Friday, April 29, 2011

An adventure

One that began two days before we left when I learned that Amtrak has not joined the 21st century.


You cannot buy valid Amtrak tickets online.

Oh you can ORDER them online but then, get this… they MAIL them to you.

MAIL them to you! 

No printable ticket, no emailed ticket. Nothing. You have to have an official printed by Amtrak ticket.

If you order them 4 days before departure you can pay an additional fee to have them rush delivery.

Our local station is an unattended station- meaning no ticket booth. And for reasons we don’t understand, no ticket kiosk either.  You MUST order online or by phone to get tickets.

DH ended up calling their customer service & explaining the situation. Turns out we can reserve them on the phone & then pay the conductor on the way up for that part.  However we MUST purchase the return ticket to get home because Union Station has a ticket office & the conductors won’t take payments.

I feel Amtrak is not only not that interested in my business but also is testing to see just how challenging they can make it before I give up.

These guys stowed away in my bag


They missed the trip a few years back & would not be left behind this time.

So naturally we went to the Natural History Museum first & right to the hall of dinosaurs.

Unfortunately they photographed badly in the low lighting so I only have this shot of the orange guy getting bad ideas from reading the signs


They were helpful in getting Mayhem to slow down, they wanted to read up about their ancestors but they can’t read English so he had to explain things to them.

The boys took a bunch of photos in the first half hour and I think that got them both calmer. They lost interest in the photos then but were taking longer looking at things & interacting with them.

The Hall of Human Origins was new for us & it was great. It was full of information & much of it interactive & kid friendly. I love the bronze statues they have scattered around


It’s also where I learned this


I think that explains so much about people really….

I like the gems part best. I took photos of all the ones that reminded me of food. Not sure where my mind was on that one. I was not hungry.

This one looks like chocolate chunk ice cream.


We also went to the Air & Space Museum, which has far fewer planes than I remember now that they have another museum out by Dulles Airport but it had a great interactive area for kids & lots of space stuff. We only had about an hour to spend there & most of it was in the kid area. There was a paper airplane contest going on when we arrived with explanations about how wing span & shape effect flight. They had stations that showed how things fly in a vacuum, how heavy planes get off the ground & how much you weigh on different plants. It’s really well done.

The lighting was enough of a challenge I have hardly any photos. I need to work on that before we go again.

Havoc got to get into a Cessna this time. It was his favorite part of the trip.


Guess what Mayhem’s favorite part was?

All you saying “the dinos” are wrong.


Mayhem’s favorite part of the trip was riding on all the escalators.

We don’t have escalators around where we live.

Please note the stuffed blue dino he is showing how to get off the escalator safely.

We had a great time & now that we understand the train schedule better we’ll be doing this more often

Thursday, April 28, 2011

To sleep.

I had an hour & half long visit with Dr. Sleep yesterday. She’s a great lady & I feel hopeful she can help me solve this problem.  If it comes to the worst case scenario, she studied at Duke, where apparently they have a world renowned sleep program & she can get me into it.

I’d have to go to NC for who knows how long but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

There’s a good sleep program ‘locally’ though so that’d be a last resort.

Why ‘locally’?

Well…as with everything other medical thing in my life, the good docs (or in many cases, like this one, the ONLY special docs) are over an hour away. (My regular doc is 25 minutes away to the south & is part of a group based around a specific hospital 35 minutes away from them, with specialist scattered around that city. If I went to a doc 20 minutes to the north, they would send me to specialists 35-45 minutes further north. We drove over 90 minutes in an ice storm when I went into labor with Mayhem)  Blocking out 3+ hours of my day 2x a week to attend cognitive behavioral therapy is bound to be challenging.

So the sleep program is Phase 2 now, at least 8 weeks away, probably longer since that would be July & there is no way I can manage it until the kids are back in school.

For now I have Phase 1, which is a full page of instructions (many of which I have tried in the past) and a sleep log.

9 years of insomnia has caused me to develop certain mental habits (like a refusal to get out of bed when I can’t sleep because then the insomnia wins) & many of the instructions are to help me recognize where I am self-sabotaging.

The getting out of bed thing is going to be hard. So’s the no chocolate & the exercising vigorously before bed (sounds counter to advice but recent studies on my particular form of long term insomnia indicate it can be beneficial).

No screen time an hour before bed (jury is out on the Kindle but the lack of backlight makes it ok for now).

But Nathan Fillion is on at 10pm Sun & Mon!!!!!

DH says that is what tivo is for.

It looks like I will have time to finish the Longest Cross Stitch Project Ever because she wants me to try non-mentally stimulating things during that hour, like cross stitch, crochet or word search puzzles (not crosswords, too stimulating, so’s sudoku).

I’ve got to cut out caffeine but my coffee is already 3/4 decaf now so that switch is not too bad & I’ve done it before. I drink Coke & Sprite more or less interchangeably so that’s not too bad either.

No alcohol. That’s challenging. I like my wine with dinner or my cider in the evening (often with some chocolate)

No more going back to bed after the boys leave for school & I’m supposed to get up at the same time every day.

Now I ask you, what is there to do at 6:45am on a Saturday? I don’t garden. Sure I can read blogs but then what do I do in the afternoon? One of the reasons I go back to bed 2x a week is because there is NO GOOD REASON TO BE AWAKE at 7:30am. Nothing is open at that hour to run errands. I can’t make or return phone calls. Once you start a load of laundry there is nothing to do until 45 minutes later when you rotate it & wait another 45. Why not go back to bed?

So I have the feeling that rule may get fudged on the weekends. I can suck it up and find something to do on Tues & Thurs probably but the weekends will be a problem.

These various things are not permanent, after 8 weeks we’ll see where we are & then I can experiment with adding stuff back & seeing what happens.

And I have to keep a chart of my sleeping habits.

I’ve tried most of this, except the getting out of bed thing, in the past. But not all at once, so I am curious how these next weeks will play out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Day in Photos











See more days here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Spring Break began at 4pm Friday.

We celebrated by going to IHOP for dinner.

Kids eat dinner free all month at IHOP.

I don’t recall what we did on Saturday.

No, really. I have no recollection of Saturday at all. DH worked on the roof, I’m guessing, since he was working on it Sunday & Monday too.

The boys did… 

while I ….

I got nothing.

