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karenmarie's Comfort Zone Quandary - Don't Wanna vs Should - I

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Jan 1, 9:13am Top

Welcome to my first thread of Twenty Twenty. New decade, new reading goals, same joy at being retired. No change in my descriptions of being retired.

It’s Killer Diller! It’s the humdinger. It’s also dilly! It’s the Lollapalooza. It’s the lobster’s dress shirt! It's the snail's ankles. It’s bonaroo! It’s the berries! It’s aces, snazzy, hot, smooth, sweet, swell, keen, and cool. It’s also the fox’s socks, the cat’s pajamas, the bee’s knees, the eel’s hips, the monkey’s eyebrows, the sardine’s whiskers, the gnat’s whistle. It's the razzmatazz and the chipmunk's cheeks. I do not miss working at all and last year’s 13-week part-time gig confirmed it. Once again, I do a happy dance every morning I don’t have to wake up to an alarm. The goal, of course, is to never have to get up to an alarm.

I read, am a charter member of the Redbud and Beyond Book Club, started in 1997, am Treasurer for our local Friends of the Library (henceforth abbreviated FoL), and have now joined the book sort team on Tuesday mornings to sort donations to the book sales. I also manage our home, finances and etc. as my husband heads off to work Monday – Friday. I love having the house to myself to recharge my batteries and having huge blocks of time to read.

I have been married to Bill for 28 years and am mother to Jenna, 26, living about 3 hours away and working on a 2-year business administration program at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. We now have three kitties. Inara Starbuck is 12 ½ years old. Zoe is 1 year old, Wash is 14 weeks old. (Zoe and Wash are character names from Firefly, as is Inara, so we are now officially Firefly kitty parents.) We live in our own little corner of paradise on 8 acres in central North Carolina USA.

The theme for this year’s pictures is no theme – I’m going to use whatever strikes my fancy. The biggest thing going on right now is our two new kitties, so here are the Firefly kitties.

Left to right: Inara Starbuck, Zoe Rose, Washburne Ryder.

My goal is 100 books again this year. It’s a good goal, not too stressful and not too comfortable. If I can fit in more nonfiction, I will. No page goal, just tracking. I seem to read around 30000 pages per year.

My personal challenge for the year will be a re-read of Jane Austen’s 6 novels. The last time I read them was BLT - Before LibraryThing – and to be perfectly honest I never even finished Emma. Bill bought lovely Easton Press Editions for me for Christmas 2008 which have never been opened. I think it’s time to crack’em. I will also read Sanditon, the Watsons, Lady Susan & other Miscellanea and one biography, to be decided upon later.

A second personal challenge for the year will be of an archaeological nature – I want to dig through each year of book acquisitions and read 2 as-yet-unread books from each year. 13 years, 26 books. My ROOT goal is 30 books, none of them re-reads, so there’s a bit of wiggle room for 4 additional ROOTs.

During my high school and early college years, 1967-1973, I kept a notebook which included some quotes I liked. Here are a few of them:
There is not much to be said for the business of the male having to be superior except that it’s a terrible strain. For men to be superior, women have to be inferior, which requires a lot of play-acting for both parties and never seems to work. And an awful lot of men would likely trade their male supremacy for a chance to be accepted as they actually are. Some Men are More Perfect Than Others by Merle Shain

I’m quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Any man who thinks civilization has advanced is an egotist. Will Rogers

…And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

He was so congenitally conceited that he appeared modest. J.D. Salinger

Pleasure not known beforehand is half wasted; to anticipate it is to double it. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
And, finally, Comfort Zone Quandary – how do I balance reading for sheer pleasure in genres/authors I love with Book Bullets acquired from fellow LTers and Real Life Book Club? It is a never-ending battle between Don’t Wanna and Should. Don’t Wanna stray from what I love, Should expand my horizons.

Edited: Yesterday, 5:19pm Top

books read

1. A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd 12/27/19 1/2/20 326 pages trade paperback, Advance Reader's Edition...
*abandoned* A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 12/3/19 374 pages hardcover 1859
2. Abraham Lincoln: Mystic Chords of Memory edited by Larry Shapiro 1/8/20 1/9/20 **** trade paperback, 79 pages...
3. Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches? by Mike O'Connor 11/24/19 1/12/20 211 pages trade paperback
4. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith 11/17/19 1/14/20 audiobook 18 hours
5. So Many Steps to Death by Agatha Christie 1/12/20 1/14/20 200 pages
6. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton 1/3/20 1/1820 458 pages trade paperback

Currently Reading:
Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard H. Minear 1/18/20 267 pages hardcover, 1999
Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz 1/13/20 417 pages hardcover 2019
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith 1/16/20 22.5 hours audiobook, 2018
A Year with G.K. Chesterton edited by Kevin Belmonte 1/1/20 400 pages trade paperback 2012

Edited: Jan 15, 5:33am Top

books added - 341 added in 2019 - goal is to reduce that by 20% or more

1. book sort team reject - Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
2. Amazon - The Second Sleep by Robert Harris
3. friend Karen - Christmas - A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
4. friend Karen - Christmas - The New English Bible
5. friend Karen - Christmas - A Beginner's Guide to The Books of the Bible by Diane L. Jacobson and Robert Kysar
6. friend Karen - Christmas - The Bible and the Common Reader by Mary Ellen Chase, first printing, 1944
7. friend Karen - Christmas - What the Bible Really Says by Manfred Barthel

Edited: Jan 17, 12:24pm Top

books culled - 255 culled in 2019 - goal is to maintain or increase by 10%

1. A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd
2. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
3. A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd
4. Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd
5. A Fearsome Doubt by Charles Todd
6. Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
7. Search the Dark by Charles Todd
8. A Pale Horse by Charles Todd
9. Watchers of Time by Charles Todd
10. A Long Shadow by Charles Todd
11. A False Mirror by Charles Todd
12. The Red Door by Charles Todd
13. A Lonely Death by Charles Todd
14. The Confession by Charles Todd
15. Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd
16. Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd
17. A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd
18. No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd
19. Racing the Devil by Charles Todd
20. The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd
21. A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd
22. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling - duplicate
23. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
24. The Book of Merlyn by T.H. White - duplicate

Edited: Jan 1, 9:17am Top

Statistics Through December 31, 2019

104 books read
11 books abandoned, 1412 pages, 3.5 hours
31465 pages read
79.5 audiobook hours
Avg pages read per day, YTD = 86
Avg pages read per book, YTD = 303
2167 books tagged 'tbr'

Male 33%
Female 67%

Living 66%
Dead 34%

US Born 38%
Foreign Born 62%

Hardcover 41%
Trade Pback 30%
Mass Market 16%
Audiobook 5%
e-Book 8%

My Library 85%
Library 13%
Other 2%

Re-read 28%
Series 61%

Fiction 89%
NonFiction 11%

Author Birth Country
Australia 3%
England 54%
France 1%
Israel 1%
Japan 1%
Nigeria 1%
US 39%

Original Decade Published
1910-1919 1%
1920-1929 4%
1930-1939 13%
1940-1949 1%
1950-1959 1%
1960-1969 4%
1970-1979 4%
1980-1989 3%
1990-1999 10%
2000-2009 8%
2010-2019 53%

Biography 2%
Essays 2%
Fiction 13%
Graphic Novel 1%
Historical Fiction 2%
History 4%
Humor 1%
Linguistics 1%
Memoir 1%
Mystery 58%
Poetry 1%
Romance 1%
Science 1%
Speculative Fiction 8%
Thriller 4%
YA 1%

Jan 1, 9:14am Top

Happy New Year everyone!

Open for business.

Jan 1, 9:24am Top

Happy new year, new decade and new thread, Karen!! Dropping my star here to follow your reading (and the kitties, of course!)

Jan 1, 9:35am Top

Thanks, Shelley!

Well. I just starred the threads of people I normally follow, added up the message count, and got 1135 messages.

We certainly are a chatty group, aren't we?

Jan 1, 9:44am Top

Happy New Year, Karen. I love the quotes in your intro. Good luck with your flexible reading goals. I tend not to plan my reading either.

Jan 1, 9:50am Top

Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 10:23am Top

Best wishes for 2020!

Jan 1, 10:27am Top

Happy new decade, new year, and new thread! Same old you, thank goodness. *smooch*

Jan 1, 10:51am Top

Happy new year, Karen! I look forward to following along again...

Jan 1, 11:43am Top

Happy new year, Karen!

Jan 1, 1:38pm Top

>9 BLBera: Thank you, Beth! And thanks re the quotes. I find that the fewer challenges I participate in the happier – once I ‘promise’ to read a book, it sorta becomes homework and frequently less pleasurable. My only real commitment is my RL book club, and even then I only finish about 60% of the 12 books per year.

>20 Hi Paul! Beautiful sentiments and resolutions/wishes. I so hope that 2020 is a better year for you. Thank you, and happy new year to you, too!

>11 DianaNL: Thank you, Diana. The same to you.

>12 richardderus: Thanks, RD, times 3. Yup, same old me – a few more white hairs, a few more worries here and there, but basically me. *smooch* from your very own Horrible

>13 katiekrug: Thank you, Katie. Ditto – I’ll be following along on your thread. Continued yay for your new home. And if there’s a friend for Leonard this year, yay for that, too.

>14 PawsforThought: Thank you, Paws! The same to you.

We watched 2 Nova episodes this morning. The potatoes are peeled/cut up and waiting to be cooked and mashed, the neck/giblets are simmering on the stove, the turkey is prepped and will be going into the oven in about 10 minutes for an eta 6 p.m. dinner. (hot oven turkey method = 3.5 hours for a 20 lb turkey) Dressing prep later, sweet potato soufflé prep later, fresh broccoli for Jenna and me later.

Zoe had a major breakthrough this morning - she sat in my lap and actually fell asleep during Nova.

Jan 1, 2:16pm Top

Hope you have a great 2020!

Jan 1, 2:18pm Top

Thanks, Chelle!

Jan 1, 2:18pm Top

Happy new year!

Edited: Jan 1, 2:24pm Top

Karen--Looking forward to your stories and books in 2020!

Love this quote from above: …And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Jan 1, 2:28pm Top

>18 figsfromthistle: Thank you, Anita!

>19 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I'm looking forward to keeping up with you, too - if I can!

I need to re-read Slaughterhouse Five this year, it's been way too long. So glad you like the quote.

Jan 1, 2:34pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 2:48pm Top

Happy New Thread, Karen. I always enjoy our nearly daily visits and I do not see that changing any time soon, unless you just get sick of the Old Warbler. Grins...And speaking of the O.W. I saw something very special at the Arb, this morning. Another grin...

Jan 1, 3:02pm Top

Happy reading 2020, Karen.

Jan 1, 3:09pm Top

>21 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! It's always exciting to start a new year with the 75ers! Your administration of the group is, as always, greatly appreciated.

>22 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I enjoy our visits, too, and don't want it to change. No chance of getting sick of the O.W. for sure. Tease - did you post about your something very special on your thread? ... wanders over and back... oh my yes. Congratulations on the Barred Owls.

Jan 1, 3:53pm Top

Happy New Year, Karen! Nice photos of the cats up top.

Jan 1, 6:02pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Karen!

>8 karenmarie: Yes we are a chatty group, especially at the start of he year. I spend more time at the threads than I spend on reading today :-)

Jan 1, 6:06pm Top

Happy 2020, Karen!

Jan 1, 6:08pm Top

Dropping off my star and wishing you a very happy new year, Karen!

Jan 1, 9:08pm Top

>25 harrygbutler: Thanks times two, Harry!

>26 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita. I haven’t cracked my book all day, but most of the day was spent with Bill and Jenna and cooking a big dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes/gravy, dressing, sweet potato casserole, broccoli. We have leftover chocolate cake/chocolate frosting for dessert. I’ll probably read some before going to bed.

>27 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe!

>28 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. The very same to you, too.

Jan 1, 9:19pm Top

Hi Karen, got the thread starred so I can find it amongst the 75-ers.
I aimed to star everyone whose threads I posted on last year and that turned out to be kind of extreme ... but so many golden nuggets out there in the bibliogeek world!

Love your dancing C&H.
Hobbes always feels so *real* to me...

Jan 1, 9:25pm Top

Happy New Year and happy year of reading Karen. I'll be happy to tag along and see what you're reading.

Jan 1, 10:26pm Top

Happy New Year, Karen!

Jan 2, 3:16am Top

Good morning, Karen.
>29 karenmarie: It looks like you had a fabulous dinner.

Jan 2, 6:59am Top

Morning, Karen. Sweet Thursday. Back to work, but also back to mild temps, mid-40s, so no complaints. I will wrap up Late Migrations today.. Keep this gem in mind.

Jan 2, 7:36am Top

Happy New Year, Karen!

Yay to Zoe, falling asleep in your lap.

Edited: Jan 2, 9:00am Top

>30 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy! I usually star more threads than I end up following, frankly. Plus, I also have a thread in and post to a few people in the ROOTs challenge group plus one in The Green Dragon, albeit infrequently. Depending on what Darryl does this year on 75ers vs Club Read, I may follow him there

Thanks re Dancing C&H – thank you too for the dancing images you sent me earlier. They were good, but ultimately C&H won.

