Monday, October 31, 2016

book reviews

 Book reviews on Niume:  Click the titles to read more.

This is the romance series about the seer, the magician, the mermaid, the werewolf, the time traveller and the immortal.  I've read two of the three and the third is due to come out late this year.

A historical romance with some psychotherapy to it.  I like the way they have the character deal with her recent problems by re-examining (although reluctantly) the past faults and tragedies of her ancestors. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


So, you put together a mermaid, a werewolf, a clairvoyant, an immortal, a magician and a time-traveller... and what do you get?  You get me, reading a Nora Roberts romance book.  I'm in the second book of the Guardians Trilogy.  The premise - these six fighting the Goddess of Evil for control/protection of ancient secrets that could destroy the world... was enough to get me to read the first one.  Plus, I like that the clairvoyant is an artist who draws/paints her visions.  This second book, 'Bay of Sighs' has started out mostly from the point of view of the mermaid.

In other news some animal in my house ( I suspect) brought me a frog this morning.  I put one foot down on my bedroom rug and a small grimy gritty green tree frog hopped out and sped across the floor.  I quickly caught him.  After that, I went downstairs and rinsed him in the kitchen sink and put him out the door.  Quite a bit of excitement for that early.

Esme had her school program today.  We need to get her some Halloween candy tomorrow at the store.  And she has to finish her costume.

Niume post: Homeschooling with expressive language delay

Monday, October 24, 2016

bits of reading and birthdays upcoming

First off, I'm really, really glad I had started that Amazon program when I did... because we have a good collection of birthday gifts set aside to wrap for Esme, and the time is drawing near.  The reason that is first on my list is because of the truck repair - it was a lot - and if I had been left trying to buy birthday presents with money (and not Amazon gift cards), we might not have had it.  So, I'm grateful.

And I'm philosophical on what I'm reading.  Not the actual book... because it's kind of a silly one (Bay of Sighs, Nora Roberts), but because I've given myself a short amount of time to read it.  I should renew it.  But I might have it done.  I might be starting to read as a competitive sport with myself.  This does not even mention the three other books on my Kindle that I've started bits of and put off for later (after this book is returned), or the three other ones beyond that which are downloaded and waiting...

I wrote a Niume article on it:

How does deadline, font size and other issues affect how much you want to read a book?  How does it affect how you feel about the book once it is done?  Why do I do these things to myself?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday writing and more

Our truck made a quick visit home, but then it went back this morning.  One thing was fixed, but  now there is something else wrong.  They're working on that, now.  I'm looking up some additions to Esme's wardrobe, as we kind of threw something together for the pep rally this morning but it turned out pretty good.  It's really hard to find something that fits in specific colors!


I sat down and wrote this sequel to Esme's language journey on Niume.  I'll write one about our homeschooling, too, and about the book that Esme made.

 Public school with expressive language delay
Our Kindergarten experience was great.  We had a lot to get through, but we worked through it because we honestly had a great teacher.  Then, we had a bad  - or at least severely distracted and harried - teacher, and it caused a huge change in Esme and in our lives.   I've said all this on the blog before, but I am putting it on Niume to reach another audience.  I remember how relieved I was to read other stories when I was going through it - to know it would eventually work out.  I want to make sure anyone else going through the same thing can see that yes, it's hard, but it IS possible.

A Yearly mediation
An article about my yearly birthday ritual of meeting the sun, and reflecting on the moment. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our truck is at the shop

Last night when we were driving home from the grocery st ore our truck was making an awful crunchy sound.  Mark thought it might be about to throw a wheel bearing, and the potential consequences of that really scared him.  So I didn't go into work today - and the truck is at the mechanic.  We still haven't heard back from them.  Yikes.

Esme is home from school.  She says she has a dozen friends and would like us to call some little girl's mother for a playdate (although we haven't got a phone number yet).  She has a line in the school program coming up to memorize.  Early this morning, she was worrying over getting a 'B' in reading.

In other news we tried to use the local Kroger for more than just the sale items, as we didn't want to have milk and frozen stuff in the car waiting between trips.  It was sad - they were out of so much, and it was the middle of a Tuesday afternoon.  We learned our lesson on that.  It's a sad one, as people often say that Walmart ran out the little stores on low prices... going somewhere and they have completely empty shelves of bologna or cottage cheese... that was a 'real world scenario' we hadn't had to face in a long time.  The disappointment was pretty deep.  So, we will probably not be going back there much unless something is really appealing, and then as a side trip on a slack day, not as a grocery trip.

