Friday, October 30, 2015

Progress Report

At the time I took these pictures I had completed 20 of the 24 squares in the afghan Crochet-Along. Now I'm done with the 21st squares. We're heading down the home stretch!

Each square is supposed to be 12" x 12", but I'm not very good at measuring, so I think they'll be more like 12.5" to 13" square by the time I'm finished. Which puts each blanket at around, what, 6 feet by 4.5 feet? Something like that. Although math isn't my strong suit. (And I majored in accounting, why?)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review Tuesday

Apparently I’m going to make this a quarterly thing (I really do mean to do it once a month, but I’ve been feeling rather lackadaisical). I’ve read 18 books since the last time I reported back to you guys. Additionally, I listened to The Martian two more times. Yes, I read that book four times, and now Dr. M & I have seen the movie. It was pretty darn good. So anyway, I’m going to do this in installments. Here are the first nine.

1. Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway. Joe Spork spends his days fixing antique clocks. The son of infamous London criminal Mathew "Tommy Gun" Spork, he has turned his back on his family's mobster history and aims to live a quiet life. That orderly existence is suddenly upended when Joe activates a particularly unusual clockwork mechanism. His client, Edie Banister, is more than the kindly old lady she appears to be--she's a retired international secret agent. And the device? It's a 1950s doomsday machine. Having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the British government and a diabolical South Asian dictator who is also Edie's old arch-nemesis. On the upside, Joe's got a girl: a bold receptionist named Polly whose smarts, savvy and sex appeal may be just what he needs. With Joe's once-quiet world suddenly overrun by mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realizes that the only way to survive is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she abandoned years ago and pick up his father's old gun... 

The Bug Says: I was reading this book when I wrote my last book review post, and at that time I said that it was rather bizarre sort of steam punk/science fiction book set in London (very similar to Kraken). I quite enjoyed following Mr. Spork around England & learning about his grandfather’s secret life. I gave it 4 stars.

2.  Full Dark House (Bryant & May #1), by Christopher Fowler. Edgy, suspenseful, and darkly comic, here is the first novel in a riveting new mystery series starring two cranky but brilliant old detectives whose lifelong friendship was forged solving crimes for the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit. In Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler tells the story of both their first and last case--and how along the way the unlikely pair of crime fighters changed the face of detection. A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of eighty-year-old detective Arthur Bryant. For his partner John May, it means the end of a partnership that lasted over half-a-century and an eerie echo back to the Blitz of World War II when they first met. Desperately searching for clues to the killer's identity, May finds his old friend's notes of their very first case and becomes convinced that the past has returned...with a killing vengeance. 

The Bug Says: I don’t usually like books that go back & forth between the past & the present, but in this case I felt like the juxtaposition really worked. The two main characters are interesting in their own rights, and the old and new mysteries were well told. I gave the book 4 stars, and will most likely read the next book in the series.

3. The Red Road (Alex Morrow #4), by Denise Mina. Police detective Alex Morrow has met plenty of unsavory characters in her line of work, but arms dealer Mark Lynch ranks among the most brutal and damaged of the criminals she's known. Morrow is serving as a witness in Lynch's trial, where the case hinges on his fingerprints found on the guns he sells. When the investigation leads to a privileged Scottish lawyer who's expecting to be assassinated after a money laundering scheme goes bad, and a woman who's spying on the people who put her in jail, Morrow has her hands full. And that's before she even gets to her family issues. 

The Bug Says: Alex Morrow isn’t particularly likable, and yet I really like her anyway. This is the 4th book in the series & I enjoyed it just as much as the other three. I gave it 4 stars.

4. Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn. Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

The Bug Says: We read this book for book club. I didn’t much like Libby. Or Ben. But it was an interesting premise. I gave it 3 stars.

5. Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2), by Jacqueline Winspear. It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. When three of the heiress's old friends are found dead, Maisie must race to find out who would want to kill these seemingly respectable young women before it's too late. As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War.

The Bug Says: Oh man, this one was gut-wrenching! Such a sad back story… but I really enjoyed the investigative process. I gave it 4 stars.

6.  A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #1), by Deborah Crombie. A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.

The Bug Says: I so enjoy listening to a mystery read by a narrator with a British accent :) The mystery was pretty interesting and the main characters likable – I need to track down the next one in the series! I gave it 4 stars.

7.  One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie #2), by Kate Atkinson. Two years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam - the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage - a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson's orbit. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.

The Bug Says: Oh that Mr. Brodie is such a fascinating man. I’ve already read book 3 in the series too. There’s just one left – I think I’ll wait a while so I can savor it. I gave this one 4 stars.

8.  The Inquisitor, by Mark Allen Smith. Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business—called "information retrieval" by its practitioners—that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market. Geiger's clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques—some physical, many psychological—to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear. Because only then will they finally stop lying. One of Geiger's rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm. But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

The Bug Says: I didn’t really enjoy reading about Geiger’s torture methods, but I did like the way being asked to “work” on a 12 year old boy caused him to have a psychic breakdown. It was interesting to watch. I gave it 3 stars.

9.  The Unseen (Krewe of Hunters #5), by Heather Graham. 1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found. One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere...but her body was never recovered. Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, many of them long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now. Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city’s most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.

The Bug Says: When I read book 4 of this series I promised myself that I was done with it. No more! But in a moment of weakness I had a hankering for a light, fluffy, paranormal murder mystery, and this one delivered. I gave it 3 stars.

