Count the Delights

Carole took a cue from my post of yesterday and decided today's Ten on Tuesday should be about 10 Everyday Things that Delight.  I often make a mental note of at least one thing that is my daily delight and it doesn't have to be something grand, and once you start taking not it's easy to find what it is that delights.

Myview1. My view! My mountain, at any angle, brings me so much delight on a daily basis. If by chance the view is obscured by cloudy weather (which happens infrequently), I have it in my minds eye and know it is always there looking over me.

2. My iPod. I've expounded on my love of my back pocket friend, but the books, podcasts, and daily pedometer count it gives me is a daily delight.

Thejayfamily3. Cheryl calls me a scrub jay magnet, and I am as attracted to them, as they must be to me. As you can see yesterday, it has nothing to do with the copious number of peanuts I scatter. I had not a single one with me on Saturday, and the babe still dropped to drink at my feet. I feel chosen.

4. This year spring arrived in January and it's put on a show ever since. We have loved our extended spring, as well as the roller-coaster weather. If it's cold today, just wait until tomorrow as it will be beautiful once again.

Springflowers5. Because of the extended spring, the flowering season has been long. A variety of daffodils have been blooming at Red Butte Gardens since January and every time I go I see something new and interesting, not to mention beautiful!

6. One of my daily delights is friendship. It might be face to face, in a letter, an email, a text, or a blog post, but every day I have the joy of friendship with so many lovely people.

Mytea7. I gave up coffee when I had surgery 5 years ago and I have explored the love of tea ever since. My cupboard is full of delicious varieties from all over the world, and I've become a bit of snob.  How much do I love the warmth of a cup in the morning and cold sip of tea iced at the end of my day? The thought brings pure delight.

8. Seriously, how many of us could live a day without at phone attached to our hips? I love putting it aside at the end of the day and rarely look at it past 6:00, but it is my lifeline for much of the day. The camera, the calendar, the connection to family and friends, it offers in a variety of ways. It is a double edge sword, but we all carry it for protection and connection. A smartphone is a daily delight.

9. My knitting, or sewing, or reading, or writing! Every day I must do something to create and use my hands. It is a very sad day I cannot do one or the other and a day I can do all, or at least, several crafts, is a wonderfully delightful day.

Whiskey10. The end of the day on the days I am home with Smith is one of my greatest delights. We sit and relax, read and sip a tiny shot of a good whiskey. This doesn't happen daily, but just the time to truly unwind is truly delightful.


Pull Out Your Library Card

Carole, as librarians are wont to do, would like us to list the last 10 books we read for Ten on Tuesday. I've a few good books on my list and few so-so choices and I hope this helps you find something to read.

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1. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood - This book was a reread for me as Margaret Atwood's visit was on my mind. This book is darkly humorous and I enjoyed every word. I loved the characters, a group of girlfriends, frenimies really, and laughed out loud as they retold their stories, revealing secrets and whole of the story. 4 stars. Audio, March 23-24th.

2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars - This story grabbed me, held me, mesmerized me, and shattered my heart into a thousand pieces, but left me with hope for many of the characters. McCullars tells the stories of several memorable people, the lonely, the mis-fit, the misunderstood, all incredibly poor, but full of spirit and heart. It will take a truly amazing to knock this out of the #1 spot of my 2015 reads. 5 stars, with highest recommendation to all. Kindle, Feb. 23-Mar. 24th

 3. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin - This covers 24 hours of a young man's life, his religious conversion and his step away from the religious life. John Grimes is a young black man in the 1950s, and it is difficult to imagine what life would be life for a poor black family living in that time. James Baldwin brings that era very much alive, as he tells this coming of age story, driven by John's relationship with his father and with religion. I was touched in many ways by the story and found Baldwin's language lyrical and substantial. This is a very important book from one of America's great authors. 5 stars. Audio, Mar. 5th-10th

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - Another sci-fi choice, read only because Margaret Atwood was coming to town, and wanted to brush up on her most recent fiction. I found the story disturbing, as the world she created reminded me a little too much of our own. Distopian fiction is a beyond me, even when dosed with humor.  4 stars. Audio, Feb. 20th-27th

5. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout - I wasn't a huge fan of Olive Kitteridge, Strout's big hit, and I read this book under protest (as sometimes happens with book group choices). I liked it not at all. I didn't go to the discussion and I'm not willing to write about it here. 2 stars, because I finished it. Kindle, Feb 2nd-21st

6. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Told from the letters and diaries of both an old woman, Roseanne, who is housed in an asylum, and a younger man, Dr. Grene. The narration moves back and forth, unveiling both their stories as it goes. The language is marvelous and their stories unfold slowly, relating surprising elements I won't spoil. 5 stars. Audio, Jan. 26th-Feb. 16th

7. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill - Told from the perspective of a unnamed wife, who at one time, wrote to her husband from the "Dept. of Speculation". This is another audio book narrated by the author and I appreciated the way she spoke softly, as if relating her secrets, telling of the uncertainties in her marriage and life as a mother. 4 stars. Audio, Feb. 2nd, a one day read.

8. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - This was a favorite of many of my friends, but I just couldn't get into the story. I found the characters to act more like children than scientists and was very put off by the story. I stretched to give it 2.5 stars. Kindle, Jan.21-Feb. 1st

9. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - You may have heard all the hype about this book and many of you may have already read it. It was a page turner, a good mystery, and it was hard to pick out the villain until the end. 3 stars, okay, but didn't live up to the hype.  Audio, Jan. 26th-27th

10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - This was perfect book to listen to because of the free verse style.  Jacqueline tells her story, her way and I listened to this book because she was the narrator. Having her read her ow words brought so much more to the story. 5 stars and marvelous. Audio, Jan. 22-23rd

At the moment, I'm reading, in both audio and paperback, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I loved this book the first time I read it in 1995 and I'm loving it again this time. As a bit of a distraction, I'm also listening to Raven Black (Shetland #1), a mystery. Next up, a recommendation from Carole, The Golem and the Jinni

What's #1 on your reading list?


Something New

Welcome to the new Zeneedle! Thanks to the most awesome Vicki for all the hard work in making the header look more like mine! I love it and love the new look Typepad's Nimble design has made possible. There may be some tweaking, but I'm excited about the new look and hope you are, too.

Did you know it was my 11th Bloggiversary the beginning of this month? I just skipped right over it, but now there is need of celebration, don't you think? I think I'll tell you Three Things About Me Right Now. Exciting, eh? 

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1. I'm a shaggy dog in need of a haircut and I'm wondering if I need a change. Not short, just different. Any suggestions? 

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2. I'm trying out my artistic skills by doodling and drawing, follow the steps on this blog. She has great ideas and some easy techniques, although, I think she makes everything look easy. 

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3. I'm loving the weather (so sorry my Eastern friends!) and spending time in the garden walking the labyrinth. It's going to be a fabulous weekend.  


I Dare Not

Living without cheese is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I gave up gluten happily and I've given up a few other foods, too. But...cheese, dear cheese, how I do miss you!

Carole asked us to pick our Ten Favorite Cheeses, which lead me to spend an hour and half feeling sorry for myself, but I decided to give in and list a few of the cheeses I miss most.  (PS.I have no cheese in the house for a picture.)

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1. Some of my very favorite cheeses are from a local company called Beehive Cheese. Their signature cheese Barely Buzzed has won a ton of awards. I also adore their TeaHive.

2. Baked brie or Camembert with sprigs of rosemary and gloves of garlic. This is to.live.for. Monica served this on Christmas Day as an appetizer and it was a hit.

3. Good ol' English Farmhouse cheddar.

4. Any cheese from Wisconsin. (I had to throw that in for Vicki.)

5. Goat cheese covered with  (Massachusetts) cranberries. (I had to throw that in for Carole.)

6. Stilton with lemon peel. So, good with wine.

7. Parmigiano-Reggiano (I can still eat small amounts with a lactaid.)

8. Feta cheese in a Greece salad. (Sheep's feta with a lactaid is also ok.)

Don't feel sad for me. There are many wonderful foods available to me and I eat a wide variety of things. I'm just a pain for other people to feed, not for myself.


What's Happening Now

Watching ...House of Cards. I losing interest in Frank and his wife and would rather watch the last episode of Downton....hopefully tonight.

Reading ...The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, I was hooked after reading the first page. I haven't decided on my next audio book.

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Knitting ...I'm having a bit of a redux, as I bought a lovely kit of Zen Yarn Garden in the Monument Valley Series. What else would I do with three complimentary colors, except reknit my favorite shawl, Germinate

Dreading ....I'm trying to not dial up the anxiety level, so I dread not.

Listening to... Jazz on the NPR website because they no longer podcast the shows. This does not make me happy, NPR!

Thinking about ...completely redoing the look of my blog. But, if the red umbrella goes, it won't come back and that stops me in my tracks.

Celebrating ...next week, my birthday.

