Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January 2019 books

January - 7

1. Little Christmas
by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
fiction  1964 in book form, 1947 in Farm Journal magazine
print
reread
finished 1/6/19 (on Little Christmas)
American writer/American setting

This is such a special book. I wrote about it here.

2. Someday the Rabbi Will Leave - book 9 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1985
Kindle
reread
finished 1/7/19
American writer/American setting

3. One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross - book 10 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1987
Kindle
reread
finished 1/10/19
American writer/American setting

4. The Day the Rabbi Resigned - book 11 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1992
Kindle
reread
finished 1/14/18
American writer/American setting

5. That Day the Rabbi Left Town - book 12 (and last) in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1996
Kindle
reread
finished 1/19/19
American writer/American setting

My beloved Rabbi Small books came to an end with this one. They have a very strong sense of place - Boston and its suburbs. There is a lot of talking, which may put some off, but I love it. I love reading about what it means to be Jewish, I loved reading about Israel, I love the relationship between Rabbi Small and the Irish-Catholic police chief, Lanigan. This was my second-go-round of the books, and I still look forward to reading them all again.

Kemelman's obituary is here. The books were very popular. I love this picture of him. Such a cheerful, pleasant looking fellow, and I believe that spirit comes through in the books.


6. If Morning Ever Comes
by Anne Tyler
fiction 1964
Kindle
library book
finished 1/24/19
American writer/American setting

You may have noticed on the sidebar that I've announced 2019 to be my Anne Tyler year. I got thinking about it in November of last year when I read this. I went to my authors list and saw that I have read only four by her since I began the blog - Back When We Were Grownups, Noah's CompassA Spool of Blue Thread, and now If Morning Ever Comes. I'm really looking forward to reading/rereading her work.

I borrowed this from my state's downloadable books program. I didn't notice when it was written and was completely astounded to learn after I had finished that this was her first book. What a way to begin! She was only 22, yet the book reads as if it were written by someone much older. I loved every minute of the book. A young man comes back home for a bit from college in New York City. Home is a small town in North Carolina, in a houseful of women - his grandmother, mother, and six sisters. The interactions between them all, the descriptions of their lives, the town and its residents were all so well written. As a reader, I loved being amongst these people. I thought it was a  wonderful book.

7. The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker
by Jenni Keer
fiction 2019
Kindle
finished 1/30/19
English writer/English setting

I loved this book. The author describes her writing as "romantic comedies with a twist", which I think is just perfect. The characters are believable, there is romance, and the interiors are beautifully described - which is very important to me as a reader. I like to know where I am in a book. This book gave me the same kind of feeling as a book I read last year, Frances Garood's Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles. What a complete pleasure it was to read each of them.

There was a lovely friendship between a 25-year-old woman and a 79-year-old woman. The older woman reminded me of a character in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. They are both herbalists, growing herbs in their gardens which they make into remedies for ailments. Her kitchen was "a room that resembled an old-fashioned apothecary, with racks of jars and tins on every wall." There is a wee bit of magic in the book, which I believed in. It was quite, quite perfect for me. Addendum: I meant to say that I first heard of this new book here.

In January I read:

3 fiction
4 mysteries

6 Kindle
1 print

4 by men
3 by women

1 - 1940s (woman)
1 - 1960s (woman)
2 - 1980s (man)
2 - 1990s (man)
1 - 2011-2019 (woman)

6 by American authors
1 by an English author

5 rereads
1 library book
1 new-to-me author

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Quote du jour/Susan Branch

I recently brought my desk from the study upstairs to the bedroom.


This is one of the upstairs rooms in the midst of renovation. Right now there is a plywood floor, and paint that has been on the walls and windows since 2004. Yup, you read that right! But I thought this was the place where I'd love to sit down and do desk work. I still pay as many bills as I can with a check, and I still check my account on paper. I write my Christmas cards and letters here. Just out the left window is where the new garden is going, and it will be a treat to look out and see it, and out the right window I'll be able to see the daffodils we planted in the fall. I wanted to get a wall calendar for the room, and decided on the Susan Branch one.


I've gotten hers often over the years, but not for a while, and I am excited for all the words and pictures throughout the months. This month she said:
Feed your soul with silence - that's where dreams are born.
And
Sounds of Silence  Crackling fire, furnace humming, oatmeal bubbling, snow falling, cats purring, dogs snoring, page turning, flickering candlelight, clicking knitting needles, pen scratches on diary pages, stars twinkling, & moon shining. Linger in bed those first dreamy moments after waking & listen to the birds. Rejuvenate yourself in nature - a walk-a-day keeps the doctor away. Cultivate optimism - count your blessings & remember, for better or for worse, nothing lasts forever.
She also writes as the month begins
Let us love winter for it is the spring of genius. Pietro Aretino
Meaning what, do you think? That we need the quiet of winter for the deep thoughts that give us a sort of wisdom in the coming spring?? A bit like planning one's garden?

