Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

Have you ever failed Chex Mix? I did for the first time today. I've made this thing many many times, no problem. Today? The Chex boxes only come now with instructions for microwaving, not oven. I don't want to make Chex mix in the microwave. So I mis-remembered the oven temperature and over-baked the Chex mix. I tried to say it would be okay but it really wasn't. Rice Chex isn't supposed to be the color of Wheat Chex or worse. So I trooped back to the store to get more supplies and the place was BUSY. Packed. Oy. So I did the new self check out thingy they have now at Albertsons. Got through very quickly. So now I'm making Chex Mix again. At a lower temperature and watching more closely. And when I make Chex Mix, I make what **I** like. So only Rice and Corn Chex, no Wheat Chex, no nuts. I added Crispix this time and two kinds of pretzels. That's it. Lovely. Did you know that there are many many different recipes for this concoction? You can have Ranch, spicy, Tropical, etc., etc. What an industry!

I walked Tug this afternoon. I found a pair of ice thingies to put on your boots so you can walk better on ice. Well, they didn't quite fit well -- they were a little too big for my boots but I made it work and I think it helped.

Read a book in the last 24 hours (yes, I know I shouldn't add more to this year but there it was having to go back to the library soon). It's called THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN by Clare Langely-Hawthorne. It's a histmyst set during Edwardian England. It wanted to be a better book. It had good bones but I think the execution missed. Here's a description from Amazon:

introduces an aspiring journalist and an Oxford-educated heiress, Ursula Marlow, who has a lot to learn about good detective work. Ursula's sheltered life begins to unravel after she receives a frantic late-night call from her friend Winifred Stanford-Jones, who's awakened to her lesbian lover's bloody corpse in her bed. Ursula summons Lord Oliver Wrotham, legal adviser to her industrialist father, but she bristles at the condescending, restrictive male power structure of Edwardian London and launches her own probe into the murder—with limited success. More deaths follow, including that of Ursula's father. Suspecting the crimes may be linked to a botanical expedition to South America, Ursula embarks for its jungles to confirm her theory.

It had good elements but just didn't make it. Predictable, meandering (sigh). I wish it had been better.

Last night I watched the 2008 Kennedy Honors. This was a taped broadcast from the first week of December. One of the honorees was The Who. My abso-f-ing-lutely favorite band. Fabulous. Great intro by Jack Black and the singer who did Love Reign O'er Me was sooo good -- you could see Pete Townshend getting almost teary. And the firefighters and police ending Baba O'Reilly blew them away. The other singers were all right, kinda sorta. Glad to see them recognized this way. It must be a mixed blessing though or a sad realization. The Kennedy Honors are recognizing an artist's career, meaning they are pretty much done and most things are behind them now. It must be frustrating, too, for instance for The Who to hear their music (and sometimes not very well done) and not be doing it themselves. I had taped it while I watched and I'm glad I did. Some things are worth watching over again. Other honorees were Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Twyla Tharp and (yuck) Barbra Streisand.

I still have the DVD of The Duchess to watch. I don't think there is anything on TV worth watching tonight. And I've started Season 4 of MI-5 though I'm less emotionally involved since my favorite character is gone. Steve will be back from shooting around 9. We'll see if we both make it to midnight. I spoke to him this afternoon and he was TIRED. I hope maybe he can close his eyes for about 30 minutes before he has to go out to the range. I'm sure there will be fireworks in the neighborhood tonight.

The sad thing about tonight is that you know people are getting ready to go out, getting all dressed up and fancy and having a good time and then over doing it and maybe not making it home at all because of being stupid. Nothing you can do about it but it is sad. Send out a positive vibe out there for everyone.

So, for my personal party of one, I've got a single-sized frozen pizza and a movie and maybe a glass of wine. Whee ha!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Eve Eve

Catching up a bit:

Finished THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Steig Larsson. As one may have noticed in yesterday's posting, it made my Top Ten list for the year. I can see why people have loved it. The characters are intriguing in Lisbeth and Blomqvist, but to me, the real strength lies in the plotting. So much going on but not overly so. First, it's a cold case, which I've always loved. And there's family secrects and revenge and financial shenanigans and sociopath Lisbeth's situation dealing with her guardianship and on and on. Lots of story packed in the pages which, to be honest, you don't really come across very often. I had to stop myself from ordering the next book that comes out on the 6th in the UK. It is very sad, indeed, that the author died and that there will only be three books from him ever.

Then, last night, waiting for Steve to come home (7:30-ish) I started a quickie paperback mystery, THE STATE OF THE ONION by Julie Hyzy and finished it by bedtime. Yes, I'm a fast reader. Regular-sized paperbacks, I can finish in about three hours. This was a pleasant cosy set in the kitchens of the White House so it had new information to keep things interesting. The amateur sleuth, the assistant chef, did a lot of the things that amateur sleuths do that make one roll the eyes or fling the book but, read in pretty much one go, I made it through without doing so. Yes, I think I'd read the next one (I think there are only two). Ollie is the assistant chef at the White House and while returning from buying a retirement present for the Head Chef, she witnesses a man being chased on the lawn who she ends up helping to catch by hitting him with the gift - a frying pan . So of course now she's involved and can't let it go when the man says he's trying to warn the President. And her boyfriend is in the White House Secret Service so she simultaneously has inside info and being constantly warned off the case. Later, she turns out to be the only one who's ever seen an international assassin who then spends time trying to kill her. Meanwhile, she's auditioning for the position of Head Chef and her competition is her nemesis, a Martha Stewart clone. And a last minute State dinner honoring a potential peace treaty between two warring countries complicates matters. Like I say, it's a typical amateur sleuth mystery, but if one doesn't dwell on it too long, it can be enjoyable.

So now, with two days left in the year, I'm looking for something to read again. I may just finish a nonfiction book I started a while back. I dropped off some books at the library on Sunday and picked up a couple more so I do have some good ones to read, but I really don't want to add to the number of books read this month/year. As you can see, December was a bumper month for me but I need to add numbers to January.

Watched the third DVD of Veronica Mars. Good as always but then I get in the mood for more of her episodes but I have to wait for the shipment from Netflix and so then watch something else and get out of the mood for V.M and more into the mood for the one in between, and vice versa if you can follow that. I've got now the DVD of The Duchess, a movie starring Keira Knightly as the Lady Georgiana, a real historical figure but of course the movie will be very loosely about the real person. Here's a description:
Keira Knightley steps into the restricted world of the Duchess of Devonshire, a royal lady popular with her subjects but stuck in an unhappy marriage. If this situation recalls Princess Diana (a descendent of the Duchess's family), so much the better for the purposes of director Saul Dibb and company; this film is eager to draw parallels with the unfortunate Lady Di, even if she is never directly mentioned. Knightley's unsuspecting girl is married off to the Duke (Ralph Fiennes), a distracted jerk who craves male sons, and obviously has never thought of women as anything other than a means to achieve an heir. When the Duchess launches her procreative career with a couple of daughters, well, the Duke begins to get nervous--and partners outside the marriage become increasingly appealing.

But, I'm willing to watch it. Otherwise, I've got some DVDs from the library I should view ASAP (two Prime Suspects and the first Foyle's War) and then there's the Netflix instant viewing online with season four of MI-5 among others to watch. My cup runneth over and I have no right to complain about waiting for the next Veronica Mars. But I do pout a little.

Took Tug for a walk a little while ago. It's always something: too hot, too cold, too muddy, too windy... today it was too fricking icy with packed snow on interior roads of the subdivision - even the alleyway thingy because of all the snowmobiles and 4-wheelers dragging toboggans going on them. Both Tug and I were slipping a bit but I didn't fall down (knock wood). He's napping now in the doorway of my office. The poor baby just doesn't have exciting or active parents.

The website of the day is http://bibliothecary.squarespace.com/. The Bibliothecary. I just love that name. It's brilliant. If I didn't have Bookeemonster, which I love, I'd steal it or be incredibly jealous.

