Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Post-Thanksgiving Cocktail of Books and Cats and Other Fine Things

First, you get the Freaky, Big-Eyed Cat Photo because, frankly, I think this picture is hilarious:

That's our Miss Spooky, sitting on a dining table chair at Eldest Son's apartment in Memphis, where the entire family -- cat included -- spent Thanksgiving. Spooky does have gorgeous, big green eyes . . . but I think it's the angle that makes this photo look so wild. I took that shot with my phone camera.

From Turkeygate by Craig Medred -- I love the opening line of this article:

"Is this a strange country or what?"

After reading about people trampling each other for bargains (honestly, nothing is worth trampling a person, in my humble opinion), the availability of Christmas ornaments made from reindeer droppings, and a woman who blogs about nothing but Brian Williams' ties, I'm inclined to agree.

I hardly read a thing . . .

Thanksgiving was a reading wash, although I had one sleepless night during which I began to gobble up Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family, Compiled and Edited by Karen L. Clinard and Richard Russell. How's that for a mouthful of title? I am absolutely loving it. Cornelia Henry had a wonderful matter-of-fact journal writing style, so one minute you're reading about her sewing projects, the weather, what a great man she married (although a bit soft-hearted) or what kind of illnesses are going around the area and the next minute you're reading about which states have seceded from the Union, followed by a remark about a troublesome drunkard or the joys of motherhood. Cornelia's journals are a pleasant hodge-podge and the book itself is loads of fun because it includes scads of other info -- documents like the Old Mr. Henry's will and photos of the family, copies of advertisements from the time period (1861-1868), etc.

Also, because I apparently overloaded on sad reading material, I have begun to read an incredibly funny book called Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte, the story of how Tarte went from city-dwelling, pet-free life to country life with a startling menagerie. Ah, just the right amount of levity to get the squeaking, rusty brain cogs rotating, again.

We went to the Memphis Zoo and everyone became bored with my incessant photo-snapping, including the tigers:

Yawwwn. Finally, even God became dismayed and sent rain around the same time Eldest left to avoid going into a coma. I did try to warn him that I'm not fun to hang out with because I take a million photos, but nobody believes me till they experience the pain of standing around waiting for me to move on to the next exhibit.

Many thanks to Eldest and Girlfriend for the delicious meal and to Eldest's Girlfriend for allowing me to paw through her sack of used books. I came home with two books and she didn't get a thing, although I have a bag full that I would have brought along with me if we'd had just a tiny bit more room in the car. Note to S: Just ask if I mention anything you're dying to read.

Still reading:

Hurricane of Independence by Tony Williams - but I haven't touched it in a week. I hope to get back to it, tomorrow. Because the hurricane was tragic, this book was one of the two I felt that I needed to set aside for a few days, but I'm enjoying it.

Waiting for Daybreak by Kathryn Cushman - A very quick read, which I will probably finish tonight, Waiting for Daybreak tells the story of a pharmacist whose life was dramatically altered by a single error (this one's fiction). Now, working at a new job in her hometown and trying to help her parents pay for her mother's expensive experimental cancer treatment, Paige faces an entirely new set of dilemmas. I love Kathryn Cushman's writing style.

The Pages in Between by Erin Einhorn - Another I haven't touched in a week, but plan to get back to reading, very soon.

Grit for the Oyster - Still loving the uplifting messages in this book. Even though I'm not currently writing for publication, I've found that this book is very inspiring and I've finally begun to think, "Maybe I can get back to writing the way I used to." I highly recommend this book for Christian writers who need encouragement.

Hawk to Patrolman ratio:

Vicksburg to Memphis - 31 : 2
Memphis to Vicksburg - 34 : 0

Wow, not a single patrolman. I was shocked, especially given the weather on the drive home and the fact that a lot of people were driving with serious lead feet. Here's what we ran into on the return trip:

That's another phone photo. I'm just as obsessive with the phone camera as I am with the SLR. You should see my Pop Art (a photo of a soft drink cup with a straw jutting out to the side -- well, I think it's cool).

Off to bed with me. Nighty-night!


  1. I love your kitty photo! I keep thinking I need to show some of my cats sometime...

  2. Man, you even take better photos with your cell phone than I do with a decent camera...

    I love the photo of Spooky - such beautiful eyes!

    I'm glad you had a good time with the family for the holidays, too.


  3. It sounds like you had a great time. That foggy drive home looks a bit ominous, though! Glad you made it safe & sound.

    Great shot of the bobcat(?). Such beautiful features on that kitty!

    I tried to read Enslaved by Ducks a few years ago. Glad to hear you're enjoying it! My husband loved it.

  4. I like both kitty pictures. Each shows off something slightly different. I'm glad to hear you had a nice Thanksgiving, too.

