Friday, December 28, 2007

Family Christmas

The infectious joy of children's laughter. The thundering herd of little feet. Wails of tiredness & lack of ability to share. Attempting to remember a recipe for coconut cream refrigerator pie I'd never made before and brought all of the ingredients but forgot the instructions. The mystery of the disasppearing pillows. Watching the dog try to figure out how to smell the parakeet and the parakeet totally ignoring him. Yummy broccoli and cauliflower and cheese and sour cream and cracker casserole. Peach and blueberry galette. Sinking up to the tops of my shoes in the mud pit that used to be the front lawn. Visiting with my sister and my mom. Discovering that two family pets didn't live through the Christmas Season, and how sad their families are. The surreal scene of my BIL surrounded by people and food and festivities but talking over a headset with World of Warcraft players online. Listening to adults try to figure out how to text on a cell phone. Sympathizing with my Lovely Sister who has to write 4 20 page assessments (among other arduous requirements) to qualify for a national certification in her specialty.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

World Peace

is totally out of reach. Have you READ THIS? This is so ridiculous.

Thursday 13 #35- Poets

Click here to see other Thursday thirteen participants. Thirteen favorite poets, in no particular order:

1. Robert Frost

2. ee cummings

3. Edna St. Vincent Millay

4. Shel Silverstein

5. Christina Rossetti

6. Edgar Allen Poe

7. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

8. Shakespeare

9. Robert Louis Stevenson

10. Lewis Carroll

11. Sara Teasdale

12. Emily Dickenson

13. King David- Master Psalmist

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Drive By

Just a quick drive by to say hi and happy New Year and Merry Christmaqwaanzikah and whatnot. We're still around. Busy. Tired. Overscheduled. Eating too much. Happy to spend time with Graduate while he's been home, sad we've had to work most of the time he's been here. Gonna be out of town for a couple of days visiting the family, but hope to post a Thursday 13 some time tomorrow.

Hope all of you out there had a joyful and rejuvenating Holiday- whichever winter fest you choose to participate in. Many happy hours curled around a good book with more hours and books in the near future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cheap and Easy

Yup, that's me. Cheap and easy. So here it is:



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Meditation on Winter

The sky was a rich blue heavily laced with dark grey storm clouds late this afternoon as I waited in the biting wind. Tiny finger size twigs and bigger branches tossed back and forth like coral in a current. The wind played with me- chasing up the sleeves of my winter coat and tying my hair in knots. I could feel my body heat rising from my head into the sky.

I wanted to walk for blocks in the nighttime quiet. For that's how it was this evening in Old Town. Quiet. The little white lights draped in the trees danced frantically over our heads, clinging to their branches like barnacles in the surf. Winter's frozen currents rushing and swooping around us swirling fallen leaves over our heads. Other than a group of college age carolers, laughing and singing as they rushed up the street, we were alone in Old Town- a rarity neither of us can ever remember in the years we've lived here.

I was refreshed and invigorated. The cold winter wind reminds me of how human I am. How alive I am. I feel brighter. Full of possibility. The earth rests and recuperates, but I'm energized. Somehow in the summer I'm sluggish. Lethargic. I want to hibernate. Like an ant trapped in honey. Winter, though, that's more my season. Gathering energy for the year to come.

2 DNFs

Do You Believe? by Ann Lawrence

Set in contemporary England, this is a gothic romance with a bad boy hero who has slept with the heroine's sister- who is now missing. Could've been interesting, plot wise, but sleeping with the heroine's sister is definitely a no go for me.

Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

Simply didn't work. Couldn't make it past page 32. I just don't buy the world Ms. MacGregor built and I intensely dislike men who fall in instant lust with a woman because she "tastes of innocence" (my words, not hers). I know some men really do get off on virginity and very young women, but this particular phrase really turns me off.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In hopes of snow tomorrow:

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday 13 #34- Classic Authors

In my permanent collection you will find the following classic authors, usually several volumes each. All are old favorites, some deeply treasured gifts from long deceased family members.

1. P G Wodehouse

2. Pearl S Buck

3. Robert Louis Stevenson

4. Louisa May Alcott

5. Nathaniel Hawthorne

6. The Bronte Sisters

7. Lewis Carroll

8. Charles Dickens

9. Henry David Thoreau

10. Shakespeare

11. George Orwell

12. Gustave Flaubert

13. Alexandre Dumas

The purpose of Thursday Thirteen is so that members of the blogosphere can get to know one another better. Click link in the title above to see a list of other participants. Leave a link in the comments below and I'll link to you here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bumperstickers III

Part I can be seen HERE and part II HERE. Recently seen while out and about within our region:

1. I hear voices and they don't like you

2. H2 recovery vehicle seen on a Land Rover

3. Next time you curse a trucker or a farmer please do it with your mouth full Seen on an 18 wheeler waiting at the truck scales

4. You can't be pro war and pro life

5. Ignore your rights and they'll go away

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2 Traditional Regencies

I've always loved traditional Regencies and Christmas stories- this fat volume combines 2 Elizabeth Mansfield stories. One is A Christmas Kiss, originally published in 1978 and the other Winter Wonderland originally published in 1993. I sat on my keister for a whole afternoon and read them- no housework, no errands, no chauffering. Just sat and read, something I've not done since before I went to work.

The first one, A Christmas Kiss, unfolds as both a misunderstanding, not the famous 'big mis' some novels are known for and a device I dislike, and as a May-December governess romance. House parties. Jealous wanna be wives on patrol for a rich husband. Loving siblings. Snow storms. I never knew it snowed so much in England.

The second one, Winter Wonderland used a plot device that has worked in the past, but not in this instance. In this case the male lead was horribly emotionally scarred by a single encounter with the heroine at his first ever ball at the tender age of 19. I finished it, but it never really clicked with me. I found myself picking it apart, and that's always a bad sign.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Toward the Winter Solsitice; Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

Poem found at Click link in title above.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chalchihuitlicue was here

Image found on

She is the Aztec goddess of rain and flowing water. It rained all Sunday afternoon, a light barely noticable drizzle. Enough to soak the ground and drip down the windows. Bead on my potted plants. When I went to bed, though, much later- Chalchihuitlicue poured her blessings upon us.

The wind shook all of my chimes and leaves blew down the street, visible in the yellow glow of the streetlamp. I curled up in our bed listening to the rain drum on the roof and snuggled deeper into the cocoon of warmth. Somehow the rain always helps me sleep better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

November Synopsis

I managed three titles last month, listed here in reversed reading order.

A Lick of Frost; Laurell K. Hamilton

In This House of Brede; Rumer Godden

Free Food for Millionaires

I've reached the completely uninspiring number of 65 new to me books finished this year. Far, far short of my original goal of 106. Life and times intervened and so I'm satisfied that I've done the best I could under the circumstances. December being the busiest holiday month, I doubt I'll manage more than three books- but it'd be great if I could reach 70 by January 1st.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New blogging adventure begins

My very first post is up at Access Romance on the Readers Gab page. Click link in title to read my post.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday 13 #33- Things that make me happy

I came up with this list as a way to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the season, no matter how hectic and hurried we become. List is in random order.

Thursday thirteen is a way for bloggers to get to know each other better. Leave a link in the comments and I'll link to you here. Click link in post title above to see a list of other TT participants.

1. Looking out the front windows at work I see a giant old hardwood tree slowly turning a rusty orange against a background of young flame red maple trees. The weather has been warm this autumn and the late changing trees reflect the temperatures.

2. My little collection of acrylic snowmen and peguins dance and sled and skate and ice fish across our dinner table- cheerful and happy and whimsical.

3. The bright red blueberry bushes on the back deck remind me of the promise of summer to come and fresh blueberries warm from the sun.

4. Clean linens and cold pillows.

5. Hubby taking initiative and hauling out all of our Christmas stuff and setting things up and decorating and..well, just making me smile every time I come home and something else has been set out. When we first married, his family hadn't celebrated Christmas in any form whatsoever since he was in grade school. Now the winter holidays are his favorites.

6. Anime Queen's A algebra test papers pinned on the fridge

7. Surfing through photos of houses and land in the wilds of northern New England daydreaming about my fantasy flower garden.

