26 Books to Read in 2016

Reading Challenge

I came across this idea last year and thought it was a smashing idea…so I’ve crafted a list that makes me happy.

  1. A book with water on the cover:  The Lake House by Kate Morton
  2. A book set on a school campus:  The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
  3. A book with a murder or mystery:  The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
  4. A book about siblings:  The Frozen Lake by Elizabeth Edmondson
  5. A book with a great first line:
  6. A classic:
  7. A book you started by never finished:
  8. A book that will help you: Back Care Basics (A Doctor’s Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief) by Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.
  9. A book you should have read in school but didn’t:
  10. A banned book:
  11. A book that will make you smarter:
  12. A book you loved – read it again:
  13. A book based on historical events: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
  14. A book you’ve been meaning to read:
  15. A book set somewhere you’d like to visit: 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helen Bertino.  It’s set in Philadelphia.
  16. A book you read with a friend: Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
  17. An autobiography or memoir:
  18. A book set in your home state:
  19. A book you own but haven’t read:
  20. A book over 400 pages:
  21. A book you picked solely for the cover:
  22. A book of poetry:
  23. A book at the bottom of your “to read” pile:
  24. A book based on a true story:
  25. A book that will make you laugh:
  26. A favorite book from your childhood:

And I’m not off to a bad start…check back for updates.  What’s on your list to read in 2106?


It’s in the cards.

I dropped my little Doxie girl at the vet today for a dental and possible some tooth extractions.  I decided a little “girl time” was in order to keep my mind off worrying about her and I headed to my favorite local coffee shop in the hopes that some friends were there.  What a great way to start the morning – a hug from a friend, great coffee, and a card reading.  I know.  I know.  It sounds so weird to most people.  Even to me – since I hadn’t actually ever done it before. But that said, I did love it.  And it’s not all strange “voodoo” – weird – or “witchy” – or any other preconceived notions that some might have. (I suppose that’s possible, but it certainly wasn’t my experience.)

The deck itself was called the Spirit of the Wheel Meditation Deck.  The cards were covered with beautiful illustrations based on the Native American medicine wheel.  Medicine in the Native American culture isn’t a pill to cure what ails you, rather it refers to a force or power that is inherent in nature.  The wheel itself is many things on many levels.

According to Native American tradition it can be a sacred space, an altar, a centering device for one’s consciousness, a protector, a framework in which to honor the forces of nature, and as an aid to meditation.  If the medicine wheel is new to you, I encourage you to check it out.  There are many ways it can be represented using drawings, totems, stones, etc.  It’s often depicted in art and jewelry.  Used in  some ways it’s a bit similar to walking a labyrinth.  Another cool thing to look up if you haven’t before.


I shuffled the cards and drew out 6.  Those six cards then refer back to a reading from a booklet that explains that card.


Isn’t that a pretty card??  So what did I learn?  Some cards validated things that I already know about myself. . . that I’m gifted with instincts about others and that I’m an educator at heart.  Three of the cards I pulled illustrated the attributes of learning, sharing, and teaching.  I spent 25 years in the classroom so I found it interesting that three of the six readings focused on those ideas.  Another touched on honesty and emotion with a caution to slow down before speaking.  One card suggested that I had recently conquered something in my life.  I feel that way about my recovery after breaking my back at the end of 2014.  I’m still getting better, but I do feel quite accomplished and have a sort of “look at me NOW” attitude especially where exercise is concerned.  Other ideas were just nice points to ponder and put to use:  to assist elders with compassion, to share my gifts with others,  to nurture my strengths, and look beyond fears to venture into the new and untried.  Aren’t those lessons we can all take something from?

So my first experience with having my cards read was quite fun and interesting.  And as I told my friend afterwards, I found it to be “food for thought” and  a pathway to self improvement and awareness.  And there’s nothing weird about that at all!


Very Vanilla Nemo

IMG_3678Nope!  Not a new ice cream flavor…a pair of socks.  I knit these for my son’s girlfriend.  The fact that I knit her socks should be a good indicator of how I feel about this girl.  Shes fun, loves Disney movies, and is a pre-med biology major.  The colorway called Clownfish just seemed to call her name.  This was a new yarn for me.  I ordered it directly from Biscotte Yarns in Canada, but you can order some of their yarns from The Loopy Ewe here in the U.S. as well – but I don’t think the Bis-Sock yarn is available there.

The yarn stripes beautifully.  And this pair turned out to be the most perfectly matched pair I think I’ve ever done – in spite of the fact that the Doxie from yesterday’s post chewed off the yarn and then swallowed about a yard of it. (Don’t worry, all the yarn was extracted and the dog is fine!).  It’s got a nice soft silky feel to it.   I did find that it split just a bit, but the yarn is so soft and beautiful that I wouldn’t let that deter me from using it again.  I knit these on a size 1 but think next time I might go down a needle size.  She loved the finished socks!  (Pattern is Very Vanilla Socks)

I’ve got my eye on the Queen of Spades colorway – or what I prefer to call the Chicago Blackhawks color!  That will be after I finish the scarf for hubby and a camouflage-colored bottle coozy for my son.  So much to knit.  So little time.

Resolutions v.2016




I don’t always make formal resolutions.  But I do reflect.  This year, I chose some things to focus on.

I started taking a yoga class in November.  I love it.  My only regret is that I haven’t been doing it for years.  It’s been a huge help for my back pain.  And I’m getting stronger.  I also find that I’m practicing the breath and and awareness even when I’m not in class.  It’s quite a drive and time commitment to get to the class, so I’m supplementing with at home practice.  I have before, but I’m making it more of a  focus for the coming year.  I started today.

I have a huge attic that’s stuffed with the detritus of children and life.  I’ve made this a focus in years past with some success.  It’s time to work on it again.  It’s hard to let go of old toys that my son loved so much.  Most of what needs gotten rid of is toys and baby stuff.  Some I will keep.  Most will go.  And what’s left needs some organization.  This won’t happen over night, but will be an ongoing project.  It’s cold up there now but I plan to spend at least 30 minutes up there every week.  This will be the hardest goal to keep I think.

Travel more.  Last year didn’t see much travel for the simple reason that I wasn’t physically able to do it.  We took a road trip to the east coast in April that was a little much for me at the time.  A long weekend in Chicago recently.  And a weekend on the motorcycle this past summer.  But I’m healing and am ready to take on more.  Dallas, here we come!

Run again.  This is a biggie for me.  Since breaking my back in October of 2014, I haven’t run.  I wasn’t cleared to run until the summer and  I did give it a rather unsuccessful try in September this fall.  I called my doctor here only to be told by his nurse that I should expect my back to hurt forever.  Those were tough words to hear.  She was cruel and blunt about it.  After drying my tears, I reached out to Germany for help.  My (truly wonderful) physical therapist and surgeon in Heidelberg gave me some suggestions to try and I’ve taken them to heart.  (Yoga was one.)  I have friends who are constantly telling me that I “don’t need to run”.  That’s true.  I don’t.  But I want to run.  For me, I think it’s the thing that will finally mean that my post-accident life is back to normal.  I guess time will tell.

So there you have it.  Resolutions in black and white out there for the world to see.

Happy New Year!