30 November 2016

November Is Ending

So yes, today is the last day in November, that last day of NaBloPoMo.  I'm happy that I decided to play along again this year.  The only time it was a challenge to post was last weekend, when I was sick, and then I realized that my post saying I couldn't say much counted ... :-)  But seriously, I enjoyed it.  I like that it forced me to sit down and actually organize thoughts and turn them into posts.  I compose so many posts in my head that never actually see the light of day.

I was thinking about this November, though, and it feels like the beginning of the month was so long ago.  Everyone was so excited about the upcoming election.  I remember when I actually cast my vote, I teared up, because I never ever thought that during my lifetime, I would be able to vote for a woman to be President.  And though I have no immediate plans to depart from this vale of tears, I do sometimes feel that it might have been my one and only time.  After Election Day, it just all seemed so sad, then upsetting, then infuriating.  I feel like it overshadowed any of  the good that happened.  Which is too bad.

Because there was good.  People found new ways to connect with each other.  Birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated.  Thanksgiving showed up right on time and helped to remind us of the importance of being in the present.  Several people were motivated to some sort of activism, which is never a bad thing when you are standing up for your beliefs.  Fall colors surrounded us, reminding everyone that ultimately, we are not the ones in charge.  For all of the horrific things that happened, good people pulled together and helped.  And if you are reading this, it means you woke up on the alive side of things, which is always a good thing.

Part of me is sorry to see November leave, because usually it's a month I really enjoy.  Though I had happy times related to special events, I think this year I'm ready for it to move along.  I sincerely want to be here to see it again next year, and hope that it will go back to being the kind of month it usually has been.

Goodbye, November.  I hope during the next year you have the chance to get over the turbulence of this year, and can come back to us ready to be enjoyed.

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart may desire.
-- an Irish blessing

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading this month (and always, of course).  Part of the fun of NaBloPoMo is hearing from you more often than I might otherwise.

On to December, with hopes for the best it can bring to us!

29 November 2016

The Last of the Turn A Square Hats

Yep, they are all finished!  I wove in the ends of the last one - the one for my niece Annie's boyfriend Patrick - on Sunday evening.  And, though you have seen every single other one, and know my thoughts, I'm still showing you the last two!

First, my great-nephew Zach's hat, in orange and black, the colors of his favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles:

I was working on these near the time of Halloween, and people kept saying, "Oh how cute, a Halloween hat."  So I guess if he decides that's what it is, that's what it can be.  But when I chose the yarn and was knitting, it was all Baltimore Orioles to me ...

And the final hat, for Patrick, in black and tan (though the pictures make the tan look more whitish):

By now, you know the details of the pattern, and the only different thing is the tan yarn, which is Berocco Vintage in the colorway Oats.

If you want to review things, and/or see them all "lined up" together, here is the link to the project page on Ravelry.

I am both pleased with how well they all turned out, and that they were all made with yarn already in my stash!  Win-win.


Thank you for your good wishes that my cold will move on soon.  So far, it's still digging in, but at least I have medicine that is making me able to function pretty well, and good cough syrup that makes it possible for me to get a decent amount of sleep at night.   At this point, I think it's just a matter of waiting it out.

I'll be back tomorrow for the last day of NaBloPoMo - see you then!

28 November 2016

Post Thanksgiving

We had a lovely, if more quiet than usual, Thanksgiving.  Both of us woke up feeling slightly under the weather - not horrible, just not great.  So we did even less then we usually do (as in, usually we'll take a nice long walk in the early afternoon.  This year we barely went back and forth to the kitchen and bathroom).  The Tim took a couple of naps, and though we had our stuffing (AT LAST! and it was wonderful), and other holiday foods, we didn't eat as much as usual - or even fix as much.  Except for stuffing, which we always make in huge amounts, since we both like it left over as much as the first time ...

This was all fine with the cats.  The first sight I saw on Thanksgiving morning once I'd gotten myself up and moving was this:

We've had this pad a long time, and never before - well, at least that we could see - have two cats shared it.

The theme continued, with variations throughout the day:

In the evening, Milo decided that he wanted to sit on my lap.  Jack was already ensconced, and before I knew it, they were both there.  And no altercations!

Clearly the whole family was enjoying Thanksgiving.  ;-)

The Tim had to work the next morning, and I decided to go out to a couple of places for some specific items I wanted for gifts.  No, I am not one of the morally superior types who scoffs at the idea of going out on the day after Thanksgiving to shop.  Granted, it's not crazy in Center City Philadelphia, since most people drive to a mall somewhere, but it's still busy and crowded enough.  But I go very early, and I knew that the things I wanted to get would not be likely to be around very long if I waited.  As it turns out, I got both items on sale, so it was a worthwhile adventure.  I was home by lunchtime, and enjoyed the rest of the day reading and knitting.

The story changed late Friday night when I started to feel slightly more off.  I'd actually felt better on Friday than on Thanksgiving, and was happy to not be getting really sick.  Ha ha.  For the next 24 hours, I had a miserable gastrointestinal bug.  And only I was lucky enough to get it - The Tim was fine.  Which is a good thing, since he had to work all weekend, but I guess the bug was not the result of something I ate or drank, because we both had the same things.  Fortunately, I felt better by dinnertime on Saturday.

Lest I get through the weekend with only that glitch, though, I woke up on Sunday morning with a scratchy throat and a cough.  Which as the day continued, got considerably worse.  I lost my voice, and could barely swallow.  So I started taking some Day-Quil and rustled up some Rx cough syrup left from my last episode.  By this morning, I was feeling better though still not great, and I can at least talk well enough to be understood.  Imagine how pleased I was to come back to work [insert sarcasm].

On the plus side, I did - for real this time - finish the last of the Turn A Square hats!  I felt good enough intermittently to knit, and it worked up really quickly (at this point I think I could knit the pattern in my sleep. LOL).  So I'll show you that sometime soon.

And so.  My absolute last planned item that would be sent to the recipient for Christmas is complete.  I'm feeling really good about it.  I think I mentioned in another post that I also toyed with the idea recently of knitting a hat for my little great-niece Penn as well.  Today is November 28.  My plan is to cast on tonight, see how it goes, and if it is smooth sailing, I think I can have it knit by the end of the month.  I mean, it's a kid's hat, and I have three evenings to work on it.

27 November 2016

Scenic Sunday

Advent Wreath
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2016
Old St. Joseph's Church
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

26 November 2016

Drive-By Posting

Hi all - nothing really from me today, but I did want to keep up with NaBloPoMo!  I am at the end (thank God!) of what I think is a 24-hour gastrointestinal event.  Started late last night, and is finally settling down.

So I'll see you tomorrow - hope everyone is having a good weekend!

25 November 2016

So I Had This Idea ...

Hello!  Happy day after Thanksgiving!  I hope yours was good and yummy and cozy.  Ours was slightly different than usual, which I'll share in another post.  But of course it was good because we were all here together for the whole day.

