Friday, December 29, 2017

Of Ink Spots, airline road, and china

A trip today on the back roads to Ila, and The Special Store, is a swooping, soaring ride at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It made me think of my favorite ride of all time, The Airline Road, Route 9, in northern Maine.

It is not named for airplanes, as the road was first surveyed in 1797, and began to be used more heavily in the mid 1800s when the stage came through. It is specifically a segment of Route 9 from Bangor to Calais.
The leg from Bangor to Calais is often referred to as "The Airline" commonly thought to be due to its shorter route than the older U.S. 1. (Before the coming of air travel, the term airline often referred to such a shortcut.)  Wikipedia

However, the local legend is that it's called The Airline Road because of the geography. As you drive, the elevation is a little higher, and the vistas are sweeping over the blueberry barrens, glacial fields, pine forests. It feels as though you are flying at low altitude over the tree tops, soaring and swooping with the eagles. It's incredible.

When you handle a good machine, it feels great. I was driving a VW Passat. It's built like a tank, meaning solidly. It traverses the bumps as if they were pillows, and the interior is practically sound proof. I was singing to my music and enjoying the Georgia scenery, as well as liking the handling of the car.

Is there any better feeling, of being free and unencumbered, on vacation, driving and singing, on a sunny day?

My journey took me to The Special Store. I've mentioned this place before. They buy from estate sales and then resell, but seemingly for pennies. The prices are incredible and the quality of the items is astounding. It's a bargain hunter's dream come true. It's like a treasure hunt inside of a museum, but you get to take home the cool stuff you find.

Speaking of taking home, this is the stuff I got today:

Aynsley fine English Bone China is among the best to collect. It's a good name. I thought the gold was elegant. From
The name "Aynsley" has been connected with English bone china tableware, giftware and commemorative items since it was founded in 1775 by John Aynsley dans le Staffordshire.  The company is one of the last remaining manufacturers of bone china in Stoke-on-Trent, the historic centre for the production of English bone china.
Over the last 200 plus years Aynsley grew into a well-respected china company that was commissioned by royalty and that exports china to over 70 countries. Although modernisation changed many working practices in Stoke-on-Trent, Aynsley kept the traditional method of throwing and painting china by hand.

The proprietor told me the book published in 1982, run with the horsemen, was by a local man, by Ferrol Sams, who went to Emory and is now a doctor. It's a coming of age memoir of growing up in Middle Georgia. She's read his works before and recommended them. So I picked it up. It has good reviews on Amazon and from the NY Times also. I got the Hibbert book because I love King Arthur.

Ahrenfeldt is one of the factories that made Limoges fine bone china. Charles Ahrenfeldt was active under this particular mark, from 1890 to 1930.

I haven't researched the history of this pattern, so I don't know why the double handle. Yet. It's so elegant though.

My car has a cassette player and a CD player. I got "30 years of No. 1 Country Hits", the "Ink Spots", and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". Also Gospel/Contemporary music by Phillips, Craig, & Dean, and the Mamas & the Papas. I used to listen to them on the radio when they first came out. Oy I'm old. The teacups and saucers were $3.15 each.

If you don't know of The Ink Spots, here is from
The Ink Spots were a popular African-American vocal group who gained international fame in the 1930s and 1940s. Best known for their recordings of Pop ballads, The Ink Spots were frequent chart toppers totaling over 50 hits in their 17 year recording career. Their best selling record "If I Didn't Care" sold over 19 million copies and is currently the 7th best selling single of all time. Bill Kenny (leader) disbanded The Ink Spots in 1954 however many spin-off or imposter groups have been performing and recording ever since. 
The proprietor and I reminisced about when music was music, the radio station had an actual DJ you could call and ask for some particular piece of music, do dedications, and the people's interest and votes made the songs climb the charts, not a corporate robot DJ with a shove down your throat song list. Oy, I sound like a grouchy old lady. "In my day sonny boy..."

The car I'm driving has a terrific sound system and I played Mamas/Papas all the way home.

The music was 50 cents apiece.

It's a retro 1960s glass vase, hand blown.

Still life, with vase:

So that was my day. I'm now having orange spice tea from the Aynsley cup and about to start the Sams book.

Have a good weekend and Happy New Year everyone.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Using what you already have

I collect books. I read them. I look at them. I use them as reference. I love books. I always have.

I live in a small apartment. I am committed to tiny living and low consumerism. It's about 400 sf or so, and I like to keep it uncluttered.

These two lifestyle facts conflict, lol. Accumulating books and living small and uncluttered don't really go together. I have no problem letting go any item, dish, clothing, or furniture, except books. I tend to hang on to those.

The key to living tiny is to make intentional and considered decisions about what I allow to come into the house. Good reference books are expensive, and building a theological library takes time and money- and space.

So when a friend sent me some hefty theological tomes, I was ecstatic! However, the problem that presented itself was, where to put them? My bookcases are officially full, and I even have a couple of 'piles' artfully arranged on the coffee table and the end table. Anymore and it'd be clutter. Buying another bookcase is not in the cards financially, and I really don't have space. Letting some books go isn't in the cards either. When I moved here (ten years ago) I reduced my library by half. The books I have now are books I want.

What to do?

In keeping with the tiny house style of thinking, and adhering to my commitment not to run out and just buy my solutions, it's important to be intentional and mindful, as I mentioned before. It's also important to be creative. When you look at a piece of furniture or another item, see its potential uses apart from its intended use. A tray can become an end table top. Or a picture frame. I call this "Use what you have."

Everyone has stuff they can repurpose. Stuff in the garage on a shelf that can be put to use. Something under the sink that will solve the problem. An unused piece of furniture stashed in a corner, that with just a bit of creativity can be used in a new way. I've written about the bureau that I use as a major piece of furniture in my living room as a storage solution. And the yard sale find of the end table with a hole in the top that with a piece of marble at the same yard sale being sold as a cutting board, laid atop the table makes it new- and classy.

In searching for a solution to the 'where to put these books' conundrum, I didn't want a large bookcase. I really don't have room. So I thought and pondered and thought, and when I went outside to enjoy the sunrise this morning, I saw the solution.

The plant stand. AKA the CD tower. Now the Bookcase.

A few years ago I'd found what was billed as a CD  tower at a yard sale. I bought it and thought the wrought iron look would go well with my outdoor furniture. There was a large hanging plant hook outside my door. I hung it there and put plants on it. Voila.

