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How do you feel when you return home at the end of the day?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health, Home, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 06-09-2011

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fractured reality/grace under pain

The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How do you feel when you return home at the end of the day?

I’m not sure I should have answered this one, as I doubt that my answer will be in sync with the intent of the ques­tion. I don’t leave home every day to go to work, or leave home every day, peri­od.

How­ev­er, when I do leave home, how I feel when I return depends on many fac­tors. How did I feel before leav­ing? How long was I gone, and how much phys­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al, and emo­tion­al ener­gy did I have to expend while I was out? Did I have to deal with any­thing unex­pect­ed, good or bad? How many peo­ple was I around? Were they strangers or peo­ple known to me? Did I encounter them all at once, or in small groups of one or two at a time? Was Sam with me as a buffer? fHow’s my blood sug­ar? Am I well hydrat­ed? What was the weath­er like? Did I remem­ber to take my reg­u­lar med­ica­tions? What about tak­ing break­through pain med­ica­tion, anx­i­ety med­ica­tion, or a mus­cle relax­ant before I found myself in a state where they wouldn’t work very well? Did I use my scoot­er if there was much walk­ing? How noisy was the envi­ron­ment? Was it drafty, or over­ly hot or cold? Did I have to dri­ve? Was I out to do some­thing I want­ed to do, or was I doing some­thing I had to do?

Fre­quent­ly, I’m so dog-tired that I can bare­ly drag myself in the door. I have actu­al­ly fall­en asleep sit­ting in the car, in the driver’s seat, more than once. (There are plen­ty of rea­sons that I do not dri­ve much any more.) Deal­ing with the secu­ri­ty sys­tem seems an intel­lec­tu­al chal­lenge designed for Ein­stein. I’m eas­i­ly con­fused and my mem­o­ry is beyond poor. Even if I am dehy­drat­ed or I need to eat, I’m too tired to be inter­est­ed in food or even water. If I was out for too long, or if it was a par­tic­u­lar­ly stress­ful peri­od, I get a fever and my body reacts as if I’m in shock. I feel like I’m freez­ing, no mat­ter what the actu­al tem­per­a­ture around me is, and I start shak­ing bad­ly.

So that’s how I feel most days when I return home at the end of the day, if I’ve had to leave home. I think that should go a long way towards explain­ing why I’m such a home­body these days! I am for­tu­nate in that I have Sam, Katie, and oth­ers in my life, so I am able to have a ful­fill­ing life with­out being very adven­tur­ous.

What was your favourite part about returning to school?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Education, Memories | Posted on 05-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
What was your favourite part about return­ing to school?

Back to School by Lel4nd (Leland Francisco)

That’s not an easy ques­tion. It wasn’t cool to acknowl­edge being hap­py to return to school each year, of course, so while I was glad, I didn’t real­ly acknowl­edge it to myself. As a result, it is more dif­fi­cult to access those mem­o­ries.

Even though I knew there would be end­less amounts of review each year, I was always excit­ed about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of learn­ing some­thing new. After we left Gads­den, I was able to look for­ward to school library access, too. (The ele­men­tary school I attend­ed in Alaba­ma didn’t even have a library, and back then, the Gwin­nett Coun­ty Pub­lic Library wasn’t the award win­ning facil­i­ty that it is now.)

I also had a secret hope that maybe this would be the year when I would meet some­one like me. Some­one else who didn’t fit in. Some­one who pre­ferred books to most peo­ple, who either didn’t go to church or was only there because his or her par­ents forced the issue, who would be will­ing to dis­cuss the ques­tions brought up by all the con­tra­dic­tions in the Bible and var­i­ous church’s teach­ings (and how preach­ers and oth­er church lead­ers actu­al­ly lived). Some­one who didn’t think it was bad to be intel­li­gent, maybe even some­one who would admit to day­dream­ing and mak­ing up new sto­ries about peo­ple they’d read about, or com­plete­ly new sto­ries of their own. The kind of peo­ple you didn’t run into just because your par­ents bought hous­es in the same neigh­bor­hood, or went to the same church, or worked for the same com­pa­ny.

