Friday, December 31, 2010

NEW COMPUTER

Well, my guy talked me into it. The old computer had viruses. To reload would cost more than it was worth. Ergo, I'm now the proud possessor of a new laptop.

Alas, it comes with the Windows 7 and Word 10 and all those things that I am having to upgrade to. I hate having to relearn how to do stuff. that was second nature before.

But it's a necessity. And I shall persevere.

Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS CANDY

I made my usual batches of candy for Christmas: fudge with nuts, divinity, fudge with peanut butter, panocha, pralines, and peanut butter candy. No orange candy or cream cheese fudge this year, but that's okay.

Despite my giveaways, I had plenty left to eat. Too much.

And too bad.

The scale tells the sad tale.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

GRANNY's HOUSE

We went up to north Georgia this past week and saw Granny, then went on up to her house and picked up furniture and other things. It was cold, but we always enjoy going through the GA foothills.

The views are fantastic, especially after living in the lowlands for a while.





And Mercier's Apple House in Blue Ridge was crowded as usual. We got chow chow, Gold Rush apples, and a box of the most delicious fried pies! Apple, peach, and other great fillings
Unfortunately, we ate them all. My scale tells the tale.
And here's Granny's house. Not the same without her though.

We love our island, but the GA foothills are awfully nice!
  
 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KINDLE

Well, I got a Kindle.

We were going up to North Georgia and I was about to buy some books to take with me and my guy said, "Let's get your Christmas present now and put that money toward an eReader."

So I ended up with a Kindle. So far, I really like it except the BUY button is too easy to hit by mistake! I accidentally bought a book I wouldn't have (I was trying to download sample chapters) but it was only $2.99 so I wasn't out much money. And supposedly we learn from experience.

On the plus side, I was able to use it immediately and for a tech wishIwere like me, that's saying a lot.

I read some book samples, downloaded a few books and hey, presto! I had something to read!

Monday, December 13, 2010

WICKED APPETITE

I liked Janet Evanovich's early Stephanie Plum books. I suspect WICKED APPETITE is supposed to be the start of a new series, similar to Plum's but with paranormal elements. It's set in Salem MA and involves Diesel, a character from Plum, and his supposed to be feared - I think - cousin Wulf. There's also a cat. Oh, and a monkey I believe we've seen before. The heroine is a baker with a friend who thinks she can do magic.

To be honest, I didn't care for the characters - sadly, not even the cat and monkey - and the plot seemed kind of a rehash of Plum with some paranormal aspects. I finished it, so it did keep me interested. But I doubt I'll run out and buy the next one. Of course, that may be because I'm getting tired of the paranormal urban fantasy mystery type stuff. And maybe my taste is evolving. Some of the situations seemed silly rather than funny. There were no laugh out loud moments as I had in the very first Plum book.

Evanovich fans will probably like it. It's not a bad read, just not an excellent one.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Cold Weather

Brrrr. We are wondering if we moved far enough south.

We went out to eat earlier in the week, on one of the really cold nights. At the Frederica House, they kindly put us next to the baseboard heaters by the windows and we ate our great dinner in cozy comfort.

But as we were rushing inside, this guy in short sleeves comes out. I don't usually talk to strangers, but I was so startled at his coatless state, I couldn't help it. "You're going to freeze!"

He didn't answer, just kind of sneered like, Lady, this ain't cold. and went on to his car

I figured he was a Yankee. My guy said no, he looked like a salesman to him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

THE CASTAWAYS

I was reading this book by Elin Hilderbrand at the same time I was reading CASTING OFF. I really liked both of them so got them read in a few days.

THE CASTAWAYS is about a group of friends. Four couples who have known each other for about twenty??? years. Not too long into the story, one of the couples goes on a sailing outing to celebrate their anniversary. The sailboat capsizes and they die.

The book explores the links between the couples and what happens after the deaths. There's also a hint of mystery.

Before the sailboat outing, the couple had been at odds. A student had accused the husband of sexual harassment. The wife was having an affair.

There is speculation. The autopsy showed a strong narcotic in the wife. The two quarreled on the boat, leading to their deaths. The husband meant to kill his wife but was such a bad sailor he killed himself, too. All kinds of intriguing facts come out.

The ending left me feeling sad but satisfied. A very good read. Thank you, Laura, for commenting that you liked her writing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CASTING OFF

I just finished this book by Nicole R. Dickson and really enjoyed it. It's about an American woman, a single mother, going to an island off the coast of Ireland to research the sweaters knitted there. Knitting stitches and their meanings are woven in but mainly the story is about her and her young daughter. They drifted from place to place because she blames herself for the death of her daughter's father and she wants a home. Of course, the book ends with the usual acceptance, redemption, and all that.

But an observation came from one of the characters, an old fisherman, toward the end of the story when the heroine was weeping over what she hadn't done. "You're hangin' onto the wrong moment."

He meant she should be remembering what she had done rather than dwelling on what she hadn't. Sometimes our choices mean something bad happens before something good comes from it. (A banal example is passing up the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie to keep the waistline small; we don't get to taste the pie but we're happy with our waists.)

So we need to remember the good things we've done and forget the bad.

Good advice. Really good book!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HOLIDAY FLU

Why do we always get sick around the holidays? Is it too much wine, food and song?

So my guy has to go to the doctor and get antibiotics before his sinus infection turns into bronchitis. And he's grouchy cause he feels bad and I'm grouchy cause he's grouchy. And every year it seems to happen.

I thought moving south would fix it. Now he's saying maybe we need to consider moving further south. Like Belize.

Where they have hurricanes?  I don't think so.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Movies at Home

We watched a movie from Blockbuster last night. LEAVES OF GRASS. A professor who's climbed up from poverty goes back to Oklahoma when his redneck twin is murdered. It was okay. Had some surprising twists I wasn't expecting. And some gore. We watched it all the way through which we don't do if we don't like the beginning. Anyway, there were several people in it we recognized but couldn't put names to. At the end, we looked for the cast names. And looked. And looked.

After everyone and his brother got listed -- Does anyone really care who designed the costumes, who cast the actors, who chose the location, who did the hair, who carried the cameras, who...? You get the picture -- we finally got to the cast. Then the names whizzed by. Luckily, we had the remote and could stop it long enough to figure out who the people were.


Take old movies. The stars and cast are put out front. And lots of times, they're at the end, too. Only when they're all listed do the other support people run.

Maybe they assume the audience will stay put to see all those people when the cast is listed last. We did last night, although we didn't even look at the names that came before. In a theater? No way. We get up and leave. My guy likes to beat the crowd.

So that's my rant for the day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

AND IT WAS A HAPPY, HEARTY THANKSGIVING!

Too much turkey, ham, dressing, gravy, biscuits, green beans, sweet potato casserole, congealed fruit salad, cranberry sauce. Couldn't eat either the homemade chocolate cake (with homemade fudge icing!) or the luscious looking pumpkin pie. Had to wait till long afterward.

Hope everybody ate as well as we did.

Hope everybody isn't still groaning today like we are.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LOCAL CRIME REPORT

Saw yesterday in the police reports that a woman was arrested for shoplifting food. Sixty-odd dollars worth.

I have no sympathy for people who steal beer, electronics, jewelry and other stuff like that. Give them some hard time to serve.

But food...

While I don't approve of what she did, I can't help but wonder what I'd do if my children were hungry and I had no money and no one -- relatives, friends, charities -- to help. I don't think I'd steal, but on the other hand, I've never had to choose.

Anyway, I'll make extra sure I donate to the food banks in the county this year. I think they need the help more than ever.

Friday, November 19, 2010

WINTER GARDEN

Just this minute finished Kristin Hannah's WINTER GARDEN and enjoyed it.

She writes women's fiction and is a very nice writer. This story gives a lot of history about Leningrad during the German advance in WWII. While the plot starts with two America daughters, unhappy in their lives and who can't understand their Russian mother, it's really about the mother. She was in Leningrad and ended up marrying an American after being freed from the Germans at the end of the war.

