Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 11/23/2020: Happy Thanksgiving


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….

Hi all. I’m still here. I took an unintended blog break and was gone so long I forgot about the annoying WordPress update until I started this post lol. Hope you are doing well and staying safe. Much has happened since I last posted and I have not made time for blogging.
The election is over and done with thank goodness for that. Covid cases have skyrocketed again now that the second wave is here…or is this considered the third wave? We’re at over four thousand positive cases a day in New Jersey. I’m still working from home and my job extended that into 2021 so I am very grateful. My husband however has been back out to work since the summer.

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is this week. We’re staying home and I’m cooking and baking then dropping off food at my parents doorstep for them. My mom is making side dishes which I’ll pick up from her. We usually have Thanksgiving together but decided to celebrate separately this year while still sharing dinner and desserts this way. What are you doing this Thanksgiving? Do you cook?

Like I said much has happened since last month. We took a pretty weekend road trip to the Adirondacks in October and enjoyed the gorgeous Fall foliage there. I will share pics at the end of this post. It’s strange traveling during these times but we found a private cabin again and we social distanced as usual and we really enjoyed the trip. I got to visit Ulysses S. Grant cottage while we were out there and that was the highlight of the visit for me. The Civil War history nerd in me was on Cloud 9.

Also, I fell right before Halloween and wound up on crutches for over 2 weeks. I had an x-ray done, thankfully it’s not broken just a badly sprained ankle and I pulled a few tendons. I’m now fully off the crutches this past week. Yep. Crazy times. p.s. Using crutches is painful. I never knew that before. It makes your body sore since you’re walking awkwardly and using muscles you’re not used to using.

Onto a few bookish updates…..

I have to say I suck at reading lately and have not been able to focus on any single book. I’m trying though so maybe I’ll be able to get back on track this week since I have a short 2 day work week this week.

in my mailbox:

I purchased a copy of The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant when I visited Grant cottage. They have a small gift shop on the property.
Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery Book 1) arrived via BookTrib/ Meryl Moss Media. How cute is this cover? And I like the coffee theme.

recently on the blog:
My thoughts on The Mist.




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That covers my updates. I have crochet to share but I will do that next updates post since this one is already kind of long. I will close with a few photos of our October road trip to the Adirondacks.
What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments. I will be doing more blog hopping this week. Stay well and Happy Thanksgiving to those in the U.S. who celebrate.


The views from the cabin where we stayed. It was very picturesque.




They had a beautiful pond on the property and lovely Koi fish.



We visited Grant cottage which I had no idea existed until I watched the documentary Grant a few months ago. I booked us a private socially distanced tour and we got to see all the rooms and we walked the grounds. It was really great getting to see such a fascinating historical spot. All the original furniture is still there and Grant’s bed is there with a portrait of Lincoln above it. It was almost like walking into a time capsule.
Ulysses S. Grant spent his last years here and he passed away in this cottage in Upstate NY in 1885. The photo above are his funeral flowers. They do not know why these haven’t disintegrated after all this time.




He would sit out here and write his memoir. I think he passed away about 3 days after finishing it.


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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

The Mist By Stephen King

source: personal copy
title: The Mist
author: Stephen King
genre: horror/science fiction horror
published: 1985
pages: 230
first line: This is what happened.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:
In the wake of a summer storm, terror descends…David Drayton, his son Billy, and their neighbor Brent Norton join dozens of others and head to the local grocery store to replenish supplies following a freak storm. Once there, they become trapped by a strange mist that has enveloped the town. As the confinement takes its toll on their nerves, a religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody, begins to play on their fears to convince them that this is God’s vengeance for their sins. She insists a sacrifice must be made and two groups—those for and those against—are aligned. Clearly, staying in the store may prove fatal, and the Draytons, along with store employee Ollie Weeks, Amanda Dumfries, Irene Reppler, and Dan Miller, attempt to make their escape. But what’s out there may be worse than what they left behind.
This exhilarating novella explores the horror in both the enemy you know—and the one you can only imagine.

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my thoughts:
The Mist is one of my favorite King book to film adaptations, I liked both the film version and the tv mini-series which was cancelled after season 1.
One of the reasons I enjoy The Mist so much is that I like these kinds of stories based on a catastrophe that makes peoples true selves emerge. I also enjoy the post-apocalyptic stranded group of strangers setting where people need to work together to figure out a solution.

As the story begins there is a bad thunderstorm in Maine in the middle of July that brings with it a thick unnatural looking mist. David Drayton takes his son into town for supplies leaving his wife behind at their lakefront home. Once at the grocery store David realizes the mist is spreading and has enveloped the entire building. People begin to panic as they realize there is something unnatural and deadly waiting outside. David tries to keep his 8 year old son calm while also worrying about his wife back home. The group of people at the grocery store try to bond together to figure out what to do next. There is plenty of tension and danger as fear of the unknown begins to overtake people.

The setting of The Mist is great. As I said, I like these end of the world type stories. What would happen if you were stuck at a grocery store with a bunch of people with a deadly mist surrounding you? Most of the people know one another because they all live in town. I liked David and his son and I rooted for them. A few of the other characters are likeable while others not so much. King inserts a woman into the mix who begins to use religion as the cause of the mist and as a way to get others to act out in a dangerous way. This woman begins to get a following since some people begin to lose their minds over the situation. A few of the scenes are pretty gruesome in detail once the reader gets to see what is lurking in the mist.

That being said, while I enjoyed reading this novella, at times I found myself almost just going through the motions since I knew what was happening next. The film version stays pretty true to the novella, except for the ending. The ending is completely different in the book. I think I prefer the novella’s ending over the film.

King sets the mood perfectly here. He gives us a set of characters that pull us into the story and there is mystery and terror surrounding the origins of the mist making this novella the perfect dose of horror at 230 pages without too much commitment. All in all, I enjoyed reading The Mist and recommend it if you enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction stories.


“There are things of such darkness and horror-just, I suppose, as there are things of such great beauty-that they will not fit through the puny human doors of perception.” p.226, The Mist by Stephen King

“You know what talent is? The curse of expectation.”- p.157, the Mist by Stephen King


I read The Mist as part of R.I.P. XV.




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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Mist by Stephen King. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The book photo in this post is mine and not to be removed from here.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 10/4/2020: Hello October

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Hi all and happy October. How did October get here so fast? I love this time of year. The weather is nice, the foliage is looking pretty and aside from all the madness in the world right now I enjoy the Autumn coziness. I hope you are all doing well. I’ve not been on blogland too much these few weeks. The steroid med side effects have been kicking my butt lately but I am finally off the month long course as of a few days ago so fingers crossed I don’t need more. As a result, I have not been able to sit at the computer for extended periods because my legs and feet have been swelling up so I’ve been crocheting alot more lately with my feet elevated to pass the time. I also really can’t be near anyone because steroids impair your immune system, so yea fun times. I watched the entire season of Ratched, I recommend it. However, if you want some crazy ass plot twists just look at the news lately. The truth really is stranger than fiction right? Bookwise, I also finished reading The Mist so I’ll share my thoughts soon on that.

onto my updates….

recently on the blog:
I shared my thoughts on The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen.


in my mailbox:

The Art of Inheriting Secrets through Amazon Prime.




Also in my mailbox, I purchased these fun book magnets over at Cult City. Total impulse buy but I like them and happily added them to my magnet collection.


crochet:
I finished up a set with the special Mother’s Day yarn from my daughter.
I made myself a cowl and matching fingerless gloves. I made my set using Tunisian crochet which I love. It’s almost like combining knit and crochet, a special hook is used for this. The stitch I used is called honyecomb.



And I had leftover yarn so I whipped up a matching sweater for Otis.

Here he is modeling his new sweater. Another thing that happened this past week is Otis had to have 6 teeth pulled. He’s recovered nicely now. He is turning 7 this December and Chihuahuas are notorious for having bad teeth. I scheduled him for a teeth cleaning and once he was under anesthesia the vet called me to let me know how many of his teeth needed removing. He had to have a round of antibiotics and a few days on pain killers. He was definitely mad at me when I picked up that evening after his dental procedure so for his sake I’m relieved it’s over and done with. If you look closely at his left leg in this pic you can see where they shaved the fur down for the IV. Teeny tiny Otis.

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That covers my updates this week. I’ll be blog hopping a little bit today to see what you all are up to. Enjoy your week ahead and thanks for stopping in.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen


source: purchased
title: The Snow Leopard
author: Peter Matthiessen
published: 1978
genre: memoir/non-fiction/classic
pages: 336
first line: In late September of 1973, I set out with GS on a journey to the Crystal Mountain, walking west under Annapurna and north along the Kali Gandaki River, then west and north again, around the Dhaulagiri peaks and across the Kanjiroba, two hundred and fifty miles or more to the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan Plateau.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:
When Matthiessen went to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and, possibly, to glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard, he undertook his five-week trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes. This is a radiant and deeply moving account of a “true pilgrimage, a journey of the heart.”


my thoughts:
I co-read The Snow Leopard with Velvet over the past few weeks. This is Peter Matthiessen’s memoir documenting a trip he took through Tibet in the 1970’s with a zoologist named George Schaller.
Matthiessen’s writing is very descriptive and several beautiful passages stood out at me and as I read I was easily whisked away.

