Saturday, February 28, 2015

Splendid Soggy Saturday Stroll

After breakfast and coffee, we went out for a walk this morning. It's my kind of day!! Grey, windy, chilly, misty, and then it started to rain. It was just misting a bit when we started out, but this eventually gave way to steadier rain, which was quite brisk and refreshing--I always feel like I can breathe better in a brisk wind and rain. I am not sure Bill enjoys a good soggy walk quite as much as I do!

There was plenty of colour around, too--signs of spring all over.

When we used to walk this way last spring and summer we would always stop and talk to the sheep in a field. No sheep for months, but today in a neighbouring field, there was a cow. She mooed to us and we greeted her.
Then she decided to come and see what we were all about--until she thought better of it and turned off into the bushes!

Looks like someone cut a tree a little further down the road--love the design made by the tree rings!

Things are slowly starting to leaf now--I thought the red leaves coming in on this little bush were striking.

As are the bright pink buds and flowers:

There's always something interesting on the stone walls:

As we were getting back into town we came across another lone lost shoe. A few weeks ago there was one on Church Lane and now this one on Convent Road.  I told Bill that now I have two photos of lost shoes, I have a series started!
Where will we find the next one?

The rain has started splattering against the windows. Bill just got up to look and he said, "Yup. It's pouring. Sideways. Glad I took my stroll earlier."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Colour Amidst the Grey

Today is one of those days when the sky is exactly the right kind of grey to make colours pop. The greyness is enhanced by grey stones and walls and against those, the colours almost seem to glow.

There are some tiny little daffodils blooming in the stone planter outside.
The moss glows green on the ground and on the walls.
Even the ivy seems brighter winding its way through the bare tree branches.
The building that surrounds this red door is for sale. Easy enough to find it for anyone wanting to have a look.

We stopped in at Tesco while we were out so I could pick up some celery. I use my own plant for when I need small amounts, but I am making stuffing tomorrow and will need more, so we got some. We went to look at the tea and Bill spotted this:

Of course a box came home with me! I did not even notice that there were 50 tea bags in the box until I was taking the photo. The same thing happened when I bought a box of Lady Grey a few months back. The price was less than I was used to paying for such tea in the States and I guess I just assumed it was the same 20 tea bags I got there. I am looking forward to trying this later on this afternoon!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Roosters, Garlic Chives, Potato Soup

Yesterday we called in at Country Market. In addition to lugging home a 10 kg (about 20 lb) bag of roosters (red potatoes), I also picked up some fruit and a head of garlic.
The garlic has nice big cloves that grow into really great garlic chives and I have a lot of them at the moment!
I decided I might as well make some potato soup!

I put a puddle of olive oil in the bottom of a pot, added 2 sliced onions, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 3 chopped carrots, and a large chopped red bell pepper. I cooked these in the oil for a few minutes, then added several potatoes that I had diced and some water. I let everything cook and when it was done, added some milk. These roosters are really floury, so there's no need to thicken the broth. I ladled some into bowls and added some parsley snipped from my plant on the windowsill and some snipped garlic chives. Finally, we sprinkled black pepper on top. Of course, there are leftovers and plenty more garlic chives :-)
We had egg sandwiches with the soup--I had guacamole on mine and Bill did not.

It was a quiet day today. I finished the book I'd been reading:
It was a fun little book, consisting of 1 or 2 page essays that gave a brief history of various artifacts of Irish life. He includes many things, such as Mr Tayto (crisp mascot), thatched cottage, peat briquette, the flag, and several more. His earlier book is called, Looks Like Rain: 9,000 Years of Irish Weather.I might have to look that one up!

I also did another peace heart doodle.
I might be done with these doodles for now as I have some socks to make and some crochet/tatting ideas rattling around in my head. I do like the way some of these doodles have worked out though and how the shape seems to change depending on which section you focus on.

