MarthaJeanne - Thoughts on books and other employments 2021

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MarthaJeanne - Thoughts on books and other employments 2021

Edited: Jan 2, 2021, 3:26am

As the Philharmoniker said earlier today, 'Prosit Neu Jahr'. We found the Neujahrskonzert rather different with no live audience.

The first book of the year is a rereading of The Masqueraders.

I also made progress on my hares, but they aren't really ready to be seen yet.

I am reading a catalogue of an exhibit on the Three Kings in Köln in 2015. Die Heiligen Drei Könige. I have also started Severed :a history of heads lost and heads found. Both are quite interesting.

Frustrating. I have actually had all three touchstones working at different times. Now they have worked in another message.

Edited: Jan 3, 2021, 6:05am

The bookshop of the broken hearted I got through it, but I didn't enjoy it.

BTW, Severed is, of course, somewhat gruesome. The antics of Western soldiers fighting the Japanese make for rough reading. But just when you think the three kings should be an antidote to that, a beautiful example of gold and silver sculpture comes up of someone being burned alive, flames and smoke and all. Or yet another depiction of the Holy Innocents being massacred in Bethlehem.

Jan 3, 2021, 6:57am

>3 MarthaJeanne: Duly warned on both. Thanks!

Jan 3, 2021, 3:25pm

Finished the three kings. This would have been a lovely exhibit to have seen.

Jan 3, 2021, 5:46pm

Oh! Images!?
Was there discussion about the kings’ names? I’ve always wondered where that came from.

Edited: Jan 3, 2021, 6:13pm

The pictures were wonderful - even the gruesome ones. The names weren't particularly discussed. Apparently they go back to about 500. You did see how some of the traditions developed. This is an exhibition catalogue, and the texts were basically just descriptions of the items. The exhibit was to celebrate 850 years since the bones of the three kings arrived in Köln. (Found by Helena, mother of Constantine. First in St Sophia, then moved to Milan, then to Köln.)

Most fun were the depictions of the three kings in a bed, wearing their crowns of course, while an angel warns them not to go back to Herod.

Back to the names. A refugee couple from Iraq (I think) converted to Christianity here in Vienna. They were baptized in the Methodist church. They were refused asylum on the grounds that they didn't know the names of the three kings, and therefore weren't real Christians.

Jan 3, 2021, 6:19pm

Let’s see if I can recall them
Melchior, Balthazar, Nebekadnezar
I think I’ve spelled the last one wrong.

Jan 3, 2021, 7:03pm

Yes, you spelled it wrong. Caspar.

Just finished A family Recipe She gets marked down. There are recipes at the back, but not the interesting ones mentioned in the book.

Edited: Jan 4, 2021, 12:32pm

I tried to read One charmed Christmas as an eBook. It was so bad I had to enter it to rate and review.

Jan 4, 2021, 1:42pm

>7 MarthaJeanne: oh, I'm going to say stupid. The names of the kings aren't even in the Bible.

Jan 4, 2021, 2:27pm

The asylum seeker knew that, but not the good Catholic civil servant.

Edited: Jan 5, 2021, 5:21am

While we're on the subject of the three kings, today or tomorrow they will come by and bless the house. Actually children from the local parish collecting for Caritas. They will replace the old blessing over the door with a new one. Here is the old one.

Does anyone care to guess what the letters are an abbreviation of?

Hint: No it's not the initials of the kings.

Edited: Jan 5, 2021, 6:01am

I had never heard of that tradition! How lovely!

Jan 5, 2021, 3:12pm

It's "Christus mansionem benedicat." Christ bless (this) house.

I really missed the yearly blessing when we lived in Geneva. They used to use chalk. Now they pass out clear stickers with the blessing printed on them. This year they are only saying their bit, and not singing.

Jan 5, 2021, 6:38pm

Severed : a history of heads lost and heads found was certainly an interesting book. Yes, gory at times. This seems to be more about heads kept. We tend to think about cut off heads being about other times and places. Larson leads us through how those distanced heads may not be as far away as we thought, right up to today's dissecting labs and the practice of freezing heads in the hope that someday it might be possible to resurrect the person.

Jan 6, 2021, 11:17am

>13 MarthaJeanne: Hint

What a great mnemonic for the Kingly names, though. And the Latin blessing.

Jan 6, 2021, 2:12pm

The holiday replacement today for the society and sport news was a cute short film about the American Jesuit who runs the Vatican observatory.

Jan 10, 2021, 8:42am

My most recent review:

Fake news. Lewis Carroll did not invent Humpty Dumpty. Do people really know the saying 'they know not what they do' in German from 60s film title, and not from Luke's passion?

Besides that, it is at best a list of factoids. Boring.

This is one for the paper recycling.

Wie kam der Sturm ins Wasserglas.

Jan 10, 2021, 3:55pm

Just finished An Unorthodox Match. I really like Naomi Ragen's books, and while I don't have any desire to become an observant Jew, I like the way Ragen makes living a religiously oriented life reasonable.

Jan 10, 2021, 4:19pm

>20 MarthaJeanne:. Hmmm. Is it more than a romance? Looks interesting.

Jan 10, 2021, 6:25pm

This takes place (mostly) within a very strict Orthodox Jewish community. While, yes, the two main characters do fall in love and marry, they do this very differently from a normal 'romance' novel. The main emphasis is how Leah works to fit herself into this community. I don't think I could do it, but it works for her.

I have given each Naomi Ragen book I have read 4 1/2 stars. This was my fourth.

Jan 15, 2021, 2:20pm

I've been working on How Green is My Valley , and while I see why people call it a classic, I find I am getting bored with only getting the male point of view. I've read a third of it, and am ready to quit.

Edited: Jan 16, 2021, 7:49am

Redhead by the side of the road Another short book that was hard to get through. The ending does not fit. (I guess I have not mentioned most of these ebooks here. I mostly didn't finish them. And when you can't force yourself to finish a 100-120 page book, it's pretty bad.

I got the sewing machine running again. Main problem seems to have been that the upper thread had jumped out of the proper loops. Cleaning the bobbin case of lots of lint probably didn't hurt, either. Now if my brain would just cooperate so that I sewed the right bits together the first try...

