Thursday, August 29, 2013

Comments

Someone in my comments section yesterday suggested that I keep an eye on our president because they're threatening action in Syria.
Let me be very clear, I steer clear of politics, I've decided  that "a pox on both your houses" is how I feel about the politics of this country and the two parties running it.
No one in Washington listens to us or cares what we want or think.
As to Mr. Obama, Europe liked him better than most of us did, we feared having an amateur in the White House.  So if you're no longer cheering for him consider why you cheered for him in the first place.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Can't Believe We Watched It

It's true, we not only watched  it, we enjoyed it, yes, we watched Duck Dynasty.  Nothing worth watching on tv the other night, no baseball, no football, so  I started channel surfing and ran across this program.  My sister, who is not entirely nuts, swears by it, so we stopped surfing and began watching, and before we knew it we were laughing, it was funny.  I was surprised.  I'm not sure I'd be a regular watcher, but wouldn't mind catching a few more episodes.  It was happy, happy, happy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We Went Out Last Night

Actually it was Saturday night, hadn't been dancing in forever and decided it was time, so we went to check out a band that had a guitar player we knew.  They were playing at a new club, well kind of new, it use to be a club we went to frequently and then the owner had a heart attack while sitting at the bar and the place had to be sold.  Anyway, we hadn't been there since the new owners took it over and we decided to see what it was like.  Called a friend who'd been there and she was less than thrilled with the place, too few tables to sit at and  too many pool tables.  Oh well, told her we'd be going anyway.
So there we were, place looked cleaner than we remembered,  the band was ok, not as good as they thought they were, but definitely danceable and that's what we'd come for.
So we danced, stretched out muscles that hadn't been stretched in awhile, got our breathing to settle down and finally managed to stop stepping all over each other's toes, it felt good.
After a few dances a nice looking lady came over to our table and in a lovely burr told us she was from Scotland and she loved our dancing, that we moved as one, we were fantastic and would we mind if she video taped us.  We just kind of looked at her, hadn't she seen us stepping all over each other?  Don't they dance in Scotland?  Well, she looked like a nice lady and we told her we wouldn't mind, so she did.  A bit later she brought her sister over who also complimented us and thanked us for letting them tape us, said they could watch us all night, but unfortunately they had to drive to Raleigh, North Carolina where the sister lived.
They left, we danced, it was a good night, made us want to go out a bit more, guess we're not quite as old as we thought we were, of course our knees ached all day yesterday, but they would have anyway.

I'll leave you with a little Kenny Chesney, he went out last night too.
http://youtu.be/lRfKfZHUg84

Friday, August 23, 2013

Perezoso

The Spanish word of the day: perezoso.  It means lazy and that's an apt description of me lately.  My get up and go has gone.  Can't blame it on the weather, it's been more than reasonable for August, who can complain about being in the 80's?  We even had a day in the 70's.
There are a dozen things I should be doing, but instead I've swam, played the piano, played around on the computer and gotten little done.
Maybe I have lazy genes, maybe I'm part cat or could be I'm just too relaxed for my own good.
I guess for penance I'd better go and do some ironing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Strange Maps

Over at Sightings Over 60 a number of interesting maps were posted and I thought I'd pass some of them on and add a few more.

Countries in white are the only ones not to have been invaded by England.



This explains a lot.

Map of the most common surnames in Europe


                                              Countries that don't use the Metric System




Population Density



All of these maps originally came from:  Twisted Sifter






Monday, August 19, 2013

Year End Reading Review

Yes I know it's not the end of the year, but my book year ends on August 19 because that's when I got my first book journal.  This last year I read 153 books, even I'm amazed, sounds like I sat in a corner and did nothing but read all year.  But the truth of the matter is that I read very quickly and I generally have 3 books at a time going, one on my Kindle, one by the couch and one in the bathroom.
What kinds of books?  Well lots of mysteries, 50 of those, I really like a good mystery, also read 24 science fiction/fantasy.  This is probably my favorite genre, but it's hard to find good ones.  I read 9 nonfiction books, mostly biographies and the rest were a mixed bag of literature.
I did a bit of rereading this year, revisiting old friends.  I've been rereading all of Elizabeth George's books, that's the Inspector Lynley/ Barbara Havers stories.  I like the older ones best, but all are good.
I also reread the entire 14 book Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time series, Georgette Heyer's mysteries, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and recently I started rereading the Guy Gavriel Kay Fionvar Tapestry triology.