    I haven't gotten the Gleason book yet :( I'll keep checking. Did you send it long ago? If it's been a few weeks then I'm not worried because our post office is closed more often than most and takes things a little bit to get here.

  5. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Our son went back to school yesterday and between the weather and traffic it took him 6 hours to drive what normally takes 4.

  6. Michelle,

    You definitely need to share some kitty photos!!! You know some of us just can't get enough of the felines of the world and we've never even seen yours.


    No, I don't, silly girl. You take great photos. I love the pics of your menagerie.

    Thank you. I think Miss Spooky is beautiful, but I'm biased because she owns me. We did have a good time. The cat made herself right at home in Eldest's apartment. :)


    We were really socked in for a while, there -- it was kind of scary, especially given the fact that nobody wanted to slow down.

    That's a tiger, actually. I think he's cross-bred; there was a white tiger and one with regular coloring . . . and then this guy, who looks like he's half colored. I want to go back to take more snaps of the tigers. I missed seeing them play with their ball.

    You probably have to be in the right mood for Enslaved by Ducks. I was craving a mental break and I'm enjoying it. We all know Rod has great taste. ;)

  7. Nikki,

    Those are some very different kitties, aren't they? But, if you stand around at the zoo for a while, you realize that all cats are alike in many ways.

    Colleen is supposed to send the book directly to you, so I'll write to her. When I sent your address, I never heard back and that kind of worried me. It seems like she was in the middle of promotion, at the time, so I'll check with her.


    Our drive from Memphis was about 5 hours -- not bad, but a little patrol presence might have made it slightly more sane. The traffic was fairly light, but it occasionally snagged up and became dangerous because too many people were in a hurry to pass each other. I'm glad your son made it home all right.

  8. Fun shot of Miss Spooky, and what a gorgeous tiger! I can relate to the taking a million photos! Luckily H and I share our photo hobby.
    Glad to hear you had a nice Thanksgiving. :)

  9. I love seeing your photos. My kitty gets crazy big eyes like that sometimes too! and the tiger is gorgeous.

  10. Nat,

    That photo of Spooky gives me giggle fits.

    You're lucky to have a husband with the same hobby. Mine is fairly tolerant, although he usually walks away. This time, I'm pretty sure he thought I'd get lost if he left me for any length of time, so he stuck pretty close. The Memphis Zoo is big!!

    Thank you! Hope you had a terrific weekend! :)


    Thank you! I have such fun at the zoo. We had to leave because of the rain, but I already have a mental list of what I want to hit when we return to Memphis, which lenses to use, etc. The tigers are all soooo pretty. Aren't those crazy big eyes nutty? They look sort of shocked when they're all wide-eyed like that. Cats are a hoot.

  11. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Miss Spooky is clearly shocked by the paltry amount of turkey she was giving.

    Maybe the patrolmen were enshrouded by fog? Or hanging out at the donut shop. ;)

    Fear in NC sounds fab. I love how non fiction titles can run paragraphs long.

  12. Carrie,

    Miss Spooky definitely made her presence known during the eating of the turkey. And, being a good Kitty Mom, I shared.

    That's it! They had to pull over because the fog was too thick -- to get donuts. Of course. How could I not have realized?

    Fear in NC rocks. I feel a little voyeuristic, reading her thoughts and feelings. But, besides that, I absolutely adore reading history from the POV of someone who lived it. The title requires a breath in the middle.

  13. I just wanted to send you a big virtual hug right now Bookfool! And I'll also comment that it's incredibly cool that Eldest's girlfriend is a bibliophile!

  14. Chris,

    Thank you. I think we're all in need of a big old group hug, today. Hugs right back at ya. And, yep, very cool that the eldest is dating a bibliophile. You can imagine how much fun she is to talk to. :)

  15. I love your pictures! I have wanted to go to Memphis for years but I cannot seem to get the family to go anywhere that is not the beach or LA. My stepfather is from LA so he and my Mom go there mostly for LSU football games and New Orleans. I want to go eat BBQ and walk on Beal Street. :)

  16. Brittanie,

    Thank you! You should just grab a couple of friends and take off for Memphis, some time. We didn't eat BBQ or walk on Beale Street; we ate turkey and pizza and walked through the Cooper-Young (historic) district -- my son lives in that area . . . and has bars on his windows, but we won't go into that. The Zoo is phenomenal; I had such fun. I think everyone else was just exhausted by my pokiness. LOL

  17. Spooky is very cute! Did he eat dinner at the dinner table with the rest of the family? LOL!

  18. Teddy Rose,

    Spooky didn't eat dinner at the table, this time (there weren't enough chairs, actually), but she often sits in our fourth chair at the breakfast table and gives us the Big Green Pleading Eyes. LOL She's pretty funny. :)

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  20. Squeeee! Thanks, Tara, I'll be right over. :)


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