Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Stack of Books: April 2014

It's the 15th, and that means it's time to link up with Anne.

The Mapping of Love and Death
I think this is the eighth installment in the Maisie Dobbs series.  Once again, Winspear knocks it out of the park.

As I had predicted, this was great.  An alternate history--what if Britain surrendered to Germany in 1940?  A very different world.  Fantastic suspense.

An enjoyable read.  Like meeting the male counterpart to Eleanor or Cath (characters from her other works).

Carry On, Warrior
Okay, I didn't read this one--but I had ordered the paperback and it was delivered last week.  I am looking forward to re-reading!

And that's what I've been reading over the past four weeks.   How about you?

Monday, March 31, 2014

What I'm Into: March 2014

Linking up with Leigh again.
March is over already?  How is it that thirty-one days can seem to go by so slowly and also so quickly?  I know the calendar says that we are in spring, but the thermometer tells a different story.  I am hopeful by the end of next month that I will have packed away the winter coat for good.
Here's what March has brought me:

Remember when Claire was trying to get some kid-free time over the summer?
Thoughts of Late Spring/Early Summer:
Dance recitals, end of year concerts, you name it--they're already on the calendar.  I am already thinking about camps.  Seems wrong.


Nickel Creek
By happy accident, I found a preview of Nickel Creek's first album in about 8 years on the NPR website.  And then I started clicking and I discovered that they are going to be in the area in early May.  I wasted no time in purchasing tickets.  Date night!

I have read all of this author's other works--he has five novels that are part of his Matthew Shardlake series.  Those are set in Tudor England, so what's not to love?  Anyway, I have read strong reviews of this book--a thriller that imagines what if England had surrendered to Germany in 1940.  It is set in 1952.  I had it checked out for a week before I started it, and I'm sure I won't be able to renew it because other people will have it on hold, so I am up against the clock to finish.
Breaking Bad
I had no idea when we started watching this that we would still be at it three months later.  We have three episodes left, so we will certainly finish it this week.   Wow.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Stack of Books: March 2014

I'm late to the link-up party--but better late than never!  It has been a long winter, and I have spent many a snow day with my nose in a book.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Perfect for fans of The Penderwicks.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
What a fun treat.  Books, codes, and google!  Hooks you quickly. 
Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath
A quick read--very short chapters, each one featuring a point on eat, move, and sleep.  Some of them seemed repetitive.  Informative.

Holy is the Day by Carolyn Weber
I liked her first memoir, although I had some reservations about it.  I'd rate this one about the same.

 The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
I owe my college roommate a huge thank you for turning me on to Flavia de Luce.  She's an eleven year old chemist and sleuth.  Each book improves upon the last.  My only regret was that I read this too quickly.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I loved Eleanor & Park, and I also loved this one.  Maybe because I'm a big Harry Potter fan.  I don't read fanfic, but I certainly appreciate the love that goes into it.  Loved it.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
A marketing book.  How to effectively use social media.  Not really much in the way of practical application for me personally, but I enjoyed reading it just the same.  I think that any organization or person could learn much from this.  I liked how he presented the material.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Late in the day on day 7!  Just made it!
Here are some scenes from the week:


I love making signs and posters.  I have learned that bigger is better in the sign department.  Our Lenten Soup Suppers begin on March 12, and even though I am no longer in charge of the committee that puts on the suppers, I volunteered to make the sign up sheets.

This past week was the kids' first five day week of school in I don't know how long.  And fortunately it coincided with the school play.  Four nights this week we've been getting our sixth grader to school by 6:15.  The whole family attended on Friday night, but various members showed up on other nights. 

This weekend we went snow tubing in New Jersey with extended family.  That was fun.  We don't live all that far from various skiing and tubing places, and we really haven't taken advantage of it.  Maybe we should make a resolution for next winter--because I'm all done with this winter!

And speaking of winter, I could be in for another sleep-disturbed night.  Our school district doesn't call for cancellations or delays until 5:00am, so I wake up repeatedly to check the time and my phone.  By the time school is cancelled, I'm exhausted!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Do You Know How?

The past six months have provided me with a few learning opportunities in our home.  I don't know if the things I've learned are common knowledge and I'm just late to the party, or if there really is a need for more education on homeowner basics. 