The daughters don't understand why she's so cold and distant until their father dies. He makes them promise to make their mother tell them the fairy tale she stopped telling them when they were young. Once the mother begins, her personality begins emerging and in the end is understandable.

It ends on a happy note, thank goodness.

If you enjoy women's fiction, or historical fiction that isn't romance, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TENNIS PROS

I dabbled in tennis years ago but I took lessons from a woman so this question never came up.

Lately, I've noticed an unnamed tennis pro who, whenever I go by and he's teaching, often has his shirt off. Even on quite chilly days.

But, I've also noticed it's usually when he's working with a cute gal. If it's a man on the court with him, he isn't always barechested.

He does have a nice physique. I'm wondering if he's showing it off just a bit, maybe? Do all tennis pros do this? How about golf pros?

Monday, November 15, 2010

CATS

So my guy lost a thumb drive. This right after Roz threw his watch off the dresser.

"Those *&%$* cats! I'm ready to change their zip codes! All they do is lose my stuff!"

(The zip code threat isn't unusual but he was pretty miffed this time.)

I of course was the voice of reason. "Where did you have it last?"

He thought. Called a friend because he'd been helping her with some stuff and used it in her computer. No answer. He left a message.

He thought some more. "I hope I didn't leave it in my jeans and it got washed."

"Haven't washed dark stuff lately." (Haven't washed anything lately. I hate housework.)

He checked the dirty clothes hamper and guess what! There it was, tucked away in the watch pocket.

He did apologize to the cats. My guy's really pretty nice.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Southernese

I am reading, but am about to stop reading, a novel set in north Georgia. The author is from the north or the midwest or Michigan maybe?

The reason I mention where the author lives is because while s/he's obviously done research about the north Georgia foothills (things like red clay, poultry farms, herbs, apples, etc. are popping up all over the place), s/he fell down on the use of y'all.

To all people outside the south:  y'all is plural. It's short for you all. All means more than one. Well, usually three I think but for our purposes, we'll take it to mean more than one.

For example, you can pull up in your car by 2-3 walkers and ask, "Y'all want a ride?" Fine. No problem.

But you don't say this if there is only one walker. Then it's, "You want a ride?"

See? When you speak to one person, you say you. You speak to more than one, say y'all. Easy.

That being understood, there are instances when you can speak to one person and say y'all. One example is meeting someone on the street and asking about the spouse and family. Before you go your separate ways, it is perfectly permissible to say, "Now y'all come by and see us sometime, you hear?" That's because you're issuing an (admittedly vague) invitation to one person and his/her entire family to visit. Whew.

So after the umpteenth scene in which the heroine, alone with the hero, says y'all in her 'soft southern drawl' to him without mention of family, I'm ready to throw in the towel. Now y'all come over here and let me fix that cut on your head. Now y'all sit down and eat this sandwich I made specially for you. I swear, I just love y'all to pieces.

Ugh, And it's not a bad story either. Except for this one nit, I'd probably enjoy the book.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WICKED BECOMES YOU

Okay, I struggled and finished two humongous books the last month, with lots of convoluted and wordy sentences and not much on plots or characters I wanted to root for. It was time for a light, fun read.

WICKED BECOMES YOU by Meredith Duran was given me by my crit partner (thank you, Nan!) with a shrug. "It's a historical. It wasn't that bad. In fact, it was pretty good except for the sex."

I like sex okay, assuming it's M/F type sex, so I started reading.

The story got my attention right off the bat and pretty much kept it. The plot wasn't much but I really liked the heroine, a merchant's daughter groomed to fit into the Ton of Victorian England. She tries to marry into a higher class but is jilted. Twice. The last time after walking up the aisle.

So she decides to heck with it all. She's tired of being told what to do, what to say, what to think. And especially knitting sweaters and embroidering so as to fit in with the society she's trying to become a part of. She won't do it any more.

The book focuses on Gwen's attempts to be shunned by the people she formerly tried to join. Of course there's a hero with his own angst. Not too much. Just enough to be a willing companion in Gwen's debauchery. And oh, I forgot to say he's a member by birth of that clique she's determined to scandalize.

So it all ends happily. Not too terribly much plot but, hey, it's not great literary fiction or a clever mystery. It's a romance.

Thumbs up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE HISTORIAN

THE HISTORIAN is the first book by Elizabeth Kostova. The Swan Thieves is her second published, and I read it before reading this one.

Kostova's writing may be better in the second book -- she's one of the descriptive, literary types who tend to convoluted sentences with lots of words -- but the first was more interesting. It's told from the viewpoint of a young girl whose father tells her tales about Dracula. Unfortunately, there are also notes from her father's viewpoint, about his courtship of her mother, and what happened to her mother's father who was also her father's mentor. Too much is going on when all get caught up in the search for Dracula's burial site. Seems like old Vlad didn't just stay in Transylvania but traveled around. Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey...

The Historian was a long, slow read, and it was about Dracula (Oh, no, not another book about vampires!) so for me, it had two strikes against it from the start. People who love Dracula may enjoy the book for it does give a different slant on him. People who like to read about medieval history may enjoy it, for there is a great deal of history in it. You can tell Kostova's done her research. But people who like crisp plots without excess padding probably will find it boring.

Not one of my favorites, but I did finish it. Finally.

Monday, November 8, 2010

TRAVELS

My guy and I had to travel this weekend. We went to the north Georgia foothills for Granny's 92nd birthday party.
Isn't she a doll?
Then we swung back through Athens and went south.

The Georgia hills are always lovely.

 This is the road where you look ahead and see hills, hills, and more hills, till finally you see a notch at the top where it goes over the highest hill.
A long straight road with ups and downs. Kind of like life.


Finally we made it back! Yay!
Here they are, the marshes of Glynn.

And the marina as we go back on the island.



So nice to be back home!





Repeat after me.

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CATS AND SMALL SPACES

Why do cats love to get into small spaces? Go to get some underwear and presto! One large cat stuffed into one small drawer. Open a cabinet to throw something in the trash can and presto! One large cat wrapped around the trash can when there's barely room for the can.

And don't forget laps. Get on the computer with your knees almost touching the keyboard drawer and presto! One large cat between your lap and the keyboard drawer, jiggling the keyboard and making you type *%$#(P)_#.

Once our cow-cat curled up in a plastic bag. Then something scared her and she shot out like a rocket. Unfortunately, the bag handle was wrapped around her neck. She ran through the house in terror, unable to get it off, spreading urine and other stuff I won't talk about. We finally caught her and got it off, but what a mess.

Sometimes I wonder if they're worth it. But then, I think of course they are. What else would my guy and I talk about if we didn't have them?  And they're sweet when they're asleep.

Of course they get kind of grumpy when you wake them up. Like the cow-cat below giving me the evil-eye when my camera flash went off.


Friday, November 5, 2010

LOCAL PAPER

Once again I'm reading the police blotter in the local paper.

In one instance, police got a report of a man punching a woman in the face. They found the couple arguing in the street and asked if something was wrong. The man said no and walked off. The woman rubbed her jaw and then said the man had hit her in the jaw. But she refused medical treatment and no arrest was made.

In the second instance, the victims, a man and woman, said another woman walked up and asked the male why he was trying to break up her friendship with the other woman. Then she slapped him. Then she started fighting with the other woman -- her friend??? -- and punched her several times. She finally threw her friend??? into a puddle and walked off. Police couldn't find her so no arrests were made.

I think these people have been watching too many violent movies and TV shows!

Oh, and the last one? Loud music from a car caused police to do a traffic check but the car wouldn't stop. It proceeded at a slow rate of speed before turning into a yard. The driver said he just wanted to get his car home because he knew he was getting arrested. He had a suspended license.

