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!