Thursday, November 20, 2014

PetSmart Visit with Sadie and Sissy

Sadie and Sissy are adult dogs who live at our shelter.  
Sadie has lived there since she was a puppy...black lab pheonomenon and all that it's cracked up to be (not).
Sissy was adopted from us as a puppy but returned after 2 years.  Not her fault.  Don't even get me started.

We really had no idea how the day would go, but we're intent on building relationships with other shelters in our area and pursuing partnerships outside our usual ones.  

My friend Renee and I took our own li'l gals to help.  This is Renee's youngest daughter Kellie.  She's  a dynamo gymnast as well as dog whisperer in training.


Sissy loves love...and touching...and getting in laps...and snuggling...and people...oh my gosh and belly rubs.  
Sadie loved looking out the window on the 25 minute drive south.  Who knew?

The glasses child is my own Reagan, piano prodigy and also dog whisperer in training.  She is my sidekick and shadow, and I'm not sure what I would do without her. 



Sissy has some serious personality.  Here she is sharing a text message with Renee...or maybe a Facebook status...


Sissy also had her own opinions on which route we should take.


Kellie and Reagan had to remind Sissy that there are height and weight limits in order to sit in the front seat.  Sissy apologized and promised to stay with the Jr. Whisperers for the rest of the ride.  


Sissy took full advantage of the lap opportunities on Sunday...


...while Sadie kept her eyes on the automatic sliding doors at PetSmart.


"Sissy, are you sure you wouldn't like to sit on the floor like Sadie?"

"I'm sure."


Sadie hasn't been out of the shelter as much as Sissy, so there were a few times over the course of the visit that she needed a little extra comfort.  PetSmart was hopping on Sunday afternoon!


Sissy, on the other hand, made sure anyone and everyone who remotely wanted to visit with her had the opportunity to rub her belly.
I'm serious y'all...anytime anyone spoke to Sissy, while in our spot or walking through the store, Sissy would roll over and offer her belly.
Oy.


Sadie appreciated some chest scratching too...and gave me kisses to prove how thankful she was for the extra attention even though it was a little scary.


Sadie finally relaxed...after the Jr. dog whisperers picked out new collars for the girls.


Isn't she gorgeous?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Murray, Martin, and Boudreaux

Just a little update on my sweet Murray.  
SHE, not he, is coming along just fine.  

She's still the least friendly of the 3 pups who were left in an outside pen at our shelter, but she does jump around and act like a puppy now instead of a scared little rabbit.  

Murray, Martin, and Boudreaux had their first official portraits made this past week so that we could get them out in the public eye now that we feel they've been socialized enough. 
One of our former Board Presidents is a professional photographer and donates her skills so that our furbabies are treated like celebrities while we have them.  



Murray



Martin



Boudreaux


We have an adoption event coming up this weekend at PetSense.  
Keep your fingers crossed for these sweethearts :) 




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Murray

This is my new friend Murray.  




Murray and two of his siblings were left at our shelter this past week.  
All 3 pups are scared to death, shaking like a leaf.

Murray even bites.
Grown men have resorted to using welding gloves to handle Murray.
Really Murray?

I talked to Murray today and told him I needed him to stop biting.  
I told him that he really needed to be a nice fella and take his wormer, Bordatella, and vaccines so he could stay.  

Murray was pretty nervous before, during, and after our chat.  
But, he didn't try to bite me. 

Guess who got designated to give Murray his meds?
Oh yeah. 
Guess who's never given anybody or anything a shot before anytime, anyplace?
Mmm Hmm.
Guess who let me give him a shot??
You got it.
Guess who let me hold his snoot and shoot the Bordatella right in his precious nostrils?
Spot on.
And, finally, guess who let me open his snappy little mouth and squeeze in the de-wormer?
My friend Murray.

I gave Murray his meds.
And now I feel like Wonder Woman.


It's really just the little things, y'all.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 2014


Today was slow...just like a Labor Day should be...
wrapped it up with a 4.5 mile run/walk...
kid on a bike
dog on a leash

I really miss this place, and I'm hoping to be back more often :)




Sunday, June 8, 2014

A New Beginning - Days 4-7

The middle daughter and I are still going strong on our Advocare 24 day Challenge.  
We've had a couple of tight spots over the last few days, but so far, when I'm weak, she's been strong, and vice versa.