“Where the valley narrows to a canyon, there is a tea house and some huts, and here a pack train of shaggy Mongol ponies descends from the mountain in a melody of bells ad splashes across the swift green water at the ford. From the tea house, a trail climbs steeply toward the southwest sky.” -p. 18, The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen



I feel like sometimes a good book just finds it way to you and the timing is great. I found this to be a relaxing and interesting read during such stressful times now with the pandemic and quarantine.

I think Matthiessen was brave to go off and travel mainly on foot like that through all kinds of trails and terrains, climbing steep hillsides and seeing so many distant places and people. That takes guts. He pretty much did all of this with just the clothes on his back. It’s amazing to think of doing something like that. While he is out on his trek he finds zen moments of introspect and clarity. I try to meditate daily myself and although for the most part I liked when he spoke of Yogis and meditation, I did find some of what he referenced about enlightenment to be odd and just plain gross at times. I wasn’t expecting to read some of the things he was saying would constitute enlightenment but I’ll leave it at that.

The trip is full of inspiration but also of moments of sadness as Matthiessen misses his family and thinks about his late ex-wife. There is also the aspect of danger just on the periphery daily. These people are in remote locations with no nearby doctors, they are climbing steep hillsides and mountains, they need to make sure they have enough food and supplies as well. On top of that the elevation gives headaches and the snow blinds their eyes as they travel. This is a mentally and physically exhausting venture. Not to mention that being for months on end with the same people on such a difficult journey without creature comforts can drive you batty as well.
And I wondered how Matthiessen could up and leave his young son behind. I believe his son was 8 years old at the time of the trip. He promised him he would be home for Thanksgiving and he broke that promise.

Overall this is a beautifully written memoir about a man who goes on a trek to find himself and get a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard. I kept wondering, where is the snow leopard? Will they find it? Is it watching them? There’s a little twist at the end. Highly recommended.




I’ll close with some of my favorite passages:

“I have the universe to myself. The universe has me all to itself.”- p. 278, The Snow Leopard


“The secret of the mountains is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no “meaning,” they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life and the mountains ring, and when I hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart…” p. 208, The Snow Leopard

“This stillness to which all returns, this is reality, and soul and sanity have no more meaning here than a gust of snow; such transience and insignificance are exalting, terrifying, all at once, like the sudden discovery, in meditation, of one’s own transparence.” p.169, The Snow Leopard

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The book photo in this post is mine and not to be removed from here.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 9/21/2020: Updates, Crochet Etc.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Hi all. Hope you had a nice weekend. We’re having nice weather here with it cooler in the mornings and evenings but still warm during the day. September is flying right on by and I’m definitely in the Autumn/Halloween mood. It’s been another crazy kind of week but I’m just going with the flow. We’re still quarantining but I did notice an uptick in the numbers of positive cases reported these past 2 weeks in New Jersey. They’ve opened movie theaters, gyms and indoor dining with limited capacity here. We are still passing on anything indoors and sedentary like that for now. The anxiety I’ve had from my doctor’s appointments these past few months is bad enough. How are things in your area?

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

onto my updates….
in my mailbox:
I grabbed a copy of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper through Amazon Prime. I’ve watched several Jack the Ripper documentaries and this book caught my eye because it focuses on the victims instead of the killer.
“Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London—the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper”

recently on the blog:

I shared my thoughts on My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner which is a nice pattern book. I made a snowman candle cozy that somehow looks like a penguin but that’s ok.

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watching:
All things scary including the last Halloween film, which I thought was really good and The Exorcism of Emily Rose which was terrifying but also very sad. Have you seen these?

Also of note, I am good and hooked on Real Life Ghost Stories the podcast. I can’t get enough of these scary stories lately and I’ve been listening while crocheting.

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crochet:
I whipped up a few pumpkins not too long ago and have been making more. These are addictive to make.




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Last but not least, Happy Birthday today to a favorite Stephen King.


That wraps it up for now. What are you up to lately? Can you recommend a scary film? Happy week ahead and stay well.


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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos are my own. some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.