Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Back in the Saddle (Travelling Light)

The opportunity came up recently, after a very long time on the ground, to do a little air travel. I decided to pack as minimally as possible, using only a personal-item bag that would fit under the airplane seat. Now I'm back, everything's unpacked and washed and I can't show you precisely how it all looked; but the teddy bears are going to help me reconstruct the story.

Now, I hear you asking if you haven't done this recently, what's wrong with regular carry-on? Because an increasing number of travellers don't want to pay for checked bags, or worry that they'll get lost, carry-on is way more popular than it used to be. If you're travelling on small planes (say for shortish flights), there isn't enough overhead space  for every single passenger to stow a bag. What will probably happen when you're waiting to board the plane is that, first, they'll ask for volunteers to check their wheeled carry-ons (for free). If they don't get enough volunteers, the last passengers to board will have to check their bags even if they don't want to. Which defeats half the purpose of going carry-on, which is avoiding the search for your luggage at the airport, or (worst of all) hearing that it went somewhere else without you.

So I did a crash course in how to pack extra-light, courtesy of Youtube's "Travel Tips by Laurie" and a free webinar by I do have a backpack that would have fit within the underseat size limits, but it's smaller, like a school backpack, and only zips open partway. Going by online reviews (and a friend who had just bought one), I bought a Cabin Max Mini Metz 30 L pack, which is sized exactly to meet American Airlines' underseat limits. Setting my old and new packs side by side, you might not notice a lot of difference, but I do think the full-zip style and the bigger capacity made getting the new bag worthwhile. 

The next thing I had to do, after all this time at home, was to round up any travel equipment I had, especially small containers, pouches, and bags. Several years ago I managed a less-is-more trip by stuffing clothes very tightly into large Ziploc bags, which did work, but this time I wanted to try some alternatives. A daughter had given me a pile of her Shein bags (they're a travel thing right now). I had a few smaller dollar-store mesh bags, similar to the Shein bags; two cloth bags that had held sheet sets; a thrifted child's lunch pack that seemed like it would make a good packing cube; and quite a few zippered cases. Most of the liquids bottles I had used in trips past had been discarded, but I still had some of the small round containers, and a few tiny ones from cosmetic samples. 

And that brings us to one key point. What's wrong with just putting your clothes and everything else straight into the backpack? Nothing. Of course you can do that. But there's one reason you might not want to if you're flying: TSA security checks. Although I was (thankfully) not stopped, beeped, or patted down during this trip, it has happened to me before, and sometimes then they want to look in your bags or they ask you to show them a specific item. And if you have things organized in smaller bags, you can not only access them faster, but get them all repacked very speedily as well. Which is much better than having clothes spewing out every which way.

Obviously, part of the very-small strategy is to minimize what you're taking, and to take the smallest and lightest versions possible; but how you fit things in can make a difference too. I ended up using two of the zip-top Shein bags for clothes (one became a dirty-clothes bag during the trip), plus a really great expandable pencil case of my daughter's for non-liquids makeup and things like bandaids; a clear bag for liquids; a large Ziploc bag for in-flight needs; and a small crocheted pouch for jewelry.

 A pair of shoes, an umbrella, and a small purse went in by themselves. I kept minimizing the size and weight of things wherever I could. I packed the lightest-weight pajamas I had, mini-pens, a tiny emery board. I even used one of the tiny cosmetic boxes for just a bit of my favourite lipstick colour. I knew that there were going to be some basic soaps and shampoos at the place where we'd be staying, and in any case, we would be near stores, so I didn't need to pack every possible toiletry.

This is where the story turns a little bit funny, packing-wise. I had originally thought it might be quite warm, and had planned out some clothes accordingly, had even thought of sandals, which is pushing it for March, but it could have happened. What is the one other tip that all the travel videos give? Check the weather online for the place you'll be going. So I did, and every time, the destination sounded wetter and colder than before. Some of our planned activities were going to be outdoors, which is another good thing to consider when you're packing. Also, the weather here in Ontario stayed very cold, which meant that even if I wasn't wearing a winter coat, I would need to be well-layered for the going and coming.  So, off the list went the sandals, and, eventually, even the springy dress and jersey blazer, in favour of a zip-up fleece jacket and an extra shirt. 

