Summer arrived and our rainy season began with a vengeance. In Florida that means extreme heat, frequent thunder storms, and lightening. Just as our stay at home orders are being relaxed, I find myself spending even more time inside. Trips to the beach for photo outings and sunset visits with friends were short-lived, and my scenic daily run has been reduced to the confinement of my treadmill on most days.
The off season, summer, is typically my time to read, catch up on indoor projects and take things a bit slower. Since we have already been doing that for the past two months the transition will hardly be noticed; except for the heat… and the rain…. and the beginning of hurricane season! Oh well, adjusting seems to be the word of the year, (whether we chose it or not) so, it’s best to just roll with it.
Last week I shared a post about my love of books. I was curious to know how your relationship with reading has been affected by the pandemic. The responses were varied, with some folks admitting to attention deficit, while others are finding solace in literature. I have been on both ends of that spectrum during the past two months.
This week I read As Bright As Heaven, by Susan Meissner. The setting of the book is Philadelphia, PA during the 1918 Spanish Flu. It is not a book I would have selected based on the subject matter, but it was recommended by a friend who reads mostly historical fiction, and I trust her judgment.
The story follows the lives and struggles of one family as they adjust to sending their men off to fight the ‘Great War’, the devastating toll of a deadly virus and the difficult choices they are forced to make.
Alternating narrators (mostly the sisters) allow us to view the story from different points of view as it unfolds.
I thought this book might be a bit depressing to read, given our current circumstances, and it did contain a few ‘tearful’ moments, but overall, I enjoyed it. The story opened up slowly, as we were introduced to each character, but beautiful writing kept it moving forward to a satisfying ending.
The second book I read this week was “The Giver of Stars,” by JoJo Moyes. It is 1930 and a naive English girl recently married to a wealthy American struggles to fit in to life in rural Kentucky until she is recruited to work with a group of women who deliver library books on horseback. The terrain is as harsh and rugged as its people in this coal mining county and Alice is forced to either overcome obstacles or surrender to a life of misery. Along the way she finds her voice, and the kind of strength and security that develops within the bonds of true friendship and belonging.
The author is masterful at taking her readers on an emotional roller coaster and there are genuine moments of angst, despair and disgust as she vividly paints a landscape of ignorance, greed and power. I liked the book, and I love this writer, but much of it seemed familiar from other popular books I have read in the past couple of years. Based on a true story and classified as historical fiction.
Malcolm found a bunch of family videos stored at his mom’s house that we had forgotten about. She still has a VHS, so he and I spent an afternoon viewing, sorting and labeling the tapes. We will get together on Sunday for a family viewing, complete with popcorn. Nana will be thrilled and I can’t wait to see her reaction.
The tapes cover about seven years of our lives together, from just before we were engaged until around our daughter’s sixth birthday. We assume the video recorder broke around that time because that is where the tapes end. We believe his parents owned the recorder, since his mom took most of the videos. I filmed a few, but video was never my thing as I thought it got in the way of enjoying the moment. If my thirty-something self could have only known the joy those tapes bring now, I would have had a very different attitude and a lot more videos!
The next step will be to have the tapes edited and recorded on a current device so that we can share copies with our daughter and Malcolm’s mother.
I recently discovered that it is possible to create a Private Page on WordPress, so I spent the better part of two days inputting my community book club reading list onto one of those. Since 2004, we have read and discussed over 150 books. They are neatly categorized by year and each title is linked to Goodreads. I sent the URL for the page to our book club members so that newcomers and us old-timers will have a reference attached to an overview and book reviews of each book. I can update the page at any time and the original URL will link back to the updated version. Now that I know this feature is there, I am sure I will find other uses for it.
I have been in a mood to purge useless stuff lately; not the typical closet or garage cleaning, but the excess stored in my computer. Documents and Photo Files on my laptop are out of control due to neglect. When I need to access something, it is a tedious and time consuming chore to sort through two dozen files labeled Blog Post Ideas, 1,2,3,etc. Hitting the Delete button was easier than expected and now I have one file labeled Blog Post Ideas that contains just the documents I still want to consider. I did the same thing with Charity Events, Recipes, Cocktails, and Travel Plans. Deleting every file that no longer serves a purpose was liberating. Now, when I need something, I can actually find it.
I repeated the process with my Photography files, which was harder. No one wants to delete photographs, but sometimes you just have to be brave and do it. After deleting hundreds of photographs, I then organized the others into Main folders by type; Birds, Landscapes, Flowers, Beach, Family, Christmas, etc.
Continuing with my urge to purge, I tackled my Pinterest Boards. I have been creating the Boards for years, but have rarely reviewed and deleted ones that no longer serve a purpose. I think of my Pinterest Boards as Dream Boards to a large extent, but many of them were created with a specific purpose. For instance, I have a Board titled ‘Nana’s Birthday’ where I collected all the recipes for what we planed to serve. I also have one titled ‘Next Time’ which contains ideas for how I might want to design and decorate my next home. That one is clearly a Dream Board. One titled ‘Wall Paper’ contains a group of witty things that I wish I was clever enough to say. And the Board titled Cocktails is well, just yummy!
All of the Boards needed attention and this project was great for a rainy afternoon diversion. You can see my full collection of Pinerest Boards here.
I used Vista Prints to create a few note cards using some of my favorite photographs. The cards measure 5.5 x 4 inches folded and come in packs of 10 for less than $10, including envelopes. They are easy to create, the quality is very good and they make great gifts.
A quick trip to the beach between the storms!