Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy New Year that is filled with many blessings for you and your families.
I was so happy to complete my reading goal of 100 books. Many of them were audio this year but that still counts in my book :)
I will be back with a list of my 5 star favorites for the year. Goodreads makes it so easy to see exactly what you read and what you rated it. Going for another 100 in 2015!
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Here is to Google! Looking forward to our time with you.
Monday, October 27, 2014
The Richest Season by Mary McFadden was a very enjoyable read, four stars.
Joanna is an empty nester, a corporate wife, and a very lonely housewife. Her husband's job as a successful salesman has had them uprooted too many times to count, and he gives all of his time to his career. Joanna finally decides that this is not the life she had in mind for herself and heads down to Pawley's Island, South Carolina, where she becomes the live in assistant of an older woman with a terminal illness. Her husband Paul's life is suddenly and drastically altered and he has more time to come to some understanding of what life has been like for his wife for the past couple of decades. Is it too late for a fresh start since Joanna has begun building a new life and relationships far from him? You can feel for all of the characters here. Somehow people just lose touch with the ones who should matter most to them while they are pursuing what they think should be making them happy or successful, when what really counts has been right there for them the whole time.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
On a healthier note, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook by Michele Scicolone is phenomenal. Especially the Peach, Tomato, and Burrata Salad. Nothing terribly fancy in this book, just a lot of recipes that you will want to add to your daily menu. Delicious and good for you is a pretty awesome combination!
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
this delicious recipe which I changed just a bit to make it a whoopee pie instead of a cookie. The frosting was softened butter, vanilla, salt and enough powdered sugar to make it not too toothache sweet.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Today is officially National Waffle Day but Billy has waffles (or the occasional pancake) every day. This was a yummy and very basic waffle recipe from my trusty King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook. The recipe calls for 2 large eggs, 1 3/4c. buttermilk, 2 tsp. vanilla extract for the wet. Dry ingredients are 2c.unbleached AP flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt and an optional 1/2c pecan meal (I used almond flour) and of course a waffle iron!
I buttered these and ground some cinnamon sugar (from Trader Joe's and very handy to have around) and some powdered sugar. You can leave all that off if you don't like the sweet.
The weather was perfect for this event, such a beautiful, clear and comfortable night.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I felt that I have met most of these ladies in my own school related interactions. There were many really funny lines and lots of heartbreaking situations that kept you caring about what happens to everyone, even the ones you didn't think you cared for all along. I really could not put this book down and I miss Madeline, Cecilia, and Jane already.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel. The cover of the book is representative of the polished, perfect lives that NASA expected from the wives of the astronauts. They were real, everyday women with the same issues that all of the other housewives from the 1960's experienced for the most part but they had to portray a sense of well balanced, devoted, All American wifely support to help promote the space race and sell the whole package to the American people. The book does give a little bit of the feel of the 60's, how it was an ever changing world and touched on how the women's movement was gaining voice. It's a shame that the author did not make you feel too much for any one of the ladies in particular. There was such a constant stream of different women, what they were wearing, what kind of house they lived in, etc. It was hard for me to differentiate one from the other after a while. As superficial as the book cover really.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King- A retired homicide detective tries to solve one last case to close his personal book. "Mr. Mercedes" mowed down a group of innocent and unsuspecting folks waiting in line at a job fair, just for kicks. Detective Hodges wants to nail this guy without going through the proper police channels. He is aided by an unlikely duo who put themselves at great risk to help their friend stop this psychopath before he kills again, his last act to be one with massive casualties.
A riveting read! 4 stars
Clarissa has drawn the unwanted attentions of an obsessed stalker. Suspenseful and well written but I found the ending a bit unsatisfactory.
We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX and 3d. Totally enjoyably awesome! Excellent 3d effects made it worth the extra $$ and the large screen was fabulously immersive. A Marvel-lous cast of characters with lots of genuinely funny lines and plenty of action. I look forward to the next installment in this series. I always love the little cameos of Stan Lee, very Hitchcockian.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
The ladies of Lowell, Massachusetts work in a cotton mill in the 1830's. They have left one life of hardship on their rural farms to try and find a way for themselves in the world as independent earners, but life in the mills presents a whole new world of dangers. Alice Barrow becomes the voice of the workers and falls in love with the mill owner's son. Can these two class crossed loves find a way to be together in a society that deliberately keeps them in their respective places? Can the downtrodden find a voice to help them in their quest for humane working conditions? A murder in this mill community brings all of the issues to the front of the public conscious. Kate Alcott does an excellent job of portraying this period in history with characters that you can really care about.
Friday, July 25, 2014
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
Friday, June 27, 2014
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
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
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
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.
Friday, January 3, 2014
We just got back from the second part of The Hobbit (in 3D). I loved it and was so immersed in Middle Earth, it felt weird walking out of the theater in broad daylight. I read this book back in 1973 and read it about 3 more times after that. One of my favorites of all time and I think they did a pretty respectable job on screen.
The book pictured above I just finished and really enjoyed. This House Is Haunted by John Boyne takes place in the late 1800's in the London area. A governess takes on a new job to care for two children in a very haunted house where the spirit of their dead mother tries to kill anyone that gets near her children. A bit of a mix of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen's styles with a strong heroine and a very well paced plot. Four stars (out of 5).