A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


At last, I've read LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase. I've read so many great reviews and good things about this author I was a little nervous to actually crack the cover.

Several years ago I tried one of her books. I think it was THE HELLION, but I'm not sure. Anyway, since that was loooooong before I kept track of all the books I was reading I didn't go away wanting to buy everything Ms. Chase had written...so I didn't

For some reason the impression really stuck with me. Frankly, this is unusual for me too. After all, I'm still buying Cheryl Holt's new releases and I haven't really liked her last few books. But if an author has written a book that I REALLY liked I'm likely to keep buying them for sometime...well most of the time.

Unfortunately, my experience with Ms. Chase's book had the opposite affect. If a book is only "okay" I'm not likely to purchase another of that author's books unless I hear some buzz or reviews about a book that compels me to do so.

Why all this explanation? Recently there's been some buzz about Ms. Chase's books. It made me curious to try LORD OF SCOUNDRELS because so many people have loved the book. Then the 100 list from AAR was circulating and that clinched it. I had to order the book and check out what all the hullaballoo was about.

I admit, and even commented about it on a recent review Rosario did about another Loretta Chase book, that I was a little squeamish about reading the book due to all the praise and hype.

So are you getting my frame of mind? I was definitely a doubting Thomas when I picked up this book to read. The result of all the hand wringing and worry? I loved this book!! Even with all the doubts and wondering if a book first released in 1994 would hold up and hold my interest...this book delivers.

The back story of Lord Sebastian Dain was compelling and so tangible. Jessica Trent is smart and independent but not so much so that she seems out of context to that period of history. She understands the strictures under which she must live.

I could kiss Ms. Chase for not talking down to her readers. I congratulate her for not turning a bright and intuitive woman like Jessica into an idiot because she falls in love. This alone was so refreshing I could swoon. I get so tired of reading about a heroine who is supposedly intelligent and then decides to resolve the dilemma all on her own. It is usually out of character, context of the time and can utterly ruin an otherwise good book. That, however, was not the case here.

This was a great read. I was anxious when I couldn't be reading and couldn't wait to get back to it. If you are one of the last remaining romance readers who haven't read this book...don't wait. Go read it. You won't be sorry.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Have you seen this person?

How many times do we see pictures on inserts in mail, food packaging, bulletin boards and lamp posts with flyers asking, "Have you seen....?"

I realized recently that I've become desensitized to these posters, flyers and inserts. Recently I picked up an insert in a coupon mail-out envelope that comes once a month in the mail. There were probably 3 or 4 separate notices of mothers and children that had disappeared and the family was looking for them. Why did the Mother leave with the kids I wondered? What is that family's story? Should they be found?

We've all seen and heard stories where the absconding parent is the bad guy stealing the children away from a devoted parent left devasted and cut off from their beloved children. Conversely we've seen and heard the stories where the absconding parent is saving the child from an unspeakable monster that hurts or molests the child(ren)that courts or law enforcement seem helpless or inept from protecting.

While in this frame of mind I saw
this article from the NY Times.

Missing...kidnapped...what would I do? What would you do? While reading this article about a young woman half a world away, I was struck with a surreal moment. The article reveals that it is still an acceptable practice for men to kidnap their brides off the street in the 21st century! Okay, Checheyna is a dramatically different world than Southern California, but kidnapping? This seems incomprehensible and terrifying to me.

This missing woman, according to her mother, was forced to marry a terrorist to protect the lives of her brothers. Her ordeal began as one trying to uncover the truth as a journalist. The brutal reality of this story is horrifying to read as a news article. The irony of the article was to realize how many times I've read a similar story line in a romance novel where I know and expect the woman to be rescued by just the right guy and find love, redemption and her HEA.

There doesn't appear to be a HEA for Elina Ersenoyeva. Because of her marriage to a terrorist, a man who was killed last month, the authorities aren't very inclined to even look for her.

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Monday, August 28, 2006


I had my first private yoga session last week. My second one is tomorrow. I didn't expect to be good at it. After all my only previous experience was from the Suzanne Deason DVD I've had for about a year and a half. Off and on over the past year I'd do the easiest level on the DVD and tell myself I should try a private session and see if I want to take yoga classes.

