Shopping Trip

I had a big weekend.

On Saturday, I planned a trip to the post office to mail my ballot.  I thought Dave would enjoy a trip out too so I suggested he come with me and we could stop for coffee.  As we sat outside, (across the street from the pick up window of the coffee shop), Dave said he had heard Barnes Noble was open.  Did I want to see if it was empty enough to feel okay to go in and browse? I dithered.

but…

there would be people…

I don’t know if..but then…

okay.

We went.  Masked of course.  

The parking lot was almost empty.  We looked in.  The store had been reorganized and the layout was far more inviting…more spacious in feel, while at the same time, more intimate.  It was very nearly empty.

I spent the next giddy hour ducking and weaving among fellow patrons whilst selecting/rejecting/clutching books.  Books that had not been preread by strangers nor purchased online, but fresh new books.  Just for me!

After stalking the mystery section a time or two – along with a brief foray into fiction, (election season in a pandemic has quenched any thirst I might have had for both horror and nonfiction), I realized I was carrying the equivalent of my bimonthly grocery budget.  Several deep cleansing breaths later, I narrowed my final selection to a far more reasonable number and almost – but not quite – skipped to the car.   To round out the day, we had pizza for supper.  Yay!

(a brief aside….Massey’s Pizza is the best!  Being gluten free takes a lot of yum out of pizza for me – but Massey’s has a cauliflower crust that is great!)

And Sunday.  Well nothing much done…. but watching NOVA and reading.  But still pretty darn great.

As always, thank you for reading and stay safe.

Quietly

These past few months have been more than a bit trying for me.  So trying that the pandemic is suddenly far less scary.  Well.

I’ve been coping with little escapism.  Sitting quietly with a lovely little cozy murder…with The Golden Girls playing in the background.  My latest favorite cozy series is Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher murders.  Aahhhh….  For a couple of hours, disappear completely into the wonderful fictionalized world of Australia’s late 1920’s.  Phryne Fisher is smart, sophisticated, stylish, and Uncle Scrooge McDuck wealthy.  The stories are fun, the characters enjoyable, an overall mood lifter.  But sooner or later, a person has to snap back to the here and now.

What snapped me back was a gift of a book.  One of my Dad’s books.  Dad enjoyed his mysteries  – humorous, historic, gritty – all except cozy.  I opened  My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigudardottir (the second in her series with attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir).  This book is enveloping, gritty, and intelligent. While there are Agatha Christie worthy twists, she adds a bit of interpersonal humor – along with the gruesome murders.  The characters have depth and substance.  I also enjoy the taste of Icelandic history and description of the amazing landscape.  I think I’ll have to ask Mom if any more of Yrsa Sigudardottir are lurking in her house.

so.  It seems my grace period of floaty escapism is closed.  Well – nothing wrong with the occasional tv rerun and Miss Fisher book as long as it is accompanied with a bit of grit.

As always, thank you  for reading and stay safe.

dithering

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I’ve had an unscheduled hiatus from… everything. Some ‘stuff’ and illnesses (not covid) have invaded house and home and family so everything fell away – for a bit. All is not ‘back to normal’ but now there is naught for me to do except fret and worry. Two things I do gracelessly. It occurred to me – I miss blogging – however sporadically. I miss reading everyone’s posts. Hence my dithering return.

During this time I had a birthday. I asked for and received bunches of lovely books. Just looking at them all is pleasing. I have everything to both distract and entertain myself….a couple of old favorites like Kerry Greenwood and Elly Griffiths. Also, Mom dipped into my father’s stash with an Edmund Crispin and Yrsa Sigurardottir. I’ve never read either author, but Mom handed them to me with an undeniable reverence. Recently, my favorite genre has been ‘cozy mystery’. I strongly suspect Dad’s books are out of that category. Hmm. I guess I’ll have to focus.

As always, thanks for reading and keep well.

Earworm

My ear-worm is back. Well, I think I inadvertently invited it back.

