Friday, December 31, 2010

Photo of the Day - What a Rapid 2010!

River Trip 2010, Salmon River, Idaho

Well, this was quite a rapid year, filled with all kinds of ups and downs. I recently took stock, by reading back through all the 2010 blog posts. A lot happened, more than I could have anticipated at this point in 2009.

All in all, aside from my summer of medical mysteries (seriously, no more ground brown cow!) leading to the postponement of the MidWest Road Trip, I wouldn't change much. Sure, there were things I didn't get to do, projects not completed, books not read, and people I could have been touch with more ... but wow.

Look at some of what happened, in no particular order or level of importance:

Welcome Nathan!
North Carolina
River/Road Trip 2010
doctor's visits, and more visits
parental relocation
three trips out West
Cape Cod
the New York Botanical Garden
recipes tested
relationships explored and examined
brand spanking new computer for FREEEE
new social media outreaching
and not to forget
guest posts by The Shushing Librarian

It's been quite a year of changes, and I think I'm getting better at navigating the current. Friends and family are invaluable life preservers -- and a blog is a wonderful way to document the journey.

Hopefully 2011 won't be so choppy so I can do more than wave at you while I float on by,
but if you look carefully,
you'll see
I'm actually grinning with glee!

Happy New Year,
xo Auntie Nettie

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Funeral Program for Ollie J - Dec. 30, 2004

A Service in Loving Memory of Ollie J

Funeral Service
11:00 a.m. Thursday, December 30, 2004
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
With Internment to follow in local family plot with husband

Prayers and Remarks by:
Cousins, Son-in-Law, Sister, Nephews-in-Laws, Nephews, Bishops, Former Bishops
Pallbearers: Nephews, Great-Nephews, Cousins

Ollie J
January 20, 1915 to December 27, 2004

A native of Wayne County (NC), Ollie was the daughter of the late Charlie and Bertha and was the widow of Jasper (Jack). She was a home-maker and a farm wife. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She is survived by her daughter Mary and her husband L.C. (Max) of Connecticut; her grandchildren, [Auntie Nettie] of New York; Jed (Max) and his wife Kelli of Nevada; and J and his wife Christina of Utah; her sisters, Shirley, Ruby and Dorothy of Logan, Utah, and Martha of Ogden, Utah, and her brother, Henry of Hampstead, NC.

She was preceded in death by a sister Betty and a brother, Hyrum.

“God saw that you were getting tired
and a cure was not to be.
So He put His loving arms around you
And whispered, “Come with me.”
With tearful eyes we watched you suffer.
We saw you fade away,
Although we loved you dearly,
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hand were put to rest,
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.”

God looked around his garden
And found an empty space.
He then looked down upon this eath
And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
He always take the best.

He knew that you were suffering,
He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never,
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
The hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered, “Peace by thine.”
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you did not go along.
For a part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.

While Grandma Ollie had long had her funeral planned, I think even she realized that funerals are really for the living and that sometimes plans have to change. Grandmary made a few important changes to the service. At one point in my life, when I was a more accomplished pianist, the plan was that I was to perform something. (I'm sorry. It's hard enough to expect people to speak coherently at a loved one's funeral, but to perform?) As years passed and I stopped performing, I knew that this would be less likely, but I lived in fear that I would still have to participate in other ways. I knew that I would most likely be the only grandchild at the funeral, having to represent my brothers and their spouses, so I was also petrified that I would have to speak. Not only would this have been odd, but not quite fair. Grandma Ollie acted in loco grandparentis to many of her siblings' grandchildren, and, in many ways, was closer to them.

Fortunately, I was not called upon to speak in favor of people who knew her better and longer, and in different aspects of her life. Aunt Ruby represented her siblings. Nephews, cousins, and great-nephews acted as clergy and pallbearers. And then Grumpa Max spoke for Mom and the grandchildren. Songs were sung. Tears were shed. Comfort was shared.

