Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Wife in History

I have a thing for quirky reference books, so I was excited to come across this little gem today titled A History of the Wife.. I wasn't actually looking for a new book, and finding it was one of those weird woo-woo moments. Less than a week ago,I was reading a novel that took place in England in 1814, and a character in the book (a solicitor) mentioned that the laws of the time stipulated that if a woman gave birth within a year after her husband's death, the child would be considered the legitimate offspring of the deceased husband!Whoa! You do the math.

Anyway, that little tidbit already had me digging around on the internet for more information on how this part of the law could have come about, so this book came along just at the right time. I'm looking forward to delving into it.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Do You Treehouse?

I'll admit that while I've never actually been in a treehouse, I'm fascinated by them. In spite of the fear factor involved with a small space well off the ground, there's something rather magical about them. They feel a bit like playgrounds where adults are just as welcome as children.

And during recent years, people have gotten so inventive when it comes to style. Plans that would never work for ordinary houses are pluses for treehouses.

There are treehouses one can rent:

Here are 31 others that can be rented. Some of them are amazing!

If you do a search for "Treehouses for sale," you'll find builders and a number of ready-to-move-in treehouses on the market.

Also, I've obviously been living under a rock (i.e., I don't have cable tv) or I would have already known (as many of you no doubt already do) that there was a long running show on the Animal Planet channel called Treehouse Masters that featured...duh...treehouses. Episodes are still up on the website or if you just want photo tours, that's available, too.

There are also lots of videos available on YouTube, such as this one:

This one:

You can watch treehouses being built, and (via Treehouse Masters again), you can find some treehouses that are more luxurious than many places I've lived, such as this beauty (I have a silver maple, but I definitely don't have this view):

Maybe I should try a unique vacation and stay only in treehouses. Wouldn't that be something?

Have a fantastic day and enjoy fantasizing about your own personal daydream, whether it be a treehouse tour or some other fascinating goal!


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Biographies are Wonderful (But Sad)

I don't read biographies often, and there's a reason why. When I find a good one, one that makes the person (or persons) come alive for me, I grow so attached that it makes me horribly sad to realize that they're no longer walking the face of the earth. I know. That sounds a bit weird, and happens. It's as if I'm mourning the passing of a person who I never got the chance to meet. (Maybe I need to get out more and meet more of the multitudes of wonderful people who are living right this moment).

At any rate, yes, I just finished reading a biographical story. It's not a new one. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, was published about six years ago. It tells the story of a group of working class (read mostly poor) young men from Washington state during the 1930's and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Sons of loggers, farmers, and shipyard workers from the rugged west coast, no one would have expected greatness in the field of rowing. Yet, as we read the story following the life of Joe Rantz, a teenager who has grown up facing a life filled with obstacles, it's all but impossible not to become a part of this young man's world and to cheer him on.

I'm not a sports enthusiast and I knew almost nothing of the sport of rowing, but I was totally caught up in this wonderful retelling of these young underdogs who stole gold right from under Hitler's nose. I learned a lot about the sport, about the humanity of those involved, and the world stage that all of this took place on. Like other stories where we know the outcome but there's so much at stake (Apollo 13 comes to mind), this was a nail biter in the best possible way. I highly recommend it even though I'm sad that I never got to experience these people in real life.

If you'd like to know a bit more, here's the trailer for the book.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

My Never-ending Hunt for the Perfect Pair of Jeans

I don't want to reveal my exact age, but let's just say that the first article of clothing I ever bought with my own money was a pair of jeans I got at J C Penney, and I paid six dollars for them. I loved those jeans and I wore them to death.

Over the years, I went through all the phases (hip huggers, bell bottoms, boot cut, straight leg, at the waist, slightly below the waist, comfort waist, patched knees, ripped knees and more). Jeans and sweatshirts or tee shirts and gym shoes are and have been my go-to outfit for years.

But when I had my first child (a long time ago), I was already weary of trying on jeans in fitting rooms. Sizes varied from brand to brand and from style to style, and if I found a pair I liked, that style would rarely be available when I needed my next pair of jeans.

So I turned to mail-order jeans, originally Lands End, because I liked the fact that I could order an exact length and also because I could order the same style year after year after year. That went on until the day when Lands End decided to jump on the low-rise bandwagon and it became difficult to find anything that actually had a natural waist (they've since branched out and offer multiple choices for waist styles, but for a time that wasn't true).

I moved on to L. L. Bean. There was less choice in length, but more variety in waist styles, and again, I could--dependably--count on the same style year after year. At the time, I was mostly looking for comfort, and I found it.

I also have a pair of Jag Jeans. These are pull-ons, and I love the look, but they're just for jeans dress-up (for me at least) because they're longer, I have to wear higher heels, and the pockets are tiny.

These days I have several things I look for in jeans: something that--again--can be depended on to be available long-term, something that isn't too tight but fits my legs without looking too matronly, something with front pockets deep enough to hold a cell phone, since I often don't carry a purse, and something that has a bit of give. Right now I've settled on Lee Women's Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Jeans. They do fit slightly below the waist, but they're not uncomfortably low, they still look good if I gain or lose a few pounds, and I can--with a bit of angling--fit my phone in the pocket. Also, they come in a lot of colors, so I can change things up a bit if I like.
What's your go-to outfit? And how long did it take you to find your current outfit of choice?

