Showing posts from November, 2011

Romance Month at Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books

Head over to Heidenkind's lovely blog, Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books, to join the December 2011 Romance Month theme.

Looks like she has a lot of fun planned for December, too, so don't forget to check back often!

Thanksgiving Weekend Photos

My sister Laura and Maya on November 26, 2011.

Laura, my niece Liz, Maya, and me. Photo by my mom.
Muffin after her groom on November 27. Photo by Maya.

Happy Thanksgiving

"There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from." ~~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." ~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"Abundance is, in large part, an attitude." ~~Sue Paton Thoele

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new." ~~Will Carleton

"Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings." ~~J. Robert Moskin

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." ~~Cynthia Ozick

Everyone who takes the time to read my blog is certainly on my list of reasons to give thanks. I wish the very happiest of Thanksgivings to ever…

This and That

The big news at our house is that Muffin, our Shih tzu, has a boyfriend. This is the dog who normally yaps and acts tough with every dog she meets. Keep in mind, though, that my sister calls her a dust mop. Not exactly an intimidating dog, despite her best efforts! All that changed when she finally had a chance for some interaction with KC, the male Silky terrier two doors down. Maya had constant giggles over the way they touched noses and kissed.

I'm also looking forward to the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Maya is already on vacation after having two days of school this week. Herb's only taking off Thanksgiving and Sunday, so not much of a vacation in store for him this holiday weekend.

I called Mom this morning to ask if she had any interest in making a pie for lunch tomorrow. Maya already requested an apple pie from Grandma! No way Grandma's denying her youngest granddaughter anything reasonable. Now, I just hope Maya knows she has to *share* the pie. . . …

Mail from a Soldier

Don't you agree that this is lovely mail? Happy me!

Wonderful Mail

If you need motivation to send mail you regret not sending earlier, let me urge you as strongly as possible to just go ahead. You will really make that person's day and, by extension, life better and brighter.

How do I know?

In today's mail, I found a cute USPS Priority Mail envelope showing a card envelope through the address window. I didn't recognize the handwriting, so the mail was already special just by being totally unexpected and from an unknown source.

The contents? A beautiful Thanksgiving card and an even lovelier letter from a soldier I wrote while he was stationed overseas. I cried--happy tears--because he wanted me to know how much the support from a stranger meant to him.

Go ahead. Make someone else happy by sending a letter.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

"Turn off the book, Mommy; turn off the book!" That was Maya's response as I started crying while walking on the treadmill and reading an ebook version of Joan Didion's Blue Nights (2011). Okay, sobbing, maybe, more than just crying. That's how much Didion's words affect me.

Written as a sequel to her brilliant The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion explores the nature of parenting, adoption, the loss of a child, memories, and aging in this book.

Didion writes the way that I think--bouncing from one topic to the next, which works well for me as a reader, too. She also left me with several pages flagged to go back to read through certain passages again and again because her insights are so thought-provoking.

The book ended entirely too soon for me, and what more of a compliment can I give than that?

My overall personal rating of Blue Nights is a B+.

Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter

Dark Taste of Rapture (2011), the sixth book in Gena Showalter's Alien Huntress series, is snarky and very entertaining.

Rich, beautiful AIR agent Noelle Tremain is an expert at keeping people at a distance. With her best friend now married, she's lonely. Dangerous AIR Agent Hector Dean is equally expert at keeping people at a distance. Just as lonely as Noelle, the woman he wants as much more than a work associate, Hector has reason to fear that he'll literally burn her to ashes if he lets her too close.

Partnered to solve a crime involving the death of one of the new wave wealthy, how can either one of them resist the other?

I enjoyed reading this story of two damaged people who come from abusive backgrounds finding a way to be together.

My overall personal rating of Dark Taste of Rapture is a B.

SEAL of My Dreams

For the most part, I really enjoyed the stories presented in SEAL of My Dreams. The stories generally fell into two categories--lots of action/saving people and heartbreaking/dealing with some of the harsher aspects of being a Navy SEAL--or someone who loves one. Some were very short snippets, and some were almost novellas.

Two stories didn't work very well for me. One felt like being dropped into the middle of an ongoing series without enough information, and the other felt like a prequel to an actual novel.

As a reminder, proceeds from the purchase of the collection go to the not-for-profit Veterans Research Corporation.

And, yes, the cover model is an active-duty Navy SEAL. . . .

My overall personal rating of SEAL of My Dreams is a B.

This and That

We went from this on Saturday, when Maya had a stomach virus. . .

. . .to this on Sunday, when she already felt 100% fine.

The worst part of being sick for Maya involved missing practice for her Christmas music program, Saturday lunch out, and, worst of all, her friend's birthday party.

We did go to Olive Garden for lunch on Sunday instead, and Herb and Maya spent Sunday evening at Skate Zone's family night. She's already asking when they can go skating again.

While they skated, I had the chance to watch three episodes of The Walking Dead. Love that t.v. series, though I don't watch when Maya's home due to the content. Fighting off zombies is pretty violent. Anyone else enjoying that series?