Why in the world would you turn up the volume and draw attention to yourself if you had a suspended license? Sometimes I wonder about people.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SOUTH OF BROAD

Just finished SOUTH OF BROAD by Pat Conroy. I did read through to the end, but it was a struggle. He throws in integration, child/spousal abuse, priest pedophiles, AIDS, orphans, Appalachian hillbillies, Charleston old families, Hurricane Hugo...

You get the idea. It's a long book with not a lot of plot. Which is okay for literary fiction, I guess. But I fear he's turned out like a lot of other good writers who become wordy without a good editor to calm them down. Maybe it's because their books sell so well that the pubs don't care; maybe it's a lack of enough editors to go around. I don't know. But I've noticed this in the works of several other writers including a couple of well-known mystery writers,

So I'm looking for something light to read. I have a historical romance I'm about ready to jump on.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SAD DAY FOR GA FANS

Oh, it's a sad little island. Went out to breakfast and never saw so many morose people.

Yes, UGA lost - I won't report the score - and the guy who lives with me is quite grumpy.

I take it in stride. "Next year," I say.

He snarls something back, I retreat. Tomorrow he'll be better. Or else.

And one good thing, the crowd coming back last night was subdued. Only woke up once, and that was to a gentle murmur that quickly went away. Not like the night before when parties were going on.

Friday, October 29, 2010

GA FL GAME PREPARATIONS

The Island is crowded to capacity. This is one of the biggest visitor weekends of the year. In fact, people have been pouring in all week. Nearly all of them are going to the GA FL ball game tomorrow. The Village is all revved up.

Here are the store windows, ready for customers.

And here is a potential customer.





Of course we have the car decals. And the flags.  

And look at the buildings all gussied up.

 

We really can't forget those all important beer trucks lined up for delivery!

  

Now I just hope Georgia wins. If not, it'll be a sad little island tomorrow night. But then, maybe we can get some sleep!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

KINDLE vs NOOK vs iPAD

I've decided. I will buy an ereader after the first of the year. Prices are expected to come down when new models appear, and I can take my time making up my mind. So I'm okay with waiting.

After an exhibition by our computer club, I'm leaning toward a Kindle. But I'm still open to other arguments. Right now I've heard from people who have the three in the title. Each one loves his/her device. I'm thinking since I don't really want to do much more than read with one, the Kindle will serve the purpose.

Of course, once I get one, I'll have to wait for our library to get into the ebook business. But they will, I'm sure. Just a matter of time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TARGET

I had a Target gift card. When I used it, I had a hard time deciding between house slippers that I needed and a bra exactly like one I have and like. I'm not to the point of needing one, but after thinking about it, I bought it and not the slippers.

Reason? Whenever I go to buy a bra that I know fits and is comfortable, they no longer make that model, the store no longer stocks that brand, or they're down to 2 or 3 in sizes that might fit one of the adolescent models with no boobs. I figured while I could find one I can wear, I'd better get it.

Bet I'm not the only woman obsessing over my bra disappearing from the shelves when I really, really need to buy one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HIGH TIDE

I was down at the Village this morning about an hour or so before high tide. Already the surf was pounding the rocks. The whole island is only about seventeen feet above sea level, I think.

I feel rather uneasy.


Monday, October 25, 2010

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

I used to love reading romantic suspense but lately, if it doesn't involve werewolves or vampires, it's FBI agents or rogue CIA agents; or drug dealers or forensic examiners or some kind of stuff like that. I'm tired of heroes and heroines who are barely outrunning the bad guys but who take time for a torrid sexual encounter with honey and/or whipped cream anyway. I'm tired of a child getting kidnapped and his/her mother thinking about nothing but jumping into bed with her only hope of saving him (an outlaw/ cop/federal agent/soldier of fortune) when fear for her child should be uppermost in her mind.

What happened to the good old stories about ordinary people in unexpected situations who don't have super agents/agencies to fall back on? Who can control their sexual impulses, especially in life-threatening situations?

I'm sure there are books out there somewhere that I'd like, but I can't seem to find them. The last one I tried I won't even mention because I'm about to stop reading it.

So there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FIRE IN COMPLEX

Went for our walk Friday morning and to our horror, a condo at the front was roped off. An elderly woman who lived there died in the blaze. She was not in good health and on oxygen but she loved working in her tiny yard. She frightened the landscapers off, daring them to cut any shrub or dig up any plant she took care of.

The other condos in that building were protected by the firewall. The one right over the condo where the fire started, did have damage but it was because the fire burst out the windows and went up. The fire itself did not burn through the floor. This makes me feel better since I've wondered what would happen if a condo next to us caught on fire.


They still aren't sure what caused the fire, but we've noticed our chandelier over the dining table is getting old, with one lantern broken and exposing a wire.

We went out today and bought a new one!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VINTAGE TRIUMPH CONFERENCE

Went to Jekyll Island this morning to see all the vintage Triumphs. Must have been hundreds of them. Great show!

This picture is of the vendor stand selling British stuff.




These two are of some of the cars. In the background you can see the Moss Cottage in the Jekyll Historic District.





Wish we could afford a hobby like this!

Monday, October 18, 2010

LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER

Just finished this book by Dorothea Benton Frank. It's a sequel to PLANTATION, which she wrote some years ago, but I didn't have to remember any of the first book (although some characters did seem familiar) to enjoy this one. It's another dysfunctional family tale, southern-style, with all the coastal Carolina descriptions that transport you right there.

I do get annoyed when heroes/heroines look down on other people who live or came from mobile homes and allow readers to look down on them as rednecks, uneducated and scum of the earth. Some people who grow up in them can turn out to be professionals such as nurses, accountants, and teachers. I personally know some who, along with their parents, would not be ill at ease in some of the southern mansion society Frank writes about. Seems to me sometimes authors forget it's a person's character that makes him/her a lowlife.

I loved Frank's writing style in her first book. And her latest is good, but there were so many y'all's, it became tedious. And, too, dysfunctional family plots are all too common. I'm ready for stuff with a plot.

But I finished it, even enjoyed it. So I can recommend it with a good conscience.

Friday, October 15, 2010

HAIRBALLS

Yes, company's coming and what happens?

You got it. Hairball. I guess I should be glad it wasn't in the middle of the guest bed. Now I'm following the other cat around, hoping she won't throw up, too. Or if she does, hoping it won't happen just as, or immediately after, our guests arrive.

I do know one thing. Next time we install carpet, we're going for puke brown.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CATS

What is it with cats and hairballs? I can't believe they enjoy yukking up the silly things.

Came in today and on the sun room sofa where Roz likes to snooze, there it was. A long hairball. With some other stuff to the side.

She looked at me quite innocently but I'm sure it was her. Jackson doesn't sleep on that sofa very much. He prefers to yuk on our bed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

THE ETRUSCAN CHIMERA

This book by Lyn Hamilton is a nice, well plotted mystery. It gives some background of the Etruscans and talks about some of their art. Her protagonist is an antiques dealer who goes around the world buying antiques. This is the first of the series I've read, but evidently she's in business with her ex-husband and has a new boyfriend. They didn't really come into play in this book so I'm wondering if their presence in others would make the story more engrossing.

I did find my mind wandering with all the place names (the heroine travels through towns in France and Italy -- even one excursion to Ireland -- listing shops and streets and landmarks) and so many people scurrying around. The writing may be a little bland, too. Still, I finished it which I don't always do. So for someone wanting to while away an hour or so, this might be a good choice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

THE SWAN THIEVES

I recently finished reading THE SWAN THIEVES by Elizabeth Kostova. The writing was good, the story interesting.

A psychiatrist takes an interest in a new patient, an artist.  For some reason the psychiatrist becomes obsessed with finding out why this artist tried to damage a painting in the National Gallery. The book follows the psychiatrist as he tries to unravel the mystery.

The story is told from several viewpoints, first person viewpoints which I find tiring. Especially when the voices aren't distinct enough to distinguish between them. And I do get tired of fiftyish men falling in love with thirtyish women who amazingly love them back. Although in one subplot there was an older woman with a man twenty years younger who adored her. I'm sure it happens but still...

