Musette’s Musings on books and Winners! and a giveaway (AGAIN!!!)

I’m writing this post on a blustery Sunday because WE GOT THIS AMAZING PROJECT! squeeeeeee!  but it is taking every nanosecond of my work day and basically eats like into the rest of the dayintonightandIamNOTcomplainingOMG!amISOTHRILLEDABOUTTHISPROJECT!!!!.  But!  that means that Sunday, sweet Sunday is the only day to write this post.

So:  let’s talk BOOKS!  A Very Dear Friend  sent me this lovely little book of essays “Endangered Pleasures” by Barbara Holland.  First, know this:  I love the HELL out of a book of essays, having spent many a cold winter’s night curled up with Richardson Wright and M. et Mme White’s offerings.  There’s something so…relaxing..about an essay, especially when they are set in book form.  Ms Holland’s book covers everything from taking naps (she’s for it, as am I) to hoarding money (she is NOT for it, neither am I – fwiw, ‘hoarding’ and ‘saving’ are two different things).  Her own musings brought to mind a bizarre conversation I had with someone who counseled that if I ‘drank the cheap plonk and kept the house at 53F I, too, could quit my job’.  ew.   Ms. Holland christened this ‘delirious parsimony’.  The idea of walking around the house, wearing a coat and gloves in February, eating cheap ‘cheese’ and old turnips in a can?  just squicked me out.  Plenty of time for that, come the Apocalypse.

On Napping:  “A perfectly healthy cat can nap through the entire month of February and wake up feeling all the better for it”.  You said it, sister.

On Working:  “the joy of being at work isn’t fully savored until we’ve been unemployed for a time” (she continues with ‘and, of course, vice versa’ but I have no intention of pissing off the Universe with that one.  Been there, done that – as a small biz owner I get to swing over that chasm too often for my liking) – here’s the thing:  I LIKE working (which is why the reason for my friend’s Delirious Parsimony freaked me out).  Truly.  I don’t always like the job I’m doing – or the people/drama inherent therein – but I love the act of Doing Something.  I suspect that were I to hit Mega tomorrow I would still ‘do’ something.  Sitting around gives me hives – unless I’m sitting around as a reward for having worked like a rented Egyptian mule for awhile and am enjoying the fruits of my labors in some chaise longue on the Mexican Riviera in February.  Then, like that perfectly healthy cat, I can nap through the entire month, perhaps awakening for occasional ceviche and guacamole, washed down with a limonada.

Speaking of …food.  Omg.  What a GREAT book I’m reading:  “What She Ate” by Laura Shapiro.  The chapter on Eleanor Roosevelt is, at turns, both hysterical and grim AF.  The White House years focus on Mrs. Roosevelt’s choice for cook/housekeeper, Henrietta Nesbitt, here crowned as the ‘most reviled cook in presidential history’ and…omg.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Or heave.  Well!  That’s one way to revenge yourself on your straying husband, I guess, though I doubt she meant it that way.  I would’ve.  But I’m a mean old shrike.

WayWAY back, I was nattering on about mysteries (maybe) and another Very Dear Friend sent me the first Louise Penny book “Still Life” – and I will forever be in her debt, that’s how much I love the Inspector Gamache series.  Funny how some chance remark will result in a life-enhancing exchange – and that one certainly was!  I am returning the favor (Sharon, if you’re reading this, thank you forevermore!!!) by extolling the fabulousness that is the Inspector Rutledge series by Charles Todd (a mother/son writing team);  I came upon this series when I overheard one of my book club ladies chatting about Ian Rutledge and how intriguing the WWI backstory is (our book club is VERY heavy on WW2 – between them and my pop I often felt like I was trapped in some small French village in 1941).

The Rutledge series focuses on post-WWI and the as-yet undefined (and discounted/denigrated) effects of PTSD, as seen through the eyes of Inspector Ian Rutledge, as he desperately tries to reintegrate into postwar ‘civilized society’ as well as his career as a Scotland Yard police inspector.  Interestingly, this is one of the few series where ‘whodunnit’ can be largely secondary to the tale.  Often it’s a bit of a throwaway and you. won’t. care.  Best read in order, I think.  But I’m kinda funny ’bout that, ymmv.

