Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And tomorrow, she's off! To the Big Apple, that is. I'm very excited to go. Planned outings include going to see Blithe Spirit and Billy Elliot, and meeting up with Auburn Kat. Other likely sightseeing includes the frog exhibition at the Natural History Museum, followed by a visit to the Shake Shack and some local yarn shops, the Met, MOMA, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Can't wait to see how my friends the Polar Bears are doing at the Central Park Zoo, and whether they still serve good Pinot Grigio at the Boathouse.

Not sure if I can blog from my iPhone, but I'll post pictures when I get back, and will definitely be posting photos in the mean time on facebook and twitter!

Hope everyone else has a good week . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

THIS is the face of the great mouse hunter . . .
When I got up to get a cup of coffee at 0-dark-thirty this week, what did I find waiting for me on the kitchen rug? A dead mouse left for me by Miss Noodles.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Although my father died in 1977 and my grandfather in 1985, I have not been relieved of celebrating this Hallmark Holiday. Since my mother's birthday is June 19, the family always does a combined mom's birthday/father's day for my brother celebration. So, although I'm working most of the weekend, I'm also having a BBQ this afternoon. As usual, the family has requested that we BBQ filet mignons. I don't really mind buying 50 dollars worth of meat, but no one bothers to tell me who all is coming to the BBQ. This leaves me to guess how many steaks to buy. I had scheduled the BBQ for 4 pm, so that I could work earlier in the day. I discovered Thursday night that my mom had changed the time to 3 pm, so that my niece - who works at 5 pm, and who no one told me was coming - can attend. . . . sigh . . .

Any ways, the cake is in the oven, and dinner should be pretty easy to prepare.

I have a stressful Monday and Tuesday ahead of me, but then . . . I leave on Thursday for 5 days in NYC. I plan to spend a good part of it drunk in Central Park.

My second book for Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge is The Legal Limit by Martin Clark.

In The Legal Limit, the main character, Mason Hunt, is a young attorney who finds his ascent from a miserable childhood with an abusive father to career success undermined by his complex relationship with his older brother, Gates, a former high school football hero turned bad. Mason knows Gates is poison but cannot forget the debt he owes his brother for protecting him from their abusive father. The inevitable trouble comes one drunken night while Mason is still in law school, when the Hunt boys, still in their early 20s, find themselves cornered by a drunken redneck on a deserted country road. Gates shoots and kills the man, and Mason takes the lead to protect Gates from the repercussions of his crime. (Apparently, this story is based on an actual crime from the 1980s).

While Gates’ life continues to spiral downward, Mason goes on to marry a beautiful artist and work as the district attorney in his home town of Stuart, in Patrick County. Unwilling to ever take responsibility for his actions, Hunt's wild ways land him in jail on a 44-year sentence for drug trafficking. He comes to resent his younger brother's refusal to use his power to spring him. Fraternal bitterness leads to blackmail, leaving Mason "morally hog-tied, an accessory after the fact, the entire damnable bundle laid at his feet by someone he loved dearly."

The theme of The Legal Limit deals more with good v. bad/moral vs. immoral, than with legal vs. illegal. The characters are complex - none are all good, or all bad. For most, right and wrong are situational determinations based on what will benefit that character the most at that time. On a side note, one character’s closeted homosexuality is awkwardly dealt with.

I liked this book, and Clark writes a good thriller, but the ending was a bit anti-climactic, and seemed to me to be a bit of a cop out. Clark may be on his way to being the next Grisham (and by that I mean Grisham in his heyday, not the watered down version we get today), but he’s not quite there yet. Nevertheless, I’ll definitely pick up his next book.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My last haiku was also for Maggie’s Southern Reading challenge, and she’s challenged us again this year, so here goes:

The Robber Bridegroom
Comes a' courtin', but will she
Fall in love in time?
We're in the midst of a good case of June gloom here in So Cal, with a bit of rain last week and overall, cool temperatures.

But don't tell Samantha that. I'm pretty swamped at work, but did get out last weekend for a couple five mile walks with Miss Noodles. Even though she is a mix of Basenji (African hunting dog) and Chihuahua (perro de Mexico), she apparently is not built to stand the heat. (And by heat, I mean lovely temperatures in the low '70s).She was fading quickly on our walk home, so we stopped periodically for rests in the shade. The walk took a bit longer than I had planned on, but a good time was had by all . . . or at least by me.

My pink calla lilies are back, which always makes me happy, and my monarch butterfly plant is in bloom.

I went on a cooking binge over the weekend - Slow Cooker Soft Taco Stack, Mediteranean soup, chicken and broccoli couscous, curry chicken salad, and a fritatta. Yes, I did share them all with my brother.

I finally watched True Blood - the first season. I enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse book - Dead Until Dark - that it's based upon. In fact, that was the first book I read for Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge two years ago. You can read my review here .

Been reading alot, knitting a little, and trying to keep up with work deadlines. What have you been up to?