And now are you waiting for me to say that the weather was perfect, the temperature went up to 80 degrees and everyone was walking around in shorts? Um, no. It was more like walking by the lake in October: not cold and snowy, but definitely chilly and windy. I ended up wearing almost every layer I'd packed, every time we went out. I was grateful for that fleece jacket which I'd originally crossed off the list, thinking it would be extra weight I didn't need. (As it turned out, wearing it under my coat was also helpful because I could put small valuables in its zippered pockets.) So: check the weather reports as carefully as you check your departure gate, because they can both change without warning. And don't be too committed to what you thought might be nice to wear, because warm enough/ cool enough/ dry enough is more important.

Fantasy vs. reality

One small disappointment was that the crossbody purse I found (at a thrift store) turned out not to work very well for the things I wanted to put into it (it looked like my ID cards were going to fall out). I had brought a lightweight tote bag and ended up using that as a day-bag. As they say: test things out ahead of time. I should also have tested the travel toothbrush that came free with some travel-size shampoo and lotion. If you really need to go mini on the toothbrush, get a decent folding one. Just saying.

The filled backpack (with wardrobe modifications as above) ended up weighing between eleven and twelve pounds, which was quite manageable and fit perfectly under the airplane seat. I didn't make full use of all the little pockets in the front compartment, because I thought it might be awkward to keep pulling the bag out and fiddling with the pockets during the flight. It was easier to rummage in the Ziploc bag for my magazine or  an anti-ear-popping stick of gum. I fit my tablet into one of the front-compartment pockets. (I didn't have to show it for the flight out as they were only interested in laptops, but on the way back they asked us to show tablets as well.)

I made sure the clear liquids bag was near the top so that I could grab it quickly, and when I was going through the TSA line, I attached it through the Velcro on the top handle, just to keep things together.

When I got where we were going, I took my rolled-up clothes out of the Shein bags, and hung them up. We did have laundry available, but I preferred to wear everything a couple of times and wash it all when I got home.

And that's my story. Would I go underseat-only again? Yes, and again not so much because hoisting a carry-on into the bin is a problem, as that these days you might not get a carry-on space at all. It's nice to know for sure that nobody's going to try to wrangle your bag away. Plus it's good to prove, sometimes, that you are up to the challenge.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Chop cherries and dollars, but not the truth

From this Side of the Pond

1. What do you find is the most boring part of your life at the moment? 

Breakfast, probably.

Sometimes lunch.

Occasionally dinner.

2. February 22nd is George Washington's birthday. You'll find his face on the US $1 bill. What's the last thing you bought for roughly $1.00? (.94 €/ .83 £)

The top I'm wearing today, from the dollar (last-chance) rack of a local thrift store. I bought it because I liked the pretty sky-blue colour, but it also appears to be a higher-end brand, so that was a bonus. Actually the jeans I'm wearing were also from the dollar rack, so I guess that makes a two-dollar outfit.

3. Is it ever okay to tell a 'little white lie'? Explain.

There's too much playing with the truth already. I think we need to be cautious about how much we can afford to add to the fire.

4. What's the last thing you 'chopped'? Cherry pie, chocolate covered cherries, a bowl of cherries, cherry vanilla ice cream, maraschino cherries, a cherry lifesaver...your favorite cherry flavored something? 

Chopping and cherries are getting me mixed up here. I chopped up dried cherries to put in Christmas bread, if that counts.

5. Describe yourself with three words using your first, middle, and last initials. 



Woeful, right now. See #6.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Oh, there's a lot of that right now, but it doesn't feel right to call it just "random."

Our blog, such as it is currently (that is to say, infrequently), just touched the eighteen-year mark.

I didn't feel much like doing a woo-hoo post about it, though, as that was the same day I lost a close friend and colleague, the second to pass away in the past year. Queen Shenaynay, as she christened herself years ago on her own blog, has been remembered with love by many people already, and I don't need to say more about that here except that we will miss her and miss her and miss her some more.

And then there is the large disregard for truth that whams into one on even a quick viewing of the past week's news. I try not to get political here so I'll leave it at that.