I did meet some­one who became a dear friend in the first week of my Junior year, on the bus, in fact. She even lived in my neigh­bor­hood! I con­tin­ue to be amazed by the fact that I said some­thing to her first, as she’s far more extro­vert­ed than I have ever been. Dorothea is a trea­sure, and I will always be thank­ful for meet­ing her.

Happy Birthday, Daddy & Matt!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 04-09-2011

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I spent most of today with my fam­i­ly at my par­ents’ house. It was a won­der­ful vis­it!

I got to meet my youngest nephew, Eli, for the first time. I was ill every time my broth­er and his brood came to town after his birth last fall (turned out I had pneu­mo­nia — I real­ly should learn to go to the doc­tor instead of try­ing to ignore should things). He’ll be a year old next month, and he’s such a doll! He looks a lot like Matt did as a baby, but even more like his old­er broth­er, Jack. He’s sweet­ly tick­lish even though he is teething a bit, and I got to nib­ble on his toes! (He gnawed on my hand a bit too, so it all evened out.) He has a very strong grip and is at the “grab every­thing” stage, but I antic­i­pat­ed that and didn’t both­er wear­ing ear­rings. I’m glad that I got my hair cut short again this week, as it left far less hair for him to pull at.

See­ing Jack next to my sister’s boy, Will, though, is a trip — they look more like broth­ers than cousins! Jack’s twin, Sadie, is beau­ti­ful. She reminds me of Katie at that age in some ways, but she’s very much her own per­son, with very strong opin­ions. Matt and his wife have love­ly, well-behaved chil­dren. And just in the last year, Will has gone from look­ing like a lit­tle boy to, well, not! And he’s only 7 years old! Although he says, “I’m sev­en now, you know,” with a grav­i­tas that makes it sound as if he’ll be join­ing the mil­i­tary any day now. He def­i­nite­ly lives life at one speed, and that is full ahead!

Mom and Dad cooked way too much food for break­fast — SOS, bis­cuits, eggs, lots of fruit, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and I can’t even remem­ber what else. Lat­er on we had cakes and ice cream, of course (yogurt for those of us who don’t do ice cream so much). I wimped out and try­ing both cakes, but I was being dar­ing enough to have a small slice of one. Then Mom told us that Dad­dy had been cook­ing all day Sat­ur­day, using the smok­er! I rode up there with Katie and her boyfriend, who had plans for lat­er today, so we left before any­one else did. I don’t think I could pos­si­bly have eat­en anoth­er bite, but I hope the oth­ers stayed for anoth­er meal. I know the food cer­tain­ly smelled good.

Even though the kitchen and din­ing room tables are huge, we filled both of them. Unlike the hol­i­day meals of my youth, we didn’t sep­a­rate into adult and children’s tables. Per Will’s wish­es, we had the “men’s” and “women’s” tables for break­fast, but end­ed up all mixed for cake and ice cream (he was so dis­ap­point­ed). From that I fig­ured him to be at the “girls have cooties” stage, but appar­ent­ly boys and girls don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly go through such a stage any more. Who knew?

I took an iPad, because I was asked to review an app and need­ed help from chil­dren. I had absolute­ly no idea just how pop­u­lar it would be! We could have kept sev­er­al more busy. On sec­ond thought, if there had been sev­er­al more avail­able, it might not have been as fun. After the boys dis­cov­ered the cam­era func­tion, there was a lot of silli­ness. I was glad the gad­get has a case, but for fur­ther fam­i­ly occa­sions, I think it needs one that’s more child-grip­pable. Maybe some­thing rub­ber­ized? In any case, the device is even more fun with kids. I feel much younger now as a result. We played sil­ly games, col­ored, took pic­tures, and played more sil­ly games. I should have loaded up some Trout Fish­ing in Amer­i­ca and oth­er good music. I will cer­tain­ly do so for future occa­sions!

