Nat (calling me at work this morning): Hey, did you hear about the shooting at the Peerless last night?

(The Peerless is a less than reputable, uh, establishment in town. I've never been.)

Me: Yeah, I heard someone got shot in the leg a couple of times. Any idea who was shooting or got shot?

Nat: No, not yet.

Me: Huh.

Nat: So, Greg (her hubby) got a page last night around midnight.

Me: Oh?

Nat: Yeah. They were calling for the fire department's bucket truck.

Me: Oh god, what for?

(I'm picturing a three alarm fire or a kitty in a tree, mewling pitifully.)

Nat: So they could search the library roof.

Me: Um, what?

Nat: For evidence.

Me (trying not to laugh): They thought the evidence was on our roof? Someone slung the gun up there?

Nat: I'm thinking so!

(At this point, we're both nearly hysterical.)

Me: Know what would have been damn funny? If one of them fell THROUGH the roof looking for evidence, because with the roof looking like swiss cheese and leaking everywhere until we get it fixed...

Nat: I know!
So, yeah. The library got searched for evidence. Again. We're like a regular crime scene these days...

Postscript: The gun was found in a trash can, but we don't know where. After I hung up with Nat, I started to wonder if the shooter would be stupid enough to put it in the library drop box. God knows we've found kitty litter, trash, and even a dead fish (!!) in there...

Life in a small town, my friends. :-)

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Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

I love Kinsella's books - each are hilarious and high energy - so I was eager to read her newest one, which I grabbed yesterday and finished in a day, tearing through the pages in delight.

Lexi Smart has her best friends, an "eh" job, an "eh" appearance and an "eh" boyfriend in how did she suddenly wake up in a hospital bed, looking beautiful with a millionaire HUSBAND and high flying job in 2007, with no memory of anything from the last three years? Last she could recall was a fall off a curb after a night in a pub with her mates...

Oh, how things have changed!

This is such a funny read - the contrast of culture from 2004 to 2007, Lexi's struggle to remember ANYTHING about her life, to relearn who she is, and to learn more about her friends and her husband, who, let's face it - is a total stranger she's expected to live with.

Is her new perfect life really so perfect?

True, amnesia is not exactly a new concept in storytelling, but Kinsella's tale is a winning one, with a lot of heart, a great heroine, a touch of romance, and a few laughs along the way. You knew there was going to be a happy ending, you just didn't know how Lexi would get there...

Another great novel from British writer Kinsella - highly recommended!



For some reason, my one piece of "original art" in my (former) cottage always garners compliments, which always makes me snicker.

If only visitors knew that the whole project cost me about $5, and took about 20 minutes to do…

How to make your own, very fabulous, incredibly easy, don't-need-to-be-artsy wall art…

*Find a frame – this huge one was found at a garage sale, complete with foam core, but no glass, which was perfect

*Buy some wax paper and some crayons, and heat up your trusty iron

*Lay out a piece of wax paper, then shave various shades of crayon onto the paper, letting them fall haphazardly, then cover with another piece of wax paper

*Lay the iron on the paper, moving carefully to fully melt the wax, creating snifty abstract shapes

*Let cool!

I mounted the four different waxy creations onto the foam core, then separated them with electrical tape, believe it or not. Totally filled up that huge blank wall I had, and still looks great years later!

Haven't decided where to hang it in the new place yet...


I have a lot of foodie sites in my RSS feeder, and a lot of them make me hungry just reading the recipes, hearing about all the fresh produce available where they live, and the pictures they include of their creations.

I just found the ultimate food porn site, though…TasteSpotting.


Stunning photos, great layout, an RSS feed and enough links to tasty recipes to kill any willpower I might have to just eat lettuce leaves until I'm Skinny McSkinnyson.

So very pretty…

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I'm the first to admit, I watch the Oscars as much for the red carpet fashion and sparkly bits as for the awards presentation.

Becca came over (armed with pizza - bliss!) for an evening of snarky commentary, fashion weigh ins, and a friendly competition to see who could pick the most winners (she did - she got the Bourne Ultimatum every.single.time!)

