Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Weekend Reflections 1/28

Looking outside...it's cold. We got about an inch of snow on Thursday. That wasn't supposed to happen. 

Listening...to the The Artist looking through the bulk lego bins at our favorite Lego store. Other customers mingling around.

Loving...that my freezer is full of delicious home-raised beef. We purchased half a cow from my aunt and uncle. Picked it up on Thursday from the butcher and grilled steak that night. Oh my goodness it was yummy. 

Thinking...that I have too many thoughts. That I have never examined my own thoughts and feelings as much as I have these last few months. I have shared some of my thoughts and views here and I had a much longer series of thoughts written down to share today because of the inauguration and Women's March. But, I decided it wasn't worth it.

Honestly, I am so weary of the hatred. Being anonymous on the Internet is cowardly. And even if you use your own name, hiding behind your keyboard and attacking other people simply because they have a different life view than you do is cowardly. 

I could tell you how I believe. I could tell you how I voted. I could tell you my concerns for the upcoming administration. But I truly don't think it would make a difference. There would be one word or one phrase that is latched onto and honest conversation and true discussion would be out the window. 

For the few readers I do have, I think some of my thoughts and beliefs would surprise you. But those thoughts and beliefs are mine and I have the right to them. Just like you have the right to yours, whether we agree or not. But, whether we agree or not, should make no difference. We are women. The influence and reach we have is amazing. And even with differences in belief or opinion, if we all work together, we truly do make a difference.

I hate labels of any sort. I think that women, all women, have more in common than not. I think that you can have honest dialogue. I think that you can disagree without getting angry and mean.

From before the election through today, I have seen people on social media trying to explain their thoughts and getting slammed because someone else took offense, likely where none was intended. Tolerance only if someone agrees with you isn't tolerance and impedes honest communication and effective dialogue.

Stop assuming everyone who disagrees with you hates you. This goes both ways and for every political affiliation. Ask someone you know who has a different political opinion to share their thoughts and then listen without judging and allow them to listen to you. You don't have to agree. Call your government representatives and share your views. Help others. March. Work together. Make a difference in your communities. Listen to each other. Volunteer. Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.

In my kitchen...Not sure what's on the menu for tonight.

Wearing...denim skirt, white turtleneck, gray sweater, burnt orange scarf.

Hoping...that the sun peeks out today.

Reading...Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner.

Today...it's National Lego Day, so we are at our favorite Lego store in Boise. Bricks and Minifigs. It's right by The Doctor's office. It's a family day today. Those are so nice. I suspect we will end up at The Chocolat Bar today as well.

Quoting...“I say to you all, once again -- in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Feeling...So tired of winter. I don't mind the cold. I don't even mind the snow. I'd rather live in Idaho than Arizona or Las Vegas. But, this winter is getting old. I am ready for spring.

Gratitude...for my hard-working husband. This first month of practice has been a fantastic beginning and I am so proud of him.

From my world... 

This probably reflects my thoughts this week more than writing anything could.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read...Sewing!

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2724. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

This month it's all about sewing! Seamstresses and dressmakers and weavers. I have basic sewing skills thanks to Home Economics classes and my mom. I am not, however, an accomplished seamstress. My mother is and she made most of our dresses when my sisters and I were growing up. With few exceptions, she also made all of our dance formals too.

Even now, she is more than willing to do the mending or altering for me when I have sewing to do.


The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.

But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.

Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

A deeply touching Southern story filled with struggle and hope.

Emmalee Bullard and her new baby are on their own. Or so she thinks, until Leona Lane, the older seamstress who sat by her side at the local shirt factory where both women worked as collar makers, insists Emmalee come and live with her. Just as Emmalee prepares to escape her hardscrabble life in Red Chert holler, Leona dies tragically. Grief-stricken, Emmalee decides she’ll make Leona’s burying dress, but there are plenty of people who don't think the unmarried Emmalee should design a dress for a Christian woman - or care for a child on her own. But with every stitch, Emmalee struggles to do what is right for her daughter and to honor Leona the best way she can, finding unlikely support among an indomitable group of seamstresses and the town’s funeral director. In a moving tale exploring Southern spirit and camaraderie among working women, a young mother will compel a town to become a community.

The Hidden Thread by Liz Trenow

The Hidden Thread is a breathtaking novel about the intricate craft of silk and the heartbreak of forbidden love.

When Anna Butterfield's mother dies, she's sent to live with her uncle, a silk merchant in London, to make a good match and provide for her father and sister. There, she meets Henri, a French immigrant and apprentice hoping to become a master weaver. But Henri, born into a lower class, becomes embroiled in the silk riots that break out as weavers protest for a fair wage.

New York Times bestselling author Liz Trenow weaves a luminous tale of class struggle and star-crossed love.

The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham 

A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture—soon to be a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.

 The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles

As seamstresses, the young sisters Emília and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, how to mend, and how to conceal. These are useful skills in the lawless backcountry of Brazil, where ruthless land barons called "colonels" feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the cross fire.

Emília, whose knowledge of the world comes from fashion magazines and romance novels, dreams of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city.

Luzia also longs to escape their little town, where residents view her with suspicion and pity. Scarred by a childhood accident that left her with a deformed arm, the quick-tempered Luzia finds her escape in sewing and in secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life.

But when Luzia is abducted by a group of cangaceiros led by the infamous Hawk, the sisters' quiet lives diverge in ways they never imagined. Emília stumbles into marriage with Degas Coelho, the son of a doctor whose wealth is rivaled only by his political power.

She moves to the sprawling seaside city of Recife, where the glamour of her new life is soon overshadowed by heartache and loneliness. Luzia, forced to trek through scrubland and endure a nomadic existence, proves her determination to survive and begins to see the cangaceiros as comrades, not criminals.

In Recife, Emília must hide any connection to her increasingly notorious sister. As she learns to navigate the treacherous waters of Brazilian high society, Emília sees the country split apart after a bitter presidential election. Political feuds extend to the countryside, where Luzia and the Hawk are forced to make unexpected alliances and endure betrayals that threaten to break the cangaceiros apart. But Luzia will overcome time and distance to entrust her sister with a great secret—one Emília vows to keep. And when Luzia's life is threatened, Emília will risk everything to save her.

An enthralling novel of love and courage, loyalty and adventure, that brings to life a faraway time and place, The Seamstress is impeccably drawn, rich in depth and vision, and heralds the arrival of a supremely talented new writer.


What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

#CoverCrush: Safe from the Sea

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

It's pretty much a given that I'm going to love any cover that has the ocean on it. I can rhapsodize well and long about my love of the ocean. The title implies that the ocean can be dangerous and the ocean on this cover is rugged with waves crashing over rocks. A rocky shoreline can be treacherous to ships and reading this story is the only way we will find out why the sea is feared.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesindieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekend Reflections 1/21

Looking outside...it's snowing. It's cold and cloudy. 

Listening...to clocks ticking. A fish filter. The Doctor just finished on the treadmill.

Loving...that my boys are on their way to being well-rounded. They went to a Shaolin Martial Arts Performance with The Doctor and my nephew and loved it. Then they came home and watched The Phantom of the Opera because my nephew hadn't seen it. They both have classical music on their mp3 players right next to Queen and Phil Collins and Toby Keith. The Boy can discuss samurai philosophy in detail and turn around and talk about Pride and Prejudice. He'll talk about Shakespeare or weight-lifting. He can shoot a gun and play the violin. The Artist draws creates amazing drawings and is brilliant when it comes to clay. He's now learning oil painting. But, when he can, he's out on his bike riding and he's ruthless when it comes to Monopoly. When either of them wants to learn something, they find ways to educate themselves. It's awesome.

Thinking...that I am tired of the hatred still being spewed in regards to our new President. Apparently tolerance still only goes one way and if you disagree with someone, you hate them or what they stand for. Where in the world did that concept even come from? Holy small mindedness Batman! I am so very tired of all of it. I have my own reservations and concerns for the next 4 years, especially in regards to my family's health care, but I'm not going to condemn anyone yet. I didn't 8 years ago. I'm going to hope and pray and watch.

And Hollywood? Grow up. Use your fame to make the world a better place. Donate to charities. Serve others. Maybe you already do. But, stop with the petulance. I'm all for awareness, but stop sulking. Don't sit in your gilded world and lament that your candidate lost. Just because you're celebrities, doesn't make you smarter than anyone else. It doesn't make your opinions more important than anyone else's. The people you criticize for voting for Trump? They know who you are and just like they were silent in their voting choices, they will be silent in their film and entertainment choices. You are not special. Many every day citizens lost in this election, not just you.

