October and November …….

autumn photo picture
source Jerology (Giphy)

Autumn!  Autumn!  How I love Autumn!  And we had a great one in the Pacific Northwest.  Sunny skies every day and warm temperatures.  I had lots of fun being outside, going for walks and simply enjoying the changes of the season.  Even though the rains came in November, October was absolutely gorgeous!!

Evening farm fields
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

And in my pursuit of trying new and different experiences, I took a couple of dirt biking lessons and really loved it!  The first instructor, in particular, was excellent and had us doing some coursework (riding through pylons), up and down hills and even let us go off track on a short trail ride.  It’s an expensive sport though so I can’t see myself doing lots of it but my neighbour’s son is pressing for a riding partner so, who knows! 🙂

two buddies dogs together
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

I’m still doing some construction work now and then, but the major renovation is basically complete, so I should start looking for something else.  Should I go back to my usual bookkeeping work that is sedentary and uncreative or should look at something else?  I’m wondering.  And speaking of construction, I managed to cut the side/end of my finger off the other day while cutting drywall. Yuck!  It finally stopped bleeding after about 30 minutes and then I went back to work but it was definitely not a fun experience. I will have to be more careful in the future!

And I can’t remember if I shared this tidbit, but my DIY Tea Blends recipe from my Journey to the Garden food blog made UK Reader’s Digest.  It was exciting but now I have to get back to my much neglected blog!


journey to the garden diy teas
© Cleo @ Journey to the Garden

I’ve been thinking about next year’s reading and am not feeling great about it.  I’d like to use the excuse that I’ve been so busy, and I have, but when I do get time to read, I feel scattered.  I start one book, get distracted by another, start that one, get distracted by another, start that, and on and on and on.  Lately, I do feel satisfied that I seem to be getting some traction on The Age of Innocence for a Goodreads group read.  Otherwise, I need to get going on Bleak House, New York, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Four Loves.

And my plans for 2019?  I haven’t consolidated them yet but I do have some things flitting around in my mind, most of them books to complete or revisit.  I do want to follow O’s excellent example and finish The Faerie Queene.  And I also have City of God and Plato’s Republic to finish.  My WEM Project has sort of gone by the wayside, so I want to refocus on that.  I’m not sure about challenges yet as I’ve failed dismally this year on the ones I joined but hopefully I’ll have my plans more formulated by the time I do my December post.  Until then …….


September …….

The summer has officially gone and the rain has begun, however as yet, not much of it …… thankfully.  In some ways I’m glad to see its passing and in others, it leaves me slightly melancholic.

Because of the amount that I was working, my garden this year was rather pitiful with only some garlic (which is small because I didn’t cut off the scapes in time), kale, herbs and some volunteer potatoes, although my fig tree had a fabulous crop of about 60 King Kadota figs and my quince tree, instead of its usual 6-8 quince has about 20-25. If you’ve never tried quince it’s a much undervalued fruit because you need to cook it to eat it, but it has a wonderful flavour.  Click on this link for a recipe for Apple Quince Crisp if you want to give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

My construction job is nearly completed which leaves me with a sad yet joyful feeling as well.  I must say that I made sure that I enjoyed every minute of it and made the most of it, but all good things must end and this too, as others.  Life has brought many changes lately and I’m not quite certain where this one will lead.  I’m sure I will find out all in good time.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

My reading this year has suffered more than in the whole entirety of my life.  I’ve finished 2 books ….. can you believe it?  TWO!  But I’ve begun many more however I haven’t been able to get traction.  With the changes and busyness and confusion, I’ve remained reasonably unfocused yet, with some extra time lately, I’ve managed to start and keep on track with two reads: Bleak House and New York by Edward Rutherford.  I feel like I’m going to like this particular Dickens.  I also plan to add C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.  I’ve seen Udolpho mentioned a number of times on blogs lately, so I thought I would join the trend.  I think a silly gothic romance might be just the thing I need right now.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

I also just created an Instagram account for Classical Carousel.  I have Instagram for my food blog but I hadn’t thought of it for my book blog.  But fortunately I’m now signed up. Please find me and follow me for a more day-to-day, week-to-week update of my reading adventures!

So keeping this short, I will sign off and hope for you all a wonderful September!