Tomorrow evening, Steve is doing his shooting thing so I'll have some of the evening to myself. I've gotten a single serving frozen pizza for myself and I plan to make Chex mix sometime during the day. I sometimes don't make it to midnight but I'll give it a try. So basically, just a typical Wednesday night except for trying to stay awake longer. :) We're not partiers, and to be honest, with all the people out there being crazy -- because they think they have to because it's "New Year's Eve" or feel they have a free night to get falling down drunk -- it is better to be safe and happy at home. One good thing about not working for the Symphony anymore: I would otherwise be working the concert tomorrow night. Now I'm free!

Okay, off you go, I've got things to do as I'm sure you do too ...

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top and Bottom Reads of 2008

Tops:
REVELATION by CJ Sansom
THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON by Kate Morton
COMPANY OF LIARS by Karen Maitland
THE WHISKEY REBELS by David Liss
THE SERPENT'S TALE by Ariana Franklin
THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly
WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP by C.S. Harris
VOWS OF SILENCE by Susan Hill
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Steig Larsson
ABSOLUTION by Caro Ramsay


Bottoms:
LIFE LINES by CJ Lyons
THAI DIE by Monica Ferris
SACRIFICE by S.J. Bolton
L.A. OUTLAWS by T. Jefferson Parker

Honorable Mention:
THE WESTMINSTER POISONER by Susanna Gregory
THE MONEYLENDER OF TOULOUSE by Alan Gordon
SALVATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new face

I'm doing a bit of online housekeeping here. Just needed to shake things up a bit and make this more exciting for me as well as anyone who happens by. Don't know if there is anyone besides my mom, checking on how my days are going. So there's a new look to the overall page for a while -- until I feel like changing things again.

You will see more lists along the side. I'm an info junkie and come across all kinds of interesting places as I click around the Web. So, I am having a daily website/blog find. And I'll be collecting ones in different categories I like along the way.

Not much going on in terms of the job hunt. Only 14 listings in the local paper under Professional and many were not in this town. (sigh) After the New Year it will get better, I'm thinking.

So just the usual today. Hope to get more time reading.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love Story/Resolutions

Currently reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Steig Larsson. I'm sure, as readers, you've experienced that moment when the story catches your imagination. At that moment of "clicking", you cannot read anything else; you must know what is going on in this world and you won't stop until the end of the story. I love that moment. I don't know if it is as powerful as falling in love, but it has the principal. It has that difference between "I could walk away at anytime and not care" and "who ARE you and I must know more." Each book, I think, that one chooses to spend time with has that moment. Why else would we spend time with that particular book when there are so many others? So last night I had that moment with the Larsson book. I read until 11 (yeah, I know it wasn't 2 in the morning but this is late for me) because there came a time that I didn't want to turn away from what was happening on the pages. I LOVE that moment. That "Ah -ha" of finding a compatible voice that you're hearing in your head as you read. More more more moments. Steve came to bed at 11 (early for him for a Friday evening) so I reluctantly set the book aside. I have things I need to do today like vacuum and laundry but I want to get back to losing myself in the story.

That is also one of the reasons why I can't be a writer. I have ideas for stories and I want to HAVE WRITTEN but I truly don't want to give up any opportunities of reading stories. Stories are everything. The ones that click with us as a reader are magical. They can cross countries, centuries, language. Isn't that amazing?

I've been reading blogs about resolutions. Yes, it's that time of year. I don't really do them because to me, they are just goals to achieve within a specific time period which I do anyway. And some things are not resolutions but are just things that have to be done like get a job. And of course there could be different categories like physical health always and quality of life, etc. And some can be so ambiguous as to be worthless or so specific as to defeat the point or really belong on a "To Do" list. But...

Resolution #1: Work on my website daily
Resolution #2: Get comfortable with social networks daily
Resolution #3: Write a workbook for the class I'm going to teach in July.
Resolution #4: Learn "flashy splashy" for websites.
Resolution #5: Leverage M-degrees and get nonprofit website clients.

Are you sensing a theme here? These are the goals that are out of my way currently and I want to complete this year. "So let it be written; so let it be done" (Yul Brenner in The Ten Commandments).

Let's see, other goals:

  • Read an average 10 books per month (fell a little short here in 2008).
  • Be current in world news and what it means. (i.e., get smarter)
  • Ditto for nonprofit info, especially planned giving. BE the expert.
  • Blog daily, even if it's stupid. :)
  • Write reviews for all books I read.
  • Other than daily walking Tug, work out at least every other day especially biking.
  • Here's an impossible one: be a better housekeeper. (bwa ha haha)
  • Though it takes away from the first three, watch DVDs more than you did the first 10 months of the year.

Oh, there are so many ways that we all think we must improve ourselves. Perhaps this is the biggest of them all:

TRY TO FORGET ALL OF THE ABOVE AND JUST LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE TODAY. YOU'RE PERFECT AS IS.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day - no hitting included

Oh, not much going on, just getting snowed in. I mean LOTS of snow overnight. Not fit for man nor beast but I guess shoppers are still going at it. You can't come between them and potential end of year sales. Crazy stupid.

A snow mobile was cruising around our neighborhood this morning. I walked Tug and it was TOUGH. Didn't do the full walk by any means. I took him to the back yard for a little romping to make up for it but he didn't seem to get it other than nipping at my coat and following whereever I ran but not taking the initiative otherwise. At the end of the walk, a kid was playing in a neighbor's yard and, in playing, fell face forward. Tug suddenly turned into a St. Bernard on the slopes and DRAGGED me 100 yards to go "save" the boy. The boy, suitable startled, was perfectly fine, he was just playing in the deep snow. It took some dragging of my own to get Tug away and home.

Steve was in a bad-ish mood today because he had to go to work. He tried, as boss, to have the shop closed today but his shop manager said they had too much work to do that. So they were open for half the day and this manager, of course, was "misinformed" per usual in his job. Oy. Steve's now sleeping on the couch with the pellet stove going.

I've decided that there's no use in really adding much to my number of books read this year since I'll be starting over in a just a few days with the new year. I might as well "kill time" with the last five days of the year with a "really big book." Really big books are hard to read each month because they take up so much time when you're trying to average 10 or so books read each month. But, I've nothing to lose between now and New Year. So I've started THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Steig Larsson. Yes, the beloved and hated Swedish sensation. I've just started it -- maybe 50 pages in to the 533 page book -- and things are just getting set up in terms of storylines. I'm not immediately turned off by it so I mean to continue. I got it from the UK shortly after Ali raved about it on 4MA, what almost a year ago. Yes, sometimes it takes me a while to get to books I order. Actually, this book went to Texas for a while with a friend from LCC so I didn't have it for a few months.

I got the last disc of MI-5 season 3 off in the mail today. I was shocked and surprised to see yesterday that Netflix had digitalized it. And they've done it to Season 4 so I won't get the discs -- I don't think I'm interested in the extra features of this next season. Happy happy. The next DVD of Veronica Mars came in today's mail so I have some viewing to do.

Speaking of, we watched Tropic Thunder last night. Robert Downey, Jr. is amazing each and every time. The movie was strange and funny. Tom Cruise could make a comeback if he kept up those self-deprecating kind of roles. I look forward to the audio commentary of the movie with Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jack Black. THAT will be funny.

I have to remember to watch Say Yes to the Dress tonight at 8. I keep forgetting Friday night tv and according to tvguide.com these are two new episodes.

Oh, the volume on the tv just went up -- Steve must have awakened. I don't plan anything fancy for dinner, warm comfort food. And some reading.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Working on a list of favs for 2008

So, a list of my favorite reads in 2008. Thus far, and with a few days left in the year, I've read 108 books. Broke the 100 barrier, but it's not my personal best in number read. Looking over my reading journal now, and I'll note ones that stand out and then make a final determination...

Tops

REVELATION by CJ Sansom
THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON by Kate Morton
COMPANY OF LIARS by Karen Maitland
THE WHISKEY REBELS by David Liss
THE BRASS VERDICT by Michael Connelly
WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP by C.S. Harris
VOWS OF SILENCE by Susan Hill
SALVATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

Bottoms
LIFE LINES by CJ Lyons
THAI DIE by Monica Ferris
SACRIFICE by S.J. Bolton
L.A. OUTLAWS by T. Jefferson Parker

Wow, who knew I'd be having trouble coming up with ten. I've gone through the listings for the year three times now and I'm struggling. The first three tops are VERY strong. Loved them, no question or hesitation. The next four are strong and nearly nearly there as tip top but just a slight degree off.

