Saturday, March 28, 2015

“Life is not a paragraph, and death is no parenthesis.” ~ Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

At knitting the other day one of the ladies pulled a book out of her bag and asked if anyone would be interested in taking it as she was passing it on. Well, I forgot all of my manners and practically snatched it out of her hands. I did apologize a few days later to those other women who had but a brief moment to express interest before I whisked it away.

I have been wanting to read The Girl On The Train for some time now. Short of purchasing it however, that was not going to happen any time soon. I looked at the reserve lists at the libraries that I use, and being number 100 and something was something I didn't want to do, at least not until we get back north. So, I had made peace with the fact that I wasn't going to read in it the foreseeable future. I was practically simmering with excitement that I had it in my hot little hands!

Just a few days later, it is done and ready to pass on to the next knitter! What a ride! I had read somewhere that if a reader liked Gone Girl, they would like The Girl On The Train. I would have to say that this is an accurate recommendation. I am not going to say too much, just copy the Amazon summary below. To do more than that would run the danger of revealing more than I (or you) would want. I can say that I did have the culprit pegged fairly earlier on, but to say how I arrived at that conclusion would also be saying too much.

"Intersecting, overlapping, not-quite-what-they-seem lives. Jealousies and betrayals and wounded hearts. A haunting unease that clutches and won’t let go. All this and more helps propel Paula Hawkins’s addictive debut into a new stratum of the psychological thriller genre. At times, I couldn’t help but think: Hitchcockian. From the opening line, the reader knows what they’re in for: “She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks…” But Hawkins teases out the mystery with a veteran’s finesse. The “girl on the train” is Rachel, who commutes into London and back each day, rolling past the backyard of a happy-looking couple she names Jess and Jason. Then one day Rachel sees “Jess” kissing another man. The day after that, Jess goes missing. The story is told from three character’s not-to-be-trusted perspectives: Rachel, who mourns the loss of her former life with the help of canned gin and tonics; Megan (aka Jess); and Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s wife, who happens to be Jess/Megan’s neighbor. Rachel’s voyeuristic yearning for the seemingly idyllic life of Jess and Jason lures her closer and closer to the investigation into Jess/Megan’s disappearance, and closer to a deeper understanding of who she really is. And who she isn’t. This is a book to be devoured." -Neal Thompson

And "devour" it I did! If you liked Gone Girl (I know that some folks, including Bruce, didn't), then I would highly recommend this read. Unless you choose to purchase it however, you may be in for a wait!

Please go directly to my blog if the video does not come through via e-mail.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." ~ Theodore Isaac Rubin

It is done! I confess that it looks a bit funky, but there is not another valance like it anywhere! This project was quite literally a pain in the neck, but I am pleased with the outcome, however funky it may be!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“"Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.” ~ Alice Paul

It's been a while since I've shared any condo progress - things have slowed considerably since there is so very little left to wrap up! Due to an inability to decide on a living-room window treatment, we now have a valance that really serves no purpose. It does have a shelf above it, which I know we will put to good use eventually. The rest of it however, has been an expanse of bland wood, waiting for something to happen.  I finally began that something the other day.

I have stenciled starfish down the length of the valance, and then plan to do some type of mosaic around each one. I taped up sample starfish before I began so that they would be fairly evenly spaced, and then completed my stenciling, and placed a glass center on each one. I have started the mosaic portion, but I don't want to share photos till it's finished. 

I generally tend to plan this type of thing out pretty carefully from beginning to end. Not so this project. This has been a kind of "decide as I go" undertaking, so I'm not entirely sure how it will turn out. I can tell you without a doubt however, it would have been a heck of a lot easier if I had done this before the valance was put up - it's hard work! I'll share photos when it's complete - good or bad!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Museums are managers of consciousness. They give us an interpretation of history, of how to view the world and locate ourselves in it." ~ Hans Haacke

Bruce and I took some time to pop into the Stuart Heritage Museum the other day. Located right in downtown Stuart, it looks deceptively small from the outside. The interior consists of several rooms, each dedicated to various historical aspects of the town that is now our second home.

How is this for a Senior Class Trip? The Stuart Class of 1954 went to Havana, Cuba!

The distance between Stuart and Havana is approximately 308 miles.

1925 Children's Parade for the formation of Martin County 

Mrs. Lowery, Second Grade Teacher

One section is devoted to information on the Seminole Native Americans.

A very pleasant museum with a friendly volunteer staff. There is no admission fee either! Swing in if you are near by!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“Old books exert a strange fascination for me -- their smell, their feel, their history; wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.” ~ Lauren Willig

A bit of a different post today (they can't ALL be blue sky and sunshine!). Back in the 80's I lived in Texas for several years. Most of those were spent in Austin. I headed to Austin to begin grad school at the University of Texas at Austin. I loved that city - very cool; very musical; very multi-cultural. I made a return visit a few years ago and confess that not much looked familiar. I know that the population has exploded due to the very reasons that I loved it decades ago.

Anyhow - grad school. I had the good fortune of being able to attend full time with almost all of my expenses covered. I have been grateful for that every day since. I was able to complete my Masters in one year. I am doubly grateful for that! Much of that year is a blur. I lived in three places - campus; home; and our local library near home. I had my own table, tucked in a back corner at the Walnut Creek Library, and woe unto the person who might be sitting there when I arrived (just kidding, I always found another spot - but I didn't like it!). 

Stretching my legs every once in awhile, I used to peruse the library shelves and would occasionally check out a book to read for pleasure, though I'm not sure how I ever found the time. On one such foray I came across the book Kilcaraig by Annabel Carothers. Set on the Scottish Isle of Mull, the story follows the lives of three generations beginning in the early 1900's. I checked out the book, read it, loved it, and dreamed of living on Mull, all windswept and romantic. Not a bad daydream for an exhausted grad student!

I'm not sure what had me remembering Kilcaraig recently, but I decided to see if it was available here at the library in Florida. It is not, so I looked to Amazon, where I found it only available in used books. I decided - what the heck - and ordered it. When it arrived, I discovered that it was a discarded library book from the Pettigrew Regional Library. Pettigrew! Sounded like a wonderful Scottish name to me! When I googled it however, I discovered that it is located in Plymouth, South Carolina. It came with three check-out cards still in it! Things like that intrigue me. Who was (is?) Esta M. Bodwell who checked it out on January 14th, 1983? Or Maud Weber, Ann Alexander or Stephanie Wal? Three cards with years worth of signatures. So many lives lived. I love wondering.

I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading it one more time, but I do enjoy seeing it sit on my shelf!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." ~ Aristotle

As promised, I'm sharing some photos of two spots that we visited while my sister and brother-in-law were here. Bruce and I have been to these spots once before, but not in a couple of years. It was a perfect day for a visit!

The first spot is Wakodahatchee, and the second one is Green Cay. These two spots are within minutes of each other. There are a lot of photos, but I think that you will enjoy them!

American Alligator

Anhinga Chicks 
Wood Stork 
Great Blue Heron and Chick

Marsh Rabbit
Water Moccasins - there were actually three!


Anhinga - sometimes known as "snakebird"

Iguana- When we first saw it, it was running - like really running!

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Purple Gallinule - gorgeous, gorgeous iridescent colors.