Sunday thoughts

One of my favorite blogs, Maggie’s Farm, publishes the gospel message from the lectionary each Sunday. I’ve always loved that. Maybe I should do that? At the very least, I can send you over to Maggie’s for the gospel lesson today. And stick around and read more from the group; for a bunch of Yankees they aren’t bad:

We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn’t pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does “try my best to be just like I am,” and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.

MaggiesFarm.anotherdotcom.com

Hello friend; going my way?

Welcome to all the new readers who’ve joined and signed up for updates. For the past six or seven weeks, you’ve been getting a weekly post about my spiritual journey. I hope you all stick around as a pivot to a blog about my hobbies: baking bread *yum*; cooking all sorts of things and sharing recipes; volunteering at my church, reading, reading, reading, and reading some more as I balance two book clubs; writing something besides this blog; and finally, going deep on gardening this summer. I’ve bought so many plants, potting soil, seeds, and more that I can truly relate to this meme:

Seen, felt, heard.

Goals Set, Goals Missed, Goals Set Again

I’m only two weeks into restarting my blog and I’ve already missed my first goal: publish at least twice a week. I even have 16 different blog topics started in various drafts. And I set up thrice-weekly reminders on my phone to post. Yet still – offline for a week!

I’m going to treat this blog the way I’m treating my successful (so far) diet: a slip doesn’t mean it’s all over. I just get back up and get back to the goal.

To paraphrase fictional heroine Bridget Jones: if it is true that success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream, then that is the definition of a diet. I don’t have the energy to shoehorn that into a blogging metaphor as I’ve been up since before 5, but I like the quote.

(At 9 p.m. my eyelids are falling shut in spite of me. Yes, I need to re-arrange my writing schedule and write when I am fresh, in the morning. I’ll start that Wednesday.)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to get the last of my “personal” topics out of the way – nine of my 16 remaining drafts are related to personal thoughts. And then, after that’s out of the way (in four and a half weeks if I stick to my twice-a-week schedule, less if I post more) then I’m going to turn this blog to what I really want to focus on: in-depth look at the hobbies that I’ve come to love over the pandemic, and two that’s been with me all my life. I’ll be focusing first on three areas: Books, Gardening, and Writing. I’ve been a bookworm all my life. Growing up, if I loved a book, you could usually tell because either a) the book covers were read to pieces, b) it had a tomato stain on a page from a pizza slice I munched as a read, or c) I read it so much I had it memorized and was quoting parts to you. (Ask my dad about how I recited parts of Erma Bombeck’s “At Wit’s End” from memory.) I’ve loved writing ever since third grade, when our teacher had us write short stories every week. Part of my career was working in journalism, and I’ve saved a few clips from along the way. And thanks to COVID, and the big backyard I have now, I’ve been doing more gardening than ever.

Come along with me for a look at my favorite books, what I’m planting in my gardens and my latest writing. (That’s after I finish emoting in those nine personal posts!) As I’ve learned from my latest diet – you need to bundle a reward with a chore to increase your chances of success. Once I can sustain my regular posting schedule for four weeks, I’m going to treat myself to a new logo for the blog.

I like big books and I cannot lie

This person likes books too.

“Like” is too mild. I love books. No, that’s too mild a statement. How much do I love books? (“How much, Aunt Jim?”) Years back – you’ll have to be a certain age to get this, it was in the 80s – there was a series of TV commercials for Old Milwaukee beer. 

 Each commercial ended with a group of guys around the campfire, the picnic table or wherever, saying “Fellas, it just doesn’t get any better than this.” Or in Texas around the chili, “Boys, it don’t get no better than this!” My dad would take one look at me with my nose perpetually in a book, a glass of iced tea in hand, and usually munching on something, and say, “a good book, a glass of sweet tea, and a little something to munch on – it don’t get any better than this!”

Continue reading “I like big books and I cannot lie”

Why all the radio silence….

It’s because life is so busy for the last two years! I have some terrific ideas for blog posts – usually during the middle of the work day – and then once I get home (late) after running errands, get dinner and do any chores – I’m ready to collapse into bed. Darn this time change. I want to hibernate.

So, let’s start over.

Hello friend. (as a dear Toastmaster I once knew used to say.)

Here are some things I’ll be posting about in the days to come:

  • my no-added sugar Christmas
  • 50 things before I turn 50
  • my health journey
  • Toastmasters and the joys of leading volunteer groups

Can’t wait to talk with you soon.

Aunt Jim

So tired … busy weekend Toastmastering at District Conference

I will never drive back from a District Conference on the Saturday night after it ends … I left Myrtle Beach at 1 1 p.m. and got home at quarter of 2.

But the conference itself was fantastic. My friend Ray Schnell won 1st place in the International Speech Contest. He’ll represent South Carolina (District 58) at the 2013 International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, this August. Sorry for the fuzzy photo; I was moving around.

Ray Schnell
Ray Schnell is congratulated by International Director Kristina Kiehlberg, left and District 58 Governor Phillip Woody. Phillip is a tall guy and he has to look up to Ray here!

 

The conference was held at the beautiful (and pricy) Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort at Kingston Plantation. I got there around 7:30 p.m. Friday … the sunset from my oceanfront room balcony was a gentle display:

Serene oceanfront view
The view down the beach at Kingston Plantation in North Myrtle from my balcony was serene.

More pictures and commentary to follow ….

Links I love … and you’ll love them too

Lately inspiration has left me for blog topics. My back is healing nicely (thank you, Pilates and Swimming!) and work is going ok (knock on wood.) And I did post the fun photos from Bark to the Park. So I thought I’d share with you some of the blogs and sites I love to visit. I’m betting you’ll want to add them to your blogroll.

One of my favorite blogs is the one hosted by the “Blogfather” himself, Instapundit. Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds has been blogging since shortly before 9/11, and his method is to post links to other sites, along with short one to two-sentence commentaries. If he’s really amused he’ll add his trademark “Heh“. The content is mostly news and politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective, but you might find anything and everything on his blog. Including a perfectly marvelous recipe for chicken.

Another blog on my Firefox Morning Coffee plug-in  is Testosterhome. Augusta, Ga. writer Rachel Balducci chronicles her life with five boys and one daughter. I started reading her blog when she only had four boys. It’s an inside look at an entirely different life than mine – I’m a single woman with career, volunteer work and friends, who is a Baptist, and she is a married stay-at-home Mom and professional writer who is a Southern Catholic. Through her blog I’ve learned all about soccer, Chuck Norris and all things wild and wonderful in a family of eight.

Sippican Cottage is winsome blog written by a Yankee furniture maker. If I ever get an extra $500 together I’m buying one of his beautiful, handmade console tables. They are crafted from Tiger Maple and have tapered legs. An instant heirloom. His wry commentary on the social scene is worth subscribing to. And his boys – wow! He and his wife homeschool their two boys, who are budding musicians. Their two-man, largely self-taught band “Unorganized Hancock” plays requests from their dad’s blog readers. You’ve got to watch this version of Buddy Holly’s “Oh, Boy.” It will make your day.