I was watching the parade yesterday, and saw a commercial where one of the people opened up a Christmas card and smiled.  And I thought about how I do love to get Christmas cards (or any snail mail, really).  Last year was somewhat disappointing in that way, since we only received a few actual cards in the  mail.  I know that people are increasingly sending electronic greetings both for convenience and for environmental reasons.  I know that I'm grateful when I realize that someone's birthday is  nearly here, and a card sent in the mail would be late, that I can still send my good wishes in time.  But in the end, there is  nothing I like more than actually getting a card (or even a letter!) in the mail.

I even use the cards we receive as part of our decorations!
(This is from a few years back)

So I had an idea, and wondered if anyone else might like it too.  I thought it might be fun to have a little holiday card exchange, for those who are interested.  Here's how it would work:

* The Great 2016 Holiday Snail Mail Card Exchange *

1.  Each person would agree to send a holiday card via snail mail to the others on the list.  Nothing else is required, just your signature if you want it to be as minimal as possible.  No gift items, no packages to send, simply a card to let someone know you took time to think about them.

2.  Anyone interested can e-mail their name and mailing address to me before midnight EST on Friday, December 2 (a week from today).  

3.  I compile the list, and e-mail it to all of the other participants no later than midnight EST on Monday, December 5 (a week from this coming Monday).

4.  Every participant sends out their cards no later than Tuesday, December 20.

5.  Recipients open their cards and smile.

Now I know that everyone gets really busy this time of year, so if you don't think you can do it, or if you are just plain not interested, that's fine.  But for those who think they would like to be part of it, please join me in spreading an extra little bit of holiday cheer to each other.

If you decide to participate, please send an e-mail with your full name and mailing address to me at: baclancyATverizonDOTnet by midnight next Friday, and we can get started!

*For those of you who do have environmental concerns related to this, I can say that most cards are recyclable.  If you don't want to immediately put them into the recycling bin, you can use the fronts or parts of the front for gift tags next year.  In our area, there are local charities who will take the front of cards that have no handwriting on the back, and use them as gift tags for things they give out.  And you can send all or any greeting cards all-year-round here to be re-used.  So there are various options.

24 November 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
-- Albert Einstein

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at our house!  
May your day be full of small miracles and those you love.

23 November 2016

Prepping for Tomorrow

I finished getting the stuffing ready about half an hour ago, and then washed the dishes.  It will sit and savor itself overnight and be perfect for dinner tomorrow.

Now I'm sitting here in my pajamas, watching one of the Thanksgiving episodes of the old "Newhart" show.  The kitties are recovering from their hard work assisting me.

It's a good evening.  I hope you are enjoying yours as well.

22 November 2016

Kathy's Thanksgiving Week Questions

Kathy wants to know the following:

*So it got cold here! What's the silver lining for you and the cold?

For me the silver lining IS the cold!  I love cold weather, and winter, and snow (NOT ICE) and getting dark early, and the coziness it makes me feel.  I am serious when I say I get reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder during the summer.

*Did you have an AHA! moment while knitting this weekend?

No, because I didn't do any knitting this weekend.  (Shocking I know.)  We were out of town, and I knew we would busy going various places.  Plus, everyone I was with was someone who would be a recipient of what I am currently knitting, so I didn't even want to try.

I did however, have a AHA! moment last night, when I realized I actually did have some black yarn left that I could use for one of the gift hats I'm knitting.  I had put it somewhere other than usual and forgotten.  I am really happy about it, because I had a specific color combo in mind that required black, and didn't want to have to buy yarn, so I was trying to talk myself out of it.

*Have you begun your holiday Thanksgiving prep or baking?  

The Tim does most of our Thanksgiving meal and baking prep.  My biggest contribution is making the stuffing, which I will do tomorrow night, and then on Thursday, making the stuffed celery that we always have.  He nearly always works during the evenings this week, so he has time for the baking and can do any prep shopping leading up to the big day when the stores are less crowded.

*Have you stepped out of your fashion comfort zone lately?

Not really.  I usually do that when I am going someplace or to some event that is very special.  There really hasn't been any of that going on.

*Did I thank anyone this weekend?

Lots of people!  Everyone in my family who went out of their way to make The Tim's birthday extra special.  Also, I visited a yarn store, and thanked the woman there for showing me the local yarns.  And waitresses, etc.  I'm kind of a serial thanker, I guess.

*Do you knit when your family visits?

I do when we are not running around and/or if I am not in the process of knitting something for the person or persons visiting.

*Has your cat caught a mouse in the house?

As far as I know, we've never had a mouse in our house, though I'm sure there are some in the walls, as I hear it now and then.  They all like to kill bugs though.

*Are you buying any Thanksgiving components?

Ingredients, yes.  Components, no.

*Are your hands cold?

Nearly all the time.  I apparently have poor circulation.  But fingerless gloves make a big difference, and I almost always have a hot drink going and can hold that from time to time to help, so most of the time, it's not a big problem.

Play along if you like - it's fun!


P.S. I am DYING for some stuffing - it's all I can think about this week!!

21 November 2016

Celebrated in Style

We arrived home about 3:30 yesterday afternoon from our overnight trip to Baltimore.  It was a bit whirlwind, but one of the best times we have ever had, and I think The Tim is likely to remember his 60th birthday!

After we arrived on Saturday, we headed out with my niece Liz, her husband Greg, and my great-nephew Zach, who is ten years old.  He was telling us all about how, after we got home that evening from my other niece Amanda's house, his friend Evan was coming to spend the night. Then he was talking about some of the things they do together and I mentioned that it sounded like Evan was a pretty good friend.  To which he responded, "He's probably my best friend.  I mean, I have other friends, but to be honest, a lot of them are duds."  The Tim and I nearly fell over laughing at this, and it's still cracking me up today.

Then all of us met up with my niece Annie, her boyfriend Patrick, who we were meeting for the first time, and his kids, eleven year old Amir, and seven year old Jan (short for January), and we all had lunch together.  Frankly, the restaurant was disappointing but we had a blast and it was fun to finally meet Patrick, et al., since we have heard so many good things about them.  He is a sweet guy, and everyone his hoping things will continue to go well, because Annie has a history of, shall we say, "duds."  ;-)

The rest of the afternoon we caught up with everyone's news at Liz's house.  Then we headed to my other niece's Amanda's house, where it turns out that she and the others had their party for The Tim.  It was quite the event, let me tell you!  I was so busy laughing, talking, singing, eating, and drinking that I ended up with only one picture from the evening, which didn't even turn out that well.  But Amanda took this one, which I figure you'll enjoy seeing.

(Believe it or not, this was at the beginning of the evening ...)

The food, the drink, the decorations, and the company was just wonderful.  We saw a slideshow of The Tim's "greatest moments" with the nieces, which was both hilarious and touching.  We all did The Mannequin Challenge, which took quite a bit of discussion, since everyone had different ideas  - and then we had to explain it to The Tim.