Perhaps part of my problem this morning is that I'm not really in a "book" mood right now. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does this make me more objective in my choices therefore the choices will be more "true?" Or am I being too dispassionate to be truly "sentimental?" Hmmm. Looking again over the lists....

I know I liked several reads throughout the year, Silva, Gregory, Franklin, Willig, Robb of course, Robinson, Hill, Gordon, George, Alexander, Rankin, Peters, Rickman, Saums, Spencer-Fleming, Penman, ...

ABSOLUTION by Caro Ramsay. I remember having a strong reaction to this one but it was before my blog so I don't have notes. Let me look up on Amazon to refresh my memory.... it has always stood out as a memorable read but maybe not necessarily as a "best" book. But more for a shocking (to me) ending. The same thing as Susan Hill did in her first book, if you take my POV character meaning.

Maybe I'm setting the bar too high. There were new releases by author's I've enjoyed in the past that I found to be quite disappointing, Ferris, Peters, Cain, Krueger, Gerritsen, etc.

New discoveries are always welcome: Ellen Crosby, Silva I think was new to me this year, Crombie, CS Harris, etc.

I could add:
THE SERPENT'S TAIL by Ariana Franklin
one of the books by Ellen Crosby
THE WESTMINSTER POISONER by Susanna Gregory
THE MONEYLENDER OF TOULOUSE by Alan Gordon
A FATAL WALTZ by Tasha Alexander
THE SEDUCTION OF THE CRIMSON ROSE by Lauren Willig

... but not necessarily because I thought they were "best" but because I enjoyed them but not as examples of exemplary reads, if you take my meaning....

Just added JD Robb to the list of the tops up there. Thinking over that plot, it was one of her best and I do truly enjoy her books. So, I'm up to eight. I may add the Gregory because I like her complication plots of a spy in Restoration England. I could add the Gordon and the Franklin just because I love those authors even though the books may not be stand outs in other terms. I know I really looked forward to reading them the second they came out.

Okay, I'm comfortable with these contenders. Will make a final determination later.

Merry Christmas! Hope you got books for gifts or the potential for books in the form of gift cards. I had fun last night tracking Santa on NORAD. Steve is usually shooting on Wednesday evenings and enjoyed all the shows he misses about shooting; and there are lots of 'em on that night of the week.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the day before Christmas

Thought I'd better get this up before I got too caught up in things and forgot about doing it.

A quiet day so far. I'm enjoying watching a DVD without pressure of getting anything else accomplished.

I got a call from Steve a bit ago; he's closed the shop for the day but is hanging out to see if any emergency calls come in.

I'll be walking Tug within about 45 minutes. Right now Tug's found a sunbeam and is napping in it. The weather is warmer, in the low 20s, but there's a wind blowing so it will be not as pleasant as it should.

Steve's parents did get out of town yesterday though they weren't sure they'd make it so they didn't tell anyone until they got past Miles City. They called from Mandan. I think they'll have a better Christmas visiting Steve's sister and her kids. Christmas should have grandparents with grandkids when they're little (even though Buford won't enjoy it).

I maybe expect Steve home around 2 or 3. He's getting SOS for dinner as requested. We'll probably watch the movie with dinner at 7. I've always grown up with the tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve so we'll probably do that sometime later in the evening. Then, I suppose he'll play on his computer and I'll go upstairs and read a bit, which I really didn't do much of yesterday so not making much progress.

Maybe tomorrow I'll start working on my Top Ten and whatever Bottoms I have for 2008 in my reading. That will make for more interesting reading here. :) It's just quiet and not much going on today. Sorry no fireworks or much action. 'Twas the night before and all through the house not a thing was going on except relaxed contentment.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Busy day today so this may be short unless I get on a ramble.

Vacuumed downstairs, cleaned out the pellet stove as best I could without a shop vac, got the mail out, called in Steve's prescriptions. Next up in my day: wrapping a couple presents, baking apple crisp if I get to it, etc. The snow started yesterday afternoon, not heavy or anything, but looks like it continued through the night so there is several inches out there. I'm glad I got my errands run yesterday. It wouldn't be horrible to go out today, just not necessary.

I got Steve a PC game yesterday at Best Buy. I know it's one of three that he's interested in. And I debated among the three which one to get and I chose "X" (name being withheld for Christmas secretcy purposes). Wouldn't you know it, we were watching tv last night and on the gaming channel we came across a show specifically dedicated to that game.And he was watching it, saying that's a game he wants (like I didn't know). I was panicking. Steve is well known for buying things for himself even the day of Christmas Eve. He has done so in the past, ruining presents I had already gotten for him as a gift. So I was debating whether to play it cool or somehow slip into the conversation that there was from now on a moratorium on buying things for ourselves. So I decided to casually say something like that later on but I don't think it stuck. Keep your fingers crossed so that he doesn't get it because he watched that show, it put that game on the front of his list and he goes out to buy it for himself. I mean, yes, I do have the receipt and he can exchange it (check that, **I'd** be the one returning it since I "have so much time on my hands now"). It would just be easier to have him not get it so I just need to get through another day and a few hours.

We now don't know now if Steve's parents will be going to ND/MN this week with the weather the way it is. If they stay, it throws a kink in our plans unless we exclude them. I'm thinking maybe the best route would be visiting them Christmas Day in the afternoon. I hope that will suffice. I mean, we don't have huge important plans but it was going to us together relaxed and no hassle. We'll know today; heck, Steve probably already knows.

I'm reading LONELY HEARTS by John Harvey. This is the first in his Charlie Resnick, jazz-loving police detective in Nottingham, England. Much beloved series of 11 books. This book was published in 1989. I've been meaning to get to this series. I've read some of his other series but for some reason couldn't get into this one. Well, it clicked with my mood the other night so here we go. Here's a description:

The first major case for Resnick and his team concerns a number of increasingly serious attacks on women who have been using the Lonely Hearts column of the local newspaper. Simultaneously, Resnick becomes involved with Rachel Chaplin the social worker assigned to a family caught up in allegations of child abuse.

His website can be found at http://www.mellotone.co.uk/index.html.

Veronica Mars' storyline is heating up, getting tidbits of information about her best friend's murder as well as the history between her mother and Kane. Unfortunately, I won't get the next disc until maybe Friday. I wish more of their series were digitalized. Much more time convenient for me. But, next up is the last two episodes of MI-5 Season Three.

Otherwise, must get going again on my projects today. Will walk Tug later -- that will be a slogfest through the snow in the fields. Tug will be happy happy happy though. Strangely, he doesn't really go out into the back yard much at all. Maybe I'll need to go out there to show him what he's missing in his own domain. He's sacked out now on his bed in the living room. So cute.

Well, I'd better get to my projects for the day or else I'll let them go by the wayside while I read a book or watch a DVD.

Hey, our neighbor is out ploughing the street. He's such a good guy. He's got as snow plough that he doesn't get to use very often so when it does snow he goes wild. Right now he's zipping up and down our street, happy as a clam I imagine. Kinda like motorcycle guy in Local Hero.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

PK the Bookeemonster


Sunday, December 21, 2008

End of a series

How sad. I've read the last of the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters, BROTHER CADFAEL'S PENANCE. The storyline of her 20th book was a good one to go out on. Here's a description by Publisher's Weekly:
Peters deftly binds the medieval monk's new adventure with family ties, moving from issues intensely public to problems determinedly private. Olivier de Bretagne, who (unknown to himself) is Brother Cadfael's son, has been taken prisoner during England's dynastic war between two grandchildren of William the Conqueror. Cadfael is determined to find Olivier, although to do so he must leave the monastery without his abbot's "leave or... blessing.'' The search begins badly when, at an unsuccessful peace conference, Yves Hugonin, Olivier's hot-headed brother-in-law, picks a fight with Brien de Soulis, a commander who may know where Olivier is held-but won't say. When Brien is found murdered, Yves is abducted by one who holds him responsible for the killing, and then Cadfael has two men to find. In the process, he delicately explores puzzles related to Brien's death and to shadowy deeds in the larger political scene. While Cadfael does his usual excellent sleuthing, Peters succeeds at an equally subtle game, demonstrating how personal devotion can turn to enmity-and how such enmity can be forestalled by justice and mercy.

