|This pic of Mr. Toad is from September a year ago – he’s still around, along will some new family…|
It’s early, cozy, dark (I usually get up somewhere between 4 and 6, my favorite hours), and I just read Theresa’s blog post on the joy of books read and listed to be read. And I’m with her. I love books, and I have strong feelings about having them in my house with me.
I have bookshelves all over my house. Travel journals, non-fiction, fiction, biographies, history, gardening, sewing, art, mathematics, science. Three versions of the Bible. A good atlas, various encyclopedias, and dictionaries in 4 languages. Surrounded by books, and I feel so fortunate.
When I was approaching retirement, I thought a lot about living on a reduced and fixed income. Not being able to buy something just because I wanted it. Contemplating my exit strategy, I decided to build my library of books and films that I enjoy over and over again, while I had the flexibility to do it.
|A ‘sport’ fern in a Chinese fan palm in the front garden|
It took a while and was very enjoyable. Any favorites I had on my Nook, I bought for my library. Films – I got the complete Sopranos, Northern Exposure, and Seinfeld, and many movies I had on my DVR. And paid a bundle for a couple movies that are only in VHS format ( A New Leaf, with Walter Matthau and Elaine May, and The Tango Lesson, produced by and featuring Sally Potter and exquisite tango artists in Europe and Argentina). And I ordered The Coronation, narrated by Robert Powell – Queen Elizabeth’s coronation day. Beautiful old film content. I remember the day I ran home from kindergarten to watch this real princess story on our neighbor’s TV.
My most-read books…
The Shipping News
John le Carre, Paul Theroux, Patrick O’Brien, and Graham Greene.
Recently read – A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry, and The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones,
|Would you like a Chinese fan palm? The date nuts are germinating everywhere…|
And reading now – In the Kingdom of Ice, The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides, who also wrote Ghost Soldiers, and Stilwell and The American Experience in China 1911-45, by Barbara Tuchman. I just brought home my father’s collection of Winston Churchill’s books, and I’m reading Tuchman’s book, which was also in his library, as my prologue – it’s a fascinating viewpoint of the World Wars.
Other things happening here…it’s wet! We’re having the wettest rainy season I can remember in all my years in Florida. Rain every single day. Awesome thunder. My Livingstone Daisy, which is a succulent, is turning to slime. The snails are fat. Mushrooms are cropping up on the ground and on the palm trunks. The birds are so happy, they sing all day. Their world is one big bird bath!
|Sprouted mahoganies…sometimes I pull them up by the handful.|
Let’s not talk about mosquitoes. Or the ants that want to come in and park their umbrellas (unsuccessfully – I figured out ants a long time ago. Knock on wood).
When I came to Florida in 1978, my realtor told me, ‘Quit looking at the yard, look at the house. Everything grows in Florida”. So true!
|This branch in the guava, a big one, was lopped a month ago. I had no idea it would regrow!|
|Before – the foyer, Ralph Lauren French Quarter terracotta.
The color has gotten very pink over 14 years on the wall.
|New! This ‘olive-khaki’ is ‘Collectible’, from the Behr Marquee collection.|
Today’s project (and then I will put away my brush for a while), the entryway to the garage. At least I got it prepped yesterday.