theory being that by reading the thickest ones, I will gain more room on my shelves faster. Right.

One left by my chair so far this year:
From my fantasy TBR case: The War of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

I will try to work in a Shakespeare play or two, probably focusing on the royal ones since I recently bought the Hollow Crown series digital set.

Will also try to dip into some of those lovely classics with which I made my Christmas "book" tree in 2018. Although it is likely to be more random because I want them on their shelf and not stacked on the table by my chair.

Another goal has come up, which is to read the books on a "shelf" (it's the floor, really, under my shelves) which is very difficult to see and get to. I want those books out of there. One more to go!

Please join me and feel free to comment or piffle here. The drinks here usually consist of something with gin in it, but I make allowances for my friend's tastes. :)

Edited: Sep 8, 2019, 11:42am

Duplicate post

Sep 8, 2019, 11:37am

Does this mean we get twice as much piffle?

Sep 8, 2019, 11:38am

Finished on Friday:
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. A fun summer read, English countryside (through the eyes of a London-born and raised Peter), encounters with the fae and Beverly. I enjoyed this trip with Peter. He is one who cares. He might not always get it right, but he does what his heart tells him to. The story did seem to end rather abruptly though.

Currently reading in a desultory sort of way:
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky - Very much enjoying this, but in small bites.
Roads to Roam by Hoffman Birney - Would be more enjoyable if I had been on these roads, but the travelog from the early days of motoring in the west, during Prohibition (1928), is still interesting.

Began last night and loving it:
Brief Cases by Jim Butcher - I've read the first two stories, the first with the wizard Anastasia in the old west fighting zombies alongside Wyatt Earp, the second an encounter with Bigfoot making references to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Fun stuff and I will be lucky to get anything at all done today.

Edited: Sep 8, 2019, 11:43am

>3 haydninvienna: Oh wow, what did you do to >2 MrsLee:?

Of course twice as much piffle, but no pizzle please, now that I know what that means!

Today's schedule is to cook some food for the week (black beans, rice, possibly curried fish), clean some clothes to wear this week, eat, and read.

ETA: curiouser and curiouser. Apparently LT ate a post by me, but if it did, it was a duplicate because I had a bit of a snaggle starting this thread.

ETA2: Hijinks are in no way attributable to >3 haydninvienna: or LT, any errors here are entirely due to the impatience of the original poster on this thread.

Sep 8, 2019, 12:17pm

>2 MrsLee: Congrats on your new thread Mrs. Lee! The War of the Ring is one I don't have, I might have to pick that one up.

Sep 8, 2019, 1:07pm

>1 MrsLee: oh...a Book Bullet. Argh.

Reading the description of The War of the Ring reminds me that the Helm's Deep battle was always one of my favorite parts of rereading the trilogy. At one point I estimated that I'd read it at least thirty times.

Sep 8, 2019, 1:34pm

>5 MrsLee: Hijinks are in no way attributable to >3 haydninvienna:: haydninvienna: Absolutely never, no way, not at all, and I'm never known to derail a thread either.

Sep 8, 2019, 1:34pm

>7 fuzzi: And Helm's Deep is one of my least favourite sections! Since I love the whole work, to say anything really negative would be overstating the case, but by that point I usually find the battle scenes a slightly irritating digression from the main themes.

Sep 8, 2019, 3:28pm

>9 -pilgrim-: "Helm's Deep...a slightly irritating digression from the main themes."

Hmm, I see your point, and yet, there is so much there I love as well. I have to be careful, because it has been several years since I've read the books or watched the movie, and they have become slightly muddled in my brain. One of the possibly side-themes I love in the books is the focus on humans being totally overwhelmed, but doing their best anyway, and at times failing. Boromir's tale moved me much more than Aragorn's. The heartbreak of Eowyn, then finding not the love she thought she wanted, but her actual heart's love, the king, Theoden failing and falling under mental confusion, depression and age, yet doing his all in spite of knowing that he had failed his people. Helm's deep is full of the heroics of hopeless man. I suppose that is why I do love it.

Sep 8, 2019, 3:53pm

>10 MrsLee: One of my favourite characters is Faramir, and how he handles the challenge that his brother failed. The "heroics of hopeless man" is an important theme for me too. But my heart is in Ithilien, rather than Helm's Deep.

Sep 8, 2019, 6:34pm

>10 MrsLee: well-spoken. And the rivalry between Gimli and Legolas is a bit of levity in a darker chapter. Aragorn standing on the wall watching for the dawn is special.

Sep 9, 2019, 9:38am

Finished Roads to Roam last night. I won't be keeping this one, but I have a friend in mind who loves to hike in Arizona that I intend to offer it to. I think he would enjoy it for a look at that land in the early days of road travel and tourist points. For me the book was interesting in a view of history, but not the fun I was hoping it would be. I think it would have helped if I had been to some of the places he described. It did help that my parents have been, and Google images helped also.

Sep 10, 2019, 8:50am

My husband took a box of books to the Friends of the Library yesterday (American history type books for the most part, used when I was teaching my children, but now it's time to let them go). He came home with a hard copy edition of Cryoburn; not my favorite in the Vorkosigan saga, but since these are books I will read more than once, I want hardcovers when I can afford them. At .50, I can afford them! Only problem is, when one is collecting hardcovers and replacing their paperbacks, the books do not fit neatly on the shelf together. :/

I also purchased The Hanging Tree and it arrived yesterday. I don't want to speak to soon, or jinx it, but possibly I am getting some reading mojo back?

Sep 10, 2019, 12:39pm

>14 MrsLee: I'm doing the opposite: replacing my hardcovers with paperbacks!

The hardcovers are just too heavy for me to hold for any length of time due to arthritic changes in my hands.

Sep 10, 2019, 5:31pm

>This is why I have a Kindle!

Sep 10, 2019, 5:50pm

>15 fuzzi: I have been avoiding hardbacks for years for that reason. Also, they take up valuable storage space, compared to a paperback.

>16 littlegeek: The problem with a Kindle is that a mishap doesn't just take out the book that one was reading at the tine; it removes access to a large section of one's library...

Sep 10, 2019, 7:27pm

>16 littlegeek: I used to read in bed with my iPad, but when I fell asleep while reading I would smack myself in the forehead hard enough to raise a lump...

Sep 11, 2019, 7:24am

>18 fuzzi: Even a hardback is more forgiving in that way.

Sep 11, 2019, 9:37am

>15 fuzzi: There are certain series of books I love to read again and again. I read my Rex Stout and Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries so much that the paperbacks began falling apart, and so I decided to try to find them in hardcover versions. I read in my chair only, never in bed, and so prop the book on my lap. Thus far, I actually find the ereader harder to hold than a book. It keeps slipping around and the lights glare on it; if I try to hold it, my hands go numb. I have a tablet, not a Kindle proper. Anyway, I love the way hardcovers look on my shelves, but more importantly, is how they hold up to many readings.

Of course this may all change in the future, but what would life be if we didn't collect numerous things that we eventually don't use? ;) I'm thinking of my VHS and cassette tape collections, now I have blueray and DVDs, some CDs, but already those are in question and the "cloud" seems to be the way of it. Whatever, I like things. Until I don't.

Sep 11, 2019, 9:54am

I finished Brief Cases last night. Lovely, lovely addition to the Dresden world. He tells stories from several of the other character's point of view. These stories are complete in themselves, yet add to the whole of the world. He writes short stories well, IMO. :)

Began The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy L. Sayers, last night. First published in 1940 as a series of articles in a magazine. I've only read a couple. They are fun, because I love Wimsey and Sayers, written as correspondence, which I also enjoy. So far each has interesting insights into what was going on in WWII (at least from Sayers point of view.

Sep 11, 2019, 10:21am

>21 MrsLee: argh. That's the third BB I've had this week...

Sep 12, 2019, 9:45am

>22 fuzzi: :D Good! I haven't been flinging many of those around lately.

Sep 15, 2019, 3:59pm

Finished The Wimsey Papers last night, also read a very small cookbook my mother gave me called DeGrazia and Mexican Cookery. Her mother had given it to her because mom and I love DeGrazia illustrations and this little book is full of them. The recipes in it I can't say as much for. I'm sure they are edible, and were even good back in the day, but they are pretty standardized American-Mexican fare. Made with ingredients like canned soups and Velveeta cheese, they are not my sort of thing, but I'm giving shelf space to the book because of the illustrations. Also, my grandmother inscribed it as a birthday gift to my mother, and below that, my mother wrote, "Save for Lee."

I started The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O'Keeffe by Michael Orenduff last night on my Kindle. I'm very conflicted about it. Enjoyable enough to keep me reading, the main character has a way of justifying his breaking the law which is unnerving. I see that I have one more of this series on my Kindle, and I think it is good enough to read that one, but I probably won't buy more. I might end up with no morals at all!

Sep 15, 2019, 4:28pm

Oh btw, there’s a book of whimsey short stories on sale as an ebook today. I forget what it’s called, but you probably can find it easier than me.

Sep 16, 2019, 9:33am

>25 Bookmarque: Thanks, I saw that, but already have it.

Finished The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O'Keeffe last night. It was an amusing read, not a mystery series I will collect, but a fun distraction for the day.

If there is time in the day today, I will begin Atonement by Ian McEwan, which does not promise to be amusing. I'll see how I fare with heavier material, but if I bog down I will know to go back to the fluff. I've had this on my shelves since my lovely friend, Kim, willed me her books back in 2010. Can it have been so long since we lost her?

Sep 16, 2019, 9:49am

I've read Atonement twice and didn't find it too heavy-going. Enjoy.

Sep 16, 2019, 5:34pm

>27 Bookmarque: Thanks! So far, only a couple chapters in, I am enjoying it a lot. The girl writer reminds me of a childhood friend.

Edited: Sep 17, 2019, 8:38pm

Atonement didn't work for me. Or, let me say, it's length and pace didn't work for me. I made it to chapter12, got frustrated and looked up the synopsis on Wikipedia. It seems the story was heading in exactly the direction I thought it was and to continue reading it would be tortuous to me. I have nothing bad to say against the writing, but it isn't right for me at this point in time.

I'm starting Sourdough instead. I need a book that doesn't take 136 pages to describe the twisted inner thoughts of a child.

Sep 17, 2019, 8:50pm

>29 MrsLee: I read Sourdough early in August and enjoyed it. I hope you like it too.

Sep 18, 2019, 4:13am

>29 MrsLee:
I understand your post entirely. I have not read Atonement but have had similar experiences with otger books, The Life of Pi being one. Critically acclaimed does not mean it will work for everyone.

Sep 18, 2019, 9:03am

>30 ScoLgo: So far, yes. Had a hard time putting it down last night to go to bed on time. I am reminding myself that this is a fiction, because although baking a loaf of sourdough bread may not be the hardest thing I've ever done, it certainly isn't as easy as the character has it seem. Them she bakes 8 loaves each day before a stressful day at work, and has energy to function. Well, not in my world.

When I bake, it is a two day process. One day is spent preparing the dough which must be lifted and folded four times, then rest and hour, repeat that effort for total of four times (there's five hours right there), then put into the refrigerator to rest for at least 12 hours, out of fridge, into pans to rise for at least two hours, then baked. I am doing the method where no kneading is required because kneading makes my hands go numb. The actual effort is not much, it's the timing and being on call for the dough all day that makes it a two day project.

>31 pgmcc: I made it through The Life of Pi, and appreciated it for what it was at the time, but my life is shorter now and I don't want to give all that head space to something which won't make me feel good at the end. There has to be a reason to go through it. Not that I always need a happy ending, but something has to make the journey worthwhile.

Sep 18, 2019, 9:45am

>31 pgmcc: oh, yes. So many recommendations here, and critical acclaims waved about for books that I struggled to get to page 50.

Sep 18, 2019, 1:19pm

Ugh, Atonement. I usually love McEwan, but I hated that book.

Sep 18, 2019, 10:09pm

>34 littlegeek: Based on that, I might give him another shot one of these days. Not soon.

I finished Sourdough by Robin Sloan this evening. Charming, sweet and I was never quit sure where it was heading. Perfect antidote.

Now I'm going to begin the only book I have by Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables, because she was the obvious inspiration for Ms. Clingstone. Wow. My autocorrect made that Ms. Flintstone.

Sep 19, 2019, 4:05am

So glad you enjoyed Sourdough. I thought it was a lovely read.

Edited: Sep 19, 2019, 4:58am

>35 MrsLee:

Ok! Ok! I have a Sourdough shaped wound in my side.

Sep 19, 2019, 9:58am

>37 pgmcc: Try it! You will like it! Just be sure to have a good loaf of sourdough bread, some quality butter, cheese and beer or wine of your choice on hand, also maybe some fermented pickles or vegetables. Nice companions for the read. :)

Sep 19, 2019, 10:19am

>38 MrsLee: If I had all those by my side I wouldn't need the book. :-)

Sep 23, 2019, 9:59am

I didn't read much (any?) this weekend, but I did cook from the cookbook I am reading. By the way, Chez Panisse Vegetables is a beautiful book as well as inspiring. I feel guilty that I found it at a yard sale for only a couple of dollars. May have to buy another of her cookbooks to make up for that. And because I appreciate the way she gives recipes and tells about the food. She tells how to know what the vegetables look like fresh, how to prepare them and a few basic cooking methods, then a few recipes.

So far I've made her Spicy Broccoli Saute, Beet Chutney (hella hot!) and White beans with greens (not the official name of the dish, but accurate description). All are outstanding and convince me that I can cut back on meat and still be satisfied.

When I made the beans yesterday, it called for a bouquet garni of celery, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. You were also supposed to add an onion and carrot to the pot. Instead, I managed to make a garni of celery, carrot and parsley. Had a hard time getting it tied. Then I remembered the thyme and added it in a separate bundle. When I went to fish out the garni, I saw something metal protruding! I had managed to tie up my vegetable peeler in it, which explains part of my trouble tying it up. So, I will have to try the recipe again sans peeler, just to make sure it is still delicious.

Sep 23, 2019, 12:35pm

Edited: Sep 25, 2019, 11:08am

Slow days at work, partly due to the strike at GM, partly due to the lethargy of customers due to a little heat wave at the moment.

Anyway, I'm still reading the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, but due to its size, it isn't practical to take to work on slow days, so I started Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on my tablet. So far I'm enjoying it a lot.