Planning ...be outdoors in the extra light of day. Hurray for DST!

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Itching to ...finish outlining of the petals on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and start to cut (and bead). 

Drinking ...The last of my Royal Golden Safari tea from TeaZaanti. I need to find a new favorite and Hong Shui or Gin Shan Creme are running neck and neck.

Needing to ...try out some of the crafting materials I purchased. Needing to carve out the time to do.

Organizing ...I still haven't tackled the pantry (after months and months of wanting to do so).

Inspired by ...Beverly and Maryse who have been sharing their artwork on Instagram. And, by Kym who is sharing her artistic pursuits on her blog.

Delighted by ...The snow! Any precipitation that comes to the very dry West is welcome, although, spring is returning this weekend.


You Can Laugh At Me Now

Well, seriously, this weeks 10 on Tuesday puts me in a laughable situation. I don't "do" footwear. Very few shoes reside in my closet and most are all the same shoe, maybe varying in color, but all the same brand, shape, and shoe. My shoes are basic utilities and lack much style, but I'm willing to share what I have.

  Themistake

1. Keen's, my #1 shoe, the shoe I wear every day of the week. The style changes only slightly, but the shoe always has the same fit. I have 2 pair of black (one pair in good shape, the other quite worn) a pair in maroon (cordovan?), and a recent splurge, red. The picture above was not taken for the benefit of this post. As my luck would have it, I rushed out of the house a few weeks ago and did not notice until late afternoon that I had on two different shoes. Ha, ha, the joke is on me!

2. Slippers- This is my standard after work (at least in winter) footwear.

3. Boots (one pair) an UGG knitted style I wear once in a blue moon (especially this year).

Sandales

4. Back to the Keen, I also have a pair of close-toe sandals.

5. Workout shoes-I bought 2 years ago.

6. And, to round out the wardrobe, another pair of Keens, my walking/hiking shoes.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the pretty shoes everyone else has in their closets. My days of having a closet full of choices are long gone (happily).


Ten Five Star

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Books on my current reading list.

A caveat, my friends: For the most part, the books I read are not happy books. They're usually difficult, heart breaking, thought-provoking, and tell a story that must be told.  This list is of the most memorable 5 star books I've read this year. ToT List for today is 10 Favorite Books of 2014. 

1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving -  This book was a page turner and I became complete wrapped up in the lives of John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. The story ran the gamut of emotions, with a focus on humor. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

2. Blue Horses by Mary Oliver - I have been opening this book to any page and reading it aloud ever since I brought it home. I copy inpiring sentences onto my chalkboard and keep them on view for a few days. My "One Word" revealed itself to me through this book.

3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - This novella is not like the movie with Audrey Hepburn. It is darker and delves more deeply into Holly's character and her personal history. 

4. Light In August by William Faulkner - Faulkner's language soars. I was swept away with his descriptions of place and the way he had of drawing a scene I could step into. I could, also, feel the desperation of his characters and understand their struggle. The small southern town and its people surrounded me as their story was told. Faulkner deserves all the praise heeped upon him over the years.

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - The book tells the respective stories of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy, alternating chapters between the two as they come of age during WWII. This is a book you shouldn't miss and is another I highly recommend to all.

6. A Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan - This is a brutal book, a grim reminder of the horrors of war. Few people know of the Australians held in POW camps by the Japanese during WWII or that they were forced to build the Thai-Burma death railway. Their story needed to be told, but it is one of the most difficult and disturbing books I've ever read.

7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Adichie tells the stories of Nigerian immigrants and the challenges they face when adapting to a new country. She sheds light on the many aspects and facets of race issues in Western cultures.

8. A Marker To Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik- Marked by the Liberian war, Jacqueline, the main character, lives in the shadows on a Grecian isle. She is barely surviving, unseen, haunted, and nearly mad with grief and guilt. The story was a hard one to shake, but well worth the read. 

9. The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan - I'll admit to having a soft spot for Irish novels. Each chapter of the book is narrated by an different character, all of whom live in a small Irish town, which has been adversely affected by the collapse of the economy. The stories are poignant, sometimes funny, but beautifully full of Irish idioms. They center around the violence that affected the town in the wake of the collapse and the demise of the local building firm. I listened to this book, but it's only 150 pages, which would make a quick read.

10. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - If you could live your life over and over again until you got that one thing right, that one thing you think could change the world, would you? 

Many of the books I "read" I listen to, but some I read and, often, I'll do both at the same time. What you choose to read is up to you and I know many of the books on my list will not make it to your reading list, but if anything strikes your fancy, I hope you'll have a go.