One of the keys to a successful change in eating is being organized, I think. 
I'm an organizing wannabee, but the middle daughter is an organizer all the way. 
She clips coupons, finds recipes, makes lists, buys deals like shampoo for .49 and deodorant for .29.
She creates excel spreadsheets with our meals, supplements, snacks, etc. so there's nobody has to ask, "What's for supper?"
It's like having a personal assistant.


I swear I will fall apart when this girl goes to MSU in the fall.
:(
Who will tell me when to eat my snack??

On Day 4, I ran by the animal shelter where I volunteer and am on the board.
I had been on vacation the week before and Kids College after that, so I hadn't visited in over a week.
A beautiful Chocolate Lab (the staff appropriately named Hershey) was found while I was on vacation.  She looked to be very either very fat or pregnant.
Our manager took her to the vet who "diagnosed" her as 7-10 days away from giving birth.
The day I visited was 7 days from when he said that.
Geez.

You may or may not know that there are no maternity wards in animal shelters.
As a matter of fact, puppies under 6 weeks old are not allowed in shelters at all bc of risk of infection.
They have no immunity when they're first born and have to get that through their mothers.
Not to mention that our shelter is and always is slam full.
We are of the no-kill variety, so there always seems to be 15+ other animals to take the slot when one animal is adopted.
I know it's too late to make a long story short, but Hershey could not stay at the shelter.
One of our other board members volunteered to take her but could not do so until she returned from a weekend trip...11 days after the vet's prognosis.

Ok, so surely you know by now that Hershey is at my house, right?


We have no puppies, but today is Day 10.
I've got a birthing spot fixed up for Hershey just in case.
She rests in it sometimes and re-arranges the towels several times a day.
Oy.

She is the smartest, sweetest dog y'all.  She knows basic commands, is very obedient, and gets along with Hermione and the cats.
She has had a few accidents, but she is potty trained...I just had to figure out what her cue was.
She loves, loves, loves people, and it is very obvious that she was a family dog.
What we don't know is if someone lost her...or if someone dumped her when they realized she was pregnant.
Because, you know, getting pregnant and all...well, that's Hershey's fault...she shouldn't have been so promiscuous.
*&**%% (insert curse words here)

We've been posting her pics and keeping the communication lines open should someone come forward.
Unfortunately, we're all jaded enough to know that she was more than likely dumped.
Dogs don't wander when they're pregnant.
In the South, for whatever stupid reason, a lot of people still don't spay and neuter their pets.
It's why we have such a pet over-population problem and other areas have shortages.


Don't get me started.

On a more positive note, the middle daughter and I finished C25K Week 1 and started Week 2 today.



In the past I preferred to run alone...or with my Layla...and earphones with music blasting.
Now I enjoy being with my kid.
We don't converse much...except short spurts now and again, but we do pump each other up when needed.
This is my 2nd time going through C25K so I'm doing most of the pumping right now, but that's ok.
She lets us know when it's time for a snack :)




Till tomorrow...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Supreme Macaroni Company - TLC Book Review




The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)

  • Summary from Amazon:

  • For more than one hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides a twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher-turned-shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.
    But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.


    Golden Lines

    "The big Christmas Eve moon appeared out of nowhere, like the diamond on my hand.  From the roof of the Angelini Shoe Company, as far as I could see, it seemed the world had stopped spinning." (1)

    "You would think after the Feast of Seven Fishes, sweet timbale, cannolis, and cookies that we wouldn't have any more room to stuff down one more bite.  But our family wasn't done eating until the overflowing nut bowls, nutcrackers, and silver picks had been placed on the dining room table.  Somehow, there was always room for nuts." (42)

    "I hope I wasn't too rough tonight.  I can be a little opinionated," Feen said in a rare moment of self-examination.  "You know I live alone and don't have anybody to talk to day in and day out, so when I get an audience, I don't modulate." (55-56)

    "I've noticed that in America you think you can have everything your heart desires on your own terms."
    "Isn't that the definition of happiness?"
    "In Italy, we look at things with a little more common sense.  A sense of reality, if you want to call it that..." (103)