Sometime last month, I watched The Fisher King. Made in 1991, the incredible cast stars Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl, and Amanda Plummer, (not to mention Michael Jeter and an uncredited Tom Waits…whoops…I actually did just mention them…). Directed by Terry Gilliam, this movie has an enthralling surreal feeling.

Very briefly:
A talk radio DJ (Jack/Jeff Bridges) rants about Yuppies which inspires one of his listeners to open fire in a crowded New York bar. Robin Williams portrays Perry, a former professor who becomes first unhinged and then homeless after losing his wife in the atrocity.

We meet Perry as the homeless soul he has become and learn he is obsessed with questing for what he believes is The Holy Grail. Throughout, he is haunted and stalked by his delusions. Terry Gilliam creates memorable delusion scenes – especially with his magnificently horrible Red Knight.

The Fisher King was actually based on the Arthurian legend of the Fisher King, also called the Maimed King or Wounded King. According to the legend, the king was the last in the blood line of knights charged with keeping the Grail safe. He was wounded in the thigh, (although many think this was actually a groin wound), and cannot stand. He spends his time in his boat, fishing, and waiting for a nobleman to come to heal the wound. Eventually, he is healed by Percival.

An aside about Percival and the Red Knight:
Percival was one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. The Red Knight, according to legend, stole the Holy Grail from King Arthur. Percival pursues and slays the Red Knight. Percival then dons the slayed Knight’s armour and comes to be known as the Red Knight.

Now, there are a gazillion different versions of the Fisher King/Percival/Red Knight story(s) but this should be sufficient.

Back to topic. Click on the link and watch and listen to my ear-worm (this is the movie version, not Sinatra’s). It got in there after watching the movie and set up house keeping. This morning I thought,’Hey! I haven’t heard that song…..oh. crud.’. So. Maybe by writing all of this, I will somehow release it back into, well, wherever.

Thanks for reading! stay safe!

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+about+you+fisher+king&&view=detail&mid=3191FC31E8B2FB87C7A93191FC31E8B2FB87C7A9&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dhow%2Babout%2Byou%2Bfisher%2Bking%26FORM%3DVDRESM

How About You
Burton Lane/ Ralph Freed

I like New York in June, how about you
I like a Gershwin tune, how about you
I love a fireside when a storm is due
I like potato chips, moonlight
Motor trips, how about you
I’m mad about good books, can’t get my fill
And James Durantes looks give me a thrill
Holding hands in the movie show
When all the lights are low may not be new
But I like it, how about you
I like New York in June, how about you
I like a Gershwin tune, how about you
I love a fireside when a storm is due, how about you
I’m mad about good books, can’t get my fill
And James Durantes looks they give me a thrill
Holding hands in the movie show
When all the lights are low may not be new
But I like it, and I like it, I like it, how about you

My Virtual Revisit

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From October 9, 1996 to September 28, 1999, the BBC ran a wonderful cooking show called Two Fat Ladies.

I love cooking shows. I remember Mom watching The French Chef – not the reruns mind you – but as a brand spanking new weekly series. Mom marveled that the teeny tiny kitchen that produced those French gastronomic beauties was indeed Julia Child’s actual kitchen. It wasn’t until I was much older that I came to appreciate the show: recipes, petite kitchen, not to mention Julia Child herself. After Julia came a succession of cooking shows I enjoyed and watch(ed) loyally. Among the many titles and chefs, there is one series/chefs that has a special place in my heart: Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson aka the
Two Fat Ladies.

The premise of the show is simple: Clarissa and Jennifer travel throughout the U.K. cooking for large groups of people. Each show has a food theme such as cakes or one episode is simply titled Meat. These two completely unscripted women are bold, intelligent, outrageous, funny, and incredible cooks. (They were also throughly unique individuals. Their lives make a fascinating read.). What’s more, this dynamic duo do their traveling via Jennifer’s vintage motorcycle with a sidecar for Clarissa – which leads me to my virtual vacation: Last Sunday, I dusted off my Two Fat Ladies dvd set and settled down for a nice little trip.