So, without further ado, my picks for best dressed of the evening...strangely, all three of the first dresses were quite similar...

Katherine Heigl.

I have a total girl crush on Katherine, and I thought the whole package rocked - makeup, hair, dress, jewels. Also, not a stick figure. Rock on!


Anne Hathaway.

This dress could have easily wandered into "Welcome to Hawaii!" territory, but she kept it just right with the hair and makeup - I thought she looked amazing!

(Besides, she's Princess Mia. C'mon.)


Helen Mirren.

Work it out, sister. Own it.

I have nothing to add to that.


Nicole Kidman.

At first, I was skeptical of the necklace, but the more I looked at it, the more I was mesmerized by it. Is it something I could wear to work at the library? No. But for the red carpet? Sure, go there.


Who were your picks?


True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

Generally, I'm not a big fan of "The Sparks" - I find his novels a bit too schmaltzy and over the top for me, but he remains insanely popular in our library, so every couple of years, I feel obligated to give him a read so I can talk about him with patrons.

I chose this one because my bookmobile lady said it was lighter on the schmaltz, and hey, it featured a librarian as one of the main characters. ;-) Jeremy Marsh, a famous science writer and debunker of myths, travels to sleepy Boone Creek, NC to investigate mysterious lights in the cemetery that locals claim are ghosts. Naturally, there's a whirlwind romance with the town's librarian, a tiny mystery, a lot of quirky secondary characters, and a neatly tied ending.

It wasn't totally gaggy, but wasn't exactly my cup of tea either, though he's writing is easy to read and I can see the broad appeal to all ages of, let's face it, women. Sparks wrote a sequel to this title, called "At First Sight" which takes place six months later, and apparently has a much higher call for tissues - right up The Sparks' alley. ;-)


Immortal by Traci L. Slatton

This is the debut novel of Slatton, and what a work with which to come out of the gate!

This is a richly detailed book, following the unnaturally long life of Luca Bastardo, orphan on the streets turned forced prostitute, turned art appreciator and influencer of history through art, faith and alchemy. Most of the novel takes place in Renaissance Florence, so I was immediately drawn in to the setting as well as the detail describing the flourishing city.

Throughout his life, Luca orbits and influences the lives of Giotto, Petrarca, and even Leonardo da Vinci, the portion of the book I enjoyed the most. He is also hotly pursued by his former master, and then his children in a battle of good and evil. Throw in the Black Death, love and loss, luck, alchemy, and art and you have a fully realized, engaging novel with an intriguing title character.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction or the Renaissance!


So, I've owned my Sunnymeade for three weeks now, so let's see what I've managed so far (in no particular order)...

I bought two cart loads worth of stuff (plus a fridge) at my local Home Depot...

(I should get a visit from Tony Stewart - I think I paid his salary this week with my purchase)

February 1

We painted three rooms in three days...I love having colour in my house for the first time...




I helped Dad put in my new mailbox, though he did the yeoman's work of it...

February 3

I've taken, conservatively, 27 million baths in my ginormous whirlpool tub...

February 6

I bought my first appliance (pizza not included)...


I survived not one, but two ice storms in the new digs (even closed the library for two days, subsisting on my meager foodstuffs until the roads cleared. Note to self, move food FIRST!)...

February 12

The whole fam convened to move all my stuff from Highland Cottage to Sunnymeade...

February 16

I bought a new (much, much) bigger desk for my study...

February 20

I spent an obscene amount of money here on things like light bulbs and detergent and other assorted "stuff for the house"...

February 23

I completely cleaned and abandoned Highland Cottage *sniff*...


And I'm completely unpacked! Woot! The garbagemen loved me for this, I'm sure...


Not bad for three weeks work, eh? ;-)


robin_hood_07_300x400So, a couple of months ago, the library bought (*ahem* I do the purchasing *ahem*) the first season of the BBC's Robin Hood.

Naturally, I watched the entire season practically in one sitting. ;-)

Here's the thing, though.

I'm totally cheering for the bad guy.

I mean, c'mon, anyone who knows me KNOWS I'm going to root for the guy in black leather and eyeliner (lovingly known on the series as Guy-liner).

