Grateful for…

I’m very late for Deb’s Listmania this week – but on the basis that it’s better to be late than not to do it at all, here’s my gratitude list:

Life – it may seem trite to say how grateful I am to be alive, but it is true nonetheless. I’ve had at least three close brushes with death and I’ve learned the lesson:  life is good and it’s to be grasped with both hands. I am so grateful to be alive.

just around the cornerMy immediate environment – I get to live on an olive grove, near a pretty town in a beautiful part of one of the loveliest countries on earth. How lucky am I? I am thankful for this every day.

in the groveMy family – my immediate family of DH and DS, DS’s lovely girlfriend, my sister and her family, our Dad,  DH’s family – and they’re all no further than a 2-hour drive away. Your family have to put up with you because you’re related to them – thank goodness for that!

usDH – we’ve been together for nearly 29 years (I think we should do something special next year, for our 30th anniversary). I am grateful to be in a long-standing partnership (although it did freak me out when I realised we have been together for more than half my life!).

on  my bikeHealth – although I have a chronic health condition, I’m managing it OK. I am grateful to live in this century, with on-going advances in medical knowledge. I am grateful to be as well as I am.

There are many, many other things I am grateful for, but those are the ‘big 5’. What tops your list?


Favourite Quotes

Deb at Homelife Simplified’s Listmania challenge for this week is favourite quotes. I didn’t think I had very many, but I noticed quite a few stuck to my filing cabinet when I was sitting at my old ‘work from home’ desk today (no longer that, as I don’t work from home any more). The quotes have been collected from a few sources and are either handwritten on memo-cube paper and stuck up there, or they’re on magnets or postcards. Here they are:

Important daily advice:
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
(William James)

Words that are always appropriate, no matter what the circumstances:
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

The next two are from magnets I purchased because I really appreciated the sentiments:
If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.
(Emile Zola)

here’s to opening and upward… and to yourself and up with joy and up with laughing
(e.e. cummings)

This one was a gift from Big Picture Classes – I just love it!
I plan on living forever. So far, so good.
(Dan Zadra)

And finally, words of wisdom to guide all of us who take far too many photographs to ever scrapbook them all:
There’s exactly enough time to scrapbook your most important memories.
(Stacy Julian)

What are your favourite quotes?

I want to make…

I-want-to-make-postThis is a quilt I have been working on for years. The four-patch and half-square blocks were part of a block-swap from 2011, and I have been sewing them together in infrequent batches ever since. I am SO glad to be nearing the end of this project. I need another 28 4-patch blocks to complete the outer border, and by posting this I am hoping to motivate myself to get them made and sewn together.

I have another quilting project I want to get onto. DS’s 21st birthday quilt is calling to me (it is currently only an idea and a pile of fabric); it’s just as well he’s not really expecting to get it before he’s 25!

Currently I am …

book coverReading: short stories from the multi-author collection Scottish Girls About Town, which my friend Pam gave me a couple of years ago. I’ve only read the first two stories; both were enjoyable for different reasons, which is one of the bonuses of short stories.

Listening to: the hum of the computer, bird song, the occasional vehicle zooming past on the road

Laughing at: Simon’s Cat – DS was home over the weekend and he’s learned to draw this character; I’ve found one lurking on my shopping list (I wonder if there are more?).

bellbirdSwooning over: bellbird song – we have a flowering banksia and both bellbirds and tuis are visiting to drink the nectar.

Planning: training sessions in our new library management system for my colleagues; this is the product of my trip to Christchurch back in February, where I was trained as a trainer in Kotui (the NZ version of SirsiDynex’s Symphony LMS). The first session is on Wednesday, when the three library managers will be my students. Trying not to freak out.

Eating lots of: dukkah – most of our current hazelnut production goes to a local producer of this middle-eastern condiment, and recently we started stocking their product to on-sell to our own customers. Minor flaw in the plan though – it’s so delicious that I’m eating a good proportion of the stock!

Feeling: good about keeping up with yoga; nervous about the training; satisfied when I look at my April productivity

Discovering: different yoga philosophies and approaches, and the resources of Yoga Journal – awesome!

grapes-no-netsLooking at: the house and garden; the grape rows are flush with autumnal colour and look so pretty since we took down the bird-netting yesterday

Wearing: 3/4 pants, yoga pants, leggings – the cooler days have brought these back into my wardrobe after a summer of skirt-wearing.

Cooking: in a bit of a rut at the moment; need to try new recipes with vegetables currently in season

Wondering: what do the cats get up to during the day (and night) and where do they go? Ninja was missing Friday/Saturday – no sign of her all night, not there for breakfast – but she trotted up to me in the garden late on Saturday afternoon, absolutely her usual self. Mysterious!

