Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just a Little Snow

We have just a little snow, as you can see on the bird house above!

We had a great Christmas with lots of friends and family.  We had a house full on Christmas Eve and then went to good friends on Christmas Day and other friends on Boxing Day.
Had to go to the mall the next day to spend my gift cards at the Pandora store!!
DS2 was supposed to go to London, England on a flight this weekend but it was changed to Brisbane, Australia with a 50 hour layover.  He face timed us this morning.  He had already slept through the New Year's celebrations-he couldn't stay awake after the 15 hour flight.  He was having breakfast and it was already 34C at 10 a.m. When he gets back he will be on holiday until March and will be skiing in Utah the whole time.   What a tough life he has!!!!! 
We will be having DS3 and family for dinner tomorrow and then that will be the end of the holiday celebrations.  Those that have to will be going back to work or school and I will be spending a few days taking down the tree and putting away all the christmas decorations
It's all over for another year!!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Anniversary

We went to a fabulous Greek restaurant last night with our very good friends to celebrate both our wedding anniversaries.  We got married on the same date but 5 years apart.  We have celebrated together for the last 32 years.  The food was delicious and the company was fabulous.  

Today we are under a weather advisory, we are expecting 20cm of snow by tomorrow morning.  The snow started at about 8a.m. so we went to the grocery store at 9:30 to pick up the last few items we needed and we were home by 10:45.  It was getting pretty nasty out there by then so I'm glad we don't have to go out again until Christmas Day.  Oh yeah, how could I forget, we'll probably be out several times shovelling snow!!  The joys of living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains!!

Bye for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bobcat visit

We haven't seen a bobcat since Sept. 2015
This afternoon I noticed a couple of ladies looking at the front of our house so I pulled up the blinds to see what they were looking at.
This is what we saw.




 The bobcat had killed the rabbit in our front flower bed.  He grabbed hold of it and dragged it off down the street. The poor rabbit has been living underneath our hedge for about the last week.  I guess he was in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Books 13-20

The Naked Eye by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen
Kendra Michaels was instrumental in bringing serial killer Eric Colby to justice.  And despite his apparent execution at San Quentin, Kendra is convinced that Colby is still alive.  The problem is that she can't prove it.  Even her razor-sharp powers of observation-developed to an amazing capacity during the twenty years she spent blind, and now in constant demand by law enforcement agencies-have gotten her nowhere.
But then a reporter who very publicly humiliated Kendra is murdered.  Visiting the crime scene in search of anything that might link the brutal homicide to Colby, Kendra instead finds evidence that points to her.  Finally, Colby's master plan became clear to her: he is framing Kendra for murder.  Suspicions mount and Kendra is thrust into deadly pursuit to clear her name and catch the killer no one believes exists anymore.  A killer who is always nearby, watching...whose trail of destruction is invisible to the naked eye...and whose intentions only Kendra can see.
Apart from the very obvious love interest/connection this was a good book.  It kept you reading to see what would happen next.

The September Girls by Maureen Lee

 Liverpool, 1920, and on a stormy September night two women from very different backgrounds give birth to daughters in the same house.  Enemies at first, they become friends, united by their own separate troubles which turn their lives upside down.  But friendship between their daughters is another matter...
Nineteen years later, at the start of the Second World War, Cara and Sybil find themselves thrown together when they both enlist and are stationed in Malta.  It is a time that has life-changing repercussions for them both while, back home in Liverpool, the bombs rain down on a defiant city.
The September Girls is an engrossing story of two families, their loves, secrets, betrayals, and a powerful evocation of wartime Liverpool.
I always enjoy Maureen Lee books and this one didn't disappoint.

