Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Buying out British Used Book Stores in Search of Victorian Scotland

No automatic alt text available.I am writing a book set in Victorian Scotland while I am stuck in the middle of the U.S. So I find interesting, relevant books on Amazon. Some I buy on Kindle, some used. I buy very few new. Many of the books I pursue are not available on Kindle because they are so old. Some are not available new. I even bought one that came with dried flowers in it, I guess from a British meadow. I find references to more books and authors.  My husband recently commented that he never thought he'd be an expert on Victorian history, but he's becoming one.

No automatic alt text available.
I am working on my second fiction book and, since it is historical, I'm trying to do my research (and loving it!).  But researching Victorian Scotland isn't easy from the middle of the U.S. I am thrilled that the non-fiction writers in Britain have shared their information gleaned from the royal archives and interviewing the families of people who know Queen Victoria and John Brown, two major characters in my story.  

I also watch a lot of YouTube. I love authors' talks about their non-fiction books. I watch videos of the landscape around the part of Scotland where my story is set. 

But the books!  I am collecting an interesting library about Victorian times, and many of the books are quite old. I buy hardbacks when I can. I have a really old copy of an Edwin Landseer biography that needs repaired. I am hoping my son (who did this kind of work at Wesleyan University as a student) can help me with it while he is home before he leaves for the Republic of Georgia in the Peace Corps. He can teach me the rough basics of book repair.  The old books are much more fun (and in-expensive) than new books! 

Remember, when you look up an interesting book on Amazon, to check out the used books.  For example, this is a good book about Victoria and Albert. I think I read this while I was in Australia, so I probably read it on Kindle, but we'll just use it as an example.

Here's the link to it on Amazon:

It costs 9.99 on Kindle, $13.88 in paperback, and is no longer available new in hardback, new. But, you can get a good used hardback for $3.59 + $3.99 shipping + $0.00 estimated tax.  Not a bad deal!

So you can research to your heart's content, even from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The English used book stores love to ship to you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Maybe I'll do Keto

I've lost some weight. About 10 lbs since I quit drinking completely.

Why did I do that? 

Because we are planning to move to Mexico within the next year and our last move almost killed me. I am on a healthy living kick to get strong enough for a BIG move. Now that I am healing from hip replacement, I should soon be able to exercise more and more. Unless I decide on knee surgery too. I might. And I might not.

But my small weight loss has whetted my appetite....for more.  No, I don't really look like Melisandre as an old woman (for Game of Throne fans), but when I look at my 64 year old body in the mirror (my birthday was Saturday), I almost feel like I do.  Actually, I'm pretty hot for 64. A girl at Sprouts this week thought I looked like Stevie Nicks. Well, I am younger than she is, but I'll bet she's spent a lot more money on her face than I have on mine (no plastic surgery here, although if I were rich....)

So...a friend of mine recently showed me photos of her daughter-in-law who has been on the Keto diet and has lost loads of weight. Then another friend joined a Keto group on Facebook, so I decided to jump in too and see what it was about. And people on that group are always posting pictures to show how much weight they've lost and I am impressed.  Plus I have high blood sugar, which I control with diet, and so this is right down my ally. 

So the Keto ( or ketogenic) diet is another low-carb diet. We've all done those at some point, right? It's supposed to cause your body to produce ketones in your liver and use them as energy. Why is that good?

Normally, I guess, your body gets its energy from glucose, which the body produces when you eat carbs (and mine produces WAY TOO MUCH of). It ignores the fat stored in your body and gobbles up that glucose. "Yum!" says your body. But it doesn't like the fat as well, and so it stays in all those wrong places, and your clothes show your bumps and budges. 

When you really, really cut back on carbs, though, your body goes into a state of ketosis. That's what your body does when it thinks you are starving. It starts to produce ketones from breaking down fat in your liver. And since you aren't producing much glucose, your body, goes, "OK. I'm hungry. I'll eat these." And the fat goes away.

Starvation? Ugh. 

NO! You are not starving yourself of yummy calories or of fat, just of carbs. Getting rid of those carbs puts you in keto and you start to lose all that ugly fat.

