Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Everything has beauty...

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
~ Confucius

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit: Wordless WednesdayImage-in-ing, and Through My Lens

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

American Snapshots: An Anonymous Art

This is the final weekend of the Nelson-Atkins Museum exhibition: American Snapshot: An Anonymous Art from the Peter J. Cohen Gift.

From the museum's website:
Amateur snapshots are the “folk art” of photography. Snapshots represent a world we instinctively know, while reminding us of the special—and often peculiar—nature of camera vision. 
These simple images embody a spirit of affection, curiosity and play. They reflect the familiar rhythms of everyday life—the events and motifs lovingly recorded generation after generation. They also represent a rich tradition of pictorial invention—a result, variously, of intention, mistake and chance. Tilted horizons, awkward intrusions and oddly cropped or off-center subjects are common in snapshots, as are the effects of blur, faulty focus and double exposure. 
Now, at the end of photography’s analog era, artists and collectors are studying these works with new respect as a key aspect of modern visual culture.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Weekend Review: August 28, 2016

School in full swing - stormy weather all week - September on the horizon. I'd say fall is in the air, and I am more than ready!

Another good reading week.

So far the idea of keeping a mystery on the nightstand and going to bed before I'm too sleepy is a good recipe for maintaining an active reading schedule. 

I finished the second Booktown mystery, Bookmarked for Death, and enjoyed it as much as the first. I still like the tense relationship between the protagonist, a mystery bookstore owner, and her sister; I like the fictional town that appeals to all bibliophiles (real and imagined); and I enjoy the suspense of the murder mystery.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Fresh Apple Cake

According to the note on Mom's hand-written card, this recipe came from my great-aunt Helen. I'm not sure where she obtained it.

This cake is the ultimate flavor of fall. It is the essence of spice, apples, harvest, and cool weather.

I remember Mom would send me a care package each first semester I was in college. The only contents I remember was a full bundt cake - and I hoarded it! If I shared a slice with you... I considered you a very special friend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Backyard Bottles

Art thrives on a difference of opinion.
My treasure is your junk sort of thing.  Life would be dull if we all agreed.

Robert Genn

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit: Wordless Wednesday or Image-in-ing

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tourist vs Traveler

Recently I researched the definition of these two terms.  According to
Tourist is a person who travels for pleasure, usually sightseeing and staying in hotels.
Traveler is a person who travels especially habitually

At first blush, there does not seem to be much of a difference except the tourist is associated more with sightseeing (seeing places and/or objects of interest) - and the traveler seems to travel to foreign lands on a more frequent basis.

According to these definitions, I could be classified as both.  I enjoy seeing places of interest and staying in hotels ... and I like to travel as often as finances allow (which will hopefully be more habitual now that I am retired).

So I researched a bit further.  A Google query indicated several in the travel industry do not consider these terms synonymous, and they are quick to offer their opinion.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week in Review: August 21, 2016

This week my granddaughter started kindergarten. She obviously takes after her Olly when she declared after the first day: Why we can't go to school everyday, even through spring break?! 


I finished The Quilter's Apprentice, the first book in the Elm Street Quilters series. While it's not a cozy mystery, it is a cozy story, and I enjoyed meeting the members of the The Tangled Web Quilters, as well as the protagonist, Sarah McClure and her employer, Mrs. Compson, a tough old broad on the outside with a kind wounded heart on the inside.

I'm a quilter wannabe, so I found references to different quilt patterns interesting, but sometimes written in too much detail to hold my interest. I did enjoy reading about their quilting time, however. These sessions provide opportunity to connect with others in an intimate way. Family stories are shared and friends listen with empathetic ears. There is also a spirit of camaraderie that I don't see often. "Many hands make light work" is evident when everyone comes together to help assemble Sarah's surprise anniversary quilt.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Fudge Brownie Pie

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day.

When I first discovered such a holiday... I immediately remembered a Chocolate Nut Pie my mom used to make. It was never considered a family favorite - so I'm not sure my children ever tasted it - but I remember the novelty of eating a circular brownie and thought I might share the recipe.

