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Archive for April, 2012


No one asked for war, but here it is. As Quakers, Hannah Sunderland and her family don’t choose sides, refusing to get caught in the middle. War is easily ignored- until it comes to them. 

Showing up on their doorstep, the Queen’s Rangers show no mercy to their possessions- even the window shutters are fair game! As any good Quaker does, Hannah invites Colonel Beckwith to dinner.

She had no idea he’d take over their house and move in with them. Imagine!

When he takes a woman to his bed- in their house- knowing Hannah and her younger siblings could hear- the die was cast. Hannah’s father took his family into town, to stay with her aunt’s family.

The only one missing is Robert. Hannah’s twin brother, with whom she shares a special link, has chosen sides because of the rape of their housemaid by a British soldier and the subsequent dismissal by their father when her pregnancy begins to show.

Hannah is desperate. She has to get to see Robert in prison. As a Quaker, though, she’s forbidden.

Jeremiah Jones, the local tavern owner, has an entirely different problem. He needs a new spy. Apparently, the local tailor has gotten cold feet and refuses to pass any more messages across the lines to General Washington. Jeremiah can’t do it himself, since his second arm was shot off at Devil’s Hole when he was a colonial in Gage’s Light Infantry.

He has to get someone inside the prison with messages, so William Addison and the other newly transferred prisoners can coordinate an escape. A chance meeting between Jeremiah and Hannah occurs, and he hatches a plan to get her inside to see her brother, using his British military contacts. Can he do it? Will she do it?

From the get-go, this book had my interest. It looked familiar, and I wasn’t sure I hadn’t already read it. Within the first few pages, I was able to settle in, knowing it was a new one for me. Historical fiction (particularly colonial fiction) is my absolute favorite genre, and this title did not disappoint. (As it turns out, I just read another fantastic book by this author, which is why her name felt familiar to me, even though that title was not historical fiction.)

This book has it all- spies, war, conflict of morals and faith- it was all here. I have to give this 4.5 stars, though, because the ending was too unresolved for my liking. We know how one part works out, but the other bigger issues are never resolved. I was hoping there would be an indication of a sequel, but as far as I know there isn’t one.

Although the author’s writing style feels a little bit unfinished for my personal taste (because her other book could have resolved differently, too, imo) absolutely do not miss reading this (and other) book(s)! I definitely will be making a point to get her other titles, and she goes on my favorite author’s list.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

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I’m pretty sure that is not news y’all don’t already know.  😆 Part of what I deal with as ongoing issues are body weirdities. There is usually something strange going on, and yesterday was no exception.

Much of the time, I have skin weirdities. I seriously have not figured this one out, and really, I’ve stopped trying. When I changed to my Vibrams, there was one spot on each foot that would stay all red, on the inside of my foot. Those spots looked terrible, but they didn’t hurt and they didn’t itch.

I thought maybe it was detergent; maybe it was the seam in the shoe. Nope. Not the detergent, and not the seam, because the location of the spot changes to places where there is no seam……

Magically, one day, they totally disappeared. After that, I’d have times where that spot would splotch on one foot or the other, no matter what I did. No idea why. I’ve been splotch-free {knock on wood} for a while now, but I’m pretty sure at some point it will get weird again.

If you were around me yesterday, you probably noticed that I wasn’t all there upstairs. Yep, you guessed it. I was pretty swollen. It’s been creeping up on me, getting progressively worse as the week progressed. Today I have great plans to stay in bed as much as I can this afternoon after I get my errands done.

My biggest complaint with the swelling is that I can feel it. I can feel my hands swelling, and I can feel my toes becoming sausages. It’s a really familiar sensation, but I still don’t like it.

Another one of my weirdities is bruising. I’ve had extensive testing done for all kinds of obscure diseases, courtesy of my local cancer center’s fantastic hematologist. He’s one of my favorite doctors, and it’s good to know I can call him up and he’s willing to help.

Tuesday, after my normal run, the ball of my foot hurt for some strange reason. No idea why; didn’t hurt when I was running; I didn’t knock it into anything. But it wasn’t comfortable to walk like I normally do.

Wednesday when I got up, that part of my foot was still tender, but once shoes were on, walking was fine and there was no pain. When I got home in the afternoon, I noticed I was getting a bruise. But the bruise was not where the pain had been. Nope. This bruise was on the outside of the ball of my foot.

Thursday morning, I was feeling pretty rotten. If I hadn’t taken nearly an entire month off of running, I would have skipped my run entirely. Last month, I managed to lose 56 miles. 😯 

I know. That totally put me way behind, which means that I can’t cut myself any slack until I get caught up. By the end of this month, I’ll probably still be about 25 miles down from where I ought to be, and I’m hoping to get caught up by the end of next month.