Currently (for book club) I’m listening to The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George, about a “literary apothecary.” It’s still early days, so we will see. On my Kindle, (also for book club) I’m reading Breaking Braydon, by M. K. Harkins. It’s my freebie (remember, we like to play book roulette with the free Kindle selections, just for a hoot). It’s about a billionaire playboy who meets his match in a woman named Jain, who “tones down her beauty” to be taken seriously. I’m making myself read a little bit every day, like medicine. I think I really will need a literary apothecary when I’m finished! Ha!

What are you guys reading?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Forty-three

This week was all about the moon and crochet squares. Dr. M also took some lovely fall foliage pictures, which you can see here and here.
Sunday, October 18th     
I took communion to a parishioner and found this guy waiting outside the house. His name is Trouble – ha!

The moon!

Monday, October 19th     
Yup, it’s Halloween around here. This house is on the next street over.

Seen around the yard.

Afternoon moon.

Square #1 of pattern #21.

Tuesday, October 20th                    
Saw this license plate today. It made me laugh.

Just a small taste of the pictures Dr. M took this week.

The moon!

Wednesday, October 21st             
Afternoon moon…

Square #2 of pattern #21.

Thursday, October 22nd   
Dr. M & I went to see The Martian this evening. I loved the book – read it once & listened to it three times – so I was afraid I wouldn’t like the movie. But I enjoyed it a lot! We can’t wait for it to come out on – what? DVD? Netflix? I don’t know how all the cool kids watch movies in their homes these days.

Friday, October 23rd     
Cows, staring at Dr. M.

We had a benefit dinner for my church’s emergency winter shelter. I was part of the wait staff.

Saturday, October 24th     
Square #3 of pattern #21.

Dr. M & I went to see Cinderella at the Dayton Ballet. It was really fun. If you came dressed as a character in the show you got a voucher to go see The Nutcracker, so there were a lot of little princesses in the theater – so cute! Poor Dr. M has been really sick for several days – he did a good job of making sure his cold meds were at maximum effectiveness during the performance.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Forty-two

Urgh – what a crazy stressful week! We had some drama at work (technology issues), and I spent the whole week thinking I was coming down with something – flu, cold – I wasn’t sure what. I’ve decided that it’s my usual fall allergies. Why do they sneak up on me every year? Dr. M has done me a favor & posted three posts this week with some fabulous photography, so you’re getting the dregs on this post. Ha!
Sunday, October 11th     
After church we all headed over to our Priest and her husband’s little farm for a meal. It was a gorgeous day & we had a nice time. To see Dr. M’s photos of the property, go here. I took a brief walk myself while I was there. The name of the farm is Centerpeace, so I was tickled when my walk route ended up looking like a dove!

Monday, October 12th     
Annual exam time. I should have known that my week would be crazy since I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. It went fine though.

On my way home I got behind this car. The license plate made me laugh.

Tuesday, October 13th                    
While I was dealing with our technology crisis at work, Dr. M was taking pictures. Lovely! To see more of his fall shots, go here.

That evening the Cubs won their series! Now they're playing in the National League Championship Series.

Wednesday, October 14th             
Can you believe these are the only pictures either of us took today? I didn’t even get any daily walk pictures – I was feeling poorly so I gazelled instead of walking outside. This picture is illustrating how the photograph on the box seriously underrepresented the number of carrots in this meal. Blech!

Thursday, October 15th  
Campus leaf…

Square #4 of pattern #20. Once again, illustrating the importance of blocking!

Friday, October 16th     
Soybeans being harvested.

Sunflowers again! To see more of these gorgeous flowers, check out Dr. M’s post here.

The moon!

Saturday, October 17th     
My daily walk – the Man in the Sidewalk edition. Ha!

I decided to make another heart pillow for another friend.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2015 Project 365 – Week Forty-one

I have been so busy with work and church that I’m practically disconnected from social media these days (although I dip my toes in Facebook throughout the day). Someday I’ll get around to everyone’s blogs again!
Sunday, October 4th     
We had the Blessing of the Animals at church – 11 dogs, 5 birds, & one cat!

Susie is still going strong.

One of our book club members was having a birthday & brought cake. It was really good ya’ll.

Monday, October 5th     
Gratuitous squirrel pictures.

Tuesday, October 6th                    
I got my hair cut! This is my Facebook status (which got the most likes & comments of any picture I’ve ever posted – bizarre!): In my ongoing battle against hot flashes, here is my new hair. Next step: shaving my head. (Please note: my hot flashes are NOT that bad, but since until now I've been cold natured, I have NO tolerance for them.)

My daily walk.

Wednesday, October 7th             
Ms. Pinky.

Thursday, October 8th  
The Yellow Springs sunflowers are doing their thing again this year.

Square #1 of pattern #20. This one was a bit difficult, and as you can tell it definitely needed to be blocked!

Friday, October 9th     
Dr. M took a picture of one of my favorite trees – a shag bark hickory.

Square #2 of pattern #20.

Saturday, October 10th     
Dr. M & I took a nice drive around the country-side, went to the farmer’s market, and ended up with ice cream (yes, this is the only picture I took). When we got back I mowed (mostly to mulch the leaves). That canceled out the ice cream calories, right?

Square #3 of pattern #20. Yes, I do believe that I blocked it in a sort of trapezoidal fashion.

Hope everyone has a great week!

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three

As I had hoped, this week was a bit less chaotic – I worked a lot of hours, but they were orderly and I made headway on some of the tasks on...