Sunday, June 29, 2008


Willo Roberts

Loved the last line of her article : "Reading mysteries should be fun. Writing them certainly is!"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

various topics

Just liked this quote, so thought I'd put it here:

"My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library. -Peter Golkin, museum spokesman (1966- )"

Had a good day & got some shopping done. Also started reading a really fabulous book, which, believe it or not, is about Jiffy Mix! The book is a company history, but has a beautiful touch of personal history too, so that you learn about the people behind the company & the people who worked there, not just the CEOs & company owners. The story is so interesting & so well written. The writer, Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, also wrote Our Hometown : America's History as Seen Through the Eyes of a Midwestern Village, which is about Chelsea, the hometown of Jiffy Mix. Our Hometown got some national mention because of its beautiful & personal portrayal of the "average" midwestern town.

I'm really loving the Jiffy book, and the full title is : "JIFFY"(tm) : A family Tradition, Mixing BUsiness and Old-Fashioned Values. The woman who came up with the Jiffy Mixes & perfected them was married to a miller & was the daughter of a miller. As such, she took pride in her baking and wanted to make it possible for even a man to bake good biscuits. You'll have to read the book to find out more about that part of the story, but it really is a wonderful one & the story of how Chelsea & JIFFY came together is a beautiful one. Great history & also great reading. Book is from University of Michigan Press, and was published in 2008.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Annie, Labrador Retrievers and various historical facts

Thought this was pretty cool:

"Jack Dempsey
Born this day in 1895 was American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, who held the world title from 1919, when he knocked out Jess Willard, until 1926, when he lost a 10-round decision to Gene Tunney."

Sis was here today, while waiting for her Labrador Retriever at the local university veterinary hospital. I didn't get a chance to see her while she was in my house, but will see her this coming weekend. I am absolutely certain that Annie was well entertained & played with! Annie loves her auntie, and whenever she sees her, yells in her little cat voice about being played with. Nothing like an aunt. ;)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scotts & Icebound

With my Scottish ancestry, I have to put up this excerpt from Britannica :

"1314: Battle of Bannockburn
On this day in 1314 began the Battle of Bannockburn, a decisive engagement in Scottish history whereby the Scots defeated the English, regained their independence, and established Robert the Bruce as Robert I."

Hooray for Robert The Bruce!

Today we got in a really wonderful book, Icebound. I would class it as a juvenile. It is really well written & absolutely fascinating. Just the right touches of history & all the things that interest youngsters. (Or at least... it interested me, I would hope it would interest others. Full title here & a link to the author's website as well. "Icebound The Adventures of Young George Sheldon and the SS Michigan" Text and Illustrations Valerie Olson.

I also spoke briefly at our all staff today & got to hype two good books, Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Nguyen and From The Vine : Exploring Michigan's Wineries (Kegerreis & Hathaway). Both are also highly recommended to anyone who is interested. The first is a great memoir, especially about the immigrant experience. The second is a great introduction to wines, especially of this particular region.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor died on Wednesday, June 18th this week. She was a really fabulous artist & children's book illustrator. I loved her book, "The Secret World of Tasha Tudor." Really amazing woman who lived life on her terms. The New York Times had a lovely long obituary on her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

historical moments & other things

Love getting the Britannica news every day. I am hoping it is teaching me more about history. As much as I love history, which I never realized until I took a class from a local mayor in Minnesota, I've not taken very many classes. I would love to rectify that and learn a good deal more.

Here's a couple of things from today's newsletter that I thought were interesting: " Howlin' Wolf
American blues singer and composer Howlin' Wolf, one of the principal exponents of the urban blues style of Chicago and noted for his brooding lyrics and his earthy, aggressive stage presence, was born this day in 1910."

"1567: Casket Letters found
The Casket Letters—which directly implicated Mary, Queen of Scots, in a plot with James Hepburn, 4th earl of Bothwell, to murder Mary's husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley—were said to have been discovered this day in 1567."

Yesterday got a little too exciting when, after watching the Top Chef reunion for season 4, I managed to kick a jar of pickling salt that was on the floor. Let's just say that thing feels like concrete. My toe is not broken, but it is bright purple, double its usual size, and it doesn't feel very good right now. I slept with an ice pack all night. My doctor doesn't think it is broken & judging on how my other foot felt when I broke the second toe, I would agree. Come to think of it, I joke that my kitchen activities are more like a combat sport. I guess the bright purple toe bears that out!

And speaking of Top Chef, when the contestants were asked what they would tell people who were coming on the show for the next season, the unanimous comment was, "Run the other way." After hearing that you have to ask permission for everything, from going to the bathroom to going to bed, etc. and that you have to be available 24/7, I think I would agree. No thank you. (not that I would ever be a candidate, but still.... )

About the picture, sorry about the washed out cat face, because Annie is gorgeous & the picture doesn't do her justice. Sure thought that little kitty (3 pounds, six months old) was pretty cute perching on the rim of her cat tree. Thanks to her surgery for her diaphragmatic hernia (fancy word for having a hole in her diaphragm, which resulted in her liver going up into her thoracid cavity & collapsing a lung) she's hale & hearty at all 7-8 pounds of her.

(segueing yet again) I'm still hoping to go pick strawberries tomorrow, at a local farm. I used to go to U-Pick farms with my family, and have good memories of going with my mom, sis, and aunt, plus her children. My littlest cousin would have a bright red mouth, and much fun was had by all. This will be my first adventure into canning (hence the pickling salt.. I am hoping to do pickles or pickle relish)
and I hope all my time watching Mom will pay off.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hi Mom!

The title of this particular post is because my mother has just gone out with FEMA to work in Madison, WI. She works in disaster relief & has done a number of different roles with FEMA. We wish you luck, Mom, and will be praying for you that all goes well.