I've also got bread dough rising.

Jan 16, 2021, 6:34pm

You are reading, you are crafting, you are baking.

I am feeling a little inadequate in my activity levels, and yet feeling so very tired. Screens in 2020 really have done a job on me, and they are having their way in 2021 so far, too.

Jan 16, 2021, 6:55pm

>24 MarthaJeanne: That book is on my bookclub list. *sighs*

Edited: Jan 17, 2021, 5:02am

>26 lesmel: Some people like it. At least it is very short, and never gets obnoxious. I did finish it. The main character is OCD, almost certainly on the spectrum. I think one could have an interesting discussion about how to fit people like him into society. In his case, he has found a way of life that suits him and is useful to his community, that doesn't hurt anybody. That seems like a good base that we should all try for. It just gets very boring, page after page.

I've never joined a book club. Looked at their lists, remembered how much I hated book discussions in high school. Not my thing.

Edited: Jan 17, 2021, 8:54am

Hot to Trot was not what I expected, as I have read several of her historical novels. I was on the right track fairly early in the book.

Jan 17, 2021, 10:54am

>27 MarthaJeanne: If it wasn't for my bookclub, I'm pretty sure I'd be a recluse. I've met some really nice ladies through bookclub.

Edited: Jan 17, 2021, 4:46pm

The Pocket

Women used to wear tie-on pockets, generally under their skirts. This book is an academic study of them. I found it quite fascinating. It's not for everyone - no patterns to copy easily. Certain aspects get mentioned again and again. But if you like historical needlework, it's a different angle. BTW when discussing how long it took for this to die out, they forgot to mention the many patterns for bags to hold mobile phones that current needlework magazines like to carry.

Actually the subject is women's social history. But for me, when it comes to textiles, that is all mixed in with needlework.

Jan 17, 2021, 5:46pm

>30 MarthaJeanne: I just have to give you a hug for that last sentence. S’truth!

Edited: Jan 18, 2021, 8:50am

Well, I still have to add the four border strips, but the pieced squares are all on now.

This is hanging in the doorway to the terrace. Lighting is horrible, and you can see which end is supposed to be up.

Edited: Jan 18, 2021, 5:59pm

The new Zucchini book will be very useful next summer. We ate lots last year, and passed many more across the fence to our neighbors. (They got the bigger ones.)

Edited: Jan 18, 2021, 7:07pm

Is there a recipe for relish? I’m interested in trying another.

And love seeing your quilt. Was this meant as a sampler?

Jan 19, 2021, 3:03am

Yes, it's a sampler quilt, but I got tired of the fussy 6" size, so did the row of 12" to be able to do more complicated squares at a workable size.

No, there is a zucchini peach chutney. A zucchini mint jam.

Jan 19, 2021, 8:06am

>32 MarthaJeanne: Got the two side borders on.

Jan 19, 2021, 10:57am

And now the top and bottom. It keeps getting bigger.

We have 'booked' the church coffee corner for Thursday afternoon. Ideally I would finish a partially basted quilt AND baste this one, but that is certainly beyond my stamina. But I should have one basted quilt to work on. Only question is whether to fix the older one first or try to do this one correctly and completely.

Jan 19, 2021, 12:21pm

Do you hand quilt them?! Admirable

Edited: Jan 19, 2021, 12:46pm

Just looked at my thumbed reviews. 24 for 2020 (One with two thumbs) and already 3 this year. I wrote just over 200 reviews last year.

>38 2wonderY: Well, I am not set up to machine quilt them. My bird quilt was hand pieced, too. Both of these are mostly machine pieced. (A few of the sampler squares are wholly or partly hand pieced.) The older top is scrappy irregular hexagons, and would be very well suited to machine quilting, but - see above. With the sampler, I would like to add samples of various styles of quilting in some of the background squares, and each pieced square calls out for its own treatment, so machine just wouldn't do it.

Part of my questioning which basting to work on first has to do with wanting the older quilt done, to use. On the other hand the quilting on the newer one is more fun to work and gives me many more hours of creative needlework. This is a big quilt, over two meters top to bottom, and only 5" less side to side. More or less have to set up somewhere and just work there.

BTW I was working on the bird quilt away from home and got scolded. "You are doing that all wrong! You should not be doing that by hand. Patchwork is done by machine. I have a friend who does it, so I know!" My personal guess is that the friend would be impressed that I did it by hand.

Jan 20, 2021, 8:00am

I was part of a real live conversation today! I was at the fancy downtown supermarket for the first time since Christmas. I stopped to get a bottle of my favourite gin when another custom er was brought over by a salesman. We discussed a few unusual gins; with tropical fruits, blue turns pinks when mixed with tonic, ... I stood by my choice, which the salesman approved. (Should do, they did a lot of advertising for it several months ago.)

In fact, later I was told how delicate newly formed sausages are, which is why the fresh lamb sausages weren't on display yet.

We'll be having scallops with a vegetable pillau for supper.

Special gin, (also special tonic water), lamb sausage, scallops. These are some of the reasons why I like to shop at that store on occasion. Today it is sunny at 10°C, so I combined it with a walk through the fairly quiet streets of the first district. Normally I try to shop downtown once a week, but with most shops closed, it's not really appealing right now.

I need to iron the quilt top and back to prepare for tomorrow.

Jan 21, 2021, 1:00pm

Got the new top basted. I hope it's enough. We were there for 1 1/2 hours, and I did what is the minimum I think would work - but also the maximum I could work for, or maybe a bit more. I really had to push for the last little bit. The new pastor came down and chatted with us. With Jerry about the organ. It's still fairly well in tune for this time of year, but, of course it hasn't been played much over the past year. Then with me about the quilt. I gave him my LT URL. Who knows, maybe he will want to read things.

Jan 22, 2021, 7:18am

>39 MarthaJeanne: why do people feel it necessary to scold someone they don't know, over something that wouldn't matter if they'd not noticed it?

