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Monday, July 26, 2021

More 'walking' pictures, a new book group visit, and possible volunteering opportunities...

Hello wonderful book friends!  I'm glad to stop back around here and share some additional pictures from my morning walks.  I'll also tell you about a Talking Texas Book Group visit and share about possible volunteering opportunities.  How are all of you?  Well, I hope and also hopefully enjoying your summer.  We're continuing to settle in our new location, check items off our 'to-do' lists, and will be taking another trip to New Mexico next week for my husband to play in a golf tournament.  Someday, we will move forward on our house renovation lists, but since we are being patient and waiting our turn we decided to enjoy another little vacation.

I was able to stop by the local library and talk with the director and adult services librarians regarding volunteering.  I filled out my paperwork and will start my volunteer work there in September.  A picture of that library is above and it's so light and bright inside.  The Guadalupe River flows through Kerrville and the library is located by the river with larger windows and seating areas to be able to see the trees and water and park area.  It's just lovely.




I also decided to attend one of this library's two book groups to see what they might be like.  There is a 'regular' book group that reads fiction/non-fiction, etc. and I will also try to attend that one in August or September.  The second group is called 'Talking Texas' Book Group and they read and discuss books featuring Texas history, topics important to Texas residents, and/or Central Texas locations.  This group meets at the History Center, which is right across the parking lot from the library.  I wasn't able to tour the History Center quite yet, but I very much enjoyed the book group (even though I hadn't read the book, Woman Hollering Creek, by Sandra Cisneros).  Above, you can see the front of the History Center and also a mother deer and fawn that were hiding on the library grounds.  Cute, right? 

I'll also be volunteering for the Friends of the Library and the jury is out on how well that will work.  I had met a neighbor while I was out walking that is very involved with that Friends group.  She encouraged me to come and get set up to volunteer when their 'Friends Bookstore' was open.  I did stop by and talked with the gentleman that manages that bookstore.  The store is only open 2 hours a week right now and 2 hours one Saturday a month.  All the volunteers have an area of the store that is their responsibility.  There were actually a lot more volunteers than customers!  In any case, it honestly doesn't appear to me that they need more people to help out right now.  The manager offered me the responsibility of the Automotive books (like Chilton manuals for car repair), Political Books (no interest whatsoever), or a couple of other areas that had practically no shelf space or books.  I did ask about any kind of fiction or especially mystery.  Nope, he said.  You'd have to volunteer for many years to get one of those.  Ha!  I think the lady who is responsible for the Mystery section was seriously paranoid that he'd give me that one.  She kind of followed us around the whole time he was doing the tour.  He did tell me that he had asked if she'd like my help, but she declined it firmly.  I ended up with 'Cooking' as my area and that was only because another gentleman volunteer said I could have that one and he'd take 'Politics'.  So...not quite what I expected or wanted there, but I'll see how it goes for a few weeks.

I'll save talking more about volunteering until another post.  I have sort of checked out a local yoga studio, but I haven't attended any classes yet.  Probably September.  I'll finish with more pictures from my morning walks.  I find it interesting that so many people in our neighborhood have various lawn and yard ornaments or special areas.  I could have taken 20 pictures, but I didn't.  Here are a few things that I found charming or beautiful.  Have a good week and I'll likely not post again for couple of weeks.  One day I'll talk about reading.  I am reading, but so, so slowly.  Just not much to share there.  Perhaps in the fall.  






     

Saturday, July 17, 2021

A short update with pictures of my new walking route...

Hello book friends!  I'm going to share a short update here and hope to do a longer one next week with additional pictures from my new 'walking route'.  When I last 'spoke' with everyone here we were planning to leave on a postponed trip to Oregon.  Well, that trip was not to be - at least this year.  My husband had some allergy issues that turned into a sinus problem and we ended up cancelling the Oregon adventure yet again.  Maybe next year, right?  It seemed the prudent thing to do as sinus issues and air travel don't mix well.  We did drive out to New Mexico and our usual destination there, Ruidoso, for a few days.  We then returned and the remaining possessions that we had in storage in Austin were transferred to Kerrville.  We will maintain a 'back and forth' thing for a bit, but as time passes we are beginning to settle in and get some things accomplished.  It's going to be long process though with furniture orders and renovation tasks backlogged.  We are being patient and waiting our turn.  Ha!

I'll have more to say about seeking out new volunteering opportunities and yoga classes and who knows what else.  However, today I'm going to share a few pictures I've taken on my new 'walking route'.  Some lovely trees and some very lovely blooms.  Enjoy!

Oh, reading...well, I'm still having some issues in that area.  We'll see if this mega-slump will improve by fall.  I certainly hope so!
















  

Friday, June 25, 2021

Is it hot where you are? An update before we head to 'cooler' country...