Yeah, Guy of Gisborne is so totally my man, played by the delightfully evil Richard Armitage (who was SO melty in North and South).

In any case, the series is really great – great locations, good cast, fun plots, a few laughs, some good stunts, and apparently, there are some tasty developments in Season 2 (not the least of which is Guy of Gisborne with his shirt off, which, rest assured, I've already previewed on YouTube).

The UK is watching Season Two now, so hopefully we won't have to wait much longer for me to get in on BBC America – and this time, I'm paying attention to air times!

If you have a chance, you gotta check this one out!

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Perfect. This list (thanks, Jen!) is exactly what I need to get back on track with television after the WGA strike...

Marissa's personal YAYs...

Four pre-strike episodes are scheduled to begin airing April 14. Expected to shoot 2 to 6 additional episodes. Airdate for those is TBD.

Grey's Anatomy
Expected to shoot 5 new episodes to air in April/May

Three pre-strike episodes remain, the last of which airs on March 27. Expected to shoot 5 additional episodes to begin airing on April 22.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Four pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD.

Ugly Betty
Expected to shoot 5 new episodes to air in April/May.

Marissa's personal BOOs...

No new episodes until fall.

No new episodes expected until fall.

Private Practice
No new episodes until fall.

Pushing Daisies
No new episodes until fall.


Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey

I was looking for something else to listen to besides the same mysteries and romances, so I grabbed this novel, set in Regency England - though a much less staid one than Austen's England (meaning, there's dueling and sex involved, natch!).

Sebastian has been banished from his family after a duel went horribly awry, and finds himself mystified when a girl from his childhood - Lady Margaret - arrives with news that his father is in danger and that she is willing to pay his passage back to England to help her.

Naturally, she doesn't have the money, they have a false marriage, things get tangled up, and they end up falling in love just the same and having lots of hot sex...

This was a pretty good listen, though the reader's male voices left a little something to be desired for me. It's not Pride and Prejudice, but...

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Anne Flosnik.


How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

I really loved this book, from the author of the equally great Book of Joe.

Doug Parker is a widower at 29, struggling to pull his life back into focus while dealing with the loss of his wife in a tragic accident, the 16 year old stepson she left behind, his family, his feelings, his job, and his life. This book is written in such a straightforward, easygoing, quick to read way, and you become immediately engrossed in Doug's world and his psyche, which filters between pragmatism and pity.

I loved all the characters of this book, particularly Doug's twin Claire, stepson Russ and Doug himself, as well as the situations throughout, some of which are seriously laugh out loud funny, and some of which are deeply sad. I consumed this novel in one morning, grateful to have such a fantastic read in the midst of being iced in from work for the day. Tropper's writing is crisp, funny and engaging - perfect!

Highly, highly recommended!


The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

This is the fantastic new novel from Perrotta, who wrote the equally fantastic Little Children. This time, Perrotta tackles religion, education and the 'burbs with wit, heart and eminent readability.

Tom is a born again Christian and coach of a girl's soccer team, Ruth is the atheistic sex education teacher, and this novel chronicles their orbits around each other, their families, and their God before, during and after Tom institutes a spur-of-the-moment prayer of Ruth's daughter's soccer team. Filled with great secondary characters and switching points of view, this novel never seems to lose focus on Tom and Ruth and their individual journeys around each other.

I devoured this book - Perrotta's so easy to read, and the characters were immediately engaging and interesting, and I love the play between ultra-religious Tom and his church and Ruth's disinterest in all things religious. The ending is left ambiguous enough to allow the reader to discern what will happen next...

A super, super read!


Blood Moon by A. W. Gryphon

I received an ARC of this upcoming title (due out in April) from Gryphon's kind publicist, and was ready to read something a bit shorter after my marathons lately!

This novel focuses on Amelia, a natural born witch who watches first her mother die, then her husband die, then her father die, while "The Organization" draws ever closer as the world aligns for Samhain, and Amelia's 28th birthday (a date that is all tied up in destiny from a thousand years ago. I think.). Naturally, misdirection, intrigue and false relationships abound as Amelia suddenly takes up The Craft again after a 20 year hiatus as though hardly a day has passed.

