Monday, August 31, 2009

Waiting for Frost

Last night the upper peninsula and the northern part of the lower peninsula had a frost warning. I can hardly wait for the frost. Here's why:

In case you can't read the maps, those are the ragweed and mold levels (the things I'm most allergic to). Pollen is not killed by having a lovely, cool summer (that I can't even enjoy!), it's only killed a killing frost. I think that's 28F for several hours. Since the summer has been so cool, I'm really hoping for an early frost this year!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

RIP Sister Carol Anne

I just learned that one of my favorite authors, Sister Carol Anne O'Marie who wrote the Sister Mary Helen mysteries, died in May from Parkinson's disease. After seeing a death date on her Stop You're Killing Me page, I found her obituary and a nice article in the online Catholic Voice about her homeless shelter: "Nuns continue ministry to homeless women in Oakland."

I found this picture and a nice remembrance of her on Stephen Danko's web site. There's another nice tribute on Janet Randolph's blog.

I'm so sorry to hear of her death and to learn that she suffered from Parkinson's disease. Apparently she didn't let it slow down her writing or her ministry! God bless you, Sister. I wish I could have met you in person but am glad to know you indirectly through your books. Rest in peace.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Favorite Paperback Book Gadget

When I developed chronic tennis elbow one of the things that hurt my arm most was holding a book. As an avid reader, not reading was NOT an option so I like to try different book gadgets. One of my favorites is the Gimble.

When you buy a Gimble (just $8 at Schuler Books, where I found mine, or Barnes and Noble), you get two sizes: mass-market paperback and trade paperback. Not only is the Gimble inexpensive, it actually WORKS! It's great for reading anywhere but especially handy for those who like to read while eating or read in the bathtub.

The Gimble is made in the UK and I found it in the gift section at Schuler Books. It was a serendipitous find since I haven't seen them in any other store. I've now purchased several as gifts and recommend them to anyone who loves to read.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Interview on Mystery Matters

Today I'm the guest on Mystery Matters, an internet radio show hosted by author Fran Stewart. You can listen live at the web site at 10 a.m. or listen later via the site’s archive or podcast at Mystery Matters.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Yesterday we visited the Star Trek Exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. It featured lots of costumes and props but the coolest part was the recreated bridge of the original series:

That's my husband in the Captain's chair and I'm at Sulu's station.

A volunteer told us the set was one-third scale, except for the chairs. The captain's chair is one of three actual props. Yup, I sat in it, I just didn't get my photo taken there. That's right: my butt sat where William Shatner's butt once sat! At least I wasn't geeky enough to wear a uniform to the exhibit. :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Julia's Kitchen is Complete Again

I haven't seen Julie and Julia yet, but just read that Julia's copper pots are now in the Smithsonian with the rest of her kitchen. When we saw the exhibit a few years ago, that wall was glass. Now it's an actual wall with her copper pots. I want to go see her reunited kitchen!

Read more on the NPR and Smithsonian web sites.

We miss you, Julia. May the new movie lead new readers/viewers to discover your books, DVDs, and your love of life and food!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Saffron on YouTube!

The other night we gave Saffron a Cornish Hen. Yup, a whole chicken that was just her size! She loved it. Watch the excitement in her first YouTube video:

Before you ask: yes, we spoil her terribly. (Hey, she deserves it and we are just so glad she's still with us after being diagnosed with liver disease two years ago!) And, yes, we are easily amused. Who needs TV when you have cats?

P.S. If the video takes too long to load watch it on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The hibiscus bloomed for the first time since we moved last summer. Whew! I was afraid that between moving and repotting we had killed it.

We're having a cooler summer than usual (it hasn't reached 90 yet!). I love it but wonder if that's part of the reason this tropical plant, which usually grows and blooms like crazy in July and August, isn't blooming much.

At least it had one bloom!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reindeer Cherrries?

Sometimes being hard of hearing is almost (but not quite) amusing. The other day Mom gave me some Ranier cherries, but I thought she said "reindeer cherries." What the hell are reindeer cherries, I wondered.

They are beautiful cherries that look like this:

Not like this:

They were delicious and didn't taste anything like venison.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Back to Work!

Hoo-ray, the physical therapist says I can work again as long as I take frequent breaks and don't overdo it! Starting today, I am slowly working on updating my Fall classes. I figure it will take about a week.

Sadly, my Detective Fiction class, which I was really looking forward to, has been cancelled for low enrollment. Oh well, maybe things will work out the next time it's offered. In the meantime, that means I have only one class to prepare for Fall. Teaching four sections of freshman composition will be a LOT of grading, but it does cut down on the prep time.

I'm really annoyed with our Regents. They have changed our academic calendar and for the first time in years we'll start Fall classes AFTER Labor Day. That means exams will last pretty much until Christmas. Look at our schedule:

Sept. 8 -- Classes Begin
Dec. 14 -- Classes End
Dec. 15 -- Study Day
Dec. 16-22 -- Exams
Dec. 24 -- Grades Due

Yes, you read that correctly: grades are due on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve! Apparently our Regents don't actually teach and never have. Bah! Humbug! It's going to be a LONG fall semester and a very short Christmas break...