Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books I read in December 2015

X by Sue Grafton. (library) Nearing the end of this series and I enjoyed the minor mystery of Henry's neighbors more than the main story in this book.
The Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss (library) very enjoyable story of a pioneer woman in Oregon 1800's. I highly recommend.
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves (library) he wrote this after 9/11 about traveling the world to learn about other cultures and also to be that American overseas that is not "ugly"
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell (library) just what it says and entertaining to anyone who has worked retail and/or loves books
As If by Jen Chaney (library) About the making of the movie Clueless, if you are a fan of the movie, you really should read this one
This is Your Life Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison  (library) very good a woman whose husband has died goes on an Alaska Cruise that he had won for them prior to his death. Along the way, her husband's ghost visits her and she reconnects with her estranged daughter. I enjoyed it
Descent by Tim Johnston (library) super quick read for me. Great thriller along the lines of Gone Girl or The Room. I highly recommend if you like that sort of thing.
Dry Bones by Craig Johnson (library) a Longmire novel I really enjoyed this one with info about dinosaur fossils in Wyoming.
Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss (library) this one concerns a guy who wants to be a Hollywood stunt man doing Westerns during the 30's I loved it!
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont (library)
The Whites by Harry Brandt (library) corrupt police in NYC very good, it played like a movie in my head
A is For Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup (library) the poisons used in the Agatha Christie novels
Wild Life by Molly Gloss (library) since I read Jump-Off Creek and enjoyed it, of course I am going to read everything else by this author!! LOL
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (library) enjoyed this one VERY much! WWI era Oregon and a woman who breaks horses.
The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (library) Very interesting about Empress Elisabeth of Austria. I am woefully ignorant of European History, so books like this help me fill in some gaps. 
The Box Wine Sailors by Amy McCullough (library) a couple with very little money live on their sail boat and sail down the coast of California.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Wyoming

Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote. Yellowstone is the first official National Park (1872) Wyoming has the lowest population of all 50 United States. The first coal mine in Wyoming was in Carbon in 1867.  The largest coal mine in the USA is Black Thunder located near Wright.  Wyoming lead the country in coal production in 1994 with 3 million tons per week.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas Ornaments!

A talented woodworker in Virgina made this ornament!

It's that time of year again when I talk about my Christmas decorations!
Pacific Northwest is represented on my tree!

Got this ornament when I was working on filling up my McMenamins Passport
I had been wanting one of these sea urchin ornaments for a while and was happy to find one at a craft fair in Virginia

Ryan got this one for me for Christmas a few years ago

A Cowbell ornament I got at Oxfam in England last year
This is an oil diffuser, makes the house smell like Balsam, perfect since I have a fake tree!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Wisconsin

The nation's first kindergarten was established in Watertown in 1856. Its first students were local German-speaking youngsters. Wisconsin snowmobile trails total 15,210 miles of signed and groomed snow highways. The first Ringling Brothers Circus was staged in Baraboo in 1884.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: West Virginia


West Virginia is considered the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state. Outdoor advertising had its origin in Wheeling about 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with the wording: "Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch." West Virginia's nickname is the Mountain State and its motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free."

Monday, December 07, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Washington

The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president.

Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.

Before it became a state, the territory was called Columbia (named after the Columbia River). When it was granted statehood, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn't confuse it with The District of Columbia.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Books I read in November 2015

