Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fulfilled life

I guess you can tell from all my book reviews, that retirement life is having loads of time to read. I love it!!!! We bought a house in July, that was live in ready. The kitchen could use some updating, but is in good shape and I'm not picky. So I get to enjoy just relaxing, and doing revisions as I want, not as I need to. No honey-do's for Scott...well, very little. Life is good. But, I do miss the RV life. Again, I'm wishing my life away. When I worked, I wished for retirement, just prior to retirement, I wished for the RV life. RV life evolved into country living and now country living is dreaming of RV travels again. Because we are in the country, there is not much to offer, well, except a nice quiet, country life. Which I truly am enjoying, but in the back of my mind, I miss traveling and trying new foods, and finding a really great RV park, and new friends, new culture, etc.
I am in no way wishing the demise of our dogs, but I can see since we have an 11 year old and two 8 year olds, that within 5-8 years, we'll be down to two dogs (presently 4 years old and under 1 year), and can RV again. RV'ing is never far from my mind. I was happy living in an RV although I wanted to experience having a home in the country, instead of crowded NJ.
I must admit, my life is pretty much complete.
In my 20's & 30's, I sowed my "wild oats" and had a blast during the disco era. I enjoyed the advantages of good looks, and a good figure (I had to work hard for the good figure).
I was smart and waited to get married and chose someone I get along with, and puts up with me.
I was lucky to have and tolerated a stable job with good benefits for 32 years.
My plan to retire at 55 year old did not happen. Nope, I was able to retire just 2 months shy of age 53!!!!
I chose not to have children. I was always fearful that in my old age, I would regret that decision. No regrets so far!
I fulfilled my RV full time dream.
I fulfilled my country living without struggling financially.
I've fulfilled enjoying my retirement and doing what I want to do.
Just two things I'm somewhat disappointed weight and my over commitment to dog rescue. But...I sure am enjoying eating what I want, and my volunteer work keeps me from thinking that I am not a useful part of the world.
Typical day.
I am enjoying the Jackson Underground Knitters that meet weekly at a Japanese restaurant.  We have a private area, good food, and nice ladies to socialize and knit with. So far, none of the ladies get on my nerves. Really fun group. Plus, I get to wear something I've made and they've never seen. Every week is show and tell for me.
I LOVE this hat I crocheted. The free pattern is Women's Peaked Cap. And with temps in the teens, I'm appreciating the warmth of this hat. Thanks to Shirley for the buttons.
Blue, named for her blue eyes, in her toy box.
Well, our little rescue puppy, Blue is on her way to NJ to her adopters. I have to admit, I do miss her even though a good night's sleep eluded me the whole time she was in our home. She is such a happy dog! She just makes us smile.
Blue on left, and our 7 month old on right.
Best Buds, play hard and rest, play hard and rest...
Stubb's Chili Fixins
Our rating 4 out of 5

Scott seems to do most of the grocery shopping. I mainly shop for the other items for the house, such as cleaning products. So when I do shop for food, I take my time, since I still haven't learned the layout of the small Walmart grocery section. So while strolling through the aisles, I saw this product. Scott really likes Stubb's BBQ rub and such, so when I saw a package for, just add meat chili, I had to check it out. It was only $2.50 and had a $1.00 off coupon on the package. Can't beat $1.50!
We added chop meat, onions and beans. Delicious!!!!! I don't know if the $2.50 is the regular price or not. I checked on line and it's much more expensive. I'll definitely buy up Walmart's stock of Stubb's Chili Fixins if it's still $2.50.

Broken (Broken, #1)Broken by Kelly Elliott
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

36% in and gave up.
This is probably an enjoyable book for an immature teen to early 20's audience. The "F bomb" flew throughout the book by all characters. Whitley is being helped by a handsome cowboy when her car breaks down. Would you start throwing the F word around when you first meet someone? How low class.
Then the continual bickering while trying to convince themselves they have "just friends" feelings, nothing more. Their hearts are too broken for love again WTF? I might as well join in the disgusting language.
It sure would NOT win my heart if a handsome, hunk of a cowboy started using that language around me.
A guy's looks can make me all hot, but when they disrespect me with that foul language, I'm outta here, but if I were using the same language, I guess low lives attract low lives.
Very sad example of our youth today.