Whatever happened to MYOB? :rolling eyes:

Jan 22, 2021, 2:51pm

After some starting difficulties - basically that I didn't have the right colours of thread (have you ever tried to match threads on-line?) My quiltshop owner chose threads for me, and they work fine. - I have started quilting. This should keep me busy for the next few months.

Jan 22, 2021, 6:38pm

Do you quilt on a hoop? That’s how my husband’s grandma did it. Sadly, her daughter ran all the family quilts through a standard washing machine. I pulled up for a visit just as she was hanging the shreds out on the line.

Edited: Jan 23, 2021, 5:44am

Yes, with a big hoop.

Edited: Mar 12, 2021, 5:02pm

I quite enjoyed The Jane Austen society although it wasn't at all what I expected.

Jan 23, 2021, 5:48pm

>45 MarthaJeanne: That's lovely! Are those flying geese or prairie points?

Edited: Jan 24, 2021, 2:47am

I think they are supposed to be flying geese. Or perhaps flying giraffes.

Jan 24, 2021, 11:17am

I probably ought to be able to finish Die Nacht hinter uns. It is well written, maybe I should try again when I'm not feeling like there is nothing to look forward to.

Edited: Jan 25, 2021, 3:51am

Arik Brauer died last night. I feel very lucky that he published two new books recently. I have several books by him and/or about his art. For a long time, I haven't bothered with borrowing his books from the library; seeing a new one there was a sign that I needed to head for the bookstore. I loved his popular music from several decades ago before I got to know his art. His recent books have been more about the text than the illustrations. A Jud und keck a no, Wienerisch für Fortgeschrittene, Das Alte Testament erzählt von Arik Brauer

I met him once when I visited his home museum with a group. When his Haggadah (Brauer) came out I was able to see the original illustrations at the Jewish Museum. I also saw exhibitions of his art at the Dom Museum.

Brauer was one of the members of the Vienna School of Phantastic Realism. Ernst Fuchs, whose work I also like died in 2015. Brauer was the last of this group.

His last words were "Ich war so glücklich mit meiner Frau, mit meiner Familie, mit meiner Kunst und meinem Wienerwald. Aber es gibt eine Zeit, da lebt man, und es gibt zwei Ewigkeiten da existiert man nicht." I was so happy with my wife, with my family, with my art and my Vienna Woods. But there is a time, in which one lives, and there are two eternities in which one doesn't exist.

It is very hard to imagine him resting in peace, because he was always so vibrantly alive.

Jan 25, 2021, 4:54am

>50 MarthaJeanne: I just looked him up. Powerful images! Glad you pointed him out.

Edited: Jan 25, 2021, 5:46am

He was an agnostic, but a very Jewish one. So many of his painting were Biblically inspired. He painted the Tower of Babel again and again. Always worth comparing with Breugel's version that hangs in KHM, and he must have studied again and again. He also learned a lot from Bosch, whose Weltgerichtstriptychon is at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a student. This is not some isoteric influence, even I see the relationships at first glance.

You also have to look, and look again. There is so much detail in every painting.

Jan 25, 2021, 6:45am

Left Neglected is being dropped. I just so dislike Sarah's chosen lifestyle.

Edited: Jan 26, 2021, 2:17pm

>33 MarthaJeanne: We've now had two recipes from the Zucchini book. I liked both, Jerry was very enthusiastic about tonight's. And simple, at least if like me you 'cheat' and use ready made Gnocchi.

Gnocchi with shrimp and zucchini

You need to set your gnocchi water to heat up.

Now slice your zucchini into thin slices. Chop garlic. Your shrimp (peeled raw) should be defrosted.

Heat the garlic in a little olive oil. Now throw in the shrimp and a good glug of white wine. When the wine has boiled off throw in the zucchini. Keep stirring as you want the zucchini to cook, but not burn. At some point add a good grind of black pepper.

Once the water is boiling, throw the gnocchi in. Follow your package instructions, but normal is to remove them from the water once they come to the surface. Add the cooked gnocchi to the zucchini. I added a few ladle fulls of gnocchi water to stir up the brown bits in the pan.

Serve. It needed more pepper. I also sliced and added a mini avocado once I had turned the flame off. This had an amazing amount of flavour for something so simple. Jerry said he might have added bacon. I don't think it needed that, but he would add bacon to anything he wouldn't add cinnamon to. (He says he's not sure ANYTHING, but yes, that's pretty fair.)

I didn't take a picture, and now there's just an empty frying pan.

Oh, yes, the book had amounts, but I used the zucchini I had, a box of frozen shrimp we had, the package of gnocchi from the fridge...

Edited: Jan 27, 2021, 6:12am

Unlike the zucchini book, Erbse, the pea book from the same series, does not send me into the kitchen. I see that I have also not been enthusiastic about the other books I have by this author.

Edited: Jan 29, 2021, 5:36pm

Trying to read the ebook of Ottolenghi flavour? Too many pages have black drawings across the text. Sent it back to OverDrive.

Also having problems with The Sea Gate. I don't think I would recognize a human finger bone right off the bat. It kind of makes the whole story hard to believe. Ratings and reviews are very good, so I'll try a bit longer.

Edited: Jan 30, 2021, 12:00pm

Beach Town is a good read. I'm not going to manage a book a day this month.

But I did make progress on both the hares and a butterfly on the quilt today. Got to get cooking. Apple and Blutwurst in a potato dough strudel tonight.

Jan 31, 2021, 2:43pm

I'm really pleased at how the quilting is going.

BTW I am quilting in the ditch around each square with light blue. Sometimes I have trouble telling where I have already done it.

Jan 31, 2021, 6:34pm

Threw out Keeping my sisters' secrets Just tired of being bored after over 200 pages.

Feb 1, 2021, 11:43am

>59 MarthaJeanne: you have more patience than I.

Fifty pages is about my limit with a boring book, unless I'm familiar with the author and know it might take a little longer to get "going"...

Edited: Feb 2, 2021, 6:53am

Well, with three parallel stories it took me that long to figure out that I wasn't interested in any of them.

However, I have more books coming today. Books coming today!

Four fiction, two of those by writers I really like. And the fifth is a history of British baking. No guarantee I'll like them all, but it should tide me over until the bookstores and libraries open again next week.