Now I'm trying to get the house ready for Thanksgiving. We'll invite my mom to lunch on Thanksgiving Day (November 24 this year), and then my sister and niece plan to visit from Iowa the following day. Although they always stay at Mom's house, I'm sure my n…

Letter from Joel

My latest letter from Joel is a lovely drawing. What a way to brighten my day!

Child Rape

I enjoy watching college football. A lot. Especially "my team," Nebraska. I won't be watching Nebraska's game against Penn State tomorrow, though, because I don't think this game should even be played, even if that meant my team forfeiting, because a sport next to child rape is nothing.

As Jill blogged so well on Feministe:

I know you all like football. I know a lot of people like football. I know it’s fun and culturally important and for some reason people identify incredibly strongly with Their Team, many to unhealthy levels. But it’s football. It is just football. Feeling personally devastated because someone you trusted made a really terrible decision is one thing; being personally devastated because your identity is so wrapped up in your team that the idea of any member of that team being punished for covering up child rape strikes you as fundamentally unfair is another thing. It is something that should make you seriously reconsider your identity and yo…

365 Letters in 365 Days

Kate and Sara, two sisters blogging over at 365 Letters in 365 Days, have a fun project going.

Their goals, as noted on their blog:

Goal #1: Receive at least 365 letters in 365 days!

Goal #2: Receive at least 5 letters from every U.S. state!

Goal #3: Receive at least 20 letters from countries other than the United States!

Goal #4: Receive 50 postcards!

Goal #5: Respond back to every letter!

I'm sending them a postcard of Pumpkin Creek Railroad at Vala's Pumpkin Patch to add a tally mark under their Nebraska column.

For their address and the latest on how they're doing on reaching their mail-related goals, stop by their blog.

SEAL of My Dreams Coming 11/11/2011

SEAL of my Dreams, being released on Veterans Day/Remembrance Day, is a collection of Navy SEAL romance stories by authors such as Cindy Gerard, Marliss Melton, Leslie Kelly, and Stephanie Tyler. You can see the full list of authors and story titles, plus information on each selection, here. [I'm especially looking forward to Letters to Ellie by Loreth Anne White.]

Best of all, the proceeds go to Veterans Research Corporation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2008. Their mission is "to sponsor veteran based medical research to improve the lives of veterans, their families, and society at large; and to foster a new generation of researchers for tomorrow's medical and health care challenges."

What are you looking forward to reading that's due to be released soon?

Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale by Christine Warren

Christine Warren's Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale (2011) is the twelfth (!) installment in The Others series--and the last for this reader.

Captain of the Queen's Guard Luc is sent to return the Queen's troublesome nephew to Faerie. Pretty much anti-human, Luc is more than a little surprised to discover that very human tabloid reporter Corinne is his "heartmate" (Fae version of soulmate). Corinne is equally anti-inter-species dating.

Instead of great sparks to overcome their disinterest in being together, their relationship and the overall story are pretty blah.

Anyone else as ready for this particular series to end as I am?

My overall personal rating of Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale is a C+.

Blogs I Love

I love reading blogs. Along the lines of Three Days of the Condor, the 1975 Robert Redford movie, I'd love to have a job that paid me to read blogs all day. I can dream, right?

Here are a few new-to-me favorites I want to share with you:

Journey Through Words is an instant hook, both from the blog title and the fun book reviews. The American blogger currently living in Canada also has two ultra-adorable children, so don't forget to look for their photos if you make a visit.

The Chloe Chronicles: Tales of a Brazen Woman is quirky and all about keeping it real. I also like how she covers lots of topics, ranging from her children and her faith to getting her groove back and recipes, despite her recent advice from another blogger to tighten her blog focus. Nope, I'm a fan of eclectic!

My British friend and pen pal Lou of Lou La La is ultra-talented and fun. If you're looking for some creative inspiration or a new pen friend, give her blog a look.

What about you? Any…

The Red Room by Nicci French

Beware of beautiful days. Bad things happen on beautiful days. It may be that when you get happy, you get careless. Beware of having a plan. Your gaze is focused on the plan and that's the moment when things start happening just outside your range of vision.

That's the first paragraph from husband-and-wife writing duo Nicci French's The Red Room (2009).

Forensic psychiatrist Kit Quinn has one of those life-changing moments when she's attacked in a police station by Michael Doll, someone she just briefly evaluated. Three months later, just returning to work after her attack, she's approached about speaking with Doll again because he may be connected to a murder.

In the usual French style, there are more than a few twists and witty insights into human nature and society as the death toll mounts.

My overall personal rating of The Red Room is a B.

Halloween 2011

My combination witch/vampire ready to go trick-or-treating.

Our first stop--Grandma's house, of course.

Maya had a great time going trick-or-treating. We even ran into the neighbor boy and his mom shortly after we started going around our little neighborhood, so I had someone to talk to while the kids went to the houses together.

Hope you had just as much fun if you celebrated Halloween!