Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm Waiting

And not very patiently either.  I'm tired of summer, it's boring, I'm so over it.  I want autumn leaves that give a Godly crunch (or so McAllister says) when you walk through them.  The picture on the left is what I want, the picture on the right is what I get, a swimming pool that's being overrun with wild morning glories.  You may think that sounds good, but after 5 months of 85º-95º temperatures and humidity that frequently makes it feel like it's over a 100º I assure you, autumn sounds great and winter sounds even better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

99 Days, 10 Hours, 30 minutes or it Was

That's how long till Christmas, so I spent part of the morning Christmas shopping.  Not in stores, but online where I do most of my shopping.  Things that will bring a smile to my family's faces are generally not found in mall stores.  So it's a "hunting" I will go.
I shop on Ebay and Etsy and some really esoterical little shops and I wish I had longer than 99 days to do it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning Roundup

Not a lot going on at the Little House in the Swamp, they keep promising us cold fronts ( parts of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado got snow from this cold front), but all we get is more humidity. The front's  been here since Friday and it finally rained a little bit today, now it's steaming, not much cold though.  I read other blogs and people are talking about the leaves changing color, the air having a nip to it, lighting a fire at night.  I'm so envious.  No leaves have changed color here, the air is soggy, not nipping and we're running the air conditioner, not the heater.
When the seasons change my allergies go wild: itchy eyes, sinus headache, aching joints, no energy.
All I did all weekend was watch sports, football, baseball, golf, crochet a little bit on a potholder that should have taken less than an hour to do and instead has taken more than a month and it's still not done, and read.
I flew through The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowlings) and liked it as much as Cuckoo Calling and maybe more.  Looking forward to the next one in the series.
Also read Death in the Garden by Elizabeth Ironside.  Helena inherits her Great Aunt's house and  fortune, but also finds out that her Aunt had been found innocent of her husband's murder more than 60 years ago.  She decides that she can't take the inheritance unless she can find out that the Aunt wasn't just found not guilt, but that she was innocent.  Really good book.
Also really liked The Expats by Chris Pavone  She's CIA, but has never told her husband, he thinks she works in a DC think tank. Now they're moving to Luxembourg for a his job.  He's an independent contractor who helps banks protect themselves from hackers or maybe he's a hacker who has stolen millions of euros.
Now I'm working my way through:  Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman, 2 eleven year olds go to jail for 7 years for kidnapping and killing a baby.  Now they're out of jail and another baby is missing.  It's ok, the girls are just a bit too creepy for me.  As Kirkus review might say this is  a book you should probably borrow, not buy.
Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell, I've just started this, but it has an interesting premise.  The housekeeper kills the whole family because she can't read, not by poisoning them, she shoots them.
And finally The Namesake by Jumpha Lahiri and I like this one very much.  His parents moved to America from India so his father can attend grad school.  They remain very Indian, in thought and deed, while he and his sister who are born in America become very American, at first, but then they start turning back.  I love reading books about the immigrant experience and this one is excellent.
While looking for pictures of the books I found out that Every Secret Thing was made into a movie in 2014 starring Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks and Dakota Fanning,  The Namesake was made into a movie in 2006 starring Kal Penn and Irrfan Khan and The Expats will be made into a movie that will open in 2015, not casting for it yet.   May put The Namesake on on my Netflix list.
 There are rumors that the Galbraith books are going to be made into movies too.

This started out as a Monday morning post, but has ended up a Monday evening one, life does have a way of interfering.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Does This Bother You Too?

Borrowed from the Leicester Mercury
Archeologists from a local university  digging at the site of the  "lost" Chapel of St.Morrell, an ancient site of pilgrimage in Hallaton, Leicester have uncovered the skeletons of 2 people, a man and a women, who were holding hands.  Nine other skeletons at the site have been carbon dated to the 14th century and it's believed that this couple would date from the same period.  The couple's skeletons  have been removed to the university laboratory for further study.  Why?
At least the condition of their digging license won't allow pictures of the skeletons, thank God for small favors.
I consider this sacrilegious.  Leave these people alone or at least have the decency to rebury them where you found them.
I love archeology and I realize we need to learn about the past, but for some reason this really bothered me.  Is someone going to be digging up our families in a couple hundred years and hauling them off to a laboratory to be studied?  I hope not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Day to Remember