>31 brenzi: Thanks Bonnie! Right now I’m sorta in a slump – Jenna’s home, Bill’s been home lots during the holiday season and I’m reading an ER book that I want to finish soonest so I can remove the other 19 in the series from my library – the Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd. Sigh. And, sadly, I’ve given up on A Tale of Two Cities and since I also abandoned David Copperfield earlier this year don’t anticipate reading any Chuckles this year. There. It felt good to say I was abandoning AToTC.

>32 quondame: Love the book star, Susan! Thank you.

>33 Ameise1: We did, thank you, Barbara. We sat at the table like civilized people and chatted after we finished, too.

>34 msf59: Hi Mark! Glad you've got mild temps at least, and you're finally in your retirement year!

>35 EllaTim: Thank you, Ella! It was a good milestone. The not-so-good milestone is that when I came out this morning, about an hour after Bill had left for work and I was starting to make my coffee, Wash strolled over to me. The Kitties Were Out! But they hadn’t been tearing through the house or causing any damage that I could see, so perhaps within a week or so we can consider not even trying to keep them in the Utility Room at night.

Jenna and I are going to go visit Bill at work today so she can see where her Dad works, and we’ll go to lunch. Right now it’s time for a few threads, a bit of coffee, and then time to get ready to go.

Jan 2, 9:46am Top

I am Imbibing as I type one-handed and pour with the other. Sleepy day. Sunshine everywhere, though, which is nice.

Jan 2, 9:53am Top

You are multi-tasking! Congrats. Enjoy your sunshine, we've got clouds coming in.

Jan 2, 9:56am Top

Jan 2, 12:07pm Top

K--Enjoy your day with Jenna, your coffee and the threads. And lunch with Bill. ; )

Jan 2, 12:40pm Top

Hi, Karen. Here we go to again!

Jan 2, 3:08pm Top

Karen! Long time, no see. Why, I'll bet it was last year.

Jan 2, 5:23pm Top

>39 paulstalder: Hi Paul! Thank you, same to you.

>40 Berly: Thanks, Kim. It's been a good day - escaped kitties, lunch with Bill, two Nova episodes, relaxing.

>41 ffortsa: Yup, another year! It's a good ride to be on here with LT friends.

>42 weird_O: Why, Bill! Stranger in a strange land. Good to see you. Come visit more often. *smile*

Jan 2, 9:14pm Top

Happy New Year, Karen!

Jan 2, 9:18pm Top

Thanks, Roni!

Edited: Jan 3, 6:09am Top

I don't remember how, but somehow A Year with G.K. Chesterton: 365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder landed on my shelves in August of 2017 and I've decided to read it this year. It includes February 29th and the Main Festival Days of the Church.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton KC*SG (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. He has been referred to as the "prince of paradox" Time magazine observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."

Chesterton's genres included Essays, Fantasy, Christian apologetics, Catholic apologetics, Mystery, poetry. (from Wikipedia)

Each day's entry includes a quote from the Bible, a passage from a book, magazine, or other writing, and milestones in his life for that day of the year by year.

Here's the quote for today:
A Passage from The Living Age Magazine (1905)

If a man were to say that science stands for barbarism and religion for civilization, he would in these days be accused of a mere trick of topsy-turveydom. Yet there is in one sense, at least, in which this is unquestionably true. The generalizations which science makes true or false are of necessity limitations of human hope. The laws which science deduces, fairly or unfairly, are necessarily, like all laws, a restraint of liberty. The nearer a man is to an ordered and classified being, the nearer he is to an automaton. The nearer he is to an automaton, the nearer he is to a beast. The lowet part of man is that which he does in accordance with alw, such as eating, drinking, growing a beard, or falling over a precipice. The highet part of him is that which is most lawless: spiritual movements, passionate attachment, art.
The only book I have by Chesterton is A Man Called Thursday: A Nightmare, which I may try to get to sometime this year.

Edited: Jan 3, 6:09am Top

1. A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd

From Amazon:

Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge is assigned one of the most baffling investigations of his career—a cold murder case with an unidentified victim and a cold trail with few clues to follow.

Chief Inspector Brian Leslie, a respected colleague of Ian Rutledge’s, is sent to Avebury, a village set inside a great prehistoric stone circle not far from Stonehenge.

A young woman has been murdered next to a mysterious, hooded, figure-like stone, but no one recognizes her—or admits to it. And how did she get there? Despite a thorough investigation, it appears that her killer has simply vanished.

Rutledge, returning from the conclusion of a case involving another apparently unknown woman, is asked to take a second look at Leslie’s inquiry, to see if he can identify this victim. But Rutledge is convinced Chief Superintendent Jameson only hopes to tarnish his earlier success once he also fails.

Where to begin? He too finds very little to go on in Avebury, slowly widening his search beyond the village—only to discover that unlikely—possibly even unreliable—clues are pointing him toward an impossible solution, one that will draw the wrath of the Yard down on him, and very likely see him dismissed if he pursues it. But what about the victim—what does he owe this tragic woman? Where must his loyalty lie?

Why I wanted to read it: An ER book received in November. In order to get to it I had to read books 20 and 21 in the series. Perhaps reading 3 in a row made weaknesses obvious, but other authors I read one-after-another don't leave me feeling irritated like I feel right now. I am now officially done with Ian Rutledge.

I used to like the presence of Hamish McLeod, the corporal shot for failing to follow orders by Rutledge at the Somme, but I finally agree with most people I've spoken with about this and find him irritating and a very convenient plot device to get over rough patches.

Coincidences abound, and Hamish alternatively berates, warns, and gives insights to Rutledge as he drives all over England in pursuit of clues. I couldn’t buy into this book, frankly, because of the unwarranted leaps of faith and logic. And the Chief Superintendent’s illogical and perverse animosity towards Rutledge is irritating and not up to the professional and gentlemanly level I would expect of Scotland Yard in 1921.

There were two mysteries with a total of three victims. Deus ex machina reigns supreme. Emotions are written shallowly, in my opinion, giving the book a two-dimensional and frenetic feel.

Since I re-read all of Dorothy L. Sayers novels last year and the early ones are written about the same period in English history - just after WWI - the comparison of wit, style, depth of emotion, and complexity of plot are painfully visible and don’t work well in Todd’s favor for me.

Jan 3, 6:42am Top

Morning, Karen. Happy Friday. With the milder temps and sunshine yesterday, the snow and icy surfaces have departed for now. We may get more tonight, though. It is winter, after all, right? Enjoy your day.

Jan 3, 7:01am Top

Hi Mark and thanks. Yes, winter for about 2 1/2 months more, I'm happy to say. I say happy because winter's my second favorite season. Glad your snow and ice are gone for now. I hope your day goes well.

Jenna and I will hang out, no real plans beside that. Bill will head off to work in about 5 minutes. The only other thing planned is my meeting a friend for a glass of wine at the local wine shop at 5 - they have Friday wine tastings. We'll have a glass of one of the 4 offerings and as a friendly gesture I'll probably buy a bottle.

Jan 3, 7:13am Top

Nice to see your thread already chugging along nicely, Karen.

Have a lovely weekend.

Jan 3, 8:21am Top

Thanks, Paul!

New pic of Wash: He's already a book kitty!

Jan 3, 8:59am Top

That's an interesting quote from G.K. Chesterton, Karen. These days we're seeing the worst of religion, or maybe I should say religious institutionalism, being exalted over science. It's good to be reminded of the other side of it, including as it applies to art.

Jan 3, 9:28am Top

>47 karenmarie: Oh dear...not really worth getting up early, I suppose, though the argument could be made that lancing the boil, no matter how painful, feels so good when it's over and done with.

Happy winter winery day!

Jan 3, 9:41am Top

>52 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I thought so, too.

>53 richardderus: The book's reviewed here and on the works page 'cuz it's an ER book. Jenna just helped me pull the first 21 books in the series off my shelves (thank goodness for location tags that were accurate!) and I'm now going to add them to my previously-blank culls message and pull them out of my catalog, except for the 2 that are ER books. I'll physically get rid of them, just have to keep them to appease the ER gods. Boil lanced.

Thanks re the day. *smooch*

Jan 3, 11:44am Top

Happy New Year! Finally making it around the threads.
Wash has the cutest face.

Edited: Jan 3, 3:17pm Top

I also have a Firefly kitty! She’s a 7 year old grey tuxedo named Boomer. Yours are beautiful!

Have you read Rennie Airth’s John Madden series? It starts out in the same time period as the Rutledge books but I think the stories are better. There’s also less of them which oftentimes is a plus.

Jan 3, 4:19pm Top

Dropping my star, Karen. Too bad your first book of the year wasn't more to your liking. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Jan 3, 5:19pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, I have starred you and will be stopping by more often this year dear friend.

Jan 3, 9:16pm Top

>55 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn! He is such a sweet boy. Rambunctious and playful, but I pick him up and he just purrs and purrs. He comes when called and rubs up against my legs if I’m in the kitchen.

>56 Copperskye: Yay for Boomer, Joanne. I have not read the John Madden series, but I do have the third book, The Dead of Winter on my shelves. First BB of the year - I just used some Amazon credit and bought a used copy of River of Darkness so will be able to see if I like the series. Thanks for the heads up!

>57 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! Yes, 2.5 stars is pretty low for me to continue reading a book rather than abandoning it, but it’s an ER book, so had to do it justice. The rest of the day I napped, talked with friend Karen in Montana, played Yahtzee with Jenna, and watched some Nova. I also sliced and baked some cheese wafers – like cheese straws. They're to die for.

>58 johnsimpson: Hi John! Good to see you. Sending love and hugs to you and Karen.

Tomorrow I’ll be at book sorting at 9 a.m. – we’ve gotten a huge number of year-end book donations and the group likes to stay on top of the sorting. Normally we just meet on Tuesdays.

My friend cancelled on me tonight and we've scheduled a lunch in two weeks instead.

I’ve started The Seven ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, a present from Jenna for Christmas.

Jan 3, 9:58pm Top

Hi Karen! Happy new year!

>56 Copperskye: I've been telling myself that I'll read River of Darkness for three years. I really need to do it. Thanks for the reminder!

Jan 3, 10:05pm Top

Ooo sort hearty! Fun fun fun!

Jan 4, 12:02am Top

Hi Karen! Happy New Year (a bit belated, I know) and best wishes for 2020! I know I am not a very frequent visitor (RL has that darn habit of getting in the way of my online time) but I do hope to visit your threads more frequently in 2020.

Jan 4, 1:07am Top

>59 karenmarie: >60 brodiew2: My work here is done. :)

Jan 4, 3:12am Top

Good morning, Karen.
>59 karenmarie: My library has got an audio copy of the Turton. Looking forward what you think about this book

Jan 4, 5:38am Top

>60 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie. Happy New Year to you, too.

>61 richardderus: ‘Morning, RD! I derive a great deal of pleasure from book sorting – I like physically handling the books, seeing old friend books, and ones I want. Oh, I like the people, too. :)

>62 lkernagh: Hi Lori and thank you. It’s all good – RL can be a bugger sometimes.

>63 Copperskye: *smile*

>64 Ameise1: Good morning, Barbara. I’m 57 pages in and really enjoying the strangeness.

Jan 4, 6:44am Top

>51 karenmarie: Wash is a cutie!

Morning, Karen. Happy Saturday. Waking up to snow again. Probably not more than 2 inches or snow, but just enough to make it slippery. I am sure I will survive. Enjoy your day.

Jan 4, 6:47am Top

Hi Mark!

Thanks re Wash!

Stay safe out there! It is going to be ridiculously warm here today - mid 60s to low 70s - but then another cold front comes through and the weather will be more seasonal although still warmer than normal.

Jan 4, 12:13pm Top

Hi Karen! Happy new year, and too bad your first book was a drag.

Jan 4, 12:19pm Top

>65 karenmarie: People, schmeeple, it's the Books! All about the BOOKS!!

Jan 4, 1:45pm Top

>59 karenmarie: I'll be interested to see what you think. I bought a copy last year for a reading challenge but then found I couldn't get into it. (right before my book funk, so I'm not surprised) I'd like to go back and try it again this year.

Jan 4, 3:15pm Top

>68 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel! It did have a couple of moments, but they were few and far between. The real benefit of it being a drag is that I am now ahead on the acquired:culled ratio. A small pleasure that won't last long, but still. The current ratio is 1:21. I brought home a book sort team reject today - Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout.

>69 richardderus: Well of course it's the Books - notice that I put them first. We got a lot of good'uns today, many that I wouldn't mind having on my shelves at all. And Eliza priced some beautiful donated slipcased books at $100/each and might send them off to our book dealer in NYC to sell for us.

>70 ChelleBearss: So far so good, Chelle, I'm on page 61 but haven't had a chance to read since early this morning.

Jan 4, 3:18pm Top

>71 karenmarie: Several FoL groups sell their stock on Ammy's Marketplace year-round. I shop them, HousingWorks, and Goodwills preferentially.

Good reading day ahead!

Jan 4, 3:36pm Top

I've thought about bringing up the idea of US selling the books on a webite to the team, RD, and right now, frankly, I don't see anybody who could manage it, except moi, and I've already got 'way too much on my plate re Friends. Perhaps after I drop the Treasurer's role. Thanks for reminding me.

