Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A New Reading Goal - 12 Books from Need to Read

Last year I challenged myself to read all of Jane Austen's book. I completed all 6 books by June 21, 2012 (read my previous blog here).

As a new challenge, I plan to read all of the 21 books that I have not already read from the list in my previous blog:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  2. True Grit by Charles Portis 
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  4. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
  5. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett 
  6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty 
  7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  8. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams 
  9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  11. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  12. The Magus by Jon Fowles 
  13. in our time by Ernest Hemingway
  14. Different Seasons by Stephen King 
  15. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  16. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  17. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris 
  18. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara 
  19. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner 
  20. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  21. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White 
I have read (9):
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty 
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White 

My goal to read (12):
True Grit by Charles Portis 
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams 
The Magus by Jon Fowles
in our time by Ernest Hemingway
Different Seasons by Stephen King - great short story stylists - author's favorite
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris 
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Monday, February 25, 2013

21 Novels You Need to Read

I love to read and I hope you do too.
Books take us to a new place and time and they are a great escape anytime.
Stories help us understand where we have been and why we are here.
The following are some novels you really ought to read.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee  -  this is really a good book about justice and deeply held beliefs, right and wrong, and the agony of growing up.
  2. True Grit by Charles Portis - this is the story of Mattie Ross and her quest for justice with the rascally sheriff Rooster Cogburn. The story is a favorite and the book is genius.
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  4. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
  5. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - this supposed debut of the hard-boiled detective novel makes the list because of the line that the statue was 'the stuff dreams are made of.' The guy could write.
  6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty - about two strangely literate Texas rangers who decide to become cattle ranchers, and out - Sundance Butch and the Kid.
  7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - You will love this story of psychological obsession and immortality by one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century.
  8. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams - this is the sequel to 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.' Facing the end of life as we know it, is it too much to ask to find a good cup of tea and some biscuits?
  9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  11. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  12. The Magus by Jon Fowles - this is a story about this crazy part romance, part horror, part Gothic book, in which nothing and on one is what it seems.
  13. in our time by Ernest Hemingway - the lower case name is correct. This is his first big published book of heart-breaking stories. You will see why his style was so imitated and why it never could by copied. Ever.
  14. Different Seasons by Stephen King - great short story stylists - author's favorite.
  15. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson - often sported as the best first paragraph in all prose, this story is still as paralyzingly scary as it was the day it was written.
  16. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  17. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris - gruesome and terrifying.  Read it if you dare.
  18. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara - a Pulitzer Prize wining novel of the Civil War.  Story of the longest days of our nation's lives, three hot sunsets in Gettysburg, and why even the beautiful and brave can be wrong, and the glum, stubborn and foolish as right as dawn.
  19. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner - story of two couples, about loyalty and its limits as any I've ever read.
  20. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - story of the haves and how they think of the have-nots, because they are helpless to think of them any other way.  You might call it a 1920s tale of the one percent.
  21. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - those who think of this small book about a gallant spider's fight to save the life of a runt pig as a children's story are letting children have all the fun.
List and comments by Jacquelyn Mitchard, March 2, 2012, AARP Bulletin.
Shared from Minneapolis Star Tribune - Book Section, Sunday, February 23, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Being Crafty

I have a new 'Making Bows Tool' and I have been practicing the fine art of tying bows for cards.  My friend Jan (yes her name is Jan too) gave me the tool and showed me how to use it.  Thanks Jan.
I thought I remembered how to make bows but of course I didn't.  I called on a second friend of mine, Carol and she sent instructions. I need all the help I can get!
Here's the tool and the bows I have created so far.

The tool
 The bows
 And here's Elmo!  He's a cute little lunch box I store scissors and adhesive in.

I am also making a Spring card for a card swap in early March. This is what I have so far.
I want the flowers to be bright and pop like the flowers in the photos behind them.
It's a work in progress.  I'll let you know how it turns out when I come up with a design I like.