The Warm Cozy

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This is the annual Thankful Edition of ToT, but never does it hurt to reiterate what one is grateful for even if it is exactly as in years past.  I would love to hear from you and for you to tell share with me, as you visit this blog, what is one thing that you are especially thankful for this year. 

This year I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for the warmth of a roof over my head.

This year I am grateful for the job I have that pays for the gas to warm my home.

This year I am grateful for the cup of tea that warms my hands and fills my body with its warm fluid.

This year I am grateful for the warm friendship of my book group and the beautiful home we met in last night, gathering around a warm fire.

This year I am grateful for the warmth of the blanket covering my lap as I type.

This year I am grateful for the warmth from the space heater I use when feeling a little too chilled.

This year I am grateful for the warmth from the heating pad keeps the pain from my back.

This year I am grateful for warm soup, full of fall vegetables.

This year I am grateful I for the elctricity that comes into my home and runs all the warming devices.

This year I am grateful for the wool shawl covering my shoulders. 

This year I am grateful for the caring, warm, and genuine love of my hubby.


The Worst Case

My sister faced the ToT question a few years ago as a forest fire approached her house. She had a few days to think about what she would need, but not everyone in this situation has that luxury. She was out of her house for almost 6 weeks, but her town was saved (due to nature's capriciousness) and while she was happy to have a home to come back to, she joked she had rebuilt it into the house of her dreams during the time she was away, that she was disappointed to come back to the same old house. 

Loosing your home would be about as hard a trauma as anyone could go through and it is impossible to know what would be missed, but a few obvious things come to mind.

1. Important papers would be very hard to replace, so we keep them safe, in one place.

2. I love my antique Japanese table as much as any other thing in my house and I would mourn it's loss. The rest of my furniture I can only wish would go up in smoke.

3. Every hand knit item made by someone else would be most important of all my knitting. The love that went into each one while being knit cannot be replace. 

4. The water color painting by my entrance way. It's on  "permanent load" from a friend. It's a scene of a place in the So. Utah desert and I find the colors peaceful and the painting facsinating to study. 

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5. The Evertt Ruess prints Smith gave to me for an Anniversary gift years ago. 

6. My wedding ring and a few pieces of jewelry, but in the all of it, none of it is all that important to me. 

7. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Any picture in my house, especially the ones my father took of me and my siblings. 

8. Our cars (in the carport), even though, they are beaters, they would be able to give us a freedom of movement without relying on someone else. 

9. Some of my hand stitched treasures, as they are dear and I will never be able to stitch the tiny stitches they are would require. 

10. My computer, which wouldn't be a big loss, but it has my favorites and there are a slew of pictures saved on it, too. 

Have you given this subject much thought? It's something I pray never happens to any of you. 


The Weekend Accounting

Carole's ToT consists of sharing 10 Things We Did This Weekend. The request couldn't have come after a better weekend as our weekend was full!

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Saturday graced us with perfect fall weather, which was just what we wanted for the annual Harvest Fair at the SOUL Garden.  Along with the monthly work day, preparations were made for an unknown number of guests. Tables were decorated, a fire pit filled with kindling, and bails of hay were placed to create seating around it. Weknew participants would want to stay warm by sitting near the warmth of a fire.

The weekend not only was full, but it created in me a feeling of gratitude, as I felt the bounty at my fingertips.

This weekend I watched as little folk decorated pumpkins and...

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I visited with our citiy fire fighters and paramedics (before they were called away on an emergency).

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I went on a hay ride and as we rode by a haunted cabin, we were frightened by zombies!

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I learned from Dr. Dread that his horn is called a euphonium.

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I kept the fire going when the temperatures started to fall as the sun went down.

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I watched the sunset and took multiple pictures of the changing sky.

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Smith wanted me to see the amazing black widow spider his buddy created out of a electric cart of some sort. I'm not often afraid of spiders, but this one would rise up and try to bite!

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We also met a couple of celebrity folk, Wonder Woman and Fred & Wilma!  15518621035_a6d9eafc1e_z

We sat around the fire long after dark and listened to 8 year old zombie stream of conscious 'scary' stories.

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Sunday the day was much colder, and started with a sprinkle of rain. We braved the chill and went to the local farmer's market. The squashes and pumpkins, and other veggies for fall harvest, filled the booths. By afternoon the sky was clearing and the sun was out to warm the air. 

The best part of the weekend was spending it with Smith. It has been a month of Sunday's since we had two weekend days together. Who knows when we'll be that lucky again.