So that's my plan. I don't think it will be that hard for me. I already <somewhat> eat like that. I don't eat processed food or sugar or very much bread/wheat. That's a good start.  And I cook from scratch. This week, I've made eggplant Parmesan and hobo stew that would have fit into the plan. Tonight is a roasted chicken and cauliflower.  But I'm going to get serious about this thing. And start adapting and sharing recipes that I cook. Maybe even make some YouTube videos. 

Interested? Follow me down the yellow brick path of Keto.

(Also more about getting ready to move to Mexico, writing a book about a time traveler to Queen Victoria's Scotland and my art!) So much too do. So hard to work my 40 hr. job and find time for everything else too. 

BTW. this is the picture on my art gallery that's been getting the most comments lately. I think people are ready for springtime!  See the little ladybug on the cherry blossoms? 

Art Prints

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hip surgery over Christmas break

Well, my hip surgery is over. It happened a month and four days ago. The Tuesday before Christmas. I am getting around great now, but it still hurts and I am impatient. I want to be well now. I am tired of hurting.

But I must be positive. I am getting better. It hurt before the surgery and was getting worse. Now it IS GETTING BETTER. I am not going to post my x-rays. They show too much of the private parts of my body, but here I am, getting ready to go into surgery.

Last time I showed you the sewing machine I bought to make curtains. Actually, I have not made curtains at all. We looked for fabric and didn't find any we liked within our budget.

So we moved in without curtains and we kind of like it. We plan to sell our house in about six months. Our walls are freshly painted, so maybe we'll just let the next owners put up curtains.

We drove around our neighborhood at Christmas and most houses here are wide open. We could see the people walking around and everything going on in their houses. This is a historic, beautiful upscale neighborhood. We, at least, have nothing to hide behind curtains.  We don't mind if people drive by and see us eating dinner. Cheers

I did use my sewing machine to recover this chair (See before and after photos above). It's not too bad to buy $30.00 fabric when you only need one or two yards. What do you think of the outcome? Here's a shot of the chair in my living room:

Note the lights above the aimore. This living room has traditionally been very dark, and we want it to look larger for when we sell. Here's what we did:

  • We painted the walls a lighter, more neutral color. 
  • We bought a smaller rug (tribal-on sale at Pottery Barn--LOVE IT!) and left more bare wood floor showing. 
  • We used modern, bright art and simpler furniture. And we lit our art.
  • We also added lights over our aimore and the bookcase of the same size on the other size of the door to the sunroom.
To create the lights over the furniture, I simply bought two strip LED lights (meant to go under cabinets) and laid them up there. I did weigh them down so they would not move, and I strung the cords behind the furniture. It looks great and cost less than $50.00, with extension cords. 

So, here we are. Christmas is over. My surgery is over. Now, I have to prepare to sell my house and move to Mexico.

My Christmas tree is crazy. I haven't counted them, but I probably have a thousand ornaments. I was watching a YouTube show on Victorian Christmases last night, and my tree looks a lot like the trees they featured. I hang ornaments inside the tree, layering them and giving it dimensions. It looks like a piece of jewelry, but it takes days to put up and weeks to take down.  

And I am packing all of those ornaments to move to Mexico. I am packing them in small boxes (we received many of those before Christmas and while moving in, mostly from Amazon.)

I am packing the small boxes into larger boxes, the boxes we used to move from Australia. They are international shipping boxes, sturdy and sized to fit into a container. Hopefully, all of my beautiful ornaments will survive the trip.

Well, so much for my news this time. What will be coming up?
  • I have another chair to re-cover. 
  • I have to get busy landscaping as soon as the weather allows. Two years of renters while we were abroad wrecked our yard. They did not care.
  • I am getting serious about writing my next book. I'll tell you about it soon! 
  • And I am making YouTube videos about Victorian life. So much fun!
  • Oh, and yes, it's time to get serious about my diet. I have to start testing my blood for sugar levels again. But soon I'll be able to exercise much more. I am about to get into shape!  Recipes coming soon!