Category Archives: Blogging

Going Buggy

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took another walk the other day when it was 92F, feels like 96F, and a bit humid. All quiet on the roadrunner front but I did see a few critters on the ground that would make good roadrunner snacks.

Pallid-winged grasshopper?

They were pretty large and at first, I thought they were locusts. A little research led me to identify them as pallid-winged grasshoppers. I tried to get as close as I could without them seeing me, but they flew off. Roadrunners would have to be pretty wiley to catch them.

Pallid-winged grasshopper by Judy Gallagher

You can see from the photo above that these grasshoppers could easily camouflage themselves.

Took a longer walk today, 91 F, feels like 91F according to the weather report. Ever wonder how they determine what the temperature feels like? I imagine a weatherperson standing outside and saying, ‘Hmm, feels like ______.’

During my walks, I can hear insects buzzing but cannot always see which ones are making all the noise. The wildlife often stays hidden. Did see a couple of roadrunners today. They can pop into view unexpectedly. They usually spot me and take off pretty quick.

We had an interesting speaker at my book club meeting this week. Her topic was Jane Austen who is one of my favorite writers. Usually, this topic would have held my attention, but I spotted a large roadrunner through the picture window behind her. I was tempted to call out, there’s a roadrunner behind you, or run over to the window and grab a photo. I didn’t do it, though. I don’t think she would have appreciated it.

Roadrunner trying to keep a low profile

*If you really want to know, the weatherperson determines how hot it feels by using ‘the heat index.’ This is the temperature combined with the relative humidity. You can see the chart here and read more about it. When they say how hot it feels they are referring to shady with light wind conditions according to National Weather Service. If you are in the direct sun or there is a hot wind blowing that is going to feel much hotter.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Featured image of Locust from the tomb of Horemhab c 1422-1411 BC via wikimedia.org

Just Slow Down

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it was 97 F, feels like 94F per the weather forecast, at 10:30 AM today. I decided to take a chance on a walk outside. Told myself if it was intolerable the walk could be a short one. I was able to walk 30 minutes tolerably. Inspired by the NYTimes Newsletter post ‘Slow Down’ by Melissa Kirsch about slowing down and mindfulness. It talked about just observing and not feeling like you need to take a photo. Oftentimes, my photo does not capture so well what I am seeing anyway. If I saw a roadrunner, I may have made an exception. I did see a little woodpecker and watched it for a bit. I did not want to disturb it as pecked its way around a tree. First woodpecker I’ve seen here.

Ladders-backed woodpecker by Beverly Mosley on Flicker.com

On my walk it was relaxing to just enjoy the view.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Change of Season

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Thursday will be the beginning of Fall here. It is predicted to be 98 F that day. Not time for hot cider here, maybe some pumpkin ale. Trader Joes has lots of pumpkin stuff. I do feel a shift. The breeze here seems a little cooler. The days will be getting shorter, and it feels like things are slowing down. Our citrus trees look healthier, with sun-burned leaves gone now. The grapefruit tree is full of green fruit. The fruit looks a bit small, like large oranges. I read this could be due to the summer heat. We will see if the fruit grows more by the time it is ripe this winter.

Our grapefruit tree

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Rainy Days

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it rained for over 4 hours yesterday afternoon. I watched the rain while waiting in the car for my husband to finish with an appointment. It felt like a miracle. It rained more during the evening and night. My husband and I remarked to each other that we think it has been over a year since we had any rain like this. Not since we moved to the desert. It only poured down for a bit and mostly was a steady shower. The temperature dropped over 20 degrees too. Still humid of course. It looks like the temps will remain cooler next week, only in the low 90s.

The first roadrunner I’d seen since the heat wave. There were two but hard to get a good photo of both.
Roadrunner on the run
Hawk drying out on a lamp post

Reading through my eclectic selection of books from the county library. One book I had purchased for myself, Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion.’ It still reads well after 200 years and like all her books gives a glimpse into English society in those days. The rest of my book list is all over the place. I finished ‘The Paris Apartment’ by Lucy Foley that has some good twists and was fast paced. ‘The Last Chance Library,’ a debut novel by Freya Sampson. I was drawn by the title. It is set in modern-day England. To add a bit of minutiae from the book. There was a word that stood out to me, quieten, a verb meaning make or become quiet. I would say ‘quiet down’ to noisy kids. With quieten, the kids quietened down or the mother tried to quieten her child. I just started ‘This Is How It Always Is’, by Laurie Frankel. It is a story about a family, their sons, and gender identity. I am starting to get hooked.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Featured image ‘Desert Rain’ by Sean Freese via Flickr.com

Cool Reading Under the Heat Dome

Now that we in the West find ourselves under the influence of the meteorological phenomenon called a ‘heat dome,’ I find an article in a series from the Books section of the New York Times entitled ‘Read You Way Through Reykjavik,’ even more appealing. It’s currently in the 50s F there compared to 101F here. The Times asked authors from countries around the world to recommend books close to their hearts. In this article, Olaf Olafsson creates a booklist including some crime fiction. He lists the author Yrsa Sigurdardottir as one of the crime fiction authors. I had read several of her books and can highly recommend her. I like reading books from around the world because it introduces me to different locales and cultures.

The first book I read by Sigurdardottir was ‘Ashes to Dust.’ The setting was an island that had been evacuated during a volcanic eruption which left many buildings destroyed and covered in ash and was based on a true event, the Eldfell eruption on Heimaey Island. In the book, human remains are found in the basement of a house thirty years later that are not related to the eruption.

