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?