However, I wasn't quite sure where to find it. I knew Mom frequently used River Road Recipe cookbooks, so I began there. No luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Backyard Statue

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy,
even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

~ E. B. White

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit: Wordless WednesdayImage-in-ing, and Through My Lens

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Simply MUST Travel

My French "sister" and me
circa 1977
Since the age of eight, I have had a desire to travel.  That was the year I began French lessons, and I remember visiting my parents' friends whose son had just returned from his junior year abroad.  Looking at his pictures and postcards of Paris, I vowed that one day I would have the same experience.

In high school that dream came true. I participated in a three-week trip abroad where I stayed with a French family in Arcachon, France. This only whet my appetite, however. I desired to visit other European countries and experience them as a native:  living in the local neighborhoods, eating the customary cuisine, and speaking their language.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week in Review: August 14, 2016

For many here in the Midwest, the first day of school is quickly approaching. Normally I would be caught up in excited anticipation, but this year, I fully embrace retirement.

On a somewhat related note... Did I hear McDonald's will start offering Pumpkin Spice lattes at the end of the month?! As much as I long for cooler temperatures, I'm not quite ready for fall. How about you?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Pasta Salad

This recipe means summer in the Totoro household. And it is the only salad recipe my young children would request.

The kids loved the combination of pasta, pepperoni, and mozzarella.

I was thrilled they ate a few vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli.

And the colorful dish is as much a feast for the eyes as for the tummy.

When all three kids lived at home, the recipe made enough to feed hungry teenagers and provide a few leftovers. Now that we are empty-nesters, I need to remember to cut the recipe in half. Otherwise, we would eat pasta salad for a week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Backyard Angel

An inheritance from Mom's vast angel collection
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go
~ Psalm 91:11 (TLB)

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit: Wordless WednesdayImage-in-ing, and Through My Lens

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How to Write an Essay Others Want to Read

This will be the final post in my How to Journal series.

The last few posts focused on leaving a legacy ... using journaling notes, old photographs, and memorabilia to craft family stories that preserve our values and milestone moments for future generations.

The two most common complaints I hear from those who want to develop a journaling routine are:
  1. I don't know what to write
  2. I don't know how to write

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week in Review: August 7, 2016

Last weekend we experienced sweltering heat and triple digit temperatures. Today, it is raining and 70 degrees. Ah... the bi-polar weather of the Midwest. I'm not complaining though. Either way, I can stay indoors to read, write, and catch up on the Summer Olympics.

I did manage to finish Lorraine Barrett's book, A Crafty Killing, this week.

I must confess, my expectations for this book were too unrealistic. I wanted to fall in love with this upstate New York village as much as Stoneham, New Hampshire - the fictional setting in her Booktown mystery series. I wanted each reading session to transport me on a literary vacation, where I could wander through the shops and chat with the proprietors. And where I would count down the hours until I could return again.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Oriental Cabbage Slaw

I'm sure every cook has a recipe for Oriental Cole Slaw in their repertoire. Each one is slightly different, however. Some are heavy on the oil and light on the vinegar. Some use 1/4 cup of sugar (or more) while others just a couple of tablespoons.

This is the only recipe we used, however. It appeared in our church cookbook from the mid 1990s, and we've enjoyed it as a tasty summer side dish ever since.

As I recall, the adults enjoyed the recipe more than the kids, but now that the children are grown up, perhaps their tastes have changed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Backyard Planter

The steps of good men are directed by the Lord.  He delights in each step they take.
(Psalm 37:23 - TLB)

For more inspirational photos this week, please visit: Wordless Wednesday, Image-in-ing, and Through My Lens


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Travel Journaling

This post is the final one in my How to Journal series from another blog. I thought it was a suitable transition post, as My Cozy Book Nook is now my primary blog.

Last week I shared my Travel Bucket List - one that I'm sure will change and grow over time.

Today  I will discuss how I document my travels ... and how these same techniques can also be used to document my life journey.

I owe much of this content to Dave Fox, author of Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals, a book I highly recommend! I refer to this resource at least once a year, and each time I find a new nugget to incorporate in my own journaling routine.

In essence, Dave suggests there are four different stages of travel journaling:

  • Pre-Journaling: when you journal your plans for the trip, your expectations and anticipations.
  • In the Moment: when you journal while on the trip, speed journaling a few minutes at a time. 
  • Post-Journaling: when you journal after the trip, reviewing the notes from above, and crafting meaningful entries
  • Re-Journaing: when you journal several months or even years later, revisiting these essays and discovering meaningful themes or lessons learned.
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