2018 Update … and July

Wild Rose

Hello faithful readers!  No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth and all is not lost, especially this blog.  But I’ve been having some rather challenging times lately, which has translated into very little time to pursue reading or my blog.  I’m hoping things will change for the better in the last half of the year but that is still yet to see.  Now for a tiny update on my crazy life.

I believe my last monthly post was February and sadly, I never got to March.  On the first of that month, my daughter was in a serious car accident which fortunately all involved escaped with minor injuries.  We were all thankful but nevertheless such an unexpected and grave incident makes you re-evaluate many things.  I’ve truly been trying to focus my time on what is worthwhile and to spend less with busy-making pursuits.  My new focus hasn’t translated yet into my reading, but I’ve been developing family ties and friendships in a way that is truly meaningful and very satisfying.

Gelato made from the freshest ingredients
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

In another unique and unexpected personal challenge, I altered my usual bookkeeping career into a construction one.  What was supposed to be only help with cleaning up, has turned into an education and foray into framing, woodwork, concrete (jackhammering), insulation, electrical, drywall, painting, and just lately, assisting in the install of a tongue-and-groove fir vaulted ceiling.  It’s been quite a stretch for me waaaaayy out of my comfort zone, but I’ve loved almost every minute of it.  I’ll be very sad when it’s over which should be in the next month or so.  But all good things must end and I have many great memories and many new skills.  I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity and for many of the wonderfully skilled workers that have taken the time to tutor me.

The Canada Cup International Softball tournament will once again take up more time in mid-July and I am once again head scorekeeper.  My job has kept me from devoting as much attention to it as I would have liked but I have an assistant this year who has relieved me of some of the duties.

A creative Easter table by my sister-in-law
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

As for reading, I’ve been dismally slow, but I do have some books on-the-go and a few that I plan to start in summer, so I’ll list them here:

  1. The Elements of Style – Strunk and White
  2. Beginning to Pray – Anthony Bloom
  3. 12 Rules for Life – Jordan B. Peterson
  4. City of God – Augustine
  5. Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
  6. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  7. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

I make no promises except to keep plodding along.  I’m almost finished book #1 and have started a review so I do plan to have at least one more post for July.

In any case, I do hope I have some readers left and those who are, thanks for your patience as I navigate the turbulent and lately reading-less waters of life!

Pansies for a very cool start to summer!
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel


February ~ Where Has The Time Gone?

Is it February already?  Yikes, I would have sworn it was just Christmas last week. January has rushed by at a startling pace and I’m not quite sure where I spent my time, but let’s see if I can gather my thoughts and give a clear picture …..

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel
A chilly but refreshing walk

Well first, let’s start with something boring.  After keeping off most of my weight lost from being on Weight Watchers for over a year, I gained back 10 pounds.  I’m not quite sure how I did it because I wouldn’t say I indulged over Christmas, but I did do a smoothie challenge for my food blog in January and I think that’s the culprit.  Yes, smoothies are supposed to be healthy, but they are high in natural sugar and therefore calories.  So back to WeightWatchers we go.  Actually I’ve already lost 3 pounds, so I’m not worried but it was kind of shocking after such good maintaining.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel
Dare to be Different!

I’ve started downhill skiing lessons and had my first one a week and a half ago.  I wasn’t thrilled with it because the instructor had us walk up a hill and snowplow down for an hour.  Yes, an hour.  Boring!  I wanted to go!  So at the end of the lesson I grabbed another lady and we headed up to a run.  Happily we both made it down easily but it did make me realized that I need to get into better shape.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

As for reading ……….. and I will sound like a broken record here ……….. I’m still trying to get through City of God, Crime and Punishment, Dead Souls, The Republic and Murder in the Catherdal (which, thankfully, is so short that it should take no time at all). Honestly, I read so little in January that it’s shameful.  So putting January behind ….

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel
One of my favourite photos …. so far ….

In February, I need to keep plugging along with the above.  I was thinking of adding Henry James’ The Ambassadors, as one of my Goodreads groups is reading it, but I started it and am not that enamoured with James’ writing.  I didn’t think I’d be, but I question with my reduced time, if I really want to put it into a book that I won’t enjoy.  I’m longing to read either Middlemarch or Jane Eyre but I know that’s a dream at this point.