I gave the twins their copy of Clean Water for Eli Rose by Ari­ah Fine, and they must have liked it. They each had each of their par­ents, Mom, and me read it to them at least once that I know of in less than an hour. They may have also got­ten Katie and my sis­ter to read it to them, as well. It looks as though it’s going to be in heavy sto­ry time rota­tion for a while. I could see some wheels turn­ing for Sadie, so I’m hop­ing she’ll get more than just a sto­ry out of it. If she asks ques­tions, Jack will def­i­nite­ly fol­low.

It was the best fam­i­ly day I can remem­ber ever hav­ing. I’m get­ting the pho­tos off my phone and the iPad. I hope they came out well, but whether they did or not, we’ll have the mem­o­ries.

The Hateful Tea Party, Its True Origins, and President Obama’s Accomplishments

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Civil Rights, politics | Posted on 03-09-2011

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I was chal­lenged in com­ments on a friend’s Face­book wall yes­ter­day “pro­vide us with a spe­cif­ic exam­ple of Tea Par­ty hate ful (sic) speach and some thing good that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has done for our coun­try.” The com­menters there also claimed that “THE TEA PARTY HAS NO REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS” and seemed to be under the impres­sion that it is a grass roots move­ment, which is a claim friends of mine have also made. Rather than post this infor­ma­tion in more than one place, I decid­ed to make one post in my blog and refer to it in the future.

First, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has accom­plished plen­ty of things dur­ing his term. I start­ed to make my own list, then decid­ed that it’s fool­ish to rein­vent the wheel. The most com­pre­hen­sive list I’ve found is here: Accom­plish­ments of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. While some peo­ple may not think some of those things are accom­plish­ments, I doubt there’s any­one who can argue with all of them. I’d add to the list the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead. That hap­pened dur­ing Obama’s pres­i­den­cy. His peo­ple were able to keep a lid on the infor­ma­tion about bin Laden’s where­abouts and the oper­a­tion long enough to get that bas­tard. The fact that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell pol­i­cy in the mil­i­tary is over is pret­ty damned impor­tant, too.

Those accom­plish­ments look much bet­ter, too, when you real­ize two things:

  1. The IMF informed Pres­i­dent Bush that they intend­ed to audit the U.S. back in June 2008. Bush just put them off until the end of his term.
  2. While Oba­ma is often blamed for the mas­sive deficit, that’s inac­cu­rate. The 2009 fis­cal year began before Oba­ma even took office, and the bud­get for that year was almost entire­ly deter­mined by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. There was an 88% increase in spend­ing dur­ing the years of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, com­pared to only a 7.4% increase dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. That’s why Bush inher­it­ed a $128 bil­lion sur­plus from Clinton’s last bud­get, and bequeathed a $1.4 tril­lion deficit to Oba­ma.

I know per­fect­ly well that the tea par­ty (no caps) was orig­i­nal­ly billed as a grass roots move­ment about fis­cal issues and against big gov­ern­ment. Yes, gath­er­ings to sup­port Ron Paul’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign were called “tea par­ties,” and those issues were cen­tral to his cam­paign.

How­ev­er, there was appar­ent­ly no talk of a Tea Par­ty (note the caps) dur­ing those gath­er­ings, and after Oba­ma was elect­ed, the name was co-opt­ed for anti-Oba­ma ral­lies by Repub­li­can oper­a­tives, led by Dick Armey and mouth­piece Rick San­tel­li. Of course, if they’d said, “We’re orga­nized by lob­by­ists for big busi­ness, because guys like Steve Forbes and the Koch broth­ers don’t want mid­dle class peo­ple to have help pay­ing their mort­gages!” then mid­dle class peo­ple wouldn’t have been as like­ly to get involved. So the fic­tion of a “grass­roots move­ment” was care­ful­ly main­tained.

