Monday, January 24, 2011

That isn't a dog - it is horse! Mary is tall for a woman so that just shows you how big their dog is! I love the second pic of the boys - wonder who wore who out! I've yet to see this "puppy" and I am nervous around big dogs because of my balance. Can you imagine trying to dry her feet from a romp in the snow? I was talking on the phone to Mary the other day and I she was fussing at Michael as apparently he and Chloe had a snow fight and Cloe lost and brought her white blanket into the house with her. I was laughing but Mary certainly wasn't! :-)

Mary and the two little ones are coming down for my Spring break. :-) Can't wait! We are going to be lazy and lay around the pool and let the kids wear themselves out - at least I hope so. If it stays this cold they won't be doing any swimming, but it should be plenty warm for that by early March. Steve has solar panels floating in the pool - they look like big blue lily pads. They are supposed to warm the water up by we have a shady back yard due to our huge cypress and palm trees so they don't work real well.

Steve's Mom got here Sunday night. Sophie's nose is bent out of shape as she has a little dog that is considerably smaller than Sophie is. :-) They were nose to nose at first and now Sophie is just plain ignoring Carmen. Now I remember why I love cats - you don't have to take them out to do their thing - you can clean out a litter box in your pjs! Well, you could take a dog out in your pjs too but its cold down here as far as I'm concerned. I'm all bundled up in wool sox and a fleece shirt. Haven't worn shorts since before Thanksgiving and this is supposed to be South Florida! Was 46 degrees this morning when I got up at 5:00.

I've read a really odd mix of books lately. That reminds me - I need to get the VOYA review done for Jo Walton's Among Others If you are into SF this is your book. It is a booklist of the best SF ever written weaved into a heartbreaking YA novel about a fascinating Welsh teen. Not sure when the review will be published but I won't review it here. Just wanted to mention it - it hits stores this month.

I saw the cover of Shipwrecks, Monsters, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes by Ed Butts. and I knew I had to flip through to find the chapter on the Edmund Fitzgerald. It had to be there - it is one of the most famous, if not most famous, Great Lakes shipwreck. And Gordon Lightfoot brought this tragedy to life in his haunting ballad Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I grew up hearing horror stories about Lake Superior and how it is so cold that when you drown your body sinks to the bottom. Twenty-nine crew members died on that ore carrier during a November storm in 1975. Their bodies were never found and the theories raged until earlier this year when researchers concluded the ship had been swamped by a 50 ft. rouge wave. They were once though legend, but they have been proven real on Lake Superior.

As kids we used to see the ore carriers go by when we were at the lake and they'd come in fairly close when seeking shelter from storms. They were just a part of life. There was a coal dock on the "way to town" as we said - it was on the way to Houghton/Hancock in Upper Michigan and ore boats were often at the dock. So when this huge ore carrier sank, we realized anyone on those ships was at risk. 1975 is a long time ago now but I can still see grown men cry when Lightfoot's song came on the radio. Everyone knew someone who had lost a friend or family member on the boats. It still raises the hair on my arms when I hear it.

Although not as close to home to me, I read the other shipwreck entries and those on lake monsters, such as the Nessie type sightings (never had one myself). This may be a region favorite for the states and provinces that border the Great Lakes, but the drawing of waves crashing against a lighthouse against a black background on the front cover will get some of the boys attention even if they have never seen an ore boat or swam in the Great Lakes.

However, one never forgets swimming in the icy waters of Lake Superior in early summer - BRRRR!!! Nor will I forget my frozen fingers dropping a friend's shirt down the hole in the outhouse when we were shivering and trying to chance out of our wet swimsuits!

I always pick up debut novels and Stay Kramer and Valerie Thomas' Karma Bites caught my eye due to the lime green color and the girl looking like she is up to something (which she is) as she lifts the lid of a box emanating light. A quick perusal of the author information and the note that Kramer had produced one of my all time favorite "sleeper" movies, Ulee's Gold with Peter Fonda sure got my attention. Here's the Wikipedia info for it: It is such a beautiful quiet movie that touches the heart. It's about a quiet beekeeper and what he does to help his granddaughters safe as well as help his daughter-in-law detox. The character reminds me of so many of the quiet men I grew up around even though it is set in the South. I also love this movie because it addresses tupelo honey, which has fascinated me ever since I heard Van Morrison sing Tupelo Honey the first time in the early 70s. He sings the chorus and his splendid voice slides over the words "She's as sweet as tupelo honey" and I can't help but smile. But then again, there isn't a Morrison song I don't love!

Anyway, Karma Bites is a bit of delightful fluffy candy. Not a whole lot of substance, but a fun read for MS girls who like magic. Franny's Granny is staying with them and she brought a box with her that was given to her by Lama, who knows Justin Timberlake, but I digress! Franny discovers how the box grants wishes through funky recipes and she decides to fix the problems in her life, including the fact that her two best friends no longer hang out with each other. One has become a popular cheerleader and the other is a band geek. Franny spends her time running between their two after school practices. There are some laugh out loud moments in this plain fun to read romp, with a few lessons thrown in from Granny and recipes that go wrong. Middle School girls who like tween chic lit will eat it up, but I'm not too keen on a 12-year-old talking about looking hot at the end of the book. I guess I'm a bit of a prude that way.