8. Fresh hot coffee in the morning

9. Long hot showers

10. Bookstores and libraries

11. Listening to jazz and standards

12. Listening to Pianist play

13. Going to church for mass

A Lick of Frost; L.K. Hamilton

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton was published this fall by Ballantine Books. This is the sixth book in the Meredith Gentry series and cannot be read as a stand alone. ALOF is short, only 274 pages- although the previous book Mistral's Kiss has only 212 pages. There are lots of readers out there who can't or won't read either of Ms. Hamilton's series or who have given up reading them for many different reasons. I only read this one & while I have misgivings and there are elements that put me off I have continued with Merry and her band of lovers. Read my comments on the previous book HERE.

In this installment, three of Merry's guards have been charged with raping a member of her Uncle Taranis' court. We watch as the platoon of lawyers carefully parse their every word, playing out an intricate chess game of words and hidden motives. Another assassination attempt is made which one of her men barely escapes with his life and that only with the help of a human weapon. The goblin twins arrive in Los Angeles with the Red Caps, each of whom want something different. Odd and unusual events happen to the house and land where Merry and her men are living- but what does it all mean?

Quite a bit happens in this action packed 274 pages. I wonder about Merry's claim of loving Frost and yet being remarkably intolerant with what she perceives as his biggest shortcoming. To me love means accepting all of your partner's flaws and loving them anyway, but Merry constantly whines about Frost all the while claiming to love him. It rings as a dissonance with me, I suppose. There is a big plot event, actually one of several, toward the end that strikes me as odd and unbelievable and too far fetched even for fiction. I'm curious about how Ms. Hamilton will try to pull it off.

If you're new to Ms. Hamilton's Merry series or are a fence sitter you might want to wait for the paperback. I've bought all of these as hardbacks, and despite some doubts and disappointments I plan to continue reading the Merry books. Ms. Hamilton has managed to pique my curiosity and hold my attention over the course of this series. There is plot momentum a plenty in this title, hang on to your seat!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not only is this an image of my newest houseplant, courtesy of Ikea (they have a wonderful plant section in the marketplace), this is also an image of my hair standing on end lately. For inspiration it sits beside the computer, a friendly reminder to smile.

Image courstesy of

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday 13 #32- Thanksgiving Day Edition

The list below has been compiled with assisitance from my family. It's unedited & original.

1. My Family (from Hubby)

2. Good Health (also from Hubby)

At this point I told him to come up with an original, heartfelt Thanksgiving wish & to stop recycling what everyone thinks you should say. Then he came up with the following:

3. SEX, SEX and More SEX

4. ACC Football

The next two are from the Pianist:

5. Life

6. Cheese
(yes, really)

It took Anime Queen ten minutes to come up with her two, whining the entire time that Hubby took her two (#1 & #2):

7. Friends

8. Anime and Manga

That leaves me with the remainder:

9. For the sunshine that pours over my keyboard as I type this

10. For the laughter and smiles our little nephews and nieces bring us

11. For my coworkers who have been patient and helpful as I stumble my way towards competency

12. For my children

13. For my garden, which brings me much joy and peace

The purpose of Thursday 13 is to help bloggers get to know one another better. Leave a link in the comments and I will link to you here. Click HERE to see more participants.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday 13 #31- Along our Commute

I haven't participated in Thursday 13 in months and months- probably over a year. The purpose of TT is to help bloggers get to know one another better. Leave a link in the comments and I will link to your blog here. Click link in title above to see a list of other Thursday thirteen participants.

Below is a list of things seen along my or hubby's commute to work.

1. We've started commuting together regularly due to transmission issues with the other car. Lately we've seen an elderly couple slowly meandering along the sidewalk with two equally aged dogs. The amazing part? It's always before 5:30 am when we see them. No late risers they! LOL

2. We know every McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts open before 6 am in greater Arlington.

3. I saw a group of Marines running in formation along the outer wall of Arlington National Cemetery singing jodies. Touched a chord in my heart, honestly. There's something about military men who can run and sing simultaneously. And they're easy on the eye! LOL

4. Saw an elderly widow dressed in black kneeling beside a grave well covered in thick green grass and colorful autumn leaves.

5. There's an incredible number of folks who commute before 5 am- an hour I still consider ungodly no matter I number among those early risers.

6. Women attempt to put makeup on in the dark while driving

7. Drivers who surf on their laptop at the same time

8. Fallen autumn leaves swirling through the air as the rain poured. They glow brightly against the grey and black morning street scape.

9. The Air Force Memorial is beautiful and touching every time I see it, no matter the weather or my mood.

10. An elderly man showed my hubby his Japanese surrender card (given to all Allied troops who occupied Japan) one day in McDonald's. Hubby showed him his Geneva convention card from his tour in Korea back in 1992 (given to those personnel at risk of capture by the North Koreans during their tour). Much handshaking and many stories followed.

11. I heard Taps play one day while outside work waiting for hubby to come pick me up.

12. We often see the same cars and drivers in the same spots day in and day out

13. Can't think of anything else!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In This House of Brede; Rumer Godden

Thanks to our church library, I found an original 1969 paperback put out by Fawcett Crest publishing. Miraculously it has survived bouncing around in the bottom of the tote bag I haul back and forth to work. Lately I have been drawn to fiction about women in a transitional period of their lives, and this book revolves around this theme. Link to the official site of the Rumer Godden Literary Trust in title above. Ms. Godden died in 1998 after a long and distinguished career, this is the centenary year of her birth. Image at right is of a pre-Vatican II Benedictine habit used at a monastery in PA.

Philippa Talbot is a woman in her mid forties who has decided to leave a highly placed, well paid position in the British government to become a cloistered Benedictine nun. Talk about transitions! LOL The book details Philippa's journey of self dicovery as well as the intimate inner workings of a community of women. As it turns out, Philippa must face the reality that despite being cloistered she cannot escape the workaday world the rest of us must cope with. Not only that she cannot avoid accepting essential aspects of her personality she thought to leave behind.

In This House of Brede deals with Philippa's efforts to make peace with herself. Bonus for romance lovers: there is an undercurrent in the story between Philippa and a man she loved but left behind to join the convent. I wonder just how much sacrifice is too much? How much did Philippa remain willfully ignorant of the depth of the relationships she was involved in before becoming a nun?

I enjoyed this novel quite a lot. It was an impulse borrow from the library, next time I feel introspective I may just borrow another Rumer Godden novel and give it a whirl!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Honoring Veterans' Day

Turn volume up and click Here

Flanders Fields October 1914

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— John McCrae

Flanders Poppies

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Hubby~ Has had the worst luck with his car, in the last several weeks. His ancient Toyota- 217,000 miles and still getting 35+ MPG, was sideswiped while he sat in traffic. Pulled off the front bumper, did signifigant front end damage & ruined the tranny. $2,000 to put a rebuilt tranny in. Great. Just what we need, with the holidays coming up, a freshman in college, new car payments. The insurance company will pay for the front end issues, but not for the tranny due to the mileage on the car. We've not decided if we're able/willing to pay for the transmission, so for the moment it's in the repair shop yard. Fabulous. Otherwise he's fine except we have to share a car. That's a post all by itself.

Graduate~ Theoretically still alive, but I've no other info. Spoke with him briefly the day after he took my dad to the VA ER (dad's fine). Jobless. Likely he stopped looking, but right now I've other fish to fry, so I've not pushed this problem.

Anime Queen~ Going to football games and sleepovers. Suffering through algebra. Returned to volunteering at the local animal shelter, and at church. Took the PSAT recently. Has a mysterious boyfriend named John, whom we have yet to see in person. He attends a different school, but lives a few doors down from AQ's best bud.

Pianist~ Studying Corelli and Mozart with his piano teacher. First grade report comes out in a week or so. I anticipate he'll do just fine. So far he hasn't seemed stressed about the academics, just the social issues (locker, class changes, girls, the usual). This coming weekend he's going to a weekend retreat with his Sunday school classmates and our new assistant Rector, Mother Caroline. I'm confident she'll be well able to deal with the kids- she's four of her own, plus she was the "official camp chaplain" last summer. Fortunately, Pianist's best buddy (and chief troublemaker at church) can't go this time, so there are sighs of relief all around.

Moi~ Had a rotten cold in October. Trying to share a vehicle with Hubby. Have been tired beyond all reason lately- not a good sign heading into the holiday season. Am thrilled to death that the weather has finally turned cooler. It finally feels like fall. Of course, it's only two weeks until Thanksgiving it oughta be pushing on towards winter by now. At least, that's how the internal seasonal calendar in my head works. Still on New England seasons no matter how long we've been out of the area. I've started opening my livingroom curtains more. The sun shines directly indoors all winter thus opening the curtains helps me fend off winter blues. Our livingroom is butter yellow and so it has a cheery glow all during the winter.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Free Food for Millionaires

Published this fall, I picked this up because the Washington Post Sunday Source gave it an A. This is one of the few pieces of straight literature I've read this year. Plus, I am interested in Asian American writers, particularly women. That and I had a 25% off coupon from my local big box bookstore. Image found at, link in title above.

