Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Friday!


How I love my days off!!! Today was sweet, ice cream for lunch (yes, really) and I accomplished a lot, even though there is laundry still waiting in the washer and dryer.

Our sweet kitty, Belle, who is 14 yrs old and recently lost an eye, had her surgical staples removed today and is doing very well. She’s got her old spunk back. 

                          (This is Belle before a foxtail from the grass ulcerated one of her eyes.)

I went visiting teaching, was able to do a bit of Family History work, indexed two batches of Italian Matrimonio records, found some time to write and my vasculitis isn’t getting the better of me. I’m on a roll!! Yay! I wish every day could go so well.

Yesterday JoDee and I peeled tons of home grown yummy ripe tomatoes and made salsa. I’ve been making this recipe for cooked salsa and home canning it for years. If you do it properly there is nothing to worry about safety- wise. While the salsa simmered we ran out to have lunch and pop into a few stores. When I am with JoDee and my sweet little1 ½ yr old granddaughter time really flies. We could and do spent hours together and it is a real joy in my life to have them as family.

Some of our favorite stores are Ulta, Kohls, Target, any and all fabric and craft shops, various eateries, Barnes and Noble, and the ubiquitous, (but not necessarily a favorite) Wally World (aka Wal-mart). 

Our salsa needed a little spicing up after our taste test when we returned home so I added some chopped jalapeno peppers. That did the trick and it now has a nice after-bite to it!! The down side of peeling tons of deliciously ripe tomatoes and making the salsa is…at the end of the day you only wind up with 4 teeny little pint jars of the stuff. Oh well, it’s still worth making though. If you are interested in the recipe please send me a comment, because I don’t know if there are many people out there that home can anymore and I am feeling too lazy to post it right now. I use a steamer/water bath kettle that I have had for about 25 yrs. It has served us well and preserved many a fruit, pickle, and jelly for us in the past. 

 
Our homemade salsa
 
Hubby made some wonderful peach jam a few weeks ago, as we were up to our ears in delectable peaches from the silly scraggly peach tree in the yard. That little tree gets crowded out by the cottonwoods and pines in the back but every year it still produces tons, I mean tons, of lovely peaches. There are always too many for us to eat by ourselves so we share, and make jam! Thank you very much little peach tree!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

9/23/11


I finished reading the two e-books I received from LibraryThing, a book site I am a member of. I received them because I joined the reviewers club. Each month you can sign up and participate in a drawing for certain books. If you are selected you get a free copy and in return for the copy you are asked to write a review of the book. I have ‘won’ four e-books this way. Sometimes you can even get a bound book but so far I haven’t. It is interesting for those who enjoy reading and don’t mind trying new genres/authors every once in a while.

The two books were Let’s Get Digital, about self-publishing (very informative) and a novel entitled Wayward Son. The novel turned out to be a bit different than what I was expecting, and it was very, very long, so for a while I couldn’t face slogging through it anymore. The pace did pick up at the end, and even though it was interesting I think it needs a good edit!! I wound up liking it, overall, but it took a lot of perseverance to get through it. Shortening it up to keep it less predictable and more action filled are two things I will suggest in my review (I need to formally write it down and post it).


There has been such an explosion of self-publishing, and with digital media there really are thousands of choices out there for people to read. Still, I think publishing houses charging ridiculous prices for no paper are fleecing people but I’m hoping after a while the market will calm down a bit. Electronic copies shouldn’t cost more than an actual book, geez! There is much quality reading material available for free or minimal cost, you don’t necessarily have to pay those high prices. I have found so much free and low cost stuff for my e-reader, I will be happy for a very long time digesting all of it!!!



