Sunday, February 28, 2010

Regarding the Book: Lost Horizon

I recently finished reading the book, Lost Horizon, by James Hilton. I wasn’t thrilled with it but will share some interesting information about the novel.
Lost Horizon was written in 1933. It is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopian lamasery (monastery) high in the mountains of Tibet.
Two films were based on the book, one in 1937, directed by Frank Capra and one in 1973, directed by Charles Jarrott. A 1956 Broadway musical was also created from Lost Horizon.
The library copy that I read held well-worn and yellowed pages, had several stains within and was generally unpleasant to hold. I found an admirable trait of the book was its quite conservative length.
I don’t normally post negative reviews of books but for lack of meaningful blog post material, I’ve ventured onto this unfamiliar and awkward stage. I must take a moment to clarify my opinion. Lost Horizon isn't a bad book; it's just not all that great. Take note also that when I picked up this book, I had just closed The Book Thief !
I’ll leave you to decide if you want to poke your nose in James Hilton’s novel or sniff out something more delightful.
P.S. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've read this book or seen the movie.

Can You Tell?

**********Lon and I both like candles. Can you tell?
The flame, the scent and the peace that a lit candle provides are treats we can't resist, especially during the cold winter months. Consequently, every room in our home has frequently enjoyed candles.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gulping and Grimacing

I start my day with a large glass of water spiked with between 1 and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Recently, an internet search enlightened me that I must use "organic" apple cider vinegar if I want to reap all of the promised benefits.
I found a website, Puritan's Pride, that offers free shipping so I ordered 3 bottles of this nasty stuff. Yes, indeed, it's extremely nasty. It isn't easy to get 12 ounces of water and vinegar down my gullet first thing in the morning without plenty of facial grimaces. Although, I mustn't complain; facial muscle exercises are an added bonus!
You may be wondering why I don't follow the label instructions recommending 1 to 2 tsps in 8 ounces of water. I haven't figured that out myself. I suspect it's because I'm surmising that if 1 to 2 tsps is good then 1 to 2 tbsps is terrific. Besides that, I can't convince myself to take the drink 3 times daily; I'd rather get my daily dose down in a single session of gulps and grimaces.
I know I'm odd. You know I'm odd. Now you know I'm even odder than you've been thinking. What can I say? I'll do most anything if I'm convinced it's good for me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exactly What I Needed

**************I'm so proud of myself. Today, I indulged myself with a period of relaxation after my workout at NorthPointe.
Normally, I look longingly at all the comfy looking furniture in the main lobby as I enter and depart the facility.
This morning, I tossed the book I'm reading into my exercise tote bag before I grabbed it and hurried out the door to work. I had meagre hopes that I might reward myself with some down time in the lobby after exercising today. Honestly, I doubted that at that point in my day, I'd actually take the time to sit and read, but figured if I had my book with me, it just might happen.
I do, I do, I do believe in miracles!
At 3:00 this afternoon, after leaving the locker room, instead of taking the door outside into the cold, I sauntered to the chair closest to the fireplace and settled in, as if I hadn't a care in the world and not a thing that needed doing. As I escaped in Lost Horizon, and savored the quiet moments in that spacious and beautiful space, I realized that I WAS doing exactly what I needed most.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

You Can't Trust A Moose

My son, Jared, gave me this wine bottle holder for Christmas. I think the whimsical moose (I named him Jake) is hilarious and, besides that, he performs a worthwhile function. That is, until recently.

For nearly two months, Jake held my spare bottle of wine spectacularly. Day and night, he did what he was made to do without so much as a snort. He was totally devoted to my bottle.
Yesterday, as I passed through the kitchen on my way out, Jake burped. I froze in my tracks while my heart rate skyrocketed. I slowly turned my head and looked over my shoulder. The bottle was empty.

The moral of the story is: You can't trust a moose not to snort.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Romeo and Juliet? Hamlet? As You Like It?

I'd like to dabble in some of Shakespeare's works. What would you recommend to someone who's read very little of his huge collection of writing?

I'd like to start out with something that's fairly easy to understand. Any and all assistance will be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two Left Feet and a Cigarette

************I finally swallowed my pride and participated in a CardioSculpt Rotation (step-aerobics) class last Saturday at NorthPointe. I've only taken one or two step-aerobics classes in my entire life and I've felt like a fool every time.