And for the record? The rest of you? Stop with all the incendiary memes on Facebook. Anyone who knows you, knows where you stand politically and they already know that you are either giddy or saddened. So stop liking and sharing unsubstantiated posts and articles as if they are fact. At this point, nothing shared on Facebook or Twitter is likely to change anyone's views and if you're celebrating, don't gloat. If you're mourning, I'm sorry. But, don't assume every conservative is a hater or agrees with the current administration. 

So before you share something? Find out if it's true. What you likely will discover is a misleading headline as nearly everything at the moment is misleading and clickbait. You can't take anything at face value. We do not have a principled press. They are all biased one way or the other. What we do have is an internet-led world where anyone can fabricate whatever they want and treat it as though it's truth. Bloody Hell! Use your brains and think before you act or react. 

Also, leave Barron Trump out of it. Underage children of presidents are traditionally left alone in the media. Or they have been since Chelsea Clinton. As they should be. It doesn't matter if you like the current president or not. Leave their underage children alone. They didn't ask for the attention. They aren't seeking politics or position. As a parent, I have always hated when presidential children were spoken of in the papers and more recently on social media. There were things said about the Obama and Bush daughters that always bothered me. Because we are nearly the same age, I remember when journalists were hyper critical of Amy Carter because she read and her father would ask her opinions on things. You don't like it when your children are teased or bullied. Don't do it to them.

Be kind. Especially when others aren't. Do good around you and in your communities. Love is a verb.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now. Are you surprised? This is me!

Tonight, I think we'll grill steak. Last night, The Boy shoveled all the snow around the grill to cook Lime Chicken. Yes. We grill even surrounded by 4 feet of snow and when he pretty much had to climb a snow bank to get to the grill. It's Idaho.

Wearing...gray turtleneck, gray fuzzy socks, yellow Minion jammies. Don't judge. I mean it. They're super soft, super comfy and cute as heck.

Hoping...that more snow holds off. It's been 46 days since we saw bare ground. The Artist had another snow day this week. We are ending week 4 of the new year and he has been to school 4 times. It's crazy.

Reading...nothing. Seriously, I suck right now when it comes to reading.

Today...it doesn't matter because The Doctor is home. Perks of having your own practice means scheduling as you want. It's nice.

Quoting...“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Feeling...So tired. So very tired. I've forgotten what it's like to feel rested.

Planning...I'm actually not sure... 

Gratitude...for my hard-working boys. The Boy had a temp job this week that had him shoveling snow for 8 hours at a local university. He started at 4:00 am. But, they were very complimentary about how hard he worked and how conscientious he was. Both boys have shoveled and worked for Grandma this winter. So proud of their willingness to help others.

From my world... 

Because this is still one of the best pictures ever to come off the internet. It's so much better than something political or a picture of snow.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Childhood Favorites...The Resident Witch

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

Witcheena, little witch in training who wants to be a Junior Witch, lives in a barn with her aunt and a hundred cats. Well, more like 26 or something like that. She flies around on her broom at night, but wishes she could have a friend. When she changes her appearance to be around other children, she meets a girl named Nancy. Witcheena loves spending time with Nancy, but knows that she can't do magic or show her powers in front of anyone.

This was such a strange little story. I have no idea where it was purchased or why it showed up in our house. I think it was one of my sister's books, but I have it in a box. I loved this little gem and the lovely pencil sketch drawings.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

How can a book with a delicious-looking pie on its cover not capture your attention? What are the wishes? What is the ingredient? How does a pie come into play? Are we reading about people or baking or people who bake? This one is on my wish list and I need to track down a copy because this cover just begs me to pick it up and read.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekend Reflections 1/14

In the interest of full disclosure, Ms. Snark is alive and well and definitely in the building today...

Looking outside...it's cold and cloudy. I think our high is supposed to be 21. There is still a shedload of snow on the ground and some flurries which is frustrating because there is  no snow in the forecast for today. Next Tuesday we will get more freezing rain and snow.

The Artist finally went back to school yesterday after having 7 days off in a row. Not necessarily because of the snow, but because of the aftermath.

The storm dumped snow, roads didn't get plowed, it iced over and snowed again. Then it thawed a bit, froze and snowed again. And then warmed up so we got freezing rain. So even trucks with 4WD were getting stuck. With a normal snow storm, main roads and freeways get plowed. Residential areas never get plowed. This time around, there was too much to keep up with, two of four plows broke and the snow kept coming, then freezing, then raining, then thawing, and hopefully you get the point.