I’m fairly sure we didn’t all just sit around staring off into space but I’d be hard pressed to prove that from my own memory.

Oh wait! Dr Who was on that night!

So that’s something anyway.

Moving on to Sunday, aka Easter, DH did more work on the roof. The back soffits of the house were never entirely sealed properly (rolls eyes) & there has been a persistent drip appearing on a ceiling tile in the boys room for years. At first we thought it was the result of condensation on a pipe over the spot, but it turns out it was actual water coming in down the pipe (which is a vent). This was discovered when DH decided to rearrange the vent & move the water faucet location from the middle of the wall in the bottom of the atrium to the side of the wall at the top.


Other things discovered were dry rot on the plywood underlayment of the roof going  back about 2 feet and then there was this under the underlayment:


A butter tub of gravel that has been sitting undisturbed under the underlayment since 1978.

Yeah, I have no idea WTF that is about either. We’ve added it to the long long list of things we will ask the hippy stoners who built this house should we ever encounter them.


Along with why they stopped the metal flashing 2 feet from the end of the roof, thus allowing moisture to rot away the plywood & insulation in that part.

We had ham & cheese sandwiches for dinner because Wal Mart doesn’t sell lamb roast & nothing else was open when I realized I had forgotten to buy the lamb roast.

Somehow I convinced myself I had already purchased the lamb a few weeks ago & it was in the freezer. But it wasn’t.

Insomnia induced memory loss has been harsh this weekend.

But there is hope!

Tomorrow I finally, at long last, get to see a sleep specialist!!!

At least I hope there is hope.

They sent me a questionnaire to complete before the visit. It has lots of questions about your medical history & about a dozen sleep related question. You answered each one with a score of 0 to 4 & then added them up at the end. I scored low.

I feel like an failure as an insomniac. Like I am not sleepless *enough* to need help. I’m not that likely to doze during the day & that was the measure for the questions. Yeah sure sometimes I am really exhausted enough to find myself dozing while reading something at 3pm, but mostly it’s just a chronic tiredness, not enough to doze but too much to manage any sort of continuing alertness.  Which seems to be outside the scope of the questions.

I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekly Winners

Some from my monthly photo project.

We had a hostage situation with the Legos


Ashes enjoyed the outdoors


and I did some grocery shopping


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Scrapbook Saturday

Scrapping is coming hard to me so far this year. I  see all this wonderful inspiration in the forums & on blogs & then I open up my software and…


I’ve got nothing. Over and over again. I have been regularly dissatisfied with my scrapping efforts for months now but every now & then I do manage to pull something off I like

This was inspired by my Girlie Moments post a week or so ago.


The kit is a new one by Eva Kipler (I am on her CT team and she has been amazingly patient with my lack of mojo lately) & Kate Hadfield. It’s called Me, Myself & I and is available at Scrap Matters

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Flashback

Sometimes on Fridays I repost really old post of mine. Posts from back years ago before I had readers. This one is from 2005 but apart from the age reference, is still entirely applicable today.

Woman nearly suffocates herself trying on Ren bodice!
TINY TOWN - A 38 year old woman, who refused to give her name out of embarrassment, nearly suffocated herself while trying on her Ren bodice at naptime today.

She says she has not worn the bodice in 5 years, preferring her looser fitting Irish style dress & chemise. But a desire for a new outfit led her to try on the bodice out of curiosity. She admits she should have just stopped when she looked at the size tag.

"It was a medium" she said ruefully. "I haven't been a 'medium' in a long time. But it is a 3 part bodice so I thought it might have some wiggle room"

A 3 part bodice for those who don't know is a bodice made of 3 parts - one piece goes across the front chest & stomach & then 2 parts go across the back. It laces together on the side & up the back.

"I think I need a longer lace for the back." she commented, holding the bodice up, "Even knotted at the end, the lace only allows maybe a half inch gap."

Apparently she loosened all the laces as far as they could go & still be in the grommets & then with great acrobatic arm maneuvers & a lot of wiggling she forced the bodice over her bust & down into place.

"I did wonder, as I was pulling it on, how I was going to get it off" she admitted sheepishly.

Once the bodice was in place & the laces tightened it did fit rather well. The gaps were about 2 inches on each side, which she claims is not too big, though it is coming close to being too big.

The problem came when she tried to take it off.

She loosened the side lacing as much as possible & then began pulling it over her head. The top slid up easily but the lower portion got caught on her breasts, leaving her with her face covered by the upper part of the bodice & her arms stuck up in the air.

"I was worried. There wasn't much air & I couldn't get the bodice to move up or down" she said. "I wiggled a lot & strained against the laces with my arms. It's knotted the ends of laces so they wouldn't slip through the top grommets. I tried to work out just how I might find a phone & then dial 911 when I couldn’t see anything but since my arms were over my head I never did figure it out.”

She was also stymied by what she was going to say to 911 when they answered.  ‘I’m stuck in a bodice & suffocating to death’ seemed a tad over dramatic. But not as much as “Bring the jaws of life! I can’t get out of this!” which was her other idea

Eventually she was able to force one side's laces to pop through its grommets & that loosed it enough she was able to slowly, painfully, wriggle her way out of the constricting garment.

She appears undaunted by her brush with death however & is not going to let the 15+ pounds she has put on since she last wore the bodice stop her from wearing it again.

"I just need another person with me when I put it on & take it off. I can totally unlace one side, slip it on easily & then someone can lace me up." she added "and I may lose some of the weight in the next 5 weeks too."

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I was finally able to make the pretzel rolls yesterday & they are wonderful!  Havoc has already declared I need to make them more often.


I’ve made them a few times in the past with various recipes none of which thrilled me. This time I used one from Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site. This is the printable page

But let me tell you a few things about it

1-½ cup Warm Water (110°F) – does it feel warm, but not hot to your finger? yes? then it is fine
1 package (1/4 Oz. Packet) Active Dry Yeast (not Quick Rise Yeast) – this is 2.25 teaspoons if you do yeast in bulk
2 teaspoons Sugar
4-½ cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour 
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
¼ cups Baking Soda
1 whole Egg, Lightly Beaten
Pretzel Salt, To Sprinkle On Top

I used regular sea salt instead of Kosher & large grain sea salt instead of pretzel salt because I do not own Kosher or pretzel salt. You want a decent sized salt grain for the tops. The sea salt was fine.

