Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Goodbye and thank you

Not long after the previous post, my home was flooded. Housemate and I are back home now, and making progress on the house. I apologize for neglecting TeaReads all this time. I think it's best to say goodbye to my readers. There is still much work to be done at home, and I cannot give this blog the attention it deserves. Thank you for your kind attention, and good bye.
- - Moon Rani

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 4.September

I" was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

"Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

"Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?"

When I was in junior high school, all the girls were abuzz over the Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was one of the unpopular girls, so it was awhile before I even learned the name of the series. After giving it exactly one try, I found the books too tame and easy for my tastes, so I returned them to the library. Was that peer pressure, or was it curiosity?

That was the first time I jumped on the bandwagon. The second time was when I joined a social group and read reference after reference to the Dune series, by Frank Herbert, in the monthly newsletters. I wanted at least an idea of what everyone talked about, so I tried one. It was love at first sight. The first three books entertained me for hours. Again, I think it was curiosity, not peer pressure.

Nowadays, though, I tend to resist bandwagon jumping at all, in anything. Why? I don't know. Perhaps there is little attraction to being or doing what the crowd is or does; the Road Less Traveled, don'tcha know. I am somewhat curious about things that "everybody" likes, and about a great many other things too, but I am very selective, now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My feline family

The smallest member of my feline family of three is Tucket. She and her sister, Lindy, will turn one year old at the autumnal equinox.
Tucket is a wobbler, like her sister. Unlike Lindy, Tucket has other problems, too. If there is such a thing as autism among cats, that may well be among her disabilities. She avoids eye contact, for example, and is adjusting, gradually, to being handled. It took about four months for her to allow Housemate to handle her. She seemed to find him overstimulating what with his beard and large (to her) teeth and hearty manner. But now Tucket loves Housemate, and makes frequent bids for his attention. When he comes home from work and relaxes on the sofa, Tucket puts on a show of strength, might and derring-do just for him. She thrashes her mousy, she runs, she tumbles, she leaps - - and she glances his way frequently to make sure he notices.
Tucket seemed to have found all sensory stimuli overpowering, but she is getting used to them over time. I felt that way when I was small, and still do, though not as much. We allow her to take things at her own pace, and that seems to be the right touch.
Lindy and Tucket have what we call mousies. They're covered in fake fur, with little, red, felt ears and little, pink, felt noses. They rattle. The kittens love these things. Tucket, in particular, loves hers so much that she puts them in her food bowl, and then, showing perfect logic, into the litter box. One morning I found that they had skinned a mousy and thrown its fur into the litterbox, leaving the plastic body on the floor like some barbaric warning to the other mousies. On another occasion, Tucket was so sure I had a mousy as we lay on the bed that she "watched" it fly into the air and come back down into my hand. The thing was...there was no mousy, just her vivid imagination as I mimed flipping the toy.
Tucket is fond of visiting things around the house. She can be found gazing at the glowing, blue numbers on Housemate's digital clock, patting the telephone or gazing at her buddy, the toilet plunger, as it stands in the corner. Whenever we can't find her, we look in the bathroom.
Tucket got a dollop of ice cream on Housemate's birthday this week. She lapped it up in the kitchen while we adjourned to another room. Minutes later, Tucket charged into the room where we were, hollering in her distinctive voice and shaking head briskly - - another victim of an ice cream headache, we figure.
Sometimes she's called Inspector Tucket because she watches everything and everyone intensely. She likes to look directly into the air vent in the bathroom and checks frequently to see if air is coming out. We always know when she's been doing that because she comes out blinking and dry-eyed. Housemate and I figure the Inspector is trying to solve The Case of the Air From the Hole in the Floor.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day

invisible swimming pool
more animals

Enjoy that last dip in the pool!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 28.August 2008

"If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

"Or, um, is it just me?"

Whether fiction or nonfiction, the thing that drives my interest is "what happens next," most of the time. In nonfiction where I know the basics of the story, I read to learn all the details. In fiction, I read not only for the plot, but also for the beauty and depth and richness of the language. A good plot cannot, for me, make up for clumsy or poor writing. I'll toss a book aside before I'll plod through mediocrity. I must confess to feeling this way about nonfiction, too. If a writer wants me to invest my time and interest, he has to produce something worth my while in more ways than one.
As a teenager, I put up with bad writing in order to see how the plots came out, but I skimmed along enough to glean the essentials only. I was more tolerant, then.
But I'll tell you something that really frosts my flakes: absurd twists in the tales. I go crazy when I invest time in a book only to have a plot resolution come completely out of left field. I understand that writers want to have clever plot twists, unable to be guessed, but do me a favor! Please, folks, don't insult us readers by pulling the ol' "it was all a dream" ending or something equally ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

America, 1938

I love history, and I love to listen to people telling how they lived years ago. That's why I enjoy visiting Svensto is a lady of ninety who just began blogging about immigrating from Sweden to New York in 1938. She writes simply but eloquently, and she drops a lot of famous names from the time. Visit Grandma Svensto and say hello.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buy this!