Before we headed home yesterday, we took everyone (including Zach's overnight guest) to brunch, where we had fun hearing about the plans for Thanksgiving.  All of them alternate holidays between my sister and brother-in-law's, and their respective in-laws.  Since this is the in-law's turns for Christmas, everyone will be at my sister's, as well as my brother-in-law's family and their kids and grandkids - 40 people in all!  I'm sure it will be crazy fun.

In a way, this weekend was our holiday visit.  We won't make it to see anyone for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, so this was a treat.  Both of us really enjoy spending time with my family, and unlike a lot of other families, we are fortunate since there are no Big Problems among any of us.  And now we get the best of both worlds, with a fun visit with nearly everyone, while also still being able to have our quiet and cozy Thanksgiving here.

Before I forget, The Tim was truly touched and pleased with all of your birthday wishes.   He sends along a sincere Thank You, as do I.  He truly deserved every bit of extra birthday attention that was showered on him.

20 November 2016

Scenic Sunday

Ceiling of the chapel, United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland
June 14, 2016

19 November 2016

Another FO, Another Gift, Almost Finished!

Around February or March of this year, I decided to knit gifts for four of my nieces and their husbands who are appreciative of knitted items.  For the guys, I chose the Turn A Square hat.  This was mostly because I've knit a few for The Tim, and not only does he love them, but he's always gotten lots of compliments.  Also, I knew the pattern was a pretty fast knit.  And one of the big things I wanted to try and do was make as many gifts as I could using yarn already in the stash.

As time went on, I also decided to make one for my 10-year-old great-nephew Zach, because he would probably like having a hat similar to his dad's.  And then, my youngest niece in that particular family started dating a guy that everyone thinks is the real deal, and they really like him.  We haven't met him yet, but he and his kids have already had summer vacation with the family, and are spending Thanksgiving with them.  So The Tim suggested he might get a hat too.

At this point, I have all but the boyfriend's hat knitted.  I know I'll get it done well before the end of November, which was my self-imposed deadline for all of the gifts.  But today I'm going to show you the one I made for my niece Julie's husband, Keith.

Here are the specifics of this one:

Project:  Hat #4 aka Keith's Hat
Pattern:  Turn A Square by Jared Flood
Yarn:  Berocco Vintage in Smoke (gray color); Berocco Vintage in Sour Cherry (red)
Needles:  US 6 and 7
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I truly enjoy knitting this pattern, and actually knit this hat over a weekend, while also doing lots of other weekend things.  I guess you could always knit it with several color, or as a solid, and I might try that sometime.  But I wanted these to be two colors.  If you want to knit a hat for someone, give this one a try.

And here's a bonus picture of the hat blocking, with my "helper's" paw assisting in placement of it to be just right ...  ;-)

(P.S. The reason the hat looks wet in spots is because these photos were taken right after I misted it with a spray bottle to properly block it.)

18 November 2016

Today We Are Sixty

And I say "we" because for the past 8 months and 4 days, I've been the only one here who's been sixty years old.  But today is The Tim's 60th birthday.

We have both taken the day off from work, as we are wont to do on birthdays.  And it's up the birthday person to determine the specifics of the day.  This year is slightly different, since he accidentally got the entire weekend off from work (long story, but who cares?), but it will be great I think.

Today he wants to go out to breakfast (once he gets up), then just relax and hang out at home.  One of his big plans is to wash the car ... but his birthday, his plan. I baked a yellow cake with chocolate ganache at his request. and am getting ready to put stuffed peppers in the crock pot for our dinner.

Then tomorrow we will head to Baltimore to my niece Liz's for an overnight visit.  We are staying at her house at her specific invitation - we usually stay at her sister's house.  But we'll get to see everyone, and meet my one niece's boyfriend and his kids, who we've heard many good things about from everyone.  They have planned a dinner birthday surprise, which should be fun and I am beyond certain he has no idea they will be doing anything at all.

Then we'll probably all go to brunch on Sunday morning before we head home.

So I think it should be an amazing weekend, and it will be a nice break for him not just for his birthday, but for a little fun break before the retail holiday crazy begins.

And no one deserves all of this more than he does.

So take a minute today if you will and raise a glass to The Tim for his birthday.  And have a wonderful weekend!

At the original front door to the House of Seven Gables,
Salem Massachusetts (September 2016)

17 November 2016

Everything's Coming Up Stuffing!

Today, Carole and Kat wanted us to talk about a recipe we love, and if it could be tied to Thanksgiving and/or a special memory, all the better.

Thanksgiving is a week from today - only a week!  Hooray, hooray, hooray, I love Thanksgiving so very much!  It's cozy, it's happy, it's relaxing, and it's food-related which to be honest all holidays are to me. But, on Thanksgiving, no one cares if things are food-centric which makes it even better. :-)

For the past week or so, I have already been thinking about STUFFING!  I don't care if you call it dressing instead of stuffing, but I DO care if you don't have it and you invite me for Thanksgiving ...

When we used to eat meat, I did enjoy the turkey, the leftover turkey for sandwiches, etc.  And I've never met a Thanksgiving side dish I couldn't make friends with, but for me the biggest and best thing in the meal has always been stuffing.  I think it was because when I was growing up, it was such a long and drawn-out process (still is, actually in our house), and it involved getting to spend time with my dad, driving him nuts helping.  He was always in charge of holiday meals, and they were always very involved, and I trailed him like a wanted criminal used to love being part of it.

And yes, I do know that you a) you can actually make stuffing any time of year, and b) you can even purchase already-made stuffing, some of it pretty decent.  But at Thanksgiving, I only want REAL stuffing!

As an adult, the thing I find amusing is that it was such a special and tasty thing to me, and what it was/is, the way we make it, is what other people have as the base for their stuffing.  No sausage, no chestnuts, no berries, no oysters, nothing but just:

Day old bread
Mushrooms (if affordable)
Seasonings - sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt (or as we used to have at home, a can of McCormick's spices "Poultry Seasoning" though my dad would still add more of the other stuff)

There's no recipe per se,  But it's still my most favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving.

And I *always* start thinking about it around Veteran's Day.  And then I can't wait.  :-)

16 November 2016

Linking Up (Which Is Not the Same As Hooking Up)

Well, how are you today?  I will admit to still feeling somewhat discombobulated, frustrated, and depressed, but fortunately my brain is returning to its more active state every day.  It's hard to believe the world changed so much just a week ago.  Feels like years, at least to me.

But I thought I'd share some links that you might find interesting, useful, or just plain enjoyable since I know that I always like to see what others offer for my perusal. Admittedly, there is not a lot of variety here, but I still think it's worth sharing.

This article from New York magazine is well worth your time to read.  It is well-written, and contains some excellent observations.

I know that a lot of us are trying to decide what to do next, who might need our help, or how we can make a difference at even the most basic level since the election.  This list is a good place to start.

Do you occasionally find that you've been led to click on a headline or an article, only to find that it falls into the category of "fake news" or clickbait?  (I think it's safe to say it's happened to all of us at least once.)  Or some are parody/satire sites that seem so "real" they often suck people in - a la The Onion, which I have to say is one of my favorites!  Anyway, here's a list of some of the sites.  It's not comprehensive, but it might keep you from getting sucked in.