Finally, I made the call and set up a private session. I wanted to get a couple of private sessions under my belt before even attempting a class. Let me say that while some positions were familiar, my DVD in no way prepared me for a full one-hour yoga session. I have never sweat more in my entire life. Never!! Now several days later I feel great about the experience. At the time, I felt clumsy and inadequate.

Fortunately for me I had a good instructor that reminded me that no one is good the first time they try anything. Everyone has a first time. Simple, but very true advice. The best thing she said though was this, "Anyone can walk through that door. Lots of people talk about it. Lots of people think about it. You are here. You did it."

As I've gotten distance from that first session I realize how hard I pushed myself and that was one of the reasons I wanted to try yoga in the first place. I'm still terrified and worried that because it is hard I'll give up. But I've practiced every day, the breathing is becoming more natural and easy for me. Doing Sun Salutation in easy flowing movements may take some time yet!!! But, scary as it is I'm also excited in a "holy shit!!" sort of way. That is a good thing.

Sometimes things have to rumble around in my head for awhile before I see things clearly. What I realized today was that I don't have to be afraid of quitting or failing. I didn't start this process to become a yogi (teacher). I'm searching for some form of exercise to give me flexibility and mobility with my RA. Yoga was one of the options I wanted to try. I've come to realize that this search, and in particular the private yoga sessions, were part of a process to check it out, try it and see how I liked it. How liberating!!! It isn't a life time commitment. Duh!

How do I get myself in these knots anyway? *wink* No yoga pun intended.



Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's in a Name?

Did any of you Nora Roberts' fans know that Nora participated in a First Amendment fund raiser last year agreeing to name a character in one of her books by the winner of an auction raising money for First Amendment issues and education?

Well, I sure as heck didn't!

I read this
article this morning and met the real Linda-gail who won an auction last year to become a named character in Nora's latest book ANGEL FALLS. Various other authors are participating in the same sort of fund raiser this year. All I can say is kudos to the participants and what a cool idea!! The real Linda-gail, a huge Roberts fan, is thrilled with her investment.

I have to admit that when I read the book I thought this was a clever and unusual name for someone to think up. I also give credit to Ms. Roberts for not using the name in a throw away character that a reader would have trouble remembering.

ANGEL FALLS is worth reading for many more reasons than the name created character, Linda-gail, a small town waitress. Ms. Roberts' is at her best with easy to identify with characters who are regular people in extraordinary events.

Good book...great idea...important cause.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hoodia...what the hell is HOODIA?

Apparently I'm the last person on the planet to hear about this little miracle cactus HOODIA that grows exclusively in Southern Africa. The tribal bushmen peal the skin and spine needles from the plant and eat the pulp to suppress their appetite while hunting or making long treks.

Woo hoo! It's finally here the miracle diet pill we've all been waiting for and it's called Hoodia! Of course, the health and diet industry is probably shouting the largest hosanna. People will try anything to get thin(ner). Apparently a drug industry that finds it difficult to share AIDS drugs with Africa is sparing no expense to get their hands on this plant to use it for the burgeoning diet industry. There is much speculation, if you look at this
video from the TODAY show that aired last fall, about Hoodia -- if it works, how it works, why it works etc. These are questions that include what strength, what dosage and how often it should be taken. Not to mention the fact that as diet supplements the manufacturing of the supplements isn't regulated. That's scary. You could be buying something that says it contains Hoodia and it doesn't.

I've long been in the war against extra poundage, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there is a lot more research that needs to go into this product and what the proper dosage should be before we flabby, fat and unfit Americans should be shoving in in our gullets. For instance, one question I had right away was about who uses it. Men in the bush use it most. We already know that men metabolize differently than women. So does it work for women like it does for men? Then there is the fact that the men use it to suppress appetite when on long hunts or journeys that they are usually taking by foot. Do you have to exercise in order to stimulate Hoodia's most effective properties?!!! I already have to exercise to stay fit, so how is taking Hoodia going to make that different?

