Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Abe + Vampires

I just finished reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  Though I had read his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I didn't know what to expect from Grahame-Smith.

This story quickly grabbed and held my attention.  Grahame-Smith effortlessly combines history and fantasy in a way that won't bore anyone.  The historical details were the most interesting part of the story, in my opinion, not vampires.  Hearing how Lincoln grew up, about his parents, how he was sworn in....  It's all very intriguing.  

Vampires provided action and, at times, comic relief.  Grahame-Smith has some crazy conspiracy theories regarding vampires in America....and they're all well thought out and fascinating.  This time in American history doesn't need vampires to be interesting, but they do add a bit of fantasy to it all. 

The movie is coming out this summer and I can't wait to see it!

Friday, May 25, 2012

UFO Help

My knitting buddy was kind enough to help me with a UFO....a baby cardigan I started in a class long ago but never finished.  Thankfully, the directions that had left me scratching my head were also cryptic to her, an experienced knitter.

We pieced together and stitched the front pieces to the back.  And that's as far as we got.  Thanks to the wonderful instructions, we had to do that twice.  Sigh!  By the time we were done, I was done.  I'll work on sewing in the sleeves by myself....which is almost laughable, but we'll see. 

I'm anxiously awaiting a sale at my local yarn store.  There is so much scrumptious stuff there!  I've started a baby hat with plans for another one...or two.  Now I just need my friends to have more babies!

I'm so glad to have a three-day weekend...  More time to knit!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Have you ever been "friended" by someone on Facebook with whom you had a falling out at some point?

It's an odd feeling, being confronted with these people who I never thought I'd see again.  In our "old age" are we supposed to let bygones be bygones?  Are we meant to forget the past?  

Let's face it, Facebook is a narcissistic exercise.  It's about telling distant acquaintances all about our lives and spying on theirs.  And to be brutally honest, it's about comparing your life to theirs...and feeling superior or envious once you have. 

Sometimes our motives are true: I genuinely want to keep in touch with some of my "friends" and Facebook is the only way.  But oftentimes, our motives are selfish. 

Bygones can be bygones, I suppose.  I'm mature now, right?  Ha!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Rose Garden

I finished my third book by Susanna Kearsley, The Rose Garden.  It was my favorite book of hers - a great read!

After the death of her sister, Eva Ward returns to their childhood summer retreat in Britain.  There, she tries to find solace in the memories of her sister.  Instead, she finds herself sucked into the past - the 1700s, to be precise.  Kearsley has a fascination with the Jacobite Rebellion and this book, like her others, focuses on that tumultuous time period. 

The main male character in this novel is particularly attractive - and a smuggler!  Eva finds love and struggles to come to terms with it...and with time. 

I loved this novel.  Kearsley has a magical way of weaving tales.  I hope she can keep this up because I want to read more!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scanning Memories

I've had a little project going the past few months.  I've been going through our old family photos and scanning them.  Here are some observations....

-We're completely spoiled by digital cameras.  More than half the pictures taken in the '80s and '90s should be thrown away.  I can't tell you how many pictures of pets' tails we have...or blurry pets....or people's heads chopped off.  It's amazing really, just how bad the pictures are.  

1993.  Heads optional.
 -The quality of these pictures is awful.  Even with software to brighten, darken, straighten, crop, etc, a lot of pictures are still grainy, which is disappointing.

1988.  A blurry picture of my birthday cake.

-It's amazing just how much I'd forgotten.  One picture can trigger so many memories, a smile, and a "oh, yeah!"  

-There are not enough pictures of every day life, unless you count the everyday lives of our pets.  Ha!  This makes me so thankful that I found and am doing Project Life this year.  We're capturing little moments that would be lost forever now.  That makes me happy!

1989.  Our dachshund, Hans.  So many pics of pets!

-I was teased pretty mercilessly as a kid.  Heck, who wasn't?   And I can see why.  My grandmother loved to sew...and she sewed most of my dresses through elementary school.  The most exciting clothes I got were hand-me-downs from my half-sister.  Looking back, I wish I still had all those dresses my Granny had sewn!  

-In high school, I took the baggy style a little too seriously.  I was never really overweight, though I wasn't athletic, but I was determined to be covered up.  No wonder I never had a boyfriend!