Still light outside at 6:15. Sigh. We are gaining daylight fast. I miss the short days of winter already!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day of Decision and Spring Flowers

Yesterday unexpectedly turned out to be the day Bill and I made our decision about whether to move and where to go.  After months of back and forth about where we might go, we decided to stay here for the time being. We decided that this was a good place to be and to have as a home base while we use our travel pass to explore other areas of the country. It is centrally located when looking at things from a north-south perspective and I am not that interested in Dublin and other points east, though I suppose we will visit Dublin at some point. Honestly, I have never read anything about it that makes it sound appealing to me, so it's way down on my list. Anyway, this will give us a chance to familiarize ourselves with different towns/areas. Bill has been particularly antsy because he doesn't care for walking the same few available routes over and over again and he has felt uninspired when it comes to his photography, so this will mix things up a bit.

From what we can tell, Ballinrobe has been starved of resources and that's too bad, really. There is a lot of walking and cycling going on in Ireland by locals and tourists alike and while other parts of Mayo have received grants to build trails and things, Ballinrobe has not. For example, there is a lake a couple of miles from town and the river empties into it. There seems to be no way to walk to the lake safely unless you walk through a farmer's land and through some forest. We have done this, after getting permission from the farmer, and it was amazingly beautiful, but it would be great to continue the walk by the river all the way to the lake. Walking on roads can be a scary proposition here--narrow roads, stone walls and speeding traffic do not equal a nice walking experience! There is so much beautiful landscape here that it's a shame people can't experience it as well as they might.

All that said, this is a great little town and I like it. I am glad to be staying.

More signs of spring were evident today when we were out. It was a warm, grey, misty kind of day. Bulbs are starting to flower.

Saw these little white flowers on the library grounds. I don't know what they are.

They are doing some serious tree pruning on the church grounds.

The birds were in a tree outside the library and they had plenty to say!

I have probably walked past this library wall hundreds of times and I never noticed the skull and crossbones!

Inside I've been playing around with my peace heart motif some more:
I stitched the purple one first--4 motifs around--and after I finished the third one I realized it would make a cute flower like that, so I did one like that.

I woke up this morning feeling settled for the first time in a long time. Once we made our decision yesterday I felt such peaceful relief. It felt like the right thing to do. Now we can move forward and not feel like we're in limbo! And we could tell our friend, Karen, who is coming for a visit this summer where she will be able to find us!

Monday, February 23, 2015

In Between Days

We went out this morning to send our daughter's birthday present and make a stop at SuperValu. We needed some milk and I wanted to get some butternut squash, since the sale ends in a few days. I have a chicken in the freezer and I've been saving bread to make stuffing, so I think this weekend we will have a spring Thanksgiving :-)

It's a real mix of seasons today. It's been windy with rain/hail/sleet since last night, but when we left this morning, the sun was shining on our neighbor's daffodils.

Looks like there will be more daffs and maybe some crocus (?--those purple spiky buds) in the stone planters soon.

Two or three minutes later, just as we were walking into the store, the hail started falling. By the time we left, it had stopped. We dropped off the groceries and looked up some information we needed before going back out into the bright sunshine to send the birthday present. Ten or fifteen minutes later--just as we were coming to our corner--the hail began again. It's been going back and forth all day!

Yesterday I decided that my next heart motif doodle would be some stacked peace hearts.

As I was photographing it, I took one sideways and quite like how different it looks from that perspective.
 Today I plan to try the same peace heart motifs in a different configuration.

Getting dark again! Looks like more rain and hail on the way.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Day Is It?

We have moved through the last couple of weeks in a bit of a fog. Not sure where the days have gone.

Bill went down with his cold or whatever it was and spent much time in bed, trying to rest when he could. I carried on, trying to get a lot of garlic and veggies into his system. I made some chicken veggie soup one night and by last weekend, was trying to use up some potatoes and cauliflower that needed using. We didn't have a functioning microwave, so I had to think about how to reheat leftovers, too. I decided to make a veggie mash. I figured I could heat it in a pot on the stove or I could use it to make potato/veggie pancakes by adding egg, flour, and grated cheese to the mixture to make a dough/stiff batter.

