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