Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday Stealing--Book Questions

Go here to join in!

Authors you never get tired of reading.  James S. A. Corey (the pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).  Love their space opera series “The Expanse”.  Guy Gavriel Kay, author of “Under Heaven”, “A Song for Arbonne”, “Tigana”, “Sailing to Sarantium” and so many other wonderful stories.

A book you bought for the cover, and discovered it was better than you thought.  Melissa Scott’s series The Roads of Heaven, the Science Fiction Book Club version.  That series is one of my favorite re-reads.
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A book that made you laugh and cry, and made you depressed.  I honestly can’t think of a book that does this to me.

A book that was a pleasant surprise.  Scott Sigler’s The Rookie.  Who would have ever thought I’d get into a football (albeit the Galactic Football League) book?!  Another favorite series.

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A book everyone loves that you don’t.   Pretty much the whole chick lit genre.  Just not my thing.  I even struggle with mysteries, although I will read them very occasionally. 

A book with a great sidekick that you like more than the hero.  Shogun.  Mariko-san is an amazing character and James Clavell wrote her perfectly.  Without her, Anjin-san would have never succeeded in Japan.  In the groundbreaking 1980 miniseries, Anjin-san is played by Richard Chamberlaid, and Mariko by Yoko Shimada.

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A book that helped you through a difficult time.  All of my beloved re-reads.  I’m working on getting them all on Kindle, so I don’t have to keep buying newer copies because I read them to death, lol.  Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and James Clavell’s Shogun have all saved my life one time or another.

A book that taught you something valuable.  Child of the Morning (1977) by Pauline Gedge.  A great novel of Hatshepsut, an amazing woman who became pharaoh of Egypt.  Taught me that women can be amazing, even when everyone around them thinks they can’t. 

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A book or series that it took you awhile to get into.  I tried like hell to get into the Harry Potter books.  I love the stories, don’t get me wrong, but far prefer the movies.  Just could not wade through the books….

A fictional character you’d love to have to dinner.  The aforementioned Anjin-san (John Blackthorne) from Shogun.  Just to pick his brain about what it was like to sail from England to Japan in the 1500s, what his world was like, etc. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday 9--God Bless America

Saturday 9: God Bless America.  Play here.

Memorial Day is the federal holiday designated to honor American service people who died in battle.

1) Memorial Day was introduced after the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, this is when memorials, as well as the graves of veterans, are to be decorated with flags and flowers on this day to show our appreciation. Is there a war memorial in your neighborhood?  Not in my neighborhood, no.  My city is relatively young, being created in the 1960s out of the Alameda Land Grant.  There is a Veterans Memorial Park in the older part of the city, but my neighborhood is strictly houses and parks, and dates from the 2000s.  No memorials here. 

2) Andrew Johnson, our 17th President, was in office the first time Memorial/Decoration Day  was celebrated. Have you ever met one of our 45 Presidents?  No.  I would have loved to met President Obama, though, or heard him speak live.

3) According to the AAA, more than 30 million Americans will hit the road this weekend and drive more than 50 miles. Will you be traveling far from home this weekend? Nope.  I chose to save my PTO and work on Monday.  However, we are taking a little road trip to Santa Fe (57 miles) to have a mini-vacay next weekend at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. 

4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What's your favorite picnic food? I haven’t been to a picnic in forever.  But we grill all the time.  I love my husband’s short ribs.  Mmmmmm.

5) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? Nope, the furnace is on since it’s 48 right now at 630am.  We’ll flip to air this afternoon….the high will be 82.  We keep the thermostat at 70.  One of the great things about living in the high desert is the dramatic changes between day and night temperatures.  Even in the middle of the summer, it cools down so much overnight…mornings are wonderful.

6) Though she's belting out one of America's best loved patriotic songs, Deanna Durbin was born in Canada. Is there anyone in your family or circle of friends who wasn't born in the USA? My mother was born in Lodz, Poland.  She started her journey to America in 1945, when she was 3, as a displaced person.  They were able to escape the Russian army, and came to this country as refugees in 1952.   Bizarre fact….both my Mother and my Uncle won their high school’s citizenship award, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  When it was found that they were recent immigrants, they took the award away.  They were within months of gaining their citizenship.  What a lovely way for those old ladies to welcome two new citizens of this country, grrrrr.

7) No longer a household name, Ms. Durbin was once one of the biggest stars in the country. One of her most popular films was 1937's One Hundred Men and a Girl, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Recommend a movie that you really like, but don't think many Saturday 9ers have seen.  I’m going with my favorite Robert Altman film, The Player, from 1992.  It’s a satirical black comedy set in a Hollywood movie studio.  The opening starts with a tracking shot that is 7 minutes and 47 seconds long with no cuts.  Like most Altman films, it’s loaded with fun cameos; the main character, Griffin Mill, is played by Tim Robbins.  I couldn’t find it streaming for free, but you can rent it to stream for $3.99 on Amazon.  Take a chance, it’s a fantastic film.     

8) Back in 1938, Deanna Durbin had her handprints cemented in front of the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Have you ever visited that Los Angeles tourist attraction?  I’ve never been to Los Angeles.

9) Random question: What food did you hate as a child, but enjoy now? Sauerkraut.  Loathed the stuff.  Somewhere along the way I discovered that I love it cooked crispy with hot dogs or brats. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Stealing: Unconscious Mutterings

Another Sunday Stealing for your reading pleasure.  Go here to play along.

From Unconscious Mutterings:  There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head.  Thanks to The Gal Herself for the suggestion.

I say ... and you think ... ?

    Hurry! ::  you’re going to be late.  I absolutely HATE to be late, to the point that I am 20-30 minutes early for everything. 

