Archives for posts with tag: evening page

A few weeks back I went with only one bag, ready to fill it with orphan library books. It was that time of year again when the library takes stock, unloading its shelves of books that will find happy, new homes. I’ve perused Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project in the past, but didn’t immediately jump to action.

When I saw a beat up copy of the book staring out at me, I thought now seems the right time to dive in, figure out some more simple pleasure that I can add to my list and find new perspective in the familiar. There was a “Damage Noted” sticker on this one: “ragged, readable.” I taped up the front and back cover to reinforce it to get more use out of it before it starts to fall apart. I found some other books; I could’ve taken more bags, but I made a deal with myself that one bag was enough. I did also end up carrying a few books under my arms.

I’ve been dipping in and out of books. At one point I was going to pick up, in book form, where I left off in the audio version. I didn’t recognize anything, then I realized it was the wrong book and felt better. I sometimes worry that I’ll start losing track and cross plots and characters amongst the books I’m juggling. I’m usually pretty good about keeping it all separate. It’s challenging though, in the sense that I yearn to get back to one book, then another pulls me in, and that other one over there is saying, ‘read me, read me.’ All these books are vying for my attention.

Sometimes I know right away if a book and are will get a long really well; other times, I need to keep going a little longer to see if we’re a good fit. And still other times, I will feel satisfied right where I’ve stopped–forcing a new ending because another book is calling.

One book I almost gave up on is Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook. I’m so glad I didn’t. Month’s ago I started reading it, then put it aside. I had also downloaded the audio and started listening to it, then back to reading it–then perhaps it was being in one of the small bookstores looking through the tables of recommended books, and just maybe it was the woman nearby, also looking, searching, whom looked to me and said I loved this book, have you read it. I looked and because it was the hard cover, I didn’t immediately recognize it, then I said, “well, I started it, but haven’t finished it yet. I do believe it was her nudge that brought me back to the audio version. A sweet love story, that talking about, is making me want to go back for a visit.

One book that I recently downloaded is A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers. It’s different, in the way it’s organized through words–through the words the protagonist is learning, sprinkled with Chinese sayings. It has intrigued me and I think I’m in for the long haul. I want to see where this goes, how the language and thought process develops, how it ends.

Traveling through books is one of my favorite pastimes and also reading about peoples lives. I don’t always know whose lives will pull me in, wanting to read more, wanting to get to know the person more, read (hear about their experiences).

A couple of these that have recently come to my attention are Take Off Your Shoes: One Man’s Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back by Ben Fender. I am looking forward to traveling alongside Mr. Fender and his family. I’ve read up until the point where the transition begins and am happily awaiting getting back to the journey. The writing is clean and already I feel like I’m just beginning to know his family.

Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying Yes to Living by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. How could I not be inspired by a 90 year old woman, who is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and decides to say yes to life , join her son and daughter-in-law on an adventure on wheels, living out the time she has left in what may possibly be her last hurrah.

I came across these books from the daily BookBub email that I signed up for. I have found out about many great deals from them. It’s great!

http://www.bookbub.com

I came across the book, The Novel Cure while I was looking for another book in the library shelves. I like the concept of being prescribed a book for what ails you. I also like the idea of being introduced to books that I may not come across or some that I’ve read to see what the ailment was. A fun one to flip through.

Here I sit, writing in my journal, one of my tippity-top forms of happiness and one of which I’ve been depriving myself from enjoying.

Here I sit feeling the cold on my arms,
feeling my muscles tense with the chill.
One last sip from my teacup,
minty freshness perks my senses.
I hear the television in the background,
the aroma of someone’s hearty dinner wafting in the air,
happiness found in the tap tap tap of fingers on the keyboard,
as thoughts connect with words connect with the page,
making the day feel alright.

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As the day comes to an end and time for sleep is near, I think about the day, about the books, changes, obstacles–I think about an image that I want to put here and this one comes to mind. I saw it on one of my walking breaks, right there on the sidewalk, just as it’s seen here. I always love finding smiley faces and hearts. It’s like they wait for me to find them. 

When I see this image, I think of peace and love and send these feelings out into the world because we need more of both. 

Thursday proved to be an emotional day or I should say, the end of the day culminated in one much needed release.

It was about the desk, letting go, attachment, faith in humanity; and it was not really about the desk at all.

“I’ll be right back, I just need to pull my car up.” I walked out of the Goodwill store with a bounce in my step, a large smile across my face. I needed this lift in my spirit. I put my bag of Goodwill finds on the front seat, pushed down the back seats and laid out the sheet that I purchased to transport my new desk.

I walked into the store, the smile from my face now a downward crescent, the two customer service men that had carried my desk to the front, were gone. “Welcome to Goodwill, can I help you find anything.” The door greeter stood there with a smile.

“My desk! It was just here!” Tears starting welling up, my voice became strained, and then I couldn’t hold it in; I was sobbing and asked what happened to my desk, explaining that I had just gone to get my car to pick it up.

“A man just took it. He said he was your husband and was taking it home to you to see if it was what you wanted.”