The funeral was followed by a simple graveside service, with dedicatory prayers, flowers, and family. Ollie was buried in the family plot next to Grandpa Jack, near her parents, siblings, and very near the old family homestead. Respects were give to us, but I slipped away for a moment or two to clean off Grandpa Jack's footstone and to make sure Aunt Rachel's plot was clean.

North Carolina winters are raw and cold, so it was wonderful to return to church where the good Southern church ladies had prepared comfort food to warm and sooth the soul. Forget what you've eaten in Southern buffets, or what's being passed off in other places, true "soul food" is food prepared and served in tribute and in service of one who has also toiled, served, and been loved.

Post Script:

When I started the Grandma Recipes and Letters project earlier this year, I had a sense of the timing of these entries. I had remembered losing Grandma Roa at Easter and Grandma Ollie at Christmas. The more I really look at the dates, and think about histories, connections, and my link in the cosmic chains, the more I appreciate and begin to understand Roa, Ollie, and our places in the time line.

If I had started January 2010 with the letters, this would have been a logical subject and year conclusion. However, there are a few more months of letters yet to post, and in a way, I'm glad. I've found that I'm not ready to stop writing about these women quite yet. I have more recipes to test, through them more relationships with aunts and cousins to cultivate and grow, more branches of both sides of the family tree to climb through, and, by extension, more to learn about myself.

As ever, by placing all of this information up on the blog, I hope these entries can provide the nieces and nephews with a glimpse of their Auntie Nettie, her past, and give them an appreciation of their remarkable relatives.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obituary for Ollie J - Dec. 29, 2004

Adapted from the obit that appeared on December 29, 2004 in the local newspaper.

Ollie [J], 89, formerly of [The Farm], died Monday at Britthaven Nursing Home.

The funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which she was a member, with Bishop Rex Howard presiding. Burial will be in the Thomas Ruffin Aycock Cemetery in Nahunta.

Mrs. J was a native of Wayne County and was the daughter of the late Charlie and Bertha. A homemaker and farm wife, she was the widow of Jasper.

Her survivors include one daughter, Mary, and her husband, Max, of Conn.; three grandchildren, [Auntie Nettie] of New York, Jed of Nevada, and J of St. George, Utah; four sisters, Shirley, Ruby, and Dorothy of Logan, Utah, and Martha of Ogden, Utah; and one brother, Henry of Hampstead.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Betty, and a brother, Hyrum.

The family will receive friends today from 6 until 8 p.m. at Seymour Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Kitty Askins Hospice Center, 2402 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, N.C., 27534.

Photo of the Day - Self Serve

Vineyard Crawl, Hudson Valley, New York, December 2009
presented without comment or context

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Photo of the Day - Riggins Reverie

Nettie's Dream Cottage?
River Trip, Riggins, Idaho, August 2010
isn't it cute? all Victorian and tucked away in a secret garden, peeking through the sunlight.
so what if it's the medical center? i know it has river views.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Affected Anniversaries

Happy Anniversary Grandmary and Grumpa Max!
December 27th is not only Grandmary and Grumpa Max's anniversary, but it is also the anniversary of Grandma Ollie J's passing.

As has previously been alluded to in earlier posts, the last years of Ollie's life were impacted by the results of serious accident that she was in in 199X. Coming that close to death at that time, her extended family considered the last few years with her to be a gift.

Ollie's health never truly recovered. In addition to her usual susceptibility to colds and bronchitis, Ollie's physical capabilities were further diminished by age, ailments, and lack of oxygen saturation which affected her ability to live independently. Over the years, Grandmary had been making more frequent trips from CT to move her mother from Aunt Dorothy's house in UT, then back to NC to move her to The Trailer, and then to a rehabilitation center and then to a series of care facilities. The later moves were brought on because Ollie had been getting more and more confused and falling more frequently. Sadly, we were beginning to realize that it was only a matter of time until a final move.

The year had already seen one milestone with Grandma Roa passing over Easter weekend. As Thanksgiving and Christmas 2004 approached, there was an impending sense that something was in the wind.