I rode with the ladies along the waterfront of Mevagissey, Cornwall sniffing the the catch of the day, moved on to Hallaton, Leicestershire and marveled as they creamed butter and sugar with just a spoon. The drive to Lennoxlove House in East Lothian, Scotland took my breath away – as did Lennoxlove House. I had just sworn (for the umpteen time) that I would make those chicken breasts with walnut l’aillade, (surely my cooking skills are up to that recipe?), when my DVD player hiccuped. Unfortunately, like all hiccups bouts, the pops and burps continued sporadically until I admitted defeat. Or rather an extended pause – I ordered a new dvd that afternoon.

I hope to continue my lovely journeys with Clarissa and Jennifer very soon. I say give them a try!
Thank you for reading and stay safe!

June’s end

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I’ve been in a somewhat negative philosophical mood. Actually, I’ve just been grousing.

It’s too hot.
After too much rain, now not enough.
What is the meaning of life?
Is there a meaning?
What is my purpose?
Have I accomplished anything at all?

In short, I’ve really been annoying myself.

I think it is due to the odd, floaty, no control sort of feeling that has accompanied the tragic and monumental events of the last six months. There is a kinda compulsive obsession to stay glued to the facts as they unfold. The awareness that we are living through a pivotal historic period cannot be denied but rather should be nurtured. And yet feeling helpless to speed events to their conclusion – the desire to see how it all turns out – to read the last chapter mid book.

You see? Really annoying.

I’ve decided to take baby steps to get this under control. To that end, I’ve recently returned to my ‘stuff to do while under stay-at-home orders’ list: Hmm….. The first on my list was to learn a language(s). Seeing as how I’m sort of a pudding head at this time, becoming conversant in Italian and French needs to stay on the back burner. The same can be said for writing that book or studying the Crimean war (don’t ask. long story.). I haven’t lost those fifteen pounds nor am I in shape for a triathlon.

On the bright side, we have cleared out the spare bedroom, painted and organized, and included an area where I can take product photos. And I have rejoined weight watchers. Yoga is daily and I’ve started meditating. With a bit of motivation, I’ll be able to complete my current clay projects. Well, that’s not so bad. Baby steps. It’ll work.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Book orders

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I got off to a slow start today.

I stayed up late last night to finish a book, A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths. I happened to buy this book in January – or was it February – before the pandemic had been declared. I realized, at the time, this was the fifth in Ms. Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series but decided to buy it anyway. I was actually rather proud of myself: me? start reading a series out of order? Unheard of! I congratulated myself for such rebellious behavior and plopped the book on my ever expanding ‘to be read pile’.

A couple of weeks later Dave and I went to the library. I happened to see The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths – the first in the Ruth Galloway series. What the heck…I checked it out. Read it. Loved it. A dandy mystery with a wonderful lead character. Dr. Ruth Galloway, an archeologist, is a stand out in the genre. A great character and a very interesting story line. Being a mystery lover, I am always delighted to ‘discover’ an intelligent and engaging series. (I know this one has been out for quite awhile – I’ve come to the party a tad late.)

By then, our governor had closed all non essential businesses. No more trips to the library or bookstore for my entertainment – I would have to make due with the umpteen books sitting/piled around my house. What to read? Revisit a comforting old favorite? That would be perfect to sooth the nerves. Or… As I stood in front of my overcrowded bookshelves, my eyes landed on book number five in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series.

Damn.

I ordered books two thru four from thriftbooks.com. Devoured them. Loved them too. So much so that today I have ordered the next three books. (And a couple from James Doss. His were easy to rationalize, I can’t find them in my library branch.) I’ve learned my lesson. No more random starts or stops – begin at the beginning and stay the course. A lesson for our times.