Thursday, August 30, 2007

Taking a break from my urban lit research to blog for a bit. This research is very interesting as these books are filled with sex, drugs, and violence due to the ghetto settings. And, it is no surprise that teens are eating them up, especially black males between 16 and 25, a group we often think of as nonreaders. Urban lit makes up a large part of the African American Booksellers sales and some of these books are being self published and promoted - to the point of the author selling them out of the back of his or her car. These are young authors who know about marketing and how to sell things on the streets. Not exactly the process for getting a book published that many of us think of.

Finished reading Get More by Nia Stephens, the third title in the Boy Shopping series, which the back cover touts as an interactive novel. It reads like those old "Choose Your Own Adventure" titles. But, instead of choosing an adventure, Briona, who looks very much like Beyonce, is choosing between three boys she has met online. As a reader you can choose if she continues to date the guy or not. I picked this book up thinking it would fit into the urban lit genre but it really is chick lit. Rich teenage girl who divides her time between a fancy Manhattan apartment with her model mother and in LA with her rap video producer father. She's been in some of her father's videos and has had a few bit parts in movies, but she doesn't get the part in a teen soap opera because she doesn't know what love is. Well, not sure how many 17 year olds do, but Bree is intent on finding out and is seeking a guy who will love her for herself, not for her money, family, or fame. Chick lit used to be lily white but more and more chick lit titles have black or Hispanic protagonists. This series is a perfect example of the changes that are occurring in chick lit. Good changes! This is a Dafina Books for Young Readers, which is part of Kensington Publishing Corporation, one of the largest publishers of urban lit.

Did not get to read last night as I hoped as I was in too much pain to concentrate. Steve is so sweet - he found our copy of Casablanca and we watched that together while I curled up under an electric blanket with a heading pad behind my head. I went to the dentist yesterday morning knowing I had a filling that had to be replaced in my bottom right molar, realizing it was possible it would end up as a root canal and crown. Well, the filling the island dentist had put in was so poorly done that the inside of my tooth had continued to decay. The dentist took a digital picture of it and showed it to me - gross!! There wasn't enough tooth left to put a crown on so the dentist pulled the tooth. Even being totally numb from the Novocaine that wasn't much fun and much less fun when the Novocaine wore off. So I am back on painkillers and an antibiotic as I have one huge hole in the back of my mouth. She asked me if I wanted her to take a pic so I could see the crater - I said no thank you!! Now if it had been Mary, she would have loved it. When she was in school she would call and delightedly tell me about what she had seen in surgery. I would not make it in any medical profession - weak stomach! So next month I will go back to the oral surgeon who took out my wisdom teeth to start the process of an implant. They literally put a screw into the bone in your jaw. Oh yuck - I need to quit thinking about this. A friend reminded me today that all of these health issues started since we moved to Lexington, but I haven't been happier with where we live than I am right now so go figure! We are supposed leave to tomorrow for a couple of days in Branson, MO but I am not sure I am up for the 9 hour drive over there right now. Maybe a good night's sleep might change my mind. Last night both the cat and my "lack of tooth" woke me up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What fun I had this afternoon! I worked with two Freshman English groups who had read Graham McNamee's Acceleration for their summer reading requirement. In both groups I had two very verbal boys who had me laughing out loud a number of times. I was delighted to see girls in both groups, who had opinions and comments about the book and the main character's actions as well as questions about secondary characters. Tates Creek High School library is so cool! They have their own little coffee cafe where hot chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. is sold for $1 each. That's where my groups met. They also have a quiet reading area set aside with a rocker and other comfortable seating. Their color scheme is shades of purple and it works great. I could have spent hours in that library and most likely will now that I know how to get there!

Then I drove to the correct mall to see if the china cabinet I like is still on sale. I tried to do that yesterday but went to the wrong mall. After walking around the Fayette Mall Dillards and unable to find the door to the mall hallway I was looking for I asked for help. The salesman was amused but very nice to me when he explained I was in the wrong mall. I couldn't do anything about it then as I need MapQuest directions to get around Lexington still and I had gotten to that mall with directions from downtown where I had picked up my personalized license plate: FNSISU - Finnish sisu! I had directions to get home, but not to Turfland Mall. So I went today and the sale wasn't still on. Guess I will wait and see if they have a Labor Day sale. We bought a dining room table from there on Saturday and I should have just bought the china cabinet as it was 30% off the sale price, just like the table was.