And so I will sign off, with my usual wish to read more and be less busy.  If only one day it will come true!

January 2018 and My Reading Challenges

Christmas at the Town Hall
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

I’ve decided to include my reading challenges in this post because I’ve been doing so little reading lately that I’d have little to say otherwise.  Isn’t that pathetic?  Oh well, a new year is here and with it new resolutions, so here goes ……..

December went by so quickly.  My grandmother ended up passing away 4 days before Christmas.  It wasn’t unexpected but still it was sad to see her go.  We’ll certainly miss her but it was fun to remember her stories and the spunk she showed until the end. She had a long life, well lived.

Otherwise, I spent lots of time on the food blog and was so pleased with our 4 months of success.  You can read our 2017 Year in Review, if you want some stats, highlights, bloopers, funny tasting stories and if you want to see what I’ve been up to.  It was actually alot of fun to write.  I also was able to make it cross-country skiing once.  It was lots of fun, although I can tell I need some practice and my healing-once-broken-thumb does not have the power it used to yet, so I was feeling somewhat lopsided.  In any case, I plan to do much more skiing as the year progresses.  I also went bowling between Christmas and New Years and really enjoyed it so I think I might try to do it more regularly as well.  Too exciting, I know …… , lol!

A View from Nordic Skiing
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

As for reading, I did finish off The Pickwick Papers from O’s long read-along and almost in time too!!  I also managed to read The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm and I was SOOOO impressed by it. Fromm examines the very rare art of loving and explains that our society does NOT practice any disciplines that will help us love better.  He also gives examples of various views we hold about love that impede our ability to love.  While reading these views, I kept recognizing people I knew ….. it was rather unsettling but very insightful.  I highly recommend Fromm’s book!

An Unexpected Local Ice Storm
very beautiful but the poor trees!
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

January is usually the time to start our yearly challenges and while I originally was so disappointed with my 2017 reading that I was going to do NO challenges this year, O managed to change my mind (although perhaps she doesn’t know this! 😉 )  So I am joining the following challenges with little hope of completing them but knowing they will at least focus me and I will read SOMETHING by having them.  Okay, here goes:

Back to the Classics Challenge:

Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts this great challenge again and here are my choices:

A 19th century classicMoby Dick by Herman Melville
A 20th century classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
A classic by a woman author: Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
A classic in translation: Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem
A children’s classic: Teddy’s Button by Amy Lefeuvre
A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, or Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
A classic with a single-word title: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius or, Shirley by Charlotte Brontë or, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin or, Pensées by Blaise Pascal
A classic with a colour in the title: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
A classic by an author that’s new to you: A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and a Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell or, Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A classic that scares you: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe or, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Re-read a favourite classic: The Iliad by Homer


TBR Pile Challenge:

Adam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting this challenge to get those books on our shelves read!  My list is here:
  1. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  2. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  3. A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and a Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell
  4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  5. Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem
  6. Lives by Plutarch
  7. City of God by Saint Augustine
  8. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  9. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  11. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  12. Le Rêve by Émile Zola
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Victorian Challenge:

This is my first year doing this challenge.  Becky at Becky’s Books and Reviews has a number of options.  I have no idea which I’m going to choose at the moment.  I’d love to do the A-Z challenge but I would be delusional to take on that one.  So I will probably just read and fill in some categories.  You can click on the link to look at the categories.

Deal Me In Challenge:

Jay at Bibliophilopolis hosts this challenge and has been very patient with my stumbling attempts to get through it.  I have no illusions that I’ll finish it this year but what I love about this challenge is that it gets me reading wonderful stories, poems and essays which I would normally never pick up.  So I can be happy with my incompletedness each year ….. kind of …..
I took what I didn’t finish from last year and simply chose new books to fill in the spots where I did read the stories/poem/essay.  Rather boring, but easy.  I need easy this year.
Clubs – Short Stories
A –  Cabbages and Kings – O’Henry
3 –  The Queen of Spades – Alexander Pushkin
4 –  The Story of A Farm Girl – Guy Maupassant
5 –  The Hammer of God (Father Brown) – G.K. Chesterton
6 –  Doubtful Happiness – Guy Maupassant
7 –  The Honest Thief – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
8 –  The Unpresentable Appearance of Colonel Crane – G.K. Chesterton
9 –  The Diary of a Madman – Guy Maupassant
10 – The Birds – Anton Chekhov
J –  The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Gilman
Q –  Love – Leo Tolstoy 
K –  Signs and Symbols – Vladimir Nabakov
Spades – Essays
A – Milton – Charles Williams
3 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – G.K. Chesterton
4 – On A Faithful Friend – Virginia Woolf
5 – A Note on Jane Austen – C.S. Lewis
6 –  In Defence of Literacy – Wendell Berry
7 –  The Tyranny of Bad Journalism – G.K. Chesterton
8 –  The Hotel of the Total Stranger – E.B. White
9 –  An Apology for Idlers – Robert Louis Stevenson
10 – Sense – C.S. Lewis
J – Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community – Wendell Berry
K – Death of a Pig – E.B. White
Diamonds – Poetry
A – A Sea Dirge – Lewis Carroll
2 –  Gesang Der Geister Über Den Wassern – Johann Wolfgang
               von Goethe
3 – Nothing But Death – Pablo Neruda (from Poetry Soup)
4 – Sonnett XXIII – Garcilaso de la Vega
5 – Love Sonnet XIII – Pablo Neruda
6 – Resolution and Independence – William Wordsworth
7 – Ode III – Fray Luis de León
8 – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas
9 – To A Mouse – Robert Burns
10 – From Milton [Jerusalem] – William Blake
J –  Easter Wings – George Hebert
Q – On His Blindness – John Milton
K – Phoenix and the Turtle – William Shakespeare
Hearts – Children’s Classic
A – A Triumph for Flavius – Caroline Dale Snedeker
2 – Three Greek Children – Alfred Church
3 –  The Story of the Treasure Seekers – E. Nesbit
4 – Detectives in Togas – Henry Winterfeld
5 – The Spartan – Caroline Dale Snedeker
6 – Shadow Hawk  Andre Norton
7 – City of the Golden House – Madeleine Polland
8 – Red Sails to Capri – Ann Weil
9 – Sprig of Broom – Barbara Willard
10 – Teddy’s Button – Amy LeFeuvre
J –  Call It Courage – Armstrong Sperry
Q – Just David – Eleanor H. Porter
K – Beyond the Desert Gate – Mary Ray 

What is that saying about a wing and a prayer, lol?!

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel


As for other less bookish things planned for January, I am going to, of course, keep working on and building our food blog, Journey to the Garden.  It’s something I enjoy (although not quite as much as book blogging) and if I could make some income from it I would be very pleased.  Skiing, of course, is planned and I’m starting a few lessons that I was able to join inexpensively with some homeschoolers, so that will be fun.  I also REALLY need to get back into some sort of exercise regime.  I’ve been doing some brief aerobics regularly, but I want to incorporate walking, and of course, I’d love to get back into yoga.  On the distasteful side, tax prep should be started now, so I’m not scrambling last minute to do it, and with the added blog for (hopefully someday) profit, I have many more expenses to track.  I wish it could be magically done, but I’m the only magician around here so it’s up to me.  Sad but true.  But honestly, my main wish for January is to get back to being organized.  Prayers and wishes for this miracle are gratefully accepted, lol!

In any case, hoping for a wonderful start to the year for everyone!

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel



December ~ It’s Gotta Get Better

Actually life isn’t too bad at the moment, although I’m still having a challenge getting traction on most things in my life.  One thing comes together and another goes sideways and I’m having a hard time keeping up …… as you can tell, as my post for December is rather late.  Not to mention most of my photos have food as a theme, so right away you can tell where the majority of my time has been spent.

© journeytothegarden.com

Thankfully, I’m healing up well from my biking accident.  My cast is off and although my thumb has very little strength in it, I do feel it improving.  Otherwise, my sprained wrist is feeling nearly back to normal in the last few days, my terribly bruised elbow almost has no pain, and although my head still hurts a little where I hit it, it’s improving as well.  Another month and hopefully I’ll be 100%.

And with my return to health, I’ve started to do some yoga at home again, and have begun nightly walks to get some much needed exercise.  The weather here has been atrocious though ….. we apparently had the wettest November since 1954; not a pleasing statistic.  I saw blue sky in a photo today and got so excited, but also realized what a foreign sight it was. Very sad, my reaction, wasn’t it?

