Shabby Background

Thursday, December 12

Christmas Favorites

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." ~ Norman Vincent Peale

 Carol of the Bells by Celtic Woman

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." ~ Andy Rooney

 Miracle on 34th Street

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things, not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness." ~ Bob Hope

A little Christmas feast I made last year. I was all alone I thought I might as well make the culinary bit something I would enjoy. So I had salmon, chicken curry, beef steak, chocolates, cinnamon and nuts, shiitake

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." ~Roy L. Smith

My bookish Christmas tree

'"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has gone and gone, and I didn;t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books."' ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


"The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. It's not for any religious reasons.  They could not find three wise men and virgin." ~  Jay Leno

 State of my dresser: getting ready to host a solo Christmas tea; I had Lady Grey with the orange, mint, lemon and bergamot flavors


"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories, and love of kindred and we are better throughout the year for having in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Visit Favorite Things and Thursday Thirteen

Thursday, November 28

Bookish Thanksgiving

I am thankful for -

1. Beautiful libraries. Don't they just take your breath away?

2. Tsundoku: when life outside books and reading gets busy, here's what I do!

3. Authors; and I refer to not just my favorite ones

4. My job allows employees to read whatever and as much as they like so long as work is done.

5. People like David Rubenstein who plans to loan to libraries the Bay Psalm Book he bought at auction (reportedly the world's most expensive book at $14M)

6. Facebook Pages that provide my daily bookish fix:

7. Book-shopping. Nowadays I am loving book-shopping more than shoe-shopping (when I'm supposed to be a shoe addict too)

8. Places like this - a perfect stop in a literary tour. If I have any motivation to send my son to the US, having him explore Bookworm Gardens would be a wonderful purpose to put on the visa application form.

 Book Riot

9. Browsing, personal position style. This is the Central Bangna branch of Asia Books. They don't mind patrons looking weird while browsing their books

10. Being a bookworm. What joy!

 The Book Connections

11. Second-hand book shops. My apartment is running out of space because of them, and I'm enjoying the sight

12. Bookish brunches. This is Agalico, a lovely tea room; my weekend hangout where I read in peace

13. And finally, my parents who instilled in me a love for reading; showering me with books as gifts while I was growing up. I'm passing on the tradition to the son

Once upon a Valentine, I dated my kiddo in a bookstore...

Thursday, November 14

In the wake of Haiyan

Moods have been subdued in the wake of Haiyan. And as the country this typhoon hit is mine, our fourth in 2013 alone, the horror and sorrow I felt have been rather raw. In my late teens I spent an entire summer in Tacloban, the place where devastation was center; the visuals torture. I work up my list around storms on things less graphic and comfortably manageable:

A couple of facts about Haiyan from USA Today
1. Super Typhoon Haiyan had winds of 195 mph and gusts of 235 mph. This is one of the highest wind speeds ever recorded in a storm in world history. The Philippines typically gets hit by more typhoons than any country on Earth, usually about six or seven each year.

2. The storm is known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. The World Meteorological Organization officially assigns typhoon names, to have a consistent name for a storm, but other countries are free to create their own names too.

3. Sandstorm by James Rollin
Keywords would appeal to someone who likes: antimatter, scientific expeditions, antiquities, secret societies, suspense fiction

4. Storm Chaser: a photographer's journey by Jim Reed
If you are interested in issues of global warming, stories about, and new research on the weather, 'Storm Chaser is a mesmerizing look at some of the catastrophic consequences of our planet's increasing temperature.' This book contains 'breathtaking photos, quotes, letters, and journal entries from climatologists, researchers, political leaders, spiritual advisors, and storm survivors.' "Storm Chaser chronicles photographer Jim Reed's most thrilling, beautiful, memorable, and dramatic adventures to date."

Passages from classic poetry 
5. Proud music of the storm by Walt Whitman

Blending, with Nature's rhythmus, all the tongues of nations;
You chords left us by vast composer! you choruses!
You formless, free, religious dances! you from the Orient!
You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts;
You sounds of distant guns, with galloping cavalry!
Echoes of camps, with all the different bugle-calls!
Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnite late, bending me powerless,
Entering my lonesome slumber- Why have you seiz'd me?