-Sadly, I have very few pictures of my grandparents.  Since my grandmother had emphysema and was often on oxygen, she didn't like her picture taken.  But I have so many memories of her, and none of them captures on film.  

-I have an awful memory, especially for names.  When looking at all my birthday parties across the years, I recognize the faces of my friends, yet I have no idea what most of their names are.  How depressing!  

I'm so glad to have these pictures more accessible.  There are so many good memories there.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Blues

It's summer.  Let's not dance around the subject.  In Texas, it's May.  Yay.

I cannot believe that we skipped right over the 70s and have been steady in the 80s for weeks now.  One can only hope that last year's 80 days of 100+ temperatures is not repeated.  That was a fluke, right?  Surely.  

Every year, I dread summer like the plague.  The only redeeming factor is that campus is less busy and fewer students loiter about.  That means, every so often, I can leave for lunch - a small blessing.

This summer offers something new, though.  A baby!  My best friend just had the cutest little girl!  I'm hoping to spend a lot more time with her!  I'd never thought to see my friend as a mother....but she's great.  So much better than I'd ever be!  It's heartwarming to see.  

And a baby to knit for?!  Great!!  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hunger Games

I wanted to read The Hunger Games before seeing the movie.  Since I got a late start on the book, I'll be seeing the movie on DVD.  

Everyone told me they couldn't put the book down....but I could.  It took me at least a week to read it.  I guess I have more going on than everyone else who couldn't put it down.  I thought the premise was good and unique, though perhaps a bit violent.  

However, the writing was awful.  I realize this is young adult fiction but is that really an excuse for bad writing?  The romance was a bit too contrived for me.  I couldn't really see the attraction Katniss had towards Peeta; she was way too smart for such an uninteresting, unimpressive boy.  

Personally, I'd like to know more about Panem and the war that led to the hunger games.  Perhaps I need to keep reading the books for this. But I must admit to not being too motivated to keep reading.  We'll see how the summer goes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


My boss of six years is officially gone, his office  vacated. 

While I'm glad to be done with the endless packing his departure involved, I'm really sad to see him go.  He is such a likable guy; I know his presence will be missed.  It's a pity, too, that his last year on campus was spoiled by petty department politics.  (To get a laugh out of academic politics, you should read Straight Man by Richard Russo.)  I tend to hold on to grudges, but after seeing what harboring grudges will do after 10, 15, 20 years, I think I'll just forget most of them.  Too many people suffer from such petty immaturity.  

And so I look now to the arrival of my new boss....which means unpacking boxes.  Ha!  At least I'll have over a month to rest up.  Hopefully, too, I can mentally check out of work to concentrate more on my writing.  

Yep, my goal for the summer is to get re-immersed in my writing.  I can't wait!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stomach Ails

I've been MIA this week because I've been sick.  Sick during the week of our anniversary, sick during the final week of my boss' move.  Sick.

Let me just say that stomach viruses are awful.  I wished for death many times on Tuesday and Wednesday, especially at night when my stomach hurt so bad that I was writhing in pain, my body covered in sweat.  I can deal with a lot of pain (I think most women can), but this just about got the best of me.  

When my symptoms had not abated after three days, I broke down and called the doctor.  My biggest fear was appendicitis....or gallbladder.  During the physical examination, the doctor was able to mostly rule out the appendix; I had absolutely no pain on my right side.  But I got blood drawn, just in case my white blood cell count was up.  In the end, it was concluded that I most likely have a nasty stomach virus that's going around that can last up to seven days.  Er, seven days?  WTF?!

I'm doing much better today after an almost uninterrupted, blessed night of sleep.  And this comes none to soon as my boss really needs me today.  

And it's so good to back amongst the living!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Blessed Year

A year ago today, I married my best friend, Mr. Higgins.  

It feels like our wedding was yesterday....or five years ago.  The year has gone by so quickly....but not so much.  I remember the day of our wedding so vividly.  The entire weekend was so perfect, it was like a dream.  And the past year has seen so many great things happen; we are very blessed.  

Thank you, Mr. Higgins, for bringing such happiness and love into my life!