I am soooooooo tired of lockdown. It's crazy, I don't go to cafés normally. But right now I just want to sit in a café with a cup of tea and a piece of Torte and watch the people go by. Maybe in March.

Edited: Feb 2, 2021, 9:09am

My books came! My books came!

Oh, and a lovely quote from Dominion, quoted there from The way of all flesh: The congregation 'would have been equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practised.'

Got to go, books to unpack and enter!

Feb 2, 2021, 9:56am

Joy to you! Hoping to hear about the British baking history.

Edited: Feb 2, 2021, 11:47am

Oats in the North, which I should not have begun reading, because I have already started two English nonfiction books (Dominion and Creating couture embellishment) looks really good. The author is Belgian, but an anglophile from childhood. Anyway, I like what she says about the difficulties of recreating a dish from the past. And the idea of all these British buns and such that I can bake the next few weeks is fun. We need refreshments, right?

One line in the introduction is 'Sometimes all you need is carbs.' Can't you just hear the early Beatles going full blast?

All you need is carbs.
Da da da da da!
All you need is carbs!
Carbs are all you need. (Carbs are all you need, carbs are all you need.)

Sorry, I think I have lockdown fever. It feels good to be enthusiastic about something.

Edited: Feb 2, 2021, 11:44am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 2, 2021, 11:45am

Ooh, feathers!

British buns sound Fab! (get it?). Will they require butter or cream? Will start churning.

Edited: Feb 3, 2021, 7:45am

>64 MarthaJeanne: I have improved the situation by finishing reading the cookbook.

Highly recommended, and now I want her Pride and Pudding as well.

I rather think that I might make English Muffins today.

ETA Yes, I found a package of sliced ham that needs using up. English muffins with ham and fried eggs would be a good supper. Maybe with ratatouille from the freezer.

And, yes, I know, but fried eggs are easier, and we both prefer fried eggs to poached eggs and hollandaise.

Edited: Feb 3, 2021, 5:41pm

This is a lot easier recipe than the one I used a few decades ago. Those were sourdough and I cooked them on the soapstone griddle on our wood stove. (More fit at once). I still have the griddle, but it won't fit properly on the gas stove. These are fine, but not as good as I remember those being. On the other hand, all done already. No overnight rise.

I made a double recipe, so half go in the freezer.

BTW, Jerry thought they were fine.

However the book ignored Lincolnshire plum cake. Doesn't matter. I have a very good recipe for that on a tea towel. Bought in Lincoln, of course. Our local friend checked both the recipe and the ingredients of the sample I bought. He said that too often other fruits are substituted for the plums. The recipe is very good with plums, but also very good, for example, with the Caribbean Fruit Mix my supermarket stocks. (Shh!)

Feb 3, 2021, 11:39pm

>67 MarthaJeanne: I love English Muffins. I make fried eggs for my salads. The yolk makes the most perfect dressing.

Edited: Feb 4, 2021, 3:49pm

Well, I forced myself to finish Woman Enters Left. I wrote a review to counteract all the 4 1/2 and 5 star reviews. I knew a lot more about the radium girls than show in this book. I recommended a recent book on the subject.

Feb 4, 2021, 4:09pm

Finished 99 Fragen an den Tod. This is a good book written by two experienced Palliative care experts. It is intended both for the person facing death, and for family and friends. Details are given for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Edited: Feb 5, 2021, 9:51am

We went out for a lockdown excursion. First the recycling centre. They closed it for our first lockdown, then discovered that people took the chance to sort stuff out and they were overwhelmed when they reopened.

Then there is an orchard with lots of good apples and other organic things on offer. In the winter only open Friday/Saturday. Important to catch them on the day.

And we then visited the mostly dead shopping centre for premade soup and take out sandwiches. This particular place makes small openface sandwiches on good rye bread with their special spreads. Jerry likes things like Tafelspitz (boiled beef with accompaniments), or salami. I go for the fishy things like Matjes without onion, or smoked salmon with horseradish. I also like the spicy egg. It was visible that stores expect to be somewhat open on Monday. Signs up how many customers can go in at once, and hares in the window instead of reindeer. If nothing else, I at least walked the length of the centre and back. That's called exercise. Oh, yes, I had also been out of the good Australian ginger ale.

Edited: Feb 7, 2021, 10:35am

A day or two ago I was in the kitchen. The dishwasher was running and I was toasting an English muffin. I got something out of the refrigerator, and as I closed the door the power went out. We decided that the short circuit was probably caused by crumbs in the toaster. It sits on top of the refrigerator, so closing the door must have bumped it. The dishwasher was a bit weird, but Jerry was able to get it reset.

Only it hasn't heated since. It is currently back to weird. New theory: the timing was chance. The short either in the heating unit or computer unit of the dishwasher. The manual doesn't have a hint on what to do if it stops heating. The dishwasher is now 12 years old, so it doesn't owe us anything. So do we call a repair service? Even just the first look will be expensive. Replacement parts may or may not be available, may take time, will not be cheap. Quite honestly, we could work up a good sized bill and still have a mess instead of a dishwasher. Never mind that if the dishwasher is pulled out the kitchen is useless. Stores are open again this week, and we have to be at the big shopping centre on Wednesday. Should we just shop for a new one? Or is that ecologically bad? If it were two or twenty years old there would be no problem.

Feb 7, 2021, 6:13pm

Jugendstil in Niederösterreich I hope we'll be able to visit some of these building later this year.

Feb 7, 2021, 6:47pm

>73 MarthaJeanne: Frustrating when either direction you take feels wrong.

Feb 8, 2021, 10:51am

I did go shopping. It felt so good!

At the bookstore I bought magazines (the one that was supposed to be on reserve wasn't there) and three books. The sentinel for Jerry, A Springtime Affair for me and Women don't owe you pretty because I love the title.

I also bought lebkuchen (some on sale). Expensive groceries - scallops for supper tonight. then decided I could handle the further walk. Actually by the time I got to the Schottenkirche I was rather regretting it, but I spent time in their shop - lavender soap and a book Sakrale Bauten in Wien. We had a discussion of the difficulties of wearing both glasses and masks. As I went to pay, they were busy removing front and back covers from a stack of liturgical calendars. These are nice, and I used to buy them many years. For each week there is a picture of some sort of religious art, as well as a short comment on the Sunday gospel.

