Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Longest word in TN


My knitting friends are trying to teach me "southern talk". I've been informed the longest word in the southern vocabulary is...shiiiiiiiiiiiyat.

The Dixie -  Huntingdon, TN 
My rating 4 out of 5, depends on performance, but organization does a great service for the community.
Depending on the activity, some tickets are as low as $15. up to over $50.
The Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center
This is the town of Huntingdon's claim to fame I guess. Huntingdon is near where Dixie Carter grew up. Remember her from "Designing Women" in the 80's?
The Dixie, has many events, anywhere from concerts, to classes, to plays performed there. I've been asked a number of times if I'd like to volunteer to be an usher there. NO THANK YOU! With my great people skills (much sarcasm), they would not like this Yankee to represent them.

Mark Twain
My rating 5 out of 5
Performed by Hal Holbrook (Dixie's husband) was here last year, which I attended. An amazing performance! And made even more amazing since Mr. Holbrook was 89 at the time I saw his wonderful performance.

Big, the musical
My rating 2 out of 5
This was local theater performing the play, "Big, the Musical" at the Dixie. For the most part it was VERY amateur. Definitely "local yokels" performing. I wish I could give credit to the two very good and outstanding performers, but I saw this in February, and can't find the cast listing.
The performer who played the main character, Josh (Tom Hanks in the movie version) had an excellent voice. He didn't fit the physical image in my head of Josh. This young man was thin with long blond hair, quite different from Tom Hanks looks. But his voice was strong, clear and in key.
But the show stopper, what the performer who played, Billy. He was Josh's best friend. This actor stole the show. Seemed very comfortable on stage. Comedic timing was excellent. Very endearing. Great singing voice as well as projected "his" acting voice clearly. Loved, LOVED this performance of Billy. Billy wore a baseball cap throughout the whole play. In the end, we found out why! Bill was performed by a girl! She was amazing and pulled off a male part flawlessly. When they ended with their final bows, she took off her hat and her long pony tail fell forward. BRAVO!
Finished another Mystery Knit-a-long. I really enjoy the mystery and the process but what do I do with all these damned shawls???

I hope to begin making more practical pieces. I have started a summer tee shirt made from cotton yarn. I hope to make a summer lace cardigan as well as a fall poncho. Hopefully, I will not be purchasing yarn for these. I must use from my stash, I must use from my stash. I must use from my stash!
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I should rate this 1 star since I couldn't finish it, but since I didn't give it much of a chance, I'll just rate it in the middle. I only got to 6%.
I was intrigued by what was going on, although quite depressing, it did make you wonder what is this woman's history. The author slowly gets to her history.
The author goes from 1900 to 1950 to 1915. Unless your are reading this book in a long sitting at a time, it is difficult to keep track of. Which characters were in what year and what were their ages, and then "present" day relating to 50 years ago. Because I was reading this in just short 15-30 minute sessions, I had a difficult time re-orientating as to who was who and when. Just too much jumping back and forth in time for me.

Murder Deja VuMurder Deja Vu by Polly Iyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book. Murder mystery with 4 or 5 possible suspects, or...will the author throw in an oddball? Or could there be two murderers? I had my suspicions, but still had my doubts. Throw in a nice romance, although their emotions moved too quickly ahead. I will read this author again.

My Nights With Kate (Jack Ryker #1)My Nights With Kate by M.T. Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating a 3 out of respect for author. My personal rating is 1 star, but I feel it is because of my age. Being a 58 yr old woman, I cannot fathom why a 49 yr old man would want a 22 yr old girl for anything other than arm candy and sex. The author has made Jack (the 49 yr old widower) sound like the perfect man. He's got money, maturity without being old, keeps in shape, kind, generous, wise, giving in bed. Yet, he goes for a 22 yr old. It just doesn't seem to fit Jack's personality. He knows better than that. Jack is looking for a relationship, not just sex and a 22 yr old from an on line "sugar daddy" site is not where to find a relationship.

I couldn't finish.
Kate and Jack are on their 1st "date" and end up in bed. Jack waited for HER to make the 1st move. Yea, right. He's just too nice.
In bed Kate asks "What do you like?" Jack's answer..."Honestly, what I like most is giving a woman multiple orgasms".
OH COME ON! Really? Stick a finger in my mouth and make me gag!
Fractured (Will Trent, #2)Fractured by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Narration was good. I was disappointed in this book. I can't pinpoint why. My husband loved it and encouraged me to listen to it. I loved the 1st Will Trent book.
I wasn't able to really enjoy the characters. It was just a murder/kidnapping mystery and unremarkable.