Forty-nine years ago a young boy and a very young girl pledged their vows and their lives to each other.  It's gone so quickly, years of moving around while Mac was in the Army, raising our daughter, finally finishing college (all of us), teaching, retiring to Georgia and here we are.  I don't feel old enough to have been married that long, it seems, not like yesterday perhaps, but just a couple of years ago.
I'm a lucky lady, I'm married to my best friend and love him more now than when I married him all those years ago.
I want at least 26 more years, 75 is a nice round number and I always promised him that when I was in my walker that I'd still be chasing him around.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Year of Books

My reading year runs from August 15 to August 15, has to do with when I bought my first book diary to keep track of the books I'd read.
 This year I read 144 books as opposed to 153 the year before.  Part of that maybe the length of some of the books I read,   I'm reading a Brandon Sanderson series and whenever I get a new book in a series I always reread the previous book in the series, so before reading Words of Radiance (1088 pages) I reread The Way of Kings (1009 pages) and this was true for the Diana Galbaldon series, I reread An Echo in the Bone (850 pages) before I read Written in My Own Heart's Blood (842 pages). The break down of genres is:

127 fiction
17   science fiction/fantasy
18   mysteries
17   non-fiction
12   rereads

I was surprised by how few science fiction/fantasy books I'd read that's generally one of my favorite genres.

I thought I'd break my favorites down by genre this year.

Favorite fiction books:

1.  Ella Minnow Pea  by Mark Dunn   A short, very funny book about language.

2.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower   by  Stephan Chbosky  A YA book that read so true, I was very impressed by it and have recommended it all over the place.

3.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress   by Dai Sijie    A semi-autobiographical (but still fiction) book about 2 young men exiled to the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution.

4.  House of Mirth   by Edith Wharton  Love her books and this one is particularly good

5.  Museum of Innocence  by Orhan Pamuk   Where does love end and obsession begin?  Set in Istanbul, this story will haunt me for a long time.

6.  Doc   by Mary Doria Russell    A fictionalized account of Doc Holliday's life.

7.  Birds Without Wings    by Louis de Berniers  Another book set in Turkey, it takes place before the start of WWI and the aftermath.  Wonderful book.

8.  Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by Rachel Joyce  Harold receives a card from a woman he worked with years ago who is no dying.  He decides to leave home and walk to see her.

9.  Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore  by Robin Sloan  Books, a puzzle and Google

Non-Fiction

1.  A Year of Magical Thinking  by Joan Didion   The year after her husband died, it should have been depressing, but it wasn't.

2.  Reading Lolita in Teheran  by Azer Nafasi   She was a professor in Teheran at the time of the revolution and it was grim.

3.  The Guns of August  by Barbara Tuchman     The first month of WWI

4.  One Summer America 1927    by Bill Bryson   Charles Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Jack Dempsey ----what a summer

Science Fiction/Fantasy

1.  Blackout-All Clear  by Connie Willis  Two time travel books about researchers traveling back to England during the Second World War and getting stuck there, 2 really good books.

2.  Life After Life  by Kate Atkinson  She keeps getting reborn until she gets it right.  Have liked all of Ms Atkinson's books, but for me this was the best one yet.


If I had to name the best book I'd read all year I would say The Guns of August.  I knew very little about WWI and the depth of research in this book blew me away.  It should be required reading by anyone who thinks they know how to fight a war.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

London Skyline

Before I stop writing about London I have to talk about the new architecture that's blighting its skyline.
To me London has always been one of the most beautiful cities in the world, now it's beginning to look like some futuristic nightmare.  Below I show some of the worst, not my pictures, I refused to waste my time on them, but rather taken from the web (Oliver Wainwright for The Guardian) where others agree with me about their hideousness.

The Shard, if you like it for only £40 you can go up to the observation deck

The Strata, one blogger said it reminded him Mordor of complete with 3 eyes of Sauron on top

The Cheese Grater, need I say more?

The Walkie Talkie
This is the view of St.Pauls from across the Thames (the side we stayed on), the view is ruined!

The Odalisk



I guess if you have to have a giant Ferris Wheel this isn't a bad one, but I won't even go on small ones and at £29.50 or $48.00 that wasn't going to happen anyway.