Even for those who might not believe that Free­dom­Works, the Koch broth­ers, etc. have always behind the Tea Par­ty, it must be dif­fi­cult to deny that “grass­roots” cer­tain­ly isn’t what the Tea Par­ty is about now. Any­one who wants to argue about it has only to look at Michelle Bach­mann, Rick Per­ry, and and their Chris­t­ian Domin­ion­ist views to know that. Of course, Per­ry also claimed in his book that Social Secu­ri­ty is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled oth­er­wise in 1936, and Bach­mann signed a pledge that claims that blacks were bet­ter off when they were slaves, so their cred­i­bil­i­ty rat­ings are suf­fer­ing, as far as I’m con­cerned. By the way — that pledge thing is pret­ty darned racist, to me, and the rest of Bachmann’s well-known his­to­ry gaffes aren’t mak­ing things any bet­ter.

Michelle Bach­mann (head of the Con­gres­sion­al Tea Par­ty Cau­cus) worked for the IRS as a tax attor­ney before quit­ting to be a stay-at-home mom. So she’s nev­er had a job that doesn’t come with a gov­ern­ment pay­check, but she’s sup­pos­ed­ly against big gov­ern­ment? How very hyp­o­crit­i­cal. Bachmann’s hus­band runs a clin­ic that takes fed­er­al mon­ey to pro­vide a form of ther­a­py to “cure” homo­sex­u­al­i­ty — ther­a­py that isn’t approved by the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion or the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion or, actu­al­ly, any accred­it­ing board. If any­body wants to tru­ly cut out gov­ern­ment waste, then pay­ing for that sort of thing should be stopped right away, and psy­chol­o­gists who file for reim­burse­ment for it should lose their licens­es and be arrest­ed for fraud. (Homo­sex­u­al­i­ty was ini­tial­ly sug­gest­ed for removal from the Diag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­u­al as a dis­or­der in 1973, and com­plete­ly removed by 1986. Dr. Bach­mann, if he actu­al­ly is a psy­chol­o­gist, should know that.) Michelle’s remarks about homo­sex­u­al­i­ty include such love­ly bits as say­ing that it’s “of Satan.” Yes, that’s big­otry.

Steve King (R-Iowa, mem­ber of the Tea Par­ty Cau­cus) has demon­strat­ed big­otry in his attacks against Barack Oba­ma before his elec­tion because of his mid­dle name (Hus­sein) and the fact that his father was Mus­lim. He has also shown him­self to be a racist by mak­ing claims that Oba­ma favors blacks—with­out pro­vid­ing any sub­stan­ti­a­tion, of course. His misog­y­nist vot­ing record speaks for itself.

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas, mem­ber of the Tea Par­ty Cau­cus), is a birther (crazy enough right there), who equat­ed homo­sex­u­al­i­ty with bes­tial­i­ty, necrophil­ia, and pedophil­ia dur­ing a debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (video clip). He also made a stu­pid­ly racist remark when com­plain­ing about one par­tic­u­lar bit of fund­ing — the infa­mous “moo goo cat pan” joke that fell flat. (He’s got so much crazy that we could spend a lot of time talk­ing about him. I imag­ine even the Tea Par­ty would be hap­py to lose him alto­geth­er. Search on “ter­ror babies” and you’ll see what I mean.)