My favorite 11 books from last year, in no particular order, it was supposed to be 10 but I couldn't eliminate one, are:

1.  Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway This one really surprised me, I'm not a big Hemingway fan.

2.  The Summer of the Bear  by Bella Pollen  The father dies (was it murder, suicide, accident?) and the family retreats to a remote Scotish island to heal--but it's not as simple as it sounds

3.   Earth and Air by Peter Dickinson  Short stories (something I'm not particularly fond of) that all have a magic touch.  Recommended for 10 year olds and up, but I thought it was very adult.

4.   Memory of Light by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson  The end of the series

5.   Through a Brazen Mirror  by Delia Sherman  Again, a tale of magic, but definitely for grownups.

6.   The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe  A mother and son share books during the time she is dying, should have been sad, but it wasn't.

7.   The Road by Cormac McCarthy  The end of the world as we know it and we aren't doing fine

8.  The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
A sort of Forest Gump like story except the 100 year old man is smarter and funnier.

9.  Ender's Game  by Orson Scott Card  Now being made into a major motion picture and I'm sure they'll ruin it.

10. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand  by Helen Simonson  Wonderful little book about a very British major (retired) who knows what's right and acts accordingly.

11.  The Reluctant Reader by Alan Bennett  Queen Elizabeth becomes a reader and that pleases no one, so good I got Mac to read it and he loved it.

Honorable Mention: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson A new YA fantasy series.

Right now I'm reading The Sword of the Lady by S. M. Stirling, part of The Change series, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Gordon and The Children's Hour by Marcia Willett.  Three very different books, but then I think that's how I keep them straight.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Women

I've been reading, a lot!  Too blooming hot to do much else, and though I usually read fiction I occasionally dip into nonfiction, and my genre of choice there is biography.  So recently I've read two biographies of two VERY different women----Pattie Boyd and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Pattie is of course known for having wed George Harrison of the Beatles and Eric Clapton, while Zelda was married to the author F. Scott Fitzgerald.  So both were known for marrying famous men, but that's where any similarites end.
After reading Wonderful Tonight I'm here to tell you that Pattie Boyd is the shallowest, most vacuous women I've ever had the misfortune to read about.  How two of the finest love songs of the rock era (George Harrison's Something and Eric Clapton's Layla) could have been written about her I'll never understand.  Her poor little me story is just so dull, dull, dull.  After reading it all I know about her is that she liked to party, to shop and everyone eventually left her,  how sad.
Zelda on the other hand was so interesting!  Before I read the 1970 book Zelda  by Nancy  Milford ( it's considered the definitive biography of Zelda) all I knew about her was that she was married to F. Scott Fitzgerald and that she was crazy.  But now I know what an interesting woman she was in her own right, that her husband used huge chunks of her love letters to him and their conversations and arguments  in his novels. Zelda was in fact the lead female character in all his books and stories.   She was not a passive woman, she wrote a novel of her own (which Scott made her edit because he said she was stealing his story and all his stories were about them, but he said they belonged to him and not her) , painted and danced ballet in an attempt to develop an identity separate from Scott.
Was she crazy, ( to me she sounded bipolar) perhaps, though newer medications would have helped her.
Did you make F. Scott Fitzgerald a drunk (as Hemingway believed--he hated her), did he drive her insane as her family believed?  Their daughter Scottie didn't think so, but that they did  indeed bring out the very
 worse in each other.
The book had many of her letters to Scott, chunks of her book and much of her other writing.
I felt so sorry for her, she was utterly fascinating, in fact one of my next reads will be Z  by Therese Anne Fowler a fictionalized account of her life.
As for Pattie Boyd, it definitely wasn't a "wonderful" read.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dog Days

Yes they're here, and like always, I've melted into a puddle of do nothingness.  Our weather man has a heat index scale and when the temperature is above 90 and the dew point is 26 or higher , then his scale says that the weather is miserable, I'd agree.
The Dew Point has to do with the water to air saturation temperature, when the air is completely saturated you are miserable because your sweat can't evaporate and you stay wet and sticky.  That's what's going on right now.  For most of the summer we've been a bit below normal temperature wise with more rain than normal (we're nearly 11 inches above normal), but since the beginning of August the rains have stopped and the humidity and heat index have been very high.
As a consequence my brain has turned to jello and if I had to say what I've done this month all I could honestly say is try and stay cool.
I've read a little, played piano a little, watched baseball, did our morning walk in air that felt like wading through jello and tried not to fry my brain.  I have several projects I need to get done before we go on vacation so I'm hoping it will cool down some, right now I
have to go and mow the lawn----doesn't that sound like fun!
Today's forecast is for 95ยบ and a heat index of 27, oh my.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dreams