How To Run With A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #3)How To Run With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Molly Harper is always good for a fun read. If you're looking for a serious vampire/werewolf adventure, this is not the book. Her books are light hearted & sarcastic. Always a romance. Always vampires or werewolves living, interacting and falling in love with a "normal" human.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Transition almost complete

Tennessee life/ Retirement life
Destination Review
Dogs (with dog treat review)
Book Reviews

Although I do read a lot of vampire fiction, I have not gone over the edge and found my self transitioning from human to vampire. Nothing so dramatic. Transitioning from NJ "sticks & brick" life to RV life was easy. The purging was work, but not so difficult. But moving into the RV and living in a small space with with so little was surprisingly easy.

Moving from an RV  into a house was not difficult, BUT, moving to a stationary  lifestyle was VERY difficult. I do believe the transition is almost completed though. Oh yes, I still would like to travel. I miss meeting new friends. I miss the thought of meeting with fellow RV bloggers & dog rescue volunteers I only communicate with via email and phone. I miss the anticipation of new RV parks, new areas of the country, new foods and revisiting favorites we've been to in the past. I just saw on facebook, some photos of our Cedar Creek Club meeting together and acting their silly selves and we weren't there.

But in all honesty, I'm really happy to just stay put in our little "sweet asylum" in the South. I love our property. I love sitting outside. I love our dogs running free. I almost dread the thought of packing up and traveling. Yep, I think I've completed the transition and am no longer in the group called RV'rs. We still have a working RV and plan to use it in early fall, but I'm not sure I'm really looking forward to the journey. I'm looking forward to the destination though.

Scott also has really acclimated himself to this life. I have never experienced him as a non stressed husband in a house. When he was employed, he basically worked & slept. Throw in an occasional meal he would cook and a "honey do" that HAD to be completed and that was his life. He hated mowing our 100' x 80' property with a house in the middle. Now, he actually takes pride and enjoys mowing the lawn and doing chores!! He almost looks forward to doing just one project a day. He feels productive, yet not overwhelmed and he can enjoy the rest of his day doing anything he pleases. Retirement is wonderful.

Now that Winter is over, I have moved my office outside. I've set up a table, my extra monitor, my lap top in a corner of our porch. This enables me to do my dog rescue computer work, while enjoying our property, enjoying the company of my dogs and letting them get outside time. They sure do sleep well at night when they are outside all day. Plus being "stuck" doing dog rescue work on the computer, at least I'm outside.
The photo on right is not my outside office set up, but a more relaxing setup still doing volunteer computer work.

Along with Springtime comes Magnolia blossoms! We are lucky enough to have two Magnolia trees/bushes in our yard. Unfortunately, I'm not very impressed by the blooms. They are few and far between. I thought the tree would be loaded with them. But a flower is still a flower and I'll enjoy the view.

Another Springtime occurrence are the noisy cicadas! Supposedly 13-year, Brood IV are here. The noise goes on all day and the cicadas in the far distance almost sound like the hum of some kind of motor or spaceship (not that I've actually heard a spaceship, except on the show My Favorite Martian.
How long will they last? The typical answer is about 4 weeks of singing or less. They sing to meet a mate, and once they mate a few times, they run our of energy and die. Four weeks is the typical time, although this varies depending on weather. Cicadas are largely in 13 and 17 year spans. The early part of the 2020s will be interesting in TN as there will be broods emerging nearly every year between 2020-2025. Ugh.

Cicadas are edible if you're into those type of oddities. This may be the first time I'm thankful I'm allergic to shellfish! It is believed that the cicada's skeletal body is similar to shrimp and may cause the same anaphylactic shock because of the chitin in their skeleton.

Chitin is a dietary supplement made from a starch found in the skeleton of shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. It can also be referred to as 'chitosol' or 'chitosan.' It is not digested and passes through the intestines unabsorbed, thereby adding no calories. The chemical makeup makes it bind with fat thus preventing the fat from being absorbed, as well. It is currently undergoing evaluation as a weight loss supplement.