The plot itself was good, the clues tied up in the end, but the writing seemed to go on and on. While I didn't stop reading -- I've made a vow that if the book doesn't hold my attention in the first few chapters, I stop wasting my time -- I did think I would never get to the end of it.

If someone likes historicals with a splash of mystery, s/he will probably enjoy this one.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GOLF TOURNAMENT

Our little island is so excited. The PGA is putting on a tournament here starting today. Buses have been bussing, planes have been flying, helicopters have been hovering, policemen have been policing and people are everywhere.

Almost makes me wish I followed golf!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LITTLE GIRLS AGAIN

We had company the past weekend. Another little girl, this one eight years old. She walks in and says importantly, "I have a makeup bag."

Thinking lip gloss and clear fingernail polish and things like that, I ask, "What do you have in it?"

"Oh... Mascara and other stuff."

"Mascara?"A lot different from how it used to be. I can't remember mascara ever showing up in play makeup.

She opened her bag. Sure enough, there was makeup. An eyeliner pencil, a compact, maybe some blush. And mascara.

"My mommy gave me most of it," she explains, "but we bought the mascara."

And every morning she carefully "made up" her face with the mascara. Oh, she also used some lip softener (colorless in a lipstick tube) I gave her.

I'm beginning to sound like an old fart but things have really changed since I was a little girl!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DRESSNER'S IN THE VILLAGE

What is it about places you frequent closing? It's like finding a bra that fits then going back to get another one and -- Sorry! We no longer stock that one!  Or worse: Sorry! They quit making that one!

Now one of our pet places, Dressner's, has closed.

Went by for tea and coffee yesterday morning and the closed sign was up. We thought maybe they were changing to winter hours but no, they are officially closed as of Monday. Sunday was the last day..

No one knew. No one got to throw them a farewell party. No one got to eat one last giant blueberry pancake or sausage gravy biscuit.

We are sad. It's been around longer than we've lived here or even been coming down. I loved the rough wooden plank floors and the reasonable prices. Now it's gone.

We'll miss you, Dressner's!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BACK TO LITTLE GIRLS

We're at home ready for supper. No company. No plans to go out. Just a cozy supper at home.

So her mother hands the seven year old a blue headband to put on her hair, to keep it back and out of her mouth while we're eating.

"No!" she says emphatically. "Blue is not my best color!"

"It's just to keep your hair back."

"I don't want to look ugly!"

I think it's all this princess stuff. Maybe we need to popularize tomboys for a change.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FAT BOYS

Toolin' down  !-95 I saw a back window sticker on an SUV: I MARRIED A FAT BOY.

So I'm wondering, is she bragging or complaining? Is there a FAT BOY club or fraternity? What's the deal?

So much out there I don't understand!

Monday, September 20, 2010

LIBRARIES HURTING

Our libraries are hurting.

Our local two are closing one day a month in each location to save funds. They have already cut back on hours for full-time employees and done away with the beloved Bookmobile. Their participation in our state-wide system for borrowing books from any library member is also threatened.

If this were a more prosperous period, it wouldn't matter so much. But with the economy the way it is, a lot of people can't afford to buy books and are using libraries more frequently. They're also using the library computers to check on job listings and other things because they can't afford a home computer and/or internet service.

I guess I'm just whining, but it still seems to me that this is the very time libraries need to be supported, when people are out of work and worrying about reduced salaries. All I can do is support the library league and help raise money to keep them open.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

GIRLS

I've been visiting a home with two seven-year-old girls.

One has her own beauty routine in the morning. She uses a comb-like brush on her hair before she takes one with bristles, wets it and brushes till her hair's damped down and straight. Then she looks at herself smugly in the mirror, turning from side to side. "There," she says. "My hair is perfect."

The other runs a brush through one side of her hair and she's done.

So when we let the 'lid' down on the convertible and they're in the back seat singing along to Yakety Yak, guess which one starts squealing because her hair's getting blown.

Nope. Both of 'em.

Didn't realize they started so young.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

GRAMMAR

So I'm away from home and catching up on some reading. I just finished a book written in first person and noticed, for not the first time, 'I' instead of 'me' used in the narrative.  Such as...between you and I... and also ...with you and I...

Is this deliberate because it's from the heroine's point of view and she doesn't know that 'me' is the object of prepositions while 'I' is for subjects? Or am I wrong about the correct use of 'I' and 'me'?

This bothers me -- like I'm so great at English grammar myself!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

LAST OF THE SPIDER

Yes, the spider is gone.

The guy who lives with me was trotting up the stairs when an empty web stopped him cold. Thought for a moment he'd cry. "Something got it," he mumbled. "A lizard."

"How? It stayed in the middle of the web. If a lizard jumped that far, he'd break the web and the web's still there."

"A bird, then. Lizard, bird, something. My spider's gone."

And that was all that mattered, poor baby.

Hee hee hee!

Friday, September 3, 2010

MEN

So many times we women scoff at men about how helpless they are, how hopeless they are, how unthinking they are, etc.

Then they do something that makes us realize why we love 'em.

Just got back from helping out a relative who had surgery. We took the kids to school and afterschool activities, but her husband stayed at the hospital the whole time. He took her, waited through the surgery and when she got out of recovery, he stayed with her till the time she was discharged. He even spent the night on one of those make-do hospital chairs they have for family. You might say he got his nursing cap. (My own guy got his cap years ago!)

We kind of expect women to look after their men, but it's always a nice surprise when men look after their women.

Maybe there's hope for the male race after all!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

WALMART

I hate going to Walmart. That's why we went early today when the crowds were in church.

Surprise. This morning was pleasant. We found a parking place that wasn't half a mile away. When I asked about the location of an item, an employee actually led me to it. So we whipped through the aisles and picked up our stuff. Then the rain came down.


So we walked a few minutes inside the store for exercise, then did the self-checkout business, left - the buggy guard smiled and joked with us as we left - and came home.

I'm uneasy. Are they trying to take over?

Friday, August 27, 2010

CUTTING FOR STONE

In the library the other day, this novel by Abraham Verghese came back with the returner raving about it. Best book she'd read in years. So I got it and have just started it.

I am thinking, here at the beginning, of THE KITE RUNNER because of the way it unfolds and all the details about a foreign land.

I am also thinking I'd do well to ask what kind of book the recommending person enjoys before snatching one up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

JADE WOMAN

Just finished this book by Jonathan Gash. His hero, antiques dealer/forger/con man Lovejoy, is forced to leave England and ends up in Hong Kong. Gash makes Hong Kong come alive to someone who's never been there, the good along with the bad. Fascinating.

Unfortunately, Lovejoy falls in with the wrong crowd, evidently a common occurrence. He ends up working for the Hong Kong mob with the jade woman of the title as one of its heads. To stay alive, he dreams up a fake impressionist Hong Kong painter, Song Ping, so that he can forge (imaginary) Ping paintings to pass off on the art community.

Oh, and I forgot to say he becomes a gigolo to support himself.

Lots of comedy with lots of insights on the antique business. I enjoyed it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FORT FREDERICA

We went to Fort Frederica this weekend. It isn't a well-known fort like South Carolina's Fort Sumter where the Civil War started or Maryland's Fort McHenry that inspired the Star Spangled Banner or the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine FL where Spain held sway. In fact, it was a small fort built to keep the Spanish at bay, and I guess it did.

All that's left of a settlement where a thousand people once lived are the ruins of the barracks and the powder magazine. Eugenia Price wrote several books about St. Simons and the fort. While I've read a few, they aren't quite to my style. But a lot of people enjoy them. And anything that makes history come alive has to be good.

Here's the powder magazine. The tiny circle in front was the well. See the cannons pointed down the river to engage enemy ships? I don't think they were ever fired. The Battle of Bloody Marsh took place when the Spanish marched up from the south end of the island. The fort is a very peaceful place to walk unless the park rangers are entertaining with reenactments or classes about colonial living or such. Their dream is to one day build replicas of the houses.

