Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten On Tuesday topic for today is 10 Things To Do While Listening to an Audiobook, and I feel like I am eminently qualified to make a list for this one. I started listening to audiobooks way back in high school, borrowing cassette tapes and then CDs from the library. I discovered Audible in 2009, and over the past seven years most of my reading has gradually become listening to audiobooks. I still read things on my Kindle occasionally and every once in a while I even look at an actual real, live dead-tree book, but it's mainly because I can multitask that I listen to audiobooks. So here's what I do while listening:

  1. Knit  - The primary reason I started listening was so I wouldn't have to choose between knitting and reading. Knitting and listening - perfect together!
  2. Walk - I can achieve those 10,000 steps much more easily if I listen while I walk.
  3. Housework - Listening makes an odious task less so.
  4. Yard work - Weeding, pruning, and mowing don't seem like drudgery if I'm engrossed in a book.
  5. Grocery shop - This is a chore I despise, but a book in my ears makes it better.
  6. Sit in the airport - Since we have to be at the airport so early to get through security and make it to the gate on time, I make sure I always have a good book on my ipod to while away the time spent waiting.
  7. Fly - Flying isn't my favorite thing, but if I'm absorbed in an audiobook then I forget all about the lack of legroom and that I'm hurtling through the atmosphere in an aluminum tube.
  8. Drive - Most of my driving is short trips around town, but if I'm embarking on a longer road trip there is always a good book plugged into the auxiliary port in the car. 
  9. Swing on the porch swing - Sometimes it's nice to sit on the porch swing and simply enjoy the sounds of the birds singing and the breeze blowing. We live on a street with plenty of traffic, so there are times that it's also nice to drown out the sounds of cars, noisy trucks, and other people's questionable taste in music. Enjoying an audiobook on the porch swing is perfect for those times.
  10. Drown out snoring - Someone I sleep with has been known to snore quite loudly; at times it's loud enough to wake me up. I've learned over the years that my earbuds and an audiobook are often enough to put me back to sleep and keep me from getting too aggravated with the snorer.

My Audible page tells me that I have 428 titles in my library (Ryan and I share the account, so they're not all mine :-) , and I've tagged almost half of my "read" books as audio on goodreads. Not every book lends itself to becoming an audiobook, but there are also many that are enriched even further by being read by an exceptional narrator. I'm looking forward to reading ToT lists today to see what else I can do while immersed in an audiobook!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekending - Bits and Pieces

I didn't do anything momentous this past weekend, but the bits and pieces added up to a fairly pleasant couple of days.

I planted some lantana. The way the flower clusters (technically umbrels) have different colored florets is beautifully fascinating to me. Now I'm wondering if I have room to plant more.

I also picked a pitiful portion of snow peas. I don't know if the weather was against us, the seeds were old, or if we angered the pea pod gods, but our pea germination was very spotty and this is all we've got to show for it. There may be a few very few more next week, but I guess some peas are better than none.

Spinach is plentiful in the garden, so I picked a big bunch and made this spinach salad. It doesn't look like my career as a food stylist and photographer will be taking off any time soon, but the salad (and accompanying dressing) is very good.

I chatted with Justin via Messenger. It's wonderful to talk with him, but it wasn't really the kind of conversation that reassures a mother. I guess I should be glad that he tells me what he's doing, even if it makes me want to yell, "BE CAREFUL AND GET AWAY FROM THOSE THINGS IMMEDIATELY!"

I hope your weekend had some interesting bits and pieces, minus rattlesnakes and tarantulas.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Strange but True

Things around here have been kind of strange this week, and here are some of the reasons why.

  • If anyone would like to drink beer in the parking lot of an old gas station that is now an EPA and NJDEP hazardous waste site, here is your chance!
  • Our wedding anniversary is June 13th and my birthday is June 15th. I had a discussion with a family member who adamantly insisted I was wrong about the dates and had them reversed. After 10 minutes, I was both amused and frustrated when it became clear that I was not going to convince this person. Maybe we'll be celebrating on different days next year. 
  • We came home from our walk on Tuesday to see guys with long ladders up on our roof. When we yelled up to ask what they were doing, they replied they were cleaning our gutters. This is something John does while I nervously hold the ladder, ready to call 911 if needed. It turns out that they had been contracted by our neighbor and had just cleaned the gutters on the wrong house. 
  • In more "You've got the wrong place, buddy" news, yesterday morning I noticed a guy with a clipboard measuring my house. When I asked him why, he said he was doing the appraisal for the bank. This was news to me, and after another 10 minute discussion, I did manage to convince him that he had the wrong house; he wanted the house next door ... the one with the house number that matched the one on his form and a FOR SALE sign in the front yard. He kept saying that his boss had told him to appraise my house, as if that bit of information would make me say, "Sure, come on in and appraise the wrong house!"
I hope your weekend includes lots of relaxation, fun, and maybe even some of the unusual, but very little of the strangeness that's been going on here!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Book Bingo 2016

I printed my Book Bingo card while on vacation, and have been making some progress. I haven't matched up books to every square, but keep telling myself that those will be easy squares to fill. I know Book Bingo is meant to broaden my reading horizons, and it does; I just have real difficulty reading something I hate, so I took a bit of license (so far) and refreshed twice before printing so I would have the coveted "Mentioned on the Gilmore Girls" square. This meant I also got the somewhat dreaded "With a mythological creature on the cover", but I'm calling Aslan on the cover of The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe mythological because I'm the boss of my card. I've also got "Thriller/Suspense", but I'll worry about that one later.