Chasing Perfection: Vol. I (Chasing Perfection, #1)Chasing Perfection: Vol. I by M.S. Parker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Free kindle download...thank goodness.
DeVon is slime or very unhappy or angry and taking it out on women. No, he doesn't beat them, but he uses them sexually and throws them away. But I guess that's not saying much for the women either.
A couple of shocking sexual surprises. DeVon is not a likeable character, but the romantics out there will hope that he comes around and finds a woman he can respect and tame him. Well, I'll never know. The book ended at what should be just a chapter ending, not a book ending. In order to really complete the storyline, you need to read the next in the series, which I will not. Book just left us hanging and not in a good cliffhanger sense, just a tease like Devon the main handsome, sexy, jerk.

The Dead RoomThe Dead Room by Robert Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful journey into the thinking process of finding a murderer, possibly a serial murderer. And within that story are political secrets, corruption, and egotism.
Fast paced, murder mystery with a touch of romance. The development of the characters is excellent. Really enjoyed the book...hated the ending.

Dreams of Reality (The Dreams Trilogy)Dreams of Reality by Beth Bares
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really 3.5 more than a 4 star.
Paranormal, vampires, etc. romance/adventure. Very good story and characters. Another interesting take on the vampire rage.
Kept my interest the whole time. My only problem was being a woman in her 50's, the female characters, barely in their 20's were showing their immaturity with their giddiness, but other than that, I look forward to the next in the series.
Yes there were editorial errors, but nothing to deter from the story.
*Just checked Amazon. At $10.95 for Book #2, I do not think I'll be reading further. Just too steep for a just above average book.

Open and ShutOpen and Shut by David Rosenfelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I learned of this author because of his true life story "Dog Tripping". I gave his fiction a try because of his love of dogs.
Narrator was quite irritating at first, but then he grew into the main character, a wise ass lawyer, who seems to be a loser, but is actually quite efficient in the courtroom.
Murder mystery, courtroom drama, a lot of sarcasm.
I enjoyed the book, but thought it was just average.

Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #11)Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So disappointing!  I was sad when Anne Rice announced she would no longer be writing vampire novels. A few years later, lo and behold, Prince Lestat pops up! Yeah!!! Over two hours into the audio book and it is just creeping along. She seems to be trying to refresh our memories of characters past, which at time brings back fond memories of her previous books. But then it gets old. Too much detail into the previous covered characters with just a smidgen of new material. A teaser, I suppose of what is to come. But she took just too damned long.
I felt like I was listening to a history book. BORING! Plus the narrator was terrible! He made Lestat sound like the original vampire, Bella Lugosi. Very distracting. Lestat is supposed to be sexy and the narrator did not come across as sexy. Sigh.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ugh! They're everywhere!

Just thought I'd respond to some comments I receive. I really enjoy seeing the comments.

LG: LG is hoping to full time in the future. She used to live in the country, so she enjoys both parts of my blog. Thanks LG. I hope your full time dream comes true. It's a very odd feeling to  have "been there, done that" and check full time RV off my bucket list.

JOHN & CAROL of 5th Wheel Wanderings blog liked my end tables I made. They have been full time for about 5+ years. They just bought a park model, so now will be sort of snowbirds.

I think if we didn't have the urge to still foster and rescue dogs, that we may gone the same route. At the end of 3 years of full timing, we were ready to slow down. Settle someplace for the Winter and travel the rest of the year, but staying longer in places instead of just 2 weeks. But the "need" to have a huge yard for our Setters overruled the RV life. As I've said over and over, we may return as we hopefully downsize the breed of dog from 60-80 pounds down to 10-30 pounds. If that ever happens, I think we'll be on the road again.

MERIKAY of Merikay's Dream also liked my end tables. I'm quite envious of her time she has been spending in the Florida Keys this Winter. We never made it down there because it was so far out of the way and we didn't want to deal with the high prices and hoping to get reservations and excuses, excuses.