It was published in 1994 and has 292 pages. This is one of the first historical mystery series written and taken seriously and is a worthy one. I shall miss new reads but I can always collect and re-read.

I don't know what to read next. I've got many out of the library so it is just a matter of choosing.

Alice and Buford came over to drop off a present so I had to do some quick cleaning to make the living room presentable -- that is to mainly take off the remaining books from the couch from my alphabetizing project. Everything is stacked in my office now and must be dealt with soon.

So, yesterday when Steve asked what I wanted for Christmas and didn't accept my answer of "nothing" or "a job", now I have a suggestion to offer him: a new bookcase. I've got four but with this project and especially since I do not want to double stack the shelves, I've run out of room to complete the alphabet. So perhaps a new bookcase would be nice. Doesn't even have to be a new one or fancy or anything -- just be able to hold books. Otherwise, I don't need anything. I don't even need books, how about that?

There are a number of new releases I'm interested in in the next few months but that will be taken care of by the library in most cases. It IS almost January, isn't it. Hmmm. Have to start planning for those.

I'm making one of Steve's favorites for dinner, hamburger rice balls. There's always enough left over to have for lunch the next couple days so he'll be set. He has requested SOS for Christmas Eve dinner (yuck) so he'll get that and I'm making pasta with red sauce for myself since he doesn't really like that so much.

I need to run a couple errands in the next days -- pick up Steve's prescriptions and take a look at the sales at Best Buy for a possible gift for Steve. Nothing splashy but something fun, I hope. Can't do big this year, unfortunately. I don't think we'll get a tree now. It's getting pretty late and by now it would be a quick up and have to undo everything.

Haven't really watched my DVDs this weekend so I'll have that tomorrow. I'd like to get to my internet project for the class I'm teaching so maybe I can start researching tomorrow. The project, the project, I know. I only have two shelves left so it won't take many of the perhaps 50 or so I have left to shelve.

Last night I was killing time while the bedding was drying and watched Four Weddings and a Funeral for the umpteenth time but what a well written and performed movie. One of the best comedies. Flipping channels I came across A Fish Called Wanda -- wow, they all looked so young. Another classic comedy. There's a lot of movies opening Christmas Day. I'm going to go with Jody to Frost/Nixon hopefuly between opening and New Years. Others, we'll play by ear.

All right, enough for today. Gotta go look at the book stash for the next read.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, December 19, 2008

Frozen Precipitation Commence

Looks like about an inch or so of snow fell since this morning. We're in for sub-zero temps again. And it's not even officially winter yet. Actually, Billings used to get a lot of snow when I was a kid but not so much anymore so I can't really complain. It is damned cold though.

I turned in my paper and posted my Adios and Feliz Navidad to the class. Hopefully, I am now done completely. (Crap! Now whenever I hear Feliz Navidad I want nachos -- Damn Taco Johns!)

I've got the next Veronica Mars DVD to watch (Season one episodes 5-9 I think) but I'm pretty close to finishing the Pat McIntosh histmyst so I may cosy on the chaise with that for the rest of the afternoon. It's been a little slower going on this book I think because of the language -- instead of just dabbles of "Scots" slang-ish stuff, it's pretty abundant).

I walked Tug a bit ago. Cold and having to slog through new snow in the field was not fun. He's napping now on his bed. He did some fence racing with the border collies, and Zeke, and the new chocolate lab so he got his exercise.

I went to the grocery store to check out pop prices but according to Steve (who I called to verify whether it would be a good buy or not while I was there) the prices just weren't low enough. I did pick up some lefse -- finally in stock -- and some hamburger and stuff that I didn't get yesterday at Walmart. I should have gotten some chicken but we will make do. I've decided for Christmas Eve dinner we'll have the steaks we got from the Johnsons and baked potatoes. I'm thinking of using the apples no one is eating and see if I have the ingredients to make apple crisp. I splurged for $3 and got an apples and cinnamon candle so now the upstairs smells very nice. Who needs to bake when you've got candles?

So, not much really to relate. Even though it will be cold tomorrow, it would be nice if Steve and I could do some present shopping for his parents. Tomorrow is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year -- the Saturday before Christmas -- even bigger than Black Friday. Glad I'm not working it. Hee hee hee.

Hey, the sun broke out a little. A very little. Weak, but it's there. Won't be for long.

On the news front, looks like yesterday was day for celebrities going on to the great unknown. Majel Barrett, Joseph Bottoms, Deep Throat. It is sad that some are not so well-known that they don't get much news attention. Van Johnson died a couple weeks ago and nothing was said. He was not a great actor but a good one.

Also on the news front -- they've identified the remains as Caylee's. I hope they've got enough evidence to convict the mother. And Blagojavich says he isn't leaving office nicely so I hope they impeach his butt outta there very quickly. But when are people smart about political figures?

I'll bet President Bush has got a calendar somewhere marking down the days until he is free, free at last. I feel sorry for him. It is not a easy job; the job chews up the holder and spits him out at the end of 4 to 8 years. Not a job that I would want at all -- maybe in the early days but even then, you were forming an entire new government and a nation of people who just rebelled against their previous government and didn't really get that "United" thing yet about the states.

Ah, I'm just rambling all over the place today. I'm going to make a cup of something hot and finish my book. See ya tomorrow.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday notes

Another quick post because I have to work on my paper for the next couple hours. I want to finish this darn thing today but I don't know if I'll achieve that goal. I know I'm quite sick of it and will be glad when it is out of my life. Can you tell? Wouldn't it be great to turn it in early? WHY does it have to be 12 pages? I'm okay with 9 where I'm at right now. Ugh.

I watched the first couple episodes of Veronica Mars yesterday. Now I know why everyone who's seen it has raved about it. It is a good tv show. Sadly, it only had three seasons and I missed it in the first run. Ah well, that's what DVDs are for.

Watched the finale of Stylista last night. The right person won for once.

If I get things done soon enough I need to stop by the library to drop off books and get some groceries at Walmart and maybe a little Christmas shopping before walking Tug this afternoon.

It's supposed to get cold again. Yesterday it looked like it got up to about 26 degrees and felt practically balmy. Now, Saturday is supposed to have a high of negative eight again.

Didn't do much reading yesterday; time got away from me. More time this weekend I think.

Okay, gotta get working.

UPDATE 11:00 AM
Okay, I'm done with the paper. I had a bit of a scare for a few minutes. My computer had rebooted itself overnight -- apparently to deal with some automatic update that computers do from time to time -- and I couldn't find the newest version of the paper. Meaning I had lost about three pages of work from yesterday. I was near to freaking. But I found it saved under something else. Phew. I would have been unfit to be around if I had lost all of my work from the day before. So now it's done. I could turn it in today and be done completely, but I'm thinking I'll sit on it a day and reread it tomorrow or even later today for any brushups I might see with a clearer head.

Christmas is in a week. I wonder if I should get something special to have for Christmas Eve dinner? Steve is so difficult regarding gifts. (sigh) I can't afford anything major so he'll just have to suffer this year with something simple.

So I think now I may throw some warpaint on my face and some decent clothes on and run those errands.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mid-week update

Didn't get to the posting yesterday so I'm doing this early and quickly. I've got to put in three hours on a paper due Saturday and I'm really not in the mood to be doing that so I guess swallow the medicine and get it over with.

Which reminded me, I started to watch the movie Mary Poppins last night on tv. I only watched the first hour but what a trip down memory lane. We had the record of this soundtrack and my sister and I used to play it a lot; especially "I Love to Laugh" song and get into laughing attacks. So it was fun last night to watch (actually a good movie) and sing along with the songs. Steve then came to bed and I was kinda tired, too, so didn't watch the whole thing. Kind of late to be starting such a kid movie (9 pm) are my thoughts. I was also remembering last night that they've made a stage musical of this movie (no original thoughts anywhere anymore). The scene where the queue of potential nannies gets blown away before Mary Poppins floats in is iconic in my memory. There must have been a screen shot on the album we had because there's a distinct image in my mind of that. And I wondered if the stage version included the blowing away of nannies. I'll have to watch the whole movie in the near future. The Jane & Michael song advertising for a nanny is stuck in my brain.

Finished reading LEAVE THE GRAVE GREEN by Deborah Crombie. It's left in an emotional cliffhanger for Kincaid and Gemma, isn't it. I'll have to get the next in series sooner rather than later now.

I may venture out later today. I haven't had the need since Saturday and because of the cold haven't just gone out on a whim. But, I may have to get groceries, I'd like to drop off some books at the library though it's not a requirement, and I should do a quick bit of Christmas shopping.

Steve shoots tonight. I've got Stylista to watch on tv. I watched a couple episodes of MI-5 yesterday as reward for three hours on paper/homework. I've got about 1-1/2 hours of DVD extras to watch today if I slog through today's stuff.

Okay, hopefully writing this has loosened the juice in my brain so I can write my paper splendidly and the words will just flow...No more slacking off.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, December 15, 2008

Global warming sucks

Cold cold cold for the third day. Negative 18 this morning and negative ten when I walked Tug this afternoon. Global warming sucks, doesn't it.

Working on a 12-page paper this week so I may not be chatty for the next few days. I am SO not in the mood to write papers anymore. My thesis wiped me out for ever.

We watched the finale of Survivor last night and Steve even stayed through the reunion show afterward. Do I think Bob deserved to win? Maybe. He won a few challenges. But he only really played a strategic game by coming up with the fake idols. I think Sugar also deserved it for actually playing an out-witting type game. I do not think Susie deserved ANY of the three votes she got for the million bucks. Ah well. Another season done and I'm free on Thursday nights again from tv.

Tonight we have Chuck to watch. I'm thinking maybe soup and grilled cheese sandwiches may sound good for dinner tonight. I'll run it by Steve for his opinion.

He called to say my DVD arrived today, however, it was the wrong DVD. Back it goes to the eBay seller hopefully to get the right one (MI-5 season 2). I'm not upset about it. Mistakes happen; I suppose the seller slapped the wrong label on two packages he/she was sending out that day. And it doesn't do any good to get upset over something that you have very little control over. All one can do is send it back and do over.

Tug and I had a good walk today (even in frigid temps) but now he's staring at me like we haven't even walked at all. I wish sometimes he could just tell me what's on his mind. (Play! Walk! Cookie!)

Otherwise, going along as usual. Applied for a job yesterday and have another possible to put in for so keeping an eye out always in that direction. (sigh) This is the eighth week of unemployment. Steve so far hasn't blown a gasket to my face so that's a good thing. It's not like I'm not trying to find something else though I'm not going to work fast food or Christmas retail. A real job with rather good pay is all I'm asking for. Okay, also a good work environment, weekdays and benefits and all that jazz are a given, right?

Still reading THE HARPER'S QUINE by Pat McIntosh and started LEAVE THE GRAVE GREEN by Deborah Crombie.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A good read and a sad attempt.

Finished ECHOES FROM THE DEAD by Johan Theorin last night. While the mystery was solved, life is rarely a happy ending. Reality is that bad stuff happens and even in crime fiction not everything comes wrapped in a big red bow -- especially if you're a translated novel from Sweden. I liked it overall and would read more of this author when it comes available.

I then started another 14-day-er from the library. I had been looking rather forward to it: BLINDSPOT : by a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. Here's a review from Library Journal:

Portrait painter and libertine Stuart Jameson arrives in 1764 Boston as many arrived in the American Colonies, one step ahead of the law. Fleeing a sheriff and debtor's prison in Edinburgh and hoping to start anew, he makes his first stop in the New World at the print shop of Benjamin Edes to purchase cards, a map, and a history of the city, but he comes away having found prospective lodgings, more information than he cared to know about the deteriorating situation between the Colonies and their British rulers, and a staunch friend. He also places an announcement of his services as a portrait painter and an accompanying advertisement for an apprentice, both of which bring him unexpected surprises. Francis Weston, the apprentice, is talented beyond his wildest dreams, and Jameson's burgeoning business soon plunges him into the dramatic affairs and intense politics of Boston's most influential families.

Just perfect for my tastes, right? Historical mystery set in a time period I like. However, I have criteria for me to read/like a book. The most important of what elements make a good read for me is that there is an intelligent voice of the author. Here's an excerpt from the book:


Had Columbus my gut, the world would be a smaller place. And maybe the better for it. O brave new world: wild, rebellious, mysterious, and strange. And distant. God above, who knew it could be so bloody far?

Now begins a gentleman’s exile, and, with it, my tale.

You may wonder, dear Reader, dear, unfathomable Reader, why I have undertaken this voyage, why a man of parts, of fine parts, I may say, and education, better than most, would hazard a crossing and that, in April, the most treacherous of months—showers sweet turn to tempests bitter—and, worse, on a galleon with no berth for a gentleman but a bunk not fit for a dog, not even my mastiff, Gulliver—and I, though six foot tall, his Lilliputian—who, despite my best efforts, splays himself, fleasand all, atop my moth- ridden blanket, with me huddled under it, as if I were a city and he a great army, equipped with cauldrons of drool, besieging me. While you wonder why I wander, know this: run I must.

Aye, I would have stayed home if I could. If I could. Instead, each day the winds blow me farther from the dales and vales of Jamesons past, clan of clans, men among men, though, truth be told—and here, dear Reader, it will be told, and without ornament—our tartan is sold by the yard at Covent Garden to every shaver, ever striver, every waster with twopence in his pocket and a plan to marry a merry widow with ten thousand a year and an estate in Derbyshire, with horses, comely, and tenants, timely in their rents. Had I ever come across such a lady—let us call her the Widow Bountiful—I would have wooed her with sighs enough to heat a stone- cold bed- chamber in the dead of winter. Perhaps she waits for me, my Widow B., somewhere on the other side of thiswretched sea. Hark, she pants for me. Or, no, ’tis only Gulliver, giant cur.

As a man of both sense and sincerity, I admit, freely, and with that same unsparing candor which you must henceforth expect of me, that I leave behind little but debt. Twould be an even greater sorrow to leave Edinburgh, that nursery of enlightened genius, did not each degree of longitude stretch the distance betwixt me and my creditors, to whom I owe so much gold, and so little gratitude, the brothers McGreevy, with their Monday duns, Tuesday threats, and Wednesday bludgeons. Suffice to say: I sailed on a Thursday, a day too late, with the scars to show forit. Departed, the Sea- Serpent, April 5, 1764.

There is "intelligent" and there is "too clever" and unfortunately this book's voice immediately falls into too clever category. It goes on and on with it's own cleverness. Even it's blurbs on the back of the book are too clever and in love with itself:

"It may justly be said in its Praise, without Flattery to the Authors, that it is the most Extraordinary Piece that ever was wrote in America."--Benjamin FRANKLIN, author of the classic Autobiography (1790)

"Was there ever yet any thing written by mere man that was wished longer by its readers, excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and Blindspot?"--Samuel JOHNSON, compiler of the best-selling Dictionary (1755)

"A Piece of this Kind is much wanted in the World, which is but too much, as well as too early, debauched by pernicious Novels."--Samuel RICHARDSON, author of the debauched novel Pamela (1740)

"A good Book is a Lesson to all its Readers, and of far greater use to the Circle of its Acquaintance than a good Man. Such is this Ingenious and romantick Adventure."-- Henry FIELDING, author of the still more debauched parody Shamela (1741)

"I will tell you in three words what the book is. —It is a history.–A history!" --Laurence STERNE, acclaimed author of Tristram Shandy (1759), and no mathematician

"A most inimitable Performance! Who is he, what is he, that could write so
excellent a Book?"--John PUFF, the prolific author of very many eighteenth-century blurbs


It completely turned me off which is sad because so many things were in its favor such as the time period and interesting characters. Bah. I'm very disappointed.

But many other books to delve into. So it may be the next in series for me by Deborah Crombie, the first in a hist/myst series I've been meaning to get to by Pat MacIntosh, or any of the other 20 or so books I've got out from the library currently.

It's severely cold out today. The high is expected to be negative five. Poor Tug, we didn't do our usual drive through the neighborhood to get the paper this morning. We don't need the paper that badly I'm figuring. We'll go for a walk this afternoon but no unnecessary outings.

I didn't do any cleaning yesterday so maybe I'll get to that today. I've got a paper due, damnit, by next Saturday so I'll be plugging away on that now. Bah humbug, but then this class will be over. Huzzah!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow Globe City

Just got back from walking Tug. We're blizzarding here so he was absolutely blissed out happy and frolicking while Steve and I are wearing two layers of everything for 1 degree weather (minus 21 wind chill). Tomorrow the high is supposed to be negative five. Oy.



Steve's parents have invited us out for dinner tonight but we're hoping they'll cancel. It's very nice of them; they do this every year to thank Steve for helping with the Christmas parade. I say we should reschedule for next weekend. We'll see what happens in the next couple hours.



This morning I watched all the extras on the MI-5 disc I currently have so that can go back on Monday. I'm about a quarter of the way into ECHOES OF THE DEAD and still liking it. Not much on tv tonight except Steve will watch Cops at 7. Otherwise, I think I'll be cosy and drinking something hot and reading.



I'm not even doing laundry today because it's been nice cuddling under the blankets. I can do them Monday when Steve's at work.



Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, December 12, 2008

The last minute posting

Forgot to blog yesterday. Round about the time I do the blog -- toward the end of the work day so to speak -- I spoke with Jody on the phone for an hour and then long story short, Steve was waaay low sugar and not doing anything about it because he was on a work site so I brought sugar to him. And then just making sure he was okay the rest of the night.

Today, not much going on. Got a lovely "thank you for applying blah blah blah" letter from a job prospect so I can cross that one off the list. I hadn't heard from them so I kinda already knew. Ya know, when you just don't get any response, you know what's going on. Ah well.

Picked up a hold at the library today, watched a couple episodes of MI-5 season 3, walked Tug, took a short nap, read a little... the day goes by.

Cold front coming in so we may be hunkering down for the weekend.

Just started ECHOES FROM THE DEAD by Johan Theorin. It's a translated Swedish crime novel that is getting a lot of buzz. It's kinda suiting my mood right now. Here's a description:

Set predominantly on the Baltic island of Ă–land, Theorin's deeply disturbing debut will remind many of Henning Mankell both in its thematic intensity and dark tone. Two decades after the unsolved disappearance of a young boy, Jens Davidsson, who vanished one foggy autumn afternoon in 1972 and was presumed to have drowned, Jens's grandfather, Gerlof, a retired sea captain, receives one of Jens's sandals in the mail. Gerlof enlists his alcoholic daughter, Julia, who's still struggling to come to grips with the loss of her only child, to help solve the mystery. All leads point to infamous thug Nils Kant, who was rumored to have killed numerous people. But Kant allegedly died years before the fateful day that Jens disappeared, so who could've killed the boy? And why? Further investigation leads the unlikely sleuths to some startling revelations about their isolated island community and its much-storied history.

Published in the US this year and has 400 pages.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hump day, I guess

Oops, almost forgot to do this again.

I'm taking Tug to the vet tomorrow. When I was playing with him this afternoon, I was rubbing his belly and all over and felt a lump under his right front leg. I had Steve feel it when he came home and we decided to get it checked out. I hope it's nothing.

Steve came home for lunch today. He was in a bad mood and low sugar so I'm glad he was able to stop by here and maybe I could help his mood a bit. He had to tow one of his trucks back to the shop yesterday because his guys said it was broken somehow. Turns out, it was only out of gas and they kinda knew it so he was a bit pissed.

Got my unemployment check today so took Tug along to the bank so he could get a cookie and I noticed the car was pretty low itself so I gassed it before taking Tug then for a walk. It was pretty nice out today, breezy but in the lower 50s. Cold is coming.......

We didn't watch Leverage last night. We switched between The First 48 on A&E and Rehab Party at the Hard Rock -- both reality shows. Steve then came upstairs to watch and I took a shower to warm up and then read in bed for a bit. It was nice to be cosy in bed and Tug wound up between our legs. Ah family.

The next MI-5 season 3 DVD arrived today so I've got that half watched. Tonight, otherwise, I got Ghost Hunters and Stylista to watch. Steve is shooting so I've treated myself to Stouffers lasagna. Yum!

While Steve was eating his dinner before heading to the shooting range, we had the tv on watching something called "Man vs. Food." This guy ate a 72 oz steak in 29 minutes. And in the next episode he tried to eat the "sasquatch" burger - a ginormous equivalent of 8 hamburgers, a two pound pound, a full tomato, a full onion, 7 leaves of lettuce, a glop of pickles. The contest is to eat it in 60 minutes at this restaurant. Apparently 13,000 have attempted it; only 4 have done it and this host guy couldn't do it. Yowza.

I haven't done any reading today yet. I don't really know how my days go by so quickly. I did a homework assignment that was due today. It's going to be one of those where I'll be the controversial one. This week's topic (the class is Governing and Boards of Nonprofit Organizations) is about cultural competence. The discussion questions were asking what the organizations we were working for (or know of) were doing to be culturally competent and what we personally were doing to be so. This issue just makes my blood boil. This is agenda pushing in businesses where it has no business being -- cultural competence, social justice, and political correctness -- all the same thing and interferes with the running of a business -- for-profit or nonprofit. So I was expressing my personal views on this knowing it will be a hot button for pretty much everyone else in the class. I got in major controversy in the Social Justice class because of not agreeing with the crowd. So we'll see what kind of responses I get, eh?

Looked at some job sites but nothing new for me there. Did some web surfing but haven't really even caught up on my emails. Where does my time go? Sheesh.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Suck it up

I HAVE A VACUUM THAT WORKS!!! Ah, it is just lovely to be able to see clean carpet again. And it didn't cost nearly as much as I thought it would... I mean really.

I think I'm about halfway through FACE OF A KILLER. The main character isn't really grabbing me though so I'm kinda drifting away from it. In fact I started another book, THE SANCTUARY SEEKER by Bernard Knight, the first in a histmyst series featuring Crowner John set in the 12th century. I'll finish the other but it may be a skim read to find out what happens.

I got groceries today; I splurged a little and got eggnog because I was in the mood for it, but it's a "light" version so not so bad. I got Steve some pistachios. I don't like to eat most nuts except peanuts because they tend to make me feel nauseated, I think I'm allergic to them or something, but Steve likes pistachios. I had to go to Albertsons for a quick stop afterward because Walmart doesn't carry the margerine that Steve likes, and I looked for lefse but they didn't have any. Hrmph. They did at one time but not now.

I may watch the next episode of Leverage tonight if I remember, otherwise I'll probably read. I'm making taco salad for dinner so Steve can have a nice big meal. He didn't especially like the soup I'd sent along (Chicken Corn Chowder) so I thought he should have something filling.

Tug and I had a good walk today. The wind was nasty cold though. I let him fence race with the border collies and the three chocolate labs so he should have gotten some exercise. He is so funny throwing himself onto snow banks -- usually quite fun for him -- but they're all frozen solid right now so it's like flinging onto an ice rink but he still flails around on it on his back and doing snow angels on his side. He looooooovves snow. Too bad it's pretty much gone away. It's supposed to be wicked cold this weekend so part of grocery shopping was to lay in some supplies.

Barb Wood called last night. I haven't spoken to her in a few months so it was good to hear from her. Part of why she called was to ask me to help Monday volunteering to deliver meals (for her it's her job). I felt bad to say no but it's just not my thing. Sara will help her; she's a good person and I'm not and I know it.

I was feeling down even before she called but that didn't help. It didn't strike until late afternoon and I was able to cuddle with Steve when he got home so it got better eventually. But I've got just get over it and move on every day. Not in a state for medication help, thank goodness. Mind over matter, etc., etc. Getting lost in a good or movie or keeping busy usually does the trick.

Onward and upward. I think I'll make a cup of coffee (I've got Irish Creme flavored creamer) and read a bit before Steve gets home.

