Friday, December 26, 2008

Slightly Scandalous - Mary Balogh

Slightly Scandalous (Slightly series #3) Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
More of the same. I read this and Slightly Married back to back. It was a little too much for me. What's with the communication breakdown in these books. Both books were fun, but I wouldn't recommend reading them (or the other books in the series) too close together.

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Slightly Married - Mary Balogh

Slightly Married (Slightly series #1) Slightly Married by Mary Balogh

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Why? Why did Jill recommend these books? Addicting, silly romance novels set in the early 19th century. Complete with tight breeches, heaving chests...well, you know. Fun, quick read, but be warned, you'll have to admit to reading ROMANCE.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Pictures coming later...

I can't believe the crazy December weather we've had for over a week now. Having grown up in the Portland area, it's never ever been like this. Snow on the ground for 9 days and no sign of it going away any time soon. My patio table has at least 16 inches, the driveway is undrivable, and the local highways require tire chains (for the last 4 days!)

Last weekend in Renton, it snowed a little, but Pat and I managed to drive to Portland on Monday (12/15). Portland area was much worse, lots of snow in Beaverton with a weather forecast showing it to continue. After a meeting on Tuesday, Pat high-tailed it north and I hunkered down.

Jill flew in during a short let up in the weather on Thursday, we managed to do a lot of shopping on Friday, then the snow really came. By Saturday mid-day we had about 5 inches and it never stopped until yesterday (Monday) afternoon.

I don't have chains, no a snow shovel, so even the trusy Subaru in the garage is doing me no good. Lots of walking to the local Starbucks, grocery story, movie store, and Walgreens. Also, lots of reading (got a stack of books at the library on Friday). So many people out, I wish it was always like that. And way too much fun watching the crazy drivers slide, even with chains.

We intended to take the bus to the movies, but all the local bus service was cancelled, so we just walked around the neighborhood. I've taken lots of pics which will be posted soon.

Today, we're taking MAX to the airport. Jill's scheduled to fly out at 4:30. And again, good timing. Most flights have been cancelled for the last 4 days, but today, they're moving again. Need to get that girl home for the holidays. First married Xmas and all. Wish us luck.

The Sweet Far Thing - Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Definitely the best of the three books. The first two were too much set up, not enough substance. Lots of time in The Realms and much more supernatural activity. Fun read.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

West African Chicken-Peanut Soup

6 c. Cooked Chicken Meat, diced
2 White Onions, diced
3 T Minced Garlic
1/4 c. Sesame Oil
3 T Curry Powder
1 T Crushed Red Chiles
1 T Black Pepper
1 T Kosher Salt

In a large pot, saute' all above ingredients until onions are soft.

Then add...
5 quarts Chicken Stock
1/2 c. Tomato Paste
1/2 #10 can Diced Tomatoes
4 c. Chunky Peanut Butter

Stir until all the peanut butter is evenly distributed. Do not boil, but be sure to bring to 165 degrees. Check salt & pepper levels.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my favorite books this year. Very Jane Eyre-esque. Young female biographer is asked to record the life story of a famous mysterious author. Book Stores, Manor House, Moors, ghosts.... what more could one want. Huge thumbs up.

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Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits Recipe : Ina Garten : Food Network

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits Recipe : Ina Garten : Food Network
I saw this episode on Food Network the other day and really want to try ig.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives - Pamela Grim

Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER by Pamela Grim

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting book about being an Emergency Physician. Unfortunately, it was pretty depressing. The author is an unhappy, cynical person and working in the ER has not helped her.

There are many stories about emergency cases and a couple sections about her work with Doctors Without Borders in Bosnia and Nigeria. I found the ER stories most interesting.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another trip to the south

I visited Jill & Nathan last weekend. It's always so much fun. Aren't they cute all dressed up for church?
Can you see the love of books?

Nathan and I played golf at Indian Wells Celebrity Course. Check out the Eagle. He got a 2 on a par 4!!!

We played golf on Friday, then over the weekend we went to church, ate, watched movies and cooked. Sunday was a cool day so we made bread and a great soup from Joy of Cooking, Sweet Potato with Peanut Stew.
Fun times.


We had a fantastic family Thanksgiving with 23 people. I made the turkey and two kinds of stuffing, sausage and mushroom (vegetarian). Our guests made everything else. We had a lot of great food. Several salads, a couple kinds of sweet potatoes, and way too many desserts.

The Way of the Small - Nicolas Hays

My Rating 4 of 5 Stars.
Great book. Living in the moment and appreciating where you are in your life. There are some wonderful nuggets. Recommended.

Rebel Angels - Libba Bray

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars.
Second book of the series that started with A Great and Terrible Beauty. This one was a little better. There is less set up and more story, but I still can't give it more than 3 stars. I'm not even sure I'd recommend it, there are so many other, better books.

Monday, December 01, 2008

When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedars (Audio Book)

When You Are Engulfed in Flames When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another hilarious book by David Sedaris. I listened to this audiobook read by the author while driving the Seattle Portland slog three times in 10 days. The drive flew by with other drivers looking at me as if I was crazy laughing hysterically all by myself in the car.

I highly recommend this book and anything else by Sedaris. During the holidays, as must read is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and the story 5 to 8 Black Men. It will have you in tears.

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The Lake, the River and the Other Lake - Steve Amick

The Lake, the River & the Other Lake: A Novel The Lake, the River & the Other Lake: A Novel by Steve Amick

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I selected this book for my book group December read. It was recommended by the owner of Sunriver Bookstore. An interesting slice of life in a Michigan resort town. The characters range from locals to wealthy summer folk. Their interactions and activities through a single vacation season are fun, and sometimes tragic.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I found this book at a library sale for $3. Couldn't pass it up since it's been getting a lot of hype lately.

A 16 year old girl witnesses her mother's murder in India through supernatural means. It's set around 1900. She's sent to a girls boarding school in London where she becomes friends with 3 other students. Of course, they go to the woods in the dark and go to another "realm".

Although I enjoyed the book, I only gave it 3 stars as more than half of the book was setting up the story. In fact, the entire book is really a set up for the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. It's too bad this book didn't have more to it. The last 3rd of the book rates 4 stars.

The next two books are on my TBR list now. I'm sure they'll be more satisfying.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008


It was a beautiful day on the lake. Winter is around the corner, but that didn't stop the kayaker.

Shopping with the kids.

My new nephew, Emmett the Puggle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Religion (Audio Book) - Tim Willocks

The Religion: A Novel The Religion: A Novel by Tim Willocks

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Finally! I listened to this audio book on recommendation of a stranger at the library. He said it was 'fantastic'. Not. It was 21 CDs of gore, lust, gore, bad accents, gore. Did I mention gore? As in, she fell into his arms, overlooking the gore on his armor. Actually, the last 2 CDs were pretty good. Everyone died. Don't bother.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
An interesting book about realizing one's dream and purpose. It's a fable set in Spain and North Africa; a young man meets a mysterious stranger, sells everything he has and goes in pursuit of his dream. His road is bumpy and inspiring.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sorry I didn't read this earlier, Tonya. It was great and reminded me a little of The Poisonwood Bible. Craziness ensues when the white missionaries show up.

It would be interesting to see where Africa would be now if it had been left alone.

This book was a short, interesting read. I loved reading about the customs. Would definitely recommend.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Moving on up - to the 4th floor

We moved to the 4th floor this weekend. Yay, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Rosie loves to look out the windows of the new apartment. In this picture, she's looking north. Seattle skyline is in the distance over the lake, but it's not visible in this picture.

Here's the view out our west window. Looking at Boeing and the lake. It's so bright and open.

From the kitchen looking toward the livingroom. We even have a fireplace.

Another view toward the west of our dining room.

Finally, the bedroom. Floor ceiling windows, have to be careful changing clothes.

90 Minutes in Heaven - Don Piper

90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life by Don Piper

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this book and did get one valuable piece of advice, but overall the writing was poor and slow going. I couldn't give it more than 3 stars. The description of Heaven was very interesting, but the advice was to live with purpose. Can't go wrong there.

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Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer

Breaking Dawn (Twilight Series, Book 4) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finished the series and enjoyed every minute even though it a little longer than it needed to be. Maybe I'll have to take a road trip to Forks and La Push, the local Sunday paper had an entire travel spread on the Olympic Peninsula and included quite a bit of Twilight Lore.

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Wavy Gravy Hat

I bought the yarn for this fun hat at a knitting shop in Bend and finally got around to making it when I was in California a couple weeks ago. It was very fast and easy
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Monday, November 03, 2008

Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer

Eclipse (Twilight Series, Book 3) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another page turner Vampire/Werewolf story. Lots more about the wolves in this one. ...and who's better for Bella? Jacob or Edward? Hot or Cold? Mortal or Immortal? You'll find out her choice if you read this one.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed Earth Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
It comes down to this...I do not like short stories. The commitment is too short term and just as I begin to relate to or become attached to the characters, the story is over.

I'm sure if you are a short story lover, you'd give this book more stars, but for me, 3 is all I can do.

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3 generations in Loma Linda

My grandaughter - Hermione

I took my mom to visit Jill in Loma Linda for a week. It as a lazy time of visiting and eating (and Jill working). The weather was fabulous (90s during the day and 50s at night). We did a little shopping, but mostly just enjoyed each other's company. The only downside was missing Nathan who was visiting his family in southern Oregon.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Moon - Stephanie Meyers

New Moon (Twilight Series, Book 2) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just like the first book in the series...addicting. This time there are other creatures of the night to contend with....and a new friend (love interest?)

If you want fun mind candy, this series is for you, but don't read if you're offended by monsters.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Shack - William Paul Young

The Shack The Shack by William P. Young

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A different way of looking at God, really makes one think about the traditional Christian view even though it isn't in conflict.

The story is engaging, uplifting, and hopeful even under terrible circumstances.

Many reviewers have spent all their time refuting the theology, seems like a waste of time, which would be better spent using ones imagination to see how the story relates to real life. 5 stars.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Echo Falls Golf - Snohomish

We managed to get out to golf a couple weeks ago. It was a fun course in Snohomish called Echo Falls. I enjoyed it because it was relatively short and I shot my best 9 hole score on the back 9. Yay!!