6. The Hurricane, William Cullen Bryant

What roar is that?-'tis the rain that breaks
In torrents away from the airy lakes,
Heavily poured on the shuddering ground,
And shedding a nameless horror round.
Ah! well known woods, and mountains, and skies,
With the very clouds!-ye are lost to my eyes.
I seek ye vainly, and see in your place
The shadowy tempest and sweeps through space,
A whirling ocean that fills the wall
Of the crystal heaven, and buries all.
7. Before the storm

 Peter Kratochvil

8. Tropical Storm

9. “There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on whats brewing for tomorrow.” Maria V. Snyder, Fire Study

10. “When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

 11. “It’s not a bad lesson to learn in the bleaker months: how you view a storm is a question of perspective; provided you find the right rock to watch it from, it could be the most incredible thing you’ll ever witness.”
―Dan Stevens 

12. “I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.” ― Unknown 

13. “It takes a real storm in the average person's life to make him realize how much worrying he has done over the squalls.” ― Bruce Barton 

Thursday, October 31

Double trouble

Macbeth: witches chanting around a cauldron. Something wicked this way comes!  I enjoy associating the song with Halloween. But as I go through eye of newt, tongue of dog... I can't help thinking how gruesome they are, especially that I'm an animal lover, particularly dogs, and I hate it when animals are hurt.

There is an article though that I came across which suggests that these bats, worms or lizards are "likely just herbs by other names... the brew was "designed to gross out the masses; to stop them from practicing magic."

Now that I can accept. There are only 12 translations from The Literary Tourist. I did some research for the 13th. As I do not normally see these plants in my part of the world, I was also learning while putting them together. The photos are mostly public domain. The one above is my mother's cauldron but it's only jack fruit inside. A link to the photographers and sites follows.


1. Eye of Newt - Mustard Seed
Deception Bytes

2. Toe of Frog - Buttercup
Максим Кукушкин

3. Wool of Bat - Holly Leaves
Petr Kratochvil

4. Tongue of Dog - Houndstongue
Reusable Art

5. Adder's Fork - Adder's tongue
The Flower Book

6. Lizard Leg - Ivy
Ivy on house in autumn by Petr Kratochvil

7. Hawk’s Heart - Wormwood
Pino Perino via Luirig

8. Ass’s Foot or Bull’s Foot: Coltsfoot
Peter Hager

9. Bear’s Foot: Lady’s Mantle
Herb Rowe

10. Calf’s Snout: Snapdragon

11. Graveyard Dust: Mullein
Vera Kratochvil

12. Sparrow’s Tongue: Knotweed

13. Fillet of a fenney snake - arum

Linking with Thursday 13 and Favorite Things

Thursday, October 24

I love autumn!

A picture of a Swedish forest adorned our living room wall many years ago. It was a riot of stately trees in red, orange and yellow. I remember staring at it from time to time when I was growing up. I would imagine Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel traipsing in. Magic! 

Then Mother took me to her friend's sister's garden wedding. Hanging purple orchids served as the I Do backdrop. The bride's family property had a brook that sang along a russet violin as it played O Perfect Love, and the lawn was carpeted with brown, crisp leaves that crackled on our heels (they were landed Filipinos). 

As far as I can figure these two things - the autumn forest and that utterly charming garden wedding influenced my fondness for autumn - a season I have never actually seen but that's so real and alive as it can be in my enchanted heart and mind.

Here are 13 autumn scenes and quotes that I immensely enjoyed putting together!

 If the world had a front porch

"and forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play with you hair." - Kahlil Gibran

  I Love Autumn


"Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile." - William Cullen Bryant

 Image by Shabby Blogs


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot 

 Let's All Eat

 "Autum is a second spring where every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

Country Living Made Beautiful

"There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves." ~ Joe L. Wheeler


Thursday, October 17

Random bookish thoughts

Thursday Thirteen. A few things random: books, coffee, PhD, country dreams, life as usual.

1. some idea...

2. life can be so alive like this if it's not going to be fair

3. I hope the kiddo won't mind my collection

4. I attended an investment presentation; this bloom was on my table
Major Homes Property Presentation

5. beautiful weddings are better than marriages that suck

6. ok, the cycle never ends....

7. 'once upon a midnight dreary... '

8. one day when all this is over, I'm gonna live in the country
All Things Country

9. this made me laugh

10. double negatives - guilty!

11. just two letters and the lovely sentiment is on

12. coffee fun

13. I want to get my hands on The Book Thief before the film is released

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