Sep 25, 2019, 1:38pm

How many times can a vegetable peeler be used as an ingredient before you have to get another?

Sep 25, 2019, 10:38pm

>43 suitable1: Well, more than once, anyway. Although I haven't tasted it since. It wasn't appealing.

Sep 28, 2019, 10:12am

Finished Mycroft Holmes last night. I enjoyed it a lot! If you enjoy all the various versions of the Sherlock Holmes world, this is a good one. With the disclaimer that I am not an English major, nor a History major, I simply enjoyed the story and the different view into Mycroft's world. I thought it captured the tone fairly well.

Sep 28, 2019, 11:24am

>45 MrsLee:
The fact that you enjoyed it is the important point.

Sep 28, 2019, 12:43pm

>46 pgmcc: :) I read the reviews others have left, and I agree with some of the negative points they make, yet still I enjoyed it, and will probably try the next in the series. I have a Kindle version. I probably wouldn't keep a copy on my shelves, I won't ever read it again, but for me it was pleasant. I suppose that is why I gave it three stars, then the half star I bestowed was for the imaginative addition to the Sherlock Holmes pastiche.

Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 9:36am

I am beginning a re-read of Northanger Abbey, it has been years since I read it. One of my internet friends, Diana Birchall, has written a follow-up called The Bride of Northanger: A Jane Austen Variation. I have purchased it and am looking forward to reading it.

Unfortunately, I haven't entered it on LT yet, so the touchstone doesn't work.

ETA: I did enter it, and so did two others, yet the touchstone won't work. I tried the trick of entering the # of the work::name of work, still brought up the wrong book. :( Guess an email to staff?

Patience, Grasshopper. Given a little time, it works now.

Sep 29, 2019, 1:02pm

>48 MrsLee:. I enjoyed Northanger Abbey very much. I hope you enjoy your friend’s sequel.

Oct 1, 2019, 7:59pm

Finished Chez Panisse Vegetables last night. I love this book. Will be turning to it frequently for fresh ideas on vegetables.

Oct 3, 2019, 8:04pm

>50 MrsLee: I envy your ability to read cookbooks. Or is that more of a book about cooking? And I'm so glad that you enjoyed Sourdough. It was almost magical realism, wouldn't you say?

Oct 4, 2019, 9:15am

>51 clamairy: The cookbook had a good portion of writing in it, introducing each vegetable. Then there were between 5-10 recipes for each vegetable. I didn't read all of the recipes, only the ones which interested me, about 2 or 3 per veg. :)

When I read Sourdough, I was expecting more of the "other" kind of story. Magical realism describes it well. In fact, I forgot about the magical part of the tale and recommended it to my mother. She was really enjoying the story until it went sideways and then she couldn't wrap her head around it. She doesn't do well with "other." :D I suggested she think of it as a metaphor for how our ambition can overtake our wellbeing, but that didn't fly either, lol.

Oct 4, 2019, 9:47am

Tardis reminded me that October is also my Thingaversary month. On the 12th, I will have been here 14 years. Amazing. So this will help me explain to my husband why my book purchasing has increased when my reading time has decreased. Over the last 14 years, the book-buying in October has become a habit. Yes. That is it. A Pavlovian response. It is beyond my doing, something bigger than I.

I may not have purchased 15 books, but at least 5 have dinged my pocketbook, and as Tardis says, there is always a good cheese here, and this year, Dandelion wine in my pantry. Although, enforcers should not show up for another 3-6 months if they want to drink that. Perhaps persimmon, peach or cherry brandy would suffice?

Oct 4, 2019, 11:37am

>53 MrsLee: It sounds like it would be good to turn up at your place at any time. Cheese and booze on tap. What more could an enforcer want?

Oct 4, 2019, 7:11pm

>53 MrsLee: Happy Thingaversary! Sorry your mom wasn't thrilled. Was it the faces in the bread that put her off, or the massive fungus eruption? LOL

(Don't buy fewer books on account of this nugget of information, but you'll have been here 13 years on the October 12th. But you will be starting your 14th year here.)

Oct 5, 2019, 1:48am

>52 MrsLee: >55 clamairy: I loved Sourdough. But the hardest "suspension of disbelief"? The reference to Lois drinking 10 quadruple espressos a day. Between the heart palpitations, the constant trips to the toilet and the need to scrape herself off the ceiling, it's hard to see how she would ever have got anything done.

Oct 5, 2019, 6:48am

>56 haydninvienna: I've only come close to that once. In my misspent youth I signed up for language lessons at the local Serbian Orthodox Church. These were fuelled by "tursha kafa" (Serbian Turkish Coffee, served in a normal-sized cup and explicitly boiled up three times in the making). Our teacher solved the problem of real-life conversation elegantly, by letting us loose on the refugees arriving from the Yugoslavian civil war. So one never knew what was in store. One day the "lucky dip" produced a forester with a diploma claiming that he spoke English (on what basis I never discovered -- his English was even more awful than my almost non-existent Serbian). It soon transpired that I was one of maybe two people in the country who knew the same trees he did -- me from cultivation, him as wild specimens. It was seven hours before the teacher could get a word in edgeways! So she filled the time by plying us with endless cups of venomously strong coffee. Easily the same volume as 10 quadruple espressos.

Oct 5, 2019, 7:20am

>57 hfglen: I know and enjoy "normal' Turkish coffee, but that usually comes in an espresso-size cup. Seven hours worth of the same brew in normal coffee cups sounds a trifle extreme, to put it mildly. My favourite story about overdoing coffee came from (I think) The Times: girl who works in an espresso place has had a heavy night out and doesn't feel too good, so pulls and drinks a double shot; feels better; so does it again. The story goes that she ended up drinking 8 double shots and got taken to hospital with heart palpitations.

Oct 5, 2019, 11:19am

>55 clamairy: Well, I counted on my fingers and toes, so. ;)

>56 haydninvienna: The hardest "suspension of disbelief" for me was how much she got done in a day, and how fast her sourdough rose even on cold days. That's why I knew it was a "magical realism" story. lol

>57 hfglen: & >58 haydninvienna: In my yoot, caffeine never bothered me and I would drink strong coffee all day (not Turkish coffee strong, granted). Now, I'm not sure it's the caffeine that bothers, but I get a stomach ache if I drink more than about a mug (largish) and half a day. Sadly, it has never given me the energy boost others claim, although, I do think it helps a bit with my joint pain because when I don't drink it for some reason, the aches and pains start in.

Oct 5, 2019, 8:46pm

>56 haydninvienna: Haha!!! I did notice the abnormal caffeine consumption.

>59 MrsLee: Yes, the breads were rising too quickly and easily, plus she was splitting her starter up to make a bazilion loaves of bread!

Oct 6, 2019, 7:01am

>60 clamairy:
It appears I am not alone in realising that too much knowledge of reality can damage fictional worlds.

Oct 6, 2019, 11:56am

>60 clamairy: Yesterday I pushed my sourdough to perform quickly (not by adding yeast, which of course would work). Not pretty. I began by mixing the dough at about 8:30 am. Several folding and resting periods, then a few hours in the refrigerator, took it out at about 5:30 pm. Into the oven at 7:30 pm, and out by 8:15ish. It was delicious when we finally cut it at 9:00 pm and spread it with roasted garlic, home made pesto or butter with salt ground over it. Yeah. I was eating bread after 9:00 pm. Anyway, not a master baker I, but I do know that sourdough is not a speedy process. Usually I let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight, although some people like to let it rest anywhere up to 70 hours.

Not much reading time this weekend, since I have my son and his wife here, but yesterday I dipped into Northanger Abbey for a bit. I am loving it. The humor is perfect. I love how she defended the "novel."

We watched two movies together yesterday, one was "Yesterday," absolutely charming I thought. My son was not happy that the weird event/occurrence in it was never explained, but I thought that part of its charm. The second movie was "Captain Marvel," which was enjoyable. My favorite line; "I don't have to prove anything to you." Then she kicked his ass. :)

Oct 7, 2019, 1:45pm

>62 MrsLee: My favorite line; "I don't have to prove anything to you." Then she kicked his ass. :)
I too loved that part :-)

In general I'll set the sourdough timer on three days when I start a new one, but as long as the result is delicious - who cares! Your cooking and baking endeavours are always inspiring. Maybe I'll find the time for some baking, now when I don't have to be at an office all day ;-)

Oct 9, 2019, 8:50am

>63 Busifer: Do find ways to enjoy your break from constant work. It won't last, because you will be back to work soon, I'm sure. In the meantime, make the most of your mini retirement.

Not much cooking, or internet play will happen here for the next few days. Power company says could be 5 days before they turn power on again, I doubt it will go that long, but who knows. At least there is a pretty hefty wind at the moment, so it feels justifiable.

Mark and I went outside at 4 in the morning to look at the stars. Amazing! It was like when I was a kid again. Felt like you could reach out and touch them.

Oct 9, 2019, 11:46am

>64 MrsLee:

Mark and I went outside at 4 in the morning to look at the stars. Amazing! It was like when I was a kid again. Felt like you could reach out and touch them.

I love your looking for the silver lining. That certainly sounds beautiful.

Good luck with the cloud. I hope it moves on quickly.

Oct 9, 2019, 12:23pm

>64 MrsLee: Thank you, I will. Husband is the one who is anxious for me to get back to work as soon as possible, not me. My dream scenario is finding a new opportunity of some kind now but starting it on the new year. That way I could have some much needed down-time without having to worry about the economic side of things.

The news of the controlled power cut has made it in to the news in Sweden. It is said that the official reason is to avoid fires like the ones you had earlier, and to make people more prepared for a life without electricity. I had to wonder, do you have your own generator? What about stuff in freezers? Is gas stoves common? Here they are not, they have been phased out, for safety reasons. Wouldn't a power cut be a fire risk, what with people starting to cook over open fires, in uncontrolled conditions?
You don't need to answer any of those; they just popped up in my head both when you mentioned it and then when I read about it in the paper...

Edited: Oct 9, 2019, 4:16pm

>64 MrsLee: Do you live in an area with a lot of light pollution? I thought you were in a semi-rural part of CA. Hope it's over quickly. Unless you don't want it to be. :o)

>66 Busifer: Yup, made the new here, too. (Which is more understandable.)

Oct 9, 2019, 7:05pm

>66 Busifer: May it be as you wish. That sounds like a terrific plan to me.

>67 clamairy: In our semi rural town of less than 50,000, there are many lights at businesses during the night in an attempt to protect property. Within a mile from my house are 2 car dealerships with large lights in their lots, a Home Depot, 2 hotels, a U-Haul, etc. All with big lights. You don't realize how much that all inhibits star gazing until something like this puts out all the lights.

>66 Busifer: Some people here have generators for freezers and refrigerators. We don't, because up until now it is rare for power to be out more than an hour or so. Usually much less. Some have gas for their stoves, wish I could, but am unable where I live without extensive kitchen remodel and since I rent, that won't happen. We do have a gas hot water heater, so praise God, I had a hot shower this morning by candlelight, which was rather nice. People in the outlying parts of town have their own wells though, so unless they have generators, they don't have water.

It would take an idiot to start a fire outside to cook something in these wind conditions.I'm not saying that won't happen, but one hopes.

We used to have a small propane camp cooking stove, which would help, but we got rid of it when we decided no more camping. We also used to have a fondue, but it has gone as well. I'm content with tuna sandwiches for awhile, and leftovers. The town 30 miles to the north of us has their own power supply, which is not turned off, so we can go there if needed. I told my sister in law that I might be bringing a freezer full of fish to cook if this goes more than three days.

Oct 10, 2019, 4:56am

>68 MrsLee: Thanks for taking your time to make things clearer to me. Much appreciated.
And I do understand the remodel/renting issues. I'm in the same situation.

Oct 10, 2019, 6:29am

>68 MrsLee: I also wish I could install a gas stove, but it would cost an ongoing fortune and be a major disruption (and I own rather than rent). Gas here is almost always in cylinders, which are heavy and expensive. However, Johannesburg used to make their own (carbon monoxide) and pipe it to houses in what are now the older parts of town. I gather they now import gas by pipeline from Mozambique, and have partially resurrected the old gas reticulation -- which is arguably about the only advantage to living there!

I thought of you this morning; our suburb was plunged into darkness at 7 a.m. Electricity department said it was a cable fault and would take 2 to 24 hours to fix. Fortunately it was nearer the former.

Edited: Oct 10, 2019, 12:41pm

Yesterday I finished Northanger Abbey also finished the follow up that my friend wrote, The Bride of Northanger. To finish that one, I had to read two and a half hours by candlelight. Not an easy feat, but it was a fun story. It wasn't slyly sarcastic as the original was, but amusing none-the-less. Sort of turned the original on its head. Now that Catharine is becoming a sensible woman, the world is taking a turn to the bizarre.

I have made much progress in Salt: A World History and anticipate finishing it today, although I should do some housecleaning and shopping for ice. Second day of no work.

Oct 10, 2019, 4:36pm

>64 MrsLee: Mark and I went outside at 4 in the morning to look at the stars. Amazing! It was like when I was a kid again. Felt like you could reach out and touch them. I used to do that in Canberra.

You triggered a memory there, of a line by Walt Whitman, so I looked it up. And of course I’d remembered it wrong! This is the poem:

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Most of it is pretty forgettable (especially after Jim Peebles’ Nobel Prize, which is basically what Whitman’s first four lines are about), but the last two lines are pretty close to perfect.

Oct 10, 2019, 10:04pm

>72 haydninvienna: Agree about those2 lines.

Oct 11, 2019, 3:42am

>72 haydninvienna: That's pretty much how I feel about astronomy. I loved the night sky and stars, and still, do, but then my parents bought me some astronomy books when I was maybe 12. They physics aspects simply killed my sense of awe, and it took a long time to rebuild it.

Oct 11, 2019, 9:45am

Power came on last night at about 9:15pm. At first I couldn't figure out what all the little beeps, boops and bings were, then it came to me, all the little electric critters in the house were waking up! No lights came on since they were all off when the power first went out. My eyes were just getting used to reading by candlelight, but they like it much better with electric lights.

