Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cat Behavior 101 (and other stuff)

On Saturday I wanted to knit on my sweater, so I settled in the recliner (my favorite place to knit), got out the knitting, saw that I was near the end of the skein, and tied on a new yarn end. Just as I was getting ready to start a new row, Bagheera jumped into my lap. I put her on the floor and, just like a yo-yo, she jumped right back up. We went through this several times, and then I thought, maybe if I moved the knitting a little further down on my lap, she'll see there is not enough room for her and go away. So I tried that. She jumped up on the arm of the chair, assessed the situation, and then climbed onto my chest and settled down. I decided I didn't want to go through this routine for the rest of the afternoon, so I gave up and put away my knitting. Of course, Bagheera jumped down then and ignored me for the rest of the day. I didn't dare pick up my knitting again because I knew she'd start all over. Damn cat.

Lila had to have knee surgery. She did the same thing that Fido did: she blew out a ligament. Richard took her to the vet and I picked her up the next day. She's doing fine, but with her hind leg shaved rather drastically, she looks like she has a raw chicken leg hanging off her hip. Cat hair grows pretty slowly so it'll be a while before she looks normal again. The nice thing is that she is no longer limping. She's not jumping up on the bed any more. I guess she realizes her limitations. Her new thing, when she wants on the bed in the middle of the night, is clawing the box spring on Richard's side of the bed. He eventually wakes up and lifts her onto the bed and she is so happy. She gets between us and purrs very loudly.

I am now addicted to my Kindle. I just downloaded another two books today. I won't ever grow averse to reading an actual hard-copy book (which is a good thing as not every book comes in a Kindle edition), but I do look forward to saving space on the bookshelves. I've started selling my books on Amazon, and while there is not a mad rush to buy my books, I did sell a few recently. That was gratifying.

Last Friday was a very high-calorie day. First off, we had a staff meeting to which our director brought Krispy Kreme donuts. I think I had four or five (love me some Krispy Kreme donuts). I thought I was safe for the rest of the day, but Theresa invited me to go out to lunch to celebrate Debbie’s birthday. We went to the King Buffet (Asian food), where I had only one plate of food, but then somebody broke out the birthday cake, a chocolate-on-chocolate, multi-layer cake from Mi Lady Bakery. Debbie cut me a sizeable piece, which I polished off. Along about 2:00 pm my stomach was feeling a little over-sugared, but I wasn’t done yet. For dinner, Richard and I went out with a crowd to celebrate Renata’s and Joe’s birthdays. We went to the Coconut Asian Bistro. I had my usual egg rolls and shrimp fried rice. Coconut is kind of a noisy place when you get twenty people at one long table, all talking at once and shouting from one end of the table to the other. After a while, the restaurant staff brought out the two cakes that Bret had procured: a chocolate cake and a caramel cake. I was going to forego cake but there was a spare piece of caramel floating around, so I said, “Oh, what the hell,” and I ate it. After abusing my stomach all day, I had to take several doses of bicarbonate of soda to be able to sleep that night. I ate lightly for the rest of the weekend and I have recovered. I will try never to do that again. (Famous last words…).

As you can see, nothing exciting has happened to me lately (except for the dealings with Amazon), but I hope you have been mildly amused. I try.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apparently, All I Do Is Read

Here are some more book reviews. Happy reading!!

The Crack in the Lens, by Steve Hockensmith. This is the fourth installment in Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series. Set in 1893, a few weeks after the events of 2008's The Black Dove, Hockensmith's excellent fourth mystery to feature Otto Big Red Amlingmeyer and his older brother, Gustav (aka Old Red), takes them to San Marcos, Tex. The laconic Old Red, whose life took an unexpected turn after his brother introduced him to the deductive methods of Sherlock Holmes, reveals that the love of his life, hooker Gertrude Eichelberger, was murdered in San Marcos five years earlier. The pair's efforts to investigate put them at odds with the local pimps as well as the law. The brothers discover that Gertrude was but the first victim of a serial killer, who modeled his crimes after Jack the Ripper. The personal stake Old Red has in catching the murderer adds an emotional dimension to the puzzle, which Edgar-finalist Hockensmith nicely leavens with witty prose and cliffhanging chapter endings. (from Publisher’s Weekly, lifted straight from Amazon)

Laced with Magic, by Barbara Bretton. Laced with Magic is Bretton’s sequel to Casting Spells. Half-sorceress Chloe Hobbs and policeman Luke MacKenzie, the only humans in the sleepy Vermont town of Sugar Maple, face worldly and unearthly challenges in this sweetly charming sequel to 2008's Casting Spells. When Luke's ex-wife, Karen, shows up in town claiming that their dead daughter is trying to ask them for help, Chloe must deal with smalltown gossip and fix her relationship with Luke while she battles her old Fae enemy, Isadora, over the child's spirit and the future of Sugar Maple. Bretton seamlessly blends a playful world of eccentric and meddling supernatural creatures living in the midst of New England with a warm, natural and romantic story and just a hint of mystery. Scenes in Chloe's yarn shop and helpful knitting tips hold extra appeal for yarn aficionados while never distracting from the plot. (ditto)

The Black Cat, by Martha Grimes. I think Martha has been reading too much Rita Mae Brown. In The Black Cat, animals talk to each other and try to send telepathic messages to our hero, Richard Jury. Harry Johnson (from The Old Wine Shades) appears in this novel also, and Jury really wants him to turn out to be the killer. Many of the clues point to Harry, but Jury can’t quite pin him down (read The Old Wine Shades; you’ll see why). The victims in this story are all call girls from different escort agencies, so finding something in common besides their call-girl status, proves very frustrating. The linking clue comes in an unexpected way and Jury is finally able to solve the murders. Publisher’s Weekly didn’t like it very much, but I enjoyed this book.

Just Take My Heart, by Mary Higgins Clark. I had never read any of Clark’s novels before and I enjoyed this one, for the most part. There was a subplot that could have been left out altogether and it would not have made a bit of difference in the novel. Other than that, Clark weaves a pretty good story. County prosecutor Emily Wallace is involved in a case trying to convict a man of shooting his ex-wife, a famous Broadway actress. Her star witness is a career thief who testifies that the husband, Gregg, paid him money to off his wife, Natalie. The thief also testifies that he did not go through with the job because he was a thief, not a killer. He has a piece of information that seemingly clinches Gregg’s fate. The suspense continues through the whole book and when you find out whether or not Gregg did the deed, it’s a good surprise. I think the story was well-plotted (except for that unnecessary subplot) and fast-paced and I did actually enjoy it.

Hissy Fit, by Mary Kay Andrews. I used to read Mary Kay Andrews’s books when she was writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck (Callahan Garrity mysteries). Now she’s writing mainstream romances with a little bit of mystery thrown in and it really works. This is the first book I read on my Kindle and I love that thing. In the novel, Keeley Murdock, at the rehearsal dinner for her wedding to A.J. Jernigan, finds A.J. screwing her maid of honor and supposed best friend on the table in the board room of the country club. Keeley pitches the hissy fit of all hissy fits, calls off the wedding, and storms out. She lives in the small town of Madison, GA, and word is all over town before she even gets home. She gets a ride from Will Mahoney, who was at the rehearsal. Will wants Keeley, an interior decorator, to help him restore an antebellum mansion outside of town. He needs the job to impress a woman he’s never met, but only seen on TV, enough that she will want to marry him and settle down in the house. Keeley of course thinks he’s lost his mind, and she declines, mostly because she is so distraught about her ruined wedding plans. Will has an impossible deadline, too. Suffice it to say she comes around and agrees to do the job, insane deadline and all. The mystery in this novel is that Keeley’s mother, Jeanine, disappeared 25 years earlier, and everybody thinks she ran off to parts unknown with Darvis Kane, a car salesman. The story gets into town gossip about all the illicit affairs of various prominent citizens. Keeley becomes determined to find out what happened to her mother, and gets the help of her best friend, florist Austin LaFleur. Andrews brings all the plots and subplots together nicely, writes a good story, and winds it up to a very satisfactory ending. I was enjoying this book so much, I was a little bereft when it ended. Needless to say, I will be reading more of Mary Kay Andrews’s books.

I am loving the Kindle and I'm glad I bought it. Kindle editions are cheaper than hard-copy books, there are no shipping charges, and no waiting days for books to arrive in the mail.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Giving In

I have been resisting buying a Kindle, but because of all the books I have cluttering up the house, I may have to go that route. I'm going to try selling my books online. Not all of them, of course, but most of them. Maybe then I can afford the Kindle.

I have many first-edition mysteries, all with the book jackets intact and all in like-new condition. I love the feel and smell of a brand new hardback book. I like turning pages. I like looking at the place where my bookmark is to see how long it will be before I find out whodunit or whether or not the lovers unite (not meant as a double entendre, Theresa). I love settling down in my chair with a cat and a book.

But, Lordy, I have a lot of books!

This is one of two bookcases in the house that Richard did not build. It has space for a few more books, but not many, as you can see.

This is the bookcase in the breakfast nook, with most of our cookbooks on it.

The wall of bookshelves that Richard built.

The bookcase with all my writing books in it.

Bookcase #1 in the bedroom.

Bookcases #2 and #3 in the bedroom.

All these bookcases that Richard built are about seven feet tall, except for the wall of shelves which goes all the way to the ceiling.

This is the bookcase in the guest bedroom, which my grandfather built.

Do I have a lot of books or what??? So you can see why it's time to give in and get a Kindle and pass on most of my hard-copy books.