    "It's in you, like it was in your grandfather and your grandmother.  Sometimes we forget that talent is a gift and we take it for granted.  But it's important.  You have a gift, and you should always be a guardian of your art." (136)

    "If that's what you want, then leave me now.  I don't want to be your butler, or your cook, or your tanner.  I want to be your husband.  For me, that means that I guard what you hold precious, I stand with you, I work with you, I make sure you have rest when you need it, I open the books and we figure out the finances, I build a space where you can create and I can help you get your creations out into the world." (163)

    "There.  He said it.  Italy was home.  Not Perry Street, not Youngstown's Main Street - but Arezzo in Tuscany.  He couldn't tell me how much he missed being in Italy, but he didn't have to - I could see it, I could feel it.  My husband wanted to take Angelini shoes back to Italy, but he wanted it to be my idea." (191)

    "What kind of factory was this?" I asked.
    "They made pasta.  It was called the Supreme Macaroni Company." 
    "I like it," I said. 
    "But you're not making macaroni, Valentine." 
    "It doesn't matter.  It's a place, not a product.  Besides, I like macaroni." (209)

    "...I have no desire to go anywhere else or do anything else ever again."
    "If only you meant that."
    "I do mean it."
    "Until your American ambition comes rushing back like a fever."
    "You think my ambition is a disease."
    "No, I'm proud of you.  But sometimes it overtakes you."
    "Not when I'm looking at the Mediterranean Sea." (242-243)

    If I had to go back and pinpoint the moment I fell in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, I know it was for sure when I saw him press leather for the first time.  His hands smooth and drape leather skillfully.  He has a command of the delicate - he can do the smallest detail work - and yet he can lift and cut and press and roll with strength of purpose.  He's an artist. (274)

    Once family, always family.  And once a wife, forever one, even in divorce.  I had to share Gianluca with Mirella.  It was the Italian way. (304)

    "The only time I let go of the pain is when I'm creating." (319)


    What I Liked

    Culture - food, family, language, customs, dialogue, humor, etc...it's here...all of it and more.  There were several times I laughed out loud at the dialogue.

    Aunt Feen - she reminds me of Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur...very opinionated, crazy, and verbal.  

    This family - they are what Trigiani does so well...you feel as if you're at a family reunion...and that you've actually met these people!

    What I Didn't Like

    predictable - I felt like I'd read this story before...or at least parts of it :(

    wedding stuff - there were lots of chapters on wedding prep, honeymoon, and baby stuff ...meh

    The Ending - the house, the Bret foreshadowing, how everything seemed to fall together so smoothly despite enormous challenges?

    The pace - one of the fastest through the years books I've ever read.  I needed more...more detail, more time, more build up.  

    Overall Recommendation

    Because The Supreme Macaroni Company is part of a series, I certainly wouldn't skip it...but I'm not so sure it's one that you can read and feel a connection to the characters if you haven't read the others.

    The Author




    Other Stops on the Tour

    Tuesday, May 6th: More Than Just Magic
    Wednesday, May 7th: Bibliotica
    Thursday, May 8th: nightlyreading
    Friday, May 9th: Literary Lindsey
    Monday, May 12th: The Infinite Shelf
    Thursday, May 15th: Books, Books Everywhere!
    Monday, May 19th: Books on the Table
    Monday, May 26th: Calico Critic
    Monday, June 2nd: Open Book Society
    Thursday, June 5th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
    Friday, June 6th: Peppermint PhD
    Monday, June 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A New Beginning - Day 3

Day 3 was a doozy...in more ways than one!

Middle daughter and I started our day off just the same...with her dragging me out of bed.  
Every year I question my sanity for signing up to teach Kids College, which means I have to get up early the 2nd week we're out for the summer.  
I'm a late sleeper from way back...no use pretending otherwise.

We finished off our supplements, Spark, and Meal Replacement Shakes, packed our perspective bags, and headed to the college, me with my PE coach's whistle and middle daughter with her Accounting book.  



After quite an eventful morning...a kid caught in a rolled up cheerleading floor mat and a bat in the gym, we played basketball until 12:30.  
Yep.
Sure did.

I snacked on a banana and some grapes while slurping my water as instructed by the middle daughter.  
I felt a little yucky this morning; I think that fiber drink is doing a number on my belly...Oy.
Cleaning out the toxins ain't a lot of fun.

