Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vintage B&W Pony Pics!

A few weeks back Jen, at Scissors, Paper, Glue, wrote a blog posting about vintage b&w photos; she'd just picked up four bags full at an antique store. She invited her blog readers to tell her their favorite subject of vintage b&w photos and, if she had any, she'd send them to us. FUN!!

Well, I happen to LOVE old photos of kids on ponies. You know, the pony that used to be led around suburban neighborhoods back in the 30's and 40's by a bronze-skinned man in a red-and-white-checked shirt and a droopy moustache? Or the ones that walk around in a circle at the county fair (still see 'em today!) or led by a handler?

In my Mom's collection of family photos she has a shot of her older sister, my aunt Joanie, sitting astride a black-and-white pony in the front yard of their home in Los Angeles. I love that photo! I looked and looked but apparently I don't have a copy of it - I'll have to get one next time I'm at my mom's. Anyway, I think because I love that picture so much is why I asked Jen to see if she'd ended up with any "kids on pony" pics.

Sure enough, within a few days I received a note from Jen and included were THREE b&w photos! Thank you, Jen!!

I scanned them and here they are:
This one seems to have been taken at a fair. Check out the bits of roller coaster track in the background. Don't you just love the man's hat and pipe?? I don't know what the year was when this picture was taken, but I had a pixie haircut just like this little girl's around 1965, ha ha! Oh, and if you look real close at the left side of the photo, there's a white building where you can just read most of the phrase, "Pony Photos!"
I think this lady looks like Eleanor Roosevelt. She's holding the bridles of two shetland ponies, each with a pretty little girl on its back. Check out the lady's hat, striped dress, and strappy shoes. On the back of this picture is written, in what is probably the woman's very own handwriting, "May 1932 Beverly Hills." I'm guessing this may be is a well-heeled society lady and her two well-brought-up daughters, and those ponies are owned, not rented!
This horse is probably not really a pony, he looks a little big, but this still looks like a posed shot. For one thing, the young lady is certainly not dressed in riding clothes. Still, she appears to be happy to be astride a horse, maybe feeling pretty grown-up. She's probably around 11 or 12 which is the prime age when so many girls are crazy about horses (I was). I love the brands on the horse, there's one looks like a capital "N" just in front of the girl's leg, and the other is on the horse's rump and looks like "DB." Would love to know the name(s) of the ranch, or ranches(?), those letters represent!

It has been so much fun to examine these pictures, and wonder about the lives of the people in them, and the times when they lived, different from now, but still the same in many ways.

Anybody else share my love of vintage b&w pony pics?? Got any? I'd love to see 'em. Share!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A relaxed and lazy Sunday - NOT!

Past time for an update and a confession. Actually, the confession will be the update! I have not been able to stick with my goal of 25 Jazzercise classes in 25 Days. Argh!!! Well, Life got in the way a time or two. First, there was the Saturday that we went sailing with Leo on the Chat de Mer. Then Wed'day and Thursday of last week I was not feeling well. I had some mild flu-like symptoms, and some rather dramatic fluid build-up in my lungs that made it hard to breathe. I don't know whether I was having an allergic reaction to something new or different blooming outside, or if it's adult-onset asthma (is there such a thing?), but when I was up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because I could barely breathe, I was sure wishing for a rescue inhaler! My mom, several siblings, and at least two nieces have asthma and use inhalers regularly, so it does run in my family. I've really never heard of it coming on in an adult who never had a problem before, though, but boy, I surely have first-hand knowledge now of how asthmatics suffer. This is not my first episode either, they started about 6 months ago, and occur sporadically and with no rhyme or reason.

Long story short, I missed Jazzercise on Wed'day and Thursday. The "asthma" is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Then, this past Saturday I went to San Jose with my friend, Susan, for a digital scrapbooking laptop crop sponsored by so, again, I was not able to attend my Saturday step class. That's 4 missed days. We had a blast at the crop, by the way! Met lots of nice people, learned some new digital scrapbooking techniques, ate way more chocolate than is good for a human being, and got lots of layouts done (including Ryan's bathtime layouts, Heather, so expect those in the mail soon along with your 4th of July page)! I worked mainly on my own personal pages, and pages for my family, which was really fun because I usually spend most of my time on layouts for my Webajeb customers. [You can see some samples of my Webajeb work at and]