"I have a woeful feeling, as if the double O of doom were sticking in my throat." (James Thurber)

On a brighter note (because we badly need one here), this is not only Washington's birthday, but Ash Wednesday, and while you might not think that the beginning of Lent is a particularly bright spot on the calendar, it is, at least, the promise that the rest of these things only "come to pass," as Queen Shenaynay used to say, and that truth and life will remain beyond them. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Pre-Spring: Clothes and Inspirations

Spring here can be more like a second winter, which is not as enjoyable as a second breakfast. But in February we do start to see longer days, more sunshine, and the occasional green thing trying to come out. And in March, I'm planning to spend a couple of days in a spot that gets springier weather.

Arthur Lismer, "A September Gale on Georgian Bay"
Thrifted sweatshirt and scarf
OPI Nail Lacquer in "Tickle My France-y"
Vintage earrings

Travel Things

So I'm going to work backwards, both in climate and in number of clothing items, and start with a very small carry-on wardrobe for warmish weather.

The Wendi's Day Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond

1. Tell us anything you want about your January. 

OK, since you asked: I have a new book out. Getting there was pretty much my January. Also a good chunk of my December.

2. Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2023 list includes GOAT, inflection point, quiet quitting, gaslighting, moving forward, amazing, Does that make sense?, irregardless, absolutely, and it is what it is.

Which of these words/phrases do you use regularly? Which of these words would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word/phrase not on the list you'd like to add? 

GOAT? I had to look that one up. Greatest of all time? I guess that goes along with "amazing," unless it's amazing grace.

Irregardless...yeah, that one's been argued about for years, irregardless of its non-meaning. (And as I'm typing this, my spellcheck is red-lining the word, it doesn't like it either.)

Moving forward, I'm going to quietly quit my stoicism, because it is what it is.

3. February 2nd is Groundhog Day. What's something that feels repeated in your life right now? 

I have about three CDs sitting near the small player near my computer, and I keep forgetting to take them downstairs and switch them out with something else, so I just keep listening to the same three over and over again. At least they're not Sonny and Cher.

4. What's a food you love that's named after a place?

Nanaimo Bars.

5. What's the best season of the year to visit your city or your part of the country? Tell us why. 

Living in an Oktoberfest-happy region with lots of beautiful maple trees, you might think I'd say fall. But if you were coming to visit, I might say summer, because there are music festivals and flea markets and buskers and all kinds of free things to do.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is a difficult day, because it's a year since the passing of my blogging/reading/homeschooling/believing friend Wendi, usually referred to here as the DHM, who was also a great fan of Nanaimo bars. This is what I wrote about her then. She gave us a great deal to remember her by. Wendi, if there were any flowers out there today, I'd go enjoy them for you, but it's freezing cold and snowy, just like it was this time last year. I'll just have to appreciate the icicle hanging by the wall instead.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Christmas Cookies as Improv

A long time ago here, we made Christmas cookies from one of those magazine articles that use one dough and many variations. This particular one was based on the book One Dough, Fifty Cookies, by Leslie Glover Pendleton; but you can find other kinds of dough-with-variations in cookbooks and online.

This year, having a small number of people to make cookies for, I decided we would revive the Master Dough, though without the very fancy variations given in the magazine. Crissy and Elizabeth got their fancy aprons on to help us.

Mr. Fixit, who likes gadgets, got out the hand mixer and mixed the dough. Actually the stand mixer would have been a better idea, as it wasn't really strong enough and he had to finish mixing it by hand.  What goes into this particular recipe? One pound unsalted butter; 1 1/3 cup sugar; 1 tsp. salt; 3 egg yolks; 2 tsp, vanilla; 4 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour.

We happened to have a box of red and green holiday Rice Krispies (gift from daughter), so I worked two cupfuls of those into a quarter of the dough, and pressed it into an 8 inch pan to make bar cookies. I stuck them in the oven to bake at 350 degrees, but I don't think I gave them quite long enough, because the middle ones ended up underdone. If I were doing this again, I'd leave the bar cookies until the end and then they could have all the time they needed. Later I drizzled the survivors with a bit of powdered sugar glaze.