I'll make this short. If you want a product that well and truly lives up to its name, buy Sheer Bliss ice cream. It comes in tiny, metal cans and is decidedly not a bargain brand, but if you want to put sheer bliss into your mouth, buy Sheer Bliss. I tried the "Freedom" flavor, heavenly vanilla laced with pomegranate and blueberry. Knockout! I can't wait to try the other flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Pomegranate with dark chocolate chips, Mediterranean Coffee, California Pomegranate, and Vanilla with pomegranate seeds.
I have no connection to Sheer Bliss and I receive absolutely nothing to compensate me for this post. When I find a product this good, I like to tell others.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

see more dog pictures

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

funny dog pictures
see more dog pictures

Friday, August 08, 2008


BBB is big, beautiful Blanca, a deaf and blind Great Dane that lives at Rolling Dog Ranch, a sanctuary for disabled animals in Montana. The cats, dogs and horses enjoy life there where they are accepted and loved just as they are. The best of medical care is given them along with treats and toys and lots of blog coverage [].
The ranch is supported wholly with donations from the public. The founders, Mr. Steve Smith and Ms. Alayne Marker, have hearts as big as the Big Sky country where they live. It shows in their blog posts, updated five days/week by Mr. Smith.
Blanca is a special favorite of mine, and I just had to share her gorgeous picture with you. She has a funny habit of dragging her bed around the outdoor area to sleep now here, now there, now somewhere else. I think it may be because she can lift her big, beautiful head to inhale the different scent pools in different areas.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 7.August

suggested by Miko
Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

(This came to me when reviewing a Jonathan Carroll book - I’m not sure I’d like to live in the worlds of his books.)

I love the little villages and towns in English cozy mysteries. They sound charming - - filled with flowers, bowers and showers - - and the inhabitants often seem like people I'd enjoy knowing. But then again, so many folks in these places drop dead, and nearly always in nasty, horrid ways! Newcomers seem especially likely prey. So, although I'd like to visit or live there, I'm quite sure it would be hazardous to my health.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

bold bunny
more cat pictures

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, the illness that, like seasickness, frightens you at first because you think you're going to die, then again later because you're afraid you won't. My latest bout with this problem was over the weekend. During that time I had occasion to recall the first two lines of "Fat Man's Prayer," by that wonderfully talented character actor and entertaining poet, the late Victor Buono. He published a volume of poetry in 1972, "It Could Be Verse," which is available on and a few other sites. Mr. Buono recorded an album, "Heavy!" on which he read a selection of his own poetry. I used to own them both, and I endorse them still for fun purchases.

"Fat Man's Prayer"

Lord, My soul is ripped with riot
incited by my wicked diet.
"We Are What We Eat," said a wise old man!
and, Lord, if that's true, I'm a garbage can.
I want to rise on Judgment Day, that's plain!
But at my present weight, I'll need a crane.
So grant me strength, that I may not fall
into the clutches of cholesterol.

May my flesh with carrot-curls be sated,
that my soul may be polyunsaturated
And show me the light, that I may bear witness
to the President's Council on Physical Fitness.

And at oleomargarine I'll never mutter,
for the road to Hell is spread with butter.
And cream is cursed; and cake is awful;
and Satan is hiding in every waffle.

Mephistopheles lurks in provolone;
the Devil is in each slice of baloney,
Beelzebub is a chocolate drop,
and Lucifer is a lollipop.

Give me this day my daily slice
but, cut it thin and toast it twice.
I beg upon my dimpled knees,
deliver me from jujubees.

And when my days of trial are done,
and my war with malted milk is won,
Let me stand with the Saints in Heaven
In a shining robe--size 37.

I can do it Lord, If You'll show to me,
the virtues of lettuce and celery.
If You'll teach me the evil of mayonnaise,
of pasta a la Milannaise
potatoes a la Lyonnaise
and crisp-fried chicken from the South.

Lord, if you love me, shut my mouth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

see more dog pictures

In honor of National Hot Dog Day

Some of my best friends are animals

funny pictures
more cat pictures

It's true; many of those I love best are animals. Tucket, my wobbler kitten who is now ten months old, is recovering from tearing her tail ligaments. I never thought about tail ligaments until she tore hers. As far as I can tell, she injured them when she fell backward off a bed and landed on her tail. Most cats use their tails for balance, but hers is merely ornamental.

I came across a wonderful, little book a couple of years ago, a book which I would enjoy rereading and which I recommend to other animal-lovers. "Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds," by Chris Chester, is a funnny, heartwarming, true story of a man and the birds that came to share his home. Sparrows may be considered pernicious by many, but B, the sparrow in the book, turns out to have personality plus. B was a featherless nestling when found by the author, and he came to dominate Mr. Chester's home as he grew. Eventually, two male finches joined the household. Mr. and Mrs. Chester learn to play "sparrow games," among other things as their lives become evermore entwined with their avian friends'.

I loved the book's wit, its literary references and its warm humor. I also enjoy discovering people's unusual ways of living. This would make a dandy beach or vacation book, but it would also brighten one's winter reading.

Now here is a prayer, by an anonymous writer, followed by a quotation on Christian treatment of animals.

"Maker of earth and sea and sky,
Creation's sovereign Lord and King,
Who hung the starry worlds on high,
And formed alike the sparrow's wing;
Bless the dumb creatures of Thy care,
And listen to their voiceless prayer."

"I believe where the love of God is verily perfected, and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward all creatures made subect to us will be experienced; and a care felt in us, that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation, which the great Creator intends for them under our government...To say we love God as unseen, and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature moving by His life, or by life derived from Him, was a contradiction in itself." (John Woolman)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reader's (in)Digest(ion)

What would you make if I gave you a pound of Velveeta, a pound of butter, a cup of cocoa, four pounds of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla? Why,chocolate cheese fudge, of course.

Hungry? How about if I tell you that the best way to serve cocktail weiners or rumaki (bacon-wrapped chicken livers and water chestnuts) is swimming in a brew of Coca-Cola and grape jelly and/or barbecue sauce?

Here is a famous recipe for potato salad: boiled potatoes, milk, Miracle Whip and salt. The creator of the recipe says "it offends no one," but I beg to disagree.

Do salmon fillets coated with mayonnaise and cornflakes and cooked in margarine, sour cream, cheese and canned tomatoes with chilis sound good? If so, perhaps you are the one who wants my recently acquired selection of community cookbooks.

I found these recipes and scads more when I browsed cookbooks I found while helping clear someone's house. They are from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, and most of them are from the MidWest. The cookbooks show a rather touching dependence on canned soup, "oleo," Wesson oil, Velveeta, canned milk, bacon, salt and sugar. The canned soups go toward making gravies and sauces; most of the soups are creamed chicken, mushroom, and so on, though tomato soup pops up frequently.

I used to attend many church lunches and dinners during the years that these cookbooks were published, and I saw many familiar recipes. I recalled the year that chicken salad with grapes swept the nation, then it was chicken salad with canned mandarin oranges and Chinese noodles. Those recipes are here. Also here is the grandaddy of recipes that took the nation by storm, pot roast made with (dried) Lipton Onion Soup mix. Then there is the "ideal side dish," Stove-Top Stuffing mixed with canned soup and broccoli. Its contributor says it's perfect with anything.

These cookbooks were compiled from recipes submitted by members of churches, women's clubs, charitable organzations, hospitals and others. The most popular recipes appear time and again in almost identical words, often within the same cookbook.

The cookbooks give me a view of what was popular in a particular time and place. It's interesting to see what was considered healthful or exotic. I always get a kick out of recipes that claim to be old, old family traditions, then end up calling for Cool Whip, Reddi Whip, packaged cookies, chili sauce, etc.

I thought I would find new and tempting food ideas, but I ended finding a good many things I would never eat because they are mostly fat, salt, sugar and other things I avoid. But it's been fun. I know there are more community cookbooks waiting to be found as I clear houses, and I look forward to more amusement and fun.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reading in the early twenty-first century

I find a great many things irritable. I am putting effort into reading again, which is, after all, what this blog is supposed to address. But folks, it isn't easy.

I am very old-fashioned in many ways. I like sentences to have beginnings, middles and ends. I despise fragments passed off as sentences. I loathe it when people use "which" when they mean "this" as in, "Which means I am a curmudgeon," standing alone as if it were a sentence instead of the fragment it is. I had a blog a few years ago in which I wrote on the subject of professional writers who make many errors. Some people chose to comment, and they all agreed that I was harsh, that I ought to consider what the writers mean instead of how they say it, that I should make allowances for poor spelling, egregious grammar errors and pathetic sentence structure.

I don't.

This brings me to reading contemporary writing. Currently I am reading a book which I shall review here. I have to keep reminding myself of the book's topic because I am continually distracted by things such as noun and verb disagreement (e.g., "Everyone has *their* favorites."), fragments and hyphens, hyphens everywhere - - everywhere they don't belong, that is. All this makes concentration difficult.

Decades ago, I studied technical theatre arts. I was taught that good lighting is that which enhances the play but which does not call attention to itself. This became a yardstick for other things in life, including writing. If the writing style interferes with my reading, that is bad writing. If I keep noticing "facts" that are incorrect, spelling that is wrong, references that are in error and bizarre neologisms, that is bad writing. I cannot tell you how many times I run smack up against these problems.

Maybe the books have much to say, but I find it challenging to get to what they say because of how they say them. Once in a while I take time out to read something from periods when people prized good communication. It is a tonic to my curmudgeonly soul.

My feline family

My first love was a Chihuahua. I was a baby, and utterly devoted to the Chihuahua we had. Since then, many dogs and cats have come and gone in my life. I confess I am a lifelong animal-lover.

My current animal family is feline: a venerable cat of sixteen (or more) years, and a pair of nine-month old kittens. Pippy, the oldest, lost much of her vision last year to illness. She is small, feisty and not shy about punching anyone who pushes her too far. Pippy has become a little tentative since developing limited vision, as happens to many animals that lose their sight in adulthood.

The kittens are "wobblers." Their mother had distemper during their gestation, and they in turn, have cerebellar hypoplasia, a lack of development in the part of the brain that controls balance. When they first arrived, it was like having furry tumbleweeds in the house because they fell and rolled across the floor all the time. They made great strides since then, but they will tumble and fall the rest of their lives. It seldom bothers them, though sometimes they get tired and discouraged. I apply a little extra TLC at those times, and they keep going.

Pippy is not fond of the kittens, as I expected. She tolerates them, though only just. Tucket, the spritely kitten, loves to pet Pippy's back and to sniff her. She also admires Pippy's tail and finds it irresistable when it waves. Her struggle to stop herself from grabbing that tail and biting it is evident; she quivers and strains, she leans forward and back and generally tries very hard not to attack the tantilizing tail.

Lindy, the affectionate purr-cat, is shaped like a bowling pin. Her large, round rump has a mind of its own and makes it tough for her to get where she wants to go. I altered a pop song to suit Lindy's rear end,
"Oh, the wayward end,
is a restless end,
a restless end
that yearns to wander..."
I'm sure Gogi Grant wouldn't mind. Lindy wants to cuddle with Pippy, wants to be her best friend, her playmate. Pippy believes that's beneath her dignity. She can freeze Lindy's overtures with a single look, and what a frosty look it is!

Pippy had an impregnable fortress on Housemate's bed until Lindy and Tucket learned to get there this summer. They can't jump up there, but they can pull themselves onto the bed. Now Pippy's dignity is assaulted when she tries to sleep and they lie nearby, gazing at her and inching closer.