That's a cicada on the magnolia blossom. This photo was taken with our new Canon Power Shot camera I reviewed in an earlier post. This shot was probably about 200 feet away, so it zooms pretty nicely for a cheap camera.
Mutter Museum- Philadelphia, PA $16.00 admission
Our rating 5 out of 5
If I HAD to live in a city, Philly would be the one. It's rich in history. It is a well laid out city and fairly easy to navigate. I love the old stone buildings mixed with modern. Luckily, I have never had to live in a city and now I'm living in the country. Ahhh.
We visited Mutter Museum quite a few years ago while still living in NJ. It was just an easy hour's drive.
This is a super interesting museum. It is filled with medical science items. Some are models, such as a full size model of a man sliced open to see the roadway of muscles throughout the human body. Some are actual specimens preserved in bottles of liquid. From their website- "We have wet specimens from every part of the human body as well as parts that aren’t supposed to be there, such as cysts and tumors." Some things are gross, fascinating, heartbreaking. Then there is is the gigantic colon. I don't know if it is mummified, taxidermy type or a model, but either way, this poor guy needed a good "BM".
If you are ever visiting Philly, this is a "MUST SEE" destination.
Review of the biography of Dr. Mutter below in book review section.
Dog treat review...
Cost FREE!!!!
What is plentiful in the Spring? Free? Dogs love em?
Cicadas, of course!
Our dogs love to hang under the Magnolias. Usually, it's because it has heavy foliage and birds love to nest in there. Since Setters are bird dogs, this keeps them entertained for hours.
But now that millions of cicadas are in the area, our dogs are under the Magnolias waiting for the dead to drop after a heavy mating encounter.
From the Cicada Mania website:
Don't I look delicious?
People want to know: “is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas”. The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas, however you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned Cicadas Dangerous to Pets.

Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.

Our Gordon Setter pup has certainly gorged on them. He has no "full meter" when it comes to food. And the evidence was on our porch steps. I'll spare you the graphic photo of black heads and wings regurgitated.
Check out the link

You know I've been doing a lot of knitting when you see a lot of audiobook reviews. I knit and clean listening to audiobooks. My house is not spotless, so I must be doing a lot of knitting instead.

I am addicted to MKAL's (Mystery Knit-a-longs). I love learning new knitting skills and also not knowing what the pattern will look like finished. I DO have to know what I'm knitting though, meaning is it a scarf, shawl, sweater,cowl, etc. I have joined 8 Knit-a-longs in 2015 so far, some are mysteries and some are not.

I recently completed this mystery shawl, Paris in springtime
The graphic on the left is all we see prior to starting the knitting project. This particular MKAL had the option to buy a kit, which I did at Stunning String Studio.  The kit included the yarn, beads, floss, stitch markers and a special Eiffel tower stitch marker. The yarn was merino, nylon and a bit of sparkle.

American SniperAmerican Sniper by Chris Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Don't expect this to be the book version of the movie. While this was interesting, the Navy Seal life of Chris Kyle, was narrated in a matter of fact tone. He was very dedicated to the US and fought hard and was a great service to us all. He made a great sniper because he could separate family from military. He could accept his kills were the enemy and not seem to take it as he killed a person with a family. It almost seems very very cold. is kill or be killed and that's the reality.
Not an exciting book, but it does give us a glimpse of being and Navy Seal and right in the middle of active war. He missed out on his family life defending our country. He states he loves war. Oh how I hate it!

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love, Love, LOVE Bloody Jack and this book! What a smart young "boy". Life is not kind to him, but he is resourceful and not only intelligent, but also has common sense and street smarts. Follow his adventure from being a poor homeless orphan begging/stealing on the streets to working his way up in society. Also, growing from an adolescent into a teenager.
Excellent narrator also.
I had to go out and immediately get the the 2nd in this series.

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack, #2)Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady by L.A. Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly think Jacky Faber is my favorite character of ALL TIME! Just as the first book in this series, Jacky is full of energy. She jumps into to things before thinking, or even if she does think about the circumstances feels the experience or the need is greater than the punishment.
Again, the narrator truly makes this book.
The book is funny, endearing, uplifting, exciting, heartbreaking all in one. I never got bored and opted to listen to this audio book rather than watch TV.
Just thinking of Jacky Faber and the troubles she gets herself into makes me smile. This is a natural antidepressant.

Conversion (Conversion, #1)Conversion by S.C. Stephens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are so many vampire books out there now. Surprisingly, I have found most of them are quite entertaining and all have a slight twist to keep them interesting. This book is another fun, sweet, vampire/human love story.
I'll probably continue to read the series.