To one-quarter of the dough, we added half a cup of hot chocolate mix and a cupful of mini chocolate chips, plus a bit of extra water to moisten it. We rolled those into balls, but did not flatten them; they flattened a bit in the oven (375 degrees). They also got a bit of glaze, but that was probably unnecessary as I decided afterwards to dress them up a little more with a squirt of white icing and a few sprinkles.

The rest of the dough was rolled into balls, and we made thumbprints (actually end-of-a-cake-server prints) in each one (and baked them at 375 degrees). Some of them were filled with jam before baking, which you have to be careful with as it can leak over, but this time around we had no problems. We filled the hole in a few of them with sprinkles, which turned out not to look too great, so when they came out of the oven I pressed a green chocolate-covered candy (you know which ones) in the middle, and they went on the plate for the glaze drizzle as well. (I did all the glazing at once.)

And some of them got a peppermint Hershey's Kiss, which turned out WEIRD and NOT GOOD, like something from Cake Wrecks. I'd made Kiss cookies before, but I couldn't remember whether we'd put them on the cookies before or after baking. Suggestion: don't do what Elizabeth did here. Let them bake plain, squirt some icing on top, and add the Kisses after baking (we replaced the burned Kisses with unbaked ones). We also happened to have snowflake dragees from Bulk Barn, so I pressed a few of those into the icing. Yay for last-minute rescues.

And that's it! Just enough cookies and variety to keep us going over the holidays.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Wednesday Chocolatepodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. The Hodgepodge lands on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Have you visited the memorial? Any desire to do so? Have you visited other WW2 sites and memorials? Do you think we do a good job of teaching current and younger generations about the events of WW2? Do you think it matters? 

I live in Canada, so no to the first two questions.

I don't know how well younger people are being taught about that war, especially as there are few people left who were old enough to serve; there are more still around who were children and can tell things from that perspective. When I was in high school, that war was forty years ago and it already seemed a long time back; but high school for me was also forty years ago, so there's that.

And yes, I think it matters.

2. Many books, both fiction and non-fiction have been written with WW2 as the setting. Is this a 'genre' you gravitate towards? Share with us a book (or two) you've enjoyed that is set in some way around WW2. If you're not a reader, how about a movie? 

Not as a "genre," but yes, I have read various books involving WWII. Connie Willis's Blackout/All Clear are probably the most recent novels I've read. Also Herman Wouk's The Winds of War.

3. According to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine there are seven popular color trends for the holidays this year. They are- red and white, Victorian blue, pops of pink, rich shades of green, rainbow hues, black and white, and nostalgic retro colors. Are you 'trendy' when it comes to holiday decorating in 2022? How so? Does your tree have a 'theme'? 

I wouldn't have a clue! I just figure Christmas decorating should be about Christmas. We only have a half-size tree this year anyway, so we just used what fit on it.

4. What's a current trend you buck? 

See #3, I guess.

5. What's your favorite chocolate something? 

The foil-wrapped chocolate ornaments we bought at Dollarama to help decorate the half-size tree. Which I guess we'll get to eat in January.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I just posted my reading ambitions for 2023. It keeps me sort of accountable. Do you prefer planning reading ahead or taking it as it comes?

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Mama Squirrel's Reading List for 2023

Alphabetically by author, this time. Some of these have migrated from previous years' lists, but that doesn't mean I'm not still going to try.

The Lazy Genius Kitchen: Have What You Need, Use What You Have, and Enjoy It Like Never Before

Adachi, Kendra 

Wordsworth: A Life In Letters

Barker, Juliet 

The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis: How Great Books Shaped a Great Mind

Baxter, Jason M.


The Story of Arthur Truluv

Berg, Elizabeth

How It Went: Thirteen Late Stories of the Port William Membership

Berry, Wendell


The Longing for Home: Reflections at Midlife

Buechner, Frederick


The Principles of Art

Collingwood, R.G.


Clear Light of Day

Desai, Anita


Birder's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds

Ehrlich, Paul R.


How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Ellenberg, Jordan


Walk in the Woods: Portrait of the Ojibway Prairie Complex

Gervais, Marty


A Thinking Love: Studies from Charlotte Mason's Home Education

Glass, Karen


The Aptitude Myth: How an Ancient Belief Came to Undermine Children's Learning Today

Grove, Cornelius N.


