Big Lazies

walking 13

I recently wrote a post about my walking group, (If you missed it feel free to catch up Since we live in Utah, and the sidewalks are covered with snow, we’ve recently had to take our act off the road. Now we do our walking at the gym on treadmills, elliptical machines and other instruments of physical torture and while we certainly miss the fresh air and varied scenery, we don’t miss the early morning ice skating. (I think I scored a 10 on the difficulty scale – and possibly the richter scale – out on the driveway the other morning.)

Anyway, yesterday when the walking ladies arrived at the gym we spent five minutes driving around looking for the closest parking place.  When we realized what we were doing, we had to laugh.  We didn’t want to walk five extra feet to get into the gym where we plannd to walk five miles.

My friend Celeste said, “You should blog about this.”

Me:  “No, we’d look like big lazies.”

Melinda: “But we are.”

Ludy:  “You can blame it on me.  Say your friend  from the Caribbean (she grew up in Haiti) hates the cold.

Me:  “Hmmm.  O.K.”

So here it is Ludy.  The blame for the Big L rests squarely on your shoulders.

I of course don’t have a lazy bone in my body . . . HEY, could somebody bring me a donut? It’s hard to get out of my recliner when its at this angle. Somebody – Anybody! Hellooo . . . .”

Housecleaning 1900’s Style

victorian lady cleaning 2

Travel back in time and attempt to clean your house. (I dare you).

One of my favorite books was received from my mother who I’m sure got it from her mother.  It’s called, Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s cookbook.  This weighty tome was published in 1903 and contains 261 pages of recipes and tips for the modern housewife.  The following is the first of several installments gleaned from this unintentionally funny publication.

Sweeping Day: Carpets

Before Sweeping dip the broom in hot soapsuds and have at hand a pailful of soapsuds in which to rinse the broom when it becomes dusty.  Squeeze out the water so that the broom is damp but not wet.  This practice toughens the straw, makes the broom last much longer and softens it so it does not cut the carpet.  To prevent dust when sweeping wet a newspaper, tear it in small pieces and scatter the paper so that it will not drip.  Or sprinkle the carpet with moist tea leaves which may be saved daily for this purpose.

Blogger’s note – I’m not exactly sure, and am unwilling to experiment on my own carpets, but with all the soapy water and newspaper shreds and tea leaves it seems like the carpet would be more of a mess after sweeping then before. (?) But let me be the first to say I’ve learned a lot from this chapter. For instance:

cleaningSweeping Day: Techniques

To sweep well with a broom is an art that calls for quite a little skill and intelligence. There are wrong ways in sweeping as well as right ways.  The former are perhaps more often practiced than the latter.

1. It is wrong to lean on the broom or dig into the floor with great force as if trying to gouge the dirt from the surface. All the dust and dirt which can be removed lies directly on top.

2. It is wrong to sweep the whole length of the room toward the door in order to sweep the dirt into the next room as this carries dirt over a larger space of the floor than necessary.

3. It is wrong to push the broom forward so as to drive a cloud of dust in the air.

4. It is wrong to sweep always on one side of the broom so that it will get lopsided and have to be thrown away.

The right way to use a broom is to keep the handle always inclining forward and never allow it to come to the perpendicular; much less incline backward. The stroke should be rather long, the sweeper standing on the soiled portion of the floor, reaching back and drawing the dust and dirt forward as if pulling or dragging it. A skillful sweeper will lift the broom before it becomes perpendicular so as not to raise dust, and will tap it gently to shake the dirt out before reaching back for another stroke.

Bloggers note:  Who knew? Apparently, I’ve been wildly careless and ineffective in my own sweeping habits, and will endeavor to do better in the future. I sincerely hope these post-Victorian household hints have enlightened you all as well.


Subway Sandwich, a Deli Delimma

iStock_submarine-sandwichMy daughter and I were watching television last night and a Subway Sandwich commercial came on.  Apparently they’re having a sale right now – something like when you buy a six-inch sub it’s $5.00 but for a quarter more you get a whole sandwich.