Jan 5, 12:25am Top

Hi Karen.

I've never heard of The Seven ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but it looks good.

I have avoided Charles Todd works for some unexplained bias I have and >47 karenmarie: articulates some of my thinking.

And Wash! What a cutie!!

This afternoon as we were heading into the cinema to see Little Women (worth seeing), I found myself thinking that we might be getting close to time for a new kitten. I want to hold a soft snuggly feline.

Jan 5, 10:10am Top

Hi Ellen!

It's an interesting premise and more convoluted than I originally thought because although stated on the back cover as
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. Understood? Then let's begin...
the book doesn't follow a sequential Day 1, Day 2, Day 3... format. Each Day can appear more than once. The book is 458 pages long in trade paperback.

'unexplained bias' for Charles Todd... explains my unexplained bias against Little Women. I have a very old/with dust jacket copy from Bill's Mama and a beautiful Easton Press edition that I got for $5 at the Habitat for Humanity Store in 2009. Neither has inspired me to open it.

Wash was trying to eat some pennies that were out on the coffee table this morning. Pennies got scooped up and put up. He's into everything all the time, bless his little heart. You can keep Abby in your hearts and still have room for a soft snuggly feline, I think. It just has to be the right time, and it does sound like you're getting close.

We still think of Imsai, Magic, Merlin, Coco Chanel, and Kitty William and are having fun with the newbies. We are also careful to praise Inara Starbuck for her forebearance and tolerance and give her lots of love, too.

My goal is to get the Christmas decorations put up and the Christmas tree put outside today. We've had a family discussion and will start in an hour and be done well before Football.

Jan 5, 10:32am Top

Hi Karen! And Happy New Year to you!

I'll probably take down my tree today, too. It's a small, artificial tree that fits into my garden window so it's not in the way or getting dry. I love its cheery lights. Hmmmm.

Looks like Wash and Zoe are fitting in just fine with Inara. Hooray for kitty pics!

Congrats for being so far ahead with your book purging numbers! I'm standing at 0:0 although I received notice that I won an LTER book so I need to start considering the purge, too.

Jan 5, 12:06pm Top

Speaking of cat names, my sister had a cat her husband named Cattywampus.

Jan 5, 12:48pm Top

Happy Sunday, Karen. Been running around doing various chores and helping with the Christmas decorations, so we can get those stored back under the house. Hopefully, a big chunk of my afternoon, will be earmarked for the books.

We did see "Knives Out" last night. A very, fun, entertaining film, with a killer cast. Even if you have a problem, with reading Little Women (I liked it, but did not love it), check out the film. It is a pure delight.

Jan 5, 12:54pm Top

>76 streamsong: Hi Janet! Sounds like you have less Christmas-put-up work to do than we did, but it's still an effort, for sure. And compared to most people I know we hardly put out anything at all. The big things are the tree, my Lladro Christmas Bells, and the mantle.

We just finished - I got the last of my Lladro Christmas Bells boxed up. Jenna will take the rest of the Chistmas boxes upstairs and put them in the storage behind the guest bedroom closet. Tree's outside, near the back yard feeders for birds to take refuge in it until we eventually get it further down our property. The only thing still out is the wreath, although Jenna took the angels off it. We'll keep it up for a while before putting the mirror back. We enjoyed our Christmas tree. The Merry Christmas 2019 image I put on threads this year was of this year's tree and presents beneath it:

Thanks re the acq/cull ratio. It will change soon, and in the wrong direction, no doubt. Yay for receiving notice of a new LTER book.

>77 weird_O: Hi Bill! That's pretty cute. My aunt has a kitty named Chatty Kitty and friend Karen in Montana has one named Catty Kitty. Kitty names are important!

Jan 5, 2:20pm Top

Happy 2020 reading! I can never completely keep up with your thread, but I'll check in from time to time. Your thread just grows too fast! LOL

Jan 5, 3:25pm Top

I love that you got two new cats for Christmas, Karen. Zoe and Wash are cuties. It’s good that they can stay together and that IS has accepted them. I miss having a pet. So many members of my family are allergic to cats so that is not an option for us. We’re keeping an eye out for a rescue dog that needs a quiet home.

Happy New Year of Reading.

Jan 5, 3:41pm Top

"Kinves Out" movie was definitely fun! But none of that today. I have to take down the tree and put all the Christmas hoopla away. I actually keep my snow village out on the mantle for a while longer, because I mean it is still Winter. Hoping to get some reading time in today...

Jan 5, 3:55pm Top

>80 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori! LOL That's the way I feel about your thread. Check-ins welcome.

>81 Donna828: Hi Donna! Sorry you have so many folks who are allergic to cats. I'm mildly allergic to cat dander but not enough for me to even notice once I take Claratin-wanna-be every day for my pollen allergies. It's wonderful that you're looking for a rescue dog needing a quiet home. Good luck!

>82 Berly: I so want to see Knives Out, Kim - I might just be self-indulgent after Jenna leaves on Tuesday. Today's a good day to take the Christmas hoopla down for sure. And a snow village out in winter is always appropriate. Post a pic of it on your thread!! And good luck getting in some reading today.

Right now I'm waiting for my sister to call. I cooked the meat/onions for chili just now and will finish it off after she and I are off the phone, trying to time it for about 6 p.m. dinner. We still have lots of turkey and even some sides left from the New Year's Day feast, but that's all we've eaten so it's time for beef.

Jan 5, 5:25pm Top

I love your names for your various kitties. I have a colleague whose daughter named their cat Russell Wilson. She is very clear: it's not Russell, it's Russell Wilson.

I echo the encouragement to see Knives Out! It's my favorite film in recent months (not that I see very many films, but still).

Jan 5, 5:27pm Top

Merry Twelfth Night!

Jan 5, 5:47pm Top

>83 karenmarie:, >84 EBT1002: Yet more encouragement on Knives Out! Daniel Craig was a boatload of fun. 😀

Jan 5, 7:36pm Top

>83 karenmarie: Knives Out was a fun one, Karen. You should make time to see it soon. I see you are getting back into the routine. My first volunteer gig of the new year was on Saturday too.

Jan 5, 9:14pm Top

>84 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. We devote a fair amount of time coming up with the correct names. Having watched the Seahawks beat the Eagles, I can see why it must be the full name. I wonder what you and P will name new kitty when you get her/him.

>85 richardderus: Thanks, RD!

>86 drneutron: Another vote. Thanks Jim.

>87 Familyhistorian: Looks like either Tuesday afternoon or possibly any time Wednesday.

Yup, back into the routine. First volunteer gig of 2020 although I was sorting books on the 31st to end the year right.

I’m TV’d and footballed out. Two playoff games, making and consuming chili, and various and sundry.

It’s off to read a bit then sleep.

Jan 6, 7:02am Top

^Did you miss me up there? I did make my Sunday visit.

Morning, Karen. With the holidays behind us, I am back to a regular work schedule, but the true countdown, has begun.

Jan 6, 7:18am Top

I did miss you up there - what happened was that I was 'composing' my message and kept getting interrupted. By the time I actually posted it, you had posted in the meantime but I didn't see it, and when I came back to my thread I jumped to the unread messages and didn't scroll back up. I apologize.

>78 msf59: Glad the Christmas decorations made it safely back under the house. Part of me wishes we had a basement because .... stuff.... but the more logical part of me says that if we had a basement we'd have even more stuff than we have now. I hope you got some good reading in yesterday afternoon - it looks like you finished your first paper book yesterday so must have.

I/we usually see 1 or two movies per year. Since Bill doesn't have a burning deire to see Little Women and I'm not inclined to see it on my own, I think I'll pass. Knives Out, on the other hand, is on my radar for this week. I've confirmed that it's playing at my closest theater - 28 miles away - at 1:15 tomorrow.

>89 msf59: 'Morning, and happy Monday to you, even if it's back to your regular work schedule. I'm so happy for you, that the true countdown has begun.

This is Jenna's last day at home before heading back to Wilmington. Classes start Thursday. This is her last semester before graduation.

Jan 6, 9:50am Top

>36 karenmarie: I've been reading... trying to get off to a good 75-er start but (!) stumbled around a bit. Two DNFers. Argh.

Anyway, yeah, I am a total C&H fan. I decluttered all my comic annuals except one of C&H and one of Norris'. Len Norris was an absolutely brilliant political cartoonist in the Vancouver Sun. I grew up with his cartoons enlightening me about politics. One day I'll review the book.

As for Calvin, he so reminds me of one of my nephews. For example, :D ~

Jan 6, 9:55am Top

Merry Monday, Horrible, and brava to Jenna for making it through her degree program!

>91 SandyAMcPherson: HA!! I've never loved another comic strip as much as Calvin and Hobbes for this very reason. Well, maybe The Far Side, though it's a whole different beast, not what I consider a *strip* but rather a gag.

Jan 6, 12:43pm Top

>92 richardderus: A long time ago now, I went to a presentation that Gary Larson gave ~ he was amazing. It was a scientific talk and he enlarged on the importance of communication. I completely agreed with him that (like any specialty), the jargon can be so arcane, that it gets in the way of really talking to a broader audience.

One of his main points was that science has earned some of its asinine geeky reputation due to specialists' terminology and thereby isolated many areas of research from the general public's understanding to everyone's cost. Thus, for example, the rise of anti-vaxxers and climate deniers.

Jan 7, 6:53am Top

Morning, Karen. It sounds like you had a great time with Jenna, but I am sure you will also enjoy getting back into your solo routine, as well.

Jan 7, 9:22am Top

Morning, Karen! Dropping a star.

Jan 7, 10:47am Top

>91 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy! Too bad about two DNFs, I hope you find the right one soon.

I think my eldest great-nephew might be Calvin-ish when he gets a bit older. He’s hell on wheels now, at 4 ½. My dad loved C&H so much that before the compilations I cut out the cartoons from the LA Times every day and put them into sheet protectors and into a binder for him. He loved looking at that binder.

>92 richardderus: Hiya RD. She just had to find her groove and do it because she wanted it, not because we wanted it. In hindsight I see that she should have either taken a gap year or even joined the Navy, but hindsight is 100% and I’ve never claimed perfection. We’re very proud of her.

>93 SandyAMcPherson: Not all science needs to be accessible, but the value of science needs to continue to be funded institutionally and encouraged culturally.

>94 msf59: ‘Morning, Mark! We’ve had a lot of fun for sure. I barely squeaked by her yesterday in a rousing round of Hand and Foot. We got the rest of the Christmas decorations put away and even got the Christmas Gift Wrapping Station put up (table, chair, paper, tape, gift cards, ribbon, scissors, etc.)

This morning we’ve chatted, she’s doing a final load of clothes so she goes back without laundry to do, and she packed up her PS4 in the new case we bought her for Christmas.

She’ll probably leave within the hour. Lots of nothing this afternoon, not even Knives Out. Later this week…

>95 Crazymamie: Mamie! I'm so glad to see you!

Jan 7, 2:12pm Top

>93 SandyAMcPherson:, >96 karenmarie: I agree with Horrible, not all science needs to be accessible, but the concepts being scienced do. "We're looking into polymerase chain fungibility" isn't (real, for one thing) comprehensible; "we're looking for ways to get drugs into specific cells" is. Learning how to say stuff to people who aren't like you is an eternal human conundrum.

Jan 7, 9:14pm Top

>97 richardderus: Ah yes, communicating at the appropriate level.

I ran some errands this afternoon so I don't have to go out tomorrow at all, yay. In the meantime, kitty cute-i-tude. Of course right now they're running around like maniacs. Most of the house is hardwood floors, so the galloping is quite loud, but here's proof that they do get worn out.

Jan 7, 9:16pm Top

>98 karenmarie: Don't they leave scratches on the hardwood floors, Karen?

Jan 7, 9:22pm Top

Hello! Happy 2020! I vow to be more present this year. I love the photos of your kitty's. They are beautiful. I am very tempted to get a kitten. I not sure where to place the litter box though.

Jan 7, 9:24pm Top

Happy New Year, Karen!

Jan 7, 9:48pm Top

>99 PaulCranswick: Our hardwood floors are not stained, just polyurethane finished, so we don't really notice scratches. We're rather cavalier with scratches and running on the furniture, anyway, frankly. However, I'd get upset if there was kitty damage to any of my books, or if they broke something on a shelf, but, knock on wood, so far so good.

>100 Whisper1: Hi Linda! Thank you. Litter boxes are not fun, admittedly, and we currently have one in the Sunroom and one in the Utility Room. When we stop locking the kitties up at night in the Utility Room I'll put the second box in the Sunroom, because you need at least two boxes for 3 kitties. I use, and swear by, the Tidy Cat Breeze System - no sand. I repeat. No sand. No sand tracked all over the house. Not inexpensive, but truly superior, IMO. Warning! Cat TMI: The pee pad in the tray keeps the urine separate from the pellets since urine passes through the pellets and goes down into the tray, and the pellets smother poop odor immediately and dry them out. The occasional pellet escapes the box, especially if somebody's exuberant in covering her/his mess, but the pellets are easy to pick up with a tissue and either put back in the box or just throw away. Still gotta clean the poops out once or twice a day, but the pad usually lasts 4-5 days. Pellets have to get added to frequently with these two because they aren't indoor/outdoor kitties yet like Inara, who doesn't use the box very much at all.