I would love to publish photos of my feline family, but there are complications. So far all I have gotten are extreme closeups, some of paws batting at the camera lens, and some of eyeballs peering into the lens. I hope you like this word picture of my feline family instead of a photo essay.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 17.July

"Another question inspired by the Bunch of Grapes on Martha’s Vineyard having burned down on the Fourth of July.

"Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?

"Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?

"What/Where are they?

"I’m still devastated about the Bunch of Grapes, even though I usually only got to visit it once or twice a year–it was such a vital part of my trips to Martha’s Vineyard. Its (hopefully temporary) loss won’t affect my day-to-day book habits, but it was such a wonderful store on one of my favorite places. Stopping there was such a strong tradition, and I’m going to miss it as part of my vacations. But it made me think–I always buy books when I’m away from home. They’re as much of a trip-souvenir as any t-shirt or trinket. Better, even! And it occurs to me that I can’t be the only one of us who does that, huh?"

It is, to me, a singular pleasure to have the time and leisure to shop for books while vacationing. It is treasured time to be anticipated as much as any other component of getting away from it all. I also enjoy the serendipitous times that permit spontaneous book shopping such as happened when I was near bookstalls at train stations.
Three of my best-loved vacation bookshops closed their doors several years ago. Imagine a rabbit warren furnished with close-packed, overflowing bookshelves, and you have the Brynn Mawr-Vassar Book Store in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Pa. A friend introduced me to it in the 1970s. The other bookshops were in downtown Pittsburgh, and they are closed now, too. I no longer remember their names. One of those downtown places was also a stationer's shop, a delight for me. A beautiful cat, named Smoky, was in residence and presided over the shop. The other store specialized in old, rare, out-of-print and unusual books. There was always something to see there. It was somewhat seedy, and the proprietors were peculiar, just the sort of place one reads about or sees in movies. It was the perfect setting for a murder mystery or ,perhaps, a magical fantasy.

My favorite bookshop is still a going concern, but I've been unable to visit it in a couple of years. It offers a dozen rooms of books in a graceful, old house that sat on a picturesque, green and tree-shaded city square. The shop was well-stocked and neat as a pin. It offered knowledgeable, personable clerks plus - - of all things - - a sweet dachshund that trotted freely among the rooms.

Booking Through Thursday, 10.July

"One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

"What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

"Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?"

A fire destroyed a bookshop in the city where I lived in the early 1990s. Newspaper coverage documented the grief and mourning of the shop's regular customers.

But that was in the days when newspapers were a societal stronghold, and before the advent of bookshops-cum-public livingrooms. Nowadays, I think most people suddenly bereft of their favorite spots would, by and large, have no trouble switching to any of the online booksellers. The Internet has supplanted Place with twenty-four hour availability and ease, among other things.

I lost my favorite bookshops over the years when I moved to other parts of the country. My last such place provided an experience, not just a place to buy then dash. It had all the things one thinks of when shopping in a small place: personal attention, atmosphere, character and moment. I miss it.

Local options here are the chain bookstores - - offering the chance to sit on chairs only 5,000 other people sat in before you! - - where I would pay full retail prices, and a secondhand-book store that will order new books on request. On a friend's recommendation I visited the latter...once. The dust was thick and the books greasy and grimy. I changed my reading habits to include the occasional visit to the (noisy!) local library for books I request ahead of time by phone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

see more dog pictures

For the dog days of summer...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

"Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776," by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"I like to sing-a...

i like to sing-a
more cat pictures

...about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a!"

This June, all of us moon-lovers are singing about tomorrow's full summer solstice moon and how it will appear extra large and close. To read how this works, try this article titled, "Don't Miss a Huge June Moon Illusion:"

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today is Bloomsday in the literary world, the day James Joyce fans everywhere celebrate his book, "Ulysses." If you find the tome daunting, you may like to check out this fun, illustrated summary, "Ulysses For Dummies." Copying and paste this address into your browser.

(photo shows Zero Mostel as Leopold Bloom)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The bargain bin

As a serendipitous shopper, I keep my eyes and mind open to finding treasures everywhere. It's amazing to see what wonderful items are just waiting to be found. Today's treasure came from a big-name bookshop's bargain bin: "Decorating With Color Inside and Out, An Essential Sourcebook of Decorative Schemes" by Sally Walton and Richard Rosenfeld. Ripe, juicy colors all but drip from this book's large, lush photographs. Readers are taken on a journey of colors, each named and shown in luscious illustrations. Decorating ideas spill from every page. Some ideas are accompanied by step-by-step instructions, ideas for things such as painting techniques and window treatments.
I was ready to spring to my feet to begin working on these ideas although it was late at night when I read the book. Colors bold, colors delicate and colors in between are all here, and so are many tastes and modes of decorating. The most unusual thing I saw was a "playful" garden chair featuring strips of Astroturf on the seat and back with plastic daisies here and there.
Even those who simply appreciate beauty and who have no notions of decorating will linger over the pictures in this book. The writing style is sensible and straightforward. It relates the how-tos in a way that makes anything seem possible. Although the book was published in Britain, American language equivalents are given so that instructions are easy to follow.
Not only shall I use this book in future decorating plans, but it is also something I would want if I were in bed and too sick to follow a plot in a book. It's cheery and lovely as well as useful.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Handsome Herbie, the blind cat, found a loving, permanent home at a sanctuary for disabled animals.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday is Teasday

Imagine walking into your favorite grocery store and finding a shopping trolley filled with teas and tisanes all marked at clearance prices. You would be as delighted as I was when this happened to me not long ago. Let me tell you about two of my purchases.
From Organic and Pure Tea comes a lovely white tea (Bai Mu Dan) mixed with lemon grass. As a hot tea this left me cold, so to speak, but when iced it is a most refreshing summer drink. Chilling this tea brings its delicate flavors to their peak. The lemon grass gave me deliciously cool shivers on a hot day.
Meanwhile, for tisane lovers I recommend Celestial Seasonings' Cranberry Apple Zinger. It has the pizzazz their Zinger flavors always pack, coupled with sweet, calm notes of apple. Cranberry Apple is up there with CS' Lemon Zinger as my favorite tisane to chill for summer.