One of King’s bud­dies in the Tea Par­ty cau­cus, Phil Gin­grey (R-Geor­gia), went to the Mex­i­can bor­der with King on a fact-find­ing mis­sion, and put his racist foot in his mouth by claim­ing that his desire to end birthright cit­i­zen­ship isn’t moti­vat­ed by xeno­pho­bia because, “if I had to choose from immi­grants across the globe, my favorite alien would be our His­pan­ic and Lati­no res­i­dents com­ing from across the South­ern bor­der. On June 22, 2011, Dr. Gin­grey, an OB-GYN, said: “Democ­rats like to pic­ture us as push­ing grand­moth­er over the cliff or throw­ing some­one under the bus. In either one of those sce­nar­ios, at least the senior has a chance to sur­vive. But under this IPAB [Inde­pen­dent Pay­ment Advi­so­ry Board] we described that the Democ­rats put in ‘Oba­macare,’ where a bunch of bureau­crats decide whether you get care, such as con­tin­u­ing on dial­y­sis or can­cer chemother­a­py, I guar­an­tee you when you with­draw that the patient is going to die. It’s rationing.” He knew per­fect­ly well that he was lying, but Repub­li­cans want to con­trol the way the mon­ey is spent, rather than to per­mit a non-par­ti­san board to con­trol it and achieve any cost sav­ings. You would think a fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive would be in favor of cost sav­ings, but it doesn’t work that when polit­i­cal pow­er is at stake.!

At the state lev­el, we have Alaba­ma state sen­a­tor Scott Bea­son refer­ring to blacks as “abo­rig­ines.” After open­ing a speech by say­ing that “ille­gal immi­gra­tion will destroy a com­mu­ni­ty” he closed it by advis­ing his lis­ten­ers to “emp­ty the clip, and do what has to be done”.

David Bar­ton hangs out with sev­er­al Tea Par­ty fig­ures—Rick Per­ry is spend­ing Labor Day week­end with the guy. He claims on his tax records that he is an expert on African-Amer­i­can his­to­ry, but when ques­tioned about the fact that he reg­u­lar­ly address­es white suprema­cist groups (who adore him) he tried at one point to claim that he didn’t under­stand their lean­ings. One of his main claims is that Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. made no sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the civ­il rights move­ment and that he and Thur­good Mar­shall should be removed from our his­to­ry books. Newt Gingrich’s spokesman, Rick Tyler, said, “I think David Bar­ton is one of the most knowl­edge­able teach­ers on Amer­i­can his­to­ry.” (Inter­est­ing, as Gin­grich is a for­mer his­to­ry pro­fes­sor him­self, and Bar­ton is only an “ama­teur his­to­ri­an.”) He’s pop­u­lar with Bach­mann, Beck, and Mike Huck­abee, too.

Then there’s just about every­thing Glenn Beck says — the man is anti-semit­ic, racist, homo­pho­bic, misog­y­nis­tic, you name it. He seems to adore com­par­ing any lit­tle slight against him­self or Fox News to the Holo­caust. If his man­i­curist slips up an caus­es dis­com­fort, she’s prob­a­bly accused of being Men­gele in dis­guise, or at least a descen­dant of his. He has stooped so low as to attack the president’s chil­dren and refer to the First Lady as the president’s “Baby Mama.” Any­one who cares to do so can find plen­ty of videos of him any­where, but I refuse to link to them. I don’t think there are any clips in which he opens his mouth that aren’t offen­sive.

Matthew Vad­um is a colum­nist who is extreme­ly sup­port­ive of the Tea Par­ty. He recent­ly pub­lished an arti­cle claim­ing that “Reg­is­ter­ing the Poor to Vote is Un-Amer­i­can”, equat­ing vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to giv­ing the poor “bur­glary tools.”

By the way, if you haven’t seen all the signs car­ried at Tea Par­ty ral­lies depict­ing the Pres­i­dent as a mon­key, or a witch doc­tor, or Hitler, then you haven’t been pay­ing atten­tion. There are plen­ty of places where I could find more, but I’ve had enough more than enough expo­sure to nas­ti­ness for one day.

Any­one who reads this post can no longer say that they’ve nev­er heard of any­one asso­ci­at­ed with Tea Par­ty say­ing hate­ful things, or that they’re not aware of any­thing that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has accom­plished dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy.