>101 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Thank you and same to you, too.

Jan 7, 10:01pm Top

>102 karenmarie: Thanks for the kitty litter suggestion. I will surely follow your recommendation when that special little kitten finds his/her way into my house.

Jan 8, 6:32am Top

Morning, Karen. A brief, but frigid return to winter today-only 25F and windy. I WILL be bundled up and seeking cozy,comfort, in the books. I am off tomorrow and the temps climb back into the 40s. Birding/Owling in the plans...

Enjoy your day.

Jan 8, 8:39am Top

>103 Whisper1: You're welcome, Linda. Good luck for the right kitty finding her/his way to you!

>104 msf59: 'Morning, Mark. Brrr! I hope the day goes by quickly. Glad it's going to be a tad warmer tomorrow for your birding/owling plans.

The kitties have discovered the joys of hanging out on the printer, reminding me that Kitty William loved perching there too.


Jan 8, 8:41am Top

Happy Wednesday, Karen. I love your kitties photos. So cute.

Edited: Jan 8, 8:43am Top

Happy Wednesday to you, too, Barbara! Thanks. Having a cell phone that takes good photos is so much fun!

Jan 8, 8:51am Top

O, your kitties are lovely, Karen. We have 3 cats and a dog and they bring so much joy.

Jan 8, 8:55am Top

Hi Diana. Joy is a good word. They're both still kittens even though Zoe is about 1-year old. They play hard and crash hard. they're both zoned out now, still on the printer.

Jan 8, 9:00am Top

I am late in finding your thread and, of course, it is moving right along! Happy new year with those kitties! Did you get snow yesterday? We just had miserable cold rain and, at this point, while I love a couple snowy day, I think I'm just ready for spring.

Jan 8, 9:23am Top

>98 karenmarie: >105 karenmarie: So adorable!
Ellie was looking over my shoulder and said "awwwww cuties"

Jan 8, 11:34am Top

>98 karenmarie: AW!!! SO sweet Thanks for sharing, Karen.

Jan 8, 12:28pm Top

>110 witchyrichy: Hi Karen! Thajnk you. No snow, just some rain, not even that much. It's coldish today but will be 70 on Saturday. These temperature fluctuations are not good. I'd like it to just settle into cold and be done with it. We haven't gotten winter, so I'm definitely not ready for spring.

>111 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Sweet of you and Ellie.

>112 Crazymamie: You're very welcome, Mamie.

Jan 8, 2:27pm Top

Hi Horrible. That is all.

Jan 8, 4:13pm Top

Hi RD. *blinks*

Well, I had a nice visit with Louise, have reorganized 2 of the cupboards in the utility room, folded all the clean laundy and put it up, and am getting ready to make turkey pot pie.

Jan 8, 4:38pm Top

Hi, Karen! The new kitties are precious and look a lot our two orange except that ours are big brother, little sister.
>74 EBT1002: Ellen, here's how you'll know you're ready for a new kitten. "I want a kitten," as opposed to, "I want Abby."
(You'll always want Abby, of course, but at some point you realize that you've let her go. )

Jan 8, 5:13pm Top

>115 karenmarie: Pot pie! Yummers. What kind of crust do you make for it?

Jan 8, 5:55pm Top

>116 LizzieD: Hi Peggy! Thanks re the kitties. I totally agree about how Ellen will know they're ready for a new kitten.

>117 richardderus: A basic pie crust recipe from Rumford Southern Recipes, which is at least from 1915 because Bill's great-grandmother wrote her name, city and state, and the date April 10, 1915 in the front. I keep the book together with an old hair tie of Jenna's. The recipe is called Flaky Paste. It makes the most beautiful crust and rolls out like a dream.
Flaky Paste
Rumford Southern Recipes, page 106

3 cups flour.
1 1/3 cups lard or other shortening.
1 level teaspoon salt.
Ice-cold water to mix.

Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl, chop in the shortening with a knife till well mixed with the flour. Add ice-cold water to form a dough, cutting and mixing the paste thoroughly while adding the water. Flour a board and roll the paste out thinly, rolling only lengthwise, and keeping the edges straight; then fold evenly into three layers (lengthwise as a sheet of paper would be folded to fit a business envelope), turn it half around and roll again. Repeat the folding and rolling twice, and chill the paste if possible before baking. It is the folding and rolling that produce the flakes.

What I do differently:
• Stir the flour and salt together, don't sift
• Chop in the shortening with a pastry knife (pastry blender)
And I make Bill's Grandmother's version of a chicken/turkey pot pie - shredded/cut up chicken or turkey, S&P, broth to cover, pats of butter, cover with crust, use a knife to make a few small slits in the crust, and bake 'til crust is golden brown. No cream sauce, no vegetables.

It's a tremendous amount of work, and I'm whupped. It's in the oven, due out in 25-30 minutes. It's very tasty.

Edited: Jan 9, 7:59am Top

2. Abraham Lincoln: Mystic Chords of Memory edited by Larry Shapiro

A summary:

Book of the Month Club publication, 1984. A selection from Lincoln’s writings, in 5 sections.
I “Always a Whig in Politics” The Early Years
II “A Continual Torment” The Slavery Controversy
III “Essentially a People’s Contest”
IV Lincoln to His Generals “Maxims of War”
V “The Fiery Trial Through Which We Pass”

Why I wanted to read it: A goal for this year is to read two books from each year I’ve been on LT, 2007-2019, in order to really start getting some of these oldies read. One fiction and one nonfiction, this slim little volume of 79 pages is my nonfiction choice from 2007 and a great introduction to Lincoln’s writings.

It includes an autobiographical sketch from 1859, excerpts from campaign announcements, letters to Mary Todd Lincoln, letters to various and sundry others, including his generals in the Civil War, inauguaral addresses, a speech or two, and his last public address.

Larry Shapiro, who at the time of publication was an editor at Book-of-the-Month Club prefaced each entry with salient information and in some cases why he chose it or why it explains some aspect of Lincoln’s character or reputation. There are photos of Lincoln in the Frontispiece and at the start of each section. All quotations are from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, copyright 1953.

Three quotes stood out for me.
prior to fall of 1854, when he first spoke against the possibility of slavery being extended beyond the South.

If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. – why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A? –

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. p 23

From his first Inaugural Address, 1861

I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. pp 41-42

From his second Inaugural Address, 1865

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all we may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. p 78

Jan 9, 8:09am Top

Morning, Karen. Sweet Thursday. Good review of the Lincoln book. I have tagged that one. It might push 50 here today, but it is very windy. I head out for my bird outing, in about an hour. No rest for the wicked...

Jan 9, 8:11am Top

Thanks, Mark! Enjoy your birding! And then, I assume, enjoy your reading!

Jan 9, 8:51am Top

>118 karenmarie: I have saved your crust recipe and your turkey pot pie. We have pecans overflowing and I am determined to learn to make my own pie crust.

Jan 9, 9:44am Top

Hi Karen! I hope they work out for you. I didn't find this recipe 'til after I married Bill and got hold of the cook book, so was probably around 50 or so before I felt like I could make a good pie crust.

Yum for pecan pie. I'm envious of the pecans. Bill's great-aunt and uncle had paper shell pecan trees and the pecans were the best I've ever tasted - plus you could literally crack the shells with your fingers and they almost always came out in perfect halves.

Jan 9, 12:32pm Top

>102 karenmarie: Wow, no sand. I should probably go that route for us, but I use the cheap refillable kitty litter from Petco because we don't have a lot of money to spare.

Jan 9, 12:57pm Top

Hi Rachel!

I forgot all about your 3 kitties. Part of the reason we went the Breeze system route was because we were desperate - we had 5 kitties and things had gotten entirely out of hand. Our kitties have always been indoor/outdoor, as will these two when they get old enough, so two boxes worked for 5 kitties when we switched. I get the pads and pellets in bulk from Amazon but still. And now I've decided to use Origen Cat and Kitten dry food, which is ridiculously expensive but that way I don't have to get different food for Zoe and kitten Wash. Inara doesn't like dry food, alas.

Here are the original 5, eating together, which was very unusual. Left to right, tortoise shell with white Coco Chanel, gray mackerel tabby Kitty William, orange mackerel tabby Magic, with brown mackerel tabby Merlin just 'above' him, and the baby at the time, dilute calico Inara Starbuck.

Jan 9, 1:34pm Top

My three eat together quite often! However, I suspect it's difficult to catch 5 together in any pose.

Edited: Jan 9, 1:42pm Top

>118 karenmarie: OOOOO

Yes please now please thank you please

>119 karenmarie: The 1854 ruminations on slavery are very enlightening. There are no arguments "for" it that don't boil down to "cause I said so." That's the easiest argument of all to (you should forgive) trump.

Spend a delicious day.

ETA and if I am not a noddycock, who is: I forgot to let you know that Dorothy L. Sayers's book The Mind of the Maker is a whopping $1.99 on Kindle today!

Jan 9, 8:29pm Top

Passing through to monitor what you and your friends are up to. Okay, as you were.

Have a good evening.

It's mac'n'cheese night.

Jan 9, 9:01pm Top

Greetings and tidings to you!
My first visit of the year, and my first visit in *months* have coincided!!

Happy reading :)

Jan 9, 9:08pm Top

>119 karenmarie: I must read more on this period, Karen. I have Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and will try to read it this year.

Jan 9, 9:45pm Top

I'm in!

>98 karenmarie: Sooper kewt!

Jan 9, 10:34pm Top

>126 thornton37814: Hi Lori. I think the phrase ‘as difficult as herding cats” was invented for my 5.

>127 richardderus: Still some left, RD… Bill had dinner out tonight with a friend, but I had a wodge for supper.

Heh. For one terrible second I thought you’d forgotten to capitalize 45’s name, but then realized that there is a true use for that word that does not involve an insane warmonger.

The day was delicious, and I took advantage of The Mind of the Maker, thank you very much!

>128 weird_O: Yes, sir, Bill, sir! Ooh, mac’n’cheese night. I need to find and start making a good mac’n’cheese… yum.

>129 LovingLit: Hello Megan! Nice to see you. Thank you. I’m hitting my stride with The Seven ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

>130 PaulCranswick: I have it, too, Paul, and it just might be my 2017 entry for nonfiction. You’ve gotten off to a great start to the year, and I hope you can wedge it in.

>131 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hallo, Larry! You’re seeing the kewt ends – I’ve just been cleaning the boxes. But they’re worth it.

Jan 10, 6:59am Top

Morning, Karen. Happy Friday. No luck finding my target owl yesterday, but it was nice chatting with my birding friend and discovering a new forest preserve. It was a very active off day. I am really enjoying Nightwoods. Have you read this one?

Jan 10, 8:25am Top

'Morning, Mark! Thanks, same to you. Glad you had a good birding day sans target owl. I have not heard of Nightwoods but it sounds right up my alley. A BB for sure.

Jan 10, 9:40am Top

>132 karenmarie: I use this recipe for mac'n'cheese with one amendment: I add a spice bag to the pasta-cooking water, cut the half-n-half to 1 cup, and use 3/4 cup of the pasta-cooking water in place of 1 cup half-n-half.

The roux-based recipes are fine but I like the gooey swimming-in-lipidsness of this one.

Jan 10, 10:40am Top

Yummy sounding, RD, and I will probably make it this weekend although I've sworn off cooking because I did so much over the holidays. What do you put in the spice bag? I can't imagine what flavors you'd like to infuse the pasta with.

I'm not a proponent of roux-based recipes in general.

Jan 10, 1:45pm Top

My go-to is the Holy Trinity (celery, onion, carrot–a whole medium-sized one of each) and two stems each of fresh tarragon, thyme, and parsley.

I realize I'm deficient, but I can't tell the difference in something with bay leaf in it or no bay leaf in it.

And now I'm craving chili cheese fries from Joe's thread PLUS mac'n'cheese from this one. I'll be the size of a Zeppelin if I indulge.

Edited: Jan 10, 4:03pm Top

>135 richardderus: That macaroni and cheese recipe looks great, Richard! I've added it to my Pinterest page, and I may give it a try this spring.

>136 karenmarie: The m&c recipe I use is Emeril Lagasse's Macaroni with Four Cheeses!, which does start with a white roux that is subsequently transformed to a Béchamel sauce, and then to a Mornay sauce. I especially love its crust made from Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Tabasco sauce, and the use of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning in the casserole.

Most importantly, as we all (should) know, proper macaroni and cheese must. be. baked.

>137 richardderus: Hmm. In New Orleans that would be called mirepoix, a variation of the Louisiana Holy Trinity, which consists of onion, celery and bell pepper.

Jan 10, 9:56pm Top

>137 richardderus: Got it. Thanks.

>138 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl! I’ve printed that recipe, too, and may have to do a comparison bake-off. The recipe calls for fresh bread crumbs, but I love the idea of the Panko.