Have a stack of Bearport books next to me, a cool children's non-fiction publisher with titles that will be a real hit with kids in elementary school libraries. Their books are similar to Capstone books in relation to the high quality of the color photographs. I have Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts: Super Bowl XLI, which has really great action shots, in my lap. I was reading through it while watching football last night. The text is not extensive, but that is not the point of these books. They pique the interest of the young reader and/or the resistant/reluctant older reader to get involved in the book, even if it is only reading the pictures and a bit of the text. They also help readers understand the purpose of a table of contents and index. Most of the Bearport titles also include glossaries and all have a link on the Bearport website: My favorite of the titles I have read is Meish Goldfish's Gray Wolves, a title in the America's Animal Comebacks series. The photographs of the wolves are excellent and I love how the text addresses the need for wolves to wean out the weak and old. When we lived in Alaska I saw a wolf in the wild and it was so incredibly beautiful and big! At that point, back in the late 70s and early 80s, they were shooting them from small planes because they were eating dogs off of chains in people's yards. They were not endangered in Alaska but people from the Lower 48 couldn't understand that. Anyway, the bindings on these books are strong and the series cover subjects both in the curriculum and those that interest kids - sports and dinosaurs, etc.

All for today - I should say so, it is almost 7:30. Having a "flexible schedule" just means we work longer hours!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm a happy camper - Steve came home and did something to make the wireless connection for the printer work from my laptop. I am still having problems since I caught that lovely computer virus while we were in Mexico. Sooner or later we are going to have to just purge the hard drive and reload my software, but I don't have another computer to use so I can't afford the time to leave it to be worked on at ECU.

I started doing some research on urban lit. Wow! Some of this stuff reads very close to porn. I found a few sites with excerpts and was almost blushing and I was alone in my office! Trying to find good YA level titles isn't as easy as it looks. But I am learning a lot! I found that very little of the urban lit is published by mainstream publishers. No surprise there. Not as easy to find, but worth the search. I picked up a couple of titles from series I hadn't heard of before when I was at Barnes and Noble in Greenville. Can you believe I have still to set foot in the B&N here in Lexington? Weird! But, I am a regular in the Half-Price Books.

Matter of fact, that is where I found the audiobook version of Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle, which is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. I was having a hard time turning off the car cause I wanted to hear more. I think part of it was because there were constant references to Alaska - the father in the book had been raised in an Inuit village and was harassed because of being white. I related to that from the two years we lived in Galena, an Athabascan Indian village on the banks of the Yukon back in the late 1970s. I was the Head Start teacher and went to training in Nome. I was the only white person there and certainly did not fit in. But, I did get a chance to try whale blubber - chewy and gross! And, an old Eskimo guy thought I was so white that he wanted to adopt me. Now I can smile about it but there were times I felt so out of place I wanted to just stay home. Then I had Mic and he was the hit of the basketball games we went to and was passed around the bleachers. I'd get him back and he'd smell like dried fish! His first winter outfit was a rabbit bunting with a fox fur collar. Still have the picture - he looked adorable!

Okay, back to The Tenth Circle, which is intended for the adult reader, but will have high teen appeal as it is about a Freshman girl who says she was raped by the boy who she was trying to get back as her boyfriend. Picoult pulls no punches about what happens at teen parties when parents aren't in attendance. But, this book is more about the aftermath of how Trixie is treated in school after she accuses Jason, a hot shot hockey player, of rape. From his point of view it was consensual and he figured she was out for revenge because he broke up with her. Trixie's father is a stay at home dad and graphic novel artist and the mother is an English professor. The title comes from her obsession with Dante's The Inferno. The perspective shifts among the people involved, including the police officer who is intent on finding out what really happened the night Trixie ended up at the hospital, as well as what happened on the bridge the night Jason's hockey career came to an end. Add the mother's affair with one of her students to the mix and you have a very intense dysfunctional family situation that the vicarious listener/reader just can't walk away from until he/she knows what "really" happened, if that is possible. I find Picoult a fascinating author as she most often writes about teens but she isn't writing for teens.