The problem isn't the snow. This isn't the south. We can handle snow. The problem this time around was ice and the fact that our city was not well prepared for a big snowstorm or icestorm. Which is stupid because this is Idaho. We normally get snow, but it's been 30 years since this area saw the amounts we got this week. We vary from year to year and some years we might get this same amount of snow over a season, but not at one time. I think many haven't lived here long enough to remember how the weather can be and people get complacent. 

I monitored the school district and city FB pages this week. Mostly for information, but also for the fun of it. People really can be horrible. The school district is in a no-win situation. If they don't call a snow day, people bitch. If they do call a snow day, people bitch. They can't win. 

The city? Like I said, I was frustrated with the city. I usually am when it comes to how they deal with snow. But this time around? They tried. Those poor city workers were out there non-stop nearly 24/7, which is why two plows broke down from use. After they got the main roads taken care of, they began plowing residential neighborhoods. Which was greatly appreciated. It meant that the deep ruts were gone for the immediate interim and cars and school buses weren't getting stuck.

Instead of being grateful, people complained that their neighborhood hadn't been done yet. They complained that the plows pushed snow into their driveways or blocked mailboxes. It was unbelievably disappointing to see. Many weren't willing to get out and take care of their own drives and sidewalks or clear drains on their street to prevent flooding. They just complain that someone else hasn't done it.

Yeah, I had a three-foot high wall of snow in front of my cleared driveway. But my boys got right out there and started clearing it because we were so grateful that the roads had been plowed and we knew our non-4WD car wouldn't get stuck. I expressed that gratitude on the city's FB page.

Seriously. People. Grow up. Life happens. If you live in Idaho, you're going to experience snow. Some years more than other years. Shovel and ice your own driveways and sidewalks. Help your neighbors do theirs. When you have to get a car? Find one with 4WD if you have that option. If you've never lived in or driven in a snowy place before, LEARN! Drive slower. Be careful. Don't cut people off and don't scream and yell because the roads are icy. They are icy because you live in Idaho. And just because there is snow on the ground, doesn't mean school is canceled. Deal with it. Buy some warm clothes. Snow boots at Walmart or DI are not that expensive. Gloves and hats are practically free. 

And when someone shovels your driveway or plows your street or a bus driver willingly transports your children to and from school in snowy weather, say "Thank you". 

Listening...to mostly silence. Faint sounds coming from the office where The Doctor is working. The Artist is watching YouTube. The Boy went with me this morning to pick up ice melt. He hauled 9 40# bags for me, so he's now watching something on his phone and eating pizza. I can hear a fish tank filter and a clock ticking.

Loving...this quiet Saturday with my family all home, together.

Thinking...that I am blessed with a wonderful family, some good friends and a comfortable home.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now. 

Wearing...gray turtleneck, black fuzzy socks and yellow Minion pajamas. Don't judge. They are super soft and very warm.

Hoping...that trucks can finally get through snowy passes and deliver much needed ice melt as well as other supplies. I made calls today and we went to Lowe's.

And seriously, stores? I don't care about swimsuits or summer. It's JANUARY. Don't be trying to sell me swimsuits and sundresses. Costco, bloody hell what is wrong with you? Swimsuits three days before Christmas? Do people really buy your swimwear in January? Pretty sure they don't in Idaho. 

And Walmart, today? All I care about is staying warm and trying to find more ice melt. The guy at your store laughed at me when I asked him if they would get more in. You have all your winter stuff on clearance and while I like clearance prices, I'd still like to be able to find shovels and ice melt and men's gloves IN JANUARY! Maybe it's warm in Arkansas where your procurement people are, but it's not warm in the Northwest.

Thank goodness for places like D&B and Lowe's that recognize winter is still here.

Reading...nothing. I really need to. But I decided this week that I want to do a series like the Cover Crush one, except this one would be "Cover Condemnation: the Main Reason no one Read your Book". I likely won't, because I'm not a cruel person, but there are a lot of covers out there that really don't do the book justice.

It's like with editing. Every book needs to be edited and proofed. Every book. Take the time and make the investment to find a good editor if you are not with a major firm. At the same time, take the time and make the investment to find a good cover designer. The do-it yourself look translates into how people perceive your writing. 
Your book could be the best one ever written, but if a reviewer is looking at a page of books and your cover looks like something your 2nd grader did with Powerpoint, it will get dismissed if they don't have a recommendation that it's worth reading. It's sad, but it's true.

Today...having friends over for dinner.

Quoting...“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

Feeling...So tired, but relieved that we found ice melt. Thank you Lowe's. We got some for Grandma too. We are staying in for the rest of the day and it's such a good feeling.