They offered me a decovered one, and I gladly accepted. I've gone through the past weeks and met up with St Odilie, holding a chalice topped with a book and a pair of eyes. Interesting.

A minute ago it was snowing outside, but I'm safe and warm inside. Just entering my new books and eating lebkuchen.

Edited: Feb 9, 2021, 6:38am

The new dishwasher is coming on Friday. The one we first agreed on had a delivery date in May. But they had the next model up in stock. Guess what! We chose the more expensive one. Maybe the chip shortage? Anyway, doesn't matter. The new dishwasher is coming on Friday. They will bring it, install it, and take the old one away. We went to the local Miele centre where we have had good service before. Their stuff is very good. Not cheap, but then, we did no travelling last year. We haven't even eaten out much in the past year. We can at least make eating at home easier.

I can remember wanting their dishwasher last century some time. But at that point we were raising three kids, and the price difference was too big.

Feb 9, 2021, 6:47am

>77 MarthaJeanne: I'm a big believer in getting as good a product as one can afford, even if it's more expensive than one "can afford". Not having to spend time and money on fixing a cheaper product is a win-win for me.

Edited: Feb 9, 2021, 8:35am

The big thing for us right now is that we spent a total of 45 minutes from leaving the house to getting home again. We were greeted right away by a friendly salesman who listened to what we wanted. We know that the delivery and installation will also be competent and friendly. And should something not work, the repair people are also just around the corner.

Back in the day, I don't think the washer ever broke down until the very end, but the dryer did, and the company service people always did a good job, insisted on doing basic checks on the washer as well. So I trust the brand. I had those for about 20 years. Then we moved.

My current wash machine is coming up on 20 years. No problems. And it was a marked down one that had been the floor model. Drier is a Miele, too, since I had to replace the first one. And stove top and oven for the past few years. They assured me that I needed steam injection if I baked bread. I didn't really think so at the time, but now I can't imagine what I did without it.

I guess the bottom line is, I trust them. I feel really good about the decision.

Feb 9, 2021, 1:06pm

Jolene is not up to Lackey's normal standard. Also, my understanding is that y'all is a plural pronoun. Throughout this book it is used as singular you.

Feb 9, 2021, 2:43pm

Get a life, Chloe Brown got to me where I live. For all the weaknesses of the book, the author gave a very good portrayal of what it means to have the top reality of your life be pain.

Feb 9, 2021, 10:51pm

>80 MarthaJeanne: Ya'll or Y'all can be both plural and singular in the American South. At least, I've always used it both ways & most people I'm around have done the same.

Feb 10, 2021, 2:02pm

Creating couture embellishment is an amazing reference for different ways of decorating textiles.

However, there is no regard taken for how these garments could be cleaned and cared for. Things are sewn together without any regard to more than one use.

And most of the samples are just plain ugly. I don't have any problem returning it to the library.

Feb 10, 2021, 5:29pm

>82 lesmel:

I've noticed the same when visiting family in southern Ohio / northern Kentucky. It does strike me as odd when it's addressed just to me: "Y'all come back now!"

Edited: Feb 11, 2021, 9:29am

I hadn't read Delia's Cakes through when it arrived. Now I have. But what do I want to bake today? Or maybe wait until tomorrow when clean up will be easier. (see >77 MarthaJeanne:) Maybe one of the apple cakes.

And, No! I can't throw the old one (Book of Cakes) away. There are recipes I want in there that aren't in the new one.

I finished Something to Talk About earlier. Lesbian chicklit about Hollywood. Quite fun, actually.

Edited: Feb 14, 2021, 4:03pm

I'm enjoying Carrying Albert Home and find myself remembering Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand as another road trip that entertains, even as the whole thing gets more and more unbelievable.

ETA finished. This was so much fun!

Feb 15, 2021, 8:55am

Rückkehr nach Wien Almost done with this, but my thoughts don't fit a review.

Hilde Spiel as a socialist left Vienna as a young writer in 1936. She was able to advance her career in London, and in 1946 returned to Vienna as a journalist, in a British uniform. Her diary, kept in English, was later prepared for publication, but remained unpublished. In 1968 she translated it into German, and it was published.

My first reaction is how painful it is to read about how broken my beloved Vienna was at that time. While London also suffered in WWII, Vienna after the war was in very bad shape. Hilde Spiel, between her memories of Vienna as it had been and her knowledge of post war London was in a position to compare the situations. She also met with people she had known before the war and carried messages and packages to family of other Austrian exiles. In this way she spoke with a variety on individuals. As journalist she describes life quite unemotionally on the surface. This grabs me deeper than more emotionally charged writings.

The second reaction is to compare the current 'crisis' with the situation in 1946. While many businesses are losing out, and may collapse, at least today the buildings haven't collapsed. There are shortages of a few things, but the supermarkets are full of cheese. Even the cheese counter that can't sell me a favourite (Because of Brexit. We are working hard to find a new source.) is full of other cheeses. We couldn't buy door mats for weeks because of lockdown, but we knew that lockdown would end, and it has, and we had a big choice. It has been frustrating, but there is plenty of food, plenty of other ware, just not always just what I want right now.

Hilde Spiel is a very good writer, and I should probably try one of her novels.

Edited: Feb 17, 2021, 9:49am

Well, I now come to the end of Dominion. I enjoyed the earlier volumes of Peter Ackroyd's History of England. But this is at least 2/3 Victorian parlementary politics. I had no idea of it before, and no understanding of it now. I even went to the extent of reading The Importance of being Ernest in an attempt to understand at least some nonpolitical parts of this book, but I have to admit that I do not see the humour alleged.

I gave 2 stars to each of these books. I must be in a generous mood.

Feb 17, 2021, 2:44pm

Women don't owe you pretty ****

Pop self help for women. Nothing new, but we can all use reminders that it's OK to be good to ourselves and say f*** off to people who try to make us feel guilty about it. I wish I knew a young woman to pass this on to.