Now for dinner - pepperoni pizza with black olives and no cheese.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eighteen hours of driving and two days of meetings later I am back home. The trip to the chiropractor was much needed today as my neck and shoulders are very sore from the driving. But, no signs of the vertigo - yahoo!!

Isn't it interesting how messy a house can get when only a guy is in it? I got home at 10:00 last night to a sink full of dishes and a full laundry hamper. So, those chores got done today while I caught up on email and other "stuff". My 3 days of snail mail is still sitting on the kitchen counter. I will get to that this evening.

Sitting next to me on the desk is an advanced reading copy of Alex Flinn's Beastly, which will be out from HarperCollins in October. Flinn has delved into the Beauty and the Beast lore and made it her own with this captivating modern retelling. The beast is the self centered preppie, Kyle, who gets turned into a beast by a witch he plays a very mean prank on concerning taking her to dance at their exclusive private school. But, no one is more self centered and self serving than his TV anchorman father who is more concerned about what having a beastly son may do to his own image. So he basically imprisons Kyle in a home no where near Manhattan where he might be seen by the beautiful people. Kyle is left with the housekeeper and a blind college student who is to be his tutor. In his boredom, and with a basically unlimited credit line, Kyle creates a beautiful rose garden in the tiny plot of ground behind the house and creates a beautiful environment for - you guessed it - his Beauty. But, she would not have been his type before he became beastly. Kyle learns the true meaning of beautiful - oh yes, this knowledge comes with their time together as he matures into the man he will become. An absolutely delightful urban retelling of a story so mature in theme that every time I think of Disney and those d--n dancing teacups I could scream! This is a coming of age story, not one for our toddlers. And, Flinn has given it back to us as a modern coming of age tale, beastly and beautiful, all at the same time. A YA novel for every collection.

All for today.

Friday, August 17, 2007

At last - rain! It thundered like crazy last night and then the rain came. I could hear the grass and bushes sighing in relief! It was 104 degrees outside yesterday when we drove to Lake Cumberland, with the top down on Steve's car. We were both drenched in sweat, but what great fun, with Gordon Lightfoot on the stereo. For such a large lake, we didn't have much luck finding it! We saw glimpses of it in places and found a boat landing, etc. but there wasn't much to look at since the water level is so low. I was not very impressed, but I grew up in Upper Michigan, just minutes from a swimming lake and a short drive from Lake Superior. So, these man made lakes from dammed up rivers just aren't real lakes to me.

Had an early Christmas when boxes of books from Scholastic arrived. To keep myself in the mood I have Scrooged on in the background. Every time I see it (well, actually listen this time) I catch something I missed last time. I rarely ever just sit and watch a movie - I am always doing something else at the same time. Seems like such a waste of time! But, there is never a bad time to watch a Christmas movie. Steve has been teasing me there is no place in the living room for the Christmas tree. Well, it is going to go in the dining room this year, since it is empty at the moment. Haven't found the "perfect" dining room set we can afford yet.

Oh yeah - back to the boxes of books from Scholastic. I had Christmas on the mind! I grabbed one of the Bluford High series to read right away as I have been hearing good things about this series based on a group of African American teens who attend a high school in urban California. I read Payback, which is about Freshman Tyray Hobbs, a bully who loses his power when one of his victims gets the best of him with a wrestling move and knocks him to the floor of the cafeteria, with the rest of the his victims watching. Everyone is delighted, but Tyray. Intent on getting his power back, Tyray lies and steals to get the money for a gun so he can intimidate the other students, especially Darrell, the wrestler. Raised in a family where the father is a big bully himself, Tyray knows no different. Well written, no. Didactic, yes. But, worth having in a JH and HS collection - yes. This series address issues that inner city teens deal with, but the short and easy to read titles are minus the street language that causes many of the other contemporary teen titles to be an issue in some high schools. The reading level is low enough for even the most reluctant/resistant reader.

Okay - now to go through paperwork, print out meeting agendas, etc. to get myself ready for the trip to Greenville.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Up early this overcast Thursday morning. Steve was out turning the sprinklers on at 7:30, trying to give our new bushes and the grass a drink before it gets too hot. It was 102 degrees on my car thermometer yesterday. Took a long time for the car to cool down. I wish this heat would end. Our poor little spruce tree we planted out front is looking pretty pathetic. Only green on the very top these days. We may have to replace him.