I have to say, Ms. Lee grabbed my attention from the very start and wouldn't let go. Casey Han is the primary protagonist. The story revolves around and through the lives of several people Casey is involved with, much like a trellis supports and frames the roses growing through it. In the opener, Casey has just graduated from Princeton, but doesn't have a job or a place of her own. If you assume this will be a typical story detailing a grown child returning to the nest to "figure out what I really want to do with my life," you couldn't be more wrong. I was too, so don't feel bad. There are no cliches here, trust me.

Ms.Lee slowly shows us just how unique each character, and by extension, how each of us is difficult, complicated and glorious all in one fell swoop. There is alot about Korean immigrant culture, and particularly the parent child relationship. IMO, most of these relationship issues could possibly be transposed over to any ethnic group with one caveat being the husband and wife relationship between Casey's parents- although that too is arguable.

Casey lives in NYC and has a high profile job on Wall Street, so there is a certain amount of brand name dropping, similar to what you might find in a chick lit novel. I found it irritating, but managed to ignore it for all of the action going on. We get to watch as Casey tries to feel her way through the perils and pitfalls of young adulthood: the parental expectations, the inner confusion, the problems with romantic relationships, money vs. education vs. priorities and expectations.

The ending is upbeat, but nothing is certain. I was left feeling hopeful that Casey and her buddies were all headed in a positive direction. Some of Ms. Lee's insights into motivation and behavior made me stop and think a long while before I picked up and carried on as before. She also seems to be very comapssionate towards her characters, event he despicable ones. This is a book I will treasure and reread often. Highly recommended. Keeper.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

October Monthly Synopsis

Two DNFs this month, listed as follows:

Love Underground, Alicia Fields

Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

Plus one book I finished: The Earl's Prize, Nicola Cornick

Not much progress toward my annual goal, I have to say. Unusual to have more than one DNF in a month as well.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A New Adventure

Last week I was contacted by Access Romance to be a guest Gabber, LOL, one Thursday a month. There are other bloggers in the online romance community who already post on Mondays: KristieJ and JMC, Tara G. and Robin are the others. Tara Gelsomino was managing editor at Romantic Times and Robin is a regular commenter on Smartbitches. KristieJ and JMC are both linked on my sidebar, as is Smartbitches. I'll be joining RfP and Devon and Rosie on Thursdays beginning this month.

I'm excited and flattered and surprised to be asked to blog for them, TBH. I hope it will force my flabby "leetle grey cells" to quote my favorite Belgian detective. Not to mention exercising my soggy writing and observation skills. My first post will be up on Thursday November 29th.

Thanks to the ladies at Access Romance for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on my favorite genre!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tired, tired, tired

Overscheduled. Stressed. Reading a fabulous fat book. Wonderful & exciting news re: new blogging advenure. No time. No energy. Return later with more. Maybe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rain! Glorious rain~

Raindrops out my front door

After months of withering heat and a distinct lack of rain, it has been wet and cool and damp yesterday and today, hopefully even tomorrow. The weatherman says we've had 2" so far. My garden is perking up a little, the grass isn't quite so crunchy underfoot and the little maple tree growing out from under our front stoop is distinctly greener.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Earl's Prize, Nicola Cornick

Published in 2003 by Harlequin, I picked this one up because I love the name Nicola. That was it. I knew it was a Regency & I generally enjoy them, so that was fine. Seriously. Not one of my finer UBS impulse purchases. Then again, I bought it with a credit slip and it was only $1.50. I liked it very much though. I plan to hunt her backlist up at the UBS too.

Joss, Earl of Tallant, is a cynical jaded man whose primary occupations in life appear to be goading his father, rescuing his sister and bedding every willing female in the Ton. Oh, and gambling. He can afford it. His father can't disinherit him no matter what he does. IIRC, this is one of the few red headed heroes I've come across.

Amy Bainbridge is a well bred young woman whose entire life has risen and fallen like the tide, mostly fallen, on the fortunes of her gambling addicted father. She and her mother live a half life in partial starvation in order to keep Amy's brother "in good social standing." Honest. I couldn't make that up. It makes sense though, in context.

Amy and Joss meet via Amy's brother. A few little manipulations here and there, and, well~ you arrive at the HEA. Very well done. Thoughtful, intelligent protagonists. Quick read well worth the couple of hours I spent reading while Hubby snored beside me and I listened with half an ear to the game (game 6 R. Sox vs. Indians) on tv.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beach Anniversary Weekend

I mentioned a while ago that the Husband and I were going away to celebrate our 20th anniversary (which was actually last month). After much deliberation and notes left pinned to the official "note peg" right in front of the door as you come in, we decided that a night at a beach would be perfect. Somewhere close (within half a day's drive) yet quiet, which was why we waited until what we hoped would be the off season. Eventually we remembered Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Fortunately, our hunch and the weather were both fabulous.

Surprisingly, the trip over the bridge on Rt. 50 on the far side of Annapolis was both uneventful and fast, even taking into account the traffic for the Navy home football game. For those of you who live outside of our area, this is a notorious traffic hangup spot on weekends. Anyhow, we managed a leisurely drive over to Chincoteague Island in enough time to register at the hotel (fortuitously located right outside the entreance to the National Wildlife Refuge (link in first paragraph above) and still have time to walk along the beach before dinner.

There were a few amateur surfers, anyone who tries to "surf" this far up the Atlantic Coast has to be an amateur. We laughed at them for wearing wetsuits in the warm water and because they persisted in trying to surf down the wave AFTER the curl had passed. The Husband, who once spent SIX WEEKS on Oahu playing soldier with the 25th ID, learned to gracefully fall off his surfboard on the North Shore of HI and judges all surfers by his teachers from that time. Yes, we were married then and no I couldn't go. I was stuck in freezing November Kansas with two young children and no money.

We found two empty horseshoe crab shells and watched a flock of tiny little birds hunt for sand crabs in the foamy surf- successfully. We marvelled at how much time has passed and how happy we are still. How time has both changed us and kept us the same. How our roles are changing this year. Our hopes for ourselves, for our relationship and for our children. I love the beach because you can see so clearly how far you have come and how far you have yet to travel. The vast and mysterious ocean provides both comfort and assurance and yet reminds you that time waits for no one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eat Pray Love; Elizabeth Gilbert

Photo found on Longitude Books

I know I know, it's all my fault. I should've known better than to rely on a book's back cover blurb when making a purchasing decision. Normally I'm a much harder sell. But, you know, I'm weak. I make more than my share of mistakes in this life. I bought this on impulse, after the husband teased me about leaving a bookstore without a new read. Then it sat on my bookcase for weeks.

I used to read a lot of travelogues. A few of which I've kept. I'm a devoted armchair traveler. There was (is still) no money being in the military & now a nurse- so not many travels outside of the US for us. Anyhow, perhaps my expectations were out of line, but this title is another DNF. Another review of this title can be found on Sum of Me dated October 1st. Link is also on my sidebar.

I simply find this book depressing far beyond my ability to set such feelings aside. I don't think it's sour grapes, "What did she do to warrant an entire year off?" Since that's a daydream I think many people have. I simply didn't expect to have to wade through this woman's emotional and psychological baggage while reading about her adventures. And let me tell you- she has some very serious amounts of baggage.

I've far too many unread books in my TBR to force myself to finish a book I dislike.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fatal Attraction; Alicia Fields

Published in 2005 by Signet, Fatal Attraction (Aphrodite) is the second in Ms. Fields' The Goddesses series. I read the first book, Love Underground (Persephone), my thoughts HERE. Unfortunately, this one is a DNF. Aphrodite is portrayed as a sexually active, incestuous young teenager (starting at age 12) whose mother attempts to force a miscarriage. It is a testament to Ms.Fields' writing skill that I continued to read all the way until page 87. In a book marketed as a historical romance I don't expect or wish to read about incest, sexually active twelve year olds or attempted forced abortions.

In classical mythology Aphrodite is portrayed as an adult, the goddess of love, which to my mind doesn't equate with incest. It's all very unfortunate, really. I anticipated enjoying this book and I'm very sad that Aphrodite was given such a storyline. The mythologoical heritage of the stories of Aphrodite are rich and varied, the potential storylines are innumerable. Too bad this one didn't turn out better.

