Start Your Engines

Revving Up

All day yesterday, I felt like it was Saturday.
It wasn't, though.
Monday has rolled around again.  Time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I share things I discovered over the weekend.  
(Even when the weekend seemed shorter than it was.)

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A Quote

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude."
     ----- from the Winnie-the-Pooh series by A. A. Milne

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A Word

Here's another word I'd never enountered before . . . discovered while reading Ben Lerner's The Topeka School:

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I had to look up more words in that book than I can remember doing with any other book in recent history.  For the most part, I could easily glean the meaning of these unfamiliar words in context.  But I was curious.  So I spent a lot of time with my dictionary.

How about you?  Can you recall a book you've read that required you to keep a dictionary by your side at all times?

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As a Mister Rogers fan, I'm looking forward to the movie coming out later this month, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is based on the relationship between Fred Rogers and the journalist Tom Junod.  Junod has written an essay for The Atlantic about his relationship with Rogers, what it was like to see the movie inspired by/based on that relationship, and, ultimately, some thoughts on what-would-Mister-Rogers-do in our world today.

It's rather long, but well worth reading.  Here's the link.

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Oh, my.  We have reached that point in the movie-watching season where it is just an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great movies in the theaters.  Between now and the end of the year, it is going to be a constant parade of movies with "Oscar buzz."  This weekend, Tom and I saw two movies we highly recommend:  Harriet (starring Cynthia Erivo) and Ford v Ferrari (starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale).  Both are worth a night out at the movies!  (But be warned about The Lighthouse.  Sure, it's critically acclaimed.  But it is also a . . . Big. Slog.)

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And that's it for this Monday.
Hope your week is starting off well.

Join us tomorrow over at Carole's for week 3 of our Read With Us book discussion of Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy.


Start Your Engines

Well.  The weekend went whizzing by for me.

And now it's Monday.  And it's snowing.  

Time to . . . 

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. . . with some flotsam and jetsam that washed up for me over the busy weekend.

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A Quote

"Another fall, another turned page."
 --- Wallace Stegner

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A Word

Yesterday morning, as I was driving to the gym, I heard a segment on NPR's Weekend Edition about the word fraught.  It wasn't so much what the word fraught means . . . as how it is used -- and how that word usage is changing over time.  I really wanted to share that segment with you all, but I can't find it on the NPR site!  I'll try to make do on my own.

First off, here is the dictionary definition of the word (a word so common I'm sure I don't really need to include the definition, but it does make things more interesting, I think). . .

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(Please note that I am not including entries 2 and 3 of 3 here.  Entry 2 is using fraught as a noun, while entry 3 is using fraught as a verb.  Neither of these "fraught usages" are currently in use, and neither of them are relevant for this post -- or the NPR segment.)

Anyway.

Most of the time I use, read, or hear the word fraught in language, it is accompanied by the prepositional phrase with, as in. . .
fraught with danger
fraught with anxiety
fraught with tension

But lately, I've noticed that some people use the word fraught all by itself.  As in . . . The situation was fraught.  No with involved.

And this is what the NPR segment was all about.  They mentioned that the word origin of fraught was actually related to definition 3, above (the "archaic" one):  laden, or freight.  As in . . .  loaded with.  And that's how fraught with evolved in common usage -- it needed that with because it was describing being laden with something.

But now, fraught is evolving further . . . to be an acceptable, stand-alone adjective.  So.  If you hear the word fraught being used all by itself . . . well, relax.  It's okay.  Fraught is now an acceptable adjective meaning "distressed, anxious, or tense."  Without a with.

Thoughts?

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Looking for a good non-fiction book to sink your teeth into?  Here's a list of the 20 best works of non-fiction in the current decade.  (I can personally attest to the excellence of several of the selections on the list -- and think everyone should read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.)

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And . . . that's it for this Monday!  I hope your week is off to a good start.  (And not . . . fraught.)

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PS - Be sure to join us for the Read With Us book discussion - Week 2 - over at Bonny's tomorrow!  


It's Monday

. . . and that means it's time to . . . 

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Here are some things I stumbled across or thought about this weekend.

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A Quote

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
     --- Gilbert K. Chesterton

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A Word

I'm reading a book right now - The Topeka School by Ben Lerner - that is . . . well . . . one of those Important books.  It's dense.  Interesting, for sure.  But . . . dense.  It's slow going for me.  Partly because I need to read it slowly -- and partly because I have to look up words every few pages.  Words I have never encountered before.  (I'm sure I'm really selling y'all on reading this book.  Ha.)

Anyway.  Here's one of the words I looked up this weekend:

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Who knew?  An anechoic chamber . . . is just a soundproof room.  (Which makes sense, once you break the word down a bit.)