I have NOTHING to talk about re perfume – at least not right now (am testing some gorgeous DSH offerings but they are worthy of my time and attention so it’ll be awhile; it would go faster if I could pry my paws off the GLORIOUS  Un Robe de Zibeline (and if any of you question whether Skynet is possible, let me tell you:  it’s already here.  The advance guard is SPELLCHECK and it is going to kill roughly 30% of the population from the stress of  struggling to force it to allow us to write ‘un’ instead of ‘in’ –  five times it changed it to ‘In’ Robe.  FIVE. TIMES.


But hey!  Winners!!!!!!

I so enjoyed all your comments and would’ve replied but this AMAZING PROJECT came in and I was buried but!  I did ask The Girl to hit randomdotorg and she did.  Came up with the following Posseites!





please gmail your evilauntieanita with your details and I will get some fabbo out to you asap!


And a giveaway!  If you’re still reading this rambling post, tell me one of your Endangered Pleasures.  One of my favorites is, interestingly, not all that luxe.  It’s …well, hmmm….how to explain…well, it’s either when you get up to pee or your sleep is otherwise interrupted for a quick minute…and it’s not quite dark…more that crepuscular dawn…and the entire house is quiet…and you realize that everyone is safe and it’s only 3:15a so you have a lot more time to snuggle under the warm covers in your cool bedroom and, at least for that time, every. damb. thing. is right in your world.  That.  To me, that is the most luxe feeling in the world!

Tell me yours (it can be luxe or it can be ordinary – whatever pleases you!  TGirl will read them and pull a winner or two!

  • Sharon says:

    Gazing at the stars and actually seeing the Milky Way from my backyard is an endangered pleasure for me as my little town becomes more populated and more lights will eventually emerge. Blast progress!

  • maggiecat says:

    Days like today – crazy busy and stressful, but I’m almost done and can go home and dinner is leftover spaghetti and meatballs and I don’t have any work to bring home and Project Runway is on. Definitely a pleasure!

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    Getting everything done for dinner with enough time and energy left over to take a bath is it, for me. I’m more often compelled to be practical and just shower in the morning, as in addition to the predictable effects of bathing, it helps rid my back of stiffness from lying in bed and helps soften the jarring feeling of being up much earlier than is comfortable. Thank you for the draw, I’ll have to look at some books now!

    • Musette says:

      If your back is bed-stiff, you might want to check out Yoga for Healthy Aging (dotblogspotdotcom) for tips on Yoga IN BED. El O likes a softer bed than I do so every morning I do yoga in bed before I arise – it makes a huge difference!


  • I can’t wait to check out these book recommendations! I can never choose just one thing so my top three Endangered Pleasures are: reading an engrossing book without being bothered, walking in nature, and dancing like a fool. Trying to finish a degree while raising kids and cats definitely makes these three endangered.

    • Musette says:

      You can do it ! And one of the pleasures of Endangered Pleasures is indulging in them, no matter what (even if it’s just for a hot minute!)


  • DinaC says:

    You and the posse peeps are the ones who introduced me to Louise Penny. I loved her books so much I went to the library and/or Amazon and read every single one in the series, in order of course. My only warning: these are truly books you CANNOT put down once they are begun. So if you start one after dinner, you’ll be up until 2:30 a.m. or however long it takes you to finish it! They are amazing. Best part: I totally cannot guess who the murderer is, which is saying something, because I’ve read a steady diet of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, PD James, etc etc. since I graduated out of Nancy Drews at age 12.

    My endangered pleasure might be the old-fashion joy of writing and receiving a hand-written card or letter. That almost never happens anymore except on a person’s birthday maybe. I believe in the power of a personal message. Greeting cards literally saved my life when I was ten years old, but that’s a story for another day! 😉

    • Musette says:

      omgosh! I am SO glad you are still here to enjoy Louise Penny and us Posse! Thank you for hanging in there! I got a HALLOWEEN card from a dear friend (the same one who intro’d me to Ms Penny) and..omg. What a luxury!


  • Ingeborg says:

    Handwritten letters is one of my simple, but endangered, pleasures. My pen pals are important to me, but I find we all resort more and more often to e-mail. Postcards are getting harder to find too, but are still favored by many.

    • Musette says:

      My painting mentor, the late R.B. Kitaj, would only correspond via postcard. It was a sublime pleasure. When his good friend Hockney suggested they communicate by fax (v. phone because they both were deaf as posts) Kitaj replied that he’d rather reinstall gaslight in his house! lol!