For lunch I ate a spinach salad with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, 2 boiled eggs, and homemade vinegar and oil dressing.
Supplements, water, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After a quick nap, shortened by the 10 year old and 20 year old yelling at each other about a Harry Potter wand (don't ask),  off we went to a nearby city to get the middle daughter a new pair of running shoes.  
No more Chacos!!! (for running anyway)
I took my Spark with me :)
Runner's High is a locally owned shop where you can get a gait analysis and one on one talk with the owners as far as your needs, your activity level, your history...etc.  
This couple also participates in and encourages community events, races, celebrations, kids activities (this weekend they're having a Tri-Athalon camp for kids!!), and running groups.  
A small store with a lot of character and the best customer service ever!
Oh, and the shoes are fantastic!!!  
I'm sure they talk about me when I leave...the lady who's too busy looking at the pretty colors to pay attention to what she actually needs :p 
What?



Home again and fixed a simple Asian type marinade and threw some sliced pork loin into the bowl...threw that into the fridge, and put on our running shoes!

Today was a little tougher for the daughter.
New shoes always hurt my calves the first couple of times I run in them...and hers did too.
We kept moving, and I preached the old mantra, "it doesn't matter how slow you are...a 16 minute mile is the same as a 6 minute mile."
She was very tired afterwards but I think very proud of herself for being so strong. 
A good long soak in the tub and water, and she was talking about our next meals and workouts again.
This kid inspires me. 



The pork loin was fan-freaking-tastic...
At my house, very seldom do I fix anything that everybody likes.  This recipe made it into the record books at our house, so go on over and take a look!




We served this with fresh veggies (corn and limas) on the side.
Supplements and Water...yeah, yeah.

My snack tonight was a rice cake with natural peanut butter.
I've given rice cakes a hard time in the past...I really have.
But, y'all, with peanut butter, they're not half bad!!

I needed a little time to myself tonight, so my Layla and I set off on our own.  
I wrapped her leash tightly in a loop/pulley type way around my waist (sorry if that makes no sense).  
We've been having to work on pulling again, and I know that I need to reinforce to her that I am in charge.  
With a calm but assertive mind, I walked her at a heel all the way around our biggest block.  She was exhausted (in a good way) when we returned, and I treated her to a quick swim and then sitting in first dark for a bit...just she and me.



I have to carve this time out for myself. 
I have to take care of myself and my kids.
I have to keep my mind busy, and focus on the positives in life as much as humanly possible.  
This old world will drag you down in a heartbeat if you let it.  

I'm ready for Day 4 :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A New Day - Part 2

My daughter is much better at getting out of bed in the mornings than I am, so as I was reaching over to push the snooze button again, she opened my bedroom door with a towel on her head and said, "Here's your Spark, Mom."

Really?

Like yesterday, we started off with our Catalyst tabs, Fiber drink, Water, and Meal Replacement Shake.
I didn't have her this morning at Kids College to remind me when to drink my water or when to eat my snack, so I was forced to remind my ownself...which was interesting indeed.

About mid-morning I snacked on a banana and some previously frozen peaches.
I was disappointed in the peaches.
My daddy grew and sold peaches from his own orchard for several years, so I'm a hard peach sell anyway, but these peaches had been frozen and sold as a fundraiser last year...I bought them without any idea of when they were picked, how sweet they were, etc.
Needless to say, I can't wait for the Farmer's Market this week, so we can have some fresh produce!!



I made it through the morning and headed home...hungry but not starving.
For lunch I had leftover spaghetti...only a few noodles but a lot of sauce...and a piece of toast and my Catalyst tabs again.
Oh, yeah and don't forget the water...bc heaven forbid, if I didn't have to visit the bathroom every 15 minutes. :p

The youngest kid had a dentist appt. mid afternoon. 
So, I took a short nap :) and we headed out again.  

We have struggled with her dental care over the last few years.  
Shocker of all shockers, she has some anxiety issues.


The dentist horrifies her and always has.  
4 years ago she had to have dental surgery just to have all the routine work done that she needed :/
Today was her very first time to actually have a filling filled in the dentist's office.
She said her arms tingled (from the gas)
and she felt like a chipmunk after...but she did it! Without surgery! $$

On the way back from the dentist, I snacked on an Advobar bc I knew I was pushing it time wise for snack.  
I was a little panicky about possibly panicking like I did yesterday. 
The Advobars are not my favorites...I hope there are other flavors bc it definitely hits the spot in a pinch, but I don't want to make them a daily thing.
I still want clean eating to be my main diet once we get passed this Cleansing Phase.