I used a mix of white flour, wheat flour & 7 grain flour by Bob’s Red Mill instead of just white. This recipe suffers a bit IMO from the American need to use cups instead of weight at a measurement. Being an American I am totally used to it & am also slowly converting my recipes to ounces (because while I agree weight is better than volume, I’m not doing the gram thing as well). I have no idea how much 4.5 c weighs because, as usual, I thought about it after I had dumped 4.5 c of mixed flours into the bowl of water (hence the ‘slowly converting’)

The recipe calls for parchment paper.  I had enough for one tray, but needed two trays, so I was able to experiment with that necessity. The parchment is nice. It does make it really easy to remove the rolls when they are done. But they came off the unlined tray with a bit of nudging with a spatula just fine as well. Parchment paper is nice, but not necessary but YMMV.

Stir up the warm water & the yeast in your large mixing bowl then add sugar, flour, salt, & butter & mix until well combined. Put it in a warm place, covered with a towel for an hour or so, until it is twice as big. In my house this is the microwave, especially since it was just used to melt butter.

Then you take the dough and divide it into 18 2 ounce pieces. I suppose if you are not spatially challenged like me you can visually divide the dough up evenly by eye. Me? I need a scale (and am thrilled the recipe said 2ozs, otherwise I would have had to weigh the dough mass & then divide that total by 18 & I try to avoid having unnecessary long division in my life).

This is where the flour weight would have been nice. See, it was humid yesterday so my flour was heavy & 4.5 cups made 19 2oz rolls. Had it been dry I might have ended up with 17 rolls. Granted I did not need 18 rolls specifically but it’s nice to know you are getting consistent results.


Roll out the pieces into balls by pulling the ends to the middle of the bottom & then put it on the counter & give it a few gentle turns with your hand cupped around it & put it seam side down on the baking sheet (papered or not) – 9 per baking sheet, well spaced and let them rise, covered, for 30 minutes or so

I turn on my oven until it reaches 100 degrees then turn it off, crack the oven door a tiny bit for a couple minutes & then use it for rising the dough. This is my rising trick because my house is usually too cold 8 months out of the year to allow for rising on the counter. I have had much better results with things that need to rise doing this and the microwave thing than leaving things out to rise.

After 30 minutes preheat the over to 425. Get out a large sauce pan & add 2 quarts of water to it. Bring the water to a boil & add the baking soda, hope the foamy bubbles do not overflow the pan because that is a pain to clean up, then turn the water down to a simmer.

Place the dough balls one at a time in the water, seam side down. I found 4 fit comfortably in my pan. Let them cook for 30 seconds then flip them over with a slotted spoon or spatula & cook for another 30 seconds, remove them back to their tray & repeat until all the rolls are boiled. You’ll have to turn the temp up on the stove about halfway through to maintain the simmer.

Get a brush and brush the beaten egg on a tray’s worth of rolls, be sure to cover them well in egg,then sprinkle with the salt, take a sharp knife & cut an X in them & bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack of your oven.

I did the first back at 17 minutes & found them overdone for my taste, the second batch, seen above, were 14 minutes.

Cool on wire rack

Cut open and use as sandwich buns or eat by themselves with mustard or cheese dipping sauce.


These are grilled ham & cheese sandwiches.

2ozs makes small rolls. Snack size. These would be called sliders & not sandwiches where I come from. They are too small to be real sandwiches, that’s why I made two.

We’re having turkey burger sliders for dinner tonight with them.  Next time I make them I will make a mix of 3oz & 4oz size rolls to see which size is best with burgers, because I foresee these being a staple at cookouts this summer.

They freeze well too.

You can also use the dough to make actual soft pretzels, just roll them out into long rolls & twist into pretzel shape instead of making rolls. Knock the baking time back about 5 minutes (IME with other pretzel dough recipes)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Advice wanted

Next week the demons are on Spring Break & it’s looking good that we will spend one of those days down in DC on the Mall.  Visiting the Natural History museum is a given plus probably hitting up the Air & Space.

We went to the Mall a few years ago with the boys & they loved it.


Mayhem was/is so eager to see everything that he runs from thing to thing without really seeing anything. His goal is to see the next thing, not look at what is in front of him.

Left to Mayhem we would have run through the whole Natural History museum in about 45 minutes.

He’s less intense about it now, but ‘what’s next?’ is still his driving force.

What I need help with is how to make him slow down & look.

I almost want to give him a 6 page questionnaire about the exhibits & insist he complete every question before his is allowed to leave the building.

But I want this to be a fun trip too.

I am no good at making up games to make learning fun or to make a tedious time exciting or any of those things some parents seem to do so effortlessly. (Neither were my folks. You learned because you had to & you endured tedium because tedium happens. I don’t think it ever occurred to them that they could make things like that fun. Oh there was the rare game of travel sign bingo on long trips, but we’re talking twice in 15 years.) 

I’m also not having much luck at coming up with something to make an excited boy slow down and really LOOK at things.

So I am looking for ideas that will be interesting/fun for him that will encourage him to take more than a millisecond looking at the animal in front him.

Some kind of “find the….something or other” or “lets count how many times we see…something or other” Maybe get him to write things down (since penmanship is still a major issue with him we try to make him write as much as possible for practice). We have an assortment of cameras that the boys can take & use so maybe a photo chase…?

And obviously Havoc will be participating as well, so maybe a competition of “who can…something or other..first or the most?”

Clearly I am hopeless with this & need your help

Any suggestions will be appreciated

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This takes the cake.

Or, actually, it eliminates the bread.

We all know I am a lazy slacker when it come to cleaning out and/or rotating the food in my house

Much to my mom’s intense embarrassment I have shared the results of this particular failing numerous times on this blog

The freezer

The fridge

The pantry

The surprise Milanos

So no one will be  at all shocked to learn I have done it AGAIN!

And I outdid myself rather spectacularly this time.

You might recall the 3 year’s expired bag of tater tots in the freezer last year, or the 3 year’s expired bag of pasta from the pantry back in January.

Pshaw! 3 years? A mere 3?

Amateur effort.

Ladies & Gentleman I present my greatest find to date


7 years expired yeast!

Go me!