Switching gears somewhat, did any of you see the movie "The Goodbye Girl" years ago, with Richard Dreyfus and Marsha Mason?  Do you remember the little girl - Quinn Cummings - who played Marsha Mason's daughter in that movie?  Well, she is an adult now, and I came across her on Twitter, and let me tell you, I love her so much!  She's witty, observant, as well as a person who provides foster homes to kittens!  Her commentary, particularly related to the newly elected person whose name shall not be mentioned (who she calls "Giant Toddler"), as well as comments that are "responses" to beauty magazine headlines ("Five Ways to Look Young Forever"), is so spot on as well as often viscerally bruising, she is one of my new heroes.

On another topic altogether - the holiday season - I found these two pieces that I thought were worth sharing:

First up - a tutorial on how to make a quilted, holiday-themed table runner that is not only pretty straightforward (if you sew, of course!), but great-looking!  I see some of these in my future, both as gifts but also for myself.  Probably not this year, but fortunately Christmastime rolls around each year.

And then, as a way to remind children - and adults - that the Christmas/holiday season is about kindness and happiness for others as well as ourselves, this idea of a type of Advent calendar.  I'm thinking of making it simpler for myself, maybe a decorated jar or box with slips of paper that have something on them for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  As she suggests, as simple as holding a door for someone, or paying for their coffee.  I love the holiday season so much, but often wish I could think of more ways to help others.  Even if they are small acts, if they are done sincerely, it's a gift to everyone involved.

That's what I've got for you today.  I hope you'll enjoy poking around.

15 November 2016

Monday Questions, Tuesday Answers

For the last few weeks, as a result of one thing or another, I haven't had a chance to post any answers to Kathy's Monday Quora.  When I do, I enjoy it.  So even though today is Tuesday, I'm posting my responses to her Monday queries.  :-)

-- Have you ever petted an angora bunny?

Yes, a few times when I've gone to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  (I pretty much pet whatever animal I can when I'm there!)

-- Do you have any novelty yarn in your stash?

Not anymore.  I used to have quite a bit, but either used it up or gave it away.

-- I'm maintaining my weight but I have to admit I still have to have: Creamer in my coffee and sugar.  Is there something you simply can't give up on in your food life?

Cheese.  It's why I'm a vegetarian and not a vegan.

-- Do you swim during the winter months?

Nope, I don't have access to any indoor pools.

-- What are you having for dinner tonight?

Since The Tim is working, and I'm on my own, I will probably heat up some soup and have that with some oyster crackers and iced tea.

-- Are you a Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopper?

Sometimes, but I don't use either day to do it all.  If I do go out on Black Friday, I go early in the morning, and shop in Center City Philadelphia.  It's pleasant, and since most people go to one of the malls, it's not crazy crowded.

-- Did you cast on this weekend?  

I cast on a hat on Friday evening, and finished it Sunday evening!

-- Did you see the supermoon?

Yep.  So cool!

-- Would you like to recommend a movie (must be entertaining and light)?

We just recently re-watched one of our favorite movies, "Waiting for Guffman."  It's completely ridiculous.  It's a Christopher Guest movie, so if you've seen any of his others and enjoyed them (another fave of ours "Best In Show"), you'll probably like this one.  :-)

I'm still trying to figure out the problems I'm having with trying to comment on other people's blogs.  It seems to be the ones that require you to "Select profile," which, come to think of it, I don't remember being there before.  Anyway, I've tried several things with no success, so hopefully The Tim can help me work on it more sometime when he is home.  In the meantime, it's so frustrating, and driving me crazy!  Sometimes I feel like technology exists to make my life more difficult, rather than easier ...

14 November 2016

A Well-Spent Weekend

This past weekend was a good one for us.  Now don't get me wrong, I seldom have bad weekends, but after last week, I wasn't sure how it would all go, since both of us were still shell-shocked.  And though we still are, especially after hearing about some new appts in the new govt (really?  alt-Right kings?), the weekend itself turned out to go very well.

Friday night we were just happy to be home together, as The Tim had been working nearly every evening since one of the other managers was out last week, and the store manager doesn't like to work the closing shift (a whole other story, not really mine to tell).  So we had a quiet dinner, and spent the evening reading and listening to music, before going to bed somewhat early out of both physical and emotional exhaustion.

Saturday we headed over to NJ to get some things done.  We stopped and got breakfast (I LOVE to go out to breakfast!), and then went to the liquor store (please do not tell the State of PA that we crossed state lines and bought liquor), Kohl's (The Tim had a birthday coupon to use), and Target, where we did some grocery shopping.  Once we got home, we did thrilling things like start some laundry, clean bathrooms, and the things that are a constant.  But we spent most of the rest of the day watching some shows we'd recorded and the Notre Dame-Army football game.

Friday night, The Tim had said, "I think I'll make a pizza for dinner tomorrow night," and I of course agreed because he makes really yummy pizza.  Neither one of us knew that Saturday was National Pizza Day, so finding that out was so fun!  Then when the pizza was ready, and I wanted to take a picture, he said, "Oh you're gonna become one of those people who take pictures of their food all of the time?"  I pointed out that I'd forgotten that I needed a blog post for Saturday, and was going to use National Pizza Day so  I wouldn't need to actually, suddenly come up with a topic!

The funny thing is, after he read all of the comments from all of you about the pizza picture I posted, he was so happy!  "Hm.  I guess people enjoy those pictures sometimes."  :-)  He also sends his thanks for all of the kind comments.

Sunday, he was at work all day, and while I was drinking a cup of tea that morning, I decided that in my current state of mind, I wanted to find out what the Jesuits were saying.  So I got myself dressed and walked across town to Old St. Joseph's for Mass.  Admittedly, I don't go to Mass on a regular basis, except I do make a concerted effort during Advent and Lent.  And I do enjoy the singing. (The Tim: "Oh yes, what a good motivation to attend church - so you can sing along."  Hmph.)

Anyway - the sermon was AMAZING.  Everything I had hoped it would be, and though it didn't mean I felt back to my usual self, it truly did help me.

After coming home, I decided that since it was such a lovely day - sunny, cool, occasional slight breezes - that it would be a good time to rake some leaves.  I enjoy it, but I am also reminded of yet another reason I am glad we do not actually have a yard.  I was out for ~1 1/2 hours, and ended up with two HUGE bags, filled practically to the brim ... and that was only from the entrances to our house! (Yes, we have two entrances. And technically, three addresses.  A story for another post.)  I was tired and decided to tackle the garden next weekend.  But I did have to fill the bird feeder, and the cats came out into the garden to "assist" me - meaning they run around insanely while I do whatever I'm out there to do.

Milo the Koodle devising a plan of attack ...

I had wondered if Jack would join us, and what he would do if he did.  Hahahaha.  Silly me - of course he joined us!  Far be it from him to miss anything!  He had the best time, running around, jumping in leaves, and best of all, leaping to catch (more truthfully, *try* to catch) bugs.