Born Bad by Josephine Cox
Harry always knew he would return one day...
Eighteen years ago, he made a hard decision that drove him from the place he loved.  Since then he carved out a life for himself, and found a semblance of peace.  Yet he is still haunted by the memory of the warm carefree girl with the laughing eyes.
For Judy Saunders, the pain of her past has left her deeply scarred.  Cut off from her family and trapped in a loveless marriage, the distant memories of her first love are her only source of comfort in a dark and dangerous world.
Years later, Harry is heading back.  Excited, afraid, and racked with guilt, he has little choice.  He must confront the past, and seek forgiveness.
Passionate and touching, there are parts that .are dragged out more than necessary and the ending is predictable, but it was a good read

 Yes, Mama by Helen Forrester
A triumph of innocence over hypocrisy.
Alicia Woodman was born into a home that should have been filled with comfort and joy.  Her mother Elizabeth was bright and vivacious, Humphrey Woodman was a prosperous businessman.  But Alicia was not Humphrey's child and he would have nothing to do with her, and before long Elizabeth, too, turned her back on her daughter.
It was left to Polly Ford, widow of a dock labourer, to bring Alicia up, to teach her to say 'Yes, Mama' and to give the child the love she so desperately needed.  In a hypocritical society full of thin-lipped disapproval, Alicia would learn that the human spirit can soar over adversity, and that, though blood may be thicker than water, love is the most powerful relationship of all...
It really is quite shocking to read how a child can spend all her life paying for something her mother did and she had no control over.

 Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen
Someone is watching...
He's a shadowy figure from her darkest nightmare and he hasn't forgotten her.  In one shocking instant he'd shattered Sophie Dunston's world forever.  Now she has only one thing to live for, her son, Michael.  And their nightmare is far from over,
Someone is waiting...
As one of the nation's top sleep therapists, Sophie knows how dreams can kill.  She specializes in the life-threatening night terrors that her son suffers from-but even his worst nightmares don't compare with the all-too-real terror that's about to begin.
Someone will die...
Sophie's only ally is a man as unpredictable as he is dangerous.  Matt Royd is a wild card-hard, cool, merciless-and putting him into play changes the game completely.  But if Sophie makes the wrong move, she won't wake up screaming.  She won't wake up.  Ever.
I enjoyed this book.  I didn't want to put it down-that's always a good sign!!!

 Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen
 Reeling from the loss of her own day-old infant, Angelica enters the household of the wealthy Cappelletti family to care for their newborn, Juliet.  The wet-nurse takes comfort in nurturing the child but soon finds herself in familial turmoil, with young Tybalt as her only ally.  Fourteen years later, as the family's secrets-and the nurse's own deep losses-reveal themselves, five momentous days of love and tragedy will destroy an entire family.
Commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Juliet's Nurse gives voice to one of his most memorable characters. Lois Leveen tells a surprising tale of loss and resilience, revealing that Verona's deepest love is found in the bond between a grieving woman and a precious child.
Well, this is one of those books that I really had to force myself to keep reading.  I hate to give up on a book, and very rarely do, so I persevered.  I found it dragged on and on and was basically about a woman obsessed with a child that she had convinced herself was hers.  Not a book I'd recommend.  Boring.

River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine
On the banks of the River Deben in Suffolk lie ancient barns dating back to Anglo Saxon times, within whose walls secrets have lain buried for centuries,
New arrivals Zoe and Ken move into one of the converted barns, ready to start a new life away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  To the outside world they seem happy, but they are growing ever more distant by the day.  Meanwhile the strange presence Zoe feels within their home and the ghostly shapes she sees through the cloying mists on the river are getting harder to ignore.
Nearby, farmers are ploughing the land beside the river and human bones are found.  Are they linked to the Victorian tragedy the locals whisper about?  What is the secret of the grassy mound which has remained untouched across many Found it very draggy and boring in parts.centuries, but has now been disturbed with seemingly devastating consequences?
I think because I had read several other books by this author I had high expectations when reading this book.   Unfortunately, I don't think it is one of her better books.  

 The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

A genius hacker who has always been an outsider.  A journalist with a penchant for danger.  She is Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo.  He is Michael Blomkvist, crusading editor of Millennium.  One night, Blomkvist receives a call from a source who claims to have been given information vital to the United States by a young female hacker.  Blomkvist, always on the lookout for a story, reaches out to Salander for help.  She, as usual, has plans of her own.  Together they are drawn into a ruthless underworld of spies, cyber criminals, and government operatives-some willing to kill to protect their secrets.
I think David Lagercrantz has done a good job carrying on where Stieg Larsson left off.  I didn't notice any difference in the writing from one to the other.  Great book.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rain,Rain, Hail, Rain, Hail, Rain & More Rain.

We have had so much rain and hail in the last 4 or 5 weeks that the flowers have just been destroyed.  We have had almost 3 times the average July rainfall and it's only the 20th of the month.The rain has come down in sheets and there has been flooding of streets and homes.  We were flooded in 2005 and so we had to rip out our basement and we put in a sump pump and a gravity system  I never want to go through that again.  
The weeds, lawn, bushes are growing like crazy!  A few of my lilies survived without getting too hammered.  




 I have had poppies off and on for over 30 years.  I didn't plant them but they have pretty well always been here.  In the last 5 years or so I have been pulling them out as they had started to look really puny.  Last year I probably had half a dozen tiny ones. Well, as you see below, this year they are back with a vengeance, and there are lots of them. They are back to how they use to be, huge and very full like very large carnations.  Unfortunately the majority of them have come up where I just planted a bleeding heart, lupin and transplanted a rose, all of which I can't even see now.  So, when they have finished flowering I'll be pulling them out before they develop the seed head.  They are very beautiful though.



 I made 11 jars of marmalade yesterday, forgot to take a picture!  As I'm the only one that eats it it should last me a while.  Very delish!!

Bye for now.





Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Books 6-12

Kitty and her Sisters by Maureen Lee

 It's 1950s Liverpool, and the war is a recent memory, although bereavements are still raw and rationing remains in force.  But at the age of nineteen, Kitty McCarthy is determined not to let the past affect her future.  She wants to live a life less ordinary, although she doesn't know quite how to go about it yet.
All Kitty does know is that she doesn't intend to get married and raise children in Liverpool, or follow in the footsteps of her older sisters-mother-hen Claire, easy going Norah, and elegant Aileen.
Then Kitty's resolve is tested when she finds herself with an almost impossible decision to make-and a chance meeting takes her life in an entirely new direction.
I enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed any other Maureen Lee books that I have read.  The main character, Kitty, is a bit of a rebel, especially for the 1950's.  She seems to go from one shocking (for the times) event to another.

The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark
 As an assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon, mother to four-year-old Katie, is accustomed to visiting opulent homes around the tristate area.  So when she is called to a modest town house in Bergen County, Lane knows the job is unusual.  Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.
Parker Bennett was last seen two years ago on his sailboat in the Caribbean before he vanished, along with the five billion dollar hedge fund he managed.  The scandal over whether Bennett was suicidal or staged his disappearance still continues.  His clients and the federal government all want to trace the money and find Bennett, if he is still alive.
Lane is surprised to find herself moved by Mrs. Bennett's calm dignity and faith in her husband's innocence and drawn to Eric, the Bennetts' son, who is similarly determined to prove his father is not guilty.  Lane doesn't realize that the closer she gets to the Bennetts the more she puts her life-and her daughter's life-in jeopardy.
Good fast read.  MGC's books are always in the same vein but I do enjoy reading them as they don't take much brain work and I can get through it really fast.

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen
 Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat Bertie Fischer and her older sister, Mabel, have no one but each other-with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings.  But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong.  A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.
It's amazing what can happen when someone doesn't deliver a letter when they said they would.  Kept my interest waiting to see what would happen in the end.

The Wonder of all Things by Jason Mott
 On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen year old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash.  He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.
Ava has an unusual gift:  she can heal others of their physical ailments.  Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret.  Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child.  But Ava's unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.
You end up feeling really sorry for all the main characters in this book.  Ava trying to help people but unable to without a huge cost to her.  Wash being her best friend and trying to help her, and Ava's dad who just wants to do the right thing for his family.  It's a good story.

The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka
 On a winter day in 1933, Helene Giroux arrives in a small town on the French shore of Nova Scotia.  She wears good city clothes and drives an elegant car; everything else she owns in the world fits into a suitcase and a trunk in the back seat.  She explores the town , and in the church discovers a fine old piano, a Molnar.  She knows just how fine it is, for her family manufactured these pianos in France for three generations before the Great War changed everything.
Helene attempts to settle into a simple life in the town, and the story moves back and forth in time as gradually she recalls the extraordinary events that brought her to this place.  They include the early loss of her soldier husband and the reappearance of an old suitor who rescued her and her daughter when they were at their most desperate.  Then came the journeys that very few women of her time could even imagine: travels into the forests of Indochina in search of ancient treasures, and finally, and fatefully, to the Canadian north.
For days after her arrival in St. Homais, the locals whisper rumours, but no one knows who she is.  When a town policeman confronts her, past and present abruptly converge and she must face an episode that she had hoped had been left behind forever.
I enjoyed this book and it turned into a did she or didn't she, guilty or innocent.

The Year of Past Things by M.A.Harper
Chef Phil Randazzo, owner of the trendy Tasso Restaurant in New Orleans, and his new wife, Michelle, are as happy as can be after deciding to spend the rest of their lives together.  Phil is pleased that Michelle's kids, Cam and Nichole, want him to be their new father because he wasn't sure if they wanted the position of dad filled after A.P. Savoie, their first dad, died in a car crash.  Savoie was a popular Cajun musician and a one-of-a-kind guy, but his family skills were unique, shall we say, and Phil hopes he can do much better.
But it's hard for Phil to concentrate because weird things are happening:  The cat suddenly has the ability to walk through locked doors and what might be the ghost of Savoie appears at will, haunting everyday objects and inhabiting computer games and TV sets.
Savioe's presence becomes stronger and stronger and the couple ask for help-psychics, exorcists, and local expertise are consulted.  No one can help, try as they might, and not even Chef Phil├Ęs James Beard Award can save him from this ominous ghost.  Phil knows that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, but Phil's not ready to meet his maker yet.  His only hope is that Savoie hasn't already arranged a meeting.
This sure was a weird story, although they do say that strange things like this do happen in New Orleans.  While I didn't give up on the book, I was glad when I finished it.  Not too impressed.

Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber
On the anniversary of his beloved wife's death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request.  An impossible request-I want you to marry again.  She tells him he shouldn't spend the years he has left grieving her.  And to that end she's chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah's list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a cafe on Seattle's Bloom Street.  The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah's oncology nurse.  Michael knows them both.  But the third name is one he's not familiar with-Macy Roth.
Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief.  More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef.  Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works.  And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she's a rescuer of strays, human and animal.  Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric-and couldn't be more different from Michael.
During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them...and about himself.  Learning what Hannah already knew.  He's a man who needs the completeness only love can offer.  And Hannah's list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.
I've never bought a Debbie Macomber book and yet I have read quite a few of them  For me, they are only a step or two up the ladder from Harlequin Romances.  You now the outcome just from reading the dust cover!  This book didn't disappoint,like all her other books, everybody 'lives happily ever after' at the end.  It was a cute story.

Phew, that's all for now!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Garden


Just some of the flowers blooming in the garden today.


This peonie  plant comes up to my shoulder and there are at least 50 blooms.





This is the most flowers the clematis has ever had.



Lots of pansies



 It's a shame this irises only last a few days'


Lots and lots of yellow roses




The hanging baskets are doing really well.  It takes an hour every day just to dead head!







Lots more to come!