    Dumb ::  the worst thing you could call me, even in jest.  Right up there with “stupid”.  I have PTSD over these two words, thanks to being bullied for the entirety of 6th and 7th grade.

    Fudge ::  Gramps.  My gramps made amazing fudge once a week.  It was the only thing he knew how to cook.  I always thought it was bizarre that he made it, because my Dad never cooked anything except steaks or whatever on the grill, and my gramps was making CANDY.

    Sturdy ::  our girl, Maddie.  She’s an Australian cattle dog mix and she’s low to the ground, muscular, and sturdy.  No wilting flower here.

    Printing ::  Press.   Newspapers.  I had a giant paper route in high school.  Made a nice chunk of change for a high schooler.  I wonder if that’s what turned me into an early bird?  I had to get up at 4am.

    Itch ::  Psoriasis.  Judging by the sheer number of commercials on TV for next-gen psoriasis drugs, lots and lots of people must have this.  My sis-in-law does.  I’m glad I don’t have it.

    Creaks ::  What the house does when we’re having a really windy day. 

    Paste ::   Ctrl-V.  I am all about the keyboard commands, which harkens back to my pre-nurse job as a technical writer and “word processor”.  I remember using Wang Word Processors.  No mice back then, we used Wordstar and WordPerfect (OMG, I’m so old) and it was all keyboard command based.  You had this giant overlay to go over the keys that would tell you various key combinations for each command.   This was in the early 80s.  Crazy.

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    Waste of time ::  How I feel about cleaning the horrible carpet in my house.  I do it, of course, but uggghhhh.  It is literally the thing I hate the most in my home.  Unfortunately, most of 1800 sq.ft. of my house is ugly carpet.  It will cost way more than I’ve got right now to tile the place, so we wait.

    Let down ::   Too many times, by too many people. 

    Cancellation ::  What I wanted to do yesterday.  A work friend invited me to see Poms, and I so didn’t want to go after I had accepted.  I went, and it pretty much jacked up my entire evening, which was not her fault. 

    Suspect ::  On Criminal Minds, why do they call the suspects “unsubs”.  Never got that.

    Fireplace ::  Wish I had a gas one.  Natural gas is dirt cheap here—I have a gas dryer, gas stove, gas hot water heater, and gas furnace.  My gas bill is 30 bucks a month.  Yay, New Mexico.

    Spring ::  Windy.  It’s our windiest month. 

    Commute ::  Podcasts.  I commute 40 minutes each way to my job.  I love where I live, so it’s worth it.  thanks to my hubs, I have recently discover Stitcher, and podcasts (I know, I’m late to the party).  My favorite right now is David Crowther’s The History of England.  I’m up to the 9th century.  He’s engaging, fun, and it's one of my favorite subjects of all time.

    Places ::  New Orleans. New York. Atlanta. Dallas. Boston. Washington DC. Seattle. Denver. Some of the big cities I’ve been to.

    Fraud ::  The POS moron that is currently occupying the White House.  If he wins this next election, I may have to jump off a bridge (ok, maybe not, but you get the picture).

    Adoption ::  It is PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend!!  Adopt, Don’t Shop.  There are soooo many animals out there in need….I feel blessed to have had the good fortune to adopt all our animals from animal rescue organizations, many of which partner with PetSmart to run their adoption events.  We adopted our girl Maddie from Watermelon Mountain Ranch, the largest no-kill shelter in New Mexico, by going to a PetSmart adoption event.

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    Election ::  Terrifying.  Way too many people running on the Democratic ticket, with no strong front runner (man, I miss Hillary).  It is so critical to vote that criminal out of office, and I’m scared to death it’s not going to happen.  Gives me anxiety just thinking about it….

    Moving day ::  something I’ll never have to experience again.  After all the moves I’ve made over the years, being in a place I love, in a house I own, gives me a sense of stability that is amazing.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pennies from Heaven

Betcha' thought I was throwing in the towel on the blog... Nope.  Just had a long stretch of barely enough spoons to get through the day, much less work on the blog.  Grief around the death of my Dad and my dog, Ginger, slid into a full-blown depression episode.  Haven't had one of those in a long time.  Off to the shrink I went for a much needed med adjustment.  Remarkably (I'm always surprised when meds work), I feel SO much better.  "Normal" grief, instead of the "life isn't worth living" kind.  Whew, disaster averted.

I've made plans to go home and see my family in a few weeks.  Yesterday, I got a lovely and unexpected surprise.  My brother has been working on selling my father's last hot rod for my Mom.  It finally sold, and Mom texted me to tell me that she was giving the proceeds to my brother and me.  I was floored.  It was a nice little chunk of change, "pennies from heaven" said my Mom.  I know that she's relieved it's out of the garage, and kudos to my brother for getting it sold for a good price.

Getting unexpected money is always fun--I used most of it to pay off my credit card; but we did save some for a fun mini-vacay to Santa Fe the week before I go home.  We are so lucky to live an hour away from one of the most amazing cities in the country.  It will be fun to have a nice romantic stay at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, wander around the plaza in Santa Fe, and try out new restaurants.

Inn and Spa at Loretto
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I might even treat myself to some lovely spa treatment thing, even if it's just a pedicure.  The kitties can take care of themselves for an overnight trip, and Maddie will go off to Pet Paradise for the night.

Speaking of Maddie, as of yesterday she's been with us for 2 months.  What a love.  She's doing great in school, and loves, loves, loves the dog park.  We take her almost every day, and are very lucky to have 3 dog parks within 15 minutes of home.  I love Rio Rancho--the parks system in general is just fabulous.  We have a lovely city park literally steps from our house (sadly, no dog park at that one).

I love the dog park, and the culture is a hoot.  Stay tuned for a post on that.

Anyhoo, happy to be feeling better and thought I'd share it.