Dr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern MedicineDr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Medical History...fascinating. From operating before anesthesia to the discovery of germs.
This is the history of a medical teaching school in Philadelphia and the differences in the doctors' opinions about teaching, medical practices, medical beliefs. Within just a span of 20 years how far medicine advanced. Some doctors welcomed new techniques, others refused to accept and held back development, causing continued pain and death.
Dr. Mutter was open minded, had a true love of medicine BECAUSE it would benefit the lives of people.
We hear about the development of plastic surgery & thoughts on deformities.
I had visited the Mutter Museum in Philly years ago and would love to revisit after reading this book.

A Highlander's Passion (Highlander's Beloved, #2)A Highlander's Passion by Vonnie Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first book in the series "A Highlander's Obsession" but still a fun read. A couple of things that bothered me...
1. There is an evil character after someone who is under the protection of the clan. So what does she do? Go out by herself. Well duh! Of course Mr. Evil will find you!
2. Mr Evil is supposed to be oh so powerful, but yet there is little action as to finding him, eluding him, or killing him. His demise just seems to be so easy. Doesn't agree with his oh so powerful character.
Still fun to read and some more decent love scenes.

HooligansHooligans by William Diehl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
I really wanted to rated this only one star, but wanted to be fair to the author. The book isn't bad, it's just not my genre. Mafia and politics...bleck! Depressing. If you like this type of book, I think this is a good book. Characters well defined. A good mystery as to what's going on. Who is behind what. Who can be trusted. Just not for me.

Itsy Bitsy Spider (Emma Frost #1)Itsy Bitsy Spider by Willow Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
I couldn't stop reading. What should be a quaint small town community is really run by two faced religious fanatics.
The story goes back and forth between 40 yrs and keeps you guessing who is who from the past and the present. Why are these people being killed and what is their connection. Sick people and in the end, they deserved it in my opinion.

Lady Audley's SecretLady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
A pretty face can get you places. Lady Audley is beautiful, innocent looking, cunning and a great actress.
Written in the late 1800's, the style of writing was somewhat drawn out in the over abundance of descriptions. Walking through a garden, so much detail goes into the leaves, the light of the sky, the surroundings and on and on. Same with the description of their emotions...pages of describing how they feel. Just skip those parts after a while. After the first couple of sentences, you get what the author is saying. You don't need to read it described a dozen different ways.
But overall, the story is great. I kept guessing at Lady Audley's secret until it was fully revealed at the end.
A bit drawn out but a very good read.

Lash (Broken Angel, #1)Lash by L.G. Castillo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
3.5 stars. Couldn't quite give this 4 stars.
Archangels, fallen angels, Lucifer, etc. Some in human form, some can be seen by a few select humans.
When given an assignment you are to follow through without question. But Lash (angel), thinks he knows better.
That will be a long, difficult lesson learned.
Starts out slow and I felt my mind wandering and not really looking forward to reading, but eventually, things started to merge and make sense or at least get my curiosity up and my thinking cap on.
Enjoyed the characters and could definitely see easy opportunities for sequels.
This first book was a free download. I see the next is $3.99. Reasonable enough, but high enough to give me pause before purchasing. There are so many other series I REALLY enjoy & would pay that price for. But for this series? Hmm, maybe $1.99 would be a better price.

Love Lies and MurderLove Lies and Murder by Catherine Winchester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
Murder mystery and historical romance in one. Nice.
A house full of relatives and dead 1st wife and the 2nd wife may be destined to the same fate.
Who did it? Who's doing it? So many to choose from.
Helen has a lot to deal with ...
a new husband she's only known a few days
trying to fit in as the step-mother
dealing with in-laws and ex in-laws living under one roof
a mother in-law who doesn't think you're good enough
your own step family to deal with
setting boundaries and establishing authority
All while trying to keep yourself safe and figure out who is trying to kill you.
Loved the book.

The MacKinnon's Bride (The Highland Brides, # 1)The MacKinnon's Bride by Tanya Anne Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Free Kindle Download
As Reagan W. said in her review..."Two Wounded People Looking for Love" That is the gist of the story.
I am becoming addicted to these Highland Romances. The big strong, fierce Scot, who is so loving, gentle, protective to the woman he loves and loves taking the time during lovemaking to give her pleasure before his own.
Ahhhh. Purest romantic fantasy. I crave it, gotta have it. Loved this book.
Definitely not for many. Not much action. More centered on 3 main very likeable characters and their growth to being a family.

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