I don't think I lost too much in the freezer. The meats were still solidly frozen, as were things like containers of broth. I took out a package of sausages which had ice crystals on them, but felt a little soft. Those will be cooked today. Also, the fruit felt a bit soft, so I will be cooking all of that this weekend. Mostly into preserves I think, because we can only eat so much cobbler. Two of the smaller bags (mangoes and mandarin oranges) I made into juice last night.

Will also make some broth, just to use up bits and pieces in there. I'm going to do a thorough fridge cleanout this weekend, using up the eggs and herbs and vegetables. I think they are all fine, but should be used sooner rather than later, and it's a good excuse to clean the fridge.

I began reading Hotel Pastis last night. Interesting enough, and the plot is one of the things I do to fall asleep at night, taking a run-down abandoned building and making it into something wonderful. This is pure fantasy for me as I have neither the skills nor the money for such a project.

Oct 11, 2019, 10:05am

Glad you came through it fine and that maybe it prevented some disasters. You don't need any more up your way!

Oct 11, 2019, 10:13am

Good to hear that everything seems OK. I'm holding my thumbs for things to stay stable from now on!

Oct 11, 2019, 10:55am


Oct 11, 2019, 1:48pm

>75 MrsLee: Glad to hear the power is back on. From what I read in the news this sounded a lot like political maneuvering by the power company, but if it prevented a fire, that's great. We just won't know if it did. Of course, they could fire-proof the power lines by making substantial changes, but someone will have to force them to do that.

Oct 12, 2019, 3:23am

Glad to hear things are getting back to normal.

Oct 13, 2019, 7:19pm

>79 Karlstar: I'm sure there is some of that, but 22 new laws were passed in California this year about wildfire prevention. Hard to wade through that stuff. I don't have any problems with what the company did, both to prevent disaster and to cover their ass. The policy will probably be refined in the future. Part of the problem is that most people don't understand how electricity flows and how it is provided to the customers. It means that in order to protect some, others who aren't in danger have to have their power off too.

Edited: Oct 14, 2019, 12:45am

Finished Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayor. A very pleasant read! No nail biting, cringing or deep drama here, nothing to shake the world, but I found myself enjoying the characters and the setting. Easy to pick it up and read, and I found myself wanting to get back to it.

Next up is a book my brother loaned me. I always feel obliged to read those books first, even if I didn't ask for them. I expect this one to be interesting. The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine by Steven Rinella.

Oct 14, 2019, 5:11am

>81 MrsLee: etc. Interesting that the electricity distribution system is seen as an important enough threat to do something. In the Western Cape (also Mediterranean rainfall, similar oily, resinous vegetation) the two main threats seem to be
1. Arsonists who then claim the reward for reporting a fire, and
2. Upcountry visitors and other eejits who at least claim not to appreciate the hazards of starting a braai (Oz: barbie) fire in half a gale. And fail to put it out properly, even if it's in a legal fireplace.

That said, the fynbos of the Western Cape needs to be burned every 15 years or so, but not every year as too much of it is.

Oct 14, 2019, 6:01am

>81 MrsLee: >83 hfglen: Similar in Oz in all respects, except that lightning needs to be added as a fire starter. I lived through the fire seasons of 2002 and 2003 in Canberra, when much of the surrounding countryside and parts of the city itself got burned, and I don't remember ACT Electricity and Water's facilities ever being mentioned as a hazard.

Oct 14, 2019, 10:50am

>83 hfglen: &>84 haydninvienna: I would say the two main causes of fire here are lightning and arson, but you can't really sue either one of those. That being said, the infrastructure of the power company has needed vast repairs for a long, long time.

Oct 16, 2019, 10:19am

Began reading The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch last night and I think I've missed some reading somewhere. So of course I went on line and purchased four more of his works to catch up. I may just spend the rest of October reading Aaronovitch, because wouldn't it be fitting to read October Man in October? Now if life would just back off a bit and let me read! :)

I'm having a bit of a personality conflict with the writer of A Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine. I will keep reading for now, but certain things have made me not enthusiastic. I don't mind hunting, I don't mind meat eating, but he is trying to convert his girlfriend, who is a vegetarian, to his way of thinking. That is no healthy way to begin a relationship. He also has the mindset that those of us who buy our meat pre-killed, or hire others to do the killing for us, are somewhat less worthy than the killers. It simply isn't practical for everyone to be a hunter anymore. Not with population what it is. Anyway, don't want to get into politics, but this man is grating on me. Perhaps he is just young and idealistic, and I am anything but either of those two. Old and jaded might be more up my alley.

Oct 16, 2019, 11:13am

>64 MrsLee: I've been so curious to hear how communities, businesses, schools and families prepared for the planned outage. And then, how things went. This may be a view of the future in some places.

And, yes! Reclaiming the night sky is a definite bonus. I hope more people took the opportunity to appreciate it. Our town had a widespread power outage one beautiful night and I went out walking, reveling in the dark. Most everyone else sat weeping in front of their dead televisions.

Oct 16, 2019, 11:38am

come to Wisconsin and bag a few deer. Please!

Oct 16, 2019, 12:51pm

>86 MrsLee:
Old and jaded is cool!

Oct 16, 2019, 2:55pm

And jade is such a nice shade.

Oct 16, 2019, 3:08pm

>86 MrsLee: I'll sit here and be jaded with you. And old, though I'm sure that at-ti-tude of his has nothing to do with age and everything to do with him being an idjit.

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 4:10pm

>86 MrsLee: Ooh, I am currently reading Aaronovitch (The Rivers of London) too.

Oct 17, 2019, 9:55am

>87 2wonderY: From what I've heard, most people didn't believe it would happen, thus no preparation. I was somewhere in between. I didn't think it would happen for as long as they said (five days) and I was right, it was only two for us. There were some people who were without for three or four days because the power company actually did find things which needed repairing in their area. My preparations were stuffing all the items from 2 refrigerator freezers into 1, which probably saved them, then taping the freezer closed so we wouldn't be tempted to open it. I also cookes a few small items of meat that I didn't think would stay frozen, which was a good plan, and we had some cooked meat for the outage. I filled some large bowls and bottles with water (even though we are on city water, I thought why not, because I'm not entirely sure how the city water works), my husband checked our flashlights to make sure they had working batteries and placed them in strategic places. That was all.

During the first day of the outage, I pulled out candles to light when it got dusky. Our house got very dim inside by 5:30 pm. We did our meal preparations at about 3:00 pm, because it is much easier to prepare meals when you can see. The first day, we simply ate cold leftovers of whatever was cooked before. Happily, I like most cold leftovers. The next day, for dinner, I made some tuna salad sandwiches and coleslaw. Reading and showering by candlelight is fun.

Many people in outlying areas did not have water because the pumps on their wells are run on electricity. Those are the folks who had it difficult (although many of them were prepared with generators because they have experienced power outages before during storms).

I do not intend to buy a generator. Even if the outage went for days and I lost things in the freezer/fridge, it isn't so big that it would amount to much. I certainly don't need TV. Our cell service continued, although I think I would be fine even if that weren't working for a few days. We had hot running water.

>88 Bookmarque: I could do that in my own back yard, if it were legal. Stupid deer.

>89 suitable1: & >90 2wonderY: I do love jade.

>91 Busifer: I try to give people the benefit of a doubt, but after reading about the way he "cared" for his girlfriend when she was in a severe auto accident, I'm inclining more to the idjit.

>92 -pilgrim-: They are fun, although I wasn't a true believer until about book 3 or 4. :)

Edited: Oct 17, 2019, 10:07am

>93 MrsLee:
...after reading about the way he "cared" for his girlfriend when she was in a severe auto accident, I'm inclining more to the idjit.
Er, What did he do?

Oct 18, 2019, 6:41am

>93 MrsLee: Me too (give people the benefit of a doubt) but now I too am curious. What did he do to finally tip the scales?

Oct 18, 2019, 9:39am

>94 -pilgrim-: & >95 Busifer: His girlfriend, the vegetarian (who did not eat meat for a variety of reasons, but compassion seems to be the foremost as far as I can tell), was in a severe car accident. One of her arms was partially paralyzed, multiple contusions, he described it as "she looked as if someone had taken a melon-baller to her body." Her car had lost control on a patch of ice. I think this was somewhere in Colorado. He drove down from the north of there (they were supposed to be meeting up at a house they were to rent in between Colorado and Wyoming and there was a severe cold snap going on). He checked her out of the hospital, put her in the car and drove for hours to get to the house. When they got there, there was no electricity, no gas, no heat, no water. He mentions that she is curled up in pain inside her sleeping bag. So what does he do? Does he say bollocks to the house and take her to a hotel/motel or home of a friend, where she might be warm and be able to use the utilities? NO. He decides to "cheer her up" by hanging a bird feeder outside the window (not mentioning to her that his real motive is to catch small birds for ingredients in this massive feast he is planning). He does this thoughtful thing for his VEGETARIAN girlfriend. In his defence, she presumably did have a voice and an opinion, and she did choose to stay with him, but I just hate his whole "she will eventually see the light and become a meat-eater like me" attitude.

As an aside, I looked him up online and see that he is not married to the girl above, so maybe she did finally realize that he was more into himself than her.

Oct 18, 2019, 11:33am

>96 MrsLee: Oh, wow. What a douche. And I don't say that often (I think).

Oct 18, 2019, 5:29pm

>96 MrsLee:, >97 Busifer: Busifer is putting it mildly.

It amazes me how many "idealistic" types do not seem to reach the basic standard of respecting an opposing point of view. If your views are so incompatible that you cannot accept that you differ, how can you claim to be in a relationship with someone - which involves respect - when you cannot respect their opinions?

Thanks for the warning.

Oct 19, 2019, 11:21am

>97 Busifer: & >98 -pilgrim-: Yep. I enjoy the challenge of making my own wine, using up/preserving every bit of food that comes my way in creative ways such as fermenting and canning, making my own health care and beauty products, but I don't expect everyone to enjoy this or live like this. I don't even expect my husband to jump on board. If he wants to eat what I call "crap," I don't get in his way, I won't eat it with him often, but I don't judge him for it. If my children would rather eat out than cook for themselves, fine. That is their choice, and I don't think less of them. I've even been known to host a vegetarian dinner for my vegetarian friends. I don't care why they are vegetarian, if that is how they like to eat, that is how I will cook for them. :)

Oct 21, 2019, 9:52am

My brother says I have to give the guy a chance, because my brother thinks the author is poking fun at himself and his own thick-headedness when he was young. Maybe. I told him I intended to finish the book because the adventure itself was interesting, so we will see.

I confess that it is much easier to pick up my Peter Grant book though. In fact, I finished The Hanging Tree last night, later than I should have been up. I intend to start Rivers of London Volume 1: Body Work as soon as I have a moment.

I'm quite behind on my reviews here on LT. Not good. Must catch up before I forget what I've read.

Edited: Oct 23, 2019, 8:59am

I finished the three Rivers of London comics I had. I enjoyed them for what they were. I thought the art well done. They are more expensive than I want to pay for such short comics, so I won't buy more at this time.

I started October Man. Reserving judgement at this time. I say that because it threw me being set in Germany with a practitioner policeman not Peter. Now that I am in the swing of it though, I am enjoying the mystery and seeing how magic policing is done elsewhere, so I might forgive it. Also, Peter and Nightingale may come into the story in a bit, one never knows until one gets there. :)

Oct 25, 2019, 8:00am

Just heard on BBC news (podcast broadcast originally about 6 hours ago) that there are out-of-control wildfires in northern California. Are you all right? How are you coping? Are you coping?

Thinking of you.

Oct 25, 2019, 9:24am

>102 hfglen: Thank you, Hugh. The fires are not near me at this time, although I have some relatives packed up and ready to evacuate if necessary. We may be experiencing outages again this weekend. Temperature is high, and high winds are forecast. Not good.

It looks like the sale of the dealership I work at is finally going to be finalized this coming week. Gearing up for stressful days trying to make it all work. No one will be losing their jobs at this point, so that is not a worry, just all the chaos.

I finished October Man. Peter Grant and crew never did show up, but were referred to. I think this story was to prepare the ground for the idea that magic was not only happening in London, but everywhere.

Oct 25, 2019, 9:58am

>103 MrsLee:
Like Hugh I just heard the news about the fires in California and thought of you. If my geography is correct the current fires are East of your location.

Hoping the dealership work situation all works out well for you.

Oct 25, 2019, 3:47pm

What hfglen and pgmcc said. I don’t read news so hadn’t heard about the fires.

Oct 25, 2019, 4:19pm

Me too. I have not seen much news recently, and was unaware of this. May you keep safe.

Oct 25, 2019, 4:56pm

The fires are just to the north of the Bay Area, in the wine country of California. We are 163 miles north of that, and on the other side of a mountain range. The fire is burning beautiful country though, not to mention houses, vineyards, etc.

I keep looking online because everyone is saying that our power will be shut down for up to 5 days starting tomorrow. The power company website which tells you if your address will be affected says we won't, but I just got the auto alert phone call from the Sheriff's Dept. saying we will. Not sure who to believe. So we will prepare what we can and not panic. At least I hadn't re-stocked my freezers and refrigerator yet. Gas in the car, room temperature safe food, batteries, candles, charger for our phones. I think we will be okay. It isn't cold, so that's not a worry and I will have water, too.

Only, if the power goes down and puts off the finalization of the dealership transfer of ownership, I do not want to be around my boss. She will probably have a meltdown.

Oct 25, 2019, 6:08pm

I'm losing my power tomorrow until some time on Monday. Oh joy! The thing that annoys me is I am right at the edge of the zone so I can look out my window and see lights that are still on. Argh!

Oct 26, 2019, 12:53am

>108 littlegeek: Hope it is a shorter time than they warn it might be! I'm freezing large containers of water hoping they will help keep fridge cool enough. I won't have too much to worry about in it. Baking the last of my fish tomorrow, along with 2 loaves of bread and some veggies. That should keep us if we lose power.

Oct 27, 2019, 1:52am

Oct 27, 2019, 10:34am

>109 MrsLee: we put bottled water in our freezers before an anticipated outage. The water in the bottles freezes, which helps to keep other items cold during an outage, and you can drink the water, too.

Be aware, stay safe.

Oct 27, 2019, 10:39am

Good luck folks, I hope the power outage is not long and there are NO fires!

