Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Auntie Nettie Reads A LOT 2010 - 2nd Quarter

If you are just finding the blog, please note that this list was maintained mainly so that I could remember what I've read this year. The record does not fully represent me or all of my interests, so don't judge my reading habits. My interests change quite frequently. Also, I don't do book recommendations or link to major retailers or publishers. Except for the ARCs listed below [thanks major publishers!], most of these books came from MY library or the library -- the most magical place in the world!

Go forth and use your library card and READ!

April 2010
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine: A Novel by Lauren Willig (reread)
She Went All the Way by Meggin Cabot
Corked: A Memoir by Kathryn Borel (didn't finish -- was BAD!)
Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
German for Travelers: A Novel in 95 Lessons by Norah Labiner
Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson Novel) by Patricia Briggs
Lake of Sorrows: A Novel (#2) by Erin Hart
False Mermaid: A Novel (#3) by Erin Hart
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
Black Hills by Nora Roberts
Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily: A Novel by Lauren Willig
On the Steamy Side by Louisa Edwards
Wedding Season by Katie Fforde
Knit for the Season by Kate Jacobs

May 2010
The Queen's Governess: A Novel by Karen Harper
Changeless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel (#2) By Gail Carriger
White Cat (The Curse Workers Book 1) by Holly Black (ARC)
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
A Touch of Dead: Sookie Stackhouse The Complete Stories by Charlaine Harris
Sonata Mulattica: Poems by Rita Dove (didn't read)
Savor the Moment (Bridal Quartet #3) by Nora Roberts
The Hypnotist: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose
Dead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris
The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Stuck in the Middle: A Sister-to-Sister Novel by Joan Sanderson
Truffles by the Sea: A Novel by Julie Carobini

June 2010
Captain Saturday: A Novel by Robert Inman (regional fiction/North Carolina)
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry (ARC)
Changes: A Novel of The Dresden Files (Book 12) by Jim Butcher
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott: A Novel by Kelly O'Connor McNees
Exclusive by Fern Michaels (didn't finish)
Switchcraft by Mary Castillo (didn't finish)
Killashandra (Crystal Singers Book 2) by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Chocolate Beach: A Novel by Julie Carobini
Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini
Hard Magic: Book One/Paranormal Scene Investigations by Laura Anne Gilman
A River in the Sky: A Novel (Amelia Peabody Mysteries) by Elizabeth Peters
The Fixer Upper: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews

The Hand that First Held Mine: A Novel by Maggie O'Farrell
Infinite Days: A Vampire Queen Novel by Rebecca Maizel (ARC) REALLY GOOD!

The First Quarter List for 2010 can be found here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Fridays/Weekends 2010 - Part Two

Some of my Summer Friday activities have actually turned into Summer Weekend Excursions -- with visits and explorations of the City spilling over onto Saturday or Sunday. There was the Sunday in the Park with Tammy and the Kids (post to come), brunch with Poopeh, and then the lunch with the old Library Crew at Jackson Hole and the biggest Western Burger that I have ever eaten (sadly, I didn't have my camera with me). And then there was Saturday in the City with Jess.

Jess is the wife of a pal of my brother's. We've been friendly over the years, most recently when I've popped back into Church services in the old home congregation. I've kept in touch with her family's activities through her slightly inactive blog and through my mom. Grandmary mentioned that Jess was coming to the City with a bunch of "girls" one weekend, and that they were going to be running a road race. I offered to hang with Jess during the race, as it would be a good chance to catch up while not in Church. (You aren't supposed to gossip during congregation meetings for some reason.)

Friday afternoon came and went with both of us having other plans, so we met on Saturday morning at her hotel. After a scrumptious brunch at a very quiet Carnegie Deli (so nice not to be crowded out and rushed for a change), we wander to Times Square to see what was on the TKTS boards and to explore a little. We didn't have
any set plans for the day, and so as we walked East, the decision was to explore the Park or do something else, like "Hey, have you been to the Empire State Building?"

One right turn, a meander through Bryant Park, a look at the Library and some bizarre white boy Hari Krishna/Buddhists, and many blocks later, we finally found the building. Auntie is not so good with directions to mid-town attractions as you might think. I'm an Upper Westsider, avoid mid-town/Times Square by staying underground, and anything south of 42nd on the East side can be a mystery. Plus, it's hard to see the tops of skyscrapers when you are underneath them. Just saying. Plus, the last time I was at the Empire State Building was when I was in high school and that was MANY, MANY years ago.