Start of the New School Year

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Memories, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 02-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How did you feel about the start of the school year grow­ing up?
As far as I remem­ber, I was usu­al­ly excit­ed — at least after 7th grade or so. School up to that point was so intense­ly bor­ing that I couldn’t wait to get out of it so I could go back to what­ev­er I was read­ing or doing in the woods some­where. I hat­ed sec­ond grade so much that I think I spent most of it nap­ping in the school clin­ic (we had one with sev­er­al lit­tle alcoves and beds. I think I may have been hav­ing migraines, hon­est­ly).
Up until 7th grade, it seemed that the first half of every year was spent review­ing what was done the pre­vi­ous year because so many peo­ple didn’t real­ly learn it or for­got every­thing dur­ing the sum­mer. I kept think­ing, “I’m here why? They could just tell the rest of us when the review is over. I’m wast­ing my life here!” I think it’s telling that I spent much of the 4th and 5th grades act­ing as an unof­fi­cial sub­sti­tute teacher and didn’t miss a bloody thing by not being in my own class.
In 7th grade we final­ly start­ed doing more seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic work. That’s the first year that I recall any sci­ence con­tent that could actu­al­ly be called sci­ence, since we had lab assign­ments. Before that we had lit­tle texts about ani­mals and geol­o­gy and the plan­ets, but it was all so ele­men­tary that it might as well have been a stack of Lit­tle Gold­en Books. The only dif­fer­ence was that we had lit­tle vocab­u­lary tests and the occa­sion­al find-a-word puz­zle relat­ed to the con­tent. (Dear ele­men­tary teach­ers: You’re doing it wrong, or you cer­tain­ly were in the 70’s! I learned a lot more by read­ing through the pub­lic library and mess­ing around with the micro­scope and lab kits I got for Christ­mas one year. Although I think maybe the lab kit was meant for my sis­ter and she didn’t want it, so I end­ed up with it.)
I also had my first tru­ly out­stand­ing teacher that year, Ms. Keifer. I think her first name might have been Karole Ann, but I’m not sure. In any case, she taught Eng­lish at Lil­burn Mid­dle School, and I was in her home­room. She was won­der­ful! She gave me a copy of Lord of the Rings, with one caveat: I had to pass them on to some­one else when I fin­ished them.
Back then, the Braves gave out free tick­ets to Atlanta area stu­dents who made straight A’s. I won tick­ets sev­er­al years in a row, as I recall. I didn’t hon­est­ly care to go, but it was a fam­i­ly oblig­a­tion thing, so I did — with whichev­er vol­ume of LOTR I was read­ing at the moment in hand. Dad­dy had a great laugh when we encoun­tered anoth­er fam­i­ly sit­ting near us whose son had won tick­ets. Their son had his nose in anoth­er vol­ume of LOTR!
It def­i­nite­ly helped that my cousin, Lori Goss, taught me how to put on make­up dur­ing a vis­it back home to Gads­den that year, which boost­ed my con­fi­dence a lot. I don’t remem­ber if her big sis­ter Kim cut my hair into “wings” or how that hap­pened (I do remem­ber the perm Aunt Bet gave me, which was my first).

NaBloPoMo, Again

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Critters | Posted on 01-09-2011

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I’m try­ing NaBloPo­Mo again! The theme this month is “Return,” although I’m not at all sure what the heck that’s sup­posed to mean. I got today’s post in just under the wire, obvi­ous­ly — but I did post! Tomor­row I’ll try to do it much bet­ter. And I’ll even include pho­tos of the new kit­ten! Maybe he’ll have a name by then.

Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 30-07-2011

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Ghost Story: A Novel of the Dresden FilesGhost Sto­ry: A Nov­el of the Dres­den Files by Jim Butch­er
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Of course I (along with all Jim Butch­er’s oth­er fans) have been absolute­ly dying to read this book ever since fin­ish­ing Changes. Sam Chupp and I have been talk­ing about how there could pos­si­bly be anoth­er book that occurs after Dresden’s death. Of course, the novel­la includ­ed in Side Jobs: Sto­ries From the Dres­den Files was very good and got along quite well with­out Dres­den, but that prob­a­bly wasn’t going to work for an entire nov­el.