Oct 27, 2019, 1:24pm

The good news is, we haven't lost our power, although others in town have.

The bad news is, we learned that you do not freeze large glass containers of water. The water freezes on the top before the middle, so it has nowhere to expand until it breaks the glass. Seems very logical now that I think it through. Guess I will be getting some new jars. The best thing is that it was my husband's idea, so I can be a little smug. Not too smug, because if I had really been smart, I could have objected more strongly, as it was I only had vague reservations, but not enough to squelch the idea.

More bad news, the wall of our carport blew down in the night. Fortunately away from our cars instead of on them, although there is a portion hanging precariously which could go down still. If the wind changes, one car will be in danger. Photos on Facebook if anyone wants to see.

Oct 27, 2019, 8:24pm

>113 MrsLee:! Ziplock bags! Ack... So sorry about your freezer explosions. And I am definitely avoiding that book in >86 MrsLee: written by the douche bag. I know, Busifer didn't say 'bag.' I'm adding that on my own. I'm pro-hunting. Especially here where the deer population is completely out of control. But can you imagine if we were all out there with rifles? Yeesh.

Also sorry about the fires, and the lost wineries, etc. :o( The newspapers keep saying 'this is the new normal.' :o(

Oct 27, 2019, 9:37pm

>114 clamairy: Yeah, I for one do not want to live where everyone is out shooting their own meat source. I was thinking about this today. If there was a law which said one could only eat that which one killed for oneself, I don't think I would become a vegetarian, but I would learn to raise and kill rabbits and chickens, and I would learn to fish, and gather other things like shellfish and Crawdads and snails. Not sure I could go for frogs though. I love them too much.

I have finished the book, Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine. I must say that I don't hold as bad an opinion of him as I started with. I think I agree with my brother, that in part he was showing his flaws in an attempt at humor, which because of his underdeveloped writing skills didn't come off too good. I can't recommend this book to anyone here, and yet by the end I admired his tenacity, pluck and courage of this task. Also, his willingness to admit where he fell short.

He actually has quite strong feelings about conservation, willingness to accept what the word carnivore means, and not wasting anything due to unreasonable squimishness.

His behavior was no worse than that of an accidental guest at the culmination of his feast. She was the girlfriend of one of his friends and sat mocking and criticising through the whole meal. Why did she come in the first place? She brought her own food, could she not eat it in peace? What an offence of the guest/host relationship.

At least his efforts towards his girlfriend, while misguided, we're done with the intent to include her in his passions, not ridicule and belittle her. In fact, the girlfriend became extremely I'll at this meal, but was very circumspect about it. He felt terrible and vowed never to encorage her to eat meat again unless she asked him. I think that signified some growth on his part. One thing to his credit, he wanted to be more open to the world of food and experiences, not narrow.

I will be reading The Woman in White next, by Willie Collins.

Oct 27, 2019, 10:05pm

Oh how I love the Woman in White!

Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 8:37am

>115 MrsLee: That does sound better, but I'll still take a pass. At some point I'll just reread The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Enjoy the Collins!

Oct 28, 2019, 9:17am

>107 MrsLee: and >108 littlegeek: I started a thread in the Sustainability group talking about the power outages. So far, I've just gathered some news reports; but I'd really appreciate comments from people actually living through it. This has got to effect everyone's economic security and ability to manage day to day.

What's happening with schools, for instance?

Oct 29, 2019, 11:25am

Wishing you the best of luck, MrsLee. Like others, I've seen the fires on the news and have been thinking of you. I'm glad you're not in the area but it's still an upsetting thing to see so close to home.

Oct 29, 2019, 1:27pm

Late to the game, but I hope the brownout is missing you this time around. Also, holding my thumbs for the ownership transfer going as smoothly as possible!

The fires... I felt a bit down the other day and decided to watch Only Lovers Left Alive, because I needed a dose of Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (and John Hurt!) vampire darkness. At one point Tilda's character Eve says (from my mind, not exact quote) "/Detroit/ will become full of people again, when the fires down south forces people to move north".
In the face of recent years that felt ominous. I think it was filmed in 2012, probably written a bit earlier. And back then I never reflected over that line.

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 9:34am

>119 Sakerfalcon: Thank you. I never used to think much about being caught off guard by a forest fire, but I confess that each night now when I go to sleep I have to resolve to put the possibility out of my mind. The bottom of my yard is against a wilderness area full of trees and dry vegetation.

>120 Busifer: So far we have not had the electricity turned off more than once. That's more than many people in our town can say. I am in a small pocket of light. One of my coworkers hasn't had electricity since Saturday, and it may not come on before this next Saturday. Winds were pretty bad today. Another coworker is talking about moving to Oregon.

Those of you who like A Woman in White, were you at all annoyed with the descriptions of the women? It seems so very pat. Which woman he is attracted to, which one repels him. I will keep reading, but I'm going to be disappointed if it all turns out predictably. Are there vampires?

Oct 30, 2019, 4:49am

>121 MrsLee: Oh, wow. I'm holding my thumbs for you to continue to be unaffected, and I can see how a situation like this would have people consider moving.

Oct 30, 2019, 5:36am

>121 MrsLee: as to The Woman in White, no vampires, and while I wouldn’t exactly say it was predictable, it doesn’t spring too many surprises. I enjoyed most of it, although I remember being very annoyed with the hero for falling hopelessly in love with the useless Laura and dismissing the tough, brave, smart Marion as “ugly”, but then all may not be quite as it seems.

As to your power situation, what >122 Busifer: said, multiplied manifold. I assume it has something to do with decades of deferred maintenance, possibly helped by “the smartest guys in the room” (Enron, who I understand took PG&E for rather a lot of money a while back)? Actually, that’s an interesting comparison with hfglen’s sad tale.

Oct 30, 2019, 9:40am

>123 haydninvienna: I'm sure there has been mismanagement. It seems there almost always is whether it is the government running this type of company or individuals. People are greedy SOBs and not many work for the common good. Oops, my jadedness is showing. Someone comes up with a bright idea, convinces everyone they can't do without it, profits enormously (and I have to say spends enormously as well because running any company isn't cheap, let alone a huge thing like power or telephones or internets), and then thinks, gee, if we didn't do such and such, we could profit even more. No one would notice. Until they do notice. Ah, mankind.

Oct 30, 2019, 10:55am

>124 MrsLee: It's not jadedness - it's getting to adult age and not being naive ;-)
Also, this is why regulation is needed. Because without it people tend to do their worst. Oops! More not-naivete.

Oct 30, 2019, 11:32am

>124 MrsLee: >125 Busifer: Yes indeed. A lot could be said on this, but doing so would involve a major breach of Pub rules. I emphatically agree about the need for regulation—after all, that's how I make my living—but the example of the financial industry over the last 20 years ought to be enough to convince anyone.

Oct 30, 2019, 11:37am

A tangential post that was triggered by the above comments about company mismanagement and the true intentions of organisational backers, etc...

Chapter 2 in Nicholas Nickleby is a description of the establishment of the "United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet
Baking and Punctual Delivery Company".
It is remarkably up-to-date in relation to how capital was sought for the venture, how political sponsorship was courted, and how hype was used to create value were its presence might be somewhat suspect. When reading this chapter I was amazed at how the chapter could be used to describe how present day new ventures are launched and how they are hyped up to get investors to put their hard earned wealth into the pockets of the founders of the new enterprise.

Nicholas Nickleby was published as a serial from 1838 to 1839.

Clicking on "Chapter 2" will bring you to an on-line version of the chapter. Enjoy!

Nov 2, 2019, 11:30am

>127 pgmcc: When I click on that link, I get and "error" message, server is down. I can imagine though, having read other of Dickens' works. :)

My town has a Trick or Treat on Main Street event. A friend of mine said the scariest costume was a child dressed as an electric meter. Mom said, "This is PG&E, come to shut your power off."

On Halloween, in between goblins and ghoulies, and princesses and dinosaurs, I was reading The Woman in White; appropriately, I was at the scene in the graveyard.

Last night, I decided it was time for me to watch all of my LotR movies again, including The Hobbit. November always makes me long for that world, and I cannot focus on my reading enough for the novels at this time.

Nov 3, 2019, 11:39pm

I don't know what is wrong with me, but I gave up on The Woman in White. I ran out of patience with it. Part of it was that I was pretty sure I knew the direction it was headed (in looking at the plot online, I see that I almost nailed it), then after making a determined effort today which involved skimming the over-blown emotional fretting, I happened to glance at the bottom of the Kindle page and saw that I was only 30% done! My heart withered, I quailed at the thought of the long and deviating road ahead, and I quit.

I'm not going to force myself to read stuff. Not even stuff everyone else likes and I know I probably would have liked a few years ago.

Nov 4, 2019, 3:52am

>129 MrsLee:
You are right to be guided by what you want to read.

Nov 4, 2019, 5:59am

>129 MrsLee: I, too, stand with you in your choice only to read what you want to read.

Nov 4, 2019, 6:23am

>129 MrsLee: Well, I liked (most of) The Woman in White, but that's me. And I admit I skipped quite a bit of it. I emphatically support both your choice to read what you like and not bother with anything you don't like, and to skip.

Nov 4, 2019, 6:46am

It's been several decades since I read The Woman in White. The only lasting impression was a complete exasperation with her passivity and choices.

Nov 4, 2019, 7:39am

Oh too bad. Count Fosco is priceless and worth it all by himself. But move on to something that does light up your brain.

Nov 4, 2019, 9:23am

>113 MrsLee: Now that didn't bother me really, so many women in that day were expected to be like that. Her sister by contrast was portrayed as manly and none of the men were tripping over themselves to court her. I actually thought it was interesting, knowing a bit about Wilkie, the way he portrayed the two women. I think he did justice to Miriam (I'm pulling that name out of the air, hope it's right).

>134 Bookmarque: Mr. Fairlie was also an interesting fellow, but I will be okay doing without either. :D

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't like it, I simply don't have the patience for it.

Nov 4, 2019, 10:07am

I also loved Fairlie. Great foil for the seriousness that pervades the story.

Nov 4, 2019, 1:41pm

I loved The Woman in White but I don't really have trouble putting things in context of when they were written. As one of the first detective novels, it's pretty keen.

Nov 5, 2019, 9:40am

I have a new project for reading. No, I'm not waiting until the new year to begin it. I have a bookcase in my den which holds 3 shelves of paperback books all on my TBR list. I am going to read one shelf at a time, not hesitating to eliminate the book if it isn't pleasing me. In this way, I hope to winnow out all these books before I have to move. I don't know yet when I will have to move, but I think within the next year we probably will.

First book off the shelf: Homeland and Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver. I read Homeland last night and enjoyed it, now for the other stories.

My brain is practically mush when I get home after work these days. The new owner took possession on Friday the first, so everyone is walking on eggshells and scrambling to get the new owner set up with vendors, etc. I am also having to track payments and bills into both the old owner's system (as people pay their bills and statements for October come in) and in the new owner's system. I know it will get easier, but right now I am exhausted.

Nov 5, 2019, 11:57am

>138 MrsLee: That DOES sound exhausting. Sending you peace.

This year I was supposed to be reading off the stuff on my Kindle (and paper TBR) that's been there forever. I started out well, but it's not gonna happen. The TBR is just something I will have to live with, like death and taxes.

Nov 5, 2019, 12:01pm

Bleah, that sounds like it makes for some long days. Why shouldn't you do what you like in your reading life?

And will move from that lovely garden? Say it ain't so!

Nov 5, 2019, 12:34pm

>138 MrsLee:

Will you be moving far?

I sympathise with you re: working the two systems. I hope the eggshells you step on are strong and sound.

Nov 5, 2019, 8:18pm

>129 MrsLee: I think I almost bailed on it as well. I could see where it was going, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere. But every character seemed a bit 'over the top.'

>138 MrsLee: Kingsolver is awesome. Happy reading!

Nov 5, 2019, 11:43pm

>139 littlegeek: Thank you. Yesterday for lunch I came home and took my salad into the backyard watching a squirrel and a flicker in the autumn foliage while I sat in the sunshine. There was even time for a 5-7 minute nap before I went back to the chaos. I recommend that plan for lunch as a peaceful one. Today it didn't happen.

>140 Bookmarque: :( Yes. Also this house which was my grandmother's. We were offered to purchase it, but it is more yard and house than we want as we age. Husband's health isn't up to it and I will be working at least 8 more years.

>141 pgmcc: We will try to find something closer to the place our parents are, about 30 miles north of here. After our parents aren't anymore, who knows?

>142 clamairy: I am enjoying the Kingsolver. She is very good at creating a place, a moment and real characters. Sometimes a bit too real, they become dreary. Reading multiple short stories can be tricky. Happily, I am too tired to read straight through or I think I would not enjoy it as much. Two or at most three in a day Seems to work.

Nov 6, 2019, 12:20am

>138 MrsLee: Strength to you. A brief nap at lunchtime seems an excellent idea.

Nov 6, 2019, 2:11am

>138 MrsLee: Hang in there, my friend. It is uncertainty and pointless frustrations that wear one down. But, these things will pass. Eventually. Finding your own quiet space is good. And having friendly wildlife to help you appreciate it is even better.

I am sorry that you are needing to leave your grandmother's house. It is always sad when one has to sever a link with the good past. But being closer to you parents will give you greater opportunities to build more good memories.

Nov 6, 2019, 6:41am

Best of luck with the new systems and owners. That sounds tedious but I hope it goes smoothly.

And good luck with the reading project. What a good idea. I look forward to hearing more about Homeland as it's on my TBR pile too!

Nov 6, 2019, 7:36am

>138 MrsLee: But your garden! How will you leave that? :o(

Also, please add my good wishes for a more calm work situation.

Nov 6, 2019, 9:30am

Thank you, everyone. One of my best places to get away from it all is here in the pub, with all of you.