Yet the inticing siren call of a pill to solve all my problems with my fight against flab is seductive. Huh...maybe all I need to do a is a little more research! If there IS a pill that you can take to lose weight and suppress your appetite that would be waaaaay easier than eating healthy and exercising. Very tempting... BUT, I wonder if there are any side effects? There was that wonder diet drug about 10 years ago that people developed heart problems and some died before it was taken off the market. What was that again? Anyone remember? Oh yeah, phen-phen (fen-fen) I think it was called.

My point is will our good sense override our desperation to lose weight while we continue to overeat? The diet and health food industry is betting it will. All I know is that I'll be checking out Hoodia at my health food store. I won't be able to resist.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

RICOCHET by Sandra Brown

Imagine my surprise and delight to read two good books back to back and in hardcover no less!! I took a chance on a Sandra Brown's new hardcover and bought RICOCHET. It's been sometime since I bought one of Ms. Brown's books in hardcover so I was sort of holding my breath. It was actually the Publisher's Weekly review that mentioned it was one of her better books in a long time that prompted me to give it a go.

Let's see if I can do a quickie summary of the story. There's a homocide cop Duncan Hatcher who while having a few vices is one of those straight arrow cops who never compromises. He finds himself called out on a case at a well known superior judge's home one Cato Laird. Duncan and his partner DeeDee are investigating the shooting of an intruder that Judge Laird's beautiful wife Elise has killed.

On the surface it appears that the shooting is an open and shut case of self defense until the beguiling Elise seeks Duncan out and makes a wild allegation that Duncan doesn't buy for a minute...much as he'd like to.

There is lots of delicious tension in this book and for once some legitimate twists and turns. One of the great things for me was that as soon as I had a thought or had drawn a conclusion about the plot Ms. Brown very capably either provided an explanation or sent you down another path. It kept me drawn in throughout the story.

This was a very satisfying read. Neither too neat nor too complicated. The characters are interesting and all too human. Neither Duncan nor Elise fit into neat compartments as typical H/H.

I used to wait for Ms. Brown's releases with baited breath but in recent years I haven't been able to really get into her books. I'm glad I took a chance on this one.

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INTO THE STORM by Suzanne Brockmann

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI'm talking about books for the first time in a long time! The book I want to talk about is INTO THE STORM by Suzanne Brockmann. Now I probably wouldn't even have mentioned this book on the blog except that I had read a review of it at AAR . I didn't realize when I started this review I would end up writing a sort of rebuttal of the AAR review, but I found myself doing so because it has been along time since I found myself having such a completely different reading experience than a reviewer.

I admit I'm a fan of Ms. Brockmann. While I have been disappointed by some of my auto-buy authors not delivering the goods (IMO) in hardcover release, she hasn't been one of them. I decided to take a chance on the book. Having been a military brat I've found Ms. Brockmann's books to capture, if not all the reality of life in the military, at least the spirit of that life as I experienced it as a daughter of an Air Force fighter pilot. Regardless of the branch of service, the life of military families nuturing and supporting each other regardless of the diversity in culture, education, religion, socio-economic background etc. is very real. One makes friendships that would probably not be made in any other circumstance. This is even truer for the men and women who are comrades in arms. Both of these realities are integral elements of Ms. Brockmann's books and ones I identify with alot.

I have to say was surprised when I read the AAR review. However, now having read the book I understand better some of Ms. Coleman's criticisms, but disagree with her overall assessment of INTO THE STORM. Ms. Coleman does make some valid points about the language used by the characters, i.e. "prolly". I'm not a big fan of e-euphemisms either, however, it doesn't occur through the whole book and it didn't take me out of the story. At any rate, I thought it was age appropriate to the characters.

Which brings me to my biggest difference of opinion of the book with Ms. Coleman, and that is her opinion that Ms. Brockmann is targeting a younger audience. I am 51 years old and I was engaged in the book from the beginning. I didn't feel put off by the characters ages, actions or speech at all. In fact, I don't really see a twenty-something being as interested in the story as I was...I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so.

