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

This is a continuation of the topic The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2019 part 2.

The Green Dragon

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Sep 8, 11:27am Top

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, 11:42am Top

Duplicate post

Sep 8, 11:37am Top

Does this mean we get twice as much piffle?

Sep 8, 11:38am Top

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, 11:43am Top

>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, 12:17pm Top

>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, 1:07pm Top

>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, 1:34pm Top

>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, 1:34pm Top

>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, 3:28pm Top

>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, 3:53pm Top

>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, 6:34pm Top

>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, 9:38am Top

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, 8:50am Top

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, 12:39pm Top

>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, 5:31pm Top

>This is why I have a Kindle!

Sep 10, 5:50pm Top

>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, 7:27pm Top

>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, 7:24am Top

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

Sep 11, 9:37am Top

>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, 9:54am Top

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, 10:21am Top

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

Sep 12, 9:45am Top

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

Sep 15, 3:59pm Top

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, 4:28pm Top

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, 9:33am Top

>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, 9:49am Top

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

Sep 16, 5:34pm Top

>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, 8:38pm Top

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, 8:50pm Top

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

Sep 18, 4:13am Top

>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, 9:03am Top

>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, 9:45am Top

>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, 1:19pm Top

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

Sep 18, 10:09pm Top

>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, 4:05am Top

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

Edited: Sep 19, 4:58am Top

>35 MrsLee:

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

Sep 19, 9:58am Top

>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, 10:19am Top

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

Sep 23, 9:59am Top

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, 12:35pm Top

Edited: Sep 25, 11:08am Top

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, 1:38pm Top

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

Sep 25, 10:38pm Top

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

Sep 28, 10:12am Top

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, 11:24am Top

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

Sep 28, 12:43pm Top

>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, 9:36am Top

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, 1:02pm Top

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

Oct 1, 7:59pm Top

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

Oct 3, 8:04pm Top

>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, 9:15am Top

>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, 9:47am Top

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, 11:37am Top

>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, 7:11pm Top

>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, 1:48am Top

>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, 6:48am Top

>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, 7:20am Top

>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, 11:19am Top

>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, 8:46pm Top

>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, 7:01am Top

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

Oct 6, 11:56am Top

>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, 1:45pm Top

>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, 8:50am Top

>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, 11:46am Top

>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, 12:23pm Top

>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, 4:16pm Top

>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, 7:05pm Top

>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, 4:56am Top

>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, 6:29am Top

>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, 12:41pm Top

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, 4:36pm Top

>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, 10:04pm Top

>72 haydninvienna: Agree about those2 lines.

Oct 11, 3:42am Top

>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, 9:45am Top

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, 10:05am Top

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

Oct 11, 10:13am Top

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

Oct 11, 10:55am Top


Oct 11, 1:48pm Top

>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, 3:23am Top

Glad to hear things are getting back to normal.

Oct 13, 7:19pm Top

>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, 12:45am Top

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, 5:11am Top

>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, 6:01am Top

>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, 10:50am Top

>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, 10:19am Top

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, 11:13am Top

>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, 11:38am Top

come to Wisconsin and bag a few deer. Please!

Oct 16, 12:51pm Top

>86 MrsLee:
Old and jaded is cool!

Oct 16, 2:55pm Top

And jade is such a nice shade.

Oct 16, 3:08pm Top

>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, 4:10pm Top

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

Oct 17, 9:55am Top

>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, 10:07am Top

>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, 6:41am Top

>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, 9:39am Top

>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, 11:33am Top

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

Oct 18, 5:29pm Top

>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, 11:21am Top

>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. :)

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