We elected to do the whole tourist experience and got tickets for the Skyride, that combined tickets to an aerial/amusement park ride ticket with tickets to the 86th Story Observation deck. I don't know if it was the lines we were in, or the whole thing has gotten that much more commercial since I was in high school, but we were directed in and out of lines to elevators that routed us through greenscreen pictures (no thank you, I skipped that option) and two or three gift shops. Plus, a June Saturday in NYC? Can you say, busy and crowded?

On the plus side, those ESB staffers have the drill DOWN, but still have enough of a sense of humor to mock me, to Jess's amusement and the befuddlement of the German guy behind us. I think we heard about every language that there are delegates to the U.N. It wasn't too hot, and the breeze and the haze made seeing things from the deck not too hard. After all of this time I'm able to point out landmarks, give my own anecdotes, and then step back to let others soak up the experience.

Jess was due to meet up with the girls to go off and do one thing or another. At one point it was a show, at another point it was running all over creation and packing as much into 36 hours as possible. We walked back up through Bryant Park and took a breather while she checked in on THE PLAN, and then we were back to Times Square so they could rendezvous. As for me, I was headed back to The Attic and out of the City.

OMIHECK. I just realized ... I WAS MY MOTHER! I was being JUST LIKE TOURGUIDE MARYc.1980s/1990s!

Carnegie Deli? Check!
Times Square? Check!
Major landmark with security, a wait, long lines, and an observation deck? Check!
Walking, walking, and more walking vs. taxis aka "Oh, it's not that far!"? Check!
Running visitors ragged? CHECK!

So, so, so sorry Jess. You know Grandmary. Just tell us to SLOW DOWN! We forget. We have CityLegs and are like Energizer Bunnies. Thanks for putting up with me regardless.

Anyway, I didn't take a lot of photos, as it was Jess's trip, but I did take a few of the ESB and the Park!

l-r: The Bronze at the Main Desk; View to the South, The Statue of Liberty is faint, but the skyline where the Towers used to be isn't; Busy Deck; looking up and up and up; Jess in the Park checking in on The Plan; The Carousel;

A good day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

N.C. Roadtrip 2010: Rest Areas

2010 was supposed to be the year of the roadtrips for me, so from time to time I will be weighing in on different Rest Stop/Refreshment areas. On the most recent roadtrip with Grandmary, we visited our usual gas/quikstop services stations, along with one that was just horrid. Let me qualify that. The restrooms were lovely; clean, quick turnaround, lots of stalls, and hosted by an attendant. The staffing, cleanliness, stocking of the condiment bar, and quality of the food at the Roy Rogers was HORRIBLE!!

[later note from 2010: the food was so terrible I got e coli and was sick for MONTHS and MONTHS!, so I'm not exaggerating how bad it was. Skip the Maryland House rest stop on I95. Trust me!]

Then there was this hidden gem, tucked in the floral department of an Carolina Pottery Outlet in Smithfield, NC:
Food? Check
Beverages? Check, but points off for only half of the machines working
Restrooms? Access ... Check
Entertainment? Check
Husband waiting area with Rocking Chairs? BONUS!

It may have been a bit girlie with all the wreaths and swags, but that guy was so happy to be hiding out, reading, and watching sports on that little t.v.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Letters from Ollie J - June 20, 2000

Photos as of May 2010

The North Carolina crossroads that were home to Grandma;
View of Ms. Lucille's diary farm, a familiar sight to Grandma Ollie. Ms. Lucille and Grandma Ollie were cousins and best friends. They visited a lot, on the farm, at the trailer, at Lucille's house, and on the phone;
Ms. Lucille, still beautiful, active, driving, and living alone at 91;
Views from Ms. Lucille's gardens - her lilies and a bird box (below).

20 June 2000

[The Trailer
Pikeville, NC]

Dear [Granddaughter],

What a lift your letter was. I am Fealing[sic] Fine compared to days earler[sic]. I hurt my back. Picked up something to[sic] heavy. I’ll try to think more clearer before do that again. Took me a month to get over it. Twas rather painful too.

Am sure you have been bussy[sic]. But hope you enjoy your work.

Oh so glad you have thought serously[sic] about a change School And hope you Feal[sic] good about the answer or decision. Hope it goes well. One day at a time may help lots.