But what do teas and tisanes have to do with those flowers at the top, you're wondering. Nothing at all. The flowers are Judy Garland roses, and I posted them in honor of what would have been Judy's eighty-sixth birthday today.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 5.June

"Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?"

I read fiction over nonfiction at a ratio of about 9:1 in my younger years. Now I read nonfiction only. How-to books and cookbooks have always been my friends, though. I never read horror or true-crime now, and it's been a long time since I dug into science fiction. Now I read books with more world-views. If I ever sat down and wrote the fiction books I want very much to write, I would probably pick up fiction reading again, but for now, fiction feels more like a repudiation than a pleasure.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Poetic Monday

"I can hear these violets chorus
To the sky's benediction above;
And we all are together lying
On the bosom of Infinite Love.

"Oh, the peace at the heart of Nature!
Oh, the light that is not of day!
Why seek it afar forever,
When it cannot be lifted away?"
(William C. Gannett)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Sunday cup of tea

Let me suggest another summer tea delight, as a follow-up to my earlier review of Twining's of London's Tastes of Summer black tea. Do also try Twining's of London's Four Red Fruits black tea! The label says it contains "blended black teas, artifical and natural flavourings, cherry, redcurrant, respberry and strawberry pieces."
Once again, my dear Friend sampled tea with me, and, once again, it appealed to Friend enormously. This is also a tea labled "medium flavour strength," making it ideal for sensitive palates and for summer sipping. The red currants and the raspberries stop the tea becoming overly sweet; instead it is a delightful, light blend of black tea accented with subtle fruitiness, rather a bit more so than the Tastes of Summer has. It is, like that tea, perfect for keeping in tall, frosty pitchers in the refrigerator and for serving at summer tea parties. But this die-hard hot tea drinker will have it steaming. No matter where I have lived or visited, I have never known it be too hot or sultry for hot tea.
Another point in the Twining's of London teas is that they are found readily in most grocery stores, and at affordable prices. Despair not if your store does not carry it, however, and order it online at
Would you like to lace your hot tea with an opulent flower? Then I recommend basswood honey. Try it first on your tongue to savor its full delights. Then add lashings of it in your tea, on warm tea cakes or onto fruit for a truly sensational treat.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Today is the seventy-fourth birthday of the Dionne quintuplets, of Ontario, Canada: Cecile, Emilie, Marie, Yvonne and Annette. Although the girls were world-famous for many years, their lives were marked by tragedy and misery owing from abuses by their family and their government caretakers. Annette and Cecile, the surviving quints, prefer to be called the Dionne sisters.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Over the teacups with TeaReads

Although I disdain teas labled "artificially flavoured," I must admit to enjoying Twinings of London's Tastes of Summer Black Tea. The label says it is "fine black tea with a delicate and refreshing mix of fruits and flowers." I love the tastes of flowers, so that sold me.
The tea box says it is a "medium flavour strength" tea, but I would call it a mild tea. The black tea dominates pleasantly while the strawberry and orange peel add gentle, pleasant enhancement. And the flowers, what about those? The marigold petals are listed last on the ingredient list, so that may be why I had trouble detecting them at all. I would not have guessed there were any flowers in this tea. I tested this tea with a friend who enjoys tea but who is not a tea fanatic. Friend loved this tea, both iced and hot. We tried it with and without a dribble of honey. Friend loved it all ways, and would give it four stars. I enjoyed it, too, though somewhat less than Friend.
If you appreciate subtlety, chances are you will love this tea as much as Friend does. I liked it enough that I'll look for this company's Four Red Fruits Flavoured Black Tea. I recommend this tea for your summer iced tea enjoyment served in a pitcher with strawberries and orange peels floating among the ice cubes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

For Memorial Day


The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo'
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few;
On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread;
But Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead
(by Theodore O'Hara, 1847; found on

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."
(John Adams)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Short break

TeaReads goes on hiatus for what is hoped to be a short time. A very dear friend was hospitalized last week. I am spending so much time with my friend that I have little time for anything else. I'll try to post, but we shall see what happens.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 15.May

"Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

"Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

"Do you ever read manuals?

"How-to books?

"Self-help guides?

"Anything at all?"

