Sunday (Evening) Post

Happy Mother’s Day.  Although I am not a mother, I had a lovely Mother’s Day Weekend. Saturday my husband and I visited Half-Price Books in Houston and I purchased $30 worth of bargains for my Little Free Library.  While in the same strip shopping center, we went to a consignment store specializing in furniture and accessories, and my husband bought me a lovely basket/vase which I was able to put dried flowers/weeds from a disassembled floral arrangement in, something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.  The clerk at the store said, “Tell me you’re a mother, and you’ll get a twenty percent discount.”  I informed her I was not a mother, but I thought I deserved a discount for being honest.  My Better Half chimed in that I was the only mother our cat, Lena, had ever known, and the kind salesperson came through with the discount!  She made my day. We finished up at Eduardo’s Mexican Kitchen for lunch, thus freeing me from cooking , not only the rest of the day but also for lunch today, thanks to warmed up leftovers.

This morning we cleaned up and moved furniture around in our guest  bedroom, anticipating summer visitors.  It looks so much larger and roomier, and My Better Half hung two pictures on the wall and in the hallway to accommodate the changes we made.  Now to the local Alvin furniture store, Cox’s, for an end table and maybe  a new sofa and loveseat at their Memorial Day Sale.  I told you it was a good weekend, didn’t I?

We worked in the yard again this first full week off from school, planting flowering hawthorne, another hibiscus, a knock-out rosebush, and a lipstick plant in a pot.  Also, our Easter Lillies, hastily stuck in the ground last Easter, are in full bloom for Mother’s Day.  They also have multiplied, so we may have further blooms for Father’s Day, or at least for next spring.

Finished this week: Many Waters by Madeline Engle…great as a part of a series or as a stand alone. (To be reviewed soon) and the very first issue of a delightful magazine, Magnolia Journal, “inspiration for life and home.” As a charter subscriber I was very interested in receiving this magazine, skimmed it ooooohing and aaaaahing when it first arrived, then going back and reading with enjoyment every word. Joanna and Chip Gaines, editor-in-chief and editor-at-large, respectively, are responsible for this excellent piece of readability.

Continuing to read: Have not quite finished today’s edition of The Houston Chronicle, my Sunday afternoon reading material; Who Is Human? a science fiction novel by Gary Pegoda; Beyond Human Nature by Printz; and Phillip Yancey, an excellent inspirational writer who is fast becoming my second favorite inspirational writer (next to Max Lucado) has hooked me on his Vanishing Grace:Whatever Happened to the Good News? 

Started this week: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas.

I have done a great deal of reading, a chapter here a chapter there, and am probably going to end up with several books to review, all at the same time.

I’ve done little cooking besides warming up from food cooked last week and leftovers I’ve dubbed “Cowboy Stew” which has leftover lean hamburger patties from a lunch and anything in the refrigerator in the way of leftover vegetables that weren’t “spoken for.”  We’ve had it twice, once rolled up in flour tortillas and once over leftover rice from Eduardo’s. Believe it or not, it was most enjoyable.  A friend brought homemade Louisiana gumbo and a scrumptious dessert…more than we could possible eat ourselves, so we were privileged to share with a neighbor for her Mother’s Day.

As I said, it has been a good Mother’s Day weekend.

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Reading/Cooking: Monday Morning Musings

Those of you who are bibliophiles understand when I say, we read to “escape”: from boredom, form being too busy, from our hum-drum, ordinary lives to adventures and emotions we can experience vicariously.  Recently while studying a text on human nature, I came across a concept that not only can we change our lives, but our moods as well.