Edited to correct title Oct. 21st, 2007

Cover image found on

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day- Local Farm Grown Produce & Low Phosphorus Detergent

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

The theme this year is the environment. What a huge and all encompassing topic. Everything turns back to our relationship with Mother Earth. Without her we will be lost. Originally I wanted to post about a large land conservation project (over 2,000 acres) near my home village in New Hampshire.

Then I thought I'd post about the efforts by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to get home/landowners to reduce use of fertilizers, manure etc. as well as wiser use of water resources, widening adoption of low phosphorus household detergents, etc. I remembered my Lovely Sister raised bay grasses in her science classes and took huge numbers of kids- any classroom size gang of middle schoolers is huge, as far as I'm concerned- to the Bay to plant the grasses. I remembered reading a newspaper article which said that many of those grasses were dying because of 'dead water.' I thought about water conservation in general.

As I floated around the CBF website I also discovered they urge homeowners to purchase fresh produce and flowers from local farms. Click here to see this page.This increases the quality of food on your table, assists smaller farms to become or remain financially viable, reduces pollution and reduces consumption of petroleum products. According to statistics I saw on the CBF most food travels over 1,300 miles before it reaches your local grocery store. Obviously this contributes hugely to air pollution & road congestion & has led to what I consider to be nutritionally deficient foods. Foods which were chosen because they travel and store well. Not because they are healthier, fresher or taste better, but because they travel and store easily. Iceberg lettuce- a total waste IMO- and tomatoes spring to mind.

So I floated around the web some more and discovered a website that allows the reader to input their zip code, resulting in a list of local farms which have various purchasing programs. Click here for a page listing other sources for locating community supported farms. I put in my zip code and discovered that a local farm sends quite a few shares (units of food purchasable by 'shareholders') to a large local food bank, as well as donating leftover produce to the same food bank. And there in a nutshell, is my blog action day topic- Locally grown sustainable produce. In other words, reduces air pollution & petroleum consumption while increasing food quality and overall health of the environment.

Related to this subject is the Slow Food Movement, link here. Graduate (my older son, for anyone new to my page) first told me about SFM when he returned from a pilgrimage to Oban Scotland, where he stayed with a hostel owner who rhapsodized about the SFM. How can we possibly go wrong by urging more communal mealtimes over delicious food? Humans are very clannish and suspicious of all whom we view as different, surely dialog over a meal table could only be helpful? We humans are losing our ancient linkage to the land resulting in the environmental illnesses we are surrounded by today.

So there it is, folks- go out there and sign up to buy locally grown, environmentally friendly fresh food. Links above. Next time you're in the store buy low phosphorus detergent, like Seventh Generation (listed as an example only). If you can't find that one, here is a link to a list of dishwasher detergent phosphorus levels, dated 2004. Here is a link to another list of detergent phosphorus levels, table halfway down the page.Eat dinner together as often as you can.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hairstyle as Metaphor

Photo found on

I rarely comment on politics here, although that may change as the U.S. 2008 presidential elections season looms larger & larger on the horizon. However, I came across this article today and I couldn't resist a question or two. Click on this link and read the article:

Back now? I hope the link worked. It is a well known truism that a woman's looks and carriage effects the world's perception of her as both a woman and a professional. I understand and accept this, despite my own feeling that ability ought to be more important than wardrobe and make up. This isn't to say I'm anti aesthetics- one of my favorite indulgences is to make an appointment at the Lancome counter and get a make over.

However, if you read the article Ms. Tymoshenko (for a brief biography click HERE) and her handlers sound as if they are deliberately attempting to conflate purity, religion and politics via Ms. Tymoshenko's hairstyle, a long braid wrapped around her head, and her wardrobe choices, said to be predominantly white to better emphasize her 'purity' (specifically in reference to graft, apparently). To say I'm a little surprised and bemused at such antics is an understatement.

IMO this implies that Ms. Tymoshenko isn't or wasn't or couldn't be taken seriously on her own without such theatrics. I also wonder what such a facade hides. Who is she really beneath all this affectation? Are her fellow countrymen truly so easily manipulated?

On the other hand, of all of the news articles referencing Ms. Tymoshenko, it seems that IHT is one of the few who devotes an entire article to Ms. Tymoshenko's hair and wardrobe choices. A not so subtle attempt to trivialize her? A weak attempt to lighten the tone of the political climate in her home country? Column filler? Slow news day? Is this actually an issue widely covered inher country?

None of this is to say that U.S. politics, whether national, state or local is above equally cynical or manipulative behavior. I'm not claiming any special insight or supremacy. Just food for thought.

In the interests of full disclosure- I too have long hair that I mostly wear in braids, although I can't wrap it around my head. That would take more time and devotion and care than I can muster right now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October 15

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Please participate. Visit their blog HERE. On October 15 members of the blogosphere, such as ourselves, have been asked to post about an environmental issue close to their hearts. Much like Smart Bitches Day (each Monday) hopes to raise the content and tone of conversations about books, the hope of blog action day is to raise consciousness and concern about our little blue marble and how we're killing her.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What tarot card are you?

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Found on Annie Kelleher's blog.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another Milestone

Our Wedding Cake
Photo found on webshots

My baby turned 12 yesterday. I can hardly believe it, except he's as tall as his sister & his g'ma. All he wanted was to go camping with his dad and his brother, plus lots of cake and ice cream. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

September Synopsis

In my post about reading goals, titled Downward Mobility for anyone interested in such things, I mentioned my hope to finish 100 books this year. After totting up it turns out I've read 61 (including September's books). I've not made much progress toward that goal, but I've not given up yet. Below are links to the two books I posted my opinion on:

Dark Possession, Christine Feehan

Stardust, Neil Gaiman

Below are three others I didn't have time to write out an opinion on.

Shall We Dance? by Judith Lansdowne~ A traditional Regency wherein the reader comes in on a relationship after the courtship is over, but the hero has unfinished family business which stands in the way of the HEA. Comes after Ms. Lansdowne's Quiggley book. Both hero and heroine are in their mid to late 30 's. I'm a fan of Ms. Lansdowne's & this book is very good.

A Season of Virtues by Judith Lansdowne~ Another traditional Regency featuring a young Earl as a sleuth whose sidekick is a school chum, toss in a loving but meddling mother, a circus equstrienne, and a family whose last name is Virtue and you have a light, enjoyable couple of hours read. Oh yes- also stars a swearing parrot.

Folk Medicine by D.C. Jarvis~ Urged on me by my loving husband, who is very interested in natural health, holistic medicine and organic foods, herbs and supplements. D.C. Jarvis was a family practioner (M.D.) in rural Vermont. This was originally published in 1958 & precedes other more recently published books addressing the same or similar issues. Appears to be well researched. Discusses the effects of bad eating habits and how many ailments can be relieved by common pantry items. Interesting, but most likely mainly to persons interested in this subject area or those who are interested in life in rural New England prior to the mid 1950's.

Edited to Add~ Total of 6 DNFs so far this year.
Only 39 more to go! LOL 0_0

Monday, October 01, 2007


Squam Lake

Autumn Foliage, Church Island

I spend much of the autumn and winter homesick for this beautiful place, this season. I have hiked to this summit, been on and boated past this island more times than I can remember. This place has a fierce and unrelenting hold on my heart and my soul. I used to think my feelings were merely childhood nostalgia for a place and a time never to be recreated. I took my husband home a few autumns ago and realized that my attachment to this place goes deeper than nostalgia. The phrase 'tied to the land' comes to mind. I think I understand a little more. I sat upon that summit and looked at my husband and said, "This is where I belong. This is who I am. This place is in my very bones."

Photos courtesy

Saturday, September 29, 2007


The Husband~ Appears to be on track to be the 'curve breaker' in both pharmacology and something called natural science, which is a combo of chemistry and anatomy and physiology specifically for nursing majors. He keeps telling me he doesn't remember very much, but he seems to be doing just fine so far. If only the girl behind him would stop chewing gum with her mouth open...He tells me half his class couldn't be bothered to read the syllabus handed out the first day & were thus caught unprepared for the first test. Surprisingly the prof wouldn't accept, "but I didn't read the syllabus!" as a reason to take the exam another day.

Graduate~ According to rumors he's settled in very well. His grandparents are keeping him busy. He's job hunting. I've only spoken to him once, so I'm operating on the theory no news is good news. The husband has spoken to him roughly once a week, and I'm told he's alive and well.