To be completely morbid, I hadn't gone on any vacation for the previous few years without a set of funeral/church-appropriate clothing tucked into my suitcase. Both grandmothers' declines were slow, but everyone in the family knew that dramatic turns for the worse could/would happen at any moment. My employers knew of the situations so they weren't completely unaware that I might have to leave town and/or change plans at a moment's notice.

Christmas Break 2004 saw me heading up to the folks' house in CT for the holiday rather than traveling westward that year. Jed and Kelli stayed in Nevada as Drew was due in a few weeks and Jed had to work. For the first time since their honeymoon, J and Christina came in to town, to share in New England holiday. The usual rites and rituals of the season saw us running errands, talking to friends and neighbors, calling the family around the country, and opening presents. No one really made extensive plans away from the home base, beyond a very cold trip to Boston. We all hunkered in to be together until it was time to take J and Christina back to the airport the day after Christmas.

It was a fun, yet intense visit. Overlying all of the merriment, however, was a sense of sadness. Just before we kids came to town, Grandmary had just gotten back from a difficult NC trip, where she had to move Ollie yet again, and had to consult with doctors and caretakers, and she was tired and stressed about the situation.

As we all caught our breath in the days after Christmas, it was as if we were waiting for something to happen.

December 27, 2004 was Grandmary and Grumpa Max's 37th anniversary. Even if their children didn't make a big deal out of their anniversary, they would usually at least go out for a movie or dinner. That year, I don't even think they went out for a meal. Rental movies were secured, and an evening at home was on the schedule.

When the phone rang late in the evening, it was as if we knew that that was going to be "the call." The sound on the television was muted as Grandmary got up to take the call.

And then we got the news.

Ollie had lived a good long life, and at last, she had slipped away -- on her terms and on her time frame.

Perhaps, on some level, Ollie was aware of the date. Perhaps she knew that in time, Mom would be fine -- that she had a strong partner in my father, that their marriage was standing the tests of time. Perhaps she knew that her grandchildren were continuing the family legacy into the next generations, with promises of more to come. Who knows what visions she was shown, what words were whispered between the veil to persuade her that it was time to come home -- that it was okay to go ... but suddenly that afternoon she was gone from our lives with as little fuss as she could have desired.

Tempering our immediate grief was our relief that her earthly struggles were at an end. That her pain was relieved, and her independence and health restored. We were joyful in knowing that she was reuniting with those family members that preceded her, some of those that had come to her in the aftermath of the accident and some, like her mother, who had visited her more recently.

Considering how close it was to her anniversary, I would like to think that Grandpa Jack was there to welcome her too, bringing the grin back to her face.

The rest of the evening of the 27th was a blur. With the long wait over, the next steps of the journey had to be started. Those of us in the North quickly packed suitcases and cars for the long night's drive from CT to NC. In the South, cousins, nephews, and nieces went to be with Ollie at the facility until the funeral home could come and begin their process. By family consensus, it was agreed that the Western brothers and wives would stay home, as they had said their farewells years earlier, and neither work, nor budgets could accommodate a holiday trip. Ollie's able-bodied Utah siblings coordinated their schedules to come honor their eldest sister.

Night passed on to day. Grandmary and Grumpa Max took turns driving south while I dozed on and off in the backseat. Highways and thoughts passed by in a blur. Remembrances. What ifs. Different questions never posed or answered. So many things went flashing past, just like the lights from other night travelers, all mixing with tender thoughts, gratitude, and grief.

We arrived in NC as the next business day began and it felt like we went straight to the funeral home.

Grandma was nothing if not practical so arrangements had long been organized and documented, sparing us the stress of anticipating her desires. Some rituals still needed to be handled, however, like the writing of an obituary, contacting the local papers, selecting floral arrangements, gathering family from the airport, and the inevitable rounds of phone calls. Grandmary may have been the only child and heir, but Ollie was the matriarch of an extensive clan, and a community member of long-standing. Since the Farm House was being rented out, courtesy calls to friends and family members needed to be organized, and the rock and talks scheduled.