© journeytothegarden.com

On a sad note, my grandmother is not doing very well and we will honestly be surprised if she makes it until Christmas.  She’s 96 which perhaps you think it wouldn’t be such a shock, but nevertheless it is.  She has been completely healthy and vibrant up until just 2 months ago.  She’s the type of grandmother who went on trips to New York shopping and went white water rafting when she was 84.  She was on no medication until last month when her heart began to give her trouble.  And while death is part of life, there is a feeling of loss when someone who has been with you for so long, suddenly isn’t anymore.

As you have probably noticed, my book blogging is still lagging behind.  I did manage the one post of Adler’s How Different Are Humans?, but I just couldn’t manage more than that.  Again, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time on Journey to the Garden, our food blog.  I do finally feel like I’m getting on top of the learning curve in that aspect, so I hope to have more time to read and blog as I get more proficient with my time management there.  I hired a photographer come to my home and do a food shoot with me and then give me some tips on using Lightroom.  It was such fun!  I learned that I do have a natural instinct for taking photos (I would have never guessed), but I need to work on my composition and lighting.  Our blog traffic is really humming along with a 83% increase over the month before.  It’s rather exciting to watch.

© journeytothegarden.com

I’m trying to concentrate on reading Crime and Punishment and am about ⅓ of the way through.  I’m finding it much easier than The Brothers Karamazov but still psychologically very interesting.  I also ordered the book The Art of Loving on a recommendation from my aunt, and am quite intrigued by it so I will probably start that as well.  Otherwise, it will be a “see how much time I have, see what I feel like picking up” reading month.  I do feel like I’m getting some more time to devote to it though — I don’t want to get too excited yet, but it would be nice to get a reading/blogging balance back into life again.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful start to the month and that December turns out to be cheerful, relaxing and merry!

© journeytothegarden.com

November ~ Ooops!

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

How October went from an eventful month to a very uneventful month is a painful story to tell in more ways than one.  Again, for the first part of the month, I was concentrating on getting my partner and my food blog, Journey to the Garden, going and the learning curve was an extreme headache in itself.  From building the website, to adding plug-ins, to hack attempts, to learning to navigate the unique venue of social media, it was rather exhausting and overwhelming.  It was only knowing that I was going to the island on the 14th, where I could relax and read, read, read, that keep me plugging away.  A positive attitude always helps, but then I had my visa number stolen and so my card had to be cancelled, AND my computer hard drive started to die just before I left so it was a rush to get it replaced. Thankfully I didn’t lose any information and I headed out grateful to get these two problems sorted; I had forgotten the saying that trouble often comes in threes ……

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

Fortunately, the first day there I decided to photograph my Apple Harvest post for the food blog and all the photos were taken.  Why fortunately?  Because on the second day, I decided to take my dog, Finn, for a bike ride, not wearing a helmet which I couldn’t find when I left, and somehow I managed to crash going very fast.  I still don’t remember what happened exactly; I have a slight recollection of picking myself up and looking for Finn and then my memory starts at the front door of the house next door.  I knew I had a bump on my head, but they took one look at me and made me come in and sit down. The long and the short of it is that I was water-ambulanced off to Vancouver Island, ended up with a bad concussion, a badly broken thumb and various deep scrapes and bruises.  For the first week, I looked like a prize-fighter and wasn’t easily able to move without pain.  Because I broke through my metacarpal and it shifted slightly, they were at first talking surgery but apparently even with the shift it’s not as bad as they thought; they’ve casted it, however they’re watching it in case it shifts more.  Otherwise I’m healing up but the consequences are that I can’t watch T.V., be on the computer (uh … yikes!) or read.  How long is really up in the air.  I often feel fine in the morning but it doesn’t take long for me to overdo it and I know I need to rest more.  I HATE resting, so you can imagine how difficult it is.  So this explains my long book-blogging silence.

© Libby McClelland

As I ease back in, I’m going to try to perhaps read some short stories and essays (which actually turn out to be pretty popular posts), so I hope to be back before not too long. The food blog, however, is getting some attention and I have new posts up for Pumpkin Kidney Bean Curry, Cheese 101 highlight post on P’tit Sainte Maure, and in another few days a Pomegranate Quinoa Festive Salad will posted, so check them out if you’re looking for some easy recipes, food history, and fun photos.  Otherwise I hope to meet you back here VERY SOON!

