Wednesday, February 20, 2013

If you would indulge me -- My 2012 Reading List...

2012 Reading List

Let me begin by saying that I was very disappointed with myself in the amount of reading I accomplished…WAY short of my goal for the year. I take this to mean that I watch WAY too much TV…And well, there is that little problem I have with involuntary napping – but that falls more in the category of an excuse.

My goal was to read 2 books per month, and even though I counted Atlas Shrugged as 3 books, because it has 3 parts and its LOOOOONNNGGG, I still fell far short of my goal.


I’m going to do much better this year. Shorter books will be my main strategy…I kid! My main strategy is to read instead of surfing the TV for something to watch…and since I have seen most of the NCIS episodes ever created (thank you for the re-runs USA Network) I’ll have less motivation to even turn the TV on!

Anyway, here is my list for 2012…

1.   Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Free-Thinking Dog by Ted Kerasote

Great story of a man and his dog with a lot of information about how dogs think.

2.    Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy  

Love Maeve Binchy! Another lovely story about a village helping a single dad mind Frankie.

3.    Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

Non-fiction that reads like a story. Much background info on Booth’s plans and ideology. I was not aware of the simultaneous attack on Seward at his home. Interesting questions about Stanton’s knowledge or participation in the plot.

4.    Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Dream Job by Jon Acuff

Bought this for my kids to read as they negotiate a career path in a down economy, but ended up reading and enjoying all it has to say about pursuing your dreams. Valuable to me too!

5.    The Fourth Corner: Highlights from the Early Northwest by Lelah Jackson Edson

My mom rescued this book from the free pile of her church library. In it, I found history about the county I had not read before, especially regarding the earliest settling of Bellingham, and the Indian tribes.

6.    Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in America by Bill Bryson

Love Bryson’s writing which starts with one topic and freely rabbit trails to many related and intriguing asides. This book tells the origins of many North American English words, and their changes over the years.

7,8,9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I believe I’ve said more than enough about this one already!

10.  Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg

Dramatic action…always enjoy Rosenberg’s novels, but have to admit that their proximity to reality can be scary!

11.  The Lone Jack by Michael Impero

More local history…Incredible efforts were made to create a profitable gold mine out of the Lone Jack, but it was mostly for naught. The commitment to such an arduous project was astounding to me. This mine is of interest to me because Randy’s great, great-grandfather was one of the original owners.

12. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I enjoy Ms. Rubin’s blog, and also the book. For someone who is accustomed to reading self-improvement books from a Christian perspective, it was enlightening to read one that wasn’t. Many good and thought –provoking ideas and evaluations. Ms. Rubin is SO different than I, but her type A pursuit of making life happier was a good study for my haphazard style.

13. Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis

Interesting accounts of international aspects of the current financial crises. Mostly, it comes down to this: people are greedy. I did learn more than that…For instance, part of Greece’s problems are a result of long-standing tradition that citizens will not pay their taxes…No receipts are given, no sales can be proved. It’s almost the national sport, finding new ways to avoid paying taxes.

14. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Very interesting! Archaeological research that shows the Americas were inhabited by very complex cultures long before Columbus arrived. There is evidence of civilizations that were contemporary of what we consider the beginnings of civilization in the Middle East. I’m not one for taking archaeological findings too seriously, ever since I read an excerpt of Motel of the Mysteries by David McAuley, a spoof of archaeologists interpretations of a dig that finds a 50’s motel buried under their city. But I have to admit, that what I read in 1491 is very compelling. Most interesting, the Indian as the “noble savage” is a myth.

15. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Excellent book for understanding the introverts in your life. I will re-read this one.


So that’s the list. Thanks for indulging me in my review. It’s probably kind of boring, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll see something you might want to read. I recommend them all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Photos of San Diego...

View from our hotel on Harbor Island...Looking toward Downtown...
Looking the other direction to the harbor, and the airport beyond...
Across the street...You can see Coronado Island, its bridge, and the naval base provided lots of entertainment...Coast Guard training too...
Driving around....
Hard to see, but all those cars were waiting in line to cross the border into Mexico. Later, we found out that they were searching each car in the hunt for Christopher Dorner, so maybe it was more congested than usual...There were a LOT of cars!
We also drove north, up the coast as far as Encinitas...Can't remember where I took this, but oh! I love to see the beaches!
Old Town San Diego...
Wells Fargo Museum...Close inspection of this stagecoach yielded a new-found gratitude for air travel...

Seeley stable...What a neat old barn!

Heritage Park in Old Town...These old Victorians are going to be wonderful to tour when they finish restoring the insides...The outsides were ornate and wonderful!

An incredible antique in the Seeley Stable exhibit...The carvings on this dresser were unbelievable!
San Diego Zoo...
The little guy, halfway up the rocks was my favorite at the zoo...A 9 day old Takin (a weird moosey, cow-y, goat-y critter) just learning to climb the rocks...He reminded me of the calves of my youthful farm days...adorable!

Next favorite babies -- you can hardly see them next to the building -- the capybaras! I think the adults are cute, but the babies are adorable!

Always love the elephants...They had so many of them too.

This cheetah was raised with a puppy, who is now a full grown dog and they are constant companions, can't live without each other. Just after I snapped this shot, I turned and quickly went away to snap a picture of this...

