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.


At The End of The Rainbow

Carole asked us to spill the beans on what we'd do if we found a pot of gold. 

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1. Smith and I would retire.

2. We'd fix up our old condo with new carpet and furniture. 

3. I'd buy a new car. 

4. I'd make sure Smith bought a new car, too. 

5. We'd travel to visit family and friends we rarely have a chance to see. 

6. We'd spend a month in Italy, the one place I've always wanted to visit, and we might think of another place or two we'd like to visit. 

7. I'd give a lot of money to my favorite charities. A LOT of money.

8. We'd go to New York, because I've never been to NYC and we'd visit friends and family all over New England.

9. I'd have a great big dinner party and have a bunch of friends over for lobster and crab, and steak, if they want it.

10. I'd buy Smith a tractor.


You're Invited...

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Carole came up with a topic for ToT that had me searching through my book shelves. This is a difficult subject, as I rarely think about hanging out with characters from the books I read. I read to lose myself in other people's lives, in their times , and the places about which I know nothing, but wouldn't necessarily want to stay. I decided to go for some of the memorable characters from books I've read over the last few years in hopes of having an unpredictable evening.

1. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the main character from the Louise Penny's Gamache series, one of my favorite characters of all time, as he is a very kind person.

2. and 3. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and if you don't know why, you haven't read the book. Yes, I'd like Atticus at the table, too.

4. August Boatright from The Secret Life of Bees because she is no nonsense and down to earth, but also has a magical quality about her.

5. Lily Bere from On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Berry because her story has never left me. 

6. Aritomo because he created the garden in Garden of Evening Mists.

7. Ifemelu the main character Americanah because she's a complex character I would like to understand better. I also think she would add much to any dinner conversation. 

8. Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, because who doesn't want a rogue at the table.

9. Josefita (Tita) from Like Water for Chocolate, because she couldn't help but cook a passionate meal for us.

10. How do I introduce my last choice? This one may surprise you, but I think you'd all agree, Winnie-the-Pooh would be a wonderful character to invite to dinner because he'd bring the honey. 


No Idea

The Ten on Tuesday topic gave me a belly laugh. What? 10 Time Periods You Would Visit If You Had a Hot Tub Time Machine! I have no idea what Carole is talking about, but I'm sure there will be some great posts today. 

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 1. I'm wondering if I would I like living in the time of Edith Wharton? (Thank you, Kym, I love this sticker so much!

2. Maybe the time of Shakespeare would be interesting, as I love Shakespeare, plus this is also the time of Elizabeth I.

3. Perhaps the time of Emily Dickinson would be nice. 

4. I think I would be able to get into the late 1950s when Miles Davis was in his cool period.  Just to think I might be able to hearKind of Blue and Sketches of Spain in person! 

5. What about the time of the Roman Gods and maybe getting to know them better than I do now. Would I also gain an understanding of the mythologies? (No idea what time period I'd be going back to.)

6. Maybe I could just live this life over and over until I get it right. 

7. How about going back to the future and being totally surprised about where you'd land! It would all be new and foreign, just like going back in time would be, only weirder. 

I think that's about as many places as I really like to "go", but mostly, I just want to live with all of today's amenities and in a time that is familiar. There's no place like home. 


In The Now

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward to Right Now!

1. Smith's birthday celebration today! He's deciding where he'd like to go for his special dinner. 

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2. Just for fun, I took Carla Sonheim's Crazy Birds tutorial and signed up the Junk Mail Artist Book class and I'm looking forward to giving that pesky junk mail a reason to be.

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3. I'm looking forward to another week of above normal temperatures before winter tries to subvert the high that's kept it at bay. The weekend temperatures are headed to the "below normal range", but since normal is 43, and they're predicting 42, this isn't much of a threat. However, we are used to living in paradise. 

4. Looking forward to the end of the book I'm reading. It's for my book group, otherwise, I bother to wouldn't finish it. 

5. We've decided to paint our bedroom, or you could say, I've decided the color I want on my bedroom wall. Smith is now painting our bedside tables in a complimentary color and the walls will come next. I'm looking forward to having it finished and the work hasn't even started. 

6. I'm looking forward to finishing the Duane Park Triangle, but seriously...did you think it would take me this long? I truly thought I'd be finished by now. It will be another week or so. 