Reports that I've heard indicated that something like 1/3rd of both Wisconsin & Illinois (and parts of Indiana, but not sure how much) were affected by the flooding. I gather that more like 2/3rds of Iowa is affected. Such a sad situation. Mom will do her best to make things better & isn't that what Moms are for?

Other things : we have a new person at work & it turns out we actually were in the same library school class together, so that was nifty, indeed. She's great, and it is going to be good to work together.

News from Britannica for today: "Composer Igor Stravinsky, whose work had a revolutionary impact on the musical world just before and after World War I and whose compositions remain a touchstone of modernism, was born in Russia this day in 1882."

I note also that recently there was Anne Frank's birthday. Still remember reading her diary & marveling at this amazing writer, who was so young.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It is work

But sure interesting. Today at work, I was looking through a list of serial titles that needed to be claimed & some are really funny. How about a certain association of Parks & Forests, which has a newsletter called "Tree Barks" ?

Sort of reminds me of dog-related newsletters, where they have the word barks in the title or birchbarks, which used to be used sort of like paper. I think. ;)

Author related news : a Don Winslow Interview which is very interesting. Winslow's mysteries are well written, interesting plots, and have unique twists. He's not writing about his former sleuth at this point, instead starting out with a new character.

I'm also looking forward to reading Eliot Pattison's latest. Pattison's series is set in Tibet & his main protagonist is Han Chinese, who has been exiled to Tibet to a Chinese work camp. This is a fascinating series, written by a long-time diplomat who spent a lot of time in China & I think in Tibet. Just a beautiful series & I've been wondering when the next would come out, since there was a long gap between books.

Closer to home, my area was hit with high winds, lots of rain, and more wind & rain. We have had substantial power outages, but fortunately, my power stayed on except for a few blips. My maple tree decided to toss a few branches hither & yon, narrowly missing a few cars & trucks. It threw things on my neighbors' sides, and with the exception of a slightly dented truck, only scratches resulted. I still have a large branch between the two garages (my next door neighbor's garage is about four feet or so away from the side of mine). Will need help to drag it out & a local friend & coworker has said she'd help me try to drag it down. I also have a four foot high pile of debris by the curb, but I count myself lucky because so many people had whole trees tip over & I've seen some trees down by the road that were cut up & whose logs were taller than I am. Yikes. We were fairly lucky in that most people didn't get hurt in this last encounter.

Tomorrow I get to go to lunch with another friend & coworker, the next day, possibly an arts & crafts fair, and then after that, on Sunday, I get to see... Puppies! (they're all spoken for, so none will be coming home with me.... ) I plan to take a cat toy with me. Remarkable how much dogs LOVE cat toys (feathers, tearability, fun!) and how much most cats do not like dog toys. Too much slobber, probably.

More later...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dr. Pepper

I have friends who love Dr. Pepper, so this link is for them. (P.S. I like it to, but I drink diet, sorry)


I was pretty lazy today until just now, but did get out to plant about half of my vegetable plants. I have dirt that is pretty hard to dig in, so I hope I can get the rest in tomorrow and all the flowers in on Sunday.

Came in all hot & dirty, and found this splendid article on guerrilla gardening. Who knew there was such a thing? Kudos to Scott, of the article, for all his fine work. I wish I had that sort of energy.

Am volunteering for our Ag Expo at the local university's campus. I am hoping for four hrs each day, but we'll see. Have always wanted to go, but always had reasons not to go & this year, I really want to get my Master Gardener certification back.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Full of myriad musings

Really good day today, because I was able to finish off a long work day with laying a VST track for a friend. Her standard poodle is a cutie & really good tracker. Really fun dog. We left the other two standard poodles at home & I'm sure they were very jealous about being left behind. :) It is so fascinating & magical to watch the dogs work. How do they do this?

Fun stuff came in from the University of Michigan Press today. Really gorgeous books too. I also got a book from Forge, the newest Estleman book, Frames. I love this series & am glad that Estleman's Valentino now has a book of his very own. I could be mistaken, but I think this is the first time in full novel format, because I've read the Valentino short stories in Ellery Queen many times. Those are so great & the book is awesome so far. I'm already on chapter 4, the part where Valentino meets a beautiful girl whose name is Fanta. I just may finish it tonight.

Other books are: Michigan : our land, our water, our heritage, which is full of wonderful essays on what Michigan's natural environment means to some native Michiganians & to people who have moved here. I particularly liked Alison Swan's essay about introducing her daughter Sophie to her first painted turtles. These turtles are beautiful, do look up some pictures if you haven't seen one for yourself. We had a painted turtle in our house for a little while. My mother liked having us know about some of these wild creatures, but always released them back to the wild shortly. I still remember those scratchy little feet, and the feel of that moist skin. Turtles are just amazing creatures. I haven't finished this book yet, but I plan to do so tomorrow. I love many of the authors who are in this book. Should mention too that Nature Conservancy is part of this book & that the profits from buying the book go to the Nature Conservancy.

Other books: Ludington State Park: Queen of the North by the Reeds. Another really amazing nature/photography book. I haven't seen the DVD that goes along with it, but I'll bet it is really cool.

And my canning & preserving books arrived too. I have often helped my mother can, but never done the whole thing myself. I'm looking forward to it this year.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Thoughts for today

Just read a blogger's post about another blogger's fight for her life. This comes close to home for me. I have two coworkers who have/are fighting breast cancer & I know nine breast cancer survivors on Books & Writers Forum (CompuServe). Just too many people fighting for their lives & all one can do is pray for them.

There is also a fundraiser going on, that I wanted to link to. I believe the fundraiser lasts until July 2008.

For my part, I also go on the Breast Cancer walks when I can & yes, I also go to regular doctor checkups. I encourage all of you to do the same thing.