I took the plants off and put them on the Farmer's Table and took the CD tower/Plant stand inside.

I had some room next to my leather chair in the bedroom. It isn't far from the small sofa end table that has some of my books, and the main bookcase that holds most of them. It doesn't take up a lot of room, actual room or eye-room.


Guaranteed, any small storage problem you have, any minor irritation you experience in daily home living (like, where can I put all my belts? How can I display my teacups? This vacuum is always in my way!) can be solved by a little imagination and by using what you already have.

Further Reading

HGTV is practical as always:
Reusing everyday items for a more organized home

Bored Panda is outlandish but fun:
30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff

Some of these are creatively genius!
50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas carols, what does *that* mean? #3: Noël

I'm doing a short series on unknown lyrics in Christmas songs and hymns. I wrote about "bells on bob tails ring" from Jingle Bells, and then "We three kings of Orient are..." and focused on the Orient mentioned in the song.

Someone asked me recently when I mentioned I'm doing this series, what does "Noel" mean. The song "The First Noel" is explained from Wikipedia:
[It] is a traditional classical English Christmas carol, most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier. Noel is an Early Modern English synonym of "Christmas".

The First Noel is of Cornish origin. Its current form was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833).

The Annunciation to the shepherds and the Adoration of the shepherds are episodes in the Nativity of Jesus described in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2). The Star of Bethlehem appears in the story of the Magi (the Wise Men) in the Gospel of Matthew; it does not appear in the story of the shepherds.
The song seems to go even earlier than that, as titled The First Nowell, here explained,
Words & Music: Traditional English carol of the 16th or 17th century, but possibly dating from as early as the 13th Century. This combination of tune and lyrics first appeared in the early 1800s.
This interesting and deeper history of carols in general and The First Noel in particular, is explained here at History of Hymns site published by a UMC site:
The second question is, "What does ‘noel’ mean?" "Nowell," the English transliteration, comes from the old French "nouel," which is now written in modern French as "noël." The derivation of this word probably comes from the earlier Latin term "natalis," relating to a birth.
I had this misconception too, that noel was from the French. So I'm glad my friend asked me:
The First Noel is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be English dating back to the sixteenth century. There is a misconception that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell. After England was captured by the Normans numerous words were adopted from the Norman French language and Noel was re-spelt as Nowell, early printed versions of this carol use the Nowell spelling. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.

Here is a rendition of The First Noel that I like. Hope you do too... Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A good (birth)day

It is cold here in north Georgia this morning but the day is bright and it's filled with nice scenes of yards with Christmas lights and upcoming Christmas break at home for two weeks. So all is well.

Here is my yard. The neighbors on the other side of the house put up the outside decorations. I put the brightest light I had in the front window, it shows to the street.

This morning I'm cooking my weekly things. On the menu this week will be

Vegetable soup with rice
Green bean and tofu salad
Quinoa salad
Roasted orange peppers
Roasted broccoli
Crock pot baked potatoes

Putting washed potatoes in the crock pot with a little water and opening the thing two hours later is the easiest way I've ever found to get a bunch of potatoes done. They come out soooo soft! I store them in the fridge all week and use them in soup or home fries or just cold as a snack.

I'm listening to RC Sproul's RefNet music and sermons. He died this week. I have taken two classes from him at Ligonier Connect online. The Recovering the Beauty of the Arts and Knowing Scripture. I've also read a few of his books, and I have more on Kindle waiting for me to read them. Of course I love, which blesses me very time I turn to the channel online. I think that is my favorite contribution to the faith that Sproul made. Though I've engaged with him in the virtual world, he hasn't had a huge effect on me, I didn't think. But his passing the other day brought more sadness to my heart than I thought would be there. He was a good warrior of the faith and he taught many people about God and His holiness. He was a stalwart friend to fellow theologians. For that I thank him. He is glorified now and with the Lord. Amen that Jesus gave us a future!

We have two and a half more days of school. It's kind of good we have these orphaned days. We have time to do some fun things without interrupting the academics. There fun things coming up are a school-wide pajama day, school movie, classroom Christmas party, an awards assembly...and of course enjoying the kids' excitement for Christmas and the shenanigans of the Elf on the Shelf.

We get two weeks off. I plan to cook, read, nap, and study. Nothing too different, than always, lol. I bought a book on living by the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, The Gospel According to Jesus (finish the last chapters), a book on Winston Churchill a lovely young friend gave me, and a book called, Main-Travelled Roads, a collection of short stories by the American author Hamlin Garland. First published in 1891 it recounts agrarian life in the upper midwest at that time.

I also plan to catch up on the past lesson of MacArthur's Biblical Doctrine I'm going through with a Facebook Group that I haven't done yet. Of course church and family group and Bible Discussion group will be great too.

If things work out I will go around and take photos of our lovely county. The kitties will get some snuggles, too. It's a quiet life, but I've had enough adventure, travel, and excitement to last a lifetime. I ready for quiet, relaxing, and private.

I am pleased to see that the cardinals, which disappeared from my yard a couple of years ago, are back. Yay. There is a bird tweeting heartily now, outside my window. How pleasurable!

I used to listen to this song a lot before I was saved. I thought it was sweet and relaxing. Simple and kind. I did used to wonder how a person could not worry about every little thing, and if every little thing could really be all right. After salvation I know the answer. Jesus takes care of us, and no matter the circumstances, harsh or gentle, cold or warm, high or low, every little thing WILL be all right.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Matthew 6:26

Have a good weekend and week ahead everyone.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Carols: What does that mean? #2- We three kings from...the Orient?

I was always confused by the line in the Christmas song We Three Kings which said they were from the Orient.

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

The Christmas carol was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1857. We truly do not know how many kings visited Jesus in His nativity nor for certain what country of origin from which they traveled. Traditions says Persia.

However since the scripture in Matthew 2:1 says they traveled from the east, then since the east in that time up to now has been called the Orient, then, the Orient it is.

I'd always thought the Orient meant Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, etc. Isn't that the Orient? Is Persia, Syria, or even India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan the orient? Yes, and no. According to Wikipedia,

The Orient is the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe.
The term "Orient" derives from the Latin word oriens meaning "east". ... Also, many ancient temples, including pagan temples and the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. This tradition was carried on in Christian churches. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something was facing the correct direction, it was said to be in the proper orientation. (Source)
The Easton Bible Dictionary defines biblical use of east,
The orient (mizrah); the rising of the sun. Thus "the east country" is the country lying to the east of Syria, the Elymais (Zechariah 8:7).
(2). Properly what is in front of one, or a country that is before or in front of another; the rendering of the word kedem . In pointing out the quarters, a Hebrew always looked with his face toward the east. The word kedem is used when the four quarters of the world are described (Genesis 13:14 ; 28:14); and mizrah when the east only is distinguished from the west ( Joshua 11:3 ; Psalms 50:1 ; 103:12 , etc.). In Genesis 25:6 "eastward" is literally "unto the land of kedem;" i.e., the lands lying east of Palestine, namely, Arabia, Mesopotamia, etc.
Whether you are from the Orient or the Occident, we celebrate the Savior's birth who threw away our sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Carols: What does that mean? #1 Bells on bobtails ring

I love Christmas carols, hymns, and songs. Many of them were written a long time ago. I find myself singing lyrics I have no idea what they mean. So I decided to do a series on those lyrics that reference things that are firmly in the past, gone by, or just something we don't know anymore!

Let's start with Jingle Bells. It has a lot of stanzas but we all sing just the first one and the refrain.

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

This is a one horse open sleigh. I'm in it on the right. It was small, tippy, bumpy, and cold! It made me grateful for my enclosed car with heat and springs.

The bells that jingled were the old fashioned alarm system. In places where the commute was by sleigh, there was usually a lot of snow. The snowbanks get to be piled high and restrict line of sight. To prevent sleigh collisions, the bells were placed on the horses to alert pedestrians and other sleighs in the vicinity.

jingle bells!
But what are bells on bobtails?

It was the style back along to bob a horse's tail either to tie it back so it looks shorter, or to actually bob (or cut) the tail. Shorter hair on the tail helped keep it from waving in the driver's face. The bells on bobtails ring are the bells on bobtail horses ringing.

So that's that! Stay tuned for the next "What does THAT mean?"

Friday, December 08, 2017

Winter Weather Outside but Cozy Conditions inside

The weather outside is the worst kind, a near-freezing rain, cold, and blustery. But inside, there's Lavender honey tea in a federal Shape Syracuse China cup, and two homemade butter cookies on a Duchess patterned Tuscan bone china plate, twinkling lights, and cozy clothes! Frightful out, Delightful in!

There is actually some serious weather going on in other parts of Georgia and also elsewhere in the south. Accumulating snow is happening in areas that very rarely gets it.

The neighboring county, Oconee County GA Sheriff's Department put up one of their typically funny posts on Facebook yesterday, in advance of the snow. It's snowing lightly in a few fringe areas of our county now, and friends are putting up pretty photos of their tots outside enjoying the strange white stuff from the sky. Most people around here though, just go bananas. Read the Sheriff's Department post-

Those guys are hilarious.

School the week before the week before Christmas break is crazy. The kids are wild for the Elf on the Shelf, and come into the classroom each day looking for where he might have moved overnight. They really believe the elf is real. One girl told me that her elf at home hasn't shown up yet. Then she innocently said, "Has your elf come to your house yet?" Awww, what's a grownup to say in reply? I said that Santa told me there was a shortage of elves and I said "my" elf could go on to a child's house to watch over a child somewhere. I think she was satisfied with that.

Add to the Christmas excitement, the fact that Georgia was supposed to get some snow today, and the kids were on tenterhooks looking out the window every second. Snow in GA to a kid is as magical as if a unicorn came flying down and delivered a pot of candy to the classroom.

I'm now home and snug inside with my Christmas lights on, knowing I am not moving anywhere until Sunday afternoon!

I plan to have breakfast for dinner, and start reading a book. I don't know which one. There are so many to choose from.

This storm is supposed to cut a wide swathe up and down the coast, so stay safe everyone, and enjoy the winter weather. It'll be here a while, might as well!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

It's all about the paper products

Amazon gift certificates are the best! A kind reader sent me a gift certificate last night and I used it immediately, lol.

I ordered the book Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson. Yay! Twitter graphic tweeted by Matt Smethurst, lol-

I use a small, leather blank journal with thick handmade paper for notes during sermons and small group Bible study. I love it because it's small and therefore portable. The paper is thick and stands up to painting on or collaging, which I occasionally do in order to illustrate a thought or insight I'd had. The paper feels good to the touch, also important. The clasp is metal and medieval looking which is a style I enjoy. I'm almost to the end of this notebook so it's wonderful I can order a backup to have on hand for when I need another one.

I love paper products overall. I'm a sucker for notebooks, journals, paper, legal pads, and ephemera. I take just as long choosing refrigerator pads to put on the fridge as I do for my spiritual journal and my online classes' notebooks. And you had me at Post-it.

Along with the notebooks are the careful selections of the pens I use. I have arthritis in my hands so I need a thicker pen. I like retractable so I can 'close' the point and it won't make stray ink marks all around, which I hate. I like ball point and not gel or marker type pens, for the same reason, no stray ink marks. I prefer black ink to blue or colors. The ink needs to lay down on the paper immediately with no warm up, and spread smoothly as I go. And the pen should be pretty. The design should be delicately balanced when I hold it, with a nice taper, and overall pleasing to use and to look at. You didn't know there was so much to choosing a pen, did you?

A friend gave me some Paper Mate pens a few years ago. They have become my preferred pen. I love them. The Paper Mate Silhouette is my absolute favorite, it meets all the above requirements for use by moi. The Silhouette Paper Mate is is a pen that is becoming hard to find, though. The pens she gave me are so good it's taken a few years to run out, so I ordered some Paper Mate pens with my gift certificate, This one isn't a Silhouette but it is also a good pen.

I've used journals of all kinds throughout the years. I don't really write down my thoughts and emotions like a diary, but I use them for picture thoughts, insights into things, collages and so on. Here are a few of my journals.

Clockwise. The leftmost large fabric journal with the sunflower on the front and the turned cover is actually a placemat I'd bought at the Lubec Historical Society annual July 4th yard sale sometime in the early 2000s. I turned it into a journal using a pamphlet stitch.

The beaded journal is festooned with sequins overlaid on black velvet. The paper is good. I rarely use it though...

The flowered one is a journal I'd started about the town I was living in. It has a hand written introduction and pasted-in scraps of life in the town. I started that one in 1990.

The green journal on the right is a Fabriano journal I use for an art journal. I'd written about finding a journal with Fabriano paper here. This one was started in 2016.

The brown ring journal is a Strathmore Visual Journal from a second hand store. Strathmore is another well-known paper outlet. I wrote about finding this expensive and lovely notebook, here. It's another art journal. I really prefer smaller ones to larger. It's from Nov. 2016.

The red small journal is one I'd made. The cover is paste paper and the inside contains hand written thoughts on spiritual books I'd been reading. That one dates to sometime around 2000-2001. I have a LOT of these little notebooks I'd made for the same purposes.

The red one is my very first journal. My parents gave me a trip to London for my graduation. It was a Spring school trip along with other seniors in my High School. Yes, our field trips were to foreign countries. I wrote about what I saw and did and that little journal from 1978 started me both on my world travels and my obsession with chronicling everything I see and do in some kind of journal. I have other travel journals, too, of various kinds, but you get the idea.

I like paper, journals, and notebooks! With me, it's all about the paper products. I think I'll always be a Luddite when it comes to notebooks. I don't have a cell phone and I don't like keeping track of things on any electronic device, portable or not. I love the feel of notebook with a fine paper, and writing my ideas, lists, and thoughts with a well-balanced pen. Blackberry calendar just doesn't have the same thrill for me.

How about you? Do you like notebooks? Keep it all on your phone? Use some other method? Or none at all?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Living (and eating) tiny and in interesting spaces: Old London dairy, Silo, Model Market Street Feast

One thing I love about school breaks is that I can let loose on the internet. I can spend time just browsing, and I'm so glad I do. I found some very interesting new things to learn about and love.

There is a British channel on Youtube called Gardens & Homes. Update: I thought it was the official channel. It wasn't. It's been deleted. But the show is called Grand Designs and it can be found online here.

I watched several of the full length videos and enjoyed them all. They feature home makeovers and renovations, but of the uniquely British kind. Renovating an 18th century Shropshire farmer's cottage, or renovating an East London 1900s dairy, or an ancient Welsh chapel into a living space. The British Isles are dotted with crumbling farmer's crofts, castles, estates and other historical buildings we just hate to let dissolve into the ground. People do buy them and the channel follows their journey into either sanity or insanity in attempting to make habitable, compliant living spaces out of them. The writing is good and the photography is beautiful too. Check them out. I especially loved the east London Dairy renovation I posted below.

The couple featured in this episode spent an inordinate amount of money for a small space are interior and graphic designers who are mightily attracted to the aesthetic concepts of rough spaces, industrial grunge, and the like. I love industrial also, and I enjoyed watching the host's amusement as he drew out of the couple their plans for a tasteful reno that included keeping or reusing the peeling paint and rusty metal joists. In the end, the space turned out spectacular as the show astutely depicted their aesthetic sojourn from hopefulness butting up against code enforcement reality and achieved a delicate balance of honoring the space's history, usability, and beauty.

For inspiration at one point in the show, the wife went to a place called Model Market. I was immediately in love with this new approach to using abandoned cityscapes. The developer uses spaces that have been bought and are awaiting development into offices or apartments, and instead creates a family friendly, open air pop up food market featuring lights, music, and a plethora of different restaurants.

Wow, talk about creative.

Traveler photo submitted by KateL1710 (Jan 2016)
Here is an article about it

Street Feast London - Model Market
Last summer Street Feast London took a disused 1950s indoor and outdoor market in Lewisham and transformed it into a weekend street eating destination, breathing new life into the local community.

The other photos at the link above are equally enchanting, beautiful, and cool!

Whatever you want to call it, micro-diners, street food, or pop up restaurants, the business model is one I love. The concept showcases chefs, their dishes, and their restaurants. The venue brings in customers to unloved city areas. It's a safe and clean business, family friendly (as long as the ratio of bars vs. diners stays appropriate). It helps turn negative reviews of a disused area of the city into one with possibilities and hope. It gets chefs out of the basement or the rear of the restaurant, slaving away in anonymity, to interact with customers and into the fresh air and not last, showcases their talents. It provides a free spot for families or anyne to congregate to on a Friday or Saturday evening in the warm season.

Recently London celebrity chefs Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver teamed up with other chefs to invest in the model, which is the brainchild of Street Feast owners-developers Jonathan Downey and Henry Dimbleby of Street Feast. The new company is called London Union.

What Street Feast did next: Henry Dimbleby and Jonathan Downey on crowdfunding, London Union and breaking Berlin
The aim of London Union is to find areas across the capital that are economically inactive – often waiting for planning permission or for work to start on a new development – and build pop-up markets that create local jobs and provide opportunities for new, up-and-coming street food traders to establish themselves without requiring large amounts of capital.
I've always been a fan of creative ideas for using space in a city. The 1994 Greg Brown song Boomtown and Robert Putnam's 2000 book Bowling Alone have stayed with me all this time.

On another topic, still on Youtube though, I like to watch videos of tours of tiny houses. I have been ahead of the curve with this tiny house movement. I owned a new 2500 sf three bedroom raised ranch in the excessive and consumerism 1980s. The culture taught me to acquire, live high, and show it off. That approach to life turned out to be expensive and enslaving. I dumped the house, met and married a man who was about to embark on his own tiny house approach, and we were off. We moved into a 900 sf homne, then a 37 foot sailboat, then a pop up WV camper van. I did draw the line at the camper van, lol, that was as small as I wanted to go. To this day I live in a 425 sf apartment and I love it.

But the tiny houses all seem to me to lack one thing: comfort. I've been watching a lot of tiny house tours on Youtube, and they just do not appeal to me. If you're a starry eyed 20 year old, maybe you don't mind sitting on a box. But I don't want to do that. Tiny houses just don't have couches. (OK, I know some do, but then again, I don't want to haul my tired carcass up a ladder to go to bed, either).

I love the idea of cities allowing zoning for this kind of alternate living, it makes sense and it's eco-friendly as well as budget friendly. I read that one northwestern city has 0% unemployment but homelessness is skyrocketing. Why? People work there but can't afford the housing prices.

Anyway, in my week-off Youtube browsing bonanza I found this video of a tiny home the man built in a silo. It's a little over 300 sf and it's contemporary, stylish, functional, and adheres to the tiny home notion. It should be noted that the couple who own and live in it abide in Phoenix and they do make use of the outdoors for much of their living space. The shower is outside as is a lounge area. But I did spot a daybed in the circular home and the bedroom is aloft but accessed by a circular staircase, not a ladder.

Which reminds me, my first apartment in University was a small place that had a galley kitchen, tiny living room, and a loft bedroom accessed by a circular staircase. I guess I've always liked living tiny.

Here is an article about the silo tiny home, and a short video.

Tomorrow I plan to head into the city of Athens to Small Business Saturday at Avid Bookshop for their Book Swap. From 2-3 pm, if you bring a bag of books and have $3, (which puts you into a raffle for a prize) you can browse others' books and they can browse yours. You can take back home any books that aren't chosen or leave them for a donation to a charity they fund. Win-win!

So that has been my week of aesthetic pursuits- renovations of alternate living spaces, alternate and creative land use, and design!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving Break

Our school district calendar always allows for the full Thanksgiving week off. I'm grateful for that. It fits, somehow, to have the full week off to prepare the meal and receive family, or to travel and go see family. In any case, I'm glad.

Friday was pretty hectic. The kids had pretty much reached their limit and came in to school loud and boisterous. Teachers were tired, and we were all just looking forward to a good week off.

So here I am, inaugurating the week at 5:30 am, in the dark and quiet, with a fancy coffee I made with whipped cream and cinnamon.

I'd mentioned a few days ago about the Classics Club, an online reading club that blogs about what classics we are reading. Every once in a while the Club moderator puts forth a 'game' called Classics Spin. You list 20 classic books you always wanted to read but haven't yet. Maybe they were too intimidating, or to long, or too intellectually demanding, or you just have put it off and now it's 10 years later and you still haven't read that book you always wanted to. . So you make a list of 20 and number them. The Club 'spins' an imaginary wheel and lands on a number. They publish the number. You read the book you listed at that number by December 31 and post whether you met the challenge or not. It's very casual and lots of fun.

The number yesterday was 4 and that was Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon published in 1862. It was Braddon's most successful and well-known novel. Critic John Sutherland (1989) described the work as "the most sensationally successful of all the sensation novels". The plot centres on "accidental bigamy" which was in literary fashion in the early 1860s. Thanks, Wikipedia, for the summary.

Cover of an edition of Lady Audley's Secret
I've got a few things to read this week. My Biblical Doctrine study, a detective novel called Blind Justice by James Scott Bell, start Lady Audley, and TeaTime Magazine.

For now I'm sitting in the pre-dawn, listening to Pandora Christmas Hymns, sipping my sweet and hot coffee, hearing the coffee pot tick, the gas hiss, and cats snore, and all's well on the first moments of Thanksgiving break.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Classics Club: The Spin List, and other Saturday activities

I like reading. I don't often read as much as I would like because...I don't know. I guess the days just get away from me after I've worked, studied, written a blog essay, prepared dinner, done chores, engaged in real life ministry...and if after all that when I sit down to read usually either my eyes are too weak or my body and brain is too tired.

I have to remedy this.

Reading is WHO I AM. It sustained me through a difficult childhood, carried me through a painful divorce, consoled me on lonely post-divorce evenings, provided inexpensive entertainment and travel as a rejuvenated carefree adult, allowed for mind expansion (Read Flatland, just read it!) as a new Christian, and generally offered lots of fun hunting up the next book. There's always books.

I found this blog called The Classics Club. The About page for this blog states its purpose:
The Classics Club was started on March 7, 2012 by a blogger who wanted to see more people posting about classics literature in the blogosphere. Her goal was to, “unite those of us who like to blog about classic literature, as well as to inspire people to make the classics an integral part of life.” She thought about several ideas but finally settled on inviting people to make out a list of (at least 50) classic titles they intend to read and blog about within the next five years.
I've often wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a challenge where a person is challenged to attempt to write a 50,000 word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. Just write! But I've written close to 4000 essays almost every day for the last 9 years, issuing millions of words, so I think I've got the writing habit well cemented in me.

So, on to reading.

The Classics Spin Reading Challenge is
Come up with a list of 20 classics still on your to-be-read list and post these books on your blog before Nov. 17. This is your “spin” list! You can choose any books that you actually already have or books you’ve been waiting too long to read or books you really want to get through before the new year. Then, on Friday, Nov. 17, the Classics Club will randomly select a number from 1 through 20 and post it on their blog. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by Dec. 31, 2017. It’s all for fun so no pressure to participate but thought it would give me a boost to get reading done with others.
Specifically, here is how to participate:
Go to your blog.
Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Friday, November 17th.
That morning (11/17), we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
The challenge is to read that book by December 31, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)
My list of 20 classics I'd like to read are as follows. Some I own already, some I bought for free on Kindle today, and some I'll wait to buy or borrow until it is by chance announced. Sometimes I wonder, wouldn't it be nice just to go to my Amazon WishList and just buy everything on it all at once? Sigh. But poverty avails.
  1. Austen, Jane: Northanger Abbey
  2. Baldwin, James: Go Tell it on the Mountain
  3. Bengtsson: The Long Ships
  4. Braddon, Mary Elizabeth: Lady Audley’s Secret
  5. READ IT!
  6. Buchan, John: The Thirty-Nine Steps
  7. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Making of a Marchioness
  8. Equiano, Olaudah: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
  9. Faulkner, William: As I Lay Dying
  10. Jewett, Sarah Orne: The Country of the Pointed Firs
  11. Jerome, Jerome K: Three Men in a Boat
  12. Kipling, Rudyard: The Man Who Would Be King
  13. le Carre, John: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  14. Melville, Herman, Redburn
  15. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
  16. Mitchell, David: Cloud Atlas
  17. Muir, John: Nature Writings
  18. Pound, Ezra: Personae: The Shorter Poems
  19. Proust, Marcel, Within a Budding Grove
  20. Wharton, Edith, The Decoration of Houses
  21. Wright, Richard: Native Son
We'll see how it goes.

Meanwhile I have frittered away my day. On the good side, I listened to two Sinclair Ferguson sermons. He is a man whose knowledge of the Bible is solid and his pulpit demeanor is calm and assured and comforting, even when he speaks of convicting things, as he did in the first sermon I listened to: The Priority of Worship. The second was Christ's Message to the Church, from Revelation 2.