I have loved Susan Branch's work for a long, long time. Do you know her? If you go here, you may find out about all her work and her life.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Washing dishes redux

In June 2016, I wrote a blog post about washing dishes. I was full of enthusiasm about not using the dishwasher anymore. Of course, I never wrote about starting to use the dishwasher again, and why. And now, I don't remember why. Maybe because it was there. Probably because I was still quite busy with little ones then. Hazel was only 3 1/2, Campbell was just 3, and Indy was about to turn 1.

Well, now 2 1/2 years later, the dishwasher broke down again. I told Tom to give me a week before getting it fixed to see if I might enjoy going back to doing the dishes by hand. At the end of the week, I said I wanted to try another week. And so it has gone on with nary a negative from me. In fact, I kept saying what a relief it was to just wash up the dishes as they were dirty instead of loading and loading the dishwasher and then waiting hours for it to be done. Or waiting an hour for a "quick" load that I can do by hand in 5 minutes! It is a satisfying feeling to do the dishes and have them done rather than "do" them in the dishwasher and wait. And there was a sweet side benefit that I never thought of. I texted my sister-in-law that day and said "can't do this with a dishwasher, can you!!"


It has now been almost three weeks, and all the big dishes have been washed like the crock pot, bread bowl, 9x13 pan. I'm still smiling, and I'm dreaming about just what might go into that space after Tom removes it.

In Anne Tyler's If Morning Ever Comes, a grandmother says that "the only thinking time she has is when she's doing the dishes." Sometimes I listen to music, or a good radio program, and sometimes I just sit and ponder while looking out the window.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Out of the mouths of babes

I got a text from Margaret showing me her Facebook post (because I am not there).

Margaret wrote to me:
So this happened just now --- I told her nana and pop would be so happy and proud.!!!!
Now, I have to tell you that we have never "preached". Occasionally, she will offer us something or it somehow comes up and all we've ever said it that we don't eat meat or fish. We've never said anything about "eating animals" or "animals dying". She probably won't stay with it because her parents and friends aren't vegetarians. But who knows?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Today's poem by Midge Goldberg

North by Northeast

O, come to New Hampshire, my dear Cary Grant,
And pack your tuxedo designed to enchant.

We’ll dance down the aisle at the grocery store,
Buy oysters and caviar, champagne and more,

You’ll laugh and turn backflips, winning my heart;
You’ll swing us around on the grocery cart.

You’ll bow to the bag boy, tipping your hat,
Nod at the checkout girl, fix your cravat.

The limo will come, and we’ll be on our way,
“And where are we going?” you’ll smile and say.

But that is the rub, now where do we go?
To the farm, where “yar” is a yard that you’ll mow?

How are you, Cary, with chickens and chores?
I know you do rooftops, but do you do floors?

You’re the talk of the town in your glamorous scenes,
Will you trade your tuxedo for flannels and jeans?

What about wood stoves and maples to tap,
Sump pumps and snow plows and boiling the sap?

I can’t be the one who gets dirt on that sheen.
Debonair Cary, go back to your screen,

Your taxis and mansions, your princesses true.
You’re sweet but New Hampshire is no place for you.

Midge Goldberg
Snowman's Code


Friday, January 18, 2019

Today's poem by Mary Oliver


If you have read my blog for a while, you'll know that I love Mary Oliver's work. In the poems section (under the blog header photo), there are more poems by her than any other. She has meant so much to so many people. Last evening as I was going down my blog list, blogger after blogger had a piece on her. I've got many books of her poetry but on this sad occasion I knew just the book from which I wanted to choose a poem. Dog Songs.


School


You're like a little wild thing
that was never sent to school.
Sit, I say, and you jump up.
Come, I say, and you go galloping down the sand
to the nearest dead fish
with which you perfume your sweet neck.
It is summer.
How many summers does a little dog have?

Run, run, Percy.
This is our school.

Mary Oliver
1935-2019

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The gift of old books

I wrote recently about a cookbook my sister-in-law sent me. That same woman also gave me a big box of old books she had sitting on her shelves. I guess I must be known as a book lover! Anyhow, I was as delighted as could be. This was in October 2017, and I've been meaning to write about them ever since.

These are pictures I took when I first opened the box.







The variety shows the interests of children from Tom's grandmother's childhood, through his mother's, to his sisters'. Mrs. Mike which I noted here was one of the books in the box.


The cover isn't in great shape but it made me love it all the more.

So far, this is the only one I've read, but they sit patiently on the floor of the study waiting for me.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Refrigerator Rolls

I first mentioned this cookbook eight years ago, here. My friend Les gave me the book and I so love it.

On Wednesday I made some soup.

Soak over night in crockpot:

T. each:
cannellini beans
brown rice
moong dal (In India, "dal" is the word for lentils, and "moong dal" is the general term for mung lentils, also known as split yellow mung beans.)
black lentils
and einkorn (info here)
Next day, cook on high until all are soft. Then I added 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce. Delicious, and enough for supper and lunch for two people.

