Mostly... Friends Only
  • As chasethestars wrote, "I believe in drama-free friending and de-friending. Add me if you want my entries on your friends page, remove me if you don't."
  • All comments are screened. I speak and write in English only (at this time). Comments in a language I don't understand will be deleted. (As will any ad-spams.)
  • My opinions are my own. You are not obligated to read. Please keep that in mind. Differences of opinions are fine. Flaming is not welcome.
You may request to be added to on of the following filters:
Spiritual (witchy goodness)
Larp (live action roleplaying)

Balcony Garden
Last night, I bought some plants for a balcony garden.  Two Roma tomato plants, two cherry (or sugar) tomato plants, two strawberry plants, two asian pepper plants, a few little Miracle-Gro Gro-pods for my son (1 marigold, 1 green pepper, and I think 1 eggplant), a few pots, soil, and a pretty dragon fly garden decoration.   This made me feel better because I've wanted to do an apartment garden for a whlie.

The last time I really tried was in my previous apartment, which had no balcony.  My garden was placed on my kitchen table.  I used cut up milk jugs, old food storage containers (like Glad), and a couple pots I had on hand.  But, sadly, most of it did not survive.  Not enough sunlight.  No cross pollination (which may have been the issue with the tomato plant).  Well... the herbs did well enough.  The mint was trying to invade the other plants.  But in the end, it just didn't work out the way I hoped.

This time, because of the balcony, I hope things will go better.  I have my snake plant, mint, and scallions outside already, and they seem to like it.  I'm also hoping to get my son involved in planting, watering, and so forth.  He may even be willing to eat the tomatoes then.  Excitement abounds.

Quick tip:  Essentially Free Scallions
Next time you use scallions, leave about an inch at the bottom white (root) section when cutting.  Then place them in a small container with water going about halfway up the plant.  Place in a sunny place and make sure to refresh the water.  The roots will grow and the top will begin to grow.  Gently plant into a larger container (cut milk jug, a pot, etc) with potting or gardening soil.  My in planted in an old teapot I bought at an estate sale (with daffodils on the side... I'm a sucker for daffodils).  They will grow and grow.  I did this over a year ago, and they are still around.  Pretty awesome.

I also plan to maybe try growing a potato... just because... and maybe a head of garlic... even an onion.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to try learning to grow various types of plants, just because.  :-)

Literature: Sundiver

I finished David Brin's Sundiver (The Uplift Saga: Book One) last night.  After our move, I just wanted some fluff to read, taking a short break from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

I really like Brin's writing style and his vision of "the future".  My husband has more of the Uplift Saga and a few other books by this author, which I hope to read in time.

Unlike Heinlein, Brin writes pleasantly quirky characters, though realistically so.  His female characters are varied, but stay true to who they are presented.  If they are independent and strong before being involved with a man, they still are during and after.  That's not to say that they don't have layers, both strength and fragility.

The descriptions were very well done, especially given some of the imagery he was trying (successfully) to bestow to his readers.

The story basically takes place in the future (as most Sci-Fi stories do), after contact was made between humans and the Galactics (other races in the galaxy).  Humans are one of the few "wolfling" races that were possibly not "uplifted" but actually evolved to sophont status.  This, of course, causes some controversy both among the Galactics, as well as the humans on Earth; the two factions of belief among the humans bein divided into Shirts and Skins.  The Shirts believe that Man was uplifted, though possibly abandoned by their Patrons early in development.  The Skins believe that Man evolved and that their accomplishments are purely their own.  Jacob Demwa is the main character and hesitantly joins the Sundiver project, which is based on Mercury.  The story blooms from there.  I'd even say that the book didn't really pull me in until Jacob sees Mercury as they approach.

The ending was a bit... wordy for me.  A little anti-climatic, though completely understandable.  Unlike some other books (like Lucky where the overly wordy and explanative ending nearly killed the book for me), I don't feel this slightly heavy handed ending was too much of a detriment.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, especially to people with even a mild interest in Sci-fi novels.
Is it a favorite?  That's hard to say... but I'm thinking I might add it to my favorite list.  I don't love the book, but I enjoyed it quite a bit more than just "like".
Would I read it again?  Yes.