Nature boy pauses very briefly, and I get two photos are that not completely blurry!

Then I watched the Eagles-Falcons game, which was exciting both because it was a good game, and also because the Eagles actually won - go figure!

Once The Tim got home, we ate dinner, and spent the rest of the evening watching some recorded shows again, and ... I finished my Christmas knitting for family!*  This is especially surprising, since it's been really difficult for me to knit for any length of time since Jack joined the family - he likes to "help" a little bit too much ...

The down side of a lovely weekend, is that you still have to show up for work on Monday.  But at least the next two weeks are short ones - I'm taking off Friday of this week for The Tim's birthday, and next week is Thanksgiving, so it will be a short week as well.  (I just keep reminding myself of this information!)

In any event, I'll have some FO posts to share with you soon. :-)

*I finished all of the knitting I had originally planned.  I added on two additional projects, but only if I have time.  One will definitely be doable, we'll see about the other one ...

How was your weekend?

13 November 2016

Scenic Sunday

November 13, 2010 - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

A view from our hotel balcony, the morning of my niece Lauren's wedding.

12 November 2016

National Pizza Day

This was just a coincidence - The Tim had decided to make a pizza for dinner (one of his specialties), and then we learned it was National Pizza Day - who knew?

A happy coincidence, and a perfect meal to eat on a fall Saturday.  :-)

I hope you're having a relaxing weekend.  We all deserve it!

10 November 2016

September and October Harry's Hundred Update

Hello again.  I am so glad that my little message from yesterday was well-received by at least all of those who commented (and hopefully for any lurkers as well).  It's funny - I have been trying for so many months to find good things to think about, do, and act upon, because I needed to think of ways to keep myself afloat; and now I need it more than ever, but I'm glad for my mental state that I was already trying.  I think that otherwise I would have just sunk to a depth that would be really hard to move from anytime soon.  So I hope that post was able to do anything even remotely small to help you.  If not, please know I tried. 

Edited to add: If you have a blog from Blogger, I'm not ignoring you - but for the past three days, I have not been able to comment on any blogspot.com posts at all unless the comments are moderated; it tells me to "Select Profile" and then nothing happens.  Sigh.  (I have no idea why, but I'll keep trying to figure it out.)


Let's move on to something else positive, which makes me feel better, and should make plenty of others feel better as well.  It's time for a Harry's Hundred update.


Thank God for Kim's contribution, because the past two months, I'm afraid I have added nothing.  I'm hoping once my gift knitting is finished (so close!), I can at least end the year on a good note.  

Anyway, Kim contributed these two items, a hat and a cowl.  Am I the only one who absolutely loves the colors, and would actually wear them together?  The other thing i appreciate here is the reminder that a cowl is a perfect contribution - in some ways, easier to wear than a scarf!  


October was a really good month for the project!

Before I forget, the same Kim from above sent me an e-mail saying that she knit 5 hats and sent them off,  but forgot to take pictures.  FIVE HATS - that's a LOT!

Next up, another wonderful project and idea.  This is a pillow knit by redindian (Rav link), and this is the note she sent to me about it:

"There are going to be lots more like this as the house my group are knitting for will house fifteen previously homeless, mostly men and we hope to knit or crochet a blanket and a pillow for each of them." 

How great of an idea is that?  I mean, having your own blanket and pillow - that would have to make you feel loved and safer, right?

Next up, another set of fun mittens from GringaTurista (Rav link) - I love how they are the same but different, and have nice pops of color for cold, wintry days!

And then, something for babies!  This is a sample of booties knit by marjos (Rav link).  Her knitting group is making these as well as socks for a Belgian knitting group collecting them for babies in Senegal.  She said in her note that 25 pairs - TWENTY-FIVE of them!! - were sent as part of Harry's Hundred.  AMAZING.   Baby toes will be so cozy and colorful in these. :-)

I have to say, that I am also happy because there are people knitting, crocheting, etc. for this project and not just sending things all over the world, but the crafters themselves are from all over.  Especially in our current world, knowing that there are people all over who want to contribute makes me feel so very happy.

OK, guys here's where we are as of today's date:

Goal:  100
Tally so far:  76

DO YOU SEE THAT?  We still have two months left, and we are nearly at 100 items!  I am overwhelmed, grateful, and touched.  And I have to tell you, my dad would be smiling from ear-to-ear.

A humongous THANK YOU to all who contributed, not just this month, but so far - there are others who are, and will be, having a slightly better time of it because of your kindness and good thoughts.  And isn't that something worth celebrating?

I know it makes me feel hopeful, and right now especially, that counts for a lot.

09 November 2016


I have no words, and yet so many words, to express how I am feeling.  But rather than try to organize those words and my thoughts coherently, let me share some of Anne Lamott's words, from one of her books, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith:

"Hope is not about proving anything.  It's about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us."

Please tell someone that you love them today - people, pets, the air, trees.  It will always be more important than anything else.


Meanwhile, I hope this will at least make you smile.  I call this "The Ridiculous Trinity" and it's on my windowsill in my office. 

Take care of yourselves.  I'll be back again tomorrow.

08 November 2016


Today is Election Day here in the U.S.  If you have not taken advantage of early voting, or you live in a state like Pennsylvania, where it is not available, get yourself to your polling place and VOTE!!!


 Independent or Third Party?



People have died - and still do - for the right to vote.  This year it's especially important, since we are electing a new President.  And though of course I'd like if if everyone voted the same way I did, what I really want is for people to just VOTE.

Off the soapbox now.  :-)

07 November 2016

Bits and Bobs

I realized earlier today that I had a bunch of stuff I'd sent to myself with the subject line "For blog."  So I took a look and realized they were things I wanted to share, and I might as well do them all together, so I don't lose track of them.

First of all - Kathy has moved!  Apparently Blogger gave up on her, so she moved and has a brand, spanking new blog - but still with her Monday Q&As.  So go on over and visit her, so she knows that you know where she is now.  :-)

Next up, sprite wants to know if you are interested in joining her on the Virtual Advent Tour.  I can tell you that I participated a couple of years ago, and it was both fun and really interesting.  So if you think you might want to do it, please let her know, so she can decide if/how to proceed.

One of the podcasts I've recently discovered, and truly enjoy is the Grocery Girls Podcast.  They crack me up, and seem like they would be fun to hang out with.  In the most recent episode, one of them mentioned this Afterthought Heel process, where using waste yarn isn't necessary.  I watched the video, and I have questions, but basically, mind = blown.

This map amuses me - and also kind of scares me.  Have you asked the most popular question from your state?  I have to say I've never Googled "How to Defeat Isis."  I should probably hand in my citizenship card, huh?  ;-)

And finally, you may want to consider participating in this study.  It's easy enough to do, and you can drop out at any time - everything is basically still under your control.  The Tim and I have both signed up.

So there you go - maybe not something for *everyone* but some nice variety.  Enjoy exploring!

06 November 2016

Scenic Sunday

Acadia National Park, Maine
September 2016

05 November 2016

Book Report for July, August, and September

Apparently I'm doing quarterly book reports this year ... not a problem, it's just that I'm always surprised when I realize I haven't done one for each month!