A question for you:  When you're reading and you encounter a word you don't know, what do you do?  Do you drop everything and look it up in a dictionary?  Or do you just move ahead with your reading?  (I do a little of both.) 

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Over the weekend, I started listening to the Dolly Parton's America podcast.  I'd heard about it from multiple sources last week, with rave reviews from everyone who'd listened to it, and I'm here to tell you . . . it's delightful.  And interesting.  Not only is Dolly just a fascinating character -- but there is some real insight into this particular time in America in this podcast.  Nine episodes.  Give it a listen!

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Because FUN

Just when you think you can't bear one more news item, something like this article pops into your newsfeed!  Give it a read -- feel better about the day.  And aging.  (You can dance. You can jive. Having the time of your life!)

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And that's it for this Monday.  I hope your week is off to a great start.

Please join me here tomorrow for our first Read With Us book discussion post.  I'll be starting off the discussion about our current selection, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.


Start Your Engines

It's a frosty Monday morning here.  Time to . . . 

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A Quote

"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons."
      --- Jim Bishop

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A Word

I heard this word while I was listening to NPR over the weekend.  Needed to look it up . . . just to check . . . but, mostly, I like saying it out loud.

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To Cook

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As we get further into fall, we also get further from fresh vegetables.  Although I used to use them all the time, I've really gotten away from resorting to frozen vegetables over the last few years.  But . . . after reading this article from the Washington Post, I'm going to rethink that!  It turns out that frozen vegetables are often better than what you can find in the fresh produce section during the off-season months -- and especially if you prepare them and use them in optimal ways.  (Plus . . . convenience.)

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To Read

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In honor of Halloween, check out this list of the 10 creepiest author photos ever captured!  (And then let me know which is your favorite.)

A Reading Reminder:  Please join our Read With Us book discussion beginning next Tuesday, November 5.  We'll be talking about the first third of the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.  (Can't wait to see what you think.)

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A Gardening PSA

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If you live in the northern part of the US (or southern Canada), it's not too late to plant your spring bulbs.  In fact, I'd call this prime time for bulb-planting!  You still have time for them to get settled in the ground before the hard freeze arrives, and it's late enough that the squirrels (probably) won't dig them up.  But, hurry!  The time is now.

(Even though I think it's a real drag to plant bulbs, I never regret it come spring.)

(And the tulips in this picture?  They were in bloom when my sister and I visited Mackinac Island last June.)

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That's it for this cold and crisp Monday morning!  Have a great week.

 


Good Monday Morning!

Good morning!  
I hope you enjoyed the best kind of weekend.  
Now, it's Monday -- and time, once again, to . . . 

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A Quote

"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning."
---J.B. Priestly

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A Word

I was reading a book over the weekend and came across this word . . . 

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I'd heard the word before, but needed to look it up.  In the book I was reading, the word was used to describe a very young boy -- and it seems the  perfect way to describe a child's view of the world.  (But I know a few adults who seem to be living with a theory of solipsism . . . and that isn't quite so charming now, is it?)

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Something to See

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Perhaps you're a long-time reader of the New York Times' Modern Love essays . . . or maybe you listen to the podcast already (both are a treat!) . . . but now you can watch 6 episodes of Modern Love come to life on Amazon Prime.  Tom and I watched the first two episodes over the weekend, and can't wait to watch the rest.  They're really well done -- touching, charming . . . and make you feel good about . . . well . . . modern love.  Check it out!

Here's a link to the trailer on YouTube.
(I wanted to embed the trailer here . . . but that launched such a formatting nightmare that you just get the link.

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Something to Make

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Okay, Knitters . . . have you seen the Sisters United Socks from designer Caitlin Hunter?  These very charming boot socks were designed by Caitlin to "harness the warm and loving spirit of the knitting community."  Caitlin is working on this project with her friend Candice, of The Farmer's Daughter Fibers.  Candice has created an initiative called Sisters United to support Native American women.

If you're on Ravelry, you can read all about the pattern and the project here.  If you're not on Ravelry - or if you want even more information - you can read about Sisters United here.

The pattern will go on sale tomorrow: Tuesday, October 22 on the Sisters United website.  Consider supporting the Sisters United project by purchasing the pattern . . . or knitting a pair to wear . . . or make a pair to include in a healing bundle.

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And that's it for me this Monday morning.
Here's to a great start to your week.


Start Your Engines

Another Monday.  Let's get it started . . .

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With a Quote

"If today were the last day of your life, would you do what you were going to do today?"
  --- Steve Jobs

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And Some Timely Words

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Yes!  You can click here for a nifty guide to 10 words and terms associated with . . .  impeachment.  Each word/term is defined -- and you can read background information for each one. (Test your knowledge!  Stay ahead of the news cycle!  Impress your friends!)  