Feb 17, 2021, 7:29pm

>89 MarthaJeanne: I watch the 2002 film

before reading the book. I recommend it highly. It’s faithfully done and succeeds with the humor.

Edited: Feb 22, 2021, 10:19am

I'm not going to finish Kamala's Way. It's not so bad that I'd enter it to give a negative review and rating, but it's not interesting reading either. I've read more than a quarter of it. Wasted enough time.

Edited: Feb 26, 2021, 4:01am

Anxious people is a very peculiar book. At times I wasn't sure I wanted to finish it. I'm very glad I did.

Come to think of it, Jonas Jonasson is another Swedish author whose books are very weird and wonderful.

Feb 26, 2021, 4:02am

The people on Privilege Hill and other stories

This is a collection of exquisitely crafted short fiction. Calling them stories doesn't feel quite right.

I gave it 4 1/2 stars. My ebook (from OverDrive) had no publishing information. Very strange.

Edited: Feb 28, 2021, 4:03pm

I'm working on a sort of woven mosaic afghan. The final picture will be 20x15 squares. Nominally 4", but after washing 9cm. It's growing rapidly, until I realized that I don't have enough yarn of one of the colours. Luckily the wool is still available. I'll buy some later this week, but having to spin it will slow me down.

So far I love the feel of the fabric I have sewn together.

You can see that this is the bottom of a sea horse, can't you?

When I'm done I might back it with a light woollen fabric, tying at the corners. Or I might not.

So far I've been able to do about two rows a week. BTW the two major yarns are 80% merino, 20% silk. That's why it feels so lovely.

Yes, I know. I'm supposed to work on the hares and the quilt now and again, too. But they both require a fair amount of concentration, and weaving the squares is fairly mindless, which I seem to need right now.

Feb 28, 2021, 4:31pm

Feb 28, 2021, 4:50pm

I can see the silk sheen in the brown squares. Luscious, I bet.

Mar 1, 2021, 9:14am

Von Zeitlupensymphonien und Marzipantragödien

A Polish immigrant falls in love with Vienna. 4 1/2 stars.

Mar 1, 2021, 5:32pm

>94 MarthaJeanne: It's been a bad day. Do you know how difficult it is to unsew an overcast seam sewn with the same yarn the two fabrics were woven out of?

The seahorse is actually a sort of dark 'old rose'. Ashford calls it Mulberry. I hope I can pick up more tomorrow or Wednesday.

Mar 2, 2021, 6:14am

Die Farben und Gesichter Indiens : Colours and Faces of India

The photography is really impressive. The texts are not. Luckily they are few and short.

Mar 5, 2021, 3:47pm

The hitman's guide to housecleaning was neither as funny nor as Icelandic as I had hoped.

Edited: Mar 7, 2021, 8:40am

>100 MarthaJeanne: I love the I Hate to Housekeep Book, which is funny as well as helpful. Oh, it's dated but not annoyingly so.

I also appreciated Sixpence in Her Shoe

Mar 7, 2021, 10:59am

>101 fuzzi: This is not about housecleaning. It is about a Croatian hitman in New York whose last job turns out to have been an FBI agent, At the airport the feds are closing in on him, so he kills someone in the men's room, and changes places with him, which is how he ends up in Reykjavik, hosted by religious broadcasters...

Mar 9, 2021, 5:51pm

Die Gräfin Cosel Interesting biographie of a fasnating woman. For all the good it did her.

Mar 11, 2021, 1:01pm

Guess I'm madly cooking for the freezer tonight and tomorrow. A few days ago I defrosted the small freezer on the ground floor. This afternoon I realized that I had never turned it back on. Well, I'm impressed at how well the thing is insulated. Some things were even still a bit icy. I've now sorted through, discarding a lot of stuff that should have been eaten a long time ago.

So far I have

Chopped and cooked the Italian sausage we use in spaghetti sauce. Goes back in the freezer.

Marinated hare, rabbit and lamb to be cooked together tomorrow.

Stuck potato wedges, fresh veggies, and various seafood in the oven. This is dinner.

Still to do:

Saute chopped onions and ground beef to make meal bases. Tonight, I hope.

Sausage stew.

It would have been easier to turn the freezer back on.

Edited: Mar 11, 2021, 4:01pm

4 packs of beef and veggie gravy in the freezer now. (I threw in all sorts of veggies in the end.)

Sausage stew and jugged hare etc. to do tomorrow.

Drat! I missed a bag of shrimps.

Mar 11, 2021, 7:56pm

Oh, too bad! Hate to waste shrimp.

Mar 12, 2021, 2:39pm

Can I also claim to be a Bad feminist? I really enjoyed the parts of the book that I could follow. Unfortunately (or maybe not) I am missing big hunks of US popular culture that she assumes.

Edited: Mar 12, 2021, 4:48pm

Jugged hare waiting to be bagged up for the freezer.
ETA In freezer.

Cooked chicken and a bag of spinach combined with slightly over their dates puff pastry and feta from the refrigerator for supper.

Sausage stew will have to wait for tomorrow. My excuse is that the big pot was dirty from yesterday. Or maybe just that I ran out of steam.

Mar 12, 2021, 3:22pm

You’re cooking with steam? How punk!

Mar 12, 2021, 3:37pm

No, not today. I do bake with steam. When we bought the new stove they insisted that I needed an oven with steam if I bake bread. I didn't really believe them at the time, but they were right.

Edited: Mar 12, 2021, 4:58pm

>94 MarthaJeanne: The next group of squares is in the wash machine. I hope I can stay awake long enough to lay them out to dry.

Needing the mulberry squares, and needing spun wool to weave them is adding stress, but I seem to have the spinning going smoothly now. Maybe the next plying will go better. Next day or two will be mostly sewing - and spinning.

On another front, the library now has four holds ready for me. However, I just barely have four books ready to go back, so I'd also like some reading time before Monday. Cooking and needlework are all very well and good, but they interfere with reading time.

