Sunday Bookends: Reading mysteries with cats, watching artistic movies, and selling a house

What a week last week was, or at least the beginning of it.

We knew we had at least one house showing in the middle of the week but then we were asked if we could accommodate a second house showing. Since our house had only been on the market for less than a week at that point, we said “sure why not,” but I also freaked out because I knew we had repairs and cleaning to do before then. Saturday through Tuesday was a blur of cleaning out, throwing out, scrubbing, scraping and desperate attempts to keep my youngest from making any huge messes before the showings.

Then the day of the first showing we had to figure out how to carry our cat to the van, since pets aren’t allowed during showings, and since she hates her cat carrier (not that I can blame her). My biggest fear is that she would get loose while we drove around town to waste time. Luckily that didn’t happen either day, even though she wasn’t very happy with being stuck in the van with two kids and a dog that likes to lick her all over.

The first day she was fairly anxious but the next day she spent a good part of the hour we were out yowling and for one brief moment, I thought she was going to throw up on me. As we drove she cuddled up against the dog, who really is like a buddy to her, even though they smack each other around half the time.

 

In the middle of the cleaning, we had our first snowstorm (Ezekiel) of the season and the kids enjoyed playing in the snow it left behind (which was much less than forecasters were calling for).

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On the reading front, I haven’t been reading a lot, partially because I didn’t have time and partially because my mom is using my Kindle after hers tragically passed away a couple of weeks ago and I usually read at night after the kids are in bed. I downloaded the app on my phone but I don’t enjoy reading in on the phone (even though I have a larger sized one) as much as on the Kindle.

I had a couple of hard copy books and read some of A Light from Heaven by Jan Mitford, but had to lay that one down because it dragged more than most of her books and I just couldn’t get into it. I did finally started a new “The Cat Who” book in the Kindle app after abandoning one she wrote in the first person.

I didn’t enjoy reading about a character who was usually written in the third person but was now in the first person.  The one I’m reading currently is The Cat Who Lived High (Book 11) by Lilian Jackson Braun and it is written in the third person. The Cat Who books are about former reporter James Qwilleran and his two cats, Koko and Yum-Yum. Koko seems to have a six sense, which Qwilleran uses in his amateur sleuthing. And like many mystery series, Qwill is the harbinger of death because everywhere he goes someone seems to die or has died already. Yes, he is another Jessica Fletcher.

At bedtime my daughter has been asking me to read stories from the Paddington books by Michael Bond. We are currently on the book “More About Paddington.” We love the stories about the crazy situations that bear gets into. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, my daughter often passes out before the story is finished and I try not to read ahead so she and I can enjoy it together. She won’t let anyone else in the house read to her, mainly because I do all the voices for the characters. I also do all the voices for her toys when we play (I do a mean Hallie and Stuffy from Doc McStuffins). I really need to stop doing that. Ha!

On the movie front, I finally crossed a movie off my movie bucket list: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  I’m amazed I never watched it since I’m a huge Paul Newman fan. Who wouldn’t be with those blue eyes and that sexy mouth? It’s okay to speak about him this way since he’s been dead for years. *wink* Seriously, though, I’m a fan of his acting and this movie didn’t change my mind. It was definitely action-packed and worth finally watching.

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I also watched a movie called The Beautiful Fantastic, which wasn’t as good, though it was clean and the cinematography was beautiful. It got a bit too cliche in parts but I enjoyed and I enjoyed watching Andrew Scott, who I first saw in Sherlock as Moriarty. I probably won’t watch him as the “Hot Priest” in Fleabag because that show really doesn’t sound like it would be my cup of tea. The Beautiful Fantastic also starred Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson.

It’s imagery and unique angles helped to spark my feelings of creativity, so there was that at least.

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So, how about you? How was your week? What are you reading? Watching? Listening to even? Let me know in the comments or link to a blog post where you shared what you’re up to this week!


Lisa R. Howeler is a wife, mom, writer and photographer. She resides in Pennsylvania and is a former journalist. She currently provides photographs for bloggers and for stock agencies, Alamy, and Lightstock.


 

Sunday Bookends: House selling, snowstorms and rediscovering art

Last week our house went up for sale and we prepared ourselves for a long wait before someone asked for a showing, even though we were hoping for a quick sale because we have a house we want to buy closer to my husband’s new job (and the purchase is contingent on the sale of the one we currently live in). Our house is a cozy, well-lived in house perfect for our little family, but it’s also a fixer-upper, so we didn’t expect people to rush to buy it. Imagine our surprise, and panic, when someone asked for a showing two days after the house went online. We were given seven days to repair a few, minor issues we thought we’d have at least a month, if not longer, to repair. As of now, we are down to four of those days with the majority of the repairs made, but a few still needed – including cleaning out my very full bedroom closet.

Of course, just because we’ve had a request for a showing doesn’t mean the people will be interested or buy it. This could be a long process and we know that. Our challenge next week will be getting the kids and the cat and dog out of the house at the same time. We don’t have friends or family near us so we’ve decided the kids will go to the library and I’ll wait in the parking lot with the animals in the van (since I have no plan to try to shove our cat into that little carrier again. The last time was for a trip to the vet a few months ago and my skin is still healing from some of the gashes she sliced across my skin.) I’m sort of hoping this process isn’t too drawn out since I don’t relish the idea of dragging the animals and all of us out of the house each time someone wants to look and see if our house can become their house.

The contents of that very full closet in my room have left me crying almost daily as I work through it, tossing scrapbooks into containers, photos of people who are now gone or no longer speak to us falling out of them. Then there are the journals, which I no longer look at because they contain too many cans of worms I prefer not to open. A couple interesting items I did find were old sketchbooks from college that contained images I took hours and hours to create but usually didn’t finish. Art was such a stress reliever back then but now I don’t seem to have the patience for it. Maybe I’ll get some patience back during the social media break I’m doing during December.

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I remember working on this project, which is made up of thousands of tiny dots made with an ink pen (a process called stippling) as a stress reliever but also as a way to focus better during college lectures. I find I can focus on sermons and lectures better when I can doodle of have something to do with my hands. I know there is science behind that but I don’t really want to research it and explain it here, so we will address that in another blog post.

Anyhow, I was working on this piece of artwork during a sociology lecture when the professor, walking up and down the aisle, pontificating about something sociology related, stopped and suggested I should be taking notes, not working on art. But then he said “So, can you listen to me better while you’re doing that?” I said I could. He looked at it again and said “That’s quite good. Carry on.” and then continued to walk up the aisle, rambling away.

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I need to finish that picture now that I’ve found it again. It would be a nice distraction, dotting away on a piece of paper, while the stresses of life (house selling, family and friend losses) swirl around me.

I should also finish this pen and ink sketch I started of The Beatles, I think.

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Our first snowstorm of the winter looks like it may hit us today and tomorrow, complete with a couple layers of ice and then up to 12 inches of snow. It even has a name- Snowstorm Ezekiel. At this point, we are just waiting to see what it actually brings in terms of snow or ice versus what the forecasters are saying. The big blob of pink and purple has been moving toward us but I haven’t seen much outside yet.

The snow will keep us inside but that’s a good thing considering we still have quite a few repairs to make and cleaning up to do before the showing.

So, how about you? What are you all up to or what have you been up to? How is the weather where you are? Cold? Warm? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with a verse from the book of Ezekiel in honor of Storm Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 37: 9-14 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”