So here you go, what I read during the end of summer/beginning of fall.  You probably won't be surprised to see that I read some Halloween-themed books at the end of October ... ;-)

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, by Tarquin Hall.  Vish Puri, proprietor of Most Private Investigations, never disappoints.  In this book, he starts out by taking a case to find out the identity of a thief who stole the mustache (!) of the person who has the longest mustache in India.  Before he gets very far into that case, he is present at a dinner after a soccer match where his nephew is playing, where the father of the star player from the opposing team dies of poisoning.

His investigation into this unexpected death takes him to Pakistan, a country that he has never wanted to visit, and that he feels a strong hatred towards.  His mother also becomes involved in the case for other reasons, and in spite of his dismay, becomes a helpful partner.

This book takes the reader into the world of game-fixing of cricket matches, and also the international trade of blood diamonds.  As usual, Vish Puri and his team manage to solve the mystery, and that of the stolen mustache as well.

This series is so interesting to me - depictions of current-day life in India, but where ancient tradition still holds sway.  And Vish Puri's nicknames for members of his team and other suspects - such as Tubelight, Facecream, and Full Moon - are so entertaining.

The story is well-written, and nicely paced.  My only problem with these books is that reading them makes me incredibly hungry for Indian food, since Puri loves to eat.  Right now, I would kill for a samosa!  :-)

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I'm glad I read this.  Though I have to say that her work "Cranford" is still and always my favorite.

This book focuses on Margaret Hale, whose father - a minister - decides to leave the ministry due to matters of conscience, and moves Margaret and her mother from a lovely, pastoral town in the south of England, to Milton, an industrial town in the north of England.  Margaret and her mother have strong prejudices against the north, which is much more industrial than the south, and the feel they are surrounded by people of a lesser quality.

Over the couple of years that they are there, Margaret realizes that the people there are still people, doing the best that they can, and she even makes some friends.  After the death of her parents, she returns to London to live with her cousin and her family, the household and life where she grew up.  She comes to realize that her life in the north had meaning for her, and that life in society is not as appealing as she had imagined, after being away from it.

This was a good story, with attitudes similar to those in our current day. But as with many works of its time, there was a whole lot of exposition and parts that seemed disjointed.  Perhaps if I had read it in the original serialize format, I would have appreciated that style more.  And the ending seemed sudden, after all of the time it took to arrive at that point!

Overall, it was an interesting look into the time when England went from an agricultural society to an industrialized one.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli.  Basic science is not my forte.  Physics is a whole other issue - it might as well be hieroglyphics for as much as I "get" it.  So I was curious about this book after I read a couple of reviews.  It consists of seven short essays that the author wrote as part of a science column in a European newspaper.

Did I come away with any understanding?  Yes.  Am I still puzzled about a lot of things related to physics?  You bet.  But this is the kind of book you can read all or part of multiple times and probably learn and understand a bit more each time.  The writing is accessible, even if the subject matter is not always as clear as you might wish.  The last essay is as much scientific as it is philosophical, and I have to say that I enjoyed it the most.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I'm going to add it to my wishlist because I would love to be able to pick it up now and then and try to learn more.

The Diva Frosts a Cupcake, by Krista Davis.  This was an enjoyable entry in the series.  The story begins with a fundraiser organized by Sophie Winston's friend and neighbor, Nina Reid.  It takes place over a weekend, with a festival, and the crowning event, a cupcake dinner, where different bakeries are assigned courses that have to be in cupcake form.

The story involves a lost dog, a couple of suspicious illnesses, two murders, and a false arrest.  As usual, it is up to Sophie and her friends to figure things out and tie the story together.

I liked this book for several reasons: 1) I enjoy most of the characters and the setting, 2) I wasn't sure who to suspect and who was innocent, so it kept me reading, and 3) because it was the perfect read for a time in my life when concentrating on anything at all was nearly impossible.  For that reason alone, I am grateful to Sophie and her friends, as well as Krista Davis, the author of this series.

Arsenic and Old Books, by Miranda James.  When the mayor of the town brings some journals from one of her ancestors to the archives where Charlie Harris works, he is thrilled that the collection will now have some first person accounts of what the town was like during the Civil War.  But before he can even begin to review and process the materials, a local reporter and one of the history professors demand access.  The mayor - a friend and former college classmate of the mayor - grants access to the professor.  But before Charlie can hand over the journals, someone breaks into his office and steals them.

More complications begin when the history professor is killed, the mayor suddenly finds an extra volume, the missing journals are returned with pages missing, and a local election appears that it will be affected by the information inside these journals.

With a lot of twists and turns, and with his cat Diesel by his side, Charlie eventually figures out what happened.

I like this series for several reasons, but high among them is the fact that the author understands the differences between archives and libraries, and the nuances of how each work.  I enjoy the characters, and of course the cat (!), and in this particular book, I was highly amused that people kept pointing out to Charlie that he always seemed to somehow get involved in local cases of murder.  It was really quite amusing, particularly since he didn't find it that amusing.

Aunty Lee's Delights, by Ovidia Yu.  I read this based on a recommendation from someone I follow on Instagram.  It takes place in Singapore, and is full of references to Singaporean history and culture, and mostly to their food.

Aunty Lee is a widow who runs a small cafe.  She has two adult children, one who lives in England, and one who lives near her and is married to a social-climbing wife.  They try to begin a series of wine tastings at Aunty Lee's modest cafe to try and bring a little bit of upward mobility to it, as they hope to take it over one day.  At the second one of these events, they learn that one of the participants is missing.  Soon after, they learn she was murdered.  Aunty Lee decides that she must learn what happened and solve the murder.

The book and the story was OK, but I found it a bit scattered in the storytelling and the writing.  Even without knowing anything much about Singapore, it could have been a lot more interesting and even "educational" if the writing had been better.  It's definitely a series with possibilities.  I may read the next one sometime to see if it has the potential to improve.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs.  I didn't *dislike* this book, but I also didn't like it a whole lot, either.  It was enjoyable, it was well-written, but it just didn't grab me like I was expecting that it would.

It's the story of a boy, Jacob Portman, who grew up hearing the stories of his grandfather's youth, and about the children's home where he grew up after being sent to England to avoid the Nazis.  When the grandfather dies, Jacob is not convinced that it was just old age.  He travels to Wales, to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, hoping to talk to her and find out more about his grandfather's childhood.  He has seen photos that his grandfather had kept, and even finds a letter from the headmistress, so he is determined to find answers.

He does find them, though maybe not the way he expected.  And in the end, he learns a lot about himself and his grandfather, though the answers would likely be difficult for most people to believe or understand.

I think I just didn't find Jacob all that interesting, and as a result I just didn't care as much as I might have about his journey.  Everyone else I know who has read this book has loved it, but I guess this is one of those times I'm in the minority.