Have a great day!


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Got Time to Waste? Try Watching Marble Racing.

There are days when you just need to do something mindless and veg out in order to get away from all the daily stresses. Usually I just read or watch a movie, but today someone sent me a link to a YouTube channel called Jelle's Marble Runs, which was...weirdly compelling. It's an entire YouTube channel devoted to something called MarbleLympics (basically marble races in which the marbles are treated the way horses are in horse races, complete with funny names and exciting (well, sort of exciting) commentary.
marble racing
There are races on sand, in water, long jump competitions, high jump competitions, relay races, curling, hurdles, sprints, mazes and more. Very strange and yet...I confess that I watched more than one...or two...or three.

(I know. I know. It's embarrassing, but...don't judge me. I needed to do something relaxing). 😀

Have fun!


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Amazing Origami Art

I've often wanted to try origami, but frankly I'm all thumbs and I don't have the patience required for many of the folds.

But this artist makes origami that is so beautiful that I can't be sorry that I'm unable to create beautiful things out of paper. I'm just glad that people like this exist. Take a look. (I'm also glad that the artist found this helps him find meaning and a purpose to help him deal with his depression).

More incredible origami art:



Monday, February 18, 2019

Sometimes Winter and Snow Can Be Fascinating and Beautiful

Okay, it's mid-February. We've had our share of ice, snow and cold in Chicago, and many (most) of us are counting the days until we see the first crocus poking out of the ground. But today I ran across a few things about winter that made me smile.

This man recreated the Mona Lisa on an ice rink. How awesome is that?

And here's a man who has the job of removing snow from the roofs of the buildings at Yellowstone. It can get pretty deep there, so they use modified saws (long ones, as seen in the video below) to cut the snow into blocks. Then, they pick up the blocks (second video) in a move that almost looks like performance art when the film is sped up.

Winter just got a lot more interesting! Enjoy!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's Valentine's Day! Time for Some Romantic Movies

I love to read (of course), and while I read lots of different things (nonfiction, biographies, some science fiction, fantasy, character study novels, historical novels...), romance is my favorite. I'm also a sucker for romantic movies. If you feel the same way, here are some lists of romantic movies to get you started (or bring back great memories). Lots of overlap here, but each one also has a few movies not seen on the others.

Moonstruck movie

Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Romance Movies

About Time movie

Empire Online The 50 Best Romantic Movies

100 Romance Movies to Watch Before You Die (according to the blog A Love So True)

Here's a trailer for one that isn't on any of the lists, Lost in Austen.

And just for fun, a mashup of Richard Armitage clips, who was once voted most romantic hero (or something to that effect) by a romance writers group. I loved him in the BBC's North and South. I could watch the ending of that movie over and over.

 Enjoy your evening, movie or no movie!


Monday, February 11, 2019

To Cookbook or Not to Cookbook

I'll admit that I'm not much of a cook. I don't like spending more time making something than I do eating it, and I always assume (rightly so) that if I start baking, I'll start eating the things I've baked (I think we all know what that would mean).

But I do happen to love reading recipes, and I like to mix things up a bit and get out of my usual cooking routines now and then. So, I used to have a number of cookbooks. For the past few years, though, that hasn't been the case. I own 3 professionally published cookbooks, along with two little cooking booklets my sons contributed to when they were in kindergarten. Of those five publications, three are sentimental (one of the professional versions was given to me as a gift by a friend I haven't seen in years. To its credit, it does have a solid pot roast recipe). As for the other two books, I'm not sure why I have them. One is a book on vegetarian cooking (I'm not a vegetarian, but I like vegetables) and the other is a slow cooker book, and I haven't gone near mine in years.

Today when I need or want a recipe, I either go to a folder where I keep some tried and true recipes along with a few I've decided to try out, or I just hop on the internet, type in what I'm looking for and then cruise around until I've found something that suits my available ingredients, complexity and time constraints. I rarely tear recipes out of magazines anymore, although I have some older recipes I originally came by via newspapers and magazines. I just found that my "to be tried" stash kept growing until it was all but unmanageable, and I hoarded those magazine clippings for fear I would never find them again. That rarely happens with the internet. Once you've found it, you can probably find it again (although I do print the ones I want to try right away).

That said, here are some of my favorite places to find recipes (lately, at any rate. That could change at any time).

The old dependable All Recipes.

Cookies and Kate if I have vegetarian guests or I"m just looking for a good vegetable recipe.

Genius Kitchen

Tasty on YouTube

Here's one of their videos:

There's also the Tasty website (more conventional than the videos, and all the recipes are written down).


And Yummly

There are others, but these are a good start.

How about you? Do you still use cookbooks, have old favorites, pore through magazines, cruise the internet or a combination of those?

Happy recipe hunting!


Thursday, January 31, 2019


I've lived in the Chicago area all of my life (okay, all but the first year or slightly more of my life). I'm used to snow and cold. But apparently the fake falcon we have to keep the birds surprises on our patio table, is not nearly as happy with the weather. He looks a bit perturbed.

I've considered dressing him up (you know, the way one does with these things, perhaps a jaunty little snowsuit and a hat with a cute pom pom on the top) but that might just be the ultimate indignity, and he already looks angry enough. (Not to mention, the squirrels might get jealous. We have a nice community of those,and they are a rascally bunch).

Stay warm and dry!