Trying out: scrapbooking regularly on Monday nights; so far it’s working well and I’m carrying on finishing pages started then – and creating more – during the rest of the week.

Favourite books

Listmania‘s prompt for this week is favourite book(s) and what’s on my current reading list.

There are many books I’d describe as ‘favourites’ and, now that I work in a library and can  borrow books so easily, I don’t buy nearly as many as I used to. I have also purged lots of books from my collection and have kept only the best of the best. Here is my list for today – it might be different tomorrow!


The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy is a trilogy, but as the first edition I ever owned was the ‘one volume’ paperback, I’m counting it as one title. This is a book I can re-read again and again, and it’s the absolute pinnacle of fantasy fiction as far as I’m concerned.

However, coming a close second are Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, and it’s extremely difficult to pick just one. However the concepts in Thief of Time are amazing and funny and provide lots to think about. The basic premise of the tale is that the Monks of History  ‘harvest’ time from creatures that don’t need it – eg undersea fish (how much time does a cod need, really?), and allot it to those who do – eg city dwellers (who never seem to have enough time). Great idea, isn’t it?

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley is simply a lovely story which makes me smile and feel good (there are places where the tension is high, but I am happy to reread these bits because I know there is a happy-enough ending coming up). I think I also enjoy this novel because it reminds me of some of the great times I had with my horses when I was considerably younger than I am now.

Anne Donovan is probably not well-known outside her native Scotland. I have Buddha Da because my aunt sent it to my mother as something light for her to read during Mum’s final illness. It is amazingly funny and true and heart-rending and lovely. What would you do if your Glaswegian plasterer father became a Buddhist?

Life of Pi is a book I loved so much I wouldn’t see the movie (I like to keep my own visuals intact, and not have them influenced by someone else’s). It was a close contest for the #5 slot between this title and The Time Traveller’s Wife which falls into the same category for me. Do you enjoy seeing movies of books you have really enjoyed?

As for what I am currently reading, I am getting close to the end of The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie. It’s a sort of Da Vinci Code idea, and it started off very well, but got a bit bogged down in the middle with all the explanations and historical information. I’m finishing it because I’m almost done, and I want to see how the writer solves the puzzle (as I’m sure she will). However unless you’re very keen on conspiracy lit, don’t bother to read it yourself.



Listmania #1 – Currently I am…

Joining in the fun (see Mandy’s blog here, and Deb’s post here – Deb is the one who has started us all off).

Currently I am:

1356 coverReading: 1356 by Bernard Cornwell (I love his novels – he writes about battles better than anyone else; his novel Agincourt is one of the best historical novels ever)

Listening to: the sound of the TV news, and of DH, DS and DS’s girlfriend talking about the current item – the Cabinet re-shuffle – with some amazement as to who has apparently kept her portfolio.

Laughing at: Ninja and Scruff – it’s an unexpected bonus of having a kitten (now a young cat) that the older cat discovers how to play again

Swooning over: summer fruit – I adore peaches, apricots and nectarines and the fruit bowl doesn’t stay full for long

Planning: my work-flow for pesto and chocolate spread production, so as to have enough ready for our stall at the Martinborough Fair #1 on 2 February

Eating lots of: salads – and using our new Citrus infused olive oil in the dressing (it tastes like sunshine to me!)

Feeling: that this year is already rushing along far too quickly


Discovering: biking the extended Greytown-Woodside Rail Trail is a great way to start the day (the link is to the event marking the official opening, but it’s actually all available to ride now)

Looking at: photos from my phone – I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have only just worked out how to get them from the phone to the PC (so some of the shots were taken in 2011!)

Wearing: shorts or skirt & t-shirts; I love the casual look and it’s important to be cool on hot and sunny days

Cooking: more new vegetarian recipes. Tonight we had Spiced Rice Scramble from Alison & Simon Holst’s Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook and it was yummy. Next time I make it I’ll put in two tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce though, as it wasn’t quite spicy enough with only one

Wondering: how it is that yoga poses I could do with ease only a couple of years ago are now impossible


Trying out: hybrid scrapbooking. I’ve downloaded the Storybook Collection #2 elements from ACDigitals, printed & cut them out and used them on a layout (for some reason the link to the actual page isn’t working, but if you go to the main link, you can find them on page 5 under the Journalling Cards tab).

If you would like to play along with Listmania, create your own post using this list. The best bit? There will be another prompt next Monday!