Parable and Paradox

Guite, Malcolm


Rallying The Really Human Things: Moral Imagination In Politics Literature & Everyday Life

Guroian, Vigen


The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution

Harkness, Deborah


Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets

Howard, Thomas


The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis

Jacobs, Alan


The Truth and Beauty: How the Lives and Works of England's Greatest Poets Point the Way to a Deeper Understanding of the Words of Jesus

Klavan, Andrew


The Lovely Treachery of Words: Essays Selected and New

Kroetsch, Robert


Invitation to the Waltz

Lehmann, Rosamond


The Art of Repair

Martin, Molly


The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between

Matar, Hisham


Peas, Pigs and Poetry

Mead, Fiona


Trees of North America

Mitchell, Alan


52 Prepper Projects: A Project a Week to Help You Prepare for the Unpredictable

Nash, David


The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels

Nicolson, Adam


A History of Ancient Britain

Oliver, Neil


Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn't: The Beauty of Christian Theism

Ortlund, Gavin 


Signposts in a Strange Land

Percy, Walker


A Plato Reader: Eight Essential Dialogues



The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

Postrel, Virginia


Rembrandt Is in the Wind: Learning to Love Art through the Eyes of Faith

Ramsey, Russ


Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self

Robinson, Marilynne


Unto This Last and Other Writings

Ruskin, John


Democracy in Canada: The Disintegration of Our Institutions

Savoie, Donald J.


The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups

Sax, Leonard



Scruton, Roger 


A Whole Life

Seethaler, Robert


The Wild Idea Club: A Collaborative System to Solve Workplace Problems, Improve Efficiency, and Boost Your Bottom Line

Silber, Lee


The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading

Spufford, Francis


And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air

Streever, Bill


Birding with Yeats: A Mother's Memoir

Thomson, Lynn



Wangerin Jr., Walter


What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World

Young, Jon

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Grey Days of November (Wednesday Hodgepodge)

From this Side of the Pond
1. Sum up your November in ten words or less. 

My orchid retired, but we bought a holiday bucket tree.

2. Are you hosting any holiday parties this year? Attending any? Party pooper, party animal, or life of the party...where do you land when it comes to parties? 

Our small group at church is going to have a (small) dinner potluck, which will be the first time in however long that we've potlucked with anyone. Perhaps the world is slowly coming back to normal.

3. Do you purchase holiday clothing of any sort (sparkly tops, Christmas jammies, Santa suit, etc). 

I was looking at a sparkly silver turtleneck yesterday at Value Village, but Mr. Fixit thought it might not be something I'd be happy actually wearing, and I figured he was right. But, right nearby, there was a grey J. Crew merino sweatshirt with kangaroo pockets, which does not sound that festive, but I'd rather have a  J. Crew merino sweatshirt than a pair of Santa Claus jammies. Besides, you can always add a scarf.

4. What's your go-to recipe when you're asked to bring an hors d'oeuvre to a party? 

I don't know, I've never been asked to bring an hors d'oeuvre anywhere that I can think of!

But I have taken a bowl of sweet potato hummus to a couple of evening events, so I guess that qualifies. All the links I had to it here on the blog seem to have disappeared, so I hope I have it written down somewhere. Basically, you blend cooked sweet potato with a can of chickpeas, and add a few things like lemon juice, cinnamon/other pumpkin spices, and some sweetener.

5. December 3rd is National Play Outside Day...what might you do to celebrate? 

Take a walk?

I just hope the weather's better than it is today (totally gross).

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

What we're reading to each other during Advent:

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge, Fast Fast Fast

 From this Side of the Pond

1. When did you most recently need to 'think fast'? Elaborate.

Trying to finish this on Wednesday evening, between a couple of loads of laundry and waiting for my husband to come back from doing an errand.

2. The Hodgepodge lands on National Fast Food Day. What was the last fast food you ate? What's your favorite fast food? How often do you grab fast food? 

As opposed to, say, just going out for coffee? That would be last Saturday in Toronto, when we met up with our oldest daughter (the Treehouse Apprentice), toured a pioneer village (pretty quiet, it's the off-season although they're getting ready for some Christmas events), and then got burgers at a nearby McD's.

