28 January 2014

Another Reason Some People Think I'm Weird ...

I like wintertime.  I have always liked wintertime.  I'm not a skier, or an ice skater, nor do I participate in any winter sports.  I hate ice and ice storms, which are one aspect of the season I would never ever miss if it never happened.  I used to work with a person who said that people fell into two categories:  Palm Trees or Pine Trees.  I'm definitely a Pine Tree.

So I am more than happy to participate in Ten on Tuesday this week, where Carole has asked us to list 10 Things You Like About Winter.

1.  It's cold.  Or at least it should be cold.  I do not like hot weather, I do not like humidity.  At a certain point when it's hot, I simply cannot get cool.  But I can always find a way to warm up, even if I end up with many layers of clothing, a blanket, and a cup of tea.  Yes, it can be too cold outside, and I don't wish anyone to suffer from those conditions.  But I like cold vs. hot, as far as the weather is concerned.

2.  Snow.  The past few winters have been almost completely snow-less in this area.  I realize that some people have had snow in dangerous amounts, and I certainly don't wish that on anyone, but a reasonably snowy winter makes me happy.

3.  Coziness.  In the cold weather, there are many ways to feel cozy.  In hot weather, being cozy is the last way I want to feel.

4.  Knits.  I am a knitter.  I like it when I can wear the things I've knit, and there are not than many summer things that I knit, clothing-wise especially.

5.  Soup.  I love soup.  Except for gazpacho, I don't even want to think of soup in hot weather.  During winter, soup is the best!

6.  Snow days when work is cancelled.  Granted, where I work this is a rare occurrence.  But they are even better then, when they do happen.

7.  Christmastime.  I am sure it wouldn't feel like Christmas to me if I were in a tropical climate.  I'm sure if that is where I had grown up, it would, but Christmastime with me happens during winter.

8.  NO MOSQUITOS.  If you have  proper winter, you can go wherever you like, whenever you like, and not be eaten alive.

9.  My birthday is during the winter.  I really like my birthday!

10.  Sitting on the couch, cozy with warm clothes, a blanket, and a book, or knitting, or an old killer movie and a cup of tea.

25 January 2014


You may or may not remember that for the past two years, I've given myself the One Little Word challenge.  (Informally, that is.  I don't do the "course" thing.)  And both years I chose "kindness."  Well, it was my choice the first year, and then I wanted to continue with it, because I felt I still had some work to do.

I don't think I'm finished with that word, however, I do feel comfortable choosing another.  I mean, I am not necessarily the world's kindest person now, but I am better than I used to be, and at a minimum, I am more aware of those times I am not kind, so I can recalibrate.  I consider that to be growth, and I regularly ask myself now if I am being kind, and/or how I can be kind.  It has really made a difference to me, and to my view of the world.  I would like to think it has made a difference to those around me, but it's not like anyone has come up to me and said, "You know, Bridget, you are much kinder than you used to be," so who knows.

This year, I'm ready for a new challenge.  And so I have chosen another word:


Not meaning, that I am going to try and be more graceful, as I'm afraid that ship sailed long ago.  No, what I want to strive to do is to live my life with more grace.  To be gracious more than I am judgemental.  To treat others with grace and kindness.  And most importantly, to remember this:

"I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection."

I came across that concept here.  And what it means is that perfect should never get in the way of good.  I tend to be obsessed with trying to do everything perfectly, to be a perfectionist.  In my recent adult life, I've become better at letting perfection go more than before, but I still have a lot of work to do. One of my personal goals related to this is to live my life with more grace/graciousness, in the hope that grace will work along with kindness.  I have a tendency to make things so much more complicated than they would ever need to be.  I get caught up in that, and stress myself out all of the time, and really I should remember how great my life is and can be.  I would love it if grace could be my inspiration and my result.

This will be truly challenging for me.  But I truly feel it's worth it.  And worth the effort to try.

22 January 2014

18 Years Later - a Hat!

The other day while I was at Rosie's, I asked Lisa (the owner) how long the shop had been around, and she said eighteen years.  I remember discovering it one day on a walk, and being excited because maybe I could learn to knit!  I signed up for their second round of Learn to Knit classes, and the day after the last class, I pulled a skein of yarn from the sale bin and bought it.  I liked it so much, and just knew it would have to become something special.