The words?  Impeachment.  Treason.  Bribery.  High Crimes and Misdemeanors.  Suborn.  Perjury.  Obstruction of Justice.  Supermajority.  Corruptionist.  Maladministration.

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And Something to Read

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Many of us are trying to form or create new habits -- habits that will make us happier and healthier.  But . . . it's hard!  And our attempts don't always (probably more like usually) don't work.  Ever wonder why?  

Here's an article that explains the difference between habits . . . and routines.  

According to the article, a habit is a behavior done with little or no thought, while a routine is a series of actions regularly followed -- and we need to accept that only certain kinds of behaviors can become habits.  

I thought this was a fascinating explanation, and an interesting perspective. (Sorry, Gretchen.  Even signing up for your newsletters or using your "accountability app" cannot help us change routines into habits, no matter our tendency.)  It makes me realize . . . that my going to the gym is NOT a habit.  It is a routine! 

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And a Factoid
(a true and not even trivial FACT)

It was back in 1974 (I was in 9th grade, just for some perspective) that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for banks to refuse women credit cards without a husband's signature.

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And that's it for today!
I hope your week is off to a good start!

 


Monday Again

It's a foggy, muggy Monday morning here . . . after a cold and rainy weekend.  And my dratted seasonal allergies are kicking in.  

Definitely time to . . . 

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A Quote

"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall."
 --- Oscar Wilde

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A Factoid

Did you know . . .

Leaves are green due to the plant's critical food producer-- chlorophyl. When the shorter days of autumn approach, leaves slow down their food making process. This eventually stops production of chlorophyl that once kept the foliage all green. As the chlorophyl dies off, we see the yellows, oranges and reds "appear" in the leaves. These colors were there all along -- we just couldn't see them in the light of summer.

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And By The Way . . . 

"Factoid" is a real word.

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But I didn't use it correctly.  Because that information about leaves?  It's actually a fact.  Not a factoid.  (But I like the term "factoid," and will probably continue to use it incorrectly.  Because I like the sound of it.)

(According to the Merriam-Webster website, Norman Mailer coined the term "factoid" in 1973 in his book Marilyn, about Marilyn Monroe.)

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Something to Know

Here's an organization that's worth knowing about . . . 

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Fair Fight was founded by Stacey Abrams to promote fair elections, encourage voter participation, and education voters about elections and their right to vote. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.

Learn more about Fair Fight here.

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And now . . . I'm off to face my Monday!
Here's to a good week for all of us.

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Don't forget to check out my September stash giveaway!  The deadline for comments is TOMORROW - Tuesday, October 1 at 5:00 pm Eastern.

 

 

 


It's Official

. . . summer is over!  

It's the first day of fall, AND a Monday.  Time to . . . 

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A Quote

"Nature gives to every time and season unique beauty; from morning to night, as from cradle to grave, it's just a succession of changes so soft and comfortable that we hardly notice the progress."
--- Charles Dickens

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A Word

Today's word comes from a bike ride.  Here's the story.  Tom and I were out riding our bikes and talking about something he was working on.  And Tom used a word that made me stop my bike and say . . . WHUT?????  Because I had never heard or even encountered the word before.  Like, ever.

What was the word?

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Yes.  Orthogonal.

For Tom, this is a roll-off-the-tongue, everybody-knows-this-word kind of word.  But, then, he is a scientist.  And they do use some unusual terms . . . on the regular.

For me?  Never heard of it.

But when Tom explained, I understood -- on a very intuitive level.  He was using it to explain "orthogonal testing" -- or using two very different kinds of tests to prove a single result.  (Trust me, there are many, many, MANY more definitions of orthogonal than the one above.  It's a complicated word -- but all the definitions are related to perpendicularity.)  (Is THAT a word???)

Long story short . . . Tom says the best practical example he can think of (to help me understand the concept) when it comes to "orthogonal testing" is this:  If you want to know your exact location, measuring latitude and longitude (independent, perpendicular "tests") will be more accurate than measuring latitude (or longitude, for that matter) twice.

Got it?

(How about you?  Ever heard this word before???) (And if you're also a scientist, don't answer that.)

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To Consider

Are you familiar with Lady Dye Yarns?  If you're not, prepare to find yourself heading down a bit of a rabbit hole . . . because her yarns are just lovely.  (And -- she sponsors very cool clubs and has some really awesome project bags, too.)  Diane Ivey - the "Di" behind Lady Dye Yarns - is a BIPOC crafter and business owner, and she's working hard to help make the crafting community more inclusive.  She has just announced a collaboration with Romi Hill to commemorate and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (giving women the right to vote).

You can read all about the 19th Amendment Celebration Collaboration between Diane and Romi here.  I've already signed up -- and I hope you'll consider joining me!  It's a great project -- and a terrific way to support a BIPOC dyer and a supportive ally doing some really cool things in the world.

