Category: The Bestseller Code 100 (page 1 of 6)

Weekly Overview 04.02.18

Outside My Window…   my gardens are shaping up nicely.  The snapdragons that wintered over are looking particularly lovely.  And best of all, my Texas Star hibiscus is finally sending up new green shoots.  I’d been worried that moving it last month might have killed it, but it’s lived up to its description of a “hardy native.”

I am thinking…  about how quickly March flew by and how much I accomplished.  It seems like taking on the DCMGA newsletter (see April 2018 issue of The Root) has spurred me to make better use of my time.  I hope that trend continues.

I am thankful for…  Spring, warmer weather, green shoots, colorful blooms.

I am hoping… I get Quicken finally caught up and that tax filing goes smoothly.

 

 

 

I am reading…

  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Bestseller Code 100 book challenge)
  • The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health and Happiness by Daniel J. Lisle (Book Club for Plant Based Eaters)
  • A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future by Daniel H. Pink
  • Building The American Empire, Volume I: A Narrative History to 1877 by Harry L. Watson
  • Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny by Joe Garner
  • Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It by Joel Fuhrman

I am busy creating… an wedding gift afghan for a cousin.  In March I crocheted a granny square lapghan for another cousin who turns 60 on May 1, along with retiring.  It took about a week to make, crocheting in the evenings.  I’ll ship it to him later in the month.

 

 

 

 

I am hearing… the washing machine, Bill clacking away on his keyboard, and the neighborhood garbage truck.

Around the house…  a lot needs to be done, as I’ve concentrated on Quicken, the DCMGA newsletter, and outside projects most of March.  I’ll need to find a day (soon!) to devote to some serious housecleaning!  Also, the bonus room wall still has not received the final coat of knock-down finish.  Bill has been busy with outside projects also!

Around the garden…  and yard a lot has been accomplished.  The holly bushes along the front sidewalk have been removed, 6 rain barrels bought, 1 rain barrel sample pedestal made, 120 cement blocks delivered and distributed, the compost bin area of the new fencing has received two coats of linseed oil, 3 blueberry bushes have been planted into large containers, and perennial have been added to the front and back flowerbeds.  All that in two weeks!  We have been busy.

 

Before

 

 

 

 

 

Removal

 

After

 

120 cement blocks

 

One rain barrel pedestal prototype

 

In other news…    the cardboard is laid down and the outline set with the cement blocks for my new veggie garden.  I’m not sure quite when I’ll acquire the soil/mulch to fill it, or even how high I will fill it (might only need one level of blocks rather than two), but I’m excited to have it laid out.

 

One of my favorite things…  my new garden cart.  I love it!  It was a huge help in moving around those 120 cement blocks!  It even dumps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Weekly Overview… 

 Karen:  Monday morning the first issue of the DCMGA newsletter was mailed out to both members and another list of non-members who have signed up to receive announcements.  I have a chiropractor visit in the afternoon.  Tuesday is an all-day event at Global Spheres where I help assist with the Propagation Class for the 2018 Intern Class.  I’m looking forward to helping, although not the hours – I must be there at 8 a.m. and won’t be done until about 4:30 p.m.  I’m taking in my two spider plants so they can be trimmed by the interns and also taking in zinnia seeds that I gathered from my beautiful large zinnia plants last summer/fall.  It should be fun.  The rest of the week will be focused on Quicken / Taxes.

Bill:  Bill is working from home all week.  Evenings he’ll be continuing work on the rain barrel pedestals; although I think Monday night he plans to go to Sam’s Club to buy a battery for the Neon, which I discovered was no longer working when I went to move the car Friday morning.

David:  David will have his usual week – college classes/homework and progress on his Atomic Space Race game.

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing …  

 

Weekly Overview 02.07.18

 

Outside My Window…  the sun is shining, but it’s oh, so cold!  We’ve had about one warm nice day in the last week where I worked outside some.

I am thinking…  about all the items I found in the Alabama storage boxes that I sorted this morning.  The butterfly blocks in the above picture are a few of the 72 9×9 inch appliqued squares I rediscovered.  I knew I had all these things, but after a decade or more of not seeing them, I’d forgotten.  These will make a beautiful quilt…someday.

I am thankful for… butterflies and flowers, which was a recurring theme in all most of the boxes I sorted.  Below is a wooden butterfly that my Grandpa Shipman made for me probably 25 or more years ago.  It needs a little glue and then I will hang it in the house.  Our winds here are too strong much of the time to hang it outside.

 

 

I am hoping… to figure out a way to display this cross stitched lap quilt that Doris (Bill’s mom) made shortly before she died.  When I gathered up her sewing and craft items, I thought this item needed completing, but upon closer examination, it is finished.  I’d like to display it so we can be using it without ruining it – all that beautiful stitch work won’t hold up well to actually using it as a lap warmer.

 

 

I am reading…

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (for 100 Bestsellers Code reading challenge)
  • Building The American Empire, Volume I: A Narrative History to 1877 by Harry L. Watson
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
  • Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny by Joe Garner
  • Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It by Joel Fuhrman

 

 

I am busy creating… a blue and white waves baby blanket for a friend who just had her first grandchild last month.  While I’m finishing that up (which it really isn’t close to being finished yet), I’ll have to do some yarn color and pattern planning for a wedding gift afghan for one of my cousins.  I’ve chatted with her about the project, so I’ve got a good idea of the colors I need to be looking for.  If I ever run out of crochet projects, I can pick up this counted cross stitch kit I discovered this morning.  Doris began it, but as you can see, it has a long ways to go to finish it.  It’s very pretty though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am hearing… Bill, his coworker, and their client talking, talking, talking, which is my usual background noise and why I use my earbuds and phone so much to listen to music.