  • Nemo says:

    Thank you so much for the book recommendation! Love a good historical mystery series and have been looking for another one. My endangered pleasures are reading, baking bread, and the library. I love taking a ramble-y walk to the library to pick up real books on a Sunday afternoon!

  • jillS. says:

    My endangered pleasure is that my 1 1/2 yr old puppy gives face hugs when I go to sleep. Nothing is more comforting, as long as my breathing space is open. don’t know if he’ll do this when he’s older.

  • Heather Raine says:

    My endangered pleasure is something of a specific vignette as well: driving around with my partner on an autumn evening just before sunset. There’s no particular place to go, just cruising around with the windows a little bit open so there’s a hint of a cool, crisp, leaf-scented breeze to contrast being wrapped in a comfortable, worn-in hoodie. In hand for each is a to-go cup of fragrant tea or some kind of latte, with its steaming tendrils wisping up into the air. Good music is also a must, of course. It’s just like… freedom, comfort, adventure, and romance all rolled into one situation. 😀

    • Musette says:

      That sounds lovely – it reminds me of Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Night Ride Home’, though that’s set in July, it has the same feel. I like doing that in the afternoons, especially out here in the boonies, when the sky has that haziness specific to Autumn. xoxoxo

  • Claudia S says:

    One of my pleasures is having a mini project in the kitchen (making short ribs?) and enjoying a glass of red wine at the same time. Soul satisfying for me-productive and delicious!

    • Musette says:

      SHORT RIBS! My favorite. I am doing homemade pappardelle with short ribs which, for me, is the pleasure, as I rarely make homemade pasta anymore. I’ll pour a glass of red wine in solidarity!


  • Bastet says:

    A rare pleasure for me is having a Sunday morning free to snuggle under the covers with a good book to read (usually my list of weekend chores is too long to allow such a luxury).

    • Musette says:

      LOL! That always brings to mind the song ‘Sunday (sweet Sunday) from R&H’s Flower Drum Song – the movie version with Jack Soo & Nancy Kwan. xoxoxo

  • Gina says:

    Being at the barn and riding my horse. Truly endangered since he is 27, having leg troubles and our days are numbered. I am enjoying every single “one more” that I get.

  • Kandice says:

    One of my pleasures would be snuggling with my fur baby. He doesn’t like to do it that often so it’s always welcome and makes me feel happy and content for awhile. I also love the Gamache series and have just picked up Glass Houses from the library. I can’t wait to get started on it!

    • Musette says:

      My librarian is going to bite me if I walk in there One. More. Time. about Glass Houses! lol! “IT’S COMING! STOP ASKING ME!’ LOL!

      You should come over here – The Girl is THE SNUGGLIEST thing, EVAH. And, if she’s okay with you, she’s okay with you snuggling for as long as you like!


  • March says:

    LOL I love that book. Glad you do too. I actually carried on a correspondence with Ms. Holland back in the day when I wrote her and she wrote back. You’ll be unsurprised to hear she was a witty and prolific letter-writer. Also: handwritten letters. Talk about an endangered pleasure!

    • Musette says:

      it is cheering me up sumpin’ fierce and I thank you for that!

      and…handwritten letters! I do write one at least once a month, if for no other reason that I think I’m forgetting how to write in cursive – and that freaks me out!


  • Kathryn says:

    I’ve been waiting for another book by Laura Shapiro ever since reading her Perfection Salad many years ago. I could never comprehend why my otherwise sensible aunts would be so proud of the truly horrendous gelatin salads they presented at every family gathering. Shapiro’s book explained it all.

    My endangered pleasure is keeping something blooming or at least green in the house all through our long New England winters. Considering how cold, dry and dark it can be here the word endangered should be taken literally. The sheer beauty of an amaryllis, an orchid or a bowl of paperweights can seem like a miracle in the midst of winter.

    • Musette says:

      Okay. I’ll bite – literally. Just ordered Perfection Salad because in my wildest nightmares I cannot comprehend those salads, either!

      And…omg, yes – but not on the amaryllis for me because I ALWAYS forget to chill them, dagNABBIT. But I love doing paperwhites and the luxury of grabbing one of those grocery store orchids (nothing ‘better’ than that, since I’mo kill it anyway)

  • Kismet429 says:

    Oh my goodness–Endangered Pleasures is one of my all-time favorite books. My 20-year-old copy is squirreled away somewhere in the bookcase, yellow with age. It’s a great comfort read–I’m going to dig it out and revisit it this week.

    Congratulations on your new project! Funny how “we got the job!” can simultaneously be good news and bad news. Which leads to my endangered pleasure–retirement. Just retired in March and having the time to sit in my living room and drink my coffee every morning before I start my day is a luxury.

    That, and wearing the vintage 1994 Dior Dune my sister gave me because she wasn’t wearing it. Swooningly delicious.

    Good luck with the project, and thank you!

  • Despina Veneti says:

    Finally opening that champagne that I’ve been saving for a “special occasion”, burning an expensive candle (also having been “saved” for a year or two!), spraying a precious vintage perfume just before sleeping.

  • Caroline says:

    Though I don’t typically enjoy midwestern winters, it made me feel cozy and satisfied to have the storms put on last week, and all the curtains and windows washed at the same time. Now I’m somewhat ready to hunker down.
    Joan Didion’s recent-ish book of essays, South and West, is in my reading pile.

    • Musette says:

      I know that feeling – I still have the storms cracked open in the kitchen windows because we’re still having some swinging temps (and the windows face South) but soon they will come down and then I know it’s officially Cold. xoxoxo

  • Tara C says:

    Maybe spellcheck was confused because it’s actually Une Robe de Zibeline (robe being feminine)? I love essays, thanks for the recommendations. I had heard about the passive-aggressive cook situation with the Roosevelts, LOL.

    My small pleasure is waking up in the night and feeling my dog snuggled up against me.

    • Musette says:

      Nah. Spellcheck is Satan. I thought it might be Une but DSH’s label said ‘Un’ so I gave her the courtesy of assuming that she knew what she was typing (plus I didn’t have time to check on her site). Alas, Spellcheck is now so preemptory that it refuses to give me that same courtesy. And then wants to throw hands on it! Which leads me to believe that it is the advance guard for our Skynet’s overlords. But we shall see….


  • Kate E. says:

    Mine is time to read a novel without guilt that I should be doing something else!

  • Tiara says:

    Ordinary pleasures. Watching the birds at the feeder with coffee in hand. Sitting on a balcony watching the dolphins frolic in the water. Bonus when one is with her babies. Being on the dock when the manatees swim up. Standing inside an aviary with free flying birds, a cup of nectar in my hand, loving when they choose me for a sip.

  • Anna says:

    Endangered pleasure now that cold weather is upon us: Partially melted ice cream. While at the supermarket on a hot summer day, I like to select my favorite flavor of ice cream, pay for my groceries, and drive home v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I unload my car in the heat, saving the bag with the ice cream for last. When I get the ice cream into the kitchen, I carefully open the container and admire the delicious meltedness around the edges of the carton and the more solid, still cold center within. I grab a spoon and use it to meticulously slide up the creamy outer edges, inward towards the cold center. I know it is time to stop when the spoon starts to feel resistance. I return the lid and place the mutilated container in the freezer.

  • Pam says:

    I discovered the Rutledge books this year and love them too. I had already been reading Louise Penney’s Gamache books.
    My endangered pleasure is getting up very early and drinking coffee while I read. And it is still dark. And very, very quiet.

    • March says:

      Ah yes, the early dark and the veeery quiet. What a lovely time. I grumble that my tiny dogs wake me up at 5:30am ish but it’s my time before the House Awakes.

      • Musette says:

        The Girl is such a large presence that she sort of blends into the quiet, if that makes any sense? I think it’s the movement – she is so big that it doesn’t require a lot of movement to get from place to place so she doesn’t disrupt energy much. Often she is upon me before I even realize she’s gotten up, whereas Bruno (xoxoox) – I could hear him ‘ticktickticking’ away. xoxoxo

  • HeidiC says:

    What a delightful post! I really enjoyed reading this, and added to my books-to-find list. I love essays, too — I just finished Nicole Walker’s Where the Tiny Things Are. I also read two poetry collections: Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead, and Maggie Smith’s Good Bones.

    I’d say my endangered pleasures are cooking something ridiculous from scratch — like, something that takes every pot in the kitchen, or requires decadent ingredients like real vanilla bean — and eating all the cheeses.

  • Vanie says:

    A warm bath, with a candle and a good book is an endangered pleasure, I would say.