Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Malarkey - The kitten, reading, arrivals, movies and life updates

Kitten first!

Wow, what a difference 6 weeks makes in a kitten!  Can you believe the top photo is River just 6 weeks ago (when she was new to us and we still called her Prissy) and the bottom photo is . . . well, last week before my hard drive filled up?  It'll be a while before I get a new hard drive, incidentally, so no fresh photos till that happens.

Last week we looked at the little cardboard box cover Huzzybuns made for River's litterbox when she came home and couldn't believe she was ever small enough that it seemed reasonable for her to go through that little door.  She now barely fits under the couch, which is making it rough for her to escape when Isabel goes on the rampage but Izzy is slowly adjusting.  We have had zippo success getting River to scratch in the right places but I just read up on declawing, again, to remind myself No Way in Hell would I do that to a cat.  We'll just have to keep working on her.  
Almost 2 weeks after I told the rescue I think it would be best if they put River's photo back up on the adoption pages, her photo has not appeared.  And, she is completely convinced that she owns us.  So, it's hard to say what will happen.  


Remember when I said I was enjoying The Girls of Atomic City?  It's been a couple weeks since I even opened the book.  I read 101 pages and the second 50 pages were, I fear, deadly dull.  There's a lot of talk about how this secret town was created so quickly for the sake of the war effort and some historical background on the science of atomic bombs but I found there wasn't enough depth to the personal accounts.  When I set it aside, I knew I needed to give it a little more time but I keep looking at it and hesitating.  If the first 100 pages weren't doing it, should I bother?  Sometimes I don't know.  But, I do find anything WWII-related fascinating, in general, so I want to go on.  I will read some of it today and make a decision whether or not to continue.

Otherwise, I've had to read slump-breaking books.  After Good Kings Bad Kings, I picked up about 7 different books and read their first pages.  Not a single one grabbed me and I realized it was my mood, not the books.  So, I decided to go with my standard slump-breaker, a Young Adult novel, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  Paranormalcy broke my slump nicely. Then, I moved on to The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan.  It kept my interest and while I think it's far-fetched and the ending was a serious let-down, I enjoyed the read and thought it would make a good discussion book. Then, the same exact slumpy thing happened, all over, again.  I don't know how many books I attempted before I decided to read a book I got by mistake:  The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey.  

I requested The Butterfly Sister from HarperCollins but got The Widows of Braxton County, instead.  When it arrived, I thought, "Oh, darn.  I remember reading about that and the blurb didn't interest me."  Boy, was I surprised when I picked it up and it proved to be my second block-breaking book.  I finished it so quickly I never managed to post a "currently reading" image in the sidebar.  It's yet another historical-contemporary blend but fortunately the author doesn't leap back and forth every other chapter.  I loved the historical murder mystery, the slow development of the heroine, who starts out meek and gains strength after a rough start with a violent man, plus the occasional ghostly touch.  

Recent Arrivals (this is 2 weeks' worth):
  • The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason - from Chronicle Books, for review.  This one came beautifully packaged with a note printed in script (as you can see, above) and sealed with a sticker that looked like a wax seal! I love it when publishers add that little touch that makes receiving an advance reader feel like you've just received a Christmas gift. 
  • Novel Ideas by K. B. Dixon - from the author, for review.  I've read several of Ken Dixon's books and enjoyed them.  I very seldom accept books directly from authors but he's a notable exception.
  • It's Beginning to Hurt: Stories by James Lasdun - via Paperback Swap.  Very exciting swap arrival.  I've had this one on my wish list for just under 4 years.  


We don't watch a lot of TV, around here, since we have no cable or satellite.  All we have is Amazon's streaming (my husband bought Prime membership for the streaming, although I confess we've enjoyed the quick shipping on occasion) and local channels.  Husband watches a lot of cooking shows on Create and PBS is our go-to favorite network.  Otherwise, we occasionally find a series to stream or watch movies on weekends and that's about it.  I was in a TV mood so I streamed part of the 6th episode of Under the Dome.  I was curious about the show, although it never did much for me and this particular episode was, I thought, just too much.  Too violent, too patently stupid with the electrical engineer whipping up her little device to track down the source of interference blocking phone and radio signals. I gave up in the middle and won't go back.  Husband arrived for episode 3 of Suits, Season 1.  Can't say either of us were thrilled with that, either, although we didn't think it appalling.

