Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Seemingly Endless

It's been two weeks since we started moving our stuff on the bus. It seems like forever and even though we live in a small place and are going to an even smaller one, it feels like every time we transport stuff to the apartment, more magically appears in the cottage. Tomorrow a friend is bringing a load. We missed a trip the other day because there was hail, heavy sleet showers, thunder, and freezing rain. It seemed like a good idea to avoid slippy footpaths (sidewalks), especially because the walk to the bus stop would involve carrying heavy/awkward bags which could throw off the balance. Ice makes me very nervous. I have spikes for my shoes, but they don't help on a thin layer of hail/sleet or black ice.That put us a bit behind--I was going to bring frozen food to put in the freezer there so I could defrost the freezer here and keep it off. Instead I defrosted the freezer and had to turn it on again. Not ideal, but it's a busy week and if I didn't do it then I wouldn't have had time.

One way or another, this part of the process will be over in a couple of days. I am looking forward to that. I don't like to be busy, especially for an extended period of time and last night my back/hip started seizing up if I moved the wrong way, so this is wearing a bit thin at this point. But this kind of thing is to be expected. I've slowed down and try to be careful with my back, which continues to act up.

Because we've been going back and forth on the bus, and we have to get things upstairs, we've been packing bags and emptying them before catching the bus back here. These are easier to carry on and off the bus and up the stairs than boxes would be. I also wear a bulky sweater each time we go and leave it there--saves room in the bags. We have half an hour to get stuff unpacked and get back to the bus. That means that we have stuff in piles in various places around the apartment--no time to put things away. I will live with the piles for the weekend. I plan to clear off enough counter space to use the kitchen and to make sure the bed is clear. My big weekend plans involve a lot of sleeping! Then we will start putting things away next week.

So we're both tired, frazzled, and achy--our spring chicken days are well behind us. But this too shall pass. Hope it's a nice day in your part of the world!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Home Here and There

I've been quiet here for a couple of weeks as we're in the process of moving and I'm tired and a bit achy.  We're moving bit by bit, mostly on the bus. We started a week ago. We lug what we can carry down to the bus stop here, get on the bus and ride to our new town where the bus stop is just outside our door. We bring stuff upstairs to our new apartment, unpack the bags, and get back downstairs to catch the bus back when it leaves half an hour later. Then when we get home, we pack up for the new day and do it all over again.

We found a place that is in better shape, in a town that is about the same size as where we live now, but more convenient in many ways, and that has a rent that is significantly cheaper than what we're paying now. The place we're leaving is quite small and the apartment is even smaller, and I love it. It has a good vibe, as does the town. I'm looking forward to getting there and settling in. This is a really good move for us and we're grateful we were in a position to jump on this place when it came up last month.

from : A Little Book of Japanese Contentments: Ikigai, Forest Bathing, Wabi-sabi, and More by Erin Niimi Longhurst

Monday, January 6, 2020


Today's Daily Dharma email from Tricycle:

Every day when we wake up, we have a choice. Will we choose fear or will we choose compassion and love?

—Interview with Ocean Vuong by Raisa Tolchinsky, “What Scares Writer and Zen Buddhist Ocean Vuong”

Saturday, January 4, 2020


It's that time of year again, when many people are choosing their personal word for the new year. Today, as I was reading about someone's choice, the word 'jump' popped into my head. I know why that's the word that came up--it's not a new thing for me. It comes from a few lines in a talk I listened to, probably over 25 years ago now. I have reminded myself of it so many times over the years.

Five frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many frogs are left? The answer, of course, is five, because deciding to jump is not jumping.

I'm really, really good at deciding to jump. In spite of the occasional fallow period, I usually have a head filled with ideas. And I often do jump. But sometimes, with certain things, my anxiety and overthinking keep me stuck on that log, paralysed. Oddly enough, when it comes to big life choices, I am usually saying, 'Let's see what happens.' Then off I go. I get stuck on smaller things, that, if I tried and failed, would have few repercussions, if any, and not very serious ones at that. I might be disappointed or maybe a little embarrassed, but so what? It's not like I haven't experienced those things before. So maybe, in 2020 I need to try to jump off that log once in a while and see what happens. It might be painful and it might be great, but either way, each jump will provide some opportunities to learn and grow. Whether you choose a word for the year or not, I wish you the same opportunities 😀

Friday, January 3, 2020


Our first Friday night (and Saturday lunch) pizza of 2020--whole grain crust, garlic, oregano, tomato puree (paste), mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced onion, chopped bell pepper, sliced jalapenos, and sliced vegetarian rosemary and red onion sausages (Linda McCartney brand). It's yummy! 😋

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The End of the End

We went to pick up a few groceries this afternoon. Single use plastic bags aren't really a thing here--there is a 22 cent tax per bag, so people are good about bringing their own, bringing the trolley out to their car and directly loading the loose items into the boot, or taking one of the boxes that are available at the end of the till. We wheel the trolley out to the picnic table and pack our backpacks. Today as we were doing this, a man rushed up to us and said, 'You're on foot?' We said we were and he told us he would be happy to bring us where we needed to go. I thanked him and said we were good and we were just going down the road. He asked if we were sure a couple of times. Bill said yes, we do this all the time. This is not the first time someone has seen us and offered us a ride--such nice, friendly people.