Edited: Mar 13, 2021, 3:41pm

Oh, spit! I must have counted wrong in the first row of my afghan. I have 14 columns, not 15. Obviously this makes the pattern not fit right. I am adjusting it rather than take large sections apart. I can't say that I am totally unhappy at needing 20 fewer squares than I expected.

I have just put 6 bags of sausage stew in the freezer. That makes 14 meals more or less ready to serve. Plus Italian sausage to add to a few batches of purchased pasta sauce. Tonight was also the third and last meal based on the defrosted stuff. I feel pleased with the final result.

Mar 13, 2021, 3:37pm

You saved the days!

I always sleep with my feet outside the covers anyway 🤗

Edited: Mar 13, 2021, 3:50pm

Just measured. Width is 137 cm. 54" Based on that the length will be close to 2 meters. 76-77". Plenty big enough. I'll have to crochet around the whole thing, but just a minimal border. Nothing fancy. Still wondering if I want to line it either with a thin wool or maybe silk. Might depend on what I can find at Komolka.

Mar 13, 2021, 4:07pm

I just can't help thinking that things would be easier if I did things right to begin with.

Mar 13, 2021, 4:24pm

But not nearly as interesting

Mar 13, 2021, 4:26pm

"It's an adventure!"

But I've always felt that adventures were overrated.

Mar 13, 2021, 7:05pm

>116 2wonderY: I can do without much "interesting"...

Mar 13, 2021, 9:46pm

>115 MarthaJeanne: Amen to that. That's been my motto for this entire bird quilt project I've been hating.

Mar 14, 2021, 7:10pm

I don't hate this project, or even the other projects I've put on hold. I just get tired of fixing things that I should have done right to begin with.

Anyway, I have now finished sewing the bottom half of the sea horse together. Tomorrow I will start plying the next skein of mulberry. I have a good amount on the spindles, and actually a good number of finished squares for the next few rows. Not enough, but once I have the yarn, weaving what I need will be fairly easy.

Mar 15, 2021, 11:08am

I will be baking blueberry pound cake in a bit. To celebrate my Thingaversary tomorrow.

Mar 16, 2021, 10:15am

Yesterday we left the house for a few hours. Part of the time the neighbor's garage roof was being taken apart.

We first went to the art store for a new frame. I also browsed the book area. I saw a big book on Indian textiles that looked too expensive to open. Then we went to the library, and I saw the same book on display at the art information desk. Oooo! So it came home with me. Der Zauber Indiens After reading the introductionI decided I needed to own the English original. It helps that that costs €20 less than the German on So it's on order now. Supposed to arrive Monday.

Avalon Fotheringham is the South Asian Textile curator at V&A, and this isn't just pretty pictures of Indian Textiles, (which is what I expected, and would have really enjoyed) but she goes into all sorts of detail of how these textiles were created.

Mar 16, 2021, 10:20am

This user has been removed as spam.

Mar 16, 2021, 11:38am

I would have brought it home too, but only as a borrow.

Mar 16, 2021, 12:53pm

Did you know that I lived in India for four years as a child? The combination of a really good textile books and India is very strong temptation. I have a lot of just 'pretty' India books. Or fiction about India or...

Mar 16, 2021, 5:36pm

Yes. I envy your world citizen status. I’ve been as far as Canada twice. I have had to gather luscious fabrics through second hand methods.
The wife of an Indian doctor cleaned out her closet for a local fundraising event and I was able to acquire some salwar kameez suits that are so elegant. It was serendipity that I was her size.

Mar 17, 2021, 7:44pm

I can certainly recommend A Kentish lad to anyone looking for a good autobiography.

Mar 17, 2021, 7:47pm

>127 MarthaJeanne: Is that a new title? My library doesn’t list it.

Mar 17, 2021, 8:00pm

copyright 1997. and very British.

Mar 17, 2021, 8:10pm


Edited: Mar 18, 2021, 10:52am

My first Amazon package arrived. Read 101 Itty Bitty Celebrations right off, and will enjoy using my supples to make similar items. I will pass on using lots of fusible web.

The package also includes Der Paradiesvogel which I had owned, but gave away, then realized I really love. I had to read this one right away, too. Ruth, you would enjoy reading this (in English) to T. It's by the author of The Rainbow Fish. "It's time to PARTY!"

And two books by N T Wright: Broken Signposts and Paul : a Biography. These two are longer, so won't get read today.

The other half of the order is listed as arriving on Monday.

Mar 18, 2021, 11:30am

>131 MarthaJeanne: I will definitely check that one out!

Mar 18, 2021, 11:52am

I want it be very clear that I don't think either one of you is likely to sit on a branch complaining that life is boring.

Mar 18, 2021, 2:25pm

True. But we’re still slackers compared to you.

Mar 18, 2021, 3:30pm

I finally forced myself to do some ironing this afternoon. Now I have nice shirts to wear again.

Anyway I pulled the Sense and Sensibility DVD out of my big BBC Jane Austen set. To my great surprise, it is not the version I know. Do not like! Now I feel I need to finish watching this, find the other one and watch it. (Yes, there is probably enough in the ironing basket for this.) And then pull the book down to read.

Mar 18, 2021, 5:06pm

I just wrote a nasty review of A Duke Too Far. I get so sick of 'Regency' novels that compare themselves to Georgette Heyer. She really studied the period.

Mar 19, 2021, 9:58am

I bought several new books today while I was downtown. Five at two bookstores. Add that to the seven books in the Amazon order and the book I bought at DZ, and I've almost done my Thingaversary stack this week.

Actually, I think it has a lot more to do with the way they are threatening another lockdown if the numbers don't improve soon. (They are actually getting worse every day.) I get panicky at the thought of bookstores and libraries closing again.

Just this morning I was telling Jerry how much I want to lie down on the floor and have a real toddler temper tantrum about wanting a life again. Won't actually do it, I don't think, but I do think about it.

I don't really need these books, but I will probably enjoy them. I guess that's worth something.

Mar 19, 2021, 4:25pm

Finished To say nothing of the dog. Very chaotic. It does somehow work, but I would not recommend this as a first Connie Willis read. You really need faith that she knows where she is going.

