Tuesday, June 30, 2009

it never fails

After the youngest finishes his swimming lesson this morning, we need to head over to our local Costco for a few items. A few items at Costco always ends up costing me close to $200, if I'm lucky and don't fall prey to some amazing 'deal' or temptation. I usually try and make a list to keep me within my budget, but even with a list, I always forget to pick up something needed for the house.

It never fails.

I watered my backyard flower beds this morning as rain has been scarce. Our extended forecast shows a chance of rain over the weekend, which might put a damper on a holiday plans for some folks, but we really need the water Mother Nature provides. On a positive note, all of my veggie plants are thriving and are either bearing produce or have some really awesome 'flowers' that indicate produce to come in the near future!

Yesterday while the oldest was at conditioning, I sat out at the field under a tree, enjoyed a nice breeze and began to read the third Inheritance Cycle book by Christopher Paolini, "Brisinger"....so far I'm not enjoying the book and slogged through the first 50 pages. Ugh. I hate when a book is slow to begin and if this one doesn't get better quick, I may set it aside. I rarely do that, but when a book is this size (748 pages), the temptation to cut bait is tempting.

Monday, June 29, 2009


We had a great weekend around here. Got a spur of the moment invitation to a cookout/swim party from the family of one of our oldest kid's friends. Had a ball at their house...good food, good company. Of course that meant we were up way too late on Saturday and getting out the door for 8:00 Mass on Sunday morning was a bit difficult. Met our new associate priest, a baby-priest, as this is his first parish after being ordained. Hope he can deliver a homily.

Threw together a crockpot of beef stroganoff for supper. For dessert we had a yellow sheetcake with white frosting topped with fresh strawberries. It was like strawberry shortcake on steroids...sooooo good.

I started a new book, "Mina"...the story of what took place after "Dracula" ended. Always wondered about what the characters would have done next. So far, it is a very good book.

Speaking of what happens next, while I was standing in church listening to the Gospel reading, I had a full blown flash of inspiration for a book. It just exploded onto the scene. Weird. And even more weird is that two possible ways of writing this story came to me. Needless to say the rest of Mass passed by in a blur, I was way too preoccupied to be prayerful. I came home and did quite a bit of googling to see if any fiction has been written about this character as the person is mentioned in Mark's Gospel. But, the book is most definitely not a Christian-fiction story.......

And even weirder still is that I keep thinking about this story idea, it is like a splinter in my head, it just won't stop 'talking' to me. So, I guess I will be pulling out the notebook and opening a Word doc because something tells me that until I start jotting down these thoughts, impressions, scenes and ideas the noise in my head isn't going to stop.

Friday, June 26, 2009

finger lickin fifteen

I'm not even going to bother recapping Janet Evanovich's latest novel about Stephanie Plum and the assorted wacky folks that inhabit the pages of "Finger Lickin Fifteen."

Go. Buy. Borrow. Read. Enjoy.

I laughed out loud causing the middle kid to roll her eyes at me before she dove back into the pages of her summer reading novel. Poor kid, no laughter coming from her...I did enough for both of us though!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the proposal

I usually have a fairly tight fist when it comes to parting with my money to purchase a movie ticket. We have a 'big screen needed' yardstick and we use it to determine whether or not we should lay down the cash to pay for a seat at the local Malco. Obviously such movies as Harry Potter qualify for a family trip to the theater, but many times we wait for the dvd to be released on other films.

Now that we are in the dog days of summer, a bit earlier than normal I might note, I caved yesterday and took the girls to see the latest Sandra Bullock, romantic comedy, "The Proposal." It was an adorable movie with good acting, a cute albeit predictable storyline, and it included Betty White! One scene was so funny between Bullock and White that I actually had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

Now, this pic isn't going to win any Academy Awards, even with the recent change that will allow ten films instead of five to be nominated for best picture of the year. But, it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours with my girls.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

summer reading

In between me nagging my daughters to read their assigned books for their honors English classes, I have managed to do a lot of reading this summer. I've almost completed the Flower Shop Mystery series and cracked open the latest title to be published, "Evil in Carnations" yesterday. I think I will move on to the Cleo Coyle Coffeeshop series when I get a chance. I'm also eagerly awaiting the new Janet Evanovich book, "Finger Lickin' Fifteen." I think some bookstore buddies and I have come up with a plan to allow several of us to read the book on only one 'check-out.' Evil laughter should ensue now........I love a good plan!

The bookstore is thriving this summer. We joined forces with the Young Adult department and are the source of their summer reading prizes. We've given away almost 100 books to YA readers. They read for ten hours and they get a coupon for a free book. The ironic thing is most of the books they can choose from were discards from the library's YA section.

Beyond the freebies, sales are UP. Yeah. I was a tad bit concerned when our weekly totals dropped during April and May. We've rebounded and are back to our old sales numbers. Good thing for all concerned. Folks are reading and we are making money.

The head children's librarian told me yesterday they signed up 1400 kids so far for the reading programs, children's and YA. That is a good number, but I can't remember if it is equal to what they've done in the past. Will have to investigate further next time I see her and she isn't swamped with wee ones looking for just that one certain book.