A Paris Apartment, by Michelle Gable.  When April Vogt is sent to Paris by her boss to appraise furniture in a Paris apartment to prepare it for auction, she is on the one hand, since she adores Paris, and unsettled on the other hand, because she is trying to determine if her marriage is falling apart.

Upon arrival at the apartment, she finds that it is a treasure trove of Belle Epoque pieces, and that no one has lived there for years.  She finds the diaries of the woman who once lived there, and it changes everything.  Not only as far as the auction prep goes, but as far as April's interactions with her colleagues and the estate's attorney.

I liked the book well enough overall.  I think it was just hard to be attracted to April, since she just didn't seem that well-developed or interesting to me.  I liked hearing about the apartment and about Paris, and the diaries were interesting, but the whole story and book just seemed awkwardly composed to me.

Persecution, by Alessandro Piperno.  This book is a real change of pace from most books I've read, especially recently.  The bulk of the book takes place completely within the mind of the protagonist, with a detached observer telling us the fill-in details.

It all begins during family dinner one evening, when Leo Pontecorvo, a renowned pediatric oncologist in Rome, is sitting down for dinner with his wife and two young sons.  They have all the trappings of a well-to-do, well-respected family.  Then, Leo's picture appears on the screen in the news report, where we learn he is accused of having indecent sexual conduct with the girlfriend of his thirteen year-old son.

Leo retreats to the basement, where he basically exists for the rest of the novel.  Seldom leaving the house at all, and watching his wife and children from the basement window whenever they are outside the house or going to the car in the garage.   Leo realizes that there have been things in his life that have all come crashing down at once for him, both personally and professionally.  We hear his side of the accusations made by the girl, where we learn he is innocent.  As time wears on, he goes back and forth between wanting to fight for his life and his family, and giving up.

We learn that Leo was a child of privilege, and how he seldom even as an adult ever had to take care of daily things like paying bills or organizing vacations.  His wife or his mother always handled these mundane things.  But his mother is dead, and he can no longer count on his wife.  At a minimum, he doesn't even try to contact his wife or his children for the rest of the book.

This was an interesting, if sometimes frustrating book.  Leo is a person who in some ways is sympathetic, but in other ways comes across as having sealed his own fate as a result of his arrogance and self-centered-ness.  He seems to want to avoid conflict at all costs, even if it means facing his family.

The ending was a surprise, at least to me.  But after the last sentence, it also says "To be continued," so I am wondering what the next part will be.  Other versions of Leo's story?  The story of how his family carries on?  I will definitely want to find out.

One particular thing of interest to me, was that apparently in Italy (at least at the time of the novel, the late 1980s), a defendant was not required to attend his own trial.  Fascinating.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, by J. K. Rowling.  This was good, creepy, and enjoyable.  That's all I want to say so as not to give anyone who hasn't read it, but wants to, any spoilers.

Black-Eyed Susans, by Julia Heaberlin.  This is a really chilling psychological thriller. Tessa is the only survivor of the Black-Eyed Susans, murdered young girls who were buried until a cover of the flowers.  She was a teenager when it happened, and as the book opens, she learns that there is a re-opening of the case of the person she sent to Death Row.  The rest of the book alternates chapters between Tessa as an adult, and Tessie when she was 15 years old, and preparing for the trial of the kidnapper/murderer.  It was a little bit hard getting started, but once you get used to the format, the story unfolds and you are sucked in.

There are not a lot of details about the actual kidnapping, nor about the hours that Tessie was buried alive.  Instead, we hear about snippets of her time with a psychiatrist, and time preparing her testimony.  Tessa, in the meanwhile, has become an independent artist with a 13-year-old daughter, who is haunted by what happened to her, and that she never could *exactly* remember everything.

As the case is reopened for the Death Row inmate before he is to be executed, and Tessa finds black-eyed Susans planted in her window box, we learn that her "monster" has followed her for years, using that deceit.

I am not going to say any more, because I don't want to spoil it for those planning to read the book.  I can say that, at the end, I thought I had figured a part of it out.  But wow, I really had not.

Patterns in the Sand, by Sally Goldenbaum.  I decided to read this book because a) I enjoyed the first in this series, and b) it takes place in a town in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and we would be spending part of our vacation in a couple of Cape Ann locations.

One regular, quiet evening in the town of Sea Harbor, Izzy Chambers, the owner of the local yarn shop, gets a call from the local police saying that someone has died in her store window!  She arrives to see what is happening, and it turns out that the young woman is alive, but that she had broken into the shop and fallen asleep.  Her name is Willow Adams, and she came to town because a while back, Izzy and her aunt Nell had seen some of Willow's textile art and had sent her an e-mail saying how much they had admired it.  Izzy had said if Willow ever came to Sea Harbor to let her know, she would love for her to teach a class or something.

So that's weird enough - why didn't she let them know she was coming, etc.?

Then shortly after, on a night when the local artists have their open house events, Aidan Peabody, a one of the artists and a force in the town, dies from having his drink poisoned.  Who did it?  Why? There are several people who he had conflicts with, but to the locals, it's hard to believe one of them was the killer.  Willow becomes a suspect.

After that, one of the gallery owners dies.  At first everyone thinks it is suicide, but they cannot figure out why he would kill himself  Then it's learned that it was murder.  So two murders in the small town in a short time - what is happening in normally quiet and lovely Sea Harbor?

This was an enjoyable read, perfect for a vacation.  It was interesting enough to keep me turning the page, but did not require intense, singular concentration to keep track of things.

The Red Bandana. A Life. A Choice. A Legacy, by Tom Rinaldi.  Did not finish.

I wanted to like this, I think it is likely a lovely and inspiring story about the human spirit.  But about 50 pages in, the writing is soooooo stale, I gave up.

Threads of Evidence, by Lea Wait.  This was my second vacation-related read, because it takes place in Maine, and I was going to be there.

Angela Curtis once again becomes involved in a murder investigation.  This time, it's related to problems that begin to occur when a well-known popular Hollywood actress buys a decaying estate in the town and begins to restore it.  The family who owned the house lived there every summer, and one year their daughter died by falling into the fountain.  Or did she?

As the story progresses, we learn that someone is worried that the truth will come out, and is anxious to keep that from happening.

Great for a vacation read.  Entertaining and involving, but not heavy or deep.

Brooklyn on Fire, by Lawrence Levy.  This is the second book in this new series, and I found it maybe even more interesting than the first.  In the first book, the story brought in Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse.  In this one, we have the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Huntingtons, and the Vanderbilts.  The author has based this one on real events, mainly the merger of Brooklyn into New York City.

Though she helped the NYPD solve a major case, Mary Handley has not been asked to join the force.  So she has an "office" at a bookstore where the owner has become both a friend and a supporter.  She has been calling herself a Consulting Detective, and when a woman comes in to ask for her help regarding a family member, Mary becomes involved not only with dirty little secrets among the city's elite families, but also in political maneuverings based on water supply to Brooklyn, and it becoming a borough instead of an independent entity.

This was a good follow-up to the first book, and makes me want to read the next one as well.  And this particular book has one of the best Prologues I've ever read.