Spent most of yesterday cleaning up in this office trying to find the floor so that Steve can put my desk in here, if it comes while I am in Greenville. We aren't having great luck with shipments. Our bedroom furniture took three attempts before we got it all undamaged. The driver told me the desk was damaged and I should refuse it, so I did. I want to get my office set up so I can actually do some writing and lay things out. I have piles everywhere since I have no desktop space right now.

I did find my copy of Chris Crutcher's Deadline and read it, almost in one sitting. You know from the start that Ben is going to die, but you still want to find out the ending. I know that sounds weird, but only by reading the book can you understand that comment. Ben is such a fascinating, quirky young man who approaches his impending death as the way to take the chances he would not have otherwise. He's a little guy but goes out for football and plays next to his quarterback brother Cody. He goes after the girl of his dreams and gets her. For a guy who is dying, Ben has a pretty good life. Too bad he hasn't told his family or anyone else in his personal life that he is dying. Even the therapist the doctor insists he see bails on him. He's too much for her to handle emotionally. So, Ben talks to Hey-Soos, the guy he meets in his dreams who looks a lot like what he thinks Jesus might and a bit like himself. You gotta love Hey-Soos' attitude! And he seeks out Rudy, the town drunk, who has a signed copy of Malcom X. Rudy turns out to be much more than Ben bargained for when he opens up about his past and why he stays drunk most of the time. As always, Crutcher throws a kitchen sink full of teen/family/social issues into this book, from mental illness, to racism, to child sexual abuse, but it all works because Crutcher is a master at crafting the teen issue/problem novel. One of my favorite new titles so far. It's a Greenwillow/HarperCollins title and will be out in September 2007. A gotta have in any teen collection, public or high school.

That's it for today.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Where did this day go, let alone the whole weekend. I am losing time too quickly! Fall semester begins on Monday for me. Actually on Sunday as I will drive over to Greenville the day before. One meeting after another all day Monday and 1/2 of the day on Tuesday and then I will head back home. So, I need to take advantage of this week and have a little fun between the chiropractor visits! I am learning to left hand mouse click to give my right shoulder a bit of a break as I spend so much time on the computer, which isn't helping the pinched nerve much. But, I can't say that is "fun".

Just got back from Kohl's and Old Navy. Our granddaughter Allyson starts K next week and she is excited. Decided she needed some fun clothes so I headed out shopping. Will have to show them to Grampa Steve tonight and then Gramma Ruth (me) will get them UPSed out tomorrow so Monica can bring back what doesn't fit. Wish I could have had Ally with me while I was shopping. That would have been more fun. I remember enjoying school clothes shopping when Mary and Mic were little, but Mic was always more picky than Mary.

I spent most of my weekend in the closet - literally! Now that we have bedroom furniture with drawers I had no excuse but to get things put away. You could barely get into our walk-in closet with all the stuff in there. Had to buy another over the door rack for my shoes. It seems as I get older and heavier I buy more shoes than I do clothes! I guess they are easier to fit. Mostly all summer shoes as I tend to wear boots all Fall and Winter. With as hot as it has been here I am looking forward to Autumn and the cooler temperatures.

Along with cleaning I did get a bit of reading done this weekend and finished Gail Giles' Right Behind You. The story starts out in rural Alaska, with a young boy grieving the death of his mother and boiling with anger over what he can't have because of where they live and his father's harsh treatment toward him since his mother died. They are both too deep in grief to realize something is ready to explode and it is Kip who loses it when the neighbor boy taunts him with his baseball glove. Kip is angry, way too angry to be near gasoline. He wanted to destroy the glove so he threw the gasoline on Bobby's glove, but it also got on his arm, his chest and his face. When the lighter sparked in Kip's hand it was too late to take back his anger. He had killed a 9 year old boy and no one in Alaska is every going to let him forget that, least of all Kip. Kip is now a teenager and his family has grown to add a stepmother and they have left Alaska and he has a new name, but a new name is not enough for Kyle let his inner Kip let go of his self loathing and guilt over what he did. The steps, wrong turns included, this teenager takes to come to terms with what he did and how it will impact his life forever is both raw and touching. As a mother I just wanted to reach out and hug this kid, realizing that he could be any one of our children whose anger got the best of them and a stupid response cost someone else their life. As always, Giles goes for the jugular and doesn't let go until the end. I will most definitely be booktalking this one. It is a Little Brown title and should be out next month, September 07.