Around the house…  Christmas décor has been taken down and carried upstairs – boxes are everywhere in the guest room, waiting to be put away.  Bill mentioned the possibility of putting them in the attic to free up closet room, so I am waiting to see if that is the actual plan.

Around the garden…  I have daffodils poking up and I planted two primroses in the small bed that contains all my spring bulbs.  And that’s about it – no real change from last month.  Hopefully we’ll begin to have some warmer weather soon, but so far, that’s not been the case, and I am a warm weather gardener.

 

In other news…  I have made progress on February goals – Christmas is gone, estate conversation has been had with the lawyer, focus on food has been 100%, I’ve done some walking and a lot of stair climbing, I’ve blogged a bit, and continued crocheting on the baby blanket.  Skipping mochas and no snacking is working, as it usually does, and I’ve lost 2 of the 5 post-flu pounds.  I’m encouraged.  Quicken and office cleaning, not so much.  I really have to buckle down to that.

One of my favorite things…  my Santa bells.  Bill bought me the first one while we lived in Arizona.  The other two, Mama and Papa Claus, I found in the boxes of Christmas items brought back from storage.  I’d eventually like to fill the shelves of this filigree unit with Santa bells and other bells, like birds or butterflies, if there is such a thing.  I’m going to keep my eye out for them.

Our Weekly Overview… 

 Karen:  Monday I had a visit to the chiropractor and I’ll be going back again on Thursday.  Tuesday I had a DCMGA (Denton County Master Gardener Association) Newsletter meeting in the morning, at which I ended up being Managing Editor of the group’s newsletter, something we are starting back up after a 7 year hiatus.  I’m excited about the work, but also cognizant of the fact that I need to make better use of my time in order to get everything done, as it will add to my workload significantly.

I also had a phone conversation with the estate lawyer Tuesday afternoon, which I hope will result in forward motion on the lawyer’s part.  Wednesday is a home day, as is Thursday, other than running to the library to pick up books currently on hold.  Friday morning will be JrMN (Junior Master Naturalist) Preschool class and hopefully afternoon will be continuing work on Quicken.  I expect Saturday we will do some more work on the bonus room wall – it’s getting very close to being ready to paint!

Sunday is the opening race (no points race) for NASCAR.  Football season ended this past Sunday and now here’s racing!

Bill:  Bill is working from home all week.  He’s also continuing to putter with his remote control airplane that he brought back from the Alabama storage unit and also practicing on the flight simulator that he bought last week. He’s been visiting the chiropractor on a regular basis also, with appointments scheduled for Monday and Wednesday.

David:  College class homework has been keeping David occupied, along with continuing work on his game.  He sent me a link yesterday to his latest blog post, in which he updates his readers on game building progress:  ATOMIC SPACE NEWS #9: Glowing colors

 

Here’s a picture thought I am sharing …  

Book Review of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I read this book as part of the 2017 European Reading Challenge and also The Bestseller Code Reading Challenge.   Locations include Belgium &  The Netherlands, mostly Amsterdam, and the United States.

The Goldfinch*, by David Nicholls

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The Goldfinch (2014) is Donna Tartt’s third novel, following her critically acclaimed debut novel The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2003).  Observe the number of years between each publication date; Tartt takes her time, writing large novels, both in length and in scope.

Bildungsroman

When I finish a book, I like to read other descriptions and reviews.  Sometimes those reviews gel the thoughts and feelings I had while reading the novel, while other times I disagree entirely with the reviewer.  While reading through a few reviews for The Goldfinch, I came across a new term (to me): bildungsroman.  Merriam-Webster provides this definition:

literature : a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character – a bildungsroman by Charles Dickens

This is certainly an apt description for The Goldfinch, as Tartt leads the main character, Theo Decker, on a decade long journey of life-altering catastrophes, emotional and physical upheavals, grief, and survivor’s guilt, providing plenty of opportunities for moral and psychological growth.  As a reader, Theo drew me in from the very beginning, and I followed his journey avidly, hoping he would make it through the storms, while preparing myself for the possibility that he would not.

Truisms and Real Literature

Some reviewers blasted The Goldfinch for not being “real literature” because the novel explained too much to the reader and didn’t require said reader to have to analyze the book for its underlying message.  The last chapter presents several “truisms” that Theo has come to realize from his bildungsroman, and they are spelled out for the reader.  These reviews included long rants about what the term “real literature” means, what makes a book “serious” and “literary” rather than merely a contemporary novel, quickly read and easily forgotten.  The same discussion occurs with art.  What is art?  What makes it art?  Tartt addresses this:

You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum gift shop sees something else entire, and that’s not even to mention the people separated from us by time—four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we’re gone—it’ll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it’ll never strike in any deep way at all but—a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular.

 

In the end, art is whatever makes us, as individuals, feel.  Literature is the same.  It challenges us individually.  It speaks to us individually.  It affects us individually.  For me, The Goldfinch is definitely literature, worthy of the time it took to read.  It’s a book that I will think about and mull over for weeks to come, and one that I will quite likely read again.

This is an abbreviated review.  For the full review, please visit It’s A Mystery Blog.

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