Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Do you know where and what you were doing October 3rd, 2007? I do. This time one year ago, this time one year ago, DH and I were embarking on the third greatest adventure of our lives. Number one of course was marriage, number two was raising kids. Number three? Moving 600 miles away from where we had lived all our lives. And so it was that one year ago today we found ourselves, vehicles packed with stuff that couldn't go on the moving truck, driving separately to Tennessee.

Over all, it has been wonderful. The downside has been leaving our youngest in Michigan. We had been preparing her for several years that this was what we were going to do. It's not like we woke up on October 2nd and said, let's move out of state tomorrow. We also left behind most of my siblings (brother jumped the ship several years ago) and assorted cousins.

On the upside, we get to enjoy the company of oldest quite a bit, since she moved here about 3 months before we did on our recommendation. It has been a great move for her both financially and emotionally. She is preparing for her graduation from Tennessee Tech in the spring. There is no where else she would have been able to get a quality education and live on her own. Rents are very affordable in the college area.

We get to live in a small town on a nice lot of approximately 20,000 sq feet (half an acre) which is surrounded by trees and great neighbors. Just about all our neighbors have lived either in Michigan or some other Northern place, so we are on common ground on how nice it is here.

We have already enjoyed one fall and one winter and spring here. Summer was something else. Summer started in May and for the most part we had about 3 months of 90+ degree weather. In September, temps finally started to take a downward turn and pretty much kept to the 80's. Even now, in early October, we are enjoying nights in the low 50's with highs in the low to mid-70's. This is what we Northerner's call Indian summer. Last year this type of weather held until mid November.

The building process was sort of enjoyable. Our builder is a great guy who worried about spending every penny of our money as if it were his own. What more could you ask. He didn't mind us coming daily (after work crews were gone mostly) for that progress check. Of course, doing that cost us a few dollars, as that was when we made some changes, but it was so worth it to see the progress on our construction. He even had the concrete people rip out the garage floor because it bubbled and had it re-poured. I think he's the next best thing to having my brother-in-law, the builder, here.

So happy anniversary to us on our new adventure!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Watching the Grass Grow

The crabgrass is dead, dead and gone! Three loads of pig-dirt have been used to fill some of the settling and low spots, and evened out the ground around the trees (all 27 of them.) Seed has been spread, and straw/hay whatever that stuff is has been blown on the seed to keep the birds out of it. DH has been busy all day watering. We really miss the sprinkler system, that's for sure.

It only got to about 83 degrees here yesterday, but that dirt was really "ripe." For the most part, the straw/hay has a sweeter smell to it and masks that awful dirt smell.

The picture was taken by DH with his camera phone of the straw being sprayed on the seed. This is a really messy job and now the windows will be ready for cleaning!

All we have left now is to watch the grass grow!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Big Read

Thought I'd list a few books that I've read that I really loved. Won't put them in any particular order as that would cause too many brain cells to explode. Most of these are books I've read more than once and a lot of them made great movies.

1. Gone with the Wind. More than once.

2. The Great Escape. Real story of massive POW escape in German Silesia during WWII. Also read more than once. Loved the movie too.

3. Huck Finn. Tom Sawyer. I loved both of them. Read more than once.

4. Little Women. Little Men. Jo's Boys. They all made me cry. Still do.

5. Random Harvest. Also made a great movie.

6. Outlander. And I won't name the other 5 books, a work in progress for author Diana Gabaldon. Who doesn't love time travel and love stories combined. One of the things that intrigued me about this was the first book started in 1946, the year my parents got married.

7. Into the Wilderness, et al by Sarah Donati. The first book which I have listed sort of starts up 30 years later than the movie Last of the Mohicans.

8. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. This series, by Lauren Willig, is about an American working on her doctorate in English History researching this gang of spies of the Napoleonic era. Also an ongoing series.

9. Knight Errant, et al by R. Garcia y Robertson. Another time traveler is swept back into the War of the Roses, meeting The Future King. I loved this series, didn't like the way it ended.

10. Mommie Dearest. The inspiration for teaching my kids to call me this. They didn't get it for many years. Their friends are horrified when they hear it. Then my children have to 'splain their mom wasn't THAT bad!

11. Every biography that I ever read. My love of biographies has been with me since grade school. Nun librarian told me I read too many of them.

12. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Also everything else he has done of a humorous nature. A little non-fiction is good for the soul. Laughter is even better.

13. Lost Horizon. Made into a movie under the name of Shangri-La. Movie just didn't do the book justice.

14. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. Also made into a movie. Donald Sutherland was superb in the role of the confederate "Capt." Marsden. Diane Lane stunning as Lucy Marsden.

15. One for the Money - Fearless Fourteen. All of the Janet Evanovich "Stephanie Plum" series. How can you not love someone who has one or two cars destroyed per book. And Grandma Mazur. I wish I had a grandma like that!

16. Fuzzy Navel. The latest in the "Jack Daniels" series by J. A. Konrath. Violent yes. Entertaining. Hell yes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Notes on Road Construction

We just had a load of pig dirt delivered. When I say load, I'm not thinking those small dump trucks that deliver mulch, stone, etc from landscaping companies. I mean those DUMP TRUCKS that work for large construction companies. The dirt peak in the truck was at least a foot higher than the truck.

So now it sits on my lawn. Or more accurately on the brown remains of the crabgrass.

DH talked to the truck driver who works for the construction company responsible for the everlasting road widening project on Fairground Street, a block away. This is the road construction that has been going on one year this week. It seems they have had a few problems. Early on they hit a water line that wasn't where it was supposed to be. Lately they have been finding weird things. In one spot, they'll dig, everything is fine and dirt is hard and compacted. Ten feet up the road, the dirt is soft, they hit a minor sinkhole caused by an old drain. Apparently some of these drains date back to the mid 1800's, but still have to be investigated to make sure they aren't connected to anything. So it's time consuming.

I think we'll have grass again on our lawn before this road construction is finished.

It's a Sad Day

I am pissed that congress chose my 29th wedding anniversary to devalue the dollar 700 billion times. I'm appalled that even those we scrimped and saved to not only pay off our mortgage but we did it in less than the 15 year term of our mortgage. And we financed at a fixed rate with the conventional 30% down.

So why are we going to have to pay for

A) Banks who made bad loans?

B) People who got in way over their heads?

C) Idiots who mismanaged banks and mutual funds?

Every person who has any retirement savings - just had those savings devalued like no other time.

And it doesn't even matter which political party you belong to - both are at fault here.

Thanks to the US Government for f*cking us all over again!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Big Read

* The following list is the UK list of books. For the US list, please see the NEA BigRead site.

*Thanks to Middle-Aged Woman at Unmitigated and Gathering Dust for blogarting this. I can't believe how many of these were required reading when I was in school. I'm also surprised that "Tuesdays with Morrie" wasn't on the list. Also surprised that some of these titles are new to me. Can ya tell I don't work in a library any more?

"The Big Read is a USA National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Italicize those you intend to read.
3. Underline (or color) the books you LOVE .

Share this list in your blog, too, if you like."

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (Umm..this is part of the Narnia Chronicles)

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (I tried)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (I've read something by her)

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (I'm trying to work my way through Jane)

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (required reading in high school)

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding (Both books)

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (All Bill Bryson stuff is hysterically funny to me)

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (Another double-mention)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (couldn't get through this one).