I switched over to bulk bag yeast around the time this expired & I keep that in the fridge rather than the baking cupboard like the packaged stuff. This must have fallen behind the baking soda or the Karo syrup or something & been overlooked.

Or it was looked at & ignored because I didn’t need it & wasn’t cleaning stuff out so I never picked it up & saw the date.

Today I was going to make pretzel rolls for turkey burgers (Ruby Tuesday does a delicious avocado topped turkey burger on a pretzel roll & I wanted to make them at home). But when I opened the fridge there was no yeast.

Not even an empty bag with a few grains in it.

Which leads me to wonder just who the last  person to use the yeast was, since both DH & I would, without giving it a second thought, put a bag with a few grains of yeast back in the fridge, rather than throw the bag away, find a wipe off marker & then write “yeast” on the grocery list white board.

So I had to ransack the baking cupboard hoping maybe one or the other of us absent mindedly put the yeast bag in there last time we used it.

Also I thought I recalled seeing some packaged yeast, which DH has been known to buy from time to time when in a hurry & no where near the Mennonite place I buy the bulk stuff from.

And I was correct!


Either we used the yeast packets I thought I remembered him buying somewhat recently, or my memory is even worse than I thought.

Turkey burgers tomorrow I guess.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New eyebrows

Possibly the highlight of my weekend.

I went from these bushy things:


To these much more trimmed & shaped things:


Please note the grey hairs remain unchanged despite getting a hair cut as well.

Why is this such a big deal?

I am 43 years old and this is the first time in my life I have had my eyebrows professionally done.

Usually the same person does my eyebrows that does my nails.

That’d be me.

And not being a.. um… (sadist or masochist…I always get them confused initially as I do with anything that is a choice between two things. I’m so used to guessing wrong that I guess differently even though I’m fairly sure I do know the difference. I am wrong often enough to doubt myself constantly in this sort of situation. I’d be a lousy bomb diffuser because I’d be seconding guessing whether I remembered the wire to cut color right. red? blue? I think it’s blue but maybe it is red? Was it red?)... anyway… not being into giving or receiving pain (so I suppose terminology doesn’t really matter, though the word I wanted was masochist) I never do too thorough a job of tweezing my eyebrows.

It hurts to tweeze.

Or wax.

And the one experience using a razor in college left me half an eyebrow for weeks.

So I have bushy eyebrows & don’t think about it much.

But a couple weeks ago I was in the mall for the first time in forever & I noticed a kiosk where they were doing eyebrow threading. (That’s when they use twisted string to yank the hairs out of your eyebrow. Fun!) And I thought to myself “You know… you could do that. It looks fast & that customer isn’t whimpering in pain. And think of the blog fodder potential” (I think Vanity got Ambition involved as back up). I thought about it while looking for shoes for Havoc & decided if there was no one waiting when I went back I would get it done.

But there were two people waiting so I decided it was a sign I am not meant to have my  eyebrows done & went home.

Then Saturday I went to my usual hair place to get a trim & the stylist asked what I wanted done & then asked me something no one has ever asked me before.

“Do you want your eyebrows done as well?”

First thought : Damn they must be really bushy looking today

Second thought: That’s twice now the eyebrow thing has come up,having never come up before, ever, maybe the universe wants me to get them done

(Vanity brought in Superstition. Vanity is sneaky like that)

So I said “Sure, lets get them cleaned up”

And 10 minutes of hot wax and pain later I had new eyebrows.

Once the redness & itchiness subsided I decided I liked them.

I’m just not sure I like them enough to make a habit of it.

How about you?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alphanumeric Blog Hop

I thought I was too late to sign up for it because I was a couple days behind on reading Mel’s blog, but then she contacted me and asked if I could do a post about punctuation.


Yes. Punctuation.

or perhaps I mean:


The first response is clear cut. Yes. It is about punctuation.

The second is slightly less certain.  Yeeessss. I suppose it is about punctuation, of all things. It’s kinda rambly & disjointed but still, you must admit punctuation is the focus.

Punctuation is very important when communicating on line – we have no sarcasm font or snarky response font – so punctuation helps fill in the gap.

At least for me.

I use ellipses … all the time. Sometimes they mean “and yes, here is the punch line” or “here is the sarcastic bit”.

Usually they just express a general dubiousness about the whole thing, such as in my example, which is in line with their accepted use to suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty. But that definition implies there are no words after the ellipsis…which never happens to me.

I don’t generally bother with their more common accepted use of symbolizing left out parts of quotations. I don’t quote much.

I’m also very fond of parentheses. (I bury all my snarky and wildly tangential comments in them) and then make them small so you can skip them if you want. I also use them correctly to mark off an interjected explanatory or qualifying remark.

But there isn’t much fun in that.

I also like dashes – but hardly ever use them. Dashes, correctly, should be used for confident & decisive pauses.

I’m rarely that confident about things and cannot think of a time I ever paused decisively about anything.

If you have made the decision, what is there to pause about?

Basically my use of dashes is limited to a single sentence:

My nemesis – the SCISSORS!

Which isn’t even an actual sentences because there is no verb, but is correctly using the dash because I am both confident and decisive that the scissors are my nemesis.

(Sr Joan, my high school English teacher would write – in big bold red letters - YES but WHAT ABOUT the scissors???? - if this were an essay. Of course if this were an actual essay there would be longer paragraphs. And she’d write – RAMBLING – in big red letters about halfway through. Lots of my high school essays had the word RAMBLING written on them. Big surprise I’m sure.)

There is a punctuation mark I think the language could use but is missing.

The language needs something to replace the ?!?! combination that expresses incredulity & surprise.

It could also do with some umlauts & accents.

English letters are kinda dull.



If you are following the hop, you came here from Handmade By Kirsty, and the next stop from here is Heather's Scraps.

In case you have just joined us, here is the whole list of everyone participating in the hop.