Ok, so we're up to 4 days missed in my quest for 25 Jazzercise classes in 25 Days. Then, yesterday, I slept in due to getting home very late from the laptop crop, and I missed the only two Sunday classes. I was ready to chalk up another lost day when Mike suggested a bike ride as an alternate form of exercise. I was having an "I-can't-seem-to-make-any-decisions" day so Mike chose our route. That won't happen again. He decided we would ride from our house, up the hill on our street to Rose Drive, up Rose Drive to Hastings, and then dooooowwwwwnnnnnn Hastings to Southampton Road, down Southampton and over to the Benicia State Recreation Area. Once there we first stopped to eat some ripe blackberries near the ranger's kiosk, then we cycled the approximately 5 mile round trip (mostly flat but there was a hefty headwind part of the way) to the end of the park and back, with a sidetrip up a gravel path to some fig trees we know about to see if there was anything ripe. (There wasn't; in fact, the figs were all teensy and hard-as-rocks, probably due to the drought we are having this year). Next we rode through town to the library (this part was my idea - I had a book on hold I wanted to pick up). We took a short break to drink some water, then started the torturous trek back.

Yeah, I said torturous.

Remember all that downhill riding we did? Well, there's no way to ride back to our house without tackling some pretty hefty hills; either the steep but relatively short climb up Panorama or Hastings, or the long and steady rise of 2nd Street. We chose 2nd Street and managed to ride all the way, slowly but surely. Even that, though, was nothing compared to Rose Drive! Once we turned onto Rose the headwind was horrible. Most of the time we even had to pedal on the downhill portions of this hilly road else the wind would bring us to a stop. Finally, the last uphill block did me in and my bicycle and I toppled onto the shady grass in front of Matthew Turner Elementary school. Once I'd caught my breath, I walked my bike the rest of the way to the top of our street, about 2 blocks, and only then did I climb back on to coast down the hill to our house (in order not to be embarrassed in front of our neighbors).

We arrived back home about 4 p.m. I'm pretty sure I didn't get up off the couch for the rest of the day OR evening.

Mike seemed to do fine on our ride and, wisely, he pretty much held his tongue about the rough conditions though at one point he did ask, "Are you going to count this as a Jazzercise class?"

Oh, yes. Yes, I am.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sailing in SF, and another trip on our horizon!

We had a great day sailing on Saturday. Here's Mike at the helm of the Chat de Mer, near Angel Island. The weather was typical for summer in the San Francisco Bay; partly overcast, partly sunny, with a nice strong breeze. It was Mike's and my first time sailing the catamaran and, although the sails are harder to put up and bring down than on our old boat, Mirage (because they are so much bigger), she handles beautifully. I got a chance at the helm myself with Leo intructing me through a number of tacks as we headed toward the Golden Gate bridge. The feel of this boat is certainly different than the Mirage, but we're getting the hang of it. Leo said I did well.
Here is a photo of the Chat de Mer in the Richmond harbor. Next time we go out I'll get some pictures of the roomy inside. For now here are a few more pictures of some of the outside amenities:
Here is the netting that many catamarans have in the front, stretched between the two hulls. It's a popular place to hang out and watch the water below, especially when there are dolphins playing in the waves under the boat.
This is for you, Mom! It's the dinghy, attached to the aft end of the boat, and it's a big dinghy. Not like the little one Mike and I had aboard the Mirage, that had to be inflated with a footpump and rowed with oars, this one is large, permanently "inflated," can be automatically lowered into the water at a moment's notice, and has a nice big engine. Easy escape in case the boat sinks!
A nice feature of catamarans is the swim step on the aft end of each hull. The bottom step is right at the water line and then there is that silver ladder that can be lowered into the water for very easy reboarding.

