Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm a reading junkie.

One thing I enjoy about my job is perusing all the books that come in and out throughout the day. Often I'll snag a book I've never heard of, but piques my interest (usually after checking amazon for reviews). Last Thursday night I'd just finished up the book I'd been reading and was waiting on others to be returned. The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale stopped in my grasp, the intriguing black cover with splashes of golds and reds and greens catching my eye. Tucked inside my bag, the book traveled home with me and I started to read.

Set in England during the late 1700s, the book tells the story of Agnes Trussel (don't you love the last name?). Finding herself pregnant (not exactly raped, but not exactly consenting either...she seemed more naive than anything), she takes on unexpected escape after stealing some money. In London, she searches for a place to work and lands in a pyrotechnic workshop. She learns to grind and mix chemicals and assemble a variety of fireworks. Her master is a solemn, middle-aged man seeking to make the best fireworks, but also seeking the elusive combinations of chemicals to create color. They strike up a companionable working relationship and Agnes eagerly laps up all the knowledge her master will share with her. The 350-pages cover the 9 months of Agnes's pregnancy and her desperate plans to make herself an acceptable woman in a culture where unwed pregnancy is scorned. I thought I knew how the story would turn out; I didn't. It's an interesting, beautiful story. I admit to not following all the chemical combinations discussed, but I did ponder the amazing amount research that went into writing the book.

Now, here's why I'm such a reading junkie...Last night we turned the light out at 10 and sighed inwardly because I really wanted to keep reading, I saw the conclusion of the story within my grasp. I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep because our room was so stuffy. When I moved out to the couch, I actually thought about turning on the light and reading; instead I went back to sleep. At 8, I cracked open the book and started reading. 9:15 rolled around too quickly and it was on to showering and breakfasting and off to work. I snatched 15 minutes of reading on my break, but wanted more. When I got off work at 3 I called Jeremy (he had today off) and told him I thought I'd stop at Starbucks and get an iced tea and read. I literally couldn't wait until I got home. I knew I would get caught up in supper and such and I had to finish the book first, so I could concentrate on other matters. I bought iced tea and settled into a soft chair outside of Starbucks and read until I closed the cover. Now I could get on with my grocery shopping and the rest of the what the evening would require of me. I was peaceful once again.

I'm hopeless in the face of a good story.

Friday, August 27, 2010


The days, while very sunny, have cooled down significantly. I imagine a burst of heat is still to come, but fall is definitely in the air. I've always loved fall (as a little girl, this love may have originated with both my birthday being in October, as well as fall being my dad's favorite season). The crisp mornings and evenings. The smell of nature bedding down for the winter. The sound of leaves crunching under foot. Soups and stews bountiful on the supper table. Apples and pumpkins and leaves coloring the world. And doesn't the word autumn not only look awesome and fallish written out, but also roll off the tongue in a way that sounds perfectly like what it's describing?

I think I'm subconciously switching to thinking about fall cooking. This week I filled my crock-pot with a spicy white chicken chili. When I came home from work I popped some cornbread in the oven. Then realizing it is indeed still August and summer, I threw together a salad topped with tomatoes from my garden and fresh mozzarella. It was pretty much a perfect supper.

As much as I love fall, I'm always a little sad that it leads into winter, because of that I'm not such a fan. Oh well, the winter makes me love spring all the more! I guess that's the beauty of the four seasons God created.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This morning I attended my last yoga class. I'm quite sorry to see it end. I so much enjoyed my mornings there. The other women in the class have all been attending these yoga classes for some time (one for 5 years!) and they started a tradition of all going out for breakfast after the last class. So, we all headed out to a local breakfast place for some eggs and pancakes. Definitely a strange little bunch (male yoga teacher, 3 50/60-something women, and my friend and me).

I wish I could continue the morning classes, but unfortunately my work schedule keeps me from going twice a week. However, Jeremy and I are going to attend a class together on Monday evenings starting at the end of September. And the best part (besides that it's insanely inexpensive and with this same teacher) is that it's going to be across the street from us. We can walk there!

I think yoga's going to be around in my life for the long-haul. If you ever have the chance to take a class like I did, do it. It's so worth it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Owning Books

When I don't know what else to write about, books are my fallback subject. I'm sure you've probably noticed this already. :)

Jeremy and I own a ridiculous amount of books. We both love to read and most nights you'll find us lying side-by-side in bed with books held in hand, reading. We go to bed early and we read. It's very peaceful.

While I love being surrounded by books, I do feel like we need to have a limit, particuarly because we are apartment dwellers. Frequently I peruse my shelves to see if there are any books I can part with. I don't want to own books just for the sake of ownership, once upon a time I think I felt like that. I'd say about two-thirds of my books, I've read. I have a large collection of children's books and a moderate collection of chapter books I loved when I was a kid. Throughout college I collected many books for classes, some I've parted with, others not. While working at the bookstore, I accrued so many other books; some I've read and passed on, others I haven't gotten to yet. As much as I love my books, I want to be deliberate in what I own.