I cooked, drained and mashed potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. In a separate pan, I cooked an onion and a half, half a bell pepper, and a few cloves of garlic in some olive oil and then mixed it and some black pepper into the mashed veggies.
I had some with grated cheese for lunch and saved the rest. We had the pancakes a couple of times and there was a little left for lunch one day, too. By then the landlord had delivered the new microwave, so I can go back to my usual cooking routine.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling weird. The same thing has happened before in Maine a couple of times--queasy stomach and slight sinus pressure, but mostly an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. It was hard to keep my eyes open and impossible to function for very long. I made myself get up a few times throughout the day to eat something, but mostly, I slept. I was amazed at how much I slept.  After hours and hours of sleep Monday night, Tuesday, and Tuesday night, on Wednesday I was able to at least stay out of bed, even though I couldn't do much. I didn't care when I was in bed sleeping, but I find it difficult to sit and wait for the time to pass. I wanted to read or stitch, but I couldn't. I was glad when all that was over and I could get back to my cross-stitch project!

I'd started with one of my heart charts, doing just the outline. I then worked from there to the center, stitching around the outline, each new line in a different colour. I was liking the interplay of the colours and the way the shape changed in subsequent rounds.
I used embroidery floss and perle cotton. I was partway through this when I had to set it aside and I was glad to get back to it. If a day goes by when I do not have yarn or thread in my hands, I get cranky.

Once I finished that, I started on another heart, this time working my way out instead of in.
I used size 8 perle cotton, embroidery floss and size 20 crochet cotton for this one. The aida is a pale pink. I'm using bits from the scrap pile.

I am quite enjoying this little heart doodling and I have a few more ideas to try out. I have a vague idea about how to use these doodles when I am finished with them, but that may change!

So we begin a new week both feeling back to normal, pretty much. Bill still coughs once in a while and is a little tired, but he is back to his book on the history of Ireland in the 70s and plans to finish the book within a couple of days. I picked up a couple of books from the library yesterday and am currently reading short bios of 40 irish woman artists. I am back to my stitching and getting ideas. We have the new microwave now, so I can go back to my usual way of cooking--I hated turning the oven and stove on all the time because it was such a waste of electricity! I much prefer batch cooking.

We will now start playing catch-up. We are coming to the point of decision when we will have to decide about giving notice here. This means we have entered the unpleasant territory of trying to contact letting agents. I don't enjoy this, but it is what it is--people here are used to not having calls returned and email messages replied to--we were warned about this from the beginning. We'd started the process just before Bill went down, knowing we would probably not get a reply (I should say that letting agents in Clifden and Killybegs seem to be quite on the ball and they have been the exception, in our experience). My plan was to follow up early last week, but neither of us was in any shape to make appointments or travel plans then, so I put it off until Friday when I was coherent. Next week we will either have to start pushing harder or let it go. Guess we'll see what the week brings!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Comfort Reading: Alice Taylor and Miss Read

On Saturday we called in at the library to pick up a book that had come in--an omnibus edition containing two Thrush Green novels written by Miss Read. When we walked in, Mary turned to the shelf behind her and was reaching for a book. When I got to the counter, she said, "Alice Taylor has a new book out. I kept it for you!"
Mary had recommended Taylor's book, The Night Before Christmas, to me before the library closed for 2 weeks at the end of the year. I loved the book and went back for more of her stuff. She has 3 novels and several books about her childhood and village life in a farming community in County Kerry. Mary tells me stories about how much the stories Alice Taylor tells echo her own childhood on a farm in County Galway. For her, the books bring back happy memories--she is always very animated and smiling broadly when she talks about this. For me, Taylor's books are an insight into Irish life not that long ago and give a sense of how things change. Mary is probably in her 50s, so her childhood is not ancient history--it's fairly recent. Things have changed a great deal in a short period of time. In the end, though, these are just fun books to read. The stories are often funny. These are really human books--you see people at their best and in times of trouble getting on with things. You read about love and loss, friendship and community, joy and sorrow--big themes to be sure, but written in a down-to-earth and comforting way. The descriptions of day to day life also make me appreciate stoves and washing machines!

The Miss Read books were also fun reading and perfect for this past week when I was on either end of my migraine! Someone mentioned Miss Read to me and I knew I'd heard of her but had never read anything by her, so I looked her up in the library system. The omnibus volume was about all there was, so I requested that. It's 2 of her Thrush Green novels--The School at Thrush Green and Friends at Thrush Green. On the second page, one of the characters picks up her knitting. I was smitten. I just loved this village and these people. I wish the library had more of these novels for me to request! I love books about English village life that have a lot of domestic detail and these do. There is no grand plot here--just narratives about people going about their lives. At a time when so much of what I see when reading "news" is ugly and heartbreaking, it is comforting to immerse myself--at least for a little while-- in a small world full of kind and caring people who look out for one another, understand the quirks and weirdness of their friends and neighbors and accept them and keep on caring about them in spite of the quirks.
Poor Bill could use some comfort reading today. He started coughing last night and said that when he went for his blood test the other day, there was a guy in the very tiny waiting "room" who was coughing all over the place and not bothering to cover his mouth. After a night spent waking up every hour or so to cough, he's tired today and still coughing some. The book he is working through is a 700+ page history book about Ireland in the 1970s. It's a great book and quite well-written, especially considering the author is an academic. But it may not be the kind of book to read when tired and coughing. I suggested he set that one aside and pick up one of the novels he has--he can whip through that and go back to 1970s Ireland later!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Here Come the Daffodils!

I've been keeping an eye on the bulbs our neighbor planted--looks like it's daffodil time--I spotted the first spot of yellow on our way out yesterday.

I assume it's a daffodil. She planted tulip bulbs, too, but I haven't seen any buds on those yet--just the leaves.

It was nice to get out for a little walk yesterday after being down with my monthly migraine the day before. I was glad I'd finished my crochet project the day before, because it came in handy as I sat there freezing--I always get cold when I get a migraine.
I can use it as a lapghan or a shawl. It's made of Donegal tweed yarn that Bill got me last summer. I made a couple of hats with some of the green and a hat with some of the blue, so this is what I had left.

I sat in a chair with my lapghan on my lap, my eyes closed, and my podcasts playing. Light bothers me when I have a migraine but sound doesn't and I am so grateful for my podcasts--all the time, but especially on days like that when I can't do anything else. I listened to some BBC Drama of the Week. I went to bed right after supper and dozed off and on. When I woke up roasting, I knew I was past the worst of it, but then I was awake most of the night--more Drama of the Week to the rescue!! Hopefully that's it for that now for a few weeks.

On Saturday we replaced the toilet handle. I lived for 52 years without ever seeing one of these break, but we had to call the landlord last year to have one replaced because it broke. He sent a plumber. The thing only lasted for 3 months before it snapped again!

I asked the guy at the store if this kind of thing was common and he said, "Oh yeah. You see them broken like that all the time." OK, then. I told him this one only lasted 3 months and he said it should have lasted longer than that. I guess I never paid attention to the part of the handle that was inside the tank when I was in the US, but I don't think there is that long metal rod, is there? I am thinking it's a chain, but I could be wrong. Seems like this metal rod isn't such a great idea--it's actually twisted a little bit. Who knew that a simple flush could exert such pressure?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Country Market and Corn Salad

This morning after breakfast we went off to SuperValu for milk and bread and then to Country Market for fruit, veggies, and eggs.
I really like this little place. It's one small room full of produce and the guy who is always there is such a nice and pleasant person. Last week when we were in there Bill was picking out some apples and an older woman was paying for her produce. She was a little bit short of cash. "Ah, never mind then," the guy said, "We won't let a few cents come between us now." When we were done and paying, he was telling us how there used to be a lot more snow around when he was small. When he was a boy, he'd go to Donegal with his family over the holidays and there was always lots of snow up there, he said. Today we were paying and the total came to euro11.06. Bill was getting the .06 and the guy said, "Never mind that."

I came home and made some corn salad for lunches. I can eat it either hot or cold.
I chopped up 2 large cloves of garlic, a couple of smallish onions, and a red bell pepper, tossed them in a puddle of olive oil in a pot. I cooked them for a few minutes and then added about a pound of frozen corn, stirring until everything was heated through and well mixed. I dumped this into a bowl and added some chopped pepper turkey, which we found in the clearance section of SuperValu this morning. I'll add some cheese when I eat it.

I mixed it with some lime vinaigrette. I had a mustard jar that had a small blob of mustard on the bottom and all the stuff that gets left on the side, so I made the dressing in that by adding the juice of two limes, twice that amount of olive oil (I eyeballed it, so don't know exactly how much of each), a small love of garlic, chopped, some oregano and a bit of chili powder. Then I shook it all together. I have some left for other salads.

I wasn't planning on adding the turkey until I saw it on clearance at the store, and in the past I've made versions of this without it. I've made some with cooked beans and some with just the veggies. I've added some salsa and tomatoes, cilantro or parsley. I have a lot of garlic chives at the moment--the garlic I get at Country Market really grows quickly and well into garlic chives. I've added mixed greens in the past--this salad lends itself well to having a bunch of stuff added, depending on what you like and have on hand, or it can just be basic.

I have a small bit of hummus left that needs to be eaten, so I will make a piece of toast and spread it on that. I'll have that with a bit of my corn salad for lunch.

Speaking of lunch, I am getting hungry! Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Way the Crow Flies and a Blown Fuse

I feel like I am in a daze! I just read page 713 and closed the back cover on the book, The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Whew!
I started the book a couple of days ago and was just under halfway finished with it when I stopped reading yesterday. I started reading again today after lunch and finished it after supper, so I've spent quite a bit of intense time with these characters over the past few days!

The story takes place in Canada, the author's home country. We begin during the Cold War on a Canadian Air Force base when the McCarthy family moves in--this is their latest posting, having been in Germany before that. The mother, Mimi, is Acadian and wants to live in Canada again, and she wants to spend time with her family, so they take their time getting to their new home, moving in a couple of weeks before the school year begins.

There are a few different storylines going on--domestic, global-political, and one involving a pedophile teacher. The book begins with the murder of a little girl, witnessed only by crows, and then spirals back from there before jumping ahead 20+ years to catch up with the McCarthy family. Madeleine (the 8-year-old daughter, through whose eyes much of the story unfolds) figures out within the last few pages what happened to the little girl. It isn't really a whodunit, though. This particular storyline is based on the true story of Steven Truscott. I had never heard of this case, but I have read that he was a 14-year-old boy who was charged, tried, and found guilty of the murder of a 12-year-old girl, even though the evidence was circumstantial and questionable. He got the death penalty and the resulting outcry eventually led to the abolition of the death penalty in Canada--or so I have read in a review of the book from The Guardian.

The murder is what begins the book in a short paragraph. It's not until a long while later that it's mentioned again in another paragraph. It does not take center stage until almost halfway through the book.

In the meantime, we see domestic life in 1950s Cold War suburbia, see the word through 8-year-old Madeleine's eyes, and get a good deal of discussion at first of air force stuff, which I found off-putting. I didn't really care. I was more interested in the aspects of that which illustrated the experience of being Canadian and a neighbor of the US, the ways in which the characters aligned themselves with the US against "the commies" but tried to set themselves apart when it came to national pride, and the ways in which naivete, patriotism, fear, and nationalism lead to bad choices with serious consequences for the innocent.

Jack, the father, thinks he is doing something important by helping an old friend who recruits him to help get a "scientist" from East Germany to the US via Canada so the "scientist" could help work on the Apollo mission. Jack later learns that this man was a Nazi and committed war crimes. This clandestine work has serious repercussions for Jack himself, but also for people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jack tried for the rest of his life to use his patriotism to justify his actions and inactions and he tells himself that, "We won." In the end, I am not sure he is successful at fooling himself.