Sam hasn’t even start­ed Ghost Sto­ry yet, so I can’t gloat at home. I was actu­al­ly right in some of my spec­u­la­tion! I’m being non-spe­cif­ic so as to not give too much away, even though I am hid­ing this review behind spoil­er warn­ings on GoodReads in case he does read it and remem­ber what I had said (which is high­ly doubt­ful). But I feel like brag­ging some­where, so you, dear read­ers, have to put up with it.

Jim Butch­er deserves major praise. Ghost Sto­ry is amaz­ing. Dres­den has become such a pow­er­ful wiz­ard that few ene­mies are tru­ly a chal­lenge, and wip­ing out the entire Red Court with one spell was an amaz­ing feat. What do you do for an encore to that? Hav­ing Dres­den imma­te­r­i­al and oper­at­ing with­out mag­ic does seri­ous­ly push him, and that makes for a fas­ci­nat­ing tale. Being able to keep a series fresh in its thir­teenth vol­ume says a lot for Butcher’s tal­ent. I think Ghost Sto­ry is the best Dres­den Files book yet, and I’m look­ing for­ward to book four­teen even more!

View all my reviews

Who do you trust with your children?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, News, Parenting | Posted on 26-06-2011

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I keep see­ing news sto­ries about kids dying in day­care or at the hands of oth­er peo­ple to whom their par­ents have entrust­ed them, and every time there is so much shock and rage as if peo­ple can’t believe it’s hap­pen­ing. I am so tired of it. Pay atten­tion!

How many of the peo­ple in these cen­ters did the par­ents actu­al­ly meet before leav­ing their chil­dren there? Did they meet any­one? Did they spend any time there?

If you leave your chil­dren with child­care providers, how did you choose them? How well did you vet them? How often do you drop by unex­pect­ed­ly?

Would you trust every sin­gle per­son in that facil­i­ty with your car keys? Just hand them over and let any of them dri­ve your brand new ride away, no ques­tions asked?

How about your wal­let? Just give it over, tell them your ATM or cred­it card PINs, give them carte blanche?

If the answer to both of the ques­tions isn’t yes, why are you leav­ing your chil­dren with them?

Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 28-05-2011

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Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1)Spider’s Bite by Jen­nifer Estep
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed it this book, and plan to go on to the next book in the series, Web of Lies. I’m hop­ing that Jen­nifer Estep grows as an author, though, as the fore­shad­ow­ing regard­ing the real “big bad” as well as the rev­e­la­tion of a fact impor­tant to the main char­ac­ter were both rather clum­si­ly done, in my opin­ion.

I’m aware of anoth­er series by Estep, Big­time. I was think­ing of read­ing it, but it was writ­ten ear­li­er than the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin series, and now I’m not so sure about whether I want to read it or not. Estep’s char­ac­ters are inter­est­ing, but I’m not sure that they’re inter­est­ing enough to hold me through writ­ing that’s less pol­ished than Spider’s Bite. Then again, I’ve cer­tain­ly read worse. I sup­pose it all depends on what I hap­pen to have in hand at any giv­en time. I’d be more like­ly to read it if there were short sto­ries avail­able sim­i­lar to the ones on Estep’s web site that drew me in to this series.

I didn’t do reviews for those, but there are three sto­ries that occur chrono­log­i­cal­ly before Spider’s Bite: Poi­son Web of Deceit and Spider’s Bar­gain. Read­ing them cer­tain­ly isn’t nec­es­sary to enjoy the nov­el, and it’s def­i­nite­ly bet­ter to avoid read­ing Web of Deceit first. They are good sto­ries, though, and I do rec­om­mend that any­one who enjoys Estep’s work seek them out in order to enjoy the addi­tion­al bits of infor­ma­tion gained in them. For instance, Spider’s Bar­gain is the sto­ry of an event that is piv­otal to Gin and Caine’s rela­tion­ship, and its con­se­quences are like­ly to con­tin­ue echo­ing through the next few vol­umes of the series.