Each time I would revisit my stash, I would come across the skein of yarn.  It was never considered for giveaways, or for donation to charity, but I also could never think of anything specific to make using it.  For one thing, it was only one skein, and it was bulky yarn, which meant that there wasn't much yardage.  I don't have a lot of yarn in that weight, so there were no immediate pairings that came to mind for it, either.

Enter 2014, and the Polar Vortex.  Snow, cold, wind chills, much more than we have had in years.  I was so happy that I'd  made my Seedy Cowl (seen and described in this post), I thought I should look for some stash yarn to make a hat for myself.  I came across the aforementioned skein again, and thought, "Hmm, that would be a nice hat, and probably a quick knit."  So I poked around on Ravelry, and found that someone had used it to knit The Amanda Hat, which had been in my queue for a long time.  So, I cast on, and very quickly, I had a new hat - just in time for another round of Polar Vortex weather, snow, and wind chill!

As it turned out, I didn't get a chance to block it, because I needed it almost right away - but no matter, I made it to wear, right?  I can tell you that it is amazingly, cozily, warm.

Project:  But It's My Hat Instead
Pattern:  The Amanda Hat
Yarn:  Colinette Skye, in the Bright Charcoal colorway
Needles:  US 9
Modifications:  None
Comments:  This was an interesting pattern, requiring some attention, but with a quickly-learned repeat, and still a pretty fast knit.  The yarn is lovely to knit with, and I didn't find it splitty or rough or anything annoying.  I got to the point where I needed to do the last few rounds on double-pointed needles, and didn't have any in the size needed - grrr!  So I waited five extra days to get to Rosie's and borrow a set to finish it there.  (I was broke and couldn't afford them at the time.)  Anyway, the resulting hat is comfortable, pretty, and doesn't even really give me hat hair (at least not as much as other hats do)!

I can recommend this pattern, and this yarn, though by now it may be discontinued. I mean, I did buy it eighteen years ago ... 

I love the way it looks on the top!

First FO of 2014 = Success

17 January 2014

Five Favorites for This Friday

You may recall that I did this a few times at the end of 2013, and I have decided that it's good to think of any good things from the week, even it has seemed awful otherwise.  Fortunately this week has been OK overall, but here are some of the good things.

1.  I finished my first knitting project of 2014.  Pictures and a post to follow as soon as I can block it.

2.  I finally got a pair of new walking shoes.  They are so comfortable, and as usual, I have to ask myself why I waited so long to replace my worn-out pair.

3.  Thank-you notes for Christmas gifts from our great-nieces and great-nephew in Arizona.  I'm sure their parents make them write, but they are always entertaining, and it's a lovely thing to receive a handwritten/printed note from anyone for a gift.

4.  Peanut butter stirred into my morning oatmeal.  I don't remember how/why/where I thought of this or heard of it, but it is a yummy addition, and means that I have some variety in my breakfast during the week.

5.  Meeting the puppy down the street.  She is 8 weeks old, and a black ball of fuzz.  Her name is Zuzu, and she is madly in love with Dug!  As a result, I also met her "parents" who just moved into the neighborhood, and they seem like a really nice couple.

What about you?  I hope you have at least five things that you are happy to think about from this past week.

Have a great weekend!

14 January 2014

Pieces of 2013, Part Three - The Knitting

Well, this isn't too bad - I'm finishing up with 2013 right near the middle of January 2014 - sooner than I have finished my thank-you notes for Christmas gifts! There wasn't a lot of knitting this past year, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why.  I was happy with what I made, I just didn't make too many things!

The final knits of the year were four birthday gifts, and one thing for myself.  I think I mentioned here that I had decided to knit gifts for four of my nieces' birthdays, after seeing a cowl that was knit in a class at Rosie's.  I asked each of them for their favorite colors, and bought the yarn, and was finished in plenty of time for gifting!  (I send the BD gifts with the Christmas gifts, as all four birthdays are around that time as well.)  Here they are, all together, mainly because the photo of them together is so much prettier and more interesting than the photo of each one individually!

