Monday, August 29, 2011

Kindle; Elspeth

I recently got a Kindle, after having snubbed it for a long time.  I love to read but why would I want to stare at a little computer screen for hours, I thought.   But when my sister showed me all the books she could fit onto her little smartphone, I took a closer look at it.  It is the niftiest thing in the world!!  It's not lit from behind, like a computer screen, so you're not staring into a bright light while you read; and they say you can fit 3,500 books on it!! Yes!

So far I've downloaded 162, all but a few of them for free.  Any book which is in the public domain (I believe that would be any published before 1923) can be downloaded for zipperino from Amazon or ProjectGutenburg.  The downside to this is that these free ebooks vary in quality -- some of them seem to have been pretty sloppily put together, and even have some missing text sometimes.  But if I get a poor copy from Amazon I go to Project Gutenburg and download a different copy.

I've got Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, J.M. Barrie's plays, all the Oz books which I LOVED when I was a kid (and I found about 7 or 8 of the Oz books with John R. Neill's illustrations !!  which are a BIG part of the appeal of Oz for me), Edgar Rice Burroughs, G.K.Chesteron, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Conan Doyle.... on and on.

Did you know that Conan Doyle ("Sherlock Holmes") had a brother-in-law who also wrote novels which were very popular as well, but who wrote about a criminal named Raffles --- the antithesis of Sherlock Holmes?  I am learning many interesting bits of useless information in my pursuit of old-fashioned escapist literature. . .

Right now I am reading "The Thirty-Nine Steps" by John Buchan, and it is pretty good.  It is not exactly the same as Hitchcock's movie of the same name, but it feels familiar.  It's a good yarn.

I am really enjoying my Kindle; it is the very best birthday present I've ever had, bar none, not even the real cowboy hat and boots I got for my ninth birthday.  :)   My only concern is that I have to be careful when I start a new book.  I'm the type of reader that can't put a good story down until I finish it.  I get caught and just HAVE to find out what happens in the end, even if I have to stay up til 3 a.m. and walk around like a zombie all the next day.

Here is another page from my sketchbook:  trying to work out a character for another Etsy shop I want to open for whimsical prints.  Which one do you think is the whimsical-ist?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Page From Sketchbook & A Mountain Stream

Here is a page from my sketchbook:

And here is a short video of a mountain stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from our short trip we took in July:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Weeds are like dirty dishes --- you can never get them done completely; there're always new ones coming along.  But I'd rather pull weeds than do dishes.  It's nicer being outside in the fresh air, and I like getting my hands dirty!  Here is a before picture of our front flower bed:

And here is an after picture:

Doesn't it look nice?  It gives me a sense of satisfaction --- there, that's all neatened up!  Of course, it's an ongoing job.  The little weeds are already poking their little heads up again.  I'd put mulch on them, but N says no.  He says it turns into a mess.  

Here is my begonia and a daisy-like flower I bought at Home Depot.  If I put enough flowers in the bed, maybe the weeds won't have anywhere to grow.  :)

And finally, here is a picture of the sky outside my house early one morning.  I went out in my housecoat to mail a letter and I thought the clouds were so pretty I went back in and got my camera.  

And here is my early morning shadow --- I am very tall and pin-headed!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Here is another video --- this one is longer; it's about 5 minutes.  Mulberry Road is in Otto, North Carolina, which is a little bit south of Franklin.  My family had a summer cabin on Mulberry Road for years.  My grandfather built it for us back in the 1960's and I have many fond memories of summer vacations spent there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Black Rock State Park

Here is a short video from when we went camping at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia.  Mountain City is not far from Dillard, which is between Clayton, GA, and Franklin, NC.  It was beautiful up there, as always, but surprisingly warm.... not to say hot.  We just happened to be there during an unexpected heat wave.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Self Portrait ????

Here is a self-portrait.  Sort of.  It's a blind contour drawing of my own face.  Sort of looks like me, in a very distorted way, of course.  :)   If you click on it, you can see it much larger.... supposing you want to....

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This was in church bulletin today; thought it was good:

'Tis not enough to say,
"I'm sorry and repent,"
And then go on from day to day
Just as I always went.

Repentance is to leave
The sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve
By doing them no more.

    (poem's author unknown)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Roses and rain and butterflies and a sweet potato

I love a rainy day.  There is something so peaceful about the sound of rain, and the air smells so fresh and newly washed afterwards.  Here is a short video of "rain and roses":

We have been clearing out our back yard --- and about time, too.  It was looking like a junkyard.  N has taken 2 truck loads to the dump so far; but when he was dismantling one of the old wood contraptions he had built for his orchids years ago, he found a Monarch chrysalis attached to the underside of the screen.  I thought about keeping it and watching it hatch out, but I've no time right now, so just carried it out to our lemon tree and fastened it securely to its branches.

And since I had my camera out, I also took a picture of the Amazing Sweet Potato.  What a will to live has this plant!  It began its life as a long-term science investigation for my erstwhile second grade class.  With 3 toothpicks stuck into its middle, it just fit into the mouth of the only jar I could find in my kitchen... little did I know the stems would sprout down at the bottom and have to push up through the jar's opening into the air.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but amazingly (like the weeds that push their way through the tiny cracks in sidewalks) it squeezed its stems through somehow and now it is sprawling half way across the floor of our back porch.