I have to back off my roux-rejection statement from above, because my basic béchamel sauce is, of course, a roux that I whisk cold milk into. I use that sauce for several different things. I use a different béchamel, thicker, and add parmesan and nutmeg, for pastitso. It’s all yum. I had a boyfriend, a zillion years ago, who loved to cook, but I didn’t like that he’d make roux and store it. I didn’t break up with him for this reason, but we differed on how to make scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes, so roux wouldn’t have been far behind. (at my house we made the aforementioned items my way, at his house, they were made his way)

Jan 11, 3:19am Top

>139 karenmarie: Ah...you're right, Karen. I do use Panko instead of fresh bread crumbs in that recipe, and I had forgotten that the Tabasco sauce goes into the Mornay sauce, and the Creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's, not Emeril's Essence) goes into the crust. Lately I've been using cavatappi instead of elbow macaroni. Emeril's macaroni and cheese is tangy, complex, and decidedly different from the more standard m&c recipe that Richard posted, which is similar to the superb version that my father has made for years.

Stored roux?! Uh...NO. Your roux, on the other hand, sounds delightful.

Jan 11, 3:28am Top

AAAHHHHH I love your kittehs' names and namesakes!

I've been contemplating a new addition to our feline fam for a while, and have all but decided that we will begin seeking out local tigers up for adoption until we meet our Flurkin.

Jan 11, 7:28am Top

I've got hardwood floors and Parker loves to fly down the hallway so fast he flings the rugs out from under him and makes his own thunder trying to get traction, usually between 4 and 5 am. I wonder sometimes what it sounds like to my neighbors but they've never said anything.

>I've never met a yellow cat that wasn't good natured, even if they do have their ways. Buddy The Coolest Cat of All Time (tm) was an old yellow cat, or red silver tabby. He glued himself to my hip and we were inseperable. All Buddy ever wanted was to be next to me. Still , one day I thought he'd gotten out because I couldn't find him anywhere. I checked the entire house then ran down the street asking my neighbors if they'd seem him. No joy. Finally I came home frantic and broken hearted and went to the phone (back when I had a land line) to make a sad call when I saw him on top of my dresser hidden in a corner behind a bulky lamp. And you only get this if you have cats but that creature was smiling. So yeah, they have their ways.

I LOVE the name Washburn Ryder!

Jan 11, 7:52am Top

>140 kidzdoc: I was on YouTube last night, Darryl, when I saw an QBC blurb with Emeril, selling 3 versions of mac’n’cheese, of all things – classic, with pepper bacon, and with andouille sausage. They were all made with cavatappi.

>141 kgriffith: Hi Kirsten, and thanks. Heh. Local tigers. We have local tigers, too, although I’ve never been to visit. They’re about 12 miles from my house. Carolina Tiger Rescue New Year’s Resolution: To visit some time this year.

Good luck contemplating a new feline addition. We had a lot of fun thinking about it, anticipating, and finally getting chosen by our two new babies.

>142 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hi Larry! I love Parker’s thundering on the hardwoods, just not necessarily at 4 a.m. Our kitties gallop on the hardwoods, too. I wish I’d met Buddy The Coolest Cat of All Time (tm), and of course they smile at us after scaring us to death or confounding us in some other delightfully cat way.

KW in an 'Awwww, how cute' moment.

So glad you like Washburn(e) Ryder - We’re very pleased with both names. It took a couple of days and a few hurt feelings when stupid names were rejected, but it’s all good now.

Errands, probably football, hanging. Reading.

Jan 11, 9:25am Top

Happy Saturday, Horrible!

Stored roux? Why ever?

Emeril's recipe is, well, overcomplicated for my rather pedestrian mac-needs. The Holy Trinity is indeed mirepoix on the hoof, so to speak, since it's not cooked before hittin' the water.

I make enemies by refusing to make/eat smashies without their skins. Otherwise it's paste. No two humans want their eggs made the same way, so that area of disagreement is just par for the course.

Jan 11, 9:30am Top

>144 richardderus: Yep. I refer to the m&c I make as "bougie macaroni and cheese". My parents and their neighbors like my father's m&c much better.

Jan 11, 9:41am Top

>145 kidzdoc: "bougie macaroni and cheese" LOLOL yeup that's *exactly* what it is! Like the ones that put truffle oil in it, or ONLY use Bulgarian tutmanik for the crust. ::eyeroll:: I'm as pretentious as they come, but really? Y'all don't have better stuff to do than bougie up mac'n'cheese?

Edited: Jan 11, 9:53am Top

>146 richardderus: 😂 I love my bougie New Orleans mac & cheese! BAM!

Edited: Jan 11, 10:01am Top

>144 richardderus: Thanks, RDear, the very same to you.

I think Michael must have read it somewhere. This was pre-internet, you understand, and offhand I can't think of what cookbook he might have found that in.

Emeril's recipe calls for the layering of bechamel-coated pasta with the 4-cheese mixture, true. I do that with pastitso and lasagna, frankly, - layering, that is - so that doesn't particularly bother me.

Your recipe calls for 2 cups American and mild cheddar shreds - I boycot American cheese on principle, and would immediately substitute all mild cheddar shreds. Just sayin'.

>145 kidzdoc: I'm still going to make 'em both sometime soon. Bougie mac'n'cheese isn't necessarily evil. So would you share your father's m&c?

>146 richardderus: Reminds me of my aunt's Compromise Lasagna - a recipe she and her husband of 50 years have devised to accomodate things they both like. It's phenomenally complicated - 4 kinds of cheese, 3 kinds of tomato products, many herbs but also Lowry's seasoned salt, hamburger and pork sausage. It's quite wonderful, but takes about 4 times as long and many more pots and bowls than my sister's One-Step Lasagna, the first recipe I'd ever heard of where you didn't boil the lasagna noodles first. This was also before 'oven ready' lasagna noodles - you simply add an additional cup of water to the sauce. Works perfectly and is very easy to assemble.

I used to make 'smashies' with their skins, but don't anymore because most of the family didn't like them that way and I mostly made 'em at Thanksgiving. That's not Michael's and my disagreement - he mashed potatoes with a hand masher and I'd use an electric mixer, like my mom did. But now I usually cook the potatoes in a non-stick pot and mash them there, so the hand masher saves the pot. (I have a hand masher I bought for $.25 at a thrift store decades ago, with a wooden handle) And now, if I wanted to use the electric mixer, trying to not damage my Calphalon, I'd have to transfer everything to a mixing bowl, mash or whip there, and return to the pot. I just remembered - here in central NC I usually hear them called 'creamed potatoes' not 'mashed potatoes'.

For me, eggs get beaten in a bowl, NOTHING added, then cooked with butter. People can season them on their plates. Michael would break the eggs into the pan and scramble them there. I didn't like seeing white bits.

>147 kidzdoc: Ball's now in RD's court, eh?

Edited: Jan 11, 11:11am Top

>145 kidzdoc: Yes...except that I don't have it! He said that he emailed me the recipe, but I don't see it. I copied his cornbread and split pea soup recipes last month, but not the mac & cheese recipe, which is his own. I'll talk to him soon, as I want to get his take on making mustard greens, which I'll cook this afternoon, and once I get it from him I'll share it with you. I'll also give his yumtastic split pea soup recipe a try next week.

>146 richardderus: Michael's method of cooking eggs is weird. My father's scrambled eggs are the best I've tasted.

>147 kidzdoc: No, Richard wins. My father remains a great cook in his mid 80s, although the meals he makes are more basic — and less bougie — than what I cook for them, and myself. My parents rave about what I make for them, but he's a much better cook IMO.

Jan 11, 10:36am Top

Morning, Karen. It is hovering just above freezing now, so there is a light rain/snow mix falling. I hope to dodge the worst of it. The bigger snow totals are supposed to stay north of us. Fingers crossed.

Edited: Jan 11, 10:43am Top

>149 kidzdoc: Thanks for following up on your dad's mac'n'cheese recipe, Darryl.

Cornbread's another interesting thing - I tried upwards of half-a-dozen cornbread recipes when I moved here to central NC in 1991, but nothing tasted good/right. The recipe I use? One I brought with me from California, in the Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cook Book, published in 1973. Not authentic, as it has sugar in it and uses 'sweet' milk instead of buttermilk, but one we all like.

There are dozens of ways of making scrambled eggs, but most of them call for some kind of milk/cream, S&P, and super slow methods of cooking. I'm weird here, too. Eggs, not-browned butter. Cook quickly, but Bill and I like 'em just scrambled but with no browning.

Michael's method was weird. Agreed. I'm sure that's the way his mother made them, since his father wouldn't step foot in the kitchen except to eat.

I love that you cook your recipes for your parents and honor your father and his recipes.

>150 msf59: 'Morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you. I hope you dodge the nastiness, too. My fingers are crossed for you, too. No ice.

I took this picture with you in mind this morning, Mark. Eleven Cardinals and one Carolina Chickadee in our Crepe Myrtle. Sorry it's a bit blurry...

Jan 11, 10:41am Top

>148 karenmarie: Horrible dear, you should read this article about modern mysteries abandoning ma'at.

You'd be *aghast* at my egg-making style: crack 'em into the buttered cooking vessel, let the whites set, then scramble the yolk. Although in fact I prefer over-easy eggs to all scrambles.

>149 kidzdoc: I do so love greens made with bacon and red pepper. I really just love greens, period.

Jan 11, 10:48am Top

Thanks, RD! I'm just getting ready to head out to run errands and eat lunch with Bill, so will read it later this afternoon.

Well, yes... aghast. And I prefer over-easy eggs, although I always order them over-medium in restaurants so they don't come with translucent and runny whites.

I'm not a greens person. Sorry, but there it is. I tried Step-grandmother Pat's collard greens one Thanksgiving, and was glad I only put one bite's worth on my plate. They just aren't my thing, and now, having had two sets of kidney stones (2012 and 2015), I avoid dark leafy greens like the plague and have completely given up dark colas. I used to love cooked spinach, but eat it less than once a year, and then usually in spinach-artichoke dip.

Jan 11, 11:01am Top

whip eggs in a bowl with a little cream and salt and pepper. Cook over medium fire in pan with a little butter until set and then melt a lot of goat cheese over the top. Nothing better! :)

Jan 11, 11:50am Top

Geez. All I said in >128 weird_O: was that it was mac 'n' cheese night. Just that got you, Karen, and Richard and Darryl musing about recipes and cooking habits and scrambling eggs and honoring family recipes. All good.

But now I want some more of that mac 'n' cheese. But we polished it off last night.

Jan 11, 12:52pm Top

Gee, why do I feel like having eggs for lunch today? 😋

Jan 11, 1:18pm Top

>154 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! Cheese and eggs work well together, yum.

>155 weird_O: You did get it all going, didn't you, Bill? Sheesh.

>156 SandyAMcPherson: Eggs are always a good choice, brekkie, lunch, or dinner.

We ate Mexican for lunch and I ate just a few too many chips and was so full when we went grocery shopping that the idea of mac'n'cheese was oppressive. I'll probably get the fixin's on Monday or Tuesday when I'm out on FoL business.

It's a dreary, drizzly day in the high 60s. Blech. I may take a nap because I'm on carb overload even though I had grilled chicken breast and xtra salad, no beans or rice. But those darned chips...

Jan 11, 1:24pm Top

>143 karenmarie: Very cool! I'll have to keep that in mind if I ever road trip to SC with my person to meet her family, I bet I could make a case for a detour :) I went to the wild animal park in SD and did the big cats behind the scenes tour when I lived in CA, it was very cool.

Jan 11, 1:29pm Top

I hope the detour would include me and not just the cats... *smile*

Jan 11, 4:02pm Top

>159 karenmarie: that did sound a bit like I was going to swing by just for the big cats, didn't it? :-P
I promise I'll make plans with you before the tigers ;)

Jan 11, 7:35pm Top

In the spring, Karen, your husband could cobble up an attached cathouse like this one.

Maybe I can get another conversation started. Lots of cat lovers here, and each and every one should commit to providing this sort of housing for their loving felines. Yes?

Jan 11, 9:48pm Top

That's absolutely wonderful, Bill. Wanna make it for us? I bet it has trusses...

Well, I'm feeling rather puny and have a temp of 100F. I hope Nyquil and going to bed early will make it all be gone by tomorrow.

Jan 11, 11:45pm Top

Your thread makes me want a kitten.

Jan 12, 5:44am Top

Happy Sunday, Karen.

Jan 12, 7:59am Top

>161 weird_O: The Luxurious "cat house" is brilliant. Do you know if it has an entrance into the main house where it is attached?

Jan 12, 8:06am Top

>162 karenmarie: I hope you are feeling better now Karen.

>161 weird_O: Love the cat house. Some pillows inside, I hope?

Edited: Jan 12, 8:12am Top

>151 karenmarie: Wow! 11 cardinals? I very rarely see more than one pair of cardinals, at my feeders and sometimes 2 pairs of them, while hiking. That is cool.

Morning, Karen. Happy Sunday. We did not get hit as bad, as they predicted, although it was a wintery-mix all day. We ended up with less than 2 inches of snow. I am enjoying my current reads and hope to spend sometime with them, this morning.

ETA- Oh, sorry to hear you are under the weather. How are you feeling now?