Here is the blurb about the book from Amazon:

In a remote, frozen corner of New Hampshire, a Navy SEAL team and the elite security experts of Troubleshooters, Incorporated are going head-to-head as fierce but friendly rivals in a raid-and-rescue training exercise. Despite the frigid winter temperatures, tension smolders between veteran SEAL Petty Officer Mark “Jenk” Jenkins and former cop turned Troubleshooter Lindsey Fontaine after an impulsive night goes awry. And then, suddenly, Tracy Shapiro, the Troubleshooters’ new receptionist, vanishes while playing the role of hostage during a mock rescue operation.

Teaming up with the FBI to launch a manhunt in the treacherous wilderness, Jenk and Lindsey must put aside their feelings as a record snowstorm approaches, dramatically reducing any hope of finding Tracy alive. The trail is colder than the biting New England climate until a lucky break leads to a horrifying discovery–a brutally murdered young woman wearing the jacket Tracy wore when she disappeared. Suddenly there is a chilling certainty that Tracy has fallen prey to a serial killer–one who knows the backwoods terrain and who doesn’t play by the rules of engagement.

In a race against time, a raging blizzard, and a cunning opponent, Jenk and Lindsey are put to the ultimate test. Rising everything, they must finally come together in a desperate attempt to save Tracy–and each other

Jenk has been in other SEAL books of Brockmann's and I have to admit he wasn't someone whose story I was burning to have told. For one thing Mark Jenkins is hardly the average alpha stud usually described in romance novels. In fact, as the book begins he's pretty stupidly focused on a old crush. Weirdly, this was something I identified with--his reluctance to give up on his idealized fantasy relationship. Not that I wanted the crush relationship to be "the one". It was more like, "Hey, sh*t happens". We don't all fall for the right person first time out of the gate.

Lindsey is flawed also. I liked this character alot. There are more people like Jenk and Lindsey in the world than the sort of perfection we usually read about in romance novels. The characters are engaging, flaws and all and I think accessible and easy to identify with for most readers. It was no hardship to follow them through their trials and tribulations to HEA.

The AAR review also noted a sad lack of secondary characters for the reader to care about. I disagree here too. Brockmann does well layering in secondary characters in several books before their own stories are told. I found several characters I would be interested in hearing more about like: Irving Zanella, Dave Malkoff, Decker and Sophia to name a few.

My sister, who is a huge Brockmann fan, was anxious to find out how I liked the book after we had discussed the AAR review. This is what I told her, "Is it her (Brockmann's) best book? No. Is it her worst book? No. It's stardard Brockmann fare."
Good writers can't write an exceptional book every time, but I think it is reasonable to expect a good read from a good writer. For me, I got what I was looking for. One could say that the books I've read recently might have been just too light weight when compared to the writing chops of Ms. Brockmann and perhaps that's the reason why I liked the book...something a little meatier to sink my teeth into. Or, one could say, Suzanne Brockmann wrote a good book.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nalini Singh & the Incredible Wonderful Blog Experiment

When I saw this contest posted on KarenS and then AngieW blogs I knew I had to participate. I'd read Rosario's post about reading Ms. Singh's book and was intrigued enough that I went to my used book store and bought all her already released Silhouette Desire books. I've read a couple already and was sufficiently drawn to the writing to put her Sept 5 single title release, SLAVE TO SENSATION on my "To Buy" list. Read on about the incredible wonderful blog experiment.

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at Dear Author
. To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.

$200 Amazon gift certificate
Signed copy of Slave to Sensation
New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh
ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release:
Conspiracy Game You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.

Nalini Singh Berkley / September 2006
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Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.
Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.
Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Top 100 Romances

I saw this list first on Rosario's site (Aug 14, 2006, post) then on KarenS and Let's Gab sites the last couple of days. It was originated by AAR in 2004.

I was curious to check out how many of the books I had read especially since I've started a reading list in July of this year. I've been reading romances for 20 years so as you can imagine, I haven't kept all the books I've read, but was curious to see if I could remember them just by title and author.

At first glance there was 60 I knew for sure I'd read, then I actually starting verifying the list against books I still own. Many of these books are on my keeper shelves. Anyway I was able to verify a few more. There were still a few I wasn't sure about but felt I had read them since I'd purchased many of that particular author's books in the past.