Formal viewing hours saw kin gathering from across the South and the West, reuniting family and friends, often necessitating an oral recitation of family genealogies, explanations of degrees of cousinship, and the reuniting with family from Grandpa Jack's side of the family. I'm not so sure Ollie would have appreciated all the flowers and fuss, but everyone gathered in a testament to her, her quiet fortitude, her community service, and her family leadership.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Recipes from Grandmary -- Wedding Breakfast

It is fitting that this be posted today, the day before my parents’ 43rd wedding anniversary. This Wedding Breakfast casserole was prepared by my Aunt Ruby as part of my parents’ wedding celebrations, and has since been used for many a family gathering, most recently cooked by Grandmary for Nathan’s blessing back in March and at the family gathering in Logan in August.

It can be prepared and refrigerated overnight so the ingredients come together. Take it out and bake in the morning to have a wedding day brunch. It’s good reheated in the microwave, or eaten at room temperature like a quiche.

Wedding Breakfast

Butter a 9 x 13 pan and then line with:

4 slices of bread (denser grain breads might sop up the wet mixture more – use enough to cover bottom of pan)
1 cup of grated cheese (add taco mixes, or jalapeno jack for some bite)
1 pound of sausage links
OR 1 pound ham, sliced and diced
OR 1 pound bulk sausage, rendered (cooked and drained), and diced

Mix the following in a separate container and then pour over the above:
8-10 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cup of milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
A package of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
4 green onions, diced
½ green pepper, diced
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
1 dash of Accent*

Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 ½ hours

Accent is a seasoning also called MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). It is an optional seasoning and can very easily be left out of recipes.

Use a substitution of seasonings like red chili flakes, garlic and/or onion salts, black pepper, and/or fresh or dried herbs to flavor the casserole.

I like spice, so would use spicy sausage, chili flakes, and a dash of Tabasco in the wet mix to give it a kick.

Photo of the Day - Cache Valley

Cache Valley, Logan, Utah, August 2010
presented with these comments:
do you know how hard it is to photograph stuff from the backseat of a car when it's whipping by at 65 miles an hour?
did you realize how much water there was in Cache Valley? also, those mountains are further away than you realize.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Adventures of The Shushing Librarian

'Twas last year before Christmas, and all through the land
Auntie Nettie was being Ms. Grinchy Grinch of Bah Humbug, Grinchland.

She asked me, S.L., to give her a gift,
to help her find a way to give her holiday spirits a lift.
(Okay, look. I'm not a poet. I don't even like more poetry, iambic pentameter or free verse. Let me just tell this story my way, okay, Omniscient Narrator?)

As we all know, the holiday season can pass in a blur. With all the preparations, early over-commercialization, and faux-ness, not everyone has a ball. Reflecting upon this, I tried to find some carolers to help get Auntie Nettie in the right mood. I have quite the can-do attitude, you see.
Nettie's a little old-fashioned, so I thought that these folks might succeed with their versions of The Holly and the Ivy or Greensleeves, over Rudolf or Jingle Bells.
It almost worked, until this elf came by and ruined the mood. He hit us both in the head. It was not one of my more crowning moments.
I decided I better get some advice on how to get Auntie Nettie back in the proper holiday frame of mind. I hopped on an accommodating reindeer and asked for a lift to see Santa Claus.
I thought I had bearded St. Nick in his lair, but this guy wasn't the real deal. He spent the time trying to mop up my connections to the book trade. I "hairied" out of there in a hurry.
My journey took me all over the world. Every jolly fellow in red I met got the same question: "Are you the real Santa?"
Finally, somewhere in the Far Northeast, this bespectacled-greybeard whispered secret instructions to me on how to find the real Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I had to promise not to reveal my source.

Although it may appear that my lips are sealed, I've spent a year thinking about this. I'm an information professional. It is my duty to share and disseminate.First. You must believe.