I'm a habitual reader. I even read the directions on shampoo bottles although it's unlikely that any new techniques in shampooing have developed in, say, the past five thousand years. So, yes, I always read the instructions and manuals. Sometimes it's fun to read the instructions because they were obviously written in one language before being translated - - not very well - - into English. Figuring out how to follow the instructions then can be maddening, but also entertaining.
I don't care for self-help books, but I like how-to guides, especially those written about "lares and penates," home and hearth.
I learned many things from books and online articles. Almost everything I know about cooking and baking techniques came from books. Right now I am reading about how to correct drainage problems in one's yard. The situation looks hopeless so far, though, and my thoughts have ranged as far as an Archimedes screw, but in reverse (tongue in cheek).
I admit it was with more shock and distaste than needfulness that I read The Joy of Cooking's instructions on skinning game and plucking fowl; I think the pictures were worth volumes. So far so good: I've never had to do those things!
Short answer: if I'm going to fail at some project, it won't be for lack of reading the directions.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poetic Monday

"A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own!"
(1333, by Emily Dickinson)


"For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
(from Atalanta in Calydon, by Algernon Charles Swinburne)
Cute Puppy Pictures
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A little humor in honor of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Testament anagrams

Here are five New Testament anagrams for your Sunday evening diversion. I noted those which have more than one-word answers. If you get stuck, leave a comment and I will email you, but be sure to say whether you are asking about the anagrams or about the capital letter quiz below this post. All but one anagram are proper nouns.

2. NRYRAAAAHMT (three words)
3. PTHITHOANSJEBT (three words)

An easy Bible quiz

Replace the capital letters with the correct words in this simple quiz. Part I is on the Old Testament; Part II is on the New Testament.

1. The 10 C
2. 6 D of C
3. 12 T of I
4. 150 P
5. 8 P on N A

1. The 12 A
2. 5 L and 2 F
3. 9 F of the S
4. 10 W V and 10 F V
5. 9 U L
Leave a comment so I can email you if you get stuck, but I think you'll do just fine.

Sunday recipe

Banana bread

This recipe is based on a recipe for banana muffins on Visit the site for loads of excellent vegetarian recipes and nutrition tips.

1C. whole wheat flour
1 heaping t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 large bananas, mashed - - use very ripe (even nearly black) ones
2 T. honey - - Use a free hand when measuring the honey. I used wild thistle honey.
2 T. butter
A scant pinch of salt
1 T. rum
1/2 - 3/4 C. dried cherries

Heat oven to 350F. Combine the dry ingredients well. Melt the butter. Mix it well with the honey and rum, then mix that into the bananas. Add the cherries to the dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until mixed, but do not beat.
Turn into a greased loaf pan. This makes a small, flat loaf, so the batter will not fill the pan. Bake approximately 45 minutes, then let cool completely before removing from pan. I baked my bread by smell, but I think it took about that length of time.

This bread is moist, but it is not as dense nor as "wet" as my recipe from this winter. I think this is superior to that one.
Feel free to experiment with this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Writer's Island

Writer's Island writing prompts appear each Friday. This week's second prompt is "fantasy." Any genre of writing is acceptable; the idea is just to apply the seat of your pants to your chair and WRITE.
On the theme of fantasy I submit an allegory.

"Fantasy: noun plural: fan-ta-sies
Definition #8. A coin issued especially by a questionable authority and not intended for use as currency." from The Free Dictionary, by Farlex

Imagine cupping your hands to receive coins from someone. You can feel the cool smoothness of each coin, the weight of them as they pile in your hands. You are young and small and unsure of what the coins are for. The giver is someone older, someone who has much authority over you.
You carry these coins with you over the years, always feeling them hit your thigh and hearing them jingle in your pocket as you trudge through life. Sometimes when you are alone, you take them out and examine them. They are intricately wrought with years of grime showing on the edges.
You use these coins in many and various ways as you go along in life, moving among others and interacting with them. As you mature, the coins become the only things you use in your negotiations with the world. People may sometimes cast them onto the ground or throw them back at you. They never really seem to work well as means of getting what you need and want. but they all your worth is in them. Other people use their coins when dealing with you, and you notice, with irritation, how inadequate your system is. These coins, you think, these coins really aren't worth much at all.
One day you meet someone who carries only a few coins in his pocket. He shows them to you, points out what he likes about each one and tells you how his few coins are of immeasurable value. Not only that, but he always has enough no matter how many he uses in his daily dealings with others.
Walking along a road after your meeting with this person, you begin to think about your coins. Where did they come from? It's been so long you hardly remember. They weren't really given to you but forced upon you, and without thought or explanation. The giver was a sour individual who, nevertheless, insisted that you take the coins as your means of having something in life. Were the coins a gift given freely, or a burden transferred?
Questions such as these keep you thinking as you continue your way. How did the man you met manage on so few coins? And his coins were brightly clean and spare in decoration, unlike your own tarnished, crusted ones. He seemed, if anything, much better off than you, despite his rather poorer circumstances.
What are such coins really worth?
Eventually you try leaving the coins behind you as you go along the way. Some are tossed into clear streams or rushing rivers, others are cast deep into pits among rocks. And you notice two things: the fewer of your own coins you have, the lighter your journey, and, whenever you really need them, new, brightly clean and spare ones are given to you, a few at a time. Were they there all this time but you never saw them as you counted and fretted over the old ones?
One day you pull out your coins and look them over, and something astonishes you. Only a few old coins remain among the new! These old coins are very useful, as good as the new ones and much better than the old ones. The years continue, and the new coins dim with age but never lose their luster or their value. You live like a king on what you have, knowing that your needs will never exceed their supply, or perhaps that the supply will always be adequate for your needs.
You realize that sometimes people pass along fantasies, coins without any real use as currency, and that they do so because that is all they have and all they know. You also realize that some folks never want to look for new coins; they may even deny they exist. Fantasies will not take you far or well in life. They must be let go in order to receive what is real.