Friday, August 20, 2010

SPIDER

Okay, the spider beneath my bedroom window has moved. I had high hopes that the rain drove him away or the lizard ate him. Alas, no such luck.

Now he has a magnificent new structure spanning from the building corner to a tree, over four feet in length and maybe just as wide.

And there he sits in the middle, waiting to be fed, giving me the evil eye whenever I go down the stairs.

Where are those pesky squirrels when you need them?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

LOCAL PAPER

Time for another update from the local paper's police blotter.

A woman told police she went to pick up a friend. Another woman ran out of the mobile home and slapped her in the face, then ran back inside. The woman inside denied ever running out.

In another instance, a woman called police to report her boyfriend knocked her down and bit her on the stomach. He left -- with her cellphone -- before police arrived. Woman displayed bite marks on her stomach but said she didn't want to press charges; she only called police because her father made her.

No arrests in either incident.

Between figuring out who's lying and inspecting bite marks on stomachs, our police force is kept busy, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE TARTAN SELL

Read my first Lovejoy mystery this week: THE TARTAN SELL.  By Jonathan Gash, the title caught my eye and I picked it up, read a few pages, and immediately got hooked.

I really enjoyed it. Lovejoy is a dealer in antiques (legal and illegal) whose method of deciding the provenance of a piece goes beyond certification. He has a nose for the real antiques.

He seems to have a knack for getting out of one scrape and into another, and, for some reason that mystified me, he also seems to have a way with the ladies, married or not. His moral code may be a little twisty but he does have some ethics. A lovable scamp is what he came across as in this book.

I intend to read some more. I hope they're all as good as this one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

TOURISTS

On our usual walk down to the Village, we found tourists out and about.

We sat down on the pier to enjoy the breeze and, with the tide out, a beach view. As we watched, several people got down over the rocks put out to discourage swimmers. It took a while for them to get down, but once down, they conferred with others already on the beach. Then three started climbing back up the rocks and disappeared for a few minutes. When they came back, I got my camera out.

As you can see, the last one is still making a careful way down. However, if you look, there are steps not very many yards up the beach. In the same amount of time, they could have walked up and made a much less hazardous descent. And swam with less fear of rip currents.

Maybe they liked the challenge. Or maybe they didn't notice the steps and the NO SWIMMING sign.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

BACK TO SPIDERS

A friend's been telling the photographer to come shoot the wolf spider in her yard. He's gotten huge and there's also another one he might get to pose.

So he finally goes up with tripod and camera and lenses. And a lizard ate both spiders the day before.

I sympathized. Hee hee hee!

Friday, August 13, 2010

DRIFTWOOD BEACH AGAIN

Took some California friends over to Jekyll today and showed them Driftwood Beach. They loved it.

We got there when the tide was coming in, which makes it kind of tricky because if you aren't careful you have to climb over and/or under the old trees to get back. But we made it.

This is one of the old fallen trees silvered with oceanwater.



This is Elaine taking a picture of a fallen tree.



And this is Elaine in one of the old trees, about to be marooned by the tide!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Roaches - Ugh!

I noticed Jackson, the older cat, lurking in the closet the past couple of days. Normally, he lurks on the furniture so I figured something was up.

Today, as I pushed back the shower curtain, a big roach -- well, at least a medium-sized roach -- ran across the opposite wall. I screamed for the guy who lives with me. He rushed in. Killed the sucker with his bare heel. Yuck. He's my hero.

Guess Jackson was warning me that an insect was in the house. Too bad he couldn't catch it before it launched the bathroom attack.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ONE GOOD TURN

Last night I finished this book by Kate Atkinson, an English author. It was an interesting mystery with a twist at the end I didn't expect but that didn't really surprise me either, if that makes any sense. Her characters were engaging (maybe there was a smidgen too much study on some of them) while she did a great job of entwining people and places and incidents. At first nothing seemed connected, but turns out, as I kept reading, that everything was.

My one complaint is about the editing style. There were a lot of punctuation errors, it seemed to me, and run-on sentences and other things. But that may be the wave of the future.

Some cited examples from pages turned to at random:

He knew that gesture well, it nearly always accompanied dissimulation on Julia's part.

And:
Jackson wondered if she was quoting from a  play, she often did, and he hardly ever got the reference.

And:
Last Christmas Eve, when Graham was still a fully functioning member of the family and not yet an astronaut floating through space, she had been in the kitchen making the chocolate log, they always had a chocolate log on Christmas Day along with the pudding.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel there needs to be some periods or semicolons or dashes in here somewhere rather than commas. Or is this the wave of the future?

Anyway, I kept having to reread because my addled brain wouldn't make sense of words strung together without my comforting punctuation symbols.

Maybe it's because I dislike change.

But I did enjoy the book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

CATS AND FOOD

Okay, so the vet called Saturday. Seems there was a recall on our special order dry cat food from IAMS (a prescription food for urinary problems). I was to stop using it immediately for reasons that are still unclear but I don't take chances with the liddle bitty cats' health, right?

Right. I rushed over to the vet's office and bought the brand they keep on hand. Sunday, I gave the cats their usual treats, hairball cream, and tiny helping of canned food. Then I put out the dry food. The new dry food.

Jackson sniffed at it, tried a bite and looked up at me as if I were trying to poison him. Roz ate. Hesitantly at first, true. But she ate.

Today, same thing. Jackson glared at me accusingly. Roz ate. (Roz always eats.)

Now. I notice dry food in both bowls is down, Roz's significantly, Jackson's less so. Is Jackson sneaking in and eating the dry food while my back is turned? Or is Roz eating from both bowls? Which she sometimes does since she assumes Jackson's food is hers, and which usually leads to him batting her one and her running away squealing as if she's mortally wounded.

Guess I'll have to hide somewhere and watch to see who's eating what. I will say that Jackson doesn't look hungry to me. And he hasn't lost any weight yet either.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

THE DEVIL AMONGST THE LAWYERS

I just finished this book by Sharon McCrumb. I love to read her because her writing flows.

She writes mysteries with an Appalachian background and did a whole set based on old ballads. That series is my favorite and THE DEVIL... is touted as another of them. It isn't the best one but it'll do.

The Devil... is based on a real murder trial in the 1930's. A beautiful young woman accused of murdering her father with all the mountain characters we've learned to love. It's not like the other Ballad mysteries though because while the others draw us into the past to explain present day mysteries, this one is set almost entirely in the past.

If you haven't read her before, you might choose another Ballad mystery to start with. Still, this one displays her mastery of time and place and, as always, the story told with such lyricism.

Good book.

Friday, August 6, 2010

COMPUTER VIRUS

So strange things started popping up on the old screen yesterday. I screamed for the guy who lives with me. He came in, worked all day, couldn't figure it out.

A guy's coming tomorrow to clean it -- we hope -- but in the meanwhile, I have a new account that hopefully the virus won't penetrate.

I hate computers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Over on Jekyll

We went over to Jekyll Island yesterday and walked Driftwood Beach. Met a couple from Cornwall who had exchanged houses with a family on Jekyll. They were totally delighted with Driftwood Beach and kept saying they'd never seen anything like it. In fact they were totally delighted with everything, from the American breakfasts to even the hot sun (95 degrees with a heat index of 105 yesterday). I hope our American tourists are this pleasant when they're in other countries.

And later, we saw a ship leaving Brunswick port. They come so close to Jekyll Pier, it's almost as if they're about to run over it.

Lovely day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DESCRIPTION

An editor thinks I need more description in my manuscript. Of people and of the environment.

I had some Peter Mayle books on hand so I'm trying to look at them and see how he incorporates the south of France and his main characters' descriptions in them. Unfortunately, I get sidetracked by the story. Even when I've previously read the book, I can't be analytical.

Guess it's my mind. Maybe because it's going?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

LOCAL NEWSPAPER

I love our local paper. Especially the crime blotter.