Every Santa's Helper, Elf, Hanukkah Harry, Papa Noel, Father Christmas, Kris Kwanzaa, Saint Nicholas, Bell Ringer, or "Santa Claus" agrees. You can't find the real Santa Claus or the real Christmas Spirit if you don't believe.
Second. Things must be sweet.

You. Your attitude. Your gifts. Things you make. Things you eat. Even your houses must be sweet, or filled with "the sweet."
That's part of the reason that milk and cookies are left out on Christmas Eve. It's a signal that you believe and that Santa and the Spirit are welcomed in your home. (I'm told that carrots and hay are acceptable cultural/regional substitutions because of the natural sugars in the make-up of those offerings.)
Third, even if you are naughty, know that you are getting a gift.

Coal may not be what you want. But you are getting SOMETHING, so be grateful.

Now. I believe. I like to think I'm sweet, and I'm grateful for any and everything that I get. I figured all of this would give me an express pass to the North Pole.

Just to be on the safe side, though, I closed my eyes, and whispered "I believe Tinkerbell. I believe."

Then I rang a bell or two so Clarence could get his wings.

THEN I wished upon a star that I could find the Clauses and get advice to help Auntie Nettie's holiday spirit.

Just as I began to despair, I felt an Arctic breeze whisper by, faintly smelling of candy canes, gingerbread, and eggnog. With a "Ho Ho Ho" and "Merry Christmas, Shushy," Mr. and Mrs. Claus welcomed me to their workshop. I have to say, I revelled in their warm embrace. I was going to explain my mission, but they told me they already knew why I was there. They too were worried about Auntie's attitude in recent years, but told me they understood why she was so upset.

For they were too. They despaired that the purpose and joy of the holidays was being forgotten, buried in stress, expectations, wrapping paper, gift cards, debt, and that by starting the hype so early people were being innudated, overwhelmed, and desensitized.

They suggested a trip to a simpler time, where in a lowly inn, surrounded by family, humble animals, and only a few select visitors, the Christ Child was born. Hark, The Herald Angels were Singing, while other hosts of Angels, (we) have Heard on High. The Little Drummer Boy played his song for Him, Far, Far, Away on Judea's Plain. And Oh, Holy Night was sung beautifully, in the Little Town of Bethlehem.
I thanked them so much, blessed by their advice and wisdom, and travelled home to Auntie Nettie; "home" to our growing family, celebrating together, in quiet ways, albeit spiced with childish enthusiasm and presents, all tempered by a sense of overwhelming gratitude to our Older Brother.

So this is our advice and wish for you this Christmas Day.

Get far away from the maddening crowd.

Find a quiet place. Reflect. Refresh. Relax.

And then ... Be with your loved ones.

But above all else, Remember the true reason for this special season. Merry Christmas,

Auntie Nettie and The Shushing Librarian

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth.
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth.

~Joseph Mohr

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Auntie Nettie's Merchandise 2010 Finale

It is time for the 2010 end of the year wrap-up. I was flipping through the project book, trying to document last minute gifts to the neighbors, Toys for Tots, gifts for Grandmary's friends, and realized I hadn't put up the last of the photos.

Here's the last of the 2010 projects and my notes about UFOs to be completed next year:

Roly Poly Piggy
(as of 12/10, no longer available)
#150: Roly Poly Pony
(as of 8/2012, no longer available, to be a Toy Society toy)
#152: Sunset Eclipse Scarf
(Not available, gifted)
#151 & #155: Roly Poly Panda
(#155 is not available)
#153: Fuzzy Roly Poly Panda
(no photo, like #45, see here, no longer available)
#154 & #159: Roly Poly Elephant
(neither are available)
#156: Roly Poly Black Bear
(as of 12/13 no longer available, Toys for Tots)#157: Roly Poly Grey Bear (as of 12/10 no longer available)
#158: Funky Monkey Kitty
(as of 11/2012, no longer available, donated to Toys for Tots)
#160: Creamy Mini Owl (as of 07/11, no longer available)#161: Brown Mini Owl (no longer available, gifted)
#162: Prototype Black Loop scarf (no photo) (as of 10/2011, no longer available)

UnFinishedObjects: three (3) afghans - the same amount I came into 2010 with. Luckily, it's three different blankies and one (1) polar bear that never got pieced together.
In 2010, I still didn't manage to break even, or to get the on-line presence up and running, but at least there are baby steps with the logo, having a computer at home, and diversifying product.
15 years of "hooking," and I'm still maintaining my amateur status in the Yarncraft Olympics.