I wanted something to go with it, and decided on rolls. I haven't made rolls that often, and usually when I do it is my regular bread recipe with one of the loaves being rolls. So I went looking around, and came up with this one that didn't sound too hard for a sort of roll novice. 

I'm going to put up pictures of the recipe. You may click to make them bigger. 





You'll see that I made them with "my girls". Hazel had a snow day and they walked up and both helped with the rolls.



And then when they left, Hazel waved to the deer who were eating from our buffet of sunflower seeds.


You may be wondering what those delicious rolls looked like.



Can't you almost taste them?! PS I didn't cover with plastic wrap. I used a damp towel. And I used two 9x13 pans, greased with cooking spray, with 8 rolls per pan. This worked perfectly. Strong bread flour described here.

You may visit Beth Fish Reads for more food related posts.


Addendum: Sunday evening, the 13th I made the rolls with half whole wheat and half strong white bread flour and they were great. We both preferred them to the plain white. Made hummus and spread it on the rolls. Delicious!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mind over matter

If you've got ten minutes, this is a really interesting piece.

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/01/09/dna-results-change-behavior-physiology

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Elvis

My favorite Elvis Presley song on what would have been his 84th birthday.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Today's poem by Donald Hall

An Airstrip in Essex, 1960

It is a lost road into the air.
It is a desert
among sugar beets.
The tiny wings 
of the Spitfires of nineteen forty-one
sink under mud in the Channel.

Near the road a brick pillbox
totters under a load of grass,
where Home Guards waited
in the white fogs of the invasion winter.

Good night, old ruined war.

In Poland the wind rides on a jagged wall.
Smoke rises from the stones; no, it is mist.

Donald Hall
The Selected Poems of Donald Hall, 2015  

Tom's 2019 Reads

February - 1

1. Becoming
by Michelle Obama
nonfiction 2018
print
finished 2/3/19
American writer/American setting

March -

2. Around India in 80 Trains
by Monisha Rajesh
nonfiction 2012
print
finished 3/9/19
English writer/Indian setting

Books Read in 2019

January - 

1. Little Christmas
by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
fiction  1964 in book form, 1947 in Farm Journal magazine
print
reread
finished 1/6/19 (on Little Christmas)
American writer/American setting

2. Someday the Rabbi Will Leave - book 9 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1985
Kindle
reread
finished 1/7/19
American writer/American setting

3. One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross - book 10 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1987
Kindle
reread
finished 1/10/19
American writer/American setting

4. The Day the Rabbi Resigned - book 11 in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1992
Kindle
reread
finished 1/14/18
American writer/American setting

5. That Day the Rabbi Left Town - book 12 (and last) in the Rabbi Small series
by Harry Kemelman
mystery 1996
Kindle
reread
finished 1/19/19
American writer/American setting

6. If Morning Ever Comes
by Anne Tyler
fiction 1964
Kindle
library book
finished 1/24/19
American writer/American setting

7. The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker
by Jenni Keer
fiction 2019
Kindle
finished 1/30/19
English writer/English setting

February - 6

8. Calico Joe
by John Grisham
fiction 2012
Kindle
library book
finished 2/1/19
American writer/American setting

9. A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler
fiction 2015
Kindle
library book
reread
finished 2/7/19
American writer/American setting

10. Flowers in the Rain & Other Stories
by Rosamunde Pilcher
fiction 1991
print
reread
finished 2/14/19
English writer/English and Scottish settings

11. Book Love
by Debbie Tung
nonfiction graphic novel 2019
print
finished 2/16/19
English writer/English setting

12. Murder by Matchlight - book 26 in the Robert Macdonald series
by E.C.R. Lorac
mystery 1945
Kindle
finished 2/17/19
English writer/English setting

13. Fire in the Thatch - book 27 in the Robert Macdonald series
by E.C.R. Lorac
mystery 1946
Kindle
finished 2/26/19
English writer/English setting

14. A Gentleman's Murder
by Christopher Huang
historical mystery 2018
Kindle
finished 3/17/19
Singaporean writer (now lives in Canada)/English setting

15. A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge - book 4 in the Samuel Craddock series
by Terry Shames
mystery 2015
Kindle
finished 3/23/19
American writer/American setting

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Bean Dip

On the twelfth day of Christmas we had our family Christmas down at Michael and Estée's house. A glorious time was had by all!!

I made these brownies and cheesejacks. Tom made his famous (in the family!) bean dip. Here's what he does.

In a crockpot, mix together:



And about 1/3 of this 2 pound package of cheese, grated. (Sorry, blurry picture)


Turn on crockpot to low until mixed together and nice and warm.

This is what it looks like part-way done. The cheese melted in a little more.


Serve with


You may visit Beth Fish Reads for more food related postings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Quote du jour/Henry Ward Beecher

Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first day of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.

  Henry Ward Beecher