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November 12, 2021


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Mari is being so funny. She's in control, you know. Glad you get a whole month with the New Yorkers. (Maybe Older Daughter can help Younger Daughter with whatever the next decisions will be.) I thought you got mad and broke some glass, but I think it's a unique picture you're standing in front of. Women, many, getting through broken situations? Time to sell all of John's "collection" and get a boat? Stay afloat on your hill. Linda in Kansas


Anyone who can use the word, swashbuckler, to describe a toy figure, has my utmost respect and admiration.


Weatherwise, it's been the exact opposite here in Pittsburgh for the month of Nov, zero rain, lots of sun... until today. Temps have plunged and it's a weekend of rain & snow. Makes me feel a little less guilty for being a hermit. :^) Margaret, that's great to read about your OD & grandson coming for a whole month, does this mean Ziggy is coming as well?

Ally Bean

Mari is a cat who knows her mind. Gotta love the attitude. Guests again for a whole month! I bet the kiddo will be agog about all that Christmastime has to offer.


We are cold and wet here, snow flurries for the weekend...yuck.
That is so much like my cat...she gets offended if I make her move LOL and it only takes a couple of minutes to refill my coffee cup!

That is awesome that you get the grand for a month at the holidays.


I'm guessing your young daughter isn't vaccinated. That's going to be difficult. I personally don't want to spend time with unvaccinated people right now. I don't know what it's like where you live but here you can't go to many places without proof of vaccination.

It will be nice for you to spend so much time with your grandson. Hopefully the rain stops soon, or does it in the Pacific Northwest?


It's so great that you'll have your grandson around for a whole month! (And of course your daughter and SIL!) Will they be bringing Ziggy?

Ah yes, that Cat Manual. They've ALL read it, obviously.

Oh this weather. The rain is relentless!


It was forecasted to rain for 3 days and I was really excited because those darn pigeons are pooping all over our solar panels. But no.... It missed us. I don't like to wear raincoats in Hawaii because it gets too darn hot. I like the idea of wearing yellow on walks on the mainland though.


Lots of water for sure out there. Have you thought of getting a boot dryer to put your shoes on when you get in from your wet walks? Can get them under 20 dollars and what a life saver they are.

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Book Club Reads

  • Garmus, Bonnie: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel

    Garmus, Bonnie: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel
    4 1/2 stars for this quirky, emotional, sad, joyful, fascinating read about chemistry, relationships and life. I don't know how it will work in a Book Club discussion, but I didn't want it to end. It was cheesy and unrealistic at times yet somehow emotionally fulfilling as well. (****)

  • Perkins-Valdez, Dolen: Take My Hand

    Perkins-Valdez, Dolen: Take My Hand
    This beautifully written and intricate book is my first 5 (or 4 1/2) star read for quite a while. It was powerful and filled with fascinating and well-developed characters. I even liked the ending! Jumping between two time periods isn't my favorite style, but the author handled it masterfully. (*****)

  • Haigh, Jennifer: Mercy Street: A Novel

    Haigh, Jennifer: Mercy Street: A Novel
    4 for the writing which was excellent, and 4 for the characters who were interesting and well-developed. 2 for the non-existent plot. The ending of the book left me extremely dissatisfied. Sadly, there are no discussion questions for it which might force me to reflect on the book's messages. (***)

  • Slocumb, Brendan: The Violin Conspiracy

    Slocumb, Brendan: The Violin Conspiracy
    A solid 3 1/2 stars for me, but a disappointment in general. As a former violinist myself, I was excited about the topic. I love mysteries which was what this novel was billed as. (not much of one and very predictable) I found the writing sophomoric and rather repetitive; the topics of slavery and underrepresentation of POC in classical music were compelling though. As always, I'm hoping for an excellent discussion at BC. (***)

  • Tyler, Anne: French Braid: A novel

    Tyler, Anne: French Braid: A novel
    I can see why some might not enjoy this book (not much plot), but I liked Tyler's writing, the complexity of the characters and the storytelling. Families are like a French Braid; you can never really be free of them since "the ripples are crimped in forever." I'm hoping our BC discussion will be enlightening and personal. (***)

  • See, Lisa: The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

    See, Lisa: The Island of Sea Women: A Novel
    Although it wasn't perfect (sometimes hard to follow the timelines), this book was fascinating on a personal, historical and cultural level. I learned so much while suffering through the tragedies and celebrating the joys of the characters. I'm hoping for an insightful discussion at Book Club, as this novel deserves. (*****)

  • Whitehead, Colson: Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

    Whitehead, Colson: Harlem Shuffle: A Novel
    Extremely well-written, atmospheric and full of fascinating characters and history. Being a mystery reader, I would have preferred more plot though. If you haven't read Whitehead before, I recommend "The Nickel Boys" instead. Fortunately, the book seems like it will elicit a decent discussion. (****)

  • Klune, TJ: The House in the Cerulean Sea

    Klune, TJ: The House in the Cerulean Sea
    This book was hard to rate (***1/2): heartwarming, yet cheesy and predictable. Imaginative, but also preachy. It reads like a YA novel. There were some wonderful characters if you enjoy fantasy. I think it will be nearly impossible to discuss as a Book Club read. (***)

  • Towles, Amor: The Lincoln Highway: A Novel

    Towles, Amor: The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
    This is a exquisitely crafted book and extremely well-written. I didn't always like the way it jumped from one person to another, especially when I was very engaged in the last story. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but the ending was also beautiful in its own painful way. 4 1/2 stars. (*****)

  • Wang, Qian Julie: Beautiful Country: A Memoir

    Wang, Qian Julie: Beautiful Country: A Memoir
    Although it had some fascinating and illuminating moments, this memoir of a young Chinese immigrant facing poverty and prejudice was ultimately a let down. Part of it was the writing and lack of proofreading(too many grammar mistakes) while the rest related to my confusion about whether I admired or disliked the author. She was often mean and dishonest. Much of the time I didn't find her sympathetic. (***)