  I had a nightmare the other night, scary, tried to scream for Mac, tried and tried and I guess it worked because I woke Mac up, he heard me and then he woke me up.  My heart was thudding, he said he'd heard moans and couldn't figure out where they were coming from and they got louder and he realized it was me.
What was so terrifying?  My pillow was trying to suffocate me.  Bad when you're bedding turns against you.  I laugh now, but it wasn't funny then.
Did a little Googling on dreams (Lord I love the internet) and found out some interesting facts about dreams:

 •  Everyone dreams though most of us forget 90% of our dreams within 5 minutes of waking

•  12% of people dream in black and white

•  Even blind people dream, if blind from birth they have auditory dreams, if blinded later they have visual dreams

•  Common dreams are of falling, flying, being naked, failing a test, having an accident and your teeth falling out

•  People generally have 4-6 dreams a night

•  You don't have to be in REM sleep to dream

•  Dreams prevent psychosis, if you go too long without dreaming you will begin to break down mentally

•  You are actually paralyzed while dreaming, your brain has sent out neural signals to your spinal cord to relax you and essentially you are paralyzed while dreaming

•  Animals dream too

•  We dream what we know, the stranger in your dream is someone you've seen at some time in your life.

•  Outside stimuli invade our dreams, that ringing bell, alarm clock, etc become something else in your dreams

After learning all this I can say that yes I dream about flying (a lot), having an accident (the brakes never work on my car in dreams), but I have never dreamed about my teeth falling out.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle

  I don't do a lot of book reviews, people's taste in books is too varied.  But I'm enjoying my current book so much I thought I'd share it.  The Florabama Ladies' Auxillary and Sewing Circle (written by Lois Battle) is a story about a displaced homemaker (her husband bankrupted them and moved in with another woman) and a group of factory ladies who lose their jobs when their company closes the factory.  She's upscale Atlanta and they're lowrent Alabama.  She takes a job working with displaced homemakers at a local community college in Florabama, Alabama  where their factory was and is given the task of helping them get on with their lives.
Full of lots of cliche people, but they're so much fun that I forgive the author.  The dialogue is well done, especially when the African-Americans are talking.
One sequence in particular made me roar with laughter, let me set the scene, Bonnie (the college lady) has friend in Atlanta who runs a boutique for rich kids who'll buy handmade garments from Bonnie's ladies, who have always made handmade clothes being unable to afford store bought ones.    Bonnie wants them to make Regency style dresses for little girls. so to give them real examples of the style wants she goes to Albertine Chisholm's house and runs the Emma Thompson version of  "Sense and Sensibility" for a group of the ladies, one of their boyfriends (James) and one husband (Henry)
They're at the part where Colonel Brandon tells Elinor about what Willoughby has done to his ward.  The following dialogue ensues:
     Lyda Jane said, "Hush!"  I don't wanna miss this part," and glued her eyes to the set where the awful truth was finally coming to light, the character confessing, "She was with child.  The blackguard who had left her used her abominably ill.  During her confinement---"
     "Hey, Henry."  Puddin' sat up, pulling away from James.  "Roll it back, an' play this part again, will you?  I don' understand---"
     "Ain't hard to understand, " String Bean explained, "Blackguard means he's a skunk.  He done got the girl pregnant, then he run off soon's she start showin."
     James shook his head.  " Now that ain't right," and added, sotto voice, "Y' know when I was a lil boy, I din't think white women could get pregnant if they weren't married.
   "Puddin'," Henry said, cutting James a withering glance, "don't be marryin' James even if he ever get 'round to axing you.  He be too dumb to live with in the daylight hours."

I could just picture a group of real country women (black or white) watching that movie for the first time.  I like books about the south and like good humor, this book has both.
I'm not finished with the book yet, but I'm quite sure I'll be looking for more of Lois Battle's books.

All Wrapped Up

Started early, finished late.  I started wrapping presents way back in November and except for a few small things due in the mail I'm fi...