>147 clamairy: It will be hard, but it is such a HUGE garden. In my head, I love to garden, but when I am working, I don't have much time or energy to be in the garden, and on the weekend there are so many things calling out for my attention; the garden, cooking for the week, chores, reading, visiting mom, etc. The reality is that I am a springtime gardener. About February or March I start longing to work in the yard. Along about June, July at the latest, I lose all interest in being in the garden. It is hot, the soil is impossible to work in and it is all more effort than I have to give. I should be out there now, because the weather is perfect, but it is dark before I go to work, and dark when I get home. All this to say that the garden becomes a guilt trip rather than a pleasure. I would love to have a postage stamp yard to play in. Even if we move to an apartment, I think I will be fine with potted plants, or pot plants, whichever. ;)

My grandmother spent hours of her day in the garden seven days a week, and had a hired man who came three times a week for four to six hours a day. No wonder my garden is a wilderness now, a lovely wilderness, but wilderness. We still have the hired man who comes two days a week for an hour or two, and my husband keeps on top of the watering, so it is alive.

Nov 6, 2019, 12:07pm

Landscaping takes work and I hate it, so I sympathize. If money were no object I'd do like your gran did, but it is so mostly our yard is wilderness with small landscaped sections. The one that isn't just some big pots set in the ground went to hell last year because I had other stuff I'd rather have done, so either I have to put some time into it next year or let it go. Letting it go might be the thing since we never sit or spend any time in it. Too buggy. We spend time on the deck or on the dock, both locations have flower pot plantings of annuals and that's it. I guess I have some decisions to make, too.

Nov 6, 2019, 1:30pm

>148 MrsLee: Goodness, your admission about the garden makes me feel better. This year, the potatoes and beets were great but after that, somehow none of the tomato plants worked out and I just had way too many cukes. I have so many pickles still in the freezer and it seems like my husband and I are burned out on them. They make good gifts, tho.

I finally gave up on the tomatoes and turned off the irrigation system last week. I need to winterize, but next year I don't know if I'll be feeling it other than root veg.

Edited: Nov 6, 2019, 2:31pm

>148 MrsLee: ITA. I love to garden, but with job, heat, other issues, it has become a chore to keep up with those things that need doing. I gave up on vegetable gardening years ago, and only plant annuals in pots.

In the last few years I've been putting my time and energy (such as it is) into perennials that don't require a lot of work, and my pond/water gardens.

A couple weekends ago I removed my first pond (20g) and am in the process of installing another 100g+ preform in its place. I also have some large plastic barrels planted with lilies and parrot feather. Once my water gardens are set up, it's not a slog to keep things going, just some re-potting of marginal plants and water lilies in the Spring, occasional filter cleanings (5 minutes every couple of months), and occasional removal of dead leaves. The frogs come on their own!

Here's a photo of my first 100g (approx) pond from earlier this year:

Nov 6, 2019, 3:11pm

Another family that's given up on growing fruit and veg here. The monkeys steal the lot, so why bother?

Nov 6, 2019, 5:30pm

In my early 20’s, I killed a potted cactus by not watering it enough. That was pretty much the last time I ever tried to grow anything.

I do love the idea of gardening, so I admire those of you who have any skill with it whatsoever! I just want no part of such activities. :) Fortunately for me and everybody who lives around me, I live in a townhome complex where the HOA takes care of all landscaping.

Nov 6, 2019, 8:07pm

>138 MrsLee: Playing catch up. Having your place of work bought out is no fun and a lot of adjustments needed. I'm going through a merger at my job too and it's been a strange experience to say the least.

Nov 7, 2019, 5:03am

>153 YouKneeK: Thank goodness for ikindred spirit! I lived for much of my life in flats, and am now too disabled to attempt it, so my gardening skills are zero - despite my parents and grandparents having been enthusiastic gardeners.
At least I can enjoy living near wildlife.

Nov 7, 2019, 9:59am

For those of you not on Facebook, here are some photos of my garden in the spring. I don't think I have posted them here?

Hmmm, I don't have time to go through the shenanigans of getting them from FB to here right now. Stand by until further notice. ;)

Nov 8, 2019, 9:16am

>156 MrsLee: I don't think the privacy setting on Facebook let you share your photos here.

Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 9:36am

>157 clamairy: Yeah, that's why I said shenanigans. I put pictures from my phone on FB because my phone didn't like my computer and it was hard to load them to the computer. We used to be able to share directly to LT from FB, but now I go to FB, save them to my computer, then load them into my junk drawer on LT. Shenanigans. I'm hoping with my new phone and desktop this will be easier. It was for the tapestry photo.

Anyway, hoping a link to my junk drawer will work, because I loaded 8 images of my yard from this spring into it. It was a very good year this spring for my garden.

Here are a couple of the photos for those of you who don't like to click links.

Nov 8, 2019, 10:40am

>158 MrsLee:
Wow! Lovely. Beautiful in fact.

Thank you for sharing.

Nov 8, 2019, 3:07pm

>158 MrsLee: Your garden is beautiful!

Nov 8, 2019, 3:13pm

>158 MrsLee: That is a magnificent garden, IMHO at least the equal of the Open Gardens that people show off with here. And naturally I'm impressed by your thriving Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe)! In nature it grows from the Western Cape to Malawi. Most wild ones would look moth-eaten next to yours.

Nov 8, 2019, 9:11pm

>158 MrsLee: Absolutely stunning!

Nov 8, 2019, 11:12pm

>158 MrsLee: Lovely!

Nov 9, 2019, 1:50am

>159 pgmcc:, >160 YouKneeK:, >162 Narilka: & >163 NorthernStar: Thank you, glad you enjoy them. :)

>161 hfglen: Thank you. In my grandmother's day, this garden was featured in a couple of magazines, and several local newspapers. It has hosted numerous tea parties, school adventure days, one foray into politics and a wedding. My grandmother was the visionary who laid the foundations and grew a garden in the wilderness of red clay and rocks.

One thing I love, I can visit numerous friends and relatives from Oregon down to the Bay Area and find the offspring of plants from this yard.

Nov 9, 2019, 7:51am

>158 MrsLee: Beautiful, just beautiful.

Nov 9, 2019, 8:05am

>164 MrsLee:
That is a wonderful description of your grandmother's legacy and I love the way you say the offspring of the garden's plants can be found in other areas.

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 9:12am

>158 MrsLee:, >164 MrsLee: That is a beautiful garden, but I can see how much work out must require. You can move on, confident in the legacy that it has left.

Nov 9, 2019, 8:57am

>158 MrsLee: PRETTY!!!!

Nov 9, 2019, 4:21pm

catching up on your thread:

* sorry about all the work stress. No fun. I hope it's calming down a bit.
* I didn't particular enjoy Woman in White. I remember nothing about it.
* your garden is so pretty! I don't like yard work, either. I'm blessed with a husband who does. Ours is much simpler than yours. There will come a day where even he won't want to do the work.
* I like your reading idea.

Edited: Nov 10, 2019, 12:59pm

Thank you all, and now, for comparison in the seasons, I will post a couple of photos I took yesterday. Here is the junk photo link if you want to see the rest of them:

Bother. I am having a heckuvva time getting the photos right today. Took me forever to get them into LT without being sideways, and now, somehow most of them came out tiny and poor quality, but they are the same as the one that is here. Guess if you care you will have to go see them in my junk drawer, or on FB.

Nov 10, 2019, 12:57pm

Those pictures are beautiful. The garden is a delight.

Nov 11, 2019, 5:28am

Your garden is so beautiful. I'm sure it will be hard for you to leave it behind, but it must have given you so many good memories over the years.

Nov 11, 2019, 5:36am

>170 MrsLee: YouKneek recommended using as a hosting site, which works for me, although I have to look past all the clever-clever stuff that people post. It even seems to fix the "sideways" issue. See the discussion in my last thread round about here.

Your garden really is lovely. The photos are actually pretty good too.

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 9:57am

>173 haydninvienna: Ok, I'm giving it a try. The pond doesn't look like this now, but here is what it was earlier in the spring/summer.

Nov 11, 2019, 9:58am

That worked, had to post to the community before I could copy the link though, even though it said I could copy without sharing. Thanks for the help!

Nov 11, 2019, 10:06am

>175 MrsLee: No worries.

Nov 11, 2019, 4:03pm

>175 MrsLee: I don’t remember how I initially set things up because it was a few years ago, but I have an album set to Hidden and that’s where I put those little book review headers I use in my thread. So I don’t think you should have to post it to the community.

My general steps:
  • Log onto the site.
  • Click my name in the top-right corner and select “images” from the menu. (Meanwhile, try to ignore all the amusing/weird/alarming images on the page as haydninvienna noted, so I don’t fall down the rabbit hole.)
  • Click the “Add to album” drop-down and select my private album.
  • Click the big green “Add Images” button and upload my image(s) from my computer.
  • After the miniature image shows up, click on it.
  • Copy and paste the “Direct Link” into my IMG html here on LT.

Nov 12, 2019, 9:55am

>177 YouKneeK: Thank you, I will try that next time I have an image I would like to share.

Finished Homeland and Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver on Sunday. Not my cup of tea, which is sad because I know a lot of you love her writing. I do not deny that she is a great writer, but so dreary. I will still try one of her novels, and I have her nonfiction about eating local foods. Short stories may not be a good test for her overall tone, because for some reason, people usually do write dreary short stories. Anyway, I'm putting my review here so you can see what I mean. For the record, this is the way her stories affected me, YMMV.

"A collection of short stories, some of which are set in the southern United States, some in Arizona, a couple elsewhere. There is no denying that Kingsolver is a masterful writer, but like many a modern writer, she leaves me empty in these stories. In the normal run of things, I would have given this a two star rating. That I give it three and a half stars is a tip of the hat to the quality of her writing craft.

The settings and characters are compelling; for anyone who enjoys dwelling on the tawdry, mundane, dreary nature of life, these stories will not disappoint. Here is a run-down of my reactions to each story.

"Homeland" - Short, sweet, no answers, and yet it felt complete somehow.
"Blueprint" - Hmmm, so is this the way of all the stories? Rather depressing and up in the air? One, yes. Two, maybe. A pattern, no.
"Covered Bridges" - Ok, a respite from despondency. She is very good at describing places.
"Quality Time" - Eh, meh, Kinda boring.
"Stone Dreams" - Such beautiful scenery descriptions, and no moral depth at all in the characters.
"Survival Zones" - Now this one is interesting. I like it, although it isn't exactly uplifting or complete, there is much to be said between the lines.
"Islands on the Moon" - Painful character.
"Bereaved Apartments" - Good story. Why are they all such downers?
"Extinctions" - Whatever. Dreary.
"Jump-up-Day" - These stories all seem to want me to feel that they have resolved well, but they leave me empty, not full.
"Rose-Johnny" - More sad.
"Why I am a Danger to the Public" Meh. Skimmed, but couldn't handle one more downer."

Nov 12, 2019, 9:56am

I'm reading a book which a friend loaned me, Ginger East to West: A Cook's Tour with Recipes and Lore by Bruce Cost. Drooling as well, which is dangerous when you have a borrowed book. Hope my friend understands.

Nov 12, 2019, 11:48am

Wow, your garden is so beautiful!

Nov 12, 2019, 1:28pm

>178 MrsLee: Thanks for the warning. I may read this book slowly, one story at a time with something more upbeat in between.

Nov 12, 2019, 10:29pm

>180 littlegeek: Thank you!

>181 Sakerfalcon: Good idea.

Nov 15, 2019, 2:14pm

>158 MrsLee: >170 MrsLee: Sorry, been off for about two weeks, but your garden is fantastic! I've gotten compliments on mine, but you put me to shame! Thanks for sharing.

Nov 16, 2019, 11:10am

>183 Karlstar: Thank you. I cannot claim all the honors though. The honors belong to my grandmother who took a barren plot of red clay and rock soil and turned it into a mini paradise. She is the one who had the vision and laid the foundations of paths and beds, planting trees with an eye to the far off future.

I remember 25 years ago she and I were talking about an oak tree sapling which had sprung up. She said she was letting it grow because the giant behemoth oak tree not far away probably only had 10 more years of life in it. Sure enough, 10-15 years later, the giant tree fell. Now the sapling is getting to be a grown tree and provide shade for the house as the old one did. Although I will probably not be here long enough to see it as large as the old tree was.

Nov 16, 2019, 11:46am

>184 MrsLee: Which reminds me ... some 10-15 years ago a friend (a friend indeed!) gave me a tiny, potbound Kauri Pine in a too-small pot. I planted it. It is now one of the tallest trees in the neighbourhood, and looks lovelier every day. Unfortunately, judging by the trees in Durban Botanic Garden, I'll need to stay in this house until I'm 200 years old to see it in its full glory!

Here is a New Zealand Kauri in Durban Botanic Garden, about 15 years ago. It was then almost 130 years old.

Nov 16, 2019, 1:49pm

>185 hfglen:

Are you planning to move?

Nov 16, 2019, 2:10pm

No way!

Nov 17, 2019, 10:28am

>185 hfglen: That is a lovely tree. I have a little Italian Stone pine tree given to my mom last Christmas by neighbors. I planted it in a large pot outside and it has grown well over the last year. If I do have to move, maybe I can take it with me. :)

Nov 17, 2019, 5:56pm

Your garden is magnificent, and that fact that it's been worked by the hands of multiple generations must make it harder to give up.

>178 MrsLee: Sorry that the Kingsolver wasn't up to snuff. I don't think I enjoyed Prodigal Summer as much as any of her others, now that I think about it.

Nov 18, 2019, 9:26am

Finished Ginger East to West: A Cook's Tour by Bruce Cost. What a lovely find! I've tried three of the recipes and not only were they delicious, but they were simple as well. This copy is one my friend loaned me, but my own is on its way from Amazon.

In my quest to either read or get rid of books I've been avoiding for too long, I began Camino Island by John Grisham yesterday. My husband retrieved this one from a Little Free Library and enjoyed it. Because its theme is rare and collectible books, booksellers and authors, he thought I should try it (I'm not really interested in reading all of Grisham's legal procedurals, but I can enjoy his others sometimes). I am enjoying it enough to finish, although I can't say there are any characters I'm rooting for, nor does there seem much depth to it. However, one doesn't always read for depth and fluff seems to suit me at the moment.

Nov 19, 2019, 9:52am

Finished Camino Island last night. I never did connect with the characters, the female protagonist was uninteresting and uninterested. It was no wonder she couldn't find a story to write, she had no interests, passion or drive. I still enjoyed the book enough to finish, if only because I wanted to know how Grisham would end it. It won't waste any more room in my house though.