Here are the last few books I read in 2019.
 The Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell)
Martin Nanther is a biographer working on a project about his great-grandfather, who was a doctor to Queen Victoria. Henry Nanther specialised in haemophilia and was obsessed with the blood. As Martin uncovers more, he becomes increasingly disturbed by what he is discovering about the lengths to which his ancestor went to learn more. The story moves between what Martin is learning about his ancestors, haemophilia, and the ideas of a previous time and the present (1999-2000). The underlying theme of both parts of the story is genetic inheritance.

The Great Poets: Emily Dickinson (audiobook read by Teresa Gallagher)
This was pleasant to listen to, as the reader was excellent.

 Resistance by Val McDermid
I found this in the e-audiobook section of the library website, but I don’t know if it was ever an actual book. This was a radio drama. It was good, even though the dialogue seemed a bit clunky in spots. I’m not familiar with the author’s work other than this so I don’t know how this compares. The story itself seemed quite plausible. Here’s how it was described on the library website:

It’s the Summer Solstice weekend, and 150,000 people have descended on a farm in the North East of England for an open-air music festival. Reporting on the event is journalist Zoe Meadows, who files her copy from a food van run by her friends Sam and Lisa.

When some of Sam’s customers get sick, it looks like food poisoning, and it’s exacerbated by the mud, rain and inadequate sanitary facilities. It’s assumed to be a 24-hour thing, until people get home and discover strange skin lesions, which ulcerate and turn septic. More people start getting ill – and dying.
What looked like a minor bug is clearly much more serious: a mystery illness that’s spreading fast and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Zoe teams up with Sam to track the outbreak to its source; meanwhile, can a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?

 The Lake House by Kate Morton
This was a really good book, even though one particular aspect of the ending seemed a bit too cute. It kept me turning the pages and was a good way to end my reading year. I picked the book up in a charity shop and it’s on the pile to be re-donated.  

I've got two on the go at the moment--a novel and a non-fiction book, both of which are going to be passed along when I'm done with them. I've got the first Jeeves book (in audio format) downloaded as well, but haven't started it yet. I'm not sure whether I'll like that or not, but I will soon find out!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Middle of the End

Happy 2020! I started off the new year by starting a new book--one that I know I am not going to keep. Looks like I will enjoy it enough to read it before I donate it, instead of deciding I don't like it and setting it aside. Here is the middle part of last month's list of books that I liked well enough to continue reading to the end.

Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mystery in the Making by John Curran
We happened to be in the book room of the local charity shop when the volunteer placed this book on the shelf, right next to where Bill was standing. He immediately called my attention to it and I snapped it up—it probably spent about 30 seconds on the shelf. The author was at a conference and met Christie’s grandson, Mathew Pritchard. They became friends and Curran spent time at the family home. During one visit, he discovered Agatha Christie’s notebooks and became a bit obsessed with them. This book is the result. In it, he talks about her process, her work, and includes two short stories—one is a different version of a previously published story and one is a new Poirot. I was thrilled to be in the right place at the right time so I could bring this book home with me. It’s a keeper.

Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis de Veaux
This is exactly what the subtitle says it is. It was an interesting read for people who are interested in poetry, feminism, activism, and civil rights.

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
This is the second book in the author’s Dr Ruth Galloway series. The main character is an archaeologist who gets drawn into investigations when bones are found. The e-audiobook section of
the library website has the first four in the series. I’d listened to the first one a few months ago and I liked it well enough to reserve the second one. The day before it was to be available, I found this book in a charity shop, so bought that and cancelled the reserve. I found book 6 in a different charity shop several weeks ago.

In this book, the bones of a child are found during the construction of what are to be luxury apartments on the site of a former children’s home. Before it was a children’s home, it was the home of a well-off family where some terrible events occurred. Dr Galloway and the police are called in and find themselves in some difficulty trying to figure out what the bones mean and who they used to be. At the same time, there is an archaeological dig going on nearby. What is the connection of the lead archaeologist to the family who used to own the property? What does the placement of the child’s bones mean?

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
This is Book 6 in the Ruth Galloway series.

Here's to an excellent reading year!