Daily Archives: July 19, 2022

Bits and Bobs

What I am Eating:

Glass jars with lids of bok choy stems with pickling spices

While I am waiting for my tomatoes to get red, I am enjoying other fruits of the garden. The bok choy is past its prime due to the heat and bugs, but the stems make delicious quick pickles. I’ve added garlic and mediterranean spices to mine. My peppers–jalapeno and poblano–are coming on thickly, as they say, so last night’s supper included bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos. Spicy and delicious. As I wait for fresh tomatoes, I am using up the last of my tomato sauce from the freezer.

What I am Watching:

Season 6: Grantchester

This British murder mystery set in the 1950s deals with tough social issues including the homosexuality of one of the main characters, a local curate. The main characters are the young vicar and the veteran police chief who work together in what can be a prickly relationship some times. I had been watching the series on and off but am hooked on the Season 6 storyline and binging away. I am surprisingly up to date as Season 7 is just airing now.

What I am Reading:

I participated in a LibraryThing readathon this past weekend. The goal is to read as much as possible between 5 PM on Friday and midnight Sunday night then share the results on a forum. The readathons began as part of social distancing, and this is #122. I am sorry to say it is first one in which I have participated. A great excuse to settle into several good books.

I read Practical Magic and Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, both part of the Practical Magic series, the Owens family saga. I read Magic Lessons earlier in the month. That book was really the start of the series as it told the story of the matriarch of the Owens family, Marie, who journeys to America with her daughter and ends up in Salem at the height of the witch trials. These two books tell the story of her present-day descendants as they choose different ways to deal with their special powers. Ultimately, all the books deal with love in many forms, as her family struggles with Marie’s ancient curse. I loved the story, the descriptions and the characters, but the books also deal with deeper issues related to the place of women in society and how “witches,” often just skilled healers and good listeners, had to be cast out in order to keep the preferred social order. I am also excited to discover there is a fourth book!

While I worked in the garden, I listened to Chris Grabenstein’s mystery Free Fall, the 8th book in his John Ceepak series. I have listened to the whole series. The story is told by Officer Danny Boyle, Detective John Ceepak’s partner on the Sea Haven Police Department, a town on the Jersey shore. The narrator captures both men’s styles perfectly: Boyle has a freewheeling, often self-deprecating, ironic tone while Ceepak doesn’t often break out of his by-the-book, former military police monotone. Ceepak lives by the strict West Point code and expects others to do the same. The mysteries they pursue deal with tough subjects and we also get to them, their families and friends. Ceepak’s estranged and dangerous father plays an ongoing role. I am hoping another one is on the way. Read them in order as the stories build on each other.