Thursday, December 31, 2020

RIP Dawn Wells

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island, died yesterday from complications due to COVID-19.  

Some of you may not remember Gilligan's Island but the theme song will stick in your head forever if you watch an episode!

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan
The Skipper too,
A millionaire and his wife,
A movie star
The Professor and Mary Ann,*
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Volume 401

Check out this week's Hodgepodge here and join us!

1. Tell us about your favorite moment or share one of the bright spots from the year we're leaving behind. 

I have two - the day Sophia told me she had completed all the requirements to graduate with her Master's degree.  She had worked so hard - three jobs at some times as well as her school work - we were so proud of her.  Shortly after that, Vic was promoted to Lieutenant Commander - a low-key ceremony as military ceremonies are running in these COVID days but I get a little thrill every time he calls (he calls when he's gone back to his barracks for lunch) and I see the gold oak leaf on his collar.

2. What do you wish you'd known at the start of 2020? Elaborate.

That investing in personal protective equipment would have been a wise move?  No, seriously, I can't think of anything I wish I'd known that would change the ways things turned out in 2020.  I took all the recommended precautions, teleworked for a couple of months while my place of employment put all the precautions in place that made it safe to go back to work, discovered drive-through library services and grocery pick-up, and utilized FaceTime more than I ever thought I would.     

3. Best book you read this year? If you did not read any books this year, what's the best thing you ate all year? We've all eaten, right?

I read a lot of books in 2020, the list is here, but the best book I read was Belgravia by Julian Fellowes.!

4. The Pantone Colors of the year for 2021 are ultimate gray and illuminating yellow (a bright shade)...are you a fan? Would we find either of these colors in your home or wardrobe? 

I'd never heard of the Pantone Colors of the Year.  This year's colors are a little meh and I'm not sure how they express a message of strength and hopefulness.  The only grey in my wardrobe is a sweatshirt and I don't think illuminating yellow would be a flattering color for me.

5. If you were/are making a list of 21 things to do/accomplish in 2021 what is one thing that would be on it? 

Eat healthy.  Not healthier, since my eating habits haven't been anywhere near that in 2020.  Teleworking kept me much too near the kitchen with disastrous results and when I found out that Vic was not coming home in the summer or for Christmas due to the travel ban in place, it was "Hello Comfort Food".

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Here's hoping that the vaccine comes quickly and that whatever this new variant turns out to be, it can be treated as well.  We have had enough of the 'Rona!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #125

 The Queen's Christmas message are not alone.

Every year, we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights.  And light does more than create a festive mood-light brings hope.

For Christians, Jesus is the light of the world, but we can't celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way.  People of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid, and Vaisakhi, but we need life to go on.  Last month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity-despite social distancing.

Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has in many ways brought us closer.  Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need.

In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year.  And I'm so proud and moved by the quite indomitable spirit.  To our young people in particular, I say thank you for the parts you have played.

This year, we celebrated International Nurses Day on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.  As with other nursing pioneers like Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale shone a lamp of hope across the world.

Today, our front line services still shine that lamp for us-supported by the amazing achievements of modern science-and we owe them a debt of gratitude.  We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that-even on the darkest nights-there is hope in the new dawn.

Jesus touched on this with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The man who is robbed and left at the roadside is saved by someone who did not share his religion or culture.  This wonderful story of kindness is still as relevant today.  Good Samaritans have emerged across society showing care and respect for all, regardless of gender, race, or background, reminding us that each one of us is special and equal in the eyes of God.

The teachings of Chris have served as my inner light, as has the sense of purpose we can find in coming together to worship.

In November, we commemorated another hero-though nobody knows his name.  The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior isn't a large memorial, but everyone entering Westminster Abbey has to walk around his resting place, honouring the unnamed combatant of the First World War-a symbol of selfless duty and ultimate sacrifice.  The Unknown Warrior was not exceptional.  That's the point.  He represents millions like him who throughout our history have put the lives of others above their own, and will be doing so today.  For me, this is a source of enduring hope in difficult and unpredictable times.

Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness; some mourning the loss of those dear to them and others missing friends and family members, distanced for safety, when all they'd really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand.  If you are among them, you are not alone and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.

The Bible tells how a star appeared in the sky, its light guiding the shepherds and wise men to the scene of Jesus' birth.  Let the light of Christmas-the spirit of selflessness, love, and above all, hope-guide us in the times ahead.