Friday, May 09, 2008


Among many other designations, May is National Duckling Month. Ducklings always me remind of that 1941 Robert McCloskey classic book for children, Make Way For Ducklings. Two generations of readers remember Mr. and Mrs. Mallard who chose Boston's Public Garden as the perfect place to raise their family. This book, for ages three or four up to ages seven or eight, is among my favorite gift books for children. But the age guideline doesn't keep me from admitting that I love this book, too.
If you visit Boston, be sure to take in the wonderful bronze statues of the Make Way For Ducklings birds, by sculptor Nancy Schon.
Celebrate National Duckling Month by rereading this charming book, and by sharing it with a little one who will be hearing it for the first time.

This doggerel's bark...

heh heh heh, loldogs n cute puppy pictures - I Has a Hotdog!
see more dog pictures

is not worse than its bite. Using a writing prompt, I wrote a bit of doggerel on the suggested theme, "faithful"

is like a tree
which from an acorn grows.
How does the oak tell just what to be?
It's faithful to
its own self true,
in faithfulness it knows.

Please don't throw any soft tomatoes at this blog! Instead, visit
and try one of the prompts yourself.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Are you a book reviewer?

Have you head of HarperCollins First Look? It's a program where readers receive books and supply reviews in return. Books from many genres are available.
HarperCollins requires registration to participate, and the reviewers are selected at random. If you're game to try, visit
If you are selected as a reviewer, you may choose your genre. HC will contact you when a book in your chosen genre is available. Books are offered monthly.
I have not tried this program, but it intrigues me. I found it while clicking around on the Net.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Computer troubles

see more crazy cat pics

We're offline due to computer troubles that have been building over the past week. As you can see, we're working on a fix.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booking Through Thursday, 1.May

"Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

"And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember…"

I've been in similar situations at airports, train stations and bus depots. On one occasion I was distraught over a recent event, so I grabbed the fattest novel at the newsstand. Luckily it was a good one. I tore the book from its carrier bag and began to read as I walked the moment I left the newsstand. I read madly throughout the whole leg of that journey, from the airline gateway, on the plane, at the baggage claim, everywhere.

The book's title was a line from a song. That was at least ten years ago, but I always think of the novel, the trip and the distressing situation whenever I hear that song.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

funny pictures
see more crazy cat pics

In honor of Oatmeal Cookie Day (also see below).

Happy National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Honey Oatmeal Cookies
- Makes 6 to 7 dozen -

1/2 cup hot tea
1 cup raisins
2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts
1 package (6 oz.) chocolate chips, optional

Pour tea over raisins; let stand at least 15 minutes. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly; set aside. Cream shortening and butter; gradually add honey until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Drain raisins; reserve 1/4 cup liquid. Alternately add flour mixture and reserved raisin liquid. Stir in nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350°F about 12 minutes or until browned. Let stand one minute on cookie sheet; remove and cool on rack. Store in airtight container.

Note: Honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. Honey is a safe and wholesome food for children and adults.

© National Honey Board
11409 Business Park Circle Ste 210, Firestone, CO 80504
Phone: (303) 776-2337 Fax: (303) 776-1177

Monday, April 28, 2008

Poetic Monday

Cherry Blossoms Adrift

Pink petals passing
Scents above so high
Painted porcelain perfection
Blossoms caress the sky

Swaying silent shroud
Suitors strolling by
Pink petals passing
Lover's gentle sigh

Pastel hues falling
Slow fluttering grace
Pink petals passing
Lining streams in lace

Pink petals passing
Smoothest transit by
Soft essence floating
In most subtle lullaby

Inducing springtime slumber
Upon a satin shore
Sailing with the current
Pink petals pass before


Mary Fumento

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Charlie and Smokey lead happy lives at Rolling Dog Ranch, a sanctuary for disabled animals. They wobble and tumble when they walk because they were born with a neurological problem. Learn more at

Friday, April 18, 2008

A meme for Friday

funny dog pictures
see more cute dogs and puppies

Dance the night away, it's the weekend!
But before you put on your dancing shoes, try this meme:

You’re feeling: in pain but happy
To your left: the dining room
On your mind: attending - - or not - - a dinner tonight
Last meal included: rosemary and olive oil bread
You sometimes find it hard to: get moving
The weather: warm
Something you have a collection of: tiny notebooks
A smell that cheers you up: fresh coffee
A smell that can ruin your mood: SKUNK
How long since you last shaved: two days
The current state of your hair: very short
The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): a kitten
Your skill with chopsticks: when used to spear food, excellent
Which section you head for first in a bookstore: I don't head, I
Something you’re craving: a hot cuppa
Your general thoughts on the presidential race: Can't we have "none of the above?"
How many times have you been hospitalized this year: 0
Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: the seashore
You’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: novelist
Something that freaks you out a little: a near-hit from a bad driver
Something you’ve eaten too much of lately: homemade oatmeal cookies
You have never: become drunk
You never want to: live without pets

I found this floating around the Internet. Anyone else interested? Tag, you're it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

Yes to all of the above, with qualifications. First I try to figure out the word or phrase from context, then I'll jot things down to look up later. I am without a dictionary for the first time in over thirty years, so I am forced to rely on the Internet dictionaries. Sometimes I use a search engine if I find a word or phrase that's too new for a dictionary (but I never use Google). I sometimes ask an au courant friend for a definition because I am far out of touch with current slang. If all else fails I continue reading, but I don't forget about the word. It just sits in a corner of my mind waiting for an answer, the way a puzzle does.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Steve Smith, of, co-founder of Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, with his "minion," blind Ellie May. Ellie May adores Mr. Smith, and is happiest when she's close to him. To read more about RDR and to see a spectacular slideshow, go to The post is titled, "AARP Writes About the Ranch."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I love April showers!