We used to have a time of it trying to get back into the Mirage after a swim. We had to either climb the rope ladder (very difficult and awkward) or climb into our dinghy and then into the boat. I used to worry incessantly about Mike going overboard, becoming exhausted in the cold water, and me being unable to pull him back into the boat. I'd probably have to tie a rope to him and tow him to shore!
Here's a view of Alcatraz. It looks empty because very few visitors come to this side of the island; they are all on the other side where the boats dock.
A small sailboat, the "Missy B," heeled over in the strong afternoon wind. These sailors are in full foul-weather gear, a good indication of the both the day's temperature, and the possibility of water splashing aboard.
The city of San Francisco.
It was obviously a great day for fishing. Look at all the party boats! The seagulls follow the fishing vessels waiting for the filleting of the day's catch to begin. They then swoop and dive on the scraps that are thrown overboard. The Golden Gate bridge is in the background.
More fishing boats. Look at all the fishermen lining the sides. The waves are from the high-speed ferry that just went by.
Leo, at the helm, and Gordon. There were five of us aboard; Leo, Mike, me, Gordon, and Jerry. It was a great day! Our next trip is scheduled for the first weekend in August, when we will take an overnight trip to Half Moon Bay.

These day and weekend trips are preparation for the Big Trip to come: the Baja Ha-Ha!! Yes, Mike and I are going again this year, this time as crew for Leo on the Chat de Mer! We are very excited. Leo will be adding one or two more people as crew; we don't know yet who they will be.

I'm also happy to report that the same couple who house- and petsat for us last year have agreed to return this year! We're tickled to have Richard and Mary coming back; our cats already know them so the adjustment should be easy for them, and I will have a little less separation-anxiety (at least we hope so). Richard and Mary enjoyed living in Benicia, so are also looking forward to the two months here this fall. Our dates of travel will be October 15 through December 15.

And, of course, I'll be taking my laptop so I can blog along the way!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Laughing Baby Lydia

Okay, laughing babies is the best sound in the universe. Here's baby Lydia, from a blog I read called That's What We Said. Be sure your sound is turned on, you'll want to watch this one over and over, it's priceless!

Chat de Mer, and a new Blog of Note

We're going sailing tomorrow. Our friend, Leo, owns a 43-foot catamaran and has invited us out for the day. Here is a photo of Leo's boat, the Chat de Mer, as he is pulling up to his spot at the dock in the Richmond Harbor. The name is french and, translated, means "SeaCat." It's a gorgeous boat, with three cabins, two heads (with showers!), a very nice galley including a small fridge (and freezer!), a t.v. with DVD-player, solar panels, single side-band radio (in addition to the usual VHF), honestly, I don't even know what all he's got on there. Pretty much all the bells and whistles any sea-going captain could ever want.

I've never crewed on a catamaran before so I have a lot to learn. Luckily, Leo seems to be pretty patient and good-natured (unlike that last captain I sailed with) so I'm looking forward to a fun day. Mike will be crew, too, so that should bring him down a notch or two!

The only downside is that I will not be able to make it to a Jazzercise class tomorrow. I've managed to get to class for 10 (yes, TEN) days in a row, and now I'll have to miss a day. I briefly considered attending twice one day to make up for it, but I think I'll just modify my goal to be "25 classes in 26 days" or, since I will miss class the following Saturday too, to attend a PhotoShop laptop crop at Adobe HQ in San Jose with my friend Susan) I'd better make it "25 classes in 27 days."

Still, I think that's pretty great! Going to all the extra classes has been fun. I'm moving out of my comfort zone by going to classes with different instructors, at different times of the day, and even going to regular Jazzercise, instead of only Step classes. All the variations are good; it keeps me from using the same muscles over and over every day. Instead, I'm getting a great, overall workout. And my new shoes are fabulous! No blisters.

My BFF (best friends forever), Judy, has a blog!! I'm very excited. She writes in such an entertaining manner and always includes lots of details (which I'm usually too lazy to do, but am trying to improve). I've been urging her for awhile now to start a blog, and I think so have some of her other friends, and she's finally done it. I especially enjoy the photos she posts. Guess that's why I love blogs so much. It's like email, but illustrated. I've always been priveledged, via our frequent emails to each other, to "hear" Judy's stories (all true) and enjoy her philosophy of life, and the meaning she finds in everyday things; I'm happy to know that now lots more people will also get to enjoy them.

Judy: You Go, Girl!

Oh, and I'm tickled to be able to say I'm the FIRST to subscribe to your blog!!! Can't wait to see what you post next!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Junk Food Junkie

Mike at the Solano County Fair on Saturday, July 12, 2008.