Writer's Block: Food glorious food
protective gear
If you could get a free, unlimited supply of one food for life, what would you choose?

Good gluten-free kimchee... or gluten free ddukbokki... or gluten free ojinga bokkeum...

or raw squid or gluten free korean fish cakes so I can make some of my favorite dishes.  :-)

Writer's Block: I'm in love with my car
If you could have any car in the world, what would it be?

Ooh... tough question.  If I were seriously given that choice, I would have to do some research into various cars for the ideal.  But if it were just a "at this moment" and without regard to reviews and building my knowledge of cars... And at the risk of sounding silly...  I would choose one of these:

Datsun 1971 240z in blue (the peacock blue color) or black
The reason for this is sentimental.  This was the type of car my family had when I was a kid and I always thought it was beautiful.  I remember riding in the back (laying in the "trunk") and watching the work drift by.  Oh the days before laws about seat belts... My older sister got to be the main driver for a long while, and we almost got into a car accident in it, but even that isn't a bad memory.  I loved that car.  (I do like some of the other Datsun Zs and ZXs too...)

1967 Impala in black (because I'm a dork and I love the car in Supernatural)
This is pure dorkiness, but I love this car in Supernatural.  It's a beauty and from what I read about it, these cars are pretty sturdy.  It's like a character in and of itself in the show, but in all honesty I can picture myself in this car.  (And I included the image of Jensen Ackles because... well... does there have the be a "because"?)

1967 Cadillac Eldorado in black, hard top.
I just think this type of car looks awesome, and from what I remember, they are tough.

Or something from the 1920's or 1930's
Another dork moment.  I just love cars from this time period.  When I would go to car shows, these are the types I'm always drawn too.  My father had a tinkertoy car that he build and I remember I loved that car (and not through any association with him), but I'd really want to own a "real" one.  Or better, I would want to have a car built that looks like these classics but with safer features and better gas mileage.  Yeah... that's what I'd want to do!

Literature: The Tomb and Other Tales
Finished reading The Tomb and Other Tales by H.P. Lovecraft a few weeks to a month or so ago.  I'm not terribly impressed.  So many people make such a big deal of his writings that I was thoroughly disappointed early into the stories.  When I went to the hospital to be induced, I took this book as my "light reading"... I think that pretty much sums up my opinion of it.  I did force myself to read the whole book, just to give it a fair chance.  There are some good concepts, but the stories all follow a very obvious pattern.  Reading one is not unlike reading the rest.

My husband says that this particular collection was not a great example, but he did agree with the trends I noticed and that Lovecraft's works for the most part do not live up to the hype.

So... I would not say this book was a favorite and would not recommend it.  I'm pretty hesitant to read any more of his works, though I probably will.  I like to give a fair chance unless the book is really horrible... and this was not; it was just lame.

Literature: The Two Towers
A couple weeks ago, I finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers.

Short of it is... I really enjoyed it.  Just like with The Fellowship of the Ring, I found myself annoyed about how much the movies changed and took out.  I can forgive cutting out parts and changing elements to make that work, but some of the changes just seemed... unnecessary.  The Ents were portrayed almost as dim-witted and comical in the movie, but in the book, they were far from it.  Sure they took time to make a final decision, but they were not unaware of what Saruman was doing to their forests and they were pretty angry about it even before Merry and Pippin showed up.  The Ents in general were pretty wise and were in much larger numbers than the movie illustrated.  There's also the handling of Gollum and his internal struggle.  The planned betrayal of Frodo and Sam came well before Faramir was introduced.  And then there's Faramir... in the movie, he was shown to be tempted by the ring, and was taking Frodo and Sam back to Gondor much as Boromir would have.  He was was made out to be a lesser version of Boromir in many ways and essentially living in his older brother's shadow.  This was not the case in the book.  Faramir was not tempted by the ring and refused to take it to Gondor.  He had already suspected that Frodo had this item early on, and once confirmed, he chose not to see it, touch it, or take it.  He was portrayed as very wise and careful in his decisions and judgements, and was also realistic about his brother's faults.  There were more instances... Eowyn and King Denethor and such, but those didn't bother me quite as much.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes.  Very much so, though I'd suggest watching the movies first (because of the depth of the  books).  Would I read it again?  Yes.  Is it a favorite?  I'd say yes.