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Review: Moon Fever (anthology)

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 27-05-2011

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Moon Fever (Includes: Primes, #6.5)Moon Fever by Susan Size­more
My rat­ing: 1 of 5 stars

This was one of those “I fin­ished the last thing I was read­ing and I’m bored, what’s already loaded on the iTouch?” reads. It was on there because the anthol­o­gy includes Lori Han­de­land’s “Cob­webs Over the Moon” (Night­crea­tures, #10) and I read all of that series a while back. I didn’t care to read the rest of the anthol­o­gy at the time, but I hadn’t got­ten around to delet­ing the book. Ah, hap­py dig­i­tal pack­rat am I!

If I’ve read any­thing by Susan Size­more oth­er than “Tempt­ing Fate” (Primes #6.5), it was emi­nent­ly for­get­table. I’m absolute­ly sure that I haven’t read any­thing else in her Primes series, because I prob­a­bly would have thrown said mate­r­i­al firm­ly into the near­est hard sur­face (or what­ev­er the equiv­a­lent is with bytes) because of the insane­ly annoy­ing num­ber of times Size­more feels it nec­es­sary to remind us that her vam­pires are Primes! Alpha Primes! They are! Real­ly! And that means they fight a lot! Espe­cial­ly over women! Oth­er­wise, it’s a Mary Jane sto­ry set in New Orleans. I have a strong feel­ing that most of the Primes series is Mary Jane-ish, but I may at some point be trapped and forced with the prospect of star­ing at the inside of my eye­balls or read­ing more of Sizemore’s stuff. I’m not sure which would be worse right now. I’ll get back to you on that.

“The Dark­ness With­in” by Mag­gie Shayne feels ter­ri­bly famil­iar, although I’m sure I haven’t read it before. I have, how­ev­er, read oth­er Shayne novel­las in oth­er antholo­gies, and this sto­ry fol­lows a famil­iar pat­tern. Sexy gal who doesn’t think she’s attrac­tive has had a run of hard luck and may lose the house she has bought rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly and loves. Said house has a spooky past that she didn’t know about when she bought it. Stal­wart too-sexy-for-her man gets involved some­how, prefer­ably in a way that allows her to ques­tion his motives. They are inex­plic­a­bly drawn to each oth­er and screw like bun­nies (or near as makes no dif­fer­ence), then blame their lapse in judge­ment on what­ev­er weird­ness is going on in the house. (Yep, that’s what they all say — and no safer sex any­where! Does para­nor­mal activ­i­ty pre­clude dis­cus­sion of sex­u­al his­to­ry and pre­vent STD trans­mis­sion?)

“Cob­webs Over the Moon” by Lori Han­de­land (Night­crea­tures, #10) isn’t the most log­i­cal entry in that series. Nei­ther is it the most illog­i­cal — but by the tenth entry, the series’ mythol­o­gy has got­ten a bit ridicu­lous, so I don’t know why I even both­er bring­ing up some­thing as irrel­e­vant as log­ic. Sil­ly me! In every book, we’re intro­duced to a woman who is in some way tan­gled up with were­wolves, then to a man who is tan­gled up with her and/​or the crea­tures and, of course, whose loy­al­ties are uncer­tain. There is always an ele­ment of dan­ger to add spice to the romance that has to grow between the two. The for­mu­la nev­er changes at all. There are always evil were­wolves, but some­times there are also good ones. If you like pre­dictabil­i­ty in your para­nor­mal romance, Night­crea­tures is a great series for you.

I sup­pose Cari­dad Piñeiro’s “Crazy for the Cat” isn’t tech­ni­cal­ly any bet­ter or worse than any of the oth­er three sto­ries. There’s more vari­ety in the shapeshift­ing and the main set­ting is the Ama­zon jun­gle. I couldn’t get past the big­otry and colo­nial­ism, though. Dark is bad, light is good, of course! Those poor benight­ed natives couldn’t pos­si­bly han­dle a few rogues with­out that white woman, could they? Spare me.

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