Daughter:  I hate it when they do this sale.

Me: Why?

Because I can never eat a whole sandwich but now if I buy a half, I feel like I’m getting ripped off. The other day I was in there and ordered a half and I felt Like the whole restaurant turned around and gasped, and then this woman ahead of me tried to be helpful and told me that for only a quarter more I could get a whole sandwich.

So what did you do?

I only got a half, but I felt like I wasted money.

So next time get the whole thing and only eat half and save it for later.

That doesn’t work, because you can’t save those.  They get all soggy in the refrigerator, and then it’s just sitting there and I paid good money for it so I feel like I should eat it even though it’s gross.

So you can either get a half and not worry that people think you’re an idiot, or get the whole thing and feel like you got a a good deal even though you’ll throw half of it away and waste perfectly good food when people are starving  in the world.

Sigh, I don’t think I can even go there anymore.

Note to Subway – your sale is too stressful.

Books I Loved in 2013!

beautiful booksI’ve discovered I have very eclectic taste in reading material. In other words, I work at the library and read anything and everything that catches my eye.   My favorites for last year range from comedy – Dad is Fat!, to tragedy – Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea.  Animal stories – Dog On It a Chet and Bernie Mystery, and people stories – Coming Clean, a hoarders’ story. Someday I will be a lady of leisure and have time to read all the books in the library, but in the meantime  . . . here’s the lowdown on some of the standouts.

(Do you have a favorite?  I’d love to hear about it.)

Growing Up Amish, By Ira Wagler

growing up amishThis is the true story of a young man growing up in the Amish community.  Ira Wagler tells a fascinating  story of life among the Amish –  and it’s nothing like the embarrassing reality shows  that litter the cable channels.  The author grew up in a loving family with lots of brothers and sisters.  His parents though kind and supportive were also very devout and expected their children to follow suit. Ira, a rambunctious teenager had a hard time falling in line, and the result is both heartbreaking, and heartwarming.  I was entranced by this book, and found myself googling the author to find out what happened in the next chapter of his life.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

is everyone hanging outYou may remember Mindy Kaling from her stint in the excruciatingly funny T.V. series, The Office. But even if that show wasn’t your cup of tea, this book might be.  Kaling is hilarious as she recalls embarrassing moments from her childhood and adolescence.  She also dishes the – not exactly dirt on her co-workers  from The Office, and shares behind the scenes tidbits from other shows she’s worked on.  Kaling is self-effacing, and funny, and reading the book felt like swapping stories with a college roomie.

The Kitchen House, By Kathleen Grissom

the kitchen houseFrom the opening paragraph, Grissom’s book grabs you and doesn’t let go.  The reader is hurtled into the inner sanctum – the kitchen house – of a colonial plantation, and the stories of the inhabitants keep you riveted. The events in this novel are narrated by many voices, from the slaves in the kitchen, to the plantation owner and his family. The message is clear – man is meant to be free. One man should not own another, and even the wealthy can be slaves if they worship the wrong gods.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, By Helen Simonson

major pettigrewI wasn’t sure about the Major at first.  His gruff and ethnocentric character was hard to like, but something kept me going and I soon caught on. Major Pettigrew’s bluster was all bluff, an attempt to conceal his own feelings of inadequacy, but underneath the rough exterior lay the heart of a marshmallow. When the Major has an unexpected breakdown over a death in the family, his widowed neighbor Mrs. Ali comes to his aid.  Embarrassed by his display of weakness, not to mention the unexpected feelings for one he considers beneath him, Major Pettigrew resolves to avoid further contact. This is not to be however, and the result is delightful story of two lonely people who find love when they least expect it.  I’ll read this book again someday.

Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea, By Barbara Demick.

nothing to envyThis is a haunting chronicle of day-to-day life in North Korea.  While not my usual fare, this affected me profoundly, and changed the way I see the world.  For a detailed review of Ordinary lives click here:

Cutting for Stone, By Abraham Verghese

cutting for stoneHave you ever read a book where you so love the characters that you wished they lived next door? Cutting for Stone is one of those.  An epic story of twin boys, one given up for dead at birth, who go on to live amazing lives.  Set in a charity hospital in Ethiopia, the Doctors work miracles in this understaffed and overwhelmed facility. Though the medical details can be a bit graphic at times, they serve to heighten the stakes in this heart wrenching tale of  love and survival.

Dad is Fat, By Jim Gaffigan

dad is fatA perfect beach read.  Gaffigan is a stand up comedian who lives with his wife and five children in a small apartment in New York City.  This collection of essays on parenting is great fun, and will strike a chord with anyone who has ever tried to retain their dignity while raising small children.

Coming Clean, a Hoarder’s Story,  By Kimberly Rae Miller

coming cleanKimberly Rae Miller grew up in a house of horrors.Her parents were hoarders, and though they acknowledged their problems and regretted what they were doing to their beloved daughter, they were powerless to stop. Despite spoiled food in the refrigerator, rats skittering through piles of garbage, and unusable plumbing Kimberly survives and manages to keep their family’s secret. The author tries to underplay the frightening aspects of her childhood, and goes on to focus on how she coped with the after effects. This book is a success story on many levels.  Coming clean is so well written that you care about the author and find yourself rooting for her to make it.

Dog On It, A Chet and Bernie Story, By Spencer Quinn

dog on itChet and Bernie are partners in crime, crime solving that is. Bernie is a somewhat bumbling, but well-intentioned human, who owns a detective agency.  Chet is his partner and dog. The story is told through the eyes of Chet who though very bright, still does dog things like wolfing old abandoned hot dogs he digs up from under the Bar-B-Cue grill. This story is a light-hearted mystery that holds your interest and will definitely make you laugh

Fall of Giants, By Ken Follett

fall of giantsWhile not a huge fan of war stories, I started this because I loved Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End.  This turned out to be just as good, and I inadvertently learned a lot about the lead up to, and start of World War I.  The author makes these characters come alive and I really cared about what happened to everyone.  Though a long book at 985 pages, I didn’t want it to end, and I look forward to reading the next installment.

I’m already hard at work on next years list.  Happy reading everyone!

Downton Abby – Emphasis on the Down

So did anyone watch Downton Abby last night?  What’d you think?  I think  I’m about done with this show.  I won’t go into detail for those who haven’t seen it yet, but the new storyline with Anna and Bates is too bleak, too sad, and rather disturbing. Basically, more than I want to deal with at this time in my life.

It’s unfortunate, because I  loved this show.  Downton Abby, like it’s counterparts Larkrise to Candleford, and Cranford has always been delightful, witty, fun and uplifting, and while everyone has their problems, things usually work out without adding too much stress to my day.

Last night’s episode of DA was different.  I feel vaguely sad and haunted by  Anna’s fate, and  I’m angry at the writers for dreaming up this situation in the first place.  Now while I understand that the storyline is very realistic –  things like this happened to servants in those days, especially to women, but it still seemed unnecessary. Kind of like the writer’s are grasping at straws to keep the ratings up, but  at poor Anna’s expense.

I guess in a way my reaction is a compliment to the writing staff. The fact that I apparently care so much about these fictional characters must mean  the show is well written and  engaging. The problem is, I watch these shows to escape from the difficulties of the world.  In the past I’ve always been entertained by Downton Abby, and looked forward each week to seeing what crazy thing happened next, but suddenly  I find . . . I don’t want to know.

Too bad  Julian Fellows. You just lost a viewer, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

The Library Lady is Concerned – About Online Dating

As I’ve mentioned before, I work in a large public library.  The operative word here is Public, as in not private.  Also meaning that when you use the computers everyone can see what you’re doing whether they want to or not.

It’s become apparent to me that many people use the library computers for online dating activities.  Now let me be the first to say that I am intrigued by this whole phenomenon, and know several people who have met and married their soul mate thanks to online dating sites. Unfortunately, one must be very careful – you never know who you’re talking to and therein lies the problem.  I suspect that in many cases if you could actually see who you were chatting with, you’d stop.