Anime Queen~ Claims she's doing fine so far in both chemistry and algebra, thanks mom. Bummed that her best buddy has a different bus this year and no shared lunches. :( Spent the first two weeks of school running around trying to have her schedule fixed. Obssessed with some anime character she calls Vincy (from Final Fantasy VII). Has gone from wanting to be a fine arts major to a writer. Misses her big brother.

Pianist~ Formerly Younger Son, but I can't decide on a better moniker than Pianist. Schmoozer describes him well, but has a negative connotation I dislike. Mostly settling in middle school with success. Says he's happy to have new friends. Doesn't like lugging his books around. Had to have a key to his locker for several days until his locker could be fixed. He's stuck with a teacher Anime Queen had, but one whom we found to be umm.. unprofessional & unhelpful. He's teaching a different subject, one that Pianist has no trouble with so I expect all will be well. Jerk teacher. Pianist has outgrown every pair of pants he has and is losing the chubby cheeks of his younger years.

Moi~ Scheduled to within an inch of my life. Busy. The learning curve on my new job is quite steep. The other day I discovered my new position was originally two separate positions, up until the jobs and duties were reorganzized earlier this summer. I feel better knowing that. I have felt really pushed trying to learn everything, but I had a good conversation with my manager and I feel better about things.

After I came home from the back to school night (see earlier post about schedules) I realized what bothered me about the parents that night. This was BTS night for Pianist, btw. Pianist and Anime Queen are in an academically demanding international curriculum, mainly because I want them to be challenged in school and they both qualified & were accepted. AQ is on the far end of this 5 year prep program & Pianist is just starting.

Anyhow, the difference is that during AQ's middle school the parents asked alot of questions and appeared to be very interested and involved. This year, most of the parents didn't ask anything, other than questions related to figuring out the online gradebook. Nothing about the workload, the curriculum, the expectations, the school environment. Zippo. Zilch. Very depressing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Schedule

5:45 am~ Wake up. Ok, peel myself out of bed, throw on some shorts & a t-shirt, yadda yadda yadda

6:00 am~ Make pot of coffee (Dunkin' Donuts or Gevalia or Melitta only), attempt to watch morning news & wake Younger Son up

6:25~ Take Anime Queen over to her bus stop. Shivering in the cool air 'cuz I'm tired and half asleep & was too damn lazy to dress properly. It's dark out this early in the morning and her stop is off the road, so I take her over there & wait until she's on the bus.

6:57~ Take son to bus stop. Again, same location as the A.Q. difference is, this time (even though it's only 25-30 minutes later) the traffic is heavy enough that he has trouble crossing the road, no one will stop, despite two cross walks. So I take him. Better by far than him turning into road pizza cuz my lazy ass wouldn't get up out of bed.

7:15-9:45~ Return to bed for brief nap. I didn't get home from work until 11 pm the night before & I can never fall asleep right away.

9:45 am- 12 pm~ Scrub bathroom, make bed, run malware & anti-virus programs, clean kitchen, make my lunch for work, shower, dress & get ready for work

12:15- 1:10~ Drive to work, call Hubby & chit chat along the way.

1:15- 5pm~ Work

5:15- 6:15~ Drive home, call kids in transit & make sure they're ok.

6:15- 6:40 pm~ Run inside, make sandwich & drink a glass of lemonade; kiss kids & tell them I'll return ASAP. Tonight is back to school night at Son's school & I'm only home briefly.

6:40- 7:05~ Drive over to his school & attempt to find a place to park where I'll be able to get out again. As if.

7:10- 8:15 pm~ Sit through overly repetitive teacher spiels for Son's academic classes. Skip PE and chorus in order to return home in time to kiss the kids goodnight. Dash outside only to realize my parking choice was great except for the fact that there's no lighting & I can't see a thing. Also, the car is on the far side of a cluster of trees. In the pitch black dark. Lovely.

8:20- 9:15 pm~ Drive home, with intermediate stop at 7-11 to buy a newspaper and a frozen fruit bar. Listen to the drunks argue with the clerk about why they deserve more beer. Call home to see if Hubby has come home from work.

9:20~ Rush back into the house in time to kiss the kids. Victory! My biggest and most important goal achieved.

9:30- 11:30 pm~ Read paper, surf, eat sherbet

11:30- Snore on Hubby's chest while he studies for a chemistry exam

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In Memoriam

Image found on

Image found on

The world is a sadder place today.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nickel Roast

First, let me pat myself on the back for making up a menu and a shopping list before going grocery shopping. Second, a gold star for remembering to bring the lists to the store. Let the story begin.

Last Sunday after church the kids and I went grocery shopping. Around and around we went (not in our usual store & so we played seek & find) crossing off as we discovered things. In the meat department I start digging through the pork roasts and pull one out of the back. Startled by a little green button I take a closer look. Only to discover the roast is priced at .05~ Yes that's right. A 4-5 pound pork roast for one nickel. The green button turned out to be a pop up thermometer.

Naturally I couldn't believe my eyes. So Younger Son took the roast to a price check scanner, which merely said "priced as marked." At the check out my clerk was all of 17, if you're generous, and didn't pay a half a wit's attention to the price of our precious roast. Which did indeed ring up for one American Nickel. Amazed and afraid the grocery store police would chase me across the parking lot accusing me of theft, I bundled My Precious into the car, kids too, and rushed home.

Tonight our little Nickel Roast was braised in apple cider in the crock pot. Delicious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stardust; Neil Gaiman

I finished this a while ago, but due to scheduling issues I've not had time to type up my thoughts. I enjoyed it very much. It was quite a change from the tone and substance of others of Mr. Gaiman's work. I am surprised and delighted. The copy I have is the movie tie in edition. Stardust was originally published in 1999, the edition I have is published by HarperCollins and copyrighted 2007.

Somewhere in the UK is a little town called Wall which physically marks the boundary between Faerie and humankind. Mr. Gaiman remarks in his book that every land that disappears from human's maps reappears in Faerie thus making that world ever growing and unknown in size. That really captured my imagination- the thought that no people, no country has been wiped off the face of history. Somewhere those people, that place, is alive and well and thriving well apart from human predation.

Anyway, once every nine years in Wall there is a fair in the meadow where Faeries and humans meet and trade. One year a young man and an enchanted Faery enjoy one night of blissful happiness resulting in a basket on the newly married (after the fair) man's doorstep. Thus Tristran Thorne is a halfling raised as an human. Tristran has an uneventful childhood and youth, although he falls in love with the wealthiest young lady in Wall. One evening they are together when they see a falling star and Tristran promises the young lady he'll bring her the star to win her undying love. Sounds very cliched I know, but trust me when I tell you the treatment is unique and worth reading.

So Tristram sets off beyond the wall into Faery, looking for the fallen star. He has a series of adventures, gets involved in nefarious political plots, discovers the truth of his parentage and gets turned into a mouse. As I read this the legend of, link follows: Tristran and Isolde constantly ran through my head, although I am pleased to report this book has a happier ending than the legend.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dark Possession; C. Feehan

Link to Ms. Feehan's page about this book HERE.I finished this one last week sometime. It fits the usual Carpathian mold, but reveals significant details about the struggle Carpathian and Jaguar (and others') struggle for self preservation. IMO that alone made this book well worth the purchase. All heroes have feet of clay somehow or another, and Vlad Dubrinsky is no exception. That's the only hint I'll give for those few people out there who haven't read this or those of you who will wait for the paperback.

This one is set in the jungles of South America. The hero is Manuel de la Cruse and the heroine is Mary Anne ____. Again, I'm forgetful so forgive my memory lapse. Mary Anne has appeared in at least two other Carpathian novels. She's a women's counselor who specializes in traumatized and victimized women. She has flown to S.A. to counsel a young woman who has suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of a renegade band of Jaguar shapechangers.

Manuel (Manolito) is one of the five de la Cruse brothers. He barely survived an attack in the Carpathian Mountains and has been buried in deep, healing soil on a tropical island in the middle of a river in the jungle. Trouble is while he was in the mountains he hypnotized Mary Ann and did a blood exchange with her which has initiated the physical and mental changes lifemates undergo. Problem being, Manuel did this against Mary Ann's wishes and without her knowledge. So she's freaking out a little at her reactions to what exactly is happening to her. Also? Turns out Manuel is only half saved. He's stuck between bodily life and spiritual death.