I came home in a grouch and felt grumpy, but the books I thumbed into did nothing to relieve my self-induced bad mood, so I turned instead to cooking. The humidity was finally low enough (a beautiful, sunny day) to make forgotten cookies, a recipe from the 1970’s that was so popular.  They are made with whipped egg whites (2), 3/4 of a cup of sugar gently added and mixed in on high until peaks form, then a teaspoon of vanilla added in with more beating time via mixer.  All this time, the cook is preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Finally when the oven indicates the correct temperature has been reached, one folds in a cup of chopped pecan pieces and a cup of semi sweet chocolate pieces.  After dropping by spoonfuls onto  prepared cookie sheets, said sheets are placed on the racks in the oven and THE OVEN IS TURNED OFF. The next step is to forget the cookies for the next three to four hours or overnight.  Yes, the recipe sounds like Grandma’s old fashioned divinity, and yes, the cookies dissolve in your mouth. After the painstaking care and concentration on making the cookies, I felt much, much better.

Looking back at this week, I must have been escaping through cooking all week, for I made BBQ pork in the crockpot; used some black bean chips from our trip to Central Market to make nachos as a snack; tried out another bag of chips, this time parmesan cheese and garlic flavor, as another day’s snack; baked brownies, following the “cake-like” directions rather than our usual “fudge-like” directions on the box, then iced them with cream cheese icing.  Actually, re-reading this paragraph, I think this week I “escaped” into eating, not cooking!

Sunday (Evening) Post

While wandering among blogs this afternoon, one blog led me to check out another until I found myself reading blogs I was not actually following, but had been re-blogged on one I was.  Among my “findings” was a blog entitled “Live to Write–Write to Live.”  Today’s weekend post started with a quote that gave me hope in these broken times:
“Do not be discouraged at the brokenness of the world.  All things break.  And all things can be mended.  Not with time, as they say, but with intention.  So go.  Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.  The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” I hope younger people, especially, will take these words to heart.  They were attributed to L.R. Knost, evidently a children’s and parenting author.

This past week has had many evidences that we are living in a broken world, not the least of which was two “evacuate the building…do not use the elevators” commands which interrupted my last class day last Wednesday.  After the second evacuation and the second climb up and down stairs, we decided to go home.  There was nothing on the local news about any fire or other “trouble,” so it was probably just a drill on a Wednesday afternoon when few classes are scheduled. In a way, it was a good thing; I was able to go home early,  we missed the usual horrendous traffic, and I was spared making a “This has been such a good group, it is hard to see you go” speech, which is especially true this semester and would be hard to get through emotionally. Ok, so I’m an old softie!

So, one of the things I finished last week was the school semester.  Another was the multi-stranded novel Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke, which I reviewed in the post immediately preceding this one.  Today’s jam-packed-full Houston Chronicle, Sunday Edition is also done for another week, and I am up to date on my New Yorkers with the exception of three fiction offerings in three back editions.

What I am still reading (and still bemused by and enchanted with) is How to Be Both, a novel by Ali Smith.  It keeps unfolding and yet re-connecting to the beginning in the strangest of ways with very few stops, pauses, no chapters to speak of, definitely a unique book. This book will certainly require a re-read (or two or three) to get to all the “meat” of the author’s thoughts.  How I will ever review this book presents a conundrum.

What I am still watching:  Up to date on “This is Us” with just the season finale (Christmas episode) left to see; “Poldark” on PBS; “Timeless” which is still timely (pun intended); “The Big Bang Theory,” which will still be funny when the “guys and gals” are Senior Citizens; and “Gray’s Anatomy,” the best soap opera on TV.

What I am looking forward to:  Writing Christmas letters to go in Christmas cards–although I made the mistake of buying “cute”, tiny cards featuring a tiny little songbird which practically requires origami skills to place 8×11 inch letters in such tiny envelopes. That and visiting the newly opened Goodwill Store here in Alvin to look for Christmas baskets to put presents and baked goods (should I get that far!) will be my major undertakings for the week ahead.  I will require one trip back to the university and some yard work replacing all the bulbs/plants I dug up to make way for the new fence (and that has to be done before the first freeze due Friday).  All this will keep me plenty busy in the week ahead.

I hope your week to come is calmer and stress free.