So, since I've been "bragging" about excercising every day, I feel I have to make a confession. I have had a lot of junk food lately! Mainly at the Fair last Saturday. This is just something I do; whenever we go to a fair or carnival I eat junk food. Mike knows he will have to buy me corn dogs, ice cream, popcorn, caramel apples, cotton candy, whatever I get a hankering for. And I always get a hankering for pretty much everything! Chocolate-dipped, half vanilla and half chocolate soft-serve ice cream. Melty but luscious.
Seasoned curly fries. With lots of catsup and, yep, a little pickle relish just for the fun of it.
A caramel apple sprinkled with chopped peanuts. I actually took that home with me to eat later (after a relatively healthy dinner). I like to cut them up and eat it in slices. Scout was happy about that, too, because she likes peanuts so she had a little treat as well.

There's no photo of my corn dog and I decided against cotton candy because all we could find was the balls of colored stuff already bagged up. I don't want it unless I can watch it being made. I love to see the workers swirl that paper cone around the huge circular vat, turning it constantly to sweep up the spun sugar. And it smells so good, too. I felt a little kinship with these piglets that we saw in the livestock barn, heh heh. There were nine piglets total, the other four are underneath these five! Boy, were they pushing and shoving. Mama Pig seemed to hardly notice; she was snoozing. The piglets were sure cute.

There's always a cool reptile exhibit at our county fair. This year they had a female albino Burmese boa constrictor that was friendly enough to pose for a photo with us! I was surprised how warm the snake was, and how heavy! Her handler said she probably weighed around 30 to 40 lbs.

I'm glad she didn't have a hankering for "junk food!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baby's Got New Shoes

I'm on Day Six of my 25 days of continuous attendance at Jazzercise! During the last six days it has become painfully clear (and I mean that literally) that I need new shoes. My back is killin' me! I work hard in class. I do a lot of jumping, jogging, lunging, marching, skipping, and just all-around steppin' to the music while pumping my arms, keeping my abs tight, and using my core muscles to avoid straining my back or neck. In spite of all my efforts to do the moves correctly, I'm still having low-back pain.

It's gotta be the shoes. Improper fitting shoes, broken down shoes, the wrong shoes for the sport, all these things can cause problems in the back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

I've been way overdue for buying new shoes, and exercising every day has really brought the issue to the forefront. I don't like shopping; in spite of being female, somehow I was born totally lacking the shopping gene. Finally, after suffering with the onset of backpain for the past few days, I got myself in gear and went out to buy shoes. For years I've been partial (and very loyal) to the New Balance brand of shoes. Being picky like that makes it harder to find just the right shoes, which is another reason why I kept putting it off. I simply do not enjoy the hunt! But I got lucky and, yesterday, found them at the only second store I went to. And they were on sale!

So, when I go to the 6 p.m. class today I should be all set to come home withOUT an aching back.

I'll have blisters instead.

Friday, July 11, 2008

There's always a price to pay

I'm keeping to my goal (so far) of attending 25 Jazzercise classes in 25 days. Three down and 22 to go! Of course, there's always a price to pay. My back, neck and shoulders are aching! I'm lucky in that I'm not having any trouble with knees, hips or ankles....YET! But I've dug out every tube of muscle rub cream we own, as well as a couple bottles of pain relief tabs.

When I got home from class this morning, got the shower done, pain meds applied, I read a couple of blogs. One blog that I follow (out of 48 - yeah, I know, I need to get a life) is written by a man named Tim. Among the topics he writes about are exercise and diet. Last night he wrote about the breakfast he'd had that morning of steel-cut oats, and it sounded so good that I decided to have oatmeal myself today.

I don't have the steel-cut variety (I understand they are really good for you so I'm going to see if I can find some) but I've got the regular old-fashioned type. I like to make my hot cereals with milk instead of water, but remembered that I'd finished off the milk with my dinner last night. I thought I'd use powdered milk but I couldn't find it in our stuffed & cluttered pantry. However, I did run across a box of WestSoy unsweetened vanilla-flavored Soy Milk. Hm! I was a little unsure how it would taste so I used 1/2 water and 1/2 soy milk when I prepared the oatmeal. It was delicious!! Tomorrow I plan to use all soy milk. I highly recommend this. The vanilla flavor added a nice touch and with the small amount of brown sugar that I usually add it was more like a dessert than a healthy, good-for-you breakfast. Plus, it's nice to be using that box of soy milk because I have no idea how long ago I bought it!
So that's my story for today, so far. The rest of the day will be spent getting some of my digital scrapbooking work done, a little grocery shopping, lunch in the garden so I can enjoy my single stalk of gladiola blooms while it lasts, and then, well, I think I may need to lay down and rest my poor, old, aching muscles (but aching in a good way, of course)!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Embarrassment can be the Mother of Determination

Tuesday evening I went to Jazzercise Benicia, as usual, for the 7:15 p.m. step class. The instructors always recognize and announce milestones in class attendance as each person reaches them. Toward the end of class our instructor, Jennifer, announced that I had reached the level of 25 classes. Twenty-five classes in SIX months???