The Silent Wife, by A. S. A. Harrison.  Well.  This was not the book I was expecting.  Granted, I don't really know what I *was* expecting, but nonetheless this was different.

Each chapter is told from a different viewpoint, between Jodi, a practicing pscychologist, and Todd, her husband and self-made real estate developer/builder, and a serial cheater.  They've been together for 20 years as the book opens, and things are heading south.

They have lived a nice life, in a beautiful lakefront condo in Chicago.  But things take a turn when Todd's latest affair results in a pregnancy.  On top of which, it's the college-age daughter of one of his lifelong friends.  The young pregnant woman commands Todd to leave Jodi and marry her.  Since things have been rough lately, Todd thinks this might be the best thing.  But nonetheless he drags his feet, because maybe he should stay with Jodi.  Jodi, for her part, is upset and angry about it all, but continues to live in a state of denial.

When Jodi is given an eviction notice to leave their condo, things come to a head.  She takes action and her plan seems to work, even though of course once it's accomplished she has second thoughts.
She prepares for the worst.  But things don't quite happen that way.

I don't want to say much more, in case anyone reading this decides to try the book.  Todd and Jodi are characters who are not lovable, but it is interesting the way they are drawn, and they way the react - or do not - to everything around them.  This is a really interesting psychological tale.  

Murder Is Binding, by Lorna Barrett.  Tricia Miles is owns one of the new businesses on the main street in Stoneham, a plan devised to bring business and tourist to the town to spend money.  She owns a mystery book store, next to a cook book story owned by Doris Gleason, an unpleasant person if there ever was one.   When someone appears to have broken into Doris' store, stolen a rare and valuable cookbook, and killed Doris, Tricia not only finds the body, but becomes the primary suspect.

On top of which, Tricia's soon-to-be divorced sister decides to come for a visit, and maybe even move to Stoneham herself - a source of dread, as the two were never close growing up.

This is the first book in this series, and was entertaining enough to keep me reading.  The murderer's identity became clear to me near the end of the book (your mileage may vary), but there were aspects of the story that were unexpected (at least to me).

I enjoyed this book, especially since the book I read just prior to it had been a very intense read.  Seeing how Tricia solved the murder and reading about her experiences was a nice way to move forward.

The Children, by Ann Leary.  This was an interesting book, about a blended family and hidden truths.
The story is narrated by Charlotte, who is in her late 20s, lives with her widowed mother, and is more or less a recluse.  She has a successful blog, though it is based on a series of lies.  Her late stepfather owns the house where they live, and it has been in his family for generations.  When her stepbrother comes to visit with is fiancee, Charlotte, her mother, and her sister are both surprised and intrigued.

The family relationships - both birth- and step-families - are each fraught with their own issues and problems.  Laurel's arrival (the fiancee) brings these into focus, and also exposes some of the things that had been ignored or disposed of in the families' relationships.  By the end of the book we've learned a lot about each of the characters, and needless to say, it's not all good.

I liked this book, and found the characters and their interactions with each other interesting.  The premise is a little bit different, but the only thing that was annoying about it was that towards the end, I felt it was somewhat predictable.

Brownies and Broomsticks, by Bailey Cates.  It turns out that this was not a Halloween-themed book, but it was about magic, so I kept reading.  And it's not that I hated it - it was fine.  Just not exactly what I usually enjoy.

Katie Lightfoot has just moved to Savannah, Georgia, to open a bakery with her aunt and uncle.  She is a trained baker, but between not really liking her previous job, and a recent breakup with her boyfriend, she's ready to start over.

When a local society matron is found murdered in her car after a business meeting at the bakery, and Katie's uncle is the prime suspect, she decides to do whatever she can to find the real killer.  The kicker is that she learns that her aunt and the women who are her group of friends are witches - and so is Katie!  Her parents are also witches, but chose to turn away from it, and never told Katie.

So that was just kind of weird, though not as hokey as I was afraid it might be.  And the search for the real killer was interesting.  And there are some amazing-sounding recipes at the end.

I liked it well enough, but it just wasn't quite my cup of tea (though I am going to try one of the recipes ...).

A Biscuit, a Casket, by Liz Mugavero.  Kristan "Stan" Connor is feeling happy that she left her stressful job and moved to Frog Ledge, Connecticut.  Even better, her organic pet food company has been gaining more and more business and she has even been asked to make all of the treats for a dog birthday party (!) at a local farm.  She is excited because it's also the opening night of the Halloween corn maze, and the whole town has been talking about it.

Except shortly after she arrives, the farmer is found dead at the entrance to the maze.  With a sickle sticking out of his chest.   As the police try to figure out who killed the farmer, we learn that he was actually not that interested in the farm, and had other activities going on.  Stan volunteers to help the farmer's wife straighten out the books, and starts to learn that there were real problems with cash flow.  It leads her to some suspicions about others in the farm co-op, as well as trying to figure out if her friend Izzy was involved.

In the middle of all of this, her mother shows up for a visit.  Stan is truly thrown for a loop, as her mother is not known for enjoying small towns, and is really critical of Stan's latest venture.

This was an entertaining read, and enjoyable for the Halloween season.

Candy Corn Murder, by Leslie Meier.  Another Halloween-themed book, which was a fun read.

Everyone in Tinker's Cove is excited about the Pumpkin Fest being sponsored by the local chamber of commerce.  Lucy Stone, a local reporter for The Pennysaver, a weekly paper, is busy with reporting on preparations and also taking care of her family, which includes her 4-year old grandson, who is staying with them while his parents are on a medical mission in Haiti.  Her husband is working with a neighbor to build a pumpkin catalyst, so they can participate in one of the Pumpkin Fest events.

Certain things leading up to the big event make Lucy slightly suspicious about it, but when a body is found in an old car during the pumpkin catalyst event, and it is the neighbor who had been helping Lucy's husband, she knows for sure that there is something that needs to be investigated.  And when her husband is arrested for the murder, it's up to Lucy to find out what really happened.

Entertaining and a fun holiday read.

Death by Pumpkin Spice, by Alex Erickson.  The final book I read for this Halloween season.

Krissy Hancock is the owner of a bookstore cafe, who apparently (in previous books I have not read) finds herself investigating and helping to solve murders in the community.  A local doctor who she hopes will become her boyfriend invites her to a swanky Halloween party.  She would rather stay home, but does not want to miss the opportunity to spend time with this guy, Will.  So she gets a costume together and they go to the party.

When one of the guests is murdered, the party pretty much stops, but no one is allowed to leave the house.  The investigating officer Paul - who Krissy also dated and likes - is also a guest at the party, so the two of them start trying to figure out what happened.

Besides Will and Paul, Krissy's ex shows up, hoping to win her back.  And the other police officer called to the scene is not a fan of Krissy's and she is pretty sure he wishes he could pin the whole thing on her.  Eventually things are resolved.

This was another OK read.   I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it.  It was just acceptable.

I need to start finding books for Halloween reading that engage me more ...


Have you read anything you particularly liked lately?  Feel free to offer recommendations!