So, when I woke up and had pitting; the bruise on my foot and I felt like crapo, I debated about whether or not I should even bother trying. I figured I would give it a shot and see how I felt. If the pain in my foot was bad, I wouldn’t push it.

 

Just in case you’re wondering- yes, that’s a dent in my ankle. You can have edema which is firm (which is what I have in my hands, arms, and legs) but when it hits my ankles, I can usually mash my finger in there and this is what it looks like. And no, it’s not “normal” to wake up in the morning and have pitting. That amount of pitting is what I consider “moderate.” It’s a bit past “slight” and “mild,” but nowhere near “severe” or “obscene.”

Obviously, it was hard to get a really good picture of the bruise, because the contrast was more evident when the light was lower, but then I couldn’t get a decent picture of it. What was bizarre about this one, as you can see, is how it wrapped from the outside ball of my foot all the way to the actual ball, all that side. It’s almost like I had my foot upturned and whacked it with something cylindrical or stepped on something and rolled my foot. I am pretty sure that I would have remembered doing something like that.

Because of the swelling, I knew it was really important to get running and get as much of it flushed out as I could. Even though I knew I’d be pitted again by the afternoon, some reduction is better than nothing. So I had to give it a shot and see how long I could go before the bruise became a problem.

Darn it anyhow, but my foot felt totally fine while running. And even though it remains very clearly bruised, that spot doesn’t hurt at all when I press on it, even though it was a little bit tender yesterday morning.

It’s a daily adventure, I’m tellin’ ya. What weirdities will I wake up with today?! What weirdities can I develop during the day?!

Meh.  I am convinced, however, that it has something to do with heat. Wednesday, we hit 102, and I have noticed that the increase of heat has brought an increase of swelling. It’s going to be a long summer……… *sigh*

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This one came via Daddy. He got one, too, but his had check boxes. 😆

This is from my soon-to-be-8-year old.  ♥♥♥

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The breath Macy didn’t know she was holding exploded with a whoosh. “Oh. My. Word!” Macy exclaimed. “I thought he’d never leave!”

As she lowered her shoulder-bound legs with one hand, she clicked her ear piece with the other. She continued to ponder why it took Frank so long to give in and get out of the car to hit the bathroom.

“That is NOT natural. He has got to have a bladder made of steel! Maybe he’s not as normal as we thought he was. He should have been out of here nearly half an hour ago. Now I’m going to have to make up for lost time,” she groused internally.

“M1, the coop has been flown. I repeat, N has flown the coop. Open channel 2.” Macy paused.

“SkyVision, engage sector 78A. Will keep you apprised of additional developments. M2 out.” Macy clicked off, knowing that despite the lack of response, her latest update had been received. Now, if only the satellite surveillance would actually contribute to this fiasco, they might be able to make some headway.

Gathering her pocket alarm, Macy methodically got down to business. It wasn’t going to be pretty, but it had to be done, and it had to happen now. “Too bad I won’t have time to check out the gym. I’ll bet the uh, ‘cake’ would look tasty,” she thought, nearly chuckling.

The final beep of her alarm set brought her back to reality. It was time. Locking the doors, Macy settled in, her mind flowing to the target.

Once again, she was back in the storeroom, reclaiming her spot between the two coolers. Although she was a pro with astral projection, she was well aware that she could still be seen and compromised.

Macy poked her head out around the cooler closest to the door. What she saw brought her up short. When Frank got back, she was going to have to open the gate of resistance and bring him into her confidence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s week 24 of the Trifecta Writing Challenge! If you’ve been reading along, you’ll no doubt be thrilled, as I was, to learn that my entry won last week.  Yay!  😆

If you haven’t been reading along, shame on you! You don’t know what you’re missing!  :mrgreen:

Ok, well, not really. 😆  You can still get caught up by reading the earlier parts of this saga:

Clean- Part 1

Cheap- Part 2

Brain- Part 3

Scandal- Part 4

Observe- Part 5

Thunder- Part 7

It’s Monday again and that means we’re on for another single word prompt, usual rules apply: 33 to 333 words using the THIRD definition of the word.
 