I made split pea soup with carrots and peppers, field pea hummus, eggplant and peppers in tomato sauce, gluten free strawberry cobbler, and 2-ingredient oatmeal banana cookies. The cobbler rocks. I will get more of Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour!

I'm still in my jammies and probably will head back to bed for a short nap. When I get up I'll take a shower and then read for the evening. I'd like to finish Moby-Dick since I put another Melville on my list, one that RC Sproul had recommended, called Redburn.

I hope there is a nice mix on my Reading Challenge list. I have a few about the Black experience, some poetry, female literature, an adventure or two. I do like an adventure story. Farley Mowat, Jack London, Jon Krakauer... Into Thin Air and Grey Seas Under are two great adventure stories that come immediately to mind. Also London's To Build a Fire. I also like a good marine tale but I didn't see any on the list, though admittedly I'm not familiar with every single title.

Television and movies have increasingly been disappointing. I hope this is an indication of increased sanctification and not simply a lull in tv programming that entices my fleshly desires, only to be re-ignited if some other program comes on.

I didn't watch Project Runway this week, even though it is part 1 of the finale. I also stopped listening to Tom & Lorenzo post-mortem on PR, since they take the Lord's name in vain too much. I've started and stopped watching several movies for similar reasons. So books it is. That's a good thing! I've noticed I'm calmer when I don't consume too much media.

I have 5 more days of school then we are out for the week of Thanksgiving! I can't wait! Here is Principal Gerry Brooks on the long month of November. It is long. Really long.

Enjoy, and till next time, ponder this:

It's the week before Thanksgiving. Why did the turkey cross the road?
To prove he was a chicken!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Many Changing Moods of a Fall Sunrise

It's late fall in Georgia, which means we still have warm temperatures, still have birds in the air, and still have leaves on the trees. There are even flowers blooming here and there. It will eventually change, of course. We'll have cold weather, frost, dark and rainy days, and sometimes even snow. But the leisurely fall is something I always mourned the absence of when I lived in Maine for 30 years. Fall in Maine is more of a sprint, a short burst of color and low humidity with startlingly azure skies. Then poof, it's gone. Winter settles in quickly and depressingly. Sunshine is in short supply. The dark lasts most of every day. Winter is a lengthy season. Fall seems to be one of the shortest.

However, in Georgia, the seasons seem equally spread out in the calendar. Fall is one among four other seasons that have their time. And what a time. I do miss the vividness of the foliage in New England. Leaves in their yellows, reds, oranges, and golds are extremely bright and lovely to look at. The foliage in New England in Fall is unparalleled.

But with it comes harsh temperatures that force one to bundle up in the shuddering, teeth chattering, snow and sleet scraping, snow tires swap, boots clomping, feet stomping, cabin fever cold.

Not so here. A few cold days may be followed by a week of mild. The penetrating and settling-in frigidity of a months long New England Winter is absent and instead we have a pleasing array of landscapes and temperatures, with outdoor activities still a possibility throughout.

I experienced a gorgeous sunrise this morning. I went out in just my sweats and shirt and walked up the street a bit taking photos of these scenes. No frost came out of my mouth. No shiver passed over my body. I was in 54 comfortable degrees, ambling around the property with my walking stick, in the pure quiet (except for the hearty and vigorously cockadoodledoing rooster).

The weather has a lot to do with mood. When I see the impressive and dramatic skies, I think of my Lord who created it. I come back inside to and listen to majestic hymns, feeling warm because He has given me a comfortable home, well-appointed. This has been a delightful morning, and I'm grateful.

These scenes are at my home, within a ten minute span. The Changing Moods of Sunrise in Georgia!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Recipes and shutdowns

It's a glorious sunny 74 degrees outside, with little humidity. Isn't Fall great? God is His wisdom provided for us here in the south a break from the relentless heat, and from summer's air feeling like hot, wet cotton. Leaves swirling and cool air make me want to bake.

This weekend I'll be baking oatmeal-raisin cookies (vegan, with only banana holding them together), cream of mushroom soup, baked potatoes, field pea salad with quinoa and cukes, roasted chick peas, and crispy baked eggplant rounds. Mmm.

I had a very good week at work, which is in an elementary school. It was pleasant, there was nothing frustrating or distracting, the kids were very cute, and all the people I interacted with were very nice and helpful and professional. Which makes what happened Friday afternoon and evening perplexing, but instructive.

Usually I come home on Friday overloaded with the week's accumulated sensory stimuli. The accumulated stimuli are like leaves blown against a wire fence. By Friday, I'm exhausted.

But often I don't know how exhausted. I can't see the leaves. Often I don't even know they're there, never mind how many of them.

Yesterday it was another glorious fall day, so after I got done with work, I decided to zip up to my favorite store 7 miles up the road. I had borrowed some plastic tubs I wanted to return. It is a nice ride, with two long, high swooping hills, little traffic, and a straight road. It was nice. I dropped off the tubs and had a pleasant short chat with the proprietor. I browsed some CDs and bought 2 for $1 each- Westminster Choir singing hymns and English songs from 1870s. LOL. Anyway, I popped them into the car CD player for the ride home. Since it was so nice out I decided to take the long way home and stop at Kroger for kitty litter, which I was in dire need of. When I got there, I decided to do a mini-shopping for fruit and veggies, which I was also out of. I could stop in again after church on Sunday for proteins for the coming week to complete my grocery larder.

I had a nice time shopping there, the store is clean and organized and not too bright. The wealth of fruit and vegetables from which to select always delights me. I didn't take too long, but I felt my energy flagging and checked out shortly after grabbing some milk. I still had the drive home, lugging in the heavy items from the car, and putting them away before I could finally settle down for the evening.

When I got home I did all the above, and also cleaned the kitty litter pan and fed the cats. As I sat down with a glass of water, I realized I had overdone it.

My entire body was throbbing. My legs were shaking. When I get overstimulated my skin throbs, my muscles throb, even my organs seem to throb. I could feel my blood coursing through my veins, and it felt like it wasn't blood, but poison. I felt sick, but not symptomatic regular sick like nausea or fever or having a cold. A poisonous sickly sick like I'd been turned inside out with exposed skin raw and then dipped in a vat of toxic chemicals. I sat numbly like a zombie, without energy even to work the mousepad. I stared at things in the apartment as if trying to untangle what they were.