Today we are off to the high school to sell snack foods to the summer school students and raise money for the soccer boosters. Then the girls and I may see a movie, I'm thinking Sandy Bullock's new one, "The Proposal." Looks cute and most definitely a chick flick.

Our water leak was a minor fix and was resolved in less than an hour yesterday afternoon. The Town responded nicely and the plumber arrived on time and quickly had the problem corrected. Keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have any other 'joy of home ownership issues to resolve over the next several months.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the physick book of deliverance dane

If I'm not mistaken, I first read about this book in The New Yorker because when I stumbled across it on the new release shelf at the library, the title and the plot rang major bells in my head. Yesterday I mentioned I was enjoying the story and after finishing it last night, my opinion is solidified. This was a good read: a supernatural flavored mystery with a healthy dose of American history, interesting characters and a great setting. I want to visit the cottage on Milk Lane and wander through that garden thinking about the 'cunning' women who harvested herbs to heal those around them.

Katherine Howe's debut novel weaves a wonderful spell.....dive in and enjoy.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The clear calendar I've been enjoying ends today. We have a variety of events this week. The youngest is attending Camp Invention. He will attend this science/exploration camp all day long all week. The oldest has an orthodontist appointment, just a check-up, as well as snack selling duties at the highschool for the soccer booster club, which I get to help with as well. We also have our regularly scheduled library and bookstore events.

Then to top all that off.....we noticed a small puddle of standing water in the easement area of the front yard right over the water meter. Yep. So, I went online and filled out the new Mayor's Action Center form to report a leak to our Town water department. Going to be interesting to see how quickly they respond. Going to be more interesting to see who gets to pay to fix this obvious problem. My guess is my checkbook/savings account is going to be lighter in a few short days.

Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.

In the realm of reading, I've set aside the Kate Collin's Flower Shop Mysteries and am taking a delightful detour into our early American past with Kate Howe's debut novel, "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane." I'm bewitched:) Howe, a descendant of not one, but two, Salem "witches" has crafted a book that moves in time between 1991 and the 1680's. Harvard grad student Connie Goodwin has to write her PhD dissertation when she discovers Deliverance and begins to piece together a new way to view the Salem witch phenomena.

Great stuff! The writing is layered and complex, the imagery is lush and the characters are well drawn. Will have to savor this one while reading it at a steady pace.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

home again

We arrived back home yesterday after our trip east for a family and work visit. I packed three books to read while we were away and am happy to report that I finished the third one yesterday.

I love when I find a new series to enjoy. Kate Collins' "Flower Shop Mysteries" are easy, light and fun reads. Abby Knight is a law school flunk-out who buys a flower shop in New Chapel, IN with what is left of a trust fund. She is also an amateur sleuth who seems to attract 'murders' like flowers attract bees. The books are full of interesting characters, a solid mystery and plenty of humor. I started book five in this series yesterday and am looking forward to plenty of Abby Knight adventures over the weekend.

Happy Friday:)

Friday, June 12, 2009

getting ready to depart

We are headed for points east over the weekend. The family is excited to make the trek to see my folks and spend some time with them. Then on our way home we will be stopping so the hubby can make a job site visit and do a punch list....yep. Keep a good thought that the weather is nice later next week and I'm not cooped up in a hotel room with three kids, no car and a rainy day while he is working. That would be very bad, very bad indeed.

Yesterday during our donation sorting time I found two books by Kate Collins. Her "Flowershop Mysteries" have adorable titles, cute covers and look to be quick reads. I absconded with those two and then went into the library and checked out every other Flowershop title they had on the shelf. I stacked them into a pretty pastel tower on my nightstand.

The bookstore is thriving now that summer is upon us. After a very wet and slow spring, sales have picked up, the inventory is moving and donations are pouring into the store.

The library was busy yesterday. It is always nice to see kids walking out with books. The whole building has a different vibe during June and July. The tense-under the deadline- feel of the school months dissipates and is replaced by the ooohhh-this will be fun to read-smiling faces atmosphere.

We've one more swimming lesson, two more keeper sessions and one more VBS class before our mini vacation begins. Guess I better think about packing food and snacks as well as cleaning the house.

Enjoy the weekend and next week as well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

basic updates

Two of my writing buddies have books coming out this month.....you go girls! Gives me great hope that when I can finally sit down, open up that long neglected file, and apply some effort that I may to have a shot at seeing my name in 'lights.'

The middle kid made the soccer team she tried out for...yeah!

The oldest kid is taking her tryout results well and actually quite a bit of drama is swirling around that whole situation. She's glad to be out of the mix in many ways.

I have finished my to be read pile and need to see about finding a few books to take with us as we head east for a visit to my folks.

Swimming lessons, VBS and GK camp are all going well and I've truly enjoyed the afternoons off and discovered that yes, I do enjoy cooking dinner when I don't have to juggle four other things along with the grill and the stove.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the current read

Right now I'm plowing through a historical fiction novel about Lady Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt....great stuff and the neat thing is this is a republished book by Anya Seton, a very good writer who dominated the historical fiction world after World War II until the mid 1950's when the trends in fiction began to change.