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein (library) a science fiction thriller by Sandford with help from Ctein. Moves along fast...if you liked the Martian, try this one. Especially if you don't usually like science fiction.
Make Me by Lee Child (library) the latest Jack Reacher. Bad things happen in a mysterious town called Mother's Rest.
Jim, the Boy by Tony Earley (library) so I was reading a magazine article about the 50 books that represent all 50 states (yeah, I had read most of them already!) But this book was for North Carolina, where I am from!! and I had never heard of it. It was really good and totally reminded me of North Carolina.
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon (library) creepy ghost story type book. I am on a quest to read all the books by this author, but they are unsettling.
The Brixton Brothers, The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett  This is a kid's book that has been on my to read pile for quite a while and I am finally getting around to reading it. Very cute mystery series book.
The Brixton Brothers, The Ghostwriter Secret by Mac Barnett  super cute story and all my Children's Mystery Collector friends ought to read this one!
Mad River by John Sandford I just love these characters in these books. And the action moves so have to read read read and then it is over and whew, it was such a ride
The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon (library) another creepy book by McMahon, this one concerns a serial killer
361 by Donald Westlake another classic noir thriller worth a look if you like this genre
Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon (library) When I say I am going to read everything by an author, I am not kidding. Lots of great creepy atmosphere and twists and turns.
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson (library) That book I read last month about the divers who found the pirate ship, well this one is about their quest to find a German U-boat
Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E.Westlake Yup, another instance of me reading everything I can get my hands on by one author.
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd (library) A Bess Crawford mystery. Bess is a WWI nurse and becomes involved in a mystery through a former patient
Stu Who?  Forty Years of Navigating the Minefields of the Music Business by Stu Phillips. Great book about composer and music producer, Stu Phillips, who was behind the music of so many TV shows and TV movies, including Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys! Quincy, Knight Rider, Battlestar Gallactica and many many more.
Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron (library) A Deborah Knot novel where we learn more about Deborah's mother and why an educated city girl married an older moonshiner
A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin (library) I loved this book and they made it into a movie. Sherlock Holmes as an old man and he is getting Alzheimers.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Virginia

Jamestown, the first of the original 13 Colonies was founded for the purpose of silk cultivation. Silk to be traded with the Court of King James. After blight fungus destroyed the mulberry trees (silkworm food), sericulturist planted tobacco as a cash crop. Eight United States Presidents were born in Virginia: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Vermont

Vermont's state capitol building is one of only a few to have a gold dome. Atop the dome is a statue of Ceres.  With a population of fewer than nine thousand people, Montpelier, Vermont is the smallest state capital in the U.S. Montpelier, Is the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Utah

Completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad was celebrated at Promontory where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869. It is now known as Golden Spike National Historic Site Because of the state's inland location Utah's snow is unusually dry. Earning it the reputation of having the world's greatest powder. 14 Alpine ski resorts operate in Utah. State symbol: The Beehive symbolizes thrift and industry.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Texas

The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.  Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation. The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Tennessee

Tennessee won its nickname as The Volunteer State during the War of 1812 when volunteer soldiers from Tennessee displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans. The Tennessee Aquarium is the largest facility of its kind to focus on fresh water habitat. It features 7,000 animals and 300 species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world. It has broadcast every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Books I read in October 2015

I Married a Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich  this one was made into a movie starring Barbara Stanwyck called No Man of Her Own. Of course, Hollywood made it a happy ending and the book is a little darker.
Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon very creepy Stephen Kingish type book about a girl who goes missing and her family thinks she was stolen by fairies. I'm gonna look for more by this author.
A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear (library)a very sad book. It might be my reaction to grief, but there is a lot of sadness in this mystery. I enjoyed it, but don't look here for sweetness and light
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (library) about a hitman in the future. The descriptive prose made me think of Blade Runner or Minority Report. Lots of violence so warning to those that don't like that.
Doll Bones by Holly Black (library) a YA book, and really really good!! Creepy Ghost story stuff. Highly recommend
Vicki Finds the Answer by Helen Wells The Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess series is similar to Nancy Drew. They were written and published from 1947 to 1964. This is the second title in the series. Through her job as a stewardess, Vicki gets involved in mysteries and solves them. The job of a flight attendant is of course highlighted and the books are fun for me to read because of that.
Doc by Mary Dorla Russell (library) The Doc Holiday Story! I loved Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone and now I just love Doc Holliday. There should be a movie just about Doc Holliday!!
The Three by Sarah Lotz (library) I really enjoyed Day Four by this author last month, so this is another paranormal thriller by her. Creepy stuff
The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich another Noir Novel by this master. I cannot believe I never heard of this man until now!!!
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell (library) This is  my second read of this book, I read it last spring and enjoyed it.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (library) In a month where everyone is talking about "Back to the Future", it seemed appropriate that I was reading this novel about time travel and multiple lives!
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight (library) great mystery, I liked the use of multiple viewpoints to keep you on your toes, so I was figuring it out as it unfolded
Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson (library) I liked it, but it was not as riveting as I had hoped. If you are interested in the subject matter, you will enjoy it. (non-fiction account of divers discovering a real Pirate Ship!)
Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott (library) About the daughter of a famous eccentric author. I liked it
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie rereading this one for the holiday! :-)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: South Dakota

Belle Fourche is the geographical center of the United States of America, designated in 1959 and noted by an official marker and sheepherder's monument called a "Stone Johnnie".  Badlands National Park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: South Carolina