Hello book friends!  Is it summer or what?  The weather people in our part of the world have just gone wild about warning everyone about the 'feels-like' temperatures (that's a new term, to me anyway) and telling people to wear their sunscreen and take their water and check their backseats for kids and pets, etc.  Sometimes I laugh a little because, though it has been warm here - 90's - with 'feels-like' above 100, it's not unusual for Central Texas.  We get the humidity from the Gulf and it is June after all.  July will also be hot and August will be even hotter, though with less humidity usually.  I think that our area has so, so many people that are 'new-to-Texas' residents and I guess they don't know about summer weather in the southern part of the US.  Well, they will learn.  

Now I have heard that the Pacific Northwest is getting a shot of way, way too hot this weekend.  People up there are probably not prepared for temps 100+.  Hope that weather thing is short-lived and they go back to their normal quickly.  I think a lot of them do not have A/C systems.  When we lived in Portland way back in the 90's, we found it weird to have no A/C.  The house we bought there didn't have it when we came and it did have it by the time we left.  We thought it was needed for a few weeks out of the year.  

We're leaving next week on a postponed-from-last-year trip to Oregon, but we will be staying on the coast and the temps in Bandon have been lows in the 50's and highs in the 60's.  That will be a nice shot of cool for us and may even feel a little too cool.  Ha!  I will say that I don't like to 'drip with sweat' while I'm out walking.  Think Bandon, Oregon will satisfy that requirement of mine.  

My reading has still been very slow, but a couple of favorite authors will be having books come out while I'm on my trip.  I hope to get both and perhaps read them.  The first is Elly Griffiths' new Ruth Galloway book, The Night Hawks, #13 in that series.  The second will be Linda Castillo's new Kate Burkholder novel, Fallen, also #13 in the series.

Right now I'm reading Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison.  Very Gothic.  I picked this one up because I enjoyed a Poisoned Pen podcast where Barbara Peters discussed the return of some more Gothic-type books to the mystery/thriller genre with J.T. and also Jayne Ann Krentz.  I'm a Gothic-type mystery lover from way back.  I'm enjoying Her Dark Lies so far and I'll write an update about it if I finish before we leave.  

Otherwise, things are going well.  We're continuing to slowly get things accomplished and crossed off our lists.  I did find out that Kerrville will be having their Chalk Festival, which I wrote about here when I attended it in 2019, the weekend of October 16-17.  I'm excited and hope to go again and also have some great pictures.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!  Stay cool!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Last two books I read - The Survivors and Bitterroot Lake - and a couple of podcasts I like...

In my update post yesterday I mentioned that my 'reading life' has been a bit (or more than a bit) sparse.  It's also been very annoying to me that I've been unable to focus on my 'happy place'.  Honestly, if I'm unable to read, that crosses over into other aspects of my life and I feel very out of sorts all the way around.  Reading is my refuge, my escape, my joy, my hideaway.  My husband and daughter would both tell you that if Kay isn't reading, she's not herself.  At all.  It's improving - that part of my life - but it's still not 'normal'.  However, I'll share a little about the last two books I've read and then praise a couple of podcasts that I enjoy:


I really like Jane Harper's writing.  I've read all her books up to now and really liked them all, especially the ones featuring Aaron Falk.  No, I haven't seen the new TV movie adaptation of The Dry.  Have any of you seen it and was it good?  Her latest book is The Survivors and it's another stand-alone, set in Tasmania.  I liked it very much and enjoyed the beach setting, the description of the caves and shipwreck and all aspects of small town life in Evelyn Bay.  Kieran and his wife, Mia, have brought their baby girl home to help Kieran's parents pack up their life and make big changes.  Kieran's father has dementia and his mother needs assistance as things have gotten a bit too tough to deal with.  The story also includes some past trauma, missing girls, a murder, and secrets.  Lots of secrets.  This definitely held my interest.  I always look forward to what she'll write next.  


I also liked Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman.  This is the first book by the author or first using this name.  She's also writes cozy mysteries under the name Leslie Budewitz.  Bitterroot Lake is set at a lakeshore lodge in Montana.  One weekend 25 years ago, Sarah, her sister Holly, and two other friends were at their family's lodge, along with three guys.  A tragedy occurs, someone is killed, and things were not ever quite the same.  Sarah comes back to Whitetail Lodge after her husband dies from cancer.  Sarah's mother has encouraged her to come and help the family figure out what to do with the property.  As it turns out, the four friends all return to the Lodge and they must dig through secrets, lies, and some curious family history about Whitetail Lodge.  Oh, and there is another death.  And some spooky dreams.  Another book that held my interest and I'm hoping that Leslie/Alicia continues writing some suspense novels.  I'd enjoy that very much!