Fast food isn't so much a "grab" for us; more often it's a stop along the road.

3. Life in the fast lane, get nowhere fast, on the fast track, not so fast...pick one and tell us how it applies to your life in recent days. 

Nowhere fast might apply to the past month: it's been pretty quiet

4. Are you a fast walker? fast talker? fast worker? fall asleep fast? stay fast asleep without too much trouble? 

Most of those.

Also a fast reader, when I want to be.

5. What is one 'hard and fast rule' in your house? 


Besides that?

Look for it used.

Besides that?

Pray about it.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

Too late, he's back and the sheets are done.

But if you want some extra random, here's a list I just made of the books I've read this year.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Books Read So Far in 2022

This Year in Reading

If you went just by numbers, it might look like I spent this year doing little but re-reading mysteries, Grace Livingston Hill, and Mitford books. Actually those were my speed reads, a.k.a. some much-needed macaroni and cheese. 

I don't remember reading any new (or new-to-me) fiction this year that really knocked my socks off.  (I hope to do better on that in 2023). The best books I read were non-fiction,  especially the ones listed under Christian Thought, and some of which took me most of the year to get around to reading (after I finished reading everything I had to on William Morris). But those were almost all astonishingly good, especially Adorning the Dark, Breaking Bread with the Dead, and Lifting the Veil; also Philip Yancey's memoir Where the Light Fell, which had some unexpected parallels to Jan Karon's Home to Holly Springs which I was re-reading at about the same time. So, not always just macaroni and cheese.

The most practical book was The Lazy Genius Way; it's something that could be applied in many different situations.  It's a good complement to Dana K. White's decluttering books.

("R" is my code for re-read.)

Not Done Yet

George MacDonald, the Best from All His Works

MacDonald, George 

Songs from the Silent Passage: Essays on the Works of Walter Wangerin Jr.

Peterson, Eugene

Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination

Guite, Malcolm 

Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture

Gioia, Dana

My Utmost for His Highest

Chambers, Oswald 

Ourselves (R)

Mason, Charlotte

The Conscious Closet (R)

Cline, Elizabeth L. 


Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen

Brown, Alton 

Bare Minimum Dinners: Recipes and Strategies for Doing Less in the Kitchen

Helwig, Jenna 

Saving Dinner (R) (we're currently cooking our way through this book)

Ely, Leanne 

Getting Things Done 

The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done (R)

Adachi, Kendra 

The Folding Lady: Always Solutions, Never Problems: Simple Home Hacks Room by Room to Make Life That Little Bit Easier

Liard, Sophie

Minimalista: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe, and Life

Gill, Shira

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

Fogg, B.J. 

Organizing for the Rest of Us: 100 Realistic Strategies to Keep Any House Under Control

White, Dana K. 

Effortless: Make It Easy to Get the Right Things Done

McKeown, Greg 

Shop, Save, and Share (R)

Kay, Ellie

Clothing and Style

Dress Your Best Life: How to Use Fashion Psychology to Take Your Look -- and Your Life -- to the Next Level

Karen, Dawnn 

How to Not Wear Black: Find Your Style and Create Your Forever Wardrobe (R)

Murphy, Anna 

Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+

Robinson, Andrea Q. 

The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas: A Stylish Solution to What Should I Wear? (R)

Lumbatis, Alison 

Education, Homeschooling, and Charlotte Mason Things

School Education: Developing A Curriculum (R)

Mason, Charlotte M. 

The Convivial Homeschool: Gospel Encouragement for Keeping Your Sanity While Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids

Winckler, Mystie 

This Country of Ours: The Story of the United States Volume 1: H. E. Marshall's "This Country of Ours" - Annotated, Expanded, and Updated

Marshall, H.E., and Breckenridge, Donna-Jean 

Christian Thought

A Mind for God (R)

White, James Emery

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction (could have been under Getting Things Done, but I had to put it somewhere)

Earley, Justin Whitmel 

Downstream from Eden: The Amazing Gift of Water for a Thirsty World

Knight, David L. 

Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning

Pearcey, Nancy R. 

