I’m so thankful for middle daughter right now and her willingness to get outside and rake leaves…without being asked. This year we’ll have fewer leaves since hubby removed several beech trees from in front of the house (as a preventative measure since there is some strange beech disease that causes them to fall over without any warning). But we still have a ton of leaves. And when I say a “ton,” I mean a ton. As in they would weigh a ton if we were somehow able to get them all in one place. One year it took me at least 10 hours to move them, and that was with the assistance of a leaf blower. For years we did it the old-fashioned way–with a rake. Oh, the aching arms!
Funny story, one year son dug a hole in the “yard.” It was a big hole. The leaves fell. I was out using the leaf blower. I forgot about the hole. Guess who ended up in the hole? It’s funny now. Not so funny then.
But enough about leaves…
Finish #69, The Dream Room by Marcel Moring, is another one of those “shorties” that I picked up at the library. This one took just a couple of hours to read. The story tells how the course of one boy’s life is altered by events that took place when he was a child. You have to read between the lines a bit to understand exactly what is happening because you are seeing the dissolution of a marriage and a family through the eyes of a twelve year old. I must say that the last chapter left me a bit confused, as it took place in a setting similar to the beginning of the story…so similar, in fact, that I believed it to be the same place and time. It was only after I continued reading that I realized I was reading about the twelve year old boy as an adult.
Yet another Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. Finish #68 is What I Did For Love. What can I say? I enjoy her stories. I believe this is the fifth book that she’s written that I have read this year. I’m just making my way right through whatever of hers the library has to offer.
My favorite characters in the story were not the main two. I really liked the grouchy housekeeper and the personal assistant, Chaz and Aaron. I was hoping to find that they were going to be given their very own book with their very own story, but my hopes were dashed when I read the epilogue. It seemed like their story got summed up there. I googled those characters, hoping to find a book with them in it, but no luck. Bummer. I’m pouting over that!
What I’m not pouting about is that eldest daughter received a scholarship offer for full tuition at her chosen college. Whoo hoo! Now to figure out how to get room and board covered!
I’m also not pouting over beating a personal best time for a five mile run. I knocked almost six minutes off my time last week! Then I beat another record for a shorter run this week. Is it me? Is it the new treadmill? I don’t know. But if I go much faster, I’ll have flames coming off my shoes. (Ha…not really. I never run much faster than 6.5 mph. I blame my short legs for my lack of speed.)
Speaking of running, middle daughter and I took Luna for a run earlier this week. I needed a hoodie, a winter hat, and gloves. My toes were frozen, as were my spandex-clad legs. These colder fall temps are making me thankful for warm soup, flannel sheets, and wool socks!
Oh my goodness. One of our Christmas cactuses (cacti?) has buds on it. I’d share a picture but that particular plant looks rather pathetic. I don’t know how it manages to grow a bud, let alone have that bud end up actually opening up into a flower. It seems much too early for a blooming Christmas cactus, or, quite frankly, Christmas anything. My opinion on this subject apparently doesn’t matter, as the stores have already started displaying their holiday merchandise. (Does anyone actually need Christmas decorations in mid-October? Perhaps I’m just a Christmas Scrooge. Tree goes up around Thanksgiving, comes down on December 26. Approximately one month of holiday cheer is quite enough! Besides, any longer and I’d have to dust the ornaments.)
My parents (who live slightly south, by maybe 10 miles or so) claim to have seen some snowflakes yesterday. No. Just no. I refuse to accept that fall (weather wise, if not calendar wise) is coming to an end. The snow needs to hold out in our neighborhood for just a while longer. At least until November 8. Then I’ll win the “When will it snow?” bet.
In an effort to actually reach my 100 book goal this year, I checked out a couple of short, quick books from the library. You never know quite what you’ll get with these books, chosen for their thinness rather than the picture on the cover or the blurb on the dust jacket.
Finish #67 is The Old Man Who Read Love Stories by Luis Sepulveda. I was pleasantly surprised by this story. The most fascinating aspect of this story was how it pointed out that something which seems completely normal in one culture might be thought of in a completely different way in another culture. For example, in the story the old man lives in a village where kissing is not something that is done. When he reads in a love story about a man kissing a woman, he believes that the man must be a villain.
There are other interesting aspects to the story, such as the character of the “Mayor”- a classic bad guy politician that no one seems to like, the ocelot that stalks the village and must be dealt with, and how the old man became interested in love stories and ended up being the person who must do something about the ocelot.
There’s been more excitement around here. And not the good kind. Eldest’s lemony-lemon of a used car has had another problem. Thankfully, she and siblings were almost home when the thingamajig (I am so not a mechanic.) broke. She was able to get the car up the driveway and into the yard. It’s going to take a tow truck to get it to the dealership for repairs. Thank goodness we’ve got AAA. (Can I get some sort of compensation from them for that free advertising??) It seems that every single year we need a tow. That just happens to be included in the cost of membership. One tow would cost us more than the membership, so I think we are coming out on top in this relationship. (See all those good things I’m saying, AAA!) Her car looks so sad, sitting in the yard, back tire leaning at a near 45 degree angle. And eldest is now back to requiring the use of Mom/Dad Taxi Service to get to work and college. That is not convenient for anyone!