This week’s word is:

confidence (noun)

1 a : a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances <had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed> <met the risk with brash confidence>

b : faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way <have confidence in a leader>

2 : the quality or state of being certain : certitude <they had every confidence of success>

3 a: a relation of trust or intimacy hisconfidence>

b : reliance on another’s discretion <their story was told in strictest confidence>

c : support especially in a legislative body <vote ofconfidence>

 
Please remember:
 

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I really didn’t have it planned, but yesterday, I knew it was time. Solemn agreement turned to outright glee and a flurry of action. 15 minutes later, the glee turned to desertion, and I was left alone to sweat.

It was finally warm enough to take the babies outside and introduce them to the big girls!!  SQUEEEE!!!!

When introducing chicks to established flocks, unless they hatch outside with either a broody hen or their mama, chicks stand a pretty decent risk of getting pecked, injured, or even killed by the bigger birds. Some of it is establishing pecking order; some of it is curiosity. Because of the difference in size, the big girls can really hurt the babies without trying, just because they are interested.

What this means to me is that they have supervised visitation until the babies are old enough to be outside full-time. Hopefully, by that point, when they wake up on the roost together in the morning, they will just be absorbed and all will be well.

The other consideration at this point is the difference in food. Chicks can’t handle the extra calcium in layer feed, as it messes up their kidneys. And because my chicks are getting medicated feed right now (to prevent coccidiosis), I absolutely do not want my big girls eating their food.

The best solution at this point is to have supervised visitation. We brought the babies outside, and put them on the other side of the run, while the big girls were still contained. I didn’t have my camera at that point, so I didn’t get any pictures.

By in large, the big girls were a little afraid of them, and they all huddled on the other end of the run. It took a few minutes, but Butternut (flock mistress) came over and checked them out. Eventually, a few other big girls rotated through and then went back to what they were doing.

A few more minutes later, I decided it was ok to open up the door and let the big girls out, as we do every afternoon. Eventually, they did come cautiously out and went on their merry way. All told, the babies were outside for over 2 hours. I was impressed- they managed to go in and out of the run, and Blossom (one of the sultans that I think is probably a boy) even had a stare-down with Daisy (which I didn’t get a picture of because I was standing right there, waiting to intervene if I needed to).

The biggest surprise was Roxy, who is the most mellow, sweet chicken with us. She is the flighty one of the bunch, and the only one that’s figured out she can fly into the garden. Maybe it’s because she is one of the lower ones in the flock right now, but she was the most interested in the chicks, and was giving them some pretty hard pecks. Once I heard them peeping in pain, I figured it was time to keep her away from them.

Overall, though, I think the first introduction went very, very well. Since the babies are no where near being ready to be outside full-time, this part of the integrating will take a few weeks. Once they get to the point where I don’t have to hover and the babies are fully feathered, I’ll be ready to try having them spend the night outside.

One of the bigger considerations is that 6 of them are bantams, which means they are going to be smaller. In the picture, you’ll be able to see the size difference. The older chicks are will be 5 weeks old tomorrow, and the babies are 2 weeks, 3 days old. They are already pretty much the same size as the silkies, but the sultans are a little bit bigger.

Babies will sleep in a puppy pile, but already my regular chicks are sleeping more on the perch, and while silkies generally don’t perch to sleep, mine are on the perch quite a bit. They also can catch some wind, even though they won’t be flying like the others.

We’re planning on doing some remodeling inside the coop, so that the bantams will have a lower perch on which to roost if they want to. The key is positioning it so they don’t get pooped on all night.

Without further ado, here are some pictures:

Where did everybody go?!

Butternut, checking them out up close and personal.

Even babies like taking dust baths!

Whew! The first grand adventure into the wild for the babies was great fun all the way around! 😆

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Frank snuck a sideways look out of the corner of his eye and saw that Macy was still wrapped up in herself. For the time being, her car gymnastics seem to be keeping her narcolepsy at bay, but she was still in outer space somewhere.

He tapped his earpiece to make sure it was on and that he wasn’t missing something. Silence. “But damn, that Marisol has a hot voice. Too bad she’s not as sexy as she sounds. At least she’s quiet, so it looks like I can slip away.”

It was time for Frank to answer the call of nature. He missed the days when going on a stakeout meant bottles instead of cups with lids. This stopping and starting bit was about to get old. He’d had to change his bathroom habits once he got a female partner, and bottles weren’t as multi-purposed as they used to be.

Not wanting to alert Macy, Frank silently opened his door, slid out, and then closed it with a soft click. It was time to ditch protocol and enter the target of the stakeout.

“It’s the closest building,” Frank reasoned. “Plus, with all the meatheads here to observe the grand re-opening, no one is going to notice me anyhow.”