Edited: Mar 19, 2021, 5:45pm

>138 MarthaJeanne:. I may have to re-visit that one. I read it before having read Three Men in a Boat.

Edited: Mar 19, 2021, 6:19pm

I haven't read Three men in a boat. I think I may have started it once.

Mar 19, 2021, 6:17pm

With your experience canal house boating, you may get an extra kick from it; or just find it annoying.

Mar 20, 2021, 5:33am

The other Amazon package arrived. According to the online tracking it's still bouncing around Germany somewhere, and will arrive on Monday. Since this package includes Pride and Pudding, (>67 MarthaJeanne:) the English copy of The Indian Textile Sourcebook and The Stone Mason which I wanted to read a year ago but made myself wait for the paperback, I'm really pleased to see it.

Edited: Mar 21, 2021, 6:32pm

The Ruins of Isis
I hadn't read this for a long time. The whole female/male thing is overdone, but perhaps it has to be to get people thinking.

Mar 22, 2021, 6:23am

I'm sitting here wrapped up warm and cosy in my seahorse. Well, part of a sea horse. By the end of today I should have 12 of 20 rows done.

The added spinning isn't too much of a burden. I try to spin a length or two every time I change occupation. However the plying takes me away from other activities. Yesterday morning I plied, then finished the yarn (mild washing to just felt enough to make the yarn belong together). It dried enough that I could finish weaving enough squares for these two rows. The woven squares go into bags to go through the wool cycle of my wash machine. Again this finishing step changes the raw weave into cloth. The squares dried over night, so I can sew today.

Mar 22, 2021, 8:33am

Still here, lurking, reading, enjoying.

The closest I've ever come to weaving was making potholders on a little metal frame, as a child...oh, and trying to make a lattice top crust for my mincemeat pies every holiday season!

Edited: Mar 22, 2021, 9:37am

Well, this is a little plastic frame with metal pins. Not much more sophisticated than those potholder looms, just more expensive.

The big difference is that it is intended to use with yarn, and not those loop things.

Mar 22, 2021, 10:17am

>146 MarthaJeanne: here's a frame like the one I used when I was a child:

Mar 22, 2021, 10:46am

Yes, I remember those.

Mar 22, 2021, 5:24pm

Mar 22, 2021, 9:00pm

Edited: Mar 23, 2021, 7:27am

Gave up on Rules for being a girl. I read the other reviews, and maybe I should have tried longer, but it wasn't well enough written to pull me in.

Mar 23, 2021, 10:39am

Since then, I have also given up on Andernorts and The only Story.

Mar 23, 2021, 12:36pm

I think I will still finish 'Inward and outward health', but see my review.

Mar 24, 2021, 3:07pm

>153 MarthaJeanne: I asked the Methodist pastor if he would like it, and so I can discard it with a good conscience.

In further news, I plied 26g of the mulberry yarn today. Wash it and hang it up, and I'm good to weave for several days.

Went to the library today, mostly to pick up holds. Downtown tomorrow. I think things stay open now until next Thursday, but the Covid numbers are climbing from day to day. Maundy Thursday through Easter Tuesday almost all stores will be closed. Schools are back to at least a week of distance learning after Easter.

Edited: Mar 25, 2021, 4:35am

Little Free Library is a very, very cute fantasy story about (guess).

Anyone with a LFL should read it, and most other people, too.

Note: It is quite short. I got it from OverDrive.

Mar 25, 2021, 11:59am

Katie Fforde is always good, but A Springtime Affair is one of the even better ones.

Mar 25, 2021, 6:54pm

>154 MarthaJeanne: Finished. Put aside to pass on.

Mar 26, 2021, 3:12pm

We spent part of the afternoon at Schlossinsel. It was their first day of the season. Not much is out yet. Just a few very lethargic turtles. I sat at a picnic table and did a little spinning and weaving. At least a change of venue, if not of occupation.

They exchanged sheep, in the hope that the new ram ('He's very shy') will stay behind the fence.

Mar 27, 2021, 6:25am

I tried to read Die Pest in Wien but the author's idea of historical detail is everything stank. When the locusts came they died in big heaps that stank. When plague victims lay around dead in the streets they stank. Of course those same streets stank even before the corpses were left lying around. Probably all true, but it doesn't need to be repeated over and over.

It's basically poor writing. There seems to have been a lot of good research, but detail after detail of how various Italian cities dealt with the plague in various times hardly fit the theme of the book. Less can sometimes be more.

Mar 29, 2021, 12:11pm

Up until the last few chapters I quite enjoyed A handful of dust But then it got very weird.

Edited: Mar 30, 2021, 4:17am

Not that Bad is powerful stuff.

Edited: Mar 30, 2021, 5:57pm

Oh! I like this! I'm reading Die vierzig Gleichnisse Jesu (Jesus' 40 parables).

"Jesus hält sich nicht an Gattungsdefinitionen, die Exegeten erfunden haben, damit sie ihre Texte besser klassifizieren können."
Jesus doesn't keep himself to the genre definitions that exegetes invented to make classifying their texts easier.

I don't always agree with Gerhard Lohfink - that would be boring. I often think he misses important points. But certainly his thoughts on the parables are interesting and thought provoking. It's also fun watching him dissect other interpretations.

Edited: Mar 31, 2021, 5:48am

If you need to be reminded that it could be so much worse: The pull of the stars is about a nurse/midwife caring for very pregnant patients with influenza for three days in Dublin, 1918. This is very well written. For all the horrible things that are going on, the book never stops hope.

I highly recommend it.

Mar 31, 2021, 3:42pm

I borrowed More five-minute writing from the library yesterday and just spent more than five minutes making up silly sentences scrutinising surprising speculations. Today's theme was alliteration.

May 11, 2021, 6:46am

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I recently read A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende. It opened my eyes to a new world. It came as a recommendation from my nephew's writing class. Interestingly many students, he tells me, routinely use a writing too to help them with their writing. I suppose it was especially helpful when educational institutions were closed because of the Covid-19 situation.

May 11, 2021, 7:00am

>165 zo_ey: Please don't spam my topic with your cheating site ad. Yuck! That is disgusting, dishonest, and just downright dirty.