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

October ~ Pulled in All Directions

Dreamer at the Fountain (c.1860-70)
Camille Corot
source Wikiart

Well, perhaps the title of the post seems more dire than it actually is.  September saw many changes in my routine and to be honest, it’s been difficult to get a handle on everything and find a smooth working routine that functions well.  I’ll get there …… it will just take some time, some thought and a little organization on my part.

Celebration Cake @ journeytothegarden.com
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

First of all, with the start of our new food blog, Journey to the Garden, there has been a change of focus.  I feel that much of my time has been taken up with it, but if I’m honest, I usually cook and I enjoy it, I had already been working on the blog previously to be able to get it to a point to launch it, so realistically I’m not adding much more time to keep it running. So perhaps time isn’t the issue but organization.  Taking photos, especially in my part of the world where it tends to rain alot, can be challenging.  At this time of the year, I have to take them earlier in the day and on days when it’s sunny or at least hopefully bright.  So much mental energy has been devoted to figuring this all out, it makes it FEEL like lots of extra practical work when it actually isn’t.  Otherwise, I’ve been making my way through a copious number of videos on how to make a food blog successful which, while so informative, is very time-consuming.  And then the “blog-inadequacy” slips in.  When I started this book blog I remember feeling a little trepidation, but I had started the blog for myself — for my own enjoyment — so I wasn’t worried about prompting it.  With the food blog, I have a partner who is expecting certain things of me (although he’s very easy to get along with and we think very much alike, so don’t get me wrong, he’s great!), and the purpose is different …. for enjoyment, yes, but the focus in on growth.  However, I need to keep reminding myself of this book blog where, when I first started, I could have no viewers at all during a day, to now where someone is looking at it at any moment of the day and I’m approaching a quarter of a million viewers overall.  Growth takes time and I have to keep reminding myself of that. So once I have more knowledge and figure out some of the challenges, I’m sure it will run more smoothly but so far I feel rather overworked and scattered.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

I am absolutely thrilled with my Greek class and am challenged and excited about it but it’s so much work.  Without daily review, it’s hard to keep up, so again I’m starting to feel like I’m running to catch up.

I did have a number of little side trips that took up time, as I travelled through B.C. and Alberta to Saskatchewan and back again, then I travelled to Calgary, Alberta and had a couple of trips to the island.

And lately I’m having a block with reading that I rarely have.  I WANT to read and I’m interested in the books I’m making my way through but when I sit down to do it, I end up doing something else much less rewarding, like watching DVDs (which I normally only do occasionally) or cleaning or daydreaming.  Not good, but perhaps a sign of an overloaded brain.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

And thus, my reading for the month has been rather pitiful. I’ve been slowing dragging through Augustine’s, City of God (trying to like it), reading a few sentences of Plato’s Republic (loving it; why don’t I read it more often?), occasionally picking up The Iliad (this is one of my favourite books of all-time; why don’t I pick it up more?), thinking about The Last Chronicle of Barset, and re-reading (ah! Finally!) The Man Who Was Thursday because a group on Goodreads is reading it and I thought it might get me motivated. One thing I believe is lacking lately in the Bookworld is read-alongs.  Either I’m not seeing them, or there are less of them than there used to be.  They focused you on detail, you had a responsibility to read (at least I approached them that way) and they seemed to give momentum for other reads.  I wonder if some of the fall-off is due to the inactivity of The Classics Club, which I found used to give inspiration to readers but now seems to be limping along.  I’m not sure ….. what do the rest of you think?

Mystery Squash
I did not plant this!
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

As for October, what are my goals?  My hopes?  My dreams?  To keep plugging away on the food blog videos; they’re interesting so at least I don’t have to force myself to watch them.  To keep searching for a job that fits in with my life instead of picking the first thing that comes up.  To keep up with this blog and lastly, which I should have put first, READ!