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And To Read

And another thing . . . As Diane points out in her description of the 19th Amendment Celebration Collaboration, the contributions of African Amerian women in the women's suffrage movement have always been overlooked.  And those contributions were significant!  As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in the US, let's make make sure to boost our knowledge -- and learn the stories we should have learned long ago.  Here's a great place to start.  As Diane says so poignantly in her description of the collaboration, "the support and participation in our political process by ALL women ACTIVELY participating is very important."

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Something Cool

Click here to see a very cool project by UK artist Peter Crawley.  
(It's some stitch-y goodness that you just need to see!)

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Hope your week is off to a very good start!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Muggy Monday

After a pleasant weekend with comfortable weather, Monday promises to be the start of a hot and muggy week.  
Time to . . .

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(This is where I share things I've been thinking about over the weekend.)

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A Quote

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
  --- Andy Warhol

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I don't have a specific word for you this week, but rather a turn of phrase.  Last week in my art class, someone commented to someone else that I had made my sweater "from scratch."  Of course, I knew what she was trying to convey, but it got me wondering . . . where, exactly, did the term "from scratch" come from?

So I looked it up.

Here's what I found on the Merriam-Webster website:

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In cooking, "from scratch" means you prepared something from only the most basic ingredients -- with nothing "premade."  In building (structures), "from scratch" means you didn't use any pre-fabricated parts.  In creating a business, "from scratch" means nothing was provided for you at the start.

So . . . what do you think?  If I knit a sweater with yarn I purchased?  Is it "from scratch"?  Or not?

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Are you already weary of trying to keep up with primary season and where the various Democratic candidates stand on the issues?  I found this nice little summary site that NPR has put together to track the issues in the 2020 election.  It's concise, clear, and colorful -- with easy-to-read graphics.  It's very well done and an easy way to follow along -- especially if you're anything like me . . . and the debates make your head explode a little.  Check it out!

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Tom and I went to see The Goldfinch on Friday.  It's totally being panned by the critics, so I don't suppose it will end up in contention for any awards come Oscar time, but Tom and I liked it.  If you were a fan of the book (I liked  the book, but didn't love it; Tom hasn't read it), you may especially like seeing the characters come to life on the screen.  

The biggest criticism of the movie seems to be that it follows the book too closely.  And I suppose that's true -- because the movie crams pretty much all 800 pages of the book into a 2 1/2 hour movie!  The movie is very faithful to the book (with a couple of notable changes).  I think it's worth watching -- although maybe wait until it's available to stream.

Edited to add:  Here's a little article about the actual painting of The Goldfinch, with a peek at the reason for author Donna Tartt's choosing it as the painting Theo steals in the story.

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I hope your Monday is off to a great start!

 


A Most Monday Kind of Monday

Okay, gang.  
My Summer 'O Fun is officially over.  
I'm behind in every. single. aspect. of my life (except my garden - which isn't too bad given the season - and my workouts, so at least I've got those).  
It's time for me to pay the piper.

Also time to . . . 

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(Here's where I share things I've been thinking about over the weekend.)

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A Quote

"Time is a created thing.  To say 'I don't have time' is to say 'I don't want to.'"
-----Lao Tzu

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A Word

I recently finished reading Inland by Téa Obreht.  (Excellent book, by the way.)  I looked up several words while reading, including this one:

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Redoubtable . . . is one of those words that I always think means one thing, but it really means another.  Somehow, I've never been able to keep the actual meaning straight in my head, and I need to look it up every time I encounter it again.  But I think I'll be able to remember it now - after reading Inland.  Because  (and this isn't really a spoiler) it's a bit of a plot point.

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To Read

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Okay, so maybe I've already convinced you that you might want to read Inland.  But just in case you're looking for more reading suggestions, here's a preview of fall book releases to watch for in the coming months.  

(The article calls itself the "listicle of listicles" -- which is perfect.)
(I wish I'd thought of it first.)
(I may borrow the term in future.)

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A Reminder

Although planting time is several weeks off, it's time to get your spring bulbs lined up now.

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Now is the time to pick up - or order from online bulb specialists - the bulbs you want to see flowering in your garden come spring.  Do it now -- while the selection is still good.  I know . . . the hardest part is remembering to plant them later in the fall.  When you're not wanting to think about your garden anymore.  And the weather is a bit crappy.  And the ground is cold and hard.

But.

Next spring - when you are desperate for color and blooms of any kind - you will be so glad you did!  (Always totally worth it.)

I recently ordered crocus, daffodils, and allium bulbs.  And I saw a nice assortment of bulbs at Costco last Friday.  It's time!

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And that's it for this Monday.
Here's to a good and productive week for all of us!