7. I'm looking forward to the weekend. After a long weekend, I don't want to return to work. I like my job, it's just that I like weekends better. 

8. On the said weekend, I should have time to work on my Alabama Chanin project and finish sewing the front. I have a beading extravaganza in mind as embellishment. 

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9. I'm looking forward to snow? I would love to see a foot of snow on the ground. It isn't just that we need the water, snow would help me remember and understand the date. It is mid-February after all. See how little snow and how dry the brush is? We need winter to return. 

10. I'm looking forward to DST. I like it. You're entitled to your opinion. That's mine. 

What are you looking forward to now? 


Time to Love

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I love seeing a brilliant sunrise. This is the view from my back door and I am lucky enough to leave the house at just the right time to see so many amazing sunrises. I love my view!

I love my new furnace, as it works so much better than the 44 year old beast we had. I also love that the old beast lasted 44 years. 

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I love being on the homestretch of finishing my long time knitting companion, Duane Park Triangle

I love having clean teeth and an "all clear for the next 6 months" report from my dentist. 

I love knowing next Monday is a day off! That alone will get me through the next week. 

I love sending mail and getting mail. It is the Month of Letters and I have been writing to friends and family, sending at least one letter a day. This is Valentine's week and I am looking forward to sending a few hearts in the mail, too. 

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I love being a member of Postcrossing and sending postcards to all corners of the globe. Yesterday I received three!  One from China and two from Russia!

I love the SnB girls and I am working on a post to share the wonderful projects we knit for our 11th anniversary. 

I love hanging out with Smith, which I will do all weekend! I can't remember the last time we had both weekend days together. We're SO looking forward to it and, as you know, Saturday is Valentine's Day, which makes it all the better!

I love that you still read my blog! I feel honored that anyone would be reading my blog after all these years. Thank you!

Carole asked us to start 10 sentence with I love. So, tell me, what do you love? 


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.

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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).

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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).


There's a Popular Song About This

Happiness comes from within. No one else, nothing else, only you, can bring happiness into your life. Carole asked for 10 Things That Make (Me) Happy Right Now. 

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At the top of the list is the one day of beautiful blue sky we enjoyed this weekend. You know how happy blue skies make me. 

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2. The stunning red amaryllis that has brightened my kitchen for the last month while it has slowly brought forth its glorious blossoms. It deserves a post of its own.

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3. Recommended by Brainpicklings, and picked up at my local library. this wonderful book brought delight to my weekend with its charming story and accompanying illustrations. A good book is happiness and this is only one of the three I read over the weekend. 

4. Happiness is spending two days IN A ROW with Smith. We walked in the sun, went to our favorite tea shop, spent time in the garden working on a green house, fixed some fun meals, had breakfast at a place we love, and even, fit in time to relax. 

5. Happiness is a project, that's been knit mostly under the radar, nearing the finish line. You know how slowly I knit, but sooner than later I'll be sharing an FO post. There is also a cecret project on the needles and there could be a row or two of a sweater in the works.

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6. My favorite project, of the moment, is an Alabama Chanin project you have not been privy to. More will be revealed shortly, do not fret. Believe me, it brings happiness. 

7. Happiness a delicious meal, made with care and love, and four hands working to  make it happen. 

8. Happiness is having dinner with a girlfriend;  good conversation, good food, good wine, and a good time. 

9. Three beautiful days off work! That is what made me SO happy this weekend. 

10. Happiness is everything in my world. My life is full, there is a roof over my head, I am safe, and I have a good job, I have a car (even though old and ugly), and I have a boat load of friends, a wonderful family, and a darling husband. 

Happiness is being grateful. 


Don't Worry, Be Happy

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Carole asks our intentions and I'm not much on sharing mine, but here it is a blank slate of a year, a whole new 365 of days waiting to be entered. Oh, the things you can do , the places you can go, the lists upon lists you can make...

I know a few things I would like to do:

1. Learn to do my own manicure, ala Claudia.

2. Write lots and lots of handwritten notes.

3. Read books, as many as I can.

4. Move. My body. Keep moving.

5. Drink more tea. With friends whenever possible.

6. Grow more veggies, eat more veggies.

7. Hug people more (only if they want a hug).

8. Smile more, say "thank you" more.

9. Make more stuff, use my hands.

10. Be me more.

 


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.