Yesterday a woman called police about two men fighting at her house. She said she was sick and tired of them fighting all the time in her yard, and she was also tired of their marijuana plant growing there.

Sure enough, there it was in a pot, healthy, green, proud. Out in the open.

An arrest was made.

Lesson for the day: don't get into fights until you move your marijuana plant.

Friday, July 30, 2010

NEW BITE

Something bit the bottom of my toe day before yesterday. I was minding my own business, walking around the lighthouse like I do every morning and ouch! I had to hang on to hubby and try to get off whatever it was. And of course, it was gone by that time. Fire ant, bee, spider... Who knows? I took a Benedryll and used cortisone cream and was out for the afternoon.

So in the pool yesterday afternoon - just me and hubby because a short shower had run everyone else off except two people reading in lounge chairs - I saw some floating leaves and scooped them up so I could throw them out as I always do.

Wrong move. I failed to see the bee on one leaf. Middle finger got stung this time and hurt like blazes even after I applied cortisone cream.

So now it's another day. And the spider's still outside the window. And they say trouble comes in threes.

I'm concerned, I must confess. Very concerned.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SPIDER

The guy who lives with me has been photographing a spider living below the bedroom window. Some people accuse him of making a pet of it, especially when it moved too close to the stairway for comfort and I threatened to use a broom on it. He carefully took a stick and put it back in its old web.

Today we come in and he's horrified to see a lizard lurking below the web. "That lizard ate my spider!"

Hmmm. I hope so. "Maybe not."

"It ate it! It looks full!"

Go, you lizard. Then I look up. "It's moved."



Now it's under the eaves by the window. Someone scared away the lizard. I wonder who. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pier Scenes



On our morning walk yesterday, some kind of critter bit or stung me on the bottom of a toe. I had to take a Benydryll and use some cortisone cream but it still burned like fire. I suspect a fire ant but don't know for sure. Today it was back to normal, thank goodness.

Anyway, here are some scenes from various days' walks to the Village.

Fisherman Casting for Bait on Pier


Outgoing Ship at Pier - No, that is not me exercising on the pier!


Lawn Care in front of Casino - our tax money at work! Thank you, county workers! 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anne George

I like Anne George's mysteries. They're set in Birmingham, Alabama, and feature two sixtyish sisters, the elder quite a character. Widowed three times (she married men at least twenty-eight years older), she's well off and used to speaking her mind.

While volunteering at the library yesterday - shelving books - I discovered a large print edition of one I hadn't read before. MURDER RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

I love the dry humor. For instance, when a judge staggers out and collapses on the edge of a fountain, the younger sister Patricia Anne wets a tissue in the water for him to mop his face. The elder sister, Mary Alice, disapproves because, "That water's filthy. Kids pee in it. You know. When they go wading."

Unfortunately, Ms. George died after writing five or six in the series, but for anyone who enjoys light mysteries with voice and humor, her work is quite entertaining.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A GOOD YEAR

I just read this book by Peter Mayle. I've never read him before but when I realized the movie was made from this book, I got it. Despite Russell Crowe starring, I liked the movie enormously.

Usually I like books more than the movies (with one exception being FIREFOX by Craig Thomas. Clint Eastwood starred in the movie, and it was much better than the book.) With A GOOD YEAR, it was hard to decide which I enjoyed more. The book was a pleasant read, but the story was very different from the movie's plot, so much so that I hardly recognized it. However, it did help me understand some of the subtleties I missed watching it on screen. Lavender essence, for example, and the housekeeper's dancing that I didn't quite get. The movie also had things like scenery that the printed word can't really do justice to.

So movie or book? It was a toss-up. I got some more Peter Mayle books to read. I hope they're as enjoyable.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

SHARK

On our morning walk, we spotted this dead shark on the beach. Fishermen caught him the night before and didn't release him soon enough.

He was three or four feet long. Kind of scary to think the sharks this big (And bigger! We saw a fisherman catch one over six feet one day.) are hanging out where we swim.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ELIN HILDERBRAND

I think it was Laura???? who said she enjoyed this author so I got SUMMER PEOPLE and read it this past weekend.

While I like women's fiction okay, I prefer something that has a tight plot. This story was more of a woman trying to find herself, detailing her family's travails along the way, and wasn't terribly interesting to me. Others will probably love it.

But I think there were two reasons the book didn't work for me. The story about a family's grief for a dead husband and father, was too realistic; I read fiction to escape real life, not depress myself further. And the writer in me kept noticing craft details like changes of POV all over the place that had me rereading whole paragraphs to figure out why they seemed disjointed.

Overall, it was a nice enough story but not one I'd read again.

And you can't ever tell what other books by the same author are like. I didn't like Nora Roberts for years because so many of her books read like standard romances. Then I read one that seemed like another person had written it because the voice stood out so sharply. In all, there were 3-4 in this voice and I liked them.

So my taste depends a lot on the voice. But I still want an interesting plot, too. I guess that's why I'm into mysteries so much right now. Some of them have great voices and intriguing plots.

Anybody else have a book or author they want to recommend?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who is John Galt?

Anybody remember the old Ayn Rand novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED? All the billboards springing up, asking "Who is John Galt?"

I still see them occasionally. Saw two in the past few days, one as we headed south to Jacksonville, and one heading north on the way home.

Seems every few years somebody reads the book and goes gaga with her theories.

After mulling the story over for several years, it occurred to me that, sure, people deserve to assert their individualism but that doesn't mean society has to accept them. People have to eat but they don't have to spend their resources on paintings or literature or plays or whatever. If it comes down to bread and art, I know which one I'd choose. Seems to me that's a big fallacy in Rand's thinking, but maybe I'm wrong?

I'm not known for being the sharpest pencil in the holder!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DIET

Okay, company's gone, time to get back to normal.

While they were here, I put back on four of the hard-lost eight pounds I've struggled the past few months to get off. I blame the unwanted addition on the homemade brownies and zucchini bread they brought. But it would have been rude not to eat it after they went to so much trouble, right?

So my guy put on two and a half pounds the past week. (He's lost over ten pounds on MY diet.) Not to mope, but it does seem so unfair.

Now I'm back to starving again and eating things I don't like. And grumpy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

RANEY

I just finished RANEY by Clyde Edgerton. I read it years ago when it first came out, but a friend recently brought me a copy and I enjoyed reading it as much this time as I did then.

Though it's a southern book, written in first person from the point of view of the heroine, it still shows how people from different upbringings and beliefs must compromise to make their marriage work. Very cute, sometimes hilarious, with the wife's character shining through loud and clear.

An enjoyable and easy read.

Friday, July 16, 2010

ABSENTMINDEDNESS

Okay, company's gone, condo's a lot quieter, cats are out of hiding, we're back to the normal routine.

The dermatologist gave my guy some medication to go on his head that I've been putting on for him. Tiny little bottle but lasted a month. Got to the end and set the empty bottle out to throw away.

My guy sees it. "Is this what you've been putting on me?"

"Yeah."

"This is eye drops."

"What!??"

Sure enough, it was. So I dug around, found the head medication and we're back to putting it on every day.

No wonder his rash didn't seem to be getting better.

Friday, July 9, 2010

GROCERY SHOPPING

Does anyone like it? Grocery shopping that is.

We went today, checked out, started to leave, and of course, we forgot one thing. The ice cream. Very important to some of us. So I had to go back, get it, and stand in line again.

The other day we went and the cart of a Winn Dixie worker setting up canned drinks blocked the aisle. I started to go around and down another aisle, but he saw me and said, "No, no, come on, there's room!" and bustled around to move his cart even though I said, "That's okay, I'll go around." Once he'd moved, I could hardly refuse to go past though, could I? And of course as I went past - because he made me! - cartons toppled down and drinks started spewing everywhere, especially on my guy trailing along behind as guys are prone to do in grocery stores.

Not through though. At checkout, the bagger put the blueberries on top of the cart. Of course when we started out, they fell. Blueberries rolled around the floor everywhere. Bagger scurried to get the broom. Blueberries refused to be swept up. My guy went to get more blueberries.