I also just finished reading Garden Spells earlier tonight. I really enjoyed it. I loved the character of the little girl, Bay. I’ll need to write a review for that, too, and would consider reading more of the authors work. Unfortunately, I paid one of those ridiculous prices for it as it was a new release. Those darned free samples can be a real magnet to make you want to buy the rest of the book and “have it on your kindle in less than a minute”!! Well, that marketing ploy worked. I also can’t wait to read the rest of Switched- alas the sample was 300 pages long. Now I have to wait! I burned through those 300 pages quite fast, but am unable to buy until January because the formerly self-published indie author has recently signed a deal with a publishing house. ARGH! I’m glad for her success, it means there will be a printed copy of it and maybe a movie, the story is good, but I wish I would have downloaded it when it was free and the sequel was just a few dollars a couple of months ago! I don’t mind paying to reward the author for all their hard work, but now…I wait!

Monday, September 19, 2011

American Authors-1


I’ve challenged myself to learn more about American authors. I’d like to read at least one poem or other writing by each one that is being studied. I guess I should have taken a few literature classes in college, since I enjoyed them in high school, but I was too busy working and taking classes for that science degree. Here is a poem I liked from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.

On the Beach at Night, Alone by Walt Whitman

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining- I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, comets, asteroids,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time- all inanimate forms,
All Souls- all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes- the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women-me also;
All nations, colors, barbarians, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe or any globe;
All lives and deaths-all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall forever span
Them, and compactly hold them, and enclose them.

American author Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11-11


I’ve been reminiscing like many others today on the anniversary of 9-11. Yes, I will never forget the horror I saw on my TV screen that morning and it has really changed our world, and (in my opinion) not for the better, either. Whether you believe it was a big bad government conspiracy or whether you believe it was crazed terrorists is irrelevant, these heinous deeds have affected all our lives regardless of who actually orchestrated them.

Will you ever think of Muslims or persons from the Middle East in the same way again?

Did you really ever think of Muslims before 9-11?

Should we have a war on terror? When is war justified?

Homeland Security, what say you? Does it violate citizens/constitutional rights or protect us?

How should traitors be treated?

Is there ever a justification for torture to get information that could supposedly save lives?

And do you like being treated as “guilty until proven innocent” by way of a virtual strip search every time you travel by air? Does this make you feel more secure/does it keep us safer?


P.S. I think it might be a good idea to rebuild the twin towers, it could show the world America isn’t afraid.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Musing on a Monday


Fall is definitely in the air, where did the summer go? Time seems to fly by faster now that I am over the hill! I spent a quiet weekend at (work) the hospital, thank goodness! That means less people were out there doing stupid things and getting themselves hurt. I’ve had a hard time lately, my vasculitis has really been painful so I have not been getting much sleep and have had to resort to taking steroids. They make me gain weight, but I guess it is better than being driven crazy form the pain and itching. During my sleepless nights I have been reading like crazy from my new kindle that hubby gave me as a birthday present. There’s nothing like a good book to keep the mind suitably occupied (then I don’t think about the itches…)

The questions today- I am borrowing from Dana Huff’s Much Divine Madness blog, and she calls it ‘Musing Mondays’. She has a lot of good content about reading and book reviews on her blog. Play along with me and do some musing about these questions…

  1. What was the name of the last book you borrowed from the library?
  2. What was the last book you purchased?
  3. The last book you cried over?
  4. The last book you disliked and could not finish reading?
  5. The last book you read and loved?
  6. The last book that was given to you or that you received for review?
  7. The last book you gave to someone?
  8. When was the last time you stayed up way too late reading?

My answers:

  1. I checked out ‘Citizen of the Galaxy’ by Robert Heinlein from the local library about a week ago and I am about 1/3 of the way into it. I’ve wanted to dig into some good old fashioned sci fi lately.  I go to the library weekly, just to poke around a bit. I don’t check out books each time but, if they would let me check out 100 books, I would probably do it just because I like having them around.
  2. One of the last books I purchased was a copy of ‘Twilight’ for a buck, at the local thrift store. I’ve been resisting reading it but with a new movie installment coming out soon, I gave in and figured I had better find out what all the hype over this series is about. Heck, it only cost me 100 pennies. I can always donate it back to the thrift store when I’m done with it.
  3. The last cry fest I had while reading a book was a few weeks ago as I read ‘Hunger Games’. It is a pretty violent book for young adults, imho. I really became entwined with the characters while reading it. Katniss, don’t be so dumb, give Peta a chance will you!!! I cried when Rue died and Katniss decorated her body with flowers. All in all, the whole book was quite emotionally wrenching.
  4. I picked up ‘The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane’ at Barnes and Noble and put it down a few days later. The premise for the book seemed quite intriguing but I could not get past the author’s writing style. It was all hoity toity and it seemed like the author was just trying to prove to the reader how astute and intelligent she was by writing this book. After a few chapters I asked myself why I was wasting my time reading it and decided that there were plenty of other books I could like if I just put this one down-and picked up something else.
  5. Recently I read and loved ‘Only Salt Remains’ by Meryl McQueen. I stumbled upon it in the Kindle store and downloaded it for $0.99. I am interested in just about any book dealing with Sicily because that is where my grandparents were born. It was the bittersweet saga of the life of two orphaned brothers scratching out a living in Sicily and one of them eventually immigrates to the USA. The author seems to have thorough background knowledge of what southern Italians/ Sicilians are like because I found myself saying over and over again as I read it…”Yes, my relatives are like that,” “Oh, yes, they do that,” and “That is similar to how my relatives think and do things!” It is rather a sad tale tinged with fatalism, just like the people who lived there at the time. A fascinating read.
  6. I ‘won’ two e-books from the author give-away which is a monthly feature on the site LibraryThing, For the price of a book review written by you and posted on the site,  you can enter lotteries to get free books every month. I am a member of this site, a big spender, too because it is a whopping $20 dollars for a life time membership. The site lets you catalog your books, post book reviews, there are numerous discussion and challenge groups, personalized recommendations of more books you might like, networking with other book lovers and authors, etc. etc. The one I received and read this month was ‘Let’s Get Digital, a Guide to Self-Publishing and why you should do it’ by David Gaughan. It was a really good book that introduces would-be authors to the world of digital publishing. It contains a lot of useful information and the author also lets people download copies of his book for free at Smashwords. I hope I can actually be a published author this way in the future.
  7. The last book I gave to someone was the ‘Worldwide Ward Cookbook’ which I included as part of my niece’s wedding present a little over a week ago.
  8. I  have to admit guilt and throw myself on the mercy of the court for the last one because I stay up too late reading almost every single evening!!  Until next time………ciao!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The End of the Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe's Cat


On a night quite unenchanting,
when the rain was downward slanting,
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven,
in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.
"Raven's very tasty," thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor,
"There is nothing I like more"
Soft upon the rug I treaded,
calm and careful as I headed
Towards his roost atop that dreaded bust of Pallas I deplore.
While the bard and birdie chattered,
I made sure that nothing clattered,
Creaked, or snapped, or fell, or shattered, as I crossed the corridor;
For his house is crammed with trinkets, curios and weird decor -
Bric-a-brac and junk galore.
Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered,
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents' worth -
"Nevermore."
While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly lept up, pouncing on the feathered bore.
Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore -
Only this and not much more.
"Oooo!" my pickled poet cried out,
"Pussycat, it's time I dried out!
Never sat I in my hideout talking to a bird before;
How I've wallowed in self-pity,
while my gallant, valiant kitty
Put and end to that damned ditty" - then I heard him start to snore.
Back atop the door I clambered, eyed that statue I abhor,
Jumped - and smashed it on the floor. 

Had a wonderful birthday!!!! My coworkers helped put on a big sugar-fest with all kinds of goodies for the celebration!! Then hubby, my son and I went out for a nice dinner and hubby surprised me with a kindle e-book reader as a present. Wow, am I loved or what!!! It's not so bad having birthdays anymore, once you are over the hill it doesn't matter if you are getting older. I feel as young and happy as ever. :)