The state dance of South Carolina is the Shag! Before being known as the Palmetto State, South Carolina was known as, and had emblazoned on their license plates, the Iodine State. The City of Myrtle Beach is in the center of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile crescent of beach on the South Carolina coast. In the last 25 years, Myrtle Beach has developed into the premier resort destination on the East Coast.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in size in the United States. It covers an area of 1,214 square miles. Its distances North to South are 48 miles and East to West 37 miles. The Flying Horse Carousel is the nation's oldest carousel. It is located in the resort town of Watch Hill. Jerimoth Hill is the state's highest point at 812 feet above sea level.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Pennsylvania

I spend a lot of time in the Philadelphia airport. So it is a rare treat when I get to venture out into the countryside!! Philadelphia is home to the cheesesteak sandwich, water ice, soft pretzels, and TastyKakes. Located in the Grape Coast region of Pennsylvania the city of North East has four thriving wineries and is home to the largest Welch's grape processing plant in the country.  Groundhog Day fans....Punxsutawney citizens are proud to be over shadowed by their town's most famous resident the world-renowned weather forecasting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney is billed as the weather capital of the world.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Books I read in September 2015

Finders Keepers by Stephen King (library) some cross over characters from Mercedes will be interesting to see where else he goes with this, because at the end....there are still unresolved issues.
Day Four by Sarah Lotz (library) This is why I don't go on cruises!! Bad things happen on Day Four of a Cruise!Stephen King could have written this, very sinister/supernatural vibe. Loved it
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (library) enjoyed it very much....Of course the spoiler is that there is a I had it figured out immediately, because of this.....and I was right.
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens (library) really enjoyed this.....hikers out there, put this on your TBR list, a survival story about being lost on a mountain
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy (library) Scheduled to go to an island in South Carolina for my birthday this coming March and read this one because it is set on an island in South Carolina. I had read it previously when I was in high school.
Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith (audiobook) I cannot decide if I liked it or not. I liked parts of it. But on the whole, I am not a huge fan of any of his books. I don't think I will read anymore in this series
The Black Ice by Michael Connelly (library) still trying to get through the Bosch books
Ruth Fielding Clearing Her Name by Alice B Emerson (library) this is one of the Ruth Fielding titles that was written by Mildred Wirt (author of many of the Nancy Drew books)  I found it at a used bookstore while I was on a layover and could not allow it to stay there, now it will go onward to another collector.
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (library). Loved the characters. She really makes you care about them.  Teddy says at one point, his life is boring and nothing really happens to him. However, she puts just enough suspense in.   What happens to Nancy? What happens to Dominic? Loved it. If you are a Downton Abbey fan this covers some of the same time periods WWI thru WW II. And more. It is a sort of companion piece with her previous book Life after Life. And just so you know, I cried buckets at the end of the book.
The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. (library) a mash up of Sex in the City and Gone Girl.  It was okay.
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (library) about a racetrack.  I learned a lot considering I've only been to the track twice and watch the Kentucky Derby once in a blue moon. It is fiction, like one of my favorite movies, Let it Ride.
Into the Night by Cornnell Woolrich and Lawrence Block. This book was found among Cornnell Woolrich's papers when he died.  Lawrence Block helped to finish it for publication.   A great noir novel.
The Last Days of the Romanovs by Michael Mullen. In the wake of my trip to St Petersburg, I've been enjoying reading about Russia  I picked up this book at Oxfam in Ireland.
The Busy Body by Donald Westlake.  A fun novel about gangsters

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Oregon

Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. Eugene was the first city to have one-way streets.
 Oregon and New Jersey are the only states without self-serve gas stations. The hazelnut is Oregon's official state nut. Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut. The hazelnut is also known as the filbert.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Oklahoma

Per square mile, Oklahoma has the most tornadoes of any state in the USA. The State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. Not too many years ago, giant oil rigs dotted the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol. Also Oklahoma is one of two states that have the name of the state in the name of the Capitol, Oklahoma City. The other is Indianapolis, IN.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: Ohio

My Dad was born in Akron, Ohio. Charles Goodyear of Akron developed the process of vulcanizing rubber in 1839. And Akron is known as the rubber capital of the world. 
Ohio's state flag is a pennant design. It is the only state flag of that design in the United States. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Monday's Postcard 2015: North Dakota