This was a really good book, which can be read just as a story--or more correctly a few intertwined stories or it can be a catalyst for thinking about larger societal questions. The issues brought up by the Cold War storyline are no less relevant today as we blunder through the endless "war on terror" and see all of the flag-waving and pontificating about "our way of life under threat." Sadly, it would seem that some valuable lessons were lost, since the same things seem to be repeating, but with a different Other and more destructive weapons, which kill more innocent people. Just as people in the book behaved in ways that completely undermined the "way of life" they supposedly held so dear and that was so worth fighting for, so it is today in the real world.

When I started it I wasn't really sure that I was going to like it--it was OK, but the level of detail about some things just made my eyes glaze over! At some point yesterday I got really engrossed in the story and it became a page turner. By this afternoon I didn't want to put it down. I made a fast supper of omelettes, toast, fruit, and yogurt and went straight back to my chair to finish the book!

We had leftovers in the fridge, but we can't microwave them at the moment, because the other day the microwave stopped working. I put in some leftovers, turned it on, and went to see to another part of the meal. The dinger dinged and I took out the bowl, only to discover that it was cold. Everything worked, except it wouldn't heat. I googled and discovered that this is probably a blown fuse within the machine or a faulty magnetron, neither of which we can do anything about! Since it's not my microwave, it's not my problem! Bill called the landlord and he will have someone deliver another one at some point.
In the meantime, the old one sits on a chair, waiting to be removed. And I am sitting in a chair trying get back into the present day after spending so much time in Canada over the past few days :-) Not sure what I will read next.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Club Night!

On the first Tuesday of every month, there's a book club discussion at the library. The books are chosen from titles that have enough copies in the system so that Mary, the librarian, can gather them and hand them out. We didn't go to the discussion last month because I was having sinus issues, so we didn't get a copy of the book under discussion this time. When we went to the library the following week, Mary said she'd get us a copy when someone returned it and I asked what the book was. Turns out it was We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.
When I heard this, my heart sank. I'd heard a lot about this book when it first came out and requested it from the library in Maine. I was looking forward to reading it until I read that if one is squeamish about animal testing, one should think twice about reading it. I returned it unread. When I learned that it was the chosen book, I just hoped that we would not get a copy in time.

On Saturday we got a text from Mary saying that the book was there, so we called in and picked it up. She said a few other people had not liked it and one woman read a bit and returned it, saying she didn't want it. Mary herself had not been able to read it because there were no available copies, and she said she was curious to see what I thought. I decided that I would start it and if I reached a point where it was too traumatic to read, I would either skip the gruesome sections or stop reading. We came home and I started reading.

I stopped reading for supper and then finished the book after we ate. I loved it! It dealt with some difficult issues in an interesting way. I did reach a point where there was a description of lab animals and the things done to them, but I could see what was coming and I skipped those couple of pages.

The book is narrated by a young woman who "begins in the middle" of her story and that of her family. It's a dysfunctional family and there have been some disruptions--Rosemary, the narrator, is the only child of 3 left at home. Her sister and brother have disappeared in different ways. So have the grad students who used to be around all the time working in the scientist father's lab. Her sister, Fern, is a chimpanzee who was adopted at the same time Rosemary was born. Their lives were an experiment so that their development could be monitored and compared. They also wanted to see whether Fern could learn language. When they were 5 and Lowell, the brother was somewhat older, Rosemary was sent to her grandparents' home and when she returned, Fern was gone and the remaining family was living in another house. There was no explanation for this, except she was told that Fern was living on a farm. A few years later, Lowell disappeared, too. These disruptions define Rosemary's life--and the lives of everyone else-- from then on.