I turned off the TV and when I returned, Huzzybuns had turned on . . . of all the unexpected movies . . . Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis.  It was not a great movie, of course, but it's hilarious.  We laughed a lot, sang along to about half of the songs and ogled the "mid-century modern" furnishings, which were mixed in with furniture from other eras.  Apparently, the middle of the last century was more eclectic than memory serves.  When the movie ended, I asked Husband why he chose Blue Hawaii and he said, "All the modern stuff sucks, so I decided to go back to old movies."  Good thinking. Believe it or not, Blue Hawaii was definitely an improvement over the two TV episodes.

Then we moved on to In Like Flint, yet another Sixties movie starring James Coburn.  We own both of the Flint movies (James Bond parodies) on DVD but Lord only knows where they are.  We haven't gotten around to unpacking DVDs, yet.  More mid-century modern furniture!  Ohmygosh, the burnt orange!  "Please, God, don't let them bring back burnt orange," ran through my head throughout.  And, then I got on the internet and saw a couple ads for mid-century modern furnishings in . . . you guessed it, orange. 


We're shooting for finishing the work on our former home and getting it on the market by the end of August and had a real estate agent walk through to tell us what she thinks we still need to do and what we can ignore.  We were naturally happy to hear that there were a few things we can skip fixing up, but there were plenty of others we'd hoped to get away with skipping (taking down the last of the wallpaper, ugh) and what remains to be done makes my mind boggle -- the wallpaper stripping (thank goodness we'd been pulling down wallpaper for years and only the bathrooms and 1 bedroom remain) and painting those walls, one room and two closets that need wood flooring put down, trim in several rooms, touch-up paint in others, painting all of the doors and the kitchen (and some ceilings), one appliance repair job and a fan replacement.  The garage needs to be emptied and cleaned.  All of the windows need to be washed and the yard needs a major clean up.  And, our renter left some horrible stains in the den carpet, which we'll probably need to steam clean because spot scrubbing hasn't worked.  Apart from our plan to hire a service to tidy the yard (which was not taken care of by our renter), we're doing everything ourselves and limited to weekends.  It's taking forever.  But, I think we feel like we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, in spite of that huge list.


Well . . . it's still here, isn't it?  I wish I could find more time to visit other blogs.  I think I just need to pick a day to go blog-hopping.  I miss chatting with fellow bloggers.  Thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter or I'd probably never get to speak to anyone at all.

Happy Monday and if you're even bothering to stop by this blog, thank you!

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  1. All posts are read when they start with a kitten. ;-) I've not read any of your books (yet!) but I have seen Blue Hawaii many many moons ago (blue moons?!). I love those campy films.

    1. LOL Yes, kittens are a draw for me, too. :) "Campy" is a word I didn't think to use but which fits Blue Hawaii perfectly. I haven't seen it since I went to a slumber party at 10 and there was an Elvis marathon on TV. That was definitely many moons ago, including plenty of blue ones!

  2. Life is crazy and it is hard to find time to blog hop. You'll get to it when you get a chance! For now, love reading your updates :)

    Cannot believe how River has changed from when you first got her. She is too cute. I hope things continue to get better on that front so all kitties will be happy together.

    That Colleen Gleason book looks very good. Can't wait to read your review of that one!

    1. Thanks, Iliana!

      Yeah, life is crazy - sometimes more than usual.

      River is growing so fast! But, we're not all that surprised, since she eats like food is going out of style and she has huge feet. We're expecting her to be a big cat when she's done growing.

      I can't wait to read the Colleen Gleason book. Isn't the cover marvelous?

  3. Thanks for the review of The Widows of Braxton County. I might have passed that one by too, except for your review. Now it's on my TBR list :-)

    River is such a gorgeous kitty.

    Good luck with getting the house ready, I hope it sells really quickly for you.

    1. Susan,

      That sounds like a compliment to my reviewing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's not fluffy but it's nice and light - would make a great vacation read. I should have mentioned that.

      Thanks! Everyone I know keeps saying, "She'll never leave," (in reference to River) and when I ask them why they'd say such a thing, I get the funniest looks.

      And, a second thank you! Kiddo and Huz are working on the old house, right this moment. I'm supposed to be cleaning the new one. I probably should get off the computer. I have a headache so I'm moving slowly but it's not a bad enough headache to get out of chores.


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