Next up: I, Claudius by Robert Graves. I do not expect to finish this one. I will give it 100 page, I think. Pretty sure it is beyond my patience/interest at this time. I acquired it years ago when I was moderating/participating in a group read of Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers. I believe that Robert Graves was mentioned in that story and we had a brief rabbit trail into his life. After what, 25 years or so, I think it's time I cracked open the book. One thing which has intimidated me all these years is that there is a snake on the cover. I don't want to hold a snake. I'm not sure how to make a cover for a paperback, may have to use a napkin or something. Blech.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 9:59am

>191 MrsLee: Wrapping paper will do the trick, with lots of tape. I have this one, too. It was my husband's uncle's book, and I was bequeathed a copy, along with what I believe to be a sequel.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 10:03am

If you're head isn't in the game, skip it. It's too great. I love it and have read it over a dozen times. It's a grand soap-opera with a heavy touch of murder, intrigue, war, love affairs, political maneuvering and a dash of humor. In the big historical parts it's right on, but Livia...oh Livia - the smear campaign.

I'll read along if you like. Another go round is always welcome.

Nov 19, 2019, 10:09am

>193 Bookmarque: I love it too. It is brilliant beyond words.

Also the BBC dramatisation starring Sir Derek Jacobi. It is one of those rare TV versions that is completely faithful to the book, and superbly performed by the major actors of that era. If you haven't seen that, Bookmarque, you should.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 10:19am

I have, but maybe only once. Siân Phillips was brilliant as Livia. John Hurt was sooooo creepy as Caligula. And Patrick Stewart - with hair!!! Brian Blessed - doing anything!!

Nov 19, 2019, 10:21am

>195 Bookmarque: I remember watching that series, but I don't recall Patrick Stewart!

Nov 19, 2019, 10:25am

He was Sejanus. Sly, sinister and sexy.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 10:35am

>197 Bookmarque: oh, nice...

From Excalibur:

Nov 19, 2019, 10:42am

Another fan of I Claudius here! Going back to the source material, Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars is a highly entertaining read about the whole dynasty.

Nov 19, 2019, 11:51am

>197 Bookmarque:, >198 fuzzi: I know! I was devastated when I learned that he was wearing a wig.

Seriously, though, he made Sejanus" charismatic effect on everyone around him seem utterly plausible.

Nov 19, 2019, 1:16pm

>194 -pilgrim-: I remember watching that series, it was excellent. I read the books too ( I Claudius and Claudius the God ), many years ago. May be time for a reread.

Nov 19, 2019, 11:15pm

I have read chapter one and am intrigued. Can definitely see myself enjoying this, but am utterly wiped out tonight so will not push it.

Work is still an exhausting muddle. Feels like I bang my head on the wall each day to try to accomplish something, but get nowhere. Spend so much time on the phone talking to support for one system or another. May we have a moment of quiet to lift up support teams everywhere? Bless their hearts.

I solved the problem with the cover, although some of you may need to turn away and not read this. The book is a tattered and stained paperback. My solution was to tear the cover off. Also each page as it is read. Brutal, yes. But that snake had to go.

Nov 20, 2019, 10:08am


I should have heeded your warning and stopped reading.


Nov 20, 2019, 2:05pm

MrsLee, why is pgmcc screaming on your thread? Have you been torturing him.with your surplus-to-requirements snake?

Nov 20, 2019, 2:30pm

>204 -pilgrim-: Did you not see what she did to the book? It was the book she was torturing and I am just so sensitive to the feelings of our liber amicorum.

Nov 20, 2019, 2:41pm

>202 MrsLee: Brutal, yes - but I can respect a person that has the courage to commit to a thing that needs doing.

Also, it seems a very 'Roman Emperor' type of behavior... ("Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest snake?")

Nov 20, 2019, 2:50pm

Oh, the humanity...

Nov 20, 2019, 3:37pm

>203 pgmcc:, >204 -pilgrim-:, >205 pgmcc: I have no remorse. >:l

>206 ScoLgo: It is empowering. I may become a serial book ripper. Is this how it all begins?

>207 clamairy: Serves em right for putting a snake on the cover.

Nov 20, 2019, 3:53pm

>208 MrsLee: I am having disturbing flash-backs to the days when MrsLee would use the word, "CULLING", in reference to books.

I feel faint. I have to sit down.

Nov 20, 2019, 4:48pm

>208 MrsLee: I do believe you've given Peter an attack of the vapors. Quick, burn a feather! (Or whatever it is they used to do...)

Nov 20, 2019, 10:24pm

>206 ScoLgo: I agree. MrsLee appears to be getting into the spirit of the book admirably.

But there was a good reason why I did not recommend the BBC series to her. It might prove expensive on TV sets.

>205 pgmcc: I do not think anyone else had a claim on MrsLee's book.
Certe, liber amici interficere non bonum est.

But it is all part of a cunning plan; soon she will feel guilty.
The remorse will become unbearable.
She will feel compelled to buy another copy.
Liber mortuus est, vivat liber!

Nov 21, 2019, 3:46am

>211 -pilgrim-: Audite! Audite!

Nov 21, 2019, 4:27am

I for one applaud MrsLee for her act of bravery. She is a true heroine in the battle against snakes on book covers.

Nov 21, 2019, 4:52am

>213 Sakerfalcon: But... but... who doesn't love a cute, adorable little snake?

Nov 21, 2019, 5:03am

>210 clamairy: Back in the day, didn't the pages torn out as read end up in a heap in the little building ("piccanin kaya" or "kleinhuisie") down the garden path, so that they had one very final use?

Now that would really give Peter the vapours, though the aroma of ammonia out there should revive him.

Nov 21, 2019, 8:27am

>215 hfglen: Bwahaha!!! Revive him, or knock him out completely?

Nov 21, 2019, 8:42am

>216 clamairy: AFAIK the overwhelming aroma of smelling salts is ammonia. On the other hand, the aroma mentioned in #215 would be of much less pure ammonia ...

Nov 21, 2019, 9:13am

>217 hfglen: You mean to say that "pure" (to use the 18th century term) is not pure enough? Words fail me.

Nov 21, 2019, 9:48am

>213 Sakerfalcon: Thank you. I knew some would understand.

>215 hfglen: These pages would work, they are half decayed already. I turned one last night and my finger went through it. A messy proposition for the little house, be sure to use more than one at a time.

Nov 21, 2019, 2:53pm

>218 -pilgrim-: Mixed with such charming compounds as indole, skatole and others, as opposed to only ammonia.

Nov 21, 2019, 3:00pm

>220 hfglen: Someone predates IUPAC ;-)

Nov 21, 2019, 3:16pm

>216 clamairy:
Clare, what did I ever do to you?

Nov 21, 2019, 7:20pm

>222 pgmcc: Wait, what? Hugh leads you to the noxious privy and I get in trouble for laughing?

Nov 21, 2019, 11:10pm

Why does my thread always end up in the toilet?

Had a dream of librocide last night. In my dream I was watching a good cop series or something, there was a funny cop, middle aged, a little overweight, but a character you love. He went in to search a house and someone I couldn't see came behind him and said, "Hey, Wally!" When he turned, the guy hit him upside the head with a really big book. It all went slow motion, and when I realized Wally was dead,I was devastated.

Then I had to watch episode after episode of this serial killer committing bizarre murders and the cops just missing him. Only, when scenes got too gory, I could close my eyes. I could still hear, but I didn't have to watch. Finally, after waking several times and then falling back asleep only to start the series again, I suggested to my brain how to end the series. My brain-semi-conscience went with it. As the killer was about to kill the top cop on the team by sniper action from an apartment across the way, the cop turned to the window and flipped him off. Right then the cop's wife slammed the killer upside the head with a cast iron frying pan. Justice was served.

Is it any wonder I wake up tired?

Nov 22, 2019, 4:42am

>224 MrsLee: Does this post protect your copyright rights if someone subsequently pitches this series to a TV channel?

Nov 22, 2019, 4:44am

>223 clamairy:
It was the ...or knock him out completely? that shocked me.

Was he to use a book like MrsLee's serial killer, with or without a snake on the cover?

Nov 22, 2019, 9:10am

>225 pgmcc: Since my dream was rather spotty in between the vivid bits, I suppose I wouldn't mind it being fodder for a creative mind who had the energy and will to make it into a story. Although, it is probably cobbled together from many such television series I have watched already. :)

>226 pgmcc: I would never knock you out with a book which had a snake on the cover.

Nov 22, 2019, 9:23am

>226 pgmcc: The only book I have that I am sure has a snake on the cover is A Complete Guide to the Snakes of southern Africa, which is a paperback and wouldn't knock anybody out even if thrown vigorously. Otherwise one of the Bundu Books might have a snake, but they're much smaller.

Nov 22, 2019, 9:49am

>228 hfglen: I also have a snake identification book (in the spirit of know thy enemy). It is about 4"x3"x1/4", the only danger of it being if it gave me a heart attack if I accidentally grabbed it instead of the insect book next to it. :)

Nov 22, 2019, 2:07pm

>227 MrsLee: said, "I would never knock you out with a book which had a snake on the cover."

Careful, Peter! I'm sure there are more books that don't have snakes on the cover than do.

Nov 22, 2019, 6:18pm

>230 ScoLgo: You caught that. You probably wouldn't go up the stairs or down to the basement in a horror movie either, would you. 😏

Nov 22, 2019, 6:50pm

>231 MrsLee: Hah - not a chance! I even moved into a rambler IRL so I could avoid those situations.

Nov 23, 2019, 4:28am

We have now moved from clamairy telling hglen to knock me out completely, to MrsLee wanting to get in on the act with any book that does not have a snake on the cover and is large enough to effect the knock me out completely instruction to @SloLgo giving me a warning about the corollary of MrsLee's comment "I would never knock you out with a book which had a snake on the cover."

Yes, MrsLee, I had noticed that too.

ScoLgo, thank you for your concern.

Nov 24, 2019, 1:37am

I leave off reading for a couple of days and this happens! What an amazing place this Pub is, to be sure.

Nov 26, 2019, 12:31pm

I, Claudius was doomed. I was already getting tired of the negativity in it, multiple characters who were all either being killed or messed up, or doing the killing and messing up. Then my mom died. I was about 80 pages into the story and couldn't face it any more. So, whether a good story or not, I won't ever have the heart to read it again. The same happened when my father died, what may have been a good book (others loved it) will never be read by me.

I probably won't have the time or the heart to begin a new book before Thanksgiving, so. Will update when I do.

Nov 26, 2019, 12:42pm

Sad on many levels. I'm so sorry you lost her. Being kind to yourself will help. And being with family.

Nov 26, 2019, 1:03pm

>235 MrsLee: All I can send is a ((hug))

Nov 26, 2019, 1:07pm

And we are glad to see you’re still here.

Nov 26, 2019, 2:36pm

Nov 26, 2019, 6:32pm

I'll be holding you and yours in the light, my friend.

Nov 26, 2019, 7:30pm

I'm so sorry for your loss :(

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:31pm

Thank you, dear ones. It has been a bittersweet holiday, and I suspect the bitter sadness will mingle with the sweet memories for quite some time. All the "firsts" must be gotten through. First Christmas without mom. First birthday without a greeting from mom, etc. We are managing. My kids have all gone home, a cousin came by for a visit today. It was nice to share memories.

I began reading "De Grazia's Boarderlands Sketches" yesterday. A rather small book from a southwest museum which my mom picked up in her travels. We both loved his art. Hmm, no touchstones, I will look into that when I'm on the desktop. On my tablet at the moment.

Dec 1, 2019, 1:36am

>242 MrsLee: The sadness will never quite go away, but it will become less bitter as time passes. I still have it for my own mother, who has been gone for more than 25 years. Hang onto the good memories, which you clearly have lots of. We are all thinking of you.

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 11:44am

>243 haydninvienna: Yes, having lost my father and grandparents, I know this path. The other side of love is loss.

Finished the De Grazia, a very short book. I began Bill Bryson's Notes from a small island yesterday. Amusing.

Dec 6, 2019, 9:37am

I won't say the Bryson book is a slog, but it isn't making me desire to read and read. In the evenings I can manage a half chapter, maybe a whole. He is clever, the writing is amusing, somewhat at others expense. The premise of this book is him having a farewell travel around England after twenty years of living there. He alternates between his present experience and that of the past when he first arrived in an area. I think it would be more engaging if I were a native of England. Either that or it would make me really mad. He's very southern (as in the southern USA) in his humor, lots of backhanded compliments.

I think I will try only reading a chapter or less in the evening, half hour at most, but have another book, fiction, to dive into when this one starts to put me to sleep.

Dec 6, 2019, 11:47am

My books are doing the same. I've been bogged down in several and think I just need a clean sweep.

As far as Bryson goes, I think he's an acquired taste. I read one of his books (the Appalachian trail one) and that was enough. Some of what he finds funny is just stupid - either caused by stupidity or just dumb humor and that doesn't light up my brain.

Dec 7, 2019, 9:56am

Huh. I thought I was a loner in having mixed feelings about Bryson. I find him tiresome in his ramble books. The only one I thoroughly enjoyed was At Home; perhaps because I'm an old house lover myself.

Dec 7, 2019, 11:01am

>246 Bookmarque: & >247 2wonderY: Good to know that I'm not alone. I found his little discourse on eating alone in a hotel and having to watch fat people eat in front of him to be damned offensive. I tried to consider it in any other light, but no. It was just offensive. I know and love too many people who struggle with extreme weight to be amused in any way by his scoffing.

Dec 7, 2019, 12:31pm

>245 MrsLee: >246 Bookmarque: >247 2wonderY: I may be unique in the Western world in that I have never read anything by Bryson. You are persuading me that I haven't missed much.

Dec 7, 2019, 2:17pm

>248 MrsLee: He is not himself so svelte; he hardly has room to scoff.

Dec 7, 2019, 2:33pm

>249 haydninvienna: neither have I, you're not alone.

Dec 7, 2019, 4:06pm

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Mrs. Lee.

>249 haydninvienna: >251 fuzzi: Bryson who?

Edited: Dec 7, 2019, 4:19pm

>249 haydninvienna: Richard, I am sorry to destroy your uniqueness, but I too have never read anything by Bryson and, like you, now do not feel any need to do so.

>251 fuzzi:

Oops! I see fuzzi beat me to it.