I Speak Melsh:
BE Glorious:
Captured On Film:
Chatty Crafty Arty Pig:
Creating Room:
Curiouser and Curiouser:
Daily Life - Bits and Pieces:
Deb's World:
Den's Crafty Diary:
From High In The Sky:
Gallo Organico:
Ginger's Life Of Spice:
Handmade By Kirsty:
Havoc and Mayhem:
Heather's Scraps:
Helena's Creative Maven:
Holaday's Happy Hearts:
Just Jimjams:
K's Crafty Corner:
Life...As I See It:
{Life Behind The Purple Door}:
Lisa E Design Blog:
Living Life One Blessing At A Time:
Mary's Musings:
Michelle Loves...:
Obstinate Pursuit:
Over At Our Place:
Paper Turtle:
Peonies and Pennies:
Random Reflections:
Rosalind Revival:
Scrap Dreams:
Scrapworthy Lives:
Staring At The Sea:
Surefiredaisy Says:
This Kalil Life:
This Little Life Of Mine:
Xnomads' Blog:

Note: If any of the posts aren't up yet, please bear with us - the different time zones and the peculiarity of blogging platforms when it comes to autoposts may mean that one or two posts don't appear on time! If that's the case, come back to this list to pick up from the next blog, but do please pop back and try the other link later, when the post should be there for your enjoyment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Coming Sunday

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Again with the hating on me.


I wish I knew what ever it was I did to technology…probably back in the 70s sometime.

I suppose I did reject the 8 track cassette player in favor of albums.

But I was 9!

That was 34 years ago!

And 8 tracks totally did not last!

I’ve owned every other musical format since! I have a smart phone! I have a Kindle! I had an iPod when they came out! I’m typing this on a laptop, with a second flat screen monitor! I used to work in IT! I love databases & spreadsheets & computer games! I own a Nintendo DS! And a Wii!

I really wish technology would forgive me my lapse in judgment & like me again.

The latest hating is from the aforementioned smart phone.

It decided it’s internal memory was full & no matter how much stuff I deleted off of it (3GBs!) it continued to claim the memory was full.

Sometimes it would play Everything I Do (I do it for you) by Brian Adams on an endless loop in the music player even that song was not included in the chosen playlist.

Sometimes it queued up random YouTube videos and would start playing them while I was checking out my grocery list.

So I took it to the shop. The *real* shop, not the one in Wal Mart. Nothing against the fine folks in the Wal Mart shop but they sell phones for 5 different carriers & I wanted someone my carrier specific to look at the phone. I figured they’d look at it & be all “oh just press this and delete that and there you go”. Whereas WMs method is always “We’ll just factory reset the phone” with no attempt to look at the actual source of the problem.


Oh, they looked for an actual source to the problem at the real shop. I’ll give them that much. But there was no joy and the factory reset was finally suggested as my only hope.

I *hate* factory resets.

All my effort in getting everything just so is lost, all the good stuff is gone, photos! contacts! apps! Even the apps I know I put on the SD card are gone! And why doesn’t the music player see my music on the card?

What do you mean re-download everything???

Do you know where I live? I have half a bar at my house!

(and times like these I need a full bar, well stocked, with top shelf liquor)

I have to sign back into everything! I’ve lost my Color Notes data, my wine notes data, MY ANGRY BIRDS SCORES!!!!! I have to start everything over again!

And no, I don’t remember my password.

I was able to reassemble nearly all of my old stuff but it wasn’t easy

First I accessed my AppBrain account. It’s an app manager app I started using when I bought my phone. It’s web based & I was able to log in and see what apps I’d had before the reset. The problem was that AppBrain refused to believe they were not already installed & would not re-install them (and wanted me to pay again for apps I paid for months ago).

I couldn’t tell if syncing the web & the phone would result in the phone downloading things it didn’t have or in the web removing all my apps from it’s list because they were not on the phone.

The first result would be awesome, the second not so much.

So I went through and started ‘uninstalling’ each app on the web & then installing it again on the web app by app.

Then, after manually dealing with about 10 priority apps (OurGroceries, Color Note, Shazam, Angry Birds, Audible, Double Twist, Crush the Castle, PicPlz, FxCamera & WineFree) I decided I’d make a list of the rest & download them at my leisure some other time. I didn’t care if they were lost so I synced the web & phone lists.

Damned if it didn’t install every last one of those apps on my web list!

Except the paid ones. It wanted me to pay for those.

I’ve only paid for apps through Amazon, not through any other service & redownloading from there was a no brainer. It was so easy I was seriously considering finding all my other apps on Amazon as well so they’d all be in one easy to find place.

And eventually I will probably do that.

But I’ll have to uninstall them each from the phone & then redownload them from Amazon & I just can’t face that right now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Girlie moments


I am not a girlie girl.

I’m not a tomboy either.

I’m a geeky girl. A nerd.

Not for me things that are pink & frilly, or floral or covered with hearts & I am no fan of glitter, hair dodads, makeup, most jewelry, high heels & rarely will you catch me in a dress. I prefer jeans, sandals & black tee shirts with obscure references to sci fi shows on them.

I’d be a teensy bit more girly if more of my communication was done with a paper & pen.

What you don’t realize is that whenever I mention Nathan Fillion on this blog you are spared the ‘I’s dotted with red hearts and the puffy flowers & hearts drawn all around his name with a pink glitter pen.

If I had to write his name down with a pen, that is what it would look like.

Probably their would be a “Mrs” in front of his name too & there would be a lot of giggling as I did it.

I get all girlie and 11 years old when I think of my crushes.

But I get geek points because he starred in a relatively obscure sci fi tv show and people say “who?” when I mention his name.

The only really consistent girlie thing that I do is paint my nails.

I have good nails. Strong, well shaped, a decent length, no hangnail or cuticle problem. When people ask me what my favorite body part is I always answer “My fingernails” (what? you don’t get that question on a regular basis?)

I feel good when my nails are done. Even if my hair has decided it is going to be neither straight nor curly but instead is rather fuzzy all over, I still feel good about myself because my nails look nice.

Plus, your nails do not get fatter if you eat a container of ice cream washed down with peanut butter cookies & I like that in a body part.

I like having a decent manicure, but I don’t like getting a manicure. I paint my own nails. Mostly because I am cheap & after 30+ years of nail painting I’m pretty good at it.

What makes you feel good about your appearance?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not camping

That is how the weekend was spent by us all.

Granted, not camping is pretty much my default state 24/7/365 so it’s hardly worth mentioning that I continued to maintain the status quo right?

But there was supposed to be camping this weekend.

Originally the plan was for me to try out DH’s latest idea in camping accommodations, involving a twin mattress & a mini van. (it has potential)

But then a friend of mine invited me to her 40th birthday party which happened to be the same night as camping.

Anything short of a root canal trumps camping in my book.

And if I am in enough pain, so does a root canal.

So the males were still going to camp, just without me.

Then Saturday morning the weather was about 45 chilly & damp & the plans to sleep outside were again revised.

The males went up to the campsite, played around the river all day, had a cookout & then everyone drove 2 hours home where Mayhem slept in his own bed & Havoc badgered DH into sleeping in a tent in the yard.

It’s a tiny tent.

It sleeps Havoc & Mayhem.

DH not so much.

*I* had a fun evening drinking wine with the ladies & then sleeping in my own bed.

Sunday the weather was a very nice, though not really sunny, 70 degrees.

I spent most of it laying in bed with a sinus headache.

That would be a legitimate sinus headache, not a “sinus headache” brought on by the wine the night before. There wasn’t that much wine. I had to drive home & despite being over 40, two glasses of wine are insufficient to cause a “sinus headache”. I can still drink the bottle with no morning after effects.

So those 6 years of college were totally worth it.

Sunday our dog, Houndini (the escape artist that cannot be contained by any fencing, visible or invisible), brought home a little friend.


And I do mean little. Some sort of beagle/terrier mix we think.


Mayhem has named him “Dots”

Because “Spot” would be too easy and we are not exactly creative with pet names when the boys are involved – witness 5 grey cats named (in order of appearance) – Shadow (a part time cat now gone), Ghost ( PT seen rarely), Smoke (FT lives in the house), Ashes (FT could live in the house if he were so inclined) and Slate (PT recent addition). The last 4 (plus another FT one named Thor) all have the same mom, another PT cat named Tux (because she is black with a white chest…gods we are so creative!)

(We have 5 full time pets – one dog and 4 cats, we also currently have 3 part time cats, all related to the full time cats…freeloading relatives we call them. They show up at odd hours looking for a meal & a place to crash . They haven’t tried to borrow money or bum a ride somewhere yet but it’s only a matter of time)

The dog has a collar but no ID tags. We have no idea if he is just visiting for the day or if we have increased of collection of part time pets by 1. Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The results are in


After two weeks of visits to various medical & dental providers the final tally is one cavity, one booster shot, one referral for speech therapy testing (AGAIN), one referral to sleep specialist (AT LAST) and 3 long conversations about things that are probably TMI to share with the internets.

Plus $70 in co-payments, with further billing no doubt to follow.

Mayhem, age 7, 47.5 inches and 54.6 pounds. The poor kid has been 47.5 inches for a year now. That is half an inch too short to ride all the good rides everywhere we go.  He has a cavity (his second) and currently is missing 3 of his front teeth. The doctor recommended we get his speech tested again as we’ve seen little improvement in the past year. His “L”s are more clear but the Rs & Ws are as bad as ever. “Wed” could be red, read, bread, led or even wed. And that is not even considering how lispy he actually sounds with 3 missing teeth.  Last time we were told he was within the normal developmental range, albeit at the very end of it, so no special help for us. Given he is a year older now possibly he is now just outside normal & might get some speech therapy.

Havoc, age 8, 51 inches and 55 pounds. He has clean, healthy teeth & there is no need to rush off to the orthodontist just yet, he still has too many baby teeth. (can I get an AMEN?) He had to have a booster shot for chicken pox. He’s been on long term meds since he was 4 and we’re cutting the dose by half now. Possibly he might be off them entirely by the end of the year, but it might take 18 months or more. (It’s nothing really serious, just more probably embarrassing so I’m not specifying the exact problem)

Stacey, entering her mid-40s, about that tall & that heavy, was at long last given her much sought after referral to a sleep specialist.

Only it was for June 13th and the kids are out of school & given the enormous questionnaire I have to complete there & the no doubt long conversation I will have to have with the doc, there is NO WAY I can keep that appointment unless child care is provided. (due to the distance I have to travel DH will miss most of day of work if he stays home with the kids)

So how about May 19th?

Really? The doc is THAT booked? June 13? May 19th? It was still March when I was organizing these appointments. MARCH! And they can’t see me until May?

I was running this through an intermediary at my regular docs office.

*I* am not permitted to speak with specialists until after my initial appointment.

Thems the rules.

Problem is I can’t just hand over my datebook to the lady at the doc’s office, all I can say is “mornings are better, earlier is better” and hope for the best when she calls me back many hours later.

May 19th is a school day at least, but I’d hoped for a sooner appointment.

They call the next day. “How about April 27? The doc is going to be on vacation the week of  May 19th”


April 27 is smack in the middle of my kids’ Spring Break.

However, we had been kicking around the idea of going to DC via Amtrak one day on Spring Break and DH was talking about taking the kids camping a couple days as well and he has some comp time coming, so it looks like he’s going to take at least 3 days off work, possibly all 5 depending on how much comp he has and we’ll all have Spring Break.

And maybe I might finally, after 9 long years, get some help with this insomnia.

Can I get another AMEN?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I recognized the words as English

but the sentence itself made no sense to me whatsoever.

“A good use for old toothbrushes is to clean out the tracks of sliding glass doors”

Now, I don’t have Mel’s dislike of housework but I’m no real fan of it either.

(Back in the early 70’s when I was a little girl a woman & her son moved in up the street aways. Mom & the other wives found her very fascinating because she was divorced, said in a whisper with a hand half over your mouth as if to avert a bad omen from yourself while naming the evil aloud & I always imagine Mel doing the same thing when she says housework)

I sweep. I mop.

Sometimes I dust.

I do lots of laundry.

I clean windows fairly often.

Twice a year I get down on my hands & knees and scrub the hell out of my slate tile and then dry the hell out of it as well.

I wipe down surfaces.

I move things from being ‘in the way’ to being in other places. Often those places are whatever random basket has room for them, but still… things are ‘put away’.

I consider my house to be clean in the general run of things & for the most part I enjoy the cleaning (even the scrubbing)

But then I overhear these sentences from random women in Target or Starbucks.

“I find vinegar to be a good weekly rinse when I wipe down the kitchen cabinets”

“This works great for polishing baseboards.”

“A good use for old toothbrushes is to clean out the tracks of sliding glass doors”

Every one of those sentences is in English and correct grammar.

I know what they are saying but I don’t understand a word of it.

Let us parse the first one shall we?