But why? Can Mary Ann address her legitimate needs for independence and understanding? Will she call Manuel onto the carpet for his deceit? What exactly are the origins of the plot to overthrow the Dubrinsky monarchy? Will Feehan ever return us to Europe or the US or will we be stuck indefinitely in South America? BTW, the Guardians? Totally cool. We'll see how things develop.

According to Ms. Feehan's website (see above) at this writing there will be a Carpathian book out next year, details currently unavailable.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Downward Mobility

IIRC, early in January I set an informal goal of beating last year's book total by at least one. After checking my previous posts, it seems I didn't actually make a published list of annual reading goals. Thank goodness~ I had 20/20 foresight didn't I? It'd be nice if I could do that (have accurate foresight) with stocks, though. LOL ;)

Last year I read 104 books, thus making this year's goal 105 or better. That means a minimum of 12 titles per month with one month 13. Even at my fastest I usually only manage 10 or so titles in four weeks. I don't think I'm gonna make it. Even to break 100 means 10 a month between now and Christmas. I'm unsure I'll make it, TBH. I hope so. I'd like to. I'll be disappointed if I don't. I'm trying hard to be realistic and honest though.

So I'm revising my goal to this a toughie. To what? I'm mentally stuck on 100. As though that's some sort of magic number or something. SO.. OK 100 it is. That's still 10 per month. Starting now. Guess I'd better goet off the 'net and get reading!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The McJob

The job. It's sort of in the McJob category of employment, although it's a Federal McJob. Meaning I'd likely make more $$ working at a real McDonald's. However, it's a position where I'm supposed to be trained in all of the different sections of the business and then slotted into a place that best fits my goals and abilities and their needs. And then given a substantial raise.

I say supposed to be since this is a new hiring program and no one at work is willing to give out details of how exactly this new program works. I could look it all up online, but I've limited free time that I need to spend driving or cooking or cleaning or reading the newspaper or hiking with the kids or pretending I know 7th grade algebra. You get the picture. I plan to look it all up very soon- like tomorrow- since my situation at work changed this afternoon.

Anyhow. I'd been out of the workplace very nearly four years before I was hired. I knew that whatever job I got would be an entry level, a very basic 'yes i'm conscious and breathing' type job. I was ok with that as long as there was potential for advancement. Which, as it turns out, there is. And sooner than I expected. I think I've moved one rung up. Not a big rung, and no more $$, but it appears my boss thinks I can mutlitask and I'm not easily ruffled by the public or my coworkers. Which may or may not be true. We shall see.

Starting Monday I shall be learning to oversee the inmates of rung #1, facilitate their duties, make sure they have breaks and meals as appropriate. At the same time I will assist other employees and customers with all manner of transactions and issues. The most limiting factor being: in order to help the inmates of rung #1 I must remain in their immediate vicintiy. I cannot leave my station. However, issues arise that would be best and fastest resolved by going to the source, ie: leaving my post. Which I can't do. So I'm going to have to learn to work around this problem. Without appearing unhelpful or frustrated or hampered or unprofessional in any way.

I've already been warned that coworkers who've been there longer will mutter and be resentful and that I may be directly confronted with "What makes you so special?!" My manager has told me in no uncertain terms to be firm and unapologetic and to hold my head up and reply in a straightforward manner. She is older than I am, and a woman of color, so I'm sure has heard plenty of crap like that herself, but I was still surprised that she would tell me straight out. She was straight on though- my instinct is to play off negative comments with humor or by changing the subject or by putting myself down a bit. Anything other than a direct reply like, "I don't plan to stay on rung #1 forever. Deal with it." Which is exactly what my boss said to say.

My lovely and bright Sister, who was once my boss long long ago (and a good one too), has plenty of supervisory experience. I plan to ask her for advice if I run into any problems. Hopefully I'll live up to my boss' (and my own) expectations and I can make a go of this whole new working world. Next post about work we can talk about the really fun stuff- the commute, traffic, juggling of schedules, the scenery.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago this morning I married the man who would grow into my life so deeply I can't describe to you what it means or how we achieved it. I certainly never realized, at the time, what I was getting myself into. The most profound moment during the ceremony itself was when the priest took off her stole,wrapped it around our joined hands and said, "Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

We've hit the 'psychic' stage. You know, finish each other's sentences. Can tell the spouse's favorite family/childhood stories better than the spouse can. Make impulse purchases in the grocery store which, when brought home, the spouse says, "Thanks honey I was just thinking that ____ would be good right about now."

Happy Anniversary Darling~ May we have many, many more

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

August Synopsis

Totally pathetic. Even if you account for the fact that two of them were well over 700 pages apiece. Listed in the order I read them.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; J.K. Rowling

Kushiel's Justice; Jacqueline Carey

The Road; Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, September 02, 2007

by Grace Schulman

Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.

Found via

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Certainly not for those preferring a lighthearted read. The Road is a commentary on culture and human nature after all that we know and much of what we believe in has been destroyed. In other words- post apocalyptic earth. A bio of McCarthy is is HERE. It is easliy one of the most profound and moving books I have read in several years. Do not let the fact that it was on Oprah's reading list deter you.

A father and his young son are heading south towards what the father hopes is a warmer climate that may possibly enable them to survive. The Road is their story. It doesn't detail what caused the total destruction of the pair's known world, TR merely allows us to watch them love each other in their new, awful, heart rending, mind numbing world.

The father's pain seemed more present to me, more..I was able to relate to him most. Not only because of his age & parental status but because he was forced to cope with so much loss. The loss of everything he knew: nature, culture, the human institutions that make society what it is, his family. The son, OTOH, is so young that the current reality is all he remembers. All he knows. He hasn't lost anything. That is one of the most awful parts of this book. Realizing that the post apocalyptic earth is the only reality this child knows. Will ever know.

Theirs is an eternal relationship, the father and the child. For me the child represented all of the positive traits one hopes that humanity is born with. Love, faith, compassion, curiosity, conscience, resiliency. The father: loss, tenacity, perseverance, caution, mistrust, love. The father was, like all adults, more of a mixture of good and bad. An amalgam of all that he has experienced.

The ending made me cry and gave me hope. Read this book.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Yeah, I promised to try and stop by more often, but as you can see- I'm a slacker. I just finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Excellent book. Very thought provoking. Also very dark. I'll post my thoughts as soon as I can.

Husband~ Began classes at our local community college taking a full time load (4 classes) last week. Paid for by his employer. He is currently topped out in his field and since he's only in his early 40's he'd like to continue to move up the career ladder- thus this in the first step. He already has a degree, but the academic powers that be deem those courses 'too old' for his current course of study and thus he's forced to retake some things. He's smiling though. It'll only help his GPA. Plus- he gets to listen to the babies (as he calls them) spout off about everything they think they're expert about. Meantime it's all he can do keep qiuet and not laugh.

Graduate~ Seems to be settling in at the grandparents' just fine. We moved him in last weekend. New stuff from Ikea, new clothes. All his books. The other g'rents are loaning him a car (plus the insurance!!) and will help feed him as needed. Today is the first day of classes. He's currently job hunting. I plan to call him before I go to work to see how things went. The house is quieter, the fridge is fuller. I miss him, his jokes. The way his eyes light up. Don't miss Kudzu though.

Daughter~ Wishes to be called Anime Queen instead of such a plain, non descriptive, boring parental label like daughter. After an event filled summer, the last week or ten days has been quiet for her. Kinda a nice wrap up I suppose. She's busy playing with photoshop and writing fanfics and trying to slow summer down. This school year she's taking both IB Algebra and IB Chemistry, so she doubts she'll have much of a life this year. Poor Anime Queen, she struggles with math & chemistry is loaded with it. The Graduate was her favorite math tutor, but he's too far away. Maybe he can help her via IMming?? It's a thought.

Son #2~ Also wishes a new moniker. Can't really think of one right now though. He too has had a busy summer- visited both g'rents, went to camp, went to Baltimore. His current favorite activity is MS Flight Simulator & X Box. He's also practicing piano somewhat diligently. We went on a hike a couple of days ago when the temps were down. Went down to the stream & found a couple of tadpoles and some teeny tiny waterstriders- who can jump over each other on top of the water (like crickets). Several cool looking mushrooms, we forgot the camera as per usual, so no photos.

Me~ Have been feeling run ragged. Between the job and trying to get Graduate settled and a family reunion and whatnot, the last several weeks have been a strain. At least one of my days off has been spent traveling up and down I95 hither thither and yon. And beyond yon once or twice. Hopefully now that school is about to begin I'll be able to catch my breath a bit. I hope. We'll see.