Now to go open the two boxes of books that came from Scholastic. :-) I am sure I will add many more to my "gotta read" pile.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Heat advisories in effect for Lexington - in the low 100's, but I just put socks on to keep my feet warm! Turned the air down from 75 to 78. Steve is normally too warm and I often have a flannel shirt on over my t-shirt so when he is gone the temp. goes up! But, on the other hand, I can't handle the extreme heat either. So I am happy here in my little office for now. Will work on Fall courses until I go the chiropractor and get some relief from this headache. Vertigo is still trying to raise its vicious head but I am dealing with it.

Finished Patrick Jones' Chasing Tail Lights last night, which is set in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so the cities below the bridge were as far away as another state. We spent more time in Wisconsin and Minnesota than Lower Michigan, until my older brothers went to college and moved down to Troll country - below the bridge. Jones opens the reader's eyes to what it is like growing up in a poor urban white, very dysfunctional family. Christy has two older brothers and a little sister - all with different fathers. Christy misses her trucker father who has died and often thinks of him telling her that, sometimes when you are lost, chasing the tail lights in front of you will take you were you want to go. Christy spends a lot of time on the over pass chasing tail lights in her mind, wanting to get out of town and away from her life. When her best friend Anne gets a car they do literally chase tail lights, but they never get far out of town. Christy has had a crush on the same guy for years, but she won't talk to Anne about sex. For good reason - she has been abused by her older step-brother for years. Through the use of flashbacks, Jones takes the reader back through Christy's life so we can see the hell she has lived with and how she blames herself for what is happening to her. It takes a caring teacher who also grew up in urban poverty to help Christy stand up for herself and ask for the help she needs. Jones pulls no punches when he addresses the issue of sexual abuse, but he does not include graphic descriptions of the abuse, which make the incidents even more intense in their starkness. I found myself holding my breath as I was relating to Christy's connection of smell to her step-brother's abuse. The teacher's dialog gets a bit "preachy" at times and the repetition of "chasing tail lights" can be distracting, but overall this is an excellent novel to add to a YA collection. This is a Walker title that should be out sometime this month. The short interview with Jones in the back is an interesting addition and offers the reader some insight into the author, who many of us know as one of the best YA librarians on the planet. :-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Another week is upon us. Where has this summer gone? Just got a reminder that I will be leading a book discussion group for Graham McNamee's Acceleration later this month at Tate's Creek HS here in Lexington. Their librarians are really proactive and a fun group of ladies to work with. Can't wait to meet some of the teens. I have to put a group of discussion questions together for our group time and I can't help but wonder if any of the other readers screamed at Duncan, "This is no stereotypical horror movie, don't go down those stairs!" Don't you just hate it when you are watching a suspenseful movie, especially teen horror movies, and the character walks right into what is certain terror or death? Me - I'm a wimp. Unless I had to go in there to get a loved one, there is no way I'd go down those cellar stairs!

Really wish McNamee's Hate You, written in 2000, would come back in print. Seventeen year old Alice has been writing songs that no one, even she, can sing. Stepping in between her father and mother when he was strangling her, 10-year-old Alice took the brunt of his anger instead and has badly damaged vocal chords. Her hate for him has simmered all these years and has been written down in her songs. So how is she supposed to deal with a request to visit him now that he is dying of cancer?

Been reading the textbook I chose for my Materials for Young Adults course this semester and though I really like how easy it is to read and how accessible the lists of books are I am really disappointed in the definition of young adults as ages 11 through 18. So, a majority of the titles in the bibliographies are for tweens, not teens. It will work for the basics, but I need to rethink my textbook choice for Fall 2008. I am at the point where I would like to just write my own Materials for Older Young Adults textbook and be done with it. I guess if I had 48 hours in the day I might be able to do that. Oh well, enough complaining about that - it won't get my course online any quicker. Classes start already the 22nd! That is only 16 days away.

But, on the positive side, my darling husband left the reservations for our trip to Branson for Labor Day weekend on my computer to find this a.m. Friday through Monday. I am not even going to take my laptop or cell phone with me! :-) Need to start looking at who is playing during that time period. Steve doesn't want to go the Kentucky State Fair where all kinds of great country bands are playing including Rascal Flats. Oh well, I'll live, since I am not crazy about big crowds either.

On to working on classes until I get the sheer pleasure of a massage at 3:00 and then the chiropractor. I set my laptop on top of two reams of paper to put it up higher on my desk so that I am not looking down so much, which is killing my neck. I ordered a new L-shaped desk from Staples last night and Steve said he would get a nice big monitor for me when the desk comes in. :-) Not sure he is thinking about the fact that he is going to have to put this desk together.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sitting here watching The Today Show. Couldn't miss Vince Gill and Amy Grant. I was a big Vince Gill fan back in the 90s but he kinda fell off my radar screen. Actually, I don't listen to music as much as I used to since I started listening to books in the car. That was my music time. But, I did order Alison Krause's new CD as I enjoyed the concert so much. Saw the coverage on the fiasco about Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's concert in Louisiana. Some woman grabbed him by the crotch and then another pulled a ring right off his hand. He literally stopped the show and had security search the area. Some how it ended up on the floor near the stage. Yeah - after the woman who pulled if off his hand dropped it. Faith didn't take too well to the woman fondling her husband and gave her a piece of her mind. She is one feisty woman!

Speaking of feisty women, I would have to add Gail Giles to that group. She was a hoot to listen to at the YALSA Preconference at the ALA Conference in DC. She didn't pull any punches about the difficulties of being a teen. Clearly she goes for the edginess of adolescence in her books. I finally read What Happened to Cass McBride? Very interesting book as it leaves you rethinking who is the victim, the girl in the box buried under the ground or the older brother of the suicide victim who put her there. And, rethinking just how deadly words can be, inflicting wounds that never heal over. Cass acknowledges she is a bit on the shallow side - she chooses the guys she dates dependent upon what they can do for her to build her college application content! She knows which guys to date to be voted Prom Queen, etc. She know what has to be done to keep in her father's good graces. He is as cold and slick as the black metal and glass furniture in their almost all white house. Cass is terrified but know she has to use her ability to manipulate a person and cause self doubt to get herself out of the box and in the process finds out the abuse that occurs in her abductor's family. Perhaps he is the victim after all. Gail has a way of going for the jugular and she does so again with this book. A great book to booktalk and can't wait to add it to my presentation notes. :-)

I think I may be seeing light at the end of the vertigo/headache tunnel. After going to the ear, nose, and throat specialist and not being able to get the symptoms to kick in while I was there, and being told I would have to wait at least 3 weeks to get in for the battery of vertigo/balance battery of tests, I was at wit's end. I woke up on at 2 a.m. Monday in so much pain that I was in tears. Decided to give up on the medical approach for now and went to a chiropractor. I was tired of being handed prescriptions for the symptoms and pain, with no "fix" in sight. I had great luck with chiropractic care back in Alaska and called for an appointment. I think it was fate as the closest one to us is Dr. Steven Book! How appropriate, a doctor named Book for a librarian. :-) A look at my MRI films from back in 2005 when I had headaches and numbness in my right arm and doing a new set of x-rays, the problem is in the same area of my neck. Always thought I was a bit "twisted" - now I know for sure I am! My spine literally turns to the right as it reaches my neck. The twist is causing the bones to pinch a nerve. So far so good - I am moving my neck much better and the headache pain is easing. And, though I have my fingers crossed, it is seems to be helping with the vertigo as well. In reality, he is doing pretty much what they did in physical therapy back in 2005, along with manipulation. I get a 1/2 hour massage later this a.m. before he tries to work on my neck for a bit. After basically losing my summer to the pain and vertigo I am frustrated as my lucid/awake moments were spent grading and interacting with my summer school students. So here it is less than 3 weeks before Fall semester starts and I have to get two courses online, both with new textbooks so I have my work set out for me. And there went summer 2007 for Ruth! I am trying to get myself psyched for Fall here in Kentucky with the beautiful color and cool weather when Steve and I can go on long walks - there are walking trails everywhere here in Lexington. They put one in right across the street from us that we haven't even explored yet. I miss being able to walk without worrying about falling on my face due to the vertigo!

All for now. Want to get a bit of work done before I head out to the chiropractor. Hopefully it will give me enough relief to get through the weekend.