SUSAN of Beluga's Excellent Adventure comments regularly via email. They have recently sold their large farmhouse and are building a cottage on the lake. What a great compromise! RVing and a cottage to come home to.
We have finished our fencing. Total about 2 - 2.5 acres. We have quite the hodgepodge of different fence types. Some we did ourselves, some we had professionals install, some was existing. The dogs are really enjoying the extra freedom. Poor Ella, a recent foster/adoption is about 8 years old. Well, she just loves to run and try to spook the birds out of the huge magnolia tree/bush. She forgets her age, until she tries to get up in the morning and has a difficult time least until she spots more birds outside.

Before the cold spell, we were clearing some of the forest to make it more walking friendly. Right now it is quite dense with many small trees, sticker bushes, vines, cluttering any pathways.  What a difference between NJ and TN. In NJ, anytime we had to clear weeds, trim trees and bushes, we had to separate them for garbage. The weeds needed to be in a separate garbage pail and the shrubs and trimmed branches had to be tied in bundles no longer than 3 feet long. Now, we have 7 acres, mostly wooded. There's plenty of places to put our cuttings, and we can even burn them if we want!
I finally did make a clearing to walk to our water. Unfortunately, we have the ugliest view. Ugh. But, the good news is, our neighbor has no problem letting us walk on his property to get to the water and his view is much much nicer.
Our neighbor's view
Our view looks basically like swampland. Sigh....

Our wood stove is installed and keeping the house cozy! I love it! We will no longer have the roaring fire in the large fireplace, but we will also, not be losing all the warmth up the chimney and using so much firewood for so short a time of beauty from the fire.

I am happy with the glow from the window of the wood stove, knowing that is easing the workload of our heat pump and allowing us to keep the house at a more comfortable 70-74° instead of a chilled 67-68°. I haven't been taking as many photos as when we were traveling. So no glowing fire photos for now. Maybe I'll remember to take a photo one of these days.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Now that we have a woodstove, we will need firewood more consistently, so Scott bought a Powerhouse 7-ton log splitter. He loves it and says it works beautifully! Fairly lightweight. We could probably take it along in the RV if we planned to have a lot of campfires!

Our address is fairly rural. Our street is about 1/2 mile in from a main thoroughfare (2 lane road), then our house sits up on a small hill about, I don't know 300-500 off the road so we are not seen from the road and we don't see the road. And still, we were visited by Jehovah Witnesses! You first have to specifically come up this street with homes well distanced apart. Then you have to go up our driveway, no knowing what you'll find up there. Then you need to pass by a fence and open the gate and hope our 5 dogs don't knock you down. I saw this minivan in front of our garage with 2 guys in suits. It's either the mob or JW. Then I see two "church lady" types holding their bible or whatever they use as a guidebook come out of the car. I walked out to the gate to "greet" them. Didn't even give them a chance to get to the gate. "Not interested, good bye", and I turn around.. Then they play the guilt trip and let me know I have a nice piece of property. In NJ, I just would not have answered the door.
Having 5 dogs seems "normal" now. Our puppy Ryan is about 7 months old & 55 pounds! He has settled nicely into a routine with the other dogs. Now if I would just stop taking in puppies in need of homes. Yep, I did it again. This is the 3rd puppy in as many months that I have taken in to find a home for. This time, it's not even an English Setter! But because of networking among the rescues, the pleas for help are widely circulated.
A 5 week old black lab mix puppy dumped in a church parking lot. A good samaritan and neighbor of the church found the pup and took it in. She has two dogs of her own and a special needs son, so really couldn't take on another responsibility.  An email was sent to me because I live in the same state. I send out to my contacts to see if someone wants to adopt a puppy. Sure enough, someone in NJ. So I take the pup in.

Only 5 pounds!!! Still had the blue eyes of a young pup, so the good samaritan called her "Blue". So, I'm back to sleeping in the guest bedroom and waking up multiple times per night to let the pup out to do her business. Sigh. She is too young to travel right now, so I'm stuck, oops, I mean I'm caring for her until she can travel to NJ.

