Monday, March 26, 2012

Great Read and Folded Ear Cat in Spring

Folded Ear Cat is enjoying the warming sidewalks of Spring!

I just finished a lovely little book called The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.  It really is a tiny book (120 pages), which makes for a quick and satisfying read.  It seems the Queen's dogs are barking at a bookmobile on the palace grounds one day, so she pops her head inside to say sorry and then decides she should check out a book since she's there.  She also meets Norman, a boy who works in the palace kitchens and is an avid reader.  The two of them share the books they are reading, building a friendship which enriches them both.  As the Queen gets lost in the joys of reading, it turns out those around her don't appreciate a queen with her nose in a book.  When she is on walkabouts she starts asking her subjects what they are reading, and they are taken aback, feeling foolish if they aren't reading anything.  She stashes a book behind the cushion in  her carriage and security absconds with it - thinking it might be a bomb.  Who knew a queen reading could raise such a ruckus!  Check out this sweet little book for yourself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Healthy Journey Discoveries

Meandering along the amazing journey of becoming fit and sassy - okay, I'm already sassy, but the fitness level can use considerable lifting - I've discovered some great new songs and a kettlebell trainer that are inspiring me to get moving.

I have had a kettlebell for some time, and love it because it provides cardiovascular and strength training all in one, but have only had a couple of moves to use with it.  Thanks to the internet I discovered Michael Skogg, who is a trainer in Portland, Oregon.  I watched a couple of YouTube videos, really like his training style, and already gained one new move that is very effective.  Just today I've received his set of 5 DVD's, and can't wait to get started.  Seriously, doesn't he look like a warrior?

I also downloaded a couple of songs that have already lengthened my walk time because I want to listen to them more than once.  Chris Tomlin's music is always inspiring, but this one simply forces me to dance around the living room.  It's called "All My Fountains", and is on this CD:
Bruce Springsteen's new CD has also been motivational.  My personal favorite is "We Take Care of Own".
Happy Almost-Spring, and I hope some of these picks also help you get motivated and moving.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Great Day on a Sunday

It's a good day when you can spend some time out in the yard doing something that causes a passing squirrel to do a second take!  Today I was painting little bird houses despite the wind swirling around.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Folded Ear Cat in Repose

Blustery though it is, the sunshine has been lovely to see and Folded Ear Cat grabbed herself a little piece of sun-warmed concrete to enjoy the rays.

Surveying your kingdom is a day well spent!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Twelve Rooms with a View

If you, like me, are HGTV fanatics and especially if you like shows like Selling New York, you will enjoy the book Twelve Rooms with a View by Theresa Rebeck.  It has everything - wild Manhattan real estate, crazy family dynamics, the 90% and the 1% and those somewhere in between.

Tina is the youngest of three sisters whose mother was an alcoholic, married a reclusive man and pretty much dropped out of their lives.  Tina hasn't made any sort of success out of her life thus far and her sisters treat her like she never will amount to anything.

Unexpectedly, they learn that their mother has died and has left them an apartment in Manhattan. When they get the keys from their mother's lawyer, they find that the apartment consists of twelve rooms in a historic building, and is probably worth millions.  It's such a vast apartment that the second kitchen has been rented to another resident of the building so he could create a "mossery" in it.  Yes, the kitchen is filled with many varieties of moss.

Since Tina was living in a trailer park at the time, they move her into the apartment.  While this sounds like a grand bit of luck for Tina, there is very little furniture in the apartment, and her sisters tell her not to leave the apartment because it turns out that their mother's husband has two sons who grew up in the apartment and they believe they should inherit the place.

After she receives a very unpleasant visit from the drunken brothers in the middle of the night, Tina installs deadbolts on the inside of the door to protect herself from the brothers and from her sister, Lucy, who turns up whenever she likes and makes Tina's life miserable.

Lots of drama ensues as Tina meets other residents of the building, none of whom want Tina and her siblings or the brothers to inherit the apartment.  Tina makes some friends, finds a secret passage, solves a ghostly mystery and does some long overdue maturing.  This is a great tale that will keep you turning the pages to see what could possibly happen next.