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making

Peterson, Andrew

Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader's Guide to a More Tranquil Mind

Jacobs, Alan

Lifting the Veil: Imagination and the Kingdom of God

Guite, Malcolm

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

Evans, Rachel Held 


On Our Way Rejoicing (R)

Trobisch, Ingrid 

Where the Light Fell

Yancey, Philip 

To A Different Drum (R)

Hamilton, Pauline G 

William Morris / Arts and Crafts books

Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

Byatt, A.S. 

The Art of William Morris in Cross Stitch

Hammet, Barbara

Living with Arts & Crafts (R) (and a couple of others I can't think of right now)

Shaw, Ros Byam 

At Home with Beatrix Potter: The Creator of Peter Rabbit

Denyer, Susan 

William Morris and Morris Co.

Van der Post, Lucia 

Literary Criticism

The Well-Tempered Critic

Frye, Northrop 


Polishing the Petoskey Stone: Selected Poems (R)

Shaw, Luci 

Rivers Among Rocks

Gustafson, Ralph 

General Fiction

Dandelion Wine (R)

Bradbury, Ray 


Clarke, Susanna 


Willis, Connie 

All the Light We Cannot See (R)

Doerr, Anthony 

C.S. Lewis books

Out of the Silent Planet (The Space Trilogy, #1) (R)

Lewis, C.S. 

Perelandra (The Space Trilogy, #2) (R)

Lewis, C.S. 

That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3) (R)

Lewis, C.S. 

The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7) (R)

Lewis, C.S. 

Mitford Books

A New Song (Mitford Years, #5) (R) (I think I might have re-read #4, Out to Canaan, as well)

Karon, Jan 

Home to Holly Springs (Mitford Years, #10) (R)

Karon, Jan 

Come Rain or Come Shine (Mitford Years, #13) (R)

Karon, Jan 

To Be Where You Are (Mitford Years #14) (R)

Karon, Jan 

Bathed in Prayer: Father Tim's Prayers, Sermons, and Reflections from the Mitford Series

Karon, Jan 

A Continual Feast: Words of Comfort and Celebration, Collected by Father Tim (R)

Karon, Jan 

Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader (R)

Karon, Jan 

Mysteries of all Sorts

The Cluttered Corpse (R)

Maffini, Mary Jane 

Death Plans a Perfect Trip

Maffini, Mary Jane 

The Four False Weapons (Henri Bencolin, #5) (R)

Carr, John Dickson 

At Bertram's Hotel (R)

Christie, Agatha 

Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot, #32) (R)

Christie, Agatha 

A Presumption of Death (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane, #2) (R)

Walsh, Jill Paton 

Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Lord Peter Wimsey #5) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #6) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

The Nine Tailors (Lord Peter Wimsey, #9) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #12) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13) (R)

Sayers, Dorothy L. 

St. Peter's Fair (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #4) (R)

Peters, Ellis 

The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #5) (R)

Peters, Ellis 

The Rose Rent (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #13) (R)

Peters, Ellis 

The Hermit of Eyton Forest (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #14) (R)

Peters, Ellis 

The Potter's Field (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #17) (R)

Peters, Ellis 

The Grass Widow's Tale (The Felse Investigations #7)

Peters, Ellis 

The House of Green Turf (Felse, #8)

Peters, Ellis 

Somewhat Corny Christian Fiction (including a strange way to spell Esther)

Rose Galbraith

Hill, Grace Livingston 

Where Two Ways Met

Hill, Grace Livingston 


Hill, Grace Livingston 

More Than Conqueror

Hill, Grace Livingston 

Partners (R)

Hill, Grace Livingston


Hill, Grace Livingston 

The Christmas Bride

Hill, Grace Livingston 


Hill, Grace Livingston 

Matched Pearls

Hill, Grace Livingston 

Ariel Custer

Hill, Grace Livingston

Ester Ried's Namesake


Ester Ried Yet Speaking


The King's Daughter


Echoing and Re-echoing (The Ester Ried Series Book 5)

Huntington, Faye 

Wise and Otherwise

Alden, Isabella MacDonald 

Children’s Books

The King's Shadow

Alder, Elizabeth 

I Saw Three Ships (R)

Goudge, Elizabeth

Miss Twiggley's Tree (R)