Projects:  Favorite Color Birthday Cowls
Pattern:  Drydock Cowl, by Jocelyn Tunney (a free pattern)
Yarn:  O-Wool  Balance Bulky - Boltwoodite (yellow); Rhodonite (pink); Peridot (green); Graphite (gray), nearly one skein for each cowl was needed
Needles:  US13
Modifications:  None
Comments:  This is an easy, interesting knit and the resulting cowl is really lovely.  Balance Bulky is not an expensive yarn, so I was able to make these without breaking the bank.  The pattern is well written, and you can easily complete a cowl during an evening or weekend afternoon.  I recommend it for gifts, especially.

After these were finished and sent off to their respective recipients, I realized that I had no more gift knitting to do!  I have a couple of projects underway, but neither were calling to me over the holiday break.

Last year, I received a gift certificate to Loop for Christmas from a friend, and I had purchased yarn with a specific design in mind. Unfortunately, the yarn and my idea were not destined to be friends, and since I had wound the yarn, it was not able to be returned.  So all year, I kept looking at it, thinking I'd use it for something, sometime.  With the weather turning colder, I thought about something else, and decided to give it a try.  The result?  The Seedy Cowl!

Not only was this the last project I finished in 2013, I did the bind off and weaving in of the ends at 11:20 p.m. on December 31!  It is incredibly soft, and cozy, and was absolutely perfect for the subzero temperatures that hit the next week.  It was completely unplanned, and once I got started, didn't require much thought or attention, and I truly love the result. (More pics on the Ravelry project page.)

Project:  The Seedy Cowl
Pattern:  From my brain
Yarn:  Fibre Company Tundra - Scotia Sea (blue, 2 skeins); Petrel (gray, 1 skein)
Needles:  US10
Comments:  I cast on 150 stitches, joined into a circle, and just knit double moss stitch.  When I ran out of the first skein of blue, I attached the gray, and when that was done, went to the other skein of blue.  By the time I cast off, I had maybe 4 feet of yarn left altogether - bits and pieces from each skein that were not enough to complete a round.  This is quite possibly the cushiest thing I have ever knit or worn, and it can actually be worn as a hood/scarf combination if desired.

And there you have it, the final projects of the year, which brought my grand total for the year to ten knits.  I'll take it!

12 January 2014

Pieces of 2013, Part Two - November and December Book Report

Time to close up 2013, reading-wise.  Here are the rest of the books I read during the past year, and what I thought about them.

Ellis Island, by Kate Kerrigan.  Well, I have to say first of all, that I won the second book in this series in one of the Goodreads First Reads giveaway - and the author herself sent me this book as well as the second one, with a nice note, from County Mayo, Ireland!  That was really exciting to me,and - at least in my opinion - really nice of her.

Ellie Hogan has grown up in rural Ireland, with parents who are not necessarily a  dream come true.  Her mother's family owned a store, and did not offer credit to their neighbors during the Great Famine.  Her father works for the British Government.  So she already feels like an outcast.  That is, until she met John Hogan, who moved in with his aunt and uncle after his parents died.  Ellie and John become fast friends and eventually marry, even after Ellie has told her parents she plans to join the convent.

John is involved with the IRA.  He is injured to the point where only surgery will allow him to walk again.  When one of Ellie's former schoolmates writes to tell her about her glamorous life in turn-of-the-century New York City, and mentions there would be a place for her in the wealthy household where she works, Ellie sees the chance to earn the money for John's surgery.  Despite his objections, she travels to America and takes a position in a wealthy socialite's household.

At first, Ellie is the proverbial fish out of water.  But the longer she stays - and she ends up staying for three years - the more she loves America, the freedom she has, and her life. She has an opportunity to leave service and take a typing course, which allows her to live her own life.  John has his surgery back in Ireland, and though she sends him a ticket to join her in America, he refuses.