Here's the stamp I plan to use and some of my flower photos from last summer.
What have you been creating lately to get ready for Spring?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting Crafty - A Room of My Own

We have two bedrooms in our home.  One is our bedroom and the other is for guests and crafts.  Sarah was living here for awhile until she found roommates and an apartment.  She moved out in December.
I am in the process of getting the bedroom organized for crafts again and I still have much to do.

The room is looking good again - it's just all the 'stuff' all over the house that I need to collect and organize in there.  I have President's Day off from work so hopefully I can get a project or two done.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Working Downtown

I started a new job just two weeks ago.  I am at US Bank in downtown Minneapolis as a software tester.  My boss is the best and our team is terrific.  It's fun being downtown.  The office area is very nice and I stay busy all day in my new little cube.  I was contracting before and this was an opportunity for a full time salaried position with benefits including paid vacation.

I am taking the bus everyday and it's a great way to avoid driving in traffic and gives me time to do lots of reading.  I have already read three new books in the last two weeks.

Bill also works downtown and has been taking the bus for quite some time.  He leaves at 6 am to catch the 6:18 bus, gets dropped off right in front of the US Bank Plaza building and works in a building one Skyway away.  He starts work at 7:30 am and is done at 4 pm.  I decided to take the same bus so we have been riding down and back every day together. Luckily my team is very flexible on the time that I work.  We leave very so in the morning but at least we are back home by 5 pm.

They have posted a sign in our office 'No photos allowed on US Bank property' so I can't show the office or my co-workers but I will post the outside area and events from time to time.

#1 Photo Share: The bus stop for our trip home.  Enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day

I made reservations at The Roasted Pear in Burnsville for Valentine's Day and Sarah joined us.  We have eaten there in the past.  The food and atmosphere are wonderful.  Sarah had trout and Bill and I had the salmon.  We all had salads.  We were so happy to have Sarah join us.

I hope you had a good evening too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Finding our Christmas Present

We received an 'Omaha Steaks' gift card for Christmas from family.  There is a store here in the Twin City area so a couple weekends ago Bill and I set off to find it.

We had the address in St Louis Park, MN.  We had our GPS.  We were in the right spot according to directions but couldn't see it.
So we stopped at Noodles and Company (which we were able to see) and had lunch. Yummy.  My favorite!

Then we were back on the trail again.  We decided to try finding it on foot.  It was raining; it was sleeting; it was snowing.  Visibility was NOT good.
Round and round we walked while trying not to slide.  We had to stop and ask for directions twice and here it was - tucked around a corner in the middle of the outside mall.

They had a very appropriate sign at the front register.  We bought some lovely sea bass, chicken paddies and steak burgers.  We received a set of 4 single serve frozen cheese cake desserts for our efforts.
There is also a Charming Charlie store in the same mall.  I hope to get back soon to check that out too.
It was a very successful trip after all.

Handmade Happy Birthday Cards

I couldn't share these recently created cards until after the birthdays.  I wanted them to be a surprise for the birthday people in Little Rock so I didn't place them on Facebook until a couple days after the gifts and cards were opened there.

For Megan on her 7th birthday.

For our son, Will
Inside the card too

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy Birthday to Will and Megan

My son and granddaughter share their birthday.  They were both born on Ground Hogs day.  Will is our first child and Megan is our first grandchild.  Happy Birthday to you both.
 We shared a very special time together at the end of last year.  Will graduated from the University of Arkansas with his MBA in Finance.  Here we all are celebrating his achievement together in Little Rock.
Will, the graduate, with his lovely family.

Bill and I - proud parents with our latest graduate.

Back to the birthday people:
Megan is in first grade this year.  She loves to read.  She has been reading chapter books since Kindergarten.  She started dance classes this fall and loves ballet and tap dance.  She also loves doing crafts.  She has a younger sister, Lucy who loves following in her big sister's foot steps.
 Will is a great Dad.  He loves sharing time with his family.  He works for Geico as a car appraiser.  I couldn't find a photo of the green Geico car - I'll have to share that later.