It was strange not being able to go into work today.  I had to call and ask someone to fax an order for me, as I couldn't get there to do it.  I downloaded a few books, read a chapter, wrote a few more articles on Niume today (and Mark read some of my previous ones)... Mark says I should post the articles I write there at the end of these posts - to keep it all together.

When the Words Wouldn't Come : Expressive language delay

A recounting of what it was like working through Esme's language issues when she was little, how it affected us both and how as a family we finally sought help and got her tested.  Back then I was kind of at my wit's end.  In my opinion, what the testers told us, and the speech therapy they provided really helped.  Mark says he doesn't remember it being so stressful... but it was.  I teared up just trying to write this article.

Photo Essay : Knitting Continental Style

A picture study of a continental stitch, and a bit about how I started knitting in the first place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This was the first novel by author Jamie Ford, and it was a chance find at my local library.  It flip flops between the years 1986 and the early 1940s, rich in detail, giving a true sense of a time and place I previously knew little about.  I really came to admire young Henry's strength.  As the novel unfolds we see the past ripple between Henry's relationship with his father and the future relationship he has with his son. ... full book review

Sunday, October 16, 2016

recap and pancakes

I made pancakes this morning.  I'm out of practice, some.  I used the same recipe but it came out thicker.. and that made the heat and timing a little off.  But, the new bottle of real vanilla extract was noticeable.  The pancakes smelled strongly of vanilla.  Everyone ate two (Esme's were large) and liked them.  It's getting to be winter weather temperatures (according to Mark) so I'll need to get more practice.  Also according to Mark the refrigerator is not a place to let butter warm up... compared to the freezer my brain said it would soften up nicely in there.  He pointed out that the refrigerator is 30 to 40 degrees and my polar bear heritage from Minnesota was showing greatly.

It's the perspective.

But yes, it is getting colder.  The bed warmer was turned on this afternoon and apparently that was all I needed to get sucked into a two hour nap.  I'm not sure how good of an idea that was considering I now have a full week of getting back on early mornings from a week where we all slept into 8 or 9 every morning.

The recap.  I've gotten all of the presents I really planned to get for Esme's birthday.  Mark still has one thing he needs to pick up.  And - we have two weeks or so to go.  I do plan on buying some nice wrapping paper.  And there will probably be spontaneous something. 

I was really coming along in the Outlander book before the nap zone got me.  I made the pancakes, we cleaned up (Mark did the dishes, I did some other house maintenance), and then after all of that adulting was done (I'm not really for saying 'adulting' but a friend said it once and now I can't get it out of my head)... I sat down to read.  Claire and John Grey both think Jamie is dead.  Wow.  They've gotten married to keep Claire from being arrested as a spy.  That's a twist.

I have some (probably harebrained) cookbook diet book I ordered for four dollars off of Amazon.  It is supposed to show ways to balance the chemistry of the food you eat so the glucose/insulin effect is more metered by the natural digestion of the food combinations.  I've been trying to eat less sugar and more fat/protein to tide me over in between... so there might be something I can get out of it. 

I've made two more posts on Niume today.  It's an interesting site for one-subject articles I've been thinking about writing about.
Visualization while reading   
Esme and I were talking about what the best thing about reading was - and I related to her someone at my work who says they cannot visualize while they read.

 I've started shopping differently
A little article about how I've started couponing and looking at shopper ads before I shop now, and have been saving money doing it.  Does the time spend outweigh the benefits?

Friday, October 14, 2016


Still reading.  I was mentioning to Mark we've gotten to sleep in every day this week (except Wednesday, when Esme went to the museum), and it is going to be very tough getting back on the early schedule after Fall Break.  But I have to work early Saturday... so it might pull me around.  I was thinking about making pancakes on Sunday, because I have that day off.

More than 3/4 way through : Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (glasses... really need to make an appointment).  Still reading Outlander book 5.. almost done.  I can turn the font size up on the Kindle.