As she is feeling settled, and even wondering if her marriage to John is still worth it, she receives a telegram informing her that her father is dying, and that she needs to return home.  She does so, reluctantly, and at first, deeply bitter at leaving her modern life to rejoin the backwater rural life of her home village.  Various events occur while she is home in Ireland, and the end of the book finds her content with her life there, and taking steps to change things and being very successful.

This book was a good read.  Of course, it helps that it takes place during one of my favorite time periods in New York.  But Ellie and her family are complex people, and their lives are not all happiness.  Her New York life is so interesting, and glamorous, while her life in Ireland is more basic with her being more responsible for her own happiness.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens to her next.

Longbourn, by Jo Baker.  I read some reviews of this book and was intrigued.  It is the "Pride and Prejudice" story, but from the viewpoint of the servants at the Bennett household.

Each chapter has a passage from the original work to start.  The characters from the Austen novel are of course here, but figure in only in how they relate to the house staff, which consists of Mr. Hill (footman and valet), Mrs. Hill (housekeeper and cook), Sarah (kitchen maid and maid to the  daughters of the house), Polly (young kitchen maid), and for a while, James (footman).  The author has made these people not only interesting, but thoughtful, and very cognizant of their place in the world.

One of the things I really liked about this book was that, knowing the story and characters in "Pride and Prejudice," it was interesting to see how the day-to-day lives of the house staff, and their positions as servants made them privy to some things, and pretty left out of others.  For example, Elizabeth's entire relationship with Darcy is mentioned when he visits the house once and then later when he arrives to ask Elizabeth to marry him.  The fact that it is the main plot of the other book, and just an event that moves this story along, is both fascinating and also kind of weird.

Overall, I liked this book.  Some things were harder to wrap my imagination around than others, but it was a very enjoyable read.

Holly Blues, by Susan Albert Wittig.  My first read this year of Christmastime books, and an enjoyable one.

Lawyer-turned-small-businesswomen China Bayles is busy getting ready for Christmas, both personally and with her business, where she sells herbs and herbal products.  She is looking forward to making a good holiday for herself, her husband, her stepson, and her niece Caitlin who has recently joined her family.

Then her husband's ex-wife Sally suddenly shows up.  Sally is pretty much a disaster, and as usual seems to have troubles.  This time, however, China takes pity on her and asks her to spend the holidays with them.

Of course, things can't be easy, right?  Pretty soon, it appears that Sally is being stalked, China and her family feel threatened, and new evidence appears in the cold case murders of Sally's parents years ago.

This was a fun read, with information on the origins of many holiday traditions, and even some recipes at the end.  If you like holiday reads, and enjoy cozy mysteries, you should probably enjoy this one.

Trouble Under the Tree, by Heather Webber.  Nina Quinn has taken a job during the Christmas season preparing an indoor "Christmastowne" - a place created by an old schoolmate that will be themed that way all year round.  Usually, Nina and her crew do their landscaping outside, but this was a chance to keep everyone on the payroll during the off-season.

Weird things keep happening at the site, and even Nina's stepson thinks there is something wrong about the place.  When a body turns up under the big tree during the lighting ceremony, Nina decides to investigate.  Between this series of events, someone sabotaging her mother by placing inflatables on her lawn and rooftop (which offends her sensibilities), and mysterious behavior by her only sister, Nina has a lot going on.  Her fiance also seems to have become uninterested, and she can't decide how that makes her feel.

Not great literature, but a fun holiday read.  I enjoyed it.

A Wee Christmas Homicide, by Kaitlyn Dunnett.  This was a series and an author that was new to me, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Liss MacCrimmon owns the Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine, and at the beginning of the story, she has a brilliant idea to help bring visitors to the town, since there isn't any snow for the skiers and snowboarders.  She learns that one of the items she is selling, some tiny bears dressed in different outfits, are the latest toy craze, and are sold out nearly everywhere.  She convinces the other business people to have a Twelve Days of Christmas festival, luring customers with the fact that there are plenty of the wee bears in her shop and a couple of others in the town.

The bears sell out immediately, except for those in the shop across the street, where the proprietor raises the prices to a ridiculous level.  First, one of the tiny bears displayed in the window is found with a bullet through where its heart would be ... soon after, the store's proprietor is found with a bullet through his heart.  Liss feels guilty, since the whole thing was her idea, and she begins to investigate what may have happened.