...and the cheetah jumped up and followed me along his fence! And then whenever I moved around his enclosure, he followed me...Hmmm...I suggested to him that he would probably prefer much leaner meat -- not to mention, the fence was going to be a pretty big obstacle...and he gave up.
As for the rhino butt...MASSIVE...and armored! And so close!

Giraffes...what can I say...I've always wanted one...
There she is! Can't get all of her in the picture...

View from the Air Boss' seat...did you know the flight deck is over 4 acres in size?

View from the Bridge...

Had to shoot the duck...If my head hadn't been hurting so badly, I would have tried harder to do it right!

The Island...
We could have spent more than just an afternoon here...As it was, I had to sit for a while because my illness was making me dizzy, and I can't remember much of what the tour guide said, which pains me. I bought a book so I can catch up on what I missed...There is just so much to see on this ship, and a lot of history to absorb. Our Navy is amazing! I admire the men and women who live on these floating cities...It's no picnic.
I should have taken more pictures, particularly of the Mexican Restaurant, but here are a few of the treats we enjoyed...
Devine Pastabilities...There's a 3 meat lasagna under all that cheese...

The damage we did at Inn 'n Out...first time for those burgers!

Lobster Dinner Special...A whole lobster! Most had never had to...uh...take their lobster apart...New experiences, and I hear it was delicious...I couldn't taste much by this time and didn't go for it.

A fast food Mexican many options for good Mexican food around San Diego.
I had these tacos, sitting outside in the sun, gazing over at Hotel Del Coronado...
It was a lovely way to end our visit to San Diego...

...and despite this being my main souvenir, I did get to enjoy a fair bit of fun there.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I've been AWOL...

…but with good reason. After my painting project, I had a week or so to get my arms functional again, and then it was time to pack for a short trip to San Diego…our annual jaunt with our friends from the Whatcom Farmer’s Co-op Board.

We flew early in the day on Saturday, the 9th, so had that day to explore as well as Sunday. Meetings began for The Farmers on Monday.

It was lovely to be in sunshine, even if it temperatures could only qualify as spring-like – upper 50’s, low 60’s. As typical for our trips, it got nice and warm(pool weather) just after we left. I’m not sure what it is about our group, but if you want to know where temps are going to be below normal for a week in February, find out where we are going for the Board Retreat. This is just a warning for the locals at our destination, because, if the sun is shining, we are pretty easy to please temperature-wise. The poor locals were wearing gloves, hats, and I actually saw a few bulky wool sweaters being sported. Brrrr…it’s 55 degrees!!

That’s pretty much June for us…or anytime all summer…or winter for that matter.

Anyway, the sun was nice, and I’m glad I got all that Vitamin D the natural way because on Tuesday I started feeling like maybe, just maybe, I was getting a cold…By Tuesday night, there was no doubt.

Oh the miseries! I was wishing I still had a soft spot on my head to ease the pressure that was building in it! I really, really wanted to get to my own bed, but there were 3 airports between me and it when we left on Thursday afternoon. God graciously allowed me to feel a bit better that day, but by the time I got to my dear bed, I felt like I had a hangover from a bender.

Though, honestly, I’ve never experienced a bender or a hangover, so I really don’t know. But if it IS like what I was experiencing, I have a hard time imagining any party time that would be worth it…

Since Friday, I’ve been drinking my fluids, and resting, and waiting for the symptoms to go away, which they have not. I do not get colds very often, so apparently, when I do get one it’s a doozer to make up for the minor ones I missed.

On the upside, I can now read and watch TV without feeling like I am getting cramps in my eyeballs, so we are making progress.

The common cold: God’s reminder of the little things that make life good every day.

Tomorrow: some pictures of my San Diego favorites.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Before and After

Well, this is ALMOST least I remembered to take a picture before the paper was all removed.

This was taken during those blissful moments when I thought it was going to be SO EASY!

This was when I knew it was going to be so NOT easy...
You can see that only the very top layer of the border came off.
I wetted and washed and scrubbed the walls with TSP, and still couldn't get all the glue off.
Finally, I decided to try an HGTV trick -- a mixture of hot water and fabric softener sprayed on the wall. I had tried this to get the paper off, but didn't need it when the paper came off so easily. Fortunately, it works well on getting the glue and paper remnants off as well.
I only wish I hadn't waited until I was on the last section of wall to try it...
I primed the walls first, after scrubbing off most of any primer that had been there before, and then it was FUN TIME -- putting on the color.
Please note the professional looking work-place...It sure looks like amatuer hour to me.

Two shots of the finished product...In this photo it looks a little more gray than in real life, and the shot below, it looks too periwinkle, almost lavendar.

The real life color is just what I wanted -- and soon (meaning sometime before 2014) I will do the rest of the utility which has all the same wallpaper, and glue. I will steel myself for the task ahead, and not expect it to be a swift accomplishment. Oh! The maple cabinets will look great with this color.
But first, I have to let my hands, arms and shoulders heal...They haven't taken too kindly to the workout they got...My hands keep falling asleep, my shoulder has a buzzy nerve, and my elbows ache...
Don't worry, though. I can still hold a fork, so I'm alright.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (