Saturday, December 31, 2005

Final tally 2005

102 New Books Read in 2005

I found my written reading journal from January through March & recounted my total number of books read. Included in the tally are any & all new to me books regardless of genre- fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc. No rereads.

Perhaps next year I will steal an idea from Tara & create a separate page or pages to list books read & archive reviews separately from my main blog.


Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 Keepers

I added the following keepers to my shelves this year. In alphabetic order by author's last name.

1.Smoke Thief, by Shana Abe- dragon shapeshifters

2.Duke of Sin, by Adele Ashworth

3.The Bartered Heart, by Nancy Butler

4.Goddess of Spring, by P.C. Cast- Greek mythology

5.Sin & Sensibility, by Suzanne Enoch

6.Marigold's Marriages, by Sandra Heath- Druidism

7.Miss Lacey's Last Fling, by Candace Hern

8.The Rake's Rainbow, by Allison Lane

9.The Prodigal Daughter, byAllison Lane

10.Lord of the Mist, by Ann Lawrence

11.The Bedeviled Duke, by Judith Lansdowne

12.Kissing Cousins, by Nadine Miller

13.Beyond the Highland Mist, by Karen Marie Moning

14.A Convenient Marriage, by Debbie Raleigh

15.The Faery Bride, by Lisa Ann Verge- Touch healing/Celtic religion

16.Dark Lover, by J.R. Ward- vampire

Theme Keepers

I also have theme keepers, which are usually romance subgenres: fairies, vampires, ghosts, time travel, etc. They are not always as strong as the 'regular keeper' books, but catch my interest for other plot or characterization reasons. Numbers 1, 4, 6, 15 & 16 above are also theme keepers, but their characterization & depth was better than those below. This year I added the following titles to the keeper shelves because of their theme:

1.The Forest Lord, by Susan Krinard- Fairies

2.The Faun's Folly, by Sandra Heath- Mythological creature

3.Cupid's Mistake, by Karen Harbaugh- Greek mythology

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Developing Alzheimer's

I probably shouldn't say this in public, but I've been so forgetful of what exactly one needs to sew a basic pattern I've had to make two separate trips to the store to pick up things I initially forgot to buy the first time. Things like interfacing, thread, buttons.

Well, the thread wasn't my fault, I did have thread. Until Son #2 used an entire spool to make a spider web out of mardi gras beads across his room. Naturally I didn't remember this until I'd returned from a trip to the store.

In fact, I still don't have buttons. I want to use 'authentic' military issue olive drab green buttons. I'm making Beetle Bailey scrubs, as I'm sure you recall. I was sure Husband (remember him?) had some extra buttons stashed away in the last hoarde of military issue stuffed into our closet. No chance.

So here I sit, merrily sewing away in the off moments when I don't have to run out to the store to buy some long forgotten, lost supply that I formerly kept as a matter of routine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Tuesday to all

My Tuesday has been less profitable than I expected. First off- shhh...don't tell husband- I slept in until 9:45. I have no idea what the problem was. I remember waking up close to 6 & turning on BBC news. That's all I remember. I'm not sick & I'm nearly inert enough to qualify as a slug so tiredness doesn't enter into the picture. Don't tell Husband. He'll kill me out of jealousy.

Around noon I'm just setting up my sewing stuff when the Fed Ex guy shows up with a package & the Boy down the street is right behind him. Neighbor Boy stayed until 4 pm. Chatting. About movies, girlfriends, why Daughter needs to attend the boys' high school (so they can 'guard' her) & not the IB high school, the intricacies of his family genealogy, football (I hate football, ask anyone related to me. Whatever popped into his little redheaded brain. Don't get me wrong, I like him & he's an excellent conversationalist despite being sixteen. I deliberately didn't feed him, thinking that perhaps a lack of food would send him home. WRONG. Finally I convinced him he needed to look in on his little brother, who was supposed to be visiting another neighbor.

I managed to hem two pairs of pants. I need to add darts to a skirt in order to take in the waist. Rip out & replace a zipper on a pair of pants still needs doing. Made dinner. Oughta vacuum, clean bathroom, laundry. Maybe tomorrow. Then again, Husband is off tomorrow & I rarely get household chores done if he's here.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Free at last, thank God almighty! No offense intended. However, I just dropped the children off with their paternal grandparents. They will be passed around among the relatives like so many hot potatoes for the next week. Meaning- Husband & I are all set to stare at each other across the livingroom & wonder at the quiet, the lack of clutter & the clean kitchen full of food.

I plan to do some long postponed mending & hope to begin a cross stitch project. I want to make Husband some scrub tops. I just bought three yards of Beetle Bailey fabric- & got home to realize I'd lost the pattern. After lunch I'll go back out to get one. Hopefully he'll agree to classic Batman & possibly Dagwood although Husband wants coordinating bottoms as well. I'm going to wait on the fabric for the bottoms. Plain fabrics mainly although I did agree to make Husband a set of camo scrubs. Hancock Fabrics here in my area has a thirty percent off of Sunday comics patterned cotton ( Family Circle, Blondie & Dagwood, Beetle Bailey, etc.) through the seventh according to the clerk.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

!@#$% Hamster (Oh, & merry Christmas to all)

Did Santa bring you what you asked for? Did you lay abed listening to excited whispers as the little ones discovered Santa's bounty? Did you have to make a last minute run to the store because you ran out of a key ingredient at the last second?

I very nearly committed hamstercide early this morning. We returned from midnight mass at roughly 1:45 & sent the kids to sleep as soon as they made Santa's goody plate (chocolate chip cookies & vanilla pudding with a glass of eggnog). Husband & I stayed up until 2:45 drinking eggnog & listening to carols.

Husband fell promptly asleep, snoring a bit. Often I have trouble falling deeply asleep & usually meditate or start a rosary in my head until I can drift off. Three fifteen I hear rustling & quiet little noises. Thinking one of the children had awakened & were out snooping around I got up & walked around the pitch dark apartment. All was quiet. I returned to bed.

Three thirty same drill. Now I was getting worried. I went into the loo (it was dark remember), sat & promptly had the scare of a lifetime as the !@#$%& hamster rushed over my feet & hung a left into the livingroom. O.M.G. Well, I told myself, at least I knew who the culprit was. I also knew that I'd never be able to sleep with him running around. Besides, I was now TOTALLY awake.

Fortunately, Lemon Drop has a serious jones for a particular treat. After shutting all doors in order to enclose the space a little I turned on the lights. Dazed by the sudden brightness, he crouched beside the trash can under a large buffet. I carefully dropped treats just close enough that he had to come within arm's reach. Being the sucker that he is, Lemon Drop made a mad dash for his treat & I scooped him up. Imprisoning him in his cage, I finally made it back to bed at 4:15. The Husband snored through it all. The kids were up betimes & we staggered into the living room at eight thirty.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Traffic, traffic & more traffic

Overall, a pretty quiet day once daughter & I returned from a couple of errands. I had to buy an invisible zipper to replace the one on my favorite pants. I wanted to do some grocery shopping. It shouldn't have taken more than an hour and a half- less really.

Holiday traffic, however, had other plans for daughter & I. Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1 north and south on both roads were at less than 25 mph. Photos on the link are old, but will give you a sense of the sheer volume of cars. The HOV lanes were all heading south & they too were nearly at a standstill. In toto twelve, yes twelve lanes full of merry nog & coffee filled holiday travelers all enjoying scenic suburban northern Virginia at the blinding pace of twenty five mph. I suppose that the travelers ought to be grateful- at least it wasn't summer & therefore ninety degrees outside.

Anyway, after enjoying the grocery store & Wally World & the fabric store, daughter & I turned the radio WAY WAY up on the ride home knowing that we unlike many of our fellow cars were actually quite close to our destination.

Once home we made two batches of brownies. Washed, dried & folded three loads of laundry. Made dinner. Opened the doors and windows to let in the fifty six degree breezes. At this rate my bulbs will never come up again. The buds on the tulip tree outside church are fuzzy & swelling- either portending a mild winter or future damage to the tree.

One very cheerful & happy event- a Secret Santa at Husband's work hid an XM Sattelite radio in a giftbag in his locker. He called me, thrilled to death. We seriously looked into it last month, but decided to wait until the spring. He's pretty sure which coworker bought it for us, she's heading to Iraq in a few months. She & Husband are buddies. A very, very kind lady who knows her stuff inside and out. We will certainly pray for her while she's deployed. Send care packages. The usual drill.

Currently on a LOTR watching extravaganza. Husband laughed last night, "You couldn't even wait until the kids were home a full day before watching it, could you?" Of course not. It's vacation, are you crazy? We have to watch it. All weekend. He's working, what does he care?!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

7 Meme

7 Things to do Before I Die

1. Finish my degree

2. Watch my children graduate from college

3. Tour castles in the UK, Ireland, & France

4. Laze on the beaches of the south Pacific

5. Move back to northern New England

6. Lose weight & keep it off

7. Learn how to make bread

7 Things I Can't Do

1. Type

2. Knit/crochet

3. Live in the south

4. Become Conservative

5. Give up coffee

6. Leave the house or go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink

7. Sleep in a previously unmade bed

7 Things I Love About my Spouse

1. Warm Hands

2. Blue eyes & soft lips

3. His compassion for & nurturing of his family & his patients

4. Work ethic & type A personality

5. Innate sense of fairness & justice

6. Protectiveness towards those he loves

7. HUGS, HUGS & more HUGS

7 Things I Say Most Often


2. NO

3. "You're yucky" or "You're a pest"

4. God have Mercy or God give me patience

5. I love you

6. Drive safely

7. Do you speak English? I said NO

7 Authors I Love

1. J.R.R. Tolkien

2. C.S. Lewis

3. Edwidge Danticat

4. P.G. Wodehouse

5. Katherine Kurtz

6. Piers Anthony

7. A.A. Milne

7 Movies I Watch Repeatedly

1. Lord of the Rings trilogy

2. Star Wars series

3. Lion in Winter

4. Casablanca

5. Amelie

6. Harry Potter series

7. Classic Disney

Tag 7 People

1. Anne E

2. Jenster (answer in the comments, please, I know you don't have a blog)

3. A Ladybug

4. Maili- I know you're out there somewhere!

5-7. Anyone else who cares to answer

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Nearly finished

Some more wrapping, a few trillion baked goods, several hundred miles of chauffeuring & we're done! HAHAHAHAHAHA Sorry, I've been out all day among the cheerful masses shopping & am a little frazzled. Can you tell? I even caved in & started carrying my big purse/tote bag. Need more tape, more peel & stick labels, more wrap..what am I forgetting?!

However, Husband is off today and tomorrow, so I'll have help with the last minute details. He even made dinner tonight- thank goodness. He loves to cook whenever he's off. I'd love it if he'd cook nightly, but, alas, he doesn't come home from work until eight pm. Don't think I haven't thought of it though.

The biggest plus with carrying the 'big bag' (normally I carry a tiny clutch I got as a part of a free GWP from Lancome) is that I carry a book on my person as opposed to in the car. I currently have a traditional Regency in a cute little fabric bookcover. I think it's A Perfect Scoundrel by Martha Kirkland but I can't swear to it. My bag is buried under a mound of Santa stuff in my room & I can't be bothered to walk that far right now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Review:Have Glass Slipper Will Travel

Before I begin, I will say that I read love & laughter titles strictly for those qualities & rarely quibble with them except for the most serious problems (often fatal character flaws). Unlike other Romancelandia subgenres reality need not intrude in any way shape or form since I want to smile & laugh & escape daily life.

Have Glass Slipper Will Travel by Lisa Cach is, as advertised, a light confection of love & laughter contemporary romance lightly touched by the paranormal (who knew Oprah could be someone's fairy godmother?!). I've read two other Lisa Cach romances, her paranormal demon pair Dream of Me and Come to Me. Only one of them worked enough to land on my keeper shelf (Dream of Me), but I liked her voice enough to buy HGSWT on sight and without second thoughts. Luckily for me, it worked! YAY!

Katy Orville, recently laid off from her tech job in Seattle, lands in London after deciding to spend her savings title hunting. Will Eland (I couldn't shake the image), organic lavender & lettuce farmer as well as Duke of Marreton, nearly runs Katy over when she tries to cross the street against the traffic light after looking the wrong way.

Katy manages to land herself in one ridiculous, unbelievable scrape after another all the while charming the pants off of Will- literally and figuratively. With a little help from Oprah, Peter Pan & pixie dust Katy & Will manage to fall hopelessly in love in an amazingly short period of time.

Despite my constantly seeing Will as an actual Eland (click link above) & my oft repeated dislike of unusual names, plus a few other assorted issues, I completely fell in love with this quick, quirky, funny little book. Lisa Cach has a deft touch- I will continue to look out for her novels.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Review:The Magnificent Rogue; I. Johansen

This love story set in Elizabethan England centers on the maturation of a teenge girl raised by a brutal couple in total ignorance of her family heritage & ancestry. Emtionally & physically abused by a couple given charge over her, Kathryn believes she is Mary, Queen of Scots' illegitimate daughter. Queen Elizabeth, in a complicated political manuveur sends Robert MacDarren, Lord of Craighdhu, to Kathryn under orders to marry her & keep her isolated on his island home off the coast of Scotland.

While written as a romance, I think this is actually a coming of age story. In the beginning Kathryn is only 16, abused & sheltered & ignorant of her identity and of the political ramifications of said true identity. Slowly over the course of time Kathryn matures emtionally & intellectually & decides she must be the captain of her fate. Robert, meanwhile, is more of a stock character. Emotionally isolated & determined to keep Craighdhu safe, Robert agrees to Elizabeth's plans hoping to add his own twist since he is caught between the political games of Queen Elizabeth & King James of Scotland.

Kathryn's plans cause difficulties for Robert & his clan. To her credit, when Kathryn finally realizes the ramifications of what she's done she sets out to repair her errors as best she can without further endangering Robert & the people of Craighdhu. Reluctantly Robert admits his love for Kathryn and he sets about proving it to her as best he can before politics & the tide of history can prevent him. In the end Kathryn chooses love & family over power & Robert decides that the love of a good woman is better than being lonely in a crowd of clansmen. Thus Robert & Kathryn have an HEA as equals.

I initially had reservations about Kathryn because of her age, but Iris Johansen skillfully drew me into Kathryn & Robert's world despite them. Regretfully, Robert, IMO, is less well developed than Kathryn, nonetheless he is strong & decisive & well Kathryn's equal even after she has grown & matured. This is a romance by, for & about adults which I enjoyed tremendously.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Spielberg mom

A few friends & I were watching our Rector supervise the Christmas pageant rehersal. I admit we were chatting throughout, but we each have three or more children & have enjoyed roughly seven or eight Pageants apiece. So, ok, we ought to have been quieter maybe. We weren't though.

The Rector tells the adults discreet photos & filming could be done from the choir loft & after the Pageant. An older mom with an only child (this isn't a dis against older moms or only children) turns around & asks me if I'd ever filmed the Pageant. I replied no, since we've never had or wanted a video camera & besides, I think filming in a church is disrespectful (I didn't tell her that last bit).

"Don't you have three children?"

"Yes, we have three children."

"Don't you want to preserve their most precious moments on film?"

"Well, I take stills, but not in church. Before & after though."

"I want my daughter's every event filmed," with this pronouncement she moved across the aisle where there was peace & quiet & away from the four hens merrily cackling away while their chicks (not so little anymore) learned their lines & their marks.

All three of my girlfriends stopped talking as soon as she moved acros the aisle. "What's her problem? Weren't we respectful enough? Too noisy, were we?"
I explained our conversation. Major eyerolls. "Jeez. Get a life already." And with that our conversation resumed uninterrupted. Rude, weren't we?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Teenage avalanche, X-Box & Iris Johansen

Somehow, in my sleep induced stupor this morning (6:30 to be precise) I agreed to babysit the boys from down the street while their mom works. You see, the school system decided to call school off this morning after deciding the roads were too icy to risk the buses & the kids. Meanwhile I had already agreed to watch the boys (ages 10 & 15) until the buses came to pick them up.

Fast forward to nine am. They arrive on the doorstep bearing a dozen donuts, which apparently I'd asked for by way of payment, & X-Box games. I was still in my jammies & Husband's wonderful, enormous snuggly terry robe. Race to the back & dress. Pretend mightily to be unsurprised & welcoming. I was now the keeper of two teenage boys, a teenage girl & two ten year olds.

So, six hours later we're still having a good time. It's been fun actually (don't tell them that). I love to hear them laugh & egg each other on. Besides, their mom is struggling to make ends meet (she's a single mom) & they're often alone more than they ought to be.

Also, the repair man was here to fix the shower. Half of the hot shower water ended up coming out of the tub spout, resulting in an empty hot water tank & scalded feet after even a short shower. Husband fussed & puttered all week until I finally took pity on my teens & called the repair guy. Poor man. He was in & out three times today because of parts & lunch & being the only guy trying to cover a large area. Finally, he says it's fixed. I hope so. The whining is tiresome.

I've finally discovered Iris Johansen's older romances. I'm currently reading The Magnificent Rogue. It's wonderful. Why did it take me so long to get around to reading her romances? Why do I hate romantic suspense so much that I won't follow a crossover no matter how good her romances are? Oh well. It'll take me a while to unearth all of her backlist, so I have some time.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Snow hysteria, pt. 2

Not much going on today. Had to do some errands for our church. It snowed a little late this morning, changing over to rain. Resulting in the kids returning from school just before one pm. For rain. It has been hovering around forty degrees all day & the weathermen say it will be warm tonight. The children could easily have stayed in school. Ridiculous. Took a delicious nap. Daughter too! I was a little surprised, but she has been fighting off a bug I think.

I DVR'ed the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker last night & we are camped around the TV watching. The costumes & sets are quite lavish & Tchaikovsky has always been a favorite of mine anyway. More cheerful than alot of the so called children's specials on this season.

Baking banana bread for dessert. Smells yummy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


My lovely sister, formerly known as Dossica has decided to change her blog name to A Ladybug. She has opened comments (I think). Drop by & tell her hello for me. She's just had a second baby & is now utterly surrounded by testosterone, poor thing.

Spent the morning watching Cirque du Soliel's Solstrom . I love watching them, they are amazing. The washboard abs aren't bad either! It is my understanding Quidam will tour the U.S. this coming year. I hope they come near us. Tickets to Cirque have been high on my birthday/Valentine's/anniversary wishlist for a long time. Cross your fingers. I know Husband reads this, maybe he'll take the hint.

As to reading, not doing much of that today I'm afraid. Laundry. Scrubbing. You get the idea. After watching the yummy acrobats of course.

Have A Hot Dry Stormy Life Kids! Read this article today, folks. If you have children. If you care about the future of the earth & your children. Stewardship of Mother Earth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

DNF- Rebellious Desire

I think I've read the Julie Garwood book Rebellious Desire a long time ago. No surprise there I'm sure. Many ladies in the romance community have read & loved her books. I think I forgot this one, because I didn't like the hero & thus didn't like the book. One of my hard & fast rules- liking the hero. This one has severe jealousy & control issues. Life being already too short, I have decided not to continue with this book. I have too many anxiously waiting their turn in Mt. TBR to continue with a title I remember barely liking the first time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

13 Days 'til Christmas

Visited Sister & the Nephews today. Too, too precious all of them. Visiting them was the perfect way to spend a Monday. Traffic was light both ways, what more can you ask for? Except maybe a few cookies for the trip home. Thanks, Sis! And no- none of them made it home to the kids.

Started reading Rebellious Desire by Julie Garwood, I thought I'd read all of her older romances, but so far this one isn't ringing a bell. Typical plot- atypical American girl captures the fancy of a powerful, jaded British aristocrat. Set in London of 1788. I'm only fifty pages into it, but JG is always reliable.

While waiting in a check out line this evening I encountered an astoundingly ignorant person. Verbatim quote, "God blesses America because we believe in Jesus but He doesn't bless Isreal because the Jews murdered Jesus." Later, the same person said, "When did the Jews invent Hanukkah? I know it isn't as old as Christmas. Christians had Christmas before the Jews invented Hanukkah. And what's up with Kwanzaa? Did the blacks just make that up or something?!"

I swear I bit my tongue so hard it bled. I managed to hang on to my happy thoughts of my sister & her family & kept quiet. I saw steam coming out of the ears of the older lady a few feet behind this person though. The whole episode reminded me of Jay Leno's man on the street interviews. I half expected someone to leap out & say, "Surprise you're on Candid Camera!" or some such. Naturally no such luck of course. Our country's future is dire indeed.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Review:The Painted Rose

The hero, Lucien Delacourte, has fled to the English countryside in disgrace and completely destitute from Paris to accept a tutoring position in a wealthy household. After a carriage accident, Sarah Essington, sister of the Earl of Darby, has hidden for the last five years on her brother's estate. During her self enforced isolation she has created a fantastic garden which is her pride and joy. Now she wishes to paint her garden and make a gift for the king. Thus Lucien enters the world of the Essingtons.

Each person in the household leads a complex, layered life not immediately revealed but which impacts the Hero and Heroine. Instead of concentrating on the evolving love story the plot devolves into a series of scenes featuring other characters' machinations and motivations regarding one person or another in the household.

What begins as a deeply touching story of two people slowly returning to life after grievous wounds deviates into a semi gothic mystery in which their relationship is no longer the centerpiece. I was mad about that, actually. I was very invested in Lucien and Sarah and why she insisted on hiding away & would they work out their issues, etc.

I ended up skimming the last half. I nearly didn't finish it, actually. There is an HEA, and all of the loose threads are neatly tied into a bow. Ms. Birdsell has certainly caught my eye despite the fact that I didn't like the way this story developed. The emotions between Lucien and Sarah were touching and well depicted. Hopefully Ms. Birdsell's next story will detail the Hero and Heroine more than the secondary characters.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Newest sidebar addition

I'd like to welcome a new addition to my sidebar, Dossica. Written by my lovely & talented sister, I believe it will be her ruminations on life in the wilderness of Richmond (so far away now, boo hoo), the joys of a new infant & budding sibling rivalry. Also, thoughts on writing & related crit type topics as she is a member of a national children's writer's group. Dossica, this is a shot across bow that you HAVE to keep up with your blog!

More later. Errands to run.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Chatter

I suppose I'm officially approaching middle age now. I just scheduled my first mammogram. No more deluding myself. Osteporosis, arthritis & alzhiemer's are only a moment away! LOL Granny support hose, orthopedic shoes & elastic waistband pants. Those little strip shaped pill boxes with flaps for am, pm & prn doses- all filled to the brim. How did so much time go by?! And how did my once tiny, cute, roly poly son morph into a six foot tall young man?

Nearly done with my Christmas shopping & wrapping. Cards mailed two days ago. Eight of which have been returned due to size restrictions. The post office claims they're too small. I mailed thirty+. Where are the rest of them? They were all dropped into the bin at the same time in the same facility. Did the others escape? Were they eaten by the sorting machines? Does it really matter in this age of ecards?

Visited with my buddy Frank at his current place of employment & promised to get together for a beer & chili next month. Frank works for a big box book chain & won't return to the bosom of humanity until after black season (otherwise known as the Christmas shopping & return season). His mom is ill & needs surgery next month, please offer up a prayer or two that all will go well for her. I've really missed Frank. He's fun to talk to, likes jazz, baseball,reading & art movies.

The children are home AGAIN due to amazing volume of snow & sleet & ice we had last night. NOT. Two inches of slush, max. It is cold & windy but then, it's December. It ought to be cold & windy. Two hour delay would've been plenty. However, here they sit pleased as punch. Home again, second day this week.

Still working on Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. Managing five to six pages a day, roughly. It isn't light reading, but has certainly opened my eyes to the outlook & mores of his time as well as his own personal struggles regarding patronage, his health & caring for his family.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Review: The Fairy Bride

A spin on the captive romance, The Fairy Bride takes place in Wales in 1275. Rhys suffers from a mysterious ridged purple rash spreading over his face and shoulders. In order to remain lord over his father's holdings he is suppposed to be physically flawless as his health portends the health of his land & the prosperity of his people. In an attempt to be healed, Rhys & his brother Daffyd sail over to the island of Inishmaan & kidnap their healer's daughter, Aileen.

Aileen at twenty five has lived on the island her entire life. She is devoted to her family & her people & is reasonably content to remain there. Her father has trained her in the healing arts & herbs & she is able to facilitate healing with her hands.

After reaching Rhys' holding, only the intervention of Daffyd & the chatelaine Marged brings Aileen fully into the household. After some back and forth negotiations, Rhys and Aileen determine she will remain there until springtime. Rhys must learn to let go of his emotional pain & allow the past to remain in the past instead of carrying it around with him. His scepticism of Aileen's healing abilities interferes with her attempts to heal his rash.

Aileen, for her part, misses her home and her family terribly, but also sees a need in Rhys' peoples & his land. She does not allow her fear of or desire for Rhys to control her or sway her decisions. She manages to preserve the truth of who she is under the most trying and difficult circumstances.

Over time Rhys emerges from his rage and sees everything clearly. He is able to move onward and upward and reprioritizes. Aileen too makes a life for herself on her terms with out compromising. After just enough danger for Aileen to convince Rhys of his feelings, the long awaited HEA.

After initially having a difficult time settling in to this, I was gradually drawn in & wrapped up in my own heartstrings. By virtue of shedding a few tears & laughing aloud in various places, The Fairy Bride earns a place on my keeper shelf.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Review: The Pact by Drs. Davis, Jenkins & Hunt

A riveting memoir written by three childhood buddies who made an agreement (hence the title) during junior year in high school that they would see each other through college & medical school. This is their triumphant & heartbreaking story. Three at risk young men, living in harsh circumstances, manage to transform themselves against the odds. Sometimes struggling against their own inner demons & bad habits as much as struggling against society & circumstances.Temptaions are everywhere & teens rarely (if ever) think of the long term consequences of their actions.

They could have been anyone's boy. My own, yours, the kid two blocks over. Boys everywhere are needy, regardless of class, family economics or race. By the time kids reach middle school, they need more guidance, not less. More mentoring, more hope, more structured time. It is so easy to lose them & every single boy is a precious hope for the future. More than anything else this book is a cry for more male mentors & perhaps a light in the darkness for boys in danger of losing their way. "If I could do it, so can you."

I bought this because I have two teenagers & a tweeny, boys & a girl. I am the kind of mom who buys books & gives them to her kids, praying that in time, without nagging, the books will be read & the kid's heart will hear what is being said. I do discuss issues & events with them, but I think written reinforcement is never a bad thing. Besides, after a time, kids tune the adults out.

Click on the link above or THIS ONE for more information on this book, children at risk, mentoring & more.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow hysteria

I can't help but laugh. The local tv personnel have staked out Lowe's & Home Depot (giving them free advertising) to let us know how much salt, sand & snow shovels are on hand. Or perhaps you'd prefer a snow blower 'cuz you know, shoveling 5" twice or thrice a winter may either kill you or- worse, throw out your back. And you've already used up your sick days going to Nationals and Redskins games.

We also need camera crews beside our major highways; discussing traffic flow, flakes, humans & snow; hunting for snowplows & generally wreaking havoc in a metro area already known to be the third worst in the entire country in terms of traffic jams. Seriously, the traffic radio channel reported a tv crew filming beside a major traffic artery & thus causing a huge rubbernecker backup. No, it wasn't snowing at the time. Traffic is horrible enough as it is without the media screwing things up in their unending efforts to raise their ratings.

What else has happened this morning? I went to the corner store looking for diet coke, mini marshmallows & Luzianne tea bags. It was not quite nine am. They had four gallons of milk left and no toilet paper. I ask you- what the hell is it about snow that causes people to stockpile paper products?! Are these people constipated all the time & snowfall induces their bowels to move so much so that they need mass quantities of TP? The cashier made sure to tell me that they haad arranged for another milk dleivery & paper products even then were being delived to the stockroom. I smiled at her & told her we were well stocked.

It is now..12:30, give or take. Several counties around me have decided to dismiss school an hour or two early today. There is no snow falling here. But it might!! Maybe it'll be dangerous for the buses. If they wait too long it'll be snowy & (are you ready?) dark when the little ones come home. OH NOOOO!! Snowy & Dark too. Help, help! The winter warlock will get us! Remember him? He was in the Kris Kringle Santa Claus tv show.

So, what's a girl from northern New England to do amid the snow induced mass hysteria all around her? Turn on NPR, warm up some leftover meatloaf, surf & wait for the kids to come home early. Oh, yes. Laugh & laugh & laugh & laugh & laugh. Husband works with several people from Montana & Colorado, all of whom are amazed at the weird antics of metro DC denizens panicking at the possibility of a small snowfall.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Annual Book Count

Romance Reading Mom has counted & listed the total number of books she's read this year & has nearly reached 200 (athough I didn't check today). Tara is the Speedy Gonzales (remember his cartoons?) of romance readers & her book count reveals that. She inspired me to look back over my listed books for this year. I've misplaced my written log for January through the end of February, but I've read fifty seven books since starting this blog back in March. I think maybe sixteen books for January & February. Rough estimate only. RTBC, at the time, had a monthly TBR Challenge on one of their boards & I participated. Perhaps seventy five books total?

I've struggled mightily all year with reading burnout. October & November were much closer to form, although the holiday madness is upon us & I've cut back again.

My daughter asked how many people read my little ditties & was shocked that I have maybe one thousand hits a week plus or minus. "How exciting is our life, mom? Not exciting at all." She's thirteen, what can I say? She was even more puzzled when I told her most of my soliloquies address books, reading, Romancelandia events, etc. not our family life (unless it's funny).

How many books have you read this year? What genres do you prefer? Will you set a reader's resolution this coming January?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Weekend Reading & Classic moviefest

I'm slowly working my way through Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel as well as The Faery Bride by Lisa Ann Verge. Galileo's Daughter is an insightful & fascinating look at Galileo Galiei based upon letters exchanged between him & his elder daughter Sister Marie Celeste, a Poor Clare nun.

The Faery Bride, written by a scientist turned author, continues this year's theme- fairytale & fey related romances. I've barely started it, but it seems to be a Beauty & the Beast fairytale set in medieval times, along the coast of Ireland & Wales. So far so good.

Hot chocolate weather is, hopefully, here to stay. Mini marshmallows, choctlatey mugs with sugary rims scattered everywhere. YUM, YUM!! The outdoor christmas lights sparkle with a distinctive blue tone & seem to be more intense than 'regular' outdoor lights.

We watched Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the 1932 Frederick March version, The Day the Earth Stood Still & the silent French version of Phantom of the Opera. Interesting note for you parents of daughters out there. My daughter was shocked at the low cut neckline the female characters in Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde wore. I asked her why she was so surprised & she said she'd thought women 'back then' were more conservatively dressed. We've had quite a lively discussion (especially when Husband joined in) on clothing trends & the message clothing choices send out.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Christmas adventures

Daughter & I had a great time yesterday afternoon watching the menfolk put up the Christmas lights. Being the shortest members of the family does have its advantages sometimes! We bought several strings of LED lights since they're brighter & use less electricity. Plus a prelit Christmas tree made of lights to go with the Santa & reindeer we already have.

Lower utlity bills will be a plus this winter (if it ever actually stays cold) since energy costs will be up to 50% higher. Not to mention the possibility of rolling blackouts due to natural gas shortages. That article details the problems facing New England specifically, but according to the Washington Post, the entire Eastern seaboard faces supply problems, although the risk is lower the further south you are. At least, I think it was the Washington Post. I can't find the article now, damnit.

Back to lighter subjects, we only have access to the attic through a hatchway. I mentioned to Husband yesterday that we'd have to wait for older Son to come home, since I didn't think Husband would fit through the hatch. Very blunt & umm...undiplomatic of me I suppose, but it's the truth. Not that I care, mind you, Husband's weight doesn't bother me, but I honestly didn't think he'd fit.

A little while later I hear Husband calling me. His voice sounded, I don't know, muffled. Odd. We live in a tiny duplex, you see, & we can't really escape each other. I wandered down the hall only to discover Husband had gotten himself into the attic. Merely to be able to come down again & tell me off in no uncertain terms. I'm ashamed to say I laughed & laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. Thus prompting Husband to give me a nuggie (how the hell do you spell that?!!) & say, "I TOLD YOU I'D FIT UP THERE!"