I am definitely reforming my procrastinating ways. I've had to. There is no'later' or some mythical 'tomorrow' when I'll have less to do. It's now or never. I'm rediscovering the joys of the hyper caffeinated life. I am reading so that's been a plus. What else? I live and die by the calculator in my purse more than ever before.

Work itself has been fine. The interior of the building is being renovated, which we're working through. That has proved interesting. We were given conflicting information regarding 'mandatory overtime' being paid or if we were to be given comp time or even if the time is truly mandatory or not. So far I am enjoying the job and it facilitates my personal and our family goals. It's funny though, I've been asked if I think the job is 'fun' or if I'm now magically 'fullfilled' by working there. To the first- as far as I'm concerned work is work and therefore not intended to be fun so the question is irrelevant. As to the second- I was pretty much fullfilled (as much as the next person I think) before I began. So no. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Kushiel's Justice; Jacqueline Carey

This is the second in Jacqueline Carey's new Terre d'Ange series. I read the first first book, Kushiel's Scion, here. Carey's gifts are showcased in epic fantasy and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this. Now I have to wait until next year for the next one. *SOB*

Imriel and his distant cousin Sidonie, who also happens to be the kingdom's heir apparent, have fallen headlong, passionately in love. Trouble is, Imriel's family history and his cousin's political heritage clash violently. Sidonie is under age when this whole thing begins, and besides- her mother is not likely to ever approve. Officially or unofficially.

Ms. Carey offers a unique and insightful look at dynastic marriages, one I came to appreciate after some intial scepticism. If one is raised from earliest childhood to understand that marriage has everything to do with politics, land, money or alliances then personal feelings, attraction, and mushy bullshit like love, lust and passion are totally irrelevant. And dangerous. Two total strangers are united into one of the most intimate relationships humans can create. This breeds insight and a certain level of perceptiveness that would unnerve most of us.

Toss into the mix a religion that teaches one and all, "Love as thou wilt." What are the consequences of disobeying this precept? Even if there are, seemingly, good and defensible arguments for said disobediance? Can your gods follow you across oceans? Hear the anguish in your heart when you most need to be heard? What about a faith practice resulting in believers who think they can see the future? A religion that engenders in its followers a belief that only they can see and preserve the future of an entire island? Hubris much anyone? And we all know pride goeth before a fall.

Kushiel's Justice has it all: lust, intrigue, enchantment, ritual, hot sex, political intrigue, religion, cross continent adventures, vengeance. The soul deep satisfaction of knowing you've found your soul mate. And what about Imriel's long vanished, much vilified mother Melisande? Who manages to rescue Imriel's sorry ass way the hell up in what on our maps would be Russia. Where does she come into this? Read KJ and find out!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

Potter #7. The end of an era. The best of the series. What else can I say?? I didn't really like the middle books in the series, between #3 and #6. I absolutely feel editing and pacing was drastically necessary for those books. #7, though, was a total package as far as I'm concerned. It goes without saying that it doesn't stand alone. Read a series synopsis first, but this one is well worth the effort. Go forth and read it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Big News

Sorry I dropped off my blog for two weeks- there have been big big changes at Bookwormom Central starting in early July and I've been totally snowed under trying to adjust. Change is afoot and we're not all coping as well as we might hope.

As regular visitors know the Graduate is prepping to move out at the end of the month to start college. Oh the DRAMA! You just don't know. It's been hard in some ways. Trying to cope with GF's clinginess. I've started calling her Kudzu. You know, kudzu is the awful invasive plant that has taken over the Southern US and is nearly impossible to get rid of once it's in your garden. Seriously. Easier in others: getting his driver's license at long last. He's leaving next week. I don't think the reality will set in until he's actually out of the house.

The other news is that I've reentered the working world. The working outside the house world that is. Being a stay at home involves plenty of work, I know. I'd been home full time for four years and it was past time I pulled myself together and got a job. I hunted for a long time before I finally landed a job just this side of the Potomac up near DC. It's also nearly full time- one more full day a week than I'd intially been hired for. On top of that, my schedule has been changed twice in the four weeks since I've been there. There are alot of changes afoot in my new workplace and it has some of the 'old-timers' so to speak a little riled up, as they say.

It has all been hard to juggle is an understatement. Son #2 is only 11 and pretty much as far as he remembers I've been home with him and his siblings. I'd worked part time for 5 years (when he was between 2 & 7), but the schedule was nothing like what I'm doing now. Of course it's summertime too so they're all home during the day and that makes my absence all that more obvious. Fortunately Hubby's schedule is three days a week so he's been home with them more- which has been another thing to get used to. A good and wonderful thing I think. ;)

Anyhow, I've been reading. I finished Harry Potter and I'm in the middle of the new Jacqueline Carey. Both huge books, 700+ pages each. Which is doing zilch for my monthly book count. :( I've been surfing on everyone's blogs (I finally loaded everyone into my cell phone) during my all too brief lunch breaks. I've not had time to blog or post on others' blogs though. There just hasn't been enough time in the day, unfortunately. As time goes by I'm sure I'll get more proficient and I'll post more often.

Meantime, I've missed you all and I hope to make the rounds and post too! LOL

July Synopsis

Below I listed the books I finished in July, there were also 3 DNFs but I forgot to write them down before I took the trade bag to the UBS & thus I have no idea what they were except- YUCKY. LOL ;)

I am still running behind on my yearly goal, unless I really get a move on I won't make it. The original goal was to read 9 books a month which would put me over the total I read last year, but only just. As of early July I had to up the total to 10 per month for the remainder of the year to meet the same goal. I am not making it, obviously.

1.Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

2. Ironside, Holly Black

3. Much Ado in the Moonlight, Lynn Kurland

4. A Lady of Expectations, Stephanie Laurens

5. Yours Until Dawn, Teresa Medieros

6. Jacob, Jacqueline Frank

7. Snow in Summer; Tess Farraday

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Husband~ Continues in the same routine. Sounds boring I know, but for many years while we were active duty we wished for 'the same old boring routine.' And now we have it & we're treasuring it, believe me! His family is having a mini reunion on the 5th of August and he plans to go with the kids. I have a previous commitment I can't change, but I expect to hear all about it upon their return.

The Graduate~ Is finally taking formal drivers ed lessons. The State of VA has enacted many changes to the teenage ritual of licensing (all of which I think are a great idea). Combine this with Graduate's noncommittal shrugs whenever you ask him if he wants to drive and..voila. I have a late teen who is just now getting on the road. I don't know if my nerves or our insurance budget can stand it. He's likely moving out of the house for college the first week of August so our summer is eventful.

Daughter~ She informed us she will be going to Otakon 2008 as soon as she returned from Otakon 2007 a few days ago. She squirreled away her pennies for months so she could buy anything she wanted. The trip was one of her GF's bday gifts & so Daughter only had to pay admission. Apparently the trio spent most of their time waiting in lines, but it seems she enjoyed herself and that's all that matters.

Son #2~ LOVED camp. Had a wonderful time and wishes to return next year. Claims he never showered. Claims he kissed two girls from the camp next door. Hard to believe two girls let him close enough to kiss them if he didn't shower, but those were his claims. Has returned to practicing piano with verve and gusto. Thank god, because his whining was getting on my nerves. Is eating me out of house and home and has no clothing whatsoever that actually fits him.

Me~ I'm finally reading again, as you can see via the book reviews. I hope the trend continues because my TBR is actually shrinking a bit. Not alot, but at least it looks presentable now. LOL ;) About 300 titles I think. Nearly all of which I bought on the cheap at the UBS (used book store for the uninitiated) or at library sales over the last 5 years. Ok. TBH, those are only the romances. I have TBRs for fantasy, sci fi and mysteries as well, but those are less than 50 total. Honest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Snow in Summer; Tess Farraday

I found this in a library sale bin and bought it for ten cents. SIS was published by Jove in 1999. I guess it wasn't too bad for the price, but this is much more a gothic than a romance and thus I feel cheated. Ms. Farraday did fine writing it as a gothic, and as such I would have enjoyed it. However, I was expecting a romance and from that genre perspective I was very disappointed, TBH.

Miranda Fairfield is living in her aunt's estate in rural, mountainous California while said aunt and Miranda's parents are away on a cruise. This is a typical American small town- everybody knows you and your family and every time you breathed ever since you were a tiny child. It goes without saying that these same people don't mind rehashing your past whenever it is inconvenient. Miranda was raised in this town and up until now had been happy teaching in the city several hours away.