Planning...we have lists and tasks and things to take care of, but it's been a good business week.

Gratitude...for warmth. The cold doesn't bother me nearly as much as excessive heat does, but I am grateful for fireplaces and heated seats and sweaters, gloves and scarves.

I'm grateful for my mom.  We spent the day together yesterday, running errands doing some shopping and getting lunch. With the roads the way they've been, she didn't go out this week, so it was nice to get out and enjoy each other's company.

From my world... 

Seriously the best thing on the internet this week. I love Broadway. I love show tunes.

I love Neil Patrick Harris and I love James Corden. Together? These two are magic. This is pure fun. You haven't seen anything until you watch James Corden sing, All that Jazz from Chicago, with sexy moves and all. Brilliant. Funny. These two are golden.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Typewriter's Tale

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I learned how to type on a typewriter. I took typing classes in high school and we had both electric and manual typewriters. The first couple of college papers that I wrote were done on an electric typewriter. I love the title of this book. I love this cover image. This woman, who is sitting before a typewriter, a stack of complete papers next to her, a current sheet in the roller, waiting for those next words to coalesce into sentences and structure. What is she working on? Is this an article for a newspaper or the manuscript of the next best seller? What is the tale this typewriter can tell? 

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesindieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Have a Great Day!

This is for you. You're beautiful. Chris Evans said it, so you know it's true, because Cap doesn't lie. So have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weekend Reflections 1/7

Looking outside...it's cold, literally below freezing. We've hit negative temperatures this week. It's white because we got hit with a shedload of snow this week. So much that The Artist had 3 snow days with school being canceled, because the roads were dangerous. 

Begin rant: The roads were dangerous mostly because while our beloved city plows main roads (and some days we wonder how they choose those main roads), they do not normally plow residential roads. We have a Trailblazer with 4WD and The Doctor nearly got stuck trying to get out of the end of our driveway (which we had shoveled) and The Boy got stuck trying to come back in on Thursday. It's crazy. I get that our snow plows are working around the clock, but there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a truck drive down the road with its SHOVEL UP! Bloody hell, if you drive a truck with a shovel on the front of it, plow the damn road in front of you. Driving some streets feels like you're offroading. We haven't even tried to take the Buick out yet. So grateful for 4WD on the Trailblazer.

The city did start plowing residential neighborhoods yesterday, which was nice to hear. They got to the neighborhoods around ours, but not ours. Hmmm. Maybe they know I was ranting... 😉 I appreciated being able to run errands yesterday and have some of the main roads mostly clear. We needed more ice melt and we refilled our propane tanks and picked up a few groceries. I was out again this morning. 

My sister's neighborhood voted to dump their HOA and formed their own. They used their dues to hire someone to plow their neighborhood this week. So awesome. We need to do that. Our HOA is only good for sending snotty letters when your trash cans are left out 30 seconds after the truck leaves and if you have one dandelion in your yard. I'd like to tell them all to go to hell. End rant.

The Doctor and the boys have helped people shovel their driveways and sidewalks and have dug out cars. I have appreciated that they are so willing to help others and it's gratifying to see so many people out doing things to help their neighbors. I have seen many cars that have slid off a road and others pushing and towing to get them out. I wish we had a truck or even a 4-wheeler that we could fit with a shovel to help our neighbors and plow down our street. Goals for the future, right? 

We are due to get another storm this afternoon into Sunday afternoon. If it stays cold, we could get another 4-7 inches of snow along with freezing rain. So now the concern is possible power outages, downed power lines and flooding. 

Last night The Doctor and the boys cleared some of the snow off our roof and broke up some ice dams and cleared out a mess of icicles. We're shoveled and iced. We have blankets and batteries and propane. We've taken all the precautions we can, so now we pray and wait it out. Most of the state is much the same. Central and Eastern Idaho had temps into the negative 20s and 30s yesterday. I thought -12 was cold. Although, once you hit the negatives, it all feels much the same and it's too cold to breathe.

Church is cancelled tomorrow and we just found out that pipes burst in our chapel. Not good.

Listening...to household noises. The washing machine, one boy in the shower. One on his computer. The Doctor is on his laptop on one end of the table and I'm on the other and we talk as we work. The boys cleared out the rest of the driveway and put down ice melt. We always do that before it snows and it makes shoveling so much easier.

Loving...the beauty that the snow brings. There is just something majestic about a stark world covered in white, set against a bright blue sky. I love how the sun shimmers on the snow with sparkly diamonds winking back. 