While I thought the story had potential (and apparently is only the start of a planned trilogy) I found the writing a bit pedestrian, and the plot to be more plodding than racing. I was hoping for sort of a Bad-Willow-on-Buffy vibe, or even a flash of Harry Potter, but instead it's more of a "poor me" story of Amelia, who just didn't generate much sympathy with me. By the end, you don't know who is good and bad, as the author turns and turns on a dime, just ending with Amelia obliterating, you know, everyone. So much for "the rule of three"...

(Either that, or she's going to be REALLY sorry in the second novel)

Not a favorite of mine...


I know I'm wee bit behind with the Super Bowl and all (talk about SCREAMING for the Giants in that fourth quarter!), but I've been a wee bit preoccupied of late. ;-)

However, I had to link to my favorite Super Bowl ad...what was yours?

This one just makes me smile every time. What a great story. :-)


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I have actually had this on my TBR list since my friend Erica mentioned it eons ago...but then Oprah picked it as a book, and all hell broke loose on the library hold list!

I finally got my hands on this 500+ page (what is with me and long books lately??) novel, and dove in, with high expectations from the Pulitzer Prize winner.

And read. And read. And read.

And then started skimming, and then skimming more.

Eugenides has a definite style and affectations that are all his own, and I have no doubt he has a lot of interesting stories to tell, but I just got SO bogged down in this one. Three threads all being woven together, jumps from past to present and back again, no linear thought, overly detailed writing, and a story that, frankly, didn't keep me interested terribly long.

I kinda/sorta finished it after slogging through more than half, but this just wasn't the gem I was hoping it would be. (Sorry, Erica!)

Oprah can keep this one, I'm afraid...


Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

I'm not really sure what's going on with John Grisham.

He writes great courtroom procedurals, is still wildly popular to his devoted fans, and yet he keeps veering off into...well, not such good territory.

This treacly-sweet novella chronicles a washed up quarterback who decides to play football for the Parma Panthers - In Italy. Naturally, the food is wonderful, he finds love, they win the big game, blah blah blah...

What a mess.

Even as someone enchanted by Italy and a big football fan, I found this a disappointing, rather silly novel that in no way reflected Grisham's former ability to write a tight, engaging story. I didn't like the main character, I didn't care about the silly, selfish girl, it had no humor and very little LIFE.

Stick to the courtroom, dude. Pizza and football in Italy? Not so much...

At least it was short!


Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

This is another "between the numbers" novella from insanely popular author Evanovich, author of the Stephanie Plum mystery series.

This time, Stephanie and Co. take on Atlantic City, inherit a horse, Grandma Mazur wins big, Diesel makes an appearance and yes, a car gets blown up.

You know, typical Stephanie Plum fare!

Evanovich packs a lot into 166 pages, a perfect fluffy treat for an evening. :-)


So, it's been really hard to keep this secret, but now that it's a done deal, I'm bursting to tell all of you my news!


Mine. Hee. :-)

Welcome to Sunnymeade!

I just closed own my very first home late last week, and have spent the last few days painting, moving, packing, unpacking, moving again, sifting, sorting, shifting, cleaning and finally...settling. :-)

It's a three bedroom home with a open kitchen/family room, a huge field in the backyard with no neighbors to look in on me dancing around, a two car garage, and did I mention the walk-in closet and whirlpool sunken tub in the master suite? ;-)

I'm in the middle of moving, so my computer access will be limited for a while, but when I return, expect lots of pictures of painted walls, stacks of boxes and satisfied smiles. :-)


Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

I've always enjoyed titles by Bryson, so when I saw this nonfiction book where he takes on the Bard, I decided to give it a go.

Bryson is a funny, gentle guide into the world of Shakespeare - the times, the plays, the history of the theatre, Shakespeare's fellow playwrights, but through it all, Bryson reminds us: extraordinarily little is known about the man who so influenced the English language and gave us so many memorable stories!

Bryson marshals what facts he can into a very readable, interesting, and manageable (a scant 200 pages) biography of Shakespeare - or at least what we know.

I found this to be a fast read, despite my *ahem* trying circumstances right now...