“I find vinegar to be a good weekly rinse when I wipe down the kitchen cabinets”

The first thing that leaps to mind is WEEKLY. This is apparently something done every week. RINSE, implying there was a wash first. WIPE KITCHEN CABINETS. Really?

I have to go look at my (unphotographed, sorry) kitchen cabinets. They are slightly dusty, but I cannot imagine needing to wash & rinse them weekly, let alone wipe them down that often. They are up above the counter. How dirty can they get?

What does that woman do in her kitchen to need what I consider to be a CSI level of cleaning done on a weekly basis?

Then there is:

“This works great for polishing baseboards.”


Looks around the room for a bit.

Oh yeah! Those boards at the BASE of the wall.

You’re supposed to polish them?

Maybe if they were metal. Or unpainted wood. But mine are painted.

And the only things I polish in this house are my nails.

Even before the baseboards were painted.

Then there is my favorite

“A good use for old toothbrushes is to clean out the tracks of sliding glass doors”

It begins with the assumption I need a use for old toothbrushes, which never occurred to me. 

But I have no desire to get toothbrush close to the stuff in the tracks of my sliding glass door. I’d actually have to touch it & have you seen the stuff that gets gunked up in the tracks of sliding glass doors?  Better to just run the hand vac over it and hope for the best.

Scrubbing out the tracks is a level of cleanliness that will never be attained in my house.

Even my mom, who’s home (apart from my bedroom) has looked ready for a visit from House Beautiful’s photographers every day of my life, never scrubbed out the sliding door tracks.

That’s just crazy talk.

What sentences do you read/hear but not understand?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Meanderings

Havoc is over his  illness. This was confirmed at his doc appt on Friday. No suggestions were made as to what the illness might have been. Only that “it’s going around”.

We got a notice from school that some federal program or other has picked our little county for a study involving getting free sealers on the teeth of second graders (with select ones being monitored over time & will get new sealers & some other stuff if needed) & if we want this we just fill out this form & send it back. The letter was dated March 11. It was sent home March 30. I sent it back April 1 and the substitute teacher gave it back to Havoc saying she didn’t think she should have it.

So I am sending it back today & assuming that the deadline for acceptance was around March 20 & we’ll be rejected.

I hope not.

It’s $150 to get that kid’s teeth sealed at the dentist.

Mayhem has another cavity, which is also $150, so anything that saves  us a $150 dental payment is ok by me.

No rush to see the orthodontist either.

Thank god!

But in other news I will be needing a laparoscopy at some point for the endo and given how my insurance usually works I’m looking at about $500 for it by the time all the ‘allowable charges’, ‘in network’, ‘disallowed options’ etc are settled.

Then two years later I will be refunded $200 of it for overpayment.

Because nobody ever believes me when I tell them it’s double billing.

I am still in negotiations about the bewb squishing because I cannot pin my insurance down on how much I have to pay. Regular co pay? Specialist copay? Lab work copay? ER copay? One of those copays plus something between 20-40% of ‘allowable’ charges? It’s not open heart surgery where anything could happen so we can’t tell you up front the costs. It’s a standard mammogram. But they just tell me “Oh a co pay.”

And I certainly can’t recall what I paid 15 months ago.

In other news my car battery has gone back to dying regularly so I am back to looking like a kinky hooker in parking lots, standing around dangling jumper cables and asking guys if they can jump me.

Yes, I could go buy a new battery. But where is blog fodder in that?

Speaking of blog fodder, we are less than 3 weeks away from ACTUAL chickens.

Yes, 15 months after deciding we wanted to raise chickens we are about to make the move from theoretical chickens to actual chickens. 

The coop is nearly finished.

I don’t know how nearly, nor can I say with any certainly just how long the word ‘nearly’ has been applicable to the coop, but I think most of the winter would be accurate.

And just so you know, going from thinking of doing a thing to actually doing the thing in 15 months is a personal family record. Around here there is generally a 5 year wait between thinking of a thing and actually doing the thing.

Except for the garage, which is going on 11 years now with no end in sight.

So expect chicken posts in May.

Though probably not still in June given our track record of taking care of things out of our immediate line of sight.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Weekly Winners

Some from my monthly project




Boba Fett & Cad Bane are so engrossed in bagging one dino, they fail to notice the danger behind them.


My most recent manicure


And a self portrait

For more Weekly Winners please join Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 01, 2011

March reading

I finished 11 new books in March, plus some re-reads.

I checked out & finished from the library

Third Degree (Murder 101 Mysteries) This is the 5th book in this series with Professor Alison Bergeron as sleuth. It also features her NYPD detective boyfriend. I enjoyed it, not quite as much as the others though. I think I’m having the sustainability issue I often have with modern mysteries. There are really only so many ways a professor at a small college can keep coming into contact with dead bodies.

Even in NYC.

And after the first couple of them I really start to wonder why the cops just don’t arrest her outright at the scene. No way someone stumbles across 5 bodies (one an ex husband) in what appears to be a less than 12 month period, unless they are somehow involved in the deaths.

I think this book seemed a bit of a stretch for me. The reason for seeing the body is clear enough, could happen to anyone, but the motive to investigate seemed forced.

The Queen's Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII
Tudor fiction is a particular favorite of mine. Sadly, when dealing with real people, this means there is no new story out there ever for me. Just retellings of things that I already know how they end & very very few stories involving the Tudors end happily for everyone.

This is not one of them.

This is the story of Bessie Blount who was the king’s mistress before Mary Boleyn. She gave Henry VIII his long awaited but alas illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. She was married off & the baby taken from her & raised by ‘more suitable’ people. He would die as a teenager of probably consumption but at the time it was speculated Anne Boleyn poisoned him.


Sad ending.

But a decent story. I think she did a good job on the relationship between Bess & Henry. Bess was a well drawn character & the plot moved along well. It is one of a series of books set at the same time & some of the people from previous books make appearances in this one, but nothing is lost if you haven’t read those books.

On the Kindle I read

Sweet's Sweets: The Second Samantha Sweet Mystery . I  enjoyed the first one of these & since the second was also only $2.99 I bought it as well. Sam Sweet has opened her bakery but she is still cleaning up foreclosed homes. She found a coat covered in blood in one of them. Then the body of an unknown man turns up in the river & Sam thinks they are related. Then a friend commits suicide but Sam thinks it’s murder.