My most recent venture was no exception. I was apprehensive as I drove to the facility, imagining myself tripping or falling down in the class. I got there early so I could claim a position at the back of the room. I've observed the classes which are held in the 2,000 square foot Group Exercise Studio (pictured above) from afar so I knew where the instructors always stand and thus where I should locate myself in order to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Today, Wednesday, is the first day since the class that I haven't felt soreness in my calves. In other words, I did have a good workout, although, I was quite frustrated during the one-hour class. Everyone, except for one other newbie and me, knew the routine and was really getting into the steps and moves. I was often going in the opposite direction from the rest of the group or just standing there, too confused to go left, right, forward OR back.

I'll do it again this coming Saturday, although I'm sure I'll feel like a fool again. I know it'll take me a long, long time to learn the steps and moves used in the routine. To complicate things further, I understand that two or three different instructors take turns leading the class and every instructor has her own techniques.

In spite of it all, I did enjoy the comraderie and encouragement my new class acquaintances offered me. Recently, I've been feeling a little lonely at times since I do the majority of my exercising on my own (except for yoga class) since I joined NorthPointe in November.

I definitely worked up a sweat as I attempted step-aerobics and I'll happily continue to trade my pride for that proof of effort.
As you may have noticed in the top photo, we all had a smoke before class started. (In this crazy world, that's almost believable, isn't it!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cute Things

*********I love cute things.
When I realized I absolutely HAD to have a new bag of some sort for transporting my makeup when I go to NorthPointe, I started my search. It didn't take me long to come upon exactly what I need.

FOSSIL, INC., the world-famous designer and manufacturer, makes cosmetic cases in a wide selection of sizes and fabric patterns. Lo and behold, I tracked down a collection of them at the Elder-Beerman store in the Beloit Mall.
Initially, I was looking for a larger bag than is available in this line, but I had immediately fallen in love at first sight with the collection and couldn't walk away. I gathered my thoughts, did some quick thinking and acted appropriately; I bought two of the small cosmetic totes. Without pencil and paper, I had calculated: 1 small bag + 1 small bag= 1 large bag. (I've always been exceptionally good at math).
I couldn't be more tickled with my purchases. I must point out that the outer fabric of my new cosmetic cases is very durable and also that the pattern and bright colors I selected please me every time I see, touch and open them.

Of course, a more conservative consumer might argue that a heavy-duty zip lock bag would work as well, but come on now; it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
I can't fight it. I don't want to fight it. I won't fight it. The simple truth is simply this: I get a BIG kick out of cute, LITTLE things!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

My mother was born on Valentine's Day in 1919. For as long as I can remember, we enjoyed Valentine's Day by celebrating her birthday.

Now that Mom's not with us (she died in 2007), I don't know what to do with this day. Perhaps, the best ***************thing I can possibly do today is exactly what I've been doing for the past two years on February 14th. I'll spend the day reviving the wonderful and innumerable memories I have of my mother.

Fortunately for me, my husband treats me with tender loving care every day of the year. I don't have to wait for Valentine's Day to receive assurance of his feelings.

(Several years ago, I gave Mom the angel figurine pictured above. Now it sits on my shelf, a concrete symbol of my feelings for her).

If you're up for a fabulous Valentine's Day Ball go to: Lia always throws the most wonderful parties.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ladybug Whisperer

I've never a dull moment, even when I'm alone in my reading/writing/blogging room. When I'm doing my favorite things and I'm certain that I'll have no distractions whatsoever for the remainder of the evening, a lady shows up. She doesn't ask if she can join me, in fact, she doesn't even inform me that she's in the vicinity.

It's not as upsetting and startling as it may sound, you see, for the lady is a bug. In all honesty, I welcome my cute little ladybug friend. I'm surprised she's alive and well in the middle of the winter season in Wisconsin.
She likes my laptop as you can see and she loves to plop down on my book when I'm reclined in my chair, reading. I always pause and watch her travel up, down or across the page. She doesn't care much for novels and doesn't stay long among the many words. Soon, the light over my shoulder catches her eye and she, quite clumsily and abruptly, lifts off and disappears under the lampshade.

Do you recall this nursery rhyme?

Ladybug! Ladybug!
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire
And your children all gone.

All except one,
And that's little Ann,
For she crept under
The frying pan.

Perhaps that's what draws the ladybug to the light. The next time she heads up, up and away, toward the light bulb, I'll whisper to her that she needed worry. It's not a fire.