Luckily our vet is very inexpensive! No appointments needed and most times, office visits are not charged, just the service completed. I brought Blue in for vaccines and to see if she had worms and health check. Total $24.!!!! She has a clean bill of health and not even worms, but we worm her just in case.

The good samaritan didn't have a crate for her, so she lined a box with felt, covered and stuffed cardboard with fake fur to make a soft bottom for her to feel safe in.

She also gave us this cute pillow that had slots inside where she put info on the dog, a couple of toys, an adorable little paw print baby blanket, some chewies, and a nice card. I felt like I was having a baby/puppy shower!

So our big goofy Gordon Setter puppy is trying to learn how to play "easy". Little Blue is easily knocked around by one of his paws. Ryan, our Gordon Setter puppy, likes to put Blue's whole head in his mouth!

MudboundMudbound by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Racial prejudice. I will NEVER understand it nor accept it.
Newlywed wife (white) becomes a farmer's wife instead of a city wife as expected.
This is a time when blacks are still trying to own their own land and be self sufficient. Black family living on the farm are sharecroppers, meaning they help work the land , but must give a share to the farm owner. The white and black families seem to get along, but individuals around them cause prejudicial problems.
2 soldiers return home, one from each family. How are they treated? Very differently, but there is a bond of the war between them.
How are the wives dealing with the families, how do the husbands respond?
After writing my review, I changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars.


All My Love, DetrickAll My Love, Detrick by Roberta Kagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are a true history buff, this book is probably not for you. This book may not be spot on accurate historically, but I'm not reading a history book, I'm reading a romance in an historical time period.
Wonderful love story.You get just an inkling of the horrors of this time period of Hitler, living as a Jew and as an Aryan. You want more accurate history, read a nonfiction book.
My only complaint is there were too many chapter breaks when totally unnecessary. But that did not detract from the story, so my 5 stars stand strong.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I originally listened to this as an audiobook. HATED IT! Couldn't finish it. Boring and the main character seemed like an idiot. My husband read the book and  loved it and has read many more in this series loving each one. Every time he reads another in the series he encourages me to try to read this. I really hated the audiobook. I trust my husband's judgement. He knows my taste in books.
The written version is so much better. The character I thought was an idiot, is now very endearing. Set in very rural Montana, we are exposed to the mindset of a different type of world. We have men that hunt for a living, we have a ranger trying to keep the balance between preserving nature, yet allowing them to be hunted. Greed vs. love of nature. Facing the gov't workers who don't give a crap, can be bribed, yet our main character pushes on facing which is the right next step.
I look forward to reading more in this series. I'm a convert.

Breaking Up with Barrett (The English Brothers, #1)Breaking Up with Barrett by Katy Regnery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A typical nice romance. I enjoyed reading it, but nothing special. Reminded me of "Pretty Woman", but just an escort, no dirty business. Male character was in the same business as the Greer character in "Pretty Woman". Typical, expected ending.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Clip Clop


I have met the neighbors on either side of me. One neighbor is far enough away, we can't see the house, the other neighbor can be seen in the Winter, but barely seen through the trees in the Summer. Both seem very nice. I have not met the mysterious ones that own a small section of land on the lake sort of behind us. Luckily no trouble from them, but haven't heard good things.
I also haven't met our neighbor sort of across the street from us. All this is relative to the area. Across the street in our NJ town, was literally, 50 feet from our front door to theirs. Here in TN, is go down the hill of our 200 foot driveway to the main road, turn right, a few more 100 feet, then up their long driveway. When we first were looking at our house, we thought "Southern Serenity" as our neighbors call their spread was a retirement community. We saw a large building that we assumed was the activity center. WRONG! Southern Serenity is a private residence that trains Tennessee Walking Horses.
Weighted shoes

Caustic chemical damage

There is much controversy about the training and abuse of these beautiful horses for winning shows. Some trainers cruelly put caustic chemical on the horses ankles and wrap with plastic wrap. This causes pain and makes the horses lift the feet for the special gait/walk these horses are known for. Others cut the tendons, so the feet can move unnaturally. What may look to the audience like a happy horse prancing is actually a horse flinching -- the animal lifts its legs higher because putting them on the ground is painful.
Of course I've read by defenders of the breed that this abuse is not necessary to win titles. I don't know enough to judge and I don't know how I feel about my neighbor.