I want to read a few more books on Olafsson’s list and take a look at some of the other authors’ recommendations. I can read my way through Mexico City, Lisbon, Cairo, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, and Newfoundland. That should keep me busy for quite a while.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

How Do You Decide What To Read Next?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you lately I find that after starting a book I am not enjoying it. I am thinking about a book I just started that sounded like a mystery, because of the title. It was described as a page-turner in a review and was on a celebrity’s book club selection list. It turned out to have a disturbing beginning and as I read on it didn’t get better. It didn’t make me want to turn more pages.

I found an article in my inbox, ‘These Memes Make Books More Fun’ by Anna Grace Lee (New York Times), that talks about ‘recommendation charts’ that guide you to books you will like. She included examples of the charts. She mentions a bookseller in Austen, Texas, Mariah Charles, who has created several charts posted on Twitter. Here are a couple of examples.

Lee’s article included a chart that lists books based on their emotional impact like which books are the saddest. Many websites use algorithms to guide you based on books you have read before. I found one that will find books based on my mood.

How have you found books you like?


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Featured image ‘Jeune femme lisant dan un jardin’ by Henri Lebasque via wikimedia.

Pack Horse Librarians, Blue People, and Moonlight Schools

“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been busy reading the books I checked out of the library this week. I am often attracted to books with the word ‘library’ or ‘bookstore’ in their titles. So, one book that caught my attention was ‘The Book Woman’s Daughter’, by Kim Michele Richardson. It is a historical novel set in Appalachia and ‘the book woman’ is what the locals called the Pack Horse Librarian. She was a young woman who rode up into the hills and hollers bringing library books to the people there. The Pack Horse Library Project was started during the Depression through the WPA (Works Progress Administration). The women were paid $28/month and had to supply their own horses or mules. Some women would rent their horses from local farmers. There were many people who couldn’t read in Eastern Kentucky so the women would read the books to them as well.

To help combat illiteracy in that area there was another program called ‘Moonlight Schools’ started by Cora Wilson Stewart. Local schoolteachers volunteered to teach adults to read and write in the evening at the one room schoolhouses where they taught children during the day. The program was successful and copied in several other counties and states.

Another interesting part of the book is that the main character and her mother have a hereditary condition, called congenital methemoglobinemia, that causes their skin to be blue. It only affected the younger woman’s hands and feet, but it caused her to feel shame and she and her family suffered terrible discrimination because of it. There was a real group of people in Kentucky who had this hereditary trait.

I really admire the Pack Horse Librarians and the great teachers who provided these wonderful services to their communities. The Pack Horse Library Project ran from 1935-1943. After that there were more accessible roads for the introduction of bookmobiles.

You can read more about the Moonlight School program of Kentucky here.

The Pack Horse librarians (via Wikimedia Commons)
Pack Horse librarian on her route (via Wikimedia Commons)
‘Works Progress Administration Pack Horse Librarians make regular calls at mountain schools where children are furnished with books for themselves and books to read to their illiterate parents and elders. The little native stone school shown here was built by the WPA in Kentucky and replaced an antiquated log school. Date 11 January 1938’ via Wikimedia
Packhorse librarian reading to man in Appalachia via Wikimedia
Cora Wilson Stewart via Wikipedia
Moonlight School in Kentucky 1 Jan 1916 via Wikipedia

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘key.’

Public Libraries Are Uplifting

“I think the public library system is one of the most amazing American institutions. Free for everybody. If you ever get the blues about the status of American culture there are still more public libraries than there are McDonald’s. During the worst of the Depression not one public library closed their doors.” ~ David McCullough

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was sad to hear that a historian and author I admired had passed. David McCullough brought history alive for me with his books ‘1776’, ‘John Adams’, and ‘Truman’. David McCullough died August 7, 2022. I agree with this quote about libraries. They are amazing and uplifting places that nourish our minds and spirits. You get a library card for free and then can check out any book in the collection. I have recently gone back to the local library to check out several books. I have to be patient while the books requested are shipped to my local branch and need to return them within a specified length of time. I can extend the time with a renewal if no one is waiting for the book. My local library system has a lot of the latest popular fiction available, so I do not have to buy so many books. The only problem is I think I requested too many books this time and hope I will be able to renew some of them when they come due.

Book drop at a branch of my county library where you can return books

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today was to use a word starting with the letter ‘u’.

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Need A Rest Stop

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been hibernating a bit lately because the weather has not been good for walking. Just going out for errands or appointments. Read in the weather reports we are supposed to have thunderstorms but so far only a few sprinkles of rain over our area.

Thunderclouds over mountains on Friday walk

We have had humidity. I did take a walk yesterday when it was 92F, but with humidity my weather app told me it felt like 100F.

The weather app is predicting a storm for tomorrow. We will see. In the meantime, I need to take a ‘digital break.’

(Chelsea Conrad/Washington Post)

Above wallpaper from interesting article in Washington Post Wellness section by Hannah Good, ‘Need a break? Take one with this digital reststop,’ about taking a break from negative digital media by focusing on relaxing images.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘wallpaper.’

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Saturday Walk

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it felt really good to walk outside today. The cloud cover kept the heat down in the 90s. I could hear the roadrunners with their distinctive rachet-y call, but I did not see them. I did see something on the side of the road. It wasn’t moving and I thought it could be dead. I was not going to get close to find out. I knew we have them here, but this is the first I have seen.

Rattlesnake

It makes me want to be more alert when I take my walks from now on.

With the temperatures being uncomfortable, I have been mostly indoors this week. I begin my day with the NYT Morning Newsletter online. I read the snippets of news and proceed to do the Mini Crossword, Wordle, and my favorite the Spelling Bee. I usually read the LA Times and Washington Post as well. I keep busy the rest of the day with genealogy research and reading novels. I am into The Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths and have almost finished a book by John Grisham, ‘The Street Lawyer’. Both authors know how to create interesting plots and characters. I have several more books waiting for me.

My walking hat and books

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.