I sat in front of the computer, wanting to read my Bible, but could not. I wanted to do this week's lesson on Biblical Doctrine, but I could not. I wanted to just do something mindless like watch cat youtube videos, but I could not. I literally could not. My thoughts, usually zooming along its smooth pathways like a night time lapse of streaks of light as cars go down the road, were instead like a swarm of gnats I couldn't follow and vainly tried to catch. I was completely numb but also in physical pain, and all I wanted to do was curl up with a soft blankie over my head.

Why was this so? I had a good week. I was not stressed. I had no conflicts, no surprises, no unexpected trauma or even minimal drama. Since I am not self-aware, I looked it up.

It's called autistic shutdown.
A shutdown is basically an episode where the brain briefly stops processing and making sense of information in response to stress or sensory overload. The lights are on, but nobody’s home. Source
I found the following description of the autistic brain and its thoughts which is exactly like mine. It's from The Everyday Aspie, the essay is "From the Inside Out"
My brain, like all autistics’ brains, seeks connections through patterns. It is on super drive all day long. It solves, reasons, rearranges, deciphers, and concludes. Every move I make is an effort, an action I am noticing, and behind that action multiple scaffolding thoughts. Where in an average person might think about six things in relation to a feasible outcome, I am thinking of sixty. What one throws out as a die with six sides, I throw out as ten dice with six sides. What commonly goes unnoticed by others, is a heavy blink to me with multiple facets, some hidden, some upright, some tossed off the table. 
The questions of how many steps to take, which room to enter first, which task to accomplish next, which word choice to use, how long to linger on one topic, are not just familiarities, they are essential elements of my existence. And behind those questions, evidence gathered in the past, visual flashes of what has been and what could be. In many moments, I am a bystander set within a machine, carried where it leads, with no steering wheel or access to controls—an entity within a larger calculating entity. And this entity is deciphering the feasible best route to everything, including my thinking process. 
As my mind works, nothing is disqualified from being factored into an outcome. Even my toothpaste brand, how much paste I squeeze out, and the flow of the water from the faucet, are scoped out and theorized, and then neatly tucked into a web of accumulated data. My thoughts gathered, molded, and placed into a previously opened drawer, a unit only to be reopened and reassembled during a later point of time. I am essentially a vast storage house with feelings.
This is why we crave familiar routines. If it's familiar, it doesn't have to be theorized, tested, and decided. Or at least not as much. It's less stressful and less mentally taxing.

It's funny what she said about the toothpaste. Just the day before I was wondering about this with myself. Now I know. She described her own shutdown this way and mine mirror hers to a great extent. The normal thinking process just...stops.
--I am unaware that I am in shutdown at the starting stage. Usually a part of me knows, but the most of me feels confused and off-balance. At this point I can do nothing but be. I have not an ounce of energy or thought process left to help myself or anyone else. I am literally a computer unplugged. (non-responsive, unaware of surroundings, lost somewhere)
--I might be unable to form complete thoughts or talk aloud.
--I spend the majority of time alone, in isolation and away from people. However, I could be sitting in the same room as someone else, but be lost in my mind.
--As a result of little to no energy whatsoever, I skip showers, don’t brush my hair, stay in my pajamas, don’t eat. (This is different than depression. I am too tired to do anything, even if a part of me wants to.)
--I finally feel like I can breathe and not think.
--I curl up into a ball and sleep.
source Everyday Aspie
I pushed myself until I could not handle staying up anymore and went to the bedroom and huddled under a blanket at 7:00. I slept until 9:30.

After I got up I still felt terrible until I finally went to bed at 11:00, slept fitfully, woke up at dawn, and have been a zombie all day. I have not listened to music or sermons, or watched TV. I haven't even cooked or read, or even blogged. It's 6:30pm the next day and I finally feel like I'm "coming to." I am drinking some good, organic tea, took a long hot shower to relax, and had a good nap earlier. These are all helpful. Now I'll write The End Time blog for the day and then maybe later I'll either read or watch a movie.

The shutdown that happened to me was perplexing, but now I know about shutdowns. It was instructive because now I know that no matter how seemingly good I feel, by Friday afternoon I'm not, so don't go anywhere except straight home. I also now know that my tiredness and desire for solitude especially on Fridays are a need and not a character flaw, weakness, or laziness.

I'll research shutdowns some more, especially what happens to the brain and body during one.

Sunday I'll cook.

It's been an eventful week.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Five Minute healthy soup!

My eyes were bigger than my stomach last week at the grocery store. I'd bought three, count-em, three, veggie kits. One was a veggie stir fry ("Cooks in five minutes!") and the other two were cold salad veggie kits.

I have gravitated to these kits because they contain a variety of veggies, kinds of veggies I do not usually buy.  They also have neat tasting sauces or dressings, again, kinds I don't usually buy or make. Admittedly, they're convenient too. They are very expensive though. I restrict myself to buying the marked down ones, usually half price, which means usually around $1.89 or $1.99 per package. I get several salads out of each. That solves the frugal problem.

However, they are marked down because their expiration date is upcoming, usually within a week or so. I have to eat a lot of salads to go through three packs of salad or stir fry kits! I was looking at the stir fry kit this morning and the date had passed two days ago. It'd probably be good for another day or two, but what to do? I know! I will stir fry them up and then pour broth over it and it will be soup!

No chopping veggies, no cooking in stages (hard veggies like carrots and potatoes first, then softer like zucchini, and then softest like mushrooms. It's a lot of standing around. I really liked the idea for cooking a bunch of veggies in 5-minutes, with no chopping. I dumped the whole pack into a pot, added oil and spices, and voila!

Meanwhile, bouillon cubes were softening into broth. Soon I combined the two, after the stir fry had softened and absorbed the spice flavors. I added some tomato sauce I had in the fridge for good measure. One and done! Soup! (I can always add tofu or another protein like quinoa later if I want).

I did not use the stir fry dressing included in the packet when sauteing the veggies for soup so the bonus is, I now have an extra packet of dressing I'll use on my salad this week.

A great price for a lot of healthy veggies. This can be stretched to several meals.

I just dumped them in.
I added oil and salt and some spices to taste.

That's it! Done.