As we left that day, me still apologizing to the WD people (though I'm not sure I was completely to blame), a discouraged-looking lady sitting up front said, "Yeah, my day's been like that, too. I broke a jar of honey in the kitchen this morning. Covered the stove, cabinets, floor, everything. Biggest mess you ever saw."

Some days are diamonds, some days....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ITEM FROM LOCAL PAPER

Our police blotter is great. I love reading about all the strange people.

Police were called to a home where one man said another man stole something of his. The accused man said that the accuser, his brother, stole something of his first. Their mother said she was tired of dealing with her sons and wanted them both to move out of her house.

Don't know what happened but I don't think anybody got arrested. It's bad when your own mother throws you out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

THE BAD BOOK AFFAIR

This humorous mystery is by Ian Sansom and is one in a series about Israel Armstrong who mans the local mobile book library. He lives in Northern Ireland in a former chicken coop, wants to live in Brooklyn, is depressed, and fears (I quote from the book), "Maybe all English Jewish vegetarian mobile librarians were condemned to a life of headaches, weariness, and existential despair."

I really enjoy the guy. He muddles his way through while I keep rooting for him. I've read four books and will read more when they become available.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR

I just read this book by a couple writing as Nicci French, and I will read more. This one held my interest, from the opening moment when the Main Character looks around the room where her lover lies dead. You're not sure who her lover was right away but, as the story unfolds, there are several possibilities laid out in the backstory.

The way the backstory comes out is the main thing I didn't like. There's a current storyline called After (the death), then in different type a Before storyline, where what happened before the death is told. The After and Before shifts occur throughout the story, sometimes just a page or two and sometimes more. I found it hard to skip back and forth but others may not have that problem.

As I said, it was a good read, where new info kept developing throughout the story. Oh, and I did suspect what happened from the beginning which usually I don't do. I like mysteries but I'm usually clueless as to whodunnit or whathappened.

Monday, July 5, 2010

JULY 4TH AT THE VILLAGE

Company's gone and time to relax. We had a great time though. Tennis, swimming, walking on the beach and best of all, fireworks! Hope everyone else enjoyed their Fourth, too.

This photo is the crowd on the Casino lawn waiting for dark to fall so the fireworks can start at the pier.

Friday, July 2, 2010

HOUSEWORK

I hate, loathe and despise housework.

You spend all day washing, shining, polishing, dusting and for what? So you can do it all over again in much too short a time.

One good thing about having company is that it forces me to clean house. And after they leave, I can rest easy for a few days because, hey! my house is clean! At least till the furballs stick to my feet and the crumbs invite ants and that strange mold that grows on the toilet comes back.

Guess by now you've realized what I've been doing today. Sure does put me in a foul mood.

And if there are any pollyannas out there dying to chirp, "But I love a clean house! I work a few minutes each day and never have a dirty house!," don't. I don't want to hear it. I want everyone to be as miserable as me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MYSTERY

I just finished MISTRESS OF ALDERLEY by Robert Barnard. It sounds like a period romance but is in fact one of the mysteries he does so well.

I like his stories. They go by fast and hold my interest. This one didn't have one of those solutions that surprise you, but that's okay. It's the getting to the murderer that's the fun part.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TRIP TO JEKYLL

We did a day trip to Jekyll Island today, eating at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, then visiting the Sea Turtle Center and ending up at the Goodyear Cottage for the art exhibit.

Following are pix of Nan D. Arnold: one in the Grand Dining Room of the hotel, another with a stuffed turtle from the Turtle Center gift shop, and the last with the big turtle skeleton that hangs over the gift shop.

We got rained on a bit but not much. Next time we'll try to visit Driftwood Beach and eat at the Courtyard at Crane (the old Crane Cottage). Or maybe at Sea Jay's where the squirrels and birds come right to the table and beg!

There's a lot of history here. Wish I could have seen it in its heyday, when the cottages were full of families and servants bustling around, and the harbor was filled with the yachts that brought them down for the winter.





Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WAITING

Is there anything worse than waiting to hear back from someone? Whether it's the plumber, the doctor, the pharmacy, the kids.... Doesn't matter. It's always hard waiting for that letter, that email, the phone.

And waiting on submitted writing is even worse. But there's nothing you can do about it except forget it's out there and go do something else.

Like clean out the dryer. Or the dishwasher. Or start supper.

Yeah, sure. Ugh. I'd rather hang out on the computer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WIMPY HEROINE

Usually I have problems with my heroes. But in this latest, my heroine isn't coming across very well and I'm not sure what to do about it.

One suggestion was to make her more decisive, to get her to stop wrestling with what people expect and forge out on her own. I'm not quite sure how this will work but I'm game. However, I suspect the problem lies in two areas: her personality and the era.

The era is the early sixties, when women were still expected to be nurses and not doctors, teachers and not principals. And if a woman didn't marry after high school, or at least by the time she finished college, she was regarded as -- alas it's true -- an old maid.

So my heroine is toddling along in her career, uneasy because she's over thirty and not married, but unenthusiastic about committing to any man.

So now I have to figure out a way to make her attractive to today's readers.

Sigh. Can it be done?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DEATH OF A YOUNG MAN

It's true. Someone told me but I didn't really believe it until I saw the death notice today.

A friend's son - her youngest, her baby - died. He was only 27. I remember when I first met him. He was a sweet little boy you couldn't help smiling at.

Children grow up and sometimes lose their way. Despite all the efforts of his mother and the others who loved him, he did. Maybe he was close to finding his path again but now we'll never know.

It's a hard world out there today. If you have children, realize that at any point they can be taken away without warning. So protect them as best you can and forgive them when they don't behave the way you want them to. And love them always.

In the end, when it's all said and done, that love is all that matters. And when grief is overwhelming, that love is all we have to cling to.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NETBOOK

My critique partner got a new netbook. We met at Starbucks, both of us excited because we were going to see how it worked in a wifi place.

She got her wifi card, turned on the netbook, and tried to follow instructions. Nope. Nothing.

Nan went over and talked to a cute little Starbucks employee. She came back with Nan and sat down to work with it. Nope. Nothing.

Now Nan thinks it's the way the computer's set up. They did have a problem installing Outlook.

I thought I wanted one. Maybe not.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LOCAL NEWS

I've mentioned before how entertaining the police blotter is in our local newspaper.


Today one report told about a man and woman spitting on another woman's car because she'd given a ride to someone they didn't like. Wonder if they had to wash her car!

And then there was one about a pickup pulling up, a man jumping out, urinating on the resident's mailbox, and shaking it hard (the mailbox). The resident came out, they started brawling, a second man in the truck intervened, then the men jumped back in the truck and left. They were later found, the urinator (???) intoxicated and the driver protesting he was only trying to stop the fight.

Wouldn't these little cameos work great in a novel?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ALLIGATOR FARM

Yes, we're going back to the Alligator Farm soon. The bird season is about over and my guy wants to shoot some last pictures of the little birds he's watched hatch and grow up. So I won't be blogging for a day or so. I'll be sitting in the shade trying to keep cool and watching the rangers feed the alligators while walking among them. Ugh.

A friend told me Alligator Farm was an answer on JEOPARDY the other night. The category was St. Augustine. I am amazed. I didn't realize it was that well-known.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cats in Bed

I turned over in bed last night and felt my guy snuggled up to me, all warm and cozy.

Then he started purring.

The cat. He was stretched out between us, taking up his third of the bed. At least he was stretched out lengthwise and not sideways between us pushing us off the bed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BANDSLAM

We watched this DVD last night. I never heard of it but somehow it got on our list. I'm still not sure I ordered it but I'm glad it came.

When we started watching, I thought, okay, another HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, which was fine as they were entertaining.

But this movie was quite good, with deeper undertones about a boy navigating between first love, fitting into high school, growing away from his ditzy mother, and dealing with feelings for a father who killed a boy while driving drunk.