Much love
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, December 8, 2008

FACE OF A KILLER by Robin Burcell

Will be starting now FACE OF A KILLER by Robin Burcell. This is a first in a series featuring Sydney Fitzpatrick, an FBI forensic artist in San Francisco, California, and just published. Here's a description:
In this strong first in a new series from Burcell, San Francisco FBI forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick races to unravel the 20-year-old mystery of her father's murder before the upcoming execution of his convicted killer, Johnnie Wheeler. When Sydney interviews Wheeler in San Quentin against her mother's and stepfather's wishes, Wheeler's claims of innocence have a ring of truth. As Sydney begins to investigate her father's past, she uncovers unsavory secrets linking him and some old army buddies, including one who's now a high-powered U.S. senator, to a bank engaged in illegal activities. Sydney's dogged persistence and willingness to bend FBI rules endangers her family, but an 11th-hour meeting with Wheeler for a new forensic sketch points to the answers she's been seeking.

It has 400 pages. Her website is at http://www.robinburcell.com/ or her author site at her publisher can be found here: http://www.harpercollins.com/author/index.aspx?authorID=11056. Many places to browse inside this book.

I had read her previous series of four books; they were out, gosh, many years ago. She's taken a long break but this is looking interesting.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A day of television perhaps

Might be busy today so I'm posting early-ish.

I may go to the library when it opens at 1:00. They have two holds for me. I won't be reading them until I finish the Gregory but today may be a good day to go pick them up.

Football at 2:15. My team (Cowboys) against Steve's team (Steelers). I imagine the Steelers will win -- they have a slightly better record, my team is missing a key player today (Barber) and for peace in the house, etc., etc.

Then perhaps a couple shows on TNT. The Librarian fun adventure movie series has it's third one out, a new one, so maybe that and then at 8:00 is a new show called Leverage with Timothy Hutton that may be worth checking out. (side note -- I remember in 7th grade having a slight crush on Timothy Hutton when he was in Ordinary People. Of course my first love was Pierce Brosnan from Remington Steele and Manions of America where I first spotted him. Ah youth).

I'll have to walk Tug sometime this afternoon so may miss the first bit of the game. I wish the library opened a little earlier. Can't help that. Steve walked with us yesterday and it was quite nice. Tug loves having his daddy along.

I'm about halfway through the Gregory. Just lovely. Restoration England at its corrupted worst. :) Three deaths and many suspects. It may all hinge upon an incident of three years previous (1660) -- and in fact the prologue goes over that event so I'm sure it does.

I've got white clothes going in the laundry. Darks will be next. Can't vacuum because it's still in the shop. Steve is still sleeping -- I suspect he stayed up very late last night playing BioShock. I woke up I think at 1 and he was still going at it so I really don't know when he got to bed.

Nothing for me in the want ads today. A lot of job listings are for Helena. (sigh). I'm thinking maybe we should forego Christmas presents this year. I don't think we really need anything from each other. And a tree may be too much -- the money is better used for groceries. We'll see about that. Our first Christmas together (married) was tight financially and our big splurge was a tree. We don't believe in fake ones. They have to smell piney and drop needles.

So I'm not sure what to do about dinner. It would be fun to have snackage during the game but that may be too filling for a big dinner. Have to play that one by ear.

Off I go....

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lovely, lovely

Well, woo-hoo, the book from Bookdepository arrived in the mail! So, I'll be starting and be consumed by the next in Susanna Gregory's series featuring Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the Secretary in Restoration London, England, THE WESTMINSTER POISONER. This was going to be my reward for getting the job I interviewed for last week (see previous post -- I didn't get) so now it's the consolation prize for not getting it. Here's a blurb:
After the Puritan ban on Christmas festivities Restoration London is awash with excess between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night, but the two men found in Westminster Hall had not died from a surfeit of gluttony, but from poison. The Lord Chancellor appoints Chaloner as his investigator into the killings, believing them to be of scant importance to the affairs of state he deals with. But Chaloner reveals a stinking seam of corruption in the Palace of White Hall, where even the Queen is a victim to the greed of courtiers and functionaries. And the pickings are so rich that men are prepared to go to any lengths to save their own skins and their stolen fortunes.
This is 4th of four in series and just bloody marvelous. I'll be otherwise occupied for the rest of the day.

'twas a rainy day...

Applied for another one today -- see, not even slacking on a Saturday! This is with GE who is still opening a branch here (yes, in Billings!) so I checked their site. They had 5 listings, one sounded interesting: State Relations Associate. It should pay well though that info isn't listed. So, added one more to the list of attempts.

I'm writing this early (9:30am). I worked a bit on my Project yesterday and I'm now up to Rendell in my alphabetizing. I haven't been really ruthless in my rejects as I've been working on "J" through "R" yet but I think I'm going to have to go back through and start ditching things. I'm running out of room for the rest of the alphabet. The good thing, though, about my collection of books is that it is probably an almost even mix of TBR and things I've already read and liked. Previously it was pretty much all TBR. Perhaps, being the "R's", the end is in sight and achievable. The bad thing is that because I've discovered that my used bookstore isn't take books anymore I've got all these rejected books piling up. I could be done with them in one fell swoop and donate them to the library but I would like to maybe get some book credit for them on maybe one of the online resources. So I have to store them somewhere....

I finished reading THE BONES OF THE BURIED by David Roberts. This is 2nd in a series of 9 featuring Lord Edward Corinth, a jaded English aristocrat, and Verity Browne, a leftist journalist, between the wars in 1930s London, England. It was published in 2001 and had 342 pages. Here's a synopsis from the author's website (http://www.lordedwardcorinth.co.uk/index.htm):

Lord Edward Corinth returns to London after six months in New York to find his sparring partner of the previous year, Verity Browne, insisting he investigate a murder in Madrid. It is 1936 and Spain is about to erupt into civil war. Verity is a foreign correspondent for a national newspaper and passionately committed to defending the Spanish republic against the Fascist threat. Her lover, David Griffiths-Jones, a senior figure in the Communist Party, has been convicted of killing a fellow Party worker in the hills outside Madrid and Verity appeals to Edward to help save him from the firing squad, even though she knows he sees him as his rival in love.
Against the odds, he succeeds, but is suddenly called back to England before he can tidy up all the loose ends. In London, Edward becomes embroiled in the investigation of a second murder, that of a banker who had been his contemporary at Eton. Edward uncovers a connection between his dead friend and the victim of the unsolved murder in Spain. Both had been at school with him and there is a third man - another Eton contemporary - whose earlier death in a shooting accident on safari in Kenya now arouses his suspicions. Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne, attracted to each other but at odds politically, join in an awkward alliance to discover the truth. Political and personal danger surrounds them and there is no guarantee that justice will be done and murder avenged.

I like this series and I don't. I like the time period though I would wish for more "Gosford Park" type of stories. I like the politics of which there is a lot, but the politics of Verity get very irritating and you don't see why Edward loves her. And I'm certainly not a prude about the sexual activities found in books but one kinda sorta expects that the hero and heroine will not be as casually promiscuous with other people as these two are. Ah well. The world was changing then and I guess the story of these two characters reflects that.

Next? I'm not sure. It would be a very happy day indeed if my Book Despository books showed up today but I'm not counting on it. I've got a bunch from the library to work on. A quick look at the lists of books I've read this year, it looks like I'll just break 100 for the year (I'm currently at 98). Not as good as some years but probably better than I thought it was going to be.

So, it's a dark rainy day thus far. Other than walking Tug this afternoon I don't think I need to go anywhere. I've got to get some laundry done and maybe work on the Project some more. Otherwise, it may be a day of movies or reading and a cup of something warm.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, December 5, 2008

And the answer is...

No. Got the call today: thank you for applying we all really liked you but we're going to go with another candidate. You had such great ideas but....blah blah blah. (sigh) so I wait to see if any of the other jobs I've applied for hit down the road. Jody didn't get it either. Don't know who they got so I'll have to watch the newspaper if they announce it or something. The webmanager job I mentioned yesterday sounds interesting but it doesn't close until January 3rd.