Gluten free

I'm trying gluten free lifestyle for a while to see if my tummy troubles and other symptoms go away. So far, they have. Therefore, I am keen to continue on this path.

Sunday is Pancake Day. I always have pancakes on Sunday, sort of to celebrate the brunch atmosphere and relaxing day ahead that Sundays always are.

Hmmm, gluten-free means no pancakes. I tried scrambled eggs last week, but again, with no toast, it just felt incomplete.

At Kroger they have this weird section that has sprung up, where they put marked down organic items. It has a sign above the shelves that says "Sink Accessories" which I find hilarious, and the section is across from the toilet paper, more hilarious. Total incongruity.

So anyway I noticed that some gluten free flour from Red Mill was there last week. Red Mill is a good brand and the priced they'd marked it down to was great. I bought it and made muffins last week, and they came out good. This week I found a gluten free pancake recipe using Red Mill flour.

Pancake perfection!
Now, just because Sunday is Pancake Day does not mean I am skillful at making them. I never, ever, ever seem to be able to make them thick. Or I burn them. Or they come out rubbery. Or whatever. I still enjoy them.

The photo on the gluten free pancake recipe looked great, round, thick, crispy edged pancakes. I made the recipe, making the same substitution I'd made last week with the muffins. I do not have buttermilk on hand but I soured some milk with vinegar last time with no ill effect. This week I did not have white vinegar for the souring, so I used lemon juice, something the recipe actually suggested.

The pancakes came out crepe thin. Like, paper thin. It turned out to be a happy mistake, though, because the recipe made lots, and lots, and I decided to use the remaining pancakes as sandwich bread for this week's lunches. I don't think I will ever make pancakes as good as the ones like in the photo above, but I enjoy the specialness of the ritual and the festive-like atmosphere I create for myself on Sunday mornings. My church service begins at 3:00 so I really have the whole morning for coffee, reading, prayer, and pancake brunch. Here are mine. You'll see the thinness, but how equally applicable these are for use as a sandwich wrap.

Plate is Vernonware, mid-century modern, produced in 1952-53, Raffia pattern

Pretty thin. But tasty!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Fall Break Ahead!

I work 190 days per year, not 350. My salary reflects the fewer days worked, but what I love about my schedule are the frequent breaks. At this point in my life, I appreciate the time off very much.

The school year's first break is happening this week. On Monday and Tuesday we have two half-days with the kids. In the afternoon and early evening after the kids have left, teachers will meet in conference with parents and hand out report cards. As a parapro, I won't be meeting with parents. So I'll catch up on work my teacher wants me to do, such as cleaning, correcting, preparing, copying, etc. The different schedule makes the kids wild, but on the other hand, we will only be with them until noon.

On Wednesday we have a full day of teacher workday. Kids will not come to school at all. More work, cleaning, catching up, getting ready for the next quarter of school, which is 9-weeks long. We also have a Blue Cross meeting to prepare us for Open Enrollment, and other meetings as they come up.

Thursday and Friday I will be at home. No school for anybody. Fall Break begins! I normally use Fall Break as an opportunity for the gas heat guy to come and turn on the gas and clean the pilot light. Since one needs to be at home to let him in, Fall Break is good timing for me to get the heat on without having to take a day off work. It's been hot this fall, though. The temps are still in the 80s. Friday it was 90 degrees. I can't wait for the heat to break. I've scheduled the heating guy for Thursday but for sure I won't need to use the heat for at least another week, according to the weather predictions.

Hurricane Nate is going to make some impacts to North Georgia. We are going to receive 2-4 inches of rain, probably today. I hope driving to church later this afternoon is safe enough. We'll get winds, too, with some gusts that may down power lines or trees. The tropical air will make things sticky, humid, and warm. Sigh. Fall, please come!

I went to my favorite store Friday after school. Lamps, art, mirrors, and dish sets were 75% off. Can't resist. I need a new lamp and I am down to one bowl.

I found a great lamp for my living room. I LOVE my art glass lamp, but I've had it as the prominent living room lamp for 13 years. The lampshade was looking brown and the lamp itself was tottering, as the top where the bulb holder comes out was separated from the lamp itself. I bought a white lamp with a delicate pattern, for only $10.

My art glass lamp was brown and I liked how it picked up the glow of the wood from the bureau beneath it. However this white one brightens up the space with its eggshell appearance and actually it illuminates brightly. I think it is because the lampshade is whiter. The other one had turned pretty brown now that I look at it. Isn't it funny how you don't notice things in your home after a while. When you look at old items with new eyes you go, 'Whoa! I didn't realize how dingy this had become!'

I also bought a new shade for the reading lamp I have next to my reading chair. It's embroidered, and it also glows nicely when the light is on. The old shade had browned also.

Books were only $1 and I found a John Grisham novel I had somehow missed. I picked it up, started it on Friday and now I'm almost done. It's called The Broker, about a power player lobbyist-lawyer in Washington who was sent to jail, got pardoned 6 years later, and is now in Italy with a new identity and protection from the CIA. What the Broker doesn't know is that the CIA is going to leak his whereabouts to the many hordes that want The Broker dead, including the CIA, because he knows too much. Will The Broker clue in before it's too late? I don't know!. When Grisham is on his game you can't figure it out ahead.

I'll finish the book before church later, I hope. If I stop noodling around on the internet, that is. I also bought a thick paperback called The Terror. No it is not a spooky Halloween book, it's about a ship called The Terror and a failed Arctic expedition. The blurb says,
The Terror is a 2007 novel by American author Dan Simmons. It is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic, in 1845–1848, to force the Northwest Passage. Most of the characters featured in The Terror are actual members of Franklin's crew, whose unexplained disappearance has warranted a great deal of speculation.
Those explorer guys always seemed to get stuck in the ice pack! Amazingly brave, they did heroic feats and returned as heroes. However not all of them always returned. Some whole expeditions  did not return at all, and unlike the successive terrors that happened to Job where always one person "has escaped to tell you", this book proposes a story of what happened on a failed expedition where no one returned to tell the story of what occurred.

If I'm smart, I'll get the laundry ready and going before the rain hits. I'm blessed to have a washing machine and dryer, so I don't have to go to the laundromat anymore, but the units are in the detached garage. I should get moving with this chore before the rain and wind hit. So with that, arrivederci until next time!