Jan 12, 9:05am Top

>163 EBT1002: There will be one moment, of course, Ellen, when ‘want’ becomes ‘need’. We had talked since about June, then I got that job, and by then it made more sense to wait ‘til Jenna came home for Christmas so she could participate/bond.

>164 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara!

>165 SandyAMcPherson: I sort of assumed it had a main house entrance but in my feverish daze didn’t comment on that. I was trying to figure out where we could put one that would benefit the kitties AND us, but our house isn’t set up in a way that would make that one work. Besides, we have the kitty door in the hall, which is now set to ‘in’ only. We have to let Inara out but she can come in by herself.

>166 EllaTim: Thank you, Ella! My temp was 97.9F this morning – I run coolish, so this is pretty normal. 100 was pretty high for me. I don’t feel wonderful, but certainly not as bad as last night.

Pillows, an automatic kitty treat dispenser, small OLED 4K TV… and a shelf of books, of course.

>167 msf59: I have 2 pair chowing down right now. I need to put out some more sunflower seed. The hordes have emptied that feeder and are having to go to the wild bird seed feeder.

We apparently had bad weather last night although I completely slept through it. Bill says we had tornado warnings and lots of wind.

Glad you didn’t get hit as bad as predicted. And snow is always better than ice. Enjoy your Sunday morning reading time.

As I said above to Ella, my temperature is back to normal for now. If it elevates in the afternoon I’ll take some Dayquil. My sinuses are acting up a bit. I can’t remember the last time I felt this sick, fortunately!

Jan 12, 10:42am Top

Morning, Karen! We had that same bad weather last night. Hoping you continue to feel better today.

>161 weird_O: This made me smile!

Edited: Jan 12, 12:02pm Top

'Morning to you, too, Mamie! I, of course, slept right through it courtesy of Nyquil. Bill said there were tornado warnings, but they weren't close enough to us to justify waking me and packing 2 humans and 3 kitties into the book bath. Thank goodness. I feel pretty good, all things considered, for having felt so bad yesterday.

Jan 12, 12:03pm Top

You’ll be happy to know, RDear, that I finally have the answer to your question of December 12, 2019, on my 12th thread, to wit:

>275 karenmarie: So why *don't* woodpeckers get headaches? I can't say I've ever asked the question but it is a glaringly obvious one when it's finally enunciated.
Woodpeckers have developed a much larger brain case, which prevents the birds from getting a concussion every time they have to chop out lunch. They also have different muscle and bone structure at the base of the bill, which acts like a shock absorber to help cushion the blows.
So good to know! I wasn’t holding my breath, thank goodness, but waiting 176 pages out of 211 was a bit cruel of the author. It's a pretty cheesy way to make sure I'd read the whole book, because by now with only 35 pages to go, I might as well finish it.

Edited: Jan 12, 12:07pm Top

>171 karenmarie: They've installed pneumatic suspensions in their heads! How completely wonderful. Oh dear, I can sense creationists preparing their cock-a-doodle-doo's e'en as we spake.

At least the tornado shenanigans avoided y'all. I'm sorry you're under the weather in all senses of the words.

*smooch* for a better Monday.

Jan 12, 1:10pm Top

>172 richardderus: Smart critters, eh? Are you daring to bring up evolution? Oh my.

Yes, no tornadoes or other weather viciousness here. Right now it's overcast with teensy bits of blue appering occasionally, and a miserable non-seasonal 70F. Bugs and flora get confused. With the bugs I'm happy 'cuz they'll probably get frozen out soon, but the flora may lose their will to live or at least their will to make purty flowers.

Jan 12, 1:16pm Top

3. Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches?: And Other Bird Questions You Know You Want to Ask by Mike O’Connor

From Amazon:

In 1983, Mike O'Connor opened the Bird Watcher's General Store on Cape Cod, which might well have been the first store devoted solely to birding in the United States. Since that time he has answered thousands of questions about birds, both at his store and while walking down the aisles of the supermarket. The questions have ranged from inquiries about individual species ("Are flamingos really real?") to what and when to feed birds ("Should I bring in my feeders for the summer?") to the down-and-dirty specifics of backyard birding ("Why are the birds dropping poop in my pool?"). Answering the questions has been easy; keeping a straight face has been hard.

Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches? is the solution for the beginning birder who already has a book that explains the slight variation between Common Ground-Doves and Ruddy Ground-Doves but who is really much more interested in why birds sing at 4:30 A.M. instead of 7:00 A.M., or whether it's okay to feed bread to birds, or how birds rediscover your feeders so quickly when you've just filled them after a long vacation. Or, for that matter, whether flamingos are really real.

Why I wanted to read it: My husband got this book for me for Christmas in 2018 and it seemed like the right time. Knowing the answer to this question finally came to top of stack.

This is a collection of questions and answers grouped into categories like how to get birds to come to your yard, what and how to feed them, problems with birds, identifying birds, etc.

It was informative and humorous. And even though I just posted the answer above for Richard’s edification here on my 75ers thread, I’ll make my review complete by posting the answer to the titular question again so I can cut and paste it onto my ROOTs thread with appropriate editing. The answer is on page 176:
Woodpeckers have developed a much larger brain case, which prevents the birds from getting a concussion every time they have to chop out lunch. They also have different muscle and bone structure at the base of the bill, which acts like a shock absorber to help cushion the blows.Curiosity satisfied.

Jan 12, 2:24pm Top

Good review of Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches, and I'm glad to know the answer. I suspect our friend Mark will be particularly interested in this one, if he hasn't read it already.

Happy Sunday, Karen!

Nyquil is a blessing, but I have to go easy with it, because it raises blood pressure. It is a reliable night's sleep, no matter how lousy I feel, when I use it.

Jan 12, 2:58pm Top

>174 karenmarie: Thank goodness someone finally answered this question, and saved me from "dying" of curiosity. Great review, btw!

Edited: Jan 12, 5:39pm Top

>171 karenmarie: >174 karenmarie: Well, now we know. Thank you. Clever birds!

Jan 12, 9:06pm Top

>175 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Enquiring minds and all that, eh? I’m sure Mark will be thrilled. I didn’t know Nyquil raises blood pressure, but since mine’s only creeping up gradually over the years, so far so good.

>176 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks, Sandy. I didn’t realize how many people needed to know about woodpeckers.

>177 quondame: You’re welcome, Susan. I think all birds are clever, as each has adapted in unique ways for their environment and food sources. This book was very informative, in a humorous way.

Jan 13, 12:34am Top

>171 karenmarie: I am so glad to know that woodpeckers don't get concussions!! Not that I had given it much thought. But once the question was raised, I was worried. ; )

Hope you get a good night's sleep and feel 100% tomorrow.

Jan 13, 7:02am Top

>171 karenmarie: That's quite interesting. I did not think that there would have been a real explanation. Very neat!

Happy Monday!

Jan 13, 7:05am Top

>174 karenmarie: I want to get to Why Don't Woodpeckers. Like I mentioned to you before, I have heard O'Connor on a birding podcast, for a couple of years now.

Morning, Karen. I hope you are feeling better.

Jan 13, 7:08am Top

I also hope that you're feeling better today, Karen.

Jan 13, 8:09am Top

>179 Berly: Question asked, question answered, Kim, with, I hope, no intervening angst. I did get a good night’s sleep. I also had to wake up to an alarm this morning so I could have enough time before leaving for the FoL Board meeting and some errands. The first sip of coffee’s always the best and I just had mine for the day.

>180 figsfromthistle: For some things a logical explanation simply makes me happy, Anita. This was one of them.

>181 msf59: ‘Morning, Mark! I’m feeling lots better, thanks. I'm happy that my body fought off whatever-it-was quickly.

Wow, I gave you a BB! I’m impressed. I really need to listen to that podcast at least once or twice, simply to hear his voice.

>182 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. Definitely feeling lots better. I was worried on Saturday that I would need to stay away from the meeting today if I was still sick yesterday. With the exception of one person, I think I’m the youngest person on the Board at 66 and wouldn’t want to share germs with potentially vulnerable seniors.

Jan 13, 1:39pm Top


Nothing new chez moi. A lovely but very, very short visit with Rob. I *did* get butterscotch pecan scones (now eaten).

Jan 13, 2:03pm Top

Short but sweet, eh, RD? *smooch* back at'cha.

I'm reading another of my on-my-shelves-in-2007 books for ROOT (read our own tomes) thread, So Many Steps To Death by Dame Agatha. A standalone, I can't believe I've never read it before.

Jan 13, 5:45pm Top

Okay, can't resist. I knew she was alive because her tail was twitching.

Jan 13, 6:06pm Top

>186 karenmarie: Looks like they have settled, Karen.

Jan 13, 6:37pm Top

Jan 13, 7:34pm Top

>153 karenmarie: What do dark, leafy greens have to do with kidney stones, Karen?

>185 karenmarie: I don't remember that Christie either, Karen. Here it is called Destination Unknown and I can't remember reading it.

I hope you are feeling better.

Jan 13, 8:28pm Top

>105 karenmarie: What a lovely photo. This pushes me more and more toward finding a special kitten.

Jan 13, 10:24pm Top

Stopping by and taking in all the wonderful kitty/cat pictures.... and reviews and food discussion, of course.

Edited: Jan 13, 10:24pm Top

>187 FAMeulstee: Yes, they rule the roost, Anita.

>188 jessibud2: We laugh out loud pretty much every evening, and they're a hoot during the day with just the 4 of us (them, me, and Inara).

>189 Familyhistorian: Oxalate reduction in the diet can help avoid calcium oxalate kidney stones (the kind I had in 2012 and 2015). Among other things that I was eating too much of were dark colas and dark leafy greens. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but those two were relatively easy to avoid in excess.

I am feeling better, thanks, Meg. Although I’m a little bit sad right now because Clemson is down 17-28 to LSU at the half. Clemson isn’t exactly my team, but I have enjoyed watching Trevor Lawrence during the playoffs. I’d like for them to win.

>190 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda. They are so cute together, mommy kitty and son. You’ll know when it’s the right kitty.

>191 lkernagh: Hi Lori! Nice to see you here.

Jan 13, 10:34pm Top

Glad to hear that you are feeling better, Karen. My husband is happy about the LSU score, lol :)

Jan 13, 10:37pm Top

>186 karenmarie: That looks like one really relaxed kittie!

Jan 13, 10:48pm Top

>186 karenmarie: Nothing but cute!!!!!

Jan 14, 6:18am Top

Jan 14, 6:56am Top

>186 karenmarie: Love it!

Morning, Karen. Glad you are doing better. I am glad to my feeders hopping. I replaced one of the suet cakes yesterday. I think the suet feeder I picked, turned out to be a winner. Squirrels do not touch it.

Jan 14, 8:25am Top

>193 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! I didn’t watch after the half, but followed the score online. Minor sadness. Next weekend NFL playoffs, then the Superbowl, which I won’t be able to watch because it’s our meeting to choose books for book club for the next 12 months. I try to not miss this meeting.

>194 PaulCranswick: She lets us scratch her belly and now, apparently, sleeps on her back. I didn’t dare go over there because the picture was better than seeing the reality.

>195 LizzieD: Hi Peggy. Yes there is much cute-i-tude happening here in central NC these days. Right now Wash is sleeping on the printer and Zoe is on the windowsill in the corner of the Sunroom looking out. I haven’t seen Inara this morning yet.

>196 DianaNL: Hi Diana.

>197 msf59: ‘Morning, Mark! Yes, I am fully recovered. Yay for hopping feeders. And I’m very glad that the suet feeder is truly squirrel proof. I don’t mind them foraging on the ground under the feeders, but stealing directly from the birds has always irritated me.

Got a bunch of Cardinals again this morning, but not 11. I see a House Finch and a Carolina chickadee, too.

This morning is book sorting, then lunch with the Branch Librarian. We’ve become more than acquaintances, not full friends yet, but she’s very intelligent and lots of fun to chat with. I’ve also got a haircut this afternoon. Much busy-ness.

Jan 14, 9:26am Top

Reminds me of a photo I have of my Lexi, hiding from me. She was under a chair in my bedroom but her tail was sticking out. So I am sure she thought she was *safe*, ha, but I was onto her! ;-)

Jan 14, 11:48am Top

>198 karenmarie: She lets you scratch her belly, then you have really won her over. Lots of cats won't let you do that, even if they love you. :-)

Jan 14, 12:07pm Top

Jan 14, 2:25pm Top

Re: Cat Houses. All I know is what can be gleaned from the photo >161 weird_O:. There was no caption of any kind. I would think you could cut a hole in the house wall to give a cat (or other similar-sized wildlife—skunk, opossum, groundhog, mice) access to the human's residence.

In Heidelberg, Germany, years ago, we saw at least one apartment building with narrow ramps for cats attached to the outside walls. A cat could walk from a third- or fourth-floor window to street level. I've got some slides of it, but I'm not sure I will be able to locate them.

Re: Woodpeckers. If this bird species did NOT have natural brain-protection, wouldn't natural selection, evolution, whatever, consign the species to extinction?

Jan 14, 4:02pm Top

>199 jessibud2: The tail gave her away. *smile*

>200 EllaTim: Belly scratching is a sign of trust, which I fully appreciate.