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics
"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night--
And I love the rain."
- Langston Hughes, April Rain Song

Sunday, April 13, 2008

" I roll"

funny dog pictures
see more loldogs ask - i can has hotdog?
Visit This month's animal charity is Rolling Dog Ranch, a sanctuary for disabled animals which has been mentioned on this blog several times. While you're at Etsy looking around, be sure to see the striking print of a macrophoto of tea leaves by artbysusmitha. You'll drool for it. This being TeaReads, tea is close to our hearts. It reminds me of my own visit to a tea plantation decades ago.

With items priced from $5 and up, there is something for every budget. Not only does each item make a wonderful gift, but the proceeds go to care for animals who have had very hard lives before finding a loving home at Rolling Dog Ranch.

N.B., the photo used on this blog is not from RDR. It comes from RDR does, however, have two (to my knowledge) genuine "rolling dogs" equipped like the one in this photo.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

To see more pictures of wonderful animals like these, visit While you're there, make a donation to this fine sanctuary for disabled animals.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quotable Saturday

"Be like the promontory,against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm, and tames the fury of the water around it.

"Remember...on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: that this is not a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune."
(Marcus Antoninus)

"May I reach
That purest heaven, be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony,
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Be a sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world."
(George Eliot)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reader's digest(ion)

funny dog pictures
see more loldogs are funny dog pictures!
Novels and mystery novels that include recipes have been popular for some time. I purchased a few because the recipes sounded good, though I must admit to having been disappointed with the results most of the time. Still, I find it interesting.
Has you ever read anything that made you wish it included recipes or, better still, the food it told of? Have you read something with such rich and luscious descriptions of food that you wished you could dive in and have what you're reading? For me, this desire to eat what I read started with, of all things, blamange in Little Women. For some reason it sounded like the epitome of sweet comfort, and I longed to have it slide down my throat just as I read it did for the invalid for whom it was prepared. I imagined real vanilla richness and warmth even though I'd never heard of a blamange until I read that book as a child, and wasn't exactly sure what it was, at the time.
But sometimes the gap between what I imagined and how the food really tastes was terrific. One mystery novel featured recipes prepared in a low-fat, healthful way. I prepared them carefully according to instructions. But once I tried the dishes, I found myself thinking, "Well, I've had *worse* things in my mouth" - - but not by much.
Since then, I've become much better at tasting things in my mind. That helped me avoid a repeat.
Hmmm, the weather is frightful today. It might just be the time for a blamange...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Visit for more gorgeous tied fishing flys such as this camel spider tied fly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A good place to visit

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Whether you're looking for a copy of "Little Red Riding Hood" like our feline friend here,or for another great book, be sure to visit Your shipping (within the USA) is free; out-of-country shipping is $2.97. Your purchases support global literacy efforts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Poetic Monday

by John Donne

SLEEP, sleep, old sun, thou canst not have repass'd,
As yet, the wound thou took'st on Friday last ;
Sleep then, and rest ; the world may bear thy stay ;
A better sun rose before thee to-day ;
Who—not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth's face, as thou—enlighten'd hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As at thy presence here our fires grow pale ;
Whose body, having walk'd on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would—that He might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all—
For these three days become a mineral.
He was all gold when He lay down, but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make e'en sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulchre been,
And, issuing from the sheet, this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.

Desunt Caetera

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Humorous Pictures
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Philosophical Saturday

"There is a general stock of evil in the world to which we all contribute, or which, by God's grace, some may diminish; a vast and fertile tract of ungodliness, of low motives, of low aims, of low desires, or low sense of duty or no sense at all. It is the creation of ages, that tradition; but each age does something for it, and each individual in each age does, if he does not advisedly refuse to do, his share in augmenting it...And this general fund or stock of evil touches us all like the common atmosphere in which we breathe. And thus it is that when you or I, even in lesser matters, do or say what our conscience condemns, we do really make a contribution to that general fund of wickedness which, in other circumstances and social conditions than ours, produces flagrant crime. Especially if it should happen that we defend what we do, or make light of it, or make a joke of the misdeeds of others, we do most actively and seriously augment this common fund or tradition of wickedness."
(Henry Parry Liddon)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


NOTHING is so beautiful as spring --
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

Tagged for a meme

1. What book are you reading right now?
Planters, Containers & Raised Beds, A Gardener's Guide, by Chuck Crandall and Barbara Crandall

2. What was the last book you read on a plane?
I last flew a month before 9/11, but I don't remember the book. It was probably a true-crime book, though.

3. What was the last book you read on a roadtrip?
Driving gets in the way of my reading on road trips. :)

4. What was the most unusual place you found yourself reading?
Oh, let me see....that might be The Petrified Forest. We took a big family vacation when I was a teenager, and I read a lot while we drove cross-country. I recall being scolded by my grandmother for being so lazy as to try viewing The Petrified Forest from inside our car, with my book on my lap. NB, I said "try;" Grandma routed me out of there for at least a little while. No wonder the Forest was petrified - - Grandma was there!

5. What books would you take to keep you occupied on
a two-week vacation to the beach?

I adore the seashore! I'm a leisurely beachcomber who also enjoys just watching the eternal pull and thrust of the ocean. I don't read there, although I tried it once (got sand in my book).

Teabird tagged me for this. I hereby tag all comers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008


funny pictures
see more crazy cat pics

...the Ides of March! Maybe you *should* look behind you!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Funny Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Still out sick; will post after this cold-flu hybrid is over.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008