I hesitate to go into detail and be criticized for judging  by appearances, but some of these hopeful swains have multiple red flags waving around their heads. Here are four examples:

1.Very large and flashy ring on wedding finger.

2. Extreme hygiene issues.

3. Apparent emotional, or substance abuse problems.

4. Appear to be much older than the cute young things whose faces appear on the  screen. (Remember I said these are public computers, and everyone can see.) Sigh.

In conclusion I just want  say, ladies, please be careful.  Don’t fall too hard for a guy you’ve never seen and may know nothing about.  When and if you meet them, make sure you meet  in a safe place. Also, make sure they have friends and family that they’re willing Introduce you to. Because there’s a downside to online dating –  some of these potential suitors may be misrepresenting themselves, either physically, socially, or in every way it’s possible to do so.

But now that I’ve said this, something occurs to me.  Maybe the cute young thing on the  computer screen is also  misrepresenting herself.  Hmmm. I guess it works both ways.

Breathtaking – Daily Prompt: Colors

sunset 3Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. . . .

A stunning sunset.
A stormy sea.
Falling in love with your best friend.
A healthy baby born.

A son’s wedding.
A daughter’s smile
The downhill side of a roller coaster.
The end of a good book.

A high lift at the ballet.
A fast horse
Laughing until your sides hurt.
A child’s baptism.

First story published.
First step
Accidentally hitting the accelerator instead of the brake.

A near miss.
A sweet kiss.
A happy ending
All this.

What takes your breath away?

My Dog Isn’t Dead, It Just Looks That Way

Here is a picture of my dog.


Here’s another one.


SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIf you  notice a certain lack of activity in these images you’re right.  The only time I see Lucy move anymore is when she hears food hitting her bowl. Somewhere in my dog’s DNA, there must be a distant link to a bear, because she seems to have gone into hibernation.

Rosie Bear

Rosie Bear

I can hardly blame her since we live in Utah, and our back yard – her playground – is currently piled high with snow.  Quite  frankly there’s not a lot for a dog to do outside these days, except shiver and whine to be let back in, so she’d just as soon lay on the couch.

Unfortunately for Lucy she is a dog.  Cats have the litter box option, but dogs are not so lucky and must occasionally leave the house. This is accomplished by a combination of bribes, physical force, and promises to stand by the door until she is ready to come back in.

This last requirement, standing guard while the dog does her business, is rather tedious, but necessary.  If I don’t watch her she’ll just pretend to go so she can hurry back in the house. I try to be patient and control my chattering teeth as she picks her  way around the yard, all the while glancing anxiously in my direction to make sure I haven’t abandoned her.

Poor doggie, I can  only imagine how I’d feel if every time I had to go to the bathroom it meant trekking barefoot and coatless through snow up to my belly.   I would be even less  enthusiastic about the prospect than Lucy is. In fact I might just come back in the house, pull a blanket over my head and hibernate.

Now in theory, hibernating is not a bad idea – for a dog.  You stay warm, you don’t get into your usual amount of trouble, and the time would seem to pass quite pleasantly.  There is one problem though. Hibernating bears don’t eat and ultimately end up skinny.  Because they are bored, semi-hibernating dogs live to eat, and consequently end up fat.  I’m afraid that by the end of the season I’ll have a roley poley butter ball dog.

fat dogWhat to do with dogs in the winter?   It’s not like animals can go to the gym – although there’s an idea someone should work on – I’d sign up for a gym that had an exercise doggie daycare attached. I think there’s an outdoor mall downtown that lets you bring your pooch, but that’s quite a drive, and my husband takes her out for walks whenever the roads and sidewalks melt, but that still leaves a lot of down time.

I was discussing this matter with  the author of  they have a large dog in an apartment in Singapore, and she suggested day care where the dogs can romp with their friends, and more indoor play. What do you think? Any ideas?

Do you have a snoringly bored winter dog?  What do you do?  I’d love to hear from you, and so would Lazy Lucy.