Sam also has a mysterious box that has magical powers that give her energy & sometimes helps her to ‘see’ things or hear things. I think there is just the right level of magic in these stories. I don’t generally read books with supernatural things in them because I think a lot of the time it is used a a crutch to get characters out of situations the author didn’t mean to get them into & can’t think of a logical way to get them out. This is done well though, just enough little enhancements & Sam knows no more about the box & what it can do that we do.

I recommend this one & the first book Sweet Masterpiece

Vacations Can Be Murder: The Second Charlie Parker Mystery
  Same author, different series. The first book Deadly Gamble, was entertaining so I bought the second. Charlie Parker works with her brother in a detective agency. In this book she has taken a vacation to Hawaii. She takes a helicopter tour & they spot a dead body while on it. She & the pilot hit it off. Then he becomes a suspect, as do other people in the hotel where Charlie is staying.

She gets semi hired to look into the death & that is the plot. It was a good read. But I am not so fond of the series I will buy any more anytime soon. However the library has several & I’ll be checking them out in time.

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (The Hellions of Halstead Hall)
My romance this month. It too is part of a series(what can I say, when I find a thing I like, I stick with it). This is the 3rd of a series, set in Regency England, based on 5 siblings who have to get married within a year or Grandma cuts them out of the will.

The previous two were the oldest sons, this one is the oldest daughter Minerva, who has no interest in marrying & just wants to be left alone to write her gothic novels (featuring a bad guy character based on a family friend). She makes a deal with that family friend to pretend to be engaged & it ends predictably. But that does not take away from the enjoyment of watching the characters get to the ending. I find this series a good deal of fun & look forward to seeing how the remaining siblings get paired up

The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II
  This is the rather bawdy tale of Nell Gwynn. She started out as an orange girl & prostitute & was several other men’s mistress before becoming the King’s so you get a good many sexual scenes as part of her story.

I don’t mind that, I read romance novels after all. Smile

I thought it was a very good retelling of Nell’s story & that it stuck close to actual history, which I always prefer even in fiction. Nell is a very likeable character with understandable motives behind her actions. She and the others were very well formed, the setting fully developed, the period language worked well (which so often is not the case) & there were lots of enjoyable details worked throughout. I highly recommend this if you are into the Restoration era

Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
The Victorian era is one of my favorites for mysteries. The main character is a boarding house keeper & she partners up eventually with a young lawyer. The mystery is well done & complex enough to keep you interested. The characters are fully developed & likeable (the ones you are supposed to like anyway). There were plenty of period details & it gives a great sense of time & place. There was a nice mix of mystery & romance. All in all a highly enjoyable read. It has a ‘first in a series’ feel but it was published in 2009 & apart from a short story there has been nothing else written. yet.

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Novel
This is the latest in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. The previous one jumped us about 14 years in the future, this one is apparently set within a year or so of that one but since almost all of it takes place in the Book World, dates & timelines in the real world don’t really matter. If you have not read the other books, you will be hopelessly lost with this book. If you have read some of the other books you will still be lost. If you have read all of them you are mostly good but probably will still be left going ‘huh?” several times.

It was ok. The focus was the wishy washy Thursday from the ‘book’ the real Thursday preferred, not the uber sexy, uber violent one of the other ‘books’. I was not thrilled with either fictional Thursday but at least the violent one was less wishy washy. But it was an engrossing enough plot I dealt with wishy  washy fine. I do wish there had been more time spent in the Real World & that things there were given more backstory but the problem with first person narrative (as fictional Thursday herself points out) is you only know what the narrator knows & fictional Thursday doesn’t know much about the Real World. 

There were all the usual enjoyable elements - puns, plenty of references to actual novels & characters, plus mention of the current changes in book publishing, like self-publishing & ebook readers and lots and lots of info on the day to day business of being a character in a book.

I’m not sure what to think of it. It starts slow & the ending wasn’t that final, if you know what I mean. I get a ‘second in a trilogy’ feeling from it, even though it’s the 6th in the series. Possibly it’s 3rd in a series finale? I hope the next one picks up where this left off, only from real Thursday’s point of view

Legacy: The Acclaimed Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her
  Yet another novel of Elizabeth I. I’ve read so very many of them over the years. This one was very well done. It was very accurate historically with enough fictional twists & explanations for things to keep it interesting.

It’s sort of a psychological study of Elizabeth & her relationships with Robert Dudley, William Cecil and Robert, Earl of Essex, what binds them together, what tears them apart & how they all interact with the various dramatic events of Elizabeth’s reign.

It’s very well done, lots of period details, well developed settings & personalities. Sometimes I had to remind myself this was fiction & not non-fiction & that is always a good thing to me. There was a soap opera feel to the story but really, England from the Wars of the Roses to the Restoration reads like one long soap opera IMO so I’m fine with that

The Last Continent
I love Discworld. Not the witches, but pretty much all the rest of it. Especially Night Watch & the wizards. This book is about the wizard Rincewind who ends up magically on a far away continent (Australia) and his adventures in the water-less land down other. It’s also about the faculty of Unseen University who magically end up nearby but thousands of years in the past. 

It was funny & had endless references to Aussie life, probably including some that went right by me. I get that fairly often in satiric British writing. I find stuff funny but I am sure it would be funnier if I understood the real context better, assuming I catch the reference at all. This never stops me enjoying the books though.

and in the dead tree books category we have

The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) I enjoyed this a great deal. It is the story of a foundling, Brendan, who was taken in by the Dudley family & raised as a family retainer. He’s sent to court with Robert Dudley around the time King Edward is dying. Brendan ends up working as a spy for William Cecil in the service of Lady Elizabeth during the upheaval following Edward’s death.

The Dudleys are a bit overdone as the bad guys in general, but Robert himself is well drawn & believable. Brendan is likeable & manages to come across as intelligent but not yet wise (like many young men) . There is lots of action, the plot is fast paced with intrigue & espionage. The setting is well developed but doesn’t overwhelm the plot or characters.

I highly recommend this one if you like spy stories or historic thrillers.

And now a word from our sponsors…

The Tudor Secret was given to me by the publisher with the understanding I would publish a review of it on Library Thing. What I said & where else I said it were up to me.

Also, those links include my Amazon associate ID so if you click on them & buy one I get some pennies.

What have you read this past month?