Thursday, September 30, 2010

What I Read #87

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell: This was the first Cornwell novel that I had read in a long time. Kate Scarpetta, a forensics pathologist, is called in to examine a murder suspect. This leads to her becoming involved in the investigation of the murder. Along with her husband, Benton, and her computer savvy niece, Lucy, they finally figure it out. I use the word "finally" because it took 500 pages to tell this story. I persevered until the end because I knew deep down that the suspect they had in custody was not guilty. The story was too long, and drawn out. Could Cornwell have told it in fewer pages? You betcha!

Happy Reading,

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24!

September 24 is not a banner day for me and mine. Three years ago today, my wife of 38 plus years passed on. I could be sentimental here, and "piss and moan" about loss and aloneness and all the other stuff but I'm not going to. Instead I am going to write about some of the good things that have come from her death.
First, my faith has grown. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for all of us. I believe that He had a bigger, better, grander plan for Tilly, one that I still don't quite understand, any maybe never will. People talk about losing their spouse, or loved one. Never for a minute have I ever felt that I lost Tilly. I know exactly where she is! And I know she is looking down in wonder at the new grandchildren, and marveling at how much Kiddo has grown. It is my faith that has made me realize all of this. And, my new grandson, RJ, looks so much like his grandmother and when he looks at me with those huge eyes, it's like he is looking into my soul. Tell me that Tilly didn't have a part in all of that!
I have always known that my family was special. But in the past 3 years, they all have grown even more special to me. They have surrounded me in their love. They have boosted me up when I am down and I feel very close to them all. When I think of all of them, the song "We Are Family" comes to mind. We are family. We share both the good and the bad and even some of the ugly! I have a saying hanging in my great room about "family is forever." That is so true. My brother and sis-in-law fit into this family thing. They are such rocks, welcoming me into their home and spoiling me with their love and attention.
Which brings me to friends. I cannot say enough about my friends. There are some very special ones like Curley. She has been my confidante, my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, or laugh on. Then there is my quartet buddies. They are always concerned about me, and were the instigators of repairing my kitchen roof while I was gone one time. They call, and e mail and keep track of me. They are a big part of my life, along with my church friends. What a wonderful bunch of people. There are my "forever friends" from Ohio who have stuck by me through it all. I love those two.
There are those wonderful people I worked with that still either e mail me or we facebook regularly. I had a teacher tell Prof the other day that the school wasn't the same without me there. What a compliment!
I have become much more independent. I am a much better money manager. I like what and whom I have become. So, even though I am sad sometimes and feel sorry for myself once in a while, I have grown in so many ways. I told my children that for me it was time to remember the good things, the good times, and preserve the good memories, and let the rest go. This advice came from a very good friend, and I agree.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I Read #86

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund: Murderers on the loose in Europe. They are killing young couples all over Europe. NYC Policeman Jacob Kanon is on the hunt for the killers because they killed his daughter and her boyfriend while vacationing in Rome. Jacob is hot on the killers' trail but he can't convince any other country's law enforcement agencies that he knows what he is talking about. He get the aid of Dessie Larsson, a Swedish newspaper reporter. Together they track the perverted couple.
This is another great Patterson stand-alone novel.
Happy Reading,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Read #85

Black Hills by Nora Roberts: Written in 2009, this is another good read by Ms Roberts. Lil Chance and Cooper Sullivan fell in love many years ago when they were 9 and 11. They saw each other sporadically during their teen years, then went their separate ways. Lil became an owner of a wildlife refuge in S. Dakota. Cooper went on to be a cop then a PI in NYC. When his grandfather broke his leg, Coop sold his agency, and moved back to S. Dakota.
Lil, is being haunted and hunted by someone in her past. The hunter is possessed with killing and is seeking revenge on Lil for imagined infractions. This is a tale of eternal love, intermingled with murder and mayhem. It's good; read it!
Happy reading,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Stars At Night, Are Big and Bright....