So, this is my question for you, if you're a lover of books/reading...What is your criteria for shelf-worthy books?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Staff Picks

There is a display island at my library and each month it offers a variety of books and media resources based on a given theme. This month, is staff picks. One of the reference librarians took each of our photos with a favorite book and then she taped them around the island where we then picked books to display by the picture. The librarian told me, "Watch your face." It took me a moment to figure out she was referring to my photo and the fact that I needed to restock "my face" with additional books when my picks were checked out. I've enjoyed this and am happy to report that 3 weeks in, 8 books I've selected have been checked out. This might not seem like such a big deal, but I don't necessarily read main-stream books, so I enjoy seeing some of my choices making the rounds.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbury
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Love Soup by Anna Thomas
How to Read Like a Writer by Francine Prose
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

Friday, August 20, 2010


Just after 10 last night, Jeremy and I headed to bed to read for a bit before sleep. Jeremy was a few steps ahead of me and as I headed down the hallway I inhaled the overpowering smell of garlic. In the bedroom, even stronger. The vent apparently carrying cooking smells up from downstairs, like it was a strong wind. Jeremy looked at me and said, "I don't think I can sleep in here." He went to the couch. I settled in to read (Romancing Miss Bronte) and noticed a broccoli smell mixing with the garlic bread smell. Thankfully the smell faded significantly before I turned out the light to sleep, but my stomach did growl a little in the process. I saw visions of spaghetti and garlic bread, a meal I haven't eaten in months, I wanted a plate of it right then!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week. I wake up at a reasonable, but slightly later than normal time (7:30ish) and start my morning slowly before yoga from 9-10. Once I'm back from yoga, I pack Jeremy's lunch and then we head off for an hour long coffee date before Jeremy goes to work at noon. As I don't work until 5 on Thursdays, I spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry and cleaning (or sometimes it's finishing up a good book or watching a movie...I just like for you all to think I keep a perfectly clean home and don't in fact spend so much time entertaining myself.:).

Hope your Thursday started off as pleasantly as mine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pet Peeve

The misuse of loose for lose.
As in: I hope we don't loose this game.

I see this mistake with frequency. I'm not as obsessed with it as Lynn Truss is with the misuse of the apostrophe (see Eats, Shoots & Leaves) ; however, I do cringe every time I read a sentence containing the misuse of loose. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My morning

This morning I headed off to yoga. The sessions this week stretched me a lot! Working on twisting shows me how much flexibility I don't have. :) But, I'm enjoying the class and feel like I'm learning.

Upon my return, Jeremy and I headed off to a coffee shop downtown for cups of coffee (obviously!) and conversation before he worked at noon. We spent a pleasant hour or so there. Just kitty-corner from us was a man, the most bird-like human being I've ever seen. Sitting straight backed with long neck extended. His nose prominent and beak-shaped. As he focused intently on his computer screen, his mouth stretched into a sort of close-mouth smile and his eyes narrowed to tiny slits. Occasionally he'd surface from the screen and turn his neck to observe a passing person outside, or someone walking by the cafe, his beady eyes widening a bit and blinking as he followed their movement until his neck turned and honed back in on his computer. Never did his posture falter. It was excellent.

So, we're enjoying ourselves, me in an over-stuffed leather chair, Jeremy in a leather love seat next to me. And a woman, (eating an ice cream cone at 11:30 in the morning I might add) walks deliberately over to us and sits directly next to Jeremy. Is this as odd and invasive as Jeremy and I felt it was? It sort of ruined our moment, so we extricated ourselves promptly and went for refills of coffee.

On to the next phase of the day: ironing, washing dishes, doing laundry.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I never really learned to enjoy Shakespeare until I took a class in college. Once immersed in his language and times, I found my interest and enjoyment grow. And I found I understood so much more of what the plays had to offer when actively involved in studying them. It's been five years since that class and that steady diet of Shakespeare.

Last night Jeremy and I took in a free performance of The Taming of the Shrew at a nearby park, put on by actors from several nearby universities. It was fun to get out and do something different. I packed along a picnic supper (frittata, roasted potatoes, blueberry scones, fresh blueberries and peaches) and we set up our chairs and settled in for the play. Unfortunately the acoustics made it nearly impossible to hear the actors unless they were facing forward. Since it was Shakespeare, this it made it doubly hard to follow what was going on. Still, it was fun to see a play as it's been a long time for me.

Here's to new experiences in this city we're still learning to appreciate!
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