Tell you what, this book is fantastic and a very good read.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

skin trade

Sometimes my stubbornness is rewarded. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series has gathered lots of fans over the years and some have been very vocal about how she's lost her touch, the stories aren't as good, too many characters, too much sex etc. I've even commented that more of the action was in the bedroom than on the streets, but I have to say, this book reverses that trend and was a good read.

"Skin Trade" is the 17th book featuring Anita and a fairly large cast of monsters...some are even human. Anita receives a package from Las Vegas, but this isn't the sort of package you are happy you opened. The Las Vegas vampire executioner's head has been mailed to her, a rather grisly invitation to hit the road and see what Vegas has to offer besides casinos and buffets. Hamilton brings Edward back into the story, as well as assorted other characters from previous books, but the star of this novel is the fact Anita gets to hunt down monsters without all the distractions her many St. Louis men provide.

I wouldn't suggest reading any of the Anita books out of order. A reader needs to follow Anita along and see how she grows, develops and responds to the increasingly preternatural world she inhabits. There is a definite overriding rollercoaster effect to this body of work and you need to get on this ride with book one.

Monday, June 8, 2009

you can't always get what you want

We had a roller coaster of a weekend. Last week was soccer tryouts for the oldest and middle kids. Lots of teenaged angst, lots of hand wringing parents and then the joy of sitting and waiting for the phone to ring. Add into this mix the fact that a rival club had an entire age group wanting to defect to our club....the rumor mill began churning out a variety of possibilities.

The good news is that the oldest is on a team, the same team she played on this past year with the same coach. The bad news is she wanted to move up to a 'better' team and while she didn't get promoted, her best friend...who didn't even attend tryouts, was awarded that coveted slot.

Hard dose of reality. Big slap to the ego. Lots of tears. Lots of questions. Then the ultimate question....what are you going to do about it? Her answer....show them they made a bad choice.

Good girl.

The middle kid is still waiting to hear. Coaches have seven days to call and offer a position to a new player. The good news on that front is her old coach was already contacted and questioned about those intangible things not always evident in 3 hours of tryouts. We expect good news for her.

The lesson of the weekend....just like the song says: you can't always get what you want, but you always get what you need.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Rode my bike alongside my oldest as she went for her morning run.
Coerced the kids into helping me wash the van.
Ready to get cleaned up and start the rest of the day.

Ahhhhhh. I love summer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I love reading about English history and anything to do with a major battle is an instant selection. When you add to that fact I think Bernard Cornwell is one heckuva writer, I have a winning combination.

The heroic tale of "Agincourt".....let me refresh your memory: 6,000 Englishmen to 30,000 Frenchmen, Henry V, archers.

Yep. One very engrossing and entertaining read. Cornwell brings history to life, makes battle tactics vivid and always populates his stories with characters who are flawed, humorous, tragic and 'real'.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

just us girls

I've had a wonderful time hanging out with the two daughters over the last three days and although we miss hubby/dad and son/brother, it was a nice break and a great chance to do some 'girly' stuff.

It seems every summer offers an opportunity for some one on one time with the kids. Last summer while the oldest was in Ohio for a soccer showcase, the middle kid and I stayed home and hubby and the youngest made the trek to Ohio to watch the games. It was a wonderful week and we ALL had fun.

I enjoy my kids, especially in the summer when the pace is a bit slower, the commitments are fewer and everyone is more relaxed.

Today we are waiting for our intrepid campers to come home from Hardy, Arkansas and Camp Kia Kima. I'm sure the evening, after club soccer tryouts, will be filled with the sharing of stories and pictures.

Monday, June 1, 2009

hodge podge

Over the last week I've watched a few movies borrowed from the library and I've read a couple of books. Here are a few thumbnail reviews of what I've cluttered my mind with......

"Kitty Raises Hell" the latest Carrie Vaughn novel about a radio talk show host who just happens to be a werewolf is a very satisfying addition to this urban fantasy series. Loved that the evil villain is not a shifter or a vamp but a genie!

"A Poisoned Season" by Tasha Alexander is the second novel featuring amateur sleuth Lady Emily Ashton, and is a delightful Victorian read filled with plenty of history, fashion, fun characters and clever dialogue.

We watched: Quantum of Solace, Prince Caspian, The Last Legion and Beach Blanket Bingo. Yes, quite the variety of movies!

Quantum of Solace was typical James Bond, great eye candy for the ladies and the gentlemen, but unfortunately, this one lacked a driving plot.....although it had plenty of car chases.

Prince Caspian is the second Disney effort to bring the Chronicles of Narnia to the big screen. I LOVED those books growing up and am happy to report this movie was as good as the first and maybe even a tad bit better.

The Last Legion starred Colin Firth and was a fun look at how Excalibur came to be the stuff of legend....interesting combination of Celtic and Roman history and a neat twisting together of several Arthurian themes.

Beach Blanket Bingo....what can I say but this movie came out the year I was born, 1965, and my girls thought it was hysterical. Frankie and Annette on the beach...what is not to find funny?

We are back to the library today to find more books to read and more movies to watch now that the TV is filled with repeats and the few shows we do try and catch we've already seen.......