I vs. me
The mistakes of using these two pronouns has bothered my Father more than me. Mainly because I did not know the correct "rule" for usage. The link above goes in depth to explain and I feel much more educated about these two words. I still have to think before I type I or me.
"I" is a pronoun that is doing the action.
"me" is a pronoun that the action is being done to.  If you are really interested, Click the link above. It's nice to learn something that has bothered me for years.

ask vs ax

to vs too

across vs acrost or acrossed

Visit Grammarly for more "exciting" tips on grammar.
Yes, I've been knitting away here and there. I've been enjoying Mystery Knit a Longs again. I'm trying very hard to not purchase yarn. So far so good. I'm using what I have on hand.
Nina Cowl

Hitchhiker scarf

2014 Year of lace scarf

Don't Ruche Me Scarf

Don't Ruche Me (close up)
These knitted items are beautiful (if I do say so myself). The photos do not do them justice at all! I am at the point in my knitting that I just can't wear all of these, especially when I don't go anywhere. Anyone interested in any of my pieces, let me know. Maybe I'll gift them to you or ask for a donation (you choose amount) to the charity of my choice.
I am officially hooked on the Kindle. While I was doing some local sightseeing at Parker's Crossroads Battlefield, I pick up a paperback book "When I was a Slave". It was only $4.50. Today I began reading it. I am so spoiled about not needing to use reading glasses to read the kindle and not have to have the bedside lamp on while reading, that it is difficult to go back to a printed book. Out come the reading glasses, the lamp has to be on and when I'm ready to fall asleep I now have to reach for the off switch of the lamp and hope one of the 4-5 dogs in bed with us, decides to roll into "my spot". For only 99 cents, problem solved. I downloaded it to my kindle. Yes! It's worth the extra $1. spent for the convenience of kindle paperwhite ease of reading.
I've had my kindle paperwhite for a year and am still very very pleased with this wonderful reading tool.
Bluestone Homecoming (Welcome to Bluestone #1)Bluestone Homecoming by M.J. Fredrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very enjoyable quick read. The characters were likeable. Set in a small town the is trying to be revived. Some characters left for larger cities, some stayed and wondered if they should leave. All are drawn together with the goal of reviving this sweet little town.
A nice romance, with some tough decision making. No silliness, a couple of hot sex scenes...oh my. A happy ending, but things left incomplete to make room for a sequel.

When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative CollectionWhen I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection by Norman R. Yetman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book is just as the title states. It is many narratives from former slaves. They tell it like it is. Nothing fancy, no  "artistic license" to make it read better or flow better.
Most of what is written, I've read before, but there were a few new things that were new to me about the life of slaves. Interesting to read, but does get quite repetitive with many similar, very sad tales.

Did you know there was a concentration type camp during the Civil War in the South? It was the Andersonville Civil War Prison in Andersonville, GA, The Commander of the prison was actually convicted and hung for committing war crimes.

Take Two and Call Me In The Morgue (Bennington, #2)Take Two and Call Me In The Morgue by D.W. Ulsterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intense drama. Quite frustrating because it is dealing with politics, government agencies, health care and all the fatheads in those fields that think they can play god.
A cure for cancer? Possibly, if greed doesn't win over true caring.
A wide variety of characters that hold their own. Because they are all unique, it is easy to keep track of who is who.
Bennington P.I. is a likeable character. I think the author was trying for an older Myron Bolitar. A sarcastic, irreverent, PI. Being a woman of 58, I can relate to this older Bennington and his aging body and trying to keep up, and yet learning to accept the consequences of growing old.
I will be reading more from this author. This title was a free Kindle download.

The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent mixture of history, a touch of romance. The author did a lot of research to write this book. At age 7, an orphaned girl becomes an indentured servant & lives in the main house as part of the kitchen help. She is white, but through the open hearts of the slaves is brought in to their lives as part of their family.
The book follows this girl into womanhood, marriage, and old age, along with the Master and his family and the slaves that raised her and loved her.
Excellent narration also.

Our Travels