Not really in the mood to do anything. I'm glad I said no to volunteering tonight at the museum for the art auction. Couldn't stand the questions and I know I can't be nice to Sandi if I see her -- I know she's there helping. If you can't be nice to someone in public then you shouldn't be in public. I had to cancel my hair appointment today -- gotta start to really not splurge on things.

Got Tug walked. It's a gloomy dark windy day out there. Don't have anywhere to go. I had worked a bit on my Project but don't know what to do now. I could watch a movie to get my mind off things and kill 90 minutes. I could read. I'll probably have a glass of wine and figure out what to make for dinner.

Read the news about OJ. THERE'S someone who's having a worse day than I am so I shouldn't complain.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Big Catch Up

I applied for a very interesting one today: Webmaster/marketing person for some company listed through Kelly Services. The listed pay range is rather good so I emailed off the resume and cover letter ASAP. The only problem is that it doesn't close until January 3. Long wait. But I may be waiting that long anyway. Moving along...

I'm reading two books right now: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 1599 by James Shapiro. This is a nonfiction account of the bard. Here's a description:
The year 1599 was crucial in the Bard's artistic evolution as well as in the historical upheavals he lived through. That year's output—Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and (debatably) Hamlet—not only spans a shift in artistic direction and theatrical taste, but also echoes the intrigues of Queen Elizabeth's court and the downfall of her favorite, the Earl of Essex. Like other Shakespeare biographers, Columbia professor Shapiro notes the importance of mundane events in Shakespeare's art, starting here with the construction of the Globe Theatre and the departure of Will Kemp, the company's popular comic actor. Having a stable venue and repertory gave Shakespeare the space to write and experiment during the turmoil created by Essex's unsuccessful military ventures in Ireland, a threatened invasion by a second Spanish Armada and, finally, Essex's disastrous return to court.
It is actually really facinating to read. I've always liked anything about Shakespeare and love the Tudor time period. Here's the first sentence: "Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, December 26, 1598, two days before their fateful rendezvous at the Theatre, the Chamberlain's Men made their way through London's dark and chilly streets to Whitehall Palace to perform for the queen." I'm about halfway through it.

I'm also reading the first book in the series of sixteen by PC Doherty featuring Hugh Corbett, a spy for King Edward I in England. This was published in 1990, has 186 pages. Here's book description:
1284 and Edward I is battling a traitorous movement founded by the late Simon de Montfort, the rebel who lost his life at the Battle of Evesham in 1258. The Pentangle, the movement's underground society whose members are known to practice the black arts, is thought to be behind the apparent suicide of Lawrence Duket, one of the King's loyal subjects, in revenge for Duket's murder of one of their supporters. The King, deeply suspicious of the affair, orders his wily Chancellor, Burnell, to look into the matter. Burnell chooses a sharp and clever clerk from the Court of King's Bench, Hugh Corbett, to conduct the investigation. Corbett -- together with his manservant, Ranulf, late of Newgate -- is swiftly drawn into the tangled politics and dark and dangerous underworld of medieval London.
I'm just getting started and it hasn't really taken ahold yet but I'm sure it will. Another series to follow.

Otherwise a pretty normal day. I walked Tug this afternoon when it was its warmest at 19 degrees. Tomorrow it's supposed to get in the 40s again. I'll be making chicken I think for dinner and we'll watch Survivor on tv. Haven't watched that for a couple weeks I think. I'll be sending back the DVD to Netflix tomorrow. I should be getting my next in queu probably on Monday now. I've got the Prime Suspect DVDs from the library to watch in the meantime. I'll continue to watch the rest of Season 3 of MI-5 but my favorite character is now gone. After that I'll probably start on the other great Brit crime television shows that are available. I wish more were able to be seen instantly via computer like the first MI-5s were. Much more convenient that way. Ah well.

Tug is now looking out the big front window as the sun is setting. Watching for bunnies, or other dogs, or maybe Steve to come home. I'm sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of wine. After this blog I'll probably move to the couch and read for a bit before Steve does come home.

Another day gone by......................

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's up?

Okay, doing my post before the mail comes. I've gotten the homework assignment done. I'll have to walk Tug around 2-ish.

I've been working on my computer here and listening to aol radio on the soundtrack channel and it is simply marvelous. It features the soundtracks from movies. What great music; inspiring, moving, etc. It is the kind of music that you can tune out but know it's there. And lots of drums sometimes. I'm hooked.

I've looked around the job websites today and there is very little out there. Even the jobs.mt.gov site had only 14 listings for Yellowstone County. The **county**. And only one or two paid more than 30k a year. It's pretty much the same on the other sites. It is a combination of Billings not having a lot of openings and companies just don't hire during the holidays. I will not quit looking though.

It's Wednesday so Steve has shooting tonight. It's slick out there so I'm not going anywhere today. DVD watching and reading.

Dat's about it.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winter wonderland

I ran a couple errands today: dropped the vacuum off to be repaired, picked up a hold at the library, got some groceries to last a few days. It started snowing today and while it won't be massive amounts of snow according the forecast, I don't want to be going anywhere really for the next couple days.

Steve has his monthly board meeting at the gun club so dinner will be earlier and quick. I don't think there is anything really on tv tonight. I've liked Fringe but I've missed so many episodes that I need to either sit down and watch the show from the website or wait until its released on DVD.

Speaking of DVDs, I'm expecting in tomorrow's mail the disc I've been waiting for: the beginning of Season 3 of MI-5. The last show of season two ended in a major cliffhanger for my favorite character and I've been very patient for three days. Sadly, though the two episodes on this DVD coming are the last two episodes of my favorite character so it's a mixed blessing, eh. But it seems like a good way to spend a snowy mid-week day.

The book I picked up at the library was the newest from Monica Ferris's cosy series called THAI DIE. I started this afternoon but it is not hitting my mood. I may have to skim read it. It's seeming to have too much information about the knitting/stitching world and not a whole lot of story. I've stuck with this series for a long time, actually, far longer than I have with other cosy series as they don't really appeal to my interests anymore. This may be the last for me by this author.

Never fear, though, a Bookeemonster is never without a book when she's in the mood to read (I'm conveniently looking over the slump that I just got out of). I picked up about 10 other books at the library while I was there. I'm being very interested now in the Kate Sedley series so got the 2nd one in that -- the librarian had to pull it out of storage. And I got a Doherty (multi-named, mult-seried histmyst author), the last Sharan Newman I need to read, and a bit more of others. I got home and saw that ANOTHER hold was waiting but it will have to continue to wait. It's not a new one, just the next in series for me by Crombie so no rush.

I spoke Jody via email again today. Her interview seemed to be as vague as mine. She's needing bigger money than I would be asking; I don't think she'd get that much. Maybe they'll make a decision by the end of the week.

I haven't worked on my Project for a couple days now. I need to get going on that again. Plus I have some homework due tomorrow. I'll do that in the morning before the mail comes. And being Wednesday, I'll be checking out the want ads again.

In the meantime, it's cold out but cosy inside. Tug is sleeping waiting for Steve to come home. I'm going to go through my bag of books from the library.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beginning of the week again

I applied for another job today. I heard from Jody that her interview for the same job I'm up for is tomorrow. So I'm not really expecting to hear from them until the end of the week at the earliest. I hope this doesn't come between us.

TV-wise tonight is Chuck and Jon & Kate Plus 8. Don't have any plans otherwise.

I was going to go to the library to pick up a hold, the new Monica Ferris, but I think I may save the trip for tomorrow. It's gotten quite dark out with some incoming storm; I've already walked Tug so I may make a cup of something hot and read for a bit.

Currently reading DEATH AND THE CHAPMAN by Kate Sedley. This is the first of a series of seventeen featuring Roger the Chapman, a medieval chapman (peddler) in 15th century England. This was published in 1991. I've been meaning to read it now for a couple years, well, ever since I got bitten by the histmyst bug but I've finally now gotten into it. Here's a description from Amazon:

In 1471 Roger leaves his monastic life to become a chapman, or peddler of wares, and at once becomes involved in solving the disappearance of Clement Weaver, son of a wealthy tradesman. Six months later, Roger the Chapman is in Canterbury and hears of two other disappearances near the Crossed Hands Inn--that of Sir Richard Mallory and his servant. Are the incidents connected? Does royal politics have a hand in it?