I was happy with my most recent post, The Great Ideas ~ Opinion and Majority Rule, as it spurred wonderful conversation, so I hope to compile more posts like this one.  Plato has been too neglected, so I must push on with The Republic.  I’ve decided I’m going to read Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller and get through it this time, no matter how weird it is.  And I desperately need to finish at least a couple of the books I’m reading, perhaps Dead Souls or The Last Chronicle of Barset. Do I sound really uncertain and unfocused?  That’s because I am.  So hopefully October will bring a renewed sense of focus along with a reading extravaganza!  Happy October everyone!

Ten Goals for Autumn!

Autumn (1870-90)
Emile Eisman Semenowsky
source ArtUK

Since I normally post bookish-type posts, I thought I’d change it up today.  Inspired by one of O’s posts on Twitter, I’ve decided to post some goals with regard to autumn.  So often we get distracted by the big picture and forget to appreciate the little things in life. Therefore, I’ve picked ten goals that focus on the wee, meaningful aspects of life that really are much more worthwhile than a day at a shopping mall, or painting the porch steps, or doing your taxes, or surfing the web.  

1.  Draw a picture of something in nature, such a leaf or tree or insect.  My drawing skills are not superb so you’ll just have to put up with me for this one.

Sketch of Countryside (c. 1890)
Nicholas Roerich
source Wikiart

2.  Walk barefoot in the ocean.  Perhaps I’m a tiny bit crazy but I will have a chance to do this a couple of times before autumn is over.

The Charmer (1911)
John William Waterhouse
source Wikiart

3.  Do something kind for someone else.  I like to think I’m a kind person but I’m not always sure it comes naturally.  We all need practice, right?

Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Frederic Leighton
source Wikiart

4.  Put my feet up.  I’m sure NONE of you have even guessed that I’m quite a busy person and don’t often slow down.  Well, I admit it.  Leisure is a lost yet necessary pastime for our mental well-being.  Really, I need to practice this more than once.  Will someone join me?

Solitude (1890)
Frederic Leighton
source Wikiart

5.  Cloud gaze.  The last time I did this was with friends, laying in the middle of a frozen pond late at night.  It was so peaceful with the moon shining down ….. as if you were the only ones left in the world.  The feeling we experienced was indescribable.  Definitely a time to remember.

Ophelia (1889)
John William Waterhouse
source Wikiart

6.  Make a new meal.  This shouldn’t be difficult.  A friend and I have started a new food blog called Journey to the Garden, so I’m going to be spending lots of time in the kitchen.  I really love cooking yet I hope to hit on at least one meal during this time that’s spectacular.

Prayer Before Meal (1660)
Jan Steen
source Wikiart

7.  Be computer-less for one day.  I’m not sure this is possible, but I’m going to try. Honestly, there’s very little I do on the computer other than blogging and taking a few courses, but I am on it every day.  I would LOVE to have a day per week where I don’t use it.  Now THAT’S dreaming …..

What a Freedom (1903)
Ilya Repin
source Wikiart

8.  Read a poem slowly and REALLY think about it.  Poetry is a new interest of mine, but being new at reading it, I’m not very good at drawing meaning out of it.  Often good poetry can have dual meanings and symbolism, and imagery and a number of other different things.  I need to read it more slowly instead of rushing.

Young Man Reading by Candle Light
Matthais Stom
source Wikiart

9.  Pet or see an animal that’s not domesticated.  Well, I could cheat and visit my neighbour’s wolves but I’m not going to.  However, they would probably fall under the “domesticated” umbrella and not count.  We’ll see if this one comes to fruition.

Dante and Virgil Meet the Wild Animals in the Forest (1800)
Joseph Anton Koch
source Wikiart

10.  Intentionally say something nice to someone at least 5 days out of 7 during one week.  No, this is not the same as goal #3.  Saying is much easier than doing …… which is why I’ve challenged myself to do it 5 times during the week.  We take each other too much for granted and don’t often say the appreciated or kind things that we should.  Time to change that.

Charity (1878)
William-Adolphe Bourguereau
source Wikiart

As I’ve been listing these goals, two themes have stood out for me:  KINDNESS and REST/LEISURE ….. well, perhaps three …… NATURE is in there as well.  So just by brainstorming some goals, I’ve learnt something about myself:  I need to practice more kindness, take more time to relax and spend more time in nature.  Rather than being “Cleo-specific goals”, these are things we all probably need to do, so whoever wants to take a few goals from my list and see if you can accomplish them, please do!  And please let me know how they turned out!