I'm currently reading The Son and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, so I may have a bingo in the next week or so. The Son is wonderful so far, just a bit long and difficult to keep track of the extensive family tree and non-linear storytelling. Only 18 more books after that for a complete cover!

If you haven't already printed one, you can get your own card here and join in on the fun. Many thanks to Mary for hosting this for the third year! Wishing everyone a wonderful summer of reading, bingos or not!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Almost ...

Since today is a little bit special, I set out with my phone to take a few photos.

I inhaled the intoxicating aroma of our honeysuckle.

Took some time to appreciate the plenitude and beauty of the roses.

Was delighted by my bleeding heart blooms, especially because I just planted them.

And also found a couple of other things to photograph.

I've been thinking of my age as "almost 60" for several years now. This is my last year of "almost" and I'm going to make the most of it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten on Tuesday topic for today is 10 Things On This Summer's Bucket List. I do have two confessions to make; first, summer is not my favorite season because around here it usually means heat and humidity, two of my least favorite things. Our old house has a whole-house attic fan, which works just fine as long as there is cool air outside for the fan to pull in to cool the house. This is not often the case in NJ in July and August. Secondly, I'm a bit of a failure at actually doing things on a bucket list. I've made lists before, but haven't been completely successful at carrying them out. Maybe I'll do better if I make a reasonable list and post it publicly.

  1. Rekindle the feeling of summer reading when I was a kid. I'm trying to do this with Book Bingo, and have spent much of my reading time on the porch. So far, so good!
  2. Plant more perennials. I planted bleeding hearts and some columbines I started from seed this spring, but I have some space in the garden flower beds for some other things.
  3. Eat more summer fruit. I love pies, crumbles, and buckles, but I'm going to make a real effort to just enjoy fruit in its natural state, not baked with sugar. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, watermelons ... yum!
  4. Find some great pasta/potato/side dish salad recipes. Dinner in the summer is very often something grilled, a pasta (or potato) salad, and a vegetable. I'm lacking for new, unique, and tasty salad side dishes, but I made this one last night and it was a winner.
  5. Eat a Creamsicle® (or two). This delicious frozen treat says summer to me. I haven't had one in years, but I think it's time to quit denying myself.
  6. Drink a Creamsicle (or two). This might need a little tweaking, but I bet I'm up to the challenge.
  7. Watch the 4th of July fireworks from the backyard. Our town's fireworks are only a block away, so viewing is fun from a chair in the backyard. No parking problems and I can also enjoy a nice glass of wine at the same time.
  8. Watch the Perseids Meteor Shower from the backyard. Same chair, with a nice mug of tea since the best viewing will be early morning Aug. 11-13.
  9. Tie-dye some shirts. John loves tie-died shirts and his birthday is in August, so this would be fun and gain me some good-wife points at the same time.
  10. Go to some of the Main Street Car Shows. Our town has car shows every other week during the summer, and all we have to do is walk a block to Main Street to take a look. Cars aren't usually my thing, but John enjoys them, and it's fun to do something together. I may put some wine in my water bottle and see if this enriches the experience. 
I'm looking forward to reading other lists and stealing an idea or two. It's time to start some summer enjoyment!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

The title pretty much says it all; besides yarn shopping, that's exactly what we did in Fort Collins. Ryan and I anxiously make lists of all the great restaurants we want to try and/or visit again, but we never seem to have enough time to eat at all of them.

We have a tradition (because we've done it three times now) of going out for a reuben as soon as Ryan picks us up from the airport, before we even go back to his house. This year we went to a new-to-me place, Avogadro's Number. I would love to have a place like this here at home -- great food, bar, and music. We knew we were in Fort Collins as we relaxed on the patio under clear blue skies and enjoyed excellent reubens, seated by the smiling snake water feature.

I love going out for breakfast, so we also made sure to go to Lucile's. Their eggs, sausage, pancakes, coffee, and biscuits are absolutely delicious, so I will definitely go back again (and again ...). Yes, that is one (very large) biscuit.

We also had to compare reubens from Choice City. They make one of the best I've ever had, but I'll have to return to Fort Collins for more taste-testing before I can proclaim the definitive winner.

My favorite dinner (aside from the amatriciana sauce Ryan made for us) was at The Moot House, an English-style pub. We had some great artichoke dip (that's English, right?) and my fish and chips were wonderful, as was my Snakebite (cider, lager, plus blackcurrant cordial).

This is only a few blocks from Ryan's house and we enjoyed it so much we went back a second time. I miss fish and chips, sitting outdoors by the fire pit, and Snakebites. We also ate at a great burger place and a churrascaria, but luckily for anyone reading this, I didn't take photos.

Along with the eating, there was also drinking. Some of it was at the New Belgium Brewery. I've been on the tour twice and Ryan has been countless times, but we made a big sacrifice and went again for John's sake. The only slight negative was that the sour room was closed (my favorite) but that was because they were blending a new Tart Lychee. I probably won't be able to get it here in the east, but Ryan has instructions to get some and save it for the next time I visit.

Our drink wasn't all alcoholic; we also drove to Boulder to visit Celestial Seasonings Tea. It's a fun tour with lots of tea to taste. I found some new ones to try and got to inhale the intense aroma in the Mint Room.

There was plenty of merriness also -- fishing, hiking, finding good rocks, and just visiting and being together. I miss Colorado, that western blue sky, good beer, good food, and Ryan!