Literature: The Hundred Secret Senses
Over this past weekend, I finished reading The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.  I've read a couple books by this author, and some are more successful than others.  This one wasn't as good as some of her other novels, but it was a nice read.

This story is about two half-sisters.  Olivia is half Chinese, born and raised in America.  Kwan is from a small village in China, brought over after their father died.  When they first meet, Olivia is about 6 years old and Kwan is 18.  The story tracks their very different lives and personalities, mainly following Olivia's point of view except when Kwan tells about the World of Yin (which is where spirits of the departed reside).  Kwan is able to see the Yin people and learn of their stories.

Honestly... Olivia bothered me.  She seems so spoiled and negative.  At times, it was hard to continue reading.  But once Kwan talks Olivia to go to China with her (along with Simon, who Olivia was divorcing but who was also her business partner), the story takes a turn.  Olivia starts to see things from a different perspective.  The story becomes a bit bittersweet, ending on that natural note.

Would I recommend this novel?  Perhaps, but I can't think of anyone I would suggest it to.  Would I read it again?  Probably not.  I actually plan to return it to the office book area soon (unless my mother is interested in it).  Would I call it a favorite?  No, but I did enjoy reading it, if for no other reason that because Kwan was an interesting upbeat character.

Literature: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows a couple weeks ago.

It's an interesting book that takes place post WW2, following Juliet Ashton's life for a couple of years.  In this novel, she's an author who has become very popular with her comedic articles, but years for something more serious now that the war is over.  The book is a "collection of letters" to and from her and various people who hold importance in her life during this time.

I'm usually not fond of books that are "collection of letters" but I pushed past that since the story seem nice.

Would I recommend this book to others?  Yes, if they are interested in WW2 related materials.  I found it quite interesting.  Would I call it a favorite?  No.  Would I read it again?  Likely not.  I plan to let JB read it if he wishes (maybe my older sister too) and then bring it back to the office book area.

Literature: Ruth

A week or two ago, I finished reading Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell.  It was written in the 1800's about a very contraversial topic back then.  The story is about a young seamstress, recently orphaned and fairly naive, just a month or two shy of 16 years old, who becomes involved with a wealthy man.  He manipulates situations in order to appease his desire for her, taking advantage of her innocence.  He leaves her, rather coldly, and she learns she is pregnant.  This is covered in the first chapter or two and is the set up for the rest of the novel.  The story goes on about how a minister and his sister takes her into their household, under the guise that she's the widow of a relative.  ** I will refrain from writing anything more about the story line, as it would contain spoilers. **

The interesting part of this story was how Ruth was portrayed and the tribulations she faced both while keeping up this pretense and after.  It reflected her penitence for her youthful actions, even though she was too young at the time to really understand that it was considered a horrible sin in the eyes of the church and society.  It also reflects how this situation also affects her child, the changes he goes through when he learns he was conceived out of wedlock.

It is an excellent book, and I'm tempted to hold onto it for my daughter, as I feel Ruth is a great example of inner grace and strength while remaining gentle and humble.  It's a bit of a slow read at times, but it had me caught fairly quickly regardless.  I cried through the last chapter and a half.  Seriously, the tears would stop rolling as I read it and I couldn't put the book down until I read the last sentence.

Would I recommend it?  To some, yes.  Would I call it a favorite?  Not really, though, as I said before, I am considering keeping it in my home library and possibly rereading it later on.  Heck, this book made me want to take example of Ruth, even down to the religious views... (I'm borderline atheist.)


Log in