No don’t give up your music entirely. Can be lots of Company and help settle nerves.

Total retire isn’t good for any one. Work Church in some too. Helps clear the mind.

No don’t want to get overloaded either But do need to be busy helps body and mind Busy.

I don’t have enough to do. Yes I help some in yard Pull weads[sic] and Joint grass. Water plants (Flowers) a little while at the time. Will put in a quilt this evening. So will have something else to do. Only work a while and take a nap. I will go with [cousin] Carol to tak[sic] [Carol's brother] Bruce to work and get my medecine[sic]. Wish could stop taking pills But see much chance of that.

Do feal[sic] lots better. Strong so pills must help.

Oh we had a good ½ rain yesterday evening. Cooled air some too. Cloudy today may rain more. It had gotten quite dry here.

Sew pretty Birds. Have them in Bird Box. I watch them going and coming. The Bird feeder you sent has helped but they don’t like it as well as loose feed.

Thank[sic] so much for the letter and news. I love you and may God bless and guide you in you[sic] decisions.

Loads of Love


Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Fridays 2010 - Part One

June has rolled around and with it the quaint Big J custom/perk of Fridays off in June, July, and August. To that I will say Thank you thank you thank you thank you. It's almost worth working without a raise for X years and to sacrifice all the odd Monday holidays to know that these threeday weekends are on the horizon. We actually start asking for them in April ...

Last year I did a lot of exploring of New York, visiting with friends, and travelling to Caramoor. This year I've lumped a lot of the Fridays into my RoadTrips, but there are a few "orphans" that I've been using to explore and catch-up with people, crafts, and cleaning, as well as other "projects."

This year, my first summer Friday was dedicated to grown-up pursuits, aka my first physical in five or six years. It also marked an important milestone in grown-up hood -- the first mammogram. (That was it? What 's with all the fussing Grandmary?! It wasn't that bad.) Auntie Nettie is pleased to thank her genetics and ancestors and those trips to the gym this year; aside from high cholesterol, gout and a higher than prescribed BMI, (but not as high as we thought!), she's fine. Oh, there are other medical things she has to address, but she's not sacrificing ANY more of her summer Fridays this year for that.

Instead, since she was already in the neighborhood, she decided to pop over to Caramoor to see friends ... and to stop and smell the roses.

(There's my buddy Christine again, fiddling around ... or trying to swat me off!)

Granted this wasn't as exciting as some of my other Summer Friday adventures from 2009, but you have to ease into these things! I'm saving my energies for the Big RoadTrips later this summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

N.C. Roadtrip 2010: Topsail Island

It's so beautiful today that being cooped up is especially painful. The skies are hazy enough, the breeze has kicked up, and the temperature is just right. I would so rather be anywhere but where I am ... say, the shore.
Sadly, I'm trapped in the Concrete Jungle for awhile, so my memories of the brief hours on Topsail Island on my roadtrip will have to get me through until I reach the shores of Lake Michigan next month or the Cape again in October.

Topsail Island c. May 2010 with Grandmary and Cousin Ocala (not pictured)

l-r: Water Tower, Surf City; The Atlantic; Grandmary making a dash down the boardwalk; The Pier (which we never got to); I had to get my feet in the sand; the surf encroaching; up to my ankles in the sand; dune access; Grandmary doesn't want to leave (I don't blame her); rinsing off; TSUNAMI?!; unique beach house architecture -- dibs on the blue one; scenic pines; Rules? We don't need any stinking rules ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

N.C. Roadtrip 2010: Flora, Foliage, and Fruit

Bear with me folks. Work is a bit busy lately. Between catching up from one trip, preparing for the end of the Big J's fiscal year, and trying to get things in order for the NEXT roadtrip, plus being the only one in the office in my department, I'm a bit swamped AND I’ve got a blooming headache.

And so that is my segue for this post – the theme of the tropical flora, foliage, and the fruits of North Carolina.
Enjoy this photo assemblage. Textual ramblings one day soon.

l-r: Beach blossoms at Topsail Beach; The Bay at Topsail Beach; Carolina pines at The Farm; Strawberry harvest time; In for a landing on a Tiger Lily; Exotic Plants at a local nursery; Steel Magnolias? Nah, Soggy Magnolias; The bloom is almost off the Mimosa Tree Blooms