This book was enjoyable enough to finish, but nothing that made me really anxious to read other books in the series.  The whole thing with the toy bears reminded me of Christmases past when Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle Me Elmos were toys that people were willing to go to any lengths to acquire.

The Diva Cooks a Goose, by Krista Davis.  Sophie Winston has a lot going on, with hit being Christmastime.  But when she shows up at her brothers' house on Christmas Eve to find that all of their Christmas gifts - as well as all the others in the neighborhood - have been stolen, she gets involved trying to figure out just what is going on.  Several other things happen to complicate matters and her life, both personally and otherwise, and she spends a lot of time trying to figure out how and if they are at all connected.

Also - who left two kittens in her house?

This was a fun read, as I enjoyed Sophie's immediate and extended family, and since it took place in suburban Virginia, I was familiar with a lot of the setting, which made it enjoyable.

I am finding this series to be entertaining, and will likely read the one installment prior to this one that I missed.

Christmas on Jane Street : A True Story, by Billy Romp.  This is a short book, but very interesting and enjoyable. The Romp family has been coming to Jane Street in New York City for years.  They arrive the day after Thanksgiving in their camper, and stay until the end of the day on Christmas Eve, selling Christmas trees, wreaths, and bows from their Vermont farm.

The book details one particular year, when Billy (the father) feels that his eldest daughter Ellie is moving away from him and the family, suddenly having different interests and values.  He details how it changed the whole family dynamic, and what he discovered about himself and his family, as well as the people they have come to know each year during the holidays.

If you want a holiday book that evokes the best of New York at holiday time, as well as a simple story about a real family, you'll enjoy this book.  I found their life during the time they were on Jane Street each year to be fascinating, and I could see myself rereading this on a regular basis.

At the end of the edition I read, there is an afterword, where Billy catches us up on what has happened to the family since then.

It all makes you want to go out and buy a Christmas tree from his family!


And that sums up my reading for 2013.  A pretty wide variety of things, and I did surpass my Goodreads goal for the year, which pleased me.  Each of the books above were on my Nook, so I can't offer them to anyone.  I've already finished my first book for 2014, and am looking forward to what the next year brings in books! 

08 January 2014

Pieces of 2013 - September and October Book Report

Here we are, a week into the new year, and I have some housekeeping left from 2013!  As in, I haven't posted about anything I've read since August!!  How have all of you managed to continue with your lives, I don't know, but I admire your ability to push through difficulty in your lives.  :-)

So, I will now share my reads for September and October.  Just so you know, I do have two other "Pieces of 2013" to share - another couple of months of book reports, and and my wrap-up regarding my knitting.  So please indulge me in finishing out last year before completely diving in to this one.

Anyway, here are the September and October 2013 reads for your edification.

The Daughters of Mars, by Thomas Keneally.  This is the story of two sisters, Naomi and Sally Durance, who are both nurses, from rural Australia.  World War I is taking place, and they both apply to volunteer their services.  Both are accepted, and neither knows what to expect.  They are not close, and they share a secret that causes them to avoid each other for a while.

Their first experience is with casualties from the Battle of Gallipoli, and the stories go from there, through the duration of the war.  They work on hospital ships, at base camp hospitals, and in the case of Naomi, at a private hospital founded by a society matron.  As the years go by, they become close, and their secret no longer separates them.  Their father remarries a woman from the small town where they live.  Each of them find friendship and love, in spite of the continued fighting and wear and tear of the war.

I really liked this book.  At points it seemed too long, but then, so was the war.  Naomi and Sally grow as characters and there are some funny moments based on their provincial upbringing and introduction to the larger world.  It's one of those stories that span not just a lifetime, but a time when the modern world was inching its way forward everywhere.  I think it falls into the category known as "a sweeping saga."

If you are interested in World War I, and stories of everyday heroism I think you would like this book.