It is in that spirit that I wish you a very Happy Christmas.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Hello Monday


The weather:::
Mid 40s for the upcoming week with cloudy days on Monday and Tuesday and then rain for the rest of the week.  I'm off work all week as we close for the week between Christmas and New Year's and I have lots of projects around the house.

On my reading pile:::
Vic and Sophia emptied my Amazon wish list so there were three new books under the tree - A Blessing to Cherish by Lauraine Snelling, the final book, number seventeen, in the series that started with the Red River of the North books; Snobs by Julian Fellowes; and Rick Steves' For the Love of Europe:  My Favorite Places, People, and Stories.  I also picked up Debbie Macomber's new Christmas book, Jingle All the Way, on our trip to Barnes and Noble.

On my TV:::
Just one movie to catch up on that I missed during Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas  We rented the new Gerard Butler disaster movie, Greenland, on Amazon Prime over the holidays - Sophia and I watched it on Christmas Eve and Vic watched it the following day.  You have 48 hours to view it when you purchase it.

On Netflix, I worked my way through Bridgerton (a lot of steamy scenes for those of you who have children, even teenagers, at home) and Emily in Paris this weekend and Virgin River is next on the list.

Checked off the list:::
Sophia picked me up at work at lunchtime on Tuesday so we went home, unloaded her car, and watched a Hallmark movie.  We both felt like Chinese food so we took a drive out to get some.  I teleworked for half a day on Wednesday and then we went to Whole Foods and Chick-Fil-A, picking up enough for a snacking dinner as well.  On Christmas Eve, we went to the bakery for some Christmas morning pastries, the gourmet market for the last of our charcuterie supplies, and then stopped at Barnes and Noble for our annual holiday visit.

Holiday masks

Sugar cookie gnomes

Our delicious charcuterie board

Christmas pajamas

We tried to sleep in as long as we could since it was going to be very early for Vic when we called on Christmas morning.  He was such a trooper, up at 2:00am and stayed with us through all of the present opening, and then it was right back to bed for him.  Sophia ended up having a long nap on the couch while I started watching Bridgerton on Netflix.

Crafts Roundup:::
Zero crafts over the last week but I intend to remedy that this week.

And in other news:::
Sophia headed home on Saturday as she had to work at the boutique on Sunday and see Ginger.  She had arranged for someone to work with her every other day while she was gone.  It's very quiet in the house after having Sophia and two dogs here for four days but I am looking forward to this week ahead - no work, time for crafts, organizing, and getting ready for the coming year!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 Reading Challenge - Results

My 2020 Books popped up in Goodreads last weekend.  I love their tracking feature and resolve to use it more faithfully in 2021.  I had to do a bit of catch up to record some books that I had listed in a thread on my Christmas group's site but had not checked off as read on Goodreads.  All reconciled now - my Reading Challenge 2020 goal was 24 books and I read 48!  There is an overwhelming theme of England in my reads, a lot of historical fiction, and a few old favorites that I re-read.

Looking forward to 2021 - next year's goal is 48!  For someone who has limited, or should I say makes limited time, to read, that's quite a bit but I'm determined to meet it.

Happy Reading!

  • Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • The Cavendon Luck by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • The Cavendon Women by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio
  • Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin
  • The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
  • The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin
  • Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell by M.C. Beaton
  • The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
  • The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin
  • The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
  • The Queen's Fortune by Allison Pataki
  • A Season of Grace by Lauraine Snelling
  • The Ambassador's Wife by Jennifer Steil
  • A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
  • Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
  • American Duchess by Karen Harper
  • Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor
  • Fairytale by Danielle Steel
  • A Breath of Hope by Lauraine Snelling
  • A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie
  • The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin
  • In the Lion's Den by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • Royal by Danielle Steel
  • There Goes the Bride by M.C. Beaton
  • A Lesson in Love by Gervase Phinn
  • The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull
  • Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M.C. Beaton
  • The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher
  • The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
  • The School Inspector Calls! by Gervase Phinn
  • Property of a Noblewoman by Danielle Steel
  • Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton
  • The Duchess by Danielle Steel
  • City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • A Spoonful of Poison by M.C. Beaton
  • The Little Village School by Gervase Phinn
  • Must Be Love by Cathy Woodman
  • Secrets at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn
  • Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn
  • The Perfect Paragon by M.C. Beaton
  • Love, Lies and Liquor by M.C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate by M.C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came by M.C. Beaton
  • The Switch by Beth O'Leary
  • The Deadly Dance by M.C. Beaton