As dollars fly out of our pockets for car repairs, so do pages fly through my fingers as I attempt to get closer to my goal. Time is running out, and I’m still a little behind. Finish #66 is Smoke Gets in You Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. (See Luna modeling next to the book below!)
Yes, this seems like a morbid book to read. Yes, there were disgusting bits. Yes, some of those disgusting bits actually made me laugh out loud. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have?!) One thing I have learned from reading this book, as well as I book that I read last year on a similar topic, I absolutely do not want to be embalmed. Sorry, funeral industry, you won’t be making much money on me. I’d actually prefer a Viking burial. But, if that’s not an option, I’ll go for cremation. Or whatever is cheapest and doesn’t involve much handling by strangers. Hey, death happens to us all. It’s good to have a plan.
Look what I found! Eldest daughter wanted me to go “antiquing” with her the other day. I don’t buy a lot of things to just set around the house since we have plenty of things already. We saw the cat on the left, and she insisted that I buy it. Seriously. She insisted. Quite strongly. You see, cat on the right has been a fixture in our home forever. That cat was purchased at a garage sale I went to with my grandma when I was a little kid. (Probably cost a dollar, whereas cat on the left cost me $15.) Once we saw cat on the left, though, we thought it would look so nice on the fireplace mantel right next to our other one.
But enough about the cats.
Finish #65 was an audiobook, Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben. The library will be leaving me a scary message soon, as Fool Me Once is now overdue by a few days. (I’ve had it for nine weeks, I say with shame written all over my face.) In my defense, I only listen to audiobooks when I’m sewing, and I haven’t had a lot of time to sew lately. Since listening time has been slim, hubby and I listened to one disc while playing scrabble. (I won…by a lot…over a hundred points…that never happens, so I feel compelled to brag.) We finished up the final disc on the day we drove up to the corn maze with the kiddos. Thirteen-year-old son was listening with us. He stated, shocked, “She’s going to kill someone.” Perhaps it wasn’t wise to listen to it in the car!
I’m going to give this book one thumb up and one thumb down. I enjoyed it until the end. You’ll have to read it…or listen to it…to understand my displeasure with how it all turned out.
Continuing on with our autumn-ish and Halloween-y activities, we took two of the kiddos to a humungo corn maze this past weekend. I’ve wanted to go to a corn maze ever since I heard they were a thing. (Which strangely wasn’t all that long ago…perhaps within the last ten years…am I really that far out of the loop?) Eldest daughter didn’t want to go. She had a lot of homework to catch up on and had had a busy week. We missed her presence. We know this is just a hint of what’s to come when she goes off to college next year.
I’ve got to say that I was soooo thankful they had maps for the corn maze. There is absolutely no way that I would be able to find my way out without a map! Now I can check “Go to a corn maze” off my Bucket List…if I put it on there…I’ll have to check!
Nope. Just checked. It wasn’t on there. What an oversight on my part.
Hey! Someone put “Ride Top Thrill Dragster” on here! Like that’s going to happen. Absolutely not. Handwriting analysis confirms that it was middle daughter who wrote it. Hmm. Didn’t see her riding it this summer when we went to Cedar Point. Looking over my Bucket List, I can see that it needs a bit of updating. Some things need to go. I already had to scratch out “Tigers-Yankees Game” since Derek Jeter retired before I could get to one! I think I need to add a few things, too.
So I found another Nora Roberts book at the library that I hadn’t yet read. That’s always exciting. Finish #64 is The Obsession. I devoured this book. I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan. Perhaps I mentioned that already…probably when I read Stars of Fortune. I like the combination of romance and suspense. And this one had a dog in it. She get’s two thumbs up just for that adorable dog!
These past couple of weekends we’ve been doing some autumn-ish and Halloween-y things. Two weekends ago we went to our favorite hiking spot with the kids and Luna. We enjoyed views of three lakes on our hike. It was a little chilly, but the serenity of this little chunk of northern Michigan has no match. I’d list this spot as my second favorite spot in the world. My own backyard ranks first. Sanibel & Captiva Island, Florida, rank third, and that’s were I stop ranking!
Following our hike, we dropped Luna at home, enjoyed dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, then experienced some minor thrills and chills at a haunted trail. The spookiest thing at the haunted trail wasn’t actually on the trail. It was the creepy masked fellow who came up to the car windows and just looked in at us before we could even get out of the car! I thought he had gone away, but when I went to open my car door, there he was. I ran the door right into him!
I’ve been falling way behind on my reading (Eek!) so I decided that I would finally finish The Scandalous Miss Howard by Nan Ryan (Finish #63) This was another one of those books that I got halfway through, then let languish, unfinished, in a basket in the bathroom. (Hence the bent cover and water-damaged pages.)
All I can say is it was “meh.” If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been unfinished for so long.
Because it was “meh,” and I can’t really think of anything to say other than that, enjoy this picture of Luna on the trail instead!