Decaffeinated Corpse, by Cleo Coyle.  A good book to pick up after reading something rather serious and intense!   Clare Cosi, owner of the Village Blend coffee shop in Greenwich Village, again becomes involved in a murder case.  The story revolves around a mutual friend of Clare and her ex-husband, who has developed a hybrid coffee plant that makes decaffeinated coffee that actually tastes good.  Even her extremely skeptical staff is won over.

The story takes place when the International Federation of Coffee Growers is meeting in New York, where their friend will debut his new discovery.  Things of course get complicated, and there is a chance that Clare's business will become part of a fraud investigation and that her friend will be accused of the murder of a government minister from a South American country.

This was a quick read, and a good enough story.  I do however, now wish I had one of Clare's Cappuccino Muffins, as they sound pretty yummy ...

Home is the Sailor : An Irish Country Doctor Story, by Patrick Taylor.  I saw this, available only as an e-book on the Nook.  Since I truly enjoy this series, I went ahead and got it.  The author describes it as a "long short story."

It's actually the tale of Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly's return to Ballybucklebo after his stint in the Navy during World War II.  He has managed to purchase the practice of his mentor, and is anxious to start his medical career, in charge of his own practice. It's very enjoyable, with Kinky Kincaid already being in place as the housekeeper, and it offers the chance to see the very beginnings of O'Reilly's relationships with the people in the town.

This was fun, and a good "fix" for me until I get to read the next book.

Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.  This was such an interesting book.  I wish more people would read it, or at least parts of it, so that they would understand that introverts are not necessarily only people who are shy.  The author does a good job of explaining and illustrating the difference between introversion and extroversion in terms that are understandable and relatable.

As an introvert who grew up with extremely extroverted parents, an older sister who is also extremely extroverted, and one who is extremely introverted, it was nice to have examples and reasoning as to the hows, whys, and ways of interacting that were part of my life, and still are.

This book took me a long time to read, and I think it's mainly because it was non-fiction, and though I found it interesting, I didn't want to sit and read it in big chunks all at once.

If you wonder about personality differences, and the whole nature/nurture aspect of them, you'll probably also like this book.

Tales of Men and Ghosts, by Edith Wharton.  I've been saving this one to read during October, the time of ghosts and odd happenings.  Being a big Edith Wharton fan, I was really looking forward to reading these stories.

I liked them well enough.  Some more than others, as is usually the case for me whenever I read short stories.  For the most part, they were just tales of the frailties of the human condition - conceit, ignorance to name a couple - and what happened to the people who experienced these events or were the victims of them.  Some were actually ghost stories, and were genuinely creepy.

Not my favorite Edith Wharton, but worth reading.

Mrs. Poe, by Lynn Cullen.  I heard about this book from a blogger's review, and that person thought it was amazing, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Everyone pretty much knows the story of Edgar Allan Poe, and that he married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, when she was thirteen and he was twenty-six.  In this story, the author takes the rumored relationship between Poe and Frances Osgood, a poet who was known but not famous, and makes it real.  Frances Osgood was born into Boston society, and married Samuel Osgood, a portrait painter of society women.  Though they had two children, Samuel was known as a ladies man, and would often carry on affairs with his subjects.  Frances and the children were more or less abandoned, and were living in New York City in the 1840s with her friends, the Barrett's (of Barrett's American Dictionary fame).  As part of the literary society and circle of New York at the time, they were friends and acquaintances of many of the most well-known Americans of letters of the time.

Poe and Frances carry on an affair that begins as just a mutual attraction, and becomes a somewhat obsessive relationship down the road.  In the beginning, Mrs. Poe also befriends Frances, and is eager to have a friendship with her.  Towards the end of the book, her feelings become somewhat twisted.

Though I enjoyed some of the characters in the book because I knew who they were, and loved the setting - 19th century New York, one of my favorite times and places - the story itself left me feeling kind of annoyed and uninterested.  Frances seemed to see herself as such a victim and so abandoned most of the time, and though she claimed to hate it when people were too eager to be friendly, seemed to think Poe was the exception.  I found their relationship in the book to be a little to melodramatic for my tastes, and just really felt that  the characterizations of the two of them, and some of their circle were simplistic and somewhat expected.