Fox, Dorothea Warren 


Gravett, Emily 

A Place to Hang the Moon

Albus, Kate 

Christmas Farm

Ray, Mary Lyn 

Truly Miscellaneous

Crissy Doll and Her Friends: Guide for Collectors (R)

Gunther, Beth

Doctor Who: Impossible Worlds: A 50-Year Treasury of Art and Design

Nicholas, Stephen

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Rugs and Roses (Early Winter Clothes)

I have two clothes goals right now. One is to make better use of basic/neutral things--to remember to wear them. The other is to wear more of my favourite colours, like the shades of our vintage Namda rug, and this detail from a William Morris tapestry. Too hard to do at the same time? Here goes. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge: In Season and Out

From this Side of the Pond

1. In two or three sentences describe yourself to someone who has never met you. 

Squirrels collect and store whatever they find, sometimes to their own detriment. I do collect some physical things, but I'm more likely to run around collecting up words and ideas. 

When my little backpack is full, I try to put them back together and give others something to chew on. Metaphorically speaking.

2. Will you celebrate Halloween this year, and if so tell us how? Let's play this or that-chocolate candy or fruity candy? pumpkin seeds or pumpkin pie? Halloween party or scary movie? hay ride or corn maze? carve a pumpkin or paint a pumpkin?

It's not a big deal for us, and we hardly ever get trick-or-treaters. 

We might watch a semi-scary movie and eat some of the little chocolate bars that we bought with the full knowledge that we might get, like, one kid knocking on the door.. 

The stores are full of pumpkins right now, so I bought a small one and turned it into pumpkin bars yesterday.

3. What's something that scared you when you were young? Are you still afraid? 

Ferris lifts...escalators. And yes.

4. Your favorite soothing drink? 

I suppose coffee is disqualified?

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea, a.k.a. caffeine-free chai. Drinking it reminds me of past poetry teatimes with our kids.

5. Are you thinking about Christmas yet? Does this make you feel happy or stressed? 

How 'bout we keep that one for another hodgepodge.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

How is it that fall doesn't technically end until the winter solstice? I think we should have extra seasons, like they do in Japan; because right now we're getting near the end of orange-leaves-on-the-trees, heading into I'm-not-sure-what-season-November-is-but-it's-cold, and looking towards get-out-the-boots.

In keeping with not being sure what season we're in, yesterday I thrifted a sleeveless linen-blend dress, more or less for next summer. (And did I have a hard time photographing a black dress on a dull day? Eventually I gave up and hung it on the bathroom door. Not elegant, but at least you can see it.)

But we can always layer up until then, right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Weekend of Good Cheer (Overnight Travel Wardrobe)

Her favourite clothes site, The Vivienne Files, has done lots of posts on Tote Bag Travel. And this weekend she's getting her opportunity. She's been asked to address a group of educators at an overnight retreat; and her topic is William Morris, of all things. William Morris was not a teacher, but he was an observer, and a thinker, and a maker, and a learner. He cared about history, he cared about nature, and he cared about people living with beautiful things around them. So there's lots to say about him.

She has a list of extra things to take along, like art books to display; so she wants to keep her own luggage  to a minimum. She figures out what she wants to wear on the drive there and for the first evening: black jeans, a grey top, and a vintage cardigan, along with her Allbirds Mizzles because the weather's been wet and there have even been a few flakes of snow. 

She has a warm jacket, hat and gloves along as well, although they may be a bit much in the car.

She decides to take a satchel instead of a smaller purse, because she's going to be carrying things around like notes, her tablet, and a re-useable coffee mug. Also a pair of scissors, because the participants have been told they're going to be doing something crafty. William Morris would surely approve.

Here's the tote bag she's using for clothes. 

What's inside?

A pink turtleneck, a scarf, a black moto jacket, and a pair of burgundy lace-up shoes.

Plus nightwear, socks, a toothbrush, and those sorts of things. That's really all she needs.

Well, and a favourite pair of earrings.

Bracelets and a watch. She might not wear the bracelets (too clunky when she's doing her talk), but she's going to slip them in just in case.

Her daughter just gave her a bottle of Sinful Colors nail polish in a sparkly shade called Hush Money. Odd name, nice colour. (She'll do that before she leaves.)

So, rain and cold be darned: it's going to be a cheerful weekend with good friends.