In my list I've highlighted the books I can verify I've read, (because I still have them) in BOLD (64); books in my TBR in red (2), and those I think I've read in blue (7).

That covers 73 of the books on this list. Wow!! I was sort of surprised I had read that many. This was fun because just looking at the titles and remembering the books was nostalgic and a trip down memory lane. It made me anxious to give a couple of them a re-read. I'm wondering why I can't remember about the Brockway books because I used to read all her books and I can't remember which ones I've read or why I quit reading her books. I was (am) a huge Regency fan and wonder why I've never tried Carla Kelly. All food for thought and some good reading.

1. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (just ordered it)
2. Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale
3. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

4. As You Desire by Connie Brockway
5. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
6. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
8. Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
9. All Through the Night by Connie Brockway
10. Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
11. It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

12. A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh
13. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

14. The Proposition by Judith Ivory
15. A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
16. Ravished by Amanda Quick
17. Frederica by Georgette Heyer
18. Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly
19. MacKenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
20. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
21. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
22. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
23. The Bride by Julie Garwood
24. Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
25. To Have and to Hold by Patricia Gaffney
26. Born in Fire by Nora Roberts
27. Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth
28. Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
29. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
30. Saving Grace by Julie Garwood

31. My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway
32. In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel
33. The Windflower by Laura London
34. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
35. Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
36. Nobody's Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
37. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
38. Paradise by Judith McNaught
39. The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
40. Dream Man by Linda Howard
41. Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann
42. Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney
43. See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson
44. Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney
45. Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney
46. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
47. Heart Throb by Suzanne Brockmann

48. For My Lady's Heart by Laura Kinsale
49. Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood
50. Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh
51. Untie my Heart by Judith Ivory
52. Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
53. The Secret by Julie Garwood

54. This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland
55. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
56. One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney

57. To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney
58. Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
59. Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

60. Venetia by Georgette Heyer
61. Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant
62. The Prize by Julie Garwood
63. Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly
64. Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann
65. The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh
66. Heartless by Mary Balogh
67. Son of the Morning by Linda Howard
68. Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory
69. Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas
70. The Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
71. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
72. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegar
73. With This Ring by Carla Kelly
74. The Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood
75. The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

76. Fallen from Grace by Laura Leone
77. Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath
78. Castles by Julie Garwood

79. One Good Turn by Carla Kelly
80. Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts (been in my TBR forever)
81. By Arrangement by Madeline Hunter
82. Perfect by Judith McNaught

83. My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth
84. The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
85. The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

86. Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke
87. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
88. Kill and Tell by Linda Howard
89. After the Night by Linda Howard

90. More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh
91. Born in Ice by Nora Roberts
92. Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase
93. The Charm School by Susan Wiggs
94. Scoundrel by Elizabeth Elliott
95. How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
96. Angel Rogue by Mary Jo Putney
97. Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz

98. Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney
99. Once and Always by Judith McNaught
100. This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Cubicle

I don't know if you have heard or seen this before. I found it very amusing. Even though it's been years since I've worked in an office environment with cubicles. It didn't stop me from getting a kick out of this when my sister-in-law sent it today.

It begs the question, "Who has the time to do this stuff?" Must be some guy in a cubicle!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Number Two

The past month has been pretty momentous for my number two son. He just started his junior year in high school. This is the happiest I can remember him being in school since the 6th grade. This is such a relief since his sophomore year was difficult to say the least.

If you have one of those kids that is moody that describes my Shmoo. He has been so much happier since I've quit my job. That, by itself, makes it worth it. For a 16 year old he sure likes things predictable and orderly. He will, of course, tell you that is not the case, but just knowing what is happening each day makes him content. His last words at night are frequently, "What are we doing tomorrow?" Even on school days. He just needs to know. Anyway, I'm thrilled to see him so happy and down right cheerful!

So along with starting back to school he has finished his driver's training class and gotten his permit, cut his hair and gotten his braces off. He had those damn braces for two and a half years. Hell, maybe that's why he was grumpy.

BTW, he isn't wearing tight girl pants any more either. Another phase survived!!! Here he is...smiling no less.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You know what bugs me?