When we went to the discussion last night, we discovered that everyone else hated the book, but they felt compelled to read it to the end anyway--several people used the word "compelled" more than once. I thought that was interesting. Bill liked the book somewhat, but was unenthusiastic. I was the only one who really loved it. When I was asked why I loved it, I said that it was because it was a book that dealt with difficult issues in a human way. Having an interest in human evolution and symbolic thought (which is what language is) I found the story interesting. I thought the book could be uncomfortable for people because it illustrated things we often don't think about. I pointed out that I am not supportive of animal testing, though I took the narrator's point when she listed a few advances in medicine that have resulted from such tests. As she said, "No one said this was easy." I also said that it is, to some degree, a matter of where we draw the line. Keeping animals in a cage and doing terrible things to them is bad, but eating a chicken that was stuffed into a cage with too many other chickens after having its beak cut off isn't something we think about. It's torture all the same. Buddhists talk about respecting all sentient beings and I agree with that, but I still swat mosquitoes.

I was also drawn in because of the ways in which the book showed how blurred the line is between the ape species. We tend to anthropomorphize animals--especially chimps and other apes--because they remind us of cute and quirky versions of ourselves. But that isn't what they are. We are domesticated animals; they aren't. Our evolutionary line split a long time ago and they are not us. Neither are they completely different. There is some similarity. The book was a reminder that we are animals, too, and we are not as unique as we think we are. It was also a good illustration of the ways in which we have lost our understanding of our place in this world as we try to dominate everything. We forget that we are all interconnected and as we destroy the planet and the species that inhabit it, we are also destroying ourselves.

There is nothing I love more than a book that sends me off into thought about various big issues, but I have a feeling, based on the comments this time and at other times, that this isn't what most of the people there are looking for in a novel. They also did not like the way the book was narrated. They didn't like the way it started in the middle for one thing, and I think they weren't keen on the conversational tone, but I liked that.

So, there you have it! We are always asked to rank the book on a scale of 1-10. One woman gave it a 0 and said she would never recommend it to anyone. Bill gave it a 5 and agreed that he would also not recommend it to anyone. I gave it an 8 and said that as soon as I finished the book, I emailed a friend and told her about it, saying that I thought she'd enjoy the book.

If you're looking for a fluffy read to pass a few hours, this isn't the book you should choose. If you enjoy reading books that bring up difficult and challenging ethical and philosophical issues, presented in a very readable and compelling (everyone agreed it was compelling!) way, then this is a good one to pick up!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

American Pancakes

Today we set off to do our big grocery shop. We usually do this once a month and then pick up stuff here and there through the month as needed or as we find stuff on sale or clearance. We went to SuperValu and got as much as we could there, came home, had some grilled cheese with tomato and onion sandwiches and apples on the side, and then headed out to Tesco for the stuff we buy there.

They finally had some turkey mince--hurray! I've seen it in other Tescos and in Aldi, but we were always in another town and it was summer. I did not want to buy it and carry it around for hours in the heat. I've not seen it in our store, but today there it was with a "NEW" sticker on the shelf tag. Last week Bill was wishing for meatballs. Now he can have them.

They also had peanut butter. Sometimes they don't. I got 3 jars.

We passed these--they always make me chuckle when I see them.
I didn't buy them, just put them in the trolley to take the photo! All the stores seem to sell them.

Tesco had a few bits of Valentine's Day candy, but Easter is obviously the bigger deal here. The Easter candy section was much larger! This is just a section of it.
Didn't see any Easter baskets or anything, just a lot of giant eggs and small eggs. We got here last year a few weeks before Easter and I don't remember seeing baskets and plastic grass and stuff, but maybe that's just because there were other things on my mind and Easter is not something I celebrate!

In other Easter news, the appropriate government minister announced that she would be considering lifting the ban on selling alcohol on Good Friday, but not in time for this year. This is an ongoing thing, apparently--we heard discussion of it last year. Pubs especially don't like it! This year there is some big sporting event taking place in Limerick at that time, so people were pushing hard for the ban to be lifted, but it is not to be.

On the home front, our neighbor is hardening off some pansies on the deck--so cheerful! I love the colours of these!
And her tulips will be blooming soon, looks like!
Hope you're having a beautiful day, wherever you find yourself :-)