Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Five Things On My Mind

First of all, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.  I've been SO BUSY!

Some things have been on my mind:

1.  Retirement is wonderful.  I am busy, but I'm busy with things I CHOOSE to do, not what I HAVE to do.  I do my housework when it needs doing, or when I'm motivated to tackle a major chore.  I keep up with the business bookkeeping on my schedule.  I exercise regularly.  We've done a bit of traveling on the spur of the moment.  I read, relax, watch TV or Netflix.  I deliver Meals on Wheels.  I've gotten involved again (after a longish hiatus) with church committee work and church events.  I lunch with friends.  It's a lovely life.

2.  I am doing NEW things.  I don't know what is so freeing about being in my 60's but I am doing new things - tubing down a river, joining a yoga class, snowshoeing, going to a paint night.

3.  I'm healthier.  Since June 1, 2016 I've lost over 70 pounds through diet and exercise -- ON MY OWN, not through a program.  I've seen success with a fitness tracker and a fitness app (MyFitnessPal).  I have striven to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise at least 5 days a week, through fitness classes like water aerobics, water tabata, Zumba Gold, and through rowing, snowshoeing, and WALKING.  I've gone from a size 30 jean to a size 18 jean, and from 3x tops to XL.

4. Because of my weight loss, I'm learning a new sense of body space!  I still think of myself as enormous and am always pleasantly surprised when I fit in a booth, or put the tray table down on an airplane.  I give myself more space than I need to get by people or past obstacles.  I need to re-learn personal space.

5. Partly because I have time, partly because I'm feeling healthy, partly because we can afford it, and partly because I realize how fleeting life is, I am not putting things off that I want to do.  I'm learning how to identify bird songs, I'm planning trips (off to California to visit our son and daughter-in-law soon, and to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone (tour) in the fall.  Despite the perilous times we are living in nationally and world wide, I am more optimistic about the part of life I can control.  It feels good!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: I Love You Like a Tomato

I Love You Like a Tomato I Love You Like a Tomato by Marie Giordano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting book. The narrator, Chi Chi, tells us about her childhood and adolescence, starting with her earliest memories of life in Italy and then immigrating to St. Paul Minnesota with her brother, mother, and grandmother. Her memories are both clear and hazy, at the same time. As is true of all children many of the things she hears and sees are misconstrued or misunderstood. In addition she has a vivid imagination. Born at the end of WWII, Chi Chi is raised by women. Her father, an American soldier, is absent, and when Chi Chi is told he has died, she cherishes his wooden leg. Her family is poor and it takes them a very long time to acclimate both to Minnesotan winters and the new American culture. I liked this book although it was also at times, quite depressing. The writer is also a poet, and her prose leaves a lot of space for the reader to fill in. I did find myself wishing for a little less "work" sometimes; I'm not sure that I always made the intended inference!

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review: Boar Island

Boar Island Boar Island by Nevada Barr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While Anna Pigeon, obviously, is part of the story, she is not the focus of this installment. A friend of hers, Heath, has decided to spend some time on Boar's Head Island in Acadia National Park where Anna is temporarily assigned. Heath's high school daughter has recently been the victim of an attempted sexual assault and is currently being cyber-bullied and cyber-stalked. At the same time, one of the park rangers discovers she has an identical twin sister whose husband has physically abused her. The two sisters decide to get revenge. The two situations eventually get tangled up together, and Anna's presence puts her in danger. I didn't like this book as much as others in the series. The plot felt a bit too contrived, and the motivations of most the characters seemed a bit farfetched.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Pennies On a Dead Woman's Eyes

Pennies On a Dead Woman's Eyes Pennies On a Dead Woman's Eyes by Marcia Muller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been quite a while since I'd read anything from this series, but it didn't take me long to re-orient myself. It did take me longer to read than I expected; I couldn't concentrate very long. That was due a lot more to personal circumstances than any fault of the book. I did find the plot a bit slow-moving, but the ending was a surprise to me.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: The Calling

The Calling The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I almost abandoned this book. I had a hard time liking the lead character Hazel Micaleff, and the plot was pretty dark. However, I eventually got to the point where I wanted to know how Hazel made out, personally and professionally. The plot was almost too dark for me, too. I would say that the author did an excellent job setting the atmosphere for the plot, and a good job helping the reader understand the motivations of Simon, the "villain" of the book. I got interested enough in Hazel as a character by the end that I will probably look for book #2 - just not right away.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: Presumption of Guilt

Presumption of Guilt Presumption of Guilt by Archer Mayor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a solid entry into the series. I like the characters, and I especially like the way Willy Kunkle has finally found a way to let some softness into his life through Sammie and his daughter. I also like the way the characters have been able to face some devastating challenges and lived through them, scars and all. I also enjoy the series because it's set not far from where I live, and although I don't live in Brattleboro, I recognize it. This book revolves around the discovery of a skeleton buried in the concrete floor of a warehouse that's being torn down at the now-shut Yankee nuclear plant. This discovery sets off a chain of events dating back 30 years to when the plant was built. One of Willy's informants is central to uncovering information that leads to the murderer. This book has less graphic violence in it than some of the others, which was also pleasant. Good story!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Knitting Mojo is Back

I have finished several projects in the past month, after a slow summer.  Here they are:

1.  This is Mindy.

I originally knit a year or so ago, in a lovely purple varigated alpaca.  I washed it, and accidentally felted it. It had been by go-to sweater all last winter so I decided to make another one.  It took me 6 months, and unfortunately, during that 6 months I decided to lose 40 pounds.  Unfortunate because it's WAY too big now.  I'm not sure whether I'll frog the sweater or find someone to give it to.

2. These are Garter Rib Socks - a go-to pattern for me.

3.  Next up is a Medio Cowl by my favorite designer Laura Nelkin.

4.  And finally is another cowl by Laura Nelkin, the All-Ways Cowl.

I've started another sweater, Breezeway by Karen Hipksy. And I will probably do another All-Ways cowl or two for gifts.  We'll see.