Dec 7, 2019, 5:11pm

>252 Karlstar: Bill Bryson, author of the book I'm reading at the moment. Also, thank you for your kind thoughts. I'm enjoying your thoughts on LotR in your thread.

Dec 8, 2019, 1:33am

>253 pgmcc: You can add me to the "never read him" club.

Dec 9, 2019, 1:04am

I finished Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey today. A perfect throne room book IMO, each bit not more than a 3-5 minute read. I am now going through the book with my laptop so I can look up all the writers, artists and composers I was not familiar with. Most of them from the 1900s.

Thank you Google, for allowing me to view works of art, listen to symphonies and even read/order the books if I wish. So far, I have not found any unfamiliar authors that I want to pursue. Most of their award winning works sound dreadfully depressing. The art has been interesting. I shuddered at the works of Francis Bacon. Don't understand them a bit, they are so dark, bitter and hopeless. If that were the only modern art I had been exposed to I would say, "No thank you." But then I look at the works of Joan Miró and find myself uplifted, whether I understand it or not. As for the composers, a mixed bag, some lovely, some more like an annoying kid trying to make his big sister/brother crazy. :)

Also read The Furthest Station today. I didn't realize when I started that it was a novella, but it didn't suffer for that. The ending did seem a bit chopped though.

I'm still bearing with Mr. Bryson. I have to read at least as far as my husband read in the book.

Dec 9, 2019, 9:56am

My new bathroom book is Natural History of Vacant Lots. Enjoying this even though I've only read the editorial note, introduction and a couple of paragraphs of chapter one. It is the last in a series of 50 natural histories of California fauna, flora and minerals. Of course now I want all 50. That won't happen. I do wish this included more photographs or drawings, but it is meant as textbook material, not a guide. There are some color photographs in the middle, and some drawings throughout.

Dec 9, 2019, 10:10am

The Vacant Lot book sounds oddly fascinating.

Dec 9, 2019, 10:47am

>257 MrsLee: Oh! That's been on my wishlist! Where'd you find it?

Dec 9, 2019, 4:57pm

>254 MrsLee: Thanks MrsLee, I will try to finish the LOTR thoughts up so I can move on soon! Maybe this week. Football does get in the way.

Dec 9, 2019, 10:05pm

>258 Bookmarque: It is! Makes me look closer at the plants in the sidewalk cracks as I walk on my breaks at work.

>259 2wonderY: It was in a bag of discarded books my father-in-law gave me. Are you collecting the series? Of all the books in the series, this one probably applies best to empty lots everywhere, since most of the hardy species which survive those conditions are present everywhere, due to their adaptability. In my mind, I have placed you back east somewhere; just curious why you want a guidebook from California. :)

Dec 9, 2019, 10:42pm

>261 MrsLee: Yah, I'm Appalachian. It's just a great concept and title. I love field guides anyway.

Dec 10, 2019, 9:45am

>262 2wonderY: I do too. The thought of having 50 field guides of western things tempts me, but I doubt I will pursue the quest due to limited storage space.

I thought it was interesting that in the dedication, the writer mentioned that when he was a child in school (1926) the only textbooks available listed flora and fauna which was from the midwest and east. His teacher set him the task to find and collect a Cecropia cocoon and to see and observe a Ruby-throated hummingbird. Then, 40 years later (in the 1960s) his son was given the same textbook and task based on eastern plants and animals!

Sometimes I forget how young the west is in terms of settlement and science studies. :)

Dec 10, 2019, 3:20pm

>263 MrsLee: This raises the echo of half a thought, although the Western Cape, and Pretoria area, were served by botany texts by Louisa Bolus and Inez Verdoorn respectively. But I have half an idea that Rhodesian (and to a lesser extent South African) kids were brought up on British texts. I know our primary school (4th/5th grade) geography was based on a bizarre mix of Johannesburg city centre and British Isles "macro-scale" maps.

Dec 10, 2019, 4:53pm

>263 MrsLee: oooh. That reminds me of a further field guide I really really lust after.

Her watercolours are amazing

She was also a book cover designer and I collect those.

Dec 10, 2019, 8:35pm

>265 2wonderY: how lovely.

Dec 10, 2019, 10:47pm

>265 2wonderY: That looks amazing!

>264 hfglen: I don't really remember going over plants, native or otherwise in school, but I had a grandmother and mother who taught me about every plant in the yard, the woods and the roadside. I thought that was just normal until I met my husband. He is still amazed at how many plants I know. He adopted my grandfather's technique and calls them all geraniums. ;)

I did a summer volunteer thing with the state of working to repair paths in National Parks while being taught about the flora and fauna. Personally, I think that should be required of all teenagers. Best summer ever. Hard work, along with knowledge and appreciation of our environment gained.

Today's searching of the illustrious folks mentioned in the book Daily Rituals yielded some eye-openers. The art of Balthus. *blink* *blink* The choreography of Twyla Tharp, loved it! The fact that David Foster Wallace looks exactly like Christian Kane in Leverage. Or perhaps that is backwards. I wish I knew if that was intentional on Kane's part, or the part of the writers, costumers etc. because it is uncanny. I've put Infinite Jest on my wishlist, not only for that reason, but because it sounds interesting.

Dec 11, 2019, 6:28am

>267 MrsLee: My mum taught me and sister to identify all the birds we saw and, like you, we thought that was normal. It's knowledge I'm very glad to have. I'm not so good on plants - I call them all triffids!

Dec 11, 2019, 8:59am

>268 Sakerfalcon: My brother calls most birds LBB. Little Brown Bird. Except for those which aren't. When I was teaching my children, we did a bird study for Cornell University. If nothing else, at least we learned the names of the birds in our backyard, and when to spot that there was a rare species visiting. We have a great backyard for for such studies. Our garden includes a smallish lawn, lots of different types of trees and bushes, and some brush piles at the bottom. It also backs up against a creek-wilderness area which runs through our town, so in spite of living in the middle of town we have all sorts of wildlife traipsing through our yard (including some of the homeless humans who stay in the wilderness area, but that is another story).

Dec 11, 2019, 6:23pm

I grew up with a little book of bird recognition, another for flowers, another for trees. Like you both, I assumed this was normal.

Dec 11, 2019, 6:30pm

I had a mother who had gardens, both flowers and vegetables. She'd switched to organic in the mid-1960s, and so that's what I learned from as far back as I can remember. I was given a 3x3 foot section in her vegetable garden, in which I grew radishes and Marigolds, which are still my favorite flower.

She also started me on "birding" at about the same time, when I was 7. I still have a Peterson's that she gave me more than 30 years ago.

Dec 12, 2019, 9:20am

My co-worker's mother died on Tuesday. Out of 15 people working with me, 7 of us have lost either a parent, sibling or child this year. Those odds seem a bit steep to me, yet I know this year has been tough on pgmcc as well in the loss of loved ones department. A hard year. If I think long enough, I will remember that there have been blessings this year as well. Why are they harder to remember?

Dec 12, 2019, 11:54am

>272 MrsLee: Life can get so hard sometimes. You are loved and have friends who care.

Dec 12, 2019, 12:01pm

I am sorry that it's a bad time. Losing a parent must be the worst (if you actually like your parents) and I don't know how I'll cope when it happens to me. Drugs I suspect.

Dec 12, 2019, 2:40pm

>272 MrsLee: your emotions focus on grief, and blessings seem farther away. Hold on, day at a time.

We care.

Dec 12, 2019, 3:46pm

>272 MrsLee: 2019 has not been the best of years, but there have been highlights as well. Like yourself I can list the low-lights more readily. Your 2019 has been hard. My father died in 2000 and my mother in 2001. I still miss them but I have wonderful memories of them. You have wonderful memories of your mother. Cling to those. It is hard to think of those memories now but they are the memories that will help support you into the future. As littlegeek said, you are loved and have friends who care.

Dec 12, 2019, 4:09pm

>272 MrsLee: What Peter said. He has it spot on.

Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 6:43pm

>272 MrsLee: I agree with Peter. I lost both my parents together, and to say that it was hard is an understatement.

But the selective filter works both ways. Now, in hindsight, when I think of the loved ones that I have lost, what comes to mind are the active, happy memories of our time together, and not so much the recollections of suffering and illness.

Dec 13, 2019, 4:52am

>272 MrsLee: Another vote for what Peter an littlegeek said. It may not be obvious, but in this pub you have friends to love, respect and cherish you all around the world.

Dec 13, 2019, 9:50am

>273 littlegeek:, >274 Bookmarque:, >275 fuzzi:, >276 pgmcc:, >277 haydninvienna:, >278 -pilgrim-:, & >279 hfglen: I want you to know that I feel the exact same way towards each of you, and the other members of the pub I have interacted with over the years. Even those who are absent now. What a marvelous thing to have friends one can cry, complain, laugh, converse, comfort and simply enjoy life with, from around the world. Thank you.

I began reading The Orc of Many Questions a couple of days ago. I find it amusing, but not compelling thus far. I read a chapter or two a day. Of course, between that and my other nonfiction book, that is all I can manage time and energy-wise on the weekdays.

Mark and I are now gathering "D" activities or interests to begin our adventure in 2020. We have 46 so far, one of which is "dragons!" We won't begin crossing off until the 1st, or maybe sooner, if we want to. :)

Dec 13, 2019, 10:24am

>280 MrsLee: Diving? Design?

Dec 13, 2019, 12:08pm

Dousing? Dramatics? Doves?

Dec 13, 2019, 12:57pm

Delectable dining.

Dec 13, 2019, 2:06pm

>280 MrsLee: How about visiting Wales for your Dragon? (see flag)

Dec 13, 2019, 2:12pm

>280 MrsLee: Dominoes? (the game, rather than the pizza - or the masks, of course)




Dec 13, 2019, 2:38pm

>280 MrsLee: My wife suggests dressage (and bets you haven’t got it
already), and drinking. And how about defenestration (of any politician whom you happen to dislike)? Can you tell that we’ve been to the pub again? Peter had the best idea though.

Dec 13, 2019, 5:28pm

Dancing, dilly-dallying, duck racing, playing doctor, playing the didgeridoo, dendrochronology...

Dec 13, 2019, 9:21pm

>280 MrsLee: I always enjoy your alphabetic activity choosing period! :)

Here are a few of my ‘D’ thoughts:
  • Daring (facing your fears and/or doing adrenaline rush type activities)
  • Diary (each of you could write daily or weekly thoughts and then swap and read each other’s at the end of the year)
  • Dictionary (looking for new words and using them in conversations)
  • Doughnut! Or Dessert if you want more variety.
  • Dungeons (ok, maybe not…)

Dec 14, 2019, 11:20am

>281 hfglen: Both added to list.

>282 Bookmarque: All three added to list!

>283 pgmcc: How had I not thought of that for the list? Added.

>284 -pilgrim-: I'd best get busy getting a passport. :)

>285 -pilgrim-: Dominos I had on the list, it makes me sad that the pizza establishment has invaded England and you are aware of it. Also, I did not know that is what those masks were called. :) Dueling is added, diamonds and deer were already on it. Those two will be crossed off early though. I don't like diamonds and deer are an almost everyday occurrence in my backyard (I was watching 2 yesterday morning).

>286 haydninvienna: She is right, I did not have dressage on my list, although my daughter used to practice it. Again, how did I not have drinking on my list? Probably because my husband doesn't drink. At least not alcohol type of drinks, more than a sip to taste now and then, always followed by a "yuck" face. Now defenestration could be interesting! At least one meaning of it, throwing someone out of a window? Fun!

>287 Jim53: Wow, what a list, none of the words were on my list, although now they are. Not sure our eyes are up to dendrochronology anymore though.

>288 YouKneeK: Added daring, dictionary and doughnut. Believe me, dessert was the first "D" word my husband wrote down. :) Followed by desert and Deseret. Then dragons and dungeons (Ooooo, maybe we can play Dungeons and Dragons with our kids? I would like that, and it would certainly stretch my husband. ;) After that were dunes, dairy and diary. Then diarrhea. THAT will be crossed off early, believe me.

Dec 14, 2019, 12:22pm

>289 MrsLee: Oh, I love the Dungeons and Dragons idea. And LOL about the Diarrhea – I almost included that in my list as a joke, but I thought it would be too crude and so I chickened out due to a lack of Daring. ;)

Dec 14, 2019, 4:42pm

How about Dastardly Deeds? That could be fun. ;)

Dec 14, 2019, 5:50pm

>289 MrsLee: Know what else is a good D item? Dresden. Might be time for a reread with the hubby!

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 10:25am

>289 MrsLee: If you're busy getting a passport organized, please add Drakensberg and Durban ;-)
Maybe also De Hoop (peace, quiet and whale-watching) and Darling (the place, for wine)
ETA: And Doring Bay, where the Fryer's Cove winery and seafood restaurant (IMHO the best fish-'n-chips in the country) are housed in a disused fish factory, and the restaurant seating is on a jetty over the icy South Atlantic. Small wonder the fish is sushi-fresh and it's one of the few places that can grow Pinot Noir successfully.

E (again) TA: picture of the Drakensberg on my thread. Enjoy.

Dec 15, 2019, 10:44am

>290 YouKneeK: We are still in the "C" year, so "crude" fits right in. :D

>291 catzteach: I LIKE Dastardly Deeds! So long as I am the one perpetrating them, and not the victim. >:{

>292 Narilka: Perfect, because the newest edition comes out in 2020 as well. Although, I don't think my husband will ever read them. He is allergic to crashy-bangy-magical stories. He does put up with Bob on my shelf though. Oops, shhh, I shouldn't let it be known where Bob is.

>293 hfglen: Sounds wonderful, but I don't think my husband is interested in getting a passport. Mine will be for travel with my kids or sister or a friend. No definite plans, I just want to have one in case.

Dec 15, 2019, 10:55am

>289 MrsLee: >294 MrsLee: Should have suggested Doha, although I can’t really pretend it’s wonderful. Also, it’s raining in Doha.

Dec 15, 2019, 11:05am

>295 haydninvienna: :) I thought you were in a "D" place, but I am not likely to go there if I venture out of country. Too many other green places I would like to visit, like Ireland and New Zealand.

Dec 15, 2019, 11:56am

>296 MrsLee: I can't argue with that. Never been to EnZed, but I worked in Ireland for a couple of years and absolutely love it to bits. Er--no-one has suggested Dublin yet.