When my internet provider drops its service. After screwing around with them for a month they are finally coming out to see what the problem is today. I will post this now before the service drops off line and/or I lose my post. Aieee Carumba!!


Friday, August 11, 2006

Fern Gully and the Phalaenopsis

Remember this movie? Robin Williams was the voice of a deranged bat and it was about our shrinking Rain Forest. My son reminded me of it the other day when I asked him to hoe the flower beds for me. He suggested that the last time he did the beds they resembled "FERN GULLY". Cute flick...bad analogy.

Every year in mid-March I prep the flower beds in front and in back of my house and plant flowers for the spring/summer season. I made several trips to purchase the flats of blooms this year and came home empty handed three separate times. I ended up planting the flowers I bought in beds at work. Made the grounds look great, but my yard...not so much.

Of course I'm not working any more so I have no flowers to enjoy. We've been in the house for many years and I can't remember the last time I didn't have flowers out there. So this wasn't my best moment and I've been kind of bummed out. Right now it's too hot to plant, but I plan to get some hearty bloomers for the fall/winter seasons. In the meantime I have to keep the flower beds in good shape. Hence the son sent to hoe and the Fern Gully reference.

My blues over no flowers in the yard led me to try someting new. My most recent experiment is in growing an orchid plant. Am I starting to sound like a dotty old lady now? You know what with the orchid growing. Hmmm...just thought of that. That's sort of a scary thought. I'll have to ponder that some more.

Anyway, this particular orchid plant is called a Moth Orchid or Phalaenopsis. It's s supposed to be a great beginner plant. Which in plant speak means that I shouldn't be able to screw it up. I'm thrilled because it is continuing to bloom and the suckers only bloom once a year, so you have to get the gusto while you can. They can get as many as 10 blooms a year. I have four so far with a fifth just budding. This is one of those things that really makes me happy just to look at it.

Check it out:

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Book Reviews

It's hard to believe sometimes that I started this blogging business because I wanted to express my opinions about books and stuff I was reading at other sites. It has come to pass that I mention books less and less often. Part of the reason for this is that I'm not very comfortable writing the reviews. For one thing I can't be arsed to give the blurb about the book. I just want to tell you what I thought. Secondly, the book has to be pretty damn sucky or utterly fabulous to move me to write about it. And, finally, there are so many great places to check out book reviews. I do it all the time. There are some people out there who are damn good at it.

Here are some of my favorite places to check for book reviews:


Paperback Reader

3. Karen Scott

I Just Finished Reading

5. The Misadventures of...Super Librarian

6. Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Novels

There are many, many more reader sites and blogs I read and check out periodically but these are favs right now. Anyway, after checking these out I feel even less inclined to write a review. There are so many great places to go that I've gotten lazy about writing my own reviews. Each of these sites seems to have it's own presence and voice. I love Bam's reviews because it feels like you are sitting across the table from her in a bar, restaurant or bookstore cafe and she's telling you about a book she just read.

Having said all that, I am going to make an effort to write about some stuff I've read recently. The most I can say is that nothing really moved the earth for me...that's a review in and of itself.

I have decided to start keeping a running list of the the books I read on an Excel spreadsheet. I've never written things down before (except titles I'm searching for) and have recently purchased a couple of books I had already read and didn't realize it until I was on about chapter 3. I didn't have the books at home because I had already traded them. I was frustrated with myself for not remembering I had already purchased and read them. Besides I'm curious to see how many books I read in a week, month and year. It should be interesting.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

At Loose Ends

Well I've been retired for almost two months. In fact a week from today it will be two months on August 16th. Now that number two son has started his junior year in high school and number one son will begin his second year at our local junior college in 10 days I feel like summer is over and it's time to make decisions.

It's just that I feel like I'm at loose ends and really don't know what to do. I have been meditating more. Now that I've actually got the house to myself for chunks of time it has been a much more successful and relaxing endeavor.

Tonight I read a
post at WEB PETALS Marjorie Liu's blog that really struck a chord. You can use the link above to read the whole thing, but the part that really resonated with me was this:

‘Your success isn’t in doing what we do; it’s in discovering your own way. Don’t do what we do - we made it all up…do what inspires you…make it up! You just have to be (yourself…what inspires you). And it means commit yourself to who you say you are: act like it, think like it, look like it, feel like it, speak it…be it!