I looked at the men in disbelief. “But, I’m here alone. I don’t understand. Someone took my desk!” I’m speaking through sobs, tears pouring out of my eyes. I just keep repeating, “My desk. I just want the desk.”

Finally, I give in to the situation and tell them I’ll be right back. I need to move my car back and that I’ll get the receipt for a refund.

I yell to no one in particular, “what is wrong with humanity! Why would someone do this!” I’m shaky and my driving is not steady.

By the time I come back, one of the customer service men comes outside to meet me; he says he thinks there’s been a misunderstanding. I listen. He thinks that the man took the wrong desk.

The woman that rang up my purchase explained that there was a woman that had put a desk on hold and her husband was supposed to pick it up. She thought there was a phone number on the call log. She said she could refund me and call me later. I asked if she could call right then, that I really didn’t want to come back, and I still wanted the desk.

I stood up front near the cash registers in a corner, feeling exhausted, with puffy eyes, runny nose. I was just thankful that I hadn’t yelled; I didn’t swear; I didn’t say anything mean.

The customer service woman came back with good news. The wife was calling the husband about the mixup to tell him to turnaround to take back the wrong desk and get the right desk.

On this day it had been a week since my uncle passed away. For the past four month’s I would understand how difficult the caregiving process is, especially with such an independent spirit, as my dear uncle. We knew that his health was compromised, that his 87 year-old body had caught up to him, his heart was weak, that somehow, his days were growing closer.

As difficult as it was, I am grateful that I was there during his last stage of life, that I was able to help him speak to the right people in the hospital to make his pain go away and administer morphine, so that he could have his wish for the end of the chapter of his life and to do so with dignity and comfort. There are so many details that play out in my mind. But what stands out is how important it was to be there in the hospital during the last days of his life and to just be there for him in general. There were many quick decisions, quick actions in order to make sure he was without pain, and making sure the family was there so that he would be able to say goodby before the morphine slowed his heart rate to a point where he woudln’t be able to respond or open his eyes.

As difficult as this experience–this journey was, I have gained more from it than words could possibly convey.

I am honored that I was able to participate in my uncle’s care, that although we had our moments, because we always did when we didn’t agree, I felt that I contributed to his well-being. I know that each of us interacted with my uncle in different ways. I saw different sides of my brother’s–not always good; and I’m glad to have seen a side of myself that I knew was there, but that I had not had the opportunity to see in this particular juncture of life.

Goodnight, dear Uncle. I know that you are in peace now.

Earth Laughs in Flowers.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I came across this quote on my daily calendar of inspiration, and it really made sense to me. Right now it seems there is so much tragedy going on all around. I mean, in a way, this is always the case, but it feels as though it’s been especially heavy.

Questions, confusion, disbelief, swirl around in my mind. How can we, as human beings, these evolved creatures, not find a better way…why? is at the forefront of my mind.

I continue to maintain a sense of positivity, and I try to imagine that one day, humans may find a way to co-exist without harming themselves and others.

earth smiles upon us
in a rainbow of colors–
encouragement to keep looking up

It’s not often I’m up this late. In my mind it’s still yesterday and not already today. I have felt hungry most of the day, and I could not stand it any longer, I gave into the pancake craving and whipped some up. I use the boxed mix: just add water and a little love, a pat of butter, syrup–a perfect way to find comfort and satisfy the craving for something warm and sweet. I finally realized the trick to a perfect first pancake a few weeks ago. Very little oil on the pan, barley there.

**

This morning, when I was down near the lower shelf where the books are, I saw the book that always makes me smile: Never Bite When a Growl Will Do, Photographs by Michael Nastasi. I thought, I should take this into my co-worker and show him since he’s a dog lover. I packed the book into my bag and set off to start the day.

Once settled in, I went into his office and told him that I had something to show him that would surely bring smiles. He sounded less chipper than usual and said he was having a bad day with bad news. “What happened?” I asked. He went on to tell me of some things that were going on. When he was done, he asked what it was I had. I showed him the book and said I thought he’d enjoy it and to take his time, no rush.

At first he was just looking at the pictures of the dogs. “Are you not reading the quotes?”

“No, I guess I’m not.”

“Be sure you do. They go together with the photos.”

**

As small as this gesture was, I was happy to bring a little brightness to the day by sharing. He ended up ordering his own copy on Amazon.

Never Bite When a Growl Will Do will especially be appreciated by anyone that had or has a canine in their life. The quotes that accompany the wonderfully captured photos are a perfect compliment.

Last night I searched the internet for quiche recipes looking for something meatless. I was pleasantly surprised at how this one turned out. I used a pre-made, frozen pie crust. There used to be choices; this time, my only choice was a Marie Callender’s two pack in a tin. Lack of choice, in this case, worked out really well for me.

Before I got started, on went the wireless headphones, and I continued listening to my audio book, which I have been enjoying so much, I cleaned all the dishes (I’ve been bad about this lately), and I cleaned a pile of papers that have been sitting on the floor waiting. I was surprised to see that in the past few days, with cooking and cleaning, I am already halfway through this 11 hour audio.

When I started preparing the meal, I realized that I had forgotten the zucchini. Darn. I didn’t use the tomatoes, added extra mushrooms. Passed on the curry powder and used only cheddar cheese. I added some of the cheddar cheese to the eggs, then added a generous amount to the top before baking. Since I was using two pie plates, I ended up not having enough egg mixture, so I beat 4 more eggs together and added a splash of milk.

I was very happy with the end result. I made a couple of quiches before, but this one had the right amount of egg and milk, so that the custard was not runny.

Tomorrow, hubby and I will find out how the quiche does for lunch leftovers. I’m getting hungry thinking about it and hope it’s just as tasty!

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222641/vegetarian-quiche/

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel like I’m getting my cooking groove back. It’s slow, but there is progress. Late this morning I parboiled a large potato, shredded a zucchini, and chopped up some green onion. I cooked this in some oil until the potatoes started to brown, added salt, garlic salt, pepper, a dab of butter, then beat six eggs because that’s what I had left, heated the tortillas and voila.

I love zucchini, yet I wouldn’t have considered preparing it this way if not for my mother-in-law. She said that she read somewhere that Alfred Hitchcock liked shredded zucchini cooked with a little butter–something like that; she thought that sounded good and loves zucchini too, so tried an egg variation. I did a quick search about this tidbit; couldn’t find anything. She would have learned about it long ago. Well, the story and association stuck with me.

Breakfast was simple and delicious.

The great thing about tacos is that the variations are endless.

 I took a break from my audible subscription for a few months, but tonight while I was preparing dinner–a big pot of chicken soup with veggies and rice–I wanted to also be reading a book, so while the chicken was cooking away, I went to the audible website, renewed my subscription, browsed through some possibilities, listened to a few samples, and settled on The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee, narrated by Julia Whelan.

In some ways I ask myself: am I having trouble being in the moment itself, washing and chopping the vegetables, giving the soup a stir, washing dishes. This thought didn’t actually occur to me until dinner was complete–the eating and the cooking part–and I found myself putting fresh sheets on the bed, but first I reached for my wireless headphones, same as when I was cooking, and I returned to the story while I did this task.

Even though I had the story on, I felt as though I was able to be more thoughtful with making up the bed. I wasn’t rushing. I patiently pulled the duvet cover down over the down comforter, having to go back and forth to each side of the bed, pulling down, down, down, until it was snuggled inside. Then I fastened the ends. It felt like I was very present in the moment, with the story in the background–a story that ties into my dinner preparations and involves a woman with the sense of knowing that is expressed through her food.

Yesterday I spent the whole day reading. It was a delight. It felt good to have the day free without the interruptions of a regular day. School begins again on Monday. I’ll only be taking one class, but I know that because that will be my focus, pleasure reading or any kind of reading will have to slow down again.

I’ve gotten on a bit of a YA steak lately. I listened to an audio: Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg. It was an enjoyable story with quirky characters, particularly Willow Chance, who is also highly intelligent, and a foster child whose parents have died; she is left with an odd set of circumstances and people that help her put her life back together.

While I was reading an issue of Bookmarks magazine, I learned of a movie that will be coming to theaters soon. It’s based on the book by Katherine Paterson called The Great Gilly Hopkins. I know that I want to see the movie, and in this case, I wanted to read the book first. I was glad to be introduced to this book that is meant for the middle-school reader. I couldn’t put the book down. It was a quick read. Gilly Hopkins has been in and out of the foster care system; she is feisty and sometimes a downright mean young lady. The ending is bitter-sweet. I can’t wait to see how the movie version of this book plays out.

I was in the mood for something by Kate DiCamillo, so I chose The Tiger Rising. This was a beautiful short piece about a boy, a girl, a tiger–a story about love and acceptance. It touched my heart.

And the book that I spent yesterday reading was A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern. There are a handful of quotes of praise on the back cover of this book and I would say that one stands out and made me want to start reading it: “This is a book to read, savor, and pass on and on until it has gone around the world twice.” –Ron Koertge, author of Stoner & Spaz. A Step Toward Falling is worth the time.

For non-YA fiction, I am pecking away at Neil Gaiman’s: Tirgger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances. I love that in the introduction he gives a short bit about how each story came about. I am enjoying the stories so far.

I also finished The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer. I’m not usually drawn to time travel novels, but for some reason on the day I was browsing the library bookshelves, this one caught my attention. I enjoyed every page of this story that was split between three periods of time in New York. I could not put it down.

I continue to find new books to add to my list.

I recently broke down and purchased the Kindle Paperwhite to add to my collection of Kindles. I now have three and each serves its purpose. The Paperwhite has made it much faster to search for books both in the Kindle Store and in my own collection; and now it’s much easier to read where there is low light. It’s also refreshing to be able to see the book covers. I have accumulated far too many books on my second Kindle and was feeling overwhelmed and not being able to get to them all. I’m trying not to clutter this Kindle with too much at one time.

Here we are in 2016, and even though it will take me a long time to finish it because of other things, I have begun reading The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. It is so easy to get lost in his beautiful language and story telling. The way that he creates images that stick in my mind never ceases to amaze me.

Through laughter and
tears, the cool Aquarian
moon-
detached, he sends chills
through every limb.