How embarrassing!!!

It's never taken me this long to reach the 25-class mark in the six years I've been going to Jazzercise.

As I collected my handful of Hershey's kisses from Jen, and another lady received hers for having reached 100 (yes, one hundred) classes, I decided I needed to do something about my embarrassing and pathetic attendance for 2008. I mean, really, 25 classes in 6 months is only an average of 4 classes per month! Even subtracting 2 weeks for my trip to China, and another 2 weeks for my son's wedding, that's still only 5 classes per month. Ouch. Besides, it's ridiculous, now that I work from home and my schedule is totally flexible (and no more commuting to Napa), that I can't get to class more often than that!

So I've made a short-term goal of attending class EVERY DAY for the next 25 days, and after that a more long-term goal to attend a minimum of 4 classes per week for the rest of the year. I Googled Jazzercise Benicia's website and printed off their class schedule and stuck it to my fridge with magnets. I prefer step classes vs the regular jazzercise classes so I circled all of the step classes. There's at least one every day of the week. Perfect.And I'm off to a good start.

Yesterday I went to the 8:10 a.m. step class. Tonight is the 7:15 p.m. class that I regularly attend, and tomorrow I'll again go to the 8:10 a.m. class. I've already got my excercise clothes ready for tonight, as you can see from the first photo (Jack helped).

One day down, 24 to go!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ya Gotta Click the Links

I was reading my niece, Heather's, blog yesterday and when I was done ooh-ing and ah-ing over baby Ryan's latest photos I did something I don't often do. I checked out the blogs she has listed and, whoa, I found two of her sisters now have blogs, and no one told me!

Thanks a lot, you Marshall girls, for creating blogs and not telling me! And even worse, one of them, JESSICA, has been reading MY blog but she's never told me she reads it, and she's never left me a comment either. She's sneaking around reading my blog! Makes me wonder how many other people are doing the same. It's creepy! So, listen up, people; leave me a comment when you visit! Or don't. I know, lurkers are people, too.

So now I've put links to their blogs on this one. Jessica's is First of Four (I assume because she's the first of the four Marshall girls). And Kirsten's is Just Me Kirsten.

That leaves just Megan as the lone Marshall sister without a blog. At least I don't think she has one. Wait, I better go click the rest of the links on Heather's blog, and oh, yeah, the ones that Jessica has, and Kirsten, if she has any....

This is how I spend so much time reading blogs. It's truly addicting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inspiration in Benicia

Benicia, California. On Main Street, looking toward the Carquinez Strait. One of the views that explain why I love living here. I often say that I won't leave here unless it's in a pine box. Look at that delish Benicia breeze bending the palm fronds. That breeze allows many of us to live here without A/C in our homes, which works out great....except when there's a heat wave, like right now! At the moment I would adore A/C but, in a few days, when the weather cools, I will again enjoy being able to live closer to the seasons. And greener, 'cuz we can use less electricity.This photo looks out on the entrance to the Benicia Marina. We always include the marina on our walks or bike rides downtown. Mike loves boats and water, and I love water and seabirds, and we get treated to all three here. Many times we've watched boats coming in or out of this waterway. We brought the Mirage here, from her berth in Alameda, a couple of times. Now we no longer own her, and her new owners berth her in Richmond. It's weird, not owning a sailboat anymore, even for me. Mike is the one who has always been the avid sailor. But I miss her, too.Something else I love about my little town. The architecture of the old buildings. This one is on the corner of 1st and West J. I mean, you just don't see windows like this on anything being built today. If I could afford to, I'd have a little office in one of these old buildings, for my little digital scrapbooker-for-hire business. What a boost to creativity. My favorite quilt shop, the Patchwork Cat, is housed in one of the old industrial buildings near the docks. Old, scarred-up wooden floors, high ceilings with exposed pipes, windows overlooking the Carquinez Strait - what could be more inspiring?