While Frank despised the catch-name for his team, the MnMs, he did find the name of the businesses amusing. “Gunz-n-Roses. Ha. At least they didn’t use something really stupid like ‘Pansies-n-Pumpin,” ‘Flowers While You Weight’ or ‘Get Buff and Fluff.'”

“Nah, Gunz-n-Roses is an ok name, as names go,” Frank decided. He still hadn’t figured out the real connection between the two businesses, outside of newly married owners and the ability to accept large freight items.

With the big bash going on, the owners under surveillance wouldn’t notice him oozing in to use the facilities. Frank flexed his muscles, to help him fit in with the crowd. It was time to infiltrate and let loose his liquids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To read the first four parts of the story, check out these links:

Clean- Part 1

Cheap- Part 2

Brain- Part 3

Scandal- Part 4

Confidence- Part 6

Thunder- Part 7

It’s week 23 of Trifecta’s writing challenge.

This week’s word is:
ob·serve verb \əb-ˈzərv\

1: to conform one’s action or practice to (as a law, rite, or condition) : comply with

2: to inspect or take note of as an augury, omen, or presage

3: to celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted wayPlease remember:

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I know it’s a scary place, but bear with me……….

In my own head, I am funny.

Quips are off the cuff, and leave people digging for their dictionaries.

Actually, I used to be. Once I got sick, it became a struggle to even understand what I was thinking in my own head, much less spit it out and have a result that made any kind of sense. I confess I’ve gotten to the point where the strange looks people give me don’t bother me as much. It’s part of life. I deal with it and move on.

In my own head, I am skinny.

Yep. Skinny. Like I used to be. Only older. When I look in the mirror, I find myself thinking “They always say the camera adds ten pounds….” and then come crashing down as I realize that I’m just using my eyes. I’m pretty sure they are broken………

Now, before all of y’all go off on me and give me the speech about loving my body and size doesn’t matter as long as you are healthy blah blah blah, let me just say this: if you’ve been in a position where your body has become an alien and something you don’t really have much control over at all, then you might be able to understand my thinking without too much work.

Of course, if you’re a girl, you probably don’t need to reach to understand this, since you’re sitting there nodding your head. I’m considering investing in one of those full-length fun house mirrors that lengthen you, but that would add to my stuff problem, and I’m really, really still trying to be good in that department.

In my own head, I am young.

Ok, so I’m not really old. I’m 40. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

This is one of those things where most some days, I scratch my head and wonder when I got old enough to have kids. And then I realize I don’t just have kids, I have kids AND teenagers. 😯

Ya, I know. Our oldest is going to be 16 in 2 months. And that just can’t be true, because I am not old enough to have kids. Well, ok, maybe a toddler or two, but teenagers? Sheesh.

I’m so anal with things that I actually have documents saved that chronicle time- time having done this or that, because thanks to my brain mush (which must mean I really am not young), wait- what was I saying?  Oh yeah……. I keep track of stuff, like how long I’ve been doing certain things, because at some point, it’s all a jumble and I honestly can’t remember.

I keep track of things like how much I run; how many miles are on my shoes, and that kind of stuff. Recently, my last batch of dates was how long I’ve been doing my Community Bible Study (CBS), because I’ve lost track. Turns out, that’s been 8 years, 5 of which have been in the children’s department.

And homeschooling? Yep, we’re brand new at that is what I think in my own mind, but now we’re getting settled, since it’s been a few years. The reality is that it’s been 9 years, and our son begins his final two years of high school in the fall (except he’ll probably start some college classes then).

I’ve been out of high school, too, for over 20 years. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but apparently it must be, because that’s what the calendar is telling me. Heck, even Big Dog is about 10. Ya. We got her when the baby wasn’t out of the box yet. By default, that makes Barfy Cat 8.

My head is a great place to be, because then I can ignore things like those pesky facts. Yep, I am still young……..

In my own head, I am still smart.

I can’t remember where I wanted to go with this…….. oh yeah- In my own head, I am still really smart, like I used to be. Things started changing when I got pregnant for the first time, although it wasn’t too bad. Initially, I chalked the brain farts on pregnancy brain; then it was breastfeeding brain. Since I haven’t done either of those in a number of years, I pretty well have to confess that maybe it’s age related. Meh.

And then I remember that it’s probably disease related………. Used to be, I was blessed with a photographic memory. As in, I could read something and remember what it said usually verbatim, in addition to what part of the book it was in and where on the page it was located.

I used to be able to memorize anything and everything- when we got our first car (a ’94 Mustange GT, bought in ’93), I memorized the VIN number at home that first night. No idea why; I think it was by the time I recited it to insurance it just kind of stuck. 3 4 years ago when we traded it in for hunny’s truck, that number was still in my head. No idea why.