Christopher Gallatin is a ghost in search of his heart. Without his heart he is unable to move on to whatever afterlife there might be. He's been hunting for it for about 500 years. Hercule Poirot he isn't. Somehow, Christopher discovers Miranda may have his heart, but he can't find it on the estate. So he coonvinces her he's an author writing a book and rents the upper floor of the barn to use as a studio. All the better to search for his lost heart.

That's the set up. Mysterious, vaguely threatening happenings abound as soon as Miranda arrives in the little town. Her past is dredged up by a local harpy working at the village paper. However, Miranda can't decide which guy wears the white hat and which guy wears the black hat. Will Christopher convince her he's on her side in time? And how might it be possible for Christopher and Miranda to end up together? I was disappointed the amber necklace wasn't featured more. I was also disappointed that the method whereby Christopher becomes 'real' wasn't discussed more.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jacob; Jacqueline Frank

This is the first in the Nightwalker Series, written by Jacquelyn Frank and published by in. I've had it on my shelves quite a while & I have the next one, Gideon. I've heard there was some controversy surrounding it, but I didn't follow it at the time and now that I've read it I don't see what it might have been. This is fiction after all- the author's creation & wht she says goes, etc.

Anyhow- Isabella Russ is a librarian living in NYC with her sister. One night she literally falls out a window into Jacob's arms. Thus triggering her initiation into the heretofore unknown world of the Nightwalkers. My biggest issue is that Isabella takes everything in stride without much trouble assimilating all of the new &, to my mind, what should've been controversial or at least hard to believe, information and lifestyle. And she doesn't make much fuss over skipping out on her sister without any notes or phone calls, no matter that the Nightwalkers 'planted a suggestion' that Isabella was out of town.

Jacob is in charge of protectiong humans from monthly predations by the demons in the Nightwalker world. He is the most honorable, upright, just, etc. and is resposible for dealing out punishments to those who transgress. Thus he is somewhat isolated and lonely, as he isn't necessarily popular. In some quarters he is a bogeyman type figure. After rescuing Isabella, amazing and unlooked for changes occur which stem from Isabella's appearance.

I enjoyed it alot. Then again I love paranormals & my quibbles weren't too bad. I hope Gideon is just as good.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday 13 #30-Around the Capitol Building June 2007

The Capitol Building, Washington DCPhoto courtesy of Webshots.

About five weeks ago the kids and I went downtown so the Graduate could sit through a job interview at an environmental NGO on Capitol Hill. Link to info about Capitol Hill as a neighborhood, as opposed to what you hear about in the news, HERE. The rest of us walked a few blocks away and sat on a bench in the shade to see what could be seen. It was a Wednesday between 5:40 and 6:45 pm. He was offered the job but ended up declining it due to commute problems. He was bummed 'cuz it sounded fun, but the hours were bad. Even though he's 18 I was not comfortable with the thought that he'd be downtown as late as 10 pm nightly. Fortunately he agreed with me!

The purpose of Thursday thirteen is to get to know fellow bloggers better. Click link in the title above to see a list of other participants. Leave a link in the comments and I'll link to you here.

1. Joggers- 56

2. Rollerbladers- 2

3. Police Dog- 1

4. 1 Sparrow trying to fly away with a tissue to build a nest

5. Cyclists- 53

6. Motorcycles- 4

7. Buses- 30

8. Motorcade- 1

9. Photographers- 4 Mostly with the tourist group, no 'pros' as it were

10. Joggers with their dogs- 3

11. Helicopters- 5

12. Cabs- 63

13. Segway tourist groups- 1 Segs in the City looked like tremendous fun!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yours Until Dawn; T. Medieros

Published in 2004 by Avon, this is the first Teresa Medeiros novel I've read in quite a long time. Link in the title is to Ms. Medeirios' page about this book. And I was very pleasantly surprised, TBH. The older ones I'd read left me..stale I guess. To use a more current word- they were *meh*. Not great, not awful, and they didn't leave me wanting to read more Medeirios books either. However, YUD remedies my impressions & quickly. I have quibble or two, but nothing that truly put me off.

Gabriel Fairchild, Lord Sheffield, returned from the war blind & with facial scars. Like many societies, he was then shunned by his peers and by his family before being forced to convalesce at a remote estate. Two of his most loyal retainers have been given the job of hiring 'nurses' (and I use the term lightly) to care for him. Miss Samantha Wickersham, former governess, is hired to help nurse him back to health. Gabriel is wallowing in self pity and blunders about his shrouded and filthy home like a bear who has hurt his paw. Samantha, through sheer stubbornness, helps turn Gabriel around mentally which helps him learn to cope with his blindness and scarring.

BUT- is she who she seems? What is she hiding? Gabriel eventually realizes there is more to Miss Wickersham than there appears, but he is content with her as she presents herself and refuses to push her for details. I had a quibble or two with how Gabriel's blindness is dealt with and I also had a quibble or two with Miss Wickersham's scheming and plotting, but in the end- Ms. Medeiros trumps me and deftly and with great heart hands us all an HEA. First keeper of 2007.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quiz Time!

Via Marg at Reading Adventures, I took this little quiz & it came up with the following:

You're The Things They Carried!

by Tim O'Brien

Harsh and bitter, you tell it like it is. This usually comes in short,
dramatic spurts of spilling your guts in various ways. You carry a heavy load, and this
has weighed you down with all the horrors that humanity has to offer. Having seen and
done a great deal that you aren't proud of, you have no choice but to walk forward,
trudging slowly through ongoing mud. In the next life, you will come back as a water

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Quite a downer aren't I??

A Lady of Expectations; S. Laurens

This is an older title by Ms. Laurens. It was published by Mira in 1995. Her page says they are hard to locate, but I found mine in the drugstore down the road. I find that I like Ms. Laurens' older, shorter works more than many of her new ones. A fellow romance reader pointed out that this might be because they aren't part of her Cynster series & I think that is a valid observation. This is a medium length Regency- longer than a traditional but shorter than standard long Regencies here in the US. I understand these were written for the Harlequin Mills & Boon in the UK so I surmise that is why they are different from the others in this subgenre.

Jack Lester and his brother have a reputation around the Ton as needing to marry a wealthy heiress as their family circumstances are 'straightened.' However, Jack Lester has been playing the Exchange and *gasp, horror!* with the assistance of Mr. Webb Jack has managed to recover the family fortunes. Now the problem is, he needs a wife and an heir. Poor Jack- he wants a wife not a gold digger. How to find one before word gets around that his family fortunes have been resurrected?

Sophie Winterton is a young woman in her early twenties whose mother died shortly after her society debut and thus was forced to retire to the country for mourning. Her father is a paleontologist (or archeologist, I can't remember which) who has at long last come out from mourning and gone abroad to study. Unlike many other romances where the daughter is either dragged along or abandoned or whatever other unlikely circumstance, Sophie's father leaves her with her maternal aunt and her family. A loving and caring family setup which isn't often seen in fiction. Too boring maybe? Anyhow. Sophie has no money, but wants a marriage where she loves her husband.

The plot is a chestnut in the romance community and yet Ms. Laurens portray Jack and Sophie as real, three dimensional people who have legitimate goals and needs and viewpoints. Sophie seems a bits stiff at times and I missed a taste of Ms. Laurens' spiciness, but overall I think this better than many other Regencies I've read (and they're some of my favorites).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Much Ado in the Moonlight; Lynn Kurland

Published by Jove in 2006, MAITM is a contemporary paranormal ghost & time travel romance. Link in title is to Ms. Kurland's bibliography page on her site. Before reading this I looked over all of my keeper & TBR shelves and realized that other than Christine Feehan I have more Lynn Kurlkand books than any other romance author. That's not to say all of her books are keepers, but you can't beat consistency either. A huge plus, IMO. Ms. Kurland is an autobuy though, a feat Ms. Feehan was demoted from.

Victoria McKinnon is an off Broadway NYC theater director who is given an opportunity to direct Hamlet in her brother's castle in Scotland. Unfortunately, Connor MacDougal is the resident garrison commander/laird in charge. Never mind that he's a ghost. Can Connor get rid of Victoria? Will Victoria fall prey to the schemes of one of her actors? Will the Boar's Head Inn trio of matchmaking ghosts succeed again?

I love Ms. Kurland's books and as usual she delivers again.