>201 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel! We have a pretty large house yet Wash is within 3 feet of me sleeping on the printer and Zoe is 6 feet away from me sleeping on the dresser. Inara Starbuck came and went.

>202 weird_O: When my husband was a contractor, he got the unusual request for kitty ramps in one house. I don't have pictures of them (more's the pity), but here's the type of ramp I'm talking about:

Edited: Jan 15, 3:38am Top

4. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
11/17/19 to 1/14/20

From Amazon:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past whom he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them....

Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

Why I wanted to read it: Re-listening to the Cormoran Strike series. 3rd installment. I realize that I’ve never reviewed this one before, so here goes.

It took me two months to listen to this, but the story was so vivid from one previous read and one previous audiobook that I was able to pick it right back up as soon as I got into my car.

Robert Galbraith, pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, is absolutely brilliant at writing complicated and unpredictable fiction within a familiar framework – Cormoran Strike/Robin Ellacott as Galbraith and Harry Potter as herself. This series is intelligent, articulate, intellectually stimulating, vivid, and totally believable. Galbraith has the mental wherewithal to write authoritatively about both male and female emotions and motivations. Cormoran Strike is a fully-fleshed manly man, and Robin Ellacott is a fully-fleshed womanly woman. They both love the work they do and have a compatible work style that is Strike-ing. (sorry, little pun there)

Robin is ambivalent about marrying Matthew. Cormoran is ambivalent about dating Ellen. Both care more about the work than the relationships as Cormoran is frantically trying to keep the business going and Robin is frantically trying to continue the work while preparing to marry Matthew. The clues and red herrings are a joy to read, as are the denouement and shock ending.

Jan 14, 6:50pm Top

5. So Many Steps to Death by Agatha Christie
1/12/20 to 1/14/20


From Amazon:

In Agatha Christie’s gripping international thriller Destination Unknown, a woman at the end of her rope chooses a more exciting way to die when she embarks upon an almost certain suicide mission to find a missing scientist.

When a number of leading scientists disappear without a trace, concern grows within the international intelligence community. And the one woman who appears to hold the key to the mystery is dying from injuries sustained in a plane crash.

Meanwhile, in a Casablanca hotel room, Hilary Craven prepares to take her own life. But her suicide attempt is about to be interrupted by a man who will offer her an altogether more thrilling way to die. . . .

Why I wanted to read it: A goal for this year is to read two books from each year I’ve been on LT, 2007-2019, in order to really start getting some of these oldies read. One fiction and one nonfiction, this is my fiction choice from 2007.

What brought this book up from a dismal 2 star ‘bad’ rating to an acceptable 2.5 star ‘average’ rating were the descriptions of Hilary Craven’s total despair as she’s preparing to take her own life. I just noticed the significance of her last name - craven. Otherwise it was a dismal 1950s-era anti-communist screed with Christie’s predilection for negatively describing people of color, stereotypes galore, and a sappy ending that had a twist or two but was mostly predictable.

However, it is part of the 88-book set of Bantam editions of Christie’s books that my mother bought for me, starting in 1987, doled out in 2s and 3s on birthdays and Christmases for years. They hold place of honor in my Library, and will always remain on the shelves my mother saw them on when she visited for the last time in 2009.

Jan 14, 8:58pm Top

>205 karenmarie: And that's the *only* reason to retain the tedious-sounding thing. Blech.

Still, one knocked of the Guilt List, so a net win. *smooch*

Jan 14, 10:21pm Top

Definitely a net win. *smooch*

Jan 15, 1:23am Top

>192 karenmarie: Thanks for letting me know about how to cut down on getting calcium oxalate kidney stones. I did not know that and probably should. I had kidney stone attacks in the '70s and '80s until they blasted them but I don't want them to occur ever again!

Jan 15, 3:45am Top

You're welcome, Meg - there are other foods that one's supposed to keep to a minimum, but those two were a huge part of my diet. Ugh. Getting stones blasted means you were probably in pain for a long time - both sets passed within 2-3 days for me. Never again for both of us!

Insomnia. Or, to put the bi-phasic sleep twist on it, the break between first and second sleep.

Bi-Phasic Sleep

Jan 15, 6:41am Top

>205 karenmarie: I love this Agatha Christie collection you have! Beautiful. I hope Joe stops by and sees this. He is a big fan too.

Morning, Karen. Sorry, about the Insomnia. I hope you can nap later and congrats on purchasing the ABA poster! I even balked at the price, so didn't get one myself. I may still reconsider.

Jan 15, 7:47am Top

'Morning, Mark! Thanks re my Christies.

I plan on taking a nap later - I have no reason to go anywhere today having been out and about Monday and yesterday. Reading, puttering, reorganizing a corner cabinet, etc., are on my 'list' for today.

BTW, the poster link on the ABA website says it's a limited edition of 200 and signed by the artist...

ABA 2020 Poster

Jan 15, 8:53am Top

Destination Unknown is pretty close to bad, you're right. I'm a Dame Agatha fan, and that's why I read it. I love that 88 book set your mother bought for you over time. Our Agatha-loving daughter, who collects all of her books, would gasp if she saw it.

Jan 15, 9:37am Top

Wishing you a good nap today...just stopping by to get caught up a bit on threads.

The pie crust was wonderful! And we have more pecans so pies are in the plan.

And the ABA poster is gorgeous!

Jan 15, 9:40am Top

Sorry about the insomnia, Karen! I just switched meds and so am getting a bit of insomnia because my normal med has worn off and my new med hasn't kicked in yet. I have to take a sleeping med to make sure I don't go manic. So I totally understand what it feels like to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep! Hopefully you find a solution quickly.

Jan 15, 9:59am Top

>212 jnwelch: And that's one of the reasons I finally read it - because it's Dame Agatha - and because of my ROOT challenge (posted in message #1:
A second personal challenge for the year will be of an archaeological nature – I want to dig through each year of book acquisitions and read 2 as-yet-unread books from each year. 13 years, 26 books. My ROOT goal is 30 books, none of them re-reads, so there’s a bit of wiggle room for 4 additional ROOTs.
I would have never bought this set for myself, having ratty paperbacks and remembering when Mom gave me the first three that I was a tad disappointed - how awful of me! - but I came to appreciate them and now treasure them. You can find them on Ebay and other websites, and we even had about 30 of them for sale a couple of FoL sales ago. The young woman who got them on half-price day ($1.50/each) was absolutely thrilled and I was absolutely thrilled for her.

>213 witchyrichy: Thanks, Karen, my eyes are a bit gritty so napping is definitely still in the picture. You've made the pie crust! And yay, found it wonderful. I'm very happy about that, for sure. Thanks for the report. And I can't wait to get the ABA poster. I've never seen any of his work before and I fell in love with it immediately.

>214 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel. Mine is infrequent and doesn't make me insane like it used to when I'd have to go to work. You have a family to take care of, which is the same as going to work - having to take of other people regardless of whether you're whupped or not. I think I read on your thread that IL still naps, so perhaps you could nap when he does.

I've ordered Melaleuca, paid a credit card bill, paid the propane bill, started Spying on the South, and am watching the Cardinals. Earlier I saw 2 Carolina Chickadees and a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Looks like a Titmouse just came a'calling.

Jan 15, 12:09pm Top

Did I mentioned that over Christmas at my brother's we watched 'Bird TV' all morning? He loves blue jays, has a favorite, and recounted the story of the Luckiest Squirrel Alive (survived a terrific hawk attack.) A squirrel even came up on the porch to see what exactly I as up to.

Jan 15, 12:45pm Top

Hi Larry!

Yay for Bird TV. It's a pleasant way to while away the time.

Jan 15, 1:49pm Top

Bird TV. My daughter calls it Cat TV because her cat whiles away time at a window watching the birds (and squirrels).

Jan 15, 2:57pm Top

Hey Horrible, hope the biphase is in a deep-REM mode right now.

Edited: Jan 15, 3:47pm Top

>218 weird_O: Cat TV works, but then we'd have to call what we watch Human TV... When we had the so-glad-it's-finally-gone 56-gallon fish tank in the living room, the kitty condo was nearby and our cats watched Fish TV.

>219 richardderus: I deep-REMed a while ago for about an hour or so, then spoke with my sister until her SiL came over. She had to go, but then I had no excuse to not clean Freddie Mercury the Betta Fish's aquarium. It desperately needed it. The water's clearing up nicely and Freddie seems perkier.

I've done enough today. It's time to read some more. I'm resisting the urge to eat See's. I broke down on Monday and had 3 pieces. They're in the freezer in little tupperwares. I probably need to move them to the freezer in the garage to make it more of an effort to get to them...

Jan 15, 6:53pm Top

> I absolutely loved all the Cormoran Strike books! I listened to them on audio as well and they kept me driving long past when I should have been home!

Jan 15, 9:57pm Top

>220 karenmarie: I'm getting the strongest family-life flashes I think I've ever had, since dad died and certainly since mom died. Their finance guy sent them a Box of See's chocolate every Christmas, and I was always the one who got to open it because no one else wanted to, and I never understood that. Sees chocolate are kind of awesome.

Anyway, I still get these very strong impulses that I need to call mom and dad and let them know that such-and-such as happened.It doesn't bother me, even though they are getting much stronger and much clearer in my head, because they remind me of good times and I'm not ready to let go of those. Maybe i'm skating out on thinner and thinner ices, but when I do fall through ot will be because I was meant to fall through at that spot.

A friend of mine, a man I worked with and had the highest respect for because of his world_class brilliant intellect has 2 young daughters. Both gorgeous in a well bred and well scrubbed way. One's a teenager and one is just about to become a teenager. She bounds from bed in the morning full of hope and optimism and carries that throughout the day. The teenager is glued to her social media accounts. Karen you're smart, please help me understand what that is about. Nothing seems more boring.

Part of me, the cynical me, wants to say don't worry eventually theyll both disappoint you and then later become even more importantl.
They will come back in your dottage and they will set your life straight and make straight the crooked paths. And THAT will be their 3rd act story.

Jan 15, 11:40pm Top

Hi, Karen! I hope you're feeling a lot more like yourself. I've heard of See's chocolate but don't think I've ever eaten any. At this time of night I can't be sure of anything. I do know that I was a bit disappointed in the last Cormoran Strike, but that won't keep me from reading the next one as quickly as I can!
>199 jessibud2: I can't begin to count the hours years ago that I spent in our yard looking for Phoebe, our only indoor/outdoor cat. She never left the yard (that I know of), but I'd always find her eventually, knuckled and watching me search.

Jan 16, 6:38am Top

Morning, Karen. Sweet Thursday. Last work day, before starting my long holiday weekend. Yah! I am starting Flight Behavior today, which is a longish book, so I probably will not get to Spying, for at least a week. Have you started it?

Edited: Jan 16, 8:20am Top

>221 Dianekeenoy: Hi Diane! I've read them all, listened to the first three twice, and am now going to listen to #4, starting today. I've been known to have an "NPR moment" with them - staying in the car to reach a logical breaking point after I should be inside somewhere.

>222 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hey, Larry. I don’t think it’s surprising that you want to let your mom and dad know how you’re doing. Holidays are strong emotional times anyway and we both miss our parents.

January 9th was another of those times – my sister’s 63rd birthday. Mom always called early in the morning and sang Happy Birthday to us and of course for Laura there have now been 4 Mom-songless birthdays and 3 for me. I sing to her, of course, and she sings to me on mine, but nobody else does anymore and for us it’s kinda sad.

I’m not quite sure I can help with insights about the girls because although I’m here a lot during the day and I text/take photos/receive and make calls on my smartphone, I don’t have any other social media. My daughter, 26, is a liker and lurker, too, so no help there. But I did spend a few minutes with a 14-year-old the other day and she was glued to her social media. It seems to be a multi-dimensional version of using the telephone, hanging out with my BFFs, and the fan magazines I obsessively poured over when I was young, but it’s FB and Twitter and Instagram and whatever else. I don’t ‘do’ any of it and even though I have a FB account. I actually don’t log into it except perhaps once every several weeks. My experience is mostly limited to Jenna, who is a clever, private, iconoclast with strong ethical beliefs and, like me, an off-the-end-of-the-scale introvert. She never liked school, got wild when she was 18-19, was adrift after failing at two different 4-year schools, worked hard for 4 years cleaning houses, and then on her own decided she needed the piece of paper and will graduate with an AA degree in business administration in May. It wouldn’t surprise me to get a call saying that she’s traveling the continent or gotten a job across the country. They and we all have phases.

I feel like this is a totally inadequate answer, but we’d need to sit down somewhere and have a long discussion to do better.

Hugs and love, dear one.

>223 LizzieD: Hi Peggy! I’m feeling much more like myself, thank you. I’m a tad stressed because I’m having a medical procedure next week – preventative – and just want it to be next Wednesday. Other than that, it's all good.

We can fix the See’s Problem – are you a dark chocolate fan, a milk chocolate fan, or a white chocolate fan? I honestly think you’d know if you had ever eaten some, but like Larry’s parents above, would have only known about it if you’d lived in the West or had someone from the West send or bring you some. There are See’s Shops all over California and of course there’s mail order, too. Nothing beats walking into a shop, smelling all the chocolate, and ‘bellying up to the bar’ and ordering a custom box or a little custom bag by pointing at the samples and saying how many of each.