It's not that I think Edgar Allan Poe could not have been like he was portrayed in the book; I've read enough about him to know he was a mercurial man.  But I felt that he was made out to be extremely weak-willed and manipulative at the same time in this story.  And maybe he actually was.  But Poe and Frances together simply bored me.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and like reading about American writers, there are some excellent parts of the story; but frankly, it wasn't enough for me to feel like the book was something that I would tell anyone to go out of their way to read.

Cocaine Blues, by Kerry Greenwood.  I don't remember how I came across this book, but it seemed like it would be an interesting read, so I gave it a try.

Phryne Fisher is a young woman who loves adventure, but is of an age where she should be thinking of getting married.  The thing is, she is not really interested, preferring to decide things for herself.  Through an acquaintance at a party given by her family, she takes on a job for a well-to-do family, trying to discover what is wrong with their daughter, who is married and lives with her husband in Melbourne.

Phryne spent time in Melbourne as a child, before her father inherited the family money in England, so she is curious to see it as an adult.  The case she takes on involves trying to find out why the daughter of the wealthy family is always seeming to be sick.  It leads Phryne to the underworld of cocaine and abortion in Melbourne in the 1920s.

She resolves the issue, always while dressing fabulously, and having the adventures that she so craves.

This book was fun to read, and I liked it well enough that I want to try the next one in the series.


Unfortunately at the moment, I have none of these books to offer.  A few I read on my Nook a couple were library books, and the only one that was a print Advanced Readers' Copy - The Daughters of Mars - is no where that I can locate at the moment.  If/when I come across it, I'll let you know.  But in the meantime, let me know what you've read lately, and what you thought about it.

P.S. Reading is an excellent way to spend your time when you are too cold and snowed in ... in case you hadn't figured that out for yourself. ;-)

04 January 2014

Christmas Day Redux

We had a wonderful Christmas Day at our house.  It was not a white Christmas (that happened yesterday, when we got 9 inches of snow), but it was cold and sunny, and especially cozy with the fireplace going.

A lot of people I know always feel sorry for us, having to spend our Christmas away from family, due to The Tim's work schedule, and though it was hard the first couple of years, now we look forward to the entire day to ourselves, doing it our own way.  And we are a family - I truly believe that having children is not what defines a family.

Anyway, the kitties and Dug were particularly pleased with their gifts, particularly those received from a family friend.  The kitties received something called a Busybody, which is a kind of flannel square with some catnip in it, and toys attached.  It was popular with all of them!

(Pip played with it first, but my camera wasn't charged them - grrrrrr!)

Dug received a squeaky toy, which he was enjoying until he accidentally stepped on it and it squeaked, which freaked him out for the rest of the day!  Fortunately, by the next day it wasn't quite so worrisome/traumatic, so he has played with it since then quite a bit.

The Tim and I didn't get as carried away with gifts for each other as we usually do, because we decided we wanted to buy new chairs for the living room.  But of course, that didn't mean there were not any packages to open!  Three of my gifts were books:

So gorgeous!  With a lot of historical content, which I also love.  I  may never actually knit any of the patterns, but I'll always enjoy the book ...

This is something I know I'll enjoy reading - it has a truly varied group of contributors, so even if one does nothing for me, I'm sure to find something I'll like, right??

And finally, this book - which makes the language geek in me so incredibly happy!  I am not going to read it right away on purpose, so I'll have something to look forward to reading (I know, I need a life).  I can't wait, but I also don't want it to be over, you know?

The Tim was pleased with his gifts, one of which was a universal remote, which he had been talking about buying.  When he actually looked at it, he said, "Gee, I'm not sure I'll be able to figure this out."  Knowing him though, it will become a personal challenge, and he won't stop until he has it working just the way he wants it to work.  As for me, I just hope it will make it easier to figure out how to watch different types of things on our TV ...

With our cozy little family, a day to ourselves, lovely and fun gifts, and all kinds of goodies to eat and drink, Christmas Day was definitely one of the best.  Which is as it should be.  :-)

01 January 2014

Welcome to 2014!

"If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down."
-- Author unknown

Here's to a year that allows all of us to reach new heights.