Late nights every night at work... which I guess was a good thing they were paired with the break days Esme didn't have to be out the door by 6:30 am.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Esme is on a trip to a museum with her friend today.  I have to work late, so I'll hear all about it tonight.  Some more of her birthday things arrived today.  I've been writing some literature posts over at a new site, and have been trying to break out of my rut by doing so.  I'm thinking of lots of things I can tie together from books I have read, and have a few more on my list that I need to find copies of.  That really makes my reading list quite a bit longer than it has been in a good while.  I've gotten a bit more than halfway through 'Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet', by Jamie Ford. I'm enjoying it, but  have to wear my glasses to read it because the print is a little spidery and small.  I have several books waiting on my Kindle (which I can turn the font size up on) after that.  Getting through the fifth book of Outlander - Claire just amputated Jamie's finger in a gory descriptive 'shiver in your bones' chapter....

Saturday, October 08, 2016


My father and stepmother seem to have rode out the Hurricane alright, which I am glad to hear.  It has been a busy week with lots to do, and now I have a weekend off.  Esme has the entirety of next week off of school... and she has pretty much decided to play games all week.  She is sniffling with the beginning of another cold, so I broke out the chicken soup again this morning.  Her friend's father wants to take them to a big museum several hours away next week... we'll see how that works out.  I have to work that day but Mark said he might go with, as it is a long trip.

I ordered Esme's footwear for her birthday that she had asked for - they should arrive in time to be wrapped up.  And I am getting another set of prints through one of my receipt rewards programs for the family photo album.  I had told Mark today that because of the 'freebie' prints from these programs the photos have not cost as much as the album did yet - and it is almost full.  I was really wanting to do that project but not have it cost a lot of money.  So, that has turned out really nice.

We have Outlander again on DVD came through Netflix.  I have several books from the library, 'Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford and 'Bay of Sighs', second in the Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts (empty romance...but I found the first one a fun and quick read).  I also mentioned to Grandma I would take time one of these two days to try to set up her printer.

I have a piece of fresh ginger we were thinking about trying to make preserved gari out of ... wonder if I will get myself going on that today or tomorrow.

Monday, October 03, 2016

the bits

Some more of Esme's birthday items arrived... it is stashed away.  We scored a little something on clearance that she will like, too.   I've got some more in my Amazon cart, one thing she had asked for and I just remembered it last night. I'm trying to get her nice things she asked for without going big budget.. we went bigger budget maybe than normally would have for her school start - but that has turned out really well.  I know I could have spent a lot more on that but we planned it out pretty well. 

I think checking the ads in the morning before we go to the store - and shopping at the K place as well as the W, is helping a little.  I never did like the idea of having to go to two places, but Mark doesn't mind if there are a few good deals we can jump on and then stock up for later ie: peanut butter, frozen orange juice and shampoo etc..  I'm putting in receipts at three different sites for payback rewards, and they are not big rewards, but still something.  And they add up.  One of the sites is offering free photo prints for collecting points on something we already buy.. and I'm collecting photos for our family album, so that adds towards that goal.  I started doing SavingsCatcher and - on things we have already bought - got a gift card that covered half of a tshirt I bought for Esme online.

Still forging ahead with the Amazon company, as well... that is what half of Esme's birthday presents were gotten on.

Esme and I went down to the lake yesterday, and saw what we thought were raccoon tracks.  They were right next to the water.  Then she came home and wrote her letter and made a drawing for her pen pal in Australia.  She received a letter from him a few days ago.  I had to push just a bit at the beginning but she sat down on her computer and wrote him a very nice letter in her own words.  The map she drew of 'her world' (our property, the house and the lake etc.) was very good.  I think he will like her response.  His mom knows Esme was sick last week and that is why we didn't get it done then.

I had today off (and we did the shopping) and will have tomorrow off, too.  And then the weekend.

I'm still in book 5 of Outlander ( I really think gets hard to tell now).
Esme and I both got Toca Life on our tablets and she wants to play that tonight, if she remembers.

Pie Charts
I have been putting our receipts from last month into a spreadsheet and separating out the goods by category.  I am trying to see what the ratios of dairy, meat, household, canned goods, produce etc etc.. are to each other and where we spend the most.  I am also including the coupon information we saved on items.  I have a whole month of data from September to work with and then can compare it to October as we go.  I am hoping to learn some interesting things from this and also to develop a spreadsheet template to use going forward into a programming experiment.  Doing all of those receipts on Amazon got me to thinking about this, ratios, percentages, change-over-time and also getting into searching for rebates, coupons and rewards that would stretch our money further for the same buck spent etc...  It might seem like a silly pasttime - it would have to me six months ago maybe... but it has lots of avenues to explore and info to mine.