Edited: Dec 16, 2019, 3:18am

>294 MrsLee: You'd still be welcome. It looks as if you can fly to Dubai, then Directly to Durban, stay with a Dragoneer and go to see the Drakensberg.
In the meanwhile, what about Distillation, or maybe even Divination?

>295 haydninvienna: Good Heavens! I didn't know it ever rained in the Gulf. How much do you get a year?

Dec 15, 2019, 1:38pm

I forgot to suggest Duetting earlier.

And if you do plan a trip to Dublin, let me know. Trying to get to Ireland next year is part of my bucket list.

Dec 15, 2019, 5:07pm

>297 haydninvienna: & >299 -pilgrim-:
Well you will both get a great welcome from me in Dublin. It fits well with the “D” theme.

Dec 15, 2019, 9:35pm

>298 hfglen: About 75 mm (3 inches) a year, according to Wikipedia, virtually all in winter. I got rained on twice yesterday.

Dec 15, 2019, 9:53pm

I finished The Orc of Many Questions today. It was okay, but not good enough to make me pursue the second book. I don't care about orcs enough to be interested.

Will begin Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas next. It was next on the shelf. I may sprinkle it with a fiction from my Kindle if it becomes a slow read. I haven't given up on notes from a small island, but I am skimming it when it becomes tedious with him ranting about towns I know nothing about. Parts of it are amusing, which keeps me going. I think his dry humor is pointed more at himself than at others, but he does seem hyper-critical and whiney a lot of the time.

Dec 16, 2019, 12:05pm


Dec 16, 2019, 4:25pm

>302 MrsLee: I am sorry that The Orc of Many Questions didn't work for you. When I hear of"evil" races, who do horrible things, but there is no rationale behind their actions other than "because they're eeeeevil", it really irritates me. (Tolkien does give a rationale, but he is the exception.) So I enjoyed this as a fun attempt to fill that gap. But I suppose it depends on whether you felt that the gap needed filling!

Dec 16, 2019, 4:45pm

Sorry you aren't loving the Bryson. My two favorites of his are A Short History of Nearly Everything and At Home. But I did laugh quite a bit at some of his others, especially In a Sunburned Country.

Did you get Dingoes on your list yet?

Dec 17, 2019, 9:35am

>303 Darth-Heather: Ooooo, yes! In fact, at one time I had planned for my husband to drive my friend and I around for a day to the distilleries in our area. There are at least five within day trip possibilities.

>304 -pilgrim-: It's hard to say with me right now. My reading mood is not terrific, meaning I am hyper-critical, but I think there was a bit much "pissing" for my taste, or something. Also, yeah, I'm okay with orcs being what Tolkien made them. :)

>305 clamairy: Not loving, but haven't given up yet, either. He certainly has his moments. He either makes me laugh, makes me want to slap him, or puts me to sleep. See above reference to my reading mood though. I do think he writes well, which is why I keep reading. Even though I want to get through his book quickly, if I force myself to read no more than a half hour a day, I don't hate him. Dingoes would go well with the didgeridoo!

>306 Narilka: Yes, I read that they are doing casting for a live commercial for the book. Will be interested to see that.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 10:09am

>307 MrsLee: I was going to make a rather ribald comment involving distilleries, didgeridoos and a dead dingo but thought better of it.

Dec 17, 2019, 10:20am

>308 haydninvienna: Hmmmm, now my imagination will be going wild all day.

Dec 17, 2019, 12:59pm

>309 MrsLee: I wouldn't bother, it really wasn't very good. Now I'm trying to think of some more Australian "D" words. The only major city in Australia that I can think of that begins with D is Darwin, but while it's a nice city (great if you like crocodiles) it isn't worth going that distance for all on its own.

Dvorak (music, not the keyboard arrangement).

Dec 18, 2019, 1:28am

If we are going down the route of personal names, I would have to say: Dostoevsky. Only your mood would need to be good to start with; I usually finish feeling that if the human race is not already Doomed, perhaps it ought to be.

Dec 18, 2019, 2:15am

>310 haydninvienna: I have friends (paleontologists, which might tell you all you need to know about the place) who live in Dubbo, NSW. Not inspired to go visit -- we have plenty of godforsaken Dorps here that I don't need a visa for.

Edited: Dec 18, 2019, 5:51am

>312 hfglen: Hugh, I know you're a fan of the late, great Murray Ball, but did you ever encounter another En Zedder who made it big or at least biggish in Oz, namely the great (and unfortunately also late) John Clarke? If you've never watched the TV series The Games, which he did with Brian Dawe and Gina Riley, find a copy. I think a lot of it is on YouTube. You can thank me later.

So, Fred Dagg. This was one of Clarke's radio avatars. Fred was, among his other claims to fame, "Head of the Faculty of Human Existence at the University a Dubbo" (and I wish I could identify the sketch in which he said that).

So we have Dagg, Dubbo, Dawe (a great straight man to Clarke's subdued lunacy).

ETA From Wikipedia I discover that in the film Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale, John Clarke is the voice of Wal Footrot.

Dec 18, 2019, 9:43am

>311 -pilgrim-: Having read Crime and Punishment, I think not. In my present reading mood I would never make it through a book of his, and I know my husband hasn't the patience. :)

>312 hfglen: & >313 haydninvienna: You fellas are full of "D" something or other. ;) Dorp, Dagg, Dubbo, Dawe. Sounds like a soundtrack from a cartoon.

Dec 18, 2019, 12:51pm

>314 MrsLee: I’ll leave “Dorp” for Hugh, but:
• “Dagg” is a comic (as in humorous) invented character
• Dubbo is a real place in Australia, and the butt of many jokes
• Dawe is an Australian comedian.
So the resemblance to a cartoon soundtrack is not entirely accidental.

Dec 19, 2019, 4:12am

>314 MrsLee: A "dorp" is a remote, godforsaken settlement inhabited by hardly more than three men and a dog.

Dec 19, 2019, 3:58pm

Anyone suggested dribbling yet? (I was envisaging the soccer type not the baby type but won't judge), dim sum, dolphins, drumming?

Dec 19, 2019, 6:57pm

How about droning? I was thinking of flying the things, rather than the noise-making, but if you prefer the latter, you could always equip yourselves with bagpipes, which come with a fine set of drones.

Dec 20, 2019, 10:21am

>316 hfglen: Hmm, perhaps if you took away 2 of the men, and the dog, and added one woman and 2 cats, we could manage that. So long as it had internet service. ;)

>317 Peace2: I'll put dribbling on the list, although I'm afraid at our age the only kind we do might be in our sleep. Unless one of the kids comes through with a grandchild in this next year. Dim sum! How I wish I lived where that was accessible. Dolphins and drumming added.

>318 -pilgrim-: Droning...well, okay, but it had better not be the bagpipe kind, or the incessant noise-making!

I have officially stopped reading notes from a small island by Bill Bryson. On the whole, it is filled with way too much whining about his inconveniences during travel around England, a place I have never been. What made me read this far, were little gems of humor such as this found on page 229:

He is speaking of watching a TV show in Wales. "It was an odd experience watching people who existed in a recognizably British milieu - they drank tea and wore Marks & Spencer cardigans - but talked in Martian. Occasionally, I was interested to note, they dropped in English words-"hi ya," "right then," "OK"- presumably because a Welsh equivalent didn't exist, and in one memorable encounter a character said something like ""Wlch ylch aargh ybsy cwm dirty weekend, look you," which I just loved. How sweetly endearing of the Welsh not to have their own term for an illicit bonk between Friday and Monday."

Anyhow, I'm going to focus on Concussion, which seems interesting, possibly reading Morgue Drawer Next Door by Jutta Profijt as a fictional complement to lighten the mood. I really enjoyed the first in that series, Morgue Drawer Four.

Dec 25, 2019, 7:57pm

Finished reading Concussion today. It dragged in a few places, felt like it was padded a bit, but the story always pulled me back in. It was both discouraging that so many health discoveries are predicated on big money funding the research and politics, and heartening that honest scientists can still have a voice if they speak the truth loud enough and long enough. I haven't seen the movie this book was based on, nor have I read the article that the movie was based on, but I found the discussion of concussions very interesting, having lived through one of my own recently, and watching my son deal with the after effects of brain shearing when he was in the car accident 10 years ago. It is a frightening prospect.

I don't know how much more reading I will do today, still reading Morgue Drawer Next Door. If I want to, I will begin the next book from my bottom shelf which is Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle.

Hope all of you who celebrate have had a lovely Christmas day. Ours has been quiet, introspective and laid back, which is what I needed this year.

Dec 25, 2019, 8:48pm

Merru Christmas to you too!

Dec 26, 2019, 6:05am

Happy Christmas! I predict that you'll love Toujours Provence -- I did.

Dec 26, 2019, 9:36am

>322 hfglen: I have only read the first chapter, but yes, I know I will enjoy it. I read another book by Peter Mayle recently, a fiction which sounds as if it mirrors his own life, and enjoyed it. I believe it was you and possibly our own Pete who recommended this author to me. A good bullet. :)

Dec 26, 2019, 10:14am

>323 MrsLee: I'll claim responsibility for this BB, having discovered Peter Mayle only at the beginning of this year. Enjoy!

Dec 30, 2019, 9:27am

I'm back from a lovely and relaxing weekend with my children. We all stayed in a condo in Redwood City which is by a nature refuge which is reclaimed salt-marshes. Quite a few birds were seen. There is a gentle walk and my son got my binoculars to focus finally, so we had a nice time on our walk. There was also much good food, and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt, not to mention my cheeks from smiling.

We played many games, but the one that made us laugh so hard was Telestrations. Half of my family is artistic. A couple of us can manage stick figures, and one has a difficult time drawing a stick. I think that mix made the game so funny. For those who haven't played, you start with a phrase drawn from a pack of cards (some are pretty foul, but there are enough others to ignore them), then you write that phrase on one page, flip the page and draw it. Then you pass the book to the next person, they look at your drawing, write the phrase/work they think it illustrates, flip the page, pass the book. The next person looks at their words, draws a picture to illustrate them, flips the page and passes the book, the next person looks at their picture, writes the words, etc. Like the game of telephone only with words and pictures. We had eight players.

Silly gifts were exchanged, we each brought one gift, then drew numbers, a gift could be stolen no more than twice. We weren't sure how this would work, but it went well. Some were quite silly, such as the prank box which looked as if it had a automated rotary brush for the toilet to wipe with, but actually held something else, and the actual bidet which was a gift, also a card game called Goat Lords which we played and were in doubt of, but after we learned how, it was pretty fun and strategic. My husband managed to snag a gift full of cat toys which our cats explored and approved of when we got home last night.

This was our first experiment of a Christmas away from anyone's home and I would say it was a resounding success, although there was not much time for reading and I'm trying to finish two books before the end of the year tomorrow. One I know I will finish, the other I'm not so sure.

I will post a couple of photos here of my weekend before I start my thread for 2020.

Dec 30, 2019, 10:31am

I just like to read the Lord of the Rings now because I already read the Hobbit and the Harry Potter series, but I also like to be outside to read( it can be comfy when you have a nice treehouse). But I also like to ride horses.

Dec 30, 2019, 11:44am

>325 MrsLee: that sounds like a lovely time! The drawing game sounds fun. The Husband doesn’t like games so I have to find others to play with. But I’ll have to find that one.

Dec 30, 2019, 11:47am

>325 MrsLee: Wow, that sounds fun.

Jan 1, 1:48pm

I managed to finish the last two books for the year before our new year arrived.

Morgue Drawer Next Door by Jutta Profijt was a fun escape from reality. In spite of its inconsistencies (the spirit keeps mentioning the lack of his bodily functions, but manages to see, smell and hear), it is lighthearted. If you can call death humor lighthearted. Anyway, the narrator Pascha (the spirit) reminds me a lot of the feel of the Chet and Bernie mysteries. He is rather clueless, although much more foul-mouthed than Chet the dog. There was some evidence of growth, and possibilities were opening up for the future installations of this series, so I will continue it at some point. I don't think I could read too many in a row.

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle was the perfect way to end a rather crap year. Relaxing and amusing, bathed in sunlight, sharing good food and wine with eccentric neighbors.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day working on my reading lists and statistics. Will check back in here later to post them.

Jan 1, 9:17pm

These are my final statistics for 2019. I am off by one on my physical books/ebooks, but I'm not concerned enough to go through the whole thing again right now.

Fiction: 54
Nonfiction: 29
Total: 83

Loved it, will probably reread, definitely keep***** 5
Liked it lots, will recommend, possibly keep to loan**** 19
Liked it, will probably not keep*** 46
Didn't like it, but others might** 13
Hated it, probably didn't finish, would like to shred*

83 books read, 54 fiction, 29 nonfiction
50 by men, 25 by women, 8 combined male and female, ** Anonymous
50 by authors I’ve never read before
57 physical books, ** audio, 25 ebooks
Oldest writing was by Jane Austen (in 1777), oldest physical book from 1904 (Old Gorgon Graham).
Oldest illustrations (1930) by Will James/ Charles Hargens.

Not counting ebooks, audio books or rereads
Books Retained After Reading: 20
Books Discarded: 31

Average date of original book published: 1979
Average date of book I read published: 1998
Median date of original book published: 2002
Median date of book I read published: 2008

Types of books read:
Mystery: 17
Fantasy: 9
Fiction: 27
Western: 1
Graphic Novel: 1
Children: 1
eBook: 25
Short Stories: 7
Novella: 3
Scifi: 2
Comics: 1
Humor: 2
YA: 3
Cookbook: 4
Reread: 1
DNF: 12

If anyone cares, I have all the books read this year tagged with r2019.

Jan 2, 7:41am

If anyone cares, I have all the books read this year tagged with r2019.

Nifty idea.

Since I always review books I've read I can see when I read a book by the date of the review.

Jan 2, 9:25am

>331 fuzzi: That would most likely work for me too, I can also sort my catalog by the date finished, but I like tags for a quick look.

Jan 2, 9:58am

>331 fuzzi: & >332 MrsLee:

When I finish a book I tag it with the year and month I finished it; e.g. anybooks I finish this month will be tagged 2020Jan. This will help me list the books read in a given year. Because the months of the year are not named alphabetically through the year I have to view the books read in a non-chronological order when listed in LT.