I was considered by some to be a “compendium of information” and I really had a good time with Trivial Pursuit. I haven’t played that game in 20 plus years, and I had to struggle to remember the name……. 🙄

Nope, when I got sick, loosing this was the thing that scared me the most out of everything. It continues to be the thing I miss the most, too. The one thing I could count on 100% of the time is gone, and some other kind of mush is taking up space up in there. We figured out this was basically the result of the constant inflammation, and if I could just get rid of that, I’d get my mind back. I think I’m about at 50%, but I’ll take what I can get. I don’t really have a choice, and for the most part, I can remember driving places, so that’s a win in my book. Something is better than nothing!

And sometimes………. I have a moment of clarity. Sometimes, things are crystal clear to me, like they used to be. I had an episode a few weeks ago where I left the shopping list at home because I forgot where I put it. And it was a LONG list, with unusual items on it. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss a single item on the list, and I could remember it, just like the olden days. It was fleeting, but it made me smile. *sigh*

In my own head, I am still beautiful.

This is one of those that is completely superficial, so if it’s going to make you think less of me, click away now………….

In the olden days, I looked good. I’m too short to be a supermodel and I was probably never emaciated enough, but I had some decent qualities- good skin, decent (although very fine) hair, dangerously long and dark eyelashes, and good muscle tone.

Now, my mantra is: Thank goodness for makeup!

The first sign of things to come was losing a good size chunk of hair off the top of my head. To be fair, we tried to convince ourselves it might be related to post-pregnancy hair loss, even though I had a suspicion it really wasn’t. Fortunately for me, I only had to do the comb-over every other year for the following years, although there stands a good chance that eventually, it’ll go from being alopecia areata to alopecia universalis.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to that, because then I can just get some wigs and be done with it. And truly, there are only so many bald thin spots you can comb over before your remaining thin hair is all used up. It’s bad, I know, but when you hair is extremely thin and very fine, it’s just a disaster. Besides, it would be nice to not have hair some places anyhow. If I lose it all, I won’t have to worry about shaving my legs, and that would be another score in my book.

Then there is the skin……….. while we’d like to attribute the discoloring to my medication, the truth of that is that it started happening before the new medication, which has a sun warning on it (as in, don’t go out in it ever unless you are totally, completely covered from head to toe, as IF that is going to happen when you live in a desert……) While my retinas are suffering from de-pigmentation, I’m picking up pigment in places I’d rather not.

And muscle tone? Puh. I’m one of those people who absolutely does not look like a runner, because despite the miles, I usually have no muscle definition. I thank the inflammation for that one, too.

So, ya, I have to say thank goodness for makeup and for hunny, who is still somehow convinced I’m beautiful. Maybe I ought to be thankful for rose-colored glasses or delusion, too, from which he seems to be suffering.  😆  No, really, that’s the power of love, and is a fantastic example of what real love looks like. We always said real love looks like wiping your partner’s/spouse’s behind when they’ve had surgery and can’t, or holding their hair when they barf……… I think this will have to go on that list.  😆

In my own head, I am tall normal height.

Yes, that’s right. In my own head, my 11-year-old neighbor isn’t taller than I; I’m not shorter than 1/2 of my kids, and I don’t need to pack around a step stool to get to the second shelf of my upper cabinets. In my own head, I don’t need help reaching things numerous times a day because I am tall enough to get them on my own.

Not much more I can add to this.

In my own head, I am 100% healthy.

I believe in the power of positive affirmation, so this is something I literally tell my self numerous times a day; particularly when I am trying to talk myself into just doing my run already. Ya, I need to say that a little louder today, because the other side of my brain is being stubborn and ignoring me.

In my own head, I am infinitely interesting.

You can stop laughing now. It’s my delusion, and I’m keeping it.

Yep, in my own head, I am infinitely interesting and multi-faceted, so much so, that random strangers give pause to ponder the wondrous information dripping from my lips.

The reality is, I’m pretty boring. We strive to be drama-free by design. I give that effort two thumbs up, because the reality is that the most excitement we get around here is counting how many eggs have been laid today………. And who is pecking who- don’t forget that! 😆 Oh! And how many nesting boxes do we think we’ll need once the babies get to that point…………..(seriously, you didn’t think I’d not say something about chickens, did you? :lol:)

My head is a great place to live, I have to say. I’m pretty sure I could get lost in there and be endlessly entertained with the fallacies contained therewithin- and the characters that live in there, like Frank and Macy, for example.

What’s living in your head?

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