When Dakota Territory was created in 1861 it was named for the Dakota Indian tribe. Dakota is a Sioux word meaning friends or allies. The Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba on the north, Minnesota on the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana as its western neighbor border North Dakota. North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state.North Dakota is the only state that I have not visited. It is on my bucket list.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Books I read in August 2015

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple (library audiobook)  Listened to on my way to trailheads for WTA hike-a-thon hikes. I read this one when it first came out and it was a totally different experience listening to it. The memo's and email's format was a little weird to hear instead of read. I enjoyed Bernadette's rants about the things she hates about Seattle, cracked me up.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (library) another post apocalyptic novel. I liked it  All you Zombie/I am Legend, Walking Dead fans out there, check this one out too.
Think of a Number by John Verdon (library) great mystery/thriller. I enjoyed it
Come Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie Mallowan  A nonfiction account of her days on an archaeological dig in Syria with her husband, renowned archeologist Max Mallowan. I loved it!! Of course I am a HUGE Christie fan and this little book is just a slice of life of what it was like for her to go with him on these digs in the Middle East. Very fascinating considering everything that has gone on there in recent history. The book was published in 1946, so it is very interesting to see her view of the area from that time period.
The Associate by John Grisham (audiobook) I stopped reading Grisham after Street Lawyer...I have never been a huge fan of the legal thriller.  So I don't think I ever read this one prior to listening to it on tape.
Flashback by Nevada Barr I reread this one, the first time I had read it, I had not been to the Dry Tortugas. So after having been to the Fort, it was easier for me to imagine the things that she had going on there
Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly I liked this one. It was not a Hieronymous Bosch one, but was still enjoyable. And the case does tie in with a case that H. Bosch worked in another book.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith I had not read this since I was about 12 or so!
Dark of the Moon by John Sandford  Another Virgil Flowers mystery. Great fun
Cold Company by Sue Henry Murder Mystery set in Alaska
Break Up by Dana Stabenow another Alaska Murder Mystery and for some reason, this one makes me laugh a lot. It has a lot of craziness in it about spring in Alaska. I especially enjoy the parents who come to visit their daughter and all that they experience in a single day.
The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry I enjoyed this one, much more on a second reading. I remember not really liking it that much the first time. And I was never a huge fan of the movie either.
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie These last 8 books are paperbacks that I brought with me on vacation in Eastern Europe. After I finish each book, I am leaving it here at book exchanges in the hostels and inns. This also leaves more room in my luggage to bring home souvenirs! :-) So they are all books that I have read before and they are paperback copies that I got from used bookstores at home specifically to leave here in Europe.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth ( library) behind the myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.   Since I have been loving all things Swedish.  I really enjoyed this look at the area and culture of all these countries.  I learned a lot!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury I could not resist picking this one up at one of our hotels in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is in English, but published by a Russian Company as part of their series of classics. I also enjoyed this one on a second reading. It was never a favorite when I read it as a kid.
Wolf to the Slaughter by Ruth Rendell read these last two on the flight home
Poirot Loses a Client by Agatha Christie I always have time to read another Agatha Christie!!
Inherit The Family by Vello Vikerkaar I found out about this author when I was in Estonia. He is from Canada (and of Estonian descent) he married an Estonian and now lives there.....this is a collection of stories that he wrote about the Expat experience in Tallinn. Very entertaining!
Tantra Man by Vello Vikerkaar Another collection of stories about being an ExPat in Estonia. I really enjoyed these, and because my family has experience with being Expat, and I like to think of myself as a sophisticated and worldly world traveler....I could relate to much of it. :-)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hike-a-thon derailed this year....

Such a bummer, our hike-a-thon this year was not as successful as in years past. Ryan finished up the Appalachian Trail and then flew off to Switzerland to hike the Tour de Mont Blanc. And I was touring around the Baltic in Estonia and Russia for most of the month. So we did not get to do a lot of campaigning for donations. Ryan got in a lot of miles, but I did not.

Then I twisted my ankle on my last day in Russia and did not get to do any more mileage for hike-a-thon this August.So we are not quite to our goal of $1000 for Washington Trails. But we still have a few more days for fundraising. So for any of you folks who were waiting til the last minute, this is your last chance to help out Washington Trails and contribute to Hike-a-thon 2015!

Click here
This is not how I twisted my ankle, although it could have been!!


Ryan on top of Katahdin