Much of what I have learned involves water.  Truly, I can't think of anything scarier than a flooding basement.  Or a gas leak.  But really, water where it shouldn't be is one of my fears.
See that?  Water where it shouldn't be!
Our home has a sprinkler system.  We have the township to thank for that.  (And probably the sprinkler-company-owning brother-in-law of one of our town officials, I'm guessing.)  Anywho, it came to pass last summer that we had a leaking sprinkler pipe.  Not as much water as I had feared, but since my husband was out of town, I was fully prepared to freak out. 
That black handle will cut off the water to the house.

Fortunately, I have very nice and well-informed neighbors who were able to show me where the shut-off valve for the sprinklers is.  Also, the main shut-off valve for all the water in the house.  These are good things to know.

See that yellow handle?  You pull it down to stop the water supply to the sprinklers.

Last month, I learned how to shut off the gas and the water to the water heater.  Also good to know.  I learned this on YouTube. 

This is a leaking water heater.

I wish I understood the sump pump better.  I wish I knew what French drains are, how they work, and whether we have them.

Is there any other basic thing I should know how to do?  What about you?  Is there something you wished you knew how to do but don't?

Friday, February 28, 2014

What I'm Into: February 2014

Linking up with Leigh again.

I think February has lasted about six weeks!  In between snow shoveling sessions, we spent much of our time at home.


We watched a little of the Olympics coverage, but every night we sat on the couch and checked in for our new part-time job--watching Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad
I think we have twelve episodes left.  This show has been so good.  All of the characters are flawed, and some of them are truly despicable, but I can't look away. 

Downton Abbey
I have to admit, this season didn't really live up to expectations for me.  I also probably didn't give it a fair shake.  For a few weeks, Downton was just filler until Sherlock came on.  I missed an episode--I was away and when I returned home, I learned that the DVR had failed to record it.  I also didn't get to watch the entire finale.  I will watch it all again soon.  It is the most delicious eye candy.  I also think maybe I should have been alive during the 1920's, because I just love the hats!

The Amazing Race
This show has been one of our Sunday night staples for years, and we were caught by surprise to learn that a new race has started.  We haven't yet caught up, but we will.  When this show first aired, I used to imagine that there was no way that Rob and I could run the race together.  I think that over the years, we have learned enough about how we each work--and how to communicate effectively with each other--that we could probably do it.  I would love to see a behind the scenes show about the race--how long does it really take the teams to clear customs before they can be filmed running out of the airport?

How I Met Your Mother
This has finally returned from its Olympics hiatus, and I am so happy about that.  I am not happy that the show is ending in March.  Did they cut the season short?  It feels like it's finally getting good.  I am going to miss this show.


The Avett Brothers--Magpie and the Dandelion
I found this at the library earlier this week.  I have listened to it once through so far, and I like what I hear.  I may be purchasing this one soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Purse Dump

I noticed yesterday that many blogs were linking up for a Purse Dump post.  This sounds like a fun idea, and I need all the post ideas I can get to make it through the 7 in 7 challenge, so here goes:

Here is the purse.  It's a Vera Bradley--I can't remember the name of the style, but I very much like it.  Its shape is similar to the hipster bag, but it has more compartments. This bag was a Christmas present, and even though it is springy-looking, I have been using it all winter.
As I moved all my stuff into this bag, I made a deliberate effort to pare down the amount of stuff I carry on a daily basis.  Years of toting a heavy purse are catching up with my neck and shoulders.

 So here it is:  the contents of my purse!  I can see that a couple of items are missing: my phone and my reading glasses.

I have my chapstick, two lipsticks, a small mirror, a hair elastic, and breath mints.  Then I have a small calendar, some lotion, several pens, some coupons from the paper, and my packet of store cards.  My leather zip bag holds ibuprofen, children's Tylenol, and tampons.  I have a cloth handkerchief and sunglasses, my wallet, my business cards, and some papers I printed out at work.  Also there is a plastic clip from my daughter's snow pants.  I took it to Joann to buy a replacement and never took the broken one out of my purse.  (I also never fixed the snow pants.)


How much money is in the wallet today?  Five dollars!  Enough singles so that the elementary school kids can buy lunch tomorrow!

 And this pink thing?  The coolest thing in my purse.  It holds all my store loyalty cards.  I found this in Target several years ago.  I think they still sell them--look in the office supplies area.