I'll also mention a couple of podcasts - I really like Anne Bogel's What Should I Read Next? and am finally caught up on back episodes.  I also really enjoy some of the author discussions that the Poisoned Pen Bookstore share on their podcast.  I'm not interested in all of them, but many are with authors that I love or books that I'm curious about.  Links attached and I encourage you to check them out.  

Now I'm off to see what I can find to read next...

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Finally, an update...

A little hint...


Hello my book friends!  I know it has been quite a while since I checked in with all of you.  I am glad to be here for a bit to give an update and share a few things.  I was going to talk a little about books, but I think I will do that in a separate post perhaps tomorrow or this weekend.  

When last we 'talked' I shared that my husband and I had decided to sell our house outside the Austin area and perhaps buy or build one further out into the Texas Hill Country.  We have done that!  My husband's company will be doing a hybrid sort of work situation starting in the fall - 2 days in the office and 3 days working from home.  We have an apartment in Austin that we are currently staying in.  We have also bought a house in Kerrville.  Our plan is to spend part of the week in Austin and part in Kerrville.  You can search 'Kerrville' in the sidebar on the right here and see other posts where I mentioned this lovely town that we have visited many times.  

We're still in the process of getting a few things updated for our new house.  Did you know that it's a little tough to schedule home renovation right now?  Well, between materials shortages and labor issues and lots and lots of people wanting to 'fix' things, it's been a challenge indeed.  We are going to have to be patient, but I'm sure we will eventually cross all the items off our list.  Even new furniture is tough to acquire - as I said, patience is called for.

A happy thing is that we are going to be taking a vacation early next month - a trip that was planned for last year and postponed.  It's to lovely places in Oregon that I've talked about before and I'm sure I'll have new pictures to share after that time.  

My reading has been challenging as well - just getting through a book.  I have been distracted and kind of grumpy about reading at all.  My count of 'books completed' for this year is about half of my normal, if it's even that.  However, I do have a couple of books that I want to share about in my next post.  I've gotten back to my walking routine and have now caught up on some podcasts that I enjoy.  Hopefully, audiobooks will be next.  

Hope all of you are well.  I'm gradually coming back around and posting a few comments on your blogs.  The picture at the top of this post was one I took a couple of years ago at the Kerrville Chalk Festival.  It's planned again for this fall.  Hope I get to attend.  The picture below is on the grounds of the Kerrville Library.  Yes, I'll likely be checking into volunteer opportunities there as we spend more time in that location.  It's good to be back to this blog.  As I said, hope you're all well and will have a peaceful, joyful, restful summer season. 




Monday, April 5, 2021

Extending my 'spring break'...

Hello book friends!  Hope you are all well and had a Happy Easter yesterday.  I don't have any flower pictures for you this time, but I wanted to share a bit of an update on what I've been doing in the last few weeks.  And also say that my 'spring break' will be extended for a while longer.  No flowers are blooming in our yard quite yet, but our plants are slowly beginning to come out of their shells after the mega-cold weather our area experienced in February.  I was comparing to last year at this time and there are definite differences.  The bluebonnets are finally beginning to show up in Central Texas and also other wildflowers, but they have been much slower to appear.

As to regular life, we have been quite busy.  After a lot of thought, we decided to move forward with our eventual 'retirement' plan - location wise anyway.  We had always planned to move further out into the Texas Hill Country when my husband retired.  He is not doing that for a few years, but with the housing market in our area at an all-time peak, we have decided to sell our current house and look for one further into the Hill Country of Central Texas.  Nothing is finalized quite yet, but we plan to have an apartment in the Austin area and then decide on a place an hour or two away from Austin.  With my husband still working from home and the idea that his company will likely do a 'hybrid' type work thing in the future, it has seemed a workable plan.  Lots of decisions and work involved.  

I have been distracted and busy and my reading has really taken a hit.  It will bounce back again after I don't have quite so many things to do and think about.  So, I'll be missing for more weeks.  Missing the chatting here, but I will definitely be back eventually.

Hope you all take care and enjoy your spring!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

An early 'spring break'...

 

Hello book friends!  Just coming by to say that I'm going to take an early 'spring break' for a bit.  No, it's not time for the bluebonnets quite yet in our area, but in another month they will likely be beginning to bloom.  So, I decided to share those above.

Nothing is wrong and we have been well.  However, we've got a lot going on and we'll be busy for a while.  And my review writing mojo has evaporated for a time as well.  I just didn't want anyone to worry if I didn't check in for a bit.

Take care and I'll be reading your blogs even if I don't comment all the time.  I'll be back in a few weeks!  Happy early 'spring break'!  And Happy Valentine's Day this coming Sunday!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

January 2021 comes to an end and a reading/life update...