I don't like depressing films but this one wasn't. It was cute. And the music was good.

I've always loved the old musicals and I'm glad to see they're still making them for today's generation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

UNASSEMBLED FURNITURE

The Art Gallery moved into new digs and my guy, sweet thing, offered to help put together the new desks and then hook up their computers.

The two desks came today. In bits and pieces. So he's down there working like a little beaver. Since he grabs every opportunity to use his tools (man thing?), I'm sure he's enjoying every minute no matter how he grumbles.

I'm lost in admiration. I can't even put together Barbie houses without help.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pipe in Sea

Sitting on the pier, enjoying the breeze and cooling off from our walk down to the village -- the weather's been in the high nineties here! -- we spotted this pipe coming toward the pier.

Excited, we hopped up to see if it was a scuba diver or submarine or anything else interesting but no, it was just a pipe. Sticking up out of the water like it was looking for something. It floated beneath us and came out the other side and kept going to who knows where.

Thank goodness it wasn't a pipe bomb.


Monday, June 14, 2010

UNGRATEFUL DUCKS

On our way back from the pool yesterday, we saw ducks on our end of the lagoon. Two drakes and a little hen.  They usually keep to the other end of the complex so I was excited. I went inside, got some bread and hurried back out.

The silly things looked at me and went back to picking off bugs or whatever it is they do when they bite at themselves. Finally the little hen waddled into the water and ate one or two bites. Very unenthusiastically.

A neighbor came by and noticed. "They must have eaten already."

"What, do they come up this way often?"

"Oh yes. I feed them every day."

Fine. I guess I'll save my bread for the turtles. They at least plunge into the water and swim as fast as they can for the bits I throw in. I prefer animals that are grateful for the handouts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OLD SONGS

I guess because there are so many older and retired people living on the island, the radio station here plays old songs. Not just golden oldies from the 70s, 80s or 90s. I'm talking about from the 20s-30s on up.

"Over the Rainbow," "Begin the Beguine," "Stardust," "Java Jive," "Rum and Coca Cola," "Sentimental Journey," "Blueberry Hill," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Brokenhearted Melody," and the list goes on and on.

I love them all! And since my WIP is set fifty years ago, listening to it helps set the mood.

And they do slip in some classical stuff occasionally, but that's okay. I like it, too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

EREADERS

eBooks are the fastest growing segment of the book market according to several sources. People can download them to their computers, to their eReaders like Kindle and Nook, and even to iPhones. I'm waiting for the software to shake out before I buy one, but I'm looking forward to one day getting one.

But at the pool this afternoon, I noticed several people reading. Hardbacks and paperbacks. No Kindles or other eReaders in sight.

I bet water ruins an eReader device. So seems like there'll always be a market for regular books. Even if it's confined to people who read in the bathtub and by pools.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rejection

I got rejected again yesterday.

This rejection was for a manuscript I really loved but the agent didn't and I understand. She loved my humorous mystery and tried really hard to sell it, but can't feel the same about this one.

So now I'm going to have to find an agent who loves this one as much as I do. You'd think as many rejections as I've had, another one wouldn't hit me so hard. But the last one is as bad as the first.

My sweet fellow took me out to dinner and stopped by the candy shop for fudge.

I gave myself a pep talk at bedtime. Today I'm back at work. Guess if you write, that's what you do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hemingway's Reputation

I don't care for Ernest Hemingway. I always figured he wrote for men, and that his reputation came from the male reviewers of the day.

Then yesterday, my critique partner Nan D. Arnold gave me a different perspective. During a time of popular authors like Thomas Hardy, Henry James, John Steinbeck, Somerset Maugham, and William Faulkner, Hemingway must have been a breath of fresh air.

No long convoluted sentences, no pages of description, no in-depth character studies. Just simple blunt prose with characters speaking for themselves.

Doesn't make me like his writing any better though.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trees

On our walk this morning, we saw the dog trainer walking her trainee by the cedar tree and kids playing in the huge live oaks. The cedar is probably the most photographed tree on the island but the live oaks give it character.

There must be some basic instinct that makes us gravitate to trees. They offer entertainment, protection, shelter, comfort. No wonder the druids and other sects worshiped them.










I think I could take off my clothes and paint myself blue without too much encouragement.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Broken Plumbing

I flushed the john today and the contents barely went down. I took off the top and the water coming into the tank was like, dripping. The guy who lives with me was off shooting photos but I did not panic. We have another bathroom.

When my guy came in, I pointed out the empty tank and wrung my hands. Mostly because I just knew he would insist on fixing it which usually entails cursing and running out for extra parts and taking hours or days.

He said, "Call the plumber." I wanted to kiss him.

I called. The plumber showed up in two hours, spent fifteen minutes with us, and left fifty-two dollars richer.

My john works now. I love living in a place where plumbers don't wait two weeks to show up! I think even my husband is learning to be laid back like the other islanders.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Local Libraries

I volunteer at our local library each week.  Our library is small but has access to libraries all over Georgia so I don't feel deprived. In fact, small is nice. The librarians are pleasant and greet customers by name.

I like shelving books except for the nonfiction and children's. They are always out of order. Today a children's book fair was being held nearby so children kept coming in. They pulled books out and then left them for me to put up. At first I sighed, but then I realized, if a child cares enough to pick out a book and look at it, chances are one day s/he's going to be taking them down from the shelf and reading them him/herself. That's how they start loving books. And if it takes a little effort on someone's part, it's well worth it.

This is Miss Ginny who heads our local library; she always has a smile for everyone, even us grumpy people.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wally World

I don't think I'm alone in my hate-love relationship with WalMart. I hate them because they're always crowded, there are never parking spots, and it takes forever to check out. I love them because they have the lowest prices on just about everything we buy and we can usually find what we need there.

Like other relationships, you adapt. You go early on Sunday morning so that you can find a parking spot less than half a mile from the entrance -- only 3-4 cars up and two lanes over from the door -- and so that you don't have to wait in line long -- well, not over 5-10 minutes anyway -- and so that you aren't bumped by other people's carts -- although we did have to move out of one lady's way today.

In the same way, we adapt to our personal relationships. He hates the sofa you love, so you buy one both can live with. You know he likes taking photos at the Alligator Farm so you go with him but read all morning at the snack bar. He knows you're dieting so he doesn't complain about not having meat and potatoes. You want pets and he doesn't but he lives with the cats anyway.

A lot of give and take goes on in all relationships. When they balance out, the relationships are usually successful. When one gives but the other takes, they usually aren't.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Robin Hood

So the new Robin Hood is Russell Crowe. Seems like one comes along every few years. I enjoy Crowe's acting, but I think he's a little long in the tooth to fit my image of the "Take from the rich, give to the poor" rogue.

In fact, thinking back over the various actors portraying the Hood, I'm not sure anyone can fill Errol Flynn's tights.

Mmmm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

PD James Book

Prowling through the Village Bookstore the other day, I found an old PD James I hadn't read. I am almost through with it.

Though I like her, it seems to me she's gotten wordy over the years. I'm wondering if this happens when writers become big names. I noticed it with others like Elizabeth George and Anne Rivers Siddons. Their first few books were easy reads but gradually, the books got bigger and bigger. Not plotwise. Wordwise.

It's so hard to find a new author I really like, I hate to give up on the ones I do find but sometimes that's the case.

Maybe it's not the authors. Maybe the editors are overwhelmed and can't edit like they used to. Or maybe the author's allowed more leeway once s/he gets a following. Or maybe there's a demand for that kind of writing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Talking Pets

I've seen talking pets on TV before. Usually dogs. My cats aren't that smart but Roz is trying.

About 6 am she starts saying, "Meow-p," for "Get up."

Once I drag myself out of bed, it's "Meow-n," for "Come on!" as she hurries to the kitchen.

And once in the kitchen, she looks up and pleads, "Meow-t." "Eat."

I think with a little more training, I can put her on YouTube.