Monday, February 8, 2010


On Friday afternoon, I listened to the final CD of the audio book, The Age of Innocence. I'm going to miss the delight I've experienced while driving in my truck marveling at the many voices of the narrator, Dick Hill. I was often tempted to bring the audio novel in the house with me yet I resisted which is fortunate since by listening only en route I stretched the pleasure out over several days.

Now, of course, I want to view the movie but was unable to find it at the video stores nearby. I found a used copy on and ordered it on Saturday. I've heard that watching the film adaptation is equally as splendid as reading or listening to Jane Austen's novel and I can barely wait for it to arrive.

I must admit I was agog at the conclusion of the book. My mind reeled as I tried to come to terms with the final words of the novel. After struggling to accept the conclusion and failing, I searched the internet for a summary of the book. Here I finally found the peace I was seeking in the explanation I found. I hate to admit that the density of my brain required a third party to help me comprehend the main character's final action, but so be it.

As long as I'm baring my soul, I must add that I wasn't totally surprised at my inability to "get it." On a daily basis, I find myself "wondering why" regarding countless happenings in my own life. "Wondering Why" and I are well-acquainted. Perhaps I should once again go to my computer. Who knows what I'd find if I entered "unraveling my perplexity" in the search engines!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Not Just Any Old Bag!

***********A patient at the dental office where I work brought this cute jewelry bag with her to her appointment a few weeks ago. Shelly told me that she had made it and wondered if I was interested in purchasing one. I fell in love with the fabric on the outside and its cute shape. She opened it up and showed me all of the pockets she'd sewn into the inside of the bag.

I babbled on and on in astonishment at all of the work that Shelly had put into her creation. Before I knew it, she went to her car and returned with a carryall full of more of her handiwork. She had sewn each bag using a variety of fabrics and as she pulled them out and set them before me each one was cuter than the one before.

I couldn't resist owning a handmade "batik jewelry bag" so consequently I had to make the difficult decision of which particular combination of fabrics I liked the most. I love polka dots and thus I made my choice based on that. The colors make me happy so I found a place in the bedroom where I can make use of this necklace/earring holder and enjoy its cuteness every day.
I keep some of my favorite necklaces inside the bag for everyday use. When we go on our vacation in March, I plan to store my earrings in the pockets and necklaces on the bottom. Then, I'll tuck it between layers of clothes so all the pieces stay put.

Shelly sells her batik jewelry bags for $25 which is a steal when you consider all of the work that goes into selecting and cutting the many fabric pieces and sewing them together, adding the drawstring, and marketing them. If you'd like to have one of your own, you can call Shelly at 608-921-5805.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Embrace her. She's here.

**************February arrived without an invitation. January had barely stepped out when the new girl boldly strolled in.

I initially turned my back on this uninvited guest. Later that day, I reached out to my 2010 date book. I held it in close to me as I struggled to cope with a new month's invasion of my personal time and space. I slowly turned the pages that separated January from February.

My fingers skid to a stop. A multi-colored page abruptly snared me with its vibrant patches of turquoise, gold and sea blue. Angles, lines and shapes hovered above the words of C. C. Russ. I quieted and read all nine words. "Enjoy each moment as it blossoms deep within you."

I re-accessed my feelings. Within my date book, I found day passes and rewards surely awaiting me if only I would begin to welcome the second month of this still-young year.

February is here to stay. Accustomed to her annual visits, she brought plenty to keep her busy during her four-week stay.

Are you ready for the second of twelve guests who'll come and go before your 2010 date book finally closes?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Drowning in Words

I'm more interested in reading lately than I am in writing. Presently, I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's awesome. Besides reading that, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I'm listening to the audiobook, Age of Innocence, when I'm driving. It's excellent as well.

My friend, Lynn, who lives near Boston, has a father who's a writer. He recently finished his latest book, World War II Memories: The Beginning. Last week, he brought me a copy, thus, I'm reading it as well.

I've been wondering why my mind has been malfunctioning lately. As I write this post for my blog this afternoon, a light has come on in my head, a rarity recently.

Could my disordered mind be a natural result of my attempt to live in three books at one time? Wait a minute; that's not all; I almost forgot. I've also watched part 1 and 2 of 3 of the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma on PBS on the past two Sunday evenings. Oh. I'm also working my way through the Bible this year on a schedule provided by Gateway Bible available online.

Thank goodness I figured out the reason for my recent mental failings. I was afraid I was just plain losing my mind.
Which book or books do you have your nose in?