Hello book friends!  Yes, I'm still around and reading your thoughts and occasionally commenting.  It's good to check in and hear what you've been up to and also relate what I've been doing.  First the doing - well, pretty much the same with almost no changes.  Ha!

I have started working out using our rowing machine on a regular basis.  Yes, we have a rowing machine.  I'm up to 15 minutes a day and though I haven't used it much in the last couple of years, I'm using it now.  Good for building upper body strength.  My walking and yoga continue, but I am certainly looking forward to the cedar pollen waning in our area and then I'll be able to get back outside for my walks.  Only another few weeks to go.

My reading has been going well.  I decided to try to clear some books (i.e. read some books) that were on my actual shelves and also on my Kindle and if I liked them and they kept my interest, I would finish them.  If not, out they go.  Some are re-reads and some are new to me.  I've also been pairing several with the audio version that I can check out at my library and so the story continues whether I am walking or folding clothes or driving.  I've also been catching up on a few podcasts.  My list of books read is below:

And The Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers -  a re-read from a long time ago - enjoyed it again - Christian fiction.

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers - also a re-read with an Oregon Trail storyline - also Christian fiction.

The Best Of Times by Penny Vincenzi - thought I had read this one before but I don't think so - long book - over 600 pages with lots of characters and much drama.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths - I really enjoyed this one, which is good because our mystery group is discussing it this upcoming week.  Standalone by Griffiths or standalone at least for now.  A 2nd book with the same investigator will be out in March - The Postscript Murders

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce - domestic thriller - a mother who is a barrister and a daughter at a school with lots of drama - held my interest but not many likeable characters.

Reputation by Sara Shepard - author of Pretty Little Liars and about a hacking scandal at a college - multiple points of view - lots of drama again - a fast read for me.

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous - lots of secrets in this one - definitely can see the influence of the game of Clue - again, it read very fast for me.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy - husband in this one is a therapist and someone is listening to his sessions with clients through a vent in the ceiling - lots and lots of twists and upside down moments - took inspiration from a Stephen King book (won't say which, but it wasn't one I cared for) - liked it well enough, but glad to move on to the next book.

And that's it for my reading in January.  As I said, our mystery group will be discussing The Stranger Diaries next week and I'm looking forward to hearing what others think.  

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Otherwise in life, our daughter got her second vaccine dose yesterday.  We suspect it will be quite some time before we're able to get ours, but our county has been doing well with the supply they have been given.  Patience is hard in this regard I think, but we know that even after we get it our lives won't be that different.  Ah well.  I'll just think about spring flowers that will be coming in a few weeks and I'll enjoy sharing some pictures of those when they appear.  

Hope you all have a good week and I'll be back in a couple of weeks to share another update.  Take care!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

And as a new day dawns, there is hope...for so many things

 


Here are some quotes that remind me that hope is possible and indeed is desirable in so many ways these days.  For people, for ideas, for actions, for our whole world.  My daily prayer...


'To love means loving the unlovable.  To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.  Faith means believing the unbelievable.  Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.' -- G.K. Chesterton

'But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.' -- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

'There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.' -- J.R.R. Tolkien

'I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that remains.' -- Anne Frank

'Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.' -- Helen Keller

'Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.  Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.' -- Shel Silverstein

Monday, January 11, 2021

A snowy Sunday and my peaceful reading aim...

Hello book friends!  Stopping by to share a few pictures of our snowy Texas Sunday yesterday.  The weather people said it had been over 15 years since we had gotten as much as fell yesterday - 2004 I believe.  I know many of you get a whole season of snow, but we here in Central Texas get very little.  There are occasions though.  It kept snowing for several more hours after I took these pictures, but it's melting this morning and the sun is out.  It won't stay around long and the best part is that it was almost exclusively a snow event and not an ice or sleet event (which is more likely for our part of the world).  It was beautiful and peaceful to see those big, big flakes falling.  Just wonderful.  I am grateful for peaceful snow.









After all the turmoil, sorrow, stress and upset of the last few months and especially more recently, I decided that 2021 will be the year that I focus on 'peaceful reading'.  Not completely sure what that will mean for me.  I have made a point of getting back to some devotional time for myself.  And I've recently read a book or two that I had read many years ago and that reminded me of aspects of the faith that I hold dear to my heart and that I try to live by.  I don't talk about that much on this blog, but I am a person of lifelong faith in God.

I was made very, very sad this last week hearing of a dear friend who is quite ill in the hospital (not with COVID).  She had been diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago and that condition was progressing very slowly.  She is still at home with her husband, but this last year has been quite hard on both of them.  Her hospital time now is much worse because he can't be with her and she's often confused about where she is and where he is.  All I can do right now is pray for both of them.  So I am.  And trying to turn my mind to 'peaceful' things.  Take care, please, all of you and I pray for peaceful thoughts and actions to help all of us and our world.