I’m literally going to start the 4th Strike today, the audiobook, in my car, when I go out for a massage. I honestly don’t remember the case aspect, but vividly remember the personal issues and dynamic between Strike and Robin. The books came out in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018. I can’t wait for #5!

Inara’s indoor/outdoor. I let her out about 15 minutes ago, heard the door smack the frame about 5 minutes ago and felt her rub my up against my legs. I’ll start letting Zoe out in a controlled manner in a couple of weeks using a harness and leash at first. I’m not quite sure when Wash’ll be able to go out – he’s only 4 months old.

>224 msf59: 'Morning Mark! Sweet Thursday to you, too. Yay for a a long holiday weekend. I read Flight Behavior in 2013 and The Poisonwood Bible in 2002. I loved both of them.

I started Spying on the South two days ago and am on page 87. It’s a combination of biographical information about Frederick Law Olmsted, following the path of his travels, and commenting on who and what he finds. It’s vivid and interesting.

Edited: Jan 16, 10:25am Top

Who needs store-bought kitty beds? Zoe Rose.

Wash channels Kitty William by supervising my reading.

Jan 16, 4:27pm Top

See's candy is a sort of watershed for chocolate snobs. There were chocolates I liked much better, but they are hard to get. Sees are noticeably better than the candies available in boxes at drug stores and standard candy bars, but not up to gourmet candies, depending on your tastes.

Jan 16, 9:08pm Top

What's your favorite gourmet candy, Susan?

Jan 16, 10:16pm Top

>204 karenmarie: I need to read Galbraith's books at some point. Thanks for the reminder, Karen!

>205 karenmarie: It does my heart good to see all of the Christie books lined up on your shelves. Good on your mother for buying them for you.

Jan 17, 6:47am Top

Hi Stasia! I'll be interested in your opinion re Strike/Ellacott.

Mom was a hoot - she solemnly told me one time that she made sure she never ate anything when she read the books before giving them to me. I don't know which ones she read, but it's nice to know that her hands turned the pages of some of them. Dad was apparently appalled that there were so many.

Jan 17, 7:55am Top

>226 karenmarie: Love it!

Morning, Karen. Happy Friday. Working on my second cup of coffee, paying bills and doing some online banking. None of this is fun, but I am done with it for now. I have a doctor's appointment this A.M. and then I want to spend a nice chunk of time with the books.

Glad Spying on the South is off to a good start.

Edited: Jan 17, 12:44pm Top

'Morning, Mark! I take way too many pics of the kitties but am trying to limit myself here to posting maybe twice a week. They both slept with me last night, although being kittens (she's only 15 months old, after all), they did have an early morning play time so I've been up since 6:30.

Banking stuff is absolutely not fun, agreed, but I am grateful that I have money to pay the bills, after all. Yay for being done for now. Speaking of doctors - are you still in the midst of PT or is that finished?

Have fun with the books this PM. I checked out your weather a while ago and can see why it might not be a birding day. *smile*

I'm dividing my time between The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and Spying on the South. I want to start Frankissstein, Dark Sacred Night, and get organized for my personal year-long Jane Austen challenge.

I've got a Blue Jay, a college, conclave, radiance, or Vatican of Cardinals (I like all 4 so put 'em all in), some LBBs, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and a Male House Finch.

Jan 17, 9:28am Top

It's Friday, and may it Friday the hell out of itself down your way.


Edited: Jan 17, 10:51am Top

Hi RD! It's definitely Fridaying itself... I'm mostly lazy today.


eta: I just removed the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf from my shelves. Good clean copy with a bit of yellowing on the top and bottom edges of the pages near the spine. Anybody want it? If you do, please PM your name and address and I'll be happy to send it to you.

Jan 17, 10:49am Top

Friday is just another day. Yes, have one. I'll join you.

Jan 17, 10:52am Top

Hi Bill! Yes, I don't say TGiF any more.

Jan 17, 1:24pm Top

I do! (Say TGIF still). For some reason, the weekend still beckons joyously, 3 years into retirement.

I think I'll follow your example while it Fridays itself, and be mostly lazy, with occasional reading.

Edited: Jan 17, 2:03pm Top

Of course you do, Joe. Joyous weekend to you. Laziness and reading are perfect!

I've pulled out all books about Jane Austen or her works off my shelves and consolidated them onto one shelf in anticipation of using them as reference and/or reading them this year. I'll be starting Sense and Sensibility soon, the first published "By a Lady" in 1811.

Yesterday, 8:35am Top

Morning, Karen. Happy Saturday. Definitely looks like winter out there, but we only ended up with a couple of inches. It should be a clear drive, for our trip up to Milwaukee today.

In regards, to my shoulder, I have been done with PT, for about a month. We hit a wall there, despite my continuing discomfort. I had an MRI on my neck, (on the recommendation from my doctor) and that was inconclusive. Next up- is an MRI on my shoulder. This is a long process.

Yesterday, 9:14am Top

Hi Mark and happy Saturday to you. I'm glad to hear the roadtrip is on to Milwaukee.

Sorry about the wall. I guess one step at a time, eh?

We're having lunch with friend Carl, running errands, then back at the house. There are playoff games tomorrow that we'll watch.

In the meantime, it's restricted diet time for me in preparation for a medical procedure on Tuesday. Blech. Low fiber. No salads, my normal Saturday lunch fare, so I'm going to indulge in pasta.

Yesterday, 10:37am Top

Just getting caught up over here, Karen!

Yesterday, 10:39am Top

Boo hoo, pasta instead of salad, how will you manage to drag yourself through the day as you anticipate agli'olio or cacio e pepe or plain ol' buttered noodles with dried herbs?

I'm using up milk that's teetering on the edge by making rice pudding with cranberries and raisins. Crockpot goodness, comfort food, and practical using-up in one swell foop. *smooch*

Yesterday, 12:25pm Top

I bought an air fryer! I'll pick it up on Monday on my way home from work. Considering the last time I used an oven Clinton was in his 1st term, I think it's a major step.

I saw a special on catfish in the paper. $6.99 a pound?! I grew up in the South eating catfish. It's delicious but it's also a trash fish. I'm thinking I'll use the air fryer for simple things like salmon and chicken. Love me some salmon.

Edited: Yesterday, 2:15pm Top

>241 katiekrug: Hi Katie! Are my kitty pictures inspiring any motivation to get Leonard a buddy?

>242 richardderus: I rarely eat pasta, usually in lasagna or pastitso. I bought some fettucine, more butter, and confirmed that I have 2 8-oz wedges of Parmesan in the fridge. And I bought some chicken thighs, so can survive tomorrow. I also bought chocolate ice cream and some Little Debbie cakes just because. White flour, white pasta, white bread, no vegetables, no fruit, no dried fruit, no cereal except Cream of Wheat which I won't eat anymore. I deserve comfort food for such a blech diet.

Yay for using up stuff still good and in such a savory-sounding way. Of course, I could make rice pudding, but no raisins or cramberries. That might have been a less self-indulgent option than ice cream and Little Debbie. Oh, well. *smooch*

>243 SomeGuyInVirginia: You'll have to report back, Larry, on your air fryer! I love salmon, too, and chicken is always a good go-to. I'll eat S&P fried catfish if we're at a BBQ place since I don't eat pork BBQ, but that's the only time. Tilapia is also a trash fish. I used to love red snapper in CA but can't get it out here, although orange roughy is an okay alternative.

Back from lunch and errands. Zoe is on the printer, Wash is ... elsewhere. Haven't seen Inara for a while either.

I've only got 60 pages to go in The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, so shall work on that now.

Yesterday, 2:11pm Top

I read your comments about Cold Mountain to Brenzi at Mark's thread. I really loved Cold Mountain, Bonnie, until the shocking twist, and then after the last chapter was so upset that I literally threw it across my desk at work and probably saying WTF out loud. The writing was beautiful, the descriptions of nature atmospheric, as I recall.

That so describes my wife's reaction. She culled that sucker right quick. So I got a copy at a book sale (where else?), and I have started it. But still...I...hesitate... And you are seconding my Judi's opinion.

I'm fully engaged in Masters of Death by Richard Rhodes, following Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem. Both about the Holocaust. Grim. I have a very tall stack of WTRs (W A N T to Read) calling to me from their lookout atop the chest of drawers.

So I'm not asking your advice, mam, just saying that IF I continue with CM, I'm prepared for the worst. I may just invoke Wild Card! for the AAC and go with somethin' else—NOT Frazier—for January.

Ah, you are such a kind listener, Karen. Thanks.

Yesterday, 2:24pm Top

Good to know that Judi had the same reaction. I didn't cull it, surprisingly, and it's still in my catalog upstairs in the Parlour tucked up on the first shelf. At one point I had two copies. I don't remember which I kept, the one from Bill's Mama or the one from Bill's Step-Mama. Next time I'm in the Parlour and have the ladder upstairs, I'll try to figure it out.

I don't regret reading it, exactly, Bill, but won't say more because anything at all might be a spoiler. I truly hope you love it.

My, my, a WWII phase followed by a Civil War jaunt. Continue or not as you will - I'm a strong proponent of abandoning reads that aren't working for me, but you may want to finish it simply to compare your reaction to Judi's.

I absolutely love WTR - (W A N T to Read), a clear subset of TBR.

Yesterday, 2:33pm Top

I'll be waiting to see what you thought of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and whether you think I should give it another shot

Edited: Yesterday, 3:23pm Top

I haven't read Cold Mountain or seen the movie. The song Scarlet Tide by Alison Krauss takes my breath away. Every time.

Yesterday, 5:43pm Top

Hi Karen! Removed Beowulf? I haven't read that version, though I already own it. :) I've read the Norton Critical Edition.

Yesterday, 7:33pm Top

>247 ChelleBearss: See my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants review below, Chelle. I'm not sure I could have persevered while working and wife-ing and parenting...

>248 SomeGuyInVirginia: I just listened to it for the first time ever, Larry, and it's stunning. She's got a beautiful voice.

>249 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! Yup. I read it, I didn't care one way or another about it, and it's now winging its way to a new home, where it will be loved and cherished. I won't bother reading any other editions, philistine that I am.

Edited: Yesterday, 7:40pm Top

6. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
1/3/20 to 1/18/20

From Amazon:

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read, and altogether triumphant."―A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let's begin...

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others.

For fans of Claire North and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive novel that follows one man's race against time to find a killer―but an astonishing time-turning twist means that nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Why I wanted to read it: The description intrigued me. Jenna gave it to me for Christmas.

Convoluted, thy name is The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It sounds relatively simple in the description above – 8 witnesses, 8 days. Day 1, day 2, day 3… right? Wrong. Days are broken up into vignettes separated by other days. After day 6, say, we might go back to day 2. It’s hard for Aiden Bishop to identify who he’s inhabiting, and how much harder for us!

I found it a tad exhausting until I realized that if I just kept reading I might, just might, understand most of it by the end. And, surprisingly, I did. I know who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. I know why Aiden Bishop was in Blackheath, and I know how long he was there. It was interesting to see how Aiden gained information from and used the personalities of the witnesses to help him move ‘forward’ in his quest to solve the murder. Clues abound. It was fun to see how a clue planted in day 2 bore fruit in day 6. Or how a clue planted in day 7 bore fruit in day 3… messages, attacks, missing people, new people, a murderous footman, and a mysterious figure named The Plague Doctor, all inhabit this macabre and wacky romp. I can't imagine how the author kept track of everything.

Will I ever read it again? Probably not. But I’ll keep it on my shelves for a while, mostly because Jenna gave it to me, but also because of the marvelous cover and as a tribute to my perseverance and ultimate appreciation of what Mr. Turton has accomplished. Heaven forbid there’s a sequel, although another book by the same author would interest me.

Yesterday, 9:47pm Top

>251 karenmarie: I already have that one in the BlackHole to read. Thanks for the heads up regarding how convoluted the book is. I will try and keep that it mind for if and when I ever get to read it.

Yesterday, 9:50pm Top

>204 karenmarie: Thank you for the reminder that I need to get back to the Cormoran Strike books. I read and enjoyed the first one before the holidays hit. I guess I'm recovered enough to work in the next book in the series. I went ahead and read your review of Book 3 and look forward to it.

Your kitty supervisors are adorable.

Karen, I hope next week's procedure goes well. Too bad you have to alter your diet so far in advance. I'm not very chatty this evening but thought I'd delurk to tell you I'll be thinking about you next week.

Today, 7:06am Top

>252 alcottacre: Hi Stasia. You're very welcome.

>253 Donna828: HI Donna! If you enjoyed the first one, you should enjoy the rest of the series, although I'd be remiss if I didn't say that the second one, where the victim "is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances" according to the Amazon blurb, a tad more macabre.

Thanks re the kitty supervisors - they are frivoling after their wet-kitty food brekkie. Wash just walked in front of the monitor, and I hear Zoe in the living room.

Thanks re the procedure. It's preventative, thank goodness, and there should be no rude shocks.

After the convoluted brashness of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle I've decided to be self-indulgent and read the next Harry Bosch, #22, the first with Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch. I've read the first Renée Ballard standalone so have already 'met' Renée.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

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