Friday, July 25, 2014

July Reading List

1. I have had the hardest time this month coming up with a really great summer read. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle received such critical acclaim and was Oprah's Book Club selection and I thought it was an absolute torture. A modern day Hamlet that went on for what seemed like forever with a very unsatisfactory finish. Two stars only because there were some parts that were captivating and beautifully written in the beginning of the book.

2. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline was another 2 star bore. Heard lots of great things about this one also but felt it did not deliver. The history of the orphan trains is fascinating but this one did not stir much feeling in me. Sorry.

3. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich- 2 stars. Okay, Janet. Please make it stop. There was nothing in the latest Stephanie Plum novel to distinguish it from the previous twenty. I keep saying that I am never going to read another one of these so I need to stick with that promise. Kind of like potato chips, it seems good while you are going through them, then after it's done you're like "what did I do that for?" 

4 A Short Guide to a Long Life by David Agus *** Lots of tips for a healthier daily lifestyle. Most of the ideas are common sense 101 but it is always good to get a gentle reminder to get back on track if you feel you have strayed some.

5. The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki **** Highly enjoyable historical fiction about Peggy Shippen, the wife of Benedict Arnold. We all know what happened with him.

6. Somerset by Leila Meachum 2-3 stars- An incredibly tiresome prequel to Roses (which I loved). The narrator had a whimpering, simpering Texas drawled treatment of the reading that made it even more difficult to enjoy.

7. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer 1-2 stars. Okay, enough with the Dystopian stories already. Especially ones that have no point whatsoever.

8. Pearl Harbor by Steven Gillon **** Behind the scenes account of what went down in the White House during the event and how FDR handled our entry into WWII. Very interesting and made more so to me since we just visited Pearl Harbor a couple of months ago.

9. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman 4 stars. Excellent feel for the history of Coney Island, NY and the "freak shows" that were such draws on the Boardwalk during that period. The characters were well portrayed, it was incredibly sad how they were seen as animals with little or no sense or feelings.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


This is our new family member, Rocket Man. Rocket is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, 8 months old. He won first place in his category today at a dog show in Skagit County, we brought him home right after the show. Love how he walks, he is so low to the ground with big basset hound paws. And of course the ears- well, they just won us over completely. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Busy Week

Father's Day celebration, dinner with Jim's Mom on Saturday.

June 18th was a really tough one, the anniversary of my Dad's passing. It is so hard to believe a whole year has gone by without him. I miss him so very much.

June 20th was a happy day with a new addition to the family, little Steven Ray Hillesheim born to Laura and Steve. My new Great Nephew was 8 1/2 pounds and 21", the same exact numbers as my niece Laura. Pictures coming soon!

We went to see Porgy and Bess at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. Jim and I liked it, Billy not so much. It was the operatic treatment of it and not the musical ballad like the movie. The cast was very good but the audio in this theater is really not that great. The vocals are almost impossible to understand, the same was true with Les Miserables when we saw that. It helped that I knew every single word of Les Miz before I saw it, otherwise I would have been totally lost. Orchestra was fabulous and clear.

Billy started his first job this week at Lincoln Square Cinema. This is a pic of him in the lobby out front on the first day of orientation.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

This is the first Father's Day without my beloved Dad and Billy's Poppy. I miss him every single day and still want to pick up the phone and call him. Love you so much, Dad. Thank you for everything.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mock Orange and Desie

I love the blooms on the double mock orange shrub, now in all of it's glory. Just gorgeous!
Desie is  here exploring her new yard. She got caught up in the ferns and looked at me like "now what?" Very funny.

Friday, June 13, 2014


It has been so long since I have posted here. I am going to make a concerted effort to keep this blog updated even if no one reads it but me :)
I've read so many books since my last visit and I'll try to post a brief review of most of them in the coming weeks. I am more than half way through my goal of 100 books for 2014, many of them are audiobooks and I always seem to have earphones sprouting from my head lately.

The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy is one I just finished about a week ago. Out of the thousands of books I've read The Prince of Tides was in my top five favorites and maybe occupied the number one spot. Read it twice as a matter of fact. The relationship between Pat Conroy and his father Don, The Great Santini, was a very complicated one. I think what made some of the works of Conroy so amazing were products of the pain and horrible situations from his childhood that apparently he was never really able to get over. So sad that the first 18 years of your life can so negatively affect the next 50 or so years. I hope that this book was a catharsis for him and he can finally lay to rest the pain that he feels was caused by his Dad, who by the end of the book I really came to love. May heaven "stand by for a fighter pilot".  I can only say that I am so thankful that I read The Prince of Tides before reading this otherwise I may have come away with a totally different feeling. I think at some point in your life you have to forgive and move on, or you just risk causing your own pain. The ugly seems to continue with the acerbic banter that passes for conversation between the Conroy siblings. They really can't blame this on the Dad, it seems as if in many ways they practice the same behavior they found so reprehensible in their father. Move on peeps, and be kind to each other.
3 star rating. (out of 5)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3 reviews

A lighthearted story about a computer tech, Lincoln, who's job is to monitor and read flagged company e-mails. He becomes fascinated with the back and forth between Jennifer and Beth and sees their communiques as too endearing to be turned in for further action. He finds himself falling in love with Beth even though he has never seen her. How does he ever have a chance with her in real life after this invasion of privacy?
A fun yet shallow story of a different sort of office romance. 3 stars.

Blockade Billy and Morality by Stephen King. I am not generally a fan of short stories since I never feel as if the story or characters are successfully developed enough for me to really care about. These were fair, I liked Morality a bit better than the baseball story. 3 stars.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. A classic, written in 1953 about a futuristic world where people are basically managed by the government. The firemen have the job of burning all books, no one is permitted to own any or really have independent thoughts or strong opinions. A bit chilling in some ways as I see so many parallels in our society today. Anything slightly offensive, no matter how mild or ridiculous, was not allowed in this dystopian world. Eventually nothing was okay and everyone was to be the same so there would be no conflict. The story holds up after five decades and I would highly recommend it. 4 stars.