Photo of the Day - Snow Caps

Vineyard Crawl, Hudson Valley, NY, December 2009
presented without comment or context

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letters from Ollie J - December 2000

I don't actually know when in December this was sent, but I'm putting it here since there are so many mentions of Christmas. I'm sure Grandma spent part of the day with one set of the cousins or the other, on the phone with us and her sisters, or reading and sleeping.

December [2000]

The Trailer
Pikeville, NC

Dear Granddaughter –

Good morning. Oh how slow one can get. I received the plant and potted it now watch it grow sitting on the table in sun.

Thanks so much. Wish could give you and your brothers a big hug each.

I feal [sic] better but not all that strong for work. Do little things. Am making quilts now slowly – people have give[sic] me scraps. Pretty colors and prints.

Hope you have a very nice Christmas.

Carol’s daughter Leatha is in Canada on a mission. Has one daughter marrid[sic] and to a nice man in service. They live in Texas. All’s going well so far.

What are your plans for Christmas?

I have no plans.

Hope what you do will be plesant. [sic]

God bless you.



Photo of the Day - Airport Angst

Las Vegas Airport, Pick up Area, Just about anytime I've been
presented with this comment:
yeah, I feel soooooooo safe lurking down here in the twilight.
which way out of here?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary Ollie J and Jack!

My maternal grandparents were married 69 years ago today.
I always doubted there was "fancy" wedding photo of my grandparents, like you'd find of many brides of the late 1930s/'4os, because Grandma wasn't the frou-frou bride type, nor was there money for it. Plus, I just realized the importance of the wedding date. It's only three weeks after Pearl Harbor, 1941; America has just really gotten into the war. Grandpa Jack would go on to serve in the Army. (Also, it took a long time for Grandpa Jack to persuade Great-grandma Bertha, but I still have to get the whole story from the great-aunties. Apparently, there were/might have been some reservations about Jack from the parental types, he not being Mormon for one, older for another, and "poor to boot." Knowing my grandmother, the opposition just made her more determined to get Jack. Some stories are timeless.)

I have no picture of my maternal grandparents, together, in my possession. Grandpa Jack died of emphysema-related issues when I was six, and Grandma Ollie didn't often speak about him to us through all the long years of her widowhood. The few photos she had of him in his prime were precious and she didn't let them go. When she passed, they were packed up with cartons and cartons of genealogy and records. Now that she is "retired" and "has room in the genealogy room of the new house," hopefully my mother will decide to deal with her inheritance and share a photo or two.

Until then, I have this.

Grandma's younger sister Betty kept a photo album, which somehow came in the position of one of her nephews, via her brother Hyrum's side of the family. When we were visiting Mom's cousins in N.C., one of them pulled it out and I started flipping through.

Imagine my delight when read the caption on this: My family taken the day my oldest sister Ollie & Jack were married.

That's Grandma Ollie J grinning like a Cheshire Cat in the front row, next to Grandpa Jack, who is next to Great-grandma Bertha. All of the siblings range behind them (and Grandmary will have to help me with the IDs) from l-r: Ruby, Dorothy, Hyrum, Shirley, Henry, Martha, and Betty

Oh, how I miss that grin.

Happy Anniversary you two!

Photo of the Day - Fantasical Flights

New York Botanical Garden Train Show, Bronx, NY, November 2010
presented with this comment:
if only all airports were this ecologically beautiful, maybe travelers would be more pleasant.