Yes they are. And every thing is bigger in Texas. Especially the traffic.. Oh my! I have never seen so many cars, trucks and SUVs. I drove this time, for the first time, and I might add, the last time.. I made the executive decision that from now on I will travel to Texas either on Amtrak or by plane. Keeping track of the gas I purchased, a motel room and a meal each way, I think if I plan it right, I can fly cheaper or at least for the same cost. Five hours from door to door is a lot better that 18 hours of driving.
You might say, "yes, but you saw a lot of sights and countryside on the way." Well, no I didn't. I was too busy keeping my eyes on the road to enjoy much scenery. I could not believe the amount of semis on the road. My car, a mid-sized Chrysler, was definitely in the minority. Most of what I saw were SUVs, vans, pickups and semis. All traveling faster that I was and I pushed the speed limit to the max most of the way here. Except in those damn construction areas that went on for miles and miles and miles.
Then there was Little Rock, Arkansas. I arrived there at rush hour. I was on the Interstate. I think every street in L R merges onto that Interstate. It was bumper to bumper, stop start stop start, for an hour and a half. I needed gas, too. So I got off the Interstate and got entangled in a SNAFU just trying to make a left into a gas station.
After buying gas, jockeying traffic to get back on I30, I found the next exit with a Super 8 motel and got off. I had been on the road for 12 hours and was getting punchy and was hot and tired. The young guy behind the desk at the Super 8 was a gem. In 5 minutes I was signed in, and unloading my stuff. I took a shower, and was going to go for food, but fell asleep stretched out on the bed. Later I went to the car, carried up my cooler and noshed on ham, cheese and crackers, with a side of grapes. I never left the room until I checked out the next morning.
I arrived at my brother's house the next afternoon, safe and sound. I didn't realize I suffered from mild "road rage" but I do. I think I invented some new @#$%^#$ words.
But, I made it. I'm here. I am relaxing and having a ball. These two relatives are wonderful people. My brother and I are harassing my sis-in-law by being, well, brothers! She loves it! We haven't done anything special except they treated me to dinner at "Babes" my favorite eating establishment down here. Otherwise, we're just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.
Now,it's time to go fill my coffee cup and go sit on the deck and enjoy the morning before the temp gets up in the 90.s. More later.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Read #84

The Search by Nora Roberts: Fiona Bristow is a trainer of Search and Rescue dogs. She lives on Orcas Island. Simon Doyle is an artist who also lives on the island. They meet when Simon's mother gives him a pup that is in dire need of training.
Circumstances occur that bring them into close proximity, and of course, the inevitable happens. Along with a copycat serial killer that is pursuing Fiona to settle a score from years ago.
I found this book to be an easy read, and I was intrigued reading just how dogs are trained, and used for the vital occupation of Search and Rescue, and how successful that program is. I give this 4 stars on my 4 star reading scale. It isn't any wonder that the book jacket says that Ms Roberts is the NY Times #1 best selling author.
As a side note, my daughter-in-law went to a Nora Roberts book signing, and came back a real fan. She said Ms Roberts is just a nice person, besides being a wonderful author. She has a picture of the two of them together on her bookshelf with every novel by Roberts.
Happy Reading,
(note: no picture because I am blogging on vacation on my brother's computer. I won't download pictures on it, but will update when I get home.)

Friday, September 10, 2010


Okay, I am really pumped about vacation. I leave at 7:30 AM Monday. Heading out to Texas to my brother's. I have all my luggage out and stuff spread all over the bedroom in preparation. I have to take summer clothes because it averages about 10 degrees higher there than here this time of year, but I am staying into October and maybe even November, so I am taking some fall duds too. I have to return all my books to the library before I go. I have all my bills set up to "autopay" and have given Prof and Kiddo strict instructions about caring for the house and property. (Yeah, right!)
Curley and I went shopping earlier in the week and I bought some foodstuffs to take along plus some Indiana wines that we can't buy in TX. Curley gave me enough books to last me for as long as I will be there,(probably) but if not, "Half-Priced Books" is only a few miles from my brother's.
So, I have the route mapped out, a "Super8 Motel" guide all marked, and the car has been serviced, two new tires, and a 23 point inspection. It still needs swept out and the trunk cleaned out.
I will blog from TX and will show you some pictures on here when I return. Just pray for me as I travel!
Can hardly wait.

What I Read #83

Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God by Joe Coomer: A delicate, delightful tale of Charlotte, a recently widowed young woman, who feels the need to get away and heal. Charlotte meets up with Grace, an elderly, outspoken woman, and Chloe, a 17 year old girl caught in a violent relationship. The three take up residence on the "Rosinante" a 50 ft. yacht owned by Grace. There they learn to tolerate each other in a confined space, and they all discover that life is too short to hold back on living. They are watched over by Harry, a crusty lobster fisherman, whose trawler is docked next to them.
If I was to recommend only one book for you to read this year, this is it. It is touching, funny, and very well written. Probably the best book I will read in 2010.
Happy Reading,

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What I Read #82 1/2

Likeness by Tana French: Well, I tried. I dove into "Likeness" with enthusiasm but soon felt bogged down in rhetoric and mundane detail. This novel was nothing like "Faithful Place" and I was sorely disappointed.
First of all, the print was too small. That is always a turn off for me. Secondly, after reading "Faithful Place," I didn't like the way the character of "Frank" was depicted. And, Cassie/Lexie was just as mundane.
By page 70, French was still laying the groundwork to what was going to happen, and I just wanted to shout, "let's get on with it." So doing something I almost never do, I skipped a few chapters. This didn't help, so finally, I gave up, read the last few pages and closed the book!
Keep on Reading,

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How's Growing Older?

