Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rainy days, wet paint, and books...

This pic of Mr. Toad is from September a year ago - he's still around, along will some new family... 

It's early, cozy, dark (I usually get up somewhere between 4 and 6, my favorite hours), and I just read Theresa's blog post on the joy of books read and listed to be read. And I'm with her. I love books, and I have strong feelings about having them in my house with me.

I have bookshelves all over my house. Travel journals, non-fiction, fiction, biographies, history, gardening, sewing, art, mathematics, science. Three versions of the Bible. A good atlas, various encyclopediasand dictionaries in 4 languages. Surrounded by books, and I feel so fortunate.

When I was approaching retirement, I thought a lot about living on a reduced and fixed income. Not being able to buy something just because I wanted it. Contemplating my exit strategy, I decided to build my library of books and films that I enjoy over and over again, while I had the flexibility to do it.

A 'sport' fern in a Chinese fan palm in the front garden

It took a while and was very enjoyable. Any favorites I had on my Nook, I bought for my library. Films - I got the complete Sopranos, Northern Exposure, and Seinfeld, and many movies I had on my DVR. And paid a bundle for a couple movies that are only in VHS format ( A New Leaf, with Walter Matthau and Elaine May, and The Tango Lesson, produced by and featuring Sally Potter and exquisite tango artists in Europe and Argentina). And I ordered The Coronation, narrated by Robert Powell - Queen Elizabeth's coronation day. Beautiful old film content. I remember the day I ran home from kindergarten to watch this real princess story on our neighbor's TV.

My most-read books...
The Shipping News
John le Carre, Paul Theroux, Patrick O'Brien, and Graham Greene.

Recently read - A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry, and The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones,

Would you like a Chinese fan palm? The date nuts are germinating everywhere...

And reading now - In the Kingdom of Ice, The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides, who also wrote Ghost Soldiers, and Stilwell and The American Experience in China 1911-45, by Barbara Tuchman. I just brought home my father's collection of Winston Churchill's books, and I'm reading Tuchman's book, which was also in his library, as my prologue - it's a fascinating viewpoint of the World Wars.

Other things happening's wet! We're having the wettest rainy season I can remember in all my years in Florida. Rain every single day. Awesome thunder. My Livingstone Daisy, which is a succulent, is turning to slime. The snails are fat. Mushrooms are cropping up on the ground and on the palm trunks. The birds are so happy, they sing all day. Their world is one big bird bath!

Sprouted mahoganies...sometimes I pull them up by the handful.

Let's not talk about mosquitoes. Or the ants that want to come in and park their umbrellas (unsuccessfully - I figured out ants a long time ago. Knock on wood).

When I came to Florida in 1978, my realtor told me, 'Quit looking at the yard, look at the house. Everything grows in Florida". So true!

This branch in the guava, a big one, was lopped a month ago. I had no idea it would regrow!

I've been chasing this philodendrum tripartitum off my coconut palm for years. Now I've decided to let it grow. I hope to get a vanilla orchid when I'm in Ft. Myers in October, to plant on the Washingtonia palm in the corner of the back garden. Sometimes the Edison House nursery has them for sale. They have beautiful, huge specimens growing on palms on the  property.

As long as I'm indoors, I got crazy and decided to do some painting. From yesterday...

Before - the foyer, Ralph Lauren French Quarter terracotta.
The color has gotten very pink over 14 years on the wall.

New! This 'olive-khaki' is 'Collectible', from the Behr Marquee collection.

Same paint on the base of the counter separating the living - kitchen areas. The color shows better with more light on it. This was previously French Quarter terracotta as well.

Today's project (and then I will put away my brush for a while), the entryway to the garage. At least I got it prepped yesterday.

I've been writing for 2 hours! I need more coffee. 

Bye for now - Coco


  1. Painting is so satisfying, I just have a hard time initially choosing colors and getting started. I love your new walls! I love books too, although I will admit to not feeling up to the commitment lately (the emotional commitment that reading a book takes). A Fine Balance was a hard read, but one of those books that stays with you. I will never forget it. Enjoy your rain! Here you are doing well if you can keep a flower alive.

    1. A Fine Balance really was hard to read...I kept thinking I would just stop, it almost irritated me, because the issues and problems and horrors were so awful but so easily misinterpreted as deserving regionalized pity. I kept going. The story was beautifully written, and I knew that it fit anywhere as an example of the human condition and the ability of our species to harm itself.

  2. Oh my The Shipping News was on my list and got cut, but such an excellent book and my copy of Seabiscuit is pretty well worn too.
    Love the colors, must be a nice change. Nothing refreshes quite like a new color paint!

    1. I figured those two books were lurking somewhere on a shelf...and the color is such a nice change. I had gotten to where I sat here and glared at the pink-orange walls!

  3. Oh gosh, you remind me! I have all of Ondaatje's books, so beautiful, almost mystical.

  4. Love my books and have so many, Ken Follett is one of my favorites for historical fiction....for something to watch, though, I recommend Foyle's War. It's a BBC series available on Netflix or Acorn.

  5. I loved A Fine Balance! Your lush outdoor pics bring back happy memories of our ten years as snowbids.


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco