Day 154: Two Delightful Books

Book One

Karen from book group chose A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra as her book choice for our September 2017 discussion. I tried to read it, but it didn’t appeal to me. While I understood the writing was beautiful, I couldn’t get past the violence. It was set in Chechnya during the first and second Chechen wars and really terrible things happened during that time.

Determined to read it, I picked it up again about a year later. I started over and didn’t get much farther than I got the first time, but this time I didn’t just understand that it was beautifully written, but saw that it was.

Not too long ago I was again determined to finish it. It sat there in my Kindle and Audible libraries looking at me with contempt because I’d abandoned it twice. This time I didn’t start over, but picked up where I left off. I alternately read and listened to it, finding it easy to switch between formats. I was surprised that I remembered what I’d read in the past and only a few times had to look back to remember who a character was. I finished it this evening and said aloud to no one, “what a beautiful and terribly sad book that was.”

Book Two

The book Karen (again!) has chosen for her book discussion next month is Have You Seen Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I borrowed it from Amazon Prime Reading as soon as my tears stopped after finishing A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I loved it right away.

Day 153: Tiny Zinnias. Tiny Vase.

My Aerogarden zinnia’s started blooming this week and I’d not noticed until this afternoon. The plants are not small, but the flowers are, with very tiny stems. In order to keep the plants blooming, I need to cut the flowers which is fine, but how would I display them?

I tried a sake cup, but the opening was too wide. I looked in my dining room china cabinet but nothing there would work. Then I remembered that there were tiny vases in the glass-fronted secretary in the guest room.

On the bottom shelf I found a tiny vase of child in a pointed cap standing near a cylinder (maybe a hollow tree stump?). It belonged to either my Grandma Green or my Grandma Patrick. I wish I knew which one. It’s delightfully perfect for these tiny flowers though.

Day 152: Wintersweet Again

If you recall, earlier this month I was delighted that the wintersweet seeds had shown life in the form of a taproot. Today, after fretting about not seeing any progress, I gently dug down into the loamy soil and found the plant. It seems that the taproot pulled the seed, first leaf and all, farther down. It may have found its way up into the air and light, but I helped it a bit and set the leaf above the soil.

Also the Cold Bernie with Mittens at the Inauguration memes…

Delightful!

Day 150: Ploughman’s Lunch and an Apple Cake

My go-to meal at pubs the first few times I went to England was a ploughman’s lunch. Slice of meat, some hunks of cheese, pickle and pickles and a simple lettuce salad with salad cream. The last time I was there I was looking forward to a ploughman’s lunch, but couldn’t find any until we were in Glasgow. It was delightful.

I recently ordered a box of British food from Cost Plus World Market just because. We also had some leftover brisket so I decided to make a ploughman’s lunch for dinner. To go with that I made a delightfully delicious apple cake.

Days 145 – 149: Mostly Hopeful

I’m delightedly, yet guardedly, optimistic about the future. I’m hopeful that during the Biden administration, many things our country (and planet) lost during the trumpet’s administration will be found again.

A few other delights of the past few days:

Only Children by Alison Lurie

When it was decided our book group read a book by the [recently] late Alison Lurie I was not 100% delighted, but I was delightfully surprised when I loved Only Children, a book about adults behaving badly. A group of 4 adults and three children spend a few days with Anna, the headmistress of a private, liberal school in Westchester County, NY during the depression. It’s mostly a slice-of-life tale, which I don’t always like, but this was so well written. I’d not heard of Alison Lurie until one of our book group members sent us a link to her obituary. This won’t be the only book I read by this author.

Carbonara & Baked Custard

I had a number of egg yolks left over from Andrew’s birthday cake which featured homemade marshmallow so I made a delightful carbonara and equally delightful baked custard for dinner one night.

The photo at the top is what was left of the custard after two days. It was my first time using a bain-marie to cook anything.

A Day to Myself

Dean took off on a hike with a friend on Saturday, so I had the house to myself all day. Always delightful.