This will be food for thought for many days to come.

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August 9 1932 - January 10, 2004

I spoke with three of my sibs today Mom. We all talked about you. CWS was preparing a meal of all your favorite things. It's been two and a half years and some days the grief is sharp and new all over again. It's silly I guess, but I didn't expect it to be like this. Whatever I DID think it was going to be, well, I don't have a clue, but just not like this. I guess you are never too old to miss your Mother. I sure miss you.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

V * A * C * A * T * I * O * N

During one of my trips down the stream of conscience highway I was thinking about vacations. What it means to really vacation. Most of the trips and time my family spend on vacation is to go to a family event. This year it was my brother's Ironman and my Dad's 75th birthday. We frequently come home exhausted and have to recover from vacation! Not to mention the overload of being in sometimes stressful family situations.

Ironically, I hit on a
article today about where we Americans rank with the rest of the world regarding vacations. We Yanks have no mandated vacation. Which would explain why stress related illness and heart disease thrives here.

Since the guy I live with has worked so long for the same company he now has 20 days of vacation a year. It has taken 17 years of blood, sweat and tears to get it. The company he works for is a 24/7/365 operation. At the beginning of each year I have to wrangle him to commit to days for the whole year so the year doesn't slip away without any vacation at all. I found setting aside the days at the first of the year made sure he took the time off and gave us something to look forward to and plan.

This year it was a major deal for him to get two weeks in a row off for our trip to Idaho and Montana. The archaic company he works for prefers he not take more than one week off at a time. Now tell me...if you are traveling any distance at all even if you are flying, one week is barely time to arrive at the destination and get adjusted to the time zone for God's sakes. So you see what I'm working with here...

As usual though I digress from the point I'm trying to make. Which is, we haven't had a proper vacation in ages. A real vacation that is a get away to relax and rejuvenate a bit. So we have two weeks left for this year. We will use some of it for the holidays, but I have to sit down with TGILW and make some plans.

The question then becomes...where to go?

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Happy 1st Blog Birthday!

August 6, 2005 I began my adventures in the blogosphere. I can't believe a whole year has gone by. Sometimes it feels like I've been doing this forever. Other times I feel like a rank novice. Many times I've wondered whether or not I should continue. At any rate, it's a milestone, one I'm pretty proud of. It's an adventure and a joy for me to be able to express myself in this way and meet all the great people I've met on-line.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On Being a Mom...

I found this article while surfing the news this morning. This article is a perfect example of why one should always read below the headlines. The headlines of this woman's personal essay are pretty inflammatory, but a lot of what she has to say I've heard and been a part of many conversations with other mothers.

Excuse me all to hell if I don't find all my fulfillment in life from being a mother. While it IS challenging, exciting, rewarding, heartbreaking and downright frustrating...it isn't all that I am. Motherhood is only one element of my life that I chose, work hard at and enjoy, but it's not everything.

I think that is all this woman is trying to say. Well, also that alot of Mom jobs are boring. She's right. I've complained (shocking I know!!) about the mundanity and repetitious loop of some of the things Moms do. I've been amongst a gaggle of other Moms when we are all chiming in with our least favorite Mom-related chores.

It's true!! Have you pureed food for an infant? It sucks!!! How jolly can you be at every child birthday party? Especially when you go to three in a row at Chuckee Cheese? Potty training...who wouldn't want to run screaming into the night? Number Two Son was 3 1/2 before he was potty trained and spoke in complete sentences. He just didn't want to wear underpants...he liked his diaper. I never had a problem reading to my children, but when I had to set aside 20 minutes for each one to read to me when they started learning to read at school, I thought I was going to go nuts. Night after night...it was hard to make the commitment and harder to sit through. I did it, for my kids, because I wanted them to read, love reading and be good learners, but it was deadening night after night to sit through.

So like I said. Read below the headlines. Is she inflammatory? Yes, but she makes some good points. I wouldn't NOT be a Mom for anything in the world. It's one wild ride. But it's not the only ride I get on.

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