Today was one of those days where everything just seemed to overlap...the cable company was coming, I had to pick up a foster cat, fix dinner, and needed to do Day 1 of C25K with the middle daughter....somehow all before 5 p.m.  
Exercise with middle daughter won out...the other tasks were completed as well...but not before 5.
Middle daughter needs new running shoes...she ran in Chacos today...
**slaps head**

By the time we were done, and I started cooking dinner, I knew it was time for my 2nd Spark...I was beginning to droop.
My grandmother used to call that a Sinking Spell :)

I've read a lot of things about Spark...my biggest fear was that it would make my heart race...so far it doesn't.  I don't feel hyper or anything like that.
On the contrary, I feel more focused for some reason.
I have missed my morning coffee...but not as much as I thought I would.
Never thought I'd say that.

Middle daughter had to work tonight till 12 so she took over the panic in worrying if she would make it through till midnight.  
I delivered her supper: grilled chicken breast, salad with lots of veggies and a drizzle of Italian dressing, homemade hummus with 2 rice cakes for snack later, and a fruit plate just in case.  

I spent the rest of the night settling a foster cat back in and answering emails from online students (classes started yesterday).
A few minutes ago I started wondering why I felt so achy...but just typing all this up makes me realize I am achy because I. am. tired.

I snacked on a handful of peanuts and a few grapes before taking my last set of supplements.

Day 3 will be here before we know it!


Monday, June 2, 2014

A New Day


My last post was April 1.  
Wow.  
Today is June 2.  
I think that's the longest "break" I've ever taken from blogging.  
The break was accidental.
I'm not ready to tell the story, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to be ready. 
For now, all I know is change is a must.  
And, it starts today.




My kid and I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge today. 
I'm not an Advocare Distributor nor do I aspire to be.  
I just aspire to be healthy...and to rid my body of all the crap I've been eating and drinking...all the toxins that I've willingly let into my life.  
Yes, that's dramatic.
Get over it.

I knew the first ten days would be the toughest.
A year or so ago when I switched to clean eating, I experienced the "withdrawal" that comes from no sugar, carbs, and dairy.  I'm looking forward to getting past that stage and not even wanting that stuff anymore.  I'm going to do better this time at keeping myself in the wagon.
One step at a time.

My kid is doing this with me for the same reasons above as well as some other reasons which are not my story to tell so I won't tell them here.  Leave it to say that discussing, researching, planning, and finally getting started on this challenge together has been incredibly special so far.

Here's what we've done today:

6:15 a.m. - Mango-Strawberry Spark (instead of coffee) - Holy Smokes...I. love. coffee.
3 Catalyst tabs
Water
6:45 a.m. - Fiber Drink 
Water
7:00 Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake
Water
7:30 Pick up friend kid for Kids College
7:45-12:30 Kids College (I teach PE every year :)
10:00 a.m. Banana (I forgot I could have two fruits...Oh, I won't be forgetting tomorrow!) 
Water
12:30 p.m. tuna (with no mayo :0( , cherry tomatoes, carrots, 1 slice toast (We were starving)
Water
3 Catalyst tabs
3:00 p.m. - Mango-Strawberry Spark and rice cake (Who likes rice cakes...really??)
Water
5:30-6:30 Yoga 
Water
7:00 Turkey Spaghetti with whole grain noodles
3 Catalyst tabs
Water
8:15 - BC powder bc my head hurt like a Mutha (no coffee, alcohol, sugar or carbs)
Water
8:45 Advobar
Water
10:00 3 Herbal Cleanse Tabs
Water!

I have never in my life consumed so much water...to say that I went to the potty a lot today would be an understatement.
Supposedly I'm cleaning out my liver and kidneys...and bladder :p 

All was well until Yoga...it was time for a meal and I was hungry...the class was a little more challenging than the first, and my headache was setting in.  
I began to panic.  
It probably didn't help that I forgot to get my anxiety meds refilled before we went on vacation last week.  
One of my goals is to eventually be able to taper off some of my meds, but obviously one should not taper quit meds cold turkey while also quitting everything else.

**Smacking head**



Here's hoping tomorrow will be better :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gettin' my smooth on!


My middle daughter and I are taking the 30 day Smoothie Challenge!



She needs the vitamins...she's a kid who's been eating too much junk.
I need the vitamins...I'm a 45 year old woman who's falling apart :p
(And still fighting with my gynecologist...really soon I'm going to tell this story...really really soon.)

What's really cool about this challenge is that it's free.
Yep, FREE.
I promise this is not an April Fool's joke.

The challenge started today, but I signed up last night, so in true Peppermint fashion, I'm a day behind :)

The ladies at Simple Green Smoothies even send a grocery list to go along with the smoothie recipes for each day and teach you the very simple formula for creating your own recipes.  

 I think it will be fun, and the very best part about the challenge is that my daughter and I are doing it together.  
That adds the accountability that we both need.
And, the togetherness time as well.

Check it out at simplegreensmoothies.com





Monday, March 31, 2014

A slow day at home.

In order to protect my colleagues and my students, I decided to keep my broken down self at home today.
I don't do that very often, so that gives you an idea of just how cranky I really was/am.



I slept.
I graded a few papers.
I answered some emails.
I researched gynecologists (can't wait to tell this story).
I visited with my foster kitty (another story to tell).
I sat outside and let the sunshine beat down on me.
I checked Facebook a time or two.
I slept.

And then, glory of all glories, I dragged my haggard self to the Chiropractor.
My Chiropractor has magical hands.
She is an incredibly talented, intelligent, realistic, professional, and personal human being.
Why can't all doctors be that way??

Anyhoo, I feel better...not perfect, but I can stand up straight now!
It's the small things, you know.






Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday, not so much fun day



I'm in some pretty serious pain today...I've been hunched over all day today and have missed out on family fun this weekend.
The family went to a community festival called HubFest yesterday (without me);
my friends went on a Spay/Neuter/Return "stakeout" (without me);
and the family went fishing and planted flowers today (without me).
Can you tell I'm kinda ticked off about it too??
I was so ticked off that I watched sappy old movies on tv this afternoon...and even cried a time or two.
The menopause/no menopause stuff doesn't help either.  
That's a story for another day though.

My chiropractor is expecting me tomorrow, and I can't wait to see her.
I won't feel perfect when I leave there, but I will feel better. 

The one positive about being stuck in the house in front of the tv was that I got to see the Season Finale of The Walking Dead when it aired tonight...something that never happens.
But, then, I saw the episode.  
Really?
That's all I get??
For all my back pain?
For all the hype??

Dangit!
They messed with the wrong people.


Now we get to spend the next 6 months analyzing the crap out of everything.
Oy.

I promise I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.
Well, maybe I promise.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I've been away...

I started this blog on January 2, 2010.
I've gone through a lot of stages over the last 4 years.
And, I'm about to head right on into the next one.



In my 2nd blog posting, I admitted that I was a workaholic.
And I was.
But, my work provides me with almost no rewards anymore.
None.
Nada.
It's a job.
A paycheck.



Now, don't get me wrong.
I still LOVE my students. 
When I'm in the classroom with them, everything else is ok.
But, once class is over, I don't want to be there anymore.
There are a lot of reasons for this feeling of professional malaise, but my blog has never been and will never be an academic blog.
It just is what it is.



I'm also 45 years old and ready for a change.
I don't know what that change will be just yet.
My older daughters have moved out of our house, and my youngest daughter is beginning to act like a preteen.
Thankfully, I look at my husband and realize that I love him more today than I probably did 25 years ago when we first got married.
But, I'm ready for the next stage of life as well as the next stage of this blog.

In the first photo above, I love that the stage of a woman's life after raising children is illustrated by her standing straight and tall at the top.
I have no desire to go back in years...never have.  I've been waiting a long time to feel strong, important, and worthy.  I've truly learned that it's time that makes us so.



My blog will probably be more personal than anything from now on.
My goal from the beginning was never to be just like anyone else's blog or end up commercialized.  I've been tempted a time or two and made more than a few mistakes.  I know now what I do well and what I don't do well.
When I say personal, I mean that you can expect to see posts about books, gardening, photography, animals, and my family.
I won't, however, be doing anymore giveaways, memes, or trying to follow a set schedule.
That's just not me.

My favorite blog posts over the last 4 years are the ones that bring back memories or capture time for a few moments.
Those are the posts that I'll focus on now.


...or eat a cookie :p



Friday, March 14, 2014

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie - TLC Book Tours

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

  • Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels (Book 15)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 25, 2014)

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclaimer - the publisher provided me a copy of The Sound of Broken Glass in exchange for an honest review.  The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Title?  Not at all obvious...but very effective...made me say "Ahhhhhhh, nice touch" when I put all the pieces together.

Golden Lines

"...I learned years ago that he would never make a real effort to defend a woman.  It was as if he made an automatic assumption of guilt." (119)

The sound faded out.  She stood, paralyzed, as little animated rain clouds began to move across the map of Britain on the screen.
It couldn't be.  It couldn't be him.
What on earth had she done? (140)

The bastards had followed him home.  And they had seen Nadine. (147)

Cleaver Square is a paradox.  Sandwiched between two busy streets, it provides a sense of eerie calm rarely seen outside of a Hitchcock movie. (155)

"The way Melody talked about that guitar chap yesterday - did you notice?  I didn't like it.  Something's up, and I want to know what it is." (163)

"Another barrister?  Strangled?  Dear God.  This is turning into a royal balls-up.  What the hell is going on here?" (166)

"...Just play, Andy."  She touched one of the geranium blossoms.  "No one has been kind to me except you.  Think of it as red for red." (186)

"You, Andy?  Of all people.  I thought you were my friend." (265)

"We all need looking after.  It's the greatest of mistakes to think otherwise.  No one knows that better than me." (352)

Summary from Amazon

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are on the case in Deborah Crombie’s The Sound of Broken Glass, a captivating mystery that blends a murder from the past with a powerful danger in the present.
When Detective Inspector James joins forces with Detective Inspector Melody Talbot to solve the murder of an esteemed barrister, their investigation leads them to realize that nothing is what it seems—with the crime they’re investigating and their own lives.
With an abundance of twists and turns and intertwining subplots, The Sound of Broken Glass byNew York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie is an elaborate and engaging page-turner.

What I Liked

The map - I love the penciled map drawing at the beginning of the novel...Crombie uses the real life Crystal Palace and surrounding areas as the main geographical focus of The Sound of Broken Glass.  Even though I've never been to London, nor did I ever feel lost while reading, I enjoyed looking back a the drawing from time to time...and especially once I was completely done with the story.


The twists - By page 140, I thought I had it figured out...by page 318, I realized I was wrong...and had been very willingly duped by Crombie :P  Well played, Ms. Crombie...well played.

The lingo - I won't apologize for being a language lover...I could listen to/read different accents, different cultural sayings all day long.  There's something about it that makes you feel as if you're actually there.  I think it's like giving a blind person cotton balls to help them understand what clouds look like.  Yes, I'm an academic who thinks too much...why do you ask? :/

The way the past slowly weaves its way into the present - very possibly for the first time, after finishing The Sound of Broken Glass, I thought about how the writer's craft is not just a story but a well designed puzzle.  Those puzzles make all the difference in the world to a reader...and those puzzles very quickly separate the good from the bad.  Crombie is most definitely one of the best serial writers I read.  

Jagger and Ginger - Michael and Tam's German Shepherd dogs - not even gonna apologize for this :P

What I Didn't Like

The Sound of Broken Glass is only my 2nd read of this series.  My first foray into the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mysteries was No Mark upon Her.  Don't get me wrong; I never felt left out of anything...I just want to know these characters better.  It's like meeting new people who have a history together and you want to sit around asking questions so you get the whole picture.  That is certainly no fault of Crombie's; as a matter of fact, I love her writing even more that she can make her characters that real.

Overall Recommendation

Don't shy away from this series because it's a series.  Crombie's books are have enough depth to satisfy even if you don't want to read the entire series.  


The Author





Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, February 25th: The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, February 26th: she treads softly
Monday, March 3rd: The Year in Books
Tuesday, March 4th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog
Thursday, March 6th: Book Dilettante
Monday, March 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 11th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, March 12th: 5 Minutes for Books