Thinking...that I am tired. Still. Always. It's just a part of me now.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate. I think The Artist chose Applebee's for dinner tonight. 

Wearing...long denim skirt, warm socks, tan turtleneck and dark green cardigan. It all goes well with my black boots, purple fleece-lined jacket and black scarf and gloves when I go out. 

Hoping...that this storm isn't as bad as they are predicting. 

Reading...nothing yet. My goal this year is to plow through my TBR. I haven't been accepting many new books for review because I want to get through the ones I currently have. 

Today...birthday plans for The Artist this afternoon.

Quoting..."In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold."  ― Ben Aaronovitch, Broken Homes.

Feeling...Some hope. This has been a positive week. We are getting things in place for this practice. We have lists of tasks to accomplish. The Doctor has seen some patients. It's nice to have some hope again.

Planning...we have The Artist's 16th birthday this weekend. I can't believe he's this old. He's such a great kid. Today, he's spending time with a friend and then we're taking him and his friend to a Lego store and out to dinner. Tomorrow it's dinner and presents and cake with the extended family. Grandma is making Stroganoff. I make Stroganoff too, with the same recipe, but somehow, when it is made by Grandma, my family thinks it's better! I am ok with that.

Gratitude...for my electric blanket, a fireplace and central heat, blankets and fuzzy socks, hats, gloves and scarves. And my boots. I love my boots. And heated seats in my car. I love those too!

From my world... 

From the base of this tree to this point is nearly 3 feet. I will leave it to you to figure out how much snow is in my backyard! It's certainly pretty to look at though. That snow level will be much higher by tomorrow.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Seven Letters

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

Everything about this cover speaks to me. I love the vintage feel. The young woman waiting for a train. Hands clasped behind her back, but in anticipation or fear? Luggage stacked next to her. Where is she going? What does the title represent? Is it letters she sent or letters she received? What will we learn as we open the book and begin reading?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I found that I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!


The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
4/5 Stars

"Absolutely delightful. Full of memorable characters and endearing voices. You don't want it to end. It's got that quirky small-town thing down pat. There is a tone of reality, where you know that the author understands small towns. You come to love the people and you can relate to the Pickles. The camaraderie that comes when you sit around a quilting frame is unrivaled. Queenie is delightful. You want her for your best friend and Rita is a hoot. You can just picture the upheaval that she brings to small town life.

It's the first time I've read Sandra Dallas and I love her."

Well, it's a glowing review, but I remember nothing about this book!

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
1/5 Stars

"I am in the minority. It's a well crafted story with beautiful prose. She writes very descriptively.

I just didn't like the story itself and couldn't wait for it to be finished. I kept wondering what the point of the story even was. Yes, I know it's about family and life and coming of age, loss and survival and the dangerous pull of transience. It just didn't interest me.

I didn't like it, but I'm sure many others have and will."

No memory of this one.

The Monk Upstairs by Tim Farrington
1/5 Stars

"A story about a monk who leaves the order and gets married. It was ok. A quick read. I had it finished in about an hour and a half. Not bad, not great. Some insights into the catholic world of monks. It's a sequel to The Monk Downstairs which I haven't read, but don't plan to.

Can't say I recommend it."

No memory whatsoever of this book.


What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Wrap-Up

I read 18 books this year. I thought last year's 38 books was low, but this is definitely the lowest number since I started reviewing. Life hasn't been easy this year and reading for review wasn't a real priority for me.

Favorites for the year...

A Fall of Marigolds
The Martian

Promised to the Crown
Duty to the Crown

Radio Girls

Hearts Made Whole
All the Light We Cannot See

This year there was only one real disappointment. And it was a big disappointment.

Triple Love Score

I enjoyed most of what I read this year and even the book that disappointed me the most had some things I enjoyed.

I began collaborating with other bloggers on some recurring posts and so while my reviewing dropped, I've had a lot of book-related content. Posts that highlight Covers, Childhood Favorites, Forgotten Reads and Wish Lists. These collaborations have turned into cherished friendships and brought me a support group of women I adore.

Thank you for continuing to visit here at 2 Kids and Tired Books and for your comments and your follows on Facebook and Twitter. May you discover many new books in 2017!

What about you? Any favorites or not so favorites from 2016?

See what some of my fellow book bloggers have listed for their year-end favorites: A Literary Vacation, A Bookaholic Swede, The Maiden's Court, Layered Pages, Let Them Read Books.