What inspires you?

How Many Have YOU Read?

This meme is making the blog rounds, I got it from The English Geek who got it from someone else's blog, who got it from yet another blog......

(meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture).

It's the Top 100 list of books from The Big Read, which claims that most people have read, on average, six or fewer books from the list. After going through the list myself it is clear that I read a LOT and I'm a fan of George Orwell, Charles Dickens, and other classic writers.

(At the end of this post I will list a few things that you may not know about me with regard to books and reading.)

So, want to play along?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read (as in the book is bought and sitting on my shelf).

3) Underline the books you LOVE.

Ready? OK!

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen.

2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien.

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee.

6. The Bible.

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte.

8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell.

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman.

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott.

12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy.

13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller.

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare.

15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien.

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks.

18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger.

19. The Time Traveler’s's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger.

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot.

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald.

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens.

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams.

26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck.

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll.

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis.

34. Emma - Jane Austen.

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini.

37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne.

40. Animal Farm - George Orwell

41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown.

42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving.

44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery.

46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

47. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood.

48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

49. Atonement - Ian McEwan

50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

51. Dune - Frank Herbert

52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley.

58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck.

61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold.

64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas.

65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac.

66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy.

67. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding

68. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie.

69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville.

70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

71. Dracula - Bram Stoker

72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett.

73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

74. Ulysses - James Joyce.

75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath.

76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

77. Germinal - Emile Zola

78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

79. Possession - AS Byatt.

80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens.

81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker.

83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

84. Madame Bovary - Gustave

85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

86. Charlotte's Web - EB White

87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad.

91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

93. Watership Down - Richard Adams.

94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo.

(99 and 100 were not included in The English Geek’s blog….if I find out what they are, I’ll add them.)

Let me know if you play along on your own blog!

Now, here are 5 things about me, with regard to books and reading:

1.) I have a little notebook in which I write down the book titles and authors of every book I read.

2.) I know my library card number by heart.

3.) The first thing I do when I move to a new place is get a library card.

4.) My favorite thing to do on the second Saturday of every month is go to the Benicia Library book sale.

5.) I have way more books in my walk-in closet than I do clothes, shoes, and jewelry combined!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Gorgeous Summer Day

It's a shimmery summer day here in Benicia, with just enough of a lovely warm breeze to set the leaves in our birch tree sighing. I'm sitting outside in the "cat garden" with my laptop and a nicer setting you couldn't find anywhere I think! It's too bad the lighting is really not too good for viewing a computer monitor! But I'll persevere at least as long as my laptop's battery holds out which is about another hour. It's just too nice of a day to be indoors (plus this is a good opportunity for me to do some deep watering of our trees and tomato plants).

The bird in this photo visited one of our hummingbird feeders a few days ago. He's definitely NOT a hummingbird, and I'm pretty sure he (or she?) visited us last year about this time as well. Naturally, I can't remember what kind of bird he is, and I'm thinking we never were really sure if he was a northern tangier or an oriole, even though we checked our bird guides. He's got an orange head and body and tail, with brown/black/grey on his wings and belly. If anyone knows what kind of bird this is, please let me know!

We've got lots of hummers right now, too, and mockingbirds. The mockingbirds usually nest somewhere nearby and sometimes dive-bomb our cats when they are in the garden. As if the cats could get anywhere NEAR the nests! They are well-confined to their garden, but I guess the mockers don't know that and, after all, a few years ago our male Burmese cat, Tony, did find a mockingbird nest (they nest in evergreen trees only about 3 feet from the ground, how foolish is that?) and killed all three of the babies just before they fledged. It was tragic.

Mike is at work today and, can you believe it, he had to work on the Fourth! I was NOT happy about that, nor am I pleased he is working today. It's a shame he has to miss this gorgeous weather. No one should be inside on a day like this. And I just noticed that a pure white gladiolus has sprung up and bloomed! We planted bulbs years and years ago and didn't do a good job cultivating them so over the years we've had fewer and fewer. Last year I'm not sure we had any at all and now, out of the blue, popped this one tall stalk with a dozen buds, the lowest three already blooming. I often think things like that are "signs."

I wonder what it means?