Archive for September, 2009

The Pondness Monster?

I saw something odd sticking up out of the water at the other end of the pond and so I grabbed my handy dandy camera and pushed the zoom to it’s fullest.  With my wonderful eyesight (blind) I still couldn’t tell what it was in the viewer so I snapped a photo..

Is this a Lochness Monster in our Pond?? 

It turns out to be the soft shelled turtle that stays so well hidden!!!!

It wasn’t until the next day when I loaded pictures on to my computer that I discovered my find!    I just wish it were on my side of the pond so the photo would have been clear…

So this morning I am out by the pond at daybreak.. and I look across the pond to where the fixture for the fountain is (it does not turn on until 7:45) Again my eyesight failing me I wondered if I was seeing something there or not… out comes my trusty camera… zooooooom… snap..

Could it be yet again??? so I took this photo and lightened it up…

Bingo!… it’s the soft shelled turtle !  Twice in two days!! (but always on the far side of the pond.

I guess we have no monster after all… or do we?..

Any guesses what they are???

Again.. not a monster *sigh*.. just a fish (Mullet) gulping some air!

But I can’t help it.. that first shot of the softshelled turtle looks like a Pondness Monster to me!

Another new post below this one: book review: The Woman in White.

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The Woman in White

The Woman in White by Wilke Collins

Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics (April 25, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1593082800


 Product Description

The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. ,
One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Dickens, Collins’s friend and mentor. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall readers today.

The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction—Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant “Napoleon of Crime.”

 I am really glad that I pushed myself to read this book!

It started off really drab and slow.  This, for me, is generally a killer.. a drop this book and find another, thing.

I can attribute the fact that I didn’t put the book down to having just read Drood by Dan Simmons.  In that book Wilke Collins is the narrator. Although the story is fiction there were many truths in the book, parts being: the naming and talking of many of the books written by both Wilke and Dickens, and parts of truths about their private lives.  It was because of the later: about their private lives, that made me keep trying to read this book.

I had learned in Drood that Wilke Collins was addicted to the pain killer opium,.. and to huge amounts of it.  I found myself really curious to see what sort of book someone under all that Opium would write.  I also learned that most of what Wilke wrote was written as a serial for Dickens periodicals.


I hope not to say that all that Opium helped him write a really good book.. but.. after a horribly slow start.. and even a mediocre dull middle that the last 300 pages were well worth the struggle!  In the end I have to say I really  liked the book.  Now, I’m not going to say that I may read it again one day.. but I did enjoy the mystery he wrote.  I liked most of his characters and he wrote in an easier language than his mentor Charles Dickens writes. 

Now I’ve only read one Dickens book  , The Old Curiosity Shop, and like many other people, have seen many of Dickens books put to movies (which I enjoy more than reading Dickens)

This was a mystery of many parts.. which you only learn about in the last 200 pages.  It’s also a love story.  And Wilke Collins was in no hurry to let out all the love and all the secrets! lol

Would I recommend it?  wow.. hard call.  I REALLY wanted to like it and yet I almost gave up..I’m afraid others WILL give up.. but if you want to read a classic I will say that if you can struggle thru maybe the first 200 pages, which by the way ARE necessary for setting up the whole story, well then you may well be rewarded in the end.. I know I was.

This is book Six for the RIP  Challenge!

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Before dawn I heard my blinds being bounced around… when I took a closer look this is what I found…  can we say there was some anxiouty going on? heh…

So.. I’ve been searching for signs of Fall here in southern Florida… so far… this is it!

Some acorns on a LiveOak Tree.    I guess the Live Oak is a relative of the Northern Oak Trees but the leaves don’t resemble them too much, nor do the trees grow huge like up north. They aren’t even brown yet.

Being a bit down over having so little of Fall I went to feed the birds.  Almost no one was around but the Moorhens.. and one crow.

No Herons.. not even the pita Ibis were around!… this was not turning into a good day…


The mail man came..

Look what was in the mail!

It’s a smiley face, Debi Pumpkin!!!!  and corn!!! 

Fall had come to Southern Florida after all!!!!

(thank you again Debi!! hugs!)  What a surprise it was! I love my little pumpkin face!  Now.. if only the weather would drop to 70 and the leaves on the trees would turn colors!  Not gunna happen huh? Oh well, me and my pumpkin can dream!


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Mailbox Monday..

The guilt of spending money is getting to me..

Normally, seeing a box from Amazon at my door always made me smile.

Not anymore.  Or at least…not for long.  I kinda smile as I open it and see what’s there.. but I hide them on the shelves quickly so I try to forget I spent money.

This is my wall of Shame….

I can’t even blame anyone but myself on these.. oh wait.. ok Chris gets one point for The Magicians Elephant.  I know he hasn’t even read it yet either but he talked about it when he first found out the book was coming out and I have really liked the books of hers that I have already read.

The Angel’s Game I had to get because I just finished Shadow of the Wind recently and it was such a super book I needed more of Carlos Zafon’s writing!

I forget who’s blog reviews Suspicions of Mr Whicher but when I checked on it at Amazon and read that review too I knew it was one I wanted to try. On Amazon the title reads: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective    England in the 1800’s and a mystery… sigh. It seems to be my undoing anymore.

And Simon’s Cat.. well.. what can I say?  I needed to feel like I wasn’t the only tortured person with a cat!  I have already read thru it once, and it’s pretty cute.. but I will say I love the youtubes of it better.  But I will leave the book out where anyone can see it… not that anyone comes here but..it looks good ya know?.

There are books I can justify though ..(I hear you now.. yeahrightsure!)

Honest there are! And here are 3 of them…

Note the bug eaten paper cover above.

(Murder on the Orient Express) nice little leather cover!

  The spine is bent but in tact

These books I found at a thrift shop… a grand total of 50 cents each! And whenever I get around to reading them I can donate them back lol.. I can justify 1.50 out of grocery money so I don’t feel guilty about these. Of course.. they are nothing I will keep forever either lol.. oh well.. hey no points and no guilt.. a good combo!

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Empty at the Pond..

The Pond has been deadly quiet.. almost no once has come around.. but I did get one silhouette of the small heron early morning…

And then I saw the turtle on land and close by!

One of the Moorhen chicks had to check him out..

I looked across the pond and saw three more!..

So now we know of 4 turtles and I still think we have a soft shelled one that I haven’t seen again yet..

look how big the Moorhen babies are !

Remember when their little “wings” had no feathers at all on them?!

Well…That’s all that’s going on at the pond these days..

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Dogs and Cats..

My girlfriend took me out the other day…

I had a moment of weakness..

(actually, that could happen a lot!.. but I do fight it ..most of the time)

We were in Walmart and I found this really squishy, soft and silky pound puppy.  Ok, well it isn’t a pound puppy (anyone out there remember pound puppies?).  But it is soft and silky and squishy.. and I found myself carrying it around the store talking to it .   I got a number of strange looks.. heh.

One woman even laughed!  .. at which time my friend Dorothy threatened to leave me in the store while I mumbled on to the dog..heh.

I told myself it was for Booboo.. something he could cuddle up to because he still misses his fellow kitties . .. and he was only 5.00! (usually really soft stuffed animals are quite more expensive)

Yep.. that’s the ticket…that’s what I told myself.  The dog is for Boo.  So I brought him home.

Boo wasn’t that interested when I showed him to him. Oh well.. ..

I smiled to myself and put him on the arm of the loveseat, where he resides so that I can touch him each time I leave or enter the livingroom.

He’s the perfect dog!   Cheap to feed!  And I don’t have to walk him!  He’s quiet.. so he doesn’t bother the neighbors!   And!.. And! he doesn’t beg for half of my dinner!

I decided to call him Fetch.  He hasn’t learned how yet.. but ya know.. eventually…

Anyway.. that’s my story and i’m sticking to it! 


As for the cat….

I wanted you all to have an idea of what I go thru at about 4 or 5 am every morning…

… just for..  ya know..

… sympathy!

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Michael Scott

I am about to give a shameless plug for an author who’s books I am enjoying very much.. his name is Michael Scott.

Michael is the author of the Nicholas Flamel series of books, The Alchemyst, the Magician and recently out, the Sorceress, and next May The Necromancer is coming to America, from his beloved Ireland, for an American autograph tour. 

The Alchemyst.            The Magician

The Sorceress              The Necromancer


Much to my dismay, Mr Scott will not be coming anywhere near me.  But I thought that if you read his books and wanted a chance to meet him and live in the areas he will be going to that I would leave you this information so that you might get to go. So far there are only 4 stops but I feel sure they will be adding more so save the link above to keep checking if none of these are in your area…

R J Julia Booksellers,
768 Boston Post Road,
CT 06443
Saturday, October 24th at 4-30pm

Anderson’s Book Shop
Naperville IL
October 27th at 7pm

Call 630-355-2665 for ticket details
Visit Anderson’s Bookshop website

Texas Book Festival
Oct 31st- Nov 1st

2009 NCTE Annual Convention – USBBY Co-Sponsored Session
Pennsylvania Convention Center,
Sunday November 22nd,

For those of you who have not read this series of  YA books I can highly recommend them!  Mr Scott did his homework and uses both fantasy and real life characters.  Want to know who some are?  How about Nicholas Flamel. Remember that name from Harry Potter?..well he was real, so was John Dee. So if you like a little history mixed in with your fantasy… this is a good place to start.

The books are most enjoyable and each book is better than the last.. which means I cannot wait for the release of the Necromancer!

If anyone who reads this gets to go and see Michael Scott I hope you have a wonderful time .. and tell him you know of another fan  (me!)!