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, or my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gnome that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore.

I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

What I Read #82

Listen to the Silence by Marcia Muller: I'm not sure why I haven't ever been introduced to Marcia Muller's work, but I plan to read more. In this novel, P.I. Sharon McCone discovers, quite by accident, that she was adopted as an infant. She is furious with her Ma, and sets out to find her real parents. Along the way, she encounters resistance like she never imagined, yet gets a whole new perspective on her own live.
Happy Reading,

Monday, September 06, 2010

What I Read #81

Blood Lure by Nevada Barr: " Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!" Well no lions or tigers, but bears abound in this exciting, but bizarre tale about Glacier National Park and the National Park Service. NPS employee Anna Pigeon comes back to Glacier National for some "bear" training. There she encounters bear expert Joan Rand and the adventures begin.
I learned more that I needed to know about black and grizzly bears, but in doing so, I found another author that I want to read more of.
Happy Reading,

Sunday, September 05, 2010

What I Read #80

So Sure of Death by Dana Stabenow: Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell is the focus of this novel by award winning author Dana Stabenow. The fishing boat, Marybethia, is found floating in the bay. It's entire crew dead, their corpses burned beyond recognition, and Trooper Campbell and his new assistant, Trooper Diana Prince, are expected to solve the case. Other murders occur, making their job even harder.
This was my first Liam Campbell novel. For some reason, it seems the only one in my nearby library. I will be visiting the used book stores in my area to find more of Liam Campbell.
Happy Reading,

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mind Ramblings

My mind is working overtime right now for some weird reason. I am preparing for vacation to Texas. I am excited about going. I am a little nervous about driving that far. I have always flown, went by train or bus, but this time I will drive. Now, you might ask, what is the big deal about that? Well, to be perfectly honest, I have never driven that far away from home. In my earlier years, my wife and kids and I would go to wife's grandparents yearly, but that was about an eight hour drive. My wife had done it so many times she knew the route by heart, and was my copilot.
This trip I will be going by myself, staying overnight in a motel, and traveling about 1000 miles. I will be traversing several states on roads I haven't driven, and either through or around BIG cities. I will have to stay alert and watch for all the signs and exits. I have my atlas, with the route well marked in hi-lighter, so I should not get lost. Curley offered me their GPS to take along, but I am thinking that it would confuse me all the more and I would have to stop if it needed reprogramming or something. Once I get on the interstate about 25 miles from my house, it will be dual lane all the way until I am two blocks from my brother's.

Another thing on my mind is my health. I have had to have this tube thingy put in my ear, and that is a good thing, only I have intermittent earaches. I go back to the ENT next week to have it checked. I am getting the name of a good ENT in TX while I am with her so if anything goes wrong, I will be able to see someone there. I had a physical last week and my PSA tests came back with higher numbers than the doc was comfortable with. So, when I get back from TX, I have to see an urologist just for safety sake. I have been reading on the internet (mistake #1) and the tests they might do on me scare me to death. I know I am being a sissy about this, but they sound so gross, and possibly painful. And, the specialist couldn't work me in until October 26th, so that's a long time to stew and fret about this stuff.

I am happy that the roof guys came early. They weren't due until October, but they called yesterday and had time to work me in, so they started and will finish up today. And they gave me a $100.00 discount because I could pay the bill in cash! That's a good thing.

Prof and Kiddo might be moving. This can be good and bad. Good that I will have the house to myself and P and Q again, but bad because I will miss having them here. So that is a mixed feeling going on within.

I found out the other day that my friend d'Hube, is in kidney failure and will be going on dialysis before too long. He is also battling prostate cancer for the second time and will be having to have surgery this time. He isn't doing very well and this makes me sad.

All of these things have been preying on my mind. I have not been sleeping well, probably due to some of this stuff. So, I have to rely on my faith to keep me strong and focused. God has a way of making things turn out for the best. I just have a hard time remembering that sometimes.

Keeping the faith,