Auntie Nettie Reads A LOT 2010 - 4th Quarter

If you are just finding the blog, please note that this list was maintained mainly so that I could remember what I've read this year. The record does not fully represent me or all of my interests, so don't judge my reading habits. My interests change quite frequently. Also, as a general rule, I don't do book recommendations or link to major retailers or publishers. Except for the ARCs listed below [thanks major publishers!], most of these books came from MY library or a public library.

Go forth, use your library card and READ!

October 2010
A Desirable Residence: A Novel by Madeleine Wickham (didn't finish)
Maybe this Time: A Novel by Jennifer Cruise
Just One Taste: A Recipe for Love Novel (No. 3) by Louisa Edwards
Blameless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel (No. 3) by Gail Carriger
If Books Could Kill: A Bibliophile Mystery (No. 2) by Kate Carlisle
The Cookbook Collector: A Novel by Allegra Goodman
Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte

and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams
Naked Heat (Nikki Heat #2) by Richard Castle
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen
Tongues of Serpents: A Novel of Temeraire (No. 6) by Naomi Novik
Chasing Lilacs: A Novel by Carla Stewart
Knit in Comfort: Novel by Isabel Sharpe
Small Change by Sheila Roberts
Dead Cat Bounce: A Novel by Norman Green (Didn't finish/wrong book)
A Glimpse of Evil (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 8) by Victoria Laurie
Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller by Candace Sams
Hard to Hold by Julie Leto

November 2010
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo
Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, 1) by Patricia Briggs
Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega, 2) by Patricia Briggs
How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly: A Novel by Connie May Fowler (didn't finish)
Deep Dish: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews
The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers:

An Unconventional Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir by Elna Baker* *(parental units should not read)
The Island: A Novel
by Elin Hilerbrand
Happy Ever After (Bridal Quartet No. 4) by Nora Roberts
Foundation (A Novel of Valdemar, Collegium Chronicles, Book 1) by Mercedes Lackey
Intrigues (A Novel of Valdemar, Collegium Chronicles, Book 2) by Mercedes Lackey
Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey
This Must Be the Place: A Novel by Kate Racculia

December 2010
Dragongirl (Pern) by Todd McCaffrey
2 books by Carolyn Haines - couldn't finish before due date
The Pursuit of Happiness: A Novel by Douglas Kennedy (galley)
The Ask: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte (didn't/couldn't finish)
365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik (ARC)
Completed slacked off and reread some romance novels from my own collection - too much work, not enough sleep
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzgerald (ARC reread)
Crescendo (Book 2) by Becca Fitzgerald
The Recipe Club: A Novel about Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

Previous reading lists may be found here.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Photo of the Day - Snowbunnies

Vineyard Crawl, Hudson Valley, NY, December 2009
presented with this comment:
what is a teetotalling person to do on a vineyard crawl? be the designated driver and the designated documentarian!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recipes from Aunt Ruby -- Candi(e)d Nuts

Here's another gem from Aunt Ruby's recipe archives. I like how you can be candid about how much you like candied nuts.

For this test, I used the much cheaper peanut.

Candid (Candied) Walnuts

Put in saucepan.
1 1/2 cup sugar (white)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
(I actually added the cinnamon to this step -- and the apartment smelled lusciously of cinnamon and honey for a few days.)

Boil until firm ball (use candy therm. with this marking, over 200 degrees)

Take from fire (stove) and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon vinegar (white).

Stir until creamy. (Color if desired) (no coloring for this test, don't know what creamy was supposed to be, but there were no lumps?)

Add 2 cups nuts and stir until covered.

Spoon out on wax paper.

When cool break apart.

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional?)

As the nuts cooled, the excess liquids turned creamy in some places, but was still sticky in others. This is an old-fashioned flavor. I enjoyed it, but I think it may be an acquired taste. After 2 days in one office, I tried another. It disappeared there. I assume it got eaten.

Maybe if you use the walnuts, the extra liquid covers the nuts? Next time, we'll test with pecans or walnuts.

Photo of the Day - Pressing Matters

Vineyard Crawl, Hudson Valley, NY, December 2009
presented without comment or context