Other books by Michael Scott that may be of interest to you are:

Irish Folk & Fairy Tales Omnibus

The Book of Celtic Wisdom

Irish Myths and Legends

Irish Ghosts and Hauntings


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Someone asked the other day, ‘What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?’

‘We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,’ I informed him.
‘All the food was slow.

‘C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?’

‘It was a place called ‘at home,” I explained. !
‘Mum cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.
But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it :

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis , set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to school. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).

We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19.   It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people…

I never had a telephone in my room.The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home… But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers –my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week.  He had to get up at 6AM every morning..

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.
Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend :
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house  and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old.
How many do you remember?

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.

Ignition switches on the dashboard.

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner..

Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz :

Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about.
Ratings at the bottom.

1.Candy cigarettes
2.Coffee shops with tableside juke boxes
3.Home milk delivery in glass bottles
4. Party lines on the telephone
5.Newsreels before the movie
6.TV  test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 3 channels [if you were fortunate])
8. Howdy Doody
9. 45 RPM records
11. Metal ice trays with lever
12. Blue flashbulb
13.Cork popguns
14. Studebakers
15. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10  = Don’t tell your age,
If you remembered 11-15 =You’re older than dirt!
I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

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The first two shots were from the other day and taken “across the pond”… where the turtles have decided it is their sunning spot..

The photo’s don’t come out great when zoomed to the max.. down below they were “making a dash for the pond”. (and for turtles they are pretty darn fast!… gotta love the feet lol)

Then just this morning (only it’s not really THIS morning because I didn’t post this the day I wrote it)… the one turtle who comes to feed with me showed up.. and I finally got some shots of him coming out of the pond for bread.. it’s quite amazing actually because they run away from any movement and I am thoroughly amazed it comes out while I am within feet of it.   I started the photo’s while he was still in the water…

(I was surprised that I could see him totally submerged!)

Above he is checking out the food situation before  he makes his move.

First he finds some in the water close to land… (above).. and then..

I never thought  a turtle could be trained but this one knows when the birds are feeding.. he comes around.. moves in closer and closer and waits for me to toss bread to him.. then he gets braver and braver and comes to shore!

As is getting the norm my little tri color Heron flew from across the pond when he saw I was there feeding the Moorhens.  He seems to get pretty lucky with the tiny fish when bread is around.

(Below) I took this shot because anyone of the ummm, older generation, will remember when the “cool guys all wore a DA  (Ducks Ass) haircut!  Looks like my little buddy is from the late 50’s! lol  He must be older than he looks!

One last shot.. the big Heron showed up and I’ve noticed this one patch of tall grasses looks as if it’s “fall” here.. (don’t let it fool you) so I thought the colors were nice..


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Shadow of the Wind

 The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Paperback: 487 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Later Printing edition (January 25, 2005) ISBN-10: 0143034901



From Publishers Weekly
The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax’s novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax’s novels. As he grows up, Daniel’s fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a “porcelain gaze,” Clara Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend’s sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide. Officially, Carax’s dead body was dumped in an alley in 1936. But discrepancies in this story surface. Meanwhile, Daniel and Fermín are being harried by a sadistic policeman, Carax’s childhood friend. As Daniel’s quest continues, frightening parallels between his own life and Carax’s begin to emerge. Ruiz Zafón strives for a literary tone, and no scene goes by without its complement of florid, cute and inexact similes and metaphors (snow is “God’s dandruff”; servants obey orders with “the efficiency and submissiveness of a body of well-trained insects”). Yet the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great 19th-century novel.


Wow, wow, wow!  What a good book!!!  

I have been sooooo lucky with the RIP this year!!  I’ve really enjoyed EVERYTHING I’ve read!!  I really thought I’d have a difficult time coming off of Drood, and I admit I am still thinking on Wilke Collins and Charles Dickens..but this book….


Loved it, loved it , loved it!!  I want this next book now!!  NOW!  dang it! lol.

This really is a few stories rolled into one.  It’s amazing how he wrote this and intertwined everyone’s life.

Why was the book Daniel found so important?

Why did others want to buy it?

Who was burning all the books?

Exactly who is Julián Carax and is he dead or not?

Question after question arises as you read this book you find  you have a harder and harder time putting it down.

When you begin this book, be prepared for an excellent story.

Be prepared to not be able to figure out all the answers until you read them.

And be prepared find yourself reading more than usual!

Thanks to this challenge I am really going to have a difficult time trying to choose “my favorite read” of the year!

I cannot review this or any book really.  If I like the book , as I do this book and others, then I don’t want to tell anything that might take away from the total enjoyment you will have when YOU read it.

If I gave ratings this would be a 5 star rating.. 5 of 5 that is!  Go get this book and enjoy  yourself!

  This is my 5th book for Rip IV, 2009

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